The 2014 Boston Sports Media Mock Draft (Non-NFL Edition)

In the spirit of the mock draft being everywhere (including here) I’ve put together not one, but two mock drafts for your perusal today.

The first draft is more of a “power-rankings” sort of thing. These are the top-30 most influential and powerful media personalities, not counting editors, producers, publishers, etc. These are the folks who create the storylines and talking points that drive the Boston sports media.

The strengths and weaknesses in this list are compiled based on what is going to be attractive to today’s sports media market, which favors sensation and controversy over fact gathering and reporting.

Current Influence/Power Draft

1) Mike Felger, WBZ-FM, CSNNE

Strengths: Intelligent, can spot trends and get on the other side of them. Can argue his side cognitively, and concisely. Above average knowledge of hockey and football. Average baseball, knows more basketball than he puts on.

Weaknesses: Will take a point too far. Not above taking ridiculous positions and  then never backing down. (Cap is Crap!) Dwells in the negative, no matter how successful teams are. Weak partner.

2) Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

Strengths: Ability to infuriate and insult readers and fans. Above average knowledge of the history of baseball and basketball, and some of Boston sports in general. Always knows how to twist the knife and anger people. Ingratiates himself with people like John Henry Williams just for access.

Weaknesses: Tends to laziness, agenda-riddled, no self-awareness, little to no knowledge of football and hockey.

3) Gerry Callahan, WEEI, Boston Herald

Strengths: Still an excellent columnist. Knows football, baseball and basketball very well. Been on a national stage with SI, knows how things work. Forceful personality.

Weaknesses: Easily blinded by personal beliefs and loyalties. When challenged, resorts to high-school bully act of mocking challenger and doing sarcastic voices.

4) Fred Toucher, WBZ-FM

Strengths: Not Dennis and Callahan. Beating them in the ratings. Occasionally entertaining rants. Can run the show well.

Weaknesses: Below average knowledge of sports.

5) Tom E Curran, CSNNE

Strengths:  Best all around talent in the draft. Can entertain as well as inform. Does well in print, radio and on television, excellent football knowledge and insight. Adequate in other sports. Not a toady, despite suggestions by others. (ask Dr Gill).

Weaknesses: Perceived as football-only.

6) Dale Arnold, WEEI, NESN

Strengths: Experience in market, knowledge of hockey and football. OK with other sports. Hosting on radio and television, chemistry with Michael Holley.

Weaknesses: Personality doesn’t appeal to all, tends to pile on excessively to human interest-type stories.

7) Scott Zolak, WBZ

Strengths: High energy, appealing personality, knowledge of football. Uses experience as ex-NFL QB to provide insight on subject.

Weaknesses: Just OK on other sports, can get carried away on a topic.

8) Kirk Minihane, WEEI

Strengths: Willing to challenge the sports media conventional wisdom and other media members with a pack mentality. Good ability to analyze and debate. Good knowledge of sports.

Weaknesses: Some concern he is being assimilated in to the Dennis and Callahan mindset. Will also attack too harshly at times making recipient of criticism appear more sympathetic.

9) Gary Tangway, CSNNE

Strengths: Innate ability to stir the pot when there is no pot. Plenty of hot takes. Good voice.

Weaknesses: Takes some of the weirdest and nonsensical stands ever seen or heard. Not much in the way of sports knowledge.

10) Lou Merloni, WEEI, CSNNE

Strengths: Excellent baseball analyst. Can provide insight from a former player’s perspective both on and off the field. Decent knowledge of other Boston teams.

Weaknesses: Damnity damn damn. Damn damn damnity damn damn.

11) Chad Finn, Boston.com/Boston Globe

Strengths: Underrated prospect. Rare gift of actually enjoying sports. Can write about all four sports, though baseball is his best. Uses humor, can be critical of but doesn’t needlessly bash local squads. As media columnist, he wields a certain amount in influence.

Weaknesses: Because he enjoy sports, Joe Sullivan will continue to bury him on Boston.com and never give him more than the sports media column in the paper Globe.

12) Mike Reiss, ESPN Boston

Strengths: The gold standard of beat reporters. Get the information, gets it to you quickly, doesn’t muddy the information with personal “takes.” Respected by those he covers, Nicest guy in the business.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t always stand up for himself as much as he probably should.

13) Rob Bradford, WEEI

Strengths: Good relationships on beat. Gets scoops and information. Put together a good group at WEEI.com.

Weaknesses: A voice made for print.

14) Andy Gresh, WBZ-FM, CSNNE

Strengths: Good host, brings energy and passion. Good knowledge of most sports, particularly football.

