Hey, it’s another post about Dave Dombrowski! Obviously, this is the dominant news of the day and it’s going to dominate Red Sox coverage for the rest of the season. That is, unless they win like 15 games in a row or something, but I’m not betting on that. Anyway, in case you somehow missed it the Red Sox fired Dombrowski, a move on which I provided my scattered thoughts earlier today. There is a whole lot out there on the world wide web about the implications of this move, why the Red Sox were right or wrong for doing it, and what comes next. It’s all very good and not very hard to find. On that subject, I feel like I don’t have a ton to add, and it’s not worth me writing 1000 words or whatever on a topic that has already been covered.
Instead, I want to focus on ownership and on the organization as a whole. Don’t worry, this is not a post about payroll or spending or profits or anything like that, though those who know me know I certainly have opinions on all of that. I’ll save that for another day. Instead, I just can’t seem to move beyond how poorly this entire situation was handled, much like other similar situations since this ownership group has taken over. It’s become a trend with this team, and not a good one.
As I alluded to above, and as I mentioned in the “scattered thoughts” post, there are arguments for and against making this decision. The timing is weird, but even that is defensible in that, if you know you’re going to fire someone you might as well get it over with. Similarly, there were fair arguments for and against getting rid of all of the other decision-makers this team has parted ways with over the years. Well, except for Bobby V. There was only one argument in that situation. There’s a difference between making the actual decision, however, and executing it. With respect to the latter, this organization has failed miserably time and time again.
The most egregious parting ways was, of course, with Terry Francona. When the Red Sox let the most successful manager in the history of their franchise go, there was a fair case it was time for a fresh voice in the organization. That does not mean they had to leave him in the dark for the season and unceremoniously show him the door at the end of the year. Francona held a grudge against the organization for years after, and likely still does to some extent. The Red Sox not so sneakily leaked some damaging stories to the media after Francona was let go, in a move that made me as embarrassed to be a Red Sox fan as anything in my time rooting for the team. The departures of Theo Epstein, John Farrell, Ben Cherington and the countless players who have left the team have often been rocky as well, with information leaked there as well. Guys like Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciapparra and more recently guys like Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez have all had unceremonious exits with information coming out about them after their departure.
It remains to be seen if anything similar will happen with Dombrowski, but it doesn’t even need to for this to be handled poorly. It already has been, and it doesn’t reflect well on anyone. That this decision came out just after midnight on September 9 is strange timing, but that happens sometimes. It coming out just minutes after a game when media was almost set to enter the clubhouse was not ideal. The players and coaches were not exactly set up for success in their postgame media availabilities, and one would think someone from the group who actually made this decision would be present to deflect some of that pressure. Instead, they were nowhere to be found.
As I’m writing this, their lack of presence has only become stronger. In fact, as I started to write this paragraph the team issued a statement on the firing, which you can read below.
Red Sox make Dave Dombrowski’s firing official. They aren’t holding a presser about it. pic.twitter.com/2kGL8ObNPU— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) September 9, 2019
Most of that is normal stuff after a move like this. They praise the man and his tenure here while acknowledging it’s time to move on. That’s all well and good. Those last two sentences are patently absurd. “There will be no formal media availability regarding today’s announcement. The Red Sox will have regular media access prior to tonight’s game.”
I mean.......what!?! The team just fired the man holding the most important job in the entire organization (arguably) and they are not going to answer questions about it? I’m honestly not even sure what to say about that. It’s so egregiously not how things should be done I’m floored. I don’t know if it is cowardice or apathy or what, but it’s frankly unacceptable. At the very least, one or all of the owners should be present before the game, because making the players and coaches the only ones to face the media once again would make this even more of a farce than it already is. This is a low point for an ownership group that should know much, much better than this.
All in all, I think John Henry and company have been very good owners relative to other owners in the league. I complain about spending sometimes, but they still invest more in their team than just about any other ownership group in the game. They’ve made great changes to Fenway Park and their involvement with the Jimmy Fund, while already in place when they arrived, should be lauded. That said, their handling of these kinds of situations has been consistently poor time after time after time. This isn’t as bad as the Francona situation, but it’s also not over yet. In the less-than-twelve hours since this news has dropped, the owners have done nothing but trip over themselves in the aftermath. It’s embarrassing.