The Media obsession with Manny

The Media obsession with Manny Ramirez continues. The lynchmob is gathering. The charges are being spouted everywhere. No desire, Prima donna, doesn’t hustle, selfish, not a team guy, lazy. The radio guys are all worked up over it, the TV guys too. Bob Rodgers on NESN Sportsdesk this morning chuckles as he provides “your Manny update”. Michael Holley is a voice of reason. He observes:

“Now his methodical return from the minors is supposed to be more proof that Manny is a slacker. What’s closer to the truth is that Ramirez probably returned too early from his injury. He began playing Triple A games when he still should have been taking batting practice. As his Pawtucket average proves, his timing is a mess. People want him to come back and help the Red Sox when he can’t even help the PawSox.”

Raise your hand if you just *knew* Shaughnessy would soft-shoe the John Henry Williams story. Of course he does. JHW has provided Dan with access to Ted, and fed him scoops on his dad’s health.

Bill Griffith and Jim Baker both remember Jack Buck, and look forward to the weekend. Griffith has the names of some local figures who are nominated for ESPY awards in the upcoming July 10 ceremony.

OK…I realize that the Celtics do not have a first round pick. But is anyone trying to find if they’ve been working out any players? Perhaps a foreigner to take a flyer on, or some player with an injury (Sam Clancy) or troubled past (Lee Benson) who might slip down to them at #50?

FOX25 has Red Sox/Dodgers at 10:00. (ATT3 Western Mass) TBS has Braves/White Sox at 7:30. ESPN Classic has a George Steinbrenner SportsCentury bio at 8:00 and 11:00. Reviews of this feature have said that it is far too positive about him and doesn’t give proper attention to the dark side of George. Much of the weekends programming on ESPN will be devoted to women’s sports in honor of Title IX.

Tomorrow’s Sox game is the Fox National Game, and will be on 25 at 3:00. NESN will also have the Pawtucket game at 6:00.

Sunday’s Dodgers/Sox game will be on NESN at 4:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Cubs at 8:00.

Sign that this National League

Sign that this National League baseball is different to me. I flipped on the NESN broadcast of the Sox game and in the middle of the play that was going on said to myself, “Who’s that # 45 laying down that sacrifice bunt?”

FSNE “NE Sports Tonight” had Ozone from WRKO, who said he’d put money on there being no baseball come the middle of August. They debated Manny (again) as well as John Henry Williams. Gary Tanguay wondered if it is time to panic about the Sox. (That was one of the leads for the show) He said he didn’t know if the team could recover from this funk.

WWZN also had Mike Port

WWZN also had Mike Port on today. The main focus was the John Henry Williams topic. Port took the high road again, though he did say that he “did a double-take” when he first found out about it. He’s hoping that Williams is entering into this seriously and not just for kicks and attention. He reiterated that this was done out of the high regard for Ted Williama and all he’s done for the franchise. He brought up the same story he used on WEEI about the Raiders tight end who wanted to try baseball. Manny is expected back on Tuesday. He suspects someone has talked to Manny about the headfirst slide, but that in the heat of competition, the instincts take over and he could still likely do the headfirst slide. He also said some players have a fear of the feetfirst slide after seeing some break ankles sliding into bases. Sanchez should be ready after the All Star break. They’re talking to a lot of clubs about trades, they’ll see what happens. As regards the team slump, again, he team has faced a lot of good pitching and some guys are pressing now. Pedro’s situation does factor into their trade talks, they always look for starting pitching first. Again made the crack about the MLB offices still looking into the Clemens/Bonds situation.

Bob Lobel called in to admit he knew something about this. Williams had hired a personal trainer a year ago and bought a $25,000.00 pitching machine that he’s been working on for a year now. He first heard about it last winter and he dismissed it as rediculous.

Todays show is Steve Burton as host, Mike Dowling of channel 5 and Hall of Famer Kevin Paul Dupont. Thoughts…Burton would be better off on WEEI. He’s got the piercing, bombastic, mocking tone down perfect to fit in there. Doesn’t quite fit with WWZN’s “kinder gentler sports talk radio” image that they’re “raising the bar” for.

