Two Outs Ep. 24: Sam Kennedy talks Fenway Pride Night and Red Sox buzz

WEEI
Thursday, June 7th

Alex is joined by Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy onthis week's edition of "Two Outs." Alex and Sam discuss the Red Sox' sixth annual Pride Night and MLB's LGBT inclusion efforts. In addition, Alex asks Sam about several Red Sox topics, including NESN ratings and whether there's a lack of buzz surrounding the team despite its incredible start. 

00:31:09

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

And read where it's got two outs podcasts would. Curry the rambunctious two way tie your pros say probably the phenom Alex rare. And the old time baseball do you go to six people who don't know what I'm getting the sixty who didn't know before I'm gay priest is definitely wanna. Koppel Macy's definitely two outs which Buddy Roemer. Welcome into another edition of the judge podcast. Or are dubbing it for the third straight episode that one out podcast. I had it all planned out today. I really dead puck was gonna join us make is trapped in return it's pride week here in Boston's I thought it was the perfect time to get the old band back together in. You're real lots of sorts in a back into our regular biweekly schedule. But but then had to go have emergency eye surgery in. C'mon man like podcast over vision. Not that hard and all seriousness Spock did have retina surgery earlier this week as we cannot make it in today. But he will be back next to me doing shall I promise you know I've been saying now. The last few times we've done an app I've done an episode about this time and yet the bock man will be this is not make him earn if it is a Q it's like. The worst to whether Cooper podcast you guys know my backstabbing ways at my eyes set. Higher than. Bob coming up many moments we'll throw to a Sam Kennedy president and CEO of the Red Sox so don't worry my ass screeching voice and not being your ear buds the duration of this episode. I sent him on talk about Friday night which is tonight at Fenway Park the Red Sox have been doing it for six straight years detect but that their efforts there and MLB's general efforts LG BT inclusion. That was existing it's Sam mentioned I he's surprised and he wonders why. There is in it's an openly gay player. In Major League Baseball today I thought that was an inch or staying thought from Sam you don't hear a lot of executives say that as bluntly as heated so we dove into that. And also talked about some current event issues are on the team including unison ratings. The buzz surrounding the first place Red Sox or lack thereof. And also asked him about Julio Lugo as participation. And the one night game that got some play on air waves a few weeks ago when it happens. A Lugo was in the alumni game might even though he was arrested for domestic violence in 2003 so I ask Sam how the Red Sox. Reviewed that case in what thinking went into you knew was participation given that today's era and our focus on. Domestic violence issues processor and Kennedy coming up any moment it's a good one but as I mentioned it is pride week. I will have a more enjoyable pride week this time than last year sure you all concerned about not I was actually looking actors some old. Shows some old show descriptions and like I did the weirdest most curmudgeon. Pride week take last year I was like eating green ranting and even out yet to pay like. Ten dollars to get into a block party in the south NS on public such a weird out. By it was a tough frame of mind for me last year at that time I was disband from Kuerten talent and was the Tony Robbins Comcast elder incidents that's their referring to it in history books so. Very strange just asked data mines and am a total narcissistic and totally self involved I let that affect my entire week my entire weekends I want to bitching and moaning about like. Paying ten dollars to drink on its own street in the south and on a beautiful sunny days so guy that was very weird very odd pride week Tate. Entering it with better spirits this year. Top one thing I did want to get Q is well. Before we go to Sam Kennedy as that there was some pretty big gap LG BT news this week. The Supreme Court ruled 72 in favor. Of that Colorado eight years who has some years ago I did and bake a cake. Very same sex couples citing his out first amendment rights religious freedom. All of that and at the Supreme Court ruling here is interesting so. Mean of course as a gay person whenever I read that the Supreme Court or some court makes a ruling against Al GBT people I go off what how I mean really. Really doing nest automatically I'm against it as they should be and get it think we should have equal right to think we should be treated exactly the same. But it's my first. Tip here the first the at the first sign that at this is a little different than your average case is the fact that. It was ruled 722 which means that we had liberal and progressive judges also side with conservative judges the only two dissenters are Sonia Sotomayor. And Aaron Ruth Bader Ginsburg so you have guy you have and we Kagan. Who voted with the conservatives here you have had a guy who anti Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in just extending of courses. Often cast deciding vote on a lot these issues and has written in the majority opinion for. A lot of pro LG BT ruling Supreme Court. Has come out with but I decided majority here seven to. And die. Even though it's 72 was a narrow ruling the ruling is not sweeping the ruling to states and in this particular case. By the Baker's first amendment rights his religious freedom was I being. Was being compromised and the reasoning here I haven't. Right here I've dated with their really citing was the Carter solar rights commission which originally ruled against the peak here. Justice Kenny said he felt it was impacted by act religious animus he cited what he said where inappropriate dismissive comments from when commissioner. On the panel and saying bad guy you know