Curt’s Special Day

Links from Len

Pedro Martinez was simply Pedro last night as the Sox ace dazzled the Blue Jays 4-1 last night. <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2004/04/11/hes_painting_by_magic_number/&quot; target=_

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Barnicle Feedback

Here are a few examples of the feedback I’ve been getting in wake of the Mike Barnicle column yesterday that said Red Sox fans were so fanatical that they put their team ahead of the events of 9/11.

Some people have expressed the sentiment of “Who cares what Barnicle thinks? He’s been irrelevant for years.” Or even somewhat defending him saying that he was just trying to make the point that Red Sox fans are obsessive, or that what he said wasn’t meant to be taken literally. That’s not the point. Ask the families and friends of 9/11 victims.

The bottom line is that the column was insulting to Red Sox fans and was just another example of a media person trying to paint the fans with a very broad brush and make them into a group of people that embraces pain and suffering and is blind to everything else going on in the world. I resent that. Red Sox fans enjoying winning…did he see the cheer that the Super Bowl Champs got at Fenway yesterday? Red Sox fans are starving for a Champion. When it happens, we can only imagine the joyous reaction that will accompany it.

Onto the letters to Barnicle:

I recently moved from Manhattan to Back Bay, only six blocks from Fenway, I realize how serious sportsfans are here. Over the past few years, I've come to love the Red Sox and their never-ending dramas. Good thing, too. Boston is a serious baseball town. I was told in a Boston job interview that I could no longer be undecided about the Red Sox or Yankees. I had to declare myself a loyal member of Red Sox Nation or I would be a failure. It was easy to swear loyalty and get the job that depended on putting the Red Sox first, above the Yankees.

But no one in Boston has ever told me that baseball was so important that it could be compared to the events of 9/11, with the Red Sox taking priority over the most tragic day in my lifetime. I witnessed it, lived in the WTC neighborhood, have friends in NJ who lost spouses. Your column offended me deeply (even more than the 3 hours of sex versus Fenway at opening day comment on radio!). Shame on you. I've met you in person and you're a great family guy. You're better than that. Sex vs. Fenway? Red Sox vs. 9/11?

Please apologize. If I feel this negatively about your light-hearted treatment of "9/11 being a three-game series with Seattle," imagine how the 9/11 families must feel when they read your column.

Catherine K

Mr. Barnicle,
You cannot be serious. I am as diehard a fan of the Red Sox as there is and I would certainly not think of the Sox before my country and it's war on terrorism, Sept. 11, Condi Rice, the geopolitical landscape of the world, our economy, the recovering employment picture in America, or any other important issues of our time. But when I need a break from the daily issues of my family, my job, and the world, I do enjoy watching, reading, and talking Sox baseball. Just because we are labeled "Red Sox Nation" does not mean we put our country second. Hyperbole is the crutch of a weak mind or in your case a lazy writer. You certainly know better.

Alan F
Denver, Colorado
(Born and bred in Swampscott Mass.)

Come on Mike. Give us more credit than that. I have followed the Red Sox for years but I also have a family and have a deep interest in history and future of this country. I did watch Condolezza Rice, believe in President Bush, and think the war in Iraq was justified. My wife and I vote and hope the Red Sox finally win the World Series in 2004!

You are painting the wrong picture of Red Sox fans and the city of Boston.

Your comments are welcome.

Mark D
Medway, MA

Those are just a few examples of the reaction coming in. Those emails were also sent to Barnicle himself and cc’d to me. It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction.

A Barnicle is a Parasite

The continued effort by nitwit columnists to stereotype all Red Sox fans forges on. Get a clue, will you please Mike? This drivel is not only offensive, it’s insulting. From Barnicle’s column this morning:

Card-carrying members of "The Nation" are parochial and isolated from larger events. Mention Condoleezza Rice and the immediate question is: wife of Jim? Talk of Sept. 11 prompts the faithful to think about a three-game series with Seattle.

The new guys - Francona, Schilling, Foulke and a few others - will find out they are walking around a city where despair always beats out delight, where people would rather hammer the Yankees than kill Osama, where the future never runs beyond any October and the past is a scar that never heals. In one of America's oldest provinces - Boston - there is the irony that "The Nation" has more interest in wallowing in heartache than history.

That is really bad stuff. I realize hyperbole is a tool of a columnist, but to paint this picture of Red Sox fans as people who care more about their team and baseball than the events of September 11th 2001 is truly insulting to the people of Boston.

