Who kidnapped our Red Sox? The Owner? CEO? GM? Manager? Players?
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 [petition provided in article], 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.
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.’ ”
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
[noh-bles oh-bleezh; Fr. naw-bles aw-bleezh] Show IPA
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.”
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…”
What became of that $230 million dollar profit?
Conspiracy? Tsk, tsk, may man. No way!
December 2, 2011
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 any “pay 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.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.”
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:
- Stopping the demolition of Fenway Park.
- Creating a “mechanical” investment model for buying and selling futures.
“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
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.”
“An organization whose strategy is more on being a “revenue center entertainment conglomerate” is not as likely to deliver a successful baseball product…”
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.
Once Larry Lucchino was told by owner John Henry that he can run the Red Sox, the CEO has increasingly inserted himself into all aspects of the operation; he has become a case study in the dangers of micro-managing.
There appears to be a correlation between the increase in Larry’s micro-managing and the number of Red Sox losses. The more he meddles, the worse things get.
How did Mr. Lucchino learn so much about baseball that he can run a team all by himself?
After law school, Lucchino practiced law with the Washington, D. C. law firm of Williams & Connolly. The founder, famed litigator Edward BenneT. Williams, had ownership interest in both the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Orioles. Lucchino’s law practice at Williams & Connolly included a substantial amount of work for those two sports teams. Through that work he ultimately became President/CEO of the Baltimore Orioles and later, the San Diego Padres, and the Boston Red Sox.
He not only played with Bill Bradley on the Princeton University team, he was reputed to be a very good player himself; not a baseball player, a basketball player.
He did not work his way up from “the mail room;” he didn’t earn his way up the chain of a Major League baseball organization like say, Ben Cherington. He was a lawyer who worked for a team in the NFL and MLB, where his boss has some ownership. In 1988 the Oriole’s management appointed him President/CEO of the team.
Alright, so he came in the back door. So, how did he do with the Orioles and the Padres?
1989—2nd place, 87-75, 1988—7th place, 54-107
1995 – Padres are the most improved team in the National League finishing with a 70-74 record.
1996 – Padres with the National League Western Division Title with a 91-71 record.
1997 – Last place with a 76-86, 1998 – 1st place, 98-64; Padres win NL flag; swept by Yankees in WS.
1999 – 4th place, 74-88, 2000 – 4th place, 76-86, 2001 – 3rd place, 79-83.
Overall W-L record: 1,022-1,064
Post-season: Orioles = 0; Padres = 2
World Series wins: 0
Referriong to the current Red Sox fugue state, under the headline: Blame falls on Larry Lucchino, Ron Borges, BostonHerald.com says:
When the world’s greatest defense attorney owned the Orioles, it was the best run team in baseball. It won consistently and with dignity. It ran smoothly and did things “the Orioles Way,” which is to say the right way.
Lucchino didn’t run those Orioles. He held EBW’s coat, and wasn’t named president and CEO of the team until after Williams’ death.”
Sure, the Oriole’s didn’t do well on the field, but this Baltimore scribe thinks Larry belongs in a Hall of Fame:
“Lucchino was president of the Orioles in the mid-’80s when he decided his team should have a “park” instead of a “stadium.”
Let’s be clear about the impact of those two ideas. If the Hall of Fame is for the people who made the game better, and dramatically so, Larry Lucchino belongs.
Camden Yards, which opened in 1992, fundamentally changed the way we think of the places where baseball teams play.”
“Williams was Lucchino’s bridge into this career, but it in no way qualified him to trade players, sign free agents or even comment on the status of a roster. So why has Henry entrusted him in this capacity?”
The culture of deceit and betrayal must be removed and replaced with an environment of trust and accountability.”
Lucchino serves as the CEO of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, which is owned by John Henry and a consortium know as Fenway Sports Group. Fenway Sports Group is part of New England Sports Ventures which also owns Fenway Park and New England Sports Network.,
He could be fired by the owner, John Henry, but don’t expect it; at least not until Henry decides that doubling his money on his investment is enough of baseball for his taste and sells the team for $1.3 Billion [no typo: BILLION]. Until Henry sells the Sox, you will have Lucchino inflating his role, until some GM or manager stands up to him; only to lose their job.
The more Lucchino takes over the GM and manager jobs, the less the Red Sox win. And, John Henry, as long as he keeps raking in the annual profits from sell-outs, sales of Fenway trinkets and baubles, food and drink and other products that trade off the Red Sox historical cache, will continue to let Larry be more and even more Larry.
Even when the revenues start to slip, Henry expects the value of the team to continue to increase.
So, if you are waiting for John to fire Larry, you’re time would be better spent organizing other fans to raise $1.3 Billion to buy the team back from these business successes and baseball failures.
Perhaps the best example of why Lucchino is living in a Megalomaniac Fantasy world is CEO Lucchino’s mid-season email to ticket holders; let’s take a few excerpts:
“We have watched the team coalesce into a close group. Personalities are enhancing the chemistry…”
[INSERT JON STEWART “WTF” DOUBLE-TAKE.]
Really? Is Larry confusing the 2012 Red Sox with his Princeton basketball team in 1965?
“We bade farewell, with gratitude, to Kevin Youkilis, who helped us win two World Championships.”
“We” bade farewell? No, the fans bid Kevin a fond farewell and he thanked them. You, Henry and Cherington treated him like a fourth-year hen, who wasn’t laying eggs anymore. You let him read about his fate in the media; you didn’t have the common courtesy to invite him in for a closed door conversation, man-to-man.
Youkilis said. “I don’t know my situation. To be honest, I was never told what’s going on here—let’s get that straight. “
“[Youkilis’] unhappiness is a symptom of his state of mind in 2012. He was ticked off in April when manager Bobby Valentine questioned his emotional and physical commitment in a WHDH-TV interview. Youkilis received an apology, but the damage was done.”
“The one constant on the field has been our beloved Big Papi, David Ortiz. How thrilled we were that our gregarious leader reached the 400-home run plateau in a career that we hope will forever be with the Red Sox. “
“”It’s a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn’t want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?” Ortiz added that he just wants to be a part of a winner.” [Ortiz talking about the YANKEES.]
Ortiz, the longest-tenured Red Sox player on the team, after joining Boston in 2003, on how he was treated during contract negotiations:
“It was humiliating. There’s no reason a guy like me should go through that…And yet they don’t hesitate to sign other guys. It was embarrassing…[they] don’t give me my due consideration, even though I do my thing every year, [expletive] that.”
“Meanwhile, as you come to Fenway Park throughout this season, we hope you will come early—the secret to fully enjoying a sports venue. Now “A Living Museum,” Fenway Park probably leads the league in bronze plaques and commemorative displays along the concourses. Enjoy them at your leisure early, well before the escalation of excitement as game time approaches.”
