NESN’s Executive Vice President Is Out

Happening now, we’re just learning through Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that NESN’s Executive Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer Joel Feld is leaving after five years on the job.

Feld has overseen changes in game production with the Red Sox and Bruins as well as steering the channel towards some non-sports related programming including the horrible “Dirty Water TV”. More to follow as the news becomes available.

UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: We have the official statements from NESN including quotes from Feld and NESN President and CEO Sean McGrail.

NESN Statement:
Joel Feld has decided to leave NESN after more than 5 years of service as the network’s executive vice president of programming and executive producer.

“Over the past five years Joel has made significant contributions to NESN’s growth and success,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “We are very grateful for the passion and leadership he brought to work every day and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Statement from Joel Feld:

“Leaving NESN is one of the most difficult career moves I’ve ever had to make. The talent and production team – behind and in front of the camera – are the best in the business. The standards and work ethic they bring to the office every day made my job a whole lot easier and more fun than I ever could have imagined when I came to Boston in 2005. I’m especially grateful to the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins organizations who provided me a professional opportunity that people dream of their entire lives. I will treasure the experience and good memories for the rest of my career and wish continued success for NESN and all the great people I’ve had the privilege to work beside.”

NESN says a search for Feld’s replacement will begin immediately. No word if anyone will fill Feld’s position in the interim.

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The Sports Media’s Guide To Twitter

Sports reporters might make up one of the heaviest users of Twitter among media types. It can be a tremendous resource for both the reporter and for their followers. Right now, there simply is no quicker way to pass along information to your target audience.

On the other hand, the immediate ability to relay your thoughts isn’t always such a good thing. It can be easy to alienate your audience, or turn them off when you decide to push your own opinion or agenda too far. Combine that with way too much personal information and boring mundane details of everyday life, and it’s a sure formula to get plenty of people hitting the “unfollow” button.

Readers don’t generally care about your thoughts on Jersey Shore, where you ate last night, how bad your hotel room was, or multiple retweets of news that Adam Schefter has broken ahead of you. (Note to Patriots reporters – if someone is following you, there’s a good chance they’re also following Schefter, so they got the newsflash he broke at the same moment you did.)

A BSMW reader passes along the following advice/observation: 

Before hitting the tweet button, they should think, Will the random reader have any interest in this or am I just a clueless self-centered moron by sharing this? Instead, there seems to be a general feel that the followers view them as H.L. Mencken-types who are captivating figures worthy of great interest beyond the actual news and insights they’re supposed to be providing.

A little harsh, but accurate, I think.

Here are the biggest things I think sports media types should do/not do to increase their own value, and avoid turning off followers.

Keep two Twitter accounts – one for your professional life, and one for you personal life.

I’m frankly surprised that more news organizations don’t require this. If you’re Tweeting as a member of the media, you’re representing your employer, and that doesn’t stop when you decide to riff about Snooki, or reminisce about your college days with your buddies, or give us updates on your nephew’s basketball game.

Newsflash Most people are following you because they want information and news from you. They really don’t care about you as a person, they care about you as an information source. Plain and simple.

Keeping two Twitter accounts seems like the ideal solution. You can have a professional one which is strictly your outlet for passing along information and opinions on the subject matter you cover, AND a personal one which is followed by your friends and family, where you can yak it up and tell them every detail about your life.

If two accounts seems like a hassle, there are plenty of Twitter apps that allow you to simultaneously manage multiple accounts. You can post to both right from the same interface. Even from your phone.

What’s even better is that you can make your personal  account private, only allow the people you want to see the Tweets see them, and say whatever the hell you want to.

Try to refrain from whining too much on Twitter.

Yesterday was a perfect example of this. In fact, it happens on the Patriots beat in particular all the time. Even though this is on-topic for the work you do, it doesn’t reflect well on you when you’re constantly complaining about your working conditions or lack of locker room access or that they’re serving pizza in the press box, again. Let’s keep it professsional, people. Think before you Tweet.

