Bruins Lose, Pats On Bye, Sox Still Losers

OK, Seriously.

Enough.

I’m bored with this Red Sox crap, and there is no end in sight. This story is the epitome of low-hanging fruit for the sports media. I could be very very wrong, but I think this story is much more interesting to the casual and even non-fan than it is to the hardcore Red Sox fan. For the former, this story is appealing, it’s gossipy, scandalous, TMZ-like, for the latter, they just want to see what the team is going to do to fix things. The media, which like water, seeks its own level and the path of least resistance, is busy breathlessly reporting the latest gossip and giving their uninformed opinions as an easy way to fill airtime. What happened in the Red Sox clubhouse actually might not be all that outrageous, if you ask Peter Abraham.

To quickly sum up the latest, WHDH-TV reported yesterday that Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett were drinking beer in the Red Sox dugout during games. The Red Sox quickly issued a complete denial, including a statement from former manager Terry Francona. Jason Varitek spoke to the Globe yesterday and to WAAF this morning.

What makes this week worse is that the Bruins are still struggling, and the Patriots are on their bye week, meaning the Red Sox story will continue to dominate everything for at least another week.

Boxed out – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins losing 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes last night.

Missed conduct – Stephen Harris says that while the Bruins finally “displayed passion and toughness — but it was poorly timed and kind of ugly.” Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins need to learn to play with passion even when the opponent does not engage them physically. James Murphy says that the Bruins need to get a hold of themselves and their frustrations.

Looking for a spark, Julien juggles his lines – Shinzawa’s notebook has the coach shaking things up a bit. The Herald notebook from Steve Conroy has Tuukka Rask dealing with very little scoring support from his teammates.

Cowboys reined it in – Greg A Bedard says that while there has been improvement from the defense in the last two games, some of that is on the opposition rather than vast improvement from the Patriots. Karen Guregian examines the Patriots’ stinginess in the Red Zone.

Break-out season so far, but Arrington sees room for improvement – On the new-look Providence Journal website, Brian MacPherson looks at the Patriots cornerback, who leads the league in interceptions. More on Arrington from Glen Farley and Dan Duggan.

An opposing scout offers his take on what the Pats need to work on during bye week – Christopher Price has an outside look at what the Patriots need to improve.

Patriots use PUP list to advantage – Chris Forsberg has the Patriots getting a boost from three returning veterans.

Belichick blames media for ruination of handshake – Tom E Curran has the Patriots coach says that the media has ruined the traditional postgame handshake. He also has the coach taking another shot at the trigger-happy media.

Matt Light’s Gutsy Play a Critical Part of Tom Brady’s Comeback Drive and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe offers up his weekly observations on the team.

Payoff pitch is Patriots will get a bye – Jonathan Comey thinks another bye is in the cards for the Patriots. Don’t get your hopes up though, Cold Hard Football Facts says that it is impossible for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

Faulk back on the field, but still a long way to go – The Patriots Journal has Kevin Faulk among those returning to practice. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more on Arrington. The Herald notebook from Karen Guregian has Ron Brace also returning to action.

NBA is inviting irrelevance – Bob Ryan says that there are no sympathetic figures in the NBA lockout.

  • oldskool138

    Who's the odd-running back out on the Pats? I don't see them carrying five RB's on their roster.

    • latetodinner

      Shane Vereen to the Practice Squad.

      • oldskool138

        Unless they cut someone, there's no room on the practice squad.

      • APimpNamedDaveR

        Do you think he'd clear waivers? That's an awful high draft pick to expose….

        • latetodinner

          At this point in the season I do think he would clear waivers. He has played 7 snaps in 6 games (making Ocho look like a workhorse). Word is he is having problems picking up blitz pick up schemes. The Pats need to find 3 roster spots…2 on the defensive line and 1 in the backfield. Another option could be to cut Chad 85 but I don't see them doing that not after defending him organizationally as they have this past week. They could cut Dan Gronkowski and hope he stays local like he did when he rehabbed but with the weather turning I think they want/need to carry 3TE's. Not that many other spots…something has to give. Maybe they let Ridley go…but I think he has shown he deserves a spot. So my gut feeling tells me it is Vereen and if he gets picked up by another team…so be it.

