With the news on Friday about CSNNE’s Jessica Moran quitting her job with the network due to rumors about her relationship with Red Sox manager John Farrell, it is perhaps time to wonder what sort of policies are in place on Yawkey Way about this sort of thing.

Former GM Ben Cherington was previously married to Wendi Nix, who had worked at NESN, Fox Sports New England and WHDH during the time in which Cherington was coming up in the Red Sox organization. To be fair, they had met while both were in college, but the relationship continued while one was with the Red Sox and the other was in the media.

There were rumors about Hazel Mae during her time with NESN. She didn’t do much to discourage them, either, telling John Molori in 2005 “NESN has never put rules down to me about dating players, colleagues or anyone else. If they did, I wouldn’t work there.”

When Heidi Watney was with NESN, she faced rumors of relationships with Red Sox players Jason Varitek and Nick Green. Those were never confirmed, but it never stopped the likes of Michael Felger stating them as fact.

Her replacement at NESN, Jenny Dell began dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and the relationship continued beyond both of their days in Boston, and the two were married a few weeks ago, on Valentines day.

Now, there is (allegedly) Moran and Farrell.

What’s going on down there? I’d say baseball is different from other sports in that it is an everyday thing, and there is a lot of downtime. Players, management, they often spend all day and evening at the ballpark, as do the media. There is more opportunity for these types of relationships to develop, which doesn’t make them acceptable, but perhaps does explain why they seem to happen more.

It might be time however, for the Red Sox to put some sort of policy in place about these things.

See also: The bizarre history of rumored relationships between Red Sox and media members (Washington Post)

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The passing of Bud Collins last week was appropriately noted by many in the profession. While many of us grew up seeing Collins as the face of Tennis on NBC, especially around Wimbledon, Collins was much more than just a tennis writer/commentator. He arrived in Boston in the mid-1950’s, and according to Howard Bryant’s Shut Out, while writing for the Herald had been told to avoid talking about race and the Red Sox, even while they were the last remaining MLB team to integrate. Collins also was passionate about the Celtics, and became friends with Red Auerbach, playing tennis with the Celtics boss. He joined the Globe in 1962 and became a mentor to the younger writers coming on board, people like Bob Ryan and Peter Gammons.

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After Friday’s note about the move of the site, we’re on the other side now. (Warning: Techy stuff ahead) The site is now hosted at WordPress.com. What does this mean for you, and for the site? You’ll note there are no banner ads on the site, I think that is how things will be moving forward. The site hosting is also now pretty permanent, so even if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, the site will remain online as there are no bills to pay. 🙂 The comments section is different, some have already noted the absence of Disqus comments, that feature unfortunately is not coming back. The previous edition of BSMW (as in, last week) was a self-hosted WordPress site using the software from WordPress.org. That version has the ability to use plugins, which is what Disqus is. This version of BSMW is on WordPress.com, which is a different entity and does not use plugins. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things here and there, so don’t be surprised to see minor changes, but things should be pretty stable from here on out.

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39 thoughts on “The Red Sox and Relationships With The Media

  1. Not sure how I ever feel about stories like this. Part of me says hey two consenting adults who cares. But part of me understands why another reporter could be upset about the relationship and perceived favoritism, whether it exists or not. But I do find it funny that it keeps happening to the Sox. It is weird.

    As for Moran, I do find it funny that she chose Farrell over her job. I mean are there a lot of local sports jobs for her now? I can’t think so. The New England market is essentially dead for her, I would think, unless she covers another team. I just find it odd that your from the area, land a job working covering the local baseball team and then chose John over your career. Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

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  2. Part of me says hey two consenting adults who cares.

    Yeah, but when this happens, you usually have other women talking about this sets them back, can’t do it because it violates journalism ethics, etc. I recall a ton w/Jenny Dell when the news finally broke from local but national since Dell, given her looks and presence on live games, was known more nationally.

    I’ve seen none of that so far, so I assume she was liked, but I also don’t follow many around here.

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  3. I always found Moran “awkward’ on the air for lack of a better word. Other, better talents like Carolyn Manno have circulated through Comcast after getting the call from NBC, but Moran seemed stuck here, just like the insufferable Trenni Kusnierek. So I don’t know if I “blame” her for “choosing” Farrell, but it certainly makes her look bad — as it does Comcast.

    She’s out there anchoring the “Baseball Show” and all of Comcast’s Red Sox coverage for that matter — and she’s the one sleeping with the manager? All I can say, personally, is yuck, and shame on Comcast also. If they knew this was going on for months and months — and they didn’t at the least reassign her to, say, Bruins coverage or anything else — they look like an absolute joke.

