Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter IV

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

“Welcome Mike Salk. If you didn’t before, you definitely now have a wide open door for listeners from 2-6.” – Andre Dursin

Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger were theorizing about why the Bruins go into a funk every March/April on Monday. Kind of ironic to think about: Their show started to tailspin around this time last year when they poorly miscalculated the impact of their Celtics-bashing during the 2011-12 playoff run. A slow start is forgivable, but “Salk & Holley” have a chance, albeit a slim one, to capture some quick momentum out of the gate with the recent happenings on “Felger & Mazz.” (More on this later.)

“My days of reading this site are over. Hadfield is unreadable. Readership is officially single digits. Over and out.” –Luther

I’m unreadable? Is it the font?? Why are you talking on a walkie-talkie???

Oh wait, you just don’t like my approach. That’s fair. Sorry, bruh. Not changing – GOTS TO KEEP IT REAL. I am concerned, however, about your comprehension skills – *re-checks the numbers* – I don’t think your report about BSMW’s readership is accurate. SIDE NOTE: Bruce, we may have a hacker.

“I don’t get the vitriol for Felger. I don’t get the vitriol for anyone just because they have a different opinion on sports. Take it with a grain of salt, it’s supposed to be fun…to me Felger and Mazz are funny, entertaining radio.” – NEPatsFan

Look, I’m on record here, many times over, actually, as being a staunch “Felger & Mazz” supporter. Yes, sports talk radio is supposed to be a fun, worthwhile debate. And Felger and Mazz certainly meet these guidelines, as ratings would suggest, with flying colors. And hey, while I could do without the contrarian takes, whatever, I get it.

But man, I have enormous issues with how the two have conducted themselves during Welkahpalooza. The duo is traversing dangerous grounds by calling out other reporters, particularly while not documenting any reporting of their own to bolster their claims. I think it’s rude. I think it’s unprofessional. I think it’s a punk move.

Now, with that coming from me of all people, readers could – and I’m sure will – mention something about pots and kettles and stones and glasshouses. But you’d be wrong. Oh, you’d be very wrong. I rarely call out reporters, if ever. I have no use for it. Reporters obtain information and disseminate.  That’s great. But what I do here mainly focuses on columnists and talking heads. And, from my point of view, the imaginary scoreboard of breaking accurate stories shows Tom E. Curran and Mike Reiss have a strong track record doing their job, and doing it well.

That Jeffri Chadiha takdown was an ass-whupping.  Feelings are king in football columns. Gravity on its last leg? Seen better days? Potential column.” Matt Chatham (via Twitter).

For better clarification: Read my evisceration of Chadiha if you haven’t already. Reiss and Curran don’t belong in the same filth as that crap. Unfortunately, appreciating the Patriots won’t draw the ire of listeners, and doesn’t translate to ratings.  I wrote this the other day: It’s comical how many media members are ready to push the “DYNASTY IS OVER” button on the Patriots. Like every year. I get the Bill Belichick hate, I suppose, but come on.

“I love what Felger and Mazz are doing. They are trolling the Boston media and the rest of us who don’t get hot and bothered by negative talk about the local teams are loving it and the ratings prove it. All media in this country is corporate swill and they deserve the abuse.” – Dan

There is playing Devil’s Advocate (e.g. picking the Ravens over the Pats even though you vehemently claim the NFL is a QB’s league all season long), then there is throwing out baseless accusations to support an agenda, Dan. I’m fine with the former. If you want to espouse the idea that the Patriots have significant valuation issues and equate Robert Kraft to the late Al Davis, go right ahead. But please, I don’t think neither Felger or Mazz  are abusing “corporate media” as part of a greater altruistic effort; they’re doing it because they want ratings.

(Side note: If Felger really thinks Reiss’ coverage is “slanted,” what does he call the opinion-based dialect he spews roughly 22 hours a day on radio and television? I makes me seriously wonder if he has less self-awareness than Donald Trump.)

