March 15, 2005
John Molori's Media Blitz
BY: John Molori
- Ryan wearing green
Ryan likes what he sees in new look Celtics
If you want milk, go to the market. Need gas? Check out a filling station. Want to talk Celtics’ basketball? Don’t waste your time, talk to Bob Ryan. The venerable Boston Globe scribe and ESPN gabber has some pointed views on Boston’s resurgent men in green.
“I liked this team this year even before they traded for Antoine Walker, ” says Ryan. “But I was concerned that Paul Pierce was not with the program from day one, that he stole his money. Now, he’s totally different.”
Ryan’s assessment of the “new” Antoine Walker comes down to statistics. He states, “When I look at the box score and see that Walker had just nine field goal attempts, I know he’s learned something. He has been humbled being dumped by Dallas after a year and going to Atlanta. He plays his best games when he takes fewer shots, gets six or seven assists and nine or ten rebounds.”
While Ryan blames former Celtics coaches M.L. Carr and Jim O’Brien for encouraging Walker to take ill-advised three-point shots, he never questioned the player’s desire. “Even when I hated Antoine’s game, I would never insult his effort. He rebounded and made mistakes of commission, not omission.”
Despite the Celtics current success, Ryan scoffs at sports radio callers who are gushing at the team’s postseason chances. “It is utter folly for anyone to think that this team can go to the NBA Finals,” says Ryan. “I would be stunned if Detroit and Miami aren’t in the East final. The Celtics should aspire to win a playoff series. Everything else is gravy.”
Ryan takes a hard line on any connection between these Celtics and the deified champions of the past, however he does recognize that the current surge has triggered interest in fans.
“You have to be at least 25 years old to care anything about Celtics’ mystique,” says Ryan, a regular on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters.” “But this run has revealed that there is something there. Walker has created a buzz. He is a polarizing figure. It shows me that some people still care about basketball.”
Ryan admits that the Celtics fall from the headlines has affected him. He states, “You know what this game has meant to me. My life has changed in that regard. I can remember going over to (ex-Celtics coach) Jim O’Brien and telling him that his job was to make it mandatory for me to go to a game.”
A true Boston hoops insider, Ryan says that Red Auerbach is typically behind this club. “Red is so loyal that he always finds a way to support the current regime. I know he never really subscribed to what Jim O’Brien was doing, but he would never say that publicly.”
Regarding Doc Rivers, Ryan has long been on the bandwagon. He states, “Before the sixth game of the 1988 Hawks-Celtics playoff series, I went over to Doc (then a guard with Atlanta) and told him that he was one of the best guys I ever covered. I love Doc.”
So, is being a former NBA player essential to being a successful NBA head coach? Ryan answers, “You have to have credibility. Look at (Spurs’ coach) Gregg Popovich. He was in the military and that helps, but he never would have won without Tim Duncan. Popovich would have been an itinerant assistant sitting on the end of a bench.”
As for the current group of Celtics, Ryan is, as always, candid. He states, “Mark Blount seemed to be a pretty good rebounder, passer and scorer. I thought they had a guy just outside of All-Star level. Last year, I called him a seven-foot pest. He was an asset. This year has been a nightmare.
“(ESPN.com’s) Bill Simmons called Al Jefferson the next Elton Brand and he is right. Tony Allen is an athletic guy who can do a lot of things. I like Delonte West a lot and Kendrick Perkins has developed. Danny Ainge had as good a draft as you can have without a top pick.”
A couple of weeks ago, Media Blitz asked readers to submit their suggestions for better names for Sports Radio 850 WEEI’s new “Dale and Holley” show with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley. Response was tremendous.
John Blake offered “The Sports Connection with Mike and Dale.” Gerry Nutter sent in several good suggestions including the “A.H Team,” “Best D.A.M. (Dale And Michael) Sports Show” and the “Stick and Hick” show playing off Holley’s slender frame and Arnold’s Maine background. Joe Dunn also used the hosts’ girth, or lack thereof, with “The Not-So-Big Show.”
R. Hewett got creative with a “Dale-Holley” anagram, the “Hello Daley” show. Bob Snow submitted “High Noon Sports with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley, The Best Shootout in Boston Sports,” while John Leite offered “ Holley-Dale” using “Hooray for Hollywood” as theme music.
John Huddleston also went musical with “Deck the Calls with Dale and Holley,” as did Bill Coleman with the “Dale and my Buddy, Holley” show. W. Russo chimed in with “Dale and Mike at the Mike.”
I promised to pick three winners with each person receiving a sports-related prize, so here goes. Third prize goes to Huddleston’s “Deck the Calls with Dale and Holley.” It may be too long, but I like the creativity.
Second place goes to Nutter’s The “Stick and Hick” show. It’s funny and catchy. Our winner is Kent Thaler who submitted “Shades of Gray with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley” as a show name.
Thaler explains, “Aside from the obvious reference that comes with blending black and white or, in their case, African American and Caucasian, I have listened to the show and it seems to me that unlike most sports talk shows, these guys are more interested in discussing the areas in between the black and white.
“For years, Dale Arnold has been a voice of reason. Teaming him with the thoughtful Holley makes their show even more about the gray areas.” I’ll buy that. Thanks to all who submitted ideas. Jason Wolfe, it’s up to you.
Gerry Callahan, ESPN: Easily the top panelist on Sunday’s ESPN “The Sports Reporters.” Callahan had some insightful and biting thoughts on steroids and college hoops. His “Parting Shot” calling for Tedy Bruschi’s retirement was heartfelt and outstanding. Here’s hoping that we hear more of the ESPN Callahan on WEEI.
Hazel Mae, NESN: Mae has been in this space before and she continues to impress. Her recent hitting feature with Bill Mueller from Ft. Myers had the perfect mix of playfulness, information and fun. Mae is an enthusiastic alarm clock in the sleepy, male-dominated Boston sports media scene.
Larry Johnson, WEEI: WEEI’s resident voice of the fan will return to his roots, creating a regular baseball cartoon on Jerry Remy’s TheRemyReport.com beginning this season. Good gig for a talented guy.
John Wallach, WEEI: Dished out totally inane steroids talk alongside guest Rob Bradford last week. The pair agreed that Barry Bonds is guilty and Curt Schilling and Ken Griffey, Jr. are innocent, but provided no hard facts on either side. Irresponsible and idiotic discussion.
Jim McCabe, NESN: Boston Globe golf writer was absolutely brutal on “ SportsPlus” with Tom Caron last week. McCabe is knowledgeable, but there is more to television than mere information, namely, enthusiasm and on-camera presence. McCabe had neither.
David Briggs, 7NBC: Weekend anchor Briggs is likeable and seems to put in the effort, but he simply has not made his mark in the competitive market that is Boston. Joe Amorosino and Wendi Nix are top-notch, but Briggs needs to more clearly carve his niche.
John Molori’s Media Blitz column is published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, The Salem Evening News, The Newburyport Daily News, The Gloucester Times, The Lowell Sun, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, PatsFans.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, RedSoxNation.net and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.
Site-specific editorial/photos Copyright 2001-2004 PatsFans.com. This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school, team, or league.