From Meet the Press to Meet the Prez
Photo Gallery: The RSN Presidential Debate
The Debate Club
(Boston.com Photo / Steve Silva)
Candidates Square Off in RSN Prez Debate at BU
On the same day the Red Sox can wrap their first division title in 12 years, they held a debate for the president of Red Sox Nation promotion the team is running.
NBC’s Tim Russert, host of “Meet the Press,” moderated today’s discussion among the candidates for the presidency of RSN, which took place at Boston University’s George Sherman Union this morning. The debate will be televised on NESN following tomorrow night’s game.
The crowd of about 50 was mostly comprised of Red Sox brass and employees who were on hand to watch six of the final 11 candidates debate. Predictably, the discussion topics ranged from Bucky Dent, 1978, their favorite players, ideas for expanding the Nation, making the Fenway experience better, and taking a stand on Alex Rodriguez as a potential Sox third baseman.
One audience member asked, “Why should this position go to a celebrity when they already have perks not available to regular fans?” with Sam Horn and Jerry Remy being the focus.
Horn replied that the perks aren’t everything and the president needs to be able to go out and be a fan among fans as well, something Horn has done on a nightly basis at Fenway Park.
Horn thought he had the advantage over an ordinary fan because he said an ordinary person is not in a position to do things with players and media that need to be done in order to bring the team and the fans closer together. He said he has that experience.
Russert pointed out that Horn had more at-bats with the Orioles than the Red Sox and wondered if Horn would run for president of Orioles Nation if he loses this election. Horn responded that he would not pursue an Orioles office, and surprisingly, said that if elected, he would pick Remy as his VP.
Remy took a different approach on the celebrity question, saying that he would give all the perks to his vice president, someone who is a regular fan, who he would work side-by-side with on a daily basis. Remy thought his role on NESN would give him the opportunity to speak to a large number of fans directly.
The most dramatic campaign promise came from Boston Duck Tours president Cindy Brown, who said she wanted to go back to the time when the Red Sox would allow people on the street to enter the park after the seventh inning. Brown also proposed shutting down Lansdowne Street, like Yawkey Way, during the games.
Things got a little feisty at times, but it was all for the cameras and everyone shook hands at the end. You can see it all tomorrow night on NESN after the game.
Now comes another narrowing down of the candidates with voting starting tomorrow on redsox.com and running through Oct. 2, where you can decide who makes it to the final three.
From Meet the Press
to Meet the Prez
(Globe Photo / Wiqan Ang)
Russert Goes Small-Time in Boston Today to
Moderate The Great Larry Lucchino Lapdog Debate
Hot Topics That Probably Won't Be Debated at BU's George Sherman Union:
* Fan ticket access and the sketchy sales process
* Secondary re-sale market mess
* Fenway seating problems
* Fenway No. 1 in fan cost index
* Protecting fans from dangerous scalpers on the street
* Players' privacy issues, at dinner, and on the road
* Out-of-market television broadcast issues
Let's Handicap the Race ...
1. Mike Barnicle – hometown Fitchburg, MA, he sure as hell doesn’t live there now – former Globe writer and TV/radio personality
Mike's a F.O.L. L. guy (Friend of Larry Lucchino) who finds himself in the top 10. Are we ever going to see those vote totals by the way MLB? Mike already has great seats at Fenway. He’s a legit fan, and has the proper snarky attitude for the job, but he falls under the celebrity category for sure, and this was supposed to an opportunity for “regular” fans. Odds to win: 12-1.
2. Cheryl Boyd -- Holliston, MA -- Great-niece of Elizabeth "Lib" Dooley
Boyd is playing the relative-of-a-somewhat-famous-fan-card here. OK fine. But Oil Can Boyd would have been Top 3 lock if the Sox forced his hat into this ring. Cheryl Boyd’s odds to win: 30-1.
3. Cindy Brown -- Boston, MA -- Head of Boston Duck Tours
F.O.L.L. as Brown was instrumental in putting together the infamous Rolling Rally in 2004, using the Duck boats. Cindy just roasted another Duck Boat wannabe company in the courtroom, but the Duck Boat Queen will be singing her swan song after the debate. Odds to win: 16-1.
