Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Thorne-y Issue. Ha Ha.

Somehow I missed this whole conversation between Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer. (Click the link to read a great transcript over at Joy of Sox. ) I remember the part where Palmer says the Sox aren't in the business of giving contract extensions to 40-year-olds, then I must have gotten up for beer/talked to wife/heard kid cry/otherwise became distracted before Thorne attributed to Dougie-boy the "fact" that Schilling's famous sock was painted red, not stained with blood.

Let me address a couple points here- first, I'm not a big Dougie fan. Everybody knows this. He seems like a real Douchey McGee (I think maybe it's the stupid Brazilian bikini wax goatee he has- that thing makes me so mad). I can totally see him (in my mind at least) saying something stupid or joking to a reporter to A. fuck with the reporter and B. fuck with a teammate; I can also see him being shady enough to not man up and say, "Yeah, I said it as a joke. Stupid reporters have no sense of humor; sorry, Schill!" Like I said, I have no real knowledge of Doug's character and am basing most of this on my bias against his facial hair grooming and low batting average. Maybe that's why Thorne picked him as his "source;" maybe he figured nobody likes Doug anyway, so it'd be more believable that he's the guy dishing dirt behind others' backs.

As for Thorne, I always thought he was a pretty decent hockey announcer and a moderately interesting, moderately mediocre baseball guy. He never seemed to get all the facts or players straight and never seemed that good at calling action as it quickly happened. That's why it's ironic he was better at hockey, a much faster-paced game. I think the speed of the game covered up his mistakes and didn't leave much time for him to just talk. With baseball, as I remember from his days on ESPN and have been reminded of being in the MASN area, he has a lot more time to try to tell stories, which he's not really good at. Let me rephrase- he's a great story teller; he comes up short, though, when those stories involve real facts- he never seems to get them right. I'm not even sure his knowledge of the game is that great- last night's trivia question asked which three players had hit 40 or more homers in each of the past three years. He guessed A-Rod as one of them, only about the most high profile, most watched, most obsessed over player in the game. EVERYBODY knows he didn't hit 40 last year. Except Gary Thorne. (And seriously, Adam Dunn has hit 40 or more three years running? That can't be right...And also, if I'm producing a game, I give the announcers the answer- I thought the question was to stump the fan at home, not the possibly stupid and easily embarassable announcer.)

But I just can't get myself into the lather that other people are reaching over this for four reasons:

A. I'm not a lawyer and am not fascinated by the slander/libel/whatever aspects of this issue.

B. When it comes to his image, Schilling is the little boy who cried wolf sometimes. That in no way justifies what Thorne said, but Curt knows he provides a lot of ammo to his doubters/detractors/haters.

C. I'm so used to sports reporters or broadcasters not having a good handle on the facts, or having paltry knowledge of the game they're covering or just plain saying something dumb, that what Thorne said neither surprises nor shocks me.

D. I don't really care one way or the other if it was paint. All I care is that we won. I never elevated Schilling onto the pedestal that so many did. Even in victory, I frequently took exception to the fact that, in a world in which our men and women are being sent to their deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a world in which firefighters pull kids out of burning buildings, in a world in which some underpaid person is going to help my kids learn to read, Curt Schilling is not a "hero." He's a guy who, apparently through the awesomeness of modern medicine, went out and did a job for which he is more than fairly compensated. Did I appreciate his efforts? Oh God, yes. Would I have held a grudge against him if he'd said, "Yeah, I probably could've pitched, but I didn't want to risk not being able to walk properly for the rest of life..."? No. That's his decision. Fifteen million dollars does not obligate someone to permanently disfigure them self for the sake of team and Nation.

All that being said, Thorne did fuck up last night. I'm not gonna be one of the people calling for his head, but if he doesn't lead off the telecast (I always think of Harry Caray or Pete van Wieren when I use the word "telecast," like it's only something a "superstation" can provide) with an immediate retraction and apology, well then I will definitely have a bigger problem with it. And he can't bury the retraction on page B-17 either, it needs to be the first thing he says, even before "Good evening! Alongside questionably gay pretty boy, Jim Palmer, I'm Gary Thorne." Well, if he actually said that, I'd wait a minute for the retraction. But you get my point.


Blogger MattySox said...

Tangenital grammar/writing thought (haha, I said "genital"): Does it crack anyone else up to see the phrase "Let me rephrase..." in any sort of written context? After all, why wouldn't the writer just hit backspace a few times and change what they originally wrote? Wouldn't that make more sense? Why would the writer leave in the original thought at all? For drama? For style? For pomposity? Is writing "Let me rephrase..." the calling card of some caffeine-deprived, self-styled drama junkie who's always in search of his next punchy, dramatic, two-word question fix? I'll let you decide that for yourselves...

10:15 AM  
Blogger Peter N said...

Thorne is an idiot...he wouldn't know how to say hello to a rose....pun, bad one, intended. I hope they roast him on the pre-game show. Peter....

11:55 AM  

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