Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter VIII

Welcome to the Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

The Bruins are winning (BUT PERHAPPPPSS PEAKING TOOO SOOOON …. DISCUSS !! ). The Patriots just put the rest of the NFL on notice. The Red Sox are set to begin their World Series defense. The Celtics, mercifully, have tanked their way into an apparent high draft pick (maybe). Even the UMass basketball team is relevant.

Sports, you guys! Drink it in, because it doesn’t get much better tha –

… Wait a minute? What am I talking about? More than anything else, one thing became clear this last month: Charles Barkley’s recent comments about ESPN “manufacturing controversies” as well as the remarks he made to the Boston media during the NFL playoffs about how New Englanders “don’t appreciate the Patriots” are unintentionally connected.

Chaz doesn’t realize the ESPN problem – meaning the oversaturation of vapid content (e.g. LeBron James! LeBron James!!! & LeBron James!!!!!; “ELITE/MT. RUSHMORE!!” segments; Skip Bayless; almost the entire NFL Countdown crew; Skip Bayless again) is actually more widespread than thought.

This is the pulse of the Boston sports landscape from a fan’s perspective:

The media? Yeah, they’re more inclined to think otherwise, because instead of all good vibes developing, we hear and read and watch analysis breaking down the following: “Are the Bruins winning too much, too soon??” (Because STORYLINES!) “Did the Patriots give into the noise?” (OMIGOD, get over yourselves) “Is Rajon Rondo a centerpiece?” (Maybe, maybe not – but we should probably wait until he’s playing alongside pedigree above the level of Chris Johnson to decide) “Is David Ortiz a mercenary?” (Plenty of venom thrown Big Papi’s way these days.)

Of course, the same people that write garbage like the following:

“Being good and smarter than everybody else in the face of the NFL norm is great for the Krafts. I’m sure John Elway, Manning, and Talib will care about that when they’re fighting for the Lombardi Trophy next February.”

… Not only follow-up with a “Jets reaction” piece (because commending a move you begged for lacks the requisite amount of lighter fluid to spark a HOT SPORTS TAKE), they also accuse this site of publishing propaganda. Good times! We really are obnoxious sports fans, Chuck.

***

Before we get to the emails, humor me and read my column for Metro Boston this week, on Dick Vitale – the last universally beloved blowhard (Yeah, I said it). To the emails …

For Salk’s replacement, I don’t think there is anyone to promote from within. They need to outside the building – Michael Smith, Danny Picard, Jen Royle, Marc Bertrand, Jermaine Wiggins.

StoJa

I’m pretty sure Jermaine Wiggins and Jen Royle are both readily available. And each would make sense to replace Mike Salk, if only because it’d be the most WEEI-move EVER, right? Wiggins promoting his clothing line. Royle blathering on about her fucking dog. Dear God, just a complete disaster

According to Chad Finn’s piece today, Dale Arnold will reunite with Michael Holley for the foreseeable future (maybe longer??) to fill the void left by Salk’s departure. The duo will also have a rotating guest on the show, presumably to help back up whatever the topic of the day is.

Long term plans for the afternoon drive program? Happy you asked? This exact topic was discussed yesterday here, but if I were running the shop – HEY PHIL ZACHARY, LISTEN UP – here would be my shortlist of (realistic) candidates:

Marc Bertrand: My personal favorite. This is absolutely the Belichickian move, just poaching from the proverbial Jets, like a ruthless tactician. A Beetle Coup accomplishes a few things:

1.) Instantly makes your station younger, thus more relatable (Gerry Callahan’s comments about the gay community participating in the St. Patrick’s Day parade isn’t doing you any favors, Phil)

2.) Weakens the competition (Beetle challenges Michael Felger on the regular which helps “Felger & Mazz because Tony Massarotti has been YARM-ing [‘You’re absolutely right, Mike!] for the better part of three years now. MEMO to Mazz: Look, I’m not one for #EmbraceDebate and I get Felger is your buddy, but palatable discourse with your counterpart doesn’t make for compelling radio, especially when your co-host – a champion of consistency – repeatedly contradicts his own seething analysis.)

Who isn’t at least interested in listening to “Holley & The Beetle”?

Chances of Happening: I’m sure WEEI would be on board. Beetle’s a regular on CSNNE, and a known personality. He’s level-headed, but hardly formulaic in a Salkified way. However, I have not reached out to Bertrand. I don’t know him aside from a few Twitter exchanges. And while it was made clear he has aspirations of headlining his own show when Damon Amendolara left for a national gig, does he want to roll the dice and leave a comfortable role at the highest-rated show in Boston for WEEI – a station seemingly in flux? He’s great with Chris Gasper on their Saturday show – maybe he’s still holding out hope the goodwill earned there will lead to something bigger at The Sports Hub. Who knows?

Kirk Minihane: I actually like this better than Bertrand because of familiarity; frankly, it’s the obvious move I’ve long-espoused. It would work, too. While filling in for Salk a few weeks ago, Minihane and Holley, with a shot of Tom E. Curran, predictably, was the best sports radio I’ve heard in a long, long time.

Chances of Happening: All things considered, as much as I want to yell PULL THE TRIGGER PHIL, DO IT … I get why “Minihane & Holley” will likely remain a pipe dream. In short, to his credit, Minihane has played a large part in revitalizing the “Dennis & Callahan” show. And last time management broke up a good thing – “Dale & Holley” – the worst case scenario unfolded. Which is all why it’s not exactly a shock to hear the word on the street is Entercom is happy with the current iteration of their morning drive program to the point where they wouldn’t want to jeopardize ratings in one place to bolster them in another.

Other Options

Greg Dickerson: He’s in the same vein as Arnold, and don’t see it happening. A good guy, who’s likable (likability, amazingly, is still an ongoing issue for WEEI). Dickerson is a familiar face, which probably induces some eye-rolling around these parts, but I remember him and Gary Tanguay as mainstays co-hosting “Sports Tonight” before it was the “Sports Tonight” it is today, and it was clear he’s not an alarmist or contrarian. Moreover, Dickerson’s still young enough that he’ll translate to a wide audience … and he’s likely available.

Danny Picard: I’d be floored if ‘EEI gave the Southie product this platform, but not because of lack of effort – they’re simply not in position to take such a risk. Either way, Picard is a workhorse, evidenced by his daily podcast, “I’m Just Sayin’”, which he’s done for several years now. He’s earned a fill-in gig on WEEI and his time as as a staff writer at CSNNE.com helped him finally make his way up the ladder to appear on “Sports Tonight.”

Michael Smith: Would love to see it. Smith and Holley, two longtime pals, would be great together, but that dude isn’t leaving Numbers Never Lie and the comfort of Bristol for WEEI.

I don’t have much sympathy for Wilfork. He’s already been the highest paid nose tackle in NFL history. He’s coming off an injury and seemed like he lost a step before he was hurt. He’s already been paid $32 million I believe…and yet the team made the AFC title game without him. He’s not Revis, he doesn’t hold the same value to the team…the emotional element is the only thing that will irk some fans

Andy Dursin

Yeah, I’ve written about this for Metro Boston before. He was the best player on New England’s defense. A workhorse and anchor. Below are his usage rates in terms of overall defensive snaps played, courtesy of Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com:

2009: 51.8 percent
2010: 69.8 percent
2011: 86.8 percent
2012: 81.3 percent

So, he was a beast. That’s a given. Buttttttt in the same time frame, in FootballOutsiders.com’s excellent defensive statistic, DVOA, the Patriots defense ranked 14th, 21st, 30th (YES! 30th out of 32 teams!!), then back to a respectable 15th in 2012.

That’s not all on Wilfork, of course; he consistently took on two offensive linemen and single-handily helped Mark Anderson tally 10 sacks in 2011, which led to the Bills comically overpaying Anderson the following offseason (THE WAGONS! OH, THOSE BEAUTIFUL WAGONS!!! THEY ARE A CIRCLIN’!!!)

… You can’t look at these things in a vacuum, but Andy’s right in terms of CB versus nose tackle and how each position can help a defense. I hope Wilfork comes back, because I’m sappy and care wayyyy too much about the pending employment of big, jolly, no B.S., locker room leaders like Big Vince. But both parties will be fine if they goes their separate ways. (#analysis)

WEEI needs a big move, but the options seem quite limited. They want to bring in someone that can entertainingly lead a program, but co-headline with Holley. One name that comes to my mind is Damon Amendolara. Not sure he would return locally, but with a little money, you can sway people’s minds.

Chris Boudreau

The human monologue and “big name”? Take a drink, sir.

Can you not blog with profanity? It’s childish and doesn’t really befit a self appointed critic of media that find ways to write without it. There’s simply not need for a word like **** on a site like this.

bosox3054

Wooaaaaaaah … first off, “self-appointed” media critic? Look, you can agree or disagree with what goes into these columns, but, if nothing else, I’d like to think I’m authentic – meaning, I don’t write for page views. However, calling me a media critic is stupid; it bestows authority that I’m not worthy of – like saying a reporter is an “expert” or an “insider” (the latter may be true, but just because a writer covers something doesn’t qualify them as an “expert”… they are just well versed in the topic). So, look, I’m delusional, but not that delusional. As far as swearing goes, I’m sorry about your virgin eyes. Everyone makes it to the back of the school bus at one point or another. I hope it was good for you, it was great for me.

 What is people’s obsession with Jen Royle? She is absolutely terrible, was never prepared for her Saturday shows on ‘EEI in the past and has very thin skin. She would be a horrific choice for PM drive.

Hambot

AMENDOLARAAAA & ROYLE.

(Don’t do it for us. Do it for the story, Phil. For the story.)

Yes, John Dennis is thin-skinned. To an Nth degree. Maybe when you stop deleting/editing comments that are critical of your work you ought write something about it.

James Allen

Comment moderation is handled by the Big Guy running this operation, Bruce Allen. Any readers will attest I’m very open to people ripping me; granted, I’m not a troll — I don’t get off on it or anything. What I do here is mostly subjective, thus I hardly expect EVERY reader to enjoy my stuff, much less agree.

But yeah, you’re probably right: I’m terrible and completely off-base with everything I write. Also I’m a hack. A fraud. Thanks for not only reading, but taking the time to comment, all despite these shortcomings!

I think the WEEI ‘brand’ and ‘nameplate’ have been destroyed, no matter the people behind the microphone. There apparently is no way to right a ship once it has listed too far to starboard.

