The most common question I get during the Friday chat is, by a great margin, some version of this:
“Why does [sports radio host, usually Felger or Minihane] have [a job/good ratings/an unpunched face]? I can’t stand him. You should write a column about this.”
Those are not my favorite questions, not just because of the repetitiveness, but because the answer is contained within the query.
You’re listening. You’re talking about him, whoever it happens to be. You’re asking about him. You’re doing exactly what the station wants.
It’s straight out of the Howard Stern play book. They’d rather have you dislike them and yet have every word stick in your mind like the Kars-4-Kids jingle than have you like them while their voices evacuate your mind as soon as the show signs off.
Hell, I might just save that text and paste it as my answer every time it comes up from now on. It’s an understandable question, but one where the answer will always remain the same given the way sports radio generally operates.
I’m glad you think to come to me with it, but I have to say, I much prefer a different sort of question, one that comes from the what-if? or would-you-rather-this-or-that? genre, one that requires context and more consideration than the condensed chat format allows.
They also often require your input, since my wee brain refuses to supply more than occasional decent answer to a question that could have many.
We just happen to have one those questions in The Mailbox this week. I began to answer it in the chat, but I couldn’t help but repurpose it here for wider discussion. Given that it’s a question that involves social media, it seemed only right to take it to social media. So here it is, followed by my thoughts — and many excellent crowdsourced replies from you folks on Twitter as well after I threw it out over there.
Any particular sports moment, whether it be a Boston sports moment or on the national stage, that social media would have drastically altered?
Love this. Love, love, love this, though I have to say, I’m not sure how many events would have been altered by social media. It’s more that they’d be enhanced in the moment, stirring real-time reactions and emotions. That’s the best thing about Twitter, really, that instant online barroom communal aspect of watching sports when something exceptional happens, such as Malcolm Butler’s interception.
Now quick: What was the first event or person that came to mind the millisecond you finished processing the question? Perhaps it was some subconscious reaction stirred by the questioner’s name, but the first name that came to mine was Ted Williams. Not just one event, mind you, but the various experiences of his extraordinary life. Can you imagine Twitter during his chase for .400 — especially that last day — or during his various feuds with media and fans, or when he didn’t tip his cap, or hell, when he crash-landed what was left of his burning plane in Korea? #teddyballgame would have trended constantly. And some #*#** Yankees fan would have trolled you by saying that if it had been Joe DiMaggio in the cockpit, he would have gotten the landing gear to work.
The other event that came to mind is one that is in our consciousness today since it occurred 35 years ago. It’s one many of you cited, too, a Miracle we will never stop believing in:
@GlobeChadFinn 80 Olympic game versus the Russians.
— Bobby Allen (@bobby_allen2) February 21, 2015
Of course, the US Olympic hockey team’s 4-3 win over the seemingly invincible USSR squad didn’t air on live television. We found out what happened via word of mouth and various hints that you might want to watch the taped broadcast later that evening — in essence, that’s what passed for social media and and a spoiler alert in those days.
I’ll save the best answer — and maybe the most obvious — for the end. But man, there were some great suggestions. A few: Broadway Joe’s guarantee (can you imagine if he’d had Instagram in his Bachelors III heyday?) … Jackie Robinson’s arrival in ’47 … the McGwire/Sosa homerfest in ’98 … Wilt’s 100-point game … Don Denkinger’s blown call in the ’85 World Series … Raymond Bourque switching from 7 to 77 to honor Espo … Ali. Everything Ali … and pretty much everything Orr and Pedro ever accomplished.
And there are so many more that we probably should break them down into categories. For instance, consider the feats of Larry Legend and friends …
@GlobeChadFinn Bird steal from Isiah, and the piston commentary on him.
— Michael Sanderson (@MC_Sanderson) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn not the most, but the bird-dr.j fight would have blown up twitter. Chief decking Laimbeer would have been good, too.
— Bob Stewart (@BobStewart17) February 21, 2015
The Bird/Nique shootout, or Larry’s 60-point game, or “Eat [expletive], Moses,” or especially the infamous Chelsea bar fight would have blown up Twitter.
We can’t forget those basketball stunners and tragedies along the way too …
@GlobeChadFinn Len bias or Reggie would blow up black and white Twitter
— Sam Jankovich (@victorkiam) February 21, 2015
I found out about Len Bias’s death from my high school gym teacher, and didn’t believe it until I saw it my local afternoon newspaper. We heard about Lewis’s death when Sean McDonough broke the news on that night’s Red Sox broadcast. Such a different world then. In both cases, confirmation came long after the rumors began buzzing.
@GlobeChadFinn Magic’s retirement announcement press conference
— Adam Woj. (@adamwojo33) February 21, 2015
Many of you suggested various Olympic thrills and agonies, some relating to sports, some of utter cartoon villainy, and many of much greater social consequence …
@GlobeChadFinn 1972 USA Olympics basketball loss to the USSR
— Matthew Curtiss (@mjcurtiss) February 21, 2015
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) February 21, 2015
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn jesse Owens sticking it to Hitler
— Joe Meloni (@JoeMeloni) February 21, 2015
There would have been times where as a group we tried to make immediate sense of various NFL rules and regulations. Sound familiar?
@GlobeChadFinn Tuck rule.
— kmatt45 (@kmatt45) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn people would have immediately pointed out that the immaculate reception was an illegal catch…would’ve been tainted
— Greels (@Big_Boyums) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn Colts move to Indy – one tweet from anyone, even at that late hour- team employee, mover, 24 year old Jim Irsay….
— Dan M (@DMaci19) February 21, 2015
I can just imagine Bob Kravitz standing outside the vans yelling “Nothing to see here! Move along!”
How about some in-the-moment collective reactions to a couple of Game 6s and the Red Sox’ journey to the ultimate redemption?
@GlobeChadFinn Bill Buckner memes would have ‘broken the internet’.
— Joe Merchant (@whereisjoemerch) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn Varitek and Arod fight from 2004
— G-Store (@Grantstore) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn October 2004…every single game (what is that on schilling’s sock?)
— Jason Cloutier (@JKLUTE1) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn The Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi day on the Red Sox would have been a Twitter smorgasbord nationwide.
— The Real D Guar (@Real_DGuar) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn Game 6. Reactions to all the twists would rival this year’s Super Bowl.
— Jason Butler (@jpbutler) February 21, 2015
@GlobeChadFinn Ed Armbrister interference (not called) in 1975; Rosie Ruiz (SOMEONE would’ve tweeted a photo of her getting out of the cab!)
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) February 21, 2015
Speaking of marathons, Twitter actually would have changed one thing besides Rosie’s temporary “victory.” Very well-played, this:
@GlobeChadFinn The Marathon. Pheidippides could have tweeted “we have won” instead of running 26.2 from Marathon to Athens to deliver news.
— Tpr (@tpr1967) February 21, 2015
But the winner? This is the winner, the one event that would have been ridiculous to follow on social media as it unfolded — yes, even more ridiculous than it was conventionally, and that was a cataclysmic media event that spurred irreparable change for the worse in how television covers dramatic events …
— Scott Zolak (@scottzolak) February 21, 2015
Yep. That’s it. That’s the one. Can you imagine? When OJ was AWOL, people would have been tweeting about seeing him at various places. There would have been a #juiceisloose hashtag.
There is no doubt — none — that Al Cowlings would have been tweeting while driving the White Bronco.
And god — or someone much further south in much warmer climes — only knows what the Kardashians would have been up to.