    I also found it amusing Felger clearly alluded to the fact he couldn’t talk about this on “Sports Sunday” last night — saying instead they’d address it today at 2 on the radio. Will Comcast pull the plug from the simulcast if they get critized?

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    1. it certainly makes her look bad

      I asked earlier but she grew up here, right? Nobody will hire her around here, at least in the journalism world. Maybe she wanted to get out of the sh1thole of journalism, but that’s a pretty bad exit strategy. People Google you before a hire or even interacting with you. What’s the first thing that comes up now?

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    2. I can’t imagine Felger getting pulled unless he goes crazy over this, which I can’t see happening. 1 Because i don’t think he case that much, and two he loves his gig too much.

      And D&C&M said this morning that she is from RI, just did’t say where.

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  4. Farrell will probably skate on this in the long run, although some potential future employers may question his judgement, but I’ve really got to wonder what Moran was thinking. Giving up a 7 year career for what is at best an uncertain future seems foolish on its face, but perhaps as Andy Dursin implies she felt her career had dead-ended and figured “What the hell.” Moran is (was) sort of in an ambiguous position among women in the media – not a “Sports Bunny” like Watney, Dell, Andrews, etc. but not a “real” journalist like Jackie Mac or Sally Jenkins either. At any rate I always liked her so I hope she lands on her feet.

    The WaPo article (and why are they covering this anyway?) references an earlier Herald piece about a local sports talk “yakker” who lost his job for implying a relationship between Francona and Hazel Mae. Maybe I’m getting old but I can’t recall who that was – does anyone remember?

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    1. I believe the yakker was the truly yack-inducing Dakota From Braintree who ever so briefly hosted a (time-buy?) morning show on 1510 (or maybe it was 890 but I think this was earlier). I know that he had a show and it was discontinued by them abruptly – and I think he was playing the guessing game in response to one of those Inside Track “naked city” stories .

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      1. Is that really his “I used to host a show” claim to fame? That’s like telling people you might know me from TV–the badge of honor boastin–when you’re appearing in a 3AM-running ad for penis pills that has Larry King hosting it w/the old CNN set.

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        1. From the killing it to death department – found on boston.com archived

          Dakota goes south
          WWZN morning host Dakota (the on-air name of Steve Happas), infuriated the Red Sox and NESN by picking up a gossip-column item from the New York Post and speculating whether it could have involved Boston personalities.

          The result: Parent Sporting News Radio apparently played the heavy in having WWZN general manager Mike Winn pull the plug on the show, which was a time-buy by Dakota.

          “I’m the demo radio is seeking,” said Dakota. “I’m a 35-year-old guy who is doing OK for himself. I was going to put what appeals to me on my show.”

          That didn’t play well at Fenway.

          “We made our opinion heard loud and clear,” said Sox PR director Glenn Geffner. “The show crossed the line into getting personal.”

          As a result, the show, which began Oct. 9 to give the station a local presence during the Sox’ postseason run, got the ax.

          Dakota, who also irked Sox officials by giving away playoff tickets, called the situation a case of “the Sox bullying Sporting News Radio.”

          Interesting was the way both WEEI’s morning “Dennis & Callahan” show and WWZN’s afternoon “Diehards” handled the story.

          John Dennis and Gerry Callahan mentioned the news, gave it one volley back and forth, then moved on. When Dakota called “The Diehards” to issue an apology, host Ryen Russillo gave him time for that, but once he tried to justify his actions, Russillo said, “Not on my show.”

          The development is sad because it represents an error in judgment that brought down a program that had shown promise. Even WEEI had taken notice, adding a stock report (something Happas instituted along with traffic) to some sports flashes.

          “I would have loved to have seen it work out, but unfortunately it didn’t,” said Winn

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          1. If only Russilo (Rotillo) were still in the Boston market. He’s never coming back now, but maybe if he got a lead gig on EEI he would have stuck around for a bit. He’s much better than any host on either station these days. Dakota, however, is missed by no one.

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  5. I think the Moran/ Farrell story points to all that is wrong with Sox and how they are perceived by the fans. This will be sad once we are all done laughing at them. They spend $160+ mill on Sandoval and Ramirez only to find they can’t play…something everyone else knew in the league knew. They played better under the interim manager when Farrell was beating cancer (not funny). Their pitching has been a mess even though they hired a renown pitching coach to be the team manager. Now they find out that manager is sleeping with a member of the press who covers the team on the non team owned cable TV station and somehow the team owned newspaper breaks the story including the news that she resigned from her post. I am not even mentioning the Jenny Dell/Will Middlebrows story or any of the other stories Bruce alludes to. I doubt Aaron Sorkin could write something funnier.

