So the upset in six games didn’t come true for Mike Gorman and the Celtics, as the superior talent of the Cavaliers finished off Boston in four games yesterday afternoon at the Garden. Despite the outcome, it’s safe to say it might be the most optimistic four-game sweep a team has suffered.

This promises to be an interesting summer for the Boston Celtics, who enter with four draft picks and cap space to spend.

Celtics hope playoff run helps lure free agents – Steve Bulpett has the club looking for a silver lining in the sweep, which was four nationally televised games, which likely raised the profile of the team.

A swan song to build on for Celtics – Jackie MacMullan notes that fans were cheering a team that got swept yesterday, which indicates where this team is now and what the hopes for the future are.

Meanwhile, Michael Felger demanded to know why the green-teamers weren’t booing their team and holding them accountable after a sweep.

Celtics proud, but not satisfied with end of season – A. Sherrod Blakely has the team taking this as a learning experience.

Can Boston Celtics become free-agent destination? Maybe not, but LeBron James, NBA noticing Brad Stevens – Jay King examines whether the coach could be a drawing card for NBA free agents.

Despite loss, Celtics have winner in Brad Stevens – Christopher Gasper trots out a catchy “In Brad we trust” slogan.

Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

*****

The Red Sox starting rotation is not good right now. The latest, an 18-7 rout by the Orioles in Baltimore yesterday.

Boston Red Sox rotation posts MLB-worst 5.75 ERA: Is it too soon for change? – Jen McCaffrey says the sample size is growing, and not looking too promising.

Time for Red Sox to torch struggling rotation – Michael Silverman feels it is time to pour the gasoline and light the match.

Plenty of blame to go around for Boston’s struggles – Brian MacPherson says that it isn’t only the pitching which is letting the team down.

*****

Inside ESPN, NFL Network’s coverage of the NFL draft; more Media Circus – Richard Deitsch looks at the NFL Draft coverage, but also provides this update on Bob Neumeier:

2b. NBC broadcaster Bob Neumeier is taping a piece for NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby and will return fulltime to the on-air team for the Preakness. Neumeier suffered a stroke in October, which required 5.5 hours of brain surgery.

Great news there.

Finally, from over the weekend, Chris Gasper had an interesting, and I think mostly on-target column about the job of the media:

Media’s only allegiance should be to the truth

The jumping off point for this column is the profanity-ridden tirade by Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price last week, aimed at the media. Gasper summarizes the proper role of the media as such:

The job of a traditional media member is not to root, root, root for the home team, or aid its quest for victory. It is also not to intentionally undermine it. It is to report the news or provide insight or commentary. We strive for Swiss neutrality. But in an era of league-owned television networks, fawning team websites, and partisan fan blogs, it’s easy to see the lines between journalism and boosterism getting blurred and folks such as Price getting confused.

Fair enough. It is a little ironic though, that Gasper is writing this in a publication that is owned by the same man who also owns the local baseball team. Is there Swiss neutrality there?

Where Chris and I part ways a bit is a little later on.

The 101 media flavors have created an environment where objectivity is negativity.

The ironic part is that the material written with the unwavering fidelity of a fan expresses an obvious bias, but because it is a palatable and popular one the bias is ignored.

We have reached a point where expressing an opinion or relaying a truth that is inconvenient or not favorable to a team is immediately labeled “trolling,” which is a self-serving and self-centered way to deal with a dissenting viewpoint or unwelcome news.

A few things here. He states that we have an “environment where objectivity is negativity.” In many cases, I would actually reverse that. For some allegedly neutral media, being negative IS how they claim to be objective. If you’re being truly objective, most people with a brain and common sense are not going to think that you are “trolling.”

Is he saying that trolling by the mainstream media doesn’t exist? Dan Shaughnessy does not exist to be a conduit of inconvenient truth, he exists to troll people who enjoy following the local sports teams. He’s not expressing an opinion. He’s trying to upset people and provoke a reacting. He’s baiting them and getting them to chase, which fits the exact description of the fishing type of trolling.

