Weekend Watch – ESPY’s Edition

Note: The messageboard is back online…

Also, Eric McHugh reports this morning that the Patriots and Asante Samuel could be closer to getting a long term deal done before Monday’s deadline.

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With the All Star break behind us, summer is in full swing, and the standings become ever more important. The Blue Jays are in town this weekend, hoping to cut into the Red Sox massive AL East lead. Julian Tavarez goes on Friday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday and Josh Beckett on Sunday for the Red Sox.

Even though it is the middle of summer, there is still a variety of sports on the airwaves. There are two Celtics summer league games on FSN, Saturday features the AFL conference finals on ESPN, there is the John Deere classic on CBS both days this weekend and Sunday night features the ESPY Awards at 9:00.

Keep up with all the Red Sox coverage this weekend over at RedSoxLinks.com. Check in with the Celtics in Las Vegas at CelticsLinks.com.

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Peter Gammons and Curt Schilling have quite a little feud going. On his weekly 890 ESPN Boston appearance this week, Gammons uncharacteristically struck back at a player, stating that if Schilling thinks that his unwillingness to work out in the offseason has nothing to do with the Red Sox hesitation to give him a new contract, he’s in fantasyland. He also said that Schilling thinks he knows more than the doctors when it comes to medical conditions, and pointed out that his ERA has been 4.43 since the end of the 2004 season, so he has not been the top-of-the-rotation guy that he wants to be paid as.

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Mike Holbrook says that the Patriots and Jets are head and shoulders above the Dolphins and Bills in the AFC East.

Chad Finn thinks that Manny Ramirez should drop the hustle and just go back to Manny being Manny.

Matt Casey has the All-Star team, movie edition.

The Media Circus has all that was wrong with the All Star Game coverage.

Sean McAdam says that pitching makes the NL West competitive.

ESPN has an AFC Team-by-Team training camp guide.

Clark Judge has 12 NFL preseason games worth checking out.

Adrian Wojnarowski says that Michael Jordan’s executive legacy is on the line in Charlotte.

BostonSportz says that ESPN’s Who’s Now Doesn’t Like Boston.

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A pair of new books from the gang at Maple Street Press crossed my desk this week, the first is the Maple Street Press Guide to New England Ballparks: From Maine to Fenway to the Cape . . . and Everything in Between. It is exactly what it says it is. 250 pages of the history, ambiance and surroundings of the baseball stadiums of New England.

The second is The Ultimate Red Sox Companion: A Complete Statistical and Reference Guide, which is 400 pages of every Red Sox stat and fact you could possibly need. Stats for every player who has ever put on a Red Sox uniform is in here, as well as in-depth examinations of every year the Sox appeared in the playoffs, and all the team’s transactions and draft picks.

Also, you might have noticed an addition to the left hand sidebar of this site, a bit down on the page. It is a list of Boston sports books, and allows you to rank them. I encourage everyone to contribute to the voting, and you can even add in books that aren’t there which you think should be included in the list.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday

7:00pm, NESN – Blue Jays @ Red Sox
7:30pm, TBS – Pirates @ Braves
8:00pm, FSN – Las Vegas Summer League: Celtics vs. Bucks

Saturday

1:00pm, ESPN – AFL Conference Final – Columbus at Georgia
3:00pm, CBS – John Deere Classic
3:00pm, ABC – Busch Series: USG Durock 300
3:30pm, FOX – Cardinals @ Phillies
4:00pm, FSN – Las Vegas Summer League – Celtics vs. Knicks
4:00pm, ESPN – AFL Conference Final – Chicago at San Jose
7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Blue Jays
7:30pm, ESPN – IRL: Firestone IndyCar 200

Sunday
1:00pm, TBS – Pirates @ Braves
2:00pm, NESN – Blue Jays @ Red Sox
3:00pm, CBS – John Deere Classic
4:00pm, TNT – Nextel Cup: USG Sheetrock 400
6:00pm, ESPN – Cardinals @ Phillies
9:00pm, ESPN – ESPY Awards

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Here are links to five sites that are doing the whole “Media Watch” theme:

Sports Media Watch – an often updated look at the latest ratings and news in the sports media world.

Sports Media Journal – “a site where you’ll find out more about the people and organizations that manage and report sports.”

The Starting Five They state: “We are scrupulous in our reporting of sports-related topics and subject matter; we source actual people; we reference actual publications. We relate the truth as it finds us, not as we want it to be.”

