Ownership Hubris Threatens Fenway 100 Celebration

For a group that has been touted so highly as being PR conscious and purports to care about the fans and what they think, the Red Sox ownership group just continues to be completely tone-deaf, clueless and more interested in selling merchandise than the actual baseball product they are putting on the field.

Yes, they’re putting big money into the payroll, they can’t be faulted for the amount of money they’re spending there. (Though the quality of what they’re getting for that money can certainly be questioned.) But, their  handling of the Terry Francona situation threatens to put a black cloud over the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

It’s not often that I tell you that you need to read Dan Shaughnessy, but today is one of those days.

Terry Francona wants no part of Fenway’s celebration

Francona and Shaughnessy are working on a book together, so expect Dan to be Tito’s mouthpiece for the foreseeable future. Shaughnessy talks to Francona today about why the manager who led the team to two World Series championships does not feel comfortable coming back to Fenway Park for the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park.

From today’s column:

“Larry called me yesterday,’’ Francona said Tuesday. “I was in a phone store in Arizona. I had three people standing around me. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage. He got a little perturbed at me, telling me I was being unfair to them. I called him back last night and left him a message. He called me back and we ended up getting into an argument. I just feel like someone in the organization went out of their way to hurt me and the more we talked I realized we’re just not on the same wavelength. They’re probably better off going forth and leaving me out of it.’’

Lucchino actually had the nerve to argue with Francona, and tell him he wasn’t being fair to them? There are no words. Unbelievable. After the slime job they did to him on the way out the door? (In Dan’s own paper, which makes this whole situation even more unbelievable.)

For me to go back and start waving and hugging, I’m just not comfortable doing that. I made it pretty clear to John Henry. When I told Larry that, he said, ‘Well, I haven’t talked to John about it.’ I said, well then how [expletive] important could it be?

“When I spoke to John he made me think they were going to make an effort. John and Larry made it clear to me they weren’t responsible for what was said [in the Globe article]. I thought they owed it to me to get to the bottom of it a little bit.’’

UPDATE - Interestingly, the Globe has cut out the last two sentences of the first paragraph above. (in bold) Hmmm, why would they do that? Seems rather important to Francona’s case for not showing up.

So after arguing with Francona about why he’s not coming, Lucchino tells him that he and John Henry haven’t even talked about the source of the Bob Hohler story?

This is a disaster. I sincerely hope that if Lucchino and Henry show their faces at the celebration that the crowd gives them an extended boo. A few “We want Tito!” chants would be nice too.

Fair or not, in 25 years, all people are going to remember about the Fenway 100 Celebration is that Terry Francona wasn’t there because ownership trashed him to the Boston Globe on his way out the door.

Meanwhile, the team on the field continues to struggle, losing to the Blue Jays 7-3 last night. Manager Bobby Valentine appeared on Dennis and Callahan this morning for what can only be described as a very terse interview. At the end, they insisted on pressing Valentine about their buddy Curt Schilling, and Valentine refused to be drawn in, only saying that Schilling’s comments didn’t have credibility with him. He refused to elaborate, leaving a nice 10-second silence before saying “next question.” The interview ended right then and there. Valentine signed off with a “You guys are great!”

Callers afterward accused D&C of being in the bag for Francona, which they denied, and then the third caller said that D&C were tweaking Valentine because their ratings are horrible. He then noted he had no wait in calling in and getting on the air. Callahan shouted that they have 12 phone lines and that’s the reason he got right through.

Over-the-hill newspaper columnist proclaims the Red Sox are, like, SO over… – Fenway Pastoral looks at Brian McGrory’s Red Sox column today. Dead on.

That’s about enough on the Red Sox for me. The Celtics once again got the better of the Miami Heat, running out to a big first half lead, and then keeping the Heat at bay the rest of the way for a 115-107 win down in South Florida.

Check all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Are the Celtics legitimate contenders? – Paul Flannery wonders if a strong showing in the second round is too conservative a hope for this team.

Celtics show off muscle at beach – Gary Washburn says that the second half of this game was especially telling.

Brandon Spikes, Stevan Ridley Gearing Up for Promising Patriots Season and 19 Other Thoughts – Jeff Howe has Patriots players drifting back to Gillette for offseason workouts.

Brown a no-brainer for Hall – Mark Farinella says that Troy Brown is an easy pick for the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Spotlight shifts to Seguin – Mick Colageo says that the postseason could be Tyler’s time if he wants it to be.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    I can’t add anything to what Bruce said.  

    Actually, let me rephrase that:  I can’t add anything non-profane to what Bruce said.

    • http://twitter.com/tclancy Tom Clancy

      Don’t let it stop you.

  • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

    I would also recommend reading this post from Cyn Donnelly:
    My Tito Rant

  • Winning_Again

    Had to make a name modification, whats with all the changes in posting log-ins recently?

    Anyways…. I can’t believe I’m finally to the point where I loathe/hate the RedSox ownership that saw the organization win Two WS in 4 years. think about that statement. If you were to go back between 1918 through 2003 and grab older generations versions of people that would post on these boards and tell the the following: “You are going to see the RedSox win two World Series in 4 years, shatter the curse that lasted for “xx” years, overcome a 3-0 ALCS deficit against the Yankees, and then within 3 years of the last trophy, you will dispise your ownership so badly you wished they would just leave.”

    It’s a shame too that the crummy owners can put such a damper on rooting for this team. Guys like Pedrioa, Ellsbury, and Gonzalez don’t deserve this negative association. It’s a shame!

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      Sorry about that. Trying to nail down a good comment system with some of the extended features I’m looking for. Hopefully this one is the one that stays for the long haul.

      Good comment, and glad to have you here.

      • bsmfan

        Most folks I know who have gone through the comment things seem to enjoy Disqus, if it matters. 

        Instant debate was my fav with the style/format + the +/- system

      • Winning_Again

        No problem, I’m all for change, just got confused, and it said my user was already in the system, yet I couldn’t log in. Oh well, I will be “Winning” again for now.

        Bruce, has Tony/Felger ever contacted you directly about their feedback on this site. Based on your latest thread, I would think they must be aware. Sometimes I truly believe they portray these images to spite some posters (or You). Maybe I’m wrong or that information may be “classified”

  • Hoss

    Good for Tito.

  • John

    Callahan is pathetic.

  • Raging Bull

    The Callahan interview with Valentine this morning made Callahan look like the buffoon that he is and reinforced to me why D&C have lost much of their audience to 98.5. (The same can be said for Ordway and Holley). It was extremely awkward to listen to Callahan try and get Bobby V to implode by badgering him with Curt Schilling questions that BV wasn’t about to answer. Callahan has been on a warpath the past week defending his boyfriend Schilling at every opportunity. The sad truth is Callahan could have used that time to ask questions about the Sox first four games; questions that Sox fans want answered instead of behaving like an immature imbecile. I don’t know how this guy keeps his job. 

    • bsmfan

      What I don’t get is how they were basically doing a mini-contest between themselves during the 8pm hour on “Lets pick the most outrageous question we can ask” and kept going about it. They went through the usual topics but most were the type that you would see them asking a caller and not the manager.

      And, both of them seemed to make a big deal, at least John Dennis, that they had “confirmation” of management not being the leak. Dennis claimed that he knew because of the same reason Jerry knew due to “the leak situation” or something like this. I’m really not sure what they were referring to, but if they were so adamant on knowing it wasn’t ownership, hinting the entire time it was someone who was no longer here and happened to be in Chicago, why not say it? They’re not journalists protecting sources here.

      It seemed silly to dangle this, since it’s not on record/known, unless it were a plant, imo. 

  • Frank

    Winning (Again) – Couldn’t agree more.
     
    I’m still so bothered by the hatchet job on Tito, that I haven’t watched a pitch of baseball this year. I can’t believe I agree with George Cain, but he’s right I am far and away more interested in the Patriots draft than anything baseball related right now. I’ll be honest; until John Henry or Larry Lucchino comes out and apologizes to Tito I don’t think I will be interested in what’s going on at Fenway. I know they already said that they didn’t leak those things, but they never bothered to denounce those horrible allegations either. Bottom line is the story attributed the information to the front office so they owe an apology.
    I do hope that the fans that are at the 100th celebration game go all “Golden State” on the ownership group. That way they can’t sell the DVD of the festivities without it being awkward.

  • bsmfan

     ”
    That’s 0-5, for anyone keeping count,
    or the typical line for a hometown hitter lately. I normally have to be
    asking for a raise, not trying to unload Sox tickets, to face this kind
    of rejection.

    My reason for
    not going? I’m getting an oil change. Or sorting my sock drawer. It
    doesn’t matter. I just don’t want to sit in the wind-whipped confines of
    Fenway Park watching a collection of pampered prima donnas courtesy of
    owners who seem to have lost interest in the game.”
    “http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2012/04/11/opening_day_openly_lacking/?p1=News_links

     

  • Danmateus

    Just a general comment here about some of the comments on here.
    I enjoy watching sports and I enjoy sports talk and reading about sports like on fine websites such as this. But never will I let owners or media people affect me to the point that I can’t watch a baseball game anymore. I think if you’ve reached that point then it’s best if you stop listening to talk radio for awhile and actually just watch the games.
    Also this whole thing I see here about making Tito this saintly figure is just a tad nauseating. Was it in bad taste what someone with the Sox did to Tito…yes. Was it libelous…absolutely not. If it were you know that Tito would filed suit by now and deny all the allegations. He has not done so. The story is accurate. Tito was just embarrassed that it got out and I don’t blame him for that. But not’s go over board and make him out to be innocent in this. He had a major hand in in this teams failures the last 3 years. He should own up to it instead of crying to Larry about it.

