At a time when the Boston sports scene is less than scintillating (until those Champion Patriots take the field in less than 3 months), we wanted to take this opportunity to review, analyze, critique and flat out shit on some of the ‘so called’ experts in this town; the Sports Media. Through a collaboration of our team (minus @elburkee978 because, ya know, she is a Cat Lady and cannot likely speak to the topic) we have chosen 29 of the more prominent names. Why 29? We don’t want those snotty folks at ESPN coming after us for copyright infringement. From writers to radio hosts to news casters – from past and present we picked 29 of our favs (or UN-favorites, in many cases) and gave them a little performance/personality review
CIBF & Crew proudly presents the original series 29 for 30: The Boston Sports Media Review….
This sports writer was a man among giants covering the NBA from wicker baskets to LeBron’s latest fake hammy injury. He is a founding member of “The Lodge” (see Fred Toucher) and was covering basketball when shit was on tape delay because “Shaggy the Dog” was the Disney movie of the week on ABC. Every column this guy wrote you knew he talked to every ball boy, locker room guy, assistant coach, and Larry Birds taint just to get the truth. He was the only reason I read basketball columns after Reggie Lewis did his last line of blow. So god bless you Bob Ryan for keeping basketball interesting for small, fat, poor, white kids that loved Nintendo.
Fred Toucher & Rich Shertenlieb
These guys came upon us as “shock jocks” on WBCN back about 9 years ago just trying to make everyone laugh. I remember going to work in Boston one day and hearing this show come on WBCN. I only thought “oh shit, here we go with some fucking blow-ins think they know us Bostonians” Well they were immediately a hit in my head with the Chili guy, Different Strokes -, Rich goes to the movies, and drunken Red Sox recap. Then the world-famous WBCN went broke and these guys became sports jockeys. Everyone had these guys written off when they had to switch genres, and even had guys calling the 98.5 (the sports hub) looking for jobs. But these guys realized that the sports in this city was a special thing and covered by a select few individuals who had a special “Lodge”(location unknown). Few have seen the inside of this “Lodge”. It’s the same type of secret lodge that Princeton has with the Skulls. From the moles that I have on the inside the “Lodge” has a lot of leather chairs that smell like interns, smoking pipes, secret passages to the Garden, Oil paintings of retired writers, and an eternal flame for Will McDonough. Nobody will talk about the “Lodge” but Toucher and Rich know all about it. These guys are the number one radio show in Boston. They are breaking down “Lodge” walls, hanging up on Rick Pitino, giving a non-biased homer opinion and making us laugh at ourselves with our drunken recaps.
The relevance that Gary Tanguay enjoys in this industry is the result of four months of torture via Toucher and Rich during his brief tenure at the newly minted 98.5 the sports hub. It is apparent his mastery of the local sport scene begins and ends with uniform colors, yet when it comes to gigs; he may be as prolific as anyone on this list. You can’t change a channel without bumping into Gary and his fuckall glasses. “Dump-it! Dump-it!”
Hazel Mae. Heidi Watney. Jenny Dell….fucking Gary Striewski? NESN sure knows how to kill a winning streak. Listen, I’m not going to say that I need beautiful women explaining nonsense to me during the 1.4 thousand times the pitcher steps off the mound, and the batters point to Jesus ….I just don’t need a short, peppy, somewhat Asian (?) dude telling me that “Clay Bucholz had a great bullpen session yesterday, and did not feel any stiffness.” Especially when the Sox are getting shelled.
Glen “The Big O” Ordway
Somehow, the chubby guy that replaced Johnny Most to become the voice of the Celtics for their transition to League doormat became the voice of several generations of Boston Sports Talk Radio. He gave us zero inside information, and happily moderated four hours of shouting matches about things like Pedro’s pitch count in April. The only morsel of decent entertainment came in the form in the now famous Whiner Line…5 minutes of content not created by Glen, but his mouth-breathing callers. The cherry on top was Glen continuously taking dumps on the heads of any caller that attempted to talk hockey, which ultimately led to his undoing when the Bruins became relevant again.
