Media Roundup: Yeah, More Critical - That's Exactly What We Need

In the latest edition of his Media Roundup, Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch examines the supposed gap in criticism of the Red Sox and Patriots, and responds to the idea that fans are more forgiving of Theo and company.

Would it be so bad to be a little more forgiving of the Sox and a little more critical of the Patriots?

So asked Boston.com columnist Christopher L. Gasper on Wednesday. When I Tweeted my disbelief at him, he responded by saying he didn't "understand why for a lot of folks it [seems] you can never question a Pats move and always rip the Sox."

Who exactly are these "lot of folks"? The use of the absolutes "never" and "always" are a good touch as well. Apparently it is cut-and-dry. Black-and-white.

Kids, this is what happens when A) Your employer owns 17% of the Red Sox, and B) You hang around Mike Felger on a regular basis.

Are you kidding me?

This premise is right up there with the silliest I've ever seen. Many in the media seem to have this notion in their head that the Patriots never get criticized, so they take it upon themselves to go over the top in their criticism of the franchise.

Gasper claims:

The most dedicated and respected Pats fans know that you never, ever, question any coaching or personnel decision made by His Hoodiness. To do so is perfidious and blasphemous.

In Bill We Trust.

Yeah. I heard a ton of "In Bill We Trust" following that Wild Card playoff loss to the Ravens. I heard even more during the first night of the draft when the Patriots traded down twice, passing up Dez Bryant or a big name pass rusher and instead choosing a cornerback who is also a special teams standout. All Patriots fans just lined up and chanted "In Bill We Trust." Every single one.

No, they didn't. The cries were loud, and in many cases profane (and perfidious). Who are these ones who are projecting the Patriots as "Super Bowl bound" as Gasper claims in his piece? I haven't heard these folks.

Meanwhile, while there is a loud segment of the fan base that still thinks that Terry Francona is a lousy manager, this group is firmly in the minority of Red Sox fans. There are some who think that Theo Epstein and his young assistants (nicknamed the "Fratboy Mob" by BSMW message board readers) are a bunch of bumbling incompetents who somehow stumbled onto two World Series wins, but again, this is not representative of the whole, which I think is generally very forgiving of the Red Sox.

The bottom line is, that it goes both ways. There are plenty of critics of both teams, and there are plenty of blind followers who really do trust in Bill (and Theo) to bring them a contender each season. Individual moves, regardless of the of sport, are always debated among fans.

It seems clear that the object of the column was to get attention, and once again, I've fallen for the ploy. Here's your attention Chris, though you went down a few notches in my eyes while getting it.

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Patriots reporters jumped with glee this week as the restrictive shackles of Foxborough were shed when the Patriots went to the training facility of the Atlanta Falcons for a pair of joint practices. While at Gillette, the Patriots request that reporters not Tweet during practice; at the Falcons' facility there are no such restrictions, and reporters could Tweet to their heart's content -- while the practice was ongoing!

Awesome, right?

Well, if you call Tweets like these, awesome, then yes, it was awesome:

The speakers are blaring Livin' on a Prayer and then Bad Medicine. Who picked this? #Belichickrocksthe80sTue Aug 17 20:39:55 via TweetDeck

 

so we went from Bon Jovi to The Dougie...where's @iambigbaby11 when you need him??Tue Aug 17 20:49:12 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

 

You know, maybe the Patriots are onto something by not allowing reporters to Tweet during practice ...

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Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be lightning rod for fans and media alike. Last weekend, 98.5 mid-day host Andy Gresh used Twitter to call the outfielder a "pussy" and urged him to get "front and back" MRIs this time.

On an appearance on WEEI this week, as well as in a media session later the same day, Red Sox manager Terry Francona took aim at the comments, and at the media in general when he referred to them as "tough guys." 

The rest of the day for the media seemed to be spent defending their right to question Ellsbury's toughness. Riveting listening, to be sure.

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Links Of The Week

NBCSports.com relaunching as traffic grows

Apparently ProFootballTalk has been so popular the NBC Sports is retooling their entire website around the same general concept as PFT. They're already running HardballTalk.com, ProBasketballTalk.com and ProHockeyTalk.com, so they're well on their way.

Oh joy. A entire national website based on rumors, conjecture and an occasional fact or two, run by one of the national TV networks. Wonderful.

Telegram.com takes the paid-content plunge

Get ready for more stories like this. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette went behind a pay wall this week. This is significant because the parent company of the T&G also owns The New York Times and The Boston Globe. This move is seen as a test run for those sites to do the same in the next year.

I still cannot see this working. It's pretty well established that people are not willing to pay for news online. Even from The New York Times, which has already tried this route.

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