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Sox owners to buy Liverpool soccer team

10.06.10 at 6:59 am ET
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English Premiere League soccer team Liverpool FC anounced Wednesday that it has accepted a purchase offer by New England Sports Ventures, the parent company of the Red Sox. Liverpool already is owned by Americans ‘€” Tom Hicks (owner of the Dallas Stars and former owner of the Texas Rangers) and George Gillett Jr. (former owner of the Montreal Canadiens) ‘€” who are embroiled in a legal dispute with the team’s board of directors.

Said LFC chairman Martin Broughtond: “I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive.

“The Board decided to accept NESV’s proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV’s philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at Red Sox.

“We’ve met them in Boston, London and Liverpool over several weeks and I am immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club.

“By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team. I am only disappointed that the owners have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale.”

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‘The PawSox Family mourns this great loss’

10.04.10 at 4:50 pm ET
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Here is the official release from the Pawtucket Red Sox on the death of owner Ben Mondor, the 85-year-old who was credited with saving the Triple-A franchise that he purchased in 1977:

Ben Mondor passed away peacefully Sunday evening at his home in Warwick Neck, RI at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife Madeleine.

The public is invited to a celebration Mass to be held on Thursday, October 7 at 10:00 am at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul on 30 Fenner St. in downtown Providence. Burial services will be private.

‘€œWe have lost a true Rhode Island treasure and the entire PawSox Family mourns this great loss,’€ said PawSox president Mike Tamburro. ‘€œBen was a man who brought people together ‘€“ whether it be at the business table or the ballpark. His love for the fans and the community was unsurpassed.’€

At the time of his passing, Mr. Mondor had just completed his 34th year as PawSox owner. In 1977, after having retired from the corporate business world, Ben acquired the ‘€œRhode Island’€ Red Sox, the Triple-A International League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, by the National Association of Professional Baseball. The organization was bankrupt and had been deprived of its membership in professional baseball.

During the next 34 years, Mr. Mondor turned what was once one of the worst franchises in minor league baseball into one of the most successful in all of baseball as over 14 and a half million fans attended a game at McCoy Stadium while Ben owned the club. Under Mr. Mondor’€™s leadership the PawSox went from drawing 70,000 fans in 1977 to well over 600,000 fans in six straight seasons from 2004-2009 (an attendance increase of nearly ten times since that first year). The PawSox established their all-time franchise attendance record of 688,421 fans in 2005. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox mourn loss of PawSox owner Ben Mondor

10.04.10 at 4:17 pm ET
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Legendary Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor, who purchased the Triple-A franchise in 1977 after it had fallen into bankruptcy and built it into a fan friendly New England institution, passed away peacefully on Sunday night. Mondor, 85, became a beloved figure for PawSox players and fans as well as members of the community over his 33 years overseeing the franchise.

He was named to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004, and to the International League Hall of Fame in 2008. The PawSox released the following statement in announcing the passing of the franchise patriarch:

‘€œIt is with profound sadness that the PawSox family announces the passing of Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor. Ben passed away peacefully last evening at his home in Warwick Neck, RI at the age of 85.

‘€œHe was an incredible and charitable man who was first and foremost devoted to his wife Madeleine, along with his PawSox family and the entire community at large.’€

Funeral arrangements and further details will be announced later today.

The Red Sox issued their own statement of appreciation this afternoon:

The Boston Red Sox join baseball lovers everywhere in mourning the loss of Pawtucket Red Sox Owner and Red Sox Hall of Famer Ben Mondor. The club extends its deepest condolences to his beloved wife Madeleine, his family, and his extended PawSox family and friends.

‘€œBen was a giant among men who saved baseball for the State of Rhode Island. On both a personal and professional level, I am saddened to hear of his passing,’€ said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. ‘€œHe was a good friend of many years and was one of the finest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. When we honored him on ‘€˜Ben Mondor Day’€™ at Fenway Park in 2004, the sheer number of people who came to join us in the celebrations showed the profound impact that his life had on the game and on the lives of people. His generosity, kindness and compassion will be missed, but what a life he led.’€

‘€œBen Mondor was a legend and made innumerable contributions to the Boston Red Sox, which directly contributed to two World Series Championships,’€ said Red Sox Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein. ‘€œThrough Ben’€™s foresight and determination, he transformed the PawSox into one of the best Triple-A franchises in the country. He played a significant role in developing hundreds of Major League players many of whom contributed immensely to the success of the Boston Red Sox. He treated the players like his own family and his devotion to their development was absolute. We will miss him.’€

When Ben Mondor took over the reins of the ‘€œRhode Island’€ Red Sox in 1977, the franchise was on the brink of bankruptcy and losing its association from professional baseball. A struggling franchise was transformed into one of the most successful Triple-A ballclubs because of his vision, business acumen and dedication, and thanks to him Rhode Islanders have enjoyed the best of baseball and family entertainment.

