Thursday, January 31, 2008

Santana to the Mets

Since I have been in such a Super Bowl daze over the past two weeks, I haven't even mentioned the news that broke on Tuesday afternoon. Everyone at this point knows this, but I'll announce it like it is breaking news.

Johan Santana, who everyone believed was heading either to the Bronx or Beantown, is actually going to Queens. Santana is working on a deal with the Mets and pending a physical and the legal/monetary mumbo jumbo, will be the number one starter in the Mets rotation. He will be the toast of the less famous and talked about New York team.

What do I think? Well, like any Red Sox fan I would have loved to see a rotation including Santana, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling and Wakefield. I mean who wouldn't?

But at the same time, why fix what isn't broken? We won a World Series and of course you want to improve your team, but trading players who were essential in helping you team win it all? That’s hard and that’s why the deal, I speculate, didn’t go down. I would have hated to see Ellsbury go, a rising star with quick legs and a quick bat and Lester is proving to shape up into a solid pitcher and I would think that the big guys at the Sox felt the same.

Well here is the upside; he is going to the National League. We won’t be facing him except during interleague and never in the playoffs unless we make it to the Series. He didn’t go to the Evil Empire and we have the same team that brought the trophy home to us.

Disappointing? Maybe. Devastating? Not at all. Plus, you never know what will happen. Trades fall through and people back out. I’ll post again when it is official.

Super Bowl Media Day

Super Bowl media day was held in Arizona on Tuesday. The sports media, especially media that doesn't get a lot of face time with the teams, made the trip to the dry heat of the southwest and got their chance to ask, well, whatever they felt like. Athletes and coaches are made readily available and reporters have an open forum to ask questions. The tone of the day is very loose. People ask crazy questions and do idiotic things. It isn't the serious tone of the standard press conference and there isn't a game that the reporters have to report on shortly afterward. This is information for fluff stories; at a normal interview would you see a reporter dressed in a wedding gown asking Tom Brady to marry her?

It's all fun and games at Media Day and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But I found this post on the Sporting News' blog and thought it was an interesting take. No one seems to take media day seriously, but is it just a big waste of time? Do we actually get any real substance out of it? What do you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Only Animals Would Pick The Giants!

Boston. com has a great blog dedicated solely to Super Bowl coverage titled "Double Coverage." It's a great read and has pretty much everything you could ever want or need to know about the upcoming game, the competing teams and everything in between. And when I say EVERYTHING, I mean it.

Check out this story about Princess the game predicting camel. That's the best thing about blogs, things that you would never see in the paper, unless it was a slow news day, can be found on a blog. Sometimes that's a bad thing, but fun stories like this should be told and blogs are the perfect place to showcase them.

P.S. Princess picked the Giants. Clearly not the smartest camel in the desert.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Time for Innovation

While browsing the internet sports news universe this morning, I came across this interesting column that ran in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by sports columnist Gil Lebreton, titled "Super Bowl may have outgrown the media that helped create it." It is a fun read, but part of the story really intrigued me. Libreton wrote,

"Newspapers and radio stations still cover the game in record numbers. But whereas, as recently as Super Bowl XIX, a reporter could actually sit down and interview one of the two Super Bowl quarterbacks, the media crush now is so thick, you're lucky to have 10 minutes with the special teams coach."

I had never really thought about it like that before. As much coverage as there is of the Super Bowl, it really is limited. At first this scared me: what will stories include if access is so limited? Will it be pure speculation? Maybe I shouldn't have jabbed the press for creating such a stir over Brady's walking boot and high ankle sprain. If they had better access to the sources they needed then maybe the story would have began and ended in the same news day.

But here is the thing. This may be the perfect time to experiment with new media techniques and technologies. User generated content, more analysis and comparisons using video and audio, blogs and polls, profiles and scorecards and so much more could be experimented with. If only certain media outlets can interview the big names, other media needs to create new content that will draw readers in. Innovation and invention often occurs when the traditional or accepted ways of doing something are taken away. Smaller media outlets would benefit to start the experimentation and draw in readers with features that larger outlets didn't think of doing when they were interviewing the star QB.

And He Is Back...

Where in the world is Tom Brady? That was the question people were asking after the media reported that he was missing from practice. The “Brady Boot” scandal, Brady wearing a walking boot and limping around NYC, was captured on camera by paparazzi that treated Brady like he was Lindsay Lohan about to fall off the sobriety wagon. It was the hot sports topic of the end of last week and this weekend. Will Brady play? Is he really hurt? What exactly is a high ankle sprain? Is Belichick playing games with the media? The only problem: the Patriots had no intention of discussing or even mentioning the topic.

That is the thing about the Patriots: they don’t talk much and if they do, they all say the same thing. The team is a well-oiled machine that is mum on most topics the media wants to talk about. This drives the media crazy and as a journalist it would probably drive me crazy as well. There are only so many stories you can do about how they don't talk and even large issues like the cheating scandal now coined “Spygate” and Randy Moss’ legal troubles seem to be dropped quickly. Stories have a hard time evolving into more than a guessing game if you have no sources or anyone involved that is willing to talk to you.

