Red Sox Nation: Exploring Sports and Citizenship || Radcliffe Institute

Red Sox Nation: Exploring Sports and Citizenship || Radcliffe Institute


– All right, good
evening, everyone. My name’s Anthony Brooks. I do political
reporting with WBUR. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Thank you for that. Thank you for
coming out tonight. I know this is going to
be a great discussion. My job is to
introduce the panel, but first I want to
acknowledge Radcliffe for hosting this event and say
a couple of things about that. So we’re meeting in a
really fitting location. This is, as many of you probably
know, the former Radcliffe College gymnasium, where
generations of female athletes played basketball, hung from
ropes from those rafters, ran around that track. And today, the building
is the Knafel Center, which is the central meeting
place of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. And the Radcliffe Institute
is Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Study dedicated
to sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Tonight’s event is part
of a two year initiative that the Institute is
pursuing about citizenship in anticipation of the 100th
anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. That’s the one that gave
women the right to vote, so it’s an important one. [APPLAUSE] One little housekeeping note. This program is being broadcast
live on Facebook tonight by WBUR, and it will be
available in a few weeks at Radcliffe.Harvard.edu. Good. So, before I
introduce the panel, I want to just say a couple of
words sort of how I ended up here, because it’s sort of
related to what you guys are going to be talking about. So your moderator this evening,
who I’ll introduce in a moment, is my colleague Shira
Springer, WBUR sports and society reporter. She asked me if I would
introduce this program, and I said, well, OK. And she said, no, no. You’d be perfect. You’re a reporter. You’re a journalist,
and you’re a fan. And I thought, does she
mean I’m a Red Sox fan? Because I’m kind of a
Red Sox fan, but I think I’m more of a Red Sox hostage. That’s sort of the way
I think about that, and I want to explain that. And my story is
certainly not unique, but I had a grandfather who
was born sort of late 1800s. He was passionate
about the Red Sox. He saw them win the
1918 World Series. That’s the last one he saw. And one of my
earliest memories is my grandfather, who was
sort of a repressed Yankee who didn’t say a lot,
would come to the table, and just shake his
head, and say they break your heart every day. This is one of my
earliest memories– that my dad, who
was born in 1918, the last time at that point that
they had won a World Series, spent his entire 82 years
waiting for a World Series victory. Never saw one. Again, a lot of
us in this region have these stories to tell. We suffered. It was painful. And then came Pedro
Martinez and his fellow– [APPLAUSE] –and his fellow
idiots in 2004 when our entire world and really our
entire regional sports identity just changed. It was just
overnight it changed. I was telling Pedro
just before we came up here I have a
21 year old daughter, and she’s blase
about the Red Sox. It’s like, dad, they always win. What’s the big deal? It’s like, how did this happen? Anyway, but here’s the
point about tonight. So being a fan, or a hostage,
whatever you want to call it for all those years is
significant because it’s not just about rooting
for your home team, because sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I got really
angry, and I just wanted them to lose quickly
so I could stop the pain, but this sort of unrequested
involvement with the Red Sox brought with it an
opportunity to think about a whole bunch
of other things that had nothing to
do with baseball. I mean, something
to do with baseball, but not only baseball. Winning and losing, obviously,
but other more complicated things. The way our country
has changed– in the Red Sox case, our
difficult relationship with race. I mean just think about this
week and this whole debate about getting rid of
the name of Yawkey Way. So I’m grateful to have
this team in our midst for a lot of reasons,
including the richness and complexity of issues that
sports can bring to the fore. And I’m just going to
tell very quickly one more story about the 2004 American
League Championship Series game four at Fenway Park, which I
had the total honor of covering for NPR. Now, you all know what
happened, but just in case you don’t, here’s the
quick, quick synopsis. So the Red Sox were down
three games to nothing against the Yankees. Mariano Rivera is on
the mound, so it’s over. The Red Sox are losing the
game, facing elimination, another disappointing season. Kevin Millar gets the base hit. Dave Roberts steals the base. Bill Miller gets the base hit. They tie it up. Extra innings. Bottom of the 12th, David
Ortiz, winning home. They win game four. And you know what
happens after that. They win seven more games and
finally take the monkey off of our backs. My job was to cover that game,
and as a good NPR reporter, I wanted to get the sound
of the end of the game just in case it was
a Boston victory. I wanted the sound
of Fenway erupting. So bottom of the ninth
inning I go out in the stands with my microphone,
stand there, and wait. Nothing happens. Bottom of the 10th, stand
there, nothing happens. Bottom of the 11th,
nothing happens. Bottom of the 12th, I’m
there with my microphone and up comes David Ortiz. Boom– hits the home,
walk off home run. Fenway comes to its feet. Huge cheer. My microphone is going. Yes, I’ve got the sound. It’s fantastic. So I go back to WBUR
to write my story, and I start listening
to the tape, and I get to that
great moment where I’m going to hear 37,000 people
cheering for the Red Sox. The only thing on that
tape is me screaming yeah! It’s all that I could hear. So– [APPLAUSE] So that’s the end of the story. So Shira’s right. I’m a fan. I was trying to be a
professional journalist that night, but I was a fan. So now it’s my pleasure to
introduce this terrific panel. So ladies, gentlemen,
will you come up, and I’ll introduce you all. [APPLAUSE] To my immediate left, Shira
Springer, your moderator tonight, who invited me here. So she’s WBUR’s sports and
society reporter covering stories at the intersection
of sports and society, and before that, she wrote for
the Boston Globe as the Celtics beat writer, then as an
investigative reporter and Olympic columnist. She grew up in Connecticut
cheering for the Hartford Whalers and the New York Mets? Come on, Shira. But– hold on now– in high school, she saw
the error of her ways. She took down the pictures of
Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden,
and she became a Red Sox fan. [APPLAUSE] To my far left at
the end, Sam Kennedy has been with the
Red Sox for 17 years. This is his second year
as president and CEO of the Red Sox. He’s a native of Brookline. He grew up within walking
distance of Fenway Park. And get this, he was captain
of the Brookline High School baseball team with his friend
and classmate Theo Epstein. Is this true? – He was our third base coach. – That’s amazing. To Sam’s right, Rebekah
Splaine Salwasser is executive director of
the Red Sox foundation, which is dedicated to
making a difference in the lives of children,
families, veterans, and communities. She joined the Red
Sox this past January. Thank you for being here. [APPLAUSE] And finally, last, but
certainly not least, he’s a special assistant
to the president of baseball operations with
the Red Sox, but most of us know him simply as one of
baseball’s greatest pitchers. He’s a veteran of 18 major
league seasons, seven of them with the Red Sox,
including that 2004 season. Thank you for that. He’s a three time Cy
Young award winner, eight time all-star
hall of famer inducted into the Hall of
Fame, by the way, in his first year
of eligibility. [APPLAUSE] – Thank you, Anthony, for
that very kind introduction, and thank you WBUR and
the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard
for hosting this event. And of course, I want to thank
the panelists, Pedro, Bekah, and Sam. Before we begin, just a
few words about the game plan for the panel. This panel will run
for about 50 minutes– this discussion– then
we’re going to open it up to audience questions. We will take audience
questions for about 25 minutes. There will be a microphone
placed in the center aisle, and I’ll let you know when
it’s time to line up for that. I’m sure there will be lots
of people with questions for everyone up here. And now we’re just going to– I have some framing
remarks for this panel, sort of what went
through my mind as I thought about what we
wanted to discuss tonight. And I think what’s interesting
is baseball looks at itself not only as America’s pastime,
but as a social institution. And in Boston, probably
more than anywhere else, it’s easy to see baseball
as a social institution, because, as everyone knows, the
Red Sox are more than a team. The organization is woven into
the cultural and social fabric of the city, of New England in
a way that creates, I think, a sense of belonging and a
sense of community both inside and outside of Fenway Park. And yes, as Anthony said,
sometimes you can feel like a hostage of Red Sox nation, but
I also think that the Red Sox ability to create a sense of
belonging with the team with the most prominent– or one
of the most prominent social institutions in the city– it begs the question. You want to know,
how do the Red Sox– the executives, their players,
current and past players– see their roles and
responsibilities to the community? And so that’s the guiding
question for this discussion, one that I hope we’ll answer
as we talk about Yawkey Way, inner baseball initiatives,
building homes in the Dominican Republic, and ticket prices,
among many other topics. So I think we have to start
with the most recent news. Yesterday, as many
of you may be aware, the Boston Public
Improvement Commission– a commission I’d
never heard of– unanimously voted to
rename Yawkey Way. That, as you know, is the
front street– the street in front of Fenway Park. The Red Sox requested that
the road be changed back to its original
name, Jersey Street, because of what many see
as former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey’s legacy of racism. So I guess I want to
first to you, Sam, because I know
you’ve been outspoken about this in the past. Why was it important
for the organization to push for the name
change, and perhaps more importantly now that
the name change is here, what message do
you hope that sends to fans, to players,
to staff members, to people who partner
with the Red Sox? – Well, thanks for the question. I knew we’d dive right
into the topic du jour, but let me just first
say it’s an honor to be here on behalf of the
men and women of the Red Sox organization joined
by a few colleagues. Guys, thanks for
being here, and it’s an honor to share the
stage with Bekah and Pedro. We have a great
time at Fenway Park, and we’re lucky to be a
part of the organization. This is my 17th year, and
I’m as energized as ever about the present Red
Sox team and our future. And I mention future,
because that’s what this whole process and
initiative has been about. It’s less about sort
of dwelling on the past than some of the negative,
unfortunate, regretful, reprehensible history
of the Red Sox. When we arrived in
2002, we were very quick to point out the
shameful past with respect to race relations. Simply put, we were the
last team to integrate. We had a poor record of
hiring not just on the field, but off the field. Diversity was a
huge issue for us. There were lots of
things that went on that the organization wasn’t
