As the Boston Red Sox stepped out into the sun Monday for their first full-squad workout of spring training, owner John Henry maintained that he's more concerned about W's and L's than the team's Q rating. "We really don't need to be popular," Henry said. "We need to win." But despite winning 93 games and the American League East title for a second straight season in 2017, questions were raised about the Red Sox's likeability. Although attendance at Fenway Park remained almost unchanged, regional television ratings were down 15 percent on New England Sports Network, according to Nielsen Media data, while sports-talk airwaves were filled with the grievances of dissatisfied fans. It wasn't just the paying customers, either. Last week, star right fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts arrived in camp and admitted the team didn't have much fun last season. Betts alluded to clubhouse "tension," particularly during losing streaks, and Bogaerts referred to "head butts" and "disagreements." After the Red Sox were ousted in the opening-round Division Series for the second year in a row, ownership fired manager John Farrell and let go all but one member of his coaching staff (bullpen coach Dana LeVangie, whose contributions to the organization pre-dated Farrell, was retained and promoted to pitching coach under new manager Alex Cora). Other than that, though, the roster went nearly untouched, with the Red Sox re-signing first baseman Mitch Moreland and utility infielder Eduardo Nunez and not yet adding a player who wasn't part of last year's group. But both Henry and chairman Tom Werner insisted that, with Cora and his coaches setting a different tone, the Sox are talented enough to hold off the power-packed New York Yankees in the AL East.
Red Sox owner John Henry: We 'don't need to be popular, we need to win'
ESPN | Feb 19