Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Nick Cafardo was nice enough to answer a few questions. Cafardo is a long-time Boston Globe Sports Reporter covering baseball, football and boxing. He is also the author of "The Impossible Team" of the Patriots Super Bowl victory of 2001.
1. Which do you get more enjoyment out of doing - writing or television?
A. I've been a newspaper reporter for 30 years. That's my main job, and really I've always enjoyed every assignment I've had, whether it was covering Marvin Hagler early in my career or the Red Sox beat in the mid-1980s and 90s; the Patriots from 1996-2005, or my current role as the national baseball writer. They've all been enjoyable assignments. I've worked with great writers in both sports from Peter Gammons, Dan Shaughnessey, Steve Fainaru, Larry Whiteside and Gordon Edes with baseball to Will McDonough, Ron Borges and Michael Smith on football. Having said
that, NESN is a lot of fun. The Red Sox pre-game shows have allowed me to talk about the big national issues of the day and what ever Red Sox news there is, while the other programs like Sports Plus and Red Sox Hot Stove in the off-season are a lot of fun.
2. Besides six or seven games in a week versus one, what are some of the other differences between covering the Red Sox and Patriots? I always thought that being a beat writer for a baseball team, especially in a major market like Boston, to be a year long grind.
A: They are completely different. Baseball is a marathon; kind of a soap opera. There's a new story every day. The Red Sox make it very entertaining for all of us win or lose. To me there's nothing like being at a ballpark on a beautiful summer night watching a game. The grind and the schedule make it much tougher than football coverage. It's a sport where there's more reporting to do because you have so much access to the players, manager and front office. There's a game just about every night so there's continuous news and more reporting to do. Having said that, it's tougher to cover an NFL football game than any single baseball game because so much is happening on that one day. There are so many angles that need to be covered. The rest of it, however, is a week's worth of re-hashing or moving forward. There's limited access to the players. Both sports require a lot of reporting and digging after hours, more so in football where you don't get a lot of direct answers to basic questions or a lot of access. It's important to have strong sources within the Patriots organization.
3. This past summer, I recall a report that indicated Josh Beckett was reluctant to work on his breaking ball between starts in order to decrease the possibility of a blister forming. Do you feel this contributed to his reliance on the heater?
A: Well, I think that might have been the case earlier in the season, but into the meat of the season Beckett's workouts were pretty normal. He was throwing everything on the side. He does have a tendency to fall in love with his fastball, and in some ways he should because he throws very hard and with movement. He definitely needs to feature his fastball. But I think he realized that he needs to be a pitcher and not just a thrower. The transition to the American League was probably a lot tougher than he thought. But even with those struggles he won 16 games. I expect him to get to a higher level this season.
4. Did John Farrell weigh in on the Pineiro signing? When he was on NESN, Farrell mentioned Romero and Donnelly but nothing on Pineiro. Were other members of baseball operations not as enthusiastic about signing the starter-turned-reliever as much as Allard Baird?
A: There's no question that Allard Baird saw something. This is what they hired Baird to do, so they're going to support his recommendations. I have no idea why Farrell wouldn't mention Pineiro. He has a better chance at being the closer than Romero.
5. What are the Sox plans for Kyle Snyder? At best, the waiver claim fights for the seventh reliever spot, if the Sox carry that many, with Manny Delcarmen and the others.
A: Kyle is insurance. If one or two starters get hurt, Kyle is in there. I'm guessing he would go Pawtucket to start the season and be called up when there's a need. The Red Sox don't want to have to scramble for a starter if someone gets hurt. They know Snyder is battle-tested and he can give them a quality outing.
6. With Carlos Zambrano asking for $15.5 million in his last year of arbitration eligibility and Barry Zito getting $127 million, has the smiles around Fenway gotten even wider when Dice-K gets mentioned? It looks like that the Sox will not feel compelled to win the aforementioned Zambrano bidding war next winter or Johan Santana the year after. It seems like the NYC teams are positioning themselves, as they should, to go hard after both of them.
A: That's right. The Red Sox believe they can start building from within by next season when Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden are ready to go. Dice-K was attractive because you just don't find many 26-year-old pitchers in free-agency. The master plan is for Buchholz, Bowden or Jon Lester to eventually take Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield's spots in the rotation.
THE LIGHTING ROUND:
*Who do you read daily?
A: When he writes, Gammons. Enjoy Jon Heyman, Tom Verducci, Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney, Jason Stark, Gordon Edes, Tim Brown, John Clayton, Ron Borges, Bob Ryan.
*What is your favorite place to eat on the road and in the Boston or N.E.
A: Johnny's Bar in Cleveland; Sabbatino's in Baltimore; DeGrazia's in New York.
*The best sports movie?
A: Rocky I
*No Ginger or Maryanne in 2007 - Foxwoods or Mohegan?