Red Sox threatening to boycott Japan trip

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For the Red Sox, fate has a sense of irony, it seems. In February, Boston GM Theo Epstein railed on Mike Mussina for his 2004 comments about the Yanks’ Japan trip only to find Boston players bemoaning the trip last week. Now, with David Ortiz backhandedly complaining, the Red Sox are threatening to boycott the trip entirely. The team voted not to go to Japan if their staff and coaches aren’t given the $40,000 stipend the players will receive for the trip. Call me crazy, but that seems rather excessive. So much for Boston’s taking the high road here.

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  • Whitey14

    If the yankees did this you’d be praising them for standing up for their coaches. What the Red Sox players are doing is saying they believe the coaches are a part of their baseball family and are being treated unfairly to not receive the same appearance fee the players will get. They were told this would happen, then somebody tried to change the plans and the players are not accepting it. It’s a classy move and I have no doubt the yankees players would do the same for their coaches since most of them were the very same players that fought to get the players the rights they enjoy today. Great Job Sox!

    • Ben K.

      We’re talking about $40,000 a person for a week’s trip to Japan. That’s excessive no matter what team we’re talking about.

      • Whitey14

        I agree it’s eacessive, but that’s not the point. It’s what was promised to them. For MLB to try to back out of that is wrong, no matter who the team is.

        • Guiseppe Franco

          That doesn’t explain Big Papi bitching about the Japan trip.

          Here are his own words from that article…

          “Look,” Ortiz acknowledged, “from Day 1 I have said I don’t want to go to Japan, but I’m an employee. My boss wants me to go, so I am going.

          “All the bitching and complaining I could do is not going to make any difference. So why do it? It’s not worth it.”

          Theo brought these criticisms onto himself by opening his big mouth and ripping Moose and Brown on a radio show.

          Maybe he took PR tips from Hank Steinbrenner that day.

    • Alan

      I agree entirely, Whitey. Regardless of whether or not the amount of money is excessive (It is.), this is what was promised to them. Now MLB has decided to reneg on this promise and the players have decided to stand up for them in the only way they know how, refuse to go. I hate the Red Sox as much as anybody else around here, but what they’re doing is classy.

      Besides, it’s nice to see Theo having to eat crow.

      • Whitey14

        He does indeed deserve the crow.

        • JT Bk

          Where they really promised the money or did the assume they were getting the money? The As staff isnt getting the money and they arent complaining. Am i to believe that they were not promised the money and the Sox staff was?

          Shed some more light. Regardless of the fact, if the Yankees acted this way, everyone would be jumping down their backs.

          • Whitey14

            It sounds like, according to Alan Embree, the A’s will be having their own discussion today before they play against the Cubs. I don’t think this is as one sided as it appears right now.

  • samiamsports

    Its funny how theo is suddenly quite when it comes to players bitching about a japan trip…..

  • Ivan

    Ben K is trying to say that if Theo Epstein is going to kill Mussina for complaining about the trip then your team shouldn’t be either and if they are tell em to grow up.

    Ben K is being fair here.

    • Whitey14

      What Theo said was complaining about it won’t do any good and if you have players, such as mussina and brown, consatnatly complaining,it doesn’t say much about their character. A few bad apples can spoil the attitude of the whole team. Players who complain consatantly in the clubhouse and dugout are a cancer to a team and every player that’s played with brown will tell you he was that kind of a guy. Would it have been better for Theo to keep his comments to himself, absolutely, but it’s not like he was wrong. Ortiz said the same thing about complaining and Guissepe was kind enough to quote it below. If brown and mussina had taken the same path, they wouldn’t have been spoken of negatively.

      • Ben K.

        Backhanded complaints are still complaints. Saying “I’m complaining but I’m not complaining” does not excuse the complaints.

        As for the $40K to the coaches, if MLB had guaranteed it to them, then, yes, they should pay up. But the only people saying this guarantee existed are Red Sox players. Why hasn’t MLB commented? Why are the A’s being silent on this issue? You don’t hear much from them about it.

