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Fire Francona? Nonsense

Sep 29, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Terry Francona

Because people naturally look for a fall guy in such instances, the question that was only simmering over the past few days has blown up today: should the Red Sox fire Terry Francona?  It’s the subject of columns. And a survey. And I presume it’s going to be all over talk radio.  But does it make any sense?

Not from where I’m sitting.  Terry Francona didn’t injure Clay Buchholz, Diasuke Matsuzaka, Kevin Youkilis and — I’m guessing to an extent more than anyone has let on — Adrian Gonzalez.  He didn’t cause Carl Crawford and John Lackey to take collective dumps all season and Jon Lester and Josh Beckett to do the same through much of September.  He wasn’t the steadiest hand on the rudder with the bullpen down the stretch, but then again, no one down there gave him any reason for confidence.

A ton of stuff led to this Red Sox collapse. So many things that it’s easy to throw up your hands and say that, given the total failure, the guy who is in charge of everything — Terry Francona — should be held responsible.  But I say that’s baloney.  Maybe he cost a team a win here or there with a questionable decision, but tons of games were lost simply because a lot of highly-paid professionals didn’t do their jobs. Or were hurt. Or both. Blaming Francona may make you feel good for a little while, but I really don’t see how he’s even in the top five of blameworthy Boston Red Sox.

Now, Fredi Gonzalez on the other hand …


126 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. artisan3m - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I’ve checked the stats again. Francona never had an at-bat this season. He never threw a pitch, caught a fly ball, fielded a grounder, or got thrown out trying to steal. Its preposterous to think that Terry changed his strategy or philosophy from the time Boston was the hottest team in baseball. There are possibly 25 other reasons Francona should keep his job ~ and not that many in defense of the other 25 keeping theirs.

    • htimsr40 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      If Francona did not do any of these important things then WHY did Boston pay him $4M? Did he do everything he was supposed to do for $4M? It seems to me that if a manger fails to get the best performance out of his players (and Francona did NOT), then the manager did not earn a $4M salary.

      • 1historian - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        It’s not the manager’s job to get the best performance out of his players – it is his job to put his players in position to do their best. Francona did this – the players failed.

      • sparky1002 - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:27 PM

        The same questions you raised can just as easily be applied to the multimillion dollar players who obviously didn`t earn their pay by playing their best, and after all, when you add up all those why would you blame Francona who had no choice but to hope such players would get better? How do you force players to play better when they started Sept. with a 9 game advantage over their eventual wildcard victors?

    • bobdira - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      I don’t fire Francona, but stop making excuses of the injuries. The Rays lost their no.4 hitter, their entire bullpen, their best player (to Boston). They’re top 7 salaried guys went out the door last year and even after Ramirez took a dump on the team and major league baseball, they still competed and won 91 games.

      Injuries as an excuse is like crying. And we all know there’s no crying in baseball.

      Now, Theo “the genius” Epstein. Off with his head.

      • fchin3044 - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM

        I agree with Boddira. Theo should back his bags!

      • bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:03 PM

      • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        How do you compare injuries (cannot anticipate) to a planned paring of roster payroll (can anticipate)? That’s the silliest argument I’ve read around here in a long time.

        As I said elsewhere – if the Rays lost 3/5 of their Starting Pitching by June, and their 3B who’s also their best RH bat for most of the last 2 months – how would they have fared?

        I understand the no crying part, and I’m not excusing blowing a nine game lead (because there were obviously bigger problems than just injuries alluded to by Francona in yesterdays press conf.) but there’s common sense and there’s plain ignorance.

    • bobdira - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      I’m a Rays fan/season ticket holder and the fact is that the Sox still have a formidable team. Getting more hitting, Pujols, etc. isn’t the answer. Your pitching sucked for a month at the end of the year, it was broken and older.

      The game begins and ends with pitching. And the Sox don’t have it.

      • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Let me guess – you’re the guy who sits behind home plate and can be heard hazing each opposing player because there is no one else there to drown you out?

        The Rays have a very good talented young pitching staff. No one can take that away from them. The Red Sox lost 3 out of 5 of their Starters to injury. To say they had no pitching is just silly.

    • evanhartford - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM

      Craig, your logic is not sound. If Francona ONLY cost his team a win or two then how many wins are his? Why do managers get credit for anything? Why even elect them to the HOF?

