Friday, December 21, 2001

RED SOX SOLD: To a group that includes former Marlin-owner John Henry, producer Tom Werner and the New York Times. This was Bill Simmons' nightmare scenario:

We're vehemently against [the Werner and John Henry] group, for a variety of reasons:

1. Werner was the principal owner of the San Diego Padres in the early/mid-'90s, nearly driving them into the ground because of the mammoth ownership group he assembled (which didn't have nearly enough working capital to operate a successful baseball team). In 1993, the Pads jettisoned many of their top players, including Fred McGriff and Garry Sheffield, and some season-ticket holders actually sued the team. Even Chris Farley ran his company better during the first hour of "Tommy Boy."

2. John Henry owned the Marlins until about five minutes ago, when Team Selig expedited his sale of the team so he could be involved with Werner's group. That led everyone here to wonder if the proverbial "fix" was in (that Selig and Company were aboard and Team Werner's eventual approval was a done deal). We love coming up with conspiracy theories here in Boston.

3. I mean ... John Henry? Would you want someone co-owning your team named "John Henry"? Is that a stage name?

4. One of the limited partners in this group? The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe. Here's what Beth Healy wrote in a feature about the Henry group for yesterday's Globe: "The Times Co. has stressed that it is primarily interested in the team's controlling stake in the New England Sports Network, which is included in the sale, and has said it would not interfere with coverage of the Red Sox." And if you pull this leg, it plays "Jingle Bells."

5. Duquette is reportedly tight with the Werner group. 'Nuff said.

6. According to some reports, Team Werner plans on renovating Fenway Park, rather than building a new stadium. In all honesty, I can't even discuss this premise rationally; the only way I would attend a baseball game at Renovated Fenway is if they staged "Lob Plastic Bags of Your Own Urine At the New Owners" Night.

7. Werner made his money as a TV producer, so he gives off that "Mr. Hollywood who wants to own the Red Sox to impress his buddies" vibe. Yuk. If that's not bad enough, Werner is engaged to Katie Couric, which could potentially make Katie the First Lady of the Boston Red Sox. I will now light myself on fire.

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