So long, old friend

By David Scott
Boston Sports Media (Watch)

This is why it is going to be hard closing down shop here at Shots. It was a comment from Dryheave this past Sunday:

What the hell are you writing?….a sequel to War and Peace?….The Great Wall of China was built in less time

Forgive me Sports Guy, but these are MY readers.

It was a fair question from a longtime commenter and THE Pete Shepard apologist.

I took a sabbatical and it’s turned into a residency. My first book has taken more of my time than I thought and it hasn’t stopped after the writing was completed as I naively believed it might. In fact, the post-writing responsibilities are more intense and probably more important than the actual creation. Marketing, revising and preparing for the September 8th release are daily focuses.

Those aren’t complaints by any means, those are realities of trying to maximize the oomph of book sales that all writers and publishers grapple with. It just doesn’t allow me to pontificate on Boston’s sports media in the depth I used to. Or to any degree at all.

So for all of that and a bit more, I’m posting at Scott’s Shots for the final time. Thanks, in all sincerity, for the opportunity to serve you.

I’m not sure many of you realize how long we’ve actually been together. This little blog started up when people were still asking, “What’s a blog?” And those people were just my technophobe family members. Now I’m going to feel like an outsider without my own blog.

The current BSM(W) archives only date back to March 2004, but if memory serves, we were with you by late 2002. We’re talking six and a half years of showing an odd, unhealthy obsession with the men, women and children who cover the local sports at all different levels. I aimed to be Jack Craig, Richard Sandomir and Rudy Martzke and I’ll never know why. It just seemed to fit and truth be told, I wasn’t half bad at it. Check the records – my philosophical thinking on the business was never that far off.

I’ll stop chest-puffing now and I promise to not get all-linky with you (browse the recent archives if you wish) and I’m not much for the extended goodbye.

If you paid attention, you know that Shots (through the magic of Bruce Allen Media) did contribute – in at least some small way – to this city’s evolution in Sports Web activities.

At first, I’ll admit that this space had more bluster than brains. I was a tabloid blogger for the most part – cheap shots and semi-informed opinions mixed with speculation and rumor. “The Track Gals” in a jockstrap, you might say. Oddly, it was very similar to a lot of the work put forth by the Deadspin-inspired bloggers of today. I was kissing Suzy Kolber and being with Leather long before that was even popular. (Way back to my SPORT magazine days, in fact)

Things changed however after about a year of tablogging and the thin-skinned and overlooked grunts who cover sports for Beantown’s nutty fandom began to discover a place to air their grievances privately and with protection. If they only knew, I used to think, that this space was nothing more than the continuation of college column at UMass which had been dormant for a decade. (I’m not ruling out a third incarnation at some point, so this is NOT a retirement announcement.) While my Campus Basement days were spent trying to woo unsuspecting co-eds to my lair through pithy columns and wild assessments, the 2002 version sought to tell every one how much they sucked at the jobs I knew I could do better than them and then try and woo unsuspecting ladies. (That part didn’t work in either decade, by the way.)

The Shots “community” really began to grow when I became less like Page Six and more like Romenesko (I wish). From there rhetoric eventually became reporting. Oh, sure I created messes for myself (Bonnie Bernstein) and explored messes made by others (Michael Gee, Ron Borges, John Tomase, Jessamy Tang). I stayed on top of the nearly-bloody Dennis and Callahan contract negotiations and had various levels of discourse with the aforementioned Bill Simmons, a recurring character who I began to find less and less appealing as he became more and more rambunctious with his lot in life as the World Wide Leader’s Teflon Don.

In other words, I did what the early blogists were supposed to do: I questioned why, commented on how and pushed the Fourth Estate’s Boston “toy department” to look in the mirror. I hate to think of how much of that early blogistry has been lost as we now traipse into all levels of un-charted territory with social media and technology walking hand-in-hand. There’s a lot of residue out there that needs be scraped away so the intelligent conversations can be heard. It’s a slow and tedious process for the most part.

But make no mistake, this thing is about to go in some wacky directions.

The message is no longer controlled by the guys with the ink and the paper – it can now be controlled by each individual athlete, coach, entertainer or random Tweeter. For better, for worse and undoubtedly forever. The battle to control the message will become more significant than the message itself and if you ask me, the whole model will be flipped on its head.

It is that brave new world into which I’m soon to be headed and the reason I have to give up this weekly therapy session I coyly passed off as a blog/column. But even if I wasn’t going to uproot the Shanty and pack most of its contents for a trip down south, it would be time to end this vice I’ve had for the last half-decade-plus. The thrill is gone a bit if you must know – my critical eye became no more than a glazed over one and you deserve more than that.

Bruce Allen has built this site and his “network” into a portal he should be very proud of. Where once I thought of him as the tech and links guy and site founder, I know think of him as the valuable media critic in a city where that title actually means something. [ASIDE: Outgoing note to Joe Sullivan, the hamstrung sports editor at the morale-less Globe: Give Chad Finn the media column permanently and let him really roll with it. There is room for more Dan Steinbergs at important websites and Finn could fiddle with that better than anyone on staff. BTW (that's by the way for the non-texters like yourself), thanks for all your correspondence over the years, Joe. Your job is tougher now then when I started this column and that's saying something because you were left on your own to try and figure out the Web without the proper resources or background. The print section (and boston.com/sports to a lesser extent) has been playing catch-up ever since. It's not beyond salvation, but it's not in very good shape either.]

I watched a changing landscape that revealed some truly sad examples of journalists (Borges, Ken Davis, Ken Powers) and sports-entertainers (Big Show meatheads/Butch Stearns/Steve Burton) in our midst. Fortunately it was also populated by some of the most genuine and down-to-earth people you’d ever want to know.

I have marveled at watching Mike Reiss go from the aw-shucks UMass baseball press box announcer to one of the most respected writers on the NFL beat. To watch his rise firsthand and to see the success he enjoys because of his sincerity is uplifting and reassures my faith in doing good unto others. Bob Ryan’s depth of knowledge astounds me at least twice a month. Gerry Callahan’s all-too-infrequent writing makes me wish sports talk radio never started spending stoopid money on actual talents. I know Lenny Megliola got a raw deal and Gee got (and provided) a lesson in how very careful you need to be in the Internet Age. If it were a perfect world, we’d have more of Charlie Pierce on sports and less of Bob Lobel anywhere.

My observations have led be to believe Michael Holley doesn’t get enough credit and that Glenn Ordway gets too much. I’ll never understand how 890 AM exists and I’ll likewise never know why NESN is run with such shortsightedness – but I’ll always applaud them for Heidi Watney and Tom Caron. I’d guess the Herald is in for a rude-awakening if their website doesn’t advance past the stone age and I’ll openly admit that WEEI.com has yet to become the game-changer I thought it would be. From my work here, I know live-blogging has not yet reached its potential and I wonder what the “next Twitter” will be.

