Larry Lucchino on D&C: 'There's a buzz about this team'

September 05, 2013 - 5:53 am
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and talked with guest hosts Dale Arnold and Kirk Minihane about the excitement surrounding the team as it closes in on a postseason berth. When asked about the team's seemingly below-average attendance this year, Lucchino said that the front office expected those kind of numbers due to the last few seasons and talked about how the atmosphere at Fenway has finally seemed to revert back to the glory days of a few years ago. "While it's undeniable that our numbers are down for the season, a lot of that is a direct result of what happened in [September] of 2011 and the disappointment of 2012. ... We had a terrible schedule in April and May -- lots of home games and adverse weather conditions, so we anticipated that there would be some decline," Lucchino said. "But what's undeniable is that there's a buzz about this team. Chris Gasper in the Globe today called them the 'Fun Bunch.' People like this team, people enjoy this team. "The spirit at Fenway these last couple of nights has been playoff-like. I think there's a buzz about the team, and our attendance numbers will reflect that. ... Different players bring different styles, but if you had to generalize, this [team has] a fun-loving approach to the game, there is an intensity. ... Our fans love that." Lucchino also talked about Sox pitcher John Lackey, who has pitched remarkably well this season despite receiving little run support for most of the season. To highlight Lackey's lack of support this season, the 20 runs scored by the Sox in Wednesday's game is more than the team has scored in Lackey's last eight starts combined. "[Lackey] has been someone who has been misunderstood, in my opinion, by the media and by the fans here in past years. He's a very good teammate. His guys respect him, they enjoy him, and they're as frustrated as anyone that they cannot score enough runs when he's pitching well," Lucchino said. "I think he's pitched as well as he has in many, many years. I think he said that himself. Bouncing back from the injuries that he played through here for a couple of years, it's a great story." After Sox DH David Ortiz's great game on Wednesday, when the slugger hit two home runs and collected the 2,000th hit of his career, Lucchino said that he believes that Ortiz should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame once he wraps up his career. "I think so, simply because he was the best designated hitter of his time. He dominated that position and dominated offensively in so many critical games," Lucchino said. "I absolutely think that he is a Hall of Famer, but you wouldn't expect anything else from me, would you?" Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On closer Koji Uehara's performance this season and whether he should be brought back as closer next season: "That's probably a John Farrell decision, to be sure, but we knew in the offseason when we were looking at him that his strikeout-to-walk ratio was exceptional, but this is really off the charts. ... He takes a unbridled joy in pitching and pitching well. That's contagious for his teammates and for the fans." On whether Jon Lester has earned a long-term, $100 million deal in the coming years: "Is he the kind of personality and player and character that you'd make a long-term commitment to? ... The answer to that is yes. He's been with us from the beginning, I remember when we drafted him. Our scouting director was very positive about the future that this young left-hander had, and he is exactly right, and he's the kind of pitcher that you'd like to have from cradle to grave." On the first thing that comes to mind when talking about former Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, who on Wednesday was claimed on waivers by the Cubs: "Well, if this were a word association game, I thought about 'strong arm' as the first thing that came to mind when he burst on the scene with his high-90s regularity to his pitching.  [He's] a very good guy, a guy who I wish well to. We will miss him. A kind of frustration is maybe the dominant emotion. It would have been great had we been able to manage him and kept him at the level he achieved early in his career, but I don't think we've heard the last of Daniel Bard."
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