WEEI’s Dale & Neumy managed

WEEI’s Dale & Neumy managed to scare up a few guests on their midday show today. They had Pawtucket Manager Buddy Bailey on to discuss Manny. (What else) Manny will DH tonight in Scranton, not play tomorrow, but come to the park early, workout, do batting practice and outfield drills and then fly back to Boston. He’ll get checked out here. He will play in the Pawtucket games Saturday, Sunday and Monday. (Red Sox are off Monday) He’ll be joining the Red Sox for sure on Tuesday. Neumeier told Bailey to pass the message along that the fans are clamoring for his return to the big club. Bailey was asked about reliever Jeff Wallace, the team has to make a decision on the lefty today as his rehab assignment has ended. They’re considering either bringing him up to majors or optioning him back to Pawtucket. He’s improved lately, basically because the pitching coach found that he was gripping the ball too tightly and it was messing with his control. They then asked him which players on the PawSox roster could potentially help the Red Sox, Buddy pretty much through his whole roster and named them and almost each of them was “playing well”…not too much detail given. He mentioned right-hander Wayne Gomes who had 19 saves for the Phillies in ’99. Bailey talks to Little and Port at least once or twice everyday. Both Dale & Neumy felt much better after talking to Bailey, that the decision is being made by Little and Port along with Bailey. Manny of course has the ultimate say in matters, he’s the one who can say how the finger feels. He DH’d last night because of the artificial turf on the field. There is some swelling with the finger, which is to be expected but not really pain.

They also had Bob Nightingale of Baseball Weekly on, who despite Bud Selig saying that the owners want Steroid testing, says the owners do not want it. If there’s no offense, people aren’t going to come to the ballpark, and they don’t want to risk losing stars. They talked some about Luis Castillo of the Marlins who has the 33 games hitting streak. Castillo apparently is a Manny-like character who sometimes as a switch hitter wears the wrong helmet to the plate, loses his glove between innings and doesn’t know who all his teammates are. He thinks Derek Lowe should be the AL starting pitcher in the All Star game, over Clemens and Garcia of the Mariners. Amazing turnaround, Nightingale said, sort of the opposite of the Dodgers Gagne, who went from so-so starter last year to lights out closer this year. He doesn’t think the players will set any strike date before September 16…that way they only lose one paycheck. There were rumblings among the players during the last work stoppage that they lost too many paychecks striking in August. None of the players really want to strike this year, the ones he’s talked to don’t want to strike at all. The players aren’t about to give up three, four or five paychecks.

Finally, they had Sox GM Mike Port. They told him too that Bailey made them feel better. Neumeier questioned Manny only playing 5 or 6 innings each night. Manny went 14 innings last night, and had a number of at-bats and they weren’t that good of quality. They’re examining things on a day-to-day basis. On the longer end of things they’re looking at Tuesday for him to rejoin the team. Dale talked about things always changing, because they really need him. Port said players vary from player to player as to how long they need to return, but it’s always a moving thing, it’s a day by day deal, but they’re approaching the end of the trail. Neumeier said fans were afraid that this is just another case of the team kissing the feet of the superstar and inmates are running the asylum. Port said he understand, and wish they could say this is what is going the happen, but you just can’t do that. Again, he said, we’re in the home stretch of this thing. On the John Henry Williams thing, it was done out of respect for Ted. The club was approached a number of days ago with the interest from John Henry Williams and the ownership thought given the association of Ted Williams with the Red Sox that they would see where this would go. Port talked about working out a football player a number of years ago, great athlete, but couldn’t hit faster than a batting practice fastball. He again said this was something down out of respect for Ted Williams. He doesn’t think it came directly from Ted. Some listeners had e-mailed about the younger Williams lack of skills from college. Port diplomatically pointed out that some players develop late. Some not drafted out of high school get to become high draft picks after college. On to Jeff Wallace, he’s rounding into form and given the need for left handed pitching, he will be “kept in the inventory” either the big club or Pawtucket. As for the hitting, the club has faced some great pitching in interleague play with the Diamondbacks and Braves, and some guys might be pressing and trying to do too much. Asked if he had heard from MLB about Castillo, Port wryly stated that he think they’re still busy investigating Roger Clemens for hitting Bonds. Asked about deadline trades, he said the first priority is always starting pitching.

So The Kid’s kid wants

So The Kid’s kid wants to play for the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti scooped everyone by reporting in the Herald today about the probability of John Henry Williams, 34 in August, signing a minor league deal with the Sox in the next couple days. How weird is that.

