Ross not concerned about 2011 collapse


Ross not concerned about 2011 collapse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After the way last season ended for the Red Sox, it might have scared off a number of prospective free agents.

After all, a history-making slide coupled with a toxic clubhouse environment isn't exactly the best incentive to attract players.

But Cody Ross, who signed a one-year, 3 million deal with the Red Sox in January, was never dissuaded.

"I just thought it was a great fit,'' said Ross after arriving in camp Tuesday. "There were quite a few options that I had, but at the end of the day, I felt like this was the best situation for me. I felt like this team was on the right track, trying to get to that next level and win championship.

"I talked to a few guys before about it and everyone was obviously down about last year, but looking forward to this year and coming in and trying to repeat what they've done in the past. I'm looking forward to being a part of it.''

Ross is joining his sixth organization, having spent almost all of his career in the National League.

He learned about the Red Sox struggles and dysfunction only after it was done. In September, he had other things with which to concern himself.

"To be quite honest with you,'' he said, "I really didn't realize it all that much because we were going through our own struggles (in San Francisco) ourselves -- to have a team win a World Series and not even come back and make the playoffs? That's terrible.

"I was trying to focus on that. I really didn't know what was going on until the off-season -- (the Sox) and the (Atlanta) Braves had similar slides going down the stretch. It didn't affect my decision (to sign here). I knew everyone in here wanted to go to that next level.

"They want to play in the playoffs. If anything it helped (to make my decision).''

This season represents a fresh start for the Sox, who have a new manager, a new general manager, a new spring training complex, and several new players.

Ross is part of that makeover. He not only has a reputation for someone who crushes lefthanded pitching, but he's also regarded as a high character player.

"I knew the changes that they made,'' said Ross. "They're trying to get a different feel, a different look. I felt like I'd be a perfect fit coming in, maybe bringing some different energy.''

Ross is in the mix for right field, battling, among others, Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, and when he's healthy, Ryan Kalish.

Given the Red Sox' pursuit of him and his salary, it would seem that he'll be a regular, but he's taking nothing for granted.

"I feel like I have to earn a job every single year,'' he said. "I like that feeling. It puts that good pressure on you -- to go out and perform and not feel (too) comfortable.''

Having played in the N.L. since 2004, Ross's exposure to Fenway has been limited to a few interleague visits. As a natural pull hitter, it's an inviting ballpark, seemingly tailored for him.

"It's suited for any righthander's swing,'' he said. "I do hit a lot of fly balls to left field. It can help. But it can also hurt you. If you sit there and you're conscious of trying to hit the ball over The Wall every time you get up there, chances are it's not going to happen.

"So I'm just going to stay with my approach -- my approach that I've had for years and years will play well.''

Gostkowski named AFC special teams player of week


Gostkowski named AFC special teams player of week

FOXBORO -- It's been an uncharacteristically erratic season for Stephen Gostkowski, but on Sunday the Patriots Pro Bowl kicker was dialed in. And his four field-goal performance against Los Angeles earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. It is the second time this season and the fifth time in his career that Gostkowski has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, having also won the award after the first game of the season at Arizona. 

Gostkowski's missed four field goals so far this season. He hasn't missed four in a year since 2012 when he missed six field goals. He's also missed three extra points. While the Patriots were a little downcast about the inability of their offense to close out drives against the Rams, an ancillary benefit was undoubtedly Gostkowski having a day that should boost his confidence going forward. 

Belichick shares Pearl Harbor thoughts on 75th anniversary of the attack


Belichick shares Pearl Harbor thoughts on 75th anniversary of the attack

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick's connection to the Navy has been well-chronicled in this space and others, and so it comes as little surprise that he gladly took the opportunity to discuss Pearl Harbor and its aftermath when given the opportunity during a press conference Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the attack. 

"Yeah, pretty big day in our history," Belichick said. "Certainly in Naval history. But for me, the lesson on Pearl Harbor, and for us as a team and individually, I'd say, is not what happened on Dec. 7 -- although there was a lesson there -- but the response.

"What the response was from our nation, from our military, from our civilians, from our population, to battle the world on two fronts and win both of them. Think of what this country did under [President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt's leadership, as well as multiple military leaders, and then go fight in Europe and go fight in Southeast Asia and Japan, the response to what happened on Dec. 7, 1941 is pretty impressive.

"I remember my dad talking a lot about that, when it happened, when he found out, then when he went to the Navy and went to Great Lakes, and then eventually went to Europe and eventually went to Okinawa. It was a tough time for this country, but it was a great example of the Patriotism of our citizens, men, women, fighting together, pulling together and being victorious in a lot of different ways.

"It's special. Special day . . . Tough day for the Navy, though, but they responded. They bounced back. Battle of Midway, that was really a huge turning point. Had it not gone on the way it did. I don't know, it probably would've been a longer fight." 

Before delving into his response, Belichick mentioned that documentary filmmaker and former WJAR sports reporter Tim Gray, who once covered the Patriots, has done a great deal of work on World War II. Gray's latest documentary, "Remember Pearl Harbor," will debut on 125 PBS stations throughout the country today.