This is one of the low points. Between the Celtics absolutely laying down against the Memphis Grizzlies and all the Nomar-bashing by various columnists, the Boston sports media scene isn’t a pretty place this morning.

Let’s get to the good stuff:

Sox, Nomar ended it right – Jon Couture acknowledges the flaws of both Nomar and the Red Sox, but knows that yesterday was the right thing for both sides. Best column this morning on the topic. (It may behind a pay wall for you, depending on how many times you’ve been to the S-T site this month, but register for free and you’ll probably be able to read it.)

The love never died – Gordon Edes also has a very good piece on Nomar retiring with the Red Sox.

Nomar finds himself welcomed back to ranks of Red Sox royalty – Daniel Barbarisi plays it straight.

Kevin Faulk true to blue – Karen Guregian has the Patriots venerable third down back returning for another season in Foxborough.

Kevin Faulk at home with Pats – Mike Reiss also has a good piece on Faulk.

Will Wilfork’s strong words resonate? – Vince Wilfork talked a lot about leadership yesterday. Tom E Curran looks at whether he’ll be able to change the Patriots locker room.

Q&A With Patriots CB Darius Butler – Chris Warner talks to the Patriots second-year cornerback from UConn about getting ready for his second NFL season. Check back on Patriots Daily this afternoon for another Patriots player interview.

Celts fall to Memphis, 111-91 – Bill Doyle with the game story where the final score says all you need to know.

Uneven C’s still searching for answers – Lenny Megliola looks at the state of the Celtics.

Frustrated Doc Rivers mulls changes – Steve Bulpett says the Celtics coach might shake things up.

Marc Savard gets no justice – Stephen Harris looks at the hit on the Bruins center going unpunished by the NHL.

Ok, I’ll admit to laughing at the opening of Michael Silverman’s article on Julio Lugo today:

Julio Lugo had a suggestion.

“Write something good about me,” Lugo, the former Red Sox shortstop and current Cardinals backup infielder, said yesterday.

Here’s something: It’s a good thing Lugo is no longer with the Sox.

I don’t have as much time as I would like to go into this, but some of these Nomar attacks from the supposedly objective media are beyond belief.

On the Comcast SportsNet website, respected baseball writer Sean McAdam speaking of the Red Sox organization, demanded to know when “did they willfully, purposefully and unapologetically decide to publicly jump the shark?”

In other parts of the column, McAdam uses the terms “cheesy publicity stunt”, “staged event”, “artificial legacy”, “dog-and-pony exhibit”, “contrived, made-for-TV event”, “gimmicky” and “silly trappings” to describe the event.

You can guess what Dan Shaughnessy says about it, opening up by calling Nomar a “Total Fraud.” Other phrases used include “truly nauseating”, “Gag me”, “pathetic effort”, “downright fraudulent” – all in the first four full paragraphs.

He gets down to the crux of the matter here: “In good times and bad, Garciaparra was unnecessarily difficult in all interactions with the media.”

That’s really what all this boils down to, isn’t it?

Even on Twitter, the media was ripping Nomar to each other. This exchange between CSN’s Mike Giardi, Jackie Pepper and Joe Haggerty is a nice example.

(Pepper) @MikeGiardi @hackswithHaggs – ya think Nomar will put up the red tape around his cube at ESPN??

(Haggerty) @jackiepepper @MikeGiardi Wasnt red tape. It was actual redline sewn into carpet at his behest. He screamed “violation” when any1 crossed it

(Giardi) @HackswithHaggs @jackiepepper Ah, memories! Good times for one and all.

Now, I know that Nomar was NOT good to deal with for the media. But he’s been gone from here for almost six freaking years. Time to let go people. Just let it go.

Nomar and the Red Sox have moved on. The venom from the media says a lot more about them than it does about Nomar.

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29 thoughts on “Toxic Morning In The Sports Pages

  1. I knew Shank was going to go ballistic and he was laughably bad this morning. Speaking of bad, where does Jackie Pepper get off in carping about Nomar where she has only been in this market for a few months? She is terrible, her voice is like nails on the chalkboard and it’s like watching a high school newscast when she’s on NECN on the weekends. I have to change the channel whenever she’s on.

