Angered after learning Terry Francona and his coaching staff would not be paid additional sums for this week’s trip to Japan, the Red Sox have voted to blow off today’s final Spring Training game against Toronto, nor will they board a flight to Tokyo later today report the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo and Jackie MacMullan :
”When we voted to go to Japan, that was not a unanimous vote,” said Lowell, “but we did what our team wanted us to do for Major League Baseball. They promised us the moon and the stars, and then when we committed, they started pulling back. It’s not just the coaches, it’s the staff, the trainers, a lot of people are affected by this.
“I’m so super proud of this team. When we put it to a vote it was unanimous, we’re all in agreement that we’re not going to put up with this.”
Manager Terry Francona and his players were extremely irked after learning the team’s coaches were not going to get the $40,000 stipend they assumed they’d be getting for making the trip to Japan (players will also receive a payment). Francona had informed the coaches they’d be getting the stipend.
However, the Sox manager was told by members of the Oakland coaching staff that they were not being paid. Francona had thought it was unusual that one team’s staff would be paid and the other not. So he checked into it and found he and his coaches were getting nothing.
“I had to go back and tell the coaches not to spend the money some of them had already spent,” Francona said.
The Red Sox are scheduled to leave Fort Myers after today’s Grapefruit League finale against the Blue Jays (12:05 p.m.), but now it appears both the game and the flight are somewhat in question. The Sox are scheduled to bus to the airport for their flight to Chicago and then Japan at 4:45 p.m.
“That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about,” David Ortiz said of the potential Japan boycott. “It’s really [expletive] up.”
It’s a stirring show of solidarity, and I’m equally inspired. Unless Larry Lucchino’s hotel suite has a nice view, I refuse to get up at 5am Central time next Tuesday to watch Boston play Oakland.
(UPDATE : Crisis averted. The people of Japan will be able to bask in the presence of Kevin Youkilis.)