Ripped From The Forums…

Two articles, same paper.  (h/t Kevin)

Shank Today:

How many more weeks can we count on the other guys mismanaging the clock, making stupid decisions, overthrowing open receivers, clanging field goal attempts off the uprights, dropping passes in the end zone, and botching interceptions?

How many more times does the Tom Brady interception get called back because of defensive holding? How many more times does the tumbling Patriot fumble bounce into the arms of a Patriot fatty? How many more times do the other guys lose their minds and mismanage the clock down the stretch?

Alex Speier Today:

There’s a natural suspicion that can enter compare-and-contrast conversations such as these, particularly given that the Patriots have faced just one team with a record that is better than .500 (the 6-4 Steelers, who fell to New England in Week 1): Is the Patriots’ ability to constrain opposing offenses a reflection of their defense or is it a sign of their poor quality of opponents?

You can’t blame the opponents. Teams faced by the Patriots this year have averaged 22.8 points per game overall, close to the league average of 23.0 points per game. New England has held opponents 20.2 percent below their total season points average – meaning that they’ve done a better job of holding offenses below their standard than have the Broncos, whose opponents have scored 18.3 percent fewer points against Denver than their season-long standard of 22.5 points per game.

Only the Bengals have done a better job of holding teams below their scoring averages. Cincinnati’s 18.6 points per game allowed falls 21.7 percent below their opponents’ 23.7 point average.

Which one of these actually required some work?

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A Fine Globe/Red Sox/NESN/Shaughnessy Mess…

In case the whole NESN-Don Orsillo mess couldn’t get any more screwed up, it did.

At the center of it is Boston’s favorite columnist, (oh wait, he didn’t even make the list) Dan Shaughnessy!

An important line was dropped from his column about Orsillo earlier in the week:

Dan Kennedy has written extensively about the incident, and has great coverage here:

Dan Shaughnessy Defends Boston Globe Over Deleted Sentence In Don Orsillo Column

The Globe attempted to explain the original charges thusly:

“Sourcing was weak.”

Shaughnessy’s original line was:

Two Sox employees told the Globe that workers at Fenway turnstiles were ordered to confiscate any signs supporting Orsillo as fans entered Fenway.

I’m interested to know what the Globe considers strong sourcing and weak sourcing. Shaughnessy writes a lot of things, many seem single sourced. Why the edit on this?

Of course it isn’t because Shaughnessy’s boss, the owner of the Globe, also owns the Red Sox. It isn’t. Trust them. Their coverage speaks for itself. Just ask them!

Kennedy adds a good followup on the topic:

Boston Globe Adds Clarification To Dan Shaughnessy’s Column About Red Sox Announcer Don Orsillo

As Kennedy notes, the online and print versions of the corrections were even different.

Are we supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt on this?

Just Another Sunday For The Globe

Yesterday’s Sunday Boston Globe was AWESOME.

If you’re into marveling at a lack of self-awareness, I guess.

We’ll start with the top story:

Baseball pitchers want a better grip, not a competitive advantage

Oh, the irony. baseball players would rather not cheat, but they’re FORCED to because of the slickness of the ball. Everyone does it. They joke about it.

The column (by Peter Abraham) ends like this:

Uehara smiled when asked what he uses.

“I do what everybody else does,” he said. “But I’d rather not talk about it.”

Now, when Tom Brady wants a better grip on the footballs, and requests that they are at the bottom end of the legal limit for inflation, he is CHEATING. It’s the end of the world. It’s the biggest scandal since…well, ever.

Abraham admits the contrast:

It’s a speck on the scandal meter compared to the lingering question of whether Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered footballs deflated before the AFC Championship game in January.

The difference apparently is that baseball players are not seeking a competitive advantage when they bring a foreign substance to the mound, or doctor up the ball in some way, they are just innocently trying to grip the ball better. Tom Brady is a cheating fraud whose entire legacy is on the line and he and the Patriots have been tendered the biggest punishment in the history of the NFL for this atrocity.

Moving to Ben Volin’s Sunday Football Notes, Volin proudly shows off his discovery of a Patriots fan statistician who agrees with the Wells Report!

Well, not really. Volin originally tweeted out the email he received from the statistician, who is not agreeing with the Wells Report, but is letting AEI know that he was able to replicate the results of the Wells Report when they could not. He still disagrees with the Wells Report and agrees that the data set used by Wells is flawed and the results were cherry picked.

