BOSTON (CBS) — It is time for the Red Sox to find a new president.
Larry Lucchino is simply the wrong man to be the face of Sox ownership at this time of the storied franchise’s history.
Today’s press conference was the latest example of how massive the chasm has grown between the man that “runs the Red Sox” and the fans that support the team he leads.
Some highlights of his 20-minute question-and-answer session with the Boston media are included here.
Larry stated that the “sellout streak” will likely end at the second home game of the season, and he added that it would be a good thing to start new.
Let me get this straight. The man has perpetuated this nonsense for over two years, and now he says that it is a good thing for it to reach its conclusion? Absurd.
Larry said that the Sox are a scrappy underdog with great upside to contend.
The fans of said team will be glad to pay the highest average ticket price in baseball in order to view a collection of scrappy underdogs 81 times this summer.
Larry also said that the team has the disadvantage of playing in the 22nd largest TV market in baseball.
Well, Larry that would be incorrect. According to Nielsen, Boston is the seventh largest media market in the USA.
I say all of that to say this: The Sox do not need to be sold to change the culture. They need a new leader.
On June 16, 2010, the Boston Bruins named Cam Neely as president, replacing Jeremy Jacobs’ right-hand man, Harry Sinden, a man fans grew to view as a mouthpiece for a owner widely hated. The team knew it had an issue connecting (instead of relating) to its die-hard fans and they acted by bringing in a man that fans could relate to.
At that press conference, Charlie Jacobs said of Cam, “His knowledge of the game, his understanding of what it takes to win and his passion for the fans of New England will help guide our organization and our approach to all matters both on and off the ice.”
Passion and winning — two ingredients that defined Cam Neely the player and were easily seen with Cam Neely the president.
We can all remember the scenes of Cam high-fiving and jumping up and down on the ninth floor at the Garden on the night hockey returned to Boston in Game 6 against the Canadiens in 2008. Years of discontent with the business-oriented Jeremey Jacobs leading the team were forgiven as B’s die-hards had someone whom they could trust to ensure on-ice performance would be paramount.
That same transformation needs to occur inside the walls of 4 Yawkey Way.
The Sox do not need to be sold. John Henry has done everything fans could ask for from an owner. He has spent and hired others to run the team. He just needs to achieve the incredibly difficult task of finding the Red Sox version of Cam Neely.
And then hand Larry’s keys to him.