By David Scott
Boston Sports Media
• Patriots season tickets arrived on Thursday, thus launching football season in earnest. This year’s package comes in mini-book format (approximately 6in. x 8in., perfect/staple-bound) and each ticket’s main picture is blown up larger on the accompanying page, thus leaving yet another keepsake at the end of the season. The upper left of the remaining perforated photo (highlighting nine key moments and a collage of Super Bowl-related shots from the 2004 season) contains the words borrowed from the now-famous Visa commercial “Not today. . . not tomorrow.” And guess what? The Visa logo is also on the face of every ticket. Some varying picture reproduction quality hurts the overall package, but the silver on black cover with three Vince Lombardi trophies shining bright is enough all by itself. . . Also included in the Priority Mail package is the now standard issue Fan Guide to the Stadium; an insert plugging Sirius radio; a pamphlet explaining on-line ticket management (team exchange program) and a complimentary ticket for an exclusive Patriots practice admittance. . . Unfortunately there is nothing in the literature explaining improved ways of getting (general, non-elite) ticket-holders into the stadium, a problem the team continues to ignore and allows to get worse each and every season. . .See, all that excitement, and I got bitter for a minute thinking of the inefficiency of ticket taking and searching at the (limited) gates. . . There’s actually a dearth of advertising within the whole package – especially on the back pages of the blown up photos – next season, we suppose. . .We haven’t found any hidden messages yet, as was the case with the streak game last season, but the nine individual shots go as follows: Tedy Bruschi (Game A); Daniel Graham (Game B); Free Willie (Raiders); David Givens (San Diego); Corey Dillon (Buffalo); Defense with a Ted Johnson/Dexter Reid sandwich with Bruschi in the middle (on top of a Ravens running back) (Indy); Christian Fauria (Saints); Deion Branch (Jets); Tedy Bruschi (Tampa Bay); (Collage with BB, Mike Vrabel, Kraft One and Two, Tom Brady and Bowl MVP Branch) (Miami). . . Keeping score at home, Bruschi led the list with three appearances. . . One more thing on the tickets: My heart skipped a beat seeing ‘$89.00’ on the ticket on each ticket. That’s sick.
• There was no more laughable element in any newspaper this week, we trust, than the “Memo from the sports editor” (at the bottom of that link) which ran on Page 2 of the Thursday Globe sports section. For those who missed it (Shots’ initial reactions in italics):
We've made some changes and some of you have noticed. We mentioned it last week herein, yessirree – thanks for reading, Sully. This sports editor's memo is another change that I will use to occasionally update readers about the Globe sports section. Occasionally? We’re betting more like “infrequently.” Page 2 of the Globe sports section now includes an improved sports on TV and live sports listings along with a newly formatted Sports Log. What exactly makes a logo and the two-shaded wording “Fan’s Guide” ‘improved’? Previously, the TV listings and live events were in different areas of the section but we think it will be more convenient for readers to have that information in one place. So, instead we’ve buried transactions on the scoreboard and invite you to try and find it each day in between Cape League scores and Park League results. Good luck on that one. It will now be easier to find the items to read in the Sports Log with the addition of categories for each sport. Wow! Sports categories? Revolutionary. We'd also like you to participate in our new page 2. We will soon start an item called ''Ask the Reporter." If you have a question for a Globe writer, send it to Ask the Reporter Can we ask the columnist too, or are they off limits?, Boston Globe sports department, P.O. Box 2378, Boston, MA 02017, ZOOM! took the good zip code and we'll get it answered. Wow! We can write letters to reporters? Real, live reporters? And mail them? Via US Post? Oh, Mildred, we’re speeding into the 18th century faster than we thought. We also welcome letters to hear your opinions about Boston sports. Knowing damn well that most of you can’t write legibly, what with your arthritis and cataracts, and certainly that if they could they wouldn’t pay 37 cents for a stamp. You'll be seeing a new byline in our coverage of the Tour de France. Bonnie DeSimone has covered the Tour for the last five years for the Chicago Tribune and is acknowledged as one of the best writers covering this event and an expert on the career of Lance Armstrong. (See below for Shots on DeSimone.) JOE SULLIVAN An “Old Guard Sports Editor” tagline would have been overkill, eh?
Reeeee. Dick. You. Luss. Ridiculous.
Papers around the country are beginning to experiment with all sorts of interactive platforms to allow users “into the newsroom” so to speak. At NECN (a Globe partner, by the by) they’re requesting user-created content. Ditto at NESN (another partner). Bloggers are evolving at various levels and the web is driving all sorts of change and excitement. It’s truly a time to push the envelope at every turn.