    Sox ownership better pray this team gets off to a 15-5 start otherwise they will be eating their young in concourses of Fenway by Memorial Day.

    One other thing…I would really like to know why CCSNE accepted Moran’s resignation. If I had been them I would have either left her on the desk as a kind of FU to NESN the Globe and the Sox or moved her to the Pats desk just to further poke the Sox in the eye.

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  6. Watney/Varitek, Dell/Middlebrooks, Moran/Farrell, Adams/Amendola……seems to be a pattern here…lol

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  7. I know it’s a rather simplistic view but given what we witness daily regarding media bias with issues ranging from politics to Deflategate to Peyton Mannings/PED’s, etc, how big a deal is Ms. Moran’s relationship with Mr. Farrell. 98% of these hacks have an agenda, so I ask rhetorically what’s the difference. Would her bias be any different than watching Shank Shaughnessy eviscerate Bob Kraft every chance he gets, or Ron Borges’ and his BB hate, Trollin’ Volin, Peter King’s incessant ball lapping of Goodell, etc. Journalistic integrity, if it ever truly existed, is a thing of the past, even if you set the bar at ground level these turds will regularly disappoint with few exceptions so reporters banging their subject matter barely register on my Richter Scale.

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    1. Nothing. The only ones left in sports, really media, are those too dumb to leave or who have been in it too long to switch. Agenda, bias, and what you see now will get nothing but worse as the descent ones left move on in one way or another, and more outfits get bought.

      For her, she’s done around here. Greater picture is she “sets women back”, or that’s what I heard with Dell/Middlebrooks, but she lacks a national brand and the locals around here who know her, like her, so the ’tisk, tisk’ will go on outside of Twitter.

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      1. I disagree. The harm is she knows something and says something she shouldn’t because of her access. I completely agree that she needed to leave the Sox desk. What I don’t understand is why she had to leave CSSNE. If it were NESN then maybe I would think she would have to go as it is owned by the Sox. But CSSNE is a separate company with no shared ownership. They make their own editorial decisions. I do not see any reason why she could not cover the Pats or Celts or even have a general sports anchor position that occasionally mentions the Sox. The issue for me would only be her covering the Sox full time. People would look to her for inside info and that is difficult. Look at the crap some of us give Mike Holley because of his inside access at Foxboro. He chooses not to share any of it and it bothers me at least greatly because his Pats coverage comes off as bland and uninformed as he tries hard not to say anything that will reduce his access. She would have that problem in spades.

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        1. People keep hinting at this going on for 2+ years. I don’t know what “going on” means but: I think if she went to CSNNE early on, asked to be reassigned to B’s/C’s/P’s when this apparently began years ago, this is never an issue. It doesn’t smooth the age/divorce thing but we could go after quite a few in town over this.

          I haven’t agreed with Jackie much lately but I thought her “they were both unprofessional” comment summed it up well.

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          1. I am still stuck on the fact people do not understand where the unprofessionalism comes from. How they can’t see the uncomfortableness a player might have if she approached said player for info that he did not want to give knowing she was sleeping with the manager. Or that she confronts the player with info she should not have and the player immediately knows it came from the skipper.

            media/player/entertainer relationships are not new and they do not have to be banned. Transparency goes a long way into making these things a non issue. Hazel Mae had the right attitude…she could have cared less who knew what and she was going to do whatever she wanted. Its when they try to hide/deny that the problems start. Then the question is what else are you hiding? People are dumb.

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    2. In the overall scheme of things its not that big a deal. The owner of the Red Sox owns the Boston Globe. Dan Shaughnessy and Ron Borges’ extreme bias against the Patriots is always on display. As is Gary Tanguay’s bias against the teams that fired him from their gigs. And so on.

      Kinda too bad for her, I can’t say I saw her enough on CSSNE to really know her reporting well, but she certainly came off better than say, Trenni Kusnierek who comes off as just another media troll. Unlike a Kathryn Tappyn or her former colleague Carolyn Manno, the national media never came calling and hard to see her getting another local gig. Should have seen if she could have gotten transferred to another sport.

      I think it does look worse for Farrell, this is a last place team the last 2 years running and he’s having a relationship with a local reporter who covers his team, which will just add yet another distraction for this team.