4. Jared Carrabis -- Saugus, MA -- Has worn a Red Sox shirt 1,400 days in a row
Jared wears a stinky shirt. Jared has a big MySpace Sox page that was shut down in August by MLB Advanced Media. Jared’s members sent silly emails protesting the shut down to everyone from Bud Selig to John Henry:
“Make no mistake out freedom of speech has been restricted in an open forum! MLB won't clean up the game but it feels the need to clean US up. Selig wont punish Giambi but they feel the need to punish us simply for being loving fans…”
Jared wrote the following to his members when the site went back up:
“Behind the pulling of this page was none other than Major League Baseball. I'm not going to go into details as to why they wanted to do away with SoxSpace because that's not important. … When SoxSpace was deleted, tens of thousands of outraged SoxSpace members messaged MySpace, Major League Baseball, local news stations, newspapers, other Boston websites and any other means of getting the word out of this unnecessary act. SoxSpace was deleted without warning and that in my eyes is just not right. All that MLB had on me is that I used the Red Sox logos and pictures of the team but HELLOO have you looked at any other Boston fan's MySpace page? Every Red Sox fan has something Red Sox on their MySpace. I was singled out just because I had a large number of Red Sox fans all in one place.
MLB was wrong in doing this to us even if it was temporary. You have no right to delete my page just because a few of your logos are on the page. You can tell me to take them down…”
I think I like the Subway Jared better. But this newfound friend of MLB has the best shot outside of Remy due to the billions of MySpace teens who will pound the keyboard 24/7 to promote the only somewhat regular fan in the game. Odds to win: 3-1.
5. Rob Crawford -- Brookline, MA -- "Regular Rob" raises funds for education
The Sox propped “Regular Rob” up on the pregame show right when this thing kicked off. He wrote a song. It’s not that great. I’m sure Charles Steinberg loves it. Voila! He’s in the Top 10. “Regular Rob” blogs a little too much. File under: Trying too hard. But if the Sox want a “regular” fan in there at the end, this will be their guy. Odds to win: 3-1.
6. Peter Gammons -- Groton, MA -- Baseball Hall of Famer, Legendary journalist
Lucchino obviously has photoshopped pictures of Andrew Jackson’s head on Oscar de la Hoya’s body suit and has threatened to pass it off as Peter. There’s no other explanation as to why Gammo would be within 1,000 miles of this marketing trainwreck. When PG made a snarky “Some Sox have no sense of urgency” comment on Mike Felger’s show on ESPN 890 last week, Felger said the comment could hurt his candidacy as president of the Nation. Gammo’s reply? “Good.” And we just can’t imagine this cutaway on ESPN next season, “Let’s go down to the Yankees dugout where Red Sox Nation president Peter Gammons is standing by to give us an update on Derek Jeter’s injury…” Not happening. But Gammons is the next most popular name this side of RemDawg. Odds to win: 2-1.
7. Rich Garces -- Nashua, NH -- Former Red Sox relief pitcher
Someone will notify Garces that his name has been exploited for this thing any day now. That’s if anyone ever sees him around these parts again. But El Guapo is beloved by billions. Odds to win: 4-1.
8. Doris Kearns Goodwin -- Concord, MA --Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
Was Clark Booth on deadline at the Dorchester Reporter and unavailable to fill this slot? Is Ken Burns busy making new tired documentaries for the big WGBH screen that hangs over the Mass Pike? DKG is not exactly a household name with the Internet set, but if you’re over 60, and want to keep hearing about the good old days for the rest of your life, she’s the candidate for you. Odds to win: 20-1.
9. Sam Horn -- Providence, RI--Former Red Sox lefthanded slugger
The always-smiling big man has been kissing babies and shaking every hand up on the Monster seats for months, and hitting the campaign trail harder than he hit some of his mammoth home runs back in the day. His name was randomly chosen for one website (Sons of Sam Horn) and he’s out there promoting another (Sawxheads.com). He’s advertised everywhere from USA Today to NESN. Hopefully he won’t run into trouble with the RSN Prez contest Final Judging rule 1c: “Advertising, solicitations and chain letters are prohibited.” Hey, rules were meant to be broken. Sam also participated in the MLBblog program associated with this contest, and the fans posted some questions in the comments section.
