Sports Media Musings: Andy Gresh Needs a Hug, Holley & Felger Crushin’ It, Minihane/RapSheet/Klosterman Deliver

Final papers in grad school are the bane of my existence. In the journalism world, they have these weird concepts called “sources” and “quotes.” And you have to “attribute” everything.

Right now I’m in the middle of a paper on concussions in high school athletics. You wouldn’t believe it, but Athletic Directors aren’t exactly excited to talk to me about it. I’ve talked to nearly 20 sources: players, trainers, organizations, ADs, doctors, MIAA, and the Department of Public Health.

…Now I have to write it.

But you don’t care about any of this. I’m just giving you heads up to why this will be the shortest Media Musings column ever.

Am I Being To Tough On ‘Em?

@GreshandZo: And you waste no time being wrong dickhead RT @KenAolfoque: @GreshandZo jeezz fatboy you waste no time with the speculation…

Some personalities in the local media I crush more than others. As much as I enjoy finding holes in work or flawed logic, part of me feels bad.

Andy Gresh doesn’t get any of this sympathy.

Gresh came into my life as the “matter-of-fact” guy on Patriot broadcasts. Once a week was the perfect dosage of Gresh. In fact, to this day, I like him on that show.

I never listened to the Providence incarceration of “Gresh & Zo”; therefore, when Gresh took over for Gary Tanguay at “The Sports Hub” I was intrigued.

I was also ignorant.

There is no way “Gresh & Zo” survive if “Dale & Holley” never disbanded, am I right? Is that a tipping point?

“Gresh & Zo” are dominant in the midday. There is no disputing this fact. But they are becoming insufferable. Look, I think every personality over at “The Sports Hub” feels great right now. They’ve taken down the institution that was sports talk radio here in Boston….for the time being.

Although, “Gresh & Zo” seem to represent much of what consumers criticized about WEEI. (Condescending attitudes, Dumb bits [their 'Instant Request' segment is a woeful attempt at capturing "Toucher & Rich" magic], Talking-head attitude — “We’ll tell you why..next!”)

This is not as much an assault on Scott Zolak, as it is Gresh. Zolak enables Gresh to act the way he does by NEVER disagreeing with any bite or vehemence.

*Side note: Furthermore, the exchange on Twitter isn’t something I’m going to harp on in terms of “Gresh’s professionalism” (which I’ve attacked before). Gresh calling someone a “dickhead” on Twitter, illustrates his lack of awareness. I can’t call professionalism into question — Fred Toettcher has the same exchanges from time to time. That said, it looks bad. A random dude calling you “fat” should elicit a reaction, but not necessarily a response. Know your platform. I digress.

Anyway, something tells me, you’ll see less discrepancy across the board in the Fall ratings book.

“Mut & Merloni” are improving. Guests are getting better, chemistry is developing, and I don’t think I’ve ever rooted harder for two guys to do well. Earlier this week they landed Adrian Wojnarowski – who is absolutely CRUSHING IT on the NBA beat for Yahoo! Sports – and John Farrell within the same hour of programming.

Quick Musings

1.) Michael Holley & Michael Felger on Sports Tonight together? Break up the band! By far the best combo CSNNE has to offer to host the show. Great stuff last night.

2.) Tony Massarotti has been a respected sports writer in this town for 20 years. Yet, everyday, his “take” is that “____ SUCKKSSS, Mike! And it’s NOT EVER CLOSE!” Did he catch wind, his incessant “YARM-ing” (You’re Absolutely Right, Mike) was over-the-top and called an audible?

3.) Ian Rapoport delivers a great column on Antwaun Molden. Great profile piece.

4.) Kirk Minihane does well to show both sides of the Tyler Seguin benching, but ultimately says, “You’re either a professional athlete or you aren’t.”

5.) COLUMN OF THE WEEK: Chuck Klosterman’s extensive look at the Tim Tebow craze. Voluminous…For sure. Awesome piece, though.

This should be in the next Grantland Quarterly. Remember last week, when I criticized the book’s existence? Well one of the reasons, according to Bill Simmons, was to capture what the period in sports meant. Tebow, like it or not, is one of the biggest stories in sports right now.

  • Doc Michaels

    Good column Ryan, though I don't hear the "chemistry" improving on Mutt & Merloni. Merloni is alright, especially on baseball, and would be fine paired with someone else (who might be better) but Mutt's opinions and takes are still vapid, empty, cliched talk-radio fodder most of the time. I don't hear him developing at all or relating an opinion that carries any weight to it. Their Patriots segments are also absolutely awful, devoid of any reason why I should care about what they're saying, and they have no chemistry with Troy Brown either.