Ben nurtured the careers of almost 500 Major Leaguers. He transformed beautiful McCoy Stadium from an aging 1942 relic into the ‘€œbuilding of dreams’€ after an extensive renovation in 1999. But Ben was always devoted to his fans and kept baseball affordable for families in Rhode Island, and beyond, during his 33 year tenure.

Ben was a warm and generous man who was loved in the community and well known for his benevolence and philanthropy. Hundreds of non-profit groups and charities benefited from the big heart of a baseball giant.

Read More: ben mondor, Pawtucket Red Sox,

Red Sox owners: ‘We will do better’

10.04.10 at 3:29 pm ET
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Red Sox principal owner John Henry, team chairman Tom Werner and President/CEO Larry Lucchino, in an open letter to the team’s fans, expressed gratitude for the support of the club in a season when their team “fell short of our annual goal of reading the postseason.” The letter read as follows:

There’s nothing like “October Baseball” at Fenway Park. You miss it. We miss it. We want it back.

While we fell short of our annual goal of reaching the postseason, we are proud nonetheless of the way this team conducted itself through serious adversity — showing grit, determination and a team-first attitude.

We are also proud of you, our loyal fans. Through injury (and more injuries) and after hard-to-swallow losses, you continued to fill Fenway Park and support the team. When the kids were called up, you learned their names, their stories, and applauded them as your own. When you saw our veterans playing though their bodies weren’t cooperating, you took note and appreciated their heart and spirit. When we were struggling, you were there. When we had walk-off wins, you were there.

We work for you. Our players play for you. It gives us immense pride to do so. You are the rock on which this franchise is built.

We know the best way to honor you is not merely to thank you, but to go out and honor our fundamental commitment to field an excellent team in 2011, another one worthy of your avid support.

We can do better. We will do better. We are committed to winning. For you, for us, for the whole of Red Sox Nation.

Once more, we say ‘Thank You.’

Pitchers and catchers report in 132 days,

John Henry     Tom Werner     Larry Lucchino

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Was that it for Jason Varitek in Boston?

10.04.10 at 9:17 am ET
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[Click here to listen to Jason Varitek talk about potentially his final day in a Red Sox uniform.]

[Click here to listen to GM Theo Epstein talk about Varitek.]

[Click here to listen to how manager Terry Francona decided to pay tribute to Varitek.]

Jason Varitek has never been one to speak about his own accomplishments that much. But what his bosses said following the 2010 season finale spoke volumes about what he has meant to the team, organization and city of Boston since the Red Sox aquired him and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb at the trade deadline in 1997.

“I don’t think anyone deserves that kind of reception from the fans more than he does.” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said of the captain. “No matter happens going forward, he’s a Red Sox more than anyone one of us, he’s a Red Sox.”

Then, without stopping Epstein, continued and acknowledged why the fans were giving him a standing ovation before his eighth-inning flyout to deep right center and his coming off the field before the top of the ninth began.

“The future is uncertain,” Epstein said. “Although warmth the fans showed, his teammates showed may have seemed like a goodbye, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.”

Indeed, the Red Sox have a huge question facing them heading into 2011. Do they make an offer to Jason Varitek, similar to the one he just finished out, two years, $8 million?

There’s one big reason they would.

If Victor Martinez, who sounded after Sunday’s game like he was very much looking forward to free agency, doesn’t return, who’s going to catch for the Red Sox?

Jarrod Saltalamacchia? Dustin Brown? Kevin Cash?

Or Jason Varitek?

‘€œI just have to be patient and see what happens,” Varitek said in acknowledging his uncertain future. “There are a lot of things that have to be decided here. It’€™s not like there are one or two moving parts. There’€™s a lot of things to be decided.

“I don’t know if I can really answer that. All I can be is appreciative of being here. My time here, my teammates, the organization and importantly, the fans. I’ve said it, my kinds have grown up here. My oldest is 10 and I’ve been here 13 years. This is a part of them, too.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2004 ALCS, 2004 World Series, 2007 World Series, Boston Red Sox

Victor Martinez considers future with — or without — the Red Sox

10.03.10 at 10:35 pm ET
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Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez said after his team’s season-ending victory over the Yankees that he did not know what to expect from his pending venture into free agency, though he reiterated how much he had enjoyed his time in Boston and the idea that he would like to come back.

