|Kevin Youkilis on PEDs: ‘I never even thought about it’||02.28.13 at 10:39 am ET|
During his nine major league seasons (8½ with the Red Sox), Kevin Youkilis said he’s never been tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs.
“I never even thought about it,” he said from Yankees spring training (via the New York Daily News). “I was always secure with myself. I was just trying to make it to the major leagues, and if I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it. I take more pride in the fact that I’ve done what I’ve done without all that stuff.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that you have to be secure within yourself about about what you’ve done in your career. You have to live with what you do for the rest of your life. You have to live with it. I know I’ve been clean my whole life, and I feel fortunate that I never felt like I had to go that route.”
Youkilis signed a one-year deal with the Yankees to fill in for injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has admitted past steroid use and this year was linked to a reputed PED-peddler in South Florida. Youkilis also played in Boston with Manny Ramirez, who has been suspended twice by Major League Baseball since departing the Sox.
“If guys are going to cheat, they’re going to cheat,” Youkilis said. “They’re also going to get caught now more than ever. Some guys believe in stricter rules, some believe that what’s working is working. I never really think about it other than when guys get caught. It’s crazy to think guys are still trying to get away with it, because the testing is unbelievable.”
Seven players were suspended last year, which Youkilis said shows that the league is having success monitoring the situation.
“With the testing now, if you do it, you’re getting caught,” Youkilis said. “If you think about how many guys are in the big leagues, that’s a very small percentage. Less than 1 percent? That’s not bad. I don’t think any sport will ever be 100 percent clean. It’s life. Everywhere you go, there’s a flaw. If less than 1 percent are doing it, that’s a great thing.
Youkilis expressed no anger toward offenders, although he said he doesn’t like the lack of honesty after they’ve been caught.
“It never bothered me that other guys were taking it,” Youkilis said. “The only thing that bothered me is when people deny it over and over, then finally come out and say they did it. We live in a forgiving society. If you come out and say you made a mistake, so be it.”
|Top Stories of 2012, No. 2: Bobby Valentine leads woeful Sox to 93 losses, gets fired||12.31.12 at 11:30 am ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 2: Bobby Valentine’s nightmare season as Red Sox manager.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
No. 4: Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers
No. 3: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season
In a forgettable season, the 2012 Sox finished 69-93, their worst record since 1965, and in last place in the American League East for the first time since John Henry and Tom Werner bought the team.
According to multiple reports, Bobby Valentine was not the preferred choice of first-year general manager Ben Cherington, but team president and CEO Larry Lucchino made the hire to replace Terry Francona.
As Valentine was formally introduced to Boston, nobody could have foreseen the outcome of the season.
“I am honored, I’m humbled and I’m pretty damn excited,” Valentine said at his introductory press conference. “This day is a special day, and it’s more than a special day. It’s the beginning of a life that I think is going to extend beyond anything else that I thought of doing. The talent level and the players that we have in this organization, I think, is a gift to anyone. And I’m the receiver of that gift.”
Valentine, 62, would become the first Red Sox manager since 1934 (Bucky Harris) to be fired after just one season with the team.
|Top Stories of 2011, No. 2: Red Sox’ September collapse||12.30.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 2: The Red Sox’ September swoon.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout
No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat
No. 7: Patriots’ acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco
No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season
No. 5: Patriots’ playoff loss to Jets
No. 4: Celtics’ trade of Kendrick Perkins
No. 3: Red Sox’ manager/GM turnover
In the ninth inning of the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Orioles on Sept. 28, the ticking time bomb that was Boston’s season finally blew up. In just three plays, the Red Sox watched a 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 walk-off loss with closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound.
Just minutes later, the Red Sox saw their season end when, down in Tampa, Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to cap a seven-run comeback against the Yankees for an 8-7 Rays win. The Rays won the wild card, shocking a Sox team that just 28 days before had been nine games up in the wild card race.
“This is one for the ages, isn’t it?” said Sox general manager Theo Epstein on the night the season ended. “What was going on with those two games, how poorly we played in September. We can’t sugarcoat this, this is awful.
“We did it to ourselves, and put ourselves in a position for a crazy night like this to end our season. It shouldn’t have been this way … 7-20 in September. We go 9-18, we’re where we want to be, and 9-18 is what, winning a third of your games? The worst teams in baseball win a third of their games. There’s no excuse, we did this to ourselves.”
