Jon Rish Resigns From #RedSox Broadcasts, WEEI

**BREAKING**

BSMW has learned and confirmed that Jon Rish has given his notice and will be leaving the Red Sox broadcasts, and the radio business altogether. This is just the latest in a series of personnel changes at Entercom Boston under VP/GM Jeff Brown.

Rish had served as the pre and post-game host on the Red Sox Radio Network starting in 2006. Rish joined WEEI Radio in July 2005 after six years with ESPN Radio in Bristol, CT.

Since 2008 Rish has also filled in during games in the broadcast booth doing play-by-play when Dave O’Brien had ESPN scheduling conflicts. He was in the booth alongside Joe Castiglione this past week as O’Brien did the Red Sox-Yankees game on ESPN last Wednesday and then went on to call the Women’s NCAA Final Four for the network.

Rish is said to have been asked to take a significant paycut, something which is becoming commonplace at WEEI. It says something that a person would give up a position as a radio play-by-play voice for the Boston Red Sox in order to get out of the business altogether.

Instead, Rish has given his notice, and will be available to the station/network until 4/24, but it is not yet clear how things will proceed over the next two weeks.

It won’t be the last exit from WEEI, as sources say that at least three of the top sales executives for the station will be leaving, and long-time sponsor Giant Glass will be pulling out as well.

Crawford: [Boston] “media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

From Danny Knobler on CBSSports.com:

Happy Crawford says of Boston: ‘They love it when you’re miserable’

He takes responsibility for his poor on-field performance during his Red Sox career, which ended abruptly, first with the Tommy John surgery that is still slowing him this spring, then with the trade to the Dodgers that finally sent him to Southern California.

He should already have been there, should have been anywhere but Boston. But he took the money and went to Boston, into the hands of the media he now blames for making him miserable.

“That smile turned upside down quick,” Crawford said. “I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you’re miserable.

“Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

and later:

“I get it, I didn’t perform,” he said. “I got the money. I didn’t perform. I gave them every reason.”

But Crawford felt the Boston media jumped on every reason he gave them to criticize him.

“I took so much of a beating in Boston, I don’t think anything could bother me anymore,” he said. “They can say what they want — that I’m the worst free agent ever — and it won’t get to me. But it bothered me the whole time there.

Crawford might be right, but he was probably better off just not saying anything.

With Valentine gone, now the most important part of the off-season — rebuilding the roster

Now that Bobby Valentine has been fired and nightmare of a season is over, now the hard, and most important part begins – rebuilding the roster. After their worst season in more than 45 years and the events which took place, there was no question of if Valentine would be fired, just a matter of when.

Although the new manager is a major part of the 2013 team, what is most important is the players themselves. With the needs the Red Sox have, and financial flexibility, it certainly will be a busy, very important offseason.

The only players virtually guaranteed to return are Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Felix Doubront and John Lackey. The team could trade away players currently inked to contracts including center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. But, that isn’t a bad group of players to build around to say the least.

General manager Ben Cherington has already stated resigning David Ortiz and Cody Ross are a top priority this off-season and this needs to happen.

[Read more…]

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

This was the big question being debated within the media and across the radio airwaves on Monday. The majority say that Valentine should be gone, but there are still some that want to stick with the manager. The attention that the subject has gotten over the past few days prompted general manager Ben Cherington to address the subject with the media before Monday’s game and also John Henry sending an email out to the local media outlets. Both essentially backed the manager, virtually saying he will not be fired.

Some local writers also gave their opinions on the subject:

Bobby Valentine never fit here, should go now- John Tomase says Valentine should be fired, and fired immediately.

Firing Bobby Valentine won’t fix the Red Sox- Peter Abraham says Valentine isn’t the real problem within the Red Sox, and firing him now wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, he mentions some of the things Valentine has done well.

Desperate times, desperate measures- Gordon Edes looks at past teams who have fired their manager mid-season. It has worked for some teams in the past.