Limit the “in jokes” among your colleagues.

We all like to tweak the people we work with from time to time. Maybe you like to make references to past embarassments or experiences that are only known to people who were there. Even though this is “on the job,” it probably belongs in your personal Twitter feed. If your account is private and so is theirs, you can call Belichick every expletive in the book, and it will be perfectly fine. Your professional followers won’t have a clue, and will still think you’re a rational, objective journalist.

Boston Sports Media Must-Follows

These folks “get it.” They keep things professional for the most part, and are highly informative. One for each of the local professional teams:

@SherrodbCSN – One of my favorites on Twitter, A. Sherrod Blakely is informative, engaging and endlessly patient with those who want to know if Rasheed Wallace is coming back.

@PeteAbe – Peter Abraham is a prolific Red Sox Tweeter, both in game and during the day. He’s opinionated, but keeps things almost exclusively baseball.

@capeleaguer – Christopher Price has it right, I think. I follow him on both Twitter and Facebook, and he uses Twitter for Patriots/Professional stuff, and Facebook for personal. Good balance.

@HackswithHaggs – Joe Haggerty is a Twitter monster. Yeah, he occasionally goes off-topic, but his Bruins information is prolific.

Why Danny Ainge Made The Right Move

As 3:00 this afternoon approached, the biggest concern I had was that Danny Ainge might actually give up something worth a damn for Anthony Parker. Convinced that nothing was going to happen, I stepped away from my desk for a few moments only to return and look at my Twitter feed and see:

Genius me, I sensed immediately that something big had just gone down involving the Celtics. Something a little bigger than Anthony Parker. When things sorted out and the details came out – Kendrick Perkins had been traded along with Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic (and later, a first round pick) – all hell broke loose.

Celtics fans and bloggers immediately came down hard on the deal. Most questioning the sanity or intoxication level of Ainge (a Mormon, lest we forget). Many looked something like this:

That’s a polite one.

Then, as news came out that Semih Erden and Luke Harangody had been dumped to Cleveland for a second round pick, it began all over again.

Most fans were and still are out of their minds over these deals, saying that Ainge has given up on the season and thrown away the team’s hopes for a title. They’re pissed.

Let’s try and look at this a little more coolly, shall we? Let’s try to detach from the emotional attachment so many fans have for Perkins for a moment. Here’s why not only was this not a disastrous trade, but in fact it was a great move by Ainge.

Kendrick Perkins Isn’t Bill Russell.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of Perk and what he brings to the team. Ever since he showed up here as a doughy teenager way back in 2003, I’ve enjoyed watching him work and develop himself into a top-notch body-on-body low post defender. He has come so far you cannot  help but admire him. His teammates love him. His coaches love him. But…

There are number of circumstances which make moving him today the right move.

1) The Celtics weren’t going to be able to re-sign him at the end of the season. Perkins had reportedly recently turned down a contract extension offer from the Celtics. The deal was said to be close to or at the maximum that the Celtics could offer Perkins under the current rules. They were going to lose him at the end of the season, plain and simple. If they wanted any return on their investment, they needed to move him. Now. By sending him to Oklahoma City, they send him to a franchise in the Western conference that really wants and needs him, and will do all they can to re-sign him, hopefully keeping him away from the likes of the Miami Heat.

2) His game, while valuable, was extremely limited. There is a reason why Glen Davis has been closing out games with the starters this season, even after Perkins returned from his injury. Davis brings the physical presence on defense, despite his lack of height that Perkins does, while at the same time giving the Celtics someone who is not only not a liability on the offensive end, but someone who brings something to that end of the floor. Perkins is outstanding as that low post defender and is a good shot blocker, but that’s about it. He’s got hands of stone, his offensive game seems to have even regressed a bit, he can’t shoot foul shots, and he’s not a great rebounder. Are you going to hand out a huge contract to a guy you can’t even keep on the floor in the final minutes?

