T-3 and counting…

March 30th, 2007 → 1:40 pm @ // No Comments

Only one more baseball-less weekend in 2007…at least until October. And sure, opening the season in Kansas City isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, although anyone who’ll actually be in Missouri should make sure to check out Posnanski and Bryant’s. Better yet, do both at the same time.

So to help get you through that final weekend, some thoughts about spring training, the upcoming season, and what to expect going forward…

* 38pitches. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Curt Schilling’s recently launched blog is always interesting, often entertaining, and usually informative. Feelings about Curt tend to run hot or cold; regardless of your take on the big righthander, you need to admire a pro athlete who actually takes time to answer questions sent in by the hoi polloi.

Actually, I guess you don’t need to admire it: Shaughnessy, in one of the meaner-spirited columns I’ve read in a while, painted the whole thing as one more way for Schilling to get his ass kissed. What’s surprising here isn’t that Shaughnessy is being a dick — he’s done that before — but that he missed the mark so completely. (This will surprise some people, but I actually think Shaughnessy is a very good columnist in that he’s great at hitting a nerve and is generally pretty fearless about public’s (and his subject’s) reactions. I often don’t agree with where he’s coming from, and I abhor some of what he’s done in the past…but that’s another story.+) As Daniel Drezner writes, Shaughnessy seems to betray some sort of primal fear: if athletes join the rest of the bloggerati, will the members of the tradition-bound fourth estate continue to lose readers? (It’s worth noting that Schilling provided the first official confirmation of Papelbon’s move to the pen…)

Drezner makes a good point. In this case, I think Shaughnessy’s also worried that he’ll lose access to one of the city’s most entertaining sports personalities. Schilling’s never been shy about expressing his disdain for Dan; in face, I’ve often wondered why Schilling spoke to him at all. Maybe now, he won’t…

(Schilling had a great response to Shaughnessy’s column, in which he referred to Dan as his nom de guerre, Curly Haired Boyfriend.)

Also worth nothing: starting Opening Day, Curt will run an 11-day contest; two winners a day will get the MLB.tv package. All you cable subscribers, take note…

* The NESN-Red Sox highlight clips controversy. (OK, fine, mini-controversy.) This is a story that’s definitely worth following; I’m surprised local stations aren’t making more of a fuss. A recent Globe article quoted NESN VP of programming Joel Feld as saying that “there is no plan in place to charge for highlights” in the future. There’s enough wiggle room in that statement to drive a truck through; I can’t imagine what other real rationale there could possibly be. I also found Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg’s comments on the issue to be laughable. Steinberg said the Sox don’t want “reduction in Red Sox presence in the marketplace” and that the team had nothing to do with NESN’s decision. “Sometimes people miss that the Red Sox and NESN are two entirely different companies with two entirely different management staffs,” said Steinberg. “They share common ownership but are independent companies.”

I call BS on that. The Red Sox and NESN are damn symbiotic. This isn’t a Times (and, by extension, Globe)-Sox scenario. Anyway, stay tuned. Or, you know, don’t. At least if you want to see in-game highlights.

* The Sox’s payroll. Earlier this week, Tony Mazz had an article on how to decipher to team’s payroll (and MLB’s formulas for determining payroll tax, etc.). If you’re going to be talking about the team’s offseason spending, check this out. You’ll sound smarter.

* Theo’s thoughts. In case you haven’t heard, Theo isn’t much of a fan of all of the attention the team gets.+ For that reason alone, the above article on his reflections on spring training is informative, not necessarily for the actual content but for what can (and should) be read between the lines. Theo’s incredibly smart, and he thinks carefully about the effects of what he says in public. (Take note any time this season when he steps up and says he needs to accept responsibility for a rough patch the team is going through; it’ll more than likely mean he thinks some pressure needs to be taken off of the players.) When Theo says “I think the thing I liked best about the club was that there were no real egos on display, as much as any camp I’ve been around,” there’s undoubtedly some truth there. I’d bet there’s also an intended (if subliminal) message to the press: the clubhouse is a placid place. Look elsewhere for your story of the day. Even if this kind of thing doesn’t have a huge effect — and the Boston press isn’t keen on playing down even the most minor of squabbles — if it helps for even a week or two, that one statement will likely have fulfilled its purpose.

* Manny and Roger. SI had a squib the other day about possible Manny-Ichiro trade discussions; it got virtually no attention…but I don’t think we’ll get through a season without a Manny flare-up. And, of course, when Roger decides he is, indeed, going to come back for one more season, the Sox will be in the hunt…

+ There is, of course, lots about Shaughnessy’s weird and wooly relationship with the Sox and the roots of Theo’s press and publicity aversion in Feeding the Monster, which is available from Amazon for only $17.16 (cheap!). And don’t forget: free signed and personalized bookplates are here for the asking. How else are you going to get ready for Opening Day?

