Weekend Watch – 8/25/2006

The Patriots will take on the Washington Redskins Saturday night in preseason game number three. A reminder that we’ve been blogging before, during and after the game on the Patriots Game Day Page. Get your newspaper and blog coverage on the Patriots Daily Links page, and from old friend Howard Bryant in the pages of the Washington Post.

The Red Sox will be in Seattle this weekend to take on the Mariners. Keep up with the coverage on the Red Sox Daily Links page as well as from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times.

A few items of note from the week:

* Bob Ryan’s column on Friday is a must-read. He expands on his statement from earlier in the week in which he said that we’ve lost our way as sports fans. In this column he explains how this whole “Red Sox Nation” concept has just gotten way out of control and that being fan shouldn’t be about assigning blame when things don’t go perfectly. He says:

Blame it on talk radio. Blame it on websites and chat rooms and blogs. Blame it on Shaughnessy (he can take it). But somewhere along the way, far too many members of this so-called "Red Sox Nation" have perverted the concept of fandom. As a result, there is no more narcissistic group of people rooting for any sports team in North America than that subsection of Red Sox followers who have made the shifting fortunes of the team all about them. When the ball went through Buckner's legs, it was, "How can he do that to me?" And so it continues.

Amen.

* With ESPN’s Boston’s announcement this week of their new “Patriots Friday” programming, WEEI also announced several changes to their “NFL Sunday”programming. Dale Arnold will no longer the hosting the show, instead Doug Brown will be running the show, joined by Tom E Curran of the new NBCsports.com, Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly and former Patriot linebacker Steve Nelson. This show quickly becomes the best program in the WEEI lineup…

* The Remy Report website introduced a new feature last weekend, The Remy Report Switchboard, which allows members to able to ask Remy and other guest speakers questions during live audio broadcasts, or take subjects of the day offline, and debate one-on-one with each other about pressing Red Sox topics – all over the telephone. The technology is provided by RNK Telecom’s new calling service SubjectTalk.

* The Home for Little Wanderers is excited to be auctioning off a private round of golf and lunch for three with baseball legend, Dennis Eckersley, as part of Design Home® 2006. The winning bidder has the choice of playing at Turner Hill, a nationally acclaimed championship golf course located in Ipswich, MA or playing at his/her own club. Visit www.design-home.com to bid on the prize. Bidding for this item starts on September 6th.

Terry Nau comes out in defense of Manny. He concludes:

Bottom line is, the Boston media are not doing their job when they accuse an injured player of quitting on his teammates at the height of the pennant race. Make an effort to learn the player's language. Walk a mile in his shoes. Go ask your questions in Spanish, just like the reporter in my office does every Friday night.

There was also some interesting Roberto Clemente stuff in there. Nau might become a pariah among the local sports media for this column.

Jon Hanson and Michael McCann teamed up for an interesting column entitled “The psychopathology of athlete worship.”

Sports Media Links from Across the Country.

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at Kathryn Tappen, the new reporter and weekend anchor for “SportsDesk” on NESN. She also looks at the new instant replay that will be in use at the US Open. David Scott has ESPN defending and stating that “commentators are not misleading our viewers into believing they are present at the arena” when broadcasting the FIBA World Championships. He also talks to Howard Bryant, formerly of the Boston Herald and currently with the Washington Post about returning to Boston to cover the Redskins/Patriots Preseason game. John Molori reported on rumors that Tony Massarotti will be tapped to join Michael Felger on the afternoon drive program on ESPN Boston.

East Coast

Richard Sandomir says that Paul Tagliabue likely won’t fire Bryant Gumbel for remarks the new NFL Network play-by-play man made recently about Gene Upshaw, but perhaps might pull him aside for a private talk before he hands off the league reins to Roger Goodell. Phil Mushnick scolds ESPN for encouraging the type of behavior that led a 12-year-old to swear on camera during a LLWS broadcast. Andrew Marchand talks to Cris Collinsworth, who doesn’t expect Gumbel to be fired for his comments about the league and Upshaw. Marchand’s Memo of the Week is to NFL viewers regarding Tony Kornheiser. Bob Raissman says that firing Gumbel would be too pricey for the league. Jane McManus talks to recently named ESPN vice president for studio production Craig Lazarus about growing up in a family in the sports business.