And poor, antiquated Joe Sullivan driven by even more antiquated superiors, are asking for readers to write in with “questions” and “opinions” and send their thoughts to a Post Office Box, with ZERO mention of an email address for same. No email for Sully – un-unh. . .just a passing fad, why jump in with both feet? We’ll get letters written by old timers with quill pens instead!
And how pathetic. The tunnel’s sprung a leak and Head Contractor Sully is using Scotch tape to mend the crack. Who’s running the Globe these days: Matthew J. Amorello?
It’s beyond the point where Shots is crying wolf. About five years beyond that point, in fact.
And furthermore, Keen-eyed Shots devotee, Robert of Needham, added on to our list of the Globe’s week-old Page 2 alterations and explains that he misses the “Transactions” box the most. Now located on the Scoreboard page, the Trannies box is floating with no permanent home and that bothers Robert, for one:
“I am a boxscore junkie, but even before I head to that page, I always turned to page 2 to check out all the sports transactions. . . . I liked the fact that I could always find them in the same place everyday, even if the internet can always give me daily changes. My first reaction to this change:
• Different location each day on the Scoreboard page for daily transactions
• Smaller font type (no, I am not that old. but it is different)
• Eventually, will lose space in fall to High School and College scores when they need the space, count me as someone who does not like the change from the standpoint of what it did to transactions.
(It just struck me that I’m the new, freaking Globe Ombudsman and no one ever told me.)
Of course on Wednesday, things got really interesting when the Flip-Floppers running the sports desk decided to return to the practice of BOLDING names on P. 2’s Sports Log (the Slog, we suppose).
It’s a little thing, of course – minutia for get-a-lifers like me to contemplate – but it also shows a lack of direction and decisiveness on the part of Sullivan and his staffers. It’s like the molasses slow implementation of the new notebook style, which still hasn’t reached all tentacles of the notebooks’ octopus (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, Olympics, Motor Sports, Boxing, Golf/Title IX du jour/Other).
Even during change, newspapers need to be consistent and considerate of the reading public. Instead, the Globe is proving to be confused and confounding as the cracks in the tunnel spread and fester.
Maybe someone on Morrissey Boulevard should call Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, they’re well experienced at fixing leaks. At least better than Joe Sullivan appears to be.
• All that said, Welcome aboard to Bonnie DeSimone, the Globe’s Lance Armstrong diarist who will play Pedro Gomez throughout the upcoming Tour de (Sheryl) Crow. DeSimone gave a nice backgrounder on the birth of her coverage relationship with Yellow Band Man on Thursday, but caught us off-guard when she wrote about once wanting a “clearly woozy” Armstrong to stop talking because he wasn’t making sense. It may just be me, but even if I find myself rooting for the subjects I cover, I NEVER ever want them to stop talking. Woozy is sometimes truth serum, ya know. . . Sister Elle’s pal Ricky Rochester will be one of the few who turn to DeSimone daily for the next month or so, but the Globe feels it necessary to favorably align itself with the mothership, New York Times and pretend that the olde riche and nouveau riche are craving Tour de Damn Do insight. If advertisers buy into it, it’s working. My sense, however, is that there’s no attempt to make that translate into ad revenue or, more importantly, web programming. They continue to separate church and state at the expense of the bottom line, and quite possibly, their own futures. (And, as one close observer observed: The Tour is a huge Web event because of the time difference (six hours ahead in the Eastern US, with stage finishes airing in the morning), meaning a web presence for newspapers is not only essential, it is arguably more important than a printed presence.) . . .DeSimone, by the way, was dragged into a subset of the Jayson Blair scandal when NYT columnist Ira Berkow was called to the carpet for utilizing parts of a prior DeSimone story on UNC’s Dean Smith A summary of the events is worth the read if you’re into that kind of stuff. DeSimone was a totally innocent cog in the wheel and if anything, should be flattered that the veteran Berkow found it worth borrowing from her. . . DeSimone, at last check, was based in Philly and has done work consistently for the Chicago Tribune, the Times and also has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, according to a recent Trib tagline on a DeSimone book review. She has also done a bit of travel writing and contributed the text to a ridiculously beautiful Armstrong layout in The Oregonian that shows what can happen when creativity meets talent from a design standpoint.
• Sidekick is coming! Sidekick is coming! What’s Sidekick? A Globe attempt to out-Metro its own Metro. Let’s at least hope that T-Mobile’s Sidekick is lined up as a presenting sponsor or some sort. Hah! We kill ourselves.
