I confess I am intrigued by sockgate. On it’s own, it’s a non-story. I find it implausible that Schilling would deliberatly put paint on his sock, as if the drama of his pitching at all in Game Six in 2004 couldn’t stand on its own. Of course, we live in a media culture that has been thoroughly pro-wrestlingified: from introductory graphics, to constant background music, to staged attitude, it seems as though media organizations simply do not trust that the story itself is ever enough to hold the audience’s attention: that everything, no matter how inherently dramatic or compelling, must be produced, stage-managed. As in all else, so too in sports coverage hyped and over-dramatization are the rule, not the exception. It’s in that environment that one could actually entertain the possibility that Schilling’s dramatic Game six performance against the Yankees in 2004 would need a little extra juice, a little kick.
So, that’s one part of the story that I find worthy of chewing on. The other part of the story that is noteworthy is Schilling’s own role in fanning its flames. Lots of celebs, including pro athletes, have their own blogs. But, for someone interested in sports media, what’s distinctive about Schilling’s blog is that it is framed, in part, as an explicit antidote to the failings of sports media. In his criticism of Shaughnessy for his various misrepresentations, and Murray Chass, for being out-of-date in his understanding of baseball statistics, Schilling’s blog has sent the message that he’s writing, in part, because the sports media has failed to do its job.