John Henry Speaks Out On Felger and Mazz

Red Sox principal owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the Felger and Massarotti show this afternoon, after taking exception to how he and the organization were being characterized by the duo.

The interview was contentious at times, with the hosts asking very pointed questions of the Red Sox owner, and not always allowing him to finish an answer before moving to the next point. In the end, Henry stayed on the show for 90 minutes, and took every salvo launched at him.

The item that most will grab onto from this interview is Henry assertion that he did not support the move to sign Carl Crawford, a statement that has to have the outfielder feeling warm, fuzzy and wanted by his team.

This interview further cements Michael Felger’s spot atop the sports media landscape in Boston, and having Henry come to their studio instead of going to the flagship station of the Red Sox (WEEI) is a major coup as well.

 

  • Aaron

    Henry just got killed, that was painful to listen to. Give him credit for going on 98.5, and taking shots from Felger for over an hour, but he didn't come off that well. I can't believe he actually verbalized that he was against Carl Crawford. I'm sure that's just what Crawford needs, to get motivated over the offseason.

  • FCM

    Pointing the pale white finger of blame at anyone but himself. He learned well in the financial markets

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Certainly a coup on the part of 98.5 and Felger/Mazz, but I think all Henry did (based on what I heard myself and what I gather he said before I started listening) is muddy the waters even further.

    • NutCracker

      A coup? Am I missing something here? My take was Henry went to the 98.5 studio because they've been the most egregious in slinging the muck, lies and innuendos about his team (Francona leak accusations, etc) and Henry got pissed and wanted to set the record straight. It wasn't because he appreciates 98.5 / F&M's high journalistic integrity. Also, I think Henry may have seen Massarotti around the park when he was a Sox beat writer. One of the interesting dialogues to me was when Henry got F&M to admit that their show was entertainment and not a fact based sports show. Actually, I thought F&M missed a great opportunity to ask good, interesting baseball questions where they could set the record straight on several issues that Sox fans truly care about instead of trying to suck Henry into talking about his past divorce or whether Mrs. Henry would take the team over if Henry croaks or question Henry's business acumen owning more than one team, the LeBron James association, blah, blah; petty, insignificant garbage. Obviously Felger is more comfortable when he's being contentious and in a high-pitched rant. No one will ever confuse him with Charlie Rose or Fareed Zakaria.

  • Lance_

    The organization Henry leads clearly is trying to alienate as many locals as possible. Henry can't possibly be so stupid as to mention the Crawford business and the fact CC is signed for six years). He made mega-millions by being smart, right? Everything they've touched this week has turned into manure.

    This is really going to help sign free agents to fill holes in the line-up. Welcome to Snyder-land where Henry is now going to have to overpay people to come here.

  • SoxFan

    That was outstanding. John Dennis has been getting national headlines for his scoops on Theo's Chicago grand adventure, but having Henry show up and be a foil to Felger & Mazz was the best thing I've heard maybe ever on Boston sports radio and I go back to about 1998. WEEI still has guns to blaze, but Felger is the main man and nothings changing that. Incredible, and while I may not like some of Henry's answers I flat out love it that he did that. He can be the owner of my heart and soul team for as long as he wants.

    • NutCracker

      "He can be the owner of my heart and soul team for as long as he wants."

      Yea but I wouldn't be surprised if he says the hell with this nonsense and puts the team up for sale. Maybe a Frank McCourt or Peter Angelos type will buy the Sox and then the media will have a real reason to bitch. We will all be longing for the days of the Henry ownership when we could compete with the Yankees and expect to win a WS EVERY year. Sox fans don't know how great we got it but I'm depressed after listen to sports radio for 10 minutes.

  • NutCracker

    Obviously, John Henry is very concerned about how fans view Sox management and is fed-up with media. I give him a lot of credit for having the olives to call 98.5 and dispute their claims that ownership leaked trash about Francona. That's not exactly his strong point but he's coming off as being very honest. It sounds like he feels bad about that crap that came out about Francona's private life and medical situation. I respect that. Bob Hoeler in fact said that the info didn't come from upper management but Felger, Mazz, Ordway, Callahan et al have engaged in character assassination of Henry et al. The Boston media has been brutal. Felger has become the Nancy Grace of Boston sports with his innuendos, assumptions and putting words in Lucchino's mouth etc and wanting to discuss Henry's divorce. C'mon man. I can't stand listening to his whine any longer. Felger's a carnival barker with a microphone and an alarmist at that. It;s really rather pathetic. Forget the truth, rile the fans into a lather. Sex sells baby!

    • alex

      That's a pretty funny comparison and 100% true. Felger really is Nancy Grace.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        Love or hate her, Nancy Grace also does pretty damn well in the ratings. Back down to pre-Casey Anthony trial numbers but she still tops CNN, if you care.
        http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/10/14/cable

        Still, Nancy Grace interviewing Casey Anthony would have rated up there like Felger getting his shot @ Henry.

        • Doc Michaels

          I think we all know Nancy Grace does well in the ratings. So does Felger. That's the whole point. They open their big mouths and get people to listen — but not everything they say has merit…very little in fact.

          Clearly Felger is "in" now. He won't stay there forever acting like an idiot for the rest of his career.

      • Whitey Bulger

        good lord, what does that make Sarah Underwood then? Portia di Rossi?

    • etak

      "…said that the info didn't come from upper management…"

      Wait, Hohler did? Where'd he say that?