Smack_Libs_Around

Disagree here. The downfall of WEEI certainly happened faster than anyone expected, but then again – while dominant, the station NEVER had the type of competition The Sports Hub presents. One thing we’ve all learned in the radio wars is that listeners are willing to change the dial if there’s better, more thoughtful (and less condescending) options available.

WEEI simply needs to find those options. So far, save for the addition of Kirk Minihane to the “Dennis & Callahan” show, every moved has been an unmitigated disaster. And more concerning, it wasn’t as if each move was met with great praise and then backfired – even at the time, the decisions were met with general trepidation, both inside the walls of Guest Street and out here, in the Blogosphere.

Re: Salk, Who knows, maybe the deal is that sports talk show hosts are a lot better if they have to actually show up in the locker rooms they talk about on air? 

Keep up the writing

Jon

It would be hard for me – someone who has been in the locker room, covering each of the Big Four sports, but mostly writes from HIS MOM’S BASEMENT nowadays (not really, but you know what I mean) – to back up this theory.

Yes, there is real value being in the locker room. Getting to know the players, atmosphere, and the like does provide insight, but I think someone is capable of talking about sports in an entertaining and intelligent way without having been in a locker room.

 “Of course, Belichick never is one to get caught up in the chatter or what the pundits are telling him to do. This time, however, he didn’t ignore the noise.” Karen Guregian, in the Herald today. There is not much more that is hateable about a journalist than when they starting take credit for things that happened outside of the world of journalism.

Homer Gomez

Going to give Karen Guregian a pass, mainly because it was a throwaway line, and she’s a pro. But agreed with your overall assessment, which is definitely a widespread problem.

Ryan, you do good work and I enjoy your columns. BUT, is there anything about Grantland you don’t like? I feel like at times you are a PR hack for them. Grantland has some good features, but really, in a blog post about “look at me” media members (Dino), doesn’t Grantland do the same thing with its pop culture stuff?

Ted Sarandis

Speaking of Grantland, Bill Simmons & Co. has been doing another live webcast from his living room during the first weekend of March Madness. It’s basically a live stream of him, a few friends, Jalen Rose, and – new addition – Michelle Beadle watching the games, bull-shitting with one another. It’s not my cup of tea; but it worked well last year.

To your larger point, Grantland’s pop culture coverage is hit or miss. Wesley Morris and Alex Pappademas are fantastic; some of their other writers should try less. Often times, when they discuss a topic, like Matthew McConaughey’s resurgence (who I never thought had the chops to pull off the role he played in True Detective), it’s almost as if they’re trying to shoehorn every little moment as a larger paradigm shift that we’ll remember in 20 years …When, in reality, more often than not, these things don’t truly matter. A moment can be just that – a moment – meaning everything doesn’t have to take on this grandiose theme, greater than what is actually is.

***

As always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter VII

Welcome to the Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

Happppppy Friday, you guys. More importantly, happy Super Bowl weekend. Wes Welker, Pete Carroll, and Peyton Manning. Drink it in — tastes delicious, doesn’t it? So many weird feelings arise when thinking about each of them. Whenever I try to reconcile a rooting interest, it feels like I’m eight years-old all over again, and my best friend will appear out of nowhere to accuse me of having “girl cooties” or something.

This is the world we live in.

Hey, look on the bright side, at least we weren’t subjected to 63 combined hours of Spygate talk this week. (Fuck.)

Before we get to emails, I need to get something off my chest. I was on Twitter last night, and came across Ian Rapoport, former Patriots beat guy at the Boston Herald and current NFL Network reporter. I went down the “Rap Sheet” rabbit hole (because I lead a very desolate life and do such things on a Thursday night), and discovered that Rapoport and his wife made a Twitter account for their infant child, Max.

Is this happening now? Like that’s a thing people do, or are going to do in the future? Rapoport has a storied history of pissing people off on social media, like the time he live-tweeted Myra Kraft’s funeral, so maybe (Read: Dear God, hopefully), this is a case of Rapoport being a weirdo. I comforted myself with that rationalization until I realized Boston Herald radio personality, Jen Royle, has a fucking Twitter account for her bulldog, Truman, which I refuse to link to here based on personal values. (For the record I presume it was Royle who made the account. If it was someone else, I apologize. Also: Whoever it was, you’re a huge tool.)

If this is the (d)evolution of social media, I think it’s time I make the leap. Have to be progressive, you know? Comes down to who (or what) I can use to extend my brand Out There. After thinking long and hard about the situation, you may see a @Hadfield_Stapler account pop up on Twitter for my trusty stapler at work. It’s the logical choice: we’ve had a good run together, it never lets me down, and – best of all — I could really play up some fun sexual innuendos with the account. Just something to think about.

OK. Enough nonsense, on to your emails:

Is this Shaughnessy column real? TROLLING!!!!

-         Joe (via Twitter)

Banner week for Dan. Started things off with the David Ortiz piece, and finished strong, wondering (aloud) why Bill Bellichick hates Wes Welker. Because THEORIES.

Writes Shankeroo:

“Wes, why does Bill hate you?,’’ I asked Wes Welker.

Does anyone else try to imagine Dan asking this question in a Zoolander-esq tone? You really should, it makes reading his column a million times funnier. Trust me. Oh, and you’re welcome.

He caught a Super Bowl-record-tying 11 passes in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. But Belichick didn’t like him.

So now The Hoodie hated Welker after the 18-1 season? Really?

The Patriots franchised Welker and Belichick froze Welker out of the game plan at the start of the 2012 season. The coach was intent on proving that the system was bigger than the player. The Patriots could do without Welker. When Welker finally got a chance to again show us what he could do, he said, “It’s nice to stick it in Bill’s face.’’

“HE’S ON FIRE!” (said in the NBA Jam video game voice). Who doesn’t love the FREEZING WELKER OUT OF THE OFFENSE STORYLINE? Old reliable. Hey Dan, I was at training camp in 2012 – and guess what, Julian Edelman simply usurped Welker in the offseason. I wouldn’t expect you to know this, because you weren’t there.

Then he signed with the Broncos. What an ingrate.

On the word “ingrate,” can we all agree it’s a weird word choice here? You’re dating yourself, Dan. Don’t use it.

But perhaps the worst part of this mess is that Shank actually wrote a pretty solid piece about the media overreaction toward Marshawn Lynch’s silence the same day. SIGH.

Speaking of which, this happened …

A HOT SPORTS TAKE turned #Humblebrag? YES, WE CAN! YES, WE CAN!

You wrote: “Meanwhile, Katie Nolan going after Reilly is pragmatic. It makes you wonder why FS1 doesn’t take advantage of the endless opportunities to land punches on the four-letter network more often.”

This was really a topic on First Take on Monday:

- bsmfan

“Could Charlie Whitehurst lead this Seahawks team to the Super Bowl?? Matt Flynn???”

Sounds like NESN did the right thing. You wrote:

” the relationship between Dell and Middlebrooks hampers objectivity, and, furthermore, hurts other female sports reporters who are trying to be taken seriously. NESN’s decision is more than fair to Dell.”

I forget the source but there were quotes from other females around here about the issue. If the quotes you pasted from the SI column don’t convince you, I’m not sure what will.

-         Guest

I’m not saying anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot. But they’re not smart, at least in terms of media relations, anyway. And man, if I see one more person read or write that Jenny Dell isn’t covering the White House or some other outlandish beat as grounds to keeping her on the Red Sox telecast, then I’m going to throw up in my mouth. I cannot stand when people use extreme opinions to back a premise that makes no sense; the exercise doesn’t prove you’re clever, and serves no purpose – well, besides derailing the conversation around the issue.

On the Dr. V-Grantland fiasco: I, too, thought Tim Marchman’s piece [on Deadspin] was very good but agree that it slip into the default anti-Simmons mode a bit (Simmons did appropriately apologize and take ultimate responsibility as editor in chief, so it’s kinda intellectually dishonest to call that “self-obsessed;” would he rather Simmons blame others?)

But I don’t get your T’eo parallel. That Deadspin story refuted the lie, started and perpetuated by T’eo. Meanwhile, Grantland went after the transgender angle in part because it made the story more salacious.

So if Dr. V had committed suicide because of the public shame of being a fraud, Grantland would be the recipient of much less public scorn. But since they followed the transgender angle, they are being blamed, in part, for her taking her own life. That may be unfair, but we have no way of really knowing in the truth. And had T’eo committed suicide after the Deadspin article, it would have been tragic but Deadspin wouldn’t have been blasted in the same manner.

Where’s the tl:dr guy when we need him?

- HighWireNickEsasky

In both cases, we’re dealing with subjects who perpetuated a lie. Let’s start there and make one thing clear: In many circles Dr. V is being made a martyr, and I think that’s kind of absurd. She was a con artist. Of course that doesn’t exculpate Grantland. The fact that Grantland, and the author of the story, Caleb Hannan, were way off-base in their lack of understanding of the ramifications of outing Dr. V to her business partner is mind boggling.

But beyond that mistake, I refuse to kill Grantland, especially after the publication admitted their faults. It’s not as if they were malicious in their reporting, and I’ll be perfectly honest, I would make the same mistakes as a reporter. I think 99.99999% of media outlets would. Keep in mind, the backlash never came until after the transgender community illuminated the problems with the story.

And the Manti T’eo thing is just an example. What if, after A.J. Daulerio paid for and then published photos of his Green Bay Packer that he sent to Jenn Sterger, Brett Favre committed suicide? Or what if his wife took her life? Or one of his kids?

Again, Deadspin espoused the story just like everyone else. They loved it. Then, when they saw an opportunity, they attacked Grantland because that’s what Deadspin does. Fuck, when Grantland launched, Deadspin would post “corrections” blogs for copy editing mistakes. And that’s OK. Little guy takes shots at big guy. I get it. To a lesser extent, it’s what Katie Nolan (justifiably) did to Rick Reilly, and what “Toucher & Rich” regularly do to “Dennis & Callahan,” and what I do here.

I’m even OK with Deadspin being super critical after initially promoting the piece – but, shit, don’t then make this a macro-indictment of Grantland and Bill Simmons. Slow down, breathe, and be honest with yourself as a “media critic.”

Speaking of T’eo …

I hear Jerry Remy’s been schtupping Wally for a year and a half. Can we fire him now?

