Where is Bruce?

I’ve gotten a few inquiries this week as to my whereabouts, though it looks like things have thrived around here thanks to the work of Ryan and Chris.

To sum things up – my son was delivered a few weeks early last Friday, and since Sunday has been in Children’s Hospital here in Boston. That’s about all I’m going to reveal about that, but needless to say, that is where my focus has been this week.

He’s likely to be there for at least the next week, possibly longer, so I expect to my presence around here to continue to be scant during that time.

In the meantime, a few weeks back I had a nice chat with Patrick McHugh, a senior at Northeastern, who profiled BSMW as part of a class project. This is part of his report:

Self-Made Media Critic Bruce Allen Puts Sports Media Personalities On Watch

I hope to get back to a regular schedule as soon as possible, but I really don’t know what the coming weeks hold.

Thanks for your support.

10 Years Of Boston Sports Media Watch

I really don’t want to dwell on this too much, but yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the very first post on Boston Sports Media Watch. That first post, composed on a new service called Blogger, mentioned Dan Shaughnessy, Tommy Heinsohn, Dick Harter and Drew Bledsoe.

Things have come a long way since then. Originally, my idea was to somehow be able to write a sports TV column for a small local newspaper. After talking with a couple of editors, they let me know they just didn’t have the space for such a column, and were unsure of the interest something of that nature would draw. I had some conversations with Bill Griffith, then the sports media columnist for the Boston Globe, and he was very helpful. I sent him some samples, and he gave me some good feedback.

I realized I needed to practice if I was going to do anything with this idea, so I thought of the idea of a website, though I had no idea what was involved in setting one up. Then I came across Blogger. It was a relatively new service, as was the concept of a blog. I signed up for an account, and started posted. I’m not sure how people found it originally, though I did post the address in a few Usenet groups I frequented at the time, and in fact, that was were I had made my first online comments about sports media. Eventually I acquired the current domain name, and moved the site to it, though the background publishing software has changed from Blogger to Movable Type to WordPress.

A few months into my postings on Blogger, Griffith mentioned the site and gave the address in one of his Sunday media notes columns, and things really took off from there. There are still people who tell me that is how they first learned of the site.

In April, 2002, the Patriots were coming off their first Super Bowl title, and since then, the site has seen championships from the 2003 and 2004 Patriots, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, the 2008 Celtics and the 2011 Bruins. Quite a run.

A big part of the reward of doing the site has been sort of “discovering” writers from small local papers, and introducing them to a larger audience. I enjoyed reading the likes of Mike Reiss (MetroWest Daily News) Rob Bradford (Lowell Sun) John Tomase (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune) Chad Finn (Concord Monitor) and Albert Breer (MetroWest Daily News) before they became the everyday presence on the Boston (and national) sports media scene that they currently are.

I’ve enjoyed chatting and trading emails with some of the veterans on the scene, who, may not be the “stars” of the local media, but who have been around forever, and have seen everything. Mike Fine, Michael Gee and Mark Farinella fall into that category. There have been contentious emails (and phone calls) from a few people, but for the most part, feedback is positive. Getting random emails from people I respect and admire, (as I did recently from Bob Ryan and Steve Bulpett) is always a thrill.

Bill Simmons gave me some very good early advice, telling me I needed to have my name on the site, and contact information, if I wanted to have any sort of credibility. Michael Felger encouraged me to be critical, to take shots when warranted. Frank Shorr and Roy Reiss and Griffith have provided opportunity and insight into the business. Dan Shaughnessy once called me to take issue with something I wrote, and explain the situation I was referencing, and after that, we actually had a pretty pleasant exchange remembering the 1980’s Celtics.

WEEI is still a monster on the local media scene, but shockingly is now second fiddle as 98.5 FM came on the airwaves three years ago and toppled the Entercom entity. 98.5 was the third competitor to attempt to challenge WEEI as 1510 the Zone and ESPN 890 Boston both came and went locally.

Now, as in 2002, Bob Ryan is a must-read, no matter if the topic is the Celtics or an indoor track meet at Northeastern University. The Globe will sorely miss him when he retires this year, and even though he is expected to continue a regular column, replacing him will be impossible. No offense to Chris Gasper, who is expected to be named a sports columnist when Ryan retires, but it’s a big step down from Bob Ryan to anyone.

