Yay, We Have A .500 Baseball Team…

But on the downside, we’ve got Matsuzaka and Lackey pitching the next two nights…

The Red Sox hit the .500 mark last night by finishing off a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. The 7-5 win put the Red Sox at 20-20 on the season. Get the complete coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Red Sox ‘making strides'; reach .500 – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox happy to get to .500, but with some quotes sounding disturbingly satisfied at having reached that break-even point.

It’s a 122-game season – John Tomase says that the team can start afresh now.

Time not on Yanks’ side – Michael Silverman says that the Posada incident will not be the last tough situation these Yankees will have to face. Jeff Jacobs says that as the Yankees core continues to age, these type of incidents will happen.

Three of a kind: Red Sox rotation shows striking early returns – Though the numbers might not show it just yet, Alex Speier says that this rotation “has shown the potential to be the most dominant in years.”

Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron says waiting is the hardest part  – Ron Chimelis has the outfielder yet another veteran who is struggling to adjust to a new role.

Disorder has been avoided – While the Yankees’ situation with Posada exploded, the Red Sox have avoided having the same thing happen with Carl Crawford. Peter Abraham’s notebook explores why. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Jason Varitek sympathizing with Posada. The ProJo Red Sox journal has Daniel Bard mixing in off-speed pitches with his heat. The CSNNE notes from Sean McAdam have Lester good enough for his 5th win of the season.

No easy fixes for Bruins’ breakdowns – Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins lack of star power and power play ability will be tough to overcome.

When it comes to Tyler Seguin being ‘the kid’ before the man, Steven Stamkos’ knows the feeling – DJ Bean has the Lightning star able to relate to what the Bruins rookie is going through.

Bruins feel Patrice Bergeron’s absence – Joe McDonald says that the Bruins will not rush back their assistant captain. Stephen Harris says that this will be a very tough decision for the Bruins.

Why Danny Ainge is bringing back the big three – Paul Flannery looks at why we’ll see one more year of KG, Pierce and Allen.

C’s taken at face value – Mark Murphy and Jim Fenton each look at the roster player-by-player and assess the future.

Rivers: ‘This is a special place’ – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics coach talking to Dennis and Callahan this morning about his new deal and the future of the Celtics.

Kraft wants resolution – Karen Guregian has the Patriots owner tired of the bickering. Christopher Price feels the owner’s comments should be real cause for concern for the fans.

  • JohnnyApps

    Bruce, If you still don't believe that the Perkins deal didn't have a negative effect on the team and was a mistake, listen to the Doc Rivers interview on D&C this morning. He basically came out and said that removing Perkins from the team severely effected the continuity and trust that the team had built up over the 3 previous years. Uprooting the starting center (who was the heart and soul of the defense along with KG) and infusing several new players at that juncture in the season hurt the team. Relying on a 39 yr old Shaq was foolish. Rivers also said that by making the deal, the C's gave up the advantage they had over Miami and Chicago…the continuity that they'd built up over the yrs. The continuity that we saw Miami struggle to find most of the season. I'm not saying Ainge should be fired, but the trade was a mistake. GM's occasionally make mistakes….it happens. Overall he's been a very good GM… but this was not one of his better deals. If you're being a contrarian fine… but I think anyone who can't admit that the deal had a negative effect on the team is foolish, IMHO.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      If you also listen to Doc, he says that if he had it to do over again, "he'd make the trade at the end of the season instead of in the middle."

      Except Perkins was going to be a free agent at the end of the season. So he couldn't make the trade, as OK City or anyone else could have signed Perkins without giving anyone up.

      And that's why Danny's the GM, and Doc's the coach.

      • JohnnyApps

        So essentially he said the trade did more harm than good to the title chances of this team.
        Doc said: "making that trade… that made it very tough for us."
        Sounds pretty definitive to me…

    • Jack

      The Celtics beat Miami three times without Perk. Ainge saw a player who was not fully recovered from the first injury suffer a second injury. He also knew that he wasn't going to be able to re-sign him for next year. I think he felt that Perk would not contribute anything this year and he got a very good young player in return. I think Doc has the clout to veto a deal like that and he didn't. Therefore he must have had a similar opinion. The Celtics had the best record in the East, without Perk. If he had been there from the start, it would be reasonable to blame the trade for their poor performance………..but he wasn't. I think this "blame the trade" theory is 20:20 hindsight.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

      Negative, sure. Fatal? No way.

      This team lost because they couldn't score. Danny and Doc have both said that. Perk doesn't help with that.

