Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pats Take a Gamble

The Pats passed putting the franchise tag on superstar WR Randy Moss. This would indicate that the Pats think that they can sign a multi-year deal with Moss and this should get everyone in New England smiling. I'm all for smiling, but just remember what happened with Deion Branch, the Super Bow MVP who went to the Seahawks after the Pats refused to offer him the amount of cash he wanted.

Bottom Line: The Patriots are known for smart spending and have never spent too much on an individual player. The Pats also don't have too much money to play with under the salary cap. Keep your fingers crossed and in the mean time- here is a much needed Randy Moss fix in a hilarious ESPN clip.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BostonNOW: Direct to the Web

I pick up BostonNOW everyday. I made the big switch from the Metro to BostonNOW about six months ago and it was solely because BostonNOW has a better crossword puzzle. Never underestimate the power of the crossword because now I'm a loyal BostonNOW reader when I hop on the train.

BostonNOW isn't anything mind blowing, but I do admire their persistence in trying to make the commuter paper into a strong web presence. Every brief and article, unless it's a wire story, has a link that you can go to. The link brings you to the story online and allows you to comment on the story. I'm not sure how well this will work. I read BostonNOW as a quick read if I don't have time to read a major newspaper, catch the news or hop online before I leave my apartment. This rarely ever happens and I have usually scanned, and/or before I even get out of my pajamas. But the effort is commendable and I really like what they are trying to do.

The paper is also pushing for citizen journalism in more ways than just through comment boards. BostonNOW is looking for citizen journalists that can write about various topics that the paper is trying to cover and the paper would pay them for their services. I’m not sure how much you can really call this citizen journalism, I guess it depends on the way it is presented and written, but it seems kind of like a freelance position with a new age title to me. The paper's website also features online polls, cell phone access and downloadable copies of the paper.

BostonNOW is still relatively new so I think there effort to bring readers to website is excellent. And if there is a lesson to all small newspapers in this somewhere, maybe it’s to feature a great crossword, you never know how you will bring in a new reader.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Photo Galleries

Like most journalism majors, I am a bit of a news junkie and as a sports fan, a sports news junkie. But even the most diehard of fans can sometimes get a bit worn out and would prefer a quick news brief over a two pager with a jump. gets this. They get it more than, which has great features but has yet to really see the beauty in constructing a news article out of photographs and briefs. understands how to do this perfectly. Sometimes I will click on a link thinking it’s a news story and it will bring me to a photo gallery, which is often a pleasant surprise. This means less reading for me!

Now should every story be done like this? Obviously not, but it's a great way to create a countdown or rank importance of things without having to fumble through an article. There doesn't have to be expert commentary, just the reporters’ ideas and it can be done in a really fun way. It is a great way to explore ideas without them having to be hard facts and sometimes I feel like I learn as much if not more from a story constructed like this.

Here is a great example of a story, “10 offseason questions for the Patriots,” that works way better in this format than I believe it would in a standard article.

I really like the way this photo gallery was done. It is a quick read, but it highlights important facts. If you want to learn more about a certain aspect you can do so, but this is a great overview. It also incorporates the readers by featuring a poll at the end asking for the readers’ opinion.

To me this is quality journalism. It isn’t a Pulitzer Price winner, but it does what journalists should do, raises questions and educates readers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Inexpensive Memories

I remember when the Patriots were terrible. Instead of our now expected double digits in the wins column, it was always double digits in the losses column. Tickets were cheap and available and my Dad and I would make the trek to the old Foxboro Stadium.

I remember walking into the stadium wearing a dark blue Drew Bledsoe jersey under my puffy Patriots winter jacket and taking in the scene with wide blue eyes. At that moment all I could think was that I wanted to come every Sunday.

My Dad and I would sit on the metal bleachers in the end zone and eat Papa John's pizza and peanuts. Because the Pats were on the bottom of the NFL barrel and because of their annual loser status, I got to root for my favorite team in the sticky seats of Foxboro.

Nothing is better than seeing the thing that you love live and in person. Whether it is a play, concert or sporting event, there is something about seeing something you are passionate about play out in front of your eyes. This is especially important for children and the times that I spent with my dad within the walls of that stadium are times that I will never forget. has reported that the Patriots will be raising ticket prices next year. Here are the new prices according to the press release and the post on Mike Reiss’ blog on, “Reiss’s Pieces,”

Lower Level Sideline -- $169
Lower Level Corner/End Zone -- $117
Mezzanine Level Corner/End Zone -- $117
Upper Level Sideline -- $89
Upper Level Corner (Rows 1-7) -- $89
Upper Level Corner (Rows 8-26) -- $65
Standing Room -- $49

I literally gasped when I saw the new prices. I can’t imagine having parents spending 100 dollars on two STANDING ROOM tickets. I went to a game last year with my Dad for my birthday and it will probably be the last game I go to for some time.

It kills me to think that some kids will have to miss out on what I got to experience so many times when I was small. Sports are a business and I know that. More people want to go see a good team play than a team where a loss is almost guaranteed. It just hurts me to think that the thousands of little Pats fans may not get the chance to see their role models hit the field because of unbelievably high ticket prices.

