Boycott Averted

Rest easy Red Sox Nation, your team will be travelling to Japan as scheduled.

The players and the league reached an accord in which the league will put up $20,000 each and the Red Sox will make up the difference to give the coaches and trainers the same $40,000 amount the players are getting.

But the bigger question is, how did it get to this point?

Susan Slusser covers the Oakland A’s (the Sox opposition in Japan) for our sister newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle.

She provides the evidence that pretty much shows the players themselves caused all this.

Inadvertently, anyway, but still!

Basically, the Red Sox insisted on a raise from $25,000 to $40,000 per player when negotiating for this trip. Thing is, the money comes from a finite pool funded mostly by promoters in Japan. The players on past trips, most notably the Yankees and Tampa Bay in 2004, voted coaches and staff shares similar to the postseason bonus system.

This time though, the raises for the players ate up that pool. Since the player’s union doesn’t represent the coaches, no one realized what had happened until Terry Francona happened to talk to A’s manager Bob Geren yesterday.

I find that hard to fathom, and if the Red Sox themselves really had no idea, shame on them for not following up. Did no one research how past trips had gone for other teams to learn how this was done? No one called a player on another team that had gone in the past to get a read on how it might go?

And then there’s the money. It’s really hard to justify this to Joe Fan who makes less than $40,000 a year (and we’ve heard from a lot of you). I know the coaches “only” make $150,000-200,000 a year and that 40 grand is a lot of money. But this trip is all expenses paid, food and lodging included.

Look, I don’t want to say those guys don’t deserve the money, they do work hard. But it’s hard to paint the Red Sox as “heroes standing up for the little guys.” Yeah, they did the right thing in the end, but shouldn’t they have doublechecked beforehand and saved everyone some grief?

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

-SI

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