WEEI>On Demand>>John Henry and Larry Lucchino talk about the Red Sox September swoon

John Henry and Larry Lucchino talk about the Red Sox September swoon

Oct 7, 2011|

Red Sox owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino talks about the Red Sox collapse in 2011

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Our three Dennis and Callahan there is so much discussed about this Red Sox season just completed. And a number of pressing questions that we will get to pressing questions like the general manager like the manager as well. But with the John Henry principal owner of the Boston Red Sox are looking -- OC EO and president of Boston Red Sox thanks for much for taking some time in getting up early and you're not morning people by nature -- -- that's generally now okay. But I would like to do this I think chronological to me seems logical to back up for five weeks and sort of come forward through the course of events. And and getting up to where we are right now so without I'd like to ask you to Begin on September 3. When the Boston Red Sox were nine games. What did you think about baseball team at that point in the season. Africa. Where people writing about that point in the season that this perhaps the greatest. Red Sox team member. That was a couple of times yes we were we were assuming you're in the playoffs did you assume the same thing to do expert like you never assume. In other businesses as well generally never assume. Richard yours you're going to accomplish goals to leave. Com was there any know why this guy here is there's always have always pessimistic. Classes have full count yet worried about it. Sexism. When you you had to feel good about I mean I Terry Francona managed like He was in the playoffs. And I didn't blame on nobody did -- didn't we didn't blame them because we assume. You were all sent. Well I think that was a reasonable assumptions that point you in the lead Vivendi's where we were in the season. And statistical probabilities of what would happen I mean none of us anticipated. Collapse of of legal proportions that we -- -- we're aware of how how did you like those statistics every day. Where He says that they baseball. Baseball prospectus. 99 point 699. Even in the last week there's still one point 888 He nine. So the yeah we've there's no doubt about it we felt. Felt good about. On September 6 you know called a team meeting after fourteen nothing -- in Toronto. Were you aware of that meeting and did you know the nature of that meeting were you made me aware of it. We are not a war at least we were not a word I was not aware that at that time I certainly I learned of it much later. But. But that does not uncommon. To you can have meetings in the clubhouse are things that happen in the clubhouse that we just. On don't know about where where not. Included in the because it's a clubhouse matters now you'd think the managers -- right to speak to his team and talk to them as as He chooses. So it's not unusual that we would have known. We did we did know about the it would had a couple. It talks we knew about that we heard about. The Toronto talk. May have been after the -- -- -- specifically what He was upset about what what forced him to call meeting insane to clear the air. Well really hard to say we did because we didn't really know what the meeting itself day contemporaneously so no. No we didn't at that point -- you're going chronologically and at that point we we we are and where it. He speaks cryptically about concerns in -- couldn't reach guys and that we we don't we always discuss it and wonder and ask. What is He -- -- -- do you feel the same way or do you know when when we hear in the managers sales had concerns have guys that couldn't reach that they weren't. In it together they were concerned that you specifically know what he's talking about when you hear that. -- You know there was some. Some cryptic and -- when we met. But He remembered. We have problems over the years with certain player like Manny Ramirez was a big problem one point for the manager and but He had his back is that that's the clubhouse culture the as a manager you don't through your players under the bus you do everything He can't -- Make them productive men and keep them that way so it's. In this case. We didn't get -- leading get any information. Along those lines that at that point were you shocked that they didn't have his back that they they quit on him from what we understand. The players quit on Terry Francona the world that's the case definitely would be it's who shot. When did you first learn the players were drinking in the clubhouse and what -- you're right and wrong compass tell you about that that issue. Well. There are certain. Principles that are that are that are important. And within the clubhouse culture and I think that's that's one of them so it's not something that we think should be. Tolerated. It David there's a rule about it and it should be time. And enforced. But -- it was it was much after the fact that that point was -- was brought to our attention. And we're still trying to dig in to find out how pervasive -- was how expensive it was. And and not strategist. Is superficially concluded it was a a major factor in anything. John specifically what what what lost what game what incident. Made you realize that the Titanic had hit an iceberg in your start to take on water. Well it was we we didn't just hit an iceberg. Every day -- Wii well what seven and twenties as a team that was going to one in seven and suddenly. Went seven and twenty but so is throughout that process that we began to. -- wonder. If you know why is this team breaking down this is. This is second straight year that on August 1 we looked great. And look like we are headed for. You know potential World Series. And second straight year that the team broke down physically. I haven't heard. -- reading someone what what the media have been saying and I heard enough about. That that was that was the concern started at some point during that