In a new radio ad released Thursday, Senator Scott Brown wraps himself around legendary Fenway Park and the celebration of its 100th anniversary, heaping praise on the current Red Sox ownership for “improving what we have instead of starting over somewhere else.’’
What Brown does not mention in the 30-second spot is that it represents 180-degree turn from the public position he took a decade ago.
Back in January 2001, when the Red Sox ownership was looking to relocate the franchise, Brown, then a Republican state representative from Wrentham, not only pushed to remove the team from the storied park, but also out of Boston.
Brown hand-delivered a letter to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft asking him to consider building a ballpark for the Red Sox next to his football stadium in Foxborough, the town adjacent to the lawmaker’s legislative district.
“Exploring the possibility of a Red Sox relocation to Foxborough makes fiscal and economic sense,’’ Brown told Kraft, according to an Associated Press story at the time.
His idea was roundly rejected by the Red Sox and sniffed at by local sports writers. But his suggestion sent a ripple in the national sports news.
That is a sharp contrast to the new radio ad, in which Brown extols the current Red Sox ownership and the old park itself, just a day before the 2012 home opener and a week before the centennial anniversary of the team’s first game there.
“Think of it: the park opened in 1912 - the same year as the sinking of the Titanic,’’ he says. “It’s not only the home of the Red Sox, it also connects us to our past.’’
Brown’s attempt to connect himself to Boston’s long and emotional relationship with the Red Sox and its historic playing field fits neatly into his campaign theme that his Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren is a Harvard Law school professor and Cambridge elitist who is out of touch with mainstream Massachusetts culture.
In his upset victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special 2010 Senate election, Brown got a big boost when Coakley, a Democrat, mistakenly identified Curt Schilling as a New York Yankee and sniffed when a reporter asked if she would shake hands outside Fenway Park.
Brown’s latest radio ad tugs at the heartstrings of the fans, evoking those cherished images they have of Fenway Park.
“Remember what Fenway looked like the first time you walked into the ballpark?’’ Brown says. “There was that emerald grass, the white chalk lines perfectly laid out, and that giant wall in left field.’’
Brown campaign spokesman Colin Reed said Thursday that the senator acknowledges in the radio spot that the calls for moving the team out of Fenway were wrong.
But Brown’s only reference in the ad to the earlier public debate over the future of the ballpark is more general.
“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.
He makes no mention of his role.Frank Phillips can be reached at email@example.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Brown supported a bill that proposed moving the team to Foxborough. Brown expressed his position in a letter to Robert Kraft.