BOSTON For Kevin Youkilis, the final month of the Red Sox season, was painful.No surprise, given his season was cut short by injury, while his team went 7-20 in September, bringing to fruition the worst collapse in baseball history.It was painful, literally and figuratively, I think, said the Sox third baseman Thursday night, before a charity event for his Youks Kids organization.But the good thing is thats the past and you can correct it. You cant correct injuries and stuff like that now. That happened. You cant worry about that. What I got to worry about now, and all my teammates have to worry about, is just going out and coming together and playing hard . . . I think thats the whole thing, coming together in spring training and just working on the same goal, winning a World Series. Every guys just got to take care of themselves, and just get themselves better each and every day.While much has been said and written about the need to change the culture in the Sox clubhouse, Youkilis acknowledged the attitude permeating the team for most of the season was less than desirable.I definitely didnt think we had the best vibe in the clubhouse, he said. It was very different, and it was noticeable early. But when you win, winning heals all the wounds. But we definitely didn't have the right attitude in a lot of ways . . . Sometimes it just snowballed out of control.We were worrying about things that we shouldn't have been worrying about and not playing the game of baseball. So I think this year, with the coaching staff that's coming back, they saw things too that we can change. We're going to all can sit down and talk about it and basically, play the game. Thats the whole key, is just playing the game and not worrying about other stuff and the media hype and things that are going on. Because if you get up to going crazy with that stuff, it's going to eat you all up. But if you just play the game, not worry, not read what's put out there, everything that's said, it handles itself."Youkilis was caught off guard from some of the fallout that resulted from the teams epic collapse.I was surprised more along the public things that were said and people coming up with stories and no sources, stuff like that, he said. That kind of hurt me the most. But thats stuff you cant control. And it kind of seemed like it was a witch hunt. What player is doing this, what player did that wrong. Were a team. We lose as a team and we all failed. There wasnt one player that didnt fail because we lost, and we all failed. So were going to make a difference this year and that difference is going to be winning. And were going to go out there and win and hopefully start out winning a lot earlier this year. Last year was a little tough at the beginning.Of the teams offseason moves, the one that has surprised him the most was the trade of shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado.I was surprised and disappointed personally abut Marco getting traded but thats more of a personal issue to me because hes right next to me at my locker, Youkilis said. But on the other end too one of the positives one of my really close friends, Nick Punto we got. So kind of mixed emotions there, and he might be the starting shortstop or Mike Aviles. But I think we got a great team. And its kind of great that were not counted to be the team thats going to win 120 games. So I think its kind of fun to watch these other teams with Albert Pujols going to Anaheim and now Prince Fielder going to Detroit and all the hype. So if we can keep the hype off us and just keep the hype on winning ballgames during the year, thats going to be the good hype.Youkilis said he has met with the Sox medical staff and is fully recovered from the sports hernia surgery that cut his season short."I'm doing great, feeling good," He said. Ive met with all the medical staff here, the new medical staff, its very cool to meet a lot of new people, were definitely going in the right direction, Ive been cleared to do. For the past two weeks, I've felt great, my whole body. Little things here and there, that this time of year, you have to get going and ramp it up. So I've started to ramp up as much as I can, and I feel great, healthy, lifting with no restrictions.My rehab was pretty much over when I left Boston. There was little things I had to do, and I continue to do, and I keep continuing to do, like core activities because when you have a sports hernia, you got to make sure . . . Definitely doing that.
PITTSBURGH -- John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.
So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.
"It was just pure instinct," Tumpane said . "You hear kind of stories of this all the time, different scenarios, people aiding and situation where I was lucky enough to be there to help and try to think of everything I could do, hanging on to her. At times she wanted to go the other way. I was like, 'not on my watch, please.' We were just hanging on."
And saving a life.
Tumpane secured one of her arms. A bystander walked up and grabbed the other while another -- Mike Weinman, an employee for the Rays -- clutched her legs and pinned them to the railing while Tumpane mouthed to someone in the crowd to call 911.
What followed were chaotic moments of panic, fear and ultimately, grace.
"I couldn't tell you how long we were waiting for everyone else to get in place," Tumpane said. 'Obviously another power comes into be when you're hanging on and you know what the alternative is of you letting go and not having other people to help you."
Tumpane, Weinman and the third volunteer clung to the unidentified woman until emergency responders arrived. A police boat raced up the river to the iconic yellow bridge named for the Pirates Hall of Famer who died on Dec. 31, 1972, when a plane making humanitarian deliveries to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed. Now, 45 years later a crowd thrust together by fate brought a complete stranger back from the brink. Together.
"Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side," Tumpane said. "After that I went up to her, she said, 'You'll just forget me after this' and I said, 'No, I'll never forget you.' This was an unbelievable day and I'm glad to say she can have another day with us and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time."
Tumpane, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, got into umpiring as a teenager, made his major-league debut in 2012 and received his full-time MLB commission in 2016, stressed he's no hero.
"I just happened to be there," he said. "I think I've been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out."
The aftermath was a bit surreal. After the woman was taken away, Tumpane called his wife, his arms still shaking.
"Not too many times you call your wife and say you helped save somebody's life," he said. "A really special moment."
One that stayed with him even as he prepared to call balls and strikes behind home plate Wednesday night. During breaks in the action his eyes would drift to the bridge just a few hundred feet behind the center field wall at PNC Park.
"It's also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, In between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been," he said. "Glad it was this way."
Tumpane has no experience in crisis management or suicide prevention. He's spent 16 years living the nomadic life of an umpire. Asked what was going through his head while he tried to coax the woman back to safety, Tumpane just shrugged his shoulders. How do you explain the unexplainable?
"I happened to be in the right spot at the right time," he said. "Tried to be as comforting as I could and talk her through it. Thankfully that was the outcome."
BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed.
“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”
That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke.
Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City.
Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft.
Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics.
“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”
And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA.
“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”
Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown.
“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps.
Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”
While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other.
“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”
Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:
“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”
One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude.
Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs.
“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”
And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce.
“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”
Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce.
Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task.
But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren.
Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.
“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”