Most Memorable Quotes in Boston Sports History


August 26, 2009

Most Memorable Quotes in Boston Sports History It wasn?t a shocker to hear Jonathan Papelbon share his feelings about the Red Sox waiver claim of Billy Wagner.

The controversial quote from Papelbon was certainly played up in the media and might carry over to the clubhouse, but it wasn?t uncommon for the Red Sox closer to speak his mind, considering it wasn?t the first time Papelbon gave a truthful answer to reporters. And it wasn?t the first time a Boston sports icon gave a controversial quote or response to a media member during their time in Beantown.

In light of Papelbon?s recent newsworthy comment, let?s take a look at some other athletes who have created headlines with their choice of words over the years.

10. Bill Parcells
Parcells is known as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history and one of the most brilliant minds in the game. And when the Big Tuna wants to do something his way, he will make it known.

After taking over the Patriots, Parcells took the team from laughingstock to the Super Bowl, but under the new ownership of Robert Kraft, Parcells had some personnel issues with his new boss. Not getting the staff he wanted, Parcells went public with his dismay to show his frustration with Kraft.

?If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.?

9. Carl Everett
When he wasn?t head-butting umpires, Everett could be found offering up his philosophical (and distorted) views on the world. It was a never dull moment with Everett patrolling center field for the Red Sox, but nothing could compare to the time when Everett told reporters that dinosaurs didn?t exist. The incident finally gave concrete evidence that Everett had fallen off his rocker.

"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve," Everett said about the existence of dinosaurs. "The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex."

8. Mike O?Connell

Only one player in the history of professional sports has been traded during an MVP season. Any guess who that might be? One Joe Thornton, the former face of the Boston Bruins, and the former superstar center for the Black and Gold.

But Jumbo Joe is no longer a Bruin. He's a Shark, playing his hockey on the Pacific coast. Meanwhile, the man responsible for trading him, Mike O?Connell, sits in Los Angeles working for the Kings with no regrets of trading the former Boston captain.

"We didn't want to acquire high-price talent in return,? O?Connell said while reflecting on the trade. ?We knew we had to rebuild. When we put the list of teams together, we didn't think there were that many who had the assets that we wanted — a top-line winger, a top-line defenseman and a third-line center. It was tough to find as a group, especially making the right kind of money."

7. Jonathan Papelbon
The man for which this Top 10 list was created. Papelbon picked the wrong time, place, year, venue, team and person to speak his mind to during the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. When asked about closing the game, Papelbon decided he was the obvious choice over Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Rivera?s home ballpark, igniting a war of words and a near third World War in New York City.

?If I was managing the team, I would close," Papelbon said before the Midsummer Classic. "I'm not managing the team, so it don't matter. We've both earned that right — us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity of having our manager there and our team being represented, and Mariano by what he's done for this role. We're in Yankee Stadium and blah, blah, blah. It's not that easy. Everybody thinks it's a cut-and-dry answer, but it's not."

6. Rodney Harrison
Harrison was the unanimous choice as the dirtiest player in the NFL, and he was never shy about sharing his two cents either. Now a broadcaster, Harrison's job is to speak his mind, which will certainly lead to some classic quotes.

But the most ridiculous, hypocritical quote from the longtime Patriot came before the Patriots met the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Harrison called the Giants a dirty team following the Week 17 matchup of the two teams.

"I'm going to tell you, we saw it on film. It wasn't no secret. They push, they hit late, they come at you and try to take you out. That's the way they play."

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. When Harrison — who was twice voted the league's dirtiest player in a player poll conducted by Sports Illustrated — questions your tactics, then you've arrived if your goal is to be a physical team.

5. Curt Schilling

Schilling was only a member of the Red Sox for five seasons, but that didn't stop the postseason hero from becoming one of the go-to guys for quotes in Beantown. Prior to his time in Boston, Schilling had been popular for being outspoken and giving the media plenty to write about, and his time in Boston was the same with his frequent rants.

