John Tomase's Terrible Column About Fenway Sports Group Buying the Pittsburgh Penguins is an Insult to Red Sox Fans
In nearly six years of blogging, DOL has changed in a multitude of ways. I want to think I've improved as a writer over that timeframe, and spending so much time chasing a seemingly unreachable goal has helped me grow as a person. Still, one thing that undoubtedly has gotten worse throughout this publication's history is my baseball knowledge. I used to be able to recite the results of all World Series since 1955. Now I struggle to remember the order of who the A's beat in the early 70s (JK it's Reds in 7, Mets in 7, and Dodgers in 5 respectively), but in all seriousness, the shady business practices of the Boston Red Sox have ruined the undying love I once had for this beautifully boring game.
If you've read anything I've written in the last two years, you know how much the Mookie Betts trade disgusts me to my core; so much so that I stopped being a Red Sox fan for over a year. I couldn't consume anything baseball-related in 2020 because it would remind me that one of the richest teams in all of sports traded away the best player to don its uniform in 40 years to avoid paying taxes. When it costs a mortgage payment to take a family of four to Fenway, that should infuriate you too.
It took me a solid year to get over the trade, and as I type this sentence, that feels like a lie. Sure, I think about it less often, but I'll never truly forgive the cheapskate ways of a billionaire who does not care about the people who make up Red Sox Nation, only the money he can make from that cringeworthy moniker.
Admittedly, I'm not up to date with free-agent classes and what the Red Sox should do this off-season. I don't know if I'll ever return to my pre-2020 baseball fandom, but I'm well aware of John Henry's desire to own other sports teams instead of focusing on keeping the Red Sox in contention.
Today, the news became official after weeks, maybe months (who could ever possibly know?) of rumors. Fenway Sports Group now owns the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL).
FSG bought the Penguins for $900 million after cutting organizational salaries by 20-25% during COVID and traded Mookie Betts for pennies on the dollar a little over a year after he became the first player in MLB history to win a batting title, MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and World Series in the same season.
Today, John Tomase, a RED SOX reporter for NBC Sports Boston, released one of the worst columns in the history of humanity, not only defending John Henry and FSG but also shitting on fans who are responsible for him having a job covering a team because God forbid they get emotionally invested in their favorite sports team(s)!
Typically whenever I include an article in my blogs, I post the entire thing and give my two cents afterward, but tonight I'm switching it up and interjecting throughout the piece. Tomase's words will be in black and bolded. My responses will be in grey and italicized.
Via: NBCSports Boston.
Two words for anyone who wants to charge John Henry with reckless abandonment because he just agreed to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins: Grow up.
Very professional and adult start to this column by a "journalist!" Save that shit for the bloggers, you human scarecrow.
If there's a downside to the region's unprecedented 20-year run of championships, it's that it has bred an entitled fanbase of trust fund proportions. We reside at the center of the sports universe, and we do not share.
This is one of the laziest takes going. Every fanbase wants to win, and winning only makes you want to win more. Should Kansas City Chiefs fans be satisfied with one Super Bowl while employing someone with the potential to be the best QB ever?
How ironic is it that he's shitting on trust funds while sucking John Henry's wrinkly dick throughout this column? Plus, this is simply untrue. The entire sporting world outside of Cleveland and maybe their NL Central rivals rooted for the Cubs in 2016. I know I'm not the only sports fan who wanted to see their friends of loser franchises get their moment in the sun!
So when the news broke that Fenway Sports Group will take controlling interest of the Penguins and extend its reach into the NHL, Boston fans threw a tantrum.
The Red Sox just aren't important to him anymore! He's not spending on us because he's buying them! They're just another line in his portfolio, like his yacht, or hanging with LeBron! Only the Red Sox matter, because we demand it!
What do the bottoms of John Henry's boots taste like? My guess is fake outrage. P.S. Learn how to drop a wah properly. At least have a funny remark. The Red Sox matter to Red Sox fans. It's entirely fair for fans to think these other "business interests" take away from caring about building the best Red Sox team humanly possible. After breaking the curse and winning three more championships, it's fair to assume the desire to win isn't the same as 20ish years ago.
This is how the world works. Big businesses buy other businesses. When Facebook hoovers up Instagram and WhatsApp, no one says they're spreading themselves too thin. It's a natural step in their desire to dominate cyberspace, and about the only thing that can stop them is an act of Congress
Great comparison, Tom! Nobody ever mentions how problematic one company controlling the lion's share of data and manipulating algorithms to line their own pockets is! Nobody EVER calls Facebook a monopoly, and if something is, it must always be. Why would we ever try to change the way the world works? That's why slavery is still legal and women can't vote!...
Henry bought the Penguins to make money, just like he bought Liverpool to make money, and the Red Sox. He has every incentive to put winners on the field/ice/pitch, because when those teams win, they make money. There's enough for everybody.
Tell that to Mookie Betts.
