Will Liverpool purchase cause jealousy among Sox fans?

Will Liverpool purchase cause jealousy among Sox fans?

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

It's beyond predictable, verging on the inevitable.

And sometime soon, likely in the first week of November when the free agency market officially opens, it will happen.

Taylor Twellman: Sox won't make money on Liverpool purcahse

A frustrated Red Sox fan will pick up the phone and call a local sports radio show and begin to vent.

"The Sox should be able to sign Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford AND Jayson Werth! After all, they just spent a half-billion on a friggin' soccer team, right?''

Well, yes and no, actually. And that's where the Red Sox have some explaining to do.

The 476 million purchase of the Liverpool Football Club by New England Sports Ventures -- in essence, the parent company of the Red Sox -- is bound to create a perception problem with the Red Sox fan base.

The club can say all it wants about its commitment to putting a winning baseball team on the field and back it up with their payroll levels. This past season, the Sox spent somewhere around 165 million, the most in their history and the most by any Major League team ever not based in the Bronx.

Over the nine years of the current ownership, the Red Sox have spent liberally. Only the Yankees have spent more on payroll in that span.

But now that NESV has put together a half-billion package to buy Liverpool, questions are bound to be asked.

To wit: If the ownership group has that much capital, why can't they spend dollar-for-dollar with the Yankees? If, indeed, the Red Sox are that well-financed, why are they ever outbid on any free agent? For that matter, if money seems to be no object, why aren't there plans to replace antiquated Fenway Park?

On the face of it, these are all valid questions. But as usual in matters of big business, things are not as simple as they seem.

Undoubtedly, part of the motivation for NESV's purchase of Liverpool is to open additional revenue streams, ideally ones that aren't subject to baseball's revenue sharing system.

(As it stands, one-third of all baseball-related revenue is effectively turned over to the commissioner's office, which then redistributes these monies to small-market teams. So if, for example, the Red Sox have revenues of 240 million, 80 million of that is taken off the top and handed to the central fund. MLB's revenue sharing operates like a progressive income tax -- the more money made, the more taxes paid.)

That's not to suggest that any profit realized by Liverpool is going to help the Sox sign a replacement for Adrian Beltre. But indirectly, the Red Sox can benefit by now having an international sports property to attract sponsors and advertisers through Fenway Sports Group, the marketing arm of NESV.

As one club source said: "This is about diversifying the portfolio, as any good investor does.''

John Henry is a private citizen and independent businessman. He can spend his many million as he wishes.

But from the beginning, Henry has understood the unique nature of his investment -- some might say ''stewardship -- of the Red Sox. As Henry himself has said, the Sox are more than a baseball franchise; they're more like a New England civic institution.

And with that come expectations.

Henry spoke Friday to Liverpool soccer fans and vowed that he and his partners were ''committed, first and foremost, to winning.''

It might be a good time to reassure fans on this side of the Atlantic of the same thing, all the while pointing out that running successful franchises in different sports on different continents is not mutually exclusive.

Henry needs to explain to his wildly supportive fans that Liverpool is another investment under the NESV umbrella, and not, as some fans fear, an eitheror proposition when it comes to his money and attention.

If he fails to do that, then he will have spent far more than 476 million Friday. He will also have squandered a lot of good will compiled over the last nine seasons.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

red-sox-matt-barnes.jpg

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.