and shouldn’t be proud of. That said, the move to change
or restore Jersey Street and remove the name Yawkey
Way is really about people and people’s feelings. When we went around and
talked to our constituents, whether it was community
leaders, employees frankly, players, a consistent
refrain that we heard in the community was,
look, we never knew Tom Yawkey and never met him in
person, but that symbol had been a reminder
for many people that Fenway was not always
the most inclusive welcoming environment. And unfortunately,
in 2017, last year, we were told that we’re still
not where we need to be. And it’s just one step. It is a symbol. It’s a street name. We don’t fool
ourselves and think it’s going to change
things overnight. We still need to walk the
walk and do the right thing with respect to making
Fenway welcoming to everyone, but for those of us who grew
up in Boston and New England, like I did, and like
Bekah did, Fenway Park should be for everyone. It should be everyone’s
team– the Red Sox– not just a certain
group of people. So this was a step
towards that goal, and it’s a journey
that that never ends. You need to keep doing the
right things each and every day, and we have an ownership group
led by John Henry and Tom Werner that are really
committed to making Fenway welcoming for everybody. So that’s what this
has been about. – I’m curious, Pedro, as a
former player and somebody who’s now still associated
with the organization– sort of ambassador
for the organization– what did the name
change mean to you? I mean, how do you view it? – Well, thank you
for the opportunity. Thank you, everybody,
for coming over, like always, being
loyal and supportive. I think that’s what
he is trying to say when it comes to the people. But in my own perspective,
it’s totally different. I came from a country
where diversity is– it’s all over. Simple– I just never realized
what being a minority. We were all minorities. We were all the same. We were all the same color. It didn’t matter. But for me, coming to Boston,
when I heard earlier– and you were referring
about my partner– is he’s a true Bostonian. Isn’t he? He’s a legit Bostonian. And we were talking about
Theo and those things, and I’m thinking this
kid is a Bostonian. That’s what he is. He has an ID. He’s a Bostonian. Ever since I got to Boston,
I feel the same way, because for me, it
was totally different. I did not realize
it, maybe because of lack of knowledge and
stuff like that, or maybe I didn’t know that the
history of Boston, but for me, it’s just like the little
girl that you were talking that said, oh, they always win. The Red Sox always win. Well, it depends on the
generation that you came in. For me, it has always
been like a parade. [LAUGHTER] Ever since I got to
Boston, it’s been all hugs. Me and David have a
little competition between the two of us, because
I said to David, as much as you love to hug, I’m
going to lead you every year. So here in Boston for me
has been a great experience. Being from the Dominican
Republic born and raised, I know that a lot of that has
to see with the kind of success I had here in Boston. I think this is the place where
it’s almost impossible to think about a defeat for me. For me, it was impossible. I did have some
success, and I know that leads to a lot
of happy moments for the people in Boston, but
it’s not just in the field that I have felt
the love that Boston has for me, and the respect,
and the good feeling, the mutual feeling between
me and the city of Boston. So for me, it’s really difficult
to go deep into those details, because I’ve always
been treated right. I’ve always been
treated with class. So I don’t know if my
story is really relevant when it comes to that,
because I’m a different breed. I’m just– – I’ll say. [LAUGHTER] – My ID is hanging in
the right field wall– number 45. And my name is
Pedro the Bostonian. II never felt anything. I’ve never been a victim
of anything in Boston, so I’m not the proper person
to probably go into details. For me, it’s a loving
hug and respect. That’s my own opinion. – I think it’s worth
pointing out that we waited. For those of us who were
born a little bit after 1918, but before 2004, we
waited a long time. And it’s worth pointing out
that it wasn’t until the Red Sox were a fully integrated
organization on the field and off the field that
this team and this region were able to come together
and climb the mountain top. And you had Pedro
Martinez, and David Ortiz, and Kevin Millar, and Dave
Roberts, and Bill Miller, and this group of
guys who came together from all over the
world, all walks of life to win a World
Series championship. And that had never
happened in our lifetime. And I think what Pedro is
saying is exactly right. He and his teammates changed
the course of history, and he changed the
course of the trajectory of the mindset in New England
for kids that we can win. We can do this, because I
grew up here with Theo Epstein at Brookline High thinking, how
are we going to lose this game? How are the Red Sox going
to lose to the Mets in 1986, or whether it was ’75, or ’78? The mindset in
New England is now about winning, which is
really special to watch. – You mentioned the
kids, which I think is an interesting
area to go into. It’s one thing to believe
the Red Sox can win, but it’s another thing
for the kids in the area to feel that they are
part of Red Sox nation, and I know that the Red
Sox foundation, Bekah, which you head– you’re
executive director of the Red Sox Foundation– is
working hard to have some initiatives and some
programs that promote diversity and inclusion. One of those is RBI. That’s Reviving Baseball
in the Inner Cities, which, if you’re not familiar with
the program, part of it is to get young kids
in the inner city to play baseball and
softball, but it’s also about instilling
leadership and life skills. You also have the
Red Sox Scholars, which is where you select
kids in seventh grade, and you take them through
the college process. You work on their
academics, and you really mentor them through
their college years from seventh grade through
their college years. So I guess when you
have programs like RBI and like the Red
Sox Scholars that are designed for kids in that
inclusive, diverse vision, what do you hope are the goals
short term and long term? – So I’m going to
back up and start with why I think
this job has been the most amazing
opportunity for me, and I will get to
your answer, but I think there is relevance there. So I’m born and
raised in Cambridge. I grew up in– yes, I know. – Another Bostonian. – Real [INAUDIBLE]. – Shes’ the only one who
didn’t get lost here tonight. – Right here. – Anyway. – Right, so I was
born and raised in Cambridge to a
biracial family, and I started playing soccer
for Cambridge U soccer when I was four years old. And I say that to say
that sport has always been an instrument
that I’ve used in my life to be successful. I went to BB & N, and
I graduated there. I played soccer at Brown. I went on to play
professional soccer here in Boston for the
Boston Breakers, and I worked for the Boston
Celtics for five years. And now here at the Red
Sox it’s just been a dream, and in between there, I ran a
couple other small non-profits. But I say that to say I
know the power of sport. I believe in the
power of sport, and so heading a foundation like
the Red Sox Foundation that has quite arguably the
best resources, the best brand in the entire world,
in my opinion, when it comes to leveraging a pro sports
team against its charitable endeavors, has just
been a dream come true. And to run programs like
Red Sox Scholars and RBI– to really and directly direct
some of those resources from the Red Sox
into the community has just been amazing. I was a Jackie Robinson scholar. My parents worked for Boston
public schools for 34 years, and being one of five,
it was not in our reality to go to college– or have my parents
pay for it, rather. So I know the power of
being able to provide funds to young people to
pursue higher education. And so for us, we have
now 275 young people that have been through the
program, and making sure that we can always, always be
there for them, whether it’s connecting them to
local resources, connecting them to
national resources– we actually just employed
one of our graduates. And so really just seeing
it come full circle for me has just been amazing. – I’m going to turn– Pedro is another person who
has sort of devoted your life to doing things for kids
and giving kids opportunity both here in Boston and here in
your native Dominican Republic. I hope I can do the
Spanish well enough. Lindos Suenos? Am I– – Lindos Suenos, yes. – So this means beautiful
dreams in Spanish. It’s a program that you
are part of– that you take part of in the Dominican. You are building homes. You are making sure people
have in the Dominican what they need. I’ve heard you also
have taken up a hammer and nails on occasion to– – Oh, believe me. And that wasn’t the first time. [LAUGHTER] – I’ve heard that you do that. You were also here last
August playing in the old time baseball game to help
raise money for ALS. – In your city– Cambridge. – That’s right. – Cambridge. – Right down the road,
as a matter of fact. You have been, as I said,
building schools, homes, everything, here, the
Dominican, all over the place. It’s so hard to keep track
almost of everything you do, and I’m wondering
how do you choose. How do you figure
out what it is– where you want to put your
energies, what you want to do, and what do you hope is your
personal legacy with all of this philanthropy? – Well, I grew up
extremely poor. So as you grow up,
you become an expert at identifying opportunities,
identifying the weak points, identifying what it takes
for you to come out. You identify so many things. You become a veteran at
a very, very early age. And for me, it was no exception. I became a survivor. I became someone that
needed to find sources to continue to go to school. My mom and dad could
barely supply for us clothing to go to school,
meals on the table, and I can’t go really
deep on the things that my mom and dad
were able to supply. So right away, I was introduced
sometimes, or at an early age, very young to what a nail and a
hammer was to different things that you have to do to
help out in a big family– six kids and mom and dad. And both of them not
the best educated people when it comes to school,
but at home the best teachers that you could ever have. And that’s all we needed. And the reason I have that drive
is because thanks to baseball and the support of
many people like you that support
baseball and support different ideas I was able
to become a baseball player. I was granted an opportunity. As an immigrant, I
was fortunate enough to make it through baseball and
become a US citizen, something that I’m really proud of– to be able to enjoy the
rights that you guys that are born and raised here enjoy. I think for me it
was pretty cool that if I was able to do
anything for the future was help out education, help
out the less fortunate, because I’ve been there. I’ve been on the
other side, and I know what it’s like to need
something and not have it. So if I’m in a position to grant
anybody an opportunity to be better, to get educated, to
become a better man for society in the future, I think it’s– even though it’s not a written
rule like we do in baseball– we have unwritten rules. Like if you hit one of
my teammates, nobody– [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] Nobody needs to tell me that– nobody needs to give
me a piece of paper. Pedro, you know that guy
over there that’s coming up. It’s the same position as
your player that just got hit. It’s not written
on the paper, but I know that my first
