Dear Mr. Henry; A letter from a grateful fan

Let me start off my introducing myself. I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox organization, long before anyone called themselves a member of Red Sox Nation. I'm not old enough to remember Bucky Dent, but I can promise you I hate Aaron Boone just as much. I am a historian, following and revering the teams of the past as much as I do the teams of the present. Finally, I wanted to write you a letter to say two words I doubt you hear enough, "thank you."

Mr. Henry,

Let me start off my introducing myself. I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox organization, long before anyone called themselves a member of Red Sox Nation. I’m not old enough to remember Bucky Dent, but I can promise you I hate Aaron Boone just as much. I am a historian, following and revering the teams of the past as much as I do the teams of the present. Finally, I wanted to write you a letter to say two words I doubt you hear enough, “thank you.”

You saved this franchise. I’m not talking about your efforts to keep the team in Boston, and Fenway Park nonetheless, revitalizing the fan base, and constantly discovering new sources of revenue to keep the team competitive and profitable. I’m referring to your recent declaration of the team’s pursuit of Mark Teixeira, or moving forward, its lack thereof. I’m sure part of your decision was a financial one, being the owner during these economic times, it would be tough to stomach committing $180+ million dollars over the next 10 years of uncertainty. However, take a moment and let me explain what it means to the me, a voice of the fans and an admirer of all things baseball.

First, you stood up to Scott Boras. Scott Boras! Not even the Yankees could do that. Last year, when they gave A-Rod the “opt out and you’re gone ultimatum,” Boras had his prize player opt out anyway, and then the Yankees bid against themselves to retain the third baseman. When he tried to snooker more funds from the bottom of your pockets, you politely said no thanks and walked away. Then, you had the intestinal fortitude to publically announce it so he couldn’t use you or your organization as leverage against any of the other teams.

Second, you’ve made a line in the sand and I hope for the sake of all things right you continue to stand behind it. We were one Teixeira signing away from becoming the New York Yankees. Sir, we have a first baseman, with MVP-level talent, already on the team. Our third baseman was a World Series MVP two years ago and a clubhouse glue that oozes with professionalism. What do you think Teixeira would have done to the chemistry of this team?

By all accounts, Mark Teixeira appears to be a good guy. Bringing him in, regardless of his ability and fellowship, would have divided the locker room immediately. There would have been supporters, especially in the front office, who embraced Teixeira immediately. However, there would have been a group of loyal players suddenly hurt and seething in the background. Not every starter can handle a demotion as classy as Coco Crisp. We caught lightning in a bottle last year with that situation, and lightning doesn’t strike twice.

Youk may have been offended that, at 29, the team didn’t trust he could carry them in his prime. Lowell, who may be traded after the signing, would have caused a lot of veteran players to second guess signing for a hometown discount with Boston in the future. You can’t just acquire the best player available every year and expect to win. That’s how you end up like the Dallas Cowboys, 13 Pro Bowlers and struggling to make the playoffs. Or the Yankees, who haven’t won a world championship since 2000, when they abandoned their farm system for free agency. Or even the LA Lakers, who had a team with four future Hall of Famers in 2004 but got swept in the NBA Finals by a team without a single superstar.

Chemistry, Mr. Henry, can overcome a lack of talent. Look at our 2004 team, do you really think that was the most talented team in the 86 years prior to it? Do you think we won that year because we had the players with the least amount of flaws? Johnny Damon throws like a girl, Mark Bellhorn had 177 strikeouts that year, 177! Let’s not forget, even the 2008 team had Eric Gagne on it.

 
You’ve created an “us versus them” mentality on this team. Writers, bloggers, and talking heads across the country are going to be talking about every other team that made a splash this offseason, especially the Yankees. Meanwhile, our team is going to continue to grow as a team, and tire of listening to stories anointing the Yankees as champs in 2009. Remember the Detroit Tigers around this time last year? Exactly.

 
Look, I’m not saying we’re the USA heading to Lack Placid, but we are going to underdogs in our own division next year. I think that’s exactly the way we want it. As an organization, the Red Sox have returned to what makes them so special in the first place, loyalty to the players, chemistry in the clubhouse, and an underdog approach to everything. We’ve shed the Manny Ramirez superstar mentality and have embraced the Dustin Pedroia prove you wrong approach. I couldn’t be any happier as a fan of this team; so thank you, Mr. Henry, for making me so proud!

