David Beeston’s heart may be true ‘blue,’ but he sees only ‘red’ when it comes to business.
That’s because Beeston, BA’01 (Philosophy), LLB’07, grew up in Toronto, where his father, Paul, BA’67 (Political Science), was president of the Toronto Blue Jays. Today, David is the senior vice-president/strategic planning and senior counsel for the Boston Red Sox and his No. 1 priority is giving his dad’s former team a run for its money.
Last year, the American League Eastern Division rivals finished at opposite ends of the standings – the Jays went to the American League Championship Series while the Sox sat at the bottom of the division. This season, the two teams will duke it out thanks to several Red Sox free agent signings, including inking former Blue Jay All-Star pitcher David Price to a 7-year, $217 million contract.
“Last year, (Toronto) had a great season and I was really excited for my dad seeing it was going to be his last with the team,” David said of Paul, who retired last year. “But I’m looking forward to the new season.”
As a senior advisor to the Red Sox ownership, Beeston keeps management partners informed on all fronts by helping the group develop its business strategy.
“Every day is different for me,” he said. “Today, I was working with stadium engineers on Fenway Park accommodations. Yesterday, I was busy working on budgets. We spent the day before that developing media and TV strategies.”
Red Sox President Sam Kennedy acknowledges the importance of Beeston’s input.
“Since his arrival in 2013, David has been a tremendous asset to us,” he said. “His baseball acumen, legal expertise and ability to work across all levels of the organization have made him a key member of the executive team. For me, he’s become an indispensible teammate whose opinion I value on all major decisions affecting the club. We’re fortunate to have him as part of our front office.”
One point Red Sox management wrestles with is making sure all fans can afford to enjoy a game at the 37,673-seat Fenway Park, one of the smallest stadiums in the Major Leagues. There’s always pressure to raise ticket prices to pay players’ salaries, increase seating or tear down Fenway and build a bigger ballpark.
“Boston is a baseball town, and Fenway Park is a special place for Red Sox fans,” Beeston said. “But we agonize every year over the issue of affordability. We definitely have expensive seats, but we also recognize it can be expensive for the average family to come here. One way we make it affordable is by charging high school and college students $9 and offering other tickets as low as $12.”
Fenway Park is also the oldest professional baseball stadium still in use, and Beeston recalls how Boston fans went rabid when a previous ownership group suggested building a new stadium.
“They didn’t have the vision needed to keep the stadium,” he said. “Fenway celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. The current owners realize the park’s importance to city history, and have invested about $300 million over the last 12 years to add certain modern amenities to the park, yet still keep its 100-year-old charm.”
Born in Toronto to a sports-minded family, Beeston played “every sport that involved a ball. I didn’t have any talent and couldn’t hit a baseball, but I loved to play.”
Attending Huron University College as an undergraduate, he befriended David Conter, a Philosophy professor who enjoyed discussing philosophy and baseball with his students.
“I had a lot of great teachers at Western,” Beeston said. “I wasn’t the most disciplined student in school, but professor Conter was always available for extra help. We talked a lot about school and life beyond school. Plus, he had office hours at the gym, and I thought that was cool.”
Beeston’s goal was to work for a professional sports team. After graduating, he sent resumes to every NHL and Major League Baseball team, and interned at Hockey Canada. Realizing a law degree would greatly improve his chances of landing a better job, he returned to Western.
He’s especially indebted to Western law professor Adam Parachin, who taught Property Law, for helping him get through that tough first year of law school.
“I was a more diligent student this time around,” Beeston said. “Professor Parachin understood how scary law school can be for first-year students. He saw we were struggling, and he could relate to that. That was comforting.”
The John & Dotsa Bitove Family Law Library became Beeston’s main hangout on campus. He loved the stacks of books and the long tables, but found a greater love with a fellow Law student. At Western, he met Katie, LLB’07. The couple later married, and had two children.
After earning his Law degree, he worked for a Toronto firm. Five years later, he landed the job in Boston.
Beeston chuckled when he recalled what his baseball-savvy father told him when he joined the Sox. “He gave me the same advice as when I went to work at the law firm: Half of life is just showing up. Keep your head down, work hard and you’ll always be successful.”
The senior Beeston is proud of the next generation. “His dream was to get into sports, and he did it,” Paul said. “When the opportunity arose in Boston, I said, ‘Take it, David. Be honest, have fun and always remember – you’re in the entertainment business.’”
And now, David is working on the younger generation. Every chance he gets, Beeston and his 3-year-old son, Bobby, play ball in the backyard. They’re often watched by his 7-month-old son, Jack.
But the love of the game is still growing in the next generation of Beestons.
“Bobby loves coming to Red Sox games, but he’s mostly interested in the popcorn and Wally the Green Monster, our mascot,” he said with a laugh. “He’s beginning to play T-ball, and he’s already got the bat flip down.”