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Jul 18, 2007:

The Fan Who Would Be President

Rick Swanson at Game 2 of 2004 World Series, Fenway Park

(BDD / Rick Swanson Photo)

Red Sox Nation Presidential Candidate Rick Swanson
Shares His Plan for Red Sox Fans with BDD

Average Joe Is Ready to Take on the Celebrity Candidates
Wants to Drop Cost of Joining Team's Nation to $1
And Create a Disneyland-Style 'Red Sox World'

Boston Dirt Dogs is conducting a series of interviews with the candidates for president of the team's Red Sox Nation fan group. Today, we conducted an e-mail Q&A with Rick Swanson, who was named as a candidate last week by Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino.


BDD: Rick, as you are not in the public eye like most of the other candidates, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Swanson: I am 56, married since 1985, wife Diana, sons Casey 19, and Teddy, 16 and Erica 13 today. I am a Physical Education teacher for the Children's Center of Conn. I teach at an alternative school in Stratford, Conn.

I live in Glastonbury, Conn. I was born and raised in New Britain, Conn. I went to Doane College in Crete, NE and graduated in 1972. I played third base on the baseball team in college. I earned my Masters in Special Education at the University of Hartford in 1995.

I played baseball in the Hartford Twilight League from 1971-1974. I presently play softball in a 55 and over league called Vernon Senior Softball League, and I am on the board of directors.

BDD: Why do you want to become the president of Red Sox Nation?

Swanson: Since I went to Fenway Ambassador day in Fenway in 2002, I have wanted to find any position with the Red Sox. That night I was told how the new owners wanted to hear from the fans, and how email was simple to reach anyone in the organization, just by using the first initial, last name, at I have many ideas about baseball, but foremost is my passion to help the Red Sox win the World Series.

BDD: What makes you qualified to be the president of this rabid fanbase?

Swanson: I feel I have the same passion any real Red Sox fan has, but I have been able to reach the leaders, for 5 years now, and they really do listen to my ideas. I know how Red Sox fans think. 99% of fans would never have let Cabrera or Dave Roberts ever leave the team until they retired. They were the reason they won the World Series. I also wrote in May of 2003, "If you get Schilling, it will bring rings to Boston, and make heads roll in NY." Any real fan knows it was Bernie Carbo that was the real hero of game 6 in 1975. I have been lucky enough to have been there at the most crucial times.

Top 10 games I was at:

1. Game 4 2004 ALCS
2. Game 6 1975 WS
3. Game 162 1967
4. Game 6 1986 WS
5. Playoff Game 1978
6. Game 7 2003 ALCS
7. Opening Ring Day 2005
8. Game 4 ALDS 2003
9. Papi at the Bat 6/11/06
10. 8/1/73 Fisk Munson fight on home plate. Write a Red Sox book, get the facts right

BDD: What does the term, "pink hat crowd" mean to you?

Swanson: The young females that are now in the stands. In the old days, it was only fathers and sons that followed the Red Sox. Back then few females had any passion for the Red Sox.

BDD: What kinds of things do you anticipate being able to do as the president if elected? What are your plans?

Swanson: My first goal is to put Pesky back in the Red Sox dugout. I wrote a story that BDD ran in April. If elected I hope to take it to Bud Selig, and get Pesky back where he belongs.

I plan on doing the same thing that I do now. Writing and telling the team what they could do, to get better, and win it all again. I want to be the person that lets the organization know how all the fans feel. If I was president, neither Lugo or Drew would be in Boston, but Cabrera and Roberts would still be here.

I feel I will make an impact on the organization, even if not elected. right now I want them to use a six man rotation. I feel the way they do things in Japan is better than how we do them. I want every starting pitcher to go out there, and expect to pitch a complete game every time out. by changing to a six man rotation this will happen 50 percent of the time. I want all fans to decide right now, who belongs in the rotation Delcarmen or Tavarez? I sent this to Larry {Lucchino] today:


Time to cut the cord with Wily Mo. His last at bat was brutal. Even Orsillo said, all the pitcher needs to do is throw a curve ball with 2 strikes, because Wily Mo will swing and miss. He did, and Pena looked lost again. We don't need Sanders, we need Jacoby Beep Beep Ellsbury, the Navajo Roadrunner, back in Boston now. Just release Pena

Don't let Tavarez start tonight. He looks like a deer in headlights. Switch roles with him and Delcarmen. Manny could give you 85 pitches tonight, and next time more. Gabbard Schilling and Delcarmen give us the six man rotation, without Tavarez. When Schilling returns you could start that. Until then put in the hometown kid in the rotation.