Both Perkins and Davis would be free agents. The Celtics couldn’t sign both. They probably hope to re-sign Davis, and this gives them a better chance to do that.

3) The Celtics did pretty well in the first half of this season without him. Perkins missed most of the first half of the season while recovering from the knee injury suffered in game six of the NBA Finals. The Celtics didn’t miss a beat. Granted they had Shaquille O’Neal for much of that time, and don’t have him at the moment, but they expect him to return, and also expect the “other” O’Neal to return, though if they get anything from him it will be considered a bonus.

So it became clear that if the team wanted to get something for Perkins, now was the time. This isn’t Bill Russell the Celtics just traded. They still have Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and Delonte West. In among all these moves they also hung onto first-round pick Avery Bradley, whom they like a lot.  Now let’s look at what they got in return for Perkins (and Nate Robinson.)

Forward Jeff Green. The 24-year old, 6-9 Georgetown product is a versatile, intelligent player, who has averaged 15 points a game during his career.  According to observers, he’s either a pretty good defender, or an awful one. He’s not the fastest player, but he’s very active. He gives you a guy who can play both forward positions, and depending on matchups, could play against someone like LeBron James in a Heat series, or Lamar Odom in a Lakers series. He is a restricted free agent after the season, but he is someone the Celtics can look to hold on to and become a cornerstone in the post-Big Three era. Ainge and Doc Rivers reportedly both loved his game coming out of school.

Center Nenad Krstic. As a center, Krstic is the anti-Perkins. He’s soft, not much of a defender or rebounder, but can shoot and score. At seven-feet, he’s at least a big, skilled body, he averaged 16 points a game back in 2007. He can foul – which might be needed against a Dwight Howard, or also stretch the floor a little bit with his shot.

A lottery protected first round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers. This could be another big building piece for the future, either with the actual pick (It is top-10 protected for the next few years) or as a trade piece.

Concerns people have.

There’s been a ton of angst out there among Celtics fans over losing Perkins. They worry that all of a sudden the Celtics can’t match up with Orlando, Miami or the Lakers. They say Perkins could lock down Dwight Howard single-handedly.

That hasn’t been the case all of the time, and especially of late. It’s become an absolute to some people that had Perkins not been injured in game six of the finals that the Celtics would’ve won the series. Without Perkins, Andrew Bynum still had only two points in both game six and seven, and wasn’t a huge factor. As for the Heat, they have no center. I’m not sure how not having Perkins has anything at all to do with how they play the Heat.

If the Celtics get Shaq back in time for the playoffs, and possibly Jermaine O’Neal, the Celtics will have more than enough big bodies to get through the postseason, where remember, there are no back-to-back games, and less travel.

The other moves.

In dumping Semih Erden and Luke Harangody, (and later, Marquis Daniels) the Celtics free up roster spots for potential buyout players. Semih had his moments this season, but you’ve got to think that any veteran that the Celtics can sign (Troy Murphy, for one) is going to be an improvement over those two. There have been a lot of possibilities floated out there as potential buyout candidates, and the Celtics are in a position to sign one as soon as they become available. (It’s worth noting that to make room for Erden and Harangody, the Cavs waived former Celtic Leon Powe, who I could love see back here.)

Ainge said this afternoon that the team would be aggressive in pursuing bought out players, looking for another wing player, a defender or front court help. There should be players available, and they’re bound to be better than Erden and Harangody. He also said they’re expecting Shaq back in a week.

Conclusion

So what Ainge has done today is give the Celtics a better chance of winning, both now and in the future. None of us like to think about it, but this team has a very short window. It’s this season, and perhaps next, and that’s probably it. By adding Green (the best player in the deal, who will contribute now) and the future first round pick from the Clippers, while also keeping Bradley, the Celtics have some assets and possibilities for the future.

Who Ordered The Jets “Sideline Wall?”

