Sam Kennedy attempts to explain why there was no press conference

Rob Bradford
September 10, 2019 - 6:33 pm
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There will be no press conference.

That was one of the messages relayed by Red Sox president Sam Kennedy when appearing on OMF with Lou Merloni, Glenn Ordway and Christian Fauria Tuesday afternoon in what was the Red Sox' first response to criticism in regards to how Dave Dombrowski's dismissal was handled.

Following the announcement that Dombrowski was being let go by the Red Sox following the Sunday night loss at Fenway Park the only formal statements from ownership came in the form of a Monday press release. It was stated at that time there would be no press conference to answer questions from the media. That, of course, opened the door for a wave of questions why the Sox chose to abandon what is considered protocol for any such dismissal.

On the timing: "I understand the frustration or dismay as you put it. First of all, I was to address the timing of everything. What’s really important is out of respect to Dave and what he accomplished here we wanted to delay our final decision to part ways as soon as that decision had been made final, which was over the weekend and it happened to be on Sunday. There is never a good time to do these things but in the interest of transparency and being direct we wanted to relay that news to him. The plan to announce it on Monday and it obviously broke Sunday night, and we regret Alex Cora was put in a very difficult position as he has to do his pregame and postgame press conferences every game — so that was unfortunate. What really was important to us was to make sure we were direct and honest with Dave once we had come to a final decision which had occurred over the weekend."

On the lack of a press conference: "As it relates to the issue of a press conference. We just knew it would have been a wholly unsatisfactory experience given that we’re just not going to expand on the statements we provided yesterday. I understand the desire for one and the frustration for not having one, but given that we’re not going to expand on what we said in our press statement it just wouldn’t have been satisfactory to anyone. Instead, we spent the day yesterday focusing entirely on internal communication. John Henry, Tom Werner, myself, spent the day meeting with the players, everybody in the clubhouse, staff, the baseball operations department and our larger front office and we go on from there. It was a difficult 48 hours but we’re moving forward."

Why break from protocol: "I think it does often happen. I’ve observed press conferences with sports figures leaving organizations for a long, long time. I’m not sure what purpose they ultimately serve other than, as you said, protocol. So we decided given that we weren’t going to expand on what we said via our press release that went out earlier on Monday we would instead focus on the task ahead and mainly be accountable to our employees and our people in the organization. But we certainly had interaction with the media all day yesterday. We were at the ballpark late Sunday night, all day Monday. We just didn’t have a formal media availability or press conference."

Putting Alex Cora in a bad spot having to answer questions: "There is no question Alex was in a bad spot and we definitely regret that. I said that at the outset. The nature of baseball he’s required to do those two availabilities pre and postgame. We regret that. But now I’m obviously available to speak to you guys and answer any questions you have as we go forward."

No plan for a press conference: "I think John and Tom will address it in their own way and time. But as it relates to a formal press conference, no I don’t. I think we’ll refer to the statement that we put out as it relates to Dave and thanking him and moving on. I know, again, that can be unsatisfactory. That’s the position we’re taking and we’re moving forward. Look, John Henry, Tom Werner, their track record in this town is remarkable. We’ve been here for 18 years and these guys have been running this team with great success. We’ve had some down years of course. We’ve had some difficult moments. But as a kid who grew up in Boston as a huge Red Sox fan and now is president and CEO of the team I can tell you no one cares about winning, about winning championships. We won four and we’re hungry for more. These are some of the best owners not only in baseball but in professional sports. These guys are committed and they run a great organization. It’s difficult to part ways with executives and people, but John and Tom have been accountable since they got here and that won’t change. They’ve done everything in their power to win and have done everything possible with Fenway and it’s been an incredible era in Red Sox history."

Understand the frustration of the media/fans: "Oh yeah, absolutely. Of course, I can understand that and I just explained the reasoning behind not holding a press conference, because there would be a lot of questions about why or how and we’re just not going to get into that."

So, no press conferences going forward?: "We’ll evaluate each situation on a case by case basis as we go forward. We have had change. Theo and Tito and Ben Cherington, Larry Lucchino, Bobby Valentine, I’ve been there the whole time. ... Yeah, and I’m not sure how great farewell press conferences have gone. Out of respect to the people who are moving on you just aren’t going to get into a lot of detail. That’s why we made the decision that we made."

Why Dombrowski was let go: "I’m not going to engage on specifics related to Dave other to say the guy has done an incredible job here. We won a world championship, a couple of division championships. On a personal level, I enjoyed working with him. But obviously, you don’t make a change unless you’re ready for new leadership in that specific department. We’re moving forward. We’re going to have new leadership. Right now we have our senior management group in that department. Eddie Romero, Brian O’Halloran, Raquel Ferreria, Zack Scott, they’re working closely with him and ultimately John and Tom during this transition and we’ll continue to do the things that put us in position to win championships."

On Alex Cora's future: "John Henry, Tom Werner and I spent a lot of time yesterday with Alex, spent some time with the players and expressed our confidence and support for Alex and the incredible job that he has done. He has been everything you ever want in a manager. I can speak more highly of Alex and the job that he has done and the job that he will do as we move forward. It’s no doubt it’s been a difficult season for all of us, but we’re really, really confident in Alex Cora."

The uncomfortable timing of David Ortiz's appearance: "I understand the appearance and the suggestion that it may have been a distraction or an intentional act to try and distract people. I can assure you that is not the case. The reason it happened last night is because David Ortiz wanted it to happen. David, we had a standing invitation to come and throw out a first pitch. He had made the decision a few days ago that last night would be the night. We were really glad he could be here. It was really great to see him. We understand the timing. I say this a lot, sometimes you can’t make these things up. It was really great to see him. I hope people understand there were no intention in terms of distraction or anything like that. Again, it was great to see him and Tiffany. He’s doing really, really well and improving every day. I think he’s going to be heading back down to Miami soon. It’s getting cold out so he told me he wanted to get back to where it was warm. I guess last night was the night to get the first pitch under his belt and he’ll go from there."