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The toughness of the Boston media: a self-fulfilling prophecy


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#1 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:30 PM

I found this interesting and didn't find a better place to put it, so it's new thread time.

So Deadspin has an interesting piece on Lackey today. They are essentially saying that the idea that Boston is a tougher town to play in is essentially an idea perpetuated in the media because it makes the media members covering the team feel self-important.

I'll quote the moneyshots because I think they're spot-on:

"The [reporters] around here are in love with themselves," says one reporter covering the Red Sox who'd rather stay anonymous. "They're in love with the idea of themselves, of what they're supposed to be. They really believe that working in Boston makes their work more important than their counterparts'.

"When Brandon Morrow got shelled [at Fenway earlier this month], the Boston guys were ragging on the Toronto writers in the press box. 'What are you going to ask him after the game? If he tried a lobster roll while he was in town?'"


"Pedro Martinez had one good year after leaving Boston, then went downhill fast," says our Boston reporter. "No one said that he couldn't handle the pressure cooker of Queens after the easygoing Boston media. They said he was getting older, and he lost his fastball. He was the same age when he left that Lackey is now. There are a million reasons why a player can suck, and very few of them involve my notepad."


Besides the idea that the reporters covering the team are a bunch of douchebags, I find it fascinating that calling themselves tough guys is a way to ensure their own continued employment.

#2 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:37 PM

Very good point of view...I found it interesting; the idea that the front offices of these clubs like to perpetuate this myth as well, since it gives them an easy excuse for any deal that doesn't work out (he just couldn't handle the market!), an excuse that furthers the self importance of the market.

#3 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:51 PM

Besides the idea that the reporters covering the team are a bunch of douchebags, I find it fascinating that calling themselves tough guys is a way to ensure their own continued employment.


I've always felt this way. A vast majority of the reporters in Boston are assholes, they're frustrated jocks without the talent. They think that shit stirring and calling out small infractions (and by the way, these "infractions" are always against a player who the majority of their readers don't like; such as Manny, JD Drew, Randy Moss, Tim Thomas [prior to May]) are what makes the "hard-core"journalists. It's not.

If Boston was such a tough place to play and the journalists are so much better, why didn't one of them break the steroid story? Really, when was the last time any Boston media member broke a national story that stuck*?

* This is an honest question, it could have been two months ago for all I know, but I can't remember.

For all of the bitching and caterwauling about athletes who don't "play the game the right way", head coaches who "can't coach their way out of a wet paper bag" or fans who "don't cheer correctly" there are a lot of overpaid writers who write the same things over and over again and who are a bit too fat and comfortable in their little world. But never bring that up to them, they get really defensive about things like. They stick to their narratives, they play it safe and mock anyone who does differently.

Being a Boston sports writer sounds like a sad, pitiful existence.

#4 right_arm_of_God

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:55 PM

I also agree with Deadspin's take.

From the same Deadspin piece:


It's self-serving for the media, because it lets them think their job is the real "big leagues." But it's an act. Instead of asking why Lackey's lost a couple miles on his fastball, and why he's throwing significantly more curves and breaking balls, or why John Farrell and Curt Young haven't tried to change his mechanics (the real tough questions), the narrative has always been the pressure of pitching in Boston. It's easier to jump to that conclusion than looking for actual answers.

It's been known since at least May that Krista Lackey was battling breast cancer, and the reaction was sympathy—and a reluctance to bring it up again, because Lackey's a private person. But it's hard to square that respect for boundaries with the so-called Boston microscope when it's a Los Angeles outlet that dug deeper and found a pending divorce.



Sadly, I think some of the "attitude" from the Boston media grows from an overall obnoxious and overbearing fan base. Of course many of the Boston media people are dickweeds. But back in the day they often mirrored a certain "Loveable Loser" and "It is the CURSE" mentality. Along with that there was a "I am a real fan, a baseball purist, even when they lose" superiority meme too.

After John Henry and his team came to Boston and changed all our lives forever things were different. The Boston media had mostly been about tearing people down so the championships and success just gave them an alternate backdrop for their venom. For the fans, an over the top feeling of entitlement and superiority is not uncommon. Sox fans are routinely despised here where I live in California.

I have been a Sox fan all my life. I am not saying I haven't fallen into the same behaviors myself at times. Still, I'm only a lurker on SoSH, not a nationally recognized "scribe".









#5 Titoschew

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:56 PM

I'd really like to know who the mole is.

