10 Years Of Boston Sports Media Watch

I really don’t want to dwell on this too much, but yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the very first post on Boston Sports Media Watch. That first post, composed on a new service called Blogger, mentioned Dan Shaughnessy, Tommy Heinsohn, Dick Harter and Drew Bledsoe.

Things have come a long way since then. Originally, my idea was to somehow be able to write a sports TV column for a small local newspaper. After talking with a couple of editors, they let me know they just didn’t have the space for such a column, and were unsure of the interest something of that nature would draw. I had some conversations with Bill Griffith, then the sports media columnist for the Boston Globe, and he was very helpful. I sent him some samples, and he gave me some good feedback.

I realized I needed to practice if I was going to do anything with this idea, so I thought of the idea of a website, though I had no idea what was involved in setting one up. Then I came across Blogger. It was a relatively new service, as was the concept of a blog. I signed up for an account, and started posted. I’m not sure how people found it originally, though I did post the address in a few Usenet groups I frequented at the time, and in fact, that was were I had made my first online comments about sports media. Eventually I acquired the current domain name, and moved the site to it, though the background publishing software has changed from Blogger to Movable Type to WordPress.

A few months into my postings on Blogger, Griffith mentioned the site and gave the address in one of his Sunday media notes columns, and things really took off from there. There are still people who tell me that is how they first learned of the site.

In April, 2002, the Patriots were coming off their first Super Bowl title, and since then, the site has seen championships from the 2003 and 2004 Patriots, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, the 2008 Celtics and the 2011 Bruins. Quite a run.

A big part of the reward of doing the site has been sort of “discovering” writers from small local papers, and introducing them to a larger audience. I enjoyed reading the likes of Mike Reiss (MetroWest Daily News) Rob Bradford (Lowell Sun) John Tomase (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune) Chad Finn (Concord Monitor) and Albert Breer (MetroWest Daily News) before they became the everyday presence on the Boston (and national) sports media scene that they currently are.

I’ve enjoyed chatting and trading emails with some of the veterans on the scene, who, may not be the “stars” of the local media, but who have been around forever, and have seen everything. Mike Fine, Michael Gee and Mark Farinella fall into that category. There have been contentious emails (and phone calls) from a few people, but for the most part, feedback is positive. Getting random emails from people I respect and admire, (as I did recently from Bob Ryan and Steve Bulpett) is always a thrill.

Bill Simmons gave me some very good early advice, telling me I needed to have my name on the site, and contact information, if I wanted to have any sort of credibility. Michael Felger encouraged me to be critical, to take shots when warranted. Frank Shorr and Roy Reiss and Griffith have provided opportunity and insight into the business. Dan Shaughnessy once called me to take issue with something I wrote, and explain the situation I was referencing, and after that, we actually had a pretty pleasant exchange remembering the 1980′s Celtics.

WEEI is still a monster on the local media scene, but shockingly is now second fiddle as 98.5 FM came on the airwaves three years ago and toppled the Entercom entity. 98.5 was the third competitor to attempt to challenge WEEI as 1510 the Zone and ESPN 890 Boston both came and went locally.

Now, as in 2002, Bob Ryan is a must-read, no matter if the topic is the Celtics or an indoor track meet at Northeastern University. The Globe will sorely miss him when he retires this year, and even though he is expected to continue a regular column, replacing him will be impossible. No offense to Chris Gasper, who is expected to be named a sports columnist when Ryan retires, but it’s a big step down from Bob Ryan to anyone.

Even though I am a rank amateur at this, I’ve attempted to behave as a professional. I attempt not to get into name-calling and insult-swapping in this medium. I land barbs here and there, of course, but in many ways, my spirit in originally starting the site was to sort of give some in the media a taste of their own medicine when it came to how they were covered. Many think nothing of questioning the manhood and insulting the subjects they cover, yet when I write something negative about them, I get an angry, expletive-filled email. Those are always fun. If someone has respectful, constructive criticism, I am happy to take it under advisement and reply with my own thoughts on the matter.

What does the future hold for BSMW? I hinted last year that I might consider closing things up at the 10 year mark. I don’t think I’m ready to do that. However, there will likely be changes as my family continues to grow. (Son #3 arrives next month.) I’m not sure what those changes might be, but I think the posting frequency could be involved. Unless someone or a few people wanted to come in and keep doing links every single day, I think those may go away, and be replaced by a regular rotation of more traditional sports media news, columns and notebooks. I haven’t worked it out yet, but BSMW will remain.

I’d like to thank everyone who has come to this site over the last 10 years. For a website, especially a blog, 10 years is a lifetime, and eternity. I’m proud to have gone this long in doing this. The feedback, via email, comments and on the BSMW messageboard has been entertaining and informative. I’d especially like to acknowledge and thank the regulars on the messageboard, who never fail to provide humor, insight, and support even as they vociferously tear apart some of their favorite targets.

I want to also thank the guys at Patriots Football Weekly for giving me a legitimate, print platform to write in. Through them I’ve had the opportunity to interview the likes of Lesley Visser, Michael Silver, Fran Charles, Michael Lombardi, Andrew Brandt, Pete Prisco, Mike Freeman and many other national NFL media figures. It’s been a great opportunity and experience.

It has been a blast, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. I dropped way too many names in this column, and went way longer than I intended to. For that, I apologize. I’ll try to stay focused on media matters the rest of the week.

Thanks again to all who have made this enjoyable.

  • Second Coming of BobbyV

    Congratulations on 10 years Bruce!

    Not sure how I first heard of the site but I have been a regular visitor for years. Always informative and entertaining, keep up the good work!

  • Tim R

    Congrats Bruce.
    Looking forward to the next 10 years of your spot on and highly justifiable tweaking of our egocentric Boston media.

  • Ironhead

    Thanks for all your hard work, Bruce. Your site and message board are my first visits each day. Well done, sir.

  • Mark C

    Bruce, Congrats on being a big guy from a small town who gets it!!!

    I love the site(and have from the first day I came across it….was it really 10 years ago???). Thanks for the introspective on those 10 years and thanks for keeping it low key like the Red Sox and their 100 Year Old Fenway. (Can’t wait to see what the owners soon think of fans disguised as empty seats…)

    Congrats on the next Little Man. Good luck and think of the time you’ll have at 2a to compose info for the site!!!

    Thanks for the occasional notes

    Please don’t shut the site down as there are many of us who won’t know what to do without you especially me when I’m on the road and only have a limited time to check out what is happening on the homefront!!!

    Talk soon!
    Mark C

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Closing up BSMW would be like Rick closing the Cafe Americain. Where will we all go?

    I have no recollection when I first heard of this site. I’m pretty sure I would have found it eventually in any case….

    Congrats, Bruce!

  • hank durod

    Congratulations Bruce.

    Please keep this site going. It’s been a staple of my daily reading since 2006.

    P.S. Meterparel Sucks!

  • laterodinnee

    Congrats Bruce…10 years here, even more going back to the Pats Usenet board. I remember reading the first posts, writing some poorly edited content for you and thinking… what a brilliant idea for a website… u did not know the word blog yet. no matter what the format… I looking forward to BSMW and your insight each and every day.

  • Mike

    Congrats Bruce. It’s been a great run. Hope
    It continues and evolves more. BSMW helps keep me connected 3000 miles away here in CA.

  • Rick Mc

    Thanks Bruce.

  • LJ Sandwich

    Congratulations Bruce. I’m proud to say I’ve been faithfully following for 9 of those 10 years. It was an internet search of all things Andelman that caused me to discover the site in 2003. Your site and the messageboard are a daily staple.

    Cheers

  • Tom

    Bruce,

    Congrats on a great 10yrs. I also don’t recall how I got linked up with the site, but have been grateful for it since.

    I’ve appreciated how you have spoken for the true/real fans of the Boston teams. You know, those fans who don’t fall into the extreme catagories (fanboys or chicken littles). Holding the local media accountable for playing to those people is what I’ve enjoyed most.

    Continued success…

  • brian

    Congrats on the 10 years Bruce; I got referred to this site by a friend way back when and have followed it regularly ever since.

  • urbald

    More birth control, more daily links and commentary please.

    (Congrats)

  • L3s

    What they said!

  • J.R.

    Congratulations to Bruce and the entire BSMW extended community.

    As a nine-year follower/reader, this site and board have become a seven-day-a-week habit and destination for me. I stumbled across it in the late summer of 2003 and it was a highly therapeutic port-of-call after the Sox spit the bit in Game 7 of the ALCS that year.

  • Sean

    Ten years! I think I have been visiting this place five or more times a week for at least 8 of them. Thanks for all the hard work. I have come to appreciate BSMW even more since I moved out of the Northeast. It has been really nice to keep up with the goings on up there through your site, instead of having to stream EEI. I also really enjoyed Scott’s Shots as well – you helped launch him too :)

  • http://www.craighodges.com Craig Hodges

    Not the guy who use to shoot the “three’s” for the Bulls..

    I think you’re here in NH as am I..traded a note or two with you over the years.

    You’ve been an every day read for me, Bruce. Always stellar work. I grew up reading (amongst others) Jack Craig’s SporTView column in the Globe. As you’ve noted, you enjoyed how Simmons did a version of what you do back in his AOL days..I think you said it was one of the reasons you started- his departure from doing some coverage of the local media.

    Thank you for all the work you do; I know you do it with a “day job” and a growing family.

  • jackson

    Well-done, Bruce. Great site. Always thought-provoking and well-thought out at the same time.

  • scott

    Bruce–congratulations from a long-time reader and fan. Alan Greenberg’s passing sparked a great tribute on your page,showing the respect fans and writers had for this site.

  • alex

    Thanks for all the work you put into this place, Bruce.

  • bsmfan

    Congrads here. I haven’t been around as long as many here but I enjoy the forum and discussion with a great viewership who enjoys some good debates/discussions on the threads.

    I’d hope you would at least consider letting another person run the site if you didn’t have the time.

  • 02062

    Congratulations and thank you Bruce.

  • John

    Congrats on 10 years. Truly a great site and appreciate all of your hard work.

  • GregLhorton

    Congrats Bruce!  I’ve been a big fan the whole time and look forward to many more years to come.

  • Jp

    I really love your site and am glad you are still doing it.

  • Jason_Coyote

    Congratulations on a great decade, Bruce!  When Simmons bolted Digital City for greener pastures, I thought no one would be able to fill the void he left behind.  But you’ve managed to fill it and then some, analyzing Boston sports and the local media like no one has done before or since.  Thanks for BSMW and for creating a forum where we can add our own two cents.  As long as the Sports Hub and WEEI keep providing us fodder, I hope you’ll be able to keep this place going so we have an outlet to vent our hearts out.

  • mandb97

    Bruce, this is my favorite site. It is a must read. Thank you for all the work you do.

    I think I actually came upon BSMW through Stumble Upon.

  • Raging Bull

    Congratulations on 10 years Bruce. BSMW has become a must read for the well informed Boston media and sports fan. 

  • Bstarr

    Happy b-day. I was converted by the original Griffith note. The pleasure has been mine. Much appreciated.

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