Mazz: My credential collage, and reliving a career of sports memories


By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

You’ll just have to believe me on this one, but before Dan Shaughnessy posted this column in Wednesday's Boston Globe, I was in the process of working on today’s entry. If there’s anything beyond coincidence here, it’s this:

Clearly, we’re all scraping for content.

But if you’re someone who has watched Felger & Mazz on the simulcast, you’ve probably noticed the collage over my right shoulder during recent broadcasts. I’ve received a number of emails wanting to know some of the particulars, so I thought the best place to deliver them was here.

In the last 25 years or so, I’ve been one of the luckiest bums on the planet, covering sports in Boston during our Golden Age. I was on the road pretty regularly from 1992 or 1993 until about 2009 or 2010, and I made a habit of saving my press credentials from just about every event I covered. Somewhere from 2008-10, I decided to put most of them into a collage that I hang on the wall of my home office.

Given my time on the baseball beat, I was at just about every notable Red Sox game from 1995-2008, including every postseason game. (Most of you already know this.) Some of the other significant, non-baseball events included the 1996 World Cup, three U.S. Open Golf Championships, at least a half-dozen Super Bowls, the McDonald’s All-America High School basketball game (featuring Antoine Walker and Chris Herren, among others), the Stanley Cup Final, the NBA Finals, and the NCAA tournament.

For various reasons, here are the ones that stick out the most.


June 12, 2008

On the same day, I covered the third round of the U.S. Open in San Diego (at Torrey Pines) and Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles between the Celtics and Lakers. Two days later, on Monday and with Tiger Woods playing on a bad knee, I covered Tiger’s playoff win over Rocco Mediate.

SAN DIEGO - JUNE 15: Lee Westwood of England watches his tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - JUNE 15: Lee Westwood of England watches his tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, I hopped on a morning flight from the West Coast, landed in Boston at 6 p.m. and went straight to the Garden to cover the Celtics’ championship clincher over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Still, the Saturday of Game 4 stood out.

On the way from the U.S. Open to the arena, I hit a massive traffic jam. I listened to the start of the game on the radio and heard the Celtics fall behind by more than 20 points, then wondered why I was bothering to sit in traffic. By the time I finally arrived at the arena, police were investigating a bomb threat in the area and wouldn’t let me into the building. I went to a bar at a nearby restaurant (the Palm?), watched the game and took notes until the area was cleared. I then went into the building and saw the Celtics execute a historic comeback.

Crazy day. And totally worth it.

BOSTON - JUNE 17: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 17: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

May 10, 2004

December 2003 marked the first time I had ever voted for the Hall of Fame and among those included on my ballot was Dennis Eckersley, who got in on his first try. In preparation for his induction in July 2004, Eck was given what was, unbeknownst to me, a standard orientation visit during which he was allowed to invite three members of the media. Eck invited Ron Kroichick of the Bay Area (who covered him in Oakland), Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe and me. We accompanied Eck on his tour and then had lunch with him at the Otesaga Hotel, where we effectively conducted our own press conference.

Why Eck used one of his three genie-bottle “wishes” on me is anybody’s guess. But it remains one of the true honors and privileges I’ve ever had and one for which I’m eternally grateful.

Pitcher Dennis Eckersley is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame July 25, 2004 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Pitcher Dennis Eckersley is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame July 25, 2004 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

May 13, 2008

If I remember right, I was in Baltimore to cover the Red Sox and Orioles when the sports editor at the Boston Herald asked me if I’d consider taking the train to our nation’s capital. Why? Because Pennsylvania senator Arlen Spector had scheduled a press conference to discuss Spygate after meeting with former Patriots employee and whistleblower Matt Walsh.

So off I went. I sat next to Christopher Gasper of the Globe, asked Specter the question as to why he found Walsh credible, then took the train back to Baltimore for the baseball game.

WASHINGTON - MAY 13: U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) (L) shakes hands with former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh (R) after their meeting on Capitol Hill May 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The New England Patriots were accused of secretly videotaping other team coaches' hand signals, which is a violation of rules of NFL. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 13: U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) (L) shakes hands with former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh (R) after their meeting on Capitol Hill May 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The New England Patriots were accused of secretly videotaping other team coaches' hand signals, which is a violation of rules of NFL. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

For the day, I was given a “congressional” press pass, which was nearly more like a sticky nametag you’d get at something like a high school reunion. But I happily took it.

And like most things, I kept it.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.