Picked-up pieces while thinking that this might not be the best time for the Red Sox to be raising ticket prices …
Given the confusion, indecision, and inverted manner in which the Red Sox’ search for a new chief baseball officer is unfolding, here’s a clip-and-save “help wanted ad” detailing what is required to land the job, and what is expected of the new CBO.
CHIEF BASEBALL OFFICER FOR ICONIC
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FRANCHISE
General requirements and duties:
Highly motivated candidate with strong interpersonal skills, collaborative team skills, and ability to deal with ambiguity.
Candidate will report to team’s principal owner, team chairman, and team president/CEO. Candidate will be expected to provide public explanation for team decisions.
Candidate will be encouraged to ensure franchise does not pay luxury-tax penalties and remains under the top 10 MLB player payrolls.
Candidate will answer to team’s major league manager, who will be part of the interview process for this position.
Candidate must work well with others (many “others”). Needs to work with 59 vice presidents, 36 analytics experts, plus numerous assistant general managers and executive vice presidents already in place.
Candidate will be accountable for decisions made by all of the above. Must be prepared to take the blame for everything.
Candidate is discouraged from buying real estate in Greater Boston. This is generally a short-term position.
Sounds like a swell job, no?
The Sox fired Chaim Bloom more than three weeks ago and have explained that finding a successor will be a “robust” and lengthy process. The new person will inherit a long-serving senior leadership team: Brian O’Halloran, who was general manager and has become executive vice president of baseball operations; Raquel Ferreira, an executive vice president and assistant GM; Eddie Romero, who shares the same titles as Ferreira; and Mike Groopman, a senior vice president and assistant GM.
Perhaps the most delicate detail involves manager Alex Cora, winner of a power struggle with Bloom. Cora gets more powerful every day. Going into the final year of his contract, he was comfortable telling the media he’s coming back before team officials told us he was coming back.
Cora also anointed Chris Sale 2024′s Opening Day starter and told reporters that he’ll be involved in the selection of Bloom’s successor (validated by Sam Kennedy Monday). That’s a lot of empowerment for a manager who has finished in last place in back-to-back seasons.
This is not the norm in baseball in 2023. The Mets, a high-payroll mess in 2023, hired Harvard whiz kid David Stearns to clean things up, and the first thing Stearns did was fire popular manager Buck Showalter. The Mets are Stearns’s team.
In Boston, it’s Cora’s team. Ownership loves him, and he’s going to have power over the new chief baseball officer, just as he did over poor Chaim Bloom. Evidently, Cora even gets to keep all of his coaches.
Question: Exactly what is this new baseball boss supposed to do now that the last-place Sox seem to have everything set?
“If you want to run a baseball organization, this is where you want to be,” said Kennedy. “You want to be in Boston. Why? Because it matters here more than anywhere else. So if you’re not up for that challenge, thanks but no thanks.”
Wow. Everybody’s already in place. You don’t get to spend like the Sox spent in the old days. You have a gaggle of potential second-guessers already in place. But you will take all the blame while ownership is busy broadening the Fenway Sports Group portfolio.
Who wouldn’t want to come here?
▪ Quiz: Name four pitchers with 300 wins and 4,000 strikeouts (answer below).
▪ Anybody else longing for the golden days of Matt Patricia’s high-flying offense? In four snore-fests under Bill O’Brien, the Patriots have scored 13.8 points per game. If they lose Sunday, are we going to be hearing cries to “Tank for Caleb Williams”?
▪ Thankfully, the Tim Wakefield tributes will keep his memory alive forever. Re-watching Wake on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, when he appeared perfectly healthy as recently as Aug. 30, it was striking to hear him tell us that his daughter plans to become a pediatric oncologist because of her awareness of the mission of the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Meanwhile, Lisa Scherber, the saint who has been the Jimmy Fund clinic’s “play lady” since 1992, posted a photo of Wakefield carrying a patient on his back when the Sox had a Jimmy Fund event at Wrigley Field back in 2008.
“Tim came to meet our teens at a Red Sox event,” recalled Scherber. “He noticed Robbie, who had lost his leg, hopping up and down the stairs to get closer. Tim ran up & carried Robbie on his back to the front. That moment and every moment with Tim was beautiful.”
▪ Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, and Jrue Holiday. Filling out the starting five, does he go big and stick with 37-year-old Al Horford or go small with Derrick White? I say go small. White takes the ball-handling pressure off Tatum and (especially) Brown. I like Horford better off the bench. Time for Payton Pritchard to get some real minutes.
