There is an underlying volatility to the ongoing drama that perennially surrounds the Boston Red Sox, one that in a season of disappointment led to Dave Dombrowski’s firing despite three straight American League East titles and a World Series championship.
Details of behind-the-scenes troubles have already begun to leak out and in due course, as per the norm in Beantown, there will be an Airing of Grievances like in a Seinfeldian Festivus, fuelled by conspiratorial whispers and carefully planted background.
Same show, new episode.
The relevance to the Toronto Blue Jays, beyond the sudden flux to hit one of the AL East’s behemoths, is in how Red Sox ownership acted decisively with a Hall of Fame-bound executive, even though Dombrowski’s contract as president of baseball operations ran through 2020.
Fair or not, right or wrong, principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner along with president and CEO Sam Kennedy didn’t risk letting any dissonance within the front office linger, opting instead to reset. Their next hire will operate with the stability of contractual term and a mandate clear to the wider baseball industry, and there’s significant value in that.
All of which brings us to Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro, who was named Paul Beeston’s replacement two weeks after Dombrowski was hired by the Red Sox in the summer of 2015 and received the same five-year term as his counterpart.
Like Dombrowski, Shapiro’s deal expires at the end of 2020 and like the Red Sox, his team is approaching an operational crossroads.