instinct will be drill him. [LAUGHTER] It’s the same thing. I would like my legacy to
be remembered not really as the guy that posted all
those numbers that you just mentioned, and the awards, or my
curly hair face in Cooperstown. I want to be remembered
as a sign of hope, as a sign of opportunity,
as a sign for others to follow and try to emulate,
because just the fact that I was traveling
to the states my first year as a 17-year-old
was a huge, humongous step towards the future. Just getting the
opportunity to come out of the Dominican with a visa
to look for new opportunities was a huge step, and
I was so grateful. And I will always be. So I want to do the same thing. I want people to look at
me, see the opportunity, take advantage of it, take
advantage of the things that are granted for them, and
see hope everywhere I go, because if I did
it, even though I got into many fights
in baseball, well, they can also do it. I also fight with life,
and adversities, and stuff like that, but like
I told you earlier, coming from where I come from,
adversity is an everyday deal. So I wasn’t
intimidated, and today I can serve as a testimony of
faith, hard work, dedication, integrity, and I represent
my family really well. I told George
Steinbrenner one time, you know, you might
call the league and have them suspend me
or do whatever they want, but you just don’t
have enough money to buy fear and
put it in my heart. [APPLAUSE] It is the same thing
with life– adversity. And for people that want
to look up to the future, don’t let adversity
intimidate you. Just go forward. Same thing. George is big, but if you have
to drill him, you drill him. [LAUGHTER] Right? So that’s my perspective,
and that’s why I do it. That’s why I want to help some
more people do the same thing. – Isn’t it interesting
how the game has changed? Joe Kelly– it just
got away from him. [INAUDIBLE],, and with
Pedro, no, I drilled him. I drilled him. You drilled him. – Different times. – Different times. – We have been talking
about different times ever since we started. – Yes. – His dad never
saw a World Series. He got to see one. Now he’s daughter
is like, yeah, dad, I know the Red Sox
are going to win. She’s accustomed
to winning, right? Well, those are different times. – Exactly. – When I pitched, drilling
a guy was a thing of nature. [LAUGHTER] – I think it’s interesting. We’re talking about
different times. I think another thing that’s
happened sort of off the field that you might not have seen
15, 20 years ago is the Take the Lead initiative that
the Red Sox started. And if you’re not
familiar, this came in the wake of the racist
incidents that took place last summer at Fenway. And it’s sort of a combined
effort of the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins,
and Revolution. They got together
and basically said, we’re going to
stand up to racism, stand up to hate speech, and
you talk about players being a sign of hope and role models. And we’re going to put
our players out there in public service announcements. And so I guess the question is– and not only that. I think you, Sam, have said we
want our players to speak out. We want our players
to speak out. – Well, I’m representing
the players. I’m old, but I’m
representing the players. Hey, I still throw a little bit. [LAUGHTER] – Well, if you go back, it’s
just about a year ago when I was home after– it
was May 1, I think– May 2, maybe. I got home after a night game,
and maybe like many of you in this room– I know my colleagues probably
share the same addiction, this device right
here in my pocket. And got home, and I’m just
checking text and email before going to bed. And on Twitter pops
up Bob Nightingale. Adam Jones was called the
n-word at Fenway Park tonight. And it just hit me
like a ton of bricks. I’m this 45-year-old Caucasian
white guy from Brookline, and you just don’t think
about those things. You just don’t when you’re
in my shoes, but you read it, and it hits you like
a ton of bricks. God, how could this be in 2017? You realize how sort
of ignorant you are, and it really just was so–
it just angered me so much, and we knew that it was going
to be really important to handle this the right way not
from a PR perspective, but from a human perspective. And so the next morning John
Henry called me and said, what do you think? And I said, well come over. Let’s sit with
our players first. And so we went to talk to
Mookie, and Jackie, and Xander, and John Farrell, and Dustin
Pedroia, and Rick Porcello. And we said, we’re going
to go talk to Adam Jones and apologize for what
happened, and the players thought that was a good idea. And it was Jackie who said,
you know, this isn’t new. This isn’t something
that doesn’t happen all over the place. And I said, yeah, but it’s
Boston and Fenway Park. We have this reputation
as this racist city. It’s just so frustrating. He said, Sam, you know,
it’s not Fenway Park. It’s not Boston. This is everywhere. It’s malls. It’s airports, public
gathering places. This stuff happens. So we left the clubhouse,
and we went over, and we talked to Adam
Jones, and he basically had the same attitude. Like, hey, what are
you apologizing for? You guys didn’t do anything. It was some idiot
out in the stands, and so anyway that happened,
and incredibly we put out this clarion call to our fans. We said, look, we don’t want
hate speech in our venues. If you hear something,
please say something. Please let us know. And later that
night, we had a woman from Nigeria singing
the national anthem, and a white male in the
stands used the n-word to describe her to another
person in the stands. And thankfully, someone
heard it, pointed them out, identified them, and
our security, and BPD– we were able to
identify the person and eject them
from the ballpark. The individual admitted to it. And it was just within 24 hours
these two incidents happened at Fenway Park in
Boston in 2017, and for us as an
organization I think it was a big wake up call. And so a lot of us got
together, including Pam Kenn, my great colleague
who’s been with us 20 years, a few others. And we said, look, what
are we going to do? And we got resources and
people around the table– elected officials. We had started to build a
relationship with the NAACP, and a brilliant woman,
Tanisha Sullivan, said, you know, you
guys have a choice. You can lean into this and
take it on as an issue, or you can just do
what most companies do and sweep it under the rug
and hope that it goes away. And so we sort of
looked at each other, and said let’s take this on, and
let’s talk to the other teams. And I can’t tell
you how incredible the Patriots, the Celtics,
the Bruins, the Revolution have been. It started with a campaign
around our venues. We don’t want hate
speech in our venues. In the case of the
Red Sox, if you engage in hate speech in our
venue, we will kick you out. We will ban you
from coming back. In some cases, we may ban you
for life from coming back, and that’s what we’ve done. [APPLAUSE] The next step is a
continuation of that. We need to try and provide
economic opportunity. We started the Take
the Lead job fair, which we just held
at the Boston Garden about two or three weeks ago,
to really give tangible ideas and teach young people to how
to get into the sports business, because it’s a great business. For someone like
me, sitting on stage with two professional
athletes, that’s pretty cool. And the only reason I’m
doing it is because I work in the sports business. So it’s a great career. It’s a great business whether
you work in a front office, for a league, a broadcast
outlet, an agency, but people need to
know how to do it, and how do you actually get in? So we wanted to give tangible
direction to young people about how to get into
the sports business. So we’re going to continue
to work with this umbrella program called Take
the Lead, and Bekah, I don’t know if you want
to add to it because you’ve been a big part of
it since coming in. – Yeah, so as much as it may
seem reactive to the incidents, I also think it’s worth
noting that programs like RBI and Scholars have been in
existence for a long time. And I think that was
one of the things that was really attractive to
me, and my personal mission of always giving back
attracted me to the foundation to know that they’d been
committed to charitable work in the community for so long. RBI is 25 years old. Scholars has been in
existence since 2003. There have been millions
of dollars donated in the community throughout
New England, particularly inner city communities,
whether that’s a monetary gift
or auction items, really making sure there’s
an intentional allocation of resources to ensure
that we’re connecting to our communities of color,
because as a person of color, I know firsthand how difficult
it is to break barriers. And to break into this industry
is very, very, very difficult. And so I do want to say, though,
that I believe the Red Sox have always been committed. It’s never ending work. I think that’s one
of the things I love about being in philanthropy
and being in nonprofit– is that there’s
always more to do. And being behind an
organization that is truly committed to this
cause and has basically said to me like any resource you
need, Bekah, we’re behind you. Go and do it. And so one of the things
that we’re exploring is larger, again, more
intentional allocation of resources into bigger
communities outside of Boston. And one of those communities
that we’re looking at is Lawrence, making
sure that we can step into gateway communities,
and be present, and make sure to recognize some
of the great work– academic, economic– that
are happening in communities outside of Boston to ensure
that we can keep that connection and keep the pipeline open
for young people, adults to come into Fenway
Park, and so they know it’s an accessible, open,
welcoming venue and space for them to partake in. So I think it’s just
relevant to note that. – Yes, and I was going to say
one of the other things that– other components of Take the
Lead, as I mentioned earlier, is the encouragement,
empowerment, for players, whether past or present,
to speak up and speak out. Pedro, I know you are someone
who enjoys speaking out and doesn’t shy away from that. And I’m just curious– advice? Because you have such a
big platform in the city, and at the same
time there’s so much scrutiny to what
players do in this city. Advice to players who
might want to speak out, whether it’s against hate
speech or whether they have some other issue that’s
near and dear to their heart? – Well, I think
everybody deep inside has a feel for the things
that are right or wrong. I know we have a
lot of young players that are playing right
now, but a lot of them, when you look at them– and I was talking to you
earlier about those things– some of those guys
are now barely old enough to go buy a drink. And they are already dealing
with the responsibility to be one Red Sox,
to be one very known person, social media, the
phones, everything being documented makes it so
hard on those kids that are bound to make mistakes
because of lack of experience– all those things
that people normally don’t stop to think about
when they’re playing the game and when they get off the field. So my advice for them
would be understand really what you’re doing, who you are,
what you mean to the people, and understand also that
it’s not just baseball. There’s a lot of
responsibilities that come attached
with it, and I think they have to understand
that baseball doesn’t stop between the white lines. And when they walk
in society, when they walk in the
neighborhoods, when they walk in the
residential areas and they drive their
nice cars, they have to realize that
everything they do has a little bit of
