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OAK LAWN SOX FAN
12-22-2003, 03:14 PM
Another shot at the south side .

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By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com


Dec. 21

The book will be titled, "The Seduction," and as this was written, the ending had not been determined. The seduction of the Red Sox by Alex Rodriguez, aided and abetted by Tom Hicks, became a tapestry of the 30-something years of the labor-management cold war, monumental egos, teammate fragmentation and sports' greatest rivalry played out in New England as the biggest story of the year -- above the incredible run of a local football team that might be the best-run team in any sport.


Larry Lucchino's hard-line stance halted the deal's momentum.


Understand, this all started with A-Rod's desire to play on a winner, and his understanding that Boston was his best (and perhaps only) alternative. It fit with Hicks' financial stability and his impending problems with the 60/40 debt-equity rule. It fit that the two biggest contracts in sports history could be played against one another, since Red Sox owner John Henry had made a private promise to Manny Ramirez that he would try to trade him.

Rodriguez and Theo Epstein did reach an agreement under which A-Rod would restructure his contract by $28 million. But Gene Orza, still fighting the "30-Year War," nixed it. Then when Larry Lucchino, another cold-war warrior, blasted Orza and made a statement that separated Rodriguez from his fellow players, it blew up any immediate compromise or the hope that someone rational like Michael Weiner and Rob Manfred could be brought into the equation. It should be said that for one man, Orza, to anoint himself with the god-like authority to establish arbitrary valuations of benefits agreed upon by a player and general manager reeks of the height of arrogance. But when Lucchino played his Khrushchev routine there was no chance at an immediate compromise.

Complicating things was Hicks' hopeless leaking of information in Texas, which clearly disgusted Henry, who does his business where it should be done -- in private. Not to mention the still-unexplained notion that Hicks should get paid to save $95 million (present-day value) when everyone from Tucson to Tucumcari knows John Hart and Buck Showalter want to make the deal and move on to Rich Aurilia and Sidney Ponson.


Garciaparra


While so much has been fixated on Rodriguez's rights, his attempt to make this trade work has essentially pushed Nomar Garciaparra out the door to a place, if the deal happens, that Nomar isn't exactly thrilled about. The South Side of Chicago isn't exactly like the Cape Cod community where he and Mia Hamm have purchased a house. If it falls through, forget Nomar signing long-term because when the Red Sox made a four-year, $48 million offer (with a demand that Garciaparra make at least eight appearances for the club) a month ago, Lucchino told agent Arn Tellem that they went from $60 million to $48 million in seven months because of a market correction that would be defined by Miguel Tejada, whose market value was set by Lucchino at $9 million. That means Garciaparra is worth 33 percent more than Tejada, which now that Tejada is getting $12 million a year from the Orioles, sets Garciaparra's worth at $16 million. Oops.

Then there are the hard feelings in the locker room. Kevin Millar, told that the deal was essentially done, went on ESPN and said he'd rather have A-Rod than Nomar playing shortstop. Garciaparra was not pleased. "I felt like an idiot, I shouldn't have said anything but, 'no comment,' " Millar said. "To say one would take A-Rod is like saying I'd take Mark McGwire -- almost anyone -- ahead of me. Look, I never was being critical of Nomar's game. He's a Hall of Fame player and I love his game. I just bleeped up." They talked it out. But ...

Hey, A-Rod wouldn't exactly be going back to a bunch of jolly fellows with open arms. Rodriguez clearly tried to get out. That led to talks with Todd Walker until Michael Young, arguably the league's best defensive second baseman, said he didn't want to play short, which started the Aurilia talks. Hicks and A-Rod may be fine, but Alex and Buck, Alex and teammates? That may be a rough navigation, as great as he is, as hard as he plays.

The Red Sox understandably were seduced because Rodriguez is the best player in baseball. But when Epstein then made the second deal for Magglio Ordonez, the seduction went further since New Englanders were mesmerized by the image of A-Rod, Ordonez, Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke standing at a podium. Now to just go to spring training with a team that set attendance records, with the addition of two extraordinary pitchers, with an ownership that continually demonstrates its respect for its audience, would be a letdown. At least until the games begin.

As of Sunday afternoon, everything had ground to a halt. The Red Sox apparently will respond when and if Boras has something new to offer them from Hicks and the union, which despite the tireless effort Boras has put into making it happen may not be enough.

Then again, perhaps the seduction will have a happy ending and A-Rod and the Red Sox will live happily ever after. Alex was sincere. So were Henry and Epstein and Boras. But when hundreds of millions of dollars, egos and 30 years of labor-management wars get involved, it's hard to maintain the romantic atmosphere when the soundtrack is "Lawyers, Guns and Money."

News and notes


The Red Sox have been working on signing Ryan Dempster, hoping to have him rehabbed by midseason. They won't find many pitchers with better makeups.


Is it collusion? Not really, but there are clearly "suggested" guidelines where baseball's chief labor counsel Frank Coonelly and the commissioner's office have steered clubs. How else did Lucchino definitively claim he knew Tejada was going to make $9 million? Why else did so many second-tier outfielders end up with the two-year, $6 million-tastes-like-chicken deals?


Actually, Carl Everett got two years, $7.5 million, which is a good deal for the Expos. And hats off to agent Larry Reynolds, who got Everett to a place where he can succeed and no one will concentrate on anything but his production and how hard he plays.


Negotiations have been ongoing, but it seems increasingly likely that Vladimir Guerrero will end up with the Orioles.

Defensively speaking
More and more teams are using complex systems to evaluate players defensively. "We use our eyes as well as a combination of statistical analyses to rate players," said one general manager. "We feel it tells us a lot."


Reese


For instance, when the Red Sox were looking for a second baseman, their system showed that Pokey Reese two years ago was far and away the best second baseman in the game, which corroborated the wise eyes of Bill Lajoie. When the Oakland A's were in pursuit of Mike Cameron, it was partially because their complex system showed that he was far and away the best defensive center fielder in the majors, followed by Torii Hunter and Mark Kotsay (before Andruw Jones).

Another team's system makes the following observations:


Doug Mientkiewicz is clearly the best first baseman, followed by J.T. Snow.


Mark Ellis and Adam Kennedy ranked 1-2 in the American League at second base, with Placido Polanco right near them.


Eric Chavez is the best at third, better this season than Scott Rolen.


A-Rod and Nomar are far ahead of Derek Jeter, while Orlando Cabrera is far better than his reputation.


Jacque Jones and Garret Anderson are the top left fielders. Ichiro Suzuki the best right fielder.


The outfielder who ranks the worst on two different clubs' systems? Juan Gonzalez.

maurice
12-22-2003, 03:36 PM
I e-mailed Gammons this morning. I'm shocked that he didn't write back.

IIRC, Cape Cod is more than 70 miles from Fenway. Even assuming for the sake of argument the cubbie troll presumption that the entire South Side of Chicago is a very bad place, Gammons is implying that Cape Cod is significantly better than any place within a 70 mile radius of the Cell, an area which includes several of the wealthiest shore-line communities in the nation.

I can understand a player wanting to play for a better owner than JR or in a warmer climate than Chicago, but the Boston metro area cannot carry the Chicago metro area's jock. Boston, in particular, is vastly overrated.

PaulDrake
12-22-2003, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by maurice
I e-mailed Gammons this morning. I'm shocked that he didn't write back.

IIRC, Cape Cod is more than 70 miles from Fenway. Even assuming for the sake of argument the cubbie troll presumption that the entire South Side of Chicago is a very bad place, Gammons is implying that Cape Cod is significantly better than any place within a 70 mile radius of the Cell, an area which includes several of the wealthiest shore-line communities in the nation.

I can understand a player wanting to play for a better owner than JR or in a warmer climate than Chicago, but the Boston metro area cannot carry the Chicago metro area's jock. Boston, in particular, is vastly overrated. Two of those shoreline communities are among the ten wealthiest in the nation. Nine of the top fifty wealthiest (using median family income) are in the Chicago area. I'm sure Gammons forgot to mention that.

dickallen15
12-22-2003, 04:32 PM
At least Chicago has dentists. Judging from Gammons teeth, they don't have them in Boston. He really needs to shut up. His columns have turned into 100% fiction.

rcescato
12-22-2003, 05:57 PM
i really don't care what gammons said because he is mr boston globe. but if he is ripping on the southside for living then
he is ripping on the city of chicago. just because you play for the
sox doesn't mean you can't live anywhere in chicagoland.
rich

Palehose13
12-22-2003, 07:45 PM
Cape Cod is absolutely beautiful.

doublem23
12-22-2003, 07:46 PM
Nomar is so whipped.

Daver
12-22-2003, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by OAK LAWN SOX FAN
Another shot at the south side .

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com



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longshot7
12-23-2003, 01:03 AM
I don't think he was ripping us. Hell, if I bought a house in any market, I wouldn't want to be traded elsewhere. It's that simple.

SSN721
12-23-2003, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by maurice
I e-mailed Gammons this morning. I'm shocked that he didn't write back.

IIRC, Cape Cod is more than 70 miles from Fenway. Even assuming for the sake of argument the cubbie troll presumption that the entire South Side of Chicago is a very bad place, Gammons is implying that Cape Cod is significantly better than any place within a 70 mile radius of the Cell, an area which includes several of the wealthiest shore-line communities in the nation.

I can understand a player wanting to play for a better owner than JR or in a warmer climate than Chicago, but the Boston metro area cannot carry the Chicago metro area's jock. Boston, in particular, is vastly overrated.

I completely agree that Gammons assessment of this area is way out of whack and obviously going by reputation instead of actually knowing from personal experience. A reputation I am sure gained by many other people who have never visited the area either. It is ridiculous to assume that Nomar couldnt find another house or area as nice as Cape Cod in this area. Unless of course they liked living next to the Kennedys and other east coast royalty, maybe that is why Chicago is too lowly for Gammons. But I will say that I do not think Boston is ovverrated. I love Chicago and it is truly my favorite place in the world and the city I love. But I have been to Boston many times and would definately say it is my second favorite city in the country, that being said, still think Gammons is a dope. :D:

maurice
12-23-2003, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by SSN721
I do not think Boston is ovverrated. I love Chicago and it is truly my favorite place in the world and the city I love. But I have been to Boston many times and would definately say it is my second favorite city in the country, that being said, still think Gammons is a dope. :D:

This reminds me of the "favorite cities to visit" thread. :D:

Chicago is #1, but there are numerous cities I would rate higher than Boston. Some aspects of Boston are really nice, but the waterfront area is terribly disappointing. Boston rates closer to Cleveland than to Chicago in my book.

mdep524
12-23-2003, 11:16 AM
Gammons is terrible, maybe he should get over himself and begin reporting on baseball, not the city of Boston. You know, Phil Rogers writes columns for espn.com sometimes too, and you rarely see a Chicago bias in his coverage. Rogers does have more Chicago stuff in his articles, because he knows what is going on here better, but he's hardly a Petter Gammons.

Then, on top of Gammons all Red Sox (and Yankees) all the time coverage, he turns around and rips Chicago for no reaosn. What a jerk.

SSN721
12-23-2003, 11:20 AM
Originally posted by maurice
This reminds me of the "favorite cities to visit" thread. :D:

Chicago is #1, but there are numerous cities I would rate higher than Boston. Some aspects of Boston are really nice, but the waterfront area is terribly disappointing. Boston rates closer to Cleveland than to Chicago in my book.

I dont mean to make this thread into an old one, just wanted to say that I agree with you on the waterfront that it is very dissapointing. The whole city bordering the ocean and its all docks, wharves and industry, no parks or beaches. I think I find the historical aspects of Boston endearing to myself. I am very big on American history and the city gave me goosebumps the first time I was there thinking about all the historical people and events that walked the same streets and had occured there. Okay I will now shut up in my defense of Boston, Chicago is still much better. :)

TheNotoriousKJC
12-23-2003, 04:44 PM
Peter Gammons aka "Satan" to Marlins fans is so full of it no words can describe it. Not only is the man a homer ( Boston season ticket holder ) but he is so stuborn that he can never admit to being wrong.

Even while the Fish led the Wild Card race he claimed they would trade Mikey Lowell to the cubs...