MLB

Red Sox owners ready to move on in 2012

Share This Story

   
 

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP)

John Henry was walking off the stage after a television interview during his team's first full-squad workout of the spring when the Boston owner was confronted by a lifelong Red Sox fan holding a bright red sign with white letters.

FOX Fantasy Baseball
FOX FANTASY BASEBALL
Sign up today for FOX Fantasy Baseball. It's fun, easy and 100% free.
JOIN OR CREATE A LEAGUE TODAY!»

''All we ask is that you make us proud again to be a Boston Red Sox fan,'' the sign read.

''We're trying,'' Henry told her.

From banning alcohol in the clubhouse to apologizing to a wronged player and planning to be ''more present'' this season, the Red Sox ownership group called the 2012 season ''a new chapter.'' The last one was a doozy, one that included a stunning collapse on the field and embarrassing conduct in the clubhouse that brought about sweeping changes to the front office and managerial staff and sullied the team's image with its devoted fan base.

Team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner addressed the team on Saturday before the workout, hoping to turn the page on last season, once and for all. Henry was present for the meeting but did not speak to the team.

''I would say we feel collectively that we have something to prove in 2012,'' Lucchino said.

The Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the AL East over the final month of last season and afterward reports swirled of starting pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse on their days off rather than cheering their teammates on from the dugout, prompting ownership to get more involved in the day-to-day operations of the club.

New manager Bobby Valentine has banned alcohol in the clubhouse and the owners have taken on a higher profile with the team this winter.

''We said that we accept our share of the responsibility for perhaps not having a more open-door policy,'' Werner said. ''I think we'll be more present this year. ... This is a new chapter. We've accepted some collective and individual responsibility.''

General manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona, the tandem that led the long-suffering franchise to two World Series titles, did not return, replaced by Ben Cherington and Valentine, and the Red Sox were not their typical aggressive selves in free agency over the offseason after spending hundreds of millions on Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzales last winter.

START THE COUNTDOWN

Opening Day is just 1 day away. Until then, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi keep you up to date.

Francona raised eyebrows after he parted ways with the Red Sox when he said he couldn't get Henry on the phone to talk about it. Henry said Francona never left a voice message, and he contacted the manager recently to ''clear the air.''

''We had a long conversation a few days ago when I found out he was trying to get in touch with me and it was a great conversation, one that we should have had prior to this,'' Henry said.

Henry has been hounded by nervous Red Sox fans throughout New England who worry that he has turned all of his focus, and financial muscle, toward Liverpool, the famed English soccer team that was purchased by the Red Sox parent company last year.

''It's difficult because I'm not here today. I'm somewhere else,'' Henry deadpanned, poking fun at those who say he isn't around the Red Sox enough. ''If I were here today, I'd say this is about baseball. Today is about baseball. With us, every day is about baseball. We have other things, too. But every day, pretty much, I think we speak 365 days a year, maybe 364. But virtually every day there's something related to baseball.''

All three tried to dispel the notion that the team is cutting costs, with Henry vehemently stating that the Red Sox have the second-highest payroll in baseball. Lucchino called the team's $190 million payroll ''a gigantically large commitment because there's a gigantically large commitment to winning in this organization. And if we haven't proven that to you in 10 years, then shame on us.''

MLB Buzz

HOT STOVE

Our experts bring you all latest news. Read MLB Buzz.

Cherington will have to be mindful of the luxury tax, Henry said. He also hinted that there should be a change in mentality back to the ownership group's earlier days.

''When we first came in, I think there was a fear that we were going to have a small-market mentality,'' Henry said. ''But I think that was an advantage. It's an advantage to have a big payroll and a small-market mentality. I think we have to be more careful with how we spend our money. There's a lot to consider with baseball economics going forward.''

Henry also said that he planned to apologize to Crawford for saying on a Boston radio show that he personally opposed signing the outfielder to a seven-year, $142 million contract.

''I think that I should have never made those comments,'' Henry said. ''It was an off-the-cuff remark I shouldn't have made and so when I see him I'm going to apologize to him for it.''

Crawford said later in the afternoon that he still had not spoken with Henry, but he welcomed the outreach.

''I was a little disappointed by (Henry's remark),'' Crawford said. ''There were so many bad things going on at that time. That definitely didn't make things better for me.''

Finally, Henry said the dispute with the Chicago Cubs over compensation for Epstein was a result of miscommunication with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. The Red Sox wound up getting reliever Chris Carpenter in return.

''We probably had a misunderstanding, at least as far as expectation,'' Henry said. ''There was no real agreement. The best way to explain it is we probably had different expectations based on first conversations as to what was transpiring.''

Tagged: Red Sox, Carl Crawford

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..