BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Play-by-Play Announcer

Today we’re kicking off the new week with a look at the play-by-play announcers of the Boston sports teams. This group contains some veterans who have seen multiple championships for the Patriots and Celtics and of course the 2004 Red Sox World Series championship. They’ve had experience calling some huge games at the highest level. Of them, who rates as the best and worst in the eyes of the fans?

Here’s how our voting turned out:

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Veteran announcer Gil Santos of the Patriots Radio Network gets the nod in the category, pulling in 340 votes for 26% of the total. Santos has seen it all with the Patriots, from the darkest points in franchise history to the glories of Super Bowl Championships. Santos has great “pipes” and his call of Adam Vinatieri’s game winning kick in Super Bowl 36 still gives me shivers whenever I hear it. He may miss things here and there, but he is still a pleasure to listen to whenever he calls a game.

I was a little surprised at Don Orsillo’s second place finish. (274, 21%) He’s a likable guy, but doesn’t do much for me as a play-by-play guy, though he’s improved greatly from his early days on the job. He’s still learning to call the big moments with the proper emotion and emphasis, but his pitch by pitch calls are generally solid.

My vote would’ve gone to the third place finisher, Mike Gorman of the FSN Celtics broadcasts. (228, 17%) Gorman just finished up his 25th season calling Celtics games on the network with Tom Heinsohn, and I believe the comments by the reader below describe Gorman very well. He’s a class act all the way as well.

Reader Comments: Gorman gets my vote. He's just an outstanding professional, and always has been. "GOT IT!!!!" He has a perfect understanding of appropriate announcing emotion. His tendency to rein Tommy in the last few years when it is called for has also earned him points with me…. I went with Grande as best announcer in a strong field of contenders. I'm an extremely casual NBA fan, but Grande (and Maxwell) do a great job of presenting the game. There's just enough conversation to fill in the slow parts of the game, but their tangents never take away from the action that's taking place…. I went with the wildly underrated Dave Goucher for best. He brings listeners the action—in a tough sport to call on the radio—in a professional and interesting way. He also has an excellent voice, knows the tempo of a game, and defers well to his analyst when necessary.

Here’s the results of the worst poll:

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No big surprise here. Jon Meterparel (sorry your name got spelled wrong in the poll, Jon) won this one going away with 419 votes that represented 32% of the total. Meterparel who called Revolution games back in the day, didn’t win over a whole lot of new fans with his calls of the Boston College Football team. He sparked a mini-controversy with the City of Boise after making comments about the city where BC accepted a postseason Bowl invitation. You can occasionally hear some of his screaming, mangled calls during WEEI segments, which really tell you all you need to hear about his talents. Another Boston College announcer came in second as Ted Sarandis and his passionate, though over-the-top calls have turned off some listeners. Sarandis will often speak out during his broadcasts against what he perceives as a lack of support for the BC hoop games and is borderline insulting to the Conte Forum crowds at times.

Reader Comments: "Yawn" Orsillo gets the nod. He's about a twentieth of the announcer that Sean McD is. I don't listen to BC football so I'm not going to go with Meter, and Sarandis makes me laugh more than half the comedians I see…. Worst is Trupiano. In the past few years Jerry has decided that HE is the show, not the action on the field. At points last year after Palmiero tested positive, Jerry would go on forever about the topic, to the point where even his partner seemed to have had enough. And one more piece of advice: When a fly ball is hit, LOOK AT THE OUTFIELDERS! If they are jogging instead of sprinting back, you can lose the “WAY BACK!!!” call—it's probably going to be caught…. Where to begin on how awful Calistaparel is. Is it the cracking, girlish voice when he gets excited? Is it the multitude of factual errors during the broadcast? Is it the fact that his analyst—a supposed "nonprofessional"— had to tell him, "Wait for the official to make the call, Jon." ? I think that you could literally pull someone from the stands who could do a better job. BC has a lot to answer for in their choice of radio "voices."

