Red Sox

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

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE