Season Over.

John Molori’s Media Blitz reports that ESPN Boston is interviewing candidates for a permanent co-host for Michael Felger and that Tony Massarotti is the frontrunner for the job.

Well, its official:

Football Season has begun!

Greg Doyle has a Review of the Tape from Saturday night’s Patriots preseason win over on the Patriots Game Day page.

Michael Felger says that the early returns on the performance of the Patriots cornerbacks thus far have been encouraging. He also looks at a few items from Saturday’s preseason game with the Cardinals. Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots dealing off offensive lineman Brandon Gorin, which appears to be another successful product off the Dante Scarnecchia production line. Tom E Curran looks at Bam Childress making a name for himself thus far in camp. The diminutive receiver impresses Bill Belichick with his competitiveness and toughness. Christopher Price has Tully Banta-Cain having a great month on the field, and pumped about Madden ’07.

Ed Berliner says that the Patriots have a lot of problems, and they can’t hide them. He says “The Patriots’ dynasty years are in the rear-view mirror. There’s blood in the water…” Eric McHugh says that in the first two games, the Patriots offense has shown it can get the job done on third down, even without Deion Branch. Rich Garvin has Belichick pleased with his team’s performance on Saturday, but admitting there is still a lot of work to do. The AP has Willie McGinest reluctant to hand over 55 to Junior Seau.

Felger also reports on the Patriots trading Brandon Gorin to the Cardinals. Curran also looks at the trade and a couple of minor cuts by the team. Reiss’ notebook looks at the competition for the fourth running back spot on the Patriots. McHugh’s notebook says that the jury is still out on the Patriots run defense.

Do We Have To Talk About This?

This west coast road trip could not come at a better time for both the Red Sox and their fans. For the next week or so, most of their games will be decided at a time when most East coast fans are already safely in their beds. A historic five game sweep by the New York Yankees was capped by yesterday’s 2-1 loss by the Sox, who now find themselves 6 1/2 games out of first, and seemingly dead in the water. There will be plenty of mentions and comparisons to the “Boston Massacre” and this time, the media isn’t blowing things out of proportion. This was horrible.

Amalie Benjamin notes that David Wells was sharp and on his game yesterday, but it wasn’t enough to avert the sweep. Michael Silverman says look on the bright side…things can’t get any worse. Joe McDonald is embarrassed to use a cliché, but says that the Red Sox have some serious work to do or they can kiss their playoff hopes good-bye. Paul Doyle says that the Red Sox are unraveling right before our eyes. Garry Brown has more on the Red Sox leaving town reeling. David Borges and Phil O’Neill round out the depressing game stories.

Uncle Bob Ryan sits us down and explains some very uncomfortable truths about our favorite baseball team. Sean McAdam notes that the Red Sox lost perspective in this series, and has some legit, even-handed criticism of Manny sulking about an official scorers ruling. Steve Buckley says that the Red Sox best hope now is the Wild Card, but we have no evidence that they are up for that challenge. Jim Donaldson looks at this series by the numbers. Jon Couture says that it could be a long September around Fenway Park. Mark Murphy says that yesterday’s David Wells performance was not one that the Red Sox could afford to lose. Jeff Jacobs looks at everything going as wrong as it possibly could for the Red Sox over the last four days.

A nameless column in the Worcester Telegram &amp: Gazette proclaims that the heartless Sox choked in this series. Jackie MacMullan says that this series has left the Red Sox devastated, blames yesterday on Manny, (though McAdam above makes a better case for criticizing Manny and his teammates) and says that the Sox have no choice but to try and use the final 38 games to regroup from scratch. Buckley has more on Manny’s hammy, including Curt Schilling and Alex Cora defending him. Lenny Megliola says that it is quite possible that the Red Sox October hopes went away this weekend. Murphy looks at the down scene in the Red Sox clubhouse following the game.

David Borges reports that Dustin Pedroia was pulled from the PawSox doubleheader last night and is headed to the big club. Fluto Shinzawa notes that despite a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score, Keith Foulke’s performance yesterday had to be a rare bright spot for the Sox on the afternoon. Matt Kalman also says that Foulke was the lone positive to emerge for the Red Sox. Mike Fine says that this series won’t change the way Theo Epstein does business. Kevin Gray looks at the Yankees finishing the job on the Sox.

Kevin McNamara has Bobby Abreu saying that he likes the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. Yeah, no kidding, huh? Kelsie Smith looks at Yankees starter Cory Lidle making the most of a huge opportunity. Get the jubilant coverage from NY on the New York Sports Pages.

The Projo notebook reports that Dustin Pedroia will be called up this week to take the place of Alex Gonzalez, who will be placed on the DL. Benjamin’s notebook looks at Craig Hansen getting sent down to Pawtucket, perhaps more to clear his head than anything else. Also noted in there is that Mike Mussina left the game on Sunday after four innings with a “strained groin” but was fine yesterday. No suggestions that he “bailed” on the Yankees? Not a foxhole guy? Silverman’s notebook suggests that there may be a few changes to the roster as soon as today for the Red Sox. Doyle’s notebook looks at Hansen’s demotion. Brown’s notebook also reports on Hansen. O’Neill’s notebook says that things won’t get any easier for the Sox on the road. Borges’ notebook focuses on Manny’s hamstring. Couture’s notebook has Hansen getting time to regroup in Pawtucket. Fine’s notebook says that it is hard to believe how far the Sox have fallen.

Misc.

Kevin Paul Dupont reports that the Bruins are closing in on a long term deal with Patrice Bergeron.

Michael Vega has BC coach Tom O’Brien looking for a few take-charge guys. Steve Conroy looks at middle linebacker Jolonn Dunbar of the Eagles. The Eagle in Atlanta blog has an email exchange with ESPN’s Andy Katz about the BC basketball team.

Keep up with the Portsmouth NH Little Leaguers on Seacoast Online.