I know all of my ideas will not work, but I feel if elected at least they will check out some of the innovative ideas I have come up with. Wouldn't you like to see if CoreControl really worked?

I feel my writing helped them win before as this is what I wrote after game 2 against NY in 2004:

"I'm going to say something now that probably no other Red Sox fan would even say, or even think. I hope they lose game three and fall behind 3 games to zero. Then I want to see the greatest comeback ever in the history of baseball. The 2004 Boston Red Sox will be the first team in baseball history to come back from the grave, and win a 7 game series after losing the first 3 games. Then on top of that they will then go on to win the World Series in four straight, over the Cardinals."

Then I wrote this the morning of game 4. I called it The Sermon on the Mound:

"The Sox are my (Bob) shepherd; I shall not want (more after ending this 1918 chant). He maketh me to lie down in the shadow of the green (monster) pastures: he leadeth me beside the still (muddy) waters. He restoreth my soul, (with confidence to hit and catch the ball): he leadeth me in the paths (of the baselines in spite of the third base coach's poor decisions) for Smoky Joe's name's sake. Yea, though I walk (on four straight pitches) through the valley of the shadow of (a sweeping Yankee) death, I will fear no evil (empire): for thou art with me; thy bat and thy glove they comfort me. Thou preparest a seventh game before me in the presence of mine (NY) enemies: thou anointest my head with (glove) oil; my cap runneth over. Surely goodness and victory shall follow me all the days of these playoffs: and I will dwell in the house of Ted for the World Series."

I met Jeff Goldenberg director of event operations last November. I explained how a Walkstool could eliminate [standing room only] at all games. I demonstrated how this product could help ushers and security. I explained how a platform added to the [standing room only] section of State Street Pavilion could add 200 tickets to each game.


BDD: How often do you get to Fenway Park to see a game?

Swanson: Since 1957 I have gone to between 3 to 10 games a year, every year, except the strike year of 1994

BDD: How do you get your tickets to games?

I never bought tickets in advance. Up until 2003, I just went to any game, and always got in. In 1967 at a doubleheader with Minnesota, (this was the largest crowd ever in Fenway listed 35,469, but there were over 40,000 that night), between games my father said, "lets get tickets for the last game of the year, maybe it will mean something." We sat in section one row 5 on the last game of the year. He made me wear a suit with a red tie to the game. I said it would be different that day. Then I went with him to 3 World Series games, (he let me skip school) and we never had tickets. For game 7 it was Columbus Day, and Jersey Street was filled with people trying to get in. It was five of one, and we did not have any tickets. A man said to my father, 2 bleachers $50. My dad said $40, and he took it. Then another said to my father, who now had the tickets, I will give you $75, another said $150, then someone said $200. I got nervous that he was going to sell. I said "Dad, it is game 7 of the World Series, the Red Sox will never get here again in our lifetime, lets go to the game, forget money." We ran around to the bleachers, and entered the park when the Anthem finished.

In 2002 I went to a game about a month after I contacted Charles Steinberg for the first time. Looking for tickets, the price was high for me, and my two sons, and son's friend, Jon. I found 2 SRO, and the guy sold them for $30 instead of $36, so I was up. I decided to knock on the glass for the offices at 4 Yawkey Way. I told the attendant that I was communicating with the VP of the team, and wanted to know if I could get 2 tickets now. He let me go to the office on the second floor, the receptionist, offered me soda and a snack, I asked if Charles could find 2 SRO tickets for me. She came back and said he did not have any SRO but I could buy 2 grandstand, directly behind home plate. I was thrilled and for $88 more all 4 of us were in. The seats next to us were empty, and we sat together for a memorable game. I took my mini cam to the game and took footage of one of the most memorable games of the year, Terrence Long running over 100 feet in 5.65 seconds. Here it is. Including replay, as our tickets had a TV right in front of us. If you listen to the audio you can hear Jon's reaction when Boston lost. Ever since then, the leaders of the team have read my thoughts on how to help the team, this new ownership has let me go to practically any game I want. I try not to abuse this privilege, and only ask for about 5 games a year. I was once told, "If you feel like you need to be there, let me know, and you will."

