Provocative stuff from the Boston Phoenix media critic Mark Jurkowitz :

With all the questions raised about a conflict at the Boston Globe because its corporate parent, The New York Times Co., has a 17 percent interest in the Red Sox, I think people are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe those questions should be asked of the New York Times, a newspaper that sure seems to shower the out-of-town Red Sox with considerably more affection than the men in pinstripes.

Back in January, New York magazine calculated that in the 2005-2006 offseason, the Times actually devoted more stories to the Sox than it did to either the hometown Yanks or Mets. Here’s an excerpt:

“What™s going on? Too many Harvard grads on 43rd Street? Or can the paper be reminding New Yorkers that it owns a minority stake in the Sox? Nothing of the sort, insists sports editor Tom Jolly, who says the count is skewed because of the movement of Red Sox free agents and the upheaval in their front office. ‘Anything [the Red Sox] do will be of great interest to Yankee fans.’ Still, a search reveals that no other local paper comes close to this kind of parity.”

Now take Exhibit B, the Great Gray Lady’s coverage of the Red Sox and Yankees respective home openers on Tuesday. Guess what led the sports section? A big story about new Boston pitcher Josh Beckett featuring a huge photo of the pumped-and-jacked Sox hurler. Closer to home, Derek Jeter’s 8th inning homer that led the Yanks to a dramatic come from behind win over Kansas City was relegated to the bottom of the page in a Harvey Araton piece that treated the exciting win like a Pyrrhic victory — at best. Here’s a killjoy sentence.

“this sellout-crowd-pleasing victory should come wrapped with a label that reads: Buyer Beware. Because the World Series winner is seldom a team that looks as unacquainted with crisp, mistake-free-baseball as the 21st-century Yankees have increasingly become.”

Ah, nothing like having the team’s post-season hopes dashed seven games into the new season. After a win!!!