-         Dave R.

We’ll always remember the Catfish story, because it was glorious and weird and all-encompassing. It was THE sports story of 2014, which seems goofy, but truthfully is kind of a nice change of pace, considering the Penn State scandal was THE story of 2013.

But let’s say T’eo has a great season in 2014-15. His career arc will change because he’s young and has plenty of life left to live. We’ll care less and less about his fake online girlfriend (still feels weird typing). The point is this: when discussing Jerry Remy’s return to the broadcast booth, you have to think in terms of the news cycle we live in nowadays. We have to weigh whether or not this will matter come summertime, because there will always be a bigger, otherworldly story that will capture our attention next. You know it, I know it.

With all that said, the answer is “Yes, the Remy situation will still be on our minds.”

Now, I refuse to call Remy selfish. He wants to call Red Sox games, which makes sense — it’s a pretty sweet gig. I blame NESN here. If the trial had happened already, maybe – just maybe – we could move on, and enjoy baseball games to a soundtrack filled with banter between Don Orsillo and Remy.

That’s not the case, though; the trial is in front of us, not behind us. Remy is a public figure, more recognizable in Boston than Phil Pressey, or Avery Bradley, or Stephen Drew, or Steve Gregory. To me, this all goes back to something I’ve written about in other places before. I’m a big believe in what I call the Bill Clinton Corollary.

The parameters are simple: As far as public figures go, whether it be athletes, actors, musicians, or, to a lesser extent, politicians, I only care about their behavior as it pertains to me. These guys aren’t coming over for Sunday dinner. I’m not catching a movie with them. They aren’t dating my sister. We aren’t friends.

As a broadcaster, Remy is an exception to this rule because his personality is thrust into his role. It matters. In the end, it’s tough to predict a story’s staying power in 2014, but while the legal system untangles the Jared Remy murder trial, we’ll be reminded of the horrific ordeal, and that will hurt the NESN broadcast. NESN should have taken the bat out of the Rem-Dawgs hands.

A few years into F&M’s reign of terror and I’m ready for a new drive time show. I haven’t listened to those clowns in well over a month because of their complete and utter disdain for the Celtics. I’m not asking them to like basketball but it’d be great it they wouldn’t openly defecate all over those who do like the game.

I hope Glen does come back, and he gets paired with someone good so I can try to listen to local sports talk in the afternoons again.

- OpinionNotFact

A few readers seem to be rallying behind the idea of a Glenn Ordway redux at WEEI. Have to say, I cannot support it. Mike Salk is not the answer, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have been asking the question. I know select readers — like LateToDinner — think removing The Big O was ill-conceived, but he was losing the ratings war. It’s like having Ryan Fitzpatrick as your quarterback. Yeah, you may win some games — maybe even make a run to the playoffs — but what are we really doing here? You want to win the whole thing. To matter you have to be the best.

Does Ordway have the backing of a few big sponsors? Sure. But if WEEI figures out a better alternative and that alternative resonates, brings listenership up, and helps dethrone “Felger & Mazz,” I’m pretty sure advertisers will come around to whoever that personality is, too.

Reminds me of “Mad Men” when Don Draper says something like, “Happiness is simply the moment before you want more happiness. You’re hungry even though you just ate.”

***

OK, that’s all I have for this week. Before I let you go, I need to deliver some SHAMELESS Self-Promotion:

I’m a realist. This Super Bowl situation sucks, I totally get it. But as an eternal optimist, I offered up three reasons why football will be better than ever next season in my column for Metro Boston last week. And in the meantime, since we have to endure the wrath of Sunday, I wrote a guide detailing the 10 types of people who attend Super Bowl parties that you’ll want to avoid while watching the game this weekend. Both are light reads, because sports are supposed to be fun, ya know?

Anyways, as always, thanks for reading. Feel free to say hello in the Twittersphere: @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter VI

Welcome to the Weekly Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

Today: This weather sucks, but great news — Chapter VI is a Shank-free space. Instead, we primarily explore reaction to our Year-End Media Awards among other topics. First, we’d be remiss if we didn’t pass along Chris Kluwe’s piece on Deadspin where he claims he was removed from duty as the Vikings punter because of his activism in gay rights. The story, if true, could be the biggest of 2014. And yes, I realize it’s only January 3rd.  Mike Priefer, the Vikings coach, who Kluwe states said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” immediately denied the accusations.  More reaction here as more details come out.

For now, MAIL TIME.

Ryan, you wrote: “In the middle of a recent broadcast, Mike Gorman had to explain plus-minus (+/-) to Tommy Heinsohn.” And how did Tommy react to the explanation?

-       Homer Greenz

I’m paraphrasing, but he began by dismissively saying, “You know, I’m not a numbers guy.” Alarming on so many levels. First things first, it’s not like the plus-minus statistic is QBR or other, more complex advanced statistics. It’s simple math.  

That’s a different argument for a different day, though, because I’d like to commend the BSMW comment section for candidly talking about the sanctimonious shield that has developed around Tommy Heinsohn and Jerry Remy in recent years.

The former is a simple case of etiquette imposed from societal norms: We’re taught to respect our elders. Heinsohn, for his work as a player, coach, and color guy, certainly deserves that respect. But sports, inside and outside the lines of play, doesn’t stop for anyone. You can rest on your laurels for a quick minute – or in Heinsohn’s case, the better part of a decade – but eventually father time comes ringing, you lose your fastball, people notice, and someone greener is brought in.  

 John Madden held on for too long. Even with those great pipes, Keith Jackson probably could have stayed home those last few Rose Bowls. Heck, locally speaking, once Gil Santos started identifying Deion Branch as Wes Welker, I said time and time again it was time for him and Gino Cappelletti to call it a career. Look, I say this with the utmost respect; sadly, I think Tommy should be done. Honestly, he probably should’ve retired a few years ago.

And believe me, it’s not as if I take pleasure in writing those words. It sucks. I attach a great deal of special moments to the voices of each of those broadcasters, Tommy included. But I didn’t take pleasure in confirming to my niece that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, either. When it’s time, it’s time.

(*DUCKS A LIGHTNING BOLT*)

As far as Remy goes …

One big indictment with Remy is that Don Orsillo sounds so much looser and relaxed when he’s working with Eck. He actually sounds like an entirely different broadcaster — for the better. The problem with Eck is that he’d never do full-time for NESN — he’s got an MLB Network gig and, more over, doesn’t want to work every game in the first place. I think the best way for NESN to go forward — if Remy doesn’t return — is to find a revolving door of analysts much like Michael Kay works with on Yankee YES games. It might be trial-and-error process — and PLEASE NO NICK CAFARDO — but that might be the best way to go.

- Andy Dursin

First, on Don Orsillo: You know how this last offeseason, the narrative was that Tom Brady embraced the challenge of working with younger receivers? Almost as if the depleted arsenal made him better? First off, maybe this is true – but the irrefutable lack of chemistry probably didn’t improve the team’s chances over the course of the first few weeks of the season. Back to the media: I kind of feel like this is how Don Orsillo must have felt sans Remy this summer.

It was palpable that Orsillo, whose omission from my Year End Sports Media Awards was met with much distaste from readers, DID have a different way about him this season.

But while the slight change in tone and demeanor was there, I’m not sure if that was a Remy thing, inasmuch as it was an opportunity to try new things that wouldn’t have seemed natural with Remy because of the whole idea behind the axiom “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Think of it like a relationship: You get into ruts, the same routine, and oftentimes, feel trapped (even if things are going swell).

Now, Jerry Remy: I highly doubt Remy’s job is in jeopardy or anything of that magnitude. Despite everything that has transpired with his family and other color guys stepping up to the plate (SPORTZ PUN!), he’s still Remy, he has the charming droll, and the cache. He’s likable and knowledgeable.

Still, while Remy’s health issues in recent years has provided various respites in our exposure to his work, when personal problems arose this summer, it opened the door for a consistent taste of something new, something fresh, for a longer period of time. It would be inappropriate to suggest that Dennis Eckersley’s now-famous personal lexicon did not bolster the viewing experience. He was great; for my money, better than Remy.

The solution? Baseball is long and requires endurance from everyone involved, including fans – I wonder if NESN would be better served by going the suggested YES route. Again, that’s not an indictment on Remy; variety breeds different takes, fresh viewpoints, and a different perspective. Over the course of an elongated Red Sox season, who doesn’t want that? The downside, of course, is that a rotating cast of analysts detracts from coveted chemistry. Realistically, I see Remy back in the chair as long as he wants it.

What do you guys think?

If you need an update of how big most industry awards are these days: “Peter King 2013 NSSA National Sportswriter of the Year.” Question — do these people even read the columns?

-       bsmfan

Without question, yes. It’s why you see writers constantly trying to match wits on Twitter, all in an effort to one-up one another. The media cares about the story, sure, but they also care about themselves. By the way, Bryan Curtis was robbed. 

Looking forward to u writing more in 14…hope u can balance bruce endless pats stuff n pats PR Dir. position he takes on.

-       Bill

I’m far more cynical about the Patriots than Bruce. That said, if you read most national writers — the good ones, anyway — they’ll wax poetic about the Patriots and what they’ve managed to accomplish, as opposed to complaining. ALL. THE. TIME. Fans and teams of other cities would kill to be in the playoffs, much less have a bye; yet, locally, there’s certainly scattered adulation, but mostly in the tone of LOOK AT THIS TEAM’S SHORTCOMINGS, YET THEY KEEP WINNING. GOOD FOR THEM.

Fuck that attitude. Why does each win have to come with a stupid wink, a disclaimer, like everyone’s waiting to publish their NOTHING GOLD LASTS FOREVER column. It sucks to suck; apparently, it sucks to be good, too.

Most guys are nothing but cheerleaders, Zolak can break down a play and describe it to you. He also does a decent job with the Bellistrator segment on Patriots All Access. He knows the game, but should calm down a bit. Also, though, let’s not forget. This is his first year with Socci. Give them a chance, how long had Gil and Gino been together?

-       The_Other_Side

Lots of Scott Zolak love coming in after I rated him Worst Play-By-Play/Color Guy of 2013.