decline the biggest concern we have who has. We were just not doing well physically. It was the first kind of tipoff. We -- we were surprised that the drink extort when we heard that we read that. We weren't in all made sense because we -- our guys -- in shape Josh Beckett didn't look like He was in shape did that bother you do you think that's. A factor in the decline that these guys just weren't in in conditioned to go the long ball. It's certainly an issue with that important to us physical conditioning and we have got -- that's another one of the issues that we're looking into examining -- our responsibilities try to right the ship. I'd give the fans what we promised when we got here which was a team worthy of their support. And we're gonna do that so we're gonna look into the into the -- conditioning issue I think. Exception to a point to any individual wanted to talk about in individual in particular. But I will talk about the general notion that that our team has to be in first class physical condition and as John said the last couple years we have seen -- yet. Dramatic and decline at the end of the season. And that is one of myriad issues that we have to look at what's -- force. -- the question what's your opinion of fat pitchers from. You're I don't all the guys. I mean did you always look at whatever Terry forced her or -- it's illegal actions say. That's no problem I mean he's a pitcher. You know position players Camby like epic and pitchers that you have few fat pitches this year. Yeah I. The day before yesterday I spoke. With a couple of our medical people and trainers so forth just to try to get an idea of and we're still early in this process that's on the reasons has been a lot to say because it's you don't wanna go off half cocked its. Because one person's that's -- talking if you people one thing I did. This -- I've been established. Is that the pitchers did their work. They were they did their cardiovascular. There is good this organization is good as any in baseball. I'm told at doing their work and what is what is there were cardiovascular. Shoulder exercise very important very important mean that we we we we have very little in the way news organization. Of shoulder problems compared to other. Other clubs and they did their leg work and that and some of the people including imprison you mentioned. You know our. What's the word yeah they're adamant they -- That's what they do and they and they don't short those responsibilities. Will Wear their nutritional issues which was another question yes I I believe there were nutritionally issues. There's issues. One of the things we've learned in. Getting involved -- With English football is they have sports science and that the science of fitness. It is very advanced among football teams. Around the world at least top football games so we've learned a lot just recently -- our people within their rights of I've learned a lot I think that. It is much more we can do with that but that to me the most important thing is that. This is the third time in six years and certainly this second straight year in which great team. Just couldn't make it through -- 162 games physically and it wasn't just one -- to play there -- we were. We were really banged -- we were really struggling to put. Healthy players on the field and that's. In every team has to be able to make it through -- 162 games two years in a -- we didn't do it. Terry Francona said that as. September began to spiral out of control and you could never fault I don't win with a second -- you did not win back to back games. He never received any encouragement from ownership. You so that was curious to you John did He receive any encouragement from you and if not why not. I don't engage in encouragement. My way of encouraging the be in the manager. Is generally if we win I'll go down and sale. My experience over the years is they really don't want. It they don't really want a lot of interaction from from our level win. Things aren't going well but every once while I will send over the last three years I would -- Terry. Any email and and a and basically say you re doing great job war. Which -- did this year or. You know will know we're gonna be fine I mean I'm probably the person inside. Now among commonly area in the onkyo. Among all of -- I'm pros persons most offices will be fine Rahman's we were fine. -- I -- we did make an effort to as things were. Were were were proceeding in the wrong direction in September. Certainly room made an effort before games I would get down on the field. And try not patent and certainly not pep talks with just attitude to engage is some conversations shows that. That we were we are in this in this together and try to be as as comfortable as as -- could around players and coaches. We are we are nobody's here we're just lowly talk show host and yet we spend hours saying why is Jed Lowrie hitting cleanup why is Ryan the runway. Protecting. Adrian Gonzales thank you you're desert you fancy yourself baseball guys you know theory you can pay attention -- We want to hundreds do you two games went when Chad -- and cleanup you just say it to the person next to you in the in the boxer and you see a -- sent to the manager and asked you know I'm not saying you kick the door -- -- You say Terry how has channel howry and clean. Now because I'm for better for worse I've always been a chain of command guy we have we have guys that that's the -- that's the nose job you now. I will say -- feel why are we doing addicts and you'll either have a good answer or He may go to Terry but I didn't go to Terry and second guess and he's you. During the offseason I might say you know -- During this offseason at one point we had. Was -- lunch or dinner breakfast as we wanted to and I don't remember I -- -- -- -- your place but we are substantive discussion. Larry and you and I about. It you know the last couple years. I'm David Ortiz was hitting -- So I was sort of that's the timing what you might look and I -- it's. When we have to be careful. You