By David Scott
Boston Sports Media
Gee Gone – Again
• Scott’s Shots has learned that former Boston Herald sports columnist, Michael Gee, is, according to Boston University director of media relations, Colin Riley, “no longer teaching this term” at BU, a result of Gee’s somewhat suggestive observations regarding a female student.
Those words – made on a public message board – apparently cost Gee his second job in two months. (He took part in the recent Herald buyout offer.)
On July 5, Gee, according to his own post at www.sportsjournalists.com, had begun a stint as fill-in instructor for a summer communications/journalism course at BU.
Here is what Gee wrote at sj.com on that day: “Today was my first day teaching course 308/722 at the Boston University Dept. of Jounralis (sic). There are six students, most of whom are probably smarter than me, but they DON’T READ THE PAPER!!! Not the Globe, Times, Herald or Wall Street Journal. I can shame them into reading, I guess, but why are they taking the course if they don’t like to read
But I digress. Now here’s the nub of my issue. Of my six students, one (the smartest, wouldn’t you know it?) is incredibly hot. If you’ve ever been to Israel, she’s got the sloe eyes and bitchin’ bod of the true Sabra. It was all I could do to remember the other five students. I sense danger, Will Robinson.”
“Bitchin bod”? “Sloe eyes”? “Danger”? – He wasn’t a sports columnist, he was a Harlequin Romance writer. No wonder he wrote for Oui at one time.
The thread, interestingly, has since been removed from sj.com. Gee, contacted by Scott’s Shots, would not comment publicly on the matter.
(For those wondering, sportsjournalists.com, in a nutshell, is a place where sports desk editors, as well as sportswriters and others, vent over how crummy this paper or that columnist is. It’s also a networking spot to get info on the latest openings and movement at papers across the country. Like most message boards, it serves a purpose and then serves the fellowship of the miserable even more. Point is – it’s well-read within the biz. Many posters use aliases, but Gee, who has been registered at the site since Sept. 4, 2004, uses his own, full name. Earlier this summer, Gee had even posted his resume in hopes of attracting work (See: Shots, June 17, 2005.)
Gee had also written, by way of explanation as to how he got the BU gig: “. . .I was such a late substitute that the school was glad to see me. We’ll see how long that lasts.”
Apparently, not very long. Although Riley is prohibited from discussing personnel matters directly he did say, “The University expects its faculty and staff to conduct themselves professionally and appropriately.”
Asked to define those two terms, Riley went Justice Stewart on us and said: “You know it when you see it.”
Apparently, Gee’s misguided posting was “it.”
What on earth was Gee thinking, when he made these inappropriate comments? Further, what editor would hire a guy who publicly admits to drooling over his student? Even more perplexing was Gee’s response after at least one SJ poster gave this friendly advice: “Congrats on the gig and the proximity to a hottie, but be careful. Not with her, but with this site. She or your bosses could Google your name and the university at any point and find this thread.”
Even that lucid warning didn’t seem to have an effect on Gee’s libido or his proud postings: “Dear Folks: I suppose I should be flattered that many of you think this gorgeous woman who’s half my age would consider having sex with me. Which, if I have any news instincts, she won’t. My problem is losing my focus when I meet her to-die-for eyes.”
That was his attempt to save face? “To-die-for-eyes?” “Sex”?
Do you see how odd this is? Would you like to be the parent of a teenager/young adult spending thousands of dollars to have your daughter ogled by a washed up, middle-aged sports columnist?
Clearly, someone or ones – perhaps even Shots itself – tipped off the BU educators to Gee’s Sabra-metrics and pulled his teaching duties. They at least deserve credit for seeing the potential damage of keeping Gee in their employ. Gee had previously explained on sj.com that the temporary position was tossed his way by a former colleague whose travels to India precluded him/her from teaching during the summer term II, which runs from July 5 through August 12.