    • bsmfan

      I forget the source of this comment but someone went on the record saying that Tito thought the painkiller stuff precluded him from the Cards job, which he coveted. And, it might also be some point that other teams use in the future against him.

    • Winning_Again

      In regards to your first statement “But never will I let owners or media people affect me to the point that I can’t watch a baseball game anymore.” I am about to exaggerate to make a point. What if your owners are clearly disregarding your support, treating you like a lemming, because they know you will still sit down and watch or buy their products. Theres a reason that particular owners are hated so much. they take the fans support for granted and know that we most likely will continue to support them. See (Peter Angelos, Donald Sterling, Glazer family, Bidwells, JACOBS). Now yes attendance numbers may dip, but overall these guys are still making lots of money, just not as much had they been successful.

      Second point: “He should own up to it instead of crying to Larry about it”

      Why is it his responsibility to own up? He is not employed by them, nor does he owe them anything. You are clearly letting ownership off the hook in both cases. Now I know why I can never get tickets to any games in town. The pink light is so blinding at the ticket offices.

    • http://twitter.com/tclancy Tom Clancy

      “never will I let owners or media people affect me to the point that I can’t watch a baseball game anymore”

      Congrats. I will. As it was, the first reign of Dr. Charles Steinberg was enough to make me throw up, treating the Sox fans as some happy group of morons who they could make a buck off eulogizing. How many trademark symbols will you need after “America’s Favorite Ballpark” before these guys make you sick? They’ve turned a zeitgeist, a sort of group ethos into something they can make a dollar on.

  • Collis Jones

    Who cares about the hatchet job on Tito? Baseball is not worth paying attention to yet with Celts and Bruins battling for titles.  I actually like Valentine and find him smart as hell when he talks baseball.  Those Mets teams weren’t that good but he worked them and they overachieved.  His beatdown of D%C makes me like him more.

    As a mistake I tuned into Mazzerotty and the other guy.  They are the crystallization of everything wrong with the state of the nation.  Two blithering hack writers with opinions worth a urinal cake getting paid millions to argue about being wrong.

    Masserotty actually blasted a fan as delusional because the fan had said during preseason that the Celts would be very good and contend.  “You were delusional because no one else believed it!” shouted Mazz.  “but I was right…” said the caller.  “But no one else thought you were so you were delusional!”

    The emperor has no clothes.  Piles of evidence stare at you that you are right about something factual but because dozens of blithering radio hacks thought opposite (and wrong) you are delusional.  This is truly what a hack like Mazzerotty represents.  He’ll say he’s playing a roll but like the other hacks that are on in the morning (D%C) eventually you’re on the air long enough for your total ignorance to shine through.  That they wear their stupidity like badges of honor all the way to the bank is actually pathetic. 

    Dunk a dunce writ large.

    • http://twitter.com/tclancy Tom Clancy

      “Who cares about the hatchet job on Tito?”

      I do. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy 2004 and 2007, but I enjoyed Francona’s tenure. He’s the only manager since Joe Morgan who I truly liked as a person and a baseball mind. And they dumped him because things broke down. Brilliant.

      At some point, when we’re all millionaires, maybe we can start pretending pro athletes are human beings with feelings and deserving of fair breaks.

  • latetodinner

    Well when Dan Shaughnessey is making sense I start looking for the other signs of the apocalypse.  I am done typing the sentence “for an organization that is generally PR savvy…” because for the last 2 years the Sox have made one PR blunder after another and look nothing like the smooth machine that made virtually no mistakes from 2003-2008. I completely agree that Tito had to go…be honest with the fans…say you fired the guy because he lost control of the clubhouse.  Part of friendly terms…and then there are no hard feelings.  All they have now is a mess…both on and off the field.  Its not so bad…i hear LeBron is  having a good endorsement year and the soccer team is winning.

  • Tim R

    Just keep in mind that Shaughnessy is writing a book with Francona.

    • Atreyujones

      That bugs me. Francona would seem to have the moral high ground …. and he wants to spoil that by writing a tell-all book with hatchet man Shaughnessy?  He might look hypocritical.

  • bsmfan

    Wait, so ownership gets final edit on the Boston Globe stories now? That must be nice.

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