Dale ‘Fucking’ Arnold:
Dale Arnold was for a brief time, the play-by-play guy for NESN‘s coverage of the
Big Bad mediocre Bruins that vaulted him into the midday slot on WEEI with Michal Holly. The brilliant minds at NESN (who gave us the peppy Gary Striewski); assigned a man with the voice, personality, and athletic resume of Ned Flanders to narrate the sport of hockey…and the results were as expected. He was so bad that someone actually replaced him with Jack Edwards. And thanks to Glen Ordway’s stance on the sport, Dale ‘O-kee-doh-kalee’ Arnold became the only safe harbor for Bruins fans to communicate without persecution. These were the dark ages for local hockey fans. Yikes.
Remember the Channel 5 Ad campaign about 20 years ago dubbed ‘I Like Mike’ which strangely promoted viewers to “like” sportscaster Mike Lynch? Odd at the very least, but that is not my issue. During those years, Mike visited our High School to give a “motivational speech” to the entire student body. With close to 3,000 students in an urban environment, the last thing we wanted to hear at the end of the long school day was this dorky honkey giving us a pep talk about staying in school, not doing drugs and wearing no-wrinkle khaki Dockers. So, as you can imagine, no one gave him any of their due attention during his talk. About 5 minutes into it he began to get frustrated and yelled over the microphone to the entire auditorium, ‘Hey, Will you all shut up!”. Really, Mike? That will inspire a bunch of punk teenagers. So, a well-known ‘I-really-don’t-give-a-shit’ hoop player stood up in his seat like the movie The Principal and yelled back. “Fuck you, Mike”. It was awesome. The crowd roared. I was a timid freshman at the time and I just thought it was SO cool. Sure the kid got kicked out and Lynchie got to finish his crappy speech but who cares. We win. Hey Mike, we hate you.
A throwback to the Anchorman days of broadcast news, Lobel was a man’s man. When he showed up at the 11 o’clock news set, he was two things; drunk and frisky. Often red-faced during his segments, Bobby Boy lived the dream. He had an all-access pass to the Boston sports world. He was a local celebrity which likely means he never paid for a ticket, a drink or a dinner. Would you turn down a cocktail in the owner’s box during the Larry Bird Celtic years? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Maybe the booze and chasing-female-interns-around-the-desk-Olympics at WBZ got the best of Bob (which is likely why he is interviewing Candlepin Bowling retirees on Cable Access TV at 3AM), but in our book, he did it right.
Gerry “Clips” Callahan
The surly co-host of the widely popular Dennis and Callahan Show featured on WEEI Sports Radio from 6-10AM each day is simply, a dick. Angry is an understatement. Gerry comes off as Napoleon’s shorter brother with a crappier rank. I used to work in the same building that WEEI broadcast from many moons ago. I took the service elevator one day to avoid the lunch time back up. There was Gerry. He started staring at the ceiling, avoiding eye contact like I was going to ask him for an autograph. Please spare me, you hair-restoration-endorsing geek. Oh yeah, before I forget if you listen closely to the program, once and a long while a caller will reference Gerry as “Clips”. Why you ask? Gerry (which, by the way, is how-females spell GERRY – it’s JERRY for men) illegally clipped an opponent during the High School Superbowl to cost his lowly Chelmsford Lions the title. Aww. That’s why he talks about sports and doesn’t play them.
Oh man, do we hate this guy. He is absolutely the epitome of a dinky, never-played-sports-but-loves-to-criticize talking head. His whiney voice…incessant babble…it all sucks. Unfortunately, he is kind of a handsome prick and somehow bagged super-hottie FOX news babe Sara Underwood. My guess is he rendered her unconscious with his endless gibberish and had some Justice of the Peace marry them while she was fast asleep in an Annoyance Coma. Felger, just piss off man.
P.S. Nice whiffle, Pee Wee. Looks good on you though.
Another Hall of Famer that played the game the right way, hitting homers and ignoring the media. Now he provides analysis for NESN after Red Sox games. He is good about 30% of the time telling you things that only a Hall of Famer would see during the course of the game. The other 70% of the time its like he is playing fucking Mad Libs. He is stringing words together that have never been put together in a sentence to describe baseball. Its like the two guys speaking jive from “Airplane” are doing analysis “Smack em up flip em to second back to first slam em jam em young blood”. I am still taking him all day, everyday and twice on Sunday over the plainer-than-a-white-bread-mayo-sandwich Tim Wakefield.