      I think I made it pretty clear Friday that Ainge had the right idea and motivation for the trade, but that Green wasn't the answer. Did the team miss Perk? Absolutely. Is it why they lost to the Heat. Not at all. They couldn't score, especially down the stretch of games. Maybe Perk does knock LeBron or Wade on his ass during one of the games, though that type of thing isn't his style – he's a low post banger and enforcer. Even if he does knock one of them down, it doesn't help the Celtics score on the other end.

      • Classless

        Well, by saying Green wasn't the answer (which I agree with) youre saying by definition the trade was fatal. The reason why is Green never gave them the minutes they needed. Doc trusted him less and less as the season and playoffs wound down. If Green was effective, then scoring would not have been such a problem (especially for the bench), Pierce and Allen would have been fresher, etc.

        I will let Ainge off the hook slightly because nobody saw Glen Davis regressing so badly. With that happening, the Celtics essentially had 70% Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett as their only bigs.

      • JohnnyApps

        Lebron and Wade dominated the paint in this series. The hallmark with this team has been defense and time and again in the Heat series they couldn't get loose balls or defensive stops. Its all about defense in the playoffs. Perk would have made a difference. Trading Perk and banking on having a healthy Shaq was a huge risk that Ainge took, and it didn't work out. Ainge is a good GM, but he made a huge mistake.
        Team chemistry is huge…and the chemistry in this affected with the trade.
        Rivers basically said it on the radio today. I'm not saying they definitely would have beaten the Heat…but they would have had a better shot with Perk than with a hurt Shaq and an old and ineffecitve broken down Jermaine Oneal.

    • Tony

      There's no question that team chemistry was affected by this trade. How could it not be? I'm still a tad skeptical that the team wins the championship even with Perk on board, however, given that Chicago is a very difficult matchup for them, with or without Perkins (this goes back two years, at least–the Bulls have been tough on the C's). I also have to try to put myself into Ainge's shoes. He had a guy, Jeff Green, that he's coveted for four years (and Doc has, too) come available. He also was being offered an LA Clippers first round draft pick in the deal. He had to give up a guy who could have helped them win a title, maybe, this season, but a guy that he also knew was injury-prone and also unsignable in the offseason (most likely). It had to be a tough decision and I give Ainge credit for having the guts to pull the trigger on the deal and subject himself to the torrent of second-guessing which was sure to follow if the team didn't win the title (that bill has come due over the past week, obviously). I still think it's prudent to withhold final judgment until all of the chips in the deal have been placed on the table and the hand is played out.

  • latetodinner

    Maybe someone can answer these questions for me.

    If the NFL players have decertified the union then who are the owners supposed to be negotiating with to form a new collective bargaining agreement?

    Is there even a legal precedent for collective bargaining without there being a "second" side?

    If I truly understand the legal ramifications to the players actions isn't the only real solution for Congress to create a special class of "sports team as part of a greater league" corporation, that treats sports teams differently than standard businesses when it comes to employment rights and contracts of players (not non players) for the sole purpose to promoting "sport" competition?

    This way owners and players would always have a mechanism to collectively bargain. If the players tried to decertify they couldn't but at the same time legislation could be written that would say a special court of sports (funded by a tax on sports leagues) would over see labor issues and contracts (including independent drug testing, and the legitimacy of the officiating). Why am I suggesting this model…so that the there are mechanisms that are in place to deal with sports issues, rather than clogging up civil courts, this also goes a long way towards dealing with gambling, PED's and other issues that the leagues do not want to deal with by themselves.

    Lastly, why are none of the scribes on the NFL beats asking these questions?

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      I can answer some of your questions, LTD….

      The first two questions are really common, because 99.99% of people don't really understand what collective bargaining and decertification really mean in practice. Without belaboring the antitrust and labor law precedents, this is the collective bargaining process in a nutshell: it provides a legal structure in which multiple actors can come together and jointly reach an agreement that will apply to all parties on both sides without violating US antitrust law.

      But for that exemption, all 32 NFL teams uniting to present a single front in negotiating with the player's union….. would be a cartel, no different than every grocery store in the country collectively deciding tomorrow to raise the price of milk to $55/gallon. Illegal and actionable activity. However — in the labor world (unlike the milk market), that unified action is usually more efficient for BOTH sides of the coin: labor unions have more bargaining power when representing the entirety of their profession than when they represent individuals; likewise employers have more power when they collectively negotiate, as it eliminates a "race to the bottom" strategy where individual players try to gain an advantage at the expense of the employers who go along with the deal. So an exemption was created under antitrust and labor law to provide for collective bargaining agreements between unions and an employer or collection of employers. A labor agreement reached via collective bargaining is binding on ALL parties in that particular labor market, whether or not they are members of the negotiating entities.

