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Red Sox honor Mariano Rivera for blowing game in 2004 ALCS (Video)

Mariano-Rivera-Red-Sox-ceremonyThe Boston Red Sox honored New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with an elaborate ceremony at Fenway Park on Sunday night that included — but was not limited to — thanking him for blowing Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.

After the Red Sox broke an 86-year curse nine years ago, they fittingly received their World Series ring before their 2005 home opener against the Yankees. When Rivera was introduced to the crowd at Fenway that year, fans gave him one of the loudest mock cheers you will ever hear. Rivera simply smiled and tipped his cap, which helped him capture the hearts of his most fierce rivals.

On Sunday, before what is likely to be Rivera’s last ever trip to Boston as a Yankee, the Red Sox presented with a number of gifts. They gave him a portrait of the memorable smile he wore in 2005 in addition to a couple of items from Fenway Park with his number on them. It was a fitting way for the Sox to make their mark on a farewell tour that has included incredible sand sculptures and a chair made of broken bats. The all-time saves leader has certainly earned the recognition.

Carl Crawford reiterates how playing in Boston was the worst thing on earth

Carl-Crawford-DodgersLos Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is finally healthy and showing signs of looking like the dynamic outfielder who dominated the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays a few years ago. The guy he doesn’t look like is the one we saw with the Boston Red Sox.

Crawford has played 88 games with his new team, but it is obvious he still hasn’t gotten over how poorly his time in Boston went. He and Adrian Gonzalez have been catalysts for baseball’s best team since the All-Star break, yet Crawford is still happy to rip the Red Sox when asked about the past.

“That was one of the toughest times in my life, ever, from when I was a little kid, 1 year old,” Crawford told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon. “It definitely was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life to be traded over here.

“You make $20 million, but it’s not like they’re begging me to hit a home run every time I go up there, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like I need to go 5-for-5 every at-bat and, if I don’t, I’m considered the worst player on the planet.”

Talk about an incredible exaggeration. Crawford appeared in 130 games for the Red Sox in 2011 after inking a seven-year, $142 million deal. During that span, he hit .255 with 11 home runs, 56 RBI and a pathetic on-base percentage of .289. No one expected him to hit a home run every time up or go 5-for-5, he was just expected to earn his $20 million salary by producing runs consistently.

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Cody Ross: Red Sox ‘lied to my face’

Cody-Ross-Red-SoxArizona Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross was one of very few bright spots on an abysmal Boston Red Sox team last season. He hit .267 with 22 homers and 81 RBI, which isn’t bad considering the Sox only won 69 games. However, Boston chose not to bring him back.

During an interview with WEEI’s Mut and Merloni before Arizona’s three-game series at Fenway park on Friday night, Ross made it clear that he is still bitter about the way his tenure with the Red Sox ended.

“We might have made the mistake of going to them first and saying that I like it here, kind of I guess you would say showing your hand,” Ross said. “I guess it’s called showing your hand when you tell a team that you want to come back, you want to play here. I don’t see how that could hurt me, but I guess it did.

“They told me that they didn’t want to sign guys to long-term deals, and then they gave [Shane] Victorino a three-year deal, and then [Mike] Napoli a three-year deal or four-year deal, whatever it was. So, basically they lied to my face. At that point, I kind of got a bad taste in my mouth and wanted to move on, and that was it.”

Napoli’s deal was later shortened to a one-year contract because of health concerns, but that’s beside the point. Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million contract with Boston. Ross ended up signing for three years and $26 million with Arizona, so obviously the Red Sox simply preferred the Flyin’ Hawaiian. My guess is the Sox moved on from Ross after signing Victorino, not the other way around.

Ross can be bitter about the business side of the game all he wants, but it should be noted that the Red Sox have the best record in baseball. Whatever Cherington did during the offseason has worked perfectly to this point, which includes his decision to sign Victorino and let Ross walk. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox exchange unpleasantries on Twitter

Daniel-Nava-sludeThe Tampa Bay Rays have won 18 of their last 21 games, and their incredible streak of play has allowed them to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the AL East from the Boston Red Sox. On Monday night, the Rays won a makeup game at Fenway Park behind tremendous pitching from David Price and a lot of help from home plate umpire Jerry Meals.

Meals blew a call on a tag play at home plate when he called Daniel Nava out on what would have been the tying run in the eighth inning. He even admitted after the game that he missed the call, but that didn’t stop the Rays’ official Twitter account from bragging about the win.

Whoever was operating Boston’s Twitter account was not about to sit back and let their division rivals get the best of them.

