Sports Media Musings: ESPN’s White Mike Vick, Deadspin’s ESPN Invasion, And More

This Was, uh, Strange

ESPN posing the question what the ramifications of Mike Vick’s race had on his life and career isn’t anything novel. On the contrary, the odd decision to transpose a picture of the controversial signal-caller to make him caucasian certainly is.

The Big Lead takes a look at the four-letter network’s curious choice here. I’m not saying it is wrong or right. I think it was strange. I couldn’t help but think of the 80’s film, Soul Man

Speaking of Dated References

For the professional wrestling fans out there (I know, there aren’t many), remember when D-Generation X invaded WCW’s Monday Night Nitro taping? It was innovative because the WWE was openly breaking the fourth wall by addressing competition. A great moment.

Tommy Craggs, of Deadspin, decided to take part in a similar mission. He infiltrated a ESPN talent meeting. The full report is coming out today, but he apparently had some run-ins with high-ranking ESPN executives as he was escorted off the Bristol campus.

I think Deadspin has built up a great amount of credibility. They are the first blog outfit to gain recognition in mainstream media. The influx of blogs has created an accountability that consistently challenges “old media” outlets. This, obviously, is a good aspect on the Internet in general. In the same token, there needs to be accountability towards the blogosphere. The critics have to maintain propensity towards responsibility. This is accentuated as an outlet flourishes. That’s why the Portnoy thing sucked. He spat in the face of accountability.

Deadspin’s “field trip” doesn’t broach the same zip code as Barstool’s recent actions. The site’s previous tactics have been questionable, nonetheless. And this was an example of going for Stern-esq shock value over good content. And that’s fine. But Deadspin will always be Star Magazine as long as they pull stunts like this.

One More Wrestling Reference

Grantland’s article on the demise of Rick Flair was overwhelming. Who has the time to read this? I’m the audience for this type of content, and I couldn’t get through it. I preferred Simmons’ ode to Macho Man Randy Savage. Ironically this is the last column updated on his old Sports Guy website.

He’s A BAD GUY, Mike

When the Albert Haynesworth deal went down, I quipped Tony Massarotti’s worrisome tone made it seem like he thought Fat Albert was going to go to his home and eat his family. Gerry Callahan offers a similar distaste for Haynesworth’s transgressions here.

The whole Haynesworth debate is interesting. It reminds me of how baseball writers subjectively decide – with individual sets of criteria – which players in the steroid era should get in the HOF. Callahan concedes he knows players already in the Boston market aren’t all humanitarians. I guess he is drawing the line at Haynesworth’s wrong-doings. Everyone has a breaking point. Dale Arnold’s is when Kevin Garnett swears on the basketball court. No one seemed to care about the Joe Corvo signing, because the Bruins won the cup — and that makes everything good, right? Meanwhile you, me, and your dog serenaded Wil Cordero with boos in Fenway for his criminal history.

I’m not saying it is fine to castigate one guy and not another. I’m not saying anyone has a moral agenda. I’m simply implying a lot of this opinion is subjective by nature. The line is arbitrary. I’m not a Fat Albert fan. He seems like a troubled dude, and lacks remorse. I also think Donte Stallworth made one REALLY bad decision, and he is not a terrible guy for it. So where are my values when stacked against Callahan? The central theme here is the power of the platform and deciding things – as a consumer – for yourself.

 

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Sox Tee Off On Rangers, Retake First Place

The Red Sox are back in first place in the AL East following a 13-2 win over the Texas Rangers last night. Couple that with a Yankees loss to the Oakland A’s, and the Red Sox have a one-game lead in the division.

A real diamond sparkler – Bob Ryan has the Red Sox answering any questions people had about whether they can beat the Rangers.

With hot combo, Sox can’t go wrong – Joe McDonald has both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford showing off all their skills last night.

A reminder regarding the importance of Carl Crawford – Rob Bradford says that last night showed what a big piece to the puzzle Crawford can be when he is on his game.

Homers go a long way for Red Sox – John Tomase looks at the Red Sox home run derby in Texas last night.

