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Word from Yawkey Way is that the Sox front office hired buses to bring players, office and staff to the funeral from the ballpark to the church. The suits, we hear, were surprised and disappointed when the vast majority of the 40 players on the roster didn’t bother to show up for the services.
“We ordered the buses for the front office to go, knowing that any players could join us or drive separately from their homes,” Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg told the Track. “Between the ownership, front office, current players and staff, and former players, we were well represented by the people who knew Johnny best.”
The only players the Herald observed at the funeral at St. John The Evangelist Church in Swampscott were designated hitter David Ortiz [stats], pitchers Clay Buchholz and Vincente Padilla and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
By contrast, that same night, nearly the entire team turned out for pitcher Josh Beckett’s annual Beckett Bowl and country music show at Lucky Strike Lanes and the House of Blues.
“The front office was not happy,” said Someone Who Knows.
So let me get this straight... the front office is mad about the players not attending a funeral instead of their under-performance on the field, their hatred for their manager, a triumvirate that's supposed to be the top of the rotation but is only good for 12 wins and a 30 rack of Bud Light each night, your seemingly incredibly incompetent medical staff that you've given unprecedented power in decision making. But no showing a funeral is what gets under your skin. No this is what has them upset.
Did they make it a mandatory event to attend? Nope. Why not?! You pay them, you can do this! The ownership went all the way by setting up all of the transportation, they could have made this mandatory if it mattered that much to you. But you left it up to the players, who traveled from New York to Boston and didn't get in until a few hours before the funeral started, to show up or not. Four did and probably the only member of the Sox who had a relationship with Pesky, David Ortiz, made it to the funeral.
But a majority of these guys have only been around for a couple of years. It's not like the days when Pesky would hang in the dugout with the players. Yes it's a little disappointing to not hear players like Jon Lester or Dustin Pedroia not attend but people grieve differently. This isn't going to turn into a debate about how people deal with death. Funerals aren't the greatest thing in the world to attend.
But see here's why it's really ticking off the front office: the brand is at risk of taking another hit. The super PR conscious front office knows that this will damage the brand even more. Never mind that this team has been an embarrassment for the past year. If everyone wants to roast the players for not having their priorities right by not attending the funeral, let this be the reminder that the front office is more worried about the brand instead of the team.
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