Red Sox top adviser ignites fury: All you players can be replaced

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The Red Sox organization has some advice for its adviser: Your thoughts are “absurd.”

The Boston franchise is apologizing for baseball icon Bill James, a Red Sox senior adviser of baseball operations, who got in a Twitter battle Wednesday in which he said MLB could “replace” all its players without much issue. As the baseball world, its players and its players’ union caught wind of the narcissism, the Red Sox sought to separate themselves from their higher-up adviser.

“Bill James is a consultant to the Red Sox. He is not an employee, nor does he speak for the club,” the team said in a statement. “His comments on Twitter were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinion of the Red Sox front office or its ownership group. Our Championships would not have been possible without our incredibly talented players — they are the backbone of our franchise and our industry. To insinuate otherwise is absurd.”

Many of the tweets from James, a baseball historian and the father of Sabermetrics, were deleted by Thursday afternoon. He had fought with his followers concerning players’ labor values. In one instance, he was asked about players who are underpaid throughout their career.

“My heart bleeds for them,” he wrote.

“If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever,” he added in another tweet. “The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”

It was an especially curious comment coming from a top adviser to the World Series champions.

“Wonder if the @RedSox win the World Series with a replacement player for @mookiebetts or @JDMartinez14 or @DAVIDprice24 or #Bogaerts or @JackieBradleyJr or #ChrisSale or @RickPorcello or @asben16 or #Devers or @kimbrel46 or……..” Astros pitcher Justin Verlander tweeted. Bradley, the Boston center fielder, endorsed Verlander’s message.

“The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game’s history regarding the use of replacement players,” Players Association head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The Players ARE the game. And our fans have an opportunity to enjoy the most talented baseball Players in the world every season.”

James, 69, has written dozens of books about baseball and has been aiding the Red Sox since 2002.

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