BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst TV Sports Personality

Today we’re looking at a group of people who in some cases might be something of a dying breed. These are TV sports personalities, and among them are the people who do sports reports on the local newscasts. They’ve seen their on-air time dwindle through the years, even as the popularity of sports has increased. In many cases they compensate for their reduced newscast time with gigs hosting nightly or weekly sports shows, appearing on team pregame and postgame shows or making appearances on sports radio. It’s very rare to see someone who only does TV sports on the nightly news.

Some of our candidates have been in the market for a long time, others are relative newcomers. Here’s how you voted on them:


It was a tight voting, with no clear winner. Mike Lynch of channel 5 WCVB came out on top with 232 votes for 18% of the total. Lynch is one of the veterans of the Boston sports scene, and has managed not to get over-exposed during that time. In addition to the sportscasts on WCVB, he also hosts the Patriots All Access program on the station, and during the preseason and occasions that the Patriots play on ABC or ESPN, Lynch has hosted a pregame show on the station as well. He does a solid job, not making himself the focus or star, and going about things in a workmanlike manner, not usually resorting to making outrageous statements just for attention.

Hazel Mae, host of Sports Desk on NESN came in second in the balloting with 14% of the vote, while veteran Bob Lobel and Tom Caron each received 12% of the total. Lobel has been a fixture on the Boston sports scene for over 25 years, and while he may have lost some of his fastball, he’s in many ways still the face of TV sports in Boston.

Reader Comments: I went with Giardi on top here. Mike Lynch is solid but I almost never watch that station….The "Best" vote was easy—no one. There's not one person on that list who I would say is outstanding and only a few (Giardi, Lynch) whom I would characterize as acceptable.

Now let’s look at the vote for worst:


Once again the voting was very tight, but Butch Stearns emerged as the winner of the worst TV sports personality, taking home 213 votes for 16% of the total. Getting viewers to the station is part of his job, but the way he attempts to do it is something many people take issue with. He’ll tease his sports segment with some statement that is designed to make the viewer think that something huge is breaking. If you watch him for any length of time, you become immune to the tactic. Stearns also is a frequent guest on WEEI (He says it paid for the addition to this house.) and enjoys throwing things out there trying to generate some sort of buzz. Most famous of course was his confrontation with Curt Schilling on WEEI, which he then milked on his sportscast. Another Stearns highlight was when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, and Butch grabbed the trophy on-camera exclaiming “Who’s better than me with the trophy?”

CBS4’s duo of Bob Lobel and Steve Burton came in second and third. Lobel had a rough 2005 with rumors of his personal life making headlines and then suing a cartoonist for alleging that he was drunk on the air. Burton is the king of the one-word questioning technique. He proves clueless on many matters and while he might be a nice guy personally, he offers little in the way of insight or analysis of sports.

Reader Comments: Stearns has my lifetime support for worst here. Steve Burton could visibly pee his pants every time he is on TV and I'm still backing Butch. The lowest of the low….Chris Collins apparently flying under the radar here…. After lengthy deliberation and after a tight battle among the Three Horseman of the Apocryphal (Stupidity, Pomposity and Cluelessness-- Burton, Stearns, and Tanguay) I had to go with the one guy who best epitomizes all three. Who looks better with a Brucie than you, Butch?


BSMW Awards Recap – Boston Sports Media’s Best Kept Secret

Just a short entry today with the holiday.

Today we’re looking at media people who might not yet be household names, but whose work is getting them attention from sports fans and consumers in the region. Last year’s winner was Mike Reiss, who quickly got a promotion to the Globe and has emerged as one of the brightest stars on the Patriots beat and is a trailblazer in terms of sports blogging in Boston.

Here’s this year’s list of candidates and the results. We did also have a couple write-ins for Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, who was regrettably left off the balloting.


Rob Bradford moved from the Lowell Sun to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune after John Tomase moved to the Herald and immediately made an impact on Red Sox coverage. He had a tremendous offseason covering the departures, acquisitions and intrigue around the club over the course of the winter. He has since become a Big Show regular and looks to be a fixture on the Boston sports media scene for years to come.

