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Scott Cordischi On Sports: Francona, Epstein Rip Sox Ownership

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


We’re still about a month away from Red Sox pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in Fort Myers, but Red Sox ownership just got burned on the “Hot Stove.”

In an excerpt from a book by Dan Shaughnessy on Terry Francona being released this week in Sports Illustrated, the former Red Sox manager takes a rocket shot at Red Sox ownership. So too does former General Manager Theo Epstein.

Terry Francona

In “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” the former Sox skipper says of team ownership, "I don’t think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners … It’s still more of a toy or hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball. It’s different for me. Baseball is my life."

Francona isn’t the only one to blast the trio of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. Former Sox and current Chicago Cubs GM Theo Epstein also pulls no punches about his former bosses.

Following the 2010 season, ownership commissioned a study by marketing executives on how to improve the club’s image. Their findings revealed that the franchise needed to acquire more star players.

"They told us we didn’t have any marketable players. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog," former general manager Theo Epstein said. "We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be. [That] was evidence to me of the inherent tension between building a baseball operation the way I thought was best and the realities of being in a big market … which had gotten bigger than any of us could handle.”

Theo Epstein

Ironically, the team acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in a trade and signed free agent outfielder Carl Crawford following that offseason. Those two moves seemed to hurt the franchise more than help it to the point where the two were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Josh Beckett this past season.

The book is due out on January 22nd.

-Could the mission statement of Red Sox ownership be any more diametrically opposed to that of Bob Kraft and the New England Patriots?

-Get ready for the Ray Lewis “Praise Jesus Retirement Tour” to make a visit to Gillette Stadium Sunday. Someone should probably tell Ray that the Lord probably doesn’t care who wins football games and if he did, he may not necessarily root for a team that has an accused murderer playing middle linebacker.

-Hockey fans in other parts of the country may be slow to return to the sport following the lengthy lockout but not Bruins fans. Tuesday night’s Black and Gold scrimmage at the TD Garden was played in front of a packed house. Granted, admission was free. Still, it proves that Boston is still a hockey town that loves its Bruins.

Ray Lewis

-Isn’t it amazing that when the Friars decide to play good, aggressive defense how well they can play? Hopefully they will remember that performance at Seton Hall Sunday because it can certainly be a blueprint for future success.

-How does Lance Armstrong rebound from his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs? Essentially, his entire cycling career has been reduced to nothing but a sham.

-Given the way they performed against Houston, maybe the Patriots should have signed former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff as a special assistant as opposed to Brian Daboll.

-Speaking of Daboll’s return, should we read into this at all? Some are quietly wondering if Belichick and the Patriots are preparing for the loss of Josh McDaniels to another team, if not this year then next.

-Love him or hate him, as a football player, Ray Lewis is one of the best linebackers to have ever played the game – a player that brought it every week and never took a play off.

-If I hear another person compare the Patriots decision to play Rob Gronkowski last week to the Redskins decision to play Robert Griffin III two weeks ago I’m going to explode! A broken arm and shredded knee ligaments are two entirely different injuries only one of which could have career-ending implications.

Rob Gronkowski

-There should be a rule that glorified special teams players like Baltimore’s Brendon Ayanbadejo should not be allowed to talk smack about the opposition.

-ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has strong opinions which he offers up on a weekly basis on TV. The problem is, I have a hard time respecting his critiquing of quarterbacking greats like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and others. After all, Dilfer was pretty much a stiff by today’s NFL quarterbacking standards and only has a Super Bowl ring because the 2000 Baltimore Ravens has a defense for the ages.

-Avery Bradley’s defensive presence has made a HUGE impact on the Boston Celtics.

-Yesterday, GoLocalProv.com did a story on Bishop Hendricken and LaSalle Academy athletics. It led to some pretty healthy debates on facebook including whether or not these private schools should be allowed to compete with the public schools in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. It’s a great question.

-Did you see where Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals are the top-ranked team in all of college basketball? Why can’t Providence College get coaches like that?

-I wonder if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens think that it was worth it to have allegedly taken performance-enhancing drugs? They will likely never be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and may never get in unless the Veteran’s Committee lets them in years from now. It’s amazing to think that two of the most talented players to have ever played the sport may never make it into Cooperstown without buying a ticket.

Rick Pitino

-While I do believe that the Patriots will win on Sunday, I think the 9 ½ points they are favored by is far too much.

-If you had the Los Angeles Lakers as the last team to win an NBA game in 2013, you win!

-Did you see where Denver coach John Fox said that he would “do it again 10 times” when asked about his decision to have Peyton Manning take a knee at his own 20-yard line with :30 seconds to play in regulation and two timeouts left? Even worse, Broncos’ president John Elway agreed with his decision. That’s the difference between playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win. You can accuse Bill Belichick of a lot of things, but playing not to lose is not one of them.

-Did you hear that the New York Jets are having trouble convincing people to be their new General Manager? Talk about a franchise that has had a fall from grace!

-With the unseasonably warm temperatures we have had in these parts over the past week, some area golf courses are not only open for business, but booming! Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence is open and Montaup Country Club in Portsmouth was packed last week with golfers. With temperatures reaching the 60’s in January here, maybe Al Gore was right after all.



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