Post Categories: Dan Shaughnessy & Manny Ramirez & NESN & Roger Clemens & Theo Epstein

8 Comments → “T-3 and counting…”

  1. deversm

    17 years ago

    It looks like Dan has started a blog of his own.


  2. pblanchard

    17 years ago

    CHB’s blog is a classic – hurry before its taken down


  3. tinisoli

    17 years ago

    Shaughnessy’s column about 38pitches actually seemed a lot funnier–and aimed more at the commenters on Schilling’s blog rather than the man himself–after I reading some of those comments. There’s a lot of ass kissing, yes, but there’s also a lot of self-promotion and incipient scamming that does not bode well. Schilling should follow the lead of other popular bloggers and not let his blog turn into a free-for-all bulletin board. Here’s one actual example of what’s wrong with allowing everyone to post comments:

    “You are my second favorite player, right behind my childhood hero Ken Griffey Jr, and just ahead of Roger Clemens. Is there any chance you could leave me a ticket to see you pitch in Seattle this summer?”


  4. sogrady

    17 years ago

    “This will surprise some people, but I actually think Shaughnessy is a very good columnist in that he’s great at hitting a nerve and is generally pretty fearless about public’s (and his subject’s) reactions.”

    Surprised me, certainly. I don’t mind athelete criticism, and certainly would not cede the task of reporting to the individuals themselves, but after years and years of his bile I’ve given up. Haven’t read him in years, and don’t plan to again.

    Like yourself, I respect any writer that can take a difficult position and defend it without reservation, but too often for CHB a “difficult position” equates to “ad hominem attacks” and unnecessarily vitriolic commentary. Bob Ryan can make a point – and a pointed one at that – without resorting to the poison pen as Shaugnessy does.

    As for his ability to strike a nerve, I don’t see that as a particularly admirable ability. How difficult is it, after all, to incite a mob?

    But to each their own, and so forth.


  5. phenweigh

    17 years ago

    “Drezner makes a good point. In this case, I think Shaughnessy’s also worried that he’ll lose access to one of the city’s most entertaining sports personalities. Schilling’s never been shy about expressing his disdain for Dan; in face, I’ve often wondered why Schilling spoke to him at all. Maybe now, he won’t…”

    Did you mean “in fact” instead of “in face”. At least it’s something that sneaks by spellchecker.

    Regarding Shaughnessy, I stopped reading him long ago, but Curt’s comment prompted me to check that hideous column. Never again.



    17 years ago

    Does anybody else find the whole Clemens thing totally bizarre? Has any other athlete in history ever been in this guy’s position of freedom and power? He’s allowed to wait until he’s damn good and ready to decide if he wants to play anymore, and when inevitably he decides he does want to, but just for part of the year, he considers offers from the few teams who have the right money and the right situations for him. Incredible. Last year Houston paid him $16 million for a measly 113 innings of work. That’s $3 million more than Schilling wants for a full year. Clemens is 45, and he must be running on steroid power. If Schilling was on steroids maybe the Sox wouldn’t think he was too old to re-sign. Maybe they haven’t noticed he’s 4 years younger than Clemens. And we keep hearing how much money the Sox spent this offseason, but everybody seems to think it would be great if we threw another cartload of it at Roger. Also please check out the Rocket’s performances from the entire 2005 postseason, 2004 NLCS game 7, and 2003 ALCS game 7. They suck, big-time. Roger piles up those great numbers when they don’t count.


  7. tinisoli

    17 years ago

    I agree, HFXBOB, that there is something grotesque about Clemens’ option of sauntering back into the game in midsummer for the highest bidder and/or best team. He’s the athletic equivalent of the heavily-armed, exorbitantly-paid “private contractors” currently employed by the DoD in Iraq to supplement the Army and Marines. I personally have no interest in seeing him on the Sox again, no matter what the circumstances. Not because he left in a huff or was mediocre for several years while he was here or because he went to the Yankees. It’s simply because of the mercenary nature of his contributions to the game in the last couple of years. And yeah, what are the odds this guy hasn’t used HGH or steroids in the last ten years, let alone the last five?


  8. MSGiro

    17 years ago


    After reading CHB’s column, in horror I may add, do you have a sudden urge to move back in with your parents and set up shop in the basement? Could CHB have actually done some research instead of recycling a 10 year old cliche/joke? It shocks me that the Globe’s editors allowed it. Not for it being accurate, but rather because it proved how distant old media is from new media. Insult us all you want guys, but the reason we do what we do these days on blogs, YouTube, Second Life and various other new media goodies is because a lot of your content is awful, tired and outdated.



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