No doubt, my absence around this address has been noticed. Part of this has been due to my new job (Though I could count writing this on the new WordPress editor as work-related.), but a bigger part really has to be with my recent total apathy with sports media in general.
Apathy over sports media? After having run a sports media site for over 13 years?
Yeah. Much has changed since 2002 when I began doing this, but a world in which Dan Shaughnessy is honored by a sports hall of fame is not one which has any sort of grip on what people are interested in. When was the last time Shaughnessy actually wrote a baseball column that was of value? How does that translate to hall of fame worthiness?
Sports media in Boston has always been antagonistic to a degree – back to the days of Dave Egan.
But it seems now, almost constantly on the air, and more and more in print, that the focus is on making fans miserable. Whether it be mocking them as “fanboys,” attempting to diminish accomplishments, dreaming up doomsday scenarios for local teams, telling us how arrogant the greatest coach in NFL history is, or just the constant trolling, it is enough to make someone wonder just why they subject themselves to this.
It certainly has made me wonder. Why have something so toxic like that as part of your life? It’s not healthy. Toxic things come with a warning. They should be avoided. More and more, I’m avoiding toxic sports media altogether.
Sports should be a diversion from the stresses and anxiety of everyday life. It’s an outlet. We live in a country where mass shootings are happening seemingly every day, and – yes this is hyperbole here – yet if you turn on your radio or read the alleged paper of record in this town, it would seem that Bill Belichick’s rugby on-sides kick attempt was a far more grievous a crime than some of the things happening in the real world.
I hear it already – oooh we can’t be critical, the fanboys get upset… If you’re saying that, you’re an idiot. There’s a difference between being critical of decision-making and of outlet trolling and intentionally being irritating and antagonistic.
It’s a twisted world in which we exist when people are rewarded for attempting to rile others up or just get a reaction – it doesn’t matter if it is negative or positive – from their audience, their consumers. The reason they are able to make a living.
- Dan Shaughnessy has recycled columns and taken the same cheap shots for 25 years, made a cottage industry out of a hokey “curse”and it now rewarded for it by the Baseball Hall of Fame?
- Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti have pretty much dedicated their program to taking shots at the most successful sports franchise of this century, telling us at every turn how fraudulant it is, and creating the perception of unending ineptitude. They’re rewarded with top-of-the-hill ratings.
- Gary Tanguay, having been fired from jobs involving Celtics and Patriots broadcasts has attempted to turn himself into some sort of truth-teller, who actually has no grip on reality. He’s rewarded with every fill-in spot that comes up at WEEI.
- John Tomase writes bold-faced lies, which are quickly taken as fact to this day by 90% of the population, his employer is forced to apologize and issue a meaningless retraction, and his career suffers not at all. In fact he is rewarded with a move to the Red Sox beat, and then as a columnist.
It’s mind-boggling, and encapsulates the very reason I’m so disgusted with the state of sports media right now.
Once again, I ask – why would anyone want this as part of their life?
I know that many of you have cut out the toxic sports media from your lives. I applaud you. But clearly it’s not nearly enough, so either these tactics actually are very popular, or New Englanders just love their sports so much they’re willing to put up with these constant slaps to the face.
During the last several weeks, I haven’t had the time to keep up as much with the local sports media. My viewing, reading and listening has largely been limited to actual games (and what I might see on Twitter). I’ve watched the Patriots, I’ve watched the Celtics. I’ve peeked in on the Bruins. I have read a few things on the moves the Red Sox are making.
I really don’t feel like I’ve missed much, if anything.
My aggravation levels are much lower (despite the Patriots having lost two in a row) and I’m not annoyed at faux controversies. I did make the mistake of flipping through the latest ESPN Magazine this morning and saw Seth Wickersham has another target on the Patriots, specifically Ernie Adams. But overall, my sports experience has been a whole lot better.
As a Public Service Announcement, I’m putting forward this list of local sports media people who you should absolutely, positively never read, watch or listen to.
Avoid at all costs
Kevin Paul Dupont
If you can cut those people out of your life completely, your existence as a sports fan will be much more satisfying. I highly recommend it.
I’m issuing a 30-day challenge.
Do not consume anything from the people on that list above. You come across them on the radio, flip it, same with TV, someone tricks you with a link to a column, close it immediately. Do this for 30 days.
See how you feel.
There are still media folks in this area who are worth your time. I’ve often dreamed of being able to put together my ultimate Boston sports site. These are the folks currently working here that I’ll read/watch/listen anytime. If I was putting together that site, this is how I would do it, and the roles each would have:
Alex Speier – Columnist, MLB
Chad Finn – Columnist, General
Tom Curran – NFL
Fluto Shizawa – NHL/Bruins
Mike Reiss – Patriots
Rich Levine – Columnist, General
Jay King – Celtics
Sean McAdam – Red Sox
Jen McCaffrey – Red Sox
Dale Arnold – Sports radio/TV
Mark Daniels – Patriots
Steve Bulpett – NBA