Just as quickly, Massarotti falls back to the pack with his continued jabs at Manny. Today, he says that Grady Little and Buddy Bailey are liars. He says they’re covering for Ramirez. What does he base this on? His own eyes? Tony is an San Diego, with the Red Sox, yet he knows exactly every detail of what is going on in Pawtucket and now Syracuse. Pretty magical to be in both places at once. He continues his article by listing all the players who complained about being left in the minors too long. When they were doing that, Massarotti and others in town would rip them for complaining. Does he want Ramirez now to whine and complain and ask to be brought up? I’ll take Manny when he’s ready to play. It’s still only been 5 weeks since the injury, and Dr. Morgan stated at the time that it would likely be 6 weeks before he was ready to return. By these standards, Manny is ahead of the game.

Jackie MacMullan’s headline writer must’ve been trying to tease the readers by the title of her article, which indicated an in-depth comparision between Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. In reality, there’s very little of that. Much of the article is composed of quotes from Charles Barkley about Tiger. Michael Holley with an interesting mini-feature on Johnny Damon. By the way, if you’re interested in some of the details about Holley leaving the Globe, moving to Chicago and then coming back a couple months later, here’s an article from that time period with some details. Check out John Morlori’s latest “Media Blitz” column in which he reaffirms that FSNE’s “New England Sports Tonight” is merely Sports Radio on TV.

In other events, I should have an original article of my own on here in the next day or two. Any reader with a legal background who might be able to provide some tips on copyright and libel laws, please zip me an e-mail…

NESN has Red Sox/Padres at 10:00. TBS has Tigers/Braves at 7:30. ESPN Classic is showing a 1985 NCAA tournament game between Boston College and Duke at 9:00.

Saddened to hear of the

Saddened to hear of the passing of the St. Louis Cardinals legendary announcer Jack Buck last night. Buck, who was born in Holyoke, MA, was one of the last surviving announcers from the glory baseball days of the 1950’s. Ernie Harwell, who is retiring this year from the Tigers booth is another. If it is at all possible for you to listen to a Harwell broadcast at some point this year, do it. It’s a glimpse into the past. Just two days before his death, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a story on Sunday, Fathers Day about Jack Buck and his son Joe. It’s worth a read.

Bob Ryan hops on his high horse and tells us if you’re not into the World Cup, you cannot call yourself a sports fan. He will NOT argue this. A rousing, passionate piece by Ryan. Scott Miller on CBS Sportsline.com has a feature on Grady Little — His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Over the weekend, the North County Times in San Diego had a feature on “Larry the Legend“. Nope, not Bird, Lucchino. There are a lot of quotes from all the San Diego/Boston connections. From last week…an immense feature in the Washington Post on Michael Jordan. This has nothing to do with Boston or Boston Media, (except of course to ask why don’t our papers do features like this) but there are some fascinating snippets in here, such as Jordan calling rookie Kwame Brown “You [expletive] flaming faggot”. Wow. Brown was in tears on several occasions last season.

NESN has Red Sox/Padres at 10:00. The game will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. ESPN has the afternoon matchup of the Rangers and Cubs at 2:15 and Cardinals/Angels at 7:00. As a warmup to the Red Sox game you could check out ESPN Classic at 9:00 tonight which will have a show on the Celtics dynasty. At 1:00 this afternoon, ESPN also has a Sports Century on Albert Belle, of all people. Should be no shortage of entertainment in that feature. WWZN will have John McEnroe in studio this afternoon on the McDonough group.

Slight change for the “young

Slight change for the “young guns” on WWZN this afternoon, Giardi got called in at NECN and will not be hosting this afternoon. Dave Jageler will be the host. He’s young too, (Younger than Giardi actually) so maybe it can work out.

Dale and Neumy had pretty much a show full of hockey. Slow day in sports, so they turn to what they know best. With the Bruins announcing that Terry O’Reilly’s number 24 will be retired, that was a major topic for the show, memories of him, by callers and the hosts. Ray Bourque was a guest saying how firmly he believes O’Reilly’s number should be up there. Arnold and Neumeier also both talked about how wonderful all hockey players are (except for a very few jerks) they’re all friendly and considerate and kind and gracious etc etc etc. When having to interview athletes from other sports, especially the Red Sox, Neumeier said how they would ignore him, or give a flimsy excuse and that he said “and that’s just arrogance that’s what it is, pretentious, is what it is…” I wish Bob could hear just how whiny and yes, arrogant he sounded saying that. (Picture the Cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz saying that line, that’s what it sounded like) In the last segment, O’Reilly himself was on the show. He was very humble, saying that perhaps his banner should be hung slightly lower than those of Bourque, Orr, etc. He said he can’t even consider what it will be like to coach for the Rangers (He was just hired as an assistant this week) against the Bruins at the Fleet.

