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Sam Kennedy on Larry Lucchino: ‘I’ve learned from the best mentor that anyone could ever have’ 08.19.15 at 5:59 pm ET
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Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

During new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski‘s introductory press conference, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy made his first public comments on his promotion after it was reported a few weeks back that he would be taking over for Larry Lucchino following the season.

Kennedy said the plan had been in the works for years and he couldn’t have learned from a better person than Lucchino.

“I see the role as its primary focus is to support and provide resources so we can have the best baseball operation on the planet, number one,” Kennedy said. “Number two, I’ve learned from the best mentor that anyone could ever have and that’s Larry Lucchino, our president and CEO.

“He and I, along with John and Tom have been working on a transition plan for several years, actually. It became public a few weeks ago. I think everyone, all the employees of the Red Sox, salute Larry for his incredible leadership.”

Kennedy, who has been in the Red Sox’ organization since 2002, was also asked more about his role and what his primary duties would entail.

“We thank [Larry Lucchino] for that and we are ready to continue to honor the fundamental obligations and commitments that John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] and Larry made back in 2002, which is to field a competitive team, to preserve and protect Fenway Park, to enhance the customer experience here and to be active participants in the community,” he said. “Rest assured that’s not going to change with new leadership going forward.

“I am very excited to collaborate with Dave and all baseball operations, be there for them as a sounding board and a resource to make sure they have everything they need as we look to get the Red Sox back where they belong.”

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Larry Lucchino, Sam Kennedy,
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘There will be some significant changes I believe in the baseball operations department’ at 11:54 am ET
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Outgoing Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday as part of the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about the Sox bringing in Dave Dombrowski and Lucchino’s prior experiences with cancer. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lucchino was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma shortly before his 40th birthday. Now about a week away from his 70th, he expressed how involved Dana Farber and the Jimmy Fund were in his recovery and how much they mean to him and the Red Sox organization now.

Though he will be stepping back in terms of his responsibilities with the team going forward, Lucchino still is in the offices until the end of the season. He said that the news of Dombrowski becoming the new president of baseball operations was released Tuesday night because “things were moving quickly and you want to get ahead of a story rather than have to deal with it as a leak and be on your heels.”

“It was a big story, major changes and when that happens, it has a life of its own and you’ve got to address it and deal with it as it did,” he added.

Dombrowski won’t handle the team in the same way that Ben Cherington did, according to Lucchino, which will lead to a different kind of front office.

“Ben has done a marvelous job, in my opinion,” Lucchino said. “He is a terrific guy, and I think he’s built an organization that will serve Dave Dombrowski quite well in the months and years ahead, and so things will change. Dave has his own approach, Ben had his own approach. Dave has his own network of people he’s worked with for years and years, and Ben has his, so there will be some significant changes I believe in the baseball operations department.”

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Tobacco usage ‘first thing in my life in my mind that wasn’t worth it’ 08.05.15 at 10:37 am ET
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about smokeless tobacco and the Red Sox. To listen to the audio from the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to announce a ban on the use of smokeless tobacco at baseball and sports parks throughout the city, including Fenway Park. Schilling himself battled mouth cancer before going into remission in 2014, and he says that his use of chewing tobacco is what caused it. As a result, Schilling has subsequently become an anti-tobacco advocate and is a supporter of Walsh’s new plan.

“When I was in the middle of chemo and radiation, it was the first thing in my life in my mind that wasn’t worth it,” Schilling said.

Schilling says athletes are role models who can affect the behavior of those who look up to them, for better or worse.

“You don’t get to choose what kids get influenced by, what young adults get influenced by,” Schilling said. “And if it wasn’t something that big league players did on TV or you could see on TV athletes doing, I don’t know that kids would do it. I get that it’s legal as an activity and all the things that go with that, but I just feel like as athletes and as men we have a bigger responsibility to a lot of different people than we may want, but it exists.”

Schilling regrets the fact that he may have unknowingly and unintentionally been a poor influence.

