Listeners of greater Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub, a CBS-affiliated radio station, were shocked to hear that there would be a surprise guest: none other than the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, who reportedly drove to the station and walked in the lobby, demanding an opportunity to clear up what he said many times were "untruths."
Henry, seen here with the set of earplugs he dearly wished he had today, was ushered on the air at approximately 2:20PM and spoke for about 70 minutes. He said that he was literally just driving around, listening to the station, and grew tired of hearing the same misinformation bandied around.
In a remarkable interview, that at the request of Henry took the format of radio personalities Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti firing questions directly at him. Henry's answers, for the most part, had the ring of honesty if for no other reason than their brevity – several questions got one-word answers, confirmation or denial of one allegation or another.
Henry volunteered several facts about the inner workings of the Sox and their stunning collapse this past September, including:
- Henry viewed the public airing of erstwhile manager Terry Francona's personal troubles as "reprehensible."
- He flatly denied being the source of that information, and during his denial one could easily hear the sound of Henry's hand striking the table or his other hand. He also denied that Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino was the source, but this claim was met with much more skepticism.
- He blamed the collapse of the team almost entirely on poor starting. 'When you have seven [sic] starting pitchers with an ERA of 7 or more, that's your problem," he said.
- He drew a management line whereby, he maintains, he and co-owner Tom Werner run Fenway Sports Group, which owns Rousch Fenway Racing, the Liverpool England soccer club, and the Red Sox, and that Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox.
- Henry personally was against the Carl Crawford signing, but that he would never countermand a decision made by his "baseball people."
- He wished that GM Theo Epstein, on the brink of signing with the Chicago Cubs, could stay "forever," but that Epstein had long envisioned that his tenure with the Sox would not be infinite.
Overall Henry came off as believable and earnest; he was certainly authentic in his exasperation with the media, and said over and over again that they were not only gossip-mongering but doing so with untruths. Several times he stopped himself from answering a question, telling Felger and Massarotti that he'd rather not deal with this question or that publicly.
Callers offering their opinion after the interview was over were almost unanimous in their impressions: They believed that Henry wasn't the source of the damaging information about Francona, but could easily believe that Lucchino was. Universally they expressed a mistrust of Lucchino - and not a single caller expressed faith, confidence, or trust in him.
Red Sox 101 will feature a more deatiled segment-by segment analysis of the interview in the next few days.
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