Daily Archives: December 9, 2010

Red Sox: The Less Evil Empire

Published December 9, 2010

Carl Crawford reportedly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox today. (AP)

Carl Crawford reportedly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox today. (AP)

For years and years, Red Sox fans have complained their bombastic baseball neighbors to the south represent all that is wrong with pro sports. Yankees and their deep pockets buy championships and denigrate the game, we say.

With the additions of both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and assuming Gonzalez signs an extension, the Red Sox will have spent almost $300 million over about 80 hours. Suddenly the Sox look like the new spoiled brat with a black AmEx.

Epstein’s gigantic spending spree has many fans around the world thinking the Red Sox are baseball’s new “Evil Empire” — taking the mantle from the free-spending, win at all co$t$ New York Yankees.

That comparison, however, might not be so accurate.

[pullquote]Suddenly the Sox look like the new spoiled brat with a black AmEx.[/pullquote]

There’s no denying that spending $296 million to lock down just two players — in this economy, no less — is crazy. That, however, is the market baseball teams operate in.

The market, unfortunately, forces teams with less money, such as the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays, to trade away talented players they have no chance of making a huge offer to. The Sox, as a big-market team with rabid fans and its own TV network, are in the enviable position of being able to capitalize on that market.

Both the Red Sox and the Yankees have huge payrolls and will for some time. The difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees is in the future.

Signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal is a huge commitment. Known for his speed, Crawford will be 36 at the end of his contract and likely need to change his game to remain effective at that age.

The Yankees recently came to terms with team captain and icon Derek Jeter on a new, four-year contract. At 35, Jeter is in the twilight of his career. His new contact is worth at least $48 million.

The Sox have five of eight position players, all 31 or younger, locked up though 2013. Combine that with young pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz, the Sox are well-positioned to contend for the near future.

Brown Votes To Block Repeal Of DADT; Bill Fails

Published December 9, 2010

Sen. Scott Brown in November (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Scott Brown (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown, who six days ago said he would support repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, has voted to block debate on repeal.

The test vote needed to advance legislation was blocked by Senate Republicans on Thursday afternoon. It needed 60 votes; it got 57.

Last week, Brown was one of 42 GOP senators who signed a pledge not to advance any legislation until tax cuts and funding the government have cleared the queue. Speaking to the AP, a Brown spokesman cited the pledge today:

A spokesman for Brown said Thursday he has been clear that he would not vote to repeal the law until after the Senate takes a vote on a tax package.

Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican senator to break ranks and vote yea.

Update: A Brown spokesperson has e-mailed WBUR. From the e-mail:

Senator Brown has said we need to prevent the looming tax hike and fund the government before we move forward with other legislation. He supports repealing don’t ask, don’t tell once those issues have been addressed.

Live Blog: Richard Davey On ‘Radio Boston’

Published December 9, 2010

What’s your MBTA wish list? What are you gripes? Here’s your chance to ask the guy in charge. We’re talking with MBTA General Manager Richard Davey live on Radio Boston. I’m taking notes and posting your questions here. (You can read my round-up of T news from earlier today.)


Caught On Video: T Chief Busts A Fare Jumper

Published December 9, 2010

Hubbub exclusive: A spokesman for the MBTA just shared this amazing video with me. A surveillance camera was rolling yesterday as a fare jumper at Park Street Station was caught in the act — by none other than the MBTA general manager, Richard Davey. The man appears to get a stern talking-to from the big boss and then leaves.

[youtube url=”G3nYKY1PRkI”]

We asked Davey about it today on Radio Boston:

I was getting on the Red Line yesterday, because I was off to Ashmont Station for an event, and this fellow literally was scaling the fare gate — which is pretty high these days. I didn’t touch him, but I did yell at him. He stepped back down. I did lecture him on the need to pay his fare. …

It was pretty obvious he didn’t have a whole lot of money, so I offered to pay for him. And then he decided that — I don’t know if it was a moral question or if he just wassick  of hearing me, but he decided to wander off to go to the ticket machine on the other side of the station and buy it himself. …

I’m quite sure he didn’t know who I was. I didn’t tell him who I was.

T officials have tried to cracked down on fare evasion in recent years.

Your Questions For MBTA Head Richard Davey?

Published December 9, 2010

Richard Davey (MBTA)

Richard Davey (MBTA)

He’s everywhere — on the loudspeaker at Park Street, on Twitter, on YouTube, and today, new-ish MBTA General Manager Richard Davey joins Radio Boston for about 30 minutes to take your questions.

There is a lot to talk about. Here is some of what we hope to cover:

  • “Quiet cars” on the commuter rail. Starting next month, the T will test no-chatter coaches on the Fitchburg and Franklin commuter rail lines. That means no cell phones, bleeding earbuds or loud conversations.
  • T ridership at a 2-year high. Davey said average weekly ridership reached 1.3 million in October. The T faces a dilemma: too few riders, and the drop in fares hurt its budget. Too many riders, and the T can’t handle the capacity.
  • New ways to raise revenue. The T has only two revenue streams: fares and proceeds from the state sales tax. When the recession hit and consumer spending fell, the T’s multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall ballooned. Davey has proposed selling officially branded T merchandise as one way to raise cash.
  • Additional cars on the Green Line. The T will test three-car trolleys on the D branch. If it’s a success — I can’t imagine it won’t be a hit with riders — the T will expand to the B line, Davey said. (Wish this had happened when I lived in Brookline.)
  • Real-time transit data. The T has steadily expanded its offering of real-time transit data for developers. All buses in the system are covered, and trolley cars are next. Davey said Green Line tracking is “several years away,” however.

What’s your MBTA wish list? What are you gripes? Here’s your chance to ask the guy in charge. Leave your questions for Davey in the comments, or tweet @RadioBoston.

Update: I live-blogged the conversation. Davey made some news.

Thursday Morning: Ireland Confirmed, Crawford Acquired?

Published December 9, 2010

What’s news on a cold Thursday morning in Boston:

Lawyer: Aides to the governor pushed for jobs at the Probation Department. Gov. Deval Patrick “has repeatedly denied his office plays the Beacon Hill patronage game.” (Herald)

Roderick Ireland is confirmed as the state’s first black chief justice. The Governor’s Council voted unanimously to confirm Ireland as the successor to Margaret Marshall. (Globe)

Sources: Slugger Carl Crawford has a $142 million deal with the Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays left fielder is a four-time All-Star and a first-time Gold Glove winner this year. (AP)

The third suspect in the Mattapan murders was tried four years ago. Edward Washington, charged with four counts of murder, was linked to a violent Dorchester gang. He was acquitted of a racketeering charge. (Globe)

Robert Manning, the UMass trustees chairman, suddenly resigned yesterday.“It follows a decision last week by UMass Lowell chancellor Martin T. Meehan to drop out of the running for the presidency, after Patrick and his staff raised concerns about the selection process.” (Globe)