• Guess there’s a big anti-grunt lobby forming in tennis circles and My Buddy Paulie Brookline’s (first of two references) father, Waltah, is at the head of the angry mob who can’t understand what all this grunting is all about. Shots says the women should be allowed to continue with the moans of effort and the men should be silenced.
• The Gambler, Kenny Rogers, lost his marbles on Wednesday night in an epic manner. Insert your own line about his “need to fold ‘em” right about here.
• Our efforts to follow at least one story from beginning to end leads to this: The Marquette Golden Eagles are once again the Marquette Golden Eagles.
And Shots, will once again call them the Golden Warriors forever more.
• Last week, we joked about the potential of the new ESPN2 “Block Party” airing late night on Tuesdays. This week we aren’t joking: The AND 1 Streetball show is in the midst of its most explosive season as Scott’s Shots longtime-fave, Team AND1 head coach, Steve Burtt, Sr., has decided to take no guff from the ballers. Instead, he’s brawlin’ large with West Coaster, Syk Wit It and the upshot is that we get to learn a bit more about Burtt, who was Streetball before Streetball went with a capital “S” for entertainment purposes. The result has been Hock Films best season by far. (Disclosure: I did draw checks from the AND 1 family in the recent past, but no longer; and the views herein are purely my own, non-AND1 Kool Aid drinking observations.). . . Hock also gets credit for the worthwhile “It’s the Shoes” hosted by the likable Bobitto Garcia who rapped shoes with Allen Iverson in a most-impressive interview.
• Boo to Subway and fat Jared for copying – right down to the camera shots and set – the Godaddy Super Bowl spot. We doubt highly it was the same guy – our boy, Paul Cappelli, by the way – and just a cheap knockoff.
• The continued embarrassment that is the dim-as-a-dirtdog Steve Silva, at Boston.com, reached epic proportions with his latest bonehead play. By posting a picture of a mob scene assault (white on black), Silva once again displayed a crude (at best) understanding of what is journalistic and what is sophomoric (or racist even). How the New York Times Company can allow such an under-qualified, misguided decision-maker continue on its payroll is nearly as bad as having kept Jayson Blair employed for so long. Silva has run roughshod over any sense of common decency and time and again has shown how little he understands the business interests of the paper, the website and the company. As we’ve discussed before, the sports side wants nothing to do with this bozo, and yet somehow the perception of him being at least associated with Joe Sullivan’s operation, remains widespread.
Let Silva serve as a cautionary tale to the personnel people who will be plucking bloggers to help ramp up newspaper interest: if the blogger comes from little or no formal training within major media, you are asking for troubles down the road.
(that was the ultimate self-promotion ender to assure that everyone understands that Shots is not one of your run-of-the-mill fan blogs. I’m much worse than that. . . I’m a writer with a badge and I’m your worst enemy. Y’all be cool now.)
• Media Life’s (sports)-clueless Toni Fitzgerald made a pitch for ABC to replace “Nightline” with a sports show, in Thursday’s edition of the on-line industry buzz-spreader. The show Fitzgerald described was “Outside the Lines,” but never bothered to mention the existing show once and instead offered up suggestions for hosts (Dan Patrick or Keith Olbermann) and reporters (Bob Ley or Shelley Smith). “The new show should rely on reporting and research to back up its stories instead of an endless panel of talking heads, as “SportsCenter” has become,” Fitzclueless wrote.
Hmmm, sounds like OTL to us.
This is what happens when writers who have no sports knowledge began throwing around suggestions to the Nets – complete buffoonery. Media Life frequently advertises for available positions on Journalismjobs.com and now we know why: its current roster is incompetent. The suggestion should have been to move OTL to the 11:35 ABC slot and let Ley continue doing what he has been doing effectively with the issues-oriented show for several years, just on the bigger stage. Sports talk opposite Leno and Letterman is a risky proposition, to say the least. If only Fitzgotten had bothered to do a little research, it could have been an intriguing look at what ESPN might do to help save sister ‘Net ABC’s disappearing sports presence.
We expect too much out of free content on the web, don’t we? Just the facts, really. The side of truth, you know.
• Fading Steve Bulpett slighted PC (and Ryan Gomes) coach, Tim Welsh in Thursday’s Herald by calling him “Welch.” Guess the NBA guys don’t need to know the college coaches names as part of the job. Not to mention an editor with unlimited resources at his fingertips. . . Nit-picking? We suppose. But that stuff irks me more for the disrespect the college coaches get than anything.