      From where I’m sitting, the buck stops with him. Injuries and personnel may have contributed to the Sox woes, but I can’t stand it when people search for reasons to excuse the person in charge. Part of being a manager is being responsible for the successes AND failures of your team. Francona didn’t make the necessary adjustments and personnel changes to get his team into the postseason. I’m not saying I could have done better, I’m just saying he failed.

      Do I think Francona should be fired? No. He’s earned a second chance and he means a lot to the Red Sox. But make no mistake, Grady Little got fired SOLEY because of one questionable call in one BIG game. I would argue that Francona screwed up bigger with this season…

      • bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

        Grady Little got fired because he made it clear that he had no interest in using statistical tendencies as part of his decision making process.

        That he went with his gut on Pedro in Game 7 in 2003 (even as virtually everyone in Red Sox fandom was screaming to take him out) – sealed his fate, but wasn’t the sole reason he got fired.

      • evanhartford - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:30 PM

        Bigleagues, BS!!!!

        In Little’s two years as Red Sox manager, Boston was 93-69 and 95-67, and the Sox qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Sox had a better record in both of his only 2 years than in 2011 AND they made the friggin postseason.

        His tendency for NOT relying on stats was a nice excuse for management to let him go. Face it, he was fired for making a mistake. The only reason Francona isn’t fired is because of his two rings.

      • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        Evan, you need to go back and review your history. Red Sox management had sat Little down during the 2003 season and explained what they expected of their manager. One of the things the Red Sox had asked Little to do was utilize the player data that they provided him before each game. He refused. Not taking Pedro out AMPLIFIED his refusal to recognize the facts in the data he was provided.

        Everyone knew that Pedro had trouble in 2003 with his 3rd time through a lineup. During the regular season you can get away with letting Pedro go a little longer than he should have. The same can’t be said of the play-offs.

    • rocket621 - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      “I’ve checked the stats again. Francona never had an at-bat this season. He never threw a pitch, caught a fly ball, fielded a grounder, or got thrown out trying to steal.”

      With that logic, no one would ever be fired. Of course you let him go. He certainly is responsible for at least 3-4 losses this year. Why didn’t he fire Curt Young? Tim Bogar? All year Bogar has been pitiful. Even with Scutaro’s mistake between 2nd and 3rd, he still waved him home. He should have been replaced at the all star break. This is the managers fault. I could go on and on. Marching out Wakefield every 5th day so he could get his 200 wins. And don’t tell tell me they had no one else……etc…etc..

    • Roger - Sep 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

      Francona claims he lost his ability to make an impact with players. It seems to me that if I was getting paid 142 million or a little less for playing 162 games over a 6 month period I might get in shape and work hard everyday to be the best I could be. Pitchers missing games for a so called “sprained” ankle, gaining weight, avoiding strength training and conditioning workout, eating, not getting enough sleep, etc. shows that Francona did indeed lose his ability to connect with the players and it showed throughout September. He needs to move on and find a bunch of players that actually work hard for the salary they receive. It was obvious from many of the Sox pitchers that they were not in shape or committed to winning. The position players worked their butts off to win but baseball is about pitching and the Red Sox just didn’t have a strong pitching attitude. It showed from all the bellies growing over the season. Good luck Francona. You’re incredible and you deserve better than the bunch of rotten apples you ended up with. It only takes a few to spoil the whole barrel and they did spoil more than the barrel! Fire all the strength and conditioning coaches as well. Many of those injuries seem to have a common thread based in poor or neglected training. Very disappointing!

  2. dancpage - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Sorry you boys of a summer wasted. The job of a skipper is to manage his team thru good times and bad. Francona let a sinking ship flounder until in the end it couldn’t take on any more tears from the eyes of “Woe is Red Sox Nation.” I’ll enjoy a hot dog in October and to use a New England euphenism, “eff em and feed ’em beans”. Enjoy the golf. This is all in jest BTW.

