Red Sox owner John Henry has responded to the media chaos surrounding yesterday's news that Red Sox players requested a meeting to ask for the head of Bobby Valentine. His full quote is available on the Globe's Extra Bases blog; here's a clip:
But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win – what can we all do to improve our ability to win?
About this time eight years ago we had one such meeting. It closely resembled the meeting in New York. Both were meetings I asked for. And both quickly went to the point – what do we need to do to turn things around. We held three meetings in New York – separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.
He spends much of the statement excoriating the media for exaggerating the meeting; which he claims is a regular occurrence and had nothing to do with Bobby Valentine. Like Dustin Pedroia last night, Henry said the story was overblown, and also said the players are taking responsibility for their actions.
I commend Henry on lying, actually. It's quite obvious that the players are total babies, and that they seemed to have enabled each other into being worse. They don't like Bobby, which is fine. And I appreciate that he's trying his best to protect them. Some say it enables them more; maybe it does. I say it's an attempt at damage control, which is both a PR thing (I know, they do a lot of that), but also a baseball thing. He's trying to keep their values from falling completely through the floor.
I also like his not-so-subtle 2004 reference. And he's right. People forget now, but for the first three months of that season, that team was considered a bunch of frauds. A bunch of millionaire babies. They had a lot of talent, but weren't producing. What happened? They dealt Nomar, fixed their on-field problem (defense), and the rest is history. They didn't have to fire Francona, cut Pedro to make a point, trade Manny for nothing, and deal Trot Nixon for a 25-year old single-A prospect.
Is such a turnaround likely for this team? Not this year. But for 2013, I say yes. You don't need to dynamite this roster. We won two World Series with Manny Ramirez. A team can handle a malcontent, an aloof guy, a me-first guy. Maybe there are too many on this roster, but one or two isn't the end of the world. If they fix their big baseball problem -- starting pitching -- there might only need to be one or two guys removed from the clubhouse to help fix the off-the-field issues.