Red Sox remain hopeful former Navy pitcher Song will be allowed to remain with the organization
By BILL WAGNER | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: December 18, 2019
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The Boston Red Sox remain hopeful Noah Song will be allowed to remain with the organization and therefore pitch in the minor leagues during the 2020 season.
The Capital has learned Boston consulted someone with a Naval Academy and United States Navy background about the best way for the franchise to navigate the process of having Song play professional baseball while simultaneously serving his military commitment.
That consultant, retired Cmdr. John Schofield, served as spokesman and Public Affairs Officer for the Naval Academy from 2013 through 2016. Schofield, who now operates his own consulting company known as ProVision Advisors, counseled the Red Sox to have Song submit a waiver application directly to the Secretary of the Navy.
Schofield was at the Naval Academy when football players Keenan Reynolds and Chris Swain were allowed to pursue professional football immediately after graduation in 2016. That decision by former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus also impacted Joe Cardona, a 2015 academy graduate, who was the starting long snapper for the New England Patriots.
Cardona, Reynolds and Swain were all allowed to exchange their active duty commitments for an unspecified amount of time in the Naval Reserve.
While the Naval Academy leadership and Chief of Naval Operations have not endorsed Song’s waiver request, neither is the final arbiter on the matter. According to multiple sources, either the Secretary of the Navy or Secretary of Defense could overrule the decision rendered by Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox issued a statement from Ben Crockett, Vice President of Player Development for the organization. Crockett confirmed the club supported Song through the process of submitting a waiver request seeking deferral of his active duty service obligation and noted the final signatory on that request is the Secretary of the Navy.
Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy at the time Song’s request was submitted, was fired by Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper on Nov. 24. Thomas B. Modly is serving as Acting Secretary of the Navy.
Contacted on Tuesday evening, Song confirmed he sent the waiver request to the Secretary of the Navy through the appropriate chain of command beginning at the Naval Academy. Since Song is on temporary assignment duty (TAD) at the Naval Academy, the institution currently has supervisory authority of his service.
A phone call to the pubic affairs office of the Secretary of the Navy seeking comment had not been returned as of press time.
“We were aware of and understand the lack of endorsement from the Naval Academy and the Chief of Naval Operations as this request moved up the chain of command. As Noah alluded to, he received a communication from the CNO noting the academy would decline to endorse his waiver,” Crockett said in the Red Sox statement.
“However, he has not yet received a response from the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense. Until we hear something definitive from them, both the Red Sox and Noah will remain hopeful that he gets a chance to play for the Red Sox AND serve,” Crockett continued.
“If Noah has to serve two years, we will fully support him – his service is important to the team, too. But as of right now, we still believe the opportunity is there for him to play right away and still get the chance to serve his country, Crockett said.
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