Liverpool owner John W. Henry was booed by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park on Monday, with a Boston reporter explaining he was “lucky it was only boos.”
Henry was present at the NHL Winter Classic on Monday as the Fenway Sports Group-owned Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Boston Bruins at the home of the Red Sox.
After finishing bottom of the American League East in the 2022 season, there are growing concerns over the Red Sox’s recruitment during the off-season, leading to jeers from fans in the stands.
In a column for NBC Sports, reporter John Tomase explained how the Red Sox are “in the midst of one of their most disappointing off-seasons ever, playing perpetual bridesmaids in free agency and losing more talent than they’ve added.”
Liverpool fans could draw parallels with their views on the lack of investment into Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, too, with the club operating on a sell-to-buy model with a startlingly low net spend compared to their rivals.
Interesting line from @jtomase after John W. Henry was booed by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
"Rather than build to compete with the Yankees or Astros, they seem content to try their chances at the bottom of the wild card standings vs. the White Sox and Rangers." pic.twitter.com/O3lITcZnoh
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) January 4, 2023
Elsewhere in his column, Tomase argues that Henry “seems to be taking a similar tack” with the Red Sox as he has with his Premier League club, who are ostensibly up for sale as FSG seek a buyer.
That comes with FSG planning to expand into the NBA, with the purchase of a franchise in Las Vegas alongside LeBron James.
And speaking on NBC in the wake of boos for the 73-year-old at Fenway Park, Tomase suggested that, for even his most staunch of backers, patience is running thin.
“I want to say he’s lucky it was only boos and there were no tomatoes or anything like that,” he said.
"Every bit of outrage Red Sox fans feel is justified, I don't care how many World Series they've won."@jtomase reacts to fans booing Red Sox (and Penguins ?) owner John Henry during the Winter Classic at Fenway this afternoon pic.twitter.com/hxt6WhcKZE
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) January 3, 2023
“Because just the last couple of years of his ownership of the Red Sox – and having the Penguins in town really highlights it – we feel like the Red Sox aren’t a priority anymore.
“He insists that they are.
“I’ve been someone who has defended him over the last year-plus, saying he’s invested in this team and we’ll see this off-season – this off-season has come and pretty much gone and he hasn’t and they haven’t done anything.
“I think every bit of outrage that Red Sox fans feel is justified.
“I don’t care how many World Series’ they’ve won, in a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ world, the answer for Henry is ‘not much’.”
Interestingly, Tomase was asked whether he could envisage a response from Henry similar to that which greeted the fallout of his decision to ally Liverpool with the European Super League in 2021.
With Liverpool supporters furious with the campaign for a breakaway league, FSG quickly pulled out with Henry issuing a public apology for betraying their trust.
“This, to me, feels like the course change, unfortunately. They’ve changed to this,” was Tomase’s reply.
“I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt coming into this off-season.
“They had a tonne of money to spend, they made no secret of their intentions to spend it, and then they got outbid on every single player on the market.
“Maybe some of that is on [chief baseball officer] Chaim Bloom, but I have to feel like a lot of it is on Henry and what he is prioritising as an owner now, which is being efficient with how you spend your money and all of that stuff.
“And where that gets you is last place in the American League East, not just this year but the foreseeable future.”