I missed most of Fox25’s Sports Sunday, but did see that Butch Stearns is concerned about Tom Brady’s shoulder, and wonders if Rosevelt Colvin is feeling the pressure. He did, however “Last Blast” those who still think the possible trade over the winter was simply Fossum for Colon. He pointed out Hillenbrand would also have been gone. Jeff Horrigan noted today was voluntary workout in Tampa for the Sox, and Manny was there, working harder than anyone.
WHDH Sports Xtra was shown from the Tropicana Dome in St. Petersburg, FL and the main topic was of course, the Red Sox. Highlights of Manny working in the field today were shown. Grady Little says the team is so healthy its almost scary. Highlights from the day and weekend in sports were shown.
Joe Amorosino and Gene Lavanchy next talked Sox from the Tropicana Dome infield. The big topic was Pedro…his contract, his threats, Amorosino had talked to Pedro the previous night as said that Pedro has been able to separate the contract from this performance. He was the last one to leave spring training, and talked for one last time about his contract situation. Pedro feels that he almost has to prove himself this year as if he was going into a free agent year. Next year could be his last year in Boston which would seem really weird. Why now and not the end of the season? He’s expecting and wanting to finish his career in Boston and that’s why he wants to get it all done now. The owners have told him they’re going to try to get something done, so he’s a little more optimistic, but nothing has happened so far, and once the season starts he’s not going to be a distractions. The thought of being in another uniform has happened and might happen more, as soon as tomorrow, because he’ll be in the season not having had the option picked up, and it could be his last year here. He’s looking forward to tomorrow when he doesn’t have to talk about it anymore. The interview closed, and back to Amorosino and Lavanchy. Amorosino said that “If the Red Sox don’t miraculously come to some type of an agreement with Pedro’s agent, he will not finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, and Gene, that’s a shame”. Lavanchy asked if he had the feeling that some surprise announcement might come tomorrow, and Amorosino said he did have a feeling, whether it was before the game, or in a sixth inning press release. It doesn’t make sense to at least pick up the 2004 option.
Tony Massarotti and Don Orsillo were on to talk Pedro and his contract situation. Gene says why not pick up the option, Tony disagrees, it is not good business to pick it up now. If Pedro wants to stay here, he’ll stay. Orsillo feels that the Sox should pick it, especially with how bad pitching is now around the league. The money is slowly going down around the league, they need to take care of him. Massarotti says you can’t be sure he isn’t going to blow out his shoulder and be done. You can’t pay for past performance. The Red Sox get no benefit by picking up the option now. Tony says all the people saying to pick it up now are the same ones that are going to say the Red Sox were stupid to do so if he blows out his arm 6 weeks into the season. Will he really not talk about it now that the season is starting? Orsillo says yes, he can focus. Massarotti says no chance really that something happens with the contract tomorrow. Lavanchy says the last guy most Sox fans would expect showing up for a voluntary workout, Manny was out there working hard today. Orsillo said Manny is one of the hardest workers he’s ever seen, he’s always one of the first to the ballpark. Tony says Manny if he’s into it all season, could win the Triple Crown. Nomar looks terrific too, both could have monster years, and the thought of having all the guys on base in front of those two is something to think about . Don’s prediction is the Yankees win division, But Red Sox are the Wild Card winner, AL Champs and World Series winner. Tony picks the Red Sox to win the division, but the A’s to win the AL, and the Dodgers as the World Series champs. Lavanchy picks Red Sox as AL East winner, Oakland wins the AL and the World Series.
The last segment was a Gary Gillis segment looking at the Bull Gang crew at the Fleet. Gillis particpated in the floor changeover from Hockey to Basketball.
