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John Henry Refutes Reports of Red Sox Players Turning on Valentine

John Henry gives a thumbs up to the Red Sox organization on a successful team meeting in New York that apparently didn't involve players calling for Bobby Valentine to be fired. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)

Amid the media maelstrom of reports saying Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and a host of other players on the Boston roster called for manager Bobby Valentine’s firing in a July 26 meeting with Red Sox ownership, John Henry took time away from his soccer football club to address the situation.

As the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo shared, in an email to the team’s beat reporters responding to the now infamous and mysterious New York hotel meetings Henry wrote,

“No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.”

Pedroia and Gonzalez have similarly refuted such claims by the Yahoo! Sports article’s anonymous sources.

Of course, Henry’s comments don’t mention anything about player feelings outside the scope of the meeting. While the reactions from the Red Sox camp have stuck to the same story line, leaving me with no reasonable cause to doubt Henry, it would seem that their opinions regarding their manager are of more consequence in the course of their day-to-day interactions with Bobby V. Those, I would venture to guess, are slightly more expressive.

Henry went on to add,

“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.”

It’s certainly notable that Henry himself called these various and sundry meetings to order in that New York hotel. It’s hard to believe that some level of disgruntlement among the players didn’t force the Red Sox ownership to step in. Maybe it was ultimately initiated by a secretive Gonzalez text message, or maybe not. But if we are to buy Henry’s assertion that he was the meeting’s mastermind, it can’t be avoided that Henry is part of the very same ownership group who clearly wanted Valentine on board – so much so that they were willing to all but undermine their newly minted general manager, Ben Cherington, by rejecting his choice to succeed disgraced painkiller abuser Terry Francona.

(Oh, that’s right, pretty much everyone thinks Red Sox ownership leaked that juicy tidbit to the press, along with every other smear campaign that hits former Red Sox on their way out the door like a runaway bus.)

It is also notable that these discussions revolving around the question, “What do we need to do to turn things around?” has produced a stellar 8-11 record since July 26th. Some turnaround.

In the end, something isn’t adding up. It feels like 2 +2 = 3, and I’m just sitting around cringing as I wait for the other shoe to drop.

Something like – oh, I don’t know, I’m just spitballing now – a hefty bribe to the 25-man roster in the form of an expensive pair of headphones, a private yacht party, and a promise of only one more year of working under the overbearing thumb of the Valentine regime.

But that would be ridiculous.

More reassuring was Henry’s admission that this has “been an unacceptable, failed season” – a far cry from Lucchino’s oddly optimistic and overly adjectival State of the Nation report over the All-Star Break. At least someone higher in the Red Sox food chain recognizes the lost cause the 2012 Red Sox season has become. That’s some sort of moral victory, right? Or does it not count until the farce of a record sellout streak comes to a merciful end?

(Clearly I’m desperate for some sort of reassuring, no matter how masochistic it may be.)

One thing John Henry and I can agree upon, however, is that we both “understand that when the team isn’t playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized.” Clearly this wouldn’t be worth even a shred of newspaper (which isn’t very much with the current state of print journalism these days) if the Red Sox were sitting ten, even five games over .500 and closer than 6.5 games out of a playoff spot (even if it would be just a measly one-game showdown).

But the Red Sox are currently a train wreck attracting rubberneckers from around the league, so of course this is going to be a spectacle for intense media scrutiny. It’s just one more car on top of a seventeen-car pile-up along the Mass Pike. So gather around everybody, and marvel at the gory remains from the team that had the best record in baseball this time one year ago.

You’ll just have to wait to hoist Bobby V’s head on a pike a little bit longer.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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