Originally written on Bush League Chronicle  |  Last updated 1/15/13
A soon-to-be released book co-authored by former Boston Red Sox skipper Tony Francona sheds some light as to why the franchise may be struggling lately. According the book Francona: The Red Sox Years, former general manager Theo Epstein traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed free agent Carl Crawford amid pressure from ownership to build a sexier and more marketable team. The team's image became the utmost priority for upper level ownership to help boost declining ratings and fan interest."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."Epstein eventually left the organization after the 2011 season to join the Chicago Cubs.In Nov. 2010, a group gathered at Fenway Park to discuss the results of a $100,000 marketing project the Red Sox commissioned following a slip in ratings of their regional sports network (NESN).The report revealed what many of us would consider pretty obvious. Women are interested in "good-looking stars" and "sex symbols".Gonzalez and Crawford have since been traded. Both wound up in Los Angeles this summer after Boston decided to trade them.Like Epstein, Francona also left after the 2011 season. He was recently hired by Cleveland to be their manager for the upcoming season after serving as an analyst for ESPN in 2012.Francona also cited the owners unwillingness to play day games because of the low television ratings."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."All in all, it sounds very much like Francona rips the owners in the book, which is slated to hit shelves on Jan. 22."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."The Red Sox have not appeared in the postseason since 2009. They finished last in the AL East Division in 2012 after finishing with a mark of 69-93.Via Sports Illustrated.
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