Embattled Kirk Minihane Vows Not To Change

Kirk Minihane made his triumphant return from vacation to the WEEI airwaves this morning, and while he acknowledged his apology to Erin Andrews, he and his co-hosts also struck back at “panderers” and others who had been critical of them. He vowed not to change his style.

He also offered this further thought on Andrews.

I used a word to reference Erin Andrews that I shouldn’t have used to reference Erin Andrews. I will completely cop to that, I said it, I admit it. [...] I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she’s good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she’d be a waitress at Perkins.

Deadspin

Whatever you think of Erin Andrews’ intelligence or talent, it’s good to know that Minihane has been sufficiently humbled by his experience of last week.

Dan Shaughnessy Forgets That Red Sox Won World Series Last Year

Writing about sports is HARD.

That’s the lesson we can take from Sunday’s Boston Globe.

How else to explain some of the content from the region’s largest newspaper?

First we have Shaughnessy, who rails about how Red Sox fans have all gone soft on the team and we’re not miserable bastards like we were in 1978.

At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’

Well, let’s see, since 2003, we’ve had three World Series victories, two other appearances in the ALCS, and made two other playoff appearances. Since 2003 they’ve averaged 91 wins per season, and that includes the 69-win season of 2012.

But we’re insane for thinking that the Red Sox are generally pretty good.

It amazes me how soft this baseball market has become. In 1978 fans and media crushed the Sox for a 99-win season that concluded with eight consecutive pressure-packed victories. The Boston manager was unmercifully booed on Opening Day the following year. Now everything is awesome because the Boston ballpark is a tourist destination and fans fall in love with the hype of every young player coming through the system. Swell. When did we become St. Louis?

I think Dan is still upset he lost his “Curse” business.

What’s truly amazing is that throughout his rant, he never mentions ONCE that the Red Sox actually, you know, WON THE WORLD SERIES last year.

Chad Finn very nicely took Dan to task yesterday – I Can Think of 3 Good Reasons Why The Red Sox are Getting the Benefit of the Doubt.

Then we had Bob Ryan’s column, the premise of which was promising enough – how much sports coverage has changed since the days that he was on the beat. The main thrust of which is that there really is no offseason for sports coverage any longer.

Ryan then includes quotes from all of the regular Globe sports writers, including Nick Cafardo, Peter Abraham, Amalie Benjamin, Shalise Manza Young, Ben Volin, Gary Washburn, Baxter Holmes and Fluto Shinzawa.

Amalie Benjamin once covered the Red Sox. Now she covers the Bruins. “Hockey is not as crazy as baseball,” she says. “I hated baseball offseason.”

Why? Too busy in the offseason? Most of the rest of us work year-round, too. Some travel just as much as these writers, and put in 60+ hours a week for the entire year. No offseason.

Then there’s Volin:

“It’s an 11-month news cycle,” says Ben Volin, the Globe’s NFL analyst. “For one thing, people just love talking about next year. That’s a big part of it. And the whole football thinking is different. They have OTAs because they don’t want people to get out of shape and because they don’t want them getting into trouble.”

So, it’s not about putting in your offense or defense and building a team, it’s all about keeping the players busy so they don’t all become fat criminals in the offseason? OK, Got it.

Let’s go back to the social media thing for a minute. “It’s really changed dramatically the last three or four years,” says Abraham. “The littlest things can become big things. You’re asking yourself, ‘Is this a story?’ ’’

“There is no way to distinguish what is news and what isn’t,” says Manza Young.

Wait, what? These are reporters for the largest newspaper in New England and they don’t know what is news and what isn’t?

Finally in the Sunday Football Notes from Volin, there was his line in the section outlining how advanced the NFL is:

Equality barriers have been broken. The NFL is now the first among the four major North American pro sports leagues to have an openly gay player (Michael Sam).

Do these columns get edited? Jason Collins was a fairly big story last year, and he played in the NBA after his announcement. How does this get missed?

Friday Notes – Is Minihane Too Good For His Comments?

With another week almost in the books, many Boston sports fans look forward to getting the Patriots on the practice field next week.

It seems that all that radio hosts want to talk about it whether he will be here beyond this season, but has it really hit Patriots fans that Darrelle Revis will be playing for the Patriots this season? Darrelle Revis.

Kirk Minihane is not being punished for his remarks about Erin Andrews earlier this week.  Nothing has come of the comments of Lou Merloni and Tim Benz on Andrews, which some would say are even worse.

