April 6, 2004

Taxigate. That's what BDD is calling it. The fact that Pedro Martinez left Camden Yards before Sunday's game was over seems like a small issue, but it's instructive to see each writer's/paper's spin.

MassLive: "Ace leaves team in the hole" -- "Martinez left the Boston Red Sox clubhouse before the end of Sunday night's season-opening game, an act which could lead to authority problems for the team's new manager ... Theo Epstein told the Boston Globe that "Terry will address the issue, and we'll keep it in-house.""

Hartford Courant: "With Respect To Pedro? Francona Already Feeling The Heat" -- "The criticism aimed at Terry Francona in his first big league managerial job with the Phillies was that he didn't lay down the law with the players. By his own admission, he's already guilty of that in Boston. ... [O]ne game into his first season as Red Sox manager, Francona was put on the hot seat by Martinez. And because Martinez isn't talking to the media, his manager and teammates have to speak on his behalf."

Boston Herald: "Francona takes fall for Pedro's early exit" -- "Francona arrived with a reputation for being a 'players' manager,' and Pedro Martinez officially became the first to test the premise ..."

Boston Globe: "Sox: A situation right off the bat" -- "Francona is a self-professed players' manager; that's the perception of the players, as well. Several said in spring training they appreciated the way Francona treated them, and that they never would test him or take advantage. Now the public is waiting to see how Francona handles this, just as it waited to see how Grady Little handled Manny Ramirez's situation last season."

redsox.com: "Francona takes blame" -- "Aware that Pedro Martinez left Camden Yards before the final out of Sunday's Opening Night loss to the Orioles, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he would discuss the matter with his ace before Tuesday's game. While Francona has a policy about players not leaving before the end of the game, he blamed himself for not communicating this to Martinez ahead of time."

For the CHB, it was manna from heaven: "Why does this stuff always happen with the Red Sox? Why can't it just be about the baseball? Even for one day. ... This act may not seem like much of a big deal to some people, but it's a violation of a timeless baseball code. ... Francona looks weak. ... The manager is covering for his player, which makes for a poor start in some eyes."

Will this become an issue? I doubt it, since Francona, Pedro, Theo, et al. will simply stop talking about it. Of course, various writers may want to harp on it all year long. ... In the words of one Sock, "Nobody said anything about it [Martinez's departure] that I know of. ... I don't think it's a big issue, but I'm sure it will turn into one."

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