Tag: Baseball
FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE

By Dan Shaughnessy

Globe Columnist

July 20, 2011   

Next time you feel like ripping Terry Francona, try to remember that the man has a lot on his mind. The manager’s son, Nick Francona, a former pitcher at the University of Pennsylvania, is a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, serving a six-month tour, leading a rifle platoon in Afghanistan. Twenty-six-year-old Nick is one of the more impressive young men you’ll ever meet. In a terrific piece for Grantland.com, Mike Barnicle asked Terry Francona how’s he doing as the dad of one of our soldiers at war. “I’m doing awful,’’ answered the manager. “My wife’s doing worse. I think about it all the time. Worry about it all the time. Hard not to. Try and stay away from the news about it. Try not to watch TV when stories about it are on, but it’s there, you know? It’s always there.’’

Mike Barnicle for Grantland

 

Tito and Theo

 

Two Interviews. Hard questions. Figuring out the partnership of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein, one of the most successful collaborations in baseball.


POSTED JULY 10, 2011

Epstein/Francona

Michael Zagaris/Getty Images


Tito Francona is tired. He is sitting at his desk in the manager’s office located at the far end of a small locker room in a ballpark — Fenway Park — approaching its 100th birthday.

He is wearing white uniform pants, a red hot-top and black spike-less athletic shoes, a Red Sox cap on his hairless head. And he is staring at a cluster of numbers on the screen of a laptop. The numbers run alongside the names of those players who are in the starting lineup of the Baltimore Orioles, the Friday night game about four hours away. The numbers are mathematical guidelines to the recent baseball past: What Baltimore players did against Red Sox pitchers. Where players are most likely to hit the ball if they connect with a curve, a slider, or a cut fastball.

“Can’t call ‘em stat-geek stuff,” Tito Francona volunteers. “That’s disrespectful. There’s a lot of good information here, matchups, stuff like that. People work hard at this.

“I used to do these by hand,” he says. “Did it before all this math stuff and computers got so big. Did it without knowing it. When I managed the Phillies. Did ‘em all by hand then. Would sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and go through opposing lineups. Took forever. Now it’s all on these things, computers.

“And I suck at computers,” he is saying. “I’m a one-finger guy with them. I can get around on a computer OK using one finger but it’s not my favorite thing.”

“How you doing otherwise?” he is asked.

“Exhausted,” he replies.

“How’s Nick doing?”

“He’s OK,” said the Red Sox skipper, now in his eighth summer of employment with a club that dominates daily discussion in New England. “Guys in his squad in front of him on patrol got hit the other day. Tough day for him. Good thing though, he loves what he’s doing.”

The father now talking about the son: 26-year-old Lt. Nick Francona, United States Marine Corps, halfway through a six-month, one-day tour leading a rifle platoon in a long war that has forever ravaged a country locked somewhere in centuries past, Afghanistan.

“You OK?”

“Awful, ” the manager says. “I’m doing awful. My wife’s doing worse. I think about it all the time. Worry about him all the time. Hard not to. Try and stay away from the news about it. Try not to watch TV when stories about it are on, but it’s there, you know? It’s always there.”

The phone on his desk rings and Francona reaches to answer with his left hand, the right-hand index finger slowly scrolling through the Orioles roster on his laptop, his eyes narrowing behind glasses, looking, always looking for an edge.

“Yeah Theo, what’s up?” he says, pausing to listen to the guy on the line, Theo Epstein, the 37-year-old general manager.

“Yeah, I spoke to Buck Showalter about that … OK … Talk to you later.”

“Theo,” Francona says, hanging up, a smile creasing his weary face. “How do we get along? We got through eight years here together. We haven’t killed each other. I’d say we get along pretty good.”

The Major League Baseball season runs from early February, across spring, through summer, and concludes for most players and teams just as Columbus Day approaches. The season, longest of all the majors and quite exhausting, is a bit like dating a nymphomaniac; it demands daily performance. And in Boston the expectation is always to play toward Halloween.

In some aspects the game has changed irrevocably since a young Tito Francona, his father’s first baseman’s mitt on his hand, ran to sandlots in the small Pennsylvania town where his family lived. Managers today are provided tools to compete that were simply not available 20, even 10 years ago. They have access to a Niagara of information sometimes spoon-fed by a generation of front-office young people who have rarely played actual games.

“People, some writers I guess, get that wrong you know,” Tito Francona points out. “Theo and the guys working for him, they’re not in here six times a day with stats telling us what to do. We get stuff before a series begins and it’s valuable. I study it. I do.

“But it’s about more than numbers,” he says. “I remember a few years ago, we’re playing the Yankees on national TV and one of the kids in baseball ops — he’s not here now — says to me about five hours before the game, ‘You got Mike Lowell in the lineup?’ And I say, ‘Yeah.’ And he says he doesn’t do well in the matchup with Chien-Ming Wang, who was pitching for the Yankees.

“I say to the kid, ‘So you don’t want me to play him?’ And he says, ‘Yeah’ and I tell him, ‘OK. Look over there. There’s Mikey Lowell’s locker. He’s over there. You go tell Mikey Lowell he’s not playing in a national TV game against our biggest rival ’cause your fucking numbers tell us not to play him. See what kind of reaction you get from him and then come back and tell me.’ Course Mikey Lowell played that game.

“That doesn’t happen a lot, though. It works pretty well, the numbers stuff and us down here.”

“What are the biggest differences between you and Theo?” Francona is asked.

“There aren’t a whole lot,” he answers. “We talk every day. It’s good. We’re not yelling ‘Shut the fuck up’ at each other either. He knows I value the input I get from him and the guys in baseball ops, but he knows my world down here in the clubhouse is different from theirs.

“I get it. He knows I get it. And he knows getting a player in winter is different from getting a guy ready in the seventh inning. In uniform you’re looking at today. Right now.”

Two different worlds. Francona and Epstein. They are characters out of a kind of baseball version of Upstairs-Downstairs the old PBS series about class and expectation. One is Ivy League. The other is Summer League. One grew up dreaming of baseball. The other played it, raised in a house with a father who made a living at it in the major leagues.

Terry Francona is 52 years old, a baseball lifer from New Brighton, Penn., where the median annual family income today is roughly $31,000. The town is 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, and it is a place where men worked factory jobs and women knew how to stretch every grocery dollar, day to day, week to week. He went to high school there, attended the University of Arizona, was a 1980 first-round draft choice by the Montreal Expos.