Weaknesses: Bombastic. Can go overboard with insults or rants.

15) Michael Holley, WEEI

Strengths: Likeable. Good on basketball, football and baseball. Not going to crawl into the morass of negativity so common on sports radio. Not a leading man, but a valuable piece.

Weaknesses: Feel like he should be more assertive, and draw on his “embedded” work with the Patriots more.

16) Rich Shertenlieb, WBZ-FM

Strengths: Other half of duo that knocked Dennis and Callahan from atop the ratings. Most of his bits are pretty good. He’s likable. Doesn’t pretend to know more about sports than he does.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t know a lot about sports. Some bits are repetitive and immature.

17) Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston

Strengths: Great, compelling writer. Few better on the NBA. Can hold her own on other sports.

Weaknesses: Curious dislike of Patriots, while embracing everything Kobe Bryant.

18) Joe Haggerty, CSNNE

Strengths: Gave the hockey beat a much-needed jolt when he joined it. Though he’s more of a baseball guy at heart, he’s fully embraced the role as hockey guy and in many ways is the most visible on the beat. Big self-promoter.

Weaknesses: Known to occasionally make no sense whatsoever.

19) Alex Speier, WEEI

Strengths: Hands down best baseball scribe in town. Knows it all, majors, minors, highly intelligent, can debate anyone and win.

Weaknesses: Keeps a low profile. Not a self-promoter.

20) Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe

Strengths: Successfully made transition from respected NHL authority to professional Twitter troll.

Weaknesses: Obscure references don’t play well with the Twitter crowd.

21) John Dennis, WEEI

Strengths: Biggest bully in the market. Universally loathed, except for a curious group of sycophantic listeners who think he’s awesome and actually wanted to pay money to go to his “bachelor party.”  Wields influence through bully tactics.

Weaknesses: Too many scheduled pedicures reduces his available bullying time.

22) Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald

Strengths: The Dean of the NBA beat here in Boston. Still the best. Great history, a must-follow on Twitter, and the go-to guy for Celtics news.

Weaknesses: Never been a self-promoter. Does his job, lives his life.

23) Adam Jones, WBZ-FM

Strengths: Completely mastered the art of taking the Felger storylines from the afternoon and making a whole new show out of them. Dishes out #hotsportztakes like nobody’s business.

Weaknesses: Only heard at night. Less exposure for his epic takes.

24) Christopher Gasper, Boston Globe

Strengths: Following in the footsteps of the hallowed Bob Ryan, Gasper has managed to carve out his own niche in Boston.

Weaknesses: That niche happens to be “the guy who followed Bob Ryan” in much the same vein as Ray Handley following Bill Parcells.

25) Field Yates, ESPN Boston

Strengths: A rising star, Yates experience with two NFL clubs (including the Patriots) and ability to analyze from that perspective has Yates already appearing on national ESPN programming on a regular basis. Enjoy him while he’s here.

Weaknesses: Outside of a few WEEI appearances there isn’t much in the way of local airtime for him at the moment.

26) Baxter Holmes, Boston Globe

Strengths: Another fast-riser. Best writer I can remember on the Celtics beat for the Globe since the days of MacMullan and Ryan. Hard worker, seems to want to do things the right way. Wrote some great features this year which should’ve been discussed more.

Weaknesses: Another who isn’t much of a self-promoter.

27) Sean McAdam, CSNNE

Strengths: Long time beat writer, knows the game and the team, also very good on hockey. More measured analysis instead of the negative controversy-driven approach. Once called Felger “Mr Baseball.”

Weaknesses: Seems less prominent now than he once was.

28) Mike Giardi, CSNNE

Strengths: Tenacious reporter. Works the stories, good on-camera presence not afraid to ask the tough questions.

Weaknesses: Too skinny.

29) Leah Hextall, NESN

Strengths: Hockey bloodline, appealing personality, can also venture into other sports.

Weaknesses: We haven’t seen her here outside of NESN so hard to gauge full abilities.

30) Rich Levine, CSNNE

Strengths: Shown that an online-only columnist doesn’t have to just be a click-baiting troll to be successful.

Weaknesses: Isn’t enough of a click-baiting troll to be successful enough to rank higher on this list.

How I would rank the same people in terms of what I want from a media person.