The course, for the record, is described on-line by the university as: “COM JO 308/JO 722 Newswriting and Reporting II Prereq: COM JO 307 or JO 721. This advanced course incorporates field reporting and writing under pressure of deadline. There is additional coursework and classroom time necessary for COM JO 722. 4 cr. COM JO 308 Tuition: $1776; COM JO 722 Tuition: $3748 Summer 2: B1 Mon. thru Wed. 9-11:30 a.m. Gee”
(By way of disclaimer, it should be noted that Shots and Gee had what I would term an “almost memorable” exchange back on April 13 wherein Gee had responded to some criticism I had thrown his way over his griping in the press box. His response, while odd and in poor taste at some points (a tetsicle necklace was discussed out of nowhere), was nonetheless self-effacing and humorous. On other occassions in the course of this column’s life, I have criticized Gee for a certain lack of the zest I look for in sports columnists. And I’m pretty sure that on at least one occassion, I even applauded Gee’s efforts. I have no personal animus toward Gee whatsoever.
I ‘covered’ him the way I cover many other of the town’s sports personalities. Whether people are willing to admit it or not, this space has been established as a legit source of credible sports media coverage. Gee’s former colleagues and competitors are among my readership and clearly, Gee is quote familiar with what is on this site.
His sad tale is, in my eyes, just another vivid example of how powerful the Internet has become and how clueless some Old Media types are to that power.)
• Yet another sign of just how powerful both the ‘net and blogging has become, came this week when CBS announced a major overhaul and re-focusing of its web entity, cbsnews.com. The site will even employ its own ‘Ombudsblogger’ in the form of Vaughn Ververs – term Shots would like credit for creating that term, by the way. Thank you. And I’m available for all your Ombudsblogging needs. But seriously, watch what happens at CBSnews.com – it will be a huge indicator of how far blogging and new media talent can take certain folks.
• The Shots rumor line was alive with talk of Greg “Slick” Dickerson will be the headline talent for ESPN’s entry into the Boston sports radio market. According to one Shots informant, Dickerson, who has been at FSN since March 2002, has not re-signed with FSN as of yet. It would be unlikely he could continue as a FOX employee while doing radio for ESPN, so the radio gig would need to come with some substantial Benjamins to keep Slick in the purple/pink shirts he’s been displaying from Vegas this week. . . Should Slick leave the loveseats of FSN, the logical replacement as Gary Tanguay and Tonic’s partner would be Michael Felger Belichick Underwood, who already takes up residence on the set regularly. Felger is by no means the Oscar Madison that Slick was, so look for a newly themed ad campaign – maybe something involving the Queer Eye for the Straight Sports Guys?. . . Should all those dominoes fall, the remaining question would be whether Felger could continue his Patriots writing duties for the Herald, the answer to which should be a definitive “No” if the Herald bosses think logically.
• Speaking of Herald bosses, could someone clue the circulation folks into the notion that Hull is a Summer Vacation Location, and as such should get extra copies of the Heraldo during peak beach season. There are days that Shots goes to three separate locations in search of the teetering tabloid, only to come up empty-handed at each spot. . . One more Herald note – a hearty Shots congrats to Mark J. Murphy, the old MetroWest Daily News sports ed., who was promoted by Herald Hank this week to rank of deputy sports editor. In keeping with this space’s use of a adopted nickname for H-Squared, we’ll go with Deputy Dawg or D-Squared for Murph, someone whose talents and skill Shots has been hearing about for a long time from numerous co-workers and associates. That praise has been echoed even recently when you’d think morale might be low on the sports desk. H2D2 seem to have brought some re-assurance and comfort to the battered, remaining crew members of the SS Herald. That’s something Joe Sullivan has been trying to do unsuccessfully with the Green Boxers for better than a year. And Shots is a true believer in morale and positive mental attitudes.
• “Welcome to the Jungle.” How original. Next time maybe Schill can come out to an Arroyo song. Or maybe Matisyahu, at least. . . Schill’s t-shirt in the post-game: “Anyone can win one World Series.” Nice. . . Our New York tab headline for Friday would be this: “Who’s Your Closer?”. . .There will be a fight this weekend – you can feel it already. . . Craig Hansen will be the answer – just not any time soon. Paps Papelbon on the other hand – now he’s intriguing.