#6 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:58 PM

These are the same people who brawled after a supposedly "for fun" softball game a couple years ago.

Apologies for butchering this since I can't find the precise quote right now, but I believe there's an old Clif Keane remark that sums up the general superiority complex the writing core had/has with the players, it's something along the lines of "In three years, you'll be traded and I'll still be here."


#7 Billy Jo Robidoux


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:01 PM

I'd really like to know who the mole is.

Posted Image

#8 Titoschew

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:10 PM

Snitching gets you stitches in New Bedford.

#9 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:13 PM

From reading Pete's twitter lately, I'm pretty sure it's not him dropping the dime to Deadspin.

#10 HomeBrew1901


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:15 PM

Posted Image

No way, where do you think the "lobster roll" comment came from?

If we are going to play this game, I'm going to guess someone from Toucher and Rich, they used to have the guy from Deadspin on as a guest.

#11 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:19 PM

If we are going to play this game, I'm going to guess someone from Toucher and Rich, they used to have the guy from Deadspin on as a guest.


No. We're not going to play this game because you have no idea who dropped the dime.

As much as it seems like it sometimes, this isn't an eight-grade girls' slumber party. So unless you want to come over and paint my toenails and braid my back hair, let's just keep it to a good, old fashioned media piling on, ok?

#12 HomeBrew1901


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

As much as it seems like it sometimes, this isn't an eight-grade girls' slumber party. So unless you want to come over and paint my toenails and braid my back hair, let's just keep it to a good, old fashioned media piling on, ok?

Why can't we do both?

#13 brs3


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

Lackey's relationship with the media(and all of the linked post-game interviews) really paint the Boston media as remarkably superficial and trite. I understand Lackey's a difficult guy to talk to, but every question they throw at the guy doesn't even pass the sniff test of a sideline reporter asking 'HOW DO YOU FEEL?!!'. It's almost as if these guys don't watch the game, and aren't looking for any actual baseball insight when it comes to Lackey. It's as if his abrasive attitude has eliminated any requirement on their part to do their jobs. Ask a stupid question, then quote a flustered player's response verbatim.

Try asking something related or thoughtful, like you actually watched the game. I'm sure if we posted all of the questions posed by reporters during the post game, they would look lazy, ignorant and stupid as well.

Edited by brs3, 26 September 2011 - 02:29 PM.


#14 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:37 PM

I was thinking about this the other day and it's strange to me that sport reporters are the only ones who publicly bitch about how hard their jobs are. I like "Felger and Massarotti" a lot, but on Friday all they did was complain about Bill Belichick. Did they complain about a mistake from the previous Sunday's game? No. They bitched about his press conferences and just "how hard it was" and "what a jerk Belichick is".

And maybe they're right, perhaps Belichick is a jerk, but how do you respond to a question like this, "Coach, what's up with Haynesworth?" or "Coach, tell us a bit about Sunday's game against the Bills?" These are unimaginative questions that get (and deserve) unimaginative answers. It's been proven time and again that if a reporter asks a smart question, they get an equally smart answer. But these guys don't seem to want to put the work in, so they get shit.

And it's been ten years of this stuff, yet they still ask the same things. At this point there are really two things they can do:

1. Ask better, more engaging questions.
2. Ask the same questions and bitch about the results.

You know which one they choose. And they don't just do this with Belichick, all athletes are asked the same boring, cliched questions. And I understand that reporters have a job to do, they need to ask the same type of questions over and over again, but at some point they have to take some blame themselves. Belichick and these athletes aren't participating in a monologue, it's a dialogue. If they want better answers, they should ask better questions.

#15 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:39 PM

Since when is it news that those in Boston like to pump their city up to make themselves seem on the level of those in bigger and better cities? The sad part is SoSH is far from your average fan that reads the rags in this town, and they're pandering to these types of fans who likely thought Ellsbury was a sissy that year for not playing with broken ribs.

#16 Sprowl


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:50 PM

I've always felt this way. A vast majority of the reporters in Boston are assholes, they're frustrated jocks without the talent. They think that shit stirring and calling out small infractions (and by the way, these "infractions" are always against a player who the majority of their readers don't like; such as Manny, JD Drew, Randy Moss, Tim Thomas [prior to May]) are what makes the "hard-core"journalists. It's not.

If Boston was such a tough place to play and the journalists are so much better, why didn't one of them break the steroid story? Really, when was the last time any Boston media member broke a national story that stuck*?

