Results tagged ‘ Tom Werner ’

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.”

Lucchino vows owners will fix what ails Red Sox

With their team suffering through yet another slump in a season that has a lot more of them than expected, the Red Sox’ ownership trio of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino appeared on the field at Camden Yards less than an hour before Thursday night’s game against the Orioles.

Though these are hardly the glory days of 2004 or 2007, Lucchino vowed that the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to restore the franchise back to where the ravenous fans expect it to be.

“Every franchise, every brand goes through rough times. No one is immune to the hills and valleys,” Lucchino said. “We’ve had a long run of success. We’ve created very high expectations for the franchise. Sometimes those high expectations are not met, and the result is a reduction, a hit to the brand and to the team and to the fan base. If it’s broke, we’ll fix it.”

In eight of the first 10 seasons the team has been under the current ownership group, the Red Sox have won 90-plus games. The two seasons they didn’t hit that mark, they came close, winning 86 games in 2006 and 89 in ’10.

With 44 games left in 2012, the Red Sox are 57-61, and trailing the Yankees by 13 games in the American League East and are 6 ½ games back in the Wild Card standings.

Lucchino hasn’t given up hope for ’12. At the same time, he knows what his team is up against.

“Backs to the wall? Yeah, that’s all I would say,” Lucchino said. “Obviously time is expiring. There’s still 44 games left, so technically we are still alive. I said to someone recently that you can go to St. Louis and Tampa to get a sense of what can happen after this point of the season. I know it’s a bit of a long shot, but it’s still interesting baseball [left].”

Injuries have played a major role, Lucchino said in multiple interviews on Thursday. But he hasn’t seen anyone short-change the team on effort.

“I haven’t seen anything to the contrary,” Lucchino said. “I’ve watched this games and often times, a lack of hitting when we face a tough pitcher can misconstrue some kind of lackadaisical effort. That’s not what I see. I see intense competitiveness night after night and anger and team disappointment. That’s my take on it.”

The Red Sox last made it to the postseason in 2009, meaning they need a somewhat monumental comeback to avoid being spectators in October for the third straight year. He acknowledged that the Red Sox’ brand isn’t as powerful at the moment as it was, say, even in 2010.

“I think it really can’t be because so much of the brand is a reflection of the competitive success we’ve had over the last 10 years,” Lucchino said. “And a few years ago, we were coming off a not too distant World [Series] championship; we were coming off playoff participation.

“The brand, a significant component of it is on-field success. We’ve taken a few hits but there are still passionate Red Sox fans everywhere. I ran into one walking out of Coors Field last night. A woman who worked for the Rockies lived in Worcester came up and hugged me and said ‘I still love my Red Sox. I said, ‘you’re wearing a Rockies shirt.’ She said, ‘I work for the Rockies, I’m from Worcester. I still love my Red Sox.’ We have to be sure we remember the cynical jaded media does not speak for … they don’t necessarily capture the voice of the fanbase.”

In recent weeks, media outlets – most of them national – have cited unnamed sources in painting the picture of a deteriorating clubhouse in which players, manager Bobby Valentine and ownership haven’t all been on the same page.

Given the fact perception can be reality in the minds of some, is Lucchino worried that the negativity that has engulfed the team lately will discourage free agents from wanting to play in Boston?

“I don’t think that’s a long-term danger,” Lucchino said. “We’ve been relatively lucky in recent years in changing the image of Fenway first of all. It’s not an old and inadequate place to play. We’ve been able to fix it up for players. I do think there’s probably a little bit of a reservation on the part of some players perhaps with respect to the grueling media coverage. You’ve just got to make sure you pick the right people and personalities to come here to be able to withstand that.”

When the Henry-Lucchino-Werner group took over the Red Sox in February, 2002, the team was coming off a season that might have been more tumultuous than this year.

Players like Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar and current Red Sox slugger David Ortiz helped change that culture. Lucchino is confident that ownership and front office will again do whatever it takes to make Boston a top destination.

“It was helpful,” Lucchino said of having that experience to fall back on. “We recognized that no organization is consistently positive, winning [all the] time. There’s going to be some tough times, some difficult seasons. We just haven’t had that many of them. We don’t have to look back that far for us to see some of those things in the recent past. If it’s broke, we’ll fix it. We have the baseball experience and the passion to do it and the organization.”

Spring Training, meet boot camp

This wasn’t one of the most glamorous days for Red Sox position players, but it was a necessary part of camp, as they all went through conditioning drills, which included the shuttle relay, among other activities.

David Ortiz walked off the field, claiming kiddingly, “I was the champ out there!”.