More than anything though, I know that I poured my heart and probably way too much of my time into this endeavor and while it didn’t make me fabulously wealthy, it did prepare me well for the days to come. I may not have led the revolution, but I have no qualms proclaiming I was part of it. We all learned together, I’d like to think. Maybe we all grew a bit too. It’s been a remarkable experiment in new media on the micro level and one I don’t mind having been a part of.

In fact, I’ll really miss this outlet. I’ll miss the haters who scold and the likers who agree. I’ll probably even miss Dan Shaughnessy’s Mad-Libs (thankfully others will continue to keep tabs on Danny Boy).

I used to end the UMass incarnation of Scott’s Shots with what I now realize was my “catch-phrase” or “tag” and for old times sake I’d like to do the same now.

Keep your feet in bounds, and your eyes on the ball.

(Yeah, it never made sense back then either. See you on the shores soon.)

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Kentucky Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in September of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

NESN led off its Wednesday night broadcast with confirmation of Jerry Remy’s lung cancer, a rumor that had been circulating in Boston media circles for several weeks. Remy apparently had surgery “late last year” and is now experiencing setbacks in his recovery. Remy missed portions of spring training and the regular season and has been out of commission since the weekend series in Tampa.

. . . Remy had this brief comment at his Twitter page. Ken Fang is also all over the developing story.

More to come.

Here is Jerry Remy’s statement posted at Sawxheads.com on Wednesday night. The comments sections is filling rapidly. [Remy has a partnership with sawxheads' parent company, TruMedia Networks, and sits on its board of directors, according to this article. Membership has its privileges, we suppose.]

Personal Update from The RemDawg
May 6, 2009

In November I had a very small, low-grade cancerous area removed from my lung. I was fortunate that it was discovered at an early stage. Except for the surgery, I required no additional treatments. I left the hospital with a clean bill of health.

Unfortunately, following the surgery, I developed a bad infection further compounded by a case of pneumonia. It was the pneumonia and the infection that set me back. This all happened just as I was leaving for spring training.

In hindsight, it was a mistake to go and I am paying the price for it now. As NESN announced, I am taking a leave of absence so that I can fully recover.

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of concern you have given me recently. I honestly appreciate it. Secondly, I want to emphasize that I am in good shape now.

While physically I have no issues, the past few months have been emotionally draining, and exhausting for both my family and I. Along those lines, I would like to thank NESN and the Red Sox for allowing me to take as much time as I need. I am not certain exactly when I will return, but I will keep you posted. I want to make sure that when I do return I can be with the team all the way to the 2009 World Series!

I hope that by stating all this publicly it will emphasize the dangers of smoking to everyone, especially children. So, once again, I appreciate all your support and I would like to emphasize – if you don’t smoke, don’t start, and if you do smoke, try to quit! I don’t say that lightly because I know how difficult it can be.

Thanks,
Jerry

Contents of the NESN release that was posted at 6:59 p.m., just prior to the game’s start:

BOSTON, MA – NESN announced today that Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy will take a leave of absence for an indefinite period of time so that he can fully recover from the effects of cancer surgery.

“I want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,” said Remy, adding that he had hoped for a more immediate return but experienced a setback due to an infection and subsequent case of pneumonia.

Remy, a former smoker who underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year, said he hopes his experience will serve as a cautionary tale about the adverse health effects of smoking. “I hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children,” said Remy, who joined the network in 1988 and has teamed with play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo since 2001.

“Jerry is beloved, and on behalf of everyone in Red Sox Nation, I want him to know that he is in our thoughts. We will sorely miss him in the broadcast, but the most important thing is that he takes all the time he needs to recover,” said Sox chairman Tom Werner.

“As part of the NESN family, we want Jerry to concentrate on his health and getting well. When he’s ready to return, his place in the booth will be waiting for him,” said NESN president Sean McGrail. “In the meantime, we ask everyone to respect Jerry’s privacy so that he can focus fully on his recovery.”

Red Sox studio analyst and Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley will join Don Orsillo in the booth during the remainder of the team’s current home stand that ends May 8. Studio analyst Dave Roberts, the former Red Sox outfielder and post-season hero, will provide color commentary during the team’s subsequent West Coast road trip that ends May 17. No decision has been made yet about who will join Orsillo in the booth beyond that date.

SHOT’S INSTANT ANALYSIS, 7:20 p.m. Wednesday:

First and foremost, our best wishes to the Remdawg as he battles back.

The news of Remy’s illness may come as a public shock, but many in and around the Red Sox organization have been speculating quietly about the reason for his absences. Shots was able to confirm the illness earlier this week but decided to hold off on the story out of respect to Remy and his family.

There had even been some industry hub-bub that the recent Boston Globe Magazine Neil Swidey cover profile on Remy was softened in deference to the popular analysts and Sox Pop Culture icon. That would certainly explain why Swidey almost completely avoided any of the anti-Remy sentiment, referring only to one anonymous message board poster’s criticism of Remy’s salesmanship. More likely, Swidey was blinded by his “homeboy’s” rise to stardom and inadequately equipped to offer the complete and total view of Remy. (He did mention Remy had stopped smoking, but went no further along those lines. More likely than not, Swidey knew of Remy’s surgery and his battle but for whatever reason(s), glossed over the issue. Tough call on that one for the writer and the Mag’s editors, I’m guessing.)

With Remy gone from the booth, it will inevitably grow his legion of supporters – and not just out of sympathy for his medical battle. So far, in relief work, Dennis Eckersley has been simply brutal. Eck is clearly better suited at the desk as an analyst. Dave Roberts has shown hints of promise, the Tony Mazz audition wasn’t spectacular and Buck Martinez was likely a stopgap move. Regardless, the bottom line is NESN will be too thrifty to fill the big shoes of Remy with a competent replacement.

The focus for now, rightly so, will be on Remy and his health. But it will be interesting to see who – or how many – analysts Don Orsillo is forced to break in and carry.

• Shots is currently in Final edits on his forthcoming book, but the Remy news is too big to overlook. Our return date is still up in the air as several real-world projects are filling our days and nights. Thanks again for all your support and patience.

• Best question asked by a loyal reader during my absence: “Can Dan Shaughnessy write any column without a Red Sox reference? Just wondering.”

. . . Better yet, how many of his readers had any clue who Thurston Howell III was?

Not all the resulting news of the Globe’s stay of execution is good folks. We still have Shaughnessy’s lame act.

And where on earth is Basketball Bob during a double playoff run? Sure would be nice if Joe Sullivan communicated with his readers once in a while, wouldn’t it?

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Kentucky Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in September of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


Bob Ryan Clears Up Facial Mystery

By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

Stop the presses! Stop the rumors! And please, stop the silliness.

Basketball Bob Ryan has kindly offered up explanation for the Case of His Mysterious Face from a few weeks back.

