There are a LOT of people covering sports in Boston and a LOT of people paying attention to those people. As a result, many have become household names. Boston being Boston, both they and the fans have very strong opinions. Here are the ten most obnoxious.
Note: If you’re on this list, you’re relevant enough to be on air (or in print) enough to annoy me. That means you’re probably talented. In fact, I would love to be on a list like this. This has nothing to do with talent; it’s simply the people who make me want to throw my phone through my television screen the most often when listening to their opinions.
10. Alex Reimer
Okay, we actually love Reimer here at TheLead. For a short period he even wrote for us part-time and I recently had him on our podcast. However, he writes a ton of pieces, is totally fearless, and has been spitting hot takes left and right since before first grade (see the Jeter Tweet/piece above). Put it this way: if he didn’t make this list, it would be a disappointment. He’s a columnist who knows what his job is. Everyone has their own ratio, but I agree with about 85% of his pieces. The other 15% are really annoying, mostly because they’re so well-written that they’re hard to argue against. He’s good at pissing people off, and I mean that as a compliment.
9. Marshall Hook – 98.5 Sports Hub
All you need to know is that the guy has a (seemingly) visceral hatred for David Ortiz that he carried out over the airwaves during Ortiz’s final few seasons. In my book, that is enough to make this list.
8. Tom Curran
Curran is a smart, well-prepared professional who is always on the ball. He’s a great reporter who has always been kind and helpful in the limited interactions I’ve had with him. Despite all that, every single person I informally polled for this piece mentioned him as someone they find obnoxious. Probably a combination of his smug, pro-Patriots demeanor and guy-from-the-neighborhood persona (right down to the “hip” flat caps he sports). I can see why people enjoy his work, but he’s a little much sometimes (the photo above being a good example).
7. Dale Arnold
A square in a sharp world, Dale has always been a little goody-two-shoes for the market he works in. While his adult back-and-forth with Michael Holley can be a refreshing break from some of the other shows in town, his “see both sides of the argument” style and reflexive institutionalism can be just as annoying. It’s kind of like if your seventh grade history teacher, or your uncle who always reminded you to do your chores, hosted a radio show.
6. Ron Borges
Borges is a little like a poor man’s Shaughnessy. A lot of the same descriptors apply, but Borges is a little less relevant, a little less talented, and a little more extreme with his takes. He still churns out biting columns for the Herald, but it feels like he hasn’t been truly relevant since his double-duty days as a Hall-of-Fame boxing writer and a Bill Belichick-bashing, Bill Parcells-loving football columnist for the Boston Globe. His writing hasn’t changed much – the Aaron Hernandez piece in Rolling Stone was great – but the times have changed. He’s still relevant enough to be obnoxious, though. I also hope he isn’t reading this, because he looks like he would chew my arm off if given the chance.
5. Curt Schilling – Breitbart News
Oh sorry, I got confused and thought this was another list I’m working on called “Pieces of Shit in the Media Who Happen To Live in the Boston Area.” Although he would be #1 on that list, not #4.
Onto the real #5…
5. Mike Felger – 98.5 Sports Hub
Everyone with a brain knows this guy is the most talented radio host in town (certainly after 10am) and those same people know he is often very punchable. He knows it, though, and it pleases him. Felger consistently needles Boston fans in ways ranging from subtle to obvious, and it results in good ratings and good radio. Does he manufacture opinions? Yeah, but he does it in a smart, strategic, informed way.
Personally, I pretty much listen to Felger and Mazz only during football season and can’t stand listening to them during the Celtics season, mostly due to Felger’s innate hatred of and bias towards the NBA and its players. He also wears dress shirts three sizes too large (not sufficiently captured in the photo above – TV shows it better), even though he is clearly smart enough to know better. And yes, that enrages me.
4. Dan Shaughnessy – Boston Globe
Shank. A pro’s pro. Shaughnessy is a great columnist who knows what his job is, so he would probably be disappointed if he were any lower on this list. He’s never afraid to have a take, never runs out of them, and his pieces sell papers. He also isn’t afraid to show up in the locker room the next day after ripping someone apart. He was a troll before we even knew the word existed (at least in that context). The fact that he’s a great writer makes him all that much more lethal. Approximately 38% of his columns make me want to smash my iPad over my knee, but I still read them, and that’s the point.
3. Gary Tanguay – CSN
Get a haircut.
Gary, you do a pretty good Skip Bayless impersonation, but there’s a reason people don’t like Skip. You seem like a better guy than Skip – you kind of seem like you’re in on the joke, and you’re probably a great guy to have as a neighbor – but your “hot takes,” especially about the Celtics, are not up to par. At least pretend to believe what you say (and if you do actually believe what you say, we have other issues).
2 + 1. Kirk and Callahan – WEEI
Both of these guys are extremely talented: they’re sharp, witty, and incisive. Neither misses a beat. They also routinely produce riveting content with interesting guests and are willing to go out of their comfort zone with guests like Alex Reimer. I’ve even met Kirk Minihane and found him to be kind and polite. BUT both hosts consistently engage in backward-looking, race-baiting, regressive repartée that makes me borderline nauseous and causes me to switch the station quicker than they are to take the “white” side in the latest racial controversy.
Their commentary on the Adam Jones/Fenway Park incident was particularly troubling (see Minihane’s Tweet above). Trust me: if you’re white and from the Boston area (and Minihane and I grew up in the same all-white town, Winchester), you know that it is 1,000% possible (and even probable) that someone yelled a racial slur at Adam Jones. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous at best.