Larry Lucchino Cares About Red Sox Fans One at a Time
a few months ago my 8 year old son came home and said I should be a Yankees fans. He is a huge fan of Fenway Park, but the Red Sox recent woes had made him look elsewhere. He argued that the Yankees had Babe Ruth, the greatest of all time.
Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I was stumped. I wrote a letter to Sox chief Larry Lucchino asking for advice.
Here is the letter he wrote back.
I received your 'urgent' note and wanted to lend a few ideas to ensure that your son remains a member of Red Sox Nation. You mentioned that your son's love of Fenway Park, and that's a good place to start as any. Yankee Stadium is a fine venue, to be sure, but nothing can match a Red Sox game at America's Most Beloved Ballpark with its 100 years of tradition (and counting).
Second, your son should consider the personalities of Red Sox past and present. From all-time greats like Ted Williams and Yaz to modern heroes like Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox have a lineage of ballplayers unlike any in our game's history. And while it's true the Yankees 'had' Babe Ruth, we did win three championships of our own with the Bambino and had the good sense to use him as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Finally, I hope your son continues to see the payoff in rooting for our club instead of the Yankees. Supporting the Yankees is like rooting for the Roman Empire (or even the 'Evil Empire' - as I once said about our rivals to the south). Encourage your son to pick the good side as he considers his baseball loyalties. We look forward to calling your son one of our most loyal fans. "
P.S. Enclosed is a Red Sox hat for your son - used as bribery to sway your son away from the Yankees.
as a florist in Boston, who has done lots of business with the Red Sox, I have a new found respect for Larry Lucchino and see why those argue for his plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Growing up 100% Italian is quite rare in Boston. I would never trade my heritage for anything. But growing up in Boston also surrounds you with many Irish people and even more Irish customs. My mother, whose parents came from Italy, even cooks corned beef and cabbage every Saint Patrick's Day. This tradition has even carried over to my own family where my wife Suzie, who is part Irish, looks forward to my boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, turnip, potatoes, carrots and pearl onions.
During Saint Patrick's week at my house, you will hear us reading the chidlren's book Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk or watching the Janeane Garofalo movie The Matchmaker on TV. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we often speak about tradition and creating your own memories. Saint Patrick's Day is an ideal holiday to start your own tradition.
I have witnessed many clients at Exotic Flowers who celebrate St. Patrick's Day by buying green carnations in the Boston area. The green carnation reminds of the green shake from McDonalds. You only see them around Saint Patrick's Day. One client in Wellesley has been sending his wife 24 green carnations every year for more than twenty years, while a company on State Street in Boston has bought more than one hundred green carnations every year for the past ten years. They hand a green carnation to each one of their employees to celebrate the holiday.
So crack open a Guinness, hand your loved one a green carnation and listen to the Irish Rovers belt out my favorite Irish tune, 'The Unicorn,'.
Did you ever play the game padiddle/perdiddle ? The beauty of the night time car game is a way to compete with friends during long or short drives. The Christmas tree car game is very similar but you can play both day and night.
Start your own holiday tradition with the Christmas tree car game. I had never heard of the game or even played before this year. My son and wife introduced me to this fun and festive game.
During the holidays Christmas trees can be found from Boston to Belchertown. On my ten minute commute to work at Exotic Flowers in Roslindale, I pass by five places who sell Christmas trees; including Louie the Florist, Exotic Flowers, Walk Hill Florist, Allandale Farm and Flowerland.
The Christmas Tree Car Game can be played with two or more players. All one need to do is see a car on the road with a Christmas tree on its roof and call out 'tree,'. A running tally can be kept all month long. Right now I have four points, my son has nine and my wife has six. What a great way to start your own Christmas tradition.
You can even have a point system if you know your Christmas trees. You could offer bonus points for living Christmas trees or snow flocked trees. Like padiddle where a police car is huge bonus points, how about huge points for a double Christmas tree car or a game ender if you see the Griswold family Christmas tree.
When we think of Valentine's Day in Boston - roses, romance and restaurants come to mind. Valentine's Day in Boston is a celebration of love and also the busiest day of the year for florists too. Yesterday, October 4, 2012 Valentine's Day came early. Red Sox fans paused to briefly celebrate the termination of Bobby Valentine as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Valentine watched over the worst Red Sox record in decades.
The hiring of Valentine never sat well with this Red Sox fan. I knew his ego would never fit in Boston or in the Red Sox clubhouse. More than twenty five years ago I used to collect autographs at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston when visiting teams came to play the Red Sox. There was always a handful of kids and some adults too waiting outside and inside for players to show up and sign. One time when Valentine was managing the Rangers, I got his signature. Thank you Bobby. But he was not exactly friendly about it. When security came to shoe me away, Valentine quickly had to throw in his 'now run along, you're not supposed to be here,'. Dear coach, I was a kid. I knew I was breaking the rules. No need to embarass me. I see why your players felt like you did not know how to speak to them either.