know with David lefties and and his response was well. You know let's see how it starts the year and what happened He was He had He was better against lefties this year than it was against right. So that that's the time I think where you know you have these types of discussions you know and when things are going gonna we gonna answer why is -- You metal amid current owner of metal -- my house I would I would say it's my team -- -- -- the manager question if I want to be Jerry Jones has been surprised. They don't address this I know it and medal yet but you John -- -- cities of the Madeleine. Now I'm in who what would you use absolutely not. Other general discussions about that larger concepts that take place but we have a rule. And that is we don't talk to our question. The man jury in general manager. The night something happens you know -- flowery -- fourth seniority example. They won't be a whole set of our conversations with -- Francona after the game or before the game or at any point to say. Why did you do this. If something like that happens -- and and we went in if we have a question about it we'd led at least a day or two passed before we we talk about it through the avoid the kind of I'm David -- yen micromanaging of of the of lineups that I think would be really troublesome to many managers. And his departure Terry has steadfastly. Fall on the sword and taken the blame said I -- I lost some I couldn't get to -- could make them do what I needed to do. Ownership says Francona chose to walk away and get two days ago on the station. -- kind of amended that said He would have state had you picked up his option He would have been agreeable the staying. Why didn't she was that I was that a possibility to pick up the option. It was certainly something that we what we week we considered during the course of the year -- -- -- go back step. And and understand the contract arrangement we have with with -- Which was that we give -- a long term deal and we knew we agree done that we would not talk about options until the end of the I guess it was the fourth year 0891011. And and we Wheatley we send it to be a ten day period the first order of business after the season will be to talk about options. But we don't want to just distraction of that happening during the year. And so because we had in no way -- -- first part of the 08 season was all about contracts -- in his situation dealing with agents and that. I think He understood and we understood that it was not something that was gonna happen during the course of the season in -- to his credit He never came to us early. And sit -- what do you think about my option and his agent never called us and there were never any discussions we always anticipated that discussion would take place. As understood last the first ten days to be first order of business in the offseason. Tito eventually admitted John that the divorce was probably a mutual decision or statement. Well we didn't do we really didn't get a chance to make it mutual -- it you know. Thinking about it would we event that up in the same place that He ended up. Based on the things that we heard things that we -- its use of a strong likelihood that we mode so. You could say news. Mutual but. The actual the way it took place. In my mind was. Really mutual way -- well we had to -- the conversation. About and again that. That first day after the season we sat for an hour and half two hours talking about the season. And and we as -- went through challenge after challenge him in various reasons for the breakdown. We weeks to the end and talked to Tito when He was ready for this challenge given them all the challenges He would enumerated. And He made that clear to us He wasn't east of where resources to something like. You need a new -- done there I'm not I'm not I'm not your man that for next year I really don't think this is. I think it's my time period is up on some ways. ETE took that the position. And and that is very determinative factor when that when your manager feel spent their feels like -- needs to be changed. He did a fantastic job for us over the over the years but remember He was He was contemplating his ninth year in this pressure cooker that is Boston. And -- And different teams require different skill sets are different talents and and I think He needed a self assessment. With with which we concurred. That and to that extent it was it was mutual and out of the phrase mutual does fit. But done. It was still a sad occasion and nonetheless there was no joy that day we we had him. Myriad of problems identified forest and and a manager who suggested. In pretty clear terms that that we should we -- and it. Longoria is ball doesn't go out of palpable -- -- that say if he's still here right. We wouldn't you think He would -- they were speculating now on how He would fail. If you made the playoffs. -- mean you could still be plain. Well right oh what you're saying they still be there today He will be -- He has really got an option and be back next year. If if not for the historic September. I'm not sure Uncle Sam process would unfold really yeah I think we sit down as planned the first ten days first order of business after the season sit down and talk. And find out it takes two to tango you know and again going retirement in nineteen years -- like this second law and longest. Duration of from for a manager and and Red Sox history under ten years. And you have to find out that. If the if the manager is is still ready for the idea for the challenges that you the last nine years here right now but I'm not George Gardner Washington after one this stranger things and I know -- masters not -- strong -- count and but this I can't He can't hear this we just finished ten years. Really -- really take a brief timeout when we come back we will pose the question that everybody in Red Sox Nation is dying to hear it is of course about the future of Theo Epstein the general manager here in Boston -- -- --

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