We hesitate to report this, because it will likely be resolved by the time we hit "enter," but the Boston Red Sox -- who will be playing the part of the Harlem Globetrotters to Oakland's role as the Washington Generals in the upcoming opening series in Japan -- are threatening to boycott the trip. Says ESPN:
Mike Lowell told The Boston Globe the team voted unanimously not to take the field for their final spring training game or to board the plane later Wednesday for Japan.
Manager Terry Francona and his players were upset after learning staff members are not going to get a $40,000 stipend. The Boston Herald reported players insisted part of their agreement to make the trip included the fee -- for them and the coaches.
So for want of $40,000 per coach, will next week's opener be lost? Not bloody likely. On the same page as the ESPN report, Jayson Stark rates the chances of this boycott coming to pass as falling somewhere between slim and none. (And Stark is sympathetic to what the Red Sox are trying to do here.)
It would be fitting, of course, for yet another A's international series to wind up on the ash heap of history. Five years ago, of course, the opening series in Tokyo against the Mariners was scrapped because of that spot of unpleasantness in the Middle East. (Say... anyone know whether that ever got resolved?) And now this year's trip is in jeopardy -- well sorta, but not really -- because David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez and company all decided to go Norma Rae on us.
No word on whether the A's are threatening a boycott unless they get paid their stipend in U.S. currency instead of Lew WolffFunBucks.
Update: Susan Slusser reports that the A's are now meeting to decide whether they'll join the Red Sox in the boycott. I AM SPARTACUS!
Update 2: If this wire story is to be believed -- and a wire story has never lied to me, not ever -- the Red Sox are now claiming that the dispute has been resolved and the games in Japan will take place as scheduled. No word on whether the Pinkertons had to be called in to crack some skulls.