Heart Surgery Jokes Are Hilarious, Just Ask Mike Felger

In a show much of which was spent lambasting the Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli for not being able to close a deal, (that’s a whole other topic) Michael Felger decided he needed to poke the Celtics as well, specifically Jeff Green, who hit the game winning shot the night before.

When anyone undergoes heart surgery, it’s a big deal. The issue Jeff Green (and Chris Wilcox) had last year was potentially life threatening, yet they both recovered sufficiently enough to play NBA basketball this season. Green hasn’t been as consistent as some people would like, but since the All Star break he is averaging 16.3 points a game. Anyway, this is the discussion they then had.

Mazz: I mean, they were down 10 with 6 minutes to go. and then they made some shots, Pierce made one in the lane, and then Green obviously made a great drive, got the shot off with a half-second left to win the game. The thing I thought was cool about the game – and they’re going nowhere without Garnett – and I know you’re not particularly fond of Jeff Green’s game, you think he should be better, and in the big picture I’m thinking you’re right about that. But, the guy who performed his heart surgery, the doctor, was there, and so Green makes the shot, showed a lot of emotion after the made the basket, and then, I don’t know, walking off the floor, went over and sort of put his arm around his doctor and said a quick embrace and moved on.

Felger: But you know what he was asking, right?

Mazz: What?

Felger: For the heart back.

Mazz: Oh yeah, that’s what it was. You are such a cynic. You know that?

Felger: I think the guy took it out.

Mazz: It’s amazing though, you think about…

Felger: He SUCKS.

Felger then congratulated himself on a great line.

I’m sure the Felger Fluffers are going to be out in force on this post, but I think this crosses a line. Especially coming from a guy who screams in agony if he runs out of Curel in the studio. He’s going to mock a guy who had extensive open-heart surgery for a life-threatening condition, and is playing high-level NBA basketball a year later?

But he gets the big ratings so apparently I’m the one who is wrong here. Felger can do no wrong. Got it.

Just a couple other items from today:

Jerry Remy fully recovered, not so sure about Red Sox – Bill Doyle talks to the NESN Red Sox analyst, who feels great physically, but understands the low expectations for the team.

Globe needs more balance in assessing athletes’ charity – Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Breslow chastises the Globe for its much-hyped feature on athlete charities and the percentage of profits that go to the causes. In an incredibly impressive letter.

By know you’ve probably heard the news that FOX announced this week that Tim McCarver Steps Down In October following the end of the World Series. Red Sox fans a likely happy over this news.

Buck on McCarver: “I’ve Learned More from Him Than Anybody…Including My Father” – Joe Buck, who has been in the booth with McCarver for 17 years credits McCarver with showing him more of the business than his own dad, the legendary Jack Buck.

SI Baseball Preview: Washington Nationals Will Win 2013 World Series – SI has the Red Sox finishing last in the AL East.

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Conference Call Transcript – The crew of Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk also previewed the season this week.

  • Jugdish

    I’m a Felger fan but this was a bit tasteless. Not Doug Gottlieb tasteless, but…

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andre Dursin

    Man, there are a whole lot of “I’m a Felger fan BUT…” apologists on here lately, aren’t there?

    I can’t even believe I used to like the guy; it seems the “old Felger” was replaced by the new, Borges-esque one so long ago that I find myself wondering what he was like “before.” Either way, I don’t know what he’s like personally but, by the day, he’s coming off as more and more of an DB, drunk with his own success and fueled by his ego.

    Beyond that, what do you learn from listening to F+M? That the management of every local team SUCKS, including the Patriots, and that owners play games (agents of course never do — right) with talent. It’s like there’s a daily check list of things to rant about, with seldom any actual INSIGHT into the games being played on the field — something, once upon a time, Felger used to be good at. Not so much anymore.

    • DrakeW

      But the Red Sox and their owners do suck.

      And I don’t see what the big deal is with the heart joke.

      • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andre Dursin

        Do the Patriots and Bruins ownership deserve as much crap as they take every day from him? I’m not trying to defend every move they make, but Felger will drop a “this is a good Patriots team that will contend line” that takes 10 seconds to say, then spend the next 4 hours about how much everyone from Belichick to Kraft to Mike Reiss and Tom Curran sucks. There’s no balance there of any kind.

        • DrakeW

          I didn’t say anything about how I felt about his attacks on the B’s and Pats’ ownership. I’m saying his is correct in saying the Sox suck and their ownership sucks.

          And I thought B’s fans hated the Jacobses?

        • Bertrands11thchin

          That’s some expertise right there. Like splitting the atom

      • http://twitter.com/BruceNV Bruce Newman

        Really? Never had heart problems? Your loved ones all got healthy tickers?

        It’s not a big deal to mock someone who’s come back from a life-threatening illness? Dork.

        • DrakeW

          You can make jokes about anything. Humor wouldn’t exist at all if it were 100% inoffensive to everyone.

        • Carl

          Know any good racial jokes?

        • DrakeW

          Everybody knows at least one. Lets not kid ourselves.

        • Mike

          Of course, but someone working in a highly visible position should be more circumspect. I thought KG’s “you look like a cancer patient” taunt to Charlie Villanueva was an hilariously vicious bit of trash talk. And that kind of attack doesn’t belong on the air.

      • Linda Austin

        The Red Sox had a bad year and a half but they don’t suck and their ownership doesn’t either.
        So tired of the Spawts talk parrots who call themselves fans.

