As the Red Sox continue their negotiations with GM Theo Epstein, the Boston Herald’s Tony Massaroti accuses Boston president Larry Lucchino of burying his young protege.
Lucchino (above) seems to fancy himself as a maker of men, a Bill Walsh of baseball who has blessed the game with select disciples. He likes to take credit for most everything his followers do “ from San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers to Epstein “ and all is well and good until the boys become men, until they want to actually have an identity.
When that happens “ and it is happening here now “ Lucchino pounds his fist and puts those disrespectful little twits in their place, just to remind them that Big Daddy brought them into this world and he can certainly take them out.
In the interest of disclosure, let us rewind for a moment. In the last few days, most recently in the Globe (which has more invested in the Red Sox than anyone but John Henry), it has been reported that Epstein rejected the Sox’ latest contract offer, though the sides continue to talk and are expected to have some resolution in the next day or so. The latest proposal was for three years at $1.2 million per, which is the kind of information that comes out when real negotiations have given way to mud-slinging and damage control.
That said, some things need to be made clear. The first is that the media is a very dirty business; on some level, we are all compromised. The second, as one longtime observer once pointed out, is that Lucchino is a political animal. The Globe owns the Red Sox which means the Red Sox own the Globe, which is not a criticism as much as it is a statement of fact. The same is true of WEEI, or at least parts of it, which is currently in negotiations for Red Sox broadcast rights and compensates Lucchino for a weekly radio segment.
So, for an assortment of reasons, the two most powerful media outlets in New England are not about to challenge the words or methods of Lucchino and the Red Sox. (Not really.) And that is OK so long as we recognize there are conflicts of interest everywhere now and the truth will be distorted as a result of it.
That is why, as much as ever, we should hope this remains a two-newspaper town.
All of that brings us back to the Red Sox, Epstein and Lucchino, the latter of whom’s behavior is growing astonishingly predictable. When the Red Sox failed in the Alex Rodriguez negotiations “ and thank goodness for that “ Lucchino blamed the players’ union. When the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra, members of the Red Sox (guesses, anyone?) leaked information to make the shortstop out to be the villain. And now, in the worst transgression of all, Red Sox management is smearing one of its own in the most sacrosanct negotiation, one that should have been conducted exclusively within the gilded walls of the front office at 4 Yawkey Way.
No matter the ownership, in the often petty and sometimes tactless history of the Red Sox, this is a new low.