“That’s one of the things that I’ll take to the grave is, who and how much of an impact did I have on even one kid’s life in this sense?” Schilling said. “Is there somebody out there that’s going to die from mouth cancer because they were dipping because they saw me do it? It’s kind of naive to think that ‘no’ is the answer there.”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, Deflategate, Larry Lucchino, Marty Walsh
Larry Lucchino: ‘I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change’ 08.02.15 at 12:10 pm ET
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Following the reports of Larry Lucchino stepping down as president as CEO of the Red Sox, Lucchino released a statement Sunday morning.

The statement reads:

As far back as 2004, the year of our first world championship, I started to plan for the day when I would want to cut back a little. I even inserted a clause to that effect in my contract.

Then, after the 2013 season, I had further conversations with John Henry, Tom Werner, and Mike Gordon regarding a time in the future when I might transition to a new role and reduce my responsibilities. After all, it’€™s a wonderful job, but it’€™s a demanding job.

I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change. We would have preferred to announce all of our transition plans at once, including my new role, but I can tell you we all feel strongly that Sam Kennedy, who has been with me for 20 years, should be the next President of the Boston Red Sox. Sam will do a terrific job. He is able, well-prepared, and fiercely dedicated to the Red Sox and to Boston.

I have been blessed to have outstanding partners, and I plan to continue working with John, Tom, Mike, Sam, and all of our partners in meeting the challenges that lie ahead for the Red Sox. I am also deeply proud of our extraordinary front office. They work together harmoniously and effectively, and each member has my gratitude, admiration, and respect.

I have now been President/CEO of the Red Sox for 14 years. I love the Red Sox, I love Fenway Park, and I love Boston. It’€™s my home. It’€™s never easy to leave a job you love, but I look forward to the next chapters.

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Sam Kennedy to replace Larry Lucchino as Red Sox president/CEO 08.01.15 at 7:48 pm ET
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According to a source, Larry Lucchino will be leaving his post as Red Sox president/CEO as early as the end of October.

Lucchino reportedly will be replaced by current Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy. The 42-year-old Kennedy, a Brookline native, is not believed to have a role in player acquisition in the manner Lucchino did since joining the club in 2002.

According to the Boston Herald, which first reported the story, the transition from Lucchino to Kennedy has already begun. A source reports that the move has been in the works since 2012, with Lucchino on board with the decision.

“The truth is Sam is an important part of this puzzle,” Lucchino told the Boston Herald. “He’s been working for me for 20 years, right out of college. He’s certainly my choice, as well as that of [principal owner] John [Henry] and Tom [Werner], to be promoted the position of president.”

“I don’€™t believe at all that this is the end of Larry’€™s relationship with the club, but the beginning of a more diverse role — one in which he can begin to enjoy some of the fruits of his labor,” Henry told the Herald. “He almost certainly will continue to mentor and push for excellence internally over upcoming years.”

It has long been rumored that Lucchino would be stepping aside from his current post, with the longtime baseball executive — who will turn 70 next month — seemingly wanting to diminish his workload. The current president/CEO hasn’t been as visible this season, with much of his focus turned to the the purchase of the Pawtucket Red Sox and that organization’s quest to build a new stadium in Providence.

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Read More: Larry Lucchino, Sam Kennedy,
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz’s integrity and commitment to this team’ 07.16.15 at 10:15 am ET
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the Red Sox at the All-Star break, specifically David Ortiz. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Ortiz missed Sunday’s game prior to the All-Star break due to “upper respiratory” symptoms. Much was made of the designated hitter missing the game because it was a day he was likely to play first base, something he was on record saying he wasn’t in favor of doing with regularity.

Lucchino wasn’t pleased with what has been discussed in the media this week regarding the situation.

“I think it’s tempest in a teapot. I think it’s ridiculous to be questioning David Ortiz‘s integrity and commitment to this team,” he said. “He’s not only earned that respect over the years, he’s also a team leader. I think it’s ludicrous for the sports media to jump to those negative conclusions.”

“He said he didn’t want to play first with great regularity,” he added. “He didn’t say not that he didn’t want to, not that he didn’t think his body would hold up if that were required — he did go out there for a couple of games at first base when we needed him.”

