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Francona book: Red Sox owners concerned with image

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Francona book: Red Sox owners concerned with image

NEW YORK (AP) Theo Epstein traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford following pressure from Boston Red Sox owners to build a ``sexy team,'' according to a book co-authored by former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Epstein, who left as general manager after the 2011 season to become a Chicago Cubs executive, said Boston owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino made the team's image a priority, according to excerpts released Tuesday by Sports Illustrated.

``Francona: The Red Sox Years'' is co-written by the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy and is scheduled for publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Jan. 22.

``They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle,'' Epstein is quoted as saying. ``We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We'd become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.''

On Nov. 2, 2010, a group gathered at Fenway Park to review results of that $100,000 marketing research project the Red Sox had commissioned following declining ratings of NESN, the regional sports network partly owned by the team.

The books stated the marketing report said: ``(W)omen are definitely more drawn to the `soap opera' and `reality-TV' aspects of the game ... They are interested in good-looking stars and sex symbols'' - a reference to All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Gonzalez and Crawford were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer along with Josh Beckett after the Red Sox fell out of contention.

Francona left after the 2011 season, when the Red Sox lost 20 of their last 27 games, becoming the first team to lead by nine games in September and not make the postseason. He worked for ESPN in 2012. Cleveland hired him in October as its manager.

Francona said owners refused to let the Red Sox play day games on final days of homestands because of television.

``One thing the players were always asking for was getaway day games,'' he said. ``The owners would never go for it. They couldn't have more day games because the ratings were already suffering, and that would have hurt worse.''

Francona is quoted as saying that at the Sept. 30, 2011, meeting with owners he said: ``If you don't know what you are doing about me, why am I here? This is a silly meeting. If you don't want me, just tell me.'' The team announced later that day that it was not exercising his option.

``It was at that meeting that he said that he had lost control of the clubhouse,'' Werner is quoted as saying, ``that he was not the right person to continue as manager.''

Francona recalled the session differently: ``I never said I lost control of the clubhouse I said I hadn't been able to reach some of the guys.''

He was critical of the owners in the book.

``They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don't think they love baseball,'' he said. ``I think they like baseball. It's revenue, and I know that's their right and their interest because they're owners ... and they're good owners. But they don't love the game. It's still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It's not their blood. They're going to come in and out of baseball. It's different for me. Baseball is my life.''

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The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

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USA Today Sports

The case for - and against - the Redskins signing Colin Kaepernick

Don't look in this space for an argument that the Redskins - who are reportedly signing Mark Sanchez as Colt McCoy's backup - should, or should not, sign Colin Kaepernick.

This space will lay out reasons why the Redskins should, and should not, consider signing Colin Kaepernick. 

It's not a binary decision. In fact, it's just about the opposite. 

Any debate about Kaepernick often gets bogged down in differing political view points. This is not the place for that. Rather, here is an attempt to make the case for or against Kaepernick from a football perspective. 

The case to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • The Redskins need a quarterback. Alex Smith broke his leg and Colt McCoy needs a backup. Of the available free agents out there, Kaepernick has by far the best stats and resume. As Chris Thompson explained of Kaepernick, "He made it to a Super Bowl." When he last played in 2016, Kaepernick had 16 TDs against just four INTs in 12 starts. 
  • Kaepernick has familiarity in the West Coast offense, and once backed up Alex Smith and played with Vernon Davis. 
  • Redskins QB coach and passing game coordinator Kevin O'Connell worked on the 49ers staff with Kaepernick.
  • Multiple Redskins players, including Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, said that the Nike pitchman deserves another chance in the NFL. 

The case not to sign Colin Kaepernick

  • Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL for nearly two full seasons. He hasn't practiced in a professional setting for more than a year. The Redskins are competing for the NFC East title. If they have to go to a backup QB, they want somebody that is game ready. It's hard to think Kaepernick fits that bill today. 
  • Earlier this season, Redskins CB Josh Norman had some choice words for Kaepernick after Panthers safety Eric Reid spoke out against the NFL Player's Coalition. Norman is an active particpant and leader on the Player's Coalition, a social rights group that Kaepernick distanced himself from. Putting Norman and Kaepernick in the same locker room might create some friction for a first-place team. 
  • At 6-4, the Redskins are in first place in the NFC East and should still be able to win games with McCoy at quarterback. Regardless how one feels about Kaepernick's activism, it will create a side show for any organization that brings him in. Cable news outlets like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will descend on the Washington locker room should Kaepernick get signed. 

 

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

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    Holtby is back, but Copley will start

    The Capitals take on the Montreal Canadiens to finish off a four-game road swing on Monday (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Washington has won two of its first three games on the trip and look to take win No. 3 in Montreal.

    Here are four things to watch:

    Braden Holtby is back, but Pheonix Copley will get the start

    The Caps reassigned Ilya Samsonov to the Hershey Bears on Monday signaling that Braden Holtby will be back in the lineup for Monday’s game, but Pheonix Copley will still get the start.

    Copley has been impressive on the road trip getting all three starts thus far with a .922 save percentage and 2.01 GAA. It says a lot that even with Holtby back, the Todd Reirden is still willing to put in Copley. Per Isabelle Khurshudyan, Reirden said he wanted to get Holtby back into his routine before starting him.

    No Oshie, no Kuznetsov

    T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov were both injured in Wednesday’s game and will be out of the lineup in Montreal.

    Here is a look at the lines from the morning skate:

    Alex Ovechkin – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson

    Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – Andre Burakovsky

    Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly

    Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Brett Connolly

    Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
    Michal Kempny – Matt Niskanen
    Christian Djoos – Madison Bowey

    It is important to remember that when the Caps finally get healthy, they will have two extra forwards on the roster. While the Caps can afford to keep two, most teams typically only carry one and Washington may look to trim one of those extra forwards in the coming weeks. That makes games like this one where more players are getting into the lineup and getting more minutes because of Oshie and Kuznetsov’s absence critical for those players who may or may not be fighting to stay on Washington’s roster.

    Todd Reirden remembers

    The last time these two teams met, things did not go that well for the Caps. Washington had a 4-3 lead late in the third period, but the Canadiens would score three goals in the final 3:04 of the game to win it 6-4.

    Reirden has not forgotten about that game and called a fake goalie interference challenge late in Colorado on Friday just so he could remind his team to finish strong.

    “It was a situation where a few weeks ago we had the lead and let it go against Montreal and it was something that we discussed with our team,” Reirden said following Friday’s game.”

    Reirden reminded the players about how that game ended as a way to motivate them in Colorado. How much more will he remind them about it on Monday in a rematch against the Canadiens and will it lead to a stronger finish for Washington?

    Max (Power) Domi

    Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin has been widely criticized for many of the moves he has made while with the Canadiens. It appears this summer, however, like he may have done something right.

    Bergevin acquired forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk. It is a deal that looked decidedly one-sided in favor of Arizona, but let’s take all of the context out of it for one moment and just look at how Domi is performing right now. He looks like a tremendous player.

    Domi has already racked up 10 goals in just 20 and comes into Monday on a nine-game point streak, a streak that started on Nov. 1 in the game against Washington. He has far and away been the team’s top offensive threat this season and leads Montreal in points with 24, seven more than second-place Tomas Tatar.

    Speaking of Tatar, he is also someone the Caps will have to look out for as he has seemingly settled in with his new team and has six goals in his last six games.

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