I don’t even know why I bother. I tried to avoid reading Shaughnessy’s latest piece, but I caved. It’s an awful, terrible, detestable trolling mess that’s rife with negativity. I’ve broken down the key points of the article, so you won’t have to click on the link to read it.
In heaven, there is no beer.
Same goes for the Red Sox clubhouse.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. In the wake of Boston baseball’s bacchanal of 2011, the Sox yesterday said goodbye to suds in the locker room.
Wait a second. There’s no beer in heaven? What a crock! When I die and go to heaven (something that’s probably in question), I fully expect to be surrounded by cases upon cases of Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout. I’m not kidding. In fact, I hope to have the option of trying multiple styles of beer throughout history. If I can’t have that, then I’m not sure I want to go to heaven. Secondly, how does Shaughnessy know what is and isn’t allowed in heaven? Has he been there? Does he have first hand knowledge? If Captain Blowhard’s been there, can it really be that perfect?
Hyperbole aside, I think it’s probably for the best that beer is banned the clubhouse going forward. If only because he and rest of the rabid Boston press would go crazy if they saw an empty bottle or can of Miller High Life (read: urine) in the recycle bin. That said, it seems silly to ban beer when it’s pretty clear that it’s being used as a scapegoat. I wonder how many other clubhouses allow their players to drink beer before, during, and after games. Based on some of the reports I’ve read regarding certain Yankee and Mets clubhouses of the recent past, this type of practice not only occurs regularly, but is generally accepted. I don’t know if this decision is right or wrong, but if it shuts guys like Shaughnessy up, I’m happy.
I caught up with owner John Henry after manager Bobby Valentine made the announcement and told him that this was the end of 111 years of Red Sox tradition. Down the drain, so to speak.
“We support the manager,’’ said Henry.
This was the day we’d been waiting for. Henry, flanked by ubiquitous wingmen Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner, made it down to the Fort to cut the ribbon on the Sox’ spectacular new spring playpen, and to finally address the troops after the cataclysmic fall of 2011 and the chaotic Boston baseball winter of 2011-12.
His clear disgust for everything Red Sox is readily apparent in this segment of prose. The manner in which he sarcastically refers to Lucchino and Werner as his “wingmen,” and expresses complete and utter disgust for “the Sox’s spectacular new spring playpen” says pretty much all you need to know about the clear bias he injects into his commentary.
It was Henry’s chance to:
1. Comment on no beer in the clubhouse after the disaster of 2011.
Here’s how that conversation would have went.
CHB: Bobby Valentine just announced he’s deciding to ban beer in the clubhouse for the 2012 season. How do you feel about that?
JH: Yes, this is true. Go find someone else to troll Shaughnessy.
Ok, that last part wouldn’t have happened, but that would have been the general tone.
2. Deny that he loves Liverpool more than the Red Sox.
The only person that’s perpetuating this rumor is Shaughnessy. People not only don’t care, but no one believes it–or at least no one sane. This is just another Shaughnessy creation that’s designed to sway the opinions of the weak-minded and intellectually challenged. If he actually put two of his brain cells together, and used them for good; he’d realize what an inane proposition he was making. Robert Kraft owns both the Patriots and Revolution. You don’t see anyone complaining about his divided attention, do you? John Henry is a multi-billionaire. He made his money off of successful investments in multiple corporations in which he’s had his hand. Are you telling me that suddenly, after years of successfully multitasking, that he’s struggling to manage two divisions of his own company?
3. Promise Sox fans that he’s not done spending on the baseball team.
Yeah, it’s too bad John Henry’s such a cheap owner. He’s only spending only $180M on this year’s team? Why not $200M? Why not $250M? If he really cared about the Red Sox he’d put every bit of liquid cash he had into the team. But no. He’s cheap and greedy, and wants to watch Red Sox fans suffer.
Seriously though, who does Shaughnessy think is available to acquire right now? The free agent market is completely dead, and the trade market will probably remain tight until mid-July. That doesn’t mean Cherington couldn’t acquire a player of value between now and the trading deadline, but it’ll be pretty difficult. You’d think that someone that’s been covering baseball for as long as Shaughnessy has, would know that by now.
4. Acknowledge the darkest period of his decade-long ownership.
Hasn’t he done that already? Isn’t that why he went on Felger and Mazz all those months ago? It’s over and done with. Move on.
5. Apologize to Carl Crawford for ripping him during a spontaneous appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Henry didn’t rip on Crawford. He said that he disagreed with signing Crawford at the time, primarily because of his concern that the lineup would be too lefty-heavy. Henry’s sentiments were echoed in multiple forums, including the Boston Globe, talk radio, the blogosphere, and bars throughout New England. If that’s wrong, then so be it. Ultimately though, Henry allowed his baseball people to convince him otherwise. Had they not done so, Crawford would not be a member of the Red Sox right now. Case closed.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering…Henry apologized to Carl Crawford yesterday.
