Baseball Thinking

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NESN ratings continue to slide

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe and The Sports Hub recently wrote an article stating that New Englander's, as well as Red Sox management, have become complacent. He also asked New England to root for the Yankees in the World Series. LOL. Why would any true New Englander root for the Yankees? In any situation? When you are done reading this, check out the comments section to his article. Anyway, I wanted to express my views as to why NESN ratings are down and if there is real complacency as far as the Red Sox go.

NESN ratings are down for a few reasons. One, their format is very stale. Their pre-scripted pregame/postgame shows can be recited, word by word, by any Red Sox fan. They also have no real, live shows, like CNNSE. Every single word is scripted and stale. There is no off-the-cuff commentary and I find that boring. Every fan knows what will be discussed at 6:38 of any pre-game show. If Tom Caron has any skill and real historic baseball knowledge, I am not aware of it. I do know he is an excellent reader, though.

Two, we have become complacent as a Nation. The Sox are on the wrong side of the bell curve at this point. Real fans are shut out from games due to prices, wine and cheese, pink and corporate. Just try nailing down a Sox Pax when tickets go on sale. I used to have a fair chance of getting opening day tickets 7 or 8 years ago. I had a solid chance ten years ago and longer. Now, there are fewer tickets for me due to corporate big wigs and I can never, ever get them the first day they go on sale. Our ticket chances become reduced to lotteries and eBay. A real turn-off.

The initial attraction for the newer fans (corporate, pink, cheese, wine, and most girls) was the personality of the team. The Sox have lacked any type of specific personality over the past 2-3 years, which has reduced the initial attraction for the newbie’s, thereby reducing interest and the NESN audience. The Sox have become a team of well-behaved professionals with no visible character. NESN, a reflection and part of the Red Sox, has grown very stale. Add to the fact that the Celtics and Bruins are back playing winning sports dictates that the consumer dollar is spread out over 4 sports instead of 2. No longer is this just a Red Sox and Patriots town. If ratings are down for the Sox, then they are up for someone else.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bingo night football fan kicked out of stadium

This country is based on a solid foundation of principles. One of these principles is known as freedom of speech, where every American is allowed to express their opinion. This includes holding up signs at sporting events around the country.

During the recent Redskins against the Eagles, a man held up a sign which simply read “Bingo Night Football”. This was in reference to new offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis, who came out of retirement to lead the Skins offense. In retirement, he was performing volunteer work, which included calling bingo numbers to senior citizens and working with Meals on Wheels. During the ESPN telecast, announcer Mike Tirico mentioned this fact. The fan remains anonymous, but he was escorted from the stadium, asked to leave for such a harmless act.

What is wrong with this country? In no way did this fan violate any laws or violate any rules of the stadium. His sign was not offensive to anyone, except those who might have lost at bingo when Lewis was yelling out numbers. I think Skin fans should rally around this fan and support him. If every columnist and announcer in the country can make light fun of this, why can’t a fan voice his opinion if it isn’t offensive to anyone? I hope this fan comes forward and provides details of exactly what happened. The Washington Redskins also have a lot of ‘splaining to do. I smell a lawsuit in the making. Don’t you?

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tom Brady is on the wrong side of thirty ...

What is the big deal about turning thirty years old? I am asking because I don’t know. I have heard lots of stuff, but haven’t lived it yet. Tom Brady is over 30. Is it a big deal to him? I think so, and here is why.

“Tom Brady sucks!”. I have actually heard that from some panicked fans. It must be true. Five games into the 2009 NFL season, he’s got 6 TD passes to go along with 2 INT’s. During 2007, he had 50 TD passes to go along with only 8 pics. His completion percentage is just below 62%, well below the 69% from 2007 but right along with his career average. He was below 60% two of the past three weeks. His QB rating is about an 86, right around his career average. So what is the big deal?

Tom Brady is 32, in his 10th season, a very long time for any football player. He is uncharacteristically missing wide open receivers, unlike the past. He has exploded at teammates on the sidelines, unlike the past. And he is married with children, unlike the past. Tom Brady is becoming normal.

But he is on the wrong side of thirty. This might be the best Tom Brady will ever be. Think about that. This could be the best he has to offer. And nothing more. Tom Brady is on the wrong side of thirty.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Gary "Tang Gay" Tanguay is not a truck guy

Dear Gary “Tang Gay” Tanguay,

I hope your having a great day. It’s almost the weekend and its football season! I do want to express my frustration, however, at your “truck guy” commercial. Gary, I am a truck guy. I live in the butt-crack, rifle-rack six-pack state of New Hampshire. Originally from Massachusetts, I was forced to purchase a truck due to the local terrain, But Gary, I am a tall, big and strong man, traits you do not possess. The truck really suits me. Based on the daily spankings you receive on-air, I am just not buying you as a truck guy. When I hear your truck commercial on the radio, credibility is that last thought that crosses my mind. You are at the bottom of the sports talk food chain here in New England. You are the little kid everybody picks on. Among the horses in the Sports Hub stable, you are the Shetland pony.

So when I hear the radio spot announcing Tang Gay is a truck guy, I don’t buy it. Neither does the rest of New England. Perhaps you should do a commercial for Mini Cooper, Dodge Neon, VW Beetle or for the Toyota Rav4, a real chick’s ride. Ever think of doing an MG or Miata commercial? Perhaps you could do a voice-over for the Smart Car. It’s light, small, weak and picked on as well. The credibility just isn’t there for me. You sound very foolish explaining to the global community how cool you have become because you drive a truck. It’s like comparing you to John Madden. Gary, you are not a cool truck guy, regardless of what lies your family tells you.

In light of this, have yourself a great day and best of luck with your future endeavors.


