Terry Francona Says Red Sox Owners Don't Really Care About Baseball

Terry Francona has a book coming out about his time in Boston. Written with (ugh) Dan Shaughnessy, it probably won't satisfy readers expecting a bridge-burning tell-all, since he's back in baseball managing the Indians and has to work alongside the players he'd probably love to blast. But there are three old men he doesn't get his paychecks from anymore, and Francona does touch on his frustrations with the Red Sox ownership group headed by John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner.

From an excerpt released today:

"Our owners in Boston, they've been owners for 10 years. They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don't think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It's revenue, and I know that's their right and their interest because they're owners - and they're good owners. But they don't love the game. It's still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It's not their blood. They're going to come in and out of baseball."

As an example, Francona points to how they reacted when slumping TV ratings failed to live up to the big deal the Sox signed with NESN. He says the owners blocked requests for more getaway days (afternoon games before a road trip) because they'd miss out on the primetime ratings. Former GM Theo Epstein says he was told to sign more marketable players—"sexy guys." Tom Werner, at one point, even complained, "We need to start winning in more exciting fashion."

It should surprise no one that professional sports owners are multimillionaire businessmen before they are baseball fans. A team is an investment first, a hobby second. Boston's far from alone in that boat. It only becomes a problem when owners choose their right to meddle with a team over the advisability of doing so. Which reminds us—how's Liverpool doing these days?