By Ted Gay – @TedG63

The Company Man sat in his chair behind his microphone on Thursday night as his producer counted down the seconds until he cued the Company Man to welcome his listeners to the inaptly named “The Baseball Reporters.”

The Company Man is employed by 98.5 the Sports Hub.  They broadcast the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics, every major team in Boston except for the Red Sox.  Some talking heads employed by the Sports Hub and their competitor WEEI tend to be a little harder on teams not on their station, or easier on those who are.  They do so in a barely discernible manner. But not the Company Man.

We have all worked with one.  The sniveling office Uriah Heep always complementing the bosses, doing their bidding, or their anticipated bidding, making everyone else’s job more difficult.   The Company Man sells his soul to the company store.

The Sports Hub’s Company Man uses an hour every night pushing his agenda, that the Red Sox are not deserving of your time, that their games are not worth watching, that their competition stinks, and, if you are a sports fan, the Sports Hub is the place to spend the next four hours.

The Company Man has done well hiding his agenda because even while winning division titles the Red Sox have given him plenty of ammunition thanks to John Farrell.  But this year the Red Sox have gotten off to a legendary start. No team is perfect. The Red Sox have flaws, but enough flaws to fill up an hour show every night? The Company Man thinks so.  Listening to him dig in the dirt for small moments in a game to harp on has made the Company Man’s show self-parody. Over the years I have agreed with him, other times he has made me angry, but now he is just sad, a small man desperately trying to create a false narrative against overwhelming evidence.

A week earlier, after the Red Sox had won nine of the last eleven, and were on the cusp of sweeping the Blue Jays, the Company Man spent an hour calling Christian Vasquez stupid for not signaling Eduardo Nunez to slide at home plate.  It was a bad move on Vasquez’s part, a small glitch in a win during an epic stretch. The Company Man went on, and on, calling Vasquez stupid more than two dozen times. The Company Man used to be able to find numerous things to criticize the Red Sox.  Now he wasted an hour on one subject: Vasquez forgot to give a sign.

Discrediting the Red Sox is only half what the Company Man believes is his duty.  He also has to bring down the entire sport. Every night, like a cuckoo clock, he talks about how bad the competition is.   He ranted that there were only two teams worth watching in the American League (so keep listening to the Sports Hub!) and, when Jim Murray, who was desperately trying to cling to a slight shred of dignity brought up, before the Braves series,  rookie of the year candidate Ozzie Albies, rejuvenated slugger Nick Markakis, and ace hurler Julio Tehran, who was once speculated to be coming to the Red Sox for pitching help, the Company Man plead ignorance. He insisted he had heard of no one on the Braves’ roster except Freddie Freeman. A week later, when Matt Boyd, who has started 71 games in his career, has a 3.20 ERA and 1.09 WHIP this season, started against the Sox,  the Company Man claimed Boyd was someone “no one ever heard of.” Actually, many baseball fans know who Matt Boyd is, and one would think, if someone was hosting a show called “The Baseball Reporters,” and a pitcher was starting against the Red Sox, he would find out a little something about that pitcher. But the Company Man doesn’t care who the other team is, he, like Sean Hannity, discussing the Democrats, or Rachel Maddow discussing the Republicans, is only interested in ripping the other side, which is, to the Company Man, the Red Sox, to promote what he believes is his station owner’s objective, to degrade the team with negative propaganda to get the listeners to ignore them.

Last Thursday night, the Company Man opened the show by harping on the record of the Red Sox opponents barring the Astros, Yankees, and Angels, not acknowledging that the reason those teams have bad records is that they have all been smoked by the Red Sox.  He said he does not hold the Red Sox sweeping the Angels against them, one of the most outrageous statements any commentator has made about a Boston team. The Company Man is not holding the Red Sox sweeping the Angels on the road “against them.” If you were going to do a talk show parody with the main character being a host who hated the local team saying he is not holding them sweeping one of the better teams in the league “against them” is exactly the kind of outrageous, over the top comment the writer would create.

The first caller that night had heard enough.  He told the Company Man he was tired of his constant nitpicking at the Red Sox.  He said it didn’t matter what the record of the teams they had defeated was. A good team beats up on the bad teams.

The Company Man’s responded, softly, perhaps, for a few seconds, showing who he was when he covered the team for the Herald and had not sold out.  “You’re right caller,” the Company Man said, “you’re absolutely right in everything you said.” Then, in a desperate attempt to try to maintain some dignity he said: “I just can’t judge how good the Red Sox are when they play the Tigers.” Then they cut to a break and when he returned the brief glimpse of who the Company Man might actually be had dissipated, and he had returned to his the same hateful propaganda.

If you want to hear nothing except negative ranting about small moments in Red Sox victories then listen to the Company Man, but if you are a real Red Sox fan looking for intelligent insight about the team they are many better alternatives hosted by men who have not sold out.




GUEST: @Joshmaduell

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