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.
We check in with the playmaker, the great number 88 Michael Irvin for his unique take on deflategate, the Patriots and the NFL.
Ben Volin has been a must-read on the Pats and Deflategate despite him ruffling the feathers of many Pats fans and he joins NFL Sunday to discuss the latest. He talks about the owners' meetings and what he expects to unfold this week as well as the showdown between Goodell and Kraft.
The guys provide more thoughts on the latest on Deflategate and get callers' reaction.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
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.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton speak to Red Sox Manager John Farrell live from Fenway Park for our weekly visit.
Joe & Dave talked to the rookie Sox catcher, who knocked in the go-ahead run against Felix Hernandez.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Shirley Leung joins Dino, Gerry and Kirk to look at Boston's Olympic hopes.
Stephen A. joined us to discuss Tom Brady's suspension.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys talk about the charges surrounding one of the stars of 19 Kids and Counting and what TLC should do with the show.
Lou, Christian and Greg react to their interview with Bill Polian and take calls from listeners to get their take on the latest surrounding Deflategate.
With all the Deflategate news, Lou hasn't had a chance to complain about the Red Sox and their poor start. Christian and Greg give Lou a minute to get all his thoughts out as fast as he can.
David Letterman has wrapped up his show and we picked out four of our favorite moments from his career.
Roger Goodell's integrity and credibility is in question and Sally Jenkins wrote a scathing piece on Roger Goodell joins us.
The definitive deflate gate song
Mikey Adams is joined by Chris Villani as they take calls on the Friday night Two Minute Drill and discuss the ongoing DeflateGate saga with the New England Patriots and Roger Goodell's role in hearing the Tom Brady appeal.
Continued conversation on deflate-gate and the aftermath of the Brady suspension and sanctions passed down to the Patriots organization
Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog and Draftkings.com joins the program to break down the the two conference finals series, the NBA Draft, and whether or not Corey Brewer is the ugliest player in the game?
Ben, Russ, and Alex recap the Revs loss to Sporting KC and discuss what the Revs need moving forward. Also discussed is the FFP and how it will affect the transfer window.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss Dino's rehab experience.
Stephen A. joined us to discuss Tom Brady's suspension.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry continue to discuss and take reaction to deflategate, with the latest wrinkles coming from the NFL social media department taking shots at the organization even after Robert Kraft capitulated to his team's punishment.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show