responsibility with it. And it’s not written
on the papers that you’re supposed
to go to communities, but they look at you. Kids look at you
as a role model. They want to be like you. I couldn’t believe
during the winter caravan that we have here at Foxwoods
I saw so many young little kids growing their hair. They wanted to be
like Benintendi. [LAUGHTER] And so many jerseys that
said Mookie on the back, and they wanted to
look like Mookie. They dressed up. They had their own
little uniform. They had the rubber bands. They have everything,
just like the players do. And that is part of their
responsibility that they have. And they’re probably
not thinking about it, but my advice would be
to really pay attention to those little details and
understand that everything they do means something to someone. And even if it is in
a good way, you’ve got to be responsible and
accountable for the things that you do. And part of the society,
part of community work comes with the package. So I will advise
them to really look into the things that
are behind their back, not just in the baseball field. – I think it’s interesting you
mentioned the things that you see and that are so
visible, especially in this city with the
spotlight on the players, but there are two
examples I wanted to bring up that
happened recently that you may have missed. And I want to get the
panel’s reaction– the panelists reaction to it. First of all, I think you have
in newly hired– or recently hired Red Sox manager Alex Cora
somebody who leads in the way that Pedro was talking about. You have to really think about
what your responsibility is. You all know he is the first
minority manager of the Red Sox in team history. I think you may also
be aware of the fact that, in the off season, he
took a trip down to Puerto Rico, where he grew up,
where his family lives to provide aid to the
victims of Hurricane Maria. What you may not know is that
that was part of his contract negotiation, and in the final
stages of that negotiation, it wasn’t about more money. It wasn’t about more years. It was about getting a
plane that could go down to Puerto Rico with that aid. That’s one example. Another example is
Christian Vazquez with his recent contract
extension, a three year, I believe, $13.3 million
contract extension, but that’s not what’s
interesting about that. In, I think, a move that’s
pretty unprecedented as far as I know, he
asked that there be a provision in his contract
that was a donation to the Red Sox Foundation. So kind of mind blowing when
you think about a player having the presence of mind– and a manager–
during the contract negotiations to think
of the community. Rebecca, because you’re the
beneficiary of that contract donation, when you heard that
that was coming your way, what was your reaction? What did you make of it? And did you think
there was something of a change taking place? – No, I think my
reaction was, no way. It was like that when
I got the phone call. Yeah, I mean, again having
worked for the Celtics and worked with those
players for five years, I’d never seen
anything like that. And this was the first time that
I’d heard it at the Red Sox, as well. So hearing it, to me, was– I mean, my immediate
thought was, wow, money. Less money I had to raise
to meet my bottom line, but beyond that I just felt that
it was a real indication that players I feel like are
starting to finally recognize the inherent value of being
invested in the community, and how giving back can be good
for your own personal brand, and how working in the
community and being present in the community
is really, really helpful for themselves both
as individuals, but also as members of a
professional sports team. And so to have that carve
out was just remarkable– that there is kind of an
element of philanthropy going on in our players’
brains is incredible. And I think there’s only
more opportunity for more. I think the other
element of that contract was that I get to work
with the player now to think about where we
can allocate those funds. So making sure that it can
be kind of part of the either portfolio of the
player or against one of his philanthropic
priorities is really interesting, because
what I’ve seen with players is the moment that
you can really have them bought into where
that investment is going is the more they’re going to
want to make the appearances, the more they’re
going to want to say, Bekah, I’m available to do this. And so making sure
that it can really go to something that he’s
himself supportive of, whether it’s a cause
or a nonprofit, is really exciting for me. And so I hope– I hope– that we can
continue to do this, and that it catches on,
and that we can really have an element in
contract with players to make it a
philanthropic mandate that they’re part
of the community. – Sam, you look like
you have something you want to say about
it, either Cora or– – No, I’m remembering back. It’s hard to believe that is
hasn’t even been a full year. Going back to the
end of last year, we had a really good season. We won 93 games. We had early exit from the
playoffs, and only in Boston would you win a World Series,
win two division championships, and then lose your job. So I have to give a big shout
out to our friend, Pedro’s friend, John Farrell, who
did an amazing job for us, as did Tito. But there clearly is a
shelf life in that position, especially in Boston. So when we made the decision
to move on from John, it was unanimous before
the process started that we thought Alex Cora
would be the right guy, but we went through a process
sort of like the process to hire Bekah. We were proven right,
that after interviewing the other candidates,
Alex stood out just the way Bekah did
as the right person to join the Red Sox. The problem was he
was under contract in the postseason with
the Astros on their way to a World Series championship. So we had to navigate the Major
League Baseball waters of no tampering and getting
permission to interview him. And he was literally
flying in to interview on off days in the American
League Championship Series, and then we needed to get
him in front of John Henry and Tom Werner in New York at a
hotel at midnight after a game, so it was a little bit tricky. But when we ultimately
got the green light to make a deal with
him, Dave Dombrowski negotiated directly with him. It took, I think, about five
minutes to reach agreement on a first year managerial
contract for Alex Cora to join the Red Sox. And everything– it just seemed
to be too good to be true. He was the hottest managerial
candidate on the planet. We’ve had an agreement
with him, and we’re ready to send him a term sheet. Then Dave calls back and says
there’s one little problem, one little issue. And I’m thinking,
oh god, here we go. As you said, more
years, more money, bigger suite on the
road, first class travel in the off– something. No, no, no, no, no. He wants a plane. I said, what do you
mean, he wants a plane? Planes are expensive. He said, no, no, no, no. He wants a plane to go
from Boston to Puerto Rico this off season to
shine a light on what’s going on in Puerto Rico. He’s got supplies
all over the country that can come to Boston
that we can take down there. So anyway, we called up
our friends at JetBlue. We got a plane, and we went
down to Caguas, Puerto Rico to Alex’s hometown. And I think it really
just says a lot about who this guy is as a person. Look, he’s a rookie manager
in the American League East. It’s going to be difficult.
It’s going to be hard, but from his time
with us from 2005 through 2008, as Pedro
knows a lot better than me, he was a fantastic
teammate, a go to guy. When we needed him to do
things in the community, I think he was someone– Pam would probably agree– pick
up the phone, and call him, and he was there for you. So he’s been a great addition,
and he’s a very special person. – And just, Pedro, as you hear
these stories both about Cora and Vazquez, what goes– I mean, I can also
see you smiling. There seems to be a
certain amount of pride that this has become
the Red Sox legacy and that this is where
it’s at with both the manager and young players. – Well, that’s a
clear sign of what you were saying
about the future, about the legacy that some other
players are living out there. I’m part of it. I feel proud of those
guys doing that. I’ve been part of so many
things that the Puerto Rican players do in Puerto
Rico, just like they have been part of the things
that I do in the Dominican Republic, and we
support each other. And it’s no surprise
to me that Christian wants to do that as soon as
he gets a little bit of money. He’s seen that before, and
that’s what it’s all about. They have seen the examples
of the Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and those
guys– the Alomar brothers, Roberto Clemente living his
life in the middle of the sea to go help people in Nicaragua. That’s the legacy. That’s what you want. That’s what you want to see. Pretty soon we’re going to
have to sign another player, and it doesn’t have
to be precisely from Puerto Rico
or the Dominican, but that player is
going to try to be another Christian Vazquez, or an
Alex Cora, or a Pedro Martinez. It doesn’t matter who
they choose to be, but they are probably going
to be doing the same thing because they saw
it on someone else, and that’s what makes these
kind of things that we do in the community important– is that the future
that’s coming over has something to emulate
when they go forward. – I think also it seems like
the community expects it now perhaps more than
they have in the past. And I don’t know if, Bekah,
you see that in your work that they expect
this philanthropy. They expect this connection
among the players. – Yeah, I mean what
I’ve been thinking about as I’m listening to Pedro is
that representation matters, and I think it’s critically
important that, as much as we can– and I know this is in Pam’s
team, the Community Relations Department– we’re getting
our players into the community so that our young
kids of color can see individuals
that are successful and know that they can make it. And making that
connection, I think, is the most important thing. I know baseball plays
700 games a season– very different than basketball. So the players are
far less available than they are in basketball,
but they do make an effort, and they do make time. One example is that we have
Jackie Bradley Jr. Every home game on a Friday he’s agreed
to come out and meet with some of our Red Sox
Scholars, and so we’re making a connection,
a personal connection. He spends about 30 minutes
with them away from cameras, away from people, just talking. Taking pictures, of course,
signing autographs– that’s fine. But more than that, it’s
really just talking to them about what they’re
doing and helping to create some
sort of inspiration of a pathway for them,
and vision for them that they can be successful. And so really trying to make
those little connections as often as we can, either at
the park or in the community is, I think, what
it’s all about. – I think we’d be sort of
remiss in this conversation if we didn’t mention
some of the criticism that players get for speaking
out, for being activists. I’m referencing
here, of course, the take a knee movement
in the NFL that has players kneeling
during the national anthem. Trump has spoken out about it. The NFL owners, and
players, and coaches have had a difficult
time figuring out how they’re going
to handle it, how they’re going to deal with it. And out of that, I think
what’s interesting is that sort of this– has come the players
should not be involved. The phrase is the shut
up and dribble part of this– that
there’s that fallout. And I’m curious, Pedro,
when you hear somebody say, essentially, you shouldn’t