    • bsmfan

      I’ll requote something from a previous post:

      Delivering an hour of sports talk is like writing about 10 op-eds. So, 40 per daily show without the benefit of a copywriting process. At this point, you should just set the over/under at silly/stupid things you’ll say.

      However, more of us “Felger fan but” have come to attack the style and, to me, I think this is what could see the popularity decline. The “Everything sucks” approach, which demonstrably reared its head in the “Welkerapaloza” stuff from 2 weeks ago, really epitomized it. But, if you want to listen to something local, what competition is out there right now? The book is still out on S+H; they are also less than two weeks into a new show, so I think it’s way too early to draw any conclusions.

      When not doing this, us “Fegler fan BUT” find it good sports talk. His takes are great and the show has flow. However, as said before, having no real competition gives Felger license to continue his BostonSportsPope+Squeek show. Who knows what will happen? I’ll defend what I said above but if he thinks that they should continue to “blame management” on the NHL side (did this yesterday) and continue on the Kraft/Patriots hate, I think they’ll find more switching the dial regardless of who is on at WEEI.

      • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andre Dursin

        I agree there’s not much of an alternative, which is why I haven’t been listening to anything in the afternoon lately. I am trying to get into S&H but like we said, it’s too early and they’ve got their issues in the early going.

        For me, it goes back to the other day when I wrote about pairing hosts who contrast. If Felger was paired with someone sane who might CHALLENGE his daily “everything sucks” shtick, the show would be much more listenable and insightful — but nobody does. Everyone from the callers to the “guests” (Gasper and Wiggy) usually do nothing but agree with him. I don’t find that kind of one-sided diatribe to be “good sports talk” whatsoever, unless you happen to agree with Felger and his increasingly unhinged, skewered viewpoints. What constitutes good sports talk, to me, is when you point two people together who often have unique viewpoints.

        As for Mazz — he’s the laziest on-air talent in this country. Embarrassing he collects a check to do what he does every day.

        • bsmfan

          Granted, the shtick that F+M are putting out, lately, has become predictable. I’ll stand with you there.

          One question on that. Would Felger take the stronger personality? Would the show work? Maybe this is a bad example but First Take brought on SaS to “challenge” Bayless, as staged as many debates are. Did that make either of them more likable? The show? Would Felger be able to take it?

          One of the biggest differences, where I did like S+H, is that they’re not screaming at each other. We all know the difference between what First Take puts out and hosts having a spirited debate.

      • http://twitter.com/BruceNV Bruce Newman

        His “takes”? So you are admitting that it’s just a bunch of made up crap, like “First Fake” on ESPN, spun from whole cloth to entertain mindless minions?

        • bsmfan

          “Takes” is an industry term. Just because “First Take” uses it does not make it exclusive to First Take, ESPN or Skip Bayless. I’m not even sure if it is limited to sports because I’ve heard the term used outside it on the radio.

        • http://twitter.com/BruceNV Bruce Newman

          What industry? Never heard it besides from Rome and his ilk.

      • Mike

        Sports Pope! Sums up his attitude nicely. I remember when a few writers–one guy at Fox at least–made fun of Rocco Baldelli’s mitochondrial condition a few years ago, and I was appalled. I’m a “yeah but” Felger fan, but that goes for a lot of other guys around the sports world I enjoy too. Such as, I love Kevin Garnett but I wish he’d developed a skyhook (and I think he’s one of the few guys who could).

        On Green–Felger dislikes the whole culture of the league. Since David Stern has removed anything resembling fighting in the league, so that guys now get technicals just for staring at each other, whoofing and posturing has become more promiment. Disliking that and disliking post-dunk mugging is a legitimate opinion. But that’s the backdrop for his assaults on players, Rondo foremost among them now (replacing LeBron James), but Jeff Green too. There’s cause for a beef there too: I wish that 6′ 9″ player would grab a few more boards and develop something like a post game. But it’s unfair to forget that a year ago he was recovering from heart surgery. Using a health condition as a metaphor for his basketball game…that’s trash talk. I think it belongs on the floor, not on the radio.

        I only heard an hour of yesterday’s F&M, and the rest of the time I caught Salk & Holley. I didn’t hear Felger attacking Chiarelli. I heard him point out a few times that Chiarelli could have pushed harder. I do think Calgary played Boston–whether Iginla’s real goal from the beginning was only to go to Pittsburgh, we’ll probably never know–but I wondered, and it’s a legitimate point, that if Boston’s offer were indisputably stronger than Pittsburgh’s (*cough* Subban *cough*), perhaps Iginla would’ve wound up here? I think that’s fair speculation. But I heard a consistent theme on both shows: Calgary played Chiarelli, whether you want to primarily point at Iginla, Feaster or Calgary’s owner. Peter wanted a deal, was told he’d gotten it, but was lied to, so primary responsibility for this isn’t with him. That’s what I heard.

  • bosox3054

    Tasteless, but not any moreso than the line “Felger Fluffers.”

    • Carl

      “Felger Fluffers” is a perfect description of his blind defenders.

      • Mike

        Not sure if Ordway came up with it, but I liked his term “rump swabs” back in the day.

  • NEPatsfan

    I like Felger too and have defended him here in the past. Generally I enjoy their show and take it with a grain of salt as I believe they intend it to be taken. But between this and their embarrassing coverage of the Welker situation, they have not exactly covered themselves in glory lately.