NESN has Red Sox/Angels at 10:00.

Yankees On Verge Of Sweep

Wow.

I really don’t have much to say. What a pathetic weekend by the Red Sox.

A couple internal links here I think you should check out:

Over on the Patriots Game Day page, we think our new format is coming along nicely, with new content almost every day. On the actual game days, we’ve been posting a blog of pregame thoughts, halftime thoughts and postgame thoughts. We’re doing a weekly film review of the game, a weekly roundtable discussion of hot-button topics and we’ve got a weekly Patriots-themed Football Outsiders column, from which Ron Borges already quoted extensively last week’s Deion Branch column in his Sunday Football Notes, (Though not mentioning where he actually read the information.)

Today on the page, we’re featuring part one of a two part column looking at The Case For – And Against – Adam Vinatieri.

Over the weekend, David Scott exposed ESPN trying to get cute with its Team USA Basketball coverage, and pretending that announcers Fran Fraschilla and Jim Durham were in Japan announcing the game when they really were in Bristol, Ct.

If you really want to read about the woeful Sox, go to the Red Sox Daily Links or to the New York Sports Pages for the articles from New York.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 1:00. ESPN has Cowboys/Saints Preseason football at 8:00.

Weekend Watch – Red Sox/Yankees Armageddon

It’s a busy weekend for sports, with Red Sox/Yankees, Patriots preseason football, PGA Championship Golf and NASCAR all on tap.

Today is of course the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Please take a moment and consider having a part in this wonderful event.

Most of the media coverage this weekend will focus on Red Sox/Yankees. We make it simple for you, check out the Red Sox Daily Links page for the articles and blog entries from around New England, and go to the New York Sports Pages for the articles from the four largest New York dailies.

The Patriots take on the Cardinals at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. WCVB has its first preseason game of the summer, kicking things off with a pregame show at 7:30. Keep up with the stories on the Patriots, including any movement on the Junior Seau front on the Patriots Daily Links page. We’ll also be blogging this weekend on Patriots Game Day, so be sure to check out the blog during and after the game for observations on the action.

The Little League World Series is also on ESPN all weekend. Portsmouth, NH plays at 8:00 PM on Saturday night, taking on Columbia, Mo.

Seth Mnookin had a great week on his blog. Entries included Free Rob Bradford from purgatory – an entry I am in 100% agreement with. I’ve basically given up on linking to articles on the Eagle-Tribune website. For a while they had the links changing every few hours, and now, even though the links seem to be more stable, most of the articles can only be accessed with a paid account. Mnookin’s Friday article is entitled “Jason Giambi is a gutless, steroid-using punk.” Makes you want to read it just by the title.

Chad Finn served up another great nine innings of Red Sox thoughts yesterday.
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And now, onto our weekly feature of looking at media columns from all around the country:

New England

David Scott broke the news that the Providence Journal’s Tom E Curran will be leaving the Patriots beat on the paper to join a revamped NBCsports.com page as a lead football writer. Susan Bickelhaupt checks in with NESN host Tom Caron about his rise from a journalism student in Vermont to his current role on the flagship Red Sox broadcasts. Jim Baker previews a sports weekend headed up by Red Sox/Yankees.

East Coast

Phil Mushnick has a look at Jim Kaat’s impending departure from the Yankees television booth, a move he feels will take perhaps the only voice of reason out of the booth. Andrew Marchand reports that FOX is in the process of developing 3-D Television and say that we can expect it sometime in the next 10 years. He also reports that Deion Sanders will be joining NFL Network as a studio analyst. Marchand’s Memo of the Week pleads with Jerome Bettis and other analysts to please reveal more private conversations. Richard Sandomir talks with Pat Summerall about his upcoming book “Summerall: On and Off the Air” in which the legendary announcer tells all, including his lifelong battle with alcohol. Bob Raissman notes that Bryant Gumbel is already doing what he does best…stirring the pot and causing headaches. Neil Best is heading out on vacation, but before he goes, he writes about tennis finding love on the tube.

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post wasn’t too impressed with his colleague Tony Kornheiser’s debut on “Monday Night Football” this week. Michael Hiestand goes a little easier on Kornheiser in his review. Kornheiser gave his own impressions the next day. Hiestand also writes about the Michaels brothers, Al and his brother David, both now working at NBC. Jim Williams goes over a full slate of sports action in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area.

Jane McManus looks at NBC bringing in Fred Gaudelli to produce the “Sunday Night Football” package. She notes that “Gaudelli is the guy behind the yellow first-down line, the rotating score box on the screen and the goal-post camera.” Aaron Bracy says that ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” debut wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great, either. He offers up some leftover tidbits from the column in his blog. Laura Nachman reports that WIP associate producer Mark Farzetta recently tried out for “American Idol”. Bob Smizik looks at the struggles of Fox Sports Radio in PA in relation to ESPN radio. Chris Zelkovich tries to make sense of the crazy way that Canadian television operates.

South

Jim Sarni previews two new television series based on high school football, MTV’s Two-A-Days and ESPN’s Friday Night Lights. Dave Darling offers up some suggestions to new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for improving the TV viewing experience of fans. Barry Horn says that the ESPN MNF crew still have some kinks to work out. David Barron has some more on Al and David Michaels both working at NBC.

Middle America

Bob Wolfley reports on former Brewers announcer Matt Vasgersian getting the call to broadcast NFL games for FOX. Teddy Greenstein goes behind the scenes of CBS Golf coverage and has a few laughs. He also looks at how the TV Networks are forcing colleges to schedule football games on days and nights other than Saturday, leading to college football games almost every night of the week. Dan Caesar has a look at KTVI’s locally produced Rams preseason games.

