I was listening to WEEI's broadcast of the game last night. Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione couldn't figure out why the July 26th meeting of players and Ownership was a big story. The two repeated the "nothing to see here" statements John Henry and Dustin Pedroia gave about the meeting: that such meetings are held throughout the season, and that nobody was lobbying for Valentine to be fired. O'Brien then remarked that "several facts" from Jeff Passan's article were "in dispute."
I switched to NESN. The Red Sox own most of NESN, by the way. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy expressed a similarly dismissive attitudes toward the story. "I'm past it" Remy remarked. Neither felt that the story was noteworthy. And both agreed that the Red Sox' problems are all on the field, and that the buzz around this meeting was just noise about nothing.
These are the voices of the Red Sox Propaganda Machine. These are the dupes, the suckers, the inner circle of Boston Sports Media that is under the influence of John Henry and Larry Lucchino. These are the yes-men, the suck-ups, the naive, the blind, the fools.
Listening to them, I was reminded of Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, a.k.a. Baghdad Bob.
Team meetings do happen. And these kinds of meetings between Ownership and players don't seem to be a new thing for the Sox. But here is why this most recent meeting is a significant story:
1. What caused the meeting to be held
A text message from Adrian Gonzalez complaining about Bobby Valentine leaving Jon Lester in a game too long. That's apparently what provoked this meeting. Why are players texting Owners about gameday decisions at all? And why are Owners responding to them by giving them a forum to bitch and moan?
I wonder what that text looked like:
"OMFG we h8 BobbyV. He left J-les in the game 2 long. He needz 2 go. Yolo."
2. The divisive nature of the meetings
The Owners met with players, then met with coaches, then met with Valentine. All separate meetings. Why? Player-only meetings are commonplace, but don't typically involve Owners. And why isolate Valentine so much that even his assistant coaches have a different meeting?
How does dividing the team foster unity? And how does letting players go over their manager (and General Manager, let's not forget that the relative lack of Cherington in this story is interesting in and of itself), support the leadership hierarchy of the organization? The players ignored the chain-of-command, went over Valentine's head, to the side of Cherington's, and right into Larry Lucchino's text message inbox.
3. The leaks about the meeting
If this truly were a normal meeting, then why did Passan get leaked information about it? Why did he get multiple sources telling him about problems in the clubhouse and a tense meeting in which players ripped Bobby Valentine?
Maybe Passan was given faulty information. But that'd be a story too. If players and coaches are feeding lies to the media, then that implies the same thing that the original story about the meeting implies:
That something stinks with this team.
That's the story here. Something is rotten and it's stinks to high heaven.