      To explain further: In collective bargaining, you have one voice speaking for many parties on each side of the bargaining. On the employee side, this is always a union or trade association. To engage in collective bargaining, that union must be certified by the NLRB as the representative of the given class of employees. Once it is certified, then a collective bargaining agreement reached by that union with an employer/employer group is binding on all members of that labor market, including future entrants who are not currently represented by either party to the bargaining, whether or not they are members of that union. So hypothetically if the NFL and NFLPA had reached a new CBA at the end of last season, players entering the football employment market in 2012 are totally bound by that agreement, even though they are not currently members of the NFLPA or the NFL. But for that law, a player entering the league in 2012 would be completely unbound by that agreement unless they joined the union and affirmatively agreed to be bound by it — which would cause chaos, as the agreement wouldn't provide the certainty it's designed to provide.

      (continued in part 2….)

      • APimpNamedDaveR

        (part 2)

        Now, we move on to decertification which, as you no doubt have figured out, is when a given union renounces its ability to represent all members of its particular class of employee. Why do this? Because while there are certified representatives on both sides of the bargaining, there are no legal remedies available to either side other than pursuing grievances with the NLRB — because so long as there's a collective bargaining structure in place, both sides are effectively exempt from any and all claims under the antitrust laws. If you break down the collective bargaining arrangement, then that antitrust exemption goes away as well, and you can pursue legal action (usually a claim of negotiating in bad faith) under the antitrust provisions.

        So decertification is ultimately a legal nuance. Yet it's described in the common press as if the union disintegrates itself. That is not the case AT ALL. Once a union decertifies, it continues to have the ability to represent its members in any negotiations. What it does NOT have the ability to do anymore is (a) negotiate on behalf of anyone outside the union, and (b) negotiate an agreement that will be binding on all current and future employees in that field regardless of union membership. And if the other side is amenable and an agreement seems imminent, they can always recertify.

        As for your other paragraphs: The main argument against the things you propose is that sport is NOT different, and shouldn't be treated differently at all. Sport is a business, and a huge business at that. In law, as in football, there is one set of rules, and everybody is expected to play by them. Why should the NFL be given more powers to force their employees into NFL-friendly contracts, while Microsoft and GM and Wal-mart don't have those powers? Should McDonalds be given special powers under labor law because their primarily-entry-level employment profile is "different"? I guarantee you that McDonalds, and Burger King, and Wendy's, and all the fast food joints would LOVE to be exempt from minimum wage laws…. And what about Microsoft? Shouldn't they be exempt from the limitations/requirements on issuing work visas to foreigners? Nuclear power plant workers know they're exposing themselves to more risks, and get paid more — shouldn't there be special courts that limit plant owners from liability when the workers knew what they were getting into? EVERY labor market is "special" and "unique" in its own way. What really makes the NFL any different?

        Also, these issues aren't "clogging" the civil courts — these issues are precisely what civil courts are meant to adjudicate. The lawsuits filed every time someone spills a cup of coffee at Starbucks are the cloggers.

        In the end, though, the answer is for the two parties to negotiate in good faith, something I don't think the owners are doing. The peculiarities of sports are all the more reason for them to do so — NOT a reason to upend a system that works remarkably well for a country and economy the size of the US.

        And the NFL beat writers aren't asking these questions because most of them aren't smart enough to ask the questions!

        • tl;dr

          tl;dr

        • latetodinner

          Dave:

          Before I begin….thank you for EXCELLENT answers to my questions. I am not sure I agree completely with your conclusion but your explanation of how things work under the law clears up a lot of questions I had.

          – So to dumb things down so that business owners among us (me) can understand what you are saying. Decertifing does not mean abolishing the union. It only changes its class standing under the law with regards to the NLRB and enforcing a collectively bargained agreement on college players who are not technically employed by the NFL and on to scabs left over from those that crossed the picket lines last time there was a strike and who were not part of the union.

          – So the owners are still negotiating with the union who in reality represent all players but the above 2 groups I mentioned. If they get close to an agreement then the players can apply to the NLRB to recertify the union as the responsible adult on the players side thereby giving the NEW CBA standing.

