By Kevin Koczwara
Larry Lucchino is the president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, and he’s part of the ownership group that makes up The Fenway Sports Group, which owns not only the Red Sox but also Liverpool FC, Roush Racing and NESN. Lucchino has never wavered from his support of the Red Sox or his love of baseball. He hasn’t had too much to say in regards to the ownership groups other properties, namely Liverpool. He’s always been front and center with all of the ownership team’s baseball operations, so when he came out today and told Boston.com readers that the Red Sox were front and center for principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner it was of little surprise in Boston.
But it could be read the wrong way with Liverpool sitting mid-table in the Premier League and its manager struggling with a thin squad.
A commenter asked in a Boston.com live-chat, “Larry – it appears that ownership is distracted by its other enterprises – e.g.,” and Lucchino responded, “John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] have made a fundamental commitment to the Red Sox 11 years ago. During that time, they have been engaged in some other activities, but nothing has been as central to them as the success of the Boston Red Sox. They are both passionately committed to winning and determined to get the Red Sox back to our rightful place in the American League.”
When asked to clarify the comment, a Red Sox and FSG spokesperson said, “That comment is talking about the 11 year ownership of the Red Sox. In that long stretch the Red Sox have been the central issue.”
Lucchino is a baseball man. He worked he way up the chain of command and eventually found himself in charge of the Baltimore Orioles and then the San Diego Padres before joining the Red Sox. It makes sense that Lucchino said the ownership’s No1 priority is the Red Sox because he was talking to a Boston fan base, and he’s the man behind the Red Sox’s major operations, and The Red Sox suffered its worst season since 1966 when the team last lost 90-plus games — this was the first season since 1997 the team had a losing record. He had to make amends and tell the public this ownership group still wants to invest in the team.
Lucchino hasn’t weighed in much about Liverpool, if at all, since FSG bought the team from Tom Hicks and George Gillette and absolved the club of its massive debt and made an initial investment in the squad in the summer of 2011 (Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing were not cheap or free, sadly). It’s no surprise that he does favor the Red Sox, and that he was talking to a Boston readership, which can be as rabid as any, makes it even less surprising that he said the Red Sox were the ownerships top-priority.
“Absolutely not. Next question,” said Lucchino.
And he did say the Red Sox were looking to spend money if it could improve the team over the short and long-term.
“You can be assured that we intend to write some big checks if it helps the team in the short and long-term,” said Lucchino.
Liverpool fans will be watching what the Red Sox do this baseball offseason with the winter transfer window getting closer and reinforcements desperately needed. Lucchino hasn’t had much to say, but Red Sox and Liverpool fans are both chomping to see their teams improved anyway necessary after disappointing investments in players over the past few seasons (Carl Crawford, Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing to name a few). Brendan Rodgers seems unsure in his latest comments if he will get any money for transfers, but if Liverpool is really important to the Red Sox owners, which is coming into question, he will be hoping to write some big checks of his own.
Chris Boulay contributed to this story.