12/08/2003 5:17 PM ET
Red Sox to unveil academy in D.R.
BOSTON -- In their continuing quest to become what general manager Theo Epstein refers to as "a scouting and player development machine," the Red Sox will open a $3 million baseball academy Tuesday in the Dominican Republic.
|By Ian Browne / MLB.com
The unveiling of this 30-acre academy in El Toro, Dominican Republic, is another clear demonstration that the Red Sox are committed to becoming a force in the development of international players.
Epstein, principal owner John W. Henry, club president/CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner are all big believers in the value of constructing a strong team not just now, but for years to come.
Thanks to this step, the Sox will be able to maximize their development in the Dominican Republic, a nation which has produced some of the game's biggest stars in recent years, including Boston ace Pedro Martinez and Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.
In fact, Martinez and Sox DH David Ortiz will be on hand to open the academy Tuesday, along with Henry, Epstein, international scouting director Louie Eljaua and other club officials.
The Red Sox will join the Dodgers, Angels and Athletics as the only Major League teams to own and operate a Dominican baseball academy.
It has been a long and ultimately rewarding road for Henry, who initially began this project while he was still the owner of the Florida Marlins. He continued to pursue it after taking ownership reins with the Red Sox on Feb. 27, 2002.
"To nurture an idea for so long through so many twists and turns and see it through to completion is so rewarding," Henry said. "The Boston Red Sox recognize, and with this academy hope to nurture, the special relationship Major League Baseball has with the people of the Dominican Republic. In addition to this long-term investment, the Red Sox hope to work closely in the future to assist great Red Sox players like Pedro and David in their efforts to have a meaningful impact at home."
When you combine the signing of Latin American prospects and the building of this academy, the current Red Sox ownership has invested nearly $6 million in 22 months.
"We are searching the world in our scouting and player development efforts," said Lucchino, "And we are giving strong emphasis to Latin America and its bounty of baseball passion and talent. This academy, this country, and this commitment symbolize our international efforts to provide a team that wins year-in and year-out for Red Sox Nation."
The Dominican academies are used to train, teach and reinforce to players the fundamentals of baseball, and through tools such as English classes, the players get help preparing for the culture change of moving to the United States.
The Red Sox are building a niche in the Dominican, something that could pay large dividends in the future of the franchise.
"With Pedro, Manny [Ramirez] and David Ortiz, we are one of the most popular Major League teams on the island," Eljaua said. "This effort benefits us in two ways. It helps us develop Latin American talent, and it's an attraction to Latin American players. Players know that we will develop them, house them, and educate them."
The academy includes two full fields and three batting cages. The dormitory houses up to 65 players.
"It demonstrates our focused efforts in player development and scouting, which complement the aggressive activity you're seeing at the Major League level," said Charles Steinberg, executive vice president/public affairs for the Red Sox. "It would be a mistake to think that all of our efforts are to build a team for 2004 at expense of the future. This [academy] illustrates a commitment to the future."
It is also an illustration to the grass roots approach the Red Sox are taking in their international scouting and development.
"You should give to a country and not just take its talented player and wait for those players to get back to the [United States]," Steinberg said. "In establishing the academy, you are establishing a nurturing vehicle in the Dominican, as well as a chance for the club to see the talent that the kids have."
The fact that Epstein -- amid his busiest days of the Hot Stove season -- is taking the time to go open the academy speaks volumes in his commitment to player development.
And no, he is not making the trip to hammer out a contract extension with Martinez, though that does figure to be on the agenda at some point this winter.
"I'm not going down there to sign Pedro Martinez or anything like that," Epstein said. "I look forward to seeing Pedro down there. We have a great event scheduled. We are all looking forward to the opening of our academy."
11/15/2003 4:01 PM ET
Red Sox release spring schedule
BOSTON -- Those New Englanders already growing tired of the cold weather can take heart in the fact that the Red Sox unveiled their Spring Training schedule on Saturday.
|By Ian Browne / MLB.com
The Red Sox's home base during Grapefruit League action is City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
The schedule has several interesting wrinkles, including a visit from the defending world champion Florida Marlins on March 14. Also, the Dodgers visit City of Palms Park for the first time on March 12.
Boston opens its Spring Training schedule with a road game on March 4, but it isn't much of a trip. It visits the Twins at Lee County Stadium, which is also in Fort Myers.
On March 5, the Sox entertain two local college teams -- Boston College (1 p.m.) and Northeastern (7 p.m.).
Their first home game against a Major League team is a beauty as the Yankees pay a visit on March 7, marking the first meeting between the long-time rivals since Game 7 of their epic American League Championship Series.
The Reds, Orioles, Pirates, Indians and Phillies are some of the other teams who will visit the Sox in the spring.
Individual ticket sales begin on Jan. 17 for games being played at City of Palms Park. However, season tickets are currently available by calling 1-877-Red-Soxx or 1-239-334-4700.
The Sox make a rode trek to Vero Beach on March 22 and visit the Yankees in Tampa on March 24.
Boston's lone day off during the Grapefruit League schedule is March 18.
The last home game is March 31 against the Pirates. The next day, the Sox wrap up their Florida slate with a game against the Twins.
The Sox will wrap up the exhibition season with two games against the Braves in Atlanta (April 2-3).
Then, the Sox start it all up in 2004 with a game at Camden Yards against the Orioles on April 5.
2004 Red Sox Spring Training Schedule
Thursday, March 4: vs. MINNESOTA @ Lee County Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 5: vs. BOSTON COLLEGE @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 5: vs. NORTHEASTERN @ HOME, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 6: vs. Minnesota @ Lee County Stadium, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 7: vs. NEW YORK YANKEES @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 8: vs. MINNESOTA (SS) @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 8: vs. Philadelphia (SS) @ Clearwater, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 9: vs. CINCINNATI @ HOME, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 10: vs. St. Louis @ Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 11: vs. BALTIMORE @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 12: vs. LOS ANGELES @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 13: vs. Toronto @ Dunedin, 1:05 PM
Sunday, March 14: vs. FLORIDA @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 15: vs. Cleveland @ Winter Haven, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16: vs. Cincinnati @ Sarasota, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 17: vs. CLEVELAND @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 18: OFF DAY
Friday, March 19: vs. PITTSBURGH @ HOME 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 20: vs. TORONTO @ HOME 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 21: vs. Baltimore @ Ft. Lauderdale 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 22: vs. Los Angeles @ Vero Beach 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23: vs. TAMPA BAY @ HOME 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 24: vs. New York @ Tampa 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 25: vs. MINNESOTA @ HOME 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 26: vs. Pittsburgh @ Bradenton 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 27: vs. PHILADELPHIA @ HOME 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 28: vs. Florida @ Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 29: vs. BALTIMORE @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 30: Tampa Bay @ St. Petersburg, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 31: PITTSBURGH @ HOME, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, April 1: Minnesota @ Lee County Stadium, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, April 2: Atlanta @ Turner Field, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 3: Atlanta @ Turner Field, 1:15 p.m.