Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sox CEO Lucchino convinced Ellsbury’s baserunning prowess, Pink Floyd album are linked

BOSTON, Mass.—High-ranking Red Sox officials have begun privately prodding team president and CEO Larry Lucchino to seek psychiatric counsel after the PR ace spent most of the recent home stand obsessing over the synchronicity of plays involving Jacoby Ellsbury and cuts from Pink Floyd’s album, Dark Side of the Moon.

 

“This all started after the Red Sox signed Phish to play Fenway Park at the end of May. He’s been talking to a lot of the band’s hardcore fans and seems to have really taken to their culture and lifestyle. These people smoke a lot of marijuana and have been putting a lot of ideas in his head. I haven’t had a normal conversation with him in weeks. All he cares about is ‘what part of the song was playing during that play?’” said a Red Sox employee willing to discuss the incident “only because Lucchino has always been a douche bag toward me.”

 

Lucchino has become increasingly convinced that certain points in the album align in a meaningful way with particular baserunning plays involving Ellsbury such as the young phenom’s straight steal of home plate Sunday night.

 

Lucchino has apparently taken his cue from the popular rumor among the stoner/Phish fan community that Dark Side of the Moon contains parallels to the classic movie The Wizard of Oz when played on repeat. Just as the Dark Side of the Moon’s aural effects sync with the movie’s visuals if the album is started while the MGM lion roars for the third time, Lucchino believes a similar effect can be created if the first track is cued as Ellsbury crosses over the right field foul line during the first inning on his way to center field.

 

“Larry used to spend most of his time schmoozing and didn’t usually pay all that much attention to the game, so we knew there was something wrong when we saw him sitting by himself in the front row of the executive box with huge, sound-cancelling headphones on,” said a second Red Sox official speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The guy looked like Rain Man out there.”

  

Lucchino played the 43-minute album on repeat nearly 20 times overall during the weekend alone thanks to the length of Friday and Saturday night’s games. Lucchino reportedly told anyone who would listen that Ellsbury’s voyage Friday from second base to home plate on a passed ball from Joba Chamberlain unfolded in perfect timing with the lyric “run, rabbit run” from the song “Speak to Me/Breathe.” 

 

Meanwhile, Lucchino claims he knew Ellsbury was going to steal home on Sunday night because the chorus from the instrumental track “On the Run” began playing as the speedy outfielder extended an extremely generous lead down the third base line.  

 

The sources for this story acknowledged that Lucchino’s behavior may be a clever ploy by the prolific marketing guru to drum up attention from marijuana smokers for the upcoming Phish concert at Fenway Park. However, the team is taking surprisingly great pains to keep details of his behavior from the mainstream media. Looking foolishly docile in a series of recent photographs with his new fiance, John Henry certainly did his part to at least temporarily divert attention from the escalating situation. 

 

“Are you kidding me?” asked the higher ranking official. “This has opened a massive can of worms and we are on the verge of desperate. I can already imagine the fallout from this—a minimum of five Dan Shaughnessy columns where he employs a bunch of predictable Pink Floyd lyrical references…Probably a littering of ill-conceived allusions to 60s rock music by those Inside Track cows. I’m pretty sure the front office wants to keep a lid on this one.”

   

“Peter Gammons has already perverted enough classic songs by trying to shoehorn their lyrics into his ESPN columns,” said the other source. “That’s the last thing we need to be promoting.”

 

Economy, Boston teams’ success taking toll on local scalper/philanthropist

BOSTON, Mass–Ignoring the presence of a few early morning stragglers milling around Yawkey Way and Brookline Ave., Billy Moriarty sidles up to the side of a building, lowers the pants of his blue Adidas tracksuit and urinates on the faded brick wall facing out toward an empty parking lot. Moriarty, 49, snaps his elasticized pants back against his gut and yawns audibly, looking disheveled and exhausted. A long night at the hospital will do that to a man.

Crossing over the Brookline Ave. bridge slowly, Moriarty effectively arrives at his concrete office: For over 20 years, he has supported himself by scalping tickets to Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games. A mainstay of the Boston sports scene for decades, games can’t be considered ‘big games’ if Moriarty isn’t hawking tickets at a hefty profit. With the Red Sox’ popularity swelling to epic proportions over the last 10 years, Moriarty’s Fenway post has become his bread and butter.

