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Volume 24 No. 117
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Beasts Of The AL East: Lucchino, Levine Trade Barbs Over Big Spending Ways

Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino this weekend "was pleased to note the contrast between how the Sox built their roster as opposed to the Yankees," according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Lucchino said, "We’re very different animals. I’m proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together, other baseball teams sometimes do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankee style of high-priced, long-term free agents. I can’t say I wish them well, but I think we have taken a different approach" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/22). In Boston, John Tomase wrote Lucchino is not "above taking a mild shot at his big-spending rival to the south." This shot "took the form of a philosophical comparison between the team-building approach of the Red Sox vs. that of the Yankees, who returned to their profligate ways this winter." Lucchino: "If you compare what we did last year in the offseason to what they did this year, there’s quite a contrast there" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/22). Yankees President Randy Levine said, "I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees. But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series, but I’m confident [Yankees GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi] and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year." In N.Y., Mark Feinsand wrote the "sparks were flying again" between Lucchino and Levine, "setting up what could be a fireworks-filled season between" the two teams. (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/22). ESPN BOSTON's Joe McDonald wrote it "wouldn't be spring training" without Lucchino "taking a shot" at the Yankees (, 2/21).

MY NAME IS LARRY: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy wrote Lucchino on Friday was "relaxed, happy and still jabbing his nemesis." Shaughnessy: "This is why you should be thankful for Larry. He’s been a handy target through the years." Without Lucchino, "the vaunted" Fenway Sports Group "could have splintered and drowned long ago." Meanwhile, Lucchino said of the potential that he would succeed MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, "Some would say that based on my personality I’m a polarizing figure. I’ve been in the game a long time and made a lot of friends that I value and a number of enemies along the way." Lucchino acknowledged that he "wouldn't get the support of every big league team" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/22). The BOSTON HERALD's Tomase reported Lucchino "laughed at suggestions he could be the game’s next commissioner." Lucchino: "I don’t want to go anywhere else, not that I would be anybody’s first choice anyway. ... I don’t think it’s a position that’s right for me. I have a position that I really want to finish my career in right here" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/22).

TO THE VIDEO TAPE! The BOSTON GLOBE's Abraham noted Lucchino praised MLB "for adding more instant replay," and now he "hopes the pace of the game will be improved." He said, "That’s kind of -- and I don’t want to be overly dramatic here -- but kind of a dagger pointed at the heart of baseball and we can’t afford to avert our eyes from it." The commissioner’s office "has asked some teams, including the Red Sox, to come up with ideas to increase the pace of play." Lucchino "mentioned enforcing the rule-book definition of the strike zone as one method." He said, "The game is a beautiful game. The randomness, the dailiness, the unpredictability of it makes it such a great game. Its history makes it a great game. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t change a few rules here and there every once in a while without it being such a dangerous road to hoe" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/22).

FENWAY FRANKS: In Boston, Donna Goodison reported the Red Sox are "seeking city approval for a takeout concession on Lansdowne Street" that would be open during non-ballpark hours. Red Sox Corporate Communications Dir Zineb Curran said that there "are no formal plans yet in terms of what kind of food would be sold" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/22). Meanwhile, the HERALD's Steve Buckley wrote if the Red Sox are "ever going to get a new ballpark," FSG execs are the "guys you should want to build it." But "instead, we get a collective shrug of the shoulders" from John Henry, Tom Werner and Lucchino and their "shared observation that a new Fenway will be a project of the owners of tomorrow" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/23).