Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet Caroline!

Despite a valiant effort by Jon Lester (looks like all you need to do to get a fire lit under this guy in April is either lose your first five or play the Cleveland Indians), the team expected to "surpass the 116-win mark" and "take their place on Immortality Peak" fell to 0-6.  The team's compete level, except for that of Lester, was set to zero once again, and a nice little combination of no hitting, Drew weak ground ball #3, walking a #9 hitter to lead off an inning, and baserunning errors propelled them to 0-6.  I wish Mr. Larson from Happy Gilmore would go to Cleveland and ruin some of these golfers' five irons as a little reminder that they're being paid to win baseball games, and spending more time on the bunkers of Fort Myers Country Club than at City of Palms Park is not conducive to business objectives.

But that doesn't matter.  Who cares that they're 0-6, and who cares that they signed Adrian Gonzalez?  Opening Day at Fenway Park is tomorrow!  Watching the hit quiz show "Pocket Money" on NESN pumped me up for Opening Day at Fenway Park like nothing could except for maybe a rerun of "Sox Appeal," a Liverpool soccer game, or a NASCAR race where Roush Fenway superstar Carl Edwards illegally drills some holes into his car.  Yup, you know where this one's going.  I won't be too happy about this, and NEITHER WILL MY READERS.

But tomorrow, they're going to bring out some B-list celebrity from the 1990s (I'm just hoping it's not my boy Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth) to play terrible music.  They're going to have Ben Affleck in the good seats, and they're going to have martinis and margaritas for sale for the affluent suits and affluent female trust-funders attending the game during business hours.  They'll have jumbo jets, the big American flag, and maybe a five-year-old kid spewing PG-13 rated language like they did last year.  The fans there will cheer everyone except for maybe John Lackey, and then they'll all sing along to the Neil Diamond song with lyrics including "How can I hurt when loving you, warm, touching warm, reaching out, touching me, touching you" about an eleven-year-old girl in the middle of the eighth inning when they'll probably be down by a dozen runs.

That's awesome.  Hope springs eternal at the old ballpark that the ownership group decided to renovate instead of ponying up the dough and building one for people born after 1895.  That's great.

By the way, the cheapskate owners did not sign Adrian Gonzalez today, so there are now 156 games left until the end of his contract.  The Red Sox traded Rey Fuentes, Anthony Rizzo, and Casey Kelly for the last six games and the next 156.

BUT...

They did sign the player in Florida.  So everything's going to be okay.  Now, the Red Sox are a commodity alongside Liverpool, Roush Fenway Racing, NESN Original Entertainment (from which Sox Appeal and Pocket Money are a part of), and the brand of the player in Florida.  Felger and Massarotti almost rioted about this today.  But a subdivision of John Henry's sports portfolio will now be the brand managers for Lebron James, the guy who is responsible for "The Decision," the "what should I do" commercials, a bunch of Muppet commercials, and a brand of habitual losing when it counts because of a general "me-me-me" attitude that has labeled our entire generation in a negative light.

And these guys decided to announce it during this circumstance:
1.  During a Red Sox game
2.  Against Cleveland, the city whom Lebron told to go F themselves.
3.  When the team's 0-5 and the fans are already pissed off
4.  When the Celtics are in flux
5.  When there has not yet been any announcement on whether the team has entered a strategic partnership with a much more relevant athlete, Adrian Gonzalez.
--and they expected it to be taken as an exciting thing!  What planet are these guys from?

Look, I'm taking a marketing class right now on the side of my real job, my blog, and my 120 running miles a week, and one of the goals when you're marketing toward consumers is to communicate in such a way where your corporate values match the values of the consumer.

News flash, Red Sox fans:  Illinois guy John Henry, Pittsburgh guy Larry Lucchino, and New York guy Tom Werner don't really care about the same things (winning) that you care about.  The value of that 2004 World Series championship to them was not anything competitive except for the fact that they won the competition with The Gap when you bought a championship t-shirt.  If they really cared about a competitive baseball team, they would have done a lot of things differently.  The Adrian Gonzalez time bomb that explodes in 156 games because they're cheap and don't like luxury taxes is just the tip of the iceberg.  They don't care about your passion as sports fans from Boston.  If they did, they wouldn't have the gall and audacity to want to capitalize on the brand of one of the most hated people - nevermind athletes - in Boston.

At work, we are taught that most initiatives to change an organization's culture comes from the top down.  Executive buy-in.  I think the commodity of the JWHenry portfolio that happens to be your favorite baseball team kind of realizes that the guy at the top only writes checks and doesn't care too much about this team.  The soccer team and now Lebron freaking James is getting his attention right now.  He's apathetic, so your infective apathy is okay too, JD Drew.  Henry only cares about the bottom line, so it's okay for you to do the same thing, David Ortiz. 

I openly root against Roush Fenway Racing, against Liverpool, and against TV shows like Pocket Money.  I root against all currencies other than the United States dollar.  And this is because these things are poorly aligned with my values.  Other than his one commodity, the Boston Red Sox, which is really just another line of a balance sheet, I think John Henry's holdings suck.  I think what he's done with the Red Sox - both with the cross-promotion of all this other garbage and with the cheaping of the brand explained with the kid saying "screw 'em" and the singing of the Sweet Caroline - is dispicable.  I think his values flat-out suck.

It's time for him to sell the team to someone who cares about winning.

4 comments:

the gm at work said...

By the way, I'm going to congratulate myself on the following here:

1. The 1,101 words in this post is about 2/3 of the original length of this post. The rest of the venom will be saved for another day.
2. I refrained from using the word "sycophant" for the third straight post. I could have very well used it describing the fans who cheer this afternoon.

But I realized why the ownership group loves the pink hats so much, other than the fact that they generate the most revenue. They are pink hats themselves. Their core values and beliefs are the most closely aligned. It's too bad Sully from Medford or Good Will Hunting are still working construction and blowing all their earnings at the bar. If they were winning Nobel Prizes and making a ton of money, they could buy this team and align their values to the values of the fans who give a crap about winning games.

Anonymous said...

DV

This is getting absurd. I mean, if they're 0-9 on Monday, should we even bother watching them anymore? Would they have a realistic chance to make the playoffs? I know we're only talking about nine games, but at some point, you're only talking about 15 or 20 games. But a team that's 0-15 or 0-20 just can't possibly make the playoffs absent some miraculous turn around.

Forget all the other petty garbage--the Gonzalez contract, the Lebron merger, the soccer team, etc. They need to win. They need to win today. And they need to win a lot.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

0-15 just means they'll finish 117-30. 0-20 just means they'll finish 117-25. Best team ever. This lineup has everything. Speed. Power. Plate discipline. Every day is Christmas for Curt Young.

0-9 on Monday? Well, let's not think about it that way. Let's say they take 2-3 this weekend. They'll be 2-7! That's like the second half of a Pete Carroll football season!

John said...

If we go something like 8-16 in April, and follow it up with a 20-5 May(numbers are just rough, I don't know how many games we play in each month), would there be this much panic if those numbers were reversed? Or if we ended up being 28-21 in May with similar records in both months? I'm not saying this is the best team ever, not saying we are all set and everything is going to work out. Just saying that in typical Boston fashion, 6 games makes a season. If we're 0-9 on Monday then it will become a question of can we make the playoffs or did we dig ourselves in to too large of a hole. Winning the AL East does not really matter in the long run, getting to the playoffs is the main goal for the regular season.