Two thoughts here:

  1. Zolak was really good as a third man on the field working with Gino and Gil. Speaking from a longterm viewpoint, he knows the game, I have no doubt he’ll improve, and that’s great. I look forward to the righting of the ship.
  2. Secondly, when reviewing that specific award (Worst Play-by-Play Or Color Analyst), I realized that Boston, as a whole, has a solid group of broadcasters. It’s true. Tommy is old and ridiculous and probably deserved to win this designation (*DUCKS*), but I stand by the Zolak choice. Because it’s those moments – you guys know what I’m talking about – where the game is on the line, you can hear the nervousness in the crowd, feel the importance intrinsically through the sound of the broadcast… They don’t come around often, and when they do, you cannot scream arbitrary things over the play-by-play guy while he’s painting the picture.

RELATED: Plenty of great Zolak clips in this video, which made the rounds this week.

 Ryan, if you are not watching Walking Dead, you should be.

Joe

Had a ton of good binge show suggestions: I watched the Walking Dead up through the end of last season. I have it on DVR and have heard this season is a nice rebound from The Governor debacle. The first season was fantastic, but my main problem with the show is that it feels like we’re going around in circles. I like that we see things solely through Rick & The Gang’s perspective – meaning, we only know what they know – but what’s our end game here?

Other candidates given were Orange Is the New Black (I’ve heard it’s much better than Netflix’s other show, House of Cards) and, rather shockingly, The Good Wife (lots of Emmys + the main character is a babe).

Count your blessings…….health, good family, good job, nice place….good friends and lots of family and friends who love you very much! Health, health and more health cannot be valued enough…..count your blessings of which you have many. Whatever you do stay safe. 2014 will bring lots of good things your way. I am convinced of it.

Love Mom

I LOVE YOU, MOM. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Uniformed or Uninformed?

LocalSportStuff

Tough to really nail your punch lines when you misspell critical words. I need an editor.

A few GIF responses:

Enjoyed your piece at BSMW – especially the SPORTZ PUN! – make it a HOTSPORTZPUN and 98.5 will be lusting after you. -Walter

I honestly have no idea who Eric Wilbur is.

-       Oswee Larvey Hald

I fear for Eric Wilbur. In his bio, it says he writes from the unique perspective of a fan and journalist, but, for him, sports seems so unfulfilling. I don’t think he enjoyed this Patriots season. It truly makes me wonder what kind of writer he’ll become when the Patriots morph into this:

FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS! … Speaking of Gang Green

The reason why Tebow is so polarizing as a player is that even though he does not have sound fundamentals he has won at each level he has played at. Add in his devout faith and his willingness to discuss it and you have a unique athlete who developed a huge fan base. The fact that Rex Ryan would not put him on the field just inflated the reputation. He won a playoff game in Denver the year before yet he was not good enough to play for a sinking Jet’s team.

-       LateToDinner

TEBOW ALERT: Saved the worst for last, you guys. Let’s get the reaction to the Tim Tebow-ESPN marriage out of the way. The idea behind yesterday’s gratuitous “What We Think About When We Talk About Tim Tebow” section of Sports Media Musings was more about why the media, fans, and people in general are masochists when it comes to everything Tebow than how he came to fruition.

When sports stories crossover to the mainstream backlash typically follows, but it rarely sustains. Not like this, anyway. This a dude who hasn’t had a relevant football moment in two years.

But to your point, I wholeheartedly agree: Tebow’s rise and career arc is polarizing because he is the ultimate Little Engine That Could, which, over the years, has morphed into a negative characterization. He operates in a world where one (presumably) must be 99.9999999% better than anyone else at their craft. Clearly, he isn’t (even though he was, by the most important measure, successful). And in a world filled with analytics and reason and #HOTSPORTSTAKES, none of that makes sense. Which makes Tebow, as a subject, perfect … in the worst way.

Couple that with the second part — that he uses that platform to give shout outs, almost like a DJ on Jammin’ 94.5 would to a club promoter, to his faith – and WOOOLAHHH: we have a perfect cocktail of polarization, in a culture, mind you, that endorses polarization by proxy of behavior and over-the-top attitudes. So yeah, that’s why he’s polarizing.

As always, thanks for reading. @Hadfield__

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter V

Welcome to the Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

Took a vacation from my vacation in Key West to finish writing this (fifth!) edition of the Sports Media Mailbag. In addition to this, if you have time to kill at your desk, check out my recent columns for Metro Boston on the Nike Tiger Woods ad and my ranking of the current best home(field/ice/court) advantage in Boston. I hope you guys enjoy. As always, thanks for reading.

***

Does anyone really know what is going on with the morning show? I know you wrote: “I’m told the Kirk Minihane seclusion is a very real thing.” It is painful. It’s bad. It’s extremely odd. I almost get the impression that John Dennis is now Peter from Office Space but the Bob’s have not come yet. They’re now doing a Sweet 16 of “Female Boston News Personalities”. 60 year-old guys gawking at women in their 20s on the radio?

The Kirk Minihane thing is fantastic because he is so candid about it. From my conversations with him in the past, I’m not shocked. That’s how he is. It’s how he’s always been. On Twitter, he’s openly mocking the happenings on the show he is purportedly involved in, but in reality, not actually part of. It’s subversive and it’s very real.

mini

As far as the other part to the question, I’m writing something on this for next week, but here is a quick summary of the morning radio wars: For my money, good sports radio comes down to two things — compelling discourse and likability. The former has never really been a problem for Gerry Callahan and John Dennis, but the latter is burning them right now (kind of the same way it’s burning “Felger & Mazz”, except “Dennis & Callahan”‘s plight has been slow and painful. “Felger & Mazz” are seemingly racing towards self-sabotage). Meanwhile the competition, “Toucher and Rich”, have had the likability aspect locked down since they hit the airwaves, and producers have done a nice job working in call-ins from experts to mask any perceived defenciency talking sports. It’s night and day, really.

Ryan,

Do you have anything original to bring to this column, honestly? Everything you write is a regurgitation of Bill Simmons, Drew Magary, or Mike Tunison style of writing. From the Gregggg to the rip down of local columnists (ala Peter King or Gregg Easterbrook), to the mailbag. Its just so old. Are you really trying to copy writers that are already getting tiresome. Pop-media sports has found its niche. You are not a part of that, find your own style style.

-jmu

True story: My family sees these mailbags and far too often I’m left explaining to my mom that the internet, by nature, is a negative sphere. People aren’t going to go on Yelp and write a good review (unless it’s fantastic and life changing), but they’ll be quick to bash the restaurant that is slow with service. I read Drew Magary but never really check out his takedowns of Gregg Easterbook. Which, in retrospect, looks like a complete ripoff joke. Bad job by me. Won’t happen again.

That aside — and I think readers will attest to this — this media column, now running on its third year, has its own voice and style. The takedown pieces are meant to be brash and boisterous. This probably because I freelance for Metro Boston (which I love doing), but am devoid of a full-time gig. And that’s transparent bitterness on my part. But I take pride in the actual media columns and these mailbags. I try to write with a critical eye (while hopefully holding some entertainment value). Is it an amalgam of some of my favorite writers? Probably. But isn’t that expected to some degree?

And hey, if you want to take one column and use that to judge my body of work, then go for it. Kind of short-sighted, but go for it. Either way, thanks for reading.

You do know that people who spell their name “Gregg” spell it that way because their parents named them that way. People who spell their name “Greg” are really named “Gregory”. -DrakeW

I love everything about this. Thanks for that.

So you are still on the Mike Holley bandwagon. Please explain to me what he does or says that let’s you believe that even if you could have gone back in your DeLorean and moved Dale and Holley to the afternoon that would have worked. Your idea still contains Mike Holley. Other than he is a nice guy, articulate and can write reasonably okay…I don’t see why he has not been banished from the radio. – latetodinner

Underrated subplot of the radio wars has been Michael Holley. He is clearly beloved by the suits over on Guest Street. Holley has been given the keys to the car. There has to be a part of him, though, that is nervous. It’s what I call “good nerves,” meaning butterflies, not jitters. Like if I was given a column at the Boston Globe or New York Times. For me, again, it comes back to likability and compelling discourse. Holley has plenty of the former, and the latter is lacking, but I respect the hell out of him for not going Media Troll on us after abandoning his journalism gig.

This is a guy whose covered the Celtics and Patriots beat (and possibly more, can’t recall), and was once a columnist for the Globe. You know who had a similar career arc? Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti. Notice a difference in how the two handle their business? I do. And it’s refreshing. Of course, ratings don’t take any of that into account, so the question, obviously, becomes whether or not he can he carry a show? The answer, even after all these years, is I don’t know.

I loved, loved, LOVED the few times he was paired with Tom E. Curran or Minihane. Maybe that’s because I know the parties involved. Mike Salk, thus far, hasn’t resonated quite like I wished he would going in, but it’s still a feeling out process. Regardless, it’s a big year for Holley professionally. And yeah, I guess his style gels with what I’m looking for — measured takes that are less LOOK AT ME! and more “Here’s the reasoning why I think __.”

Plus, “banished from the radio” is a little harsh. Don’t you think, LateToDinner?

Two things that I am just baffled by at 98.5, which I have been an avid listener of since it debuted.

1. With such great up and coming talent (Bertrand and Hardy for example) how on earth does a guy like Andy Gresh keep his job?  He is AWFUL!!  Seriously, he has pictures of a big wig over there, right?  The only explanation.  Even if he was reasonably intelligent, his voice alone gives me post concussion syndrome.  He brings out the worst in Zolak, it really reminds me of listening to the dark days of the Big Show with Smerlas and Deossie. 

2.  When the ratings are looked at, do they look at individual days?  Love them or hate them Felger and Mazz ( I am of the former, they are head and shoulders better than every other program) make great radio, EXCEPT Tuesdays.  Jermaine Wiggins on air equals this guy tuning into the other station. 

Am I the only one out there that thinks this????

Dave in Gardner

Speaking of measured takes, how about Marc Bertand and Chris Gasper in the midday? Bertrand is funny and knowledgeable. Gasper is smart and does well articulating his points. The duo developed a nice rapport doing a morning show on Saturdays for The Sports Hub that I wish I heard more of.

I have written extensively about Andy Gresh in this space before. I’ll admit he will grow on me at times, but his monologues are tough to listen to, and he comes across as pompous. There is an authoritative tone, then there is “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Gresh falls on the wrong side of that fence for me. Also, I can’t help but notice him berating listeners on Twitter. Reminds me of the same hubris that took down WEEI.

Re Jermaine Wiggins: This is what I wrote from the first “Sports Media Musings” Bruce Allen published back in the summer of 2011 (yeesh!). It still holds true:

Maybe not as grating, but unfortunately Wiggins is the Mike Adams of 98.5′s afternoon drive show. He either struggles articulating his point, or doesn’t have one — I still am trying to figure out which it is. Bottom line: “Wiggy Wednesdays” are as entertaining as the pending NFL lockout.

Who says there is any “intel” to extract from Lou Merloni? – wdriii

Guys like Scott Zolak and Lou Merloni could — and should — use their experience in the locker room playing at the highest level (albeit in a backup role) and provide audiences with the nuances the common fan can’t see. Surely, from their experiences, they must see the game in a different light than the rest of us. Right? I don’t see why they don’t channel that unique perspective more often is all.

Ryan, 
I generally love your insights, but for the love of god, please get off of Simmons’ stick. I agree that Grantland is great, but notwithstanding that he the most powerful man in sports business, Simmons has become way to proud of himself and his writing has suffered for it. – Ted Sarandis

Agreed. I probably write about Bill Simmons too often for this space. And yeah, the writing has gone down hill, but his presence on TV has vastly improved (and increased); not to mention, the live stream during March Madness could catch on. Just look at this snippet from Richard Deitsch’s “Media Circus” column over at SI.com (special thanks to reader BSMFAN.)

As Sports Business Daily media writer John Ourand observed: “What’s to stop Turner’s Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley from putting on their own online halftime show around the NBA Finals, even though the games are on ABC? Or how about NBC firing up its 30 Rock studio to have Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison analyze ESPN’s Monday Night Football games online, starting with a couple of minutes left in the first half?”

This is fine, what is everyone complaining about? Isn’t this the guy everyone crowned the new king of sports talk radio in this city? You all (Felger fans) complained about Ordway and his opinions, you ran him out of town by giving Felger your ears, You’re already complaining about Mike Salk and it’s not even a month. You’re okay with personal bashing and stepping over the line, you’ve traded that for real sports talk and you’ve all allowed Felger to brain wash you into believing his “Tell it like it is style” is the way to go. So enjoy it, don’t complain. As For me, I’m fine with EEI, as far as local goes, anything but Felger and Mazz. – Will

I guess I should just come out and say that I don’t have a problem with Felger’s Jeff Green heart surgery remark from last week. When you’re on air for 27 hours a day, you’re subject to capricious miscues. I don’t think Felger would put that in print. Comedy is meant to be (somewhat) offensive, Green is still alive, and so on and so forth. Sounds matter of fact, but it’s just how I feel. Sticks and stones.

Still, would I have made the remark? Do I think it was in bad taste?

Absolutely not. And yes, it was crass. But all I’m saying is that it happens, and when it does, it’s usually worse than what Felger said (e.g. Doug Gottlieb’s “white man perspective” comment during CBS Sports coverage of the NCAA tournament).

As far as giving him the platform: I’d like to think the two are mutually exclusive, Will. Glenn Ordway’s success proved to have as much to do with the lack of competition as his actual show. That doesn’t mean whatever siege “Felger & Mazz” are on in recent weeks should go unnoticed.

The thing that gets me about their show is how there’s seldom any actual INSIGHT into the games being played on the field — something, once upon a time, Felger used to be good at. Now they usually bypass an actual dissection of the game itself for long-winded rants about how Belichick is clueless, Kraft is a liar, Chiarelli sucks, the Celtics suck, the Red Sox suck, the Red Sox ownership sucks…taking shots at reporters covering the Pats…taking shots at players….basically, everyone sucks except for Cam Neely. Got it!” – Andre Dursin

Bingo! This! Just everything about this. I had a bigger issue with Felger saying Green sucks. Because he doesn’t. And if Felger watched basketball, he’d see that. Parading ideas about ownership or coaches is fine, too, but the show has become four hours of hypothetical ulterior motives. It’s exhausting at times.

When Tim McCarver initially started out as a baseball analyst — initially locally in Philly and subsequently on nationally broadcast games — following his playing days (including the proverbial cup of coffee with the Red Sox in the mid-’70s), he was quite enjoyable and very good. Somewhere along the line he became an insufferable, drooling tool which, I believe, started shortly after he was paired with that smug, quintessential DB, Joe Buck.

Want a good Tim McCarver career obit? The best I found, by far, was from Brian Curtis. Great juxtaposition with John Madden‘s old style. Really great read. 

On that note, as always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.

 

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter IV

Welcome to the Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

“Welcome Mike Salk. If you didn’t before, you definitely now have a wide open door for listeners from 2-6.” – Andre Dursin

Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger were theorizing about why the Bruins go into a funk every March/April on Monday. Kind of ironic to think about: Their show started to tailspin around this time last year when they poorly miscalculated the impact of their Celtics-bashing during the 2011-12 playoff run. A slow start is forgivable, but “Salk & Holley” have a chance, albeit a slim one, to capture some quick momentum out of the gate with the recent happenings on “Felger & Mazz.” (More on this later.)

“My days of reading this site are over. Hadfield is unreadable. Readership is officially single digits. Over and out.” –Luther

I’m unreadable? Is it the font?? Why are you talking on a walkie-talkie???

Oh wait, you just don’t like my approach. That’s fair. Sorry, bruh. Not changing – GOTS TO KEEP IT REAL. I am concerned, however, about your comprehension skills – *re-checks the numbers* – I don’t think your report about BSMW’s readership is accurate. SIDE NOTE: Bruce, we may have a hacker.

“I don’t get the vitriol for Felger. I don’t get the vitriol for anyone just because they have a different opinion on sports. Take it with a grain of salt, it’s supposed to be fun…to me Felger and Mazz are funny, entertaining radio.” – NEPatsFan

Look, I’m on record here, many times over, actually, as being a staunch “Felger & Mazz” supporter. Yes, sports talk radio is supposed to be a fun, worthwhile debate. And Felger and Mazz certainly meet these guidelines, as ratings would suggest, with flying colors. And hey, while I could do without the contrarian takes, whatever, I get it.

But man, I have enormous issues with how the two have conducted themselves during Welkahpalooza. The duo is traversing dangerous grounds by calling out other reporters, particularly while not documenting any reporting of their own to bolster their claims. I think it’s rude. I think it’s unprofessional. I think it’s a punk move.

Now, with that coming from me of all people, readers could – and I’m sure will – mention something about pots and kettles and stones and glasshouses. But you’d be wrong. Oh, you’d be very wrong. I rarely call out reporters, if ever. I have no use for it. Reporters obtain information and disseminate.  That’s great. But what I do here mainly focuses on columnists and talking heads. And, from my point of view, the imaginary scoreboard of breaking accurate stories shows Tom E. Curran and Mike Reiss have a strong track record doing their job, and doing it well.

That Jeffri Chadiha takdown was an ass-whupping.  Feelings are king in football columns. Gravity on its last leg? Seen better days? Potential column.” Matt Chatham (via Twitter).

For better clarification: Read my evisceration of Chadiha if you haven’t already. Reiss and Curran don’t belong in the same filth as that crap. Unfortunately, appreciating the Patriots won’t draw the ire of listeners, and doesn’t translate to ratings.  I wrote this the other day: It’s comical how many media members are ready to push the “DYNASTY IS OVER” button on the Patriots. Like every year. I get the Bill Belichick hate, I suppose, but come on.

“I love what Felger and Mazz are doing. They are trolling the Boston media and the rest of us who don’t get hot and bothered by negative talk about the local teams are loving it and the ratings prove it. All media in this country is corporate swill and they deserve the abuse.” – Dan

There is playing Devil’s Advocate (e.g. picking the Ravens over the Pats even though you vehemently claim the NFL is a QB’s league all season long), then there is throwing out baseless accusations to support an agenda, Dan. I’m fine with the former. If you want to espouse the idea that the Patriots have significant valuation issues and equate Robert Kraft to the late Al Davis, go right ahead. But please, I don’t think neither Felger or Mazz  are abusing “corporate media” as part of a greater altruistic effort; they’re doing it because they want ratings.

(Side note: If Felger really thinks Reiss’ coverage is “slanted,” what does he call the opinion-based dialect he spews roughly 22 hours a day on radio and television? I makes me seriously wonder if he has less self-awareness than Donald Trump.)

“Another great column, Ryan….HOWEVER, I disagree with this line >>>> “People, even knowledgeable sports fans, believe in this nonsense. They take it as gospel” ……..sorry man, no disrespect to your buddy but NO, “knowledgeable sports fan” takes what Felger says as “gospel”…if they do, then they aren’t “knowledgeable”…..in fact, they must be idiots.” –DryHeave

I love “DryHeave” as a username. RELATED: I hope everyone had a great St. Paddy’s day.

Re: Knowledgeable sports fans DO take what is said on the airwaves seriously. The platform has that power. Felger’s right — they have more influence in the Boston market than ESPN, but with great power comes great respon-…

Wait, where was I? OK, back. Sorry blacked out there for a second. I just think that influence is why it sucks Felger and Mazz recklessly challenged reports from esteemed writers. It hurts said-writers’ reputation. Good on Reiss for firing back, but he shouldn’t have to. His history doesn’t give us any reason to question his reporting.

“I am not a fan of Minihane’s but someone has to free him. D&C are in a total tailspin. I know it is a slow time of the year but this media vs. media MMA thing is painful radio. I even tried Kuhner this morning on ‘RKO, but his voice kills me. WEEI has to get Minihane out of there, they are killing his credibility, they run right over the guy. Ryan – keep up the good work, it is hard to establish a voice in any market let alone Boston.” –Free Kirk

Kirk, is that you??

Man, that media MMA tourney was cringe worthy, but I think it was useful in the sense that WEEI should now recognize they will lose a war of wit against The Sports Hub, specifically “Toucher & Rich.” The men of Guest Street must engage the audience in a different style – channeling compelling discourse about sports (not politics, please).

Methinks the dog days of summer are going to be especially long for Minihane, like listening to a long-winded question from Denito himself, but all signs point to John Dennis’ exile being all but imminent.  And hey, Dennis’ vacation was a nice preview of what could be. I enjoyed Minihane-Arnold-Callahan.

“On Deadspin yesterday: http://deadspin.com/welcome-ki… …’SI is developing a new brand and website with King as the centerpiece, sources told us. The in-house nickname for the new site is Kinglandia. The actual name for the site is still under discussion…Here’s one name: A source tells us Kinglandia is going hard after The Boston Globe’s excellent NFL writer, Greg Bedard.’

As they point out, it’s basically going to be a clone of Grantland but with King running it.. really? The name alone is, uhm..”-BSMFAN

I’ve been mystified with choices Bill Simmons has made with Grantland since its inception. When it comes to the site itself, I’ve wavered more than Glenn Ordway on, well, anything. On the other hand, I’ve always said that everyday they publish at least one MUST-READ piece (and that number is growing with time). These days, I love it. But the reason it works is because Simmons, whether you like it or not, has interests outside the realm of sports that most people relate to.

Meanwhile, don’t get me wrong, I do pick through MMQB every week, but Peter King enjoys coffee and loathes traveling. Those aren’t interests, they are minutia. This could be a disaster waiting to happen. And if Sports On Earth and Grantland didn’t already enlist Mike Tanier and Bill Barnwell, who are both fantastic, then Greg Bedard would’ve been writing for either. His move to Sports Illustrated makes sense. He’s a clever writer, adept at film study, and has solid sources around the league. I just have reservations about “Kinglandia.”

“How many of the supposed knowledgeable Boston Talking heads (Shaughnessy, Ordway, Dennis, etc..) think Danny traded away the Championship in 2011. What they fail to remember is Dwayne Wade’s jujitsu like takedown of Rondo in Game 3 of that series. Once that happened, all bets were off. I liked Perk but he wasn’t a 9 million dollar player. Apparently the Thunder are learning the same thing as there are constant rumors that they will amnesty him.” Jimmy V.

Night’s like Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Heat are why I was firmly entrenched in the anti-BLOW IT UP camp. The Celtics aren’t necessarily old, and guys like Jeff Green experiencing more games will help, not hurt, their career down the road. And from a viewer’s perspective, it’s nice to watch competitive basketball.

Funny though, who’s excited to hear talking heads wax about sacrificing “chemistry” and “intangibles” with the Kendrick Perkins trade? ME, I AM!?! That’s all we’ve heard since the trade, right? They’ll shift gears and redirect, because they always do. Case in point, Mazz actually opened Tuesday’s show saying “it’s not about the numbers with Green, it’s how it looks – on some level his 43-point performance is frustrating.”

Ugh.

By the way, speaking of injuries, we always hear talk about how the Celtics lost a potential championship to Kevin Garnett’s injury in 2008. Is it time to start thinking they lost a title to Avery Bradley and Green’s injuries last year? I think they win that Heat series if the two are healthy.

Something interesting to think about. On that note, as always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter III

Welcome to the Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at Hadfield.Ryan@gmai[email protected], hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

Thanks for stopping by, GUYS! Tried to send everyone off to the weekend the right way. I covered a lot of ground and hit on a plethora of topics including the recent feuds in the local media, how I approach my column (boring and perhaps self-serving, but this was asked), the lack of solid NBA coverage in Boston, my Jason Whitlock/Gregg Doyel take-down piece from earlier this week, and other matters.

Keep it classy in the comments section … (well, sorta)

Ryan Hadfield, pelting John Dennis with stones from the comfort of his glass house. -JonB

Don’t be silly, my glass house is hardly comfortable, JonB.

Even a staunch Dennis supporter has no ground to stand on here. I just don’t see it. He used Tom Brady‘s email — sent out of courtesy as an explanation for not wanting to talk about his contract on the radio —  for ratings and attention. And he’s mad why, exactly? Because Fred Toettcher misread the situation as Brady sending an email to the station unprovoked? Really? Dennis had no business leaking the correspondence to begin with. DISCRETION, pal. DISCRETION.

And yeah, Toettcher’s take was equally obtuse. As I wrote yesterday: Anyone in the media who actually believes that NFL teams are sitting down at the bargaining table and suggesting to agents that Tom Brady’s team-friendly extension should be a universal standard is out of their mind. Period.

On Ordway’s last show you wrote“Media criticism often becomes problematic. We purvey analysis of other people’s, uh, analysis”… Do you mean how you write a blog about what other media people say about sports? Expand. - Dan

I’ll answer Dan’s question by being introspective for a minute here. Good media criticism — the type Bruce Allen has churned out in this space for over a decade — is tough. Long story long: I’m objective with myself and write what I think — not what you want to read and certainly not in any attempt to fulfill a preemptive narrative. (I leave that stuff to the “insiders” and “experts.”)

That said, I do have immense respect for the radio and television personas I write about, just as they (most likely) have respect for the athletes they rip. As a columnist, I’m afforded the luxury of time and insurance against any spontaneous mishaps. Once I hit publish it’s Out There, but until then, I have a safeguard and the ability to craft. However, their exposure to the whims of internal thoughts — good and bad — never lets up.

Now, do I have authority to rule and judge on media matters? I don’t know. I have a Masters degree in journalism and I’ve covered the locker rooms of each of The Big Four sports teams in Boston. I get the dynamics, but does that make me an expert? Hardly. But here’s the kicker: The aspiration of objectivity in sports media, as a whole, is dead. I’ve posed the question numerous times to reporters in the city, and the best explanation given was, as a reporter, “You root for the story.” That rationale becomes problematic awfully fast.

It truly is pathetic to see so few people in the media here that can talk about basketball. -Ryan

Lou Merloni, Donny Marshall, and Gary Tanguay didn’t do themselves any favors during the NBA trade deadline. There is no way around this. The proposed Paul Pierce trade that would’ve hauled in Marshon Brooks (at this juncture, a borderline bench guy), Mr. Kardashian (a piece), and a draft pick (who knows) was blasted by basketball writers across the nation. An utter joke.

Yet local personalities supported the deal. Why? BECAUSE BLOW THAT SUCKER UP, THAT’S WHY!

(Another reason could be because the media needs to write columns, fill air time, and tape daily shows TELLING US HOW IT IS. So remember, dear readers, they root for the story.)

Seeing how this is a great case study on sports media, let’s dip our toes into the water. The “blow it up” notion is a perfectly reasonable take to have in regards to the Celtics. But the “why” isn’t nearly as important as the “how.” Give me an actionable plan, don’t just talk in generalities. When I asked Tanguay what the exact steps Danny Ainge should’ve taken were on Twitter, all he said was “One step at a time.”

He answered with a fucking cliché. Not shocking — check out this video of Gare-Bear assessing Jeff Green’s recent improvement. Tanguay, as usual, talks in tropes, “He had courage. He couldn’t do this two months ago.” That’s bullshit analysis. Green didn’t go to Iraq, he didn’t take a “Magic Clutch Pill,” his personality didn’t change. None of that. He simply is channeling skill (some of which partially eroded from the fact that he was OUT OF BASKETBALL FOR A YEAR; and other portions of  new skill that he’s developed.)

It’s telling that Tommy Heinsohn (who may or may not think it’s 1972 at times), Brian Scalabrine (a complete novice to broadcast media), and Cedric Maxwell (a great player in the ’80s, but I doubt he’s scouring Basketball Reference for trends on the regular) are the best NBA analysts in the city. On another note, the beat writers and select columnists in the city are good.

(Pro Tip: If you want real hardcore stuff, your best bet is to check out Zach Lowe over at Grantland or one of the million talented NBA bloggers … Perhaps someone like Michael Pina, who writes for like 18 different ESPN TrueHoop affiliates.  These guys — and others — are junkies; the type of writers who aren’t dedicated to one team, and thus can take the time to use tape and still-frames to explain how things transpire on the hardwood.)

One person I think WEEI should look into trying to hire is Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He’s from here and would bring good NBA insight. -RG via Twitter

I like this. Mannix on the midday would be intriguing and would instantly give ‘EEI the advantage. He is likable, and , heck, my friends and I could crush a 30-rack of Natural Ice (because we’re classy) and still make more sense than “Gresh and Zo” talking NBA. Plus, Merloni could more than carry the MLB talk.

While I’d admit to not being a regular reader, I do find that every time I read one of these, my main takeaway is that Ryan Hadfield sure is impressed with what Ryan Hadfield has to say. What exactly is the point of injecting yourself in the first part of the story? Because you thought someone was going to talk about you, then didn’t? Oh, well that’s worth keeping in there. - JC

Come on, JC! You don’t have to be a regular reader to know that I’m just as egotistical as the mediots I write about. I incessantly wrestle with the idea that Sir Paul McCartney wrote “Maybe I’m Amazed” not about a woman, love or anything else, but ABOUT ME BECAUSE I’M AMAZING (even though I wasn’t born yet … he had to know I was coming, right?). AND GET THIS — sometimes, while brushing my teeth I stop, just for a second, look in the mirror and say, “HEY YOU! YOU’RE SO FUCKING AWESOME!”

Hey Ryan, I’m a big fan of Bruce Allen and BSMW and glad to see another regular column from you. I’m ready to flip the dial back to EEI at 2p. Felger and Mazz are awful and I look forward to the new Mike and Mike!! I don’t get what Felger is up to? I thought he was bucking for a national show but maybe he likes being omnipresent here locally. Tony is AWFUL. I thought TSH would be better off trying to woo Minihane to take Tonys spot and get someone to challenge Felger’s blatant contrived arguments from this pompous ass. What can we do? Next up the “Lets get Tanguay off the air” rant!! Thanks for your time, Mark

Thanks, Mark. I get lots of emails about Michael Felger and Kirk Minihane. Look, you have to like someone and I enjoy both on different levels. It’s not like either is Greggggg Doyel or Skip Bayless. For my money, each is compelling — meaning they have something to say, and it’s generally interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, I get the vitriol. It’s becoming clearer by the day that Felger is incredibly agenda-driven and reaches for the low hanging fruit far too often. When you’re on the radio and television for 20 hours a day, that will happen. Exposure, more than anything else, may burn him in the end, and he could flame out just like Rex Ryan in New York (OH HEY IRONY: Felgy spent the better part of 2009-10 extolling the Jets — not the Patriots — for being the “model organization” going forward. Hmph.).

On the other hand, Minihane is more acerbic than Felger (mind you, no easy feat), and that will probably get him into trouble in the future, but he’s a smart dude, who shows diplomacy when necessary (Felger’s contrition comes off too facetious. It’s tough to take him seriously.) To his credit, Minihane is refreshingly adept at using statistics to support his takes and less pompous than others in the media. 

