Williams, Lombardi met daily
Baseball and football legends talked around cage
Good morning, all! Hope you had a tremendous weekend!
Legendary Boston Red Sox head groundskeeper Joe Mooney died last month. He was 90 years old. Mooney kept the Fenway Park field in pristine condition between 1970 and 2000. Before he was the groundskeeper at Fenway, he was the groundskeeper at RFK Stadium in Washington, when Ted Williams managed the Senators and the one season Vince Lombardi coached the Redskins. Talk about a Hall of Fame ensemble.
Dan Shaughnessy’s latest column (paywall) in the Boston Globe was filled with stories about and quotes from Mooney. During his period in Washington, Mooney said that when the seasons overlapped, arguably the greatest hitter and the greatest coach who ever lived, would gather around the batting cage, when Lombardi was done with practice. Mooney once told Shaughnessy:
“I got along good with both him (Lombardi) and Ted. They were two fair guys. Lombardi would come up and hang around the batting cage. The conversations with him and Ted were great. I should have taped them.”
No kidding. Who would not have loved hanging around the cage listening to those two legends talk?
Baseball will expand. Bet on it.
There are some stories making the rounds that Dave Dombrowski bailed on the city of Nashville, after being named president of baseball operations for the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. I don’t think so.
Dombrowski, fired as head of the Red Sox ops 15 months ago, less than a year after Boston won the World Series on his watch, had moved to Nashville and was consultant for a group trying to lure an expansion or existing MLB team to that city. The suggestion is being made that someone at MLB told Dombrowski baseball would not entertain talk of expansion next year.
I do believe MLB will expand but never thought expansion would be on the front burner in 2021. Baseball doesn’t even know when the 2021 season will start because of COVID-19. Throw in that the owners’ deal with the players association expires after next season, and the sport has much on its plate before worrying about expansion. Dombrowski had to know that. I just think he wanted to get back to running a baseball team, especially one that has not had a winning season in 11 years.
As for expansion, it will happen. Once a new deal is made with the association and the pandemic is behind us, you can bet on MLB adding two more teams. The owners lost a ton of money last season and one way to recoup some of that dough is to welcome two more clubs to the fold at exorbitant fees. And the entry fees will be huge. It would not surprise me if $1 billion per franchise will be required to join MLB. It would also not come as a shock if baseball uses expansion to render a new design, saying good by to the traditional American and National Leagues.
The 2020s will bring a major reboot to a sport that needs it, but first things first.
Wither the newspaper industry
The oldest, continuous daily newspaper, the Hartford Courant, is closing its newsroom. It already announced the paper will no longer be printed in Connecticut, opting to use the Springfield (MA) Republican printing presses to churn out its daily product. Reporters will now work from home. (Will they get an additional stipend for using their own electricity, phones and internet?)
Before the pandemic, the newspaper industry was in big trouble. The virus has heightened its demise. Sadly, the days of picking up a hard copy to read your favorite sports columnist, or wonder if the Post scooped the News, are gone. But the closing of newsrooms is another nail in the coffin. Many a story idea could be picked up from a colleague, while walking through a newsroom. That is tough to do when you are working from home, no matter how many texts you receive.
Victor Pickard is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. His numerous quotes in a recent story were alarming, including this one:
“The advertising revenue model is irreparably damaged and will never come back for newspapers. For those that are not able to sustain themselves through subscriptions, which includes nearly all newspapers other than the big three (Washington Post, New York Times, Wall St. Journal), there’s not much they can do.”
Yikes. The times, as someone once said, are changing.
That is it for today. As always, thank you for your support and have a tremendous week.