The joyful celebration you heard last Monday at 10:05AM ET was Toucher and Rich popping champagne.
That’s because the re-packaged Hillman Show emerged from the Entercom Worcester Witless Protection Program after being placed on the forward deck of Sinking Ship Dot Com. It’s the audio equivalent of an expired package of Ex-Lax in the back of your medicine cabinet: it hasn’t aged well.
Toucher and Rich, But Dumber is bland, humorless, and uninspired, so while it may be Murchison/Leung/John Henry approved, it’s insulting to anyone looking for a respite from Touch and Rick’s Mega Zoinks in the Morning. Greg Salk is detached and uninterested in his show, giving him something in common with the listener. Bland and formulaic, Sleepy Salkie’s show is based on an antiquated template, the same template used on fourth-tier shows in fifth-tier markets. If you buy a generic brand of waxed beans and rip off the label, you can hardly tell the difference between Sleepy Salkie’s Show and the 15th rated show in Anytown, USA.
Social media hasn’t been kind to The Artist Formerly Known as Hillman:
The Completely and Totally Marginalized Alex Reimer was removed from timeout following his hissy-fit after being benched to issue a PR Release disguised as a Media Column. I’ll save you the click, but his “Get to Know Greg Hill” piece is predictably a trainwreck. Teenage Blogboy Hammerin’ Ryan Hannable would find this kindergarten level schlock embarrassing:
The level of excitement Sleepy Salkie demonstrates for the move to EEI jumps off the page:
Moving to Magic 106.7 makes sense. David Alan Salkie + Enya + Sade = radio gold!
The Pissant’s piece is a hostage tape in interview form. Unfortunately, Hillman declaring that his captors are treating him well and providing him three square meals a day was edited out.
Rabbit-Eared Hillman took to the Twitter machine to fire back at critics… until suits at Entercom put the kibosh on the most energy Low T Salkie showed all week. If nothing else, Greg Salk is a good company man.
Every lineup needs a ninth-place hitter, and WEEI has theirs. Fire up the email service blast to discuss the latest news from Sheboygan!
My prediction: It won’t be long before Linda Marks is asking the musical question, Why are Hill’s ratings zero?
Consider this a tip of the cap to The Artist Formerly Known As Hillman, Greg Salk – he’s our BJBSJ Mediot of the Week.
- A source suggests Dale & Keefe and the OMF show are angry about the dogshit Hillman Show as a lead-in, fearing their respective 1.7 and 2.2 ratings might become the new normal for EEIdiots.
- Dale and Keefe, despite their plummeting ratings, are likely safe because ‘they work for fucking peanuts and toe the line without an issue’ per an industry insider.
- Greg Salk being outraged that Aaron Hernandez’s #81 is still in circulation while having no idea he also wore #85 is so perfectly Greg Salk.
- The on-air staff at 985 are universally giddy over Sleepy Salkie joining EEI.
- Blind Mike ripping on Danielle Murr’s status as Designated Overlaugher is amusing.
- Greg Bedard approaching the Patriots for a job in their scouting department brings a question to mind: What about the Wicked Hyperlocal Beaneating Chowdahead Lifetime Subscribers to the BS Jourinal?
- NBCSN Boston Libelist Extraordinare John Tomase is every bit the slovenly opportunist you think he is.
- Ben Volin is still a easily amused simpleton. Interesting!
- What kind of psychopath goes to get that small an amount of gas?
- Spoiler: The reporter that considers a drive to Foxboro a ‘day trip’.
- I’m #TeamDondero.
- Did the Red Sox get their dicks kicked in by the Yankees this weekend? Yes. Now, explain to me how this in any way diminishes the Red Sox ripping the soul out of Tri-State Area Bambino Fetishists during last October’s Gentleman’s Sweep?
- Third String WEEI Program Director Joe Zarbano is a world-class dummy.
- Tony Massarotti has a double-digit IQ.
- Jimmy Stewart aspires to Mazz’s intelligence.
- Mike Felcher’s servants are ordered by The Wood to cover his napkins in Lubriderm with extra spermicide under penalty of death.
- Bonesy Adam Jones needs assistance to lift his cell phone to his ear.
- Marc Bertrand loves Pepsi more than the fruit of his loom.
