|John Henry on M&M: 2012 ‘an anomalous year’ for Red Sox||07.18.13 at 2:49 pm ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday after to discuss the Red Sox’ success through the first half of the season and what makes this year’s team different than the Red Sox of last season.
Henry credited the success to the team getting back to the formula that helped it win championships in 2004 and 2007 ‘ something he thinks the team got away from.
“The way we look at it, we took a certain turn back in 2008 away from our core philosophy,” Henry said. “I would say in May of last year we decided that we ‘ there was some emphasis that we needed to get back to that.
“I think a lot of it was centered on the at-bats and on the approach for pitchers as well. I think Bill James termed it the collapse of the center, which is — you start to press, things aren’t going well, there is dissension and you’re losing. Everyone wants to win the game with every at-bat, so instead of having what we had here for a decade here, which was grinding out at-bats and attacking the hitter if you’re a pitcher, we had people not doing that and some of the worst at-bats that I have ever seen consistently.”
One part of the reason for the Red Sox’ demise last year was the epidemic of injuries. Henry said the team’s focus during the last offseason was not necessarily to go out and get the best player like it had in years past, but to have a more disciplined approach at spending its money.
“We needed greater depth. In order to have greater depth, you can’t necessarily go out and spend ‘ go after Josh Hamilton, for instance, and spend $25 million on one player. You spend $100 million on four players and it makes it difficult to have depth. Every team has to rely on staying healthy to one degree or another. But I think every team has a tendency to underestimate how much depth means.”
Henry said that while many had counted the Red Sox out at the beginning of the season, he knew that last year’s performance was not representative of what the Red Sox could do this season.
“Last year in my mind was an anomalous year,” Henry said. “People seem to be surprised that we are in first place and that we are a decent team. I think everybody predicted us last, almost unanimously. I think that is because you get — when you have a bad year, you assume that it’s going to continue. I heard a lot of feeling as if the good days were over with the Boston Red Sox as a franchise. We had a great run of 11 years or 10 years, but last year was certainly an anomalous year.
“Ben [Cherington] did a great job to make a transaction to move players that were unhappy, and we now have a group — we brought in a new group of players that are thriving in this market. This is a market that other players at least in the past seen this as a really tough media market to try to play in and deal with. You don’t see that at all this year. It’s not just the change in managers, it is the change in personnel. You have to give Ben Cherington a lot of credit for what is going on.”
During his sit-down session with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon, Red Sox owner John Henry discussed his strained relationship with former Sox manager Terry Francona and said it would be “difficult” for the two to mend fences.
Francona criticized Sox ownership — mainly Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino — in a book he wrote with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and Francona also has expressed disappointment with the way he has been treated since he left after the 2011 season.
Asked if he has tried to reach out to Francona, Henry said he still has a bad taste in his mouth from his previous attempt, as Francona shared his bitterness about the situation with the media.
“I’m not sure I want to get back into the whole ‘attempt’ thing, because I had a long discussion with him about it, and as far as I’m concerned he mischaracterized that aspect,” Henry said. “To me, he wrote a book that really attacked Tom and Larry unfairly. So, how can we have much of a relationship at this point?”
Asked about the possibility of repairing their relationship, Henry added: “It may be difficult, because the things that were said, some of these things were so below the belt. Maybe you can blame Dan Shaughnessy for that. ‘¦ It’s about the book. There’s not much more to say about that.”
Henry insisted that ownership backed Francona during the tough times in Boston, and he commended Francona for his overall performance as Sox skipper.