That’s a far cry from PATRIOTS FAN STATISTICIAN BACKS WELLS REPORT SCIENCE, which is what it seems like Volin was going for. He somehow uses this as a way to wag his finger at Patriots homers:

The Wells Report was attacked viciously and thoroughly in New England, home to some of the most brilliant scientific and legal minds in the world, as well as the most rabid and passionate fans in the country.

It’s millions of Patriots fans vs. one Ted Wells, and Wells has gotten clobbered.

But when anything pro-Patriots is released — such as the AEI report or the Patriots’ Context Report — every word is taken as gospel. There’s been very little critical analysis of their work, and anything that doesn’t fit the “Patriots are innocent” story line is ignored.

Awww, poor Teddy got clobbered!

That last bit is just classic. Volin does realize that outside of New England, it is the EXACT OPPOSITE. It would be written like this – But when anything anti-Patriots is released — such as the PSI report or the Patriots’ Staffer Tried To Introduce Illegal Ball Report — every word is taken as gospel. There’s been very little critical analysis of their work, and anything that doesn’t fit the “Patriots are cheaters” story line is ignored.

(Props to Jerry Thornton for this – Wells Report ‘science’ firm Exponent gets whacked by court order – a judge is ordering Exponent to turn over documents related to their work on another case, saying “Methodologically sound science has nothing to fear from full and open disclosure.” Remember though, that according to Roger Goodell, “Ted Wells’ integrity is impeccable.”)

Let’s head over the Sunday Baseball Notes. Nick Cafardo is an unabashed Jose Iglesias fanboy. He is also Scott Boras’ local mouthpiece. So what is the lead section of the notes yesterday? Iglesias vs Xander Bogaerts – who also happens to be a Boras client! So he gets to compare (and promote) two Boras clients! Nick searches far and wide to get a source that agrees with his take on things:

“With all due respect to Bogaerts, he’ll never be Iglesias,” said a National League GM. “I haven’t seen anyone like that in years. I saw a lot of [Omar] Vizquel, and I think this guy [Iglesias] is better. To do something extraordinary like he does . . . I know that even though you have a good player like Bogaerts, when you trade away a guy like that you’d better have a great reason.”

I hope the GM is only talking defensively, because that is a bunch of nonsense. Bogaerts’ ceiling is much higher offensively than Iglesias, and he’s improved dramatically in the field.

Then we have Dan Shaughnessy talking with Larry Lucchino! (Anti-Shaughnessy linking policy prevents us from bringing you this content.) Hey guess what? The Red Sox have marginalized Larry, and the team is struggling! Lucchino gives canned answers and Shaughnessy has an easy, mail-it-in Sunday column. All is good.

Finally, we’ll look at the Sunday Basketball Notes. Gary Washburn grades each team’s draft. OK. Kind of expected, even if the grades mean absolutely nothing. My gripe with this column is not with Washburn, but with Celtics forward Jared Sullinger. The guy has struggled with his weight and conditioning during his time here, even to the point where Danny Ainge publicly called him out on it. Sullinger is reportedly working hard this summer, but this quote doesn’t do him any favors:

“I think I’m going on a personal feel,” Sullinger said. “If I’m able to move the way I want to move and make the moves I want to make, I think the number [weight] doesn’t really matter. It’s all about how long I can stand out there and be able to put the work in that I put in in the first quarter all the way through the 48 minutes of the game.”

Ugh. I’ll paraphrase Shaughnessy on this one. Get. Him. Gone.

Finally, from today, it must be summertime – WEEI suspends morning show host Kirk Minihane

Dan Shaughnessy Forgets That Red Sox Won World Series Last Year

Writing about sports is HARD.

That’s the lesson we can take from Sunday’s Boston Globe.

How else to explain some of the content from the region’s largest newspaper?

First we have Shaughnessy, who rails about how Red Sox fans have all gone soft on the team and we’re not miserable bastards like we were in 1978.

At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’

Well, let’s see, since 2003, we’ve had three World Series victories, two other appearances in the ALCS, and made two other playoff appearances. Since 2003 they’ve averaged 91 wins per season, and that includes the 69-win season of 2012.

But we’re insane for thinking that the Red Sox are generally pretty good.

It amazes me how soft this baseball market has become. In 1978 fans and media crushed the Sox for a 99-win season that concluded with eight consecutive pressure-packed victories. The Boston manager was unmercifully booed on Opening Day the following year. Now everything is awesome because the Boston ballpark is a tourist destination and fans fall in love with the hype of every young player coming through the system. Swell. When did we become St. Louis?