▪ Break Up The Lions. They are going to run away with the NFC North. Detroit’s 3-1 football team could easily be 4-0. The Lions have won one playoff game (vs. Dallas in 1991) since 1957. Think about that for a second.
▪ Deion Sanders chose rapper DaBaby to deliver a pep talk to Coach Prime’s Colorado team before last Saturday’s home loss to USC. DaBaby’s résumé includes homophobic and misogynistic remarks, spreading misinformation about HIV and AIDS, and assaulting a female fan at a concert. He also shot and killed a teenager in a Walmart in 2018, claiming self-defense, and was never charged.
Introducing DaBaby to inspire his team, Deion said, “I got somebody else who went through something, who dealt with some issues. That had to regroup. Veered off a little bit. Got back on track.”
Inspiring stuff indeed.
▪ Best part of postseason baseball on TV? We are free of NESN’s greedy, insulting quick-cuts to commercial at the end of innings. In the postseason, we actually see a line score, and the announcers are allowed to wrap things up at the end of every half-inning.
▪ Tuesday’s wild-card game at the Trop drew 19,704 — the smallest non-COVID playoff crowd since the 1919 World Series, when one of the teams (White Sox) was trying to lose.
▪ Dave Dombrowski’s Phillies looked positively fearsome in the two-game sweep of Miami. Let’s see how they do against the mighty Braves. Here’s hoping for Braves vs. Dodgers and Astros vs. Orioles in the LCS.
▪ Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña (41 homers, 73 steals) became the fifth member of the 40-40 club (40 homers, 40 stolen bases in a season). The others are Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Barry Bonds, and Jose Canseco.
In 1994, Mickey Mantle told me, “40-40? If I knew that was gonna be such a big deal, I’d have done it every year!” (Mantle hit 40 or more homers four times, but never stole more than 21 bases.)
If not for Acuña’s amazing season, Mookie Betts this year would join Frank Robinson as the only men to win an MVP in both leagues.
▪ Definition of optimism: Me requesting a press credential for the 2038 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline.
▪ Yankees, Mets, Jets, Giants. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. New York fans now turn their eyes to the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils, and Islanders.
▪ One of my great readers says he thinks of Brooks Robinson every time he sees “Brooks was here” carved into the Maine rooming house in “The Shawshank Redemption.”
▪ Pro football Hall of Famer Lesley Visser covered the late Russ Francis when he was an All-World tight end for the Patriots in the 1970s. Colleague Leigh Montville recalled, “Lesley and Francis played tennis in Miami before a game against the Dolphins one year and Francis didn’t have sneakers so he played barefoot. He jumped offside two or three times the next day. I think his feet were burned.”
Weighing in from Florida this past week, Visser recalled, “The media/player relationship was so different then. We traveled with the team. One time, in the fall, Russ took me up in his glider to see the foliage — like something from ‘Out of Africa’!
“He was a very unique guy who loved life. He was Gronk before Gronk and Kelce before Kelce.”
▪ There has been too much death in our sports world the last two weeks, and the loss of former Globe Red Sox reporter Chris Snow was a blow to everyone who knew him. We only had Chris for a short time at the Globe (he met his brave wife, Kelsie, when she was a Globe intern in 2005) before he went on to a career in NHL front offices, ultimately landing a position as assistant general manager of the Calgary Flames.
A Melrose native and Syracuse grad, Chris died after a four-year battle with ALS and spent his final years as a fund-raiser and advocate for victims of the disease.
▪ Pass Go! and collect $200 if you knew that onetime Red Sox outfielder/pinch hitter Carroll Hardy was on deck when Rich Rollins popped up for the Twins, helping to clinch the pennant for the Impossible Dream Red Sox in 1967. Hardy was famous for being the only man ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams.
▪ Collect another $200 if you are aware that Pie Traynor is a Cape Cod League Hall of Famer who played for Falmouth and Oak Bluffs in 1919. Rhode Island native and hockey legend Lou Lamoriello is another CCL Hall of Famer. Lamoriello played for Harwich, Orleans, and Bourne in the early 1960s.
▪ It’s going to be a big bowl of awkward if Curt Schilling shows up when the Red Sox honor their 2004 curse-busting world champions next summer.
▪ Quiz answer: Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan.