Sports Media Musings: Shank’s Big Day, Twitter Nonsense, Watney Moving?, ESPN Book to Big Screen

Oh Danny-boy

I have never been one to kill a columnist. No matter how zany their take is, I’ll really let a writer reach before calling them a hack. Mainly because as a columnist you are asked to provoke thought and debate on the reg – and that is easier said then done. I give the same rope to sports radio hosts. Producing discussion 4 hours everyday is recipe for common criticisms I’ve alluded to before: “Throwing crap against the wall”; “Playing Contrarian”; “Calling someone a P***Y” (nevermind, there is no excuse for that).

Anyway, with that preamble laid across the table, I found Dan Shaughnessy’s front page column in the Boston Globe yesterday repulsive. I’m not a Shank killer like most. Mainly because of the aforementioned leeway. But this was the hackiest of the hack.

The column, I guess, was supposed to outline the dichotomy between media and player. And by dichotomy, I mean the general feeling of hate between the two entities. The motivation behind writing this column was Chad Ochocinco’s group hug with the media Saturday in Boston. Though, I got the sentiment Shank has had this one in his back pocket for quite some time.

He spends an inordinate amount of time detailing locker-room instances where fights nearly broke out, or (in Will McDonough’s case) did break out. Of course, he documents Carl Everett’s infamous “Curly-Haired-Boyfriend” line — sarcastically quipping that the maniacal outfielder may have just wanted to embrace him.

The whole thing came across as self-serving. The media has shown trepidation in regards to the Ochocinco move, citing his vibrant personality clashing with the Patriot way. It appears Ochocinco is doing all the right things on the field, and also maintaining his personable attitude. So Shank takes the opportunity to reminisce on how refreshing it is to have a player that just wants to hug it out? I didn’t need an oral history on media/athlete drama, especially being recounted by someone who has been known to perpetuate the acrimonious relationship.

The column was supposed to be a humorous take. I get it. I should have been on page two or three of the sports section, instead this was the FRONT PAGE featured piece. Meanwhile, Greg Bedard’s breakdown of the 4-3 versus the 3-4 below Shank’s rambling was a much better lead.

Voyeurism Through Social Media

I’ve read somewhere, I forget where, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Well, apparently following beat writers on Twitter can lead to insanity.

In today’s Twitter-Camera-Phone-Now-Nowww-Nowwww!! world, mediums can get diluted with nonsense or regurgitation. Every time there is a Patriots press conference I’m hit with what I like to call the “Tweecho”. The term’s definition is when two reporters tweet the exact same quote or news less than within 3 minutes of one another.

It can be a nuisance.

In fact, looking at my Twitter timeline you would think I’m a masochist. I only have myself to blame, though. I follow every Patriots beat writer in town, and as Twitter-Fiend Ian Rapoport will tell you, it’s their job to disseminate relevant information.

I’ve written this before, and I think it holds water, I always picture reporters as glorified sleuths waiting to pounce and break the next “big story.” I guess the upshot is they get to excitedly claim, “FIRST!!”, like they are a YouTube commentator.

My question is: Who cares? I don’t care if Tom E. Curran (who I really like) or Rapoport (ditto) breaks a story, much less is the first to thumb away and tweet Matt Light says he is happy to be back in New England.

I get that satisfaction in terms of trades, injuries, or signings (especially in this frenetic free-agent period), but every tidbit isn’t journalistic gold.

So I plead – everyone simmer down, put the cell phones down, and write up a quick blog post detailing the transcripts for me.

This Is Definitely Happening

Jason McIntyre, founder of the popular blog The Big Lead,  speculated NESN sideline reporter Heidi Watney is going national in his media roundup.

Why is NESN’s Heidi Watney pictured here? I don’t know … because one photo of Eric Mangini on the front was enough of that guy? How about this – we’ll use Watney’s photo in this space until she leaves Boston. If the scuttlebutt is true, we’ll need to find a new photo in the coming months.

There have been murmurings about Watney’s migration to a bigger stage, but nothing is substantiated. The move would be a significant hit to the network. However, McIntyre later rescinded any corroboration in terms of his report on Twitter, after he presumably was met with a myriad of questions.

@TheBigLead In regards to Heidi Watney. if i had more, I’d post it.

This IS Happening

Remember that book about ESPN? The geniuses over in Hollywood are planning to bring the story of the WorldWide Leader to the big screen.

(Yes, Hollywood, the same town that decided to treat us to yet another installment of Planet of the Apes)

My question is, well….actually- nevermind – I have a lot of questions. Why? What are they going to focus on?

[The storied history of the four-letter network is much to large to conquer in 90 minutes)

And most importantly, as I said in my book review, a great deal of the content was already common knowledge to the core audience – so why wait until now? Consumers of something like Those Guys Have All The Fun already knew the “juicy” content. This audience abhors the network, which is why the book sold so well. It seems like a vanity project for the vain. It has Oliver Stone’s George W. Bush biopic, W., written all over it.

Would it be fun to see Jamie Foxx as Stuart Scott, Seth Rogen as Charlie Steiner, and Danny Devito as Chris Berman?

Yes, Yes, and Yes.

I’m giddy at the prospect of Keith Olbermann as Keith Olbermann, because you and I both know his new role at Current TV (whatever that is) isn’t lasting very long. Imagine his proposed re-writes? “Oh wait a minute, I actually said that?” Great comedy.

  • Alessandro

    Hey, the new "Planet of the Apes" actually looks pretty good ;)

    • Doc Michaels

      Basically the best reviewed film of the entire summer!

  • Chris in Illinois

    That Shank column …
    I still can't believe I actually read the whole thing. But it was like looking at a train wreck. Even though I knew better, I continued reading, somehow thinking that i'd come across an actual point.
    But what a bunch of dreck. The rest fo the world seems to know Shanks has been phoning it in for years. When will he and the other globie honchos admit it, too.
    ESPN, the Movie …
    The lack of creativity and originality in Hollywood is sooooooo depressing. I keep waiting for "Pong, The Movie."

    • NutCracker

      I agree. What was the point? If Shank keeps writing columns like this latest (Blah!) someone needs to break his fingers or at least his keyboard. On the other hand, Tom E. Curran's Belichick column was solid – worth reading.

  • HW3

    I don't see how any ESPN movie could hope to come close to meeting the level of the Sports Night TV show.

    Shank and McDonough use(d) their anecdotes of their own experience to ratchet up their relevance to the sports world. It is always horrendously self-serving. Blech.

    • latetodinner

      Total aside, I recently met one of the guys who wrote on the old CSC Sportsnight show. He is a friend of my uncle. He said it was the most fun he ever had writing in Hollywood. He went on to West Wing with Sorkin but left after 2 years because it wasn't Sportsnight. I think it was the best sitcom since Soap…loved that show.

  • tl;dr

    I'll help Heidi move! I've got a truck and everything!

  • jim

    Does anyone read Shank? Does anyone read the Globe sports page? The websites associated with broadcast outlets (ESPN, Comcast and WEEI) are better sources of sports news these days.

    Another question: Why is it so hard to spell "definitely?" SO many people throw an "a" into the word and I just can't figure out why.

    • Ryan Hadfield

      Oversight on my part, Jim. Good catch! I think auto-correct caused it, weird. It definitely won't happen again!

    • Lance_

      Old people read him. They remember the days when Ted Williams paid attention to what was written about him to use as motivation, so they don't realize he's irrelevant. I'd be surprised if any current athlete in Boston knows who he is, outside of him lurking around not asking any questions, eating as much of the free food as possible…

      • Winning_

        I went on one of those fenway tours last year and saw Danny boy in the private lounge area where all the expensive boxes are. The guy is such a mess. Constantly stuffing food in his face, darting left and right like a child with ADD, and goofy outfit. Epitame of a mess!

  • NutCracker

    Is there a prize for most tweets tweeted by a tweeter who has a twitter account?

