Red Sox

Fox Business reporter unimpressed by Henry's denials


Fox Business reporter unimpressed by Henry's denials

John Henry's denials that the Red Sox are for sale aren't resonating with the reporter who broke the story that the team is, in fact, on the block.

"I've been covering Wall Street a long time," Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino told Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on Thursday's 'Felger & Mazz' show on WBZ-FM Radio (98.5 The Sports Hub). "You know, there are denials and there are denials.

"I heard team president Larry Lucchino . . . or maybe it was John Henry, talk about how, you know, this could be misconstrued because we're . . . talking about estate-planning purposes and this kind of stuff. When you start getting into that sort of banter . . . you see right through it.

"I will tell you: Usually, the sort of responses from people when . . . a reporter kind of made it up, is, 'We don't comment on rumor or innuendo or whatever.' But these guys are obviously out there trying to put out a fire because, you know, I caught 'em."

Gasparino explained why he went with the story in spite of the Sox' denials.

"If you read the story, we put their full-throated denial very high up in it," Gasparino said. "And then the question is, 'Okay, why do you go with something that . . . someone like Henry is denying?' And you do that because you're confident with your sources, and you're confident with the way you wrote it, and you're confident with the . . . over-arching meaning of the story . . .

"I can't tell you whether they're going to sell it or not. But I do know this: This is a team that's in trouble, and an organization that's in trouble . . . Listen, I'm telling you: They're doing it. I have this from a source with direct knowledge of it, and the fact that they're doing it indicates this is a team that faces some immense hurdles."

When asked by Felger what those troubles were, Gasparino responded:

"I'm a business reporter. If I see that you're unloading players like they're unloading players, to the degree that they're doing it . . . when companies do stuff like that, those are telltale signs of problems. Again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out . . .

"Also, you guys know full well that Henry has issues . . . with the Liverpool soccer team owned by Henry's Fenway Sports Group, and . . . what I understand is that he's coming to the conclusion that . . . it's hard to finance two big, struggling franchises."

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall


HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.