No one else in this group really stuck out among the voters, Eric Wilbur does pretty solid work for, though he does so mostly in anonymity, as the site doesn’t seem to promote his stuff as much as they do other features of the site (Dirt Dogs, for one). Someone that I think is an up and comer is the guy who essentially replaced Mike Reiss at the MetroWest Daily News, Albert Breer, who has done some good work covering the Patriots for the paper. I also like Michael Parente’s Patriots coverage, and someone else who didn’t make the list, Scott Souza of the Daily News, whose coverage of the Celtics has caught my attention a number of times over the course of the season.

Tomorrow: TV Sports Personalities

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Local in-game Analyst

Today we’re ending up the week looking at the best and worst of the in-game analysts here in Boston. These guys are there to give us insight and commentary about the game as it unfolds in front of them (and us). A good color analyst will tell you things you did not know, and might not have seen until you get a replay of what just happened. The great ones can also tell you ahead of time what is about to happen next.

What does the field look like here in Boston? Here are the results for the best in-game (color) analyst:


Not too much of a surprise here. Hometown guy and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy has become a cult figure here in Boston, with his own website and line of merchandise. The adulation is well deserved as Remy does indeed oftentimes tells you what is going to happen just before it does take place. Remy took away 774 votes for 59% of the total. While he sometimes can get caught up in silliness and can spend way too much time talking about Wally the Green Monster, you do have to keep in mind that it is a long season, and there are games in which it is simply difficult to keep on focus because of a blowout. When the big moments of the game arise, Remy raises his game as well. While Remy was probably at the top of his game when working with Sean McDonough – no one could fill a blowout game like those two – he has developed a good relationship with Don Orsillo, though admittedly not on the level of what he had with McDonough.

Andy Brickley’s strong second place finish despite the dismal year the Bruins had is a testament to his skills and ability in the booth. Another native New Englander who also played professionally for the local team, Brickley provides very good analysis and insight on the Bruins telecasts on NESN. Brickley picked up 178 votes for 14% to just edge out the third place finisher, Gino Cappelletti of the WBCN Patriots radio broadcasts. Cappelletti might be just a tad past his prime, but is still a fan favorite and you’re glad he’s still in the booth with Gil Santos as those two have seen more Patriots football then perhaps anyone else alive.

Reader Comments: I threw Max a vote for best commentator here. The guy has evolved into one of the all-time funniest color guys I've ever heard—he knows the game inside and out and he is candid. Bonus points for never wavering on disliking Mark Blount…. I voted for Maxwell as the best. A great combo of funny and insightful. There's a reason The Sopranos chose to use the commentary from a Celtics game to use in their season opener. Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack…. I'm switching my vote to Max this year for several reasons. First, no one has worked harder at his job to get rid of the "ebonics" and deep southern accent problems that plagued him in his early years. Second, I find Max consistently funny (at least 2 or 3 laughs per game) and insightful at the same time. Finally, the "quacks" notwithstanding, Max is no homer. He is perfectly willing to point out the flaws of the C's, both in individuals and in the team as a whole. And—unlike the BC broadcast team—Max does not believe every foul was committed against the Celtics.

Now to the worst in this category:


No one was deemed bad enough to be saddled with the worst label, which is good. Tommy Heinsohn may be a shameless homer and his screaming at the officials can get on some people’s nerves, but as someone who grew up listening to Johnny Most, Tommy has simply picked up the torch that Most handed to him. Broadcast partner Mike Gorman deserves a huge round of applause for his ability to balance Tommy’s act for sake of the viewers. Jerry Remy actually got 13% of the worst vote…likely from those who might feel that the “remdawg” has gotten overexposed the last few years.

