One thing became very clear to me today: John Henry and the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox are vastly distracted when it comes to handling both the demands of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club.
Really, there are two pretty strong indicators that came to light today alone. First, it took until the day of his arbitration hearing to reach an agreement with David Ortiz. The end game? A settlement of $14.575 million to play next season, making Ortiz the owner of the single largest salary for a pure DH in Major League Baseball history.
That is something for David Ortiz to hang his hat on, but not the front office.
Ortiz literally is going to be paid about twice what his value would be on the open market to perform one-dimensional duties for the Boston Red Sox, which includes, but is not limited to, sitting out during almost every interleague game. It took this long to meet exactly in the middle?
Good job, Mr. Henry. Good job.
The other glaring example comes out of England. Aside from the issues Henry and co. are faced with here in Boston, they now also have to deal with footballer Luis Suarez, who diminished the good name of the Liverpool Football Club by refusing to shake the hand of Manchester United's Patrice Evra before kickoff. This was both a shameful and disrespectful display of poor sportsmanship.
According to New York Times writer Rob Hughes:
This was the first time that Suárez had started a game since he was barred for eight matches for repeatedly calling Evra racist names when they competed against each other last October. Suárez claimed that the words he uttered, as used in his Uruguayan hometown, were not racist but could be affectionate. Evra, who is black and French, but understands Spanish well, said he was deeply offended.
Baseball fans, I'm sure you likely could care less about this. My point being that the Red Sox front office appear to have issues overseeing both clubs.
When ownership decides to spend money on Liverpool, Red Sox fans are burned wondering why exactly the team didn't go after free-agent X.
It is preposterous to assume that every fan knows and understands the minutiae involved in the business of baseball. Not every fan will grasp the idea and penalties involved in exceeding the luxury tax. Frankly, many don't give a damn.
This is Boston, home of the Red Sox. They play in "America's Most Beloved Ballpark" as public address announcer Carl Beane boasts at every single home game.
The fans of the Red Sox love the history and as of late, the winning tradition. Having a winter such as this, whereby the biggest name of the offseason is Cody Ross...(no offense, Cody), the fanbase has become angry and somewhat jilted, especially after the September collapse of '11.
Red Sox fans are burned by hearing general manager Ben Cherington tell WEEI's Rob Bradford:
"I wouldn't expect any major moves between now and Sunday," Cherington said. "We're still working on some stuff. Certainly the spring training roster is mostly what it's going to be."
The Red Sox will be competitive in 2012, that you can be sure. The question is, if the team falters and falls flat early, or late once again, who is left to blame? Theo Epstein? Terry Francona? John Lackey? Jonathan Papelbon? You see my point.
As much fun as I'm sure it is to be a billionaire and have the financial freedom to play around with owning a baseball team and a soccer team, the time has come to concentrate on one of them, because from the outside, it looks as though ownership has a bit too much on their plate.