2011 Approval Ratings – Chris Gasper

Chris Gasper is an online columnist for Boston.com.

Gasper joined the Boston Globe in 2002, covering sports for the Globe North section. During his career he’s covered high school and college sports, as well as a healthy amount of time covering the Patriots. During the Mike Reiss years, he and Reiss were a very strong combination on the beat. He moved into the columnist role when Boston.com became more of a seperate entity from the Globe, though his columns still occasionally appear in the Globe.

Gasper can be seen and heard on many outlets, including Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The SportsHub (where he makes a nice balance to Felger and Massarotti as an in-studio guest on their show), the Patriots pregame shows on 98.5 and SportsCenter 5 OT.

Chris Gasper 2011 Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1105 Started: August 23, 2011 Back to Vote Screen

Sox Can’t Handle Texas Heat

The Red Sox were shut down by Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson last night as they fell to the Texas Rangers 4-0, dropping a full game behind the Yankees in the AL East.

Degree of difficulty – Peter Abraham has the Red Sox stifled by the Texas heat. Sean McAdam leads off the CSNNE.com game story feature.

Mike Napoli makes Red Sox pay – Last night’s big blast was  a three run homer from the Rangers’ DH – a player that Joe McDonald notes the Red Sox tried to claim off of waivers last season.

What we learned Monday night: Red Sox fans should remember the name ‘C.J. Wilson’ – Rob Bradford looks at a pitcher who has owned the Red Sox.

Don’t mess with Texas – John Tomase notes that avoiding a first-round matchup with the Rangers might be the biggest motivation to win the AL East.

Boiler Room: The Red Sox’ wild ride at the deadline to sign draftees – Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox scramble to sign draftees.

All’s now going wrong – Scott Lauber’s notebook has Josh Reddick slumping at the plate, and not getting a key call in the field last night, either. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Andrew Miller earning another start. The Red Sox Journal has Clay Buchholz encouraged about his back for the first time in a while. The CSNNE.com notes from McAdam have Erik Bedard getting saddled with a tough-luck loss.

WR Tyree Barnes chased pirates in Navy – Ron Borges has the Patriots hopeful recalling his time in the Navy chasing pirates off the coast of Mogadishu.

Haynesworth impossible to defend on, off the field – Gerry Callahan weighs in on the Haynesworth situation.

Can McCourty improve upon his Pro-Bowl rookie campaign? – Kevin McNamara has the second-year cornerback looking to build on an impressive first season.

Patriots: 5 have capitalized, 5 haven’t – Mike Reiss has five Patriots making the most of their training camp opportunity, and five who have not.

Patriots start to shift their focus from camp to regular season – Christopher Price has the Patriots moving from training camp mode to game plan mode.

No raining on Patriots’ parade – Chad Finn risks eternal alienation by his Globe/Boston.com colleagues by writing a positive column about the Patriots.

Wilfork has ‘moved forward’ – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has the Patriots defensive lineman moving on the from University of Miami scandal. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Logan Mankins looking for improvement from his offensive teammates. The Gatehouse notebook has Mankins impressed with what he’s seen from first round pick Nate Solder thus far.

2011 Approval Ratings – Rob Bradford

Rob Bradford is the Editor-In-Chief of WEEI.com and writes about the Red Sox for the website.

A native of Essex, Mass, Bradford graduated from Springfield College in 1992.

Bradford broke onto the Boston sports media scene with the Lowell Sun, followed by a stint at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune  from 2005 to 2007. He then moved to the Boston Herald, and then onto WEEI.com in July of 2008.

He was a regular on WEEI’s Big Show even before joining the company. He is still a presence on the airwaves, whether it is weekend programming or filling in during the week. He has also been seen on Comcast SportsNet’s Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight. You can follow him on Twitter at @Bradfo

Bradford has written two books,  Chasing Steinbrenner as well as Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within – a book co-authored with Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

Rob Bradford 2011 Approval Ratings
View Results

Sox Take Three Out Of Four In KC

The Red Sox wrapped up a four-game series in Kansas City yesterday afternoon with a 6-1 win behind Jon Lester. Darnell McDonald and Carl Crawford homered in the Red Sox decimated lineup, and Lester picked up his 13th win of the season.

Lester, Red Sox take series finale from Royals, 6-1 – Joe Haggerty has the CSNNE.com game story feature.