  3. mickstuder - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    So the reasons to keep him are because when the Sox win – it’s because Francona is a genius as a manager and the players had little or no role – obviously this is true because half the players on the 2 World Series teams are gone and Francona is still here – so the Sox management and fans obviously have little or no loyalty to the players. But on the other hand when the Sox lose – it’s only because of the players and the head coach has little or nothing to do with it. Absurd logic! Keeping Francona makes no sense at all – the bench coach’s can manage the details of any game – it’s Francona’s job to manage the ego’s of multi-million dollar prima-donnas, keep them healthy and motivated – period!

  4. materialman80 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    How can you not fire him?

    • yiterp - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      I agree.Francona began resting his regular’s shortly after the Allstar break;As if a playoff berth was a done deal.He saw the team start out 2-10 in April & the attitude was—-we’re too good;Everything will be fine.They acted like those losses didn’t really count”It’s early.It’s a long season.Francona never seemed to grasp the fact that a loss OR a win in April means just as much as a W or L in September.Most of us knew those losses would come back to haunt us & since they played just as bad in September they missed the playoffs.1 lousy game was all it would have taken to tie TB.2 & Boston would have been in.
      Francona should have been fired last night before he even changed out of his uniform.

  5. nofunleague - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    No they should take every players salary and cut it in half for next year.

    • bobdira - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      That’ll solve everything. What do you care what they are paid. It’s not your money.

      • nofunleague - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:31 PM

        It may wake them up. No, I really don’t care what they make. I’m from Tampa and I’m laughing my a$$ off at all of the big mouth beaner fans down here.

  6. htimsr40 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    “Terry Francona didn’t injure Clay Buchholz, Diasuke Matsuzaka, Kevin Youkilis and — I’m guessing to an extent more than anyone has let on — Adrian Gonzalez. He didn’t cause Carl Crawford and John Lackey to take collective dumps all season and Jon Lester and Josh Beckett to do the same through much of September.”

    Francona makes $4M per year to manage a team with a payroll of $170M. He did not turn ANY of the above named players into exceptional ballplayers and he didn’t have a lot to do with developing any of the players making the $170M. His job is to take the players he has, paid well above the major league average, and win games. He didn’t win enough games to make the playoffs. NOT what you expect when you give a manager $4M per year and with the 3rd highest paid team in either league.

    If he didn’t cause Crawford/Lackey to take dumps, he should not expect to be paid $4M if they have good years … because he didn’t cause that either. Or did he? If you believe that the manager’s job is to motivate his players, prepare his players and get good performance out of his players … then Francona failed to do the job.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      Youkilis last 5 years of fWAR: 3.9, 5.9, 5.9, 4.1 (102g) and 3.7 (120g); so huh?

      Also, you conveniently left off Pedroia who won an MVP in ’08 and put up an 8+ WAR this year. Or what about Ellsbury and his 9+ this year!

  7. mornelithe - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I’ll certainly agree that Francona’s made some questionable judgement’s in the past, however, firing him doesn’t seem like it’s the answer. I don’t see how he could be responsible for all of September. That having been said, I wonder if it’s fair to blame him for April. We seem to forget we’ve seen a similar performance from the Red Sox this year, and that was the beginning of their season. Again though, I wonder if it was all on Francona.

    They made some great off-season additions, but they did virtually nothing to fix an already troubled bullpen. Could we have foreseen a collapse as complete as these past few weeks, from the onset? Probably not, but at the same time, it seemed like we were forgetting past history with this bullpen. Matsuzaka was never going to be an Ace, we learned that pretty quickly. Beckett has shown questionable health in the past, and nobody expected Lester to simply not produce as he has in recent years. Buchholtz being out so long I blame entirely on the medical staff that misdiagnosed a stress fracture and allowed him to continue playing for what, 3 games before taking another look?

    Lackey may have come off a decent year with his previous team, but everyone knew he wasn’t going to be an ace either. Maybe it’s simply adjustment to life w/o John Farrell as pitching coach (A+ there). But, I think they may have put too much stock in loading the offense myself. Had their season started off better, September could very well have ended much differently, regardless of a collapse or not.

    I think it’s too easy to lay all the blame at Francona’s feet though, so no, I don’t necessarily think he should be fired, unless they find someone who fits just as well, and is capable of getting everything out of the team. I do think the medical staff, the pitching coach, the batting coach, the medical staff, and the 3rd base coach should go. I also think they should certainly get rid of Matsuzaka, and consider letting Drew go. Varitek should either retire, or take a much much less active role, and only IF he’s held to training either Salty or Lavarnway on how to catch for Beckett. That Varitek caught for him exclusively this year is stupid. Both Beckett and Varitek need to realize they need to plan for the future.

