Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

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Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

Count me among the millions who wanted to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the All Star Game.

And why not? On a team full of superstars who can't keep it together, Saltalamacchia's one of the few guys to actually exceed expectations this year. He doesn't have an ego or an attitude, or carry himself like a martyr for getting paid millions to play baseball. Instead, he's just a plain, old likable athlete. He works hard. He's easy to root for. He just so happens to have hit more home runs (15) than any catcher in baseball.

And for all those reasons, we wanted Salty to get the call.

Of course, he didn't.

Whether or not he eventually finds his way to Kansas City remains to be seen. These days, you know at least a handful of All-Stars will drop out of the game, and this year, Salty will be on the short list of replacements. But even if he gets the late invite, it's not the same. It's like getting a call from a couple three weeks before they get married: "Hey, I know this is last second, but do you want to come to our wedding?" You appreciate the offer, and you probably end up going, but you know that you were on the B-List; that they only invited you after a bunch of other people turned them down first.

Anyway, despite the desire to see Saltalamacchia in the All-Star game, and the disappointment in the fact that he didn't make it, it's hard to get too riled up about the snubbage.

First of all, because Salty's hitting .254 with a .302 OBP this season. I don't care where the competition is, or what kind of feel good story you might be, if those are your numbers, there's a serious argument to be made against your All Star status.

Second, because even though he's done an admirable job taking over for Jason Varitek, the Sox rotation as a whole hasn't been that good. I'm not saying that's the catcher's fault, I'm just saying that his presence behind the plate doesn't really support the case.

Third . . . no, I'm going to stop there. I don't want to sit here and pick apart all the reasons Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't an All-Star.

Because the real story is that we're even having the conversation to begin with.

That whether or not he ultimately spends July 10 sweating his brains off in Kansas City, for the first three months of the season, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been one of the best catchers in the American League, and one of the biggest surprises in Boston.

Count me among the millions who never saw that coming.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.

David Ortiz has new interpretation of 'spring training'

David Ortiz has new interpretation of 'spring training'

Big Papi's "spring training" involves a beach chair -- not a baseball bat.

The former Boston Red Sox slugger made it clear on Instagram that he has no interest in returning to Jet Blue Park to begin training for the 2017 MLB season.

He announced in Nov. 2015 he would be retiring after the 2016 season, and he appears completely content with that decision despite speculation of his return to MLB. Ortiz posted a video on Sunday of himself in a beach chair reclined and relaxed.

"What's up [Instagram]. Oh, so good be retired. At the beach with the familia, the ladies. Big Papi in the bulding. This is my spring training. How 'bout dat? Enjoy. See you when I see you. Peace," he said, and then chuckled.

Ortiz's video came a few days after Hanley Ramirez said that if Ortiz made a return to baseball, he would be doing it, in part, for Ramirez, because they miss each other.

WBZ's Dan Roche then tweeted out Ramirez's comment on Thursday, and Big Papi waited no time to respond. Within 16 minutes, Ortiz had responded to reiterate he would not be returning to the Sox.

Jackie Bradley Jr. explains why he wouldn't skip White House visit

Jackie Bradley Jr. explains why he wouldn't skip White House visit

Jackie Bradley Jr. will likely have a spotless attendance record for White House trips.

The Boston Red Sox outfielder began discussing those championship trips to meet the president after Red Sox chairman Tom Werner referenced the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win at a team get-together on Friday morning.

“If my team is going, yes, I’m going,” Bradley Jr. told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, adding later, “I don’t like politics, not even a little bit.”

The Patriots so far have six players who have openly stated they will not attend New England's White House trip to meet President Donald Trump. Team leaders like Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty are among those unwilling to attend.

For Bradley, the White House trip is not about making a political statement.

“The reason why we’re going there is because we did something together as a team. The White House is cool,” he said. “I’m with my team."

The 26-year-old outfielder has twice attended the championship trip to the nation's capital. In college, he went with the South Carolina Gamecocks after they won the College World Series. He later attended with the Red Sox in 2013. Bradley Jr. said he enjoyed attending the White House to meet Barack Obama, but added he wasn't concerned with which president was hosting the event.

He said: “How many people can say they’ve been to the White House? That alone. There is a lot history there, and I’m a big fan of architecture. I think the whole thing is unique.”