Tomorrow: “If BSMW was Full-Time…”

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BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Media Blog

Today we’re looking at a new category, media blogs. 2005 saw this genre really take off, not only with the local media outlets, but with media everywhere. It seems everyone has a blog these days, and they’re actually a great medium for sports tidbits and information that might be interesting, but doesn’t really fit into a game story or notebook. Since they can be published quickly and RSS feeds enable readers to be notified of new entries, it is also a great place to break news. The bare bones news information can first be published, with followups coming as more information becomes available.

Some old timers in the traditional media may have been slow to accept blogging as an addition to their regular workload, but now you might find the name of any Globe, Herald or Projo reporter covering a Patriots or Red Sox game appear in the corresponding blog for that team.

Here’s a look at the voting for the media blogs:

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This isn’t much of a surprise, since Reiss’ Pieces practically invented the formula here locally of a media person blogging news and items about a sports team. Mike Reiss started the blog on the Boston Herald website when he was with the Metro West Daily News, and when he was hired by the Globe, was able to move to blog along with him. This was probably the best hire of the Joe Sullivan era at the Globe, as the blog is by far the most popular media blog in the market as shown by the numbers. 679 people, or 48% of the total on this poll put Reiss’ Pieces down as the best in the category.

227 people, or 16% of the total felt that Boston Dirt Dogs was the best. 13% of people felt no media blog was worthy of the “best” moniker.

Reader Comments: Reiss’ Pieces gives out sweet tidbits like the original Reese Pieces…It's amazing what actually asking players relevant questions and printing the answers will get you—what a revolutionary concept.

Here’s the voting for the worst:

2005_worst_media_blog.png

Another Boston.com blog was named as worst blog.Style and content-wise, it could not be more polar-opposite in style than Reiss’ Pieces. While it came in second in the best voting, Boston Dirt Dogs got twice as many votes for worst media blog. BDD has been very popular with members of “Red Sox Nation” – not the hard core Red Sox fan, but the more casual observer who craves huge headlines and knee-jerk rants like they would have after a few beers. (“Manny is KILLING us!!!!”). In its earlier days, the site would provide some breaking news and inside information, but they’re gone away from that in favor of the more sensationalist approach to looking at the team. 476 people or 37% of the total felt that BDD was the worst media-backed blog out there. 36% of people felt that no one deserved the tag of worst.

Reader Comments: I knew that the "worst" vote was gonna be a real nail-biter….Every time we say that it's a media source beholden to the rules of journalism, they say it's just a blog. Every time we say it's just a blog, they say it's a media source worthy of the name. As Marge Schott would say, Boston Dirt Dog “had good ideas, they just went too far.”

Monday: Best/Worst Play-by-Play Announcers

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Football Beat Writer

Today we look at another talented group of writers, the beat writers who cover the New England Patriots. This is obviously a challenging gig, not only because of the success of the team and attention the franchise receives, but also because the Patriots communication policies force the writers to often times have to work harder to come up with stories and news on the team.

There seem to be two groups of media types around the team. Some old-school media types grumble at the lack of accessibility and pine for the old days when there was plenty of back-channel communication and easy stories just flowed from loose lips throughout the organization, from the locker room to the front office. The second group are a younger, more ambitious crew who know the rules and work within them just fine. They know they need to work a little harder to come up with the scoops and have to stay on top of things in order to get the chance to break a story. They know what type of questions to ask the coach and avoid the type of questions that will not get any sort of response from Bill Belichick.

Most of the latter group are in the category we’re considering today, the beat writers. They’re around the team on a daily basis and know what works.

Here’s who the voters felt was the best on the Patriots beat in 2005:

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In the 1397 votes cast, it came down to essentially three men. Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran. Reiss was the winner by a comfortable margin (486, 35%) What’s interesting is that Reiss isn’t technically the beat writer for the Globe. He does cover the team on a daily basis on his Reiss’ Pieces blog on Boston.com and blogs extensively on game days, providing updates and news as things happen. Reiss does do articles that appear in the Globe paper as well, but technically Jerome Solomon is the Globe’s beat writer for the Patriots. Felger (399, 29%) is also a prolific writer, coming up with stories and articles even during the offseason. Since he began his radio show with ESPN Boston, he has reduced his Patriots work slightly, as John Tomase is now the beat writer for that paper. However, Felger remains plugged into to the operation in Foxboro, and provides good insight on the team. Curran (264, 19%) takes third here, and it’s not even close after him. Curran is another hard working writer who has shown an understanding of the game and the way the Patriots operate, making him an in-demand guest on radio and television. Ironically when Felger left WEEI’s Big Show to do his own gig on ESPN Boston, it was Curran who benefited with more appearances on that program.

