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

Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

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Monday's Red Sox vs. Orioles lineups: Ortiz back from sore foot

David Ortiz makes his return to the Red Sox lineup after being a late scratch on Sunday due to a sore left foot is sore after getting hit by a pitch Saturday. However, Hanley Ramirez is getting the day off, with Travis Shaw getting the start at first.

The lineups:

ORIOLES:
Adam Jones CF
Hyun Soo Kim LF
Manny Machado SS
Chris Davis 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nolan Reimold RF
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
--
Tyler Wilson P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 1B
Blake Swihart LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Marco Hernandez 3B
---
Steven Wright P

Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

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Red Sox haven't allowed opponents to break out the brooms

Through the first sixteen series of the season, the Red Sox are 9-5-3 (two ties coming from two-game sets) en route to their AL East leading 30-20 record.

Boston’s only mustered up two series sweeps -- taking two in Atlanta and three from the Yankees at Fenway -- but they’ve avoided the dreaded broom in each of their five series losses.

In fact, in four of their five series losses the Red Sox earned their lone victory in the final game, with Sunday being the most recent instance.

None of the series finale, sweep-defying wins were cakewalks either. Three of the four were decided by three runs or less -- the other being decided by four.

Boston’s MLB-leading 5.9 runs per game offense scored below its average each time -- so Red Sox pitching didn’t have the same gigantic cushion it’s used to.

Prior to his injury, Joe Kelly was the first savior, chucking five innings allowing two earned runs against a Baltimore Orioles team that was undefeated at that point in the season’s youth. Fast forward to the series at Yankee Stadium and Steven Wright nearly through a shutout, holding the Yankees to one run through nine innings.

In the two most recent cases, David Price’s turn came in the lineup -- and he’s answered the call. Boston’s ace held down both the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays -- on the road -- limiting both offenses to two runs each. Both starts have come the day after one-run losses, too.

So while Price’s “stuff” hasn’t been at its best, admitting Sunday it usually isn’t against the Blue Jays, he’s displayed the intangible aces are supposed to have – guts.

Now on any other team, they might be in trouble given Boston’s offense is the best in baseball. Because a bad scoring day for the Red Sox is better than almost half the league’s average day. But they aren’t on any other team, so that’s not the issue.

For all the struggles the Red Sox’ starting pitchers have dealt with, they’ve managed to get the job done when they’ve needed it.

Those wins add up, too.

If the Red Sox are swept in these four series, they sit at 26-24 right in the middle of the AL East -- and this season has an entirely different feel to it.

In an age where numbers have become the central focus of the game, Boston’s starting pitchers have managed to lock-in when the club needs it most -- and must continue to do so.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.