care about your community, you should just stick to
sports, what’s your reaction? – That’s a no-no for me. I think I care about my– [LAUGHTER] I will always care
about my community. My community is my strength. My community is my support. I can’t ignore my community,
but at the same time, it’s so complicated to try to
explain why we see mistakes that probably a Dominican
that’s not as well educated wouldn’t commit– why are we seeing some mistakes
so high up on the top where the leaders of the world are
thinking like little kids sometimes? [APPLAUSE] And just like good
things could be copied by serving
as an example, I think the same message
needs to go to the people– the leaders of the world. When it comes to the sports, to
the respect for the fan base, for the community, for the
people that pay our salaries, I think we should continue
to just respect the sport, respect the people
that come to see you. You should respect your flag. You should respect the
integrity of our job. We should always take
that in consideration. Never forget that
people help people. I remember I was
landing in Tampa in 2001 as those planes were
hitting the twin towers. It was early in the morning. We had been stranded in New
York for such a long time. We were tired, beat up,
getting our luggages to our rooms and stuff like
that when that happened. And I remember how the entire
country just came together and gave each other a hug. I don’t know how you
felt, but I felt it. I felt that, at
that moment, when so many innocent
lives were going away, that’s when we
really got strong. We started holding hands. It should be the same
way all around the world. If a bunch of aliens
came down to erase us, we will all be
fighting together. So why not here? Why not in these
kind of situations? Let’s stick together. People help people, and
people respect people. Let’s treat everybody
like a human being, not really as an individual. Humans are humans, and we
all look out for each other, and we respect each other. That’s my point of view
when it comes to that. – This panel is
about citizenship. We’re talking about citizenship. It’s so great to listen to Pedro
talk, because you’re just– if you’ve ever needed a reminder
about what leadership is all about, at the end
of the day, it’s about bringing people together,
not dividing them and tearing them apart. So I think as a Red Sox– [APPLAUSE] –yeah, I agree. I grew up a mile
from Fenway Park, and we couldn’t– we
just couldn’t win. We couldn’t quite get there in
the ’70s, and ’80s, and ’90s. And it took leaders to come
in and bring people together, and David Ortiz talks a lot
about Pedro as his mentor. So these guys, they
did it together, and they showed us
how to win in 2004. And then as special as ’04 was
and how much it meant to all of us, and our
fathers, our mothers– in my case, my grandmother– it was amazing. But Pedro, you talk
about 9/11, and it got me thinking about April, 2013. And when those bombs went
off at the finish line, I guarantee you
every single person in this room has
got their own story, and they were affected
in some certain way. And the Red Sox– we felt it was
critically important to just do everything we could
that year to be sort of a part of
the healing process. Pam’s team was unbelievable
at bringing in survivors and their families,
but it was David Ortiz who said what needed
to be said on April 20. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. – Didn’t put any
makeup on it either. – No. [LAUGHTER] And when we went
to the White House, Obama said, you got a hall pass. You can say whatever you want. And David takes a
selfie with him, and that’s whole other story. But it really is important,
I think, for organizations to support their players and
lift up their status as role models, as leaders. Now, not every
player wants that. We certainly understand
that, but as an industry, as a sports industry,
Commissioner Manfred and his group– I think they’re
really working hard to try and celebrate the great
personalities and players. And with the Red Sox, ever
since I walked through that door my first day in
2002, we’ve had that. And we have the next generation
coming behind Pedro and David with Mookie, and Jackie,
and Xander, and Benintendi, and Devers. And we’re so fortunate to be
a part of this era in Red Sox baseball, because it
wasn’t always like this. – Yes, and with success
comes higher ticket prices. – This was going so well. [LAUGHTER] – You may be aware, if you’ve
gone to a Red Sox game, they have one of
the most expensive– they call it game experiences. That’s the combination
of tickets, parking, and concessions. I think they’re
actually now ranked third behind the Yankees
and Seattle Mariners– latest check. And let’s be honest, that
makes the actual game inaccessible to a significant
portion of the fan base. So you talk about the
importance of representation. You’ve got to have
the representation, I would think, not
only in the community, but also in the ballpark. What are you doing
to address that? – Well, I’m glad you asked. [LAUGHTER] Do you have any other questions
before we come back to that? [LAUGHTER] – No, I’m just kidding. We have very expensive
ticket prices. No, we don’t hide behind that. We have corporate revenue
that we pursue aggressively, broadcast revenue that
we pursue aggressively. We try to stage non-baseball
events to drive revenues. We make no bones about that. At the end of the day,
we are a business. We’ve got a payroll north
of $200 million this year, so we do need to run a business. That said, I would challenge
your premise and your assertion that it’s not accessible,
because we have to make Fenway Park accessible. Look, we talked a
lot about teachers. My mom was a teacher. My dad was a teacher in his own
right– an Episcopal clergyman. I got to go to Fenway Park
on his clergy pass for $2. So I know what it’s
like to have parents who can’t afford season
tickets or even tickets, but to get into Fenway for $2. – And you re-instituted
the clergy pass, right? – And not everyone
has a father who is a clergyman, especially if
you’re a Kennedy from Boston. That’s a whole other story
I’ll tell you about later. But we decided two
years ago that we didn’t want to have to answer
that question ever again moving forward. So we started our
Student 9 program. So now, for every single game,
every year at Fenway Park we have $9 tickets
for students– high school, middle school,
college, graduate students– $9 tickets, less than the
cost of a movie ticket, for every single game. We have tickets available. If we’re going to be
approaching a sell out, we affirmatively
hold back tickets to make $9 tickets available
specifically for young people. Now, you may get a
standing room ticket. You may get a seat
behind a pole. On a night like tonight, you
may get a field box ticket, because we’re only at
32,000 paid tonight. So one of the
benefits– we sold out Fenway Park for nine years
straight, which was great. We had a wonderful
sellout streak. Everyone wanted to
see Pedro and David, but one of the benefits
of having more inventory is that it is accessible. So we have this
student ticket program. We have $15 tickets, $20
tickets, $25 tickets. We have tier five
games, where tickets are priced more affordably. Yes, we have luxury boxes,
dugout seats, very, very expensive tickets in
the Dell EMC Club, the State Street
Pavilion, but we sort of look at it as the Robin
Hood theory of pricing. Let’s charge
corporations and people that can afford higher
end ticket prices, and keep the low end
low so it’s accessible. The other thing that
we’re trying to do is open up Fenway Park year
round with new and different exciting events, whether
it’s soccer, outdoor ice hockey, college football,
ski jumping and snowboarding. We’re trying to bring in
a new young demographic to Fenway Park, because if
you don’t care for your sport, things can happen. If you look at the
state of boxing or horse racing in the United
States right now, those sports used to
dominate the landscape. And we don’t ever
take that for granted, so we want to get
people into Fenway, and we are making it
affordable and accessible. – And the foundation has
events like Picnic in the Park. – Yeah, so this is
my favorite question because I get to give away
free tickets as part of my job. So actually just in April
we donated out 1,100 tickets to the foundation,
which is incredible. So I do get– I have the fortunate
job of getting access to a lot of donated tickets
back from season ticket holders either
the day of a game, or pre-game, several days out. And so what I do with
my team is allocate them to nonprofits in the
community that we know are making an impact. And so again, 1,100 in one
month is a good number. We continually get tickets
from the team, as well. So we have chunks of 75
throughout the season that we’re able to give
out to large groups. We have tickets from the team
that we have every single game that we’re able to donate out to
nonprofits and to organizations that are trying to raise
money through raffles, or silent auctions, and whatnot. So we do have an intentional
effort against making sure that we can donate
out to the community to make sure we’re getting
people in that might not have the means to be there. So the other thing that
we’re making sure to do is have other access
points for Red Sox nation and/or their fans
to get into the ballpark. And so my foundation team
runs about 12 events a year varying from Picnic in the
Park, which is we basically put on a concert in the outfield. And so paid fans
come in, and you get to meet every single player. We line them up at a table. You get an auction, and
you get a picnic blanket, and some food, and
some drinks, and you get to sit down and hang
out, and hear a band play music for the afternoon. So it’s events like
that that we want to make sure we’re getting
people into the stadium– or Fenway Park. I’m still learning
terms for baseball. Sorry. – Larry Lucchino would never let
you call it a stadium, right, [INAUDIBLE]? It’s a ballpark. – Yeah, no, I call Alex Cora
the head coach all the time. – Head coach. [LAUGHTER] – All the time, all the time. And spring break, preseason. It’s just soccer games are
never going to go away from me. – And wait until you have to
learn all of those in Spanish. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] – So it’s really fun that
we’re able to put on different events– like we have concerts
in the right field roof deck at much, much, much lower
prices– sometimes free. We can get individuals from the
community into the ballpark. – I’m going to turn shortly
to audience questions. I know the microphone is going
to be coming down the center aisle, and you can line
up to ask questions, but while we wait for
that to happen and wait for everyone to line up, I
wanted to ask the panelists– you mentioned Red Sox nation. It’s a unique term for this
unique fandom, and I am sure– and it speaks to the
devotion of the fan base and the far reach
of the fan base. So I would like to
hear from each of you if there’s an experience
you’ve had that sort of really typifies what it is to be one
of the most visible members now of Red Sox nation,
if there’s been a moment, an
interaction, something that you’ve experienced
where you’re like, wow, this is what Red Sox
nation is all about. – I have one. It’s not going to be
as good as Pedro’s. Let me go first so I
don’t have to follow him. – I’ll be last. I’ll be the last. – So one of my children– I have three kids– goes to a Boston public
school in Dorchester called the Henderson,
and I was there the other day picking him up. And I hear from
across the room– I’m walking through a hallway,
and this teacher goes, can I have your autograph? I was like, who? Is she talking to me? And she runs up to me,
