By: John Molori
October 24, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Be like Mike
- Johnny on the spot
- Revolution evolution

Gorman gives courtside view of 2005-06 Celtics

In the past 25 years, Mike Gorman has seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows for the Boston Celtics. The longtime Fox Sports Net (FSN) Celtics play-by-play man makes no bones about his affection for the C's and has some insightful views on this year's entry.

"This is definitely a playoff team," says the 56 year-old Gorman. " They are in a rebuilding mode, but yet, I think the Celtics have gotten better. If you are a fan, you have to feel good about this club."

Gorman says that disappointing center Mark Blount is a key. "He can turn it right. Doc Rivers had some rough moments with Blount last year. I think Doc learned that you have to coach some guys differently. It's not fair to expect twenty rebounds a game from Blount, but he will be a 13-15 points per game, 10 rebounds guy who will block some shots."

The other key veteran in the C's arsenal is Paul Pierce. Gorman is candid and complimentary in his assessment of the Celtics' captain. "Paul told me he is happy. He wants to retire a Celtic and have his number in the rafters. It's an unfair expectation that he will become a vocal leader on this team. Paul is not going to be vocal in the locker room or with the press. To assume that he will do these things just because he is the most skilled player is wrong."

According to Gorman, Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis are the team's vocal leaders. He also talks openly about the relationship between Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge. "They are a perfect fit because Danny likes the idea of putting a team together, but has no desire to coach. Doc has said to me many times, "˜Just give me the roster and let me go coach them.' The two talk a lot."

Gorman quotes a Toronto Raptors executive as saying that the Celtics have the best collection of young talent that the NBA has seen in almost two decades. He also knows that without a Shaquille O'Neal-type presence, the entire roster will have to contribute.

"There are a lot of home games in November that I wish we had in January or February," says Gorman. "This team is going to get better as the season progresses. I see three guys emerging this season. Delonte West is a cerebral player who will be a great NBA point guard if he stays healthy. Kendrick Perkins has worked harder than anyone on the team and has lost 30 pounds and Ryan Gomes just knows how to play. He is a real find."

As for the broadcast booth, Gorman enters into his 27th year alongside Tommy Heinsohn, twenty-five of those calling Celtics games. The pair began working together doing Providence College games for Prism Network and have become the longest running broadcast team in sports history.

Heinsohn gets much of the attention with his "Tommy Points" and bellowing commentary, but Gorman is a consummate professional. His understated and compact delivery is a treat to experience. There is a dramatic calmness about his style that is quite unique.

Says Gorman, "I am the straight man. What we do is quite spontaneous. We don't plan out a shtick or even talk much off the air. There is no agenda or pre-planning. I don't see an end in sight for Tommy and me. I hope FSN feels the same."

Wallach's world

While Sportsradio 850 WEEI has been mum on a replacement for departed evening host Ted Sarandis, veteran sportscaster John Wallach would figure to be on the short list of candidates. Wallach is now a full-time WEEI employee doing midday sports flashes and covering games for the station in addition to his various hosting duties.

"My goal has always been to get a daily show," says the 38 year-old Wallach. "I told (WEEI programming chief) Jason Wolfe that I am interested in the evening job. He called me a week ago and told me I'd be doing the show for a full week and be back on middays this week. Other than that, I know nothing."

Wallach did his usual solid job in the evening slot last week, handling calls and interviews adeptly. "I'd be silly to lie and tell you that I don' t want the job," he says. "I viewed last week as a tryout even if the station didn't."

Rather than hiring from within, WEEI has looked to Bob Neumeier and Michael Holley to fill recent full-time openings. Says Wallach, "If they were to hire someone from Salt Lake City, Denver or Detroit for the evening slot, I' d be upset. If Mike Adams were to get the job, I wouldn't be upset, but I'd be disappointed because I really want it. I just wish I knew. The station doesn't tell me anything. The waiting is the hardest part."

Wallach refused to comment on whether he voiced an interest in the midday cohosting job vacated by Neumeier earlier this year saying that the answer is "obvious" and that he has never gone behind someone's back to further his career.

"I have shown up early and stayed late for the station, but I'm not bitching," he relates. "I'm a paid professional and fortunate to do what I do for a living. I've been here for 10 years. I know how to host a talk show and I'm proud of the resume I've built up. Maybe that won't cinch the job for me, but I have the respect of my peers."

Revving up

On Saturday at 8:00 p.m., the New England Revolution must outscore the NY/NJ MetroStars by two goals to move on in the MLS playoffs. NY/NJ beat New England 1-0 on Saturday to take a lead in the total-goals, home and home playoff series.

The Revs will try to extend what has already been a landmark season for the 10 year-old franchise. "This is undoubtedly the best Revs team in history," says Brad Feldman the team's play-by-play man and director of communications. "We've gotten the best electronic media coverage of any team in the league except for Los Angeles. In addition, we averaged just under 14,000 fans per game for our last five home games."

Feldman has done a terrific job behind the microphone and behind his corporate desk. This past week, Revs star Taylor Twellman was on WBZ AM 1030. In addition, WBZ, WCVB, NESN, NECN, CN8 "Sports Pulse," Univision and WLNE in Providence all did playoff preview packages on the team.

Says Feldman, "Fox25 did a piece on their morning show and GolTV and Fox Soccer Channel have also given us great coverage. In addition, area newspapers have really stepped up."

All of the major Boston network affiliates, as well as NECN and NESN, are including Revolution highlights in their regular sportscasts and WEEI is carrying results in the daily Sports Flashes. Despite a few ignorant anti-soccer holdovers, the Revs have surely carved their own unique niche in the crowded New England sports scene.

Saturday's deciding game vs. NY/NJ will be at Gillette Stadium at 8:00 p.m. Feldman and the immensely enjoyable Greg Lalas have the call on WB56. Feldman will be a guest on AM 1510's "Soccer Talk" Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

He states, "It used to be a plus if stations covered us. Now, it's news if they don't give us coverage. Our run in the MLS playoffs last year helped and the overall quality of play has risen. There are 15 or 20 teams in Europe with huge payrolls. The MLS is right there with the next level of European teams. Critics of the quality of play in our league don't know that they are talking about."

John Molori's columns are published in The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, The Providence Journal, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine, ColdHardFootballFacts.com, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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