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Brown once sought Red Sox move to Foxborough

By Bob Salsberg
Associated Press / April 12, 2012
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BOSTON—U.S. Sen. Scott Brown extols the history and tradition of Fenway Park in a new campaign ad as the park celebrates its 100th anniversary and says it would have been a mistake to have ever replaced the ballpark.

But in January 2001, then-state Rep. Scott Brown suggested in a letter that the Boston Red Sox consider moving to a new stadium being built for the New England Patriots in Foxborough, according to an Associated Press story at the time.

Brown wrote that exploring a possible Red Sox relocation to Foxborough "makes fiscal and economic sense." He had the letter hand-delivered to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with a copy faxed to the Red Sox, the AP reported at the time.

In the radio ad released Thursday, Brown says he will never forget the first time he went to Fenway Park and saw "the emerald green grass, the white chalk lines perfectly laid out and that giant wall out in left field."

He calls Fenway an important connection to the past. The ballpark opened in April 1912.

"You know there has been a lot of talk over the years about replacing the park, but that would have been a mistake," Brown says in the ad. He goes on to credit team ownership for improving on Fenway Park rather than moving to a new stadium.

Brown's campaign spokesman, Colin Reed, pointed out that the 2001 letter was written at a time when previous Red Sox ownership was actively considering construction of a new Fenway Park to replace the aging facility in Boston.

"As Scott Brown says in the ad, the talk about moving Fenway was a mistake, and the John Henry ownership team deserves credit for the decision to stay put," said Reed.

In his reelection bid, the Republican senator's chief Democratic rival is Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren.

In 2001, the Patriots were building the new facility, which would become Gillette Stadium, to replace the team's existing facility in Foxborough. The stadium was not built to accommodate baseball, but Brown suggested in his letter that it could be expanded to allow for baseball.

A Red Sox official, Jim Healey, was quoted in The Associated Press story as dismissing Brown's proposal, saying the Red Sox belonged in Boston and would do everything possible to remain in the city.

The Legislature in July 2000 approved a plan to build a new Red Sox stadium near the old park in Boston. The plan called for $313 million in state money and $350 million in private investment. But the current Red Sox ownership team formally announced in 2005 that the club planned to remain indefinitely at Fenway Park and embark on an ambitious improvement program for the ballpark.

Brown, from Wrentham, served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and later the state Senate before winning a special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2010.

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