FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sam Kennedy grew up a couple of miles from Fenway Park and is entering the second season of his dream job -- president of the Red Sox.But Kennedy has been a vital part of his hometown team since coming to the franchise in 2002.So, on Presidents
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sam Kennedy grew up a couple of miles from Fenway Park and is entering the second season of his dream job -- president of the Red Sox.
But Kennedy has been a vital part of his hometown team since coming to the franchise in 2002.
So, on Presidents Day, who better than Kennedy to discuss the three core messages he'd like to deliver to Red Sox fans?
"First and foremost, our hope is to win baseball games and play baseball games in October and field a team that is worthy of the fans' support from wire to wire. That's always the goal in Boston since we arrived in 2002, and there's a particular focus this year as you heard from John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] recently on winning a fourth World Series ring. That is the hope. We recognize how difficult it is, but that's the commitment and really the number one commitment this year.
"Sometimes you get concerned by really high expectations, but one of the things John Farrell said in his message to the team was to just embrace the high expectations and embrace the fact that we do have a team that we feel is built to compete in October. Don't shy away from it. Just embrace it and be proud of that. It's hard when the eyes of the baseball world are on you each and every day, but we want to get back to October. I think last year was a great year -- a great rebound year. It just ended too early. Hopefully we'll take that next step in October.
"The second thing is really the focus on Fenway and the experience that our fans have when they come to Fenway. We've made a massive investment, a financial investment, into the ballpark thanks to the Henry-Werner-Lucchino administration. We have $300 million-plus, and we're still investing. We're investing about $10 million this offseason for next year so we can continue to invest financially, but more importantly, investing in the people that work there in creating a warm, friendly, hospitable, welcoming and inclusive environment.
"We want everyone to feel welcome at Fenway and make sure our fans feel safe and have a really good experience when they come to Fenway Park, because there's nothing better than a good product on the field, but that also needs to be accompanied by a good product off the field, a good experience when our fans come in, so that's what we spend a lot of our time focusing on.
"Third is particularly important to me and to all of the 300-plus people in our front office, and it's really a fundamental goal for 2017 and just trying to build off what we did last year. That's connecting younger fans to baseball and making sure that Fenway Park is affordable and accessible. For any of us who grew up in and around Boston or New England, I firmly believe you fall in love with the Red Sox the minute you have a chance to experience Fenway Park.
"So we need to make sure that fans, especially younger fans, can get to Fenway. The way to do that is to provide accessibility, and we've got this $9 season ticket program which we really want to promote and provide access. You can come up to the ticket office the day of the game, and if you're a middle school student, a high school student, a college student, you can show your ID and you may get a standing room ticket or you may get a field box ticket, but you can get in for nine bucks on the day of the game.
"We really want to encourage young fans to come to Fenway Park. We're excited about the initiatives that are happening with Major League Baseball and being able to consume our games on NESN and your mobile device. We're working hard on that to allow people to watch games on their mobile devices. It's really important that we make that a priority because we can't lose that next generation of fans. Reaching out to that younger generation of fans is really, really a priority for us."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.