Lest We Forget

ESPN Expert Picks

How sweet is THAT?

A few random, rambling thoughts:

The Kevin Garnett/Bill Russell exchange following the game had me tearing up even while chills were running down my spine. Quite a weird sensation, but it’s one I wouldn’t mind having a few more times in my lifetime.

Garnett’s hanging in the air, one handed line drive shot while getting knocked to the ground is a play that will live on in highlights for years to come. In my mind, it was like the play in the 1991 Finals were Michael Jordan switched hands on a drive down the throat of the Lakers defense. “A Spectacular Move” is how Marv Albert described Jordan, Garnett’s might’ve been even more impressive.

I can’t think of a Boston athlete I could be happier for than Paul Pierce. This guy has seen rock bottom in Celtics history and now has his own legacy of greatness. The legends of the Celtics have always accepted Pierce, but now he is truly a member of their club.

It would’ve been great to see Larry Bird in the house. I know he’s happy for the fans of Boston this morning…

Brian Scalabrine (Video in the right sidebar) talking trash to the media after the game was amusing to watch. I was surprised he wasn’t joined by Scot Pollard up there…

Ray Allen. Wow. Revealing after the game that his son was diagnosed with diabetes over the weekend, he really hasn’t slept at all the last five days or so, and he was just lights out…especially in the second half. The guy was amazing, and hopefully the talk that he is done is done.

Kendrick Perkins - stat line doesn’t jump out at you, but the guy couldn’t even lift one of his hands over his head, yet the put a body on Pau Gasol and that was all he had to do. It’s hard to believe that he’s been around since the last year of the Jim O’Brien era, but he’s put in the work and is a invaluable piece to the Celtics defense.

Has Rajon Rondo stopped running yet? He was a blur, yet in contrast to some nights, he was a controlled blur. Everytime you turned around it seemed he was disrupting something. His two handed strip on Lamar Odom reminded me of Tedy Bruschi stripping Dominic Rhodes in the 2005 playoffs.

Can we get James Posey a new three year contract right now? Please?

I’m tempted to bring back P.J. Brown for another run as well. He doesn’t need to play much - 10 to 15 minutes tops - but he certainly was the piece that the Celtics needed to add late in the season. He added the veteran guile that was needed in the Celtics front court.

Doc Rivers

Yeah, I know he’s been here for four seasons now, but I’m still having a hard time believing that the same Doc Rivers who drove me crazy as Dominique Wilkins’ sidekick in the 80′s is the guy who was on the Celtics sideline when they clinched banner 17.

He did a tremendous job this season, and even more so in the postseason, and the finals, where he was a step ahead of the “Zen master” at every turn.

In the “Wired” segments that ABC showed at the start of the games and halftime, it seemed Doc was always saying the right thing. In contrast, Phil Jackson was so laid back most of the time, you could almost translate that out to the performance of his players in long stretched of time.

My faith in humanity was restored last night following the game when Stuart Scott and David Stern were heartily booed on the championship stand. Stern, you recall seemed to do everything he could to keep the Celtics down, even giving the team no cap relief after Reggie Lewis died. A few years later when Alonzo Mourning was thought to be lost for the season for the Heat, he granted the Heat space enough to sign an impact player, and then Mourning returned before the end of the season. I’ve never forgotten that. It seems that the fans haven’t either.

Sorry Bob. I couldn’t resist.

I’ll fully acknowledge that Ryan’s column was written before James Posey and PJ Brown were added to the mix and without those guys, I’m not sure we’ve got Banner 17 today.  But this paragraph from Ryan sure stands out now:

So tell me what’s so enticing about this roster. If Danny had kept Ryan Gomes, I’d be far more optimistic. And why did Danny have to relinquish two No. 1 draft picks? Am I the only one who thinks this stuff matters? There is nothing to suggest the Celtics won’t once again be a horrible defensive team. There is no guarantee Rondo can run a team and keep order among the star trio. There is no guarantee, for that matter, that Ray Allen will play 70 games, or even 60.

It’s also worth noting that the Celtics hadn’t yet hired Tom Thibodeau either, but it sure is fun to look back and see the pining for Ryan Gomes in August.

