Boston Red Sox: Doc Rivers

Kasten connected Obama to Doc Rivers

August, 25, 2013
Stan Kasten, the Dodgers president and CEO who previously held the same posts for the Washington Nationals, shared this story involving President Barack Obama, Doc Rivers and Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

"It was, I guess, three years ago -- 2010," Kasten said. "We had drafted Strasburg the year before and it was June when we called Strasburg up, and he was a national phenomenon, as you recall. So now it's late June, a Thursday night, and the Celtics lose Game 7 here in L.A. to the Lakers. I'm still close, and have been all these years, with Doc Rivers. He played for me in Atlanta, I was at his wedding. So I text him the next morning: 'I love you, great, great season.' He texted me back. 'Thanks. I'm going to come see your kid pitch as soon as I get a chance.'

"That night, a Friday night we're in interleague play, we're playing the White Sox -- the president's team. And he also hasn't seen Strasburg pitch, so the president comes to the game.

"So I'm up in the suite, chatting with him and I happen to mention that I had texted Doc that morning. The president is a basketball guy, a Chicago guy. So is Doc. And the president says, 'You know, I tried to call him because I don't call just the winners, I also call the losers, but I couldn't get through.'

"So he says, 'Can you get him?' I'm thinking, no way the Secret Service is going to let him talk on an unsecured phone, but he says, 'If you can get him, I'll talk to him.'

"I'm thinking, Doc is like a player. You can't get him on the phone, you've got to text. But I get my phone, I hit the numbers, three rings, Doc answers. 'Hey, Stan, how you doing?'

"I go, 'Doc, I love you, I'm proud of ya, I want to talk to you, but I've got someone sitting next to me who wants to say hello.'

"And -- I've always wanted to say this -- 'Will you hold for the president?'

"And I handed him my phone, and he talks to him."

Now Kasten's voice gets louder. "On my phone! Because the president could not get through to him! Only I could!"

Postscript to the story: Kasten said he kept it to himself, until he heard that Rivers had told a bunch of friends back home at his country club in Orlando, Fla. Rivers said he'd seen the "202” area code when the president had called, Kasten said, "but he thought it was me."

"And now he's here," Kasten said of Rivers, the new coach of the Clippers.

Kasten said Rivers had not been out to see the Dodgers yet. Might he come this weekend for the Red Sox series? Kasten gave it his best Cheshire smile. "You never know," he said.

Doc Rivers inspires Jackie Bradley Jr.

January, 12, 2013
For their rookie development program this past week, the Red Sox brought in one speaker from the outside: Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"Doc was amazing," said outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. "Oh my goodness, it's powerful, man. Yeah, yeah, yeah. After hearing his speech I wanted to say forget baseball, I'm going to play some basketball. It was great to hear him talk."

At 5-foot-10, Bradley is no threat to defect to the NBA, but his appreciation for Rivers was infectious.

"He talked about knowing your role and accepting it," Bradley said. "Knowing what you are, being confident no matter what, people encouraging you through tough times. Everyone goes through tough times. They make you a better person and sometimes a better player.

"I liked the reference he used about how, when people see things, they see the start time and the dash. What are you going to do between the start and the dash?"

Rivers has spoken to Sox rookies in the past.

"Doc has been very generous to us and the rookie program," said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. "He brings an inspiring talk to these guys, and hits a lot of key points that are important to us and important to him and the Celtics."

New Sox special assistant Jason Varitek also addressed the team Friday and is expected to spend time in both the big league and minor league camps in spring training.

Francona thrilled for Rivers

June, 30, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona has made it no secret he’s a big fan of the Boston Celtics and a close friend of Doc Rivers.

Francona was ecstatic when he learned the news Wednesday afternoon that Rivers decided to return as head coach of the Celtics.

“From a personal standpoint, I’m thrilled,” Francona said. “I hope he is too. It sounds like there was a lot of thinking involved. From personal experience, after a season like that, I think you’re probably exhausted. I hope he’s really happy with his decision, I would imagine he is or he wouldn’t come back. I’m thrilled and I’m going to re-up my tickets as soon as possible.”