* This is an honest question, it could have been two months ago for all I know, but I can't remember.

For all of the bitching and caterwauling about athletes who don't "play the game the right way", head coaches who "can't coach their way out of a wet paper bag" or fans who "don't cheer correctly" there are a lot of overpaid writers who write the same things over and over again and who are a bit too fat and comfortable in their little world. But never bring that up to them, they get really defensive about things like. They stick to their narratives, they play it safe and mock anyone who does differently.

Being a Boston sports writer sounds like a sad, pitiful existence.

Actually, most of those describe SoSH posters -- except we don't get paid the big bucks. :rolleyes:

All the paid Boston sportswriters could disappear overnight, and all of the same things would still be said, written...












and texted.

#17 HomeBrew1901


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:52 PM

1. Ask better, more engaging questions.
2. Ask the same questions and bitch about the results.

You know which one they choose. And they don't just do this with Belichick, all athletes are asked the same boring, cliched questions. And I understand that reporters have a job to do, they need to ask the same type of questions over and over again, but at some point they have to take some blame themselves. Belichick and these athletes aren't participating in a monologue, it's a dialogue. If they want better answers, they should ask better questions.

I was thinking about posting about not only this, but for as much as Felger likes to get on Beckett for beig a "fake Texas tough guy", this is coming from the same guy that lambasted management for signing Mike Cameron and complained how bad he was and how bad he was going to be.

First thing Felger asks him when he goes on the show, "How was the weather in Milwaukee?"

At least Felger doesn't mind getting called to the carpet, question Buckley on EEI and prepare to be ridiculed and talked down to.

#18 right_arm_of_God

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:53 PM

... it's a dialogue. If they want better answers, they should ask better questions.


I think Boston Media are much like media outlets elsewhere in that they far too often make the story about themselves rather than about the object they are supposed to be reporting about. It is probably a hell of a lot easier to talk about how they feel and their unique opportunities of interaction with the team then advance an understanding of the sport or the game or the team or the player. The one huge difference that makes the Boston media an "outlier" is their history of extreme negativity and character assassination. They continually fucked with Ted Williams, Yaz, and Pedro for Christ's sake.

Shitting on Manny for letting his back pocket dangle while at bat, deserve it or not, is far easier then discussing his ability (or inability) to go with the pitch and drive the ball to the opposite field during a specific at bat.It probably plays to a bigger audience too.

#19 JBill

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:59 PM

From the article:

The narrative has always been the pressure of pitching in Boston. It's easier to jump to that conclusion than looking for actual answers.


The narrative has been simply too perfect for the writers to ignore. Theo Epstein thanked Krista Lackey, who went to high school in Maine and college in New Hampshire, for helping lure her husband to New England. (He never wanted this spotlight in the first place! Except he did.) Krista got vomited on in a Boston restaurant. (This doesn't happen in other cities! Except it does.) John threw up in the dugout during a game. (This doesn't happen on other teams! Except it does.) Clearly he can't handle Boston.


The author doesn't link to any stories, except for one by Yahoo's Big League Stew blog, so has this really been the Lackey media narrative? I didn't know "Lackey can't handle Boston!" was an ongoing storyline, but I fully admit to not paying attention to the Boston media 95% of the time. I thought it was more along the lines of "Lackey sucks and is rude."

#20 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:00 PM

I was thinking about this the other day and it's strange to me that sport reporters are the only ones who publicly bitch about how hard their jobs are. I like "Felger and Massarotti" a lot, but on Friday all they did was complain about Bill Belichick. Did they complain about a mistake from the previous Sunday's game? No. They bitched about his press conferences and just "how hard it was" and "what a jerk Belichick is".

And maybe they're right, perhaps Belichick is a jerk, but how do you respond to a question like this, "Coach, what's up with Haynesworth?" or "Coach, tell us a bit about Sunday's game against the Bills?" These are unimaginative questions that get (and deserve) unimaginative answers. It's been proven time and again that if a reporter asks a smart question, they get an equally smart answer. But these guys don't seem to want to put the work in, so they get shit.

And it's been ten years of this stuff, yet they still ask the same things. At this point there are really two things they can do:

1. Ask better, more engaging questions.
2. Ask the same questions and bitch about the results.

You know which one they choose. And they don't just do this with Belichick, all athletes are asked the same boring, cliched questions. And I understand that reporters have a job to do, they need to ask the same type of questions over and over again, but at some point they have to take some blame themselves. Belichick and these athletes aren't participating in a monologue, it's a dialogue. If they want better answers, they should ask better questions.


