In the spirit of the mock draft being everywhere (including here) I’ve put together not one, but two mock drafts for your perusal today.
The first draft is more of a “power-rankings” sort of thing. These are the top-30 most influential and powerful media personalities, not counting editors, producers, publishers, etc. These are the folks who create the storylines and talking points that drive the Boston sports media.
The strengths and weaknesses in this list are compiled based on what is going to be attractive to today’s sports media market, which favors sensation and controversy over fact gathering and reporting.
Current Influence/Power Draft
1) Mike Felger, WBZ-FM, CSNNE
Strengths: Intelligent, can spot trends and get on the other side of them. Can argue his side cognitively, and concisely. Above average knowledge of hockey and football. Average baseball, knows more basketball than he puts on.
Weaknesses: Will take a point too far. Not above taking ridiculous positions and then never backing down. (Cap is Crap!) Dwells in the negative, no matter how successful teams are. Weak partner.
2) Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Strengths: Ability to infuriate and insult readers and fans. Above average knowledge of the history of baseball and basketball, and some of Boston sports in general. Always knows how to twist the knife and anger people. Ingratiates himself with people like John Henry Williams just for access.
Weaknesses: Tends to laziness, agenda-riddled, no self-awareness, little to no knowledge of football and hockey.
3) Gerry Callahan, WEEI, Boston Herald
Strengths: Still an excellent columnist. Knows football, baseball and basketball very well. Been on a national stage with SI, knows how things work. Forceful personality.
Weaknesses: Easily blinded by personal beliefs and loyalties. When challenged, resorts to high-school bully act of mocking challenger and doing sarcastic voices.
4) Fred Toucher, WBZ-FM
Strengths: Not Dennis and Callahan. Beating them in the ratings. Occasionally entertaining rants. Can run the show well.
Weaknesses: Below average knowledge of sports.
5) Tom E Curran, CSNNE
Strengths: Best all around talent in the draft. Can entertain as well as inform. Does well in print, radio and on television, excellent football knowledge and insight. Adequate in other sports. Not a toady, despite suggestions by others. (ask Dr Gill).
Weaknesses: Perceived as football-only.
6) Dale Arnold, WEEI, NESN
Strengths: Experience in market, knowledge of hockey and football. OK with other sports. Hosting on radio and television, chemistry with Michael Holley.
Weaknesses: Personality doesn’t appeal to all, tends to pile on excessively to human interest-type stories.
7) Scott Zolak, WBZ
Strengths: High energy, appealing personality, knowledge of football. Uses experience as ex-NFL QB to provide insight on subject.
Weaknesses: Just OK on other sports, can get carried away on a topic.
8) Kirk Minihane, WEEI
Strengths: Willing to challenge the sports media conventional wisdom and other media members with a pack mentality. Good ability to analyze and debate. Good knowledge of sports.
Weaknesses: Some concern he is being assimilated in to the Dennis and Callahan mindset. Will also attack too harshly at times making recipient of criticism appear more sympathetic.
9) Gary Tangway, CSNNE
Strengths: Innate ability to stir the pot when there is no pot. Plenty of hot takes. Good voice.
Weaknesses: Takes some of the weirdest and nonsensical stands ever seen or heard. Not much in the way of sports knowledge.
10) Lou Merloni, WEEI, CSNNE
Strengths: Excellent baseball analyst. Can provide insight from a former player’s perspective both on and off the field. Decent knowledge of other Boston teams.
Weaknesses: Damnity damn damn. Damn damn damnity damn damn.
11) Chad Finn, Boston.com/Boston Globe
Strengths: Underrated prospect. Rare gift of actually enjoying sports. Can write about all four sports, though baseball is his best. Uses humor, can be critical of but doesn’t needlessly bash local squads. As media columnist, he wields a certain amount in influence.
Weaknesses: Because he enjoy sports, Joe Sullivan will continue to bury him on Boston.com and never give him more than the sports media column in the paper Globe.
12) Mike Reiss, ESPN Boston
Strengths: The gold standard of beat reporters. Get the information, gets it to you quickly, doesn’t muddy the information with personal “takes.” Respected by those he covers, Nicest guy in the business.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t always stand up for himself as much as he probably should.
13) Rob Bradford, WEEI
Strengths: Good relationships on beat. Gets scoops and information. Put together a good group at WEEI.com.
Weaknesses: A voice made for print.
14) Andy Gresh, WBZ-FM, CSNNE
Strengths: Good host, brings energy and passion. Good knowledge of most sports, particularly football.
Weaknesses: Bombastic. Can go overboard with insults or rants.
15) Michael Holley, WEEI
Strengths: Likeable. Good on basketball, football and baseball. Not going to crawl into the morass of negativity so common on sports radio. Not a leading man, but a valuable piece.
