Heart Surgery Jokes Are Hilarious, Just Ask Mike Felger

In a show much of which was spent lambasting the Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli for not being able to close a deal, (that’s a whole other topic) Michael Felger decided he needed to poke the Celtics as well, specifically Jeff Green, who hit the game winning shot the night before.

When anyone undergoes heart surgery, it’s a big deal. The issue Jeff Green (and Chris Wilcox) had last year was potentially life threatening, yet they both recovered sufficiently enough to play NBA basketball this season. Green hasn’t been as consistent as some people would like, but since the All Star break he is averaging 16.3 points a game. Anyway, this is the discussion they then had.

Mazz: I mean, they were down 10 with 6 minutes to go. and then they made some shots, Pierce made one in the lane, and then Green obviously made a great drive, got the shot off with a half-second left to win the game. The thing I thought was cool about the game – and they’re going nowhere without Garnett – and I know you’re not particularly fond of Jeff Green’s game, you think he should be better, and in the big picture I’m thinking you’re right about that. But, the guy who performed his heart surgery, the doctor, was there, and so Green makes the shot, showed a lot of emotion after the made the basket, and then, I don’t know, walking off the floor, went over and sort of put his arm around his doctor and said a quick embrace and moved on.

Felger: But you know what he was asking, right?

Mazz: What?

Felger: For the heart back.

Mazz: Oh yeah, that’s what it was. You are such a cynic. You know that?

Felger: I think the guy took it out.

Mazz: It’s amazing though, you think about…

Felger: He SUCKS.

Felger then congratulated himself on a great line.

I’m sure the Felger Fluffers are going to be out in force on this post, but I think this crosses a line. Especially coming from a guy who screams in agony if he runs out of Curel in the studio. He’s going to mock a guy who had extensive open-heart surgery for a life-threatening condition, and is playing high-level NBA basketball a year later?

But he gets the big ratings so apparently I’m the one who is wrong here. Felger can do no wrong. Got it.

Just a couple other items from today:

Jerry Remy fully recovered, not so sure about Red Sox – Bill Doyle talks to the NESN Red Sox analyst, who feels great physically, but understands the low expectations for the team.

Globe needs more balance in assessing athletes’ charity – Red Sox relief pitcher Craig Breslow chastises the Globe for its much-hyped feature on athlete charities and the percentage of profits that go to the causes. In an incredibly impressive letter.

By know you’ve probably heard the news that FOX announced this week that Tim McCarver Steps Down In October following the end of the World Series. Red Sox fans a likely happy over this news.

Buck on McCarver: “I’ve Learned More from Him Than Anybody…Including My Father” – Joe Buck, who has been in the booth with McCarver for 17 years credits McCarver with showing him more of the business than his own dad, the legendary Jack Buck.

SI Baseball Preview: Washington Nationals Will Win 2013 World Series – SI has the Red Sox finishing last in the AL East.

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Conference Call Transcript – The crew of Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk also previewed the season this week.


Sports Media Musings: Ramble, Ramble, RAMBLE

I used to hit on a variety of topics, both local and national, in my media columns. These days, because we’ve been hit with a barrage of news and events, my writing in this space has been more focused and in-depth. So, to combat this trend, I decided to clean out my notebook. Also, since I have your attention, I’d like to get a mailbag going next week so drop me a line on Twitter (@Hadfield__) or via email (Hadfield.Ryan@gmail.com). As always, thanks for reading.


Let’s play 9 innings with this, shall we?

