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Sunday, August 26, 2012
Ross diary: On megadeal, media, fantasy

By Cody Ross, Special to ESPNBoston.com

Cody Ross has been keeping a diary this season for ESPNBoston.com. In this installment, he discusses the big trade of Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers, what the players thought about it, which media stories that have come out lately crossed the line, and how the trade messed up the Red Sox fantasy football draft. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)

Cody Ross DiaryThere were definitely mixed emotions in the clubhouse about the trade. We’re obviously going to miss those guys but we wish them the best. The organization is going to do everything possible to get back on track and back to their winning ways. I have complete confidence in that. We’ll get a few new faces on this team. I know [James] Loney. I played with him. Great guy, great teammate, he works hard and plays the game the right way. He’s definitely going to be well liked here.

I found out about the trade right before Friday’s game. Adrian [Gonzalez] was scratched from the lineup and even though it was not finalized yet, we knew it was close. It’s crazy this time of year when stuff like this happens. Nothing surprises me anymore in this game. The reason I say I’m not surprised is even with a trade of this magnitude nowadays there is so much media attention on trades. There are so many insiders breaking possible trades that 90 percent of them never happen. You hear stuff throughout the year and in the offseason about all the trades that could possibly happen. You’re just overwhelmed by all these different scenarios that when something does actually happen it just feels like, “Oh, it’s just another trade.”

Getting traded is a whirlwind. It’s 24 hours you wish you could hurry up and get over with. There’s a million things going through your mind. First of all, you have to worry about getting to the city you’re traded to and playing for a new team, and you’re leaving basically all of your life in the city you were just playing in. You have to worry about packing it all up, maybe not yourself but your family can help out hopefully. Then you have to worry about finding a place to stay in the new city. You’re learning a million different new names and faces. It’s just a whirlwind. It’s rare that you see a guy that gets traded and plays well in that first day.

The month of August has been tough, really tough on us. We haven’t played well at all. We’ll show signs of playing well and then drop five in a row. We hope we can play well heading into September. I’ve noticed the fans' unhappiness. Starting with Opening Day, when you play in Boston we know as players that fans want to win. They want to win now and they want to win today, tomorrow and every day. We understand that. We want to win worse than they do. Nobody is harder and more of a critic than I am on myself and my teammates are on themselves. It’s been tough but somehow, some way, some good has to come out of all this.

Playing for the Boston Red Sox is first and foremost an honor to have Red Sox across my chest. Just thinking about everybody that has played here in the past is amazing. It’s difficult at times, more so than other places. I knew that coming in and I accept that. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with fans and media wanting the best out of us because that’s what every team and city should expect. The media scrutiny would never be a deterrent in whether I want to stay because, at the end of the day, I want to win and that trumps everything. I believe in my heart that this organization will do everything possible to win and I can deal with all the rest of the stuff. I am interested in returning, yes.

Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] has taken a few knocks in the media lately. The No. 1 thing I want people to know is that he cares more about winning and this team than anybody. He’s got one goal in mind when he wakes up, other than his family, and that is coming here and kicking ass, quote unquote on that! He’s definitely taken some heat for some stuff that he shouldn’t have.

There have been a few things written about that I felt were unfair. John Lackey got blamed this season when we were in Cleveland for a men-being-men type of deal. After a game, he was having a drink with dinner. He was not breaking team rules and wasn’t doing anything we weren’t supposed to be doing. Let us play and worry about what we do on the field.

Bobby [Valentine] has had a tough go as well but has handled it great. Stuff has been said about him too that has been blown out of proportion, stuff that shouldn’t have been said. He’s been great to me. I wish people would write some positive stuff and see some of the positives he brings.

Leah Tepper
Cody Ross (right, with cancer patient Leah Tepper) and the Red Sox could feel good about their role in last week's Jimmy Fund telethon.
We know August hasn’t been a great month, so I thought I’d bring up something positive that has happened recently and that would be the Jimmy Fund. It’s amazing that in two days over $3 million was raised. I would definitely say that is something positive associated with the Red Sox organization.

August was not a good month, as I mentioned. We got more bad news with the injury bug. I hated seeing Will [Middlebrooks] get hurt. He is going to be a big part of this team for a long time. For him to end his season so abruptly with such a freak injury is tough to see. For such a young kid, he was playing so great and so well that you hate to see that happen to anybody, especially a young rookie.

We all know about the time Papi missed with the heel injury. We missed Papi as much as you could possibly miss a player. Just the presence of him being in the lineup is big enough for opposing teams and pitchers to have to worry about his spot coming up. They have to manipulate their bullpen to get a certain pitcher to face him. He changes the game. He changes the dynamic of strategy for other teams. Not only that, but for us, we feed off his energy. He’s very vocal in here and in the dugout. When you see Papi get a big base hit or a big home run, we feed off of that.

We’re coming to the last six weeks of the season and what I want to see us do is not give up, keep playing hard and just fight until the very end. Fight until they tell us that that’s it, we have to go home and get ready for next year. Stranger things have happened in this game.

I think from this moment on, for the rest of this year, you will see a lot more guys playing relaxed. Obviously, when you’re not in the thick of the playoff race, it’s easier to play. Hopefully some of the young guys can contribute and not feel so much pressure. Getting back to what I was saying about feeling loose, these are the times that teams go on winning streaks because people feel like we can just go out and play now, we don’t have the added pressure, next thing you know, you’re back in the thick of it in September.

Back-to-school time is here. My son, Hudson, is back in school in Arizona. I’ve been doing a lot of FaceTime with him and phone calls. I miss him and my daughter. The players miss Hudson too. He left an impact. I asked him if he misses Daddy and he was like, “I miss going to the field.” He even signed a few autographs for fans if you can believe it. He definitely misses going to the field.

Besides back-to-school time, it’s fantasy football time. Jacoby [Ellsbury] and I are teammates. We don’t have a name for our team. If you have a suggestion, leave a comment because we need to come up with one. We haven’t done our picks yet. We did the draft order and we had the first pick. With the first pick, you want to look at a running back. I say we had the first pick because we have to repick the draft order, which I’m pretty upset about because four teams are gone now with the trade. As for the Patriots, I will be keeping a close eye on them. I’ve always been a fan of them. I’ve always been a fan of [Tom] Brady and Wes Welker. I’ll be watching them a little bit closer this year.