There was a time when Red Sox fans hailed John Henry for riding into town, investing big bucks to deliver two World Series championships in a four-year span, and restoring glory to a franchise that hadn’t experienced nearly enough.
Those days are long gone.
It has been three seasons since the Red Sox went to the postseason, four since they won a playoff game, and last year they even ruined Fenway Park’s centennial with 93 losses. They fired two managers in the past two years. And despite offseason spending binges, they have gotten nearly no return.
Fairly or not, Henry’s image has taken a pounding.
At best, the 63-year-old is perceived as being preoccupied by his other ventures, specifically a professional soccer team in Liverpool, although he emphatically denies that charge. At worst, he’s mocked as a cartoonishly eccentric and reclusive billionaire who is hopelessly out of touch with the frustrated fan base.
Yesterday, on the eve of the first mandatory workout for pitchers and catchers, Henry made a rare public appearance, to say nothing of his first comments since before the end of last season. And in no uncertain terms, he refuted the claims of former manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein that ownership pushed for the signing of big-name free agents in order to boost television ratings. He also strongly denied reports that he plans to sell the team.
“They didn’t turn out to be true,” Henry said during a 25-minute session with reporters outside JetBlue Park. “I’m very happy. The last 12 years have been the best years of my life. You just don’t get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, we’re committed to being here.”
Several reports, including one from Fox Business Network, surfaced last year that Henry and chairman Tom Werner were thinking of selling. They bought the Red Sox in 2002, and since then, most teams have turned record profits, seemingly making this an ideal time to cash in.
John Henry refutes bad image with his Sox
Boston Herald | Feb 12