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Friday Four-Pack 2.24.23
Busy Boston sports radio week, more unlikeable Red Sox stuff
Celtics win again. Tatum goes for 31. Brown for 30.
Bruins win again. Make a trade everyone says is great for the team.
Title Town, baby. So. Much. Winning.
It makes for what should be a dramatic spring/early summer for Boston sports fans.
But much more stressful for the Celtics and their fans, right?
The Celtics lost in the Finals a year ago, improved their team in the offseason and then saw the East get worse at the deadline. They’re SUPPOSED to win. As of Friday morning the C’s down to a +115 favorite to win the East and 3-1 to win the whole thing at BetMGM.
The Bruins - at least based on preseason expectations - are a much bigger surprise. B’s 3-1 and 5-1 to win the East and Cup respectfully (also at BetMGM). If they don’t win the whole thing it will sting for the team and the fans. Of course.
But if the Celtics stay healthy and fall short? Much bigger deal. Especially in the aftermath of Jaylen’s comments over All-Star Weekend.
"It takes sacrifice on my behalf," Brown told reporters at NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. "It's definitely a lot of opportunities that you can be a guy. But the ultimate goal for me and Jayson has always been to win games.
If the Celtics keep falling short - how long until Brown decides he wants to be the man somewhere else?
Either way the SPORTS should be GOOD here into June. Thankfully, Boston has two sports stations to cover it all.
As luck would have it - let’s start there.
On the big Boston sports radio story…
We’ll start with the big one - Tony Massarotti suspended.
Mazz said this on Friday’s “Felger & Mazz”
That led to an on-air apology on Monday
And on Tuesday Mazz was suspended - as announced publicly on “Felger & Mazz” at the start of their show.
Based on the audio - then the accompanying video - I don’t think Beasley really had a choice here. It comes across as a racially insensitive comment (especially when you watch the video) and those are not overlooked in 2023.
Even WITH the context of Felger recently having had his car stolen in New Orleans… this one seems pretty obvious. He said something really dumb. And it cost him.
If you’re still screaming WHAT ABOUT FREE SPEECH at this point…I can’t help you.
I thought Mazz came across as remorseful and sincere in his apology. I would not pretend to know him outside of listening to him and battling him for years in an ultra competitive Boston Media Fantasy Baseball League - but I don’t think he’s a racist.
But when you say something as dumb as he said that doesn’t really matter.
Some other assorted thoughts on this that you may or may not care about:
Felger tried to blow right past it in the moment. Other than asking his producer to dump it on the air - not sure there was anything else he could have done?
Is the suspension and eventual sensitivity training for the Sports Hub staff the end of this? Feels like it? I don’t think he should be fired. And based on the last few days he won’t be.
Long-term effect on what might be the highest rated sports show in America? Probably minimal? They brag often about “sticking to sports” so it’s doubtful this becomes a major topic on their show.
Chris Gasper of the Globe had his own thoughts on this. Twitter thread starts here and Chris has a bunch of follow up reactions on his timeline. He’s a sponsored Friday guest of “Felger & Mazz” and it would be great to hear them all talk about this on the show. But both Felger and Mazz (obviously) are off this week … you think next week they’re going to voluntarily bring it back up? No shot. Maybe he and Jim Murray will discuss later today (Friday).
Finally…I had two reactions when I first saw the clip. The first was how dumb it was for Mazz to say what he said. The second was the utter shock of Felger posting up in a public, hotel computer/printing area to do his highly-rated show. Holy shit. Talk about lack of respect for his competition. “I’ll host a show from where we all used to print out MapQuest directions and STILL put up a 20-share.” I mean…HE’S DOING A SHOW FROM THE HOTEL BUSINESS CENTER. I could do a whole segment on this. Wild.
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On the delusional Red Sox owner…
Hate to say I told you so…from a few weeks back here
Then from a non-baseball level…and Sox ownership and front office people would tell you it isn’t fair and maybe it isn’t but… the outside stuff hurts too.
Liverpool, the Penguins, LeBron …. the fact that John Henry hid for almost three years post-Betts trade only to pop up winter weekend and get boo’d by the fans out at MGM Springfield. Sending Sam Kennedy out there to spin everything for you.
It all comes across as unlikeable.
In this week’s edition of John Henry doesn’t get it - he answered some select email questions from The Athletic and Boston Sports Journal. Then failed to meet with the media directly in Fort Myers - something that was commonplace for the team’s owners for over a decade.
Of course that’s when they were much more popular and also winning.
As for Henry’s answers to the Athletic...yikes.
Of course - there was booing at Fenway Park for the Winter Classic
I don’t know what the false “narrative” is but here’s the reality - the Red Sox have botched it with some very important players, failed to support their current roster at one trade deadline (2021), failed to do anything at another (2022), acted like a small-market team over and over again and more recently started to point back to old championships as a sign the team is headed in the right direction.
All of this has alienated a good portion of the fanbase.
Again from the Athletic Q and A
Four times in the last nine seasons the RedSox have finished dead last in the AL East.
Pretty fair game to wonder about the direction of the team and franchise as a whole. Even if the owner wants to label it all as fake news.
On a much smaller Boston Sports Radio story…
This is wayyyyy inside radio. And maybe no one cares but …it was really surprising to hear CBS Sports Radio and then The Jim Rome Show in the 10a-2p timeslot Monday on WEEI.
I understand it was company holiday for Audacy and hosts had the day off.
In the past you could work these days as a full-timer in exchange for a comp day down the road. Not sure if that was offered in this case.
Either way you just started a new show in the mid-day. Yes the hosts have both been there for a while but the show is brand new.
You know The Sports Hub guys are in on this day as a lead-in to the Bruins. And you know you’re in a sports market that is super local. Boston rarely rates as a Top 10 market for events like the World Series or NBA Finals when a Boston team is not involved.
And there was plenty to talk about. The John Henry comments. Tatum in the All-Star game. There were local shows in the morning and afternoon so not sure why you’d punt off the mid day and night (I’m told it was national talk as well Monday night at 6PM).
Checked in with the Audacy sports stations in Philadelphia and New York - WIP and WFAN. Neither station went to national programing during the day. Both stations had their usual lineups on - in the case of WIP they debuted two new shows.
You have a roster of guys who do shows for you. There’s stuff going on. And you know the competition will be local. Going local yourself in that spot seems like an easy choice. Even on a holiday.
Especially when the other big sports stations in your company were local all day.
Weird look for sure.
On mobile sports betting two weeks away in Massachusetts…
Two weeks! Assuming no last-minute landmines we’re 14 days out from the launch of mobile in Massachusetts.
We found out Thursday that while it won’t quite the full menu for bettors - there are seven mobile operators ready to go for mobile launch on March 10th.
Bally and Fanatics will not be ready for launch but should be live late spring.
PointsBet decided they will NOT be operating in Massachusetts. Which is too bad because I’ve heard only good things about them from other bettors.
I had someone DM me about the pre-registration bonuses the sportsbooks are offering now in Massachusetts. No doubt you’ve been bombarded with their ads the last two weeks.
They wanted to know if they did “pre-registration bonuses …would I still get the bonus for the launch like in Ohio and Maryland?”
The answer is I don’t know. I reached out to DraftKings and FanDuel to get some clarity.
DraftKings is working on an answer for me. No word back from FanDuel.
Again, if you’re trying to win and get every edge you’ll be signing up for multiple sportsbooks so you can shop the best lines and soak up all the bonuses.
And it should all be live in time to fire away on the NCAA Tournament.
Thanks for reading.