“They did a good job at saying, ‘as you come to Fenway Park throughout the season we hope you come early; the secret to fully enjoying a sports venue. Buy our beer, buy our hats, buy our hot dogs,’” said Gresh.
And as for all the names Lucchino used for his players, Gresh thought it was pretty corny.
“It’s like bad wrestling gimmick names,” he said. ”I’m sure the ‘inspired’ Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik and all the people who have held down the fort through the injuries are happy to hear the management say ‘the return of the varsity.’ That’s nice.”
Perhaps you cannot see around your Law degree, or through your sheepskin, to understand that it’s condescending to tell Red Sox fans that Fenway Park is the long-venerated Green Chapel of Eternal Summers.
You insult the ticket buyers by saying: ‘Come to the oldest and best restaurant in the country, soak in the ambiance: the seasoned paneling, the framed photos of famous people, the abiding history, the fine crystal, the elegant bone china plates…’ and then serve them over-priced hot dogs and beer.
Spoiler Alert for Larry:
Ticket buyers know how to find a good restaurant and a museum, but, when they come to Fenway Park, they expect to also see a baseball game played with enthusiasm, as if the home team cares enough about winning that it “leaves it all on the field.”
The citizens of Red Sox Nation are not the ignorant rubes you think they are; they get it; they find your paternalistic tone laughable:
Jaygee • Rather than sending out a letter, how about sending out a refund!
Brian F • Come early so you can pay $7 beer and $4 dollar hot dogs. Otherwise I will have to use a metal detector to shake all the loose change out of you. The ownership needs to fire their public relations firm. They sound clueless.
C5900 • THE MOST RIDICULOUS LETTER I HAVE EVER READ BY A SPORTS EXECURIVE. ACTUALLY BY ANY EXECUTIVE.
matrix • How embarrassing for the players. Just really, really, really bad writing first of all, and condescending to everyone involved.
The precursor for the next letter ………… “We need to raise ticket prices, again. Thank You for supporting our bad payroll decisions.”
Coachhubba • THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE SOX SPEAKS.
Hope11 • The ramblings of a desperate man. No one is listening, Larry.
Let’s assume that Mr. Lucchino is, as the Owner has said, running the team. Let’s look at the standings and the state of the team.
On his watch in years past, the Red Sox have had great success, but, by increasing his power and scope, Lucchino has magnified a series of bad decisions that have put the Red Sox in a large-contract bind that will keep the team out of the playoffs for a decade.
In his smarmy email to the ticket holders, Lucchino was trying to reprise an old advertising axiom:
“If the meat is rotten, sell the sizzle.”
Previously it is reported that when the team traded Nomar Garciaparra, Lucchino complained about Garciapara’s alleged lack of dedication.
“He’s tough. I’d be lying if I say he was an easy guy to work with. When he has new people around him, it takes a while before he has trust in those people. You have to show him what you can do before he relies on you.” [Kevin Towers]
His insistence on hiring his pal Bobby as manager was not the first time that Lucchino played “micro manager” with his GM:
“What Epstein had issues with was Lucchino’s insistence on being involved in every decision, from such relatively minor moves as whether the team should keep Damian Jackson or Lou Merloni — Lucchino insisted on Jackson, according to one team source, over the objections of the baseball ops people — as to the now widely dissected aborted Kelly Shoppach trade with the Rockies.”
Only needing to mollify a diffident owner, who openly says that Larry “runs the Red Sox,” Lucchino inflated his CEO role; even usurping the GM’s role in selecting a manager, organizing trades, and coordinating the farm system.
Apparently, Mr. Lucchino believes that it is only he who knows what’s best for the Red Sox and that requires him to micro-manage all aspects of the organization. He surely understands the management principle of “delegation of authority;” he just believes that he is so much smarter than everybody else, he can interfere carte blanche.
If the CEO leaks negative information about his General Manager and manager, how do you think the next GM would feel about his boss? How would you feel if your boss arrogates your first major decision and stuffs a manager down the back of your pants, as part of a weasel prank?
Any GM’s fate and career are tightly bound to the performance of his manager and team, but Cherington was involuntarily tied to Lucchino’s pal in a Three-Legged Race for the pennant.
Ben was the jockey, who rode a horse chosen by Lucchino. If the horse wins the race; Lucchino takes the credit; if the horse loses the race, Cherington takes the blame and gets fired by Lucchino.
Lucchino might as well be singing this John Prine lyric to Gentle Ben:
“Hey don’t give me no trouble, or I’ll call up my double.
We’ll play Monkey in the Middle with you.”
Ah, trust; most people learn that it is the lynchpin of relationships.
“Teams are built on trust, right? And teamwork. Those are probably the two most important things championship teams have, so if there is distrust I think it eventually would have to be addressed. In my experience, those things usually present themselves.” –Bobby Valentine
Does Lucchino trust GM Cherington?
Does GM Cherington trust CEO Lucchino?
Does manager Valentine trust GM Cherington?
Does GM Cherington trust the CEO’s pal manager Valentine?
Do the players trust manager Valentine?
Does Valentine trust Beckett, Ortiz, Pedroia, or any of his coaches?
Does everyone spend too much time trying to find snitches and snitching?
Does a team owner allow a “feeling” of distrust to cast a pall over his organization?
And, which one of the above mentioned is a snitch?
When Dustin Pedroia called out his manager: “That’s not the way we do things around here.” in the media, the management [Henry, Lucchino, Cherington] went mute.
When Middlebrooks committed two errors in one inning earlier in the season, Valentine told WEEI he sarcastically said to Middlebrooks, “Nice inning, Will.”
Once again management had no reply, but the newly gun-shy Valentine promptly ate what he had spit up.
August 2, 2012 Rob Bradford of WEEI tweeted:
“Valentine said Middlebrooks comment on @weei was “stupidest thing I’ve said on radio” Went on to explain story again”
Tony Massarottii of the Boston Globe wrote:
“Valentine came with a reputation for being a pot-stirrer and verbally provocative. And yet, at the first sign of provocation, Red Sox officials effectively neutered Valentine.”
Valentine must have been reminded of that Dylan lyric:
Everybody said they’d stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to bluff.
How long will it take for Valentine to complete the song with:
I’m going back to cable tee-vee
I do believe I’ve had enough.
A headline on Bleacher Report today:
Boston Red Sox: Why Bobby Valentine Should Quit Right Now
He did investigative work on the Nixon impeachment process.
[Talk about your “dysfunctional” management!]
But, “it is now clear why Edwin BenneT. Williams never let Larry Lucchino run the Orioles.”
The Red Sox have sold out 607 consecutive games going into Tuesday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“We hope to sell out the rest of the season,” Lucchino said.
Good luck with that, Larry.
The fans have heard the sizzle, but then, they tasted the rotten meat you are serving.