Theo Epstein, 37, grew up in Brookline, Mass., median annual family income, $120,000, in the shadow of Fenway Park. He went to Yale, was sports editor of the Yale Daily News, got a job as a summer intern with the Orioles, parlayed his energy and his instincts into a front office position with the San Diego Padres, came home to Boston when John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino purchased the Red Sox in 2001. Took over as general manager in 2003, a lifelong dream in his back pocket at age 29.

The other day Epstein was sitting in a conference room located in the bowels of the ballpark, in a space that used to be part of an old bowling alley before it and much of the rest of Fenway was renovated and rebuilt under the watchful eye of Lucchino and ballpark architect Janet Marie Smith. He is a confident, disciplined, self-contained young guy, cautious with language and body movement, always alert that in the crazed media atmosphere that surrounds the Red Sox, one dropped syllable or the wrong adjective could put thousands of talk-show callers into crisis mode. In addition to statistics, the semantics of baseball have changed, too, young front-office people far less reliant on one of the locker-room staples of the game: The F-Bomb.

“What do you think Tito said about you?” I ask Epstein.

“Ahh,” he says, “he probably said we worked really well together. That we understand each other and respect the differences between our two jobs, and that he knows I have his back.

On the walls of the conference room were several white-boards filled with names of high school and college players just drafted, along with others to be looked at in fall ball leagues. The future hanging right there. The immediate, game no. 89 on the march to 162, four hours away.

“Actually we’re like an old married couple,” Epstein adds. “I can usually tell from his facial expression what kind of mood he’s in. And there is an element of ‘his’ world versus ‘my’ world in the relationship, but we’ve learned to pick our battles, and as well as I know him he knows me too.

“Communication is different in the clubhouse than it is in a boardroom. The heartbeat that exists in the clubhouse … you don’t find that same type of heartbeat in the front office. There is a cloak of intensity in the clubhouse that doesn’t exist here,” the general manager points out. “There is a little more objectivity here in this office. We see the game at 10,000 feet. Tito sees it 50 feet away. Tito is looking at tonight’s game and those of us in baseball ops, a lot of the time, are looking at the next five years.

“His job is clear: Win tonight’s game. That’s his focus. Ours is that, as well, but the focus is also on the years ahead. That’s the inherent conflict between the two jobs, his and mine. It’s the subjective versus the objective.”

“What did you want to know from him when he interviewed for the job?” Theo Epstein is asked.

“That’s interesting,” he replies. “The big thing was what kind of relationship would exist? Would both of us be willing to say anything to the other without worrying about hurting feelings?”

“Right before I interviewed for the job with Theo, I called Mark Shapiro of the Indians. He’s one of my best friends in baseball and I asked him what I should do,” Tito Francona was saying earlier. “He gave me good advice I still use today. Mark told me, ‘Just don’t try and bullshit him.’”

“It’s become like a family relationship,” Epstein says. “You can’t bury things. We get them out in the open. I recognize the limitations of my view and my background but the two of us work well together.”

Epstein had just returned from lunch with his father, Leslie Epstein, who retired as head of the creative writing department at Boston University. The day before, a 39-year-old Texas firefighter sitting at a Rangers game alongside his 6-year-old son had died after falling out of the stands in pursuit of a foul ball tossed toward him as a generous gesture by Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton.

A dad’s dying young, at a ballpark, his little boy bearing eternal witness, clearly touched Epstein. He is sometimes labeled as cold and impersonal in his approach to whom he wants on or off his roster and what his club’s needs are, but what took place in Texas clearly triggered a reality he knows well: He is a young man living a dream.

“When I heard about that I wanted to have lunch with my dad,” Theo Epstein says. “What an awful story.”

In the manager’s office, Francona, his son Nick constantly on his mind, was attempting to lose himself in the landscape of a baseball game about to be played with the Baltimore Orioles.

“Theo knows,” Francona says with a slight laugh. “He knows he’s already looking at next year’s draft and he knows I’m down here looking at the seventh inning tonight. That’s the game.”

Mike Barnicle is an award-winning journalist. This is his first article for Grantland.

MIKE BARNICLE IN KEN BURNS’ “BASEBALL: THE TENTH INNING,” DEBUTING T...

Mike Barnicle talks about the baseball gloves he’s had since 1954. “The Tenth Inning,” is a two-part, four-hour documentary film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that premieres this week, September 28 & 29th at 8pm ET on PBS. A new chapter in Burns’s landmark 1994 series, “Baseball,” “The Tenth Inning” tells the tumultuous story of the national pastime from the 1990s to the present day.

Mark Feeney from the Boston Globe says, “Mike Barnicle, who toiled for many years at this newspaper, serves as representative of Red Sox Nation. One of his great strengths on both page and screen has always been what a potent and vivid presence he has.”


MIKE BARNICLE IN KEN BURNS’ “BASEBALL: THE TENTH INNING,” DEBU...

Mike Barnicle talks about the Red Sox loss of 2003 to the Yankees and how it impacted his son, Tim. “The Tenth Inning,” is a two-part, four-hour documentary film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that premieres this week, September 28 & 29th at 8pm ET on PBS. A new chapter in Burns’s landmark 1994 series, “Baseball,” “The Tenth Inning” tells the tumultuous story of the national pastime from the 1990s to the present day.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle calls Barnicle’s contribution to the film “perhaps the most valuable addition… (Barnicle) provokes simultaneous laughter and tears on the burden of passing his love of the Red Sox to a second generation….”

“The tale of the Sox bookend years of failure and triumph are given a personal connective thread by former Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, who frames the story through the eyes of his children and his late mother, who, Barnicle recalls, used to sit on a porch in Fitchburg, Mass., her nylons rolled down, listening to the Sox on the radio and keeping score on a sheet of paper.” — Gordon Edes for ESPN.com


Watch here: http://video.pbs.org/video/1596452376/#


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BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Remembering 9/11 and the state of our country sin...

9/11/09: Barnicle remembers September 11, 2001, specifically focusing on how we all felt the next day when we were one people united against a common foe.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/09/11/91109-remembering-911.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Red Sox v. Yankees

8/10/09: Barnicle talks about the past weekend’s contest between the Red Sox and the Yankees and the rancor between the fans.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/08/11/81009-red-soxyankees.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.


BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Red Sox v. Yankees in NY

8/7/09: Barnicle talks about the Red Sox v. Yankees last night, where the Yankees beat the Sox for the first time this season. Mike also talks about the New Yankee Stadium.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/08/07/8709-red-soxyankees-and-yankee-stadium.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.


BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Will David Ortiz come clean today?

8/5/09: Barnicle ponders whether David Ortiz will hold a press conference addressing why his name was on a list of 2003 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Barnicle also says when Ortiz does talk, he’ll believe him.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/08/05/8509-david-ortiz-upcoming-press-conferencesteroids-in-baseball.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Big Papi Juiced? Say It Ain’t So.

7/31/09: Barnicle talks about the shocking but not surprising allegation that David Ortiz took performance enhancing drugs back in 2003.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/07/31/73109-david-ortiz.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: The wasteland that is high school sports in Bosto...

6/24/09: High school sports teams go unfunded and the terrible impact that has on kids.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/06/24/62409-high-school-sports.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.


BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Manny Ramirez suspended for 50 games

5/8/09: Barnicle talks about Manny Ramirez being suspended from the Dodgers for 50 games after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2009/05/08/5809-manny-ramirez.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

MIKE BARNICLE TALKS TO BOSTON MAGAZINE

Read it here: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/barnicle/

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Top of Mind: Mike Barnicle

Journalist, Long-Distance Commuter, Father of Seven, Survivor, Age 65, Lincoln

By James Burnett

Is it possible Mike Barnicle is still the most obsessed-about journalist in town? One could make the case: Consider the fuss when he joined Jack Connors and Jack Welch in trying to buy the Globe, and the further fuss that followed his rumored job talks with WBUR. Meanwhile, more than a decade after losing his marquee Globe column for sins against journalism, Barnicle is a fixture on NBC and MSNBC, and fields assignments from Newsweek and Time. On 12/5 at the Charles Hotel, he talked with Boston about those projects—and shared his thoughts on a few other topics, too.

James Burnett: For a Boston guy, you spend a lot time in New York.

Mike Barnicle: New York is about success. Boston is about resentment. In New York, there is only one question asked, “Can you get it done?” Then it’s up to you. But it’s a magnificent city. Just walking around Central Park, which I try to do every day that I’m down there, do 4 or 5 miles in the park, walking briskly, and the treasure that is Central Park—lots of cities have different treasures. Boston has its own treasures, but it’s pretty hard to beat Central Park.

Burnett: There’s an emerging debate about what to do with the Common, what role it should serve…Seems to me it’s good that people are talking about it at all. We take it for granted, but it seems like a good comparison.

Barnicle: Well yeah, if you look at the Common, that’s a good comparison. If you look at the Common, I think you’d find a lot of people that say the problem with the Common isn’t the Common, it’s downtown. Specifically Downtown Crossing, which despite every effort that’s been made over 30 or 40 years, has never really clicked. So you have one end, the Commonwealth Avenue, Newbury Street, Boylston Street end, that is attractive and has enormous appeal, both for people with money, looking to live in town as well as commercial appeal for people looking to shop. You look at the other end, and it’s pretty tough to look at, despite years of spending money and thinking the big thoughts about it. It’s not the Common’s fault. It’s that area of Downtown Crossing.

Burnett: One thing I found surprising…. Is how hard it is to get anything done.

Barnicle: Yeah, it’s a unique area. I mean, I’ve lived here all my life. I love it. I don’t want to “live,” in quotation marks, anywhere else, but it’s nearly impossible to get anything done as quickly as things ought to go get done in this particular state, in this particular area. There’s always another obstacle. There’s always someone with another obstacle once you’ve made that hurdle.

Burnett: Going back to the various things you’re working on these days. Which of them is most gratifying for you?

Barnicle: Writing. I’m working on a piece for Time magazine. I write occasionally for the Herald. Newsweek, written some stuff for them. Huffington Post, they call and ask for stuff. The writing is obviously the most rewarding.

Burnett: Given your background, and the work you did early in your career, tell us something most people miss, or misperceive, or get wrong about Obama’s speeches, as he’s considered the great orator of this moment.

Barnicle: I don’t know that they get anything wrong about his speeches. I think, you know, perhaps, given the past eight years in this country, they might have a little too much optimism when they hear him, which is not a bad thing. I mean, when you hear him speak, when you see him in person, when you see the crowds, he sort of puts a smile on the face of the country that hasn’t been there for quite some time.

I first noticed it in Iowa last summer, not the summer of ’08, the summer of ’07. When you would see people who would show up at his rallies, and if you looked at their feet, they’re all leaning forward, even though some of them were quite close to him. They didn’t have huge Secret Service protection. But people were leaning forward, and the metaphor back then would be: they’re leaning into this change; they’re looking for the door to open. The sense of optimism that that he brought to the campaign, the sense of promise, the sense of potential, I don’t think those are bad things, but we live in a culture that is so geared toward instant gratification. I mean, the TV clickers, and the drive-thru windows.

We teach history so poorly in this country, I just hope that a lot of people aren’t disappointed that the stock market isn’t up around 12,000 by Valentine’s Day. Oh my God, you know he’s a failure. What’s this thing about change? You know, he hasn’t changed it. Change will come, but it’s going to take a while, and I don’t know that enough people in this country, especially young people, are prepared to wait for the change.

Burnett: Are you going to the inaugural?

Barnicle: Yeah.

Burnett: Working?

Barnicle: Yeah, as one of 500 million people.


Burnett: You mention the Dow and the financial crisis. What are your conversations about that topic like with your wife [Bank of America marketing chief Anne Finucane], given your role and perspective, and person ideology, if you will.

Barnicle: I don’t speak to my wife about her business. I don’t understand her business. My wife is so much smarter than I am that, you know, I don’t go there. She gives me an allowance every week that I’m very grateful for, and that’s about it. I think I might understand a bit of the social and cultural appendages that spring off of the financial system, but everything else is way beyond me.

Burnett: You combine some of your comments on Obama, and the thought there… It doesn’t sound like you’re particularly hopeful for a quick or easy turnaround.

Barnicle: Actually, I kind of am. I am, if nothing else, an optimist. I think my optimism, along with a lot of other people’s optimism has already been rewarded, you know, in the sense that here we have a President of the United States, who, four years ago, the day after he gave his speech at the Democratic National Convention here in Boston, was pulled out of the line over at Logan Airport, going back to Chicago to continue his campaign for re-election, because of what he looked like and his name. Barack Hussein Obama. And now he’s President of the United States. And that’s a hell of a tribute to this country. It’s an amazing statement both about him and about us as voters. So I am optimistic. I’m not entirely optimistic that things are going to be terrific by Memorial Day, but I think he’ll slowly but surely, and the people around him, will turn the country in a direction that it needed to be turned for quite some time.

