Did anyone else laugh out loud at these lines from Nick Cafardo on the Kevin Youkilis/Will Middlebrooks situation:


It should be Valentine’s decision as to whether Youkilis gets his job back, and nobody else’s.


The Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady analogy is somewhat pertinent in this case. Bill Belichick had just about reached the end of the line with Bledsoe and when Brady took over and performed so well, it was an easy decision.

Those are somewhat different sentiments than Nick had at the time of the Bledsoe/Brady debate.

From November 21st, 2001.

The principals in the Confrontational Conference at Foxborough – that would be heavy-handed head coach Bill Belichick and once-upon-a-time starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe – were asked yesterday in separate interviews how they would characterize Bledsoe’s emotions in the meeting Monday in which the coach told Bledsoe he was going with replacement Tom Brady as his starter the rest of the season.

And a little bit later on in the same column:

Belichick’s pronouncement came at an awkward time, just after Brady had played his second consecutive subpar game, a 24-17 loss to the Rams Sunday night. Brady is 5-3 as a starter but has shown obvious decline in the last four games.

If Brady was performing “subpar” and in “obvious decline” it doesn’t really sound like an “easy decision” like Nick makes it out to be, 10 years later.

Valentine gets free reign in making the decision on Youkilis, but Belichick was “heavy-handed” in making his decision.


29 thoughts on “Just Curious…

    1. It’s simple. Larry L. wanted to wrest control over baseball ops, and letting Cherrington select the manager would get in the way. LL sidles up to Nickles, luring him away from the buffet with some “other information” that would be an “exclusive.” Nick wipes the kraut off of his pant leg and listens eagerly. The team needs a complete change of direction, LL hisses. A Bold New Direction. He’s heard that Bobby V might consider coming back to MLB, but he’s curious to know what Nick, who has deep sources and relationships through all of baseball thinks.

      Nick hopes Larry doesn’t notice the warm liquid pooling around his Top-Siders, but mans up.

      “Mr. Larry, Sir,” he begins, “that really is a truly visionary insight. I’ll investigate and let you know.”

      Thus began the idea that Nick floated as his own, “what about Bobby V?” And then when, Cherrington and his choices were run over by the bus, and the Sox shocked the world by luring Bobby V pack to the manager’s office, there was only one intrepid, dogged reporter who saw it coming. That’s right: Nickles.

      Everybody wins. Larry gets his way and wins a lifelong lapdog for leaking the scoop. Nick gets to play Junior GM, a role he prepares for every Sunday. The Sox front office gets to pretend they’ve made significant changes. The sell-out streak continues!!!!

      To respond directly to bsmfan: I doubt Nick’s employer had anything to do with it besides the cursory slapping his unedited slapdash into what was once a respectable, even admired, sports section. This was Nick thinking he was going to finally get some respect for his reporting skills and baseball acumen, and finding out that unfortunately he still has neither.


  1. Bruce —

    I’m rarely critical of you or this site, but this is ridiculous.

    Cafardo’s comments in the first post clearly, unequivocably concern BELICHICK’S view of the situation.  Parse the sentence.  BILL BELICHICK is the one who had reached “the end of the line” with Bledsoe.  So when Brady took over and performed well, it was an easy decision FOR BELICHICK to dump Bledsoe permanently.

    The statement makes perfect sense, is almost certainly an accurate description of Belichick’s thought process at the time, and has nothing to with CAFARDO’s opinion of the Brady-over-Bledsoe decision at the time.  It certainly has everything to do with Valentine today, who’s already openly “discussed” Youkilis in a strange way, such that one questions whether Bobby is sold on the Yook Experience or not.  If Valentine is also “at the end of the line” with Youkilis, he’ll have no problem retaining Middlebrooks.

    There’s no “flip flopping” here.  One comment’s a contemporaneous opinion, the other’s historical reporting. And there’s nothing inherently contradictory about his viewing Belichick as “heavy handed” in his decision-making.  “Heavy handed” does not equal “should not have had the ability to make the decision.”  If I’m an editor, and I have two pieces of writing to decide between — one from Frank Deford, and one from Justin Bieber — I’m pretty sure I’m taking the Deford piece.  But I can tell Bieber “you did a good job and it’s a good try, but we’re going with Frank”… or I can say “Frank Deford shits out more talent every morning than you possess in your body. Go away little boy.”  The latter could be termed a heavy-handed rejection by an analyst — but that isn’t the same as saying I shouldn’t have been making the decision to begin with.

