Thumbs Down On “Toughness” Talk


The idea that these two could judge the toughness of anyone, let alone a professional athlete, is mind-boggling.

Thumb injuries to Andrew Bailey and Josh Beckett have sports radio hosts on both stations in town questioning and mocking the toughness and dedication of the pitchers. Massarotti threw around the word “hypochondriac”  in reference to Bailey. It was also suggested that Beckett merely wants to spend some more time with his wife and daughter instead of starting the season.Thumb wrestling and too many video games were also suggested.

Look, injuries are frustrating, and both Bailey and Beckett have a history with them. Sports radio hosts have no idea what is really happening with injuries. It’s one of my biggest beefs with sports media – when they feel they can judge or comment on something that is happening inside someone else’s body. How exactly does that work?

Massarotti’s former colleague Michael Gee had this to say about him on Saturday:

Tony, I say this as someone who worked with you and liked you. It’s for your own good, honest. Nobody on this planet makes a less convincing tough guy than you do. Angelina Jolie has a bunch of movies where she was a better tough guy than you are. Drop the act. All it does is make you seem stupid, which you’re not, or least didn’t used to be.

It continues to amaze me that people are willing to play stupid on the radio in front of thousands of people, call it a living, and be happy and proud of what they’re doing.

Stumble at the start: Bailey injury adds to long list of wounded Red Sox – Alex Speier says that the Red Sox could start the season with nine players on the disabled list.

Celtics make Danny Ainge look good – Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics have made Danny Ainge’s decision to stand pat at the deadline look smart.

Celtics’ Bass on board – Scott Souza has Brandon Bass feeling very confident about his role with the team.

Bradley’s defense: Good stuff – Gary Washburn says that confidence has been the key for the second year guard.

Claude Julien likes Bruins’ mindset – Joe McDonald has the Bruins coach happy with where his team is heading in the postseason.

Bruins have made good use of defenseman Greg Zanon during hot streak – Mike Loftus looks at how the trade deadline acquisition has been a good fit.

  • whitey b

    How funny is it that a bunch of guys who are fat and lazy are getting paid to whine that professional athletes are fat and lazy.

  • naop

    Franks and beans! [/mazz]

  • classless

    Yikes, Mazz…get the 5 lb weights or something.

  • MrMike

    Wow, that’s Mazz? I thought it was Dennis!!!

  • 02062

    Toughness?

    Wasn’t it Mike Felger who nearly drowned in his own tears when McAdam called him Mr. Baseball?

    • Dan

      Wow, Bruce is such a whiney homer. Beckett is an absolute diva and I think if you’re objective, you know he’s not hurt.

      • Kevin

        Wait, what? You know he’s not hurt? Is that your medical opinion, doctor?

        A thumb injury isn’t a conditioning injury. Anything that hampers his throwing of the baseball hurts the team. If he has soreness in a spot where he’s usually not sore, that’s a bad thing, and he should be getting it checked out rather than trying to play through it.

        • whitey b

          “Dan” is Dan Shaughnessy. It’s a joke. You know, like his afro.

  • Nick

    Oh enlighten us Mr Baseball insider. Give us a break.

  • Tony

    I’m ambivalent about Josh Beckett at this point. Without him, the Sox don’t even come close to that second W.S. title in 2007, so I will forever be grateful to him for that. I think he’s an outstanding pitcher when in shape, healthy, properly motivated–whatever you want to call it. It’s frustrating, of course, that he does seem to be injury-prone, but all of the baseball pundits warned Red Sox fans about that 6 years ago when the trade to acquire him was made, so it should come as no surprise that he occasionally misses some starts.

    What I’m not ambivalent about, however, is Felger’s constant bashing of the guy, made from the safety of his radio and TV studios. The “Texas Tough Guy” slur says so much more about Felger than it does about Beckett. I’d be willing to bet that if Beckett ever met Felger face-to-face, that the poofy-haired faux tough guy from Wisconsin would never repeat that slur for fear of having a Jim Everett/Jim Rome incident on his hands.

    I really don’t know what to think about Felger anymore. Is the “contrarian/DB” thing still just an act to drive ratings, or is he becoming like that in reality from all the repetition?

    • Frank

      If Beckett is the “Texas Tough Guy,” does that make Felger the “Burlington Bitch?”

