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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4348053)
Francona’s allegation that ownership seem only partway focused on winning baseball is a bit troubling. Not terribly surprising, and easily downplayed if you want to, but given the current state of the Red Sox, it’s hard to be immediately optimistic. Rebuilding the Red Sox from the disaster of 2012 is not going to be easy, and I’d have more faith in ownership and management if I trusted they were focused properly on winning.


Maybe I'm just too much of an optimist but I don't see this as being particularly troubling. I think every ownership group has a desire to be appealing to the mass market and certainly Werner is going to be predisposed to view things through the prism of TV ratings.

Additionally, I think it's worth noting that this ownership group's greatest success was built on incredibly TV rating friendly teams. Those 2003-2005 teams had a bunch of characters in every sense of the word so I think it's easy to see a scenario where they convince themselves that it's a good baseball move to bring in characters.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4348064)
I'm not saying that these allegations / revelations demonstrate the Red Sox will never win anything ever again and the world is horrible and non sequiturs about Josh Reddick.

But the reports are not just that ownership cares about ratings, but they pushed this marketing mostly-crap in meetings with their baseball ops and management teams. To a degree that rather pissed off the folks trying to build a winning ballclub. That suggests a level of focus on synergy, market penetration, and proactive jabberwocky that risks conflict with a focus on winning ballgames.

And given how difficult the project of rebuilding the Sox remains - 84 wins this year I can see, 94 wins next year is going to be a bear - I'd rather not be reading about stuff like this.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4348067)
Additionally, I think it's worth noting that this ownership group's greatest success was built on incredibly TV rating friendly teams. Those 2003-2005 teams had a bunch of characters in every sense of the word so I think it's easy to see a scenario where they convince themselves that it's a good baseball move to bring in characters.


I thought they made a conscious move to shift the team away from eccentric characters. Or are you suggesting that after that ran its course, they tried to go back to the 'idiots' style team? I don't really think Crawford and the religious Gonzalez fit that narrative.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4348068)
I am mostly interested in what the book has to say about 2004 and Francona's early years. Maybe the hype will be gnashing of teeth about 2011 and his departure from the team, but I want to read about the behind-the-scenes of the 2004 ALCS, etc.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4348073)
I want to read it too, but I tend to figure Shaughnessy is still righteously pissed off at the 2004 Sox for ruining his brand and I'm skeptical we're going to get what we want from those chapters.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4348083)
And given how difficult the project of rebuilding the Sox remains - 84 wins this year I can see, 94 wins next year is going to be a bear - I'd rather not be reading about stuff like this.


It would be nice but I'm not too worried about. I really think, and again this maybe unfounded optimism, that 2012 and the Bobby Valentine experience will turn out to be a long term positive. Unless these guys are much stupider than I think they are I suspect they may have learned their lessons about building a team that wins the off-season. I think the way they've handled this off-season, while not an off-season I love, is stylistically indicative of a team trying to be smart. The sexy move would have been trading Bogaerts and Barnes for Justin Upton but that may not have been the right move.

And I agree about the 2004 stuff. I think it will be interesting to contrast how it is written with The Yankee Years. One of the things I didn't like about that book is it was written in the third person which really took away from the feeling that it was Joe Torre's story. If this book is written in the first person at least I can assume the words are Francona's.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4348095)
There's a piece on ESPN Boston by Joe McDonald that's worth reading - it's Tito explaining himself, the excerpts, and the book's genesis:
“When Dan first approached me, I was like, ‘No. And not with you.’"
I love Tito. Ok, continuing...
"He kind of came back to me and got me to agree to lunch, I don’t know how the hell he did that. Then one thing led to another and we planned a practice session, maybe one chapter. Next thing you know, we’re in New York selling it and I’m running by his house picking him up in my car and driving to New York.

“I first thing I told him was, ‘Look, we’re making a pit stop because I’m getting my windows tinted.’”

“You know what’s funny, I don’t know if ‘pitted against each other’ is the right term, but our job descriptions weren’t necessarily on the same path. His is to poke fun at people and he’s good at it. But when I got to know him, I really liked him. We had a lot of fun. It was kind of cool. It was an eye-opener and it was an enjoyable process.”
I've heard from various sources than Dan Shaughnessy is a perfectly pleasant dude in non-professional situations. That doesn't absolve him from anything he's written, but it's not crazy that he could charm Tito. And since Shaughnessy is more of a soulless opportunist than a bitter, angry man, it's reasonable to hope that the story will mostly by Tito's with Shaughnessy there to rake in the profits.
   8. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4348148)
I for one am shocked, shocked that a marketing research consultant would say, essentially, "Marketing jobs would be easier if you signed players who were more marketable."

