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Yes, I am REALLY EXCITED that the Red Sox won the World Series this year, but let me say one thing to Sports Illustrated:

This…

si-cover

…is not the same as this.

sports-illustrated

I don’t know what troubled me about this week’s cover, but then one of my friends said it best: “I love it for the city but it doesn’t change what happened at the marathon or to the people who lost their loved ones or their limbs etc.”

Yes, last week was amazing in Boston, amazing. The Sox’s win did make us all feel stronger and closer. That’s what the Sox do when they win. 2004 was just as amazing, and so was 2007, and yes, I get the fact that the Sox rallied around the Marathon tragedy, but it’s just baseball, people. Sports can be transformative, but last time I checked, it’s not like Fenway Park became a shelter for victims, like the Superdome was for Katrina. Let’s not make this another manufactured New Orleans moment. THAT was real. This is too over the top.

That is what bothers me. Forced #BostonStrong. If SI really wanted to do something classy, something that spoke to THIS should have been the cover:

bm

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Yesterday morning, after my early-morning soccer game, I sat down for breakfast, eager to read my Sunday Boston Globe, a ritual of mine since 1986. Like most Sundays before, I was not disappointed. However, one section, which featured essays from notable Bostonians about the Red Sox’s World Series victory, did leave me a bit perplexed.

big-papi

So I tweeted about it:

And also posted my thoughts on my Facebook wall:

“So The Boston Globe ran several opinion pieces about the #RedSox today, about 8 of them, and it was really surprising to not see at least on Latino voice at all, especially since most iconic guy on your team is flipping Big Papi. Ugh.”

(Full disclosure: I occasionally contribute freelance opinion essays to the Globe, and the Globe was my first “real job” ever in 1989.)

A few hours later, I got the following tagged post from my friend, José Massó, a Boston radio legend.

My open letter to the Boston Globe:

It took some time before I read today’s paper…I was out last night celebrating “Steppin’ Out 2013” with Divina, dancing to the music of Manolo Mairena & Curubande and stayed up listening to “¡Con Salsa!”…and with the whole turning back the clock an hour I didn’t get to it until this evening.

I finally read it after noticing a post on Facebook from my friend Julio Ricardo Varela mentioning that eight essays and a poem had been written by New England notables on what the World Series victory by the Red Sox means to them and the region. He noted that none of the essays were written by a Latino voice even though the player that is Boston right now is David Ortiz, the pride and joy of every Dominican and Latino living in Massachusetts and beyond. Ironic, since seven of the eight essays that I read mention Big Papi in addition to the poem’s liberal use of his quote for eternity “this is our f***ing city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom”.

I read Bill Littlefield’s piece first since he is my ‘BUR colleague and we talk about baseball, sports and other matters whenever I’m at the station. At least ‘BUR was smart enough to feature the voice of our friend Héctor Piña the day after the Sox clinched the series commenting on how David Ortiz evokes Dominican pride in Boston. The closest to touching on this was the piece by Gish Jen…but I wondered what would have Junot Díaz written and was he asked to contribute his voice to the “Boston celebration” by the Globe. I’m sure that a Pulitzer Prize winner, professor at MIT and 2012 MacArthur Fellow (also known as a MacArthur genius) would have something to contribute. No need for me to mention that he’s Dominican and if he wasn’t available, as David González suggested on Julio’s Facebook page, a poem by Martín Espada would have been nice…after all he authored “The Trouble Ball” about his father’s experience in 1941 when he went to Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field as an 11 year old for a game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals hoping to see the legendary Satchel Paige pitch, only to learn that Blacks were not allowed to play major league baseball.

I would have enjoyed reading Marcela García’s take on all of this celebration…she’s done an excellent job as an op-ed writer for the Globe and as a guest along with Julio on ‘GBH radio in addition to what she has written for the Boston Business Journal.

Another friend of ours, Alberto Vasallo III, was on the field last Wednesday night and has been covering the Red Sox for several years in addition to his annual celebration of Latino Youth events at Fenway Park. He knows David very well and I would have enjoyed reading an essay by him in the Globe today. Maybe he would have mentioned that Carlos Beltrán won the coveted Roberto Clemente Award this year and that Big Papi won it in 2011. It’s an award that is given annually to a Major League player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.

In closing, I give you the benefit of the doubt but I could go on to name others, and suffice to say…this is our “effing city too” and maybe, just maybe, under the new ownership of the Globe it will be reflected every time we celebrate the positive.

But hey, we’re “Boston Strong”.

