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Henry chats with Red Sox Nation

Henry chats with Red Sox Nation

Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry participated in a live Web chat Wednesday, exclusively for members of Red Sox Nation. During the chat, Henry answered questions about trades, signings, beautiful Fenway Park and this year's ballclub.

mlbrian2: Every year, there seems to be a big addition to Fenway Park and it's great! The Monster Seats, the right-field roof, the new Club, etc. What do you see in store for the park in the future?

John W. Henry: Brian, I think we are nearing the end of major renovations for the time being. We are already meeting about changes we will implement during the next offseason, but they won't be as significant as what you see this year.

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bayourat: Since the Red Sox have a large national following, are there any plans in the future to have NESN more widely available throughout the country for those of us not in New England?

John W. Henry: NESN is available through DIRECTV and other sources throughout the country. We're working to have those presented in high definition.

ottawaredsox: With the recent upgrades to Fenway Park, is it safe to say that the park is safe for many years to come?

John W. Henry: By safe I guess you mean safe from demolition. Fenway is going to continue for the long term -- at least as long as our ownership and management group is around.

Base_Ball_3: The makeup of the team this year seems to be much more low-key than in past years. Was this by design?

John W. Henry: No, the most important thing in building a team is to try to ensure your franchise makes it to the postseason each year. That is a huge challenge and dictates that you try to be smart about it.

Barbara_Adelman: I live in L.A. and when the Red Sox are in Anaheim the stadium is about half full with Red Sox Nation. The same is true as when they played the Dodgers here in 2002. When you took over the helm of the team, did you have any idea that passion for the Red Sox was so far reaching?

John W. Henry: No, the extent of it was shocking to me. It is incredible how many Red Sox fans show up in all of the cities we play in. Red Sox Nation is aptly named!

thankupapi: Is upper Red Sox management in good shape?

John W. Henry: We work out every day and we have great fun working with one another.

Gabrielle_Matus: First I wanted to say thank you for everything you have done for Red Sox Nation. My question is, do the Red Sox see Jonathan Papelbon becoming a starter soon? If so, how many years from now until he is a regular starter?

John W. Henry: I don't know how soon that may come about. Right now he is incredibly valuable in the 'pen. Thank you for your kind words. As I said, we have a lot of fun trying to improve all aspects of the franchise. Larry Lucchino has assembled many of the best and the brightest. We are very lucky.

W_Kempf: I'm not trying to say Wily Mo Pena was a bad trade for the Red Sox, I'm sure the kid will turn out to be a good asset for the club. But why trade Bronson Arroyo? Why not David Wells, who actually wanted to be traded? Wouldn't that have made more sense?

John W. Henry: Every trade requires that both teams meet its needs. This trade met the needs of Cincinnati as well as our needs.

beantown38: There is a rumor going around that Dontrelle Willis might come to Boston in a trade. Any truth to that?

John W. Henry: I heard that one, but have heard nothing at all about it internally. Most rumors, until two teams become very close, are unfounded. I doubt there is anything to this at all.

Base_Ball_3: As a child I remember my dad taking me to Red Sox games. Unfortunately, we are not able to share this with our children and grandchildren due to the unavailability of tickets. Any solutions on the horizon?

John W. Henry: Maybe this is why there are so many Red Sox fans at our away games. But seriously, we do have tickets available every day and every year. Kid Nation, for instance, when you join gives you access to two discounted tickets. But in general, you have to be very early to get tickets. I know we still have tickets available this year. We sell out every game but have not sold out some of the games this year. That's the way it is every year.

thankupapi: Are there any more meetings planned to encourage Roger Clemens to return to the Red Sox? I think most Red Sox fans would be over the moon if this were to happen.

John W. Henry: I have encouraged him. We would all love to see him finish his career in Boston.

tekfan424: I'm really impressed with the renovations at Fenway Park and hope to get there to see them in person this year.

John W. Henry: Actually, so am I. You never know until something is finished exactly how it will turn out. Janet, Larry, DAIQ and Jonathan did a superb job.

shymin: Do you see the Red Sox leaving Fenway Park any time in the near future?

John W. Henry: No.

jurek16: I just wanted to thank Mr. Henry for that amazing World Series win and let him know that I got engaged at the exact second that we won the World Series. It was the greatest night of my life.

John W. Henry: Jurek, we cannot be responsible. But seriously, congratulations.

fifi2085: It seems like the team is off to a great start. Do you think that the team in the long run will be the best team Boston has seen in a long time?

John W. Henry: It's hard to say. It's early in the season and we're starting to see some injuries. But I believe we will contend this year again and we have sufficient flexibility to contend for the long run. Some people thought it was a lost offseason, but baseball operations always has a plan.

Base_Ball_2: How about making the pre/postgame shows available on the MLB package that available to the cable/satellite companies?

John W. Henry: It may not be available via the package, but if you have the premium sports package, NESN is available 24 hours a day.

dewey24rf: I see Coco Crisp has been locked up for three more years. Can you go into any details about the deal?

John W. Henry: Yes, we are very happy about this. We see him as a key element for the present and the future. And he really seems to love being here.

mrmc: Just a thanks for giving David Ortiz a contract that I feel he has earned. A smile and positive attitude can sometimes mean as much as a home run. Thanks for recognizing that!

John W. Henry: He's the man. He really wanted to be here for the long term and the feeling, of course, was mutual. We couldn't be happier about this.

Richard_Saucier: The team has added a lot of youth and depth this year along with the extensions of Ortiz and Crisp. What is the next piece of the puzzle for the organization to ensure a long-term run at the postseason?

John W. Henry: You're right in calling it a puzzle. Baseball always confounds experts and fans. It is so hard to predict anything in baseball. Theo Epstein and everyone in baseball operations are constantly weighing as many factors as possible to improve the team. Right now, barring injury, we feel very good about things.

jurek16: Were there any feelings of remorse when Jonny Damon became a Yankee? Thanks for all that you do, it is much appreciated.

John W. Henry: Not remorse. We miss him. But not as much if he weren't wearing his current uniform. We would have liked to re-sign him, but the two sides seemed to be very far apart, although in the end, surprisingly, we weren't. He accomplished a great deal as a member of the Red Sox and I have great respect for him personally. He gave everything he had for us for four years.

dewey24rf: Does Theo continue to wear a gorilla suit when leaving Fenway Park?

John W. Henry: When driving to the park.

bowl814: What do you have to say to the pundits in the national media who pick our beloved Red Sox to finish outside of the playoffs this season? By the way, the park looked great yesterday.

John W. Henry: Boo. And thanks for the compliment. Fenway has never looked better.

nate_blanchette: Do you think this year's team is better than the 2004 team?

John W. Henry: We'll never have another year like 2004. This team is unique and I believe should hold it's own. I think we have a good chance to win it all this year.

John W. Henry: I have to go to Coco's press conference. I'm sorry I could not answer more questions, but I will return in the near future and spend more time. Thank you so much for your support. David Wells tonight!

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