To me, firing Bobby Valentine right now, in the middle of the season is not the answer. Quite frankly, although he’s made some questionable on-field decisions regarding lineups and pitching changes, as a whole he’s done a pretty decent job as a manager on the field. Off the field is a different story, but on the field he has been above average.

Look at what he was given to work with. He’s yet to have a full complement of players for his lineup. His bullpen was a mess as the season began, but he got the most out of the guys he put on the field. Most importantly injuries have been a daily occurrence with the team, a record-number of games missed due to injuries. He was without Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford for virtually half the season, and then adding insult to injury were DL-stints for Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Managing a baseball team without those players for a significant period of time is no easy task, but Valentine has done the best he can and put together a lineup that has put up the third-most runs in all of baseball. As an on-field manager, he’s been pretty good.

Off the field…not so much. Going along with daily occurring injuries seems to be daily occuring miscommunications between Valentine and the front office/medical staff. Valentine will say one thing to the media, and the media will ask the specific player about it, and get a completely different answer. Valentine also runs his mouth a little too much adding unnecessary drama.

A perfect example was last week when appearing on WEEI’s Big Show for his weekly interview Valentine offered a story of management learning of  a comment Valentine made to Will Middlebrooks following a poor inning in the field. Management did not like the way Valentine was communicating to his rookie third baseman, and voiced their displeasure. Valentine was not responding to any particular question, rather he offered the story up on his own, which probably isn’t the best thing to do in a town like Boston considering Middlebrooks was being faced with questions about it the very next day. Unnecessary questions, that no player wants, nor expects to face when they show up to the ballpark.

There have also been reports of Valentine not getting along, over even speaking with some of his coaches. While there have been some miscommunications, people need to remember a lot of these coaches were with the team last season and worked under Terry Francona. Most are not Valentine guys, most didn’t know Valentine until  he was hired. There was going to be an adjustment period, a time where they got to know each other and the way everyone likes to work. Most reports say things are getting better, which was to be expected as time went on.

Firing Valentine now wouldn’t solve much. In fact the players would get their way once again, just like last year when they complained about the schedule and late Sunday night games. In turn they got headphones and a night on a yacht, courtesy of ownership. Then, they wanted their manager fired. They got that too. The players are the ones to be blamed, they are the ones on the field underperforming. Management spent the money to get the star players (a few mistakes), but the players aren’t playing up to par for who they are. While management is at fault for catering to every gripe the players have, for the most part they cannot be blamed for what has happened on the field. So now, why should these underperforming players once again get what they want?

What the Red Sox should do is ride out the rest of the season, then completely reevaluate their team and what kind of direction they want to go in during the off-season. To me, ownership needs to put the team in complete control of Ben Cherington and first, let him decide on a manager, with no input from management. If he is comfortable with Valentine, let it be Valentine, otherwise find someone else. But, that manager needs to be given complete control and able to manage in whatever style he is most comfortable, with 100 percent backing from management.

Next comes the players. Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz — those guys are here virtually no matter what because of their contracts, but serious consideration needs to go into the remainder of the roster. They need players who are committed to the team and organization. They need players that are not going to go crying to the front office if things are run differently, and not the way they are accustomed to. They need guys who just go about their business on a day-to-day basis and all that matters in the end is results. With a solid set and stone core group of players set to return, the team should be in a position to compete for a Division, and World Series title with whomever else is on the roster from newly acquired players and whichever players carry over from this year, as long as the core group of guys perform to what they are capable of.

Rather than “blowing” the team up, what they need is a different way of running the organization, a change in culture and a commitment to the new culture, rather than the players running the organization like is the case now. One can only hope they can get things back on track next season because it isn’t much longer before fans really stop showing up at Fenway and supporting their home team. As bad as things have been this year, it still can get worse.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84, and feel free to shoot me an email whether you agree or disagree to [email protected]

Will the Red Sox be buyers or sellers?

With the Red Sox sitting at .500, 43-43 and 9.5 games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East standings at the All-Star break, the biggest question among fans is whether or not the team will be buyers or sellers at this month’s trade deadline.