Burnett: Interesting contrast, perhaps, with some of the things in the headlines here locally. Couple of questions about local political scene. Who impresses you right now at the state or local level?

Barnicle: Sam Yoon, he impresses me. He’s young. He’s got energy. He’s smart. He looks to me not to be a career guy, in terms of, among the City Council, “What else can I run for?”, although I’m sure that’s within him. I met him once or twice. I like Michael Flaherty. I think he’s bigger than a lot of people think he is, and this is in no way to diminish Tommy Menino, who I think has done a pretty good job, given the increasingly meager circumstances that he has to deal with.

At the state level, I don’t see a whole lot there. Something has happened slowly of the course of 25-30 years to diminish the industry, if you will, of politics. It’s no longer the profession that it used to be. You’d have to be out of your mind to run for public office today. Say you’re 32, 35 years of age. Say you were fortunate, you lucked out, you made a little money, or maybe not, but you have this great interest in public service. You want to be able to get a fire hydrant or a crosswalk, or a little league field in your neighborhood. So you run for City Council or State Rep., you know, but then two or three months over the course of your campaign or maybe after you win, someone like me, or someone like you, is going to come knock at your door, and say “James, we heard you smoked a joint when you were 19 years of age down at Duke University. Can you explain that?” And instead of having the wherewithal to tell people like us, “Hey, go fuck yourself, it’s none of your business,” you know, these poor people stand there and get hounded by us.

So I’ve got to assume there are a lot of other people out there with reasonable IQs who say, “I don’t want any part of that. I don’t want my kids reading about me in the front page of the paper that I smoked a joint when I was at Duke University. What has that got to do with anything?” So I think for that and a lot of other reasons, the level of talent in government is much lower than it has been, for a while. I think in too many cases, both in the State House and in various city councils, not just Boston, various city councils, you have a bunch of people serving, and they are holding the best job they’ll ever have. They’re not going to leave the legislature or the council and take the vice presidency of Google. That ain’t going to happen. And you can see the results. I think some of the results are obvious. The histrionics that we go through to get things done, and the other aspect of it is, once you are in public life today… everything and everyone is part of an interest group. There’s nothing you can say that won’t offend someone. There’s nothing you can try doing that won’t be attempted to be blocked by someone.


Burnett: It’s interesting how much of it you lay at the feet of the people in your business, the press.

Barnicle: I think, listen, it’s still a great, but vastly diminished business, due to economics and everything like that. I don’t think we treat people very well in the media. Both as customers, and I call them customers, of newspapers and magazines, or TV news, and we don’t understand that the greatest story that we could tell each and every day, is the story of the people around us. The people who buy the product, who buy the papers, who buy the magazines. And there’s an attack mentality, especially in newspapers, TV is basically skywriting, especially in newspapers, that makes people uncomfortable. It just does. And to ignore that, to deny, that that’s the case, is foolish. You know, I’m not saying every edition you have to have all good news in the paper, that can’t happen. But the things that we fail at, I happen to think, my opinion, are the most critical aspects of our culture. We fail to cover public education in the country, the way we should. Whether we’re talking about the Boston public school system, the New York, or the Washington public school system.

We fail to cover it, and I’ve always believed that you can go into a third or a fourth grade class in this city or any other city and you are going to be looking at the face of the future of that particular city. And we have no frame of reference for it. There are very few people working at the New York Times, or the Boston Globe, or theWashington Post, who have a couple of kids in public schools who are just scraping to get by. We live a pretty comfortable life, comparatively speaking, members of the media. We get a paycheck, and we’ve lost—I think, for no other reason than the demographics of the business—we’ve lost the capacity to feel part of the community where we grew up. That’s obviously the result of a lot of different things.

When I first worked at the Boston Globe, everyone in the newsroom went to places like Boston University, where I went, or Boston College. There were several people from Harvard there. They could tell you all the stops on the Red Line. They grew up here. They lived here for long periods of time. Their family was from here. They would actually know people who were firefighters, or cops, of school teachers. It’s nobody’s fault, and that’s happened less and less. It’s happened all over. It’s become like a prized profession. You went to Duke University. You’re from Pennsylvania. What are you doing here for Boston magazine? It’s a bonus of a job.

Burnett: When you were doing the column, you certainly wrote a lot about the people who were the readers, the customers… Does this represent an evolution in your own thinking about the role, and the effect of that kind of coverage?

Barnicle: No. I’ve felt like this for years. For years. If you look back, I don’t know what you’d call me attacking someone. I used to go to the State House to the office of the late [Senate President] Kevin Harrington, and sit on his couch, and smoke a cigar. I mean, Bill Bulger didn’t speak to me for about 10 years, because I accused his brother of being the kingpin of the drug trade in South Boston in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but I have had relationship with these people. I liked them. I liked politicians.

It was obviously a different time, a different atmosphere. I think we do a lot better job today of investigative journalism, oddly enough. I think, like the Globe spends more time, more money on it, but you’d be hard put to find better pieces that the old Spotlight team used to do on no-show jobs in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but there was less antagonism, [between] the subject and the newspaper people doing it.

The no-show jobs thing, one of the big elements of that series — God I remember it like it was last week — was Sonny McDonough, former Governor’s councilor, from South Boston, and he used to spend most of the year in Marathon Beach, Florida. The night before the installment that features Sonny, I called him up down in Marathon Beach, it was about 10 o’clock at night. I said, “Hey, it’s Mike Barnicle from the Globe, sorry I have to be a pain in the ass.” “Mike,” he says, right away, “Why change now?” I said tomorrow they’re doing the thing in the paper, the no-show job. You haven’t been to a council meeting in seven months. I said, you know, do your constituents have your phone number down there? Can they get a hold of you? How much would it cost to get a hold of you if they have a problem? He says, right away, “Mike, all my constituents use slugs.” It was better back then. You sound like you’re 110 years old when you talk about it, but there was less antagonism in the air than there is now.

And that’s just not the fault of newspapers. The appetite for cable TV, they’ll tell you cable is conflict, that’s added to it as well. The explosion of the Internet, that plays a part in it. Cable is conflict.


Burnett: You said Bulger didn’t talk to you for 10 years… Did something happen to break the ice there?

