Celtics Outmanned in 4th. Sox Win, Patriots Scheduled

The Celtics were competitive in Cleveland last night, pulling to within two points in the fourth quarter before LeBron James and Kyrie Irving exerted their will on the court, leading the Cavs to a 99-91 win and 2-0 series lead on the Celtics.

LeBron James takes charge, leads Cavaliers past Celtics in Game 2 – Adam Himmelsbach notes that while the Celtics cleaned up many of their game one issues, poor shooting doomed them in this one.

Celtics need to make their own breaks – Chris Forsberg says that while the Celtics may feel they got the short end of some calls last night, they need to make some of their own breaks.

Jae Crowder: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s late dominance not why Boston Celtics dropped Game 2 to Cleveland Cavaliers – Jay King has the Celtics forward lamenting other lost opportunities which he feels doomed the Celtics.

As Celtics look to take next step, Kevin Love is a good place to start – John Tomase thinks that the Cavs free-agent forward to do would be a great fit here.

Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Red Sox picked up a 1-0 win in Tampa last night, with an error accounting for their only run of the game.

First-pitch strikes ‘huge’ for Wade Miley vs. Rays – Sean McAdam has Miley’s 5 2/3 shutout innings due largely to his ability to throw strikes early in the count.

Bullpen pitches in to cap Red Sox’ victory over Rays – Peter Abraham has the ‘pen nailing down the win for Miley.

Mookie Betts’ slide latest reminder: Red Sox’ runners are starting to get a reputation – Rob Bradford notes how the Red Sox are becoming known as “bullies on the basepaths.”

The Patriots learned the dates and times of their 2015 schedule last night, and will open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10th.

I’m always amazed at how many people who are paid to talk/write about sports and have no idea how the NFL opponents are formulated each year. They honestly think the schedule is made up fresh each season.

Patriots’ 2015 schedule offers drama, intrigue – Mark Farinella looks at some of the highlights of the schedule, and while it’s bit too early for the game-by-game predictions (we haven’t even hit the draft yet) the schedule does have a number of interesting quirks this season.

Nothing routine about Patriots safety Devin McCourty – Mark Daniels has the newly re-signed defensive back being counted on for his leadership like never before.

WEEI Boss: John Dennis a “Hugh Hefner type of party animal”

While WEEI colleagues universally pledge their support and best wishes to John Dennis, a few more details have come out, thanks to a Boston Globe piece from media writer Chad Finn.

WEEI empathetic as John Dennis checks into rehab

Phil Zachary, the vice president and market manager for Entercom Boston talked to Finn about the events that led up to Dennis deciding to enter inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. His comments are interesting.

This has been going on for awhile, as back in February, Dennis first took time off for rehab, initially on an outpatient basis. He then apparently came back to work (feeling insecure because Glenn Ordway was filling in?) and tried to return to the program after only a couple days off.

While Dennis said in the statement and to Steve Buckley yesterday that it was one drink at the Red Sox home opener which made him realize he needed help, he apparently had enough that he called in sick on Tuesday – which turned out to be an inopportune day for that – and that’s when the decision was reached to enter the inpatient side. (Does anyone have a video of Dennis on NESN “gesticulating animatedly” during the game?)

While all statements are such that it is made to look like this was all Dennis’ idea, reading between the lines, it sure appears that he was “encouraged” to take this step.

Zachary refers to Dennis as having a “Hugh Hefner type of party animal” type of persona, which combined with Kirk Minihane’s statements yesterday that Dennis was straight out of Mad Men, really give you a picture of the lifestyle the 63-year-old Dennis leads.

***

Celtics in six!

That was Mike Gorman’s prediction on CSNNE’s Celtics Preview show last night.

A local media person making an upset pick for the home team? Awesome.

Of course, minutes after this prediction, CSNNE went to Sports Tonight hosted by Mike Felger and Greg Dickerson, who proceeded to laugh at the idea of the Celtics even being competitive against the Cavaliers.

Maybe if Lebron, Irving, Love and JR Smith GOT HIT BY A BUS, the Celtics MIGHT be able to take Cleveland to seven games HAHAHAHAHA!

