Taking the Red Sox away from these FAILURES: PT. 1: Blame the Owner


Who kidnapped our Red Sox?

Hand me my Red Sox souvenir Giant Foam Finger: ALL of the above! And it’s time for the Citizens of Red Sox Nation to take their team back!

Sox fans need to pull together and adopt the Green Bay Packers plan, where the fans own the team, or else we are stuck with a disinterested owner, an ego maniac CEO, who thinks he knows more about baseball than the GM, and a GM who takes out his resentment of the CEO on the manager, who was hired by the CEO.

This post was originally intended to briefly say that everyone from the owner to the manager are responsible for the near death of a proud franchise, but it became apparent that there was not enough room in a single article for all the blame.

Thus, we will use a series format with 6 posts:

1-4 will point the finger at the Owner, CEO, GM, and Manager.

5 will offer a plan to take the team back [think Green Bay Packers]

6 will blame a few players and suggest “deep drill” surgery for the patient. [think trades and prospects]

OWNER: FAIL!

The best summary of the attitude of John Henry toward the Red Sox was his solution to improve team morale last year: he gave the players a night out on his yacht, an open bar, all the canapés they could eat, and [wait for it…] brand new $300 headphones!  Paging Marie Antoinette!

If you want to get his attention, paint your balls with checkerboard patterns.  Does he tell his fellow Richie Rich European soccer team owners that the Red Sox “won by a goal.”

Let’s review current Red Sox owner in the context of baseball history.

The Baseball Boys buy a Commissioner Puppet, a lackey to do their bidding, to play front-man, PR dissembler, Blower of Sunshine Up Skirts and “Three Card Monty” dealer.

Historically they have preferred stooges that included racists, dolts, simpletons, and Generals.

The primary task for a Commissioner is to defend baseball’s illogical, some say fraudulent,  “Anti-Trust Exemption.”

If you want the Barons of Baseball to have a sudden rush of shit to the heart, just tell them that their “Anti-Trust Exemption” is being reconsidered.

“The United States currently has antitrust laws in order to prevent businesses from monopolizing a given market. However, throughout its history, major league baseball has monopolized the baseball market, preventing upstart competitors from ever really getting off the ground. And the Supreme Court has upheld MLB’s right to their monopoly several times. In many ways, major league baseball is the only true monopoly in the United States, and has been since its inception.”

While claiming it is not a monopoly, Major League Baseball, acts like one:  it has crushed any attempts to create any competition.  When MLB was unwilling to award a NL franchise to New York City [after the Dodgers and Giants moved to the West coast], Branch Rickey announced he was forming the Continental League.  The owners of MLB realized that this was competition and that barrister Rickey might sue and send their cherished Anti-Trust Exemption back to the Supreme Court, or the Congress for review, so they promptly announced that two expansion franchises would be awarded to New York and Houston.

On May 22, 1922, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision, agreeing that baseball “was not the kind of commerce” federal law was intended to regulate.

“This exemption remained unchallenged – as did MLB’s monopoly – until 1972, when Curt Flood [challenged the "reserve clause"] and the Supreme Court, who let the old decision stand, criticizing it but saying that it was up to Congress, not them, to fix the ‘anomaly.’ ”

[http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/12/3/678134/the-history-of-baseball-s]

John Henry cries “austerity,” whenever a fan suggests the team spend a bit more to get the player they need to compete for the playoffs.  He and his fellow 1-Percenters weep crocodile tears and pretend that they the fans should be grateful that these Captains of Industry are going broke with their teams, sacrificing their fortunes for the benefit of the fans.

This kind of disdainful class arrogance is called

no·blesse o·blige

[noh-bles oh-bleezh; Fr. naw-bles aw-bleezh] Show IPA

noun

the moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position, etc., to act with honor, kindliness, generosity, etc.

But, before we send Thank You notes to these phoney bastards, recall what percentage of our monthly income we shell out to take our wife and two children to a Red Sox game and LISTEN:

“The National Pastime is flourishing thanks to cable companies’ desire for live baseball programming.

