But as James delved further into the discussion, he made some comments that caught the attention of the Players Association, a few All-Star players, current and retired, and the organization he works for. “The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game’s history regarding the use of replacement players,” the MLBPA head said. “The Players ARE the game. And our fans have an opportunity to enjoy the most talented baseball Players in the world every season.” Thursday afternoon, the Red Sox chimed in with their own remarks, which focused heavily on distancing themselves from a man who has his own profile on their website reading, “He works with senior management and the baseball operations department to provide research and analysis of special projects, and on-going (sic) concerns.” The Sox’ statement regarding James’ Twitter comments were less friendly: “Bill James is a consultant to the Red Sox. His comments on Twitter were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinions of the Red Sox front office or its ownership group. “I’m not offended,” he wrote in an email to the Herald. But James usually speaks in broad terms, sharing big picture ideas and opinions that relate to theory more so than practical action. “What I said here yesterday, I once said to (former union head) Marvin Miller,” James tweeted. The Red Sox might prefer it. The players certainly would.
Less than 10 days after winning the World Series, the Red Sox were distancing themselves from one of their senior advisers.
Bill James, known by many as the godfather of sabermetrics for his analytical work that led to his hiring by the Red Sox in 2002, was publicly reprimanded by the team Thursday for comments made from his personal Twitter account.
In an email to the Herald, James acknowledged the repercussions of his words.
“I understand that the Red Sox are not in business to offend people, and certainly regret that I gave offense to anyone,” he wrote.
James had spent some time on Wednesday engaging with folks about the perceived value of major league players, particularly as it relates to their salaries. From a series of tweets with various users, it appeared James’ point was that, in theory, there is no such thing as an underpaid baseball player in the big leagues.
But as James delved further into the discussion, he made some comments that caught the attention of the Players Association, a few All-Star players, current and retired, and the organization he works for.
The now-deleted tweet that caused some controversy read: “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”
He added: “The entire GAME is the product.”
Another tweet read: “We’re all replaceable, the players as much as the beer vendors. If they’re unhappy about that, talk to God about it; I don’t make these rules.”
Naturally, the idea of players being replaceable did not rub the union in a positive way. And by Thursday morning, Tony Clark issued a statement.
“The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game’s history regarding the use of replacement players,” the MLBPA head said. “The…