Bob Ryan's Redness was due to preventive dermatology

You may all now resume the search for the real killers of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman or whatever it was you were doing.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Kentucky Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

I’d like to report that I’m back in full force at this space, but I’m still in the editing process and as I’ve said from the beginning of this amazing project, I can’t justify devoting time to my love (Scott’s Shots) over my real-life job.

However, as I’ve done a few times throughout the course of this process, I find it necessary to check in on a few recent developments in Boston Sports Media.

Thank you for your continued support and hopefully by the time the Nantasket Beach concession stands open for business, we’ll be back dissecting the local and national media scene on a regular basis.

The Re-Launch of WEEI.com

That sound you heard last Monday morning was BostonHerald.com’s sports offering plunging to the depths of irrelevance. That was the day Boston became a two horse town as far as mainstream media sports sites go. With its total overhaul and Entercom’s apparent commitment to make WEEI.com “. . .the new sports page in town,” as the site’s VP/GM Tim Murphy said, the site is now fully ready to compete with the region’s sports-on-the-web leader, Boston.com.

“We didn’t want the site to be just ‘radio good,’” said Murphy in an extensive March 13 pre-launch interview and “walk-through’ of the new site with Shots. “We’re redefining what a sports page is. I like our chances of being the No. 1 (destination for Boston sports fans) in time.”

Boasting aside, what the new WEEI.com does offer is clean navigation, a comprehensive mix of audio and text and, in time we’re told, a healthy dose of video. It is vibrant, well laid out and deep.

Some of the initial slow loading and optimization issues faced last week are beginning to disappear and a spokesman for the site said, “optimizing load times is a normal 1-2 weeks process for a brand new site.”

For the most part, the beta testing of 100 guinea pigs and the months of design which Murphy oversaw seem to have struck gold. This is what happens when good planning, clear vision and proper investments meet creative and forward-thinking people.

The new site is already using its potential to tout upcoming radio highlights – witness the Bill Simmons on D&C Monday morning plug that was posted in the “This Just In” box on Sunday night. The ability to use the site to promote the radio station and vice versa will truly be the biggest asset WEEI.com will have over its competition. Complete and total saturation with the ability to completely dictate the region’s sports discussion is both a powerful position and a scary concept (mostly on the radio side with the all-too-might Big Show’s mob of meatheads).

With a staff and contributors that still lags behind Boston.com (but surpasses, in most every way the Herald), WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and his lieutenants have shown glimpses of brilliance in both reporting and analyzing – even before the re-launch.

Experiments that haven’t worked have been abandoned – see: Leitch, Will – and personalities who drive traffic like Mike Felger and Curt Schilling are easy to find and promoted prominently through the lead story picture box. (That box is still having loading issues which lead to blurry, unviewable pictures but those kinks will be worked out with further optimization.)

The aforementioned “TJI” box is placed in a strange position for our tastes, but Murphy explained the concept of the placement thusly, “(The) ‘This Just In’ widget was intentionally designed to overlap the lead story block. It never overlaps the core of the image. Subjective area to assess, but we think it offers a compelling visual while also bring TJI, a differentiating content feature, into a premium position on the homepage.”

Fair enough and a great example of how everything was very well thought out and conceived. Almost no stones seemed to have been left unturned.

Advertisers, according to Murphy, have been receptive to the new look. The site’s serious attempt to challenge Boston.com and the Verizon-sponsored re-launch along with a growing preferred partners list would indicate the ad community’s willingness to dabble with the packaging of radio and web sides to maximize exposure and penetration.

Some early signs that should worry Murphy and Bradford is the slacking already being displayed by some shows’ individual pages in terms of updating audio and some not-yet-ready-for-prime time and inconsistent blogging.

They must also either make a committed effort to utilize the LeeINKS space or abandon the idea all together. That is just the kind of offering that Murphy talked about with us when he said every morning while he was growing up, he’d eat his cereal and read the Globe sports page. A quick A.M. romp around the webosphere for Boston-centric stories and oddities could be hugely popular – and cereal appointment reading But not if it’s ignored for days at a time and not clearly defined.

That’s probably the biggest critique we can offer at this point: when building a new site and creating site loyalty, the consistency and quality of the content is HUGE. (And will lead to the high Time Spent Viewing numbers Murphy wants to deliver – “We want this site to be a much ‘stickier’ experience and show advertisers much more engagement through users’ commenting and other (strategies) to keep them at WEEI.com,” he said.

Murphy would be wise to remember, there’s just too many local and national offerings out there to steal readers and page views and once users are let down a couple of times, they may never return. You have one chance to make a first impression.

Still, if the site maximizes its potential and utilizes all its new bells and whistles to the fullest, it will indeed be the revolutionary creation Murphy is envisioning.

What Exactly is CBS College Sports Trying to Be?

While serving as the cable home for the Tournament and “complementing CBS Sports’ exclusive live game broadcasts with over 75 hours of coverage,” the CBS College Sports Network did more confounding during the Tournament’s first two rounds than complementing.

What the network promised would be “exclusive in-progress game highlights, live look-ins and press conferences from every team at every site from the first-round through the Championship Game,” was instead, on Thursday through Sunday’s offering a complete head-scratcher.

With such a unique opportunity to augment the yeoman’s effort consistently put forth by its Sugar Daddy, CBS, the cable outlet put forth a product that felt and looked low budget, haphazard and discombobulated.

Let us count the ways that CBSCS disappointed:

1. It started from jump street when Thursday introductions of three in-studio, guest coach analysts showed IUPUI coach Ron Hunter on-screen as the frazzled host was clumsily giving the credentials of Marist coach Chuck Martin. It only got worse from there, although in fairness Hunter, Martin and Hofstra’s Tom Pecora did their best under some clearly difficult circumstances. Stage tests and rehearsals were apparently not employed by the network formerly known as CSTV (for whom Shots did freeelance work with over the past two seasons).

(Hunter actually shone throughout the weekend and Martin’s debut was also quite promising. Pecora went a little too hard for laughs, but his bluntness was appreciated. It took us two days to figure out who Tim Miles was in his underwhelming appearance.)

2. The in-game shows were billed as being hosted by Adam Zucker and Tracy Wolfson – both of whom were passable – but a constant rotation of other throw-ins from the shallow CBSCS stable only confused matters. Analysts were here one game, gone the next and if there was any pre-scheduling of on-air time, it wasn’t apparent. Almost every analyst spent more time looking for the camera with the red light on than analyzing and the one who did understand camera position – Steve Lappas – has never taken to the medium despite the network’s repeated efforts to make him TV-friendly. That’s a project that needs to be abandoned.

When Lappas got paired with current Drexel coach Bruiser Flint on Saturday night’s desk, the awkwardness of the duo never dissipated. (Flint, who is phenomenal on TV, was replaced as the UMass coach by Lappas, in a move that signaled a decided downturn in Minutemen basketball that has take years to recover from.) As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports pointed out, “it was sort of akin to having Mike Davis and Bob Knight discuss the brackets together.”