      • Mosi

        I can't find anywhere that Hohler has said that. Henry claimed he had, but I haven't found it. I think Henry made it up. Felger or Mazz should have called him on it.

        • etak

          Yeah. Since it supports Henry's narrative of blamelessness, I'm not trusting what he says about it until I see Hohler's statement, and Hohler, being a good newspaper guy, should in no way even /hint/ about who the specific source was about that, so close to the story's release. I'd be very surprised if he did.

  • Classless

    You could almost hear the sound of disappointment and defeat once Ordway finally acknowledged the interview on WEEI. Game. Set. Match 98.5

    • Jason_Coyote

      Would have love to have heard that.

      Red Sox go into their 100th anniversary in less of a celebratory feeling than they'd like, as has EEI in their 20th anniversary of sports radio. It's a perfect marriage of team and flagship, frankly.

  • Dan

    I didn't think Henry got killed at all. I thought his Crawford comment was a bad idea, but I understood the context he said it in. Anyway, burned out of the whole mess.

    • Whitey Bulger

      Totally agree. Henry kept his head. Those two twits hyperventilated to the point I thought paramedics would need to be called.

    • JES

      Henry may have opposed the Crawford signing, but he let his baseball ops make the decision and he ultimately must have approved the signing. I don't see this as a major slight to Crawford.

      • Whitey Bulger

        Right. And it is important to note Henry was against it because he thought the team would have too many Left-hand hitters, not because one of them was Carl Crawford. of course the media will completely ignore that. As did Bruce, I might add.

      • Jason_Coyote

        It's not, but I'm still flummoxed that Henry said he didn't want to interfere in the Crawford signing and left it to his baseball ops people. Doesn't JH ultimately have to sign Carl's checks? And would anyone blame the principal owner of the team if he told Theo/Lucchino that he didn't want to sign off on $142M for someone he didn't want? That's an awful large chunk of change for any owner/CEO to willingly spend if he disagreed with the folks who work below him.

        I'm saying all this on someone who is in favor of the Crawford signing and optimistic that it will eventually pay off for the Sox, but I have to question Henry feeling as he did about the move and yet still give the ok anyway.

  • The Truth

    Felger and Mazz just blazed that billionaire. At least someone is getting accontable. cant wait for spring training. I bet Lackey and The texas Tough Guy are snacking on sald now. Get in shape or like Felger said eat the nuts in your cheeks.!!!

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Having listened to more of the interview now, I only give F&M a B on their work. They asked the right questions, for the most part, but never went in for the kill.

    For example, on the Hurricane Irene doubleheader thing, they let the assertion that the games would either be played then or in a doubleheader at the end of the season unchallenged. What about the third option: cancelling them entirely (unless necessary at the end of the year — which, as it turned out, would have occurred) and giving up the gate? At the time, it was reasonable to think the games wouldn't be relevant for the pennant race. And as far as I know, games that went unplayed during the season that haven't been made up during the season, and which would not be relevant to the playoff standings, remain unplayed. Why wasn't that option brought up with Henry? He alluded to something along the lines of "the Commissioner was going to make sure these games were played"… why? Is this true? If so, that's news to me. Would the commissioner have made the Royals and Orioles play a makeup game on the last day of the season, too? I think it's a perfectly valid question to ask: were you more concerned about losing the gate?

    • Dan

      For weather related scheduling issues, a team's last trip into a city for a season is controlled by MLB, and not by the home team.

      • APimpNamedDaveR

        That's only partially true. Here's the specific rule:

        "3.10
        (a) The manager of the home team shall be the sole judge as to whether a game shall be started because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit condition of the playing field, except for the second game of a doubleheader.

        EXCEPTION: Any league may permanently authorize its president to suspend the application of this rule as to that league during the closing weeks of its championship season in order to assure that the championship is decided each year on its merits. When the postponement of, and possible failure to play, a game in the final series of a championship season between any two teams might affect the final standing of any club in the league, the president, on appeal from any league club, may assume the authority granted the home team manager by this rule.

        (b) The umpire-in-chief of the first game shall be the sole judge as to whether the second game of a doubleheader shall not be started because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit condition of the playing field.

        (c) The umpire-in-chief shall be the sole judge as to whether and when play shall be suspended during a game because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit condition of the playing field; as to whether and when the play shall be resumed after such suspension; and as to whether and when a game shall be terminated after such suspension. He shall not call the game until at least thirty minutes after he has suspended play. He may continue the suspension as long as he believes there is any chance to resume play.

        Rule 3.10(c) Comment: The umpire-in-chief shall at all times try to complete a game. His authority to resume play following one or more suspensions of as much as 30 minutes each shall be absolute and he shall terminate a game only when there appears to be no possibility of completing it."

        The "EXCEPTION" part is obviously what you're referring to. There are two elements to that:

        (1) The league office can take over the authority during the final weeks of the season, and
        (2) The league office can take over the authority during the last series between two teams on the petition of one of the teams.

        This was the last series between the A's and the Sox, but we do not know if the last weekend in August constitutes "the final weeks of the season". I've read articles that imply that "final weeks of the season" = the playoffs; i.e. this is designed to keep a home team from cancelling a game at the drop of a hat to buy another day of rest for their starter in the playoffs, etc. If it wasn't, then the only way MLB would have the final call would be if the A's* requested the AL to override the Red Sox's decision-making authorityt. (Obviously, the Sox would not petition the AL to take their decision out of their hands…)

        Now maybe the A's did just that — but wouldn't it be good to ask Henry, rather than speculate?