This goes a little outside the usual realm of this blog, but I’m not seeing much discussion of this in the media.

Check out this photo of the Jets sideline:

Note the blue line. As far as I know, that indicates the furthest spot that sideline personnel are allowed to stand.

I heard a WFAN  caller (the infamous incarcerated bob) claim that two Jets players said that the Jets were angry that the Dolphins gunner had been going out of bounds during kickoffs, and that this formation was done to stop that.

Should they have been there?

From the NFL Rulebook:

Rule 13, Article 5 Coaches and other non-participating  team personnel  (including uniformed players not in the game at the time) are prohibited from moving laterally along the sidelines any further than the points that are 18 yards from the middle of the bench area (i.e., 32-yard  lines  to  left and  right of bench areas when benches are placed on opposite sides of the field). Lateral movement within the bench area must be behind the solid six-foot white border

The rule book also contains a diagram:

So, Jets strength coach Sal Alosi and his cronies (practice squad players?) were standing the zone marked for “Coaches and substitution players only” and they were lined up as close to the edge – both to the playing field and edge of the bench area zone as humanly possible.

Definitely a planned lineup, no? Who had them do this?

I don’t think the plan was for Alosi to stick his knee out and knock the player down, but he was put into that position. By whom?

After the game, Rex Ryan professed to be unaware of the situation until the team’s director of media operations informed him.

So many questions here.

  • Did Rex Ryan order this formation?
  • Is it common to do this?
  • Do other teams do it?
  • Is it only a big deal because Alosi stupidly stuck his knee out?
  • Is this rule even enforced?

What Alosi did was a penalty:

Palpably Unfair Act (Non-Player)
Rule 13, Section 1, Article 8

Article 8 Non-player personnel of a club (e.g., management personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment men) are prohibited from making unnecessary physical contact with or directing abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures at opponents, game officials, or representatives of the League.

Penalty: Loss of 15 yards. (Unsportsmanlike conduct.) Enforcement is from:
a) succeeding spot if the ball is dead;
b) previous spot if the ball was in play; or
c) whatever spot the spot Referee, after consulting with the crew, deems equitable.

Should it be more?

Also see:

Legal Consequences of Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi tripping Miami Dolphins DB Nolan Carroll

Update:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/Jay_Glazer/status/14471176218742784″%5D

Adam Schefter adds the details that he is being fined $25,000 and that it is the Jets who took this action, not the league.

A Fans Guide To Surviving The Patriots Media

We’re now roughly ten practices into Patriots training camp, have yet to see a preseason game or scrimmage, and yet you might already be sick of hearing about Brady’s contract, Burgess’ retirement, the franchise’s decline or the failure of the team in recent drafts.

If it is this bad now, how will it be as the season goes along, especially if the team does struggle in bringing along so many young players, and if the Brady contract doesn’t get done before the start of the season?

Fortunately, because there is so much coverage of the team out there, you can engage in some “selective consumption” to pick and choose the quality coverage and avoid the material clearly aimed at simply generating outrage or trying to tweak fans into commenting or talking about it.

Here on BSMW, I try to bring you the best links each day, so that’s a good place to start, but what else can you do so that you’re not ready to put your fist through your computer, foot through the TV or throw the radio out the window?

Here’s a guide to what you should be watching, and what you should be avoiding, broken down into Print, Radio and Television.

Note: Before I begin, let us once again dismiss the notion that Patriots fans don’t want the media to be critical, to question things or to not suggest that this team isn’t what it was five or six years ago. We can handle those things, and even welcome them when warranted. What we DON’T want is made-up “news,” fake controversies or exaggerated, over-the-top rantings on the failures of the team.