All kidding aside, manager Terry Francona appreciated Ortiz going through the drills like a professional.

“That’s a lot of body,” said Francona. “I got tired watching those guys. I laugh at them, but he did it. I don’t know how many players of his stature [would do that] – but that’s a lot of body to move twice 300 yards and he did it and I know his teammates probably really appreciate it. It means something. It’s not the end all. It doesn’t mean he’s going to hit home runs. It doesn’t mean he’s not. But it’s part of being a team going in one direction and that’s important.”

It wasn’t all business for Ortiz, who had some fun on the field with his little buddy Dustin Pedroia, as captured in this photo by Brita Meng Outzen.
Pedroia, who works out fanatically during the winter, got to put his supreme shape on display in the drills. Here he is, setting the pace with teammates Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie.

Back when Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a player, these type of tests did not occur during Spring Training.

“We were just happy to get BP. I do agree with it though,” Francona said. “[Strength coach] Dave Page [suggested it] a few years back, because we’re always worried about ‘let’s get on the field, let’s throw, pitch, let’s hit, let’s take groudners.’ It’s really a good day. It gives us baseline testing for where everybody is. It’s just really important and our guys do a good job with it. no [whining] and moaning, they go out and do it. I would not enjoy doing it. but they do it and we appreciate it.”

Wednesday will mark the first full-squad workout for the Sox. Red Sox manager Terry Francona will hold his annual team meeting before the workout. General manager Theo Epstein will also appreciate, and so will the ownership trio of John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.

Catching up with Henry, Lucchino

I went to an event tonight in which Red Sox owner John W. Henry was given a prestigious award for his active — yet understated — role in the community. There was an opportunity to talk a little baseball with not just John, but also Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner.

Henry on this offseason: “I think this one is a little more difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the offseason. They are all somewhat unpredictable but this one to me is a bit of a strange offseason. Attendance was down 6.5 percent league-wide. It will be interesting to see if that has any affect. Some teams, revenues actually went up. There seems to be a transitioning going on. A little less of an emphasis on free agency and a little more of an emphasis on building from within. That may be principally because the free agent classes are so thin, seemingly”

Does Henry expect the Red Sox will make a blockbuster move? Not necessarily. That said, it’s probably too early to tell, and he certainly didn’t rule anything out.

“When we went into the playoffs, we felt like we had a great three starting pitchers, which is what you need in the playoffs. We went into the playoffs expecting to go deep and we didn’t so that was a shocking surprise. I think the ninth inning of the third game sort of summed it up. The Angels played extremely well. Sooner or later they were going to beat us. I feel we had a very good team that performed through the regular season. We scored more runs than we had in a few years though everyone seemed to complain that we didn’t have enough hitting but we scored a lot of runs. Our starting pitching looks good, our bullpen looks good.

“But every team tries to improve during the offseason. I know Theo is preparing. He’s been preparing. But it won’t be easy for anyone — from the player’s side and from our side. There’s a lot of unknowns.”

Lucchino was asked if he thinks that 2010 could be the last go-around for the team that has won the World Series twice since 2004.

“We’ve been transitioning gradually,” Lucchino said. “We don’t have to do it abruptly. There’s been a gradual transition. Our roster has older, mature veterans. Younger player in their prime. Young players about to get to their prime. So I think any transition is gradual.”

But much like Henry, Lucchino doesn’t think the 2009 team needs to be blown up just because of a highly disappointing Division Series against the Angels.

“it was a bitter pill to go out that quickly,” Lucchino said. “It left a bitter taste. But now that we’ve had some time to reflect on it, it motivates us more. We always want to play in October, now we want to go deep in October.”

What type of dynamic will there be this winter?

“Every offseason has its own personality depending on economic circumstances, the quality of the class, the free agents available, the nature of the trade market and it’s too early to predict what’s going to happen in this offseason. I don’t think anyone would have predicted the offseason that unfolded last year.”

Would Lucchino like to see Jason Bay patrolling the Green Monster again in 2010?

“Very much so,” Lucchino said. “We’d love to have him back. He’s in many ways the personification of the type of player we want here.”

You can find some Tom Werner quotes in my story about Henry’s award, but I didn’t want to torture him by asking him baseball questions because he was battling a very sore throat and it was a struggle for him to speak sentences over a loud crowd during the cocktail reception.

FYI, with reports circulating this week that the Royals have been awarded the 2012 All-Star Game, all Lucchino would say is that he’s heard nothing from Major League Baseball and his only knowledge of the game being given to the Royals was through media reports. The Red Sox made a bid to get the ’12 Game in Boston, because it will be the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.