Even those those three were well ahead of the field, the others should not go unnoticed. There are a number of very good writers left among that list.

Reader Comments: Reiss gets the nod here. Best guy in the entire media in getting substantive real-time information to his readers…

Now, the voting for worst…

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Once again, the voters recognized the work of this group and elected “no one” being deserving of the label of worst. It was pretty overwhelming, too with 687 out of 1342 votes (51%) going this way. For the beat writers, I think this is a good choice. The writers that people object to when it comes to Patriots coverage are columnists and other media types who aren’t around the team every day.

John Tomase picked up 197 votes for 15% of the total and Jerome Solomon had 140 votes and 10%. Each was in their first season of covering the Patriots and were underwhelming at times.

Reader Comment: Went with Tomase as the worst. Very odd hire by the Herald…

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Media Blog

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Sports Radio Show

Today’s recap is a biggie…the best and worst sports radio shows in Boston.

WEEI is the 800 lb gorilla in this category, but has slipped ever so slightly in the overall ratings over the last six months or so. Their ratings dominance this decade has been extraordinary. To what should their success be attributed to? Their signal strength? The success and popularity of the Red Sox and Patriots? Or the sparkling wit and personality, not to mention matchless sports knowledge of the hosts and callers?

Here are the results for this year’s poll:

2005_best_radio_show.png

In probably the biggest upset of the balloting, 333 people out of 1488 felt that ESPN Boston’s The Drive with Michael Felger was the best radio show in the region. That’s 22%, quite a percentage for a show that didn’t start until the second half of the year. It beat out two WEEI contenders, The Big Show and Dale & Holley, which each picked up 15% of the vote.

Felger’s show was undoubtedly helped by WEEI’s sometimes 24/7 focus on the Red Sox…even in December and January. ESPN Boston was able to get good football guests to provide an alternative to the Theo talk and the Manny talk and the Johnny Damon talk which was beaten into the ground day after day by the competition. While the Big Show got much higher ratings, (The Drive barely registered on the ratings charts) there’s a segment of their audience who listens because they don’t have other options. ESPN’s signal isn’t strong to begin with, and fades badly after dark. With a stronger signal, I’m confident they would do even better.

The two WEEI programs are stalwarts, and contrast each other quite starkly. Dale &: Holley attempt to do a more intelligent version of sports talk with guests and a more rounded discussion, while the cast of the Big Show go for the storylines, drama and whatever soap opera they can drum up that particular day.

Reader Comments: I couldn't bring myself to vote for a “best” in this category—I would've voted for Felger's show, but it inflicts Bob Halloran on us on a regular basis….I went with Felger for best show. When he's talking Patriots, there’s really never been any better New England Patriots radio coverage. Josh Miller is a lot of fun and he also gets technical, which I enjoy. I'm not sure how the spring is going to go for him, but I'll be listening occasionally in the fall….Went with Felger's show for the best. Good football talk and a nice mix of input from phone-in guests, regular hosts, and the callers. A great alternative to the predictability of the Big Show….I had to go with Felger as the best because at least he's still working on it. They still go to the trouble of getting call-in guests to talk about issues of the day and rely less on nitwit “callahs” (though I noticed an alarming increase in the latter last week).