Under the microscope: Carl Crawford – John Tomase says that Crawford gets sad when people criticize him.

Why Erik Bedard might be a better fit in Boston than many imagined – Alex Speier notes that for all the media blabber that Bedard couldn’t handle the pressure of the Boston media or that he didn’t even like baseball that much, the lefty might just be a great fit here in Boston.

Red Sox have to show that they can compete in Texas – Tim Britton has the Red Sox with something to prove this week against the Rangers.

Having fun yet, Sox fans? – I’ve read Bill Burt’s column three times, and still can’t figure out what his point is. The Red Sox are beat up. They don’t look as good as their record. The Red Sox and Yankees have bought their way into the postseason. The Rays have been forced to rebuild. The Phillies are going to smoke everyone in the postseason.

Varitek gets up to speed – Peter Abraham has the Red Sox 39-year-old catcher picking up his first triple since 2007 yesterday. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Jarrod Saltalamacchia emerging as a reliable front-line catcher. The Red Sox Journal has Ryan Lavarnway working on his catching even while serving as DH. The CSNNE.com notes from Joe Haggerty have Daniel Bard putting up another solid outing.

Alleged groping may put Albert Haynesworth on sidelines – Laurel J. Sweet looks at the sex abuse trial for the new Patriot, which starts up this week.

For Pats, the richer the better – Mike Reiss looks at the seemingly stacked defensive line that the Patriots have built.

Patriots defense in a rush to get to QB – Karen Guregian has Bill Belichick finally unleashing the beast.

Patriots TE Yeatman sports credentials – Nicole Auerbach has a look at the former lacrosse star’s path to the NFL.

For one night at least, 32-year-old Carter was acting like a kid with the Patriots – Glen Farley has Andre Carter talking about his impressive performance against the Bucs.

Four years later, Garrett Mills back – Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots taking another look at their 2006 draft choice. The Patriots Journal has former Jet James Ihedigbo living a dream. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more from Carter.

The Friday Night Megalinks

I’ve been to Newton, MA and back, South Kingstown, RI and back and all over my hometown of North Kingstown, RI and all of this today. It’s time to do the megalinks and get them all done in one sitting.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment programming.

National

Sports Business Daily goes over the UFC/Fox agreement that will put four live MMA events on network TV and plenty of ancillary programming on Fox’s cable networks.

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that Fox Sports Media Group El Presidente Por Vida David Hill has done an about face on airing Mixed Martial Arts.

Sergio Non of USA Today writes that UFC will revamp its shows when they move from Spike and Versus to Fox’s networks.

Sergio has those who will take part in the first UFC on Fox card in November.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times writes in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center that the success of the UFC on Fox all depends on whether the sport can have a breakout star.

Dave Meltzer at Yahoo! says UFC President Dana White couldn’t be happier in making this deal with Fox.

Also from Yahoo!, Kevin Iole says it will be the fighters who will benefit the most from the new UFC on Fox contract.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser has Spike announcing that the new season of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter will be the last on its airwaves, naturally.

Anthony Crupi of Adweek looks into the particulars of the UFC on Fox deal.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that the Fox contract gives UFC some instant mainstream credibility.

There will be more UFC on Fox stories sprinkled throughout the megalinks. Let’s move on to other stories now.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wonders if Showtime’s “The Franchise” is bringing down the San Francisco Giants this season.

Georg Szalai of the Reporter reports that Comcast has withdrawn a lawsuit against DirecTV over an ad campaign for NFL Sunday Ticket.

David Goetzl of MediaPost notes that DirecTV plans to expand its fantasy offerings for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News looks at Versus/NBC Sports Network’s new exclusive NHL night in the first year of its new 10 year contract with the league.

Andrew McMains of Adweek looks at a new inspiring web video produced for the US Olympic Committee.

All Access says the ESPN Radio affiliate in Minnesota’s Twin Cities has chosen the hosts for its midday show.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy explores which teams won and lost in the new NHL TV schedules.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser writes that former voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Woody Durham, will be honored for his contributions to college football.

The Big Lead wonders if Jay Bilas is the most respected voice at ESPN.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid investigates how former 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell managed to appear to appear on the Dan Patrick Show and the Colin Cowherd Show at the same time.

And Tim presents the Atlanta Braves’ Shake Cam and how it can make fans a bit too excited.

