By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Thanks — now get out

Message to all free-agent pitchers: Come to Boston and get hurt, and this is how you’ll be treated, no matter how much you’ve contributed in the past. “HERO TO ZERO” is the screamer on the front of today’s Herald, accompanied by a photo of a shell-shocked Keith Foulke.

Foulke doesn’t strike me as the most pleasant fellow in the world. But the real story of his collapse, as everyone knows, is that he was perpetually injured following his phenomenal 2004 World Series — both knees and his pitching arm. Not that I’m keeping count, but I believe he went under the knife twice before coming back in 2006 and, between stints on the disabled list, proving himself to be a useful middle reliever.

The usually sensible Tony Massarotti acknowledges all that in today’s Herald, yet still piles on with this:

Now Foulke is gone and here is the truly amazing thing: No one is shedding a tear. Not Foulke, not Epstein, not anyone who has watched the Red Sox over the past two seasons. That might all be considered sad were it not for the simple fact that Foulke brought so much of this upon himself.

Because he mouthed off a few times? Please. If, last year, Foulke had been anything like the closer he was in 2004, Jonathan Papelbon probably would have won 18 to 20 games as a starter, and the Red Sox’ season might have turned out quite differently, despite all the injuries. And no one would care about Foulke’s attitude.

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Dylan on fire


  1. mike_b1

    Thank you, Dan, for writing this.My only nitpick is calling Tony Massarotti “usually sensible.” He might not rant with the best of them, but his analysis is just as Stone Age.

  2. Anonymous

    When will Red Sox fans acknowledge the frequent hypocrisy of their team’s management and sports media, not to mention their own? It is all encapsulated in the two stories on that page. 1. In so many cases, Red Sox sycophants allow as to how great players are when they are here, but once they’re gone, they’re worthless, both as players and as human beings. In addition to Foulke, see Nomar, Clemens, Damon, etc. and the kinds of things ultimately said and written about their character as well as their ability.2. The rumor of the Red Sox having made the highest bid for the Japanese pitcher only underscores the hypocrisy of Theo’s, Larry’s, and Henry’s constant whining about the Yankees. (Funny how Henry never complained when he owned 1% of the Yankees.) The fact is that every other team views the Red Sox in the same way that they claim to view the Yankees. Theo wants to behave like the Yankees, but also wants to get honor badges from the media for being a responsible businessman. If he made the highest bid, all the more power to him. Just stop crying poor-mouth and do your job. Hypocrisy is more “evil” than go-for-broke business practices.

  3. mike_b1

    anon 2:52, I’m trying to wade through your rambling rant, and all I can come up with is that you are seeing things in Boston’s management that aren’t really there. Certainly the Boston sports media is for the most part comprised of awfully bitter personalities, to the point where just Edes and MacMullen (and to a lesser extent McAdam) are essentially immune. But I’m not certain I see the direct connection you envision between the attitudes of the media, fans and management. Fans are fickle, the press are brutal, and the Henry ownership has been consistently agnostic.Where is the “constant whining” about the Yankees by Theo, Larry and Henry? I’ve seen gamesmanship on LL’s part, and perhaps once in awhile by Henry. I don’t recall Epstein ever publicly whining about, well, anything. Commenting on the clear and substantial difference between the Yankees’ payroll and that of every other team’s is not the same as whining about it. When the media says, “Theo, why didn’t you make a deal?” and he responds, “Because the players available aren’t any better than the guys we have and I can’t simply throw money at every problem anyway” isn’t whining, it’s just fact. I can’t remember Epstein ever saying he wants to be like the Yankees and I can’t recall him ever seeking the media’s approval for anything. Again, there’s a difference between good p.r. skills and a pathological need for the press’ approval.

  4. Anonymous

    Dan, Dan, Dan,It’s not hard to be a beloved athlete in Boston. Here’s a three step guide:1. Successfully close the World Series.2. Embrace the “best fans in the world.” 3. Don’t start a land war in Asia.Foulke did just one. Like Wells he hated Boston, hated Boston fans, resented his obligation to smile and wave. He deserves what he gets. Again, Dan, please stop commenting on baseball.

