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News Archive for December 2001
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December 28, 2001

Reilly vows a hard look at Sox deal -- Wants to ensure sale fair to charities
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said yesterday that he was ''troubled'' by aspects of the Boston Red Sox sale and vowed to determine whether charities were shortchanged by the team's rejection of an offer that was $90 million higher than Florida financier John Henry's winning bid.

AG rips Sox: Reilly: Team won't divulge info on sale
Greg Gatlin, Boston Herald

Attorney General Tom Reilly yesterday blasted the Red Sox for refusing to turn over key documents related to the team's record $700 million sale, suggesting the Sox could be shortchanging public charities by rejecting the highest bid for the team.

Spotlight swinging to Harrington's role
Cosmo Macero Jr., Boston Herald

John Harrington's good will reserves ran out long ago - right about the time he told Beacon Hill lawmakers that $313 million in public handouts for a ballpark wasn't enough. So let's say Harrington has been deficit spending from his friends-in-high-places account during the ugly denouement of the Red Sox sale. Yesterday, the collection agent finally came knocking. "We need to find out exactly what happened,'' said Attorney General Tom Reilly. "If everything is fine . . . show us.''

This double play could save Selig
Gary Peterson, Contra Costa Times

In all of baseball there is no more tiresome tactical ploy than the fake-to-third-base-fake-to-first-base pickoff maneuver. At least there wasn't until commissioner Bud Selig began peddling the hokum of contraction. By now it should be obvious to even the most devoted delusionist that contraction is nothing more than a lot of fuss and bluster without any upside. Worse, it creates more problems (approximately several) than it solves (approximately none).


December 27, 2001

Sox detail problems in $790m bid
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Attorneys for the Boston Red Sox offered new details yesterday on why the team and its limited partners rejected an offer for the franchise that was $90 million higher than the winning bid submitted by Florida financier John Henry.

Reilly promises closer scrutiny on Sox sale
Greg Gatlin, Boston Herald

Attorney General Tom Reilly slammed the Boston Red Sox today for its handling of the team sale so far, saying the Sox have not been forthcoming in providing information on the sale process.  Reilly said his office has requested documents and other information from the team, and has not been given that information. He made clear that he does not plan to rubber stamp the team sale.

Attorney general says Red Sox are withholding sale documents
John Mcelhenny, Associated Press

The owners of the Boston Red Sox have refused to turn over documents detailing the offers made to buy the team last week, Attorney General Tom Reilly said on Thursday.


December 21, 2001

Statement from Red Sox CEO John Harrington

I am delighted to announce that the Boston Red Sox partners have voted unanimously this evening to sell 100% of the team's interests to the group led by John Henry, subject to approval by Major League Baseball.

This has been an intensely competitive process, and the John Henry group has been selected for several reasons:

First -- and most important to our fans -- John Henry, Tom Werner, George Mitchell, Les Otten and Larry Lucchino are deeply involved and passionate about baseball, and they are committed to our team. They have the resources to continue our quest to beat the Yankees and to win a World Series.

Second, is the group's commitment to our community. Tom and Jean Yawkey redefined the relationship between the Red Sox and this community and they set a very high standard for any subsequent owner. I am confident that with members of this group including Ben Cammarata, Ed Eskandarian, Marty Trust and George Mitchell, who have deep New England roots, they understand the special legacy of the Red Sox and will preserve it.

Third -- they are the highest qualified bidders.

My goals for this sale were clear from the outset: to have an intensely competitive and fair process that would invite wide participation, yield a new owner committed to our team with the resources to move it forward, and maximize the value for Jean Yawkey's charitable trust, a responsibility I take very seriously. We have achieved that and have broken all records for the sale price of any baseball team in history, in spite of the economy and the challenges of this fall. This unprecedented value is a tribute to the loyalty and support of our fans, who have made this a storied franchise. And I am very proud of what we have accomplished for Jean and Tom Yawkey, who worked so hard to transform the Red Sox into one of professional sports' most treasured teams.

Although this transaction, once completed, will mark the end of the Yawkey baseball era, their generous contribution of the proceeds from this sale will continue to benefit this community through their foundation for a long time to come.

I want to thank my partners for their unanimous support and I am hopeful that we will be able to move this process forward expeditiously and will be requesting that this transaction be on the agenda for Major League Baseball's meeting in January.