Now, onto the worst of the category:

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WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan received 427 votes as the worst sports radio show in Boston, 29% of the total. To be fair D&C will admit that their show is not technically a sports show. They’re “guy radio”. They talk news, current events, entertainment such as 24, The Sopranos and The Shield, and mix in sports around that. When sticking to sports, they can be very good. They have some great Patriots discussion on the mornings following Patriots games with Tom Brady and Boomer Esiason being weekly guests during the season. Callahan can be a great interviewer with the guests and Dennis is good at keeping the show moving in and out of breaks. However, listeners wanting more sports talk likely are disappointed in the show and it is reflected in the vote. I’m sure politics has something to do with it as well, though likely not as much as some would think.

Eddie Andelman’s old show on 1510 came in second (243, 17%) and The Big Show came in third (197 13%). Andelman’s show ended in the middle of the year, and he only recently resurfaced on the airwaves at 96.9 FM on Sunday nights. His 1510 show was incredibly bad radio, with weekly appearances by Ron Borges being the only attraction, and that of the car-accident variety.

Reader Comments: I think the D&C show is the worst sports show as they hardly ever talk about sports…Planet Mikey gets the worst vote—insufferable. The Big Show is awful but I admit I like the Whiner Line. Adams has nothing redeeming going for him and has actually subtracted my favorite aspect of Sarandis' show (it was the only local outlet for college hoops talk). He also seems to attract an especially low IQ caller level …. A good sports talk show should be informative, intelligent, and—by definition—about sports. While many of the choices fail on the first two counts, no show comes up short on all three more consistently than Dennis & Callahan. More often than not, the discussion is about their favorite TV shows or current events instead of sports. Throw in generous helpings of anger and intolerance and you've got one crappy "sports" talk show…. Ordway and his cast of social deviants and misfits make my ears bleed….It’s not even a close 2nd for me—D&C are hideous, but the forced screaming and cackling from the big show is cringe-inducing. Ordway= pontificate on the easiest, hot-button issue of the day without actually having a logical understanding of it; allow the worst & the dimmest callers on the air; if you get challenged by common sense, hem and haw and bombard the caller with irrelevant questions/factoids until they slip up—and then, dismiss their whole argument. Wave your hand and have the crew guffaw and ridicule the caller. Wash, rinse, repeat every day. I like the Whiner Line, though….This is the only category I have chosen to comment on, such is my venom for my vote for worst local radio show: The Mustard and Johnson Show. Nowhere else on radio is one subjected to the triple threat of the sports talk horror of dumb hosts, even dumber callers, and boring topics.

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Football Beat Writer

Column: What I’ve Learned Since Starting BSMW

In a previous post, I outlined how BSMW came to be. It’s been four years since that time and I’ve learned so much since those early days. Here are just a few of the things that have become clear to me.

1) I never want to be a sports writer. ( But I knew that already)

I knew that being a beat writer or even a columnist for a paper was not something I wanted to do. The hours are horrible, the pay isn’t great and you’re away from your family much of the time. Believe it not, I have a ton of respect for the guys who go out there day in an day out and do a solid job covering the game or team to which they are assigned. If you’re someone who likes routine and steadiness, this is not the profession for you. Having a chance to chat with to many of the local representatives of the Boston sports media certainly confirmed my feelings on the job that they have. For many, it’s little wonder that they scramble to increase their income by doing as many radio and TV gigs as they can get. Their articles are among the most-read in the paper, and yet even within their own offices they’re treated as the “toy department” of the paper. It’s not a life of glamor, that’s for sure.

So for anyone who thinks I’m just a frustrated sportswriter who desperately wants to be one of “them”, think again. I have no desire for that life.

2) Sports media people are the thinnest skinned people on the face of the planet.

The site couldn’t have been more than a few months old and still only attracting mere 500 visitors or so a day when I got my first indignant email from someone in the Boston sports media. Sadly, it’s so long again, and so many computer/email accounts ago that that historic email is now just a cyber memory. I can’t even remember who it was from, though I believe it was from someone at a smaller media outlet. It wasn’t Shaughnessy or Borges or any of those big time guys. I remember thinking at the time “What I wrote was not really all that harsh”.

