It’s Columbus Day, which means a Holiday for some of us, but for the rest of you sitting in your office this Monday morning, here are some quick links and comments to get you started.
Not a good last couple of nights for the Boston sports teams. Josh Beckett got lit up Saturday night, and the game ended with Mike Timlin on the mound for the Sox…not a good thing these days. This led to some of the harshest criticism of manager Terry Francona around these parts during his tenure here in Boston. Every time I switched on the radio or TV yesterday, Francona’s decisions were being questioned. The Sox get back to work this afternoon with Jon Lester on the mound in game three.
Catch up on the Sox coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.
Last night the Patriots were humiliated in San Diego, 30-10 by the Chargers. The defense struggled with the long ball once again, and the offense just couldn’t get much going on a consistent basis. Chris Warner has the game wrapup for Patriots Daily, and he seems to have had quite enough of the Matt Cassel show, thank you very much. You can check in on the rest of the coverage over at PatriotsLinks.com. We’ll also link out this morning to probably the most popular Monday morning column in Boston, (at least by terms of click-throughs here at BSMW) Christopher Price’s 10 Things We Learned Last Night.
David Scott has a back and forth with Michael Wilbon on Scott’s Shots.
Turning our attention to the Celtics, they won both their preseason games this weekend, but the biggest topic around the team seems to be Bob Cousy’s dismissal from the Comcast SportsNet telecasts. I’m somewhat curious at the amount of coverage this has generated.
I guess I need to first preface my remarks by acknowledging how much Bob Cousy has meant to the Celtics, and to Boston sports in general. It’s very possible that without the Celtics drawing his name out of a hat in a dispersal draft in 1950, the franchise doesn’t survive the decade. His greatness as a player is without question, and watching the old clips of his play, you see how different he was from the other players of his day, and the innovation he brought to the point guard position. His presence on Celtics telecasts has been something that I’ve witnessed during the entire time I’ve been following the Celtics.
In recent years however, Cousy has been scaled back in his appearances, spending more and more time down in Florida, as many people his age have been known to do in the winter. He’s been joining about 10 or so telecasts a season, usually for some of the premiere games, such as a Lakers game or when the Spurs are in town. Sometimes he’s joined them on the road during games in Orlando or Miami.
It’s been pretty obvious during those games however, that the Cooz doesn’t really follow the NBA all that closely anymore. The last two seasons especially, it seemed like Tommy Heinsohn spent much of the telecast acquainting Cousy with the roster. Comments like “You’re going to love this kid, Cooz,” seemed to be acknowledgment that Cousy wasn’t keep up with the roster. (To be fair, the guy is 80 years old…I hope I’m half as active as the Cooz when I’m that age.) His commentary, even last season was usually negative, pointing out the flaws in a player, or predicting doom in the game at hand. Most of his contributions were stories from the old days, (which definitely had some value) or just listening to his unique way of pronouncing words or phrases.
So when it was announced late last week that Cousy would not be a part of the CSN telecasts this season, I wasn’t really surprised. He hadn’t really added much in recent years, and his appearances seemed to be more for “old times sake” and the attraction of having another Celtics legend in the booth than for anything he actually contributed. The uproar began this weekend from a pair of articles, one from Bill Doyle in the Worcester Telegram and one by Frank Dell’Apa in the Boston Globe, where Cousy struck back at CSN, claiming to have been shoved out the door. The Dell’Apa article is particularly inflammatory, with the headline “Cousy fired from Celtics broadcasts” and the opening paragraph:
Bob Cousy will be at TD Banknorth Garden for the Celtics’ banner raising Oct. 28, but he will not be involved in the television broadcasts this season for the first time in 34 years after Comcast SportsNet fired him.
I guess from a cold, technical point of view, “fired” is accurate, but it seems more like Cousy was just let go, not renewed, rather than fired. It seems like CSN could definitely have handled this better, but they were also pretty much in a no-win situation here. Cousy then has plenty to say in the articles, saying in the Dell’Apa article that CSN spends more on office supplies monthly than his salary, but then later in the article his salary is quoted at $50,000.
Cousy also stated:
“Helen and Missy [the wives of Heinsohn and Cousy] were the only ones listening in, then last year the ratings soared and everyone was happy and everyone made money. It turned around completely. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why step in and cause a disruption.”
I know that the first part of the quote was likely meant as a joke, but there’s also a bit of a slap there. I’m not backing CSN here, as I’ll say again that they could’ve handled this better, but at the same time, you can understand their decision in not bringing him back. Cousy could’ve also have handled this a bit better as well. He’s playing up the victim role, but if he added something substantial to the telecasts, or if he even knew who all the players were, his loss from the telecasts would actually be something to lament.