By: John Molori
January 26, 2006

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Ordway dumps on Red Sox as Epstein returns

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Such seems to be the plight of the Boston Red Sox front office. When general manager Theo Epstein left the organization last October, there was near universal disdain for the way CEO Larry Lucchino and owner John Henry handled the situation.

Epstein is back, but the venom continues from many fronts, chiefly, WEEI 's Glenn Ordway. On Tuesday, during the crossover segment from "Dale and Holley” to his "Big Show,” Ordway castigated the Red Sox.

In typical wise guy fashion, Ordway trashed the Red Sox for issuing a statement regarding Theo Epstein's duties as opposed to holding a press conference.

Ordway stated that if the Red Sox did call a press conference, they would have to answer direct questions regarding Theo's return. Ordway said that the Red Sox would not want to give straight answers related to Theo's initial exit and his subsequent return. In short, Ordway was chastising the Red Sox for avoiding tough questions.

Talk about hypocrisy. Each Monday during the NFL season, Ordway plays host to perhaps the most evasive personality in the history of professional sports. This man has raised sidestepping tough questions to an art form. He is terse, uncompromising and, quite often, uncooperative during press conferences.

The man is Bill Belichick and Ordway has never once chastised the Patriots coach for these traits. The Patriots are looked upon by many as the premiere organization is sports, yet their most visible leader is more paranoid than Richard Nixon and Dan Duquette combined.

Where were Ordway's harsh critiques of Belichick's style during those Monday interviews? Where was that brash and condescending attitude that he has displayed since Epstein chose to return to the Red Sox? Ordway said this week that Epstein acted selfishly, and criticized him for his sudden return.

This is the same guy who completely vilified Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy for supposedly causing Epstein to leave the Red Sox back in October of 2005. Ordway trashed Lucchino and the Red Sox for letting Epstein go. Now, he is trashing them for bringing him back. How do you win?

Ordway criticized the Red Sox for their press conference last week announcing that Epstein would return. Now, he is criticizing the club for not having a press conference. How do you win?

If you are Bill Belichick, you win by going on Ordway's show each Monday and tolerating the often-inane questions offered by a bevy of cohosts. Only the consistently intelligent words of Steve DeOssie save Belichick's "Big Show ” stints from dipping to the level of the woeful 2005 Keith Foulke "Dale and Holley” Q and As.

Speaking of Dale Arnold and Michael Holley, they did serve as voices of reason during the Tuesday crossover. Ordway would have everyone believe that the Red Sox are a national laughingstock because of the Epstein saga. Both Arnold and Holley correctly retorted that the Epstein negativity is mainly local.

If Ordway is going to criticize Epstein for leaving the Red Sox and then deciding to return, he had better use the same judgment on some of his WEEI cronies.

The aforementioned DeOssie left WEEI and became a regular guest on Sean McDonough's AM 1510 program during 2001 and 2002. Holley pulled a boomerang leaving the Boston Globe for Chicago only to return to the paper. Holley was also a regular guest on WEEI, moved to AM 1510 and now has returned to WEEI.

WEEI's Gerry Callahan was a full-time writer at the Boston Herald, then left for Sports Illustrated. Callahan is now back at the Herald. Mike Adams left NECN and eventually returned on a part-time basis. He also left WEEI to host a morning show at AM 1510, but reversed direction back to WEEI after the show was cancelled in February of 2003.

"Big Show” regular Steve Burton left WEEI for AM 1510 and he is back. Ordway's pal Fred Smerlas quit the "Big Show” in May of 2003 when programming chief Jason Wolfe announced a 30% guest pay cut. Smerlas eventually returned to the program.

Like Ordway, Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti has been ultra-critical of Epstein's back and forth with the Red Sox, pretty funny considering that Massarrotti also left WEEI to pursue greener pastures with AM 1510 only to return to WEEI. You'd think he would understand that things change, situations change, people's minds change.

I don't remember Ordway insulting Massarotti, Smerlas, Burton, Adams, Callahan, Holley or DeOssie. Ordway wouldn't do that because he has to face those guys, much like he has to face Belichick every Monday. It's easy to trash Epstein behind the safety of WEEI's studio walls.

Bob Neumeier left WBZ for WEEI, but is now back at WBZ alongside Bob Lobel on Patriots programming. Even Bob Ryan, a Boston Globe fixture since 1968, left the paper briefly to work full time at WCVB-TV in 1982. Ryan, of course, eventually returned to the paper.

The point is that in business, people make choices and reconsider those choices all the time. Epstein's decision to leave the Red Sox was his own. His turnabout is similarly between him and the Red Sox. Ordway's childish bellyaching and name-calling is typical.

Just before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, we learned why the Red Sox did not call a press conference. Ordway read the team's lengthy press release detailing Theo's return as executive vice president and general manager. The release also included a candid recap of the issues that brought the team to this point.

As Ordway read, it was clear that the press release was one of the most direct, insightful and revealing missives that any team has ever disseminated. Ordway, Steve Buckley and Sean McAdam felt differently. John Henry alluded to the media's portrayal of the Epstein-Lucchino issue as a power struggle.

"He's referring to the Globe,” bellowed Ordway, snidely referring to the newspaper whose parent company owns 17% of the Red Sox. Ordway's Globe paranoia is so transparent. It is almost embarrassing.

Says Globe scribe Dan Shaughnessy, "I have to tune out WEEI. There is an agenda against us. Glenn Ordway's show is a four-hour anti-Globe diatribe. Glenn got his feelings hurt when the Globe pulled their writers from his program.”

It is interesting to note that the Herald has scooped the Globe on a couple of Red Sox stories this week. So much for the conflict of interest bunk spewed by Globe critics.

When Lucchino admitted in the press release that there was friction between himself and Epstein, Buckley tried to put words in John Henry's mouth. This is why the Red Sox were smart to issue a written release. Because their words are in black and white, they cannot be misquoted by media types trying to push their own agendas.

As Ordway read about the Red Sox renewed front office optimism, he questioned the sincerity of the team's rosy outlook.

Maybe Ordway's audience should have done the same when he re-signed with WEEI in 2003 after lengthy co ntract negotiations. At the time, Ordway gushed, "WEEI told me, ‘We love you. We want you. How do we get it done?'

"Both sides are happy. This is a great marriage with lots of opportunities for everyone involved. We can do so much more. This is where I wanted to be.” Was that just a load of bull? If you go by Ordway's Red Sox analysis, I guess so.

In the press release, Epstein also acknowledged prior disagreements between himself and Lucchino. All parties were up front and honest, yet still vilified by the WEEI crew. How do you win?

Ben Cherington said in the press release that he and Jed Hoyer consulted Epstein regarding the club's off-season moves. That defeats Ordway's uneducated guess that if Epstein had not left, Johnny Damon would still be with the Red Sox. Sorry Glenn, another unfounded theory beaten down by the facts.

After Ordway stopped reading, Buckley stated, "This is an embarrassment. ” McAdam added that the press release "did more harm than good.” Ordway agreed. Let me get this straight. First, Ordway trashes the Red Sox for not being forthcoming, and then he trashes them for being totally forthcoming. Again, how do you win?

During the Tuesday crossover from the midday show, Ordway joked that instead of doing his show, he too might just issue a written statement every day. Go for it, Glenn. My ears could use the rest.

John Molori's columns are published in The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine,,,,,, and Email John at [email protected]