1) Tom E Curran

2) Mike Reiss

3) Chad Finn

4) Baxter Holmes

5) Field Yates

6) Mike Felger

7) Alex Speier

8) Scott Zolak

9) Steve Bulpett

10) Kirk Minihane

11) Sean McAdam

12) Michael Holley

13) Gerry Callahan

14) Dale Arnold

15) Mike Giardi

16) Leah Hextall

17) Rich Levine

18) Fred Toucher

19) Rob Bradford

20) Andy Gresh

21) Lou Merloni

22) Rich Shertenlieb

23) Kevin Paul Dupont

24) Joe Haggerty

25) Jackie MacMullan

26) Christopher Gasper

27) Adam Jones

28) John Dennis

29) Gary Tanguay

30) Dan Shaughnessy

  • Homer Greenz

    Alex Speieir is so underrated that I can’t even correctly spell his last name. He is by far, and it’s not even close, the most knowledgeable baseball guy in our market. I always enjoy when he sits with Joe and Dave during the game broadcasts.

    • tiki

      ordo and the bullies used to mock the guy giving him a computer voiced sendup and referring any attempt to discuss anything beyond spiting and scratching as “thats for alex’s show 6 AM sundays”

      • Homer Greenz

        All of the “old school” media people used to mock fantasy sports, bloggers and ‘advanced’ stats. Now all of those elements are hugely important to mainstream media outlets. (I’m not saying that Alex in a fantasy sports guru)

  • bsmfan

    Can I throw a nomination in with Matt Chatham for the “best available” UDFA who is “unsigned” ?

    • Denver Al

      I agree, Chatham is actually pretty good. Thoughtful takes and I never feel like he is trying to dumb it down for the viewers (hint hint Gresh).

      • bsmfan

        Gets 0 love in the market, as well. It must go back to what Chad Finn said about him from a media exec when someone asked about Chatham: he wasn’t a big enough name in the NFL, been out too long, and I have to think his lack of bomb throwing makes him unattractive to radio or TV (besides his short NESN slots).

        He’s one of the 25-30 players doing NFL media/broadcast bootcamp I saw. I assume this will lead to other things in other markets.

        As much as I’d like to keep him in this market (for at least just Sunday with CPrice on WEEI), I get the impression that people look him over. And, again, illustrates that if you’re smart and insightful, this is NOT the market for you.

        • HighWireNickEsasky

          The sad thing is that a no-name reserve linebacker/long snapper did (still does?) have a long career in the Boston sports media. Unfortunately, his name is Steve DeOssie.

  • Diamond Joe Junior

    Ordway not being on this list is remarkable considering where he was 5 years ago even 2 years ago.

    • bsmfan

      I have to think it was an incomplete list, no?

      Have to put Ordway up there as what “Bill Parcells” is to the NFL now.

  • OpinionNotFact

    You coulda had some fun with Mazz…

    • Homer Greenz

      Phony Strawmanotti.

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      I love that Mazz isn’t on here. He’s trying so hard to give “the scouts” exactly what they want, namely hot takes and contrived controversies, but he’s so lame at it that he’s not even a prospect.

  • Jason Coyote

    Other fast risers just outside the top 30 are Marc Bertrand (98.5), Trenni Kusnierek (CSNNE), Chris Villani (EEI), and D.J. Bean (EEI), the latter getting considerably more exposure during the B’s playoff run. I’d also like to give a shout-out to John Ryder of EEI as he continues to plug along weeknights providing the perfect counterbalance to Mikey Adams’ whackiness, plus he does a great job on Red Sox pre- and post-game (after previously doing the same when the Celtics aired on EEI).

    • Homer Greenz

      I think Danny Picard on WEEI is pretty damn good!

    • Brian Shea

      You don’t feel that Marc Bertrand has become a parrot of Felger & Mazz? At one time I thought he was a rising star, but they’ve really corrupted him.

      • bsmfan

        I find myself split here. I remember when Beetle was the ultimate counterbalance but it seems like he can get thrown right into the blender of YARM too easily. No idea on the ratio but I sometimes wonder if when he ventures into the “YARM” stuff, if its a result of more hivemind than anything. He tends to be a bit more independent when I’ve heard the Saturday show he does with CGasper, but sometimes its just an extension of F+M, much like SportsTonight is.

      • Andy Dursin

        Can’t stand Bertrand either. He’s become another one of the 98.5 sheeple, rinse and repeat boys.

  • Kay

    I’m having a hard time listening to Dale Arnold regularly. The deep, mocking voice he utilizes when reading texts he obviously disagrees with is almost as annoying as Callahan’s sneering, whiny voice. He needs to lay off the text machine and get rid of the sanctimony. More of the delightful DJ Bean, less of the grumpy dad Dale Arnold please.

  • Jason Coyote

    Not related to the topic above, but…

    “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday awarded NBCUniversal (NBCU) the broadcast rights in the USA for the Olympic Games through to 2032.”