6. Explain why he wouldn’t return phone calls from his fired manager, Terry Francona.
Sometimes people get busy? Who cares? Henry no longer employs Francona. If he doesn’t want to answer certain calls, he does not have to.
7. Explain why the Sox allowed an under-contract Theo Epstein to go to the Cubs before agreeing on compensation.
First of all, it’s standard industry practice to allow an executive currently under contract to both interview and accept a job with another club, provided it’s for a promotion. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read that statement over the past four months. It’s practically been shouted from the mountain tops. I guess Shaughnessy missed it.
Regardless, what would have been the point of keeping Theo under contract? He would have kept two franchises in limbo while it was been negotiated. As it stands, we ended up receiving a minor league pitcher in return per Bud Selig’s decision. It’s unlikely we would’ve received better had Henry been holding Theo hostage.
8. Deliver one of those patented, Steinbrenneresque win-one-for-the-Gipper pep talks to the 2012 Red Sox.
OK, I made the last one up. Henry never has been one to fire up his troops with rhetoric. But would it have killed him to speak to his team yesterday during the annual “big meeting’’ that launches the season?
He did not. Lucchino spoke to the team. Werner spoke to the team. Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington spoke to the team. Traveling secretary Jack McCormick and Red Sox Foundation czar Meg Vaillancourt spoke to the team.
But during the 45-minute session – which, by Lucchino’s admission, sets the tone for the entire season – Boston’s low-talking owner said nothing at all. He just stood back and let it all be.
Hard to believe, I know. But that’s John Henry. He has been a great owner and could continue to be a great owner, but he is one quirky guy. And after everything that has happened to his ball club since September of 2011, he chose not to say anything in the biggest meeting of every season. Sort of like an inauguration without an inaugural address. Or a wedding without a toast from the best man.
Henry’s not an extrovert, and clearly isn’t comfortable making those kinds of emotional speeches. If he tried to make a speech like that, it probably would have come across sounding hollow and forced. Then, we’d be talking about how his lack of passion for the team. He can’t win either way, so why should he bother trying?
Any payroll restraints for Cherington?
“No, no payroll restraints, none at all,’’ Henry said, kiddingly.
How do you know he was kidding, Dan?
Lucchino tried to sell the idea that the Marco Scutaro trade (salary dump) was a baseball move. On the heels of that whopper, I asked Henry if he was done spending on the Red Sox.
I don’t believe it was a baseball move either, but who cares? It’s Marco freaking Scutaro who’s salary was dumped. Yes, the same soon-to-be 36 year old shortstop that’s changing positions because his range and arm aren’t good enough to play the position anymore. It’s not like we’re talking that contracts of David Ortiz or Kevin Youkilis were dumped. Is a little bit of perspective too much to ask?
“The discussion seems to be centering around that we’re not spending money,’’ he said. “We have the second-highest payroll in baseball.’’
But are you done?
“What do you mean?’’ he asked. “No. How are we done? This year, 2012, we have the second-highest payroll. Does that mean we’re not spending?’’
Most of that spending involved pre-existing contracts, we offered.
If I was John Henry, I would have looked Shaughnessy dead in the eye and asked, “Tell me Dan. How big do you think the payroll should be?” Seriously. Clearly, someone needs to throw it back in his face. Shaughnessy and his buddies act like they’re the all-knowing baseball kings of the world. The best part is they wouldn’t have a clue about how to run a club, let alone a front office. They expect the Red Sox to spend, but then they complain about who the spend their money on.
Regarding the bollixed Epstein compensation issue, Henry said, “If it’s a tough negotiation, both sides generally are a little unhappy with the way it worked. The Cubs probably aren’t happy with it. We probably aren’t happy with it. Given the amount of time that was spent on it, it probably was the appropriate result.
“I think there was a basic misunderstanding between [Cubs owner] Tom Ricketts and I when we first spoke about it. I really admire Tom Ricketts as an owner. We probably had a misunderstanding, at least as far as expectation. There was no real agreement. We probably had different expectations based on our first conversation.’’
Not the first time Henry’s inattentiveness has cost the Sox.
I guess acknowledging mistakes is equivalent to inattentiveness. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but both sides had a lot to gain/lose from the end result. In the end, it is what it is. Live, learn, and move on.
What about Liverpool, John? Have your attention and wallet moved across the Atlantic in the quest to battle Manchester United?
“I’m not actually here right now,’’ Henry joked. “If I were here . . . it’s about baseball. With us, every day is about baseball.
“We have other things . . . but virtually every day there’s something about baseball.
Journalists are supposed to try to uncover the truth. Yes, they have to ask the tough questions, and sometimes they need to use unethical tactics to uncover key bits of information. Still, there’s something about the way Shaughnessy goes about getting his stories that rubs me the wrong way. He’s slimy and detestable. He has no interest in uncovering the truth; only manipulating the truth to serve his own purposes. Calling him an attention whore would probably not be strong enough, but in the absence of other verbiage, it’ll do. I hope one day, someone finally throws garbage back in Shaughnessy’s face because he seriously needs to be taken down a peg.
Categories: Boston Red Sox