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.

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

    Glad to see we can have fun with the Parker comment :)

    Thankfully, he’s off major airwaves–for now.
    ——————————–
    How long will Nichols last @ CNN? I think she does great work and clearly is respected in the industry but their “shift” in sports is questionable at best. I’m not the biggest SI fan, but replacing SI with Bleacherreport as an attempt to be a serious sports contender? Everyone joked about how soon before we see her presenting slide shows on CNN.. I just get the impression she’ll get burnt out at amateur hour and want to be back at a serious sports operation like ESPN.

    CNN did hire away the guy who oversaw PTI/ATH, I thought mainly to help them on their 7-11pm block since their cable news competition destroys them, but I guess this is one of their new directions.
    ——————————–
    Wait, didn’t anyone raise a stink that Tom Brady’s mega-house has a moat?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/tom-brady-crazy-mansion-cost-20-million-moat-024914957–nfl.html

    • Winning_Again

      in regards to PTI/ATH, are you referring to Mark Shapiro?

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

        You are correct, sir:

        http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/15/entertainment/la-et-ct-mark-shapiro-candidate-cnn-20121115

        However, I got it wrong seeing as Jeff Zucker was hired (former NBC):

        http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/490552-Report_Zucker_to_Take_Top_Post_at_CNN.php
        —-
        However, I brought this up as its still puzzling if CNN is going to tie its sports journalism credibility to Bleacher Report. SI isn’t what it once was but to even compare is laughable at best. And, again, it seems like CNN is in its “we’re trying to do something but doing nothing to fix our TV side”, but I could be completely wrong and maybe this Bleacher Report/Sports direction will pan out well for them.

        ESPN definitely lost a good asset with Nichols. They’ve also lost 3 of their big female anchors over the past year and one has to assume its because they hit a maximum when it comes to exposure, and nothing to do with pay.

  • ben

    I would agree that no one i know under age 40 i know listens to ‘EEI (except maybe Brady interview and/or Sox games).

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

    I am 17 and listened to EEI until recently. I started with switching over to Felger and Mazz, which soon led to listening to Toucher and Rich and, now, Adam Jones. I’m in school during the midday shows, but both are subpar shows. Their next major revamp needs to be with D&C, because they cannot keep up with T&R right now. While their midday show is currently weaker, The Big Show needs a revamp. Ordway is nearing the end of his contrast and I believe that he’ll be let go. He’s had a great run, but ever since the Big Show lost the roundtable format, it’s been second to F&M. I think a show with Holley and Minihane would be highly entertaining.

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

    Hope everyone isn’t too emotionally drained from the Pro Bowl. If anything, the X Games provided more entertainment Sunday evening.

    For some reason, I assume the ink and airwaves might be filled with Green-talk this week in Boston.

    Always a good thing to start with Woj’s take on it:
    http://yhoo.it/XLhpYR

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