Let Barnicle know your displeasure at Mbarnicle@bostonherald.com

A couple of better links: Bob Stern says Opening day at Fenway is a special event. Mike Fine looks at the Red Sox pitching, which he says is as good as it gets. A less positive view is from Clark Booth, who sees bad omens everywhere and shows himself to be squarely in the Barnicle/Shaughnessy/Lobel camp.

A comment from a reader on the Barnicle quotes above that should put things into perspective:

What irked me the most about the article was, well, the whole thing irked me but what killed me what that September 11th reference. One of my closest friend's brother is an obsessive Red Sox fan. I mean, the guy is a bit like Ray from Lynn sometimes. He was also on the 27th floor of Tower 2 on 9/11. He made it out ok but lost 9 friends in the collapse. Something tells me he doesn't think of the Mariners on that date. Sure, he has a personal stake in it but you mean to tell me that there's a single person in the state of MA who would think of the Sox first instead of the attack? Two of the damn planes took off from Logan! And that whole thing about Condoleeza Rice being Jim's wife. Give me a (deleted) break. He's such a vicious little (deleted)clown

I’m sure there are plenty more of you out there with similar feelings. Send him an email. Copy me on it if you like, maybe more will be posted.

Fenway Opener

Walk off victory, indeed.

Sox fall in 13 after going through their entire available bullpen and having Bobby Jones out there to walk four batters in the final frame. Game stories: Bob HohlerSean McAdamJeff HorriganDavid Heuschkel and David Borges. It’s the home opener this afternoon, and Dan Shaughnessy is here to look at Good Friday, complete with Jesus in center field. Howard Bryant has a pay column looking at the home opener, with looks at Terry Francona, Ellis Burks and Pokey Reese getting set for Fenway. Bryant also looks at the anemic offense (yes, anemic) by the Sox thus far. Alex Speier has a series of articles looking at the season and impact of Curt Schilling. Nick Cafardo has a look at Toronto star Vernon Wells. Hohler has a mini-feature on today’s Sox starter, Bronson Arroyo. Art Martone celebrates his 30th consecutive home opener. Snob. (Just kidding.) Horrigan looks at the Patriots being honored at Fenway again. Hohler’s notebook says that Ramiro Mendoza wasn’t an option at the end of the game last night. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the head-scratching move of putting Gabe Kapler in to run for Manny Ramirez at third in the 11th inning. What made it more weird was that Manny had looked pretty good going from first to third on Millar’s single. McAdam’s notebook has more on Mendoza. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at declining salaries in baseball. Borges’ notebook looks ahead to the home opener.

Curt Schilling was on the Jim Rome show yesterday and used the occasion to tee off on the Boston sports media. He said that things attributed to anonymous sources are made up ideas by the media and much of it is just lies. He said the players didn’t even know about Pedro leaving early until the media made a huge deal about it. He said it’s not a big deal among the players because they know there are different levels of treatment for different players. He went after Shaughnessy saying he has an obvious agenda against Pedro. He mentioned an incident he had with a reporter who wrote a story about Schilling having a BMW with spinning rims on the wheels, which was totally wrong, since Schilling doesn’t, and has never owed a BMW. He said he confronted the media person about it, and they just blew him off.

An emailer to Poynter online (A journalism website) questions how the Globe sports writers (other local papers did it as well) can just change quotes that they get. In question in the “concentration camp” quote from Terry Francona that was changed to “boot camp”. (You may have to search for “Concentration,” not “boot camp” on the page.)

Stephen Harris looks at how the second line was key to the Bruins game one victory. Ron Indrisano looks at Joe Thornton’s game one contribution. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins are ready for game two. Steve Conroy has the Canadiens looking for answers. Frank Dell’Apa says that the Canadiens are not panicking. Conroy also has a look at Marty LaPointe. Dan Ventura looks at a treat for Boston Hockey fans with NHL playoffs and NCAA Frozen Four all at the FleetCenter. Indrisano’s notebook has Andrew Raycroft giving credit to his team defense. Harris’ notebook has Thornton sitting out the workout yesterday.

Celtics play in New Orleans tonight…Paul Pierce’s status is up in the air with a sprained ankle. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.

Michael Smith has a look at Charlie Weis’ charity event.

Bill Griffith tells us why today’s home opener on UPN38 will not be in HDTV.

In Globe news…though not always a bastion of reliable news, SportsJournalists.com has a poster reporting that Tim Burke of the Palm Beach Post has accepted the sports editor position at the Globe vacated by Don Skwar. They say the sides are just “haggling” over a few financial details. It sounds legit, but you might want to take it with a grain of salt for time being.