    1. gotta agree with ya on pepper. every time i see her on tv i immediatley change the channel. they made some questionable hires over there

  2. So Bruce,
    Nomar and the red sox out of nowhere come up with an obviously gimmicky publicity stunt, as is so typical with this red sox ownership, and you’re suprised at the reaction of the media?
    do you expect them to just not cover it? To all of a sudden pretend that nomar left on good terms and that this retirement publicity stunt was expected?
    I understand that you hate shaughnessy and the negative media, but what were you expecting? he cried and pouted his way out of town…and now he comes back pretending that nothing happened. the writers and media weren’t going to just change their opinion of him. if you wanted to read a positive, well written article, you should have read bob ryan’s piece. otherwise, get over it. the guy wasn’t very likeable when he forced his way out of town…and acted liked a spoiled athlete towards the end. imo, the media reaction was right on the money…exactly what i would have expected. it doesn’t mean they were dwelling on it.

    1. Johnny, there is no question that Nomar was too sensitive when it came to being traded. (Manny of course was in the outfield thinking he was Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs.) But let’s be real, it was a way for the Red Sox to put number 5’s back on the shelf. It was the only reason for doing this. Also, towards the end when Garciaparra’s Red Sox career was headed downhill don’t you think the media was going to try to get some revenge because of how they were treated?

    2. It was six years ago. Move on. Nomar and the Red Sox obviously have.

      Nomar got what he deserved when he got traded. He was never the same, and the Red Sox won two World Series. It worked out well for the Red Sox and their fans and media, and not so well for Nomar. I don’t think either side has pretended nothing ever happened.

      1. Bruce,
        “Let it go”? Remember, Nomar deoided to come back and retire as a Red Sox. That re-opened the floodgates for all Boston Media opinions, both good and bad. If he had simply retired with a press release (or even with a press conference in California), and then the Boston Media attacked him like this? Then yes, I would agree that the negative mediots needs to “let it go.” But Nomar re-donned the RS jersey, even if for one day. He sat down with his former bosses with whom he had some animosity towards. Opinions on that event are as inevitable as the next high tide.

        Any player that does a “sign and retire” deal with his old team is going to get his total career analized in depth, including why he left the team. It’s a natural reaction. And the Nomar trade was huge news…I remember being stunned at the time, then pissed off when I heard who they got in trade. But when they started winning, I couldn’t deny the fact that the trade was a good deal.

        BTW, this does bring to mind one of the best slapdowns of Felger on WEEI. Sean McAdam questioned Felger’s criticism of Nomar when Sean incredulously said, “The guy who’s had the highest batting average for a right-handed hitter in over 50 years isn’t getting on base enough?” Or words to that effect. Mikey eventually whined, “…Then don’t have me on the freakin’ show!”

        1. Good post, good points.

          I just think that yesterday was about Nomar retiring as a player. His playing career is the focus, but the media needs to make it about them and how he treated them and how he made their lives difficult. I still think that people in general….not people that come to this site, but the average fan, does not really care how Nomar treated the media. Yet that was the single biggest thing in many of these stories and talk shows. They need to move on.

    3. I will admit I read Shank today. I usually read his stuff just to roll my eyes a little and remind myself why I got out of the media. But this column actually made me angry. Very angry. It was awful. Just ef*ing awful.

      I completely understand if you want to call a spade a spade about the event itself. God knows this Red Sox organization is all about the shameless ribbon-cutting Krusty Burger PR moments. And make no mistake, this one-day signing was as transparent as the day is long. But was it any moreso that Duquette’s photo-op when Fisk got some phoney-baloney front office job so they could retire his number?

      Even so, what does the friggin red line in the clubhouse SIX years ago have to do with the day? Does anyone sitting in the bleachers care whether Nomar was pals with all of his teammates? Does anyone care if he was nice to Tony Mazz or Sean McAdam or Johnny Miller?

      The day was about Nomar’s contributions to the Red Sox organization. Yes, there was the SI cover, PED suspicion, and that day in Yankee Stadium. OK, he wasn’t perfect. And he was grumpy when he left town. Usually, everyone is grumpy when they leave town.

