November 03, 2005
John Molori's Media Blitz: Special Edition
BY: John Molori
- Epstein’s end
Turnabout has not been pretty for Theo Epstein
Maybe Theo Epstein now knows how Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez felt. The erstwhile Red Sox GM was given the money he wanted by Red Sox ownership, but still walked away from the team, clearly because of a lack of respect and an unsatisfying work environment. In short, it wasn’t about the money.
The media response is gusting at hurricane force with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy in the eye of the storm. The Globe’s business ties to the Red Sox have understandably come into question, but Shaughnessy has been treated unfairly. Who among us would not have written the story he penned last Sunday? If the information is available and accurate, you run with it. If we are going to hammer Shaughnessy for getting access due to his paper’s business relationship with the Red Sox, then we better get a big mallet, and we can start with WEEI’s Red Sox ties.
Shaughnessy appeared on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” show and John Dennis jumped right into the conflict of interest question. Shaughnessy threw the question right back to Dennis and WEEI, the station that holds the team’s radio rights. It’s interesting that Shaughnessy has been consistently vilified in the media for being anti-Red Sox, always drumming up negative curse talk, yet, in this latest affair, he is now seen as a Red Sox puppet. Which one is it, guys?
In the end, Shaughnessy’s critics have no credibility. Is Shaughnessy a shill? Does he have an agenda, or do you just disagree with him in this particular case? The fact is that if Theo Epstein was swayed by anything in a newspaper column, he is not as smart as we all think he is.
Gerry Callahan said of Theo Epstein, “He’s a hero. He’s a god.” Funny, at one time, Garciaparra and Martinez were both of those things in Boston, too. Things change when the contracts are up. Larry Lucchino has been accused of initiating a “smear campaign” against Epstein. Well, turnabout is fair play.
While Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino gets most of the blame, Epstein did nothing to stop a smear campaign against Garciaparra. Why is Nomar getting injured so much? Look how big he’s gotten! He turned down $60 million over four years!
Earlier this week, WEEI’s Dale Arnold questioned the Globe’s use of the word “rejects” in describing Epstein’s refusal of a $1.2 million per year offer from the Red Sox. Arnold stated that it’s the first offer and you never take the first offer as part of negotiation. Hmm, maybe Garciaparra figured that the $60 million deal was a first offer and that negotiation would continue. Of course, the Red Sox next move was to publicly humiliate Garciaparra by going after Alex Rodriguez. Publicly humiliate. Sound familiar, Theo?
Pedro Martinez talked a lot about respect as the reason he left Boston. He got a better deal from the Mets and it bothered him that the Red Sox would not match it. Martinez said it wasn’t about the money. Before him, Mo Vaughn, the target of a huge smear campaign by Dan Duquette, said the same thing when he left for the Angels. It was about respect. Theo Epstein has too much class to say it publicly, but he is leaving also because a lack of respect, not a lack of money.
Maybe Theo more fully understands what athletes are saying when they use that word respect or when they talk about not being comfortable with what the fans or media view as a seemingly perfect situation. When Martinez left, Callahan questioned the pitcher’s intelligence in leaving Boston. Why isn’t he wondering the same thing about Epstein? Simple. Callahan likes Epstein. He isn’t a threat to Callahan’s ultra white linen world where an outspoken Latino (Martinez) is a frightening proposition.
Of course, no topic would be complete without hearing from WEEI staffer/Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. On Wednesday, he implied that the Epstein departure might make players wary of coming to Boston because they might view the organization as unstable.
He also said that Shaughnessy’s version of the botched Colorado deal from this past summer is incorrect and that most of the Red Sox dislike Shaughnessy. Schilling also stated that Epstein has “way too much integrity” to take another GM job in baseball and that closer B.J. Ryan would “look good in a Red Sox uniform.”
If you are keeping score, Schilling questioned the reputation of his employers, played beat reporter, imposed his own biased view of a writer on his whole team, implied that if Epstein took another baseball job he would somehow lack integrity and made teammate Keith Foulke feel really loved by saying that the team should get another closer. What a guy!!!
Last season, Schilling was responsible for more runs than bad panty hose at a Victoria’s Secret shoot, yet he still finds time to stick his arrogant nose in other people’s business. No wonder ex-teammate and ESPN analyst John Kruk says that some of Schilling’s Philly teammates still “want a piece of him.” By the way, Schilling’s money deal with WEEI is supposed to be about ALS. I did not hear that subject come up once in the interview.
Epstein is leaving because he does not want to work for the Red Sox anymore. Good for him. Someday, a Red Sox championship team will probably visit President Theo Epstein at the White House. Like Martinez, a lot of money was here. Like Garciaparra, a lot history was here, but as with both of those men, the respect and happiness were not. Epstein probably gets that now.
Eddie Andelman will broadcast his final AM 1510 program from the Soldiers Home, Rt. 16 in Chelsea, Thursday (November 3) from Noon-3:00 p.m. Fittingly, Andelman will use his last day on the 1510 airwaves to help others. Governor Mitt Romney will be a guest as Andelman raises money for the Soldiers Home.
