Let's start at the top:
It was an announcement that barely got anyone's attention. A couple of weeks back, the Red Sox and NESN declared the end of their Friday night relationship with Channel 38, committing all locally televised Red Sox games to pay cable.Could it be that the reason it flew under the radar was because the Boston Globe's lead sports columnist was too busy whining about Larry Bigbie to notice? (Note: He offered essentially the same approach when writing on Bill Mueller's departure in December.)
Then he writes: "It's unfortunate. It's also elitist, classist, and probably greedy, too. The Sox are putting all their games on NESN because it means more money for the organization." Funny, just a few weeks ago the Globe was conducting an online poll asking whether readers would be willing to pay for Web content -- including Shaughnessy's. Why? "More money for the organization," perhaps? Where's the column on that?
Heck, a historian like Dan should know that over time teams (read: businesses) do all they can to separate fans from their wallets. Time was, baseball allowed fans to watch live games for free. Then they built bleachers in order to generate -- what was it again? -- more revenue. And not long ago fans could bring their own food and drinks to games. No more (a few stadiums excepted). A better argument would be to ask why the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox, for two, can sell gameday tickets for under $10 and still compete with the high revenue squads. (Hint: A park that holds more than 34,000 people would be a start.)
And maybe he missed the decade-long legal wrangling between the Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs, and nearby landlords who let fans watch games at Wrigley from their rooftops. The Cubs went so far as to erect giant sheets to keep the would-be Peeping Fans in check -- until they ponied up millions for the viewing rights, that is.
One would think that if Dan were truly outraged by whether Joe Six-pack gets his games for free, he would offer to do something about it. He could take a page from Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks, who in an effort to reduce that city's out-of-control homicide rate wrote an open column inviting drug dealers and gang members to call him for help in finding a way out of their criminal lives. He could have used his mighty pen to command the city's wealthy to help subsidize cable for those 5% who don't have it. He could even have offered to donate the first $30. And maybe he could enlist those poor kids the Globe dispatches to city neighborhoods to hawk subscriptions to take up collections for those put out by the Sox's money-grab.
But, as we noted at the top, The CHB's true agenda lies somewhere else, as this line makes clear: "It's a little lame for Werner to pin this whole thing on McGrail. The move is simply too big for the NESN president to make alone. This goes all the way to the top: John W. Henry."
That would be Red Sox chairman John Henry, the same man who has been feeding scoops to Globe reporter Chris Snow while shunning the man who thinks he is the sun around which Red Sox Nation revolves.
That's the real story.