Boston Red Sox legend Rico Petrocelli is chipping in to help local celebrity Wayne Soares in his mission to make life better for veterans. Soares is hosting the first annual Wayne Soares Celebrity Golf Tournament to Benefit Homeless and Disabled Veterans on September 23 at the beautiful Golf Club at Sacconnesset.
Petrocelli, who played big roles for the Red Sox as the shortstop on the 1967 Impossible Dream team and the 1975 World Series squad, just celebrated his 76th birthday. His enthusiasm for life, family and sports, made that fact a difficult one to believe. Chomping on a stick of gum, Petrocelli opined on the current state of the Red Sox and baseball in general, his playing days, and even the feud between David Price and Dennis Eckersley.
Unlike some of his contemporaries, Petrocelli does not believe that the game of baseball has been ruined by the information age. “I still love the game, and think the ballplayers today are great,” he stated. “The statistics and information have changed the game in a lot of ways...I’m jealous, though. When I was managing I would have loved to have had some of the information that they have now, to know what a batter did against a pitcher when I needed to put in a pinch-hitter.”
Perhaps Petrocelli’s prolonged youth and vigor can be in part credited to his still hustling to be involved. A Red Sox Hall of Famer, he makes several appearances on behalf of the team and at the ballpark throughout the season. Additionally, he hosts the Great American Sports Collectibles Show weekly on Facebook and also has a Saturday show on XM-Sirus with Ed Randall, interviewing former ballplayers.
As for the state of the 2019 Red Sox, the ever-upbeat Petrocelli is not ready to give up on the team’s hopes of making another run. With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline less than a week away, he thinks that the Sox should be buyers and not sellers as they attempt to make a push for a playoff spot. Bullpen help, he thinks, is the top priority.
“I think that they need a closer, a real closer. The guys that they have in the bullpen, (Matt) Barnes, (Heath) Hembree, (Ryan) Braisier, they don’t know what the heck they’re going to be doing (day to day),” he said. “Knowing your role, it makes you comfortable. You know what to expect.”
Bringing in a back-end pitcher, Petrocelli thinks, would strengthen the rotation as well. “(Nathan) Eovaldi could go back to starting, which is what he likes to do better.”
Like most Red Sox fans, Petrocelli said he hopes that the Sox will pony up to sign Mookie Betts and keep him in the system for the long-term. He also said that the rift between Price and Eckersley was a situation that should have been dealt with behind closed doors, without the media and fans catching wind of the problem to begin with.
“The big mistake that Price made was (airing his complaints) in public,” he said. “Eck is a good guy...your job as a commentator is to comment on the game. When you see things happen, you talk about them. The fans and the press aren’t looking the other way...it’s too bad because when stuff comes out like that, it’s bull crap.”
While the Sox World Series hangover may not leave every fan excited about their chances come late September, Petrocelli is excited about being in Falmouth on September 23 for the charity golf outing. He and Soares hope to raise funds for the Cape and Islands Veteran Outreach Center and Together We Can. The tournament will be a memorable day, with a high-end round of golf, lunch and dinner, a live auction and many New England celebs who will be participating.
Soares said that already signed on to play in the event, along with Petrocelli, NHL Hall of Famer and former Bruin Rick Middleton, former Red Sox pitcher Jim Coris, former Colts executive Bill Polian, Channel 4 sports anchor Steve Burton, CBS analyst Pete Gillen, Bruins PA announcer Jayme Parker, former Baltimore Colt Dan Sullivan, New York Rangers Hall of Famer Nick Fotiu and former California Angel, and Falmouth native, Bob Allietta. Soares said that they are hoping to add more big names to the impressive roster in the coming weeks.