Worst Boston Sports Column Nominees

Last week, I asked for your help in coming up with some of the worst Boston sports columns of recent memory. 100 comments later, we’ve got quite a pool to choose from.

Here are some of the ones you mentioned:

Dan Shaughnessy from January 10th, 1999 – “As the Jets take off, let’s get on board – Foes have familiar faces” In this column, just two seasons removed from Bill Parcells leaving the Patriots, and a year after Parcells took Curtis Martin from New England with a “poison pill” contract, Shaughnessy tells Patriots fans they should root for the Jets in the playoffs.

Jackie MacMullan from September 26th, 2006 – Body betrays a mental slump – reading Tom Brady’s Body language.

Bob Halloran, date unknown. Unfortunately don’t have a link for this one, This one was actually on ESPN.com and this was in the height of the Brady/Bledsoe debate, and Halloran compared Brady to a sneeze guard at a buffet.

The infamous Ron Borges draft analysis of 2001…you know the one:

“On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson..they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon.”

Sadly, Borges can’t even blame Mike Sando for that one.

Jim Donaldson, May 6, 2005 – Ainge Code may be hard to decipher. Yikes.

Michael Muldoon (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune) Feb 5th, 2008 – Time for classless Belichick to eat some humble pie.

Dan Shaughnessy, June 10th, 2008: Smoke and mirrors – Red takes me through his looking glass

Ron Borges, January 20th, 2002 – Ruling Keeps It From Being A Just Win, Baby. Quotes from Ben Dreith about how bad Walt Coleman’s “tuck rule” call was.

Tony Massarotti –  March 16th, 2009 – The Bostonian’s guide to sports injuries

Bob Halloran – Coach is Not the Saint He was Portrayed to Be – “He took the feel-good story of the autistic high school basketball team manager, who came into the game and kept hitting 3-pointer after 3-pointer, and decided to play contrarian by viciously ripping the coach.”

Kevin Mannix – Boston Herald, 09/05/04 – the “Consumer Fraud” article.

Will McDonough, Feb 16th, 1997 – “An Inside Look At Parcells-kraft Here’s How They Came To The Breaking Point In A Tumultuous Year.” The one that starts with “This is my story and I’m sticking to it because I lived it and know it is right.”

Shaughnessy pretends to be Curt Schilling: Famous guest blogs in – Given ‘invite,’ Schilling issues direct answers  March 25th, 2007.

Shaughnessy’s one-mile per day column, Jan 6th, 2003.

Tony Massarotti, June 2nd, 2006: Hey fake fans: Make like Damon and leave. Contrast that with his column last year about New England being “the official home of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups.”

Shaughnessy, Oct 20, 2004: Now wait just a minute: Series still must be won. “The Curse isn’t over until I say it is, dammit!”

The sad thing, we’re still not even scratching the surface here.

(Yes, there have been plenty of GOOD sports columns too, we’ll discuss those in a future session here.)

So here are 20 nominees for the worst Boston sports column in recent memory:

Worst Boston Sports Column
View Results
  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    The Borgie column is funny now b/c Seymour is one of his guys on the team.

  • NASCL

    Tony Maz on Real Fans: “Disapprove!”

    Bruins playoff strips on sale Thursday.

    Oh wait, wrong poll.

  • Tiff

    It is so hard to vote. All of these deserve some sort of “credit”. Was Borges’ plagiarized article not nominated? : )

  • jk

    All of the backlash columns about how Tom Brady’s body language revealed nothing should be here, not MacMullen pointing it out. Brady plainly was acting differently, with open frustration, and indeed got his sucky receiving corps replaced by all-stars the following season. It was all the wimpy homers who said otherwise. MacMullen should be up for best column, not worst.

    • sam the butcher

      I suppose all of the reporters who wrote about the “body language” have degrees in psychology, and have gone through extensive training with the FBI or CIA regarding how to read body language.

    • http://www.umpbump.com Sarah Green

      jk, I’m with you. I actually enjoyed that column. I would rather have an intelligently written column on a soft topic than a downright stupid column written on a “hard” topic.

      Too bad Murray Chass is not eligible for this contest.

  • Mike

    How about the Michael Gee column during the Pats winning streak that they should lose a game to take pressure off during the playoffs?

  • Rick Mc

    How about the Michael Gee column during the Pats winning streak that they should lose a game to take pressure off during the playoffs?

    That wasn’t even what made the column so bad. He argued that if the Pats kept winning, it made them more likely to lose the following game because no team wins that many in a row. A colossally stupid and ignorant argument.

    My vote is for Shank is Schilling column. As an attempt at parody it was widely off the mark, without any similarities to 38 Pitches. It was disingenuous, manipulative, mean spirited bile.

  • Classless

    I have to campaign for either column written by Jim Donaldson. I implore anyone who hasn’t read them to read them. It’s journalism at it’s most ignorant nadir.

  • Tony

    As much as Borges, to me, represents everything that’s wrong with modern-day journalism, I’m surprised to see his 2001 post-draft article with such a huge lead here. In Borges’ defense, almost EVERY local pundit, including the dim-witted Butch Stearns, cried for three days about the Pats not taking Terrell “to give Drew Bledsoe some help”–even though their 5-11 season the previous year was clearly a product of bad defense more than anything else. Sure, Borges was typically snarky in that article, because he simply has to be snarky when it comes to his arch-enemy Belichick, but he’s written several other hit pieces about BB and the Pats’ organization that were much more pointless and clueless than that particular post-draft piece.

