Weekend Watch – Resting Up From a Crazy Week

One of the busiest, most insane weeks in recent Boston sports media history wraps up as we head into the weekend. I have a hard time remembering week in which so many different things were happening and being speculated about all at once.

From the Matsuzaka talks and signing, the Allen Iverson trade rumors, Tom Brady speaking out about his teammates, and smaller stories like the Lugo press conference, Phil Kessel undergoing surgery for cancer, Mirabelli re-signing, Patrick Pass going to IR, OJ Santiago being signed, OJ Santiago being released, the Red Sox acquiring Brendan Donnelly on Friday, or the Red Sox naming their radio broadcast team, this week had it all.

  • The Patriots take on the Texans on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots Game Day page has our weekly roundtable discussion on the team and our fearless predictions. Check in this weekend for links on the Game Day page and you can also get your news on the Patriots News Mashup.
  • The Celtics have a pair of games this weekend, Friday night against the Nuggets and Saturday in Charlotte against the Bobcats. The Iverson talk seems to have cooled, but you can keep up with the news on the team on the Celtics News Mashup page.
  • Theo Epstein was on WEEI’s Dale & Holley on Friday, and he seemed to indicate that the club has signed two relief pitchers, but were not ready to announce them yet. The club did trade for Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly on Friday. Keep up with the Red Sox coverage on the Red Sox News Mashup page.
  • Rob Bradford has a look at little-known Red Sox scout Jon Deeble, who played a big role in getting Daisuke Matsuzaka to Boston.
  • Bill Simmons checks in with a mailbag and his weekly NFL picks.
  • A quick look at the radio ratings for the second half of the fall period shows WEEI down a bit (this week should give them a boost though) and WAMG (ESPN Boston) registering on the ratings chart. I’m told that the Mike Felger Show picked up a 1.1 rating in that period.
  • The Red Sox Radio team was announced today as ESPN’s Dave O’Brien and former Sox PR guy Glenn Geffner were named to work alongside Joe Castiglione in the booth next season. David Scott has the details, as WRKO plans to have Geffner and O’Brien rotate alongside Uncle Joe during the course of the season.
  • Good job by Boston.com in getting an actual translation of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s press conference from yesterday. Compare it with the version provided by the Red Sox and you walk away just shaking your head at how different they are.
  • The Patriots game on Sunday will be the first one in a long time that will not be available in HD. The Patriots/Texans game was not deemed one of the top two games for the time slot, and thus will not be shown in the high definition format. For the record, the HD games at 1:00 will be the Jets/Vikings and Steelers/Panthers.

NFL Coverage Maps for the Weekend:

CBS Single Game

FOX Game One

FOX Game Two

This Weekend’s TV Highlights

Friday
7:00pm FSN – Nuggets @ Celtics (HD)
8:00pm ESPN2 – UMass vs. Appalachian St (HD) (NCAA 1-AA Championship)
8:00pm ESPN – Sixers @ Mavericks (HD)
10:30m ESPN – Rockets @ Lakers (HD)

Saturday
1:30pm CBS – Kentucky @ Louisville
7:00pm FSN – Celtics @ Bobcats
7:00pm NESN – Panthers @ Bruins (HD)
8:00pm NFN – Cowboys @ Falcons (HD)

Sunday
1:00pm CBS – Texans @ Patriots
4:15pm FOX – Eagles @ Giants (HD)
8:15pm NBC – Chiefs @ Chargers

Sports Media Columns From Around the Country

New England

Bill Doyle looks at WLVI sports anchor Mike Ratte, who is losing his job next Monday, (along with most of the other station staff) but remains professional, upbeat and positive. Susan Bickelhaupt has FOX defending their sixth listed (out of six) broadcast team of Matt Vasgersian and J.C. Pearson, who called the Patriots/Lions game two weeks ago. John Molori had a good interview with Boston Globe columnist Jackie MacMullan. David Scott has a recap of a crazy week of Matsuzaka coverage by the Boston sports media. He also looks at the Red Sox naming ESPN’s Dave O’Brien to join Joe Castiglione in the Red Sox radio booth this season.

Andrew Marchand reports on a directive handed down by ESPN management forbidding any of its talent from appearing on non-ESPN radio stations. On the surface, this would appear to mean that the days of Peter Gammons, Buster Olney and Ron Jaworski appearing on WEEI would seem to be over. (Reader BK sends the following note: I think that rule that guys can’t appear on non stations doesn’t apply in Boston. I think it’s only for Owned and Operated ESPN Radio stations. 890 is owned independent of ESPN.) Richard Sandomir has a look at the controversial new book 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, which already has some fans upset over the premise. Neil Best has a look at the new TBS sitcom “My Boys” which is supposed to be about a female beat writer covering the Cubs for the Chicago Sun-Times, and still actually has a life! Phil Mushnick takes on Mike and the Mad Dog for giving Knicks owner James Dolan nothing but softballs in a recent interview on WFAN. Marchand’s Memo of the Week is towards TV Viewers regarding MSG censorship. Sandomir has Cablevision and Time Warner refusing to carry the NFL Network even on a free preview that would’ve allowed NY fans to watch Rutgers’ Bowl game. Bob Raissman wonders if there is such a thing as too much publicity when it comes to Tiki Barber. Marchand wraps things up with Five Questions for Cris Collinsworth.

More East Coast

Laura Nachman says that Comcast SportsNet has had the best coverage of the Allen Iverson trade saga this week. Michael Hiestand says that the NFL TV shuffle that took place prior to this season has pretty much worked out for everyone involved. Aaron Bracy has a look at the year in review of sports media, and gives NBC and NFL Network high marks for the year. Bracy’s blog has more on the NFL Network’s free preview. Chris Zelkovich looks at a number of sports events and leagues changing stations. Jim Williams looks at the yearly college football playoff debate.

South

Jim Sarni says that WQAM’s decision to cancel Ed Kaplan’s show after two decades on the air is “outrageous and ridiculous.” Dave Darling offers up a sample of the “useless drivel that flows from the mouths of announcers, reporters and the athletes and coaches they cover.” Barry Jackson has a look at the best and worst of 2006 sports media. Barry Horn looks at how NBC has benefited from the flex schedule so far. David Barron has Merril Hoge saying that Vince Young made the wrong move when he ran for the game winning touchdown in OT against the Texans last week.

Midwest

Jeffrey Flanagan has Kansas State fans also wondering if they’ll get to see the Bowl game against Rutgers on NFL Network. Bob Wolfley reports that next season all Milwaukee Bucks games will be carried on cable television for the first time in franchise history. Ed Sherman says that poor competition has kept the Bears off the national TV schedule.

West Coast

Larry Stewart has Keith Jackson talking the need for an NCAA football playoff system. He also looks at a big weekend in the NFL. Jay Posner has the NFL on NBC crew coming back to San Diego for another prime time Chargers game. John Maffei has more on Al Michaels and John Madden bringing their unique style to Southern California once more. Jim Carlisle looks at FSN Prime Ticket and FSN Bay Area carrying California high school football championships this weekend. Tom Hoffarth talks to FOX’s Frank Caliendo about how much longer he can keep coming up with the two minute comedy bits for the network’s NFL pregame show. Joe Davidson looks at the rush to be the first to post trade rumors and has Jim Gray getting embarrassed again.