Bottom line? Neither backs down. And that’s grating to many, but if I’m being honest with you, I do listen to both guys … that says something.

Will the NFL combine/Te’o situation end up being the downfall of D&C? If anything it’s shining a light on Callahan’s blatant unapologetic homophobia and you’d have to think he’s close to talking himself right off the air. – Jim

I admit I’m not totally sure, but I believe you’re referring to Gerry Callahan saying something to the effect of, “No NFL team wants a player who is going to be the trailblazer for the gay community and come out.” I remember Minihane steering the duo away from the conversation. But again, I’m not sure if he had a larger point that I missed (I started writing my column shortly after and had to turn the radio off), but that’s a fine line to walk.

Either way, the downfall of “Dennis and Callahan” happened the moment “Toucher and Rich” usurped them in the ratings. Leading up to the launch of “The Sports Hub,” Callahan had made incredibly arrogant remarks about how he hadn’t heard of his new competition, and went as far as to sarcastically say he was “hiding under his desk” because he was scared. No real coming back from that.

It looks like I’ll be in the minority here, but I thought Whitlock’s column was pretty good (and I usually do). I’ll admit his writing is at the least an acquired taste, because his bombastic humor (such as being the self-appointed arbiter of race in sports) can be a little obnoxious. But he covered football for years as a reporter, so I think he does have some knowledge about closeted gays in the league, and he certainly has knowledge of how homophobic an NFL locker room is. Jason’s comments on Teo’s performance in the championship game are pure speculation, but I agree with his main point: Goodell can use his position as Commissioner as a kind of a bully pulpit to hold the NFL to broader standards in society. He certainly has the power to start changing the culture in that league, particularly by working with the players’ association. – Jim

For whatever reason, Whitlock isn’t a must read for me. I’m not saying he sucks, or anything. Obviously, he is doing something right. It’s just, to me, he looks for the cross-section of sports and culture more than anyone else (probably to secure that Pulitzer he’ll never get). Sometimes it’s warranted, but the style can get preachy and formulaic.

In this case, the Te’o column felt forced. Conflating the girlfriend hoax/scandal with presumed homophobia in the NFL was irresponsible. Yes, the league should take proactive steps to figure out its (perceived) issues with homophobia, but using Te’o as a conduit to broach the issue feels unfair to the Catfishee.

Like I previously wrote, under this course of action the headline would read: “NEW NFL PRESS RELEASE — GOODELL TO PLAYERS: FAKE INTERNET GIRLFRIENDS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!!! ALSO, IF YOU’RE GAY WE’RE TOTALLY COOL WITH IT!” 

(Let’s not disregard Whitlock’s word choice in the column, either …”Free the gays” ????? What was that?)

I read Deadspin each day and enjoy what they provide, but, it seems that in light of the Te’o story that we’re holding them up as the “model” or “future”, while they are so far from it. – BSMFAN

Deadspin makes it abundantly clear that they classify themselves as a tabloid — the whole nine yards — replete with sophomoric (read: smut) content. Now, occasionally, Deadspin produces a Te’o-esq feature.  And that’s great. But the simple model is as follows: The garbage pays for the investigative stuff. That’s how it works. Subsequently, at its core, Deadspin will never be the “future” … just part of the future (as it’s currently part of the present). I suppose the scary takeaway is that, these days, Deadspin exposes the mainstream outlets for shooting for the moon and more often landing in the mud … as opposed to the stars.

(By the way: BSMFAN is referring to my remarks about the editor of Deadspin, Tommy Craggs’, Q&A with the National Sports Journalism Center.  It’s fantastic, and if you’re a media/journalism addict, like myself, I highly recommend taking 10 minutes to pick through it.)

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

On that note, as always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter II

Welcome to the Monthly Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, and comments from your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

The last 72 hours have been pretty hectic in this space, so I decided to roll the monthly mailbag out a week early. But before I fire up some commentary, let’s take step back. Bruce Allen has provided end-to-end coverage, and I chimed in myself to answer a few pressing questions in the immediate aftermath. As the kids say in the Twitterverse, “In Case You Missed It” … here’s a rundown of BSMW’s coverage on Glenn Ordway‘s (forced) exodus:

Chad Finn Reports WEEI To Replace Glenn Ordway With Mike Salk

Ordway Confirms Exit On The Air Today

WEEI Statement on Glenn Ordway

Ordway Links

Sports Media Musings: Everything Glenn Ordway

An Appreciation of Glenn Ordway

OK — let’s get to your comments and questions.

***

I enjoyed the background info you provided. I am sorry to see Glen Ordway go but I watch “Felger and Mazz” more often.  I don’t like the yelling and insults aimed at casual sports fans ( i.e. women) that passes for fun on these talk shows,but I’m a long time Red Sox fan so I tune in to hear the latest news.

- Susan

I don’t think misogynist attitudes as a whole are being remedied here. Ordway is pretty harmless, and that’s a problem that goes well beyond the realm of sports talk radio. Though, evidently, WEEI is launching an all ladies show on weekends, featuring Jenn Royle as the primary host with a rotating cast of guests. Also, Chad Finn’s piece in the Boston Globe this morning included the tidbit that WEEI is heavily pursuing Comcast SportsNet reporter and “Quick Slants” personality, Mary Paoletti. Interesting shakeup, and a great opportunity for Paoletti, who is one of the more endearing personalities in the market.

WEEI let its success go to its head and became arrogant and crappy to the audience. I’m glad they are clearing house over there…arrogant hateful jerks. I can hear the Spors Hub going the same way now. Most of them are becoming arrogant and crappy to the audience. Next up will be loooooong monologues from the hosts on all things NON-sports related. The Sports Hub will eventually fall as WEEI rises….this cycle will go on and on.

- Marcellius

The hubris that permeated WEEI is something I don’t think we’ll ever see again. They thought their hold on the market was impenetrable, and honestly believed their “recipe” — the bloated contracts, celebrity callers, and a consistent side of condescending dialect — was acceptable, because there was no challenger. Well, though he’ll never admit it, these days, Gerry Callahan is definitely hiding under his desk.

Listen, success naturally breeds this line of thinking; but success also breeds contempt and complacency. And I’d caution a few personalities over at The Sports Hub check their own egos, specifically the midday hosts, instead of celebrating Ordway’s precipitous fall.

And remember, WEEI is still deep — like Denver Nuggets deep — and The Sports Hub is devoid of a reliable fill-in personality save for, maybe, Rich Keefe. EEI’ has  Kirk Minihane, a rising star on the radio, whose leverage is growing by the nano-second. The dude can write, too; in my opinion, he’s the best columnist in the city. And it’s not even close.

Overall, the dot com side of the business lost Paul Flannery to SB Nation this year, but still includes Minihane, Alex Speier, Chris Price, and Rob Bradford. All of those writers use advanced statistics to, you know, back up their arguments. And it’s telling that two out of the three “Sports Tonight” segments Thursday night featured Michael Felger sparring with two WEEI.com personalities (Speier and Minihane).  So, while WEEI is in a bad place, things may not be as despondent as they appear. (Full disclosure: I used to write for WEEI.com)

Great tribute and history here. Even if you weren’t a fan, it’s always nice to appreciate “how things came to be”.

- bsmfan

@bruceallen‘s rumination on Glenn Ordway’s place in Boston sports media history is respectful and extremely well done.

- Chad Finn, via Twitter

I’d say our coverage culminated with Bruce’s retrospective look at Ordway’s career. It’s an outstanding piece that even Ordway himself probably appreciates. He isn’t Tim Thomas. His legacy is cut and dry: Over time, he’ll be credited for his managerial decisions, such as orchestrating WEEI’s lineup in the mid-90s, and, more specifically, the round-table format he introduced during his own program, “The Big Show.”

That’s underselling it though, right?

As I wrote yesterday, eliminating Ordway’s voice, something that’s been embedded in Boston sports for over two decades, is jarring. It was never going to feel right. Remarkably, the hyperbolic media reaction is simultaneously both overstated and appropriate (does that make sense?). For the majority of his run, Ordway was the voice reacting to whatever was happening in Boston sports (and there was a lot happening). But, as we would later find out, this was largely due to the lack of options, and not Ordway’s own talent. In short, it’s not that we didn’t know any better; it’s that we had no other choice.

Still, Ordway was here, in our lives, talking four hours a day; suddenly, he’s gone. Now what?

Will I miss him? Personally no, not really. It’s as simple as this: I don’t think Ordway was particularly compelling anymore; candidly speaking, I’m still not sure he ever was. I never remember saying, “Hmm. I never thought of it that way” or having an epiphany during his show. If he was, well, he’d still have a job. That’s the truth.

Of course, as we have all learned, these sports talk show guys never die, they just do a little time on the ranch and resurface later on. I expect the same with Ordway.

- Dean Harrington 

I remember writing about how Dale Arnold fared well after his removal from the “Dale and Holley” show. Arnold was doing more television appearances, both on Comcast SportsNet New England and NESN, still doing fill-in spots at WEEI, and eventually landed a job hosting the Bruins pre and post-game show on NESN. Not bad. Ordway isn’t dead. And while I don’t foresee a career revitalization …  I’m not ruling it out, either.  Internet radio? A podcast? Maybe another run at a different station? It’s all in play.

(Side Note: If you have time, check out Will Leitch‘s piece on sports podcasts over at Sports On Earth.)

I think Michael Jordan is slipping a bit. He thinks Kobe has had a better career so far than LeBron?

- Fred Smerlas, via Twitter

Oh, I don’t know, and I’m just spit-balling here, but it could have something to do with the five rings.

(So, uh, remember that legacy I talked about — I won’t miss some of the personalities Ordway continually gave airtime to.)

I hope that Mike Salk brings something to the table and can quickly develop some chemistry with Holley as I don’t want to resort to listening to national sports radio and as JR states, Felger and Mazz are unlistenable.

- Josh Mar

As far as Mike Salk goes, I don’t know anything about him, but I’ll listen to find out — and that’s more than I can say about the current parliamence over at WEEI.

Here’s where I have a few problems, though. It’s a tough business — I get the “Felger and Mazz” hate (trust me, I really do. I’ve run a parody in my column making fun of their interactions, for crying out loud!). Even though I deride them as much as the next guy, I’ve to terms with what they are. I mean, you have to like someone, right? I don’t buy the spin, but, to me, “Felger and Mazz” is an entertaining program.