Not true and we both know this. It's not cause and effect, though asking good questions consistently will yield better results in the long run. But getting good answers is as much a function of asking the right question at the right time as it is being the right person asking the right question at the right time. There are plenty of lazy reporters out there who don't want to dig for info and just have stuff slid onto their hamburger buns, but just like politicians, athletes and coaches are actively trying to outmanipulate the media, hence the bad answers. Why should any ballplayer do Mazz a favor by helping him make news with some important revelation? Belichick actively tries not to make news or give sound bites because it doesn't benefit him to do so. When it does, he will.

#21 Myt1


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:21 PM

Not true and we both know this. It's not cause and effect, though asking good questions consistently will yield better results in the long run. But getting good answers is as much a function of asking the right question at the right time as it is being the right person asking the right question at the right time.


I think that's right. But, "Can you talk a bit about that Pedroia at bat?" has got to be the lamest frigging thing I ever hear and shit like that gets "asked" constantly.

The problem with sports reporters and most sports fans is the undying need to invent a narrative out of everything, and to all too often make that narrative about mental toughness or effort. Ochocinco dropped a ball because he's not concentrating. Ellsbury is a faker. Scott Williamson, too. Matt Clement couldn't handle the pressure. Tim Thomas just isn't a playoff goalie. Pedroia has gotten where he is because he tries so damn hard. JD Drew doesn't care. Hell, back when I was a back up second baseman on my high school JV team, I once played with a broken finger!

It's a boring story and an unutterable indictment of ones own physical prowess to write something like, "Dustin Pedroia went 4-5 with an insane diving play because he is, quite simply, unbelievably physically gifted and at the top of his game."

This morality play is the sort of thing that leads to Bob Ryan to saying he wants to smack Jourmanna Kidd and CHB talking shit about Fris, and Will McDonough feeling personally insulted during the Parcells/Kraft fiasco and Ron Borges, well, being Ron Borges. It's not about you guys (not including you personally, PH solely because of your profession ;) ).

Edited by Myt1, 26 September 2011 - 04:13 PM.


#22 singaporesoxfan

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 03:47 PM

I can't say I agree with the Deadspin article's claim that the Lackey "narrative has always been the pressure of pitching in Boston". Has it? Like JBill said above, the one example they link to is a Yahoo! sports blog. All I remember questions about were Theo's ability to assess free agents. There's a big difference between "he sucks, because of Boston" and "he sucks, why did we bring him to Boston?".

Having seen the blowhards on Around the Horn, I'm pretty sure that self-importance among sports reporters is not unique to Boston. I'm more than willing to be convinced that the Boston media is unique in its style of self-importance (i.e. "Boston is a tough place to play because of the pressure", as opposed to, say, the idea that "Miami is a tough place to play because fans don't care"), but Deadspin's piece is more assertions than evidence.

#23 right_arm_of_God

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:04 PM

Part of the problem is the loss of the specific identities and job descriptions in the media. There are "play by play guys", "color guys", "dugout/sideline reporters", columnists" and "analysts". All these different positions blur together and get dumbed down so instead of talking about the technique Pedroia uses to turn a 6-4-3 double play Remy is trying to sell hotdogs between batters. This isn't specific to Boston. It always astounds me how sports" reporters" say stuff/make stuff up/attribute stuff to anonymous sources and generally avoid facts and talk about perceptions and feelings and other bullshit - AND THEY PASS THAT CRAP OFF AS INSIGHT ! They waste their incredibly rare and valuable access to players and management for some of the most ridiculous and inane purposes. In Boston they just seem to be more mean and small minded then other cities.

The other problem is that they have to write what sells. Saying that Tito and Theo are feuding sells papers (or pop up ads, or whatever). Discussing two differing points of view that two experts may have and outlining the specific arguments from the different perspectives is much more difficult than bomb throwing from the press box. In fact someone could just make shit up and say they are feuding without any details and in the Boston media environment most people would just nod their heads.

Ehhhhh, fuck those guys. I'll watch the games myself.

#24 dcmissle


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:48 PM

I think that's right. But, "Can you talk a bit about that Pedroia at bat?" has got to be the lamest frigging thing I ever hear and shit like that gets "asked" constantly.

