Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Guess who's back.... 


I come back for the first time in a week (I've been busy with finishing up classes for the semester), and I've been averaging almost 100 new people a day since my rant on Jacobs. I almost don't want to ruin it.


I haven't talked about the Schilling deal yet in depth. I didn't talk about it during the "speculation" time, because I don't want to add to the craziness of mindless speculation, and because I'm still superstitious, I didn't want to jinx it.

Essentially, The Red Sox traded for one of the best starters in the National League, by giving up the potential vested in Casey Fossum's and Jorge de la Rosa's left arm, Brandon Lyon's right arm, and Michael Goss' shocking ability to prolifically make outs. But Goss looks like he might be a big leaguer someday in the future, in the same way that Tony Womack, Doug Glanville, and Herb Washington put in some major league service time.

At 37, Schilling is a big time power arm, who doesn't walk any guys. Those players tend to age very well. In fact, he doesn't really comp well to any pitcher in history, with a nod to being vaguely similar to Jim Bunning in 1968, Burt Blyleven in 1987, and Kevin Brown in 2001. Thanks to BaseballProspectus' PECOTA cards to help me get the similar pitchers. It's also neat to notice that Dennis Eckersley, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Bob Gibson, Don Sutton, David Cone, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, and Steve Carlton are also on the list. I'm a geek.

As of right now, the Boston rotation ranks among the best in baseball with Martinez, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield, and Kim.

Dare I say that it's better then the Yankees' starting five?

No, because they got the second best starter in the National League in 2003. With the addition of Javier Vazquez, the Yankees' rotation is Vazquez, Mussina, Contreras, and then some combination of Jeff Weaver, John Lieber, Jorge de Paula, and Pablo the Party Donkey. I don't think the Yankees are done, and because of that I'm reluctant to anoint any rotation the King of the AL East.

Free agent Update
                  Po  Old   New

Mike Cameron cf SEA
Luis Castillo 2b FLA FLA
Bartolo Colon sp CHW ANA
Keith Foulke rp OAK
Eddie Guardado rp MIN SEA
Vladimir Guerrero rf MON
Javy Lopez c ATL
Greg Maddux sp ATL
Kevin Millwood sp PHI
Rafael Palmerio 1b TEX
Andy Pettitte sp NYY
Sudney Ponson sp SFG
Ivan Rodriguez c FLA
Gary Sheffield rf ATL NYY
Shannon Stewart lf MIN MIN
Miguel Tejada ss OAK

As far as I know, Colon and Sheffield haven't officially signed yet, but Sheffield going to the Yankees is the worst kept secret in baseball, and the Angels have a press conference scheduled for today. Here is to hoping that I can put a BOS next to Keith Foulke soon enough.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Jeff Jacobs 

I was all set to write about the various dealings in the last week today. It was gonna be some good stuff. However, I ran across this:

Jeff Jacobs

December 3 2003

His name is Sameer Ohri and he is 25 years old. He is a 30-hour-a-week employee of The Courant sports department. He puts together the scoreboard page, edits some copy and answers the phones. He is single and lives with his parents in South Windsor.

Sam is a nice young man who does a good job and is well liked at the newspaper. Sam is also a young man who serves two masters.

Even in the November chill, Sam wears one master's symbol for the world to see. When he sits down to work, the Red Sox cap stays on his head. He keeps the second master better hidden, for the second master has many faces. One is Andrew Jackson. Another is Alexander Hamilton. A third is Abraham Lincoln. The second master is his paycheck. Sam wants to build a career in journalism.

In the wee hours Friday, when the rest of New England had been tucked away for a long turkey nap, Sam was pounding away at the keys in his favorite Red Sox fan website, the Sons of Sam Horn. He is known there as GodSamGod and not a day passes that he doesn't visit and post. A nice young man who serves two masters deserves two identities.

"It's a fun site," GodSamGod said. "There are people there who are very knowledgeable about the game. I've learned more about baseball there than I ever could reading the papers."

What happened Friday morning at about 3 o'clock was more than fun for a handful of posters with names such as Juan Bustabad Epstein and Spacemans Bong. It was damn near orgasmic. Somebody named Gehrig38 moved into the chatroom. Gehrig38 turned out to be Curt Schilling. He identified himself as soon as he arrived. And later that day as a press conference was held in Arizona to celebrate his signing with the Red Sox, Schilling confirmed his visit to the Sons of Sam Horn site. Owner John Henry, in fact, is a SOSH member. He broke the news of Schilling's signing there and congratulated SOSH for helping to bring him to Boston. Schilling has gone back several times since, the contents of more carefully crafted chats posted on public threads. It has been portrayed as an innocent love affair and Sons of Sam Horn has been publicly anointed as a force by the Red Sox. Yet at 3 a.m. Friday, Schilling was asking for privacy.

