Sports Media Musings: Return of the Jester

Happy Endings Are Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet

(Programming note: For ACTUAL media commentary, please feel free to skip the next 450 words. I won’t be offended. In fact, I encourage it. I apologize for this voluminous explanation about my respite from writing these past few months; there are just so many big things happening in my head, man. Alas, this practice in self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement is co-sponsored by Adrian Foster’s Twitter avatar … and Dan Shaughnessy’s hair ego.)

Great news, guys: I am back, and there will be blood (maybe … well no, not really). Longtime readers of Boston Sports Media Watch – which, I suppose, is a great deal of you reading this very text – know who I am, appreciate (or mock) my gimmick, and will welcome back the 2011-UNDISPUTED-CHAMPION-In-Arbitrary-Media-Musings-Related-To-Sports-Personalities-Produced-By-A-Fledgling-Writer-In-His-Parents-House, with overwhelming joy. I think.

The bunch I’m referring to may recall my departure from this very space, just a short year ago, to try my hand with the gentlemen occupying Guest Street, with great sadness and sheer despondence. But fear not, dear readers, in the year since, I have covered everything from the Celtics and Patriots to Bonnaroo Music Festival in TN (for Boston.com) to music for TIME. It was, from what I imagine, the feeling Billy Joe Armstrong wishes upon his subject in the song “Good Riddance,” mixed with a shot of the Showtime series, “House of Lies.” Sports, everyone. And writing, too. SPORTS WRITING.

And while it may not seem this way in future columns, the truth is, the gentlemen Over There were gracious, accommodating, and gave me every chance to succeed at my endeavors. You’ll scoff because, sure, my dalliance with The Mainstream Media resembled Gerald Green’s combustible NBA career more than the steadiness of Julio Franco for my liking, but in the interim, I would like to think I learned a lot about life, barriers of entry in competitive industries, and most importantly, proper etiquette while in a buffet line. And hey, as much as I would have loved to keep the Out of Bounds blog going Over There, life, sadly, has countered with rules and obligations, mostly revolving around superficial yet paramount concepts like, “bills,” “net income,” and a relationship with my new girlfriend, named Sallie Mae.

In all earnest, writing about the media, in general, is difficult. However, I can’t complain. Like I said, I was given a great opportunity. I enjoyed the people I worked with and had an incredible experience.  The writers and editors I had the pleasure of working for are, for my money, the best at what they do in this town.

“But look,” I negotiated with myself (we’re getting very, very meta now), “Going forward, if I’m going to write for a reward equivalent to your iPhone bill, I feel, it’s only fair, I should be able to write about who I want, when I want … Because PRINCIPLES, people.”

Please know, dear readers, I have returned to you now living back in Boston (breaking the blogger stereotype) as a “wiser” (Read: Jaded) writer, offering two columns a week – the aforementioned “Media Musings” notes, and a more focused column entitled, “The Obstructed View.”

Fin.

They Said It, Not Me

(This is the part where I deride statements made by Those Who Make Statements)

… Dan Shaughnessy admits that he doesn’t know football. Very tongue and cheek, because he’s ABOVE IT ALL. Don’t think for a second, after he whipped out that gem of a zinger, he didn’t strut into good ‘ole Morrissey Blvd., sporting a BIG WINK shot in the direction of Joe Sullivan; leaving the rest of staff gushing, “That’s so Dan, guys!”

But hey, way to hold and develop that authoritative voice, bud. No need to actually defend your stance with statistics and rationale. I mean, that’s OK – you’re just paid to write about it, is all. Play the Blind Squirrel because, guess what, THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY, EVERYONE!

… After the Celtics “upset” the Knicks Tuesday, Gary Tanguay alluded to trade rumors swirling around the team before their current winning streak took form; many of which, Alan Thick assuredly informed us, are incorrect.

Are we to believe Tanguay, who, if you recall, is the same person who confidently told us Paul Pierce was to be traded last season? Keep in mind, as of this morning, Pierce is still listed on Doc Rivers’ roster. Still, to his credit, Andy Bernard desperately – and justifiably – wanted to be believed that his sources were correct about Ray Allen’s departure being related to his salty relationship with Rajon Rondo.

Let the record show, none of this aimless conjecture supersedes Tanguay’s remarks due to an unconfirmed heat stroke he suffered this summer. The highlights, or lowlights, included his indefensible (and maniacal) castigation of Clay Buchholz for going to a pool party at Foxwoods after being released from Intensive Care, and curious proclamation that Aly Raisman was more “clutch” than Tom Brady. Yes, that really happened. Oh, and there was the time he said LeBron James wasn’t a top-5 player in the NBA before the playoffs began, because SPORTS TAKES.

But the line, it seems, between host (ostensibly Tanguay’s role) and commentator/reporter (what sets Ron Burgundy’s calves on fire) is further blurred. JOURNALISM.

… ESPN told Rob Parker, the dude who infamously questioned Robert Griffin III’s blackness (or something, rather) on “First Take,” thanks but no thanks, releasing him from his duties at the network.

Rob Parker’s contract expired at year end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew.

So long as “First Take” – the embodiment of a Shank column – exists, extolling the four-letter network for the decision to remove Parker from the equation is like giving a standing O at a DUI hearing because the driver wore his seatbelt.

… The WorldWide Leader also apologized for Brent Musburger incessantly pointing out the obvious during the college football National Championship Game: Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, and former Miss Alabama, is a professional smokeshow. MISOGYNISTIC ATTITUDES CURED.

This Week In Felger & Mazz Constituents

This week, Senator McCarthy took his hatred toward the BBWAA (namely Tom Verducci) to new levels, probably to avoid putting any real focus on his other enemy, the streaking Celtics. Earlier in the week, he frothed about reports of Chip Kelly coming to New England to succeed Bill Belichick, because no “Belichick Guys” ever workout. (Somewhere, Thomas Dimitroff and his hapless, top-seeded Falcons somehow feel more disrespected.)