West Coast

Jim Carlisle notes that Joe Buck is becoming to broadcasting in this decade what Brent Musburger was in the 1970′s and 80′s. He wonders if it could result in too much of a good thing and have things end up in the same way as they did for Musburger at CBS in 1990. Jay Posner has a a look at Buck’s CBS rival Jim Nantz, who currently carries much of the sports load for the network. Tom Hoffarth looks at what promises to be a terrific series from FSN West as they went to the Dominican Republic to shoot footage on a series of background stories on the Latin stars of the Angels and Dodgers. John Maffei reports on CSTV’s rights-fees battle with Cox Communications, which could lead to local college football games not being seen. Joe Davidson looks at what NBA TV has lined up in the next month, including a tribute to Wilt Chamberlain, who would’ve turned 70 this Monday. He also looks at Rick Barry’s exit from KNBR 680.

Seau to Pats? Sox, Yanks to Play Two Today.

David Scott has the news that Tom Curran will be leaving the Providence Journal on September 1st to join a revamped NBCsports.com as its lead NFL writer.

Be sure to check out a new edition of the BSMW Game Day roundtable as we toss around the topics of the week involving your New England Patriots.

Junior Seau to the Patriots? Sure looks like it is going to happen. Mike Reiss and John Tomase each file reports on the possible signing of Seau, who would be called upon to plug a hole at inside linebacker for the Patriots. Alan Greenberg notes that Seau could allow Mike Vrabel to stay outside in the Patriots defense. Chris Kennedy says even though Seau has played both inside and outside linebacker in his career, at his age, he might be better suited to play inside.

The other big media story from yesterday involving the Patriots was Tom Brady’s name coming up in the Greg Anderson/BALCO hearings. Gerry Callahan says that Brady’s link to Anderson is tenuous, at best and that this is much ado about nothing. Jerome Solomon examines Brady’s comments on the matter and Tomase has Brady downplaying any conversation he had with Anderson. Tomase also says Brady avoided a possible PR hit yesterday. Alan Greenberg, Michael Parente, David Brown and Rich Garvin all have more on the story.

Tom E Curran says that this was a tougher training camp then in previous seasons.

Solomon’s notebook says that the Patriots need some more hands on deck at the receiver position. Tomase’s notebook says that we now know that it is Tedy Bruschi’s right wrist that has the broken bone. Curran’s notebook has more on Brady’s conversation with Anderson. Garven’s notebook has more on Seau’s possible signing with the Patriots.

Red Sox, Yankees to Play Five

Bob Ryan notes that 39 years ago today was when Tony Conigliaro was beaned, ending his season, and in reality, his career. A thoughtful, somber column. Steve Buckley didn’t write something today about Tony C? I’m shocked. I’m equally shocked that we didn’t get a Red Sox/Yankees – Athens/Sparta column today from Dan Shaughnessy.

Tony Massarotti says that these games with the Yankees really mean something, as this is finally the year in which the loser of the division will not have the wild card to fall back on. Sean McAdam says that while this weekend may offer plenty of drama and highlights, it will offer little in the way of resolution. Amalie Benjamin writes that the acquisition of Bobby Abreu could be what ends up turning the tide in the AL East race. Gordon Edes claims that the Red Sox could’ve had Abreu for themselves if they were willing to spend the money. David Heuschkel says that Theo Epstein has not done a good job this season in bolstering the pitching staff. Alex Speier says that the pressure lay more with the Red Sox this weekend.

Phil O’Neill offers up a nice preview of this important weekend series with the Yankees. Nick Tavares says that the Yankees have a slight edge in this series. Michael Silverman notes that the Red Sox have struggled against the better teams in the league. I only wish he had posted how the other contenders had done against the same teams to give us some sort of gauge. Jon Couture says that it is now or never for the Red Sox. McAdam reports on Eric Hinske, set to join the club today. Matt Kalman looks at Jason Johnson pitching in games that count for the first time in his career. Ron Chimelis revisits the Josh Beckett trade. Dom Amore looks at the Yankees preparations for the series. Curt Brown talks to Dominic DiMaggio about the rivalry with the Yankees.

For the view from the Big Apple, check out the coverage in the New York Sports Pages.

Silverman’s notebook looks at what Eric Hinske will bring to the club, now that he is officially in the fold. Edes’ notebook says that Hinske will be a big plus to the Sox because of his versatility. Benjamin’s notebook says that the going has continued to be rough for A-Rod in NY. David Borges’ notebook looks at the Red Sox getting set to welcome both Hinske and the Yankees. O’Neill’s notebook offers more on Hinske.

Nick Cafardo’s Minor League Notebook has a look at knuckleballer Charlie Zink, who might be showing enough consistency to warrant a promotion to the big leagues soon.

Misc.

Douglas Flynn and Mick Colageo report on the Bruins signing top draft pick Phil Kessel. Fluto Shinzawa also has coverage of the signing.

Gabe Kahn has a quick look at Celtics rookie point guard Rajon Rondo.

Sweep Avoided, All’s Wells

The Red Sox managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tigers, as they pulled out a 6-4 victory at Fenway Park. Coco Crisp and David Ortiz led the offense, each driving in a pair of runs, and David Wells was effective enough to pick up his second win in a row.

Gordon Edes looks at the young bullpen duo of Craig Hansen and Jonathan Papelbon getting the job done for the Red Sox last night. Michael Silverman reports on David Wells getting the job done for the Red Sox and averting a sweep by the Tigers. David Heuschkel looks at a solid performance from Wells and some big hits from the offense. Joe McDonald reports on Wells and Crisp leading the Sox to victory. Lenny Megliola looks at the Sox picking up a much needed win before the biggest series of the season starts tomorrow. Ron Chimelis reports on Wells beating both the Tigers and Father Time in the same night. David Borges has more on a very important win for the Red Sox, while Bill Ballou has more on the remarkable return of Wells.

