People lie. It doesn’t matter why, they just do. You lie. I lie. Heck, that dude sitting across from you on the Green Line, nodding off on his morning commute while you read this article – that guy? – he lies, too. It’s one of life’s many harsh truisms we’re aware of, but rarely acknowledge. Sometimes, we don’t even realize when we’re lying; other times, rationalized ulterior motives exceed the value of being honest. It’s the scale and nature of the aspersion that is important: Some misdirection is harmful and monumental; other instances are innocuous and small.
Despite what talking heads say, the truth is John Henry, Larry Lucchino and the rest of the Red Sox ownership never lied. If we are to believe Terry Francona’s juicy tell-all book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” the biggest transgression The Suits manning Yawkey Way ever committed was signing players based off marketability, rather than for baseball reasons. While certainly disappointing, the line of thinking aligns with goals of every owner.
The Red Sox auspicious start has engendered discussions of a riveting summer of baseball, but the 2013 campaign has also prompted great conversation on how the team is “likable” again; that, after falling off The Chicken, Beer, and Video Game Wagon, the ownership found its way again. This is a fun myth to ponder, like Santa Claus or Manti Te’o’s “girlfriend,” but the idea is incredibly naïve.
“We were never trying to get the coolest guys in the class to form a fraternity in the clubhouse,” Lucchino told WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” last week. “What we were trying to do is get good teammates who could perform in the crucible that is Boston and make this team likable but also good. Talent is always a part of it.”
Fans, agents, players, and owners make up the four primary entities connected to the sports world. The components make up a square of uneven returns on investment. “It’s a business,” we’re always reminded. And while the other three parts garner real equity, the intrinsic value of fandom is almost exclusively intangible (unless you’re addicted to gambling, then all bets are off).
For 99.99 percent of people following along, none of this is logical or pragmatic, but it’s reality. Whether you like it or not, as fans, your allegiance is more heavily staked with the inner dealings of Robert Kraft and Henry than David Ortiz or Tom Brady. Players and coaches come and go, ownership groups are (essentially) a fixed entity. We can hope and wish and pine that C-level executives locate the intersection between business and scoreboard success. For the time being, the Sox have.
Follow Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__