Occasionally I get accused of only directing attention to the negative. In reality, even though this is a media watch/critic website, I do try not to get too caught up in just calling people out and harping on mistakes and agendas. Today, to mix things up, I decided to come up with a top ten list of people in the Boston sports media whose work I particularly enjoy. In doing so, I came to the realization that ten wasn’t really long enough, and I also have to stress that the list below is not in any particular order.
1) Tom E Curran
He’s got a terrific sense of humor, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and yet is still a very good reporter. Curran worked his way up from the bottom, originally writing for a newspaper on the Cape, while delivering the same papers in his car. He doesn’t get caught up in petty agendas and seems to get along with just about everyone. He even makes the Big Show worth listening to.
2) Greg Dickerson
Dickerson gets a bad rap from some, but I think it’s undeserved for the most part. He’s a guy who clearly enjoys sports and doing what he’s doing. He’s worked from doing radio in Worcester and on the weekends on WEEI, to working his way up over at FSN to become co-anchor of the nightly Sports Tonight program. Dickerson also has a sense of humor, and the ability to poke fun at himself. He generally doesn’t take controversial stands just to call attention to himself, although it seems he does draw the short straw during show prep from time to time.
3) Jackie MacMullan
A very good columnist, I wish we had more in the Globe from Jackie. Both in her column and on television, she’ll tell it like it is without resorting to unnecessary dramatics and hysterics. I appreciate that.
4) Bob Ryan
My admiration for Ryan is well documented on these pages, and while he has gotten carried away on occasion while on the air, (The Joumana Kidd episode stands out) his passion is not faked. His columns are always worth the read, and he should be recognized as the face of the Boston sports media.
5) Dale Arnold/Michael Holley
Some will say Holley is too milquetoast, while others will claim Arnold is little more than a Bruins toady. What both of them really are, however are rarities – nice guys in sports talk radio. In a genre filled with faux tough guys who have to yell and scream and be angry all the time, these two are a sharp contrast.
6) Mike Fine
A beat reporter for two teams (Red Sox, Celtics), Fine also contributes columns and other coverage for the Patriot Ledger. You don’t see him on TV or hear him on the radio all that much, and he probably prefers it that way. But as a guy who covered the Celtics during the Bird years, Fine has a wealth of sports knowledge and experience and it shows in his work. I’m always on the lookout for new stories from him.
7) Mike Gorman
A class act, Gorman has called Celtics games on TV for a quarter-century now. He is the ultimate professional and to me, the ideal team broadcaster. You know he wants the Celtics to win and do well, but still can remain objective and keep partner Tommy Heinsohn grounded. It’s almost a comfort to turn on a Celtics preseason game in October and see Gorman ready for another season courtside.
8) Bob Neumeier
I confess, I wasn’t always a Neumy fan. But the “voice of Bob Neumeier” on the whiner line changed all that for me. Now, every time I see Neumeier on television and hear him speak, that caller is all I can hear. It makes me smile without fail. He was also pretty good as a host on NESN and analyst on CBS4 Patriots pre and post game shows.
9) Michael Felger
Another choice that some might question. I like Felger because he’s on the ball when it comes to the Patriots, isn’t afraid to ask the tough question, and is willing to question the “established” media way of doing things. He probably won me over back in 2001-2002 when he would take on Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo on a weekly basis over the whole Brady/Bledsoe controversy. Sure, he’s got his annoyances, but to me, the positives outweigh the negative by a healthy margin, and I enjoy his reporting and radio show for the most part.
10) Shira Springer
Springer took a lot heat in some corners in her early days on the Celtics beat, but I think she’s grown into a fine reporter for the Globe. She works hard, is consistent and also doesn’t get caught up in agendas swirling around the media. She makes low-key radio and TV appearances and is informative in those sessions.