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Silent in the mourning

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  October 4, 2011 09:40 AM

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John Henry will be in attendance when Liverpool plays Manchester United next Saturday, which is good news indeed. Guess that means the man didn't instantly disappear off the face of the earth since his 'B' team completed the worst late-season collapse in baseball history.

It sure seems that way though. Since the Red Sox parted ways with manager Terry Francona, it has been a bumbling comedy on Yawkey Way where, on Friday night, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein held the most awkward press conference since Grady Little's one-question mind-bender following Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. It was in the absence of Henry, who was taken to the hospital after taking a tumble aboard his yacht.

He got home in time for Saturday's derby though. Whew.

The only public statement that Henry has made since Boston's epic collapse was on Twitter Thursday afternoon. "A very quiet day in Boston after a terrible, terrible month for the fans. Night after night they came, they tuned in. Rain, quiet streets."

Henry then congratulated the Rays on their "miraculous" ticket to the playoffs.

And...that has been it.

Meanwhile, the perception of a quiet chaos remains on Yawkey Way, where no manager is in place, the general manager may flee, and a cantankerous clubhouse is in the need of a major overhaul. Yet, Henry remains silent. There are no votes of confidence, no apologies, and no promises to make things right.

"We won't rest," read the motto of the 2011 Red Sox.

"We won't comment," may be the motto for the offseason.

The franchise deserves better than this. Red Sox fans deserve more than this. Since his overnight stay at Mass. General, Henry has gone into hiding, and the longer he stays silent, the more speculation about the future of the team will arise. It has been a honeymoon for these owners for much of their decade here, but now that they face their most difficult challenge yet, their reactions are concerning to say the least. Werner and Lucchino sounded like a pair of teenagers just caught with a 30-pack as they stammered their way through an excuse-making farce. But at least they faced the music, no matter how duplicitous the result. 

Henry? We're still waiting.

Where the Red Sox go in terms of on-field personnel is a discussion that is likely a few weeks away, once a new manager, and perhaps once a new general manager, has been hired. It's clear the Red Sox need to go in a completely different direction that the one that plagued 2011. The house needs to be cleaned. Contracts will have to be eaten. That culture needs to be wiped from the clubhouse, which means likely saying goodbye to more than the fair share who have become New England household names.

But worst of all, Red Sox owners are showcasing an unwillingness to discuss the matters that plagued this disaster. It's constant spin at Fenway with few answers. The longer they stay silent, the more likely it seems that Epstein could be on the next flight to Chicago. Next week, Henry will be on one due East.

Which direction the Red Sox are headed in is anyone's guess.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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