1. Was this what Spring was like in the late ’80s? Riveting night in Boston sports.

  • I understand The Old Garden was legendary and all that. No arguments here. People romanticize about it and I’m sure the place was a fantastic venue to watch a big game (I was too young to remember). But I do think it’s telling how the Bruins and Celtics both hold two of the biggest home court/ice advantages in their respective leagues.
  • Jarome Iginla was heading to Boston then, overnight, he wasn’t. TSN had it wrong. Since they, evidently, adjudicate on such matters, it will be interesting to hear how Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti will handle the error in reporting today. This, of course, was all in the aftermath of Tuukka Rask letting in a game-tying goal with just under ten seconds left, leading to a Bruins’ overtime loss to Montreal.
  • The Celtics, meanwhile, came out with a dramatic 93-92 victory in Cleveland on the strength of this brilliant up and under scoop layup by Jeff GreenI was busy watching the end of the B’s game, but I hear Gary Tanguay and Brian Scalabrine had an entertaining post-game show. Apparently, Alan Thicke said that Green didn’t really impact the game, to which Scal replied, “HE HIT THE GAME-WINNING SHOT!” If Tanguay stayed his lane as a reliable host, he’d be fine, but Mr. Beaver gets in his own way far too often. Word of advice: stop watching Skip Bayless cuts, Ron Burgundy.

2. Bob Ryan, curmudgeon? Nope. Dude is a purist. Undresses JA Adande here. Excellent take.

  • More important (or comforting) is that, to this day, Ryan still loves sports.
  • Ryan’s appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast earlier this week is a must-listen. Ryan still throws 97 MPH and his ability to recall minute details about basketball over the course of four decades is remarkable. We always say, “Person X will forget more about __ than we’ll ever know.” I’m not sure if we always mean it. In Ryan’s case, we do.

3. Speaking of the Sports Guy, never got the chance to touch on his Twitter suspension after calling the Skip Bayless-Richard Sherman “First Take” fiasco a lose/lose segment for all parties involved, including ESPN.

  • Simmons was right. But the suspension makes sense, he had to be held in check — can’t be calling out colleagues.  Still, this (strangely) felt like yet another loss for us, the viewers, in ESPN’s curious role as Fast Food Food Journalism Enabler.
  • You know how I just wrote that Simmons needed to be held in check? Puhlleeeasse. A nothing Twitter suspension didn’t stop The Sports Guy from taking a veiled shot at Bayless in his recap of The Walking Dead on Grantland Monday afternoon (Yeah, I watch The Walking Dead. I concede it’s more or less a terrible show. Nonetheless …)

A little bit later, when Merle confidently predicts to his brother that Rick is gonna buckle, he sounds like Skip Bayless talking about LeBron James during the 2011.

4. Matt Doherty calling out CBS Sports coverage of the NCAA Tournament on ESPNU — specifically Charles Barkley, dropping a not so subtle “turrrrribllleee” line — is self-serving and specious. Sure, I don’t think Chaz or Kenny Smith are breaking down tape of Harvard before the tourney, but why do I need “experts” to tell me what’s happening with March Madness? I wrote about the tourney for Metro Boston on Monday. To me, there are no true insights available until the games are actually played. College basketball is sloppy; you never know how each team will handle the others playing style.

5. You want a “Salk and Holley” take, right? All I can say is that it’s an auspicious beginning. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, but you have to assume it’s going to get better; if this is the baseline starting point, then it’s possible for this show to make noise down the line.

  • Too vague, eh? (I feel like I should write like a Canadian when discussing Mike Salk because he really, really loves hockey guys. Like a lot. WEEI wants you to know this.)
  • The “Miked Up” segment should be scrapped. Like today.
  • I don’t want to pass judgement on the show anytime in the near future. That would be disingenuous and short-sighted. Plus, I’ve made that mistake before. Check my archives here: I sound bi-polar while writing about Grantland. I defended it, questioned it, tolerated it, liked it, and now I love it.

6. Amidst all the radio war drama, the “Dennis and Callahan” show has become unlistenable. I tried real hard this morning. Couldn’t get through an hour. Sorry.

  • I’m told the Kirk Minihane seclusion is a very real thing.
  • Since joining “Dennis and Callahan,” Minihane hasn’t been nearly as active writing on WEEI.com. And that sucks. For my money, he’s the best columnist in the city.
  • WEEI obviously wishes it had kept Felger and dumped Glenn Ordway during The Big O’s frisky contract negotiations in the later part of the last decade. Let’s say they fire up Doc Brown’s Delorean to go back in time to the first sign of trouble. My retrospective moves: Dump John Dennis and pair Gerry Callahan with someone who can challenge him; pair Minihane with Lou Merloni in the midday (Kirk would extract actual intel from the ex-jock); move “Dale and Holley” to the afternoon drive slot (Say what you will about Dale Arnold but those guys had great chemistry and were ALWAYS likable. Hmph, “likability.” Something “Felger and Mazz” are currently devoid of.)

7. Tim McCarver announced he is retiring at the conclusion of the upcoming baseball season. I actually didn’t hate him. I’ll let you guys have at it in the comments section with that gem.

8. Soccer will never be a huge sport in this country, but I still love it. The US-Mexico World Cup qualifier Tuesday night was fantastic.

  • Ian Darke puts every-by-play guy in every other sport to shame. Makes everything seem so effortless. Love that guy.
  • On the other hand, former CSNNE personality Taylor Twellman, now a color commentator at the WorldWide Leader, couldn’t keep with pace with Darke’s greatness. The Ken Doll didn’t offer much in the way of any analysis beyond vapid remarks like “The US isn’t holding possession but the reality is that it’s still 0-0.” Glad he’s here.

9. Joon Lee had Steve Buckley on his podcast to discuss his sports journalism career. It’s a good listen. Enjoyed Buck’s candidness about writing, “I hate writing, but love to have written.” I can attest to that. Believe it or not (and I suspect most of you don’t), writing a compelling, honest column is hard.

Extra Innings (Random stuff that may or may not be pertinent):

  • Going on vacation next week. Reading suggestions? Right now, I’m halfway through this year’s Baseball Prospectus. I’m also bringing along the oral history of Saturday Night Live (written by James Andrew Miller, which explains why it came free  along with my copy of “Those Guys Have All the Fun” a few years back).
  • Binge watched Mad Men over the summer to catch up. Excited for the new season. Question: Do I binge watch Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones next? Obviously Breaking Bad has more seasons and is much more of a process, but I’m willing to commit to either.
  • Will Leitch is leaving New York magazine to write full-time over at Sports On Earth. Leitch is severely underrated as a writer.
  • Steven Hyden’s look at the career of The Stokes has me going back through their anthology. Right band, right time (post 9/11), right city (New York City). The piece, as you can tell from my gushing, is awesome. Hyden is great. I want to write like him.

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 80 vs. the Knicks

Celtics (59-20) vs. New York (37-41)
March 26, 1980
Boston Garden

The Celtics dealt a crushing blow to the playoff hopes of the New York Knicks with a 129-121 victory in Boston.

The loss hurt New York as the Knicks were in the midst of a dog fight with Washington for the final playoff spot in the East (and the right to be the first team eliminated from the post-season), but the victory was also painful for the Celtics.  Dave Cowens and Larry Bird were both injured during the win.  Cowens reinjured his big left toe, while Bird suffered a deep thigh bruise after a collision with New York’s Toby Knight sent him into the basket support.

Tiny Archibald

The Knicks had no answer for an offensive barrage from the Celtics fourth quarter.  After scoring 37 points in the first and 32 in the second, the C’s began the final frame trailing, 95-91, but finished the quarter with 38 points.  With the victory, the Celtics had won 60 games for the first time since 1975 and had completed the biggest turnaround in NBA history, besting the Milwaukee Bucks, who went from 27 wins in 1968-69 to 56 wins the following season.  This season by the Celtics marked the first 30-win turnaround in league history.

“Everything started from the beginning because we were a team that stayed together.  We are a team that really gets along,” Chris Ford told Walter Haynes of the Boston Globe, starting his second game since coming off the injured list last week.