Click.

Some are still clinging to the notion that making the playoffs is a terrible thing for the Celtics. (Hello, Chris Gasper!) I just don’t get that thinking. At all. The difference between drafting 16th and 10th in this draft isn’t going to make or break the Celtics future.

The team has plenty of assets and cap room going forward, and a rising star for a coach. Why not get this coach, as well as players like Marcus Smart a chance to face the best in the league in a postseason series? There is no downside to this.

For Isaiah Thomas, long road to success ended in Boston – Adam Himmelsbach has a feature on the Celtics guard, whose basketball journey is well worth the read.

Bruins make Chiarelli the fall guy – Joe McDonald says that the fired GM deserved better.

It’s not about the ace; Red Sox require competence more than anything from rotation – Tim Britton looks at the Sox just needing their starters to be average.

How one of Red Sox’ most important pitchers has rediscovered his most important pitch – Rob Bradford has Joe Kelly getting his slider back.

No Offseason – Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler is the latest player to chime in on the Players’ Tribune, and he wants to be remembered for more than just that one play.

John Dennis In Rehab

A second unplanned absence from WEEI this year left many people wondering what was going on with morning host John Dennis. Some listeners wondered about his health, others speculated there was a suspension going on.

Things were cleared up last night when the Herald’s Steve Buckley broke the news that Dennis was entering rehab for alcohol use:

Rehab for John Dennis; WEEI host to take leave

Dennis tells Buckley that “rock bottom” for him came Monday during the Red Sox home opener. It was enough to convince him that he needed to seek help. He took a leave of absence from WEEI and entered a local inpatient facility where he is expected to stay or four or five weeks.

Statement from John Dennis – Statement from Dennis, which he says will be the last he’ll talk about it.

WEEI Morning Show Co-Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehabilitation – Chad Finn makes his report on the situation.

It would be easy to pile on and kick Dennis while he’s down. Many will do so. I’ll let others take that route and instead just wish him well, and hope he comes out of rehab a better person. It takes courage to admit you have a problem and to take steps to deal with it.

****

The Celtics finished off their regular season last night with a 105-100 win in Milwaukee. The Celtics finished the regular season with a 40-42 record. They finished the season 24-12.

Two years ago the Celtics went 41-40. That team had Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo (until he was injured) Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Doc Rivers and Courtney Lee.

None of those guys are here now.

Here is their playoff schedule:

Game 1 – Sun, Apr 19
@
Cavaliers
3:00 PM
Game 2 – Tue, Apr 21
@
Cavaliers
7:00 PM
Game 3 – Thu, Apr 23
vs
Cavaliers
7:00 PM
Game 4 – Sun, Apr 26
vs
Cavaliers
1:00 PM
Game 5 – Tue, Apr 28
@
Cavaliers
TBD
Game 6 – Thu, Apr 30
vs
Cavaliers
TBD
Game 7 – Sat, May 2
@
Cavaliers
TBD

Aaron Hernandez Guilty, Peter Chiarelli Fired, 98.5 Still On Top

This morning, the jury weighing the case against Aaron Hernandez found the former Patriots tight end guilty of first degree murder. He now faces the a sentence of life in prison without parole, in addition to another double-murder trial in Boston.

Minutes after the verdict the Boston Bruins announced that they had relieved GM Peter Chiarelli of his duties. Nice timing there. Perfect day for the NFL to release the Wells Report.

Sports Hub first, WEEI third in winter Nielsen Audio ratings period – Chad Finn reports on the latest ratings. It was fun hearing Gerry Callahan complain about the signal of WEEI. When they were drubbing the likes of 1510 and 890 in the ratings, they mocked the signal defense.

Looking at the figures Finn provides, WEEI is actually doing decent in the morning and afternoon drive shows, finishing a strong second in each. It’s the midday that is killing them, but as we’ve been told, that slot isn’t very important in terms of advertising dollars.

Speaking of the WEEI morning show. Gary Tanguay? GARY TANGUAY????