        *Or any other AL club. Conceivably, the Rays or Yankees could have asked MLB to take the decision away from the Sox — but why would they at that point?

        • Jason_Coyote

          Supposedly Selig's office implied that the games would eventually have to be played if postponed, so the options were limited to trying to fit them in that weekend or play them at the end of the season. With the way the season turned out, the Sox would have been forced to play those game(s) the day after that Orioles loss.

    • Jason_Coyote

      I think one of the factors that made the interview less than perfect was that F&M had no time to prepare for it with any prepared questions – essentially they were interviewing Henry with whatever came off the top of their heads. What helped them was that they had pretty much been talking about the Sox non-stop on their show since the season ended. It's possible the interview would not have come off any better even had Tony and Mike taken the time to write up questions, which doesn't necessarily say much about either of them.

      I also think Henry chose this particular show to sound off not only because F&M were attacking the Sox as hard as any other hosts, but also because Henry and Massarotti have known each other going back to when JH first came to town and Tony was frequently reporting from Fenway.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    Since this interview became topic #1 and trended on twitter/all trend maps, and we know that media came outside the building. And, every local news network led with this story it seems. CSNNE led with this and NESN is showing "Pro Football Weekly" (LOL!) Reminds me of when CNBC didn't cover the downgrade by S&P of the US and the other outlets all broke into weekend coverage.

    I don't have all the sources here but a friend pasted these:

    @monwalker I can only imagine the anger at WEEI right now.

    Interesting John Henry stopped by @985TheSportsHub rather than the other radio station @WEEI which is right at Fenway. Shows who is truly #1

    @Matt_Sully: @scottzolak On a scale from 1 to Tom Brady, how great is this radio?" GISELLE

    Over RT @DodgersGM If Carl Crawford is listening to this interview with #RedSox owner John Henry, I hope it's through those $300 headphones.

    John Henry sounds like a high school kid that got caught with a 30 of Bud Light in his trunk by his parents @985TheSportsHub

    And, last by @PeteAbe who said:
    Who knew live Tweeting a radio interview would draw so many new followers? Welcome aboard.

    And:

    98.5 can cut commercials from this stuff forever. What a blow to WEEI

    ———-

    And, the fact that Henry listens to SportsHub — hah.

    I am sure more reactions/pithy comments and quotes can be found around twitter.

    The "puppet" interview WEEI was a joke in degrees of magnitude compared to this.

    • Jason_Coyote

      Listened to a little of EEI on Saturday – loved how all the flash reporters kept referring to 98.5 as 'CBS Radio'. And as annoying as I generally find Larry Johnson, loved how he began the Mustard & Johnson show referencing their rival station by name, telling Craig that you have to give The Sports Hub and Felger and Massarotti credit. Larry even acknowledged that Craig was giving him a strange look while he said it. Not many on-air folks at EEI want to acknowledge 98.5's existence, while the Sports Hub has uttered EEI's call letters since the day they went on the air.

  • callah

    I heard an interview on XX 1090 a San Diego station where the host Darren Smith interviewed Adrian Gonzales about the collapse. Gonzales defended his stance about the schedule and how that conversation was taken out of context and reported after the collapse.

    Gonzales also mentioned in that interview after getting adjusted one season in Boston next season he will able to have more of leadership role. He also seemed to have respect for Francona, but he did say Francona has his own people in the clubhouse. Also he did state after this season he is going to be short to the point, and leave the media with nothing to run with.

    Also Gonzales was asked about chicken, beer, and video game playing being the reason collapse, he basically said he was on the field so he wouldnt know.

    Has this interview been talked about by the media in Boston. I would figure beside the paid interviews EEI has had they would mention something about this one since you have a player who was a major contributor for the Red Sox talking about the season and even mentioning the collapse.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      I saw one mention of it somewhere, but I can't remember where — and I don't know whether it was a Boston outlet or a national one.

      I agree — this interview should be significant news as well.

    • alex

      Edes touched on it and seemed to put it in the proper context http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/

    • etak

      Ordway & Holley mentioned it yesterday. Focused on it for awhile.

  • boomer53

    The fact that Henry drove his car over to the 98.5 studio and walked in the door unannounced and asked to go on the air makes it a permanent part of Boston sports lore. If it were a football game ESPN would be replaying it tomorrow night as an Instant Classic.

    I give Henry points for balls. I feel he is a bit too trusting in his dealings with his own staff and the media, normally another good point in a human. He is not involved in the day to day, as evidenced by his surprise at the I Like Beer revelation on D+C. He is also probably pissed at Lucchino for not informing him. He made a mistake on the Crawford thing, trusting a media outlet that hammers him for non-transparency and who will now absolutely mega-hammer him for revealing a rare insight into the Crawford signing.

    I too would give F+M about a B. Felger will spend the rest of the weekend in self-criticism mode, thinking of all the things he could/should have said, but it was sprung on them with no warning or prep. But don't worry about it Felgie.

