If your not cheating you are not trying

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If your not cheating you are not trying
« on: April 05, 2007, 08:28:41 am »
Applies to former Red Sox star Jim Rice

Rice bites the hand that fed him at welcoming

During a PawSox luncheon at Kirkbrae Country Club, former Red Sox slugger Jim Rice advocates cheating to further your baseball career.

09:02 AM EDT on Thursday, April 5, 2007

Journal Sports Writer

LINCOLN -- Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor takes it as a personal insult that former Red Sox outfielder and slugger Jim Rice is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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In fact, Mondor is dedicating himself and the PawSox' season to ensure those members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who vote on the Hall of Fame inductees, and the Hall's Veteran's Committee, know exactly how he feels on the subject.

There are a lot of people in baseball who share Mondor's belief that Rice's accomplishments on the field deserve a plaque in Cooperstown. Rice, on the other hand, didn't help his cause yesterday during the annual PawSox Welcome Home Luncheon at Kirkbrae Country Club.

The event honoring Rice was going along smoothly until he imploded, basically telling the sellout crowd of more than 400, including the PawSox' players, that greed and cheating (not steroids) are good for furthering your baseball career.

During a Q & A session with former teammate and Red Sox broadcaster Bob Montgomery, Rice told some impressive stories about his career, including his time in Pawtucket. He had the crowd riveted with his tales, and Montgomery was quick to point out some extraordinary statistics, including when Rice played in all 163 games for the Red Sox during the 1978 season. The last one was the infamous tie-breaker game against the Yankees when Bucky Dent hit his deciding home run.

Toward the end of the 25-minute sitdown with Montgomery, Rice made more than a few inappropriate comments in a strange Jekyll and Hyde episode.

Montgomery asked Rice what his brightest moment was as a major-leaguer, and he answered by telling the audience it was helping the Red Sox reach the World Series in 1975 as a rookie. He was then asked if he had any advice for the PawSox' players, and he went on a six-minute rant, with a swagger that suddenly emerged.

"You have to trust yourself, he said. "You've got to work twice as hard, and to me, if I was one of the players right now, I would be a selfish player.

He began to explain that today's players take spring training for granted because of all the amenities and state-of-the-art equipment. Rice said he saw some things during this year's spring training that he didn't like. He said if he was playing today he wouldn't be sitting in his room watching television; he would be at the ballpark taking batting practice.

"This is my 36th year of marriage to the same woman," he said. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have been divorced 10 years or 20 years ago because I would have been at the ballpark. There is so much money now to be made in the game of baseball, and you have this ability to play the game, why not take advantage of it? It's out there. Go get it. They're not going to give it to you; you've got to earn it.

"Who says you have to play for the Boston Red Sox?" he added. "You've got so many teams. If you put the numbers up, you've got a chance to play for someone else. The whole thing is to say, I. played' major-league baseball. I don't care if I played for the Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox or Detroit. I spent 15 years in the major leagues and enjoyed it.

"I don't want a cup of coffee. I don't want a doughnut. I want the American Express Gold. I was talking with Manny (Ramirez) and Manny was telling me this: Jimmy, everyone is talking about me selling my grill (on EBay.com). I'm a businessman.' And that's what it is. Get your money in the big leagues and become a businessman that's the bottom line."

Rice explained how players can make it to the big leagues, but the hard part is staying there.

"You have to learn how to stay," he said. "What do I have to do? If I've got to cheat, I got to cheat. I don't care. I want to be in the big leagues."

That comment drew a loud moan from the crowd, and Rice quickly responded.

"I'm not talking about steroids or anything like that," he said. "It's like this here. This is what I mean by cheating in baseball. Men, I don't know about women because you guys are pretty and can always find a boyfriend. Anyway, men, if you're fighting and this kid is taking your lunch money every day, are you going to cheat? Yeah, I'm going to bring my baseball bat in the next day. That's cheating. So it's the same thing with baseball."

Rice tried to explain himself again, saying if a hitter always has success against a certain pitcher, that pitcher will start using pine tar on the ball or putting water on his pants in order to soak the ball.

"It's not cheating," he said. "It's having an advantage. I'm not going to be happy sitting in Triple-A 4, 5, 6 or 7 years when I know in my heart I'm better than that guy in the big leagues, and he's cheating and I'm not can't do it. You've got to find some way of getting yourself in the big leagues."

He talked about mastering a pitch or learning how to hit. He ended his rant by telling the players there are only a couple of things they need to know.

"There are two things they should always remember," he said. "The first and the 15th, because that's when they get paid; you have to remember that."

It was a strange ending to what started out as a wonderful day for the PawSox and Rice.

Montgomery, who did a solid job during the interview and attempted to make light of the situation by joking with Rice during his outburst, spoke about what an honor it is for Rice to have the support of Mondor and the PawSox.

"I think it's tremendous," said Montgomery, who played five seasons with Rice from 1975-79. "I think the guy belongs in the Hall of Fame. There are guys in the Hall of Fame whose numbers aren't anywhere close the numbers this man has. I got to see a lot of things that people who vote wouldn't get to see him do."

More notable quotes

"When it came to the team, I was a team player," said Rice. "When it came to talking to the writers, I was a bad guy. I was a bad guy because I didn't want any glory. I wanted my team to have the glory. But, when I screwed up, I was there."

"That statement he made today about himself was accurate," said Bob Montgomery. "He knew what his job was and knew how he had to go about getting his job done. He didn't want to sit around and look into cameras and talk into microphones. But he was also accurate when he said if he messed up you could find him. He wasn't one of those guys who would talk to you when he had a great day and you couldn't find him when he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He was always there when there was a discussion relative to his play. Unfortunately there were one or two (writers) he crossed ways with, and they started to tell everybody else, a writer in another city, and they wouldn't talk to (Jim). They would listen to those writers that he was a really bad guy. He's not a bad guy at all. He's as personable as you want him to be."

"That's the way I was," said Rice. "I'm a team guy. I got paid to play baseball. I didn't want the glory. When you win, you win as a team. When we lost, I lost. The main thing was to take the pressure off the other guys. Some guys can handle pressure, other guys can't handle pressure. I was fortunate to have a strong back and I can handle the pressure. I did not want the glory. I'm a leader, but I'm not a front-runner. I'm one of those guys who sit back and makes sure everyone is OK. That's old school."

:lol Bman