The average Major League Baseball team rose 16% in value during the past year, to an all-time high of $605 million. In 2011, [team] revenue climbed to an average of $212 million, a 3.4% gain over the previous season.

Aggregate cable television revenue increased to $923 million from $328 million over the past 10 years. And thanks to new television deals inked by teams like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers that have yet to kick in, as well as the pending deal for the San Diego Padres and a likely new, rich deal that will begin in 2014 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, local television revenue could exceed $1.5 billion in 2015.

The richer television deals are evident in the prices that are being paid for teams.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2012/03/21/the-business-of-baseball-2012/

See, John Henry and his cronies do not pay the expenses of their teams out of the personal checking accounts; they take the money from the fans, concessions, parking, souvenirs, advertisers, and mostly TV deals, skim off some profits and tell the fans to be grateful.  No fans, no profits.

Now for a little history about the Red Sox owner…

Try to follow the card in this Bud Selig game:

John Henry is not a steel drivin’ man, but he knows how to drive a hard bargain. He played Selig’s game of “Three Card Monty” with Montreal, which resulted in him making out on the sale of the Marlins to Loria, which [act surprised] allowed him to purchase the Red Sox.  And [act surprised] allowed Luria to dump the Expos on MLB and buy the Marlins.

Selig had tried to simply fold the Twins and the Expos and walk away from those cities, but a court upheld the Metrodome owners Twins’ lease and blocked “Butt Sealing’s” master plan.  To circumvent the spirit and letter of the court, Selig moved on the Montreal team; he convinced the owners to buy the Expos

“It all worked out great for everyone…oh, except the Montreal Expos and their fans. They suffered together through three years of MLB ownership, watched their entire franchise get dismantled and devalued to the point that it was (nearly) worthless…and then sat by and watched as the franchise the MLB owners purchased from Mr. Loria for $120 million dollars get moved to Washington, DC and eventually sold to the Nationals‘ ownership group for $450 million dollars…”

[http://www.federalbaseball.com/2009/11/30/1178699/bud-selig-thanks-love-montreal]

What became of that $230 million dollar profit?

Conspiracy?  Tsk, tsk, may man.  No way!

December 2, 2011

The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) had issued subpoenas to the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County and baseball commissioner Bud Selig, ex-MLB president Robert DuPuy, Loria and Samson.

A former lawyer for the SEC said the watchdog agency likely wants to know whether the purchasers of stadium bonds were given full disclosure of the financial status of the borrowers involved, and also whether there may have been anypay for play involved on behalf of the parties. If the SEC finds wrongdoing in the investigation, it can choose to bring a civil suit against parties involved, issue fines or refer the case to the United States Department of Justice for possible criminal charges.[35]Furthermore, the SEC requested that minutes of meetings between government officials, owner Jeffrey Loria, and Commissioner Bud Selig and the records of Marlins finances since 2007 be delivered. [Wikipedia]

Conspiracy?  MLB, Bug Selig, Jeffry Loria, John Henry?  No way!

Nothing to see her, move along…old news…

THIS JUST IN…

July 24, 2012

“Investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission have determined that the city misled investors about just how broke it was before shopping bonds to float city projects, and are recommending civil fraud charges.”

[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/city-of-miami-misled-investors-sec-charges_n_1699207.html]

Meanwhile, in another part of Selig’s “Three Card Monty” game:

When Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner were forming an investment group to purchase the Red Sox, they received a call from a party interested in joining them, John Henry, the sole owner of the Florida Marlins.  Really?

Mr. Lucchino, seeking to purchase the Red Sox, remembers receiving the call from the owner of the Marlins, who wanted in on the deal and his response: “John, you’re just what the doctor ordered.”

Of course the interested party needed to find a way to unload the Marlins, before he could buy the Red Sox.

No worries! Commissioner Bud Selig to the rescue!

Nothing to see here…move along…

Besides we 99-Percenters, the fans,  are too ignorant to figure out how the Elite 1-Percenters, the Puppet Commissioner and his bosses, move their money around. [Perhaps even move it offshore?]

Besides reaping profits from a record string of Fenway sell-out crowds, while running a venerable baseball team into the compost pile, Henry’s two biggest accomplishments were:

  1. Stopping the demolition of Fenway Park.
  2. Creating a “mechanical” investment model for buying and selling futures.

“Mechanical”?