- - - - -

I'm taking the optimistic view on the Francona/CHB book. Rather than believe there's no way CHB doesn't sully Francona's story, I think there's no way Francona allows CHB to do that. Of anyone, Francona is most adept at finding the right way to convey his message so as not to throw anyone under the bus. If CHB tries, the book doesn't go to press with Francona's name on it.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: January 17, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4349376)
This is a source who not only knows what was said at a private lunch meeting, but also can comment knowledgeably on the internal mental state of all the participants in the meeting. Basically, it has to be Epstein or one of Henry/Werner/Lucchino.
I don't disagree with your larger point about both Edes and ownership being shady here, but I wouldn't imagine that the abovequoted is literally the case. I would think Edes would still run that quote if he believed that the source was someone who was often confided in by one of the meeting attendees. No?
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 17, 2013 at 06:23 PM (#4349432)
So, what's the publication date for the Valentine book? And will he use the Clownshow tag in the title?
   11. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 17, 2013 at 08:27 PM (#4349520)
...Pedroia is a sex symbol?
   12. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 17, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4349535)
Are we really supposed to believe that the pink cap crowd would rather root for good-looking guys who suck? If Pedroia is perceived as a sex symbol, it's primarily because he's a good ballplayer. Not because he'd be a soap opera star if he wasn't an athlete. Chicks still dig the long ball -- hit it over the wall and they'll think you're cute enough.
   13. Darren Posted: January 17, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4349554)
“When Dan first approached me, I was like, ‘No. And not with you.’"

I love Tito. Ok, continuing...

"He kind of came back to me and got me to agree to lunch, I don’t know how the hell he did that. Then one thing led to another and we planned a practice session, maybe one chapter. Next thing you know, we’re in New York selling it and I’m running by his house picking him up in my car and driving to New York.

“I first thing I told him was, ‘Look, we’re making a pit stop because I’m getting my windows tinted.’”

“You know what’s funny, I don’t know if ‘pitted against each other’ is the right term, but our job descriptions weren’t necessarily on the same path. His is to poke fun at people and he’s good at it. But when I got to know him, I really liked him. We had a lot of fun. It was kind of cool. It was an eye-opener and it was an enjoyable process.”


"The other day a couple of suits came up to me and wanted me to endorse the Canyonero. I told them to get lost. But it turns out that it's a pretty nice ride..."

You like Tito. But come on, he's laying down with dogs and, as much as he tries to obscure it, it's not hard to figure out why.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4352398)
Chad Finn's take on the book. Finn is usually pretty agenda-free and he sees the book as being what many of us want, a generally fun look at the Francona-era.


(Francona) offers an often hilarious but never salacious peek behind clubhouse doors on the championship “Idiots” of 2004, borderline insubordinates of 2011, and all the good times and chaos in between.


Even when his words are critical, Francona’s comments about his players are never reminiscent of the score-settling vibe that accompanied Joe Torre’s biting insights on Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Brown in “The Yankee Years.’’


When matters were settled and he moved on after what he calls “seven years and five months of the hardest but best years of my life,’’ he received a voice mail from a certain player who played a leading role in the hardest and best parts.

“Papi, this is Manny,’’ the voice mail said. “I just wanted to give you a call. You were an OK manager. Call me back.”

   15. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4352401)
From the Abraham article:

It was interesting to learn that Epstein hired two "outside consultants" to put together proposed lineups for Francona every day. Eric Van was hired after Henry noticed him on the Sons of Sam Horn message board. Voros McCracken, a pioneer in sabermetrics, was the other


Did I know that and just forgot?

Even when his words are critical, Francona’s comments about his players are never reminiscent of the score-settling vibe that accompanied Joe Torre’s biting insights on Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Brown in “The Yankee Years.’’


Part of The Yankee Years yes, but a tiny part. I suspect, overall, the books will be very similar.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4352438)
Are we really supposed to believe that the pink cap crowd would rather root for good-looking guys who suck? If Pedroia is perceived as a sex symbol, it's primarily because he's a good ballplayer. Not because he'd be a soap opera star if he wasn't an athlete. Chicks still dig the long ball -- hit it over the wall and they'll think you're cute enough.


The Red Sox did have one of the few recent players who was perceived as a sex symbol without being perceived as a good player, in Gabe Kapler.

