Werner goes around the horn

Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner held court on a variety of topics this morning with the media. Here is a rundown.

On the future of Fenway:  “Well, I don’t know when is going to be the last day they’re going to play baseball at fenway but it will be after we retire. We continue to do improvements every year for the ballpark and I think it’s one of the great places to watch a sporting event, I expect it will be there for many more decades.”

Turning the page: We just got out of a meeting with John Farrell and I think that as much we appreciate what happened last year, the focus is on 2014, what we’re going to do now. The team has come to work and John Farrell said let’s think about not the last out of the World Series last year but how we approach the year, how we approach the first day of Spring Training and so I think as much as we can sort of appreciate what we did last year, we’re all focused on today and tomorrow.”

Difference from this time last year?  “A lot different. Last year I think people thought we had taken a stupid pill. What john said is true. This is an extraordinarily close group of guys who almost, to a man, they came to work early this year. they’re prepared, they’re focused. Obviously we’re very proud of what we did last year. I think John said it right today, the focus is on today and tomorrow and getting off to a good start in April and we’ll see how we go.”

Goal of the franchise: “I think our focus has to be to put competitive teams on the field every year. it’s obviously a challenge. People are, we have a mark on our back this year. but I don’t think we’re thinking too much beyond getting the team prepared and getting off to a good start. Our goal is the same – just to see if we can be competitive on Labor Day and see if we can play postseason baseball.”

Team’s philosophy on putting together a team: “Well I think first of all, we don’t think that necessarily spending the most money always produces a winner. obviously we’re probably in the top three or four teams each year in terms of our payroll. I think that we have a great organization. I think Ben, I think we all know that the moves Ben made last year at the beginning of the year in terms of how we put this team together was probably part of the reason that we won. It wasn’t that we went out and signed one player for 150 or 200 million dollars. I think that obviously that started with the decision we all made to shed payroll the year before with the dodgers and re-deploy it and I’m not saying that the Yankees aren’t going to be very competitive this year. They’ve got an extraordinarily good team but I like our chances.”

 This team’s likability: “Well I think Ben and John put together an enormously likeable and talented group of people last year that I think they were focused on winning. I think that we didn’t have a period where we lost more than three games in a row all year. as much as we remember the great moments in the world series, the Victorino home run, the Ortiz home run, each night it was something kind of special. When Mike Carp hit that grand slam [at Tampa Bay]. So I just think it maybe a cliché  but this is a really good group of guys. they perform well on the field, they perform well in the community. I thought the way they addressed the families and the people who suffered through the marathon day bombings, they didn’t do that because somebody told them to do that. they did that because, to a man, they felt that sort of connection and responsibility. You guys know. you’re around them as much as I am. This is an extraordinary group of people.”

What was most impressive?“There were so many things that impressed me. I was impressed by Koji Uehara coming in every night and being lights out. I was impressed by Clay Buchholz coming back from an injury. And the way John Lackey, you all talked about it, the way that John Lackey sucked it up for such a long time then performed such a great role through the postseason. There were so many things that were impressive. I think it probably starts with John Farrell. We thought last March, a year ago today or whenever it was he spoke to the team, that there was just something how eloquent he was how articulate he was, that we were going to surprise people. I think last year is behind us but he was just as eloquent today.”

On Jerry Remy’s return to the broadcast booth: “I think what we said to Jerry at the time was we just offered him our support after a tragedy and said there is a place for you if and when you want to come back. This is going to be a very personal decision but you have a home here at NESN if and when you feel it’s appropriate to come back. We’re delighted he’s back. We know he’s very mindful of the tragedy but I think he’s excited about returning to the booth.”

On Jenny Dell not being the sideline reporter for NESN anymore after acknowledging she is dating third baseman Will Middlebrooks: “I think that we talk about it internally because I think Jenny is a terrific reporter. And I think we came to the conclusion and Jenny came to the same conclusion that it would be a distraction for her to be a reporter and so she’s moving on. I think that it wasn’t sort of a black and white decision because, can she sort of divorce her personal life from being a professional? But we decided in the end it was probably better for her to move on and not be a distraction.”

Dell might move on from NESN, or be re-assigned: “She’s looking for other opportunities.”

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