BDD: Do you think Fenway is filled with the most passionate Red Sox fans, or is it filled mostly with people who can afford to be seen at the Fenway scene every night?

Swanson: I usually have SRO tickets, and those have always been the true passionate fans.

BDD: Are the Red Sox doing all they can to protect fans on the streets outside Fenway and wiping the scalpers out of the area on a nightly basis?

Swanson: It is better now than in the past. Most of it is done on the internet now anyway.

BDD: Do you think the ticketing system is fair?

Swanson: I think they are doing their best with only 36,000 for each game.

BDD: How do you feel about the massive number of Red Sox tickets that are available only through online ticket brokers and dangerous street scalpers?

Swanson: I think this ownership has tried to stop scalping. I can't understand why they let stub hub be a sponsor though. The last time I did not have tickets I stood in line on Lansdowne Street, and made it into the park, because they save tickets for the day of the game.

BDD: According to Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, which compiles the cost for a family of four to attend professional sports events (two average adult tickets, two average child tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs, and two baseball caps), the Sox were the most expensive take in the major leagues at $313.83. Should the Red Sox be working harder to make a night at Fenway more affordable for working families?

Swanson: I never pay to park, and get SRO tickets. I don't think it costs too much.

BDD: Are you in favor of a new Fenway, or building a new park?

Swanson: Never.

BDD: How do you feel about all the advertising at Fenway Park?

Swanson: I liked it better when the green monster was just green, and only Tom Yawkey and his wife used Morse code as the only other sign.

BDD: Do Fenway vendors scream too loudly in fans' ears when walking the stands at Fenway, interfering with the enjoyment of the game?

Swanson: In SRO sections they don't scream as loud.

BDD: At the end of the day, are Green Monster seats just high-priced obstructed view bleacher seats?

Swanson: I feel I was the first to think of putting those seats there. In 1999 I wrote to Ted Williams and said that they should put bleachers on top of the wall, instead of having a screen there. Ted had his secretary Mary Duhly Xerox my email and mail it in a letter to the then leaders of the team.

BDD: Have you ever waved into a camera while being on a cell phone at Fenway?

Swanson: No. This year a friend said ESPN zoomed in on me using my camera to take my own footage of a game. It was the night they wore green, and beat NY 7-6. He told me the announcer said: "Look at that fan with the grin on his face, soaking in every moment and memory of this game."

BDD: What should happen to front row fans who reach onto the field of play at Fenway?

Swanson: I have written many letters telling Boston to stop this from happening. I want ushers to wear shirts that say "Keep your hands in the stands" I want signs on top of the wall from canvas alley to the bullpen.

BDD: Do you think foul balls grabbed by the ball boys and girls should be handed to kids in the front row seats? Or should the Sox have an usher take the balls up to the kids in the cheap seats between innings?

Swanson: Bringing them up to cheap seats would be a good idea.

BDD: Do you think Wally the Green Monster adds to the ballpark experience? Would you recommend another mascot?

Swanson: No.

BDD: Red Sox dancers?

Swanson: No way.

BDD: How do you feel about the song (no longer played at the end of games) "Tessie," remade by the Drop Kick Murphys?

Swanson: I think Nuf Ced McGreevey was the greatest Red Sox fan ever, even though he boycotted the greatest seventh game ever in 1912. Tessie worked back then, and in 2004, I think it could comeback in October this year. I think maybe October is the only time it should be played.

BDD: Does Sweet Caroline need to be replaced?

Swanson: It is time for something new.

BDD: Would you ban the wave at Fenway?

Swanson: It doesn't hurt anyone, and when it comes around directly behind home, when the pitch is made, I think it gives good vibes to the park and team.


