Sunday, November 7, 2010

As Good As A World Series

Q: Tom, what do you enjoy more, putting out a hit TV show or winning a world championship?
TW: They are very similar...I compare the joy that the Red Sox had in 2004 with the delight of laughing at some of my hit shows.

How long does it take for the smug penny-pinching douchebags who have their offices on Yawkey Way to run themselves out of town? Apparently the answer is 22 questions.

In the course of 22 questions asked by the Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld to Red Sox owners John W. Henry and Tom Werner, they insulted the intelligence of Globe readers, gloated in the wake of a good trading year during a recession, threw Theo Epstein under the bus, hailed the "bridge year" as a good thing, complained about the luxury tax in baseball, and frowned upon the behavior of the 2004 team. Both the Felger & Mazz show and the D.A. show devoted a lot of a Friday in November toward crushing these guys, and rightfully so. Upon what happened right around this time in 2005 (Theo's rift with ownership) and Theo's comments about how "ownership" wanted to re-sign David Ortiz instead of it being a baseball move, how do you think he felt reading this in the paper?

Q: Last year became known, unfortunately, as the Year of the Bridge...
JH: Not because of us.

(Later, he said "I don't know why that was perceived as a negative. For me it was a positive." The Gunn and I have expressed understanding toward this, but most competitive fans don't really like to see a $170 million team punt two consecutive seasons.)

Perhaps he felt the same way many middle- or lower-class readers felt about this:

Q: There's a recession bordering on a depression going on. How did John W. Henry & Co. do?
JH: Very well. We were up over 20 percent for 2010.

OH, GOOD FOR YOU! Friday, I had been watching Sky News and he was smirking smugly at the camera while talking about his soccer team. Could you imagine him narrowing his eyes behind his Joe Maddon/NESCAC/Emo glasses on his private jet while saying that? What a dick.

On the other hand, it's probably a good thing that JWH is flush with cash. That means he's going to be spending a lot on making the team win baseball games? Or would it be better to spend your hard-earned dollars on your new toy?

Q: Do you prefer soccer as a business or baseball?
JH: Well, there isn't a 48 percent tax [in soccer].

Excellent. Well, I guess we now know why the team wouldn't cough up $500K for Kerry Wood, although Werner claimed "never for a moment did we waver from our desire to win the American League East." But it's because John Henry's against taxes. Wait a second, weren't he and his boys fervent supporters of John Kerry AND Barack Obama?

Oh, right. Kerry once insulted American soldiers by saying that if you don't go to school you will be "stuck in Iraq," and Obama is pushing an unpopular health care initiative because he thinks he's smarter than his constituents. So I guess it's right along the lines of this explanation of why he's flying a private jet while other people are starving in this recession:

Q: What does that mean? How does that work? You see there's been a lot of volume on something? A stock?
JH: We do trade stocks, but that's not our main business. It's commodities, currencies, interest rates. There's been a trend in the dollar. There's been a trend in interest rates.
Q: Like, the dollar is down and you knew that in advance, so you bet against it?
JH: Right. Very good.

[Wow. Insulting the interviewer. Can't get worse than that, right? Wrong.]

Q: I don't get that.
JH: Neither will your readers.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's the owner of your Boston Red Sox, John W. Henry!


The GM said...

For the younger readers, the picture is the hit TV show Roseanne, a Tom Werner production that generated many laughs.

I strongly advise that you all read the article linked to this article. What I wrote doesn't even do justice to the fact that this ownership group:

1. Doesn't understand the value of world championships to the fan base.
2. Actually IS averse to paying a luxury tax. In other words, is cheap.
3. Enjoys flaunting how smart they are, and justifying their natural intellectial superiority as a reason they can be 60 years old and go to an exclusive bar to hit on and eventually marry 25-year-old girls.
4. Would be the type of people to pay $2,000 for a bottle of wine just to do it.

News flash: While many Red Sox fans are affluent dbags who go to games just to enhance their social status, not all of them are like you are. Get a freaking clue. I don't like Theo Epstein due to his own overwhelming smugness and insistence that he's smarter than everyone, but you can say this much about him. At least he wants to win.

Five-Time Guy said...

Before I read the article and commence bashing the owners of 50% of my favorite teams, I would like to add that Theo only wants to win because that is his way of proving how much smarter he is than everyone else. He has been favorably compared to Billy Beane but there is a reason why one guy took the Sox job and one guy turned it down: ego. He does not just want to win, he wants to win because of the recognition.

