Got in late last night, so missed on the Sunday Night shows, and the morning links. Just a few quick notes instead.
John Molori has the story on 1510. Does Sporting News Radio have any idea how to run a station? Or is Eddie Andelman serving as the Vin Baker of the station, where his huge contract prevents them from keeping, or bringing on better talent?
I’m growing increasing annoyed at how almost each reporter covering the team has to inform us each day that Pedro and Manny are “refusing” to speak to the media. Kevin Paul Dupont does the deed today. What is the purpose of telling us everyday? I’m sure the fans are aware of the fact that those two haven’t cooperated with the scribes this season. It’s growing into a big pet peeve with me.
Have you ordered food at Fenway via your cell phone yet?
I’m guessing Howard Bryant isn’t buying Manny’s story about his mother fainting. In his pay column this week, he talks about the rough week John Henry had:
Henry emerged from the All-Star week somewhat bruised for dismissing the Manny Ramirez Hall Pass Controversy as a mere blip during a slow news week.
Bryant goes on to say:
The cacophony aside, if there is a reason to be discouraged by leadership's passivity in handling Ramirez, and to a far lesser extent Pedro Martinez, it is in the potential consequences that might surface, the most significant being the frame of mind of the fastidious shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra.
He wonders how Nomar felt at the special treatment given Pedro and Manny while he played on.
I also thought I’d take the opportunity to publish this letter that was sent to me last week, regarding the Bill James bashing in the media. I think the writer, Kevin Gilligan, makes some very good points.
I have been noticing a great many negative references to Bill James in the press lately. You already know about the Shaughnessy ones. Ralph Wiley mentions him today in an ESPN column, suggesting a kind of racist bias on Bill's part because he doesn't think much of stolen bases. A couple of weeks ago, Tim McCarver cheap-shotted him on Fox during a telecast, putting words in Bill's mouth to the effect that a good bullpen isn't important! And it seems that many in the New England press seem to deliberately misinterpret the bullpen strategy of the Red Sox in a way to maximize criticism of Bill's contribution to the team.
What gives? Has the press taken collective leave of their senses? Why has this man become such a lightning rod for every sports scribe in the country with an ax to grind?
Allow me to speculate. First, I believe most sports journalists aren't very bright. They have a bachelor's degree in journalism or English and were able to snag a job out of a summer internship or through nepotism. To my knowledge, unlike most professions, no sports reporter has ever gotten his job by demonstrating expertise in the field they are required to expound upon. In other words, they have no real knowledge to trade. So what we get instead are a witches brew of gossip, half-baked opinions, trite quotes and indignant diatribes. Before long, they become aware of what a cushy gig they have, doing little real work while enjoying the considerable perks of watching, then expounding upon, the world of professional sports with no one to answer to except their editor, who doesn't really care what they write as long as it is submitted on time and creates a buzz for whatever organization they work for. Then along comes Bill James. Working alone and having little or no attachment or dependence on the existing sports information power structures, he writes a brilliant string of abstracts and books on baseball that knocks out the fans of the sport and leaves them screaming for more. Many reach the New York Times bestseller list. Even more unsettling is his use of empirical data and statistical formulas in objectively trying to address the questions about baseball he happens to be interested in. So Mr. Sports Columnist/Announcer wakes up one day and finds that his readers know more about his subject than he does. Needless to say, this reality is very threatening because it renders Mr. Sports Columnist/Announcer unnecessary. And he can't correct the situation without additional training, which he is too lazy to do (Oh no! I have to learn math?!). So he uses to only weapon he has left, the dissemination of misinformation by any means at his disposal to discredit the source of his discomfort.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the summer wears on, now that the problems in the bullpen seem to be solved. If the Red Sox beat the Yankees to first place (which, as things now stand, they seem likely to do), then the Jamesbashers will be required to convincingly explain how they accomplished this feat despite the input of the "stats geek". Furthermore, if the Red Sox were to actually go all the way (I can dream, can't I?) for the first time in 85 years, I can see this splitting the local media right down the middle between the reluctant converts and the Luddites. Then we should really see some fireworks.