Bob Lobel: Why Larry Lucchino is the Best Part of Red Sox Management
Saturday, August 11, 2012
To many it is a name that is the target of all their Red Sox angst. That's what he's paid to do; take the bullet for one and all in the franchise. He is not an owner, he is simply the guy Bud Selig picked to bring this Red Sox ownership together to make a successful bid for the team and NESN to turn things around.
We know he made that happen, we know the history of the last decade. We know about the gorilla suit, the titles, the bloody sock, the near miss on A-Rod, the incredible drama behind the scenes, Janet Marie Smith changing the face of the stadium without losing its charm and Tito and Theo leaving town.
Now we have the entry of Bobby Valentine to the mix, and somewhere behind all of this madness has been Larry. He is the boss, the power behind the throne. There is no doubt in my mind that, whatever anyone thinks of him, if Larry wasn't there this would spin even further out of control.
Lucchino is a two-time cancer survivor, a lawyer from Pittsburgh that cut his teeth with the legendary Edward Bennett William of the Washington Redskins. He is also responsible for Camden Yards in Baltimore and Petco Park out in San Diego. He was the man with the vision for the new Fenway, that it should never exceed a 40,000 person capacity, keeping it a park and not a stadium.
He also brought an intern named Theo Epstein into the picture out in San Diego, only to have his pupil turn on him in the gorilla suit power play that resulted in Theo getting all the baseball responsibilities and Larry being blocked out of that avenue. Despite this, Lucchino stayed and continued taking bullets for John Henry and Tom Werner.
Then the expansion of the Fenway Sports Group began, leading to NASCAR and soccer joining baseball. Werner took responsibility for NESN, and is now more active in their Liverpool soccer club in England. Henry has divorced and remarried to start a new family. Meanwhile, Larry is still there.
If he left now, this all spins out of control even further. He is a tough guy that hires good people to surround him. Obviously, I'm a Lucchino guy. Always have been. His only misstep I can remember is putting out that sappy letter to fans and season ticket holders. It was regrettable as a PR move, but what's done is done.
My point is that he has become the target of many, I think unfairly. His favorite phrase is "it's not my first rodeo," and this won't be his last.
One final point, and I know I've been driving this home a bunch. Penn State is filing an apeal with the NCAA, and I think a just one. The NCAA had no right to levy the punishments against Penn State that they did. They simply used the Freeh Report as evidence instead of launching their own investigation.
This thing is far from over, and could involve civil action from the University against the NCAA. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
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