(Thanks to Ken Fang for listening and transcribing that exchange.)

Believe it or not, the exchange sounds even worse than it reads.

Minihane did apologize this week with a statement on the WEEI website, but I hope that when he returns from vacation that he apologizes on the air as well. He said the remarks on the radio, he probably should apologize on the radio as well.

Kirk Minihane too good for low-brow antics – Chad Finn leads off his media column today with more on the Minihane comments, and whether Kirk is too good to resort to this type of stuff. I don’t know that he is. I thought he was a decent guy, but his total ingratiation with the hate that John Dennis and Gerry Callahan spew has been disturbing.

Paul Azinger thinks Tiger Woods fixed what wasn’t broken – The Open Championship is this weekend, and Bill Doyle has the ESPN analyst saying the Woods changed his swing too much and it has pretty much ruined him.

Jim Bouton still as opinionated as ever – If you read Ball Four growing up, you might be interested to hear what the former Seattle Pilot is up to these days. Stan Grossfeld checked in with Bouton, who resides in Massachusetts.

Dennis and Callahan and Minihane Taking Hate To New Levels

The WEEI morning show has been supplanted atop the ratings books by Toucher and Rich for some time now. With the contracts of John Dennis and Gerry Callahan reported to be expiring soon, there seems to be a bit of desperation creeping in to keep their show relevant, and to attract attention to themselves in an effort to bolster their negotiating positions. I suspect though, that the following incidents are doing them no favors with WEEI management.

Two incidents from this week have made their way into the national spotlight.

Sportswriter Jeff Pearlman, on his blog, recounts a Twitter battle he had with John Dennis which included Dennis saying that the First Lady has “an ass as wide as a double barn door.” Dennis loves to insult people on their weight, which is funny, seeing as how he magically lost 60 lbs in mere weeks after his show was picked up by NESN and he didn’t like people seeing him like this.

Then this morning Kirk Minihane called Erin Andrews a ‘Gutless Bitch’.  His colleagues agreed, adding that Andrews is a “bubblehead” and a “bimbo.”

WEEI Host on Erin Andrews: “What a gutless bitch … Drop dead”The Big Lead.

WEEI Boston Morning Radio Show Absolutely Trashes Erin Andrews, Calls Her ‘Gutless Bitch’Sports Grid.

Shitty Sports Radio Dude Calls Erin Andrews A “Gutless Bitch” - Deadspin

I’m sure though, if Kirk met Andrews, he’d be just like when he met Jenny Dell after writing and saying things about her.

I’ve always liked Minihane, but he’s turning me off with stuff like this. Maybe this is who he has always been and being on the radio every day is just showing it to all, but his radio act is wearing thin on me.

If Kirk and John and Gerry are just looking for attention, then Mission Accomplished!

Derek Jeter Memorial Being Broadcast Live on FOX Tonight

The annual MLB All Star Game, originally scheduled for tonight on FOX has been cancelled and replaced with a three-hour tribute to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who, in case you hadn’t heard yet, is retiring at the end of the season.

FOX is even bringing Tim McCarver out of retirement to gaze upon Jeter’s calm eyes one last time.

Sadly, I think the Jeter tributes are just getting started.

************

Former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell and rehabbing Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks got engaged yesterday.

Dell and Middlebrooks are not the first reporter and athlete to have a relationship, but theirs has come under unusual scrutiny, I’ve even commented on it in the past. This news should spark a new round of fingerwags from the usual suspects, though since Dell is no longer with NESN, it shouldn’t be an issue now.

*************

Another former NESN star, Kathryn Tappen continues her rise in the media world. She will continue her work with NHL Network, but is also now joining NBC Sports, where she will have a variety of roles, including work on NHL Live, Football Night in America, Notre Dame Football, Super Bowl XLIX and future Olympic coverage.

Tappen is married to former NHL player Jay Leach, who had a brief stint with the Bruins. From their own wedding announcement in the New York Times:

The couple met in February 2005, during the National Hockey League lockout. Mr. Leach, who was with the Bruins then, went to Providence, R.I., to play for the Bruins’ minor league team. Ms. Tappen was covering sports for WJAR, the NBC affiliate in Providence.

I only point that that out to contrast it with the reaction given to Dell’s relationship with Middlebrooks, which is admittedly more high-profile, but I don’t recall people questioning Tappen’s professionalism when she was on NESN.