        • Whitey14

          According to Todd, down below, the info got back to Francona that the A’s coaches weren’t getting paid so it seems they could be talking about it too.

          I like Steve’s idea, also down below. This trip will happen because MLB and the Red Sox need it for marketing purposes.

      • Guiseppe Franco

        You can’t really make that argument about Moose or Brown “constantly complaining” about the Japan trip because you weren’t in the clubhouse and I haven’t seen any quotes as to what Moose or Brown actually said.

        For all we know, Moose or Brown could have said something very similar to what Papi said but Theo took it upon himself to demonize them anyways.

        • Whitey14

          You’re absolutely right Guiseppe, I took some liberties there that were assumed. My bad.

      • Ben K.

        Just another point I’d like to make: I have no problem with the Red Sox’s complaining about this trip. I have a problem with the Red Sox’s GM criticizing Mike Mussina for complaining while his own team bemoans the trip.

        This trip sucks. There’s no way around that. It’s great for baseball and inconvenient for everyone else involved. But for Theo to attack Mussina out of nowhere was simply inappropriate.

        • Guiseppe Franco

          Agreed wholeheartedly.

        • Whitey14

          To be fair, nobody’s bemoaning the trip (although great use of that word Ben) They voted as a team to go, some players have been honest in saying it wasn’t their first choice, but they’ll do what the team wants. They are a pretty close knit group. But I agree Epstein shouldn’t have said anything, he opened the door for a lot of well deserved criticism.

          • Guiseppe Franco

            Oh well, we Yankee fans have a lot of experience in listening to front office big mouths saying stupid things (ie: Hank) and sounding like an ass.

            Most everything that comes out of his mouth has me shaking my head and wishing he stayed in the restaurant and horse ranch business.

  • r.w.g.

    $40,000 is nothing to Ortiz, Ramirez, Lowell, Drew, Tek.. etc, but to the kids on the team and the coaches it is a serious amount of money.

    If MLB promised that everyone associated with the field/locker room area of the team would get $40,000 stipend and now is saying that isn’t happening.. I don’t blame the Red Sox.

    It’s moronic to take two 11 hour plane trips in a week just to play 2 games. It was moronic when it happened with the Yankees and it’s moronic now.

    To play regular season games outside of the league’s country (in MLB’s case the US and Canada) is unnecessary. I didn’t think it was that great when the NFL had a game in London (but at least they had a week to get there and then a week off before their next game) and I don’t think the English Premier League (that’s soccer, folks) should go ahead with their plans to add an extra game to play outside England.

    Leagues are for the countries they play in. Japan can watch us on satellite and the World Baseball Classic.

  • E-ROC

    It is not that serious. Complaining about $40k?! Maybe they’ll do a Latrell Sprewell and say they have to feed their kids.

  • Todd

    I don’t know how much you have read about this, but I agree with the Sox on this. Franona was under the impression that the coaches would be paid (as coaches on the Yankees trip to Japan and all others have been), and told his staff they would be. Then, when he heard the A’s coaches weren’t getting paid, he asked MLB what the deal was, and no one got back to him. He is rightfully angry, and I don’t blame the Red Sox for this mess.

  • steve (different one)

    yup. i can’t believe i am saying this, but the Sox ARE right to be pissed. the coaches were supposedly promised $40K, and now they aren’t getting it.

    it is completely irrelevant whether we feel $40K is an excessive stipend or not. that is completely besides the point. if it was promised, they should get it.

    THAT SAID, boycotting the games also seems quite unacceptable. the fans in Japan should not be screwed because of this.

    what i think *should* happen is that Henry should step up and give the money to the coaches FOR NOW, and they should work out a deal with MLB later.

    • steve (different one)

      just to follow up, i do think Ben is right to rip Theo though. Ortiz’s comments alone make Theo a hypocrite on this one.

