So now the world knows what beat reporters evidently have long known: that [Terry] Francona is going through a divorce. So what? I don’t think anything less of Francona for that. But I do think less of all the reporters who kept that fact hidden from me all season why I was wondering why Francona seemed so helpless at the beginning and end of the season. What did all these reporters know and when did they know it?
Meanwhile, if I were a Red Sox season ticket holder, you’re damn right I would want to know what [Bob] Hohler’s piece told me. I would want to know the details from the clubhouse even if it violated some unwritten rule about how baseball teams are supposed to be covered. All of these players are millionaires, they are all public figures, they are all grown-ups. And did I mention that their play stunk to high heaven?
The gravemen of the complaint—by [Keith] Olbermann and others—seems to be that the team’s owners unfairly used their positions of power to tell ugly truths about players and coaches. The underlying principle, I guess, is that teams are supposed to stick together and hide such embarrassing details from the public—and that the motives of the messengers matter more than the message itself. What strange things for sports journalists to be so offended about!
Journalists who had used anonymous sources to get stories all year long suddenly were complaining that other journalists were using anonymous sources as well. Some of the very same reporters who miserably failed to explain the Red Sox collapse while it was happening—who hinted about clubhouse problems but never quite wrote the piece—suddenly were complaining that Hohler had written the piece. Me thinks they doth protest too much…
I’ll wait to see whether Boston’s media outlets, including the Globe itself, take a hard look at their own rules about covering the beloved team. Hohler’s story, after all, didn’t just call out players, coaches and management; it also called out many who are paid to cover the team. The Sox are in the process of mending their ways. I sure hope some of Boston’s sports reporters are, too.