Section 103, paragraph 250, and sentence 24 in the blogger handbook says I have to love sports media feuds. Oh, who am I kidding? Even without the handbook, I love a good drama between the two entities that I spend probably too much time making fun of.
2013 brought in a new era of media feuds, feuds that make it so sad to kiss this year goodbye. So, without further ado, here are your top 5 media fights of the year selected by yours truly.
5) TBN vs. Buffalo Sabres- Then. Now. Forever. That should be the slogan for this feud because it will never die.
Pick an angle, ANY ANGLE.
We got Terry Pegula getting ambushed at his Harbor Center ground-breaking ceremony because he hadn't talked on the record in a year. We can go to the infamous Ted Black/Darcy Regier/Sully/Harrington year-end presser that became a rap battle between Bad Boy Records and Death Row. Bucky vs. Darcy, Miller vs. Sully, Harrington vs. um, everyone? Hell, even the guys the Sabres pay to cover their team hate TBN.
Normally, this rivalry would be higher on the list, but since LaFotaine has taken over, things have been quiet. Too quiet. Bucky finally got what he wanted and he looks like a fortune teller for wanting LaFontaine to be the president in that "Where are they now?" column he penned back in May. *shakes fist at the sky, knowing how many times Bucky has pounded his chest for nailing that*
Quote books are happy that Ted Nolan is back and he actually speaks in full sentences instead of the grunts and one word answers from Ron Rolston. But while there seems to be a truce at the very moment, we can still declare a winner for the past year.
Winner: Draw This was a really tough one. On one hand, the Sabres are a fricken disaster on the ice and I care more about how they are treating fans than how the media treats them. On the other hand, bitching constantly about Pegula not talking or making Grigomania out to be the next Mario Lemiux in an effort to throw Lindy/Hecht under the bus? That's a lot of agendas here. Lots of them. If anything, this is a battle between ignorance and assholes. Yeah, I don't know whether to shit or go blind with this one.
4) Mike Harrington vs. Hockey Hotline - Seriously, has anyone not gotten into a fight with Mike on Twitter? Fans, media members, players, or parody accounts... The man doesn't stop fighting. I have to tell you, it was a pain in the ass to try and figure out where to go with Mike on this list. He could be his own list. At times, I've felt he had a point and a legit gripe, but other times, he sounds like an insane, belligerent martyr. The man beats dead horses like he's working at Elmer's glue factory. Less is more, Mike!
I could have gone with Mike's beef with bloggers, soccer fans, Terry Pegula, Trending Buffalo, Jeremy White, Sabres game presentation, press box Internet, not honoring former players, the definition of Paywall, Ron Rolston, 7:35PM game times, Twitter, and the NFL product. Instead, I went with Hockey Hotline. Look, I have to get Andrew Peters in here somehow.
We all know that Hockey Hotline is pretty much the mouthpiece of the Buffalo Sabres. If you just want to hear hockey talk and can overlook their biased narrative, this show is for you I guess. Since its inception, Mike has been referring to it as state run radio. He's gotten into Twitter spats with Andrew Peters which led to Peters calling Mike a "toxic person" on the radio. In return, Mike has called Andrew "The Human Sabretooth" which actually might be the perfect nickname for him. It is up there with Bfloblog's meathead proclamation.
Winner: Mike Harrington - I'm taking Mike's side just because I think he's better at his job than the folks at Hockey Hotline. Also, Human Sabertooth vs. toxic person? Score one for Mike on the creativity. Also Peters doesn't respond well to criticism and it has showed with his temper tantrums on Twitter. Didn't he threaten Mike Schopp on Twitter once? On top of that, Hockey Hotline just feels so cliche and company line. The best part of it is actually when Kris Baker comes on because you can tell he does research prior to it and not just write his talking points on a bar napkin, and I don't even like prospects! The show hardly has 1-on-1 player interviews like say John Murphy's show does which makes it just sound 2nd rate to me.
How does Peters have 3 local TV shows to go along with his radio show is beyond me. I'm sure he's a nice guy and seems funny, but he hams it up too much and kind of lacks substance in his POVs. Be more serious and not always a class clown. Plus, he's been overexposed locally and it doesn't help that the goony pundits in the hockey world are an overused entity as we speak.
