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Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox won’t fire Bobby Valentine this season

08.16.12 at 10:14 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino appeared on Dennis & Callahan to talk about the meeting the team had, Bobby Valentine and some of the other issues Red Sox management is dealing with this season. To hear the interview go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Before Lucchino could even get into conversation he had to answer the question of whether or not Valentine would finish the season with the team. The response was a simple, “Yes.”

Ownership had a meeting with players last month, though the content of the meeting has been discussed and debated, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday that players came to management — via a text from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez — with concerns over Valentine.

“We’ve been doing these meetings and sessions with our players since 2002,” he said. “And the practice goes back before that for some of us. So this has been going on here in Boston for 10 and a half years and one thing that’s been consistent is we haven’t talked about the content or the participants. … John Henry said that the point of these meetings is simply to improve communication and to find out if there are additional things we could do, or should be doing to win. I think people need to know that this is been going on for some time and whatever report came out about it is the first of its kind over 10 1/2 years. More than that the report is exaggerated and inaccurate.”

The media scrutiny in Boston is intense and often has been cited as a reason that some players struggling in this city.

“I do [underastand that sentiment]. I do a little bit,” Lucchino said. “I think we all should have a little blame for it. There might have been some things that we could have done earlier and better, me, myself as well to make sure that it didn’t develop to quite the level that it has. … There is an intensity and a breadth of the media coverage here that is different from most other places.”

He added later: “I’m just trying to respond generally to the notion of the intense media coverage that exists in Boston. I recognize that it’s a double-edged sword. It’s one of the things that keeps our fans interested and passionate and to some degree, knowledgeable. As I said earlier, there is a real danger of misleading the public that comes about with some of these circumstances.”

Last year’s collapse is still alive and well in the minds of fans and this city as a whole, but it looks like the Red Sox have yet to recover.

“I am surprised that the aftermath of September of last year is somehow still with us,” he said. ” … William Faulkner once said, ‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.’ And the same is true about last September. It isn’t dead. It isn’t even fully passed yet and certainly in the minds of some of our fans that is true as well. I was hopeful that we had have something to prove, that we’d hit the ground running in April. That we would not be battered by the rash of injuries that hit us. … You can go back and list something like 27 trips to the disabled list. People would say, ‘Oh you’re just citing an excuse, all teams have injuries.” Well it’s not an excuse, it’s a reason.”

Rumors have swirled since the day Valentine arrived that Lucchino was the primary proponent of his hiring.

“Certainly I was a proponent of his hiring, absolutely,” he said. “I don’t know, a couple of us put together lists and his name appeared on a couple different lists. But I was actively involved in it and I’m not going to walk away from that. But it’s misleading to think that this is one person making these policy decisions.”

When asked about the feeling in the front office, Lucchino responded somewhat negatively.

“We were complaining to each other, commiserating with each other,” Lucchino said. “John Henry and Tom Werner are intensely competitive people. They’re passionate about this team and about its performance and want to win desperately. If you had been with us flying out [to Colorado] you would have seen the palpable air of depression and demoralization that was setting in after a tough loss. … These guys are present and they are involved in the governance of the club and to suggest otherwise as many people have done with this notion that they’re more focused on other things than the Red Sox is just misleading the public.”

Boston is 57-61 and 6 1/2 games back from the second wild card, but Lucchino wasn’t overly pessimistic about the situation.

“Is it theoretically possible? Absolutely,” he said. “6 1/2 games back in the wild card with seven weeks to go. You can just look into and call your colleagues in St. Louis and Tampa Bay and ask them what happened in September last year and how far back they were and what they thought their chances were. Theoretically, yes it can be done. It will be hard because there are a number of clubs there. … I think yeah, it can be done, but with the onslaught of injuries that continue to hit us hard … there’s got to be some surcease from the injury problems we’ve had and the stabilization of starting pitching.

Read More: Bobby Valentine, John Henry, Larry Lucchino,
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