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Tom Werner on OMF: Red Sox players who complain about criticism should 'get thicker skin'

Alex Reimer
September 21, 2017 - 2:31 pm

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner isn’t sympathetic to players who complain about critical analysts or commentators. 

In an interview Thursday with OMF, the longtime television executive said he thinks players should focus on tuning the criticism out. “Boston is a tough place to play,” he explained. “Some players thrive here, and some players don’t. Get a thicker skin. My feeling is, let the broadcasts be honest, be personable, informative, and get over it if you think a certain announcer took a shot at you.”

Left-hander David Price infamously confronted beloved analyst Dennis Eckersley on a team flight earlier this year for a disparaging quip he made about one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s subpar rehab starts. Werner, who says he apologized to Eckersley personally, does not think his highest-paid player handled the situation professionally.

“I thought there was a way of handling that. It wasn’t handled appropriately. If I’ve got a problem with Lou, and I hear something he says on the radio, I’ll say to Lou, ‘That wasn’t fair,’” Werner said.

Due to his career in TV production, Werner often takes a leading role when it comes to coordinating NESN’s Red Sox telecasts. NESN has used a bevy of new analysts this season, due to Jerry Remy’s most recent cancer diagnosis. Many of the newbies, such as Mike Timlin, Lenny DiNardo and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, have been milquetoast and relatively soft on the team. Werner insisted the Red Sox don’t prefer homer analysts, even though they’re majority owners of NESN. 

“I don’t like homers. It’s a question of chemistry. When Jerry came back, the three of them (Dave O’Brien, Remy and Eckersley) were fantastic,” he said. “I think the best analysts –– and I’ll put Jerry and Eck (in there) –– have a way of being entertaining and informative and honest.”

While NESN ratings were down 20 percent through the first half of the season, Werner reports they’ve been up over the last several weeks. As a TV guy, one of his utmost priorities remains finding ways to speed up the game.

“I do feel the product needs to be improved. Eventually, I believe they’ll be a pitch clock. I hope sooner rather than later. It’s the period of inaction between the action we’ve got to address. Anything we can do to make the product better is only going to increase ratings,” he said.