Boston’s Lousy Ad-itude Toward Sox Home Opener

April 3, 2017

The hardreading staff isn’t wired enough to be at the New! Improved! Fenway Park this afternoon for the Red Sox home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates (huh?), but we did take the time to check out the Boston dailies for all the hopeful/gleeful advertisements that normally accompany the start of a new season.

And there were . . . none.

Nothing in the Boston Globe, nothing (big surprise) in the Boston Herald.

Even odder, the Globe’s 18-page Baseball 2017 preview yesterday had no pom-pom ads, just this:

 

 

Seriously? Two half-page car ads?

What’s wrong with this town?


The Essential Difference Between the Boston Dailies

December 11, 2015

From our One Towne, Two Different Worlds desk

As the hardreading staff has (we trust) dutifully noted, the local dailies rarely see eye-to-eye on any particular story.

Yesterday was no exception.

But it was particularly illuminating. And it all revolved around fan safety at Fenway Park, where most fans go to 1) see a Red Sox victory, and 2) avoid any major head injuries.

Boston Globe Page One:

SAFE AT HOME

Sox to heed MLB’s recommendation for additional protective netting

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NASHVILLE — Major League Baseball on Wednesday took steps to protect those fans who want to sit close to the action, recommending that all teams extend protective netting between the dugouts for any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate.

The Red Sox immediately announced they would comply and are making plans to extend the netting behind home plate to the dugouts. Team president Sam Kennedy said the Sox are evaluating what the size and type of the netting will be.

 

The Globe piece also included this helpful graphic about fans injured in Major League ballparks each year:

 

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To illustrate one example, the stately local broadsheet mentioned this in paragraph 11:

On July 10, a woman sitting [near the edge of the backstop screen] was hit in the forehead by a foul ball. Stephanie Wapenski, 36, of Branford, Conn., required more than 40 stitches.

 

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, Stephanie Wapenski was no footnote – she was the hitchy local tabloid’s Cover Girl.

 

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From the estimable Peter Gelzinis:

Field of Dreams: Fan Nets Fairy Tale Fenway Ending

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Even if the Red Sox didn’t plan to extend the protective netting along the first- and third-base lines, Stephanie Wapenski had no intention of staying away from the ballpark she loves. And now, in a fairy-tale ending to her hard luck story, she’s going back for love.

Wapenski was six rows up from the third-base line, watching the Sox play the Yankees last July. She recalled telling her fiance, Matt Fraenza, “We’re going to catch a ball tonight.”

What this Connecticut woman wound up catching on that night was a 100 mph line-drive foul from Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius that ricocheted off her forehead and landed in short left field.

 

But then . . .

“When the Red Sox asked what they could do for us,” Stephanie recalled, “we mentioned that we weren’t interested in pursuing any legal action. We told them we were rabid baseball fans who would love to be married at Fenway.”

The Red Sox didn’t need to be asked twice. They waived the $10,000 fee other couples, who have not been beaned by a line drive, must pay to be married on the field.

 

Excellent!

And an excellent example of the gap between the rational local broadsheet and the emotional local tabloid.

So we say . . . long live Two-Daily Towns!

Or at least what’s left of them.


Track Whacks Globe Over Non-Disclose

April 8, 2015

Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry gets batted around in the Boston Herald’s Inside Track today, thanks to this Eric Wilbur piece on boston.com.

Boston is Still a Red Sox Town Even if Tom Brady is King

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Who rules Boston: the Red Sox or Patriots?

Ultimately, there is no clear front-runner in the debate over whether Boston has ultimately become a football town, or if it maintains its long-time status as a bastion of baseball devotees.

The correct answer is both. It’s a Red Sox town. And it’s a Patriots town.

 

And boston.com is a Henry town, although the piece never mentions that. Which led Track Gal Gayle Fee to mention this:

SURPRISE! GLOBE SITE CITES SOX #1

Stop the presses: “Boston is Still a Red Sox Town Even If Tom Brady Is King.”NEL_5931.JPG

That’s according to Boston.
com, the digital arm of the Boston Globe. But nowhere in the commentary by sports blogger Eric Wilbur does he mention that the Red Sox, the Globe and Boston.com are all owned by the same man — John Henry!

Which makes Wilbur’s conclusion — that without Brady, the Patriots would be chopped liver, fanwise — somewhat suspect, don’t cha think???

 

Full disclosure: The hardreading staff believes that any publication owned by Henry should disclose the connection every time it reports on the Boston Red Sox or the Liverpool Football Club or Roush Fenway Racing or Fenway Park or anything Henry has purchased since we started this post. Some people we greatly respect believe we’re over-fastidious in this matter (hi, Dan!), but we’ve learned to live with that.