  • Will

    This is fine, what is everyone complaining about? Isn’t this the guy everyone crowned the new king of sports talk radio in this city? You all (Felger fans) complained about Ordway and his opinions, you ran him out of town by giving Felger your ears, You’re already complaining about Mike Salk and it’s not even a month. You’re okay with personal bashing and stepping over the line, you’ve traded that for real sports talk and you’ve all allowed Felger to brain wash you into believing his “Tell it like it is style” is the way to go. So enjoy it, don’t complain. As For me, I’m fine with EEI, as far as local goes, anything but Felger and Mazz.

    • bsmfan

      Where most of the Salk and Holley talk occurred was on this post from a few days ago:

      http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/2013/03/mid-week-thoughts-on-media-topics

      From there and a previous post, I only count one ‘S+H SUCKS’ post. The rest was a “they could do more/better” tone and the more critical comments were aimed at Holley. If “could do better” equates to “they suck. turn it off. F+M are better.”, then I’m not sure there is much I can reason here.

      Bruce and Ryan have said, which many of us resonated, that it’s far too early to write them off. They haven’t even been on the air a month.

      • Will

        In my opinion, F+M aren’t better, they just benefit from the hate towards EEI. To me that doesn’t make them better talent-wise, but I guess it depends on how you like your brand of sports talk.

        • bsmfan

          It’s long been speculated but I think we can both agree that there is no way to tell.

          People here have complained about the large contingent of “WEEI haters” that seem to also have either become “F+M haters”.

          I’ll speak for myself but many of us here just want some good competition between the stations so not only do they make each other better but there is an alternative because you’d like options.

        • Will

          I disagree that F+M haters and EEI haters are the same. It’s not even close.

    • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andre Dursin

      Felger is drunk on top of the ratings and it’s only going to get worse from here…it’s never going to be restrained, only pushed more in the personal-insult “fact not opinion” direction it’s trending.

  • fungi11

    Felger seems to have a “you can’t touch me” attitude. His whole act of no pleasantries during calls is getting quite tiring. With the way he has been bashing the Bruins lately on-air, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bruins took their broadcasts elsewhere when their Sports Hub contract expires.

  • http://twitter.com/EdRomero Ed Romero

    So Breslow is kinda smart? Must have fascinating discussions with Aceves

  • Bullock

    Re: Felger

    In the last three weeks, Felger has done nothing but embarrass himself and his show. I have found myself streaming music after one segment (S&H is still unlistenable to me, but might get better with improved chemistry). I submit the following:

    1a. Welkerpalooza. How hard is it to say that ALL sides effed this one up? Welker and his agents misread the market. They thought they were going to get more years and more money. They effed up. Then the Pats, who were in the right, decided to put the squeeze Welker and his agents. As a result, they have replaced one of the most durable and valuable contributors to the franchise with lesser talents. Everyone was wrong, but that was a jumping off point for an attack on Pats management …

    2a. “Insider Interview” pt 1 (with Mike Reiss). In attacking the Pats brass, he threw all the beat guys under the bus for “being in the bag with the team.” Now, are there SOME who are mouthpieces for the team? Absolutely, just like there are some who bash the team no matter what they do. But to call out the reporting by ALL the guys on the beat was an embarrassment. I give Mike Reiss a TON of credit for standing up for his work and not backing off, but doing it in a clear, calm, respectful manner. He cited all the information he had available to him and when he had it available to him. Felger was indignant and disrespectful, and that is being polite.

    2b. “Insider Interview” pt 2 (with Connor McKenna). Did anyone else hear this interview? I thought I was listening to a rush hour zoo crew radio prank call. McKenna gets on the radio to talk Bs-Habs and Felger turns it into an embarrassing attack on the Canadiens’ slimy style of diving to draw penalties. Are the Canadiens weasels? Absolutely. But McKenna isn’t on the ice with them, so what is the point of this interview? I hate the Canadiens as much as the next passionate Bruins fan, but that interview made me ill. Dragging the Habs play-by-play guy through the wringer accomplishes nothing. It’s not humorous or informative, so what are we listening to? Mazz’s silence during that segment was deplorable.

    3. Non-trade for Iginla. Look, if anyone has Jacobs’ home address, I’m right there to toss water balloons filled with animal urine at his front door (provided my water balloon launcher can reach over the electrified fence and 200 ft driveway), but how anyone can bash Bruins brass on this one is an effing idiot. I cannot possibly fathom anything Chiarelli could have done differently. They had the best offer on the table at noon and were told they had the player. Then an afternoon of unreturned phonecalls, and suddenly, the Pens have the player. Any and all attacks on Chiarelli are ludicrous. If Felger expected Chiarelli to start outbidding himself, that’s idiotic. Lest we forget that Iginla had a no-trade clause, so the Bruins could have offered the entire second line and Rask, and it doesn’t matter. The player has to waive the clause for the GM to be able to make the deal. And if the Flames’ GM isn’t returning phonecalls, who are you going to make these potential counter-offers to? Regardless of all this information, Felger derides Bruins’ management, blatantly ignoring all the facts that show Chiarelli worked pretty damned hard to get the best available player in the league.

    And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the constant childish name-calling of Rondo and Jeff Green.

    Possible solution? Release Mazz and move Bertrand into that seat. At least Marc gives some push-back on Felger’s reckless, baseless opinions. Or program a great station into Pandora.

    • Moon

      He’s all about facts not opinion right?

      In example 2a, Reiss come at him with a factual timeline of events. Felger comes back with things such as they didn’t want him, they could have countered etc. Opinions, not fact

      The Connor McKenna interview was even worse. McKenna’s coming at him with facts about MTL penalies compared to the B’s and the rest of the NHL and what’s the Sport Pope’s (Thanks bsmfan) response? I go by what my eyes see. Opinion, not fact again.McKenna put him in his place.

      Felger will eventually fall and I think sooner rather than later. It might be better than watching EEI fall because he had a golden opportunity to learn from what they did wrong and take sports talk in the right direction. Instead he’s acting like he caused them to fail and therefore has earned the right to be even more outrageous, obnoxious and arrogant.

      • bsmfan

        SportsPope or SportsTalkPope I thought was reserved for Mike Francesa

        So, as a silly variant and spin on it, I figure’d we could use the moniker BostonSportsPope.

        • BigSyd

          Believe Raismann from the Daily News refers to Francesa as SportsPope – perhaps Felger could be the SportsCardinal?

        • bsmfan

          I tried to research and I think you’re correct:

          http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2013/1/8/3846684/mike-francesa-profile-new-york-wfan

          “That username serves as an homage to the clip’s subject – veteran New York sportstalk radio broadcaster Mike Francesa. “Sports Pope” is the
          moniker by which Francesa is commonly addressed in the column of New York Daily News sports media critic Bob Raissman – who deems him to be all-knowing, and dismissive of his audience.”

          SportsCardinal works quite well, too.

          Love or hate Felger, as we’re all doing here in the post, I’m not sure I can think of a more powerful personality on the air here, besides, maybe Shaugnessy? Bob Ryan?

        • Mike

          If Ryan were on the air more, but he’s usually on the radio/TV waves a few hours a week, if that. And Shaughnessy comes across, to me, as far more mild and likeable on the radio than he does in his columns.

      • Bullock

        See — this is where it gets hazy — I think Felger was correct in his conclusion that the Habs dive more, hence they have drawn the most penalties. But what is the point of berating the play-by-play guy for 10 excruciating minutes on the air? For whose enjoyment is that?

        • Mike

          Yup, I agree totally. Maybe it was a planned thing but I got no knowledge or enjoyment out of it whatsoever.

        • Moon

          They might flop more than anyone else but the man whose moniker is fact not fiction, has no facts to back it up. This was particularly embarrassing when McKenna backed up his position with stats (facts?).

    • Mike

      I didn’t like that confrontation with McKenna either. I was thinking, What is the point? There’s more to talk about concerning a big upcoming game than one overdone angle. It didn’t give me a bit of insight into the game. Two years ago, after Chara’s hit on Pacioretty, Felger squared off against Tony Marinaro and I thought that was fun because Marinaro is another bombastic bomb-thrower. It was kind of a Wrestlemania event. But Connor McKenna came across as a gentleman, someone who appreciates the game and didn’t deserve to be badgered. It’d be like someone attacking Sean Grande because of Garnett’s endless trash talk: there’s nothing to be gained, and it prevents what could be an interesting conversation. I’m close to giving up on Felger talking with radio guys from other stations. It just never goes well.

  • dan

    It’s not that what Felger said about Green is right. It’s kind of messed up actually. And I don’t agree with his assessment of Green’s game and I have emailed him on such but I don’t hold it against him because that is his act. You guys still don’t see m to get it. His show and his personality in particular is a brand of style that’s meant to be shocking. He shocks you and you get out raged like a 16 year old girl on her period. Get over it.

    You want boring stats driven sports talk then there are many other outlets available to you.

    You don’t like Felger then stop listening to him but this obsession with him and all the criticism of him mainly because he’s not a homer is nauseating. And don’t deny it. You guys know exactly that is the reason why you despise him.
    Sorry but I like interesting radio even if I disagree with the hosts.

    I find nothing interesting in listening to people who think like me. I don’t need others to validate my thoughts for me. I can think for myself but I guess some others can’t.
    Sorry but that’s how this is coming across.

    • DrakeW

      I think what makes people angry (at least around here) is that he comes up with these contrarian for the sake of being contrarian arguments that have little to no basis on anything real and he sticks to them even when presented with evidence that proves them wrong.

      • Mike

        There are times when he seems to be pretty obstinate in the face of contrary information, but I don’t think he’s contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. I think he believes what he says, which is why he doesn’t mind stating things strongly. He’s the opposite of Michael Holley that way (and honestly, the only times I’ve ever heard Holley get passionate about anything in sports was during his Holley Hockey Minutes a few years ago). I found myself thinking, Why doesn’t he do this more often?

        • http://twitter.com/Quiddity99 Brian Shea

          He’s a contrarian solely for the sake of being a contrarian. He was a very bearable and likable personality in my mind in the early to mid 2000′s before he purposely went extremely negative on everything Boston sports related solely to get people to pay more attention to him. Look at his coverage of the Patriots. In the early 2000s he was one of the more logical reporters in the market, fighting against the Ron Borges and Kevin Mannix’s of the world who did nothing but bash Belichick to death. Now its Felger who does not hing but bash Belichick to death. His personality change has worked wonders for him, can’t deny that, but its a shame because he could be a lot better now than he currently is.

