Highlights from the NYT Magazine profile of Andrew Wakefield

April 21st, 2011 → 9:41 am @

This morning, The New York Times Magazine posted Susan Dominus’s lengthy profile of Andrew Wakefield.

As I told Dominus, I have conflicted feelings about pieces like this. On one level, I think they run the risk of simply giving more oxygen to someone who has already taken significantly more of the media’s attention than he deserves. There’s a sort of bizarro-world nature to the correlation between the attention Wakefield receives and the total scientific bankruptcy of his notions…and in a month when an entire Virginia school had to be shut down because of a whooping cough outbreak spread by non-vaccinated students and ten (and counting) children have been hospitalized in Minnesota because of a measles outbreak started by a deliberately unvaccinated child, I’m not sure the rantings of a disgraced doctor who was caught on tape joking about drawing blood from children at his son’s birthday party needs any more attention. (more…)

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The Baghdad BoSox

July 21st, 2008 → 9:03 am @

Among the many reasons I haven’t been posting as much as of late is that I recently returned from several weeks in Iraq. While I was there, the only exposure I had to baseball was during the pair of meals I ate in a D-Fac — that’s military for “dining facility” — in Diyala province a couple of hours north of Baghdad; the US Armed Forces does keep its troops sated with a steady diet of SportsCenter and Fox News. For most the trip, however, I was unembedded, which meant no baseball for me.

I did get one jarring reminded of the global reach of the Crimson Hose. One afternoon, I set out (with the mandatory armed guards) to spend a quick half-hour exploring a local market which has only recently re-opened. Included among the too-large, garish Iraqi shirts–my wife is none too fond of the Maystro brand number I’ve been sporting since my return–was a table of counterfeit Sox hats…decorated with glued on sequins formed into a heart with the word “Love” written out in the middle. This is not a joke.

For what it’s worth, there were no Yankees hats to be seen.

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There’s some obvious joke here about great minds, etc etc

February 2nd, 2007 → 10:28 am @

“With Curt Schilling in danger of being supplanted as the team’s top pitcher by Dice-K, Schill pulled a Pedro and picked up the gun #45 had pointed at the Sox’s front office before the ‘04 season.”
Me, February 1, 2007

“And now that the Big Lug is back in the news again — putting a gun to the head of the Red Sox and telling them they must extend his contract before the season starts or risk losing him to free agency…”
Dan Shaughnessy, February 2, 2007

Thanks, Dan. I always knew you were secretly reading my work. (Speaking of Shaughnessy, here’s an early way to tell if the Sox’s 07 season is going to be a bust: make sure to read his columns the last week of June.)

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For the last time: the final days of Johnny Jesus

December 6th, 2006 → 10:24 am @

We’ve already heard a lot — and will continue to hear a lot — about how the Red Sox just committed $30 million dollars more to J.D. Drew than they were willing to offer Johnny Damon. Two small things on that tip:

A. That’s simply not true.
B. Drew’s agent — I think he’s some guy name Scott Boras — pretty much guaranteed Damon wouldn’t return to the Sox when he outright lied to the front office about what other deals were on the table.

Honest. I know. I wrote all about it in my book — which all of you should own by now (and have I mentioned it makes a great holiday present?). Here’s a quick excerpt detailing exactly what went down

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The 2004 Red Sox made me sit through an act of truly atrocious musical theater

November 22nd, 2006 → 10:37 am @

Last night, I used a pair of free tickets to the musical version of “High Fidelity.” I feared this would probably be a mistake; it’s rare enough when the movie version of a good book is well done. Two decent spinoffs was a major longshot.

I would have walked out after the first ten minutes — it was truly that bad — but for some reason I got kind of stuck on Justin Brill, who played one of the show’s peripheral characters. It wasn’t until the first act’s last song that it hit me: Brill, with straight hair and a scruffy beard, was a dead ringer for one of my favorite characters from the ’04 Sox: never-nervous Curtis. I love that guy. And in this time of thanks, I’m sure as hell thankful for Leskanic’s 1.1 innings of 1-hit ball to close out Game 4 of the ALCS. Curtis, you deserve that W.

Anyway. I still made it in time to catch most of The Wedding Crashers on HBO.

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The bids are in, and I’m out…

November 9th, 2006 → 12:14 am @

…of here? Okay, so that didn’t really work. But here goes anyway:

The bids are officially in for Japanese stud Daisuke Matsuzaka. (By bids, I mean the amount of money an MLB team will pay Matsuzaka’s Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, for the right to negotiate with Scott Boras for the right to sign Matsuzaka. Got that?) The CW is that the Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees all submitted bids, with the winning price expected to be somewhere around $20 mil. If that’s not confusing enough, Buster Olney raises the possibility a team could win the bidding and then trade the right to negotiate with Matsu. (Does that work as a nickname?)

