FIRE JOE MORGAN: Blogs = Bad, Old Media = Good, Nerds = Nerdy!


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Monday, March 26, 2007


Blogs = Bad, Old Media = Good, Nerds = Nerdy!

At some point in probably like 1974 or so, comedians everywhere, in a sort of collective unconscious kind of way, all started talking about how hard bags of airline peanuts were to open. This led jokes about that subject to become something people in the professional comedy world call "hacky." Some other examples of jokes/observations that became hacky, over time, include:

If the black box survives plane crashes, why don't they make the whole plane out of the black box?

If the Professor can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix the hole in the boat?

When I smoke weed, I get the munchies so bad!

There were two different guys who played "Darin" on "Bewitched": Dick Sargent and Dick York.

Also, who do you think was hotter -- Jeannie or the Bewitched chick?

-- Ginger or Marianne?

Men like to watch television and scratch themselves while women want to talk about their feelings.

Women shop a lot.

Monica Lewinsky!!!!!!!

And so on. You all know what I am talking about.

Now, officially, today, I would like to nominate a new member to the hacky joke Hall of Fame. The notion that bloggers live in their mom's basements.

And who better to put the final hacky nail in this hacky coffin than Boston's own Dan Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy wrote this column because Curt Schilling has started a blog,, so that he can communicate directly with his fans. Seems like a good thing to do. Why not? Unfortunately, Shaughnessy, it appears to me, has now seen the writing on the wall for muck-raking journalists like himself, who have careers mostly because they get access to athletes beyond that of the general public and thus get to poke and prod them for quotes and then write articles detailing their every move. If the athletes get to talk right to their public, what use is there for middlemen like ol' Danny? Some real estate agents are going to disappear eventually because of on-line video tours of houses. Brokers took a hit from e-Trade. Brick-and-mortar bookstores suffered from Amazon. The internet is a highly effective middleman reducer.

Now, far be it from me to downplay the role of journalists in sports reporting. There are many good ones, and I personally enjoy the old-timeyness of the on-site reporter. And, just as in politics, I believe that the public does benefit from professional prodders professionally prodding athletes. (I wish they had prodded more over the last 20 years, when it must have been blindingly clear that everyone in the league was juicing and not one single journalist had the guts to report it. Or even raise it as an issue. Their fancy journalism degrees didn't serve them -- or us -- very well then, did they?) But I also, as you might imagine, see the great benefit in the personal blog. It simply cannot be a bad thing to have more outlets for athlete-fan communication, if for no other reason than giving the average $80 ticket-buyers a chance to speak directly with those whose services we are paying to see.

Shaughnessy thinks differently. He thinks blogs are for nerds who live in their mom's basements. He thinks Schilling is just an attention-seeking glory hound. (Which I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that Schilling has been critical of the media in Boston.) He thinks this whole blogging business is something to sneer at, deride, dismiss, and ridicule. And that is why he is a dinosaur who will grow up to be more bitter and miserable than he already is.

(The premise of his article is that it's excerpts from Schilling's chat.)

38 Pitches:
Fire away guys. I've got a few hours of spare time before my next start and would be happy to answer questions about anything. Like I've been saying, the idea of this blog is that it allows me to communicate directly with my fans without any misrepresentations from those nitwits in the media.

Sycophant38: Hey, Curt. This blog is so cool. I can't believe you actually communicate with us directly. You will always be a god to me, Curt. You and the bloody sock. You honor me and my friends with this blog. So, let me ask you, do you think you would have won 25 last year if the umps weren't squeezing you?

38 Pitches: You'll never get me to say anything bad about the men in blue, Sycophant38. But thanks for joining the chat.

I like that enjoying the ability to chat directly with a player makes you a "sycophant."

Lapdog38: Hey Curt. This blog is awesome. I mean, I can't believe it's really you. I'm nervous just typing, knowing you are there on the other end. Let me tell you a little about myself. I am 38 years old (pretty cool, huh, 38?) and I have your jersey in XXL (both home and away versions). I'm living at home, in the basement, rent free, and I've got cable and plasma TV. Domino's delivers. I guess you could say I'm living the dream. Anyway, I was wondering if you could tell us who's going to be on the final 25-man roster for the Sox this year?

I'm sorry -- it makes you a lapdog. A fat lapdog. A fat lapdog who lives in a basement.

Yes: here's the first instance of "living in [mom's] basement." Well done. Good parody. By the way, Danny, parodies of things need to have grains of truth in them. Your parody of the questions on Curt's chat is clearly taking the position that the questioners are sycophantic nerds who live in their moms' basements. I will now cut and paste a bunch of the actual questions that were asked of Schilling, so we may contrast and compare:

Q-Who else has upgraded their starting pitching in 2007?

