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John Henry: Theo won’t be the Red Sox GM forever

Oct 7, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Liverpool Football club's co-owner, John Getty Images

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times this morning, Red Sox owner John Henry and team CEO Lary Lucchino sat down for an interview on WEEI this morning and offered up all manner of postmortem on the Red Sox’ 2011 season and some glimpses into the future as well.  Here is audio of the entire interview.  Among the highlights:

  • When asked about Theo Epstein’s future, Henry said “I think there’s a certain shelf life in these jobs,” and would not say whether or not he’s granted the Cubs’ request to speak to Epstein.  Lucchino said “this is one subject we don’t believe needs full disclosure.” Overall they provided no clarity on whether Epstein returns.  Still, the idea that Epstein could go to the Cubs seemed crazy a few weeks ago. Seems way less crazy now.
  • Henry said the decision for Terry Francona to leave wasn’t a mutual one, but that’s because they didn’t get the chance to make it mutual.  Francona wanted out and told team brass that before there was a chance to consider it.  Henry added, however, that it was very likely that they would have reached the same conclusion and that Francona would have been gone anyway.
  • Lucchino said the team is “knee deep” in the process of hiring a replacement for Francona.
  • Lucchino was asked about the drinking in the clubhouse stuff and said that the front office disapproved of that.  That said “we’re still trying to dig in to find out how pervasive it was, how extensive it was, and not try to superficially conclude it was a major factor in anything.”

Nothing really shocking here.  Francona was going to go anyway, it seemed. Theo could easily go.  No one is overreacting to the late-season collapse or the media hype about fat, drunk ballplayers and clubhouse chaos.  Just sounds like any team picking up the pieces of what for them was a failed season and trying to move forward.

  1. shaggylocks - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    You want to know a secret? When I watch the Red Sox play, I usually drink a beer, too. I’m not entirely sure why pitchers drinking beer on their off days is such a big deal.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Lack of seriousness about conditioning? Lack of respect to the team that they can’t abstain for 3 hours while the team, you know, plays a game? I suppose it is all a matter of degree, like Henry says. If the guys had a beer once in a while, no biggie. If they were downing a case on a nightly basis, maybe a bigger deal.

      • lardin - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Its not so much the drinking in the clubhouse thats bothers me. They are grown men. Its the fact that they were in the clubhouse during the game and not in the dugout that bothers me. I know its idealistic, but the players should be in the dugout during games routing for there team mates. They should be helping to steal signs and determining if a pitcher is tipping his pitchers. They could be talking baseball and talking about how they might react in certain situations. These are little things that go unnoticed, but they do help teams win games, even if its one or two games here or there.

      • sportsdrenched.com - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Thumbs up for lardin. I agree.

        As for the beer thing. I’m not offended in a moral sense. I’m more annoyed from a conditioning/nutrition sense. If my profession is dependant upon my body to perform athleticly I’m not getting near beer during the season, much less during a game. There’s an entire off-season to have a few. I guess that’s just me being idealistic too.

        I don’t even drink when I’m training for a 10K that I paid to enter.

        You can say that little stuff doesn’t matter. But it mattered this year. If they had ONE game back. They’d have been in the playoffs.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        Besides, technically they’re on the bench right? In an emergency one of them might be called as a pinch runner (Cliff Lee in the 2009 Postseason did this if I recall).

      • mabunar - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        I think players going to the clubhouse during the game happens more than you would think, and more than you would like. Hell, in the 86 series Keith Hernandez watched the whole Buckner drama unfold while he was kicking back a cold one in the clubhouse.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        The ’86 Mets were in a league all by themselves when it comes to… uh… unusual clubhouse behavior… as a matter of fact unusual off-field behavior… you know what, just their behavior in general. They’re not really a good example of what is typical in MLB.

      • mabunar - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        “Besides, technically they’re on the bench right? In an emergency one of them might be called as a pinch runner (Cliff Lee in the 2009 Postseason did this if I recall).”