        • Mike

          I disagree. I think he sincerely believes what he says, agree with it or not as you will. But there’s a big pitfall to overstating your opinion as he does: you can get sloppy with your words and they might mean something different. “Cap is crap” is a case in point. Last year he had a long conversation with Jonathan Kraft, and among other things, they talked about the salary cap. In that conversation Kraft talked about planning expenditures 3-5 years out, looking at potential free agents and re-signs from their own team And that’s the context that “cap is crap” doesn’t convey at all: for the cap not to be a fatal problem, you do in fact have to be smart, and not overpay a bunch of losers, and have longer-term spending targets. Acknowledging all that is part of the “cap is crap” argument, but in the jingo-y style that Felger tends to use on his show, subtlety is lost. And that’s why his criticisms of Belichick’s drafting and Chiarelli’s moderation in free agency and trades come across as wholesale “you suck” broadsides, when they’re not.

        • WTD

          He sincerely believes that the Jets have surpassed the Patriots? That the salary cap is crap in the NFL? Gronkowski, solder, Hernandez, mankins, Wilfork, Ridley, Vereen, Hightower, jones, gostkowki, Mesko, Brady, all draft failures right there yes sir. Clearly Bellichicks lacks the keen personnel eye of a Mike Tannenbaum. What a stroke of genius tat was trading up for Mark Sanchez. I believe Tannenbaum is now the produce manager at the Sudbury Farms in Wellesley

        • Mike

          He’s admitted several times–over a hundred times, actually, if you ever listen–that he was wrong about the Jets, and they’re back in the dump now. (But most of their problems, and other commentators have said the same thing, come from having a terrible quarterback.) I guess you’ve never listened to him drill down a bit into his own “cap is crap” mantra. The cap is crap routine is just a jingo tagline he uses–and he uses plenty–to summarize something, cartoon-style. The cartoonish jingoism is part of the show setup. Hey, if you don’t want to pay attention and listen to some of the thinking behind the jingos, or hear him admit when he was wrong about something (I think he was correct in predicting that Flacco would be just good enough for the Ravens to beat the Patriots this year), I’m not bothered. But I am amused at how many Felger-sucks posters here–and I don’t agree with everytyhing he says, and I don’t like how aggressve he can be–but it’s amusing to see how many posters have superficial, “he’s-a-fraud-and-a-hack” opinions of the guy–the same thing they accuse him of.

        • Wdriii

          His whole act is based on being a contrarian. That’s all he’s got. Facts be damned.

    • Moon

      Couldn’t disagree more. The complaints heard here is that our local sports radio is terrible. The Sportshub was supposed to bring competition and thus improve local sports radio, instead EEI imploded and Felger took over everything we despised about the station. So instead of getting better things got worse.

      I don’t want homerism, if I did I’d listen to Mike Adams. I find myself listening to ESPN radio most often now and enjoy the national sports discussion especially Mike and Mike in the am when they talk football.

    • Mike

      There are aspects of the show–the namecalling, the jingos (cap is crap, texas tough guy, and the rest), and I think, the antagonistic approach to other folks in the media–that are designed parts of the show. I think Felger was chosen, as you suggest, because he’s an abrasive guy in general, probably hard to like, and that was the tone the CBS folks wanted. I for one respect his opinions, such as on Green’s game (even LeBron eventually realized he had to go down low every now & then for the Heat to win), and on Chiarelli perhaps not having a real shot at Iginla–a real possibility–but still needing to push harder to finish the deal. I dislike the constant antagonism. But basically, their show meets my two wishes: I learn things and I’m entertained. Not always, but by and large, yes.

      I’ll gladly listen to a show which can do both of those things. In the mid-2000′s when I started listening to sports radio, I loved the free-for-all scrum on the Big Show. I’ve always enjoyed Dale Arnold–mild but smart–on any show he’s in. Toucher & Rich are popular but I guess I’m too old for them–I don’t remember laughing more than once or twice at anything they say. But I guess it’s hard to find a good mix of hosts for a show, guys who know what they’re talking about, and can have interesting exchanges, and keep a topic moving. Since most of my time and attention go to things other than sports, I enjoy good commentary. Obviously what constitutes good and entertaining commentary is subjective. But I like having someone who’s not a Boston native talk about Boston teams, and I like listening to someone who doesn’t love basketball talk about basketball–I like his critical attitude. Not everyone can be Bob Ryan, a walking encyclopedia with love for the game. I enjoy hearing a different angle, expressed strongly.

    • Wdriii

      It has nothing to do with being homer. What’s the last thing he’s been right about? The Jets passing the Patriots? Yes, the Patriots did lose a playoff game to the Jets. Since that time the Jets are sub .500 and have not been back to the playoffs and have no one that can play Quarterback. Yet it’s the Krafts and the Bellichicks who don’t know what they are doing. Last spring, all he did was kill the Celtics they cae within 5 minutes of going to the NBA finals when your hero had them dead in April. He’s a bully plain and simple. He’s surrounded himself with flunked and yes man who are eager to please.

    • Carl

      As sure as the sun rises in the east, Felger fanboy Dan will be here to defend him against any criticism.

  • guntfather

    Apparently people like to listen to A-Holes and dicks. I think that is pretty obvious at this point. Adjust your listening accordingly. There are plenty of alternatives out there for everyone.

  • latetodinner

    Bruce:

    The alternative to a Felger style show would be a Dale Arnold, Chuck Wilson or some other long form essay/interview show with minimal to no audience participation…think Grantland on the radio. I would listen because I am old but I do not see how that type of programming works in a market like Boston during mornings or drive. DA tried to do it at night and was told to make his opinions more “edgy” by management. Arnold got fired/ demoted. Chuck WIlson left the NE market 25 years ago never to look back.