On WBZ’s Sports Final Dan Roche was in St. Petersburg reporting on the Sox opener tomorrow. Some clips from the voluntary workout today, Giambi and Walker were among those talking. Walker said in Atlanta the other night 25 of them went out to dinner together. A clip from local guy Rocco Baldelli was shown, he makes his MLB debut tomorrow. Dan Shaughnessy then joined Roche, and predicted between 80 & 100 wins for the team, narrowed it down to low 90’s. He can’t figure this team, doesn’t know how the corner infielders will play, Roche a few times mentioned the “bullpen by committee” (Isn’t a bullpen by default, a committee…it’s closer by committee) they don’t know how that is going to work. Shaughnessy says it will last only until one guy steps up. The owners are all coming in tomorrow, could something happen with Pedro? No prediction on that, other than Dan predicting his Pedro no-hitter for tomorrow. Alice Cook then had a Pedro segment. He feels more secure now with his health, and that he now knows he doesn’t need his best stuff to pitch well. As for the contract after tomorrow it is a dead issue, he does not want the distraction for himself or his teammates. His demeanor on the days he doesn’t pitch was shown, he thinks it shows the fans he’s a person. As for winning it all, he wants to do it…here. Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley then joined the show. Pedro’s contract…some talk today, but the owners feel the market may go down. Edes says it will not be a distraction for Pedro, because there’s no downside as long as he pitches well. The Red Sox owners want to set a new benchmark on this CBA, bringing he salaries down, they only offered Lowe a two year deal. Buckley has no concerns that his contract situation will effect him this year. Edes feels Pedro’s threat to leave after next year if they don’t pick up the option now is legitimate, but Pedro has wiggle room here. Buckley honestly believes that Pedro wants to be in Boston, even though he’s already made comments about what it would be like to play for the Yankees. Edes brought up Kevin Brown being allowed to walk by Lucchino after leading the Padres to the World Series. They agreed he’d be “killed” in this town if he let that happen.
Howard Bryant was on next with Lobel. He also disagrees with the closer by committee. (he got the term right though) he thinks Robert Person might end up being the closer on this team. He thinks the Yankees are vulnerable. The core group from just a few years ago has changed. Giambi and the other newer guys might be under a little pressure from the guys who have been there awhile because they feel the newer guys aren’t intense enough. They talked a couple minutes about the chemistry on the Yankees and what effect the David Wells book might have on it.
The next topic was about the issue of race in the Boston sports media, Bryant, Michael Smith, and Steve Burton were on to discuss this with Lobel. Lobel joked which one in this picture doesn’t belong. He then noted that 10 years ago this would not have happened. They talked some about Bryant’s book, and that African-Americans were slow to be accepted onto newspapers as well. Only one beat writer covering an MLB team right now. Michael Smith thanked Larry Whiteside for opening doors for all of them. Smith noted there are only two or three black sports editors in the country to have the power to be hiring. Lobel noted the disproportional numbers, with so many athletes of color and so few media of color. Burton said ones who make it need to help others. He pointed out the scarcity of blacks in the coaching ranks, giving the NFL as an example. Right now, Bryant says the only thing that makes him feel special, and not in a good way, is when he looks around and sees how few of them there are. Lobel asked if their race makes it easier for them to get access to the players, Smith said for him, it’s been more about his age and pop culture interests that he might have in common with the athletes, not so much his race. Bryant says they need to perform as well, the last thing anyone wants to be known as is an affirmative action hire. He also noted there might be a perception among other media that there is favoritism. He recalled being at a World Series and talking to Dwight Gooden, and a white reporter coming up and telling Gooden that just because he (Bryant) was a brother, that didn’t make him a good guy. Reuben Sierra once also get him a slap and said “Good to see you in here, brother” meaning that it was good in that they don’t see many reporters of color in the room, but Bryant needed to also make it clear that just because they had race in common, he “wasn’t going to carry his water for him.”
Some quick Final Four talk was followed by quick Pedro talk. If he quits today does he make the hall of fame? Burton says yes. Bryant noted that he needs to play 10 years, would need a waiver otherwise to get considered, but he was the top in the game for a sustained period of time, so yes, he’s likely a Hall of Famer. Back to the race issue, Burton doesn’t want a player coming up to him just because he’s black. Bryant noted that with white players and white media there isn’t those connections, so much as there are with African Americans, who often share a bond of culture and interests. He recalled Robert Person and he having a good talk after the incident this spring. It didn’t become a story, but they were just able to have a good talk about culture and so forth. He also brought up what happened to Patricia Smith, who knows what she is doing right now? We all know what Mike Barnicle is doing these days. Smith is appreciative of what others have done, it isn’t hard to be who he is in this town now.