The Minihane Reminder – The Boston Media Is Not Very Tough (skinned)

Only in Boston could we have a ceremony celebrating the 10-year anniversary of a Championship that broke an 86-year drought and then spend the next day listening to the media bitch endlessly about it.

Then we have Kirk Minihane’s column today. (The Manny Ramirez reminder: Boston is not a tough sports town)

Holy crap.

I understand the points he’s trying to make. I really do. I’m going to try my best not to be a total fraud on this one.

First, I’m on the anti-Manny side of this. A serial steroid abuser, a guy who quit on his team, skipping Jimmy Fund after Jimmy Fund event, blowing off Walter Reed, beating up old guys and his own wife — we all know the greatest hits. He’s personified everything that’s been wrong with baseball the last 15 years, and the Red Sox decide to give him above-the-title billing for the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2004 World Series champions Wednesday? A stunningly tone-deaf move by the Red Sox, basically endorsing all the many transgressions of Ramirez.

I think we’re all well aware of Manny’s history. I also think appreciating what he did on the field does not signify condoning what he did off of it, nor does it mean that the Red Sox are complicit in his acts by giving him the role they did the other night.

That would be like saying Kirk Minihane, by showing up for work every day endorses the acts that got his co-hosts suspended for racist remarks. That when they skipped the Jimmy Fund event themselves because they were in a contract dispute, that it was OK. Their own interests were more important. That sending out numerous bullying voicemails and Tweets that would get others in hot water is just fine and dandy, thank you. We all know the greatest hits of D&C. By working there, Kirk endorses all the many transgressions of John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.

Some would say that Dennis and Callahan (and Minihane) personify everything that’s been wrong with sports media for the last 15 years.

I wasn’t surprised the Red Sox elected to have Ramirez announced last and throw out the first pitch — this is an ownership group that hungers to be liked by players, turning into 12-year-olds around these guys. That’s OK, I guess, it’s their money and they’ve been extraordinarily successful. No, what surprised me was this idea that there was ever a chance the fans would react negatively toward Ramirez. That was never going to happen.

I wasn’t surprised that Kirk and his co-workers as well as just about every other on-air personality in town elected to spend yesterday howling at the moon on his topic. This is a group that hungers to have the edgiest hot sportz take, and to attempt to make following sports miserable. That’s OK, I guess. They’ve been extraordinarily successful. Well, some more than others, anyway. What surprised me was this idea that there was ever a chance that the media would actually just let fans enjoy something that meant a lot to many of them instead of trying to ruin it with their own misery. That was never going to happen.

Again, cheer or boo — it’s your buck — but can we all get together and drop the notion that Boston is a tough town? That’s over, it’s been over for years. Who, exactly, is having a tough time in Boston these days? What athlete? Ramirez treated fans, media and his own organization like a six-pound turd for the better part of a decade and all is forgiven … why? Because he’s been gone for a while? Because he’s using the ultimate mulligan, the Jesus card, to kick off an image rehabilitation tour?

That’s right, Clay Buchholz is NOT being called a giant pussy a dozen times an hour all day on sports radio. Rajon Rondo is NOT being deemed a punk and an arrogant s.o.b. who isn’t a leader whenever the subject of the Celtics comes up. Dont’a Hightower is NOT being called the biggest draft bust in the Bill Belichick era and having his every miscue in coverage screamed about. Brad Marchand is NOT catching any heat for his playoff antics and lack of performance. Danny Amendola is NOT being mocked at every turn for being a fragile as Wedgwood china. David Ortiz is NOT being called greedy and having his every achievement asterisked. Bill Belichick, despite having the best record in the NFL since 2001 does NOT have his every move, draft pick and decision picked apart, criticized and questioned.

These things are NOT happening. It’s a piece of cake to be an athlete in Boston.

Please tell me why it is necessary for athletes to have “a tough time” in Boston. Some in the media seem to think if they’re not being “tough” they’re not doing their jobs. They’re the only ones who think this. Eight championships in twelve years tells me that things are going pretty well.