    So considering we are not going to be offered thoughtful long form Sportstalk….the issue becomes within the confines of the type of shows we will be offered…what hosts do a good job and which ones bore the crap out of me (because this is after all all about me). I think Felger is more entertaining and runs a better show than anyone else on the Boston dial…the ratings agree with me. Do I have serious problems with him and especially his coverage of the Patriots…absolutely and I have documented many of them. Do I think Felger takes unfair shots at Jeff Green…sure. But Green is a big boy making a lot of money. He understands that he is a public personality, playing in a fishbowl, and if he is successful he can’t pay attention. I don’t consider Felger’s remarks that the Dr. must have removed Green’s heart as either unfair, despicable or classless. I think it was a funny metaphor that summed up my feelings about Green’s play. Clearly everyone, including Felger is impressed/amazed at the fact that Green can play in the NBA at the level he is playing a year after what he went through. The ultimate compliment is that rather than couching descriptions of his play in terms like: “for someone coming off surgery” or “for someone who has a bad ticker”…Felger is using the same criticism of Green as he did before he got here….he is saying his game lacks heart. You might not like how he did it but I think he is remarkably consistent.

    • ap51

      As someone who thinks like Felger, I am not surprised you are okay with his statement about Green. Moreover, you are equally consistent in your defense of his lame show because he has ratings. I often find this argument amusing in that it implies that quantity (having ratings) is the same as quality.

      Six months ago I had open-heart surgery and my road to recovery has been slow & at times difficult. Like Green, I make no excuses, and I am doing the best I can. As such, I find what Felger said to be offensive and anyone who defends him for those comments to be despicable.

      I have never subscribed to the theory that there are two sides to every argument and there are situations where you are either right or you are wrong. In this case Felger was wrong and there is NO defense for his comments.

      • Mike

        I’m glad you’re recovering, ap51, and I hope you continue to. I’m not always comfortable with how vicious Felger can be on the airwaves, but what he’s frequently doing is trash talk, like KG to Villanueva a year or two ago, or KG to Melo a few months ago. It’s mean, it’s cruel, and it can be very funny. Obviously if you’ve gone through the same thing as Green, you probably won’t have a sense of humor about it. Though I had a good friend once whose father was in a car accident and eventually, after several years’ failed rehab, had a leg amputated. In the several months leading up to the operation, they traded in amputee jokes. It’s part of how they coped. So no, humor, even vicious humor, isn’t necessarily wrong. Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I get a paper cut. Comedy is when you fall in an open sewer and die.” I’m not saying Felger is or ever could be Mel Brooks, but being in the entertainment industry, as he is, then humor is one of his tools. He was making a point about Green’s game–the same point he made before Green’s surgery–with probably the most vicious humor he could think of.

        • ap51

          First, thanks for your comment re; my recovery.

          I have no problem with humor as it was very important in my recovery. However, the best humor is often self-deprecating (see Robin Williams on his discussion on his hear surgery).

          As you said, he used “vicious humor”. Considering the definition of vicious include depraved, evil, spiteful and malicious, once again I find it difficult that anyone would find those remarks to be “entertaining.”

      • latetodinner

        ap51…I had a long damning retort typed out then I read Mike’s below…he is far more eloquent and nicer than I would have been. Suffice to say we do agree on one point…I do not believe in moral releventism either. You clearly don’t understand that once Green came completely back…comments like Felger’s were and are completely fair game. You are completely wrong.

        • http://twitter.com/BruceNV Bruce Newman

          Bullshit. Felger, whose idea of a workout is a manicure, is right for attacking an athlete who faced a life-threatening condition?

          You have a very perverted world view.

        • latetodinner

          His job is to comment on sports in an entertaining way. Sometimes the underlying facts in humor offend when taken too seriously. Clearly you are taking what a sportstalk show host says way too seriously. If you can’t see that is what he does…then I am thinking you have no idea how sportstalk radio works. My suggestion would be don’t listen.

        • http://twitter.com/BruceNV Bruce Newman

          Oh, I don’t anymore. I’ve stopped listening to the abomination that passes for sports radio in your town and now only listen to sports radio out here…it’s great. It’s amazing…they don’t do “takes”. They have discussions. No heart attack jokes. No calling reporters liars. No celebrity callers. Compelling, interesting radio that actually makes me sit in my car sometimes when I get home to listen to the end of a segment.

          It’s why I find people who accept the crap that they spew on Boston sports radio kind of sad. It can be done without ginning up false controversy. Find intelligent, honest hosts who like sports. Maybe one of those stations should try it…if Boston fans really ARE the “smahtest fans in America”, it’d work.

        • Wdriii

          That’s called the Glenn Ordway defense. You simple listeners are far to ignorant to understand the kind of broadcasting genius here in front of you. Remember the time when Felger nearly cried on WEEI when Sean McAdam called him Mr. Baseball? He’s a thin skinned jerk and a bully to boot. No one is allowed to challenge him and when they do, they suddenly are up against the break.

        • Mike

          Well, they were arguing about the Red Sox’ (Nomar’s in particular) hitting philosophy, and McAdam mocked Felger for saying Nomar and the Sox should take more pitches. Not so long afterward, Boston’s approach became exactly that: be patient, work the count and tire pitchers out. McAdam was more than happy to tout the new approach, especially as they started winning more. So I guess I’ll put your gloat in the category of “ironic”.