Wake up call for Mr. Lucchino:
Ratings for Red Sox games on NESN over the season’s first half had the Sox in fifth place, down almost 36 percent from their first-place perch last year, according to an analysis of Nielsen Media Research by the Sports Business Journal.
Ratings for Red Sox games broadcast on WEEI-AM were down 16.5 percent, to 107,500 listeners, reported the Boston Globe.
“It doesn’t represent a dip in overall popularity because we’re still selling out,” Lucchino said.
Most people buy their ticket packages a year in advance. If things continue to slide downhill for the rest of 2012, will those sell-outs continue in 2013?
Whether he is smarter and knows more about baseball than Bobby Valentine or not, Mr. Lucchino’s overblown self-confidence, micro-management style, and apparent willingness to undermine his GMs, managers, and players, makes him the prime contributor to the Red Sox dysfunctional disaster.
RED SOX ANNOUNCER #1: “Hey, wait, that’s not Pitching Coach, Bob McClure, heading out to the mound…
RED SOX ANNOUNCER #2: “It’s not Valentine…this guy is wearing a three-piece, pinstripe suit…”
RED SOX ANNOUNCER #1: “Looking through my binoculars…Wait! It’s CEO, Larry Lucchino!”
RED SOX ANNOUNCER #2: “And he’s waving to the bullpen…”
RED SOX ANNOUNCER #1: “Can you BELIEVE it ??? !!!”
CONCLUSION: New fan owners fire the CEO.
GENERAL MANAGER: FAIL!
Ben Cherington seems to be the kind of person you would love to have as a neighbor and President of your Homeowner’s Association. But, was his promotion a great management decision?
Is the position of General Manager of the Boston Red Sox appropriate for “on-the-job-training”?
Despite the Happy Horseshit front put on by owner John Henry in his email to the media, Cherington is trapped in a four-character Kabuki dance, where he plays the “Monkey in The Middle” between CEO Lucchino and his good pal Valentine, the field manager. The fourth player is the owner, who has made it clear that the CEO runs the team and has free rein to run roughshod over any subordinate on the corporate flow chart.
While the owner watches his Euro soccer team on satellite TV and contemplates the optimum time to sell the Sox for $1.3 Billion [doubling his investment], Larry huddles with Bobby, and Ben frets in his office, waiting for them to shoot off another toe, so he can tell the media, with a smirk, “Gee whiz, that’s too bad…”
CEO Lucchino frames Cherington as a risk-averse wimp and implies that Ben could have acted more forcefully with trades.
“We have talked frequently about boldness, that you’ve got to know when to be bold…”
When any boss says he has “talked frequently” about an issue with a subordinate, the subtext is clear: “I have to keep reminding him to be more bold, since he hasn’t done it yet.”
Lucchino waited until the last few days of the trade deadline to raise false expectations that Gentle Ben was finally going to grow a pair and do his job.
Ben was inelegantly sand-bagged when Larry Lucchino said general manager Ben Cherington is ‘empowered’ to make a big deal to improve the team before the July 31 trading deadline.
Lucchino, in an interview on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show, was asked if it was possible the team would make a “bold move” following the news on Wednesday that the Miami Marlins had inquired about outfielder Carl Crawford.
“Yes, I do, I think that Ben feels empowered to do it, I think he’s got the capacity to do it,” Lucchino said. “We have talked frequently about boldness, that you’ve got to know when to be bold and know when to be somewhat more conservative and methodical, but this is a club that’s been built on bold moves over the years, going way back to the Nomar Garciaparra trade as but one example.”
Ahem: “…when the team traded Nomar Garciaparra, Lucchino complained about Garciapara’s alleged lack of dedication.”
If Lucchino is as smart about baseball as he believes, he must know, as do all sentient members of the Red Sox Nation, that the chances that any GM would be able to unload Crawford or Beckett were as likely as Larry rehiring Theo or Tito.
When Cherington did nothing at the trade deadline to significantly shore up Valentine’s team with a rotation starter, he said, “It’s our job to stay disciplined and try to make good decisions.”
Translation: “I did not give up any top-tier prospects.”
It is impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of GM Cherington without knowing if the “management plan” was to be a Buyer or a Seller team. Although it may be apparent to the casual observer that there will be no “October” baseball for the Red Sox in 2012, the Fenway Brain Truss [Henry. Lucchino, Cherington] chose denial as a strategy.
If they had decided to “go for it” this season, they would have made a rotation starter, or two, a first priority. There was no discernible coordinated “plan” or decisive purpose behind the trades that were made. At best, by default, the results implied a willingness to rebuild from within, as no vital prospects were dealt.
An owner, a CEO, and a GM of a major team in MLB get into a car. The GM is driving and the car is in Park. The Owner says “Go Forward,” the CEO says “Back Up” and the confused GM, feeling “empowered,” confidently moves from Park to Neutral.
“If we’re all going somewhere let’s get there soon
Oh this song’s got no title just words and a tune.”
[Elton John, “This Song has no Title”]
“Now comes before this Court of Public Opinion…a petition to…”
FIRE BEN CHERINGTON IMMEDIATELY
A few summarized highlights include, quote:
1) Re-signed Marco Scutaro as his “first order of business”, only to trade him to create cap space on a team with a $180 million payroll where this fictitious cap space doesn’t even exist.
2) Insisted on converting Daniel Bard to a starting pitcher.
3) He didn’t allow Valentine the opportunity to choose his own coaching staff.
4) Refused to penalize [Beckett, Lester, and Lackey].
5) Traded Josh Reddick [for an injury prone reliever, who promptly went on the DL]. Reddick has more home runs than the entire Red Sox outfield combined. [Bailey] $3.9 million to rehab his thumb.
7) Signing Kelly Shoppach to a contract (after a 2011 season of: 39 hits in 221 at-bats for a stellar .176 batting average and .607 OPS, 23 runs, 11 home runs, 22 RBI) and leaving Ryan Lavarnway to rot in the minors.
NOT trading one of the three completely self-absorbed (and currently terrible) starting pitchers in our rotation (Beckett, Lester, Buchholz) for a front of the line starter is absurd.
9) The Kevin Youkilis trade was a disaster. Are we supposed to believe that sending Youkilis to the White Sox, then paying him $5 million to play against us, then getting back a guy who was designated for assignment and a pitcher who will never pitch for the Red Sox, was a good deal?? Pathetic.
[end quotes from petition.]
And, yes, Ben also gets the blame for signing Beckett, who acted like a busted High School Freshman, when he was called out for eating chicken, drinking beer, and playing video games DURING games; he brought that adolescent rebellion attitude back this season and has either consciously or unconsciously failed, and passive-aggressively [assorted minor injuries] totally tanked. He and his comrade in the Pitchers of Beer Club, Jon Lester, the former ace and the erstwhile #2,The Josher, are the primary reason that team is out of the playoffs: Beckett [5-9, 4.54] and Lester [5-10, 5.36].