3. The self-touted “Live Look-Ins” from CBSCS were a complete disaster with most coming at inopportune times or for too short a period. Now that all games are available FREE on the Internet, it would make sense to give viewers extended “looksies” into riveting games on CBSCS. We know CBS refuses to use the once-popular split screens, but does that mean CBSCS can’t? There’s definitely a sponsor who would buy up that space, wouldn’t you think?

Quite simply, it just seems that CBS doesn’t know what to do with CBSCS, so they’re throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what – if anything – sticks. (Viewer call-ins DID NOT stick and must be discontinued immediately. Callers ranged from school kids to morons who wanted to know how far their team could go in the “playoffs.” Ugh.)

The coup de grace came on Sunday night when three down-to-the-wire contests were being decided but the wizards at CBSCS found it more necessary to show not one but TWO, re-packaged features on Tyreke Evans of Memphis and Blake Griffin of Oklahoma. To call it mind-boggling is being kind.

When they finally did go to live look-ins for the fantastic finishes, the CBSCS feed was almost a minute ahead of the national feed on CBS. What a disaster and what an embarrassment to the mothership at Black Rock.

[On a positive note, the rising star Carter Blackburn proved to be the most capable studio host all weekend and his second year of play-by-play work for both CBSCS and CBS (where he gave first-round breathers to aging Dick Enberg) should have him high on every major, respectable broadcasters list for new and emerging talent.]

The potential for CBSCS in future Tournaments – and maybe even this year as they continue through the Final Four – is limitless. If used properly, with pre-planning and clear guidelines, it can truly enhance the viewers’ experience of what is already a phenomenal event. Left in its current state, however, the network’s supplemental coverage does nothing but frustrate viewers and diminish the overall product shown to the nation.

. . . Over at CBS, Greg Anthony gets the most-improved award for his in-studio work. Partner Seth Davis got the most-annoying award when he referred to Greg Gumbel as “Gregory.” And the netowrk had its share of audio problems, most glaringly with Jim Spanarkel who sometimes couldn’t be heard at all.

Dan Shaughnessy, Cartographer

The site dedicated to such things does a pretty good job of critiquing Danny Boy for this laugher of an offering from Friday.

But there’s probably some good to be done from piling on in this instance. Emailers to Shots were equally appalled by the Curt’s BF’s assertion that, “New England’s history in the NCAA basketball tourney is ancient and rare.”

Shaughnessy bases the column on a completely fraudulent premise based in poor geography and worse institutional memory. Does anyone edit the man? And couldn’t he have had the decency to, I don’t know, write something that justified the expense of sending him on the road? Wouldn’t it have been nice to see a senior-year-unsung-hero Tyrese Rice column from Dan? Or maybe a Rakim Sanders of Pawtucket, RI piece? Or is Rhody too small of a state to be considered New England. Or how about something on the UVM transfer (oh look, another New England basketball school) Joe Trapani? Oh, wait, he’s from Connecticut and since that’s not part of New England, well, he probably doesn’t merit an introduction to the once-a-year BC followers who pop up annually.

I really hope Shaughnessy brings a t-shirt back from Minnesota for his chief enabler, sports editor, Joe Sullivan. You know the one. It reads, “My editor sent me to Minnesota and all I produced were two lousy columns that I put next to no effort into.”

Is there not anyone who talks with Shaughnessy about what he might be writing on? Don’t co-workers like Bob Ryan or Tony Massarotti get embarrassed by the drivel their cohort hands in while they actually still get after it? Things are tough all over and morale at newspapers is below sea level – but it can only be compounded for Globies who have to watch as Shaughnessy skates by on three out of every four offerings.

None of the Globe’s college hoops coverage bodes well for this weekend’s East Regional. Let’s hope Adam Kilgore comes up North from FLA and that Ryan doesn’t get sent to Memphis, Indy or Phoenix.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

After less than six months of publication, the Boston Globe on Friday informed its “OT” magazine staff that the weekly publication will cease immediately.

The Globe confirmed the closure with this posted at 8:07 p.m. as Shots was working the story. Four part-time editors and designers were let go according to Johnny Diaz’s story. Part-timer Mark Cofman, who edited the magazine, is among those relieved of duties. The four part-timers cited completely ignores the contributors who were also affected including: Maureen Mullen (Red Sox), Tom Wilcox (Patriots), Scott Souza (Celtics) and Danny Picard (Bruins).

Two Globe sources confirmed the decision to Scott’s Shots on Friday evening before the Globe posted its piece, although it is still not known whether any form of title will continue on-line . The Diaz story only says that Chad Finn and Tony Massarotti will continue their work with Boston.com and the paper.

The story neglects to address what the sell-through on the thin, 13,500-copy run each week was, only claiming to have been available at 400 outlets.

Voice and email messages left for Globe spokesman Bob Powers in the 7:30 p.m. hour – before the Globe posted its excuse article – were not returned as of posting time. An email to Sports Editor Joe Sullivan was also not returned. Both are quoted in the Diaz press release story.

Emails to a few “OT” staffers were not immediately returned either.

It would appear the oversized, newsprint tab fell short of both sports editor Joe Sullivan’s and VP of strategic planning Jay Fogarty’s high hopes from when the publication’s birth was announced in late September of last year.

Fogarty may have sealed the magazine’s fate when he boasted of the new publication: “”It reads more like a Sports Illustrated than a daily newspaper.”

As Shots pointed out at the time:

There shouldn’t be a single new media venture that tries to emulate SI because SI doesn’t even know what it is right now. Fogarty needed to emphasis the additional avenue that OT gives advertisers to get into people’s homes – and stay there for a week. The Globe’s ability to package its print and digital offerings is what will ultimately decide whether “OT” has a sudden death or a long life.

That packaging evidently never was produced.

Ironically, the magazine had just received its best injection of buzz with Chad Finn’s widely discussed piece on WEEI. Insiders, however, say the magazine was too much of a financial drain and indicated newsstand sales were weak at best. Clearly the Bob Lobel Addition” wasn’t a boon.

• Once again, the Globe and it sports department decision-makers are guilty of not reading tea leaves properly and not giving a new concept a true chance at success. The recently reincarnated “Globe 10.0″ got virtually no support during its NESN run from a marketing standpoint and OT was treated to in-house ads and not much noticeable advertising beyond that. The web-based “Globe 10.0″ will almost assuredly suffer the same fate without a title sponsor and/or 15-second ad spots. (It hasn’t helped any that Bob Ryan has been on what Tony Massarotti termed in Friday’s webisode “sabbatical.” The draw of the show is Ryan and to have him miss substantial parts of the first two weeks of the offering is poor planning. Lack of explanation only compounds the problem.)