In other baseball news, the Red Sox surprised exactly no one and declined to pick up Keith Foulke’s $7.5 option for 2007. Keith could still exercise his ’07 option for $3.75; if he doesn’t come back to Boston, he’ll be owed $1.5 million. The economics of baseball are so…logical.

I’m writing this from Springfield, after an incredibly lovely evening at the Springfield Public Forum; tomorrow I’ll get up at 4:30 for a 6 am train to NYC, and then I’ll grab a 11-ish flight to Virginia, after which I’ll drive out to North Carolina…which is to say I’ll be out of town at a multi-day Southern wedding extravaganza for the next couple of days. Just watch: my the end of the weekend the Sox will have signed Matsuzaka, traded for Dontrelle, and kidnapped Ryan Howard. And I’m sure folks will still find plenty of stuff to complain about.

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How’s this for some hot stove excitement: the Red Sox name a bunch of new scouts

November 8th, 2006 → 11:03 am @

Back in September, I wrote about how I thought that the departure of a bunch of Red Sox scouts and talent evaluators may have hurt the team as much as the loss on on-field personnel.

Now granted, the next day I acknowledged that I had no idea what I was talking about; that was true about the specifics, not my more general belief that the behind-the-scenes folks (and I mean way behind-the-scenes, not Theo, Jed, and Ben behind-the-scenes) are far more important than casual fans (and the media) realize or acknowledge.

In that spirit, it’s worth pointing out that the team has made more than its share of personnel moves — completely restructuring the scouting department in the process — in the last 48 hours…

Gary DiSarcina (former Angels shortstop and recent NESN post-game analysis-izer) was hired as Baseball Operations Consultant.

Todd Claus, the skipper of the 2006 Portland Sea Dogs team that won the Eastern League Championship (helping proper Claus to Baseball America’s 2006 Double-A Manager of the Year) was hired as a major league advance scout, where he’ll split duties with Dana Levangie.

In other scouting news…

Jaymie Bane was snatched away from the ChiSox.

Keith Champion was grabbed from the Cubs.

Dave Klipstein was picked up from the Rangers.

Jesse Levis joined the Red Sox after a stint with the Brewers.

(These pick-ups, according to the Sox, mean Galen Carr, Dave Howard, Gus Quattlebaum, Jerry Stephenson, and former intern Matt Mahoney will spend their time more or less exclusively focusing on major league coverage.)

But that’s not all!

Duane Gustavson, formerly with the Pirates, will scout the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, in addition to Republican stronghold Kentucky.

Tony Guzzo will also be heading out into battleground states, scouting Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virgina. As a college coach, Guzzo skippered Justin Verlander, although he apparently didn’t teach Verlander how to field bunts and throw to third.

Rounding out the G’s, Laz Gutierrez will scout South Florida. Gutierrez was stolen from…Coral Gables High School, where he was the baseball coach. (OK, fine, technically he was the pitching coach at Barry University in 2006, but before that he was in Coral Gables.)

Former part timer Josh Loggins, who teamed with Mike Mussina to produce the adult-contemporary classics “Angry Eyes” and “Danny’s Song”, is now a full-timer, wandering across swing states (wait a minute: are they all swing states?) Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Edgar Perez, late of the Cleveland racist-mascots, will be focusing on Puerto Rico, and Quincy Boyd and Jon Lukens will move from the Midwest to the Carolinas and from South Florida to the West, respectively; Victor Rodriguez becomes the minor league hitting coordinator, moving Jose Zapata over to the Dominican, where he’ll manage the Sox’s summer-league team; Eddie Romera gets a promotion to become the coordinator of the team’s Latin American operations; and Ricardo Petit will spend his days (and nights) trolling in Venezuela.

What does this all mean? I’ll be damned if I know. About the specifics, I mean; I do know that the Sox’s baseball ops department places an enormous amount of importance on minor-league coaching and player scouting, and this many moves is evidence that the team tries to search out advantages in any way possible. (A quick aside: this relates to the actual theory behind “Moneyball” (search out undervalued skills, in this case, scouting and minor league coaching), as opposed to the “Joe-Morgan, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-talking-about-but-I-know-we’re supposed-to-talk-about-this-whole-Moneyball” theory (on-base percentage is important.) It also means scouts have cool names. I mean, seriously if Claus, Quattlebaum, Klipstein, Gustavson, and Laz don’t work out, they can either join the U.N. or become a traveling vaudeville act.

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