of the panel acted inappropriately and it's this is in its decision should be overturned so any references that in his opinion the civil rights commissions treatment of this case. Has itself has some elements of a clear and impermissible. Hostility towards and Syria would just believes that motivated. I'm his objections mean the acres so it seems like Justice Kennedy. And at least the other progressive judges to side with the majority here in the conservative majority. Like in this particular case the bakers religious freedom rights were. We're being compromised and that's why they ruled in this fashion it's not a wide sweeping case even says in the opinion. I cases like these have to be looked on on in it you know on on a case by case basis so if you take a little deeper this ruling. It's not I don't think worthy of getting all angry and worthy of uproar in the fact of the matter is this gay couple I mean. They went anyway Wright's hate me today there's not home on their couch watching another Maradona group caused drag race. Eating all the take they want. By the gays can eat cake I'm not worried about that that I did not think this is a real setback at all are for the LG BT movements now. Will look and see what the results are side news story today about some owner of a hardware store in Tennessee put up sign you know gays allowed. Well obviously. That's different to write to me now we're talking not refusing service to gay people. I just for really hate for reasons and and you'll say all my religious beliefs police can't use religion to cloud hatred that. They tried to remember they used to say religious belief says the reason why app before against interracial marriages that that does not work but I just monstrous right wanted to mention now because. Originally when I saw that ruling house like what the hell really what's going on. Corsets trumpet they ruin everything but then 72 why so it'll be everything changed my views. Anyway it's not me rambling and a whole reunion and with Dockery gonna go turn off. Puck it's right Sam Kennedy and Red Sox presidency are joins me neither side good conversation with them it's two outs thinks is always from listening. All right on the phone line right now welcome and Sam Kennedy you know while president and CEO of the Red Sox Sam Harry. Bob Dole well out I carrier. I am doing well as the summer finally got a stretch nice weather looks like you guys must be happy it's been one a ms. elements of the ballpark so far this year. Yet there's a very difficult spring all around baseball put where we won't complain given the teams play well and can't support remains strong he can win an average temperature and our moral forty degrees from sick of it and it. I think I think winner now goes from like January through May mean in October November warmer than than our so called spring now. But so tonight recording on Thursday June 7 that is pride that at Fenway Park what makes pride night different Sam then the other eighty pound DT guys have per year. About special place there where we we we we welcome everyone for the LG BTQ community here that way we. I've tried to be an active in this community for many years now. And it's it's it's part of our ongoing efforts there. Make sure that everyone's been in Boston and New England feels welcome and at Fenway Park it. It's only baseball it's been very focused on this as well and so we're proud to and celebrate. Right we. Really ripped up our efforts that 82013. This one week. Or formalize our our right now made in conjunction with the pride parade over the weekend that. We got lots of different events and activities so that's been way. Major League Baseball has a strong effort with barely beat him KeySpan credible allies resource. After the Red Sox front office. That is a lot of great community partners. In this effort including Entercom. Different events and radio remote so. It's great we've we were situated in our front office rallied around that ball out quote India pride parade. I over the weekend did or celebrate. Pride and I good to with a lot of passion here internally at threats are. As he mentioned Sammy guys have been doing this now for 56 years and now 23 teams duke right now you know it's the cool thing to do but what did you guys start this you know again 56 years ago and not nearly as many teams are doing it. Well you really it started mentioning it Jason Collins came out and I at least 2013. That. It was obviously. A big deal in the sports industry yet. We just I have tried to pull back 2002. Has sent the message. The marketplace. Went on a variant of Al Gore got here that we we wanted to. He is open and inclusive as possible at Fenway. And takes six proactive outbound effort so. And we we reached out Twitter list it was just. You know getting getting going at that how could he created to reach out to people so we reached out to Jason and invited him. Comes in and throw out the first pitch at a certain way. Which he actually had a connection in the Massachusetts. Through Joseph Kennedy until you accepted. Our our invitation. I was really special. A retirement and that event has grown I mentioned Billy PD he's come and speak to our front office sent. We had a a few members were front office who are active with Billy. And in terms of talking about these issues internally and just it's important you need to make sure you send a message that everyone there to welcome them at Fenway Park it's. We don't yet as as an important part of what we do each and every day. So was important Sam for a Major League Baseball the Red Sox in corporations as a whole to engage in LG BT outreach when you think that's important. Well that it is experiencing a huge part of our community at large so from a from a business perspective you want to make sure that your your help parents sending the message that. And everyone is is welcome we we recognize that there are lots of ticket buyers there a lot has. At hand and LG BQ community that. Support through sponsorship. To buy