Apr 22 2008
By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch
May, who came to the Globe in 1990 from the Hartford Courant and has been the paper’s senior basketball writer (and notes compiler) for several years, said via email on Tuesday that he “will cover the Celtics thru the Atlanta series for the Globe” and then be done with his tenure at the paper.
Indications are still strong that Gordon Edes will follow through on his acceptance of a job at Yahoo! Sports. (Edes, when contacted by Shots, would not comment but a friend of Edes who spoke with him in the past 48 hours confirmed that Edes is serious about going to Yahoo!.)
With or without Edes, the Peter May confirmation caps a mess of a month on Morrissey Boulevard that has seen the loss of general columnist Jackie MacMullan, a baseball generalist (Edes) and a hoops hero (May). Add in last May’s “retirement” by football and boxing bully Ron Borges and the once mighty Globe sports section has now been ravaged by buyouts, goodbyes and good riddances.
Still-vital Basketball Bob Ryan is writing less and less these days (as his TV commitments become a bit bigger) and Dan Shaughnessy is stuck in a rut as a one-trick pony that lost his trick (Curt Schilling). There’s been far more exoduses (Michael Holley, Chris Snow, Michael Smith, Jerome Solomon et al) than entrances and despite some recent, smart web moves, there has yet to be a homerun on that end either (and one large gaffe in the re-designed, but still dreadful Dim Dog).
What was once the Gold Standard of Newspaper sportswriting has become a tarnished shade of bronze. While the competing tabloid, the Boston Herald, has been lean for years now, the starvation at the Globe over recent months is beginning to take its toll on Joe Sullivan’s emaciated troops. Morale is low; Titanic jokes are being whispered and who knows what’s coming next for the NYT under-performers?
None of this even brings into consideration the bought-out “behind-the-scenes” people, of whom many Globe moles say the biggest loss may be that of assistant sports editor, Ken Fratus (who is believed to be going to ESPN in some capacity). And now, late Tuesday night, there are rumblings that assistant sports editor and key cog, Reid Laymance, a 1983 graduate of Texas, is also heading out of town. (We are efforting confirmation of this item.) Laymance has been at the Globe since 2000 and he, like Edes, was part of fabled staff at The National.
There may very well need to be a re-shuffling of the entire line-up by Sullivan and he would be wise to go to the bullpen for Bob Hohler if the ex-Sox beat man is agreeable to sliding back onto Fenway’s field full-time. Hohler handled the beat well and maybe an arrangement where his road work would be reduced would be enough to entice the current features/enterprise/investigative writer back into the grind.
• Sully’s Ode to His Gang now feels like it was written a million years ago.
Think this guy dreads coming into work every day to find the latest desk defector? What a mess.
• The following editorial will probably only resonate with the Umies in our midst (or mist), so if you’re solely here at Scott’s Shots for media musings, you’re now dismissed. (As a bonus, you can watch this humorous Bill Simmons “E:60″ piece with Boom Tho Rod Benson (a new teammate of Gordon Edes, in fact!):
However, Steve Buckley, Gerry Callahan, Mike Reiss, Rob Greenfield and the rest of us Blue Wall and Drake disciples are going to have a little chat about a place called The Cage.
And a man named Calipari.
And a former kid named Kellogg. . .
Somewhere in the vicinity of 6 p.m. on Wednesday night in a little gym on a big hill that sits upon the flagship UMass campus in Amherst, one of Our Own will approach a podium wearing (we presume) a maroon tie and a smile the size of a full pie at Antonio’s.
Derek Kellogg – who unlike his two immediate predecessors actually knows a thing or two about Puffton Village and Twisters – will become the 21st head coach at the State U., which, if you’re counting, has been hoopin’ in Naismith’s cow pasture for better than a century. Kellogg starts at zero next Fall. He can’t possibly be worse than Ray Wilson’s .094 winning percentage and let’s hope he does better than “No Coach” at UMass, who managed to no-coach his/their way to 29 wins. He begins his head career 343 wins shy of Jack Leaman’s school record and 264 away from his mentor, John Calipari’s eight-year run of magic.
A magic that still wields its mystical prowess in the Pioneer Valley as the proud papa of two children “matriculating” in Amherst (birth daughter, Erin and basketball son, Derek), Cal pushed hard for “his guy” and he did it because he knows what’s best for the place he pretty much built. UMass needs a true Umie now, maybe more than ever. McCutcheon went with the Pitino pistol (Travis Ford) last go-round. This time the choice was a Cal Pal and the results are going to be different. Different enough to rekindle 1996? Maybe not. But different enough that people are going to come to Mullins (and The Cage, we hope, for a throwback game) because the former point guard has come home to his roots in hopes of establishing some with his growing family.
Kellogg’s hiring is remarkable for its speed, its sensibility and its overall handling (Bravo, Mr. McCutcheon, Mr. Kenney, et al). The University of Massachusetts has had some mixed results in its three coaches since the end of Calipari-lot but the common thread post-Cal (minus the first couple of Bruiser Flint years) was a discernible lack of interest in the basketball program.
Kellogg, the Springfield-native, Glory Days guard and first-time father-to-be, erases that disinterest and replaces it with a cautious optimism and a fresh look back to a time when the dribbling in the Mullins Center meant something.
Kellogg will be introduced inside the historic Curry Hicks Cage, a building that has been virtually neglected by the most recent hired guns (Steve Lappas and Travis Ford). Kellogg’s symbolic taking of the reins in the building where he played a few games and practiced for a whole lot more is not lost on the Umies who notice such things. Kellogg is the perfect hire at the right time. He is Western-Mass. through-and-through, he recruits like the dickens, has a great pipeline for local talent in boyhood-friend TJ Gassnola and, as we’ll all learn soon, can coach more than a little bit.
Yep, you can go home again and Derek Kellogg will start proving it from his family’s porch: The Cage.
Be sure to join Shots for a liveblog from the Kellogg Introductory presser in the 5 p.m. hour on Wednesday. We’ll do our best to give you the flavor and the feel of being back in The Cage once again.
. . . There’s actual enthusiasm on the fan boards, which is nice to see.
And let’s not forget Coach of the Year from the NAC and Becker College, Brian Gorman.
. . . It does appear that Vance Walberg will join Kellogg in Amherst but it’s uncertain who else will be on the staff.
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.