Why did Ben Affleck’s character and his sidekicks in “The Town” decide to steal from Fenway Park?
Because that’s where the money was. They used violence, cunning and sophistication.
John Lackey took a legal and much simpler approach. He’s no criminal. He just signed his name to a 5-year, $82.5 million contract and inadvertently robbed the place blind. He’s guilty of taking John Henry’s money. Unlike his Hollywood counterparts, Lackey didn’t have to carry out all his cash. He probably uses Direct Deposit.
In Goodfellas, Henry Hill said the Air France job “made me” because he walked out with “$420,000 in cash without using a gun.” Well, if you run the numbers – based on 35 starts per season – Lackey walked out of Fenway Monday with another $471,428.57 (before taxes of course). And I don’t think anyone will ever accuse him of using a “gun,” either. This time the Blue Jays had all the firepower.
It’s hard to knock a guy for taking all that money. We would do the same. Lackey didn’t expect to be so ineffective. His Fenway ERA in 2011 is, gulp, 9.17. Lackey would still stink even if he made just minimum wage. We’ve all had a field day ranking Lackey on the list of Theo Epstein’s mistakes. There have been plenty to consider. J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Dice-K, Eric Gagne, Lackey and the gorilla suit. You have to wonder if Theo’s biggest “boo-boo” has yet to surface in Carl Crawford. But we’re not here today to hammer Mr. Epstein. He has 2 rings so he gets a 5-year exemption.
The real issue here is how fortunate Theo, the Red Sox and their fans are in having such financial leeway.
Mull this over. The Red Sox committed $72 million to Drew, $103.1 million to Dice-K (don’t forget the right’s fee), $82.5 million to Lackey and $36 million to Lugo in just five years. Most pro franchises would have gone into a financial tailspin after taking a $293.6 million hit on so many stiffs.
Not the Red Sox. Thanks to NESN, all that merchandise, the charm of Fenway, $165 Monster Seats and those $7.50 souvenir cup sodas, Henry had enough loose change lying around to not only lock up Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia long-term, but also sign Adrian Gonzalez ($156 million, 7 years) and Crawford ($142 million, 7 years).
(NBA teams – on the other hand – only get 1 gargantuan contract mistake every 2 or 3 years – to wit Gilbert Arenas/Rashard Lewis. Those guaranteed deals have to be worked off the books via the salary cap. This is one reason why the NBA may be locked out until 2053.)
With such a big wallet – Theo doesn’t have to be right all time, just enough of the time.
He only needs to stop having so many folks pick his pocket.
Obnoxious Boston Fan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on his “Facebook” page and via twitter @realOBF. He can also be heard on “Open Mike” with Mike Bianchi on 740AM the Game in Orlando.