For 81 games each season, Moriarty’s primary job description is scalping Red Sox tickets at his usual post across from Uno’s and Popeye’s Chicken in Kenmore Square. The occupation has become lucrative enough to free him from three decades of living with his mother in a cramped triple-decker in Charlestown and deliver him into a lush, one-bedroom apartment in Roslindale. Not that he ever gets to sleep in his own bed these days.

“Yeah, I sleep there once a week, maybe–when I don’t end up in the hospital all night,” says Moriarty.

Surprisingly, it is not the dangerous, shady world of ticket scalping that lands Moriarty in hospital rooms so frequently. Rather, a newfound life mission has transformed the once reprehensible, skeevy scalper.

“I do volunteer work reading books to kids with cancer at Dana Farber Cancer Institute,” he explains. “I‘d say I‘m there just about every night of the week for five to six hours at least.”

While it is undoubtedly a noble cause Moriarty has undertaken, it has nonetheless rendered him a zombie during daylight hours. His moonlighting as a de facto children’s librarian has quite obviously begun to consume him—bags hang lazily over his sleepless eyes, stubble grows unevenly from his tired face, a stale cigarette stench emanates from his clumsily constructed, ill-maintained physique. His voice has become all but a deliberate rasp, angrily hissing from his throat as though to make his listener shudder.

During the winter months, with just the Celtics and Bruins in season, Moriarty has the occasional night off. But this April has become the perfect storm of commitments now that the Celtics and Bruins are all but assured to still both be playing at least until May. Halfway through a two-week Red Sox homestand, the side effects are already evident. 

“This is just the beginning for me,” says Moriarty. “I just hope sales start to pick up once the weather gets warmer…Tickets aren’t exactly in high demand right now. Times are tough. People aren’t snatching up these tickets an hour before the game starts anymore. I’m here unloading seats until the fourth inning at half face value.” Indeed, even the Red Sox have resorted to some rather predictable, blunt marketing techniques in order to meet historical ticket sale levels. 

This is bad news for Moriarty. The volume of tickets Moriarty is able to flip onto Red Sox fans directly affects his hospital reading routine. After struggling with an alcohol addiction in his more formidable years, Moriarty fended off his dependence by turning to stimulants including cocaine, adderol, Ritalin, oxycontin and other—as he calls them—“cocktails” that help him live his crazy double life.

“I operate on a cash basis in all my business transactions,” Moriarty explains. “If I have less cash from Sox ticket sales coming in than in years past, I don’t get my medications and, unfortunately, the kids I read to suffer. I can’t stay awake all night without my cocktails. And it’s not like I can sell these kids the scattered singles I have left at the end of the night. They’re bedridden, for crissakes. ”

Composing himself, Moriarty takes a long, deliberate gulp of Vick’s 40 cough syrup and chases it with a Monster energy drink to help lubricate his voice box. Hardened and crusty as he is, Moriarty has a gentle side that he rarely shows the outside world. He rebuffs repeated requests to have his photograph taken reading to children and is adamant that no one interrupt this very personal aspect of his life.

Similarly, he refuses to provide names for any of the children he reads to for fear that they will be exploited. His name, he says, will not be familiar if run past hospital officials since he uses an alias–which he also refuses to disclose. 

“My favorite nights are the ones where I’m really feeling connected with a certain character and I start to talk like them in one of my fantasy voices. Sometimes a crowd of like five or ten kids just herds around me. It feels like I‘ve got box seats for the World Series.”

Moriarty is a sucker for the classics when it comes to his choice of reading material. “I’ve probably read the text for Charlotte’s Web aloud over 100 times since I started volunteering,” says Moriarty. “But I’m just as big a fan of Dr. Seuss’ There’s a Wocket in my Pocket and The Touch Me Book as the next guy. A lot of the kids are actually pretty big baseball fans. I’ve read the 2009 Bill James Baseball Handbook to a couple of kids over the last few months. They really seemed to like that. Sometimes we get into pretty heated discussions about stuff — you know, player projections and all that.”

Red Sox, Menino teaming up to prevent redux of Patriot’s Day 2007 Pizza Throwing Incident

BOSTON, Mass.—The scene was Patriot’s Day 2007, Fenway Park. A man sitting in box seats along the left-field line hucks a slice of pizza directly into the face of a nearby fan after the victim allegedly chided the chucker and his friends for bringing an entire pie into the ballpark.