BTW, the “snitch” who went “upstairs” to complain to GM Cherington about how Bobby hurt Middlebrooks feelings weeks ago, was likely Lurking Lackey, the other Beer Pitcher
In fairness, we note that Epstein’s Legacy hangs heavy around Cherington’s neck; the Lackey, Matsuzaka, and Crawford contract albatrosses: $121.75 million through 2017 owed to Carl Crawford: $45.75 million through 2014 owed to John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, for whom Epstein paid $103 million in posting fee and salary, will collect another $10.3 million this season in the final year of his contract while he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery.
And, yes, Theo took full credit for the WS victories, but he also he noted: “”I think an objective look at the 10 years we had there showed some things that are not really up for dispute…I think we did a great job drafting, great job developing players…”
Cherington may be a very talented person who is simply in the wrong position, or in over his head. Granted, his boss is a micro-manager, who doesn’t trust his judgment and embarrasses Mr. Cherington by encroaching on his GM prerogatives. Sure, there have been key players on the DL for long periods of time [Bailey and Crawford.]
Still Cherington may not be ready for prime time as a GM, at least not with the Red Sox. But, but he did skillfully develop prospects, while vice president of player personnel.
CONCLUSION: Give Cherington back his former position as vice president of player personnel.
Hire a new, proven, experienced GM; someone like Kevin Towers, Billy Beane, Doug Melvin, or Brian Sabean.
Q: Who caused our venerable franchise to come full circle from the 1967 “Impossible Dream” to the 2012 “Impossible Team”?
Bobby Valentine is a very intelligent person, who knows a lot about baseball, who loves attention, and was set-up to fail by a friend. He is a modern day Rip Van Winkle, who has awakened after 12 years, who is trying to use his Old School methods on Modern Millionaires, who now play for money over pride and self-respect.
During the Sox September Swoon of 2012, manager Tito Francona went into a fugue state and drifted downward from a “laissez faire” approach to the most passive form of benign neglect. Mr. Francona’s personal life was on fire; he became distracted and withdrawn. As a result, he let the monkeys take over the zoo [especially the kitchen and media room].
Just three months later: enter Bobby Valentine.
Bobby Valentine’s failure to succeed with the Red Sox is primarily due to his over abundance of self-confidence, which, although supported by a successful career, has gained him the reputation as a “smart Alec” with an Super-sized ego.
It was this ebullient self-confidence that made him susceptible to his friend Larry Lucchino, an even more excessively confident man, who borders on diagnosable megalomania.
At some point in the winter, CEO Lucchino hatched a Master Plan in his fertile imagination: the September Swoon Sox needed a new manager that would “kick ass,” shake them up and bring professional discipline to the team. He decided that his friend Bobby was the perfect man for the task.
And so it began…
Owner John Henry had privately told Lucchino that he was in charge of the Red Sox, so the ubiquitously “empowered” Lucchino was confident that, whoever Cherington dug up as candidates, he would prevail and Valentine would manage the Red Sox in 2012 and 2013.
The only hurdle left before implementation was Bobby, but Larry was sure he could convince his friend to take on the job.
At some time prior to November 3, 2011, he called Bobby and they had a meeting. Larry made his case and, after the obligatory mention of the “downside” of the Master Plan, Bobby bit.
Many other equally capable, but less confident men would have demurred, considering:
- After the September Swoon, the clubhouse had become a toxic pile of sullen adolescents, clubhouse snitches, prima donnas, and no leadership.The inmates had been allowed enough time to take over the asylum. It was like handing a new manager a wet bag of garbage.
- The Red Sox Nation is a cauldron of contentiousness, where rabid fans and merciless media are relentless in their criticism of the team.
- With the third largest payroll in MLB, expectations were very high.
- Too many players were on long-term contracts, which tended toward an “I don’t need to listen to you; I can wait you out” attitude.
Despite these fundamental problems and his own awareness that:
He was away from the game for 12 years.
He had a reputation for bad-mouthing his players in the media.
He knew he was being rammed down the GM’s throat.
He knew about his reputation for lobbing Molotov cocktails at sparks.
Bobby took the job.
He took it, because he fell under the spell of hubris.
We will refine the definition to more elegantly describe Mr. Valentine.
With him is it the temptation of his ego that allows him to suspend reality and believe that he can do something that others cannot. Like untying the mythical “Gordian Knot,” or worse, “shaping up” a toxic Red Sox team.
It is his flavor of hubris that craves attention; a voracious and insatiable need to feed the ego with recognition.
It is his flavor of arrogance that derives less from excessive pride and more from passion.
Take his hubris down a notch and it is courage, determination, and idealism.
On Baseball Tonight he was commenting on stories, but that was not enough: he wanted to be the story.
Because he missed The Show and the limelight; he took on an impossible task.
In classic literature, hubris inexorably resigns the hero to terrible consequences.
It was Mr. Valentine’s heroic, but tragic, attempt to overstep normal human limits.
“Between the Idea and the Reality… falls The Shadow.” –T.S. Eliot
After obtaining Valentine’s commitment, Lucchino dragged Cherington with him to the World Affairs Council Panel discussion in Hartford on November 3rd. Larry asked that Valentine show up early for the panel discussion in which they would participate.
He used this staged opportunity to informally introduce Cherington to Valentine. With Ben in the audience, Larry expected he would be impressed with Valentine. Apparently he was not, since no formal interview was scheduled.
Undeterred, Lucchino ordered Cherington to informally meet with Valentine a few weeks later [Nov. 21] at the Fenway offices and to schedule a formal interview with management for Valentine the following day.
Cherington was ready to recommend his choice for manager, Dale Sveum, after the first round of interviews. But, Lucchino has other plans. To insert his candidate, he requested a second round of interviews. The delay resulted, perhaps coincidentally, in the hiring of Dale Sveum, by Cherington’s former boss, GM Theo Epstein, to manage the Cubs, on November 18th.
Cherington had been stalled by his CEO and his mentor, Theo the Golden Boy, had stolen his new manager. Things were about to get worse for Gentle Ben:
On November 21, Peter Abraham, Globe Staff, observed:
“Valentine emerged as the leading candidate last week after Red Sox ownership met with Dale Sveum and did not make him an offer. Sveum had been Cherington’s choice after the first round of interviews.
Now Valentine is the front-runner in that he apparently comes pre-approved by team president Larry Lucchino. Valentine also has the support of principal owner John Henry, according to sources.”
Lucchino needed a thin cover of credibility for his Second round of interviews, so the PR office put out the propaganda that three other candidates, Sandy Alomar Jr., Gene Lamont and Torey Lovullo were in contention along with Valentine. Lucchino was directing a disingenuous farce; these three “candidates” were simply straw men, since he was running the Red Sox, even the hiring of the new manager.
