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Excerpts from Terry Francona’s upcoming book paint an unflattering portrait of the Sox’ owners

Jan 15, 2013, 2:59 PM EDT

Terry Francona AP

This is probably not too surprising, but Terry Francona’s upcoming book — excerpts of which were released today on WBZ’s website — have Tito taking shots at the team’s owners, saying that they don’t love baseball and put ratings and gate above all else.

Which, sure. They’re owners. That’s what owners do. But it sounds like the way they would have preferred that be carried out is rather, well, dumb:

The excerpt details a meeting with then-general manager Theo Epstein, Francona, Lucchino, [Tom] Werner and a tardy [John] Henry.

“Werner talked about slumping television ratings and whined, ‘We need to start winning in more exciting fashion,’” the excerpt read … “They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys,” Epstein said. “Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing from what we set out to be.”

Al Davis was at times an awful, awful sports owner, but at least “just win baby” makes some sense. I don’t recall any successful sports franchise whose mantra was “just win with sizzle” or “just win in an exciting fashion.”  If I was Theo Epstein or Francona I think I would have told those guys that I’d help supply the wins and for them to get their marketing department going on the sizzle.

Should be a fun book. Comes out on January 22.

  1. mybrunoblog - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    No surprises here. Does anyone think Red Sox ownership is made up of a bunch of fun guys you’d want to go have a beer with?

  2. randygnyc - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    The Red Sox Rot, from head to toe. Glad Tito is FREE!!!!

    • drewsylvania - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      We need to bring PHT’s banhammer on this guy. Everything out of his mouth is some form of trolling.

      • js20011041 - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:29 PM

        The funny thing is though, he’s right. The Red Sox are a rotten organization, staring at the top. I’m saying this as a Red Sox fan. This is a hard organization to feel good about rooting for.

      • badintent - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        Thank you for being honest. I can only hope that the Sox hire you as Senior VP of Player Personnel. You are the most qualified person in Boston. I mean it.

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Randy’s a right wing NUT, but he should not be banned for bad mouthing the Red Sox. As a fan of Boston teams, I take anything some New Yawk a$$clown says and chuck it into the woods. You should, too.

  3. jaysjunkie - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    As much as I hate the Red Sox, I always respected Francona. I’ll read this.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      The only problem is Shaughnessy wrote it.

  4. anxovies - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Tito could have helped the situation by putting some “sizzle” in his ballplayers, who lay down on him the whole year and were embarrassing even to this Yankee fan. But to be fair to him, the situation was maybe beyond anybody’s control with that cast of characters. Good luck to him in his new surroundings, I have always thought he was a fine manager.

    • bobwsc - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      laid down on him the whole year? they laid down in September 2011 and had a dismal start to that season, but wrecked people from May through August. maybe as a Yankee fan you blocked that out.

  5. cur68 - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    That meeting description is bang in line with trashing Francona and making Epstein’s life difficult as they went out the door. Create controversy & generate interest: the “Reality TV” method for big ratings. Also used by the likes of Geraldo Rivera and to great effect by Jerry Springer, its a tried and true formula.

  6. crispybasil - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Dan Shaughnessy co-wrote the book, which is why I will not buy it.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      Ugh really? Then I guess I’m taking a pass as well. Couldn’t pay me to add any money to CHB’s pocket…

      • bigharold - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        I personally like CHB. He’s hated by so many in Boston he must be telling the truth.

  7. tfbuckfutter - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I have a hard time believing they complained about players not being marketable and then went out and signed Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli, and Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney last year.

    • paperlions - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      That’s actually pretty standard. When you have ownership/administration that doesn’t know what they are doing, they think there is always an easy fix and the company is just one key secret ingredient away from success, and their list of suggestions for potential secret ingredients is a moving target (usually based on some casual observation). Of course, they are correct. Many companies are only one ingredient away from being successful: quality leadership.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:07 PM

        Wait….are you suggesting that the “marketable” part is the secret ingredient in that equation, or that Ryan Sweeney is?

        Because the only thing Ryan Sweeney is the secret ingredient in is Terrible-Baseball-Cookies.

  8. ras1tafari - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    We Red Sox fans are just as much to blame as the ownership. Once we won 2 WS, nothing but winning another was good enough. Now, obviously we all want to win the WS every year, but f–k is it hard. Before the Henry era, folks watched the regular season no matter how horrible the team was. Now, we’re Yankee fans – “wake me when the post-season starts”. It makes sense in a world of 500 cable channels, but we’re spoiled, plain and simple.