    • napatree

      actually, Felger has been, and will continue to take his victory lap. He is so proud that it was his criticism of Henry et al that drove the reclusive Sox owner to come to 98.5 to take on Felgy and Toady. The interesting aspect of all of this is that none of the inbred media, esp. those running buddies of Felgy's at CSSNE, could comprehend the fact that Henry came by to call Felgy and Toady liars. To point out that like all of talk radio here in Boston, it's based on taking one scrap of a point and then blasting it for hours like it's verbatim. Never mind the who knew what about the Sox collapse, how about one of these mensa grads doing an investigation on the media to find out which one or all of the beat writers took the summer off, and failed to serve their readers/viewers as much or more as the players they so self-rightously blast now?

      • Whitey Bulger

        If I were Felger, I'd see nothing to celebrate. For the second time in a week, Felger was shown how little he understands about the world. First, Watney shamed him on J-school 101 ethics. Then Henry simply took him apart by pointing out that the organization does extensive due diligence on every major decision and that consensus is arrived at before executing on a decision. In other words, why I'm worth a billion dollars — and you're not — is because I use my brain. And the best part was, Felger didn't even know it was happening! What a tool.

        • latetodinner

          I thought Henry came across as an out of touch, stumbling pedantic fool who thinks he is smarter than all of us when in reality he clearly showed he had no knowledge of what his underlings were doing or control of said underlings. Felger wasn't schooled. As for Watney…I think Felger felt guilt because she has a nice personality…I am not sure he regrets or should regret anything he said about her.

        • Whitey Bulger

          Where, exactly, did Henry come across as "out of touch" or "stumbling"? Because he doesn't hyperventilate over whether Crawford bats 2d or 6th, someone he's "stumbling?" Felger and Mazz could barely get the words of their mouths. Talk about stumbling. They sounded like a couple of apes.

          As for out of touch, I'm sure you would love it the guy three management levels about yours told you how to do your job. No, wait, you wouldn't. Yet one would think, from the comment above and from the screeching media, that Henry is somehow out of line for simply letting people do the jobs he is paying them to do.

          If by "out of touch" you mean he didn't know people were drinking beer in the clubhouse during the games, well gee, Clark, apparently neither did Pedroia.

          And by the way, he IS smarter than us. He is a self-made billionaire. We are commenting on a lightly-read sports news board.

        • latetodinner

          Henry was out of touch the moment he opened his mouth and said the leaks did not come from me…and to prove his point he cited Hohler who said they did not come from Henry. He is out of touch because any time a "team source" is cited without a name attached then he is in fact responsible. The next moment he proved he was out of touch was when he claimed he had no idea the clubhouse was so dysfunctional. Pedroia was lying.

          As for your claim that he is smarter than us. I have no doubt that he can read numbers and financial models better than me and invest other people's money to get them decent returns better than I can. But that does not mean his skill set translates to running a sports franchise. I explain to my employees all the time that we look for the best fit for them because being great at engineering does not mean you will be great at marketing. The fact that Henry thinks he is smarter than everyone and his apparent need to be liked (as evident by his appearance on 98.5) tells me that he is insecure with his ability to his job as owner of the Red Sox. I think this is the first time he has had someone directly question him and he is very uncomfortable looking as inept as he apparently is.

        • Whitey Bulger

          Two WS wins and Henry doesn't have the skillset to run a sports franchise?

          How many WS have F&M won, again? Or you?

        • Rainmaker

          Give it up latetodinner … Whitey's crushing you

        • Jason_Coyote

          He's also very uncomfortable that a faction of fans might not buy tix or brix in 2012 and realized he needed to react to the populous.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        Before the 5PM replay, Felger+Mazz actually discussed this topic. They basically said, "If we did this to everyone.. imagine the interviews", running down the list of: Claude, KG, and a good 5-10 other Boston sports personalities.

        I hate to even fathom this but imagine that we're having a discussion in January for a certain team that does well in the regular season but fails on a playoff win, again?

        I could _never_ see Hoodie driving down to Brighton, but if he did, ESPN would be running this interview for weeks, in between the rest of the coverage for the remainder of the NFL season.

        Your second point of the "homer" nature is why, I think, Felger thrives–and, why I honestly listen to him. The worship that can go on, even to a fan, needs a healthy reality check.

        I think Ryan once alluded to this "contrarian" point about Felger, drawing the Skip Bayless analogy and Felger being the Boston-form of him.

        • Whitey Bulger

          Late, you are contradicting yourself all over the place. But to this motion that Henry doesn’t have the skillset to run a sports franchise, what part of two WS wins do you not understand?

  • Jim Ed

    Between the Charlie Sheen interview, and now John Henry, give the Sports Hub credit… they have had an epic year. These impromptu interviews have become a pattern.

  • mandb97

    I have been one of the biggest critics of F&M, but I have to admit this was a major coup. As some have mentioned, if you are WEEI what must you be thinking? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as Julie Kahn and Jason Wolfe threw out every four letter word known to man at John Henry. How damning is it that the owner of the team you are the flagship station for was listening to your competition? What must Glenn Ordway be thinking? Talk about kicking a guy why he is down. I am actually going to give F&M an A, that's right an A, for the interview. As others have commented, it was a seat of the pants interview. It was well done and it was pretty fair. I agree with Bruce that occasionally they interrupted Henry, but I do not think at any point did F&M believe that Henry would stay for seventy minutes. One thing Felger mentioned is that during the commercial break Henry had a few choice words for Maz. I wonder if Massarotti will talk about it on CSNNE Sport Tonight at 10pm?

