Tito’s Still Upset, NESN Giving Time Off To Orsillo, Remy

The Red Sox got back on the winning side of the ledger last night at Fenway Park. Old friend Terry Francona was in the house, and like old times, made an appearance on the Dale and Holley show. He again said he has not spoken with John Henry or Tom Werner and isn’t sure he ever will again.

A few quick media notes this morning:

NESN will give Don Orsillo time off in July – Chad Finn looks at a memo from NESN this week that Orsillo and Jerry Remy would be taking vacation time this summer.

Like Chad, I find the Orsillo bit rather strange. NESN is known for their cryptic releases and this one was no exception. It stated “Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo will each get a week-long break this season, consistent with what many regional sports networks do for their MLB broadcast teams.” and then gave the dates.

It did note that Jon Rish will fill in for Orsillo while he is “on break.”

Join Eddie Andelman’s ‘Huddle’ on Boston Herald Radio – The sports radio pioneer will do a one-hour show this afternoon at 2:00 on Herald Radio.

Fran Quinn will get air time at U.S. Open – Bill Doyle looks at coverage of the U.S. Open, including of Massachusetts native Quinn, who had a strong showing on the first day of the tournament.

Random Thoughts:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a broadcast trio as depressed as Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were when the second half of last night’s Spurs/Heat game began.

One of the things that makes Dan Shaughnessy’s incessant trolling so infuriating is columns like this.

I’ve seen hang-wringing on Twitter and elsewhere over the comments of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann that his team has no chance to win the World Cup. The media is a funny group. They demand honesty from the people they cover. But when they get it, the criticize the person for giving it. They’d rather have Rex Ryan’s yearly Super Bowl guarantees.

Early returns on the MFB: Not good. Gresh and Zo have little to worry about. Tim Benz seems to be of the Mike Salk school of painful teases – “There IS one star that I don’t think should be getting more heat from the media. I’ll tell you who when we come back.” Christian Fauria can’t complete a thought without getting distracted, or he comes out with a gem like “90% of the time he always does the right thing.”

Tony Massarotti spent a good chunk of time yesterday staring at the ceiling while trashing David Ortiz and his season thus far. His timing was perfect.

  • bsmfan

    Early returns on MFB: Not good.

    Are there any #’s out there? Between here, SoSH and Twitter, I saw a common theme: Benz sounds like Mutt. I didn’t see much buzz. If I had to guess, there won’t be much of a change in the demos.


    America loved last night’s game. ESPN didn’t. They were getting killed this morning and continue to be.

    Hope you guys in MA want this:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/13/boston-makes-short-list-for-summer-olympics/K5EyOKkSWisfXySpNujZWI/story.html

    Seems like there’s a big opposition, though:

    http://nobostonolympics.org/2014/02/26/boston-olympics-likely-to-cost-10-20-billion-read-the-report-here/

    • bullock

      How long do you suppose the creative/marketing meeting took to come up with “MFB?” 90 seconds?

      — “OK guys, we need a name for this new midday show, but we don’t want to use the personalities’ last names, ’cause we did that before and ratings suffered.”

      ** “How about their first initials instead?”

      — “Brilliant! Put it on a T-shirt with a company logo, clip-art football, clip-art baseball, and a clip-art microphone!”

      ** “Uh, we can’t afford Shutterstock anymore!”

      — “Dammit! Does anyone have any kids that can draw?”

      • bsmfan

        Ha.

        I guess I’d ask: Does a show’s name really matter? Does the logo? Isn’t it content?

        I thought the same about the show as what the majority said. Benz sounds like Mutt but seems to tease stuff more. The show still has the same feel. Fauria can be interesting for a segment but Bruce sums up what I get listening where he doesn’t complete thoughts. (He seems better as a guest in segments, not doing 4 hours.) And, If you weren’t a Lou fan before, you won’t be one now.

        • Homer Greenz

          I find MFB listenable, in small doses, while Mutt & Lou I couldn’t stand for more than 5 seconds. I don’t want to listen, won’t go out of my way, but listenable. Pretty much the same as Gresh and Zo. Mutt & Lou was like an instant headache.

