By Frannie Carr | Thursday, January 19, 2012
Jan. 20, 2012
BOSTON — With the question of whether the Patriots make the Super Bowl resting on the result of this weekend’s high-stakes match-up against the Baltimore Ravens, the local sports news is pretty much all football, all the time. But baseball fans know that it's just a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training — and veteran Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis is thinking ahead.
True, he acknowledges, "It was definitely a shock with a lot of the things that transpired in September, all different kinds of things that were happening," Youkilis said on Jan. 19.
He could be referring to a number of “things."
Could it be that the team, considered in the early summer to be the best in the majors, failed to win even one-third of its games in September?
Or the revelations that players were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the dugout during games?
No: “Youk” said that for him, the most upsetting “thing” was the end of manager Terry “Tito” Francona.
"Tito’s the only manager I’d ever played for in the major league, so I don’t know any new manager or how to handle it," he said.
Still, Youkilis said he’s optimistic about his new boss, Bobby Valentine.
"Managers just want you to play the game the right way," he said. "You all have your different personalities on your team and not everyone’s going to be best friends with everyone, but you have to respect each other and play the game right — and I think that’s the biggest thing going in. As long as you play hard and with control, I think it’s going to be great with myself and with Bobby."
Despite this player's rosy outlook, and despite the many weeks to go before Opening Day, some observers have already counted the Sox right out.
That didn't bother Youk at all.
"People are still saying we’re not good enough. And we kind of like that. We kind of like that ability to say — You know what? We’ll prove you wrong. We’re going to win."
In the meantime… go Pats.
Hear more from Youk, including his thoughts on his charity Youk's Kids, on "The Emily Rooney Show."
By Toni Waterman | Friday, December 16, 2011
Dec. 16, 2011
BOSTON — It seems like the accusations of sexual abuse in the sports arena just keep coming.
When Charles Crawford was 16 years old, he landed a dream job: batboy for the Boston Red Sox. It was the early 1990s, so that meant the Dorchester native got to rub elbows with hometown greats like Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn.
But before long, that dream job became the worst experience of his life.
Crawford described the first encounter on “Greater Boston” on Dec. 14. “I asked him for a ball in the clubhouse. He led me to the equipment room where only he has the key. We went into the equipment room and that’s where he assaulted me.”
The dream job turns into a nightmare
Crawford is claiming that former Red Sox club manager Donald Fitzpatrick performed oral sex on him twice during his summer tenure at Fenway. In the first encounter, Crawford said Fitzpatrick locked him in an equipment room and assaulted him while Red Sox players mulled around outside. He was, Crawford said, too embarrassed to stop it.
“I really didn’t know what to say, to be honest,” he said. “When I came out it was like everything happened so quick, the players were still in the area. But I just kind of pushed it down and kept going, you know, loving my job.”
The second experience came right before a West Coast trip the team was taking. He came in early to help pack the bats and uniforms. Later that night, Crawford said, Fitzpatrick molested him in a clubhouse bathroom.
Former attendants seek their due
Now 36, Crawford and another, unnamed accuser are suing the Red Sox for $5 million each. They are the ninth and 10th former clubhouse attendants to step forward in a Red Sox sexual abuse scandal that spans decades. All of the accusers have been African-American.
In a now infamous moment during a televised Red Sox game against Anaheim, a former clubhouse attendant held up a sign that read, “Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.” The Red Sox paid that accuser $100,000 and Fitzpatrick took an extended leave of absence from the team. He never came back.
In 2003, the Sox settled a $3.15 million lawsuit with seven Florida men who claimed Fitzpatrick sexually molested them as boys in the 1970s.
In 2002, Fitzpatrick pled guilty to four counts of attempted sexual battery and was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to each victim. Fitzpatrick died in 2005 at age 76. At the time, he was serving a 10-year suspended sentence and 15 years’ probation.
Management did nothing, lawyer says
Crawford’s lawyer is Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney best known for reaching a $95 million settlement with the Boston Archdiocese over the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. He said it was well known within Red Sox management that Fitzpatrick was a serial pedophile, but they did nothing about it.
“I’ve got him tracked from about 1967 to 1991 sexually abusing children — that I know of,” said Garabedian. “In 1971, a batboy told the Red Sox management, or equipment manager ‘I was sexually molested by Donald Fitzpatrick’ and within three days they fired the batboy and did nothing to Donald Fitzpatrick.”
When John Henry bought the team in 2002, management was replaced. The new management acknowledged Fitzpatrick was a pedophile and made sure the victims were paid out.
In the two decades since his clubhouse horror, Crawford's life has spiraled downward. He dropped out of college, spent six months in jail on a drug offense and has had five children with five different women.
He said it was Sen. Scott Brown’s admission of abuse earlier this year that inspired him to come forward.
“I held it for 16 years. I told my mom when I was 32 years old,” he said.
No legal responsibility, but possibly a moral one
But as far as his lawsuit goes, it might be too late. The statute of limitations has run out.
“A victim has three years to sue from when they realize that the conduct, the sexual abuse, caused them problems in life,” said Garabedian. “So we acknowledge that the statute of limitations has gone in these cases.”
But that doesn’t mean they’re giving up. Crawford and Garabedian are scheduled to meet with Red Sox attorneys during the week of Dec. 19 to discuss the cases.
