Former Red Sox utility infielder Nick Punto joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, four days after being trade to the Dodgers along with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.
Although Punto's tenure in Boston was brief and the team did not play well while he was here, he said he still has fond memories.
"I still enjoyed it. I really did," he said. "I was telling a couple of guys last night that from 7 o'clock to 10 o'clock at night, when that game starts, there's no better place to take the field and play the game. It's a special place. Yeah, we didn't play very well. But I can picture what it would be like to win a world championship there. It would have been pretty cool."
On the Monday before he was traded, Punto was one of the many Sox players who missed Johnny Pesky's funeral. He explained what transpired and how he feels bad about the situation.
"There was a note on our chair at like 4 o'clock in the morning, when we showed up [after arriving home from New York]," Punto said. "I know for me personally -- I can't speak for my teammates -- for me personally, that's going to be something I regret -- not going to bed at 4:30 and setting that alarm for 10 o'clock and just going. When I reflect back on that season, that will be one of the things that I definitely regret not doing. So, that's me personally. Yeah, it was definitely one of those nights where we got those letters and I'm sure guys were half-asleep when they were reading it."
As for reports that David Ortiz had announced the funeral schedule to the team on the trip home, Punto said: "Yeah, I might have had my headphones on. I don't know. I heard a couple of people say that he did announce it."
Many have pointed to a lack of leadership in the Red Sox clubhouse this season. Punto insisted there were players standing up and leading in their own way.
"Yeah, there's a bunch of leaders," he said. "There wasn't like once voice. But there's guys where you've just got to lead by example. David Ortiz will speak up here and there. But most of the guys in there, you just watch them play. Little Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] always plays the game right. There's not a lot of vocal leaders, but I definitely see how throughout the years you just kind of follow by example."
Another reported problem in the clubhouse was manager Bobby Valentine's failure to communicate well with his coaches and the players.
"It definitely was a topic," Punto said of the coaches' issues. "The coaches didn't express it or show it, you didn't know that they didn't get along. I think as the year went on, it actually got a lot better."
As for Valentine's communication with his players, Punto said: "It's definitely getting better. It wasn't his strong suit, but he's definitely made a huge effort, because guys have expressed that. He's making a great effort to get better at that. It just wasn't his strong suit. Like I said, he really wants to get better, which we all noticed throughout the course of the year, which was nice."
Regarding the late-July meeting the owners had with players who reportedly had expressed frustration with Valentine, Punto denied that the players called for the manager to be fired.
"I think it was just ownership, Mr. Henry and his group, Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, those guys, they're very passionate and they want to win," Punto said. "I think they just reached out to some of the guys and wanted to give their two cents and that was really it. It just blew up like it was this big deal, but it really wasn't."
Added Punto: "I think that was just ownership trying to pump us up and just playing some baseball. Which is really cool, I think, for ownership to do that. It shows you how passionate they are and how much they want to win."
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