          I get these two points. They are much clearer to me now and I understand why the players needed to decertify…

          – The players needed to decertify so that they could sue for individual contract rights that they had agreed to forgo when they agreed to past CBAs. These rights include the popular phrase "Lincoln freed the slaves". Meaning individual rights could not be held by a corporation with a contract approved by a player assigning those rights to said corporation. Therefore, Franchise tags, restricted free agency and in theory the draft should all be null and void because by definition those constructs are against the law as they restrict someone's right to earn a living.

          Here is where we disagree…

          – I suggested the idea of a special class of corporation for sports because of the uniqueness of needing parity. The difference between team driven sports and McDonalds or Microsoft is that for the NFL or NBA to work two separate corporations need to field a team and compete in a non business contest. If you notice when I suggested my separate class of corporation I removed all non competing athletes from the exemption. The issue I have is this…okay the NFL PA decertified. How can there have been a draft? how can a team hold the rights to a player when there is no agreement in place for how that player can or will get employed? If I were the owners this is where I would be hitting back at the players.

          We totally agree that the best solution would be for the owners and players to sit down and work this all out. I am amazed they cannot figure out a way to divide up $9 bill and future revenues fairly. Where you blame the owners….I blame the players and the owners. The players have not been willing to take any financial risk yet they expect the owners to take it all. From facilities, to long term health care, to expansion and marketing. Yet the players want more than 54% of the gross revenues. You can't run a business like that. The owners want cost certainty and the players refuse to give it. At the same time the owners were idiots to reopen the last CBA without having a new agreement in hand. They had to know they would lose in court (they are not MLB). As such they had to know that the TV contract would be voided or the possibility of it being voided was possible. Even if it held up, that would not have only bought them a year…if the players dug in then we are looking at this situation next May. The owners also did not offer anything in return for the players giving up $800 mill. If they went in and said we want a rookie salary scale and $800 mill and for that we will get rid of the Franchise tag, fund retired player medical benefits for 15 years (then it kicks over to the union) and we will increase the vet minimum to $650,000 but it will only count $450,000 against the cap…we would have a deal.

          Lastly, I have no idea if they are smart enough to ask these questions or if they are too in the player's or league's pockets to actually look at the situation critically.

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          You're very welcome!

          Your recap (and understanding) is almost entirely dead on. The one thing I probably should have made clearer: the decertification does allow the players to sue as individuals. But it isn't, as you say, to recapture rights lost/surrendered in the previous CBA. The old CBA is gone; it really has no relevance to anything anymore (except as a touchstone for future negotiations).

          Once the union decertifies and there's no more collective bargaining structure, everyone's back to "normal" rules. In theory, the players negotiate for themselves only on all factors, and the teams negotiate individually with individual players. Except, of course, they don't — the NFL didn't disintegrate or decertify itself, and is still acting, essentially, as if it were a single entity with 34 different limbs. And THAT'S what the players sue over — the collective action by the NFL, which is probably illegal. I'm not a labor attorney, so I don't know all the permutations of US labor law, but I believe that the individual players can come together as a class and sue the NFL for bad faith in negotiations, and other labor-related causes of action that arise directly from the provisions of US labor law. It's proactive litigation, to get the NFL to stop doing one thing and start doing another, rather than retroactive, to get things lost in the past.

          On the substantive "there is a problem issue", yep — we agree 100%. And we agree that the problem is with the owners and the players. I think where we disagree — correct me if I'm wrong — is that you, in your original post, want to modify the system itself, whereas I say that the system is fine; it's the actors not wanted to play nice within that system that is the problem.

          I will say that I think you underestimate the financial risk that a player undertakes when pursuing a football career. First, there's a two-to-four year "apprenticeship" period where they don't get paid at all (at least legally), but where their future earnings can be seriously impacted (or completely eliminated) by one bad hit or unlucky fall. Then, they get to the NFL, where contracts are not guaranteed and where voluntary job mobility is essentially nonexistent for the first six years. In a completely free market, teams would be signing the Adrian Petersons of the world out of high school, to 10-year guaranteed contracts. You know — like baseball. The owners have benefitted GREATLY from that sacrifice on the part of the players. The cost to them was revenue sharing — which is what they are now trying to cut, but without any give-back to the players. I'm sure the players would be fine with a lower % of revenue sharing if free agency was possible after 3 years, or something like that. But the owners have decided to effectively impose their demands — not their offers, but demands — on the players. That's not bargaining, and that's why I lay the bulk of the blame for this at their feet.

