For this week’s poll, we’re going to select the best general sports columnist currently writing for a newspaper in New England.

This particular poll is for columnists whose work appears in print. I figured we needed to crank this one out in case the Boston Globe does stop printing, and before Lenny Megliola’s time at the Metrowest Daily News comes to an end. (It’s been reported that Megliola will be part of a layoff at Gatehouse media.)

In fact, it’s possible that this could be the last-ever print columnist poll of this type on BSMW. Future editions might be on-line only. Unlikely? Maybe, but certainly not impossible.

We will have an online columnist poll coming up, for writers like Tony Massarotti, Michael Felger, Chad Finn, etc.


Add your thoughts in the comment section…


51 thoughts on “BSMW Opinion Poll – Who is the Best Sports Columnist?

  1. Ryan, almost by default, though he has slipped a bit in the last few years.

    I wish he’d give up on his never-ending campaign against the “game presentation” stuff at Celtics’ games. He seems to think that because this stuff now exists, that the fans at the games are somehow less passionate, etc. Anyone who’s attended a Celtics’ playoff game in the new building (and this includes the games during the Walker/Pierce Era, not just the championship-level team they’ve got now) can tell you that the place gets LOUD, and it’s not because of the Jumbotron and rock music either.

    I mean, really, before the 1980s and the Bird Era, now many people were the Celts able to get into the old Garden to watch them play a game that wasn’t a conference finals or NBA Finals game anyway? Ryan really thinks those fans–who rarely filled the Old Garden–were more passionate?

    1. I second that. All but Ryan (even though I wish he would stop with his TV appearances) are miserable.

      1. Jealousy and envy are ugly, ugly words boys…Serenity now.

        I still don’t know who this Scott guy is, though. Dave Scott? Scott’s Shots?

        1. I’d say its more pity than anything else, Joe. Notice how your competitors take this stuff in stride, win or lose, mention or no mention, while you weep into your skirt – and your e-mail – over your insignificance.

          1. The weeping is for you, my friend…I’m just having some fun watching you get all riled up. People are paying me to live out my dream every day. I have nothing to weep about while you seem determined to tear me up. I’d say you are the one that comes out looking petty and insignificant. I’ll be on the radio tonight if you want to listen.

          2. OUCH!

            Well, the rest of you kids out there, take this as a lesson not to mess with the man on the way up. He’s on the radio!

          3. With wit like that, I see a long healthy career of blogging for free. Well played, my friend. Well playued

          4. I don’t think “sticking a mini recorder into the face of men in their underwear” is really a dream you should be proud to have accomplished Joe.

            Just sayin’, you could aim a little higher.

        2. Why would I be jealous of a guy who writes for a newspaper, especially one you get for free?

    1. Wow Scott, you just got big-timed by the Immortal Joe Haggerty! You must feel low, low, low right now!

  2. callahan is the only columnist of the group without an email address. apparently gerry only wants emails he can read in a mocking whiny baby voice during his disc jockey duties on am radio.

    it’s tough to be the most think skinned sports hack in new england but gerry wins the prize.

    1. Agreed, and yet he goes out this morning and writes a terrific article about . . . wait for it . . . sports! . . . reminding us all of his wasted talent.

      1. callahan has no talent. he strings sports cliches together once a week it’s an easy racket. why do you think he has never written a book? he’s both incapable and too lazy to do so.

        there’s little point in reading callahan’s articles, the lack of an email address, which would provide accountability, says it all.

  3. The people that voted for either Bill Burt or Jim Donaldson as “The Best” Sports Columnist have lived sad sheltered lives.

  4. My vote is for a write-in candidate: Steve Solloway of the Portland Press Herald. He should be on the ballot. Put him on there and get rid of Jacobs because the Courant stopped covering Boston sports.

      1. I second Solloway, he actually writes thought provoking pieces without an acid pen approach. Should be on here. It’s great when Bruce links his stories!

