Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 50 vs. the Clippers

Celtics (36-13) vs. San Diego (27-28)
January 27, 1980
Boston Garden

Larry Bird exploded for 36 points — a new career high — as the Celtics regained their edge at the Garden and sent the Clippers away with their sixth straight loss by defeating San Diego, 131-108.  Bird added seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

The Celtics controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Clippers, 55-38.  Rick Robey fought through a pulled groin muscle to deliver 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Cedric Maxwell added 13 boards.  Though the Celtics committed four more turnovers than SD, it was a product of their passing.  Led by Tiny Archibald’s nine assists, the Celtics compiled 14 more assists than the Clippers.  Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe captured the connection the Celtics’ fans had for their team: [Read more…]

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 49 vs. the Bullets

Celtics (36-12) vs. Washington (20-27)
January 25, 1980
Boston Garden

The Celtics are always connected with history.

In addition to drafting the first African American player (Chuck Cooper), employing the first African American starting five, and hiring the first African American head coach, the Celtics are in many ways to the sport of professional basketball the complete opposite to what the Red Sox were to diversity in baseball.  This particular night held a little history, as the Bullets ended a six-game losing streak — their longest since 1966 — with a road victory, 118-107, over the Celtics in the Garden. [Read more…]

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter I

Welcome to the Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, and (mostly) made up emails from your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

“TROLLING … ON A JET PLANE … I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’LL BE BACK AGAIN!!!”

[email protected]

Unlike last year, Eric Wilbur, who essentially admitted to Kirk Minihane that he writes for page views and reaction and doesn’t think facts are imperative in Internet columns, actually wasn’t the biggest troll following the Patriots loss to the Ravens. That honor goes to Chuck Culpepper on SportsOnEarth (which, aside from this abortion, is a great site you should all check out. Mike Tanier is the best national columnist covering the NFL, and it’s not even close.). Culpeepper’s piece though? Just awful.

“I’m sitting outside Guest Street, biding my time (a la Rajon Rondo), debating if I want to go in there. It’s cold, 5:40 am, and I just want to know … WHY WON’T THEY ACKNOWLEDGE ME? I EXIST.”

[email protected]

Hmm. I don’t know, Kev. I will say this: The web side of things is giving you a nice push and exposure with the Winter’s World podcast. Though, I’m not sure what the point of it is – just seems like more of the same dialect we hear everyday. I think The Brass over on Guest Street brought you in for your ESPN relationship, and if we’ve learned anything from the Sports Radio Wars, it’s that you’ll have plenty of time to make your mark. (Full Disclosure: I applied for the job, though was never a serious candidate. Just felt worth mentioning.)

As far as John and Gerry not, you know, engaging you on-air – I wouldn’t worry about it. John Dennis associates himself with the likes of Dan Sileo, who is making news for being an idiot (again) – this time as a misogynist, guys! (Here’s where your mother says, “You are the company you keep.”)

Another thing to note: we’re about to hit a dry spell in sports – the Celtics and Bruins are entering midseason (well not so much the B’s, but you get the point) –this is where I exclusively listen to shows, like “Toucher and Rich,” and read sites like Barstool Sports more than I usually do (I ripped on David Portnoy for Brady-baby-gate, which I stand by … But he’s also hilarious). More than any other time in the calendar year, I don’t need analysis as much as I just want to consume content from people that make me laugh and that I want to hang out with.

To me, that’s what WEEI lacks the most and is perhaps one of its bigger problems (and no, guys like Sileo aren’t the solution). Did they forget that sports are supposed to be fun? This market will always be big enough for two radio stations, but no one I know under the age of 40 listens to WEEI, and that 18-49 demographic that The Sports Hub instantly commandeered in 2009, is slowly becoming the coveted 25-54 demographic.

“Joe Buck is fucking terrible – a smug, smarmy twat.”

-Tyler

Ahh, yes. That’s a comment from my Championship Sunday media roundup, where I said Buck has done well to change his monotone voice to a higher pitch of excitement in big moments recently. Hell, I even went as far as to say I like Buck. Will Leitch does a better job defending Buck than I could in this space, but I’ll say this: As fans, so many times we complain about announcers; sometimes it’s warranted, other times it feels like we do it just because we can. The Internet culture doesn’t help. And I’m not sure if we’re looking to distract ourselves or to kill time, but Buck is America’s punching bag, partly because he’s omnipresent. Regardless, I’m certain Fox could do worse (Thom Brennaman, anyone?)

Speaking of announcers …

“STOP PUMPING THE CROWD NOISE, JUST STOP.”

[email protected]

What was that last night? In case you skipped out on the Celtics-Knicks match-up, Marv Albert went on a rant of sorts during the second quarter, claiming the folks at TD Garden incessantly pump crowd noise into the arena. Albert tried goading Steve Kerr, who seemed awfully reluctant to take part in the conversation, to agree. Kerr passed.

Look, I attended every Celtics game last season while covering the team, and could never tell if there was any artificial crowd noise pumped through the speakers. Keep in mind, I wasn’t exactly listening for it, either. I’m not sure it matters. This is the same crowd that started chanting “Ugly Sister” to Lamar Odom (in reference to Odom’s wife, Khloé Kardashian) during a Mavericks game last season. It’s a great fan base; and, frankly speaking, with the amount of times the Celtics have no showed this year, why should the team expect the crowd to bring the intensity? I don’t blame them.

