March 27, 2007

Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy used to be an interesting and eloquent observer of the Boston sports scene. Combining wit with a healthy dose of cynicism, there were never any sacred cows in his mind – especially when someone – even if it were a star ballplayer and/or fan favorite was dogging it or not playing up to his potential. That’s not to say he was never above getting personal – a favorite target of his was Carl “dinosaurs never existed” Everett and Jose Offerman, but more often than not, it was usually playing up to their boorish behavior in the clubhouse and/or their less-than stellar play on the field.

In recent years, however (and especially since the sale of the Boston Red Sox to a group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino) he has increasingly targeted with his poison pen the ownership of the team (who, in his view, can do nothing right, never mind the fact they brought a world championship to Beantown in 2004) and certain star ballplayers on the team – most especially, Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling. One can argue that Ramirez’s antics on and off the field ever since he came to Boston in 2001 are fair game, given that the team has suffered offensively whenever he has dogged it or taken advantage of the team’s good will. But Schilling, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Since his arrival in 2004, Schilling has done nothing to deserve the petty crticism that Shaughnessy seems to take pleasure in whenver he writes about Schilling, and the personal dislike for one another the two display seems to have nothing to do with Schilling’s on-the-field performance.

At the present time, both Shaughnessy and Schilling seem to be going at it pretty good, and why the latter has been made such a target by the former, one can only guess. First of all, Schilling is a player who, like him or loathe him, is not afraid to express his opinion on any subject, to anyone. He’s made no bones about his distaste for a lot of the media and is not afraid to call them out when he wconsiders something they’ve written intrusive, unfair, and unduly inflammatory, which is his right. He’s also conservative politically and a devout Christian, and I have no doubt that somewhere along the line this has a lot to do with Shaugnessy’s vitriol.

While the two have been sniping at each other continually for a while now, today Shaughnessy went over the line, using a completely private venture Schilling has recently been engaged in as the subject of his attack. Several weeks ago, Schilling began blogging at his 38 Pitches website – a website not affiliated in any way with the Boston Red Sox, and it is Schilling’s apparent use of his own blog to observe and comment on his world that seems to have gotten Shaughnessy’s panties in an uproar. From his column today, Shaughnessy makes clear his view on Schilling using his own blog for providing a glimpse into his personal life (something Shaughnessy holds up for ridicule), and bloggers in general, the former of which he has no cause to do, as it;s Schillings own ventuire and something he does on his own free time, and the llater which shows his true elitist colors – as if the Boston Globe has revered corner on journalism.

It’s time for Shaughnessy to return to covering sports – not what a player does in his/her own spare time. I mean, what’s next? Criticizing where someone takes his laundry? Where they dine out at night? Who they are seen with in a club or restaurant?

Some people think that just because athletes make the kind of money they do, that gives journalists and the public the right to 24×7 coverage of everything they do. I disagree with that premise. Curt Shchilling is an employee of a privately-run enterprise known as the Boston Red Sox. Therefore, the Red Sox and their employees can right be criticised when their performance on the field is open to question, but what goes on – and what they – in their prinvate lives should be left off the pages of a newspaper. If Dan Shaughnessy jas a problem with something Schilling said outisede of his job as pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, he should take it to Schilling privately, not use his column amnd his position as observer of for petty and personal attacks.

This is something I’ve never quite understood about newspapers, whose basic responsibility is to report and inform. Increasingly, the Globe – like most dying dinosaurs in the mainstream media – has eschewed reporting raw news and has let the line between news and opinion blur. It does so in its politics – where, like Shaughnessy, its staff is loaded with limousine liberals; it has increasingly done so with sports.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:01 | Comments (0)
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