I do find it admirable that Valentine walked out of his firing with his head high and wishing the team the best. But after reading an article by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo
, it all made sense. Valentine has a gag order. He cannot bad mouth the team or his 2.5 millions dollars due in 2013 will be withdrawn for breach of contract. So I ask this, if the North Korea-like Red Sox PR team knew Valentine could not control his words when the contract was written then why even put him in the pressure cooker of Boston sports ?
I wish you the best Bobby. 'Run along now, you're not supposed to be here,'. Valentine's day came early in Boston and this Boston florist is thrilled. The Red Sox lost their last game to the Yankees who scored '14' runs. Valentine was fired '14' hours and '14' minutes after the last pitch of the season. Valentine's Day is February '14' - coincidence ? Maybe or maybe the baseball gods needed a laugh.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we actively contribute to floral associations. We are members of FTD, Teleflora and the Society of American Florists, (SAF). We exchance ideas with our colleagues and are always looking to learn so that we may remain Boston's Premier Florist.
Recently, Exotic Flowers and myself were featured in Bloomnet Magazine floriology. Below is the article in its entirety written by Fred Russell in April 2012 edition.
From Facebook to Twitter and everything in between Rick Canale is LinkedIn to everything social.
Rick of Exotic Flowers inBostonis a third generation florist and an industry leader in using social media to help promote his business. Growing up in theBostonarea Rick would help out his parents Sonny and Marie doing a little bit of everything. After attendingBostonCollegeas Liberal Arts major in the early 90’s, Rick went to work full time at the family business that started over 50 years ago.
“Most of our marketing is reinforcing our current clientele”, says Rick. “We combine an aggressive direct mail marketing plan and mix in social media to remain relevant and top of mind”, he adds. Rick sees his new customers result mostly from referral business and a lot from local search engines like Google, Yelp and Foursquare. Because Rick looks at his current customers as an avenue for getting new ones he consistently targets them on different platforms to stay relevant and keep people talking about them.
When it comes to social media Rick was an early adapter and could foresee the movement coming quickly. “You have to collect ‘likes’ on your Facebook page like baseball cards”, says Rick. Between his Facebook friends and Twitter followers Rick has well over 1,000 contacts. This is a lot of potential consumers at your fingertips that can be easily reached at a moments notice. Rick is also very active on his blog (http://blog.exoticflowers.com/) which attracts 6,000 unique visitors a month and tries to reach out to his customers via a social avenue three to five times a week. “I write about everything; from social issues, what’s going on inBoston, baseball or top five movies of the week”, says Rick. “You don’t always want to make it about you and be to self serving, you just want to be out there so people see your name”. Rick likens it to a Presidential Campaign, “it’s all about shaking hands and kissing babies!”
Rick also monitors closely what people are saying about his shop. He uses Hubspot (www.hubspot) to monitor activity. He gets a notification that his shop name is being mentioned somewhere. “I jump right in and answer questions, talk about the shop and they’re floored to get that quick reaction”. He also monitors what his contemporaries are blogging and follows them on Twitter. “You can always learn from what other people are doing and see if I’m missing anything. I also find a lot of inspiration by looking at what my peers are doing”.
One of the things Rick has asked himself is how do you keep your website and social customer’s loyal? “When we get a first time order on a website order we send the customer a hand written note thanking them for our business”. Rick also sends a personal business card, not just one with the store name to give it a more personal touch. Rick also stays away from discounting and feels it’s unnecessary because they always have great products and are always competitively priced and once you discount your customers will expect it. “There’s no way I’m going to compete with someone selling $9.99 rose and that’s not what we’re about.
Rick plans on continuing to use social media in his marketing plan and thinks Twitter is still in its beginning is about to boom. Rick suggests the Twitter community is just another form of blogging and a great way to catch a customer’s attention with a quick, catchy message. As far as another recent social phenomena—Pinterest, Rick compares it to a coffee table book. “Everybody loves coffee table books, but how often do you read them?” With the recent fascination Rick will observe it’s progress and develop a presence down the road.
Be sure to follow Rick on Twitter @RickCanale!
Owner: Rick Canale
Shop: Exotic Flowers
Employees: 10 full time
On Friday April, 20th 2012 - Fenway Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Hosting the New York Yankees at 305pm, the Red Sox have invited more than 200 former coaches and players to attend this celebrated game. I will be at the game and I am honored to have made the Red Sox guest list. Thank you Red Sox. Welch's Juices have even sponsored over 37,000 drinks so that Fenway Park
will host the largest toast ever in the Guinness Book of World Records.
