By David Scott
Boston Sports media Watch

Shots is not quite ready to re-start regular Friday posts, but the confluence of buzz surrounding Chad Finn, Dan Shaughnessy, Bill Simmons and Dick Albert offered too many fish in too small a barrel for my blogging soul.

As for my real-life project, we are happy to report a 238-page manuscript was birthed last week and we have officially entered the editing process. Appreciate everyone’s continued interest and support and it’s a good bet we’ll be back at this thing soon after March Madness with a “State of the Shots” address you won’t want to miss. (Complete with Clapping Nancy Pelosi doll.)

In the meantime. . .

• Let’s not look lightly upon Chad Finn’s widely viewed takedown of the Guest Street Goons.

When a single post generates more comments (and possibly more hits) that Boston.com’s uninspiring “OT” blog has probably had in its existence, it’s worthy of our collective attention. (The festering soap opera will be given even more plot lines on Friday when Finn takes part in a Noon chat at Boston.com.)

Beyond the agreement (from the sane) and outrage (from the LCDs) Finn sparked, his unrestrained attack on Entercom’s Sports Leader (radio side) could also signal the proverbial gauntlet having been thrown by the Globe. If there’s going to be a sports media war in this town, it certainly isn’t going to include the Boston Herald or any other of our local pretender sites.

It will be waged by the fledgling WEEI.com and its radio sibling against Boston.com. They are the only two with the brains, brawn and Benjamins to dig trenches and support troops.

While insiders on Morrissey Boulevard indicate the Finn column wasn’t part of any calculated strike against Entercom, the overnight metrics it has surely generated will certainly (hopefully) have heads spinning throughout the newly-formed New Revenue Team . If they can’t recognize a potential revenue-generating feud against 50,000 watts of ignorance, the NRT will be DOA.

The time is right for both sides to start rattling some cages and separating themselves from the have-nots. Why not stoke the flames between long-time rivals when the consumer is hungriest for distractions from the bleakness of reality?

WEEI.com has a well-rounded (if Leitch-less) roster of contributors and once they finally get around to introducing the new design, WEEI.com will be in a position to consistently compete player-for-player with the Globe. (Although Bob Ryan remains a trump card for the Old, Graying Lady.)

Likewise, the Globe has seen the power of the Internet on the sports side (see: Reiss, Finn, et al) and a good, old-fashioned media war against the loudest shouters of ‘em all (WEEI’s radio rabble-rousers) has potential to be, as one of our favorite PR guys likes to say, “a game-changer.”

The reaction to Finn’s missive is no aberration – this city has strong feelings about the lone, true sports talk radio station in the region and the build momentum off that passion would behoove both media conglomerates.

It’s a shame really, because the role of a fight-picker should really be played by the tabloid in town, but the Herald missed the Internet boat and have been swimming out to it – against the raging tide – ever since. From its sporadic early blogging days to the lack of the simplest of website innovation (hello, original video??), the Herald is positioned to be nothing more than the little paper that could – or perhaps can’t. God Bless the Herald for staying scrappy but to think they can ever be anything more than a periphery player with the skeletal staff they employ is pure lunacy.

(I’m still having trouble believing this, but it is confirmed by two separate parties with intimate knowledge that the Herald has been interviewing candidates for a slot containing the Pats’ beat. How they can get away with bringing in new blood – even with unfilled positions – is a bit baffling. Even more perplexing? The number of candidates willing to wend their career through Wingo Way. A risk at any paper, for sure.)

As for a WEEI/Globe escalation of activity, I say, “Bring it on.” Something has to shake up the status quo in this town and if Chad Finn’s WEEI Manifesto is it, then let ‘er rip.

(We feel it necessary to vividly separate the radio side of WEEI from the Web side and to emphasize that distinction in no uncertain terms. Tim Murphy and Rob Bradford have taken a reasoned approach to grabbing market share with WEEI.com. The real culprits we blame for Idiot radio are the majority of Big Show non-talent.)

That said, the battle we be joined on the websites and we’re anxious to see how far both sides will be willing to go.

• You’ve got to admire the commitment and unyielding efforts by the DSW gang in its dogged pursuit of pointing out the lowlights of the current portion of Dan Shaughnessy’s once-esteemed writing career. I do, however, wonder why they get to have all the fun? Seems selfish to me, so I figured I add to DSW’s long-list of self-plagiarism from the increasingly nasty, Shaughnasty:

Thursday’s offering from Curt Schilling’s BFF, reminded us of a column we’d read before. Maybe even twice before. Sure enough, his Thursday column is another in the long line of what we’ll call, “Dan Discover Collegians In Awe and Taking Pictures” pieces. Witness, the annual Shaughnessy-penned columns we are treated to in late February/early March:

March 2, 2007
Hed: Red Sox Feast on Collegians

Dan’s Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
Yes. “Beckett faced seven pasty-white Northeastern University batters. . .”

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
No. But did get to reference the “indoor” workouts of the college guys, something he uses again in ’08′s masterpiece.

3. Quote from a player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers
Yes. “It’s an unbelievable experience,” said senior captain Dan Milano. . .

February 29, 2008
Hed: Mismatch made in heaven; Northeastern Gets a Whiff, and is Simply Awestruck

Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
Yes. “The pasty Eagles and Huskies. . .”

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
Yes, both. “. . . there will be photos. And autographs. . . ”

3. Quote from player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers
Yes. “This is living the dream,” added (senior Ted) Ratliff. . . “These are guys we idolize.”

