Last week, Matt Welch suffered through Ken Burns' 10th Inning baseball doc on PBS so that the rest of us could get only with our lives of quiet desperation. Don't feel bad for Welch, a life-long LA/Anaheim/California Angels fan: Any baseball season that doesn't end in mass suicide is considered a victory for a team that usually folds faster than Burkina Faso in the Little League World Series.
Anyhoo, Slate's Tom Scocca protests Burns' heavy reliance on the Calvin Schiraldi of journalists, Mike Barnicle, in the special:
Mike Barnicle had to stop being a columnist for the Boston Globe because he got caught plagiarizing and fabricating, over and over again. And because he lied about it.
Mike Barnicle is a fraud and a liar. He didn't even have the excuse of being in over his head and strung out on drugs, like Jayson Blair. He had a nice, easy columnist spot. He fabricated and plagiarized because he was lazy and dishonest, and because he had contempt for his $200,000-a-year job and his readers.
Inviting Mike Barnicle to talk about what the Red Sox mean to Boston is like inviting Janet Cooke to discuss the problem of drug abuse among young people. He wasn't even a sportswriter, unless you count the time he ripped off a joke from George Carlin about the pope giving baseball scores.
Scocca helpfully points out the Barnicle wasn't the only bench coach in Burns' show that has been caught juicing: "Burns also dredged up Harvard historian and plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin to share her own thoughts about the Sox."
Scocca is flustered as to why Burns would stoop so low but really, the question answers itself: Aren't all Red Sox fans criminals one way or another? I mean, I'd rather watch Pete Rose compete on America's Next Top Hairstylist than learn about Roger Clemens' bloody, pants-soaking "palpable mass" from the likes of Barnicle and Kearns Goodwin.