3) Print journalists vs. Twitter - Remember when Tim Graham won like two Trendees in a row for best local sports media guy? If you take away his Twitter account, there's probably no argument from me. However, when you have the distinct displeasure of following him or seeing his retweets, you pretty much want to punch the guy in the face when he speaks to his followers. This tends to be the norm with all the print guys. Harrington, Sal Mariona, Bucky, and Graham do this on an everyday basis it seems like. I'm sure Sully would get in on it if he knew how to tag someone in a tweet.
While I understand that they get a lot of shit on Twitter in comparison to me, I don't see the purpose of retweeting insults directed at them and flexing their blocking muscles. It accomplishes nothing. Instead, it makes people go after them more. Mike Schopp is arguably the biggest lightning rod when it comes to criticism and opinions. A lot of folks think he's an arrogant asshole. Yet you don't see that many people on Twitter trolling the guy in comparison. Why? Because he doesn't advertise that he's getting trolled or gives a shit when it happens.
While we are on the subject of what pisses me off on Twitter, don't even get me started on retweeting everyone who agrees with you or trying to get your followers to go after the guy trolling you. That's just an insecure, egocentric, bullying move if ever I've seen one.
Look, I work as a reality TV casting producer. I spent a lot of time every day talking to people who are kind of insane and rude. I have trolling stories from them calling me out that would make you think society as a whole is crumbling. But I know if I spoke to those people the way some of the print guys tweet at readers, my ass would be fired. Why on earth their bosses don't put a muzzle on them, I'll never know.
Winner: Twitter - Yes, Twitter is a constant reaction to the reaction. It can be a cesspool of hate. But its job isn't to be insightful. It is up to you, the Tweeter, to decide who you want to hear from.
As for MSM, You are being paid to give your reader different opinions to crunch on. If you want to grow your brand as a reporter or personality, you shouldn't be trolling people on a daily basis. Arguing to bring out decent points on all ends? Fine. Being a pompous ass-clown because you work in the media and other people have fewer followers than you? That's not insightful.
2) Stevie Johnson vs. Schopp and the Bulldog - This is your classic breakup story. As most know, Stevie Johnson used to have a radio show with Schopp and the Bulldog during the 2011 and 2012 season. Once you got past Stevie Johnson's shitty cell phone reception, it was really great radio. It was a good listen because every time people would have a conniption fit over one of his antics, the station would have on for 20 minutes to discuss it.
Things changed though in February of this year. Stevie decided to tell Jim Rome that up until this point of his football career, he didn't really follow the Bills offseason workout program. This set off a shitstorm from the hosts at WGR about how embarrassing it was for the Bills to have arguably their best player admit this. Then we got Stevie's response a day later and boy he was pissed!
Yeah...there wasn't a 3rd season of the Stevie Johnson show on WGR.
Winner: Stevie Johnson - Let's break this down:
1) When Stevie had his radio show, I always thought Schopp/Bulldog didn't come across as being super negative or super positive about Stevie's antics (the Jets' drop, Plex gunshot celebration, Happy New Year T-shirt, and getting benched). In talk radio, I've always felt that the hosts need to have a definitive take. Black or white. Stevie's antics felt like the perfect opportunity to have a definitive take, and I always felt like Schopp and the Bulldog were letting in some shades of gray. Like they were mostly okay with it but understood why some listeners might be pissed off.
2) On a scale of 1-5, the Jim Rome comment doesn't even register for me. Hell, the one season Stevie actually lifted in the offseason has been his worst as a pro, so forget the argument that training and taking his vitamins like Hulk Hogan would make him even better. On top of that, if you have seen the shirtless photo of Stevie online, he's not exactly looking like Fat Albert. This was just Stevie trying to be funny. The guy was laughing while making the comment.
3) Since I love conspiracies, I'm curious as to when WGR knew Stevie's show wouldn't be coming back. Is it possible that they knew before the Rome interview that he wasn't coming back and that meant they could just unload? I know most mainstreamers hate to hear that their opinion is jaded and based on connections, paid programing, and relationships with their interview subjects, but it is pretty ironic that they went into defcon 5 with the workout comments and not the stuff that actually happened on the field. And the next thing you know, Stevie's show isn't coming back? Hmmm.
Of course, the show could have still been on and Stevie or the station decided to kill it afterwards for fees or whatever. Or, maybe the WGR duo finally got sick of his crap. In fairness, I think if you were to assess this, Bulldog seems to be a bit more okay with Stevie while Mike doesn't want any part of him.