 

Video clips on the Worldwide Web were viewed en masse. An estimated 5.3 million hours of productivity was lost, forever, throughout the New England area. It is a moment of team lore that will long live in the memories of Red Sox fans; an action of mass appeal that evoked snickering around office water coolers for weeks afterward and nearly made Don Orsillo wet himself in laughter. And, alas, a painful reminder of how a handful of hooligans can ruin something so simple and appreciated by the masses.

 

After numerous renegade imitators surfaced during last year’s Patriot’s Day, the Red Sox are teaming up with Mayor Thomas Menino and the City of Boston to prevent a repeat of pizza peltings this Monday commemorating the incident’s two-year anniversary.

 

“Full pizza pies will not be sold in the City of Boston until the conclusion of the Red Sox game, after all fans have exited Fenway Park,” a top aide speaking for Menino stated yesterday in clear, decipherable, articulate English. “Inside Fenway Park, city officials will oversee a strict one-slice limit per fan.”

 

In addition to banning full pizza pie sales, the city is considering adding a stipulation to the moratorium that would include a ban on the sale of triangular-shaped slices.

 

“While square-shaped, Sicilian deep-dish styled pizza is generally more aerodynamic, triangular slices often contain sharp edges and shards of crust that could inflict puncture wounds on or around the face and neck area,” said a research analyst hired by the mayor’s office.

 

Red Sox fans with tickets to Monday’s game have already begun forming contingency plans.

“I know a guy who’s going to get us a bulk deal on those Celeste frozen pizzas,” says Fred DiNardo of Haverill. “Me and a few buddies are going to bring a battery-operated microwave with us and heat them up on my tailgate Monday morning before the game. Those things are small enough that we should be able to sneak a few dozen into the park with us…if we don’t eat them all beforehand.”

Informed by Fenway Pastoral about the ban being imposed on fans, Attleboro season ticketholder Jim Robbins had trouble holding back his political views, “Mayor Menino is obviously out to get working class Red Sox fans. It’s unbelievable. First, he refuses to allow beer sales in the stands and now he’s imposed a limit on my pizza intake. Pardon the pun, but this is pure grandstanding run amok.”

Robbins added that he’s planning to bombard “any and all corrupt, agenda-driven politicos” he sees from his first-base-line seats with cola-soaked cotton candy.

Manchester, N.H.’s Meghan McDermott and her friends were so distraught when they heard the news that they opted to post their tickets on StubHub. “I wish we had sold them off before Mayor Menino made his announcement. I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s going to want tickets for this game now that they’re banning pizza sales and pizza throwing. This is a lose-lose decision for everybody.”

Indeed, McDermott’s sentiments are not only shared by thousands of fans who scooped up Patriot’s Day tickets in the hopes of joining a time-honored tradition, they are also backed by the most recent data available to neurologists studying the link between brain waves and laughter. “There’s nothing more stimulating to the laughter-inducing neurons within a normally developed human being’s brain cortex than a pie hitting someone in the face,” says Harvard neuro-physiologist Dr. Barry P. Wolf. “Why do you think WSBK TV38 aired The Three Stooges on Saturday mornings for so many years?”

Massachusetts State Cop Catches Heat For Flashing Leather at Fenway

SOUTH BOSTON, Mass.–A Massachusetts State Police trooper has taken an involuntary leave of absence following a bizarre incident in which his superior officers believe they spied the 34-year-old on TV catching a foul ball at Fenway Park with a baseball glove during Opening Day last Tuesday.

 A full-blown investigation into the incident is already underway at the South Boston barracks, according to sources speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the issue.

“We were just relaxing and watching the game on TV the other day at headquarters. All of a sudden the camera pans into the crowd after Youks popped a foul ball down the first-base line,” said the source. “And there’s one of our guys in maybe the fourth or fifth row near the tarp, snagging the baseball with his glove.”

The off-duty trooper was in street clothes and appeared to be at the game with his son, who on-duty officers watching the game also recognized. However, the baseball glove did not appear to be small enough to be his offspring’s.

