Boston owner grants Hank Steinbrenner membership in Red Sox Nation

After new Yankees boss Hank Steinbrenner lambasted the notion of Red Sox Nation, Boston principal owner John Henry has offered an olive branch to his American League East rival.

Henry has decided to make Steinbrenner the newest member of Red Sox Nation, complete with membership card and certain perks that only members can obtain.

"I'm a big Hank fan," Henry wrote in an e-mail to several media outlets, including the Boston Herald. "Just to ensure he knows how cool Red Sox Nation is, [Saturday] we officially inducted him as a member of Red Sox Nation and we are sending him his membership card giving him access to an array of options including our newsletter, bumper stickers, pins, Green Monster seats and a hat personally autographed by David Ortiz."

Steinbrenner responded Sunday to Henry's offer and said that although he respects Henry, he has no plans to join Red Sox Nation as a card-carrying member any time soon.

"I'm not gonna join Red Sox Nation -- honorary or not -- I'll respond to that later," Steinbrenner told The Boston Globe. "Trust me I'm never going to join Red Sox Nation. But John Henry's a great guy."

Steinbrenner knows what he'll do with a Red Sox Nation membership card if Henry sends him one.

"I'll give it to the [Yankees] fans and let them handle it," Steinbrenner said Sunday. "The fans will probably take care of that. Let them decide."

Steinbrenner explained quite succinctly just what he thought about the concept of Red Sox Nation in a recent interview.

"Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of [expletive] that is," he said in an interview with The New York Times' Play magazine. "That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.

"Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."

The Steinbrenner family holds Henry in high regard, and Henry and the Steinbrenner's may collaborate on non-baseball ventures in the future.

"We love John Henry," Steinbrenner said. "Our whole family does. We've got no problem with John, I'll tell you that much. I'm sure we'll be working on things with him the future. There's nothing to talk about yet. A couple things have been talked about, that's all."

Steinbrenner would not get into specifics about any potential projects. He did say Henry has done "an incredible job" as the Red Sox owner.

"It's going to be a tougher rivalry than it ever was in the past," Steinbrenner said. "It's going to continue to be a tough, tough, tough rivalry. And they're always going to be good as long as John is the owner."

Red Sox spokesman John Blake said he knew of no projects that Henry and the Steinbrenners are collaborating on.

Hank Steinbrenner's interview in the March 2 issue of the Times magazine, reveals a great deal of his personality and his style. He is not afraid to speak his mind, and he appears to have little sense of regret when he does, saying there was a need for him to take control.

"Everyone was hiding in their rooms. You can't do that and be a leader. You have to step up and take a position," he said.

He's not the only person who feels this way about the Red Sox. Hank's younger brother, Hal, who runs the business side of the Yankees, made similar -- although not as vehement -- comments in an interview with GQ.com on Feb. 19.

On Sunday, Steinbrenner wasn't easing up on the Yankees' greatest rival, saying New York "will be better, that's the bottom line."

Steinbrenner added: "I haven't soften on the Red Sox any, I don't want to worry the fans. We'll always be archrivals."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.