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Once in a while, surprises happen, and today on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub, Red Sox principal owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the station’s afternoon show with Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger.

(Credit: Mark Bertrand)

“The author of the story has gone on the record as saying we did not participate in that,” Henry told Felger and Massarotti Friday afternoon.

“I don’t condemn Bob Hohler for writing a story,” said Henry. “I condemn personal things coming out… About medication, about someone’s marital life.”

“Blaming me personally for being the person who said those things… that’s why I came here. You’re misleading the public.”

Henry, who is also the principal owner of Liverpool FC, could not confirm who the “team sources” were that provided information about former Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s marital and medical issues. He also did not confirm that an internal meeting to weed out the sources had occurred.

Which leads us to this point: if Henry was so adamant today about how he was being accused, why then did he not go on record BEFORE The Globe story was written and say the article was “reprehensible.”

This is classic PR strategy gone wrong in our opinion. It is clear that Red Sox ownership has been hit hard for The Globe article, and Henry’s appearance on Boston radio today was meant to try and soften the criticism. But as the lead chief of his organization, calling out smear campaigns five days after the fact raises several questions that the Sox should answer. In the meantime, the Sox chaos continues, and Boston fans are the losers here.

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I love the Boston Red Sox. Ever since I was born again during the Era of Nomah and shed the last of my Evil Empire allegiance, the Red Sox have become a fabric of my life, my daily oxygen. So I devour anything that is Red Sox, and today’s Boston Globe story about the factors that led to the team’s epic September collapse was required reading for me.

The piece, written by the excellent Bob Hohler with help from Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham, reveals the story of a team in turmoil, with so much detail that is begs the question: are the owners of Red Sox vindictive employers? Are they using the media to disclose personal and painful information about the manager, Terry Francona, that in essence, ownership stop supporting? And what does it say about The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times, who by the way, is a minority of the Red Sox.

This article, which cites several anonymous sources from all levels of the Red Sox organization, reveals way too much information about Francona and why he left as the team’s manager. It is a shameless and heartless PR attempt to smear and discredit the accomplishments of a manager who has won two World Series in the 21st century for a franchise that before 2004, had not won since 1918.

As the article states:

Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health.

Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance.

Translation: Francona was not a good employee because he had marital issues and personal problems. Hence, he was no longer capable of remaining an employee of the organization.

Or this:

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.

So instead of placing the blame on bad free agent signings (John Lackey, Carl Crawford, to name just two), instead of actually coming out in public during the year á la George Steinbrenner and demanding that the team ship into shape, the ownership of the Boston Red Sox (John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino) stayed silent during the year, which suggests that they never wanted to publicly support Francona during his time of personal crisis in the first place, and then in a classic “not out fault” move, they went ahead and reveal private information that should be kept between an employer and its employee. Does Francona have a good lawyer?

We will say that Francona has stayed classy throughout this fractured relationship. As he told The Globe:

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’

Francona has every right to be angry. It was clear that he handled his departure from the team with class a few weeks ago, but now the team has decided to share personal information about him that quite frankly have nothing to do with his job performance? If you are not happy with his skills as a manager, just say that he couldn’t handle his players right this year. But to suggest that it was because he was worried about his marriage and he was on painkillers is sad.

No wonder Boston GM Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Sox and going to the Chicago Cubs.

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So, Mike Robles, the agreement we had in place never said I could do another video. October, baby!

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Sweet Caroline


We loved tradition, and it doesn’t get any better than this, the middle of the 8th inning at Fenway Park. Yes, my brother Fernando sings better than I do.

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