So how did the Red Sox, a team that in June and July was the best in the major leagues, fail to win even a third of their games in September?
It started innocently enough, when the Sox lost the first game of the month in 4-2 fashion to the Yankees in a game that held hints of what was to come. Starter Jon Lester lasted just five innings, but his pitching line looked OK. He allowed one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks. It was a mediocre outing, but certainly not a disastrous one.
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Michael Vick reportedly on verge of another endorsement deal||07.13.11 at 7:13 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
MLS: Manchester United at Revolution (CSNNE; ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who recently signed an endorsement deal with Nike, is on the verge of a three-year, $1.55 million contract with MusclePharm, according to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora. Said MusclePharm director of team development Joseph Lawanson: “We don’t have any problem considering him at all. And for us to consider him, we’re confident that he has rehabilitated himself.”
♦ Former Cowboys star and current NFL analyst Michael Irvin posed for Out magazine and talked about when he learned his older brother was gay and how that affected his behavior toward women. He said he’s waiting for an active player to declare his homosexuality, and he said he’ll support him 100 percent.
♦ The Wall Street Journal looks at how Cincinnati taxpayers were stuck with an enormous bill for stadiums built for the Reds and Bengals in 1996 and how the deal was not a good one for the city — ”one of the worst professional sports deals ever struck by a local government.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On July 13, 2000, which Red Sox player was caught stealing for the eighth time in eight attempts on the season — and did not attempt another steal that year, leaving him with the second-worst mark in major league history?
|Obama, Hillary Clinton use Shaq’s shoes, Jeter’s bats as diplomatic tools||10.27.10 at 8:58 pm ET|
A State Department spokesperson told the New York Daily News that Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has “graciously donated a few bats” for the use of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to use as gifts for foreign dignitaries. The article said that the Office of Protocol’s “gift vault” has a number of Jeter’s bats at its disposal to give out as goodwill gestures. For instance, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave one of the Jeter bats to the 5-year-old son of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year, prior to the start of an economic summit.
One government official, however, seemed troubled by the fact that it was a New York icon whose bats were being employed for diplomatic purposes. The article states:
State Department officials were mum on who might get the next Jeter bat as a gift, but a jealous Red Sox fan over at Foggy Bottom was whining, as usual.
“Next we need to stock the vault with some Big Papi (Sox slugger David Ortiz) bats,” said assistant secretary of state P.J. Crowley, who has yet to overcome his attachment to Beantown.
It would appear, however, that Boston is in fact represented in the gift vault. The article reveals that the repository features a signed pair of shoes from Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal.
|Trading After the Deadline||08.04.09 at 5:12 pm ET|
The Red Sox walked away from the trade deadline a better team.
They got an All-Star slugging catcher in Victor Martinez and a solid defensive first baseman in Casey Kotchman, and all it cost them was Justin Masterson, Adam LaRoche and two minor leaguers.
Buchholz, Bowden, Bard – all of them are still Red Sox.
But as former Sox player Lou Merloni points out on today’s Full Count Blog, there are still “a lot of questions about the roster.” The starting rotation, the shortstop position, and the bench are just a few of the impending issues the Sox face as they enter the tail end of the season, but all is not lost simply because the trade deadline has come and gone. Championships can sometimes be won and lost on the waiver-wire, and Sox GM Theo Epstein usually treats the waivers period just as he does the deadline: it’s yet another opportunity to improve his team.
History proves that waivers shouldn’t be disregarded. Some notable Red Sox have been born — and lost — through this post-deadline period:
Dave Henderson – On August 19, 1986 the Sox traded Rey Quinones, three players to be named later, and some cash to the Mariners for Spike Owen and Henderson. Henderson went on to hit the series-winning homerun in the ALCS against the Angels that year, propelling the Sox to the World Series against the Mets. What ensued wasn’t as great…
Tony Armas, Jr. – On August 13, 1997 the Red Sox and Yankees made a deal that sent Mike Stanley to New York in exchange for Tony Armas, Jr. and Jim Mecir. While neither of the two players Boston received ever became All-Stars, Armas was sent along with Carl Pavano to Montreal for Pedro Martinez. Needless to say, it worked out pretty well.