February 26, 2009 (linked above)
Hed: Lasting Images for BC

Dan’s Checklist:
1. Use of “pasty” in some form to describe fair-skinned, winter-paled student athletes from the Northeast
No. And to his credit, Dan did get rolling with a bit of a new angle focusing on an oft-injured sophomore – but he abandoned the theme immediately after the jump and got back into his comfort zone from the Shaughnessy Mad-Libs collection.

2. Reference to photos and/or autographs which players will relish for years
Yes. In large doses. “. . . for the rest of his life (Dane Clemens) can tell people he got David Ortiz out.. .” and later, “. . . a lot of photo-ops around the cage.”

3. Quote from a player (preferably a senior) indicating the supercalafragilisticness of playing against big-leaguers . . .
Yes. “This is awesome,” said Eagles first baseman/closer Mike Belfiore.
(Sadly, Belfiore is listed as a junior. Maybe next year when the lefty reliever/first baseman is a senior and Dan recyles like Cambridge, he can be quoted again!)

. . . Heck, everyone who writes long enough starts to repeat themselves. We acknowledge that. But even beyond repetition and an apparent lack of “institutional memory,” the bigger question is how – for three straight years – can Dan not dig up a better column angle than “pasty boys play against idols?”

Is it really too much to have a guy search under the tarp for something different? Is it?

And if it is, why the heck does he need to be there in the first place? Just run a “Best of. . . ” and save the crucial budget dollars.

. . .On top of his lack of creativity, Shaughnessy (and Joe Sullivan) are guilty of not including a 17-percenter-like disclaimer that Dan’s son Sam is listed as a sophomore for the BC club. If there’s not an ethical reason for such a tag-line to the yearly column, there is certainly a moral obligation. It’s not exactly going to take up the space of a brilliant new Shaughnessy witticism. Here it is for use with next year’s edition: “Editor’s Note: The columnist, Dan Shaughnessy, has a son, Sam, who currently plays for the Eagles baseball team.”

. . . Still waiting for word of further departures from Sully’s Staff, but for now it’s worth noticing the lack of Jim McCabe (now at Golfweek in another of the long line of unexplained or un-mentioned goodbyes not worthy of an editor’s note). With the biggest sports story of the week – Tiger Woods’s return – the Globe used an un-datelined recap from mystery staffer Michael Whitmer on Thursday and the website was using AP as of 3:00 a.m. Friday morning on Tiger’s flameout.

• I’m not saying a thing about him being a prima Donna and I’m even going to give heavy praise for both the Dooze Farewell and his latest for the Mag.

But I will mention how confused I am by the new “Follow Your Sports” ad campaign for the “new” ESPN.com. The former Boston Sports Guy is not a sport I care to follow, thank you. Although with all his subtle jabs and double meanings, it is sort of like a scavenger hunt and I’m sure that’s got a pro league somewhere. (Oddly silent stretch from the FBSG’s own special site for spit-balling the teacher.)

• Why was I sadder to see Dick Albert go than Bob Lobel? And how much longer before the sweeping of the local TV oldies is fully complete? Preemptive bye-byes to Mike Lynch, Mike Dowling, Jack Williams and probably a few of the Boomer Broadcasters. Just don’t take our Maria, you hear me?

• Finally! Mazel Tov Tom, Gi and the entire blended fam.

This will undoubtedly be the thing the Big bOzos cling to: “. . .Her three dogs also wore matching Dolce & Gabbana floral lace collars. . . ”

You know what, if my bride-to-be looks like Gi and I’m as in love with her as Tommy appears to be, I’d wear the damn collar myself. Not afraid to admit it either.

• I really hope Bobby Knight realizes how good he’s going to be if he sticks with TV and how insane it would be to take another head job. Once they get him away from brutalBrent Musburger and with Dan Shulman (they’ll be together for Cal-UCLA on Saturday night), he has the potential to be Al Maguire-like with a couple more ounces of self-deprecation and another year of seasoning.

. . . Hubert Davis, on the other hand? He’s got to rig of giggles before he can take the next step.

• Too bad no one in Boston has the stones to have written this one. I just want to know how Danny got Doc to accept this reclamation project. Phil Jackson wouldn’t have been force-fed the volatile guard. Neither would Gregg Popovich.

I’m just sayin.

• “Globe 10.0″ on Boton.com wasn’t quite ready for its ‘webut,’ but they’ll get it worked out. At some point, a sponsor will want to attach itself to the re-incarnation of what NESN quit on. It’ll just take some time.

. . . Hey, and what happened to NESN’s “The Instigators’” technilogically-enhanced set and the Podiums of Instigation? Now Mouthy, Bingo and Brick are on the Jordan’s furniture love seats and each combatant leans forward on the edge of their seat to roughhouse about the hockey topics. Sit back, fellas. Relax a bit.

• I admit it. I got a chuckle out of the debut of the “Heidi Watney and Snackfood Sophia Fight the Gator” webisode. But the unfortunate wording at the NESN site (and in Watney’s blog) makes an unnecessary and careless “stalker” reference. This is what happens when websites have little or no editing or oversight, but still behave like the operations that do. It happens everywhere a media entity (usually TV) tries to get all bloggy and edgy by having “talent,” interns and wannabes create content.

The general rule for mainstream (read: multi-million dollar subsidiaries) sites has to be: if it’s borderline offensive, use something else. It’d be nice if the blogosphere would adhere to such guidelines, but we know that horse has left the barn.

• This was awful news for UVM athletics and a very valued member of the Shots Loyalists. Fortunately, he too will “bounce back.”

• Great to share some time with you. Now back into the Editing Cones of Silence.

Enjoy the Madness.

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 and is now available for pre-order.