This guy hates the Patriots more than Bruce Jenner hates ball sweat. If the Patriots won 17 in a row he would say 16 were lucky. Ron is so anti-patriot he refuses to wear red, white, or blue. Ron hates the Pats so much, he calls people named Pat, “Rick”. I heard Ron Borges hates the Patriots because he stocked up on Drew Bledsoe’s rookie cards and when he didn’t get the starting job back in 01′ he ruined his retirement fund. Ron is that slutty girlfriend who did everything for you in High school, submissive to your every sexual wish and then you ask for one quick visit to Planned Parenthood and she gets all uppity.
One of the best Red Sox beat writers that has ever existed. This guy is in the “Lodge” and is looking for what type of leather chair he wants. He may sound like Frankenstein with strep throat and look like some creep up at Tens in Salisbury but this guy is the “Peter Gammons” for the new generation. The only problem with Sean is that he sometimes gets too cozy with players. He knows everything before it pops, then he can tell you who opened for Springsteen at the Garden in 87′
Now this guy has been one of the big wigs among Boston sports radio airwaves for this century. Here is the only problem with our friend John. He was the biggest shit talker among every Boston personality from sports to entertainment, saying whatever he wanted, just to get ratings. And guess what? 9 out of 10 times it worked. The bottom line on this guy is once his star started to lose its luster (no longer #1, not on TV, no Farrelly Bros. movies) he started to show his true colors….that he was a FUCKING BLOW. Threatening other radio hosts and telling people “Check your W2″. Is there a more pussy move then telling a person to check their W2 just to say you make more money than them? Yeah, yeah he went to rehab he should be all better now. Trust me I know a bunch of FUCKING BLOWS that went to rehab and they all still came out as FUCKING BLOWS, just sober ones (for a short time).
Ah Jackie Boy. The super-hyper play-by-play man of NESN’s telecast of the Boston Bruins. Many have mixed emotions on Jack. He is a bit overzealous? Perhaps a tad verbose? A flair for the dramatic some may say? Maybe that is all true, but if you are a hometown hockey fan, you want this guy calling the game for your team. His love of the Black and Gold is unwavering and, as a fan, I like that about Jack. Totally biased? Absolutely. A friend once commented he pictured Wacko-Jacko on game days sitting naked in a dimly lit apartment in Somerville with the windows painted black, shaving his face with a rusty ice skate and just mumbling “Play the puck. Go to the net. Play the puck. Got to the net”. I really hope that is true. Jack is the man.
Host of the ‘Planet Mikey’ night-time radio show on WEEI, Mike is another of the throwback guys on our list. Mike has bounced around the Boston sports scene for more than 20 years. Like some of the others of his generation, its common knowledge that Mikey liked to have fun and may partake in a cocktail or 2 dozen. No matter, the guy brings a lot of humor to the sports scene in these parts and that is rare considering the amount of uptight know-it-all nerds that dominate the landscape. One Mike Adams story that makes him a legend in our estimation; Red Sox Opening Day 1997. Beautiful Spring Friday. A buddy of mine scalped some tickets to the game and we had a great day ahead. Somewhere around Inning 3, I entered the Men’s Room to dispense the 9 draught beers I had already imbibed. During my 14 minute urination, I looked to my right to discover my apparently inebriated co-pisser to be Mike Adams (who was doing TV for NECN at the time, I believe). “Hey, Mike Adams!” I yelped over toward him. A weird, burpy “Hey” was all he could muster. OK, that’s cool. Must be his day off and he is enjoying the Opener. Good for you, chief. Game ends and my friend and I are exiting the ballpark and ironically stumble upon Adams who is now conducting a live post-game wrap up segment! Oh man! We start yelling – “Hey Mike! Mike is drunk!! Mike Adams is drunk!” I think he actually threw out the gratuitous middle finger in our direction. Well played, sir. You had me at ‘Burp‘.