• Here’s the four-day-in assessment of the Boston Globe’s Sudoku Sidekick, which debuted this Monday (coincidentally, 7/11, or official “roll the dice” day at the Globe): They’ve dumbed down the Metro, cross-bred it with Calendar and thrown it into the Boring Broadsheet as a complete detractor from anything worthwhile in the lifestyles section.
Please. Why do they insult us? And there doesn’t even seem to be a legit business decision driving the insert. The ad space created is negligible and until yesterday when the Museum of Science took the back page, that prime space had been all in-house spots. . . Interesting that by Thursday, the flip-floppers had already re-designed the crossword page after what must have been a flood of criticism. On one hand, it shows that they listen. But on the other, it shows just how out of touch they are. “Test-marketing” and newspapers have never gone together very well. But they should.
• NECN’s Chris Collins took this week – the sports calendar’s slowest of the year – to introduce and work through a new Top 10 format for his weekday Sports Latenight. Give NECN’s No. 1 some credit for spciing things up but the lame knock-off of Squawk Box and a Husker-du-like video clip memory contest for Sox tickets brings the show down several notches. In addition, Collins now relies on more nationally-fed news including such non-gems as a motorcycyle-riding dog and Dennis Rodman running with the bulls in Spain. Credit is due for trying to incorporate his staffers more and any use of Laura Behnke’s blossoming talents is good by us. It’s not there yet, but it’s got elements worth pursuing. . . FSN Tonight also tinkered a bit and most forgetably added a “Third Man In” segment where all three blabbers can share screen time, instead of the customary two. More is less in this case.
• Still no sightings of Pete The Meat Sheppard near the Hull Seaside Shanty, but we’ve been assured The Meat is settled and comfortable by the shores of Nantasket.
• Whoever the jock-sniffer at ‘EEI is that thinks John Valentin makes for good radio needs to go back to radio school. Or get into another field. Last Friday’s fill-in by Val for Dale on the Holley Show – ya follow? – was Boston’s lowest moment in radio in quite some time. Val on TV is bad enough, but to have to hear him slap the tush of Keith Foulke and drone on about this and that was too much for these ears to take. . . Holley got caught taking a day off from ‘EEI this week and then appearing on alternately awful and amusing, “Around the Horn” on ESPN Wednesday. The guy already has a knack for early departures and that small stunt smacks of a “TV is King” philosophy. That’s what it appears to be at least, and John Calipari always taught me that image and appearance ARE reality.
• The Lee Iacocca/Costanza Chrysler spot would have worked 10 years ago. At this present juncture, though, it’s an odd mix with a missed opportunity. Costanza needs Jerry the way Hondo needed Sam (if you get that reference, you are a true western lover).
• USA Today – another Sudoku-running paper – has been using Michael McCarthy, from the Money section, to pick up some of the slack left by Rudy Martzke’s departure (stop giggling, Haters). So far, McCarthy has been very Rudyesque – blah and full of directly-fed info from the Networks PR hacks. Last week, he even dedicated a good third of his column to discussing the one-hour red carpet show that shilled autos for the entire 40 minutes of “content time.” Ultimately the note evolved into an All-star game discussion, but it took a while and wasted space. My pick for the slot, if he would ever agree to do it? The Money section’s mega talent, Kevin Maney, the tech guy. He’d have to want a big career change, but his style would be perfect for what the Rudy space COULD be.
• This excerpt from a release generated down south, Miami-way, where two analysts guys will be magically transformed into one play-by-play and one color guy. “They were teammates with the Dolphins from 1980-84, and now, in 2005, they will be teammates once again. Former Dolphins Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose were named to the broadcast team for all Dolphin games on 790 The Ticket, the first-year flagship radio station of the club.”
Cefalo will do the play-by-play, something he has little – if any – experience with. But he appears Biz-savvy enough to pull it off. Former Dolphin wideout, Nat Moore, by the way, will do sideline reporting, something the Pats Radio Network would be wise to add (in the form of someone with the free time and talent of Shots). Anything that would mean less of Gil and Gino is good with me.
• Always wanting to give you the latest on washed up past mid-major commissioners, we noted this week that old A-10 leader, Ron Bertovich resigned from his Mid Con Conference commissionership. He lasted a little more than two years and reportedly would like to get back to the New York market, presumably up-state, where Bert always had a foothold.