“Another great column, Ryan….HOWEVER, I disagree with this line >>>> “People, even knowledgeable sports fans, believe in this nonsense. They take it as gospel” ……..sorry man, no disrespect to your buddy but NO, “knowledgeable sports fan” takes what Felger says as “gospel”…if they do, then they aren’t “knowledgeable”…..in fact, they must be idiots.” –DryHeave

I love “DryHeave” as a username. RELATED: I hope everyone had a great St. Paddy’s day.

Re: Knowledgeable sports fans DO take what is said on the airwaves seriously. The platform has that power. Felger’s right — they have more influence in the Boston market than ESPN, but with great power comes great respon-…

Wait, where was I? OK, back. Sorry blacked out there for a second. I just think that influence is why it sucks Felger and Mazz recklessly challenged reports from esteemed writers. It hurts said-writers’ reputation. Good on Reiss for firing back, but he shouldn’t have to. His history doesn’t give us any reason to question his reporting.

“I am not a fan of Minihane’s but someone has to free him. D&C are in a total tailspin. I know it is a slow time of the year but this media vs. media MMA thing is painful radio. I even tried Kuhner this morning on ‘RKO, but his voice kills me. WEEI has to get Minihane out of there, they are killing his credibility, they run right over the guy. Ryan – keep up the good work, it is hard to establish a voice in any market let alone Boston.” –Free Kirk

Kirk, is that you??

Man, that media MMA tourney was cringe worthy, but I think it was useful in the sense that WEEI should now recognize they will lose a war of wit against The Sports Hub, specifically “Toucher & Rich.” The men of Guest Street must engage the audience in a different style – channeling compelling discourse about sports (not politics, please).

Methinks the dog days of summer are going to be especially long for Minihane, like listening to a long-winded question from Denito himself, but all signs point to John Dennis’ exile being all but imminent.  And hey, Dennis’ vacation was a nice preview of what could be. I enjoyed Minihane-Arnold-Callahan.

“On Deadspin yesterday: http://deadspin.com/welcome-ki… …’SI is developing a new brand and website with King as the centerpiece, sources told us. The in-house nickname for the new site is Kinglandia. The actual name for the site is still under discussion…Here’s one name: A source tells us Kinglandia is going hard after The Boston Globe’s excellent NFL writer, Greg Bedard.’

As they point out, it’s basically going to be a clone of Grantland but with King running it.. really? The name alone is, uhm..”-BSMFAN

I’ve been mystified with choices Bill Simmons has made with Grantland since its inception. When it comes to the site itself, I’ve wavered more than Glenn Ordway on, well, anything. On the other hand, I’ve always said that everyday they publish at least one MUST-READ piece (and that number is growing with time). These days, I love it. But the reason it works is because Simmons, whether you like it or not, has interests outside the realm of sports that most people relate to.

Meanwhile, don’t get me wrong, I do pick through MMQB every week, but Peter King enjoys coffee and loathes traveling. Those aren’t interests, they are minutia. This could be a disaster waiting to happen. And if Sports On Earth and Grantland didn’t already enlist Mike Tanier and Bill Barnwell, who are both fantastic, then Greg Bedard would’ve been writing for either. His move to Sports Illustrated makes sense. He’s a clever writer, adept at film study, and has solid sources around the league. I just have reservations about “Kinglandia.”

“How many of the supposed knowledgeable Boston Talking heads (Shaughnessy, Ordway, Dennis, etc..) think Danny traded away the Championship in 2011. What they fail to remember is Dwayne Wade’s jujitsu like takedown of Rondo in Game 3 of that series. Once that happened, all bets were off. I liked Perk but he wasn’t a 9 million dollar player. Apparently the Thunder are learning the same thing as there are constant rumors that they will amnesty him.” Jimmy V.

