A few items of interest across the Boston Sports Media world…

With Yoan Moncada and Other Elite Red Sox Prospects, It’s OK to Believe the Hype – I’m glad Chad Finn addressed the absolutely ridiculous memes on sports radio following word that the Red Sox had agreed to terms with the Cuban phenom.

Not that this is anything new, but I just don’t understand this mindset. The ability to find a negative – even a perceived one – in anything, is just astounding, and frankly, disturbing. That train of thought then spreads from show-to-show, from radio to TV like an insidious disease.

Putting on the old bastard hat for a moment, I remember when following sports used to be fun, and it was actually OK to be excited for your teams, and when they made a big move.


It was interesting to see John Henry directly refute what his own employee, Dan Shaughnessy wrote about Larry Lucchino losing power in the Red Sox front office. Henry said “I read that ridiculous story…

Shaughnessy insists today that he’s not retracting what he wrote. So is this 1) Shaughnessy attempting to save face, 2) Henry trying to minimize embarrassment for Lucchino, or 3) A way to drum up interest in the Globe by creating a false conflict between owner and employee?


Keep Revis and McCourty, that’s all I ask.


Emily Austen named new on-air reporter for Tampa Bay Rays television broadcasts – The Celtics digital and arena reporter is moving on to a new position with FOX’s Sun Sports.

This position has been a stepping stone in recent years. Kristine Leahy is now anchor at CBSLA, Molly McGrath is now host of America’s Pregame on FoxSports1, and now Austen is leaving for a more prominent role elsewhere.

Jason Mastrodonato is the latest MassLive.com reporter to be plucked for a larger role. He’s done great work over there, and bringing him on essentially to replace John Tomase is a really good move for the Herald.

Adam Kaufman slides into the seat that was held for decades by legendary Patriots radio man Gil Santos.


The Boston Sports Media in the Information Age and Taming the Beast Within – Take some time to read this by Larry Russell. Some mind-blowing quotes in here from the likes of Gary Tanguay, Dan Shaughnessy, Bob Ryan and Mike Felger, all of whom, not surprisingly, are either harsh or condescending towards Patriots fans.

New Brookline sports show by the fans, for the fans – A look at a new show by Scott Kerman.


44 thoughts on “Midweek Media Notes

  1. Bruce:

    I don’t have any problem with the cynicism around the signing of Moncada. I think it is reasonable to wonder whether $63 mill for an unproven Cuban defector as opposed to spending $170 mill on Lester is a legit discussion. Further I think the would you trade Betts/Lester for Moncada/Hammels is also a very good and legit talk radio topic. As a matter of fact I wish more of sportstalk identified these types of topics and had them front and center. Let me add I think the discussion about whether or not to spend Krejci’s money which would necessitate keeping him out until the playoffs versus bringing him back the last week of the season was a legit topic. Those are far more relevant than a discussion on how many draft picks the Pats should lose because a football used in a game they won by 38 points was under inflated by 1psi.

    So I am not sure what you are upset about with regards to the vetting of Moncada. In this day and age, coupled with the picture of him that is circulating; PED use is a legit topic. He is 6’2 and plays 2b. Questioning where he will play considering Pedroia is signed for another 7 years is also legit. I guess I am missing something.

    On another note…I did not understand the comment about Adam Kauffman replacing Gil Santos.


    1. LTD- I’m not sure you read what Chad said. It’s not about cynicism about Moncada at all. It’s “THIS PROVES THEY HAVE NO FAITH IN THEIR OWN PROSPECTS”

      That’s idiotic.

      Also, Gil Santos for many years did morning sports on WBZ AM. Now Adam Kaufman is doing it.


      1. I read Chad’s piece. I might not have been clear. He was suggesting that it was inappropriate for the screeching hoards to complain about the signing. I think he is wrong. I thought the conversation that surrounded the signing was both thoughtful and topical…much more so than the should the Pats sign a “bad guy” running back discussion going on 98.5 right now or Dale Arnold’s day late theory that the Bruins should skate the rules and use Krejci’s money to trade for a $5 mill player while he is on LTIR (98.5 had that talk yesterday. Cam Neely pointed out, during his spot, that it would violate the rules and spirit of the NHL rules so he would not do it. Finn’s column is approaching old bastard sports talk writing and it is uncharacteristic of him.

        Thank you for explaining the Adam Kauffman thing. I wish him the best of luck…I will always have a soft spot for WBZ AM…even if David Brudnoy is no longer with us.


        1. You’re just pissed that Finn dissed your boy Lavarnway, who you repeated claimed could replace Ortiz’s production.


          1. “Signing Ortiz shows that the owners aren’t trying to win.”

            11 months later Ortiz is the World Series MVP…..