    As far as Henry goes, it did show some courage for him to show up without Lucchino and defend the organization. Unfortunately, we only learned two things. Henry was not the one who ratted out the team to Bob Hohler and he did not want Carl Crawford after telling D&C he did. Crawford, I'm sure is going to be just thrilled to hear about this. Henry comes across as being completely oblivious to what was happening. He does say the starting pitching failed but refuses to admit that there were extenuating circumstances that caused it. Also, just because Henry says he or ownership are not the stool pigeons does not mean he is right. Final question, how insanely angry do you think Larry Lucchino is right now?

    • etak

      "…during the commercial break Henry had a few choice words for Maz."

      I'm sort of baffled as to why he'd be peeved at Maz but not Felger.

      • mandb97

        Felger said that Henry knows Maz fairly well and was disappointed with him. He has only talked to Felger a couple of times. By the way, Maz never did talk about what was said to him during the commercial break.

  • latetodinner

    I must have listened to a different interview. Where to start…in no particular order.

    – I am not sure you can praise F&M for getting the interview. John Henry for whatever reason…and I will speculate on the reason in a minute…unannounced walked into the 98.5 studio to clear the air with F&M. What Felger and Mazz do get credit for is clearing 90 minutes of time and keeping John Henry talking, asking pointed and direct questions, all the while trying to stay in the interview. With no preparation that must have been very difficult and both of them did it well.

    – John Henry should get nothing but heap and scorn for that interview. If I were Larry Lucchino I would be livid. Never mind the comments or lack there of about Larry's contract being up at the end of 2012. Henry for 90 minutes said two things…1) The leak did not come from ownership. 2) Bob Hohler admitted that on the record. So when pushed by Felger and Mazz about the leak Henry was very careful. It was not authorized by him. He said there are a lot of people in the organization. He was careful int eh way a politician is careful. If his secretary leaked the info then he is covered…it did not come from him…well where the heck did she get the info. My point is he was disingenuous. Either the buck stops with him as he said or it doesn't.

    – The defense of the Liverpool and other business interests was weak. Worse comparing Liverpool to the Kraft's ownership of a MLS franchise was pathetic. Why bring the Pats into this at all. The fact is he did take his eye off the ball. He could not admit it. He could not take responsibility. He said he has great passion for baseball and the Red Sox…there is a simple way to prove it…divest yourself of the distractions and concentrate on the Sox.

    – He did say that Tito might have been the best Red Sox manager ever and that he brought Henry two WS rings. A week late and a dollar short. His explanation as to why the owners did not pick up the contract options were convoluted at best . The guy could not give a straight answer.

    – If truly believed that talk radio is entertainment and not news then why did he come on a talk radio station to defend himself? I think it is because he wants to be LIKED. Nothing more than that. He never expected to take the heat he is taking because in his life everyone yeses him and respects him. He lives in a bubble, more comfortable with spread sheets than he is with human interaction (3 wives probably proves me more right than I want to be on that one).

    – His deliberate obtuseness on the issue of the divorce and drug leakage made me feel he was completely disingenuous. Tony went at him pretty hard on this issue and he never admitted to understanding why his personal life is fair game. He kept saying "management did not leak the story", missing the entire point….If he and his people cannot control the clubhouse, cannot control information flow, and cannot control player fitness…then what the heck to do they do all day.

    This interview was extremely frustrating to me. I credit F & M for going at him in a respectful but forceful way for 90 minutes. But god was he evasive, obtuse and out right deceitful.

    • Kevin

      I could not disagree with you more. You're way off on a lot of these points.

      -If the leak didn't come from him, and he doesn't think it came from Larry or Werner, what else can he say? He said the divorcxe and painkillers stuff was regrettable. As much as he's probably like to control this stuff, he can't stop it when someone is too cowardly to go on the record.
      -The Liverpool line was a good shot at F&M. It's silly to suggest he "took his eye off the ball". He's a billionaire who hires people to run these teams for him. Even Felger sort of admitted that when Henry pointed it out.
      -The Francona stuff wasn't convoluted at all. He emailed the baseball ops people during the season about picking up his option, and they told him they didn't want to do it early. So he relented to their advice, as he should. Again Lucchino and Theo were there to make these decisions. Better let them do it than be a meddling owner. Then September happened, and they decided not to pick up Tito's option. What's so convoluted?
      -He said more than once that he was there to discuss facts, not rumors or innuendo, the kind that sports radio in general and the Felger and Mazz show in particular like to muck around in. Good for him for having the balls to go in there and refute some of the nonsense.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        On a sidenote, it's kinda funny that Kraft was linked to buying Liverpool FC at one point:
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/l/

      • latetodinner

        Kevin:

        – His answers on where the leak came from were ridiculous. He never took responsibility. Felger pushed him hard to say he was investigating who leaked what and that appropriate steps would be taken. He wouldn't bite. He was playing semantic games. It was not ownership. Larry is not an owner. Theo is not an owner. The only question not asked that I wish had been was… "About the drug use leak…we know Tito did not discuss it with a player and Hippa laws prevent the medical staff from talking….so that leaves who to have known and leaked it?" Henry was full of doublespeak.

        – The Liverpool discussion was evasive and disingenuous. He hires people to do that stuff. Great. Except if he looks at Liverpool, Rauch Racing, Lebron and the Sox as entertainment properties in a portfolio (which was Mazz's point) and he hires someone to oversee them…then by definition he is not focused on them. He made his position worse when he said those things. What he should have said…even it it was a lie was "I did take my eye off the ball…clearly…we had a clubhouse in disarray and an historic collapse. The fans of Boston deserve better and they will have 100% of my attention going forward".