    This reeks of being so desperate to criticize a writer that you’re willing to overlook the plain meaning of the statement.   Ding Cafardo for something worthwhile.  This is just stupid nitpicking.  The kind of thing Dennis & Callahan would do.


    1. Dave I have to disagree with you. Cafardo is putting two different views on the Brady vs Bledsoe situation. Back in 2001, Cafardo states that Brady actually struggled in his last two games, which would make the decision to name him the starter over Bledsoe a difficult one for Belichick. Today Nick changes what he said back in 2001 by saying Brady performed so well the decision to name him starter was easy. This is something he certainly did not believe in 2001.

      A couple of other items:

      1) The statement that Brady struggled in his last two games before Bledsoe came back is patently false. Against Buffalo, Brady only threw for 107 yards but he was 15-21 with a pick. Buffalo did a great job of not letting receivers not get any YACs. The Patriots also ran the ball very well with Antoine Smith getting 100 yards on 20 carries. The second game was against Rams. Brady was 19-27-185, one TD and two picks. If you recall, one of those picks came deep in Patriots territory when Brady attempted a quick screen to Kevin Faulk. Faulk, who did not have the greatest hands back then, had the ball grow through his hands and into the hands of Dexter McCleon of the Rams. I still remember Eddie Andelman trying, with a straight face, to tell listeners that Brady made a bad throw to Faulk. Danny from Quincy, of all people, was the voice of reason when he said, “Eddie, he hit him in worst possible place, in the numbers.”

      2) Cafardo was part of the group that was friendly with Drew Bledsoe and/or his Father Mac. The list include Andelman, who was mentioned above, John Clayton at ESPN, and of course Ron Borges. Cafardo wanted Bledsoe to be the quarterback because it makes his job a lot easier. Once Brady was named quarterback, Cafardo would become a full time Red Sox writer soon after.

      P.S. If you want to have your mind refreshed on some items of the past go to Sports-Reference.com. It is one of the best sites around.  



      1. No, he’s simply not.  I’m frankly astonished that this discussion is even happening, because this is basic reading comprehension.

        In 2001, Cafardo — like many other, including, I will fully admit, myself — clearly thought that keeping Brady (the “hot hand”) as the starter when Bledsoe was healthy was a mistake.  I am a huge Drew Bledsoe fan.  I have an autographed picture of him.  I think he and Bill Parcells are the sole reasons we still have a football team.  I think it was, frankly, disgraceful the way he was treated by the team, and I was joyous when Pretty Boy was knocked on his ass in the AFC Championship, and Bledsoe won the game for them.  

        But now, 11 years later, we all know that Brady is and was a HOF-level quarterback who is perfect for Belichick’s offensive system.  And we know that Drew Bledsoe was not.  And — most importantly — we KNOW KNOW KNOW KNOW KNOW A BILLION TIMES KNOW that Bill Belichick, back then, believed 100% that Brady could and did run his system, even as an untested rookie, better than Bledsoe ever could.  While we were all arguing and wringing our hands over whether Bledsoe should automatically get his job back, and whether Brady could/would be a successful NFL QB in the long run, and all that jazz — the decision had been made, irrevocably.  Brady was the QB. Bledsoe was not.  There was no controversy whatsoever within the mind of Bill Belichick.  We were arguing the equivalent of “will the sun rise tomorrow or not?”  It was pointless chatter; the decision had been made from the moment Brady executed Belichick’s gameplan in the way he wanted it executed.  

        So now, 11 years later, we know that it was an easy decision for Belichick because he never wanted Bledsoe as his quarterback.  As soon as Brady proved he could run the team to Belichick’s standards, Bledsoe was gone.  THAT’S what Cafardo is saying.  Belichick had reached the end of the line with Bledsoe; keeping Brady was an easy decision for him.  

        And in the same way,  if Bobby Valentine has decided that Youkilis is yesterday’s news, the decision is easy:  Middlebrooks stays.  Cherington cannot publicly criticize him for continuing to play one of the hottest bats on the team.   
        This has ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with what Nick Cafardo, or I, or anyone thought about the Bledsoe vs. Brady issue in 2001.  Saying that Nick said one thing in 2001 and is now saying for himself a different thing today that’s a retcon of his original opinion is flat-out and utterly wrong.  The point Cafardo was making in 2012 is that when a coach gives up on a player, it’s a ridiculously easy decision to replace him with someone who’s performing well in that player’s stead.  The point Cafardo was making in 2001 is that Bledsoe should be the Patriots’ starting quarterback when healthy.  THOSE ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  THOSE ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS.