I have some great memories of Fenway Park from hanging around the park collecting autographs and meeting players to collecting my change so that I would have enough to buy a ticket. I even remember once checking the pay phones inside the Sheraton Hotel in Boston in 1985, my friend and I were about 80 cents short. The ticket agent who was in the now defunct ticket station in Fenway Park let us pass. We sat in the mist and rain with about 8000 others fans as the Red Sox played the Mariners. I remember many of those games when it seemed you could count the fans in the park.
I was born in 1970 and I can remember the Red Sox always on the radio, television and being talked about at the earliest age. My earliest clear memory of the Red Sox came in the 1975 World Series when rookie centerfielder Fred Lynn crashed into the wall.
My first game
was a doubleheader in 1978 against the White Sox. I immediately became a White Sox hater but my allegiance changed to them when Carlton Fisk changed his Sox in 1981.
Serving as the Official Red Sox Florist from 2007-2010 was quite an honor, but nothing like my memories from Fenway Park.
My coolest memory of Fenway Park came on July 24, 1985
. My friend and I were outside Fenway Park collecting autographs. Oakland Athletics outfielders Dwayne Murphy and Mike Davis arrived via taxi. They signed our autographs. We then asked Davis who was having a great year if he was going to hit his 17th homerun that night. He responded with 'I am going to hit number 17 and 18 Off the Can (Dennis Oil Can Boyd,).' We were thrilled with his response and pressed him for more information. He retreated and only promised one homerun. Lo and behold, he hit number 17 off Boyd in the 9th inning. What a memory.
I recall my sons' first games on September 26, 2007 and July 4, 2011 like they were yesterday. Fenway Park is all about memories. What are some of your favorites?
The Baseball Hall of Fame (yes, I am a member) is celebrating Fenway's 100th with its Fen-tennial. check out the video here.
Rick Canale, yes that is me. As my twitter profile suggests; married to Suzie with 2 sons. My interests include family, food, wine, baseball, reading, Boston, flowers and orchids. My family comes first and everything else second. My blog posts are not only meant to inform, but entertain as well. You can often find me hanging out at Exotic Flowers in Boston. My goal is to deliver breathtaking flower arrangements to residents, workers and visitors in Boston and New England. My favorite flower is the phaelenopsis orchid.
Suzie Canale grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Salem State College. She began writing as a children's book author after a twenty five year career in the wholesale floral industry in Boston at Back Bay Wholesale where she was inspired by flowers named after child friendly foods. She developed the concept of "The Beantown Tales" - a series of books geared towards educating children to make positive changes within the key concerns of our society. Suzie is the recent recipient of the Green Difference Award for Green Book of 2011 by the Massachusetts Green Schools Organization as well as anHonorable Mention in the 2011 New England Book Festival children's division for her first installment of the Green Series, "The Land of Chocolate Cosmos". She has also authored "The Popcorn Hydrangea of Poppingtom" and "The Candy Roses of Cape Care,".
As she continues her career by writing books, articles and blogs for online websites, magazines and local businesses, she is also busily raising her two sons. Married to Boston florist Rick Canale, Suzie's blog posts focus on weddings, wedding flowers and wedding planning for the Boston area. You can also download her free ebook for wedding planning. Her favorite flowers are sweet pea and of course chocolate cosmos.
Jonathan Bornstein is a Newton resident and graduate of The Roxbury Latin School and Cornell University. Jon is the owner of L. Bornstein and Company, a wholesale floor covering distributor servicing the needs of members of the floor covering trade throughout New England. Jon is active on twitter and writes an amazing blog about great sandwiches that he has ingested. His contribution to the Exotic Flowers in Boston blog ranges from Halloween treats to being a Jew at Christmas. His favorite flower is the gerbera daisy.
Exotic Flowers in Boston is always on the lookout for guest writers. If you would like to write for our blog, let us know. We will make it worth your while.
- It all happens in one day. Everyone wants delivery on the day and everyone wants it early.
- Weather - we are at the will of Mother Nature. If it snows, we are screwed.
- Prices - on Valentine's day a florist's rose prices double, of course we cannot double our prices so we work on a much slimmer margin.
- Media types cutting down flowers. Scientific research from Rutgers University proves flowers make people happy.
- Proflowers - their $19.99 street peddler type roses create the wrong image of the importance of receiving beautiful hand delivered arranged flowers.
I would love for my colleagues to share their dislikes too. Please share your comments below.
It has been said that there is a thin line between love and hate. Those of us swept up in the affairs of the heart are all too familiar with this concept, not only from the perspective of how tenuous it is to balance on this particular tightrope, but also in light of the complications that Valentine’s Day can add to the terrain. For some, the opportunity to express romantic inclinations regardless of age (remember back in the day when you used to count up all the little handheld Valentines you received in class?) or the tokens of affection involved (do we ever truly outgrow our fascination with the numerous sayings on a candy heart?) is one we embrace. Other more cynical types decry the occasion as more commercial than Cupid, where the delicate beginnings of a budding romance can be dashed on the rocks as we are forced to send the wrong signals too soon.
