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Red Sox soap opera would make for a great Hollywood script

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

Who plays Red Sox owner Tom Werner and GM Theo Epstein in the next baseball blockbuster? (AP)  
Who plays Red Sox owner Tom Werner and GM Theo Epstein in the next baseball blockbuster? (AP)  

Now THIS is the Moneyball movie, the one that happens if Billy Beane had taken the Boston Red Sox job instead of staying in Oakland.

This is the movie where we find out the cost of glory, the depths of power's ability to avenge slights, and how Theo Epstein's best move ever wasn't taking the Sox job, or leaving it, but dressing as Santa Claus to escape it.

This is the movie where Brad Pitt ends up looking more like Clint Eastwood, and the pre-teen girl is now a chain-smoking 26-year-old who knows way too much of how the world works.

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This is the movie that cannot have any fictional elements in it.

Bob Hohler's story in the Boston Globe is an enormous knee in the nethers to the Red Sox, not because it's wrong, but because the primary sourcing so clearly seems to be the owners. There is no suggestion that Hohler's work was fabricated, not even by persistent press critic and radio gadfly Curt Schilling. He was told what he was told, he reported it, he went to those who were accused of helping undermine the Sox and recorded the reactions thereof.

In short, his burden has been met, and in doing so, the story he really tells is how the Sox behave.

And that's the movie we want.

We are not going to review the movie we have; been done, and done to death. If you liked it, fine. If you didn't, fine too. Nor will we discuss Michael Lewis; have your own arguments there, too.

But if he had it to do all over again, Lewis would have killed for this season, 3,000 miles to the east and in a place that hangs on every sentence that includes the word "Sox." Beane is not nearly this bizarrely riveting, not in any way, not on any day.

We suspect that Epstein might have reluctantly signed on to such a book, or that Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner would have convinced him to do so. And watching the first five months of win-two-of-every-three drama-deficient baseball would have been worth every second to take the final month, when an entire franchise imploded under the weight of its own self-importance.

And imploded with the weaponry of the 21st century -- "It wasn't our fault; the players and the manager did this."

Speculation has centered on the owners and/or team doctors, particularly on the Terry Francona pain-pills issue. And speculation is all it is.

It is hard to know, though, who else had a burning desire to take out half the clubhouse and the manager's office, especially when you consider that 2004 and 2007 are not that long ago. Ingratitude of this magnitude is not the province of the visiting clubhouse guy.

And ex-players like Schilling and Nomar Garciaparra, who have no interest in loving the Boston media, aren't turning on the author either, or even the veracity. They're turning on the sources, because they think the sources are upstairs.

So how is that not a movie? How is that not a great movie? How is that not a great movie that doesn't have to be ginned up by screenwriters in even the slightest way? How is that not the book Michael Lewis would have wanted instead?

But you can only write the tale in front of you at the time you get the chance. And you can only get the movie done that you know about at the time, even though the hardest movies to do are always the nonfiction ones.

After all, there is no weirdness quite like reality, and no story that beggars the imagination like the stuff that happens right in front of your face.

Or the stuff that gets whispered in an ear when vengeance is in the air.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com.


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