BDD: Have you had any interaction with the Red Sox front office or players over the years?

Swanson: I first wrote to Dick O'Connell when they traded Tony Conigliaro in 1971. He responded back saying he hoped the trade would help both teams. I told him they traded the heart and soul of the fans.

Since email in 1997 I wrote and had responses from Ted Williams weekly for the last 5 years of his life. I have had responses from 23 people in the organization using email.

In 2003 I interviewed with Sean McGrail President of NESN. My suggestion was to replay Red Sox games in condensed form the day after every game. I wanted to take old games and replay them.

In 2005 I interviewed with Josh Byrnes, Jed Hoyer, and Craig Shipley for position in Baseball Operations. I Explained to them how Reaction and Range is a new number that will measure defense. I told them to trade Hanley and that Dustin Pedroia would be the next star of the team.

In 2006 I interviewed with Larry Lucchino. He told me that they signed the two draft picks I kept telling him to sign. Lars Anderson and Daniel Bard. I also told him the one person I would trade for, was Todd Helton. I told him his lifetime OPS, was sixth, trailing only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, and Albert Pujlos. I told him Ted called this stat production, and baseball should change OPS to just production. I said any list that starts off Ruth, Williams, and Gehrig, was a list I wanted players from. I told him the Dustin Pedroia should have number 5, Nomar is gone, and he is going to be the new star.

BDD: Who nominated you for RSN president? And did they pay $14.95 to get your name on the ballot?

Swanson: Larry Lucchino asked me if I would give him permission to put my name on the list. A few weeks before when I asked him if there was any job I could have with the organization he wrote:

"Your ideas are always interesting and provocative (and helpful), but I see no clear fit for you INSIDE the organization at this point. I'll talk to Baseball Ops again, but I would not be optimistic. Thank you for all your thoughts and ideas and passion for the Red Sox."

BDD: Do you think fans should have to pay for the privilege of being a fan of the Red Sox?

Swanson: No of course not, but it could be my fault they came up with this idea. I wrote this to the leaders the day before the victory parade in 2004:

"Tomorrow there will be 5 million people to cheer the Red Sox, if you collect $30 from each fan they could pay the whole payroll. Have the Red Sox sell shares to Red Sox Nation. Let RSN be part of your team. The Celtics sold their team to the fans. Why not have the Red Sox do the same?"

I just talked to my friend Joe from New Britain. He hates the fact the team charges $15 to be part of RSN. I am going to try to change this as well. Red Sox fans don't like to throw away money for a piece of plastic, that represents your heart. They need to change membership to $1, then they will see everyone be part of The Nation.

BDD: Were you the first to use the term "Red Sox Nation" as you had written in an earlier email?

Swanson: I only said it because it fit into the poem I made up the night before the new ownership took over the team in 2001. I wrote T'was the Night Before Ownership on December 18, 2001.

And then in a moment he slid down the flag pole He went straight to the mound to fit in his role He was dressed all in red from his cap to his sox And began unloading hurlers to fill out the rotation To please all the fans that are part of Red Sox Nation

BDD: Do you consider a fan that has been going to Fenway for 40 years, good times and bad, a member of Red Sox Nation?

Swanson: Absolutely.

BDD: What if they don't have a card from the team, are they still part of the renowned fan base?

Swanson: Everyone knows in their heart if they have passion for the team, then they are real fans.

BDD: Do you think the team should be involved in what was a pure fan group?

Swanson: If it gets me a job with the team, I think it is great.

BDD: Should the team have just sold discount membership cards and kept their hands off the fan term "Red Sox Nation?"

Swanson: I think they are doing something that many people are having fun with.

BDD: How do you feel about Larry Lucchino putting celebrities on the ballot? Don't they already have enough notoriety and outlets? Should the president title be reserved for an average-Joe fan?

Swanson: I feel it will be a regular fan that wins; the others are just using it for fun. For me it is real.

BDD: If the ballot only contained celebrity fans, whom would you pick?

Swanson: Sorry, I would not pick any celebrity fan, but I would put Rachael Ray on my ticket.

