The Red Sox have met the enemy


….and they are us.

The Boston Red Sox have managed to accelerate their spending into the rarefied levels enjoyed by the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. In actuality, this is just a continuation of what Tom Yawkey did in his ownership of the team.

Hall of Famers such as Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Joe Cronin all were purchased so that other teams could actually stay afloat during the Great Depression and give Yawkey a championship. How bad was it? Cronin was actually the son-in-law of Senators owner Cal Griffith who sold him off.

The Red Sox soon had the title “Gold Sox” affixed to their team. The transactions would also include a few warm bodies switching teams, but the real story was the money – such as the $250,000 for Cronin.

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This was the modus operandi that became a central characteristic of the Yawkey ownership and culminated in the attempt to purchase Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the soon to be free agency financially fractured Charlie Finley.

Times really have not changed. Boston has had significant payroll obligations since the Yawkey years and the current ownership has shown no signs of moderation. The failed attempt to secure Alex Rodriguez demonstrated a need to further enhance revenue streams and that they did.

The John Henry group has created a profitable brand image, a real estate empire, ancillary sports ventures, remodeled a ballpark for 300M and have invested heavily in product especially with international signings. The latest being Rusney Castillo and Yoan Moncada for a price tag of over 130M. Welcome to the 1% of baseball or is it the 33%?

"It is not how much you spend but how wisely you spend it."

Are you a baseball fan first and a Red Sox fan second? Think about that.

I have considered myself a baseball fan and the current exclusion of opportunity of many teams strikes a level of sympathy. Occasionally a team will rise from the financial depths and contend or even win only to be plundered by free agency and arbitration. Money may not win championships, but it allows a consistency of competitiveness and the ability to absorb contract mistakes.

The top-tier of baseball – that mentioned 33% – are in such a position. A Boston team can address failures of 2014 by writing a few checks. Fail in 2015? A few more checks. Few teams have such a luxury. Baseball does have the political version of “income inequity.”

I look at Boston and see a reflection of the “Evil Empire” that Larry Lucchino pinned on the Yankees. That reflection can also be seen in a few other mirrors in Chicago and Los Angeles to mention a few.

As a Red Sox fan, I see a string of potential championships. The farm system is one of the best. The revenue is there. The ownership is aggressive and unemotional in a business sense. Unlike the Yawkey days there seems to be a level of baseball smarts that is among the best.

This season and the seasons to follow have much promise, unless, of course, you live in the other 67%.

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