Are there times in which someone is unfairly labeled a troll? Sure. I definitely don’t believe it is as common as Gasper suggests. Trolling by media members happens all the time. Gasper instead places the wrong on the reader, who is being “self-serving and self-centered” by rejecting the content as simply an effort to be provocative, rather than providing any sort of insight, which is what he had previously stated was the job of the media.

On the other hand, Gasper also seems to be suggesting that fan sites or bloggers are incapable of being anything other than fawning and partisan. That’s as unfair as saying that anyone who expresses an unfavorable opinion is trolling.

Overall though, I appreciated Gasper’s column as an effort to sort of give the lay of the land in the media world these days.

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54 thoughts on “Season Over, Celtics Look To The Future, Gasper on Media

  1. I think trolling these days has to do more with the person record then one or two individual ideas/comments. If Gasper had one article like Shank or an idea like Felger, i would not think he is trolling, i could trust he actually has an opinion on the matter, even if i disagree. Now with Felger and Mazz or Shank, anyone who listens/reads once a week can predict their “opinions”, so much so that you don’t even need to read them anymore. It creates a horrible cycle where they have to go even more over the top with trolling. I.E. Felger with the deflated balls.

    There are really only a handful of trolls in the Boston Media but the general public are so loud about them, it makes it seem like there are so many more. You have Felger, Mazz, Shank, Borgus, Callahan and Tanguay (who isn’t so much a troll as an attention whore).

    But my favorite favorite thing, is the blaming of the general public for the condition of the Boston Sports media Landscape. The Media wonders why everyone is so sensitive, when every day they the same handful of media members troll them, and barely anyone backs the public.

    1. Nah, I don’t think Tanguay is a troll. I think he really is that dim.

      Apparently being blessed with great pipes goes a very long way in broadcasting.

      1. I don’t know. Tanguay all but admitted to intentionally being a phony contrarian to the writer of the Boston Magazine (I think) article that Bruce linked to and discussed in recent weeks.

    2. I wouldn’t consider Borges a troll. With Felger and the others when they make their outrageous “hot sportz takez” you know that the majority of the time they don’t really believe it. Borges, while extremely biased against the Patriots, it is his real opinion, not a fake one made up solely to rile up as many people as possible.

      1. I agree with you there. Borges truly does think that Belichick, as Pres. Reagan once said about the USSR, “is the focus of all evil in the modern world.” It’s Borges’ honest opinion. It’s insane, of course, but he’s not trolling, he’s being honest and embracing his pure, unadulterated hatred for BB.

  2. “The ironic part is that the material written with the unwavering
    fidelity of a fan expresses an obvious bias, but because it is a
    palatable and popular one the bias is ignored.

    This is total nonsense. Ignored by who? Ignored by what % of the audience? Everyone knows that “fan blogs” are biased. Everyone knows that Jerry Thornton is a “Homer” and Jerry doesn’t deny it.

    I don’t have anything to add to Bruce’s destruction of this:

    “We have reached a point where expressing an opinion or relaying a truth that is inconvenient or not favorable to a team is immediately labeled “trolling,””

  3. I have only a couple of things I want to add…

    — “Troll” doesn’t come from the fishing term (although it does make a nice parallel). It’s from the other troll. Specifically, it referred (originally) to people on message boards who only commented to insult or cause trouble, in the same way that a troll only came out from under its bridge to eat people.

    — My nitpick with Gaspar’s column is that if you’re going to say “expressing an opinion or relaying a truth that is inconvenient or not favorable to a team is immediately labeled ‘trolling,'” it’s logically inconsistent to also, in the course of your argument, imply that having an opinion or echoing truths that ARE favorable to a team is ipso facto “biased”. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. About “Troll” – I too always took it as a reference to a troll, like a bridge troll, but it found the other description interesting as well. The all-mighty and infallible Wikipedia under the origins of the term does at least mention the fishing term as a possible origin.

  4. I want the media to be honest. Don’t treat a 12-4 Patriots as if they are 4-12. I think it’s ok for sports reporters to root for local teams because their readers are too. It’s not like a political reporter telling you which candidate to support.

