BOSTON – Anytime you can hear the State of the Red Sox from a member of ownership, it’s always interesting.
Team president and CEO Larry Lucchino was awarded with the Fuchs Award for meritorious service to baseball by the Boston Baseball Writers at the annual dinner Thursday night. He addressed the club’s offseason acquisitions, renovations to Fenway Park and the upcoming season.
“I’m a really anxious,” Lucchino said. “By the end of last season, I think I was as tired as any of our fans or players, just being frustrated and all that. All it took was a few months away from it and a few big offseason acquisitions and all of a sudden, I can’t wait [until spring training] to get going.”
Lucchino, along with owner John Henry, had to sign off on the Sox’s offseason acquisitions by general manager Theo Epstein. Getting both Adrian Gonzalez via trade and signing free-agent Carl Crawford were no-brainers.
“I’m very excited about those two players because of their age and how they’re going to be part of the Red Sox, not just for 2011, but for years to come," Lucchino said. "Also, seeing healthy guys like [Dustin] Pedroia, [Tim] Wakefield, [Jason] Varitek, [Jacoby] Ellsbury and [Kevin] Youkilis, it’s going to be a very exciting time.”
There were also plans to move in the right-field wall in front of the bullpens but that proposal has been tabled until 2012, said Lucchino. Fenway Park is in the midst of renovations, including the addition of three new video boards.
“We made a lot of proposals with changes this offseason. A ton of them have been approved and are under way," Lucchino said. "We’ve got about $40 million worth of work under way. This one [moving the right-field wall] did not pass muster and we’re going to re-examine and see if we can come up with some alternative plans that might give us a chance to have a more safer and more competitive bullpen facility.
“It’s down the road somewhere. We have enough to do this year, believe me. Our fans are going to be pleasantly surprised when they come to the ballpark and see the three video boards in center field and the improvements with the access and mobility around the ballpark, the new seats down the right-field line. It’s going to be a full offseason when it comes to the construction work.”
Lucchino also said the Red Sox will go back in time a bit and use an old slogan to describe the 2011 season: “These are exciting times: You gotta be there.”
“These are exciting times,” Lucchino said.