Barnicle: You know, I think what happened there was it had to be maybe the early ’80s when I wrote a couple of things about his brother, Jimmy, Whitey, basically saying you can’t move an ounce of cocaine in South Boston without his approval. Bill Bulger was furious, insisting to me that his brother was not a drug dealer, had nothing to do with drugs… In retrospect, clearly he believed that then. Somewhere along the line, I think he probably came to the realization that his brother was into a lot more than he wanted to believe. I don’t know how the relationship thawed, but it began to thaw, and I had lunch with him one day over in South Boston, probably a year before the 2004 gubernatorial election, and he was so very proud to take me out to the parking lot and show me his car, and the bumper sticker on his car, which was a “Deval Patrick For Governor” bumper sticker, and of course, part of the reason was, he hated Tommy Reilly, the then Attorney General. There’s a story to it all. But I think Bill Bulger probably went at least four or five years without talking to me because he was so offended by my inaccuracy about his brother.

Burnett: Ever any encounters with a guy like Dershowitz?

Barnicle: Alan! Sure! I see Alan a lot, I see him at Fenway Park a lot. As a matter of fact, I got him a couple of tickets to a play off game a couple of years ago… Alan’s a good guy.

Burnett: But famously someone that you sparred with.

Barnicle: Sure, yeah. The sun comes up every day, you know. Every day is new.

Burnett: So you guys have buried the hatchet?

Barnicle: Yeah, oh yeah.

Burnett: Where do you get your news from on a daily basis?

Barnicle: I read about four or five papers a day, the actual print product. Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, theTimes, Globe, Herald, and then the gift of the Internet. I look at several more. I don’t really browse many blogs.

Burnett: In some ways, do you think blogs have taken the place of newspaper columnists?

Barnicle: I realize this is the view of someone who has been in the print business for a long time. But I think blogging, by and large, is basically therapy. And I’m sure, and I know, that there are some terrific bloggers, and some legitimate bloggers. But I think by and large, a huge percentage of people who are blogging, are doing it for self-therapy. They have a voice. Who reads that voice? Who listens to that voice, reads, pays attention to that voice, I have no idea. My larger issue with blogging, is I think what it does, when it comes to newspapers, and I understand the cutbacks, the economics of newspapers, but when you take gifted reporters out, covering anything from a baseball game to a city council meeting and say, “You need to blog something on this, we need to get it on the website…” I think what you do, what happens, the danger is that you don’t get the opportunity to think enough about what you just witnessed or what someone just said.

One of the big shortcomings of the American newspaper industry, not so much magazines, because you have time, is this tendency to rush everything on the website, because you have to blog about it. In addition to it being a lot of work, writing is a lot of work, and [blogging] doesn’t give you the time to stop and think. To frame it up. There’s some reference point to what you just saw or what you just heard. Years ago, you’d go out and do the reporting for a column, something that happened in the morning or someone you saw in the morning. You’d have time to get a cup of at coffee the Java House on East Broadway in South Boston, go down to the water, sit there in the car, and think about what you just witnessed. And what it meant in a larger context. Violence in the city. Murder on Humboldt Avenue. What did it mean? Wasn’t there some other murder that occurred two blocks over? What did that have to do with that? Are they linked? Why is it that all of these things occur within six blocks of one another? But if you’re going to blog it, it’s going to go out of your mind. You’re not going to think about it. We don’t think enough in this business. Slow down. Think about things.


Burnett: Any columnists you consider a must read?

Barnicle: My friend Steve Lopez at the L.A. Times. I think pound-for-pound, he is the single best newspaper columnist going—city columnist. I think Kevin [Cullen]’s doing a good job [at the Globe]. But I don’t know that a lot of publishers want columnists.

Burnett: Well, it’s part of the Globe’s DNA.

Barnicle: If you look around a lot of newspapers, they’re in such critical shape. I don’t think a lot of publishers are looking for city columnists, metro columnists, someone to mix it up.

Burnett: Why not? Purely financial, or something deeper?

Barnicle: I think it probably is something deeper, and I’m not smart enough to figure it out, or see that deep. Part of it is financial, part of it is, I think one of the problems with the newspaper industry is that it’s run by a bunch of old white guys, and they think like old white guys. They’re just getting over the fact that TV is here to stay. They haven’t even gotten to the Internet, and what that’s doing to their business. And you know, it’s jump ball every day at four o’clock. What are we going to be tomorrow? And I’m not just talking this city. Other than the Times and the Post, and the Wall Street Journal, it’s: What are we going to be tomorrow? Are we going to be a city paper? A regional paper? What are we going to do about Condoleezza Rice in Mumbai? Where do we put it? On page one? On three? We have that great story about a baby being born on the middle of the Mass Pike. That’s a reader.

And the larger issue obviously is there is, and they’ll have to find a way to cope with it, is there’s no more news. You get it on your belt buckle. Fifteen seconds after it happens. Your toaster. Your blender. You’ve got 600 channels at home. That morning paper, the people who go out to the end of the driveway or to go into the variety store, to pick up that paper, they all look like Wilford Brimley. And these old white guys running these papers haven’t figured that out. They haven’t figured out that three blocks from here you have the Harvard Crimson, the Harvard Lampoon. And over there, hire some 23-year old kids, but bring them back into the building, show them a desk, take their phone away. Shut their phone off, and say “Hey kid, it’s 10 o’clock in the morning. Go out the door. Come back at five with a story.” And the kid will say, “What kind of a story?” Any fucking story. A story. Go get a story. Don’t sit here and call people up. Go get a story. Go ride the train. Go sit in the Boston Common. Watch people pass by. Try to imagine what they do for a living. Why is the guy wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe? Why is the 65-year old guy carrying a school bag? Why is the nurse crying sitting on the bench? Go write a story. People like to read about people. That’s never going to change.

Burnett: That’s something you obviously used to do. Collecting stuff. You’re still writing, but do you miss that stuff?

Barnicle: Yes, I do miss it. I was younger then, I like people. I still do it, I don’t write about it a whole lot, but I still do that sort of thing. I did it yesterday. I was in Greenwich Village, at a place called Viceroy, at 18th and 8th, sitting in there, having a cup of coffee with someone, just shooting the shit. Yeah, I miss the interaction that there used to be. I miss a lot of the people who are no longer in the business. I miss what the business used to be. I am glad it’s still around, I hope it’s around forever. I sometimes have my doubts. But the answer is yes. I don’t miss seeing my name in the paper.

Burnett: Why not?

Barnicle: I don’t know. I never really get a high out of it, the way some people do, I never sat there and thought, “I’ll show ‘em” or “I’ll change things” or “this will have an impact.” I never thought like that. In some ways I think I’m fortunate that I never thought like that.


