Friday, April 3, 2009

Felger, Bob & Shaughny Archives Part 3

This was one of the three sports media analysis articles I wrote last year. I wanted to get a good sense of the flow a column should have, and this was a great way to learn what works and what doesn't.

Buckley's Two-for-One

Cambridge native and Herald columnist Steve Buckley took a brief look at an age-old question in Boston: exactly which team is tops all-time? I don’t think a 700-word column is an answer to that, and he didn’t aim to explain it all. However, the connection between the Boston sports teams is a topic that isn’t discussed as much as it should be.

Boston is one of the biggest sports markets in the country. It has had three different dynasties (the early Red Sox, the Celtics for the 50s-80s, and the Patriots of the current day), none of them coming at the same time. But what about this year? The Patriots made it to the Superbowl, and very well could make it back next year. The Red Sox won it all in 2007, and are the favorites to win in 2008. The Celtics are having what could end up the biggest one-season turnaround in NBA history. If they are all to win championships, we just may find out who is the real favorite in Beantown. For now, we’ll have to sit back and enjoy the games (and listen to my breakdown of Buckley’s writing).

Although Mr. Buckley doesn’t get directly into the lead, it’s close enough to the beginning that the reader gets it. Why am I even bringing up the lead? This is a sports article, not a bombing in Baghdad!

Anyway, Buckley makes a coherent connection that one may not necessarily notice otherwise. He did say the Sox and Celtics games were similar, even though one ended favorably for Boston fans (the Celtics rout of the Heat), while the other was quite the opposite (the Sox getting one-hit). Looking beyond the single games, it makes a lot more sense.

Buckley goes on to explain exactly what the best part is (how the Celtics actually matter as April approaches). Props to him for even including the Bruins, since they are in the thick of things in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Buckley ties in people from around the area with his mentions of various schools, which is always good, and he even got Paul Pierce to speak about the Red Sox, relating the two teams even more and giving the article a heightened sense of legitimacy. Steve even tosses in a Jim Mora reference (with the quote about playoffs) for good measure.

Although the beginning and the middle of the article are great, the conclusion is very lacking. The kicker is mediocre at best. It may mention the similarities between last year’s Celtics team and the Miami Heat this year, which ties in with the Celtics being important again in something other than the draft lottery, but it could do a much better job. It doesn’t tie back in with the Red Sox, which was one of the main points of the article early on. The Celtics may be the technical focus of the story, getting the headline and subtitle, but the Red Sox were frequently mentioned in the story, including in the lead, and they are ignored in the last few paragraphs. It could be a judgment call as to how that is, but in my experience, it could be better and still have the focus on the Celtics squad if need be. B+

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