Who Are These Guys? – Mike Fine

While doing the approval ratings, I was dismayed at how many times I’d put someone up for approval, and a wave of WHO???? would roll through the comments.

Maybe because I read, listen to and observed all their work almost each day, all the names I put up were very familiar to me, and I thought would be to most observers of the Boston sports scene.

This was part of the reason the approval ratings were discontinued, more and more it was becoming difficult to put up a name that I could be assured that most readers would be familiar with and thus be able to give a valid approve/disapprove. We went through around 75 media people, so that was certainly a good start.

Periodically, I’m going to spotlight some of the media types who didn’t make the approval ratings list. Hopefully this will increase their exposure to you a little bit so that you can be on the lookout for their work, or know a little something about them as you review something that they’ve done.

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Today we’re going to spotlight longtime Quincy Patriot Ledger writer Mike Fine. If you don’t know who he is, you definitely should.

Fine’s time with the PL dates back to 1968 when he landed a co-op with Northeastern. He started with high schools, and then colleges before landing on the Boston Celtics beat in 1977. His first year was also the rookie year of Cedric Maxwell, and it was the last year for John Havlicek.

He was on the beat full time for 21 years, until the PL was sold, and the new owners switched to only home coverage of the team, which he has done for the last 10 years. All told, Fine has 31 years on the Celtics beat. 

In the offseasons Fine would serve as a columnist for the paper, and would also do quite a bit of Patriots coverage.

Since 1999 Fine has also covered the Red Sox for the paper.  Before the advent of WEEI, and shows such as Sports Final and Sports Xtra, Fine did a lot of radio and TV interviews, and did pregame reports on WRKO.

Since Gatehouse Media purchased the Patriot Ledger, the paper’s status has fallen immensely. Once boasting a sports staff of 18, the paper has now dropped all road coverage of the local teams, though Fine was in Detroit to cover the Eastern Conference Finals this season. He was not sent to Los Angeles to cover the NBA Finals, however.

If you’ve only been following the Boston sports scene for the last 15 years or so, you might have no idea who Mike Fine is, or how extensive his experience and background are.

Hopefully now you have a little better idea.

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Lester Pitches Sox To Road Win

Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon combined for the shutout last night, as the Sox finally picked up a road win, 4-0 over the lowly Seattle Mariners.

Gordon Edes has Lester stepping up his game in front of his home town fans – a place he had struggled at in the past. Michael Silverman has Jason Varitek providing all the offense Lester would need, with his two run homer. Sean McAdam looks at Lester benefiting from the offense of the bottom two spots in the batting order. Jeff Goldberg has Lester finally pitching well near home.

Dan Shaughnessy is ready to anoint Dustin Pedroia as the new Pete Rose – without the betting slips. Tony Massarotti taps relief pitching as the reason that the Red Sox have struggled so mightily on the road this season, and believes it could hold them back from defending their title. McAdam says that the Red Sox are likely not going to reach for help in the bullpen before the trading deadline.

Silverman examines the struggles of Jacoby Ellsbury and how it impacts the entire offense. Joe Haggerty believes that Hideki Okajima may have gotten his groove back. Massarotti looks at Jonathan Papelbon going a season high five outs to get the save for Lester last night.

Dan Hickling reports on another productive night for David Ortiz in the minors, this time for AA Portland. Bill Burt has Ortiz outshining John McCain in Maine last night. Jarrod Ulrey has Michael Bowden struggling in his first AAA start.

Edes’ notebook reports that Jason Varitek recently played through a severe eye infection. Silverman’s notebook has Ortiz on track for a Friday return against the Yankees. McAdam’s notebook has the Sox sticking with Ellsbury despite his slump. Goldberg’s notebook has Ellsbury hitting the rookie wall.

Celtics

Rich Thompson and Frank Dell’Apa report on Eddie House and Tony Allen agreeing to new two year contracts with the Celtics. Tim Weisberg says that these signings show that the Celtics are serious about winning another title. Scott Souza has the loss of James Posey as the key to getting House and Allen re-signed. Jeff Howe says that these signings were a surprising twist in a pretty ho-hum offseason.

