Adrian Gonzalez isn't in Fort Myers yet, but he's already delivered the first State of the Sox address of the spring.
Visiting ESPN, he appeared on SportsCenter and also did an interview with ESPN Boston Radio's Adam Jones. And he put forth a take on last September's collapse that we're certain to hear over and over as the players emerge from their winter hibernation:
We just didnt play good baseball . . . More than anything it was just the fact we didnt play good baseball. We didnt play good defense for our pitchers, we didnt get those timely hits that we needed to to bring in that extra run. We didnt prevent enough runs. It was a team as a whole that failed. We look forward to erasing that and getting back into the playoffs.
In other words, forget about the chicken. Forget about the beer. Forget about the salacious headlines of last October. That stuff wasn't the reason the Sox went 7-20 over the season's final month.
But after admitting that he was a follower and not a leader in his first season in Boston -- "I came in to a team that had leaders in place and didn't want to step on anybody's toes" -- he did say he's going to step up this year.
"There's things that I saw and noticed (last year) that I'm not going to leave unaddressed if they need to be (addressed)," he said. "With Bobby Valentine being our manager now, he's going to set a lot of ground rules for that, too."