|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Implying David Ortiz might have used PEDs ‘extremely unfair’||05.16.13 at 9:12 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to talk about the Sox’ recent struggles, the David Ortiz controversy and Jacoby Ellsbury‘s slow start.
Even with Wednesday night’s 9-2 victory over the Rays, the Red Sox have lost nine of their last 12 games.
“You can go through bad patches throughout the season. Even when you win championships, teams go through bad patches,” Lucchino said. “I can’t think of many teams, except maybe the ’84 Tigers, the ’98 Yankees, that sort of avoided — at least as best as I can can recall — avoided any kind of bad periods during the course of a season. Even the winning teams are going to lose six or seven in a row a couple of times during the year.
“There’s an inevitability to this. We’ve just got to maintain some perspective and some patience with it and do everything we can to ride through those times. To think we’re going to avoid them entirely is just not realistic.”
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy recently asked Ortiz if performance-enhancing drugs could have played a role in his fast start this season, and then he wrote a column on the subject. Lucchino blasted the writer for the piece.
“As a general proposition, I think hard questions can be raised by the media on that subject,” Lucchino acknowledged. “In particular, I thought the presentation of the response presumed a guilt that was utterly inappropriate. David’s been tested at least six or seven times already this year. We’re talking about urine tests and blood tests. We’re probably talking about hundreds of tests over the last decade. And to ignore that body of evidence and to presume instead a presumption of guilt I thought was extremely unfair.”
In the article, Shaughnessy made reference to the fact that a number of Dominican players have been suspended for PEDs, leading to a strong response from Ortiz and the organization.
“I thought that was a little bit of an ethnic stereotyping of the worst sort,” Lucchino said. “I thought that was unfortunate, to be polite here.”
Added Lucchino: “I don’t remember the article. Shaughnessy’s stuff tends to flow right through my mind and I won’t let it occupy very much gray matter if I can. So, I don’t remember if he referred to it once or twice. However many times he did, it was outrageous, in my opinion.”
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|Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox’ success ‘an early vindication’ of front office’s offseason approach||04.25.13 at 10:53 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss Saturday’s emotional pregame ceremony at Fenway Park, the possible closer controversy that lies ahead, and many more important topics from early in the season.
The Sox sit atop the American League East at 14-7, and one of the most memorable victories was on Saturday against the Royals. In that contest, Daniel Nava hit a game-winning home run in the eighth, hours after the ceremony honoring the victims and heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt.
“We talk a lot about the importance of Fenway Park as a community meeting place and the importance of a baseball team in bringing a community together, a sense of unity and connection and connectedness,” Lucchino said. “All of that came together last Saturday in a beautifully orchestrated event. I call it a ceremony because I think it was a celebration of those who passed away — at least a recognition of them, a moment when people could remember them and also celebrate the first responders and the action that we all took so much pride in last Thursday and Friday.”
The Sox front office and management focused this past offseason on bringing in good clubhouse players, but also ones who could perform in Boston. This was a sharp contrast to a year earlier, when they brought in highly touted stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford who turned out to be awkward fits in Boston.
“It is in some sense an early victory, an early vindication of all of that approach,” Lucchino said. “Just as I said to you guys before, we were never trying to get the coolest guys in the class to form a fraternity in the clubhouse. What we were trying to do is get good teammates who could perform in the crucible that is Boston and make this team likable but also good. Talent is always a part of it. But Ben Cherington and his staff made a concerted effort to consider the personalities — there should be a noun for teamsmanship — the kind of people we were getting. That’s proven to be at least part of the very successful start.”
There have been a number of factors in the team’s early season success. The offense has been led by new acquisitions Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, new manager John Farrell seems to be succeeding greatly in his return to Boston, and David Ortiz is back and playing well. Lucchino, though, said that the pitchers’ success has been the key.
“For me, it starts with pitching,” Lucchino said. “The key to this team this year was going to be pitching. We knew we had a bulked-up bullpen. We knew we had some depth and some talent in that bullpen, and of course that’s one of the keys to winning baseball in the modern era. … But the revival of the starting rotation is really I think probably [the] most important factor among those that you cited — the leadership that they provide, the sense of momentum that they provide when they take the field and just the quality of their stuff. The stuff may not be contagious, but the winning is contagious and the example that they set at the top of the rotation is contagious, and baseball is, after all, a game about pitching.”
Since Joel Hanrahan‘s hamstring injury, Andrew Bailey has stepped into the closer’s role and pitched very well. With Hanrahan due to come off the disabled list soon, a closer controversy may await the Red Sox.
“I think that there will be a controversy, yes,” Lucchino said. “I think the fans and the media will be fascinated by this question. But as I just said a minute ago, without you posing the question, is that it’s not such a bad thing to have a couple of closers. Hanrahan goes down and Bailey is ready to step in without missing a beat.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘Baseball is fun again’||04.08.13 at 9:05 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, hours before the team’s home opener against the Orioles, and expressed his enthusiasm about the team’s strong start.
The Red Sox are 4-2 after taking two games each from the Yankees and Blue Jays.
“I’m very pleased. It was a great couple of series against two American League East teams,” Lucchino said. “I think there’s a lot of excitement about the team, I’m pleased about that. And the team is fun to watch. Baseball is fun again. Let’s hope it can sustain itself here.”
Jose Iglesias is off to a strong start offensively (9-for-17) as well as defensively, but the team is expected to insert Stephen Drew at shortstop when Drew is cleared to play following his concussion in spring training. Lucchino said Drew deserves an opportunity to prove what he can do.
“It would be a track record of productivity,” Lucchino explained as the reasoning for Drew’s insertion. “I don’t think our fans have gotten to know Stephen Drew yet. I think when they see him play and he produces, they’ll understand the dilemma Jose Iglesias has caused us.”
