PAWTUCKET --The very presence of Magic Johnson at McCoy Stadium on Sunday offered an interesting juxtaposition.
Here was the NBA legend, standing on the same plush and well-manicured field that became second nature to Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa during the past two seasons. The two former PawSox pitchers represent the prospect-laden haul the Red Sox received from Johnsonâ€™s Dodgers when the two teams ironed out a blockbuster trade that is rapidly approaching its two-year anniversary.
With Webster and De La Rosa in the midst of vying for permanent big-league status and doing so one season removed from Bostonâ€™s unexpected run to the World Series, Johnson was asked if heâ€™s received plenty of thank you notes from an appreciative New England fan base, a group that frequently targeted the Hall of Fame point guard during the hot and heavy Celticsâ€“Lakers rivalry of the 1980s. Part of a Dodgersâ€™ ownership team that was willing to take on the excessive contracts of at-the-time-Red-Sox-malcontents Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, Johnson was at McCoy in cooperation with the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic softball game.
â€śThe Red Sox won the World Series and they benefitted from the trade,â€ť Johnson pointed out about the reported $262.5 million in player commitments that Boston was successful in shedding.
â€śBut so have we. Our fan base has gone crazy over Gonzalez. Beckett threw a no-hitter and Carl Crawford has played well for us,â€ť the charismatic figure quickly pointed out. â€śWe were very happy with the trade and so were the Red Sox. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s about â€¦ a trade that helps both teams. Hopefully this season we can cash in big time like they did and win the World Series. Weâ€™re not only excited about that trade, but our team and the season we are having so far.â€ť
Los Angeles owns the best record in the National League and through Sunday sits 4.5 games ahead of second-place San Francisco in the West Division.
One interesting development that did not take place would have been to see how Johnson and Dave Stewart would have interacted. A four-time 20-game winner who these days is a sports agent, Stewart was held up by flight issues and was not scheduled to land in Rhode Island until late Sunday night. Stewart represents Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp, whose name was bandied about in trade rumors last month.
â€śEight years is a long time to be in one place,â€ť Stewart told CBS.com baseball writer Jon Heyman, his comment coming not long after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly publicly criticized Kemp. â€śSometimes change is good. This might be the time to change.â€ť
The Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic continues Monday and Tuesday with a golf outing at Portsmouthâ€™s Carnegie Abbey Club.
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