Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by Boston.com on Thursday afternoon to answer fans’ questions. Ol’ Lucky can be an awfully complicated man and his answers aren’t always crystal clear. So Fenway Pastoral ran them through its proprietary BS Detector to help fans better understand what he is actually saying to fans as free agency season heats up.
The chat began promptly at 1 p.m. By 1:05 p.m., the heavy hitters rolled in (questions have been edited for length and are sic’d):
Q: Larry, Why should I renew my season tickets this year? – Joe
Lucky: This is a critical year for this team. We all recognize that we have a lot to prove. Besides the charm of baseball, you will see a younger team with revitalized leadership. “These will be exciting times; you’ve gotta be there.”
Translation: I might as well get the obligatory usage of the word ‘charm’ out of the way early. Also, I know I’ve often talked about how every year is “critical” and all that, but this time I really do mean it. Honest.
That quotation I randomly popped in there at the end of the answer? That’s the final line of the late John Updike’s legendary poem “Hey Boston Fans: Buy 2013 Red Sox Season Tickets Today!” (I think the original manuscript is on display at the JFK Library or something…).
Q. Lavarnway…Ross…Saltalamacchia…how many catchers are we going to end up with? – Frank
Lucky: There’s an old saying in baseball that you can never have enough pitching. Perhaps we’ll expand that adage to say you can never have enough catching. Besides, “deep depth” is one of our overriding goals.
Translation: I dictated the answer to that question to my assistant by bending down and rapidly opening and closing my butt cheeks Ace Venture-style. You like?
Q. Is this ownership group looking to sell the Red Sox? – Adam
Lucky: Absolutely not. Next question.
Translation: Sigh…PR 101, my friends. Deny firmly and move on. Child’s play. Class dismissed.
Q. Larry, do the Red Sox have a set team salary figure in mind for 2013 or is it a “wait and see” approach to feel out the market and save bullets for next year should there not be attractive opportunities to add to the team this offseason? – Guest
Lucky: Yes we do, but it’s not for public dissemination. You can be assured that we intend to write some big checks if it helps the team in the short and long-term.
Translation: Funny you mention bullets, Guest…Because receiving Red Sox tickets as a holiday gift is like getting shot by a slew of bullets fired out of the automatic assault rifle of awesomeness. Instead of 2012’s “We’re all in” slogan, next year’s will be “They’re (as in bullets) all in.” Or would it be “all out” since they’re being fired at you? I don’t know. Whatever.
Q. …Will there be an emphasis placed on developing the “home grown” player such as in the past with the development of players like Pedroia, Lester, Bucchholz, Ellsbury and more recently with Middlebrooks or will the Red Sox continue to aggressively pursue the high priced FA? – Bill
Lucky: The key to success in baseball is drafting, developing, promoting, and retaining homegrown talent. We will never rule out free agency, trades, waiver-wire transactions, or anything else, but scouting and player development will be the rock on which the Red Sox church is built going forward. Btw, it adds an extra dimension to baseball to watch young, hungry players develop and perform.
Translation: Hey Bill, what’s that behind your ear? Here, let me reach back there and see if I can grab that. Ah, there it is…yup, just as I suspected – a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase at the RedSox.com shop! Buy yourself a licensed Will Middlebrooks jersey and shut the hell up.
Q. Larry – it appears that ownership is distracted by its other enterprises – e.g., -Stan Papi
Lucky: John and Tom have made a fundamental commitment to the Red Sox 11 years ago. During that time, they have been engaged in some other activities, but nothing has been as central to them as the success of the Boston Red Sox. They are both passionately committed to winning and determined to get the Red Sox back to our rightful place in the American League.
Translation: Nice try, Stan. But nobody is interested in the details provided after that ‘e.g.’. So I cut ‘em out. Another fundamental rule of good PR – never deal in specifics. Reframe the question so its answer is unassailable.
Q. I never understood why the NFL, a fast-paced winter sport, utilizes cheerleaders while baseball, a slow-paced summer sport doesn’t. How about some Sox cheerleaders this summer? – NeedCheerleaders
Lucky: Not gonna happen. Cheerleaders aren’t part of baseball culture or Red Sox tradition.
Translation: Like the sign says, pal: No Pepper (and No Perverts either…).
Q. Hi Larry, Can the fans expect more trades or free agent signings this off season? It appears we have the assets to gain more in trade than what is currently impactful on the free agent list. – Greg D
We will pursue all avenues to make this team stronger in the short-term yet built for the long-term. That includes more discrete free agent activity, as well as an appetite for trading assets
Translation: Canned answer alert! People have been asking me this question for two months. The words just kind of hiss right out of me like a good long fart.
Q. Larry, is any thought being given to addressing some of the PR pressure to deal in a more straightforward manner with the sell-out streak and to consider using Sweet Caroline in a more limited fashion? – greenmonster05
Lucky: The fans started this sell-out streak in 2003 and will end it. This argument over definitions is a little silly in my opinion. No matter how you slice it, we’ve averaged over 37,000 fans per game over the last ten years. That is an impressive expression of passion and commitment by our fans!
Translation: You don’t get to decide when you’ve had enough Sweet Caroline. We do. Thanks for all your great questions, fans!