    Crawford we’re stuck with, but I personally think this was simply an adjustment year for him, yeah I know that’s cutting him some serious slack, but…what does it matter? We can sit here and hate on him for the next 7 years, or try to support him and see if he can regain some/all of what made him a destroyer at the plate, a demon on bases, and flypaper in the outfield in TB. There’s not really much choice otherwise.

    Another concern is Youk, he’s been getting injured far too much the past 2 years and that’s something that seriously needs to be considered. When he’s healthy, he’s definitely a solid 3rd baseman, and certainly above average at the plate…when he’s healthy. I’m glad he didn’t come back this year, and I certainly hope he’s already headed to the hospital for surgery, so that he can start healing and get ready for next season. Otherwise, I don’t know, they may want to sit down and talk with him on the future. I’m not saying get rid of him, but…they can’t afford to keep juggling people around like that, so often.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      Easy solution: make Crawford the most expensive pinch runner in history, tell Gonzalez he’s moving to left, sign Pujols to play first, sign Fielder to DH. Just a thought…….

      • bobdira - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        I think Crawford’s lost a step. Maybe he could sell popcorn.

      • mornelithe - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

        Gonzo can’t move fast enough to cover left adequately. So, that’s really no solution. We can’t ignore Crawford’s past productivity simply because he had a so-so year, this year. And that really only addresses the offensive side, which…really, is more than passable right now.

        If the pitching had been solid this past month, most of the games they lost would’ve been wins. It still wouldn’t have been a record month or anything, but they’d certainly be in the playoffs. Besides, I’m guessing the price tags on Pujols and Fielder wouldn’t be pretty. heh.

  8. htimsr40 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    I really don’t understand the logic of those who think Francona should be rewarded and revered when the team does well, but should not be held accountable when the team does poorly. The manager NEVER bats or pitches or fields. It is always the PLAYERS who play the game. It seems to me if the manager is going to be rewarded with a $4M contract in good times, then he should be held accountable for bad times. Otherwise, give me that job … I get credit for the wins and get to blame someone else for the losses. Francona made MANY questionable calls as a manager. Francona did NOT seem to have his team prepared to play in April or September. Either his role is important or it isn’t … and I don’t see how you pass the buck entirely for the poor play of his team.

  9. danichol89 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Absolutely not. If anybody`s head is on the line; it’s Theo Epstein for the money he overpaid for Crawford

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      If he didn’t somebody else would have. If he didn’t, somebody else did, and Crawford tore it up he would be more likely to get fired than in this scenario

  10. 1historian - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    I find it funny that in April the Boston Herald was calling the sox the greatest team in baseball and conceding them the series. This was the greatest el foldo in sox history, and maybe in mlb history.

    I find this funny.

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Craig, I remember when the Sox started the season terribly you said the way to get airtime on the Boston sports talk shows was to call in and suggest firing Terry Francona. Amazing how one little catastrophic collapse has led so many people to now take that suggestion seriously. If this stacked team misses the playoffs again next year maybe then we can talk about this. Right now there’s nobody to blame but the players and I say they get a mulligan with this being the first year this team has been together

  12. neelymessier - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    The Mets in 2007 blow this collapse away in it’s brevity. The Sox stunk up the joint for the whole month, but a 7 game lead mid September?

    With a seven-game lead on September 12, the Mets suffered a historic collapse by losing 12 of their last 17 games and missing the postseason.

    Injuries played a big part of the Sox woes, got little from Youklis or Crawford. Surprised they lasted this long.

  13. mwalsh5 - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    HERE’S WHY.. let me try and explain this to these moron sports columnists coming from a smart baseball fan. Managers have an expiration date. Managers don’t hit the ball, they don’t pitch…no s***. Managers get paid to steer the ship, they get paid and judged based on what the team they “manage” produce. If a manager at a wealthy corporation has a year and the company loses a lot of capital do they keep him around and say well the employees are the ones doing the actual work. They have an expiration and of course Tito will always be respected in my hometown of Boston but the ship has sailed. Joe Tori was in a similar situation they are not lifers, they eventually move on. If the clubhouse didn’t respond that is also a big blame on Tito this year.

