Reflections from the sunny side
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Picked-up pieces from three grueling weeks on the baseball beat in sunny Florida . . .
What does Carl Yastrzemski think of the beer ban in the clubhouse? “As long as you get it on the flight, it’s no big deal,’’ said Yaz, who was known to drain a bottle or two during his 23-year career. “I think a lot of that stuff was exaggerated. If somebody just did it once, or whatever, you know, just had a beer . . . Everything’s a big story today. No beer in the clubhouse is one thing. As long as they have beer on the flights, I think it’s OK. I couldn’t take a plane unless I had a beer.’’ For the record, the Sox have banned beer in the clubhouse, home and away, but will have beer on flights unless they are flying back to Boston.
Bobby Valentine might be the greatest micro-manager of all time. He wants a say on everything. He is working overtime to improve communication throughout the organization. And no matter what they say, it’s going to be a little awkward between the manager and the general manager, given that Dale Sveum was Ben Cherington’s original candidate. It’s hard to believe Cherington is a fan of Adrian Gonzalez playing outfield in spring training games.
The Sox still have holes at shortstop, left field, and right field. They have downgraded at closer. They don’t have fourth and fifth starters. New York, Tampa, Texas, Anaheim, and Detroit all got better. The Sox are not better. Anybody else skeptical about the Local Nine? Who will be the first to note that the home opener is on Friday the 13th?
No more marginalization for Tom Werner. With John Herry immersed in futbol and Larry Lucchino pretending not to be running everything, Chairman Tom has been front and center for every ribbon-cutting and press conference.
Daniel Bard is a two-pitch pitcher, easy to track (unless he’s throwing 100), and probably limited to 140 innings. How does that make him a serviceable starting pitcher?
Dustin Pedroia is hilarious. He put on quite a show when the ESPN bus rolled into Fort Myers Tuesday. More than any player, Pedroia is comfortable making fun of Valentine. “I’ll probably get released after the stuff I said to them,’’ Pedroia said after his interview with the worldwide leader. He was also comfortable ripping JetBlue Park and its absence of clocks. “How much did they spend on this place - $77 million? [Actually, $77.8 million] Maybe if they had spent $80 million they could have put a clock somewhere.’’
Gonzalez is one sour dude. Almost Nomar-esque. Nobody likes a know-it-all.
Love the way they configured Fenway South to match the experience of the sun setting in the right fielder’s eyes. Somebody had their compass working. But team and city officials absolutely must do something about game-day traffic going to and from JetBlue Park on Daniels Parkway. The spring training experience need not simulate a game-day ride down Route 1 in Foxborough.
Yastrzemski is one of 30 ex-Red Sox who have placed their hands in a quick-dry solution for a project that will be Fenway’s answer to Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Boston baseball’s famous hands will be featured somewhere at Fenway this year. Yaz’s grandson, Michael, is playing his junior season at Vanderbilt and will be eligible for the draft in June.
Aaron Cook started for the Rockies against the Red Sox in the final game of the 2007 World Series.
Alex Hassan, one of the good-looking young players in the Sox major league clubhouse, hails from Milton and played high school baseball at Boston College High before playing at Duke. “They told me to come here and work hard so the major league staff can familiarize themselves with me,’’ said Hassan, who graduated from BC High in 2006. “I’m just a fly on the wall here, trying to absorb as much as I can. I just try to be quiet and watch how they go about their business and learn as much as I can from them.’’ Hassan was a fan in the stands when David Ortiz hit the Game 3 walkoff to clinch the Division Series against the Angels in 2004. His dad, David, owns Hassan Automotive in Quincy.
Playful moment when Ortiz greeted 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound Luis Exposito. Ortiz hugged the super-ripped catcher and said, “They test for HGH now, bro.’’
Valentine is not great on live television because he thinks before he speaks. There are a lot of long pauses after a question is asked. Speaking of the Red Sox and television, NESN needs to get Jenny Dell on the air ASAP. Fans are going to like Heidi Watney’s successor.
Woe is City of Palms Park, a sad, empty spring training stadium just 12 miles from Fenway South. The Nationals are said to be interested in moving into the space where the Red Sox played for 19 springs. It’s a perfectly suitable facility. People’s homes were bulldozed to make room for the park the Sox abandoned.
Look for Harvard’s baseball team to be at Fenway Park April 9. The first game ever played at Fenway Park was played on April 9, 1912, a 2-0 Red Sox victory over the Crimson in an exhibition game. The Red Sox will be in Toronto April 9, but Dr. Charles Steinberg no doubt will find someone to play Harvard at Fenway on the true 100th anniversary.
We are in the middle of Lent, which reminds me of Ash Wednesday, which reminds me of the late Lou Gorman, who wore his ashes with great pride and devotion every spring. Gorman is missed in Fort Myers, where the sun rose, the sun set, and Sweet Lou always had lunch.
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.