“I said earlier, I want to be here, but now, that I got a chance to go out to free agency, we’€™ll see what happens,” said Martinez. “It was one of the best experiences in my career, to come here, wear this uniform and play in front of these great fans. It’€™s unbelievable. The competition, to come here and just be ready to play every day, it was amazing, and an honor for me just to wear this uniform.”

That said, Martinez suggested he had no idea what to expect in terms of the likelihood that he returns to Boston or heads to another city (including cities with rumored interest, including Detroit and Baltimore). He had no idea what kind of timetable might be followed for talks with the Sox.

“You’€™ve got to talk to them. It’€™s not up to me. I think I did my part, which is just to go out there and play. Now I’€™m going to go home, be with my family, and see what happens. … I think I’€™ll be alright to find a job somewhere,” said Martinez. “Like I said, I’€™m just going to go home, relax, enjoy my family a little bit, just wait for a phone call or something.”

While there have been questions about whether Martinez’ future is as a catcher or first baseman, he said that he would prepare this offseason in the same way that he has in the past, in anticipation of serving as a catcher. He also said that he will continue to view himself as a catcher “until my body says no.”

“You look at my stats, and just because I play a few games at first base, it doesn’€™t mean that I’€™m a first baseman,” said Martinez. “I’€™m just going to go into the offseason, prepare myself like I always do, work hard, and come back next year, whatever I’€™m going to be, and play hard like I always do.”

Martinez, who missed a month this year due to a broken left thumb, hit .301 with a .351 OBP, .493 slugging mark, .844 OPS, 20 homers and 79 RBI in 127 games. He played 110 of his 127 games as a catcher. Among catchers with at least 300 plate appearances, Martinez ranked among the leaders in batting average (2nd), OPS (2nd), OBP (5th), slugging (1st), homers (tied-2nd) and RBI (1st).

Read More: free agency, victor martinez,

That’s a wrap: Theo Epstein, Terry Francona reflect on season

10.03.10 at 6:27 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona held a press conference following the Red Sox’ season-ending 8-4 victory over the Yankees to discuss Boston’s 2010 club — the second in Epstein’s eight years as Sox GM to fall short of the postseason — and the shape of the club going forward. The two offered insight into several aspects of the club, among them:

  • With a number of key players who could become free agents (David Ortiz, Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Jason Varitek), the Sox recognize that this offseason could be one of significant change. “I can say there’s potential for there to be larger-than-normal turnover, but I wouldn’t guarantee it either,” said Epstein. “We’ll see how everything comes together.”
  • Fixing the bullpen and retaining core free agents were described by Epstein as the club’s top offseason priorities. Epstein said that Sox may pursue multi-year deals for middle relievers, though interest in such players will be tempered by the poor history of deals for them.
  • The Sox felt that their club was well-balanced and strong entering the year, but while the team’s offense — despite the injuries — lived up to expectations, the team’s run prevention did not.
  • The presence of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz at the top of the rotation represents a strength of the club for years to come.
  • Epstein declined to say whether the team would exercise the 2011 option on the contract of David Ortiz, but did say that the club was interested in bringing him back.
  • As for free agent Adrian Beltre, the Sox will “do everything we can to bring him back,” said Epstein, so long as it is in the best interests of the team.
  • The Sox would also like to bring back Victor Martinez. “We’€™d love to see the relationship continue,” said Epstein.
  • The Sox’ approach to outfield upgrades will be influenced by health reports of Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury. The team expects Cameron to be healthier and more productive next year than he was in 2010, and Ellsbury is expected to pick up where he left off in 2009.
  • The Sox believe that Ryan Kalish is capable of being in the majors right now, but Epstein suggested that he could still benefit from further time in Triple-A, and that the shape of the offseason will dictate where he starts 2011.
  • Some of J.D. Drew’s struggles were related to his struggles with the strike zone.
  • Felix Doubront will be stretched out as a starter in spring training, but he could be a bullpen contributor.
  • Epstein made an attempt to clarify his remarks last offseason that 2010 was a “bridge” year, and suggested that he still viewed 2010-11 as a time when the team needed to acquire players (such as Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre) to remain competitive while waiting for a wave of homegrown prospects to emerge.

Here is the complete transcript:

How do you assess the year?

Epstein: There’€™s disappointment that we didn’€™t get where we wanted to go. we didn’€™t reach our ultimate goal of getting to the playoffs and trying to do some damage in October. That said, there’€™s still a lot to be proud of in the way these guys played right to the end. They overcame a lot along the way. so, mixed feelings. We’€™re proud of the effort and proud of some of the things we accomplished, but still disappointed in the ultimate goal.