Sports Media Watch says the U-20 World Cup is scoring for Galavision.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has a look at some interesting sports media typos.

Matt shows us how the Baseball Tonight crew had trouble demonstrating its new touchscreen.

Joe Favorito looks at what’s new with professional lacrosse.

Patrick Stafford of Smart Company in Australia speaks with the owner of Footytips.com about how he sold his site to ESPN.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the limited classic programming on NBA TV during the current league lockout can only take the channel so far.

Sox & Dawgs has the video of NESN’s Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy wearing chicken hats in the booth.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes on how regional sports networks have increasing power and money to be a game changer for some professional teams.

Richard looks at the UFC on Fox deal that puts Mixed Martial Arts into the mainstream.

Dan Levin from the Times has a good story on how some athletes in Communist China are trying to buck their archaic system.

Mark DeCambre of the New York Post notes that the new Meadowlands Stadium now will have a sponsor when the new NFL season begins.

Justin Terranova in the Post looks at how Fordham University was a training ground for several NYC announcers.

Justin has five questions for SNY Jets analyst Anthony Becht.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes about Fox signing UFC for seven years.

Pete says local sports anchor Andrew Catalon’s call of tonight’s Browns-Lions game will be seen on NFL Network this weekend.

Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says a local radio station will air a full high school football schedule.

Ken says the NBC Sports Group is increasing its commitment to horse racing this fall.

And Ken writes that a new local sports radio talk show will be debuting soon.

To Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record who says the New York Rangers will be featured extensively on the national NHL TV schedules.

Crossing Broad has the audio of Philadelphia’s sports radio station WIP announcement that it’s taking over WYSP’s FM frequency killing off a heritage rock station.

Dan Gross of the Philadelphia Daily News says ‘YSP staffers were melancholy about CBS Radio’s announcement killing off the station.

Jeff Wolfe of the Delaware County Times writes about WIP’s displacement of WYSP just as the rocker’s ratings were increasing.

Mike White in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says two local high school games hit the ESPN family of networks this fall.

Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette says the Penguins TV announcing crew will return for another season.

In the Baltimore Sun, David Zurawik explains where Ravens fans can find the team on TV and radio.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the Ravens did extremely well in the ratings in both Baltimore and Washington, DC in their NFL preseason opener.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with DC NFL Team radio voice Larry Michael.

And Jim writes that the Washington Capitals will have plenty of appearances on NBC/Versus (NBC Sports Network).

Mike Madden in the Washington City Paper says the local sports anchor is becoming a thing of the past.

Keith Loria of the Fairfax (VA) Times says native Lindsay Czarniak is about to make her debut on ESPN.

South

The Charleston (WV) Gazette notes that Root Sports Pittsburgh will carry some West Virginia and Marshall programming.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Bob Griese will be joining the Miami Dolphins radio broadcast team replacing the late Jim Mandich.

Andy Kent of the Miami Dolphins website has Griese’s thoughts about joining the broadcast team and also sharing thoughts about Mandich.

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times has some thoughts on the UFC/Fox deal, the Little League World Series on TV and CBS’ production of the PGA Championship.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel says Yahoo! Sports does a better job of investigating college sports than the NCAA.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that Saturday’s US National Gymnastics championships get a network primetime slot.

Mike Finger and Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News says the Longhorn Network hasn’t given up on airing high school football games in one form or another.

The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht looks at UFC getting a big payday from Fox.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer talks with NBC’s Cris Collinsworth who’s going into his third season as Sunday Night Football analyst.

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal now knows why DirecTV was so willing to give him a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket after learning that the service will be offered to Sony Playstation 3 owners.

The Grand Rapids (MI) Press’ Michael Zuidema notes that a Big Ten Network analyst feels Nebraska is a perfect fit for the conference.

Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is amazed at ESPN’s ever-expanding army of NFL analysts and mountain of NFL programming.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Scott Dochterman in the Iowa City Gazette says NFL Network has picked up Mediacom for cable subscribers in the Hawkeye State.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says it’s not known which network will air the October 15th contest between BYU and Oregon State.

Dick Harmon of the Deseret (UT) News speaks with BYUtv’s Executive Director in a lengthy interview. Part I of which is here. Read Part II here.