I’m not good at ending letters, so I’ll leave you with a quote. I remember reading it on one of the walls in my elementary school, and for whatever reason, it has stuck with me throughout my entire life. I feel it sums up the decision you made in regards to Mark Teixeira and Scott Boras, at least how the mainstream media and pink-hatters will feel about it.

“What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.”

Thanks again,

Ryne Crabb
Fire Brand of the American League

Categories: John Henry Mark Teixeira Scott Boras

37 Responses to “Dear Mr. Henry; A letter from a grateful fan” Subscribe

  1. Sean O December 20, 2008 at 7:44 AM #

    guuuuh we're trying to win baseball games, not throw a freaking slumber party. If adult human beings can't deal with the demotion of a mediocre player, that's their own damn problem.
    Lowell never deserved the contract he got in the first place, so he should be happy warming the bench for major leaguers while raking in $13m undeserved dollars.
    How many red sox in history never got a ring because Yawkey would rather have drinking buddies instead of real players?

  2. B December 20, 2008 at 8:00 AM #

    Crap and utter nonsense. It would take a alchemist to make chemistry that important.
    Indispensible people retire, or are fired, or die everyday in the business world and companies continue on without them. Some of them might have even been nice people who are replaced by jerks with skill. The other employees continue to work and carry themselves with the same ethics and pride they always had regardless.
    Talent and determination mixed with some good fortune create success.

  3. B December 20, 2008 at 8:05 AM #

    I've learned that over a span of time that includes Buckey F%$*ing Dent's homerun.
    Keep your youthful idealism as long as you can but temper it with some reality.

  4. Gerry December 20, 2008 at 8:15 AM #

    Great open letter, Ryne, and if this were the Declaration of Independence, I would happily sign it.
    Chemistry and talent allowed a bunch of 'idiots' to break the curse in 2004. It was the 2007 talent that became resurgent when chemistry kicked in after Manny could no longer be Manny in the clubhouse and on the field. It was simply widespread injuries and illness, bad luck, that kept this team from the WS in 2009
    The 2008 team is already more talented, and with improved bat from C, a 4th Ace in the rotation, a more powerful bench, and the already improved bullpen will compete again.
    Teix? Love to have him, but not at the expense of chemistry, which includes extending Youk, Lester, Paps, and filling all the holes with top talent.
    Amazing how Teix has already split the fan base. Imagine what he can do for the clubhouse.

  5. B December 20, 2008 at 8:30 AM #

    Crap and utter nonsense.
    Die-hard year-round fans are on different sides of a debate. Should we sign Tex or not. What he does on the field will decide how the fans respond to him.
    Are you saying the 04' team had little talent but chemistry carried them through? Give me a break.

  6. B December 20, 2008 at 8:36 AM #

    Hey here's a few questions.
    Should the Sox hire a chemistry coach?
    How bout a chemistry scout?
    Manager in charge of team chemistry?
    How much should you spend to bring in a good chemistry guy?
    How many good chemistry guys are left on the FA market?
    Who could you trade to get the missing chemistry guy?
    Crap and utter nonsense.

  7. Sean O December 20, 2008 at 8:47 AM #

    No, having an outrageously good team helped them come back and win in '04. We had all the chemistry in the world in '03, but we lost because we didn't have the pitching and an idiotic head coach. We won 4 straight because all the bounces that didn't go our way the first three games finally started bouncing, and we regressed to the mean.
    In 2007, we had one of the best teams on record, and an outstanding season from Beckett, Papelbot and an outlier from Lowell.
    Life is complicated. We don't need to go searching out magic forces when the answers are right in front of us.

  8. Gerry December 20, 2008 at 9:59 AM #

    Sorry. Talk about short term memory loss. It was the same 2007 talent that became resurgent in 2008 after Manny, but fell short or the WS after injuries. This same team, much improved with or without Teix, will be there again in 2009.

  9. B December 20, 2008 at 10:20 AM #

    Resurgent how after Manny left? Buy adding a kid with considerable talent and a desire to play to his ability, in place of a guy who quit? By having Lowrie instead of a useless Lugo in the second half? Is that chemistry or talent playing to its level?
    If they don't sign Tex how are they going to be "much improved"? There's no crystal ball telling anyone Papi and Lowell can return to their former selves, or Drew won't be continually medi-vac'ed from the playing field, or Youk and Pedrioa can repeat let alone improve, or Ellsbury hits consistently, or Wakefield's shoulder won't quit, or if Varitek comes back he'll hit above .220 again.
    Unless I missed a significant signing lately, to date they traded Coco for a bullpen guy and extended Pedrioa.
    Maybe the bullpen guy has the right chemistry to bring home another title.