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  8. Bit off topic here, but as long as we’re on the subject of CSNNE people. Anyone else getting frustrated by Kyle Drapper on the Celtics broadcasts lately? I know here’s not from around here, so he’s not a Celtics fan, in fact I think he grew up a Lakers fan but I am not sure about that. But lately I feel like he goes out of his way to tell us why the Celtics were lucky to win, or should probably lose. Not sure if it’s done on purpose to balance out Tommy or Scal, but the Celtics have been playing excellent ball most of the season and especially lately and getting Kyle to admit it seems like pulling teeth. Just seems weird to me considering this is the Celtics broadcast and all.
    I don’t need him to be a “green teamer”, God do I hate Felger’s awful nicknames, but man just play it down the middle on the Celtics broadcast please.

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  9. Oh Gronk, Gronk, Gronk. Why did you have to put out that Tweet about a “pay cut”? Now you’ve given everyone around here the hottest of all HotSportzTakes to beat into the ground for the next month. (Personally, I think he was joking — remember, this is the same guy who last summer disclosed that he has lived off his endorsement money, completely, since coming into the NFL.) By the way…..trollin’ Volin apparently has already called Gronk “criminally underpaid.” This ignores the fact that the front end of the contract was player friendly and the back end is team friendly, so he really wasn’t “underpaid” during the early years of the deal, when it was likely that Gronk, as a younger player back then, would have been more productive than towards the end of the contract. Is he “underpaid” given his importance to the team and his overall prowess across the league? Yes. Does he really care? I don’t think so, really. The guy is making gobs of money outside of football. Also, isn’t it possible that he’s the same kind of guy as Brady, who would rather take less money and have a chance to win every year than to make all he can make, regardless of the team’s performance?

    Anyway….let the HotTakes begin!

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          1. Of course he is. That would create another great soap opera/story line for them to hammer and hammer and hammer until the situation is resolved. Then, after it’s resolved, they could re-hash it for months afterward and chastise the Pats for “putting themselves in that position” in the first place by “stiffing” Gronk on his contract. It’s the perfect sports radio scenario.

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  10. Peter King continuing to innovate on journalism’s relegation in his PM retirement piece:

    http://mmqb.si.com/2016/03/07/peyton-manning-retirement-nfl-legacy

    Not that any of us needed a reminder on what a loser Peter King is, but this paragraph, in particular:

    Last May, I was in San Francisco preparing for my daughter’s wedding. I was off the clock for a couple of weeks. But the first night there, Manning emailed me. He was excited. He said he’d just been on David Letterman’s final show, and he wondered if I wanted to write about it in some way—and make no mistake, this was about Manning figuring a way to commemorate a cool moment in his life. I suggested we collaborate on a first-person column for The MMQB; I had to figure a way to do this quickly and efficiently so as not to ruin the family week. Manning agreed, and on his way back from New York to Denver that night he recorded several voice notes and texted them to me when he landed in Denver. I wrote the column in his voice and emailed it to him for approval. Not bad. Got it done in about three hours.

    This entire thing, doesn’t it go against everything J-School 101 classes teach you?

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  11. Bruce,

    Unused to WordPress, and I can’t find answers, but:

    1.) Can you edit your own comments?
    2.) Looks like you can’t reply beyond a certain depth. Is this true?

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    1. 1) No.

      2) I have it set to 5 levels deep. I think much more than that and it would be unwieldy.

      I agree that the comments are pretty limited in functionality, but it is a trade-off I needed to make. You can read about what you can do in comments here:

      https://en.support.wordpress.com/comments/

      You can use Markdown formatting for your comments as well:

      https://en.support.wordpress.com/markdown-quick-reference/

      That will allow you to make your comments look a bit snazzier.

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      1. Yeah, WP limits the external plugins for simplicity and security reasons. From pointing clients at self-hosted, it’s great.

        Is the editing part something you can enable or limited by WP’s functionality?

        I, personally, like to edit comments since you sometimes either find a grammatical/spelling mistake or want to clarify something.

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    1. Tanguay on D&C this morning: “There’s a trend in broadcasting to replace guys like me with younger, more attractive people.” We can only hope.

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    1. I’m sure the people who conducted that poll failed to mention that Brady is the only person during this entire, disgraceful affair, to raise his right hand and testify under oath in a Federal courtroom…..not that having that knowledge would sway the opinion of the public, which has been fed a steady diet of anti-Patriot propaganda since at least 2007 and is willing to believe anything negative said about them, facts be damned. God, how I hate that effing league.

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