Sox Ready To Get Back To Work

The Red Sox begin the post-All Star break portion of their schedule tonight in Tampa as they begin a weekend series with the Rays.

David Ortiz received a four-game suspension from the league as a result of his role in a bench-clearing ruckus with the Baltimore Orioles. Ortiz plans to appeal the suspension and play this weekend in Tampa.

With the Sox yet to play, things are still fairly slow on the sports pages. Today, we’ll look at a few sports media columns, some baseball stuff, and a thought or two.

First, it seems I need to clarify a couple of paragraphs from the other day. I wrote:

Speaking of Jeter’s absence, I found it funny that in the past, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez had skipped All Star games, and the furor from the media was fierce. In 2006 when Manny skipped, Buster Olney said that his name should never again appear on an All Star ballot.

Derek Jeter is “mentally exhausted” from his quest for 3000 hits, and that’s why he stayed home from last night’s game. No problem at all from anyone. He’s Derek Jeter. I’m not a Derek Jeter basher, and this is not a shot at him, it’s a shot at the double-standards employed by so many in the media toward their favorite sons.

I’ve received quite a bit of feedback regarding the mention of Buster Olney. In retrospect, I made it appear that I was singling him out for letting Jeter off the hook while being harsh towards Manny Ramirez for doing the same thing. I was only attempting to use what Olney said about Manny as an example of the things that were being said on a national level at that time, not insinuating that Olney was letting Jeter skate. Olney in fact, has been pretty critical of Jeter not making an appearance at the All Star game (though he hasn’t called for his name never to appear on an All Star ballot again).

I probably just should’ve used the quote, perhaps without attributing it to Olney, or been more verbose and specific in my views on this. Either way, my intention was not to imply that Olney was being hypocritical in the two cases. (To clarify even more, since I apparently am incapable of making myself coherent on this topic, my scorn was more aimed at the likes of Tim McCarver and the other Jeter fanboys in the media. I do know that he’s gotten some amount of critism, but no one to my knowledge has called for Jeter to never be allowed to be on the All Star ballot ever again.)

Now, let’s get down to what’s happening today:

How Can WEEI Bounce Back After Ratings Slip? - My SBNation Boston Media column looks at what has gone wrong for WEEI, and what things they can do to get back on top of the ratings war.

The Cup spilleth over - Chad Finn’s media column has Jason Wolfe predictably downplaying the significance of the 98.5 win.

Jessica Heslam posts a nasty memo signed by Entercom boss Julie Kahn and several WEEI-AM (850) personalities, including John Dennis and Michael Holley, from last summer, in which WEEI accuses WBZ-FM of  a “patently false misinformation campaign in an effort to discredit our ratings supremacy in the Boston market.

Sports Media Musings: Taking Stock in Finn’s Column, Grading Gary Tanguay, Dismissing Andy Gresh - Ryan Hadfield (who is going to get some time here on BSMW in the near future) weighs in with an epic amount of thoughts and notes on the Boston sports media scene.

ESPN has changed British Open coverage for the better  - Bill Doyle’s media column looks at ESPN’s coverage of The Open Championship.

Fife delivering after changes – Monique Walker’s Minor League notebook has updates on several Red Sox prospects.

Minor-league talent gives Sox options and roster problems – Brian MacPherson says that the depth of the Red Sox system will make it hard to protect all their prospects in the Rule V draft this winter.

Under studies – Nicole Auerbach has a pair of Australian brothers learning the game while playing for the Lowell Spinners.

Kevin Youkilis again a hidden gem among stars – Michael Silverman has Kevin Youkilis managing to be overlooked while still producing.

Five keys for the Red Sox’ second half – Sean McAdam has a few things that need to work out for the Red Sox in the second half of the season. Kirk Minihane also cranks out five storylines for the second half of the season.

  • JohnnyApps

    Bruce,

    I'd hardly say Jeter's gotten a free pass on his skipping the all star game. Jeter's gotten criticized fairly harshly on ESPN and on ESPN radio and other radio shows I've listened to this week in the DC area. Baseball Tonight has also talked at nauseam on the Jeter subject… as well as all the other players who have skipped out.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Can we get over the Jeter thing now, please? I seriously think no one in the Boston market gives half a damn about Derek Jeter or whether or not he was in the All-Star game.

    • tl;dr

      Amen!

  • NutCracker

    Hey Bruce – Are my eyes going bad or has the font changed on the site? I like the clean look.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

      It is different. I\’ve been trying to clean things up in the code behind the site for a while now. There will be some bugs, I\’m sure, but I\’ll be tweaking things for a while here.

