Bradford: The Gary Tanguay reminder


Let's start here: Gary Tanguay is still alive.

Too many times when somebody is let go from a job we rattle off one of these things like it's an obituary. Not this time. Not with this guy.

Tanguay's contract isn't being renewed by NBC Sports Boston. That sucks. There were other really, really talented folks who were also set free by the media company, many of whom I know and have worked with. It all sucks. Sucks like never before. You think about the people, their families and their futures. You understand why it happened -- you're dealing with huge companies such as one whose bottom line is tied to such things as the amusement park business -- but that doesn't make it any more palatable.

And while the list of folks in this industry I admire, care about or maybe are simply vaguely familiar with who have suffered similar fates as Tanguay over the past few months is long, it is the guy whose voicemail message bellows like a James Earl Jones-esque audition tape who I will single out this time around.

So, about Tanguay ...

I was talking with a recent college graduate Tuesday and offering words of what I thought might be wisdom. It wasn't an original message or even all that complex. It was simply a reminder that if you have to do one thing in this business, pandemic, or no pandemic, it is to separate yourself. When I heard about the Tanguay news I was second-guessing myself. After all, few are better at separating themselves than Gary and look what happened to him.

But you know what? He did do it right. He will do it right. And he will laugh at me for writing this stupid thing when striking a pose as only he can for that photo on the back of his next novel.

I don't know why NBC Sports Boston moved on from Tanguay. Often times it's a combination of business and flat-out subjectivity. I do know that the lesson Tanguay passes along is one we all should take heed of. Separate yourself by being yourself. It sounds simple but let's be honest, in this business, it's not always the norm. Way too many times desperation leads to trying to fit the mold instead of finding the mold that fits you.

"Rob, I look up there at the TV or I listen on the radio and I see and hear you broadcasting the Boston Red Sox. The Boston Red Sox! I just shake my head. You, my friend, and I mean this with all sincerity, have done more with less than anybody I've ever seen."

I must have heard that speech from Gary once a month for the last 10 years. From anyone else, it might be considered at least somewhat insulting. From Gary, it is endearing.

This is a TELEVISION personality who stopped caring about being phony a long time ago. It's why he didn't mind going on the radio to read those romance novels he wrote under the penname "Taray Garrison." It's why he never blinks when expected to emerge with an opinion that feeds his haters. And it is the reason he can look himself in the mirror today, tomorrow and the next day and live life like his professional existence hadn't been given an enema.

Sure, he knows how to put on the TV as well as anyone. Nobody can execute a headshot-worthy pose on the shortest of notice like Gary. And then there is the way he weaponizes his voice to make those ad reads and intros feel like a security blanket for all those prioritizing such things. This is, after all, what oftentimes paid the bills. But these sorts of things are not what defines the subject of this column.

Today, Tanguay represents a reminder of what should be prioritized.

For instance, that Comcast show he did with Greg Dickerson -- the one that put their faces on the champagne bottles distributed to Red Sox players -- was the real-stuff. Segmented for TV? Sure. But that thing had all the reals. Both of them made it that way. Do radio with either one of those guys and you will never feel more comfortable, feeling like there is a laugh waiting just a few minutes away. Isn't that how it should be? He and Trenni Kusnierek had the same vibe.

In my perfect nighttime viewing world, this should be the blueprint. That's just me.

Tanguay will figure this whole thing out. He will probably pop up on the set of Knives Out 2, seen passing around the script for one of those screenplays I loved receiving in my email on occasion. Sure, he might be a bit more aggressive in tagging movie directors on Twitter (which is saying something), and there may be a literary agent or two who will soon be blushing upon reading one of Mr. Garrison's newest works. But, like those put in a similar predicament, he will figure this whole crappy thing out.

Tanguay did it when he lived life in the world of television. He did it on the radio. He did it when finding himself as the first voice in the movie Chappaquiddick. And he certainly did it when beating cancer last year.

Those as genuine as Gary find a way to find their way.

Just a reminder: Gary Tanguay is not dead. Taray Garrison's full story has yet to be told.