Larry Bohannan at the Desert (CA) Sun says there’s evidence of not much live golf shown in a PGA Tour telecast.

John Maffei of the North County Times weighs the pros and cons of airing the Little League World Series.

In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle looks at the contrasting opinions that John and Patrick McEnroe had on the state of American tennis on HBO’s Real Sports this week.

Jim explores the UFC on Fox deal.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times says Fox paid a pretty penny to get UFC into the fold.

Meg James of the Times also writes about the UFC on Fox deal.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says when it came down to it, Fox didn’t have much of a choice but to sign UFC.

Tom says one sidebar to the UFC on Fox deal is the fact that Fox Sports Radio will also air MMA events.

Tom writes that former Dodgers radio voice Ross Porter has found his latest gig, calling high school sports online.

Canada

The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin feels TSN Radio isn’t getting the job done.

The Winnipeg Free Press notes that the Jets will get 22 games aired on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

And the number of links today are hearken back to the first two years of this blog. Lots of links. That’s it.

Sports Media Musings: Barstool & WEEI, Grantland Issues, Twitter Fights

Beating the Dead Horse

You are probably sick of the David Portnoy controversy like you are sick of the unstable economy. It is what it is, right? Staties went to the infamous blogger’s home to ‘persuade’ him to take the photos down. He complied. And here we are, a week later. If you want to read my full take on the story (what it means for old media vs new media; how I feel about it) – click here.

Events like this provide residual backlash. And, to me, residual backlash is interesting. Portnoy claims Glenn Ordway ordered the masses to murder him. This is kind of like saying MTV ordered Justin Timberlake to disrobe Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl. In other words, it didn’t happen. And that’s fine. Propaganda is propaganda, which is propaganda.

Personally, I’m more interested how the whole issue was, in fact, perpetuated by WEEI. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how this all went down, but at the end of the day (Hey! Crutch Phrase!) the station’s continual scrutiny only added exposure to the ordeal.

The right move, of course, would have been to write-up a press release stating the station’s decision to disassociate from Portnoy. A quick and easy hit. Don’t forget the cannoli.

Instead, the airwaves were inundated with debate on the post. The discussion introduced a whole new segment of people (other then the “stoolies”) to the content. Maybe this is a result of how our new Twitter-centric world creates opportunity for PR situations to go awry. WEEI claimed the on-air debate had nothing to do with ratings – and you’ll call me Bruce Allen’s lackey, and that’s fine – but everything in radio is about ratings.

Ratings = Advertising Dollars = Job Security.

Beating the Dead(er?) Horse

And now onto our weekly edition of “Who’s Crapping on Grantland!?”. Seriously, not that I’m ever flippant, this is actually a great piece. The author lays out his admiration of Simmons (shows no agenda), points out the site’s key flaws, and offers solution.

The thing about ESPN is they know the ugly step-sister is getting eviscerated all over the Inter-webs. I think the company is pensive to reign in some of the power initially given to Bill Simmons in regards to his brain-child. This is probably because of his petulant attitude and proclivity to act like a diva.

In the inception, I defended the site. The transient operation was being treated like the Miami Heat because, well, they were the Miami Heat of blogs. Commentary from critics was specious considering the site had been around for all of 2 weeks.

I’m waiving the white flag now, though. Grantland seems to be all talent, but no flow. There is no direction. The common blemish – noted by many – is the site catering to what Bill Simmons likes rather than any real theme. (Or, maybe that is the theme?)

Bill Simmons is getting into soccer. There is a soccer column with Chris Ryan.

Bill Simmons likes bad movies. There is a Razzie Watch column.

Bill Simmons likes Vegas. Bill Barnwell is now doing a column from Sin City.

Bill Simmons likes professional wrestling. There is a professional wrestling column by David Shoemaker. (Who is originally from Deadspin, and by far is putting out the best work on Grantland.)

This could go on and on (and on).

I agree with the criticism Molly Lambert is there to provide a woman’s take in a misogynist world. This is evidenced by columns about Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, and finally Blake Lively. Yeah, those are all separate columns.

And the thing is — I like Molly Lambert. 

I, mostly, agree the main issue with Grantland is that 76% (an estimation) of the writers should have simply been brought on to supplement a revamped “Page 2″ on ESPN.com. Remember when Page 2 mattered? Remember when Whitlock, Simmons, and Hunter S. were the scribes?

This could have been that. Unfortunately, execs decided to cash-in on the “Sports Guy” brand and attach his name to the project. This didn’t help, it created a target.

I will say this: I’ve always defended Simmons. I think he is innovative (a weird thing to say about a guy who’s references are approaching the 25-year-old mark). I also like the “idea” of long-form journalism.

As I pointed out in my podcast with Grantland staff writer, Anna Clark, since when is ambition a bad thing? Does the site have a pretentious aura? Yes, yes it does. But I like the idea, the delivery just needs serious refinement. And, as much as I’d hate to concede, a better editor.

Twitter-Tiffs! Twitter-Tiffs!

If this segment of my “Mega Media Musings!” column existed a few weeks ago, I would have included this little exchange between Andy Gresh and Mike Giardi..

Youre a beast RT @MikeGiardi@GreshandZo Linemen always say that b/c they’ve got nothing else! And I’m a solid 165 lbs Skippy

This was Gresh going after Giardi after inciting the CSNNE reporter by saying he “brings nothing to the table.” That sparked a reaction from Giardi and the two went back and forth culminating in the tweet above. At one point Gresh quipped that Giardi was a “Ken” doll who frosted his tips, or something like that. It felt like an episode of the short-lived MTV show, Yo Momma!

This week, after Fred Toettcher attacked Tom Caron in jest on his radio show, Caron fired back with this gem:

@fredtoucher Fred would appreciate facial hair for Bruins Foundation. Must be upset that I beat him in BSMW’s approval ratings.

Fred responded asking inquiring what BSMW was. These exchanges, presumably, are all in good fun. I doubt any of these personalities would be obtuse enough to air out dirty laundry. Nonetheless, I find it entertaining.

Rebuttal To “This Just In”

By Steve Salhany

Note: Steve Salhany is a longtime friend of BSMW, a messageboard staple and baseball nut. He’s a mod at Sons of Sam Horn, but we don’t hold that against him.

It was with interest and an increasing sense of disbelief that I read George Cain’s guest column this morning. To say that I believe Mr. Cain’s column to be wrongheaded would be a massive understatement. I’ll address some of his points here.

To complain that the Red Sox are only 10-9 over their last 19 games is the height of overreaction. The 2004 World Champions had a 41-41 stretch during the course of that season. That’s right, the team widely regarded as the best in Red Sox history, the team that slew the mighty Yankees and the 105-win Cardinals in stirring fashion went fully half the season playing at a .500 pace. (May 1-Aug.1). The 2007 Red Sox, winners of the division title that Mr. Cain so preciously values, went only 28-26 over June and July of that season. There’s a reason that the cliché of it’s a marathon, not a sprint is so aptly applied to baseball: because it’s true. It’s a very long, very grueling season, and even the best teams are going to have down periods. The line between winning and losing is much finer in baseball than it is in other sports. Even the best teams lose around 35% of their games. It happens.

As for the misplaced anger directed towards a team roughly 30 games over .500 in August, that strikes me as just a wee tad over the top. Accusing Theo Epstein and Terry Francona of inadequately preparing for the rigors of the season, despite a track record of success unrivaled since they began working together in 2004, is completely preposterous and insulting to two of the finest baseball men in the game today. To think that any fan would know more about the state of preparedness of the team after spring training than the guys in charge of said team is patently absurd. I take particular issue with this statement by Mr. Cain:

“Of course, a team often takes on the temperament of its manager and front office. The Red Sox came out of Spring Training thoroughly unprepared for the start of the season. That led them to a 2-10 record and probably led to them being 8-1 against the Yankees to start the season. They had to start playing with a sense of urgency in May and June because they were on the outside looking in.”

Wait, what?

So their supposed “unpreparedness” led to them going 2-10 to start the year AND to kicking the ever-loving hell out of the Yankees later on? Oh wait, it’s because suddenly they started trying to win? What? It wasn’t because they started the year in a slump and then broke out of it because of all the talent on the team? Um, OK.