Even though I am a rank amateur at this, I’ve attempted to behave as a professional. I attempt not to get into name-calling and insult-swapping in this medium. I land barbs here and there, of course, but in many ways, my spirit in originally starting the site was to sort of give some in the media a taste of their own medicine when it came to how they were covered. Many think nothing of questioning the manhood and insulting the subjects they cover, yet when I write something negative about them, I get an angry, expletive-filled email. Those are always fun. If someone has respectful, constructive criticism, I am happy to take it under advisement and reply with my own thoughts on the matter.

What does the future hold for BSMW? I hinted last year that I might consider closing things up at the 10 year mark. I don’t think I’m ready to do that. However, there will likely be changes as my family continues to grow. (Son #3 arrives next month.) I’m not sure what those changes might be, but I think the posting frequency could be involved. Unless someone or a few people wanted to come in and keep doing links every single day, I think those may go away, and be replaced by a regular rotation of more traditional sports media news, columns and notebooks. I haven’t worked it out yet, but BSMW will remain.

I’d like to thank everyone who has come to this site over the last 10 years. For a website, especially a blog, 10 years is a lifetime, and eternity. I’m proud to have gone this long in doing this. The feedback, via email, comments and on the BSMW messageboard has been entertaining and informative. I’d especially like to acknowledge and thank the regulars on the messageboard, who never fail to provide humor, insight, and support even as they vociferously tear apart some of their favorite targets.

I want to also thank the guys at Patriots Football Weekly for giving me a legitimate, print platform to write in. Through them I’ve had the opportunity to interview the likes of Lesley Visser, Michael Silver, Fran Charles, Michael Lombardi, Andrew Brandt, Pete Prisco, Mike Freeman and many other national NFL media figures. It’s been a great opportunity and experience.

It has been a blast, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. I dropped way too many names in this column, and went way longer than I intended to. For that, I apologize. I’ll try to stay focused on media matters the rest of the week.

Thanks again to all who have made this enjoyable.

Bruins Continue Playoff Warmups, Beat Lightning

The Bruins continued to show signs that they’re rounding into playoff form as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 at TD Garden last night.

Bruins look ready for revival – Joe McDonald says that the team’s confidence is growing as the postseason nears.

Big night for Zdeno Chara, Bruins – Steve Conroy looks at a special night before and during the game for the Bruins captain.

Are Bruins getting where they need to be for the playoffs? – DJ Bean examines whether the Bruins are truly warming up for another long playoff run.

Ageless Rolston playing like a kid – Christopher Smith looks at the surprise contributions of 39-year-old Brian Rolston.

Approach here isn’t very defensible – Nick Cafardo is NOT happy that Mike Aviles has won the starting shortstop job for the Red Sox. He stomps his feet to make sure you hear his outrage. However, Chad Finn, Michael Silverman, Gordon Edes and Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox made the right move in sending Jose Iglesias to the minors to begin the season.

It’s time to give this Mike Aviles guy a chance – Rob Bradford makes the case that Aviles is a better player than Marco Scutaro, and that there wouldn’t be hand-wringing over sending Iglesias to the minors if Scutaro were still here.

Lineup may be preview of opener – Michael Silverman’s notebook has Bobby Valentine experimenting with a lineup that has Aviles leading off. The Globe notebook from eager and worthy cub reporter Dan Shaughnessy has Josh Beckett looking good yesterday.

Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley form winning combo – Mark Murphy looks at how the backcourt combination has been a winning one in the last two games with Ray Allen sidelined.

Celtics’ playoff possibilities plentiful – Chris Forsberg looks at the state of the Celtics as we head down the stretch.

Celtics not putting teams away when given the chance – A. Sherrod Blakely says that closing has been an issue for Boston.

Leftovers from breakfast with Belichick – Tom E Curran looks at some of the reluctant and expansive answers given by the Patriots coach yesterday.

A housekeeping note here – You likely noticed the post below from Chris Warner, which traditionally would be the property of Patriots Daily. Some technical issues with Patriots Daily, as well as an attempt to streamline and reorganize some of my publishing led me to consider publishing columns of that sort here, albeit in a slightly different format. As this blog is mainly devoted to keeping track of what’s being written and said in the local sports media, any sports-related columns will be posted as that one yesterday was – a short blurb with a link to click in order to read the entire post. Regular posts such as this one you are currently reading will continue to be displayed in their entirety.

