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Red Sox slash beer, food prices as April ticket sales are struggling

Bud-Light-tapThe Boston Red Sox are notorious for having some of the most outrageous prices in baseball, whether it’s for tickets, parking or concessions. When a team is winning, it can get away with charging just about anything it wants. When you treat fans to the worst September collapse in MLB history, have Bobby Valentine come in and make things worse and then trade three of your biggest superstars to the west coast, that luxury is lost.

The Red Sox have sold out every home game for roughly a decade, but that streak is likely going to come to an end in April. According to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, the team is slashing beer and concession prices for the month of April as a last-ditch effort to try to boost ticket sales. Hot dogs, which normally sell for around $5, will be buy one get one free. Kids under 14 eat free and hot chocolate will sell for just $2. But the real shocker is that beer prices will be dropped from an average of $8 to only $5 per draft brew.

Yes, only. Those who have been to Fenway Park in the last 10 years know $5 for a beer is a steal. Welcome to the real world, losers. The Red Sox are expecting to sell out their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on April 8, but tickets remain available. As Benjamin pointed out, Boston is hosting 17 games in 21 days at Fenway during the month of April. Many of those games will be against weak competition on chilly nights, so it’s no surprise the team is struggling to sell tickets.

For those of you who like boozing, eating hot dogs and taking in a ball game, enjoy it while you can. If the Sox start winning again, the bargains won’t last very long.

Carl Crawford: Boston media was ‘worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life’

Carl Crawford needs to stop complaining about his time with the Boston Red Sox. At the end of the day, he was a horrible fit with the team. Injuries made life more difficult than it had to be, but Crawford plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers now. Until he succeeds with his new team, blaming the Boston media for his struggles on the east coast is pointless.

However, Crawford continues to talk about how unbearable life on Yawkey Way was for him. On Thursday morning, he told CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler that he was a bad fit with the Red Sox from day one.

“I think that’s the truth,” Crawford said. “It just wasn’t the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn’t do my homework. Maybe they didn’t, either. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t the place for me.”

Crawford took the blame for his poor on-field performance while with the Red Sox, but he once again essentially scolded the media for being a bunch of meanies. A few weeks ago, the former Tampa Bay Ray described the environment in boston as “toxic.”

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Bobby Valentine is moving on, doesn’t want to talk about ‘stupid people’

Bobby Valentine has taken a job as the athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, and he he is looking forward to turning the page and forgetting about the abysmal season he endured with the Boston Red Sox last year. It’s a strange decision for a strange man, but Valentine apparently wanted to add NCAA athletic director to his resume that already includes managing professionally and color commentary.

On Monday, Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald spoke with Valentine about his new gig. However, Bobby V. had no interest in entertaining questions about his 69-win season in Boston.

“I don’t want to comment on stupid things that stupid people say,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on any of that.”

When asked if he was going to miss baseball, Valentine did what he has become an expert with in pulling the sympathy card.

“I won’t miss some of the stuff I had to deal with last year, that’s for sure,” he replied. “We have a baseball team (at Sacred Heart).”

But that’s not the best stuff Valentine has said this week. On Tuesday, Sacred Heart officially introduced their new AD, and naturally there were more questions about the Red Sox. Valentine got into a bit more detail this time, even giving himself a pat on the back for the job he did managing the team.

“I thought I did a hell of a job in Boston,” he told reporters, via WEEI.com. “I thought what had to be done there was done except for winning a pennant. But Connie Mack wasn’t going to win with that team. It’s six months of a 62-year life. It’s six months of a 42-year career in baseball. It’s a blip, a little spot on the radar, as far as I’m concerned.”

What had to be done there is done? Apparently the Red Sox had to go through a 69-win season in order to move forward. Valentine may be right that no manager was going to win with the 2012 Red Sox, but I certainly would not say he did a “hell of a job.”

Unsurprisingly, Valentine still seems bitter about his and the team’s failures together in 2012. It’s unclear if David Ortiz was one of the “stupid people” he is referring to, but Big Papi did pin much of the blame for what happened last year on Bobby V. He also said his former manager has mental issues, so I doubt the two will be sending Christmas Cards to one another this December.

Carl Crawford regrets signing in ‘toxic’ environment in Boston

Carl Crawford turned out to be one of the worst Boston Red Sox signings in team history, and there are a number of reasons why. For starters, it seemed like he was never healthy after signing a whopping seven-year, $142 million contract with the team. Whether or not he could have played through more pain than he did is a matter of personal opinion, but it seems fairly obvious that Crawford was incapable of handling the pressures that went along with playing in Boston.