The venting by Mr. Cain directed towards the 24th and 25th players on the roster (McDonald and Morales) misses, I would submit, the entire point of roster construction. McDonald’s had all of 12 plate appearances this month, Morales has pitched 5.2 innings. These guys simply don’t play enough to make any huge contributions, positive or negative, to the fortunes of the team, and focusing on them blinds one to the bigger worries the team has. Worry about Lackey’s inability to get his season ERA under 6 (although he’s been pitching much better over the last month or so), worry about Gonzalez’ lack of power since the Home Run Derby if you must, worry about Crawford’s inability to hold up on pitches in the dirt. Don’t worry about the last two guys on the roster. They don’t make enough of a difference to do so.

As for home field advantage in the playoffs, of course it’s always nice to have. But looking at the team’s playoff appearances in the Epstein era, I’m not sure it’s made all that much of a difference. In 2003 the Sox won the ALDS against Oakland without home field advantage, and would have won the ALCS against the Yankees without it had they had a manager with the intelligence God gave a deer tick. The Sox won it all in 2004 without home field against the Angels and Yankees. In 2007 of course they had home field for all three rounds. In 2008 they didn’t have it against the Angels and won, and lost in 7 against Tampa without it. Of course the Rays won 2 out of the three games played at Fenway in that series while the teams split the four games played in Tampa, so it’s tough to say how much home field might have made a difference. A healthy Josh Beckett for that series would have made a bigger difference. What Mr. Cain seems to forget is that the 2007 Red Sox, division winners, rested some of their key players in September because they were worried about overwork, despite the fact that the Yankees had cut the divisional lead from 11.5 games all the way down to 1.5 on Sept. 19. In particular Okajima got two weeks off to rest up for the playoffs. How did that work out again?

There’s no question that the Red Sox are currently facing some concerning issues. Buchholz is likely out for the season, Ortiz is on the shelf, Youkilis is very banged up, and right now Andrew Miller, John Lackey and Tim Wakefield round out the rotation, and they aren’t exactly Palmer, Cueller, McNally and Dobson. But it remains a baseball truism that all teams have issues. The Yankees are betting that Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia don’t all implode simultaneously, while praying that AJ Burnett contracts hepatitis from his latest tattoo application. The Rangers, who Mr. Cain apparently is terrified of, are a very, very good team, but they’ve been outscored by the Red Sox despite playing in a hitter’s heaven of a ballpark. They are also relying on Endy “Spent all of 2010 in the minors” Chavez to be their everyday center fielder, which strikes me as a gamble.

In short, Mr. Cain, you’re not hearing a lot of current outrage from the media (and it bears noting we heard a ton of that during the 2-10 start) about the state of the Red Sox because they’re not deserving of said outrage. It’s the middle of August and the team has recovered from its bad start to be solidly locked into a playoff spot. While nothing’s settled yet, why should there be outrage over that?

Sox Offensive Slide Continues

Some fast links this morning, before a guest column rebuttal of yesterday’s guest column…

The Red Sox continued their mini-slide yesterday afternoon, falling to the Tampa Rays 4-0 at Fenway Park as the offense was again shut down. You know it was bad, but did you know this series was a historically bad one for the Boston bats?

The Patriots play their second preseason game tonight, traveling down to Tampa to take on the Bucs.

Pats Pregame Points: Preseason Two At Bucs – Chris Warner gets us ready on Patriots Daily with a few pregame points of interest.

Patriots hope to continue progress – Mike Reiss has some areas of interest for tonight.

Patriots regulars set to play – Ian Rapoport says that we should see at least some of the Patriots projected starters tonight.

New England looks for a plan – Dan Cagen has Bill Belichick still trying to figure out who his starters will be.

Putting the ‘Patriot Way’ in perspective – Tom E Curran seems to be responding to a ludicrious 98.5 promo that has Tony Massarotti and Mike Felger angrily screaming that the ‘Patriot Way’ is “condescending”, “arrogant” and “insulting.”

Bill Belichick’s Football Match.com Profile – Jerry Thornton tries to figure out the characteristic of the kind of players Bill Belichick looks for.

You Only Practice Twice – What’s the deal with Albert Haynesworth?

Westmoreland faces live pitching for first time since surgery – Tim Britton reports on the Red Sox prospect facing live pitching, with Theo Epstein stating that they hope to get him an at-bat by the end of the season.

Vaunted Boston lineup suddenly punchless – Eric Avidon has the look at the slumping Red Sox offense.

Red Sox Split With Rays, Fall To Second In AL East

The Red Sox sit a half-game behind the Yankees in the AL East this morning, after splitting a day-night doubleheader with the Tampa Rays yesterday 3-1 and 6-2.