Our goal is to complete the process and have new ownership for the team in place for the start of the season.

Thank you and good night.

Boston Red Sox sold for a record $700 million
Art Martone, Providence Journal

After a day of intrigue and suspense that appeared to scuttle any hopes of an imminent sale, the Boston Red Sox last night announced that the storied baseball franchise is being sold to John Henry and Tom Werner for $660 million, more than double the previous record sale for a baseball team.

Rigged sale leaves Sox shortchanged
George Kimball, Boston Herald

If you're wondering if this one was in the bag all along, you're not alone. The real question is: Why did they bother going through the charade in the first place?

The fix was in
Cosmo Macero Jr., Boston Herald

So the fix was really in on the Red Sox sale, as Larry Moulter warned us. But leave it to John Harrington to almost blow the game even when it's rigged.

Henry was Scrooging Marlins fans all along
Charles Elmore, Palm Beach Post

This is the story of a Christmas miracle. John Henry, the Tiny Tim of baseball owners, was too poor to build the Florida Marlins a stadium with private money. He thought he could. He said he could. But when he looked in his pocket, the money was gone! He had to beg in the streets for $400 million.

And then, five days before Christmas, something wonderful happened. John Henry and some friends found a record $663 million to buy the Boston Red Sox, reports said. It was a miracle. He looked in his pocket, and the money was there! Some say John Henry's wallet grew 10 times that day.

Selig's support tied to loyalties
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's open support for the winning bidders in the sale of the Red Sox was inextricably connected to his personal ties to the men involved - all Selig loyalists in the past - and his intentions to eliminate two franchises, including the Montreal Expos. ... ''Bud has to deliver the Red Sox to the Henry group,'' one high-ranking executive of a Major League club said yesterday ... ''If he doesn't, contraction is fouled up, because then he can't get Loria to buy the Marlins.''

What they call hardball
Steve Bailey, Boston Globe Staff, 12/21/2001

I can just imagine the congressional hearing into this whole sorry mess that the sale of the Boston Red Sox has become. US Representative William Delahunt, lifelong Red Sox fan and member of the House Judiciary Committee, is questioning Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig about his furious, behind-the-scenes maneuvering on behalf of the group headed by Florida Marlins owner John Henry.

Delahunt: Commissioner, is there anything of value Mr. Henry could have delivered to you in exchange for your support?

Selig: What are you suggesting, congressman?

... Yes, Bud Selig is driving this bus, not John Harrington.

Red Sox select Henry group -- Marlins owner giddy after Boston accepts $660 million bid
Mike Phillips, Miami Herald

Marlins owner John Henry was giddy last summer when he took a stroll around Fenway Park and went inside the scoreboard for a bird's eye view from inside the ancient park's famed Green Monster.

Former Fish owner to buy Red Sox
Dayn Perry, (Insider)

John Henry, the man who's sustained such staggering losses as a baseball owner that he jumped at the chance to buy another team, placed the winning bid in the auction of the Boston Red Sox. The New York Times reports that the group headed up by Henry placed a bid of $660 million to buy controlling interest of the Red Sox and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network.


And, for me, two bright spots:

Winners plan to sink $300m into facility
Brian C. Mooney, Boston Globe

By selecting the John W. Henry-Tom Werner group as new owners last night, the Boston Red Sox may also have spared venerable old Fenway Park the wrecking ball. The Henry-Werner group was the only one of the six bidders with plans to keep the ballpark on Yawkey Way.

Under their plan, the 89-year-old baseball cathedral would undergo a $300 million, 32-month makeover. The blueprint would stack 9,129 new seats in two decks above the current facility, rising nearly to the height of the existing light towers but preserving the quaint aesthetics of the brick facade and the famed wall in left field.

Sox go fast-forward, land Damon
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Dan Duquette may be facing nerve-racking days over his future as Red Sox general manager, but he's just about to complete an amazing eight-day period that saw him accomplish all of his offseason goals. Duquette did that last night, when he reached an agreement in principle that will land outfielder Johnny Damon in Boston for four years at an overall cost between $30 million to $32 million.


Johnny Damon CF
Trot Nixon RF
Nomar Garciaparra SS
Manny Ramirez LF
Tony Clark DH
Jason Varitek C
Brian Daubach 1B
Shea Hillenbrand 3B
Pokey Reese 2B


December 20, 2001

Red Sox Transactions During Off-Season (so far)

November 2 -- Declined the options on the contracts of the following players: OF Troy O'Leary, INF John Valentin and RHP Bret Saberhagen.
November 13 -- Declined the option on the contract of INF Mike Lansing.
November 19 -- Assignd RHP Josh Hancock, INF Luis Garcia, and LHP Jorge De La Rosa to Boston from Trenton (AA). Assigned RHP Anastacio Martinez to Boston from Sarasota (A).
November 20 -- Claimed 1B/DH Tony Clark off waivers from the Detroit Tigers.
November 21 -- Signed OF Michael Coleman and added him to the 40-man roster.
November 29 -- Claimed P Jeff Wallace off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

December 5 -- Signed LHP Jeff Wallace to a one-year contract.
December 11 -- Named Dwight Evans hitting coach, Mike Cubbage third base coach and Bob Kipper bullpen coach.
December 12 -- Traded OF Carl Everett to the Texas Rangers for LHP Darren Oliver; Named Luis Tiant pitching coach for Lowell of the New York-Penn League (A).
December 14 -- Named Dave Jauss director of player development; named Kent Qualls director of baseball operations; named Gary Jones minor league field coordinator.
December 15 -- Acquired RHP Dustin Hermanson from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor league OF Rick Asadoorian, 1B Luis Garcia and 1B Dustin Brisson.
December 18 -- Agreed to terms with free agent INF Carlos Baerga on a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training; agreed to terms with RHP Willie Banks on a 2002 Major League contract.
December 19 -- Acquired INF Pokey Reese from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for C Scott Hatteberg. Agreed to terms on a contract with DH/1B Tony Clark, thus avoiding arbitration. Agreed to terms with free agent RHP John Burkett.


December 19, 2001

Contraction Inaction
Derek Zumsteg,

Announcing that two teams would be contracted, but not naming them, was the most telling piece of evidence. Even if you want to believe that the owners meant to contract, that they didn't have a plan because they knew one would have to be negotiated; even if you think the idea dropped from the clear blue sky one day and they blurted it out before they were ready to do so, there's only one reason not to name the two teams: there was never any intent to contract.


December 10, 2001

Red Sox Notebook
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

Joe Kerrigan said Pedro Martinez began throwing in the Dominican Republic last week and checks in with Chris Correnti from the training staff several times per week. "He's trying to get a little stronger, a little bigger on top to support the muscles around the shoulder," said Kerrigan. "Pedro realizes he's at an age where he really has to start training like Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling ."


December 9, 2001

Pedro on the mend
Mike Petraglia,

Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez is ready for the next step in his offseason program. "Pedro starts throwing this week," Kerrigan said Sunday. "[Physical therapist] Chris Correnti will meet with him, either down there in the Dominican or up in Fort Myers. He'll play catch. It's just a natural progression."

Kerrigan said Martinez is determined to get stronger and build muscle in his chest and shoulders for the 2002 season. A sore right rotator cuff and right shoulder forced Martinez to miss nearly three months of the 2001 season. "He's trying to get bigger up top," Kerrigan said. "You heard a lot about [strength conditioning] during the World Series. He's approaching 30 and I think he thought I have to start training like [Curt] Schilling and like [Roger] Clemens."

Kerrigan said he'll be watching his ace closely this spring, beginning with Martinez's expected early arrival to Spring Training camp in February. "I think it's important for him to make all of his [Spring Training] starts. He needs to be up to 95 or 100 pitches by the end of Spring Training," the Red Sox manager said.


December 6, 2001

Baseball Keeps Playing Games
Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

"The commissioner is again using a lot of smoke and mirrors," Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said in a statement. "Baseball gives us general, unaudited numbers the day before the hearing without any specifics such as the impact of related-party transactions, stadium-debt liability and salaries and consulting fees received by owners. It's games like these that require Congress to repeal baseball's antitrust exemption."

Hey Bud, Which Lie Are We Supposed To Believe?
On Wednesday, Bud Selig claimed that only the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners finished in the black. But two days ago, the San Francisco Giants admitted they also made money in 2001.