Lucchino said team doctors instructed Ortiz not to stay at the park for the game.

“He’s got a problem that has the potential of contaminating the clubhouse. The last thing you want him to do is potentially affect other players with what could be a contagious issue,” he said. “I’ll leave that to the team doctors to make that judgement.”

The Red Sox are currently 6 1/2 games back in the American League East and have the third-worst record in the American League. Lucchino said the team is still waiting to see if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

“I think it’s too soon to know what is going to happen at that point,” Lucchino said. “I am one to believe that there is a third alternative and that is you don’t have to be a major seller or a major buyer. You can be someone who goes out and does something to help your team not just this year, but in future years. I think we’re not throwing up any white flags by any means. We are going to go down to the trading deadline and see what we can do.”

“We aren’t at that point know where we are prepared to make that judgment,” he added of what they will be. “Again, if you look at the way the team has performed over the last month or six weeks, I wonder if we’d be having a slightly different conversation if we won the last game on Sunday. We’d be 4 1/2 instead of 6 1/2. It’s one game and I think that the decision will depend on where we stand a week or so before the trade deadline. We want to compete every year. We’re 6 1/2 back now, we were 6 or 6 1/2 back at the break in 2004. I’m not predicting the same kind of miraculous season, but I am saying we have been in this position before.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, Larry Lucchino,
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘I would say I am a little embarrassed’ by Red Sox’ overall performance 07.02.15 at 10:21 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about Rick Porcello, Hanley Ramirez and the team’s performance as a whole to this point in the season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox looked to be on their way back up, winning three straight games, but that quickly came to an end when Boston lost to the Blue Jays 11-2 Wednesday afternoon. The loss was just the second time in the last 13 games that the Sox plated fewer than three runs and are still 8-5 over that span.

Still, being seven games back in the AL East and sitting at 36-44 on July 2 is not ideal.

“I would say I am a little embarrassed, particularly by the overall performance,” Lucchino said. “We expected much more, and I wonder what kind of conversation we’d be having today if we had won yesterday instead of lost and I’d come into this conversation with a four-game winning streak and a major uptick. We were six games behind yesterday with more than half a season remaining to be played, yet it still feels frustrating, it’s still disappointing.”

Part of the frustration, at least on Wednesday, was exacerbated by the trouble Rick Porcello has had on the mound. In his past eight starts the righty has posted an 8.18 ERA in that time, allowing 40 earned runs in 44 innings on 59 hits, while allowing nine walks and striking out 31. Opposing batters have slashed .335/.378/.528 against Porcello over that span, too.

On Wednesday, he gave up seven runs, all earned, in just two innings.

“I think it’s frustrating to be sure, no one’s more frustrated about his performance this season than Rick himself,” Lucchino said. “We’re not going to throw anyone under the bus. That may surprise you, we were all part of [signing and extending him], so if there’s going to be a bus accident, it’s going to involve several of us in the front office. But for the last several years, he’s demonstrated that he’s a quality major league pitcher. There’s a danger that we overreact to half a season, now that’s been a disappointing half season, no doubt about it, but we still have his track record to rely on and certainly hope that he’s going to bounce back at some point and show us the kind of performance we expected we would get.”

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Read More: hanley ramirez, Larry Lucchino, rick porcello,
Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘It’s a little early to panic, but not too soon to make some individual player assessments’ 06.11.15 at 10:19 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how the Sox are doing of late, as well as to discuss David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Despite Boston’s recent troubles, Lucchino said it remains too early in the year to condemn the team, though it is not too early to begin individual player assessments.

“[You have] 63 percent of the season left to play, and this season has been a bit of a roller coaster,” Lucchino said. “I would say to you last Sunday [against the A’s], we were all exhilarated. This team showed that it could play some good, smart, aggressive, heart-felt baseball and then what’s happened since then?

“We have a Monday to enjoy the offensive momentum and that dramatic victory, and then we lost a game on Tuesday on a wild pitch, and we lost the game yesterday to a very tough left-hander who’s beaten us with great regularity over the past several years, so I think it’s a little early still to panic but it is not too soon to make some individual player assessments.”