On Wednesday, Crawford essentially admitted that when speaking with Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.

“I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me,” Crawford said of his nearly two awful seasons in Boston. “I just didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don’t see a way out.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers absorbed more than $100 million of Crawford’s contract to bring him to the west coast, a place where he said he feels “a lot better” about himself. Despite having yet to play a game for the Dodgers, Crawford said he now feels like the player he once was with the Tampa Bay Rays. But here was the part of his interview with Hernandez that I got the biggest kick out of:

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David Ortiz pins a lot of the Red Sox’s 2012 woes on Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine was a dead man walking the day the Boston Red Sox announced he would be their next manager last winter. Not only was he the wrong man for the job, but I highly doubt anyone would have been able to clean up Boston’s mess and lead a playoff charge. The Red Sox won only 69 games and finished in last in the AL East, and David Ortiz feels that Valentine was one of the main reasons why.

“A lot of players had a lot of issues with our manager last year,’’ Ortiz said according to ESPNBoston.com. “We have a new manager this year, a guy who is familiar with the organization, a guy we pretty much grew up around him. That’s John [Farrell].

“A team is like a human body. If the head is right, the body is going to function right, but if the head is messed up, then the body is going to be all over the place. It seems like that was part of our situation last year. Guys weren’t comfortable with the manager we had. Guys were struggling. Even in situations as a player you need to handle better, sometimes you get confused and get caught in a situation where you don’t know how you’re going to react with them.”

Ortiz was one of the few players who defended Valentine early on last year, but their relationship has since gone south thanks to Valentine’s claim that Ortiz had no interest in trying at the end of last season. Big Papi went on to say that he was concerned about Valentine’s approach during spring training last year, when the former manager had what Ortiz thought was an unorthodox style in leading drills and workouts.

Here’s what needs to happen in Boston: when players are asked about Bobby V., they need to tell reporters than he’s not there anymore and the team is moving forward. There should be no comparing Valentine and Farrell. Last year was one to forget in Boston. It’s time to turn the page.

Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

MLB reportedly investigated Curt Schilling steroid incident back in 2008

Curt-SchillingHeads began to spin earlier this week when Curt Schilling said during an interview with ESPN Radio that a member of the Boston Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs back in 2008. Most of us assumed the revelation would lead to a major investigation from Major League Baseball, but as it turns out the matter was already addressed — more than four years ago.

What Schilling didn’t mention in his interview is that he informed then-general manager Theo Epstein that the Red Sox employee — who has since been dismissed — suggested he use steroids to recover from an injury.

“Our office was notified,” MLB vice president Pat Courtney said Thursday, via the Boston Globe. “We take any report like this seriously and there was an investigation.”

Schilling told the Globe’s Peter Abraham that “two or three” investigators from the MLB went to speak to him at the time, and two baseball sources confirmed that the person no longer works for the team. The Red Sox have made several changes to their medical staff over the years, but none were believed to be a direct result of the 2008 investigation.

“I don’t remember who they were,” Schilling said. “I was trying to downplay the whole thing because I wasn’t playing at the time and I didn’t want to cause any problems in the clubhouse. Had I known Theo was going to report it to MLB, I would have never said anything. I was kind of mad that he had to do that.”

From the sound of it, Epstein and the Red Sox handled the situation exactly the way they should have. Schilling confirmed that the incident he spoke of on Thursday was the same one that was already addressed in 2008, which makes the story far less earth-shattering. Given his history of backtracking on topics and his passion for creating drama, you have to wonder if Schilling intentionally left out the fact that this is something the Red Sox have already taken care of. Now, all the headlines that read “Schilling: Red Sox told me to take steroids” don’t seem all that fair.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Curt Schilling: Members of Red Sox organization encouraged me to use PEDs

Curt-SchillingSay what you will about Curt Schilling and his blowhard attitude, but at the time being we have no reason to believe he wasn’t one of the clean guys during a tainted generation. Schilling dominated throughout much of his career and had his fair share of injuries toward the end, but his name has not been linked to steroid use. According to the three-time World Series champion, it would have been if the Boston Red Sox had their way.

During an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio on Wednesday (via WEEI.com), Schilling said that members of the Red Sox organization encouraged him to use performance-enhancing drugs when he was recovering from an injury in 2008.

“At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in in which it was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue,” Schilling said before noting that the people involved are no longer with Boston. “It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation. Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great.

“It caught me off guard, to say the least. That was an awkward situation.”

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