        • bullock

          True, I guess it doesn’t really matter. I just find the idea of 12 suits (and Fauria, Benz and Merloni) sitting in a room to brainstorm the show and THAT is what they came up with.

        • bullock

          And that they can’t afford clip-art anymore

        • bsmfan

          I still ponder the “Paid a firm 100k” but then a homeless guy came up with it idea.

        • agramante

          Yeah, if the show’s good, the name doesn’t matter. (Hell, in the early days of the Sports Hub, Mike Adams called Felger & Mazz “Squeaky and the Bitch.” They should’ve gone with that, in my opinion.) Back in the better old days at the Fan, the afternoon show could be Mike & the Mad Dog, or Mike & Chris. They didn’t seem to care what they called it. The “Mad Dog” gimmick was kind of a throwaway. But outside the show, it was more memorable than MFB. That sounds like a food additive.

  • Swampscott Wally

    Concerning Merloni specifically: He has come to fully embrace the “Boston sports talk formula for success”. When he first started on radio and TV he was very listenable. He offered fresh takes, when something was good he would say so, and when something was wrong with the Sox he would offer solutions for that as well. Now? Basically, everything sucks. EVERYTHING. I have no idea how anybody can listen to sports talk radio anymore. It is nothing but one complaint and whine after another, one crisis after another. Sports are supposed to be fun, entertainment. Sports are not supposed to make you depressed. If they do, turn them off! They are meaningless. The “Felger method” has been copied by almost every talker on radio in this market, some are less depressing than others but its just a matter of degrees. Do they really think its enjoyable to spend 4 hours bitching about Steven Drew or Brad Marchand? Do we really need Shank to insinuate without evidence every few months that Ortiz is cheating? Whats the point? These guys don’t know one bit more about sports than you or I do, they simply have a microphone to show their sour attitudes. These guys may call Zolak a “fan boy” but at least he offers some positive takes from time to time. That alone makes him a lot more pleasant to listen to. Again – its entertainment.

    • Homer Greenz

      You are absolutely right, Mike.

      • bullock

        You’re preaching to the choir on that one.

    • bsmfan

      I agree but add that:

      – Felger does what’s natural to him. “Skip Bayless but who can admit he’s wrong.” He’s a great entertainer.
      – His “show host” ability, I think, is the standard. He segments well. He can run a show. The one knock is how they handle calls, which I personally like because they’re bad enough most of the time.
      – When F&M are “on”, like the Kraft interview yesterday, it’s really good radio.

      For someone to try to “be their own Felger” reminds me of why coaches under BB fail elsewhere. The “hosting” stuff seems to be you either get it or you don’t. I’m sure it can be trained but you get reminded often by fill-ins or some regulars on those who don’t know how to just run a show. Content and style we can always debate (and do) about.

      • Andy Dursin

        I agree with most all of your posts BSMfan but when it comes to F+M I completely part company with you. And saying Felger “does what’s natural to him” — I don’t buy it. It’s also not what WAS natural to him. He used to be a breath of fresh air in this market during the end of the Lobel era. Offered smart, objective analysis against the sour grapes of Will McDonough, Borges and the rest of the media clowns who were stuck on Bledsoe. Felger was the antidote to all of that….at least at the start.

        He has successfully transformed himself into this media clown and “personality”, but despite his ratings, that doesn’t make him a “great entertainer.” Frankly I find his show utterly lazy — and also incredibly POOR when it comes to analyzing a game. He’s downright bad at talking about a game — often I wonder if he’s even watched it — and he’s got a co-host who is the most useless wreck I’ve ever heard — much less on the #1 show in a major market. Instead of dissecting an individual game or play (even Mike Francesa does that every day, quite well when the need arises), they sit there and just bang the same drum day in day out…it’s an “issues” show, rarely a game-centric program. And they recycle the same points to death — if you listen to 20 minutes, you’ve heard the entire 4 hours.