Burnett: In some ways, the columns seem to be animated by that sort of thing, that there was an agenda. That you had something to say, things you wanted people to be aware of, powerful people you wanted to be held accountable. It wasn’t driven by that?

Barnicle: Not really, no, because I think one of the most difficult things to do. You can make people laugh. You can make people cry. But I think it’s a bridge too far to make people think. If they do, if they think about it, if they pause for a second, and think about something you’ve written, then that’s a real bonus. But to get into it, thinking, “I’m going to make them think about this one…” It never worked for me.

Burnett: Could you do it three times a week, if you had to?

Barnicle: I could do it seven days a week. Still today. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who think I’m on vacation. The people who call me with story ideas, or something that happened to them or some injustice, no exaggeration, on the average of four or five times a week, I’ll bump into someone at the airport, at the ballpark or wherever who says, “You know, you wrote a thing about my brother-in-law, or my father.” On the average of a couple of times a week, I’ll get calls from someone who says, “Hey, Mike, my kid’s having a tough time and something happened to him…”

Burnett: Giving you a tip, or pitching you for a piece. So the material would be there, clearly. Back to the newspaper industry, because you’ve got strong opinions about it, and I thought your comments were particularly relevant to the Globe… What should it be? If someone said to you, “Here’s the keys,” what do you do?

Barnicle: I don’t know if I would be doing a whole lot of things differently than what they’re doing right now. I think Marty Baron is a terrific newspaper editor. It’s a struggle each and every day to put that product out, given the diminishing resources, given the lack of energy that exists around the entire industry, given the cutbacks. I don’t know that I would be doing anything a whole lot differently. It’s still a pretty good looking paper. We get it in New York at 6 o’clock in the morning. Good-looking paper today. I have no idea how many people are in that newsroom today, but I’ll bet you it’s less than half the people who were in the newsroom 10 years ago. So, finding people who can write now, maybe a couple of stories a day, as opposed to a 10-15 years ago, people who would take 3-4 days to write one story. That’s tough. It’s a tough job.

I might try to beef it up with a little more humor. I might actually go over to the Lampoon and hire a couple of kids and have a “funny thing happened to me yesterday” page. Because at some point, if you don’t start attracting people your age to look at the paper, to buy the paper, then it is going to disappear, and it is going to only be online. So you have to keep thinking about ways to get new readers. And I’m not talking about 52-year-old guys who moved here from Battle Creek, Michigan. I’m talking about kids who go to school here, who might pick it up for the sports page, and eventually stay here, maybe live here, to get them to keep buying the printed product.


Burnett: I guess I’ll be honest and say I’m surprised that you went as easy as you did on the paper. Given, only a year or two ago, some serious talks about you, Jack Welch, Jack Connors [making an offer to buy the Globe]…

Barnicle: They [The New York Times Company] should have sold it to us.

Burnett: So, usually if you want to buy it, that means you think you could do a better job.

Barnicle: Well that has nothing to do with Marty Baron. That has to do with that the New York Times Company. To them, the Globe might as well be the St. Petersburg Times, or any other regional paper they own. There is nothing that instills more pride in a product than when it’s locally owned, and no matter what they say in Times Square, this is a step-child. It’s not their principal product. I understand that. If I were Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the thing I would be most interested in growing, would be The New York Times. So as a result, the Globe is treated like a step-child.

Burnett: You said they should have sold it to us…

Barnicle: Just economically.

Burnett: How serious was it?

Barnicle: Very serious. There was an offer on the table. A pretty good one too.

Burnett: It’s a big number, for most people, but it’s not the crazy number you might think it would be.

Barnicle: Well it wasn’t then. It was a different economy then. It was a different world then. They couldn’t get one third of what that offer was today.

Burnett: Of what you wanted for it. How much was it?

Barnicle: I think it was around $600 million.

Burnett: Where was that… did you have bankers lined up?

Barnicle: You’d have to talk to Welch and Connors about that, because as I said initially, finance is not my strong suit. I exist on an allowance. But I mean, it was an entirely different world. The economics of that time, five years ago, it was a totally different time. You could get money like that. [snaps his fingers] It was a money party.

Burnett: Whose idea was it originally?

Barnicle: Jack Connors. Jack Connors wanted to buy it. He wanted to have a locally owned newspaper. He wanted to try to restore the impact and influence that a locally owned newspaper once had in this market. I got him together with Jack Welch, and the two of them had a pretty good financial plan put together. And after a few months, the Times Company decided to turn them down. You can’t tell me they wouldn’t love to have the offer on the table today. Think of it this way: In 1993, the New York Times Company purchased the Globe for $1.1 billion. Today the market cap of the New York Times Company is just about a billion. So the market cap, the value of their company, is less than what they paid for the Globe.

Burnett: I knew those numbers, but hadn’t thought of it that way.

Barnicle: Would have been good for them. Would have been good for the city. Would have been good for the paper.

Burnett: What kind of role did you imagine having?

Barnicle: No managing role, I can tell you that. One thing I’m not is a manager.

Burnett: Did you guys talk about it? Was that part of the process for you?

Barnicle: No. It never got to the stage, “You do this, and we’ll do that.” No.

Burnett: You think about that now and it’s a little bit of an albatross. They need to cut costs, but they can’t sell anything. Can’t get the money.

Barnicle: Who would want to buy it today? Who would want to invest in the newspaper business today? Right after you invest in Chrysler?

Burnett: It would have to be someone with a lot of local pride, someone with a real interest in the city…

Barnicle: That’s what it would have to be.


Burnett: The question that’s relevant here I guess is how you feel about it. Is it the Times Company coming in and being corporate raiders of a kind? The Taylor family [the Globe's founding owners] being greedy at the time, not anticipating where this would go? How it’s been diminished, now it’s a satellite.

Barnicle: I never sat around the table with the Taylor family and the [then co-owning] Jordan Trust, so I don’t know what pressures were brought to bear upon [former publisher] Bill Taylor to sell that paper. I understand it was pretty complex, with certain members of the family wanting to get out of the newspaper business. I think the Timesbought the paper with the best of intentions, obviously. They’re a great newspaper company. Think about it, it was 1993, we might as well be talking about.

Burnett: It certainly feels that way: different era, different era. Do you have a relationship with the family at all?

Barnicle: With the Taylors? Yeah. I used to see [former publisher] Ben Taylor. I haven’t seen him in several months. Bill Taylor I never see.