and she’s like, oh my god, I saw you on NESN, and
I’m the biggest Red Sox fan in the world. And so that has never happened
to me ever, ever, ever. Not even when I was a
professional athlete has that ever happened,
unless they are five years old and a soccer player. So to have people that
actually watch pre-game on NESN is amazing, and that they now
know my face because I’m on TV every home Friday
on NESN is amazing. So I gave her the autograph. No, I’m just kidding. I didn’t sign an autograph. So that for me just, I think,
is telling that she, again, watched all of– I was going to say pre-season–
all of spring training and watches every
pre-game on NESN, and every single game, course. So it’s just one small
testament to Red Sox nation. – Sam, you’re next. – I’ll never forget
getting off the plane after coming back from St. Louis
and Pedro was grabbing laptops. Remember we were teasing Theo? And we rolled right
into the parade, and obviously I’m back office– front office, but you’re in
the background, where you should be behind the scenes. But thanks to Mayor
Menino at the time, we were all allowed as
front office members to go on the floats
in the parade. So that was sort
of our 90 minutes of feeling like a rock star. You would just look at these
people in office buildings, and wave to them, and
they would just go crazy, and you’d say wow,
this is pretty cool. And my wife, who was on the
float with me, kept saying, stop doing that. They’re not here for you. Shut up. [LAUGHTER] But I don’t know how many
people were actually there, but I think it was close
to five million people. I mean, it had been 86
years, and the estimates– I heard all sorts of
different estimates, but now I sound like Donald
Trump promoting how many people were at the inauguration. Sorry. [LAUGHTER] It was a lot of people,
and it was really loud, and it was an unbelievable
feeling that I’ll never forget. – Well, you were talking about
giving away tickets and stuff, and talking about Fenway Park, I
might be the most unique person for the most unique place
for the most unique fan base and the most loyal fan
base I’ve ever seen in Boston. And let me tell you why. I was here for seven years,
and I took the mound– every single time
I took the mound, it wasn’t a baseball game. It was an event at Fenway. And I never threw
a pitch in Boston since I got here that the
stadium wasn’t sold out. And why am I saying this? I’ve never seen a game
from sitting in the stadium that Fenway is the
most unique place– and I’m saying this with pride– Fenway is the most unique place
that a big leaguer can probably think of to pitch a
game or to play a game. And at the same time, I’m
saying this because I believe, expensive or not expensive,
this is the most loyal fan base in all of baseball. And I’m sorry. We’re not disrespecting
any other organization. – That’s OK. You can disrespect. [LAUGHTER] – This is the fan base. This is Red Sox nation. [APPLAUSE] That was the biggest
impression for me. It was the fact that I never got
to pitch a game without Fenway being sold out, and that
showed me a lot about loyalty, because you had your heart
broken many times way before I got here and after I got here. But thanks to god,
we made it up. [APPLAUSE] – We’ll turn to
audience questions now. If you could just identify
yourself before you ask your question. – Sure. My name is Matthew, and
I’m a freshman at Harvard. I spent the past two
summers teaching in Samana in the Dominican Republic. – Really? Beautiful place, huh? – Yeah, I agree. So my question is for Pedro. So first of all, [SPANISH]. – [SPANISH]. – [SPANISH]. – [SPANISH]. – [SPANISH]. So my question is,
what do you think needs to happen in
the Dominican Republic to reduce poverty
within the country? And do you think that
baseball has a role in that? – Baseball not
only has a role, I think it’s a great ambassador
for the young athletes that we have, but
always remember not everybody is going to get
the opportunity to be a Pedro Martinez, a David Ortiz, or– as many players as you
hear from Dominican, there are far more
that fail on the way over to the big leagues. Put it this way. 1 out of 450 will be probably
an accurate average– will probably make it
to the 40 man roster, have an opportunity to
play in the big leagues. That’s not counting establishing
himself in the big leagues. What makes you a big
leaguer is the consistency, and not all the time
you get a player that’s going to be consistent
in the big leagues. And that’s what gets you money,
too, is being consistent. And for the
Dominican Republic, I think the first step
that needs to be taken is to get rid of corruption in
the system from top to bottom. The Dominican
Republic is corrupt. I’m not saying it’s
everybody, but the politicians have a bad rap around them. And I’m not saying
it’s all of them, but the system is messed up. And that’s where new
leaders have to be born, and education needs to be
the center of the Dominican Republic right along with Haiti. For people that don’t
know, Dominican and Haiti share the island
divided by a river. It has no walls. You see as many
Haitians right now and you see Dominicans,
as you see Venezuelans. There’s no borders there. There’s not really. There’s no order. So that’s why we struggle
more, and more, and more. And the education system is
one of the worst in the world, and that needs to be addressed. The corruption needs to go
away so that people don’t start thinking about filling
their pockets in order for the Dominican to
become a little bit better. And it’s not any time soon. It takes a lot of
work, but I think getting rid of corrupt
people that are there to fill up their pockets– right along with Haiti, too. It’s the same problem. It’s the same
problem that we have. If we don’t get
rid of that and we center ourself
towards education, and putting it in the
hands of people that want to be clean and want
to have a better future, we’re standing in front
of a lot of struggles. – Thank you. – Hi, my name is Brian. One thing that disappoints me–
and maybe you could explain why this is– so many diehard sports
fans in Boston– maybe across the country– are really misinformed
in American politics. So many of them
are right wingers, and they’re diehard Republicans. They’re so loyal to Republicans
it’s like their sports team. Why don’t more players step
up, use their platform, use their position of
loyalty that they have, and educate their own fan base,
and endorse specific candidates for political office? It just seems to be so rare. And I’m not talking about
the people in this room, but I’m saying from my
experience, and observation, and listening to talk radio,
and sports talk radio, it just seems– – I have some advice
for you on that topic– don’t listen. [LAUGHTER] Turn it off– country-western. Let me take a shot
of that, Pedro. I think the premise
is flawed that, just because someone like
Pedro Martinez or David Ortiz has the ability and
the willingness– or let me throw
our another name, Curt Schilling– have the
ability and willingness to speak out, and
they have a platform, doesn’t mean that
all athletes, or even the majority of athletes,
are comfortable doing that. And I can give you
a firm example. Last year, in the wake of
the Adam Jones incident, we had many one on
one conversations, group conversations with
guys in our clubhouse– and they’ll remain nameless– who are young in their
career and just simply said, you know, I’m not comfortable
talking about issues of race or issues of politics. And so it’s not
for every player. They’re asked to
do a lot of things, and I’d also say
that, while players– it’s great to celebrate
players’ social views or have them speak up on
different things from time to time– there are a lot of sports fans
that I hear from that say, enough. I turn on MSNBC
and Fox News, and I hear Trump this or Obama
that, or Charlie Baker this, and Marty Walsh that. I want to watch sports
to get away from it. I want to enjoy sports. I don’t want these issues of
the day brought into sports. So it’s a tricky issue,
I think, for players, and you put a lot of
pressure on players who might not be comfortable
dealing or speaking out on these issues, because
every word you said gets dissected over,
and over, and over. And unless you’re the
great Pedro Martinez, who can say whatever he wants– – Not really. [LAUGHTER] – It’s a lot of pressure
on these players. – There’s social media
right there looking at us. Everything is documented. You have to really
be cautious now. Plus, let me bring something
from a baseball player’s probably standpoint. The season is so long. We’re always 24/7,
like you hear in WEEI– 24/7 talking sports. We’re under the scrutiny
every single moment. And I was saying
that earlier, too. It’s hard to believe that
a 20-year-old is going to be held responsible for
probably something so small like cursing at someone
over having a bad day. And it’s documented. You throw it out
there in social media, and it’s right away
blown out of proportion that this guy is a bad guy,
or he has a bad attitude just because he was young,
snapped one time, and he was caught
on a cell phone. That’s how simple it is for
a player to get in trouble. And sometimes they just want
to really concentrate on the long season they have. They’re busy thinking,
how am I going to figure out the little slump
that I’m going at 20 years old? And all I want to do is really
play baseball and let the older guys, or the guys that are
ready to explain those things go do it instead of me having to
take that load on my shoulder when I don’t really understand
what I’m going to say, maybe because of lack
of experience, too. So they try to simplify
things, and baseball is really complicated. And for a long
season, where you want to be established as
a baseball player, you don’t want any
distractions, so you try to stay away from those things. – Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Hi, I’m Maggie, and I’m
a sophomore at Harvard. So that means that I would have
been in first grade in 2004, and one of my favorite memories
is my parents running upstairs to wake me up after my
brother and I had already gone to bed to come back down
and watch the ninth inning. So I was hoping
that you could share one of your favorite
baseball memories. – My favorite memory– and it still rings my head– is just coming that morning. It was like the last out. Took forever. For a guy that had been
in the baseball field for so long that surely
should understand what finishing a game is
like, the anxiety that I had to see that last
out be recorded for Boston seems to me like it
was in slow motion. And ever since we
got that last out, it was like a dream
come true for me. And when I finally got
here in the morning, and Sam is talking about so
many things that I probably did. [LAUGHTER] – It was a fun, fun flight. When I was about to
step out of the bus, I had the trophy in my hands,
and the oldest players– the oldest player that we had
in the team was Ellis Burks. He told me, Pedro,
wait a minute. I know you’re the one
handing it out to Boston, but I want to be the
one receiving it, because he went
through the struggles. I don’t know if you
remember, but Ellis was part of those teams
that got their heart broken. He goes, I want to be part
of what you helped create. And I went. I took the step on the
last step of the bus, and I handed the trophy
to the land in Boston. That was, to me,
the biggest memory. The last out was great, but the
trophy meant, Boston, here you have it. Now I’m totally
settled with Boston. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] – That’s so good. So good. – Hi, I’m Jay. Last time I went
to a Red Sox game it cost $1 to sit
in the bleachers. That was in ’75. So I think we have to give Mr.