At some point, Cherington figured out that he would not be allowed to make the choice; a decision usually assigned to the General Manager; he realized that Lucchino had neutered him and that, since owner Henry had granted his CEO unlimited power, Ben was now the “Monkey in the Middle” between Lucchino and Valentine.
On November 22nd Valentine went through the motions of the interview and then met with the media, fully prepared, confident [act surprised] and beaming.
It was the 23rd anniversary of the unveiling of the Stealth bomber.
Adding a second insult to Cherington’s GM role, Valentine leaked the decision.
On November 29th, USA Today scooped the media and Cherington:
“Bobby Valentine accepted the Boston Red Sox’s offer Tuesday to become their next manager, according to Tommy Lasorda, special assistant to Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
“I’m glad he accepted the job,” Lasorda told USA TODAY. “He’s good for baseball and he”ll get them right back where they should be. Let me put it this way: They won’t be drinking beer and eating chicken in that clubhouse again, I guarantee you that.”
Valentine telephoned Lasorda, a former Dodger mentor, to inform him he accepted the job. Valentine was on a charity event in Japan, where he managed for seven years. The Red Sox have declined comment, but Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Monday that he hoped to have a manager by Friday.”
Pre-empted and undercut by Valentine, an embarrassed and chagrined Cherington [belatedly] revealed, the next evening, that Bobby Valentine would be introduced as manager Thursday, when Cherington’s Press Release said “the team will host a news conference at 5:30 p.m. at Fenway Park to announce Valentine’s hire.”
Red Sox Fan:
“Valentine knew what he was getting into, he knew the coaches weren’t his choice, he knew the GM didn’t want him but his ego still took the job.” [betterchoice replying to brownbomber]
Thus did “empowered” Red Sox CEO, Larry Lucchino send his friend Bobby Valentine into an Insane asylum, where a few inmates, fueled by chicken and beer and a video game induced boldness, had rushed into the leadership vacuum and were becoming intoxicated by the heady brew of power.
And Lucchino, Valentine’s boon companion, patted his pal on the back, instantly “empowered” him, shoved Bobby in the doorway and locked it behind him, expecting Valentine to play Nurse Ratched and “show them who’s boss.”
“Brilliant, Larry!” thought Larry.
Red Sox Fan:
“Proof positive that it’s time for Bobby V to go. It takes two to make an argument, and Valentine has never backed away from escalating a minor tiff into WWIII. I was anxious for Francona to leave, because I thought that he was too easy on his players, but I didn’t think that he’d be replaced by ”Little Hitler”. Now we know why Valentine was out of MLB for 20 years or so. [fideauxdon]
Thus did this venerable franchise come full circle from the 1967 “Impossible Dream” to the 2012 “Impossible Team.”
“Bobby Valentine, more than most people, knows how to smile while clenching his teeth. He understands it looks better to smile, but he has never been good at concealing his true feelings.”–TYLER KEPNER, NYT, July 28, 2012.
Set up to be the “New Sheriff in Town,” believing the Lucchino had “empowered” him with full managerial authority, Valentine went right to work: he cleaned up the chicken and beer that was still rotting in the clubhouse and confidently proclaimed a ban.
And, so it continued…
Shortly, Valentine said Youkilis wasn’t “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past.” [SOURCE: Steven Buckley, Boston Herald]
Still smarting from previous slights and indignities perpetrated by Lucchino and Valentine Gentle Ben retaliated (via CBS Boston) by backing up the player, undercutting the authority of the manager:
“First of all, the way he expressed that was not the best way to express that. He said the same thing to Kevin and apologized. I think we’ll all learn from it and be able to handle it differently.”
Q: Where was his omnipotent CEO pal, Larry, when Valentine was chided and undercut by GM Cherington?
Then Pedroia inserted himself into the controversy, sticking up for his team mate:
”I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do. But that’s really not the way we go about our stuff here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon. We’ve got Youk’s back. He’s played his [butt] off for us for a long time …”
In his weekly show, WHDH-TV’s Sports Extra, Valentine tried to spin Pedroia’s statement:
“That’s one of those things. I really appreciate players when they stick together. That’s exactly what he should be doing.”
But the damage had already been done and the “Us vs. Him” game was on and Bobby was just beginning to realize that the players were “serious sunburn” sensitive to his reputation for calling out his Mets’ players in the media and ready to react to the slightest touch.
Although Valentine believed he had the full support of Lucchino, his pal who was running the Red Sox, his broadcast experience told him: the media “story line” would he: “Valentine vs. Cherington!” and “Players Battle Manager!
Besides being critical of his players in the media, Valentine had a habit of revealing the content of personal conversations with the players; Boston-Herald writer John Tomase noted:
“What has happened, instead, is that Valentine has repeatedly violated his players’ confidence by revealing private conversations, and to what end? His motivations remain inscrutable.
• In May in Baltimore, Valentine revealed that catcher Kelly Shoppach had come to him to discuss a lack of playing time.
At the time, starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia was scorching the ball, and Shoppach was condemned for being selfish. The only problem is he went about things the right way, asking Valentine in private, never once complaining to the media. It only became an issue when Valentine volunteered the information to reporters.
The feeling in the clubhouse is that Valentine made a calculated disclosure because he preferred that the team summon Ryan Lavarnway from Pawtucket to serve as backup catcher.
• A month later in Chicago, Josh Beckett [stats] went on the disabled list. Thanks to an off day late that week, Clay Buchholz could have started the series finale on regular rest, with Felix Doubront being skipped.
But Valentine disclosed that Buchholz, having thrown more than 220 pitches over his previous two starts, requested an extra day of rest. “I totally understand it,” Valentine added.
Did he? Revealing that information when he just as easily could have said, “We decided Clay could use the extra rest,” suggested the exact opposite, and did not go unnoticed by Buchholz’ teammates, who felt his competitiveness was being unfairly called into question.
• The latest example came Sunday night after a 14-1 victory over the Indians. Valentine was asked about Carl Crawford’s monster game, and volunteered that Crawford was lifted because of a sore wrist, information Crawford clearly wanted held in-house.”
“Between the Idea and the Reality… falls The Shadow.” –T.S. Eliot
Valentine’s Spring of Optimism, suddenly skipped summer and switched, unseasonably, to a dark mid-Winter; Valentine would spend the rest of the 2012 baseball season in the shadows; his only option was to clench his teeth, put on that famous shiny smile, enthusiastically feign optimism, play out the string of the 2012 season, and privately plan his return to Sports broadcasting.
