LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Liverpool owner John W Henry with his wife Linda ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on August 13, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Ever since the Red Sox were eliminated from the playoff race a few weeks ago, the local media has pummeled the team from all angles with story after story regarding the goings on behind the scenes. Has the media crossed a line by spending seemingly every waking hour crucifying the team?
The last few weeks have been a rush to judgment on all things Red Sox, and in many ways it is reflective of the instant news cycle that we live in today. News breaks and you instantly can read or hear a dozen different accounts of the news, sprinkled with the opinion of the reporter.
Facts coming out are one thing, and there have been plenty of those. It's opinions that can be dangerous, as they must be quickly formed, and spouted out without much forethought. Many in the media are being highly touted (and paid) for their opinions.
In the case of the Red Sox and their epic, all-time collapse in the month of September, judgment has been swift and harsh, and every new revelation seems to add another indictment to their ledger, making this squad more loathsome by the minute.
The players and management of the Red Sox certainly deserve plenty of criticism for their disgraceful performance both during and after the season. The smear job on manager Terry Francona which was published in the Boston Globe was every bit as disgraceful, even more so, I think, than the news that certain pitchers were drinking a beer or eating fried chicken during games.
The level of opinion, and um, "reporting," during this period have reached hysterical levels. In the rush to give opinion, many are checking their common sense at the door, and going overboard in an effort to bring attention to themselves and their particular media outlet. In this day and age, the loudest and most obnoxious are usually rewarded with attention, thus the smashing success of Michael Felger.
But during this period, there have also been a few individuals who have distinguished themselves by not going crazy, and actually attempting to interject some sort of perspective and reason into the situation.
Gordon Edes on ESPNBoston.com leads the charge for me in this regard. Even though he was on the beer story from the beginning, Edes never made it out to be the crime against humanity that many others have. When the Globe feature by Bob Hohler came out, Edes was not only critical of the clear smear campaign aimed at Francona, but also critical of his former employer and colleagues for publishing the insinuation that Terry Francona had a problem with prescription drugs and that his personal problems contributed to the downfall of the team. He even went on ESPN on Friday afternoon (at the same time that John Henry was on 98.5) to debate Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan on the ethics of publishing such a piece. This week, Edes debated Dan Shaughnessy on ESPN after Jon Lester finally spoke, and wondered why we can't just be disappointed in the team, rather than making this out to be the end of the world.
Edes has been consistent in his approach to this story, and I appreciate his reasoned, yet still pointed takes on what has happened.
Others who receive kudos for being reasonable when so many around them were/are losing their minds are Chad Finn, the always steady, intellectual and even-handed Alex Speier of WEEI.com and Peter Abraham of the Globe, who after years of covering baseball in New York, seems unfazed by the insanity of Red Sox nation.
A quick note on TV ratings for the Patriots. Sunday's game against the Cowboys on FOX tied for the highest rating of the season for the Patriots, the 37.1 rating was equaled only by the season-opening broadcast against Miami on Monday Night Football. The Dallas game received a higher share of the audience than the Miami game, pulling in a 62 (a season high) in comparison to the 56 share of the season opener. The Patriots are averaging a 33.6 rating and 59.5 HH over their first six games.