Quote of the Day:
"Anyone who quotes profits of a baseball club is missing the point. Under generally accepted accounting principles, I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and I could get every national accounting firm to agree with me." -- Paul Beeston, then a Toronto Blue Jays vice president, now baseball's chief operating officer, 1979.


December 2, 2001

Baseball's economic outlook still good
Eric Fisher, Washington Times

[On Thursday] Commissioner Bud Selig testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Responding to efforts on Capitol Hill to roll back the game's cherished antitrust exemption, Selig will characterize this past season as the worst in baseball history, at least off the field. Selig will arm himself with a litany of financial figures: 25 of 30 teams losing money this year, more than $500 million in total industry losses, more than $3 billion in total industry debt and several clubs needing league bailouts to stay afloat.


December 1, 2001

Ending Baseball's Antitrust Exemption
Jason Barkham,

Baseball's exemption from antitrust laws--which prohibit actions that unreasonably restrain competition--stems from a 1922 Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that antitrust law did not apply to baseball. The rationale was that baseball games were local affairs, not interstate commerce. The Supreme Court upheld the antitrust exemption twice, first in 1953 and again in the famous 1972 case in which Curt Flood sued Bowie Kuhn in his attempt to have the reserve clause declared illegal and have himself declared a free age

Here are five clubs to watch
Sean McAdam,

As always, the Red Sox will be fascinating. There are holes aplenty (second base, starting pitching, leadoff hitter, center fielder, bullpen depth, another run producer) but the sale of the club hangs over everything.

With binding bids due on Thursday, the Red Sox find themselves in suspended animation, needing to make moves, but unsure of what they're able to do. CEO John Harrington said earlier this month that the team must proceed with "business as usual," but that hasn't been the approach so far. Though embattled GM Dan Duquette has put out the requisite feelers to many free agents (Steve Karsay, Terry Adams, Moises Alou, Bret Boone), there haven't been any specific offers. Even Hideo Nomo's agent, Don Nomura, seems puzzled the Sox have had exactly one communication with him since the end of the season.

Hard to believe Bud's numbers
Rob Neyer,

The latest from Commissioner Bud, who will soon be testifying before a congressional committee: "I have been invited to (the committee) next week, and I will have our financial reports. Everyone will be able to see that (the owners) lost more than $500 million this year. In fact, 25 of the 30 clubs lost money."

Selig will have the financial reports? Well, that's pretty interesting, because MLB has never opened up the books before. And if MLB were to open the books, it would take many days to analyze the numbers with any degree of precision. So when Selig says, "I will have our financial reports," what he really means is, "I will have a few rudimentary numbers that you can believe if you're even more gullible than the average baseball writer."

The Imbalance Sheet: Catching Up
Keith Law,

First, contraction. At this point, it seems safe to say that baseball won't be eliminating any teams before the 2002 season. ... Have you heard about the 25 guys who had natural monopolies and still couldn't make money? It's a little hard to swallow. Bud Selig claimed that 25 of the 30 teams in baseball "lost money" in 2001, and that on industry revenues of $3.5 billion, the 30 teams lost a combined $500 million. I can't begin to tell you what a crock of pea soup that is. ... Finally, there's the Red Sox, who are for sale--finally. Many insiders expected team chairman John Harrington to declare himself chairman-for-life and hold on to the team as long as possible, even though the terms of the Yawkey Trust's charter mandated a quick sale.

The Daily Prospectus: MVPs, Present and Past
Joe Sheehan,

I know I'm supposed to be really worked up over Ichiro Suzuki being voted the American League MVP by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and initially I was. ... [But] after the initial burst of irritation, I'm left to conclude that it just doesn't matter. The voters for the AL MVP have made it clear that they're not going to use any standards we can recognize, and are going to give the award to whomever they damn well please. From Mo Vaughn in 1995 through the multiple shunnings of Alex Rodriguez and Pedro Martinez, the AL MVP award has become an annual joke, and I'm left to treat it as such.

The best seasons of all time
Rob Neyer,

Rather than discuss the list of National League MVP candidates, a list that begins (and should end) with Barry Bonds, today might be a good time to list the greatest offensive seasons in history (to help sort them out, I employed Bill James' new Win Shares method).

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