Aug 21 2008
By David Scott
Boston Sports media Watch
Enough already with the Olympics. Finish the hoops re-coronation, stow away Costas and give us now our college and pro football. BMX? Are you serious? And we don’t even dominate.
Anyway, we’re in another of the Summer Lulls as folks start the final exodus of the season and local sports media players scatter up North, down South and generally “away from the office.”
That in mind, we go real light today (but WEEI.com-heavy) and urge you to re-join us for the next scheduled Scott’s Shots on September 5 (barring any pertinent breaking news between now and then).
• Need an example of how speedy the flow of information is in 2008? Check out this informative reply from the inaugural “D-Bag’s Mailbag” by Mike Felger at WEEI.com.
I loved how you stood up to Trey Wingo Wango (On ESPN the day Matt Walsh testified before the NFL and cleared the Pats of taping the Super Bowl walkthrough). I can’t stand that guy. A lot of those guys at ESPN hate the Patriots. . .
A: A lot of people have asked me about that exchange (It’s been taken off YouTube. If you’re interested in it, search around. It shouldn’t be too hard to find [it is, sadly]). I don’t know Wingo. Never met him. Have no problem with him. But it was clear they wanted me to be the spokesman for the paper, and that’s not (wasn’t) my job. There’s also a little background that’s relevant to what happened: Just before the interview, I was on hold with their control room when my call-waiting beeped. It was my editor at the Herald. I clicked over.
“Are you about to go on ESPN and speak on behalf of the Herald?” he asked.
“No, they called and asked if I’d give my opinion on the story,” I answered. “Why?”
“Because they just went to commercial saying you were coming on next to defend the paper and give our position,” he said. “Let me make this clear. You will NOT speak for the paper. Let us handle that.”
So that was the backdrop. Next thing I knew, 30 seconds later, ESPN put me on air and asked me to speak for the paper. So that was the result. As for ESPN and the national media hating the Pats – yup, that exists. It’s very real. But don’t think it’s just a media thing. League personnel. Opposing team personnel. Operations people. Fans outside of New England. You name it. We’re wearing the black hats. . . .
• While we’re on the subject of Felger, we’ll go ahead and give him the Week One WEEI.commer of the Week honors. His Thursday bag was chock-full of nuggets (many 890-related, too) and his Monday intro was also worth the time investment. (The Thursday radio discussion, however, of guys he’d do, was completely un-necessary and beneath the should-know-better Felger.)
[Before we go any further, let's agree that the "WEEI.com Factor" has the potential to be a radical influence on the way sports infotainment is delivered to this region of rabid sports. Because that's exactly what the Entercom-supported venture is shaping up as.]
The lows from the first week would have to include a glaring fonts problem – as a Shots commenter and several emailers pointed out. The typeface on most columns and blogs is simply atrocious. That’s a pretty easy fix and something that should be undertaken sooner, rather than later.
We’re also not sold on the idea of a rotating Stories box as the banner across the front page. Designer Intertech Media’s forte seems to be radio station websites and the WEEI.com creation is not quite as static as some of the other sites InterTech is responsible for. WEEI.com is not using its site to solely market itself, it’s trying to be a news-gatherer and a “must-bookmark” site that users will turn to several times per day. Because of that, the slide-show presentation of current content is a bit counter-intuitive (although it will increase Time Spent Viewing, we suppose). Go with the time-tested listing that ESPN.com uses in its right gutter and highlight feature columns and fresh content through other, smaller boxes.
The last of our three largest complaints of the first four days of the site is, surprise!, Ron Borges. On the day of the site’s debut, Borges needed to address his past in some way, shape or form. He still could have done his adequate dissection of the Brady-less pre-season game, but he also could have silenced some critics by addressing what he once said “will come out, frankly, how the Lord wants it to come out. That’s how it will come out.”
Apparently neither the Lord nor the overlords at Entercom wanted it to come out with Borges’s re-birth as a Boston writer. Which is too bad, because his second offering on Gene Upshaw was also lacking in some transparency. Borges went to Art Shell for some Upshaw perspective, but neglected to inform the gentle reader that he is (or was) working on a book with Shell.
It would be a little thing for most other writers, but Borges is a different situation and there has to be efforts made to re-gain the trust of former Borges readers who may have strayed after his less-than-glorious end at the Boston Globe.
. . . There were also some glitches on the editing/posting front that a Wisconsin-based Shots’ loyalist pointed out, and they should serve as cautionary lessons for the start-up.
First, the Yaz news on Tuesday was butchered with this sloppiness in the “This Just In. . . ” box: “Yaz administered with chest pains Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski has been administered to Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering with chest pains and discomfort. The Hall of Famer will turn 69 in three days. More to follow on the Bradford Files blog. — Rob Bradford (Aug. 19, 1:35pm) (For the record, the blog entry itself, from Bradford, included the proper word, “admitted.”
(Administered, gives the suggestion that last rites were performed.)
Another more forgivable and less harsh oversight was found in the Planet Mikey list that promised nine righty hitters better than Manny but only delivered eight.
These are little things but they show an initial bumpiness in the nuts and bolts that will need to be smoothed over – especially as breaking news plays out.
. . . Personally, we’ll always remember the first week for Blair Witch Rob Bradford and the Orange Couch.
• Most interesting rumbling of recent days suggests that Entercom isn’t afraid to play Felger against Glenn Ordway when they get into the nitty gritty of re-signing The Big O for some Big $. Ordway still sits in a position of strength, but Ordway would be wise not to price himself out of one of the cushiest cushioned seats in Beantown radio. (And there’s no Mad Dog, stupid money option out there for Ordway on satellite radio.)
• Jimmy Myers rides again! Not sure it’s must-listen audio, but we’ve always enjoyed the work of Jimmy Young, so we’ll give it a looksie on his merits alone. And you know Myers is a radio-moment-in-waiting with every utterance.
• And lastly, say hello to the Big Man in Philly. Celts-Sixers in Boston just got a whole lot more interesting. Someone alert the North End eateries!
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.