The former back-up Patriots quarterback to the late Drew Bledsoe (is Bledsoe dead?); Zo has made quite a broadcasting career after his storied life as a NFL sign language professional. Zo does radio, TV, Patriots broadcasts. He is everywhere. I guess what sets him apart is the amazing level of crazy he brings to the airwaves. A frequent flyer on Twitter, rarely a day passes when Zo doesn’t rattle off some incoherent 140 character drivel that no one has a fucking clue to what he means. However, regardless of what Scott Zolak does in his future, he will always be a superstar for this famous call during a Patriots broadcast, “Unicorns! Show Ponies! Where’s The Beef?” I have no clue Zo what you were talking about you crazy son of a bitch, but that call secured your legacy in our eyes. Touchdown.
Maybe it’s the fact that we are just coming off the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, but Neumie has a place on our list. Another ‘old school’ type, Neumie was in the same Frat House as Lobel and Dennis. Drink hard, play hard was the slogan of the Delta Tao Newsroom. If I am not mistaken I think Bobby lived in the Marriot on the Waterfront which made the infamous, hottie hot spot Tia’s his front mailbox. Power move. Unlike many before him though, Neumie had the foresite and intestinal fortitude to NOT get married as a younger man. He knew tying the knot (back then) was not a smart move for a guy who likely got the twice per week invite in the 80s to snort coke off Natalie Jacobson’s hip with Bill Lee and Derek Sanderson after the 11 O’Clock news. It’s just plain Xs and Os, people. On top of that he embraced the Sport of Kings (that’s horse racing, dummies) and is considered one of the top handicappers around. How do you not admire a guy that spends his talents on a sport that completely revolves around gambling!? Health issues have slowed Neumie down in the recent past but he is one of the all-time greats in this area. Don’t ever retire, Bob Neumeier.
This clown plays the chinese finger cuffs in between the two old muppets on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan morning show. Kirk somehow thinks he is hot shit because he is on Dennis and Callahan, but in reality you know he is just some rich kid who had his Dad call in a few favors so he had a job. Everything this wanna-be says is just to get attention but it comes off as lame because he is such a dork. Kirk is that kid in college that you hung around with because he had a car and weed but you never told him where you were partying that night because he annoyed everyone.
When you go to a fine institution like Salem State University its hard not to come out ready to conquer the world. Joe is doing just that as a talented hockey writer and sometimes Red Sox guy before he ratted out everyone drinking beer in the Red Sox clubhouse. That aside he is great with insight into all things hockey and not bad on the radio. As for TV, when he is interviewing pro players its like Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney on Saturday Night Live.
Haggs: “Hey Patrice, do you remember that goal you scored in the 2nd period?”
Bergeron: “Ya we really needed that score, it was great pass from Lucic.”
Haggs: “Ya, that was awesome.”
He was one of the greats, and when he was with Sean McDonough it was never a boring game the way they played off each other. Then he started to get a great groove going with Don Orsillo, winning World Series, and ratings awards. Then the dark times came, he got sick, got depressed, family problems, and everyone was just telling him to walk away. Nope not Jerry, he is sticking it out and leaving on his terms. The problem is, he lost his fastball back in 2009. He has been working with off speed shit covered in vagasil just to get through 5 innings now. Jerry, you were great but its time to head on down that road. There are so many guys that want your job you would think Heidi Watney was still working there. Listen Jerry, take the gold watch, retirement party, season tickets and get the hell off that sinking ship of an organization.
LEGEND, HALL OF FAME PLAYER, HALL OF FAME COACH, ALL OUT HERO. All announcing in this town begins and ends with this man. He started doing games on the radio in 1966 and has been there on and off since. Nobody is a bigger homer than him, but also nobody straight up knows basketball better than him. The great urban legend of him doesn’t hurt either, that every time he says “The light is on” means he just cracked his first beer while doing the game and doesn’t stop til the buzzer goes off. True or not, it doesn’t matter the man helped make the Celtics what they are in this town. When he is gone we are going to look back and say “Shit that guy made basketball games more entertaining”. You’re the man Tommy, and everyone knows it.
