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I know what you are (obviously) thinking. “Ryan said he’d do a media column every Friday. I need my analysis. I need my fix.” Or, if you are Andy Gresh, you’d just pass it off by calling me a “P***Y” (We’ll get to that later). Anyway, truth is, I had written something up – but then – Chad Finn blew the internet up with his column. So I had to adjust the piece. To make things up to you, I’m posting a two-part (YES TWO-PART) media column. So check back Friday for some more local coverage (And by that, I mean coverage of coverage. Does that make sense?), and some ESPN noise.
(That’s me trying to channel Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting)
In all seriousness, Chad Finn’s column - wow. Dude killed it. And I’m not just saying that because I like the guy. His coverage in the radio wars has been spot on, and this was solid reporting on the brewing rivalry between the burgeoning Comcast Sports Net and NESN. CSN insider Joe Haggerty called the piece a solid “objective” view of both sides. And he’s right, Finn’s reporting was thorough, informative, and compelling.
Here are some highlights of Finn’s piece along with my own musings…
This week, Gary Tanguay re-appeared on Comcast Sports Net’s bread-and-butter program, Sports Tonight. It was good seeing Gare-Bear back on the air. Although, I get why he’s not exactly a beloved figurehead to Bostonians. With that said, on Friday’s show, Michael Holley made an abundance of small jokes, referring to an apparent new contract for Tanguay. So now that he’s in our lives for the forseeable future, I thought it would be wise to take a step back and dissect Tanguay objectively.
On one hand, the Tanger is clearly in bed with the Celtics. It takes viewers about 10 minutes to ascertain that fact. Tanguay, like Greg Dickerson, seems like a cast-member of Celebrity Rehab at a bar since the Celtics have rebounded from years of despondence. And that’s fine, I didn’t mind Jack Edwards reveling in the Bruins’ post-season success either. It’s tough to get on a guy who had to cover the Celtics during a myriad of 20-30 win seasons. In the same vein, the Celtics propaganda during pre- and post-game programming isn’t nearly as ubiquitous as the filth Tom Caron disseminates on NESN’s Red Sox coverage.
Secondly, I think, because they co-host Sports Tonight, Tanguay often is compared to Mike Felger. That’s a tough break, though. As I documented last week, right now Felger is throwing 98 MPH. And though critics point to him being pompous, the guy has some conviction in his takes.
The plight for Tanguay is he has the “pompous” mantra down, but lacks Felger’s acerbic tone. Therefore, Tanguay just comes off as arrogant rather than passionate. This shouldn’t be perceived as a mar on Tanguagy, moreover it’s a component of what makes Felger, well, Felger. Tony Mazz has been dealing with this same dilemma since the inception of Felger & Mazz.
Lastly, I think we need to appreciate what Tanguay is to this market. He is a pure host, a poor man’s Stuart Scott. He pushes dialogue with Donny Marshall during Celtics coverage, and with Zolak and Gresh on the Patriot radio broadcast. He’s nothing more, but nothing less either. That’s probably why he struggled and, eventually, was excommunicated from his radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
When bringing up Tanguay and his short stint as midday host on The Sports Hub, I can’t help but think about his successor, Andy Gresh. This is partly because this week, when Felger made a jab at Tanguay’s shortcomings in radio, Gare-Bear quipped that the knife from Gresh was still in his back.
I’m not saying this to hint there is any lingering animosity between Tanguay and Gresh. I doubt that exists. But since Tanguay’s departure, we’ve been cursed with Gresh’s boisterous ways. And frankly, it’s irking to listeners.
Look, there’s a reason Gresh was available for the slot in the first place. He isn’t accomplished, lacks merit, and – worst of all – fails to see (or acknowledge) his own misconceptions. In the world of sports media, the last charge is the most damning.
If you want to yell about how you ‘called’ something, fine, I’ll listen. In the same light, admit when you’re wrong. Gresh is perfectly comfortable with the former, but the second request doesn’t register.
For example, many pundits, including Gresh, tried to mitigate the impact of Shawn Thorton in the Stanley Cup Finals. And you know what, most conceded the notion. Meanwhile, Gresh called Jacoby Ellsbury a “P***Y” on Twitter, following his elongated stay on the DL last year. Thursday night, on Sports Tonight, Tanguay gave Gresh every opportunity to rescind the statement. Gresh refused, citing that Ellsbury’s performance doesn’t trump last year’s long stay on the injury list. Tanguay countered, pointing to the maligned Red Sox team doctors, who have mis-diagnosed several players recently. Gresh dismissed that notion as well.
It’s a joke. It’s grandstanding, and worse-off it’s UNPROFFESSIONAL.
You know how I know these things?
The following night on that very same program – with a panel of Rob Bradford, Mike Holley, Dale Arnold, and Tanguay - Gresh’s stance was brought to the table to which Tanguay said something to the effect of, “He’s holding on. It doesn’t make sense.”
And you know what? No one came to the defense of Gresh. Think about that, Holley has written a book, worked on a much more successful radio show than Gresh, and was a mainstay at the Boston Globe. Bradford’s accomplishments are similar (Established newspaper presence, Editor at the award-winning WEEI.com), and Arnold is the only play-by-play man to EVER call a game for each of the major sports teams in Boston.
And no one came to his defense.
Even disregarding Gresh not relenting his erroneous take, let’s talk about his conduct in general. Remember, he is a journalist. Journalism requires criticism by nature, but it also requires some self-restraint and a view beyond what is peripheral. Gresh doesn’t feel inclined to give us that satisfaction. He got killed on Boston Sports Media’s “Approval Ratings” for bringing nothing to the table. And though I hate the callous commentators on the internet using forums as an opportunity to accost people inappropriately, it’s tough to defend those that verbally assaulted Gresh.
After all, he called a ballplayer a “P***Y” on the internet.