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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. RobertMachemer Posted: July 14, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2098932)
The SOSH chat link leads to http://www.w3.org/Protocols/ , at least when I click on it.
   2. Darren Posted: July 14, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2098958)
That out to fix it.
   3. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:26 PM (#2099039)
Hey, kevin's back!
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:37 PM (#2099059)
Really enjoyed the book, definitely recommend it. Some randomish thoughts:

Mnookin is clearly a big fan, and it comes through in the good way - he knows the team extremely well, he knows the "saber" outlook, and he knows the history - the first section depends heavily on Stout's Red Sox Century, and Mnookin frames this history in many ways as a corrective to Shaughnessy and the other racist-whitewashing myth-makers.

The Theo/Lucchino narrative develops well through the book. Mnookin basically finds that for all their crazy hours of hard work, this problem was constantly shoved aside and never addressed by Henry, just allowed to fester. It really did surprise everyone on the Red Sox when the negotiations went poorly. On the one side, Lucchino definitely comes off poorly. In particular, he seems to use Charles Steinberg for plausible deniability in leaking any number of smears to the press. On the other side, it's really unclear how Epstein and baseball ops fought back - there are a number of hints that they're leaking to Gammons to smear Lucchino, but Mnookin apparently couldn't confirm any of that.

The section on the purchase of the team is crazy boring, don't know why it gets like 75 pages.

There's a lot of great little Ball Four-esque moments in the clubhouse - like Manny's game of sticking a cellphone down his pants, taking a picture, and then shoving the screen image in other players' faces.

Manny comes off as simply unstable. He demands trades and sulks, he's in high spirits, his teammates love him, his teammates are complaining about him. But it never boils over too badly, and the happy Manny is a far more common presence.

Epstein had no intention of offering Pedro a three-year deal, and it was only through ownership's insistence, particularly Lucchino's, that the offer was made.

Schilling pissed off a lot of people when he first came to the Red Sox. His comments about agents (he thinks they're scum) and his willingness to present himself as a Red Sox spokesman before meeting the other players definitely bothered his teammates and colored his reception in the clubhouse. There are only two players about whom Mnookin gets stories of backbiting in the clubhouse - Nixon, Millar and Schilling complain about Manny, and Damon, Millar and (I think there's another one) complain about Schilling.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2099068)
(It's also notable that Millar is involved in the complaints both times. As hinted at in the response above, Millar wore out his welcome with management pretty quickly in 2005.)
   6. tfbg9 Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2099120)
There's a very long two-part audio interview from 'EEI with the author here:

http://www.weei.com/sectional.asp?id=5386
   7. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2099121)
So, Kevin, are you back for good, or was the opportunity to refute Szym's claim too good to pass up?
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2099138)
My wording on the question, sadly, makes it possible for everyone to be right. I didn't say it well - the question is, was Lucchino particularly opposed to Petagine, and how strongly?

I still think that Szym's "scouts v. stats" reading of the front office is wrong, and the narrative in the book definitely never follows that dichotomy.
   9. PJ Martinez Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#2099158)
Thanks for the synopsis, MCoA. If I pick up the book, I'll skip the buying-the-team part, which doesn't interest me anyway.

"Epstein had no intention of offering Pedro a three-year deal"

That's not terribly surprising, but it is interesting. I like Theo a lot, but he hasn't done a great job when it comes to handing out big contracts. He's gotten incredible steals, at times (Ortiz, Mueller), but none of the big signings has worked that well (am I forgetting something?).

Remember when he said the Sox were going to offer one year and a few dollars less than they thought the market could bear (or something)? Am I remembering that wrong? Because it sounded really stupid. It was in the early days, after failing to acquier Alfonzo and Contreras (Epstein's done pretty well not to sign certain guys, admittedly, though it's always hard to tell how hard the Sox have really gone after someone). Of course, the Renteria and Varitek contracts suggest they've gone in a different direction since then.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#2099165)
That's not terribly surprising, but it is interesting. I like Theo a lot, but he hasn't done a great job when it comes to handing out big contracts. He's gotten incredible steals, at times (Ortiz, Mueller), but none of the big signings has worked that well (am I forgetting something?).
Schilling, arguably. Wait and see on Ortiz.