    1. Here is where I disagree slightly with you. I do not want local reporters to root for the team. At the same time I do not want them to actively root against the team or for the there to be failure/scandal because that sells more papers. I want them to dispassionately inform me, the consumer of the news, about what is happening, interesting possibilities, and if they are able to uncover it stories that are newsworthy regardless of how the team may be portrayed.

      One of the reason I think Felger is so successful right now is his critic of the BBWA and their silence on the PED scandal before BALCO. They were complicit in covering it up. It was news. It should have been reported. So Felger has questioned the groupthink mentality of the reporters covering the team. I think that criticism is dead on. I think his problem is there is no equivalent “scandal” on the Patriots side (where the local media covered up and carried their water) because the local media does not own or have a financial interest in the Pats like the Globe (and the NY Times company before them) did.

  5. I read Gasper’s article over the weekend and thought it was well done. I was expecting a defensive tone but didn’t really find that throughout.

    The comments really struck me as many do not understand the different roles that various titles carry in the media. The difference between beat writer and columnist, for example. Or those criticizing the Patriots pre season crew for wearing Patriots Polo shirts….the games are produced by the team, not a network. The talent, to my knowledge, are employed by the team, not a network. It’s not Simms and Nantz up there.

  6. Oy…where to start. I will start by thanking Chris Gasper for exposing himself and his brethren as the elitists we all think they are. They truly think we are stupid and cannot discern opinion from perceived fact. What Gasper and his ilk do not understand is the concept of applied subjectivity and how groupthink leads to mob mentality rather competency. I would suggest he go back and reread The Fountainhead but I doubt he would understand Rand’s central premise about individuality and how it is the enemy of groupthink and consensus. What struck me most about Gasper piece is that he equates criticism with objectivism. A position held by those who appear to be unable to unearth positive, interesting or relevant stories. So when Mike Reiss calmly discusses the salary cap and why the Pats are in the situation they are in he is a “homer”, when Tony Mazz says the Pats are in Salary Cap hell and they will suck because of it he is objective. In Gasper’s mind, as best I can tell, saying something negative which goes against the fans group think is good. Saying something positive going against the media’s groupthink is bad.

    To me Gasper has never gotten it. Look at the anecdote he uses. A few years ago some Patriots players came up to him and asked if he could put them in a more positive light. Read between the lines Gasper, they wanted more balance. There is a way to be critical without being mean. There is a way to be “objective” without being destructive. Media members like Gasper forget that media only goes one way. The players do not have a forum to respond, besides even if they did they could not “win”. The teams and organizations do have a way to respond, they restrict the flow of information. BB has done this at Gillette with great success, why? because when he was in Cleveland he did not do it and the press ate him and his reputation for lunch. They were irresponsible, at least in his mind, and he came to realize that his job was to win football games and be honest with the fans…not feed the gossip mills.

    Each time I read a column like Gaspers I reduce it to the fact that the Globe reporters complain about access. They think they are the only clear thinkers on the planet. Imagine if Gasper understood that fans are pretty intelligent (unless they live in Seattle) and that we do mind a little bit of opinion, as long as it is fair, intelligent and doled out even handedly.

    1. “when Tony Mazz says the Pats are in Salary Cap hell and they will suck because of it he is objective”

      Gotta defend Mazz for once, he would never say that!

      Of course he’d instead call the Patriots cheap or S T O O P I D. The F&M message is that the Salary Cap is meaningless. The Pats, or any other NFL team for that matter will never be in salary cap hell as they can sign any player they want for as much money as they want and never face any consequences.

      Otherwise completely agree with you! 😛

  7. On a slightly different topic. The Tanguay experiment is over for the time being. I do not know if his fill in was planned for two weeks or if WEEI recognized it for the train wreck it was and made the smart decision to bring the Big O back. In any event…I kind of like the Big O/Callahan pairing. I still maintain that Ordway is best when he can play fence sitter and that is what he was basically doing this morning between Callahan and Minihane. I will be interested to see how this pairing evolves over the next few months. Let’s say it does work. I could see WEEI then moving Minihane to midday with someone like Bradford or Tom Curran and then have Ordway and Callahan in the mornings.

    1. I think what happened is Ordway was scheduled from the start and had something happen with his daughter health-related. BSUNF was off all last week, with no explanation given, other than what was on Ordway’s timeline.

      Taking a guess on that.

      1. Maybe some of Bruce’s moles can let us in on the real story. I was under the impression that they were going with Tanguay for a few weeks to see how that works. Ordway was out because of the aforementioned family issue. I am not sure what the plan was…I just found it interesting that after two weeks on Tanguay they moved on to Ordway.

      2. BSUNF was a rerun again today. Obviously the budget doesn’t allow for fill-in hosts but you’ve got to wonder how long this can continue before his already small audience begins to drift away.

  8. I think it was Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who said I cannot define trolling but I know it when I see it.

    1. MUCH bigger than just sports media…. This could change the face of televised entertainment.

      Which means they’ll settle it somehow. Neither side wants to rock the boat that much.

      1. It is in espn’s best interest to settle it quickly. I don’t think Verizon has anything to lose by going the distance with this lawsuit. If Verizon does win this all providers will have to change their current bundling practices but I wonder if that would be enough to stop people from dropping cable.

        1. The potential risk I see is that if Verizon wins, the bases on which they prevail may also justify suits against them for not allowing a la carte channel purchases.

          1. Agree. Only thing is: how does that stop the tide of < 30 (valuable demo) just not getting cable or watching?

            It just "postpones" the problem, as the article mentions.

            Eventually, it could lead to the insolvency of not just cable providers, but tv networks and sports leagues.

            Given how long all CBAs are locked up for, I wonder if the 2016 NBA one will be the last "mega deal" windfall any major league will get. The rest come up in 4-8 years when I think this will be a much more serious problem.

            How all that plays out is going to be fascinating.

          2. I am like you and have talked to many who have already dropped cable or never had it and I agree that I doubt any changes to cable packages made now would just slightly delay the inevitable. I am also pulling the plug on cable next month and am happy to do so. Content delivery has changed so much and changed quickly recently however we are still in the early adopter phase. I think out of all of the North American sports leagues the NFL sees this and is trying to set themselves up for the future. I can see the NFL having a NFL 1, NFL 2, NFL 3 network, etc to delivery the games over the internet.

          3. The NFL is, to me, the only league who has the clout to directly say to all the carriers that they’re offering digital packages for cord cutters.

            Problem is that I for see the same thing that Netflix encountered. You’ll have induced lag (hey Comcast!) and people will complain to the sports networks, setting up a nice battle there. They’ll wind up trying to tier traffic and basically charging people who cut but buy legit service the same fees that regular cable customers subscribe now.

            Then, you have to figure the existing piracy industry explodes, to where there are caps imposed, and many of these cable companies are far too big, have zero competition and have lobbyists on speed dial.

            I’m speculating here.. but I don’t see it ending well.

            However, you assume “everyone loves the NFL” there. Remember that around 90% of non-sports-watching cable customers subsidize the 10% of sports-watchers. There is no way for the $ they make now to be maintained here, even if they pay. WWE is trying this now, interesting enough.

          4. My point about the NFL cutting out the networks was half baked. I was figuring since the networks were paying so much money to broadcast the NFL because they are making so much and that the NFL would want to streamline the delivery by cutting them out of it and take all that additional money in advertising so they could raise their annual revenues to meet that 30 billion dollar annual revenue goal in 10 years that Goodell wants to reach. I am thinking they don’t need to change a thing to meet that goal.

            The NFL’s popularity is so high now they can continue their present way of doing business assuming the sport maintains it’s popularity. Looking at the ratings last fall they are absolutely the only ones who can maintain the status quo. Last fall, 40 of the 50 most watched tv shows were NFL games. All of which were on NBC, FOX, or CBS and none on this list were on ESPN. People know they can continue watching the NFL without cable and so does the NFL. A fun fact while looking the viewership numbers up. It cost FOX and CBS just under $2 per viewer to broadcast the NFL and NBC just over $2 per viewer. It cost ESPN $8 per viewer.

          5. cutting them out of it and take all that additional money in advertising

            Folks on digital streams are worth 1/10 – 1/100 what a TV viewer is, though. I’m sure this will rise as more go to cord cutting and alternative viewing methods, but that’s one of the huge issues.

