Clay Buchholz's "Vodka Pool Party" Controversy Says A Hell Of A Lot More About The Boston Media Than It Does About Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz went on the disabled list after being hospitalized for intestinal bleeding. After being released from the hospital yesterday, Buchholz showed up at a charity event at Foxwoods casino. This is a big deal, because certain media people are awful.

Radio guys Toucher and Rich are playing up Buchholz's "vodka sponsored pool party," as yet another instance of a Red Sox pitcher putting himself and his enjoyment ahead of the team. Never mind that the Red Sox specifically granted him permission to attend. Never mind that Buchholz didn't drink. Never mind that not going wouldn't have helped Buchholz heal any faster, or make the end of his 15-day DL stint come any faster.

Here are some samples from Red Sox coverage over the past nine months. Some of them refer to Buchholz's party, others to Josh Beckett golfing on an off-day, still more to Buchholz, Beckett and Lester having the occasional beer in the clubhouse during games. It doesn't really matter; see if you can find the common thread.

Eric Wilbur, Boston.com:

Buchholz did not drink at the charity event, which also featured a golf outing hosted by WAAF's Greg Hill, but his appearance still speaks volumes about the pitcher's immaturity and lack of perception.

Gordon Edes, ESPN Boston:

It was never about golf. It was about giving a damn, or at least offering the illusion of doing so...Is it so egregious to have to answer a question or two about the wisdom of golfing when you're supposedly too hurt to pitch? Or to concede that perception does matter and when people are desperately looking for a reason to fall back in love with this team after last summer's fiasco, you have to be sensitive to those perceptions?

Alex Speier, WEEI:

There was the matter of perception when it came to Beckett's conduct. It was a convenient narrative (regardless of whether it was true or not) for the public to look at the timeline and to conclude that the pitcher had put his personal amusement ahead of his team's well-being.

Jeff Jacobs, Hartford Courant:

That part is immature. That part is insolent. That part is selfish. That part comes off as uncaring, and to come off as uncaring to one of the most passionate fan bases in sport is to come awfully close to signing your athletic death certificate.

John Tomase, Boston Herald:

Beckett redefined stubborn in his refusal to even acknowledge a perception problem.

Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe:

But shouldn't you exercise a little discretion?

I mean, you already have the beer and fried chicken stigma.

[...]

Playing golf when you're out with an injury looks bad.

Does anyone get that?

"Perception." "Looks bad." "Comes off as." This is the weasely crap sportswriters pull when they want to play at moralizing but don't have any moral failings to judge. When there's no evidence that a player has done anything detrimental to his performance, but they still want to make a big huge shitshow, they lazily fall back on "think of what people will think!" It's pretending to take the high road, but really only seizing the higher ground from which to fling feces below.

This is what David Ortiz was complaining about last week, though it's certainly not limited to Boston. Drama for drama's sake, except the columnists aren't secure enough in their shit-stirring to put an actual opinion underneath their bylines. Don't like Buchholz making non-baseball appearances? Own it. Say you have a problem with it. Don't couch it as this will look bad to the fans, even though the fans don't care until you tell them they should care. It's an insult to readers, an affront to logic, and yes, a boon for circulation. Controversy sells, even if the offended parties are an entire fanbase of straw men.