In a firmament of sports stars, he glowed
I was driving home Thursday, listening to the Sports Hub, when Tony Massarotti, sounding very emotional, announced he had some “heartbreaking news” from Florida. I assumed something terrible had happened to a Red Sox player. Had Dustin Pedroia sustained one more injury that had finally ended his illustrious career? Had free agent Craig Kimbrel signed with the dreaded Yankees? Such is the nature of our celebrity culture — it’s always about the stars. It never occurred to me that death had come to one of our most respected and beloved sportswriters.
I knew Nick Cafardo when we worked at The Patriot Ledger. The Ledger’s sports department was next to features, where I was the paper’s TV critic. Nick was such a decent guy — a real sweetheart — that all of us were thrilled when it turned out he was leaving us for the Globe. Contrary to the old saying, nice guys sometimes did finish first.
How ironic that Nick’s column Thursday (“Pearce, 35, breaking analytics mold”) was about aging ballplayers and how World Series MVP Steve Pearce was defying the baseball Gods and the logic of analytics departments that he was “over the hill” at 35. How sad that Nick Cafardo is gone at the relatively young age of 62. How sad for his many readers that we will no longer have the pleasure of reading his stories and delightful Sunday Notes column. What a loss for us all.
Terry Ann Knopf
As a budding Sox fan, she found his words must-reading
I began reading the sports section of this paper at age 8, after the Sox won the World Series in 2007. I had just started becoming the diehard fan I am now and figured I could learn more about the team by reading what the baseball writers thought. Bob Ryan, Amalie Benjamin, and Dan Shaughnessy soon became something like celebrities in our house, and each morning I’d be curious to see what they had to say.
However, my favorite reporter was — and still is — Nick Cafardo. His casual tone pulled me into his columns, his stances were unique, and he wasn’t afraid to criticize players or the organization. I didn’t agree with everything he wrote — in fact, I disagreed with his column this week about why the Sox are taking a risk without Craig Kimbrel this year. But I still appreciated Cafardo’s knowledge of the game, and I can say with confidence that his writing helped me shape my own views on baseball.
I’m devastated to hear of his death, but I’m heartened thinking he died in the comfort of Fenway South, while preparing for another season of baseball. Thank you for your writing, Nick Cafardo. Boston will miss you.
The writer is a first-year student at Northwestern University.