4) Chap and Poodle? That's a knockout punch. We don't get enough name-calling from athletes towards main streamers. It was probably uncalled for, but hey, I'm immature.
1) Jerry Sullivan vs. Mario Williams - God, where to start? Well, there was the column Sully wrote last year about how teammates were pissed off because Mario had a mini-fridge while also claiming that his wrist injury was BS. Amazing, that after Mario got his wrist procedure done, his sacks went through the roof, but hey, we gotta sell the narrative that he's a soft diva. How can we forget Sully making a joke about the grammar of Mario Williams' suicidal texts live on the radio? Oh, and we had the engagement ring and the sprained foot that kept him out A WHOLE FIVE DAYS OF TRAINING CAMP which caused Sully to lose his shit.
We could get into how Sully tried to take away Mario's 4.5 sack performance against Carolina because their tackle wasn't really good. Or how about the gem this past weekend about Mario's 5-game streak of not having a tackle assist? Jesus Christ, if Lord of the Rings needs to cast a villainous troll for an upcoming prequel for the story of Gollum, I may have a recommendation.
Winner: Mario Williams - This is a fricken slam dunk. Look, If you wanna take constant dumps on players, fine. However, when they actually start performing or go through a stretch where they are kicking ass, you had better be the first in line to kiss their ass. Sully hasn't come close to doing that. I think between all his Mario diatribes and Fitz/Fred blowjob pieces, he's probably dedicated a paragraph to Mario Williams' play being at a high level. And that was buried in one of his mail it in "Column as I see 'em" pieces. I used to like Sully a lot back in the day, but the book on him is out and his columns and takes are about as contrived as it gets:
He pretty much takes a player the fans actually like or a guy who is being paid well and tries everything to crap on him to get a reaction:
"Mario Williams doesn't get sacks against legit QBs..Oh, he sacked Newton 4.5 times? Well, do it against a decent LT...Mario Williams wins a game in Miami...Oh, let's make it about Fred Jackson because his story writes itself which means I can take a day off from actually being wrong on Mario. Mario Williams sacks Drew Brees? Well the team is losing by 10 points! Do it in crunch time! The defense still gives up a lot of points...IT IS ON MARIO!!! THERE IT IS!! HAHAHAHAHA!! MY SUNDAY COLUMN IS WRITING ITSELF!"
It is the same fricken game that will be there forever right past when he takes the buyout at TBN in 2018 and blogs for Trending Buffalo about his top albums. God help us when we reach that death knell of literature.
---And that's that. Hopefully, 2014 will give us better feuds. I'm calling a Paul Hamilton vs. Ville Leino feud!
@BuffaloWins I have a six that you should include. Joe vs. Andrew Peters....
@BuffaloWins very good write up. Hopefully the trends die next year.
@BuffaloWins Really good job on this, Joe. Fun read
@BuffaloWins okay the 'glue factory' comment was pure genius
@BuffaloWins thanks for watching and listening.
@BuffaloWins I like it, nice work.
@BuffaloWins The man beats dead horses like he's working at Elmer's glue factory. (hug)
@76_AndrewPeters No problem. I'd be happy to email you more thoughts if you'd like. Not trying to be a dick on my end.
@BuffaloWins That is a nice idea for an article and nicely written Joe. I hate you less for fifteen minutes. Good job.
@BuffaloWins no thank you and doesn't seem like you really need to try all that hard to be a Richard.
@BuffaloWins plenty of time left in the day.
@BuffaloWins might have some thoughts on Hotline....if I get a chance today I'll send them along
@mack10zie well, he did threaten to beat up Mike Schopp. He didn't do that with me.
@BuffaloWins entirely possible, I don't watch enough local programming to notice.
@2ITB_Buffalo Lots of sizzle but not a lot of steak. Lacks substance at the end of the day. Also, I think 76 is overexposed locally
@BuffaloWins I also think HH serves well in its role and the Harrington's criticism is misguided in some ways..so I have a different POV
@BuffaloWins the irony of peters doing what you point out he shouldn't do is not lost on me.
@BuffaloWins it was the scope of the post...bound to upset some
@BuffaloWins I do hear from outside voices. Constructive criticism not the bull crap you and people of the sort choose to offer. Take care.
@76_AndrewPeters and outside voice does help sometimes. But whatever, you have a show and I don't.