      See what I did there I turned it around on him because he broadcasts from Burlington. Hilarity ensues.

      • Jason Coyote

        Since Felger also broadcasts from the 98.5 studios, we would have accepted “Brighton Bitch”.

        Buckle yourselves in for a long, long, long baseball season, my friends. If there is any enjoyment to come from the 2012 Red Sox, it will involve turning off your radios between 2:00 and 6:00 (unless there’s a weekday matinee game).

  • L3s

    This is hilarious. Reminds me of the disgusting fat-body sidekicks on the Howard Stern show who actually used to critique and slander the hottest women who’d come on the show. “Oh, she’s got a little cellulite here, or her calves aren’t as defined as I like.” Really, and you’re 5-4 and weigh 200 pounds and haven’t had a shower since Christmas.
    This is just like that…kinda, sorta ;)

  • Will

    Bruce, I get your larger point in this picture and that’s why I NEVER listen to Felger and Mazz because when they don’t understand something they throw anything against the wall, and i guess it sticks because they have the listeners,I’m just not one of them. #nothanks

  • Steve

    Does anyone have any stats on how many broadcasts Felger and Mazz have missed due to injury or sickness?

    • bsmfan

      I don’t but will blindly bet that they’ve been out less than Jay Severin, aka “Va-cay-Jay”.

      Felger is like Skip Bayless when it comes to taking time off and going into work.

  • bsmfan

    Does anyone ever wonder what Wiggens got on his Wonderlic? I’ll do an over/under at 6.5

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      Wiggins didn’t go to the combine in 1999, the year he came out of Georgia. Therefore, he didn’t take the Wonderlic.

  • Ironhead

    I’ll take the unnn-dah on Wiggy’s Wonderlic score.

  • Tim R

    Right on Bruce.
    I do a lot of traveling up and down the northeast corridor with my job and have occasion to listen to quite a few sports talk stations out of town.(New York, Philly, DC)
    Boston’s sport talk radio is EASILY the most negative and toxic. Easily!!
    They all feed off one another. It’s cancerous, it really is.
    You’d never know by the talk media in this city that all 4 teams have playoff potential.

  • Gary

    Does Mazz think that Bailey is faking the surgery? I guess the doctor will just do the surgery just on Bailey’s say-so.

    Will Mazz apologize for calling Bailey a hypochondriac?

    • Jason Coyote

      If it involves using the word ‘suck’, then maybe.

      Perhaps even more heinous was Mazz reciting all of Theo’s moves in his first year (Millar, Mueller, Ortiz, Kim, etc) and how none of them looked very sexy at the time, yet it’s more than OK to rip Cherington during his first five months as GM…natch.

  • latetodinner

    Wow, Bruce…this is the first time in a long time that I think you completely missed Felger and Mazz’s points. I think their 3 hours of Beckett and Bailey bashing today was NOT an indictment on the players. Although it sounded a little personal with Beckett I thought the indictment was clearly of management. The idea that the baseball ops people who use a computer rather than their eyes, who want the manager to just do what he is told and have no input as to the composition of the roster, that they could go out and so poorly construct a team. The consequences of ignoring past injury history (Bailey), of stubbornly forcing Bard into the starting rotation, of not having spent money on a quality starting pitcher this offseason, and of trading away Scutero while putting Inglesias back in Pawtucket for more seasoning means this team is worse than the one that started last year. Furthermore because the decisions are being made by the nebulous “baseball ops” people whoever results in the public not knowing who to hold responsible. Is it Cherrington who dumbly traded for damaged goods twice (Bailey and Carpenter)? Is it Lucchino who insisted on Inglasias being a year away? Who is the person responsible for Beckett’s health, or at least knowing he is fragile and you need a plan B? Who traded Scutero and then tied Bobby V’s hands regarding Inglasias effectively making him a lame duck manager before he has coached his first game? With Bailey down, why is Bard still in the rotation when you have Aaron Cook under contract? Who is making the baseball decisions?

    That was the point they were making. They used the injuries to illustrate their frustration that the Sox all of a sudden resemble a lousy run franchise. By the way…I agree 100% with Felger and Mazz on this line of thinking. The Sox right now are a mess and the first game has not been played. They better win right out of the shoot otherwise this summer is going to be real ugly.

