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Bob Lobel: Dysfunctional Is The New Normal In Sports

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Want to become famous? Dysfunction is the easiest road these days.

Dysfunctional looks like the new normal. Manti Te’o is exhibit number one. Lance Armstrong is offered up as number two. Ray Lewis checks in. Tim Thomas, yes. Tito Francona is there. We are led to believe Red Sox ownership is collectively the so-called “piece of work.” That’s the catch phrase to get the weird ones into the same net.

Let me start with Francona. The book with Dan Shaughnessy has grabbed the spotlight since the Patriots fell off the map. The best thing that could have happened to the book was having the Patriots lose. All that space that would have gone to Superbowl coverage now belongs to Francona.

I have only one observation as to what has made for interesting reading about how our local entry in the American League East is being run. Well, maybe two. The fact that I would never want to go back to the previous Yawkee Trust group means I need to cut these guys some slack, warts and all. Number two is I can't believe Francona still doesn’t know who was the source for his nasty departure story in the Globe. Like most, he still things it was one of the trio that are considered ownership. If not the trio, then go to Theo.

It was Theo. There I said it. Over and done, believe it or not. Not that it matters, but you should also know Tito probably would have been fired if they lost game four and were thus swept by the Yankees. Old news. There was no excuse for Henry not answering any number of emails that Tito sent but he is a pretty quirky guy, one might even say dysfunctional.

Now, for the transparency issue. I did audition for the Fenway public address position and although I put my chances at 100-1 of getting it, I still would take it if offered either as a full- or part-time project. When I did audition there were close to 150 invited candidates. I went first because I was there first. We were given numbers so no one judging would know our names and show either positive or negative responses beyond the product. I did okay, I didn’t think I did anything to disqualify myself, but I realize that in a large pool of candidates, someone will come along with a reading that is unique and appealing to those in power. If they invite me back for another trial, I might have to gimmick it up but not yet.

I have my personal favorites. Dick Flavin will almost certainly be very highly ranked. He is a big fan, has great connections inside the front office, did a lot of it last year, is extremely theatrical and most importantly, is loved by one and all. I would love to split the games with him, but I am not holding my breath. I'm sure there were many others of great talent that would be a good match for them. Another thing against my candidacy would be my oft-critical approach to reviewing the Bobby Valentine year and the September before. Whatever. The audition process has been a distraction from the Patriots, who for some unexplained reason, seem like they haven’t played in a month. Why is that?

Also weighing in on the dysfunctional scale is Rajon Rondo, gone for the season. Watch and see if the Celtics don't play better as a team. I'm betting they will.

And another light bulb went on when I asked friends the question of which championship would mean the most. My answer even surprised me. From the bottom up: a Celtics title, the World Series, another Superbowl, and the number one, a Stanley Cup. I don’t get why I feel that way, but maybe it's because that last title was the most exciting of them all, despite how screwed up the league and the sport has become.

Hey, here is my best explanation for that: total dysfunction on my part. Join the party. I guess being dysfunctional in a non-hurtful way is better than being normal and worst of all, boring. 


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