In lieu of links this morning, lets go over a few things from the last couple of days on the local sports media scene…
The Mut and Merloni show debuted yesterday, and all things considered, I thought it was an encouraging beginning. I’ve probably listened to more Mike Mutnansky than most, having followed him on the NH stations over the years, and I’ve also found him to be knowledgable and hard-working. My concern would be if he was forced to buy into the daily contrived drama of WEEI, which too often has hosts trying to defend ludicrous “takes” on matters. (See Ordway and the Perkins trade.)
It’s been a roller-coaster with me on my thoughts on Lou Merloni. When he first started on the station, I enjoyed his fresh view and take on things. Then as he was on the station more and more, and asked to talk sports other than baseball, his thoughts and ideas at times seemed more like those of a casual (and sometimes uninformed) fan rather than a sports radio professional. With this gig, at first glance, he appears to be making the effort to be informed and knowledgeable. I’ll give them a chance.
I missed Dale Arnold’s Sunday debut, though I heard he had some comments at the start of the show along the lines of “remember me?” Having him on the last two mornings has been a nice change from the usual D&C fill-ins that have been trotted out there over the years. Having him filling in all over the station will strengthen the station as a whole. While it isn’t great for Dale to be working different hours every week, the listeners will benefit.
Still not thrilled over the new “Big Show.” Glenn Ordway continues to pound on the Kendrick Perkins trade, stunningly overrating what Perkins brought to this basketball team. He’s not the only one. Dan Shaughnessy, writing for SI.com yesterday, compared trading Perkins to the 1980’s Celtics trading Dennis Johnson. Never mind that Dennis Johnson was a Hall of Fame player and Perkins, though beloved and hard working, is a one-dimensional, average NBA center, Shaughness went on to ask Danny Ainge why he “ripped the heart out of his team” with the trade of Perkins.
Ordway might not actually be comparing Kendrick Perkins to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, but his reaction to the deal and the emphasis he is placing on what the Celtics are losing by trading the injured center make you feel like Ainge did trade away Bill Russell in his prime. Ordway was talking yesterday about how he is “scared as hell” about facing the teams in the Eastern conference without Perkins. How did they do the first half of the season without Perkins?
With Ordway and Shaughnessy lining up against the trade, it makes me feel a lot better about my position. Throw in the fact that Mike Felger also hates the trade, and cites the same reasons as Ordway, and I’m convinced this was a steal by Danny Ainge.
Speaking of Felger, everytime I’ve tuned into him this week, he’s been railing against fundamental religions and pounding the BYU topic. Great radio, it aint.
OK, I’ll say it. The media’s obsession with Tom Brady’s ponytail and their breakdown of his dancing in Brazil is downright creepy. I know it’s the offseason and they’re starved for news, but c’mon. This is pathetic.
Harvey Frommer is a prolific writer about both the Red Sox and Yankees. His latest work Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox came across my desk and is worth a look. It’s a gorgeous coffee-table-style book with many vintage photos of Fenway that I hadn’t seen before. Check it out if you get a chance.
What’s up with NESN? Ratings (post below this one) aside, I’ve heard from several people that they’ve lost a ton of sales people, who complain it is a tough place to work. I’ve heard (not confirmed) that longtime technical operations manager Nancy Rose, who has been with NESN from the beginning, recently left the company.
They’ve also been adding head-scratching programming like “The Strega Life with Nick Varano” to their lineup, while not showing a willingness to cut into programming for breaking stories, even ones involving teams they broadcast for. A recent example was when the Bruins traded for Chris Kelly from Ottawa on February 16th. Comcast SportsNet New England broke in with live coverage and analysis of the deal, while NESN did not. They’ve attempted to expand their national presence with NESN National and teaming up with FOX Sports on the web side, moves that are curious in light of their apparent reticience in covering things locally.
Why doesn’t NESN have shows devoted to the Celtics and Patriots? If they truly want to be the New England Sports Network, they need to expand beyond the Red Sox and Bruins. Dropping SportsDesk in favor of NESN Daily was a disaster, one they’ve attempted to rectify by making NESN Daily more in line with what SportsDesk used to be.