Is the Jesus card the ultimate mulligan, or is using kids with cancer a better way to rehabilitate an image? As long as it is publicized, I guess. If you’re putting your name and image to a cause like that, you can get away with pretty much anything. And if someone dares question your motivation in doing this, you can just scream at how your accuser hates kids with cancer, and your lackeys will rush to your defense and smother the dissenter. John Dennis, when the whole METCO thing happened said that people did not know what was in his heart.

Apparently, though, Manny is just “using” the Jesus card, because Kirk and everyone else can actually see into his heart and know that this is fraudulent, just an act to try and con people into thinking he’s changed.

You know who is having a tough time in Boston these days? The D&C Show, for one. Damn those ratings.

Here’s the truth: You don’t care if Ramirez is a different person or not. Down deep, you’re thinking what I’m thinking — once a jerk, always a jerk. That doesn’t change. But he helped you win two World Series and was a great (though juiced off the charts) hitter. And that’s what matters. He could get arrested six times over the next 10 years and tear Boston to shreds in interviews, and guess what would happen in 2024? He’d get a standing ovation at the 20th reunion.

Here’s the truth: I’m over it. Is Manny Ramirez the only athlete in history to be a jerk? Was he the only player juicing it up? So, none of the competition were doing these things? There were no jerks or juicers prior to Manny?  The Yankees had many more players be exposed over the years as having used substances. Is there any effort by the local media to diminish their accomplishments? No. Only with the locals. Does it bother me that Manny did these? Yeah. It does. But I’m over it. Why is it such a horrible thing that someone cares mostly about just what happens on the field? When did this change? Athletes in the past did horrible things, but no one heard about it. Should older fans now look back at teams of their childhood and renounce them now knowing what we know about some of them? It’s a slippery slope. We need to hold all grudges against Manny forever, but what about when we find out about things others have done?

Just like Kirk is apparently over his co-worker’s antics. Kirk is open about the troubles in his own personal life in the past. Should we also hold them against him? Once a jerk always a jerk?

I’m over it. The 2004 World Series was a historic moment in local sports. The efforts to make us miserable over it are just pathetic.

Right or wrong, the fanboys have won. The cynics have been pushed aside, they are now very much a minority in the fan base and the media. If you introduce a negative opinion, or a suggestion an athlete should be traded or not re-signed, or if the athlete or coach isn’t as great as the current perception, you are either miserable or just a troll looking for page views. Maybe you think that’s a good thing. Maybe you’re right. But I’m not comfortable with it. I don’t like beat writers as PR guys or radio talk show hosts as cheerleaders, and I don’t want adults with some influence pushing for players to be on the cover of video games. I see all this — just go on Twitter during games and tell me some beat guys aren’t rooting for teams — and wonder what’s next, where exactly does it end? Will John Henry own everything and everyone will just shrug and move on?

Ah yes. The fanboys. There are no lower forms of life than the fanboy.

There are no cynics anymore. I just wish that the likes of John Dennis, Gerry Callahan, Kirk Minihane, Lou Merloni, Andy Gresh, Michael Felger, Tony Massarotti, Adam Jones, Dan Shaughnessy, Ron Borges, Kevin Paul Dupont, Gary Tanguay, Eric Wilbur, Adam Kaufman, Jim Donaldson, Hector Longo, Steve Buckley…I just wish these poor, repressed souls had SOME outlet or platform to express their anti-fanboy views. To set us all straight. It’s too bad, really. There just are no cynics anymore.

I have never once looked on Twitter during a game and gotten the impression that the beat writers were rooting for the local teams. Ever. Where does this come from? Radio talk show hosts as cheerleaders? Who is he talking about here? Dale Arnold on the Bruins? Scott Zolak on the Patriots? It sure seems to me like those guys are the minority.

Beat writers are cheerleaders? Who? I don’t see it. Is it because they’re not cynical and negative? Does everyone involved in covering sports have to be cynical and negative or they’re not up to the standards that Kirk is demanding? Where does the line come down?

One thing we know for sure – unlike these fan boys, athletes and team management, the sports media embraces criticism of themselves and uses it to better themselves and their product. That’s without question. They would never insult someone who is critical of them and their work.

In the minds of the media, do you know what a fanboy really is? It’s someone who pushes back against them. Email Dan Shaughnessy sometime and knock his latest column. You’ll be called a fanboy. Push back on Twitter against someone in the media. They’ll call you a fanboy.

