As many of you know, there have been changes at the Boston Globe recently. Sports Editor Don Skwar left the paper to take a job with ESPN. After a search of several weeks, Globe Assistant sports editor Joe Sullivan was promoted to take Skwar’s place. It was revealed this week that Columnist Michael Holley is leaving the paper for the second time, this time to pursue an opportunity on TV.
Thus new editor Sullivan has his first chance to put his stamp on the sports section. It’s a crucial time for the young administration. The once-proud section has fallen hard in recent years and is showing serious signs of age. Their best columnist, Bob Ryan is more often to be found on the airwaves of ESPN than in the pages of the Globe these days. Jackie MacMullan is still often times a “must read”, but her strength, which is the Celtics and the NBA is way down on the list these days. Dan Shaughnessy is a one-trick pony, seemingly only interested in making a buck off the “curse” in some way.
That’s it. Who will be the fourth to this group? Will Sullivan decide to reward a long time Globe writer, as he was similarly rewarded? Will he tab a young up and comer? Will he make a “safe” hire of a known minority candidate? (That’s a whole can of worms right there…since it is Holley that is leaving, is this position the “designated minority” spot? If Shaughnessy were leaving would they be looking for another middle aged white guy with a cottage industry on the side that permeates [No pun intended] all his columns? If it was MacMullan would all female columnists around the country be on the list?)
Or will Sullivan search the country for the perfect fit…a writer who is respected, talented and who can come into town and perhaps be free of agenda and give Boston sports fans a perspective they’re not used to? (Stop laughing)
To assist with the process, I’ve come up with the definitive list of candidates along with their odds of getting the job, and a comment about them. Some serious, some obscure, and some for fun. Let’s just make it clear just because a candidate is listed it doesn’t mean I think they’re any good. I’m just throwing names out there in some cases. (Warning, I also know nothing about odds-making, I’m just attaching a number.)
Ron Borges (15-1) – Borges has spent the last few years moonlighting over at MSNBC.com, where he’s had the chance to write about sports other than football and boxing. Mixed results. His most famous column over there was about Lance Armstrong and how Borges didn’t believe he was an athlete.
Kevin Paul Dupont (20-1) – He is a nationally known and honored hockey writer who occasionally will chime in on the Red Sox. He has his stand-by punch lines and agendas all in order.
Nick Cafardo (20-1) – Nick has shown versatility in having been the beat writer for both the Red Sox and Patriots in recent years. He is at heart a reporter though, relying on quotes from players and team releases to make up his articles. He cozies up to players, something he’d likely not be able to do in the role of a columnist.
Peter May (350-1) – Too entrenched in the NBA and reminding the Celtics that they should’ve drafted Tony Parker as he said they should have.
Michael Smith (12-1) – Could the paper try to rush Smith into the role of columnist? He’s shown his knowledge of sports while he was a regular on the late “McDonough Group” radio show on WWZN. He is irrefutably the rising star of the Globe sports section. Will he be a columnist someday? Yes. Is now the time? I think it would be a mistake to push him. A mistake that they just might make, however.
Charlie Pierce 25-1 – Already in house, working for the Globe Sunday Magazine. Wouldn’t be a huge splash to have him come the paper, but it’s a possibility for sure. Used to write for the Herald, don’t know if that is a plus or minus for Charles.
Eric Wilbur (750-1) – Who? Wilbur writes a number of “blogs” for Boston.com probably knows more sports than most of his colleagues at the Globe and could be considered a long-shot candidate.
Ty Burr (15000-1) – Hey why not? Sports is entertainment, right?
Chad Finn (7500-1) – Again, who? Finn used to be a columnist for the Concord Monitor in NH, and drew praise for his work. Nowadays Finn toils in the Globe sports copy department. (Where Bill Griffith worked for many years before rising to his current post.)