Thus, despite the plain Reality – his team at .500 (55-56), 9 games behind the Yankees; 4½ games out of the second wild-card spot, behind four teams, he grins hard and says, two days ago [August 8th] in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI:
“I think we’re a playoff team and I think we’re going to be there before the season is over…”
When the host suggested that the Red Sox would probably need 89 wins to clinch the second wild-card spot, which would require them to win 2 out of 3 of their remaining 51 games, a 34-17 record, Valentine replied:
“Yeah, of course…Of course, we can do better than that. I don’t think that’s so optimistic, I think it’s realistic if we stay healthy. Right now we have some concerns in the bullpen. If that stabilizes I think there’s big runs ahead.”
Was Valentine channeling, Leo Durocher, manager of the 1951 Giants; a team that went 50-12 over their final 62 games? A team that had spirit, leadership, guts.
In 1951 Willie Mays, who was paid $5,000.
Win or lose, Josh Beckett will be paid his full $17 MILLION for 2012. If he wins 3 of his remaining 7 starts and finishes with 8-13, each W would cost the Red Sox over $2 MILLION.
In a recent article, “10 Worst Pennant Race Collapses
A countdown of the worst blown leads in baseball history
The Red Sox came in first; that is: worst.
Q: Are the 2012 Red Sox more like the 1951 Giants, or more like the 2011 Red Sox?
Long after he has returned to broadcasting, bar room debaters will still be defending Valentine, as the Globe’s Peter Abraham does so effectively here: http://articles.boston.com/2011-11-20/sports/30422627_1_bobby-valentine-ben-cherington-front-runner.
Possibly someday, Bobby Valentine will be joyfully preparing a gourmet Japanese dinner for two in his kitchen in Stamford, Connecticut, as he sings along with the Dylan song on KOOL 96.7, the oldies’ station:
‘Everybody said they’d stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to call my bluff…”
And, his wife enters the kitchen and Bobby says:
“It will be ready in about five minutes…
…You know, I still can’t figure out how I let Larry talk me into taking that job…”PLAYERS: FAIL!As Casey Stengel said to the press corps after winning the 1958 World Series:
““I couldn’t have done it without my players.”
Certainly the Red Sox inept management could not have failed so badly without the players. After the tepid reaction to the Pitchers of Beer scandal, no one in the Fenway Brain Truss—not Henry, not Larry, not Gentle Ben—have backed any criticism of the players. Cherington sided publicly with Pedroia over Valentine.
It is axiomatic that “management” hire and fire “non-management” and that it is easier to sacrifice one scapegoat, regardless of winning performances*, than taking the time to meticulously root out the few players who are stinking up the clubhouse.
As a public service to Red Sox Nation, we will do the dirty work in this article.
Manager Valentine was asked if his players were responding to his ‘style’?
“I don’t know what my style is,’’ he answered. “Guys who are having good seasons have responded well. Guys who are not having good seasons are not responding well.’’
We begin our “Blame the Players,” inquisition by opening up a case of “Whup Ass,” unsure if 24 aerosol cans would be enough to cover the clubhouse, trainer’s room, and showers. But, once we shook the first can for 30 seconds, popped off the cap, and put our right index finger on the red spray button, we were hard pressed to find more than a handful of players who needed a “Whup Ass” treatment.
Think about it; consider the starters and tell me which one is part of the problem:
Did you find anybody on that list that is a slacker, dogging it, jaking it, choking, or laying down?
How about these guys:
Crawford, Lavarnway, Punto, Sweeney, Shoppach, Kalish, Ciriaco, Nava.
Let’s keep our can of Whup Ass in the “Cops Clear Scene,” 2-handed, straight-armed position as we stalk the clubhouse for hiding perps. “Clear!” OK, let’s head out to the bullpen.
So far, since we cannot blame a guy for getting injured, I have not a single suspect.
Oh, man, the game has started! We need to get out of the Sox pen! Better head back to the clubhouse and pack up our Whup Ass.
Wait! I hear laughter coming from the Trainer’s room!
[whispered, forcefully] Resume 2-handed, straight-armed position!
And, also, the “Left-overs:” Bench coach Bogar, Pitching coach McClure, Bullpen coach Gary Tuck.
Say, coaches: I noticed you guys are able to talk, to each other. Do you all get a sudden attack of Social Anxiety Disorder when the manager is around? Oh, right, only Bobby Valentine.
At last, we have a Sox Suspect Six Pack. Bring in our Strip Search Crew, Janet Napolitano and the DHS Gal Pals. Once they’re done with the boys, we’ll herd them [the boys] into the shower room for a thorough Whup Ass treatment.
Way back on April 10, before the Sox had played a half dozen games, we averred:
“It all comes down to one player, Josh Beckett. After administering five “Punxsutawney Phil Pills” [homers] in less than 5 innings in Detroit, is Beckett ready to get past his hatred of his manager and return to his form [15-10], or will he remain in his funk for the rest of the season and, with several curious stays on the DL, start fewer games and sink under .500, say 8 and 12?
If Beckett chooses to play “The Josher,” the petulant post-college frat boy, that 8-12 record will probably mean the Sox will not even make a Wild Card slot; consider the AL West with the Rangers and the Angels racking up wins against the Seattle Marinades and the Oakland Haze.
Ben and the Braintruss can wait to see if The Josher can fundamentally rectify his mood when he faces division rival Tampa next, or they can start shopping him and trade for a pitcher with a better attitude–now.
We may have been wrong; it may not come down to just one player, but we may have been right in naming Beckett as the Ring Leader of The Bad Boys of Beer. We were correct in suggesting that the Sox trade Josh ASAP, before he went further into the tank.
The clubhouse is like a barrel of fish at the market; they look fine, but, down deep, there’s the easily identified smell of Stage Seven Putrefaction; it takes only a few, say maybe six, or even just one, rotting fish to spoil the barrel.
Here Dan Shaughnessy asks:
“Josh Beckett and Lackey carry themselves as unlikable characters who don’t care about the image they present to fans and media. Despite this, they get unwavering support from their teammates. We repeatedly ask why they receive this support. Should we instead be asking what this support says about the people who populate the Red Sox roster?”
A: Five capital letters: M L B P A, the acronym for the Major League Baseball Players Association. Anyone who has ever belonged to a union understands the fundamental law of solidarity. You don’t bad mouth a fellow union member, at least not in public or the media. [NOTE: they need to add an apostrophe to their name: Major League Baseball Players’ Association.]
This brings us to a point of Ubiquitous Blame; a lack of leadership in the clubhouse. You can discover a leader and name him Captain and hope it works. Some Captains, like Tek, do not engender respect with speeches; they do it with that look in their eyes. The Red Sox don’t need to name a Captain, the team needs someone to step up and be a leader.
The worst thing about the September Swoon was that, apparently, nobody took the role of leader; nobody called a players meeting and effectively “took names and kicked ass.” It did not need to be a finger-pointing session; somebody needed to say “We suck! It’s time we acted like Professional baseball players. Where is your self-respect? Where is your pride? Reach back and get it done! Find that spark for the fire in your belly. You owe it to your family, the fans, and your team mates.”
