Welcome to the
Monthly Weekly?? Sports Media Mailbag! Here are comments and emails from you, the readers, with insight on your favorite sports media personalities. To contribute to the mailbag, either shoot me an email at Hadfield.Ryan@gmail.com, hit me up on Twitter @Hadfield__, or leave a response in the comments section of any one of my columns.
Took a vacation from my vacation in Key West to finish writing this (fifth!) edition of the Sports Media Mailbag. In addition to this, if you have time to kill at your desk, check out my recent columns for Metro Boston on the Nike Tiger Woods ad and my ranking of the current best home(field/ice/court) advantage in Boston. I hope you guys enjoy. As always, thanks for reading.
Does anyone really know what is going on with the morning show? I know you wrote: “I’m told the Kirk Minihane seclusion is a very real thing.” It is painful. It’s bad. It’s extremely odd. I almost get the impression that John Dennis is now Peter from Office Space but the Bob’s have not come yet. They’re now doing a Sweet 16 of “Female Boston News Personalities”. 60 year-old guys gawking at women in their 20s on the radio?
The Kirk Minihane thing is fantastic because he is so candid about it. From my conversations with him in the past, I’m not shocked. That’s how he is. It’s how he’s always been. On Twitter, he’s openly mocking the happenings on the show he is purportedly involved in, but in reality, not actually part of. It’s subversive and it’s very real.
As far as the other part to the question, I’m writing something on this for next week, but here is a quick summary of the morning radio wars: For my money, good sports radio comes down to two things — compelling discourse and likability. The former has never really been a problem for Gerry Callahan and John Dennis, but the latter is burning them right now (kind of the same way it’s burning “Felger & Mazz”, except “Dennis & Callahan”‘s plight has been slow and painful. “Felger & Mazz” are seemingly racing towards self-sabotage). Meanwhile the competition, “Toucher and Rich”, have had the likability aspect locked down since they hit the airwaves, and producers have done a nice job working in call-ins from experts to mask any perceived defenciency talking sports. It’s night and day, really.
Do you have anything original to bring to this column, honestly? Everything you write is a regurgitation of Bill Simmons, Drew Magary, or Mike Tunison style of writing. From the Gregggg to the rip down of local columnists (ala Peter King or Gregg Easterbrook), to the mailbag. Its just so old. Are you really trying to copy writers that are already getting tiresome. Pop-media sports has found its niche. You are not a part of that, find your own style style.
True story: My family sees these mailbags and far too often I’m left explaining to my mom that the internet, by nature, is a negative sphere. People aren’t going to go on Yelp and write a good review (unless it’s fantastic and life changing), but they’ll be quick to bash the restaurant that is slow with service. I read Drew Magary but never really check out his takedowns of Gregg Easterbook. Which, in retrospect, looks like a complete ripoff joke. Bad job by me. Won’t happen again.
That aside — and I think readers will attest to this — this media column, now running on its third year, has its own voice and style. The takedown pieces are meant to be brash and boisterous. This probably because I freelance for Metro Boston (which I love doing), but am devoid of a full-time gig. And that’s transparent bitterness on my part. But I take pride in the actual media columns and these mailbags. I try to write with a critical eye (while hopefully holding some entertainment value). Is it an amalgam of some of my favorite writers? Probably. But isn’t that expected to some degree?
And hey, if you want to take one column and use that to judge my body of work, then go for it. Kind of short-sighted, but go for it. Either way, thanks for reading.
You do know that people who spell their name “Gregg” spell it that way because their parents named them that way. People who spell their name “Greg” are really named “Gregory”. -DrakeW
I love everything about this. Thanks for that.
So you are still on the Mike Holley bandwagon. Please explain to me what he does or says that let’s you believe that even if you could have gone back in your DeLorean and moved Dale and Holley to the afternoon that would have worked. Your idea still contains Mike Holley. Other than he is a nice guy, articulate and can write reasonably okay…I don’t see why he has not been banished from the radio. – latetodinner
Underrated subplot of the radio wars has been Michael Holley. He is clearly beloved by the suits over on Guest Street. Holley has been given the keys to the car. There has to be a part of him, though, that is nervous. It’s what I call “good nerves,” meaning butterflies, not jitters. Like if I was given a column at the Boston Globe or New York Times. For me, again, it comes back to likability and compelling discourse. Holley has plenty of the former, and the latter is lacking, but I respect the hell out of him for not going Media Troll on us after abandoning his journalism gig.
This is a guy whose covered the Celtics and Patriots beat (and possibly more, can’t recall), and was once a columnist for the Globe. You know who had a similar career arc? Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti. Notice a difference in how the two handle their business? I do. And it’s refreshing. Of course, ratings don’t take any of that into account, so the question, obviously, becomes whether or not he can he carry a show? The answer, even after all these years, is I don’t know.
I loved, loved, LOVED the few times he was paired with Tom E. Curran or Minihane. Maybe that’s because I know the parties involved. Mike Salk, thus far, hasn’t resonated quite like I wished he would going in, but it’s still a feeling out process. Regardless, it’s a big year for Holley professionally. And yeah, I guess his style gels with what I’m looking for — measured takes that are less LOOK AT ME! and more “Here’s the reasoning why I think __.”
Plus, “banished from the radio” is a little harsh. Don’t you think, LateToDinner?
Two things that I am just baffled by at 98.5, which I have been an avid listener of since it debuted.
1. With such great up and coming talent (Bertrand and Hardy for example) how on earth does a guy like Andy Gresh keep his job? He is AWFUL!! Seriously, he has pictures of a big wig over there, right? The only explanation. Even if he was reasonably intelligent, his voice alone gives me post concussion syndrome. He brings out the worst in Zolak, it really reminds me of listening to the dark days of the Big Show with Smerlas and Deossie.