        Standards around here haven’t just declined, they’ve bottomed out. There’s nothing in this market I’d even consider close to being “good radio” anymore, F+M in particular.

        • bsmfan

          Nothing wrong with some disagreement. It makes for good threads.

          Offered smart, objective analysis against the sour grapes of Will
          McDonough, Borges and the rest of the media clowns who were stuck on
          Bledsoe. Felger was the antidote to all of that….at least at the
          start.

          I wish I had heard and also remember more, there. I guess it’s a subjective call but I think his “act” is natural. If you want to say it’s “grown”, I won’t disagree there. The F&M tendency to go “off the deep end” seems to have ramped up over the past two years (to me). Bruce has documented that well on the site.

          I break radio and TV down into two categories: host and content. The content can depend a ton on not just the host but outlet. Hosting is how well you manage the segmenting and flow of a show. I believe this to be something you can learn but there are few hosts who can do well here. You see this disparity when fill-ins are on and struggle here. My point on Felger, above, is that I think he’s really good at “hosting” (I’d throw Ordway in here, too).

          Content is the obvious. How do you handle each topic and pick the stuff you do each hour or segment. How it’s approached and handled is sometimes the network’s call (ESPN) but here we enjoy more “localized” because we know the national stuff won’t work.

          To hit at one of your points, the tendency for F&M to “go off the deep end” into that #HOTSPORTZTAKE trolling seems to have ramped up in the past few years. I agree there. Bruce has documented it well on the site and the comments section reflects this. But, to their defense, they haven’t skipped a beat in the ratings. To counter, they’ve not had good competition, and we all know how that goes (see: Ordway’s BigShow). I have to think the next 3 quarters will be big as to see how the recent WEEI changes have done in the 10-2 and 2-6 parts.

          And, as you said, the standards seem to have been dropped. You see this not just on talk but print media. Isn’t it the same on the national sphere?

  • Kelly

    Okay, so NESN wants to give DO some time off. I guarantee you they will factor that into his deal…from 150 games to 145, and he’ll take a 3% pay cut. Meanwhile they give a package to someone recently broomed out of the building after 25 years for being involved in situation that could end up in court.

    • bsmfan

      You hinted at this before. Who are you talking about?

    • rob

      not to mention a repeat offender…

  • etak

    I didn’t yet read Klinsmann’s magazine interview, but in the audio interview, what he basically said was, “People don’t think can win it, and realisitically they’re right, but I think we have a chance!” which is actually far more optimistic than how it’s being portrayed, and much different from “We can’t win, period.” So I’m irked, again, some more.

  • Andy Dursin

    Can Tom Caron also get a sabbatical — you know, one that lasts FOREVER?

    I’m guessing something is going on with Orsillo. Though I think he’s mostly just OK (I can’t stand it when he does that forced “Fenway Park stands as one!” line), he’s enjoyable to listen to when working with Eck. Though he seldom brings any “insight” at all into his broadcast, it’s also not like he wouldn’t have other options. He’s gotten some national work, etc. I get the sense that NESN’s salary must be low for the industry standard if they’re bringing in Rish, who might be a nice guy and all, but doesn’t have the pipes or personality to be doing MLB games on TV — much less in this market.

    • smack_libs_around

      Tom Caron has a voice meant for silent movies.

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      I agree that Caron is flawed but i think he does a decent job running the post-game show given the level of talent by his side. Eck is very good but can get on a tangent and Caron generally keeps him focused. But look at the others he’s had to work with: Jim Rice, post-stroke Gammons, Wakefield, Jim Corsi, Ken Macha, Sam Horn. Rice, who is on most often, just rambles incoherently from cliche to cliche but Caron generally makes it work. His voice and look are bad, but he runs a decent show.

  • smack_libs_around

    I was tempted to see exactly what Red-Head said but then was reminded that he, like a misbehaving petulant child, is locked behind The Globe’s ‘pay-wall.’ So I do thank The Globe for saving me from him.