Then again, some have learned to live without.

Boston.com editor Tim Molloy, who has been on the job just under a month, said he has not even met John Henry, let alone been told what to write by the Sox boss. And Molloy said he saw no problem in Wilbur’s not disclosing the boss’s mutual ownership in the piece.

“I think that’s pretty well known,” he told the Track. “It’s not anything we disguise or try to keep secret. And I’ve had absolutely no contact with Mr. Henry in terms of anything editorial.”

 

That last, of course, is entirely beside the point. Regardless, Molloy told the Track that “if Henry’s ownership of the paper, the website and the team were disclosed in Wilbur’s piece, it should be disclosed ‘every time we write about the Red Sox.'”

Exactly.


GlobeSox Owner John Henry Buys Boston Herald!

September 29, 2014

The hardreading staff was cruising through the Boston Globe Sports section this morning and amid the final final farewells to the irreplaceable Number Two, Derek Jeter, Number Two (but not at Fenway Park), we came across this full-page ad.

 

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Our first thought: Yeah, thanks suckers.

Our second thought: Wonder if Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry ran the same ad in crosstown rival Boston Herald.

Oh yes he did.

 

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Good for him, eh?

Only question left: Will the fans be back?

Oh yes they will. Dan Shaughnessy notwithstanding.


John Henry Flirts with Boston Herald – Again!

August 11, 2014

As the hardreading staff noted a couple of weeks ago, Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry is having a fling with his crosstown rival in a series of email exchanges with Herald sports scribe Michael Silverman.

First he used the frisky local tabloid to dopeslap his star sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy over his dismissal of Red Sox Nation’s unswerving devotion to the Olde Towne Team.

Yesterday, Henry opened the kimono a bit more in Silverman’s Baseball Notes column. About meddling with the Globe’s sports coverage, Henry said this:

“I don’t get involved at all with baseball coverage,” Henry said. “That would be completely inappropriate. I did get involved in pushing for Score, which was a standalone NFL section we created, and they did a terrific job on that. I’d like to see more coverage of the IN4Z7200.JPGRevolution because I think they are becoming a more important part of the community. Soccer is becoming more important as evidenced by the reception Liverpool [the soccer club Henry owns]  received here (at Fenway) this year. But I haven’t said anything to our editor or sports editor . . .

“I have not initiated a single discussion on the Sox, Liverpool or baseball. There are other areas I attend to; it’s a complicated, diverse business that is radically changing. It’s an important asset of the community.”

 

Translation: I don’t want to control sports coverage – I want to control sports coverage advertising.

Silverman’s Globe-go-nuts grafs:

Boston remains a two-newspaper town, a vanishing species around the country. The healthy competition between the Globe and the Herald, including but not limited to local and regional news and sports, is a boon for readers. That the Globe now uses its excess printing capacity to print the Herald highlights the changing economic realities of the two newspapers. Each strives to give its readers the best coverage possible, from the Red Sox to Beacon Hill. When it comes to sports coverage, Henry sees ESPN as the Globe’s chief competition — but with a caveat.

“In sports, the Globe competes on the Web with everyone,” Henry said. “You are one click away from the best in the world in every area. ESPN is what we are up against in sports. But you also have the damn Herald.”

You’re welcome.

 

Hey, Globeniks: Flirty local tabloid on Line 1.


John Henry Uses Herald to Whack Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy

July 27, 2014

The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman got an email interview with Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry, which, of course, was Page One news for the feisty local tabloid.

 

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The email exchange between Silverman and Henry was pretty much what you’d expect.

Henry takes stock of perplexing Sox

The Red Sox are genuinely perplexed.

Barely more than two weeks ago, principal owner John Henry was told by his general manager that the Red Sox “are probably the IN4Z7200.JPGbest team in the division. We just aren’t playing like it.”

The reasons behind the team’s incredibly underwhelming and disappointing caliber of play for most of the first four months of the season are not clear to Henry and the front office. With the trade deadline looming Thursday, Henry and his baseball operations people have been trying to get a better handle on what’s gone wrong and discover if there’s time left to fix it.

 

It’s not exactly riveting stuff – when Silverman asks if the Sox are sellers or buyers, Henry replies, “We’ll see what happens (this) week.”

Ya think?

But there is one juicy item in the piece: A not-so-veiled reference to this from Boston Globe scribe (and Henry employee) Dan Shaughnessy last Sunday (reproduced in full for, well, full effect).

When did Boston go so soft on the Red Sox?