On the Big Show, it’s started out like a repeat of yesterday’s show. Arguing over the impact the World Cup is having. Pete Sheppard either has no idea how ratings numbers work, or he’s just playing stupid to make an argument for the show.

John Donovan on CNNSI has yet another article focusing on the Red Sox great start and this a new year, a new team and yet their fans fear a collapse. How original.

Papers bland again with the

Papers bland again with the off day yesterday. I’ll say it again…papers need to plan for days like these and have some features lined up. Sports radio suffers as well. They resort to starting arguments to generate calls and support. Yesterday’s big show consisted mostly of cross-fire about the popularity of the World Cup Soccer matches. Would they get big ratings if they weren’t shown in the middle of the night? Ordway says no one is interested, if they were shown in prime time, the matches still would not be watched here. Felger and Larry Johnson argue that they would. Back and forth, back and forth, talk louder, talk over the other people when you’re losing the argument…the usual. This morning on D&C…more golf talk…Tiger better than Jack in his prime? If Mickelson played in the ’60’s and ’70’s would he have beaten Jack…D&C yelling at each other…can only take so much of this…

The poll on the page now is there for a little direction for this site. I’m slowly working on adding more to the site, to make it even more of a one stop shopping for what’s being said in the Boston Sports Media and some possibilities are listed in the poll. I would like to get a couple feature type articles a week on here, a more in-depth look at the issues of the week and personalities on the air and in print. I will have a feature with reader questions and feedback as well. Keep the e-mail coming, it’s great to get it all. Your thoughts, observations and criticism are very useful. I’m already developing “moles” that will further add to the value and readability of the site. Ok enough about that…

Thankfully, things will pick up in the sports world today. WWZN has a show this afternoon that promises to be a bit different from the usual Sports Talk radio scene that Boston area listeners have gotten used to over the years. Instead of the middle-aged or aging hosts that we’ve heard a million times and know where they’re going to take a topic, WWZN will have Mike Giardi, Bill Simmons and Michael Smith on from 3-7. Giardi will host the show for Sean McDonough, and as Simmons told me, the show will be a “tour de force”. The three of them are much younger than the other hosts in the market and can provide a voice closer to the fans who have come of age in the ’90’s. Giardi has promise as a host, though I think he occasionally falls into the “host must be negative to generate calls” mindset, which is the staple of the older hosts. (Last Friday as host of the show with Borges and Cafardo, Giardi said he thinks the Pats will be 8-8 and miss the playoffs this year…a good portion of the show was spent with Borges and Giardi putting down the Pats.) Eddie Andelman has a football Tuesday show today from 12-3 look for plenty of Patriots talk.

Mike Felger continued the Manny-bashing on NE Sports Tonight on FSNE yesterday. Greg Dickerson took him on head-to-head and challenged his canned statements about Manny. Felger even made the totally preposterous comparison of Manny resembling Terry Glenn as far as team chemistry and disruption. He used the stories about Manny asking to be put on the DL last year as his fodder for his arguments. Dickerson countered nicely with the testimony about Manny’s work ethic with his teammates and the Pawtucket players. Meanwhile Tom Curran and Gary Tanguay sat to the side and observed the fireworks.

A friend of mine asked if Dan Shaughnessy’s article today was serious. Well, he does mix in some interesting historical information with some ideas of his own…but the underlying topic is the one that should be of concern…it’s now well chronicled and circulated that the new Red Sox owners need to raise cash. With the success of the Father’s day festivities at Fenway, they’re going to explore other ways to use the park to raise money. These new owners have done some good things, made some needed changes, but if in the end, the Red Sox product suffers because the owners don’t have enough funds to compete with the like of the Yankees, then how is the sale, which was alleged to be rigged by Bud Selig, going to be viewed in Boston? All in all, not a bad effort by Dan. No bitter, personal attacks in there, no curse nonsense.

Bill Reynolds says we’re living in glory days for sports. Peter King yesterday ranked all 32 NFL team offseasons. Patriots were in at number nine for the moves they made. Looks like King will be on vacation up until the week training camps start, around July 22. Bill Simmons says the Tiger story isn’t really conducive to writing great articles.

