By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

At least one of next Monday’s Marathon men will have a tough choice of which banner (or masthead) to run underneath.

“Maybe I’ll wear a shirt with the Boston Herald on the front and the Lawrence Eagle Tribune on the back,” laughed Rob Bradford, who will still be working for the Trib on Monday, but is on his way to the Herald, as he confirmed to Shots on Tuesday night during his drive home to Beverly after a long day at Fenway.

An Essex, Mass.-native, Bradford, who has distinguished himself locally and more and more nationally with his “outside the box” approach to sports (especially Sox) coverage, will likely be on the Herald’s team by the time the Sox visit The Bronx on the weekend of April 27.

“I’m looking forward to [the move from the 50,000 circulation E-T to the 245,000 circ. Herald],” said Bradford. “You have a lot of people who are able to work together – I’ve never had that opportunity. I want a crack at competing on an even playing field – I did everything I could at the paper I was at. There are disadvantages to being competitive on the Sox beat when you’re at a suburban newspaper.”

Now, instead of worrying about having to be in four places at once and fretting over missing something from a Terry Francona presser Bradford will be able to share responsibilities with sports editor Hank Hryniewicz’s deep, talented Sox beat team that includes baseball guys, Jeff Horrigan, Michael Silverman and still-connected general columnist, Tony Mazz (in addition to columnists, Karen Guergian and Old Time Baseball Steve Buckley).

“The thing is – my job at the E-T was great. I never once sent out a resume while I was there and I was allowed [by sports editor and Robert Goulet biographer, Bill Burt] to do what I do,” said Bradford, a father of three children under 10 years old and husband to Jen. “To even think that when a Boston paper comes at you that you have to think twice and ask yourself, ‘Do you want to leave it?’ That says something about what I was able to do at the E-T. They were great to be honest with you. Bill was really understanding [about my leaving after less than two years at Lawrence] and if it wasn’t for him none of this could have been possible for me. How many suburban papers would allow me to have the freedom to do what I did?

“But how can you go wrong when the Herald says, ‘We want to you cover baseball keep doing what you’re doing’ – find stories that are maybe off the beaten track. I’m jacked about the chance.”

Even with uncertainty at the Herald (and all newspapers for that matter) Bradford sees the opportunity as one he couldn’t pass up.

“For a paper that people are constantly saying, ‘They going to be out of business,’ I see it as a pretty positive sign that they’re bringing me on. Little things like getting agents to return phone calls will be helped when I can say I’m from the Boston Herald. You can say all you want about the uncertain future at the Herald, but for me this is an opportunity to take a crack at greatness.”

The magnitude of the move was not lost on many of Bradford’s peers who he said were tremendous on Tuesday at Fenway’s Opening Day. “It was really nice for people to say not only congratulations to me, but for people to say, ‘You really deserve it.’ Whether I did or not, it was nice to hear.”

He surely does deserve it and the Boston Marathon runner who hopes to clock in around four hours on Monday seems to know it.

“I’ve taken a weird route to this,” said Bradford. “I was sports editor at small paper (the Gloucetser Times) and then I went to School Sports magazine and then the Lowell Sun for five years. None of it adds up to being a beat writer for the Red Sox for the Herald.”

But that’s exactly what he’ll be in two weeks time.

If you root for the self-made guys – as we tend to do – Bradford is your rooting interest for sure.

. . . Sox beat responsibilities are not entirely clear with Bradford now joining the mix, but a 1 p.m. Wednesday meeting with the other writers and editors was scheduled to help in sorting things out. It might be a chance for Bradford to bring some his blogging prowess over to the Clubhouse Insider or to break off a bit and build on the momentum of his Bradford on Baseball blog. Hank Herald would be wise to build on B.O.B. and use that to help lure in advertisers.

. . . Yes, the Globe should be shaking in their Borges Booties at this development. Sheer numbers alone are one thing, but the hustle and doggedness of Horrigan, Silverman and Bradford could be enough to shake the very foundation of the 17 percenters’ Sox coverage team of Gordon Edes, Nick Cafardo and still-emerging Amalie Benjamin.

. . .Bradford’s WEEI responsibilities can continue under his new job’s parameters (the Herald has a healthy relationship with ‘EEI through Buckley, Gerry Callahan and Tony Mazz) and Bradford readily admits that both ‘EEI and his blog have been helpful in his career climb up the newspaper charts.

“To be honest without ‘EEI and Blog, especially for someone like me who is at a suburban paper, it’s all about exposure, ” said Bradford. “‘EEI gets your voice out – more important and the blog sort of put it over the top in terms of giving the voice. I had a lot of informatioin that was either getting buried or not used. The blog is an easy way for people to see it. Also, ‘EEI gives you the ultimate thick skin, which helps.”

. . . Bradford Trivia: He was an intern at NESN in 1991 and still has his Sox press credential from that stint.

. . . Once again, the Eagle-Trib proves to be a great breeding ground as Bradford joins John Tomase as the second straight E-Ter to jump to the Herald.

“It was a really great job and I have to credit John beacuse he built that job when he was there,” said Bradford.

. . . Which brings us to early names in the mix to perhaps fill the Bradford spot at the Eagle-Tribune, including Alex Speier (Union Leader and the Metro), Joe Haggerty (Woburn and the Metro) and, although he’s a Pats guy, Albert Breer of the MetroWest, who was in the mix for the opening at the Herald. Breer’s a bulldog and depsite his Pats’ leanings, he would be a huge asset to a suburban paper that allows its writers freedom.

. . . Great quote from Bradford on the Sox beat and the competition that will continue to be amped up with the Globe: “The Red Sox beat is so great because that’s where the juice is at. There’s no other beat maybe in sportswriting that has as much energy and excitement as the Red Sox beat.”