Bob Lobel: Can John Henry Afford to Keep the Red Sox?
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Or, as my 17-year-old daughter/drama queen often says, "Bob, you are so annoying!" She even has a twitter account, from which I am denied access, called "S___ Bob Says."
Get the picture?
Still, there are moments when I have to agree with all of the above. Last week, I mistakenly tuned to NBA Network, and caught a show called "Larry Bird's 50 Greatest Moments." I couldn't stop watching it, of course. Still, there was this nagging suspicion that this gem of a program had aired many times before, and I was late to the game having just seen it now.
I phoned a former co-worker at Channel 4 who confirmed that was true. Still, I could care less, for this special compilation captured great individual plays that still fit into the team concept.
It's hard to find 10 truly great plays from today's NBA'ers, unless you just grab 10 dunks. The Bird video just confirmed to me that things are nothing like they used to be, and they never will be again.
Another Bird? I think not. At least not in the game they play today.
So I segue into the Boston Red Sox of 2012 and 2013. Let me repeat that things are nothing like they used to be. Let's start at the top, where all blame starts and stops. Up there, owner John Henry has become a cartoon character that is losing his shine as the savior of Red Sox Nation after a great start of two World Series championships.
Financial issues have begun to surface, and there is now some doubt about the bottomless reserves we believed existed for this once-billionaire. When we hear that his trading firm has dropped in value from over $2 billion to a paltry $100, we tend to get worried about the state of ownership.
I mean, some of the players are making more than that.
J.D. Drew just made only $30 million less than that total. Then there is the yacht. The 120-footer is for sale, and this is starting to look like the Dodgers' mid-season salary dump last year.
Thanks a yacht!
The Red Sox are now using a tactic employed by Henry's formerly owned team, the Florida (now Miami) Marlins. It is hard to see this team competing any time soon in an ultra competitive American League East.
Toronto has cannibalized the Marlins and taken two stars from the Florida fish, the Yankees are still the Yankees, Tampa Bay always finds a way to be good, and the Dan Duquette/Buck Showalter regime in Baltimore is a model of superior management.
Then there are the other assets Henry owns within the Fenway Sports Group. Things like the Liverpool soccer team in England's Premier League, as well as Roush Racing on the NASCAR circuit.
If I were a betting man, I would wager that the financial crisis pays Fenway Sports Group a visit. It is now a buyer's market, and if you have a little extra dough, you can get a soccer team in Liverpool, or one of the world's largest yachts for a real bargain!
I don't know where the racing team fits in, but I am pretty sure the baseball team, the ball park and the underperforming, but very profitable, New England Sports Network, would be the last to be sold.
So, keeping that in mind, this one principle of business remains the same: Location! Location! Location! And, in this case, that location is Fenway Park. So, don't look for Henry to drop the Sox any time soon.
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