The problem with sports reporters and most sports fans is the undying need to invent a narrative out of everything, and to all too often make that narrative about mental toughness or effort. Ochocinco dropped a ball because he's not concentrating. Ellsbury is a faker. Scott Williamson, too. Matt Clement couldn't handle the pressure. Tim Thomas just isn't a playoff goalie. Pedroia has gotten where he is because he tries so damn hard. JD Drew doesn't care. Hell, back when I was a back up second baseman on my high school JV team, I once played with a broken finger!

It's a boring story and an unutterable indictment of ones own physical prowess to write something like, "Dustin Pedroia went 4-5 with an insane diving play because he is, quite simply, unbelievably physically gifted and at the top of his game."

This morality play is the sort of thing that leads to Bob Ryan to saying he wants to smack Jourmanna Kidd and CHB talking shit about Fris, and Will McDonough feeling personally insulted during the Parcells/Kraft fiasco and Ron Borges, well, being Ron Borges. It's not about you guys (not including you personally, PH solely because of your profession ;) ).


Felger & Mazz > "Thanks for listening." Yet they are stroked for being the cleverest and best around.

It's a formula that has worked for decades. Some of us recall well the bile that stained Boston papers and polluted it airways well > 30 years ago. Even in the middle of the Globe Renaissance.

The guys today would shrink in horror from this, but the only real difference between them and those who preceded them is that the guys today are not explicitly racist.

They have everyone hoodwinked. You learn this when you travel about the country and more than occasionally hear -- from writers and mic jokeys in those places --

"[Fill-in-the-name of the local star] thinks he has it tough here!? Well he needs to go to Philly or NY or Boston and see what tough is. He wouldn't last 5 minutes in those places.'

#25 Prodigal Sox

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 04:52 PM

Part of the problem is the loss of the specific identities and job descriptions in the media. There are "play by play guys", "color guys", "dugout/sideline reporters", columnists" and "analysts". All these different positions blur together and get dumbed down so instead of talking about the technique Pedroia uses to turn a 6-4-3 double play Remy is trying to sell hotdogs between batters. This isn't specific to Boston. It always astounds me how sports" reporters" say stuff/make stuff up/attribute stuff to anonymous sources and generally avoid facts and talk about perceptions and feelings and other bullshit - AND THEY PASS THAT CRAP OFF AS INSIGHT ! They waste their incredibly rare and valuable access to players and management for some of the most ridiculous and inane purposes. In Boston they just seem to be more mean and small minded then other cities.


As with most things, it's all about the money. Dicks get clicks (and local/national radio gigs). Every negative story or smarmy question filled with faux conflict is a chance for them to make a buck.

#26 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:45 PM

I think that's right. But, "Can you talk a bit about that Pedroia at bat?" has got to be the lamest frigging thing I ever hear and shit like that gets "asked" constantly.


Agreed. The only thing I will say is sometimes asking vague, open-ended questions like that are a way to find out what the manager/coach/whoever thinks is important. When you go right to "Pedroia looked like he was pressing in that 3-2 count in the 5th. Why didn't he just swing away?" that closes the door to information that you might not get since it's so hyper focused.

But other than that, sportswriters are the only ones that get free meals and drinks while they work every single day. No one else gets that. Christ, there's a never-ending box of Dunkin Donuts in the press box at Fenway every game.






#27 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 07:46 PM

Belichick actively tries not to make news or give sound bites because it doesn't benefit him to do so. When it does, he will.


That's not true. Belichick is engaging when journalists ask intelligent questions that are centered around the game and about things that actually happened. It's obvious that he doesn't speculate and reporters should understand that. Is he dick? Sure, but at the same time, it seems to me that if a reporter does his job and asks an articulate question about something that happened at a practice or during a game, then they will get an articulate answer. I've heard Belichick do it, I've heard out-of-town writers say as much and correct me if I'm wrong but at the end of training camp every year doesn't Belichick bring a bunch of reporters into the film room and break down film with them?

I'm not sure what these guys want. He's not going to write their stories for them and he's not going to give them scoops. After more than a decade, you would think that they understand this is the Patriots' new MO. The days of Dick MacPhearson and Pete Carroll and Chuckles Parcells are done.