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          But he's a second round draft pick. The last second rounder the Pats cut ties with was Wheatley — and they hung on to him for, what, three years? And when they waived him finally, he was immediately snapped up by Jacksonville.

          You're talking about a guy who was taken at the same level as Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Spikes — I can't see the team just giving that away. I really, really can't see every other team in the NFL looking at their rosters and saying "nope, nobody on our roster is worse than a guy who averaged 5.1 yards per carry at a top-level Pac 10 school".

          If they do want to move him off the roster, I'm sure somebody in the league would give you, say, a 3rd round pick next year for him. Too much collegiate talent, too much potential — you can't just waive him.

        • latetodinner

          I am assuming that either Phillips or Moulden goes for one of the two DL's and than Thomas (the reserve guard) goes for the other. That leaves one more spot they have to make. I think they have plenty of depth issues right now to get right of another DB. Maybe it will be Ventrone who they resigned today. I hear your point about Vereen but they are going to have to make a tough decision. Maybe Vereen develops a mysterious season ending injury and they put him on IR to make space.

        • APimpNamedDaveR

          I think Dan Gronkowski would be about 1,000% more likely to be the roster move than Vereen. Lil' Gronk is just depth protection in case Hernandez gets hurt worse — and I think they have a TE on the practice squad now, don't they?

        • latetodinner

          They have Garret Mills on the Practice Squad.

  • Classless

    I had a beer with my KFC Famous Bowl last night while playing Call of Duty. I proceeded to mail it in at my job the next day. Just thought you guys should know I admit that.

    • mandb97

      The KFC Famous Bowl is one of the absolutely worse things in the world to eat and it is absolutely delicious. :-)

  • latetodinner

    Bruce…

    I could not disagree with you more. Bring on the soap opera, the titillation, the gossip, and the facts. To me this story gets better and better every day because the ownership of the Sox are completely clueless when it comes to getting this all under control. They allow Larry Lucchino to play hardball with the Theo negotiations which keeps that in the news and makes them look petty. The Henry interview is the gift that keeps on giving because clearly there are more axes to grind as every day a new revelation is released that refutes what he was trying to sell. The Tito Francona smear job as reported by Bob Hohler also keeps giving.

    Dave R yesterday hit the nail right on the head. This is a story that keeps being made worse by the incompetence of senior management. This all would have gone away if they had taken responsibility for the chaos from the start. They can't do it. Their pathological need to be liked far outweighs their willingness to do the right thing. At this point they are performing a farce that I doubt we will ever see matched. I don't want this to end..what I want is more insight into how management is trying to fix things. I am stunned at the shear cluelessness displayed by senior management and I fascinated to see how far this goes.

    The Bruins sucking won't become a story until January…whether hockeykrishnas want to believe it or not…no one cares until then…or at least until there is a frost. As for the Pats and what they are doing…their time in front of the media will come but after 10 years of BB there is a huge feeling of been there seen that. The stuff going on with the Sox…is brand spanking new and totally unexpected.

    • Steve

      Damn – Luchino is trying to get the best compensation from the Cubs – of all the things to damn him for, you're damning him for that? There are many more other things worthwhile to damn him for like Theo being gone in the first place. I do agree with most of your other points though (except for being fascinated by this PR train wreck).

      • latetodinner

        I am not damning Lucchino for playing hardball. I am damning Lucchino for playing hard ball at a time when a better PR move would be to get Theo out of town as easily as possible and get this story over with. All playing hardball is doing is making the Sox look like they care more about compensation than human beings. (loyal employee wants to try a new opportunity but the Sox are being spiteful…especially with the Lucchino/Epstein history). I just this this is more of a case of wrong time than anything else.

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

      Well, I'm glad someone is enjoying the 24/7 coverage, because the media is putting a lot of resources and time into this.

      • latetodinner

        Okay Bruce…I'll bite…what should the media be doing with this story? If they let it die we blame them for being soft on the Sox compared to how they chased the Spygate story. If they continue then "true" sports fans start to say enough already. Its not like we have gotten any straight answers nor is there another compelling story in town that is being drowned out. The Pats being 5-1 is nothing new. The Bruins struggling won't be a real story for another 6 weeks. No one cares about the NBA and its futile 14 hour bargaining session yesterday.