“He had eight tremendous years and was tremendously supported, even after the collapse of September — which, we made it clear, we did not blame him for that collapse. But this is an argument you can’t win,” Henry said. “Really, what reason would I have to go on about this situation. He was the best manager we ever had. We had eight great years, great teams. He was a great manager. He was the best manager we’ve ever had. And I appreciate what he did. He suffered as much as any manager I’ve ever seen — even through the good times. He did everything he could to win for this organization.”
|John Henry joins Mut & Merloni in studio at 12:30||at 8:20 am ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry will pay a visit to the WEEI studio for an interview with Mut & Merloni at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. The Red Sox,who have the best record in the American League (58-39), return to action following the All-Star break when they host the Yankees in a three-game series that starts Friday.
|Dustin Pedroia acknowledges playing through torn UCL in thumb||05.29.13 at 9:09 am ET|
In an interview with the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, Pedroia said he was told he had a complete tear. He injured the thumb sliding into first base in an Opening Day win over the Yankees, although he said it was impossible to determine if it could have been a pre-existing tear. Doctors told him he could play through the injury without risk of long-term damage as long as he could deal with the discomfort.
“People shouldn’t know if you’re 100’percent or not. It is what it is, and it’s my responsibility to perform well,” Pedroia told the Herald before Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Phillies. ‘My mindset is if I’m nicked up, I have to find other ways to perform. That’s the way I think about it. Maybe I’m crazy.”
The general recovery time for such an injury is eight weeks.
“You go and come back in eight weeks — that’s a lot of ballgames without one of the team’s best players, so my job’s to go out there and do the best job I can to help the team win. That’s the way I look at things,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia’s toughness impressed owner John Henry.
‘It would have taken the heart and soul out of that club on Opening Day,” Henry said. “We already had lost [David Ortiz] and we didn’t know when he was coming back. It just meant so much to that club to have Dustin in the lineup every day.”
Added Henry: “I had two or three talks with him during the time about what he should do. I kept talking about it’s a long season and he kept talking about not missing a game. The guy played through the pain, through the swelling, the discoloration. He played through it, and no one ever knew. And he’s hit what, .330?”
|John Farrell: Team meeting first step to ‘re-write script’ from 2012||02.15.13 at 2:14 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — For John Farrell, Friday morning’s address to the his team was all business. It was about the business of moving on and making sure every player, coach and uniformed personnel understood what was expected. General manager Ben Cherington, owner John Henry, team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner were all on hand to listen and offer support when needed.
‘Well it was about 50 minutes,” Farrell said. “There’s a lot to mention. More than anything, a lot of it was introductory for a number of new players, new people they’re coming in contact with. They were able to hear from ownership, from Ben, from myself. Pretty typical, I would think, for an opening of spring training.
‘There are a good number of players there is no history with. I think more than anything, that first conversation, first talk is a way to set the tone, which I think was clear. But the thing we want to emphasize is that it’s a matter of what we do on the field and not what we’re talking about. We’re hopeful and with every intent, that our actions speak certainly more volume than our words.
‘To a man in that room, everyone associates the name Red Sox with winning. And that came out in conversation throughout the offseason. There’s been an eagerness to get back down here and get started and re-write that script. Different degrees of embarrassment, different degrees of knowing that what transpired last year isn’t the norm or isn’t the expectation or allowable to a certain degree. So, I’m confident of that mindset to re-write that story.’
Was he cheered or booed?
‘They’re a business-like group,” Farrell answered the good-natured question with his own dry wit. “Very stoic.’
The team then went out and had their first full squad workout as the heavy rains held off. Read the rest of this entry »
“I read the book. Fortunately I didn’t have to pay for it — it was given to me,” he said. “It’s a good piece of fiction.”
One of Francona’s criticisms was that Sox ownership at times appeared more concerned with ratings and finances than the product on the field, that acquiring a “sexy” player was important to appeal to a wider fan base.
“That was silly. The only time I can remember ever talking about needing a sexy player was when I called Ben Cherington and told him to sign Vicente Padilla,” Werner joked.
“I don’t know what else to say,” Werner added. “There were so many things in that book that were fabricated.
“But we accept the knocks — a certain amount of the knocks that we received we are perfectly mature enough to handle. When you lose, it’s a tough situation. But I would just say to our fans, we suffer. You know that. You know who we are and you know how important it is for us to get things back on a winning track.”