        1. Dave, you are one of the best posters here. I love reading your stuff. You are also totally wrong on this. This has EVERYTHING to do with Nick Cafardo because they are his beliefs. If Cafardo feels the Patriots analogy is the right one then why did he not feel that way in 2001? Why did he feel it necessary to say that Brady had been playing poorly the last two games which made the decision awkward, while in 2012 Cafardo says, “when Brady took over and performed so well, it was an easy decision.”? Did he look at film from game three to game eleven of the 2001 season and say, “yeah he was pretty good.” Maybe he misremembered. The fact is Nick Cafardo never believed anything he said today back in 2001.


          1. Holy Carp batman…there must totally be an apocalypse coming because I agree completely with Dave.  Look I hate Cafardo for his football reporting.  Worse than his Bledsoe love, to me was his Pete Carroll love.  But having said that I think Dave’s reading is correct, looking back on it with hindsight the decision was an easy one.  At the time when Cafardo wrote the original piece he might have been too close so he did not see it as well.  To think his opinions do not evolve over time is rather silly.  There is plenty for Bruce to slam Cafardo with…I just don’t see this alleged (I used a legal term for ya Dave) hypocrisy is not one because I don’t believe it is true.


          2. Late, sorry I have to reply from here. For some reason I cannot reply under your statement.

            I have no problem with Cafardo having an epiphany and realizing that Brady was a much better quarterback then Bledsoe, just let me know when you had it. Don’t just sneak into an article that makes it seem like you felt this way all along when you did not.

            P.S. If there was anytime, before this article, where Cafardo had changed his mind publicly I will apologize and give Nick all the credit in the world.


          3. mandb…

            First off…welcome back…where you been mannn?

            Second…I doubt Cafardo had an epiphany.  Rather, as I said in my quick post, I think his opinion/view of the situation evolved.  My bet is to this day if you asked Cafardo who should have been the starter back in 2001 he would still argue Bledsoe.  But I also think that if you were to ask him about Brady he would say it is very hard to look at him and not see one of the 2 or 3 best QB’s ever to play the game.  My point is, he had an axe to grind, he was clearly in the Bledsoe camp, but over time he could still recognize Brady’s greatness.  I don’t think you will ever find an “aha” moment from Cafardo.  I do think he would look like a moron (more than he already does when he talks football) if he was still somehow beating the Bledsoe drum.


  2. And another thing….

    You’re distorting the comment by not printing the subsequent paragraph, which makes the interpretation clear.  So here you go.

    Middlebrooks, who went 1 for 4 in the Red Sox’ 6-1 victory over the Mariners Monday night at Fenway, is hitting .304 with four homers and 13 RBIs. Those are numbers you can’t sit on the bench. The Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady analogy is somewhat pertinent in this case. Bill Belichick had just about reached the end of the line with Bledsoe and when Brady took over and performed so well, it was an easy decision. 

    It would seem if Middlebrooks continues to perform, then it’s an easy decision for Valentine, who has always chosen the younger player in these situations. Of course, if the decision is Cherington’s, we know the outcome. 


  3. On a side note, thanks to deadspin, a story just broke on Curt Schilling’s game company:


    Some quotes:

    “It’s 2012, and 38 Studios is in trouble.
    They’ve only employed 288 Rhode Islanders so far, and the company
    recently had to pull out of next month’s E3 showcase because their
    upcoming game, paid for by the loan, isn’t close to being ready. An
    independent audit expressed “substantial doubt” about whether the
    company can remain solvent, and state officials have been meeting with
    38 Studios in recent days.”

    “Update: Missed this the first time around, but worth noting. Last year Schilling told Reuters that he had invested “$30 million to $35 million” in 38 Studios. A disclosure filing obtained by WPRI
    shows that Schilling only advanced the company $4 million of his own
    money, and has already been paid back—with the funds from Rhode Island


    Deadspin, part of Gawker, makes no secret of its obvious political leaning, so we probably only have only one side here. Still, it does not look good for Schilling given the funding and his obvious political leanings.

    It will be interesting to see how its covered here. Felger already took his turn.


    1. And they defaulted on their interest payment, which is never a good sign.

      That’s the real smoke here.  The rest is all basically Barry at Deadspin not fully understanding the PRI story, and both he and PRI not fully understanding how private equity financing works. 