  • rbizzler

    This whole Japan trip idea sounded great from afar, but when the trip became a little closer on the horizon then the novelty wore off. Now you are left with the same bitching that every other team that has had to make the same trip faced. Theo brought criticism on himself through his cavalier remarks about the Yankees a few weeks back. Now that it is his team that is bitching, he doesn’t seem so smug.

    And if the Red Sox players (Lowell, Ortiz, etc.) are so worried about the coaches getting paid ‘extra’ for a cultural excursion that millions of people a year pay thousands for, they can compensate them from their measly 40k ‘stipend.’

  • ceciguante

    can i ask why anyone being given a week trip to tokyo is getting $40K? if you are a coach, is it that much more work? i agree though, that if they were promised the $$, they have every right to be pissed at a bait and switch.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I can’t fault them for complaining or for sticking up for the people who were promised money and don’t make what they make. If they’re being a little “too” loyal to get out of the trip, who cares?

    I don’t care what Epstein said about Mussina. Moose is a whiner and we all know it. Theo is a big mouth and we all know it.

    I think that we’re doing here what we accuse them of all the time…making a dirty headline over nothing.

    I understand why they don’t want to go and I applaud them sticking up for the people who were supposed to be paid for it.

    Does that make me any less of a Yankee fan? I don’t think so but I want to pick my battles with the Red Sox and not make crap up to bitch about.

    This blog is getting so whiny lately.

    A 4th grade girl called. She wants her diary back.

    • steve (different one)

      that’s just silly. a 4th grade girl would probably send a text message.

      • Whitey14

        Steve, you’re killing me lately. If there’s an award here for funniest poster, you get my vote (although I’m probably not allowed to vote)

      • LiveFromNewYork

        so true! My age is showing.

        A fourth grade girl called. She wants her My Space rantings back.

  • r.w.g.

    Hopefully this mess will stop the practice of having games that count played in foreign countries. That’s what exhibitions and friendlies are for.

    • RZG

      You don’t want to count games played by the Blue Jays?

  • LiveFromNewYork

    call as in text message. Ha!

  • A-Point

    So everyone who feels that the Sox are right on this because THEY said they THOUGHT that their coaches would be paid. The A’s didn’t think that.

    This also should not be called a stipend, it is a payment for the players appearances. That is an entirely different matter designed to get the players to go and not “hurt their backs”.

    If the Yankees pulled this under these same circumstances I would say they were lame. Francona promised payments that weren’t his to promise.

    What really irks me is that so many are saying that MLB promised to pay the coaches this bribe to play. Where is that in writting then? Not one report I have seen has proven that. If anyone with half a brain would stop and think rather than just do the knee jerk reactions, then they would question why a coach who makes 100K to 200K a year get anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of their YEARLY salary to go do their job for a week while having all expenses paid. No other earthly job does that, yet these players are “heroes” for demanding something as unreasonable as that for people that the clubs hire.

    What would be next? The bat boys getting 40 grand to make this trip? Note to the players, the fans coming to these games aren’t there to see the coaches. The players get this for being there. For making an appearance. Last I knew, coaches don’t actually play the game.

    • JT Bk


    • Whitey14

      From a few minutes ago
      “Manager Terry Francona and his players were upset after learning staff members are not going to get a $40,000 stipend. The Boston Herald reported players insisted part of their agreement to make the trip included the fee — for them and the coaches”

      Sounds like when the Sox players voted to go on the trip they did so with some stipulations and the fee for coaches/staff was one of them. I could be reading that differently than others so I’m not saying it’s cast in stone.

  • Yankee Clipper

    If there is one thing the Red Sox are good at it is COMPLAINING. Of course Curt Schilling had to give his two cents, despite being on th 60-DL. $40,000 for a week in Japan is extravagant. Good job Massholes! Way to represent the MLB and our country! You make me proud.