- Greg Bedard is still a thing? No? Good.
- There’s not a better recurring piece in Boston media than the weekly @patsscartel Emptying The Desk Drawer column on Wednesdays.
- @defnotgg is a warped genius.
- Stay off @SalSputnik’s island.
- #BJBSJ had it first. Again.
- I’m on record: @WWIIFelger and @patscartel in the AM? I’m all in like ________.
- @AlexReimer1? I’m out like _______.
- @davecullinane is the voice of a new generation. MY generation!
- Ty Law just picked off Peyton Manning’s HOF bust.
- Does Bill Belichick respect Ed Reed?
- Where in the world is Miguel Benzan?
- Dull Arnold is despised by his colleagues.
- Rich Teeth actually seems competent when appearing on air after The Artist Formerly Known As Hillman.
- That doesn’t mean Rich Teeth is good on the radio.
- Princess Venmo is literally sobbing rn
- Are Roman Swipes placebos?
- If you use a mallet putter or take care of your golf clubs, @jeremyboudrot will shun you.
- @mikewichter is on the Mount Rushmore of golfing partners.
- Source: Steve Robinson is a monotone voice in Kirk Minihane’s head.
- There’s not a better writer covering the Patriots than @ThatDaveBrown.
- @BootlegBarnicle? #OOTG.
- I’ve Borgesed @patsscartel’s column shtick.
There are an infinite number of stories in the Naked City. The list above provides an infinite amount of detritus.
As always – DO NOT GET THE EGGPLANT.
While Charred Finn weeps into John Henry’s bony bosom after a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Evil Empire, BJBSJ gives you content.
Benz. Salk. Keefe. Hill.
The New York Jets of sports radio are at it again, and as a result WEEI’s Mount Rushmore of atrocious additions is complete. The Greg Hill Show is proof that the Wheel of Gutless Bums isn’t spinning in the Red Sox bullpen. It’s a fixture at Entercom Boston.
What wacky skit did Toucher and Rich, But Dumber roll out for their much-unanticipated debut this past Monday AM? Stop if you’ve heard this before: a zany reference to Country 937!
BJBSJ had it first. Again.
If you bet the under for first cringe-worthy moment on the The Greg Salk Show, collect your $2.10.
2 days into this show about nothing, Sleepy Salkie 2.0 combines the charisma of Mike Mutnansky, the machismo of Dale Arnold, and the enunciation skills of Rich Teeth. This soulless, empty-vessel of a show is tap-water enthusiast Sam Kennedy’s wet dream: if no one’s listening, no one can lodge a complaint with WEEI Program Directors Bob Murchison and Shirley Leung.
Joining The Artist Formerly Known As The Hillman, ‘Fitzy’ is a hyperlocal Cosmo Kramer ripoff providing local sports bonafides.
(I actually felt bad for Fitzy. It seemed like he was trying.)
Formulaic Female Replacement-level sidekick Danielle Murr fills out the trio by playing Brick Tamland in aggrieved feminist form.
Note to Blind Mike: You’ve been usurped as media’s preeminent giggler. STEP IT UP, SON.
Hill, Murr, and Fitzy (Nick Stevens) have been put in the ultimate no-win situation: their show is canned and uninspired, paint-by-number radio. They’re (ostensibly) replacing K&C, a highly-rated, high-profile show with large, well-defined personalities. (The same thing holds true for recently ousted Mut & Callahan co-host/human bookmark Mike Mutnansky). They’re sitting ducks in the cross-hairs of Kirk Minihane. In reality, they’re collateral damage in a activist’s hubristic mission to take down two talking radio men he disagreed with. The Greg Hill Show is empirically horrendous radio. It’s also exactly what Entercom wants.
While Charred Finn stocks Large Gymnasium’s House with all the finest ketchups, BJBSJ will continue to cover the long, strange journey of Sinking Ship dot com.
The BJBSJ Universe just got a whole lot brighter. You might even call us a ‘Superteam’.
BJBSJ has added the two most prominent Free Agents in the Twitterverse, the former Dale E. Arnold Text Line (@TheTextLine) along with @SportyRMcKenzie. This is like discovering plutonium by accident.
