Zimbalist—third from the left (Havard Gazette photo)
It was only a matter of time before the NOG started firing back against Terry Francona over his new book. The first flak is Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist—who just happens to be a 'consultant' to Major League Baseball. First of all, we know how grounded the residents of Northampton, Massachusetts are (full disclosure: your Editor-In-Chief resided there for two years while in graduate school). Suffice it to say that the real world hardly ever infringes on that self-absorbed little Pioneer Valley hamlet. Zimbalist, appearing on a podcast for WEEI.com, begins his attack by claiming that virtually every quote in the book is simply taken out of context and is a dramatic misrepresentation of those baseball-loving guys in the ownership group. After all, John Henry brought in Bill James—doesn't that prove he loves baseball? Huh? But the truly vile aspect of Zimbalist's diatribe is when he drags out the ad hominem attacks on Francona once again. Here is his direct quote: "...Francona, after all, was the manager for eight years. Then all of a sudden, he has a bad year, there’s a swoon in September, he himself personally has a bad year which starts with marital separation, rumors of affairs, probable addiction – certainly serious problems with painkillers, and stuff going on in the clubhouse. It’s pretty clear that he’s losing control." Hey, professor, was this taken out of context? Shame on Zimbalist. Shame on the NOG.