    • Doc Michaels

      LTD your posts are generally very insightful and I’ve agreed with many of your comments over the years. That said, your constant Red Sox whining is getting really tired. Of course there are grounds to criticize, but it’s like rinse, repeat with you in regards to anything with this team. You dislike the ownership, blah blah, we get it — really, we do.

      • latetodinner

        Doc…I did not mean to to come off this time as slamming sox ownership. I was only trying to explain what Felger and Mazz were doing. I happen to agree with them but that is pretty much irrelevant to the posts. The on going narrative concerning the Sox ownership is going to be very important to the Boston Sports Media this year. The decision to hire Bobby V and then give him virtually no power is fascinating. How Ben Cherrington has constructed this team and the reasons why (his own incompetence, direction from Larry L?) is also a huge story. Lastly, as Mazz says frequently…last year still stings…and the lack of accountability is still a story.

        I do agree that constant posts by me slamming Sox ownership will get tiring but in the context of the first 22 posts in this thread…I thought it was entirely warranted because I thought Bruce et al missed the point of Felger and Mazz’s criticisms of Bailey, Beckett the Bard decision, the Melancon pick up, the Scutero trade and the Inglesias decision over the last few days.

    • Bruce

      You’re giving them WAY too much credit.

      • latetodinner

        If we were talking about the Big O or Gresh and Zo…you would be 100% correct. Whether you like his on air persona or not Mazz knows baseball and i think he has a very good read on what is going on. I think Felger is the follower in this conversation and together they are making a very powerful argument. I think they have framed the question that is going to dominate this entire season extremely well and they did it without once mentioning the name Curt Shilling…who by the way is saying the exact same thing…only he is also carrying Titos water in the quasi feud with Bobby V so he looks petty.

    • Brian

      Really with the computer thing? That battle ended 5 years ago. You guys lost. Every team in the majors uses advanced statistics in their team building and decisions making.

  • Gary

    I understand that Bailey has a history of being injured, but hurting his thumb in a collision can happen to any player.

    It’s pretty clear that Inglesias needs to start the season at Pawtucket. Do you want your starting shortstop hitting under .200?

    As for Bard, it’s more important to have a starter than reliever and the team has taken steps in the bullpen by having Padilla, and Melancon in the pen. And they can always move Bard to the bullpen if necessary.

    I also don’t believe they are tying Valentine’s hand. I guess you just assume he’s a puppet and not his own man?

    And all evidence points to Carpenter not hurt when he got here.

    As for Aaron Cook, he’s not ready to start….needs more time to build up his arm strength.

  • lj sandwich

    In regards to Bailey, the funny thing I’ve heard is Felger and Mazz doing quite a masterpiece on revisionist history. I don’t recall anybody anywhere bringing up his injury history, until yesterday. Granted, it looks like a bad move now, but everybody was applauding that move when it was made, especially with Melancon as insurance. Had they done their research when he came to the team I would have given them some credit. I’m more convinced than ever, goons on this site do more research than those paid good money to do the same.

    • latetodinner

      I want to give Mazz credit where it is due…he questioned the trade when it happened because he thought Bailey was injury prone.

      Again to everyone don’t miss my bigger point. Mazz and Felger were tying together the idea that the nebulous baseball ops department has constructed a team worse than last years team, has tied the hands of its manager and has done so in a way that the public does not know who to hold accountable. Mocking the injuries to Bailey and Beckett seem ignorant when looked at in a vacuum, however as part of a larger puzzle that clearly exposes problems with how this team is run. Might now have been the best examples to use but I do think the conclusion they reached about management is correct.

      • Kevin

        Really, LTD. The criticism “these geeks use a computer rather than their eyes” has gone way beyond cliche. That battle is over. The geeks won. Every front office in baseball now uses a mix of scouting and statistical analysis to build their teams. I’m not sure what you mean by this “nebulous’ front office. There’s Ben Cherington and guys who work for him. Are there other MLB teams out there where you know the names of everyone in the scouting department?

        • latetodinner

          Kevin:

          Of course numbers and computer analysis go into every front office decision. However do you think that numbers/projections in the Boston case over shadow non quantifiable data…like injury history, club house demeanor, or ability to play in a market like Boston? I think it does in the Red Sox front office. So much so that the GM almost seems like an after thought, and the field manager seems to have little influence as to the roster make up. Yes I know baseball is different than football and traditionally the manager has had little roster influence. My observation is similar to Mazz’s…someone Lucchino maybe…wanted Bobby V to be the manager…he had to know the baggage that comes with bringing in the smartest guy in the room…if so why tie his hands…at least in year one?

