December 3, 2005

The Ball Belongs In Boston.

So the Red Sox have filed suit seeking permanent possession of the 2004 World Series final out ball.

An agreement reached between the team and Doug Mientkiewicz last January stated that the former first baseman would loan the ball to the Sox, but get it back at the end of 2005 "unless the ultimate issue of ownership has been otherwise resolved." Thus, the lawsuit.

I'm in the clear minority (see SoSH and Surviving Grady, for starters), but I believe (strongly) that the ball belongs to the Red Sox. Lucinda Treat, the club's chief legal officer, put it simply:
From our perspective, it is very important that an artifact with this much history -- it was 86 years in the making -- be part of the club archive and be available for fans to experience.
Someone at SoSH claimed that the team wouldn't push this hard if it was someone like Varitek or Schilling who had gloved the ball. Perhaps. But my gut tells me either of those two guys would have given it back, if asked.

I know previous World Series balls have been taken home by players (doesn't Mike Timlin have one of the Blue Jays' final outs from the early 90s?). The Red Sox World Series victory is different. More different -- and more historic -- than almost any other World Series championship in history. The ball belongs in Boston.

The Post says there are five teams hoping to trade for Manny Ramirez, the most prominent being the Mets and Angels. Texas has also been mentioned, with Alfonso Soriano as the main Ranger in the proposed deal. No thank you. Listen -- I'm yelling loud and clear from my rooftop: Keep Manny!

Jeff Horrigan writes that there "is support within the organization to deploy the combo of Alex Cora and rookie Dustin Pedroia at second base".


L-girl said...

Comment spam! Even with word-verification! ARGGGHH!!!

redsock said...

yeah, that's the 2nd one i've had to delete.

i guess they figure my blog really brings in the customers!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I have to disagree. Being a Boston fan, I do feel that our recent World Series Win was the most important one in say...oh well, ever. However, I'm certain that legally, this doesn't apply, as justice has no roots in fandom. It seems there is a great deal of history of players keeping these balls as personal mementos, and I don't know of any case where the team has requested the ball, outside of this one. Precendent would seem to dictate that teh Ball is the players, but in the end who really cares? You can't wear a ball around on your head that says "2004 WS Champs" and I have a hat that I can, and it's worth more to me than that ball ever could be worth. To me anyway. I'm sure sootheby's would disagree.

Blind Swipe said...

A couple of points from a Yankee fan regarding an issue that has gotten way too much mileage:

The Red Sox’s ’04 victory, obviously, isn’t the most historic/important championship ever. White Sox fans have, at the very least, an equal stake in such a claim and I don’t think ’04 is more important than the first WS championship ever or the Red Sox’s first championship ever. It’s not even more important than the 1919 Championship which impacted the way the game is overseen. Nor is it more important than say the first WS series played at night. Suffice it to say, it’s very big for Red Sox fans alive today. Outside of RSN, it’s just another World Series.

Secondly, ownership of the ball does not revolve around the significance of the ball in history or to either party. Hypothetically, all things remaining equal, would Hank Aaron be LEGALLY more entitled to his first HR caught by a fan in the stands or his record breaking one or his last one? The answer would be none of the above. If it’s determined that balls hit into the stands are the property of the person who catches it, then that’s the rule across the board. Here, if players have been allowed to keep game balls, then it doesn’t matter what game ball is at issue – even if it has a disproportionate sentimental value to another player or team. Property like that is usually handed over voluntarily out of courtesy and the recipeient of such generosity usually offers to trade something else in return. Obviously the Sox aren’t going to offer Mientkiewicz an autographed ball or glove or free tickets to the next home game. But they’ll probably have to cough up something of significance to Doug. (I’m guessing that a pro athlete would like some sort of compensation they could not normally get at the contract bargaining table.) Perhaps I missed something in this story but I haven’t heard that Boston has offered him anything in return. You may not like having to make a pay-off, but that’s the way stuff like this usually gets settled.

Ultimately, this is really an ethical issue and not a legal one. The ball belongs TO Doug Mientkiewicz, but the ball belongs IN Boston.

And I'd hope Sox fans don't fixate on something this insignificant. '04 shouldn't be defined on any level by a game ball.

tist said...

go to to sign a petition to keep him on the team. see bill simmons' more cowbell from 12/1 for more details