The Red Sox turned a triple play in the nightcap, but their offense was stymied by Rays starter  Jeff Niemann. There are concerns about David Ortiz, as the slugger is in a walking boot with bursitis in his heel, though the club says there is no need to place him on the disable list at this time.

Sox settle for split with Rays – Brian MacPherson has the Red Sox getting the split despite managing only six hits combined in the two games. Eric Avidon also looks at the split decision from the Sox.

A reflection on the randomness and rarity of Red Sox triple play – Alex Speier with some interesting stuff on the triple play turned by the Sox and its place in team history. Nick Cafardo relates Dustin Pedroia’s role in the play.

Jon Lester gets into groove – Michael Silverman has Jon Lester getting better as the day went on in the first game.  

Red Sox offense showing some wear -Gordon Edes looks at the suddenly scuffling Red Sox bats.

Johnny not-so-rotten any more – Christopher Smith talks with Johnny Damon, who picks the Red Sox to beat out the Yankees for the division.

The ‘next Johnny Damon’ is making quite a name for himself – Rob Bradford has Jacoby Ellsbury continuing his amazing season.

Hobbled David Ortiz gets boot – John Tomase’s notebook looks at what’s ailing Ortiz. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has more on the DH. The Red Sox Journal has more on Ellsbury, while the CSNNE.com notes from Danny Picard look at the outing from Erik Bedard in the second game.

The whole country seems to be talking about the Yahoo! Sports report involving the University Of Miami football program, and benefits that were given to players. Vince Wilfork was named on the list, which bring a local angle to the story. I guess I’m a little confused here…are people actually surprised that this was happening at Miami of all places? It’s not like this was Ohio State or something. It’s Miami.

Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia Draws Laughs, Results From Linemen and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe has his weekly list of Patriots items.

Safety measures by Bill – Karen Guregian looks at the continued tinkering at safety by Bill Belichick, and what it could mean for Brandon Meriweather. Shalise Manza Young says that jobs are not a given for Meriweather and others, while Guregian also looks at second-year safety Sergio Brown who has been getting some reps ahead of Meriweather.

Gronkowski a rising sophomore – Dan Cagan  looks at whether we can expect improvements from the second year tight end.

Family business for Andre Carter – Ian Rapoport looks at the new defensive lineman, who I see playing a Willie McGinest-type role on this team.

Vollmer provides steadying influence at right tackle for Patriots – Christopher Price looks at the third-year tackle. Rapoport has Steve Maneri as a guy looking to follow the Vollmer model.

Corner is still rounding into form – Mark Farinella looks at whether Devin McCourty can improve on a spectacular rookie season.

Sign Welker now, or Pats will pay dearly – Hector Longo has been listening to too much Michael Felger.

Belichick, NFL at odds over new kickoff rule – The Globe notebook has the head coach expressing his displeasure over the rule changes involving kickoffs. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has more on the kickoff rules.

I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. For day-to-day coverage of the Patriots and the content that you get, the Boston Herald team of Rapoport and Guregian is the best 1-2 on the beat. Every day they’re putting out multiple worthwhile stories and reports, whereas other papers/outlets might do one or two stories and a notebook, the Herald will almost always have 4-5 stories and a notebook. They generally don’t talk/complain about media access, or the unwillingness of certain people to help them with the jobs, they just go down there and cover the team, and do it well. It should be recognized.

There are plenty of good writers on the Patriots beat, and this isn’t meant to slight any of them. I’m just saying that if you are a Patriots fan, and happen to go and pick up a paper (people still do this?) your best choice for getting the most for your money is going to come from the Herald.

An Open Letter To Glenn Ordway

With the Red Sox off last night, (playing a doubleheader today) I’m taking this opportunity to respond to some comments made by Glenn Ordway on WEEI yesterday afternoon.

Dear Glenn,

It was with interest that I listened to your comments yesterday afternoon, regarding “those media websites”  and the things that were stated on “them” about The Big Show and WEEI’s extended discussion of the pictures posted by Barstool Sports last week of Tom Brady’s young son.

I can only assume you were talking about this site, and my comments. I haven’t seen much on all those other “media websites” about the topic. In fact, I don’t know of many other sports “media websites” in the Boston area, period, although at least one other blog seems to agree with me.