FOX25 has Red Sox/Padres tonight at 10:00. (ATT3 in Western Mass) TBS has Braves and Tigers at 7:30. Also, on ESPN’s “Mohr Sports” at 8:00, Paul Pierce will be one of the guests. If you’ve got HBO, be sure to check out the show tonight ”:03 From Gold.” tonight at 10:00. If you’re not familiar with this story, I strongly encourage you to check it out. If you were heated over the NBA playoff officiating and “Conspiracy Theories”, the Kings/Lakers thing has nothing on this USA-USSR Gold medal match in 1972. Bob Ryan is among those interviewed on the show.

U.S. Open talk dominating the

U.S. Open talk dominating the radio waves today. Pretty bland stuff overall. There was a little baseball talk mixed in, mostly about Derek Lowe and his new role as stopper. On WEEI, Ordway is confident the streaming audio will be back on sometime soon. Their website says no solution is anticipated this week, but it could be very soon. Michael Felger calls WEEI “bush league” for not having Internet Streaming and that it is a “joke”. He says WEEI cannot call itself big-time without it. Well, that might be true, but WFAN in New York and WIP in Philly don’t have internet streaming either. Word from Brighton is that WEEI is considering several pay for listen packages from $5 or $10 a month or perhaps $20 per year are being tossed around. The fact that WEEI hasn’t altered it’s homepage to remove the “listen live” link indicates that they believe the link may be active again in the near future.

Antoine Walker was on WWZN with Eddie and Ron Borges. Walker stated that the Celtics would not have gotten swept in the finals. He thinks they matched up better with the Lakers than the Nets did. This whole year was a learning experience for them. He especially learned the difference in the playoffs and that first playoff game with the crowd standing almost all the way through and going nuts, it was just a “wild atmosphere”. Antoine said that the team really needs off-season improvements from Kedrick Brown and Joe Forte, he has taken them around everywhere, been hanging out with them getting them ready. He expects Kedrick to make an impact next season and if he does, the team will be improved as well. Alot depends on him. As for Forte, he needs to makes changes, figure out if he’s going to be a better one or two guard. Antoine said hopefully he can make the transition to a point guard. He just needs to find his niche in the league. He’s got a lot of talent. He said Pitino is much better suited as a college coach.

After he hung up, Borges made the sincere-sounding comment: “Good guy there”. Rather un-Borges like.

Brad Faxon came on with

Brad Faxon came on with D&C this morning to do a little post-U.S. Open wrapup. Doesn’t seem to be much admiration for Tiger as a person among his colleagues. Talking about Phil Mickelson, Faxon talked about what a great guy he is, he’s friendly and “He’s a human being” said Faxon, “unlike our champion here.” He talked about Tiger’s girlfriend, who used to be a nanny for one of the golfers on tour, and that she used to be real friendly and nice, and now she doesn’t talk to anyone anymore. Tiger’s camp walks around like they have blinders on, they don’t talk to anyone. “Maybe that’s what they think they need to do” Faxon said. Ya think…? Meanwhile Faxon and Greg Norman who were paired up, were tossing balls to the crowd and hamming it up and finished 66th and 59th, respectively. Since Faxon is a buddy of D&C, he wasn’t questioned about perhaps paying a bit more attention to his game like Tiger does. Faxon also mentioned about how Tiger had such a big gallery that they would trample down the rough and fairways for him and make his shots easier. He said that was a complaint by several players, Garcia being one of them.

Steve Buckley piles onto Manny a bit more. He says: “Manny caused much hand-wringing among Red Sox fans when he decided to begin rehabilitating his fractured finger from a wicker chair in South Beach.” and also “At this rate, Ramirez is a lock to be participating in Trot Nixon Bobblehead Night, slated for Saturday, Aug. 10, at McCoy.” Oh this stuff makes great copy. Any “hand-wringing” has been caused by journalists who can’t get Manny to talk to them, so they continue to ridicule and rip him in their writing.

Joe McDonald in the Providence Journal has a better take on Manny: “I’ll tell you what,” said Pawtucket pitcher Jamie Brewington. “His approach to the game is unbelievable. He’s here early and he does his work, and like Buddy [Bailey] said, hopefully guys can see that and take that and say that’s what it takes to be successful.” and then “the work ethic they have feasted their eyes on has woken them up.” A totally shocking article by Jim Donaldson, applauds Manny’s leadership and his actions with kids on Saturday. (Did Donaldson read the remarks here Friday and decide to change his act? Naah)

A bare night on the sports viewing scene. ESPN has Jimy Williams and the Astros playing the Brewers tonight at 8:00. ESPN2 has College World Series action at 8:00.