            Last fall, 40 of the 50 most watched tv shows were NFL games.

            Wasn’t that higher? I know Walking Dead was able to eclipse a few of the shows, since you’d only have the World Series to contend if you are going from Fall and on.

            http://www.whatyoupayforsports.com has been the “go-to” site if you like looking at carriage sub fees. It’s eye opening when $15-$20 of your $60 cable bill, even if you just have expanded basic (USA, TNT, cable news, ESPN, ESPN2, NESN, CSNNE) go to sports.

          6. For 30 years we have heard about the demise of the broadcast networks. Even with the abundance of cable networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC keep making oodles of money. Part of it is content. Part of it is familiarity. Part of it is dial placement. I think the real battle is not between Verizon and Disney. I think it is eventually between Apple (who is slowly stocking its APPLETV with independent contracts with content suppliers for a complete ala carte experience and subsidized content suppliers like ESPN don’t like that one bit.

            The leagues are going to be a in precarious position. There is no way the economics of baseball and its 3.0 nightly rating locally (and its 1.9 national rating on a good day) warrant the $ billions in rights fees it is receiving. It gets it because there is so much money being artificial shuffled to sports content providers because their’s is the only product that does not work on delayed viewing and which actually produces an audience that watches commercials. However that audience is much smaller than the perceived subscriber base.

            If the NFL thought they could get a double bite of the apple (subscriber and advertising) they would have already moved all of their games to cable/pay per view that they control completely. What they are learning or have learned it is just as important that the game be found as it is for the game to be played. The over the air networks do this better than anyone. They have 80 years marketing and promoting sports. More importantly there is a perception that they are objective broadcasters. It makes the product look one step away from a WWE broadcast where the announcers are wearing WWE clothes. Look at the Sunday night ratings versus Monday night on ESPN. Look at the 4:00 featured game’s ratings versus the Thursday night game on NFLnet. The ratings are not close. Nor is the NFLnet game ever taken as seriously as the others.

            What Verizon is trying to do is to drive down its costs for the 80% of the public that does not consistently consume sports content. It is a reasonable gambit because they see Apple’s ala carte service coming and they do not want to be caught flat footed like the record companies were with iTunes. The real losers in all of this are going to be the leagues not named NFL…who are going to see a significant reduction in rights fees because the money is just not going to be there. I don’t think it will matter who wins the suit between Disney and verizon. At some point the contract will run out and when it is renegotiated it will be done without any demands on ESPN being a basic channel…especially not at $7 a viewer rights fees. This will effect MLB and the NBA far more than it will the NFL.

          7. You have the end game in mind there. The networks are aware of this, and when you see all of the “forcing” of things (what is going on now) it shows they have no clue on how to adapt. (I don’t know either because their entire business model is being chipped away at.) Music industry faced a similar thing, and I would not be surprised if they don’t just employ the same strategy.

            Yeah, I think MLB is the first test. NBA will benefit in 2016 from what’s going on now but 2022 will be a much different landscape, with a sport that, unlike the NFL and NBA, is dealing with a decaying viewership as well.

            These two things combined will make for some interesting times.

          8. I think that is the least of Verizon’s worries. If they win, then they can always switch an an a la carte model which in turn would allow them to make inroads quickly with cord cutters. They can also structure things so that bundles are more cost effective.

            If I were Verizon and I won my fear would be how do I get ESPN and the rest of Disney’s offerings (Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Toon, ABC Family, the proposed new ABC news station and all of the ESPN family of stations) to agree to any contract. What I can’t figure out is who needs who more. I think the content guys need the pipe more than the pipe needs the content…because there is unlimited content out there.

            This all makes the Net Neutrality rules that much more interesting.

        2. On cancelling cable: I doubt it. From the dozens I’ve talked with about my age (young 30s) and below, I recall one person who has cable. The rest, the only type of “cable” they have is an OTA setup. I cancelled cable back in January and haven’t looked back.

          The industry knows this is the trend and are trying to milk the current model as long as possible.

          We know a la carte is the inevitable future, but even that won’t solve the problem they have now of paying for these insane sub fees.

