December 24, 2003

The Stupidity Tax. Reading the New York papers on the now-dead Rodriguez/Ramirez swap is like falling into Bizarro World, a universe of opposites where day is night, up is down and an insane dictator without WMDs is more dangerous that one with them. Jon Heyman's column in Newsday is headlined "Boston Got Too Greedy"; Joel Sherman of the Post calls the Red Sox the "biggest losers." Objective reports agree it was Hicks who was the greedy one, trying to milk as much extra dough from the Red Sox as possible. But the Red Sox were not as desperate for this deal as Texas (they have Manny and Nomar after all), so they walked away. ... To be fair, John Harper of the Daily News had it right: "Hicks significantly reduced his demand for the second time in recent days on the money he wanted the Sox to send his way along with the Ramirez contract, but the Sox weren't budging. One person close to the situation said the Sox weren't willing to swap Ramirez straight up for Rodriguez without the $28 million-$30 million restructuring of the contract that was nixed by the players' association last week." And Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune was blunt: "In the end, the Red Sox wouldn't pay the stupidity tax. They weren't willing to bail out Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who appears to have doomed his franchise in the short term after agreeing to shell out $252 million for Alex Rodriguez."

Reports that Hicks dropped all additional money considerations were apparently inaccurate. Hicks: "I talked to John, who said that without serious concessions from the Players Association, he was not in a position to negotiate at all. It was very easy to see we were too far apart. We agreed it was too big a gulf to bridge, and we decided to call it off." ... Pokey Reese: "My goal was to one day play behind Pedro, and I got that opportunity and I couldn't turn it down. I played for the Pirates and the Reds most of my career, but when Pedro went over to Boston I'd always keep an eye on the Red Sox. I love Pedro Martinez, I love the way he goes out and takes care of business, so it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down."

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