After hearing for two weeks that Kobe Bryant was the best player on the planet, I just don’t see it. LeBron was a much stiffer challenge to the Celtics, even as he struggled with his shooting. It seems we can also put to rest the “Kobe is better than Jordan” talk. Kobe has now lost two NBA Finals, something Jordan never did, and a Jordan team would never have gone out like the Lakers did last night.

I was thrilled for Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn last night as well. Watching CSN after the game, I was almost as emotional for them as for the players. These guys have truly seen all the bad times this franchise has been through over the last 22 years. To have their loyalty final rewarded with another title is most satisfying indeed.

Enjoy this one, folks. Boston in the 21st century continues to be the place to be for sports fans…

Cover Boys

www.celticslinks.com – I still can’t compose anything here. It’s going to take a little while to find the words.

 

Approval Ratings – Eddie Andelman

Eddie AndelmanThe Godfather of Sports Talk Radio may be in semi(mostly)-retirement, but he still deserves a day on the approval ratings!

Eddie Andelman is a pioneer in the sports talk radio arena. The original Sports Huddle show back in the 1970′s was one of the first of its kind on the airwaves.

Andelman was a fixture on WHDH radio during the 80′s, and moved over the WEEI in the 90′s. He was best remembered on the station for his show with Dale Arnold, dubbed “The A Team.” Andelman left the station in December, 2001 right in the middle of the Patriots push to their first Super Bowl title.

He reappeared on sports radio 1510 The Zone, where he opened his show blasting his former employer and partner. He took many more shots over the years at the station, and WEEI to this day continues to blast right back at him with whiner line callers and various skits.  

He’s had an intense rivalry with Glenn Ordway over the years, angry that Ordway had taken his time slot on WEEI and also canceled his son Michael’s weekend show on the station. With Ordway’s recent family crisis, it is thought that Andelman might’ve been one of the one’s Ordway referred to when he expressed gratitude for support from people he never thought he’d ever hear from.

Andelman currently hosts a show on Sunday nights from 7:00 to 10:00pm on talk radio WTKK, named the New Sports Huddle. These days however, Andelman is chiefly known for his annual Hot Dog Safari to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis/The Joey Fund.

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Eddie Andelman Approval Ratings
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Celtics Go For The Title, Take Two.

Can they get it done tonight?

The Celtics will get their second crack at winning the NBA World Championship tonight, this time at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Steve Bulpett has some simple instructions for the Celtics to follow if they hope to win tonight. Bob Ryan has a number of observations about the series, but would like to see one good game between the clubs that is worthy of the rivalry. Mike Szostak also lists out the reasons why the Celtics will win tonight. Jennifer Toland has the Celtics coming back to the Garden looking to put the series away. Jeff Howe has the Celtics coming home, one win away from their goal.

Um, let just say you probably don’t want to read Dan Shaughnessy today. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You clicked on it anyway, didn’t you? *sigh* Steve Buckley might not be a good idea either if you don’t like the media talking about and giving away championships before they’ve been earned. Bill Reynolds reminds us that winning an NBA championship is not supposed to be easy. Lenny Megliola says that victory tonight will not come without a fight.

Mark Murphy points out that without Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics failed a physical test in game five. Marc J. Spears has Kevin Garnett determined to bounce back from a poor performance in game five. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics need more from KG tonight. Bill Burt insists that Garnett deserves a pass for his game five performance, and that tonight will be his night.

Paul Doyle has Paul Pierce looking to earn his place in Celtics history among the greats with a win tonight. Ben Larsen has Pierce etching his name among the best with his performance in these finals. John Tomase looks at how the pick and roll has been a big part of the Celtics success. Howe points out that both teams will likely be fighting fatigue tonight. Bob Halloran says that the Celtics have been proving themselves all season long.

Jessica Heslam has ESPN.com Page2 columnist Jemele Hill apologizing for comparing the Celtics to Hitler and nuclear war.

Dennis and Callahan will be proud of the Globe this morning, as Christopher Baxter and Maddie Hanna have a piece on people (and children) who can’t stay up to watch the games because they’re on too late.