SinkingShip.com – particularly the dreadful Mut & the Mailman show – take note: when you’ve lost the parody accounts (that are infinitely more entertaining than any content you offer), you’ve officially lost the war. Insufferable dullard/E.T. clone Chris Curtis may whine that anonymous accounts should be required to produce 2 forms of ID in order to tweet, but don’t worry Chris: you’ll be an anonymous nobody very soon. No one gives a tin shit who’s behind the scenes while Hopalong Callahan spins the latest from Rascal Flatts.
8th place. Yee-haw.
When I reached out to the Text Line for comment on BJBSJ affiliation/merger he told me, “go fuck yourself”, to absolutely no one’s surprise.
While Charred Finn fetches Large Gymnasium’s ketchup, BJBSJ is working all the angles to keep you updated on the latest comings and goings in Boston Sports Mediotry.
Ben Volin is a dummy – this has never been in dispute.
He’s reminded BJBSJ this week (while taking target practice on his own foot) that he’s a disingenous, muckraking liar, too. The clickbait aggregators at Florio’s Takez Farm cited a Mittens report on Monday:
Later that day, Morrissey Boulevard’s most infamous paste-eating dullard reversed course. Fact, not opinion. Or his opinion wasn’t a fact. At any rate, a person who uses words to make a living doesn’t need to make clear points.
Here’s the actual Globe headline from Mittens’ piece:
Volin’s “opinion” is that it’s a “real story”? That’s some serious delusion. Some might even call it ‘hubris’. But then, Volin suddenly reversed course on reversing course.
My “informed speculation” is this: Volin is a lying turd who can’t keep his stories straight. Unfortunately, he and the Globe got exactly what they wanted: clicks and exposure, facts be damned (though one can argue an appearance with Mut and the Mailman is the opposite of exposure). Still, the Wheel of Gutless Mediots keeps churning out tripe, and then glad-hand one other to promote said tripe. Of course, #BJBSJ had it first.
The Concord Monitor‘s Dave Brown summed up L’Affaire Mittens perfectly.
This isn’t the first time that Volin has authored flat-out falsehoods of Tomase-esque girth. In a time-honored Globe tradition, Simple Ben dances for his overlords by, you guessed it, attacking anything Patriots. This despicable smearing of former Pats LB Darius Fleming in 2018 has been lost over time, but it’s a perfect example of Volin’s malevolence:
Fleming saved a woman’s life. Volin called bullshit on it until he was embarrassed by the Walpole Police.
The long story short is this: Ben Volin is a lying, obtuse asshole – ergo, the perfect Globie. He’s our BJBSJ mediot of the week.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Boston’s pre-eminent Libelist John Tomase spins another ripping yarn.
The overwrought prose in this work of fiction is more sicky sweet than Almost-A-Coach Bedard’s Triple Mocha Frappucino with the standard 17 Splendas. I’ll save you the click and give you the lowlights:
Tomase thinks he’s Roger Angell, but you’ll be hoping for a visit from the Angel of Death after reading this Harlequin Romance level bullshit.
In a horrendously researched piece chock full of errors and half-truths, this whopper jumped off the page in our BJBSJ roundtable.
This info was unearthed by @kfpeters of the BJBSJ I-Team:
I’m going to take a wild guess the attending physician didn’t immediately call Tomase’s school bus driver at 8:56am in June of ’86 to break the news to Tomase and his “Bias hat”. Kevin Cullen would be embarrassed by this overly dramatic story arc. Does anyone edit at NBCS Boston? (We know what the answer is to that question for WEEI.com and a Hyperlocal Huckster with four mortgages in Medway.) Keep Rollo Tomase out of your life; BJBSJ will listen and read so you don’t have to.
Uh-oh. Gampy Glenn is back on the internet, and his Nana Felcher imitation is embarrassing.
I’d elaborate, however sourcez tell me that Gampy swiped Nana’s warmth napkins to clean up a mess of tapioca pudding after seeing OMF’s cute lil’ ratings. Yee-haw, Gampie.
From the world of Mediot Worshipers, out at the Framingham Takez Asylum, Mensa Matt angles to replace Mike LoyKKKo at the BS Jourinal.
In the William Bendetson Universe, a salty Smaven is the best Smaven.