Former “Diehards” Anthony Pepe and Jon Anik will sit in with Andelman. No phone calls will be taken on the show, but Andelman is encouraging people to come to the remote broadcast and contribute anything from monetary donations to phone cards, hats, t-shirts and books for the soldiers.
“This is the last stop in a series of veterans’ homes,” says Andelman. “We’ve already gone to Bedford, West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. These guys are the real heroes, not Manny Ramirez. I was never able to serve my country, so this is my way of doing that. The world has gone crazy with athletes as role models. Athletes don’t even like the fans. These veterans don’t have money to make phone calls or enough clothes. How does this happen? It’ s a national disgrace.”
Andelman is candid in discussing his time at AM 1510, “The Zone was good to me. I left WEEI over moral issues. There is room in Boston for two or three sports stations, but AM 1510 never had a good morning show and you can’ t have a station without that. I am going to use all my contacts to help the20 Zone guys get other jobs.”
Former “Diehard” Ryen Russillo, who had a couple of on-air run-ins with Andelman, is included in the veteran radio host’s good will. He states, “ If our conversations came across as anything more than debate, I am sorry. Ryen is the hardest-working guy I’ve ever been around. He does more pre-show work than anyone I’ve met in the business. He’s tremendous.”
Andelman says he told AM 1510 last year that, in 2006, he would not be working from after Super Bowl XL until the Red Sox season opened. “I’ll be vacationing in the Orient at that time,” says Andelman. “I have been contacted by a television station and several radio stations to do shows, but I am not ready to jump into anything now. I may redo my old “Sports Huddle” show with Bill Fairweather who I think is the next superstar in Boston radio.”
Andelman’s annual “Hot Dog Safari” will be on June 4, 2006. He passed title on that event to his sons five years ago. Regarding his future in media, he states, “I’m not sure I want to do strictly all sports anymore. With ticket prices the way they are and the way these owners operate teams, there is no fun. I may want to de-emphasize sports. The sports business has lost its sense of right and wrong. Paying guys to come on the air and things like that. Guys on WEEI have side businesses selling Super Bowl and Patriots tickets.
“I’m sick over the Theo Epstein thing. John Henry is better than the Yawkeys, but anyone would be. Half the world thinks Boston is racist because of the Yawkey family. Larry Lucchino is in and out of the State House like it’s his own house. He has kicked out street vendors and added $275 seats to a ballpark that is a dump. Instead of a bar in right field, why don’t they get Budweiser to give money to fix playgrounds in Boston?”
Andelman continues, “Has anyone ever checked into John Henry’s business practices? These guys developed Epstein’s skills and he was ready to lead the team for the next 25 years, now they are killing him.”
When Andelman left WEEI in late 2001, he said that one person he did respect is Ted Sarandis, who recently left WEEI. Says Andelman, “Glenn Ordway tortured Johnny Most behind his back and did the same thing to Ted. If I had one thing to take back in my career, I wouldn’t have given Ordway his first job. He came crying to my house. My wife made me hire him. Ordway would never pick on anyone who can defend himself, like me. Ted was treated unfairly.”
Last week, Media Blitz quoted two WEEI sources saying that Mike Adams would be named the new host in the 7:00 p.m.-midnight slot vacated by Sarandis. The next day, in an email, WEEI GM Julie Kahn confirmed that the station is “in discussions” with Adams, but would not give a timetable or further comment.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, Anthony Pepe would like to tell everyone that reports of AM 1510 The Zone’s death are greatly exaggerated. He and Jon Anik remain on staff at the beleaguered Sporting News Radio (SNR) station. As of last Friday, Pepe’s “Diehards” show and Andelman’s show were cancelled.
“John and I are running the station with an engineer,” says Pepe, the station’s marketing director since 2001. “It’s business as usual. All of our purchased block shows will remain on the air and we encourage those who want to buy time to get in touch with us. The station is the same except with national programming.”
Pepe says that AM 1510 will finish out its Harvard football season and jump into Harvard basketball. New England Ringside programming and NASCAR remain status quo. He also states that the station is not for sale. Celtic Pride, one of AM 1510’s purchased shows, has been picked up by AM 1320 in Providence, an SNR affiliate that carries Celtics’ games.
Pepe refused to comment on the long-term future of the station, but an SNR source told Media Blitz, “Sporting News Radio made the moves at AM 1510 because they just don’t have the time right now to focus on Boston. Corporate’ s main concern is building the network and, specifically, KNPC, their Los Angeles affiliate. KNPC is home to USC football and the San Diego Chargers. Within six months, I know that SNR will refocus on Boston. They want the market because it is important for advertisers.”
Says Pepe, “Our job now is to continue to bring in revenue for AM 1510. It is mostly paper work for Jon and me. Everyone in Boston is asking, ‘Who ’s in charge, who’s the GM?’ Well, I’m the G and Jon is the M. For a long time, people have been saying that we suck and that we are shutting down. That simply is not the case. Last week was tough. I lost some friends, but I’m glad I’m still here.”
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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