        • Kevin

          Personally, I like any time Bobby Valentine’s hands are tied. Especially if it means no throwing out a SS who hits under .200 out there and less bunting and giving up outs. They made a major mistake in hiring this guy who wants to be the show. There’s no argument from me there. But I’m not sure where you get the assumption they don’t take into account injury history and the like when making personnel choices. Injury history was the reason they chose Bedard over Harden last year. It’s not like this thumb issue is a recurring thing for Bailey, and the could have had foresight in not trading for him because of the thumb. The idea that the computer spits out names and Cherington follows it blindly is a dumb Felger soundbite that sounds funny to say on the radio, but carries no meaning. And I’ve never bought that “can’t play in Boston” theory. Crawford was terrible last year, and I never really understood what the fascination was with him before the signing, but one person they said that about was Johnny Damon. And he seemed to go on to thrive in big markets. Adrian Gonzalez and CC Sabathia seem like two more recent examples of the “can’t play in a big market” guy.

        • whitey b

          LTD, injury history is completely quantifiable, and guys like WIll Carroll now write exclusively on the topic for the MSM (CNNSI).

          If you are going to criticize the Red Sox management, at least have your facts straight. Like they teach in driving school, you can do everything right and still die.
          There is a factor of luck that cannot be planned for.

        • HighWireNickEsasky

          Adding to Kevin’s Harden example, the Sox shipped out Lowrie in part because he couldn’t stay on the field. Theo famously traded Nomar because he had become fragile and a distraction in the clubhouse. Sabermetrically that was not the best trade, but it made the team better. And the Sox refused to sign injury-prone JD Drew to a lucrative long-term deal when…um, actually they did do that.

      • whitey b

        All pitchers are injury prone. It’s because they are pitchers. There is nothing in the record that suggests this wasn’t just a freak accident. Move on.

  • Tom

    I’ve listened to F&M as regularly as I can since its start. I even schedule visits to the Gym so I can watch them on Comcast. But I had to shut them off yesterday. Just dreadful.

    I think Felger’s a talent, and I enjoy hearing him be a jerk. But he needs a counterweight.

    I hate to say this because I’m sure Tony is a nice guy but he’s detracting from the show. When is his contract up?

  • Tim R

    Good point Tom and I agree.
    It’s the Mike Felger show and Masseroti’s one and only contribution is to agree with and prop up every opinion Felger has. All Mazz does all show long (regargless of the topic) is to affirm Felger’s point of view.
    These guys have never had a knock down drag out heated discussion on any topic
    Ever!
    Why is Mazz there?? What is the point??

  • GStill45

    You can say that Bailey’s injury was a “freak accident,” but if you’re fragile, freak accidents land you on the DL for 4 months.

    Mazz annoys me constantly every time of the year EXCEPT baseball season, then he justifies his inclusion on a drivetime program. Mazz’s biggest point is legit. Cherington had one big position that he had to make a decision on, and it was closer. He punted on DH by giving Ortiz arbitration, he moved out bit parts like Wakefield and Vartiek, he didn’t add any starting pitching after Lackey went out for the year, but the big move he had to make was at closer, and it’s blown up. No matter where you place the blame, it failed.

  • Gary

    Oh, I see. If someone else had the same freak accident, they wouldn’t be on the DL as long? Get real. There has been nothing written that he takes his time when hurt.

    And when you have surgery, it’s not the player who estimates how long it takes to heal.

  • Randy

    The funny thing is Michael Gee is a nobody. The fact that you post his comments about Mazz is hilarious. Felger and Mazz is a must listen in the afternoon. By the ratings the show gets I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this. Sounds like Bruce is a Big O fan.

    • Bruce

      WEEI hosts have tweeted that I have my lips on Felger’s ass, and 98.5 people have called me a WEEI lover. Just because F&M are lapping The Big Show in the ratings isn’t necessarily an indication they’re doing it all right. It’s also an indictment of how bad Ordway is these days. He was absolutely horrible in that Valentine interview yesterday. Just atrocious.

      Michael Gee worked with Mazz for almost 20 years. He knows him. His comments about him are relevant.