I think Dan is still upset he lost his “Curse” business.

What’s truly amazing is that throughout his rant, he never mentions ONCE that the Red Sox actually, you know, WON THE WORLD SERIES last year.

Chad Finn very nicely took Dan to task yesterday – I Can Think of 3 Good Reasons Why The Red Sox are Getting the Benefit of the Doubt.

Then we had Bob Ryan’s column, the premise of which was promising enough – how much sports coverage has changed since the days that he was on the beat. The main thrust of which is that there really is no offseason for sports coverage any longer.

Ryan then includes quotes from all of the regular Globe sports writers, including Nick Cafardo, Peter Abraham, Amalie Benjamin, Shalise Manza Young, Ben Volin, Gary Washburn, Baxter Holmes and Fluto Shinzawa.

Amalie Benjamin once covered the Red Sox. Now she covers the Bruins. “Hockey is not as crazy as baseball,” she says. “I hated baseball offseason.”

Why? Too busy in the offseason? Most of the rest of us work year-round, too. Some travel just as much as these writers, and put in 60+ hours a week for the entire year. No offseason.

Then there’s Volin:

“It’s an 11-month news cycle,” says Ben Volin, the Globe’s NFL analyst. “For one thing, people just love talking about next year. That’s a big part of it. And the whole football thinking is different. They have OTAs because they don’t want people to get out of shape and because they don’t want them getting into trouble.”

So, it’s not about putting in your offense or defense and building a team, it’s all about keeping the players busy so they don’t all become fat criminals in the offseason? OK, Got it.

Let’s go back to the social media thing for a minute. “It’s really changed dramatically the last three or four years,” says Abraham. “The littlest things can become big things. You’re asking yourself, ‘Is this a story?’ ’’

“There is no way to distinguish what is news and what isn’t,” says Manza Young.

Wait, what? These are reporters for the largest newspaper in New England and they don’t know what is news and what isn’t?

Finally in the Sunday Football Notes from Volin, there was his line in the section outlining how advanced the NFL is:

Equality barriers have been broken. The NFL is now the first among the four major North American pro sports leagues to have an openly gay player (Michael Sam).

Do these columns get edited? Jason Collins was a fairly big story last year, and he played in the NBA after his announcement. How does this get missed?

About That Globe Feature On The Private Detectives…

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Really?

I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when the concept for this story was being  tossed around.

I get that the Aaron Hernandez case is one of the most sensational murder cases that we’ve had around these parts in some time. I get that stories about it are going to be written and are going to attract attention and be well-read.

But this story, and the accompanying piece using handwriting analysis on Hernandez’s jailhouse letters are just ludicrous. This is not really to insult to Shira Springer, who I sort of get the feeling is laughing at the subjects she’s writing about in these stories, but the Globe could not have teed up a better tailor-made story to slap at the Patriots than this one.

The only surprise about it is that it didn’t appear two Sundays from now, on the morning of the Patriots opener at Buffalo. We can only wonder what Joe Sullivan has planned for that day.

So read these, and tell me there isn’t an intentional theme that is being pushed here:

“To say Kraft only knows what’s going on in the building, it’s like having blinders and earmuffs on,” said private investigator Bob Long. “Is that all he wants to know?”

“A lot of teams are willing to take some risk. They keep their fingers crossed that nothing happens and have blinders on and earmuffs on and hope nothing blows up. Well, in this case, it did.”

“It sounds unfathomable that something wasn’t done before they re-signed him.”

“Over the years, I have discussed doing background due diligence for certain sports teams,” said private investigator and attorney John Nardizzi, whose company, Nardizzi & Associates Inc., has conducted roughly a dozen athlete-background checks for professional teams. “The response from some who say they recognize the value of such research, but decline to do it, is that they believe their contacts on the ground — former coaches, ex-players who are with the college or team and ‘knew the guy real well’ — are in a superior position when assessing character.”

“I don’t think it’s a question of [giving them] advice. Some of them I just don’t think believe it’s really important, so they’re not going to do it. They’re willing to take a risk with cowboys, villains, and gamblers and say, ‘This is the team that we’re going to field.’ They’re not too worried about everything else.”

So the Patriots were a) lazy, b) cheap, c) negligent d) arrogant and e) enabling.

But they’re not being blamed for this, no, not at all.