The owners also were portrayed as not having a true love for the game of baseball.
“Well, it wasn’t accurate,” Werner said of that accusation. “I haven in my office a picture of me — I’m a freshman in college, making a movie about Fenway Park. And that picture was taken 45 years ago. So, I just know how much I love the game. And really, we care so much about getting back to our winnings ways. That’s what I’m focused on.”
|John Henry is hands-on with David Ortiz||02.13.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After signing autographs for fans, Red Sox owner John Henry took time out to greet his slugger David Ortiz after batting practice Wednesday at JetBlue Park during Red Sox spring training.
Henry asked Ortiz about the strength of his right Achilles, and how it’s coming along.
“How do you feel?” Henry asked his slugger.
“I feel better, feel better,” Ortiz told his boss. “I was doing that agility drill and it felt good. I was moving around pretty good.”
Moments later, it was Ortiz’ chance to return the favor.
“How are your kids?” Ortiz asked the owner.
“They’re great,” Henry replied, before adding that his family will be joining him in Fort Myers later in the week.
Just moments earlier, it was Henry meeting and greeting the fans, even signing autographs.
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Terry Francona’s perceptions ‘mischaracterized’ by Dan Shaughnessy||at 11:17 am ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, and much of the conversation centered on Terry Francona‘s book that paints Lucchino in an unflattering light.
Lucchino said he decided not to read the book — at least for now — and minimize his comments about it. Told that it doesn’t seem to be his nature to avoid addressing an issue like this, Lucchino responded: “Sometimes my nature doesn’t always lead me to the right place. But I think in this case it makes perfect sense.
“I certainly have heard a little bit about the book, so I know some of its themes. If I did read it, I would probably find that it’s even more disappointing than I’ve heard, that it’s highly selective. It’s history as translated and written by Dan Shaughnessy, so it gives a certain Shaughnessy twist to it — I think many of us know what that can mean.
“It seems that if I did read it, the probabilities of my making some intemperate remark or getting involved in some collateral discussion of it would prevent me from doing my job right now. I’ve got a full plate of things. The 2013 season is a demanding one and has been. The offseason’s been demanding and there’s a lot for us to do. I just don’t need — and I don’t think the franchise needs — a debate of what’s right and what’s wrong. As I said, it’s highly selective.”
Added Lucchino: “I’m not a bully. I don’t think I behave that way. You can talk to lots of people who will I think give you a slightly different impression.”
Lucchino acknowledged he was disappointed that some discussions he believed were private were referenced in the book, but he expressed a bigger concern with how Shaughnessy “mischaracterized” Francona’s perceptions.
“Certainly a lot of the things we talked about we did not anticipate would be the subject or be material for a book afterwards. That’s a little troubling,” Lucchino said. “But I have fond feelings for Tito. I have good memories about what happened. I understand that he left feeling a certain way about the organization and about us. But I believe he has said a whole number of positive things since then. And I just prefer not to get into a kind of discussion about how Dan Shaughnessy translated a lot of these things and characterized them — or in my view, mischaracterized them.
“I’ll give you an example: One of the themes of the book, I’m told, is that we care more about money than winning, we are more about marketing and ratings and money and the profits that will be generated from baseball than the winning. I think that’s silly. I think it’s wrong. Look at our track record. We’ve had the second- or third-highest payroll in baseball for years. We’ve won more games over our first decade than any team in baseball except the Yankees. Our payroll’s been higher than any team in baseball except the Yankees. We’ve reinvested not just into the ball team but into the ballpark, into scouting, player development. It seems to me that the body of work demonstrates that — and we have not taken one penny of profit distribution out of this club. Everything we’ve generated from these activities has been reinvested in the team, in the payroll, in the scouting, player development, amateur signings, foreign signings. We have taken the revenue that we have generated and put it back in this team, for the success of the team, the preservation of the ballpark. And I think that speaks for itself. I don’t need to be out there saying, ‘My goodness, we care more about winning than money.’ It should be self-evident. It should be clear from our track record.”
|Red Sox owner John Henry talks, and this is what he had to say||02.11.13 at 11:34 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox principal owner John Henry spoke to the media at JetBlue Park on Monday, discussing topics ranging from rumors of him selling the team, to reaction to Terry Francona‘s book, to the team’s shift in philosophy and why it might have happened.