Nick Cafardo reports on David Wells, who attempted to be the Red Sox savior last night, and managed to save the day in a “noble, touch and go, and gutsy” manner. Steve Buckley says that Wells is the Red Sox new “Monster” – insisting that he doesn’t mean that as a dig or with malice. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox recent struggles without Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon.

Edes reports that the Red Sox have struck a deal to land Eric Hinske from the Blue Jays for a mid-to-low level prospect. Silverman says that Hinske will give the Red Sox a left handed bat which they have desperately needed off the bench all season. Sean McAdam says that the deal is only awaiting the approval of the commissioner. Buckley reports on Carlos Peña also heading to the Red Sox.

Kelsie Smith looks at Coco Crisp finally starting to get things going out of the leadoff position for the Red Sox. Matt Kalman says that Crisp’s rise couldn’t come at a better time for the Sox with Johnny Damon and the Yankees coming to town Buckley says that Alex Gonzalez wasn’t happy about being held out of the lineup last night. Silverman says that there will be no deal for LaTroy Hawkins. Smith looks at umpire Bruce Froemming calling his 5000th career game.

Edes’ notebook has more on Carlos Peña joining the Red Sox organization. Silverman’s notebook says that it will be Jason Johnson in the first game tomorrow and Jon Lester in the second. McDonald’s notebook looks at Lester finally getting his shot at the Yankees tomorrow. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Hinske. Borges’ notebook has more on tomorrow’s pitching order and says that Keith Foulke may be part of the reason why Johnson is pitching first. Ballou’s notebook grumbles a bit about why Francona won’t give them more information about tomorrow’s pitchers and Trot Nixon’s health.

Patriots

Michael Felger reports on cornerback Eric Warfield, who earned some praise from coach Bill Belichick for showing improvement in camp. Mike Reiss has Mark Bavaro speaking glowingly about Patriots tight end Daniel Graham, calling him the best he’s seen since he retired. Shalize Manza Young has a look at Tully Banta Cain, as the fourth year linebacker will seemingly get a bigger chance to show his skills this season. Alan Greenberg has a look at Ty Warren, as the Patriots defensive tackle has answered all his critics from when he came out of college and continues to improve. Ian Clark looks at the confidence that Ellis Hobbs brings to the secondary. Dan Pires has more on Hobbs’ natural confidence.

Albert Breer looks at Matt Cassel getting a chance to take on his former college teammate Matt Leinart this Saturday night. In a change from the past, Cassel will be the one with more experience in this instance. Chris Kennedy looks at Barry Gardner taking advantage of his opportunity to run with the regular defense. Jennifer Toland also writes about Gardner seizing the opportunity for more possible playing time with the defense. Michael Parente looks at another linebacker fighting for playing time, Eric Alexander, who has been on the practice squad for the last two seasons. Jerome Solomon reports on Tom Brady’s name being mentioned, seemingly in passing, by Barry Bond’s trainer Greg Anderson.

Reiss’ notebook has the Patriots working rookie Willie Andrews at wide receiver, and also reports that Stephen Gostkowski will handle all the kicking duties in Saturday night’s preseason game with the Cardinals. Felger’s notebook reports on Brady taking the morning off, and Johnathan Sullivan’s “pathetic” punishment lap. Young’s notebook has Matt Light and Dan Koppen talking about the importance of talent and continuity on the offensive line. Toland’s notebook has the Patriots defense getting ready to renew acquaintances with Edgerrin James. Parente’s notebook has more on Cassel reuniting with Leinart. Pires’ notebook has more on the same topic.

Misc

BIll Doyle notes that Time Warner isn’t the only cable distributor in a dispute with the NFL Network, as Charter Communications is also haggling with the network.

Douglas Flynn says that the pieces of the Bruins puzzle are starting to come together. In his Bruins Insider blog, Flynn reports that the team and first round pick Phil Kessel have agreed on a three year contract.

Karen Guregian says that a win in this weekend’s PGA championship by Phil Mickelson could finally mean Tiger Woods has a real rival. Jim McCabe notes that the site of this tournament is also the location of Woods’ most important triumph, the 1999 PGA Championship, where McCabe says Woods came of age as a champion and icon.

ESPN has Rangers/Tigers at 7:00. FOX has Chiefs/Giants preseason football at 8:00.

Sox Ship Still Sinking

The Red Sox continued to stumble last, extending their free fall through the AL East standings, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.

Amalie Benjamin has the game story in the Globe, while Jeff Horrigan covers the game in the Herald. Kevin McNamara looks at the Tigers winning with pitching and defense. David Heuschkel focuses on Wily Mo Pena’s rough ninth inning. David Borges reports on the Tigers getting to the Sox in the late innings. Bill Ballou says that the AL East is slowly slipping away from the Red Sox.

Sean McAdam says that if the Sox aren’t careful, this weekend’s series with the Yankees could become meaningless very quickly. Lenny Megliola says that the Red Sox are backed into a corner right now. Bob Ryan looks at another bad night for anyone who cares about the Red Sox. Steve Buckley says the Red Sox have some real problems, especially on offense.

Alex Speier says that the Red Sox need contributions from elder statesmen Tim Wakefield and David Wells down the stretch to have a chance. Kelsie Smith profiles the newest member of the Red Sox bullpen, reliever Craig Breslow. Horrigan has the Red Sox and Tigers insisting that Josh Beckett was not tipping his pitches the other night. Buckley has Javy Lopez taking some of the blame for Beckett’s loss on Monday. Matt Kalman looks at Wily Mo Pena’s adventure in right field in the ninth inning.

Kelsie Smith looks at Detroit ace Jeremy Bonderman, who was impressive in his duel with Curt Schilling last night. Kalman looks at closer Todd Jones, who is enjoying the revival in Detroit.