Reader Comments: I would like to vote "none" on the second part, but ended up going with Bob Beers, just because I never liked him as a player…. As for worst, its Gino again for me. I love him like my own grandpa and respect his accomplishments but he adds bupkis to the broadcast… You know who's coming up fast for me on the "worst" side of the ledger? Jerry Remy. His constant pimping of his website is annoying and his popularity has made him lazy.

Monday: Boston Media’s Best Kept Secret

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst non-beat Sport Specific Writer

Today we’re going to check out a category with a name with might initially sound confusing. The non-beat, sport specific writers. These are writers who fall in between the role of a beat writer and a full fledged columnist. These writers usually focus on one specific sport, but are not the beat writers for their papers in their sport. They offer more opinion and analysis than do the beat writers, and their pieces are often mini-features. They usually compile the Sunday notes columns for their respective sports, going beyond the local teams and looking at the entire league.

These are some of the more controversial writers in town, probably because their roles are not clearly defined. Some expect them to be reporters focused on facts and events, like the beat writers, while some feel that since they’re practically columnists that their pieces are going to be filled with strong, polarizing opinion.

Here’s how the voting went for the best of this category:


Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal was the top pick here, grabbing an impressive 46% of the total vote. McAdam has a reputation as a good reporter, who has his opinions, but is also usually very reasonable and even-keeled, even on the most volatile of subjects. McAdam also has national recognition with his work on the webpage. He is very visible, making the rounds of the various media outlets with regularity.

Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe placed second, getting 25% of the vote. Edes is another solid reporter, who generally provides solid, instructive and well-written analysis of not only the Red Sox, but also all of Major League Baseball. Edes has worked in several cities during his career, and this serves him well in terms of contacts around the game.

Reader Comment: I would have liked to have voted for Mark Blaudschun here. I think he fits into this category, and he's an easy winner over these guys in my eyes.

Now to the worst of this category:


Ron Borges of the Globe picks up 710 votes for 51% of the total. He was the only writer to earn recognition in this category as the “no one” vote was the next highest amount with 18% of the vote.

Borges’ axes when it comes to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are well-documented. It’s unfortunate that this is what he is known for, as he is without question a solid reporter and gifted writer. He has sullied his own reputation with his dislike of how things are done down in Foxboro.

Reader Comments: Allow me to plug for Nickles Cafardo in the worst category. As detestable as Borges can be with his intentionally contrarian stance, Borges is worlds better than Cafardo when it comes to writing, reporting, and creativity. Cafardo is the laziest and deserves this award. You don't even have to read Cafardo's columns to know where they're going - ex-Bostonians, agents, nostalgia...over and over again.

Tomorrow: In-Game Color Analysts

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Sports Radio Host

Today’s category is a huge one…the Best and Worst radio host in Boston. Though Sports Radio has really grown nationwide over the last 10-15 years, it has taken off in Boston as nowhere else the last few years. At the center of each show is the host. They all have their own styles, some are confrontational, others cerebral, some cater to the lowest common denominator, while others do their best to manufacture drama on a daily basis to keep people coming back, like a soap opera.

Which styles work? Who is the best at running the show, keeping things lively and entertaining?

Here’s how you voted:


Glenn Ordway was the winner, but not by as wide a margin as he probably would’ve liked. He picked up 287 votes and 20% of the total, but was challenged hard by a former protégé, Michael Felger who began hosting his very first radio show in the latter part of the year. Felger picked up 18% of the vote. Another surprise was Mike Adams with his third place showing, picking up 11%.

I haven’t totally figured out Ordway…some days I marvel at how he can fill a show with the likes of Steve Burton, Bill Burt, Larry Johnson and Butch Stearns, and still make it work rather smoothly. Other times, I think that Ordway purposely surrounds himself with “talent” of that ilk so as to make himself look all-wise and reasonable by comparison. Whatever he does, it works as shown by the record setting ratings success enjoyed by the station, and in particular his program. Who can argue with success?

