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.

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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.


Boston Herald Rips Off CommonWealth Magazine (Part II)

March 3, 2014

As the hardreading staff noted last week, CommonWealth Magazine broke this story about Boston Mayor Marty Walsh reassessing yet another sweetheart deal for the Red Sox and Fenway Park.

Walsh reviewing Red Sox deal

Agreement makes permanent Van Ness Street arrangement

THE ADMINISTRATION OF Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said it is reviewing an agreement the city struck with the Boston Red Sox in October that formalized a long-standing arrangement allowing the club to close off Van Ness Street during Fenway Park events.

The agreement, signed by Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and Mayor Thomas Menino’s police and transportation commissioners, makes permanent what appears to have been an informal arrangement between the club and the city allowing the team to close off the section of Van Ness next to Fenway during games. The Red Sox typically used part of the street for employee parking, paying no fee to the city to do so.

 

We also noted that the story was Xerox-reported by numerous other news outlets – including the Boston Herald and the Associated Press – without crediting CommonWealth.

What we failed to note was this further rip-off by the Herald.

Reporter Colman Herman wrote this in his piece: “No other single private entity is allowed to close off a street in Boston on a regular basis.”

In Richard Weir’s Herald report, that sentence is placed in the mouth of Gregory Sullivan, “the former state former [sic] inspector general  . . . [who] dismisses the Sox’ arguments as ‘irrelevant and a smokescreen.'”

“This is another precious gem dropped into the Red Sox basket at the expense of the taxpayers,” Sullivan, the research director of the Pioneer Institute, said of the Van Ness Street contract. “It’s a public street owned by the city of Boston. And no private party should have exclusive rights to use it in this way without compensating the city. Period. … No other single private entity is allowed to close off a street in Boston on a regular basis.” [Emphasis added]

 

We have it on good authority that Sullivan contends he never said that last part.

Back to you, Boston Herald and Richard Weir.

 


Poor CommonWealth Magazine: No Credit for Its Scoop

February 28, 2014

Yesterday, CommonWealth Magazine broke this story on its website:

Walsh reviewing Red Sox deal

Agreement makes permanent Van Ness Street arrangement

THE ADMINISTRATION OF Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said it is reviewing an agreement the city struck with the Boston Red Sox in October that formalized a long-standing arrangement allowing the club to close off Van Ness Street during Fenway Park events.

The agreement, signed by Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and Mayor Thomas Menino’s police and transportation commissioners, makes permanent what appears to have been an informal arrangement between the club and the city allowing the team to close off the section of Van Ness next to Fenway during games. The Red Sox typically used part of the street for employee parking, paying no fee to the city to do so.

“We are currently reviewing the agreement, and compensation is one of the issues that we will consider during this review,” said Walsh spokeswoman Kate Norton.

 

As day follows the night, today’s Boston Herald featured this piece of xerox journalism:

Marty Walsh digs into Fenway’s deals

The Walsh administration said yesterday it is examining two 2013 contracts the city inked with the Red Sox granting the team exclusive rights to public BI1E6414.JPGstreets — arrangements made in the final months of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s tenure.

“We are currently reviewing the agreement, and compensation is one of the issues that we will consider during this review,” Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said of a little-known “public safety order” city officials signed in October giving the Red Sox permission to seal off Van Ness Street during game days and other major events at Fenway.

 

Nowhere in the piece is CommonWealth given credit.

Ditto for these other news organizations, which picked up the story from the Associated Press. (Before anyone gets all shirty about it, news outlets add info to AP reports all the time. Just not in this case.)

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The Boston Globe, meanwhile, played catch-up, posting a piece to its website at 6 am.

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But at least the Globe gave credit where credit’s due.

The Walsh review was first reported by Commonwealth Magazine online Thursday.

 

Cold comfort, but better than the nothingburgers CommonWealth got from everyone else, yeah?

 


On Mayoral Race, Local Dailies Get into Business Together

July 24, 2013

Well, the Boston mayoral candidates released their campaign finance reports for the second quarter and darned if the local dailies didn’t notice the same thing: No bucks yet from the big-bucks set.

Boston Herald:

Jack Connors for the Shattuck AwardBusiness elite wait for the herd to thin

From businessman Jack Connors to developer John Fish to Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and concessionaire Joseph O’Donnell, many of the city’s top power brokers are playing it safe in the mayor’s race — but leaving the crowded field of candidates hanging in the balance at a crucial time in the election.

