There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere and Twitterverse today about that Boston Globe story in which anonymous Red Sox sources basically tear Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and multiple Sox players a new one. Whether its use of anonymous sources was the right thing to do. Whether it had actual value or if it’s just angry venting. Whether this signifies something meaningful for the organization or if it’s just the bad old ways of the Boston Red Sox reasserting themselves.
There’s a little truth to all of that. My view, though, is that the Globe should apologize to no one for reporting what it reported. They have sources, the sources say stuff, most of it is both interesting and potentially relevant and, as far as we can tell anyway, the factual assertions are all true.*
I think the Globe’s only error in reporting it was that the tone of the piece. It was all Serious Business Facing the Nation when, in reality, it’s a lot of backbiting and gossip. And I don’t mean that as a bad thing from the Globe’s perspective. I don’t like the fact that “gossip” has a pejorative connotation to it. Gossip is interesting and fun and often revealing. Sports isn’t international diplomacy. A lot of what we talk about is gossip, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that, even if it’s anonymously sourced (that’s when you get the best gossip!). A little more humor and lightness and I would have enjoyed the story more, but that’s a mere quibble.
I am not so charitable to the Globe’s sources, however. I don’t know what people in the Red Sox organization thought they’d accomplish with all of this. Airing the kind of dirty laundry they air is great for us as readers and fans, but it’s a pretty low rent thing to do for the organization. And for one of its main subjects — Terry Francona — who has a lot of crap flung at him by these people for no apparent reason. I get the stuff about him losing control of the clubhouse being germane, but whoever decided to get into his marriage and his alleged use of painkillers isn’t doing much to impress me.
Indeed, I never thought I’d agree with Curt Schilling about, well, anything, but he makes a pretty good point** about that kind of dirt coming from Yawkey Way:
Imply that an outgoing manager has a drug problem after decision to leave and likely looking for work. Stay classy, ownership.
Seriously. The guy is gone. Let him go and keep that kind of stuff to yourself. What possible good are you accomplishing with airing that kind of dirty laundry?
*Not saying the substance of all of the the insider’s claims are accurate about all topics on which they opine. For example, just because someone inside said that Francona had a prescription drug problem doesn’t mean he has one. We have no idea of that and, it should be noted, Francona denied it. But someone is actually saying those things and in this context that itself is newsworthy, because it speaks to the organization too that they’d even say this kind of thing.
**He added a “from Sons of Sam Horn” at the end of that, which may mean that Schilling is merely repeating the sentiment. But good for him for giving it his platform.