“As a 51-year fan of the Red Sox, I would like to know how you would advocate for the fans--the ordinary fans like me, people who can't get tickets because there are too many corporate tickets, too many obstacles, not enough opportunities. I want to know what you would do with your celebrity status to help the Red Sox forge new bonds in the community with the people who need them the most, not the wealthy people who can always afford or find a way to make a contact, but the disadvantaged youth of Boston and Cambridge who have no opportunities. I want to know why you are interested in winning the prizes, when obviously these would be better off given to a fan who in his or her wildest dreams would never have a chance to go to spring training. I want to know how you plan to make things happen, not just have a neat song and video. I want to know what you would do for out-of-market fans like me who faithfully watch the Red Sox on the small (computer) screen every night, but who still can't get a seat at Fenway Park when traveling to Boston. I want to know what you would do about the Stub Hub mess and how the fans get ripped off with all the fees.
So...What do you have to say? I am anxious to hear your answers.
I think we’re all anxious to hear answers to these question from all the candidates. And we would if this thing was real, but this is just a popularity contest for the online crowd. Sam’s odds to win: 3-1.
10. Jerry Remy -- Fall River, MA -- Red Sox Hall of Famer and NESN analyst
It’s the Lucchino-appointed ubiquitous NESN personality and pitchman former temporary president’s job to lose. And he got confused by the too-many-hats he wears by mixing up RemDawg Nation with Red Sox Nation in one of the many in-game drop-ins for the contest a couple of weeks ago. It would be nice to see Rem step aside, drop to a VP position, and turn it over to a regular fan that could use the perks. Odds to win? 6-5.
11. "Big Pupi"-- Austin, TX -- Would establish a section for dogs, K-9
We’d obviously prefer a scrappy dirt-doggy mongrel-type canine over this well-groomed cocker spaniel, but it would be great to see havoc that will be wreaked when dogs and people are milling around together at spacious Fenway Park… and then the cat people will come calling… Odds to win? 9-5.
Eric Wilbur: National Embarrassment
"As if anyone needed one more reason why Red Sox fans have become the laughingstock of the baseball word, we present to you the search for a President of Red Sox Nation. Ironically, as the search intensifies for the betterment of corporate Red Sox Nation, the Red Sox fan dies a slow death, a fact that people in the marketing department can’t seem to get a handle on as they relentlessly push on.
"If you’re like me, you’ve simply tried to ignore the entire situation, lowering the volume when Jerry Remy provides you with his nightly take on the happenings of the election and cringing at the fact that Peter Gammons, of all people, is actually involved in this ridiculous affair.
"Instead, the Red Sox are Sam Kinison to our Rodney Dangerfield, hammering us over our collective noggins with an election that, aside from the few wrapped up in this thing, the rest of us couldn’t care less about. The next person that I meet that hasn’t scoffed profusely at this joke will be the first. It’s gotten to the point where if I see Sam Horn’s campaign commercial one more time it’s going to take a Trot Nixon sized headlock to keep me from charging the monitor. ...
"Being a Red Sox fan at one point used to mean something, or have we forgotten? It was a fandom that was difficult to permeate unless you had experienced the heartache of seasons like 1978, ’86, and ’03. It was a status symbol of ultimate loyalty that is, for better or worse, now dead.
"Forget No. 756, fans that hopped on the wagon during the ’04 ALCS should come with an asterisk. There is no possible way they could ever understand what the fan base meant previous to that, which in turn means there is absolutely no way they could ever feign such a passion for the team as fans bred into the culture previously. No way. As much as some want to argue that more fans are good for any team -- and what’s wrong with spreading the wealth? -- I will not budge from decreeing this thought as fact. Not point of view. F-A-C-T.
"And yet, these, I assume, are the target audience of this campaign, the ones who paid $14.95 and up to be a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation. The ones the Red Sox know they can get hook, line, sinker.
"Let’s put it this way, the Red Sox have whittled down the list to 10 names from 1,200 original nominees. Twelve hundred. When you consider the millions of Red Sox fans in New England and around the world, what you’ve got is a minor sliver of people who have nothing better to do than devote valuable time to running this campaign. Not to be harsh, but when you dedicate every breathing moment (or piece of wardrobe) to the Red Sox, and it’s not, say, your job, there’s a certain loser factor involved, no? The dork in Fever Pitch wasn’t someone you’re supposed to aspire to be. I think we lost that translation somewhere.
"Oh, by the way, the Red Sox are thisclose to clinching the American League East. The playoffs start next week. Jonathan Papelbon is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and nobody is worried about a related curse. But, who cares. We’re electing a president, damn it. -- Eric Wilbur, Boston.com