Felger began his show making sure that he didn’t step on WEEI toes, not wanting to burn bridges, but did state that they would do some things a little differently. No “celebrity” callers. No talking for days on end about “Manny peeing in the wall”. They held to that for awhile, and still stick to a more traditional sports radio format…plenty of guests, mixed in with the callers, but occasionally Felger shows his roots of having trained at the feet of the master Ordway with manufactured drama and plot lines. Still, there’s a lot of promise there for the future.

I’m not sure what to say about Adams. I liked him over the years, but have been turned off as he has been indoctrinated into the WEEI style of angrily bashing certain players, particularly Manny Ramirez. His gag opening show, where he pretended to lock himself in the WEEI studios was memorable, but rather lame.

Reader Comments: I chose Felger as the best—I like very much how he has started on 890 and wish the signal was better….I went with Rotillo (Russillo) for “best” for his depth and breadth of knowledge and the enthusiasm he has for all sports…The best host is the currently underemployed Ryen Russillo. Felger is only as good as his co-host, which is not a criticism per se.

Now for the worst:


Eddie Andelman, who only was on the air for about half the year, he still managed to leave enough of an impression on the minds of listeners to name him the worst sports radio host in Boston. Gerry Callahan tied him in terms of percentage (Both got 18%) but Andelman got a few more actual votes (268 to 261). It’s been a sad descent for the once-great Andelman, who was a real pioneer in the sports radio format. Andelman in his final days at WWZN was reduced to simply lashing out on old agendas (Bob Kraft, Red Sox Ownership) and bringing on the same old guests that he’s had for years. He recently started a new weekly show on WTKK 96.9 on Sunday nights and it’ll be interesting to see if the reduced schedule does him good.

I don’t think Gerry Callahan is deserving of election as the worst sports radio host. Sure, his viewpoints and attitudes can be maddening, but when it comes to sports, he’s better than most in town. Now Callahan’s partner in the morning, John Dennis, he is a guy who might be worthy of consideration in this category. He finished next, with 12% of the vote. Dennis is decent at leading the program in and out of breaks and around different segments. Content-wise, what exactly does he bring to the program? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Reader Comments: In spite of so many good candidates, John Dennis wins “worst” easily. He's everything a host and radio personality shouldn't be: pompous windbag; uninformed; bad interviewer. Finding out too much about his creepy personal life just tops it off….. Dennis and Ordway was basically a coin flip, but Dennis is slightly more execrable….The jowly, aging, racist frat boy [John Dennis] has neither depth nor breadth of knowledge, unless it's of last night's episode of 24.

Tomorrow: Non-beat Sport Specific Writers

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Play-by-Play Announcer

Today we’re kicking off the new week with a look at the play-by-play announcers of the Boston sports teams. This group contains some veterans who have seen multiple championships for the Patriots and Celtics and of course the 2004 Red Sox World Series championship. They’ve had experience calling some huge games at the highest level. Of them, who rates as the best and worst in the eyes of the fans?

Here’s how our voting turned out:


Veteran announcer Gil Santos of the Patriots Radio Network gets the nod in the category, pulling in 340 votes for 26% of the total. Santos has seen it all with the Patriots, from the darkest points in franchise history to the glories of Super Bowl Championships. Santos has great “pipes” and his call of Adam Vinatieri’s game winning kick in Super Bowl 36 still gives me shivers whenever I hear it. He may miss things here and there, but he is still a pleasure to listen to whenever he calls a game.

I was a little surprised at Don Orsillo’s second place finish. (274, 21%) He’s a likable guy, but doesn’t do much for me as a play-by-play guy, though he’s improved greatly from his early days on the job. He’s still learning to call the big moments with the proper emotion and emphasis, but his pitch by pitch calls are generally solid.

My vote would’ve gone to the third place finisher, Mike Gorman of the FSN Celtics broadcasts. (228, 17%) Gorman just finished up his 25th season calling Celtics games on the network with Tom Heinsohn, and I believe the comments by the reader below describe Gorman very well. He’s a class act all the way as well.