It was just a foregleam of things to come. The site grew, and I heard from more and more media people. Sometimes it was positive, thanking me for helping their work reach an increased audience. Much of it was negative. Shaughnessy contacted me within that first year. Since that time, I’ve come to realize that he does this all the time. He, the master of the cheap shot, is perhaps the thinnest skinnest (?) person alive. I’ve heard tales from readers who tell me of the time they emailed him to complain about his column, and then received a confrontational phone call within an hour. The thing is, they hadn’t left their phone number. They emailed from their company email address and he tracked down the phone number of their company and asked to be put through to them. He emailed me, demanding that I call him, so, not knowing any better at the time, I called. His first words to me were “Did I sleep with your wife or something?” the conversation went downhill from there, and I believe it ended up with him insulting me and hanging up the phone. Since then, I vowed never to talk on the phone with the guy again. He’s tried. He’s demanded that I call him, he’s mocked me, telling me that I’m afraid to speak with him. Not true. I simply know that it would be an unproductive conversation where he would shout me down, insult me, and hang up. I explained to him that I am perfectly willing to have a dialogue with him via email, and that the content of our conversations would be kept private. He didn’t like this, knowing that this way, a record would be kept of everything he said. We went back and forth for a bit, and each email opened by saying that I was too chicken to talk to him. After we went around for a while in this manner, I haven’t heard from him since.

Sadly Shaughnessy is by no means alone in this behavior. He is the most egregious in this area, but many of his colleagues in the media and at the Globe are very similar to him. I’ve always wondered if the media people who have no qualms about taking personal shots and getting on athletes who complain about the media grasp the irony of coming to me complaining that I am treating them unfairly. The next person is an exception to these ones:

3) Bob Ryan has just as much passion in an email or private conversation as he does on a radio or TV show.

In sharp contrast to Shaughnessy, there is is Ryan. The guy genuinely loves sports. He loves talking sports. If you disagree with him, he’ll talk to you about it, passionately, but without the insults. Most of the time, I get the impression that Shaughnessy and others just dislike sports and someone feel demeaned with their lot in life of covering, writing and talking about sports. You’ll never feel that way talking to Ryan. The guy loves his job, and that is what makes him the best, in my opinion. People tell stories about running int Ryan at a restaurant, or on a plane and then finding themselves involved in a deep and animated discussion about the 1984 Celtics or about the Pete Carroll Patriots or any number of topics.

There are others in the market who have passion for what they do and are civil in conversation. I’ve had some great experiences with some media types. I’ll always remember the guy who got a promotion, and a week or so later, he sent me a hand-written thank you card stating that he thought that my linking to his work on the site really helped him get the exposure that led to his new job. Those are the best moments for me in this business.

4) Sports Radio in Boston is faked as much as pro wrestling.

Sure, we knew for years that The Big Show and other WEEI programming was done with an entertainment slant. They admitted as much. But since the Patriots first Super Bowl win, they’ve taken things to a whole new level. The reason? Glenn Ordway, Jason Wolfe and Julie Kahn believe that sports radio thrives on conflict and negativity, they believe that without something for people to complain and whine about, that the programming will be stale and boring. They’ve made references to pure sports talk as simply “reading box scores”. After the Patriots first Championship, there was less negativity around. They needed to create the conflict, and so “roles” were handed out. The daily “script” was tightened and each day a new drama appeared. Sometimes it could come out of a positive incident, one of the few things Edgar Renteria did right in his lone season in Boston was bunt for a basehit to get on base in front of David Ortiz, who then hit a game winning home run. Somehow this move by Renteria was turned into a negative and talked about for about three weeks on the station. Hosts and co-hosts play their roles on a daily basis on the station, sometimes being a “hero”, other times being a “villain”. Ordway is a big fan of WWE’s Vince McMahon (so much that he was convinced that the XFL was going to be a rousing success) and his influence can be seen in how the station operates. Everything is done for drama, it’s all about the show.

5) Boston does have a lot of intelligent fans, but none of them call radio stations.