• The print run was shockingly small and it says a lot about how big a failure the attempt was. Not being able to cover costs on that likely is a sign that sell-through was abosllutley abysmal and that advertising revenue was close to nil. The venture didn’t even get six months to prove itself.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

BREAKING NEWS, DEVELOPING

UPDATE, 3/6/09 -

This release circulated on Thursday. Other follow-ups are here It’s puzzling to me that the story didn’t get more play locally – my inbox says there’s alot of irate folks looking for answers and $$$$:

CSB School of Broadcasting To Cease Operations

QUINCY, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CSB School of Broadcasting announced late yesterday that it would be closing all 26 of its campuses immediately as it plans to cease operations and to file for bankruptcy protection. While CSB’s operations have been dramatically impacted by recent changes in the private student loan market, the decisions taken yesterday are a result of recent actions taken by its lender, National City / PNC Bank, including the seizing of bank accounts held by CSB. CSB, which had been working to come up with alternatives to continue to fund the business, was surprised by the recent actions of its lender. Without access to cash, CSB has been forced to shut down operations. CSB will now promptly seek protection under applicable insolvency laws.

David Banner, President of CSB, commented that “I am extremely disappointed that, after 44 years of operations, CSB will not be able to fulfill its mission of providing a quality education to students interested in working in the broadcast industry. I am also disappointed that the actions of our lender precipitated this sudden disruption in the lives and careers of our students and employees.”

Inquiries regarding CSB and the insolvency proceeding may be directed to David Banner at CSBinformation@gmail.com or (646) 248-2027.

Nationwide, students attending the nation’s oldest and largest broadcast-training school were greeted on Wednesday with flyers posted on locked doors indicating the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB) “has shut down all operations until further notice.”

The letter apparently was posted at all CSB’s CSB’s 26 locations, including the Needham “campus” locally, the Farmington operation in Connecticut and the Charlotte, NC post of CSB.

The message printed on CSB letterhead, according to a person who had seen the announcement (and now, the WTNH photo) read:

“We regret to inform you that CSB has shut down all operations until further notice. If you are a CSB student someone at Corporate will be in contact with you in the coming days.”

CSB Closed (WTNH Photo)

Founded in 1964 by Boston-local Dick Robinson, CSB was sold in July of 2006 to “DLJ Growth Capital Partners, an affiliate of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (DLJMB), a private equity investment affiliate of Credit Suisse,” according to a July 10, 2006 Business Wire story. “(which) is partnering with Brian Stone and Scott Knight, founders and General Partners of KNIGHTSTONE Media (KSM)”

Messages left at Knightstone late Wednesday night were not immediately returned to Shots, nor was one for the Boston campus Director, Steve Williams. A voice mail was also left for one of the listed instructors at the Needham outlet, but was not immediately returned.

Reached after 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, Dick Robinson’s son, Jim, who now works with his dad at the Robinson Media Group (located in the Robinson Media Center that houses the Farmington CSB unit) said it’s a sad day for him, his dad and their family.

“If this is the ending, it’s sad to see it end this way,” said Jim. “I feel for the students, the instructors, everyone. The only thing I had heard was that there was going to be some downsizing. It’s just shocking right now, for everybody.”

MORE TO COME. UP TO HERE POSTED AT 11:47 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A fledgling blogger and CSB student, Jason Hancock, in Charlotte, NC posted this irate summary is at his website on Wednesday:

“The school that I was attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting got they’re (sic) loan pulled by a bank today and were forced to close they’re (sic) doors, and I’m really pissed off about it right now.”

(Jason is clearly a recipient of the Pete Sheppard (Class of 1987) CSB scholarship for spelling and grammar.)

The school has produced a large quantity of broadcasters and technicians nationwide and under Robinson’s reign, the school was at a manageable 13 campuses when it was sold. That number has ballooned to 26 since in less than three years since the sale by Robinson.

“We were approached a few times over the years,” said Jim Robinson. “But we wanted someone who could take it to the next level and we thought this group was capable of that.”

Evidently, the current economic climate and perhaps, over-expansion, has spelled doom – at least for now – for CSB.

• Not to be rude, but where on Earth will sports talk radio now find its moronic, talentless flash boys?

• Look for State Attorneys General everywhere to latch onto this one quickly.

• Another local connection with YouCastr and CSB.

Tough break for the Ivy Leaguers. What do you bet they blame Bernie Madoff?

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports media Watch

Shots is not quite ready to re-start regular Friday posts, but the confluence of buzz surrounding Chad Finn, Dan Shaughnessy, Bill Simmons and Dick Albert offered too many fish in too small a barrel for my blogging soul.

As for my real-life project, we are happy to report a 238-page manuscript was birthed last week and we have officially entered the editing process. Appreciate everyone’s continued interest and support and it’s a good bet we’ll be back at this thing soon after March Madness with a “State of the Shots” address you won’t want to miss. (Complete with Clapping Nancy Pelosi doll.)

In the meantime. . .

• Let’s not look lightly upon Chad Finn’s widely viewed takedown of the Guest Street Goons.

When a single post generates more comments (and possibly more hits) that Boston.com’s uninspiring “OT” blog has probably had in its existence, it’s worthy of our collective attention. (The festering soap opera will be given even more plot lines on Friday when Finn takes part in a Noon chat at Boston.com.)

Beyond the agreement (from the sane) and outrage (from the LCDs) Finn sparked, his unrestrained attack on Entercom’s Sports Leader (radio side) could also signal the proverbial gauntlet having been thrown by the Globe. If there’s going to be a sports media war in this town, it certainly isn’t going to include the Boston Herald or any other of our local pretender sites.

It will be waged by the fledgling WEEI.com and its radio sibling against Boston.com. They are the only two with the brains, brawn and Benjamins to dig trenches and support troops.

While insiders on Morrissey Boulevard indicate the Finn column wasn’t part of any calculated strike against Entercom, the overnight metrics it has surely generated will certainly (hopefully) have heads spinning throughout the newly-formed New Revenue Team . If they can’t recognize a potential revenue-generating feud against 50,000 watts of ignorance, the NRT will be DOA.

The time is right for both sides to start rattling some cages and separating themselves from the have-nots. Why not stoke the flames between long-time rivals when the consumer is hungriest for distractions from the bleakness of reality?

WEEI.com has a well-rounded (if Leitch-less) roster of contributors and once they finally get around to introducing the new design, WEEI.com will be in a position to consistently compete player-for-player with the Globe. (Although Bob Ryan remains a trump card for the Old, Graying Lady.)

Likewise, the Globe has seen the power of the Internet on the sports side (see: Reiss, Finn, et al) and a good, old-fashioned media war against the loudest shouters of ‘em all (WEEI’s radio rabble-rousers) has potential to be, as one of our favorite PR guys likes to say, “a game-changer.”