        – Holy carp batman the Francona stuff was totally convoluted. He passed the buck and said it was all on him in the same damn sentence. He emailed his baseball opps people and asked if he should reup the contract when they were 10 games up. Lucchino who is on the record for saying we have options for a reason says no. At that point Henry not being involved or smart enough to see what was going on in the clubhouse made Tito a lame duck. The players knew he was not coming back. It was an idiotic decision…they should have reupped Tito and if they had to fire him any way. There was legitimate reason to do it. He came in third two years in a row. But to make it all about contracts, options and Tito's decision was ridiculous. Asked point blank why can't you say you fired Tito, Henry's response…"we didn't…we just did not pick up the option." That is convoluted.

        – Lastly he wanted to discuss "fact" that were convenient to him. He was evasive when things were not neat. What he wanted to do, what he planned to do was come on the air and say…"We are not the bad guys you are making us out to be. You do not have all the facts. You are twisting our words". What came out was condescension, apathy, and an incredible amount of passing the buck. He put Carl Crawford all on Theo…the guy signed the $140 mill check but it was on the GM because he thought the Sox already had enough left handed hitters? Feed that poo to someone dumb enough to believe it. He had no real answer or apology for his organization smearing Francona on the way out the door nor promise this will not happen again. It went on and on and on. If you want to give him credit for going on the radio and selling out the rest of his organization…I guess you can. I am not sure what nonsense he cleared up. All I see that he did was muddy more waters and leave me with the impression that no one is in charge over there.

        Oh wait he did one more thing…he pretty much assured me that I do not have to emotionally invest myself in the Boston Red Sox while he is the owner.

        • Whitey Bulger

          What's he supposed to do about the "leak" — check phone records? Doing that will a) make the organization stronger, or b) make the organization totally paranoid? Pretty obvious it would be "b."

          If there's a finger to be pointed, it's at the trainer. Sounds like he's the one with an axe to grind.

        • latetodinner

          Take responsibility. His first words were…"It wasn't me…even Bob Hohler said it". If it was someone in the organization then whether Henry likes it or not…it was him. Everyone in the organization if they are not going to go on the record but are cited as "team sources" are speaking for him. So what I want him to do is say "The buck stops with me, I apologize to Tito that this happened, it is a disgusting reflection on me and the organization I had thought I had put together. I will take steps to make sure this never happens again".

          As for blaming the trainer, he works for Henry.

        • Kevin

          Jeez, give it a rest with that Harry Highschool "fans of Boston deserve better" crap. He's an owner of different properties, so what? It's not his job to meddle with the baseball people. You want an owner who overrides his managers who are paid to know better? That's how you get Terry Glenn and Pete Carroll years.

          And he did say that the team would work to fix what went wrong and that they would work to be better next year. Outside of that, I'm not sure what else you want to hear. You want him to go all Steinbrenner and yell and scream and promise heads would roll? That's not who he is. That's talk radio blustery nonsense. There's probably lots of internal decisions to be made that are not Felger or anyone else outside the organization's business. That's what he was evasive on.

        • latetodinner

          I want him to take responsibility not try and measure his words. I want him to have his interests clearly on this team or sell it. I do not begrudge him a portfolio but if he considers the Red Sox just another "property" which i think he does then I do not want him to be the owner. I know I can't change that so I will cease being emotionally involved with the team. That will mean less revenue from me to him.

          Also, there is a difference between meddling in personnel matters and making sure the organization is dedicated, from top to bottom, to winning baseball games. That is his job.

        • Whitey Bulger

          He did take responsibility. He took responsibility for the team falling apart. And he took responsibility for trying to do a better job to ensure it doesn't happen again.

          But if you think that bad luck isn't a part of sports and/or life, we can't help you. You want blood. But guess what: going ballistic never solved anything.

        • latetodinner

          I don't see how he took responsibility. I heard pointed questions which he dodged and or used doublespeak. He blamed others. Claimed we did not have the facts but did not give us new information. When finally cornered he gave a conditional promise to try harder.

          If you think he is a good owner…bully for you. Enjoy Sweet Caroline, Liverpool highlights between innings and Lebron James night while the team wallows in third place.

        • Whitey Bulger

          He's won 2 WS in 10 years. If you want to go back to rooting for the Yawkeys, be my guest.

        • NutCracker

          If you believe Henry is not a good owner you must not have followed the Sox under previous owners. Not to sound like his PR guy but Henry has been the best owner this franchise has had. He's opened his check-book from day one and sunk a ton of money into Fenway. Also, don't forget that the Sox are moving into a modern state-of-the-art spring training/player developmental complex in FL that's going to be the best in MLB. He's opened scouting facilities in Dominican Republic and Venezuela to mine new talent. The Red Sox are competitive every year and can compete with the Evil Empire for FA's. Those are facts. The Liverpool and LBJames arguments are bogus IMO. I'll take Henry all day long even if he might have a few warts. (We're lucky – remember, Frank McCourt almost bought this team – Oye!)

      • tl;dr

        It's semantics. He doesn't *think* that the leak came from either of those two. It still could have and he'd still be right.

    • etak

      I didn't think either of them were all that respectful, and i hate the way Felger interrupts people during interviews. Hate.

      As for content — Yeah, Henry did a whole lot of not-quite hanging Lucchino (and to some extent Theo, despite the ostensible praise) out to dry, and it stood out glaringly.