If you want to get a good feel for what the average Boston sports fan feels on a certain topic, then don’t listen to the radio. The average fan is not going to get fired up on a topic that they will sit on hold for 45 minutes to be able to scream and rant for a maximum of three minutes on the air. The people who make it onto WEEI for the most part are ones who have an extreme view that the average fan does not. Where do you go to find intelligent Boston fans? They’re probably among your friends. Your closest friends that have been through years of following the teams together. You can find some great, intelligent fans on certain messageboards. I happen to think the group at the BSMW board is top rate for the most part. They can discuss almost any aspect of sports at a higher level than anything you’re going to hear from a talk show caller.

6) I love the Red Sox, but the on-air coverage of this club absolutely sucks out there right now.

The newspaper coverage of the team is solid, (except for Dan Shaughnessy) I’m not talking about them. The on-air broadcasting is at times annoying, but is overall pretty good. But the radio and television talk shows about the club suck all the joy out of following this team. I cannot stand it. Every game must be scrutinized and analyzed as an individual entity, with no regard to the big picture or context. Every day it’s “This guy sucks” or “Francona’s an idiot, he should’ve done this…”, or “Will Johnny Damon get booed in his first time back to Fenway?” The need to create a daily soap opera around the team is just terrible. Some will try to justify it by saying “THAT’S WHAT WE DO HERE!!!” But I don’t buy it. Sure, fans like to second-guess decisions and players. But certainly not in the edgy, mean-spirited way that it is done on the air. Every year there is a whipping boy, a villain who can do nothing right and is castigated daily on the airwaves. Last year was Edgar Renteria. This year it is Wily Mo Pena. Some weeks it is Manny Ramirez. True Red Sox fans need to tune out and not allow these mouthbreathers to ruin just a great period in Boston sports. Forget the storylines…just play the games. I may need to take a month off during every Red Sox season, as I write this I am looking forward to getting away from the nastiness, vitriol and idiocy that is Red Sox talk on radio and television in Boston.

7) There is a future in this for me.

What that future is exactly, I’m not sure. I have something of an idea of what things would be like if BSMW was a full time venture for me, and that will be the topic of a column for next week.

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Sports Radio Show

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst TV Sports Show

We’re starting off the new week with a look at the best and worst sports television shows in the Boston area.

Once again, there were just so many candidates that we forgot one. Somehow, the Globe SportsPlus program which runs on NESN was omitted. Honestly, that was not a bit of backlash against the Globe and the writers who appear on the show…I just forgot to put it on the list.

We had just over 1300 people vote in this category, and the results were pretty spread out, which is to be expected given the amount of competition in this region. The winning show only took home 18% of the total vote.

Here are the results:

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FSN’s New England Sports Tonight (Now Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight) came out on top here with 234 votes for that 18%. This show hosted by Greg Dickerson and Gary Tanguay is a staple for many sports fans who are unsatisfied after getting 2 minutes of sports on their 6:00 news broadcasts. The 6:30 show often picks up on talk radio topics from the afternoon and previews the night’s action for the local teams. The 10:00 show is usually an alternative post-game show for whatever local team in in action that night. The guest list is stocked with WEEI and Boston Herald personalities, who always have something to say, or some pot to stir on the air.

Coming in second was the Pre and Post game shows on NESN. These shows picked up 201 votes for 15% of the total. They were followed closely by Patriots All Access on WCVB which garnered 181 votes or 14%.

Reader Comments: I went with Patriots All-Access for best show, solely because it features insight from Belichick; the show itself isn't all that interesting….Patriots All-Access for “best”¬—the Belichick film breakdowns are great, as are the sideline/locker room camera and microphones. Overall, the show is very professionally done…I went with Patriots All-Access just for the Belistrator— his segment is the only thing on any of these shows that is actually informative.

Now a look at the flip side of the category:

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New England Tailgate on FSN, which often follows Sports Tonight on Thursdays during football season got the most votes as the ‘worst’ of the category. They pulled in 241 votes for 19% of the total. The show features Glenn Ordway, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie and is oftentimes a continuation of what that trio has talked about on WEEI’s Big Show during the course of the week. Ordway, oftentimes decked out in his mock turtleneck and perched on a stool, provides an amusing contrast with the two ex-NFL players. They do picks each week, which is something of a joke, as I don’t believe Smerlas has picked against the Patriots in 5 years. For the casual fan who doesn’t listen to WEEI during the week, the show is appealing in its simplicity and “guy” humor.

