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Lucchino says fans' passion fuels club

Lucchino says fans' passion fuels franchise

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino chatted online with Red Sox Nation on Thursday. He discussed Boston's recent skid, the rivalry with the Yankees, revenue sharing and player development with Red Sox faithful.

mlbrian2: Every year, the Red Sox improve Fenway Park, the greatest ballpark in the world. Can we expect any more changes this offseason?

Larry Lucchino: Yes, you can expect more changes to Fenway Park. We have a master plan that calls for improvements to Fenway Park up through the 100th anniversary of Fenway in 2012.

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afgs: I understand that you were also the president/CEO of the Orioles and the Padres. What are the differences of working in those two places and Boston?

Lucchino: My experiences as president/CEO of the Orioles and the Padres were great preparation for the Red Sox. The market here is larger, more intense, more passionate than elsewhere, so I and our entire front office have had to ratchet up our efforts, energy and imagination to adjust to the demands of Boston. I love this city and region and hope that this is the last move I will make in baseball.

Base_Ball: What moment in your career makes you most proud?

Lucchino: I've been fortunate to be part of a winner in Baltimore, to help to design and build Camden Yards, to win in San Diego and design a great ballpark for that city, but nothing tops winning in Boston after 86 years. The only thing that might would be to win again in Boston in the very near future.

afgs: How do you get along with John Henry, Tom Werner and other members of the Red Sox organization?

Lucchino: We are fortunate to have a very experienced front office. John, Tom and I have over 40 years of experience collectively in running baseball teams. More importantly, we have a great friendship and a comfortable working relationship. The entire front office thinks of itself as a team dependent on each other for the success of the franchise. We debate and disagree from time to time, but that is inevitable and healthy. The larger ownership group is also composed of very competitive, very passionate Red Sox fans. We're lucky to have the ownership structure we do.

kevincmlb: Tough loss last night. What are the challenges of the clubs in smaller markets, like Kansas City and Pittsburgh, that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees don't have to deal with? Are these problems the Evil Empire's fault?

Lucchino: Smaller markets obviously have somewhat less revenue to deploy, however, the dramatic, historical increases in revenue sharing in recent years have helped those markets considerably. There is a challenge throughout baseball to increase revenue and to increase efficiency of how well you use those revenues, but I think under Commissioner Selig we have made great strides in improving the competitive balance in baseball. The last time I looked, there were 15-20 teams who still consider themselves in the hunt for October baseball.

phantom03: Are the Red Sox still actively looking for help via the trade market or is the plan to stand pat?

Lucchino: We are certainly looking for help from among those players who will clear waivers in August. We have until Aug. 31 to make such deals and to construct the postseason roster available to us, should we qualify. We also expect some help more directly from players returning from injuries including Keith Foulke, Doug Mirabelli, Tim Wakefield, Trot Nixon and eventually Jason Varitek.

renteriafan91: How are the Red Sox dealing with the three-game losing streak to teams that are in last place in their divisions?

Lucchino: We are all disappointed and frustrated with the recent losses. Still, we recognize that team slumps are a part of the cycle of the season. I remember that we won the World Series in Baltimore in 1983 despite two depressing seven-game losing streaks. We also had an extended one, as you may remember, in 2004. We will keep the faith!

wmphimu: Mr. Lucchino, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Did you read Feeding the Monster? Did you think it was an accurate portrayal of the Sox and the 2003-05 seasons?

Lucchino: I did read Feeding the Monster. I think it was one man's portrayal of life behind the scenes. Like all such publications, it has its strengths and weaknesses, its accuracies and inaccuracies.

krickeys: Coke or Pepsi?

Lucchino: The Red Sox have been a team sponsored by Coca Cola for 80 plus years, therefore, I say Coke.

ncsoxguy: Being Red Sox CEO, is there a feeling of rivalry with your counterparts in the Yankees organization? What is your relationship?

Lucchino: Being a member of Red Sox Nation, I always feel a keen sense of rivalry with the Yankees, but not to the point that we disregard the threat posted by other teams in our division and our league. Still, there is no rivalry in sport to rival the Red Sox/Yankees dynamic. Still we are able to work with and have respect for our counterparts in the Yankees organization despite our keen feelings and competitiveness on the playing field. We will never have the Yankees market; we will never function in the same way as the Yankees, so I say, long live the rivalry with the Evil Empire.

yovas154: In the near future, are we going to use our farm system more then we have in the past? It seems we have the talent to do so.

Lucchino: The key to any successful baseball franchise over time is a solid, productive Minor League system. You need to draft your own, sign your own, grow your own and keep your own. We devote millions of dollars more to this endeavor than our predecessors and more than most other clubs in baseball. This is the not-so-secret secret of longterm competitive success of a baseball franchise. Everyone talks that talk. I think, if you follow the money, you will see that we are walking the walk with respect to scouting and player development.

krickeys: What issue in Major League Baseball would you most like to see addressed or solved?

Lucchino: Baseball, like any sport, or any business for that matter, will always have its share of issues, problems, challenges. Baseball has confronted the steroid challenge and we are all hopeful that scourge will soon be entirely behind us. The competitive balance crisis over the last decade has been dramatically improved. Collaborative relations with the Players Association is always an important issue.

debbiede: Can you do another Red Sox Nation lottery for Red Sox vs. Yankee tickets? We all love to see our guys beat those Yankees!

Lucchino: We hope to be able to bring back more ticket preferences for members and/or citizens of Red Sox Nation next year. Your loyalty, energy and passion fuel this franchise and inspire our players. You deserve special benefits and privileges.

Lucchino: I think our time is almost up and I need to go back to the salt mines. Thank you for your loyal support, your provocative questions and your inspiration. We want to win passionately, and we want to win passionately for ourselves and our players, but most importantly for Red Sox Nation. See you next time.

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