“May your life be interesting,” is believed to be an ancient curse in China.
“I think the next season and the season after that, these are all going to be very interesting times for the Red Sox,” said Lucchino.
“It’s an old marketing slogan we used to use: These are interesting times, you’ve got to be there. Maybe we’ll bring that slogan back: These are interesting times, you’ve got to be there, you’ve got to follow this team, you’ve got to watch it because these are interesting times.” Interesting…
Lawrence Lucchino has been President and Chief Executive Officer of The Boston Red Sox Baseball Club since February 2002.
Referring to the Crawford and Lackey deals:
“There were some things that we did in the last couple of years that were a little different than what we’d done before. That was a bit aberrational from what we had done in earlier years.”
Mr. Lucchino, essentially “in charge” since 2002, conveniently mis-remembers:
While Theo Epstein was away from the team, Ben Cherington, Jed Hoyer and Larry Lucchino helped broker the Josh Beckett trade with the Marlins. The Red Sox sent shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Beckett 4-years: $68 million. Brilliant!
Daisuke Matzuzaka: rights: $51.1 million from the Seibu Lions (Japan Pacific); contract: six-year, $52 million. TOTAL: $103.1 million. Brilliant!
But, no worries, Sox fans:
“We’ve learned from our experience and those of other clubs in recent years and, by the way, I think you should have some confidence that the same people who were engaged in this historic trade  are going to be involved in trying to fix the problem,” said Lucchino.
After specifically blaming super-sized FA contracts, Mr. Lucchino said:
“Absolutely, but we’re not going to rule out anything, especially and including free agency…”
But, no worries, Sox fans, Mr. Lucchino will not let those morons repeat those FA mistakes:
“…but I think you’re likely to see less reliance on it and therefore we’re going to have to pursue all other avenues, including major league trades, minor league prospects, waivers, Rule 5 draft — we have to use all the devices that are out there for us,” he said. To quote the current generation of Sox fans: “Well, DUH!”
He tries to leave the impression that Theo Epstein and whoever was “running the team” back then, are the root of the problem and that he is the guy who fixed that problem with a bold move; he gets due credit for the mop up job, but must admit that he has been a key decision-maker since 2002 in creating the mess.
Mr. Lucchino is spinning this storyline : “you should have some confidence that the same people who were engaged in this historic trade are going to be involved in trying to fix the problem,” but that is not the whole story.
The flip side is that, with a Laissez-faire owner, John Henry, Mr. Lucchino, since 2002, has presided over all the bad trades and FA signings; remember:
although GM Epstein made the bad deals, his “boss,” Mr. Lucchino approved them.
Mr. Cherington, with his boss, Mr. Lucchino, engineered the Beckett trade, while Theo was on leave, but Ben gets a pass on the Crawford/Lackey disasters consummated by his boss, then GM, Epstein, and his boss Mr. Lucchino.
Maybe the half of glass of that “lemonade” on my shoes looks more like this:
Why should we have confidence that the same person who was engaged in this historic trade, who was also essentially “in charge” during the FA Fiasco, is going to be involved in trying to fix the problem?
Now, both Mr. Lucchino and Mr. Cherington [who did the Beckett deal] are
acting like they have rediscovered the recipe for making tea.
To wit: developing your own “home grown” talent by nurturing a minor league system. They both mention putting more resources into scouting as if it’s new and revolutionary. Are they already drafting their sequel to Moneyball?
“Representatives of the different minor leagues met at the Leland Hotel in Chicago on September 5, 1901. In response to the National-American battle, they agreed to form the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, called the NAPBL, or NA for short. (The NA uses the name Minor League Baseball today.)
Branch Rickey developed the first modern farm system in the 1930s.
The Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis fought Rickey’s scheme, but, ultimately, the Great Depression drove teams to establish systems like Rickey’s to ensure a steady supply of players, as many NA and independent teams could not afford to keep their doors open without the patronage of major league baseball.
Representatives of the different minor leagues met at the Leland Hotel in Chicago on September 5, 1901. In response to the National-American battle, they agreed to form the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, called the NAPBL, or NA for short. (The NA uses the name Minor League Baseball today.)
In 1922, the United States Supreme Court decision Federal Baseball Club v. National League (259 U.S. 200), which grants baseball a special immunity from antitrust laws, had a major effect on the minor leagues. The special immunity meant that the American and National leagues could dictate terms under which every independent league did business.”
Branch Rickey is the Father of the Minor League Farm system, as GM of the St. Louis Cardinals he began contractual affiliations with minor league teams to assure a flow of young talent at low prices.
“As general manager, he found that the Cardinals were doomed to mediocrity as long as they could not afford to purchase players like the wealthier teams. That same year, Rickey came up with a plan to develop players through a chain of Cardinal-owned teams in various levels of minor leagues. The funds needed to make the plan work were realized when the Cardinals were purchased in 1920 by wealthy automobile dealer Sam Breadon. And the final link came as a new National Association Agreement was struck in 1921, allowing major league franchises to own minor-league teams.