BDD: Will you have total control to write whatever you want about the team in the new blog? Or will MLB be overseeing your published entries?

Swanson: I write a blog for Baseball Almanac at Around the Horn. My category is called "Good of the Game" and I call myself "The Fan's Commish." I think the first amendment will let me write anything I want about baseball.

BDD: How do you feel about members of the Nation that overtake opponents' ballparks?

Swanson: I have been in Yankee Stadium and felt like it was Fenway. It was great. Fenway fans need to respect other fans, even Yankee fans, and especially kids.

BDD: Have you been to City of Palms Park in Fort Myers? Do you feel like that's pure spring training baseball down there, or has CoP become a mini-Fenway?

Swanson: Never been to Spring Training. If the games are not real, I never wanted to go.

BDD: What Red Sox websites do you frequent? Do you have a blog? Participate in online chats? Discussion boards? The Ask Edes mailbag?

Swanson: and Boston Dirt Dogs only. I write the leaders of the Red Sox every day.

BDD: If Sam Horn challenges you to a debate, would you accept?

Swanson: Of course. I talked to Sam at the last game I was at. I told him I saw him hit a home run in Bristol, when he played with Bill Lee. He knew exactly where the ball cleared the fence. So did I.

BDD: Who is your favorite NESN personality and why?

Swanson: I like Remy. His hit should have gone down in history as the reason they won in 1978, but Piniella was lucky, and the ball found his glove.

BDD: Are you a member of RemDawg Nation as well?

Swanson: No.

BDD: Should the interim-acting president of RSN be able to run in this election? Is being President of Red Sox Nation and RemDawg Nation too much power for one person to have?

Swanson: He can't run, he already has a job. If he wants to be president, then I want to announce the games.

BDD: If a conflict arose between the citizens of Red Sox Nation and RemDawg Nation, would you be able to be a non-partial arbiter?

Swanson: Yes.

BDD: Do you have any ideas to improve the game and/or fan experience for MLB in general?

Swanson: I want to take old baseball games before video and recreate them by using machinima. I want to relive the 1912 season, and let the fans of tomorrow, watch all the great Red Sox games of the past. I had Curtis Jackson someone I met online recreate Babe Ruth's last Fenway home run as a Red Sox using machinima.

I want all fans of baseball to vote in a National pastime election to either ban or have the DH in both leagues. I want to start in 2008 by using the other leagues rules in interleague home games. After next year, all teams and fans will decide which way to go. Personally I want to dump da DH.

I hope to inform all of baseball a new way to measure defense with a new statistic that I call Reaction and Range. If you take the reaction time of each play, and divide it by the range distance you can measure defense. Bill James has told me there are 48 reasons why this will not work. I hope to meet him, and prove to him and everyone that I am right.

In 2003 I read a story about Ron Antinoja and his company called Tendu. It meant the tendency to do things. He had developed a program to chart pitch sequence chart. It told you the % of time Pedro would throw a low outside fast ball with a 2-2, and it gave the location. Tom Verducci wrote about tendu. Antinoja came to NY and took me to dinner. I was going to have the Red Sox use tendu. Mr. Werner had Josh Byrnes contact Antinoja. It was at the same time Bill James and BIS became part of operations. They chose BIS over Tendu. Now Seattle is the only team that uses Tendu.

In 2005 I read about CoreControl. It is a device used by many football players. Dwight Freeney has one. You hold on to a metal handle. It looks like a coffee pot. It keeps your body core at 98.6. On a hot day, when you are tired, you hold on to this for 5 minutes and your body is more focused, and energized. It has the same effects when you work out as steroids, but it is legal. One guy used it in a Discovery Channel video. He was over 40 and came in 3rd in a strongest man competition. The next oldest was 27. He used CoreControl to build up his body. The Red Sox medical staff told me they were interested in CoreControl. Ron Piasecki the CEO of the company said they would bring it to Boston and they could test it. He told me a pitcher would have the same arm strength in the ninth inning as he did in the first if he used one of these. The team has yet to try it.