        • latetodinner

          I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the business of Sports. Its not that I want to legislate different rules for sports leagues. Its more that I recognize that sports leagues by definition operate in a different universe than non sports companies. I cannot think of a different industry other than sports based companies that need to have both a monopoly (the rule issuing organization….NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA, NASCAR, NCAA etc) and capitalism (The individual competing teams, players (pga) drivers (nascar) etc). By the nature of these entities and they way they strive for competitive balance on the field, share revenue off the field but still compete with each other and other non affiliated sports/entertainment companies in the real world, I do not see how labor laws can be applied the same way. Specifically the assigning and owning of rights which is unique to these businesses. I know that CBA's establish drafts so that there are competitive balances. But outside of a CBA they are illegal, basically they are a form of indentured servitude (I own your rights, you work for me for 4 years…then you are free to pursue other employment). My point is just like the S- Corp was created with different rules than the C-Corp…I am wondering if a sports specific corporation should be created to deal with the unique nuances that keep competitive balance on the field.As for the financial risk the players take…you miss my point. I do not doubt that individual players each time they take the field take a personal risk that can effect their livelihood. One bad hit and they are done forever (see Darryl Stingly). That is not the financial risk I am talking about. I am specifically talking about the financial risks incurred by putting capital to work to grow the sport…building stadiums, infrastructure, marketing, medical and development. The Owners take these risks with the idea that they will reap the profits. The Players want a mandated percentage of total revenue…more than 50% but they do not want to “collectively” share in the financial risk. They are not willing to see the landscape has changed, that public money for stadiums and infrastructure has dried up, that marketing and expanding the game cost dollars, that long term health care is expensive and getting more expensive every day. Costs 5 years ago are not the same as they are today. The owners want cost certainty. They want to know that like the players…if they work hard….they will get rewarded. Right now…if the owners work hard…they are liable and the players are getting richer. We can argue about what is fair, however I think there are two issues that have not really been discussed publicly that are the real problem:1) Not all owners work to the same level to generate revenue…okay that one has been discussed publicly. It is the crux of the owners issues.2) The owners last two proposals have asked for a set salary cap for the next 5 years. They have been more than willing to negotiate the amount but they want a fixed number. There is only one reason to ask for a fixed number…they think they can grow revenues to a greater degree and therefore gain a bigger share of the profit by putting their capital at risk. If the players want to be “partners” and not treated like the “help”, then they need to figure out how to share in the financial risk while guaranteeing or at least promising the owners more profits.Thanks again for explaining things to me/us. It is much clearer….now we will get to see how it all works out, assuming it does…Bob Kraft all of a sudden does not feel so optimistic…perhaps reality is setting in and he is feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of all this.

  • Eddie

    I noticed that Matt Perrault was not on the Saturday show on WEEI. The opening said Sports Saturday with John Ryder. Perrault was not mentioned. The guy did seem like a jerk, but did he wear out his welcome that fast? If they got rid of Minihane, Ryder and Bradford would be a pretty good show. Maybe little Wolfie's starting to get it. I'm curious to see what the ratings for Merloni and Meathead were for the first full month.

    • Guest

      I also noticed Perrault was conspicuously absent from the Saturday show. There was nothing to suggest that Ryder was merely "filling in" for him for the day either. In fact, I don't recall hearing Perrault's name being mentioned once during the whole broadcast. It certainly seems like his brief WEEI stint came to an unceremonious end.

      I thought Perrault came across as a pompous a-hole from day one and am happy to see him go. I haven't read or heard anyone with anything nice to say about him. Ryder is a huge upgrade and I hope he sticks around on Saturday mornings. I've always thought he was underutilized by the station. He can be somewhat bland, but is able to talk intelligently about each of the major Boston teams – something Perrault was clearly incapable of.

      • Jack

        I noticed that too. A couple of weeks back Minihane (who I also have no use for) was out and they said he was on assignment many times during the show. I hope he's gone.
        I think that if they had to replace Dale, that Ryder would have been a better choice than Muttnansky. I'll be interested to see the ratings for mid-day. The show is unlistenable and it's because of Muttnansky. Merloni is decent but I stopped listening, he can't offset the dweeb.

  • Timbuk3

    So, Perkins was essentially a Richard Seymour trade, with similar results… ok, I get it.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

      I would say that's a fair comparison.

      But what would people be saying if the Patriots and Celtics just let Seymour and Perkins walk without getting any compensation? It seemed very clear they both wanted more money that the current teams were willing to commit to them.

      You can argue that the teams didn't get enough compensation for them, but I'm sure other teams knew what the situation was as well, and that likely took away some leverage.