The most up-to-date content on the planet
this just in
 RSS
WEEI » This Just In » Kennedy: 'Difficult' to sustain sellout streak
Fri, 01/18/2013 - 12:40am  

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 squeak by Raiders

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots' 16-9 win over the Raiders and debate how big the Patriots' issues are.

NFL Sunday: Tom E. Curran, CSNNE, joins the program to give his thoughts on Pats/Raiders 9-21-14

Tom E. calls the boys to give his take on the week 3 home opener in which it should end in a Patriots victory.

NFL Sunday: Thoughts on the inactive list and final analysis on Pats/Raiders 9-21-14

Before Price heads over to the stadium, the guys discuss their final thoughts and analysis on the list of inactives and what will go down today at 1pm at Gillette Stadium.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Bo…

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, "I think Rondo is going to go, I just don't see where and how yet" 7-17-14

Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston: I believe Rondo will be traded 7-10-14

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.

OK State Men's Basketball coach, Travis Ford, joins MFB to talk about Marcus Smart, 6-30-14

Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.

David Ortiz Player of the…

David Ortiz Player of the Game Interview

Joe and Dave talk with David Ortiz after he hits two home runs to propel the Red Sox to an extra-innings win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo 9-18-14

Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.

Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

As the season winds down, We check in Sox skipper John Farrell as we await the Boston debut of Rusney Castillo.

The Bradfo Show: Talking …

The Bradfo Show: Talking Bruins roster moves with DJ Bean, Turtleboy

Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.

DJ Bean breaks down the first hours of NHL Free Agency 7-1-14

DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla

DJ Bean, WEEI.com. The Bruins are not traded Marchand 6-13-14

DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau

Rodney Harrison on Adrian…

Rodney Harrison on Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice 9-19-14

Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: The first lady hates fattening foods 9-19-14

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

D&C respond to MFB's MFK 9-19-14

The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.

Jerod Mayo previews Pats-…

Jerod Mayo previews Pats-Raiders 9-19-14

Jerod Mayo gives Christian karaoke advice and previews the Patriots home opener.

Three For All: Christian chooses his karaoke song. 9-19-14

Christian chooses his song for Karaoke tonight.

Adam Schefter, ESPN: Goodell has to be more accountable 9-19-14

Adam Schefter joins MFB to talk about the latest with Roger Goodell and how he is going to handle his upcoming press conference.

Michael Irvin with Dale a…

Michael Irvin with Dale and Holley: I'm sweating FOR Roger Goodell

We check in with the great 88, the playmaker Michael Irvin joins Dale and Holley.

Roger Goodell finally breaks his silence... did it do him or the NFL any good? Response and Reaction

Michael, Dale and Tom E. Curran break down, react and take your calls about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's first public press conference this regular season.

Dale and Holley's Final Drive - Reliving the greatest Patriots-Raiders game of all time

For our final segment we take a look back at the infamous Snow Bowl and the Tuck Rule play, this time via Raiders radio and more.

Jim Koch joins Planet Mik…

Jim Koch joins Planet Mikey

Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.

Danny Picard talks Red Sox and Patriots with Mike Giardi

Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.

Jon Lester's Contract Situation and the Future

Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.

Producers Podcast: Sausag…

Producers Podcast: Sausage and Beans 9-18-14

Your beloved hosts are joined by WEEI.com Bruins reporter DJ Bean as well as producer of the Dennis & Callahan Show, Craig "Sausage" Sawisch. Support America: Support Your Local Post Office

Dennis & Callahan's Breaking Balls Podcast: The NFL's hot mess, Jenny Dell and who has bad breath.

Dennis, Callahan and Minihane make their podcast debut. This week's topics include Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jenny Dell and some discussion on people we've encountered with the worst breath.

Minor Details Ep. 100: A minor centennial with Rob Bradford, Mike Hazen and Jim Callis

The 100th Minor Details podcast revisits some old friends, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis, who were the guests on the first show in November 2010, join the show anew.

Rodney Harrison on Adrian…

Rodney Harrison on Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice 9-19-14

Rodney Harrison addressed his non comments earlier in the week with MFB.

More from this show

Roger Goodell finally bre…

Roger Goodell finally breaks his silence... did it do him or the NFL any good? Response and Reaction

Michael, Dale and Tom E. Curran break down, react and take your calls about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's first public press conference this regular season.

More from this show

Michael Irvin with Dale a…

Michael Irvin with Dale and Holley: I'm sweating FOR Roger Goodell

We check in with the great 88, the playmaker Michael Irvin joins Dale and Holley.

More from this show

Go Local with Chuck Wilso…

Go Local with Chuck Wilson 9-20-14

Cuck Wilson Founder/Exec. Dir. of Even Field™, International award-winning interviewer and commentator and RI RHOF member joins John Rooke in studio. Scott Cordischi calls in from Georgetown, and they take your calls on this weeks issues. David Ortiz sets another Red Sox record, is he heading to the HOF? Roger Goodell is on the hot seat and he joins us for "3 Things"

More from this show

D&C respond to MFB's MFK …

D&C respond to MFB's MFK 9-19-14

The guys opened the show responding to MFB's MFK.

More from this show

Weei Writers