Today on Season Ticket, host Chris Gasper (@cgasper) welcomes The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham to introduce the three main candidates vying for the Red Sox manager job. He also gives the inside scoop on possible surgery for Dustin Pedroia's knee. Then, the producers of WBUR and NPR's Only A Game join the show to discuss their recent reporting about power, money and corruption in the NCAA.
On Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora
Pete Abraham: At the moment, I would say he's the odds-on favorite [for the Red Sox manager's job]. He seems to be the candidate that any team who has a managerial vacancy wants to hire...He just turned 42 years old [and] the Red Sox feel like that would allow him to better connect to their younger players and be more of a motivational factor to them than John Farrell was. [He has also] been very influential in adapting to the modern statistical analysis...and they believe Cora can come and modernize the Red Sox approach a bit in terms of how those numbers are used.
"[Surgery] would keep him out for a large part of the 2018 season...And it sounds to me that surgery is very much a possibility."
On possible surgery for Dustin Pedroia
Pete Abraham: Dustin has seen at least two specialists and probably more. Right now, he's sitting down...and trying to figure out what the best course of action is. One potential course of action would be to have surgery. And if he did do that...it would keep him out for a large part of the 2018 season. I expect we're gonna hear early next week. And it sounds to me that surgery is very much a possibility.
On why Only A Game decided to investigate amateurism in the NCAA
Karen Given: Two out of every three fans, according to some surveys, say that college athletes, even at the very top level, shouldn't be paid. But then when you talk to analysts, when you talk to people who cover the topic, when you talk to athletes—they all say, "no, those people should be paid." And we were like, where does that big division come from? Where does that difference in opinion come from?
"Universities are supposed to be about education. They're not supposed to be minor league systems for pro sports."
On how college athletic programs take advantage of their athletes
Martin Kessler: One of the guys I spoke to for this story was former Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes. He was one of the best players on Wisconsin. One of the best players in the country. And Wisconsin's basketball program was bringing in about $10 million in profit a year. Now, when Nigel was a freshman, he couldn't even afford a plane ticket home for Thanksgiving. So, I think when you start to look at that, I think people start to see, you know, maybe this system isn't so fair.
On universities providing free minor league systems for pro sports
Karen Given: We have been talking about how the universities take advantage of the players, but this is [also] how [the NBA and NFL], which make ridiculous amounts of money, are taking advantage of the universities. Because universities are supposed to be about education. They're not supposed to be minor league systems for pro sports.
Martin Kessler: I think growing up in the US we just get used to this, but this is not how other countries do it. Other countries do not tie minor league sports to their universities. That's an American tradition.