By: John Molori
January 03, 2007

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THIS WEEK:

2006 BLITZY winners cover all the sports media bases

The red carpet has been rolled out for the most prestigious awards of the year. Media Blitz's 2006 BLITZY Awards look at the good, the bad and Gerry Callahan, I mean the ugly, of the past 12 months in Boston sports media. The envelopes please …

Me First Award: Steve Burton, WBZ. Burton showed a blatant disregard for decency in revealing that Bruins rookie Phil Kessel was suffering from testicular cancer against the Kessel family's wishes. Let's hope no one ever does such a dastardly deed to Burton's family.

He Hate You Award: Gerry Callahan, WEEI. Callahan continued his nosedive into anger and bigotry by ignorantly trashing homosexuals, illegal immigrants, people with tattoos and a bevy of other groups. Oh yeah, he also told Red Sox fans that Manny Ramirez hates them. I'm sure kids got a real hoot out of that gem.

Bad English Award: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox. Here's hoping that the Japanese phenom NEVER learns English. He won't have to listen to the fickle Steve Buckley turn on him when he refuses to be interviewed or plays poorly (see Manny and Nomar).

Stay Within Yourself Award: Greg Dickerson, FSN. FSN made a bad call tabbing Dickerson to replace Tom Heinsohn as game analyst on the Celtics recent West Coast swing. Dickerson excels in studio and on the sidelines, but he is no color analyst. I would have rather seen the glib and gifted Donny Marshall get the nod.

Can You Hear Me Now Award: Andy Gresh, WBCN. With his work on WBCN's Patriots programming, Gresh is fast becoming a real media superstar. His knowledge is nearly approached by his decibel level, but Gresh speaks from the heart and is true in his passion.

Don't Go Changin' Award: Bob Lobel, WBZ. He has taken some personal and critical shots over the past couple of years, but no one looks at Boston sports with as critical an eye as Lobel. He knows a real story from a really stupid story and his approach is one of healthy cynicism.

Not Me Award: Glenn Ordway, WEEI. Ordway has become a waffling caricature, seldom making any specific points about anything. He also backpedaled when the Boston Globe asked him about his ties to Fred Smerlas' Patriots' tailgate business, a business that Ordway's "Big Show" promotes with vigor.

What About Me Award: Mike Lynch, WCVB. Would someone at WCVB please create another outlet for the talented and underappreciated Lynch? A Sunday night show, an interview and commentary program, anything that gives this guy more airtime. Lynch is not into self-promotion, but his station should be.

Good Fella Award: Mike Ratte, CW56. Ratte, like colleagues Dan Roche and Tom Caron, is a true gentleman who will not sacrifice his soul to get a laugh or break a story. CW56 sports is no more, but Ratte would make a terrific addition to any news or sports organization.

Bert Lahr Award: Michael Holley, WEEI. The articulate Holley played the role of the Cowardly Lion all too often, refusing to take on the bigoted and ignorant opinions of colleague Gerry Callahan. Holley was unafraid to bully a caller or two, but failed to give some needed balance to Callahan's bombast.

Trapper John, MD Award: Mike Felger, 890 AM ESPN. Without any medical or factual information, Felger stated that Manny Ramirez was not really hurt late in the Red Sox 2006 season. I'm still waiting to hear his doubts about injured Patriots and Celtics. Oh yeah, Felger's radio show has an appearance deal with the Pats, and he has a show on FSN, the Celtics' network. Guess I better not hold my breath.

Green Day Award: FSN. I accept that Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman root for the Celtics to win, but FSN's studio panelists are grotesquely lacking in solid Celtics' criticism. If Terry Francona and Theo Epstein performed like Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge, Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson would be livid. Lose the shamrock tattoos guys and tell it like it is.

Big Fat Hypocrite Award: Jason Wolfe, WEEI. Wolfe suspended and eventually fired WRKO's John DePetro for insulting comments toward homosexuals, but continues to enable and encourage Gerry Callahan in doing the same and then some. Hmm, what did Callahan do for Wolfe to earn such misguided loyalty? Media Blitz is digging as we speak.

Shake it Up Award: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots. The Patriots coach played some great head games and gave us the most awkward TV moments of the year with his half-hearted handshakes with Eric Mangini following the Jets' games. Don't expect any spit to be swapped this Sunday either.

Greener Pastures Award: Wendi Nix, ESPN. Great to see Nix get out of the limiting binds of Boston sports and really spread her reporters' wings at ESPN. The affable and talented Nix will be a sure fire hit in Bristol.

MVP Award: Dale Arnold, WEEI. Having excelled with three very different cohosts, Arnold is as versatile as they come. He also carries the banner of class and dignity for WEEI and refuses to fall into the trap of mediocrity and idiocy. This makes him the station's MVP.