Michael Holley 100-1 – Well, he did leave and come back once already…
Howard Bryant (20-1) – Bryant’s name has been tossed around in media circles. He seems to be the trendy pick. Is it just because he’s African-American? Does “prevailing wisdom” dictate that since Holley is leaving that he must be replaced with another minority? I like Howard, and enjoy his writing. I don’t see him making the move over to the Globe though.
Bill Simmons (20-1) – Used to be a local guy, anyway. Had a wildly popular local sports web site and parlayed that into a gig for ESPN.com and the Jimmy Kimmel Show on ABC. Though he professes his devotion to the show, if the Globe came calling, I think it’d be hard for him to pass up. If he could capture the magic of the old BSG days, this would be a slam-dunk for the Globe, and the idea of Simmons and Shaughnessy working in adjoining cubes should be enough to make anyone smile.
Gerry Callahan (10-1) – This would be a big splash by the Globe. The question is if Callahan has loyalty to the Herald. He’d have to do a few more columns than he currently does in order to make a Globe investment worth it. Still, it would be a big move by them.
Tom Curran (25-1) – Has been almost strictly a football guy up to this point, but Curran could be an interesting choice. Plus, by taking him from the Journal, they would weaken their football competition significantly. Curran started in the newspaper business at the very bottom and worked his way up. He will be a columnist at some point in his career.
Mike Reiss (50-1) – Another interesting candidate. He’s mostly covered football, but has done columns on a number of topics for the MetroWest Daily News. Plus, his father, Roy Reiss already has a connection to the Globe, working as the JobSource Sales manager.
Christopher Price (1500-1) – Editor and only full-time writer for the Boston Metro. Price knows all his sports but likely won’t be considered.
Jim Donaldson (1000-1) – Sorry, Dan Shaughnessy is already working for the Globe.
Michael Gee (1,000,000 -1) (Giggles)
Buddy Thomas (Infinity-1) – Keep rooting for those Colts, Buddy.
Jason Whitlock (25-1) – I’m not a huge fan, but the columnist from the Kansas City Star seems to fit the profile of what the Globe might be looking for. An outsider, younger than any of their current columnists, an African-American and nationally known for the columns he does on the side for ESPN.com. The former Ball State offensive lineman also hosts a daily afternoon sports radio show.
Adrian Wojnarowski (75-1) – Wouldn’t be a bad choice at all. Has talent, sports knowledge and is glib enough to be a regular on TV and Radio. The Globe has to be a step up from the Bergen Record, right?
Bernie Miklasz (100-1) – Has been a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 1989. Being in a baseball town similar to Boston, he might be able to bring an interesting perspective in contrasting the two towns. He’s also done plenty of columns on the Blues and Rams.
J.A. Adande (1500-1) – Another younger, minority candidate. Adande has been at the Los Angeles Times as a columnist since 1997.
Tony Kornheiser (500-1) – Could the Globe throw enough money at him to make him come to Boston? I doubt it. It would be nice though. He’d sell papers.
Kevin Blackistone (750-1) – Actually started his career with the Globe as a city side reporter. That’s about the only thing he has going for him. Has been a sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News since 1991.
Carol Slezak (1000-1) – Columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, she has shown the ability to cover all sports. Has been accused of being a bit of a whiner in her columns by readers, but then again, she would fit right in here in Boston.
Woody Paige (10,000-1) – Will never happen, thank goodness, but it would be fun to harass Woody endlessly. He got a taste of Boston fans after his ridicule of the Patriots last season, and I think he has no stomach to battle Boston fans everyday.
Stephen A. Smith (2500-1) – Again, not going to happen. He’s too intent on becoming a national TV star to be hopping from Philly to Boston. Would definitely stir things up though.
Skip Bayless (5000-1) – Gawd, no. Although if asked, I’m sure Bayless would come here. How many papers has this guy written for, anyway?
So there you have it. The field broken down, analyzed and dissected. If you’ve got ideas or suggestions send them in. Tell me why the person should be the next Globe columnist. Perhaps I can make a collection of them to publish here and help out Joe Sullivan in his search.