Red Sox President Larry Lucchino and the art of saying nothing

larry lucchinoIs there any point in giving an interview and not saying anything? Politicians and executives do this all the time. It means things are going poorly but there is no plan to fix them. Ask Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino.

Despite their massive payroll, the Red Sox are in last place for the third time in four years. They’ve committed hundreds of millions of dollars to position players Hanley Ramirez (the worst fielder in the major leagues), Rusney Castillo (currently toiling in the minor leagues), and Pablo Sandoval. The starting pitchers, secure with long-term deals, vary from inconsistent to awful.

Larry Lucchino presides over all of this. The intrepid Dan Shaughnessy, a 30-year veteran sportswriter, asked him the right questions in his interview. But even if there is a plan to fix this mess, which I doubt, it’s not Lucchino’s best interest to reveal it. So we get Lucchino’s dull cliches. When you read a statement whose opposite could never be true, its content is null.

The success of baseball teams is determined by pitching and overall balance. I still remain hopeful that the pitching staff will perform to expectations. [It’s so great to learn that we need both pitchers and hitters. And it’s gratifying that you haven’t given up yet, even if the fans have.]

I think it’s far too early to question [the value of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval] definitively. Those are long-term deals. [So we need to wait longer to prove they’re a bust?]

[Regarding the $72 million signing of Rusney Castillo] As a Zen master, I would say, ‘We’ll see.’

I think the team is going to finish strong and is going to provide some entertaining, competitive baseball for fans this summer. . . . I’m still holding on to the belief that this team can perform and will perform better as we go forward. [Translation: please keep buying tickets. Please.]

“This may surprise you, but I tend to agree enthusiastically with [team owner] John Henry [that general manager Ben Cherington will be here a for a long time]. . . . [Will John Farrell will be manager of this team all year?] “I believe so. Absolutely.”

When you read any statement by an executive, ask if the opposite could ever be true. If not, ignore it. And if you’re an executive giving these quotes, at least try to be entertaining.

Look, I’ve suffered enough. I took things into my own hands. I’ve drugged Lucchino and forced him to tell the truth. Finally we’ll get to hear what’s really going on. Excerpts below:

I only did the Shaughnessy interview because things looked so bad. I had to say something, but I had nothing to say.

Yeah, I might have to fire somebody. But there’s no penalty in pretending their jobs are secure until the minute I actually fire them.

We won’t know just how bad the Sandoval, Ramirez, and Castillo signings are for years. The fun part about baseball is that nobody knows what will happen. That’s why it’s so entertaining when a fly ball heads toward Hanley in left field.

Nobody makes trades until the end of July, just before the trading deadline. Anything I say now will only make our guys seem less valuable and make us seem more desperate.

Massachusetts now has casino gambling, but I don’t need that for a thrill. I sign pitchers instead. You gives ’em your money and you takes your chances.

I’m bored with this baseball stuff. We won three World Series, who cares. I think I’ll go work on the Boston Olympics plan. Now that’s a challenge worthy of my talents. 

In the meantime, just as at Twitter, everything is awesome.

Graphic: WCVB TV

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