• Retire the award – no correspondent with Shots will ever top this assessment of your eternal humble servant: “. . . . The Globe Sports Section is turning into the Times sports section of my youth, filled with fossils who hate sports. You (Shots) at least like sports and hate people. . .” – Walter, via email.
Finally, someone who understands my essence. Got any daughters Walt?
• Shots is taking up his annual attempt at smoking a tobacco pipe for late-afternoon beach time. My Buddy Paulie Brookline was kind enough to visit the long-time Cambridge tobacconists Leavitt & Peirce, where he was guided to a black and gold mix. Interesting to note that L&P has not gone the Mascot Politically Correct route, as the bag’s sticker has a saluting Native American in full regalia. Perhaps Globie Private Amalie Benjamin can do her follow-up at the 1316 Mass. Ave locale. . . We’re also on a try-new-melons kick and this week we got the Canadew which looks like a cantaloupe but tastes like a honey dew. Any other melon suggestions would be appreciated. And one other tip – the cherries have been extraordinary form Stop & Shop. . . Critical assessment of crucial issues and produce tips to boot – Joe Carcione The Green Grocer would be proud. And that’s YOUR tip for the day.
• Jackie Mack couldn’t keep me interested with the “ex-NBA guys who are poor” Sunday takeout. The tragedy of rich men mis-managing their finances (and female finagling, we might add) is lost on me. Did they feel bad for me when I had $20,000 in student loans staring at me in ’93? Sorry, JMack (and JoeSull) – the sympathy era for pro athletes is long gone and hardly worthy of anything beyond 750 words. A two-page feature with sidebars is positively wasteful.
• Hadn’t told anyone this, but I’m hooked on HBO’s Entourage. Great characters, solid scripts and hot, hot women. It’s like Sopranos lite.
• Josh Elliott of Sports Illustrated filled in for Jim Rome is Burning, Let the MoFo Burn, this week on ESPN. He attempted to be the poor man’s Rome, which is not only unnecessary, but un-wise. Elliott, by the way, has not written on the SI website since 5/27 according to his archive which reeks of one of those SI sabbaticals that everyone who works the inner sanctum of SI eventually gets. . . Also serving as a Temp at the Worldwide Leader this week was our very own Basketball Bob Ryan, who sat in the Michael Wilbon seat for this week’s PTI and shone brightly alongside similarly cynical Tony Kornheiser. Wednesday’s Five Good Minutes with James Carville concerning the Kraft/Putin Ringapalooza was pure comedy complete with KGB jokes and Carville calling Putin “cold, cold, cold.” The lone problem was that by the time the show aired, Kraft had already issued his statement saying the ring was indeed a gift. (A nice piece of PR by Kraft, who diffused the situation with his comments regarding his Russian ancestors. Da.). Stat Boy gave the info in the Errors segment. . . Ryan also had the comical theory that Steinbrenner is no longer alive and there is someone else behind the pin-stripe curtain. “Let me understand this – your position is that George Steinbrenner is no longer living?” Korn cooed as he went to the final break. . . Carville was totally over-exposed this week on ESPN with both a beer-sponsored Hotseat and the PTI pop-in. He is, most assuredly, a caricature of himself from Word One. . . Scoop Jackson sat with Elliott during the week as well and every time the subject went off basketball, Scoop was lost without a paddle. He’s a specialist – a hoops specialist. Use him as such, or don’t use him at all. It lessens his impact for hoops coverage. . . Oh, and Bob Ryan being joined by Michael Smith for “PTI” fill-in duties did not work very well. Mostly it’s because we still think Smith is a few years from being truly Nationally Ready, but you also need guys that play off each other and he and Basketball Bob, despite having once shared an employer, don’t share much else – least of which being rapport.
• Proving once and for all that Shots has a social conscience of some degree, we are hereby throwing our support behind a drive to get composer Leonard Bernstein’s portrait displayed in the Sharon Public Library in recognition of the time Bernstein spent in Sharon. For information on how you can help support this worthwhile cause or find out more about the group’s intentions, contact Shots and I’ll put you in touch with the planners.
• In honor or Craig Biggio’s major accomplishment this week (most HBP), Shots has decided to give you an uncut version of the interview we did with Bidge back in February of 2004. Men’s Fitness ran a much shorter version, but here’s the transcript in its entirety. (Biggio repeated some of this stuff, ie Dickie Thon, on PTI on Thursday):
SS: Is it a talent that you have?