At this point, it appears we will not be adding new posts to Patriots Daily, though the site will remain up, as it is a fine resource with eight seasons worth of work in it. There are many draft interviews that may become relevant, such as the one with new Patriots fullback Tony Fiammetta from 2009.

Thank you for your continued support. The 10th anniversary of BSMW is only a couple of weeks away. (April 8th)

You’re On Your Own, Kids.

Well, for the next 10 days or so, anyway.

Once again in the “Bruce’s great timing” department, I’m heading out this afternoon for some family time. I’ll be gone the rest of this week and all of next week. I might chime in on Twitter from time to time @BruceAllen but for at least part of the time I’m away, I’ll be totally without internet access. That period happens to include Sunday and Monday, so reaction to the Patriots game, win or lose, will have to wait.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the week without sports radio and TV here. On Saturday, I’ll get to watch the games with the other side of the family, who happen to be HUGE 49ers fans. Well at least now they are. Those Bay Area folks are fickle. Maybe that’s what happens when you have local teams in both leagues to root for. The family has big A’s fans, except when the Giants are winning the World Series. Huge Raiders fans in the 70’s, (There’s still a Jim Plunkett autographed photo on the wall of my wife’s grandmother’s spare bedroom) and the 49ers fans in the 80’s and 90’s, and now again. They’re pretty consistent with the Warriors, I guess.

Anyway, should be interesting. If the unthinkable happens Saturday night, at least on Sunday morning I’ll be driving down the Pacific Coast Highway towards San Luis Obispo free from whatever is going on back home.  

While I’m gone, I do have content lined up almost every day. Here’s what it looks like:

Thursday, January 12From the PFW Archives, an interview I did with Fran Charles of the NFL Network last year.
 
Friday, January 13 –  Guest column – The State of Network TV Sports News, by Frank H Shorr, Director of the Sports Institute at Boston University

Monday, January 16 – Holiday. I may put up sort of a generic post so that people can chime in the comments section about what happened Saturday night.

Tuesday, January 17 – Guest Column – L.A. To Boston And Everything In Between: A Sports Reporter’s Tale, By Jackie Pepper, former CSNNE anchor and reporter.

Wednesday, January 18 – Guest Column – Why write? Why not? by Michael Gee

Thursday, January 19From the PFW archives, an interview I did with Jason La Canfora,  of the NFL Network in 2009.

Friday, January 20 – TBA.

Server Issues

We’ve been having issues with the site here going up and down all morning. At this point, it is unclear whether it is a server issue, or some sort of attack.

You can check for updates on Twitter ( @bruceallen ) or on Google + – Boston Sports Media Watch

Thanks for your patience.

BSMW In The New York Times

I’m under the weather here for another day, but well enough for a little shameless self-promotion, as BSMW got a nice mention, and I’m quoted in this Mike Tanier column in The New York Times.

Talking Trash, Just to Be Heard

I hope to be back with regular links for tomorrow.

Former BSMW “Scott’s Shots” Blogger Lands at ESPN

For those of you wondering what David Scott (formerly of Scott’s Shots here on BSMW) has been up to, the UMass grad is now in charge of PR for News Content at ESPN.

After finishing up Scott’s Shots, David co-authored John Calipari’s book “Bounce Back” and served as the coach’s social media and business manager for his first two seasons at the University of Kentucky.

Scott joined ESPN last month, and posted today on the Front Row blog.

Scott’s Shots ran here at BSMW for over seven years, from 2002 to 2009, and was a must-visit part of the site on a weekly basis for many.

Congratulations and best wishes to David on his new position!

Vacation Time

Yes, it’s once again time for Bruce’s ill-timed vacation. Each time I go away, something huge happens, and this will be no exception, as the NFL prepares to go back into business. Surely there will be some unexpected move which have the local sports media going crazy, and dwelling on for about a week too long.

During my absence, (I’ll be back August 3rd) I’ve got guest columns and posters lined up each day. I’ve got three guest columns from George Cain, two from Michael Gee and one each from Roy Reiss and Mike Passanisi. Ryan Hadfield, who has been doing a bang-up job on media musings over at SportsOfBoston.com will be by each of the next two Fridays with his media musings and links. Ken Fang will interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with any huge news. These guest columns are terrific, and I guarantee that some of you will say (or just think) “Gee, BSMW is better when Bruce is away.”

There will also be Approval Ratings on most days, but not all. Keep in mind that with me away from a computer most of the time, your comments will not immediately appear unless you’ve registered with IntenseDebate and then logged in here. Otherwise, comments will still need to be approved manually, and that could be very infrequent.

So until August 3rd, enjoy (hopefully) the end of the NFL lockout and (hopefully) the start of free agency and training camp.

Andrew Brandt Interview In Patriots Football Weekly

If you happen to see this week’s edition of Patriots Football Weekly at a newsstand, be sure to check out my interview with National Football Post founder Andrew Brandt.

Brandt is the former Vice President of the Green Bay Packers, managing their salary cap and negotiating all player contracts from 1999-2008. We talked about his website (he’s trying to make it the Wall Street Journal of the NFL) the ongoing NFL labor situation, and a little bit about the Patriots as well.

In the conversation, we also went into the situations of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and how he feels that Brady’s new position as assistant player rep will not impact his negotiations with the club. (He talks more about Brady and Manning on the NFP today.)

The July 27th, 2010 issue is the current edition of Patriots Football Weekly.

BSMW Teams Up With TiqIQ For The Best Prices on Boston Sports

For a few months now, I’ve been working behind the scenes with an exciting new startup in the secondary ticket market – TiqIQ and I’m pleased to announce that BSMW is ready to become the official cross-sports Boston partner of TiqIQ.

What is TiqIQ? Basically it is Kayak for tickets. Just as Kayak allows you to search across all the travel sites for the best deals, TiqIQ goes out and grabs all the prices from the top ticket sites out there, like StubHub, eBay, Ticket Network, TicketsNow, etc, and puts them all together in one place so you can find the best deals on seats for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics or Bruins. (Celtics and Bruins pages to come as the season approaches.) There are links to the Red Sox and Patriots pages in the nvaigation bar at the top of this page.

While that is great, they go a step further, and provide some great data and content to help you understand the ticket market and make better purchase decisions.  Their content ranges from series previews to series comparison to trends for future games as well and even cool stuff like how much more or less do people pay to see Tim Wakefield start as opposed to a Jon Lester start…Can’t wait for that one!

The centerpiece of the partnership is a buying portal for BSMW that will provide the best overview of what’s going in Boston sports, and be your one-stop destination for any games you are planning to go to or even thinking about going to.

If you’re going to buy tickets through the online secondary market, I hope you’ll consider going through BSMW Tickets to get the best deal and help support this site at the same time.

Specifically, Boston Sports Ticket Watch will include the following features:

  • Aggregated Listings: TiqIQ track tickets from major sellers including Stubhub, TicketsNow, eBay and TicketNetwork.
    • We show these in both a Market Tab (Stubhub, TicketsNow, TicketNetwork, eBay) and Auction Tab (eBay)
  • TiqZone Categorization: TiqIQ breaks each stadium up into TiqZones, which are groupings of sections that we’ve determined are comparable in value. 
    TiqIQ Statistics:
    TiqIQ provides ticket-level buying intelligence through the IQ rating and TiqIQ Statistics.
  • Event Details: TiqIQ gives you time and location information on the event.

I get a lot of offers for various partnerships here at BSMW, and believe it or not, I turn many of them down, while there are quite a lot of ads here on the site, my goal is to actually reduce the number of various advertisements, and still bring in the revenue I need to run the site. When I first saw the presentation for TiqIQ, I was blown away. This was something I wanted to be involved in, and if it is as successful as I think it will be, you’ll ultimately be seeing a lot fewer ads here on the site.

What you will see is a couple posts a week (in the afternoons) analyzing the Boston sports ticket market, giving you the data (along with some commentary) to make smart decisions on ticket buying, and I just think it’s really interesting looking at the business side of things as well. How well are the Red Sox drawing this season? What’s the market like, and is it indicative of the team’s overall health? There will also be a box in the sidebar with cool data and graphics on the current market as well.

I had concerns that this might pull away from the focus of the site, or “flood” the site with pushy ads trying to get you to spend your money. I don’t see those as worries any longer. The data and commentary I plan to use will be mostly focused, as noted above, on the business side of sports and providing my readers with a great new destination to buy sports tickets.  I hope you enjoy, and ask that you provide us feedback as we get going on anything you like, dislike, or data that you want to see.  You can email BSMW Tickets at [email protected] with any questions or thoughts.

Please email the TiqIQ folks at that address with any issues you might have, as they will be the ones to take care of it for you. The site and service are still in Beta, so please provide them with feedback for improvements.