And now it's Sunday and Brady has emerged. Just like that the “Brady Boot” scandal is done and Brady and the team are heading to Arizona. No one on the team seemed too worried about the story about which the media started a craze. Now the story is kaput and the hundreds of articles and discussion seem a bit for naught. Will Brady play in the Super Bowl? Is Belichick psyching out the Giants team? It may be hard for us, the media, but it may be time to stop asking questions and just wait and see.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Voicemail Message Boards

Have written message boards already started to bore us? Message boards have been around for some time now and has just introduced a brand new kind of message. For their Super Bowl coverage, the site has invited readers to call a number listed on their site and leave a voicemail. They encourage you to leave the most creative, smack talk voicemail intended for the New York Giants or praise for the New England Patriots and they will put the most original up on the site.

Check it out!

The site also has other message boards targeted toward the Super Bowl, but are also looking for photos and videos. Are written messages no longer interactive enough? I'm only 21, but I remember when they were revolutionary.

People love to hear their own voice and maybe seeing their words in the comments section is no longer enough. is relying on reader contributions and this means they have to do new and inventive things to have readers participate. As has proven, people like to give their opinions and document them. Photo sharing and video sharing are not necessarily new concepts, but the way the site is asking for so much user generated content is. is creating a community and the sports section is the perfect place to have a neighborhood.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Casey's Crystal Ball: A Bit Foggy

I don't think I will be changing my stance on making picks on big games after the results of the Conference Championship games yesterday. Below are my picks, the actual scores and the bottom line:

AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers

My Pick: New England 31, San Diego 17
Actual Score: New England 21, San Diego 12
Bottom Line: The New England Patriots are going to the SUPER BOWL for the fourth time in seven years!!

NFC Championship Game
Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

My Pick: Green Bay Packers 24, New York Giants 21
Actual Score: New York Giants 23, Green Bay Packers 20
Bottom Line: I was right in some regards. It was a tight one and the winning team won by three points. The only problem, there will be no Cheeseheads migrating to Arizona, just a bunch of New Yorkers.

So it isn't going to be an epic battle of quarterback royalty, but it's still the Super Bowl. Thirteen days until the most important day in the NFL will be upon us. It should be interesting to see what the press does with this match up.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Casey's Crystal Ball

Let me preface my picks for this week’s NFL Conference Championships by saying this: I don't believe in picks. Things can never be surely predicted and maybe I'm too superstitious or just plain nervous, but I would never put money on a game, no matter the spread or what the past match up history may be. You would never see ESPN commentators debating the biggest upsets ever or be able to watch the NFL Network replay classic underdog wins if sports outcomes were predictable. But, alas, I read them anyways because what is more fun then predicting right and showing off to all of your friends? Below are my picks:

AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers

Pick: New England Patriots
Predicted Score: 31-17

I would never NOT pick the Patriots. I would pick the Patriots over any team past or present. This isn’t because I necessarily think the Patriots could beat any team past or present, but because I’m at the level of Patriots fan where your blind love and admiration for the undefeated athletes wearing red, silver and blue, makes you trust everything they do. I have already forgotten Spygate and Harrison’s confession of HGH use. I believe the Pats can do no wrong.

That said, this is playoff football and teams do not give up. The Chargers are banged up with two of their most valuable players, LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers, not 100 percent. But last week they proved they could step up their game and utilize other players to beat the Indianapolis Colts, the reigning Super Bowl champs. This is not going to be some piece of cake, walk into Dolphins Stadium and win with your eyes closed victory, but I pick the Pats to leave frosty Gillette Stadium as winners.

NFC Championship Game
Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

Pick: Green Bay Packers
Predicted Score: 24-21

This is going to be a tight one. The Giants are rolling into Lambeau Field with momentum, beating the “team to beat” Dallas Cowboys in Texas last weekend. Eli Manning finally seems confident and ready to lead his team to the Super Bowl. But I just don’t think that is going to happen. I’m prepared to see a lot of Cheeseheads heading to Phoenix in two weeks.

I predict a clash of the titans, two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history playing in the most important game of the year. Brady vs. Favre: the media should have a great time with that one…

Friday, January 18, 2008

Welcome to the Huddle

We all know that technology is changing the media and the information that we receive as consumers. Even the least tech savvy or media minded person knows that the influence of blogs, podcasts and social networking is revolutionizing the way we receive our news. It’s no longer just in black and white or on at 5 and 11 p.m., but available to all of us by a click of a mouse, a tap of a satellite radio dial or flip of the remote control.

Sports media has felt the effect of the changing journalistic tide and is jumping on the wave. This blog is going to explore the way newspapers, radio stations, local news, cable networks (man, there will be a lot of talk about the juggernaut that is ESPN) and all the mediums that fall in-between, are using new technologies to change the way sports are covered and delivered to the masses. Of course, there will also be my view on all of the latest news and happenings in the ever-changing world of sports. Sometimes it can get a bit heated so watch out!

This is a great time to discuss sports and the media and if you’re a Boston fan (Go Pats!) it’s even better. So put your helmet on, it’s time to play!