Picked-up pieces while chuckling over the Yankees’ imitation of the 2011 Red Sox . . .
You have to hand it to John Henry. Overseeing the worst Boston baseball team since the mid ’60s . . . making a “fact-finding” mission across the country to watch Bobby Valentine’s painful, public breakdown . . . readying for a return home to more phony sellouts with John Farrell managing in the other dugout . . . and the owner of the Boston Red Sox has come to the conclusion that the answer to all of the Sox’ problems is . . .
. . . WE NEED MORE BILL JAMES!
Wow. Swell idea. Why not bring back Joe Kerrigan, Carl Everett, and Harry Frazee’s great-grandson, Max Frazee? Maybe we can round up Rick Pitino, Pete Carroll, Roger Clemens, Antoine Walker, Dave Lewis, Acie Earl, and Albert Haynesworth while we’re at it.
Bill James? There’s the answer. It’s just what we were all thinking.
The last time we heard anything from James was back in mid-July when he made comments about Joe Paterno that might have gotten another man fired. Contrarian Bill said Joe Pa knew less about Jerry Sandusky “than everyone else there.’’ Bill said, “Sandusky did not work for Paterno.’’ Bill said, “Paterno had no supervisory authority over Sandusky.’’ Bill said, “The people who are responsible for it are the media. The media created this smokescreen behind which Sandusky operated and then they’re trying to blame Paterno.’’
A few days after those remarks went public, Henry and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington had a talk with James. They told him to stop talking about Paterno. Then they issued a joint statement, distancing the ball club from James and telling us that they told him to cease and desist. I assumed they also revoked his phone privileges and recommended he stay in the windowless basement of his Kansas abode.
But now, as the walls collapse around Red Sox ownership, Henry tells the Herald’s Michael Silverman, “One of the biggest issues we’ve had is that Bill James was a great resource for us but fell out of favor over the last few years for reasons I don’t really understand. We’ve gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly.’’
James, we are told, was not a fan of the Carl Crawford acquisition.
Wow. Theo Epstein’s fault again, right? Apparently, everybody was powerless over the wishes of the bad boy GM in the final days.
More Bill James. We’re told that Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox. We’re told that Cherington is going to be allowed to actually be a general manager. We’re told that Bobby Valentine gets to manage for the rest of the year even though he’s morphing into Charlie Sheen. And now we’re told that we need more Bill James.
Great. Let’s get some data to find out how the Sox can solve their problems. All those losses certainly must have something to do with UZR and Wins Above Replacement.
Who needs human interaction or eye contact? More Bill James is guaranteed to make the Sox right.
. . .
I got my memo from the Patriots regarding the mechanics of covering the team during the week. It was only slightly more complex and intimidating than the blueprints for the old MX missile. A sample: “Throughout the 2012 season, the Patriots will use the RED LEVEL Press Box as their media workroom as well as the press conferences with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. Media Check-In will begin approximately 30 minutes prior to our first media availability of the day. For access to the locker room, please meet a member of the Patriots media relations staff at security command approximately five minutes before the locker room opens (11:10 a.m.) for an escort to the locker room . . . For the time being, we will plan on conducting Tom Brady’s weekly media availability on Wednesdays during the season in the visiting locker room. You are welcome to arrive any time after 10:45 a.m. at security command for early access to the visitor’s locker room to set up for the press availability. A media relations representative will escort you to the visitor’s locker room. A mult-box will be supplied for an audio feed of the availability . . . The weekly conference calls with the opposing team will be conducted in one of two locations, depending on the time of day. When calls are scheduled between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., we will host those calls in the Officials Locker Room for convenience to the Patriots Locker Room during the open locker room period. Prior to 11 a.m. and after 12:15 p.m., we will conduct the conference calls from the back of the Blue Level Press Box (same line we use during the draft).’’
Wow. Think I’ll just take the easy way out and go to the Pentagon to cover the next gathering of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bet the Pentagon has “security command.’’
. . .
Speaking of the Patriots and the media, has any local outlet fallen faster than the once-great Channel 4, which recently deemed Steve DeOssie unfit for “Sports Final” and “Fifth Quarter” because he attended a New York Giants pep rally before February’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis? DeOssie’s son, Zak, plays for the Giants. “All Access” Channel 4 is a pom-pom-waving disgrace.
. . .
I am not alone in noticing the similarities between Larry Lucchino’s “varsity” letter to Red Sox season ticket-holders in July and John Henry’s missive to the Liverpool fans this week:
Larry: “Our play on the field has at times tested the mettle of the faithful . . .”
John: “I am as disappointed as anyone connected with the Liverpool Football Club . . .”
Larry: “If someone can further help this club, and if the deal makes sense, we will be aggressive. We want to play October baseball this year.’’
John: “No one should doubt our commitment to the club . . . We will deliver what every long-term supporter of Liverpool Football Club aches for.’’
. . .
The Red Sox’ 162-game total, starting Sept. 1, 2011, through Sept. 2, 2012: 69 wins, 93 losses. Sports Illustrated is honoring the Sox “dysfunction” on this week’s cover.
. . .
Unfortunate starting pitcher Zach Stewart is all the Sox have left from the Kevin Youkilis trade. Stewart wore No. 47 when he was lit up in Anaheim last week. It’s a little-known fact that Terry Francona wore No. 47 with the Sox for eight years. The manager’s uniform top was always covered by his Valvoline-changing red fleece. Bruce Hurst is the best Red Sox No. 47 in my memory.
. . .
Can’t decide who’s more annoying: Penn State football fans who are defiant and present themselves as victims, or Lance Armstrong, who is still going around saying he won seven Tours de France. The NCAA should have taken football away from Happy Valley for a year or two. And cheatin’ Lance continues to insult our intelligence. Read Buzz Bissinger’s skull-imploding defense of Armstrong on the cover of Newsweek. All we need now is Bill “Steroids Are Good For All Of Us” James telling us that it was OK for Lance to cheat.
. . .
Imagine if the Sox get payback against the Orioles this year. Can’t you just see the dog pile at home plate if the Sox eliminate Baltimore in late September on a cheesy single to left by Pedro Ciriaco?
. . .
Sorry if this column is too short. I’m a little winded after running a sub-three-hour marathon with Paul Ryan.Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.