“We’re going to see what they want to do with this matter. They have a moral responsibility here,” said Garabedian.
In the meantime, Crawford is making the media rounds. He said talking about his experiences has been cathartic, after keeping such a dark secret for so long.
“People need to know — they think about Fenway, they think about great games. But I have a whole different picture of Fenway and people just need to know what was happening there,” he said.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011
BOSTON — Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine has been named the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, taking over from Terry Francona — and Red Sox Nation now has to get to know a leader very different from what they’ve been used to.
No one can predict how the team will perform under new management, but baseball insiders agree on one fact: Mr. Personality has come to town.
David Lennon covered Valentine as the New York Mets beat writer for Newsday.
Valentine, Lennon told WGBH News’ Jordan Weinstein, is “entertaining. There’s never a dull moment with him in the manager’s office…. That said, as any strong personality does, he can cause friction in some areas.”
“He talks a lot,” sports analyst Bob Lobel said on “The Emily Rooney Show” on Dec. 1. “He can’t edit himself. He doesn’t stop.”
That’s unlike the quiet and reserved Francona.
“It’s not unusual, certainly, for teams to choose a different manager, a different type of personality manager to follow another,” Lennon said.
“He’s the first star manager the team has ever hired,” Lobel said. “He’s a brilliant baseball guy but as a human being he’s going to take some time to get to know.”
What about his skills in the clubhouse?
Lennon praised them, saying that Valentine’s managerial ability was so strong that he got the Mets to the World Series in 2000 even though the team was relatively weak.
Valentine has never won a division — the Mets got to that Series as a wild card. But Lennon said that didn’t matter.
“If there’s one reason to knock Bobby Valentine… having not won a division title I think is probably not the spot to go after,” Lennon said. “He’s managed teams that have won 90-plus games.” Anyway, Valentine’s Mets were up against the then-dynastic Atlanta Braves.
When it comes to the head-to-head battle for the 2012 AL East, “I certainly think he can match wits and match tactics with any other manager in that division,” Lennon said.
And maybe it doesn’t really even matter. “I think picking a manager is way overrated,” Lobel said. “They got him. That’s fine. Now it’s time to move on.”
Lobel added, “It’s going to be fun.”
By Danielle Dreilinger | Thursday, December 1, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011
BOSTON — On Thursday, the Red Sox introduce new general manager Bobby Valentine. The front office says Valentine, former manager of the N.Y. Mets, Tex. Rangers and Chiba Lotte Marines and until recently an ESPN analyst, has what it takes to whip the troubled team back to the top in 2012... with no September breakdowns this time. It's a tall order.
And frankly, Yankees fans don't think Valentine can do it.
By The Associated Press | Thursday, December 1, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011
BOSTON — Players eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse during games.
"He won't let that happen. There's no way he's going to let that happen," said Tommy Lasorda of Bobby Valentine, the new Red Sox manager.
Boston announced Valentine as its new hire Wednesday, and he will be introduced at a Fenway Park news conference on Thursday evening.
Sports analyst Bob Lobel talks about the development Thursday at noon on WGBH's "Emily Rooney Show."
The 61-year-old replaces Terry Francona, who left after eight years in which he guided the Red Sox to two World Series titles but also the biggest September collapse in baseball history. The first job for the former Mets and Rangers manager: reversing a culture in which players ate takeout fried chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse during games instead of sitting on the bench with their teammates.
Francona rarely said anything negative about his players in public. When Valentine was in New York, he did not hesitate to criticize his players and bickered with them, his boss and the media.
"There's times — in all phases of life — when you've got to kick them in the (rear) when they need it, and there's times when you need to hug them if they need it,” Lasorda said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He was Valentine's manager in the minor leagues and a mentor who encouraged him to try for the Red Sox job."You give loyalty, you'll get it back.”
At a news conference the day he formally interviewed for the job, Valentine said he learned a lot about discipline while managing in Japan.
"Discipline is not 30 whacks with a whip these days," he said. "I think everyone likes discipline. I think everyone likes structure."
Francona left before he could be fired, saying the clubhouse needed a different voice. And, boy, is Valentine ever different.
A restaurateur who claims to have invented the wrap sandwich; the manager of the NL pennant-winning New York Mets and Japanese champion Chiba Lotte Marines; the director of health and public safety in Stamford, Conn.; a successful TV analyst.
He might even be most famous for returning to the dugout wearing a fake mustache and sunglasses after being ejected from a game in 1999; Major League Baseball fined him $5,000 and suspended him for three games.
Valentine's personality certainly is large. And his resume is long. But it has one major gap: He's never won a World Series.
Select tickets for 2012 will go on sale next week.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
By The Associated Press | Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Nov. 30, 2011
BOSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the decision says the Boston Red Sox have picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager and are working to complete a contract.
Several media outlets in Boston reported late Nov. 29 that Valentine would be the team's new manager. The Red Sox declined comment, and as of Wednesday morning, no announcement had been made.
But the word was out around baseball. As Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors, told the AP: "He's got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago."
Valentine was in Japan this week, where he managed from 2004–09. He previously managed the New York Mets and Texas Rangers. He had been working as a baseball analyst for ESPN.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.