The sports fans of New England

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mike Felger says "tits" on-air

During the live broadcast Wednesday, October 21st, Mike Felger said “tits” during the Felger and Massarotti show on the Sports Hub. At first he was surprised when B Real, his producer, told him he couldn’t say that on air. When you work in the media, you must be 100% sure of all fine-able cuss words. That is part of the job. But he was genuinely surprised. So was I.

What is wrong with "tits"? I think it goes along with ass, which is acceptable on air. Ass can be used freely (as in Tang Gays case). Tits and ass. Ebony and ivory. Peaches and cream. They go together. So why is “tits” so offensive? Do you know what I find offensive?

Gary Tang Gay and is constant negative connotation of Christ and Jesus. He uses the Lords name in such derogatory terms, yet it is accepted (well, not fine-able). I find it much more offensive when someone casually uses the Lords name in vain than when someone says “tits” or “ass”, or both! I haven’t been to church in years, besides the occasional wedding and funeral, so it is a stretch to call me religious. I have actually written to Gary Tang Gay and asked him not to use the Lords name in vain. He’s still a meat head when it comes to the derogatory use of words. But I have to side with Felger on this one. Why is “tits” a bad word these days?

Finally, a breathe of fresh sports talk air ..

New England is famous for many things, but is often associated with sports and their fans. Markets have grown from our love of sports. One of those markets is talk radio. Well, we can now call it a market since there is more than one competitor.

In mid-August, the Sports Hub was launched, taking over the old Mix 98.5 signal. Finally, in New England, there is a station without static. The Sports Hub provides listeners the opportunity to voice and reflect without interruption or annoying .wav files. The Sports Hub is an intelligent alternative to “static station”. With a full lineup of familiar talent, the Sports Hub is gaining weekly in the ratings and providing intelligent listeners with the long-desired alternative to “static station”. Many stopped listening to “static station” long ago, for many reasons (stale?) Others tried to duplicate it but quickly fell by the wayside because it was an identical product. Finally, New England, global and local fans, has the alternative to “static station”. Finally, a format that cares. Best of luck, Sports Hub.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

My wish list for Red Sox 2010 lineup ...

Here is my wish list for the 2010 lineup of the Boston Red Sox. Leading off will be Tacoby Bellsbury, followed by Pedey, then VMart, Adrian Gonzales, Matt Holliday, Youkilis, Lowell, Drew and Alex Gonzalez. Lowell will be strictly the DH, with an occasional turn by Ortiz. Youkilis moves to third with Holliday in left. The Seattle Mariners land Jason Bay, forcing them to deal Felix Hernandez before he reaches free agency. They can’t afford both. The Red Sox send prospects including Buchholz, Casey Kelly and Michael Bowden. Thankfully, they send Papelbon as well. Papelbon still has market value, but his mouth (redneck bad teeth and all), along with a historically bad shoulder, paves the way for his departure from Boston. The guy is almost 30 but acts 19 years old. And he will go to the highest bidder when he is a free agent. The Sox then have some prospects left over to land Adrian Gonzalez.

Starting pitching on Opening Day consists of Lester, Beckett, Hernandez, Wake and Matsuzaka, that is if Dice-K doesn’t show up as the same bloated pig he was this year. (Oh, oh, is 2010 the year of the pig in Japan?) Lowell splits DH 60/40 with Ortiz, but Ortiz spends most of his last year in Boston on pine. Papi is only here to honor the final year of his contract before being nudged out of the picture by Theo at seasons’ end. Bard and/or Billy Wagner fill closing void. Wagner gets his 400th save while showing Bard the ropes.

Changes need to be made and this is a step in the right direction. This is my wish list for the 2010 season. And it is very doable!! Of course, if neither Gonzo or Holliday comes to Beantown, that might mean a late push for Chone Figgins, which would totally screw up the lineup!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Boston sports becoming mediocre?

Is Boston becoming a mediocre sports town? I would like to hear what you have to say about this.

The Boston Bruins could easily be 1-4. They were picked by many to be the top team in the NHL. It looks like they believe their own hype because they aren’t playing like the top team. The Patriots could easily be 2-3 or they could be 4-1. Are they just an average NFL team now? Is Tom Brady showing signs of aging? It certainly appears that way. The Sox were the second worse team in the playoffs, behind the Twins. Sure, they had 95 wins and all, but most of those wins were due to the home crowd, due to fans like me. Atlanta, Milwaukee, Florida and more had better road records and that is not a recipe for championship baseball. The Celtics are yet to be seen, but they could be the best team in Boston over the past 18 months, by far.

Is mediocrity taking over Boston? Or are we just spoiled?

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Road Warriors They Were Not

To the surprise of many, the Red Sox are out of the 2009 playoffs. To others, this was expected. I am the other.

For the umpteenth year in a row, the Sox were the toughest to beat at home. Whenever you win more than 50 games on your home turf, you should make the playoffs. But remember, half the games are on the road during the regular season, and more than half are played on the road during the playoff’s, unless you’re the Yankees. The Red Sox weren’t road warriors, they were road failures.

The Sox wish they could have played as well on the road as the Marlins (44 wins). They want to be the Brewers when it comes to road wins (40). They would die to have the success of the road warrior Braves (46 wins). They dreamed of Indian success (.272) when it comes to the road.

How much does the Green Monster play into the numbers? On the road, the Sox hit .257, were on base at a .340 clip and slugged just .414. At Fenway, they went .286, .365 and slugged .498 at home. Balls hit off the wall at Fenway became routine outs on the road.

It was no surprise, to some, that the Red Sox didn’t make it out of the first round. They were the second worse team in the playoffs, right behind the Twins. Every team playing in October has good pitching, but only a couple have the hitting of a championship team. The Red Sox were not one of those teams.