It’s hard to believe that the Red Sox are nearing the halfway point
of the season, but that’s exactly where we are. As June turns into
July, it’s a good time to evaluate where the Sox are and what to expect
in the future — both in the short and long term.
Which Red Sox players do you think will make the All-Star team this season?
I think per usual the Red Sox will be all over the All-Star Game,
not only because they deserve it but because they are popular across
MLB. That makes a huge difference, as this is also somewhat of a
popularity contest with many of the fans who vote. My best guess is
that Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Beckett will go. However, keep an eye on Jason Varitek to possibly get voted in by the players once again. Tim Wakefield
would be my sentimental hope. He needs to win the rest of his starts
over the next two weeks and then see where the cards fall. What works
against him is that all teams need to be represented and some of the
bad teams still have a good starter and they may be the only ones that
can go. Not fair but true.
It’s not easy to manage in Boston, but Terry Francona seems to get better at it every year. Is there a secret to his success?
–Eric, Hoboken, N.J.
Yes, having a balance of dealing with all facets. In my estimation,
and in his, without the four horrible years he spent in Philadelphia,
he would not be the manager or man that he is today. I think we often
talk about life lessons and that was one. His second opportunity was
one he was very ready for no matter what happened. He has the amazing
ability to communicate with players, management and media and do it in
a comfortable way. He gets it. He knows what today’s manager needs to
do with his players. Make no mistake; he is old school — born and bred
— but has made the adjustment to today’s style and has been exceptional.
Do the Red Sox get upset when Jonathan Papelbon shoots from
the hip and disturbs the peace with his controversial comments, or is
this something they have come to expect from the closer? Do you think
he will pitch his entire career in Boston?
That’s a good question. He is, as most fans know, outspoken and a
great character. He is not only funny but, as we saw in 2007 on the
field and in the parade, a good dancer. Most fans who have written me
this year have talked about how quiet and professional this team is and
some have referred to them as boring. Pap is not boring and will always
speak his mind. He is not a distraction so I think that it is not an
issue for the management of the Red Sox. Now to answer the second part
of your question might be more difficult. He is going to command top
dollar and that is very important to him. It may, in the end, keep him
from staying here for his entire career.
When you took the job with the Red Sox, were you excited, or were you looking at it as just a job that you were doing?
–John Starkey, Albion, Maine
I was excited and amazed. I had spent my childhood growing up in
N.H. and was a lifelong Red Sox fan. I interned at Red Sox Radio for Joe Castiglione, Ken Coleman and Bob Starr
over two seasons (1989, 1990) while at Northeastern University. Then I
went on to spend 10 seasons announcing in the Minor Leagues —
Pittsfield in Single-A, Binghamton in Double-A, and Pawtucket in
Triple-A. At that point, I would have gone anywhere in the majors. To
have the opportunity to do the Red Sox and TV after 10 years of minor
league radio was amazing and not expected. Never has it felt like “just
a job.” Calling Fenway Park your home office is by far the coolest job
I can think of. I always wanted the job but just thought it was too
long of a long shot to really imagine. It happened and I am thankful
everyday. It is my sincere hope to be here for rest of my career.