“So I think there was a kind of a deviation from that somewhere along the way.”
But it’s not just on-base percentage that will be different in 2013. This offseason, the Red Sox added players who could improve the clubhouse culture from the toxic atmosphere that had permeated it since the September 2011 collapse. It’s early, but so far, camp has been a drama-free.
“That’s always important,” Lucchino said. “The side stories, the side shows, and the injuries are not directly related to the talent you have, but they can both be major factors in how successful you will be.”
Of course, manager John Farrell, the team’s pitching coach in 2007-10, will further cultivate the culture change, both here and when the team gets back to Boston.
“I like a lot about him,” Lucchino said. “We spent some time together in the offseason and I remember him from his time here before, of course. He commands respect. He also has a skill set that’s particularly important to the success of this team.”
Asked if there was one deal he regretted the team not making this offseason, Lucchino mentioned Cody Ross. The outfielder spent just one season with the Red Sox but seemed to adapt to the demanding marketplace seamlessly. Ross also had a near-perfect swing for Fenway Park, hitting .298 with 13 home runs, 49 RBIs, a .356 on-base percentage, and a .565 slugging percentage in 66 home games. But Boston let Ross slip away in free agency to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who gave him a three-year, $26 million contract.
The Red Sox will also see some changes off the field, as well. One is the vaunted home sellout streak which dates to May 15, 2003. Some have claimed the streak has been rigged. There were several games during the 2012 season when an official sellout was announced although scores of empty seats were visible throughout Fenway Park. Lucchino said he expects the 793-game streak to fall in April, possibly as early as the second game of the season — April 10 against the Orioles — and defended the streak’s length along the way.