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Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: ‘We all need a little bit of patience’ as team struggles through April 04.17.14 at 9:44 am ET
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Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and said owner John Henry called manager John Farrell on Wednesday to offer his support during the team’s early season struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox, bringing up the rear in the American League East, improved to 6-9 with Wednesday’s 6-4, 14-inning victory over the White Sox.

“I think repeating [as champions] is probably one of the hardest things to do in professional sports, and we are off to an awful start. While there have been some positives, it’s been really bad,” Kennedy said. “April, you really like to get off to a good start, so it’s been disappointing. People say, ‘Is there a hangover, is there a letdown?’ Whatever it is, you can really point to the basics. We’re not hitting. I think we’re hitting about a buck-fifty with runners in scoring position. We were 1-4 going into last night’s game in one-run games. That’s not going to last. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Will] Middlebrooks, now [Mike] Napoli, [Shane] Victorino missing time, Koji [Uehara]. It’s a lot of factors to point to. I think we need to have some perspective.

“I know for a fact that John Henry reached out to John Farrell and Ben Cherington yesterday just to say, ‘Hey, guys, it’s early, hang in there, things are going to be OK.’ Because you could tell how frustrated those guys are. And we all are. But we do have to have a little bit of perspective. This is our 13th year here together in Boston. Things will get better. Guys will start to hit. Again, the pitching’s been there. So, we all need a little bit of patience. And I know that’s hard for most of us.”

The other big Red Sox news over the last week relates to the negotiations for a new contract with left-hander Jon Lester. A recent report indicated the Red Sox made a lowball offer of about $70 million for four years.

“You have to remember, we’re starting from a place where the Red Sox, from John Henry on down to Jon Lester, want to make a deal. That’s the starting place. I think everybody feels good about that,” Kennedy said. “The problem with negotiations and details from baseball negotiations getting into the public domain when you have a leak like we did this past week related to this deal is one data point gets into the media, gets out there, gets dissected. I can tell you there are lots of other data points related to this negotiation that are not in the public spotlight, in the media. All I’ll say is that Ben Cherington, Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino, our ownership group will continue to work on this. And it’s clearly best when baseball discussions are kept private, and then baseball decisions are made public. That’s been our philosophy.

“Do we want to see Jon Lester in a Red Sox uniform for a long, long time? Absolutely, yes. As a fan, I hope that he is with us for a long, long time. We’ll see where things go over the coming weeks and months. But I’m hopeful that we do end up getting something done there.”

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Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy: ‘We are paid to do one thing, and that’s to win’ 01.17.13 at 11:35 pm ET
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Sam Kennedy

Red Sox executive vice president and chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, in an interview on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove Show, disputed the suggestion found in published excerpts from former Sox manager Terry Francona‘s that the franchise’s baseball decisions started to be shaped by marketing concerns. Instead, Kennedy stated that the Sox’ mission is defined by the team’s on-field success, with marketing (and concerns such as NESN’s broadcasting success) serving that goal, rather than vice-versa.

“Great sports organizations, great ownership groups like ours, have one goal, and that is to win baseball games. We’ve been here for 11 years together. Our group’s won two world championships, we’ve had six postseason appearances, we’ve won over 1,000 baseball games,” said Kennedy. “The business side, the baseball side and the community outreach side all need to work together to achieve that common goal of winning games.

“To be clear, the way that I view the world, I can speak for myself, is that we on the business side are here to support and provide the necessary resources to the baseball operations group to do everything in their power to field a team that does one thing, and that is win. Winning baseball games is and always has been the central mission of the Boston Red Sox since we’ve been here, and I think that John Henry and Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino have demonstrated an incredible track record of doing that. I know that I’m really proud to be a part of the organization. I know that [former GM Theo Epstein] was proud to be part of this organization, as was Tito. I certainly wish them both well.”

Asked if he’s seen a change in the team’s operating philosophy in recent years, Kennedy suggested he had not. He said that the biggest change in the organization has been its performance on the field rather than what is transpiring inside the team’s offices. Read the rest of this entry »

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JetBluePark.com directs to Yankees site 02.22.12 at 1:57 pm ET
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The Red Sox did not miss many details when it came to constructing the team’s new spring training home, JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. One thing they overlooked, however, was obtaining the Internet domain name jetbluepark.com.

Fort Myers resident Eric Engelman purchased the domain name for $8 last March after learning of the new facility’s name.

“I just thought it would be fun to have,” Engleman told The News-Press.

Engelman, 30, is a Cubs fan, but he decided to play a joke and have the site link to the Yankees home page. That got the attention of the Red Sox.

“Have him call me,” executive vice president and chief operating officer Sam Kennedy told the Florida paper. “We can make a deal. Or maybe we can make a deal.”

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Red Sox ticket sales strong 03.21.10 at 4:10 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have sold more than 2.6 million tickets for the 2010 season, with sales roughly matching those of a year ago at this time, according to Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy.

The clarification was offered after the Boston Herald reported on Sunday that there were more than 6,000 tickets that remained available for the Sox’ April 4 Opening Day contest against the Yankees, and that prices had fallen 30 percent for such tickets compared to the 2009 home opener against Tampa Bay. Those figures may be accurate, but they portray the secondary ticket market of brokers and agencies, rather than the primary sale of tickets by the Red Sox to fans and other purchasers.

“To say that there are 6,300 tickets still available for sale, there may be. There may be more than that on the secondary market. The Red Sox do not control sale of the secondary market. We control the primary market,” Kennedy said. “We have been surprised and humbled is probably the right word to use by demand for tickets on the primary market.

“As of this morning, we’ve sold just over 2.6 million tickets on the primary market for Red Sox games for 2010. In 2009, we sold virtually the identical amount. We’re tracking just about where we were last year at this time.”

Though they do not control it, the Sox do monitor the secondary market. Yet while the sluggish economy has likely impacted the secondary market, the Sox note that their own sales of tickets have not been impacted.

“If you have a $165 face value Green Monster seat, and it may have sold in years past for $1,000 or even more, you’re seeing a decline in the secondary market right now, which is understandably newsworthy,” Kennedy said. “Fortunately for the Red Sox, we’re not seeing a decline in primary sales.”

The Sox have set attendance records in each of the last nine seasons, and have sold out each of their last 550 games, dating to May 15, 2003, the longest such streak in MLB history.

A few tickets have been held back from Opening Day sales — the Sox always keep a small allotment of tickets for day-of-game, walk-up sales, as well as tickets for both players and community outreach projects — and so the game is not yet technically a sellout. Even so, Kennedy had no doubt that the streak would reach 551 games on the Sunday night opener, and that it would almost certainly continue beyond that as well.

“Opening Day absolutely will be sold out,” Kennedy said. “We anticipate that while we’re probably working harder than ever and marketing more aggressively, we do anticipate that the fans will continue this sellout streak.”

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