tickets. And art you know it's it's really important sort of business strategy of business initiative that much it is. Community outreach strategy we. We've had. Lots of people in this community that I come to us is that look. You guys have been strong sports support and then pan and we don't always feel like world you know we're necessarily a part of the sports community the professional sports community so. We tried. Opportunities for the people abandoned in the apart of Red Sox baseball. And I'll be seen majoring basically mentioned Billy Beane is the ambassador conclusion it patent for a few years. How have you seen MB's efforts grow over the last let's say handful of years in in way to think baseball can still improve in terms of LG BT outreach. Well Billy's. Terrific job and I'm sure you're familiar with its stores and on until it is very moving 100. We have backed out and colleagues here who. Were bold enough that it can't be an end. They held important lesson for them in there coming out process it. I know that you know they won't be welcomed with open arms by Red Sox management and ownership of course. Can baseball has done a great job under pressure Manfred. Making sure that really is out there are told his story. I think you know it's just a matter of time until. We have major league baseball. Players. How an active player it's it's tell them that that will happen it's still a question of points. And you know there's there's all sorts of folks in this community who. Are recognize. At that way whether it's just the veterans organizations. Or people at in medical community York. In the business community so it's just closer right thing to do it. Baseball's a game now a lot of positive progress in the direction. Why do you think there isn't an openly gay player in Major League Baseball. It's a great question I wish I I don't know the answer to that. And you know I you know I I assume that it it's and it just told them where. Baseball players. You have not tell did you do the right time bird they haven't so called apple. Coming out for for whatever reason. You know it's our job as an industry of baseball and as an individual clubs and that they sure were terribly creative. Welcoming and supportive environments ever for one that I'm this right but I I don't have the answers they don't pretend I have he answers. We want to. Make sure that it. It that way it went out on coms were supportive response. It is interesting does not just Major League Baseball the NFL NBA mean going down NHL all these major professional sports leagues are very active. And LG BT community the NFL's participating your pride parade for example. Where this month by it's not just based on none of the major pro sports have an active openly gay player right now. That that trade and have I do believe that that that day is it's coming and nobody very important moment in sports history. And you know we all need to be as supportive had an ready certification does a parent of teenagers. You recognize that I don't think we made a lot of progress. With respect to these issues I. IE you're gonna teach kids talking about that sexual orientation is that it's no big deal you know it is that I'm sure there's there's. Opposite story panel horror stories that are still out there but I really feel we made a lot of progress. Interleague Boston delinquent. Which is very very positive thing. Yeah I mean SI poll as I pull a couple weeks ago and it's an 18% of by people in Massachusetts ages eighteen to 24 identifies other gay. Lesbian bisexual transgender that is say a staggering number because I graduated high school. What do you Levinson not not not ancient history and I didn't think there was an openly gay person. In my high school back dancers just amazing to see the progress we've made in even in a skirt seven years. You're who we stated kind of progress and if you're grade I hate to think that. In today's world is a social media and access and the ability to communicate so easily. It really allows different people from all walks of life. Held their own stories and their personal experiences which is true positive appear young person growing up you see. Someone telling their story. It is important. You you you're able to do that because then you you can feel more comparable I'll tell your own story here. Talking about issues that you know even just ten. 1520 years ago may have been more difficult to share her talk about your own experience is so. We have one colleague here and I were quizzed. Who's openly gays is. Really great at century young people in our organization talked about his own experiences. As a leader within our organization that. That's openness that we value a lot is really important I'm not sure. Doubt would have happened if I think back in my time as. And it turns out young person in the sports business. Early 1990. I don't know that that necessarily would have happened so I think that's that's definitely a progress. Yeah and that that may intercepting it is huge in the community per share on sitting quickly scented team on the field a couple questions early on this season. He came on the airwaves and said Vanessa ratings were up 20%. Compared to last year where they now now that we her entering mid June. You're still in that in that range. I gave 20/20 324%. We had a great great support you spend one point of particular. You know is that we're up in the younger demos about 20%. Well men eighteen to 34 demo just anecdotally walker on the ball park we. We marketing and promoting our our student I'm program which is where I dollar tickets or college students at high school middle school kids that is really trying to encourage. Young people come to Fenway Park all while baseball experience. We we had that last night in droves if we over a bit about cellphone experiment with ups. And sit on. Well I I think that maybe this symbol of the times every single person. Oh and especially young people. I think to have their mobile devices to their iPhone with it was so eventually