  5. whispers

    I am so tired of sportswriters kicking athletes when they are down! Boston writers are particularly skilled at this.

  6. Chris Estrada

    I think this was summed up when Damon left for the Yankees. All of a sudden, the hottest social internet group on Northeastern’s campus became known as ‘F–K YOU JOHNNY DAMON.’86 years of futility and impotence, he helps deliver a World Series title that transcends generations, and when he decides to write a new chapter in his life, he is vilified as much as Judas Iscariot. At least Judas DESERVED it! I love Boston sports fans, but crap like this just ticks me off. Then again, I’m not a native. I guess I’ll never understand.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 6:07: This is a media post, not a baseball post. But I’ll still blog on baseball from time to time. If you don’t like them, don’t read them.

  8. Anonymous

    Red Sox fans and Boston sports media look like a bunch of backwater clowns. Again.

  9. Anonymous

    FWIW,on my monitor 2:52’s “rambling rant” was 11 lines, Mike’s critique thereof was 14. Sigh.

  10. mike_b1

    anon 11:59, it’s an adjective with more than one meaning.anon 2:52 was all over the place, ergo he “rambled.”

  11. Anonymous

    The media and the fans tried to run Ted Williams out of town … yes, that Ted Williams … because he talked mean to them. Bill Lee smoked pot, so management had to dump him. Cecil Cooper? Too much time out of the batter’s box. Carlton Fisk? I could have sworn we mailed out that contract on time. Fred Lynn? Who does he think he is asking for that kind of money? And on and on it goes. Johnny’s a traitor. Manny’s not a team player. Nomar? He’s all washed up. Is anything that appears in the Herald, or any local sports pages or sports talk radio for that matter, a surprise?

  12. noternie

    Message to any professional athelete: get hurt and you’re not a valuable commodity.Foulke got paid big bucks for three years, despite pitching at that level for only one of them. That’s the benefit of guranteed contracts in Boston.Are the Sox supposed to pass up an opportunity to get out of a bad contract (a situation which isn’t expected to get better)? For how long?BTW: Foulke had an option to stay and turned it down himself.As for the headline; clearly Foulke was a pain in the neck to reporters. And more so when he wasn’t performing. He lied about his condition repeatedly then complained about the way he was being used. He insulted the fans, etc. He got praise when he did well and criticism when he did poorly. Criticism was multiplied when he compounded his bad performance with a bad attitude.People get treated better in good times and in bad when they behave well in good times and bad. This is news or cause for hand wringing? C’mon Dan. Compare the treatment of Duquette and Gorman by the media as a special project someday. Difference? Lou is affable, Dan a rude robot.

  13. Anonymous

    All over the place, Mike? His points seem straightforward and cogent to me, and are only amplified by some of the other posts and examples. Perhaps he should limit each post to one main point instead of two?

  14. man who's a red sox fan

    I was under the impression that in the 2005 season Foulke was hurt but refused to admit it and, more damningly, refused to even get a medical examination to see if he was indeed hurt. Not until it was almost the end of the season and too late to do anything about it. And of course, it turned out he had severe problems in his knees…despite Foulke’s protestations that he was “fine”.And yes, Foulke has had a “bad attitude” in regards to the Boston environment. Everyone frickin’ knows that the fans, and the media, will eat you alive in this town. You have to have a good attitude, no matter how pissed you feel, or they’ll crucify you. Sometimes they’ll crucify you anyways, but it’s a certainty if you’re ever the slightest bit negative. I get the feeling Foulke figured he could say what he liked because he was the pitcher who gave Boston the World Series. But as the old saying goes…”All glory is fleeting.” A bad attitude is tolerated until the moment you stop winning…just ask Bobby Knight!

  15. coomz

    Bottom line is, he was great in 2004, and after that he was surly and a nasty why do we want him?We don’t…bye bye baby

  16. mike_b1

    anon 10:03. You’re wrong. They weren’t. Thank you.

  17. Anonymous

    I agree, there is something particularly hateful and cruel about the collective sports psyche around here. I’m a transplant and it’s always struck me as illogical and scary.You guys seem to love to set them up, just so you can knock them down.

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