In fledgling Cute Lil’ podcast news, Entercom excile Kirk Minihane is in the process of developing a rotating band of professional gigglers, which could potentially keep the virtually unemployable Mark Moroso off the public dole.
The Morning Zookeepers at 985 have to be kicking themselves for not thinking of the wacky ‘human in a dog suit’ stunt first. Zoinks!
Some good news: it appears the healing has begun between Minihane and the passengers at Sinking Ship dot com. While EEI hawks boner pills, Kirk is plugging wipes to keep that boner longer. Synergy! GETROMAN!!
Here’s a pro tip from an aspiring mediot: When selfies don’t pay the bills, ask your followers to pay them for you.
While Charred Finn packs the Felcher household for a weekend on Nantucket, BJBSJ gives you the weak in Boston mediocy.
As always, DO NOT GET THE EGGPLANT.
While no one was looking, Grampie Glenn snuck out of Room 5.3 at the home, fired up AOL, and logged on to the Twitter machine.
There’s something… familiar about these tweets.
You know, it’s like I’ve heard this stuff before. I can’t place them, but I think I’m experiencing deja vu.
It’s killing me – I am certain I’ve heard the exact same thing somewhere else before. It’ll come to me.
Side note: Perhaps if the Celtics were to add Gramp’s co-host Futility Lou Merloni, they could be worse and less likeable, just like afternoon drive on EEI.
It’s so close – it’s on the tip of my tongue. I know where these takez came from!
Ahh, here it is.
Gampy just repeates what he’s heard from Nana Felcher!
After nearly 5 decades as a mediot, is this what it’s come to for Grampy Glenn: Aggregating and parroting Michael Felcher like a septuagenarian Tony Massarotti?
It appears so. I’ll grudgingly even give credit to @WEEI twitter accounts for covering 985 more thoroughly than Nana Felcher’s butler, Charred Finn.
Here, the genius of WEEI program director Joe Zarbano is on full display. It takes full balls and an empty cranium to provide advertising to the iceberg currently ripping through your hull rather than promoting Barstool’s newest hire/disgruntled future ex-employee Kirk Minihane when he was in your employ.
Bold move, Cotton Mouth Joe. There are 4.7 reasons your job is in jeopardy.
Mercifully, June is the last month of the spring arbitron ratings book, and Grampa Glennie has been showing an interest in new things: he’s been listening to a lot of Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, and Garth Brooks.
Old DJs never die, they just change formats.
Godspeed, Grampie Glenn. Yee-haw.
Credit to our longtime stalwart and mainstay Mike On Route One, who epitomizes the best of #BJBSJ– this is his piece. Now, give @MikeOneRoute1 a follow. Done? Please proceed.
The Boston sports media is good at one thing – and that is the creation of myth. Some of these are to the benefit of their own perceived toughness and relevance as is the case with their hagiography of Will McDonough unceremoniously dumping Raymond Clayborn into a laundry cart and forcing him to luffa his pock marks.
Others are designed to move forward an agenda – as it is the case with their decades long crusade to remind you that the Patriots never had a winning season prior to the arrival of Bill Parcells. The subtext in this case being that this is, and always will be, a Baseball Town.
Another favorite move is also conflating conventional media opinion with that of fan opinion. There is ample evidence that fan opinion is downstream of media takes, so there is some validity to that. But there are notable exceptions when the two are wildly divergent. And when The Take is proven wrong, the media will disavow all knowledge of their previous statements and put it all on The Fans.
The death of Bill Buckner has brought about a unique strand of the worst kinds of media revisionism. I have no dog in this fight. I loathe the media, the fans, and the Red Sox. BJBSJ exists entirely because Boston fans are a unique brand of toxic awfulness so this is not a defense of them. It is merely opposition to blindly parroting talking points.
Shortly after Buckner’s death was announced, video started to circulate of him being cheered at the 2008 home opener. The narrative became that Red Sox fans “finally” forgave him. This is, of course, false. It may be because these videos are the easiest to track down. A more cynical man than I would suggest that the Henry Crime Family has no problem accepting credit for mending this relationship between Buckner and the fans.
Buckner was cheered by the 750K fans in attendance in the days following the loss to the Mets. When the parade ended in a celebration at City Hall Plaza (as it always should, by the way), he took the microphone and was cheered.