A Few Words About Running from the Great Larry Bird – Runners World picks up Bird’s running obsession from Finn’s recent oral history of #33 and gets more for the Celtic legend on the topic.

Q and A with Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Robert Epstein – Adam Himmelsbach talks to the owners about the surprising season.

Celtics face long odds in playoff test with LeBron James & Cavs – The Celtics will officially face LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the first round, and Steve Bulpett looks at their chances of being competitive.

Wizards’ Paul Pierce speaks the truth – You have to love Paul Pierce. The former Celtics captain tells it like it, whether it s about his year in Brooklyn, or his relationship with Ray Allen.

At Fenway Park, no detail too small for Larry Lucchino – Well done by Alex Speier, but this piece reeks of the Red Sox using the Globe for PR.

Mookie Magic

It’s not often that David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady can be in the same place at the same time and be overshadowed.

It happened yesterday at Fenway Park.

Here are your top 10 reads for this morning, in no particular order, other than sport.

In Red Sox’ Impressive Opening Act at Fenway, Mookie Betts Steals the Show – Chad Finn looks at the Fenway opening day festivities, which were overshadowed quickly once the game started.

Mookie Betts’ phenomenal 1st act at Fenway – Scott Lauber looks at the 22-year-old Betts stealing the show in the home opener.

Mookie Betts provides spark Sox have been missing -Kevin Thomas says that Betts gives the team the type of excitement on the basepaths that they’ve lacked since Jacoby Ellsbury left.

After a scary first, Rick Porcello settled right in – Julian Benbow has the Red Sox starter getting the job done.

Tom Brady’s latest title fuels David Ortiz – Michael Silverman has the Red Sox slugger hungry to match the Patriots QB in titles.

Having exceeded expectations with playoff berth, Celtics aim for more – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics not satisfied to just be sneaking into the playoffs.

5 ways Celtics have paved path into playoffs – Mark Murphy has a good look at how the Celtics ended up in this position.

Bruins must quicken pace for 2015-16 – Fluto Shinzawa says that moving the puck from one end to the other more swiftly should be a major goal for the Bruins.

Deflategate questions that need answering by Wells – With the Wells investigation passing the 80-day mark, Tom E Curran looks at the issues we most need answers to.

Taking stock of the Patriots – With the midseason about at the halfway point, Glen Farley takes a look at the state of the team.

Bonus: (But you need to be an ESPN Insider to read it.Patriots’ options to replace Revis – Field Yates looks in-depth at how the Patriots can try to account for the departure of Darrelle Revis.

Disappointing End For Bruins, Sox Open Home Slate.

Over the weekend, the Bruins capped off an extremely disappointing season in which they finished out of the playoffs. Major changes are ahead, be it in the front office, coaching staff, or roster.

While the Globe has noted hockey guy Dan Shaughnessy shouting GET THEM GONE as it concerns Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien, others take a more measured view of the situation.

GM, coach not fall guys – Stephen Harris says it would be a mistake to parts ways with the duo.

After ‘failure’ of a season, Bruins shouldn’t blow things up – Fluto Shinzawa says that while Cam Neely is undoubtedly angry over how things have gone this season, blowing it up isn’t the answer.

How it all fell apart for the Bruins – Dan Cagen has a good look at how Jerome Iginla is still haunting the Bruins – and not because he wasn’t here this season.

With Bruins calling a season sans playoffs a failure, expect an overhaul – Joe McDonald says that fixing the roster, not the coaching and GM should be the focus.

Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

If someone had told you in September that the Bruins would not make the playoffs you probably would have disagree with them. If that person told you that the Celtics would trade away Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green and only have Jae Crowder on the court to show for it this season, and would still make the playoffs, you’d probably take a cautious step back from the obviously insane person standing before you.

Yet, with a win in either of their final two games, or a loss by the Nets or Pacers in their final games, the Celtics will return to the postseason. The Celtics annihilated a Cleveland roster which was sitting out its four top players yesterday, but also beat the same team on the road Friday night when the likes of Lebron James and Kevin Love at least played some of the game.

