Dave Page, who was fired as Red Sox strength and conditioning coach this week, joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday and talked about issues with players failing to adhere to the physical conditioning program leading up to the team's September collapse.
Page said the starting pitchers -- the most publicly criticized members of the team this offseason -- did not stand out as a group that was not following the program. "I think for a lot of reasons that he team in general, we were just, from a physical, fundamental and mental preparation, we just didn't have it every night," Page said.
Page did not name names, but he did reference four players as standing out for their failure to adhere to the conditioning program.
"We got to the end of the year where we had four guys -- without naming names -- we had four guys that we thought didn't make it to that part of the season where we hoped they would be: one position player -- an everyday guy -- one pitcher -- a starting pitcher -- and two bullpen guys," Page said. "For the most part, everybody else had stayed within where we wanted them to be. They were what we expected. Most of them were working."
One such player acknowledged his mistake in a candid discussion during the team's final series in Baltimore.
"I did have a good conversation with one player at the end of the year in Baltimore that really kind of opened my eyes," Page said. "I said, 'Hey, what's going on here? It seemed like you pulled the plug a little bit. Why?' He kind of looked down at the ground, looked back and me and said, 'I don't know why. I can't answer that question.' Which was kind of a shock."
Page said he's received messages of support from "probably 90 percent of our roster" and others in Major League Baseball, including one text from a guilt-ridden Sox player.
Said Page: "I got a text message from one player the other night that said he felt that way. He texted me and said, 'I feel this is all my fault.' I don't want to say who it was, because that's between him and me. But he did say that."
Page pointed to a specific game against the Yankees in late August as an example of the Red Sox' lack of effort.
"The bottom line is we weren't ready to play, physically, fundamentally or mentally the way we should have been, like a championship team should have been," he said. "The one thing that kind of highlights some things is when Curt Young, his dad died, they put Gary Tuck on the bench to be the pitching coach for a few days. So, they asked me to go to the bullpen. So, I'm out there and I get a chance to watch the whole game.
"In the first six innings of a couple of games -- and this was a Yankee game I was out there -- the first six innings, we hit 18 balls in play. [Of the] 18 outs that we made, seven times the guy who hit the ball never made it to first base -- peeled off before he got to the bag. I said something to the other coaches. I said, 'We're just not playing hard.' That trickles down a lot of places. It can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. It really kind of opened my eyes to maybe what was going to lie ahead in the next six weeks."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On learning from the team that he was being fired: "I was very surprised. It was a tough thing to hear. It kind of shocked me, the fact they waited this long. I know they had some bigger fish to fry, with the whole Theo [Epstein] situation, Tito [Francona] and all that stuff. But that fact that they waited 33, 34 days from the end of the season to do it, it led me to believe that things weren't going to change, and it really kind of limited my opportunities to move on with another team. It was very surprising."
On if this year was more challenging than his previous five seasons in Boston: "At times it was. I wouldn't think any more than it had been in the past at times. I was there six years. We didn't have a whole lot of roster turnover. Every few years you see new guys you get to plug in. But it's the same guys every year. I knew them and they knew me. They go through things on and off the field that I might not know about that may have limited them. But for the most part, I didn't really see anything."
On Josh Beckett: "Josh has always worked hard for me. He really has. He's been probably one of the guys that we wanted guys in the past to emulate, see young guys coming up saying this is the guy that you need to follow, everything he does. He did express some concerns himself. In fact, he brought it up to me and other members of our training staff, that he felt he was getting a little sideways, so to speak, on his weight. I don't think it was something that wasn't just noticed by outsiders. I think he felt the same way."
On the pitchers eating chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse: "I think that whole chicken and beer thing has gotten a lot of unnecessary play, to be honest with you. I really didn't see chicken in the clubhouse all that often. I'm in and out of there a lot. … I rarely saw the chicken. The beer, if they're drinking beer, it's probably upstairs. And I wasn't up there. … In my opinion, it wasn't as rampant as it's gotten made out to be."
On if he got proper backing from the coaches and front office: "I would say it's been a lot better in the past."
For a transcript of the interview, check the Full Count blog later in the afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
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The guys discussed the controversial Indiana law.
The guys opened the show by discussing the Presidents visit yesterday.
Michael Holley comes in for the crossover, and continues the discussion with Tim over what will happen if the Patriots face any type of punishment for the deflated footballs in the AFCCG.
With the Wells report seemingly wrapping up (we hope), Tim and Lou got to talking about possible fines and punishments the Patriots must face. It's possible that the Patriots will face a small fine, but should they take that laying down? The conversation brings out a little passion from BOTH sides.
Jackie Mac talks about the Celtics win over the Hornets last night and their chances of making the playoffs.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss Robert Kraft's testimony and the Hernandez trial overall as it continues to unfold.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed from throughout the day.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss 'Pasta' and his solid rookie year, and make a few statistical comparisons.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
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Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Will Noonan joins Chris in the studio to review Wrestlemania and Raw.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
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