Although they could afford to have a guy like that in 2003-2006. They'd have to put the entire cast of "Magic Mike" in the lineup to overcome the current fan-uninspiring situation of the team not being good.
   17. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4352453)
Eric Van is the master of extrapolating ridiculous conclusions from small sample sizes. I'm surprised theRed Sox used him.
   18. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4352696)
How the schadenfreude has turned. 2007, The Mitchell Report, JD Drew All-Star game MVP at Yankee Stadium, a game 7 ALCS, and Torre's The Yankee Years being released.

Now look at us.
   19. jdennis Posted: January 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4354036)
come on. gonzalez and crawford were two of the most consistent sure things in baseball when theo made those moves. people could have predicted crawford declining on the back end of his deal, sure, but not immediately. and no one saw a steep power decline coming from gonzalez. it was just very bad luck. heck i wouldn't be surprised if those guys had a renaissance in LA.

also he insinuates that pedroia isn't any good, which is, of course, not true.
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 24, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4354084)
Downloaded the book and started reading it a few minutes ago. Just a few pages in and it's already a disappointment for style. Like "The Yankee Years" it's written in a third person format, not a first person. As I noted in #6 above that just leaves me feeling unsure I'm reading Terry Francona's take or Dan Shaughnessy's interpretation of Terry Francona's take. I imagine I'll read it fairly quickly but that is a bit of a disappointment. I don't care what Dan Shaughnessy has to say, I do care what Terry Francona says.
   21. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4354088)
Yeah, I saw that from last week's SI excerpt (which seemed rather short for those purposes, actually). Can't say I like that approach at all.
   22. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 26, 2013 at 08:33 AM (#4355366)
I'm not buying the book, anybody who has it, can you just tell us the parts where Francona tells who ran him out of town and who are the cancers of the team?

I've got money on Beckett, Lackey, and Papelbon.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 02, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4360603)
Just finished the book. A few things;

1. Very simply it's a book worth reading. My fandom for Tito is pretty well established and the reasons why shine through. Tito is honest, funny and forthright throughout the book. He takes blame where he should and other times blames others. I never got the sense that Francona was blaming everyone else and painting himself in the best light. Of course Tito comes across well but he wasn't afraid to acknowledge his mistakes. The note I made to myself as I read the book was that Francona was being "cautiously candid." There is a lot of good insight in the book but if you are looking for salacious details you will be disappointed. The book is largely positive but honest. It's clear that Francona views the clubhouse as sacrosanct.

2. My concern that the book was written in the third person was somewhat unfounded. Francona is quoted much more than I remember Torre being quote in "The Yankee Years" so the words are more often obviously his own. When it's Shaughnessy being Shaughnessy it is obvious and Shaughnessy's evident disdain for certain people (notably Theo and Bill James and his ilk) comes through.

3. I get the sense that Francona respects and maybe even likes Lucchino but is not a fan of Henry's at all. Reading the book it makes sense. Francona notes that Lucchino is someone you can argue with while Henry's less confrontational style seems to come across as unmanly to Francona (not that Tito used that word or anything close to it, just my interpretation). Werner seems to be greatly disrespected by Francona largely as a non-baseball person.

4. Tito is very positive about a lot of players, most of the usual suspects including Lowell, Lester and Pedroia but also is positive about Drew and to a somewhat lesser extent Lackey. On the flip side Manny comes across as being a serious pain in the ass. Tito states flat out that he does not believe that Manny quit in his infamous 3 pitch K versus Mariano. He also speaks positively about Ellsbury which I found a bit surprising.

5. Francona appreciated the information that "Carmine" provided. What frustrated him was the lineup consultants who would tell Tito what to do with the info. He liked the idea of getting the information but didn't want to be told how to incorporate it. I'm not sure I'm explaining it well but it seemed like a really good balance of "beer and tacos."

6. Shaughnessy's stuff is a bit more frustrating. It's really jarring what a little ##### he can be when compared with Francona's more mature approach considering that Tito was the one who got fired and slandered by the Globe. Shaughnessy references his Lucchino column of October 30, 2005 but does not acknowledge that it's his article ("a Globe article..."). Shaughnessy does note that the Popeye's fried chicken began in 2010 with well-respected Mike Cameron and he also is very clear about the starting pitching, not beer and fried chicken, being the cause of September, 2011. I kind of got the sense that Shaughnessy did not care for Hohler's piece.

Generally I liked the book. There was some good insight and I think it's a nice little primer on how an MLB manager operates. Some of the stupid little #### that the organization did comes through starting as far back as 2004. On the flip side I think Francona respects what they did but felt that sometimes they just went a little too far.

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