A Herald review of the latest campaign finance reports found that Connors, Fish, Lucchino, Kraft and O’Donnell have yet to contribute to any of the dozen candidates running to replace Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Also sitting on the sidelines so far are Putnam Investments CEO Robert Reynolds, Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan, State Street Bank’s Jay Hooley, Suffolk Downs chief Richard Fields, Celtics owner and venture capitalist Stephen Pagliuca, Red Sox co-owner John Henry and former John Hancock Insurance CEO David D’Alessandro.

 

As the feisty local tabloid points out, all of the above are subject to the $500 maximum contribution per candidate, “but they also boast the extensive contacts to organize fundraisers that can bundle tens of thousands of dollars in donations at a single pop.”

Popping crosstown to the Boson Globe, newly minted Business columnist Shirley Leung devotes her maiden voyage to the same topic – and pretty much the same names.

leung_colorBusinesses watching mayoral race from sidelines

If you are a serious candidate for mayor, you have driven past the scrubby warehouses of Newmarket Square, to the headquarters of Suffolk Construction, for an audience with CEO John Fish.

And when you arrive, expect a surprise. Fish, an unofficial kingmaker in Boston, told me he’s in no rush to support anyone — not with his time, not with his money. Will he ever? “Time will tell,” Fish explained.

He’s not the only one disappointing candidates this season.

Many of Boston’s business elites are sitting on the sidelines in the first truly open mayoral election in 30 years. It would be unfair to call them apathetic. Their doors are open to candidates and they’re following the issues, but their wallets are closed and their BMWs are free of bumper stickers.

 

(Wait – 30 years? What happened to the eight-way donnybrook in 1993?)

What sets Leung’s piece apart, though, is her inclusion of some bigwigs who have ponied up at this stage:

Not everyone is abstaining, even if they are not exactly revealing their support. Boston developer Ronald Druker is doing his best impression of a high roller at a Vegas roulette table, betting the maximum $500 each on Felix Arroyo, Dan Conley, John Connolly, Rob Consalvo, and Mike Ross, according to state campaign filings.

“I may ultimately give to some more,” said Druker.

Developer Joseph Fallon, who is building out the Fan Pier office and condo complex in the Seaport District, gave $500 in May to Conley, the Suffolk district attorney, and raised another $30,000 for him. Fallon also contributed $500 to Consalvo’s campaign this month and has given to Marty Walsh’s run.

 

One final note: Both papers also mention  the Vault, a “cabal of executives” who engaged in a very high level of backroom politics for decades. The Vault was to mayoral elections in the ’50s and ’60s what the money primary is now. May the best (financed) man or woman win!

UPDATE: The hardreading staff didn’t read hard enough. The Herald also mentioned the developers who have coughed up dough to several candidates.

 

Picture 1

 

Apologies all around.


Pesky Funeral Edition

August 23, 2012

The Boston Herald is decidedly not happy with the turnout for Johnny Pesky’s funeral by current Boston Red Sox players.

Or lack of turnout, to be precise.

It starts at the top of today’s front page (via The Newseum).

Next up: Joe Fitzgerald’s column.

Shame on Red Sox players

They’re the slowest-moving targets in town, easy to ridicule as they stagger to the merciful end of this dreadful season, but the Red Sox [team stats], as a team, could have hit one out of the park just by showing up at Johnny Pesky’s funeral.

That’s all they had to do, even if they didn’t feel a personal urge to show up, which might have been the case for many of them . . .

All they had to do was show up.

What a shame they didn’t, not for Johnny, but for them.

Not to get technical about it, but four current players did show up, as the Track Gals (and Megan!) pointed out in this item that had Sox management on the defensive.

Lucchino defends players who skipped Pesky funeral

Red Sox [team stats] president Larry Lucchino this morning defended his team for the small turnout at Johnny Pesky’s funeral earlier this week, saying it was “unnecessary to focus on that issue.”

“I think the people who knew Johnny best came to it,” Lucchino told WEEI’sDennis & Callahan.

Lucchino told the station that the team had more than 100 mourners at the service including front office staff, ownership, current players, staff and former players.

“It was a very impressive turnout,” he said.

But among current players only David Ortiz [stats], Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Vincente Padilla and Clay Buchholz were in the pews for Pesky’s final farewell. (Manager Bobby Valentine was also there.)

The Gals finish off the item (and the Sox players) with a flourish: “Despite the small turnout at Pesky’s final farewell, most of the team turned out that night for Josh Beckett’s  annual Beckett Bowl and concert at Lucky Strike Lanes and the House of Blues that night.”

To be sure, the Beckett Bowl is for a good cause, but ouch!