Q-I understand the desire to not face AL East teams, but isn’t the reverse true? Might you learn something from them by facing them in ST?

Q-Does one hitter protect another in the lineup, in the pitchers mind?

Q-I read that Beckett’s problems last year were him relying on his FB too much, doesn’t Tek make sure that doesn’t happen?

Q-What is the one thing you need in a game to be successful?

Q-Worried about pressure on Pedroia?

Q-What’s Daisuke been like to watch in person?

Q-Can the O’s overtake us?

Q-You have set incredibly ambitious goals for 38 Studios and its role in the gaming industry. Are you worried at all about losing sight of your goals, or the company being passed down into incapable/corrupt hands? If so, what measures have you put in place (or wish to put in place) to prevent that from happening?

Q-Your recap reminded me, I’ve always wanted to know; what goes through your mind between innings when things aren’t going well or you are worried that you don’t have all the tools you want or need on the mound on any given start?

Q-On SoSH awhile back there was a discussion what is more valuable: A catcher with an exceptional bat or exceptional catching skills?

Q-Who do you think is the best lefty of all time? Does RJ beat out Koufax?

Sorry to clip so much, but I wanted to show that the questions were not particularly sycophantic. Not at all, in fact. They actually seem like pretty interesting and thought-provoking questions. There is no indication that the Qers are lapdoggish, to me.

To be fair, there are also a fair number of questions about on-line gaming, because Schilling is a hard-core gamer, and is even developing his own gaming studio. These questions are pretty nerdy. But not sycophant-y.

None of these facts will stop ol' Shaughnessy, however. Some more excerpts...

Suckup38: Curt, you are the best. Thank you for this blog. It completes me. You had me at hello. I have blood stains on all my white socks. I was wondering if you would please consider going back to the negotiating table with the Red Sox during the season. If you leave Boston, I'll be forced to leave, myself.

God bless you, Schill. You are the greatest human being, ever. I'm glad you have this blog because I could never speak to you face-to-face. It's so much easier to communicate anonymously, without eye contact or using my real name. That's why blogs are better. Anyway, I was wondering if you'd consider running for Senate or perhaps President? The White House could use a guy like you, Schill.

I don't understand this criticism. So what if you don't have to use your real name? This is an informal Q and A. It's not an article voicing an opinion. Schilling is using his real name, which is all that matters -- and which is the whole point of the exercise.

This is a criticism we here at FJM get a lot -- anonymity. With us, since we're bitching about things, I see the validity. We stay anonymous for several reasons, most of them having to do with our real jobs (I am at my desk right now, as I type this). But I get why someone whose work we attacked might find it distasteful that we don't use our real names. To them I say: sorry, I guess. But in this case, who cares if the Qs are anonymous as long as the As are not? What is the problem there?

38 Pitches: That's flattering, Fanboy38, but I just feel there is so much good I can do with my other ventures, saving the planet, saving mankind, etc. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a stuffy Oval Office all day, unable to speak my mind. I much prefer a forum like this where all of you can say whatever you like about me. No holds barred. Good spontaneous give-and-take. Just let it fly.

Another insinuation that these questions are softballs. Again, the questions on Schilling's site are actually pretty tough. There's

Q-Does [the Sox'] “no renewal” stance make you feel like they are, in effect, betting against you having a big year? Does that bother you?


Q-Why should the Sox pay you 13 million dollars for the 08 season?


Q-Baseball is incredibly out of sync with the rest of the world.

But Shaughnessy has just decided that all of the questions are sycophantic, and is presenting that view, without actually looking at the material he is "parodying." That's journalism! And this is comedy:

Loser38: I used to go to Star Trek conventions and comic book trade shows. No more. Now this blog is my life. My girlfriend says I'm spending too much time on this site. I say she's being ridiculous. I mean, what's six hours a day when you have a chance to communicate -- cyberspace to cyberspace -- with a legitimate Hall of Famer? Do you think I'm being reasonable, Schill?

Loser 38. Star Trek conventions. Wow. That is original and fresh. William Shatner himself made fun of Star Trek conventions...on Saturday Night Live...on December 20, 1986. And here, only 20 years later, you are making the same joke. Well done.

Also, don't you know anything about making fun of nerds, Dan? Nerds don't have girlfriends! Nerds masturbate to pictures of Princess Leia in the gold bikini outfit from the Jabba's palace scenes.

LonelyHeartClub38: Any chance you can blog during games this year?

38 Pitches: Funny you should ask. I've been toying with the idea of blogging between innings. I mean, how cool would that be? I come into the dugout after punching out Vernon Wells, then I tap out some thoughts for all of you and return to the mound for the second inning.