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Print

Read

Who else would I start with? Reiss has some new competition, but he’s still the standard on the Patriots beat. Some still try to accuse him of being a “Patriots PR Agent” or “Toady”, but that sort of comment is way off-base. Reiss just reports and analyzes. He doesn’t get too negative or too positive. He plays it down the middle, while avoiding some of the obvious negative items which are more media creations rather than real news items. He is critical of the team when the situation calls for him to be (he’s been critical of the lack of additions to the OLB and pass rush area) and praises the team when it is called for.

“Rap” is a bit goofy, and his blog isn’t always filled with strictly Patriots items, but don’t be fooled by his style, the guy is a top-notch reporter and gets the job done. Entering his second season on the beat at the Herald, Rapoport also seems to steer clear of the fake news items in favor of actual reporting and analysis. He is definitely someone you should be checking out every day.

If you’re into the training camp reports, looking for information on what has happened each day, the PFW blog consistently has the most detailed reports. They’re worth checking out every day just for that reason.

Avoid

  • Boston.com

Chris Gasper, Tony Massarotti and Albert Breer all in one place? Yikes. A bunch of angry Chicken Little’s is what you end up with. “The Sky is Falling -Whose damn fault is it?” is what you’re going to get a whole lot of over there. Breer seems more concerned with telling us about the three super teams in the NFL – The Jets, Dolphins and Cowboys, and how they do things right while the Patriots flounder ineptly. While Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker are pretty good, the first three are big reasons to avoid Boston.com altogether.

  • Michael Felger

He still writes occasionally for CSNNE.com. His material is the same as what you hear on his radio program. It’s a damn shame, too, because Felger was at one time my favorite guy on the Boston sports media scene. Now he’s a one-trick pony, and has embraced and turned into the man he once battled on the airwaves and in print, Ron Borges. Who knew Borges was so powerful. It’s like he managed to turn Felger to the dark side of the force.

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Radio

Listen

  • Patriots Monday Interviews on WEEI.

If you’re a Patriots fan, you can’t listen to WEEI all day. You just can’t. So you’ve got be very selective. Dale & Holley are generally OK. The only time you should listen to Dennis & Callahan is the Tom Brady interview on Monday mornings, of if they have another guest – Boomer Esiason, Adam Schefter, etc. If you listen other times, you’re likley to get a Gerry Callahan whine/sneer and John Dennis 37-part question/soliloquy on a random topic. Listen to the Big Show only during the Bill Belichick interview on Monday afternoon.

  • Gresh and Zolak.

Yeah. They’re not that bad when they’re talking Patriots. Since camp opened, they’ve been broadcasting from Gillette, and have had a ton of player interviews as practice sessions end. If they start getting a little crazy, (today they were on the Brady contract) just flip over to Dale & Holley.

  • NFL Sunday on WEEI

I’ve always enjoyed this show, and I’m looking forward to its return, especially with Troy Brown joining Dale Arnold Christian Fauria and Christopher Price this season. As Arnold boasts, they’ll be the only show with two guys who have been in the huddle with Tom Brayd.

Turn Off

  • Michael Felger

See note above on Felger. His radio show is a daily juggling act of  speculation, conjecture, exaggeration and cherry-picked arguments.

  • Everything else

Really. As a Patriots fan, there isn’t too much out there.

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Television

Watch

  • Patriots All Access

Yes, it is produced by the team. It’s generally a puff piece, though Reiss and Paul Perillo in the final segment each week are willing to be critical of the team if warranted, and *gasp* actually pick against the team on occasion. Some of the segments (none involving Steve Burton) are pretty good. The highlights package from the previous game brings you sideline and locker room footage, Scott Zolak’s segments with Bill Belichick are good, especially on the telestrator, and the segment with Zolak and Fauria showing you something from that week’s opponent is educational as well.

Turn Off

  • Anything on CSN New England (Sorry, Skip)

The station allows Felger, Ron Borges and Gary Tanguay on the air at the same time! What else do you need to know? Most shows involving the Patriots devolve into a discussion of how they’re screwing Brady, how they’ve drafted poorly, and how Bill Belichick is the biggest megalomaniac on the planet. The New England Tailgate show with Glenn Ordway, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie would be better if Smerlas wasn’t allowed to speak other on anything other than on-field items. Occasionally they can teach you something, but in general this show isn’t worth the weekly viewing.