“It’s not just 11 players playing. It’s 12,” he added.  With that comment, it was obvious Ford wanted everyone to know that Don Chaney, who is on the injured list, is still a vital part of the team. And it has been a 12-man feeling all along.

Chaney was placed on the injured list witha pulled groin, which jeopardized his chance to suit up in the playoffs.  Outside of the injuries, the story of the night was the sensational play from Tiny Archibald.

After scoring 10 and dishing out 17 assists in the win over the Bullets, Archibald followed that up with 29 points and 17 assists in 47 minutes against his hometown Knicks.

“You know, Tiny wasn’t feeling well tonight,” Fitch told Haynes.  “And I’ve never had that much success with ballplayers playing when they’re sick.  But I had a hunch.”

Rick Robey gushed over Archibald’s play to Bob Ryan:

“He wants it.  You can see it in his eyes.  He knows the only way for us to win is for him to set us up, and he’s playing his best ball of the season.”

The fourth quarter also included a dual between Pete Maravich and Earl Monroe.  In the words of the Globe’s Haynes, the Pistol “contined to keep his mortgage on the fourth quarter.”  Maravich, who shot 8-10 from the field and scored 12 points in the fourth, found his groove in the final minutes of the game.  Earl “the Pearl” Monroe piled up 14 points (as well as 25 points in just 15 minutes) in the fourth in a classic match of two of the NBA’s legends.

Earl Monroe

“The thing about this team is that it doesn’t rely on any one guy.  We look to everyone to contribute down the stretch,” said Maravich, whose turnaround 19-foot bank shot made it 119-107 with 2:45 remaining and just about sealed things up.

With detail from the Globe’s Bob Ryan, the injury bug continued for the C’s with Cowens as he was forced to sit out the final eight minutes of the game.

Now Cowens was really into it, and on the next two Knick possessions, he demonstrated why Fitch has labeled him “the best defensive center in the league, if you’re going to play a team defense.” Big Red twice switched onto an out-of-control Sly Williams (in the game because NY was in foul trouble) and swallowed him up.  Each bad shot was then turned into a Maravich jumper on the transition.  Suddenly, it was 102-97 and Red Holzman was calling a time out amidst enough noise to disturb a baby shower in Tewksbury.

Only 30 seconds after play resumed, Cowens went limping off the court with a recurrence of his hyperextended left big toe.  On came Robey, and for all intents and purposes, out of the game went Bill Cartwright.  Robey just ate the chubby one’s lunch, pregame and midnight snack down the stretch.

“He was dynamite,’ lauded Fitch.  “He got four key rebounds, and what I really like is that he immediately made sure nobody lost his confidence or dropped his drawers because Dave wasn’t in there.”

As for Bird, Ryan explained that Bird had gone to the locker room to be bandaged after being slammed into the basket support by Toby Knight on a fast break.  He was on the left wing of a 2-on-1 break when he was sent sprawling.  The injury was a deeply bruised thigh, and it necessitated treatment from Dr. Thomas Silva, the team physician.  Cedric Maxwell was also still dealing with the lingering effect of his sprained ankle, so the Celtics were definitely a team in need of a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Celtics’ brief two-game homestand continued on Friday with another rematch with the Cavs.  With a victory, the Celtics would clinch the Atlantic Divison.



Mid-Week Thoughts On Media Topics

I realize I’ve been a bit scarce around these parts in recent weeks, and there has been a lot going on. Here are a few thoughts and observations from around the Boston sports media world.

I applaud the role Tom E Curran has apparently taken in deciding to call out some of the more ridiculous statements, storylines and agendas from radio talk show hosts, columnists and even his fellow writers. It’s not always easy to swim against the current, and it’s refreshing to have someone not just parroting and agreeing with what everyone is saying.

Mike Reiss is way too classy. He actually thanked Felger and Mazz in his Sunday notes a week ago this past Sunday, for letting him come on their show and basically call him a liar and a team mouthpiece over the Wes Welker situation. Reiss, I thought had done a very thorough job in covering all angles, placing blame on both parties in the situation, and yet Felger and Mazz still accused him of being in the bag for the team for even partly attributing blame to the agents, because, as we know, agents are infallible. Just ask the Broncos and Elvis Dumervil.