        2. I was listening to Dale talk about just that a half-hour or so ago. I thought it was a good point–didn’t hear Neely yesterday on F&M. But Dale usually does his homework, so I’d like to check if Cam’s right about it being a rules violation. Cam’s not always right about everything–he screwed up the pronunciation of Khudobin’s name a few years ago. : )


        3. Just heard Cam with F&M the other day. I wouldn’t say Cam was absolute in saying that the cap manipulation is against the rules. It might be against the spirit of the rules–i.e. a legal act that would still be disliked by league management–but he never said it would be illegal. He did, however, make it clear that he has no personal inclination to do it (and shame on him for that, I say).


    2. I don’t think it’s out of line as a fan at all to still be angry that the Sox lowballed Lester last spring–when they likely could have had him at Cole Hamels money–and are now spending comparatively wildly. I do see some logic here–stockpile offensive players, possibly with an eye toward a big trade or two–so possibly they’re making a sincere, and sensible (if expensive) effort to recover from one big strategic mistake last year. I didn’t much agree with Mazz’ statement (not sure if others made it too) that their recent acquisitions are an indictment of their farm system–I think they’re just using their profits aggressively. Not all prospects pan out–see another highly touted catching prospect, Jesus Montero (seemingly actually in shape this year). I understand that radio hosts are trying to stir the pot, so to speak, to gain listenership. I don’t have a problem with that aspect of the sports talk radio game. I never have. (People who take Felger’s opinions personally have misplaced anger, in my view.) I just ask that the opinions–frequently negative as they are–have some logic behind them. The farm system comment doesn’t. Wondering if any possible PEDs in Moncada’s background might have an impact on his game going forward does, in my mind. Really, I think many listeners and observers of Boston sports media as often have their own preprogrammed narratives about the commentators as they say the commentators do about the teams.


      1. Wait – Mazz said it was an indictment of the Red Sox farm system? The one-of-the-best-in-baseball’s farm system?

        How can someone that dumb have a job talking sports on the radio?


    3. “Questioning where he will play considering Pedroia is signed for another 7 years is also legit.”

      It IS a legitimate question and topic for discussion, but to view this as a potential problem is where the legitimate question crosses the line into illegitimate nonsense. I’m not accusing you of this and haven’t listened to enough radio this week to know if it was one of the memes. Bruce’s description was vague and Chad doesn’t mention it, so perhaps not.


    4. LTD — just want to address one aspect of your post. Specifically, I think Moncada is the one case where PED use is NOT a high concern.* Why?

      – First, I don’t think there’s a long history of PED abuse by Cuban players in Cuba (vs. when they get here to the US), compared to the DR, where I think there is. Obviously, I’m not living down there, so I can’t exactly testify from personal knowledge…. but I think a prospect from Cuba is far less likely to be a juicer than a prospect from the DR or Puerto Rico or other more developed and wealthier countries.

      – Second — and this, I think, is the key — he’s 19. That matters to me. Even if you assume, for the sake of argument, that he had handlers in Cuba who 100% expected to sneak him out and prostitute him to MLB…. if he’s performing like he did at a high school age, you don’t NEED to juice him up. He’ll make coin on raw unfocused talent alone. The only teenager you’d reasonably want to juice, I think, is one who lacks a multidimensional skillset. If you’re, say, an 18-year-old Wily Mo Pena clone, and you don’t do anything well except hit for power, maybe you juice the hell out of yourself so your power is exceptional rather than unusual. That’s the difference that gets you signed to the money contract, and may ultimately get you into the majors. If Moncada is naturally talented — and, by all accounts, he is — a smart handler wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) taint him with PEDs. You’d run the risk of killing the golden goose, for (likely) small gains.

      *Hard and fast rule, though: never say never.


      1. Dave…I think we just disagree. I am finding it hard to believe that an Island of 11 mill people is this proficient at naturally producing power hitters…who once they enter MLB watch their power numbers decline the longer they are away from Cuba. Let’s just say I am skeptical.

        As for whether he needs it or not…I am willing to believe he is that good a prospect without the PEDs…I also think that what happens in a closed society like Cuba is as much a mystery to MLB officials as the PED use of A-Rod, Roger and Barry. As such I think based on his size and age it looks to me like he had help…but what do I know. We will see how consistent is power numbers are.


  2. Thanks for the link to the Larry Russell article. My favorite quote has to be this from Shaughnessy:

    “It’s good to have more people with more voices and that freedom of
    expression,” said Shaughnessy. “However, there’s very little

    Oh the horror! There’s not enough regulation! When is he running for office? He’d fit right in on Beacon Hill or with our overlords in D.C.


  3. Interesting read from LR.

    “The Patriot fan is passionate, but the most immature,” Shaughnessy said.
    “They mean to do harm to anyone that questions their way.”’

    If the context doesn’t make sense, read around the paragraph (toward the bottom). I didn’t want to paste it all but the irony here is funny.