“Yeah, we’re positive it was either an outfielder’s glove or a first baseman’s mitt,” the source says. “I don’t know, the worst thing for me would be to hear that it’s a first baseman’s mitt. To me, that’s crossing over the fine line between an incidental transgression and gross irresponsibility. A grown man bringing a glove to the park…what a [expletive] knucklehead.”

For a department that prides itself on manning its force with officers of the utmost character and dignity, the very public display at Fenway Park may ultimately spell termination if the trooper is found to be guilty.

“If it is him, it’s pretty bad timing,” says another trooper with knowledge of the incident. “He’s probably only going to get two or three years’ pay as severance, tops, if he’s dismissed over this.”

Internal investigators are in the process of obtaining multiple camera feeds from the broadcast. In the meantime, the State Police barracks has already circulated an internal memo regarding the incident, asking anyone in the department with information to step forward. Thus far, anonymous tips have centered around the possibility that the trooper may have used the glove during inter-departmental softball games.

The investigation could wind up costing the department a significant amount of money if it continues to drag out.

“No one wants to be the rat,” says one source, who requested he be called Skip. “Plus, how he got the tickets is still a little fuzzy to most of us.”

According to Skip, Staties often obtain tickets to games in the line of duty during warranted seizures, raids, foot patrols and traffic stops.

“If I had to guess, I’d say he probably got them the night before on some traffic stop on I-90 or I-93. They looked like they were goods seats, that’s for sure. He must’ve bagged the guy doing 100 (mph). Wreckless driving…pay through the nose in insurance or give up your box seats for the next night–pretty easy decision for most people.”

Skip’s partner, another veteran officer willing to discuss the incident as long as his name was withheld, questions the process the trooper may have underwent if he obtained the tickets in the line of duty.

“Any time somebody gives us free tickets, for whatever the reason may be…We’re supposed to offer them to our superior officer first.”

The fact that the off-duty trooper may have violated this unwritten code among State Police only serves to further irk fellow policemen.

“The guy obviously wasn’t broken in very well at the academy,” says Skip, who also brought up the fact that a first baseman’s mitt appeared to be used. “So I guess if he sat in the bleachers or in the right-field grandstand he would’ve brought his outfield glove?”

All of the troopers interviewed for this story seemed to agree that maintaining a sense of humor about the incident may be the only way of dealing with the unquestionably troubling behavior.

“Give him a plus one on Dewan’s!” yelled a veteran officer from the next room over.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Epstein re-ignites trade talks after Varitek refuses to change at-bat music

BOSTON, Mass.–Despite belting a home run on opening day, Jason Varitek’s insistence on continuing his tradition of being serenaded to the plate by a decade-old Three Doors Down song has increasingly drawn the ire of Theo Epstein.

The song, Kryptonitepeaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000. While catchy enough to capture a nation’s heart during the first summer of the millenium, the song’s stalwart status as Varitek’s at-bat intro music seems to have finally pushed Epstein over the edge, according to sources citing the general manager’s well-documented affinity for Pearl Jam.

“I think Theo looks at a guy like Jason Bay, who started going to the plate to [Pearl Jam's hit single] Alive after he got traded to Boston, and he sees potential for Varitek to get out of this awful rut he’s been in the last year and a half,” said one source with direct knowledge of the situation.

According to an assistant present during contract talks with Scott Boras this past winter, Epstein even went so far as to attempt to insert a clause into Varitek’s contract requiring him to change his at-bat song to Lukin. After reluctantly listening to the minute-long cut from Pearl Jam’s 1996 album No Code, Varitek firmly declined.

Continued badgering from the GM only served to make the situation more tenuous. According to some obervers’ versions, Epstein routinely crank called Varitek during spring training, spamming the catcher’s Blackberry with links to classic concert footage and loudly playing snippets of various Pearl Jam tunes when the Captain answered his cell phone.

The trouble for Epstein at this juncture will be finding a team willing to make a deal so early into the season. The Texas Rangers’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run on Tuesday night, meaning the asking price has likely only gone up since offseason trade talks between the two clubs fizzled. The shared fear within the club now is that Epstein will complete any deal floated his way for any backstop willing to be introduced to Pearl Jam music. It could be almost anybody, sources say.

