This week, Danny shared his thoughts on the passing of longtime baseball writer Nick Cafardo:
I’d like to send my condolences to the friends and family of Nick Cafardo. Nick passed away suddenly at the age of 62 while at Red Sox spring training last Thursday.
He was known by all to be a longtime baseball writer for the Boston Globe. For those in the media, he was known to be one of the good ones. Let me rephrase that. He was one of the great ones.
Having been a writer covering the Red Sox for Comcast SportsNet New England’s website (now known as NBC Sports Boston) from 2009-2013, I was at Fenway Park for many home games during that span. Nick was one of the more friendly guys on the beat. He always made you feel welcome — even someone like myself, who, at the time, was a hungry up-and-comer still trying to learn the ropes.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that about everybody in the media. So Nick’s friendly, non-intimidating manner was something that I’ll always remember.
Something else I’ll always remember is when he agreed to be a guest on my sports radio show multiple times back in 2009, when I was on WBNW 1120 AM. It was a small station located in Needham, Mass. He had no idea who I was. But I emailed him and asked him to call in a few times. And he did, every time.
Nick was probably thinking, “Who is this kid? And why is he yelling? What radio station is this again?”
On second thought, he probably wasn’t. Because he wasn’t a prick.
The complete opposite of another national baseball writer, Richard Justice, who once canceled on calling into my show just moments before he was scheduled to, because he said in an email, and I quote directly, “Hey I’m not spending MY money to do YOUR show. That makes no sense.”
Richard could’ve easily just told me “no” the day before, instead of agreeing to be a guest. But also, he was upset that I didn’t function with a toll-free phone number while I recorded a webcast from my living room couch that I wasn’t even getting paid for. It was 2012. What kind of wacky phone plan did Richard Justice have in 2012 that was going to ruin his bank account if he talked to me about the Red Sox for 10 minutes?
Nick Cafardo he was not.
I don’t tell that story with the intent of crushing Richard Justice. I tell that story because it’s another example of why Nick should be praised and called one of the great ones.
I’ve seen more people in this crazy business react like Richard Justice than I’ve seen them act like Nick Cafardo. In this line of work, it’s easy to be miserable and phony and paranoid and insecure. It’s much harder to be the guy who helps out the wide-eyed youngster who was still somewhat in awe of the media members he was suddenly working with.
Or is it, working against? Sports reporting can be as competitive as the games that sports reporters cover. I’ve never really been in position to be “competing” with someone like Nick. But I did get a chance to break one of baseball’s biggest stories of 2018, when I reported for the Boston Metro that sources told me the Houston Astros had been caught spying on the Red Sox’ dugout and using an unidentified employee to videotape and steal their signals in the ALCS.
Nick was the first person I talked to when I arrived at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the World Series in October, and he commended me for breaking that news. Telling me, “nice job” was a nothing moment for someone as prominent as him, probably. But for me? That was pretty damn cool.
It’s not everyday you get baseball writers of that stature praising your work. Still, at the end of the day, baseball reporting isn’t really my thing. It was Nick’s thing though. And he was great at it.
Much like he was great at making others around him at the ballpark feel like it wasn’t a blood-thirsty competition to be the first to report what sock Dustin Pedroia put on first.
The guy simply loved baseball. You can tell that just by reading him over the years. And the other reporters who were close to him, and his friends and family, have all told us much of the same over the past week.
Nick was one of the greats. And he will be truly missed.Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” at PodcastOne. Also available on iTunes, Spotify, and dannypicard.com. Subscribe to Danny’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/dannyp