The Projo notebook has the Sox and Orioles talking about a potential deal for reliever LaTroy Hawkins. Benjamin’s notebook examines Pena’s minor setback in right field last night. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ivan Rodriguez filling in at second base last night after Placido Polanco separated his shoulder in the seventh inning. Heuschkel’s notebook has the Red Sox playing coy about the order of their pitching rotation on Friday. Borges’ notebook has Jon Lester saying he was told he would be starting the nightcap of that doubleheader. Ballou’s notebook says that Jason Varitek’s value to the team has never been clearer than now while he is out.

Gerry Callahan writes about the Jimmy Fund and why it is so important to contribute.

Patriots

John Tomase has a look at rookie running back Laurence Maroney, who is staying humble despite his obvious skills and the expectations surrounding him. Alan Greenberg also writes about Maroney, who has hopes raised everywhere after his debut in Atlanta last Friday night. Mike Reiss looks at the trio of Ellis Hobbs, Asante Samuel, and Eugene Wilson, who are working to solidify the cornerback position for the Patriots. Paul Kenyon profiles Bam Childress, who is hoping to seize upon an apparent need at wide receiver for the Patriots. David Brown writes that the Patriots running backs are showing a lot of versatility and value as a group.

Michael Parente examines the lower rookie “wall” that some first year players hit in training camp, as they become overwhelmed mentally and physically with all that is expected of them. He looks at how the current group of Patriots rookies is handling this. Albert Breer has a look at rookie linebacker Pierre Woods, who appears to have found a niche with the Patriots and has hopes of sticking with the club. Rich Garven tries to solve the mystery of Monty Beisel, who has seemingly faded right out of the picture at linebacker for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has Tully Banta-Cain hoping to make the most of his opportunity for increased playing time. Eric McHugh looks at Willie Andrews impressing on Special Teams.

Reiss’ notebook has Laurence Maroney and Garrett Mills giving their thoughts on the first NFL game they ever attended – the one they played in last Friday night. Tomase’s notebook has the Patriots secondary preparing for some big receivers coming to town with the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Kenyon’s notebook has Bill Belichick speaking pretty highly about rookie tight end David Thomas. Brown’s notebook has more on the Patriots rookies enjoying their first NFL game action. Parente’s notebook looks at the progress of rookie Ryan O’Callaghan. McHugh’s notebook has more on O’Callaghan.

Misc

Jim McCabe and Karen Guregian each report on the pairing of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for the first round of this weekend’s 88th PGA Championship. McCabe’s notebook has Bill Andrade finding his way into the field for the tournament. Guregian’s notebook looks at Chris DiMarco continuing to fight through a miserable year.

Scott Souza has an update on Celtics forward Al Jefferson, who is glad that Doctors seem to have finally found the cause of his ankle problems and that he’s had the surgery to correct it.

Frank Dell’Apa has Revolution forward Taylor Twellman feeling that he is underpaid.

NESN has Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00.

Tiger by the Tail

The “cream puff” section of the schedule is over for the Red Sox, as they now have a stretch against the iron of the American League. The Detroit Tigers came to town last night and showed why they have had the best record in baseball all season, handing Josh Beckett and the Red Sox a 7- 4 loss at Fenway Park.

Jeff Horrigan says that the Red Sox left Fenway Park last night with a thorough understanding of how Detroit has suddenly turned things around this season. Gordon Edes focuses a good portion of his game story on third base coach DeMarlo Hale getting Manny Ramirez thrown out at home to kill an eighth inning Red Sox rally. Paul Kenyon looks at the Red Sox finding out pretty quickly that the Tigers are good. David Heuschkel looks at DeMarlo Hale having to answer questions for the first time all season. David Borges looks at Josh Beckett putting the Red Sox into a deep, early hole. Bill Ballou has more on the pitching woes once again doing in the Sox.

Sean McAdam says that with the tough part of the schedule coming up, the Red Sox need bullpen reinforcements desperately. He looks a few possible candidates. Dan Shaughnessy has a mostly good article about the revival of the Tigers, and the rivalry they’ve had with the Red Sox over the years. I also think it is great for baseball that the Tigers are doing well. Be warned though, Shaughnessy somehow manages to work in a mention of Grady leaving Pedro in during game 7 of 2003…Steve Buckley says that Red Sox fans went after the wrong guy when they booed Rudy Seanez last night, he maintains that they should go after Josh Beckett harder. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox pitchers staggering through the dog days of August.

Jackie MacMullan has an interesting column about the various way in which pitcher tip off their pitches and how batters and managers can pick up on the tips and take advantage of them. Steven Krasner looks at the Red Sox struggling with their pitcher-catcher communication since Jason Varitek went down. Lenny Megliola looks at the continuing struggles of the Red Sox starting pitchers. Mike Shalin has more on Hale sending the runner and killing the late rally by the Red Sox. Mike Fine looks ahead to the Red Sox facing the iron of the schedule. Bob Halloran says that the Red Sox fate lies with their offense.

Kelsie Smith looks at Josh Beckett, who struggled right out of the gate last night. Buckley has a short bit on the Sox giving Jonathan Papelbon the night off to rest after throwing 31 pitches on Sunday. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox two top pitchers really need to step things up. Smith also looks at how Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasn’t that worried about his club’s recent five game losing streak. Shalin also looks at Leyland seeing the big picture. Horrigan reports that Tim Wakefield isn’t ready to begin regular throwing just yet as he is still feeling discomfort from his injured rib. Jeff Howe looks at Sox minor league pitcher Dustin Richardson, who participated in the ESPN series “Knight School” with Bobby Knight.

Edes’ notebook reports on how Doug Mirabelli managed to pick up his hitting since talking to the Red Sox “performance enhancement counselor” over the All Star break. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Sox calling up Craig Breslow to try and and bolster the bullpen a little bit. The Projo notebook also reports that Wakefield is still a ways away from coming back. Heuschkel’s notebook reports that Keith Foulke is planning on making the trip to the West coast with the Red Sox next week. Couture’s notebook reports on Breslow’s callup. Borges’ notebook has more on Breslow getting the call. Ballou’s notebook has more on the Sox adding a 13th arm to the taxed bullpen.

