Taking a stand
FORT MYERS, Fla. – No word on whether this game between the Red Sox and Jays is going to actually be played. Word quickly swept through the park that Boston’s players were going to boycott the game — possibly the trip to Japan even — after word that the coaches and staff members weren’t being given shares for the journey overseas.
The players from the Red Sox and A’s are receiving $40K each for the Japan tour, but apparently the coaches are not getting any flow. That wasn’t the case in 2004, when the Yankees and Devil Rays had Opening Day in Japan. Prior to the game, Jays team rep Vernon Wells met with Boston’s Kevin Youkilis to talk about the matter.
"They’re looking out for their coaches and the staff and the manager," Wells said. "That’s part of baseball, looking out for each other. When the Yankees and Devil Rays took their trip, everybody got their share and everybody was happy. You just have to treat everybody the same no matter what your label is.
"With the World Series shares, everybody gets the same thing. This should be no different. Obviously, they’re trying to take a stand and they’re going to make it known that it’s not fair to those guys. We’ll see what happens."
At exactly 12:08 p.m. ET, the PA announcer here at City of Palms Park had this to say: "The game today is delayed because of a dispute between the Boston Red Sox players and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association and Major League Baseball…" At that, the fans here erupted in a hearty chorus of boos.
If the issue isn’t resolved by 12:30, the Red Sox said they’d come out and sign autographs for fans down both the first- and third-base lines. From my seat in the pressbox, I can see Wells in the dugout without a uniform on yet. He’s the third guy due up. Hmmmm.
Stay tuned for more…
UPDATE — 12:51: First pitch has been scheduled 1:10 and the Red Sox starter will be David Aardsma. Dice-K has moved over to the Minor League complex and will make his start there. No word on what kind of resolution was made here, but looks like it’s game on.
TORONTO (7-12) at BOSTON (7-12)
at 1:10 p.m. ET at City of Palms Park
David Eckstein, SS
Shannon Stewart, DH
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Scott Rolen, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Aaron Hill, 2B
Gregg Zaun, C
Reed Johnson, LF
PITCHING: LHP Brian Tallet, LHP John Parrish, RHP Randy Wells, others
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Cash, C
Coco Crisp, CF
Julio Lugo, SS
PITCHING: RHP David Aardsma
NOTES: Reports are that LHP B.J. Ryan felt fine during his normal throwing routine (flat ground, long toss) on Tuesday and felt fine today. Still, manager John Gibbons and bullpen coach Bruce Walton couldn’t confirm if Ryan was scheduled to pitch as scheduled on Thursday. … RHP Armando Benitez is barred from pitching in a Grapefruit League game until he obtains a proper working visa. No word on when that might be. … RHP Casey Janssen underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder on Tuesday and a team spokesman said the operation was a success.
QUOTABLE: During the lengthy delay during the little labor dispute this morning/afternoon, and no word if there was going to be a game or not, Red Sox staffers began tossing out foam fingers to appease the fans. "They’re giving the fans the finger," quipped Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star.