Schilling?s first chance to speak his mind with the Red Sox came after the Red Sox? attempt to trade for Alex Rodriguez fell through. At the time, Schilling was all about trying to acquire the AL MVP from the Rangers, and spoke out against the MLBPA when they vetoed the Red Sox? near trade for the slugging shortstop.

"As a player, if Alex Rodriguez wants to go to the Boston Red Sox, I can't imagine the players' union stopping him from doing that. At the end of the day, I hope it's not greed that kept this deal from getting done. I would think if Alex Rodriguez wants to come to the Boston Red Sox, he'd sit down and find a way to get it done. God forbid if he did that and the players' union said, 'No, you can't.' The last time I checked, I pay money to pay the salary of Don Fehr and Gene Orza. I understand they say there would be a ripple-down effect if Alex wants to change his contract, but what other player would be affected by the restructuring of Alex Rodriguez's contract? None that I know of."

4. Tom Brady
Tom Brady and "controversial" are usually not seen in the same context. But here they are. Prior to Super Bowl XLII, Plaxico Burress told the media that the Giants would win the game 23-17 and defeat the undefeated Patriots.

The confident and cocky (and rightfully so) Brady laughed off this prediction, smiling while he questioned Burress? prediction.

?We?re only going to score 17 points? OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for more points.?

Plaxico ended up giving Brady too much credit as Brady and the Patriots? offense only mustered 14 points in the 17-14 loss to the Giants. At the time it seemed foolish for Burress to make such a prediction, but in the end, it was Brady who came up looking foolish.

?I know they have confidence. They should have confidence. They are the NFC champions. I learned a lesson early in my career: No matter what you say during the week ? and God knows we say a lot this week ? we?re going to be focused on going out and winning this game. We?re confident, but I don?t think we share our thoughts with everybody.?

3. Pedro Martinez
Pedro once told reporters to wake up Babe Ruth so he could drill him in the rear. And on another occasion, he admitted the Yankees were his daddy after the Bombers handed him yet another defeat during the 2004 season. But it was the 2004 ALCS ? a series the Red Sox ended up winning ? when Pedro finally admitted that the chants raining down on him in the Bronx didn?t bother him, but rather made him feel important. Whether it was a front or not, one reporter told Pedro during the news conference that it was the most honest answer a professional athlete ever gave to a question.

?I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus you guys, plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus. And today, I was the center of attention of the whole city of New York. I thank God for that, and you know what? I don't regret one bit what they do out there. I respect them, and I actually kind of like it because I don't like to brag about myself, I don't like to talk about myself, but they did make me feel important.?

2. Manny Ramirez
You would never think the following three quotes were from the same person, but they were. Manny's happiness in Boston was a daily story, and for the most part, he never opened his mouth. But when he did, it usually created headlines, and his "whatever" attitude gave him a poor image and reputation in Boston, eventually leading to his dismissal.

Every season, rumors would surface that Manny was on the move, but each year, he would drastically change his mind, leaving the emotions of the Fenway faithful on a see-saw.

"Forget about the trade. This is the place I want to be. They want to win. I want to win, too. I'm back."

And other times, Manny would show his frustration with playing and living in the Hub, but found a way to challenge the Red Sox front office into shipping him off.

"They're not going to do it. They can say whatever they want. But when it comes to making a deal, they're not going to pull the trigger."

But after years of disagreement, the Red Sox sent their World Series MVP to L.A.

"I'm tired of them. They're tired of me."

1. Rick Pitino
Pitino is a college coaching legend, the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Now the Louisville head coach is dealing with some personal problems, but Pitino had his fair share of run-ins with the media during his tenure with the Celtics. His constant rankling with writers and frequent challenging of the media put Pitino on the hot seat often, especially during a time of transition for the Celtics. But it was a news conference on March 1, 2000, where Pitino?s frustration finally got the best of him, leading to a memorable tirade.

"Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we're going to improve. People don't realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that [locker] room playing their [butts] off.

"I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can't. The only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that's in this town sucks. I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when [Carl] Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room … and if you think I'm going to succumb to negativity, you're wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this team."

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