Around 8:00 last night, just as the NBA draft was getting rolling, NESN sent out a press release announcing that they would not be renewing the contract of Bruins reporter Naoko Funayama.
Releasing the respected and professional Funayama is just the latest curious move from the network, which has had very high turnover across all departments of the organization.
Some have said that the network rivals or surpasses WEEI in the dysfunctional department. Fitting that the two have partnered up in many ways.
In the release, NESN states that NESN has incredible appreciation and admiration for the work that Naoko has provided the network during this historic chapter of rebirth of Boston Bruins hockey.
So why let her go? She was respected by all, whether it being colleagues in the media, the players and coaches she interacted with, and viewers.
The announcement much immediate outcry and backlash against NESN, as well as words of support for Funayama. My buddy Ken Fang does a great job summarizing the reaction in a post from early this morning:
Fang also posted the following on his Facebook page:
A source has told me Red Sox butcher Tom Werner made the call to axe Naoko in favor of Leah Hextall.
Now, I like Leah Hextall, and hockey is in her blood, but if true this still screams the point that Werner is the most out-of-touch of all the Red Sox ownership – which says a lot – and the direction that NESN has taken since he took over has been a screaming indication of that.
Elsewhere in the local sports media, CSNNE announced yesterday that a new eight week primetime program, “THE SHOW” will debut next Monday, July1st at 8:30pm.
The announcement describes the The Show as The format will be similar to Comcast SportNet’s long-running signature baseball program “The Baseball Show” but with an interesting twist and perspective exclusively from the younger fan-base. The show will be hosted by Trenni Kusnierek and will feature panelists Chris Gasper, Marc Bertrand and Rich Levine. The show will feature plenty of staged “mock debates” which are all the rage in sports programming these days.
NBC scores big with hockey fans – Chad Finn’s media column this week examines the ratings that NBC scored for the Bruins/Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals, and has other notes, such as the two items above.
So, anything else happening these days?
I guess the better question should be what’s happening next? The last week has been day after day of headline stories, with most of them leaning toward the tough side of the fan experience.
The latest, of course, is the seemingly completed trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, along with Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets. Danny Ainge made good on his vow not to let his mature produce rot on the vine here. Adrian Wojnarowski, as usual, was the man breaking the story (and seemingly every other story) last night.
The idea of KG and Paul Pierce especially, putting on a Brooklyn Nets uniform just makes my stomach turn. But I understand that this needed to be done. I guess whenever you can get the Nets franchise to fork over three first round picks (with an option to swap picks in another year) you HAVE to do it, especially when you consider that at least two of those picks will be after the Nets have squeezed any remaining value out of KG and Pierce and those two have retired.
I also really, really hope Ainge has more in mind for some of these Nets players that are said to be coming here. especially Kris Humphries.
The Garden is going to have a much, much different feel this season.
A few of the top links on the matter:
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett get traded as the Celtics finally blow it up – Paul Flannery, SB Nation.
Danny Ainge won’t let these Celts grow old – Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald.
Celtics made painful decision to start over – Gary Washburn, Boston Globe.
Huge trade further proof Nets, other ‘haves’ playing different game – Ken Berger, CBS Sports.
Also, check CelticsLinks.com for widespread reaction to the deal, and the draft.