  • latetodinner

    I am finding the coverage of the NFL labor dispute to be hysterical. Maybe another story, either national or local, can be written that says "if, maybe, could be, should be, hedging, not saying for certain, seems to be, might be, or making progress without a definitive agreement". Nothing like watching "experts" say with certainty that MAYBE there will be an agreement.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      "We have agreed, in principal, that an agreement could potentially be agreed upon in principal with additional agreements. In principal."

  • the dude

    Something is different here and I like it.

    • tl;dr

      Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  • nickfaldos18pars

    Put all the links back up please.I was about to go to awful announcing for today's voting,now i have to type out the http.Such a hassle.Big show's biggest mistake was to much,Fred & Steve,LJ,Fred & Steve,Butch Stearns,Fred & Steve,Ron Borges,Fred & St………..errm you get it

  • mandb97

    Chad Finn had another one of his fine chats at Boston.com. The radio wars were a major topic. Here are a few of the highlights:

    1) Finn talked about his interview with Jason Wolfe who publicly is saying that the Bruins is the only reason why 98.5 won the ratings. Finn said that the Bruins are part of it but believes that the arrogance that WEEI treated some listeners also has plenty to do with it. If someone complained EEI took the attitude of, "tough, were #1". Finn also said that D&C has been dishonest in their commentary of the ratings in the past.

    2) For the first time, Finn shed some light on why Pete Sheppard was let go from WEEI. (By the way Sheppard's show on Hurricane Radio has already been cancelled.) Finn said that Sheppard did burn some bridges at WEEI. He started to get full of himself which agitated Ordway. He also did some things not related to job performance that bothered Entercom. This, of course, flies in the face of what Ordway said when Sheppard was let go. If you remember, Ordway said that the economy was to blame. Also, listeners wanted to know why Ordway, who was about to sign his big contract, did not give some of his earnings to Sheppard, to keep him on. Ordway said simply, "It does not work that way." Now we know the truth.

    3) Finn said the summer book better look a lot better on October 4. Jeff Brown, who has moved from Entercom in Portland, OR to Boston, to "assist" Julie Kahn, will be taking stock on everything that is going on.

    4) It seems like there is not a lot that WEEI can do because of the big on-air contracts, but I could definitely be wrong. Finn said that there may be an out in Ordway's contract if his ratings are poor for a certain period.

    5) Like 99% of the population, Finn thinks Mike Adams sucks.

    Here is Finn's Boston.com chat:
    http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-14/sports/2977

    • etak

      "It does not work that way."

      Well, in his defense, it really doesn't.

      …did some things not related to job performance that bothered Entercom.

      Got drunk and obnoxious once too often? Grated on Ordway's wife? Made fun of Dale once too often? (No, wait, /that/ can't be it.)

    • latetodinner

      Thanks for pointing this chat out mandb…

      What we learned is that WEEI's management, Glen Ordway and most of the people who report on media in this town were either full of poop when they said Pete was let go for financial reasons or they were not doing their jobs when they accepted this explanation. Some of us thought the story was as fishy as Roger taking B-12 shots.

    • Jason_Coyote

      Interesting to read Finn offering a few glimpses behind Sheppard's EEI dismissal. That he was full of himself and bothered co-workers might have been the result of an increase in his gambling and drinking vices (which could've also led to Pete's divorce). Until Sheppard is able to land another significant sports media job, it's hard not to think these habits also led to his most recent demise on Hurricane Radio.

      • mandb97

        Whoa Jason, you sir have added some stuff that I had no idea about on Sheppard. I did know about the gambling. Sheppard was pretty open about it. I had no idea about the boozing and divorce though.

        • Winning

          I recall multiple references on WEEI after Pete was let go that he was playing alot of poker (pokerstars, foxwoods, etc) who knows what effect that had.

  • Harry

    What makes you automatically believe Chad Finn? He is a WEEI hater if I've ever read one. I seriously doubt that anyone at WEEI is confiding in him. I think he's just making it up. Of course this forum seems to be a group of WEEI haters so I guess it would be easy to beloieve what you want to hear.

    • mandb97

      Harry, there is no other way to put it than you are full of baloney. Finn has said before that WEEI has been far more helpful when needing information on ratings then Mike Thomas at 98.5. Harry, you have been asked before, what has Finn said that is not truthful? When he wrote his LCD column a couple of years ago he was correct in every aspect. I'll summarize for you.

      1) He said D&C talked politics way too much. check

      2) He said one of the hosts, Dennis, asked elongated, irrelevant questions for no other reason then to show how smart he is. check

      3) He said the Big Show had a host who continually shouted over callers and guests. check

      4)He put guests on that listeners had grown tired of like Johnson, Smerlas and Burton. check

      5) Ordway continued to put callers on who would say one dumb thing after another for the soul purpose of making the host sound smart. check

      6) Mike Adams sucks. check

      7) He did not criticize D&H. Why, because the show was good.