    • Whitey14

      Remember, they’re just upholding the fine tradition of all these teams that traveled abroad before them, inlcuding the yankees. Again, it has nothing to do with which team they play for, the yankees should so the same thing if it ever happens to them. A team has to take care of it’s own because apparently MLB is not going to live up to their promises.

  • playballnyy

    is it a stipend or an appearance fee? I’ve seen both used in articles, if its an appearance fee, then this all makes sense, who’s buying tickets to see the coaches – NOBODY-so why should they get an appearance fee. they’re dummies for missunderstanding, bottom line, they signed a contract, suck it up.

  • Glen L

    MLB can afford it .. it was promised to them … and to some coaches and kids it is A LOT of money … the sox are right, i believe, to do this

    what, am i supposed to feel sorry for MLB and 15mm/year Bud Selig at having to shell out a few $40,000 checks to some coaches? … i think not

    • JT Bk

      Where in the world does it say they were promised this money. I think francona assumed the coaches were going to get 40k because the players are getting it. Just because the red sox say they were promised something doesnt mean they were promised anything. Francona never got any confirmation that the coaches were getting anything, yet he went ahead and told all of his coaches otherwise.

  • JT Bk

    Sounds like the players are using this as an excuse to not go to Japan.

    • Travis G.

      you might be on to something.

      i’m tentatively planning a trip to Japan and it’s gonna cost me thousands of dollars. they SHOULD be happy to have a free trip there. however, IF they were promised the money, then i dont blame them. but i have yet to see proof of that.

  • barry

    I personally think that MLB players are a little blinded by their fame and fortune. I can honestly say that I, and probably a good number of the readers here, wouldn’t pass up the chance to go to Japan for free, 40k just to work for a few days overseas? Sign me up.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    In case anyone missed it, though, you are likely to still miss it as this topic is about 4 topics down now, but from Peter Abraham’s blog:

    UPDATE, 3:12 p.m.: Yankees player rep Mike Mussina said that when the Yankees went to Japan, they were given a pool of money to distribute how they see fit. The players voted to give equal shares to the coaches and support staff who were making the trip.

    Now whether the Red Sox forgot to include the coaches or not, I have no idea. But obviously something got fouled up.

    So perhaps it was the Red Sox players who loused the whole thing up in the first place?

  • bostonsucks@life

    Not to get political but a lot of people in this country don’t even make 40k a year. That is crazy to me and I’m sure others do to. I’m a water plant operator(I play work with chemicals and make sure peoples drinking water is safe) I flirt with the 40 k mark. For a week trip and 2 games seems assanine. Screw them for bitching.

    • Whitey14

      It’s still difficult to equate baseball money to real life money though because it’s all insane. The right to bitch comes from things being promised and never delivered and there were more things than just money involved. I’m not crazy, I realize it’s the key factor, but I respect the Red Sox players for standing up to protect their coaches/staff and I would expect every other team to do no less for theirs.

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  • JimT

    This according to Mike Lowell. Last fall when MLB approached the Red Sox and thier players about this trip all parties involved MLB, the players and Red Sox management had a group conference call. The players during that call requested and were guaranteed certain conditions from MLB that included appearence fee money for everyone players, coaches, trainers and support staff. This was agreed to by MLB officals during the original phone conference call and on subsequent calls involving the trps organization and planning. Recently MLB has reneged on several other issues concerning travel arrangements and accomidations for the players families that were also agreed upon earlier. The players shrugged thoses issues off and kept them private. However, the situation reached its boil point yesterday, when little more tha 24 hours before the team was to depart MLB sent out a memo backing out of its financial promises to all non players. The Red Sox players, to thier credit rallied around the effected parties by not taking the field today and threatening not to go Japan if MLB didn’t recognise thier grievance. The players were going to get thier fees regardless. This was about promises made to non players.

    This had nothing to do with players wanting or not wanting to go to Japan. This was about MLB keeping promises they agreed to on more than one occassion.