  14. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Silly, silly. Fire him. He had the best team in MLB (according to all the analysts) and the second highest payroll and he couldn’t even make the playoffs! Had he started to kick some high priced ass in late August the Sox would have made the playoffs. Something is wrong with Adrian Gonzalez’s repaired shoulder? Can’t be after all, the Sox’s docs said it was perfect.

  15. mornelithe - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Yeah, analysts have never been wrong. Didn’t Craig have them in first in his power rankings at the beginning of the year?

  16. bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    The only thing that is clear to me from reading the majority of these posts is how few people have any clue what they are talking about.

    Hey, you all have a right to your opinion, but the logic and supporting arguments for your reasons why Francona should be fired are about as sound as the mortgage market.

    If Joe Maddon lost 3/5’s of his starting rotation by June – how would the Rays have fared down the stretch? Then lost their 3B who also happens to be their best RH bat – how about then?

    If Barolo Colon didn’t have a miracle come back and Ivan Nova didn’t emerge as a viable member of the Yankees rotation – how would the Yankees have fared?

    Look, despite the issues with the Rotation, the Red Sox were somehow able to win enough and build a big enough lead that they should have been able to hold on. They needed only to win 2 more games than they did in the entire month of September to secure a playoff spot.

    If they had slumped in June and July because of the Pitchers they lost, and instead entered September tied with the Rays for the Wild Card – then both battled it out to the last day, with the Rays still advancing – then the entire scenario would be framed differently. The timing of a winning or losing streak factors into the way the story is framed.

    Yet the Red Sox still won 90 Games, again, they are being cast as losers. If the 2nd WC is introduced – they would still be alive under that format.

    It’s easy for the casual fan to blame the Manager, but to fire Francona in the wake of what happened over the last month would be foolhearty and downright dumb. Let me ask this . . . who is there to replace him? Francona is a known and proven commodity.

    And finally, comparing the Francona situation to Torre demonstrates absolutely zero knowledge of the Torre years in NY. Steinbrenner only hired Torre because he didn’t want to pay the money to hire Sparky Anderson or Whitey Herzog. Torre’s first contract with the Yankees was 2 years/500G per year.

    In year 12, Torre was asking for more than the Yankees offer of $5M for 1 year plus $3M in bonuses if the Yanks won the WS – in which case he would also automatically get a guaranteed $8M for 2009. The Yankees hadn’t won a WS in 7 seasons & they were never really keen on paying that kind of money to any manager – especially one that Steinbrenner never figured to last more than a couple of seasons in the first place. If Showalter (who had won the 1994 AL MOY) and led the Yankees to their first post-season birth in 17 years in 1995 had stayed on – I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t have been the one standing in Torre’s shoes.

    • bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      I can’t say the same for Grady Little.

  17. mrznyc - Sep 30, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    The past has nothing to do with it – You keep him because you think he can win next year, you dump him if you figure he can’t.

  18. bobdira - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Hey, bigleagues, first off, that “gentleman” you refer to in the stands at the Trop hasn’t been heard from since 2007. Get caught up with him and the fact that I’m right. Injuries are a part of the game. Just like crying.

    The Sox have a choice to do something about their pitching staff or watch TV and golf in October again next year. Pitchers can suck and cost teams games or be injury prone and cost teams games. If Theo the Magnificent wasn’t so busy throwing money at position players and paid attention to the whole field, including the mound, the loss of front line pitching and the sucking of the bullpen, Bard et al, would have been overcome with…….here are the words of the day (or offseason for that matter) depth and talent.

    Blaming injuries is for the uninformed and lost. Here you are.

  19. bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    A Patriots beat writer told Belichek that Francona has been fired and asked for a comment. Belichek then went on to say how he was sorry to hear that.

    The problem is Francona still hasn’t been fired.

    That’s how ABSURD the Boston sports media is.

    • rocket621 - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      They didn’t exercise his option. I think anyone with a reasonable mind would say he is gone.

      • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        Wrong. They have not yet exercised his option.

        They have 10 days from the end of their season to accept of decline the option.

