World Cup Kicks Off Weekend

Good news for HD sports fans in New England – Comcast will be bringing ESPN2 HD online today in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine on channel 850. This is just in time for the World Cup action, but will also be a bonus for viewers of college football and basketball aired on the channel later on in the year.

The World Cup is one of the highlights of this weekend’s TV sports viewing. There is also a Red Sox doubleheader on Saturday (weather permitting) in which highly touted prospect Jon Lester was scheduled to make his big league debut…though if Friday night’s game is rained out, all bets are off on front. That first game is scheduled to be a national game for Fox. Saturday also has the Belmont Stakes at 5:00 PM and game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals at 8:00 PM.

Sunday has more World Cup in the morning, the Red Sox in the afternoon. The 20th Arena Bowl kicks off at 3:00 PM on NBC and game two of the NBA Finals is on ABC at 9:00 PM.

For Red Sox coverage this weekend, you can check in on the Red Sox Daily Links page to find coverage and stories from around the internet on the hometown nine.

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A few items from the week:

Thursday on the Big Show, there was a skit that identified Larry Johnson as a superhero named “the recycler”. That gag was that Johnson simply listens to the opinions of others during the week and then repeats them on the weekends. There was also a mention made to check out his cartoons for any “trace evidence of their unoriginality.” If you want to see some examples of how his cartoons appear to have been traced, then check out this rough page of cartoons vs photos that I put together. Some of them are rather startling. You can hear the skit on Pete Gustin’s Website.

The extremely popular Red Sox board Sons of Sam Horn was down and out for a full day earlier this week. In a post on the site, one of the administrators stated that there were actually two serious issues going on with the site, with “one of them malicious in nature.”

“Stump the Schwab” Open Auditions in Boston

Season Four auditions for ESPN’s popular sports trivia game show “Stump the Schwab” are coming to Boston this Tuesday, June 13th at Champions at The Marriott, located at 110 Huntington Avenue. You’re invited to come anytime between 3:00pm and 9:00pm.

You’ll need to download and fill out an application, which you can find online, and bring it to the casting call. Or you can fill out the application at the casting. Can’t make it to the casting call? Email them and they can set up an appointment in New York City. You must be at least 18 years old.

Note to NESN: Enough of Jack Welch.

If you missed it earlier this week, Bill Simmons went to Los Angeles to attend the Pedro Martinez vs. Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra and Grady Little Mets/Dodgers matchup on 6/6/6. If the Globe can send Nick Cafardo to cover a minor league start by Roger Clemens, couldn’t they have sent Bob Ryan or someone to cover this game?

Local Sports Media columns:

Jim Baker has a look at coverage of the World Cup, which starts today, and notes the upcoming dog days of TV sports, which seems to be every summer. Andrew Neff catches up with former Red Sox player and TV analyst Bob Montgomery, who is now doing some minor league games for NESN. Boston Radio Watch has a report on WEEI hiring a manager for their new Western Massachusetts affiliate. Susan Bickelhaupt looks at baseball guy Dave O’Brien taking a shot at calling World Cup soccer games on ESPN.

Sports Media Columns From Around the Nation:

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Soccer Fan Makes Big Save for ESPN.

Neil Best, New York Newsday – Soccer fans won’t have to wait.

Andrew Marchand, New York Post – There’s No Ryan in Baseball!

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Sterling’s call drops ball.

Michael Hiestand, USA Today – NHL Game 3 could bottom out TV ratings.

Jim Williams, Washington Examiner – Mayor: MLB needs to up ante, get Nats on TV.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – Ex-Marlins announcer to call World Cup

Dave Darling, Orlando Sentinel – World Cup is must-see TV.

Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – Shared broadcast rights way of the future.

David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Durham-Ramsay team to sign off after Finals.

Barry Horn, Dallas Morning News – Quick Take: ABC plays it down the middle.

Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – Roggin Gives Up Radio Talk Show.

Also from Stewart: Hershiser’s Evolution Proves Interesting.

Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News – Disney’s Small World (Cup)

Jay Posner, San Diego Union Tribune – World Cup interest more than nil-nil.