Patriots

Head over to the Patriots Game Day page, where new contributor Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders examines whether Deion Branch is deserving of the big contract he and his agent are seeking.

Mike Reiss looks at Tully Banta-Cain and Jarvis Green getting a chance to shine a bit more in different formations. Tom E Curran has a look at Ty Warren, who thanks to his work ethic, just keeps getting better and better, a pattern that will likely continue. Michael Felger intimates that it’s time to panic over Matt Cassel. Albert Breer looks at how Ryan O’Callaghan could be the latest low round draft pick to contribute big on the Patriots offensive line. Rich Garven also has a look at the massive lineman. Michael Parente has a good look at rookie Willie Andrews trying to make a mark for himself on special teams. Christopher Price says that Kevin Faulk is a key part to the Patriots offense.

Alan Greenberg checks in with Connecticut native Tebucky Jones on his return to the Patriots this season and how a little thing like a dislocated thumb isn’t going to keep him out of practice. Eric McHugh says that with the addition of Laurence Maroney, the Patriots running game could return to its 2004 level. Breer looks at Jarvis Green getting some work in the 4-3 defense yesterday at practice. Chris Kennedy looks at Andrews making a mark on special teams for the Patriots. Dan Pires looks at Cassel’s shaky start and a number of other items.

Felger’s notebook looks at Tebucky Jones hitting the practice field yesterday despite an injured thumb suffered in the preseason opener. Reiss’ notebook also looks at Jones, as well as a number of other items. Curran’s notebook says that Bill Belichick and Cassel aren’t sweating the QB’s rough start to the preseason on Friday night. Garven’s notebook reports that the Patriots appear to have come away from Atlanta relatively healthy. Parente’s notebook has more on Cassel. McHugh’s notebook says we need to see some more of Reche Caldwell being passing judgment.

Mark Murphy has a quick note in the Herald about Tony Allen’s trial getting delayed due to the illness of the judge.

NESN has Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00.

How to be a Better Sports Radio Caller

Listening to sports radio is often a frustrating experience for the intelligent sports fan. This is especially true in Boston, where the main sports radio station bills itself as “sports entertainment” rather than “sports talk.” As a result, many of the hosts are woefully ill-informed and don’t seem to have a clue about some of the most basic sports facts, history, and concepts; they’re more interested in creating controversies and story lines that they can easily pound on for days. To make matters worse, the people who call the shows are generally even less informed than the hosts. How many times have you heard a guy call in and ask a pathetically stupid question that could be answered in five seconds with Google? Or worse, the mouthbreather who calls and either asks a questions like “Hey, um…I was wondering…um…what do you guys think about, um…Mike Lowell?” or suggests a ridiculously one-sided trade “Do you think we could trade Taverez, Seanez, and Jason Johnson for Huston Street?” Don’t be one of those callers.


Occasionally someone will call and actually try to make a good point, only to be quickly shot down by the hosts, who twist things around on them or bully them. There is usually a moment in each call when the caller could say something or make a point that would set the host back a bit, but most callers fail to seize that crucial moment. If sports radio had better callers, would the overall product improve? Not by much, but we could at least enjoy hearing the arrogant hosts squirm a bit on their oversized rear ends. Here’s how you do it:

Be Prepared

No, I’m not talking about preparing a script that you’re going to read from; prepared scripts are generally ponderous and even if you have a good one, you’re not going to be given the time to read it unless you’ve already built up a relationship with the show. When I say be prepared, I mean know what you want to talk about, what points you want to make, and how you’re going to overcome objections. Anticipate the responses you’ll get, and be prepared to answer them. After all, you listen to the show; you should know how these guys operate. If they respond to you and you hesitate or stammer even a little bit, you’re done. You probably want to write some things down—not a script, but perhaps an outline of the points you want to make, how you will overcome objections, and the facts relevant to your argument. Sound confident and speak intelligently.

Be Cordial

Compliment the hosts when you get on the air, even if you’re loath to do so. Say you’re enjoying the show and that they’re doing a great job, etc. Then, get into the topic you wish to discuss. When they try to distract you, (see below) keep your cool. Don’t raise your voice too much; don’t get agitated. Above all, don’t insult them—that’s the quickest way to get hung up on, which will then result in the hosts declaring victory while at the same time pretending you said something awful: “You can’t say that on the radio, caller, you just can’t.” Remember they have the power of the seven-second delay. If they jump in and interrupt you, patiently wait and begin your point again, though you may need to rephrase it slightly.

Use Cold, Hard Facts

Know your topic front to back. Have references—if you don’t, you’re going to be shot down, because the host is going to say, “Give me an example” or “Tell us when we said that.” This is where preparation is crucial; your call is a success or a failure based on it. You might need to have some notes because you likely won’t be able to rattle all these facts off the top of your head. This seems like a lot of work, but the reason the hosts are able to shoot people down so quickly is because if someone can’t prove a point, they can ridicule that person and move on to the next caller. You need to seize the moment. Don’t let them off the hook, if you’ve got them on the ropes. You’re allowed to question the host. When they make a ridiculous statement, ask them politely but firmly to explain what they said and what they’re basing it on. Radio hosts are infamous for just “throwing it out there” and not getting called on their statements. Sports Radio hosts are infamous for sitting on the fence with big issues and for denying that they ever said certain things. They are experts at twisting logic (see below) and getting the caller off the original point that they’re trying to make. If you’re going to beat them, you’ve got to have a cool demeanor and all the facts at your disposal to be prepared for what they’re going to throw at you.

Stay on Mission

When radio hosts recognize that they might be in trouble with a caller who threatens to make good points and make them look silly in the process, they resort to a number of tactics to try to discredit the caller and make it look like they, themselves, were right all along. Many of these tactics follow well-documented logical fallacies; there are a few in particular that are favorites of talk show hosts, especially here in Boston.