  • DryHeave

    This is why I call Bob Ryan a POMPOUS ASS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    @GlobeBobRyan
    Do NOT pretend to call yourself a true spouts fan if you don’t get into the World Cup. This is non-negotiable

    really Bob?…non-negotiable?…. well, I guess there is nothing left to say!….what an old douche bag (in my opinion)

    • BSF34

      Same guy who called football a “fungus”.

      • DryHeave

        he loves to lecture/talk down to fans as if we’re all 6 year old children,very annoying.

        • Bobcat

          Happy 6th,DryHeave

        • DryHeave

          Hi, Mr.Ryan!

      • agramante

        Well, to be fair BSF34, I listened to the podcast of that bit on D&H last night. Ryan was playing a bit of a semantic game–“sports fan” means “a fan of all sports”, and being an American big 4 fan means “American team sports fan” (I guess counting the pit crew as part of the team–a fair enough point). So, really, Ryan’s point was pretty benign. Sort of like the distinction between being a soccer fan and being World Cup fan, or a figure skating/nordic skiing fan or an Olympics fan. You get the point. I don’t think it’s much of an argument, frankly.

    • bsmfan

      I’m surprised we haven’t got a Gasper column about how you’re racist if you don’t like the WC or Soccer.

      I’m a soccer fan, mainly due to playing as a kid. I learned real quickly that it’s a minority sport. Want to turn someone off as quickly as possible when trying to make them a fan? Do what Bob Ryan did. Know how more people become fans? The increased exposure, like what’s going on now. It might not convert all or many, but you’ll get new fans.

      • DryHeave

        exactly…obviously the World Cup is a HUGE event. I don’t bash the sport ( like Gerry Callahan) but at the same time I can’t all of a sudden become a “fan” just because the media deems it “fashionable’

        Maybe I’m taking Ryan a little too seriously but what are the qualifications for being a “TRUE SPORTS FAN”?… do you have to follow/care about every sport in the world?….I don’t have that much free time..

        • bsmfan

          I get when people aren’t fans of ‘whatever’, esp. something that’s not one of the big 4 in the US.

          In the same way I’m not a NBA fan, I wonder why people aren’t NHL fans. But, they’re looking at me the same way as I do. As time has gone on, I’ve come to enjoy NHL as a minority sport; the last thing I want is it trying to relegate its product in order to cater the casual fan (removal of fighting, etc.) I doubt it can ever become “bigger” than the NBA because of the nature of each sport and how it’s covered. NHL is too niche, international players, not as many “TV moments”. I’m fine. I just wish others we’re fine here. I’ve even been called racist for not liking the NBA, describing the same reasons above, along with the basics on why I think hockey is a superior product (see the WCF this year.. beautiful).

          Speaking of the NBA…. Thank you Spurs for ending our national nightmare. Thus far, ESPN has spent over 75% of its postgame sportscenter on ESPN with either the Heat pressers or talk of the Heat. They opened the 2nd “roundtable” with Simmons, et. al., by talking “LeBron’s future”. They not only had to “wait” for the LAA/ATL game to end (that must have had Bristol wishing they could just move it over to ESPN2), but spent the bare minimum of time on the Spurs. I’m sure this is how the Spurs want it but my god ESPN will be miserable tomorrow. LeBron is also “not sure” what he’ll do so you’ll basically have a prolonged “The Decision II” all summer.

        • agramante

          I doubt it’ll last all summer, bsmfan. He’ll be impacting the free agency capabilities of his target team if he does. I’d be surprised if he’s not signed by mid-July.

          The racial aspect to liking or not liking the NBA is a minor but real aspect to the situation–and bear in mind that I am NOT accusing you, or anyone else, of racism. (That accusation is much too easily and sloppily made these days.) I’m saying that like the NFL, NBA players are predominantly black (~78% in 2011, ~67% in the NFL), but the basketball is much more a star-driven sport, with fewer players on the court (field) at any time. (Plus they’re not covered by uniforms and helmets.) So it’s easy to focus on individuals, including tattoos, behavior, hair style (except for the occasional dreads-below-the-helmet) and easier for whites to not identify and feel uncomfortable with the back athletes. That’s perfectly natural—I wonder how many blacks follow tennis (even with the Williams sisters), or followed golf before Tiger came along.

