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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CJR: The oys of October [Red Sox coverage]

Since last September, something strange has happened to the sports media in Boston, and in particular the shock jocks on The Sports Hub and WEEI: They’ve stopped rooting for their team to win. Losing has become more meaningful.

toxic little bandbox?

 

Toby Posted: September 18, 2012 at 01:13 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: crazy clown town, media, red sox

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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 18, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4239187)
I'm not a huge fan of the article but the general point is a valid one I think. One of the interesting aspects of the season has been the window to the way the club has been covered. I don't know if this is true in other cities but the lack of insightful articles about the club has been very frustrating. Other than Alex Speier there is not really anyone in the Boston media who enlightens me as a fan. Instead I get Tony Massarotti bemoaning the failure to sign Mark Teixeira on a regular basis and Peter Abraham worrying more about who does and does not speak to the media after a game.
   2. Toby Posted: September 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4239240)
A question not really addressed by the article is whether this applies only to the Red Sox or to all Boston sports teams. I haven't lived in New England in decades and follow the other Boston teams only superficially.

And Jose, I agree, Speier is good and Bradford has been good at times and Art Martone was good and that's about it, in recent memory.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4239257)
A question not really addressed by the article is whether this applies only to the Red Sox or to all Boston sports teams. I haven't lived in New England in decades and follow the other Boston teams only superficially.


The guys at Boston Sports Media Watch certainly seem convinced that this is true of the Patriot and Celtic coverage. I think there is a little bit of a persecution complex there (particularly re: the Pats) but from what I see the general enthusiasm for a negative story does seem consistent across the local teams. It certainly seems to drive sports radio in the limited doses I hear it.

I'll give you an example. After The Trade Beckett commented (or complained depending on your PoV) that the local media never wrote positive stories. In response Peter Abraham wrote;

"Starting in June of 2011, I asked Beckett if he would cooperate on a feature story. My pitch was that for all his time in Boston, nobody really knew the real him. The idea was to speak to him at length along with his family, his friends, former teammates, etc...

Beckett refused at that time. And again in September of 2011, November of 2011, and February of 2012. I tried through his agent and through the team, too. After four tries, there didn't seem any point in trying again.

It would have been a good story to tell, too. Beckett is funny when he wants to be and interested in things beyond baseball. There is something there beyond the Texas Tough Guy image he so carefully cultivates."


Now, I'm a Beckett fan so take this for what its worth but it seems to me that Abraham could have gone ahead with the story anyway. As the beat writer for the Globe he had the access he needed and could easily have written the story. Maybe not quite as in depth as he wanted to but a few anecdotes from teammates and maybe even a "Beckett is uncomfortable with praise and didn't want to be interviewed for this story" could have created a very positive story.

PeteAbe of course is not responsible for giving the Sox good PR but if he truly wanted to write a pro-Beckett story as he said he could have.
   4. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4239263)
Instead I get Tony Massarotti bemoaning the failure to sign Mark Teixeira on a regular basis


really? really?

What possible "reasoning" could he use for this? If they had signed him, they would not have signed Gonzalez. And he wouldn't have provided them the positive trade asset to get themselves out from Crawford/Beckett's contracts. Is he suggesting that Teix/Crawford/Beckett would be a better "core" than Loney/bags 'o money?
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4239275)
really? really?

What possible "reasoning" could he use for this? If they had signed him, they would not have signed Gonzalez. And he wouldn't have provided them the positive trade asset to get themselves out from Crawford/Beckett's contracts. Is he suggesting that Teix/Crawford/Beckett would be a better "core" than Loney/bags 'o money?


Erik, you can't imagine the way Mazz has harped on this. It is a regular feature of his radio show I'm told and about every other column he writes brings it up. It's an example of how the ownership is cheap, how management doesn't properly value players...hell, here you go... From August 27, 2012 and his review of The Trade with my emphasis;


So Gonzalez goes and the Red Sox still have not won a playoff game since they let Mark Teixeira walk out of that room in Texas. Prospects for Gonzo. Gonzo for prospects. Around and around it goes.


From reading Mazz you'd think Tex had been playing like Jimmie Foxx since the Yankees got him.
   6. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4239276)
Pat Jordan was planning to write a piece about Beckett a few years ago, which fell apart because Beckett and his people backed out of giving him access. It's a shame because I've always suspected there is a bit more to Beckett than what his image suggests.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4239283)
Wow, I knew Massarotti was famous for bemoaning not signing Teixeira, but I don't listen to his show so I assumed he had stopped a year or two ago.
   8. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4239313)
Is he suggesting that Teix/Crawford/Beckett would be a better "core" than Loney/bags 'o money?



yes, I'm quoting myself. Maybe this is a better question than I thought it was.
   9. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4239352)
From reading Mazz you'd think Tex had been playing like Jimmie Foxx since the Yankees got him.


