FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox DH David Ortiz addressed his team during the annual meeting between owners, the coaching staff and players, suggesting that the owners had fulfilled their end of the competitive bargain by bankrolling a powerful team and that it was the responsibility of players to fulfill the team's potential.
"I’m one of the older guys here that has been here for the last couple of years. We had those meetings and we never step up and say things. We just do nothing but listen. But today I think was a good time for us as players to make sure our owners don’t feel guilty about the job that they do," said Ortiz. "I think they do a hell of a job last year putting a good team together. After that, it’s not on them. It’s on us. I know everybody wants to call them out – [principal owner John Henry], [CEO/president] Larry Lucchino, [chairman] Tom Werner. At the end of the day, there’s nothing else they can do but do what they did last year and what they did this year: Pick up good players, bring them into the organization. After that, it’s on us."
Towards that end, Ortiz embraced both the rules and principles espoused by new manager Bobby Valentine. That included Valentine's ban on beer drinking in the clubhouse.
"We’re not here to drink. We’re here to play baseball. You know what I’m saying? This ain’t no bar. This is an organization, a place that needs a lot of athleticism. Alcohol has nothing to do with that. People have alcohol in their houses. If you want to drink it, drink at home," said Ortiz. "Bobby was talking about some rules he’s going to have. To be honest. They’re not rules. They’re reminders. They’re things that every organization has. We just need to execute as players and follow up. I think Bobby had great ideas he let us know. Our owners, they did what they do every year – go out there and chase good players. the reason why I stepped up and said something was for the new players, to get the right idea about what we’re trying to do."
Ortiz encouraged his teammates to take pride in both themselves and in the organization of which they are a part.
"Bobby said one thing that is absolutely true. When you do something that embarrasses this organization, you’re embarrassing yourself, too," said Ortiz. "It’s like I told my teammates: Wearing the Red Sox on your chest, on your jersey, you’ve got to be proud of that. you’ve got to be absolutely proud of it because of the history of this organization. Hopefully everybody take that personal, be responsible and know that we’re employees here. We have rules to follow. We have a boss that, we need to do what he wants us to do."
In the end, Ortiz said, he and his teammates are determined to avoid a repeat of the collapse and embarrassment brought on by the final month of the 2011 season.
"We have a lot of guys trying to win games, we have a lot of guys busting their asses just to do the right thing. It’s not like we went from being good to being the worst," said Ortiz. "The situation we faced last year, yeah, we ended up where people didn’t expect us to be. But we have tons of guys here that care, and they want to make things happen so this organization comes on top."
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