Media spats tend not to interest most people, but this one is pretty notable: Peter Gammons, Boston icon, called out in the pages of his old paper, the Boston Globe:
During his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Massarotti’’ show last Wednesday, Gammons asserted that Globe reporter Bob Hohler should reveal the anonymous sources from his bombshell story last October on the factors contributing to the Red Sox’ historic collapse. Those factors, according to Hohler’s sources, included manager Terry Francona’s personal issues and a fractured clubhouse in which a clique of pitchers were drinking beer and eating chicken during games.
It was an absurd suggestion.
That’s Chad Finn of the Globe taking Gammons to task.
Finn notes that Gammons has since come off the notion that Hohler should reveal his source, but he still believes that the story was unnecessary and irrelevant. Which, sure, many people might feel that way. But as Finn notes, those people tend to be Red Sox fans who don’t necessarily want to hear of discord on their team, legitimate or cooked up or otherwise.
I follow a ton of reporters and columnists. Most of them keep the proper journalistic distance from the teams they cover. Some of them, I hate to say it, seem to become fan boys or apologists over time. I don’t think Gammons is that way, but in this instance he does seem to be hitting the wrong notes, and I think Finn was right to note it.
Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times has an outstanding profile of former Rays prospect Brandon Martin, who is currently in jail for allegedly murdering three men nearly two years ago.
Fenno describes Martin’s erratic personality as he became a highly-touted baseball prospect who then descends into drug use. Friends described Martin has having completely changed into an unrecognizable person. Martin had repeated conflicts with friends and family such that police reports became common and he was placed in a psychiatric facility. Sadly, the facility only held him for less than 48 hours. He would allegedly murder three people upon returning home: his father, his brother-in-law, and a home security system contractor. Martin fled from police, who eventually caught up to him and subdued him with the help of a police dog.
Fenno’s profile is really worth a read, so click here to check it out.
Martin, 23, was selected by the Rays in the first round (38th overall) of the 2011 draft. He spent three years in the Rays’ system, reaching as high as Single-A Bowling Green.
On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.
Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:
If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.
Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.
Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.
The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.