Which is funny given how so many Yankees fans have soured on Teixeira.

It's a shame because I've always suspected there is a bit more to Beckett than what his image suggests.


Yeah? How so?
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4239356)

Yeah? How so?


Because there can't possibly be less?

   11. JJ1986 Posted: September 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4239360)
Isn't Beckett married to a professional scientist? That suggests he's not quite as dumb as he seems.
   12. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 18, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4239383)
And that she's married to a professional athlete implies that she's not as smart as you would think.

And so it goes...
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4239385)
Yeah? How so?


In my experience everyone, pro athlete or not, has more than just their image suggests. I have an idea what the people I work with think of me and I have an idea what the parents of the kids I coach think of me. If you talked to both groups I think you'd get the picture of two very different people.
   14. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4239430)
Well, Tex has been playing better than Jimmy Foxx. he's got a pulse, at least.
   15. Darren Posted: September 18, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4239555)
If the Sox had gotten Tex*, there's a whole series of events that we can't know. Even if we assume he ages just as he has, he probably gives the Sox a hell of a better 2009. Maybe the keep the Yankees from their WS win. After that, he puts up 3.2, 2.8, and 2.0 bWAR. Sad to say but he'd be one of the best FA Sox contracts of this era. Do they then go after Lackey? Maybe they're too tapped out and they instead coast for a year. Or maybe since they're locked up at 1B/3B, instead of going after Lackey+Beltre ($17M/year + $10M/year), they decide to just spend a little less and get Holliday. Then they don't ever have a place for Crawford. Granted, we'd still have to look at Tex's face, but I think I'd deal.

*Although I don't think it's crazy to pine for Tex, there's good reason to think they had no chance. The Yankees did not look like they'd be willingly outbid.
   16. Don Malcolm Posted: September 18, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4239558)
In my experience everyone, pro athlete or not, has more than just their image suggests. I have an idea what the people I work with think of me and I have an idea what the parents of the kids I coach think of me. If you talked to both groups I think you'd get the picture of two very different people.

Gonna hold you to those words, Jose. :-)

Beckett is an odd character: it has always seemed as though he should be able to reproduce his better seasons with more regularity. The Sox seem to have had a string of these types of confounding results from their signings. It's the cumulative effect that finally seems to have blown the place apart.

Re the squib for the story, how could such an epic collapse not have an impact on a franchise and a fan base that still retains so much historical baggage? You can't really say this about the Braves, who have an entirely different backstory to fall back on in the wake of their version of epic collapse. (Not to mention the fact that they have people focusing on pitching who actually seem to know what they're doing...)
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 18, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4239606)
Re the squib for the story, how could such an epic collapse not have an impact on a franchise and a fan base that still retains so much historical baggage?


Others may feel differently but I don't get the sense that the Sox history has been a big issue. It seems like the pre-2004 type "same ol' Sox, blowing it at the end" narrative hasn't been there. It's been more of an anger among the press and fan base rather than disappointment.
   18. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 18, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4239641)
The guys at Boston Sports Media Watch certainly seem convinced that this is true of the Patriot and Celtic coverage. I think there is a little bit of a persecution complex there (particularly re: the Pats) but from what I see the general enthusiasm for a negative story does seem consistent across the local teams. It certainly seems to drive sports radio in the limited doses I hear it.


It is true of the Patriots. In the last two weeks, there has been constant talk from columnists and radio hosts of whether Welker was being "punished" by Belichick. All based on one game, ignoring a bunch of factors, and making the absurd assumption that Belichick would hurt his team's chances to win in retaliation for a player not signing a long term contract. And the fans eat it up. Read Mike Reiss' mailbag or the twitter accounts of some fans. They ache for something to complain about.
   19. Bob Tufts Posted: September 18, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4239652)
I grew up with the voices of Curt Gowdy, Ken Coleman and Ned Martin - and the excellence of the Boston Globe sports page. No one could have improved on these media members.

I dread reading the sports pages when I spend time in Rockport every summer, but just like when you apporach an accident on the highway, I do look.

   20. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 18, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4239658)
It is true of the Patriots. In the last two weeks, there has been constant talk from columnists and radio hosts of whether Welker was being "punished" by Belichick. All based on one game, ignoring a bunch of factors, and making the absurd assumption that Belichick would hurt his team's chances to win in retaliation for a player not signing a long term contract. And the fans eat it up. Read Mike Reiss' mailbag or the twitter accounts of some fans. They ache for something to complain about.


That whole Welker punishment conspiracy thing is bizarre. It's as if everyone connected to that idea has only a passing familiarity with how the NFL works and has never experienced an entire football season before.

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