Reader Comments: Gorman gets my vote. He's just an outstanding professional, and always has been. "GOT IT!!!!" He has a perfect understanding of appropriate announcing emotion. His tendency to rein Tommy in the last few years when it is called for has also earned him points with me…. I went with Grande as best announcer in a strong field of contenders. I'm an extremely casual NBA fan, but Grande (and Maxwell) do a great job of presenting the game. There's just enough conversation to fill in the slow parts of the game, but their tangents never take away from the action that's taking place…. I went with the wildly underrated Dave Goucher for best. He brings listeners the action—in a tough sport to call on the radio—in a professional and interesting way. He also has an excellent voice, knows the tempo of a game, and defers well to his analyst when necessary.

Here’s the results of the worst poll:


No big surprise here. Jon Meterparel (sorry your name got spelled wrong in the poll, Jon) won this one going away with 419 votes that represented 32% of the total. Meterparel who called Revolution games back in the day, didn’t win over a whole lot of new fans with his calls of the Boston College Football team. He sparked a mini-controversy with the City of Boise after making comments about the city where BC accepted a postseason Bowl invitation. You can occasionally hear some of his screaming, mangled calls during WEEI segments, which really tell you all you need to hear about his talents. Another Boston College announcer came in second as Ted Sarandis and his passionate, though over-the-top calls have turned off some listeners. Sarandis will often speak out during his broadcasts against what he perceives as a lack of support for the BC hoop games and is borderline insulting to the Conte Forum crowds at times.

Reader Comments: "Yawn" Orsillo gets the nod. He's about a twentieth of the announcer that Sean McD is. I don't listen to BC football so I'm not going to go with Meter, and Sarandis makes me laugh more than half the comedians I see…. Worst is Trupiano. In the past few years Jerry has decided that HE is the show, not the action on the field. At points last year after Palmiero tested positive, Jerry would go on forever about the topic, to the point where even his partner seemed to have had enough. And one more piece of advice: When a fly ball is hit, LOOK AT THE OUTFIELDERS! If they are jogging instead of sprinting back, you can lose the “WAY BACK!!!” call—it's probably going to be caught…. Where to begin on how awful Calistaparel is. Is it the cracking, girlish voice when he gets excited? Is it the multitude of factual errors during the broadcast? Is it the fact that his analyst—a supposed "nonprofessional"— had to tell him, "Wait for the official to make the call, Jon." ? I think that you could literally pull someone from the stands who could do a better job. BC has a lot to answer for in their choice of radio "voices."

Tomorrow: “If BSMW was Full-Time…”

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Media Blog

Today we’re looking at a new category, media blogs. 2005 saw this genre really take off, not only with the local media outlets, but with media everywhere. It seems everyone has a blog these days, and they’re actually a great medium for sports tidbits and information that might be interesting, but doesn’t really fit into a game story or notebook. Since they can be published quickly and RSS feeds enable readers to be notified of new entries, it is also a great place to break news. The bare bones news information can first be published, with followups coming as more information becomes available.

Some old timers in the traditional media may have been slow to accept blogging as an addition to their regular workload, but now you might find the name of any Globe, Herald or Projo reporter covering a Patriots or Red Sox game appear in the corresponding blog for that team.

Here’s a look at the voting for the media blogs:


This isn’t much of a surprise, since Reiss’ Pieces practically invented the formula here locally of a media person blogging news and items about a sports team. Mike Reiss started the blog on the Boston Herald website when he was with the Metro West Daily News, and when he was hired by the Globe, was able to move to blog along with him. This was probably the best hire of the Joe Sullivan era at the Globe, as the blog is by far the most popular media blog in the market as shown by the numbers. 679 people, or 48% of the total on this poll put Reiss’ Pieces down as the best in the category.

227 people, or 16% of the total felt that Boston Dirt Dogs was the best. 13% of people felt no media blog was worthy of the “best” moniker.