The reaction to Finn’s missive is no aberration – this city has strong feelings about the lone, true sports talk radio station in the region and the build momentum off that passion would behoove both media conglomerates.

It’s a shame really, because the role of a fight-picker should really be played by the tabloid in town, but the Herald missed the Internet boat and have been swimming out to it – against the raging tide – ever since. From its sporadic early blogging days to the lack of the simplest of website innovation (hello, original video??), the Herald is positioned to be nothing more than the little paper that could – or perhaps can’t. God Bless the Herald for staying scrappy but to think they can ever be anything more than a periphery player with the skeletal staff they employ is pure lunacy.

(I’m still having trouble believing this, but it is confirmed by two separate parties with intimate knowledge that the Herald has been interviewing candidates for a slot containing the Pats’ beat. How they can get away with bringing in new blood – even with unfilled positions – is a bit baffling. Even more perplexing? The number of candidates willing to wend their career through Wingo Way. A risk at any paper, for sure.)

As for a WEEI/Globe escalation of activity, I say, “Bring it on.” Something has to shake up the status quo in this town and if Chad Finn’s WEEI Manifesto is it, then let ‘er rip.

(We feel it necessary to vividly separate the radio side of WEEI from the Web side and to emphasize that distinction in no uncertain terms. Tim Murphy and Rob Bradford have taken a reasoned approach to grabbing market share with WEEI.com. The real culprits we blame for Idiot radio are the majority of Big Show non-talent.)

That said, the battle we be joined on the websites and we’re anxious to see how far both sides will be willing to go.

• You’ve got to admire the commitment and unyielding efforts by the DSW gang in its dogged pursuit of pointing out the lowlights of the current portion of Dan Shaughnessy’s once-esteemed writing career. I do, however, wonder why they get to have all the fun? Seems selfish to me, so I figured I add to DSW’s long-list of self-plagiarism from the increasingly nasty, Shaughnasty:

Thursday’s offering from Curt Schilling’s BFF, reminded us of a column we’d read before. Maybe even twice before. Sure enough, his Thursday column is another in the long line of what we’ll call, “Dan Discover Collegians In Awe and Taking Pictures” pieces. Witness, the annual Shaughnessy-penned columns we are treated to in late February/early March:

March 2, 2007
Hed: Red Sox Feast on Collegians

Dan’s Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
Yes. “Beckett faced seven pasty-white Northeastern University batters. . .”

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
No. But did get to reference the “indoor” workouts of the college guys, something he uses again in ’08′s masterpiece.

3. Quote from a player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers
Yes. “It’s an unbelievable experience,” said senior captain Dan Milano. . .

February 29, 2008
Hed: Mismatch made in heaven; Northeastern Gets a Whiff, and is Simply Awestruck

Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
Yes. “The pasty Eagles and Huskies. . .”

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
Yes, both. “. . . there will be photos. And autographs. . . ”

3. Quote from player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers
Yes. “This is living the dream,” added (senior Ted) Ratliff. . . “These are guys we idolize.”

February 26, 2009 (linked above)
Hed: Lasting Images for BC

Dan’s Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
No. And to his credit, Dan did get rolling with a bit of a new angle focusing on an oft-injured sophomore – but he abandoned the theme immediately after the jump and got back into his comfort zone from the Shaughnessy Mad-Libs collection.

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
Yes. In large doses. “. . . for the rest of his life (Dane Clemens) can tell people he got David Ortiz out.. .” and later, “. . . a lot of photo-ops around the cage.”

3. Quote from a player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers . . .
Yes. “This is awesome,” said Eagles first baseman/closer Mike Belfiore.
(Sadly, Belfiore is listed as a junior. Maybe next year when the lefty reliever/first baseman is a senior and Dan recyles like Cambridge, he can be quoted again!)

. . . Heck, everyone who writes long enough starts to repeat themselves. We acknowledge that. But even beyond repetition and an apparent lack of “institutional memory,” the bigger question is how – for three straight years – can Dan not dig up a better column angle than “pasty boys play against idols?”

Is it really too much to have a guy search under the tarp for something different? Is it?

And if it is, why the heck does he need to be there in the first place? Just run a “Best of. . . ” and save the crucial budget dollars.

. . .On top of his lack of creativity, Shaughnessy (and Joe Sullivan) are guilty of not including a 17-percenter-like disclaimer that Dan’s son Sam is listed as a sophomore for the BC club. If there’s not an ethical reason for such a tag-line to the yearly column, there is certainly a moral obligation. It’s not exactly going to take up the space of a brilliant new Shaughnessy witticism. Here it is for use with next year’s edition: “Editor’s Note: The columnist, Dan Shaughnessy, has a son, Sam, who currently plays for the Eagles baseball team.”

. . . Still waiting for word of further departures from Sully’s Staff, but for now it’s worth noticing the lack of Jim McCabe (now at Golfweek in another of the long line of unexplained or un-mentioned goodbyes not worthy of an editor’s note). With the biggest sports story of the week – Tiger Woods’s return – the Globe used an un-datelined recap from mystery staffer Michael Whitmer on Thursday and the website was using AP as of 3:00 a.m. Friday morning on Tiger’s flameout.

• I’m not saying a thing about him being a prima Donna and I’m even going to give heavy praise for both the Dooze Farewell and his latest for the Mag.

But I will mention how confused I am by the new “Follow Your Sports” ad campaign for the “new” ESPN.com. The former Boston Sports Guy is not a sport I care to follow, thank you. Although with all his subtle jabs and double meanings, it is sort of like a scavenger hunt and I’m sure that’s got a pro league somewhere. (Oddly silent stretch from the FBSG’s own special site for spit-balling the teacher.)

• Why was I sadder to see Dick Albert go than Bob Lobel? And how much longer before the sweeping of the local TV oldies is fully complete? Preemptive bye-byes to Mike Lynch, Mike Dowling, Jack Williams and probably a few of the Boomer Broadcasters. Just don’t take our Maria, you hear me?

• Finally! Mazel Tov Tom, Gi and the entire blended fam.

This will undoubtedly be the thing the Big bOzos cling to: “. . .Her three dogs also wore matching Dolce & Gabbana floral lace collars. . . ”

You know what, if my bride-to-be looks like Gi and I’m as in love with her as Tommy appears to be, I’d wear the damn collar myself. Not afraid to admit it either.

• I really hope Bobby Knight realizes how good he’s going to be if he sticks with TV and how insane it would be to take another head job. Once they get him away from brutalBrent Musburger and with Dan Shulman (they’ll be together for Cal-UCLA on Saturday night), he has the potential to be Al Maguire-like with a couple more ounces of self-deprecation and another year of seasoning.

. . . Hubert Davis, on the other hand? He’s got to rig of giggles before he can take the next step.