    1. So Shank, the guy who continues to push an anti-Bob Kraft vendetta/agenda every opportunity he gets, over some stuff that happened nearly 20 years ago, is calling Pats fans immature? Got it. No hypocrisy there. None at all.


  4. Well thank you Gary Tanguay for telling us that we are all pink-hat, no-nothing football fans. You must be too, since you got fired from Patriots pre and post.


  5. “I actually love the fodder,” mentioned all-everything media personality, Michael Felger of 98.5 FM. “But that’s because I’m not a reporter anymore. If I was, I would probably mind it.”There are a lot of points on the article by Larry Russell that have been brought up on this site. I want to focus on what was said regarding football and fandom…

    True, there is not a strong base of multi-generational Pats fans, like there are with the other franchises in Boston. However, I watch every Sunday with my son, I have been watching every Sunday since 1993 and I did so with family both older and younger than I. Even when I was in college in CT in the late 90’s, early 2000’s and some games were not broadcast due to conflicts with Giants or Jets games, I still found a way to watch and then talk with family on Sunday evenings. Maybe I am in the minority but it is building and building fast.

    Now, the premise of the article is that there are too many sources out there and it becomes difficult to distinguish the good (sources) from the bad. However, I would argue that with the abundance of sources, it is actually helpful. The development of social media, and the web in general, has opened up the possibilities for more fans to educate themselves. When Tanguay said “To truly understand what happens in [an NFL contest], you have to do what Greg Bedard does, what Bert Breer, [Ben] Volin do – you have to watch the game twice,” he is correct but the internet has opened doors. Go to Patsfans.com, there are many, well educated football minds on that site who do just what Tanguay says, and they get the majority of it right.

    I think among the most prescient points made in the entire piece is what Felger said: “I actually love the fodder, but that’s because I’m not a reporter anymore. If I was, I would probably mind it.”

    Mainstream media can’t handle that certain aspects of their jobs can be done well, in some situations, by a guy who also works 9-5 at Fidelity, or pumping gas, or teaching high school algebra or whatever. Find me someone who is a successful football coach or player at some level, and I’ll show you someone who can breakdown game film. The NFL makes it available and condensed. Give them a forum to write on it, and suddenly you have your own Matt Bowen, Matt Chatham, Greg Badard, etc.

    I teach digital concepts to middle schoolers. The most important lessons I teach them are how to evaluate online sources. There is no one-way, surefire methodology. However, there are certain questions one can learn to ask and that will be more and more important among the general public going forward. Once this sort of online “literacy” becomes more common, we will hopefully see the pendulum swing back toward responsible reporting.


    1. “To truly understand what happens in [an NFL contest], you have to do what Greg Bedard does, what Bert Breer, [Ben] Volin do – you have to watch the game twice,” said Tanguay. Many of us do not because quite frankly, who besides people who make this their profession has the time? But to reiterate once again, that type of media coverage is washed away amongst tidal waves of attention-garnering tweets, blog posts, fan podcasts, and whatever the audience’s appetite of the moment is.” Wasn’t Ben Volin one of the principal columnists in promoting the Deflategate “controversy”? I think it does Breer and Bedard a disservice to have Volin included with them as examples of credible reporters/analysts.


        1. They’re both losers. One pretends he’s a coach because he watches film in Pete King’s RV and the other is the worst person in the world.


    2. You people are under the impression that Greg Bedard, Albert Breer and Ben Volin “truly understand” football? Really? And you think it’s a good point that idiot Tanguay raises that you have to watch the game twice?

      Think about the media self-importance in that statement. Coaches, scouts, players spend years watching hours and hours of film (not tv broadcasts) and still have difficulty completely understanding how everything occurs. But these writers “truly understand” the game by watching in on their DVR?

      If you’re listening to any non-player, coach or scout telling you what happened in a game, you’re listening to the wrong people.


  6. Beyond the absurd CHB and Tanguay comments, the premise by Russell that the so-called mainstream media are the guardians of the truth, battling the “basement bloggers,” who spread rumors and innuendo, bugs the hell out of me. One needs look no further than “Deflategate” to see how untrue that is.

    I’m one of those old-fashioned types, sadly. Getting it right is IMHO more important than getting it first.

    As for the Felgers and Shaughnessys of the world, it’s easy to ignore them, so I do. I sure as hell don’t need them to tell me how to be a fan.


    1. “Don’t need them to tell me how to be a fan”

      They enjoyed decades of controlling the information. Gatekeeper status here also meant opinion-means-something status. Things changed and they’re not happy. Every industry has, or will, go through this. But, I think this is the most salient point of old vs. new and why the younger generation picks the “new”.


  7. I had (mercifully) never heard of CNIS Radio before today. So this guy, Larry, is employed by an outlet that wouldn’t have existed before the “Wild West” of sports coverage and yet he writes hundreds of poorly constructed sentences lamenting the rise of new voices in sports media. Makes total sense.


  8. In the Russell article, Tanguay admits that which many of us have assumed about some of the radio and television sports talkers, that is, they don’t believe half of what they actually say.

    ““It’s not a journalistic age, it’s an entertainment age,” said longtime veteran member of the broadcast media, Gary Tanguay. “Something can be reported by one of your insiders, and then it’s all about – what’s your take.”


    “I have come to realize that to make it in this business, you have to have an opinion. If you don’t – you’re replaceable, it’s as simple as that.” Tanguay would continue, “People want to know: Who’s side are you on? Are you on my side? Or are you on their side?

    “And sometimes, they’ll be more inclined to watch you if you’re on the other side!”

    Russell: ” It may seem American, it may seem democratic, but it is not.”

    Wrong, it is more American, more democratic. Instead of there being two newspapers in each metro area, with a handful of beat writers and columnists, good, intelligent writers no longer need access to a printing press in order to publish their work and find an audience. Sure, there is more crap, but Shank also produces useless crap and he’s one of the people complaining about the ‘anarchy’. The internet has given rise to MANY people doing high quality, Xs and Os based analysis. Of course, Shank the grumpy old-timer classifies everyone that is in competition with him and not working for a traditional outlet as a basement dwelling dweeb. The thing of it is, best beat writers in are market do some of their best work on the internet. When Kevin Duffy and Jay King of masslive.com / Springfield Republican use screen grabs from NBA telecasts and NFL coaches film as a tool for diagramming plays and providing analysis, this work is ONLY PUBLISHED ONLINE!

    To truly understand what happens in [an NFL contest], you have to do what Greg Bedard does, what Bert Breer, [Ben] Volin do – you have to watch the game twice,” said Tanguay. Many of us do not because quite frankly, who besides people who make this their profession has the time?

    Ah! If only Gary the Bloward had listened to those guys before he declared that the Patriots “Window” was closed in October…

    One point on Mazz, even though he’s not mentioned in the article. I’ve seen a few snippets of his baseball show on CSN with Trini Kushnerick and he uses a different personality on this show than he does on 98.5.

    Paying attention to these talking heads on TV and radio is like watching the WWE…

    Mazz actually made a good point on that baseball show this week (about many recent World Series winners having run producing catchers) , but my brain struggles to take it seriously, because I can’t help but think of his 98.5 Phony Baloney Tony YAARM act.


    1. I have been observing for years how the Baseball Reporters show is significantly better radio than the F&M show which occurs in the previous 4 hours. Mazz seems to go in and out of character effortlessly. The money must be really good for him to continually allow himself to be ridiculed and be made the clown as YAARM.


      1. I think Mazz is a beta personality who finds it very easy to defer to a stronger personality. Watch him on the Baseball Show on TV. He sits docilely while the host is talking and addressing him with a question. I think it’s just in his nature to be polite and wait for his turn.


    2. Funny quotes from Tanguay about “opinions” and “making it in this businesss,” considering Tanguay has been replaced at every job he has. He might want to try a different approach at this point but I suspect his career is over even if he’s not aware of it.


  9. Bruce, why the F did you link to that horrible Larry Russell piece? Reading that article felt like I was transported into some weird A Clockwork Orange scene where I was tortured by the gang through simultaneously reading the Globe with sports radio on full blast.


  10. When I read that, if it were true, it reminded me of the Family Guy episode where Peter steals all the local Nielsen boxes, so he’d be able to skew the ratings.

    That’s how I imagine Gary’s living room to look like.


  11. Like

  12. Lol at tanguay. The Bruins fans know the most and are more likely to be negative? My thesis is the Bruins fans have the most % of pink hats and have had their opinions shaped by this media era, which is why they are more negative. The Bruins didn’t have a pot to piss in 7 yrs ago. montreal fans and sponsors took over the garden. There are true, legitimate hockey fans in this city. They don’t call sports radio and engage those fools. If you talked hockey with those guys for 4 hrs you wouldn’t learn a thing about the rest of the NHL


  13. What’s so hilarious about Shaughnessy’s “Lucchino is losing power” columns is that their genesis seemingly came from a masthead on a Sox directory. That was Shank’s source, a masthead. lol
    Must feel good when your boss calls your work ridiculous.

    Just how pathetic are these guys??

    Last night Felger asks Shaughnessy if Lucchino were still calling the shots would the Sox have signed Lester. They both agreed that yes, the Sox would have re-signed Jon Lester had Larry Lucchino still been in charge.

    SAY WHAT?????

    Felger has spent the last year blaming Lucchino for lowballing Lester and playing a major role in losing the player.
    So now because that argument doesn’t fit his current agenda he completely changes his take?? What an a-hole!!
    This is why people who work in sports hate the media so much.
    It’s also just the latest example on why I can’t stand Mike Felger.


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