Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bob Lobel: Teaming Up With Boston Sports Legend Mike Lynch

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

It was a week ago Monday when I received a call from Mike Lynch of Channel 5.  

Lynchie and I have been friends and competitors for over 30 years at rival stations in one of the nation’s hottest television markets. It has been a hot market for many reasons, but the unusual thing about Boston is that it’s a destination, not a way station. 

There are plenty of larger markets that serve as pass throughs to get to these destinations, but only those in the right place and time get the destination market jobs. Being a local product with institutional knowledge was very important in Boston, a notoriously parochial town with local passions for politics, sports and revenge made this a very unique place. 

Mike and I were both very fortunate to somehow get the jobs we had. We were even more fortunate to get them at a time when television technology was experiencing incredible growth. Without going into a lot of detail, we both were riding the wave of amazing technology coupled with the great sports teams that began to blossom here. 

Suffice to say, no other market in the last thirty years even approached this place for sports drama, heartache, success, heroes, and parades. Duckboats are part of the language that’s as common as Whitey Bulger. What a place to have jobs and competition that made all of us better. 

Mike Lynch and I survived it all usually covering the same stories, standing side-by-side at whatever  venue was hot that particular day. So the call from him last Monday to join him on his late Sunday night show, "SportsCenter 5 OT," was a great and very welcome surprise. We were both excited about finally getting to sit down and work together, if only for 10 minutes of television. 

It won’t be the last either. Perhaps new ground was broken by his invitation. Whatever, we did agree on a few things and weren’t quite so united on others.  

He asked me whether Brady or Ortiz will be the bigger Boston icon when it’s all said and done. Great question, and one I’ve never been asked before, as far as I know. Without much hesitation I said Brady. I know Ortiz is the flavor of the month, but I believe Brady will again emerge and will stay at that pinnacle. 

Ortiz will not make the Russell, Bird, Williams, Orr foursome. Brady already has made it a group of five. Mike Lynch kinda took the Ortiz side, but it was his show and he was asking the questions. Those are the kinds of things that we enjoy getting into. If things progress as I hope they will with this on-air relationship, then it’s all going to be a lot of fun and hopefully controversial. 

The one area I never thought I could compete with Mike was in his high school coverage. He did more with their “High 5” program over the years than we ever could. He owned that area and justifiably so. 

I do envy that and tip my cap to a job well done. Done better than any one else around here, and perhaps, in the country.  There is something special about relationships like this. You put down the swords, shake hands, and say “well done. I’m better at what I do because of you.” 

After all, we both had the same job, we just worked for different numbers and letters. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t be different in the days ahead.   

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