Sports Media Musings: Tony Massarotti Confuses, Hank Williams Jr. & His Rowdy Friends, Tito & Buck?

Light round-up today after the special mid-week edition

Leading Off

Was Tony Massarotti drinking at the open of the Wednesday edition of “Felger & Mazz”? Was I drugged at roughly 1:50 P.M. by a potent uknown substance? These are questions that need to be answered. I swear, when posed the question of whether he would have fired Terry Francona by his co-host Mike Felger, Mazz gave about 16 different answers..

“I wouldn’t have fired him, but if I was John Henry I would.”

“Yes he did deserve to be fired.”

“I’m easy though, I wouldn’t have fired him.”

Mazz was much more clear in his approach when asked about Theo Epstein..

“He doesn’t deserve to be fired, yet. But he’s getting in that area.”

Right.

Mazz was seen, later that night, wondering the streets of Waltham incessantly YARM-ing (YARM – “You’re Absolutely Right Mike”) to anyone who would listen.

Since we’re talking about this — Here is a fun retro-column by Mike Barnicle on the relationship between Theo and Tito. It was posted in July when the Sox were rolling.

You Want Me On That Wall…You NEED Me On That Wall..

Somewhere along the way – I was either reading or watching the 17th piece on Hank Williams Jr. and his well-played analogy about our President and Hitler that went over super-well – I remembered that this was the dude who sang the opening theme of Monday Night Football. Then, somewhere along the way, I figured out this was the best traction ESPN has gotten this season for the extraordinarily expensive package.

Week 1 – Pats vs Fins … Raiders vs Broncos

Week 2 – Rams vs Giants

Week 3 – Redskins vs Cowboys

Week 4 – Colts vs Bucs

Not exactly a murder’s row of games. Williams’ scandal falls somewhere between ‘Skins/Cowboys and Pats/Fins as far as relevancy. And that’s only if you’re a believer in the Tom Brady effect and also bizzaro Rex Grossman being who Rex Grossman actually is.

Anyway according to Williams’ website, it was HIS choice to leave the four-letter network. Classic. (Thanks to TheBigLead.com for finding this nugget)

“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment
Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE.  It’s been a great run.” — Hank Williams Jr

I think I read the quote six times before it properly resonated. Two things before the rest of America and I move on..

1.) Is anyone else reminded of Col. Jessup from A Few Good Men and his tirade? And yes, I’ll concede this is my favorite movie of all time and maybe that’s why I’m using it. Also if it’s running on AMC, I’m sitting down and watching it — no matter what scene.

Anyway, Can’t you see Williams saying..

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.”

I don’t know, I feel like Williams thinks he has that sort of pull.

2.) It has GOT to be a red-flag when you go to google Hank Williams Jr. and the search engine auto completes the search with “Hank Williams Jr. Confederacy.”

Food For Thought

Last night I spoke at Boston University about being a sports media critic. In the period, I was asked if I would have written about the Red Sox drinking in the clubhouse. I came to the conclusion that if I strongly felt it was a reason for the demise then I would have. However, if the drinking wasn’t an issue, then I would have stayed away.

Felger went after the beat reporters for holding off this information. A student in the class brought up the point that relationships have to be maintained and, at the end of the day, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. To that I say, write a retraction. If you felt Tomase was headline-grabbing and this wasn’t relevant, then write a column about other reasons why the collapse happened.

I do subscribe to the theory that this WAS an issue. One can tell reading quotes from different players that guys weren’t taking care of themselves. And it turns out if you are a professional athlete, it IS DETRIMENTAL to be out of shape. I confirmed this fact with Shaq.

Since we’re here, Gerry Callahan is still awesome in print. Great read.

Tito To Fill-In

Terry Francona will be filling in for Tim McCarver during Game 1 & Game 2 of the AlCS as Fox’s analyst. So he goes from an ownership group which, although successful, oozes arrogance to Joe Buck… Who does much of the same.

How do you all think he’ll do?

  • tl;dr

    Not to be nitpicky but it's "You're Absolutely RIght Mike"

    • tl;dr

      "Right"…I'm having a tough day at the keyboard myself.

    • Ryan Hadfield

      Damn!!!! I need an editor! Thanks

      • http://twitter.com/awesomeneil @awesomeneil

        To be fair, he does mix it up fairly regularly.

  • Forbin22

    What's the best way to book you to speak at college classes? Is there a talent fee?

    • Ryan Hadfield

      shoot me an email

  • latetodinner

    Ryan…

    No comments on the John Henry/ Larry L interview on D&C this morning. I was throwing things at my radio as I drove my daughters to work. I was seething at the answers John Henry gave concerning how competitive and driven he is regarding the baseball team, while the fan experience is second to the success of the team. You could hear how he did not believe that. I actually thought John Dennis did a good job of asking pertinent questions especially about how and why permission would be given to let Theo talk to another team. I particularly liked the hypothetical he asked about whether JH would give permission if a team asked to talk to Larry L. the stunned silence was golden, followed up with a non answer and then a stumbling comment that teams have, but no answer about whether he would grant permission.

    The more I listen to that man and to Larry L. the more I despise them. I have no problem with firing Tito, but to justify by saying the Red Sox GM or manager position is under so much pressure that no one can do it forever is cowardice. By that logic he should be selling the team soon because of all the pressure. He has to be burned out.