        Aren't you even the least bit interested in figuring out what happened and why? Hearing guys making millions explain to the fans who the purport to respect why they mailed it in? Or how the manager lost control of the clubhouse…or was that his MO for all the years he was here? Or how the GM saddled the team with $500 mill of dead contracts and then left? Or how the owners proclaim to be involved and passionate but knew none of this?

  • happyyoungbastard

    bruce, agree with you 100 pct. enough is enough. they drank beer, they had fried chicken, yada yada yada. sources say it was in the dugout, sources say it was in the clubhouse, what's next, sources say it was in the toilet? give it a rest already media! it's time to move forward and focus on the patriots, might I mention the 5-1 new england patriots! in BILL we TRUST!

  • collis jones

    Those terrible owners, doubling the payroll renovating Fenway Park, bringing in tons of revenue to put a 90 plus win team on the field every year meanwhile winning two world championships.

    Also Bruce expects the media to change while he himself never changes the narrative, just regurgitation of media talking points with "approve" or "disapprove".

  • Doc Michaels

    I'm both fascinated by certain elements of this story but also exhausted by some of the chatter on both stations

    Until I find out what they're going to do to fix it, trade players, bring in the new manager and GM, there's really not much else to talk about other than everyone was culpable — whether it was the players, Francona (shame on him if the team was drinking in the dugout), Theo, the ownership, or even the baseball writers who failed to disclose any of this while the season was going on. As I wrote before I find it impossible they didn't know these kinds of issues were happening, and yet if it were the Patriots the media would've been all over it.

    I wondered yesterday, with 98.5 finally onto football and hockey for at least certain segments while WEEI was still all-baseball-all-the-time, that EEI is simply milking it for all its worth — hoping in some odd way that their position as the "flagship" will help them in the ratings next year given all the attention the team is getting now. It's as if the team is more important NOT playing now than it was for long stretches of this season when they were! Meanwhile 98.5 still pats themselves on the back endlessly as if Felger and Mazz were Woodward & Bernstein during their Henry talk, which other than a couple of soundbytes produced very little of interest for a 90-minute interview.

    The more interesting thing to me aren't the accusations and the mounting evidence — it's what this team does to fix it. There is no way they get back on the field next year with the same core intact and doesn't feel the fallout from fans and viewership. For example, you can't bring both Beckett and Lackey back and not expect boos. The Red Sox need a total image re-hab and it begins with the roster, and that's a more constructive conversation than this like "Watergate" type fascination with "who's the source?", which I could care less about.

  • J.R.

    Let me get this straight. What the talking heads on radio and TV, columnists, reporters, bloggers, and assorted others are shocked — SHOCKED!! — over are basically the following:

    — Incredibly rich guys and women can be utterly clueless (see Henry, John)

    — Real or perceived "powerful" men and women can be backstabbing SOBs, either directly or indirectly (see Luchino, Larry)

    — Bosses sometimes throw their underlings to the wolves in order to save their own sorry behinds (see Sources, Fenway)

    — Employees — even those in the media — sometimes screw off at work and/or don't put forth their best effort all the time (see Lackey, John; Shaughnessy, Dan; Workers, State House; et al)

    In other earth-shattering news, there are 24 hours in a day. Quick: Somebody drop a dime.

  • bettyd

    I was laughing at the awkwardness of the Tito/Theo press conference, then stunned by the Globe throwing out grenades at Tito. But now it will not die, and I agree it makes the owners look so stupid compared to the other owners in town.

    It is a long season, and I am sure that the players are often distracted watching the game. Maybe Becket should watch himself pitch and see who gets distracted by his pace (besides me watching at home)! Remy and DO often laugh at those in the dugout killing time with tomato growing a few years ago and the bullpen rymthm band now. Didn’t Bronson A get outed in the Track for texting NE co-eds during games a few years back. It is not really anything new.

    Anyway, I agree – everyone just SHUT UP!

  • bettyd

    I just read Bob Ryan. Did an editor really allow the phrase “basketball players were taken off the plantation” to get published? I find that a strange thing to say about a league wiht 90% Afican American players, but it may just be me

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      I believe he's referring to how Bryant Gumbel called David Stern a "modern plantation overseer" on Real Sports last night.