With warm regards,

José Massó

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Originally published at LatinoRebels.com

Leave it to pro-statehood and GOP darling Luis Fortuño to conveniently stop being a pro-US-statehooder during the London Olympics. The last few days, Fortuño, who is facing a tough re-election this November, has suddenly become one proud boricua during Puerto Rico’s Olympic efforts. Never mind the fact that as someone who fervently supports Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state of the Union, Fortuño knows that in a tough election year, you got to wrap yourself around the Puerto Rican flag and overlook your political principles.

We will got out on a limb and say that if Puerto Rico were to become the 51st state of the United States, it would no longer be an Olympic country, but what does that matter less than 100 days before an election? The irony of a passionate pro-statehooder like Fortuño now sounding like the other pro-commonwealth and pro-independence candidates he has criticized for exploiting Puerto Rico’s unique boricuaness is quite telling.

But don’t tell that to Fortuño and his campaign, since they have become Facebook addicts the last few days. Here are just a few of the posts from the official Fortuño51 page (yes he even has a 51 in his Facebook URL):

First off, change your Facebook Page cover image to exploit a picture of you and the family of bronze medal winner Javier Culson. Umm, the little girl to the right of Fortuño looks absolutely thrilled to be next to the governor.

Then start posting photos of different athletes and pushing Puerto Rico’s unique pride and love for the Olympics. Here are just a few samples of what Fortuño and his campaign posted yesterday. First off, send everyone a personal Facebook post:

Then post your first Culson pic.

Post another Culson pic an hour later. Go viral.

Then an hour later, raise the city flag of Ponce (Culson’s hometown) over La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion.

The Olympic Facebook blitz began on Fortuño’s page over the weekend. Here are a few more screen shots of what the page posted:

Here is the hypocrisy: Fortuño is head of a statehood party (the New Progressive Party, or PNP) that wants to become a state of the Union, no ifs, ands, or buts. However, if Puerto Rico were to become a state, there is no more Olympic team for Puerto Rico. This hasn’t stopped Fortuño and his campaign from pushing Olympic pride the last few days. Talk about being inconsistent in your messaging.

In addition, many PNPers who have commented on these Fortuño posts and the posts of the PNP think that if Puerto Rico were to become a state, the Puerto Rican Olympic team would still continue because there is an Olympic charter. Yeah, right. Memo to the PNPers: the United States trumps you on your desires to keep the Puerto Rican Olympic team intact.

All this boricua pride and flag waving would go away. Puerto Ricans would become part of the US team, and give or take a Culson or a few boxers, the chances to make the bigger team would be slim.

If Fortuño were truly the pro-statehooder that he was, he would be pushing the US team’s feats to his followers. But that would not make any political sense, since it is clear that even Fortuño will admit that when it comes to being politically convenient, it is best to push the boricuaness to the masses instead of staying true to his statehood message. But, hey, fuzziness is all part of Puerto Rico’s politics. We do find it amazing that many on the island buy it because it is coming from Fortuño.

A little advice to the PNPers: If you want to become a state, put away the Puerto Rican flags and start chanting “USA USA USA!”

Are you ready to do that? Are you?

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March Madness is a United States tradition that now borders on Super Bowl frenzy. According to USA Today, last year the total online and mobile viewership was 52 million viewers. This year, that number should be greater. Or will it?

Today, since we are HUGE March Madness fans (and Harvard is FINALLY in the tourney), signing up the online streaming site was a no-brainer. Last year, the site was free. However, this year is it $3.99 to catch all 67 games. The price point isn’t bad, it is actually pretty reasonable. But, and this is a big BUT, when we started the streaming site, we were greeted with ADS, ADS, and more ADS.

Click on game. You gotta wait. Watch these four ADS first. Want to switch to another game? Watch these ADS first.

It is annoying. It is getting us pissed and we think the NCAA and its broadcast networks are doing it all wrong. Our take, keep the ADS around the site’s skin and design, but if we have to wait 2 minutes before we see a live game, that will just bite.

One more gripe: you can’t switch to another game where there is an AD playing. BOO!!!!

Come on, NCAA, change it now, or else, people will stop watching.

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This is on.

Follow #PapaRebelde on Twitter.

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So last week, Sports Illustrated opened up its cover selection process to social media, letting anyone in the world vote for the best picture of 2011. In the end, the fans chose Rutgers’ Eric LaGrand and his inspirational story. Granted, it was a good choice, but the explanation by SI’s Terry McDonell reveals that in the end, big brands don’t get social media, and you are left to wonder if they ever will.