Despite being 9.5 games out in the division, the team is only 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but the issue is there are five teams ahead of them.

With all of the injured players scheduled to come back in the next few weeks the Red Sox could look at those as midseason acquisitions, or they could become sellers and trade some of their star players

Tony Massarotti believes that the Red Sox should be sellers, and look to trade one of their top pitchers.

Possessors of a 40-35 record roughly 10 days ago, the Red Sox limped into the All-Star break late Sunday night on the heels of a 7-3 defeat to the Yankees at Fenway Park. With loss, the Sox dropped to a perfectly mediocre 43-43. But before we make this too much of a big-picture issue, let’s focus on the two men who absolutely needed to step up in the weekend series against New York and who jointly fell on their faces.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

Massarotti wants the Red Sox to trade Beckett or Lester, but not both.

If Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are smart – and assuming they are not doing so already – they should be exploring any and all deals for either Beckett or Lester (but not both) as we approach the trading deadline set for the end of this month. Lester is obviously the more desirable to keep, but he would probably fetch more in return.

Massarotti brings up the dreadful numbers of the two starters this season, and also throws in a random line mentioning John Lackey.

Beckett and Lester also rank 28th and 30th among the same 41 pitchers in ERA, making it all the more curious that the Sox would allow chicken-fried running mate John Lackey to be joining the team on road trips despite the fact that he will not pitch for at least the majority of this season.

To me, I think the Red Sox will either be buyers, or do nothing — not be sellers. First of all, who could the Red Sox look to move?

Beckett would be extremely tough to deal because he has 10-5 rights, and who would the Red Sox look to get for Lester? Prospects? What good would prospects do for the Red Sox, who aren’t about rebuilding, rather look to win year in and year out. Very rarely at the deadline do you see starts being traded for stars.

With the number of injuries the Red Sox have had, especially in their outfield, it is presenting an issue when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return.

Daniel Nava has been outstanding filling in for Crawford. Ryan Kalish performed pretty well before being sent down to Pawtucket last week when Ryan Sweeney returned from the disabled list. Sweeney has played well when he’s been healthy, and Cody Ross is on pace to hit a career high home runs, despite missing a month with a fractured foot. Where are all of these players going to go? They are too good to be optioned to Triple-A.

The team could look to deal the likes of Nava and Kalish, but they need to think long-term. Ellsbury is set to become a free agent after next season, and all signs point to him not resigning. Crawford has battled injuries this entire season, so can he really be depended on? Thinking long-term the Red Sox cannot deal away their young outfielders.

With the recent news that Carl Crawford is contemplating Tommy John surgery following the season keeping him out 6-8 months that would take him a few months into next season. What is the sense of Crawford even playing this season?

He should have the surgery now, and not try and play when he really shouldn’t. He should call this season a wash, and direct his full attention to 2013.

The Red Sox’ hands are tied. They really cannot be sellers at the trade deadline. They are forced to go with the players that they have signed to contracts, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

With the amount of talent on the roster they can get hot and click at the right time to string together a number of wins to get right back into the playoff hunt. Despite the struggles of the front-end of the starting rotation they have all proven they can be “aces,” who is to say they cannot step up and perform like them in the second half.

But, with the difficult schedule that awaits the team following the All-Star break, they could dig themselves a hole that is too deep to dig out of.

Is This Red Sox Team Worth Investing In?

The Bruins season is done, and the draft is over. The Celtics season is done, and the draft is this Thursday. Free agency for both sports starts next week, but we don’t expect a lot of action from either squad on that front. The Patriots have finished their offseason work, and are off until training camp, sometime during the last week of July.

So that leaves the Red Sox. For better or worse, they are your main sports viewing option right now. (Well, unless you want to jump on board with the 7th place New England Revolution.)

How much can you invest into this Red Sox team? Principal owner John Henry seems to think that this is a team that can still win it all. That seems unlikely, but then again, a team doesn’t have to win it all to be worth following and investing emotionally in.

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