New York Times seeking to sell its stake in the Red Sox – and anything else that ain’t nailed down!

The New York Times Co. is trying to sell its stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team, seeking to raise cash and shield its newspaper franchise from rapidly falling revenue.

Under pressure from investors to sell noncore assets in recent years, executives of the Times Company have said repeatedly that they were open to selling the stake, but only on the right terms. But recently, they have been actively shopping the company’s stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Red Sox. The Times Company informed its partners in the venture of its plans last month.

The company executives have suggested that the central aim of any sale is to protect the company’s newspapers, particularly the flagship Times. They have also been reluctant to consider the sale of About.com, an Internet site that is profitable and growing…

The Times Company reported on Wednesday that revenue from continuing operations in November was down 13.9 percent compared with the month a year earlier. For the year, it was down 7.6 percent.

Even competitors of the TIMES wouldn’t want to see it disappear. As standards they’ve always represented continue to be diluted and diminished by the “news as entertainment” Philistines, they still are the Last of the Best.