In 2006 I was trying to find a telescopic stool the fans could use in the new State Street Pavilion where the have a bar and rail, but no stool. I found Lars Anderson from Sweden, the inventor of Walkstool and told him I could sell 5,000 of them at Fenway. Soon Lars was shipping me Walkstools and I brought them to the Red Sox. Last November Lars came to America, and I took him to meet Jeff Goldenberg the head of events at Fenway. Goldenberg liked them especially for use by ushers and security. In 2007, they said they were going to try it, but as of yet they have not. The last game I went to, I used a Walkstool, and security told me I had to stand or leave. He said I had SRO not a seat, so even though I was not blocking anyone, or any aisle, I had to stand. If everyone had a Walkstool we could eliminate standing for an entire game. Everyone would have their own seat. It would be great behind home plate. You could have 3 rows of Walkstools the smaller ones in the front and larger in the back. They come in 5 sizes and Lars made a special 30 inch model just for the Red Sox.

Lars told me about a friend of his that invented Biolight, a device with pulsating light that heals parts of you body quicker. I tried to have Boston fly Rolf Thiberg to Boston to demonstrate how Biolight could have strengthened Papelbon's arm, and he could have recovered in less than 2 weeks. Then I found Larry Lytle the author of Healing Light." and his low level laser. He sent me a copy of his book. He also told me the NY Yankees were using his product the Q1000, but as of yet, Boston has not looked at a demonstration of his product.

BDD: If an issue like the MLB Extra Innings-DirecTV vs. cable broadcasting controversy comes up in the future, do you think you'd be able to galvanize the Red Sox fans into making a statement by canceling subscriptions or starting any type of a boycott?

Swanson: I have written and had responses from Bob Bowman CEO of MLBAM. He is the person that could help the fans the next time.

BDD: What do you think of this trend of signing online petitions to protest MLB decisions, player moves, etc.? Do they have any effect?

Swanson: None at all.

BDD: Who's your favorite Red Sox player?

Swanson: David Ortiz is the closest thing since Ted Williams was here.

BDD: What's on your iPod?

Swanson: I only have an AM radio that can pick up the Red Sox anywhere. It is from 1971, and it is for long range. I have one CD I had my kids make for me. It has Elvis singing "The Impossible Dream." the Rolling Stones "You can't always get what you want," and it has the entire album Ken Coleman made "the Impossible Dream"

I also have two Red Sox TV programs I made in 2002. The first was "1986 World Series Conspiracy theory." This was a 30 minute program with music from "The Twilight Zone. The second was "1967 the Impossible Dream." This was a 53 minute program.

BDD: Anything else you'd like to add?

Swanson: If I am elected I will confront the organization at all times. My goal is to help Boston win the World Series, and to make being a Red Sox fan the best experience of a lifetime. I have had plans for a Red Sox Hotel looking over the Mass Pike since 1999. I want rooms with a view of the game like Toronto. Last year Larry told me I might be curator of a Red Sox HOF. I am going to use new technology, and turn Red Sox World into a place better than Disneyland.

I am ready to take on Hazel, Remy, and Larry all at the same time. Once elected I promise to always tell it the way it is.

Rick Swanson's idea of a Red Sox Hotel looking over the Mass Pike, 2003

(BDD / Rick Swanson Photo)

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Dana Farber license plate

Hot Stove, Cool Music

Get the CD. Support Paul and Theo Epstein's Foundation to be Named Later.

The Gabe Kapler Foundation

The “Curt’s Pitch for ALS” program is a joint effort by Curt and Shonda Schilling and The ALS Association Mass Chapter to strike out Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Curt’s Pitch Goes Global!

Run for SHADE!

For the fourth consecutive year, SHADE Foundation of America will be represented at the Boston Marathon by a team raising funds for SHADE. SHADE is currently seeking marathon runners to join the team . For more information on running with Shonda Schilling on SHADE’s team or sponsoring runners, please visit SHADE's marathon page here. The SHADE Foundation thanks Red Sox Nation for joining in their fight to save future generations from melanoma.

Get a Danny O Fenway Litho, as Seen in the Cooperstown Catalog

Danny O

Why Not Us?
Chasing Steinbrenner
One Day at Fenway


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