This is what McDonell wrote in last week’s issue:

The idea that the editor should relinquish that call this week and ask fans to choose the cover came from Scott Novak, SI’s vice president of communications. Novak is editorial minded and brilliant at driving connections with readers through social-media platforms such as the SI Facebook page, where he proposed to invite visitors to vote for the best sports moment of the year, with the winner featured on the year-end cover. The argument against him was simple: As much as readers may second-guess the magazine’s cover choices, that’s where they want SI’s credibility and authority to start. And who said the voters would be readers in the first place? But the argument Novak, his team and a growing number of staffers made was that letting the public in on the selection process would strengthen the bond between the magazine and its readers and, further, allow SI to plug into a new two-way relationship with a wider landscape of sports fans.

Again, it was a noble effort, but McDonell’s words reveal a few misconceptions that brands still blindly follow when it comes to social media. This is why in the end SI missed the mark:
  • It’s all about control. There is still this assumption by media outlets that in order to succeed in the digital space, they must still control the message. And that is where the problem lies. Once you commit to social media, everyone becomes an equal, from the magazine to the readers to the people who tweet about the brand.
  • Social media credibility comes from actual engagement. It is just hard to believe that SI truly “gets it” now. The SI example, as much as its editors think it is “two-way conversation,” it is still SOCIAL MEDIA LITE. SI missed the opportunity to take their cover selection process and really make it 100% engaging. Sure, people voted and chose the cover, but SI’s team failed to make something out of it. They should have spent more time shouting out the people who voted, mention them, thank them for the votes on Twitter. THAT would have strengthened the relationship SI sought. Instead, SI was still the story, and not the voters. People will quickly see through that.
  • Where is the real engagement? True engagement is when both sides of the channel are highlighted. SI still thinks that it is better than the people who follow its accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Maybe if SI lightens up a bit and not feel so concerned about losing control, people would become even more loyal.

It is encouraging to see that McDonell has a Twitter account. But his profile on Twitter just has four tweets (although kudos for using an @ reply for one of those tweets, maybe there is hope?). And McDonell has only tweeted once this December, the month when he should have done more to prove that SI is becoming more social media savvy and friendlier. And before that, he tweeted once in October 2011, once in December 2010 and his first tweet was in October 2009. Knowing how smart the guys at SI are, I do believe they will understand that they must practice what they preach. I am rooting for you, Terry. Come dive into Twitter and enjoy it.

Trust me, I love SI. I think it is the best weekly magazine in the world. The writing is vastly superior and the photos are top-notch. However, if SI REALLY wants to dive deeply in the social media sphere, it should, for example, take the time to simply reply to people, their readers, the ones who buy their magazine every week (their current Twitter presence is the perfect example of how NOT to do it).

So maybe, if their editors are open to it, they should publish a Social Media edition of their magazine, where individuals who follow the brand choose and develop the brand for one week. Publish the tweets, shout out the opinions, and maybe even have some content creators publish some of their pieces. Now THAT would be cool. Let’s hope SI stops hiding behind the image of the BIG BRAND that thinks it is doing social media. It would actually be more fun for them and it would change the needle for them, especially in this age, where ANYONE can be a publisher now.

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Once in a while, surprises happen, and today on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub, Red Sox principal owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the station’s afternoon show with Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger.

(Credit: Mark Bertrand)

“The author of the story has gone on the record as saying we did not participate in that,” Henry told Felger and Massarotti Friday afternoon.

“I don’t condemn Bob Hohler for writing a story,” said Henry. “I condemn personal things coming out… About medication, about someone’s marital life.”

“Blaming me personally for being the person who said those things… that’s why I came here. You’re misleading the public.”

Henry, who is also the principal owner of Liverpool FC, could not confirm who the “team sources” were that provided information about former Red Sox manager Terry Francona’s marital and medical issues. He also did not confirm that an internal meeting to weed out the sources had occurred.

Which leads us to this point: if Henry was so adamant today about how he was being accused, why then did he not go on record BEFORE The Globe story was written and say the article was “reprehensible.”

This is classic PR strategy gone wrong in our opinion. It is clear that Red Sox ownership has been hit hard for The Globe article, and Henry’s appearance on Boston radio today was meant to try and soften the criticism. But as the lead chief of his organization, calling out smear campaigns five days after the fact raises several questions that the Sox should answer. In the meantime, the Sox chaos continues, and Boston fans are the losers here.

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