Red Sox reflect on labor issues in other leagues

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Red Sox reflect on labor issues in other leagues

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- The NFL lockout is in its fourth month, with no end in sight.

The NBA locked its players out earlier this week and some believe the 2011-12 season is in jeopardy.

The NHL has a year remaining on its current labor deal, but already there is speculation that the league and its players may be headed for a work stoppage a year from this fall.

And then there's baseball.

Remarkably, the same sport which had the worst labor record as recently as 15 years ago now has the best. The current CBA expires in December and a new agreement has not yet been reached, but both sides -- ownership and the Players Association --
expect a deal will be reached without any interruption, or, for that matter, much difficulty.

This peaceful co-existence between management and labor would have been unimagineable not long ago. Now, each day in the Red Sox clubhouse, players watch TV and see updates on labor disputes in basketball and football, secure in the knowledge that the divide that once existed in their own game has been closed.

And some within that clubhouse shake their heads at the messes that exist in the NBA and NFL, just as fans expressed disgust toward baseball a generation ago.

"You mean to tell me there's not a way for both sides to be happy and the fans don't get screwed?" asked manager Terry Francona. "I do understand that someone making 50,000-60,000 and is paying for a ticket would be very put off. I can understand that. They don't want to hear this and I don't blame them.

"I think we all have a responsibility to figure it out. I think baseball has done a good job figuring out that we need to be partners and they're doing a great job.''

"Sometimes, when it comes to this kind of stuff,'' said David Ortiz, "I think we forget about the most important (people) and that's the fans. One thing you don't want to do is piss them off. They're the ones who make this interesting.''

Ortiz, a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, said he doesn't even want to think about the prospect of football-less Sundays this fall.

"I'm having nightmares all ready,'' he said with a laugh. "Seriously, there's no way you want to think about (not having games). And I'm from the Dominican Republic (where football doesn't have much of a following) and I see it that way. Think about if you're born and raised here.''

Dustin Pedroia says improved communication between labor and management in baseball is the key to the improved relationship.

"It took a long time to get over the last strike (in 1994-95),'' said Pedroia. "We don't want to go through that again. Both sides know how great the game is and how much money there is in it, so the best thing is to play and not have any work stoppages.''

Tim Wakefield, the only Red Sox player who was playing in 1994, said it's a relief to not go through the distraction of a labor impasse.

"It's nice,'' Wakefield said. "I don't think either side wants to be in that situaton again.''

Ortiz, too, believes that baseball learned the hard way in the 1980s and 1990s how damaging labor strife can be.

"We all have those bad memories,'' he said. "We don't want to be going through that.''

And aside from the professional kinship, players want the NFL and NBA to resume so that they, too, can be entertained.

"I hope they get it done,'' concluded Ortiz. "I'm a baseball player, but I'm a huge fan of football and basketball.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

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First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:

 

* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.

 

* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.

 

* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.

     

 

 

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP