Picked-up pieces while wondering whether Celtics players have chartered a jet so they can fly to Milwaukee to cheer for Kyrie in the next round …
▪ Boston super cop Ed Davis is no longer cracking the case on the two-year-old shooting of David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz hired Davis to get to the bottom of things, but the search proved futile, and according to Davis, the investigation is ongoing in the DR with more than a dozen suspects still in custody.
“I’m just a security guy here, so I don’t want to go off on a tangent,” Davis said Thursday. “The bottom line on it is this: This is a very complicated and still-dangerous situation that we’re looking at. We provided the government down there with important information and there’s still no resolution.
“The case is still going on. There’s a lot of people involved in this that are very powerful down there. It’s just a long-term thing and I can’t get into the details. I have a responsibility to my client.”
Is Ortiz still Davis’s client?
“He was my client,” said Davis. “He’s no longer my client. I’m not doing anything right now until the political situation and the trial situation changes in the Dominican.”
What is Davis’s response to the local government’s conclusion that the shooting of Ortiz was a case of mistaken identity?
“I’ve already gone further than I’m supposed to go, so I’ll leave it at that,” said Davis. “I’m inactive with this now. I’m no longer on the case.”
Me: Are you coming back?
Ainge: Of course.
Me: Is [Brad] Stevens coming back?
Ainge: Of course.
After resigning this past Wednesday, Ainge told the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that in late March he approached Celtics ownership and told them he did not think he had the energy to continue on the job.
So, which is it? Did Ainge know he was leaving back in March, or was this a sudden departure after things fell apart in the first round of the playoffs?
I checked in with Ainge to ask about the timeline discrepancy.
“That was a tough moment when you and I talked,” said Ainge. “It was so sensitive and so raw. That’s why Wednesday was a relief. I’ve been holding on to so much information. From my kids, my players. Nobody knew any of this was happening.
“It was really in a fragile state, and I didn’t want any of this to be a distraction. I was totally trying to hold that topic off until a later time.
“There was speculation that ‘Danny was going to be fired’ and ‘Brad was going to be fired.’ I wanted to say, ‘Please don’t write anything,’ but my experience with you is that that was not going to work. It was just real sensitive. More than protecting myself, I was protecting everyone in the organization.
“I apologize to you. I can’t remember doing that before, and I hope I don’t have to do it again. I just felt like I couldn’t be forthright at that moment in time.”
▪ Quiz: Name the six players in baseball history with more than 500 homers who never struck out 100 times in a season. (Answer below.)
▪ It’s hard to know where to start with the Naomi Osaka controversy at the French Open. A star tennis player is, above all, a human being. Osaka’s disclosure that she has mental-health issues supersedes everything else. We wish her the best and applaud her bravery for shining a light on an important issue.
Osaka deserves compassion, privacy, and respect. That said, her withdrawal from the major was global news and raises many issues:
1. Much as we sympathize with the athlete, this is the life she chose. If you are going to be a big player on the tour, media obligations come with the territory. They promote the sport (ask Billie Jean King what would have happened if female players didn’t participate in press conferences in the 1970s).
2. Osaka made approximately $34 million from endorsement deals in 2020. Trading on fame to sell products generally requires some discourse with the public and the media. If top players in any sport are allowed to avoid media obligations, they should expect diminished coverage and dollars that come from the spotlight. Walling yourself off from the world makes you less interesting and less marketable.
3. The French Tennis Federation reacted harshly, but only after Osaka ignored requests to talk with them about the issue.
4. Osaka did a disservice to Romanian Patricia Tig, the player she beat in the first round. If you’re going to take a stand and withdraw, do it before you send another player home. Tour players are on the hook for their own expenses, and Tig deserved to compete against a player who planned to stay in the draw.
5. Too many media members are quick to join the “get rid of these stupid press conferences” narrative. Those “stupid" press conferences are important to the sport and media outlets that are unable to score one-on-ones with top players.
▪ Baseball’s “spin rate” moundsmen are on notice. This would be a bad time to get caught using illegal substances to grip the baseball.
▪ Absolutely incredible that the Red Sox did not play the Yankees until June 4. The Sox went to Yankee Stadium this weekend with a 6-23 record against the Bombers over the last two seasons.
▪ Intent on booing the Astros when they come to Fenway Tuesday? Try to remember that your Red Sox were punished for cheating in 2017 and 2018. Oh, and your manager is Alex Cora.
▪ Since Bill Belichick was hired to coach the Patriots, the Red Sox have had eight managers: Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan, Grady Little, Terry Francona, Bobby Valentine, John Farrell, Cora, and Ron Roenicke. The Celtics have had Rick Pitino, Jim O’Brien, John Carroll, Doc Rivers, Stevens, and a coach-to-be-named. The Bruins have had Pat Burns, Mike Keenan, Robbie Ftorek, Mike O’Connell, Mike Sullivan, Dave Lewis, Claude Julien, and Bruce Cassidy. That’s 22 coaches while Belichick has steered the ship in Foxborough.
▪ I am told that the extended playing of “Sweet Caroline” led to the ejection of Rochester manager Matt LeCroy Tuesday at Polar Park in Worcester when a Rochester relief pitcher was charged with an automatic “ball one” because he was waiting for the PA and fans to cease with the annoying Neil Diamond tune before the home half of the eighth.
▪ Boston fans are Milwaukee Bucks fans in this second round of the NBA playoffs. Is there a single Celtics fan who is rooting for the Nets to beat the Bucks to get to the conference finals?
▪ With the season over for both teams, the Celtics and Lakers remain tied with 17 NBA championship banners.
▪ According to the Wall Street Journal, Kyle Lowry, Andre Iguodala, Andre Drummond, and Jrue Holiday are among more than 150 Black and Latino professionals helping to fund a $1 billion Harvard University real estate development in Allston.
▪ Now that sports leagues are in business with gamblers, they should be working on rules and guidelines regarding injury information. Phillies manager Joe Girardi brought this topic to the fore, telling reporters, “We’re going to approach this different … I’m not going to share anything — who’s available, who’s not available — because I think it’s somewhat unfair to us.”
▪ The Red Sox clubhouse resistance to COVID-19 vaccination is an underplayed story. J.D. Martinez would not answer when asked if he’d been vaccinated and the Sox continue to live with restrictions (masks, quarantines, inability to go out to dinner on the road, etc.) because they can’t reach the 85 percent threshold of player vaccinations.
Two-thirds of big league teams have cleared the bar, but the Sox are lagging, and no one seems confident that they will reach the 85 percent level.
“That worries me a little,” acknowledged Cora.
▪ Bob Kraft turned 80 on Saturday
▪ Quiz answer: Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, Gary Sheffield.