Weaknesses: Feel like he should be more assertive, and draw on his “embedded” work with the Patriots more.
16) Rich Shertenlieb, WBZ-FM
Strengths: Other half of duo that knocked Dennis and Callahan from atop the ratings. Most of his bits are pretty good. He’s likable. Doesn’t pretend to know more about sports than he does.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t know a lot about sports. Some bits are repetitive and immature.
17) Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston
Strengths: Great, compelling writer. Few better on the NBA. Can hold her own on other sports.
Weaknesses: Curious dislike of Patriots, while embracing everything Kobe Bryant.
18) Joe Haggerty, CSNNE
Strengths: Gave the hockey beat a much-needed jolt when he joined it. Though he’s more of a baseball guy at heart, he’s fully embraced the role as hockey guy and in many ways is the most visible on the beat. Big self-promoter.
Weaknesses: Known to occasionally make no sense whatsoever.
19) Alex Speier, WEEI
Strengths: Hands down best baseball scribe in town. Knows it all, majors, minors, highly intelligent, can debate anyone and win.
Weaknesses: Keeps a low profile. Not a self-promoter.
20) Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe
Strengths: Successfully made transition from respected NHL authority to professional Twitter troll.
Weaknesses: Obscure references don’t play well with the Twitter crowd.
21) John Dennis, WEEI
Strengths: Biggest bully in the market. Universally loathed, except for a curious group of sycophantic listeners who think he’s awesome and actually wanted to pay money to go to his “bachelor party.” Wields influence through bully tactics.
Weaknesses: Too many scheduled pedicures reduces his available bullying time.
22) Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald
Strengths: The Dean of the NBA beat here in Boston. Still the best. Great history, a must-follow on Twitter, and the go-to guy for Celtics news.
Weaknesses: Never been a self-promoter. Does his job, lives his life.
23) Adam Jones, WBZ-FM
Strengths: Completely mastered the art of taking the Felger storylines from the afternoon and making a whole new show out of them. Dishes out #hotsportztakes like nobody’s business.
Weaknesses: Only heard at night. Less exposure for his epic takes.
24) Christopher Gasper, Boston Globe
Strengths: Following in the footsteps of the hallowed Bob Ryan, Gasper has managed to carve out his own niche in Boston.
Weaknesses: That niche happens to be “the guy who followed Bob Ryan” in much the same vein as Ray Handley following Bill Parcells.
25) Field Yates, ESPN Boston
Strengths: A rising star, Yates experience with two NFL clubs (including the Patriots) and ability to analyze from that perspective has Yates already appearing on national ESPN programming on a regular basis. Enjoy him while he’s here.
Weaknesses: Outside of a few WEEI appearances there isn’t much in the way of local airtime for him at the moment.
26) Baxter Holmes, Boston Globe
Strengths: Another fast-riser. Best writer I can remember on the Celtics beat for the Globe since the days of MacMullan and Ryan. Hard worker, seems to want to do things the right way. Wrote some great features this year which should’ve been discussed more.
Weaknesses: Another who isn’t much of a self-promoter.
27) Sean McAdam, CSNNE
Strengths: Long time beat writer, knows the game and the team, also very good on hockey. More measured analysis instead of the negative controversy-driven approach. Once called Felger “Mr Baseball.”
Weaknesses: Seems less prominent now than he once was.
28) Mike Giardi, CSNNE
Strengths: Tenacious reporter. Works the stories, good on-camera presence not afraid to ask the tough questions.
Weaknesses: Too skinny.
29) Leah Hextall, NESN
Strengths: Hockey bloodline, appealing personality, can also venture into other sports.
Weaknesses: We haven’t seen her here outside of NESN so hard to gauge full abilities.
30) Rich Levine, CSNNE
Strengths: Shown that an online-only columnist doesn’t have to just be a click-baiting troll to be successful.
Weaknesses: Isn’t enough of a click-baiting troll to be successful enough to rank higher on this list.
How I would rank the same people in terms of what I want from a media person.
1) Tom E Curran
2) Mike Reiss
3) Chad Finn
4) Baxter Holmes
5) Field Yates
6) Mike Felger
7) Alex Speier
8) Scott Zolak
9) Steve Bulpett
10) Kirk Minihane
11) Sean McAdam
12) Michael Holley
13) Gerry Callahan
14) Dale Arnold
15) Mike Giardi
16) Leah Hextall
17) Rich Levine
18) Fred Toucher
19) Rob Bradford
20) Andy Gresh
21) Lou Merloni
22) Rich Shertenlieb
23) Kevin Paul Dupont
24) Joe Haggerty
25) Jackie MacMullan
26) Christopher Gasper
27) Adam Jones
28) John Dennis
29) Gary Tanguay
30) Dan Shaughnessy