John Henry reiterates that he is not selling the Red Sox

10 Comments

Last fall there was a curious report from Fox Business Network that John Henry and the other Red Sox owners were exploring a sale of the team. Curious because, unlike a lot of these sorts of things, it was not met with silence or businesspeak denials. It was met with a pretty pointed and specific refutation by Red Sox owner John Henry.

Today Henry met the media down in Fort Myers and once again made it clear that the Red Sox were not for sale:

“You just don’t get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, the three of us are committed to being here,” Henry told reporters, while acknowledging team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner. “These thoughts that we’re somehow selling, those are just not true.”

In an age when a baseball team can sell for $2 billion, it’d probably be irresponsible to not at least look around to see what your team is worth. But it doesn’t sound like Henry is at all interested in getting out of the baseball business.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
Leave a comment

On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”