I am not a journalist, in a former life I was (and I can remember asking incredibly dumb and obvious questions, so I can relate) but at the same time every once in awhile I'd get the hairy eyeball from some asshole City Councilor and the next time I interviewed the guy, I'd try to be a bit more prepared. Did I bitch about it? Of course I did, but at the same time I tried to do better. And brother-in-law is a professional sportswriter with a book under his belt and a pretty large sports beat. We talk about this stuff all the time and he says that all NFL coaches are the same. Secrecy is treasured above everything else. So I understand that being a sports writer isn't an easy profession, but there aren't many of us who live a life of leisure. I mean even if your job is to sponge bath Kate Upton's body every day, eventually you're going to crab about your prune hands. The thing is no one gives a shit, we all have problems.

Having said all that, and this may be overly naive, but you would think that there would be one reporter who would work his ass off to craft the best questions possible, get Belichick to speak (which I know isn't very easy in those giant cattle call post game interviews) and really try to get on his good side. As far as I know, no one has done this. It's easier to cry about what a meanie Bill Belichick is day after day after day. And the biggest thing is that they sound like hypocrites. Listen to any sports writer and they will always call someone out for being lazy. If a batter is in a slump they suggest extra BP, if a shooter is bricking the ball they suggest getting to the arena early to take some jumpers. All good ideas, but they never take their own advice. Since the turn of the century, Belichick has been pretty damn consistent with how he answers questions. Yet none of these guys have adapted or made an extra effort.

#28 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:00 PM

Belichick actively tries not to make news or give sound bites because it doesn't benefit him to do so. When it does, he will.


You're right, he doesn't answer non-football questions. And most of the 'football' questions are a fucking joke. He answers the topical, interesting ones; hell, I've heard him speak for 5-10 minutes on some good ones. Of course, you never see these unless you go looking for them. News outlets aren't interested in that. Plus, most of these shitheads don't ask.


Ask him a football history or very particular tactical question and you might be surprised.

Edited by Mystic Merlin, 26 September 2011 - 08:07 PM.


#29 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:01 PM

I'm not saying Belichick can't give a good answer -- I'm saying there's no reason he should. It's not his job to placate the scribes. Does he give out lollipops to those reporters he likes or who he thinks "care" about their jobs -- no idea. I doubt it. Does he actively give bland, non-news breaking quotes to reporters he thinks are lazy or assholes? No idea, but it's possible. I guess we should ask Borges. : )

I think Mike Reiss made the jump from Nobody With a Blog to Major Franchise Pro Football Beat Writer in record time in large part because he did exactly what you describe. He was also very prolific and quick to turn around stories/blog items while Borges et al were bitching about the extra work. Their job is to get the information, regardless of whether Belichick or whoever is helpful. But it's no different than anyone who covers powerful people. Moaning about how hard that is certainly isn't good radio, I agree.

That's not true. Belichick is engaging when journalists ask intelligent questions that are centered around the game and about things that actually happened. It's obvious that he doesn't speculate and reporters should understand that. Is he dick? Sure, but at the same time, it seems to me that if a reporter does his job and asks an articulate question about something that happened at a practice or during a game, then they will get an articulate answer. I've heard Belichick do it, I've heard out-of-town writers say as much and correct me if I'm wrong but at the end of training camp every year doesn't Belichick bring a bunch of reporters into the film room and break down film with them?

I'm not sure what these guys want. He's not going to write their stories for them and he's not going to give them scoops. After more than a decade, you would think that they understand this is the Patriots' new MO. The days of Dick MacPhearson and Pete Carroll and Chuckles Parcells are done.

I am not a journalist, in a former life I was (and I can remember asking incredibly dumb and obvious questions, so I can relate) but at the same time every once in awhile I'd get the hairy eyeball from some asshole City Councilor and the next time I interviewed the guy, I'd try to be a bit more prepared. Did I bitch about it? Of course I did, but at the same time I tried to do better. And brother-in-law is a professional sportswriter with a book under his belt and a pretty large sports beat. We talk about this stuff all the time and he says that all NFL coaches are the same. Secrecy is treasured above everything else. So I understand that being a sports writer isn't an easy profession, but there aren't many of us who live a life of leisure. I mean even if your job is to sponge bath Kate Upton's body every day, eventually you're going to crab about your prune hands. The thing is no one gives a shit, we all have problems.

Having said all that, and this may be overly naive, but you would think that there would be one reporter who would work his ass off to craft the best questions possible, get Belichick to speak (which I know isn't very easy in those giant cattle call post game interviews) and really try to get on his good side. As far as I know, no one has done this. It's easier to cry about what a meanie Bill Belichick is day after day after day. And the biggest thing is that they sound like hypocrites. Listen to any sports writer and they will always call someone out for being lazy. If a batter is in a slump they suggest extra BP, if a shooter is bricking the ball they suggest getting to the arena early to take some jumpers. All good ideas, but they never take their own advice. Since the turn of the century, Belichick has been pretty damn consistent with how he answers questions. Yet none of these guys have adapted or made an extra effort.