• Maybe Joe Sullivan can explain why the Lobsters aren’t getting daily notebook treatment like the Sox? The Globe has financial interest in both, correct?. . . What’s even worse than the Lobsters coverage for events attended by (we doubt) 1,300 people is that the Herald has tried to counter with some Lobster words themselves (courtesy of Rich Thompson). There is no need to follow the Globe’s lead on that one. The Herald reader ain’t exactly your tennis devotee. . . Nice to see Chad Finn get a little run with his Globe Sox entry on Thursday. Finn’s got the goods for sure.
• Sister Elle wants everyone to know that the deliciously tasty Rainier cherries are on sale for $4.99/pound at Shaw’s. Sadly, the Cohasset branch had one bag of soggy, smooshed fruit when we checked in on Thursday morning. That there would be a hint for someone to bring Shots some ready-to-eat cherries for the weekend. . . Yes, Joe Carcione the Green Grocer is seriously considering a sponsorship deal with us. An that’s YOUR tip for the day. . . More green grocer jokes, they say, and we oblige!
• Our guy, Dave Doyle (and his warped World), suggested a looksie at Andy Nesbitt’s Fox sports piece on the British Open over at foxsportsnet.com. Nesbitt – a name you may recall form Globe days past, is an editor over at Fox now – and is another of those up and coming guys – like Doyle – the Globe will someday regret losing.
• Michael Gee’s other, tamer, Sabra-less entries gave some insight into the package he (and others) got from the Herald. On June 4, he posted:
“. . . The Herald shrinkage program caught me along with many others. A staff of 20 writers is now all of 13, and the space given them could be filled by half that. Weep not for yours truly. The please-go-away package equals a sturdy nylon parachute-roughly 15 months salary plus a lump sum equal to about a year’s health insurance for my family. I’m suie (sic) there’s a reason that saves them money, but that’s one for the finance guys who’re being pushed out.
My point: I have some time, maybe a month before I get twitchy, to think of what I WANT to do instead of what I must do to support me and mine in the style to which our creditors have become accustomed. And gang, the universe of endless possibilities has me stumped.
I’m applying for every job I see just so folks know I’m available. Should I? This is probably the last major life shift coming my way that doesn’t involve the health care system. Is this the time to write my little potboiler novel? What should a male over 50 whose only life skill is the ability to process information and write more or less coherent English prose on deadline do with the chance to remake his existence. Is there a way to use those powers for good instead of evil? Should I become a country editor and bore the shit out of kids in the press box at the high school Friday nights?
Beats me. Right now I’m sending off a billion letters and waiting for the first positive answer. That’s a little hippy-dippy. Do ANY of you have some ideas. Financial return is part of the issue, but not all.”
In those words, you certainly feel for the guy. But a month later, on the same site, he’s portraying himself as some kind of Benny Hill set free in the lingerie department.
Odd, indeed, to say the least.
• Lastly, on Gee, there was this June 6 public fawning by the always annoying New York loudmouth, Wallace Matthews (or at least someone claiming to be Matthews, and we’ll guess that no one who isn’t Matthews would claim to be him).
“Michael: I’m terribly sorry to hear about this, and about Kimball, too (I don’t realy(sic) know the other people). All can tell you is I know from experience what a lonely place you are in right now, but it is important to get the word out to everyone who remotely mght (sic) be able to help that you are available and looking. When I lost my radio show in March, I spent just about every waking hour for the next month trying to sell myself as a full-timer or freelancer, and believe me, the first few weeks were mighty discouraging, But by mid-May, I had a few freelance accounts lined up, managed to score a decent freelance story with Newsday and am finally, after two months of cutting the lawn and painting the deck, getting some feelers for a real newspaper job. I know you get sick of hearing people tell you will land on your feet–I sure as hell did–but believe it or not, you will. Never forget who you are and what you have done, and don’t let anyone else forget either. Good luck. Wally Matthews
• Some pretty heavy stuff today, and we appreciate your indulgence. Remember the sun block this weekend and beware of the Gators at your local pond.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shots@bostonsportsmediadotcom