He [Mirabelli] said one thing, and I heard something else. I reported what I heard and what I honestly felt was said. Having talked with him today, there's no doubt in my mind that's not what he said [and] that's not what he meant. He explained why in the context of the sarcasm and the jabbing that goes on in the clubhouse, [and] that I understand. I took it as something serious, and it wasn't. ...Mirabelli, who initially said he had no idea who Thorne even was, described the initial incident:
I didn't say something I didn't believe. I would never do that. I feel bad the whole thing happened because I don't want to disparage him or Schilling or Terry or anybody else. I wasn't looking for a story. I didn't want something to come out of this. But when it came today, I was flabbergasted by it.
As he was walking away, [Thorne] asked me, 'How about the bloody sock?' And this was a year later, after the World Series. And he said that I said, 'Yeah, we got a lot of publicity out of that.' And that was it. That was all that he could recall me saying. And he said that he just assumed that's what I meant, that it was all a publicity stunt. By no means was that what I meant. ... It's hard to get that meaning out of those words he told me, but that's what he went with.(Jeff Goldberg has the entire text of Mirabelli's statement; Steven Krasner has more Thorne quotes.)
When you listen to what Thorne said on the air -- and especially how he said it -- his explanation makes no sense. He made no attempt to tell his audience that he had been speaking with Mirabelli; he presented Mirabelli's "confession" as if it had been widely reported long before last night and was common knowledge among all baseball fans.
For an experienced broadcaster like Thorne, who has done plenty of national broadcasts for ESPN, to think that (a) the sock incident had been exposed as a hoax or (b) he could toss off an unfounded accusation about such a famous incident -- and not have it become a big story -- well, he's got to be dumber than a blob of pine tar.
But what else could he say, really? Thorne could have offered what I think would have been an honest answer: that what he said was wrong, completely uncalled for, and totally unsupported by any evidence. But the logical follow-up question would have been a bit trickier to answer:
So why did you say it?and then
If Mirabelli told you this back in 2005 and you believed he was serious, why did you sit on this blockbuster of a story for two years before announcing it in the most ho-hum manner during the 5th inning of a mid-week broadcast in April?Thorne gave a pathetic excuse, one that comes nowhere near explaining what he said and how he said it. Obviously, he hopes this whole incident blows over and is forgotten in a week or so. It probably will, but he has to know he screwed up in a big way.
With any luck, perhaps all announcers will now realize they should stick a bit closer to the facts.