Night’s like Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Heat are why I was firmly entrenched in the anti-BLOW IT UP camp. The Celtics aren’t necessarily old, and guys like Jeff Green experiencing more games will help, not hurt, their career down the road. And from a viewer’s perspective, it’s nice to watch competitive basketball.

Funny though, who’s excited to hear talking heads wax about sacrificing “chemistry” and “intangibles” with the Kendrick Perkins trade? ME, I AM!?! That’s all we’ve heard since the trade, right? They’ll shift gears and redirect, because they always do. Case in point, Mazz actually opened Tuesday’s show saying “it’s not about the numbers with Green, it’s how it looks – on some level his 43-point performance is frustrating.”

Ugh.

By the way, speaking of injuries, we always hear talk about how the Celtics lost a potential championship to Kevin Garnett’s injury in 2008. Is it time to start thinking they lost a title to Avery Bradley and Green’s injuries last year? I think they win that Heat series if the two are healthy.

Something interesting to think about. On that note, as always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.

  • Frank

    I hate the Heat, and the fact that the Celts were so close to winning that series still bothers me, but people need to stop with the if we had Bradley stuff. Simply because Heat fans can simply counter with well if we had Bosh. By the way Bosh played in both games 6 & 7 which the Heat won. Bradley would’ve been on Wade the whole series and it was LBJ going off in game 6 and playing well in game 7 that was the main difference in those last two games. And Green wasn’t even a possibility with the heart problem. Sometimes shoulda/coulda/woulda is fun but I don’t think it works in this scenario.

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

      I’m with you on Bradley–I think he was the difference–but I differ on Green. I’m not sure he would’ve been a big factor. He’s an awful defender even now (he sure shut LeBron down on Monday, didn’t he?), but he’s finally finding his offensive game. Despite the heart surgery, it’s difficult to read this year into last–it might be significant that Green stepped up only when Garnett wasn’t on the floor.

  • Jake

    Quick take here on the Salk/Holley show, and why Big O got the ax over John Dennis.

    Do you think its possible Wolfe looked at which time slot ‘EEI had the best opportunity to take back from the Sports Hub and decided that it was 2-6 rather than 6-10? I am guessing (nothing to substantiate) that one of the findings from the focus group several weeks back was that people LOVE Toucher & Rich, while people are only lukewarm on Felger & Mazz. On the other end of that, I’m guessing people expressed disinterest in both Dennis & Ordway, but probably more disgust toward Dennis. However in the end, I think Felger & Mazz’s lukewarm support had more to do with the Big O’s demise than the Big O himself, if that makes sense…

    Also, instant reaction on Salk & Holley based on 30 mins of listening. The fact that they are willing to disagree on a topic (Welker) is extremely refreshing in the afternoon.

    • bsmfan

      Interesting observation. I’ve always wondered why they bother blowing up 6-10 because the contrast in shows is so different. Every person around my age and younger (30s) loves T+R and will never go anywhere else unless T+R are gone. D+C have their veteran listeners/crowd. Outside of the salaries, I can’t see anything you can do sports talk wise to replicate what T+R have. T+R is quite unique and I think they’ve carved out their own niche where people love or hate it. Unless contracts are up, it’d be too risky to attempt to.

      2-6: If Felger wants to continue and hammer issues like he did with Welker and have it dictate his entire Patriots coverage, I’d be quite happy across the street because they do nothing but invite listeners to change the dial. As Ryan said above, their approach with the Celtics, god forbid they ever get good, is laughable and who knows when that will change. However, their rise was nothing short of insane. CBS has gone into other markets since Boston and not done well or failed (Tampa Bay) using an identical formula of a strong FM signal to compete against an established AM one. If people think Felger is going away anytime soon, you’re wrong.

      S&H: Agree with what you said and with what some of Michael Sutherland said above. I turned it on and two guys were having a friendly debate and discussing issues instead of finding whatever they can to validate an agenda. I think they need to find a flow to discuss issues but a positive start.