Five years later, in 1926, the Cardinals won their first World Series, and their pennant-winning season would be repeated in 1928, 1930, 1931, and 1942. Even after Rickey left St. Louis following the 1942 season, his farm system continued to produce Cardinal pennants in 1943, 1944, and 1946. Not only was the team winning, but they were becoming wealthy as he sold players who were of no use to him or who made their contribution and had become replaceable. Thus, Johnny Mize brought over $50,000, a washed-up Dizzy Dean went for $185,000.”
“Along the way, Rickey was not without opposition. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis represented the most powerful challenge. The objective side of the commissioner viewed the success of the Cardinals as a threat to the integrity of the game.
Commissioner Landis saw the farm system and ownership of players as an unfair advantage and in the late 1930’s, so he punished the Cardinals, Yankees, and Tigers and their perceived violations of the letter and spirit of baseball’s rules.
Never known for docile submissiveness, Rickey regrouped quickly and set out to rebuild his empire. By 1940, the Cardinals owned 32 teams and had working agreements with 8 others, resulting in control of over 800 players. Mr. Rickey’s farm was alive and well.”
“…in 1942 he moved on to become general manager of the Dodgers, where another successful farm system produced the Hodges, Sniders, and Furillos of another era. As in St. Louis, Rickey traded aging talent for apparent mediocrity and acquired Preacher Roe, Billy Cox, Andy Pafko, and others to supplement the home grown talent.”
Today, “A small number of minor league clubs are directly owned by major league clubs, but these are rare. Major league Rule 56 governs the standard terms of a Player Development Contract (PDC) which is the standard agreement of association between a minor league team and its major league affiliate. Generally, the parent major league club pays the salaries and benefits of uniformed personnel (players and coaches) and bats and balls, while the minor league club pays for in-season travel and other operational expenses.”
While President of the Brooklyn Dodgers, [1945-49,] he established a more doctrinaire system of indoctrinating players on his minor league teams; all players were taught how to play the “Dodger Way” from Rookie league through AAA and on the major league club.
Players learned how to slide, bunt, thrown, hit the “Dodger Way” from day one; this established fundamentals that would be consistent as the player moved up the chain.
He also “invented” spring training and Dodgertown:
“In 1948, before spring training was spring training, before many teams ever stepped foot in Florida, the Brooklyn Dodgers built Holman Stadium on an old Naval base in Vero Beach, and Dodgertown slowly grew around it.
A spring training complex, an annual retreat, was the brainchild of Dodgers’ GM Branch Rickey.
In 2006, when Arizona and promise of commerce over history took them, the Dodgers abandoned Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida and move their training complex to Glendale.”
Although Mr. Rickey is best known for integrating Major league baseball in 1954, when he signed the nonpareil Jackie Robinson, his other contributions to the game, besides inventing minor league farm systems, incouded were batting helmets and statistical analysis. [See: BASEBALL'S GREAT EXPERIMENT by Jule Tygiel and BRANCH RICKEY by Jimmy Breslin.]
If Mr. Lucchino and Mr. Cherington are looking for an excellent modern-day model to follow, they need only look at how Oakland GM, Billy Beane, has constructed the lineup for his 2012 A’s team, the one that drubbed the Sox 20-2 yesterday.
FREE CLUE: Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s have emphasized developing pitchers over position players.
The recipe for success has been on a 3×5 card, in Branch Rickey’s handwriting, since at least 1920; all Lucchino and Cherington need to do is boil water and carefully select their tea.
Image Source Page: http://bnreview.barnesandnoble.com/t5/In-Brief/Branch-Rick
2004 World Series champs
The highlight of Epstein’s tenure with the Red Sox will always be the franchise’s first World Series title in 86 years. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals to break its “curse” and players Epstein acquired such as David Ortiz, Kevin Millar and Curt Schilling played key roles in the postseason run. Epstein has had gems Mike Timlin and Bill Mueller, and Adrian Beltre.
While Theo Epstein was away from the team, Ben Cherington, Jed Hoyer and Larry Lucchino helped broker the Josh Beckett trade with the Marlins. The Red Sox sent shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Beckett 4-years: $68 million.
Daisuke Matzuzaka: rights: $51.1 million from the Seibu Lions (Japan Pacific); contract: six-year, $52 million. TOTAL: $103.1 million.
Controversial Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade right at the trading deadline. In the deal, Ramirez was shipped to LA, and left fielder Jason Bay.
Carl Craword: $142 million 7-year contract.
John Lackey to a five-year/$82.5 million contract, GM Theo Epstein texted this interesting nugget to Josh Beckett, who will be a free agent at the end of the season:
“I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey’s deal,” Epstein said. “I just told him, ‘Some might speculate this might mean the end for you in Boston.’
I said, ‘Don’t listen to them. You’re a huge part of what we have going on here. We love it if it worked out if you’re a huge part of our future, as well. The most important thing is that we have one heck of a pitching staff right now.’
He texted back. He was very excited about the sign. He knows John a little bit. he thinks he’s a good man and a great pitcher and he’s ready to go for spring training. I don’t think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree people are speculating.”