    Great point on Mazz (absolutely worthless on the radio) and Felger & Holley though, I totally agree with you that they have good chemistry together…a shame they're not doing a radio show paired with one another! In some ways the CSNNE shows have become a lot more entertaining than listening to their respective radio programs, plus they give you everything you need in 30 minutes as opposed to it being stretched out over several hours.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    The " dickhead" response from Gresh isn't surprising,. Is there any group of people more sensitive than Boston sports media members? True, the guy did call him 'fatboy" but still……The stories of Shank Shaugnessy actually CALLING UP people on the phone who critized him are legendary…..The other day I sent Bedard something he didn't like (NOT profane or anything) and he threatened to "block" me…LMFAO!…I was like, ARE YOU SERIOUS?…did he really think I NEED to read his tweets?…..I BLOCKED his ass, somehow I'm surviving…

  • Dan

    "In the journalism world, they have these weird concepts called 'sources' and 'quotes'. And you have to 'attribute' everything."

    Don't worry, Ryan. That all changes once you start working in the Boston media.

  • jmarsh4037

    A little off topic but you mention Fred Toettcher and I just had to write as I've had nowhere to vent. Listening to the Sports Hub the other day when he interviewed the reporter for the NYT who had written the piece on Dirk Boogaard. Fascinating topic, great article terrible interview. Is Fred unprepared or just bored with it all? He's fine when it's a comedy bit or he's interviewing an athlete but why oh why don't they either send him for interview lessons or not let him do in depth interviews. It was awful.

    • bostonsportsmediafan

      I have no clue if morning drives are supposed to be like this? When I've traveled the country or listened to sportstalk around the nation, I've never found people on the morning drive with the comedy angle besiges T+R. Did I miss something with how programming is supposed to be done?

      I don't think anyone minds some comedy on the morning drive, but when your personality precludes you from being serious during interviews, why bother? I can't imagine it makes guests happy.

      Sadly, this is why I never turn T+R on in the morning unless D+C are wasting time on another scandal at a school or their usual screaming at callers.

  • Winning_

    Good insights Ryan, Her's my thoughts on these topics: Mazz is a complete joke. As I write this, he's creating an argument that Boston People shouldn't be happy that the Lakers deal was bocked cuz Auerbach took advantage of dumb GM's for years. Why does it always come back to how we (boston fans) should act. Isn't the real issue with David Stern blocking the trade because he's trying to sell the Hornets to an Owner and wants Chris Paul as the marketing point for this sale?
    I was an old 790 The Score listener, since I live in the Providence area (before 103.7) and G&Z weren't actually as bad (Mainly Gresh) because there forum was much smaller and they had less room to push the envelope.
    Finally I am largely done with WEEI as a whole…..

    • Winning_

      An analogy: WEEI is an attractive woman that has nice features. She has some things you can stare at for awhile, but after 5 minutes, she lacks the mental capability to draw you in further. I say this because outside of the occassional interview (Esiason,BB, Brady,King, etc) they don't draw me in for more than 5 minutes. I gave the Big Show 5 mins of my time the other day only to hear Glen Ordway make fun of Marc Bertrand calling him "Precious, movie reference" and "fat." Adams chimed in and Holley stayed pretty quiet. Why is Ordway making Fat jokes, especially of Betrand? I just think his attacks are in such poor taste especially when his show offers squat. I find it funny that they have Jack Edwards now, when in the past hockey talk was used to mock anyone wanting Bruins conversation.

      • profootballwalk

        That 'Hockey Talk' ridicule certainly did disappear, didn't it? Along with the cracks about 'the blogs' and the 'internet guy in his mother's basement" As soon as WEEI got a web site they thought they could make money with, the order came down to lay off the internet ridicule thing.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    If you hear segments with Albert Breer, the traits above with Gresh come out. I used to enjoy him + Zo but have really been turned off lately. Gresh is also so homer, he's doing the Skip Bayless thing by putting Brady this year above Rodgers. I've yet to hear a reasonable Patriots fan do that. Fortunately, Gresh backs down off of this when Breer backs up his points/answers with stats or points from a reporter who seems to read non-Patriots publications.

    The enabler reminds me of what's wrong with SportsNation and having Beatle next to Cowherd–she does nothing but enable him to perpetuate the types of things he says on his horrible radio show. I don't normally watch (because of Cowherd) but he's been up with one of the new hires, Charissa Thompson(sp), who calls his BS out.

    On the chemistry, are there any other fans of the SVP show? I love the chemistry between Ryen and Scott. They can easily disgree but do it in a repsectful way (is there any of this left in the country?) where you can enjoy the back and forth because it adds to the content and furthers the debate.

    • Winning_

      I'd disagree on the Gresh "homer" point. Today he was praising the Jets much to the texters dismay that he was saying Jets Wide receivers are any good. I may not like Gresh, but I don't think he's a homer, just a buffoon.