Yawkey a little bit of credit of keeping the game accessible
to the working class, not just to students. And it seems to me that
lately over the years the game has become more
of a marketing vehicle for advertising than it
has for sports or community development. You go to the stadium. It’s saturated with ads. The broadcasts are all
saturated with ads. This is really a means not of
developing community spirit, but of integrating out groups
into a consumerist society, isn’t it, more than anything? – Is that a Boston
Globe reporter, or? [LAUGHTER] I appreciate you question. And it’s interesting, if you
look at photos from the 1920s, and ’30s, and ’40s, you’ll
see ads on the Green Monster. I mean, you’re not wrong in that
we have to generate revenues as a company, as a club,
because we have players to pay. We have front
office folks to pay. So it is a business,
and we recognize that, but we also recognize the
Red Sox here in this market are so much more. It’s a public trust. And I can tell you, having
worked there, since day one– February 27, 2002– when
John Henry, and Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino arrived
as the new owners, 17 years in they’re still the new
owners of the Red Sox. It’s what we do in Boston. It takes 30 years to
get native status. These guys, they care. We’ve had some high highs,
like ’04, and ’07, and ’13. We’ve had some low
lows, but they care. And we are doing
everything we can to be active participants
in the community, to give back through
the foundation, through our community outreach. I mentioned how
we’re trying to keep ticket prices affordable
for tier five games, tier four games, having lower
prices to complement the higher prices. But we do recognize
it is expensive, and we appreciate the
fan support that we get. And at the end of the
day, it is a business, so we have to balance
that challenge. – Hi, my name is Duncan. This is my 40th year as a season
ticket holder for the Sox. – Thank you. – And through those
years, I’ve coached my son in Little League
and travel teams, watched a lot of high
school, college baseball. I’m a baseball junkie. And I just get very concerned
in the youth of America that interest in
baseball is fading. And a lot of it to me I
think is because baseball– I think hitting a
baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports,
and so a lot of people give up in instant mediocrity,
and lacrosse, and off you go. [LAUGHTER] But it’s inner city kids,
suburban kids, whatever. And what major league baseball
has done in Latin America with the camps, and the
academies, raising kids up and everything, why can’t
we do that in America, too, and maybe get the
interest back in? – Well, I’ll kick it to
Bekah and Pedro for a minute, but we do have a bit of
an image or a PR problem. I don’t think so
much in New England, but we have 75
million fans attending our games, which is more than
all of the other major sports combined. We have more consumers
consuming baseball as a product on
television, and radio, on the internet than
the other sports given the amount of games, the
amount of inventory we have. And there was a very,
very bright spot at the last major league
baseball owners meetings, where we learned
for the second time in two years over
the last two years participation rates
in baseball have increased by 2.5 million people
from ’16 to ’17, which is big. So we’re just under 25
million boys and girls playing baseball and
softball, and that’s something to be celebrated. It’s seven or eight
times the amount of young people playing
lacrosse, for example, the sport that you [INAUDIBLE]. So I really do
think it’s something that– we need to focus on that
product to make sure that kids have the excess, and they
fall in love with it, but I think baseball, especially
in New England, is healthy. I think one major
issue we have– you mentioned it– is
the infection of AAU and club sports
coming into baseball. And Bekah, maybe
you want to talk about that, given your
experience as a youth athlete. You really need to have
kids playing and not turning to these pay
for play programs and playing year round. I think you’re better
off playing Little League and then playing another sport. – Yeah, and that’s why we invest
so heavily in the RBI program, making sure that we
can have close to over 700 inner city
Boston young people participating in baseball and
softball every single summer, and we actually have seen
retention there growing. One of the things
we’re trying to do is build in some social and
emotional development, gender specific social and emotional
development, particularly for young girls,
to ensure that we can have them coming back
and having a fun experience. I was actually just in
Springfield this morning with MLB running a
clinic for 150 fourth through sixth graders
out there, and had an interesting conversation
with the gentleman that runs their community
relations department. And hearing them talk
about their investment that they’re going to be
making across the country– he was just telling me
about a 24 hour game that they’re playing out in– I was going to say Springfield. Not Springfield. Alaska– not even
close to Springfield. So they’re going out there to do
a whole 24 hour midnight game. And he was talking
about going to Hawaii. I’ll definitely try
to get into that one. [LAUGHTER] But they are really
being intentional about going into communities
and doing what– one of the programs they have
is called Play Ball, which is literally just fun. It’s bringing out Wiffle balls,
softballs, and soft bats, and teaching kids how to ground. There’s no mitts. So everything is
really, really basic, but there’s music playing. It’s making sure young people
have a fun initial experience with the sport to
hopefully build a retention and love for the game so
that they keep coming back, because you’re right. I think we are losing
out to elite athletes that want to only be
specific in one sport, and that they don’t want to be
diversified in their portfolio, to be fairly formal. But I really believe in having
young people participate in as many sports as possible as
young as possible to really be exposed to the game, because
it’s a beautiful thing, A, and, B, obviously we know
that there is a proven– I know there is a proven
link between academics and athletics. And so when you can introduce
sports to young people, they’re going to be
academically successful. So all that to say
I think there is an intentional effort with
MLB and us to make sure we’re investing deeply. We fund over 200 Mass Little
League programs right now. So enabling 3,000 young
people to play sports across Massachusetts
is incredible. So we’re making the investment,
and we know the importance there. – My name is Sal Bolanos. I live and work in Boston. Part time student
here at Harvard. Combat veteran. I met you at the Army-Navy
game last week, Sam. [SPANISH], Pedro? – Gracias [SPANISH]. – Anyway, two part question. You have a way
with words, Pedro. – [INAUDIBLE]. – People help people. – Way with words. – Humans are humans. Who, in baseball,
has helped you not only adjust to
the baseball life, but in life in
the United States? And also, who have
you mentored as far as adjusting to life
in baseball and being an immigrant in this country? – Thank you. That’s great, and
some great questions. First of all, I must
say faith in god– basic in our house. Mom and dad, the influence. Most of the things that
you probably don’t relate to baseball, but they are. When they teach
you to be strong, to work, to do all
those things, they’re holding you responsible. And they want you to
be the best that you can be in everything you do. If I start mentioning names of
people that really influenced my way of being, my way of
thinking, and my experience, I probably wouldn’t
finish tonight, but I would have to
say that the base– and I will say it again. It’s all about the base,
because we do have here a base program that we visit. And that was, I guess,
the national anthem that they have at the base. The base– it’s all
about the base to me. It was all about the base. How my mom and dad were
able to raise us right and make us strong to
actually face adversity, and face whatever we
had to face, and also be respectful of
what we were doing and respect human
beings as human beings. Like you said, a human helps a
human, and I said it earlier. It’s all because of my mom
and dad and the strong faith and belief that they
introduced to us. – Gracias. – Hi, my name’s David. My last Little League
season was in 1999, which was Pedro prime time. So I’d love to ask him about
Don Zimmer or his amazing change up, which, by the
way, 25% of batters swung and missed at
the change up in 2002, and that wasn’t even
Pedro’s best season. – Statistics. [LAUGHTER] – So, but I have to ask
Sam a question, which is you talked about
the pain that you felt when you heard what had
happened with Adam Jones. And I think all of us
who grew up as fans and feel the way you do can also
read the history about Jackie Robinson’s sham tryout
at Fenway and feel that same type of pain,
and shock, and really embarrassment, because this is a
team that we feel ownership of. So with that in mind, why isn’t
the Yawkey Morse code coming off the Green Monster? – A very timely question
and something that we’ve been talking about internally. For right now, we have
decided that we’re going to keep recognition
of Mr. And Mrs. Yawkey that exist inside the ballpark. Tom Yawkey’s in the
Red Sox hall of fame. He’s in the Cooperstown
hall of fame, and the Morse code initials
have been on that board since the ’70s. And really our thinking
around that could change, but right now we’ve been focused
on the message of inclusion at the ballpark. And the name on the front door
where 85%, 90% of our fans come through gate A
and gate D has been what we’ve been focused on. And you have a tricky time
going back and looking at the history of
every single player, for example, that’s been
recognized in the Hall of Fame either in Cooperstown
or with the Red Sox, but that’s where
we are right now, and we’ve really been focused on
that symbol on our front door, but that position
or that decision could change in the future. But that’s where
we are right now. – I know we’re all very
engrossed in this conversation, but in order to
keep things moving, I think we’re going to take
two questions at a time and try to make sure everybody
gets where they need to go. – Thanks. My name is Ronald
Herman, and thank you, folks, for being here and
spending some time with us. I’ll try to sneak
in two questions. Dominican born, my dad
would be really upset if I didn’t get a question in. So to make him proud,
I’m going to ask two. The first is for you, Pedro. I think one of the things
that made you great was your competitiveness. And so now that you’re
retired, how do you continue to feed that
competitiveness in you? And the second question
is for you, Sam. In baseball today– or more so
in the Red Sox organization, what kind of programs are
there for foreign born players that struggle to
fit in culturally into baseball or into Boston? How do you help those? And I ask that because
I moved to this country when I was eight
years old, and I struggled with that in Boston. And so I wonder what the Red
Sox is doing for players. – Well, how do I deal with the
competitiveness that I have? I pitch to my kids. [LAUGHTER] I’m still eager
to go and compete. When I see those series
that come over special with the Yankees and stuff, and
the rivalry and stuff, my god, I wish I was there sometimes,
but my time is done. But the reason why
I was so competitive was really I was hungry. I wanted it. I wanted it against the best. I wanted it against the biggest. And I wanted it well done. And so I really dragged myself
to compete in the best way possible against the best. And I did not want
to fall short, because I would be dishonoring
what my mom and dad told me. And I told you. It was all about the base. They told me to be strong,
and compete, and kick and scratch for whatever
I wanted to get. And that’s why I was
fearless out there. Regardless of what happened, I
