Tom Werner: Hype over Larry Lucchino is 'tempest in a tea pot'

Mike Petraglia
February 25, 2015 - 10:15 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Tom Werner never knew a simple masthead could be so troublesome. The Red Sox chairman was asked Wednesday about the continued role of Larry Lucchino in the organization after reports surfaced that Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon was listed above Lucchino on the corporate masthead, and just below John Henry and Tom Werner. "I've never even seen a masthead in my life until it was shown to us [Tuesday] night," Werner said. "Mike is involved with FSG and I don't want to argue about whose name is above whose. But that was a mistake that we're going to correct." The masthead leads one to believe that Gordon carries more power than Lucchino because Gordon is in charge of the parent company of the Red Sox. Gordon is in charge of many financial matters in the organization and helps run Liverpool of the Barclay's Premier League. Lucchino is his counterpart with the Red Sox. Is there any difference? "That's a fair question," Werner said in an attempt to clarify. "It's not like I have reviewed the club directory. It probably was a mistake. We don't have an FSG masthead. We should've created one. I really do think it's a bit of tempest in a teapot." "And that was not a club directory," Lucchino added. "It was a listing put out by the [MLB] central office, trying to figure out where FSG goes and where the Red Sox go. The official club directory comes out in the press guide, which is due out in a week or so." Overblown. That's the way the two view the entire controversy over the power structure in the organization. Lucchino, who will turn 70 this season, feels his role is still the same. "Tom and John are probably the best ones to talk about it," Lucchino said. "To me, there's not much of a story there. You're better off hearing it from Tom or John. Mike Gordon's role has evolved over time, to be sure. I was just saying to Tom that two years ago we were down here talking about Dustin Pedroia's contract, and Tom and I and Mike Gordon and Dustin's representatives had a dinner together so he's been involved in things over the years. I really don't ..." Then a funny thing happened. Lucchino's cell phone in his back pocket went off. The ringing gave Werner a chance at comedic relief. "Is that Mike calling?" Werner joked, before adding, "I think a lot has been made of this story but basically John and Larry and I have the same relationship today, now in our 14th year, as we started in [2002]. Mike has a significant role at FSG. That really does not impact the Red Sox very much. He's got a more important role in Liverpool but he's a very valuable partner. We also seek counsel, and we haven't talked about this much, from a lot of our partners. A lot of partners are very astute and they give us advice in a whole bunch of matters. But as regarding the Red Sox, it's the same structure. "And another thing, it's a very collegial structure. When we are talking about very important decisions, we welcome smart input from Mike and other partners as well." Lucchino agreed. "If anything we have the advantage of an additional voice," Lucchino said. "Mike's a very astute guy when it comes to financial matters, present value calculations and structure of contracts. He was very helpful in that [Pedroia contract]. As Tom said, this is a team. Things evolve. Some days, some guys are involved and some days, other are more involved. It's not really any kind of power [struggle]. That's just not the right way to read it." Lucchino doesn't think there are too many voices in the Red Sox organization. "I think you should just look at our track record for 14 years rather than hear me say things about how we're doing or how well it works," Lucchino said. "I think it works. Like Tom said, it's a collegial group. We operate with a lot of debate and dialogue. The proof is in the pudding. I don't there are too many voices. "I think Tom and Mike have been involved for a couple of years in trying to reform aspects of the game, day-to-day [operational] practices, speed of game, pace of game, length of game. That's been going on. All I'm saying, I can understand the interest in palace intrigue and there just isn't much palace intrigue to report and Mike's role has evolved over time and plays a very helpful role, as do other partners." "I think it's a very collaborative group," Werner said. "Again, there are a lot of things that we probably don't talk about. All of us are involved in league matters. I think the Red Sox play a significant role in a lot of the issues that come up that are league issues, whether they deal with issues like pace of play or [MLB.com] or trying to bring in a new generation of fans so I think we bring a lot to the table and I think it's good for our fans." As for Lucchino, who turns 70 on Sept. 6, he was asked if he can see a day soon when he starts to slow down a bit. "My wife [Stacey] ask you to pose that question? I guess that's a good question," Lucchino said. "At some point, I'm going to slow down but we'll just take it year-by-year, which is what we've been doing for the last few years. Scaling back appeals to me. Dropping off the face of the earth doesn't appeal to me. It's about being active and doing things and continuing to do things. I can see that day will come, sure."
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