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SBD Global/January 17, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Terry Francona's Book Draws "Unflattering Portrait" Of Fenway Sports Group

An excerpt from former MLB Boston Red Sox Manager TERRY FRANCONA's new book that will appear in this week's Sports Illustrated "draws an unflattering portrait" of Red Sox and Liverpool FC Owner Fenway Sports Group, characterizing FSG as "meddlesome, obsessed with TV ratings, distracted by its soccer ventures, and craving more stars and 'sex symbols,'" according to Gordon Edes of ESPN BOSTON. Francona in the book wrote, "I don't think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It's revenue, and I know that's their right and their interest because they're owners -- and they're good owners. But they don't love the game. It's still more of a toy or a hobby for them." Edes wrote the "fixation with declining TV ratings led to the club commissioning a $100,000 market research survey, the results of which were discussed in November 2010, a little more than a month after the Sox had failed to make the playoffs, primarily because of a devastating run of injuries." Cubs President of Baseball Operations and former Red Sox GM THEO EPSTEIN "offers one of the most damning indictments" in the excerpt. Epstein said, "They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We'd become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be" (ESPN BOSTON, 1/15).

EXCEPTION TO THE EXCERPT: Francona said that the excerpts in SI "make the characterization sound worse than it really is." He added that "when people read the book they'll understand the portrayal of ownership is not as harsh as it may seem." Francona: "The last chapter is hard because it was a hard ending. I’m sure there will be a thing or two that will piss somebody off that I didn’t think would, but I’ve read it seven times and me and [co-author Dan Shaughnessy] made change after change because I wanted it to be good, I wanted it to be interesting and I also wanted it to preserve the clubhouse because I do believe in that so much" (ESPN, 1/15). Francona added, "There's context. What's in Sports Illustrated isn't the whole story." The Boston Globe, where Shaughnessy works as a columnist, will "run excerpts from the book for three consecutive days starting Jan. 27." Shaughnessy will "write about the making of the book and his relationship with Francona for the Globe Sunday magazine" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/16).
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