David Ortiz said prior to the Red Sox' game against the Angels Thursday night that he understood how previous commitments might have prevented some Red Sox players from attending Johnny Pesky's funeral Monday, but he did point out that he had encouraged members of the team to participate in the ceremony.
"My No. 1 priority that day was being there, being with family and just sharing that last moment with him," Ortiz said. "I said on the airplane to everybody, 'Expect his funeral tomorrow. If you can go ahead and show up, go ahead, that would be great.' If they could make it, great. But I don't think it's fair bringing it up now."
The Red Sox have come under fire after a Boston Herald report stated just four players -- Ortiz, Vicente Padilla, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Clay Buchholz -- attended the funeral.
"Let me tell you, I see it two different ways," Ortiz said. "No. 1, a lot of us were close to Pesky. I was very close to Pesky. The funeral is the last goodbye you give to a friend. There's no way you're a friend with somebody, that person passes away and you're not going to show up to his funeral.
"I was talking to [Kevin Youkilis] this morning, and Youk feels so bad he wasn't able to be at that funeral. Youk was close to Pesky, but he was in another city in another place having to play. It was hard for him to show up. But I'm pretty sure one way or another he contacted somebody to give his condolences. At the same time we have guys here that through the years they were able to be close to Pesky and they have their reasons they didn't show up. That's not my business. We got in at 4 o'clock in the morning -- and I'm not saying this is an excuse -- some of the guys had things to do that day. I had things to do that day and I showed up, but I was close to Pesky."
Ortiz said with the Red Sox arriving back in Boston from New York at 4 a.m., and off-day plans already in place for some of the players, he grasped why the player turnout wasn't what many had hoped for.
"We came back from New York very late and some of the guys probably had some things to do that day. That's probably the reason why some of the guys didn't show up," he said. "I can tell you why I showed up. I had a friend that just passed away and I wanted to be there.
"It was probably the best thing to do, but like I said everybody has his opinion, things to do, and I'm not going to say who should and shouldn't [go]. Hopefully they don't make a big deal about. We don't need that right now. We just need to continue to keep playing and focus on trying to win some games to see if we can go to the playoffs."
According to Ortiz, not only was he happy to attend the funeral, but the ceremony provided lasting memories for the designated hitter.
"There were a lot of people at the funeral," he said. "Me, personally, I can give my opinion on what I felt I was supposed to do. I felt I needed to be there supporting his family. It was very sad. I heard one of the guys giving a speech about a poem he wrote about Pesky, a really close friend of his, and when that guy spoke I couldn't hold it in. That brought up a lot of memories. Any time Pesky was here I used to go in and mess around with him. Pesky would give me confidence just saying a couple of things. Pesky to me was part of the family. There was not one day that man wouldn't make you laugh."
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.
Mut and Merloni react to former Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees.
We check in with ESPN's great play-by-play man Mike Tirico for a look around the NFL, and a preview of Pats/Browns.
We tackle four topics centered on the movers and shakers in MLB right now.
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Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Mike Lupica of the Daily News joined the show to give the New York reaction to the Ellsbury signing. He said that the Yankees drastically overpaid.More from this show
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