Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A "Curt" career comes to a close -- does the Globe know?

And so Curt Schilling goes off quietly into that good night...

I won't spend any time rehashing Curt's baseball legacy or his Sawx tenure, other than to point you towards Jayson Stark's great piece on Schilling from ESPN.com where he relays a conversation with Johnny Damon about Schilling. When you get that kind of respect from your peers, all the other plaudits seem superfluous.

Rather, Schilling's retirement throws into sharp relief the dearth of real, true sports reporting at the Boston Globe. The Globe has fallen into its own trap of reporting. By cultivating the curmudgeons of baseball writing (Shaughnessy, Ryan, Cafardo, etc.) and severing ties with the loudmouths at WEEI, they have removed themselves as a relevant outlet to "break" sports news.

How else do you explain Schilling opting to use his own blog -- and WEEI by extension -- to announce he is retiring? It's a well-known fact that, Tony Massaroti excluded, Schilling and many of the Sawx have no time for the Globe, eloquently detailed by Schilling in comments aired on WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" -- which singled out Shaughnessy in particular, basically summed up as "I don't have anything bad to say about him [Shaughnessy] but he hates his job, hates baseball, is lazy and nobody likes him... but he's a talented writer."

Hard to believe the Globe is now second banana (or third, if you count WEEI as a legit sports news outlet) in Boston, especially considering it was once home to writers like Peter Gammons, Will McDonough, Peter May and Jackie MacMullan, among others -- writers and columnists in my lifetime who redefined what it meant to cover their sports and created classic prose along the way (don't forget John Updike's classic "Hub fans bid Kid Adieu" which -- despite being published in The New Yorker -- remains one of the most classic piece of Boston sports writing ever published).

Now - with the exception of Massarotti -- we get the artist formerly known as Bob Ryan and a bunch of "writers" like Chad Finn and others who seem to spend more time writing boring game stories and trolling other sites and sources and less time writing original stories that capture the moment and make readers think. And there's a special place for Shaughnessy, who seems to be elevating uselessness and irrelevancy to an art form.

Undaunted by the fact that he is widely reviled by readers and contemporaries alike, Shaughnessy still found a way to take a shot at Schilling as he left the building by comparing him to George McGovern and Dick van Dyke -- ooh snap! -- which serves only to demonstrate how woefully out of touch Mr. Curly-Haired Boyfriend himself is. As many bloggers (including yours truly) have demonstrated time and time again, arcane pop culture references and snarkiness usually end up being witty for an audience of one, and only serve to push your readers away.


It's sad that I don't ever read the Globe for sports coverage anymore -- ESPN.com has better local coverage through its blogs and beat writers (not to mention The Sports Guy) of Boston sports than the Globe does. I used to read the Globe sports section front to back every day, and I loved Gammons, McDonough, May, MacMullan, and others -- thought-provoking writers whose columns were must-read and must-discuss amongst my family and friends. Nowadays, not so much.

So farewell, Curt... Thanks for 2004, thanks for being a part of 2007, and thanks for being a ringleader for 5 of the most exciting years I've ever experienced as a Sawx fan. I'm glad you won't be completely gone, but I'm sorry you didn't get the farewell you should have gotten from the Globe.

And P.S. - you are a Hall of Famer, no question. Discussion for another time.

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