      But the media done nothing but work its own agenda since 2002/3, and sadly, for some, has been completely off-base. What’s worse is the evidence that no one cares about the all-important media. I cite that first at-bat in his return with the A’s last year, that standing-O made me feel incredibly sentimental.

      The fans — as in, the people who buy the newspaper, as in the people you’re supposed to be reporting for — still love Nomar. No one who buys a ticket to Fenway gives a crap about a red line around a locker or about how cranky he was in the spring of 2004. The guy played hard every day, and that’s all that matters to the fans.

      It’s a shameful day for Boston sports media.

      1. The fact that he pissed off what passes as “media” in the Boston market actually almost endears the sumbitch to me. IMHO anyone who makes CHB livid is a good dude. I haven’t read Shaughnessy since before the 3-2 kid went to BC. Haven’t missed him. I doubt if his actually worked on a column, as opposed to mailing it in, in the meantime.

  3. I listened to Shaughnessy on the DA show last night. He seems to come across as completely disingenuous. He keeps saying what a miserable human being Nomar was in the clubhouse, but he never once mentioned if Garciaparra had issues with teammates or training staff. The issue was with the print media because Nomar would not give them the time of day. He lumps Garciaparra’s issues with the media with that of the team. It shows how much of an ego he and some others have in believing that the media and the team are one in the same. Shaughnessy also goes on to say that he has no idea why Garciaparra was so stand-offish with the media. I think Dan maybe pushing the truth because I think he knows exactly where Nomar’s attitude came from. It came from Ted Williams who Nomar had a very close relationship with. Ted’s attitude was don’t trust them as far as you can throw them.

    As far as Joe Haggerty goes, this is the same person on his twitter account basically said getting one point was more important than your dignity and taking care of your most important offensive player when it came to the Penguins vs. Bruins game. Haggerty said last year that he thought Garciaparra would be booed out of the ballpark when Oakland came to town. Nomar was given a long standing ovation. Like Shaughnessy, Haggerty though people would react negatively to Nomar because of the side he saw in the clubhouse. Joe you and Dan need to get over yourselves because it has never been about the media, it has been about the player and for most of his Boston career Garciaparra was a brilliant ballplayer.

    Did Garciaparra have an issue with management when they attempted to trade him? You bet. Could he have been a little too sensitive about it? absolutely. But he his human with flaws like anybody else and I completely agree with Bruce that the media should just let it go.

    P.S. I love that little firecracker Jackie Pepper she can do no wrong. Leave her alone Bruce. LOL

    1. A good comparison can be made with Nomar and Ted Williams – both were phenomenal hitters and team icons that were worshipped by the fans, both did extensive charity work (D&C read an email this morning from an employee at Dana-Farber who said Nomar would regularly show up unannounced by himself to visit with the kids on his way to the ballpark) and both had bitterly contentious relationships with the media. The funny thing is Shaughnessy has always written about Williams in glowing terms yet has assumed the Dave “The Colonel” Egan role in blasting Nomar any chance he got. I would imagine that if Shaughnessy covered Williams when he played, his opinion of him would have been very different.

      1. Well said Brian, there is no question in my mind that Dan would have been one of the media who would not have put Williams on his MVP ballot had he covered him.
        Brian I guess I can allow you to pick on Jackie Pepper a little bit but try not to be too harsh on her she’s just this cute little tiny thing.

    2. One more item on Shaughnessy’s interview with DA, when asked about Nomar and steroids Shaughnessy said basically that he does not like to get into these circumstantial guessing games because they are not fair. He then proceeded to give seven reasons why Nomar was juiced. He should have just said I think he was on steroids and here are my reasons why. At least he would have been honest.

    3. And I recall Jimy Williams hitting groundballs to Nomar for hours. Which doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a manager would do for a player who was a miserable human being.

  4. It may have been a “cheesy publicity stunt,” but it still felt right to me.

    Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY, is going to remember Nomar as anything but a Red Sox–not as a Cub, a Dodger, or an Athletic. He’s a Red Sox through and through, and it was somehow fitting for him to “officially” end his career as a Red Sox.