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Obviously this is just scratching the surface of the available media coverage on the Patriots out there. There are plenty of reporters and programs that fall in between the two extremes, and some who go to both.

 Tom E Curran is the biggest mystery to me. Personally, he’s a great guy. Friendly, funny, accessible, I like him alot. He’s generally also very fair when it comes to analyzing the team. Then at times, he drinks his Mr Hyde juice, and transforms into another person altogether. It might be aftereffects of having been involved with Mike Florio’s website, and if so, Tom, I’m truly sorry and you deserve sympathy for PDSD, but if not, I’m truly mystified. How can you take Robert Kraft’s comments in which he talks about Brady practically as a son, and turn them into some evil, passive-aggressive, threatening message? I don’t get it. He’s not the only one beating this drum, either, and it’s just the type of thing this list is meant to steer you away from.

Choose the media options up above, and you might just survive the season.

Before I forget: Brady Contract Strife Set To Ruin 2010 Season For Patriots

Okajima Doesn’t Talk, Infuriates Media

So this is what happens when you don’t talk to the almighty Red Sox media:

True professionalism on the part of Okajima: Refusing to answer questions after today’s game. Got to be accountable. #redsoxSun Jul 25 23:45:48 via UberTwitter

Okajima so far refusing to take questions. Unprofessional to say the least. #RedSox.Sun Jul 25 23:30:42 via Twitter for iPhone

As has been his cowardly habit for most of his 3 years in Boston when he doesn’t pitch well, Hideki Okajima refuses to answer questions.Sun Jul 25 23:26:44 via OpenBeak

From the Dept. of No Accountability: #RedSox stories tonight, tomorrow will not feature Okajima’s perspective. He’s not talking.Sun Jul 25 23:28:28 via txt

Beltre talking about Oki there, and no we didn’t talk to him because as usual, Oki declined to speak to reporters after multiple requests.Mon Jul 26 00:02:52 via web

Adrian Beltre isn’t sure what Hideki Okajima was thinking on Kotchman bunt. Unfortunately, Okajima not willing to explain himself. #RedSoxMon Jul 26 00:00:38 via txt

Okajima probably probably should’ve spoken after the game, but as McAdam caustically observes above, he hasn’t talked after a bad outing in three years. What makes them think he was going to talk yesterday?

Also, on the topic of professionalism, Okajima may have been unprofessional yesterday, but what do you call the above? These guys all sound like a bunch of whiny little girls.

The followups on these tweets are equally entertaining, as apparently I’m not the only one who thought this. The reporters defend their outcries with “his teammates want to know what happened too.” Well, they can talk to him on the plane if they want to.

They really couldn’t write their stories without Okajima saying “I just didn’t have it today?”

Your Sports Media/Blog “Finds”

As suggested by “Guest” this morning, I thought it was a good idea to open things up to you to get your input on where you’ve been going to get information for the office water cooler, or new outlets, places, websites, podcasts or blogs that you’ve discovered recently – or have been going to for some time – that you think should be mentioned.

Bob Ekstrom on the Thursday Week Log does a great job in linking to new and different blogs out there dealing with Boston sports, and there are plenty more still to be discovered.

Perhaps there are other outlets that you think need to be mentioned more often. Now’s your chance to speak up.

Post a comment below and let your fellow readers in on your sources.

Note: If you register with Intense Debate you can get a lot more out of the comments system and make sure your comments go through quickly, without the extra step of moderation. The signup is extremely quick and painless, and you can use your account at any site that uses Intense Debate. (WEEI.com, for example.)

One more link today, from Ken Fang: 33rd Annual Boston/New England Sports Emmy Award Winnners