(As an aside, I encourage you to watch this entire video. Because…it’s nice.)
The hardos that have tried to ruin the sports experience in this town tell us that we only observe TITALS in Beantown, baby! This ain’t Losahville! But there is something, amidst all this winning, that we have lost and that is a collective appreciation for teams that fight the good fight and come up short. I say this as an unequivocal apologist for the 2007 Patriots and 2010 Celtics.)
Buckner was again cheered at the home opener in 1987. (Which would mark the first of seemingly three dozen Dave Steib starts for this humble scribe.)
Fast forward to April of 1990. A nation’s imagination was captured by a college basketball team making white t-shirts under their jerseys cool and by wrestlers being transported to the ring in…mini-rings. In Boston, Red Sox fans gave Buckner ANOTHER GOD DAMN STANDING OVATION at the home opener after he signed with them as a free agent. (How fucking insane is it that Buckner was still playing in 1990 after running like he did in 1986? Preposterous.)
It’s curious that if it was so bad here, why would he sign with the team again? Maybe they were the only ones offering a contract? That’s certainly possible, though doubtful.
Examples given were the asshole that saw Buckner signing an autograph and encouraged a kid not to give Bill the ball as he would just drop it. Aside from not making much sense, this is mean spirited. Bill rightly collared the guy.
What is curiously absent in this Montville piece is a mention of death threats. The claim that Buckner was the recipient of these threats, plural, is mentioned in many obits in the wake of his passing. Maybe this happened.
Given the lousiness of people, it’s highly possible. Where do “death threats” begin and where does “I hope you die” begin? For the recipient, I guess it doesn’t matter. But, like the BRUINS FANZ SENT RACIST TWEETS thing I’m skeptical it was an epidemic, if it even happened.
I welcome evidence of Buckner saying it did. But Buckner spoke to Montville for this story. Would that have been mentioned somewhere in the story if it had in fact happened? I’d wager yes. But really, get a load of this bullshit:
“He is a character from a modern Nathaniel Hawthorne novel about the harshness of village life in New England. A scarlet letter and a scarlet numeral adorn Bill Buckner’s chest, the poor man consigned forever to wear the symbol E-3 on the local streets in remembrance of his momentary fall into sin. There is no forgetting what he did. There, alas, can be no forgiveness.”
Absolving those most responsible for their role. It should further be noted that this Idaho move was something that was planned for years, Buckner having owned the property since the 70’s. (h/t @bookjailer) :
There was no forgiveness that needed to be given by Buckner TO the fans or by the fans TO Buckner. Bill said as much. “I really had to forgive the – not the fans of Boston, just per se, but I would say – I would have to say, in my heart, I had to forgive the media, you know, for what, you know, they put me and my family through. So you know, I’ve done that. I’m over that.”
To paraphrase the execrable FIELD OF DREAMS – “It was you.” “No, Dan. It was you.”
Of fucking course this all ties back to Shaughnessy. 1986 was when shit really kicked into gear. When The Curse became a real thing. The hard cover edition prominently featured Ruth AND Buckner’s error. Dan is wholly responsible for the popular national perception of Buckner’s relationship with the Boston fans.
The fans always got it. The media – for profit or pleasure – pretended that the fans didn’t. Sure, some painters cap wearing mouthbreather invariably said some dumb shit.
The craziest Boston fan paradox to me – as a longtime observer of the various cancerous strains within the group – is that they are, in the collective, simultaneously at their best and worst.
The ability to think Bill Belichick is arrogant or is losing it exists in the same place that understands that Bill Buckner NEEDED those ovations. That we should cheer our loudest when Normand Leveille comes out for a skate. That our overrating of role players to cult status is at the same time a maddening and endearing trait.
But do you know any Red Sox fan who hated Bill Buckner? And I don’t mean in like your aunt from Saugus kinda way. Like “faaaack Billy Bucknah!”
The blame pie, as I’ve always known it is McNamara, Stanley/Gedman, (I assume there’s some weird West Berlin-like enclave around Worcester County where it was a wild pitch) and Schiraldi. Hell, our own Displaced Bostonian likely believes that Roger asked out with the blister. (Apropos of nothing, the 1986 season is fucking insane. There are no less than twenty insane factoids or coincidences. Jim Rice was thrown out on the bases twenty times in the playoffs. The idea that the Mets and Red Sox played a fucking exhibition game during the season is more mind blowing than Buckner predicting the error or Schiraldi telling batshit Mitchell how he would pitch him while they would lie in bed at night as A ball roommates. Jesus Christ.)
I do not lightly absolve Boston fans – especially baseball fans – of their sins.
But in this case, it is largely, if not completely warranted. The “hatred” of Buckner was never real. It was manufactured to sell books and to have a clever narrative with which to frame current and future failures.
Dan Sileo was scheduled to be on WEEI from 3-6 today, even promoting his appearance on their app earlier today. Ever reactive instead of proactive – and evidently plagiarizing Almost-An-HR Rep Greg Bedard’s hiring and vetting processes – WEEI has sacked Sileo from the schedule.
Let’s just say BIG SILZ – as he loves to refer to himself – has a questionable history on social media. Former Globie Hilary Sargent tweeted an excellent synopsis of Sileo’s online history earlier today:
SinkingShip.com’s “leadership” (Zarbano, Hannon, Mike Dee) is constantly making terrible decisions: Keefe, OMF, Hart, etc., but bringing Sileo aboard is next-level malfeasance on the part of Entercom. Will the incestuous cesspool of Boston sports media attempt to bury this too? Will Charred Finn step up?
We’ll stay on it.
BJBSJ has learned through multiple sources that Evan Drellich, formerly of NBC Sports Boston and WEEI, will be joining The Athletic New York. Andy Hart wishes you ‘Bon Voyage’ from the stern of Sinking Ship Dot Com!
Drellich was Entercom’s first choice to add to WEEI’s roster in a prominent on-air and website role that ultimately was filled by Andy Hart. However, BJBSJ has learned Hart was not even WEEI’s second choice.
Entercom’s second choice? That was be Thesaurus Aficionado Chris Gasper, as BJBSJ previously reported. Putting aside the question of who the hell has ever wanted Chris Gasper’s opinion on anything? for a moment, Entercom’s push for Gasper failed largely due to money. He’ll be staying at The Globe and 985.
Let’s circle back to Andy Hart: Hart was at least the third person approached by Entercom for a hybrid web/on-air role. Putting aside his professed love of country music, why would WEEI bring Dumbo aboard in any role other than as a block-headed anvil on the forward deck of SinkingShip.com?
The answer is surprisingly simple: EEI powers that be hear social media noise and felt they had to do something. Unsurpringly, Dumbo is willing to work for peanuts (see Hannable, Ryan and Pissant, Blackmailing). Additionally, downloads of WEEI podcasts are down more than 50% and they’re praying Hart (late of the PFW podcasts) will help repair more iceberg damage to yet another EEI platform.
While Charred Finn asks Sara Underwood how much starch Mr. Felcher likes in his warming napkins, BJBSJ has your media news first. Again.
BJBSJ is your home for breaking Boston sports media news, but your subscription continues to provide outstanding bang for the buck.
From our good friend Chico Walker, here’s a song that is sure to be played on #Country937 in the coming weeks: A BOY NAMED LOU
When 985 went on the air
They needed someone with Felger to pair
Would they poach our guys? What would we have to do?
So we looked at the “talent” and what we did
Was we made a foolish, too generous bid
And we signed ourselves a guy named Lou
Soon he was on with Mut, and holy shit
They didn’t work together – no, not one bit
It was awful, worse than a morning zoo
Knew nothing about sports, it was all a sham
Only thing he seemed to do was to keep sayin’ “damn”
Them’s the breaks when you have a guy named Lou
So we scraped up Fauria, recycled Big O
Put ’em all together – there, that’s a show!
Won’t win their spot but certainly should be 2
But it turns out three morons yellin’ over each other
Isn’t worth the average listener’s bother
6th in afternoon drive’s what you get with a guy named Lou
So, the writing’s on the wall and we have to concede
As ad revenue continues to bleed
A country format’s what we’d change into
But we’ve got contracts with most of our jocks
So for country DJs now – these are locks
Wiggy! Mustard! Neumie! Anyone but Lou…
A Special Guest Piece From BJBSJ Freelancer “Mike On Route One”
The rain drummed on the tin carport roof, a steady deluge that hadn’t let up all spring. Wikipedia Brown took a drag off a Chesterfield and ran his fingers over his father’s nickel plated service revolver resting on his thigh. Despite the fact that the local teams won all the time, the weather and apocalyptic traffic were taking a toll on his psyche.