I would never want the Pats to do badly and it may never go back to the way it used to be when rows of empty seats could be found cluttering the stadium. But I do know that I much rather see the stands filled with parents and kids, old friends and long time fans all clad in Pats gear, then rows of suits and ties. Hey, maybe I’m cynical, but those suits won’t be coming when the Pats are no longer the cream of the crop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

King of the Mailbag

Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, is a columnist for ESPN the Magazine and for He is a native Bostonian and constantly shows his undying love for all that is Boston sports in his lengthy columns. He doesn't just have a fan base in New England, but across the country, making him one of the most popular ESPN personalities.
Simmons is a great writer and his style is something I have never seen done so well before. He mixes incredible sports knowledge with clever remarks and pop culture tidbits. His words flow and he makes a subject that you may not think you would ever find interesting into a column that you read to the very last paragraph.

The great thing about Simmons is that he plays off of his readers and invites them into the conversation. He asks them to give players nicknames, coin new sports phrases and weigh in on the sports debate of the day. Simmons is not the traditional, here is my opinion, take it or leave it columnist. He knows that his columns get better with help and who is better to help than people who know or at least love sports.

Simmons does a regular mailbag column where he takes selected reader questions, comments, rants and raves and constructs a column where he and the reader interact. This is interactive journalism at its finest. His articles and columns get hundreds of letters because the readers know that their voices are being heard. Check out his latest mailbag or check out previous articles and columns.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Schilling Shoulder Woes

It looks like Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is out until at least the All-Star Break. Schilling, who was resigned by the Sox shortly after the season ended, will forgo surgery so that he will be able to play later in the season. Instead of surgery, Schilling will go through a rehabilitation regimen for his shoulder. If Shilling chose surgery, he could have been out the entire season.

The End

I have officially popped my head out of my hole of mourning and denial. The New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl. My fingers hurt when I type it. When I think about it my face goes dark and my voice gets quiet. But on Sunday history was squashed and Pats fans will have to wait until next September to see the Pats grace the field at Gillette Stadium.

The worst part about a big loss isn't always just the fact that it happened, but the fact that you will have to hear about it for weeks after.

"I seriously don't think I'm going to be able to watch Sports Center for like two weeks," my boyfriend said to me after the epic loss.

It's funny how we react to the media. We love it when they hype our team for two weeks straight and then despise it when they report the unsettling truths.

I don't think I'll get into the details of the game. We all watched the game and now New England is trying to put it into perspective. Now I'm preparing myself for the backlash. I'm ready for the media to forget the amazing, record-breaking season. The sports media needs something to focus football related and Spygate is just the thing to focus on when teams aren't playing. Besides trades the off-season can be a bit dull, but the media has just the story to keep the NFL in the headlines. Unfortunately, it's a story that should have been dropped after the team was punished months ago. Maybe I'm cynical, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a long off-season.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

RIP Keith Ryan

I wanted to make a quick mention on the blog about the death of Keith Ryan, the son of The Boston Globe's own sports columnist Bob Ryan. Here is the obit that ran in the Globe.

Santana to the Mets: The Deal is Done

I know everyone knows this by now, but I thought I would give the official word on "In the Huddle." The Mets will pay Santana 137.5 million over six years. Sports are unbelievable.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Separation of Sports and State

Last night I saw a headline on about a U.S. Senator that wants to look further into the Patriots Spygate scandal. I ignored it. I skipped over it hoping maybe it wouldn't turn into anything important and perhaps I could look into the exciting future (2 days!) instead of the regrettable past. But this morning I saw this article pop up on and I felt like I had to sit down and read it. The headline read, "Senator wants answers on Spygate tapes from NFL." According to the article, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) wants to know why the NFL destroyed the tapes that the New England Patriots made when they cheated during the first game of the 2007 season. The senator apparently made several attempts to contact the NFL and no one ever got back to him. The article goes on to say, "NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, in a September e-mail to, wrote that the reason for destroying them was "so that our clubs would know they no longer exist and cannot be used by anyone."

So if the league has already explained why they did what they did, why does Specter plan on pressing the issue? I'm not sure what else the league will tell him. There may very well be a more deceptive and mysterious reason why they destroyed the tapes, but what if there isn't and if there is, does anyone really care at this point? Why does Specter, a longtime senator, care about this? Maybe that's what really should be investigated.

It seems we get our answer about halfway through the story. The article says, "Specter, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan who still calls sports radio stations on Monday mornings, said he was concerned about the integrity of sports." Hmmm. Is this an issue about the integrity of sports or stale bitterness over the fact that the Pats beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004? Eagles’ players, including Sheldon Brown, have stepped up and claimed that the Pats win was tainted and now maybe they have the ultimate tool of revenge.

Maybe my conspiracy theory is wrong and Specter truly cares about the league itself and not just his beloved Eagles. I hope I’m wrong. I love sports, but as of late I think there needs to be some separation of sports and government. Obviously as large companies and organizations that pay taxes, they are undeniably linked. But a U.S. Senator starting the investigation of a cheating scandal in the NFL? C'mon! Let the league do what it wants to do. Is this the start of another Mitchell report? We can all see how well that turned out.

Instead of pointing fingers and setting out on personal vendettas, perhaps Specter should do what the citizens of Pennsylvania elected him to do; serve the people of his state and represent them on matters important to them and the country. I say fight for more important issues and keep sports as a discussion topic on talk radio not in Congress.

Update: Trouble with the Trade?

According to, "Sources: Mets likely won't reach deal with Santana until Friday, if at all."