by Scott Benson

I didn’t know Dan Pires.

So it must be a measure of the man he was that I find myself oddly heartbroken here tonight, as I read through the tributes generously offered by many of his colleagues and friends in the wake of his sudden passing earlier today.

The New Bedford Standard Times first broke the sad news to its readers, and offered a guest book where those who were touched by his friendship could share their thoughts. Tom Curran, Bert Breer, Chris Gasper, Dave Heuschkel, Chris Price, Doug Flynn, Alan Segal, Michael Parente, Paul Perillo and Mark Farinella are just some of those from the Pats beat past and present who pay their respects.

Even still, they are vastly outnumbered by the mournful chorus of less familar names who – tellingly – seemed to know Dan as a dear friend and neighbor first, and a reporter second.

My friend Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch followed with a brief post on the news, and I challenge you to read through Shalise Manza Young’s thoughtful reflections in the comments section (as well as those of Ian Clark) without finding a lump in your throat.

Speaking of BSMW, I can’t help but think of Jon Couture, Dan’s colleague at the paper, who I’ve had the pleasure of (virtually) chatting with from time to time. Jon’s a thoroughly decent and heartfelt guy, and I know this dispiriting news has struck him hard today.

Elsewhere on the Internet, Ian Logue of also spread the word to members of his message board, as did the gang at It may say something about Dan that he often passed the time on fan forums, sharing his insight and enthusiasm for the team we all love. In an era when many of his colleagues seem to view the Internet with fear and loathing, Pires evidently embraced it, and tonight, many message boarders have dropped the usual cynicism and abject irreverence (and I mean that in the best possible way) to simply reflect on the loss of a man they came to consider as a friend.

It’s my hope that his wife and two children take some comfort in what appears to be a fundamental truth of his life; that their beloved husband and father was loved and respected and valued by so many.