Sure, perhaps, Felger is too caustic and acerbic, while Tony Massarotti defers almost every chance he gets, and comes off as too self-depreciating at times. But, regardless, I listen. And that says something. I know I get a lot of crap for this, but I still say if there is ever a fictional spin off of Pardon the Interruption, entitled, PTI: Cities, I’m going with Felger to represent Boston.

Look at the bright side, even Felger detractors have to take solace that he’s not Skip Bayless, who, in typical Bayless-fashion, actually accused LeBron James of baiting fans into believing he was going to do the Slam Dunk Contest for attention. Doing something for attention??? That’s rich, coming from a dude like Bayless. I’m not sure what else to say here, but something about stones, glass houses, pots, and kettles.

With that, I’ll close things out here … Thanks for reading and hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__ or email ([email protected]).

Sports Media Musings: The Mailbag, Chapter I

Welcome to the Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, and (mostly) made up emails from your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at [email protected], hit me up on Twitter, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.

“TROLLING … ON A JET PLANE … I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’LL BE BACK AGAIN!!!”

[email protected]

Unlike last year, Eric Wilbur, who essentially admitted to Kirk Minihane that he writes for page views and reaction and doesn’t think facts are imperative in Internet columns, actually wasn’t the biggest troll following the Patriots loss to the Ravens. That honor goes to Chuck Culpepper on SportsOnEarth (which, aside from this abortion, is a great site you should all check out. Mike Tanier is the best national columnist covering the NFL, and it’s not even close.). Culpeepper’s piece though? Just awful.

“I’m sitting outside Guest Street, biding my time (a la Rajon Rondo), debating if I want to go in there. It’s cold, 5:40 am, and I just want to know … WHY WON’T THEY ACKNOWLEDGE ME? I EXIST.”

[email protected]

Hmm. I don’t know, Kev. I will say this: The web side of things is giving you a nice push and exposure with the Winter’s World podcast. Though, I’m not sure what the point of it is – just seems like more of the same dialect we hear everyday. I think The Brass over on Guest Street brought you in for your ESPN relationship, and if we’ve learned anything from the Sports Radio Wars, it’s that you’ll have plenty of time to make your mark. (Full Disclosure: I applied for the job, though was never a serious candidate. Just felt worth mentioning.)

As far as John and Gerry not, you know, engaging you on-air – I wouldn’t worry about it. John Dennis associates himself with the likes of Dan Sileo, who is making news for being an idiot (again) – this time as a misogynist, guys! (Here’s where your mother says, “You are the company you keep.”)

Another thing to note: we’re about to hit a dry spell in sports – the Celtics and Bruins are entering midseason (well not so much the B’s, but you get the point) –this is where I exclusively listen to shows, like “Toucher and Rich,” and read sites like Barstool Sports more than I usually do (I ripped on David Portnoy for Brady-baby-gate, which I stand by … But he’s also hilarious). More than any other time in the calendar year, I don’t need analysis as much as I just want to consume content from people that make me laugh and that I want to hang out with.

To me, that’s what WEEI lacks the most and is perhaps one of its bigger problems (and no, guys like Sileo aren’t the solution). Did they forget that sports are supposed to be fun? This market will always be big enough for two radio stations, but no one I know under the age of 40 listens to WEEI, and that 18-49 demographic that The Sports Hub instantly commandeered in 2009, is slowly becoming the coveted 25-54 demographic.

“Joe Buck is fucking terrible – a smug, smarmy twat.”

-Tyler

Ahh, yes. That’s a comment from my Championship Sunday media roundup, where I said Buck has done well to change his monotone voice to a higher pitch of excitement in big moments recently. Hell, I even went as far as to say I like Buck. Will Leitch does a better job defending Buck than I could in this space, but I’ll say this: As fans, so many times we complain about announcers; sometimes it’s warranted, other times it feels like we do it just because we can. The Internet culture doesn’t help. And I’m not sure if we’re looking to distract ourselves or to kill time, but Buck is America’s punching bag, partly because he’s omnipresent. Regardless, I’m certain Fox could do worse (Thom Brennaman, anyone?)

Speaking of announcers …

“STOP PUMPING THE CROWD NOISE, JUST STOP.”

[email protected]

What was that last night? In case you skipped out on the Celtics-Knicks match-up, Marv Albert went on a rant of sorts during the second quarter, claiming the folks at TD Garden incessantly pump crowd noise into the arena. Albert tried goading Steve Kerr, who seemed awfully reluctant to take part in the conversation, to agree. Kerr passed.

Look, I attended every Celtics game last season while covering the team, and could never tell if there was any artificial crowd noise pumped through the speakers. Keep in mind, I wasn’t exactly listening for it, either. I’m not sure it matters. This is the same crowd that started chanting “Ugly Sister” to Lamar Odom (in reference to Odom’s wife, Khloé Kardashian) during a Mavericks game last season. It’s a great fan base; and, frankly speaking, with the amount of times the Celtics have no showed this year, why should the team expect the crowd to bring the intensity? I don’t blame them.

“I’m free!”

[email protected]

Despite Albert’s ornery outburst, Thursday was a win for Turner Sports. News broke that Rachael Nichols is leaving ESPN for CNN/Turner. The decision is logical for both Turner and Nichols, and a direct hit to the WorldWide leader. She is a pro’s pro, who has had successful runs at The Washington Post and the four letter network. Look for her profile to substantially increase (there are already discussions of developing a “Real Sports”-esq show based around Nichols). Interesting times for CNN/Turner, who just abandoned their relationship with Sports Illustrated (a curious move) to join forces with the king of keywords, search engine optimization, and pageviews … the Bleacher Report.

As far as ESPN goes …

“Great to have you back Ryan. And, Rob Parker thinks this column is too ‘cornball’.”

-bsmfan

Oh, “First Take.” I … just … oh, fuck it.

Moving on.

“This mailbag is terrible, because you’re terrible! GOD, Boston is awful.”

[email protected]

Drew Magary is a top-5 read for me right now. He’s great, and he knows it. He writes like Bill Simmons used to write, which is ironic, since he constantly rips on the Sports Guy. You are what you hate, I suppose.

As far as The Sports Guy goes, it’s safe to say Simmons has lost a bit of his fastball over the years. His initial appeal was that he was an average guy, talking about sports the way we talk about sports; meanwhile, in the last month, he’s led two columns with anecdotal stories that were relevant to him and only him. One was how his version of the mailbag originated (I personally enjoyed this), and the other was how he had to type a column without an ‘S’ key or something.

(OK, it may not have been the ‘S’ key. I forget. But he was complaining about a shoddy computer warranty, like he couldn’t just expense a new laptop anyway … Are times really that tough over at Bristol?)

Don’t get me wrong, I still read his columns and listen to every one of his podcasts. He’ll always be one of my favorite writers – and was my inspiration to start writing. To top it off, his story will be taught in journalism classes forever. But he lives in a different world now, and the component he relied most on in his writing — being relatable — is dissipating.

“Well written article Ryan and I understand you point. However, I do feel there are exceptions. Granted I was very young when this happened, but from what I’ve heard, I don’t remember hearing people defend Wilfredo Cordero for spousal abuse. Again, I was young, but from everything I remember, he was outcast and people wanted his head. Maybe “we” as fans, only feel protective of that “star player” who must rise to X status level before getting the protective cloak around their shoulders. Obviously Cordero never has that cache.”

-Winning_Again

The Obstructed View columns will, eventually, get me into trouble. The BSMW community frequently comes up with smart, insightful takes, so when I talked to Bruce about coming back, I told him that I wanted to do something to challenge the readership. It is a work in progress, but a feature I really wanted to pursue. In a vacuum, each column is meant to coerce discussion in a genuine and creative way. By no means am I trying to play devil’s advocate; in fact, I hope to do the opposite by removing bias and filters, and (ultimately) explore How We Think About Sports. I’m happy it appears to have worked here.

Anyway, from my vantage point, both Kobe Bryant‘s and Ray Lewis‘ personal situations are sticky, and I would classify neither as a “good” person. Still, despite the snark and suspicion, Lewis falls within the gray area discussed in the column. I absolutely think Lewis is revered in Boston if he plays for the Patriots, instead of a rival. Same goes for Kobe — whose rape victim had more than a few holes in her story, which was sort of the point of the column.

*Side note: Whenever Kobe’s rape case gets brought up, I always laugh about the following line of questioning.

Via The Smoking Gun:

Detective Loya: So you like to cum in your partner’s face?

Kobe Bryant: That’s my thing, not always, so I stopped. Jesus Christ man.

That’s his thing, guys. Priceless.

Anyway, to reiterate, teams have to be successful for the “Our Guys” theory to work, but I’m with you — I was young, too, and I remember Will Cordero‘s case being cut and dry, eliminating him from this discussion. Good call.

I am going to have the biggest smile on my face when I see Ray doing his dance next Sunday, and what makes it great is knowing that you Boston bitches hate it!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SUCK IT BITCH YOU LOST!!!JOE FLACCO HAS OUTPLAYED BRADY IN THE 3 STRAIGHT GAMES!!!!!!   AND LEARN HOW TO TALK PROPER WITH YOUR STUPID ACCENTS LOL       YOU MAD BRO?!?!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA   RAY LEWIS IS GOING BACK TO THE SUPERBOWL….LIVE WITH IT!!!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

-Chris

So that same great community I just waxed poetic about? Chris, clearly, is not part of it. Learn how to “talk proper,” guys. Wait, or is it “proper talk?” I just consulted Google, and the results show, “Properly Talk.” Who would’ve thought!

“Bruce, I don’t think you allowing these guests posts is doing your site any favors. I’m not sure why I should care about this writer’s opinion”

-Anonymous Commentator

Pulled that from my first column here. Do people long for the days of George Cain? I know I do. I really do.

“I met a girl on Tinder, asked how many push ups she could do, and now I’m in love. We haven’t actually met. She is wearing a Canton High School hoodie in her profile picture, but she says she is 21. Should I be concerned?”

-No one ever.

Covered the media aspect of this story last week, but the Manti Te’o story is so strange. I don’t know what to think, why I should think it, and if I should really care. I get the feeling the story has run its course no matter what the outcome. And that’s probably a good thing, but wow … 2013, everyone! Welcome.