2. When the ratings are looked at, do they look at individual days? Love them or hate them Felger and Mazz ( I am of the former, they are head and shoulders better than every other program) make great radio, EXCEPT Tuesdays. Jermaine Wiggins on air equals this guy tuning into the other station.
Am I the only one out there that thinks this????
Dave in Gardner
Speaking of measured takes, how about Marc Bertand and Chris Gasper in the midday? Bertrand is funny and knowledgeable. Gasper is smart and does well articulating his points. The duo developed a nice rapport doing a morning show on Saturdays for The Sports Hub that I wish I heard more of.
I have written extensively about Andy Gresh in this space before. I’ll admit he will grow on me at times, but his monologues are tough to listen to, and he comes across as pompous. There is an authoritative tone, then there is “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Gresh falls on the wrong side of that fence for me. Also, I can’t help but notice him berating listeners on Twitter. Reminds me of the same hubris that took down WEEI.
Re Jermaine Wiggins: This is what I wrote from the first “Sports Media Musings” Bruce Allen published back in the summer of 2011 (yeesh!). It still holds true:
Maybe not as grating, but unfortunately Wiggins is the Mike Adams of 98.5′s afternoon drive show. He either struggles articulating his point, or doesn’t have one — I still am trying to figure out which it is. Bottom line: “Wiggy Wednesdays” are as entertaining as the pending NFL lockout.
Who says there is any “intel” to extract from Lou Merloni? – wdriii
Guys like Scott Zolak and Lou Merloni could — and should — use their experience in the locker room playing at the highest level (albeit in a backup role) and provide audiences with the nuances the common fan can’t see. Surely, from their experiences, they must see the game in a different light than the rest of us. Right? I don’t see why they don’t channel that unique perspective more often is all.
I generally love your insights, but for the love of god, please get off of Simmons’ stick. I agree that Grantland is great, but notwithstanding that he the most powerful man in sports business, Simmons has become way to proud of himself and his writing has suffered for it. – Ted Sarandis
Agreed. I probably write about Bill Simmons too often for this space. And yeah, the writing has gone down hill, but his presence on TV has vastly improved (and increased); not to mention, the live stream during March Madness could catch on. Just look at this snippet from Richard Deitsch’s “Media Circus” column over at SI.com (special thanks to reader BSMFAN.)
As Sports Business Daily media writer John Ourand observed: “What’s to stop Turner’s Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley from putting on their own online halftime show around the NBA Finals, even though the games are on ABC? Or how about NBC firing up its 30 Rock studio to have Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison analyze ESPN’s Monday Night Football games online, starting with a couple of minutes left in the first half?”
This is fine, what is everyone complaining about? Isn’t this the guy everyone crowned the new king of sports talk radio in this city? You all (Felger fans) complained about Ordway and his opinions, you ran him out of town by giving Felger your ears, You’re already complaining about Mike Salk and it’s not even a month. You’re okay with personal bashing and stepping over the line, you’ve traded that for real sports talk and you’ve all allowed Felger to brain wash you into believing his “Tell it like it is style” is the way to go. So enjoy it, don’t complain. As For me, I’m fine with EEI, as far as local goes, anything but Felger and Mazz. – Will
I guess I should just come out and say that I don’t have a problem with Felger’s Jeff Green heart surgery remark from last week. When you’re on air for 27 hours a day, you’re subject to capricious miscues. I don’t think Felger would put that in print. Comedy is meant to be (somewhat) offensive, Green is still alive, and so on and so forth. Sounds matter of fact, but it’s just how I feel. Sticks and stones.
Still, would I have made the remark? Do I think it was in bad taste?
Absolutely not. And yes, it was crass. But all I’m saying is that it happens, and when it does, it’s usually worse than what Felger said (e.g. Doug Gottlieb’s “white man perspective” comment during CBS Sports coverage of the NCAA tournament).
As far as giving him the platform: I’d like to think the two are mutually exclusive, Will. Glenn Ordway’s success proved to have as much to do with the lack of competition as his actual show. That doesn’t mean whatever siege “Felger & Mazz” are on in recent weeks should go unnoticed.
The thing that gets me about their show is how there’s seldom any actual INSIGHT into the games being played on the field — something, once upon a time, Felger used to be good at. Now they usually bypass an actual dissection of the game itself for long-winded rants about how Belichick is clueless, Kraft is a liar, Chiarelli sucks, the Celtics suck, the Red Sox suck, the Red Sox ownership sucks…taking shots at reporters covering the Pats…taking shots at players….basically, everyone sucks except for Cam Neely. Got it!” – Andre Dursin
Bingo! This! Just everything about this. I had a bigger issue with Felger saying Green sucks. Because he doesn’t. And if Felger watched basketball, he’d see that. Parading ideas about ownership or coaches is fine, too, but the show has become four hours of hypothetical ulterior motives. It’s exhausting at times.
When Tim McCarver initially started out as a baseball analyst — initially locally in Philly and subsequently on nationally broadcast games — following his playing days (including the proverbial cup of coffee with the Red Sox in the mid-’70s), he was quite enjoyable and very good. Somewhere along the line he became an insufferable, drooling tool which, I believe, started shortly after he was paired with that smug, quintessential DB, Joe Buck.
Want a good Tim McCarver career obit? The best I found, by far, was from Brian Curtis. Great juxtaposition with John Madden‘s old style. Really great read.
On that note, as always, thanks for reading! We’ll do it again sooner rather than later. If you’re bored Out There, give me a shout on Twitter @Hadfield__.