FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, a bit of a mixed-bag kind of day for the Red Sox. The players are scheduled for “media training” Wednesday, which sounds like one of three things:
a)The players will be putting reporters through a grueling set of exercises, which ends with them telling the media types to make nice or else;
c)The players will learn from a pro who specializes in such things, in this case former broadcaster Lisa Levine, president of Zone, a Cleveland-based, sports-media coaching service, on how best to interact with the media, a not-unimportant skill in a saturated market like Boston. We wonder if in the end, all the advice dispensed can be boiled down to this phrase: Watch your back.
Following c), the pitchers will have their usual workout day, while the position players will undergo physicals. Many of the early arrivals already have done so. After the workout, David Ortiz is scheduled to address the assembled hordes, although he did sit down Tuesday with Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com for an interview, and also unloaded on those who have taken a jaded view of his desire to tack on another year to his contract. John Tomase of the Boston Herald caught up with Ortiz in the parking lot. We suspect there will be more contract talk later, unless the media training coaches got to David (deflect, deflect, deflect).
Because of the media training, reporters will not have their usual early-morning access to the clubhouse, which probably translates into a little extra sleep for everyone with the exception of WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, a case study in human beings who require no sleep.
This media focus Wednesday provides an opportunity to highlight some of the folks hired to bring you the news on your favorite baseball team, while recognizing that there are also a number of informative fan websites who do the same.
Here are some of the players for your scorecard:
ESPNBoston.com: There is yours truly, of course, who has been around the Sox since 1997 (12 years with the Globe) and went to spring training for the first time in 1983 with the Dodgers. I have a hybrid role here -- blogging, reporting, commentary, with the occasional TV, video or radio hit. Joe McDonald, a veteran of Sox coverage from his days with the Providence Journal, has dual roles, covering the Bruins first and foremost, then jumping into baseball when the opportunity presents itself. Like now, for instance. With the NHL shut down for the Olympics, Mac has arrived here and will be covering the Sox all week. We also have an experienced freelancer here in Rick Weber, whose piece on Jonny Gomes you can read here. When the season begins, we hope to be joined again by Emerson College senior Kyle Brasseur, who did fine work for us last summer. Our heavy hitter remains Jackie MacMullan, the longtime columnist and frequent “Around the Horn” participant on ESPN. And we are fortunate to have ESPN’s vast array of national writers (Buster Olney, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Jim Bowden, Keith Law, David Schoenfeld) all weighing in on the Sox, as well as all the attention Bristol focuses on the Sox on TV.
Comcast Sports New England (CSNNE): Veteran Sean McAdam spearheads Comcast’s online coverage and is a regular contributor on TV and radio.
Boston Globe: Peter Abraham is the beat reporter for the Globe, having previously covered the Yankees, which affords him an informed view of both ends of the rivalry. Veteran Nick Cafardo is the paper’s baseball columnist, which has him involved in national baseball coverage as well as the Sox, while lead columnist Dan Shaughnessy has been writing about baseball even longer than I have. Other columnists like Chris Gasper and Kevin Paul Dupont will be heard from (Where have you gone, Bob Ryan?), and the up-and-coming Julian Benbow brings a fresh, unique voice.
Boston Herald: These guys place a heavy emphasis on baseball coverage, divvied up among a number of experienced hands, most of whom have been in Boston for years. Scott Lauber, who cut his teeth covering the Phillies, heads the team’s beat coverage with Michael Silverman, while Steve Buckley and baseball specialist John Tomase are regular columnists.
Providence Journal: Two of the younger, fresher voices on the beat are Tim Britton and Brian MacPherson, both educated on Tobacco Road, Britton at Duke and MacPherson at the University of North Carolina. They’re both well-versed in the statistical analytics that increasingly have become a part of coverage.
WEEI.com: Rob Bradford and Speier head the coverage here, supplemented by the work of Mike Petraglia. Speier used to be captain of Harvard’s debate team; the intelligence and analytical skills are revealed in the quality and depth of his work. Bradford has a heavy presence on radio as well.
Worcester Telegram: He’s still busy covering the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League, but Bill Ballou brings a historian’s touch to his work, and is respected in the press box for his willingness to challenge long-held assumptions.
MLB.com: Ian Browne, whose roots are at the Globe, is the indefatigable presence on Redsox.com.
Portland Press-Herald: His focus is more on the minor-league Sea Dogs, which makes Kevin Thomas a go-to resource when wanting to know more about the team’s top prospects.
Masslive.com: We have a newcomer to the beat this year, Jason Mastrodonato, who previously worked for MLB.com.
Fort Myers News-Press: Longtime favorite Glenn Miller has moved on, his spring training coverage capably replaced by David Dorsey, who has been covering the Twins and Red Sox since 1996.
These are the principal players these days (my apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten). I also highly recommend Soxprospects.com, Fangraphs.com, BaseballProspectus.com, Baseballamerica.com as sites worth visiting regularly. And there is no greater resource than Baseball-Reference.com., which is as revolutionary to our times as the Gutenberg Bible was to the Middle Ages. Simply can’t remember life without it.
The Boston baseball fan has a lot of options to choose from: different styles, different perspectives, different voices. Some of you may be inclined to say, “A pox on all their houses.” Others of you will sift through and find the voices you respect and keep you best informed. Our hope, of course, is that you start right here.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.