it caught on it look at me like it was a a bunch of folks out there right field corner just sort of waiting at each other with their flashlights in the truck caught on eat like circuit party. If you want to see the attic concerts before but I haven't seen in his sporting events so. A credit to the umpire isn't he interest should stop in play and basically asking. If he's not do that because it did become distracting him. Puppet that you know is difficult for for a hitter so it was search term payback my data and uses state of the great thing about go to Fenway is. You see something I did a night out that you never seen before you know he's gone the other off the field I was outburst for us. It was what wasn't as cell phone party was this an impromptu thing there. If it was definitely impromptu is again I think I'm not sure we think it started in the right field that granted until it's. You know five or ten people sort awaiting their phones and it is literally just caught on men and spread like like qualifier was it was uninteresting it's. Again problems that you didn't have to deal with the sports venues we just maybe 510 years ago and so anyway we knew we would after. I'm not engage in that activity just completely can create a delay it. The last and we wanna do is in this delay or slowdown game. In baseball and it. Well and you mentioned got to go back young more younger people are watching you said you're Optiem close to 20% in net. And the younger demos what do you think that is that I mean games are still lying odds I'll play. Isn't all that different still lots of strikeouts home runs walks why why the Red Sox con I'm more this year with the younger people a few well in your opinion out. Well it's it's it's gratifying that we have I think they were making an affirmative effort to. Fenway Park affordable I'd mention we have these nine dollar tickets we have standing room tickets available to her you know. ET twenty dollars each receive training tool boxes. Of the ballpark is affordable. Were in a great college bound obviously were marketing aggressively to all the colleges and universities. Come on out. You part of Fenway Park experience and we're also created places and spaces for younger people either. Teenagers and avoiding those young adults to Calvin and and kind of hang out if you will whether it's. They killed instead Gary sponsored by Sam Adams political critical corner are. Or did your time club which is an outdoor deck area behind Thursday's series can overlook the neighborhood where people can. Get up from their seats no around. I'll watch the game ever you know four or five at exit from the seats and walk around and checked out different. Our restaurant type various and I think that's what younger people want to necessarily want to be locked in now. For three hours under a baseball camp I wanna deal what I. Can act within it and then yet a cool place to hang in and that's that until we are represented. Do you worry about the style play a semi I think last year and at its carry over and into this UTU a third of that that's roughly a plate appearances rather and deny their. Walk strike out. Home run that means him third of the time the ball isn't really wouldn't apply a side do you worry about that slow style of play in terms of younger people latching on to the gaming and Jack is there's really no easy fix for but he can implement a rule that says okay you too can only strike out X amount at times per game it seems like a tough one. Yeah it it is and I I do worry about it we we talk about a lot eternally. I can say they push it may have created and players association. Talked about a lot as well that's a good thing for the game they're there in discussions about. Possible rule changes that would combat. And slower nature of some of our game. And there's there's all sorts of ideas the cop. Action committee has put four which is made up of players that general managers that. And an owners and team president so that they're looking at a variety of ways gotten the boot this simple truth though is that. We have a great product I think sometimes packet loss in this this case began discussions just because we're looking to improve her return. Get that piece of played out. You know under that under three hours possible. Will we see at Fenway this year despite the bad that despite too cold. Is I imagine a lot of young people coming that way and an experience in baseball. And it ends a little bit of a different way there they may not be too. Sitting still. For that freed three and a half hour time period but we give them other off planes place just ago. Decree to experience that is that you can cool and different and very social when. I can't blame the eighties as a as a teenager I thought everything was still command either you know on outstanding moreover the cheapest ticket I can add that. Not a walk around the ballpark it trying to upgrade myself to better seat. We're getting kicked out there you can stack in those two days that the games one more telling now and that type of experience has a lot of fun with. Friends from high school or college and so that's the type of experience that were around the world are. It got below where you're Cisco is successful sneaker. Are very. Yeah I had I had I have ways to get get where want to Google is if it would do is it was great and yeah I'd take BO's lucky I grew up in the area can keep out here to be an impromptu. Decision and now that every game is not sold out the way we work. You know for nine years. There are tickets available he concerning an eye on those younger people don't want. Plan I I cannot now fifty year old son he doesn't want to plan anything you don't want plan would do this afternoon at all. The U he'd offer that. To our fans took one out that way on a last minute by ticket come on and her. Nine dollars or fifty dollar and forty dollars and and I have a one night or afternoon of natural that we can offer. It's in a couple more story here JD Martinez leads the league twenty