Perhaps even more disturbing is a club insider’s assertion that Epstein has wanted to rid the Red Sox of Varitek for several years because of the song choice. “This is going to be really hard to hear for some Boston fans, but Theo was ready to ship the guy out of here at the end of 2006, when he still had some value…Unfortunately, he was overruled by ownership and he ultimately either lost interest or relented because Pearl Jam was on tour and he had tickets to something like 20 out of 23 shows that spring.”

Opinions of Red Sox fans interviewed in Kenmore Square after Wednesday night’s 7-2 loss ran the gamut.

“I love Theo, but that song was around way before he was,” said Shelly Silva, 29, of Yarmouth. “I’ve gotta say, I’m surprised people are still talking about trading the Captain of the team. He has more home runs than David Ortiz…”

Meanwhile, Bert Fleisch, 41, of Wellesley is happy to give Epstein a few suggestions for a replacement. “You know who I like is that guy for the Braves who’s already hit two home runs this year. Seems like he might be the best bet to get a guy on the team who can hit 60 dingers for us.”

Exclusive: New Frankfurters Are A Hit

BOSTON, Mass–The Boston Globe did an outstanding job earlier this week of getting the scoop on exactly how delectable the new Kayem-produced Fenway Franks will taste this season. Bringing the public this type of information before its competitors has long separated the broadsheet from its evidently inferior competitors. The story’s main sources, Fenway and Kayem marketing executives, provided the following information about the Official Hot Dog of the Red Sox:

“(The) hot dogs begin as large cuts of meat that go through the grinder, get blended with spices such as garlic, onion, and mustard, and then are cooled with a special process so the juiciness is preserved. The meat then gets stuffed into casings, twisted, and hung, and cooked in a smoker, chilled, and dried. The hot dogs are then shot through machines that remove casings, and as the franks move down the production line, inspectors pick off any imperfect ones before the hot dogs make it out of the factory.”

Note: The story’s reporter was kind enough to remove the “For Immediate Release” and public relations contact information that preceded the information above.

Fenway Pastoral sees no reason for honest, hard-working marketing folks to steer fans away from the truth about their products being delicious. Nonetheless, while Boston area police occupied themselves helping old ladies cross the street and parking illegally, we were able to stealthily obtain a limited number of the new frankfurters that will be sold throughout the park this season. The pilfered dogs were cooked in lukewarm water for nearly two minutes and taste tests were subsequently served to unsuspecting, delightfully surprised citizens throughout the metro Boston area.

Outside Government Center, several men identifying themselves as Red Sox enthusiasts jumped at the chance to participate in the sneak-taste. Throwing away a homemade sandwich made by his wife, accountant Bill Tierney gave his hot dog two thumbs up. “Oh yeah…this is a hot dog. Am I going to be in a commercial?”

Staffing specialist Jim Kolb, who took his with mustard and relish, asked for another. “Man, this really tastes like winner! I don’t usually yell this loud, but this is really freaking good!”

After some coaxing, business consultant Margaret Schulman agreed to give one a try as she passed through Downtown Crossing. “You can definitely taste all the work that went into making this. Kayem obviously did a lot of work perfecting the flavors of its hot dog. Is there a hint of hickory in this?”

Told that they were eating the very same brand of hot dog as those enjoyed by team owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein, some tasters became downright giddy. Taking a bite out of one end of his dog, Peter Gallagher entered a transformative state: “If he is able to correct his arm slot and continue to mature mentally, Clay Buchholz projects as a top of the rotation starter for us for years to come, employing a plus-fastball and a wicked breaking ball.”

Surprisingly, not everyone was on board with the new taste. Robert McDonald, a former concessions vendor at Fenway Park, declined to even try the new tubesteak. “I worked a grill under the bleachers for 10 years. I wouldn’t put that thing in Jenna Jameson’s mouth while wearing condoms on my fingers.” When asked to elaborate, McDonald declined.

Despite McDonald’s minority opinion, the new Franks figure to be more popular than the recently defunct Conigliaro’s Corner. The icing on the cake, according to economists, is that tubular meat has proven to be exceptionally recession-proof, an important consideration during such lean times.

“We’re projecting a 4% rise in hot dog sales at Fenway Park this year,” said Ed Napolitano, an analyst for BallPark Food Metrics LLC. “That’s a very impressive increase and it would likely be even higher if we were to adjust the data to exclude the statistical noise from the sale of footlongs.”