Thursday, December 15, 2005

Abbreviated Discontinuance

Well, the long search for a new Red Sox GM is over, as the Front Office found their men in farm director Ben Cherington and assistant GM Jed Hoyer. If I may say so, I think they hired the wrong New Hampshire native. Of course, like a professional, I choose to accept this disappointment with grace and humility. In this case, grace and humility means getting blasted on cheap beer and drunk dialing half my phone book. Which reminds me: who’s ever porch that was and who's plants I “over-saturated” to death… sorry, my bad. In my defense, your dog dared me to do it, and he can be very convincing.

Of course, despite this minor misstep on the Front Office’s part, this does not mean I have soured on my favorite team. It will take more than denying me complete control over baseball operations to sway me. Unless of course, some other team wanted to give me their GM position (I’m looking at you, Cincinnati). But I digress. I can’t help but notice that your new management has made some deals to create another vacancy within the organization which I could fill for you. Gentlemen, say hello to your new starting shortstop.

Now it may seem counter intuitive to pick up an undrafted free agent (who hasn’t played organized baseball since Little League fifteen years ago) and plug him into your starting lineup, but I have many things going in my favor. First of all, I will be incredibly inexpensive. Not only will I work for the major league minimum, but I will offer to use half of my salary to keep any resident superstars happy. I’ll be more than happy to be the guy to take Manny Ramirez out for hot fudge sundaes whenever he feels pressured. I’d be great in the clubhouse, and that will help the performance of the entire team. After all, if Kevin Millar could be kept around for his clubhouse qualities, I feel I can do just what he did, but look better doing it. Four out of five women I didn’t bother to poll said I am far more attractive than Millar. My secret: I like wearing the high socks. Women love a man who looks sharp in high socks.

Of course, marketing is important to the team ownership, and with Millar now gone someone will have to fill the void of “automatic t-shirt slogan machine”. Look no further than this guy. For 2006, with the large turnover on the roster, and with an entirely new starting infield, one could say the team has truly “transformed”. And what better than an Autobots themed t-shirt with the 2006 Red Sox slogan: “Transform and Roll Out”. The clinching touch would be the t-shirt featuring David Ortiz holding the Prime Matrix with a Boston logo on it. After all, who better to turn to when you need “to light your darkest hour” than the guy with the knack for getting the big hit? I’d offer more options in the event the guys in the clubhouse didn’t like the Transformers, but it is pretty clear that that is a statistical impossibility.

Of course, you are now wondering why I can’t do all of this without starting at shortstop, where I would almost certainly be a detriment to the club seeing as I have never faced a pitcher older than 10, I haven’t played in the field in a decade and a half, I don’t have what would need to be a superhuman amount of raw athletic ability to make up for my lack of major league skills, and my only advantage over opposing teams (scouting report: “we have absolutely no idea who this guy is or what he is capable of”) would quickly be lost in a matter of games (new scouting report: “he is atrocious at every aspect of the game”). Serious charges, all of them 100% true.

How can I justify making what would appear to be such a poor baseball decision on every level? Hey, you are the guys that didn’t make me GM, so you got yourselves into this mess. I’m willing to play SS to help solve the awkward position we are in now that you’ve failed to hire me. How about for a change, why don’t you guys stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution?

I guess I should take a trip to my local sporting goods store for a new glove, I’ve got some work to do before Spring Training.

I would buy at least 4 of these T-shirts

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pleading My Case for the Open Red Sox GM Position

The leaves are all but gone, the first snow has all ready covered my car, and the Red Sox are still without a new General Manager. The search for a new GM is now entering its 23rd grueling week, with no end in sight. As name after name on the list of potential candidates is crossed off, the previously unthinkable is coming closer to a reality. For each candidate that drops out of the running brings the Front Office one step closer to reaching my name.

That’s right, my name is on the list of potential candidates for the open Red Sox GM position. Why haven’t you heard me mentioned in any Peter Gammons columns, you ask? Well, I’m just not, you know, “up there”. For the record, I am just above Former CEO of WorldCom and convicted felon Bernard Ebbers, and just below Rod Roddy, the announcer from “the Price is Right”. Of course, I fully expect to be moving up on that list as soon as the Front Office realizes Rod Roddy died a few years ago. This would promote me to just a few notches below Squiggy, and still several hundred ahead of Dan Duquette. With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to make my case in hopes I can expedite the process of becoming the new General Manager.

First, I possess many of the qualities that the Front Office has shown they value highly in their pursuit of candidates. My hometown is local to New England, so I have immediate credibility with fans having grown up a Red Sox fan. While usually you don’t want a fan to run baseball operations, I am more than capable of running the team while keeping myself emotionally detached from the players themselves. If need be, I can provide some ex-girlfriends as references to that effect.

The latest trend among hiring of new front office official has been to look to youth. Theo Epstein here in Boston was the youngest person ever to be appointed GM, and now JP Ricciardi in Toronto, Paul DePodesta and Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay are others who have been part of the new youth movement among major league executives. At 24, I would be a headline grabbing splash, having become the youngest appointed GM in history by several years. My hiring would be a guarantee that the Red Sox would be the lead story in every national sports publication, and would headline every sports report for days on end.

Now clearly, one would be wary of my complete lack of experience in baseball management, and my lack of any form of business education, much less a business degree. Well, you may be surprised to find out that I have found great success in managing a simulated baseball team in the highly regarded MVP Baseball 2005 for the Playstation 2. How much success, you ask? How does 16 straight AL East Crowns, 14 AL Pennants and 13 World Series Titles sound? If I project to even half that successful with the real team, we will all be lauded as heroes for many years to come.

Now granted, virtual victory isn’t quite the same as the real thing. But rather than be a pessimist, I look at my lack of experience as a benefit. After all, if you had to choose between the guy who signed Christian Guzman and Vinny Castilla to long term, big money deals (Jim Bowden), the guy who is best known for trading away Pedro Martinez and running the Baltimore Orioles into the ground (Jim Beattie), or the guy who didn’t do either of these things (me), I think the choice is pretty easy. If those aren’t points in my favor, then I think you are going about this hiring process in entirely the wrong way.

Of course, there is the question of how players, agents and other executives would react to having to negotiate with someone far their junior and with nearly no experience. Well, you won’t need to fear me being blown out of the negotiating room, for I have a few tricks up my sleeve. A current player is demanding a trade? Let’s see how badly he wants to leave when I give him the big puppy dog eyes. It worked on my mom when I wanted that sweet new Huffy when I was 8, and it will work now. A bidding war is developing over a key free agent? Nothing that can’t be settled with a good old fashioned drinking contest. Scott Boras is playing hardball with one of his clients? Easily countered by having a little girl on my negotiating team who starts crying whenever we feel we aren’t getting a fair deal. Johnny Damon would be signed for $6 million over 3 years right now if it meant keeping little Suzie Jenkins quiet.

Finally (and perhaps, to you, most importantly), I would pledge complete loyalty to the Boston Red Sox. What does this mean, exactly? Should the time come when you no longer wish to keep me employed, I promise that rather than quietly resign, or angrily pack my things and leave, I will go down in such a blaze of glory as to leave no doubt that you are the good guys. Whether it’s hitting on the player’s wives, substituting my press conferences with obscenity laden tirades, or simply showing up to work without pants on, there will be no doubt in the public mind that you are better off without me.

So, Red Sox Front Office, I’ve made my case to the internet, the ball is in your court now. I hope you will come to your senses quickly and realize that I am the best man for the job. The Winter Meetings are just around the corner, and I have a lot of work to be doing.