home runs. I hate isn't a sort of always ask you about lies around the team but I ask you anyway which is at the minds. You tell us what you wanna strangle us whenever we do that asked that the eyes are on the red psychedelic that's or go to thanks for your. Without any displayed. Little work I'm not sure what look what this says it all the time for her or what you hear. We recognize the inquiry. It's increasing the media into the sort of like ability or the around the time he works. And these issues are we we we we want to open welcome that Iraq War and other markets even New York where. Interest level in the eve of the support for the team does not saying I was in San Diego. And even you just don't have the coverage Lou what is great about Boston weather tell us so that some pages of the broad. You're in sports this is where you want to be you know there's so there's a passionate following. From our radio partner is our television partners bloggers. There are still sports. You know what ever it is there's such a great following. And we get such great comfort so we recognize that would that comes out. What typical questions than and we understand that it goes with the territory it's. So when it comes to is JD he has for the 2018 Red Sox and we have just been. Blown away by TD by his. Approach by his professionalism. His having an incredible year I don't wanna put. Any more pressure on him many are he has been here we are. On June 7 and he's now leading the league property categories leading the Red Sox by example he's just been. The attack in addition to the team that we had hoped he would be hidden and frankly exceeding. Many people's expectations so we we feel very very fortunate that I hear it feel lucky to have. They got a couple weeks goes sandy guys that held an alumni game at the park and that we talked about this at the time that we haven't been not. On the station in little bits out Julio Lugo was in that game of course he was arrested in 2003 for domestic violence. Given today's air and the attention that are now on these issues did you guys I revisit that case before. Okaying is participation in the game. We did yeah it and tell me say this week to take matters to a domestic violence very seriously we we did involved with a number of local organizations. That combatants fight domestic violence the Red Sox and many of us personally though would then go to the front office since. It's something that what we take very seriously baseball takes very seriously. In the case of Julio Lugo. I remember I accepted it for so long term I remember. The issues and and be arrested. At the end of the day he was cleared and of the charges and he ultimately signed with a few other teams before we kind of the 2000. In Canada. So look again it's something that we we understand the legal system have to estimate their ruling deeply baseball conduct their investigation and and then. We'll follow their lead. It's something that we we did think about talk about and we've made the decision based upon. The outcome of that case in the attacks to welcome back content he was here and and only had a great time. Right city guys conducts a separate investigation for Major League Baseball like Steven Wright for example they obviously investigate do you guys do your own. Investigation or piggyback off there is how does that process work. Yeah we would piggyback offered MLB the way that there's two violence policy in place where the food law enforcement get involved and in Major League Baseball gets involved and that that's. Collectively bargain with the players. And and of course law enforcement. Expressed and it's so. Red Sox did not they get involved does food and an agent that while law enforcement but we. Support whatever. Boot to a legal system. I undertake and that we support Major League Baseball. And anyway we possibly can't and then had to follow literally. Right semi last question for you the Yankees got ESPN to bow down to that Amanda take the mop this and innate got a lead as it tries somewhere attract. Well I don't since Ronald nor did they they've bowed down hundreds I don't know do the trick necessarily it was. A lot of yeah you. It at three game you countries in two days blob blob on the. He had the simple fact it is to try and play three baseball games and 24 hours like play the Boston Red Sox outscored did the brows ski. Yours truly can't be we would've had very similar approach just given how important. Every single game is so. We have any empathy for the Yankees know I think we're being honest and would we attack an issue went in. And gone to baseball with the same request absolutely navy would have. Have a good a little bit different I'm not sure there would spend. Threats of boycotts or protests. I don't know I don't know all the facts of the case but I I do know that MLB had an idiot into the right thing. It's antennae presidency over the reds acting in a fright night Thursday night tonight Fenway Park tickets still available Sam thanks for catching up with this really appreciated. Were you out a lot. It's a thank you again for tuning into the two rats podcast episode number 24 and also Sam Kennedy red sex presents CEO thank him for spending some time with me today. As always if you wanna subscribe to the podcast please go to our page in the nineteen store two outs that is the pastor to ensure that a new edition of the program. It's downloaded into your iTunes library when it is published Osce can find us a WEEI dot com as I've said ad nauseam this not the worst human history. Did fully intend for but to be part of the show this week he will be back in a couple weeks wanna get back on and a regular schedule biweekly what we were prior to the Super Bowl. Because while it is it is pride week pride month with the goods is the perfect time to. Do they re watch it sorts that they can offer listening. Has always sleep review I iTunes store I've stars we Leavitt. And it's accurate cup weeks.
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