There are other reporter/athlete relationships, Samantha Steele and Christian Ponder are married, Erin Andrews dates LA Kings defenseman Jarret Stoll. It is actually surprising it doesn’t happen more.

*************

If we’re talking about sideline reporters, it is worthy of mention that FOX “elevated” Pam Oliver from her position as lead NFL sideline reporter into “Senior Correspondent.” She will remain a sideline reporter, but with the announcing team of Kevin Burkhardt and analyst John Lynch rather than the top team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

Replacing Oliver on the top team will be the aforementioned Erin Andrews.

If it seems like a step back, it is, and a it’s a bad move by FOX. Oliver is one of the best in the business, and if you saw Andrews do the Patriots/Buccaneers game last season, you know this is a step back in quality for FOX.

I like Andews better than most seem to, but Pam Oliver is a pro. Along with Michele Tafoya, Doris Burke and Suzy Kolber, Oliver is among in the top group of people in the position of sideline reporter. Burke and Kolber do a whole lot more than just work on the sidelines, and Burke is actually miscast in the role of foil to Gregg Popovich – she’s better as a game analyst.

**************

With not much more going on in the local scene other than Dan Shaughnessy trolling Red Sox fans over Jon Lester, it seemed a good time to look at the above topics.

If You Can’t Troll Right, Don’t Troll At All

There’s an art to trolling. Some people can do it well, others just sound dumb when they try to do it.

Michael Felger is a master troller. He does his work on the airwaves, and it is amazingly effective. He gets the reactions, people are fired up, they keep listening even though they’re pissed off at him, and when called on it, he either 1) can somewhat intelligently defend his “take” or 2) sheepishly admit that he was just causing waves. I don’t like or enjoy it, but at least he’s good at it.

Others, like Ben Volin, try to troll, but they do so clumsily, and when they are called on it, either try to confuse the original issue or double down on their stupidity.

Here, young Ben is clearly attempting to troll, by insinuating that the Patriots somehow directly owe the families of the victims of Aaron Hernandez. Which is ridiculous.

When he was called on it, Volin clumsily tried to explain.

So there’s a pending lawsuit against Aaron Hernandez. Tell me again what this has to do with the Patriots? Volin then desperately grabs onto a Mike Florio post, (of all people) to try and make his case.

That post, ends with this line.

Which means that, by fighting to keep Hernandez’s money, the Patriots essentially are fighting to keep money from the families of the people he allegedly killed.

What Volin doesn’t (or can’t) explain is that there are two things going on here.

1) Families of victims are trying to prevent Patriots from paying Hernandez, because his lawyers will immediately take it all.

2) The Patriots are saying they don’t owe Hernandez any further money because he violated his contract.

The two situations have nothing to do with each other.

If the Patriots really wanted to screw the victims families, they would pay Hernandez. (which is what it seems Volin and Florio are insinuating they should do) The victims would never see the money.

The team doesn’t want to do that. Volin retweeted an AP story from the Globe today, which says:

The (team) lawyers said that in the ‘‘unlikely event’’ that the team is ordered to pay Hernandez more money after an arbitration proceeding, the team has offered to inform the plaintiffs and the court and will not pay Hernandez anything without a court order.

What that tells me is that if the Patriots ultimately are required to pay Hernandez, they’re going to give the plaintiffs and court first crack at it.

What would trolls like Volin and Florio have the Patriots do? Just hand over $3.25 million to families victims?

In the end, Volin just cries. Everyone is being mean to me!!!

No Ben, the backlash is from you being incredibly dim and trying to troll for clicks and attention and instead getting embarrassed.

If you don’t like it Ben, you can always go back to Florida.

Globe Troll, Case Two.

Then we have Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote his second column about ignoring this World Cup. This got him more attention via social media and even scored him an appearance on Outside the Lines on ESPN.

shuaghnessy

Some in the media defended Shaughnessy. Like Ben Volin, naturally.

Then there was national writer Pete Prisco:

It’s clear to me that Prisco didn’t read the column. Being anti-soccer may not be trolling. It may be his opinion.

This is trolling:

My anecdotal data indicates that there is no group with more conviction and less sense of humor than soccer fans. They are angry and firm in their insistence that theirs is the best game. Anyone who disputes this is dismissed as a xenophobic idiot.

When you attack not the game, but the fans and supporters, you’re trolling.

Anyway, how about those Red Sox?

How many weeks until training camp?

I’m out next week, probably won’t have anything up here, so enjoy the weekend and the beginning of July.

Patriots Beat Loses a Good One, Sox Just Lose

Catching up on a few items from the last several days while shaking my head that the Red Sox were nearly no-hit last night…

Nick Underhill of MassLive.com, one of the best young writers covering the Patriots announced yesterday that he’ll be moving on.

It’s a big loss for the beat, Underhill carved a nice niche for himself covering the Patriots, blending solid reporting, film study and statistical analysis in a straightforward, informative, easy to digest manner. I’m impressed with the entire staff at MassLive.com, so I’m hopeful they can bring on someone who can approach the competency that Underhill brought to the job.

Best wishes to Underhill going forward, New Orleans should be a great beat to jump on.

***********

Last week, NESN announced that Gary Striewski has been named as the network’s primary Red Sox in-game reporter. He follows Jenny Dell and Heidi Watney in that role.

The network claimed to have reviewed over 200 candidates for the job before awarding the position to Striewski, who has done a nice job this year in the role.

I don’t know if NESN even sent out a release on the news, as I didn’t get one, and Chad Finn at the Globe didn’t get one either, which is rather odd given that this is a relatively high-profile position.

************

Eddie Andelman’s Twitter Feed Is a Cornucopia of Offensiveness

So when does the Godfather of Boston Sports Radio have his Twitter account deactivated?

Also, the account is not verified are we sure it is even him?

***********

A couple days late on this, but I laughed at this Peter Abraham paragraph in Sunday’s paper.

It was only the second homer for Ross in 96 at-bats against righthanded pitchers over the last two seasons. The other was against Texas ace Yu Darvish last season. So if you’re a well-paid Japanese sensation, the backup catcher of the Red Sox is coming for you.

***********

Bruins await Jarome Iginla’s decision – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins hoping to retain Iginla, who is almost certain to receive more lucrative offers elsewhere.

Plenty of options on Danny Ainge’s table – Steve Bulpett assesses what the Celtics might be able to do this summer.

On Celtics Draft Night, No One Knows What To Expect

If you enjoy the unknown, tonight’s NBA draft promises plenty of drama and intrigue.

The Celtics currently hold picks 6 and 17, and many people will be disappointed if they just sit and make those picks.

There are a number of scenarios for tonight that have been rumored through various media outlets:

1) A trade for Kevin Love. After many declared a week to ten days ago that this was definitely happening, the chances of this move tonight seems to have slipped back significantly.

2) A trade of Rondo to Sacramento. This possibility re-emerged in the last few days, though the Kings have long held interest in the Celtics point guard. Could the Celtics hang onto their #6 pick and pick up the #8 pick in a Rondo trade? If they do, we’re in for another rebuilding season.

3) A trade up to the number one pick. Though this seems remote, A. Sherrod Blakely reported the other day that the Celtics have at least engaged the Cavs in talks for the pick. Would they take Parker or Wiggins there?

4) If Joel Embiid slips to #6 do the Celtics take him there? Especially if they pick up the 8th pick in scenario number two?

5) If the Celtics stand pat, and Embiid is not there, or they don’t pick him, who do they pick at #6? Gordon? Smart? Exum? Randle? Vonleh?

Of course, it could be none of the above.

The draft starts at 7:30 tonight on ESPN.

Help! We Don’t Know How To Talk Soccer!

That was basically the message I heard on both morning sports radio stations this morning, as they relied on callers for explanations and analysis of the  USA/Portugal World Cup soccer match yesterday.

Apparently Alexi Lalas was a little too fired up yesterday for the likes of Kirk Minihane as well, as the former Revolution defender was a target of the morning show.

Dan Shaughnessy got plenty of attention for his recycled and moronic  I’m choosing to ignore soccer column from yesterday.

Question: Are you really ignoring something if you’re writing an 800-word column on it in the region’s largest newspaper?

One thing is certain, Shaughnessy and his tomato can Globe editors were high-fiving over the reaction to the column, no matter how negative it was. The reaction is what matters. Effort, interest, prose, none of that matters.

A couple other notes:

Skip Bayless defended? A Q&A with head of ESPN’s First Take – An outstanding job by Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated in trying to get Marcia Keegan, the ESPN vice president of production to explain the appeal of the debate show.

Nick Cafardo wrote twice over the weekend saying that David Ortiz should have enough goodwill built up around Boston to get him through events like his complaints over the official scorer last week.  I agree. It seems ludicrous to me that Ortiz has so many detractors in this town, mostly on the airwaves. The emailers to Nick’s Saturday column (toward the end) are typical of the sort. They can’t wait until he’s gone. I don’t get that. You may not like him, but he’s done enough to earn some respect and some slack for when he does shoot off his mouth.

ESPN’s new SportsCenter set has gotten a lot of ink and attention over the last few days, but WCVB’s SportsCenter 5 OT also has a new look, and I thought it looked pretty good last night.

Where The Media Blows Yet Another Patriots Story Out Of Proportion

Greg Bedard didn’t expect this, even if he probably should’ve known what parts of his story some of his belly-crawling colleagues in the sports media would pick up and sensationalize.

In an profile of new Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, the Boston-based Bedard painted a picture of Pettine as a hard-working, intelligent coach with a chip on his shoulder due to the fact that just 13 years ago he was coaching high school football.

About two-thirds of the way into the column, Pettine started to explain why he prefers to keep his initial playbook relatively thin and simple.

pettine-quote

He then told a story about Tom Brady teasing one of the Jets coaches about having their playbook, and Pettine saying he wasn’t surprised because Rex Ryan gave out playbooks all the time, including to Nick Saban, who is a Belichick friend.

While Bedard thought the anecdote was innocuous, whoever laid out the page at MMQB saw the sensationalistic aspect to the statement, and thus created the pull-quote above.

Immediately Twitter and web headlines everywhere proclaimed the Patriots guilty of stealing playbooks and by extension – cheating.

Bill Belichick was asked about it at minicamp yesterday.

Rex Ryan was asked about it.

Nick Saban’s office was asked about it.

This didn’t stop the freight train. Bedard went onto CSNNE last night to try and set the matter straight, and said if he knew the extent to which the anecdote would be blown out of proportion, he’d have left it out, because it wasn’t important.

Bedard: Media misconstrued Pettine anecdote

Most people who know the NFL know that playbooks get passed around all over the league. Rex’s brother Rob worked for the Patriots – you don’t think he gave his brother one? You can download portions of the Patriots (and other teams) playbook on the internet.

Bedard is pissed that this has become the focus of his story, and I don’t blame him.

Addendum:

This was posted last night:

So when the Patriots are mentioned with anything, it is a huge deal. Stuff like this comes out, and it is completely ignored.

*********

David Ortiz was wrong to have a tantrum over an official scorers decisions week. It’s not the first time he’s done, and it probably won’t be the last. He’s emotional – for better or worse – but that does not excuse his behavior.

That said, Boston sports radio needs to save their hand-wringing and outrage for other things. They love to tell us how Ortiz gets a free pass for everything in this town, and put on their whiny-baby voice while they say but he won us three World Series when mocking fans. We’ve heard it a million times already.

**********

It was bizarro Felger and Mazz this week, as I tune in one afternoon to hear Felger saying he made a bet that the Patriots would be a top-five defense this year, and that he feels that this team is championship-built.

Tony Massarotti then stated that the Red Sox aren’t out of it yet, and can still make a run to the postseason.

#mindblown

**********

Enormous changes coming to ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ – Chad Finn details the upcoming changes to the ESPN flagship show which has a new 194,000 square-foot studio. If you’re a fan of “show the highlights and get out of the way” the new SportsCenter may not be for you.

Bengtson has used the phrase “talent forward, content back” — one of those buzzy sayings that if you hear enough might leave you with a hangover the next day — to describe a more personality-driven approach to “SportsCenter.”

Great.

NESN’s Tom Caron brings out best in all analysts – Bill Doyle looks at the Red Sox host’s ability to work with varied personalities like Tim Wakefield, Steve “Psycho” Lyons, Jim Rice, and Dennis Eckersley

************

Finally, a minor request to my friends on the Patriots beat. Can we dispense with the whole habit of including Matthew Slater in with the wide receivers on the roster? Every time a reporter lists out the wide receivers who will make the team, they usually list six, but with the caveat that one spot is reserved for Slater. Ben Volin does it today, most of the other reporters do it as well. It is tedious.

Matthew Slater is not a wide receiver. Does Danny Aiken get counted as a tight end or offensive lineman? No, he’s a specialist, as are the kicker and punter. Slater is as much a specialist as those guys. List him as one.