Henry: July meeting not about dismissing Valentine
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TIMORE -- Red Sox owner John Henry said Wednesday that the meeting the owners had with players in New York to discuss the state of the team was his idea, and, contrary to a report on Yahoo! Sports, nobody suggested a managerial change.
"No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced," Henry wrote in a wide-ranging e-mail to Red Sox beat reporters on Wednesday.
The meeting in New York took place on July 26, an off-day prior to a Red Sox-Yankees series. There were 17 players at the meeting that also included team president/CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner. Henry had separate meetings with Valentine and the coaching staff. The Yahoo! report originally stated that the meeting was called after Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had sent a text message to someone from ownership voicing dissatisfaction that Valentine had allowed Jon Lester to pitch long enough to allow 11 earned runs in a July 22 start.
The Red Sox have underachieved all season, taking a 57-60 record into Wednesday night's game against the Orioles.
"I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized," Henry said. "But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff -- especially Bobby Valentine -- are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver."
As far as the meetings, Henry has held such roundtables throughout his decade-long tenure as the owner of the Red Sox.
"First of all, for more than a decade, we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that," Henry wrote. "It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade, not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information.
"Over the decade, we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways, including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else, these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about ... what it takes to win and what can we all do to improve our ability to win?"
Herny recalls a similar meeting in 2004, just months before the Red Sox won the World Series.
"About this time eight years ago, we had one such meeting," said Henry. "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. 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."
Following Tuesday night's game against the Orioles, Dustin Pedroia was also vehement in denying the assertion from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that players suggested they no longer wanted to play for Valentine.
"It's tough when all this stuff comes out, that everyone's trying to get the manager fired," Pedroia said. "That's not the case, man. I've never met the guy that wrote the story. That's about it."