“I’m free!”

[email protected]

Despite Albert’s ornery outburst, Thursday was a win for Turner Sports. News broke that Rachael Nichols is leaving ESPN for CNN/Turner. The decision is logical for both Turner and Nichols, and a direct hit to the WorldWide leader. She is a pro’s pro, who has had successful runs at The Washington Post and the four letter network. Look for her profile to substantially increase (there are already discussions of developing a “Real Sports”-esq show based around Nichols). Interesting times for CNN/Turner, who just abandoned their relationship with Sports Illustrated (a curious move) to join forces with the king of keywords, search engine optimization, and pageviews … the Bleacher Report.

As far as ESPN goes …

“Great to have you back Ryan. And, Rob Parker thinks this column is too ‘cornball’.”

-bsmfan

Oh, “First Take.” I … just … oh, fuck it.

Moving on.

“This mailbag is terrible, because you’re terrible! GOD, Boston is awful.”

[email protected]

Drew Magary is a top-5 read for me right now. He’s great, and he knows it. He writes like Bill Simmons used to write, which is ironic, since he constantly rips on the Sports Guy. You are what you hate, I suppose.

As far as The Sports Guy goes, it’s safe to say Simmons has lost a bit of his fastball over the years. His initial appeal was that he was an average guy, talking about sports the way we talk about sports; meanwhile, in the last month, he’s led two columns with anecdotal stories that were relevant to him and only him. One was how his version of the mailbag originated (I personally enjoyed this), and the other was how he had to type a column without an ‘S’ key or something.

(OK, it may not have been the ‘S’ key. I forget. But he was complaining about a shoddy computer warranty, like he couldn’t just expense a new laptop anyway … Are times really that tough over at Bristol?)

Don’t get me wrong, I still read his columns and listen to every one of his podcasts. He’ll always be one of my favorite writers – and was my inspiration to start writing. To top it off, his story will be taught in journalism classes forever. But he lives in a different world now, and the component he relied most on in his writing — being relatable — is dissipating.

“Well written article Ryan and I understand you point. However, I do feel there are exceptions. Granted I was very young when this happened, but from what I’ve heard, I don’t remember hearing people defend Wilfredo Cordero for spousal abuse. Again, I was young, but from everything I remember, he was outcast and people wanted his head. Maybe “we” as fans, only feel protective of that “star player” who must rise to X status level before getting the protective cloak around their shoulders. Obviously Cordero never has that cache.”

-Winning_Again

The Obstructed View columns will, eventually, get me into trouble. The BSMW community frequently comes up with smart, insightful takes, so when I talked to Bruce about coming back, I told him that I wanted to do something to challenge the readership. It is a work in progress, but a feature I really wanted to pursue. In a vacuum, each column is meant to coerce discussion in a genuine and creative way. By no means am I trying to play devil’s advocate; in fact, I hope to do the opposite by removing bias and filters, and (ultimately) explore How We Think About Sports. I’m happy it appears to have worked here.

Anyway, from my vantage point, both Kobe Bryant‘s and Ray Lewis‘ personal situations are sticky, and I would classify neither as a “good” person. Still, despite the snark and suspicion, Lewis falls within the gray area discussed in the column. I absolutely think Lewis is revered in Boston if he plays for the Patriots, instead of a rival. Same goes for Kobe — whose rape victim had more than a few holes in her story, which was sort of the point of the column.

*Side note: Whenever Kobe’s rape case gets brought up, I always laugh about the following line of questioning.

Via The Smoking Gun:

Detective Loya: So you like to cum in your partner’s face?

Kobe Bryant: That’s my thing, not always, so I stopped. Jesus Christ man.

That’s his thing, guys. Priceless.

Anyway, to reiterate, teams have to be successful for the “Our Guys” theory to work, but I’m with you — I was young, too, and I remember Will Cordero‘s case being cut and dry, eliminating him from this discussion. Good call.

I am going to have the biggest smile on my face when I see Ray doing his dance next Sunday, and what makes it great is knowing that you Boston bitches hate it!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SUCK IT BITCH YOU LOST!!!JOE FLACCO HAS OUTPLAYED BRADY IN THE 3 STRAIGHT GAMES!!!!!!   AND LEARN HOW TO TALK PROPER WITH YOUR STUPID ACCENTS LOL       YOU MAD BRO?!?!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA   RAY LEWIS IS GOING BACK TO THE SUPERBOWL….LIVE WITH IT!!!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

-Chris

So that same great community I just waxed poetic about? Chris, clearly, is not part of it. Learn how to “talk proper,” guys. Wait, or is it “proper talk?” I just consulted Google, and the results show, “Properly Talk.” Who would’ve thought!

“Bruce, I don’t think you allowing these guests posts is doing your site any favors. I’m not sure why I should care about this writer’s opinion”

-Anonymous Commentator

Pulled that from my first column here. Do people long for the days of George Cain? I know I do. I really do.

“I met a girl on Tinder, asked how many push ups she could do, and now I’m in love. We haven’t actually met. She is wearing a Canton High School hoodie in her profile picture, but she says she is 21. Should I be concerned?”

-No one ever.

Covered the media aspect of this story last week, but the Manti Te’o story is so strange. I don’t know what to think, why I should think it, and if I should really care. I get the feeling the story has run its course no matter what the outcome. And that’s probably a good thing, but wow … 2013, everyone! Welcome.