        • ap51

          I thought long and hard about replying back to you and the reason I waited was because it was Easter and I was visiting friends & family in Boston. Now that I am on the overnight train back to D.C. I again read your response and felt it important I do reply even though I know what I say will not have any impact on you.

          Despite that, you need to know that I found your response to be laughable. You seem to imply that I am lucky you decided not to send your “damning lengthy retort” because, unlike Mike, you would not have been so nice. What’s really funny and somewhat sad is that you probably do think such a response would somehow scare me and convince me of how “right” you are.

          Sorry to burst your bubble. Here is the reality. Six months ago, I could have died from my condition.
          While I am getting stronger each day, the first 2-3 months of recovery were very difficult. Doing simple things like getting dressed, walking up the stairs in my house, getting out of bed and other tasks we often for granted could have caused done severe damage if not done properly.

          So I can assure you once you once I faced that situation, I would hardly be “intimidated” by anything you say, regardless of how damning or how long it would be.

        • latetodinner

          I think it is great that you are recovering. Please let me know when you are back to full health so we no longer will use your condition as an excuse for not being critical of your ideas.

          What you fail to see is that is exactly what Felger did. For the year Green was out Felger did not question him or his play. Why? Because it was inappropriate. However now that he is back and playing at the highest level of the game, their is a part of his play that is missing…Felger identified it as heart. Green is not the first player who appears to lack it (JD Drew and Adrian Gonzalez are two that quickly come to mind who played in Boston), nor will he be the last. For some reason, in your mind, because Green had heart surgery joking about how he lost his “heart” which we both know is a metaphor for “drive” or “killer instinct” or “caring” is unacceptable. I think precisely because he has gotten back to the level he has gotten…its all fair game. So we disagree.

          Everyone who comments on this board would tell you if they met you that they hope, wish, pray, that your recovery goes well and that you are quickly at 100%. But when you are back to 100%…I am sure even you will use humor to deal with and remember your situation. It is human nature. For you to be so sensitive about that makes it difficult to discuss this topic with you.

        • Will

          Wow, so you’re really defender Felger on this to the max. Don’t you consider this to be beyond sports talk? This is so unfortunate, but I guess my view is considered too sensitive. When will realize that felger does this kind of talk to compensate for what he lacks real knowledge of and just his plain dislike of a certain topic. Wow!

        • latetodinner

          What’s funny, Will, is I am usually highly critical of Felger but I do try and be fair. I think his Patriots coverage is horrid, I think his force Bruins talk annoying and in most cases his on going diatribe against the NBA and BBWA spot on. But in this case I don’t think he did anything wrong, I don’t think he was insensitive towards Green’s condition, I think he was insensitive towards the way Green plays and I think Bruce got it wrong and those who don’t see it are either predisposed to dislike anything Felger does or hypersensitive.

        • Will

          It’s just something you shouldn’t mess with. If you want to say the guy sucks or that he’s inconsistent, that’s fine, go for it. But to tie in the whole heart thing, it’s distasteful, it’s wrong, it’s deliberate, and it’s why I can never listen, because he takes it beyond sports and he does over the line. Maybe in other cases it’s a great talent of his to this but for me I lose the sports focus that i should be getting when he does this.

    • Mike

      It’s easy enough to tie the current state of sports talk radio in to the general state of media: quick hits, little or no context, no effort at complicated analysis. Because if you’re only in the car for ten minutes, do you want to hear the middle part of some long explanation? In an era when TV news is entertainment competing for viewership, this state of things isn’t surprising. Felger’s very good at crafting a cartoon version of his arguments, and I do enjoy listening to him. And occasionally he goes into more detail on the thinking behind the cartoons. I’m okay with that. Since Mazz is not nearly so quick on his takes–as he frequently says, it’s usually a couple of days before he forms an opinion on things–he comes off as more of a cosigner than he actually is. Generally it’s only Beetle, who’s pretty astute himself, who will offer a contrary opinion. But by and large they’re three guys who understand Boston sports pretty well and I enjoy the format. I’m not always comfortable with Felger being as mean-spirited as he sometimes is, even when it’s kind of funny. And I just don’t like how much he relishes pointless pissing matches (and he’s had a few bad ones lately).

  • Ryan

    Was just told that 1510 will have a local show from 2-4 featuring Borges or other Herald writers.

  • GRBSPR

    Felger, a limp-wristed media hack, is married to another limp-wristed media hack. No wonder they have no children.

    • Mike

      They have two, actually. Guess you’re not up on things.

  • Tyler

    Bruce, don’t hold back on taking Felger to the fucking woodshed for this one. Thanks.

  • Mike

    The discussions on this board, and the major events in Boston sports over the last two weeks–Welker going to the Broncos and the Bruins missing out on Iginla–have gotten me thinking about the format of the Felger & Mazz show, and some of the other shows that’ve been on sports talk in this city. Clearly Felger’s abrasive style sells, and also generates a lot of dislike in fans. I’ve always thought that he’s sincere: he really believes what he says. He doesn’t come up with opinions just to be different. There’s a difference between just being contrary for contrariness’ sake, and taking a critical look at every participant in a situation and then harping on one or two of those that others aren’t discussing. Case in point now for Felger, emphasizing that Chiarelli was not quite aggressive enough in closing the trade, but respected Feaster’s request and then got played.

