The most up-to-date content on the planet
this just in
 RSS
WEEI » This Just In » Kennedy: 'Difficult' to sustain sellout streak
Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:40pm  

Kennedy: 'Difficult' to sustain sellout streak

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-verse.

“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.

“I haven’t [seen a change in operating philosophy]. What I have noticed is a change in our winning percentage,” said Kennedy. “I think that tends to cause different folks to criticize organizations more regularly. I fully understand that and I fully respect that.

“Our job, we are here and we are paid to do one thing, and that’s to win baseball games. We know that. We take that responsibility very seriously. I grew up a sports fan, a passionate Red Sox fan. There’s nothing more important to me than to win baseball games. I think over the past several years, given that we’ve fallen short of our sort of organizational goal or mandate — which is to play baseball in October, put yourself in the postseason, give yourself a chance to win the World Series, we’ve fallen short of that, so we have been understandably criticized for a lot over the last several years. That’s on us to fix it and to recognize that we have not performed up to the very high expectations that exist in this marketplace. I assure you that John and Tom have given Larry and me and [Sox GM] Ben Cherington and our entire organization the resources to fix that and to get us back to where we belong, which is on top of the baseball world. I really believe that we have the know-how, the work ethic, the passion, the dedication to get it done. But those are just words. It doesn’t mean that much coming from me right now, other than I’ve been here for 12 years. .. We’ve tasted the champagne. We want to get back there. That’s why we’re all here.”

To listen to the complete interview, click here. Additional highlights are below:

On whether the team dismissed uniform personnel requests for more day games due to marketing and TV ratings concerns (a suggestion in the excerpt of Francona’s book): “I think it’s a little bit of an unfair characterization. We sit down with, we sat down with Theo Epstein when he was here and with Ben now, and we try and work out a schedule that works well for the baseball operation. It’s always a difficult thing scheduling, particularly here in New England with weather issues, it’s probably the most difficult thing we have to do. We would love to have more day games for kids and for families. In fact, we made it a priority to add more day games over the last several years, but there are certain logistical issues and rules with each and every date you try to schedule on.

“Do we factor in the chance for the most fans possible to see a game either in person or on television? Yes, we do. You have to take into consideration the broadcast implications and impact on a home game, which is under our control, when you’re putting together the schedule. But it’s unfair to characterize the fact that we never took any input or direction from baseball [operations]. I’m not being critical because I haven’t seen the quotes, but I know how it works in reality.”

On the team’s approach to profits: “This [ownership] group, little known fact, they probably don’t talk about it but I will, they’ve not taken one dollar – not one dollar – of profit from this enterprise. All the revenues that we’ve generated are reinvested back into the club – back into player payroll, back into renovating Fenway Park, back into the operation of the team. That’s something we’re very proud of. This group has made an incredible commitment to the fans and to the front office. It’s something that we’re very proud of. I’d ask for our fan base to keep the faith here this offseason.”

On whether the team will be more difficult to market coming off the 2012 season than the 2011 season: “The last several years have been difficult, but I think that this year, from a business perspective, will be tougher than last year, just because we had such a disappointing season on the field. Although who knows? If we get off to a decent start, we might be okay. I do think our fans will see the commitment and hopefully get behind us, but we need to let our actions speak louder than our words.”

On the sellout streak at Fenway Park, which dates to May 15, 2003: “We’re really not. But I do think that the sellout streak – I know it will end – at some point. I don’t know when. It may be this April, it may be this May, it may not. We’ll have to see. That’s up to the fans.

“We’ve said this repeatedly – it’s a streak that our fans have set. No one in sports has ever seen the type of support that the Boston Red Sox have seen during this incredible, incredible decade of the Henry/Werner/Lucchino administration. It’s humbling. Hopefully, the fan support will continue, but to be pragmatic and realistic about it, this season, it’s going to be difficult. Our fans are sort of in a wait-and-see mode. Some people are angry. Some people are upset. I don’t blame them. We understand that. We need to do a better job. We need to win baseball games this season and do it consistently. We’ll see what happens with the sellout streak, but it’s not something that keeps us up at night despite some popular opinions.”

On how sellouts are defined, and who defines the sellouts: “It’s defined when you have more tickets distributed – paid and complimentary tickets – exceed your seating capacity. That’s the definition. It’s not defined by Major League Baseball. It’s defined by individual clubs. Most baseball clubs and most other sports teams use that definition, and it’s something that the Red Sox have used for decades here at Fenway Park.”




Audio On Demand

It Is What It Is Cast: Pa…

It Is What It Is Cast: Patriots escape Jets, clinch first-round bye

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain how the Patriots held off the Jets, 17-16, Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 12-3 and lock up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

NFL Sunday - Final thoughts and predicitions for Pats vs Jets 12-21-14

Greg and Steve give their final thoughts and predictions for what is about to go down at MetLife Stadium today.

NFL Sunday - Tom E. Curran, CSN and CSNNE.com, on Pats/Jets 12-21-14

Curran calls the guys to discuss the game today and gets into the effect of having no Edelman. He talks about Amendola's role, the Pats running game and more.