    First, if you don’t like NBC’s Olympic coverage, Comcast just paid over $7B to raise their middle finger. On the bright side, if you’re a big fan of John Williams’ music, it’s not going anywhere.

    Second, it now makes sense that the Peacock lured Josh Elliott away from GMA. Not to be the next Matt Lauer, but the next Bob Costas. Say hello to your future Olympic primetime host, circa 2024 or whenever Costas comes down with permanent pink-eye.
    Honestly, I always thought Elliott was simply a JAG back during his ‘Around the Horn’ days, but NBCU apparently thinks differently.

    • bsmfan

      Insane the money paid. I wondered if NBC makes money on the Olympics or eats the loss because they can promote the hell out of the other garbage run on the network.

      It always makes me feel sick watching it w/how corrupt the IOC is, but I can say the same about the World Cup becuase FIFA is right up there.

      It seems like anyone on GMA gets the, “oh they’re so cute, good and one of the greatest!!”, when they’re adding a little flare to reading the teleprompter on a morning show. It’s not just him but I can see why NBC hired him as the next Costas. All the elites love him. I’ve yet to see anyone say something bad about him. He also must have tested well on focus groups if he did the GMA move in the first place, so its perfect.

  • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

    Dale Arnold aka Chubby Ned Flanders should be removed from the list. He is a one trick pony who is about as much fun to listen to as poison ivy in an armpit. The fac tthat he was the “best” option for the EEI drive time paints an ugly picture.
    I feel Mazz should be on the list, though his stock is dropping. It’s odd on “The Baseball Reporters” right after F&M he is outstanding, his baseball knowledge is one of the best in Boston. Yes baseball is his bread and butter but he is a smart guy and can adapt to other sports, the problem he has with Felger is he tries to replicate Felgers negativity and argue for the sake of arguing mentatlity. I love F&M and don’t even switch to ‘EEI during breaks but they would compliment each other so much more if Mazz didn’t try to replicate what Felger does so well. I love Felger, even with his negativity it just flows, but it is so forced for Mazz.
    Leaving Bertrand off this list is laughable, I would listen to him over anything on EEI at this point, he will have his own show shortly.
    I agree with others in its a mistake to leave DJ Bean off the list too. I love hearing him and Felger on Sports Tonight, they seem like they have great chemistry even though they appear together for short times.

    • Leo

      I disagree. Mazz will find himself back on the baseball beat sooner than later. His voice is terrible for radio. I thought he was a bright kid years ago when he was limited on Ordways show, but too much air time exposed him. He sounds willing to do/say anything to remain with Felger.

  • Early_Riser

    I think Haggerty’s self-promotion is a weakness more than a strength. If you’re good at what you do in this town in the sports realm, you will get readers/listeners without having to shill. I’ll give him a pass on his nonsensical article last night (who among us hasn’t put the proverbial foot in the mouth at one point or another?), but I don’t buy the “I was tired” excuse. I’d bet a sawbuck he was three sheets to the wind and remembered he had to file a story.

    Also, CHB….#2….the irony sells itself there.

  • OpinionNotFact

    I was thoroughly embarrassed by the amount of attention, on both sides, Haggerty’s weirdo article got this morning.

    I love Toucher and Rich. I’ve been a loyal listener since the beginning but that got me to put on a podcast this morning.

    Game 4 is tonight, I don’t need to spend my commute listening to a bunch of people yell at me over something someone who works for a different station did. I don’t listen to that station much, I certainly don’t read their website… I wouldn’t have even known the Haggerty thing caused a stir without that this morning.

    Seriously, that was awful. Awful, awful, awful.

    • latetodinner

      I was pretty amazed that WEEI ran sound from the 98.5 interview. Then I was amazed that Fred T went off on WEEI as soon as WEEI went into commercial (and I switched for a moment). It was train wreck radio at its best as I switched back and forth all morning during my commute…listening to both sides snipe at the other by name. What surprised me most (and what should not have looking back at it) was how firmly the battle lines were drawn. For example John Dennis usually plays the voice of reason and would real either Callahan or Minihane back if they are taking an extreme position like “Joe Haggerty should be fired”. He was quiet which tells me there is definitely an agenda on WEEI’s side.

      Over on 98.5, the brunt of Fred’s argument is…this is sports, the guy made a mistake, the other guy writes for a radio stations website…there is nothing to see here other than to make fun of it… Really Fred…a major beat writer in Boston who works for one of the two all sports TV stations in town, makes up a quote from the star player, submits absolute gibberish, claims he was tired and delirious (but not high or drunk), while being completely let down by the editorial staff and you think that is a non-story…a one off to be laughed at? You are just as guilty of taking an inane position as Minihane was in suggesting Haggerty should be fired.