Thompson has Posey talking about leaving for New Orleans, calling it one of the toughest decisions of his career. Marc J. Spears reports on Team USA’s preparations for the Olympics.

Patriots

Scott Benson has a look at the second quarter of the Patriots schedule over on Patriots Daily.

Shalise Manza Young has a look at the wide receivers and offensive line positions for the Patriots. Mike Reiss has Jason Webster looking to grab a key role in the Patriots secondary this season. Young also reports on the Patriots signing two rookies, including QB Kevin O’Connell and two free agents yesterday. Eric McHugh looks at training camp stories from around the NFL.
 

Infamous Moments in Boston Sports Media History

dave-egan
Dave Egan – Dan Shaughnessy before Dan Shaughnessy.

Periodically, we’re going to look back in Boston Sports Media history and revisit some of the more infamous moments that this group has foisted upon the general public.

The left fielder of the Boston Red Sox is a brilliant hitter, with few peers in the history of the game. However, he hasn’t always cooperated with the media, and has been known on occasion to perhaps not go all-out on the field. Often categorized as “aloof” or “immature”, his accomplishments at the plate seem to be overshadowed by these characteristics. Some are sick of his act, and decry the negative example he sets for our youth.

We’re talking of course about Ted Williams.

Williams was a particular target of Boston Record columnist Dave Egan, who ripped Williams with a style and frequency that would make Dan Shaughnessy blush.

In 1952, Williams was headed to Korea for his second tour of combat duty with the Marines. It was his last game before heading out, and many showed up at Fenway Park to pay tribute to him. They were well aware that this might be the final game of his brilliant career, he could be injured or killed in the war, and no one knew how long the war might continue. By the time it was over, Williams might be too old to continue playing.

It was under these circumstances that Egan took aim at Williams for being a poor example for America’s youth. (Excerpted from the Ted Williams Reader.)

… Swings left-handed like Williams. Wears his pants long, like Williams. Plays the outfield, like Williams. And will not wear a necktie even when the occasion insists upon a necktie, simply because the great man will not wear a necktie.

The skies will not tumble down upon us, whether a boy wears a necktie or not, but I have the right and the duty to ask where Ted Williams is leading this boy. Does he also refuse to tip his cap, does he feel that even the most indecent gestures will be overlooked, so long as he can hit a baseball with a piece of wood? Is he a rebel against conformity, simply because the man after whom he models himself has successfully rebelled, and may he expect to be honored by the municipal big wheels at a later date, if he follows the pattern set by Williams?

It seems disgraceful to me, that a person such as Williams now is to be given the keys to the city. We talk about juvenile delinquency, and fight against it, and then officially honor a man whom we should officially horsewhip for the vicious influence that he has had on the childhood of America…

Williams has stubbornly and stupidly refused to recognize this responsibility to childhood. The kid has set a sorry example for a generation of kids. He has been a Pied Piper, leading them along a bitter, lonely road.

So on the day that Williams was leaving to serve his country and put his life on the line, Egan rips him because he prefers not to wear neckties. He’s worried that America’s youth will be tarnished because Ted Williams will not wear a tie.

Manny’s got it easy.

Sox Swept In LA

Not exactly the start they wanted for the second half of the season.

Gordon Edes has the details of yet another late inning bullpen meltdown dooming the Red Sox. Searching for a positive, Michael Silverman points out that no one got hurt for the Red Sox during the series. Sean McAdam has Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox unable to hold on yesterday, and falling to the Angels 5-3. Jeff Goldberg has another road series ending in disaster for the Red Sox.

Dan Shaughnessy says that the Red Sox couldn’t get out of Orange County quick enough last night, and notes that the team has been swept on the road far too many times this season for a World Series defender. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox desperately need to find someone who can pitch the eighth inning. Bill Ballou says that the Red Sox have Manny reasons to ditch Ramirez at the end of the season.

