Boston Red Sox: John Henry Response to Yahoo! Article Analyzed

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IIAugust 15, 2012

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 26:  Principal owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox attends the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 26, 2009 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The earth is trembling beneath Lansdowne Street.

The foundation of the Red Sox organization has been rattled and is flawed. The pressure is mounting and something is bound to blow real soon.

Today, Red Sox principal owner John Henry emailed the Boston media with his response to the piece published yesterday by Jeff Passan for Yahoo! Sports.

While it is comforting to hear from the principal owner of the team, the question begging to be answered is: Does it even really matter?

Let's dissect this email a bit more closely.

First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues.

This preamble provided by Henry is almost laughable. The Boston Red Sox have built a reputation for themselves as being a spiteful organization, airing out the dirty laundry of players and managers once they've been kicked out of, or elected to leave, town.

Just ask Terry Francona, Johnny Damon, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Bay, Pedro Martinez—you get the point. 

For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win – what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

The way this email is going, it feels as though Henry is just preparing the fans for some fine trickery. You get the sense that he is building up an argument that this type of meeting is commonplace.

Not to say that group meetings are not taking place in the Red Sox organization. However, group meetings that are focused on having the manager removed are certainly a rarity.

About this time eight years ago we had one such meeting. It closely resembled the meeting in New York. Both were meetings I asked for. And both quickly went to the point – what do we need to do to turn things around. We held three meetings in New York – separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.

Slick. Henry makes it a point to reference a meeting that occurred eight years ago, which brings fans back to the historic 2004 run. The biggest difference between this 2012 club and the 2004 club—well, other than that club having heart—is that on August 15, 2004 the Red Sox were 64-52—12 games over .500.

True, at that time they were 10.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the division. They went on to be the hottest team in baseball, finishing the season 98-64.

This team is 57-60, three games under .500, and there is absolutely no evidence that they can go on a winning streak comparable to the 2004 team.

What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record. They weren't blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.

Is Henry just playing the semantics card? Sure, probably no player explicitly said "I want Bobby Valentine fired." I'm speculating that in the course of this meeting, out of an estimated 17 attendees from the team, it seems difficult to imagine that one player didn't voice his displeasure with playing for Bobby V.

I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized. But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.

Really? How?

How, Mr. Henry—what do you suggest this team, nay, organization do to right the ship and get on the same page?

The players do not respect the manager, so you should fire the manager right? Wait, no, then it would be the inmates running the asylum.

So therefore do you keep the manager that the players dislike?

This whole situation has been a mess since September 2011. The fans are angry, disappointed and share an overwhelming feeling of disdain for a team that used to give back by playing hard and being gritty.

Somewhere, somehow along the line that sensation has been lost.

Emailing the media is an easy way out. Words mean nothing—actions are what makes an impact. Enough with the fixin' to get ready. It's time for some action.




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