Following is a complete transcript from the get-together.
On if he’s looking forward to 2013: “I would say in especially in comparison to last year, I should be optimistic. We have to be optimistic we aren’t going to have the same kind of injuries we had last year. I was told we expect to have 15 percent of our payroll on the DL during any given season, and last year was 45 percent. At one point we had seven outfielders on the DL at one time. So you have to be optimistic if nothing else we’ll be healthier.”
On Francona’s book, written by Dan Shaughnessy: “What did I think of Dan’s book? What do I think of Dan? Oh, his book. I read parts of it and was wondering why he was so kind to me. Generally, he’s not that kind. I thought he was unfair with Tom [Werner] and Larry [Lucchino]. You have a Hall of Fame CEO. I was told there was 100 references to Larry but not one positive. Is that true?”
[Shaughnessy: “No way. There are many positive references.”]
On if he’s happy owning the team: “I’m very happy. This is what, our 12th, 13th year? The last 12 years have been the best years of my life. Tom and Larry and I have had a tremendous working relationship. We have always been on the same page. It’s fun working with talented people. 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 our committed to being here. These thoughts that we are somewhat selling, those are just erroneous.”
On how owning the Liverpool soccer team has affected the Red Sox: “[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?”
On if the limited partners are upset with the Liverpool dynamic: “I would say that some of them are not OK because they read the same stuff that you write and probably some of them are distracted, but we aren’t. Last year’s losses on the field weren’t a result of Liverpool.
“I would say all three of us are intimately involved every day with everything that goes on with Fenway Sports Group. Every day is different, so there were different issues yesterday. There were issues that came. Just about every day there’s an issue at some level has to be addressed.”
|Baseball economist Andrew Zimbalist: ‘Francona’ filled with ‘petty,’ inaccurate portrayals of Red Sox owners||02.03.13 at 2:00 pm ET|
Smith College professor of economics Andrew Zimbalist, in a podcast interview with Kirk Minihane to discuss the portrayal of Red Sox owners in “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” suggested that the book (co-authored by former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy) offered a dramatic misrepresentation of the strong work done by Sox owners during their almost 11 years in charge of the team.
“I felt like a lot of the book engages in these kinds of petty accusations where Francona and Shaughnessy would cite a presumed sentence that [Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino] uttered or that [chairman Tom Werner] or [principal owner John Henry] uttered. My reaction to that stuff is, ‘Come on ‘ all of us are human beings and during the course of a week, all of us probably say a couple things we wish we hadn’t said or we wish we could have said it better,’ ” said Zimbalist. “When you’re sitting around in a meeting and you’re brainstorming about what should we do to deal with flagging ratings on NESN or issues with potential drops in season tickets or whatever the meeting might be, you’re sitting around and you’re brainstorming and you say something. It’s just trying to, it’s off the top of your head. You’re trying to have a discussion about an issue. . . .
“To take out certain things like that, to take them out of context, I thought it was petty. Some of the more strident things that were said about Henry and Werner not understanding the intricacies of baseball or that they don’t love the game, they only like the game, just seem to be me to be terribly inaccurate and mischaracterizations, and also not representative of what I think is really a terrific job overall that this ownership team has done. Obviously, any Sox fan who waited 80-plus years for the World Series know that they brought us two World Series over the course of 10 years, which is phenomenal, and except for the last few years, practically every year the postseason experience. They invested almost $300 million of their own money in Fenway Park, which is up against the plan that John Harrington had to tear down Fenway Park and build a new park that was down the street from Fenway Park, primarily with a plan that had hundreds of millions of dollars in public money as opposed to private money. Read the rest of this entry »
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