"Done deal," GodSamGod wrote.

And for nearly three hours, Schilling engaged in extraordinary conversation. I know. I have read the transcripts. Schilling had some explosive opinions about people in and around the game. There were negotiation predictions that would come true and details of his contract that still haven't been made public. There's a lot of juicy stuff, big headline stuff when it finally comes out. SOSH members must have known it was juicy because in the following days a number of them were begging for the transcripts.

Sam refused. He kept his word. He honored Schilling's request.

"My mistake," Sam said, "was trying to play both sides of the fence and trying to be a fan and professional journalist."

Actually, GodSamGod's mistake was identifying himself as a Courant editor. His mistake was the immaturity of his words. His mistake was his insistence that the chatroom is the same as Vegas. You know, what goes on here stays here. Sam is convinced that's all true and there are some regulations for some of these chat sites that would give him one leg to stand on in court. But there are probably three times as many legs for somebody else to put it all on that table and there is zero defense against anybody getting the transcripts and putting them on another one of these chat sites.

Sam protected Schilling, but he didn't protect himself and the transcripts have made the rounds. Some respected Boston sports writers already had it and surely others with less integrity do, too. Sam agreed to step forward and apologize for embarrassing the newspaper before somebody else makes public what a knucklehead he had been.

In the chat, GodSamGod asked Schilling, "Is Pedro Gomez gay?" Sam said he had just wanted to see if Schilling could identify the ESPN personality. He said he didn't mean anything by it and regrets it deeply.

GodSamGod told Schilling, who was having trouble sleeping, "bong hits usually do it for me."

And then when the conversation turned to what chance Schilling had of signing, GodSamGod said the Courant listed it as no better than 50-50 and he told Schilling that Larry Lucchino or John Henry was our source.

"I didn't think there was any chance of that stuff ever leaving the room," Sam said.

(For the record, Courant Red Sox beat writer David Heuschkel said neither Lucchino or Henry was his source.)

There aren't many more boneheaded things for a newspaper guy than giving up sources, yet what mattered more at that moment for Sam was his other master. At least he didn't rat out Schilling.

"My biggest regret is that I said where I worked, because I think it's pretty clear that I embarrassed the paper," Sam said.

Those who peruse the SOSH site will find comments both insightful and obscene. While raving about the quality of its debate, Henry reissued a statement that he didn't recommend the site and cautioned parents against having their children visit. One pathetic thread about trying to get rid of Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy is nothing short of libelous. One poster recommends taking him out and shooting him. Scary stuff.

Yet the site also has nurtured a close relationship with a few other media members, notably Providence Journal sports editor Art Martone. Martone, a SOSH member, heralded the site after Schilling's signing and was roundly applauded on the boards. His bosses may not be as happy to discover the only reason the Courant - a New England competitor - found out that Manny Ramirez was placed on irrevocable waivers because GodSamGod saw that Martone posted the news of The New York Times story on SOSH before our first deadlines. The Globe had nothing the next day.

There is an odd samba developing with the media with these chat sites as they grow and are empowered. And make no mistake they are growing. Bill Simmons, a cult hero to many in the internet crowd and one never to miss taking a vicious shot at mainstream New England media, rose from his own Boston-based website to ESPN.com and a job as a writer with ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Simmons made his mark with a combination of effective storytelling and statements such as saying he hoped Geno Auriemma or Coach K were caught having sex with animals.

Sam admires Bill Simmons.

Sam still needs to learn which master to serve.

E-mail: jjacobs@courant.com

source: Chat Room's Not-So Curt Responses

As you probably know, I am a poster on SoSH (I would say that is how a good number of you found my site), and I know Sam (GodSamGod) pretty well, so this will not be objective.

That column is fucking bullshit. I mean just little league, bush level, shit on a page horseshit.

People wonder why I hate columnist in the Boston market, its because of that.

Now maybe my readership approves of throwing people under a bus. Maybe you approve of irresponsable journalism. I don't.

I just wanted everyone who comes to my little soapbox that this is why I am critical of the way the media in this town react.

It's bullshit.