Aaron Bracy tells us that “Paul Tagliabue’s reaction to Bryant Gumbel’s recent criticism of the league is another example of why the NFL shouldn’t be televising its own games on the league-owned NFL Network.” He also has a piece on NFL Films Producer Pete DeStefano, who produced four-minute ESPN “Distant Replay’ piece on Vince Papale that inspired the movie “Invincible.” Bracy’s Beyond the Sports Page blog has a few other media items and tidbits. Laura Nachman has former Boston channel 56 sports anchor Michael Barkann gearing up for a busy fall schedule, which includes calling the US Open for USA. Ashley Fox asks the question “How can a network that is owned by a league truly be objective as well as opinionated about its subject matter?” Chris Zolkovich looks at the art of the perfect call and some of those who have mastered it.

Michael McCarthy looks at ESPN2 gearing up for the debut of its first weekly fantasy football program, The Fantasy Show. He also lists out five things to improve NFL coverage. Michael Hiestand looks at Chris Rose expanding his role on FOX Sports by being named host of the network’s coverage of five Bowl Championship Series college football games. Jim Williams has more on the Gumbel saga. Tim Lemke has the NFL giving a big thumbs up to Invincible after shunning several other football movies in recent years. Tom Knott refers to the “self-righteous, pompous air” surrounding Gumbel.

South

Jim Sarni has a look at NFL coverage this season, with Flex scheduling coming into play, as well as Monday Night Football moving to ESPN and the NFL Network getting into the broadcast mix. Dave Darling has John McEnroe talking about the instant reply system being used for the first time in a Grand Slam event. He also says we shouldn’t take fantasy football advice from ESPN “experts” and questions Peter Gammons attending a Red Sox/Yankees game in John Henry’s luxury suite. David Barron has a plethora of notes on Houston area and national sports radio and media. Barry Horn touches on Bryant Gumbel.

Mid-America

Teddy Greenstein looks at an upcoming book on Charlie Weis’ first season at Notre Dame entitled The New Gold Standard, which is due to be released September 5th. Greenstein will be heading back to the college football beat next week and handing back the sports media duties at the Tribune to Ed Sherman for the next six months. Judd Zulgad says that the NFL knew what it had when it hired Bryant Gumbel to do play-by-play duties for its TV network, so they shouldn’t be surprised at his antics. Bob Wolfley notes that Milwaukee Bucks TV schedule will remain unchanged for the third straight year. Broadcasters Jim Paschke and Jon McGlocklin return for their 21st and 31st seasons respectively. Dan Caesar has a familiar story of the NFL Network battling a cable company about where the network should be placed on the offerings. This time it is Charter Communications. Roger Brown has Bernie Kosar refuting concerns about his health as a result of his appearance on Browns TV coverage. Paul Daugherty says that nice guy Steve Stewart just didn’t have the dynamic personality to successfully replace Joe Nuxhall in the Reds radio booth.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at The Tennis Channel putting itself on the map by acquiring the broadcast rights to the French Open, beginning next year. Tom Hoffarth has a long look at how Invincible came to the big screen, as well a lot of other media notes. Michael Lev offers news and views on a wide ranging number of sports media topics. Jim Carlisle reports that a pair of Oaks Christian high school football games will be aired on FSN and ESPN. John Maffei looks at San Diego sports anchor Jeff Cawley, who will be retiring and walking away from the business in a couple weeks at the age of 39. (EDIT: A couple of readers have pointed out that Cawley was one of the original sports guys at FOX25 here in Boston…good catch.) Jay Posner leads with CSTV’s ongoing battle with Cox Cable. Joe Davidson looks at the lack of objectivity in the 49ers and Raiders preseason telecasts. I loved this comment:

But the real gong goes to George Atkinson. He's a former Raiders defensive back who tries to pass as a sideline reporter. He stands there weighted down in a Raiders shirt and jacket. But he's completely incapable of asking a probing question. You half expect to see him kiss Warren Sapp or LaMont Jordan on the head after suck-up interviews.

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