Added Lucchino: “Let’s be excited about Iglesias, celebrate what he’s done so far and recognize that he has a great future with us. And I hope it’s this year at the major league level for the entire season.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. started the season with the Sox after much speculation that the Sox would have him play in the minors for a few weeks in order to ensure they would retain his rights down the road for one more season. Lucchino said the media was fueling the controversy, not the team.
“In our view, we had to start the season well. We had to play the best team,” Lucchino said. “It was especially important this year that we have as good a team on the field these first several series as possible. That made it a no-brainer.”
|Red Sox chairman Tom Werner on Terry Francona’s book: ‘It’s a good piece of fiction’||02.15.13 at 12:59 pm ET|
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, in an interview with WEEI’s Lou Merloni at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., acknowledged he has read former manager Terry Francona‘s book and called it “fiction.”
“I read the book. Fortunately I didn’t have to pay for it — it was given to me,” he said. “It’s a good piece of fiction.”
One of Francona’s criticisms was that Sox ownership at times appeared more concerned with ratings and finances than the product on the field, that acquiring a “sexy” player was important to appeal to a wider fan base.
“That was silly. The only time I can remember ever talking about needing a sexy player was when I called Ben Cherington and told him to sign Vicente Padilla,” Werner joked.
“I don’t know what else to say,” Werner added. “There were so many things in that book that were fabricated.
“But we accept the knocks — a certain amount of the knocks that we received we are perfectly mature enough to handle. When you lose, it’s a tough situation. But I would just say to our fans, we suffer. You know that. You know who we are and you know how important it is for us to get things back on a winning track.”
The owners also were portrayed as not having a true love for the game of baseball.
“Well, it wasn’t accurate,” Werner said of that accusation. “I haven in my office a picture of me — I’m a freshman in college, making a movie about Fenway Park. And that picture was taken 45 years ago. So, I just know how much I love the game. And really, we care so much about getting back to our winnings ways. That’s what I’m focused on.”
|Larry Lucchino on the state of the Red Sox||02.14.13 at 4:48 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino, in a 30-minute media session, fielded questions on all things Red Sox. He expanded on comments made earlier in the week by team principal owner John Henry, who suggested that the team had shifted away from the core philosophy that had yielded six playoff appearances in seven seasons between 2003-09, and that a course correction is now in effect.
Lucchino highlighted the team’s basic emphasis of on-base percentage and long at-bats that drive up the pitch counts of opponents as centerpieces of the philosophical drift.
“[Henry] feels pretty strongly that we deviated from a basic philosophy of grinding relentless at-bats deep in the count, on-base percentage, some of the fundamental things that got us to the success we had. We have fallen considerably,” said Lucchino. “We used to have incentives in contracts relating to on-base percentage to show you how important we thought it was. I think there was kind of a deviation from that, somewhere along the way.”
Asked why that deviation occurred, Lucchino offered the following.
“I think it kind of grew gradually, and if you’re not ever-vigilant, that can happen to the organization. That’s one factor,” said Lucchino. “Perception that everybody now gets it, everybody now understands it, and don’t we have to look for some new metric or approach? And we in some ways outsmarted ourselves. Those are two of the factors.”
Among other topics: Read the rest of this entry »
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jacoby Ellsbury appeared in the Red Sox clubhouse on Thursday and addressed the media for what could be the start of his final season in Boston. The 29-year-old is entering camp for the sixth time on a one-year contract, set to receive a $9 million salary for 2013. After the year, unless he signs an extension, the 2005 first-round pick of the Red Sox will have a chance to test the open market for the first time.
That reality created an inevitability. The question of Ellsbury’s future, and of his desire to remain in Boston long-term, was put forth early.
Ellsbury downplayed the significance of being in a contract year, suggesting that his goals were to be healthy and help the team win after last year’s bitterly disappointing campaign.
“I think I’m focused on playing and helping the team win,” he said. “Any question about contract or anything like that, it’s best just to call my agent and do it that way.”
He did allow that he would be open to discussing an extension with the Sox should they see fit to do so.
“I love playing here. I love the fans. And I appreciate the red sox obviously giving me an opportunity earlier in my career in the draft when they selected me. I love playing here,” he said. “Any contract stuff like that, just kind of like I said last year, if there’s anything that comes on the table, I’ll be presented with something and we’ll go from there. Anything as far as that, my whole thing is just winning ballgames. I love the atmsosphere, the fans. There will be times during the season when you’re worn down a little bit and you can step on the ballfield and you get re-energized. Just that competitive atmosphere. You have to win and that’s great for all of us, that environment. I thrive in that environment.” Read the rest of this entry »
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has been nearly a decade since the Red Sox announced anything short of a sellout crowd at Fenway Park. Since May 15, 2003, every game at Fenway Park has been announced as a sellout in a remarkable 793-game streak that has become increasingly controversial thanks to the swaths of green seats that characterized the park (thanks chiefly to no-shows) last September.
The streak, however, appears to stand on the brink of its demise. With ticket sales down following a 69-93 disaster of a 2012 season, Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino acknowledged on Thursday at JetBlue Park that the streak of packed houses is expected to conclude in April.
“It’s going to rest in peace, I think, sometime in April I suspect. That’s not such a terrible thing,” said Lucchino. “It’s an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Lucchino defended the legitimacy of the streak. The Sox currently use the same definition of a sellout that has been in use for decades, dating prior to the current ownership group’s assumption of control of the club in 2002. The standard for a sellout is that there are more tickets sold than there are seats in the ballpark. Lucchino said that the Sox haven’t twisted either numbers or definitions to sustain their run of sellouts. Read the rest of this entry »
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