Burnett: Is it possible today for someone to have the influence, the readership and the audience that you once had?

Barnicle: I don’t think so. I think, in a 10-year span, when you think about the power and the reach of the Internet, basically it didn’t exist 10 years ago. When you think about the influence of the cable news channels: it was CNN, and Fox had just started, MSNBC had just started. They basically were not relevant in terms of news gathering, news dispensing, news devouring, ten years ago. BlackBerrys basically weren’t around. Cell phone news was in its very early stages. If you had 15 channels on your cable, you were thrilled.

Burnett: I guess I’m wondering, for columnists, someone to sort it all out for you, someone to bring a singular voice, that’s a different thing. Seems to me. at least, none of those things compete exactly with what a columnist can do.

Barnicle: Well yeah, but you have to break through all of that clutter, and there’s a whole lot more clutter now then there was then. A whole lot more clutter. Just look at the numbers. The Sunday paper was doing around 800,000. What does it do today? 500,000 maybe? The daily paper was doing 500,000 then, what does it do today, 300,000? Just the numbers alone would tell you that it’s going to be tougher today to do it. I still think the biggest obstacle to that is all of the other things that are out there competing for people’s attention. It was far easier to get people’s attention for something you wrote or something that happened years ago, than it is today.


Burnett: Kevin Cullen….

Barnicle: I helped him get his gig at the paper. He was at UMass. Curtis Wilkie and I were out there talking. Cullen was there. It was Ralph Whitehead’s class. Kevin had graduated, and he basically stood up and asked us, “How come [former editor] Tom Winship won’t hire Irish-Catholic kids that didn’t to go Harvard?” And we sort of said, “Fuck you. He does.” But we did mention it to Winship, Kevin came in, had a couple of interviews, and they hired him.

Burnett: Have you talked to him since he got the column? Has he come to you for advice?

Barnicle: I’m not in the advice business. I am not in the mentoring business. But I talk to him a lot.

Burnett: The thing with him.. it seemed at least, it’s too easy, admittedly, I always have reservations about journalists passing judgment, but we do. But he had a voice and has almost had to grow comfortable with this media and platform that he now has, as well as the power that comes along with it.

Barnicle: Well, that’s the way it is with anything. You could sign for $10 million a year to play over at the ballpark, and every day you go over there and say, “Jesus, I better go 2 for 3 today.”

The thing with media criticism is that if someone is criticizing you, who has never met you, has never shaken your hand, never looked you in the eye, never looked you in the eye, never introduced themselves in person, and they are going to spend a good portion of their life critiquing what your write, or what you do, in the larger sense of the meaning “do,” you should pay no attention to them. What would they ever be able to tell you about yourself and your work if they don’t know you, if they’ve never met you? There’s criticism, there’s book reviews, and there’s movie reviews. But the intensely personal outlook that a lot of these critics bring to the day, whether it’s Kevin Cullen, or whether me, or whether it’s anyone…

Burnett: And you’ve been on the other end of that.

Barnicle: I never gave a shit about that stuff. You know why? I never read it. Call me thickheaded or whatever, but I always came to it with exactly that point of view. How could they, anyone, sit there and say, “Oh, he did this because of this,” when I never met them? Never spoke to them. Was never in the same room with them. Call me up and ask me. So, I think Kevin probably feels a little similarly.


Burnett: Did you hold yourself to the same standards when you were critiquing the work of a public figure?

Barnicle: No. There were very many times, depending on the time of the day, when I would just bang a cheap shot at quarter of five. Boom. Many, many times.

Burnett: Regret any of those?

Barnicle: Oh, God. I can’t think of any one when it comes to elected officials. I can remember feeling little badly, this is years ago, writing something about Ken Harrelson, who was doing the commentary on Red Sox games [on Channel 38], and I wrote something particularly snarky about him. And you know, back to what I was just saying, I bumped into him at the ballpark a couple of days later, and he was pissed and said, “Why don’t you call me? Why don’t you ask me why I do this stuff, how I made that mistake? Jesus.” And he was right, and I am sure there other people who got lit up briefly by me or others who think the same thing.

Burnett: Is that as big a part of what you do now?

Barnicle: I might be delusional; I don’t think it was a big part of anything I ever did. I don’t think I was in it to light a lot of people up on a daily basis. I choose to think, and I’ve never done this, but if you go back and look at the body of work, a lot of it was about ordinary people you could go find today.

Burnett: I wasn’t suggesting it was the dominant theme. I was more getting at how you involved as a writer, with time, and how if you were doing it three times a week, or seven, How, if at all, it would it be different today?

Barnicle: It would be different today. Because of my age and what you accumulate during your life, your experiences, things you’ve witnessed, things that have happened to you, things that have happened to other people, I think today it would be a more personal column. I very rarely used the words “I” or “should.” I think I would inject myself more into the piece today than I ever did then.

Burnett: That’s something some of us have noticed in your TV commentary. A tonal shift that put you more in the—I don’t know how you feel about the term “elder statesman.” Is there a little bit of that in what you’re providing?

Barnicle: I think, as with some people, I’m probably more reflective today than what I used to be. I’m not as quick to jump the gun as I used to be. Hopefully because I’m older and I’ve had a few more experiences. I’ll throw that into the hopper and bring it to the table, hopefully, I don’t know whether that’s the case or not. I am more reflective than I used to be. I am certainly more aware of the shortcomings that everyone has.

Burnett: Aware and more forgiving?

Barnicle: Much more forgiving. Much more forgiving. I’m a Catholic. We’re in the forgiveness business. So, I think that’s probably been heightened over the past 10 or 15 years. Doesn’t make you anymore insightful. But it might give you the appearance of being more thoughtful.


Burnett: Wondering if there’s another word you might throw in there, more humble?

Barnicle: Well that’s an interesting adjective. Humble, humility. I think if you talk to people who know me, and who’ve known me all my life, I would like to think they would say I’ve always been humble. I’ve got a lot to be humble about. I’ve got a lot to be grateful about. But there’s this persona you can acquire by doing nothing, other than having people who dont know you, write about you or talk about you. I guess you could be given a coat of boastfulness, or seem a tough guy.

Burnett: With the Herald, it seems it didn’t play out exactly as promoted on their side?

Barnicle: That was a case of me having to many other things to do. If I didn’t have all the other stuff to do, that I still have, it probably would have been better for the Herald. I just couldn’t do it. I could do it. I could mail it in. But I didn’t want to do that. They were paying me an awful lot of money, and they don’t have an awful lot of money. I’m having dinner with [publisher] Pat Purcell tonight actually. It seemed to me after a while, it wasn’t a very good fit. Largely because of me, not them.