Changing His Stripes – Christopher Smith chats with Red Sox first round pick Matt Barnes, who grew up a Yankees fan.

John Henry downplays talk of Theo Epstein joining the Cubs – Tomase has the Red Sox owner releasing a statement on the rumors of the Cubs interest in the Red Sox GM.

1-2-3 Inning: Alfredo Aceves – Jessica Camerato takes a few minutes with the Red Sox reliever.

Doubleheader in forecast? – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Red Sox pondering a double-header with the A’s in advance of the potential hurricane on Sunday. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has former teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Young battling it out for the batting title. The Red Sox Journal has Andrew Miller feeling good going into tonight’s start. The CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam look at the return of David Ortiz to the lineup.

Tom Brady quick to pick up pace – Karen Guregian looks at the importance of a quick tempo by the Patriots QB and offense. More on Brady from Shalise Manza Young | Mark Farinella | Chris Forsberg | A. Sherrod Blakely | Paul Kenyon 

Caserio indicates trade winds could blow – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots might have some trades in their future.

Because he’s the best, in Belichick we all trust – Bill Reynolds says that the Patriots coach’s knowledge is his power.

Belichick views players’ growth from first to second season as a potential leap year – Glen Farley looks at the development of players coming off their rookie season.

Living on the edge: Rookie free agents have odds stacked against them this year – Christopher Price notes that an undrafted guy like Jeremy Ross will face long odds to make the team this year.

Albert Haynesworth OK by old coaches – Guregian’s notebook has former Titans assistants Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham speaking highly of Haynesworth. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has Taylor Price eager to get back to game action. The Patriots Journal has more on possible trades.

Summer is short but sweet – Fluto Shinzawa has Nathan Horton and the Bruins ready to start camp in a few weeks. Tom Layman has Horton saying that his concussion symptoms are gone. DJ Bean has more on Horton.

Get Your Barf Bags Ready—The Matt Cooke Redemption Press Assault Has Commenced – Rear Admiral on Barstool Sports has the despicable Penguins forward trying to line up sympathy for his cheap shots. (Warning – adult language.) 

In defense of Jeff Green – Paul Flannery looks to make a case for the Celtics forward.

Gonzalez, Sox Break Out Against Rangers, Easterbrook Rant

Adrian Gonzalez hit a pair of home runs last night, as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-5 last night.

Sox snap out of funk, beat Rangers, 11-5 – Sean McAdam is in the leadoff spot for the CSNNE.com game story.

Red Sox ready to round into form – Joe McDonald has the Boston bats returning to the lineup, and hopefully to form.

The three players who might carry the Red Sox to where they want to go – Rob Bradford says that Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester will need to carry the Red Sox.

Lackey proves cool in the heat – Michael Vega has the Sox starter enjoying heat of his home state, John Tomase thinks that you can pencil in Lackey as your game three playoff starter.

Expansion of roster will give Sox a boost – Tim Britton looks at what help the Sox can expect on September 1st.

Ryan Lavarnway glad to be unknown commodity – Tomase has the Sox rookie trying to sneak up on people.

Ortiz gets medical clearance – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Sox DH expected back in the lineup tonight. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has more on Ortiz’s return. The Red Sox Journal has Darnell McDonald finding his hitting stroke. The CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam have Gonzalez ending his home run drought.

Patriots hope Albert Haynesworth’s return permanent – Ian Rapoport says that Haynesworth’s “clean start” officially began yesterday. Rich Garven believes that Haynesworth’s delay in getting on the field “has placed him in a hole that may prove impossible to dig out of.”

Patriots face more tough decisions than usual with roster cut-downs looming – Paul Kenyon says that it will be tough to cut this Patriots roster down.

Former busboy Koutouvides takes blue-collar approach to role with the Patriots – Glen Farley has the Connecticut native hoping to carve out a spot on the Patriots roster.

Hard for new guys to grasp Patriots passing attack – Christopher Price says that there are good reasons that Chad Ochicinco has struggled at times this preseason.