      I don't necessarily mind the MLS stuff — but I also agree, this didn't alter the impression at /all/ that he took his eye off the ball this year (or for longer). That answer in the 'EEI interview where he had no idea about "I Like Beer" was simply the most obvious example.

      I missed the divorce-related leakage part. Welp, it's online. (I did get the part about him "not authorizing" it. Tapdance with those words, Mr. Henry!)

      • latetodinner

        Etak:I thought they were respectful. That interview had all the fuel needed for a huge explosion. Henry admitting on the air that he had things to say because he was so mad. Fleger and Mazz getting defensive and aggressive because Henry evaded responsibility. To their credit F & M walked themselves back off the cliff edge and I thought treated Henry respectfully. It might be relative to how bad it could have become but I thought they did a good job.

        • etak

          Hm. This more than other interviews may benefit from listening to all of it; plus the context of what F&M were saying that made Henry come over is probably relevant to the overall impression of it. And because of work, I only caught about 2/3 of it during the replay.

          Though it's also possible for them to have avoided major blowups, but still not be respectful.

          Anyway. Opinions happen.

      • Winning_

        Interviewing 101. Interruptions occur often when the subject tends to ramble with cliche responses and dead air. The interviewer has to maintain control and keep the subject on course.

        • Whitey Bulger

          It's not interviewing 101 when you aren't listening to how the subject is setting up his answer.

          T&M think in sound bites. "Me hungry. There food." Anything that requires complex thought is well beyond their abilities. Again, that's why Henry is a billionaire who owns a baseball team, and they aren't.

        • Winning_

          Are you John Henry's offspring. You must be the person he had in mind when he decided to employ the smear campaign thinking the public would lap it up. Good work toadie!

        • Whitey Bulger

          Because I don't have a hissy fit every time something doesn't go my way, I'm a toady?

          That's a pretty dumb reaction to have. How's that working out for you, anyway? Not too good.

        • Winning_

          Are you 5 years old? I notice you have been rapidly posting on this without much logic or reasoning. You're only responses to other posters points seem to be childish remarks::

          "What world series have felger and mazz won, or you"

          See above "That's a pretty dumb reaction to have. How's that working out for you, anyway? Not too good."

        • Whitey Bulger

          More whining.

        • etak

          Well, sure, but you can do it like Bob Costas, who asks specific questions, patiently yet pointedly, keeping the thread of the interview while still being polite, or you can do it like Felger, with no control and no patience. Felger would get more results if he were more able to control his passion, that's all.

    • RRsafety

      Latetodinner is a a first-rate Felger bum kisser. Henry's answer about Liverpool was correct and accurate. The Kraft's have a NUMBER of outside business interests – as do many, many sports team owners. The fact that latetodinner can come on this board and know so little about the outside interests of sports owners just proves that the rest of his silliness is not worth listening to. Now I might be wrong but I guess latetodinner is probably about 14 years old and doesn't know much about sports because if he did, there is little doubt he would know ALOT more about the business of sports.

      • Winning_

        If you were a regular here you would know that LTD doesn't really like Felger lol. I disagree with LTD 80% of the time. Most of the times he is against Felger. You're off on this one.

        • latetodinner

          Thanks Winning, I appreciate your comments. RRsafety, next time you make a post…stick to the issues and not try to guess someone's agenda or motivations. Whether I know or don't know sports is in my postings. All that we know is that you made no analysis and left no opinion. So as far as I am concerned you know nothing.

  • Siggy

    I flipped over to EEI during the 5 o'clock replay ot the interview. I definitely sense that Big O has gone major negative on the Red Sox, playing catch-up with 98.5, but it doesn't ring authentic after all these years. Imagine his reaction mid-rant when his producer is in his ear telling him Henry is on with Felgah. Holley is a non-factor on that show, BTW.

    I can't see Henry doing a make-up call interview with Glenn next week. He's probably had enough of this, justifying himself to common rabble rousers.

  • Doc Michaels

    For as "big" a moment in Boston Sports Media as some are making it out to be, the actual interview itself wasn't very revealing for the length of time it went on. What really came out of it other than the Crawford comment? Henry felt bad, he thinks some of Felger's comments were absurd — is this breaking news?

    The fact it happened on 98.5 and EEI solidifies the Sports Hub's "place" at the moment, sure, but Felger goes from mouthing off to backing off when he's in a big interview spot. Clearly confrontation is not his strong suit, though the fact that this all happened quickly and neither of them were prepared was obvious.

    Anyway it was interesting, just not relevatory IMO. And at least Felger didn't pull a Minihane, as rude as he still was in cutting Henry off constantly (which was irritating).

    • mandb97

      Doc I think the biggest story in all of this is that Henry went on the competitor of the Red Sox flagship station. As I said earlier, Kahn and Wolfe must be beyond irate that Henry would go on F&M without the filter of Larry Lucchino.

      • Whitey Bulger

        What's utter nonsense is how some media and fans are complaining Henry is too dispassionate and detached and then they complain about how he went and spoke directly to his biggest critics. He can't win no matter what he does.

        Let's be honest about something: F&M have an inherent bias to tear down the Red Sox precisely because they amount to rival programming.

