Curt Schilling has a good point about that big Red Sox story

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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.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”