        I understand what you’re saying, but during the regular season I doubt you’re seeing an AL team use a pitcher on their off day being used as a PR. If it’s the 19th inning and Papi is still in, well, he’s running for himself. But, it would be nice if they were on the bench/bullpen just to at least be engaged with their teammates.

      • mabunar - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        “The ’86 Mets were in a league all by themselves when it comes to… uh… unusual clubhouse behavior… as a matter of fact unusual off-field behavior… you know what, just their behavior in general. They’re not really a good example of what is typical in MLB.”

        Typical and “more than you think” are not the same thing. I’m just saying that if you believe these Sox players were the only ones to have a beer in the clubhouse this year….you’re being naive.

      • sandpiperair - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Hernandez was also in an unusual situation in that he just made the 2nd out in the bottom of the 10th with his team down by 2 in what would have been the deciding game of the World Series.

        I was twelve at the time, but I remember him being interviewed after the game (or maybe after game 7) and he admitted that he opened up a Budweiser in the clubhouse. He stopped his story to say, “Auggie Busch would love that!”

      • shaggylocks - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        I bet if you tried to tell Ty Cobb he couldn’t pull on his flask in the dugout, he would have spiked you in the shins and stole first, second, third, and home, even though it wasn’t his turn at bat. Man, the game has changed…

      • bigharold - Oct 7, 2011 at 4:50 PM

        ” Hell, in the 86 series Keith Hernandez watched the whole Buckner drama unfold while he was kicking back a cold one in the clubhouse.”

        So was Kevin Mitchell but that’s never an issue when you win. Didn’t some the 2004 RS brag about doing a shot of Jack Daniels before games? You get away with the bad boy rascal stuff when you win. When you lose it’s then considered a sign that the players aren’t focused and that the manager wasn’t in control. And, there is some truth to that but it’s not the reason why the RS lost, it’s more a symptom of the underlying cause.

        Winning helps people ignore a lot of thing but losing forces you to examine everything.

  2. lovesmesomeme - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I think it was kind of awesome that no one knew that Beckett, Lester,Lackey and Wakefield did a video in uniform, in front of the monster singing about how much they like beer. Tony LaRussa and Miguel Cabrera say they like beer to and they wanted to be in it the video to.

    • mabunar - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Well, that is a good question (lovesmesomeme)…how did all these shenanigans go on without ANY of the media knowing? Seems to me that the Sox beat writers were keeping stuff to themselves during the season. Only now when the collapse is a big story, do we hear about the drinking, the special cliques, Youkilis being a pain in the a$$.

  3. jehzsa - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    The Women’s Red Sox Temperance Union is looking into it.

    • bigleagues - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      I think too many people have been watching Ken Burns’ Prohibition doc.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        I watched it. Burns, with his usual attention to detail, told the story of why Prohibition happened, and why it didn’t work.

  4. bigleagues - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Based on what we knew going into this interview . . . this is patently ridiculous:
    “Henry said the decision for Terry Francona to leave wasn’t a mutual one, but that’s because they didn’t get the chance to make it mutual.”

    While this at least restores some credibility:
    “Henry added, however, that it was very likely that they would have reached the same conclusion and that Francona would have been gone anyway.”

  5. bigleagues - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    On the “this job has a certain shelf life comment”

    So, while they may be the exception to the rule – what exactly is the shelf life of Brian Sabean and John Schuerholz? And I know Schuerholz retired, but those two combined have the same number of World Championships as Theo does.

  6. bobwsc - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    looks like he was just dug up in that picture.

  7. sportsdrenched.com - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    I’ve thought about this a little more. I read The Bad Guys Won by Jeff Pearlman a few years ago. It’s about the 86 Mets. Funny, Pearlman didn’t get any crap for writing that book.

    Ideally I would like to think proffessional athletes take care of their bodies in effort to compete and win baseball games. However, that’s not reality.

    Reality is what the 86 Mets showed us. You can booze, shoot-up, sex-up, and gamble all season long. But if you win the World Series, no one, well most people won’t care.

    The Red Sox putting away suds in the locker room is only a big deal because they had an epic collapse. I doubt if they traded places with the Yankees, and lost in the DS that this subject wouls even be mentioned.

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