Awful Announcing: “Putting announcers on notice since 2006.”

Call of the Game – “The industry resource for sports broadcasting news, jobs and discussion, since 2001.”

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New England and New York
Susan Bickelhaupt has Dan Patrick addressing his departure from ESPN and talking about his new show with the Content Factory. Bill Doyle has a pair of hockey voices in Dale Arnold (Boston Bruins) and Jamie Smock (Worcester Sharks) getting silenced this week. Bruce Allen (that’s me) wonders why we don’t seem to hate Barry Bonds as much as we’re told that we should. With Ralph Kiner night scheduled at Shea Stadium for Saturday night, Phil Mushnick and Richard Sandomir remember the legendary Mets announcer for more than just his work in the booth, they look at his career as a Pirates (mostly) slugger and GM of the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. Bob Raissman asserts that Bud Selig is not torn about being in attendance for Barry Bonds’ record breaking home run, he’s simply doing what he always does – make himself the story. Neil Best talks to Keith Hernandez about winning the inaugural Mustache Madness contest.

Mid-Atlantic
Michael Hiestand has CBS offering viewers a look inside the production truck for this weekend’s John Deere Classic. Leonard Shapiro says that HBO’s Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush brings back some strong memories, 50 years after the Dodger left Brooklyn. Bob Smizik has FSN Pittsburgh doing away with Pittsburgh Sports Tonight and carrying wrapup shows only after Pirates or Penguins games. Laura Nachman has former Eagles linebacker Garry “G” Cobb tackling a number of multimedia projects. Michael McCarthy has the networks taking bold steps to bring viewers where they haven’t been before. Chris Zelkovich has sports talk radio doing surprisingly well on TV with Rogers Sportsnet. Jim Williams talks to Tour De France analyst Phil Liggett and Gol TV Analyst Ray Hudson.

South
Barry Jackson has some Miami sports media talent shifting around the airwaves. Dave Darling polls some local sports personalities about the top event they’ve witnessed. David Barron has Lance Zierlein trying to find a way back onto the air. Barry Horn says that Barry Bonds will be sports’ biggest newsmaker during the summer of ’07.

Midwest
Teddy Greenstein talks to the woman who some refer to as “he Barbara Walters of NASCAR” – Wendy Venturini. With the Brewers enjoying their best season in years, Bob Wolfley reports on radio station WSSP-AM adding a new show on the team. Judd Zulgad says that the firing of a Clear Channel executive could disrupt renegotiation talks with popular KFAN afternoon-drive host Dan Barreiro. Dan Caesar looks at the launch of a new magazine covering St. Louis sports. Jeffrey Flanagan says that the Nashville Predators won’t be moving to Kansas City without a fight.

West Coast
Larry Stewart points out that “Sometimes lost among all the laughs, the tears, the glory for the honorees and the self-promotion for ESPN is the good that the ESPYs do.” Tom Hoffarth has a couple of announcers, including Vin Scully, talking about how they would call the Barry Bonds record breaking home run. Stewart’s notebook has Dan Patrick joining a new broadcasting venture, while Hoffarth’s blog has photos from the red carpet of the ESPY’s. John Maffei says that ESPN, with all their gimmicks, is going to miss the straight-shooting Patrick. Jim Carlisle reports on ESPN being punished at the All Star game.

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On Friday, July 13th WGAM (900-AM in Nashua, 1250-AM in Manchester, online at wgamradio.com) listeners will have the opportunity to bid on an autographed pitching rubber signed by Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.

All proceeds from this auction will go towards the C2 Mission.

The C2 Mission is a Foundation created to benefit children and families affected by Cerebral Palsy and Cystic Fibrosis. The C2 Mission is run and operated by Jon and Lauren Goode.

Their “Pick me Up” programs have become a huge part of C2 Mission.

Past pick me ups have included a special birthday party for a little boy who turned five. What was special about his birthday party was it was the first birthday party he ever received because his family could never afford one because of medical expenses. It was a birthday party for the ages with a hall for his entire family, caricatures, balloon animals and of course a Blues Clues Birthday cake.

Other pick-me-up’s have been sending two families to Disney World, paying bills, providing therapeutic horse riding lessons, concerts, camps and much more. The money raised through the C2 Mission has a direct impact on families right here in the area affected by CF and CP.

You can find out more about this great cause at http://www.C2Mission.org.

They will start the bidding beginning at 3PM on Friday, July 13th. You can call 603-886-9276 to bid.