Let me clear some things up for you. You seemed to insinuate that the criticism here of you and your station was simply because you were condemning the posting of the pictures and the commentary that went with them. If that is what you really think, I fear for your comprehension level. To the contrary, I actually agree with you that the posting of the pictures was a bad idea, and irresponsible.

What WEEI should have done, in my opinion, was condemn David Portnoy for the incident, release a statement that he would no longer be appearing on the station, and then drop the subject. Instead, WEEI went pretty much wall-to-wall with the topic, stirring things up, getting people agitated, driving more traffic to the posts of the pictures, and generally benefiting Barstool Sports with the added attention. It has even resulted in Portnoy making an appearance on the Howard Stern show. You can largely thank yourself for this. Instead of appearing on WEEI, now Portnoy got to go on the national Stern show. Well done.

Had WEEI just condemned and moved on, would this story have gotten as much attention as it did? While plenty of other media outlets did pick up on the story, there is no doubt that WEEI’s incessant banging of the drum increased the visibility of the story.

I heard you state that the extended discussion of the topic had nothing to do with ratings. That is a boldface lie. Everything done at WEEI is for ratings. Are you claiming that this was some sort of selfless public service you were performing here?

The way I see it, you knew this was going to be a slow day for the show in the ratings with the Patriots pregame show starting on 98.5 FM at 4:00 pm that afternoon. You saw this topic, and jumped aboard in hopes of drawing people in. It is a hot-button topic no doubt about it. I’ve gotten people posting comments on this site claiming that I must be a member of NAMBLA because of my post last week about your take on things. People are fired up, one way or the other about this, and you knew they would be.  You couldn’t compete with 98.5 just talking about the Patriots, you needed another hot topic to discuss, and this was practically spoon-fed to you. So you jumped on it, hoping for the ratings (and attention) boost. It worked, as evidenced by this post, and the one I made last week, as well as the attention from other people talking about your discussion.

I also heard you reference comments made on Portnoy’s website, and saying that “even the stoolies” were turning against him. Again the insinuation seemed to be that you believed you were being criticized simply for condemning the actions of Barstool, and used this as an example to show how everyone thought this was a bad idea, trying to muddy the waters and further indicate that I was hammering you simply for being critical of the pictures being posted. 

You are aware of course, that just because someone posts a comment on a website it doesn’t mean that they “belong” to that site? I’m guessing that a lot of people making those comments were not hard-core “stoolies,” but rather “drive-by” visitors, likely brought there after hearing you talk about the site. While some of the so-called “stoolies” no doubt did disagree with the posting of the photos, you can’t take comments from Barstool as ironclad evidence of that.

Finally, you made a comments along the lines of “these media websites have an agenda, they hate WEEI, and that’s fine, they’re welcome to go somewhere else.” That’s the type of arrogant comment that WEEI hosts could make in the past. Now? You are aware of how the ratings have been going, right? Keep pushing people away, and the ratings will continue to drop like a stone.

As far as “hating” WEEI, that’s an easy generalization to make. Anyone who is critical of the great multiple-Marconi-Award-nominated Glenn Ordway must simply be a hater, right? I’m pretty sure I must be doing a pretty good job here, because I’ve had supporters and staffers at both sports radio stations convinced that I hate their station and have an agenda against them, and are in the bag for the other station. A Tweet not too long ago accused me of being a “WEEI fanboy.”  On the other hand, I get angry Tweets and creepy Facebook messages from your buddy Mikey Adams telling me to keep sucking up to Felger. (That’s the edited, family-rated version.)

The funny thing is, that growing up in NH, Glenn, you were someone I admired greatly. We didn’t get many of the Celtics telecasts on TV, so I listened to every game on the radio that you and Johnny Most did. Those are some of my fondest, and earliest sports media memories. To get to this point, where the word “hate” is being tossed around, saddens me.

My hope Glenn, is that this letter clears up any confusion you may have had over what I was actually criticising you for last week, and to ensure you that I am not supporting or defending the actions of Barstool Sports in any way, shape or form. I do believe however, that you are responsible for bringing even more attention to this matter than it deserved, and exposed those pictures to even more people than would’ve seen them had you simply condemned and moved on.

Repeat after me – condemn and move on.

Sincerely,

Bruce Allen
Bostonsportsmedia.com