Francona: Red Sox consumed by image

Francona: Red Sox consumed by image
January 15, 2013, 11:15 pm
Share This Post

Remember that old Andre Agassi commercial for cameras where he said, “Image is everything”? It sounds like that was — maybe still is? — the motto for the Red Sox, according to new book by former manager Terry Francona.

In excerpts of “Francona: The Red Sox Years” published by Sports Illustrated in advance of the book’s release in a week, Francona describes Boston management  — owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino — as consumed with wanting a “marketable” team and concerned about the club’s television ratings.

Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is quoted as saying: "They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog."

So, under those dictates from above, Epstein added first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Carl Crawford to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox had commissioned a $100,000 study to learn why their TV ratings were down. Part of the message was about how to draw female viewers: "Women are definitely more drawn to the 'soap opera' and 'reality-TV' aspects of the game. ... They are interested in good-looking stars and sex symbols." The “sex symbol” example is Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

The issue of TV ratings extended to scheduling.

"One thing the players were always asking for was getaway day games," Francona said. "The owners would never go for it. They couldn't have more day games because the ratings were already suffering, and that would have hurt worse."