My opening 'Slugfest' revolved around Keith Foulke. Yes, that's me, PappaCSkillz. Let's just move along quickly to the event itself.
I opened with the following;
PappaCSkillz said the following @ 05/20/2009, 6:12am
I contend that Keith Foulke, in an admittedly short sampling, was as important a player as any in Boston winning the 2004 World Series. He was never supported by the Boston sporting media because he was never an easy interview, and the Boston sports public has never given him the gratitude he deserves. I contend Foulke was completely and utterly misunderstood in his time in Boston, and was never given the benefit of the doubt by media or fans. Finally, I propose that Foulke should never have to put hand to wallet any time he is in Boston or indeed any New England bar. The man should be on free jars for the rest of his life.
The colourfully names 'DirtDogGuy' responded with;
DirtDogGuy said the following @ 05/20/2009, 10:24am
Can we see some examples of how Keith was "never supported by the Boston sporting media because he was never an easy interview?" If you look back, there were countless stories about Foulke's efforts in 2004, and he even received a free truck just for talking to the media on the radio! How much does the media need to support him? Isn't the media supposed to be even handed and not cheerleaders?!? "The Boston sports public has never given him the gratitude he deserves." Huh, last I saw he had 35,000 cheering for him every night at Fenway when he showed no love back for the fans who paid his salary. One guy, who worked at a fast-food restaurant apparently, booed him late in his career in Boston, and Mr. Warmth chose to highlight the one fan who expressed his disappointment with him, vs. the thousands who cheered him. "I contend Foulke was completely and utterly misunderstood in his time in Boston, and was never given the benefit of the doubt by media or fans." There was nothing to misunderstand about Foulkie. It's pretty clear when he tells fans who paid his salary, "I hate that you're bothering me too." Like he's the first athlete that's ever been approached in a restaurant? You can politely decline an autograph request without belittling the person who dares to approach him. The man was paid $19 million in Boston. He should walk into a bar and buy a round for the hard working fans of Boston. Enough with the free drinks for multi-millionaires who never pick up a tab
My retort, and the final part of the short debate was;
PappaCSkillz said the following @ 05/20/2009, 11:07am
If you think Foulke was treated fairly and in an even handed manner by the Boston sports media in the period Post ’04 WS to his eventual free agency, well, you simply weren’t reading the Boston sporting media. Foulke was placed under a microscope, lampooned and lambasted by the media, an easy target because of his steadfast refusal to regurgitate dross clichés that 95% of MLB players feed us on a daily basis.
Was Dan Shaughnessy being ‘supportive’ or even fair when he wrote; ''We have rejoiced in the retirement of Keith Foulke and we won't sleep until the Sox make a decision on the 2008 contract extension for the Big Blowhard himself, the inimitable Schill.'' Reference 1
How about Tony Massaroit? Being supportive? Being fair? Being even handed? ''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.'' Reference 2
The famous ‘BK’ quote has been debated at length, suffice to say, it was a throw-away comment that some scribes latched on to and made more of than was intended. Continuing to argue that one line comment is beating a dead horse, particularly when Foulke issued a lengthy apology describing how the quote was taken out of context. If anything Foulke appears to still be paying the price for having the freedom of spirit to actually speak his mind rather than spout out hackneyed and well worn quotes that people want to hear.
The "I hate that you're bothering me too." Quote, taken from a story in the Globe today, is actually pretty funny. Should Foulke have to put a lid on his personality and sense of humour when approached in a bar or on the street? Surely, if a person decides to approach another person in a private setting, they have to be aware perhaps they are not going to get the answer they were looking for? On the mound, on the hill, Foulke gave absolutely everything for Boston, including his immediate sporting health. His sensational, MVP worthy 2004 playoffs was precursor to his 2005/2006 injury plagued seasons. He has, to this day, never complained about this.
Final score? 26-13. Although ostensibly a win, for me this indicates that although some people respected what Foulkie did in Boston, there are still plenty (well, 13 in this case) that have a very strong, very real dislkike for the man. Personally I believe this is down to an unfair treatment from the media that has left his name tarnished beyond recognition as far as some are concerned.