The sources in this article are businessmen trying to sell their services. This tragedy could’ve been prevented if they had just hired us! Free advertising!

Meanwhile, I get that Jerry Remy is an extremely nice guy, a private person, and a media member – all of which make him pretty much untouchable, even though he is a public figure.

Are we going to see anything about how all three of his children have had violence issues with the law, including the latest of his son being charged with the murder of the mother of his child?

I’m not saying there should be. I have no desire to see an article of that type. I don’t think Remy should be subject to that kind of scrutiny. But at the same time, the Globe and others are going all-in with this theory that murder could’ve been prevented had the Patriots been more diligent in monitoring their employee during his off hours, but there will be nothing said about a father’s role in the behavior of his own children, and if such a suggestion is even made, it is dismissed as a private matter?

I saw this over the weekend – Time For A Change In NESN Booth – from WBZ-TV sports producer Scott Sullivan, but Sullivan’s premise is as much about Remy’s performance in the booth as it is about his family issues. I don’t agree really, I don’t think Remy should have to give up his job, and I don’t want to see him put through the type of scrutiny the Patriots are being put under, it just seems unbalanced to me to be pursuing one with zeal and not even mentioning the other.

Guest Column – Henry-Owned Globe Taints Sox Beat

This story first appeared on BostonSportsToday.net

By Gethin Coolbaugh

John W. Henry is a pretty smart businessman — and if you don’t believe me, go check his bank account — but his latest acquisition is a head scratching one on some levels, to say the least.

Henry, the head of Fenway Sports Group which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C., has plucked The Boston Globe, the largest newspaper in the region, from The New York Times Co., according to multiple reports.

When considering the impact of the sale, two questions come to mind. For one, what is a successful businessman like Henry doing buying a newspaper (you know, those things with the ink and the paper you see on the subways)? As sad as it is, and this is coming from someone who loves newspapers, the print business is dying, and I’m pretty sure Henry alone isn’t enough to save it.

But hey, I’m not as smart as Henry is, nor do I have as much money as he does, so what do I know?

More importantly, though, Henry’s acquisition of The Boston Globe would immediately taint the newspaper’s coverage of the Boston Red Sox, one of the teams that Henry happens to own.

You know what’s really sad? The Globe’s baseball writers have nothing to do with it, either.

Regardless of your personal feelings about them, The Globe offers some of the greatest baseball minds in the news business today. Should they be blamed for anything in this changeover? Absolutely not. I bet if you asked them, some would say they would have preferred if Henry did not buy their newspaper, because the second he did, it instantly put a cloud over the Sox beat.

It may not be right, but when Henry steps into the picture, it creates a major conflict of interest.

What is the role of a newspaper? Or, here’s a better question, what is the proper role of a newspaper? It should strive to bring the most important news to its readers, brushing agendas and biases aside. Hopefully, that’s what Henry intends to do as assumes control of the company.

At the same time, Henry is a businessman, and a good businessman has no interest in muddying up any of his prized assets, and the Red Sox certainly qualify as one of Henry’s biggest assets.

What happens when the Red Sox need to be criticized, whether’s it’s on the field or in the front office? Will the writers be allowed to dig deep, uncover the story and say what needs to be said?

It’s a conflict of interest, and there’s no way around it. Does that mean Henry shouldn’t be allowed to buy and run The Boston Globe? Of course not. He had the money, and The New York Times Company had every right to sell the paper to him. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Henry is smart, and hopefully he’s smart enough to tackle this issue right off the bat with a clear explanation of the way his newspaper will cover his baseball team in a fair and ethical manner.

Still, there may always be a level of mistrust when anyone reads a Red Sox story in Henry’s paper.

Not even someone as savvy as Henry will be able to fix that.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Editor-In-Chief of Boston Sports Today. Twitter: @GethinCoolbaugh.

Report: John Henry Selected As New Owner of Globe

Peter Gammons on his new site Gammons Daily has the following report:

Sources say the New York Times Corporation has chosen John Henry as the new owner of the Boston Globe.

–Peter Gammons

If the source is correct, it makes sports coverage in this town a whole lot more complicated, and pretty much all coverage of the Red Sox will be viewed as coming from a certain vantage point. Also, coverage of the other local teams will also be in question as to whether it is hurting or helping the aims of the owner and his other investment.

Will we also see coverage of Liverpool FC and Roush Fenway Racing? Will LeBron James suddenly get more positive coverage?

This whole situation should be interesting to watch going forward.