The readers have spoken. We’ll do this Win, Place Show style:
The winner of the “Be Dan Shaughnessy” contest is Chris Kyle for his Touching ‘Em All column submission. Chris took home nearly 1/3 of the couple hundred votes.
A strong second was “The Return of Pedro” by Brad Danielson.
Coming in third is Selective Memory for Returning Diva submitted by James Sanders. (Not the Patriots safety)
Many of the other entries were outstanding as well, with some getting off some killer Shaughnessy-like lines. Thanks to all who contributed entries as well as those who voted. This was a fun contest and I’ll be trying to incorporate more of this type of stuff in the future.
Pedro vs Roger, revisited.
This week was dominated by the return of Pedro Martinez to Fenway Park. It was quite different from the return of Roger Clemens, who for many years was treated like the Antichrist by fans and media alike here in Boston. (I include myself in that grouping.)
Why such different receptions for all time greats who both left the Red Sox to sign elsewhere?
There’s a few reasons, one of which has to be the fact that Pedro won a World Series here in Boston. The biggest difference in my mind has to be how each pitcher acted after leaving Boston. I don’t think either player wanted to leave Boston, but when Roger left, it seemed that Boston was dead to him. He never acknowledged the fans that had supported him for so many years, he didn’t seem to want to talk about his time with the Red Sox, other than to take (perhaps deserved) shots at Dan Duquette and Red Sox management. After having a few sub-par seasons in the Won-Loss department for the Red Sox during which he was more injury prone than he had ever been, suddenly in Toronto, Clemens was once again the durable, dominant pitcher that he had been earlier in his career. Then he engineered a trade to the Yankees. All of this seemed like slap after slap to the face of the Boston fans. It took until his final season with the Yankees, when it appeared he might retire, that he seemed to soften ever so slightly and talked fondly about Boston, Fenway Park and the Red Sox fans.
Pedro, on the other hand, did also take a few shots at the Boston front office, but always attempted to keep the fans on his side. He talked glowingly about them. He talked about his heart being in Boston. We also got the sense that we had seen the best of Pedro while he was here in Boston, and that this New York Mets version was truly on the downside of his career. Pedro didn’t really have a giant resurgence with the Mets. He’s doing just fine in the National League, but he’s not the dominant Pedro of 1998-2000. Regardless of his performance, Pedro did the smart thing by attempting to reach out to the fans of Boston and ensure them that he was appreciative of their support during his time there. Had Clemens just made a similar gesture, I believe he would’ve been treated much differently…at least until he became a Yankee.
After just having written all of that, is there a more ponderous topic for sports radio than the “Will (insert name of former Boston athlete here) be booed or cheered when he comes back to Boston?”
It’s the Boston sports radio theme of 2006. We’ve seen it with Johnny Damon and Pedro, and to a lesser extent, Antoine Walker. If you think we’re past the worst of it, just wait until Adam Vinatieri and the Indianapolis Colts come into town this fall. Sure, it might be interesting for a moment to consider the reception that each athlete is going to receive. But as with most things, sports radio and the sports media in general here make it a theme that permeates everything for days and weeks on end. I can understand talking about it for a few minutes, but please, move on and give us some talk about the actual games and teams. What’s worse is when media members and quasi-media members take it upon themselves to tell the fans how they should react.
Here’s a look at the local media columns, plus a few other other items of interest:
Andrew Neff has a look at NESN’s new “What If” program series, which looks at how Boston sports would be different if some big moments had just happened a little bit differently.
Jim Baker has a look at the weekend ahead, with the red hot Red Sox, World Cup soccer and Wimbledon tennis all on the docket.
Kevin Baxter of the Miami Herald has a piece on Mike Lowell, a Miami native, looking at his turnaround this season in Boston after being traded from the Marlins with Josh Beckett last winter.
A Boston College sports blog did an email interview with Bob Ryan this week, in which the Globe columnist gave his thoughts on not only BC Sports, but also on sports coverage and the impact that the Internet has had on it. His comments regarding Boston.com are particularly interesting. Part One – Part Two.
Sports Media Columns From Around the Country
George Solomon, ESPN Ombudsman – Despite complaints, ESPN’s Cup coverage on the ball.
Phil Mushnick, New York Post – Dolan Insists Media Play His Shill Game.
Andrew Marchand, New York Post – Care You Spare A (Joe) Buck?
Richard Sandomir, New York Times – ESPN Rises Above the Rim.
Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Yanks do A-Rod an in-Justice.
(Reports that YES studio host was ordered by higher-ups to be critical of Alex Rodriguez.)
Michael Hiestand, USA Today – Visser liked football early.
Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – Cup ratings continue to soar.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune – Longtime Sox fan describes story of a lifetime.
Dave Darling, Orlando Sentinel – ESPN2 is keeping it wild.
Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – Broadcasting moves coming.
David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Houston soccer fans are tuning in to World Cup.
Judd Zilgad, Minneapolis Star-Tribune – After 46 years, it could be splitsville for Twins, WCCO.
Bob Wolfley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – NBA draft provides eclectic show.
Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News – Lance-less France OK for OLN.
Jay Posner, San Diego Union Tribune – O’Brien taking soccer hits, but fans watching.
John Maffei, North County Times – Padres play two; only one is on TV.
Big Papi’s Power Hitting Clinics