February 25, 2020

Poll: Are The Red Sox's Owners "Profoundly Unpopular" With Fans?

Sean McAdam (Boston Sports Journal) discussed the public perception of John Henry and Tom Werner a few days ago.

McAdam calls the last 18 years "arguably the most successful era of Red Sox baseball". (Myself, I'd omit "arguably".) He says the team owners "have been philanthropic via the Red Sox Foundation and have spent freely" on the roster.

Yet McAdam also claims they "remain so profoundly unpopular with" Red Sox fans. Henry and Werner "appear tone-deaf", offering "rambling" public statements at "awkward, disingenuous press conferences", somehow somehow "manag[ing] to forfeit the goodwill" that comes with four World Series championships. (I'll add that those are the only four Red Sox championships in the last 101 years.)

I don't agree with McAdam's assessments. I am confused by them, to be honest, though I also admit I have not watched many, if all, press conferences in full. However, I do share McAdam's opinion that Henry and Werner "should be able to explain their moves and motives without apology" and any "unpopular announcement should offer temporary — not permanent — damage to the team's public standing".

It is sometimes tricky to be both rational and a devoted fan of any team, but I think we all understand that the next owner who is completely transparent with the press and public will be the first. It's foolhardy for anyone (fan or sportswriter) to judge a team's owner based on that unrealistic expectation. Anyone listening to Henry or Werner or any other member of the Red Sox front office will undoubtedly wish for a more complete answer than what she has been given. Overall, I do not have much of any issue with the team's explanation of its decisions. I disagree with some decisions and am happy with others, but overall have adopted an attitude (only since November 2004, of course) of simply seeing how everything plays out. Again, if you're looking for perfection from your favourite team's players or its front office, you're going to be continually upset.

McAdam notes: "Officially, we still don't know why Betts was traded." Perhaps, but it's almost certainly not one particular reason — and we can figure it out, can't we? Would an actual press statement make everything okay? Even if we felt the team's reasons made sense, would we suddenly like the sight of Mookie Betts wearing a Dodgers uniform?

I find myself living 3,457 miles from Fenway Park, so perhaps I'm out of touch. I have set up a poll. I included an "I have no opinion" option in the hopes that everyone reading the post will vote. (It would give me some idea of how many people are reading.)

In the same article, McAdam expresses his disappointment at the recent comments from Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz concerning Mike Fiers and the Astros' cheating scandal. I could not agree more.
In the more than three decades that I've covered the Red Sox, I would be hard-pressed to come up with two more fascinating figures than Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz.

Intelligent, insightful, and often hilarious, the two could always be counted on to provide candid and illuminating perspective — all of which makes their recent comments about Mike Fiers so disillusioning.

Martinez weighed in last month and Ortiz added his take last week. Both came to the same conclusion: Fiers had betrayed his teammates and the game itself by revealing the extent of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing from 2017 when Fiers was a part of the team. ...

In an interview with WEEI in January, Martinez complained that Fiers had run afoul of baseball's code and charged that his actions revealed him to be "a bad teammate." Last week, speaking with reporters in Fort Myers, Ortiz went a step further, labeling Fiers "a snitch."

These are regrettable comments.

I'm not suggesting that Fiers should be in line for the congressional medal of honor for serving as the whistleblower. But he deserved credit for shining a public light on the Astros' transgressions. He had the courage to put his name to his comments, the latter of which helped lead to baseball's investigation. ...

It's unfortunate that Martinez and Ortiz have focused more on Fiers refusal to stay quiet and honor the game's silly "code" than on the bravery he demonstrated. It's quite likely that the sign-stealing mess would continue to be covered up without the information he supplied. ... [T]heir insistence on casting Fiers as some sort of dastardly, disloyal villain is, at minimum, regrettable.


Shawn K said...

Sure, Henry and Werner aren't up to the high standards of athletic trainer turned owner Buddy Leroux, but who is?

Seriously, anyone who experienced the pre-Henry years has to recognized that they're great owner. I hated losing Betts, so I get the general dissatisfaction. But, the team will probably be great within no more than 2-3 years.

SoSock said...

I’m not sure why he would refer to the ownership as “hated”. I certainly do t get that impression. Then again, like you, I’m a long ways from Boston. But I do follow several Sox public media sources and of course JoS. Maybe it’s different in the bars in Boston, but I don’t see it. Naturally I’m upset about letting a game changer like Betts go. I may end up looking at it as a bad move from now on. I may not. There have been moves throughout my years as a fan that I still think we’re bad, and some I changed my mind about. And some I thought were good that turned out not to be. It’s the nature of the beast. I can only assume that the FO decided that championship teams require more than one horse. As good as Betts is, maybe the money could be better spent. Then again, maybe it was all about protecting the bottom line. Time will tell. But I don’t hate the owner that brought us Theo Epstein and the joy of 2004. It will take a lot for that to come about.