          So there’s no blame to be placed in this–it’s just natural, ordinary behavior. People tend to like their own. (Whitlock’s written about this more times than I can remember–and for my money, he’s the best sportswriter going, despite being swallowed by the ESPN borg. But avoid his podcast at all costs–I’m actually not sure if he’s still doing one. It was a waste of time. He was almost as bad at interviewing as Chevy Chase.)

          But a sport with mostly black athletes and mostly white owners, and mostly (though less so now) mostly white coaches, will have some stresses with its white fans. The folks in the NBA have known this for quite some time–it’s why Stern started going Church Lady on players a long time ago. But the NBA remains very, very popular, and if for no other reason than climate–not much outdoor ice down south–in the USA hockey will never match the nearly universal appeal of basketball, football or baseball.

        • agramante

          Yup, exactly. I was down in Australia this spring for work and fell in love with Aussie rules football. In my mind, it combines the best of rugby and soccer: it’s tough, with plenty of hits and tackling, but the action is continuous, with a lot of passing, and a whole lot of running–the field is an oval 150 m long. Oh, and there’s plenty of scoring, and you can score from as far away as you can kick the ball. Much, much more dramatic than even a 30-foot three pointer.

          I’m quite content with the knowledge that outside of Aussie expats, I’m one of perhaps a couple of hundred AFL fans in the USA. Doesn’t bother me a bit. And I might talk up my reasons for liking the sport–as I have here–but I won’t insist on someone else liking it, and sure as hell won’t condemn them as a non-sports fan if they don’t.

        • bsmfan

          Person in the family was working there for 4 years. Same thing. Another friend went abroad for a semester but wound up being able to spend 2 there. Same deal. However, both know that it’s basically Australia only, and that’s the only counter I’d offer. Name me a semi-developed/modern country not playing soccer.

          Also, I think you’re in luck, as I recall ESPN2/ESPN3 showing AFL matches?

        • agramante

          Maybe–I confess I haven’t looked. TSN in Canada (the ESPN franchise up there–same graphics & sound effects, and a few borrowed shows) runs two or three a week. I might try to DVR one or two to show my wife what the heck I’m talking about.

    • Bobcat

      Relax.

  • Homer Greenz

    ***LIVE UPDATE***

    Mutt and Lou are, for one night at least, are ruining the usually enjoyable broadcast on WEEI of the Red Sox Games.

    Mutt apparently has been given freedom to expand the content of the mid-inning updates, so now instead of a rapid of report of baseball scores courtesy on Jon Ryder, we get soccer scores, last night it was NBA scores, and also up-to-the-minute reports on the outcome of rehab at-bats in Pawtucket. We’re this close to #HotSportzTakes

    And Lou Merloni will not shut his goddamn big mouth. He is delivering a constant stream of Hot Takes. Baseball is a slow game, it is perfect for radio. Occasional silence from the announcers, accompanied by crowd noise is okay. We don’t need to hear the long, drawn out opinion from Lou Merloni about every single thing that happens in the game. He’s going on like it’s 11 am and he’s had 5 cups of coffee.

  • bsmfan

    T&R have the #’s from last night in Boston:

    US/Ghana did a 10.0 (wow) and the Sox did a 6.

    Figure Finn or someone here will have an article.

  • nsbombers

    Does anyone know who pays Billy Star’s salary? I heard he makes $600,000 a year.I also know he does the same kind of work out in Colorado.

  • agramante

    Wow! We didn’t even get cable in my house until 1990, so I’d never have had the chance. And of course, in 1982 I had the typical attention span and ability to sit still of any 12-year-old, which is to say, sitting and watching a game of any sort wasn’t happening.