But, yeah. Clement and Renteria were busts, though Renteria + $$ brought in Coco. Varitek's not looking too good. The Nixon contract is unlikely to be a big winner, though this year is helping. Foulke and Schilling wouldn't have sucked in '05 if it weren't for their roles in winning hte World Series and whatnot, so that's good.
   11. Darren Posted: July 14, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2099240)
That's not terribly surprising, but it is interesting. I like Theo a lot, but he hasn't done a great job when it comes to handing out big contracts. He's gotten incredible steals, at times (Ortiz, Mueller), but none of the big signings has worked that well (am I forgetting something?).

Wait a minute. Theo didn't want to guarantee 3 years to Pedro, and here Pedro is on the DL in the middle of the 2nd year, with an ERA of 3.45 in Shea, and rarely topping 90. He could come back and sail through the next 1.5-2.5 years, but right now I'd say the jury's out on the Pedro deal.


Remember when he said the Sox were going to offer one year and a few dollars less than they thought the market could bear (or something)?

I remember it as him saying they'd offer less years buy more per year. Thus their 3/21-ish offer to Alfonso and their 3/21ish offer to Foulke. As for which big deals have worked out, I don't even think you can say that Schilling has. He was worth basically 0 last year, which turns his deal into something like 3/48, including 07, which is tough to live up to (just ask Randy J). Renteria has turned it around this year, but it's pretty much the same situation as Schilling--he's got to cram 4 years of value into 3 years because he sucked so badly for one. Tek? Looking bad. Ortiz--looking good but long way to go. Clement I thought was good but hasn't turned out well. Nixon will have earned his deal but it wasn't a really big one.
   12. PJ Martinez Posted: July 14, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2099281)
"Schilling, arguably. Wait and see on Ortiz."

I wasn't really counting these because both were extensions, not FA signings (ditto for Nixon). Schilling's been good enough so far this year that the extension may look good (of course, it already looked good in so far as it was necessary to get him here for that first year).

"Renteria + $$ brought in Coco"

I like Coco and think he can succeed with the Red Sox, but he hasn't done much yet.

"I'd say the jury's out on the Pedro deal."

Yeah, probably. But we'd have had a decent shot at the Series last year with him. I think no matter what happens over the next couple of years, there will be a decent argument to be made that the Sox should have kept him. (And this is coming from someone who, as a fan of Pedro himself, is happy that Pedro moved on to Shea.)

I liked the Clement deal, too, and I don't blame the FO for that one. It was a smart move, I think, even if it's gone south.

Your memory on the FO's comment about years sounds about right. It makes more sense that way, but it's still probably not an effective policy most of the time. That said, I don't think the FO has held to it (nor are they divulging as many of those strategic decisions anymore, which is probably wise).
   13. TerpNats Posted: July 14, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2099355)
It's interesting none of the posts on this thread has yet mentioned Terry Francona, who may get less pub than any World Series-winning manager in recent history. Conversely, according to the book's author who was on WTWP radio here in Washington the other day with Jim Bohannon, in Boston Theo Epstein is treated like a rock star. (Perhaps Francona should have attended an Ivy League school.) Theo should forever be in Dave Roberts' debt.
   14. Bad Fish Posted: July 15, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2099401)
Shilling was the second best pitcher in the AL on '04, not to mention superman in the playoffs and he is among the top 5 this year, and last year when he was injured I thought he was ok out of the pen, and started about like a league average 4thor 5th starter...not bad considering....I think Shilling will be well worth his contract when its all said and done.

