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"But the fact is, Greg, with the knowledge you've been given, you are now on the inside of what I like to call... "the Byrnes family circle of trust." I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me... and round and round we go. Okay. Understood. Okay, good. Come on. Let's go inside and have breakfast…
"Did I not clearly explain the circle of trust to you, Greg? …See, if I can't trust you, Greg, then I have no choice... but to put you right back outside the circle. And once you're out, you're out. There's no coming back." –- Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), Meet the Parents
Schilling, Shaughnessy on Sources and Stories
11.2: WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan covered the ongoing Theo Epstein situation and had the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy on the program followed by Curt Schilling.
John Dennis: My source, who’s been on target the last few weeks, tells me there’s a rogue CIA agent, this person describes as acting like a rogue CIA agent, that gets outside the organization and just sort of gets drunk with power, acting on his own, and a woman plays a significant role (Dennis alleges Theo’s girlfriend is uncomfortable with the fishbowl environment in Boston)... So here’s the deal, my friend tells me the following: Everything you’ve heard about in the past is pretty accurate, allowing for some spin in one direction or the other, but there was sort of air of uncomfortability about Larry planting the seed, Theo’s tree growing next to Larry. Larry not wanting the kid to get more money than he, or get more power. All that stuff we told you in the past exists but individually, the money, the chain of command, the kid growing up and looking his dad straight in the eye and saying “I’m as good as you and I don’t need you to look over my shoulder.” All of that is true but individually, none of that would be deal-breaker stuff. The person that I talked to last night said no matter what you think of Larry, if you like him, if you hate him, if you’re indifferent about him. The one thing that you could never call Larry (GC: is ineffective) or stupid.
Here’s the deal, if you allow for the intelligence, the perspicacity, and the effectiveness that Larry Lucchino has brought to this organization… keep in mind, Larry and Theo with a little help from John Henry got the deal essentially done. They settled on money. They settled on length of contract. They settled on the chain of command issues.
Gerry Callahan: Hey, yesterday Michael Holley walked in here and said "What is wrong with you guys, can’t you just say the name Charles Steinberg (was the source of a Red Sox leak)?" And I said, we have been saying it. Weren’t we saying it yesterday? Hasn’t everyone been saying it? Charles Steinberg. And everyone knows Charles and Dan (Shaughnessy) are tight, we can ask him at 8:00 how tight, but, and that’s probably why that rogue-CIA agent isn’t out on his ass already because he’s an important guy and he’s a valuable guy.
Dennis: There you go… Now Larry is looking at Theo and Charles and says “I’ll guess I’ll stick by this guy, he’s done a lot for me, he’s done a lot for the organizations I’ve been involved in. He’s been a very loyal servant to me, and in some cases, a little too loyal or a little too involved. And I think this is one of those cases.
Callahan: He’s Smithers and Larry’s Monty Burns. And if you’ve ever seen that show (The Simpsons), that’s the same dynamic. Has Monty ever fired Smithers? He might have every once in a while. (JD: What can I do for you? What can I do for you? Can’t think of anything? I’ll go do it myself.) Do you think Larry took him over his knee and spanked his bum-bum?
Callahan: But he would never fire him.
Dennis: He would never fire him.
Callahan: Isn’t Charles smarter than that? …The best part of that (Shaughnessy Sunday) column is "Charles Steinberg and Larry are responsible for Theo." And people out there in Red Sox Nation are going “who’s this Charles guy again? His adopted father? His big brother from the Boy’s Club?"
(Dan Shaugnessy called in during the next segment)
Dennis: By all accounts Dan, the only thing that changed after the deal was all but done was you’re column that insulted and incensed Theo, it wasn’t necessarily the specifics that you wrote, I think it was an overall feeling, from what I’m able to find out, of a violation of trust. Theo agreed. Larry agreed. The parties involved agreed that this was how it would proceed (“radio silence”) until this thing got done. Somebody violated that trust and that’s what essentially pissed off Theo to the point of saying, “I can’t work in this environment.”
Dan Shaughnessy: Well, if that’s true, they have to work this out among themselves, all I did was write what I know. That’s what we do. It’s not my job to decide “oh better not write that because it might cause a strain there.” We’re not in the business of filtering out that stuff. I’ve observed these guys for four years. I’ve known Lucchino since ’79. I met Theo in 1993. This is my take on the situation and all of it is true in my view and some of it is my opinion. The stuff that is fact is in my view, true.
Callahan: So you don’t feel like that Larry looks bad here?
Shaughnessy: Oh I think Larry looks like the guy who tied the girl to the railroad tracks. Of course he looks bad. Everybody loves Theo. This isn’t even like Parcells-Kraft where people take sides, or Nomar-anti-Nomar, people take sides. No one’s taking Larry’s side in this. That’s obvious. He’s the perfect villain in this thing and I understand that.
Dennis: When you have a committed source, a mole, over a long period of time, is it easy to be less vigilant in checking the voracity of what that mole is saying if the relationship is long-standing and you’ve never been burned before?
Shaughnessy: I suppose that’s true but you have to guard yourself against that. If you’re talking about the Colorado trade situation, that’s been checked way beyond one source.
Callahan: That’s not what Peter Gammons says.
Shaughnessy: Peter Gammons went on another station that I work for and said some very…almost ridiculous stuff which he did apologize to me for the other day. It’s preposterous, you know I understand Peter’s very involved in this and Peter’s… hey Peter Gammons is the greatest there ever was. He’s a Hall-of-Famer for a reason, but you gotta admit, he’s pretty much been on one side of this issue.
Callahan: But is he wrong? We talked about it with Larry after Peter wrote that Larry was the bad guy, that Larry threw Josh Byrnes under the bus. Larry fired back at Peter. Are you saying Larry’s right, Peter’s wrong?