    As for your comments about the drinking in the clubhouse…the story is not the drinking. I think we can all agree that the players are adults, it is not illegal to drink. The story is how the drinking effected conditioning, performance, discipline and desire. The beat writers completely fell down on that one and I think Felger and others who are calling them out are completely right.

    Lastly, with regards to Hank Williams Jr… I don't see why this is so complicated…if you take a check then you represent. If you don't want to represent then don't take the check. I agree with Williams politically but I think ESPN has every right to fire him…although why they did is beyond me…his comments were only going to bring more publicity to the network and its broadcast. They could have had him issue some watered down apology that said he was not speaking for Disney and then everyone lives happily ever after.

    • Ryan Hadfield

      Re: Henry interview. Didn't hear it. Usually write Media Musings on Thursday nights, but was at BU until nearly 9 and started it super-late. I finished it up in the AM. (probably why I had some typos today :-/). Is it worth a listen?

      Re: Drinking. Yes I know. That's why I made the quip about being out of shape/not taking care of themselves.

      Re: Williams Jr… To be honest only reason I wrote about it was because I could not believe the story had legs still. Unreal. This was the guy who song the freakin' MNF theme song haha.

      Anyway, as always thanks for taking the time LTD. Didn't get to your comments about the summer ratings post – you made some well-thought out points there as well.

      • Ryan Hadfield

        who song?? Christ! I think that drug I was slipped before F&M has second life haha. sang**

      • latetodinner

        Thanks for the reply Ryan…I thought the Henry, Lucchino interview was worth the listen in that it gives you an insight into how Henry thinks and the role Lucchino plays in the organization. In theory we should never hear from Lucchino on baseball matters. As I understood it when Theo came back it was with a neutered Lucchino. To hear both Henry and Lucchino tell it today…the 5 of them Henry, Warner, Lucchino, Epstein and Charrington reached consensus on all free agent signings, including Crawford. John Dennis (of all people) was stunned at this comment and asked the correct followup…paraphrasing “you mean Theo checks with everyone when he signs Mike Cameron or Bobby Jenks?”. Lucchino then replies yes we are all involved in the decision making. If that is the case Theo cannot leave fast enough because he really does not have any authority to do his job. It also means Lucchino is far more involved with baseball operations that has been reported (way to go Boston Baseball Media!). Also, you get to hear Lucchino defend John Lackey's performance past and going forward.re: Williams…I am not shocked it was a story. This is the same network that canned Rush Limbaugh for being Rush Limbaugh. This is a story because Williams was on Fox and said something that was then taken out of context, twisted, and then condemned. I would not expect any more from the drive by media.

  • Lance_

    That IS a great and informative article by Callahan – thanks Ryan for the link. It shows that when he's not busy being angry about politicians he is a talented member of the sports press.

    • nutcracker

      Yup, there is no one better in the business than the 'still awesome' Jerry Callahan at whining, finding fault and pointing fingers. He's good like that. BTW, I thought Callahan was sarcastic in his interview with Lucchino and Henry. The questions were okay but he had some caustic remarks. I could sense his animosity right through the TV.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    Listened to some of the D+C interview and agree with the comments. If you also listened to SportsHub today, G+Z and F+M, they had similar thoughts about the business end overcoming the passion end.

    I think the dichotomy between the passion/business is the salient point people are getting at. I think it's Gresh (could be wrong here) who mentions that while the Yankees were a business–in it to make money–they clearly did it so that they could be a winning team. This is brought up to show that via the NASCAR team and now Liverpool, Henry+Sox ownership are now in it for the business end to produce a 'competitive' product that stops at ratings and doing well enough to make money–not win it all. Fans have no problem with all the things like Red Sox Tissues and selling Fenway Bricks, providing the money goes back into making smart decisions, instead of ones that yield overspending and a product which fizzles out in the playoffs or can't make them at all.

    It's a complex topic but I think it's been analyzed enough where someone could explore this more.

    • alex

      I'm certain of the fact that ownership wants to win, and even if they didn't how would that effect performance on the field or the attitude in the locker room? That responsibility is shared by the front office, the players, and the coaching staff. John Henry can spend the rest of his days trying on used jock straps in the Liverpool locker room for all I care. As long as he is putting up the cash for one of the highest payrolls in MLB than I am satisfied with the ownership group. Everyone else on the other hand…

  • Paul

    Here's my opinion about the Sox drinking story: Journalistically, it's simple why Tomase was wrong. He/Editor should not have published this information because nobody was willing to go on the record. He was caught using veiled sources ('several sources told me') in a situation that was too sensational to do so. It's page six reporting, and it has no place in serious sports journalism. If the Herald felt he had to report the story, he should have asked the players about this and reported their response. Should have asked others about this and reported their response.

    As far as the criticism the reporters are taking: they deserve it. It was lollipop after lollipop question down the stretch because they're all afraid to get caught in a confrontation. Again, journalistically, they were REQUIRED to ask Francona whether or not he felt his job was at stake. Why? Because that's what the readers wanted to know.

  • Pingback: Sports Media Musings: Bryant Gumbel & Shock Value, The Big Lead Impresses, Zolak Bolsters Broadcast | Sports of Boston()