What is: a headline you perhaps never thought you would read?
Well, its is true for today anyway.
The screeching over the Red Sox continues with now talk turning to media-on-media crime. LA columnist TJ Simers has become a hero to some here locally because of his childish attempt to rile up Josh Beckett after his start on Monday. CSNNE had a segment last night – Beckett finally gets challenged by a reporter – and Michael Felger (who didn’t even like the Simers bit) is critical of Red Sox beat reporters for not asking tough questions. Alex Speier, one of the most even-keeled professional, talented writers you’ll come across, answers calmly that in fact most of those questions have been asked.
They also talked about lines being blurred between columnists and beat writers. How more and more, they’re becoming interchangeable, which according to Ron Borges isn’t such a great thing. I agree 100% with Borges there.
Then comes the topic of the picture that was allegedly circulating of Dustin Pedroia next to a sleeping Bobby Valentine, and Felger is apoplectic that no one locally had the stones to ask Pedroia about it. That led to this exchange between Ron Borges and Felger.
Borges: Well, I’ll say one thing in defense of Alex and his colleagues over there: Michael, if you want to ask those questions, you can drive over the Fenway Park whenever you want. The easiest thing in the world is to sit in a studio somewhere telling everybody else what they should ask and what they should say, and boy I got some big ones when I don’t have to do anything. Nothing stops you from going to Fenway Park and asking any question you want, anytime you want. They’d be happy to have you. Where you been?
Felger: (smirking) It’s a fair point, I’m much more comfortable here. Absolutely.
Borges: You sure are.
Felger: Telling other people what to do. But I mean, when you say I can…well….I’m on 2:00-6:00, the locker room is usually at 2:00, so to say I can go down there any time isn’t exactly accurate. But I see your point.
Borges: How about 2:00 to midnight? Or 10:30 whatever time it is they get done. Or you could go on a day game, or a Saturday. You could go on Sunday. They’d be happy to see you. But they don’t.
Felger: You’re right, I could make a trip down there. But I think when I was a beat reporter, on balance, I asked those questions, I mean I almost got beat up by several guys, including a guy you carried water for, out in Oakland right now, in Richard Seymour. So when I was down there, I think for the most part, I did ask those questions, and if I was covering the Red Sox, I would ask Dustin, at least once just so he could deny it about that picture, it’s not an unfair question.
Borges: I’ll tell you what. When they come back in town next week, why don’t you go do that.
Felger: Maybe I will. Me and Bradford, we’ll go down together, arm in arm to the clubhouse so we can ask those questions.
If Felger actually went into the locker room, and attempted to ask some of these questions, I’d grudgingly give him respect for doing so, but I can’t see it. It’s one thing I will give Dan Shaughnessy credit for: when he tears someone up, he will show his face in the locker room. Of course today, he’s got a ripjob on Adrian Gonzalez, Dan is out in LA right now, but the Dodgers are in Colorado. I wonder if Shaughnessy plans on sticking around till tomorrow night and heading into the Dodgers lockerroom.
CSNNE is also running a question today – Is the Boston media too hard or too soft on the athletes it covers? and asking for comment feedback.
It’s a question that can’t be answered in generalities. It’s not the job of the beat writer to be “hard” or “soft” on the teams and athletes. It’s their job to get facts and report on that is happening with the team, leaving their own opinion out of it. I won’t say that the columnists and sports radio hosts are too hard on the teams, but I will say that they’re focused on entirely the wrong things. They’re about drama, about storylines and pounding a topic that is going to get people fired up. They’re not about the technical aspect of sports.
But in looking at the question, who is the media? The beat writers or the columnists/talk show hosts? They’re very different. Opinion and drama-hungry people are going to say that the beat writers are too soft, while those who want the facts and don’t care about all the manufactured drama are going to say that the columnists and hosts are too hard.
Do we want them all to be the same? All hard or all soft, no middle ground? I’m OK with a mix. When I want the facts and even-handed analysis, I read the likes of Alex Speier. When I need something more visceral and opinionated, I’ll go elsewhere. There’s a huge difference between what Shaughnessy wrote today, and something like what Rob Bradford wrote. (Which is countered nicely by Peter Abraham.)
Is there a place for both? I hope so.
Some conspiracy theorists – both media and fan – had a bit of a field day with Wes Welker’s recent absence from the field and from some comments he made. The leap was immediately made that there was a contract issue and that Welker was disgruntled.
Is it an injury? Or some other form of disconnect that has suddenly developed between Patriots’ wide receiver Wes Welker and head coach Bill Belichick?
Neither would say Monday as the Patriots started their very short week of preparation for the preseason finale against the New York Giants on Wednesday (7 p.m.; Ch. 4, 64). But it was clear to reporters that clustered around Welker in the Gillette Stadium locker room that the use of polite but dismissive “Ask Coach Belichick ” answers to simple questions might be indications of some sort of rift – one that may have been intensified Monday with the revelation that tight end Aaron Hernandez has been given a five-year, $40 million contract extension.
Greg Bedard cleared that up yesterday – Ending the Welker speculation.
Check in at Patriotslinks.com for the full coverage of the team leading into tonight’s preseason finale against the New York Giants.
Chad Finn had the following this morning, which is intriguing.
WEEI of course, never gave Russillo a chance in the past, and after his (first) run-in with John Dennis, he became something of a joke to the hosts on the station. It would’ve been delicious to have him come in and take over a role on the station.
In a follow-up tweet, Finn says Russillo wouldn’t have been taking Dennis’ job, but how good would a Russillo/Michael Holley afternoon drive show be?