This is a joke. But I think that would be kind of cool. I'd rather he prepare for the next inning, but if he strikes out Vernon Wells a lot this year and then comes into the dugout and writes: "Fuck yeah!" and posts it, I'll be happy.

CHB38: What do you say to those media morons who contend that you are a self-important blowhard with an ill-informed opinion about everything and an insatiable need to be worshipped by sheep-like fans and late-night blog boys who live in Ma's basement?

First of all, the moniker "CHB" that Shaughnessy has chosen...for those of you who do not obsessively follow Boston sports, that stands for "Curly-Haired Boyfriend" (sometimes reported as "Curly-Headed Boyfriend.") It is a thing that Crazy Carl Everett said to Globe writer, Gordon Edes, I believe, about the jheri-coiffed Shaughnessy: "Where's your curly-haired boyfriend?" I'll refrain from postulating why Danny would use that little bit of code for himself at the end of this article. I would add, however, that if he really wanted to drive his point home in re: anonymity, he should have just had it read: Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe.

And then, of course, we have the hilarious and cutting remark about us late-night blog boys who live in Ma's basement. Ouch! Ya burnt, blog boys!

Schilling is a loudmouth. He is an attention-seeker. These things are true. But this blog is kind of awesome, I think -- if more athletes did this, perhaps people wouldn't feel so alienated from the sports stars they worship. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to walk up a flight of stairs to my mom's kitchen so she can cook me some pasta shaped like TIE-fighters, which I will eat before rewatching last night's Battlestar Galactica season finale, which was the most exciting thing I have seen since Leroy Jenkins hit YouTube.

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posted by Anonymous  # 10:01 AM
Good Sir,

I believe the most popular spelling is "Leeroy Jenkins."

Yours in Christ,

Please post in this comments section, without checking the internet, Curt Schilling's World of WarCraft (or is it EverQuest? I can never remember) character name.
I got this one guys.

It's Scythehands Voxslayer.

Haven't looked it up to verify.
Scythehands Voxslayer was Schilling's Everquest name circa 2001. He did an interview about this and it was amazing. For instance:

Q: Tell us some of the most interesting adventures you have had while playing Everquest? Did you ever do something really stupid? Something that you are really proud of?

A: My first foray into Lower Guk was a lot of fun. My favorite memories are pretty basic. Completing the Robe of the Lost Circle quest was a blast. Camping Raster was a nightmare, but I got stupidly lucky. I had pretty much resigned myself to camping Scythehands in the Mino room, logging in, seeing another monk already there camping, and waiting. One night I log in, and there's a 55 level monk there. Great guy. He's been there for like 12 hours. No Raster -- pop, despawn, pop, despawn -- still no Raster. Now I'm in about my 3rd day there -- total time camping him maybe 5-10 hours tops -- but getting some good groups when I did have the camp (lotsa guild mates showed up and we pulled and got great exp). Anyway, this guy says ok, one more spawn and it's yours. So I wait and this guy says 'screw it' and leaves. I get a full group and we get the camp. We are there for about 2 minutes when we are in a major, major brawl and we barely survive. I'm laying there, feign death style, and no one in the group is hurt but me. I have no mend and about a bub of health. My group runs some frogloks down the hall to finish them off and POP! RASTER! If there was a way to scream louder than caps in EQ I was doing it. Man I am straight panicking because I know I have NO CHANCE soloing and the party has run off. I'm in my hotel room; it's like 5am, and I am straight hollering, in EQ and in real life. Bottom line is the group comes back, heals me, and kills Raster! WOOT!

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, that was Curt Schilling.
The only time I've ever wanted to be a Yankees fan was when I read about this the first time, and wanted to show up at a game at Yankee Stadium that Schilling was pitching, just to hold up a sign taunting him, that read: "HEY SCHILLING: STILL NO RASTER!"

I have no idea what it means but I imagine it would really upset him.

Also, wasn't there some stuff about Schill and Glanville having a longstanding nerdwar about some online incident? I feel like it had something to do with aviaks...
Here's the whole interview:

Fantastic. Thanks to Josh for the link.
Schilling's Everquest babble reminds me of that famously lingo-istic Ed Lynch post-game quote about a tough inning:

"The bases were drunk, and I painted the black with my best yakker. But blue squeezed me, and I went full. I came back with my heater, but the stick flares one the other way and chalk flies for two bases. Three earnies! Next thing I know, skipper hooks me and I'm sipping suds with the clubby."
This is Raster.

dak, the mystery is solved.
A reader named Rick has written in to point out that the comments section on 38pitches is actually fairly suck-uppy. I just checked it, and it is true. I argue that it is still in no way suck-uppy in the cliché way that Shaughnessy suggests, and my general stance on his crappy article remains intact. However, in the interests of fairness, I'd say Rick has a point...
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