John Smoltz – On August 12, 1987 the Detroit Tigers made a mistake the franchise will regret for years: they traded away John Smoltz. Then only a 20-year-old prospect, Smoltz was dealt to Atlanta for veteran starter Doyle Alexander. (WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes about the 1987 trade and how Smoltz, a Michigan native, reacted.)
David Ortiz – Before Ortiz was “Big Papi,” before he was belting clutch homeruns, and before he was surrounded by the recent steroid controversy, he was a Wisconsin Timber Rattler in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system. In 1996, the team dealt Ortiz to Minnesota for Dave Hollins. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jeff Bagwell – I bet the Sox wish they could have a mulligan on this one. In what has become one of the famous waiver deals in MLB history (infamous, if you hail from Boston), the Sox sent Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen on August 30, 1990. Bagwell ended up playing all 15 years of his major league career in Houston, hitting 449 homers along the way.
Last season, Theo traded for veteran pitcher Paul Byrd and outfielder Mark Kotsay, both of whom helped out during the team’s playoff push. But this year, the Sox GM isn’t so sure there will be much available pitching talent on the wires to address perhaps the team’s most pressing need:
“You’re always looking for an impact starting pitcher if you can find one, especially this time of year, but it didn’t come to pass,” Epstein told reporters on Friday. “I don’t think we’re going to see much impactful starting pitching move in August.”
To track the latest players to clear waivers, visit MLB Trade Rumors.
|Citizenship and Sports||07.03.09 at 1:33 pm ET|
As the Fourth of July fast approaches, Americans are heating up their barbeques, donning their star spangled banners, and heading down to the Cape. But this year, there will be at least one more celebrating the great American holiday: Red Sox slugger Jason Bay.
The 30-year-old leftfielder officially became a U.S. citizen Thursday in a naturalization ceremony at Faneuil Hall. Originally from Trail, British Columbia, Bay said he’s still proud of his Canadian heritage, according to ESPN.com.
“I don’t denounce being Canadian at any point, but I’m definitely proud to be an American,” he told reporters.
The Red Sox are certainly no foreigners when it comes to athlete citizenship. In 2004, Bay’s predecessor, the Dominican-born Manny Ramirez, missed a game against the Indians to become a U.S. citizen in Miami. The following day, he returned to Fenway waving a mini American flag as he ran out to leftfield.
Four years later, fellow Dominican and teammate David Ortiz swore his allegiance to the US of A, sporting a pin-stripe suit, dark shades, and his standard bling bling.
Still, others in the wide world of sports have never been too clear when it comes to their nationality – or, in the case of Alex Rodriguez, nationalities. Though he was born in the U.S., Rodriguez is also a citizen of the Dominican Republic and has constantly struggled with an identification complex. In 2005, while discussing which team he would play for in the World Baseball Classic, Rodriguez channeled his inner James Brown and declared, “I want to say it out loud: I am Dominican…and I am going to make the Dominicans feel proud.”
But come the 2006 WBC, the waffling Rodriguez was wearing a U.S. uniform and playing alongside fellow countrymen Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek.
In 2009, Rodriguez once again caused much confusion as he switched alliances and decided that it would be a “dream come true” to play for the Dominican team. But the Yankees third baseman was hampered by injuries and, tragically, his dream never came true. I guess no one told the advertising department.
All A-Rod bashing aside, there are some athletes who truly dream of making a better life for themselves and their families in the United States. They flee from the persecution of oppressive regimes in their respective countries, risking their lives to ultimately share in the democratic ideals our country values so much.
Take the Royals’ Brayan Pena, for example. On a tour with the Cuban Junior National team, the then 17-year-old catcher was forced to sneak out of bathroom window in Venezuela and go into hiding for several months in an attempt to defect to the U.S. He left behind his family, friends, teammates, and the life he had known for 17 years.
Today, Pena is not only the starting catcher for Kansas City – he is, most notably, a U.S. citizen. In an interview with MLB.com, Pena said: “I feel like the happiest man on earth now.
“I’m proud to be a Cuban, too, but I’m proud to be an American citizen because this is the country I live in, this is the country I respect, the country that really gave me everything I’ve got. It’s amazing. There are things that money can’t buy, and American citizenship is one of them.”
|Look who showed up||12.07.08 at 11:33 am ET|
David Ortiz had a golf tournament … it was cool!