    Ian Rapaport believes his self-importance is elevated by the number of tweets and re-tweets he sends out instead of the information that is delivered. Ian, please just tweet interesting things we ought to know. I had to stop following him because at times he'd send out 10-15 tweets within an hour. Nothing in sports is that important.

    • Winning_

      I signed up for twitter, followed Chad Johnson, and withing 5 minutes stopped using twitter. This was 5 months ago. Still haven't picked it up. I was overwhelmed with ochocinco updating every portion of his day.

      "Just brushed my teeth" 2:59pm

      "Walking to get a video game" 3:01 pm

      "Which one of you fools can beat me" 3:02pm

      "Hi, I won" 3:03 pm

      you get the point

  • Winning_

    So anyone who is listening to F&M today please respond: I feel like Mazz is taking over for Felger, and ebellishing on what we"fans" are saying. Tony's ranting today about how RedSox fans doubted the yankees, said they were done, we werent going to have to worry about them. To me, he is making this up. People said the Yankees had questions, Yes! But they also said the RedSox did as well. I don't know what Tonys deal is, but he is making stuff up here. So we fans were supposed to know that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, who havent been relavent since N'Sync was the latest craze, were supposed to be this dominant? Hes acting like how dare we ever question the Yankees. Tony is just making up for Felger by inventing drama.

    • YARM

      He only used the phrase "dead heat" 9 times before the 1st break.

      I loved Corky's rational well thought out point that if you take away the sox beating the yanks 7 out of 8 or whatever it is – the Yankees are better.

      Now to me, this destroys Tony's point the other day that because the Jets beat the Patriots 2 out 3 times they are clearly the better team.

      If you take away the head to head Corky, the Patriots only lost 1 game last year.

      This is the ultimate strawman argument – totally created in his head and not based in any way, shape or form of reality.

  • Red Sox fan forever

    I really liked the column. It brought back memories than had been placed on the back shelf, stuff like Jim Rice being fined for getting to a game late after visiting sick children at the Shriners' Hospital in Western Mass., and stuffing the Globe writer into a waste basket. Great stuff. Thanks Dan S.

  • Winning_

    Lovin it! Tony has just bought into the concept that we are not allowed to root or praise our own team. At least Beetle and Gasper somewhat called him out of it. Tony was saying that no1 can honestly say the RedSox are a better team. So Bertrand and Gasper say "So you think the Yanks are the better team" to which Tony replies, "No, I'm not saying that the Yankees are better." So what is this, Ordway fence-sitting 101? We as fans are totally incapable of forming opinion on teams, we have to agree that they are even?

  • jdmcg

    I have to say that your post today makes you sound like a spoiled whiner. I read Shaughnessy's column and never once had the reaction to it that you did. Some of the items mentioned I was aware of and some, I was not. Because you are a media member and are aware of all these stories does not mean that readers from other professions, that are not members of this inner sanctum, do not find columns such as these interesting and enjoyable to read.

    As for all the twitter feeds: if you don't like them, don't subscribe. You should know that these reporters are working independently from one another and probably do not ask each other what they have just tweeted.
    Did you see the new "Planet of the Apes" movie? If not, please hold your review.
    As for the ESPN book, in your column today you said that most of the information in the book was known already. To whom? Other media members such as yourself. I am not part of that group as are most of the people who have read it. Excuse me for not being a member of your group.

    • Ryan Hadfield

      Fair enough. I don't think taking a shot @ Hollywood for producing another Apes installment was really that relevant to the point, just an aside.

      Twitter Feeds – I just think a blog post w/ non personell moves is more appropriate.

      And, if you read my actual book review (linked), you'd see that my gripe was with all the "buzz" over new information coming out from "Those Guys." A fallacy really, all the information could have been attained by simply looking through Deadspin achives, not a 700 page tome. So why make a movie now?

  • Doc Michaels

    Time magazine called the Apes the best film of 2011 too.

    Jumped the gun on that one, obviously ;)

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