To the best of my recollection, all of these games have gotten over close to or before midnight, ET. I don’t hear the same type of uproar for Red Sox playoff games, which many times start at 8:00 or 8:30pm and last past midnight (especially games against the Yankees). Sure, some people complain about those times, but nowhere near the level of what has gone on with the NBA Finals. Many times the baseball games are back-to-back, while the NBA games are spread out a little more. I guess I’m just not seeing why the 9:00pm start times are a huge deal. You stay up and watch the Red Sox, or let your kids watch them…what’s the difference here?

Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics finally getting into Boston at 10:30 last night, and also reports that Ray Allen is expected to play tonight. The Globe notebook has more on Allen’s family situation, reporting that it is Allen’s youngest son who is ill, and was in a Los Angeles hospital. (Not his daughter in South Carolina as purported on WEEI and other outlets yesterday.) The Projo notebook has more on Allen. Fenton’s notebook has Doc Rivers expecting more from Rajon Rondo tonight.

Shira Springer has the Lakers focused on making history. Springer’s notebook has backup point guard Jordan Farmer benefiting from an aggressive approach in game five.

Check out the coverage from LA in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were routed last night by the Phillies, 8-2. Bartolo Colon had to leave the game in the fourth inning, having already given up four runs, due to back stiffness.

Jeff Horrigan has both Colon and the Sox left hurting after last night’s loss. Gordon Edes has the Phillies flaunting the power of their lineup last night. Bill Ballou has the Phillies taking round one of the battle of the beasts of the East. Steven Krasner has Colon and the Sox hurt by the long ball last night. Jeff Goldberg has Colon having to leave after taking an “over-aggressive” swing at the plate.

Keith Groller and Tom Robinson report on Daisuke Matsuzaka’s rehab start for the PawSox last night.

Rob Bradford has more on Colon’s injury, and what happened the last time he felt something like this. Nick Cafardo looks at the Phillies triple MVP threats in Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Bradford also talks to Pat Burrell, who had the same injury that David Ortiz currently has.

Horrigan’s notebook and Edes’ notebook each report on David Ortiz having the hard cast removed from his left wrist yesterday. Ballou’s notebook has Manny Ramirez returning to the outfield last night. Krasner’s notebook has more on Ortiz shedding his cast. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Ortiz and Dice-K.

Misc

Jim McCabe and Tony Massarotti report on Tiger Woods holding off Rocco Mediate in sudden death following 18 holes of dead heat playoff action to win the U.S. Open. Jim Donaldson kept a running diary of the afternoon. Massarotti has Woods savoring his latest major win.

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins set to sign free agent winger Blake Wheeler from the University of Minnesota, who was originally drafted No. 5 overall by the Coyotes in 2004.

Game 5 Ratings Continue Trend for ABC

From ABC/ESPN:

Based on fast national ratings, Game 5 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals on ABC – the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics – last night, Sunday, June 15, averaged 17,257,000 viewers (P2+), an increase of 21 percent compared to Game 5 in 2006 (there was no Game 5 last year), which averaged 14,318,000 viewers for Dallas at Miami. The Lakers/Celtics game averaged 11,393,000 households, an increase of 13 percent over 10,049,000 households in 2006, and a 10.1 rating, up 11 percent over a 9.1 in 2006. It was the most-watched NBA Finals Game since Game 7 of 2005 (18,997,000 viewers).

Through five broadcasts, the 2008 NBA Finals are averaging a 9.0 rating, up 45 percent over the four-game series last year (6.2).

Los Angeles avoided elimination with a 103-98 victory that sends the series back to Boston for Game 6 with the Celtics leading 3-2 on ABC tomorrow, Tuesday, June 17 Coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. with GMC NBA Countdown at 8:30 p.m. The games are also heard nationally on ESPN Radio.

For the fifth consecutive broadcast, the NBA Finals sparked ABC to “win the night” among all television networks. The NBA Finals averaged more homes and viewers than any other show, with ABC winning primetime overall among all networks. Game 5 was the most-watched program on television since the season finale of American Idol (May 21). Excluding the Academy Awards evenings, ABC garnered its highest Sunday numbers across key male demographics in more than two years (best since February 6, 2006 (Super Bowl XL) in Men 18-34; and best since March 12, 2006 in Men 18-49 and Men 25-54.