Straw Man – This might be the most common tactic. Using this technique, the host misrepresents the position of the caller, refutes it, and then pretends that the actual position has been refuted. Or they ignore an actual stance and substitute a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of that stance which they can then attack. The Red Sox have stated they are looking to develop their farm system and build for the future. In the host’s world, that becomes: “The Red Sox aren’t trying to win this season!

Slippery Slope (or the Camel’s Nose) – In this scenario, the host warns that permitting some small act will consequently lead to a larger, undesirable act or circumstance. Never mind that this usually won’t be the case; the host will act as if it is a certainty: “If the Patriots don’t give Deion Branch what he wants, they’re going to have a very hard time signing free agents next year.”

Appeal to Probability – Another favorite in Boston. For years it was, “The Red Sox will never win the World Series because they haven’t done it in XX years.”

Biased Sample – Host polls his two co-host sycophants, takes a couple of calls from nitwits and then declares, “Everyone in this town out there right now thinks that Josh Beckett is a stiff and that the Red Sox are in serious trouble.”

Argumentum ad nauseamThe Red Sox aren’t trying to win this year! The Red Sox aren’t trying to win this year! The Red Sox aren’t trying to win this year! Repeat that every afternoon from 2 to 6 starting in March and going through the season, and a few people are bound to believe it. That doesn’t make it a true statement, however.

These are just a few logical fallacies used regularly by sports radio hosts. In order to beat them, you need to be aware of their tactics and how they’re going to try to twist your argument against you.

They may also resort to ridicule or bullying; it’s all part of the act. It’s also a desperate attempt to get the heat off of them and back onto the caller. They might start shouting over or at you and try to get you to retaliate, at which point they can hang up on you or get you to give up and hang up the phone.

Conclude by restating your main points

If you’re fortunate enough to get through your whole call, take 10 seconds or so to really emphasize the purpose of your call by quickly restating the points that you just made.

If you can follow these steps, then you have a shot at beating the frauds that sit behind a mic for four hours a day. If we can get prepared callers who actually make good points and challenge the hosts, then it’s just possible we will have a better product to listen to.

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Sox Getting Back on Track

The Red Sox finally took advantage of the “cream puff” part of their schedule by finishing off a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with an 11-9 victory yesterday at Fenway Park. Mike Lowell led the offensive attack with a grand slam, and rookie Jon Lester improved to 6-2 on the season. The Boston media can also relax and rejoice, as Manny Ramirez was unable to extend his hitting streak yesterday, which ended at 27 games. Ramirez might’ve had a chance to make things interesting in the seventh inning, but didn’t bother to run out a dribbler to the pitcher, who then bobbled the ball.

Get the coverage of the game and Manny on the Red Sox Daily Links page and through the Baltimore Sun.

The Patriots are coming off their first preseason game, a 26-23 loss in Atlanta on Friday night. The Game Day Rear View offered up some thoughts during and after the game. Browse the Patriots headlines from today on the Patriots Daily Links page.

Check back a little later for a new BSMW column…

Weekend Notes and Features

Shira Springer had a very interesting feature on new Celtics point guard Sebastian Telfair, who is looking forward to a fresh start with the Celtics, where he hopes to deliver on the promise that made him “the most-hyped point guard New York City has ever produced.” Springer’s Basketball Notes had an update on Al Jefferson as he rehabs from “minor” ankle surgery. The column also noted the maturity and professionalism that Theo Ratliff will bring to the Celtics.

Nick Cafardo’s Baseball Notes checked in with Bill Lajoie, who has had a major role in building both the Red Sox and Dodgers this season. In Covering All Bases, Tony Massarotti noted that the Yankees are coming, and notes that the Red Sox will need to imitate New York and step up their game. Jon Couture’s Inside Baseball reported on Dave Dombrowski breathing life back into the Tigers, who had been down for so long. In the Globe Magazine, Brian MacQuarrie talked to Janet Marie Smith, who promises more improvements in store for Fenway Park.

In Ron Borges’ Football Notes, he talks with New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Ernie Accorsi, who will be calling it a career soon, not because he doesn’t enjoy the work any longer, but because he can’t take the stress of games anymore. By the way, congratulations are in order for Borges, who revealed on the WBCN Patriots Pregame show on Friday night that he is going to be a father. Michael Felger ranked league coaches in his NFL Notes, and Bill Belichick tops the list.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell had a feature on Harry Sinden, as his departure from a full time role with the Bruins marked the end of an era in Boston and the NHL. Steve Conroy’s NHL Notes had Don Cherry remembering his time and then feud with Sinden, before reconciling with the Bruins President at the closing of the old Garden in 1995.

NESN has Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00. ESPN2 has Giants/Padres at 10:00. ESPN has Raiders/Vikings preseason football at 8:00.

Weekend Watch – Patriots Kick Off

After two weeks of training camp updates, we finally get to take a look at the newest edition of the New England Patriots as they kick off their preseason tonight down in Georgia taking on the Atlanta Falcons.

Be sure to check out the BSMW Game Day Roundtable to see Mike Felger (Boston Herald/ESPN 890) get smacked down on a blog, and also check back on the same page this weekend for a recap of tonight’s Patriots/Falcons game. For newspaper and blog coverage of the Patriots this weekend, the Patriots Daily Links page has the headlines for you to browse. You can get the view from the opposition on the pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but you will need to register.

Saturday night at 7:00 on NFL Network, they will have live “whip around” coverage, as they jump between six preseason games being played that night.

The Red Sox return home to start an 11 game homestand tonight against the Baltimore Orioles. You can keep up with the Sox with the Red Sox Daily Links page and through the Baltimore Sun.

The Little League World Series is also being broadcast all weekend on ESPN.