          1. A question for the plug pullers, as I am willing to go that route too…

            I am someone who watches mainly sports and a few shows here and there. If I want to watch something on BSPN, NBC Sports, NFL-N, etc which have authentication processes to view online, aside from gaining a password from a friend, what are my options?

          2. I had the same challenge you have. I am interested in what others have done for the sports as well because I have found that watching sports is the biggest challenge to overcome and no right answer to do this.

            For now I decided some of those channels aren’t worth keeping cable for. I personally wouldn’t keep cable for ESPN or NBC sports though I will miss the ESPN college football. I may use SlingTV for the SEC network. I will decide in the fall. I do have out of state family who could buy the mlb and nhl packages for me if I wish and we have local relatives who will never give up cable so we could use their logins to watch certain things on the nfl network if we wanted.

          3. I would like to be able to see the local teams still and I’m a UConn fan and with most of their games on BSPN (or its family of networks) and CBSSports Net, I can’t really see them w/o a cable subscription. I hadn’t thought about the out of market relative idea. I’ll keep digging.

          4. Yeah, welcome to the world of blackouts and the things they do to keep you on cable.

            Sadly, the solution for that is what you assume it is: not exactly legal.

          5. With Comcast, I thought they gave NBCSN away to customers, except for NFL. *SPN I think you have to have cable service, even if you’re online.
            I have to imagine there are a # of articles if you Google. I don’t watch any, so I can’t speak to it.

            I only purchased NHL’s package for Apple TV. TV has the rest but I can run on AppleTV, as well. I might purchase the MLB package later in the season, as they really discount it, but it depends on how things go.

            OTA: I’m 53 miles from most of the Boston towers (obv diff for some stations) and if you get a good ($120) antenna and mount it high, you’ll get a good signal. Haven’t had many issues with weather (yet) but I also don’t consume much on this outside of NFL. Google here for distance/info/setup.

            Even barely watching TV (NFL/CFB/NHL, Better Call Saul and Americans) before this, you take a month or two to transition. After that? I don’t look back. he hardest part was convincing the significant other about it. We barely watched anything to begin with, though. You drop about $90 a month, obviously depending on your package, and give some back via Netflix, Amazon, etc. (figured $35) Really, I just like not giving as much money to these disgusting media companies. I also like that when you “can’t just sit down and watch TV”, you do more productive things. Sometimes, you do miss that ‘zone out watching TV’, but gotta sacrifice somewhere, you know?

            To your last question, I think it’s better discussed elsewhere.

          6. I’m in East Providence,RI and I only dropped $20 on an indoor omni-directional antenna that I bought at Big Lots and I get all the Boston stations from down here. So someone doesn’t even need to spend on an outdoor antenna. Cable knows this and they’re scared.

          7. I had fried something like that and no stones here in Southern NH.

            This is the best site: http://www.antennaweb.org/

            When it came to antennas, I thought of it this way: why not just spend the $120 when I might get the “iffy” with a $60 or $70 one? I missed the rebate period but I’m happy I got it.

          8. There are no rabbit ears on this. it’s a flat pad you can hang on the wall or hide behind tv. It’s omni-directional and not directional. That is a big difference. I would just suggest that before anyone spends a lot on a whole new antenna setup the way are grandparents did, try the simplest methods first. You can always return it for your money back. I bought one at best buy not so good. Bought the one at Big Lots and works brilliantly. Antennas and your TV’s place in your home is like real estate. It’s all about location.

  9. Spurs now lead the Clippers 3-2…just another reminder that Danny Ainge extracted a first round pick in exchange for Doc Rivers, who will eventually prove to be unable to coax his team deeper into the playoffs than the coach (Vinny Del Negro, widely panned as a failure) that Rivers replaced. And it’s not as if the Western Conference was any easier to navigate during the 2012 and 2013 playoffs.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/LAC/

    1. Yeah, I find the biggest “story” was that everyone knew he wanted out when he never said he was coming back, knowing that the next year+ were going to be rebuilds. He was gone either way but the fact he got a 1st rounder out of it is insane.

      And, we can debate there if he gets knocked out for yet another year. The West is deeper but isn’t he starting 2 of the top 10 rated NBA players?

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