Best part: Our blogger friend Sean Casey keeping it real in the DR.
|Just because I was bored …||11.26.08 at 9:58 am ET|
Here you go, links, links, and more links … thanks to in large part our man in the WEEI.com catacombs Jesse Pugh (who is making me send readers to his ‘Bugs and Cranks’ the minute I wake up in the morning). Short and sweet, we’re going to be bombarding this thing with as many at least semi-interesting links throughout each day. So if you have anything, send it along because it’s a big intraweb out there I can’t live in every corner of it.
(And yes, the name ‘Leeinks’ was my idea and I’m sticking with it. So there!)
I found it! Kevin Youkilis’ cameo in the movie ‘Milk Money’. Best part: He’s the bouncer for the school cafeteria. I love it!
I can’t imagine that when Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel and Bill Belichick were simulating their walk-off home run hug on the sidelines in Jacksonville that scooping up the domain name, “ChuckWeis.com” as a preemptive strike would be a priority. Best part: The site’s slogan — “Helping Charlie Weis find a new job since 2008″
Jed Lowrie entering the Parrish Middle School is like Billy Dee Williams entering a Star Wars convention (or Colt 45 convention). Best part: One student asked about staying healthy. ”One of the most important things to do is to eat right,” he said. “Once in a while, I might have ice cream. But you have to take care of yourself.” That’s what the Red Sox were talking about when they took out the ice cream machine from the players’ lounge last season. I wonder if Lowrie will be brazen enough to pull a Josh Beckett if the soft serve is ever pulled again, and ask to be traded if it isn’t replaced?
Good for these kids. Good for the Pirates. Good for the ‘Million Dollar Arm’ contest. Best part: Neal Huntington’s quote: ”We are intrigued by Patel’s arm strength and Singh’s frame and potential.” Wait a second, Patel, OK. But how do you come out on top of a ‘Million Dollar Arm’ contest because of your frame and potential? It’s like — ‘Come for the arm, stay for the frame and potential!’
Our man Ken Rosenthal starts out with some Andy Pettitte being wooed by the Dodgers talk and then comes in with a Mark Teixeira update. He reminds us that David Ortiz does, in fact, have 10-5 rights, thereby allowing him to veto any trade (just in case you were going down that path. Best part: The info from one GM regarding the Red Sox potentially trying to trade Mike Lowell – ”I don’t think anybody will take a chance on Mike Lowell until you see him play next spring.” By the way, here is the latest from our good friend Scott Boras’ camp on Teixeira. He said they have offers … Good times with Boras. Here is our man Ken Davidoff also checking in on the Pettitte and Teixeira front.
(Courtesy The Big Lead) Now all UMass needs are the wins and the good old days will officially be back in Amherst. Best part: “Douglas Edward Wiggins Jr., 20, of East Hartford, Con., was arrested Saturday at 3:49 a.m. at a Puffton Village home on a charge of breaking and entering to commit a misdemeanor, police said. Wiggins was arrested after he was found inside the bathroom of another person’s home, police said.” Aaahh, the Amherst Police Log, how we missed hearing from you.
I don’t know how fun these facts are, but they are facts … about Thanksgiving and football. Best part: “1962: STARR-BURST: The only loss for the eventual NFL champion Packers that season came on Thanksgiving Day when Bart Starr was sacked 11 times.” And he still is upright enough to do commercials for metal buildings.
David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament is almost here, coming Dec. 4. And he not only plays golf, but is an instructor, as well. Just ask Deion Sanders.
For more of the day’s real Boston sports links head over to Boston Sports Media Watch.
- jeff on Jets RB Mike Goodson arrested on weapons, drug charges
- Franky on Stopped Boston Marathon runners invited back for 2014
- Uncle Buck on Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: ‘Bickering’ Knicks look to regroup for Game 4 against Pacers
- David Stern on Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James gets defensive after criticism from Bulls
- Matt on Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James gets defensive after criticism from Bulls
- bruinman86 on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future
- jimi krystle on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future
- Mike on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future
- Russ on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Umpires in Cleveland blow game-tying home run call
- FireGuyFrank on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Umpires in Cleveland blow game-tying home run call