John Henry: Nobody Wanted Valentine Out

Is there any baseball owner who gives us more than John Henry? Between that spot-on impression of himself Moneyball: The Movie! to Bill James getting two World Series rings to the many radio appearances and public e-mail messages about the team, Henry's the gift who just keeps on giving.

So of course he had to respond to Jeff Passan's story on Yahoo!!! yesterday, about a late-July meeting in New York in which a number of Red Sox players -- 17, they say! -- presumably spent a fair amount of time complaining about ... well, about something. According to Henry, though, it wasn't really about Bobby Valentine ...

We held three meetings in New York – separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.

"What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record. They weren't blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.

According to Henry, there was a similar meeting held in 2004 ... and of course, the Red Sox wound up winning the 2004 World Series. I'm on a train so I can't check, but that meeting might be detailed in one of the many books written about that season. And I'm wondering if one of the results of that meeting was the eventual trading of Nomar Garciaparra, which a lot of people thought transformed the club's chemistry and helped lead to the championship.

This time around, we've seen no such radical change. Players have come up and gone down, based on the obvious exigencies of the moment. But there's been no obvious move to change the atmosphere. Maybe that's coming, still.

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