Some continue to insist that making the playoffs is fools gold, especially in the weaker Eastern conference, and that not having a lottery pick limits their ability to take another step forward next season. The Celtics have played at a 50-win pace for about half a season now. Their young players are getting the experience they need for the future. It’s hard not to see this as a positive.

With playoff berth within grasp, Celtics’ Brad Stevens stays level – Gary Washburn has the head coach staying on message.

Thomas’ attitude, personality have transformed overachieving Celtics – Jackie MacMullan has a look at how the 5-9 guard has made the team fun to watch.

Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Fenway Park opens its gates for the first time this season for the Red Sox home opener this afternoon. The Red Sox are coming off a Sunday night loss to the Yankees in which Clay Buchholz gave up 10 runs, but Boston has also won its first two series of the year, and come in with a 4-2 record.

Good times at Fenway – Steve Buckley says that the home opener is always a special day.

Why free agent class didn’t push Rick Porcello to new deal – Rob Bradford’s extensive weekly notes looks at today’s starter and why he made the deal with the Red Sox now.

Grand Opener For Hanley, Sox.

The Red Sox opened up their 2015 campaign (hoping for the Double Boomerang) in style yesterday, as Clay Buchholz went seven shutout innings, Hanley Ramirez homered twice, including an ninth-inning grand slam to lead Boston over the Phillies 8-0. Dustin Pedroia added two solo homers, and Mookie Betts also homered for the Red Sox.

In opener, Red Sox offense as good in practice as on paper – Timothy Britton looks at everything coming together for Boston on opening day.

Ramirez powers Sox in return to original organization – Sean McAdam looks at a day 10 years in the making for Hanley Ramirez.

Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia take control in Red Sox opener – Gordon Edes looks at the Sox answering doubters right away.

Clay Buchholz spins a performance worthy of ace title – Jen McCaffrey has the righty looking the part yesterday.

Dustin Pedroia after 2-HR opener: ‘I’m back’ – Michael Silverman has the Red Sox second baseman reminding everyone that he’s the best player on the team.

Shane Victorino warmly received in Philadelphia – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the former Phillies fan favorite having a nice moment.

Get more Red Sox coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Following the game, it was also announced that the Red Sox had agreed to a four-year extension with pitcher Rick Porcello, who was acquired from the Tigers in the offseason.

Using Jon Lester to explain why Rick Porcello’s deal made sense to pitcher, Red Sox – John Tomase attempts to tell us why both sides were interested in getting this done, and how the Jon Lester situation compared to this one.

An unprecedented path made Rick Porcello a $20 million man – Alex Speier looks at why this situation was so unique.

Elsewhere:

With Vereen gone, White hoping for an expanded role – Mark Daniels looks at how the 2014 fourth round pick is working to put himself in line for more work this coming season.

Duke proves college hoop is a young man’s game – Christopher Gasper looks at Duke getting by Wisconsin to win the NCAA Basketball championship last night.

Celtics watch scoreboards amid playoff race – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics engaged in late-season scoreboard watching.

Bruins in no position to ease up – Stephen Harris says that Boston must continue playing its best hockey through its final three games.

Michael Felger Apologizes To Jack Edwards – Of all things for Felger to apologize for, this is it? Also, the “this is what we do” defense from sports radio hosts is getting pretty lame in my book.

Red Sox Set For Monday Opener

There’s still plenty of snow on the ground, but the Red Sox will begin their season for real in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon. (3:05 pm) Predictions on the performance of the team are all over the place, with some predicting a return to the top of the AL East, with others insisting this isn’t a very good team.

Some baseball preview articles to sort through:

Boston Herald team preview.

WEEI.com not-so-special team preview.

Boston Globe baseball section.

MassLive.com Red Sox section

ESPN Boston Red Sox section

I’m sure the wording is a coincidence, but in the Globe staff predictions, these two really stood out to me.

Nick Cafardo
AL East: Orioles – Most consistent starting rotation, great player in Manny Machado.

