As a mild diversion during the bye-week, I turn to the e-mailbag, and pull out this submission from Kevin Henkin, who lays out some of the unwritten rules to being a Boston sports media member. Feel free to send in your own submissions. They could be strung together and featured in a future side article. Onto Kevin’s e-mail:
Imagine you are an out of town sports media figure who is just coming to Boston. Considering all of the unwritten rules that seem to apply to Boston sports coverage, I figured I’d write a few of them down as a future resource:
Rule #1) At all times, wildly overreact to losing streaks of any kind. Make sure to bring up every past failure of the team as a comparison and assume that history is repeating itself. Portray the coaches as Forest Gump-like buffoons and point out how well the team would be doing if they had only listened to your expert advice in the first place.
Rule #2) If you bombed on your pre-season predictions, cling to the few that were accurate and remind everyone how right you were. Otherwise, use league parity, lazy players, and injuries as excuses or pretend that the other predictions were never made. If a local team starts off well that you had predicted to fail, lay low and wait until their first losing streak, then gloat and berate anyone who had been optimistic about the team.
Rule #3) If someone else breaks a controversial story, make sure you pile it on with a lynch mob mentality. The story must be beaten into the ground for at least four days. For extra effect, use especially insulting terms like “piece of junk” and “duplicitous pond scum”, which will guarantee extra talk radio and Sunday night sports final appearances. When players complain about the hostile media environment in Boston, you must ridicule them as thin-skinned and weak and then lobby the GM to trade or release them.
Rule #4) When an athlete leaves town and does well with their new team, make sure you exaggerate their new accomplishments and point out how well the local team would be doing if they still had that player. Develop a catch-phrase for this situation and glibly recite it whenever showing highlights of the player. Assert that the player is a shoe-in for the MVP of the league and that their new team will undoubtedly win the championship, most likely beating their Boston counterpart on the way. On rare occasions, this works with coaches as well. Also, the drama and hyperbole must automatically be doubled if a New York team is involved.
Rule #5) Bad trades are never forgiven under any circumstances and must be brought up any time that player is prominently involved in a local game or playoff appearance. Even if the trade was blessed by the media at the time, only hindsight vision is applicable and the trade should be bashed based on how it turned out years down the road rather than on circumstances when the trade was made.
Rule #6) If a local player does not like you; be sure to use your media standing as a way to get even. Bash the player personally, calling him silly nicknames and insulting his personal life. Gloat when they do not play well. Also, be sure to ignore any acts of charity and community involvement that the player is involved in. If they are traded, be sure to revisit your grudge whenever they return to town with another team (unless Rule #4 applies, then do not acknowledge the player’s success in any way). If anyone points out your vendetta, defend yourself by saying that you want the Boston sports fans to be aware of this player’s weaknesses and cannot be bullied by negative players because of your integrity.