#30 valentinscycle

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:45 PM

Having seen the blowhards on Around the Horn, I'm pretty sure that self-importance among sports reporters is not unique to Boston. I'm more than willing to be convinced that the Boston media is unique in its style of self-importance (i.e. "Boston is a tough place to play because of the pressure", as opposed to, say, the idea that "Miami is a tough place to play because fans don't care"), but Deadspin's piece is more assertions than evidence.


This reminds me of my favorite instance of sports-reporter self-importance: mid-80s, after a Cubs-Mets game in which then-Met Ed Lynch, who'd had a bad day, is asked by longtime (and still employed) Chicago hack Bruce Levine about a specific pitch. When Lynch reacted irritably, Levine said: "Without me, you wouldn't have a job." Upon which followed a long pause, as Lynch struggled to understand what he'd just heard, after which he replied-- and you could hear the incredulity dripping from his voice: "Without you I don't have a job?" Levine repeated the sentiment, Lynch had to be physically restrained. Once upon a time this clip was frequently heard on Chicago radio, if only to catch Levine's incredible, illogical arrogance, and Lynch's amazement.

#31 Myt1


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:49 PM

Agreed. The only thing I will say is sometimes asking vague, open-ended questions like that are a way to find out what the manager/coach/whoever thinks is important. When you go right to "Pedroia looked like he was pressing in that 3-2 count in the 5th. Why didn't he just swing away?" that closes the door to information that you might not get since it's so hyper focused.


Open-ended questions can be awesome sources of information. Of course, they're why depositions can last 7 hours. ;)

#32 Sille Skrub

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 12:17 AM

Really, when was the last time any Boston media member broke a national story that stuck*?

Tomase and Spygate?

(*crawls under the desk and sobs*)

#33 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 27 September 2011 - 06:42 AM

Tomase and Spygate?

(*crawls under the desk and sobs*)


Did Tomase break Spygate? I know that he "broke" the story of the Pats videotaping the Rams prior to the 2002 Super Bowl on the eve of the 2008 Super Bowl, but that turned out to be crap. And that really set his career back.

#34 CJM

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

Deadspin has also made its name puncturing, or appearing to puncture, sports/media narratives. With the ubiquity of Boston in sports media over the past decade, there's arisen a backlash -mostly among people who follow sports media a great deal- against Boston sports, Boston fans, and Boston sports mythology. Deadspin's bread-and-butter is this sort of backlash anti-narrative.

I think the idea of the narrative of the Boston media environment comes from the whole mythology of the Boston sports fan - knowledgeable, literate, opinionated and skeptical/pessimistic/paranoid narcissistic. Deadspin's probably right that the media cherishes this notion of toughness just like many Boston fans cherish the idea that they're more knowledgeable and passionate than your average fan. I also think Deadspin can be just as lazy in supposedly calling out this self-mythologizing as the Boston media and fans can be in perpetuating it.

Edited by CJM, 27 September 2011 - 10:33 AM.


#35 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 27 September 2011 - 01:09 PM

Much of Deadspin's effort to puncture the mythology of the super Boston sports fan is their hatred of all things Simmons and also front runners. It makes a ton of sense from a marketing standpoint to play David to the franchise Goliaths since most potential readers are rooting for underdogs.

#36 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:39 AM

I guess that the events of the last few days have given us perspective on the toughness of the Boston media, eh? There was one media member who suggested that the Sox weren't behind Francona and he was mocked. Even though Michael Felger isn't in the Sox locker room at all, he said it back in June and was laughed at. I'm not hear to pump his tires, but where was the rest of the beat writers and guys who cover this team daily?

I understand that they can't write about every minor quibble that occurs in the clubhouse, but no one saw this coming? The whole of thought of the "toughness" of Boston media being debated is silly, these people are pom-pom wavers and sycophants just like the journalists that they make fun of.

#37 pedros hairstylist


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Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:48 PM

Is anyone arguing they are tough? I thought we all agreed most are fat, lazy, self-interested assholes...

#38 LMontro

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:01 PM

The present-day Boston media is living off the rep of the previous versions, IMO.

#39 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 03 October 2011 - 06:45 AM

Is anyone arguing they are tough? I thought we all agreed most are fat, lazy, self-interested assholes...