Massarotti looks at tonight’s starter, Jon Lester, who should benefit from the extra rest the Red Sox got him around the All Star break. Alex Speier had a profile on Mike Timlin yesterday, who went to the same high school as Mike Stanton, and would like to eclipse the lefty’s number of appearances before he’s done.

Edes’ notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury’s slump forcing Terry Francona to shuffle some things in his lineup. Silverman’s notebook has Justin Masterson being recalled to help out in the bullpen. McAdam’s notebook has Manny Delcarmen once again failing to make the eighth inning his own. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Masterson getting called up.

David Scott has Bob Lobel hitting a new low with his statements on Manny and the Red Sox during a fill in performance on WEEI Friday.

The Open Championship

Jim McCabe reports on Irishman Padraig Harrington winning his second straight British Open Championship, while the story of the weekend, Greg Norman struggled down the stretch yesterday. George Kimball says that with the defense of his title, Harrington confirmed his greatness. McCabe’s notebook has Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els finding silver linings in their disappointing performances. Kimball’s notebook has Englishman Ian Poulter firing up the crowds with his charge yesterday.

Boston College

The ACC held its Football Kickoff this weekend, and the BC Eagles look to surprise some people this season. The Eagle in Atlanta blog went behind the scenes at media day yesterday, offering some observations and getting some photos of Boston sports media members hard at work.

Mark Blaudschun has the new-look Eagles looking to fill the leadership void left by Matt Ryan. Steven Conroy has the BC defensive line looking to step up this season. Blaudschun’s notebook has senior tight end Ryan Purvis setting his team goals high this season – a BCS Bowl game. Conroy’s notebook has Purvis already very familiar with new QB Chris Crane.

Patriots

Shalise Manza Young says that Bill Belichick will be concentrating on fine-tuning his team’s focus as the season gets underway. Ian M. Clark looks at the few questions that an 18-1 team can have going into the season. Young looks at a few key positions for the Patriots as camp approaches. Mike Reiss has a snapshot of the cornerback position this morning.

Providing Your Friday Megalinks

Hello once again. Ken from Fang’s Bites and it’s time for the Friday megalinks today. Lots of stuff to get to and so little time. Let’s do the Weekend Viewing Picks first.

Weekend Viewing Picks

The Open Championship and baseball dominate our viewing this weekend.

TNT and ESPN/ABC combine for weekend coverage of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. TNT provides early 3rd round coverage Saturday morning starting at 7. ABC joins in at 9 .m. Then on Sunday, TNT begins very early at 6 a.m. and ABC takes the coverage to the conclusion starting at 8. We’ll see if Greg Norman can win his third Claret Jug or if he’ll find a way to fade.

The AL East leading Red Sox are back in action after the All-Star break and they’re on the West Coast meaning a lack of sleep (and complaining by Dennis & Callahan that they won’t be able to watch the games). The Sox take on Anaheim in a weekend series. NESN has tonight’s game starting at 10. Then Fox25 and Fox 64 carry Saturday’s game at 3:55 p.m. with Thom Brennaman, Eric Karros and Ken Rosenthal with the call. Then on Sunday, ESPN has the series finale at the early time of 6 p.m. If you’re wondering, ESPN is showing some silly awards show that I refuse to acknowledge or link to at 9 p.m. My wish is that the Red Sox-Angels game goes until 11 p.m. forcing the Alleged Worldwide Leader to move that show to another channel and scrapping its broadcast. But I digress.

In other baseball action, WGN has the White Sox hosting Kansas City, Saturday night at 7 and the Cubs visiting Houston, Sunday afternoon at 2. TBS’ Sunday afternoon telecast will have the Yankees at home taking on the Oakland A’s at 1.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes the week off, but the Nationwide Series will be in full swing with the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 which ESPN2 will air Saturday night at 9:30.

The IndyCar Series travels to Ohio for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on ABC this Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

The Formula 1’s German Grand Prix will be shown on tape Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox.

Versus shows the Tour de France this weekend on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. then on Sunday at the early time of 7 a.m.

The USTA’s US Open Series has begun with the first tournament finals on Sunday. ESPN2 shows the Indianapolis Tennis Championships men’s final at 1 p.m., then the women’s Bank of the West Classic final at 5 p.m.