Alex Speier
AL East: Red Sox – Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

*****

Curt Schilling: Boston Red Sox lack true No. 1 in rotation – Bill Doyle has the former Red Sox pitcher, now with ESPN, saying that Clay Buchholz doesn’t want to be an ace.

For Final Four, you can channel your rooting interest – The NCAA Final Four is this weekend, and Chad Finn looks at the setup by Turner which allows fans to watch team-specific broadcasts. He also has some NESN news.

BSMW Investigation Reveals HotSportzTakes Coerced

A lengthy investigation which included interviews with dozens of people involved with the Boston sports media reveals that powerful organization actually controls the content which is disseminated through the various media outlets within New England.

This organization (also described variously as a “cartel” or “lodge”) uses fear, intimidation, threats, coercion and blackmail on various members of the local media in order to get them to say things that are so outrageous and dumb that no person in their right mind would spout them of their own volition.

Those we spoke to did so only on assurances of anonymity, and several were observed casting furtive glances around the room while being interviewed, as if fearing immediate reprisal.

The tales these poor souls tell reveals much about the inner conflict they feel at being used in this manner. One veteran writer, who covers the NFL and Boxing, and who has worked at both daily papers in town, said, haltingly, “Bill Belichick is a great guy. What he’s accomplished here in New England is unmatched. He’s the greatest coach of all time, and a greater man. But am I allowed to say that? No. See what happened to me at the Gl*be? I was about to come clean, and they ruined me. Now I’m here working at this tabloid, and they still control me.”

Others tell similar tales. One sports radio host, who appears on a morning show in town, was reluctant to speak to BSMW. “Look, I get it. OK? People think I’m a complete jerk. That’s fine. They don’t know what’s been done to me. Erin Andrews is a lovely, talented young lady, David Ortiz is a first ballot Hall of Famer.” Even as he was speaking, this normally confident man was scanning the room nervously. “You think I don’t know how stupid those things sounded when I said them? You think I wanted to say those things?” He appeared on the verge of tears.

An evening television host has also been targeted. “People who know me, know that I am the least confrontational guy they have met. My friends make fun of me for being milquetoast. I don’t have strong opinions about anything. ” So why is this man known for making a fool of himself on a regular basis on TV and the internet? “I don’t have a choice. Those people, they’re powerful. I thought I was a Volkswagen Cabriolet guy, they made me be a truck guy. My family, I’ll do anything to keep them safe, even saying I believe Chris Mortensen over Ian Rapoport. I lost my jobs doing Celtics and Patriots broadcasts, and a daily radio gig, but because I’ve been loyal, they hooked me up with this gig. I for one, welcome our new media overlords.”

Another radio host isn’t so appreciative of what the organization has done for him. “Yeah, I’ve got the sidekick gig on the highest rated sports show in the market, but at what price? It’s SUCKS. I have to kowtow to this Purell freak? Oh you’re absolutely right, M*ke! It makes me sick. I HATE it. I’m a nice guy! Ask Ch*d F*nn! But you know, they’ve got me. They’ve got me by the balls. If I were to go off script, I don’t know what would happen.” His partner on the show, who gets to play the dominant role in the relationship, isn’t too fond of the cartel either. “You think I want to come on every day and call Robert Kraft cheap, and make assertions about his budget? MY FATHER IS JEWISH! It makes no sense. They’ve got me saying that the New York freakin’ Jets passed the Patriots? The Jets? The Cap is Crap? I have to antagonize fans of the greatest franchise the NBA has ever known? How idiotic must I sound? But they promised that S*ra and my girls would be safe. That’s all I care about.”

Who is this evil group? While no one would confirm on the record, whispers say they are known as H.O.S.T.S, which is apparently a contraction of HOt Sportz TakeS and the leader of this organization is a man known as Blohard. The aim of the organization appears to be singular. Destroy any enjoyment that Boston fans may have about the success of their teams. Nine championships in thirteen years? How could fans possibly be made miserable in the midst of that run? It speaks to the power of H.O.S.T.S. that there are indeed people around the city of Boston who are unhappy with their teams and complain about them daily.

The Sports editor of the paper of record in Boston, the Gl*be, confided that he too, is weary of the control that H.O.S.T.S. wield over he and his department. “D*n Sh*ughnessy isn’t brave. He’s the biggest coward and hypocrite I’ve ever encountered. Yet, I have to sit here and sing his praises? I’m ashamed. They make me crank out this blog on college basketball which no one reads. I have to hire incompetent fools to cover the biggest sport in the country right now, and take endless shots at the best coach this region has seen since Red Auerbach. They make me look petty, and I hate that. I’m forced to waste the talents of B*b Ry*an by assigning him week after to week to write about how football is barbaric. K*vin P*ul D*pont writes gibberish. It’s embarrassing.”

The accounts are endless. One TV reporter recalls being threatened severely if he didn’t ask Bill Belichick if he was evaluating the quarterback position following an early-season loss. The press conference clip is now shown on all videos and accounts celebrating the team after they won the Super Bowl and the quarterback in question was named MVP. A radio host ruefully laments that he was seemingly only brought here to talk about Spygate. A once-great basketball writer and columnist is now relegated to writing hit pieces on the local ESPN affiliate. None of them are happy with their fates.

What’s next for H.O.S.T.S.? It seems they’ve got the future covered. Cleverly nicknaming them the “Felger Youth” this next generation of sports talk radio hosts and writers are fully indoctrinated into the program. They have been programmed to endlessly repeat what has been spouted on the most popular show in the region. These unfortunate youths have been brainwashed into thinking they are being provocative and edgy, when in fact, they just sound like entitled idiots.

Is there an end in sight? The claws of H.O.S.T.S. show no signs of withdrawing. Blohard reigns and seeks complete domination of the Boston sports media.

Burned By Scorching Hot Sportz Takes

How long before all teams use the Bill Belichick/Patriots method of dealing with the media?

The day is coming, I’m telling you.

Yes, there are those in sports who enjoy using the media and cozying up to them to get fawning coverage, whether they actually deserve it or not. There are many more, I believe, who would rather just not deal with them at all.

Each time a player or team gets burned by columnists and talk radio hosts, those around them take notice. They want to avoid the same fate.

This week, Shane Victorino found himself in the cross hairs of the Felger and Mazz program.

Shane Victorino challenges Sports Hub hosts over Cole Hamels comments – Scott Lauber (who also covered Victorino in Philly) takes a look at the conflict, which occurred when the hosts took comments that the Sox outfielder made to a Philadelphia paper, and put words into his mouth.

But that didn’t stop the hosts of the “Felger & Mazz” program from accusing Victorino of lobbying the Red Sox to cast Betts aside.

“You have a 34-year-old, breaking-down outfielder whose job is potentially going to be taken by whom? Mookie Betts, or by default, Rusney Castillo,” said Massarotti, formerly a Herald baseball writer. “And so who are we talking about, potentially, in this trade? Mookie Betts. So is that the deal? Mookie Betts is going to take his job, (and Victorino says), ‘Hey, get the kid out of here, because we can win now if we get Hamels.”

To that, Felger accused Victorino of “throwing your young players under the bus.”

What a leap. Victorino never mentioned Betts. The Philadelphia writer did.

Unsurprisingly, colleagues on the air, at both stations in town, seem to side with Felger and Mazz, they defend the right to give their precious opinions. But was this an opinion? I don’t think so. It’s a clear twisting of words, and even a fabrication of them.

Lauber, in a follow-up piece (How Shane Victorino’s non-story became a big deal) notes that “Victorino’s words weren’t twisted like a pretzel; they were put in his mouth entirely.”

Which is cool, you know, because their job is just to get attention. As Felger himself says:

Say it wherever you want. I had mine, you had yours, that’s the whole idea of us. We say something, it’s for public consumption, hopefully you are listening and reacting. That’s what I want everyone to do. And I think generally this show does a pretty good job of it, and so Shane did that. He digested, he reacted, great. Fair enough. No problem.”