In weaker moments he fantasized about getting in his full dress Webelos uniform and pointing the business end of the weapon in his mouth. But that was merely fantasy. The reality was that Wikipedia needed a case. He hadn’t had one in a while. Not since bringing that racist boy from Pittsburgh to justice, anyway.
As fate would have it, a shadowed face appeared in the gloaming. Charred Meany, the leader of a gang of toughs known as the Globies. Instinctively, Wikipedia’s hand closed around the gun. Charred was a bully but not the kind of bully that socked you in the mouth. He was the kind of bully that put on a face of collegiality and good humor for public consumption. But behind that facade there was a nasty boy, willing to do the bidding of whoever tickled his balls the best.
“What do you want, Charred?” Wikipedia asked exhaling a long puff. Charred stepped into the carport. Wikipedia grimaced at the sight. The name “Charred” was used ironically. Like the gimp everyone called “Speedy” or the fat man known as “Tiny.” Even in the gray late afternoon light, his alabaster visage was almost blinding.
“I need to hire you,” Charred said. Wikipedia relaxed his grip on the pistol. He nodded toward the handwritten sign leaning against the card table in front of him: Twenty-five cents per day, plus expenses. Charred fished in his pocket. He tossed five Pat Dodson 1987 Topps Future Stars on the table. Wikipedia shrugged. That would have to do.
“So. What’s the deal?” Wikipedia asked. “Look, if you need a social media manager, to like the Tweets from baseball writers saying that the orange man is bad, you can hire someone at a Vietnamese click farm to do it a helluva lot cheaper than twenty-five cents a day. This is a detective agency.”
Charred shifted his Converse Weapons on the floor uncomfortably. “That’s why I’m here,” he said. Wikipedia raised an eyebrow. With a toe he pushed the empty folding chair away from the other side of the table. It squeaked on the cement. Charred sat down, keeping his eyes trained on the ground.
Wikipedia waited, years of experience had taught him not to push. Let them talk. Charred cleared his throat. “I’ve been getting scooped lately. Big time,” he said.
“Oh yeah?” Wikipedia asked knowingly. “By who?”
“BJBSJ.” Charred answered, embarrassed.
“Haven’t heard of ‘em.” Wikipedia said.
“Before them, I’d just have all the radio scoops fed to me. I didn’t have to do any work. There was no competition. But now? I’m a laughingstock. I can only block so many people on Twitter. Sullivan is gone. This is my livelihood and I gotta fucking tell you, I’ve got a very expensive habit to support,”
Charred whined. Wikipedia sniffed, indicating an affinity for Reggie Lewis Heart Salve. Charred shook his head, nodded toward the baseball cards on the table. Wikipedia cleared his throat. “Oh, right.” He ashed out his smoke, took two more from the pack, handed one to Charred.
“So where do I come in?” Wikipedia asked.
Charred reached inside his vintage John McNamara manager’s jacket and pulled out a stack of papers. He slid them across the table to Wikipedia who flipped through them, his interest growing. “Tweets?” Wikipedia asked. Charred nodded.
“A burner, most likely,” Charred said. “They signed up in April. Brand new account. Right around the time BJBSJ broke the story of potential changes to afternoon drive. Started going at them pretty hard.”
“That’s a good thing for you, right? Take down the competition.” Wikipedia asked.
“It’s a terrible thing. If they beat me on another scoop, I’m finished.” Charred said, shaking his head. “I need a win to show I’m not a useful idiot. I need to break a real story.”
Wikipedia nods, sees where he’s going. “You think this is an Entercom burner. And what bigger sports media news story would there be than an Entercom employee using a fake Twitter account because of the threats posed by a guerrilla media outlet, right?”
“Thought you’d never heard of them?” Charred asked.
Wikipedia shrugged, not answering.
