BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Local in-game Analyst

Today we’re ending up the week looking at the best and worst of the in-game analysts here in Boston. These guys are there to give us insight and commentary about the game as it unfolds in front of them (and us). A good color analyst will tell you things you did not know, and might not have seen until you get a replay of what just happened. The great ones can also tell you ahead of time what is about to happen next.

What does the field look like here in Boston? Here are the results for the best in-game (color) analyst:

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Not too much of a surprise here. Hometown guy and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy has become a cult figure here in Boston, with his own website and line of merchandise. The adulation is well deserved as Remy does indeed oftentimes tells you what is going to happen just before it does take place. Remy took away 774 votes for 59% of the total. While he sometimes can get caught up in silliness and can spend way too much time talking about Wally the Green Monster, you do have to keep in mind that it is a long season, and there are games in which it is simply difficult to keep on focus because of a blowout. When the big moments of the game arise, Remy raises his game as well. While Remy was probably at the top of his game when working with Sean McDonough – no one could fill a blowout game like those two – he has developed a good relationship with Don Orsillo, though admittedly not on the level of what he had with McDonough.

Andy Brickley’s strong second place finish despite the dismal year the Bruins had is a testament to his skills and ability in the booth. Another native New Englander who also played professionally for the local team, Brickley provides very good analysis and insight on the Bruins telecasts on NESN. Brickley picked up 178 votes for 14% to just edge out the third place finisher, Gino Cappelletti of the WBCN Patriots radio broadcasts. Cappelletti might be just a tad past his prime, but is still a fan favorite and you’re glad he’s still in the booth with Gil Santos as those two have seen more Patriots football then perhaps anyone else alive.

Reader Comments: I threw Max a vote for best commentator here. The guy has evolved into one of the all-time funniest color guys I've ever heard—he knows the game inside and out and he is candid. Bonus points for never wavering on disliking Mark Blount…. I voted for Maxwell as the best. A great combo of funny and insightful. There's a reason The Sopranos chose to use the commentary from a Celtics game to use in their season opener. Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack…. I'm switching my vote to Max this year for several reasons. First, no one has worked harder at his job to get rid of the "ebonics" and deep southern accent problems that plagued him in his early years. Second, I find Max consistently funny (at least 2 or 3 laughs per game) and insightful at the same time. Finally, the "quacks" notwithstanding, Max is no homer. He is perfectly willing to point out the flaws of the C's, both in individuals and in the team as a whole. And—unlike the BC broadcast team—Max does not believe every foul was committed against the Celtics.

Now to the worst in this category:

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No one was deemed bad enough to be saddled with the worst label, which is good. Tommy Heinsohn may be a shameless homer and his screaming at the officials can get on some people’s nerves, but as someone who grew up listening to Johnny Most, Tommy has simply picked up the torch that Most handed to him. Broadcast partner Mike Gorman deserves a huge round of applause for his ability to balance Tommy’s act for sake of the viewers. Jerry Remy actually got 13% of the worst vote…likely from those who might feel that the “remdawg” has gotten overexposed the last few years.

Reader Comments: I would like to vote "none" on the second part, but ended up going with Bob Beers, just because I never liked him as a player…. As for worst, its Gino again for me. I love him like my own grandpa and respect his accomplishments but he adds bupkis to the broadcast… You know who's coming up fast for me on the "worst" side of the ledger? Jerry Remy. His constant pimping of his website is annoying and his popularity has made him lazy.

Monday: Boston Media’s Best Kept Secret

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst non-beat Sport Specific Writer

Today we’re going to check out a category with a name with might initially sound confusing. The non-beat, sport specific writers. These are writers who fall in between the role of a beat writer and a full fledged columnist. These writers usually focus on one specific sport, but are not the beat writers for their papers in their sport. They offer more opinion and analysis than do the beat writers, and their pieces are often mini-features. They usually compile the Sunday notes columns for their respective sports, going beyond the local teams and looking at the entire league.

These are some of the more controversial writers in town, probably because their roles are not clearly defined. Some expect them to be reporters focused on facts and events, like the beat writers, while some feel that since they’re practically columnists that their pieces are going to be filled with strong, polarizing opinion.

Here’s how the voting went for the best of this category:

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Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal was the top pick here, grabbing an impressive 46% of the total vote. McAdam has a reputation as a good reporter, who has his opinions, but is also usually very reasonable and even-keeled, even on the most volatile of subjects. McAdam also has national recognition with his work on the ESPN.com webpage. He is very visible, making the rounds of the various media outlets with regularity.

Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe placed second, getting 25% of the vote. Edes is another solid reporter, who generally provides solid, instructive and well-written analysis of not only the Red Sox, but also all of Major League Baseball. Edes has worked in several cities during his career, and this serves him well in terms of contacts around the game.

