Boston Red Sox potential future owners

Jul 5, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox owner John Henry watches the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 5, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox owner John Henry watches the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox will eventually be sold and just who would be potential owners with local roots?

Just who will eventually buy the Boston Red Sox?

I have recently checked my financial status and happen to be a wee bit short of what will probably be necessary. I could write a check and watch it bounce somewhere in the vicinity of Mars – so that certainly leaves me on the outside looking in.

The Red Sox are something special and who owns the team has a civil responsibility to maintain the high standards we have come to expect.  Ownership is really being custodial for our emotional involvement in a team that represents the fabric of not only a city, but a region and possibly national – if you look at the way the Red Sox attract fans on the road – The Nation is something special and with it comes an incredible responsibility.

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Ownership does not stay around forever unless, you are a community franchise such as the Green Bay Packers, and with any sport a pile of money does not equate with intelligent ownership decisions as there is a long history of that in sports.

Just what makes a successful ownership?

Tom Yawkey saved the team – simple as that. The Red Sox were down for the count with a depression, a park rotting away, a string of last place finishes and a broke owner in Bob Quinn – a solid, but financially broke baseball man.

Yawkey poured in the money and the results were no titles, but a franchise that was resuscitated. The fact that they were in that condition can certainly be traced to another owner – Harry Frazee – who gutted the team and set in motion the titles for you know who.

The idea of corporate ownership is always a possibility and all one has to do is examine the fabled New York Yankees when CBS ran the show and ran the team into the ground until – love him or hate him – George Steinbrenner brought them back to life.

You can get some rather strange happenings with owners and just think Ray Kroc, Charlie Finley, Marge Schott and a bunch today. Thankfully RSN missed the bullet with Frank McCourt, who missed out on his purchase of the Red Sox and the rest is part of a sordid tale in Los Angeles.

The answer of what makes a good owner is often a reflection back on when a change is made. History does have a way of defining the ownership of any sports franchise and revisionism is generally not applicable.

So success is a quality that has to be examined as the years of ownership pile up and fortunately the current one has been rather successful in on field performance and creating shareholder value.

Just who has the dough, the knowledge of the area and the necessary thick hide to take over when John Henry decides to cash in his chips after a successful run? I would take a gander at some local possibilities who could – as with Henry – become principal owner.

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Ernie Boch Jr. is the third generation of an auto dealership conglomerate that has been recently – or a majority of it – sold off. Boch has money, loves the limelight, is a savvy businessman, knows the area, is a marketing magician and certainly would enjoy a challenge.

Boch is also a noted musician and a musical gadfly who fronts his own band and is the driving force behind the regional “Music Drives Us” that is part charity and part music preservation and education. Boch at the helm would be the idea public face for any ownership group.

There are wealthy individuals and then there are the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. The rarefied company of double-digit billionaires and that is the daughter of the founder of Fidelity Investments Abigail Johnson, who has a reported net worth of $14 Billion.

Johnson was ranked as the 19th most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine and what better addition to her extensive resume than president of the Boston Red Sox. With Ms. Johnson the purchase would be one with money left under the seat cushions of the Bentley.

The Harvard Business School graduate and financial wizard would bring much needed diversity into the baseball fraternity, and I am not talking about her being a woman, but a breath of intelligence that would be refreshing.

Johnson and Boch are both in their mid-50’s and Jim Davis is in his 70’s. Davis is the CEO of New Balance, a billionaire and founder of Major League Lacrosse – so you have a nice connection with athletic involvement and in the sports marketing business. Maybe they would have a night where they hand out NB 990’s?

What goes better with baseball than beer? Jim Koch is a familiar face as he has hit the airwaves for years pushing his product – Sam Adams – to the masses. Marketing is quite obviously a strong point with Koch, as is his local roots.

Imagine the well-educated Koch – he has a law degree, MBA and BA all from Harvard – on the various committees that MLB has. Love to see his views on the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). Koch has the money to front a purchase, the positive public persona and the genetics of understanding the area.

You can’t leave Robert or Jonathan Kraft off the list. No way. The NFL has some crossover issues, but I doubt the Kraft’s would find that a situation where they would collectively go “No deal.”

I am a New York Football Giants fan, but give credit where it belongs and that is that the Kraft’s have built an empire out Foxboro or Foxborough way. That has become a model to emulate in football and even baseball, as they have made the stadium a destination area.

Kraft is well respected by other owners and his influence is noted in the league, except for that Tom Brady situation. The business sense of the Kraft’s, financial resources and incredible success and experience of the Patriots would make them an ideal fit for the Red Sox.

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That is the short list and there are certainly others in the region who would be willing to toss their checkbook into the ring to purchase an iconic franchise. When the day comes when the Red Sox are on Craig’s List for sale it will be interesting to see just who surfaces. The importance of a new owner will probably dictate the direction of the franchise for the next 20 years.