    I can think of a parallel situation–back in 2005, Terrell Owens was terrorizing Philadelphia Eagles fans. The Super Bowl run of the year before was forgotten (*baaarff* thanks Donovan), and now the knives came out between Owens and McNabb. The situation descended into utter childishness–remember the situps in the driveway?–and Owens was later released. It was the easiest thing, and just about every sports commentator did it, to attack Owens for being, well, himself. It was a feast for lazy writers and on-air talkers.

    To my knowledge, only one writer took a decidedly different approach, and a hard look at the whole situation. Bill Simmons wrote an article, now probably archived behind ESPN’s paywall, where he stated that yes, Terrell Owens was a jerk, but other people bore responsibility in this situation too: prime among them were Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid. Two passages still stand out in my mind. First, on McNabb, and how he failed to have Owens’ back in the previous season while Owens was coming back from the horse collar tackle broken leg. McNabb had played it down, saying the Eagles would be just as good as before, doubtless thinking that was the proper, we’re-steady-and-determined leadership message to send. Simmons’ point was, How did that make Terrell feel? Like he really was useless? “Crazy people have feelings too,” I remember reading.

    But his worst was reserved for Andy Reid. Rather than be drawn into a public squabble with a star player, Reid “could have, you know, coached him.” (Another paraphrase but it was something like that.)

    To my knowledge Simmons was the only commentator who said or wrote anything critical of Eagles other than Terrell Owens concerning the whole episode. And I found his argument compelling.

    I frequently hear Felger doing something similar, applying some very stern, and generally pretty intelligent, criticism to athletes, coaches and management. So there’s that bit.

    But the attacks and the namecalling and the sometimes mean-spirited jokes? That’s where I think the show design becomes important. They don’t refer to his chair as the A-Hole chair for nothing. The guy sitting there is supposed to be a jerk. That’s what drives the show. (Mazz can do a decent poor man’s impression but that’s just not Beetle’s gig. At least, not yet.) So the cruel slams and I think even the flameout interviews are just part of the plan. Felger might be cantankerous by nature but they design the show for him to dial that up to eleven.

    By contrast, Big O–and he talked about this a little in his last few days–years ago, when the Big Show featured a group of guys, was basically reffing a fight, so he became a fence-sitter, ready to pull the conversation in any direction needed to keep it moving. Alone with Holley he could speak with more of his own voice. But I’ve come to agree with LTD on this–Holley is just too weak a partner to make that work. He provides no resistance. (Like any ballroom dancer can tell you, if the woman doesn’t provide resistance you can’t lead her anywhere on the floor.) Holley is a conversational sack of potatoes. Salk seems like a decent guy, maybe has a slight sense of entitlement, but I don’t hear any real defining relationship or dynamic between them. Maybe they’ll find it (maybe when Holley decides he really can’t stand Salk), maybe they won’t. If the don’t, the show will fail.

  • GStill45

    The heart joke just wasn’t funny. I’m offended as a person who likes humor.
    T&R are funny. Nobody else on TSH is. Felger is getting harder to listen to, but the show without him is even worse. I jumped to S&H when it was Mazz and Beetle.

  • alex

    HOT SPORTS TAKES are boring. Just discuss the issues surrounding the local teams in a funny, insightful manner… Easier said than done I guess.

    As for Felger’s comments, I’m more offended by the ”he sucks” thing than the heart thing. Does anyone really think Felger has watched one second of NBA basketball in the last 10 years? He doesn’t follow the sport at all, which makes the condescending certainty with which he talks about the Celtics all the more absurd. Do yourselves a favor and stop listening, you won’t regret it.

  • bsmfan

    Bobby V takes some shots @ the Boston Sports Media (page 4) this Sunday:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/more_sports/serby_sunday_with_booby_valentine_CTXLneOd2UbufAAOIrd6AK/0

    Gotta think Sacred Heart isn’t so happy with him doing all of this extra-curricular work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DonJohnson698 Don Johnson

    I have never cared for little Mikey’s ignorant, childish, immaturity. He is the essence of an uninformed imbecile making sophomoric comments about topics he has no in depth understanding or comprehension about. That he would make such insensitive comments as these demonstrate his lack of competence as a sport journalist and indicates his lack of willingness to take his job seriously and invest the time and effort to come up with thoughtful, in depth, stories and comments on sports topics of relevance. He would rather just “wing it” with BS, and smoke and mirrors. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with BS so you can get back to the sports bar and have another round. The saddest part of this whole thing is the example he set for others, and kids, who think it is “cool” to make these kinds of comments and personal attacks on people he doesn’t like. That is not valid, insightful, sports commentary.

    • Mike

      Neither Felger nor Mazz are journalists (though they both were once). They’re not beat reporters digging up facts and working contacts. Felger is a commentator, an entertainer. There’s a fundamental difference. You might not like the show, and how Felger plays an aggressive, insulting role in it, but that’s how the show is designed. He isn’t winging it, at all. The role of the host in the A-Hole chair, as they refer to it, is to be a sarcastic DB. If you’re able and willing to strip that away, aside from the repetitiveness of a show, and how topics are frequently dealt with in only summary fashion–remember, these shows are aimed at folks who are likely spending 20-45 minutes in a car–you might actually hear some good analysis.

      That’s a lot of constraints, admittedly. But until NPR starts doing sports talk, that’s the kind of venue we’ll have. Sports Hub beat EEI at their own game. Now that EEI is putting together a counterattack, we’ll see what happens.