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Quest for tickets to Series a trial for Hub notables

Scoring a seat calls for charm, deep pockets, or connections

Mikalo Glennon, 2, added his touch as patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute made banners to cheer the Sox yesterday. Mikalo Glennon, 2, added his touch as patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute made banners to cheer the Sox yesterday. (JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF)

Boston's typically labyrinthine world of movers and shakers breaks down this week into two simple camps: the haves and the have-nots.

The haves possess coveted World Series tickets for Red Sox home games tonight or tomorrow night, which are selling on the Internet for as much as $10,000. The have-nots are in an urgent, stomach-churning hunt, dialing phones and working their contacts in a city known for insider politics and trading favors.

For many, the quest isn't just about baseball.

"It is probably the ultimate see-and-be-seen experience," said Lawrence S. DiCara, a lawyer at Nixon Peabody, whose firm owns an undisclosed number of season tickets and has received numerous calls in recent days from clients seeking seats.

The art of scoring tickets requires a coy approach, fancy footwork that is much more subtle than Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon's victory dance.

Michael McCormack, a former Boston city councilor who is known for his ability to scare up even the toughest tickets, said he has been screening his calls to avoid the inevitable requests.

"It's people," he said, "who have no interest in baseball, who think it's an event: 'We just want to be at the park to be part of the event.' People are calling who are normally very business-oriented. They just want to chat, but you know what they want. They're waiting to hear me say, 'I have two extra tickets - you want them?' "

Even McCormack's sources, who he said usually offer tickets at a fair price, are looking for big money.

Would-be buyers "can get a beautiful high-definition television with a great picture for $2,000," he said, "as opposed to spending $4,000 for two tickets."

But then, that's not the point.

Among the haves are season ticketholders like Tagg Romney, whose father, Mitt, may take a break from his Republican presidential primary campaign to attend, and New Balance chief executive Jim Davis, as well as executives at Reebok International, NStar, and Entercom Communications, which have boxes at Fenway Park.

Among the have-nots are Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, Boston Licensing Board chairman Daniel F. Pokaski, and Councilor at Large Michael Flaherty.

All three said they have not pursued the sought-after seats, but are waiting by the phone for invitations from friends and colleagues.

"These tickets are like gold," Conley said. "I'm hoping that someone calls between now and the time the series ends."

Dozens of people have scored invitations and tickets. Reebok executives invited Mayor Thomas M. Menino to sit in the company box, and Governor Deval Patrick will probably be a guest of his chief of staff, whose father is a season ticketholder with seats between home plate and third base, about 25 rows back.

Councilor John Tobin says he bought a ticket at face value from a fellow politician, but he would not identify the seller, for fear that his source will "get drilled by every Tom, Dick, and Harry for tickets."

For Massachusetts politicians such as Patrick and Menino, getting to the game is a little stickier proposition than it was the last time the Red Sox made it to the World Series, in 2004. That year, local politicians hungry to see the long-suffering Sox advance went directly to the team, which made playoff tickets available to them.

The State Ethics Commission soon thereafter eliminated the time-honored perk, ruling that even if they paid face value, politicians could be violating the conflict-of-interest law if an ordinary person could not easily get tickets to the event.

On its website, the Ethics Commission has devoted pages to the finer points of how politicians can attend a major sporting event without getting in an ethical jam. In general, politicians can take tickets if they pay the same amount as anyone else. If a box seat to the World Series is going for $1,000 online, for example, the politician would have to pay $1,000.

There is only one circumstance in which a public official can take a free ticket: if he or she is performing a public ceremonial purpose, such as throwing out the first pitch.

Patrick, who displayed minimal knowledge of the team yesterday in an exchange with reporters, said he will pay "whatever I'm supposed to" to attend the game with chief of staff Doug Rubin.

Menino has his own season tickets but plans to take in the game from the privacy of the Reebok suite, where his longtime friend Paul Foster is a vice president.

"I've been friends with him for 30 years," Menino said. "I'm excited. I think they're going to win. It's great for Boston, which is really hot now."

Senator Richard R. Tisei, a Wakefield Republican who is minority leader, has two season tickets on the third base line.

"All I can say is season tickets are a huge expense," he said. "At times like this, it's great to have them."

Other lawmakers are casualties of complex ticket-sharing arrangements.

Senator Michael W. Morrissey has two season tickets paid for by his law firm, Boyle, Morrissey & Campo, but the first World Series seats will go to more senior partners, he said.

"They go to clients, good clients; longtime friends; and senior partners," said Morrissey, a Quincy Democrat. "I don't even ask."

Representative Daniel Bosley, who shares a block of tickets with several lawyers, said he doesn't have the seniority in the group to score even a single seat during the World Series.

Going to the games may not be worth the public scrutiny, Bosley said.

"When the governor goes, it's team building," he joked. "When we go, we're on the take."

Frank Phillips of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Donovan Slack can be reached at dslack@globe.com; Andrea Estes at estes@globe.com.

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