Many people have written in asking about registering for the message board. I had originally closed the registrations because the old web host didn’t seem to be able to handle the load. The board crashed quite frequently, and I didn’t want people paying the $10 to register and then have a board that didn’t function well. I’m currently monitoring the performance of the board under the new web host, and if all goes well, I will re-open the board registration. Thanks for your patience, and I will make an announcement when and if the registration page is again open. Also in another announcement, be sure to check out Tiki’s BSMW Amazon Store. It’s a store full of books, movies, video games, electronics and a whole lot more that is going to appeal to Boston sports fans. Any purchases made at the store send a percentage to BSMW and help keep the site running.

UPN38 has Sox/Blue Jays at 3:00. NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00, (ESPN2 nationally) FSNE has Celtics/Hornets at 8:00. ESPN has Nets/Pacers at 8:00 and Kings/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Stars/Avalanche at 9:30.

BSMW Is Two Years Old Today

Two out of Three ain’t bad, I guess. The Celtics were in a position to make a clean sweep for the Boston teams last night, but faltered down the stretch and lost to the Heat, marring an otherwise outstanding night for Boston sports fans.

The Globe hasn’t updated it’s web site yet today, so here’s the links sans Globe. (I know, some of you think it should be that way every day.)

The Bruins couldn’t have asked for a better start to their playoff series with Montreal. Andrew Raycroft got a shutout in his first playoff start, and the Bruins managed three goals in support of Raycroft. Stephen Harris looks at the opening salvo fired by the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins are changing some of their recent history with their play. Douglas Flynn agrees that this is a new Bruins team, not one phased by history. Karen Guregian says that Mike O’Connell’s trading deadline moves made him look like a hero last night as Gonchar and Nylander scored the first two goals for the Bruins. Steve Conroy looks at Joe Thornton, who played last night despite his injury. Though he didn’t figure in the scoring, the Captain made a big impact just by being out there. Guregian also looks at how the Bruins are trying to cover up the nature of the injury. Matt Kalman says the Canadiens will be looking to bounce back in game two. Conroy also has a look at the playoff debut for Patrice Bergeron. McDonald’s notebook looks at Raycroft shutting out the team he was fanatical about as a kid. Harris’ notebook looks at Mike Knuble getting a second crack at his first playoff goal.

Sean McAdam looks at Derek Lowe carrying over a theme from last year – outstanding run support in games he starts. Jeff Horrigan also takes a look at Lowe’s performance in the 10-3 Sox win. David Heuschkel looks at Johnny Damon going 5-5 and robbing David Segui of a home run. Not a bad night’s work. Nick Cafardo (one of the few Globe stories posted thus far) also has a look at Damon. David Borges looks at the Bats coming alive for the Sox. Bill Reynolds says that Pedro is just breaking in his new manager. Bob Hohler looks at a lineup switch last night that seemed to jump start the Sox offense. The Herald chose today to run its Season Preview for the Red Sox, and most of it myopically focuses on the Yankees. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Sox first three starters performing pretty much as expected. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Manny defending Pedro. McAdam’s notebook has more on the night by Damon, as does Borges’ notebook.

Those who saw the Globe SportsPlus on NESN last night report that there appeared to be a bit of tension between Dan Shaughnessy and Gordon Edes. Shaughnessy apparently in full doom and gloom mode and wanting Pedro strung up, (Lobel agreed with him.) while Edes noted the results of a poll showing that the fans are not over reacting. Edes noted that sports writers are known to leave games early as well. I’ve received numerous reports (some directly from the press box) of Shaughnessy leaving games early over the years as well. Shaughnessy also said the notion that the Sox have a tough media to face every day is overrated. (Thanks to JL and others for the report.)

I’m enjoying the Sam Marchiano era on NESN. Just had to get that out there.

TNT has Magic/Nets at 7:30 and T-Wolves/Kings at 10:00. ESPN has Sharks/Blues at 10:00. ESPN2 has the Frozen Four with BC/Maine at 6:00.

Get Fresh Batteries For The Remote

This is one of those fun, rare nights that only happens a few times a year in Boston sports. The Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics will all be in action tonight. The Bruins in the playoffs, the Celtics in the playoff hunt and the Red Sox, well, it seems every game of 162 this year is going to be treated like a playoff game.

