Presumably less interested in former superagent/recent D-Backs CEO Jeff Moorad attempting to purchase the Padres, former NY Times scribe Murray Chass considers his former employer’s plans to unload their minority stake in the Boston Red Sox, insisting “there was no bigger conflict I encountered in those 39 years.”

Not only was I an employee of the Times company, but I was also a shareholder as a participant in the employee stock plan (stock? What stock? But that™s another sad story).

Therefore, just like John Henry and Tom Werner, I was an owner of the Red Sox. They owned a little more of them than I did, but they didn™t have the conflict that I did.

As first a baseball reporter and then a baseball columnist, I had to write about the Red Sox. During most of my ownership, I was a columnist. The Times company became a 17.5 percent owner of the team Jan. 16, 2002, and I became a columnist two years later.

As far as I know, Times reporters and editors were never asked to give the Red Sox favored treatment. Not that Yankees fans believed that. Write a positive word about the Red Sox, and I was accused of being a citizen of Red Sox Nation (both a phrase and a concept with which I have no use).

But it didn™t even require a pro-Red Sox word. The Times owned the Red Sox, and that was a built-in bias.

Most readers did not differentiate between the Times company and the Times. As far as they were concerned, the Times was a part-owner of the Red Sox and those of us who wrote about baseball were biased because of that status, especially where the coverage related to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

It didn™t matter that my biggest and most frequent critics among readers were Red Sox fans. They were certain I was a diehard Yankees fan, and to them every word I wrote demonstrated that.

My favorite Red Sox fan was a New York lawyer, who got so fed up with the nasty stuff I wrote about his team that he told me in one of his many e-mail messages that he would never again read another of my columns. Except the next time I wrote about the Red Sox he sent me an e-mail complaining about the views I expressed in the column.

œI thought you said you were never going to read another of my columns, I wrote back.

œI can™t help myself, he replied.