Listen:

“JWH was established in 1981, and began taking retail clients in 1982.

The firm’s management methods make mechanical, non-discretionary trading decisions in response to systematic determinations of reversals in each market’s direction, with the explicit intention of precluding not only human emotion, but also any subjective evaluation of such things as the so-called fundamentals, to trigger each decision.” [Wikipedia]

So, his central theme is operating a management method that strives to eliminate human emotion and subjective evaluation from decision-making.

This is a stark contrast to famous owner, Bill Veeck, who let his emotions, passions and compassion direct him; he was a risk taker and innovator and relished applying his hunches.  He integrated the American League by signing Lary Doby and sticking with him, when he was not an instant star, like Jackie Robinson.

Although the venerated Sporting News was not impressed when Branch Rickey signed Robinson in 1945:

“Jackie Robinson, at 26, is reported to possess baseball abilities which, if he were white, would make him eligible for a trial with, let us say, the Brooklyn Dodgers Class B farm at Newport News.”

[BILL VEECK: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, p.106]

Perhaps Veeck’s break through was more difficult to achieve than than Branch Rickey’s, since the AL had the more conservative, Country club owners?

The embarrassing history of Red Sox race relations is represented by this comment by owner Tom Yawkey, when Veeck signed Lary Doby:

“Anyone who said I won’t hire blacks is a liar. I have about 100 working on my farm down south.”

[BILL VEECK: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, p.134]

It was owner John Henry who honored the first black man to play for the Red Sox [in 1959] on April 17, 2009:

BOSTON — It was only appropriate that Elijah “Pumpsie” Green threw out Friday’s first pitch at Fenway Park, a pitch caught by David Ortiz.

After all, it was 50 years to the day that Green signed with Boston and broke the color barrier for the Red Sox, the last Major League club to integrate African-Americans. The ceremony also marked the club’s annual Jackie Robinson Day commemoration

[http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090417&content_id=4313860&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos]

So let’s give credit to John Henry for saving Fenway Park, rehabilitating the race relations reputation of the Boston Red Sox organization and creating a management decision-making method that eschews human emotions.

But, as a team owner, he is no Bill Veeck; Henry has more money than Bill, but he lacks vision and the ability to make the decisions it requires to avoid “dysfunction” in management; perhaps he is hindered by his “mechanical,” method; scrupulously trying to avoid letting human emotions become part of the process.

Is it possible that Mr. Henry is not focused on Ws, but on $s?

“If Larry Lucchino truly “runs the Red Sox [team stats],” as John Henry insists, he’s running them into the ground. Then again, he’s made his bosses a lot of money while doing it so maybe the ugly truth is those are the only numbers that really count on Yawkey Way anymore.”

[http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/baseball/red_sox/view.bg?articleid=1061150380&format=&page=2&listingType=sox#articleFull]

“An organization whose strategy is more on being a “revenue center entertainment conglomerate” is not as likely to deliver a successful baseball product…”

[thomasapitt,http://bostonherald.com/sports/baseball/red_sox/view.bg?articleid=1061150690&format=comments&cnum=11]

The Henry-Lucchino business plan has, thus far, reaped considerable profits and is considered a great success by the One-Percenters in the world of  business,  but it makes Mr. Henry an inelegant fit as an owner of a baseball team—especially the Red Sox.

CONCLUSION:  Henry must sell the Red Sox to the fans.

NEXT UP: Blaming the CEO

Series: 1-4 will point the finger at [1] the Owner, [2] CEO, [3]GM, and [4]Manager.

5 will offer a plan to take the team back [think Green Bay Packers]

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Tags: AL East AL Wild Card Anti-trust Ben Cherington Bill Veeck Blame Bobby Valentine Branch Rickey Bud Selig Carl Crawford CEO Congress David Ortiz Ex Exemption Fail Failure General Manager GM Green Bay Packers Jackie Robinson John Henry Larry Lucchino Lary Doby Manager MLB Commissioner Reserve Clause SEC Supreme Court