Monday, October 10, 2011

Now Ownership is to blame?

He's so hilariously Obnoxious!
X Dad forwarded me this article from by some guy calling himself "Obnoxious Boston Fan", the latest hack trying to be Bill Simmons (yes, I am one of those too, but at least I research the stuff I say). The article talks a lot about all the mistakes ownership made this year and how they were too focused on their other entities, which caused a top down sense of apathy that ultimately led to the collapse. Since I am getting the sense that this idiot is not the only one who thinks this way, I am going to address what this Einstein has to say. And since he is stealing from Simmons, I am going to steal from the guys at Fire Joe Morgan and go piece by piece through this ridiculous article (OBF's words in  Bold Italics).

Happy hour is over at Fenway.

The state of Massachusetts actually banned Happy Hour in 1984, so it's been over for over 27 years now, but very topical OBF.

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.

Detroit Tigers owner Mike Illitch owns the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Pizza and the Fox Theater and submitted a bid to buy the Detroit Pistions last year and yet still somehow found the time and resources to guide the Tigers to the ALCS.

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.

Yup, because appearing skinny and in shape is directly related to baseball success. Just ask Prince Fielder; or C.C. Sabathia; or this guy.

John Henry was surprised to learn that every member of his opening day rotation not namedDice-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 andClay Buchholtz 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.”

I'm not entirely sure it is the job of the principal team owner to know if his players make a cameo in some country music video even if it takes place on company property. And who gives a shit if they starred in this video? It's not like it's called "Hell Yeah, I Like Osama" or "Hell Yeah, I Like Genocide" or even, gasp, "Hell Yeah, I Like the Yankees". And Appletinis have more booze in them than beer so if that is what John Henry is drinking than he is considerably more bad ass than OBF. Also, the Red Sox didn't fail to sign Beltre and Martinez because they are CURRENTLY washed up, they passed for fear that they would be washed up fairly early in their long term deals and were too high a long term risk.

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.

Two things: One, I don't like how the drinking in the clubhouse has become a reason for the pitchers sucking in September. We don't know who did it, how much they drank, on what off days they drank, and whether or not this is done throughout baseball, which I suspect it is. Two, nothing drives me crazier than when someone "makes fun" of a "stat-head" by saying something along the lines of "the OPS of Curtis Granderson on Tuesday afternoons in Cleveland". I get that it is an exaggeration to show the absurdity of "new stats", but usually the stats that a "common fan" cites are more convoluted (pitching wins) and less related to winning baseball games (RBI) than what "stat-heads" actually use. Also, the joke has been done to death poorly by thousands of lazy journalists so come up with a new fucking joke.

Side note: In case Henry and Lucchino missed it: Fowler told 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 sitealso 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 Jamesand Larry David.

This paragraph makes no sense to me. What does it have to do with anything in this article? Just because he said "side note" he gets to talk nonsense?

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.

Really great word play here and thanks for the sound advice. Of course Beckett is the only player in baseball who likes to drink beer and hunt so this is a great explanation for why the team didn't make the playoffs. Oh, Cliff Lee likes hunting? Miguel Cabrera loves drinking? They both made the playoffs? Damn.

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.

Just...terrible. Get some new material you hack.

This 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.

I agree that I don't like the extraneous crap and playing Sweet Caroline while the team is losing is a joke. But the truth of the matter is that Wally, Neil Diamond and all the pink hats help generate the revenue that allows the team to spend as much as they do to achieve that terrific record. What else needs to be said here? And why would anybody think that anybody on this team from ownership on down didn't give a damn this year? Doesn't the fact that the Red Sox were the most aggressive club in the off-season and made two trades at the deadline this year show they wanted to win?

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 put have plummeted more than 90% ... The Red Sox and NESN are what is driving the Henry’s net worth."

Sports ownership isn't a family business as much as it was in the old days. The teams are worth too much and too much goes into the management of other revenue sources for this to be the case across the board. Owning other properties is a BENEFIT not a detractor when you own a franchise. This is how a team in a mid-sized market can spend like a large-market team.

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

OBF is able to go from a joke about a century old children's story to a joke about a mildly important current event all in the span of a couple of paragraphs. I can't tell if this is comedic genius or total and complete hackery. No, it's definitely genius.

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.

So OBF admits that Henry got to where he is (a fucking billionaire) by running the numbers and using good business sense. But in doing so in this type of post he is making it seem like this is not a good way to go about running the franchise. A franchise that won two World Series, makes millions of dollars a year and is owned by a billionaire. Again, what exactly is the problem?

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. 

So is he saying the owners should be doing these things? Because I've definitely seen shots of Werner and Henry showing some unbridled enthusiasm when the team does well. Also, nobody is holding a gun to fans heads saying they can't act like this. If people aren't doing this anymore it is because the team has won so things seem less like life and death now, and ultimately I think that is probably a good thing. That's how the Brian Stowe beating happens.

They are more about Excel spreadsheets than excellence on the field. Their entire management structure sat back and washed 2011 go down the drain without urgency thanks to those 712 straight sellouts.

The Excel spreadsheets contain information to help the team win, including stats and SCOUTING REPORTS! Excel is an excellent tool that EVERY SINGLE BASEBALL TEAM uses in order to organize information. In fact, the teams probably don't even use Excel they probably use Access or some proprietary database, so get your nerd jokes right if you are going to make them. And nobody sat back and watched 2011 go down the drain, Epstein was trying to make a deal on the last day of the frigging season to find a pitcher that could give them some solid innings. 

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.

The organization is absolutely not sleepwalking. Even if you consider the continued improvement of Fenway Park, increasingly creative marketing campaigns and the extreme efforts to make 712 straight sellouts a (semi-) reality "sleepwalking", the team outspent every other team last offseason, had an excellent amateur draft, and made a great deal of in-season moves to try and improve the club for a long playoff run that, for many reasons not related to the effort of the front office, never came.

I understand that Obnoxious Boston Fan is trying to be funny and not completely analytical. I understand that the popularity of the Red Sox with fair weather fans has gotten very annoying. But pretty much nothing this guy said in this post was right or carried any value (or really even funny). And yet there he sits under the banner of "", poisoning the minds of impressionable Red Sox fans. The newspaper industry is dying, let's not kill off the internet at the same time.

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