Red Sox

Reddick making his mark with a Flair

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Reddick making his mark with a Flair

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

BOSTON -- In a clubhouse lined with red folding chairs in front of the lockers, a single black seat stood out. It was, appropriately enough, placed under a replica championship belt and an ornate Ric Flair Nature Boy robe hanging from the ceiling.

Josh Reddick had been waiting weeks for this, a gift from a friend who works for the WWE. It was a Triple H-themed folding chair, memorabilia of Reddick's favorite wrestler, with the wrestler's face on the seat cushion.

Hes always been a guy -- I know they say its all fake -- but hes always someone Ive enjoyed watching because it looks like a passion more than just a job and an entertainment, Reddick said. He takes it really seriously even though the situations, they say, are fake.

The WWE became a topic of conversation in the Red Sox clubhouse this season when Reddick purchased Flairs autographed robe on eBay for his lockermate, Dustin Pedroia, a fellow WWE fan. The flashy extra-large garb, with the nickname Nature Boy bedazzled on the back, has become a mainstay in their quarters above Pedroias locker.

Reddick took his love for the WWE on to the field last month when he switched his at-bat music from Dropkick Murphys Cadence to Arms to Also Sprach Zarathustra, best known as the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is also Flairs entrance music.

I never go out there trying to be too amped up, so I try not to pick something thats going to be too intense. Everything I pick Ive enjoyed hearing, he said. It clears my head more than anything.

After a few games with the dramatic song, Reddick changed his at-bat music again. It was a song he had used in the minors leagues and had wanted to play in the majors, but was waiting for the right time -- I dont think Im ready for that yet. Its hard, its hard rock, he said earlier. With the regular season winding down, Reddick went for it and chose his wrestling idols entrance song, The Game, by Motrhead.

I like most of the wrestlers music, he said. Most of the guys that walk out in wrestling have the hard-core, head-banging kind of thing. Thats not really my taste in music, so I dont really want that to be associated with me. But thats always one that Ive enjoyed. Triple H is old fashioned and obviously hes a legend and everybody likes him, and the fans seem to get into it a little bit too.

Reddick tries to catch WWE shows whenever they come to a town nearby (he spends his offseason in Georgia) and has met a few wrestlers as well. Ive actually been like four feet away from the Undertaker, whos a big guy, he noted. While he points out differences between them and baseball players, he says they have a common objective.

They obviously can get away with being a lot bigger than the average person and apparently baby oil is a huge objective for them to come out on TV (laughs). And theyre not afraid to come out in their sliders and spandex alone, he said. But theyve got the awesome entrances with the fireworks and the videos and the music. Theyre huge entertainers and we kind of share that in common.

So if Reddick had the chance to spend a day in a wrestlers shoes, what would his persona be?

Obviously Id have to put on about 30 more pounds, he joked. I feel like Id be one of those high-flying guys that just jumps up off the ropes all the time doing all kinds of crazy flips, that kind of thing. Id be loud -- Id have to be loud. The quiet guys dont really make it a whole lot. I would probably wear the standard Speedo with kneepads and boots. Itd have to be red. Reds been my color since I dont know how long.

"But I dont think theres much room for country music in that kind of lifestyle, I havent heard anyone walk out to country music. I dont know what entrance song I would pick because usually bands make up music for wrestlers like that. I think Nickelback would be a good one.

While Reddick is focused on contributing to the Red Sox quest for a championship, he may have an opportunity to look like a pro wrestler, if only for a few hours. There is a tradition of rookies wearing costumes on their last road trip of the regular season, and the Ric Flair Nature Boy coat hanging from the ceiling in the clubhouse could be the perfect get-up.

I dont know if Im going to do it yet, but weve talked about it being my costume dress up for the last road trip, he said. I threw it out there that if I bleached my hair white, would I get to wear the robe and the belt and all that stuff? They (my teammates) said that wouldnt be a problem, so well see how that goes. At least itd be something I can have fun with and enjoy.

And its not like my first year when I wore my blue fairy outfit.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.
 

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez sensed he was ready to bust out of his slump and give the Chicago Cubs the lift they needed.

As breakthroughs go, this was a big one. Just in time to keep the season going for the defending champs.

Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

"We have to be much more offensive," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

Baez finally got going with a pair of solo drives .

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

"They're the world champs, and you know they're going to fight to the end," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "So today, they did. We got beat today."

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. He had been watching videos and felt his timing was starting to come back in recent trips to the plate.

"I just need to take a step back and see what's going on," he said.

Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley , who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

"Great to have this win, because if not we were going home tomorrow," Baez said. "But I feel like we're still not on track as a team. But I think if we get back on track, everybody as a team, we're going to be the best again."

Contreras' 491-foot homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez sent a towering drive out to left.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

"Hopefully, it's not a goodbye, it's a thank you, obviously," Arrieta said. "I still intend to have another start in this ballpark. If that's where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there."

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

"The only frustrating thing is we fell a run short," Turner said. "We played a great game, they played a great game. They just hit one more ball over the fence than we did."

FINISHING UP

Maddon said Davis would not be available on Thursday.

"So other guys got to do it," Maddon said. "We have to be much more offensive. It's got to start happening tomorrow. We're going to do this. Going to pull this off, we have to become more offensive tomorrow."

QUOTABLE

Chicago's Kyle Schwarber on all the Cubs' runs coming on homers in the series: "That's fine. A run's a run, anyway you can get them in. Obviously, we want to manufacture some runs, but we won a ballgame 3-2 hitting homers; I'll take that, too."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: The Dodgers turn to Kershaw to try to wrap up the series. The three-time NL Cy Young winner went five innings in Game 1, allowing two runs, and has a 4.76 ERA in two postseason starts this year.

Cubs: Quintana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in Game 1, one day after his wife, Michel, was taken off the team plane in Albuquerque with a medical ailment.

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