The Answer That You Want
Is In The Question That You State
No one knows anything.
That’s the takeaway I got from Welkahpalooza. Moreover, I doubt we ever will. Of course, that didn’t stop the loudest voices Out There from speculating what transpired as talks unfolded. And that’s fine, speculation is a pillar embedded into entertaining sports commentary.
Slander, however, is not.
Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, who, believe it or not, used to practice the field of journalism, have embraced their perceived positions as “truth seekers,” among a town filled with media members that, according to them, are compromised — using the Wes Welker contract negotiations as a polemic to launch a diatribe against how the Patriots conduct their affairs.
(Side Note: When this is extraordinary run is over, we’ll wax poetic about the Tom Brady-era. But there’s no getting around it at this point. You would think the Patriots are the Detroit Lions, Bill Belichick is Rod Marinelli, and Nick Caserio is Matt Millen in the aftermath of Welker’s departure to Denver. Has there ever been a franchise that has sparked more media to have their trembling hands hovering over the “THE DYNASTY IS OVER” button?)
There is a watchdog mentality brewing here (which is weird typing from a website that, essentially, is a watchdog itself). No one asked for this, but we’re getting spoon fed the rhetoric anyway. Felger had no problem calling into question Tom E. Curran‘s report that Danny Amendola was signed the first day of free agency; and Tony Massarotti, as he’s wont to do, effusively agreed. Meanwhile, the two have incessantly claimed Mike Reiss is in bed with the Krafts. Do Felger or Mazz have sources telling them information contrary to what’s been reported, or are they just blindly shooting from the hip? Methinks the latter is a strong possibility.
Anyway, eventually, this prompted Reiss to call into “Felger & Mazz” Friday afternoon in a wildly entertaining segment, in which he reminded Felger about his journalistic roots, quipping, “That’s called reporting, Mike.”
Immediately after Reiss hopped off the line, Mazz retorted that he didn’t agree with a lot of what Reiss was reporting. Felger then said, “AT THEIR PRICE! I HATE THAT …. when you want a player, you get him!” At this point, we all were just hate-listening, but thinking about that asinine statement leads me to believe Michael Felger does not understand valuation, economics, or free agency in general. Though, I suppose “if you want the player, you do whatever it takes” works when you’re concurrently espousing the idea that the “cap is crap.”
This week, we’ll hear how the Patriots read the market right and tactfully signed Aqib Talib to a one-year deal on short money. Everyone will agree on this. What’s curious is that they used the same model to evaluate Welker, and are somehow considered frugal. This doesn’t align with any sort of consistency in analysis. And that’s because analysis has relented its position to (baseless) salacious accusations of other reporters’ coverage, I guess. Felger and Mazz continually upbraid the BBWAA; openly loathe the Celtics; and now this.
I have a friend who loves sports; probably more than I do in some ways. He can tell you where Brandon Tate went to school, rip off statistics off the top of his head from a few box scores from big games, all of that. A few weeks ago, I talked to him about a the Patriots’ run that is nearing the end. He told me he thought we were playing with house money and that he believed the Jets and Marc Sanchez were going to take the reigns back in 2010. We both chuckled, but I cut my laugh short when he cited Felger’s influence as a cause for this impression. People, even knowledgeable sports fans, believe in this nonsense. They take it as gospel. That’s why I didn’t have a problem last week when Felger claimed he had more influence than ESPN in the Boston market during his media review on “Sports Tonight” with Glenn Ordway.
It’s the gratuitous pot shots, heightened blurriness between entertainment and reporting, and, ultimately, how they recklessly use their influence that worries me most.