      • latetodinner

        A story which is just now getting legs as ESPN is running it as part of its ESPN scroll. ESPN will do everything they can to make this a story. As an aside…you would think Gumbel would know better…well maybe not.

  • Lance_

    The story itself is getting boring but the jokes popping up are getting funny (and they're laughing at us, not with us). My favorite one today is:

    “Bud Light Salutes Real Men of Genius….
    …Mr. Boston Red Sox Pitcher Guy”

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    To Collis Jones and Big Picture and anyone else asking how one can question/criticize an ownership group that's brought the town 2 WS championships: you're missing the big picture.

    The last time this happened — and yes, this catastrophic implosion is nothing new for the Red Sox — was immediately before this ownership group purchased the team from the Yawkey Trust. The team had just gone through a decade of stewardship by John Harrington, who was (a) not a baseball guy and (b) had a wholly unique set of handcuffs on him due to the fact that he was a trustee of a trust whose beneficiaries were charities. (Not a lot of people realize this, but technically any and all aspects of the operation of the Red Sox from 1992-2001 were subject to oversight and, if determined to be necessary, direct intervention and injunction by the Attorney General of Massachusetts, as representative of the charitable beneficiares.) What that resulted in was ten years of asset preservation — Harrington's primary concern was maximizing the value of the asset, with organization building/team management a secondary concern (and not something he was any good at to begin with).

    This ownership group promised to be different. They were going to make the Red Sox an organization that was worthy of its historical cachet. The type of place that players — say, people like Curt Schilling — would want to play, because of the atmosphere and commitment to winning. The owners would be on the same page as the GM, who would be on the same page as the manager, who would manage a team full of players committed to the whole Red Sox concept. Top to bottom, the organization would be strong, dedicated, and committed to winning, and would therefore consistently challenge for a World Series crown.

    You know…. the Braves, basically.

    And that's exactly what they did…. for a few years.

    Now, at what is really the first sign of significant trouble, they have resorted to "old school" tactics: find a scapegoat, tar and feather him, backstab your players and underlings in the media, etc etc etc. Plus, this fiasco has demonstrated that the upper ownership — Henry and Werner — appear to be much more hands-off and detached from the day-to-day management than was suspected. They put people into place that they felt could achieve their above-stated goals…. and then, apparently, pretty much walked away and let Lucchino run the show. As the "same page" started to turn into slightly different pages, nobody was there to keep things in line.

    Sure, I bet Theo and Francona has a "growing disconnect", as Gammons put it. I bet the players took advantage of Tito. But the question is why???? IF the organization was being run in they way they said they were going to run it, none of this should have ever happened. Instead, the ownership decided — last year!!!! — that Tito was a problem, if not necessarily the problem. How? Why? How is the only living human being to manage a Red Sox World Series Champion — let alone two — the problem? Francona was clearly the right guy. He did something nobody else has achieved since World War I. So if it's not working with him, it will not work with anyone. And if it won't work with anyone, it's not the problem — you are.

    Everything good they achieved has been utterly, utterly ruined in the past three weeks. Now, if you're a high profile manager, why would you want to work here? You're going to have to look over your shoulder every second of every day, and the ownership has clearly demonstrated that when push comes to shove, they'll take the player's side over you all the time. And if you're a player, why do you want to come play in a city — a city, mind you, that already has a terrible reputation for everyone other than white people — where having a beer in the clubhouse will subject you to furious rage and anger? Can you imagine Ben Cherington having Thanksgiving dinner with today's equivalent of Curt Schilling? He'd be laughed out of the room. Curt v 2.0 wouldn't want to come here to lead the Sox to long-delayed glory — that's been done. He'd come here to win and get paid — and not necessarily in that order. And he can win and get paid a lot of places. Why should he put up with this shi'iteshow when he can get the same results and similar money in NY, Philly, LA, Texas, Detroit…..

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      (cont.)

      That's what we've got now. An unlikeable team not just for fans, but for players, coaches, and management. Except for the money. So if you want players who care about winning, and care about leadership — you've pretty much driven them all away. The only players you'll get now are the Scott Boras clients of the world: the players who care about top dollar, and nothing else. Good luck with that. Instead of 25 players, 25 cabs, we'll get 25 players, 25 Bentleys.

      This ownership promised to make the franchise a richer, more powerful version of the 1990s Braves. Instead, they're on a path to becoming a richer, less powerful version of the 1980s Yankees.

      THAT'S the problem.

      • J.R.

        Bra-freakin'-vo!

      • oldskool138

        You still mad, Dave?

      • latetodinner

        Dave…you left out the reason I hate Henry, Warner and Lucchino so much…when they bought the team the fans were promised that the ownership group was not underfunded (as compared to Charles Dolan…who with hindsight I admit would have been an unmitigated disaster). The promise of proper funding had to do with a second promise they made…a NEW FENWAY PARK. Now you can love the old ball park all you want. It is the second worst stadium in the league…only Wrigley has less comfortable seats, less room and more obstructed view seats. These guys never had the money or the juice to get a new Fenway but go back and read the things they were saying when they bought the team. They lied to us boldly then, and have never apologized for it. Larry Lucchino was brought in precisely because he got Camden Yards built. He has stayed on to do what?

        • oldskool138

          And you can have the opinion that it's the second worst stadium in baseball. If you don't buy obstructed view seats and are height/weight appropriate, the seats are fine.

          Umm, the city decided to build another convention center on the land the ownership group wanted for the new stadium. They probably weren't allowed to buy the land because they were illegally allowed to submit a bid after the bidding was closed and prevented a local businessman from owning the team.

        • latetodinner

          In hindsight on that one…thank god McCourt did not get ownership of the team…he was less well funded than Henry and Werner. There was other land…the Gillette site is one. My bigger point was not so much that they did not get a new stadium built…it was that they lied. They saw what Kraft and the Pats had gone through to get a new Stadium and had to know what they would be up against…they then made comments like "we are involving the neighborhoods" and ""we are getting to know the landscape". They were out of touch then and they are now.

        • bostonsportsmediafan

          Dolan was the reason I gave up as a Rangers/Knicks fan, after growing up there, and the haydays of 1994. Great points above by DaveR/l2d.

  • johng

    I'm enjoying the coverage overall, but I'm also growing tired of all of the anonymous sources. This allows the Sox to issue such a strong denial that I question the veracity of the report, especially when I don't know who it is, with the knowledge it could be someone with an agenda who's willing to push it by lying. The media needs to be more responsible with its standards, IMHO.

  • HighWireNickEsasky

    I'm not surprised Pete Abraham thinks the behavior of Beckett, Lackey et al was no big deal. If he thought it was, then he would be admitting he either fell down on the job or looked the other way for the entire season.

  • mandb97

    On a side note, if you're Joe Amorsino, how do you feel about the editors at WHDH taking down your original report on the recent Red Sox fiasco from their website and not allowing it to be reported on the 11:00pm newscast because the team was all up in arms over the original report? Peter Abraham a few minutes after the newscast confirms Amorsino's original story. I'm sure Joe thanked the editors for having faith in him, not.

  • Jason_Coyote

    Hate to break up all this good Sox discussion with an actual sports question, but it's been mentioned that when Theo takes the PBO position with the Cubs he will ask Hoyer to be his GM. But Hoyer still has a couple of years left on his contract with the Padres, and this would be a lateral move. Are the Cubs going to have to go through the same rigmarole with SD, asking for permission and arranging to give compensation to the Padres for Hoyer? I know this story isn't as interesting as the Yawkey Way soap opera, but it is to me because for the Cubs to have to ask two different teams permission to speak seems significant.

    • latetodinner

      Good question Jason and the short answer is if Hoyer is still under contract then no matter what the move is the Cubs will have to ask permission. Baseball does not have the same rules as football…if it did the Cubs would not be getting compensation from the Sox for Theo as President of Baseball operations is a promotion for Theo.

      My bigger question is why would Hoyer want to be Theo's lackey again? Hoyer has a good job in SD is doing well (not great it is still the Nat West) but it is a nice place to live and a good job. He goes to Chicago and let's say the Cubs win…will he get any credit or will it all go to Theo? I just don't see why he would want the job.