    • bostonfreeparty - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      There was a time back in the day when the joy of being a Red Sox fan was watching Pedro Martinez dominate every fifth day and Nomar Garciaparra win batting titles.

      • bigharold - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        “…watching Pedro Martinez dominate every fifth day and Nomar Garciaparra win batting titles.”

        Man you must be OLD!

      • bostonfreeparty - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        @bigharold Dude I’m 23 years old, and the stuff I described happened in 1999-2000 when I was a kid. Just because something happened more than a decade ago doesn’t make it the stone age…

      • themuddychicken - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Well, you’re at least young enough to have not developed a full understanding and awareness of sarcasm.

  9. fanofevilempire - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    let’s see how long it will take for saux to make it back to the top.
    don’t mis-remember here, Epstein and Francona left town with two chips.

    • shaggylocks - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      Left town with two chips? Is that slang for something?

  10. APBA Guy - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Actually the notion of win with a certain flair is a common one-in soccer. You hear it all the time in English Football, especially from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich-who makes John Henry seem rational and patient. It’s one of the positives about Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger, that he plays beautiful football.

  11. bigharold - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    So, in all honesty, .. does George Steinbrenner look all that bad now?

    • paperlions - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Yeah, he does. Other owners being useless doesn’t improve George’s record as an owner.

      • bigharold - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        Are you talking about his record of most WS wins during his tenure? Most games won during his tenure or taking a 10 million dollar investment and turning it into $2 billion?? He even has the record for most suspensions by an owner but, .. hey nobodies perfect.

        All in all I’d take George over John Henry Cheapskate any day!

  12. sonofsamiam - Jan 15, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    What is with NBC Sports’ fascination in taking pot shots at Al Davis? It can’t be escaped even in baseball articles.

  13. joerymi - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    A Terry Francona book AND a Mike Piazza? I might nip this insomnia in the bud after all.

  14. joestemme - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    There is a certain amount of revisionism when it comes to Tito. He did lose the clubhouse during his last season or so with the Sox.

    BUT, and this is a big BUT, he deserved a great deal of slack. And, not just because of the two rings, but for the way he handled a most difficult city and fanbase for so long.

    I really had the romantic notion that Tito would be the exception in today’s sports – a manager “for life”. Boy, was I wrong…..

    • belichickrulz - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      Tito lost the clubhouse during the last MONTH of his last season. Through August 2011 they were doing just fine. Which is what made the September collapse historic.

      I’m looking forward to this book for a lot of reasons. I’m a HUGE Francona fan and think that he is, without doubt, the best manager the Red Sox have ever had. His take on his years in Boston should be fascinating. I hope he’s very candid about what happened at the end.

      • joestemme - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Sorry, but that’s part of the ‘revisionism’ I wrote of. The Sox were a 3rd place team in 2010. Yes, they had that amazing run in the middle of the 2011 season that masked the issues that were going on (all’s fine when you’re winning and all).

        Still, considering what Francona had done, I believe he earned the opportunity to turn things around. Get rid of some of the problem players like Beckett and give it another go.

        Sadly, we’ll never find out.

  15. professormaddog31 - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I don’t think we have many NASCAR followers here, but let’s not forget that John Henry also is co-owner of the Roush Fenway racing team, which used to be a fine organization before they had to add the word “Fenway” to the moniker, but has also fallen victim to the ‘let’s get someone with sizzle’ mentality.

  16. mattjg - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Just look at what these guys have done to Liverpool. First they tried to win with sizzle, shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for players like Andy Carroll, and when that didn’t work they refused to spend any money leaving them with no strikers besides Luis Suarez. As an Everton fan though, I have no complaints about what they’ve done to the RS.

  17. nolanwiffle - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    For what it’s worth…..this is exactly how Dan Snyder singlehandedly destroyed the Washington Redskins franchise. He became de facto GM and wanted players with “sizzle” who would Increase jersey sales, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George…etal.

    He also fired Marty Schottenheimer after Schottenheimer went 8-8 and cleared the roster of bad contracts. The Danny, in all his wisdom, wanted games to be more exciting and light up the scoreboard… he hired Steve Spurrier to bring his Fun Gun offense to the NFL.

    The rest, as they say, is history…..

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