SBD/October 13, 2011/Franchises

Curt Schilling Blasts Red Sox Front Office For Handling Of Francona's Departure

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Media, former players upset with Globe's piece on Red Sox
The Boston Globe's front-page story yesterday on the Red Sox' late-season collapse is drawing harsh criticism, largely for its sources' portrayal of former manager Terry Francona. ESPN’s Curt Schilling on last night’s “Baseball Tonight” called the report a “character assassination piece.” Schilling, who played for the Red Sox from '04-08, said, “It’s the intent of the front office to give Terry a kick as he’s already outside the door.” Schilling called the move a “personal thing.” Schilling said the Red Sox owners have "ruined the 9-10 years of goodwill they’ve built there. … The people that did this embarrassed the franchise because stuff in that article can only come from one of three places: The team trainer, the team doctor or the executives in the front office.” Schilling added, "This was them prepping the road for the exits. It was a very low-class and horrible thing to do." He said the article “changes dynamically” what happens with the organization next season. Schilling: “I don’t think John Lackey can ever put that uniform on again. There are some guys that will walk on that field Opening Day next year and get booed louder than any New York Yankee that’s ever stepped foot (in Fenway Park). They’ve disgraced this organization, the players.” Schilling said, "If I'm a free agent, why would I got to that organization? Give me a reason, because there are other teams who can pay that kind of money" (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 10/12). Schilling added, "This could be the most abysmal Opening Day ceremony in the history of sports. These guys are going to get booed” (“The Dennis & Callahan Morning Show,” WEEI-FM, 10/13). Current TV's Keith Olbermann addressed the story in the closing segment of yesterday's "Countdown," calling it a "remarkable hatchet job." Olbermann said, "Whoever doesn't get the blame, they're probably the source. ... The Sox owners are the sources. The Boston Globe in fact comprises part of the Sox owners." The "first thing" John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner "need to do is find out which of them, or which of their minions, was so ethically bankrupt as to trash the men who made the team's success possible as those men went out the door." Olbermann: "In short, the wrong executives are leaving Boston" (Current TV, 10/12).

PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND: ESPN BOSTON's Gordon Edes wrote under the header, "Tito Victim Of Latest Sox Smear Campaign." Edes: "No one ever escapes clean, regardless of what you might have accomplished here." Edes notes on Sept. 2, "when the Red Sox held a nine-game lead in the wild card over the Tampa Bay Rays, no one was talking about Francona's alleged issues with his wife. That was considered his private business." Edes: "Perhaps even more harmful to Francona, and his future job prospects, were 'team sources' expressing concerns to the Globe about his use of pain medication, the implication that the manager may have been abusing that medication. ... Makes you wonder how much trust Sox players will have in their medical staff going forward, knowing that any issues they might have could be fair game for public consumption" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 10/12). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said the Globe story “connects to management." Kornheiser: "It’s management saying, ‘We’ve got to find a way to deflect anything from us so we’re going to tell you (about the clubhouse).' ... What management does in this is say, ‘Don’t blame us’” ("PTI," ESPN, 10/12). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, "There are so many things wrong with the Sox at this hour, it’s difficult to know where to start." Shaughnessy: "The manager is gone, the general manager is gone, the owners are in hiding, and the players are a loathsome lot totally unworthy of the money and adulation they receive. ... The Fenway lawn is scorched earth." Shaugnessy insists, "Apologies are in order, all around. John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino need to come out of hiding and say they are sorry for this embarrassment" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes, "It will be interesting to see how Henry, long [Theo] Epstein's biggest benefactor, now assesses the chaos in Boston in his former GM's wake." But Henry "seems more consumed with his new soccer toy in Liverpool than with his disgraced baseball team" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/13).

BEHIND IN THE COUNT: ESPN BOSTON's Jackie MacMullan wrote, "One of the most enviable franchises in baseball has been reduced to a fast-food punch line; a blueprint for excess, arrogance and entitlement." MacMullan added, "The Red Sox need new direction with new leadership. That includes the general manager, the manager and the players in the clubhouse" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 10/12). In New Jersey, Bob Klapisch writes the Sox "seem headed for a dark age." Klapisch: "Their likely new GM will inherit the job without any real-time experience. There’s no manager in place, nor is there an organizational plan to deal with the in-house crisis. ... The Yankees, by comparison, are a model of efficiency" (Bergen RECORD, 10/13). In S.F., Gwen Knapp writes under the header, "Nobody Can Collapse Like The Red Sox" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/13). ESPN's Colin Cowherd said the Red Sox are a "complete mess." Cowherd: "What does that tell you that the story go leaked?" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 10/12). Columnist Kevin Blackistone said the Globe report “has got to be embarrassing, not only to the city and to the fans and to their teammates” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/12). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said instead of blaming the players, “maybe it’s a cancerous upper management and you have to wonder how this is going to impact their ability to hire a top-notch general manager” and manager (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN2, 10/12).

HUGE GAP TO FILL: On Long Island, Ken Davidoff writes, "Amazing, to me, that Epstein would bolt Boston right after one of the worst collapses in baseball history." Yet for a franchise "whose inhabitants enjoyed the perception of being the industry model, this is a very surprising level of turbulence" (NEWSDAY, 10/13). CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller wrote the Red Sox "are on the verge of completing their most historically impactful deal since owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919." Miller: "You agree to allow that man [Epstein] out of his contract so he can move to the Cubs, it is a pivot point in franchise history" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/12). In Boston, Nick Cafardo writes Red Sox Senior VP & Assistant GM Ben Cherington will "likely become the new general manager," but wonders, "Is he equipped to be the person to lead the Sox out of this two-year malaise?" Former MLB GM and current MLB Network analyst Omar Minaya said of Cherington, "He’s been an assistant in the big market and I think that’s very important. He knows how to deal with the media and he’ll be his own man." Former Red Sox interim GM Mike Port said, "Diligent worker, solid ethics, low-key, and stable. Doesn’t get flustered about things and doesn’t aspire to be out front, but more focused on the task at hand." Padres GM Jed Hoyer, who worked with Cherington while with the Sox, said, "He’s gone from department to department, which I think is a huge advantage. He’s incredibly respected by people in office" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13).

HAVING SOME FUN: ESPN’s Stan Verrett, while previewing Brewers-Cardinals NLCS Game Four tonight said, “I don’t know if (P Kyle) Lohse has been playing video games and eating fried chicken, but he’s on twelve days rest!” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 10/13).
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