In that same article, Massarotti recounted a follow-up phone conversation he had with Victorino, albeit unintentionally, and described it this way:

It was like having a discussion with my wife when she’s angry. It was that sort of discussion, if you want to know the truth.

Completely dismissive of Victorino.

Yeah, Mazz, you’re a real tough guy. For a show who’s stated intention is to provoke reaction, he’s a pretty sensitive guy to reaction and criticism. He’s one of the very few people who have blocked me on Twitter. I’ve never been profane about him, insulted his family or done anything other than say how much I dislike his “work.”

That’s not the reaction they’re looking for, I guess.

This situation made even the mild-mannered Mike Reiss sit up and take notice. He wrote this article on his personal blog:

Thoughts on Victorino, sports talk radio, the media culture in Boston and more

He concludes his piece by summing up the local environment this way:

I often wonder if the hot takes would be as hot if they actually had to be accountable to those they were talking about. I do think part of what makes them willing to go as far as they often do is that they don’t have that accountability, and don’t have personal interaction with those they are talking about. It’s much easier to fire away when there is that disconnect.

And that’s what I’ve been noticing more and more, not just with that program, but other opinion-based shows on TV that are more edgy, both national and local. I think the further you’re removed from being around the game, in the locker room, at league meetings, conversing with athletes, coaches etc., you lose a bit of touch with reality. It becomes more WWE than professional sports and that can be dangerous — and most of all misleading to the public — when in the position of powerful opinion-shaper.

Is it me, or is this more extreme than ever before?

I think I know the answer, and the fact that Victorino’s passionate remarks will probably lead to skyrocketing ratings for “Felger and Mazz” today says it all.

Sadly, he’s entirely correct.

Reiss went further in his weekly chat (Chat with Mike Reiss) in which he came as close to unbridled rage as he probably can get. His responses to certain questions were edgy and not like the usual “having all these opinions makes for a great community” responses he’ll often make when gently disagreeing with chatters.

Victorino also got attacked for not going on the Felger and Mazz show to talk to them directly. Producer James Stewart tweeted that he had contacted the Red Sox about getting the outfielder on the show, but the response was that they felt he had already said his piece.

This made it a win/win for them. They tried to get him to come on the show, but he was afraid!

At some point, I do expect more and more in the sports world to eschew the media completely and bring their message directly to the public. David Ortiz did this when he wrote this week for Derek Jeter’s The Player’s Tribune:

The Dirt

He takes on Dan Shaughnessy in his column:

In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, “You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?”

He’s saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I’m like, I’m Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?

I wanted to kill this guy. But you can’t react. That’s what they want. They want you to get angry so they can bury you. So I just smiled at him and asked for his address.

“Why do you want my address?” he said.

“Because I just got tested two days ago.” I said. “I’ll mail you the f****ing results.”

While some of Ortiz’ claims in the article are questionable – he insists he had no knowledge of the 2003 test result (from today’s Globe) until he saw it on ESPN in 2009 – his larger point about how he is viewed by many in the media is valid.

WEEI this morning wanted to know why Ortiz didn’t take this to Sports Illustrated if he wanted to put this out there. They missed the entire point. He avoided the mainstream media altogether and chose this as the independent avenue to put his message out there.

He won’t be alone in this.

Last night the Globe rushed up a quick piece on the Ortiz article. They did so without mentioning the Shaughnessy stuff at all, and filed it under “Staff Reports.”

*****

A few other links and notes:

Pedro Martinez a great fit with MLB Network – Chad Finn writes about the former Sox ace joining the MLB Network this week. He also touches on a few other items, including the Victorino story.

Baseball Reporting – A fascinating look on the MLB Website about the history of coverage of baseball, written by the legendary Jack Lang in the early 1990’s.

NFL taking aim at all things Patriots – Enjoyed this from Tom E. Curran, a look at how the NFL owners meetings turned into a pig-pile on the Patriots.

Ben Volin reported in the Globe this morning that Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower had labrum surgery and could miss much of training camp. The story is making the rounds on sports flashes and link compilations, but Jeff Howe in the Herald had this news over a month ago.