BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Studio Host

Here’s our final recap for the 2005 BSMW voting. We’re looking at a relatively minor role, that of the studio host, who introduces the game, brings guests in and out of segments and sets up the studio analysts for their opinions. The host will also perhaps have a few between-periods spots, as well as a post-game wrapup which might include filling time until press conferences are held, and getting analysis from the guests and whomever else might be on the program.

The ideal host is smooth, able to transition between segments effortlessly, sets up his analysts nicely and is flexible enough to be able to handle any unexpected development, such as a weather delay, technical difficulty or sudden lineup change.

Here’s how you voted in this category:

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Going by the above description, Tom Caron is an almost perfect studio host, and the voting affirmed that. (597 votes for 46% of the total) Caron never makes himself the star of the show, and smoothly navigates through the pre and post game shows setting up his guests and analysts very well. During rain delays he never seems like he’s just there filling time, he keeps the discussions going and keeps them lively.

Caron’s NESN teammate Eric Frede, who handles the Bruins studio hosting duties came in second, a bit of a surprise, given the awful season turned in by the B’s. Frede got 264 votes for 20% of the total. He has filled in on occasion for Caron on the Red Sox telecasts, and has handled those opportunities very well. Bob Lobel of the Patriots pregame and 5th quarter came in third.

Reader Comments: Caron first, by default. I liked Rodgers better, but Caron is fine. A very unenthusiastic "best" vote for Caron. A pretty solid performer but his voice and look are not that good.

Now a look at the other end of the spectrum:

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Someone complained to me during the voting that it wasn’t fair that Gary Tanguay was listed in this category twice. They reasoned that he would split his vote and finish behind someone else. Well, there’s no rules that say we can’t combine his totals and make them one number. By that method Tanguay’s gigs with WBCN radio hosting Patriots games and his FSN chores for the Celtics netted him 31% of the vote, which ties him with Bob Lobel to lead the voting in this category.

In contrast to Caron, Tanguay oftentimes seems to be trying to make himself the center of attention. His idea of generating discussion during his hosting duties is oftentimes to take some unpopular or knee-jerk stance and introduce it as a topic for discussion. Last year during the Patriots preseason, the team took it easy on Tom Brady in the preseason. Tanguay several times tried to assert that this meant that there was something wrong with Brady that all fans should be deeply concerned about. Of course, Brady then went on to have perhaps his finest season as a pro. Lobel’s telecasts are sometimes shaky and uneven, though I think people are harsher on him than necessary. Once in a while he’ll pull a Tanguay and try to get people worked on during a Patriots pre or post game show, but not with the same frequency. Having Bob Neumeier next to him has helped the last couple years as they do work very well together.

Reader Comments: Tanguay on 'BCN is the worst; he tries to obscure his lack of football knowledge with a preposterous “tough guy” act. The Pats deserve better, Jonathan….Which sucks worse, Tanger on 'BCN or Tanger on FSN? Verrrry tough choice. On pure volume of stupidity, I have to go with the 'BCN Tanguay.

BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst TV Sports Personality

Today we’re looking at a group of people who in some cases might be something of a dying breed. These are TV sports personalities, and among them are the people who do sports reports on the local newscasts. They’ve seen their on-air time dwindle through the years, even as the popularity of sports has increased. In many cases they compensate for their reduced newscast time with gigs hosting nightly or weekly sports shows, appearing on team pregame and postgame shows or making appearances on sports radio. It’s very rare to see someone who only does TV sports on the nightly news.

Some of our candidates have been in the market for a long time, others are relative newcomers. Here’s how you voted on them:

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It was a tight voting, with no clear winner. Mike Lynch of channel 5 WCVB came out on top with 232 votes for 18% of the total. Lynch is one of the veterans of the Boston sports scene, and has managed not to get over-exposed during that time. In addition to the sportscasts on WCVB, he also hosts the Patriots All Access program on the station, and during the preseason and occasions that the Patriots play on ABC or ESPN, Lynch has hosted a pregame show on the station as well. He does a solid job, not making himself the focus or star, and going about things in a workmanlike manner, not usually resorting to making outrageous statements just for attention.

Hazel Mae, host of Sports Desk on NESN came in second in the balloting with 14% of the vote, while veteran Bob Lobel and Tom Caron each received 12% of the total. Lobel has been a fixture on the Boston sports scene for over 25 years, and while he may have lost some of his fastball, he’s in many ways still the face of TV sports in Boston.

Reader Comments: I went with Giardi on top here. Mike Lynch is solid but I almost never watch that station….The "Best" vote was easy—no one. There's not one person on that list who I would say is outstanding and only a few (Giardi, Lynch) whom I would characterize as acceptable.

Now let’s look at the vote for worst:

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Once again the voting was very tight, but Butch Stearns emerged as the winner of the worst TV sports personality, taking home 213 votes for 16% of the total. Getting viewers to the station is part of his job, but the way he attempts to do it is something many people take issue with. He’ll tease his sports segment with some statement that is designed to make the viewer think that something huge is breaking. If you watch him for any length of time, you become immune to the tactic. Stearns also is a frequent guest on WEEI (He says it paid for the addition to this house.) and enjoys throwing things out there trying to generate some sort of buzz. Most famous of course was his confrontation with Curt Schilling on WEEI, which he then milked on his sportscast. Another Stearns highlight was when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, and Butch grabbed the trophy on-camera exclaiming “Who’s better than me with the trophy?”

CBS4’s duo of Bob Lobel and Steve Burton came in second and third. Lobel had a rough 2005 with rumors of his personal life making headlines and then suing a cartoonist for alleging that he was drunk on the air. Burton is the king of the one-word questioning technique. He proves clueless on many matters and while he might be a nice guy personally, he offers little in the way of insight or analysis of sports.

Reader Comments: Stearns has my lifetime support for worst here. Steve Burton could visibly pee his pants every time he is on TV and I'm still backing Butch. The lowest of the low….Chris Collins apparently flying under the radar here…. After lengthy deliberation and after a tight battle among the Three Horseman of the Apocryphal (Stupidity, Pomposity and Cluelessness-- Burton, Stearns, and Tanguay) I had to go with the one guy who best epitomizes all three. Who looks better with a Brucie than you, Butch?

BSMW Awards Recap – Boston Sports Media’s Best Kept Secret

Just a short entry today with the holiday.

Today we’re looking at media people who might not yet be household names, but whose work is getting them attention from sports fans and consumers in the region. Last year’s winner was Mike Reiss, who quickly got a promotion to the Globe and has emerged as one of the brightest stars on the Patriots beat and is a trailblazer in terms of sports blogging in Boston.

Here’s this year’s list of candidates and the results. We did also have a couple write-ins for Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, who was regrettably left off the balloting.

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Rob Bradford moved from the Lowell Sun to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune after John Tomase moved to the Herald and immediately made an impact on Red Sox coverage. He had a tremendous offseason covering the departures, acquisitions and intrigue around the club over the course of the winter. He has since become a Big Show regular and looks to be a fixture on the Boston sports media scene for years to come.

No one else in this group really stuck out among the voters, Eric Wilbur does pretty solid work for Boston.com, though he does so mostly in anonymity, as the site doesn’t seem to promote his stuff as much as they do other features of the site (Dirt Dogs, for one). Someone that I think is an up and comer is the guy who essentially replaced Mike Reiss at the MetroWest Daily News, Albert Breer, who has done some good work covering the Patriots for the paper. I also like Michael Parente’s Patriots coverage, and someone else who didn’t make the list, Scott Souza of the Daily News, whose coverage of the Celtics has caught my attention a number of times over the course of the season.

Tomorrow: TV Sports Personalities