Just when Boston Red Sox fans thought they couldn’t detest management enough, principal owner John Henry spewed nonsense everywhere in an interview with Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
Henry and partners Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino have taken a lot of heat from the media for putting profit before winning. Much of this is due to the publication of Dan Shaughnessy’s book Francona, which painted the picture of management as more concerned with selling bricks than winning. Werner himself reportedly told manager Terry Francona that the Red Sox needed to win in “more exciting ways” in order to attract more fans.
Buckley gave Henry a bunch of softball questions that gave him a chance to improve his image with the public. Instead Henry made it worse. Here are some of the quotes that illustrate how truly out of touch Henry is.
When asked why Larry Lucchino is receiving the most criticism of the three owners Henry said:
“He (Lucchino) revolutionized the game with Camden Yards – moving MLB from cookie-cutter, multipurpose, symmetrical stadia to fan-friendly, beautiful, asymmetrical baseball parks.”
And this is supposed to make Red Sox fans think Lucchino is less of a snake? He helped design a park that Orioles fans only went to when Cal Ripken was playing. After he retired, the Red Sox essentially got nine more home games a year since Baltimore fans stopped going.
“Larry is always asking fans what we can do to further improve either Fenway or the experience of attending a game.”
The real fans don’t want you to improve their experience. They want to watch the Red Sox win. That’s it. Lucchino is making it clear that they’re most interested in marketing the team towards less passionate fans who will sing “Sweet Caroline” when they’re losing 10-1.
“When he (Lucchino) retires someday, his body of work will require an election to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.”
He can’t be serious. With this quote, Henry in one sentence summed up just how delusional ownership is. Lucchino is only interested in improving the quality of baseball stadiums because it will improve his bank account.
“Losing with the size of our resources we have available from our fans, is just unacceptable.”
Henry is passing the blame onto Francona and Bobby Valentine here. What he doesn’t point out is that the players are overpaid millionaires that management enabled by allowing players to go behind Valentine’s back to complain about their manager directly with ownership. How can anyone manage under those conditions?
When asked why he didn’t pick up Francona’s two-year option before the 2011 season started, Henry said:
“The Dodgers had Tommy Lasorda on one year contracts for 43 years.”
And that makes it right? Francona led this team to two World Championships in seven years, and the team couldn’t give him a new contract going into 2011 because Tommy Lasorda only signed one-year deals? Someone needs to tell Henry that this isn’t the 1960s anymore. You pay people who deserve to be paid.
In 2011 Henry unforgettably busted into the very popular radio show hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on 98.5 the Sports Hub to defend ownership from what he thought was unfair criticism. When asked about this he said:
“When I see fans, the radio show you reference is still a constant refrain, sort of like this: ‘That was great. You finally took them on directly.’ People love a good fight.”
We don’t all agree with Felger and Mazz in Boston all the time, but the hosts were simply saying what was on the mind of most Red Sox fans. I don’t buy that fans thanked Henry for taking them on. Felger and Mazz are extremely knowledgeable and popular. I heard the entire show that day, and just like in this interview, Henry made himself look worse when he went on the show. For him to think that fans thought he came out on top shows just how truly out of touch he is with real fans.
Lucchino, Werner, and Henry are carpetbaggers that have no ties to the area. They see the Red Sox as the cash cow that it is and continue to develop ways to make more money off of it. The less they talk the better, because every time they do this they just make fans more upset.
Aidan Kearney also write for his own blog aidanfromworcester.com. Follow him on Twitter @aidanfromworc