This Seems Like a Good Time to Mention John Henry's Team Got Caught Spying

Yesterday I gave an author's talk (now available in paperback; my babies got to eat) and in the crowd was a nice Weymouth guy in a Deion Branch jersey. We chatted for a while about some people we knew in common who grew up in my neighborhood. One of whom tested at a genius level IQ when we were kids and the only science I ever knew him to conduct was allowing guys to do whippets out of the back of the Friendly's Ice Cream were he worked, and the time he ate nothing but corn for 24 hours to see what his poop would be like. The other mutual friend called my old WEEI show when we were talking about cannabis use in the NFL and bragged to us on the air that he could roll a joint when he was 4 years old. He really could. The neighborhood was so proud. 

Sorry, that paragraph got away from me. 

What I really am here to talk about is this other thing the guy mentioned. Which until now I knew nothing about. With the whole nation justifiably outraged over the Houston Astros using technology to spy on opponents to win  a World Series and the Red Sox denying they did the same thing the following year even though they fired their manager who coincidentally was the Astros bench coach, it seems like the perfect opportunity to bring it up here. 

What Deion Branch Jersey Guy educated me on is that Alex Cora Red Sox stealing signs with a TV monitor or John Farrell's Red Sox stealing signs with an Apple watch are by no means the worst uses of technology a John Henry team has ever used to spy on opponents. Not by a damned site. In fact, his Liverpool FC team had to pay a million pounds in damages to Manchester City for hacking into their proprietary information, St. Louis Cardinals-style.

MassLive- Liverpool FC has a whole separate incident it’s been working out since 2013. 

Liverpool, which has been under Henry’s ownership since 2010, has been the subject of new action from The Football Association in Great Britain as it reportedly looks into the incident between Liverpool and English Premier League rival Manchester City.

The controversy, according to The Times, centers around Manchester City accusing Liverpool employees of using a team scout’s login information to improperly access City’s scouting database. Additionally, The Times reports that Liverpool paid out a £1 million confidential settlement to Manchester City, a payment that had not been revealed to the EPL.

What's that line from "Goldfinger"? “Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: 'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action'.” In John Henry's empire, Cora relaying signs from a TV monitor next to the dugout to the batter's box IS the third time. The first was his English Premiere League team hacking into an opponent's database and then buying their way out of it. The first that we know about, anyway. Perhaps there are others. Who knows? Maybe we'll find out Roush racing is using performance enhancing fuel or illegal restrictor plates or something. 

Who knew? I'm almost ashamed to admit I wasn't aware of this until a good Samaritan from my hometown mentioned it. I'm always trying to invent new damns that I can not give about English Premiere Football, so I'll forgive myself. But this story hits me where I live and I appreciate the head's up.

I can tell you who did know about it. And who cares a lot about the shady stuff Henry and Fenway Sports Group have been up to. The good people of Liverpool:

FSG prefers to operate in the shadows. … To the Red Sox fan-base, John Henry and Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy come across as a cold and conceited. They’re not proper fans. 

The Sox are currently in the midst of a pair of scandals. One: an investigation into possible cheating, an issue that has already led to ownership removing their championship-winning manager; the other of trading their best player, Mookie Betts. I wrote about the details of the Betts trade at the time that it broke. But what has happened with that issue subsequently is perhaps more intriguing to Liverpool fans. …

 Last night, Red Sox principal owner John Henry released a rambling, meandering statement in response to the anger at Betts’ trade. Henry’s non-apology apology boiled down to this: we didn’t want to lose him, but we felt we had to extract some value before he possibly walked next season as a free agent. 

 It was drivel. A deeper investigation finds that almost all of Henry's talking points, public and leaked, fail to add up. …

Boston is a city built on one mantra: “What, you think you’re better than me?” FSG’s detachment in recent years has stoked that resentment among the Sox’s hardcore fans. Worse still, there’s become a feeling, whether true or not, that Sox ownership looks upon their fans with sneering condescension. Can’t you guys just be grateful? We broke the curse for you. Now, let us make our money. 


Even an ocean away, in a far off land, in a culture that is divided from ours (according to George Bernard Shaw) by a common language, that doesn't even have baseball, they get it. They understand why Massholes are having a hard time liking the team that won four World Series in 14 years.

I only wish we got more of this kind of honest coverage in this town instead of having to go to Liverpool to get it. They gave us the Beatles, we gave them Fenway Sports Group. We owe them in a huge way.