The Red Sox brain trust will soon begin its search for the next manager
of New England's team. It promises to be a bigger circus than the
one that took place shortly after Terry Francona hopped in his SUV
and drove down Yawkey Way for the last time.
The search will be conducted like the contest to find the next "American
Idol". After all, these are the Boston Red Sox, one of the jewel
franchises in all of sports, and whoever becomes the next manager
of the team will get the opportunity to shine in the spotlight or melt
under one of world's most powerful microscopes. Forget about the
mayor of the city or the governor or the state, the manager of the
Red Sox is the most important and high-profile job in New England.
The franchise is alot different than the one Terry Francona
took over in 2004. They have won two World Series titles,
a regional network that's become gold-plated ATM machine
that can make it rain better than Pac Man Jones, and a loyal and
rabid fan base that packs the stadium every night and demands
Every unemployed manager and the ones who have been
pegged as the next big thing, will parade their talents in front
of the Red Sox ownership group and its creation and Boy
Wonder, Theo Epstein. And make no mistake, THIS will be
a major production. Tom Werner, chairman of the team,
is a former big-time television producer who helped turn
"The Cosby Show", "Roseanne," and "Mork & Mindy" into
blockbuster hits. This star search is right up his alley. Werner,
team president Larry Lucchino, and majority owner John
Henry will make this search for the next Red Sox skipper
as long and as drama filled as the "Bachelorette". They
will drag it out and spice it up with twists, turns, and enough
rumors to fill up the largest mill in the country. And Red Sox
fans will eat it up. They love this kind of thing.
Big names like Bobby Valentine, Tony LaRussa, and even
Joe Torre will be bantered about and perhaps even interviewed.
Theo and his stat geeks will crunch the numbers and come up
with candidates you've never heard of, and a few members
of Francona's staff like Chip Hale and Ron Johnson will be
given courtesy interviews, but they have as much chance as getting
the job as I do of bumping off Brad Pitt and romancing Angelina
If I'm a Red Sox fan, I wouldn't count on a big-name like
Valentine getting this job. No manager can be bigger than Epstein
or their star-crossed ownership group. That's just the way it is. Their
two managerial hires have been Grady Little and Terry Francona.
Enough said.They didn't pay either of those guys big money upon hiring
them, don't look for them to dish out $3-5 million a year for a Valentine
or LaRussa. Plus, they don't have the strength to deal with strong
personality managers like Valentine and LaRussa. They won't be
able to control them and make them use their stats and sabermetrics.
The ownership group has done a great job of creating
massive revenues and has doubled the value of the club
to twice the $660 million dollars they paid for it back in
2002.There is a constant buzz about the team and they
own the town, the back pages of the papers, and the
television market. They've been great at creating drama, even if
all their summit-like press conferences have become laughable.
In 2005, when Johnny Damon signed with the New York Yankees,
they held a big press conference to talk about why they didn't re-sign
Damon. Who does that?
Few teams do things like the Red Sox, after all, they are smarter
than everyone else. That's what they've made the Nation think.
But with the collapse and the Francona debacle, they could be starting
to unravel just a little bit. There has even been talk of Theo jumping
ship and going to the Chicago Cubs. Francona won two World Series
titles in his eight years in Boston. Grady Little won 93 and 95 games
in his two seasons ith the Red Sox. That wasn't good enough for
ownership. The next manager won't be good enough for them either.
One thing is for sure, this managerial search will be entertaining
and intriguing for Red Sox fans throughout New England. Just don't
expect the star search to produce a manager who is currently a