Final Two in The Apprentice
Survey: It's Down to the Top Two for Red Sox GM,
Gammons or Wally? Make Your Pick.
El Tiante and Mrs. Damon are Out;
Gammons and Wally are Still Alive
(Luis Tiant 1975 - Boston Globe File Photo / Michelle Damon - Boston Globe Staff Photo, Essdras M. Suarez)
It's Down to the Final Two as Lucchino Cuts
Damon and Tiant from GM Contention
Red Sox Apprentice: Down in Dallas, it's two down, two to go. Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino released a statement indicating that he had spoken to both Luis Tiant and Michelle Damon late on Sunday to inform them that they are no longer being considered for the vacant GM position.
“Former Boston Red Sox Manager Darrell Johnson once said about Loo-iee ‘If a man put a gun to my head and said I'm going to pull the trigger if you lose this game, I'd want Luis Tiant to pitch that game,’” said Larry Lucchino, who is en route to the winter meetings in Dallas. “As I noted in the New York Times, it may be time for us to be looking internally for the solution to this puzzle. So to start with we took a look at Luis Tiant, an instructor, ambassador, and fan favorite in our baseball operations group who just turned 65 last month. We were highly impressed with his passion and eagerness to learn the job and lead the bowling alley even after the winter meetings and in the old timer’s tenacity, sticking with this ongoing process.
A source familiar with the Tiant discussions said “The Sox felt the job would just be too demanding for him (Tiant) so they went in a different direction. They know El Tiante’s been out of the game longer than (Jeremy) Kapstein. He needs to devote much of his energy selling those $8.00 Cubanos while RemDawgs is breathing down his neck.”
“Luis doesn’t care if we keep Manny or Trade Manny,” said the person authorized to speak for Tiant. “And he thinks Rick Miller can replace Damon in center. If he has his way with Francona and the pitching, we’ll have Schilling throwing 165 pitches an outing in a 'That 70’s Show' remake."
Tiante would only say ''I had dreamed about being a general manager for a long time. But with no experience, I never thought I would get a chance to interview. I’m thankful for the chance ... and I hope my colleague Wally gets the job. He deserves it.''
The much ballyhooed Damons and their agent Scott Boras were rumored to be in town over the weekend having dinner at The Hotel Commonwealth, though Lucchino denied it. Hey Scott, can we see the books on Chan Ho Park and Magglio Ordonez? And the while the negotiations on a new contract continue, Lucchino informed the couple that Michelle would not become the first woman GM in the game.
NESN’s “In Style” host was a surprise Final Four survivor. Those close to the Red Sox GM extravaganza say the team was trying to kill two birds with one stone, fill their GM role with someone that would ensure Johnny stays in a Red Sox uniform. With 11 people to share the GM duties, they figured she could just act as the spokesperson for the group on television. And they lock up Johnny.
At the end of the day, it was determined that Johnny Damon could be signed without taking the last resort step offering the GM slot to his wife for "Theo money." It was simply a creative compensation method to add overall dollars to the Johnny Damon signing package, something that was not in Boras's book, something the Yankees cannot do with Brian Cashman locked in the GM role.
“We thank Michelle Damon for seeing the process through and congratulate her on being a final four contestant” according to Lucchino’s statement. “We look forward to her being a major player in the media cartel for many years.”
“Although our primary goal was to lock up Johnny by promoting Michelle, it was much more than a courtesy interview,” said Lucchino. “And she was flat out impressive in her knowledge of the marketplace and how we operate.”
(Michelle) Damon did not return calls seeking comment. (Johnny) Damon would only say “She was a little shocked ... she thought she’d be a good GM ... I would definitely have stayed to help her with it but ... she’ll be fine and has plenty of other projects going on. We’re going to go back to Florida now and we’ll take a ride in the boat and hang out ... it’s all good ... and I think Peter Gammons could be a very good general manager so we’ll see what happens ... I’d like to sing in his All-Star band ...”
Lucchino is confident that either Wally or Gammons will emerge as the new GM before the meetings in Dallas are complete.