Once again here is our weekly roundup of sports media columns from around the country, sorted out by region:

New England

Jim Baker looks at Gil Santos preparing to start his 30th season of calling Patriots football games. Baker had also made a cryptic reference to the fire chief of Sudbury being “fired after fund-raising irregularities involving a WEEI personality.” This section has been pulled and the Town Manager for Sudbury has issued a statement that the fire chief is in good standing with the town, has been since his appointment and has not been fired. Andrew Neff looks at Bangor sports radio station WZON getting ready for its own all-day Jimmy Fund Radiothon. John Howell covers Tony Kornheiser gearing up for his first season ESPN’s new Monday Night Football. Susan Bickelhaupt tells us what we can expect from CBS in tonight’s Patriots preseason debut. David Scott glanced over the New England sports pages and concludes “that Boston’s “racist sports town image” is alive and well – at least within the area’s sports media corps.”
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East Coast

Richard Sandomir reports on the death of ABC sports. He’s not being figurative, either. ABC Sports is no longer. It has been replaced by “ESPN on ABC”. Earlier this week, Sandomir reported on the NFL Network gaining ground in its battle with Time-Warner cable. Neil Best says that new NFL commish Roger Goodell needs to step in and give the Jets and Eric Mangini some lessons in being more helpful to the media. He says:

The Bill Belichick Mini-Me routine already is wearing thin, other than for comic relief. Take the depth chart in the game notes for the preseason opener: Players are listed in alphabetical order.

Danny Abramowicz, you retired too soon!

Early in the week, Erik Coleman's agent was quoted as saying the player had had his appendix removed. Asked about this, Mangini said only, "Erik is working on his illness." Appendix? What appendix?

Sounds like Mangini has learned well. Bob Raissman notes the huge fuss being made over Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca’s divorce and notes that the mid-1980′s Mets did things far and above Lo Duca’s affair, and that their antics went largely unreported. Phil Mushnick reports on more silliness on the YES airwaves, with Al Leiter and Paul O’Neill dismissing the Gold Glove voting as mere popularity contests. Andrew Marchand reports that while CBS will be going without sideline reports on their NFL broadcasts this season, they will have them for the Super Bowl. He also questions Michael Kay’s ability to remain objective on his radio show while also being the YES play-by-play voice of the Yankees. Sounds sort of like the Dale Arnold situation on WEEI. Marchand’s Memo of the Week forbids Mike Francesa from taking anymore vacations and leaving listeners stuck with an out-of-control Chris Russo.

Laura Nachman reports on Lou Tilley, who is currently out of a job, being nominated for three Mid-Atlantic Emmy awards. She also notes that former Boston College quarterback Glenn Foley is a co-host of a morning show on Sports radio 950, and that she is already sick of his Jets stories. Michael Hiestand looks at another former BC quarterback, Doug Flutie, getting set to start a new career as a pro and college football analyst for ABC and ESPN. Hiestand also offers suggestions as to what FOX Sports should do in terms of the yet-to-be-announced NFL Studio host position. Jane McManus gets opinions from various TV personalities about the value of sideline reporters on NFL broadcasts. Jim Williams looks at the NFL preseason getting ready to kick off in the Washington DC area. Chris Zelkovich looks at changes in store for Hockey Night in Canada.

South

Jim Sarni has more on Tony Kornheiser’s upcoming Monday Night Football debut and other NFL items. He also looks at TNT and PGA.com teaming up for a “multiplatform simulcast” for next week’s PGA Championship. Dave Darling looks at former Buc Hardy Nickerson joining the Tampa Bay radio broadcasts as the new analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff. He looks at TV broadcasts for Florida’s three NFL teams and notes that while the Bucs will have all 16 games televised, the Dolphins and Jaguars will each only have 12 games televised. Is this really the case? I guess I thought unless there was a blackout, that local fans got to see all their home team’s NFL games. Barry Jackson has more on MNF, and like Neil Best in NY, compares the local NFL coach to Bill Belichick in terms of “lack of forthrightness.” Barry Horn looks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. David Barron reports on Norman Chad “vacationing” at the World Series of Poker. He also looks at the end of ABC Sports.

Mid-America

The Bill Belichick school of football coaches is rankling media all over the country, as evidenced by Teddy Greenstein‘s column on Charlie Weis’ battles with the reporters covering Notre Dame. Anyone else finding this all pretty amusing? Greenstein also looks at Kornheiser, who has gotten the same advice from everyone he’s talked to about his new Monday Night Football gig. In Minnesota, Judd Zulgad checks in on Vikings camp, where new coach Brad Childress actually allows TV crew to film entire practice sessions. He has requested however, that injuries suffered to players in camp not be aired. That has lead to a conflict with a local station that threatens to get ugly. Bob Wolfley reports on Marquette University getting a new radio/marketing partner in WAUK-AM. Dan Caesar looks at the World Series of Poker and NFL football returning to television screens across the country.

West Coast

John Maffei looks at Rick Sutcliffe, returning to San Diego for the first time since the May 10 incident at Petco Park where Sutcliffe, “after a long hot day on the golf course and too many adult beverages” then went on the local broadcast and…well, embarrassed himself. The NCTimes also has a little feature about the “Most unwatchable ESPN programming.” Stuart Scott ranks high. Tom Hoffarth summons a fictional Mr Wise Guy blogger and questions him about the Los Angeles Sports Media. Larry Stewart reports on The Contender actually becoming one under the ESPN banner. Jay Posner looks at Padres play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian landing a contract to call NFL games on FOX. Michael Lev has speculation on the Angels plotting a possible radio move. (That the station changed its call letters to KLAA is a clue.) Jim Carlisle checks out ESPN’s plunge into Monday Night Football. Joe Davidson checks in with former KNBR host Larry Krueger, who was fired last year for referring to the Giants as “brain-dead Caribbean hitters”.