What’s worse, in my opinion, are media types who are nothing but mouthpieces for the agents. While using agents as sources and cultivating relationships with them is a necessary part of the reporting job, to just accept what they say at face value and print/report it as irrefutable fact is dangerous. Unfortunately, I think we have some reporters in all sports who are way too much in the control of agents.

Mentioned before but the continued dominance of pedophilia, illicit gay sex, masturbation, cross-dressing, sperm donations and transgender talk by John Dennis on the WEEI morning show is just weird. This is what they’ve decided their audience is craving? The Buzz Bissinger story and their fascination with it is just the latest example. While Toucher and Rich made fun of Bissinger and his proclivities, D&C painfully examined and dwelt on the details with an almost audible relish in their voices.

All Red Sox talk lately seems to center around Jackie Bradley Jr. Only the Boston sports media can make the anticipation of a highly touted prospect potentially  taking the next step in his career into a dragged-out, highly fraught, tiresome, annoying discussion.

So I guess all that talk about how the Celtics are better off without Rajon Rondo has pretty much died out, huh?

I’m not going to rush into judgment on the new Salk and Holley show, I like some of what I’ve heard from the duo, and other stuff not as much. Salk made the statement last week about Welker dropping the “easiest catch of all time” in the Super Bowl, and a few other head-scratching comments. At least one staffer at the station isn’t impressed with Salk, saying that he’s come in with a huge sense of entitlement and is causing waves behind the scenes, but then again, the entire atmosphere around WEEI remains toxic. It’s a mess back there.

I’d like to send out congratulations to Jeremy Gottlieb, who has done a lot of writing for various sites I’ve managed over the years, including Patriots Daily for his new job with Regan Communications.

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 79 vs. the Bullets

Celtics (58-20) vs. Washington (37-41)
March 25, 1980
Capital Centre

The Celtics inched closer to a 60-win season with a one-point victory, 96-95, over the Bullets in the nation’s capital to secure the team’s 59th victory.

Larry Bird

After dropping the previous meeting with the Bullets, the Celtics exacted some revenge in the final meeting of the season for the two teams.  Pete Maravich capped off the Celtics’ victory with a fourth-chance three-pointer for the winning basket.  The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan detailed the winning sequence:

Like, wow, Pistol, did you really want to shoot a three-pointer? Continue reading Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 79 vs. the Bullets

Combine Snubs Who Showed ’Em, Part II

As we mentioned in Part I, kudos to Gil Brandt and his pro day blog on NFL.com. A very entertaining read.

Below, we cite some more players who lacked invitations to the combine but whose performances would have fit right in at Indianapolis. For a rundown of each drill’s specific requirements, take a gander at the NFL.com combine workouts page.

Continue reading Combine Snubs Who Showed ’Em, Part II

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 78 vs. the Nets

Celtics (58-19) vs. New Jersey (32-46)
March 23, 1980
Boston Garden

Tripping over the finish line, the Celtics gave away a home game to the putrid New Jersey Nets, 101-96.  The defeat gave the Celtics a two-game losing streak, tying the longest stretch they had encountered all season.

Boston 30th sellout in 39 games stood out for the reason that no one Celtic could assume control of the scoring load.  Points were fairly well-distributed with four players in double-digits (Gerald Henderson led the team with 16 points), but the Celtics were burned again by the offensive prowess of Nets guard Mike Newlin.

Mike Newlin

Newlin dropped 52 on the C’s back in December and finished with 38 points in this long, two-hour-and-twenty-minute affair on Causeway Street.  The game felt even longer for Celtics rookie Larry Bird, who shot 1-15 from the field as his mini-slump continued.  The Boston Globe’s Walter Haynes reported on the loss: Continue reading Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 78 vs. the Nets