WASHINGTON -- Sen. Scott Brown is up with a new radio ad touting his personal affection for and support of the famed Fenway Park, which is celebrating its 100th year as home to the Boston Red Sox.
The ad tugs on all the emotional threads that bind New Englanders to their beloved team, from the park's layout to its lengthy history. But it also glosses over a contentious moment in Fenway's past -- the time when lawmakers, including a state representative named Scott Brown, attempted to move it.
"You know there's been a lot of talk over the years about replacing the park," the ad's narrator says. "But that would have been a mistake. John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino deserve credit for improving what we have instead of starting over somewhere else. Families throughout the years will never forget their first Fenway appearance."
Those hearing the ad would have little clue that Brown himself was among those who participated in that "talk ... about replacing the park." In early January 2001, he asked New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to consider a proposal that would move Fenway next to the Patriots' complex in Foxboro.
"Exploring the possibility of a Red Sox relocation to Foxboro makes fiscal and economic sense," Brown wrote at the time. He was far from the only political figure in the state who, before new ownership came in, basically dismissed Fenway's future in Boston.
The financing of sports stadiums can prove to be tricky politics. But politicians in Massachusetts face unique sensitivities when it comes to Fenway Park. Brown himself witnessed this when his opponent in his first Senate race, State Attorney General Martha Coakley, saw her campaign implode after she downplayed the need to shake hands outside the stadium and made several other Red Sox-related gaffes.
Asked for comment about the radio ad, Brown's spokesman Colin Reed emailed, "As Scott Brown says in the ad, the talk about moving Fenway was a mistake, and the John Henry ownership team deserves credit for their decision to stay put."