Then, somebody needed to take Beckett out to dinner for steak and wine and remind him that, all else aside, if he doesn’t find a way to get it done, it will make him completely untradeable.
Instead, Beckett has become the Anti-Captain, the bummer, the sullen adolescent, the malingerer, the infection agent for Downer Disease. [NOTE: for my sympathetic take on Josh, go to this post: https://bosoxinjection.com/2012/07/19/youre-josh-beckett-family-man-and-youre-dreaming-about-a-trade-to-texas/]
OK, time to pick up our case of Whup Ass and head to the showers.
Let’s get started by sending the coaches to the bullpen for a treatment session with Big Sis and her Gal Pals. If these guys think they can decide not to communicate with their manager, they are fired. Let the new manager for 2013 pick his own coaches. Valentine? Didn’t you read that we said he was a very intelligent man? Catch him on Baseball Tonight with his desk partner Tito.
You may not agree with me, but I am sending Lester to the Trainer’s room for a thorough medical exam; a guy with that much talent, who is not intentionally sabotaging the Red Sox, must have a physical problem. Maybe he goes DL for 15 days and returns to his Ace role.
That leaves two suspects: John Lackey and Josh Beckett.
My bookie, Mikey, gives the shortest odds that Lackey was the leak to the front office about the Ellsbury Insult Incident and likely others to the media. Mikey is calculating the odds that Lackey has Schilling the Shill on speed dial.
“Lackey was so busted up after the latest defeat that he was strutting around the clubhouse with a can of Bud Light in each hand, or what is known as “double-fisting” on every college campus in the history of mankind. So much for the Bobby Valentine ban on alcohol in the Sox clubhouse that was implemented during spring training.”
The team can no longer endure a Lurking Lackey in the clubhouse. What to do?
The Red Sox revenues will dramatically increase with the new TV broadcast deals. Instead of turning those profits to gold bars in deposit boxes offshore, the Sox need to re-invest it in making the team mentally healthy and hungry again.
You keep Lackey until he comes back from his surgery; run him out there for a start of two; then, trade him to a Big Market team sloshing in the new media contract money. You offer to pay half of his remaining salary on a yearly basis, you take a bullpen filler and a pitching prospect and you don’t look back.
2013 34 Boston Red Sox $15,250,000
2014 35 Boston Red Sox $15,250,000
201536Boston Red Sox*$500,000$500k Vesting Option. Club option at minimum for 2015 if Lackey misses significant time 2010-2014 due to an elbow injury Earliest Free Agent: 2015.
Yes, it’s a ton of money to “give up,” but there is a truism: “Don’t throw good money after bad.” Time to suck it up. Yes, it was Theo who made this huge mistake—“Wah! Wah!” John Henry, wouldn’t you gladly pay the fumigation cost for your summer home?
Mr. Henry, since you have already doubled your investment [$1.3 BILLION], peel off a few bills from your media contract windfall and fix your team. Or, sell it to the fans…
[We feel obligated to provide a link to John Tomase’s article that says the players love the guy: http://www.bostonherald.com//sports/baseball/red_sox/view.bg?articleid=1061152412&utm_source=Enews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=SECTION_sports_DATE_08-11-2012–07.08]
Again, “It all comes down to one player, Josh Beckett.”
This final fix will shock some Sox fans, but we are playing a zero sum game with three factors: 40-man roster players, prospects, and cash. As the old song says: “Somethin’s Gotta Give.” Or, simply, “No pain; no gain.”
Although it would be very “nice” for the Red Sox to be kind to Josh Beckett and try to send him and his family back to Texas with a trade to the Rangers, it is not likely that Nolan Ryan would be willing to give much back.
Yes, there was talk of Beckett and Ellsbury going to Texas for “something.” At best, since the Rangers have the #1 position prospect in baseball, SS Jurickson Profar, tearing up the minors and ready to force himself onto the Rangers starting lineup, they may be willing to send Elvis to Boston, SS Elvis Andrus for Josh and Jacoby.
The penultimate best option for the Sox was floated by the Globe’s Nick Cafardo:
“The best part of it is that the Red Sox and Mariners would make terrific trading partners.
The Sox have two guys from the Northwest — Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury — who would probably love to come home. The drop-off from Hernandez to Lester isn’t overly substantial, and the gain of Ellsbury, a player who would electrify the Mariners’ offense, would be significant.”
We tweaked the deal a bit in a previous post, making the same case for trading for a proven Ace, a genuine #1 slot starter, King Felix Hernandez, but sending Beckett and Ellsbury instead. [https://bosoxinjection.com/2012/07/04/will-sox-pay-a-kings-ransom-for-felix-hernandez/]
Don’t buy all that “he’s not on the table” smoke up your skirt from the Seattle GM; they know they are at least 5 years away from contending for the post season playoffs. By then, The King will be at the down arc phase of his career; he will be 31 in 2017.
The Seattle management says that they plan to keep King Felix as an attendance draw; every 4-5 days they pack the place—not! The added tickets above average that Hernandez generates would barely cover The King’s meal allowance.
Seattle is simply using the old ploy: “It’s going to cost A WHOLE LOT to even make us consider trading [PLAYER NAME.]” Seattle knows that a competitive team is the only way to draw enough fans to balance the books.
Maybe they take Beckett AND Lester and we keep Ellsbury?
More likely they want Lester and Ellsbury; too frickin’ bad!
Probably they take Beckett to get Ellsbury and the Sox eat ½ of Beckett’s contract and maybe toss in a prospect or two. [Kolbrin Vitek and Garin Cecchini [3B] Blocked by Middlebrooks; Jose Iglesias [SS], better option, Deven Marerro; Blake Swihart [C] blocked by Salty, Lavarnway, and no sure thing to stay at C.]
Of course, it is giving up the very-talented Ellsbury, who will be a FA and ready to cash in, and yes, John Henry will whine about the money. [BTW, John, you are off the Lackey contract hook [$15,250,000 million] after 2014; that would be a good start toward the $23 to $25 million that Hernandez would want in the first year of his Red Sox contract.}
But the “beauty part”—putting Beckett and the Sox out of their misery without resorting to a fire arm– is well worth it.
Imagine this rotation:
Now, imagine owning a part of that new team…
NEXT UP: Fan Plan to take the Sox back.
* Dick Howser also managed a full season in 1980, leading the team to the playoffs, but was fired after the Yankees failed to advance to the World Series. Howser has the highest career winning percentage among all Yankee managers at .632.
Houston Astros Fire Phil Garner
The Houston Astros fired manager Phil Garner yesterday. With the team 58-73 and a full 10 games out of first place in the very weak National League Central Division, Astros’ owner Drayton McLane said the squad “needed a fresh start.”
Garner, who took over the Astros in the middle of the 2004 season and led them to the 2005 National League pennant, was rather gracious under the circumstances.
[Ed. Note: We have attempted to make the case that the current owner, CEO, GM, manager, and players are ruining the Boston Red Sox. Now, in the last of the 6-part series, we propose a solution.]
We the people of Red Sox Nation, in order to form a more perfect team, believe it is our duty to the Boston Red Sox franchise and the game of baseball to buy the team and own it forever.
About 100,000 fans own the Green Bay Packers; it is called the Green Bay Packers, Inc. a nonprofit corporation held by the citizens of Green Bay to run its football team. The Packers are the only publicly owned team in the NFL.
By my calculations, if we just take the number of people who voted last time in New England [Conn., NH, Me., Mass., Vermont], about 11 million, and each one bought one share of Red Sox stock, for $91.18, we would have enough to buy the team for the current price of $1.3 Billion, or less. [No, the B is not a typo.]
(NOTE: Will some Math major on Red Sox Nation, maybe an M.I.T. Grad student, check my math on this; I frequently leave off, or add, zeroes to my results.)
And, maybe we can get Jim Koch, owner of Samuel Adams Brewing, to buy some stock?
Yes, some pedantic, spoil-sport lawyer out there just said that we will have to sue Butt Sealing and MLB for the right to form a corporation and not have a single moron be the owner. But, my personal Japanese attorney, Fukayu Sosumi, says there may be a way around it.
He suggests that we start a petition.
Also, he says that we can threaten to sue Butt Sealing and MLB and challenge them on either RICO racketeering statutes [just on the beer prices alone!] and/or their monopoly exemption.
Recall: 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.
If we can scare him enough, Butt Sealing, might agree to an exemption “in the best interests of baseball.” [Like that ever mattered to him, or the owners, ever.]
Barrister Sosumi suggested we could threaten to raise the issue of how Montreal lost its team in a game of “Three Card Monty” orchestrated by the Commissioner; Fukayu suggested that one could toss out words like “collusion” and “conspiracy” and “RICO.” There is also the matter of the disposition of the profit of $330 million gained in the sale of the Expos by MLB for $450 million to the Nationals‘ ownership group, the team Bud and the Boys bought for just $120 million.
Fokayu says: Remember the luck of the Milwaukee Brewers, “owned” by Bud Selig’s daughter to not be the team tossed out of the NL and sent into the AL West against the powerful Rangers and Angels? Recall that Bud bought the bankrupt Seattle Pilots franchise and moved them to Milwaukee and they remained in the AL, until Bud moved them to the NL?
Since the Houston Astros were “born” in 1962 with the Mets as NL expansion teams, it seemed odd that they were the ones who graciously volunteered to change leagues. Oh, that’s right the guy who wanted to buy the team needed the approval of Bud and the Boys to purchase the Astros and join the private club. Think he perhaps was made an offer he couldn’t refuse by Commish Selig, a quid pro quo: move to the AL and you get to buy the team. Perish the thought, conspiracy seekers!
No conflict of interest there; move along…nothing to see.
Fokayu says: Remember that nasty SEC investigation that found that there was a lack of honest representation of the financial state of the City of Miami and questioned whether MLB played any role in what might be described as a “pay to play” scheme?
Fokayu says: Alternately, we could threaten to buy a Minor league team and play the games at a university or college near Fenway and appeal to all the frustrated Red Sox fans, who can afford a ticket, or the price of the beer. “John Henry Bobble head Night” and “Larry Lucchino Bobble head Night” (“Oh, look mommy, they are also a bank!”)
My attorney, barrister Sosumi suggests that we could find a free attorney, who is required to work “pro boner” to get things rolling. Fokayu says: he cannot work for free; he has his hands full with me and other clients who are anonymous non-members of un-organized crime.
However, as a fervent Red Sox fan, he as generously drafted a petition.
PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF THE RED SOX NATION, INC.
AND THE PURCHASE OF THE BOSTON RED SOX FROM FENWAY SPORTS GROUP
WHEREAS the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox, through greed and lack of baseball knowledge, while reaping huge profits [doubling the value of the team and making profits from ticket and concession sales], has been unwilling to reinvest profits back into improving the 40-man roster, and has been a failure at fielding a competitive team causing pain and suffering to countless citizens of Red Sox Nation.
The people of the Commonwealths of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, as well as the worldwide citizens of Red Sox Nation, do herewith request intercession and offer these two remedies, in order of preference, to the court.
1. Allow the Red Sox fans to implement the fan-ownership model that has been successful for the fans of the Green Bay Packers; to wit: Green Bay Packers, Inc. a nonprofit corporation held by the citizens of Green Bay to run their football team.
2. Alternatively, we ask the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston to seize the team as a “public good” and/or as a State and National “historical treasure” to prevent a valuable asset from being moved or squandered, or sheltered offshore. This might be accomplished under the aegis of “eminent domain” through the office of the Massachusetts’ Attorney General, or as an act of “martial law” by the Governor of Massachusetts, or even as an omnibus emergency intervention on the part of Child Protective Services, in order that the children in Red Sox Nation not be subjected to future seasons of graceless, hapless, joyless, non-competitive baseball.
3. We then request that the court allow the new non-profit corporation, Red Sox Nation, Inc., or the Massachusetts’ Attorney General, or other such governmental agency to sue Major League Baseball to revise its ownership rules to allow a the fans who own shares in Red Sox Nation, Inc., to run the Red Sox team as a non-profit fan-owned holding company.
4. We further petition to model our Red Sox Nation, Inc. corporation after the Green Bay Packers, Inc. by likewise selling shares to the public in our nonprofit holding company that would operate the Boston Red Sox, Inc., in the same manner as the Green Bay Packers or FC Barcelona. The initial offering would be 11 million shares at $91.18 each with a limit of 10 shares per buyer.
5. The new Boston Red Sox, Inc. would purchase the Boston Red Sox team, Fenway Park, NESN and any other baseball-related entities, but not any soccer-related entities, from the current ownership, the Fenway Sports Group, for a fair market price for the team, currently estimated @ $1.3 Billion, less the appraised value of the soccer team known as Liverpool F.C., as well as any other entities not related or required by the Boston Red Sox.
Respectfully submitted by the following undersigned citizens of Red Sox Nation.
And now, your humble scribe must return to the unending search for truth and justice for our next article on the Bosox Injection. Mr. Styalko, our Editor in Chief always kindly reminds us with a smile: we’re making the big money and, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
We are hopeful that someone will pick up the ball and run with a petition, so the fans can own their Red Sox.
We have applied a strip of masking tape to a Ball jar and marked it “Red Sox: $91.18.”
When someone has the time, we’ll have that money.
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