Breaking down the ‘other’ teams in the AFC East – Jonathan Comey looks at the competition within the division.

Chad Ochocinco takes it all in – Rapoport’s notebook has the receiver reviewing as much game film as he can get his hands on. The Gatehouse notebook from Glen Farley has Jerod Mayo looking at some role changes. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more on Haynesworth returning to practice as does the Patriots Journal.

If you missed it yesterday, Gregg Easterbrook had this to say about the Patriots:

Here’s the deal: The New England Patriots have not won a playoff game since Spygate broke. Bill Belichick continues to refuse to say, “I cheated and I apologize.” Until he does, the football gods will torment this team by allowing the Patriots to play very well during the regular season, then denying them in money time.

When informed that the Patriots won two playoff games against Jacksonville and San Diego to get to the Super Bowl, Easterbrook responded to an emailer – my feeling is the real spygate began with the NYTimes report on Matt Walsh two days before the NE-NY super bowl.

How weird is that? So what happened in earlier in the season when the Patriots were actually punished for Spygate? That wasn’t the ‘real’ Spygate? What the hell was it, then? And if you recall, Matt Walsh brought absolutely nothing to the table when questioned by NFL officials, and the Tomase report of the practice taping (also just before the Super Bowl) was later retracted by the Herald and apologized for. Easterbrook here is just making stuff up and trying to be clever with the whole “football gods” thing.

Just prior to the above paragraph, Easterbrook had written:

It was the second consecutive year New England had been fabulous in the  regular season, then looked awful at home in the postseason.

The 2009 Patriots (10-6) were not fabulous in any sense of the word. The  loss to the Ravens, while shocking in how it happened, was not really surprising in the actual result, especially in hindsight. That team had issues. But it fits Easterbrook’s “football gods” theme, so he’ll go with it.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a writer with a national football column should be interested in things like accuracy.

2011 Approval Ratings – Chris Gasper

Chris Gasper is an online columnist for Boston.com.

Gasper joined the Boston Globe in 2002, covering sports for the Globe North section. During his career he’s covered high school and college sports, as well as a healthy amount of time covering the Patriots. During the Mike Reiss years, he and Reiss were a very strong combination on the beat. He moved into the columnist role when Boston.com became more of a seperate entity from the Globe, though his columns still occasionally appear in the Globe.

Gasper can be seen and heard on many outlets, including Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The SportsHub (where he makes a nice balance to Felger and Massarotti as an in-studio guest on their show), the Patriots pregame shows on 98.5 and SportsCenter 5 OT.

{democracy:129}

Sox Can’t Handle Texas Heat

The Red Sox were shut down by Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson last night as they fell to the Texas Rangers 4-0, dropping a full game behind the Yankees in the AL East.

Degree of difficulty – Peter Abraham has the Red Sox stifled by the Texas heat. Sean McAdam leads off the CSNNE.com game story feature.

Mike Napoli makes Red Sox pay – Last night’s big blast was  a three run homer from the Rangers’ DH – a player that Joe McDonald notes the Red Sox tried to claim off of waivers last season.

What we learned Monday night: Red Sox fans should remember the name ‘C.J. Wilson’ – Rob Bradford looks at a pitcher who has owned the Red Sox.

Don’t mess with Texas – John Tomase notes that avoiding a first-round matchup with the Rangers might be the biggest motivation to win the AL East.

Boiler Room: The Red Sox’ wild ride at the deadline to sign draftees – Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox scramble to sign draftees.

All’s now going wrong – Scott Lauber’s notebook has Josh Reddick slumping at the plate, and not getting a key call in the field last night, either. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Andrew Miller earning another start. The Red Sox Journal has Clay Buchholz encouraged about his back for the first time in a while. The CSNNE.com notes from McAdam have Erik Bedard getting saddled with a tough-luck loss.

WR Tyree Barnes chased pirates in Navy – Ron Borges has the Patriots hopeful recalling his time in the Navy chasing pirates off the coast of Mogadishu.