Reader Comment: I would have liked to have voted for Mark Blaudschun here. I think he fits into this category, and he's an easy winner over these guys in my eyes.

Now to the worst of this category:

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Ron Borges of the Globe picks up 710 votes for 51% of the total. He was the only writer to earn recognition in this category as the “no one” vote was the next highest amount with 18% of the vote.

Borges’ axes when it comes to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are well-documented. It’s unfortunate that this is what he is known for, as he is without question a solid reporter and gifted writer. He has sullied his own reputation with his dislike of how things are done down in Foxboro.

Reader Comments: Allow me to plug for Nickles Cafardo in the worst category. As detestable as Borges can be with his intentionally contrarian stance, Borges is worlds better than Cafardo when it comes to writing, reporting, and creativity. Cafardo is the laziest and deserves this award. You don't even have to read Cafardo's columns to know where they're going - ex-Bostonians, agents, nostalgia...over and over again.

Tomorrow: In-Game Color Analysts

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Sports Radio Host

Today’s category is a huge one…the Best and Worst radio host in Boston. Though Sports Radio has really grown nationwide over the last 10-15 years, it has taken off in Boston as nowhere else the last few years. At the center of each show is the host. They all have their own styles, some are confrontational, others cerebral, some cater to the lowest common denominator, while others do their best to manufacture drama on a daily basis to keep people coming back, like a soap opera.

Which styles work? Who is the best at running the show, keeping things lively and entertaining?

Here’s how you voted:

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Glenn Ordway was the winner, but not by as wide a margin as he probably would’ve liked. He picked up 287 votes and 20% of the total, but was challenged hard by a former protégé, Michael Felger who began hosting his very first radio show in the latter part of the year. Felger picked up 18% of the vote. Another surprise was Mike Adams with his third place showing, picking up 11%.

I haven’t totally figured out Ordway…some days I marvel at how he can fill a show with the likes of Steve Burton, Bill Burt, Larry Johnson and Butch Stearns, and still make it work rather smoothly. Other times, I think that Ordway purposely surrounds himself with “talent” of that ilk so as to make himself look all-wise and reasonable by comparison. Whatever he does, it works as shown by the record setting ratings success enjoyed by the station, and in particular his program. Who can argue with success?

Felger began his show making sure that he didn’t step on WEEI toes, not wanting to burn bridges, but did state that they would do some things a little differently. No “celebrity” callers. No talking for days on end about “Manny peeing in the wall”. They held to that for awhile, and still stick to a more traditional sports radio format…plenty of guests, mixed in with the callers, but occasionally Felger shows his roots of having trained at the feet of the master Ordway with manufactured drama and plot lines. Still, there’s a lot of promise there for the future.

I’m not sure what to say about Adams. I liked him over the years, but have been turned off as he has been indoctrinated into the WEEI style of angrily bashing certain players, particularly Manny Ramirez. His gag opening show, where he pretended to lock himself in the WEEI studios was memorable, but rather lame.

Reader Comments: I chose Felger as the best—I like very much how he has started on 890 and wish the signal was better….I went with Rotillo (Russillo) for “best” for his depth and breadth of knowledge and the enthusiasm he has for all sports…The best host is the currently underemployed Ryen Russillo. Felger is only as good as his co-host, which is not a criticism per se.

Now for the worst:

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Eddie Andelman, who only was on the air for about half the year, he still managed to leave enough of an impression on the minds of listeners to name him the worst sports radio host in Boston. Gerry Callahan tied him in terms of percentage (Both got 18%) but Andelman got a few more actual votes (268 to 261). It’s been a sad descent for the once-great Andelman, who was a real pioneer in the sports radio format. Andelman in his final days at WWZN was reduced to simply lashing out on old agendas (Bob Kraft, Red Sox Ownership) and bringing on the same old guests that he’s had for years. He recently started a new weekly show on WTKK 96.9 on Sunday nights and it’ll be interesting to see if the reduced schedule does him good.

I don’t think Gerry Callahan is deserving of election as the worst sports radio host. Sure, his viewpoints and attitudes can be maddening, but when it comes to sports, he’s better than most in town. Now Callahan’s partner in the morning, John Dennis, he is a guy who might be worthy of consideration in this category. He finished next, with 12% of the vote. Dennis is decent at leading the program in and out of breaks and around different segments. Content-wise, what exactly does he bring to the program? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Reader Comments: In spite of so many good candidates, John Dennis wins “worst” easily. He's everything a host and radio personality shouldn't be: pompous windbag; uninformed; bad interviewer. Finding out too much about his creepy personal life just tops it off….. Dennis and Ordway was basically a coin flip, but Dennis is slightly more execrable….The jowly, aging, racist frat boy [John Dennis] has neither depth nor breadth of knowledge, unless it's of last night's episode of 24.

Tomorrow: Non-beat Sport Specific Writers