Calling Boston’s cabal of mainstream sports journalists/pundits, “whiny, petulant, entitled and self-important”, Boston Magazine’s Alan Siegal is rather adamant that national reporters have proven more adept at breaking big stories, possibly because they don’t have to worry about taking heat from their subjects on a daily basis. Returning to the matter of Jeff Passan’s August 14 piece for Yahoo Sports in which Adrian Gonzalez was said to be lobbying for Bobby Valentine’s dismissal, Siegal declares, “it was clearly a massive story — unless you happened to be a sportswriter from Boston.” And that’s where the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham comes in.
Though he would later produce an article about the poor relationship between Valentine and some of his coaches, Peter Abraham remains mystified as to why Passan’s story got so much attention. In journalism, it’s worth noting, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having a reporter from the outside come in and break news on your turf. “There was this perception that, well, somehow the Boston media got beat on this story,” Abraham told me. “I didn’t know what there was that we got beat on. I guess the fact that [the players and ownership] had a meeting.”
Actually, yes, exactly that.
Abraham continued: “Bobby, if anything, at the time, had his position strengthened. He didn’t get fired. They fired [the pitching coach]. And the team played better for a short time after that meeting. So when this thing came out, at least for me personally, I didn’t really know what the story was—‘Well, the Red Sox were upset three weeks ago.’”
Again, the players tried to get the manager axed. That was the story. But Abraham went on: “Had Bobby been fired, and that was the reason, it would’ve been a better story. There were really no consequences to the meeting. Nothing happened. I wasn’t really sure where to go with it.”
Abraham’s implication that the meeting was unimportant because nobody got fired is more than a bit strange, especially considering that pitching coach Bob McClure, rumored to be the source for Passan’s story, was canned less than a week after the article ran. More broadly, though, there is something seriously amiss if the Globe’s Red Sox beat writer, the holder of one of the most sought-after jobs in all of American sports journalism, doesn’t know where to go with a story like this.