If you’re into Beach Volleyball, the Brooklyn Open will be shown on NBC both Saturday and Sunday starting at 2:30 p.m.

Now to the links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that because ESPN is not an Olympics rightsholder, it has to resort to creative ways in covering the games in Communist China.

Kathy Orton of Newsweek says ESPN’s Rick Reilly chose some strange words about atheists while Josh Hamilton was hitting during the Home Run Derby.

The Sports Media Watch has some random news and notes including an NHL season opening doubleheader in Europe.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott lists the winners and losers in the WEEI.com re-launch. And David was part of a podcast hosted by young Alex Reimer over at Mysportsradio.com.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says even without Tiger Woods, the Open Championship is still Must See TV.

Eric McHugh of the Quincy (MA) Patriot-Ledger profiles Red Sox announcer Dave O’Brien.

Boston.com’s Extra Bases Red Sox blog recaps former WBZ-TV anchor Bob Lobel’s statements on WEEI today in which he said the Red Sox fined Manny Ramirez six figures for his shove of Jack McCormick and then alleged Manny purposely did not swing during an at-bat at Yankee Stadium earlier this month.

Newsday’s Neil Best writes about ESPN’s special on the 100th anniversary of “Take Me out to the Ball Game”. And Neil says MSG Network will carry the WNBA outdoor game between the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever this Sunday.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says the Yankee Stadium crowd at the All-Star Game did not know how to react to George Steinbrenner’s appearance (if this is the best Raissman can do, I may have to drop him from the megalinks).

The perpetually angry Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is mad at MLB for scheduling the Yankees last home game on September 21 for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and making the first pitch for the All-Star Game at 8:45 p.m. ET. Of course, Phil does not take into consideration that MLB delays the first pitch so fans on the West Coast can be home in time to watch.

Also from the Post, Justin Terranova talks with NBC Sports golf analyst Gary Koch about the Open Championship. And Justin has five questions for Philadelphia Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says the New York Jets’ exhibition games will be seen on local TV for the first time in over a decade.

Dafney Tales of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that alcohol was a factor in John Marzano’s death.

Laura Nachman’s Philadelphia TV and radio blog mentions that a sports radio WIP host was auditioning for a TV gig this week.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun talks about Bob Papa going to the NFL Network and Billy Packer’s departure from CBS Sports and Raycom among other things.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times looks at the All-Star Game ratings and the selling of Brett Favre’s jersey.

South

Doug Nye of The State would have preferred an earlier starting time for the All-Star Game.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the MLB Network is preparing for launch on New Year’s Day and unlike the NFL Network, will have a wide distribution.

Dave Darling in the Orlando Sentinel writes about a new Amazing Race-like program that debuts on Golf Channel this Tuesday.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says FSN Houston is going through a retooling to show more local programming in the fall.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Open Championship will have plenty of drama even without Tiger Woods.

From the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht talks about Tom Watson joining the ESPN on ABC booth for the Open Championship. Mel likes two major broadcast changes coming up for the NFL and college basketball seasons. Mel has some college football news in his media notebook. And Mel provides his weekend viewing picks.

West

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says the local Fox affiliate will do sports on its newscasts only when events dictate. Here are the ratings from last weekend in the always classy San Diego market.

John Maffei from the North County Times says San Diego State did not really solve its problem by lacking a color analyst on its football radio broadcasts.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star writes that the Open Championship faces an uphill battle for ratings.

John Scheibe writing in the Los Angeles Times that Dodgers fans can see plenty of archival pictures of the team at the library.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says a reinvigorated DodgerTalk program has given fans another chance to talk about the games. And Tom has more on DodgerTalk in his media notes segment of his blog.

Midwest

George M. Thomas from the Akron Beacon Journal talks about former Ohio State Buckeye Clark Kellogg becoming CBS Sports’ #1 analyst for college basketball.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says Billy Packer is not the only polarizing announcer.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says Tom Watson might be pulling double duty at the Open Championship this weekend.