Reader Comments: Reiss’ Pieces gives out sweet tidbits like the original Reese Pieces…It's amazing what actually asking players relevant questions and printing the answers will get you—what a revolutionary concept.

Here’s the voting for the worst:


Another blog was named as worst blog.Style and content-wise, it could not be more polar-opposite in style than Reiss’ Pieces. While it came in second in the best voting, Boston Dirt Dogs got twice as many votes for worst media blog. BDD has been very popular with members of “Red Sox Nation” – not the hard core Red Sox fan, but the more casual observer who craves huge headlines and knee-jerk rants like they would have after a few beers. (“Manny is KILLING us!!!!”). In its earlier days, the site would provide some breaking news and inside information, but they’re gone away from that in favor of the more sensationalist approach to looking at the team. 476 people or 37% of the total felt that BDD was the worst media-backed blog out there. 36% of people felt that no one deserved the tag of worst.

Reader Comments: I knew that the "worst" vote was gonna be a real nail-biter….Every time we say that it's a media source beholden to the rules of journalism, they say it's just a blog. Every time we say it's just a blog, they say it's a media source worthy of the name. As Marge Schott would say, Boston Dirt Dog “had good ideas, they just went too far.”

Monday: Best/Worst Play-by-Play Announcers

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Football Beat Writer

Today we look at another talented group of writers, the beat writers who cover the New England Patriots. This is obviously a challenging gig, not only because of the success of the team and attention the franchise receives, but also because the Patriots communication policies force the writers to often times have to work harder to come up with stories and news on the team.

There seem to be two groups of media types around the team. Some old-school media types grumble at the lack of accessibility and pine for the old days when there was plenty of back-channel communication and easy stories just flowed from loose lips throughout the organization, from the locker room to the front office. The second group are a younger, more ambitious crew who know the rules and work within them just fine. They know they need to work a little harder to come up with the scoops and have to stay on top of things in order to get the chance to break a story. They know what type of questions to ask the coach and avoid the type of questions that will not get any sort of response from Bill Belichick.

Most of the latter group are in the category we’re considering today, the beat writers. They’re around the team on a daily basis and know what works.

Here’s who the voters felt was the best on the Patriots beat in 2005:


In the 1397 votes cast, it came down to essentially three men. Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran. Reiss was the winner by a comfortable margin (486, 35%) What’s interesting is that Reiss isn’t technically the beat writer for the Globe. He does cover the team on a daily basis on his Reiss’ Pieces blog on and blogs extensively on game days, providing updates and news as things happen. Reiss does do articles that appear in the Globe paper as well, but technically Jerome Solomon is the Globe’s beat writer for the Patriots. Felger (399, 29%) is also a prolific writer, coming up with stories and articles even during the offseason. Since he began his radio show with ESPN Boston, he has reduced his Patriots work slightly, as John Tomase is now the beat writer for that paper. However, Felger remains plugged into to the operation in Foxboro, and provides good insight on the team. Curran (264, 19%) takes third here, and it’s not even close after him. Curran is another hard working writer who has shown an understanding of the game and the way the Patriots operate, making him an in-demand guest on radio and television. Ironically when Felger left WEEI’s Big Show to do his own gig on ESPN Boston, it was Curran who benefited with more appearances on that program.

Even those those three were well ahead of the field, the others should not go unnoticed. There are a number of very good writers left among that list.

Reader Comments: Reiss gets the nod here. Best guy in the entire media in getting substantive real-time information to his readers…

Now, the voting for worst…


Once again, the voters recognized the work of this group and elected “no one” being deserving of the label of worst. It was pretty overwhelming, too with 687 out of 1342 votes (51%) going this way. For the beat writers, I think this is a good choice. The writers that people object to when it comes to Patriots coverage are columnists and other media types who aren’t around the team every day.

John Tomase picked up 197 votes for 15% of the total and Jerome Solomon had 140 votes and 10%. Each was in their first season of covering the Patriots and were underwhelming at times.