And his teams win. The Red Sox won two World Series before FSG bought Liverpool in 2010, and they've won two since. The soccer club claimed its first Premier League title in 30 years on his watch and is one of the 10 or 12 most valuable brands in the world. The Red Sox just reached the ALCS. I confess to not following auto racing so you tell me if Roush is any good. What more do we want?
Idk, an ownership group that's dedicated to WINNING? (THE VAST MAJORITY OF) RED SOX FANS DO NOT CARE ABOUT LIVERPOOL. This isn't helping your argument, John!
Saying that Henry won't spend in free agency because he's saving his money for a hockey team effectively lets him off the hook. One has nothing to do with the other, and our proof is in the fact that Henry hasn't been spending for three years now. Is that because he knew he might one day buy another team and needed to squirrel away every nickel? Maybe. Or maybe it's because he's caught the efficiency bug that's sweeping similarly analytics-minded front offices across baseball.
There's a reason a bunch of teams, including the Red Sox, lined up to offer nondescript starter Andrew Heaney -- whom we once would've uncharitably labeled "a bum" -- $8 million. He represents "value" belying his sky-high ERAs because he strikes out a lot of people and doesn't walk anyone.
All you're doing is proving how the Red Sox have more than enough resources to not worry about things like the luxury tax and that analytics have gone too far. Who cares if you don't walk guys and strike dudes out if you're giving up 30 homers a year? (of all my takes in this blog, this may be the weakest, but as I said, I'm less focused on current free agent classes and more worried about absentee ownership. I couldn't give less of a fuck about Andrew Heaney)
But when Henry adds Liverpool to FSG's holdings alongside Roush Racing, and then joins forces with LeBron James, and then strikes a deal to buy the Pens with the NBA reportedly next in his sights, the news is met with a romanticized angst that denies reality.
He's not gonna fuck you, bro.
The Red Sox wanted a piece of that value, instead settling on Michael Wacha of the Six Week Intriguing Changeup and Otherwise Cruddy Track Record. Even as free agency largely passes Boston by in the race to beat this week's CBA expiration, the bulk of spending is being conducted by a handful of teams trying to escape the second division -- the Tigers, Rangers, Mets, Angels.
Missing, so far, are heavyweights like the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox. Is this because they all plan to buy hockey teams? Or are they simply following the same statistical models of value? The Rays spending big on 20-year-old wunderkind Wander Franco just reinforces this point; Tampa doesn't pay for anything except youth, the most valuable currency in the game.
Just what fans dropping $500 for a night a Fenway care about---statistical models of value!
I'm no Henry apologist, and I believe he'll be as militant as any owner about protecting his profits in the next CBA, which could make him a problem. But we should take a step back and ask what we really want. Is it Mark Cuban berating umpires from the box seats and shilling garbage on Shark Tank? No thank you. Is it the fantasy of the beloved local steward who cares about nothing more than the sanctity of the public trust and blah blah blah? Because we had him and his name was Tom Yawkey, and all that got us was 70 years of Elks Clubbing and zero World Series titles.
I'm sorry, I missed everything after "I'm no Henry apologist" when you spent 11 paragraphs defending him.
If you want to label Henry a bit spectral or weird or withdrawn, no argument here. But this idea that he's not committed to Boston doesn't withstand even mild scrutiny. He bought a bleeping newspaper, for God's sake. Nothing says public caretaking at the expense of profit better than that.
Riiiight, that's why Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post too. These guys just love public caretaking and aren't using their money to control the media!
We'll just have to live with the fact that we're not the only apple of his eye. That's life. That's what rich people do. If he doesn't want to spend recklessly in free agency because he's been burned by John Lackey, and David Price, and Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval, there's an argument in his favor. As long as the Red Sox continue to build on the success of 2021, who cares how they get there?
So, yes, I will take the guy who just bought the Penguins, imperfections and all. If Boston fans stamp their feet about anything, it should be that he didn't buy their hockey team.
"That's life. That's what rich people do." Way to have a spine! Also, John Lackey and David Price helped the Red Sox win World Series....and the Sox overpaid for them after horrible decisions (trading Lester) forced their hand. Let's see if they build off of 2021's success or go back to the middle of the pack. I'm sure a Devers trade is coming soon!
Admittedly, I don't give a fuck about hockey, but how can someone own the channel the Bruins play on while also owning a competitor? How is that not a conflict of interests? I can't wait to see what happens next time the Bruins are in the playoffs.
It blows my mind that someone whose job only exists because of fans has the balls to get on his high horse to scold those same fans who genuinely care about their team. You have 1000% benefitted from those "trust fund" fans that want their teams to win. Do the Red Sox have the same media presence as the Colorado Rockies? Without fans, there are no professional sports. If people aren't going to games or watching on tv, there is no league. Maybe start catering to their wants instead of the soulless billionaire who would charge you to breathe Fenway air if he could instead of saying "waaaah." This article should've been titled "HOW DARE YOU DISAGREE WITH THE RULING CLASS??!"