  10. M.A.G December 20, 2008 at 10:28 AM #

    Relax, guys. We have different oppinions, but that's part of the fun of talking about baseball. There is more than one way of looking at things. Ryne's opinion is perfectly valid, and he has make some very good points. You disagree with him? Ok, but, don't say is "crap and utter nonsense". Just say you disagree and explain your position.

  11. B December 20, 2008 at 10:44 AM #

    One last time! Just for you M.A.G.
    Chemistry is crap and utter nonsense.
    Saying what I feel the way I want to say it is part of the fun of being an American citizen.

  12. B December 20, 2008 at 10:52 AM #

    Usually when people write and offer commentary they are happy when what they put out generates spirited debate and strong opinion. Ryne I would hope you'd be proud and not offended. My posts are'nt a personal attack. They reflect MY strong opinion on the subject matter you chose. I don't think you need M.A.G. or anyone else to defend you or your article. Good job!

  13. Dan O. December 20, 2008 at 10:52 AM #

    It would seem that talent is more important than chemistry, but some sort of phenomenon seems to happen that prevents great teams on paper from being great teams. Look at the sox before and after manny. Manny was replaced by a less productive, but less controversial player in Jason Bay. AFter that happened the sox went on to have the best record in baseball. Terry Francona was quoted as saying that it wasn't until then that he actually felt like the red sox were a true team. There is no explanation, but there are plenty of examples of chemistry outweighing talent.

  14. Bob December 20, 2008 at 10:53 AM #

    Chemistry is overrated, but somewhat important, remember the Red Sox in the Carl Everett years? A player like that can destroy a team from the inside. That said, I don't think that signing Teixera would affect the chemsitry that much. Papi, for one would certainly be happy about it. I agree with Sean, other players shouldn't have a problem with guys getting demoted or moved around, it's what happens in baseball, the only one upset should be the player involved. If someone at your office isn't performing up to expectations and gets demoted, relocated or laid off as a result, you can be sympathtetic, but you don't openly revolt.

  15. B December 20, 2008 at 11:10 AM #

    They got better because the guy they got PLAYED. He didn't miss meetings, fake injuries and create non-existent slights to his ego, put team mates in a position of defending the indefensible. The team counted on Manny to show up and do his job to the best of his ability daily. To be civil and supportive of the rest of the team is a BASIC part of being on a team. Manny quit!
    You might call this chemistry but I don't.
    They were falling back and not winning games they should. When they started winning they were fine.
    Winning creates chemistry. Not the other way around. Jason Bay wasn't the missing chemistry piece they needed. He was the missing productive team mate.

  16. Gerry December 20, 2008 at 12:29 PM #

    I don't think anyone on this thread stated that chemistry is more important than talent. Rather, that talent without chemistry isn't enough.
    I lived in soCal during the Shaq-Kobi wars. They were gruesome. Incredible talent that didn't mesh. Can't anyone remember the FA All-Star teams bought by the Yankees and Tigers that should have bulldozed their divisions, but didn't?
    Talent is king, even in the real world, but to have a ton of talent in your company doesn't mean everyone wants to get up and go to work. There are other elements like pride, dedication, motivation, responsibility and a dozen more that causes talent to perform at its highest levels. S
    We have both seen motivated lesser talent outshine superior talent performing at a lower level. Why? Call it what you want . . . chemistry, reps, team spirit, depression, fatigue, whatever.
    Semantics. But when Manny continually misbehaved it adversely effected the clubhouse and everyone in it. Most would call that chemistry, though that's just a term to describe the phenomenon, and you can put any name to it that you want, but it clearly exists, whatever it is. This, shall we call it ennui, has nothing to do with talent except that it prevents talent from performing at its highest levels, which can destroy a team's ability to function together to win.

  17. B December 20, 2008 at 1:29 PM #

    I really don't think anybody's performance suffered because they were upset with Manny last season. Nobody quit or underperformed due to hurt feelings or agitation.
    Players were still productive when they played in position and without injury because they all have a vested monetary interest in their own performance. Not to mention pride and integrity.
    When a starting position player is out you have to rearange your defense or put a bench player in. When the starter is the #4 hitter in your lineup your offense suffers.
    The bullpen got its act together at the end of the season. The lineup was solidified because Bay showed up to play every day. The team performed better.
    Manny pulled that nonsense even in 04' and 07' and they still won.
    In 04' Theo didn't trade Nomar for Cabrera because he needed a chemistry upgrade. The team needed a defensive upgrade.

  18. JaredK December 20, 2008 at 1:43 PM #

    Gammons reporting the Sox and Tex aren't/were never that far off…I'd still put my money on him being a member of the Red Sox.

  19. Gerry December 20, 2008 at 3:07 PM #

    Oh well. If its just about vested monetary interest, we should all quit jobs which we enjoy and squeeze every penny out of society for our own benefit. No more schools, hospitals, corner pubs, gardeners . . . not enough money there, so waste of energy, waste of time.
    Pride and integrity? B, they really do lead to common cause, teamwork, commonweal, even affection (a chemical reaction?), and a desire to achieve at the highest level . . . as a team . . . the "chemistry" that separates the talented who feel good about their situation, and the talented who wake up angry every day. This discussion is circular, so I am going to go watch "It's a Wonderful Life".

  20. the grittiest, scrap December 20, 2008 at 7:24 PM #

    holy shit, could boston fans be any more delusional?
    you REALLY think you are underdogs?
    absolutely clueless.
    like any other team besides the yankees AND RED SOX could just write a $51M check for a japanese pitcher.
    you missed the playoffs in 2006, and you came out and spent over $200M on Lugo, Drew, and Matsuzaka.
    and yet you are totally convinced you are a small-market scrappy underdog.
    this letter is nauseating, and i am confident it will be the laughingstock of the internet within 24 hours.
    you are SO GRITTY!!1!!!!
    can't wait until Boston signs Teixeira next week and all the Sox fans start proposing ways to trade Lowell.

  21. the Firebrand December 20, 2008 at 7:27 PM #

    "Gammons reporting the Sox and Tex aren't/were never that far off…I'd still put my money on him being a member of the Red Sox."
    in that case, ignore everything i just wrote.

  22. Greg Andrew December 20, 2008 at 8:53 PM #

    What's ludicrous is anyone saying with certainty that signing Teixeira will "divide" the team. If there's one thing I do know about its team chemistry, it's that it's unpredictable. Sometimes a player who is considered a "cancer" on one team turns out to be a unifying leader on his next team. Signing Tex could just as easily increase the positive vibes inside the clubhouse as the opposite. I won't pretend to know what how a Tex addition would affect the clubhouse; no one else should either. Not even Theo & co are in a position where they can predict the outcome of complex human interactions.
    Not to mention the fact that it's unclear whether "good" chemistry is good or bad for the team's record. The fact that the only 2 World Championships the Red Sox have won in the past 90 years have been won with Manny Ramirez, who everybody is now describing as someone who has caused continual problems with the rest of the team, could indicate that having someone cause negativity in the clubhouse might actually help the team win. The reality is that we just don't know. Chemistry is an intangible because it and its effects can't be measured by anyone.

  23. No More Prima Donnas December 20, 2008 at 10:50 PM #

    I agree with your sentiments though think your article would have been better w/o the pink hat bashing and "throwing like a girl" comment.
    I'd add the following message to Mr. Henry wrt/ Teixeira – Please, No More Prima Donnas!

  24. Craig December 21, 2008 at 1:23 AM #

    I think there's something to chemistry, but putting a value on it and measuring it is damn near impossible. And Sean's right, the Sox didn't persevere in '04 because of chemistry – they won because of talent, depth and old fasioned regression to the mean.
    Tex is a good clubhouse guy and a damn fine all-around player. He's not what I'd call a Tier 1 slugger – Pujols, ARod, Manny, Ryan Howard, a healthy David Ortiz – but he is in that next level and he brings good defense to boot. Are the Sox overpaying? Yes. But at the end of the day, it's not our money. Would they improve with Tex at 1st and Youk at 3rd? Sure. They'd get significantly younger, and I suspect that Youk, in time, will play a GG – caliber 3rd because he's that talented and he's that versatile.
    One last thing, it's looking increasingly like the Sox have not withdrawn from the Tex sweepstakes. Henry's email may well have been a negotiating tactic.

  25. enoch December 21, 2008 at 4:41 AM #

    What's really funny is that Henry and the sox were willing to spend 184M on Teixeira.
    That number is OK, and won't throw the chemistry out of whack.
    But, anything more than that, and the sox become "Yankee-like" and the whole thing blows up.
    The team that outspends every other team in baseball besides one is, in the eyes of their fans, underdogs.
    You can't make this stuff up.

  26. Anonymous December 21, 2008 at 6:01 AM #

    you're a jackass.
    wow, you're right, that WAS fun!