Additionally, viewership peaked in the 11:30 p.m. to midnight (8:30 – 9 p.m. PT) half hour. Following are half-hour household rating details:

Broadcast half-hours (all times ET) HH Rating
9:04-9:30 p.m. 7.6
9:30-10 p.m. 9.1
10-10:30 p.m. 9.3
10:30-11 p.m. 10.0
11-11:30 p.m. 11.2
11:30-11:55 p.m. 12.5

Approval Ratings – Glenn Ordway

Glenn OrdwaySince the 1970′s Glenn Ordway has been stirring things up on the Boston Radio airwaves.

After a short stint as a General Hospital actor, Ordway turned his attention to radio as the Sports Director and talk show host of WMEX/WIS. In 1981 he moved on to WRKO, hosting the popular “SportsCall” radio show and serving as sports director. It was during this time that he also joined Johnny Most in the Celtics radio booth, where he remained for 13 years.

When the Celtics moved to WEEI (Then AM 590) in 1987, Ordway followed, and has been at the station since. The Big Show began in 1995, and has become a staple on the Boston airwaves.

Earlier this year, Ordway had a scare in his personal life during the birth of his daughter Mia. Both his daughter and wife suffered severe complications during delivery, which took Ordway off the air for a couple of weeks. Both mother and daughter are doing better, and Ordway is back in his familiar spot on the afternoon drive.

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Glenn Ordway Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1693 Started: June 16, 2008 Back to Vote Screen

 

 

Celts Can’t Close It Out, Head Back To Boston

They had their chances. Once again the Celtics fell behind early, this time by 19 points in the first half, before coming back to take the lead. Then in the fourth quarter they trailed by 14 points, and came back to take a lead, and you might’ve thought “Game six Pistons, all over again.” But it wasn’t to be. This series is headed back to Boston.

Mark Murphy has missed opportunity haunting the Celtics in this one. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics unable to close to deal in L.A., despite another big performance from Paul Pierce. Kevin McNamara has the Lakers staying alive by making all the tough plays down the stretch. Dan Shaughnessy says that the Celtics have all the numbers on their side for tomorrow night’s game. Bill Doyle has the Lakers managing to stave off elimination with the win. Jeff Howe says that the Hollywood ending wasn’t in the cards for the Celtics last night.

Kevin Henkin of the BSMW Full Court Press calls this one “a damned shame of a heart-breaking loss.”

Bob Ryan says that this one was there for the taking. Tony Massarotti says that the Celtics MUST win game six as they should want no part of a game seven, even at home. Steve Bulpett examines the one man gang effort of Paul Pierce last night. Christopher L. Gasper also looks at the big game from Paul Pierce going to waste in the loss.

In contrast, Steve Buckley examines a lost night for Kevin Garnett, which was marred by foul trouble, poor shooting, and missing three of four free throws in the clutch. John Tomase looks at Garnett’s habit of blocking shots that are launched well after the play has been called. Jason Whitlock again kills KG, saying he could be the first player to damage his reputation by winning a championship.

Frank Dell’Apa has Sam Cassell, who had a brief run in the fourth quarter last night, saying that the Celtics need to get off to a fast start tomorrow night. Gary Dzen has Rajon Rondo struggling once again in this one. Bulpett has a look at the three Celtics – Scot Pollard, Brian Scalabrine and Gabe Pruitt – who have been inactive for most of the postseason, and what their role on the bench has been. Howe has the Big Three still hoping to begin and end their season in a Duck Boat. Dell’Apa says that the difference between Boston and Los Angeles fans is simply interested fans vs. glitz.

Gasper’s notebook has Ray Allen having to leave last night immediately after the game to tend to an illness to one of his children. Murphy’s notebook has Kendrick Perkins doubtful for game six as well with his shoulder injury. McNamara’s notebook has a look at the Celtics recent improved road performance in the playoffs, and at PJ Brown’s increased role with the team. Doyle’s notebook has more on Perkins’ injury, has a quick look a the draft, and reports that James Posey plans on becoming a free agent this summer.