First off, YOU are WELCOME Jerry Thornton for even being considered as part of the “mainstream Boston sport media”. Though you have been called ‘Fan Boy’ for your one-sided, totally hometown opinions (of the Patriots in particular), I actually have the utmost respect. Much like the buffoon’s writing this blog, you were once like us; a guy who liked to rant about sports and whatever else crossed your mind that you deemed entertaining to the world. A Barstool Sports OG, Jerry came up the hard way making dick-n-fart jokes before landing a full-time gig with the afternoon crew on WEEI. And while Jerry may be too ugly for even radio, he has some chops and brings the enthusiasm and the funny the local sports world. As long as he is not caught red-handed smelling Tom Brady’s post-game jock strap, this particular JT is gonna be alright. Keep at it fella, we are all rooting for you.
The scourge of a proud base of Holy Cross alumni, Shank just needs to go away. Not only does he look like the spawn of a potato and Ralph Malph, he is just too…too…what’s the word? Sucky. You know he is the guy that would rat you out the Principal/Dean/Boss for chewing gum/cheating on an exam/smoking crack with the Janitor. He is the guy that turned in homework a day early. He is literally the kid picked last for the ‘Odd Looking Child Kickball game’. Time for you to go, ‘Sideshow Bob’. We’ve all heard enough from you.
This kid is an up and comer among Sport writers. He is a phenomenal writer for the Boston Herald on the Patriots beat. Not only is he a great writer he is also a local kid straight out of Lowell High School. So we have a soft spot here at CIBF&C because we all know what he has been through to get where he is. He also understands local lingo like when we say ” Hey Spikes stop driving hammered, get a fucking taxi you weeeirrddooo, and AARRRONNNN what are you stttoopiidd guy your gooonnaa get cauuught you fucking nutcase” He also understands ” Guy we are hitting the packy for a case then 45s at my place before we go to Mollys, the OC, Dudleys, and then the club for breakfast.
This is a tale of two different Mazzes. Ya I’m not sure of that punctuation myself. The first Tony Mazz was a sports writer for the Herald and he was great. He gave you more stats and info than Peter Gammons except it was everyday not just Sunday like Peter. He was a must read in the 90s as much as Gammons was. Then he decided to transfer to the digital media and go to radio where his Mickey Mouse-got-his-testicles-stomped-on-voice just didn’t translate. Then somehow he hooks on with pretty boy douchbag and they are the talk of the town. Well they ain’t bad together but that’s because of Big Jim Murray and James Stewart. But the only thing listenable to that show besides when squeaky Mazz comes out is The Baseball show. Sometime after Felger and Mazz ends, I hope Tony crawls out of Felger’s ass, grows his testicles back and hosts an actual good show focused on the Red Sox.
The Hall of Fame pitcher who we are blessed with having in our region and wants to be a part of our baseball telecasts. This guy is the epitome of baseball in an era when baseball ruled. The flowing porn star hair, the ‘I still smell you from 87′ stach’. This guy dripped sex. I found my Beckett card magazine with Eck on the cover under my mom’s bed in 1989 (I had to burn it). Now this guy is sitting around with Pinky and the Brain (Tom Caron + Steve Lyons) in the NESN studio instead of doing baseball games. Hey NESN, your team sucks this year, put the porn man back in there to get the ladies up and the dudes will follow.
This is the most respected sports writer on my whole list, and here’s why. This woman played the game. She played for UNH Wildcats and then took up sports writing. Not only did she take it up she excelled at it. She wrote Larry Birds autobiography, if you haven’t read it, you’re an idiot. My sister also knows Jackie a little bit from back in the day and she is a tough as she is in person as she is on paper. If I was in a street fight and I could tag in Jackie, Bill Simmons, or Steven A. Smith, I’m tagging Jackie all day long. Because Jackie will get the job done; dirty or not. Bill would jump in make movie references about the fight and then run back to his home in Connecticut. Steven A. Smith wouldn’t fight, he would just call everyone racist in the fight and hang around until eventually we got sick of listenig to him and just went home.
And there you have it. We love some. We hate some. We missed a few big ones. That said, aren’t we are in the same boat here, fellas (and Jackie M.)? We are a proud bunch bitter, loud, opinionated Boston sports fans that have been WAY to spoiled during the 21st century…so why not just shit all over eachother becuase the good times are about to go away?
That is a sport within itself in these parts….