I don't think that we are, but the Boston media like to think themselves that way.

#40 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:03 AM

The media in this town is tough? Since when? Maybe pre 2004, but with the success these teams have had its mostly rainbows and moonbeams around these teams. Whos tough on them? Dan Friggin Shaugnassey? Mike Felger? WEEI has pom pom these teams for more than a decade. The beat guys come and go and besides asking a million game questions, they're harmless. When was the last time Bill Belichick got asked a pressing question? Or Glen Rivers?

I'm sorry the media in this town hasn't been tough since around 2000. (remember when Sports Final was must see tv??) For the most part these teams and players are glorified. And in most cases, with good reason.....look at their track record the past decade.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 03 October 2011 - 08:52 AM.


#41 touchstone033

  • 216 posts

Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:54 PM

I have to defend the beat writers a little bit here -- and understand I raked these guys in a post that pretty much repeated what was said here -- but it's not like the players are friggin' interviewers' delights, either. I covered some AA games in Erie, and the players for the most part are terrible interviews. It's like pulling nails, and the answers they give are stock and boring, and purposefully so. Not to mention they ooze with entitlement.

Beat writers on the other hand, have crazy jobs where they're away from home half the summer at a ballgame with tight deadlines and the same old narrative to cover almost every game.

That said, to take the players' attitude personally is ridiculous. To let it poison your tone is irresponsible. I don't know why, when, or how the beat writer narrative tone became the same as the know-it-all drunk at the end of the bar, but it did.

From Peter Abraham's Twitter feed: "Amusing to see Pink Hats getting so upset with me. Welcome to how the Red Sox used to be"

I said this in the other thread, I'll say it again. I don't care if he's from New Bedford. Dude's been the Sox beat writer for two years. He's the last guy to be lecturing us on how the Sox "used to be."

Woe is us.

#42 Brianish

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 08:59 AM

Besides which, to behave the way they 'used to be' is absurd. Recent setbacks aside, this is still an incredibly successful organization at all levels. The reaction tells us more about the writers than the situation, and that's the opposite of what the press is meant to do.

#43 CJM

  • 518 posts

Posted 04 October 2011 - 09:36 AM

The media in this town is tough? Since when? Maybe pre 2004, but with the success these teams have had its mostly rainbows and moonbeams around these teams. Whos tough on them? Dan Friggin Shaugnassey? Mike Felger? WEEI has pom pom these teams for more than a decade. The beat guys come and go and besides asking a million game questions, they're harmless. When was the last time Bill Belichick got asked a pressing question? Or Glen Rivers?

I'm sorry the media in this town hasn't been tough since around 2000. (remember when Sports Final was must see tv??) For the most part these teams and players are glorified. And in most cases, with good reason.....look at their track record the past decade.


I think there's two different types of "tough" that are being used in this thread. The first type of tough means "dogged in pursuit of the story/truth". This is the journalistic ideal - the Seymour Hersh or Woodward and Bernstein school of journalism.

Then there's "tough" in the sense that nothing is out of bounds, speculation and negative interpretation are often applied to players' statements or actions, the media expects a certain level of attention from the organizations, and the media has a constant and passionate fan base as an audience. I think this is what's usually meant by Boston being a "tough media environment". The natural end result of this is the CHB/Pete Abe tweet school of journalism.

We should expect the former, sportswriters are still journalists after all, but I don't know if it's ever really been that way and I see no great reason to hope for this sort of journalism to become the norm.

We get the latter because Boston is an odd market. Look at comparably sized cities - I can't imagine Baltimore, Detroit, or Seattle have the same sort of tough environment. Even if you look at larger statistical areas, I don't think Oakland-San Fran-San Jose's media market is as tough, or Baltimore-Washington-NoVa (I'm just guessing here). Whether this is a self-propagating narrative - the media is rabid because Boston media is supposed to be rabid because the fans are rabid- or not, enough players have made remarks about the intensity and claustrophobic atmosphere of Boston sports that it's not a fiction. It's just not the type of tough people on this board would like to see.

To get back to Rocco's point, I think it has largely been a more welcoming environment this past decade, although there will always be contrarians who make their money by floating turds in the punchbowl. But this notion of toughness combined with a fan base that is now both passionate and somewhat entitled means that, when something does go genuinely bad, the environment gets toxic fast.

Edited by CJM, 04 October 2011 - 09:37 AM.