CB: I don’t know if it’s a talent or it’s more stupidity than anything. I get in that batter’s box and I’m not trying to get hit. I have an idea and a thought process on what I like to do and what I want to do. I understand that pitchers have to control the inside part of the plate, but I can’t be intimidated as far as having to jump out of the way all the time. I just feel that you’re going to get hit – it just happens, it’s part of the game. If he comes in and I can’t get out of the way, then that’s part of it. I’m not going up there with the intent or thinking that I’m trying to get hit with a pitch. Obviously, it hurts. But I also understand that I’m not going to move when it happens either.
SS: What is the worst pitch you’ve been hit by. What do you remember about it – who threw it. . .
CB: It was a game against the Cubs (9/25/97) and Jeremy Gonzalez was pitching (the count was 0-2 with one on and one out in the fifth) he threw a fastball and it hit me in the cheek bone and it hit the bill of my helmet. It pretty much saved my eye because it did hit the bill of the helmet. If it didn’t, it probably would have hit me right in the eye socket like Dickie Thon. It was the scariest one I ever had. It hurt. He was throwing mid-90s and it felt like getting hit with a sledgehammer in the face.
SS: What do you see when it’s coming at you.
CB: You’re just trying to pick up the release point of the pitcher and obviously you’ve got to hang in there. Guys have nasty stuff and they’re snapping off good curveballs and sliders and every now and then a fast ball is going to get away from guys. This was one that got away form him. When a guy’s throwing 96, you don’t have a lot of time to move. I had it just enough, where I turned my head at the last minute and just clipped the bill of my helmet rather than totally hitting me in the face. It was probably like 25 percent on the bill and like 75 percent on the face.
SS: Did you stay in the game?
CB: Yeah. I finished the game. It was when we clinched the division after an 11-year playoff drought. I was on the ground for a little while and then you gather your thoughts and you see that you can see out of your eyes, which is a positive thing. Then you sort of make sure the cheekbone and everything else is okay and your brain’s all right and you go to first.
SS: Was there blood, was their bruising was there concussion, panic?
CB: I had a nice welt over my eye.
SS: Is it some sort of badge of honor, you’ve led the National League five of the last nine years? Do you talk about with the teammates?
CB: Not really a badge of honor. . . I’ve been very lucky. I’m 185 pounds and getting hit two hundred and something times – if you had told me that 17 years ago I would have told you were crazy or that I wouldn’t even be walking if that was the case. But I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve taken that one in the face and about four or five times on the helmet in the head.
SS: What is the feeling being hit in the head – echo, reverb?
CB: It’s kind of like, Oh my God, I just got hit in the head – it scares you, it wakes you up. The helmet I wear is a big old thick helmet with a lot of padding inside. In the Big Leagues you can have a couple of different helmets. Mine, the guys joke with me is the “Kazoo Helmet” – it’s got a lot of padding on the inside; and then there’s the pretty boy helmet, which doesn’t have much padding at all. The guys that want to look real pretty wear that kind. The guys that want to protect their coconut wear my kind. I wear the same helmet all the time. This one now is about three years old. I don’t take out my frustrations on the helmet.
SS: You’ve faced Gonzalez since?
CB: Yeah. He was with Tampa last year.
SS: Did you think about it?
CB: After getting hit two hundred and something times – it just happens. In all honesty and all defense to pitchers, guys aren’t deliberately trying to throw at you. Every no wand then, but for the most part they’re not.
SS: Do you know the story of Ray Chapman?
CB: Ray Chapman? I should. Tell me about it.
SS: Died as a result of being hit by pitch in the 1920s.
CB: They didn’t have helmets back then. It’s like the old school football players without the face masks. The equipment alone is so much different. Some organizations require their team to wear the kind of helmet I have. If it’s been one guy that we’ve lost over the many years.
SS: Where do you want to take a pitch – is there a technique?
CB: Yeah, you take in the back. Take it in the butt. You’d like to get hit basically with a breaking ball if you had your choice, you’re not going to get hurt with that the way you are with a heater. And then obviously, you don’t want to get in the kneecaps, the calf and the elbow is bad. And the wrist or the hand. I wear an elbow pad and that’s to protect the elbow and tricep – if not, you get hit there and you can’t keep your normal swing.
One last Biggio item, since he was kind enough that day (and on another prior occasion when Shots visited him in Houston), be sure to check out his primary charity, the yellow sunshine pin of which he is often seen wearing (including in the PTI Five Good Minutes.)
• Social Conscience, Part Deux, that was.
• Okay, friends. Let’s stay sharp and sensible this weekend and remember that fireworks don’t kill people, people kill people. Or something to that end. Happy Fourth, see you on the Eighth.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom