This blog will have many dimensions. This entry just happens to be about sports. As a follower of the Boston Red Sox, I enjoy logging onto the Boston Globe website and catch-up on the latest with the Olde Towne Team. What’s with all the hot air from Red Sox pitcher (and fellow blogger) Curt Schilling? Just in case you are from outside Red Sox Nation, backup catcher Doug Mirabelli decided to place his tongue firmly between his cheek and gums, and tell Orioles radio broadcaster (and Maine native) Gary Thorne that the bloody sock, worn by Schilling during the ALCS with the Yankees in ’04, was a fake. Mirabelli said that it was actually a paint stain rather than the blood stain that was on Schilling’s sock. Thorne bit, put it on the air during his radio broadcast of Wednesday night’s Orioles/Red Sox game. Well, as all things that smell controversial, certain members of the baseball media ran with it and Schilling got bent over it. Now, Schilling has been known to phone in to Boston sports talk shows and use the soapbox as his own soundingboard on a number of issues. He’ll plug his charities and moan about his contract (or why the Red Sox won’t extend his current one). So we know he likes the sound of his own voice. But in his blog on this very server, he decides to use his First Amendment rights and blast members of the sports media, going in depth of their vile nature and willingness to print and broadcast half-truths and lies. I grew up in New England and know the intensity that Boston sports teams endure when it comes to media coverage. It goes off the charts, to say the least. But I am familiar with Gary Thorne beyond what Schilling knows. Gary started on air at the local AM full-service station, doing weekends and broadcasting high school basketball. When I was a student at the University of Maine in the early 80’s, I spent all my free time haunting the campus radio station and hoping I could get an opportunity to air a broadcast of any of the the Maine teams. I was fortunate to not only get to call a UMaine hockey game, but I was also honored to share the same press box with Gary. The sight of Gary and his one-man show was impressive. I still remember the 4″ binder that held press releases and stats, propped up against the railing of the pressbox , between himself and the action unfolding on the ice. He took that experience and went south to call baseball for the AAA Maine Guides, and on to the New York Mets. From there, it’s ESPN and ABC. My son gets sick of my reminding him that Gary is from Maine. But like any good journalist worth his salt, he was forthcoming with was he was told about “the Sock” from Mirabelli and apologised when he discovered his error. This is what kills me about professional athletes. The majority of the hacks that cover the locker room after the game all ask the same banal questions designed to get the same cliche responses. Most athletes aren’t going to give sparkling, quote-filled answers that will send writers happily to their laptops, or TV talking heads loopy with a glib sound bite. All Mirabelli could have done was disclosed his error and saved himself alot of grief. Instead Mirabelli, looking very embarrased, was not a forthcoming and danced around the issue until he disclosed that the information was false. It was just a clubhouse prank. Somehow I think that ol’ Dougie never gave Thorne is nudge-nudge, wink-wink when it came to that story. No “sorry Gary, just havin’ some fun” from Mirabelli. Anyway, Schilling decide to use this situation as his chance to blast the media. Talk about hypocritical. If Curt Schilling has a problem with the quality of writers or the stories they write or report, go to the source. If you want to be quoted accurately, just give them the facts. If a question is too probing or out of your hands, refer them to someone who could give a difinitive answer. But treat them honestly. Because you can’t to use the media when you want to plug your blog or your charities, and then blast it collectively when you’re misquoted. When they question pitch selection or serving up a pair of home runs to A-Rod and having to explain that, sack up. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Schilling and his accomplishments. His work ethic is top shelf and his attention to detail is peerless. There will be a line of pitchers who will want a look at the notebooks he’s used to chart his outings. But there are some things that are best left to trained professionals. Having Curt Schilling write is like having Peter Gammons give hitting lessons to Manny Ramirez. Schilling may have been paying attention on the day his high school English teacher discussed journals and writing, but his blowhard style and and assumptions make for painful reading. Hearing him talk about US foreign policy is like having Larry the Cable Guy as head of the Federal Reserve. Stick to pitching baseballs, Curt. If we want an opinion, we’ll ask.
Oh, if Mr. Schilling gets wind of this entry, feel free to respond, Just leave the 38 Pitches ball cap on the dresser. Unlike the members of Red Sox nation who jumped on the bandwagon and glandhanded Schilling on his comments, I will use my brain before opening my mouth.