It’s always easy to throw stones when things are going bad, but perhaps this might be the best time to ask if ownership has reached a breaking point. The leadership group headed by John Henry has to be commended for bringing Boston two World Series wins, but since the 2007 win there have been plenty of changes and moves that have to raise eyebrows.
The biggest statement on ownership is what former employees have to say. Obviously no one is happy when they are sent packing, but for the most part before 2007 when a player ended his time in Boston the team and player smiled and shook hands. That wasn’t the case with a few names including Nomar Garciaparra, but it also never became a huge distraction.
Now though we have former players like Curt Schilling who seem to be openly routing for the team to fail. Obviously Schilling has been a huge friend and fan of manager Terry Francona who also has been thrown into this arena as well. Both Schilling and Francona have reason to be upset with the ownership and while not openly antagonizing the team they have been standoffish. Admitting now he cannot bring himself to attend the 100 year celebration at Fenway Park.
In Schillings final season he became embroiled in an argument with the team over approaches to fix an ailing shoulder. He would later retire having never pitched during the 2008 season. Of course the Francona struggle is all to fresh in our mind and the release of information that potentially cost him the managing job in St. Louis has made him all the more hostile to Boston ownership.
Both of these guys also have something not every former employee has. As analysts and broadcasters this season they have a large forum to publicly display their displeasure. Neither would come right out and make public statements against the team, but both have only thinly veiled their displeasure.
Speaking of the Francona exit and subsequent piece in the Globe the question of leaked information and the Boston Red Sox ownership must be raised. After the 2004 season the team said goodbye to Derek Lowe and Orlando Cabrera. There was never any formal Globe article with these two, but obviously rumors suddenly popped up every where now that they were headed out of town.
It wasn’t supposed to go that way when Tito left, but then the “explanation” article dropped and with all the fried chicken and beer we were informed from “team sources” that Tito was popping pills, getting a divorce and losing the team. Perhaps this wasn’t from anyone higher up than the locker room staff, but that seems highly unlikely.
Even if this wasn’t the ownership the question about team leaks has to be raised as well. Think about the last time the Yankees spent two weeks in trade talks or contract negotiations and the day to day was so well known as any Red Sox talks. The Adrian Gonzalez trade had minute to minute updates, we tracked Daisuke Matsuzaka fly in a jet and we know every ownership trip to talk to a player. And yet when Brian Cashman makes a blockbuster trade with his best prospect for an elite pitching talent and signs one of the best free agent pitchers on the same day no one knows until it is completed.
The team stated back in the beginning they wanted to be more like those Championship Patriot teams and keep the information in house, limiting leaked information which potentially hurts negotiations, but it appears that just won’t happen. Have they just always made poor choices when hiring their staff or in their own interest to keep headlines and news segments focused on the Boston Red Sox they let a little to much information get out. They do have a mutual interest with the Boston Globe in coverage of the team as they still have partial ownership.
The Red Sox ownership has had a lot to cleanup this offseason and things aren’t off to the start they would have hoped. This can only make things worse and no one wants to see a 1-5 team celebrate a 100 year old building right now. The ownership has stated previously that owning the team through 2012 was a goal, but that they have expressed that long term ownership is not likely after. If the team fails to make it past the 2012 wild card gamed this season do you think the ownership should be held responsible and look to sell the team?