Reader Comment: Went with Tomase as the worst. Very odd hire by the Herald…

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Media Blog

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Sports Radio Show

Today’s recap is a biggie…the best and worst sports radio shows in Boston.

WEEI is the 800 lb gorilla in this category, but has slipped ever so slightly in the overall ratings over the last six months or so. Their ratings dominance this decade has been extraordinary. To what should their success be attributed to? Their signal strength? The success and popularity of the Red Sox and Patriots? Or the sparkling wit and personality, not to mention matchless sports knowledge of the hosts and callers?

Here are the results for this year’s poll:


In probably the biggest upset of the balloting, 333 people out of 1488 felt that ESPN Boston’s The Drive with Michael Felger was the best radio show in the region. That’s 22%, quite a percentage for a show that didn’t start until the second half of the year. It beat out two WEEI contenders, The Big Show and Dale & Holley, which each picked up 15% of the vote.

Felger’s show was undoubtedly helped by WEEI’s sometimes 24/7 focus on the Red Sox…even in December and January. ESPN Boston was able to get good football guests to provide an alternative to the Theo talk and the Manny talk and the Johnny Damon talk which was beaten into the ground day after day by the competition. While the Big Show got much higher ratings, (The Drive barely registered on the ratings charts) there’s a segment of their audience who listens because they don’t have other options. ESPN’s signal isn’t strong to begin with, and fades badly after dark. With a stronger signal, I’m confident they would do even better.

The two WEEI programs are stalwarts, and contrast each other quite starkly. Dale &: Holley attempt to do a more intelligent version of sports talk with guests and a more rounded discussion, while the cast of the Big Show go for the storylines, drama and whatever soap opera they can drum up that particular day.

Reader Comments: I couldn't bring myself to vote for a “best” in this category—I would've voted for Felger's show, but it inflicts Bob Halloran on us on a regular basis….I went with Felger for best show. When he's talking Patriots, there’s really never been any better New England Patriots radio coverage. Josh Miller is a lot of fun and he also gets technical, which I enjoy. I'm not sure how the spring is going to go for him, but I'll be listening occasionally in the fall….Went with Felger's show for the best. Good football talk and a nice mix of input from phone-in guests, regular hosts, and the callers. A great alternative to the predictability of the Big Show….I had to go with Felger as the best because at least he's still working on it. They still go to the trouble of getting call-in guests to talk about issues of the day and rely less on nitwit “callahs” (though I noticed an alarming increase in the latter last week).

Now, onto the worst of the category:


WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan received 427 votes as the worst sports radio show in Boston, 29% of the total. To be fair D&C will admit that their show is not technically a sports show. They’re “guy radio”. They talk news, current events, entertainment such as 24, The Sopranos and The Shield, and mix in sports around that. When sticking to sports, they can be very good. They have some great Patriots discussion on the mornings following Patriots games with Tom Brady and Boomer Esiason being weekly guests during the season. Callahan can be a great interviewer with the guests and Dennis is good at keeping the show moving in and out of breaks. However, listeners wanting more sports talk likely are disappointed in the show and it is reflected in the vote. I’m sure politics has something to do with it as well, though likely not as much as some would think.

Eddie Andelman’s old show on 1510 came in second (243, 17%) and The Big Show came in third (197 13%). Andelman’s show ended in the middle of the year, and he only recently resurfaced on the airwaves at 96.9 FM on Sunday nights. His 1510 show was incredibly bad radio, with weekly appearances by Ron Borges being the only attraction, and that of the car-accident variety.