Sox got their first win of the year, behind Curt Schilling. (Hey, he only went six innings…where’s this “horse” we’ve heard about?) The game stories are plentiful…Bob HohlerJeff HorriganSean McAdamDavid Heuschkel…and David Borges. Michael Holley has a look at Curt Schilling’s Red Sox debut. Steve Buckley has a look at Keith Foulke ending his spring struggles with an impressive 1-2-3 ninth inning. Gordon Edes looks at the impressive bullpen performance turned in by the Sox yesterday. Nick Cafardo says the flap over Pedro Martinez leaving the ballpark early on Sunday night is over, at least in the Sox clubhouse. Buckley has a pay column saying that Pedro sent the wrong message with early exit. Yawn. Lenny Megliola gets a Philly media person to say bad things about Francona. Howard Bryant looks at Kevin Millar being shaken up after an outfield collision with Johnny Damon. Bryant has a pay column saying that the Sox just need to settle down, relax, play their game…all will be fine. Hohler’s notebook has more on the Damon/Millar collision. Horrigan’s notebook has Pedro being instructed as to when it is ok to leave the ballpark. McAdam’s notebook has the Pedro incident being put to rest. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Millar/Damon, as does the notebook by Borges.

We’re two games into the season and already the Boston sports media has managed to act disgracefully. Their idea that fans need constant controversy is annoying and embarrassing. Consider what has happened since Sunday night: Dan Shaughnessy puts out two articles on Pedro being a diva and about his leaving early, strongly slamming Martinez for his actions. Shaughnessy has since been exposed as a hypocrite (not for the first time) on SOSH and the message board on Red Sox.com, where a quick trip through the Globe archives has Shaughnessy seemingly approving an early exit by Roger Clemens back in 1996. The second item: WEEI trying to stir things up with the claim that Pedro did not show up at the ballpark yesterday. They carried the theme right up to the Red Sox pregame show, trying to incite listeners and stir things. In reality, as Cafardo’s article above states, Pedro was at Camden Yards at 1:30…or a full half hour before the abbreviated Big Show went on the air. Yet they continued to promote this false controversy. Third item. Steve Buckley’s Ron Borges-like confrontation with Terry Francona yesterday. Trying to goad him on, not letting Francona answer a question before making some snide comment such as “”I always thought this was known as a general baseball rule isn’t it?” This from the guy who inspired the “Let him finish” chorus on WEEI…

Disgraceful.

The Bruins open up the NHL playoffs tonight. Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins trying to erase their recent history of early playoff exits. Paul Doyle says Bruins/Canadiens is the highlight of the first round series around the league. Kevin Paul Dupont says that if Joe Thornton can’t go, Michael Nylander is willing and able to step up into his spot. Karen Guregian says that Thornton should be a go for tonight. Douglas Flynn looks at six questions facing the Bruins as they enter the playoffs. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins appear poised to make a run at the Cup. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that the Bruins have their sights set high. Jim Hoban sizes up the Canadiens. Guregian also says that the Bruins goaltending gives them the edge in this series. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook says Thornton is hopeful for tonight. Harris’ notebook has Brian Rolston giving the Canadiens some bulletin board material.

On Monday night, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a low-key appearance over at Boston College to speak to a group of about 500 students about leadership. From a BSMW mole who was there, Belichick informed the crowd during a Q&A session that “we will not be trading with the Lions for the 6th pick in the draft. You can take that to the bank.” Tom Curran has an interesting article on the Patriots upcoming draft and their philosophy in looking for players. He also seems to float the idea out there that Detroit planted the story of talking with the Patriots about the number six pick just to let everyone around the league know that the pick is available, but the price is high. In other words, that Ron Borges played the fool and took Detroit’s bait.

The Celtics will be in Miami tonight to face the resurgent Heat. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at this very busy time in the sports viewing world.

NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. The Red Sox/Orioles game will be on CN8 at 7:00. You can also check NESN’s alternative channel listings to check where the game will be shown in your area. FSN has Celtics/Heat at 7:30. ESPN has Red Wings/Predators at 7:00 and Warriors/Blazers at 10:00. ESPN2 has Giants/Astros at 7:00 and Stars/Avalanche at 10:00.

Afternoon Links

So did Steve Buckley really pull a Ron Borges/Pete Carroll on Terry Francona at a media session this morning? I’m not near a radio, but I’m hearing rumblings about it…if you got details..send ’em in.

A few afternoon links to pass the time till first pitch at 3:00…Mike Fine looks at Curt Schilling’s first start for the Red Sox.

Some Bruins links as the playoffs approach. Carmine Frongillo looks at the Bruins as they try to make Boston a hockey town once again. Mike Loftus looks ahead to Bruins/Canadiens in the playoffs, just like old times. Win Bates looks at Andrew Raycroft as he prepares for his NHL playoff debut.

Glen Farley and Mark Farinella look at Mike Cloud re-signing with the Patriots.