Fans are always going to be suckers, I suppose, weak in the knees for a 4.3 40-yard time or a .440 OBP. I get it, I really do. I don’t agree with it, but I even understand why they cheered for Ramirez. They don’t care about the bad stuff, it’s irrelevant. They want to win and they want to treat the people who actually win like they are more than the rest of us. If Aaron Hernandez were somehow released from prison today, and signed by the Patriots tomorrow (clearly impossible, of course), most fans would be thrilled. And if he caught three touchdown passes against the Broncos, virtually all would be forgotten. Now, would some people give up their season tickets or stop watching? Sure. But those tickets would be snatched in three seconds and the TV ratings wouldn’t move an inch.

If you’re a fan of sports, you’re also a sucker. Remember that.

Also remember that when a guy keeps telling you repeatedly that he gets it, he really does – he doesn’t. Not at all.

Let’s run through Kirk’s hypothetical strawman scenario involving Hernandez.

If Aaron Hernandez were somehow released from prison today – The only way that could somehow happen would be if the charges were dropped, probably following the confession of another, so Hernandez would be innocent.

and signed by the Patriots tomorrow (clearly impossible, of course), most fans would be thrilled. – Yes, given that he was innocent of all charges in this strawman argument, then I would hope fans would welcome the resigning of a quality player who was wrongfully charged.

And if he caught three touchdown passes against the Broncos, virtually all would be forgotten. - Well, hopefully it wouldn’t be forgotten, people shouldn’t let the state brush those false charges under the rug so easily.

Wait, what was the point again?

Cheer or boo, do whatever you want. But let’s stop with the charade that Boston is a tough sports town. It’s a pushover, a place for athletes to be protected, coddled and worshipped by fans and media. This is San Diego, Kansas City, fill in whichever former punchline city you’d use. Boston is no different, most of the media and fans just want to believe it is to feel different about themselves, to build up some false credibility. It’s a fanboy haven now, for better or worse.

Oh right. The whole point of this column is that the Boston media (and fans) aren’t TOUGH. Or tough enough anyway. In order to have credibility, apparently Boston fans and media need to be TOUGH on players and teams.

This paragraph (well, the whole column actually) makes no sense to me whatsoever. Questions I need answered:

Who is portraying the “charade” that Boston is a tough sports town?

Why is it important whether it is true or not?

Why would Boston fans and media need to make something up to feel different from other cities?

What credibility is needed beyond eight championships in twelve years?

When did being a fanboy become such an awful thing?

I like Kirk Minihane. I enjoy many of his columns, he oftentimes takes a stand that runs against what much of the media groupthink seems to be. I’m disappointed that with this one, he seems to be in lockstep with his colleagues at WEEI, as well as the likes of Felger and Mazz and Dan Shaughnessy.

When all the biggest voices in town are the cynics, how can it be said that the “fanboys” have won?  I’ve actually had a column started and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder about how “Felger Has Won.” I believe it is a more accurate representation of what the current fan/media climate is here in Boston at the moment. The “fanboys” get mocked, shouted down and hung up on, while the cynics get all the space and airtime they want.

If you listened to the radio at all yesterday, you know I’m right.

Does Jared Remy’s Guilty Plea Help His Dad?

In a somewhat surprising move, Jared Remy yesterday pleaded guilty to the murder of his girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Jennifer Martel.

The plea avoids a very public and gruesome trial, which is good for the victim’s family. Is it also good for Remy’s father? By entering the plea and going to jail, the case will fade in the public eye faster than if a trial was going on this fall.

This was something in the works, as NESN had sent out a notice on Monday morning that Jerry Remy would not be in the booth  that night or last night. They were “planned days off.” According to that email, Remy will be back in the booth tonight at Fenway Park.

Update: NESN has since said that Remy will be out tonight and tomorrow night, replaced by Steve Lyons.

Jerry Remy is still getting heat from Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan – ‘RemDawg’ benefits from a blatant double standard – but it seems in general the cry is fading out against the broadcaster, who has as many or more defenders in the media as he does those who are uncomfortable with his continued presence on the air.

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In other news involving the legal system and sports media, former Channel 7 and 56 sports anchor Bob Gamere is a free man, released after serving 4 1/2 years in prison for child porn.

Ex-sportscaster Bob Gamere out of prison after child porn conviction

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Yesterday marked the debut of the new WEEI midday show.

middays-with-mfb

I gave it some time yesterday. I’m not making any judgments after a day, the show went pretty well, Benz to me anyway sounds a lot like Mutnansky. A little deeper voice maybe. We’ll see how the show develops over the coming weeks and whether or not the station made an upgrade here.

I heard Mike Mutnansky a little last night on with Mikey Adams before the Red Sox pregame, and some after. He needs some time as well to adjust into the new role.

Media Links and Week Wrap

Yesterday was the last edition of the Mut and Lou show on WEEI. Mike Mutnansky will soon transition over to the role previously held by John Ryder, working Red Sox broadcasts and last nights. All in all, it’s not a horrible move for Mutnansky, who stays employed and gets a role that still gives him some of the spotlight.

Kirk Minihane wrote a column yesterday paying tribute to Mutnansky – Taking time to appreciate the Mut Man – and it was a sweet of Kirk to come to the defense of the exiled midday host. (Though how many radios tuned to 98.5 at 10:00am to hear Andy Gresh respond to Kirk’s insults about him?)

Just like Minihane tends to go over the top when writing about someone like Joe Haggerty, he goes a bit over the top in writing nice things about Mutnansky. It’s what Minihane does. I agree with much of what he writes about Mutnansky as a person. He’s a good guy, he works hard. I feel like he unsuccessfully tried too hard to be something he’s not. Some people can get away with that, he couldn’t.

If Kirk really wanted to be brutally honest and over the top he might question how the son of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute President and Chief Executive Officer got the midday job on the station that just happens to hold the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon every year. I’m sure there’s no connection there whatsoever.

In the Globe today, Chad Finn looks at How NESN has changed in 30 years with a look back at the first telecast (which literally no one saw) and several milestones along the way.

There are also links to a Jack Craig column after the debut of NESN and foot-stomping columns by Bob Ryan (Why can’t I watch the Red Sox on Ch. 38?) and Leigh MontvillePay-cable television will begin for the Red Sox with this game and I will kick the Florida ground at the very idea.

Over on the T&G Bill Doyle writes Holy Cross football to have bigger presence on Charter TV-3.

Dan Kennedy looks at the sale of the T&G – John Henry sells Worcester Telegram to Florida chain which is noteworthy since the Red Sox and Globe owner had previously said he would only sell that paper to local owners or he would continue to operate it himself.

What Is The Fascination (if it is true) With Stephen Drew?

The Red Sox re-signed shortstop Stephen Drew yesterday, a move that has been called for by the media pretty much non-stop since the beginning of the season.

A guy that many of these same media folks were snickering at when he was originally signed, they called for his benching when he struggled with his batting average for much of last season, and these same people now view him as the savior of the Red Sox season?

He’s a nice, steady player, and maybe that’s all that’s needed for this team, but somehow I doubt it. The Red Sox lost their fifth game in a row last night, and appear to have lost the magic that carried them to a World Series title last season. Does Drew solve all that?

He solidifies the infield, taking over at shortstop while Xander Bogaerts gets pushed over the third base. He’ll get on base, provide some power and runs, but the Red Sox have a lot of other issues to still sort out.

It will be interesting to see how Super Agent Scott Boras is treated in all of this. He cost his player 4 million dollars by having him not accept the qualifying offer from the Red Sox last offseason. The Boston Globe Sunday Baseball Notes, which should just be renamed The News That Scott Boras Wants Put Out There should be an interesting read this week.

Get all the Red Sox news and views at RedSoxLinks.com.

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The NBA Draft Lottery didn’t go the way the Celtics and their fans wanted last night, but at least they got the pick they had the greatest odds of getting, and the Lakers weren’t the team that moved into the top three.

Now attention will shift to Kevin Love for the next few weeks until the draft, as the Timberwolves forward appears to be the player that media and fans have targeted as the star that the Celtics should aggressively pursue.

Part of me thinks that Minnesota won’t be quite so eager to deal with the Celtics this time around, but if they’re interested in the best package, it might just be Boston that has it.

At a minimum we know that we can safely cross Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid off the Celtics draft list. Instead, guys like Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh and Marcus Smart look to be the possibilities if the Celtics stay put at pick number six.

Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

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Interesting to hear Jon Meterparel on the WEEI morning show today with Callahan and Minihane. It was his first appearance on the station since departing in October 2012. He’s had a stint at Boston Herald radio, he’s been on the Big Show Unfiltered, tried his own podcast on jonmeterparel.com/. He’s done Pawtucket Red Sox games and continued his work on Boston College football and basketball radio broadcasts.

Bruins Bow Out In Depressing Game 7 Loss

The Bruins ended their postseason run earlier than anyone wanted or expected as their hated nemesis the Montreal Canadiens took the final two games of the series, including last night’s game 7 on the Bruins home ice at TD Garden.

The 3-1 loss for the Bruins is hard to take, especially given how dominant they were during the regular season and in their first round series against the Red Wings.

There was plenty of trolling by the local media going on last night, with some taking victory laps and others just glad this annoying hockey stuff can be done and over with so the focus can be on real sports like baseball.

Dan Shaughnessy is happy, he got to write his Bruins are guaranteed to win game 7 column yesterday and followed up with his ghosts and curses and choke column today. Mike Felger after game three lectured the Bruins fans about how they underestimated Montreal and how it was going to be a really tough series, but yesterday also said if the Bruins didn’t win it would be a choke. Good times.

Get all the coverage at Bruinslinks.com.

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Interesting article in Boston Business Journal about Glenn Ordway’s project the Big Show Unfiltered and his future plans for it – Glenn ‘The Big O’ Ordway plots a comeback amid sports-media tumult in Boston.

Ordway and Jason Wolfe confirm in the article that they are in negotiations with several terrestrial broadcasters and that a deal for the show on traditional radio is likely happening in the months ahead. They also will increase programming, but not just on sports.

The show might have a winner with the #TwitterPolice segment. Pete Sheppard goes after inane Tweets by the sports media. There’s plenty of material out there.

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The Inside Track had this bit on the recent changes at WEEI:

That Mike Mutnansky, who was booted from WEEI’s midday show last week, was reassigned yesterday to host the station’s Red Sox pre- and postgame shows, replacing John Ryder later this month. As part of his new duties, Mut will take over the 10 p.m.-midnight shift and will appear on the “Planet Mikey” show that airs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ryder is moving over to the Total Traffic & Weather Network and will provide updates for stations all over New England. Last week, the station announced the shakeup in the midday show, teaming Mutnansky’s partner, Lou Merloni, with former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and Tim Benz, a host and sports director for 970 ESPN Pittsburgh. WEEI has been losing the midday battle badly to rival 98.5 The Sports Hub, which finished second with adult male listeners in recent ratings, while ’EEI was 10th.

With Mutnansky, that’s pretty much what I expected to happen. For Ryder, hopefully this is just a placeholder job for something bigger and better. The reaction from both fellow media and from WEEI listeners to Ryder’s termination has been completely supportive of Ryder and expressing dismay at the loss of his intelligent, reasoned voice on the airwaves.

(Non-Boston Post) Rams, NFL Network Draft Setup A Bit Fishy

I apologize for the non-Boston sports media related post here, but I found this whole thing below interesting and I haven’t seen anyone else weigh in on it.

Over the three days of the NFL draft, the NFL Network had top reporter Mike Silver “embedded” with the St. Louis Rams during the process, allowing him complete access to what was happening in their ‘war room.’

That it was the Rams that were chosen for this didn’t seem like an accident. GM Les Snead seems to enjoy the spotlight, and is married to former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson. Jeff Fisher is adored by the national press, a fact seems somewhat curious given that while he has had a few very good teams, including one that went to a Super Bowl, he’s also had some very bad teams. His lifetime winning percentage as a head coach is .532 – pretty good, but not great.

He knows how to work and media and get them on his side. He likes to put on a show for them, and he’s got this whole “legend of The ‘Stache” thing going on.

An incident in the Silver article seems to show how this charisma he has can influence the coverage he gets as opposed to other coaches. (You probably know the one I’m thinking of.)

When the Rams selected cornerback Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, Silver tells of the circumstances around the pick.

It was the arrival of Joyner — and the way the Rams finessed it — that brought the most pleasure to Fisher and those close to him. Intent on drafting the former Florida State star with the 44th overall pick, Fisher and others in the Rams’ war room became convinced that the Titans were preparing to snag Joyner two picks earlier. Rams general manager Les Snead began working the phones, agreeing to a trade with the Bills, who held the selection before Tennessee’s, that saw St. Louis give up a fifth-round selection to move up three spots.

When the deal was consummated, and the Rams turned in the card for Joyner, Fisher burst into a huge grin, and there were hoots and hollers of excitement. A few minutes later, when the Titans traded out of the 42nd selection — a move viewed in the Rams’ war room as confirmation that Tennessee had targeted Joyner, only to come up empty — there was another surge of congratulatory cheers.

“I don’t know how we did it,” Fisher said afterward, concealing a twinkle in his eye. “I just had a feeling.”

“Twinkle in his eye….just had a feeling.” Was it just a feeling?

A “mole?” So the suggestion is that Fisher has someone in the Titans inner circle – the franchise he coached for 17 years, who is still loyal to him, and gave up this information to the detriment of his own team?

Can you imagine if a former Belichick employee was giving out secrets of his team back to his former boss like this? Where would the outrage meter land? But here, it’s written in an admiring fashion. Silver, has been one in the past to hold no punches when it comes to this stuff, but for “The ‘Stache” its awesome.

Then there was the Michael Sam pick.

Troubled receiver Kenny Britt had found himself in yet another situation over the weekend. The Rams were in the process of dealing with it. Then Silver writes:

On Day 3 of the draft, this ranked as a legitimate headline, and headache. Little did he know — hell, little did anyone at Rams Park know — that Fisher was about to render him (Britt) a mere footnote to history.

So Fisher has decided to draft Sam.

At 5:48 p.m., the Rams officially selected Sam, and the war room scene turned surreal. The ‘Stache soaked it all in, thoroughly enjoying the experience. He got excited when informed by Artis Twyman, the team’s senior director of communications, that the Rams were the franchise which 68 years earlier signed the first African-American player of the NFL’s modern era, UCLA product Kenny Washington.

There’s no doubt that this was a historic, significant moment. The Rams made the pick. They made history. Fisher made history.

OK. Is it at all coincidental that the franchise who drafted Michael Sam just happened to have an NFL Network reporter embedded with them for the entire draft, and who got to see first-hand the entire process play out?

To me, it seems that one of two things happened. Either the plan all along was to draft Michael Sam at the end of the draft if he was still available and have that moment recorded, or Fisher, seized the moment, knowing that there was a reporter there to record it all, made the pick to further the legend of “The ‘Stache.”

Silver concludes his piece:

It’s not what anyone at Rams Park other than the head coach had in mind until about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, but now it’s happening, and the momentum behind it is unmistakable.

Perhaps, in retrospect, we should have seen this coming — for it’s very simple, and it can be summed up in three words: Trust The ‘Stache.

Maybe someone did see this coming, and that’s why Mike Silver was there in the first place.

John Ryder Latest To Exit WEEI

John Ryder, who provided a nice dose of sanity and reason to the insane-ness that is the Mikey Adams Project tweeted the above this afternoon.

I would imagine that this could be tangentially related to the weekend news of the midday show ( the details of which Mike Mutnansky confirmed on the air) in that I can see WEEI moving Mutnansky into the roles that Ryder filled, specifically on Red Sox pregame duties. Whether he works with Adams at all remains to be seen.

Ryder was one of the solid personalities at the station, not prone to the hotsportztakes and adept at wielding off the drunken callers.

Mutton Lou No Longer, Fauria, Benz To Join Merloni Middays

Chad Finn had the story this weekend that WEEI is finally shaking up the midday program, reassigning Mike Mutnansky and bringing in Christian Fauria to join Lou Merloni, and adding 970 ESPN Pittsburgh host Tim Benz to the program as well.

According to Finn:

Benz will join the program — titled “Middays with MFB” — sometime later in the month after the Penguins complete their Stanley Cup playoff series with the Rangers.

Tim Benz

Tim Benz

I had heard the Fauria rumors and refused to believe them, thinking that 1) Fauria wouldn’t want a full-time role like this, and 2) that new management would be smart enough to see that the former Patriots tight end doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table other than his NFL experience.

As for Benz, he has ties here, as Finn notes:

He was born in Boston, and his father is Dr. Edward Benz Jr., the current president and CEO of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

We all know how well things went the last time the station brought in an out-of-town talent who had local ties here. Benz’s challenge will be to avoid being Mike Salk V2,

Benz was involved in a bit of controversy last year when he left his spot as morning host of The X Morning show.

Tim Benz leaves 105.9 The X Morning Show over gun control debate

Tim Benz Leaves X Morning Show – This link shows a Facebook post allegedly by Benz where he suggests that a drone strike targeted at the listener’s home would be “doing all of us a favor”

A change on the program was well overdue, and while it remains to be seen how well the new parts will work together, you can see some of the logic in how it was put together. In Merloni and Fauria you’ve got baseball and football covered with guys who have played locally and know how things operate and the unique environment that is Boston. In Benz you’ve got a guy who has covered the Steelers and Penguins and can be the host of the show, hopefully playing the strengths of Merloni and Fauria.

As for Mutnansky, it appears that he’s been Dale Arnold-ed. He’ll likely get some fill-in spots and weekend duty. I’m glad they didn’t fire him altogether, but it remains to be seen where his radio career goes from here.

Embarrassment All Around In Haggerty/ Minihane Incident

I’m not sure I should be writing about this.

If we’ve learned anything about sports media members, it is that they’ll do anything for attention – good, bad or embarrassing.

Part of me still suspects that at least some of this Joe Haggerty weirdo column and the Kirk Minihane hit piece today was done for attention and that I’m feeding into that by writing about it.

On Haggerty – I find his reaction and excuse-making worse than his actual column.

First it happened because he was tired from working SO hard. Being at the ice early in the morning, and going all day and night and being on TV and then filing the column. Of course, all the other writers covering the team worked the same hours, and they weren’t inserting references to 13-year-old girls into their articles.

Then he threw his editors under bus, saying he just sent it along and figured he’d wake up to a heavily-edited piece. That’s professional pride at work right there. I know it sucks, but the editors have nothing better to do at 2AM, let them clean up my mess.

Then he went on 98.5 and played grab-ass with the Toucher and Rich show, downplaying the seriousness of it, like this sort of thing could happen to anyone.

He deserved to be called out on it, and he was, Deadspin picked up on it, Chad Finn wrote a post about it.

Haggerty’s words from the 98.5 interview, sort of say all you need to know about him:

“I made Deadspin. That’s always a great thing for a journalist. Excellent.”

Well, getting attention was his goal, he achieved it. It’s not like he’s purposely gone out and tried to manufacture a story and bring attention to himself by making it on Deadspin.

Then, this morning, Kirk Minihane weighed in – Hockey writer’s latest misstep hard to fathom.

Minihane acknowledges bad feelings between himself and Haggerty. He hits hard. He makes some very valid points while going so far as to call for a suspension for Haggerty. He also gets personal and it is clear that this whole column has been written because of the bad feelings he has for Haggerty. It is a personal hit piece.

I’m surprised that Rob Bradford and company at WEEI.com actually allowed this column to be published. Unless of course its all about the publicity and looking for clicks. Then it is understandable.

Then followed endless talk on both stations about this “story.” Dennis and Callahan behind their guy Kirk and Toucher and Rich supporting Haggerty. At one point Toucher discussing Minihane, said something along the lines of “Writing for a radio station is like jogging for an accounting firm” whatever that means.

Haggerty writes for a TV station. How is that any different?

There have been a lot of jibes thrown back and forth about trying “actual journalism” and questioning the “journalistic compass” and being “on the edge of trouble journalistically recently” as well as “journalistic indiscretions” and being “everything that’s wrong with journalism.”

In the end though, this is just taking sides and throwing rocks. Haggerty vs Minihane,  WEEI vs TheSportsHub, radio vs TV.

We’ve got the NFL draft starting tonight, the Bruins and Canadiens play game four tonight with the Bruins on the edge of a must-win situation, and the Red Sox finally reached .500 on the season.

And we have to talk about Joe Haggerty and Kirk Minihane?  Why am I writing about this?

THAT is everything that is wrong with the so-called sports media today.

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