And I also agree that the jury is still out on the Pedro signing, nobody doubted he would deliver great performances, the question was could he consistently do it over the length of the contract. I'd bet no.
   15. Darren Posted: July 15, 2006 at 03:02 AM (#2099580)
Yeah, probably. But we'd have had a decent shot at the Series last year with him. I think no matter what happens over the next couple of years, there will be a decent argument to be made that the Sox should have kept him.

Didn't they have a decent shot without him? And of course, there was little question about whether Pedro would have been good to have around in 05. It was 06-08, at top $, that was the concern.

Shilling was the second best pitcher in the AL on '04, not to mention superman in the playoffs and he is among the top 5 this year, and last year when he was injured I thought he was ok out of the pen, and started about like a league average 4thor 5th starter...not bad considering....I think Shilling will be well worth his contract when its all said and done.

I think you're overating his 05 by a ton. Overall, his pitching--both in the pen and rotation--was right about replacment level, which has no value.
   16. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: July 15, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#2099873)
Thanks for bringing the book and the threads to our attention. Mnookin's comments later in the SoSH chat are very interesting, esp. when he's pressed on Frazee, and when he talks about how media myths grow (e.g., Bill James's role in the adoption of stat analysis in baseball).
   17. PJ Martinez Posted: July 15, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2099879)
"...in Boston Theo Epstein is treated like a rock star. (Perhaps Francona should have attended an Ivy League school.) Theo should forever be in Dave Roberts' debt."

Francona is old and not very attractive. Francona did not sign David Ortiz. Francona has not toured with Buffalo Tom or Pearl Jam. I think Epstein's Yale degree has basically nothing to do with the rock star treatment.

Schilling was awful last year. But even if he was awful again this year, I think we'd all agree the signing was worth it, since it was necessary for that first title. This is basically my point with the Pedro contract: we'd have had a significantly better chance at another title last year with Pedro. If we'd won it again, would we care when (if) Pedro breaks down next year? Or would those extra dollars have been worth it then? I'm not suggesting the answer is obvious, but this is why I think there's already a decent argument to be made that they should have signed him (that argument would also be about keeping Pedro in Boston and having him finish his career here, seeing number 45 up next to 27, etc.). It's not actually my own argument-- I'm glad he went to the Mets. But there's a legitimate argument to be made, in my opinion.
   18. Darren Posted: July 15, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2100025)
This is basically my point with the Pedro contract: we'd have had a significantly better chance at another title last year with Pedro. If we'd won it again, would we care when (if) Pedro breaks down next year? Or would those extra dollars have been worth it then?

This argument could justify any contract to any player who makes any significant contribution (or might do so) to a championship team. You could make the same argument for inking Eckstein to a 4/52 contract before 05. Or, more realistically, Millwood.

One tricky point in the Pedro conversation is that people seem to focus on him as the only 'good' signing the sox could have made. In fact, Millwood, Byrd, and others would have been just as good or better.
   19. villageidiom Posted: July 20, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2105402)
The section on the purchase of the team is crazy boring, don't know why it gets like 75 pages.

On a conspiracy theory note, he probably had to promise to cover the purchase as a condition to gain access. You know, make it seem like the purchase wasn't a Selig-engineered manipulation.

Which it wasn't. I'd explain why, but it would take about 75 pages to make it clear.

- - - - - - - -

On a separate note, I've largely not posted in the last week or two, and while that sort of thing is en vogue 'round these parts these days, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to make a statement or anything. Well, I guess I was making a statement, but the statement I was making was that mrsidiom had a stroke two weeks ago, and I've been a bit busy since then.
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 20, 2006 at 10:32 PM (#2105412)
Sorry to hear that about mrsidiom, vi. I hope she's doing better.
   21. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 20, 2006 at 10:48 PM (#2105428)
That is categorically untrue vis a vis LL and Petagine.

Because of who told me this, I stand by what I said.

That'll learn me to make an off-the-cuff remark in a minor blog entry. I kept my mouth shut before, I've kept my mouth shut since, and I'll continue to keep my mouth shut in the future.


I still think that Szym's "scouts v. stats" reading of the front office is wrong, and the narrative in the book definitely never follows that dichotomy.


That's not exactly what I said.
   22. Josh Posted: July 20, 2006 at 11:32 PM (#2105503)
I liked the purchase section - very informative and very interesting.
   23. Darren Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2105931)
best wishes to your wife, idiom.
   24. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 21, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2105949)
Sorry to hear about that VI. How's she doing?
   25. villageidiom Posted: July 21, 2006 at 02:54 AM (#2106125)
Thanks, all.

She's doing a lot better now than she was last week, and then was doing better than she was on the 7th when it happened. At that time she lost all use of the left side of her body. One week later we were amazed as she stood upright, brushing her teeth, without collapsing in a heap on the floor. Today she walked (using a hemi-walker) about 135 feet, and that completely exhausted her. To me, this is massive progress; but if she can't even walk halfway to second base without reaching the point of exhaustion, clearly she has a very long road to full recovery. At this point she might be an adequate pinch-runner for Mike Lowell, but that's about it.

She still has virtually no use of her left arm, but the distinction between "no" and "virtually no" is huge. "No" would mean the signals from her brain to her arm are dead, and might never return. "Virtually no" means the signals are getting through, but are so weak as to produce nothing of use. The latter can be (and has) improved with therapy. Again, a long road back, but at mrsidiom's age (late 30's) the doctors think she can manage it.

Her face / speech / laugh / smile are nearly back to normal. Cognitive abilities are fine. She still has some vision issues - mostly, that her left-side peripheral vision still has one massive blind spot - but is otherwise fine.

I'm home taking care of the littleidioms. I could do this just fine, if that's all I had to do; but obviously there's a great deal of hospital time and other associated stuff to fit into each day. We're getting a lot of help from family and friends, which occasionally buys me time to do something like this, but not nearly as often as I used to.
   26. tfbg9 Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#2106161)
Hang in there, vi.
   27. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: July 21, 2006 at 03:49 AM (#2106172)
My best wishes to the idioms, too.

I ordered this book from Amazon and it should arive soon.
   28. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: July 24, 2006 at 01:12 PM (#2109377)
Read about 240 pages of this so far. Pretty good for the most part. I forgot some of the stuff that was mentioned in the book and learned some new stuff.


Something that Mnookin said reminded me of one downside of the Henry administration. The Red Sox has almost become *too* popular IMO. Do I want to go back to the Butch Hobson era? No. But I haven't seen a game at Fenway since '03.
   29. scotto Posted: July 24, 2006 at 01:45 PM (#2109408)
Good luck, vi. I'm very glad to hear that she's making progress. I hope the little idioms are doing OK too.
   30. villageidiom Posted: July 24, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2110062)
But I haven't seen a game at Fenway since '03.

I have two tickets to each of the games on this Saturday and Sunday, and due to reasons you can gather from my earlier posts I won't be using them. I've already asked a few people (including my brother, who is right now en route from Chicago and his birthday is Saturday) to take them off my hands, but if those fall through I'll drop you an e-mail. You being somewhat local and all, I think it would be easy to transfer them to you in time for the game. If you don't hear from me, assume someone else took 'em.

If this works out to your benefit, and you say it's a "stroke of luck", I am required to punch you in the neck. I hope you understand.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 24, 2006 at 10:50 PM (#2110205)
vi, I just came back to this thread, and I wanted to wish you and your family all the best.
   32. Repoz Posted: July 24, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2110219)
Sorry to hear of this, vi....all the best.
   33. Darren Posted: July 25, 2006 at 12:06 AM (#2110379)
vi,

I'd never say something like that, but I'm sure GGC would. I'd find another BTF local to give those tickets to, if I were you.

Seriously, though, let me know if there's anything I (virtual stranger on the Internets) can do for you or Mrs. Idiom.
   34. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: July 25, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2110519)
You are both in Lu's and mine's thoughts vi, Lu loved meeting mrs idiom last June and is saddened by the news as am I

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