Bob Hohler on the Joys of Covering the Red Sox
As I learned while reporting this month’s magazine story, life isn’t always easy for members of the Boston sports media. The Red Sox beat is particularly stomach churning, for both the press corps and its subjects. (No wonder ex-manager Terry Francona once endorsed Metamucil.)
Anyone who’s covered the Red Sox has at least a few horror stories. The Globe’s Bob Hohler, who was on the beat from 2000 to 2004, was a political correspondent before transitioning to baseball. “It was an incredible, jarring change,” he told me in December. “In Washington, politicians want to be in the paper. They want to talk to you. You ask them a tough question and they can handle it, because that’s what they do. If you go into the Red Sox clubhouse, you have to learn that you just can’t blurt out tough questions.” He added that covering the Red Sox “was the greatest challenge of my career.”
Hohler’s welcome-to-the-majors moment came in September 2000. Before a game in Detroit, he witnessed Carl Everett unloading on traveling secretary Jack McCormick. The surly outfielder, a biblical literalist who once denied the existence of dinosaurs, had missed the bus to Comerica Park and was forced to take a taxi. “A couple of Everett’s teammates privately seethed at Everett’s apparent overreaction in the midst of a pennant race,” Hohler wrote about the incident. “After all, they said, $20 is not a huge hit for a guy making $20 million.”
Back at Fenway a few days later, Everett exploded, not on Hohler, but on the Globe’s Gordon Edes. Apparently, Everett got them mixed up. According to a report by the Hartford Courant’s David Heuschkel, Everett said, “Bye, bye, bye. Don’t ask me [expletive]. See you, Globe [expletive]. I just told you. Anybody from the Globe, get the [expletive] away from me. Nobody from the Globe can talk to me. Globe, see you.” At the time of the tirade, Hohler recalled, he was standing nearby. “Oh my God,” Hohler said, “there was a chill going down my spine.”
Everett punctuated the infamous rant by telling Edes, and his “curly-haired boyfriend,” Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, to stay away. Everett was traded in 2001, after only two seasons in Boston, but the nickname he coined has, well, endured.
I’ll have more outtakes from the story as the week progresses.