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Bo…

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks about the Rondo trade 12-19-14

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process

We Hate Dwayne Wade - Marcus Smart injury 11-12-14

How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...

WHDW - Greg Dickerson Joins the Show to talk Celtics

Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.

Jon Lester says he would …

Jon Lester says he would probably have signed with the Red Sox for 5 years and $120M last spring training

Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Jon talks about his experiences with free agency, what it would have taken to sign him to the Red Sox last season, and his experiences with fans since signing with the Cubs.

Wade Miley talks gluten, swamp people, and coming to the A.L. East

Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with newly signed Red Sox pitcher, Wade Miley. They talk about the story that came out about the D-Backs wanting him to switch to a gluten-free diet, and what he expects coming from the N.L. West to the A.L. East.

Hot Stove Show 12-18-14

The boys are back at it, Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher and new Chicago Cub Jon Lester, they then talk with new Red Sox pitcher and ongoing consumer of gluten, Wade Miley.

Pierre McGuire: TJ Oshie …

Pierre McGuire: TJ Oshie would be a great player on the Bruins 12-18-14

Pierre joins the show to talk about the Bruins-Wild game, Bruins trade rumors, and the rest of the NHL.

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley

Jack Edwards talks with Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton and drops the bomb on us that based on how the standings look now, the Bruins could miss the playoffs this season.

Pierre Mcguire: Chara's return will have huge impact for Bruins 12-11-14

Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins and all things NHL

Moronic Jahar supporters …

Moronic Jahar supporters 12-19-14

Curtis spoke with some nut jobs outside the courtroom.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Whoopi vs. Rosie 12-19-14

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

Jeff Goodman on the Rondo trade 12-19-14

Jeff Goodman discussed the Rondo trade.

Three For All - Used for …

Three For All - Used for a torture song or not? 12-19-14

Christian quizzes Lou and Tim on which songs were used for torture by the CIA, and Tim is upset he couldn't remember Team America: World Police

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Three weeks of rest may not be great for the Patriots 12-19-14

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins MFB to discuss Jim Harbaugh rumors, Rex Ryan's future, and why the Patriots may be better served by not wraping up the number one seed in the AFC this week

Christian's Three Keys, 12-19-14

Christian shares what he believes will be the three keys to this Sunday's game against the New York Jets

Michael Irvin: Jets-Patri…

Michael Irvin: Jets-Patriots shaping up to be a tough fought win for Pats

We check in with the playmaker, the hall of famer Michael Irvin for a look at the NFL and all things Patriots as they prepare to face the Jets.

Did the Celtics get enough for Rajon Rondo?

Dale and Michael discuss the trade of Rajon Rondo, and whether it ultimately was a good deal for the Celtics.

Tom E Curran with Dale and Holley: It's Jets Week

We break down Rex and the Jets vs the Patriots with CSNNE's Tom E Curran

Kay the Textress comes in

Kay the Textress comes in

Kay comes into the show to try out for the textress role on the program. We learn about her favorite sports and fondness for Rajon Rondo.

Cold, Hard Football Talk

Mikey, Mut, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are taling Patriots-Jets and the potential end of Rex Ryan's coaching career with the team.

Mikey's 9th Anniversary Show

Tonight marks 9 straight years of the Planet Mikey Show. We play some sound from the takeover which got Planet Mikey rolling .

Unsportsmanlike Podcast -…

Unsportsmanlike Podcast - Jen Royle talks The Taste

Jen Royle joins the show to talk about The Taste and what its like working with amazing chefs and how her personality is going over with viewers.

We Love Anthony Davis - Quarter Season storylines

What should Danny Ainge do with these Celtics? Is Anthony Davis the second best player in the NBA? Are the Warriors truly contenders?

Pod Man Rush: Taylor/Tyler 2014 with Ryan Lambert

Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy joins DJ to discuss the "uncoachable(?)" Taylor Hall and revisit the Tyler Seguin trade. Ryan also shares his issues with how the Bruins are run.

Rodney Harrison on Pats J…

Rodney Harrison on Pats Jets 12-19-14

Rodney Harrison joined the show to discuss the Pats and Jets.

More from this show

Moronic Jahar supporters …

Moronic Jahar supporters 12-19-14

Curtis spoke with some nut jobs outside the courtroom.

More from this show

Jeff Goodman on the Rondo…

Jeff Goodman on the Rondo trade 12-19-14

Jeff Goodman discussed the Rondo trade.

More from this show

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Thre…

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Three weeks of rest may not be great for the Patriots 12-19-14

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins MFB to discuss Jim Harbaugh rumors, Rex Ryan's future, and why the Patriots may be better served by not wraping up the number one seed in the AFC this week

More from this show

Done deal: Rondo to the M…

Done deal: Rondo to the Mavericks - Details and immediate reaction

Dale and Michael are live on the air as the Rondo deal goes down.

More from this show

Weei Writers