      I think there might be a hockey game tonight but if there is more media on media drive-by I will be following that instead.

  • mick

    Bruce, this is a great list. The only person I see left off that I think is a good representative of Boston sports personalities is Steve Buckley. Gresh, Zo and Merloni all make me ill. After listening to the two stations go at it I am not sure I can put up with either morning show. What is happening? I did not realize all the dislike by the media for Haggs. I am coming around to your view on Mazz. Felger, to me, just has to stop beating the horse and he would be fine. I really like having Dale back, even though he is still soft and cuddly, he offers a good alternative to F&M. All D&C do is spout hate and T&R play a half hour of their previous days stuff. Starting to miss the days when all I listend to Charles and music.

  • RoadToOctober

    Several things about this list baffle me. One is that Gary Tanguay is even on it. He is, hands down, the worst Boston sports media personality, and you have him in the top 10??? Yikes. Second, is the absence of Marc Bertrand. He is a rising star in this very competetive market, and WEEI should do everything they can to lure him over as he would do wonders for them. 3rd, I just don’t get the love for Toucher and Rich. This is a SPORTS media list, and you list both of their weaknesses as they don’t know about sports. Huh? Sorry, but if I’m listening to a sports station, then I want the people i’m listening to to have a grasp of what they’re talking about. That’s why I will listen to D&C always over T&R. If I want comedy in the morning, I’ll listen to Howard Stern. If I want sports, I’ll listen to D&C, who for all their faults can talk circles around T&R when it comes to sports. I do like that you did not put Massarotti on the list. He doesn’t belong. he is the reason that I will turn off F&M on occassion. He has become a parody of himself. If he left that show tomorrow, it wouldn’t miss a beat. Felger is the star of that show, and should be. Mazz weighs him down immensely. I would have definitely put Ordway on the list. His new venture, I think, will prove to be very successful in the long run.

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      I don’t think you’ve understood the exercise. This is not a list of who I like and dislike. This is who has the influence to impact the daily talking points.

      I abhor everything about Gary Tanguay professionally. He does nothing but argue ridiculous points. Somehow he keeps getting shows, and somehow his “points” keep getting repeated through other outlets.

      I listen to D&C much more than I listen to T&R. The latter have kicked D&C off the top of the ratings and kept them below them for some time now. They’ve done this despite not knowing anything about sports. Somehow, they’ve got more influence in the sports media market than D&C do at the moment.

      Bertrand may well be a riser – but for the moment, he’s Felger’s flash guy, and increasingly has been reluctant to challenge which pushes him closer to Mazz territory, who as you see is not on the list either. If he got his own show, he’d likely make the list.

      If Ordway’s venture proves successful, he’d likely make a future edition of the list. For today, right now, he’s pretty much off the radar all except the most die-hard Big Show supporters.

      Hope that helps.

      • RoadToOctober

        Thanks for responding Bruce. I have a better grasp of it now and it makes more sense. One thing about Tanguay though. If not for CSNNE he might be out of work. He was let go of his 98.5 job pretty quickly. My guess is that he has a ironclad contract at CSNNE and once its up he’ll be gone and might never be heard from again in this market.

        • JC Stones

          Tanguay is the living, breathing Ron Burgundy of the Boston sports media… a walking, talking parody of sports journalism.

      • Homer Greenz

        “This is who has the influence to impact the daily talking points.”

        Which is why it’s absolutely perfect that Strawmanotti is not on the list while Felger is ranked #1.

  • LocalSportStuff

    Personally, Bruce, I feel you gave too much credit to Massarotti.

    • Mo

      Massarotti is a total weirdo and very hard to watch (crazy person facial expressions, nail chewage) and listen (What’s the opposite of hot takes? Sycophantary?). And that voice. Yikes. When, oh when will they dump him?

  • RoadToOctober

    I was looking over this list again. Bruce you said you said you made this list based on who has influence? Leah Hextall? Seriously? Now that’s just ridiculous. I may hate Mazz, but to leave him and Ordway off the list and put Leah Hextall on is ludicrous. Ordway, even on the web, has more influence than her. Really letting your personal feeling shine through there.

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      My personal feelings on Ordway? You must not have read this – http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/2013/02/an-appreciation-of-glenn-ordway The guy was one of my childhood heroes.

      • RoadToOctober

        The personal feelings comment was more about Massarotti than Ordway. Saying that Hextall has more “influence” than either of those 2 is silly.

  • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

    I won’t disagree with that assertion. It’s definitely not a perfect list. It’s generating some good discussion though.

  • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

    That’s a great suggestion. Definitely an oversight on my part.