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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s a special kind of year’

08.27.13 at 10:18 am ET
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Larry Lucchino

Larry Lucchino

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday as part of the 12th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and, following a discussion about his experience as a cancer survivor, he talked about the success of the team this season.

Lucchino acknowledged that team’s performance has been a surprise to him.

“Yes, it has,” he admitted. “We actually thought there was a good nucleus and a bunch of good guys coming in to fill some open spots. But we didn’t know what the health situation that we would have, we didn’t know how the chemistry would come together. We didn’t know who was going to have an outstanding year and who was going to stumble. And we knew we had a long way to go to get back to where we wanted to be. So, yeah, we’ve been lucky. Guys have outperformed some of our expectations.”

The Red Sox are clinging to first place in the American League East, and there’s a chance they could end up in the wild card playoff — one game to decide which team advances to the divisional round. The wild card playoff made its debut last season, and Lucchino said he’s not as supportive of the concept as he once was.

“I was actually one of its advocates a few years ago. Now, as I experience it, I’ve had an awakening,” he said. “Baseball is a game of series; you play series throughout the year, you play the World Series, the ALCS, etc. We probably should have a two-out-of-three series at the end of the year for the wild card teams.

“But there’s a certain thrill and a certain do-or-die nature to it that makes it very appealing to our fan base, I’m sure. We’ll see how it plays out the next couple of years. But like all of you, I want to get to the postseason and see what happens, then we’ll worry about it when we get there, but not right now.”

Lucchino said “playing in October” is the team’s goal every year, but a one-game exit would be a disappointing finish to a memorable season.

“I wouldn’t be happy with a one-game wild card loss. It would feel terrible after the effort, the special effort and the whole momentum that’s been developing this year,” he said. “It’s a special kind of year. That would be a bitter disappointment at the end. But I hope we would have some time to reflect on what an extraordinary turnaround this has been. I think other people are noticing it. And we should just celebrate it, too. But it’s hard to talk that way now. We want to go deep into October.”

The Red Sox are coming off a series win against the Dodgers, the team that took on the Red Sox’ three highest-paid players a year ago in a monumental trade. The general consensus is that the Red Sox made out better in the deal, but the Dodgers are in first place as well, something members of both ownership groups acknowledged Sunday.

“We saw Stan Kasten and Mark Walter and Magic Johnson and we sort of had a celebratory handshake on the one-year anniversary of The Trade,” Lucchino revealed. “They’re very pleased with the way it’s worked out from their end; we are very pleased with the way it’s worked out from our end. Those are the best kinds of trades.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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