Okay, I read it. 5 hours. It's very, very good. Quick impressions: John Henry comes off really well. So does Tom Werner, who is a lot more likeable than I first imagined him. Larry Lucchino, not so much, though the portrait is pretty balanced. It's clear that Mnookin appreciates what he is, even if that includes being kind of a shit on occasion. He is incredibly sensitive. Theo Epstein is also represented quite well, but appears to have the unfortunate tendency to deal with everything but his own issues until he goes crazy. Kevin Millar comes off as a total ass, as does Nomar, who is paranoid beyond belief.
And CHB? You know you were all waiting for it. Well, here it is: I did not believe I could think any worse of him than I did before.
I was wrong.
I assume Mnookin probably has some pre-formed bias against him, also being a member of the media, which he habitually manages to discredit, but. . .wow, just wow. CHB comes off the worst of any character in the book, by far, even though he doesn't actually get all that much mention. It's a total of maybe 5 pages, although I guess if you consider that he's just a columnist, that's kind of a lot. I don't want to reproduce stuff here, because it's probably a copyright violation, so I will try to summarize the stuff that was not in the free excerpts.
You all know about the Dirty Laundry stuff. I mentioned it in a previous post. Nothing really new to add there, except that the Red Sox conducted an internal investigation to determine Steinberg's role in the leak, and he was effectively muzzled from there on out. Jeremy Kapstein, whose most notable feature seems to be wearing the same windbreaker 24/7 and stealing people's sandwiches (no joke), also seems suspicious.
The kicker, though, is the stuff Mnookin writes on CHB's Jan. 20 column. You know, the one where he says Theo is holding the Red Sox "hostage" and that Henry should tell him to "get lost."
Apparently, CHB went to Henry before he ran the column to tell him what was in it, at which time Henry told him Theo was coming back and they were just waiting to announce it until they talked with the limited partners over the weekend. So CHB told him tough shit, the column was running the next day. Here, I will write one quote:
"He was going to write things that were nasty," says Tom Werner. "And false."
So the Red Sox rushed the announcement because Henry was worried that Theo would get upset again. Here, Mnookin writes that, "Shaughnessy seemed to take the announcement as a personal affront." At which point we got an amended version that called Theo "at best immature and at worst duplicitous."
I'm sorry, the Globe needs to fire this guy. He's gone from being a relentless negativist to actually causing harm to the subjects he writes about. If a scientist is performing an experiment and starts interfering with the results, he doesn't have a job much longer, because he sucks at it. The same thing should apply here, I think. It is not a columnist's job to be the news or to cause the news. It is to react to the news. In the span of 3 months, we have CHB publishing deliberately crafted cartel propaganda that causes a high-ranking executive to quit, and we have him publishing his own falsified crap to try to sabotage the return of this executive out of spite. Such a personality clearly isn't cut out to be a columnist, much less in Boston. Get him out of there before he does something worse. I'm absolutely disgusted.
Other tidbits from the book:
-On the afternoon of Oct. 31, Lucchino apparently came storming down to the basement and started yelling hysterically at Theo about the PR mess he was causing right in front of the entire baseball operations department. I imagine watching everybody try to shrink into the wall would have been extremely fun.
-Manny Ramirez sticks his cell phone camera down his pants and takes pictures of his. . .you know.
-There is an extremely funny anecdote in there about the Curt Schilling saga that involves Jed Hoyer coming down with a stomach virus on the last day of the negotiations and projectile vomiting all over Theo's hotel room merely after drinking Gatorade. Sounds like he threw up in a suitcase. Charming.
In conclusion: CHB is a turd. Buy the book.