What Today's Red Sox Players Can Learn From Johnny Pesky

FILE - AUGUST 13: According to reports, former Boston Red Sox player, manager and coach has died August 13, 2012 at 92. BOSTON - APRIL 08: David Ortiz (L) of the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky walk to center field to raise the 2007 World Series banner during pre-game ceremonies before the Red Sox MLB baseball game against the Detroit Tigers on April 8, 2008 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Red Sox players and coaches were presented their 2007 World Series rings during the pre-game ceremonies. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)

Could Mr. Red Sox, Johnny Pesky's, words "grow up" ring any truer than to the Red Sox clubhouse culture this season?

With all the controversy currently surrounding the Boston Red Sox, I can't help but wonder what Johnny Pesky thought just before he passed away about all the dissension in the clubhouse and the media uproar this team has caused this season.

Granted, the Boston media has been adding fuel to the fire, no one will argue that, and Pesky knew how tough they could be in this town. Thinking back to the era when Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams played the game, the words "likeable", "classy", "team players" and "respectful" come to mind, and when I think about today's players, I think of "money-hungry", "disrespectful", "entitled" and "self-servicing".

Am I wrong? Please, tell me if you don't associate those terms with the members of the Red Sox team since last September.

It seems to be that not a single member of this Red Sox team wants to play baseball anymore. Instead, they'd rather act like fourth-graders by pointing fingers at each other for why they have a sub-.500 record, whining about their manager to their ownership, and leaking private conversations to the media. I mean, why don't we take this one over by the bike racks at recess and duke it out?

They've all but given up:

  • They couldn't even score more than one run against the Baltimore Orioles the day after Mr. Red Sox, Johnny Pesky passed away. They left eleven men on base and ten runners in scoring position.
  • Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the Red Sox "ace" starters have notched more losses than wins this season (a total of 20 between the two of them), and while Lester is showing progress in recovering, Beckett is going nowhere, and he doesn't seem to even care.
  • John Lackey hasn't played a single game all season, and won't. Despite being at the center of the "chicken and beer" controversy last September, he carelessly double-fisted two beers in front of the media last week in Cleveland. And then his teammates defended him.
  • There are reports that Carl Crawford might cut his already short season even shorter by getting his Tommy John surgery now so that he'll ready to play next April, since there's no point in bothering to even try to win any games the rest of this season.
  • Will Middlebrooks, one of the few bright spots on the Red Sox roster, fractured his wrist in a freak-accident when he was hit by a 96-mph fastball in just the wrong spot, and is potentially done until spring training.
  • David Ortiz has an Achilles injury that was supposed to keep him out for "a few days"...which turned into the 15-day DL...which has now been an entire month (as of this Thursday).
  • Supposedly, Adrian Gonzalez, on behalf of seventeen of the players, texted John Henry requesting a meeting when the team was in New York a few weeks ago.

I could go on...but you'd probably prefer that I stop here, since there seems to be a new story every five minutes and I could continuously update this article.

I heard this quote on Monday when Johnny Pesky passed away:

"I have two things to say to the youth of America: grow up."

Could this quote better sum up what the Red Sox really need to do the rest of this season? They need to grow up.

Stop whining. Stop acting like little kids throwing temper tantrums because you don't get your way. Stop "texting" the media and leaking information, or texting your front office to call a meeting, or tweet to your followers on Twitter who are bashing you. Whenever you think it's a good idea to send a text, tweet or email, you should probably stop, act like an adult, (this entire team is over the age of twenty-one, so that makes them adults) and speak your mind to an actual human standing in front of you, or to a camera when they're in your locker room before and after a game. If you have something to say, don't hide behind the convenience of your smartphone. How's that for an idea?

I've got an even better idea for the Red Sox: Play baseball. That's your job.

I'll say it again: Baseball is your job. At one point or another in your life, you decided something along the lines of, "I love playing baseball, I'm pretty good at this and I want to do this as my career." Then, someone else (presumably a scout) also decided that you were good enough to make it in the world of professional baseball. It's your passion and you're lucky to do it professionally, because some people don't get that opportunity. Some people never even get a chance to do the job they would love in their entire lives.

Whether you play poorly, so-so, or fantastically, do us a favor: Play with some heart. Play so that I like you, and I respect the job that you do, and do it without acting like you're so entitled to everything. You're not entitled to choose your manager or your coaches; in fact, and this may come as a surprise: you're not even entitled to keeping the job you have.

Sure, someone scouted you, signed you to a contract, and you have an agent, and that makes yousomeone, perhaps, a legend in your own mind. But those guys I mentioned--Pesky, Doerr, Williams--they're legends that will live on longer than the length of your contracts if you don't shape up, start playing for your fans who have made you as successful as you are, and acting and playing like the professionals those scouts once imagined you as.

So take these words that Johnny Pesky, Mr. Red Sox, once said, all of you on the 40-man Red Sox roster: "Grow up".

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