Pregame quick hits: Scutaro returns

June, 16, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro is back in the lineup tonight after missing one game because of a nerve-root injection he received in his neck Monday.

Scutaro has been dealing with a stiff neck for the majority of the season and said this afternoon he’s feeling better. When he woke up this morning he didn’t have the usual discomfort he’s been experiencing.

Even though he did not play in the first game of the three-game set against Arizona, Scutaro was able to hit in the cage during the game.

“He’s probably not going to get a ton of days off,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think he wants them and he’s a good player, so hopefully this will give him a little help.”

Despite the injury, Scutaro has been playing well. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games and is batting .359 (28-for-78) during that span.

Here are a few other pregame notes from Francona:

* Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka played long toss today at 150 feet and depending how he does, it’s possible he could throw a side session on Thursday. “He’s doing pretty well,” Francona said. Dice-K was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with forearm tightness.

* Francona said right-hander Josh Beckett (lower-back strain) is also doing very well. “He really feels good about himself and that was the best news for us. The look on his face, he’s confident.”

Just because Beckett is feeling better doesn’t mean the Sox are going to rush him back.

* It’s no secret Francona is a big Celtics fan and a close friend of coach Doc Rivers. When asked if he had any advice for Rivers in advance of Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, Francona said he'd will remain a fan.

“I don’t know the difference between zone defense and man-to-man,” Francona said kiddingly. “He doesn’t need advice. They know what they’re doing. Win or lose, they know what they’re doing. I think ‘perspective’ is probably a word not well used around here. You’ve got a team that’s playing for the championship of the world, that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment within itself.”

“It’s exciting. Tomorrow night is a big night. There are a lot of cities I would think are envious of where the Celtics are. I think people may lose sight of how enjoyable the journey can be. You don’t have to wait until it’s over to enjoy it.”

Whole lotta love for Doc from Tito

June, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- It doesn’t take much prompting for Terry Francona to express his admiration for Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

The topic arose during Francona’s pregame session Tuesday afternoon, when WBZ4’s Steve Burton asked if Boston’s championship coaches -- Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers -- have reached out to Francona.

“Bill’s never checked in and asked if they should blitz more or anything like that,’’ Francona said, “nor would I expect him to. Me and Doc communicate from time to time, just because we’ve become pretty good friends.’’

Their schedules don’t permit much socializing, he said, but they have stayed in touch.

“Doc has an amazing way -- some of the messages I get, the timing of them is incredible, and what they say,’’ Francona said. “I think we’ve kind of developed a friendship there. I’ve tried to do the same thing to him.’’

Francona said that last Friday night, after the Sox had dropped a tough game to Kansas City, he made a point of texting his congratulations to Rivers when the Celts eliminated the Magic to advance to the finals.

“I purposely sat at the rotary,’’ said Francona, who said he has lousy cell reception at home. “I wanted to be one of the first ones to tell him congratulations but I didn’t want to be too quick. So I endured all the people flipping me off and then sent him a note saying, ‘Way to go.’

“Because I do care. I’m a big fan of the Celtics, but I’m a big Doc fan. I like the way he handles everything.’’

Rivers spoke to the Sox rookie development program, with Francona in attendance.

“I love it when he talks,’’ Francona said. “He has a lot to say that’s really interesting.

“We laughed when he was done, because all the things I believe in, I agree with. I hope I get it across to the guys the way he does, because I think he’s tremendous.’’

His respect for Rivers, he said, has little to do with the team’s won-loss record.

“I just like what he stands for, the way he treats his players,’’ he said. “I’m looking from the outside, but in talking to him once in a while, knowing the challenges of not just this town...

“I love basketball. I don’t pretend to know if he should play zone or man-to-man. Like I said, getting to know him the amount I have, I’m a big fan of his

“I liked the Celtics even before I knew what Doc was about,’’ said Francona, who noted that he’s the type of fan who stays up to watch the Celts play Golden State on the West Coast. “You can’t help what gets your juices flowing. Since I’ve gotten to know him, I have a lot of respect for how he does things, and continue to have more as I get to know him better.’’