BARKS & BITES
Update 10/20/01: I was able to get on air with Duquette during Thursday's A-Team interview on WEEI (as Steve from Brighton... didn't want to scare him by using Big Dog). I asked Dan about Manny's multiple disappearing acts during the season, e.g., leaving the team in the heat of the pennant battle to go stretch in Florida when we could have used a pinch hit in Texas to stop the season ending losing streak, taking off on Cal Ripken night/the last home game of the year, not playing the last nine games of the season, and vanishing in Baltimore before and after the final game. Not taking a breath, I also squeezed in... and why does a guy who makes more money than most small countries have to be coddled in the clubhouse, need to make adjustments in the "market", be supplied with his own support system, have to be made comfortable... his weak answer was basically "you don't have to worry about Manny, he's a hitter, he led our team in RBIs, and I stayed up until 4:30am watching that Texas game too... everyone tried real hard to win that game." He drifted further away from the question after that. I'll provide more details of the Dale and Eddie interview next week. While Dan repeated most of the rehearsed cliches documented below, he (and his new consultant) introduced some weird new ones as well.
Date: Wednesday October 17, 2001
The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.
- The Emperor's New Clothes, Hans Christian Andersen
Dan Duquette does another live interview with WEEI's A-Team tomorrow. I've already heard his prewritten infomercial on every outlet from NESN to the North Pole News... including last week's regurgitation on WEEI with the venerable Ted Sarandis. While Ted asked some solid questions, Duquette doesn't really answer them, which is the equivalent of a kick in the teeth to Red Sox Nation. And no one has yet shown the gumption to follow-up when he goes off on irrelevant tangents in lieu of straight answers.
Eddie and Dale, I'm begging you guys to ask just one follow-up when he doesn't answer any of the following:
1. Why didn't you back Jimy Williams last year when Everett snapped and essentially sandbagged the manager? He said "if I had the facts then that I have now, I may have handled that differently." What didn't he know?? And isn't his job to know it? And how on earth can he claim that he supported Jimy Williams last year (remember how Jimy had to call a press conference to defend himself last September)? The statement is ridiculous.
2. Why did you grossly overpay for Offerman and give him a fourth year with an insane buyout when there were no similar offers, and none beyond three years? And why did you choose not to go for Alomar for a little more money?
3. Why are most of the draft choices offered a 'take it or leave it' package not subject to negotiations like most of the Yankees draft picks? Why do you keep saying the farm system is in good shape, when all the call-ups were from AA or waiver wire guys? This is not the farm system you promised us eight years ago, and Baseball America confirms it.
4. Why did you unnecessarily sign the extra year extension for Everett after the horrible (statistically and behavioral wise) second half he had last year?
5. What was lacking in the conditioning of certain players last year and how will that be different this off-season? Did Pedro, Everett, Lowe, Manny get in 'championship' shape in the off-season last year? Please don't let him talk about the injuries again... what's wrong with the Red Sox conditioning program that contributes to all these injuries?
6. Why do you so despise talking to the media during the season (beyond his paid for show and the team website) which is essentially depriving the paying fans of getting the input from you they want? Eddie, explain to him how he is morally obligated to keep us informed, not now -- after the season is over -- but during the season.
7. Are you disappointed that Manny asked to go on the DL and bailed on the team, heading to Florida, not there in Texas during the last gasp of the season, dictated to Kerrigan that he would not play for the rest of the season? A no-show in the clubhouse during Ripken's last games at Fenway and in Baltimore... why does he have to be coddled so much with special clubhouse considerations? Many a great player survived in that clubhouse, from Ted Williams to Mo Vaughn. Isn't $160 million enough to keep him focused, dedicated, and interested?
8. Are you disappointed that Pedro was such a bad influence on the team this year and set a horrible example by going home early? Has he been in top shape coming into the season the last three years? Who monitors his workouts in the Dominican and how will that change this off-season?
9. What went wrong with Jason Varitek's treatment for his injured elbow? And do you plan to overhaul the Red Sox medical team as well? Do you feel there was a conflict of interest with Dr. Pappas as owner/chief of medical staff with the team up for sale this year?
10. And lastly, why did you post a fake chat on redsox.com? Do you feel guilty duping the fans like that?
Dan's answers follow (regardless of the questions... I'm turning off the radio if I hear him invoke any of the following names, hackneyed terms, arcane references, or stilted phrases for the umpteenth time on this All Media Job Interview Magical Mystery World Tour he is conducting):
"Thanks for having me on... our fans had high expectations going into the season... we had great success if you look at our attendance record, and with the interest on television and radio... I have a goal of bringing a World Championship team to the Red Sox… we've been getting closer to reaching that goal in my tenure... I'm proud of drafting Nomar Garciaparra... I would like to have a more elevated role... we are 3rd overall in the American League and 5th overall in Major League Baseball in winning percentage since I came here in '94... we spent more days in first place than any other year since '95, the last time we won the division... we won the last five games of the season... I make decisions with the best interest of the ballclub and our fans... the most important thing is to get those core players healthy…Manny didn't even know that he, Nomar, and Pedro never played a single game together... we had the best 3-4-5 hitters in baseball going into the season (who on earth was the '5' guy?)... in '97 people recommended that I do this and do that, if I can get a #4 hitter and a closer like I needed in '97...
I'm still looking forward to seeing Garciaparra and Ramirez batting 3 and 4 in our lineup… that’s the best 3-4 combination since Jimmy Foxx and Ted Williams… I'll talk baseball, it's the gossip I detest... Shea Hillenbrand and Alfonso Soriano are comparable prospects... Casey Fossum had a great seven game season... Doug Mirabelli's slugging percentage was over .500 you know...
Manny by and large was terrific… there’s some adjustments $160 million free agents have to make in their first year in the market… we're working on providing a support system around him… he’s not real comfortable with the space restrictions in our clubhouse… we need to surround Manny with some key players… need to make him more comfortable in the market...
I thought Jimy Williams did a good
job by and large, he was one of our longer tenured managers in our clubs
history… we supported Jimy Williams last year when Carl was late for the
The facts regarding Carl Everett that I know now weren’t at my disposal then… he didn’t address the behaviors… his conduct was unacceptable… he needs to address some issues and reintegrate himself into our ballclub… we’ll see how and if he fits into our ballclub...
I had lunch with Derek Lowe, Manny Ramirez, Pedro, etc... and they want to win... I want to continue the great tradition of winning baseball teams... with Kerrigan's leadership..."
And if I dare hear him say that Ted Williams calls him 'the Red Sox secret weapon', I'm coming down there to rip out his microphone... he's a secret weapon alright... for the New York Yankees.
Oh, and Dan, if you are still employed by the Red Sox after Thanksgiving, my unemployment runs out in eight weeks... can I have a job? I can write your interviews for you. ٱ