The normally reserved Henry opened up quite a bit to reporters during a 25-minute session at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. According to the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber, Henry explained that owning the Red Sox is a rare opportunity he doesn’t plan on relinquishing any time soon:
You just don’t get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, the three of us [Partners Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino] are committed to being here. These thoughts that we’re somehow selling, those are just not true.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham quoted Henry as finding the rumors of his imminent sale to be laughable:
They didn’t turn out to be true. I’m very happy. … The last 12 years have been the best years of my life. Tom and Larry and I have had a tremendous working relationship. We’ve always been on the same page. It’s fun working with talented people.
ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes wrote that many assumed Henry would sell because of skyrocketing values of premium teams like the Red Sox, and supposedly because he was distracted by his newly purchased Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League.
Henry scoffed at that notion:
[Liverpool], I think it has affected perception. Everything affects you. The things that have been said, repeated over and over and over again are fairly ludicrous. The last time I was in Liverpool was in May of last year. I don't know where this distraction comes from. You can say every major league owner is distracted if you want to make a case for it because they all have other businesses and other endeavors. I think the major thing has been the perception. Imagine if I had nothing else to do other than the Red Sox, what do you think would be different?
What will Henry do?
Henry has typically left the day-to-day operations of the team up to other members of the front office, but his media session was much-needed following a disastrous 93-loss season in 2012.
Although the team spent liberally once again this past offseason, the perception was that the Red Sox had altered its philosophy from the past few years; something Abraham reported that Henry agreed with wholeheartedly:
When you have a certain amount of success you generally you don’t tend to change your philosophy. In our case there was a very profound shift, I think, of what we were trying to do. Why? That’s a good question. I would only speculate why. But there was a shift and I don’t think it ultimately, with hindsight, proved to be [right].
Last year, Forbes Magazine ranked the Red Sox as the third-most valuable major league franchise, with an estimated value of $1 billion. That’s a significant increase from the $660 million Henry’s group spent to buy the team in 2002, according to Fox News.
Despite the financial incentives to sell, Lauber cited a Henry comment as proof that he is driven by more than his bank account at this point in his life:
Tom and I have made a lot of money over the years, so that doesn’t drive us. If it was the driving factor, yes, I’m sure that would be a consideration. But the quality of our lives is what drives us, and our competitive spirit. We’re determined to be successful, and we have since day one. That hasn’t changed. The value of these assets is just something we don’t think in terms of.
Henry also touched base on a variety of other topics during his session, which was outlined by WEEI’s Rob Bradford. His candor will hopefully hearken a sorely needed fresh start for the upcoming season.
It’s hard for a baseball team to be successful without solid ownership as its foundation. While the Red Sox have had more than their fair share of recent issues, Henry’s declaration of commitment to the team should come as a great comfort to the organization and fans alike.
Statistics via BaseballReference