Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner wanted “sexy” players to boost television ratings, according to former manager Terry Francona, and their meddling led to ruinous roster decisions.
Those are among the assertions in a new book by Francona in which he tells of the discord that led to the Red Sox collapse in 2011. The book also describes Francona’s subsequent firing after eight seasons and two World Series championships.
“Our owners in Boston, they’ve been owners for 10 years,” he wrote. “They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don’t think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners — and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball.”
Henry did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment, and Werner declined to comment on specific criticisms in the book, saying, “We had unbelievable success together for many years, and now our focus is on 2013.”
Francona said he is “not concerned with any fallout” from his book. “If you read the book cover to cover, you’ll know why. There were plenty of good things that happened in Boston that we wrote about,” he said. “There’s context. What’s in Sports Illustrated isn’t the whole story.”
When the excerpts came out yesterday, everyone and their mother couldn't stop talking about it. WIth the book coming out in a week, some excerpts are going to come out so people can rush out & buy it. Usually, the most attention grabbing ones come out first, and if this is the best that's coming out of it... save your money. We've been talking about every single point for years now, especially by one of the authors of the book, Mr. Dan Shaughnessy.
Believe me, I love when I can take a potshot at the ownership just as much as any other disgruntled fan, but I need more then stuff that's be rehashed over the years. We know the owners don't care about baseball. It became more apparent when they bought Liverpool but they still like what they have in Boston enough to not ignore it fully. Hell if it wasn't for the Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group wouldn't have been able to do expand to what it is today.
Again this is nothing new to us: they love money, we love baseball. We pay top dollar to watch this generation's squad play on the same field that Ted Williams & Babe Ruth did. We hope that the team will add to the history of the organization. That's the agreement in place, and the Henry ownership has brought that with two World Series titles and a myriad amount of memories that all of us will be telling our grandchildren about.
The revisionist history that takes place in the city is downright baffling. The cause of it is the disease of more that plagues this city from all the winning over the past decade, as the joy of watching a team win is sucked out because it's now an expectation. Yes, every team is supposed to win every title every season, BECAUSE WE'RE THE CITY OF CHAMPIONS. It sounds stupid when put like that but you'd be surprised how many actually think this way.
So lets take a trip back to September 2010, with the Red Sox doing their best to stay in contention with half of the team being called up from Pawtucket and Adrian Beltre practically carrying the team on his back, people were losing interest because it wasn't entertaining to see a team slowly fade out of the race. People weren't watching them on NESN. Many just switched their mindset to the Patriots as they were 3-1 on what many believed to be another Super Bowl run. Meanwhile Celtics and Bruins fans were eagerly anticipating a new season to get past the depressing endings to their season and want another deep playoff run.
The Red Sox owners saw this and realized they needed to do something that would make a big splash in order just to stay relevant. Sure enough, they get one of the best first basemen in the game for some prospects and then got what many believed to be the best everyday player in free agency. When the press conference announcing both of them had officially arrived, we reacted exactly like we did when the Celtics landed Kevin Garnett. Not only were the Red Sox back, but they were the talk of the town. They were the sexy pick and for obvious reasons this team was stacked.
For the first few months, they were so, so sexy. Yes they had a few flaws but we looked past them. The offensive juggernaut that were watching was breathtaking. We wouldn't change any of it. The ownership was taking money in hand over fist and while we were angry about the prices it didn't matter much, sans the angry banter about Pink Hats out-pricing the hardcore fans. Besides were too busy being mesmerized by Adrian Gonzalez's swing.
Then September happened. Fans were stuck in the glass case of emotion. Everything backfired in the owner's faces. They did all the right moves and it brought them the worst possible outcome and we lambast them to this very day because of it. Suddenly the words, "character" and "clubhouse guys" kept popping out of fans' mouths and during the next season with a .500 team that was now the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons, the organization was able to "right those wrongs" by ridding themselves of those signings alongside a former hero turned "clubhouse cancer" in this city in one fell swoop. That's some damn good customer service right there. Again, they did the right move but after the Sox bottomed out, fans were pissed.
So that leads us to today. We're ficky people that want to win now & later. Most of us are giving up on the Sox because they're perceived to have no chance this season. Besides the Patriots are the talk of the town they're knocking on the door of another Super Bowl appearence. Plus with hockey returning & the Celtics finally healthy, the Sox are the last thing on people's mind because they are an "embarassment." Let me better translate that: the Sox are the furthest away from a title, so let's ignore them. As an added bonus, the "sellout streak" will eventually get broken and that's a way to stick it to the ownership.
Again, I LOVE taking potshots at the ownership group. The bricks, the coffee table book, the way they carry themselves, and that sellout streak. It's a business to them but let's stop with this pipedream that there are owners out there that own teams for their love of the game. For every Mark Cuban, there's 20 Jeffrey Loria's out there. We know Robert Kraft loves his Patriots but if you think he's an owner just because he loves the game, you clearly haven't been near 1 Patriot Place in quite some time.
The ownership did everything they could to put out a winning team and if a few of those September games went the other way and the Sox make a deep playoff run, Chicken & Beer would have gone down in Red Sox lore as another tale. "Our team was so f'n stacked they could sit on their ass eating Popeye's all day and still beat any team by seven runs." Hell, it might have even trumped the '04 story as it was the one time we were supposed to be the overwhelming favorite. Instead we get crap like this that we will have to deal with for the rest of the decade.
I know this book was going to come out eventually. The story is too good and I don't blame Francona for publishing it. It's only right that he gets his say after the crap that was leaked out. Because of that, everyone will get to read his side of the story, side with Francona and hate the Red Sox even more. I just thought we all made an agreement not to get bent out of shape over a book written by Dan Shaughnessy again.
We also said we'd be fine if we saw one World Series title in our lifetime and look how that turned out.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Nine Sox file for arbitration | Werner: Focus is on this season | Napoli has a Sox jersey | Herald: No need for arbitration | Tito throws book at Sox | CSNNE: De La Rosa working to get on track w/ Sox | Francona: It's style over substance | WEEI: Francona: Baseball toy or hobby for owners | Pedroia out, Victorino in for WBC