      • NutCracker

        I disagree mandb97. That is not the biggest story at all. I believe people have the wrong perception of why Henry went on 98.5 and not WEEI. Henry didn't choose 98.5 because he felt it's a better station than WEEI (although it is) or because he respects them. He went into 98.5 because he heard F&M trashing and thrashing his baseball team (unfairly in his opinion) so he wanted to set the record straight. He stopped into 98.5 because he was pissed at them. By the time Henry left the station, media was waiting for him to exit and Henry stated he wasn't pleased with F&M for accusing him and his staff for leaking the Francona medical info that's why he went on the air. I admire Henry for doing what he did considering that even by his own admission he's not a strong media front-man.

  • Jason

    wo cares Henry the owner of the team. he sticking up for his team. whats wrong with that. Henry does not need to ask Lucchino what radio show he can show up on. he a owner not Lucchino. Lucchino running theo out of town not Henry. second. felger is the best on sports radio he telling like it is. weei ouch. no one want to be on that station

  • Tony

    I think Henry is a genuinely decent guy, I really do. He's a smart guy, obviously. But every time he opens his mouth to the media about matters involving the Red Sox he demonstrates exactly WHY Lucchino has always been the "public face" of the ownership group. Henry was not made to play the PR game. Werner, being in Hollywood for most of his adult and professional life, plays it better than Henry; but Lucchino clearly is the used car salesman personality among that group. I agree with a lot of the posters here who felt that the interview wasn't all that spectacular. The Crawford comment is the one thing that sticks out and it was an incredibly dumb thing for Henry to say publicly (again, Lucchino NEVER would have said anything like that in public), but overall he basically defended his team, and his guys, and he also said, I think, what a lot of fans want to hear: he loves the team and the team is going to win.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    Some salient points arising from the arguments between meddling owner and ownership being not focused enough:

    The Red Sox and Liverpool have two very passionate fan bases. Both require the attention you give a child growing up that are taxing to the point one would wonder if you should be doing anything but focusing on the team at once. Obviously, a good owner and savvy business person would hire the proper GM to manage and handle both situations at one point.

    However, the question arises about if each of these teams are your children, does a GM become like a nanny and these children invariably feel neglect? This morning, because Henry was not at the Liverpool/ManU game, Liverpool fans took to the forums and expressed discontent and are well aware of the problems with the Red Sox. Now, I would wonder if a screenshot appears of Henry spending his November weekends over at Anfield or with the team if Red Sox fans will come here or SOSH (forum) and do the same?

    Liverpool isn't a "Pittsburgh Pirates" where an owner can sit back and collect the checks, claiming to give 100% but appearing to fans to use it as a write-off or small profit generator. Nor are the Red Sox where two championships in recent years and fans that have come to expect a similar outcome as the Yankees do. I don't see how ownership can placate both, in the end, and expect the success they pictured when writing the check to take ownership of either club in the first place.

    The paradox might go in a cyclic order forever until one of the fan bases become so unsatisfied, they flood sports talk and forums with negative sentiment, or, put the money where their mouth is and stop going to games.

    I think this is the problem many have alluded to, or directly expressed, that Henry and ownership have yet to fully realize. And, the outcome is yet to be seen.

    • Whitey Bulger

      The longer this string goes, the father from reality is gets. Though well-written, your entire argument is predicated on the idea that you can't be successful in two businesses at one time.

      Jack Welch would like a word.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        WB,

        I did think it out a bit, even discussed with a friend before posting. It's definitely rough and I wouldn't think twice about submitting it anywhere beyond something like here that could get some input (or criticism). Agree on the Welch part, but I would remind you that sports franchises are "businesses" that require more than good management.

        I had a similar experience being an entrepreneur. Company B got funding while Company A was humming along making money. With Company B getting funding, hiring more and taking off, even as a co-founder and #2, I got a virtual ultimatum from the board and had to sell my share and ownership in A. Company A required me doing about 10 hours a week but Company B, given my position, required every portion of my free-time, even with good staff below me.

        Both were small at the time, and Company B did get sold 5 years later, but it reminded me of this dichotomy you experience with two "children" tugging at you.

        • tmurph

          I'm the CEO of a medium size business. While I speak to my Chairman and Board Members quite often, I'd say I get real input from them about 5 or 6 times a year and it generally has to do with strategy or big investment or changes my team and I want to implement. I understand what you're trying to get to BSMF, but I don't buy a premise that if JH was not invested in Liverpool that this season would have been different. He and Werner run the Sports Ventures entity and that entity is in the business of owning sports ventures. If Sports Ventures does its job correctly, then it hires good managers to manage the business and sports aspects of its franchises and then finds areas of commonaility that it can exploit (international TV rights, Brand management are two examples). Continued…..

        • tmurph

          Each of the businesses/teams needs to meet a revenue and expense plan that makes money (which creates value). That's what JH and TW seem to have decided to create. I think its early days to see if its working for them as the LFC purchase is still new and the model for Sports Ventures is probably unique and certainly will have its challenges to execute on, but it seems clear to me that JH and TW will act as the office of chairman of each company SV owns (Jack Welch analogy fits) from a governance point of view. What is also clear to me is that they won't likely be short term funding each other to make player purchases in England or Free Agent signings in the States. Instead, it seems more likely, that pooling long-term investments like stadium infrastructure or cross financing to improve fuding options for investment are the benefits that the Sports Venture approach could bring. JH is not a baseball or soccer guy, he's a thinking businessman with a structured approach to his work. His "involvement" day to day won't move the win needle for the teams he owns.

  • latetodinner

    Great post Bostonsportsmediafan. I think you are right on the money!