        Theo just released a statement that he, Cherrington, Henry, Lucchino, Werner and Francona met this morning to discuss what went wrong and express ideas on how to fix it. Epstein stated that they are now going to take some time to digest and analyze what was discussed.

        He concluded that release by stating that “no immediate plans have been made to make an announcement on Francona’s future.”

        Color me stupid, but it sounds to me as if Theo wants Francona to stay on. Maybe John Henry thinks differently. One thing I do know is they are taking their time and not making any rash decisions.

        As was discussed earlier . . . if not Francona then who?

  20. bobdira - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I’ve tried to be nice, but you’re a moron. It’s about depth and talent. Please, stop making your case for idiot of the year. You’ve already run away with the title.

    • bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 4:12 PM


      Its easy to call names.

      Now let me ask you something . . . for all that depth and talent your Rays have – how many titles has your team won?

      What is it? ZERO?

      I’m an admirer of the Rays – but the sudden empowerment of Rays fans to speak as authorities on winning Championships is a little difficult to swallow.

  21. bigleagues - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    The Red Sox apparently just released a statement that no announcement is currently planned with regard to Francona’s future.

  22. jimeejohnson - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Francona’s the only manager in post 1920 Red Sox history to win a championship, let alone two. Yet the Yankees yanked Joe Torre after he won a bunch of championships. There are a lot of Bostonians who have been calling for Francona’s head the entire season.

  23. bobdira - Oct 1, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    Hey, bigleagues, once again lets not let the facts impede you from making another misguided statement.

    The Rays have been in the league a total of 14 years and competitive in the last four, talk about the 14 or talk about the 4 and their three trips to the post season represent a good percentage. In three of the last four years the only teams to get to the post season that many times are the Yankees with over 600 million in payroll, the Phillies with over 400 million in payroll and the Rays with 176 million.

    You want titles, I’ll give you some titles for the Rays. American League Champion, American League East Division Champion (TWICE), Wild Card winner. Oh, and how about these choices for titles, TALENTED, DEEP, YOUNG, DRIVEN, PROUD. In the last four years the sox have one of those titles and one only; Wild Card winner.

    Ya like titles, How ya like them titles????

    • bigleagues - Oct 1, 2011 at 1:57 PM


      Still awaiting that first relevant and/or accurate comment from you.

      But you make me laugh with your Rays Fan Napoleonic complex.

      The Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies are all playing by the same rules that your beloved Rays are playing by (some would say abusing). Sternberg astutely hired Friedman to deploy a new economic strategy toward building a competitive club, which is obviously working.

      The 4th-8th Rounders that everyone recognizes as premium talent – were talents that were identified, evaluated and drafted out of High School or 1 year of JuCo. This runs against the grain of conventional wisdom because teams generally like to select college players with their higher picks since the better ones come near major league ready. But it has allowed Friedman to capitalize on a market inefficiency.

      Now drafting a younger player is one thing, but developing them is another. Unless its a once or twice in a generation type player – high school players will need 3-5 years of minor league instruction before they are major league ready. And a lot can happen to those players in the 3-5 years. Some will become major leaguers and others will drop off the radar. To address this market reality, Friedman always makes sure to have plenty of additional picks on hand so as to increase his yield of talent at the end of that 3-5 year instructional window.

      It’s a brilliant concept and it has worked well to this point. But when an organization has good success like the Rays, eventually more and more teams take note of how that organization is doing it and before you know it, the model of success has been disrupted by other organizations who have incorporated elements of the Rays system.

      In the meantime, while the Yankees/Red Sox/Phillies have significantly grown their franchises over the last 14 years by investing and re-investing their profits, expanding their reach and most importantly winning Word Series – teams like the Rays have been taking revenue sharing money and pocketing it as profit – while crying poverty.

      Interestingly enough Rays games are broadcast throughout Florida – the 4th largest state in the country with a population of over 18 million (versus 14.5 Million in all of New England). The current RSN deal with SS/FSFis one that Sternberg signed for a measly $20 million per year and which they are locked into until 2016 (interestingly the same year that Longoria’s deal expires if all the options are picked up) as SS/FSF is raking in boatloads of cash – which finished 5th overall in 2010 of all the MLB RSN. Bad deal by Sternburg.

      Fenway generated revenue is important and a packed ballpark enhances the game in person and on TV – but NESN is what allows the Red Sox to have the payroll they have.

      Thus, the payroll argument has gotten real stale. Mainly because your boy Sternberg pockets revenue sharing money rather than investing it in the team. Ultimately if someday he takes that “profit” and uses it to buyout the lease at the Trop so he can move to Tampa, Northern NJ or CT because the powers that be in St Pete can’t get their heads out of their anuses – then I’ll likely have a different take on it.

      Before I conclude, allow me to entertain your ridiculous “last 14 years” argument. Just the facts.

      That other franchise that entered MLB in 1998? 1 WORLD SERIES title, 1 NLCS, 5 Division titles.

      In the last 15 years, that other Florida team has 2 WORLD SERIES titles (or it can be said they won 2 WORLD SERIES titles in their first 11 years – you choose).

      The DBacks took only an unprecedented 4 years to win their first WORLD SERIES – so I can understand your confusion over how to feel in year 14 and still hoping for the Rays first.

      And just for fun we’ll throw this one in: over the last 14 years, the Red Sox have 8 playoff appearances, 1Division title, 2 AL Championships and 2 WORLD SERIES titles.

      So much for the “last 14 years argument” right there”.

      In conclusion, since the advent of the Wild Card – division titles mean virtually nothing – especially in the AL East. What matters is winning the World Series. I’ve been a Red Sox fan my entire life, and Red Sox fans know this truth perhaps better than any other fans: winning Division titles and wild card slots mean nothing if you don’t go on to win the WORLD SERIES.

      1978, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 means NOTHING.

      2004 and 2007 means EVERYTHING.

      Likewise for the Rays:
      2008 & 2010 means NOTHING – and neither will 2011 if the Rays end up with anything short of the World Series Trophy.

      They don’t throw parades for the runner up.

  24. bobdira - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    I may have discovered the missing link. Your logic and argument are so convoluted that they would. You insulted every team to make the playoffs if they didn’t eventually win the Series. Mystical. Did you not see the incredible night of baseball on Wednesday, the day of infamy for the most underachieving team in the history of sport, your RED SOX?

    You can’t get to the series without winning a division or wild card, hey you should know that, but if you have lost THAT fact as well, you’ll be reminded every time you turn on the TV and see the 8 best teams in baseball on the field without the SOX.

    As far as criticizing the spending of the ownership of the Rays, you should, they humiliated your RED SOX with nickles and dimes while you threw millions at what eventually will be seen as bad a decision as the sale of Ruth.

    Then, and I have to chuckle at this one, you criticize the TV deal of the RAYS? WOW are you reaching. I understand, you’ve been jilted once again and it hurts. Too Freakin bad.

    Oh, and if you want to take the discussion we are having back onto the field. What was the RAYs record against the dream team? A measely 12-6. Sorry pal, use history, use dollars spent, use TV deals, use the other teams in Florida, the SOX are watching TV and counting their money. I’m watching the RAYS play great baseball.

    Oh ya, and great move by the SOX firing Francona, that’ll fix everything. Some team who hires him will be thanking you for a long time. The Evil Empire now has a red headed step brother, the No Clue Nation.

    • bigleagues - Oct 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM


      You wrote: I may have discovered the missing link. Your logic and argument are so convoluted that they would. “that they would” what? What’s that sentence supposed to mean?

      Let me re-state so that you might understand it: I understand your excitement. You are entitled to it. The first thing I did the other night was congratulate Rays fans saying that their team earned it and the Red Sox clearly didn’t.

      But history doesn’t remember the Wild Card winners. History remembers the World Series winners.

      All those truly lean years were made possible by the Red Sox and Yankees. I I don’t understand the revenue envy and constant fixation on it. I really don’t.

      Finally the Rays didn’t humiliate the Red Sox. The RED SOX humiliated the Red Sox. If the Red Sox didn’t have so much dysfunction in that clubhouse this year – which is what led to the collapse – you’d be complaining about about how unfair it is that the Rays were eliminated again while the big spending teams are in the play-offs.

    • bigleagues - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

      Man-o-man . . . those Rays are looking tough.

      Oh wait, that’s a typo!

      I meant to say those RANGERS are looking tough.

  25. bobdira - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    bigleagues, I’m done with you. This is senseless, you’re beyond repair, just like ………

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