    • profootballwalk

      When I'm listening during his time slot, I always go to Van Pelt. All Red Sox, All the Time local programming seems to work in Boston, but I'm a sports fan, so I want to hear about sports, not about who's going to be the reserve utility infielder next year. My only criticism of SVP is the golf talk – drives me right off the radio. He may as well be talking about ballroom dancing.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        Agree here. To his credit, he does follow and like Golf, so its not like Cowherd where he just interjects with some random thought where he knows 0 about. He's a huge college guy (basketball, at least, and I assume football), so if college sports is not your bag, he can also be a turnoff.

  • NutCracker

    I bailed on WEEi early on when 98.5 first came on the scene. I liked listening to T&R and F&M et al. (I also appreciated nobody at The Sports Hub pushing their politics down my throat). When EEI broke up Dale and Holley I just tuned to 98.5 all the time. However, with success and good ratings came arrogance and I must say the cocky arrogance of Felger, Mazz, Gresh, Tanguey, etc are starting to push me back to EEI (the FM signal helps too). They've become a bunch of whiners at 98.5 and look for the bad in every situation which gets old and predictable after awhile. Be careful Sports Hub, don't turn into a WEEI .

  • mandb97

    Chad Finn said this a couple of years ago but it needs repeating. Sports talk radio is made for the lowest common denominator. When 98.5 started up, I expected some change from the garbage that was on WEEI. Unfortunately, it has not changed and might even be worse. I agree with Ryan that Mut and Lou is not bad although they can still be a little aggravating. Gresh though is the most obnoxious personality on Boston sportsradio. When 98.5 took over as the leader in ratings, no one was more mouthy then Gresh. He actually thinks his talent is the reason why his time slot won. I guess it had nothing to do with WEEI inexplicably cancelling the only show still winning its ratings and replacing the show with two hosts who barely knew each other let alone worked with each other. At least from 9-12 I have the Dan Patrick Show which is as good a show on radio as there is. Hey maybe there will be another all sports station that arrives that will actually have good, thoughtful, common sense talk. Memphis, TN has five stations maybe Boston can get a third. I know, wishful thinking.

  • Rick

    Learn and understand what paragraphs are for. Your writing is so terribly unfocused. Unreadable.

  • profootballwalk

    Mazz will take three minutes making a carefully constructed point, and as soon as Felger starts to disagree with him, he says "Oh I'm not saying…." Find a backbone will you? When you're bullied by the hand lotion guy, you know you've got a problem.

    • mandb97

      That sums up Maz perfectly. He's a total coward.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        YOUR COMMENTS SUCKS. THIS THREAT SUCKS. THIS WEBSITE SUCKS. YOU ALL SUCKS.

        Signed, Mazz.

  • latetodinner

    I find it amusing that people are projecting that Mutt and Merloni are getting better. they aren't. They are just the only alternative to Gresh and Zo in market. Both shows are completely insufferable. I don't really need to get into it again… What bothers me is the inaction at both stations regarding the middays. Now we have institutional arrogance at both stations whereby neither listens to the fans who want better quality programming. Its what I call win-win..for them not us.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    Another garbage win today, barely. Anyone have some mock headlines from Mazz/Gresh? Had to turn postgame off on SportsHub.

  • mandb97

    I know Dave Portnoy is a pretty controversial personality in these parts, but I dare anyone find a more levelheaded take on the New England Patriots than his. There is no question the defense is mediocre, but can they beat anyone on any given Sunday? Absolutely. One positive on the defense was Devin McCourty who was abysmal for the first two and one-half quarters. He played much better the rest of the way. Portnoy also has a great take on the Brady vs. O'Brien argument. Unlike the majority on Twitter, who felt that O'Brien was setting himself to be fired by arguing with Brady, Portnoy says, no way. I agree with Portnoy. You want O'Brien to standup to Brady and let him know when he is wrong. The fact is that this team is 10-3 and has good chance of having home field throughout the playoffs. Here is the blog post. (NSFW, language)
    http://boston.barstoolsports.com/around-barstool/

    P.S. In case your wondering, Portnoy mentions a Whitney in the blog. Whitney is Ryan Whitney of the Edmonton Oilers who thought O'Brien would be gone for arguing with Brady.

  • bob

    mutt and merloni still suck. all lou says is "sitting there saying". lou reading brandon bass's preseason stats after the glen davis trade was quite funny

  • bosox3054

    Posted when EEI moved Holley to the Big Show that it was dumb because they were gibing away the 10-2 slot and they weren't going to beat Felger in the forseeable future. Still trying to figure out how Wolfe didn't see this coming. Gresh/Zo are insufferable but slightly less so than Mutt/Merloni.

    How hard would it be for Wolfe to find/have found someone to beat Gresh/Zo? Harder than it looks evidently.

  • Rick

    Stop using the word "crushing."

  • Boston Dan

    Mutt and Gresh and the rest of them are freakin' terrible. For different reasons of course, but they're all awful.

    The only show I can listen to on 98.5 anymore is Toucher and Rich. They are the only ones that know they're not sports geniuses and don't take themselves too seriously. The rest of these guys only exist on the air to tell how you much they think they know.