“There’s no way you can trace these is there? I asked the IT guy at work and he said they finally just closed the Safari Reader Mode paywall loophole so this is way above his paygrade,” Charred said.
Wikipedia chuckled ruefully. “Well, actually – there’s plenty of ways. The digital methods are pretty ugly. And this is proprietary information, by the way. But we’re not dealing with some of the great thinkers here. They take the bait. Every. Single. Time. Because they’re curious. A bunch of raccoons, always enamored with shiny objects. With stories that are about them.”
“So you can trace this back to who it came from?” Charred asked, expectant.
“I don’t even need to go into digital forensics in this case. I can just go with old fashioned detective work.” He picked up a sheet of paper. He scanned the series of Tweets, processing them in his brain. He closed his eyes, the wheels turned.
Wikipedia opened his eyes. “Homie,” he said.
Charred looked at him, confused. “This Tweet here the person called Ironhead ‘homie.’” Charred didn’t answer, not following. Wikipedia shook his head, staggered by the lack of curiosity and resourcefulness. “Who at Entercom is going to call someone homie? Maybe Merloni would. Maybe. But there’s no way Merloni is setting up a burner the very night it is alleged his show is going away. Not to go directly after the source of the story anyway. He’s dumb but not that kind of dumb. That leaves two people dumb enough to go after the source on the same night and who could possibly use ‘homie.’”
Charred looked at Wikipedia in awe.
“So. Based on their Wonderlic scores and all other available evidence, the likely perpetrators are narrowed down to Fauria and Wiggy.” Wikipedia said matter-of-factly.
Charred slammed his hand down on the card table. Wikipedia didn’t flinch. “Of course!” Charred cried. “How dumb could I be?” Wikipedia turned his head to cough, a cover for an exaggerated eye roll.
“So. Where does that leave us?” Wikipedia said, thinking out loud. He pulled out a phone from his pocket and his fingers tapped on the screen. “No results for homie from Fauria.” A brief pause, then – “But. Wiggins. There’s a lot here from Wiggins. A ton, actually.”
“So that’s it! It’s Wiggy!” Charred exclaimed. Wikipedia shook his head.
“That’s one piece of evidence,” Wikipedia replied, disgusted. “You don’t run with one piece of evidence, Tomase.” He paused, scanning more of the Tweets. He scratched at his cheek. “The biggest tells are often punctuation.”
Wikipedia slid a paper across the table to Charred, then turned his phone’s screen to him. “See here? Look at the double spaces that Fauria uses after punctuation. Very similar to this here.” He pointed to a Tweet on the paper, an incoherent gobbledygook of commas and ampersands.
Charred’s eyes brightened. “So it’s Fauria?” He slid back from his chair, about to get up. Wikipedia grunted. “Jesus fucking Christ,” he muttered. “What if I told you Wiggy did the exact same thing? Then what? Where are we? A couple of rats in a maze.” Wikipedia said.
Charred put his head in his hands. “I’m never going to beat those guys.”
“Hey.” Wikipedia said. Charred looked up at him. “Don’t worry about it.” He pulled out a pencil from his short sleeved dress shirt. He flipped over one of the printed out pages and started scratching on it.
When he finished he flipped it back over and slid it across the table to Charred. Charred looked down at it. “What’s this?” he asked.
“Your answer.” Wikipedia said. Slowly, Charred flipped the paper over. He looked at it, shock growing on his face. He looked across the table at Wikipedia, his head tilted slightly forward, his eyes shadowed by his brow. Very different now. Something behind his eyes. Sinister.
He looked down at the paper again, reading the words.
“BJBSJ had it first. Always will, motherfucker.”
Charred pushed back from the chair, tried to stand up, to run. His Weapons, tangled up in the legs of the chair and he spilled onto the concrete. He rolled over, looked up.
Wikipedia stood over him now, menacing. A smile formed on his lips, then a snarl.
“Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much my web site is worth? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop breaking stories? A business big enough that it could buy out Coach Bedard a hundred times over goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not the story breaker, Charred. I am the story! A guy opens a burner account and you think that’s breaking news? No. I am the one who breaks!”
Charred stayed on his back, pushed his heels into the floor, trying to get away from this. This menace. When he got to the entrance of carport he stood, turned, and ran. He never looked back.