At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’ The Sox can play nine games under .500 for the first 95 games and still have a Nation of believers thinking they can win the division, or compete for the phony second wild card. Sox owners can pare payroll ($72.5 million scheduled to come off the books for next year), stay well below the coveted luxury tax threshold, and listen to regional applause while fans pay the highest ticket prices in baseball. The Sox can get folks to buy into the notion that it’s foolish to compete in the open market for the services of their best pitcher. Sox tickets and merchandise are hotter than they were at this time last summer and Pat Moscaritolo, president of a Boston tourist group, says, “For the past 10 years that I’ve been tracking visitor spending and the economic impact of the Red Sox, it’s almost unaffected by the team’s performance.’’

The Sox were positively surging with five wins in six games against terrible/mediocre teams (aggregate 21 games under .500) as they prepped for the Royals Saturday night. The KC-Boston matchup is a good one, since it sometimes sounds like the Sox want to be a middle-market team. Like the Royals of recent decades (29 years since making the playoffs), the Sox now sell the fans on “watching the kids.” Don’t people realize that EVERY team has a farm system stocked with young players who’d love to play in front of sellout crowds in the moribund final months of a season? It amazes me how soft this baseball market has become. In 1978 fans and media crushed the Sox for a 99-win season that concluded with eight consecutive pressure-packed victories. The Boston manager was unmercifully booed on Opening Day the following year. Now everything is awesome because the Boston ballpark is a tourist destination and fans fall in love with the hype of every young player coming through the system. Swell. When did we become St. Louis?

 

Ouch. The only thing Shaughnessy left out? That the principal owner of the GlobeSox etc. etc.

Regardless, how much fun is it that Henry employed his own crosstown rival to dope-slap his wayward minion, saying this:

 “Fans continue to sell out Fenway. They’ve suffered through some really bad games this year, but they continue to show up and the mood at the park among the fans is very positive when I walk through the stands. Before Tom [Werner], Larry [Lucchino] and I arrived I believe fans had less patience.

“A loud curmudgeon I know accuses them of being soft, bad fans — but anyone paying attention knows the mood has changed at Fenway over the years. People expect good things from the Sox and really love being at Fenway. This team accomplished something very special last year therefore the fans aren’t about to not give them the benefit of the doubt.”

 

Love that double negative. Wonder what Mr. Shaughnessy thinks.


More Slop on the John Henry/Marty Walsh Hand-Holding in the Boston Globe

June 30, 2014

So, to recap for the umpteenth- hell, just see here.

The question is this: How did Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools wind up as a full-page ad in last Wednesday’s Boston Globe?

 

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On Friday, CommonWealth Magazine (which came late – but smart – to the party) reported the issue thusly:

THE BOSTON GLOBE FOUNDATION donated a full-page ad in Wednesday’s newspaper to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh so he could thank the staff of the Boston Public Schools at the close of the school year.

Ellen Clegg, who heads the foundation, said the mayor personally asked Globe CEO Mike Sheehan for the ad space and the foundation provided it because the message was in keeping with the organization’s focus on education and literacy.

 

But Ms. Clegg had previously told the hardreading staff this:

The Globe Foundation donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono, as a public service. When we get a request for support from organizations that fit the Foundation’s mission, we work with the Globe’s advertising department to donate pro bono print ads in space that would normally go to unpaid “house ads.” It’s a great way to engage with the community. Other recent examples of pro bono ads include the One Fund and the MLK Summer Scholars Program, which the Foundation co-sponsors with John Hancock.

 

C’mon – “[donating] an ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono” and kowtowing to the mayor of Boston aren’t even in the same zip code.

Regardless, Ms. Clegg perpetuated the split decision yesterday in these post-CommonWealth answers to our pre-CommonWealth questions, which took her initial explanation at face value:

• When you donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools, did you know it would take the form of a letter from Mayor Walsh?

Yes.

• Who did the creative/production of the ad?

The Globe’s advertising department.

• Given the ad’s content, did you have any concerns that it would appear you donated the ad to Mayor Walsh, raising questions about the appearance of compromising the Globe’s arm’s-length relationship with him?

The Globe’s newsroom is independent from the business side of the organization, and from the Globe Foundation, and had no involvement here.

I’m sure you’ve seen the newsroom’s recent scrub of Mayor Walsh’s hiring record (link below). I have confidence that our journalists will continue to scrutinize public officials and powerful institutions, including City Hall.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/09/mayor-martin-walsh-full-time-hires-are-predominantly-male-and-most-are-white/iJMJu3tzDjsXUCrpBgvOVO/story.html

 

Frankly, we’re more interested in scrubbing Ms. Clegg’s record of telling the hardreading staff one thing and CommonWealth another.

From the start of John Henry’s dual ownership of the Boston GlobeSox, the paper pretty consistently ignored conflicts of interest in his business dealings with the Menino administration (see here and here). If Henry is now dancing to Marty Walsh’s tune, he should own up to that, too.