Reader Comments: I think the D&C show is the worst sports show as they hardly ever talk about sports…Planet Mikey gets the worst vote—insufferable. The Big Show is awful but I admit I like the Whiner Line. Adams has nothing redeeming going for him and has actually subtracted my favorite aspect of Sarandis' show (it was the only local outlet for college hoops talk). He also seems to attract an especially low IQ caller level …. A good sports talk show should be informative, intelligent, and—by definition—about sports. While many of the choices fail on the first two counts, no show comes up short on all three more consistently than Dennis & Callahan. More often than not, the discussion is about their favorite TV shows or current events instead of sports. Throw in generous helpings of anger and intolerance and you've got one crappy "sports" talk show…. Ordway and his cast of social deviants and misfits make my ears bleed….It’s not even a close 2nd for me—D&C are hideous, but the forced screaming and cackling from the big show is cringe-inducing. Ordway= pontificate on the easiest, hot-button issue of the day without actually having a logical understanding of it; allow the worst & the dimmest callers on the air; if you get challenged by common sense, hem and haw and bombard the caller with irrelevant questions/factoids until they slip up—and then, dismiss their whole argument. Wave your hand and have the crew guffaw and ridicule the caller. Wash, rinse, repeat every day. I like the Whiner Line, though….This is the only category I have chosen to comment on, such is my venom for my vote for worst local radio show: The Mustard and Johnson Show. Nowhere else on radio is one subjected to the triple threat of the sports talk horror of dumb hosts, even dumber callers, and boring topics.

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Football Beat Writer

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst TV Sports Show

We’re starting off the new week with a look at the best and worst sports television shows in the Boston area.

Once again, there were just so many candidates that we forgot one. Somehow, the Globe SportsPlus program which runs on NESN was omitted. Honestly, that was not a bit of backlash against the Globe and the writers who appear on the show…I just forgot to put it on the list.

We had just over 1300 people vote in this category, and the results were pretty spread out, which is to be expected given the amount of competition in this region. The winning show only took home 18% of the total vote.

Here are the results:


FSN’s New England Sports Tonight (Now Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight) came out on top here with 234 votes for that 18%. This show hosted by Greg Dickerson and Gary Tanguay is a staple for many sports fans who are unsatisfied after getting 2 minutes of sports on their 6:00 news broadcasts. The 6:30 show often picks up on talk radio topics from the afternoon and previews the night’s action for the local teams. The 10:00 show is usually an alternative post-game show for whatever local team in in action that night. The guest list is stocked with WEEI and Boston Herald personalities, who always have something to say, or some pot to stir on the air.

Coming in second was the Pre and Post game shows on NESN. These shows picked up 201 votes for 15% of the total. They were followed closely by Patriots All Access on WCVB which garnered 181 votes or 14%.

Reader Comments: I went with Patriots All-Access for best show, solely because it features insight from Belichick; the show itself isn't all that interesting….Patriots All-Access for “best”¬—the Belichick film breakdowns are great, as are the sideline/locker room camera and microphones. Overall, the show is very professionally done…I went with Patriots All-Access just for the Belistrator— his segment is the only thing on any of these shows that is actually informative.

Now a look at the flip side of the category:


New England Tailgate on FSN, which often follows Sports Tonight on Thursdays during football season got the most votes as the ‘worst’ of the category. They pulled in 241 votes for 19% of the total. The show features Glenn Ordway, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie and is oftentimes a continuation of what that trio has talked about on WEEI’s Big Show during the course of the week. Ordway, oftentimes decked out in his mock turtleneck and perched on a stool, provides an amusing contrast with the two ex-NFL players. They do picks each week, which is something of a joke, as I don’t believe Smerlas has picked against the Patriots in 5 years. For the casual fan who doesn’t listen to WEEI during the week, the show is appealing in its simplicity and “guy” humor.

Coming in second was the “no one” vote. (175, 14%)

Reader Comments: I went with that Tanguay nightly trainwreck as worst—sometimes I get stomach pains while watching it. Gary Tanguay is abominable….New England Tailgate for worst. There's very little "value added" on this show. They show the same highlights that have been playing for days, and regurgitate the same talking points the Big Show has been using all week….You really need to be hooked up to a machine if you enjoy this half-hour infomercial for the Ripoff Tailgate Party scam. A tape of this thing will be Exhibit A at Ordway's RICO statute trial.

Tomorrow: Things I’ve learned since starting BSMW.