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Gonzalez quits BoMag


 

Godspeed to Boston magazine senior writer John Gonzalez, who's leaving that post to write a sports column for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It's a great move for Gonzalez, who'll be joining his hometown paper in an extremely high-profile position. But it's a real loss for the Boston media market. When he was on--and he usually was--Gonzalez may have been the most entertaining writer in the city. Consider, for example, some highlights from his August '06 piece on the Herald's Inside Track Gals, which highlighted both Gonzalez's prose skills and his willingness to pick a fight:

In December 2004, in one of the more infamous public floggings in recent memory, the Gals announced that longtime Channel 4 sports anchor Bob Lobel was having an affair “with a woman some 20 years younger.” The item also gleefully informed us that Lobel’s third marriage and his career were in jeopardy (if they weren’t already, they probably were after the item appeared). The fact that the Gals and Lobel share the same agent apparently wasn’t enough to squash the story. “It was too good not to print,” says a source. “He’s a household name.” The same source adds that it was Lobel’s failure to make sufficient deposits in the Track’s favor bank that made him a target. “If he had helped them before, maybe they wouldn’t have burned him. See the difference? If you’re not doing favors for them, if you’re not on their good side, you’re fucked.”

Lobel won’t talk about the incident. Johnny Damon’s wife, Michelle, a long-time Track whipping girl, also declines to comment. Sports reporter Hazel Mae—the subject of a recent blind item in the Track about her giving pet names to her breasts—isn’t speaking either. To openly challenge the Track, after all, might inspire the Gals to don their brass knuckles and throw down.

To wit: When I first began reporting this story, I received multiple phone calls saying the Gals were on to me. Before I’d written a word, my boss had received four calls, one of them to inform him that I’m “a punk.” Restaurant owner Joe Cimino sent a letter to this magazine, insisting his name not appear in the article. Before long, disparaging comments about my loyalty to Boston magazine started seeping into our office. (If you see me panhandling outside Store 24, drop something in my cup.) George Regan, one of the Gals’ PR buddies (who, incidentally, represents BoMag and the Herald), asked me to come down to his gym to “settle this.” He also issued a fatwa against me, sending out a companywide directive that no one at his firm talk to me. Ever. (Regan confirms he sent the memo “with pride,” before announcing that any employee who does talk to me will be out of a job.)

In person, the Gals are quite amiable. They’re quick with a joke and chatty when it suits them. When I ask if they have any regrets about what they’ve written, though, they almost laugh me out of the room. But then, hardened cynicism is to the professional gossip what makeup is to the rodeo clown—which is why the Gals often play up their mean streak. “We’ve gone to events where we know we’re two skunks at a garden party,” Raposa says. “There are some people out there who don’t like us—and with good reason.”

Excellent.

Boston magazine now has some pretty big holes to fill: in addition to Gonzalez, DQM hears that John Wolfson, one of BoMag's three senior editors, is leaving as well.

As for Gonzalez, perhaps you're wondering: any connection between his sudden departure and his simmering feud with Globe metro columnist Kevin Cullen? He insists the answer's no. "You know what?" Gonzalez says. "If Kevin Cullen could chase anybody out of town, he'd be that much better. Just kidding, Kevin! Call me!" 

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