Sam Kennedy

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on OM&F: 'I haven't heard anything to the contrary' regarding David Ortiz's retirement

May 18, 2016 - 8:58 am
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Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday morning to discuss David Ortiz's retirement and other team news. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page. Kennedy called into the show from the MLB owners meetings in New York to talk about David Ortiz and his final season in a Red Sox uniform. The 40-year-old designated hitter is having a great season, batting .311/.395/.674 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. There's plenty of speculation that Ortiz could play another year for Boston, considering his high level of play. "I haven't heard anything to the contrary, but it is a little bit remarkable to consider what this guy's doing," Kennedy said. "One of the things we've been chatting about is when you announce [that] you're retiring, every moment is a big moment, and this guy lives for the big moments. I do think that's factoring in here. He's soaking it all up as you would expect David Ortiz to do. But to put up the numbers he's putting up and the clutch hits is just remarkable and really is what he's done his entire career in a Red Sox uniform. We feel fortunate to just [have] been around this incredible era and it's really fun to watch." Kennedy also described the moment he first discovered that the slugger had plans to retire. "David handled it exactly the way you think he would have. I got a call from his marketing agent, Alex Radetsky, who's done a lot of work with making sure that David had the right cell phone number for John Henry. David called John directly to tell him. I believe it was back in early November if I recall, and he had made the decision, it was his decision alone. We were surprised, and I remember it was around the time of the owners meetings in Dallas, and we chatted a little bit about what it would be like in a post-David Ortiz era, which was none of us really wanted to think about, and that's the week we went to Nashville to meet with David Price. "It was a very busy time, it was surprising to us, but it was exclusively David's decision. One of the things he said to John, he really did say, 'I want to go out while I'm feeling good and have an incredible season, I want to try and win another World Series and go out on top.' Who knows what the future brings, but this has been a very special season. It's obviously early, but we're all enjoying the ride with David. He's provided us with so many memories in our time here, and this year's no exception." Added Kennedy: "I think [Ortiz's retirement] is a conversation that will just naturally have to come out, giving what he's been doing. But I can tell you there has been no conversations about 2017, and we haven't heard anything from David other than what he told us in the offseason. … He's just meant so much to this franchise, and off the field, everyone knows what he's done off the field. He's a wondrous, once-in-a-generation-type player, and it's going to be hard to think about a post-David Ortiz era, but right now we're focused on 2016 and the task at hand." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo possibly interviewing for the Braves managerial position: "We'll cross that bridge when and if we come to it. Torey's obviously under contract with the Red Sox, and there's Major League Baseball rules and regulations around asking permission and so on and so forth. What I'll say about Torey Lovullo is he's just a tremendous asset to this organization. The positive energy he brings, the preparation and work of our entire coaching staff was evident all throughout 2013. Obviously had a disappointing couple of years after that, but when he took over for [Red Sox manager John Farrell] during his illness, you saw the way our guys responded to him. He's one of the most positive people that I've ever been around, one of the best guys in uniform that I've ever been around. I think it's a sign of a great organization when you have employees other organizations come knocking for. It's a real credit to Red Sox ownership for putting in the best and brightest, and Torey's no exception. I hope he remains a member of the Red Sox as long as possible, but I suppose it's inevitable that at some point, he and other talented members of our uniformed staff will get opportunities elsewhere, but we'll cross that bridge when we come it." On using technology instead of umpires to determine balls and strikes and increase the pace of the game: "We're all watching these games either in person with HD flat screens in ballparks and stadiums and our homes, we're watching on our devices, we're watching social media replays and opinions everywhere. Being an umpire in 2016 is a lot harder than being an umpire in days gone by, being second-guessed all the time. The short answer is yes, there's a lot of talk going on. We had that ugly incident back at Yankee Stadium, but the team's been on a good run since then. It's frustrating having a call going against you, but Lou can tell you, if you're blaming the umpire, you got bigger problems. … You can't blame things on the umpires, they're human beings, the human element is a part of the game, I think it will continue to be that way. We just got to go out and score more runs." "If you go back and look at calls that are questionable … people see calls different ways and there's a human element in reviewing the replay. I hope the human element remains a part of the game. I think we need technology to enhance the game, we need to get replay right, it's supposed to be instant. That's one thing, there's a lot of talk about the Major League Baseball level is speeding up the replay process. We all want to get the calls right, but it's got to happen in a more timely and an efficient manner. I don't think people mind the length of the game, it's the pace of the game. … That's when people get frustrated by the long, drawn-out mound visits and the dead down time during games, I think it's one of the things Commissioner [Rob] Manfred is focused on, is trying to improve the games to be more crisp and move along more quickly. That's what the industry needs to work towards."