  5. Clark Booth of the Dorchester Reporter as a write in. Nobody is more topical and has the pulse on pop culture.

  6. Regarding the comment about Celtics fans pre-1980, I agree. The fans these days are certainly as passionate. I think Ryan recalls the days of fewer bells and whistles, when halftime in the Garden meant fans could go into the lobby and smoke. The biggest difference now is more security and less beer. In the “old days”I remember being able to buy six beers at once, which you cannot do now. And they sold booze right up until the end of the game. I mean, for those who recall that 1976 Overtime game in the Finals against Phoenix, now THAT was a boozefest. By the third OT, there were a lot of hammered people in the Garden. Anyway, sorry I got off the subject. I long for the days of Ray Fitzgerald and Will McDonough. I only read Ryan and Shaughnessey, so I don’t think I can properly vote.

  7. Bob Ryan FTW!

    Off-topic, but . . . am I the only one who heard Katherine Tappen on Sportsdesk this morning, in her interview with Tony Mazz, use the word “frigging?” Only half paying attention til she said it, but it was about the fisticuffs two (Tampa?) relievers got into. She said “And the relievers got into a frigging fight.” Am I crazy?

  8. Reading these comments is more entertaining than reading the columns of any of these guys.

    I used to look forward to reading Bob Ryan’s column, but gave up. He’s just a few years older than I, but even I can see he’s out of touch.

  9. Ryan should have stayed the hell off of television….He’s just another yelling screaming talking head buffoon to me now……..I abstain…..don’t really like any of them enough to call them the “best”

  10. My favorite Bob Ryan column of all time is from a million years ago and it’s about John Hannah of all things.

    Bob at least seems to enjoy what he’s doing.

    Shaugnessy – He’s been mailing it in for years – probably the biggest reason I want to see the Globe fold. With CSN in town this week expect at least one Stephen Stills reference coming up.

    Callahan – A whiny little man with a great big forehead. My 12 year old can’t stay up and see the end of the basketball game – waaah – Gerry buy the little nipper a tivo.

    Buckley – He knows baseball but as a columnist – pass.

    Donaldson – I can’t remember the last time I’ve read the projo.

    Reynolds – The Joe Fitz of the Projo.

    Burt – Say this for Bill, when the Globe does fold he’ll still have a job.

    Lenny Megs – Not a bad guy as the late Gerry Williams used to say. But, I can’t trust anyone who claims they don’t watch tv (see – Bulger, William).

    I don’t know the person from the Hartford Courant so I’ll withold judgement.

  11. When I stop to think about it, there hasn’t been a decent columnist in this town since Harold Kaese.

  12. Ryan wins this by a landslide for one simple reason: He doesn’t have axes to grind and he’s not irrationally angry and spiteful. All of the other folks on your list are, to one degree or another, guilty as charged of these sins. Media people get swelled heads almost as a rite of passage. Ryan has the respect of the sports media world and plays his ESPN role with aplomb for clear and straightforward reasons. Callahan and Shaughnessy don’t have a clue what ‘aplomb’ even means.

  13. While Joe Haggerty is the strongest choice based on his extensive background as a Red Sox beat reporter, I’m going to have to go with Joe Haggerty, a rising star in sports talk radio. Third place goes to up and cumming Joe Haggerty on the strength of his ever expanding web presence. Honorable mentions to Joe Haggerty, whose keen business acumen steered him away from giving away his content like those get-a-lifers in mom’s basement.

  14. It’s disappointing to see Haggerty come on here and give the “mine is bigger than yours” crap. I admit that I enjoy him when he’s on the radio, although it does seem like he listens to WEEI 24 hours a day so he can be in on every single inside joke that usually has nothing to do with him. Probably a smart career move on his part, so I don’t think I blame him. Joe, I don’t know you or anything, but you’re better than perusing the comments and picking fights dude. Scott does his thing and you do yours.

    1. I’m not trying to be funny or sarcastic here but as God as my witness I have no freeking clue who Joe Haggerty is. The last couple of years I’ve cut WAY back on WEEI, I guess it’s working.

  15. I voted.

    I agree with the Ernie Robers fan about Harold Kaese. The first columnist to make intelligent use of statistics, and probably the last to make them interesting.

    He started at the Transcript, and wrote a history of the Braves that’s a must-read for Boston baseball fans, given that the present owners of the Sawx are less interested in preserving an historic part of the city’s baseball heritage that is fast slipping away as the remaining Braves fans reach their dotage than in “branding,” turning a public way into their own food court, changing game shirt designs to create a market for overpriced “official” attire, and begging us all to call their cramped dump of a stadium “America’s most beloved ball park.”

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