Curtis: Red Sox Ownership Finally, Fully Exposed As Businessmen, Not Baseball Lovers
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BOSTON (CBS) — Can we all, finally, simply admit who the owners of the Red Sox are?
They are cold-blooded, successful businessmen.
If you did not know this until now, the Terry Francona book is all the evidence you will need to reach this conclusion. They are by no means criminals and have had more on-field success than any previous ownership group. However, they are businessmen. The Red Sox are no different to John, Tom and Larry than the success with which their Rousch Fenway drivers handle 500 miles of left-hand turns or how Liverpool fairs in the Everton Derby. They are all a part of one big, happy, divided money-making Henry family.
The owners have not changed, they have just added more avenues by which to profit. I had no issues when they sold Red Sox Nation membership cards and Fenway bricks when all profits were in turn funneled to the on-field success of the baseball team I grew up loving. The problem arose when my vision for success no longer matched that of John Henry’s.
The first several years of the Henry lead stewardship of the franchise was a great period for both sides. The team was chasing a World Series that had eluded the franchise for 86 years, the rivalry with the Yankees was at a Fever Pitch (Hey lets invite Drew Barrymore on the field for the greatest moment in Boston sports history so we can enhance our image on a chick flick!) and fans were hungry and salivated over all things Sox.
But as we would later learn, that level of interest was simply impossible to maintain.
The biggest problem for Tom Werner’s TV show was that they won too soon. As we read throughout the brilliant Francona book, the on-field product was secondary to the ever-elusive ratings, and the pursuit sold far more than the repeat.
All 25 guys want a getaway day? No chance. Hurts the NESN bottom line.
Imagine that. The Red Sox prioritized Nielsen ratings over the health and well-being of their players.
We do not have to look far to see an owner who does the exact opposite. Robert Kraft almost annually fights to get Patriot games out of primetime to ensure the team is as rested as possible for the next week’s matchup. John, Tom and Larry think that is a silly business practice.
I honestly wonder what exactly the Sox owners got out of their six-figure fan marketing study two years ago. Here is what I would tell them, for free.
There is no need to air lame trivia shows where we can view college students’ abilities to match wits with a host who had a GPA of like a billion.
Women watch “The Bachelor” for dating shows, not guys in jorts in the right field stands of Fenway on “Sox Appeal.”
We did not need to hire a clown for a manager just so the team could launch “The Bobby Valentine Show.”
We do not need Wally working more hours than the iPhone 5 factory workers in China.
We just need a good on-field product.
Unfortunately, that is not enough.
Deep down I think there are members of Sox ownership that think the team won a World Series too soon. The wave of interest in 2003-04 was something never before seen and also likely never to be replicated.
The team won early, the owners expanded their empire and the Red Sox and their fans lost.
Maybe Tom can pitch that to NESN advertisers: “Biggest Loser, Red Sox Nation Edition.”