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

        Yeah, Greg is excellent, and I think F&M especially could benefit from an increased presence of reporters on their show, if for no other reason than to squelch Felger’s tendency to attack them. (That really does confuse me a bit–by extension, Felger’s saying very low things about his own time as a reporter at the Herald.)

        What Ordway meant about internet radio being the future, unless it was podcasts or every car being outfitted with wireless and a data streaming contract in the purchase price, I have no idea. But I’d expect him to start doing something by summertime–I’ll be surprised if he’s not. I think he’s been a fine addition to Sports Tonight.

        One little oddball thing about Salk struck me yesterday, how Holley mentioned he’d been going KG and bashing his head into the walls and screaming profanities before yesterday’s show. If he was that mild and deferent on the air, after having been so crazy beforehand…is this guy all hat and no cattle? I can only think Ordway would’ve been shaking his head at hearing what Holley was describing, since Ordway was a much stronger show leader. And I doubt he was running around smashing his head into the office walls beforehand.

        • GrahamMcGinty

          .
          Felger’s a F—King Fool
          .

    • GrahamMcGinty

      Excellent analysis — makes a lot of sense

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

    Salk certainly didn’t say anything today that I found ridiculous, but he’s clearly just feeling things out right now. I don’t get the sense that he’s a hard-driving alpha personality who can make a show dynamic, which, for all his shoot-the-messenger faults, Mike Felger certainly is. One of my favorite things about Felger & Mazz is Felger’s high sense of urgency. Stern is a master at it: he simply doesn’t let a show sit around on a topic (and Glenn was pretty good that way, too. Though I enjoyed the old pile-on free-for-all Big Show days, one of my least favorite things about Ordway was how he’d hammer one angle per day. If a story lasted for several days, on each day he’d hammer a different angle. I found that disingenuous). Today’s Salk & Holley show was decent enough, but still kind of slow. You could be encouraged or disheartened by it.

    • GrahamMcGinty

      .
      Salk is trying too hard … and he has a bad habit of interrupting Holley every 5 minutes . . . . ( without saying anything insightful )
      .

  • latetodinner

    Cool…we are doing instant “takes” on the Salk and Holley show. I listened to the entire show. I do not think that it was an accident that the show opened with 40 minutes of excruciatingly boring Bruins talk. They then moved over to Welker talk where Mike Salk teased to the audience that Mike Holley had some new info about the Welker negotiations that he was able to dig up because of his “connections and closeness” with the Patriots organization. Holley then proceeded to tell us that Welker was looking for $11 mill guaranteed because of being franchised the year before and the Pats read the market differently causing the negotiation disconnect. *sarcastic note from me…another brilliant observation by Mike “Patriots insider” Holley*

    From there we were marveled at Mike Salk’s mastery of the Celtics lineup and the Red Sox issues. It was a tour de force show. The rebranded whiner line (Miked up…that’s a winner) and the Seattle import Ask us anything segments made me think I was listening to talk radio out in Spokane, Boise, or Omaha.

    I readily admit I am predisposed to disliking Mike Holley. I think he is horrible and adds nothing of interest to a show. I think Dale and then Glenn were able to carry him by pushing the show beyond his Ohio pace and lack of a sense of urgency. Pairing him with Mike Salk was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. There is no energy there. None. Its not a chemistry thing…I am sure they get along fine and will going forward. It is an energy thing…I do not see how that pairing will ever generate compelling conversation that falls into the “must listen to” category. Salk if given a good partner (say….Tom Curran or Ryan Johnson) might be able to get a show to an exciting level. But pairing him with Holley, based on that first day. Completely forgettable. I bet they end up losing over a third of the Big Show’s remaining audience over the next 3 months regardless of what F&M do because they give the listener no compelling reason to tune in. If forcing hockey and bad football analysis on the WEEI listener while hoping to pick up alienated F&M listeners is their plan then Jason Wolfe really does not get it.

  • GrahamMcGinty

    .
    “Felger & Mazz” … two TROLLS

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