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

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.