You could make the argument that the Rays-Red Sox rivalry has become more intense than Red Sox-Yankees in recent years, and these are the reasons why. The AL East is the best division in baseball, and the consistent play of the Rays despite their lack of financial resources has allowed that to happen.

Dennis Eckersley after Boston Red Sox 17-5 win: ‘We gotta recap this s***?’ (Video)

Dennis-EckersleyThe Boston Red Sox demolished the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night in one of those rare 17-run games that we only see a few of each season. Boston managed to score runs in each of the first seven innings before being kept off the board in the ninth by none other than outfielder David Murphy, who actually recorded a must-see strikeout of Mike Carp.

At the conclusion of the 17-5 Boston victory, Red Sox announcers Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley — who was filling in for Jerry Remy because of an illness — barely knew where to start. Recapping a game that saw 22 total runs on 28 hits can’t be easy, which is why Eckersley was overwhelmed by the task ahead. Having said that, it probably would have been best if he waited a few more seconds before dropping an S-bomb and complaining about it. Check out this video, which includes some NSFW language:

Eck, who typically works as a Red Sox analyst for NESN, should be used to recapping games. But on a night where eight different players drove in at least one run and seven balls left the park, it’s tough to get to everything. I feel your pain, Eck. I probably wouldn’t want to do it either. At least he didn’t go full Warren Sapp with the cursing. That’s always a plus.

Video via The Big Lead

Jonathan Papelbon: I could see myself returning to Red Sox

Jonathan-Papelbon-rips-Red-SoxJonathan Papelbon may be overpaid, but so are most closers. He has pitched well since signing a four-year, $50 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2011 season and has converted all nine of his save opportunities this year.

Papelbon has eight teams on his no-trade list as a part of the deal he signed with the Phillies. According to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, one of those teams is the Boston Red Sox. That doesn’t mean Papelbon can never see himself returning to the place where he began his career.

“Yeah, I could see myself in Boston,” he told WEEI.com on Monday. “I could see myself pitching in New York. You know me. I’ve always been the kind of guy who … I don’t really just settle, or accept things. Whatever happens in my future is going to happen. I’m not blind to that fact.”

The right-hander also mentioned that he is perfectly happy in Philadelphia, so the point is simply that he wants to keep pitching for a competitive team in a big market. It should also be noted that his comments came in advance of the Phillies’ game in Boston on Monday, where Pap said he was hoping to get a warm welcome.

“Hopefully I’ll be received well, but I will also accept the fact that I might not,” he said. “But hopefully the fans understand that what I did here was come here and help win. That’s the only thing I really wanted to do here and hopefully they’ll understand when I was here that’s all I really wanted to do was help the ballclub win. And we won, and hopefully they’ll recognize that. If they don’t, I understand and I get it and I’ll welcome them with open arms.”

Red Sox fans understand Papelbon helped them win, but they also may remember the comment he made about Phillies fans being smarter. Pap kind of wore out his welcome toward the end of his career in Boston. The chances of him returning are slim to none at this point.

Alfredo Aceves blames 13-0 loss on small strike zone and lack of hitting

Alfredo-Aceves-Red-SoxThe Boston Red Sox caught a break on Tuesday night at Fenway Park when the skies opened up and their game was rained out in the 7th inning. Considering they were already trailing the Oakland Athletics 13-0, the Sox were likely happy to call it an official game and move on with their lives.

Boston stood little chance in the game after starting pitcher Alfredo Aceves was racked for seven earned runs by the fourth inning. However, Aceves felt that there was no reason to pin the blame on his horrendous start.

“It’s hard to explain to you guys,” he said after the game, via the Boston Herald. “You guys just see the errors, the runs, the hits, whatever. It’s really hard to — how can I explain? — to get through that plate. For whatever reason, the strike zone got small. Obviously you guys don’t see it that way. You see the runs. As a pitcher, man, it’s not easy.”

Man I hate this guy. Aceves has value in that he can pitch out of the bullpen or fill in for injured starters, but his personality is incredibly difficult to deal with. Manager John Farrell got a first-hand look at that when Aceves was reportedly acting like a baby during spring training. The right-hander also made sure to note that the Red Sox managed only three hits on the night.

“Maybe his strike zone is not that small, for whatever reason,” Aceves said. “Also, we got our hacks. Why don’t we hit?”

John Lackey has been recovering nicely from a strained bicep, so Aceves’ starting role will likely be taken from him in the near future. It should be noted that his English is not all that great, so some stuff Aceves is trying to say could get lost in translation. That being said, he doesn’t have to have a strong grasp of the English language for people to understand that he’s a jackass.