What are the offseason priorities? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian Beltre, bullpen, David Ortiz, J.D Drew

Closing Time: Red Sox 8, Yankees 4

10.03.10 at 4:53 pm ET
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At least the Red Sox got one final parting shot in on the Yankees before New York tries to defend its World Series crown.

Jed Lowrie homered twice and David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two infield singles in support of John Lackey‘s 7 2/3 strong innings as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 8-4, in the 2010 season finale at Fenway Park. The loss by the Yankees gave the American League East title to the Tampa Bay Rays and pushed the Yankees to wild card in the American League.

The Red Sox finish the season with an 89-73 mark, in third place in the A.L. East while winning the season series against the Yankees, 9-8.

Lackey allowed six hits, three runs – two earned – to finish the season 14-11 record and a 4.40 ERA.

The Rays, who won their second division crown in three years, will face Texas in the ALDS starting this week while the Yankees draw the Twins in the other series.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, New York Yankees,

Tim Wakefield on 2010 season: ‘It has been very frustrating’

10.03.10 at 8:42 am ET
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After giving up five runs on seven hits over five innings in the Red Sox‘ 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Yankees Saturday, Tim Wakefield admitted that the 2010 season had been ‘very frustrating’ after having been moved to the bullpen for much of the year, and he is currently planning to pitch one more campaign.

‘€œIt’€™s over for me, this season is over for me,’€ said Wakefield, who had pitched just one inning, in relief, since Sept. 17 prior to Saturday. ‘€œIt has been very frustrating, hard to swallow at times and I’€™ve done whatever they have asked to me to do without really complaining too much.

‘€œIt is what it is and it was what is was. All I can do is prepare myself for next year and whatever role that might be. The season is over (today) and I’€™m definitely going to take a break and see what happens.’€

Wakefield finishes ’11 with a 4-5 and a 5.34 ERA, having pitched 140 innings. He pitched in 32 games, starting 19 games, with his final start netting him an extra $75,000. His base salary this season jumped from $3.5 to $5.5 million after completing 130 innings. The 44-year-old received $50,000 for each game started from 11-15, and and additional $75,000 more for starts 16-25. His base salary for ’11 is $1.5 million with a variety of bonuses.

He noted that he wanted to talk to the Red Sox about what his role might be next season. Wakefield has made it no secret that his goal heading into his 19th major league season was to break the record for most wins by a Red Sox pitcher. He currently stands at 179, 13 shy of equaling both Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

‘€œI haven’€™t been told or know what’€™s going to happen next year, so let’€™s see what happens,’€ said Wakefield. ‘€œIt would have been a lot easier going into the season knowing what I was up against.

‘€œObviously it wasn’€™t done that way and that was a little bit of the frustration that I felt. I proved to them I was going to be healthy for 2010 and I threw 140 innings this year. Nobody expected me to do that, I know that for sure and I’€™m proud of that. The 140 innings I gave the club hasn’€™t been the easiest 140 innings.’€

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Yankees 6 (10 innings, Gm 2)

10.03.10 at 1:54 am ET
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Eric Patterson singled home Bill Hall with the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the 10th as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 7-6, at Fenway Park and salvaged a doubleheader split after over eight hours of baseball was played.

The Yankees won the first game in four hours, 18 minutes before the Red Sox came back for the win in Game 2 in exactly four hours. The eight hours, 18 minutes of baseball was just 22 minutes shy of the MLB record the same two teams set in Aug. 2006, also at Fenway Park, when the Yankees swept the doubleheader, en route to a five-game series sweep.

Robert Manuel earned his first major league win by throwing two innings of scoreless relief while the Red Sox tagged Ivan Nova with the loss. The two teams looked weary in the nightcap as they were forced to play a doubleheader after Friday night’s game was rained out. The two teams combined to commit six errors in the second game, with the Yankees committing four miscues.

In his final appearance of 2010, Daisuke Matsuzaka showed the inconsistencies that have plagued his last two seasons in Boston, allowing only three hits and four runs – two earned – over five innings. But the Red Sox right-hander hit two batters and threw a wild pitch and finished the season with a 9-6 record with a 4.69 ERA in 25 starts.

Before claiming the win in the second contest to snap a four-game losing streak, the Red Sox dropped a 6-5 decision in 10 innings in Game 1 and it seemed the Yankees would remain a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the race for the A.L. East title.

But the loss that came at 1:22 a.m. ET dropped the Yankees into a tie for first, with Rays holding their fate in their own hands. If Tampa Bay wins, the Rays win the division and the Yankees will be the wild card.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, marathon, MLB, New York Yankees
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