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.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts after he had another multi-hit game as the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 8-3.
Christian recaps the Red Sox 5-2 victory over Cleveland.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox DH, who almost hit for the cycle in the win over the Indians at Fenway.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
The guys discuss the hot debates in the three-man NESN booth during Tuesday night's Red Sox game.
After hanging up on D&C on Tuesday when accused of carrying water for the Worcester District Attorney, Worcester morning radio host Jim Polito talks with glee on his radio show about his interaction with Dennis and Callahan
Curt Schilling's weekly visit with the guys features plenty of Sox talk. Curt is predicting a Red Sox vs. Cubs World Series.
The Red Sox offense is putting up lots of runs and Lou is loving the horn they play. Also, Glenn, Lou and Christian can't believe that Roger Goodell didn't read the concussion report.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN calls in to discuss who she thinks the Celtics are going to draft with the #3 pick, and also gives her opinion on what trades the Celtics could pull off this off-season.
There are so many good, young players on the Red Sox that it's hard to pick out the top 3. Glenn, Lou and Christian debate which of the young guys on the Sox are the most valuable and which ones could possibly be traded for a starting pitcher.
Stephen A Smith thinks so, but what does his own fan-base think?
We discuss the infamous nut kick and why NBA players have been so whiny this post-season.
We discuss what it means for the B's
In the latest It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with former Patriots backup quarterback Jim Miller about Tom Brady and his mindset as he continues to battle Deflategate. Miller offers up his own thoughts on Brady’s play and what sets him apart from other signal-callers of his generation. Miller also breaks down New England’s offseason to this point on the calendar, and offers his thoughts on which team might be poised to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East.
This week we talk about top golfers dropping out of the Olympic games.
In the latest It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with Comcast’s Phil Perry about the latest Deflategate news, what’s next for Tom Brady and what chance he might have when it comes to playing in the opener. The two also take a look at some guys on the roster bubble and which rookies have the best chance of having an impact in 2016 and beyond.
Kirk rants about Gerry being Corporate Callahan and commands Paul to shut Gerry's mic off.More from this show
Brady lawyer, Ted Olson, speaks about the latest Deflategate news on GMA and Gerry reads Larry King's latest Kings Things.More from this show