• Too bad no one in Boston has the stones to have written this one. I just want to know how Danny got Doc to accept this reclamation project. Phil Jackson wouldn’t have been force-fed the volatile guard. Neither would Gregg Popovich.

I’m just sayin.

• “Globe 10.0″ on Boton.com wasn’t quite ready for its ‘webut,’ but they’ll get it worked out. At some point, a sponsor will want to attach itself to the re-incarnation of what NESN quit on. It’ll just take some time.

. . . Hey, and what happened to NESN’s “The Instigators’” technilogically-enhanced set and the Podiums of Instigation? Now Mouthy, Bingo and Brick are on the Jordan’s furniture love seats and each combatant leans forward on the edge of their seat to roughhouse about the hockey topics. Sit back, fellas. Relax a bit.

• I admit it. I got a chuckle out of the debut of the “Heidi Watney and Snackfood Sophia Fight the Gator” webisode. But the unfortunate wording at the NESN site (and in Watney’s blog) makes an unnecessary and careless “stalker” reference. This is what happens when websites have little or no editing or oversight, but still behave like the operations that do. It happens everywhere a media entity (usually TV) tries to get all bloggy and edgy by having “talent,” interns and wannabes create content.

The general rule for mainstream (read: multi-million dollar subsidiaries) sites has to be: if it’s borderline offensive, use something else. It’d be nice if the blogosphere would adhere to such guidelines, but we know that horse has left the barn.

• This was awful news for UVM athletics and a very valued member of the Shots Loyalists. Fortunately, he too will “bounce back.”

• Great to share some time with you. Now back into the Editing Cones of Silence.

Enjoy the Madness.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

Shots is heading back into the Seaside Shanty’s Sabbatical Seclusion room, but before we do we wanted to pass along further explanation of NESN’s end of game disaster with Boston College’s huge upset of previously-No. 1 and undefeated North Carolina on Sunday night.

FOX SportsNet’s Director of Corporate Communications, Chris Bellitti, had been looking into the matter at the request of Shots since Monday afternoon and on Tuesday just before 4 p.m. explained to us that, “NESN was taking the wrong feed for the game and we didn’t catch the error,” said Bellitti. “It was a problem on both ends.”

NESN has since removed from its website its apology to viewers that seemed to place the blame on FSN. In part, the explanation from NESN read, “NESN experienced a transmission problem at the end of last night’s Boston College basketball game that originated with the feed we received from Fox Sports Net. . .”

Said Bellitti, “I’m comfortable saying, for the sake of putting this to bed, that we will take the blame (for not checking the feed they were using). On the other hand, if NESN wanted to share the blame, we would also accept that.”

Bellitti said FSN wasn’t aware of the issue until Shots contacted them because the complaints would have been handled by NESN. He also said that it’s not uncommon for national broadcasts to have multiple feeds of the same game.

There is still no explanation from NESN as to why a scrolling message or on-screen explanation was not utilized to inform viewers of what was going on. That bit of neglect (both during the audio problems early on and for the game’s end) caused much of the residual anger from viewers. Shots has not been extended the courtesy of a return email from the NESN spokesperson who was contacted Sunday night.

NESN will air the UNC-Wake Forest ACC game of the week this coming Sunday at 8 p.m.

It appears BC isn’t scheduled for another NESN appearance until Jan. 20 from Atlanta against Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. That gives the NESNU professors two weeks to go back and master “Feeds Class 101.”

We know we say it regularly and then never follow through, but we really and truly need to get away from this blog for the sake of our “real life” projects. If I’m doing what I’m supposed to be and progressing as I need to, my visits to these parts will be infrequent.

It’s become apparent in the process of writing my first book that I get too distracted by all things under the Scott’s Shots purview. I have no idea how to break that habit but I know a good place to start will be to put this labor of love I like to call a “sports media column” on the shelf. There’s a lot swirling right now at The Shanty and the bottom line is that I have the opportunity to let book-writing be my full-time job for the next half-year and I don’t want the regret of having a non-revenue generating endeavor (Shots) hinder a family feeder (a motivational book with Memphis basketball coach John Calipari titled “Bounce Back”).

I hope you understand and appreciate your support. A couple a months of solitude and we’ll be back at you around March Madness time.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

ANALYSIS

While his agent, his employer (Entercom) and undoubtedly his lackeys who ride his coattails are rejoicing over the news of Glenn Ordway’s re-signing with WEEI 850 AM, the move is far from the “landscape” altering event Ordway’s agent George Tobia would like us to believe.

Instead, it means there will more of the same juvenile, inane and insulting sports talk radio that Boston listeners have been subjected to for much of Ordway’s lengthy tenure. The only saving grace may be that since Entercom opened the purse strings for Ordway that they may be cash-poor to retain the collection of meatheads that populate the WEEI studio during afternoon drive time. But even that is a longshot because the Pete Sheppards, Fred Smerlases, Steve DeOssies, Butchie Stearns and Brian Daubachs of the world know better than to bite the hand that feeds them, lest they be exposed as the frauds they are. Those elephants would work for peanuts because no other circus would be foolish enough to pay them.

As for those who continue to think Ordway was able to get a deal on par with what John Dennis and Gerry Callahan finagled last year from Entercom, I’d ask you to look no further than the Entercom stock price. On Monday, it was trading near a buck-and-a-half and has plunged to as low as half-a-buck over the past 52-weeks. There is no way a sane-thinking business person could ever suggest that Ordway didn’t have to take some kind of “hometown discount” because of the current fiscal crisis facing the nation. Ordway and Tobia read the tea leaves and knew there was no sense in playing hardball with a media company dangling by its frayed wires and they decided to get the most they could without ever seriously risking Ordway’s Big Chair spot.

In fact, there’s probably even some respect that needs to be paid to both Ordway and WEEI for not milking the re-signing as a way to temporarily boost ratings (although with the fill-ins available, that would have been a risky proposition). [Interestingly, Shots is told that Dale Arnold was the fallback plan to take over for Ordway if he bolted.] The D&C saga last year had a whole lot of contrived elements and anything of similar odor would have been frowned upon – even by the dolts who continue to fawn over Ordway and his assemblage of blabberers – especially with layoffs and cost-cutting affecting even the most rundown of regular WEEI listeners.

Shots is also told by well-placed Entercom and media sources that the reported $1 million per year is more of a “max-obtainable” figure than what Ordway’s base pay will be. While he will continue to hit ratings incentives, the insiders say, it will be difficult for Ordway to reach other performance-based thresholds, especially any that pertain to TV and/or the Web.

Still, whatever the lofty six-figure amount of money Ordway will be paid, it will, without question, make him the country’s highest-paid babysitter. If Ordway were ever able to silence his peanut gallery for good, then – and only then – would he achieve the “legendary status” of which Jason Wolfe gushed about.