was going to try to go forward. So that’s my pure answer. Now you. – Well, in terms of our
international signings and bringing players into
the Red Sox organization, it’s a hugely important part of
what we do each and every day. We’ve had players from the
Dominican, from Puerto Rico, from Venezuela, from– – Panama. – From Panama. From China. – Nicaragua. – Nicaragua. – It’s expanding. – And we go on, and on, and on. And we have many
people that focus on the development of our
young players on the field. We also have a very important
support network off the field, and there is a 20 year
incredible employee of the Red Sox, a woman named
Raquel Ferreira, who was our Vice President
of Baseball Operations. She was actually just on a
panel with Bekah the other day. She is also a rock star, and she
deals with the players and all of the issues related to getting
anything they need in terms of financial services, or
transportation, or residential, medical, and dealing
with families living in another country. So she has a department of
folks that work on those issues. And the second thing
we do is something we started about a
decade and a half, maybe 12 years ago, as the Red
Sox rookie development program. So when players come in,
when they’re in that sort of triple-A year, we think
they’re going to get ready to make that jump
to the big leagues, we have them come to Boston
for a week in January to try and make sure they know how to
get everything they might need in the city of Boston– where to live,
where to stay, how to make the transition from
Rhode Island, Pawtucket, up to Boston. So we have about 330 men and
women that work at the Red Sox and about 150 in
baseball operations set up as that
apparatus for support. – And I wouldn’t
be a true feminist without saying that
we also have support for the wives of the
players that come. – Yes, good point. – So it is a huge
transition for, I think, a wife or partner of
a lot of these players to come into a new
city with nothing– with no friends,
with no knowledge of where to go for what. And so we have staff that
are dedicated to making sure that the wives feel
comfortable and assimilated, and have their needs met for
their children, for themselves. And we make sure that
there are connections there between the wives
and the players, and their agents, and
front office staff. So just making sure
that we can also– the whole family is
taken care of, not just the players, as well. – And we’re going
to try this again. Just two questions– – Two people. – Two people at a time. – Thank you so much
for involving us in asking questions. I’m Ray. I’m a public library
volunteer, and I just wanted to shine a light
on the excellent program, Read Your Way to Fenway, that’s
been a part of my children’s lives and the communities’
lives for as long as I’ve lived in Boston. And I just wanted
to ask quickly, what are your plans to support
the program in the coming years? – So I’m going to– sorry, you
want the second question now? – Wait, wait. Second– just if you
could come forward. Just going to try to speed
things along a little bit. – My name is Francisco, and
I’m first generation, born Dominican, born here in Boston. So played in the RBI
league and did all that. – Yay. – And growing up,
when Pedro pitched, I felt like in the
Dominican community it was like a holiday. And I want to know if– – It’s called a curfew. It was called a curfew
that day in the Dominican. – Yeah, seriously. – Even the president
would take it off. [LAUGHTER] – When you were
taking that mound, was that something that was
in the back of your mind, knowing that here
in Boston there is such a strong
Dominican community that was rooting for you? – Yes, it was. It was always a sense of
responsibility for it. Like I said, there are
things that you don’t know that come with the package. Being Dominican, representing
the Dominican Republic was something that
I was always aware. I was aware that I was
carrying the Dominican flag, as well so I was competing. So for me, it was really
important that I did it right and that I carried the honor
of representing my country. It was always important. – Then I can take
your first question. I’m going to pull my I’ve been
on this job for three months card right now and say
that I have not yet learned or know in depth
about that program, but I’m happy to give
you my card after, and we can follow up and
make sure to support. – Thanks. – And the Read
Your Way to Fenway program is still going
on and will continue. – [INAUDIBLE]. – And we’d be in
big trouble if we didn’t, because my
mother-in-law is a librarian, and big time in the library. So we can talk offline. – Hi, I’m a teacher. [SPEAKING SPANISH] I
want to kind of just present that Pedro
has been a person who has inspired everyone in
this room, but especially my students. – Thank you. – Back when I first
started, I had Tony Pena, who came to my
school, and the town lit up. I was a teacher in
Boston and also in Salem. But there are other people
who were predecessors– Mike Fornieles, Earl Wilson. If you study what
happened to Earl Wilson, the legacy is there that is so
sad, but we have in front of us someone who is celebrated
instead of denigrated. And that, to me, is
extremely important going through the years. If we looked at Reggie Smith,
if we looked at Elston Howard, I was there for the first
game for Pumpsie Green. My father had season tickets. Can you imagine, in the
’50s, season tickets? But we did. Jim Rice has stories– Reggie Smith. 1967 in my life was the
most integrated team. That was the first
time that we– gee, we were in the World Series. I also have to mention,
while I was in Boston was in the early ’70s. My student was the first
black bat boy for the Red Sox. – And do you have a question? – My question is I wanted to
get all to the good stuff. Now I’m going to something else. Two things. When Pedro was pitching,
no one talked in our house. We only watched the game. But we have a problem here
in the United States right now with immigration, and I
see families being torn apart in my community, and I
want to know, as I look up here exploring sports
and citizenship, how the Red Sox can help with
our families being torn apart and deported? – We’ll take another question,
and we’ll kind of address– – [INAUDIBLE]. – You sure you don’t
want to handle that one? I don’t want anyone to forget. – Sam, you said you can handle– – Well, why don’t we– in the
interest of keeping this– pace of the game is an
initiative for baseball these days. Just to quickly thank you
for sharing your memories and your question. We said it before, but Fenway
is a community gathering place, and it’s a place that hopefully
people can come together. We’ve actually had immigration
ceremonies at Fenway Park. – Latino night. – We have Latino
night, Latino festival. We have Latino youth recognition
days each and every month. In fact, tonight was
one of those at Fenway. We missed it because
we were here, but I just think
Fenway is a place where we can all come
together and be one cheering for a common cause. When Pedro pitched, boy,
it was– you’re right. It was not a game. It was an event. So hopefully we can keep that
spirit going at Fenway Park. – And I’ll just quickly
add that we also– our Red Sox Scholars
program can be given to undocumented students. And so in my past life, being
an ED for a nonprofit called Scholar Athletes, we
actually sought out undocumented students
because they’re not eligible for federal aid. And so our dollars are critical
to help them pursue education. So that’s yet
another way I think that we’re really helping. – Can I add something? I’m just going to say something
on behalf of immigrants. The reason I’m here,
and celebrated, and not denigrated, like you
said, it was because I was granted an opportunity. So if in any way,
this panel is going to be useful for
this kind of matter, it’s saying I don’t
have a problem. We don’t have a problem
with investigating who’s the right fit or
maybe the right person to give an opportunity,
but please do it. You never know
where you’re going to find another guy like me. [LAUGHTER] And you never know
what kind of human is going to be
helping another human. This gentleman over here asked
me who I probably influenced. I don’t like to talk about
myself when it comes to that. This moment that I have
here that I can probably express myself and
express my feelings– those are the kind of things
that I would like to do. If anybody wants to be
influenced by what I’m saying, grant an immigrant that you
feel is right an opportunity. And the results
might be surprising. Give some opportunity. [APPLAUSE] – Hi, I’m Jim Solomon. I’m not a plant from
Shira, I promise, but I’m one of the owners of
the Harford Yard Goats, Colorado Rockies double-A team. And I want to first applaud
everything that the Boston Red Sox do for their community. It’s noticed, and it’s
truly appreciated. I’m wondering if you see
opportunities with regard to– well, you define this evening
as Red Sox nation, not just Boston Red Sox. And so I imagine that
includes Pawtucket, Portland, and the organization as
a whole, and that you have an interest in protecting
the brand vertically throughout the organization
and reaching out into the community
at all levels. And so what I want to know is
there are great cities like New Hampshire– Manchester for New
Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland for the Sea Dogs,
and Hartford for the Yard Goats, but there are also a
number of minor league clubs that play in areas
that really need help even more than those cities. So what I want to know
is if you see opportunity for the big team,
the major league team to reach down to the
minor leagues, one, to encourage the ballplayers
to have more contact. Like the way you said Jackie
Bradley Jr. Talks to the kids doesn’t really cost
money, but it’s something that’s really doable,
or the possibility of people in your minor
league organization, say, working with you on
community to get some more ideas of what they can do. So anyway, I want to know– and I don’t know the experience
for a minor league player and how nervous
they are about just making the team, how
that affects their desire to get out and do anything
with the community. So I throw it out
there for anybody. – We’re going to try to
do the two person thing. We have one more, I
think, question behind, so we’ll get to some of that. Yes? – Hi, I’m Josh Coen, and
I’m in the eighth grade, and I’m a huge Red Sox fan,
so this is really cool. So, thank you. [APPLAUSE] So I just have a
pretty basic question. What is the biggest
change that pro athletes need to make in order to be
better role models for youth? – I’m guessing you’re asking
this pro athlete, not this one. [LAUGHTER] – I think if you’re
raised the proper way in every aspect I think
the change is not drastic. Just like I said before,
because of the way my upbringing was made me
strong in everything I did. And baseball is no
exception, and when you get to the big leagues
or you get anywhere, what you have to
do is stress what you learn before you got
there, execute, remain loyal. Like I said before,
you have to be consistent about what you did
to get you to where you are. You don’t have to really go
through a dramatic change in things in order for you to be
from Pawtucket to the Red Sox. You just continue
to do the things that you were doing right
and do it with consistency. Same thing with your goals,
whatever they are in life, in baseball, sports, whatever. Just be consistent of
the things that you were taught before you got there. – That addressed those
questions in some way, and I think we’re going to
have to wrap it up here. I want to say thank you
again to the panelists– Pedro, Bekah, Sam–
and also thank you to the Radcliffe Institute
for Advanced Study at Harvard, and to BUR, Boston’s NPR news
station, for hosting the event. A special thank you to
Radcliffe’s Becky Wasserman, who’s been my partner in
crime, and to Amy MacDonald– lots of late night e-mails. And I look forward to
seeing what the Red Sox are going to do in the
future both on the field and off of it. Thank you all for coming. [APPLAUSE]

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