By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A departure foretold

Tony Massarotti’s Boston Herald column of last Thursday looks huge following the stunning resignation of Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. Massarotti accused Sox president Larry Lucchino of using the team’s chummy relationship with the Boston Globe (whose parent corporation, the New York Times Co., owns 17 percent of the Sox) to smear Theo.

I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the Globe-Sox relationship, and it strikes me that Massarotti’s take is overheated in parts. But, hey, Theo’s gone, and Massarotti’s Herald colleague Michael Silverman now reports that Lucchino’s sweet nothings in Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s ear had something to do with Epstein’s decision to leave. Silverman writes:

Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed — in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.

Here, by the way, is the Shaughnessy column in question. Among other things, Shaughnessy pokes fun at Massarotti without naming him. What a lovely little newspaper war. And check out Hub Blogger Jay Fitzgerald’s take. (Jay’s a Herald business reporter. Yes, Boston is a small town.)

The definitive take on the Sox and the Globe was written last summer by the Phoenix’s Ian Donnis. You can read it by clicking here.

It’s a good thing the Red Sox won the World Series last year. It’s starting to look like it will be another 86 years before they win again.

Unless there’s one more act to be played out in this drama. Can I hope?

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  1. Anonymous

    I like what this guy has to say about the matter.

  2. Willis

    Not sure how Massarotti looks huge. If his Herald colleague is to be believed, Epstein walked away after there was a tentative agreement. For Massarotti to be correct, Epstein would have to have decided to walk last Thursday. He didn’t. Noone has contradicted the fundamental story that there was a deal and Epstein pulled the plug on it. As reporting, Massarotti was wrong at the time. As speculation, he ended up being right. There is a difference, but the anti-Globe spin has carried the day again.

  3. willis

    Where’s the inside information in the Globe column? Disagreeing with the Theo is God dogma isn’t ‘inside information.’ The only thing that’s close to inside information, or material that comes from a source, is talk of Lucchino ‘falling on the sword’ for the botched trade last summer. The rest is pure opinion, analysis and opinion — decidedly not reporting of insider information. The legions of the jealous of Shaugnessey are condemning something that simply isn’t there, although much of the allegations can be categorized as more of the final breaths of the soon to be defunct Boston Herald.

  4. mike_b1

    I didn’t know you read this board, Dan.

  5. Anonymous

    Willis wrote:1. “For Massarotti to be correct, Epstein would have to have decided to walk last Thursday.” Not true. Massarotti was referring to a familiar pattern of escalating leaks from the Red Sox front office. The final turn of events notwithstanding, the smear campaign was underway. 2. “Where’s the inside information in the Globe column? . . . The only thing that’s close to inside information, or material that comes from a source, is talk of Lucchino ‘falling on the sword’ for the botched trade last summer.” What, that’s not enough for you? The “Lucchino ‘falling on the sword'” smear is what this whole thing is about.

  6. Anonymous

    Just read last Saturday’s piece in the Globe titled “Ramirez again asks Sox for trade.”Problem with this article is that the only person claiming that Ramirez wanted a trade was an “unnamed team source.”I read and re-read and re-read the piece looking for any indication that there was an attempt to contact Ramirez or anyone in his inner circle (agents, friends, hangers-on, anyone) to either deny or confirm the other side’s claim. None whatsoever.I mean, you are still supposed to get both sides of a story, right? That is journalism 101, no? But the only source cited here was an anonymous team source.For people who want to believe the Globe sports page is a bought-and-paid for mouthpiece for ownership, there certainly is a mountain of circumstantial evidence.

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