Boston Globe

Jon Lester, other MLB stars offer touching tributes to Nick Cafardo

Jon Lester, other MLB stars offer touching tributes to Nick Cafardo

The baseball world is in mourning Friday after losing a beloved figure.

Longtime Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo passed away Thursday at 62 years old, prompting manager Alex Cora to honor him with a moving statement Friday morning in a press conference from Fort Myers.

As news of Cafardo's passing spread, current and former players responded on social media with a mixture of sadness, condolences and fond memories.

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright sent this tweet early Friday morning:

Chicago Cubs pitcher and former Sox ace Jon Lester offered a heartfelt tribute.

Veteran Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and ex-New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez passed along kind words, as well.

Cafardo left a positive generation of several generations of major league players, as Tom Glavine, Dennis Eckersley and Curt Schilling also paid their respects.

The Red Sox left roses at Cafardo's empty seat in the JetBlue Park press box for Friday's exhibition against Northeastern.

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora pays tribute to the late Nick Cafardo

Red Sox manager Alex Cora pays tribute to the late Nick Cafardo

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — Friday morning at JetBlue Park, Red Sox manager Alex Cora spent his entire press conference honoring the late Nick Cafardo.

Cafardo passed away Thursday at the Red Sox spring training complex in Fort Myers due to an apparent embolism. The widely beloved Boston Globe reporter was 62.

Here’s Cora’s full statement:

"I just want to echo the sentiment of the organization, the players, everybody in our family and the baseball world. We work in a profession that it seems like most of the time, you don’t have your loved ones around. You spend so much time with other people and these people, you start caring about. Most of you guys start loving people. You guys have spent so much time with Nick and we spend so much time and the players and all that.

"It puts everything in perspective. I was sitting at home yesterday just thinking about what just happened. It’s one of those that, you guys know my story and all that. I started looking at life a lot different the last five or six years. There was an article that Nick wrote about my dad around Father’s Day. I pulled it out yesterday. He did a good job, as he always did. It’s life, man. I know how we feel. I know we’re gonna miss him. He was a great man. You start reading social media and what people wrote about Nick, how people feel about him. Not only the people from Boston, but from all over the states and people from the industry.

"It was amazing— the respect, the love that people have for him. You start thinking about life and it’s like, you know what, that’s the way it should be I guess. You make an impact in life and obviously Nick impacted all of us. All of us. Very respected. Class. In my case, very fair. He was great. He was great. To read everything that people on social media were putting, and the love, it’s amazing. He was a great man. He’ll be missed. His family… I feel so bad because that’s where you go. I was in my house, by myself and the kids are at home. You never know. You never know. You start missing them. For his wife, his daughter. Ben, I had the opportunity to work with Ben at ESPN. What he brings, the energy and passion that he brings to the job, I was like, wow, this is unreal.

"I just addressed the players. It’s funny because he was actually the guy who got on me with the off days. I didn’t know why. I remember Mookie Betts’ off day the sixth day (of last season) and he’s like, ‘why?’ And then Hanley [Ramirez] in Oakland and he’s like, ‘why?’ And then yesterday, I realized it was an off day for him and he showed up. I was like, that’s why he got on me. He never took an off day. He didn’t understand that part. He did, but he didn’t. And you start appreciating that.

"I’ve gotta tell you guys, something about this and something about losing a loved one, I hated life for a while. I was so upset at life. Something changed six or seven years ago. Instead of looking at my loss, like ‘how could this happen to me?’ it was the other way around. I had (my dad) for 12 years, 13 years. I started thinking of all the cool things my dad did for me, and for Joey, my two sisters and my mom. I started thinking about Nick, and that’s my message to you guys.

"This is not the manager, this is Alex Cora . . . it’s me. It’s just me. Let’s actually celebrate his life. Like I told the guys, just go out there and have a great day. We hate off days anyways. Let’s have a blast on the field. He loved the game. I think he was the only guy that in Game 3 (of the World Series), he loved that game. I think Pete (Abraham) was the guy who was like, he turned around and said, ‘this is awesome.’ I’m like, think about it.

"That’s what I’ve got for you guys, man. That’s why I don’t get caught up on the whole game. It’s just a game, bro. When you leave, that’s real. Life is real. Everything you have to do as a parent, as a husband, as a son… that’s real. This is just a game, man. We get caught up on the whole wins and losses and rivalries and whatever. Life is real, man.

"He’s gonna be missed, obviously. It’s not gonna be the same, we know that. I was thinking about it on the way here and I was thinking about you guys (the media), too. From our end, we’re here for you guys. I know there’s a lot of guys in the organization… our medical staff did an outstanding job yesterday. They were amazing. They’re in shock right now.

"We’re gonna miss him, but like I said, let’s celebrate his life. You guys keep doing the job you’re doing. You guys work in probably the market that they ask a lot from you guys and you guys do an outstanding job doing it. Nick did it the same way and like I said to the guys, ‘hey, let’s go get ‘em.’ Keep going. We’re here for you guys. I know sometimes we don’t agree on everything but like I said, it’s a three-hour game or four-hour game. After that, we’re real human beings.

"From my end, my condolences. He’s gonna be missed but let’s keep going, okay? Thank you.”

On Thursday, the Red Sox released a statement on Cafardo’s passing. The organization left roses at Cafardo’s press box seat, where he would have sat to watch Northeastern play against the defending World Series champions in Friday’s spring training opener.

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See the Boston Globe's front pages after Patriots reach Super Bowl LIII

See the Boston Globe's front pages after Patriots reach Super Bowl LIII

For the third straight season, the Patriots are heading to the Super Bowl. This time they'll take on the Rams after defeating the Chiefs in an exhilarating AFC title game. 

Also for the third straight season, Pats fans get to wake up to countless joyous headlines commemorating New England getting a chance to compete for another title. Here's a peek at The Boston Globe's front pages for Monday. . .

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