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    The Yawkey Way debate, and other notes

    The Red Sox would like to see Yawkey Way changed back to Jersey Street.
    Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File
    The Red Sox would like to see Yawkey Way changed back to Jersey Street.

    Picked-up pieces as we wait for the latest phase of the Tonya Harding redemption tour Sunday night at the Oscars . . .

     Spoke with Yawkey Foundation chairman John Harrington about the controversial proposal to change the name of Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street. This is some of what he said: “I was very happy with the money we put in the bank [after selling the Red Sox to John Henry]. It’s Tom Yawkey’s money. So when the Red Sox today try to separate the Yawkey Foundation from Tom Yawkey — you can’t do that. It’s Tom Yawkey’s money that we’re investing. And it was his investing that started all this goodness that’s going around the city. They [the Red Sox] are just trying to separate the issue because it’s to their benefit to do that.’’

     If the Red Sox are truly bothered by the Yawkey legacy, why not start by erasing the homage to Thomas A. Yawkey on the Green Monster at both Fenway and Fenway South? Yawkey’s initials are stenciled in Morse code on both edifices. The Sox don’t need the city’s permission to make that change.


     I have absolutely no sources on this, but common sense tells me that Rob Gronkowski will be catching passes for the Patriots next season. With all the recent nonsense, Gronk is either fetching for a better contract or he’s simply messing with us. But he’s playing football next season. I haven’t been this sure about anything since I told you that no team coached by Doug Pederson and quarterbacked by Nick Foles could beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in a Super Bowl.

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     Old-Timers Day Dept.: Been covering Hall of Famer Jim Rice since he was first called up by the Red Sox in 1974. Lots of tense moments over the years. A lot of troubled water under the Mystic River Bridge. Now we are just two old guys in rocking chairs on the porch. When I first saw Rice in Fort Myers last month, I asked about the process of applying for Medicare. We were both born in 1953 and Rice is four months older, so I figured he knew the drill. He did.

     There are 48 vice presidents in the Red Sox 2018 press guide.

     Nobody controls the narrative like the Patriots. We recently got a PR pitch from Dunkin’ Donuts regarding an appearance by Matthew Slater at a new Dunkin’ shop in Quincy. Tucked into the tidy press release was: “Please note media questions will be limited to his appearance at Dunkin’ Donuts and Slater cannot comment on the Patriots season or his teammates.’’ Seriously? What other team mandates players not talking about a Super Bowl season? Get over yourselves. And have another Bavarian creme.

     Wonder if Kyrie Irving has trouble with reporters from the Globe because the very name of our newspaper flies in the face of the Flat Earth theory?


     Why don’t pitchers make better managers? With John Farrell getting the gate after 2017, there are only three former pitchers managing in the bigs today: Mets rookie Mickey Callaway, Colorado’s Bud Black, and Cincinnati’s Bryan Price. George Bamberger made the switch successfully after being Earl Weaver’s pitching coach, but things did not go as well for Orioles coach Ray Miller. Bob Lemon won the World Series with the 1978 Yankees and Roger Craig had good years with the Giants. You might remember that nutty professor Joe Kerrigan was a disaster with the Red Sox.

    The Mets’ Mickey Callaway is one of three former pitchers currently managing in the big leagues.
    Jeff Roberson/AP
    The Mets’ Mickey Callaway is one of three former pitchers currently managing in the big leagues.

     There’s a lot to love about the Patriots’ home schedule next season. In addition to the court-mandated games against pathetic division rivals New York, Buffalo, and Miami, the Patriots will play at Gillette against the Chiefs, Colts, Packers, Vikings, and Texans. Can’t wait for the airing of grievances when the Colts get here.

     Quiz: Name six stadiums in which the Patriots played home games in the 1960s.

     I’m with Cedric Maxwell and had no problem with the Boston Police Department’s tweet paying tribute to Red Auerbach during Black History Month. “This is called Black History Month, not black people’s month,’’ said Max. “Red Auerbach advanced the cause.’’ Max is hardly an apologist for Auerbach. Red was furious with Max at the end of the forward’s career in Boston (Auerbach thought Maxwell was too slow to recover from knee surgery) and kept No. 31 out of the rafters long after Max’s number should have been retired. Maxwell remains a refreshing voice of wisdom and reason in the combustible climate engulfing race relations in 2018.

     There’s an Australian-bred 3-year-old horse named “Gronkowski” running in England. Imagine Gronk watching Gronkowski in the Kentucky Derby.


     NESN is prepared to unleash Jonny Gomes on listeners when the Red Sox visit the West Coast in April.

     Best of luck to former Globie Michael Holley, who is taking his talents to NBC Sports Boston. Holley brings class and smarts everywhere he goes.

     Al Michaels says Malcolm Butler played every snap when the NBC crew was allowed to go to Patriots practice during Super Bowl week.

     The New York Post’s Joel Sherman characterizes Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury as “baseball’s first-ever $153 million pinch runner.’’ Not signing Ellsbury was a good read by the Red Sox after 2013. Meanwhile, 34-year-old Jon Lester will be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Bad read by the Red Sox.

    The Yankees have long regretted giving Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million free agent contract in December 2013.
    Kathy Kmonicek/AP/File
    The Yankees have long regretted giving Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million free agent contract in December 2013.

     The John Calipari-Rick Pitino rivalry continues deep into the 21st century. Pitino recently had to vacate his 2013 NCAA championship at Louisville, but Cal still leads in vacancies, having been caught cheating with UMass in 1996 and Memphis in 2008. Cal is the only coach with two vacancies, but Pitino is the only coach to forfeit a championship banner.

     Doc Rivers to the Knicks? Why not? Everybody else has tried.

     Highly recommended: “How To Coach Girls,’’ a new book co-authored by Mia Wenjen and Alison Foley. Foley is a local mom and longtime head coach of the wildly successful women’s soccer team at Boston College.

     If Bill Belichick supposedly kept Josh McDaniels here by “opening the vault and letting Josh see how things work in the inner sanctum,” how come McDaniels couldn’t go to the Combine?

     The Red Sox change philosophies more than Kardashians change shoes. This year it’s all about “approach” and launch angles.

     Speaking of skull-imploding data, it’s embarrassing that organizers of the MIT Sloan Analytics Geekfest would slap a media embargo on Barack Obama’s session and doubly embarrassing that journalists went along with the scheme.

     A Texas Wesleyan baseball coach was fired after penning a letter to a high school player from Colorado, explaining, “we are not recruiting players from Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test.’’

     Best wishes to Peter Roby, who’s retiring in June after 15 years as athletic director at Northeastern. Nice the Husky skaters gave Roby a Beanpot title on the way out the door.

    Peter Roby is retiring after 15 years as athletic director at Northeastern.
    Jon Chase for The Globe/File
    Peter Roby is retiring after 15 years as athletic director at Northeastern.

     RIP Sammy Stewart. The “Throwin’ Swananoan” lived a hard life and is gone at the age of 63. If ever-petty John McNamara had used Stewart in the 1986 postseason, the Red Sox might have won the World Series. Stewart never gave up a run in 12 postseason innings spread over an ALCS and two World Series with the Orioles.

     Bobby Orr turns 70 March 20. Bet he’s looking forward to the Stanley Cup Final in Boston this spring.

     Quiz answer: Nickerson Field, Fenway Park, Boston College, Harvard Stadium, San Diego Stadium (the 1967 World Series forced the Patriots to play a “home” game in San Diego), Birmingham, Ala. (home game vs. Jets).

    Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy