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Fenway
08-08-2004, 05:43 PM
As a Red Sox fan I smell a rat...

http://redsoxnation.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=8881

Have we been conned?

Over the past few days, I have received e-mails from so called “baseball insiders” in Montreal and Washington that indicate the long term future of the Boston Red Sox will be on the agenda at the owners meeting in Philadelphia next week. Everything seems to hinge on what Bud Selig decides about Les Expos and where they will relocate. All signs point to Washington. Once MLB flips their hole card it could start the dominoes falling.

How does this effect The Olde Towne Team? The bigger question is, what are the long-term goals of the current ownership and it starts with the biggest elephant in the room, the future of Fenway Park itself. We were told back in early 2002 that a decision would be made by early 2003 on either reconstruction of Fenway or a new park. The team would conduct an engineering study to see exactly the condition of the park. Now it is the summer of 2004 and we still don’t know. Since I have to assume the ownership by now has the results of that study then I have to raise the question that the team in stalling for time. I believe the reason for the stall is they have been waiting for Selig to play his cards.

First you have to look back at how this ownership acquired the team. Because of the nature of the “Yawkey Trust” MLB didn’t have complete control of the outcome. While much has been written that HWL were the group that Selig wanted, I believe Selig was more motivated to keep somebody out of the owners club, Charles Dolan. Harrington in turn was determined not to sell the team to Joe O’Donnell and Steve Karp. As petty as this sounds, Harrington simply did not want to sell to someone who represents everything the Boston College elite loathes, an Irish-Catholic HARVARD man. In the last few hours when O’Donnell was still in the hunt Harrington destroyed the bid by extending the concession contract with Aramark. O’Donnell was blown out of the water.

3 years ago John Henry wanted out of South Florida and was very interested in buying Anaheim. Selig steered him to the Tom Werner, Les Otten and Larry Lucchino group. One look at the Red Sox front office depth chart shows us Les Otten while invisible is still very high up in the pecking order, ranked higher than Lucchino.

http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/bo...lub_context=bos (http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/bos/team/bos_frontoffice_dir.jsp?club_context=bos)

Front Office Directory
Officers
John W. Henry Principal Owner
Thomas C. Werner Chairman
David Ginsberg Vice Chairman
Phillip H. Morse Vice Chairman
Leslie B. Otten Vice Chairman
Larry Lucchino President/Chief Executive Officer
George J. Mitchell Director
Lucinda K. Treat Chief Legal Officer, New England Sports Ventures

Finally when the smoke cleared in December 2001 Selig and Harrington were happy. John Henry was free of the mess in Miami, Jeffrey Loria was bought off by given the Marlins and baseball became the caretaker of the Expos. (Loria had made it know that he would sue MLB if the Expos were contracted) The ironic part was that Loria winds up winning the World Series and now will get his new ballpark that John Henry gave up on.

MLB’s one-year care taking the Expo’s has now become three and counting. The franchise has been destroyed as Selig was so terrified that the Expos could win the wild card in 2003 he refused to let the team expand the roster on September 1. Indirectly this helped the Marlins win the wild card. There is still the ticking time bomb of the minority owners of the Expos lawsuit against MLB and Loria on RICO charges that is far from being resolved. MLB in their haste of swapping owners around somehow had the Quebec owners wind up with 6% of the Marlins. The late Doug Pappas more than anyone was following this case and I am sure MLB was relieved that his sudden death took some of the heat off.

Background link from the Toronto Globe and Mail.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Art...Sports/Baseball (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040517/EXPOS17/TPSports/Baseball)

The Expos message board follows the saga

http://mb3.theinsiders.com/fmontrealexposf...ge?topicID=7917 (http://mb3.theinsiders.com/fmontrealexposfrm1.showMessageRange?topicID=7917)

Ok you ask what does this have to do with the Red Sox? Maybe nothing, but maybe everything. For starters it has been rumored that when DC gets baseball Larry Lucchino will become the CEO of the franchise. He has strong ties to the DC market and has no great love for current Orioles management. Then we have the curious saga of Frank and Jamie McCourt who with Selig’s blessing became the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers winning out over other groups that the LA Times claimed were more solid financially. On the surface this sale makes no sense unless Selig wanted to grant membership to the owners club to McCourt. But why?

Meanwhile reports are starting to surface about the future of NESN. The Sox and Bruins channel is a cash cow but is held hostage by cable giant Comcast. The vast majority of license fees that NESN collects come from Comcast subscribers and Comcast would rather own than rent. Comcast just blew Charles Dolan (remember him? ) co-owned Fox Sports Chicago out of the water by starting a rival Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and getting contracts with the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks.

http://www.merchandisemart.com/pr/prJune2004/049546.html (http://www.merchandisemart.com/pr/prJune2004/049546.html)

Comcast SportsNet currently consists of two regional sports networks servicing the Philadelphia and Washington/Baltimore television markets. Together, the two networks reach over 7 million households in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia, and provide game coverage for the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, as well as various minor league and collegiate game telecasts. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will become the third member of the family on October 1, 2004 when it launches with game coverage of the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox.
There are strong rumors that Comcast may buy the Fox Sportsnet empire, in fact the network is being rebranded FSN, as Fox wants to divorce itself from the net. However Comcast is also looking at buying both NESN and YES. (and also the Cablevision system in Metro-New York ) NESN can command nearly 500M (this would include giving the buyer TV rights to the Red Sox and Bruins for 15-20 years). Then is it not a reach to suggest John Henry and Tom Werner then swap the Red Sox for the Dodgers? Where does Werner live and work? Hollywood. Where are the bulk of McCourt’s holdings? Boston. (and guess who owns the best land tract to build a new ballpark in Boston)

I was laughed at when I first broached this 3 months ago, but now I am hearing from “insiders” that I may be on target. This current ownership is at a major crossroads. The free agent fallout has begun with the Nomar trade and that will be a walk on the beach compared to what looms with Pedro. The fan base is disillusioned right now and if this team does not make it into the post season it may finally revolt. The headache of Fenway Park is not going away and buy selling off NESN and then swapping the Sox for the Dodgers, they can make a very nice return on their investment. McCourt gets what he wanted all along and Selig will be content.

Maybe I am 100% wrong, but all ownership has to do is announce their long-term stadium plans. Until they do I have to think we have been conned.

doublem23
08-08-2004, 06:12 PM
I guess since the Red Sox have are getting killed by the Yankees, there is little to do in Boston until Patriots' kick-off.

illinibk
08-08-2004, 07:02 PM
I'm too lazy and hungover to read the whole thing, can someone provide a Cliff's Notes version?

Mohoney
08-08-2004, 09:14 PM
I'm too lazy and hungover to read the whole thing, can someone provide a Cliff's Notes version?

Basically, Selig sucks.

MarqSox
08-08-2004, 10:39 PM
Whether it ends up happening or not, that's some severe paranoia.

dcb33
08-08-2004, 10:47 PM
Who gives a rat's rear end if they knock down "The Urinal-East." We all know how insecure Red Sox fans are anyway... I'm sure if Red Sox management built a better stadium than the one the Yankees plan to build they wouldn't mind at all...

MRKARNO
08-08-2004, 11:26 PM
That was a very interesting read Fenway, but I dont exactly get why Red Sox fans are being conned here. If McCourt and Henry were to do a swap, who does this hurt and why?

Baby Fisk
08-09-2004, 08:42 AM
Sounds pretty intense and byzantine. Can someone post a tag of the Cigarette Smoking Man?

Flight #24
08-09-2004, 10:26 AM
That was a very interesting read Fenway, but I dont exactly get why Red Sox fans are being conned here. If McCourt and Henry were to do a swap, who does this hurt and why?
This was exactly what I thought when I read this. Hell - if RedSox fans are as disillusioned with the team as the article suggests, why wouldn't they WELCOME a change in ownership?

No team moves, no players move, basically, the name at the top of the "Executive management" page on the team website changes and maybe the owners swap some cash. Fans should care about this....why?

Frater Perdurabo
08-09-2004, 12:20 PM
So where do the Trilateral Commission, the WTO and Lee Harvey Oswald fit in?

Seriously, when I started reading, I thought the ultimate feared result would be contraction of the White Sox. But if it is just the Expos moving to DC, while the owners of the Dodgers and Red Sox swap organizations, who really cares? I've never been to Fenway, but if the Red Sox get a new park, isn't that better for the team's revenues in the long run?

I'll never understand the fascination with dilapidated century old structures serving as venues for sporting events. If we want to preserve them as historical sites, great. But the more they are used as stadiums, the more they have to be maintained and therefore updated and altered to repair normal wear and tear.

HomeFish
08-09-2004, 12:29 PM
3 years ago John Henry wanted out of South Florida

This statement strangely reminds me of the one time I met John Henry.

I had gotten early to a Red Sox/Marlins game at Fenway in 2003 (the one where they scored all those runs before the first out and that they won like 25-7) and Henry was signing autographs behind one of the dugouts. Despite my hate of the Red Sox, I thought it would be cool to have him sign my ticket. (I found it amazing, by the way, that the owner could actually go out like that and sign autographs. If Reinsdorf tried it here, the results would be hilarious)

When I gave him my ticket, before he signed it, he held it up, looked at the matchup, and said "Florida Marlins". He then proceeded to gaze almost longingly towards left field for a few seconds. It was rather strange.