      Curt’s definitely in for a lot of money with 38 Studios.  There’s no doubt about that.  I’ll take him at his word on the $30-35M number — frankly, it sounds about right given how long 38 Studios has been around, and the fact that I’ve never heard of any other outside sources of financing for 38 other than Curt prior to the RI bond issuance.  The $4m was a revolving line of credit that Curt wrote for the company, almost certainly as a bridge loan to get them to the bond issuance.  That he was repaid when the bonds were issued is precisely 100% unsurprising — that’s how bridge loans work, and there’s really nothing fishy about it.  

      The “substantial doubt” report from PWC isn’t particularly shocking either.  38 is trying to develop a MMORPG — a massive undertaking — and only has the revenue from their recently-released first person game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  I’m not shocked at all that their solvency is in question.  I don’t think anyone really had any doubts that 38 Studios needed significant venture capital investment to continue on — the auditor’s report just confirmed that.  

      But the gist of the story is solid:  the company is clearly in trouble unless it gets a significant influx of outside investment, because if they’re defaulting on their bonds, the bondholders are going to swoop in and demand a liquidation or negotiated bankruptcy.  And unless they can demonstrate that the Copernicus project (the MMORPG) is (a) viable and (b) not infinitely far out from being released, they’re unlikely to get that financing.  For the record, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning isn’t a bad game. It’s just not very unique, and had the poor luck to come out close to The Elder Scrolls:Skyrim, a highly anticipated and high quality game that’s in the same genre.  


      1. On the bridge loan: yup. Unfortunately, they won’t give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, if you’ve never raised funding for a startup, it looks bad. (So, to most people, it looks bad–even worse because of his political leanings that he sometimes voices.)

        On the MMORPG, while a different game, this story screamed Duke Nukem Forever. Now, even though he got the financing a few years ago, one has to wonder how he did. Seriously, a game development company? Isn’t 120m a lot of money for Rhode Island? We have enough issues up here in NH alone when some of these cities are trying to float 200m in debt for new schools they don’t need.

        Great reply, though.


      2. As a RI resident who is also a conservative I was very much against giving 38 studios the loan to relocate.  Having said that, it is my understanding from talking to people who were in the “know” (every one in RI knows someone in the “know”) that Shilling did indeed have to demonstrate he had considerable money invested in 38 studios to get the loan guarantees.  So I do not deny the $30 to $38 mill…my bet if we opened the books is the number would be $37.5 because that would have been 50% of the loan guarantee.

        Dave covered the bridge loan and subsequent payback.  No need to get into that.

        What I do want to get into is the reporting of the story and how the RIEDC seems to have really dropped the ball.  They had to know 38 studios was having cash flow issues and that interest payment was in doubt.  If they didn’t then why didn’t they; as it is their job to protect tax payer interests.  

        The reason I objected to the deal when it was originally made is that barring a fluke release of a an angry birds type game I did not see how the 38 studios model was going to generate enough cash to stay solvent before the multiplayer roll player was out of beta.  They were looking at 3 years when they got the loan with virtually no positive cash flowing.  It does not take much for 200 + people to spend that type of cash.  I was always under the impression that once the loan was made and the company was shown to be solvent and on track to deliver the mmorpg that a second round of venture would have been raised.  It appears that Shilling and his partners gambled that they could make this work on just the $75 mill apparently much to the Chagrin of the RI tax payers.

        Lastly, the real problem with the 38 studios deal is that they have no where near $75 mill in hard equity.  The IP is only worth something to 38 studios so it has no value.  The real estate I think is leased.  WHat do they have $1 mill in servers, hardware, filing cabinets and desks?  Liquidating them is the worst possible outcome for RI tax payer and that is why this is such a bad deal.  To get our money back…the company has to stay in business. UGH!


    2. T&R also filleted RI and Schilling. Both wanted to know why RI would give a $75 million loan to a guy who made millions playing playing baseball and the business was a start-up. The RI Business Development Center was supposed to break the loans in two to three million dollar increments to small businesses in RI. Instead Schilling got all of the money. 

      I also remember D&C hammering callers who said it was wrong for RI and Schilling to make such a deal. There is no bias on D&C’s part though. 🙂


      1. I think I remember hearing this. Without getting into a discussion on politics, I’d hope they did hammer him because he most likely used his status as a former pro/former redsox to help get this.

        However, he obviously holds views that are not in the majority around here, so I wondered how fair many could be. Unfortunately, you have to ask/wonder this before considering the truth of the story these days.


        1. bsm I’m just talking about D&C being friends with Schilling. Political ideology may have something to do with that friendship, but there is bias on D&C’s part because of their relationship with Schilling.