    He left town under a cloud, that’s for sure. But in the end, what it boiled down to was that he felt his employer was treating him unfairly (I’m not agreeing with him, but merely empathizing with his viewpoint at the time). When you no longer enjoy going to work, you simply can’t get your heart into it as much as you did when you used to enjoy it. His final days in Boston shouldn’t erase those first six or seven years, when he could do no wrong in this town and he was, truly, a franchise icon.

    As for the media. Well, what did we expect? I guess he wasn’t nice to them when he played here, so like Belichick, he’s earned their unending hatred and scorn. We’re talking about very immature people with massive egos and an overwhelming and misplaced sense of entitlement here (the media)–I would have expected no other kind of reaction from them in response to this news.

  5. Stunt? Of course my far less egregious than the stupid stunts the media pulls out of their butts almost every week. I have a preference for players who don’t trust media. Otherwise we get these monsters like Schilling who was a great player and key component to the 2004 team is now boorish.

    Nomar was a great player but he was never my favorite – couldn’t stand his 10 minute at bats and the armband things. Still it was the right gesture.

    Nice interview with Darious Butler, btw. Thanks Bruce for the link.

  6. The media needs to “own” the last words in any of these situations. They can’t help themselves; it’s deeply woven into their self-righteous, morally superior DNA. Nomar wouldn’t talk to me. Wah! Nomar wouldn’t give me anything, and I was on deadline. Wah! Nomar spoke in cliches. Wah! Nomar wanted some space in the clubhouse while I wanted to ask him personal questions. Wah!

    Shank, in particular, is the absolute worst when it comes to this stuff. He’s famous (infamous?) for dredging up and writing about past issues — real or imagined — years and years after the fact. I’m old enough to remember his feuds with Bill Fitch when Shank covered the Celtics beat for a few seasons back in the day. Fitch was loooong gone as the Celts coach and Shank would STILL refer to him as “laughing boy Bill Fitch” in subsequent articles. He’s doing the exact same things today when he makes snarky references to the “big blowhard” and “press corner Kraft.” At best, it’s infantile; at worst unprofessional. Grow up, Dan.

  7. All great comments here today.

    This site represents quite the conundrum – while we’d all like to see fair and unbiased coverage all the time, if that ever happened we’d have less reason to visit this site.

    BSMW serves as the local media watchdog and brings this agenda-driven coverage to light, when honestly it would almost be better served by ignoring it completely. Bruce sort of knows this, when he recently explained how he would post his daily links. But it’s a fine tightrope to walk.

    1. “While we’d all like to see fair and unbiased coverage all the time, if that ever happened we’d have less reason to visit this site.”

      Well yeah, if the only thing that’s important to you is to cuss and be outraged by agenda-driven coverage from people who’ve been grinding the same axes for years. I suspect Bruce would just as rather post links to stories that deserve to be read, and praise writers who do a good job.

      Course, take a look at the most-emailed list on Boston.com and see who’s on top … Shaughnessy’s column, not the Bob Ryan one. For all the noise, the masses have made it pretty clear for years that they’re not smart enough to ignore the people who should be ignored.

      Why stop writing crap if the people won’t stop reading it?

  8. Nomar and the media were made for each other: Nomar hated them, the media loved to complain about him. It’s only fitting he’s one of them now.

  9. Yes, I think everyone wants to let go so why rehash this by briging him back. If he stayed out of the media and out of the spotlight then no one would be talking about him. He’s a bum!

  10. I’ve got to disagree with Bruce on this one. I was listening to the DA show on Wednesday night – he mentioned that about 60% of his callers were down on Nomar. Yes, that’s an unscientific sample, but I think that the media wasn’t simply projecting its feelings onto the fan base. I also recall reading an ESPN article back during ’08 Spring training (Bruce may have linked to this back then) about how the Dodgers were encouraging their players to sign autographs and mingle with the fans during their last season in Vero Beach. The writer observed that Nomar was the one player who was really short and curt with the fans. Maybe Nomar’s grown up since then. I really hope so.

    1. I honestly don’t think callers to sports radio shows are representative of the average fan.

      I sure hope not, anyway.

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