Haynesworth impossible to defend on, off the field – Gerry Callahan weighs in on the Haynesworth situation.

Can McCourty improve upon his Pro-Bowl rookie campaign? – Kevin McNamara has the second-year cornerback looking to build on an impressive first season.

Patriots: 5 have capitalized, 5 haven’t – Mike Reiss has five Patriots making the most of their training camp opportunity, and five who have not.

Patriots start to shift their focus from camp to regular season – Christopher Price has the Patriots moving from training camp mode to game plan mode.

No raining on Patriots’ parade – Chad Finn risks eternal alienation by his Globe/Boston.com colleagues by writing a positive column about the Patriots.

Wilfork has ‘moved forward’ – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has the Patriots defensive lineman moving on the from University of Miami scandal. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Logan Mankins looking for improvement from his offensive teammates. The Gatehouse notebook has Mankins impressed with what he’s seen from first round pick Nate Solder thus far.

2011 Approval Ratings – Rob Bradford

Rob Bradford is the Editor-In-Chief of WEEI.com and writes about the Red Sox for the website.

A native of Essex, Mass, Bradford graduated from Springfield College in 1992.

Bradford broke onto the Boston sports media scene with the Lowell Sun, followed by a stint at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune  from 2005 to 2007. He then moved to the Boston Herald, and then onto WEEI.com in July of 2008.

He was a regular on WEEI’s Big Show even before joining the company. He is still a presence on the airwaves, whether it is weekend programming or filling in during the week. He has also been seen on Comcast SportsNet’s Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight. You can follow him on Twitter at @Bradfo

Bradford has written two books,  Chasing Steinbrenner as well as Deep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within – a book co-authored with Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

{democracy:128}

Sox Take Three Out Of Four In KC

The Red Sox wrapped up a four-game series in Kansas City yesterday afternoon with a 6-1 win behind Jon Lester. Darnell McDonald and Carl Crawford homered in the Red Sox decimated lineup, and Lester picked up his 13th win of the season.

Lester, Red Sox take series finale from Royals, 6-1 – Joe Haggerty has the CSNNE.com game story feature.

Under the microscope: Carl Crawford – John Tomase says that Crawford gets sad when people criticize him.

Why Erik Bedard might be a better fit in Boston than many imagined – Alex Speier notes that for all the media blabber that Bedard couldn’t handle the pressure of the Boston media or that he didn’t even like baseball that much, the lefty might just be a great fit here in Boston.

Red Sox have to show that they can compete in Texas – Tim Britton has the Red Sox with something to prove this week against the Rangers.

Having fun yet, Sox fans? – I’ve read Bill Burt’s column three times, and still can’t figure out what his point is. The Red Sox are beat up. They don’t look as good as their record. The Red Sox and Yankees have bought their way into the postseason. The Rays have been forced to rebuild. The Phillies are going to smoke everyone in the postseason.

Varitek gets up to speed – Peter Abraham has the Red Sox 39-year-old catcher picking up his first triple since 2007 yesterday. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Jarrod Saltalamacchia emerging as a reliable front-line catcher. The Red Sox Journal has Ryan Lavarnway working on his catching even while serving as DH. The CSNNE.com notes from Joe Haggerty have Daniel Bard putting up another solid outing.

Alleged groping may put Albert Haynesworth on sidelines – Laurel J. Sweet looks at the sex abuse trial for the new Patriot, which starts up this week.

For Pats, the richer the better – Mike Reiss looks at the seemingly stacked defensive line that the Patriots have built.

Patriots defense in a rush to get to QB – Karen Guregian has Bill Belichick finally unleashing the beast.

Patriots TE Yeatman sports credentials – Nicole Auerbach has a look at the former lacrosse star’s path to the NFL.

For one night at least, 32-year-old Carter was acting like a kid with the Patriots – Glen Farley has Andre Carter talking about his impressive performance against the Bucs.

Four years later, Garrett Mills back – Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots taking another look at their 2006 draft choice. The Patriots Journal has former Jet James Ihedigbo living a dream. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more from Carter.