  27. M.A.G December 21, 2008 at 6:53 AM #

    I was just triying to establish than is better to conduct a discussion in a respectfull matter. But just for you, I'm gonna say everyone who fail to see something as simple as this is a jackass and a complete moron. And that's just my right as a Bilivian citizen.

  28. M.A.G December 21, 2008 at 7:00 AM #

    *Bolivian citizen

  29. Bob December 21, 2008 at 7:38 AM #

    Teixera hasn't done a single thing to put him in the prima donna category. He's been completely silent throughout this, letting his agent and the Red Sox negotiate toughly. If wanting the best possible offer makes one a prima donna then every rational person in this world is a prima donna.
    Check the payrolls, the Red Sox weren't the 2nd highest last year or in 2007. They were behind the Yankees Mets and Tigers. Boston isn't as large of a market as you think, check the size and population of the city, it's not very large. the Red Sox have just been smarter than every team in expanding their fan base and holding on to new england ex-patriates. Teams with more money/larger markets than the Red Sox include: The Yankees, Mets, Angels, Cubs, White Sox and Dodgers. The Red Sox are simply willing to spend more money than all of these teams except the Yankees and Mets, because they want to be in a position to win a ring every year.

  30. No More Prima Donnas December 21, 2008 at 9:01 AM #

    I posted this on WaPo yesterday and it explains a bit why I don't want Tex in Boston and slapped the PD label on him, deservedly or not…
    Bashing Boras is fine but shouldn't we bash fairly and heap a fair share of our frustration on the golden boy with the "lights out smile" at the center of this drama. He is, after all, the client; Boras works for him. If Teixeira has managed to generate this much divisiveness among numerous fan bases, I expect he'll bring that same drama and divisiveness to the clubhouse he lands at. At this point, I don't care where that is, only that it's not my team's.

  31. Sean O December 21, 2008 at 9:12 AM #

    Sorry dude, that's insane. Varitek and Boras had rough negotiations with the Sox as well, and he's a model citizen once signed. Contracts and playing time are completely different stories.

  32. Gerry December 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM #

    Well put, Bob.

  33. Dave B December 21, 2008 at 1:24 PM #

    HAHA, Boston isn't one of the largest market teams? How can you even say that. Because we have a small population and we cut spending last year? We are perennially top 3 in revenues. We have the money, the FO just doesn't want to spend it. Whether you feel that it's because they are cheap or because they are being smart, they have the money. To say they aren't one of the largest franchise outside the Yanks would be cray. Worst case, we would be #3.

  34. Gerry December 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM #

    They are certainly one of the most successful franchises in terms of revenue, brand recognition, fan loyalty, history, recognizable players, etc., but Boston's population is about the size of Jackonville's, which is considered a "second-tier" city in terms of population and economy.
    Jacksonville supports the NFL Jaguars, ABA Jam, WHA Barracudas and might be able to support an MLB team, as it's AA Suns often have 8 – 10,000 fans, but old loyalties here are to the nearby Braves.
    When you take in New England as a market base (except for the large Yankee segment of Ct.). the Red Sox should start looking like Big Guys. But then you have to factor in the regional fanbase of New York, Chicago, Detroit, L.A., Miami (yes, Miami), Dallas/Ft.Worth .. . . and the Boston Red Sox market is again mid-sized. Bob's comments, IMO, are valid.
    I am really hesitant to bring this up, but after watching the Bruins game in which Phil Kessell again scored big, he was asked what is the difference between now and last year. His answer was quite simple: "The chemistry is better." Was he reading this thread???

  35. JaredK December 21, 2008 at 2:39 PM #

    Anaheim is reportedly out of the Texeira sweepstakes…withdrew offer.

  36. Evan December 21, 2008 at 6:15 PM #

    "The team that outspends every other team in baseball besides one is, in the eyes of their fans, underdogs."
    Wrong… we were 4th in payroll last year. Or was it 5th? Either 4th or had 4 teams ahead of us.

  37. Mr. Henry December 21, 2008 at 6:34 PM #

    Mr Crabb,
    You were the patron dressed as an elf at the Christmas at Fenway event this year, right? I told you, there's nothing I can do to get you "free tickets." Same goes for those Fenway bricks.
    Mr. Teixeira will be wrapped all pretty in a bow for our fans this XMas.
    Kindly,
    Mr. Henry
    PS – Remember, I'm the guy that paid $51.1111111111 million just to talk to DiceK. C'mon.