Meanwhile, The Squeaky One Who Agrees gave insight based off a time when he, you know, gave insights; ranking PWIFS (Player’s Wives I’d Like To … well, you know). Who feels out of place on this list: Canseco, Clemens, and Hatteberg. The Squeaky One Who Agrees giggled, mostly.

Finally, when asked about his thoughts in the upcoming New England-Houston playoff game, The One We Shower With Adulation For His Seven-Yard Catch In Super Bowl XXXVI decided that if the Patriots “just do what they did last time against [the Texans], it will be a blowout.” Glad he’s here.

It was, what He & His Cohorts would call, “A Productive Day.”

  • Winning_Again

    Good to have you back Ryan. Looking forward to your Musings about others Musings when their musings just don’t seem to have enough muse! WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!

  • Frank

    Kind of a random note here: I was watching Mike Reiss’ interview with Logan Mankins this morning during the Reiss’ P.A.T video and in the background you can see Tom E. Curran approach a player (can’t tell who it is) make some small talk and crack a joke and then call over Mary Paoletti. Curran then leaves and Paoletti breaks out her notebook and begins to talk to the player. Now is this a case of Tom, who has been on the beat for a long time now, just trying to help out a younger reporter who shares the same employer? Or does this show that Mary, who may or may not have been hired to be some sort of eye candy for Quick Slants, does not have the journalistic fortitude to simply approach players for an interview?

    Not really a big deal either way, it just sort of caught my attention and got my thinking on a Thursday morning.

    • The Dude

      That’s not Mary. That’s Tania Ganguli from the Houston Chronicle. Tom was probably just helping introduce her to Stallworth.

      • Frank

        My bad, looked like Mary. Thanks for the correction.

      • http://twitter.com/DryHeave1 DryHeave

        ok, but now was that Stallworth? I thought he was put on the IR

        • The Dude

          Yes, that is Stallworth

    • http://twitter.com/iamjoonlee Joon Lee

      From my experience in the locker room, Mary has is very active and does not need help approaching players. She’s a consumate professional.

      • Frank

        That’s good to know. But just out of curiosity, why are you in the locker room?

        • http://twitter.com/iamjoonlee Joon Lee

          Intern for the Boston Herald.

  • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

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

  • sjc6224

    Belichick guys “don’t work out”? That’s right, Nick Saban has been a complete failure at Alabama. They have not been undefeated their last two championship seasons

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      This is the dumbest criticism of Belichick. The fact that his coaches (mostly) haven’t succeeded elsewhere as the top guy should put Belichick in a more positive light. It shows that he puts his coordinators and assistant coaches in a position to succeed and/or is able to cover up their deficiencies. And why do we want him to supply the league with top-notch head coaches anyway? Why make the competition stronger?

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.sutherland.90410 Michael Sutherland

        Yeah, but I think the topic comes up because of the Walsh and Holmgren (and to a lesser extent Parcells) coaching trees. To say nothing of the Lombardi coaching tree. But plenty of great coaches didn’t produce lots of illustrious assistants. Shula and Landry, I think, didn’t. So what? So yeah, I kind of agree with you, Nick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.sutherland.90410 Michael Sutherland

      Saban didn’t do so well with the Dolphins. And Felger does acknowledge Dimitroff’s success. But the rest of the guys…I think he’s got a case.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmediawatch.com/ bsmfan

      Maybe in the NFL. The “failures” are well documented. Brian Kelly is about to get a “Charlie Weiss”-sized raise due to the 12-0, even though Saban absoutely clowned ND in the NCG.

      If you’ve ever read about the accounts of Saban in Miami, he carried the same “total control” freak that he was in all of his college.

      http://nyti.ms/Ubp4Rl

      This does not work. This is no surprise to anyone. I found another article that asked, “Well, wait, if BB can do it, why not Saban?” – They alluded to how Bill did eventually learn and it happened between the Browns->HC of the Pats.

      Success? I know Saban makes this look easy but you seriously need to consider that what Saban is doing might never be done again at the college level.

      He’s winning crystal footballs at a clip Brady goes to the Superbowl in college (1 every other year). This in the age of parity, in the by-far-and-away toughest conference (SEC), where he can’t sign 150 players (see Nebraska in the mid 90s–Yes the NCAA changed the rules because of SEC/medical redshirting due to Saban) but it’s at least a dynasty.

      Now, if you want to look at another angle. Saban has his own “tree” that has a mixture of success. See Will Muschamp (Florida Gators), Derek Dooley (former Vols coach), among others.

      As one media member said, the “team” that could probably stop the “Death Star” Saban built in Tuscaloosa is the NCAA (jokingly).

      So, is no NFL success a “failure” from Belichick person? Charlie sucked @ ND and he’s not exactly doing anything w/the Jayhawks. Saban on the other hand..

  • HighWireNickEsasky

    Mazz is a boring lemming but he’s dead on about Bitsy Hatteburg

  • NutCracker

    I never knew this factoid:

    “Gresh and Zolack are one of the best sports talk shows in the country”

    http://sheltonmedia.blogspot.com/

  • DrakeW

    I know most don’t listen to the local 5-10 (or 11) local shows but I happened to be up late last night and they repeated an hour of programming from the Adam “Vanilla” Jones show. It was very strange. If this guy’s trying to make a name for himself in this town, bolting early and just replaying the previous hour’s content is not going to do it.

    And the guy on CBS Radio that follows him is just god-awful. He’s like trying to be the Wolfman Jack of sports radio and just comes off as extremely abrasive and annoying.

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