Writing about sports is HARD.
That’s the lesson we can take from Sunday’s Boston Globe.
How else to explain some of the content from the region’s largest newspaper?
First we have Shaughnessy, who rails about how Red Sox fans have all gone soft on the team and we’re not miserable bastards like we were in 1978.
At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’
Well, let’s see, since 2003, we’ve had three World Series victories, two other appearances in the ALCS, and made two other playoff appearances. Since 2003 they’ve averaged 91 wins per season, and that includes the 69-win season of 2012.
But we’re insane for thinking that the Red Sox are generally pretty good.
It amazes me how soft this baseball market has become. In 1978 fans and media crushed the Sox for a 99-win season that concluded with eight consecutive pressure-packed victories. The Boston manager was unmercifully booed on Opening Day the following year. Now everything is awesome because the Boston ballpark is a tourist destination and fans fall in love with the hype of every young player coming through the system. Swell. When did we become St. Louis?
I think Dan is still upset he lost his “Curse” business.
What’s truly amazing is that throughout his rant, he never mentions ONCE that the Red Sox actually, you know, WON THE WORLD SERIES last year.
Chad Finn very nicely took Dan to task yesterday – I Can Think of 3 Good Reasons Why The Red Sox are Getting the Benefit of the Doubt.
Then we had Bob Ryan’s column, the premise of which was promising enough – how much sports coverage has changed since the days that he was on the beat. The main thrust of which is that there really is no offseason for sports coverage any longer.
Ryan then includes quotes from all of the regular Globe sports writers, including Nick Cafardo, Peter Abraham, Amalie Benjamin, Shalise Manza Young, Ben Volin, Gary Washburn, Baxter Holmes and Fluto Shinzawa.
Amalie Benjamin once covered the Red Sox. Now she covers the Bruins. “Hockey is not as crazy as baseball,” she says. “I hated baseball offseason.”
Why? Too busy in the offseason? Most of the rest of us work year-round, too. Some travel just as much as these writers, and put in 60+ hours a week for the entire year. No offseason.
Then there’s Volin:
“It’s an 11-month news cycle,” says Ben Volin, the Globe’s NFL analyst. “For one thing, people just love talking about next year. That’s a big part of it. And the whole football thinking is different. They have OTAs because they don’t want people to get out of shape and because they don’t want them getting into trouble.”
So, it’s not about putting in your offense or defense and building a team, it’s all about keeping the players busy so they don’t all become fat criminals in the offseason? OK, Got it.
Let’s go back to the social media thing for a minute. “It’s really changed dramatically the last three or four years,” says Abraham. “The littlest things can become big things. You’re asking yourself, ‘Is this a story?’ ’’
“There is no way to distinguish what is news and what isn’t,” says Manza Young.
Wait, what? These are reporters for the largest newspaper in New England and they don’t know what is news and what isn’t?
Finally in the Sunday Football Notes from Volin, there was his line in the section outlining how advanced the NFL is:
Equality barriers have been broken. The NFL is now the first among the four major North American pro sports leagues to have an openly gay player (Michael Sam).
Do these columns get edited? Jason Collins was a fairly big story last year, and he played in the NBA after his announcement. How does this get missed?
21 thoughts on “Dan Shaughnessy Forgets That Red Sox Won World Series Last Year”
Shalise, I’ve been told that Albert Breer will tell us when something is news – so there’s that.
As a group, is there a more entitled, whiny group than the Boston sports media? F’ing ponderous.
I think the Patriots coverage is worse. They went 12-4 last year yet reading the Globe you would think they went 4-12.
My favorite part is the talk about the defense.
Felger has it down pat as usual.
Last year it was the “march of the Tomato Cans” and any fan that tried to point out how good the defense was playing, before the rash of injuries to starters, was a footy-pajama wearing Homer.
Now (not even a year later!) Felger’s line is “last season YOU had a TOP FIVE DEFENSE, before Talib was injured.”
Shank is a troll, if everyone ignores him, he will go away. The other story is worth discussing.
Bruce wrote: “Wait, what? These are reporters for the largest newspaper in New England and they don’t know what is news and what isn’t?”
Bruce, maybe there is another meaning to Shalise’s statement. I understand that you are distinguishing between (A) real news and (B) drama/rumors/nonsense.
I think she could talking about what will generate the highest ratings, the most clicks, the most screen views, the most attention, etc. So it could be either A or B, but that’s not the point. The point is no one can predict what story is going to be the most popular. It’s a ratings business, not a news business.
Baby, I completely agree with your point up until the last paragraph. I think most consumers completely understand that the New business has evolved into a ratings war (rather than a circulation battle as it was for 100 years). The problem is consumers are demanding news. The outlets are trying to guess which news will drive ratings. As such they expect past behavior to predict future trends and in doing so they sanitize everything. This in turn further alienates the consuming public who go looking for more and different sources to get better information and the cycle of more and more predictable vanilla “takes” being used instead of actual investigative news continues on a downward spiral.
Looking at it from another perspective…were the Globe the leader in sports or any news reporting that they think they are they would do three things starting today:
1) They would attempt to balance their political ideology on their editorial boards so that content (not opinion) would appear more reflective and inclusive.
2) They would clearly differentiate between news and opinion. This one sounds like it should be done but to be honest I am not sure a lot of people Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy are Opinionists (columnists) and not beat writers. Especially when they say things like “I have been covering this team for 30 years…”
3) They would make an effort to have beat writers that aggressively attempt to cover the team rather than opinion on it. This is so much harder than it seems. it takes a lot of discipline to be Mike Reiss or Sean McAdam. Included in this would be a demand that in every story/article the writer must include something new and news worthy.
“The problem is consumers are demanding news. The outlets are trying to guess which news will drive ratings.”
I think we are in complete agreement on this, I just don’t think that every consumer defines “news” the same way.
News rooms have become increasingly politicized, even in sports. Which is fine if an editor/organization wants to do this. No secret, as well, with which newsroom leans what way. Problems from this are the ‘hivemind’ that occurs here. I’ve hit on the alienation of 50% of your potential readership/listenership. I’d say that most people aren’t either extreme. The extreme politicization alienates these people, not just on news but sports. When I read certain writers locally via the internet, I get the impression they’re trying to get a job nationally at a certain outlet. When I read others, they’re clearly writing for other journos on the other side. Rarely, do I find they’re thinking of the average person–or, me.
I still get the WSJ and NYT delivered. Between both, being polar opposites, there’s little I find worth value for me since I don’t have a house on the Cape, 3 BMWs and my kids in private school. Both papers do have good articles on sports, tech, etc., but 90% of the time? I don’t feel like they’re writing for some regular blue-collar schmo like me. Most of the time, the only worthwhile part of the papers comes via my compost pile, as they’re a great ‘brown’ source.
To be fair…the Globe writers, to quote one of their old own “suck”. We have spent plenty of bandwidth exposing Shalise Manza Young as a lazy fraud…how she has a job at the Globe none the less is beyond me (unless I start thinking politically incorrect thoughts.) Heck she should have been fired when she was at the Projo. Her whining over the years about lack of access and the difficulty of covering the Belichick Patriots has been amazing to me. I would think she would apply for a job covering an easier team like Seattle or Oakland or the Jets.
The rest of them to a man don’t understand how the world does not bow to them because they work for the Globe. They seem to think they are entitled to access, stories, news and content. The idea that they have to work hard for original content has somehow become lost on them. They are truly baffled by the competition (web sites, blogs, TV and radio). The fact that the lines between the media have become so blurred that you can’t tell who or what is what anymore infuriates entitled elitists like the Globe writers to no end. I can hear the water cooler conversation “Did you see that, Belichick took a question from CSSNE.com…what the heck is that and why would he consider answering their question when I was there with my globe hat ready to tell him how he should be more forthcoming with injury reports.”
There was a time that the Globe, like the NY Times was the paper of record. Today they are small fish in an increasingly more egalitarian pond where news is disseminated directly to the people and where the quality of your work is judged rather than the name on the masthead.
“The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as ‘perennial contenders.'”
In that CHB article.
Bruce, I’m not sure if you write any code, but it would be fun to play a game where a memorable quote pops up and you have to select the person who said/wrote it, between 4 or 5 names. It’d look like this, except not look like a Frontpage 98 special. Quote pops up, you have a radio button with 5 possible answers, person selects and you hit submit. Report score after 10 or so and maintain a high-score arcade-style list.
I’d have to think that there would be a dozen-or-so a month that could easily go into the list, with hundreds if one dug back into archives.
Throw some AdWords on it to make a few bucks? Just an idea..
Better still, let’s all play the hot new game “Pretend Dan’s Talking About Other Things”….
“The US has not won a ground war in Asia since 1945, and yet is still perceived as some sort of global superpower.”
“The ‘billions of customers served’ sign at my local McDonalds hasn’t been changed in decades, they haven’t introduced a replacement for the cheeseburger ever, and yet McDonalds is still considered to be some sort of ‘thriving business’ by the fawning media.”
Contestant 1: “Alex, Dan Shaughnessy?”
Alex: “Oh, I’m sorry. Your answer must be phrased in the form of a question.”
Why? Too busy in the offseason?
Since Amalie was working for the Globe, I assume the offseason meant constant, unrelenting demands on her to find things about the Sox for Shaughnessy to be upset about…. That’ll wear you down fast, Bruce.
Any idea of the job title you throw on a resume for that?
I love how the media switches between ‘playoff appearances’ and ‘championships’ as the appropriate way to measure a team’s success depending on what makes the team look worse and/or what facilitates trolling the fans more effectively.
This is also what Felger does with his usage of “YOU”.
Not that I am one of these folks and frankly I don’t care if they do it, but if one were to call in and use “WE” to describe an action that the team should take, you can bet your bottom dollar that F & M would mock the caller for this usage. But when Felger wants to troll those same people, “YOU” works just fine.
How about those Red Sox ????!!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!
How many wins in a row will it take for the Boston Sports Media to cease focusing on Jon Lester’s contract 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
10 wins? 20?
“How many wins will it take for them not to insist that the Sox can only beat bad teams or win if the opposing manager hands the game to Farrell and company on a silver platter?”
This is the Dan Shaughnessy/Hector Longo drill with the Patriots. I love how versatile these writers can be, applying it to different teams and what not.
I wonder how Borges feels about his hero Dungy today. Here’s what Dungy told the Tampa Tribune about drafting Michael Sam, “I wouldn’t have taken him, Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.” “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’
Imagine if BB had said that, wow the
outrage from Borges (and probably many, many others) would be historic.
Here’s a link to the article, which is more about the NFL and gay players than Dungy.
It drives me nuts when people bring up how long it has been since the last Patriots Superbowl win. No other team gets held to that standard. The Dolphins, Broncos Cowboys and Redskins have longer losing streaks than the Pats yet that never gets mentioned.
Good job, Kirk.
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