Truth is, while most of us have a keen awareness of the occasion and it’s romantic themes, we know little about Valentine’s Day’s origins and history. Hence, an opportunity to play one of our favorite games here at the old Exotic Flowers’ blog, “Fact or Fiction” (although given the nature of the holiday, perhaps “Truth or Dare” might have been more appropriate).
1) Valentine’s Day was an invention of the Hallmark Greeting Card Company to push love-themed paraphernalia for profit. Fiction. First, the earliest mechanically produced Valentines date back to the early 1800’s, prior to Hallmark’s existence. Second, the roots of the holiday are a subject of much debate. The general consensus is that it began as the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility or the marriage of Roman gods Juno and Hera (depending on who you ask) dating back to the Middle Ages. The “Valentine” aspect was introduced when the Catholic church attempted to de-paganize the holiday by associating a catholic martyr named Valentine with it to create a feast day in his honor, bringing us to Fact or Fiction #2:
2) Valentine’s Day is a tribute to St. Valentine. Fact. Well, sort of. Little is known about the martyr Valentine, and there appears to be more than one in Catholic canon. There are stories of a Valentine who defied the Roman Emperor Claudius’ edict that men not marry (making military recruitment easier) by performing the illegal ceremony for young lovers, an activity he was ultimately executed for. A Valentine dating back to 200 AD is also purported to have helped free prisoners from jail, restored sight to his jailer’s daughter prior to being executed once he was caught helping others escape, and credited with possibly being the first to use the phrase “From your Valentine” in a note written to a female prisoner he had fallen in love with prior to his execution. There is no definitive historical evidence for any of these actions or the Valentines who performed them, hence the removal of the holiday’s status as a feast day from the calendar by the Catholic Church back in 1969 (wasn’t that the Summer of Love? Ironic, huh?).
3) More roses are sold than any other flower on Valentine’s Day. Fiction. I would have guessed red roses trump every other flora on this holiday, but according to History.com, mixed flowers are the number one choice, and according to noted authority and Exotic Flowers in Boston luminary Rick Canale, the number of red roses sold on Valentine’s day seems to decline every year.
4) Valentine’s day is an American holiday. Fiction. The roots of the holiday began in ancient Rome, as we discussed earlier, and iterations of it are observed all over the world, from Asia, India, Europe, and the Middle East, all the way to South America. Some countries have banned the holiday for its Western or “pagan” roots, and some use it to honor friendship or the beginnings of Spring. My favorite connection to the holiday is in South Korea, where on April 14th (Black Day), those who did not receive gifts from secret loves on Valentine’s Day eat black noodles to mourn the absence of love from their solitary existence. I also enjoyed learning about Jack Valentine, a mystical character who was legendary in Norfolk County, England for leaving treats and gifts for children on the holiday. Unfortunately, his presence and practices spooked the children of the region so badly that parents stopped propagating his lore.
Well, once again, Exotic Flowers blog has broadened your mind and helped you take your first steps into a much larger world. Now why don’t you take that newfound wisdom and share it with someone you love, along with one of the many tokens of affection that the Cupid consultants here at Exotic Flowers in Boston offer?
On Twitter @Zucrow
2010 has been a year of many honors and accomplishments at Exotic Flowers. Sonny Canale celebrated his 52nd year at the helm of Exotic Flowers and Lombardi Florist. We delivered over 10,000 gifts to our clients and provided jobs for more than twenty local residents.
2010 was also a year of personal accomplishment for me as well. I was invited to judge the Floral Management Marketer of the Year competition and the Outstanding Varieties Competition at the Society of American Florists (SAF) Convention. I was also asked to participate in a panel on social media at the SAF convention as well. These invitations are considered some of the highest honors in the floral industry. My exposure and contributions in these fields have also led to more invitations.
My colleagues had recently asked me to help lead the newly formed Massachusetts Professional Florists Association; to serve as a member of the SAF members committee and to serve again on a social media panel at the SAF Growth Solutions Conference in 2011.
Below is my letter of response to these invites.
" I have thought long and hard about your proposal. I am honored, flattered and grateful.
Your invitation has paid me the highest honor - the respect of my
peers... and more importantly those who I aspire to. Having grown up in the flower business, I have always known how hard it is to make a career of this business. I do my best to give back to an industry that has given me and my family so much.
Of course, everything comes back to family. At this time, I must
respectfully decline your invitation. I do not feel I can give the
commitment SAF deserves. Please know, I do not feel this is a
permanent answer. I will continue to do everything I can for the
growth of our business as a whole.