Larry Lucchino on D&C: Manny Ramirez chosen to throw out first pitch because he was 2004 World Series MVP

May 29, 2014 - 6:16 am
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino spoke with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday about the club'€™s recent 10-game losing streak and the 2004 World Series celebration at Fenway Park on Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. The Red Sox welcomed many members of the 2004 World Series team to Fenway Park for a pregame ceremony on Wednesday. The ceremony has drawn some flack for the team choosing Manny Ramirez, who created his fair share of baggage both in Boston and in other markets, to throw out the first pitch. "There were so many people that could have thrown out the first pitch. Jason [Varitek] was the captain, Curt Schilling has gone through some extraordinary times these days, Pedro [Martinez] is always enormously popular and charismatic," Lucchino said. "But the simple fact is that we were honoring the World Series championship of 2004, and the MVP in the World Series was Manny Ramirez." Lucchino added: "€œA choice had to be made among several candidates who were fitting or appropriate. I believe the decision turned on the World Series MVP as the rational [decision]. That'€™s what we were honoring -- the World Series championship -- and that seemed to be a rational decision. We would never please everyone, you know that." The Red Sox finally have won three games in a row but still are reeling from a 10-game losing streak from May 15-May 25 that has the club eight games out of first place. "€œWe are fans first. We'€™re in this because we'€™re highly competitive people and we want to win. ... But we'€™re also people who have been in the baseball game for a long time and we understand that maintaining some equilibrium is awfully important," Lucchino said. "So there'€™s kind of a yin and yang. ... This is part of this damn unpredictable game that we work in." Lucchino continued: "€œI was really down, very pissed for the latter part of that streak, but I tried to recognize that there is volatility to the game of baseball, and you've got to recognize it and live through it. ... This was bad, this was a really tough streak." The Red Sox opened the season with a third of their lineup composed of players with a combined experience of just 224 major league games in Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. While both Bogaerts and Bradley have improved, Lucchino said he hoped that the players would have adjusted to the majors at a faster rate. "I don'€™t think that we were rushing people," Lucchino said. "We certainly hoped for faster acclimation to the big leagues and more consistent performances from some of the younger guys, but if watch Jackie Bradley the last few games, he seems to have found the stroke. ... Xander Bogaerts is always a joy to watch, I don'€™t think he'€™s bring rushed anywhere. "€œIt probably cautions you a little bit to steel yourself for the inevitable problems that will develop when young people are progressing through the system. But I still believe that baseball is a game for young people, for young players, and that we should play younger people as much as possible and as soon as possible." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more team news, visit On the 2004 World Series ceremony: "It was a great experience. Most of the players were here for two days. There was a wonderful dinner the night before. It was a bit like a high school reunion, a bit like a locker room celebration, and that was terrific. And then we had the public event yesterday. I for one enjoyed almost ever minute of it. Winning those two games certainly helped quite a lot." On whether Lackey will look to renegotiate his contract: "€œI don'€™t know, you'€™d have to speak to his representatives to see if they'€™re considering. ... He was roundly criticized at one point in his career, but we always knew what a gamer he was and what talent he had. He is among the best-liked and most-respected guys in that clubhouse." On what will happen to Will Middlebrooks following Stephen Drew's arrival: "€œI don'€™t know. Those are questions that John Farrell will have to address. I think you will see some flexibility there, some platooning with respect to left-handed pitching. I think that they'€™ll be a way for this left side to get stronger, get better and show a little more versatility."