Blogs

The 38Cliches blog heard through a third party that the son of former Red Sox announcer Jerry Trupiano has visited the site.

Awful Announcing has the MLB announcing schedule for the weekend.

Deadspin has the Ashley Harkleroad nude Playboy layout pics.

SportsbyBrooks says Ashley’s boyfriend did the negotiating for the Playboy layout.

Joe Favorito tried to take advantage of the quietest day in sports.

That’s going to do it for us today. Enjoy your weekend.

Big Papi hits Pawtucket

Big Papi hit Pawtucket last night, drawing a huge crowd to see the Red Sox AAA affiliate. Ortiz did not disappoint, hitting a home run in the fourth inning to reward those who had come to see the Red Sox slugger in his first rehab appearance.

Baxter Holmes has Ortiz happy to be able to swing the bat the way he used to. Peter Gobis impressed with the fans that showed up to see him. Jay Miller has Big Papi rewarding those fans with his laser beam home run. Jim Donaldson has Ortiz up to his old tricks with the PawSox. Steve Buckley also has Ortiz happy that he can swing the bat normally. Paul Jarvey reports on the fireworks in Pawtucket last night.

Rob Bradford has five things that must take place in the second half for the Red Sox to repeat as World Series champs. Nick Cafardo has Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell assessing his staff. Jon Couture looks at some keys to the second half of the season for the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg says that despite the obstacles the Red Sox have faced this season, they’re still in a good spot right now. Garry Brown wonders if there are any trades on the Red Sox horizon. Alex Speier is curious as to whether the Red Sox will kick the tires on some relief pitching.

Bill Ballou says that the Red Sox need to pick up their play on the road. Lenny Megliola looks at another tough year in Boston for Julio Lugo. Buckley had Ortiz calling for an end to the Manny-Henry feud.

Gordon Edes reports on the Sox signing their first round draft pick, pitcher/shortstop Casey Kelly. Bradford’s notebook has more on the signing of Kelly.

In her minor league notebook, Amalie Benjamin creates an All Star team of Red Sox prospects. Jeff Horrigan looks at the top performers in each level of the Red Sox farm system. Brendan McGair has a look at Ortiz going to bat for friend Sandy Madera and convincing the Red Sox to take a flyer on his friend.

Odds and Ends

David Scott breaks down the winners and losers of the recent events involving the new WEEI.com.

Frank Dell’Apa and Scott Souza each have a look at the newest Celtic, 7 footer Patrick O’Bryant. Rich Thompson says that O’Bryant will provide needed depth at center. Desmond Conner says that the NBA should drop the age limit rule.

Bob Ryan weighs in on the messy Brett Favre saga in Green Bay. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots signing fourth round pick Jonathan Wilhite.

Jim McCabe reports on The Open, while Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that even without Tiger Woods, there are plenty of reasons to watch the British Open.

Felger Discusses New Role at WEEI

Boston Daily, the blog of Boston Magazine has an email interview with Michael Felger this afternoon discussing his recent changes in employment.

Felger discusses his departure from 890 ESPN and the Boston Herald, and sums up what his duties are going to be with WEEI.com.

I will be a fill-in host for primarily the morning and mid-day shows, when the regulars are on vacation or out. I start July 21 on Dale and Holley. I will also write for the web twice a week during the football season and every-other-week in the offseason. I will do my report card for one of the stories and an extended mailbag—responding to report card emails, looking ahead to the upcoming week, etc.—later in the week. That’s pretty much the extent of it. I’m a regular freelancer.

I guess I’m a little disappointed at the quantity of content he’s going to be creating for the website. I envisioned him sort of being the WEEI beat writer for the Patriots, filing articles each day from Patriots practice. I think if WEEI.com really wanted to be the online destination for Boston sports fans, that is the type of daily content they’re going to have to deliver if they want to compete with Boston.com.

In the rest of the interview Felger says that Comcast SportsNet is his full time employer, and that he had an arrangement with them that allowed him to serve out the remainder of his 890 ESPN contract. The idea all along was that he would be leaving the station at that point.