From an upper management’s perspective, Lucchino maintained there is some dissatisfaction with the way the season has gone, but that doesn’t mean he has any less trust in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington.

“I would say that we are frustrated,” Lucchino said. “I think John [Henry] captured it pretty well when he spoke last week regarding the faith we still have in the people whose role it is to put together this team. There is no questioning of their long term connection to this team, but there is a sense of frustration and disappointment.”

“We’re fans, too,” he added. “We get sick to the stomach when we watch certain games and certain outcomes and we get exhilarated as we were last Sunday. But the hardest thing is to demonstrate some patience with players and with a team that’s having its difficulties this year.”

Lucchino also addressed the criticism Hanley Ramirez continues to face in left field.

“It’s early,” he said. “We’re a couple of months into what is a four-year contract  and I think we need to chill out just a little bit. I think Hanley’s style lends itself to some criticism, but that’s not who he is. I think he is an intense and competitive and outstanding baseball player, and I think we should not misread his style.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, Larry Lucchino,
Larry Lucchino on MFB: ‘We all share’ responsibility for Red Sox’ woes 06.03.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox and who bears responsibility for the team’€™s struggles. To hear to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

On Tuesday, principal owner John Henry held a press conference to reinforce his confidence in manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington and accept some responsibility for the team’s struggles. Lucchino echoed those sentiments of support and accountability.

“When it comes to free agency, payroll-setting, we all have a hand in this, so we all share it. I’ve worked with a lot of general managers in my lifetime and Ben is right at the top of the list in terms of his work ethic, his insight, his judgment and his knowledge of the game,” Lucchino said. “I don’t think it is fair to mention the last couple of years without mentioning the extraordinary job he did in 2013.”

Lucchino was equally effusive in his praise of Farrell’s qualifications and abilities as a manager.

“He has a track record with this organization. We know him. When I say track record I don’t just mean wins and losses, I mean years of experience, years of relationships, years of data that we can look at and say, ‘We know this guy.’ We have a sense of his intelligence, his judgment, his people skills,” Lucchino said.

Lucchino acknowledged that some players have not performed as well as expected. He attributes this at least in part to the unpredictability of baseball, and that it is impossible to accurately anticipate performances.

“It’s very hard to understand and to measure beforehand. The performances of some of these players have been utterly surprising. We’re not smart enough year in and year out to guess who those guys are going to be,” he said.

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Read More: John Henry, Larry Lucchino,
Bobby Valentine on MFB: ‘I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed’ from Red Sox coaching staff in 2012 05.20.15 at 12:34 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who will return to Fenway Park on Wednesday night to make an appearance with ESPN’s broadcast team, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and discussed some of the controversies that ensued during his brief tenure in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Now the executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, Valentine said he has no hesitation about returning to Fenway despite his inglorious exit after a 2012 season that included poor play on the field and numerous controversies off it.

“I could give a darn about anxiety,” he said. “I have a lot of friends that I left in Boston. I’ve been in Boston 15 times in the last couple of years. I’m excited about getting back there.”

Valentine was fired one day after a disastrous season in which the Sox finished last in the American League East at 69-92, but he insists he doesn’t worry about any regrets.

“I don’t really look back much at any of my life,” he said. “All I know is that it’s all about sevens — there was seven years in Texas and seven years in New York and seven years in Japan and seven months in Boston. It was all kind of fun looking back at all those things. But I don’t do the microscope. I try to look forward and enjoy what I’m doing today.”

Much was made of the issues Valentine had with his coaching staff that season.

“I think you hit on the key word there: trust,” Valentine said. “That was my mistake, that I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed throughout that entire group that were in uniform together. Whether it’s my fault or someone else’s fault, who knows. I’m not a blame-thrower. I can just tell you that when you bring me back to that year that probably the biggest problem was that I delegated the people who were going to speak my gospel, that they didn’t know the language that the gospel was written in.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Bobby Valentine, John Farrell, John Henry
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