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Red Sox owners need to wake up or sell out

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  October 9, 2011 02:01 PM

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beervideo3.jpg

Frame from Kevin Fowler's "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer" video via You Tube

Red Sox starting pitchers Josh Beckett and John Lackey, seen here sharing a chuckle in Kevin Fowler's "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer" country music video, can't laugh off their 2011 performances this easily. A couple of beers might even help.


Happy hour is over at Fenway.

The Red Sox braintrust probably has the WHIP of every pitcher above Little League somewhere in “Carmine’s” database. They spent half-a-billion on a soccer team, have the winner of the Daytona 500 in their NASCAR racing stable and turned Fenway Park into the world’s 2d–largest ATM.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox appeared fat and out of shape heading into the season, imploded from apathy and exhaustion down the stretch and had starting pitchers drinking in the clubhouse during games on their off-days. But none this was evident to anyone on upstairs until Evan Longoria put the pillow over Wally’s face.

johnhenry.jpg

Associated Press

John Henry's mind is probably focused elsewhere these days.

John Henry was surprised to learn that every member of his opening day rotation not named Dice-K was in Kevin Fowler’s “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer” video. Understandable? He’s got about $200 million invested in these guys, the video was posted on You Tube in July and included scenes shot at Fenway with players in their Red Sox uniforms. OK, Henry isn’t a country kind of guy. If Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz appeared in “Hell Yeah, I Like Appletinis” – Henry probably would have it on his iPod. Also likely on Henry’s playlist: “Hell Yeah, I Like Fish and Chips,” “Hell Yeah, I Like Pitchers Who Can’t Throw Six Innings” and “Hell Yeah Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez Were Washed Up.”

Team president Larry Lucchino, speaking with Henry in that revelation-filled interview with Dennis and Callahan on Friday, also said drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse was breaking news. “It was much after the fact that that point was brought to our attention and we're still trying to dig in to find out how pervasive it was,” he said on WEEI. Nothing brewing here, Larry.

These guys “privately" investigated Carl Crawford, can tell you the OPS of Curtis Granderson on Tuesday afternoons in Cleveland and even blocked yours truly from commenting on their Facebook posts (probably a wise move there) – but they didn’t have a mole in their own clubhouse? Where’s the Pakistani Intelligence Service when you need it? Maybe Bin Laden was hiding in the “Dunkin Dugout” all those years.

Side note: In case Henry and Lucchino missed it: Fowler told tasteofcountry.com recently that he and Beckett are “best buds” and he asked the Red Sox pitcher to appear in the video as a favor. Beckett, an avid hunter, and Fowler were also featured on ESPN2’s “The New American Sportsman” back in 2006 as they joined few pals hoping to “cull the herd” of white-tail deer on Beckett’s Herradura Ranch in South Texas. (Beckett also hosts a celebrity charity hunt there each year to raise money for wounded soldiers.) Fowler’s outdoors site also boasts several shots from Beckett's ranch - including one of Beckett with a white-tailed buck and another of Beckett enjoying a cold one during a post-hunt party. I like Fowler's sound and country music in general. He opened for Montgomery Gentry in Foxborough on Sept. 26 and tweeted a photo of himself touring Boston the day before the Red Sox were eliminated. Sounds like another Red Sox Curse to me – right there with LeBron James and Larry David.

So Beckett likes hunting and drinking beer – that ought to send the champagne and caviar crowd over the edge. No problem here – as long they're both done legally, responsibly and not during games in the Red Sox clubhouse. But please unload before you get loaded.

Henry also chimed in about the lack of physical conditioning on the Red Sox, saying he has “learned a lot” recently about getting athletes in shape by watching his soccer players in Liverpool. “I believe there were nutritional issues,” he said. What gave you that idea, John, Matt Albers' 12-pack?

The Scarecrow wanted a brain and the Tin Woodsman needed a heart. Lucchino and Henry need a clue.

redsoxfansgettyimages.jpgThis ownership group has a terrific record: two World Series titles, the resurrection and renovation of Fenway Park and a determined effort to exorcise the Red Sox’s race-tainted past. But their heart is no longer in it. No one seemed to give a damn this year – from the front office on down – except for a handful of players and about 30 million fans. The manufactured “Sweet Caroline” mentality shoved in our face at Fenway and on NESN comes from the same mind-set. It’s all what they think fans want. Putting a winning team is only part of enhancing the Fenway Experience. But it should be the only concern. Fans will follow this team no matter what's playing on that high-def video board in center field or what the NESN baby says.

The Red Sox are now a subsidiary of themselves – part of the Fenway Sports Management empire. Henry’s “collection of sports assets” landed him on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans with a net worth of $1.1 billion. As Forbes noted "the assets in Henry’s commodities trading firm once totaled $3 billion but have plummeted more than 90% ... The Red Sox and NESN are what is driving the Henry’s net worth."

Why isn't the "Occupy Boston" crowd on Lansdowne Street protesting Lackey's contract?

The dispassionate Henry didn’t get to be a billionaire by playing hunches or going with his gut. He’s a numbers guy. We need a left fielder. Run the numbers. We want to add some more seats in Cambridge. Run the numbers. How much can we charge for a beer before fans start lining up for freebies in the Red Sox clubhouse? Run the numbers. The Red Sox spend money – that’s not the issue. They’ll keep spending as long as three million fans keep buying tickets, hot dogs, beer, sushi and millions more watch games on NESN, purchase Red Sox hats, Fenway shirts and an endless stream of merchandise. Henry knows he has to spend our money to make his money in this market.

Throwing stuff at the television. Feeling unbridled joy after beating New York. Taking the World Series championship edition of the Globe to the grave site of your parents in Arlington so they could indeed rest in peace. None of that is real to these guys. They want their players hugging Yankees fans because it's politically correct and sells. The people who run the Red Sox are more antiseptic than a bottle of Lysol. They are more about Excel spreadsheets than excellence on the field. Their entire management structure sat back and watched 2011 go down the drain without urgency thanks to those 712 straight sellouts.

Francona is gone to Fox. Theo has one foot in Chicago. But even if he goes (or stays with a promotion), it won't solve much. What happens on the field no longer drives the agenda at 4 Yawkey Way. This organization is sleepwalking. Ownership needs to either wake up or sell out.

As always, post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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