• As for the TV component, we’re just not seeing how four hours of watching feeding time at the zoo is going to play for Comcast SportsNet or anyone else. (We strongly doubt snafu-suffering NESN is a serious player in the “Big Show on TV” sweepstakes and if there has to be any investment at all made by the McGrail/Feld group, it’s a non-starter.)

The WFAN simulcast that is so often cited worked because Mike and the Mad Dog were intelligent, entertaining and informative. None of those words come to mind when thinking of Ordway’s posse. A couple of options that may work would be a one-hour live-simulcast (maybe in the 5 to 6 hour) when the day’s premier guests could be featured and/or a one hour “Best of” re-cap later in the evening. (Heaven help the producer who has to mine for 50 minutes of gold from that show on a daily basis).

Similarly, we’re not seeing how well a web video simulcast would work unless there are in-studio guests that will be featured.

• Some housekeeping to tend to. . .

No, the return of Shots over the past week is not an indication that I’m back in full service operation of Scott’s Shots or it subsidiaries. I had promised at least one more 2008 post and I delivered it. (Wow, am I starting to explain myself in Simmons’s tone? Yikes.)

Then, NESN made a major mistake during the course of broadcasting an unexpected national story (BC’s upset of No. 1 UNC). I couldn’t just stand by and not delve into that a bit.

[As a minor follow-up to our earlier reporting on the incident, a national Fox SportsNet spokesperson had not heard of the situation, even after NESN had posted its Monday, "blame-FOX," non-explanation.

Shots' early afternoon phone call was, according to the spokesperson, "the first I'm hearing about it." As of the close of business Monday, FOX Sports Net was still looking into the matter.]

. . . Big ups to the Herald Dave Wedge’s better half, (Jessica Heslam), who did a nice job of cobbling together a NESN flub sidebar for the Monday print edition of the Herald. The sidebar drew heavily on Heslam’s prompt Sunday night post and included official comment from a NESN spinster.

. . . I will say it’s been nice to realize that some of you really do miss having us around. Okay, not “some.” But at least “one” of the crowd. Keep the clean comments coming and thanks for being there. I’d forgotten how passionate some of us are.

That said, some random observations:

• The ESPN.com re-design is solid. Nothing more. Put it this way, the one thing that I needed (Monday’s PTI episode) was no where to be found from the home page. Come on, People. You have a great product with PTI and you consistently under-promote it. Ride those two the way that Cardinal rode his pardner on Saturday night.

• Enough with college football already. Saturation point passed about a month ago with that whole traveshamockery.

. . . Then again, the Texas-OSU finish was compelling – except for you know, the non-compelling part where it didn’t mean a damn thing.

Mariotti? One trick pony and he used his lone trick in the first column for AOL. I’ll never understand the recylcing that occurs in the business, but I do acknowledge there’s no stopping it. Lots of guys owing lots of other guys favors from wars gone by. Never gonna change in coaching and never gonna change in sports journalism.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

UPDATE: NESN has posted an “explanation” of its broadcast blunder as well as information on two scheduled re-broadcasts set for today at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. (The 1 p.m. re-broadcast is oddly void of a regular game clock, using only a score graphic in the lower right-hand corner. This was not the case in the original broadcast, so it seems even in trying to correct their error, NESN fell short.)

The posting at its website states, “NESN experienced a transmission problem at the end of last night’s Boston College basketball game that originated with the feed we received from Fox Sports Net. We apologize to all of our college basketball fans and will look into this problem to ensure that it does not occur again.”

Shots has left a phone message for a FOX Sports Net’s Director of Corporate Communications to get the FSN side of the story, but as some readers have already pointed out, the NESN explanation falls short when you consider that Fox College Sports Atlantic was able to stay with the game in its entirety (Channel 262 on some Comcast line-ups, including Shots’). NESN also does nothing to explain why there was no scroll or alert given to viewers when the snafu occurred. Shots is still awaiting reply from NESN spokesman Gary Roy on the incident. An email was sent to Roy last night at 8 p.m.

A Boston College athletics department spokesman had no comment on the matter when reached by Shots via email.

If a college basketball upset of mammoth proportions unfolds in Chapel Hill with BC dumping No. 1 and undefeated North Carolina, but the Boston market is deprived of seeing the end of said game, does the game really happen at all?

NESN viewers were left to ponder that very question after a gargantuan glitch prohibited anyone watching Sunday night’s game on the regional network from seeing BC put the finishing touches on its biggest regular season win in many a moon. The game was part of the ACC Sunday night hoops package and did remain on-air, in its entirety on FOX College Sports Atlantic (Channel 262 on some Comcast systems).

The final minute-plus of the game – which was still very much in doubt and hovering near a one or two possession game – was completely missed by NESN and viewers were not brought back to the contest until the teams were exchanging handshakes.

An email from Shots to NESN spokesperson Gary Roy on Sunday night seeking clarification on the bungle was not immediately returned.

The broadcast was doomed from the start as it was slated to start at 5:30 p.m., but NESN joined the game later after using a Program Alert scroll to inform viewers to stay tuned for the BC-UNC contest. Although NESN didn’t miss much of the start of the game, the first four minutes of game action were delivered without audio from Ron Thulin and Dan Bonner (and with no explanation).

While that issue was resolved by the first media timeout, it did nothing to prevent the switch from end-of-game action at 7:40 p.m. to an extended roll of NESN commercials, most of them in-house, hockey promos – talk about Instigators! BC fans were outraged for sure.

NESN offered no scroll explanation at all, no apology and no mention whatsoever at the network’s all-fluff website of the infuriating, embarrassing and unforgivable screw-up. Then, to add insult to injury, good soldier Heidi Watney prefaced the BC highlights on Sunday night’s “SportsDesk Lights Out” by bragging about, “a game seen right here on NESN.” More accurately, Watney should have said, “a game not seen in its entirety right here on NESN.”

Boston viewers will remember a similar snafu during the MLB playoffs on TBS in October. While this BC boo-boo is no where near as impactful, it is a stark reminder of just how little BC matters in this market. The ACC and BC Athletic Director Gene DiFilippo need to demand an explanation from the Red Sox broadcast arm and there needs to be compensation made – perhaps in the form of a re-broadcast of the game on NESN.

Beyond that, NESN has to develop a better system for alerting viewers of technical issues they are experiencing. Before the NESN apologists can get their excuses/spin out for this one, let’s all remember that the game remained live and uninterrupted on another regional’s delivery of the game.

• The gaffe was immediately noted (of course) on the BSM message board and at Jessica Helsam’s Boston Herald blog, The Messenger delivers what sounds like a sad tale of hoops watching in the Heslam household. The Eagle in Atlanta also entertained some irate BC folks in its comments section. Expect more of the same on Monday as people talk about the upset around the water cooler.

Happy New Year, Joel Feld (and Sean McGrail). Way to get ’09 off to a rocking start at NESN.

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009 and is now available for pre-order.


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