Saturday, September 02, 2006

Jon Lester

No criticism today. The only criticism I can even try to offer here is that Dan called the Lesters when it was probably better not to, but since he's been through it and offered advice and support, I think even that can be excused.

This column broke my heart. It was well-written and incredibly emotional. Not the Dan we're used to.

I really have nothing to say, other than that that the news about Jon Lester is extremely upsetting and that we should all be thinking about him and praying for him, if one is so inclined. Best wishes, Jon. You can lick this thing. Get well soon.

And may I put in a voluntary plug here for everyone to please donate to the Jimmy Fund. Cancer can hit anyone, whether it be a favorite athlete or someone close to you or even yourself. I've already had two close friends lose parents to cancer (one to lymphoma, though he was MUCH older than Lester) and a grandfather nearly die of it, and I'm barely out of high school. It's everywhere, and they need all the help they can get to find a permanent cure.

Other places you can donate, if the spirit moves you:

American Cancer Society

Children's Miracle Network
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Lymphoma Research Foundation


The Chief said...

I found this column troubling on so many levels. In no particular order:

1. Shaughnessy again inserts himself into the story. Big journalistic no-no.

2. "I had a daughter with cancer, ergo I care," he suggests. This is reader manipulation at its worst. Shaughnessy has shown himself to be incapable of empathy. He can't be believed here, either.

3. The hypocrisy this guy displays never ceases to amaze me. To wit, he writes: "Let's try to remember that somebody else out there is always doing better than us, and there's always somebody doing worse. We're all day-to-day from here to eternity." If only he would remember that when he's throwing public hissy fits and leveling near-libelistic charges toward various sports figures for a wide variety of slights insignificant and mostly imagined.

4. I had cancer at age 28. I have friends who as teens survived Hodgkins, and one who didn't. Everyone handles it differently. For Shaughnessy to project the feelings he experienced onto the Lester family is intrusive and misguided.

5. "But as a parent, I knew the last thing he wanted to do was to speak to some cellphone-wielding reporter he'd never met. This is private time for the Lester family. We need to respect that, even those of us in the news business."

That will be the day.

There are many ways to handle this subject matter. IMO, Shaughnessy bombed.

The Couch Potato said...

In general, it was a far more sensitive and empathetic column & I think it's tempting to give him a pass simply because we're not used to that from CHB.

However, I share Chief's uneasiness. IMO, he used his "shared experience" in the hopes of scooping other people. If he had truly called to offer support, he would not have written about his contact with a family who has expressly requested privacy. I think it would have been far more effective - not to mention genuine - had he just written a column about what he went through when his daughter was diagnosed and in treatment.

fadedredsoxhat said...

There was an uneasiness, to use Couch Potato's word, about this column. I don't know if I can put into words. I kept thinking of the access CHB had with John Henry Williams for some reason. A move to the metro section where CHB could follow Joe Fitz' footsteps and do human interest stories crossed my mind as well.

You know what? I'm going to think that CHB was just trying to be helpful. He probably wasn't but it is the thought that counts.

Steve Buckley's column today was better.

jenny said...

I honestly didn't have a problem with the column except for the part about him calling Lester's father (okay, the "cell-phone wielding reporter" line pissed me off), but I guess it's a personal thing.

Maybe it's that I couldn't find it in myself to crap on him today when I really think he meant no harm. Unlike in other columns, I sensed no maliciousness here. Relative to himself, it was good.

And I think a man whose daughter had cancer is perfectly capable of empathizing with another parent going through the same thing, and to suggest otherwise is just hating on him for the fun of it. This isn't a "Theo's schlong is bigger than mine" kind of situation. It's on a completely different plane.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Jenny, you are making me feel guilty but you are right. CHB just makes it so easy to think that there is something more sinister between the lines. This isn't the column to go searching for it. I'm sure he will return to his old self by the end of the week and we will have our fun then.

The Chief said...

I'm not going to disparage anyone for thinking The CHB is being anything less than sincere here. But this gets back to the inspiration for launching this blog. Bob Greene, ex Chicago Tribune sportswriter, first made his mark by penning a piece in response to the massacre of the Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics.

As recounted by Alan Rosenberg, an editor at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, Greene said he was sitting in a bar watching TV when the news came on about the murders. " '[T]he thought that had come to him was this: If I handle this right, I could be famous.' "

Want some proof? Here's the link.

I'm not saying that The CHB saw opportunity here. But he has flown the cancer flag each time one of Boston's own gets sick. You can't rule it out.

And the feelings of empathy he bleeds all over the page each time somehow are conveniently forgotten anytime someone throws a homerun ball or gets a day off during a pennant race. The story I've heard is that his own niece, Meghan, was ostracized from her family for hooking up with her tennis coach. If true, it doesn't paint a picture of a guy who is full of warm feelings.

Dan Kennedy said...

For what it's worth, a couple of years ago I ripped Shaughnessy for writing that Nomar Garciaparra was a cancer on the Red Sox. I later heard him on the radio -- probably on Barnicle's show -- quite upset, saying he would never use that particular phraseology because of his daughter. I double-checked and found that, indeed, Shaughnessy had dumped on Nomar with everything except that particular phrase. (I hadn't actually quoted him directly, but was trying to characterize his general tone.)

Even though I have no idea whether he had read my item, I sent him an e-mail apologizing for my insensitivity. I don't remember precisely how he responded, but I do recall that it was classy.

Anonymous said...

this column was a crock. shaughnessy, one of the most pompous asses i've ever met, likes to pretend that he cares about people. but in reality, he treats anyone who he perceives is inferior to him with disdain. this column was written to massage his own ego, in an attempt to portray himself as a person with empathy. take it from someone who knows, he is nothing of the sort.

Anonymous said...

First, Bob Green was never a sports columnist. He was a features columnist.

Second, say what you will about Dan Shaughnessy, but I don't think it's fair to question his sincerity when it comes to cancer. Once his daughter was well again he didn't turn his back on the disease. He has helped raise money to cure it; he has welcomed phone calls from strangers who suddenly find themselves in a similar position; he has made it a point to remind people that cancer can happen to anyone, and if he uses his column as a vehicle to accomplish that, I say good for him.

The Chief said...

anon 1:53 a.m.: No one is calling Bob Greene (with an "e" at the end) a sports columnist. His column on the Munich murders led off with this memorable line (I'm going from memory and this is probably off slightly): Now the world knows what it's like to be Jewish.

And I'm not questioning his sincerity when it comes to cancer (although it wasn't Shaughnessy's name I saw rolling by every five minutes during the annual Jimmy Fund fundraiser on NESN a few weeks back). I am questioning, however, his sincerity when it comes to people, especially athletes.

The Chief said...

dan kennedy, Shaughnessy allegedly called Carl Everett "a cancer on a team" during an online chat exchange at that was later posted to the Boston Dirt Dogs web site on Oct. 5, 2001. The link is here.

Draw your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Shaughnessy's capable of sincerity when he's writing about himself. This is just confirmation that he's a myopic, self centered twit.

Anonymous said...

Chief - I don't know why I'm bothering, but you did in fact identify Greene as a sportswriter, which he never was. Right here:

"I'm not going to disparage anyone for thinking The CHB is being anything less than sincere here. But this gets back to the inspiration for launching this blog. Bob Greene, ex Chicago Tribune sportswriter, first made his mark by penning a piece in response to the massacre of the Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics."

The Chief said...

Sorry, you're right. I did say Greene was a sportswriter, which of course he wasn't. Not sure why I wrote that.

My bad.