          1. Yeah, I understand that. I had only mentioned it here since we talk about how the media covers issues, and figured that you would have the usual sides drawn/picked in this issue and that it could dictate coverage. (I’d be livid if I were a RI resident because of the waste part.)


      2. And Gerry constantly brings up Solyndra, which was certainly a bad investment by the federal government and there seemed to be inappropriate interference from the White House.  But it looks like 38 Studios is becoming a bad investment by the federal government and i think as the story comes out we’ll find out that there was some inappropriate interference from higher-ups in RI government


  4. Honestly, Bruce — I get your disgust and applaud your diligence, but to demonstrate that Nick Cafardo is an inconsistent tut-tut with a shallow understanding of the sports he “covers” and a complete inability to hide that he slants stories to his favorites and his sources …. well, in another news flash: water is wet.

    This city is now awash with people waiting for their pensions posing as reporters — or worse, expert observers — that are indulged and celebrated by the Joe Sullivans and Julie Khans of this world who think that churn equals involvement and ubiquity means popularity.

    Nick is just a sad, droopy porpoise who worked his way up from towel boy for his high school’s varsity clubs to a dizzying life of free food and press passes. But he’s still Willy Loman except without that character’s ability to communicate. Apropos of Nothing? Updates on 9? Sad, pale reflections of the efforts of his predecessors. He understands nothing and can explain even less.


  5. Ragging on a guy for stuff he said 11 years ago is a little much.  The statute of limitations was past a long time ago.

    I know he’s a writer but, c’mon!  Bruce, how would you feel if someone held something you posted  over ten years ago?  You might not like Nick…that’s fine but playing the “Gotcha!” game with info over a decade old is more than a little unfair.


    1. In many ways, Cafardo is worse than the look-at-me types like Felger because they at least make an effort. Cafardo is lazy. Probably the laziest reporter in town. He’s gotten a free pass these years because others are so more obviously offensive and irritating.

      But the day he left the Patriots beat was a great day and a victory for Belichick doing things the right way and making the media earn their stories. Nick felt entitled, because he’s too lazy to work. The day he’s gone from the Sox and baseball beat again will be glorious.


  6. There’s some serious revisionist history taking place in the comments section.  Cafardo was still carping about Bledsoe being gone after 3 Super Bowls, Bill GM Tom Donahoe, who got suckered into trading for Bledsoe was the best in the business, etc, etc, etc.  The bucket Nick was carrying that water in finally sprung a leak.


  7. I understand what some are trying to do in defending Cafardo using articles he wrote to back up your points. But my major problem with that is that it doesn’t take into account the countless times he made tv and radio appearances at hours on hand where he ripped Bill constantly over this. the many times 10 years ago on radio on shows that I doubt are saved in some archive where I clearly remember all the low blows and pot shots that Cafardo took at Bill. There is where Nick got himself in deep and why he had to be pulled from the Pats beat. He was acting like a man on a mission to get Bill run out of town. It was over the top. 


  8. IMO, Nick’s baseball stuff is worse than his Patriots tenure. As the Bledsoe pom pom, he was merely protecting the status quo. His Sunday baseball columns are heinous: the same old job-shopping for players who will talk to him, leaks from agents, and updates on the careers of various Kapsteins and Kaplers. His voice was unsurprisingly silent when the Bobby V experiment went south. He’s a tool, and even by the lowly standards of the profession, a singularly dull writer.


  9. George, in the case Patrick, this is par for the course. He is doing what he believes in, which is government should involve itself in business. Schilling is being hypocritical because he is one who will jump on his soapbox and tell you how government wastes money and spends too much. The only exception seems to be when he wants it.


    1. I had brought the issue up because I was interested to see how it was covered. It has little to do with sports beyond who the person is but Schilling did get a huge ESPN plug (I assume they paid for this) right around the start of the season with all the BBTN guys even playing his game in-studio.

      Deadspin posted it about an hour before I heard Felger starting to rip into him in the 5 o’clock hour  yesterday, and later on the closing segment of Sports Tonight.

      I wasn’t able to catch most of D+C this morning but wondered how they would handle it, since they are friends of Curt and also sit on the same side.

      Thankfully, it looks like this is gonna stay under the politics category.. I’d have to listen to an hour-long segment of sports talk on this since it really has nothing to do with sports.


  10. Schilling is a hypocritical fraud dirtbag who is stealing money from tax payers. There is nothing better than listening to D%C twist themselves into a pretzel as to why this Schilling stealing 75 million okay but why giving the poor assistance is giving a free check to a Cadillac driving welfare queen.


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