Coming in second was the “no one” vote. (175, 14%)

Reader Comments: I went with that Tanguay nightly trainwreck as worst—sometimes I get stomach pains while watching it. Gary Tanguay is abominable….New England Tailgate for worst. There's very little "value added" on this show. They show the same highlights that have been playing for days, and regurgitate the same talking points the Big Show has been using all week….You really need to be hooked up to a machine if you enjoy this half-hour infomercial for the Ripoff Tailgate Party scam. A tape of this thing will be Exhibit A at Ordway's RICO statute trial.

Tomorrow: Things I’ve learned since starting BSMW.

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Independent Sports Web Site

For today’s recap, we’re taking a look at the best and worst independent sports websites in the region. This was another hotly contested poll.

It was somewhat difficult defining the criteria for what sites to include in this poll. Some of the sites on this list are not local, but seem to have a lot of content focuses towards our local sports scene. Others were started by local people but are more nationally focused, and others are totally national, but seem to be used and referenced often by people here in the Boston area. I’ll try to do a better job of narrowing down the scope next year.

So to begin, here are the results among the 1460 votes gathered for the best of in this category:

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Cold Hard Football Facts is one of the sites that perhaps may not belong in this category. The site is locally owned and operated, but they are trying to establish themselves as a national site. They do focus a lot of attention on the New England Patriots, but that is also because the Patriots have been the dominant team in the NFL over the past five seasons. Because of their Patriots focus, as well as their glee in taking on football media people head-to-head, the site has garnered a lot of fans. They claimed the top spot in this poll with 229 votes for 16% of the total. Close behind them were a pair of worthy contenders. While Mike Reiss could be the best blogging reporter on the scene in Boston, Chad Finn, who works at the Globe Sports Desk is probably the best single blogging columnist-style writer on the scene. He usually hits the nail on the head and makes the point that you wanted to make, but couldn’t articulate properly. His blog, Touching All The Bases, tied for second with 14% of the vote. Finn got 203 votes to narrowly edge out the Sons Of Sam Horn message board which had 200 votes. SoSH has gotten national attention the last few years and continues to be the top on-line destination for Red Sox fans and stat-heads.

Reader Comments:

Football Outsiders gets my vote. Terrific website that has done a ton of interesting and innovative statistical analysis for the NFL. Aaron and his folks also write very well….Chad Finn gets my vote for best. He's an entertaining writer and a sensible one, too….Soxaholix is a great, underrated website. Very creative. On the other hand, the understanding that Miguel puts into the salary cap page puts many reporters to shame.

Now for the worst:

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Once again the kind hearted voters prevailed as 596 of the 1334 votes cast (45%) felt that none of these sites deserved the label of worst.

Among the sites receiving votes, SoSH got 205 votes for 15%. I think that total comes from the view that some have that the site is somewhat elitist. I don’t personally hold that view of the site, but among some users, that is the view they take of the community. BSMW’s own Scott’s Shots got 137 votes here for third. The blog is not popular among members of the the BSMW messageboard community, (which I suspect made up the majority of these votes) who do not like the scattershot, rambling style of the author.

Reader Comments:

Worst goes to CHFF—Kerry makes Patriot fans sound like Yankee fans. I think he's a bully and he has not earned my respect. How awful is Dave Scott? Start with his readability. He has adopted a variation of the Kevin Paul Dupont style of "cutie pie" prose that makes entire paragraphs virtually incomprehensible gibberish. His ax-grinding (Shepherd, Gee) and ***-kissing (Dennis, Callahan) are legendary. His blatant campaigning for employment somewhere—anywhere—is cringe-inducing. It is embarrassing to have him associated with [BSMW].

Note:Needless to say, I don’t agree with that assessment of Scott’s Shots. I’m not sure what it is…the only people who have ever complained to me about Scott’s Shots are members of the BSMW message board.

Tomorrow: TV Sports Shows