      The article came out a few moths before The Sports Hub started up. WEEI had a chance to listen and get things right. Instead the network spent the whole day following the article ridiculing Finn. It took only two years for 98.5 to overtake WEEI in the ratings. Now WEEI is panicking and so far have made three significant changes which have all failed miserably. Wolfe and Kahn dumped D&H, put Holley on the Big Show where he has been made an afterthought because Ordway still believes the show still is his only, and put Mike Adams on the Big Show to supposedly just do the Flash but has too much inane input.

      As far as people hating WEEI, it's true, because the programming stinks and the changes made have only made it worse and the network talked down to their critics. Believe me, if the programming improves on 850, I'm listening. Do you think I want to listen to Felger and Maz? No. Do I listen to the show more? Yes, because The Big Show has become completely unlistenable. I don't particularly like T&R but I see why a lot of people do. It is much lighter then the "get off my lawn" twins at WEEI. Let's not forget arguably the absolutely worst personality in the market in Gresh.

      WEEI has put themselves in a huge hole and they are going to have work incredibly hard to get back on top. The problem is that it may take possibly years for them to do so.

      • Jason_Coyote

        It'll never happen mandb, but now that EEI has aligned themselves with ESPN Radio, station mgmt should admit their prior mistake and pay up to give Ryen Rusillo a 4-7 afternoon show originating from Bristol (since he's already working 2-4 on the SVP show). A show like that would also have the potential for great guests.

        • mandb97

          I agree Jason, if Rusillo does not get his own show at ESPN, I could see him at 98.5 before ever going to WEEI.

        • latetodinner

          I can't see him at either place. I don't see 98.5 putting him on middays and they aren't changing Felger & Mazz or T&R any time soon. As for WEEI, I also don't see that. Quite frankly I don't see where all this man love for Rusillo comes from. His ESPN work is adequate. His work on the old 1510 was nothing great. His claim to fame as best I can tell is that John Dennis hates him. That does not make him a good radio person. I am not saying that Rusillo would fail, I am saying you would have to team him with someone good, and you would have to get lucky. To me he still sounds like a fill-in when he is on the air at ESPN Radio. I am not convinced he is any better than Amy Lawrence and she was a disaster when she was teamed with John Coletto on the old WSKO in Providence.

        • mandb97

          Well agree to disagree on this one late. Rusillo is one of the most prepared broadcasters around. In fact, if SVP, who I like, left and Rusillo took his place, I would be listening to his show all the time. He does not need to yell to prove a point like Felger or Ordway. In fact, if he were to replace Ordway he would eventually take away number one from F&M. Why, because Rusillo is actually knowledgeable about sports while F&M are just blowhards with little intelligence about any of the sports they cover including hockey for Felger and Baseball for Maz.

        • latetodinner

          I am totally missing it. A lot of goods at ESPN look well prepared and knowledgeable on the Air…the aforementioned Amy Lawrence who is as dumb as a post and about as interesting, Stuart Scott, heck ESPN made Keith Olbermann look sane, organized and insightful. My point is the producers and researchers there make all the on air people look good whether it is radio or TV. I do admit to not listening to him that often now that he is on ESPN due to schedules. However when i do listen and hear him he does not seem any better or worse than the other multitudes of smug Bristolites…. with the exception of Chuck Wilson who always brings it. Like I said, pair him with someone interesting and I will be happy to give him a chance but I don't think a Rusillo show would be instantly better than a Dale Arnold Show, a Bob Ryan show, a Mike Lupica show (I know he is a New Yorker but I think he is great), or a Sean McAdam/Tom Curran show. He would have to bring his A game and prove it to me. By the way…I never thought he was that good on 1510 not that anyone listened…and so I think his reputation always has been inflated because of John Dennis' reaction. Its okay that we disagree occasionally…otherwise there would be no horse races and I enjoy an afternoon watching the ponies wearing a stupid hat.

  • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

    Keep in mind that "Harry" is really "Eddie", "Jack", "Jerry", "Phil". "Georgie", "Freddy" and a few other names…

    • BSF34

      I'm guessing all of them have an Entercom IP address

    • mandb97

      LOL, I completely forgot Bruce. Thanks. :-)

  • NHlistener

    In the morning, Comcast airs reruns of Sports blah blah that is all available on-demand. Why not simulcast T+R? Or, even better, if NESN is so generous with those 3 hours (why is it 3 not 4?) go over to T+R. No clue what the demos are there, but I happen to be home and keep this or M+M on in the morning. With how much garbage ESPN injects in with all the ads, I tend to switch away quite often.