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.
We check in with Big Vince on a Patriots Monday as the Pats prepare to travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in week one.
We check in with Full Tilt TB for a new weekly segment with Tedy, featuring a look at all things Patriots and NFL football.
We check with with the HC of the NEP on a Patriots Monday on a Tuesday as the Pats prep for the Dolphins this coming Sunday. Bill touches on Gronk's desire to play, the departure of Logan Mankins and more.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
With the minor league season wrapping up, Minor Details recognizes and checks in with its Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year, left-hander Brian Johnson, and Player of the Year, second baseman/outfielder Mookie Betts.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts after he goes 4-5 in the Red Sox 9-4 win over the New York Yankees.
Joe talked to the Sox right-hander, who allowed three hits and zero walks in the 3-0 win over the Rays.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Tom Brady discussed his feelings on the Logan Mankins trade and the return of Gronk.
Tim joined the show to discuss the start of the NFL season and the future of Tom Brady.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Rodney Harrison joins the show, as he will do every week during the NFL season. This week he talked about what to expect from the Patriots this year. He thinks Brady can play can for another 10 or 15 years due to the rules changes. He also said that due to his size, NFL defensive players will continue to target Rob Gronkowski's knees.
The iCloud was hacked over Labor Day weekend and over 300 scandalous photos were hacked from the phones and iPads of celebrities. And the guy who replaced Michael Sam, Ethan Westbrooks, got a tattoo on his face to motivate himself from ever having a "normal" job.
On this Patriots Monday (on a Tuesday) Chandler Jones talks about getting ready for the Miami Dolphins and his upcoming battle with Brandon Albert. The guys also asked about J.J. Watt's 100 million dollar contract.
Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.
Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Fantasy Football Drafts are now happening every day, so Pete Davidson and Jim Hackett have you covered. The NFL season kicks off on Thursday night, so Pete and Jim get their final thoughts of some drafting strategies. They discuss their Auction draft from earlier in the week. Also, some big name players that smart drafters should avoid.
We know your Fantasy Football drafts are happening right now, so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are here to help. We know you’d never blow off work to draft right? Turn up the speakers! Our fantasy guys chat up Pete’s most recent article on WEEI.com that offers background on several players you can target late in drafts across multiple league sizes; covering upside players to grab in 8-team leagues, 10-team leagues, 12-team leagues and 14-team leagues. Jim and Pete will be back at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning on your radio dial, 93.7 FM, with more ammo for all this weekend’s drafters. Good luck!
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