Monday, December 08, 2003

So what do we do about Nomar? The whole notion of trading Manny Ramirez for Alex Rodriguez is predicated on the belief that Nomar Garciaparra doesn't want to play in Boston. Presumably, even the Red Sox can't afford to pay both Rodriguez, a shortstop and the best player in baseball, and Garciaparra, a shortstop and one of the best players in baseball.

Now Nomar has broken his silence, making it clear that he wants to stay here and that he's upset the Sox have been talking with the Rodriguez camp behind his back.

The Herald's Tony Massarotti has Nomar on the record. The Globe's Shira Springer has Garciaparra's agent, Arn Tellem.

This is quite a dilemma, isn't it? It's unimaginable that the Red Sox would end their pursuit of Rodriguez just to keep Garciaparra happy. The sad thing is that this may be more about management's understandable urge to dump Ramirez than anything to do with Nomar.

Would it be possible to trade Ramirez for Rodriguez, get Nomar to sign in the $11 million-to-$12 million range, and move him to third? Who knows? And even if Garciaparra were willing to settle for less money in order to stay here, the Sox would still be paying more than $30 million for two players -- nearly $50 million for three if you throw in Pedro Martínez's $17.5 million.

On the other hand, if the Rodriguez trade doesn't happen, then Manny stays here -- and his salary next year will be almost as high as Rodriguez's. And, of course, Nomar will stay, too.

So maybe there is a way to get Rodriguez, dump Ramirez, and keep Nomar.

Wouldn't that be something?

Fat free. Daniel Akst has a good piece in the Boston Globe Magazine on the obesity wars.

The ostensible subject -- legal responsibility and whether lawyers might successfully sue McDonald's, KFC, et al. -- isn't all that interesting. But the background information on the changing thinking regarding carbohydrates (once good, now bad) and fat (once bad, now less bad) is excellent.

And though I'm unsympathetic to the idea of some enterprising Clarence Darrow bringing down the fast-food industry, we nevertheless find ourselves in an unusual societal dilemma.

People are eating more fast food than ever before because they don't have time to cook. And fast food is almost uniformly unhealthy. As Akst notes, drive down a suburban strip, or walk around the food court at your local mall. Is there anywhere you can go where you can eat a reasonably healthy meal?

Subway's sales have rocketed since it began stressing healthy alternatives to grease and fries. Maybe some of the other chains will take notice.

More on Okrent's introduction. A couple of Media Log readers took issue with my observation that New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent should have gotten down to business yesterday rather than introducing himself to readers.

Marjorie Arons-Barron, president of Barron Associates Worldwide and former editorialist for WCVB-TV (Channel 5), writes:

Part of the problem with the public's attitude toward newspapers, and especially toward newspaper editorialists, is their anonymity. Many wonder "who the heck is he/she to tell me what to think?" As a broadcast editorialist, I was a real person for the Greater Boston area for two decades. People stopped me in the supermarket or at the gas station to sound off and dispute something I had said. And still there were those who undoubtedly thought "who the heck is she ... etc."

Those who don't know Dan Okrent might legitimately ask the same question. And, while you might say that writers like Jurkowitz can explain who he is, a column such as today's is a good opportunity for Okrent to benchmark his principles and give us standards against which to measure him. Wouldn't it be nice if the Globe or Herald editorial board occasionally did that?

Score one for transparency. But I'd still rather not have to wait until December 21 to find out what Okrent thinks of his new colleagues' work.

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