    Among the nominess that made the Top 20, I’m totally shocked that Will McDonough’s “me, myself and I” rip-job of Bob Kraft during the Parcells/Kraft affair has only garnered a few votes. That was an example of the worst possible kind of journalism. It should be ranked much higher. Perhaps the fact that it’s a 12-year old story is holding the votes down on that one.

    • http://jimdawsonsports.com Jim Dawson

      While I agree that Will McDonough’s column was one of the first examples of the writer forgetting that he shouldn’t be part of the story, it was must reading at the time because of the principals – Kraft, Parcells and McDonough himself. It helped explain what went wrong with the team.

  • http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com Suldog

    I’d love to cast a vote, but I’d like to be able to review all of the entries. Well, I wouldn’t “like” to review them, but I feel it would be the honorable thing to do. could you give us links to all (as available, of course)? Specifically, I don’t recall the Ryan column and would love to see it.

  • jk

    The McDonough piece is definitely horrifying in terms of journalistic ethics, but as a column per se, it’s pretty fascinating and still educational. If the category here was “worst columnist,” he should win with flying colors. He shouldn’t have been part of his own story/column–but he was, and there’s something to that. The horrible parts are mostly background, unpublished, etc. Contrast with the likes of Shaughnessy, who simply do nothing except mindless hack-jobs…

    • Tony

      I think the worst part of the McDonough column was that it was clearly another one in a long line of his attempts to publicly support one of his pals, in this case, Parcells, at the expense of somebody who “done him wrong”, in that case, Kraft.

      It was a constant theme with Will the Shill’s stuff, especially in the latter part of his life. John Harrington, Parcells, Jeremy Jacobs, etc….they could do no wrong, and everyone criticizing them were the bad guys in McDonough’s eyes.

      But you’re right, for what it’s worth, the column in question from 1997 was truly a fascinating read.

      • BSF34

        In the end, Harrington did do him wrong by leaving Will out of the loop when the Red Sox was sold. That’s where the “bag job” column came from.

        I remember the Sports Final show the Sunday night after Will’s funeral, Lobel and CHB were sharing stories about him. When the subject of McDonough’s column about the sale (and Will being left out of the loop by Harrington) came up, Lobel said that he talked to Will after his article was published and Will told him this: “I protected that SOB (Harrington) for years and this is how he repays me?”

        • Tony

          “I protected that SOB (Harrington) for years and this is how he repays me?”

          Wow, I either forgot that show or I didn’t see it–but that sentence pretty much sums up what Will the Shill was all about, especially in his final years…..not a journalist, but a “buddy” and “protector” to the people he liked, and a scourge upon the people he didn’t like.

  • Paul

    I think it has to be Holloran ripping the autistic kid’s coach. Say what you want about Borges, he has harbored a grudge against the Pats for years, but his column is only bad in retrospect. Halloran, meanwhile, had all the facts at his fingertips and still wrote his terribly misinformed piece of trash. Simply the most outrageous, off the mark column of the bunch.

  • Steve

    Shaughnessy’s column about Schilling’s blog is hilarious! It’s a pretty accurate depiction because I have many friends who are exactly like that.

  • AK

    This poll should allow for multiple pics. I can’t vote for just one. Can’t do it!

  • http://www.patriotsdaily.com Dan

    Bruce,
    Here’s the Halloran “sneeze guard” column:
    http://espn.go.com/page2/s/halloran/020127.html

  • Steve

    I just read Bob Halloran’s “sneeze guard” column for the first time. Two points I’ll make about it:

    1. Bledsoe did not turn out to be a Hall of Famer and Brady will be.

    2. Bledsoe did not have the benefit of a signal-stealing system that Brady had for years.

    S

    • Tony

      Point 1 makes sense; Point 2 is insane, since the myths about the “benefits” the Patriots derived from taping signals have long ago been exploded by rational, thinking people, like the good folks at Scouts, Inc. (not to mention Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan, and Dick Vermeil, to name just three Super Bowl-winning coaches who all said that it was no big deal, and that they had done similar things).

      I hope you’re not serious about Point 2.

      • BSF34

        Someone on the board made a point about comment #2…

        “Yeah he(Bledsoe)did, and he went 5-13 with it”….lol

  • Scott

    Plus, all those different offensive systems. Thirteen in seven years! He never got a chance!

  • John Tomase

    What about my article about the sypgate tapes a day before the Superbowl?

  • http://www.umpbump.com Sarah Green

    John, that doesn’t count – the original post pointed out that as a “news” story, it could not be eligible for worst “column.”

    • Bruce

      Thank you for pointing that out.

  • Fred West Lynn

    I also find I’m at a Sophie’s Choice when it comes to voting, but I respect the process and, like the Dude, I will abide.

    But one suggestion, since they’re now deceased, can we give Big Willie and PMOW “Lifetime Achievement” awards?

    Oh, Borges still walks among the living? Sorry. Just Will and Lobel then.

  • Nopointe

    I can’t choose between those, they’re all “winners”