Shaughnessy: Yes. On that one? On the Colorado deal? Yes.
Dennis: Sourcing your Sunday column, even as I read it Dan, before I knew that this thing was going to fall apart, seemed to me not to be the smartest move by whoever it is the source happened to be if they really were intent on getting the deal done. With that as a background, did it occur to you, and I know it’s not your job, but did it occur to you, as you wrote that Sunday piece, that this was going to at least get the attention of, if not piss off, and who knows, maybe Theo, and as a result kill the deal.
Shaughnessy: Well that was one of the things that was in the column. I think at the very end of the column it says “we know too much.” I guess too much was out there. Maybe I knew too much and too much was out there for the good health of the relationship with these guys. They’d have to answer that but again, most of this stuff, I’ve been down this path before, it’s just that this thing was coming to a boil and so much had been written about and talked about these two guys over the last week, I thought “hey I know both of these guys pretty well and I don’t think Larry’s side, if you want to call it that, has been represented very fairly in recent weeks, now I remember he did get killed over that Colorado thing, what’s up with that? And who’s the baseball guy and who’s not and Theo wanted to distance himself from the San Diego days a little bit, and maybe that’s what this is about. I did (think the deal was done). Absolutely. Again, I can’t make my son take the trash out, I can’t believe that I can write something that’s going to make the general manager of Red Sox change his mind about a great job here. Yeah, I can’t believe that.
Dennis: Well I don’t think it’s you that Theo is pissed off at, I think it’s the violation of the trust that he thought he had fixed. There were some conversations after the very first story that you were not involved in, the story that he turned down three years at $1.2 million, feathers needed to be smoothed then. Then yours came out and I guess there was a lot of acrimony, and they thought he went to bed at least willing to think about it, and gets up Monday morning and reads yet a third story, sourced I supposed by the Red Sox to the Globe, and that was finally the straw.
Shaughnessy: Again, you said sourced by the Boston Red Sox to the Globe, that’s unfair. (Well where did it come from? They didn’t get it from Theo?) Where do stories come from? Where do your stories come from? (From people who have a reason to want to get them out Dan) It’s not fair to people’s reputations to assume that because of this relationship, every story that’s in the Globe is given to them by the Red Sox.
Dennis: I didn’t say that every story…
Callahan: I didn’t say given, there are two sides to this and it definitely didn’t come from Theo’s side because he hadn’t decided yet.
(Curt Schilling called in during the next segment)
Dennis: Curt do Red Sox players believe that spin or smear campaigns are liberally used by Red Sox ownership and management?
Curt Schilling: They’re used by every club in the history of professional sports. Why would it be any different here? I don’t know about smear campaigns but, I mean, the bottom line is Dan Shaughnessy got used. And because he got used, Theo Epstein’s no longer the general manager of the Boston Red Sox. I really feel that that was the final straw in all of this.
Gerry Callahan: You said to me the other night that everything you read in the Sunday Globe was wrong. We just talked to Shaughnessy, he defended most of it. (CS: Of course he did). What specifically was wrong and what do you think set Theo off?
Schilling: You know what I can’t… I’m not going to go into detail on what I know to be not truthful. I don’t think it was any one thing. I think there’s a lot of things. If it was me, and I’m Theo, I would have been incredibly offended at somebody that I obviously trust because it’s obviously somebody above Theo leaking stuff to Dan Shaughnessy to make a point. I was pissed for Theo. You know what, that happens. It’s big business and I guess you deal with it on a case-by-case basis. Obviously Theo felt that moving forward there were going to be tremendous issues. If that stuff could come out at that time, given the situation and the circumstances and how, I think he had gone out of his way to stay away from the media, and stay out of the media, and the Red Sox were going to do the same, I think he felt that moving forward, there were going to be a lot of issues.
Callahan: Colorado (Bigbie trade) being one of them, you mentioned that earlier, do you think that the version that Dan Shaughnessy wrote…
Schilling: No, I know that’s not how it happened (GC: That’s wrong?). Yeah.
Callahan: In other words, it’s wrong and someone… (JD: Fed it to him).
Schilling: Yeah. Yeah. Again, that happens all the time.
Callahan: Someone gave him the wrong version to make Theo look bad?
Dennis: Not I’m not sure that it makes any difference, but Dan said not once but twice in that last half hour together that Larry was not the source of that Sunday column and, and I find this even more important if it’s true, Larry neither approved, nor knew of, the sources action in talking to Shaughnessy.
Schilling: That’s what Dan Shaughnessy says. Take that for what it’s worth. I don’t know.
(Replay tape of Shaughnessy from earlier)
Shaughnessy: You got Curt Schilling’s take on this thing the day after it comes down. Why is that? Is that because you guys have a relationship because of the show? And I got to read Curt say that he picked up the Sunday paper and knew that was a lie. Tell Curt to go ask the people who paid him $13 million to win eight games last year about that situation. Maybe they can explain it to him.
Schilling: Wow… that’s awesome. (Shaughnessy tape: Tell Schill I love him). That’s good stuff. You know what… I mean Dan knows that I think he’s a tired act and I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me, so take that for what it’s worth unfortunately or fortunately I’m not in the minority in that situation. Dan is Dan.
Is Theo a Better Man?
"Theo needs his space -- he might go to South Africa with Pearl Jam (appearing at a special benefit for Molo Care, an organization that Theo added to his charity foundation -- A Foundation to be Named Later) and do social work -- and the Red Sox will find someone who wants to accomplish what he accomplished." -- 11.1, Peter Gammons, ESPN.com Insider (subscription only)