Burnett: In making the choice that you made then, you had a lot of other things going on, and chose to stay with those, rather than drop those. Why did you go that way?

Barnicle: Because I knew most of the people I was working with at NBC, and I’m like a pack animal. I am comfortable with the familiar. I didn’t want to give up that comfort. I didn’t want to drop the things I was doing, and start doing things with a whole new group of people—many of whom I did not know. I didn’t want to end up screwing my two employers, the Herald and NBC, so I said, “See you later.” And I still enjoy the option of writing when I want to write. The main reason I went the other way is because I knew everybody, in Washington and New York.

Burnett: I guess the reason for my own fascination—the perception was that you were back as a Boston columnist. It would be such a priority, and pack animal or not…

Barnicle: The business is not what it used to be, for all the reasons we discussed previously. It just isn’t. So 15 years ago, I probably would have invested much more energy into it than I did, but it’s the change in the business was such that, we talked just a few minutes ago about impact, influence. You would want to feel you have a little impact, and if that’s not there, then, you know, Why am I doing this?

Burnett: You’re not a romantic about, you know, for print’s sake, which I might have walked in here thinking you might have been for some reason.

Barnicle: No. Maybe once was, but not anymore.

Burnett: The WBUR thing. [There were rumors] you might have some kind of recurring role there. What was that all about?

Barnicle: I have no idea.

Burnett: Serious job talks?

Barnicle: No. Apparently, apparently, there are huge numbers of people in the Boston media establishment who are so insecure in their own positions that they fear me coming in to see Paul La Camera for lunch, which I guess is sort of flattering, in a sense. But other than that…It is what it is.


Burnett: And it is a curious thing. None of the issues you get locally translates with these folks that you know on the national level or in New York or outside of 128. There’s a gulf there, or a disparity.

Barnicle: We live in perhaps the most parochial area of the United States. And clearly off the reaction of the WBUR thing, there obviously must be more than several people in the local media who think Lake Persimmon is the Pacific Ocean, that this is the entire media world here. And apparently some of them feel very threatened by anyone coming in the door. Not just me, but especially me. I have no explanation for that. I don’t know them. No one ever called me, from WBUR or anywhere else and said, “What are you doing? How can you think of coming over here? We’re better than you.” I never heard that. I never spoke to Paul La Camera about “I’ll do this three days a week, and you’ll pay me this, and I’ll do that.”

Burnett: How does all of that hit you on a personal level?

Barnicle: It doesn’t. I get amused by it when it happens. But I am extraordinarily lucky. I live a marvelously ordinary life. Most of the people I see over the course of the week are people I’ve known for years. We have seven children. We’re invested in all of our kids. They keep us very busy, and they keep us very happy. I have a wonderful marriage. So, if someone is going to get bent out of shape at WBUR because I show up there one day, I don’t really give a shit, and I don’t really think about it. I am sure maybe some of them, and not necessarily just at that particular place, and there are an awful lot of really small people in this life of ours. We all meet them, but I have no time for them.

Burnett: I was going to ask if you have any thoughts about semi-retiring?

Barnicle: When you retire, you’re dead.

Burnett: What’s something else that would surprise people about you?

Barnicle: I don’t know. I’m not cute or whatever. Maybe how ordinary my life is. Maybe that.

Burnett: You talked about your kids, your work. What’s it filled with, other than family?

Barnicle: Baseball. I have 10 season tickets. People were buying beachfront property. I was buying season tickets.

Burnett: How many games do you get to?

Barnicle: About 60. I usually arrange the work schedule around the baseball schedule. My work schedule is altered drastically from April through early October.

Burnett: How do you feel about the team? Any one player that fascinates you?

Barnicle: What do they need? They need a bat. They need a stick.

Burnett: I was surprised you agreed to this. Should I have been?

Barnicle: No. Why were you surprised that I agreed to do this interview?

Burnett: Because of the magazine’s history.

Barnicle: It gets to what we were talking earlier, and this is the truth, on my children. On my children… I guess on the average of 10 out of 12 issues a year, for a period of several years, I understand, you’d have one thing or another on the magazine, touching me up. On what? I don’t know. No insult intended, I never read it, never looked at it, and on my children, in the course of how many years it went on, I never had, I don’t think, more than three people mention it to me. And that’s no reflection on your magazine or your ability as an editor, and you probably weren’t even there then. So on my children, that’s an honest answer.

Burnett: Do you still smoke cigars?

Barnicle: I do. Cubans. Cohiba Robustos.

Burnett: Your doctor cannot like that.

Barnicle: I smoke maybe two or three a month ’cause they’re so expensive.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Big Yankee salaries

12/24/08: Barnicle talks about Mark Teixeira signing with the New York Yankees instead of Boston and the top four Yankee player salaries that total over 700 million dollars. Sounds like a Washington bailout program, but it’s not. All this financial lunacy will not make them world champions.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/12/24/122408-mark-teixeira.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Snow and the panic it can cause. Chill out, he ad...

12/19/08: Barnicle talks about the holiday snow storm and panic that often strikes. Chill out.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/12/19/121908-todays-predicted-snow-storm.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: New Genetic Test to Gauge Toddlers’ Athleti...

12/1/08: Barnicle expresses dismay for a new genetic test available to test toddlers to find out what sports they will be good at later on in life.

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/12/01/12108athletic-genetic-test.aspx?ref=rss

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: October Playoffs

10/13/08: Mike discusses the October Playoffs

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/10/13/101208-october-playoffs.aspx?ref=rss

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

Imus in the morning with guest Mike Barn...

9/22/08: Imus in the Morning with Mike Barnicle

Imus talks with political analyst Mike Barnicle about the presidential election, the economy, Patriots game and fans, and the Red Sox.

Listen here: http://imus.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/09/22/imus-in-the-morning-guest-mike-barnicle–92208.aspx?ref=rss

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Manny Ramirez Gets Traded

8/1/08: Manny Ramirez Gets Traded

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/08/01/8108-manny-gets-traded.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.

BARNICLE’S VIEW ON WTKK: Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox

7/30/08: Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox

Listen here: http://barnicle.969fmtalk.mobi/2008/07/30/73008-manny-ramirez.aspx

“Barnicle’s View”, with Mike Barnicle, Imus in the Morning, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 6:55a & 8:55a.