Red Alert Award: Ed Berliner, Comcast. John Carchedi and Phil Burton are making CN8's new look "Out of Bounds" work, but I still miss the wit and wisdom of the departed redhead. Berliner left CN8 amid rumors of unrest and discord, but his literate approach to sports was unique.

Jolly Good Show Award: "Be a Bruin," NESN. NESN's series about a host of hockey hopefuls trying to make it to Bruins training camp brought reality to the rink, and was the best new show in Boston sports in 2006.

Extreme Makeover Award: Chris Collins, Mike Giardi, NECN. With new segments emphasizing opinion and promoting the hosts, "Sports Late Night" packed more punch and power in 2006. Collins and Giardi say things differently, but both have plenty to say.

The Truth Hurts Award: Ron Borges, Boston Globe. Call it a guilty pleasure, but I can't get enough of Borges' opinions and retorts. Vilified by colleagues and fans alike, many of Borges Patriots' criticisms came to pass in 2006. Does he have an agenda? Maybe, but name me one Boston media personality who doesn't.

Way Back Award: Jerry Trupiano, WEEI. Cheers to WEEI for making the move to replace Trupiano in the Red Sox booth. Trupiano seems like a nice enough guy, but his work had deteriorated, failing to give the score enough and being overly dramatic, and oftentimes vague, on his home run calls. Here's hoping he gets "Way back!" to work, just not within earshot.

Dynamic Duo Award: Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti, WBCN, Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, WRKO. Gil and Gino may have lost a step or two, but they still call a solid and objective game. Grande and Max remain Boston's best play-by-play tandem bar none.

Pig Pen Award: Baseball Writers Association of America. Once again, the Baseball Hall of Fame voters failed to induct Jim Rice while electing a far less worthy candidate. Bruce Sutter joins questionable recent inductees Tony Perez and Gary Carter in a space that should be occupied by Rice. When it comes to voting, it's time for the media to smarten up or give it up.

John Doe Award: John Dennis, WEEI. With Gerry Callahan's increased volume and vitriol, Dennis has become an afterthought on WEEI's morning program. Dennis has been reduced to either enabling or enraging Callahan. He deserves a more meaningful role.

Note From Epstein's Mother Award: Larry Lucchino, Boston Red Sox. Lucchino is masterful at manipulating the media, but got a bit of comeuppance in the Theo Epstein departure and return saga. Lucchino has molded much of the media into his own sculpture, but in the Theo story, it was he who had feet of clay.

Analyze This Award: Dennis Eckersley, NESN. Just like his days as an Oakland A's closer, Eckersley is nearly perfect as Boston's top studio analyst in 2006 He is captivating, direct and pulls no punches. To paraphrase the man himself, Eckersley brings high cheese with gas.

Watch Hazel Award: Hazel Mae, NESN. Mae's "controversial" Media Blitz interview in October of 2005 sparked a meeting at NESN and a Boston Globe follow up story. The story of 2006 is that she might just be Boston's most popular sports anchor. Mae is the total package of savvy, sass and sex appeal.

Rookie of the Year Award: Kathryn Tappen, NESN. NESN colleague Tina Cervasio held the early lead, but the best newcomer award goes to Tappen with a late rally. Tappen's "SportsDesk" stints are solid and her in-show interviews are well prepared and performed.

Jock Talk Award: Steve DeOssie, WEEI. Along with Dennis Eckersley, DeOssie continues to be the best athlete-turned-broadcaster in Boston. His WEEI stints are a must listen whether the subject is football, other sports or current events.

Jock Schlock Award: Fred Smerlas, WEEI. No one will deny his popularity, but when Smerlas journeys outside football, it is a sad trip. Smerlas is at his best interviewing Bill Belichick. Outside of that, he is a verbal accident waiting to happen.

Borges of the 'Burbs Award: Hector Longo, The Eagle-Tribune. Longo continues to be one of the few Patriots scribes with seemingly no desire to be in with the in crowd. He is not unreasonably against the Pats, but he is unafraid to take a shot when a shot is merited

Bill's Bane Award: John Tomase, Boston Herald. Cheers to Tomase for, well, doing his job. Following a 2006 preseason game, Tomase was the only reporter to question Bill Belichick about holdout Deion Branch. Belichick ignored the query, but Tomase showed guts.

Be My Guest Award: Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox. Francona's weekly appearances with WEEI's "Dale and Holley" are the best in Boston. Francona controls the content of the discussion, but is glib, open and honest. A real treat to hear.

John Molori's columns are published in The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, ColdHardFootballFacts.com, Boston Sports Review, Boston Baseball Magazine, Methuen Life, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com and BostonSportz.com. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.


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