The GM said...


First of all, thanks for the comment. We always appreciate new commenters, both for the fresh ideas and for hopefully your ability to cut down our veteran commenters.

On to your point, I think you are correct to a certain extent. It's pretty clear that the boy wonder (sarcastic if you couldn't tell) is convinced that he's way smarter than everyone else. This has worked both in positive and negative directions in the forms of the Nomar trade and December 6, 2006 (the day he signed Drew and Lugo both in Lake Buena Vista). Winning has only made him more arrogant, no doubt. And both sabermetrics and Theo himself died to me when he congratulated himself on the Drew move on the radio after the 2009 season. Congratulations: You can look at one line (OPS) on a stat sheet.

But do you trash a hotel room over losing Jose Contreras because of the lessened probability of his ego being stroked in Boston ten months down the road? Nah. That just seems like will to win for me.

Anonymous said...


If "Five-Time Guy" is your new handle on this space then you are an even greater American than I give you credit for being. Absolutely amazing. Made me laugh like a bastard this morning.


I was really disappointed to read that article. I read the whole thing and really John Henry could not have come off any worse than he did. I didn't read as much into many of his comments as you did, but the part where he said, "neither will your readers" in regards to rather simple investment techniques was embarrassing--for him. Most people tend to think that these absurdly wealthy people have their head's up their asses and unfortunately it's interviews like that one that lead people to believe that type of thing.

--the Gunn

Patrick said...

i have mixed feelings about red sox ownership. on the one hand, they have always seemed to be like a group of smart businessmen that sort of get sports ownership, and sort of don't. they are also now very diversified in their sports ownership, which can really go both ways as we recently discussed here.

on the other hand, the red sox have grown in a major way under them. with a $170 million payroll, they are in the yankees range, much the way a $90 million team is in a $120 million team's range. when you factor in that they are likely spending as much if not more than the yankees in their player development system (the $8+ million bet they placed on 16 year old jose iglesias is one of, if not the biggest, contract/signing bonus given to a newly age-eligible international free agent in history i believe), you see why other team executives talk about the yankees and red sox on a separate universe from everybody else, no matter what the red sox try to lead you to believe. i understand a lot of this is due to their market position during a golden era for baseball, but they have taken major advantage of that position and you have to give them credit for that. more importantly, they've won 2 world series, which is two more than the red sox and various ownership had won in the previous 86 years. i understand that this was also due to certain things besides them (as most world series championships are), but again they put the team in position. for me, as long as they continue on this trajectory and don't allow the red sox to become an afterthought in their ownership (something that is highly unlikely) or start making a series of dramatic mistakes regarding ownership decisions (also highly unlikely, although the sort of smugness that is evident in this interview can drive a need to constantly prove that you can reinvent the wheel when the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented - as with the last 7 years for the red sox - just to prove how smart you are), i'd be willing to put up with the less than ideal nature of the elements i pointed out in the first paragraph.

the gm at work said...


I read this article from Martha's Vineyard. I had to wear a suit all day and when I went into a shop there, the guy assumed I was back for a DUI hearing from the summer.

Moral of the story: Absurdly wealthy people do tend to have their heads up their asses.

But honestly, the crushing that I gave here was nothing compared to what they were saying all afternoon and evening on talk radio - and rightfully so. I prefaced the post with the "how long does it take" because it reminded me of an article I read about the Miami 7th Floor Crew. I think there was an ESPN article that said something along the lines of "how long would it take for the Miami football team to ruin all work it had on repairing its reputation? A little less than nine minutes."

I feel like this article, if read and publicized, was slightly less damning to this ownership group than the 7th Floor Crew song was for the Miami football team.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't me.

probably Timc


TimC said...


All Sox fans received a manifesto from the new ownership upon their takeover. Included in said literature was an explanation as to why the Sox are far poorer than the Yankees despite their actual spending being basically the same. They also received a green card to Red Sox Nation, upgradable to a passport if they attended a May home game and purchased a new hat or jersey.

DV, Contreras was a loooooong time ago. That Theo left with the gorilla suit. The Theo that thought you were gonna ask him is just interested in winning as a means to his recognition on various media outlets + hardcover books.