Lakers

Shira Springer has Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol dominating the Celtics in the paint last night. Jeff Jacobs has Kobe turning the finals into his personal NCAA tournament. Massarotti has a look at the coaching breakdown, and says that Phil Jackson has not distinguished himself in this series.

Steven Herbert has Kobe Bryant finishing off this one by knocking the ball away from Pierce. John Tomase has more on Kobe’s big steal. Spears’ Courtside chatter has Lakers forward Ira Newble trying to raise awareness of issues in China’s involvement in the conflict in Darfur.

Check out the coverage from LA in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register.

Red Sox

The Red Sox won 9-0 in Cincinnati behind Josh Beckett and four home runs yesterday. Check all the coverage on RedSoxLinks.com.

 

The Edge of Seventeen

This morning’s links brought to you by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Contact him at [email protected]

In 1986, a gallon of gas cost less than a quart of Schlitz, and Saturdays were dutifully spent picking up the VCR at the corner electronics repair shop. As one-half of a DINK relationship, the only thing in my pocket thicker than my wallet was my beeper. That spring, my first child was conceived. It was just after a C’s playoff victory on the way to their 16th banner, though I still can’t say for sure which one. Today, she readies for her third year of college and I, the next Celtics championship, as elusive as it has proven to be.

Bob Ryan stops just short of raising Banner No. 17 himself after the C’s historic comeback. Tony Massarotti is still buzzing about Ray Allen’s nail-in-the-coffin bucket Thursday night, and takes us on the roller coaster ride that is his 2008 postseason. Mark Murphy marvels at the adjustments Ray Allen has had to make this postseason. Bill Reynolds puts the Game 4 comeback in its proper perspective among Boston sports lore. Jeff Jacobs calls it a golden moment as sustaining in Boston as it is unrelenting in LA. Kevin McNamara breaks down a comeback for the ages, while out in LA, the Times’ Chris Dufresne comes back with a breakdown for the ages. Bill Doyle has Captain Pierce a key component in the two greatest comebacks in Celtics’ postseason history. Bill Plaschke continues the Times’ attack, with the Zen Master in his scope.

In his Celtics Beat, Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers providing to the Green what his father has instilled in him. Steve Buckley has Doc still bullish on Kobe Bryant.

Mark Murphy’s Celtics Notebook reports Kendrick Perkins’ status as uncertain for Game 5, while Paul Pierce’s right knee continues to bother him. Christopher L. Gaspar suggests green shamrocks be replaced with red crosses as the C’s get some much needed recuperation time before Game 5.

Red Sox

Those Road Warrior Kill Red Sox were at it again last night, falling to the Reds in Cincinnati, 3-1. Jeff Horrigan has both teams rushing to get this one in as lightning filled the sky. With Boston now 14-21 on the road, their sense of urgency certainly seems misplaced. Bill Ballou has the Sox bats making a three-game winner out of Reds’ 20-loss candidate, Aaron Harang (3-9). Gordon Edes recounts some of the woes that befell the Sox on the way to Cincy and their 11th loss in the last 15 road games. This was a homecoming for rookie pitcher Justin Masterson and Rob Bradford has his night three pitches short of a complete success.

Horrigan’s Red Sox Notebook has Dice-K a week away from rejoining the parent club. Bradford’s Red Sox Beat has Jonathan Papelbon continuing his verbal assault on the Rays. CEO Larry Lucchino reflects on the passing of Tim Russert in Ede’s Red Sox Notebook.

Odds & Sods

Jim McCabe has Tiger Woods turning in a Celtics-like second round to get himself back in the 108th U.S. Open yesterday.

And fnally, again from LA, Mike Bresnahan reports that, although he lost the MVP balloting to Bryant, KG has taken over Kobe’s top spot in jersey sales. Now we know what is near and dear to Hollywood’s heart.

To all you dads out there, have the greenest of Father’s Days.

Your Friday Megalinks

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog here once again and I have plenty of media links to give you. But before we get to the links, let’s go over the sporting weekend.

Weekend Viewing Picks

The weekend will be dominated by Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and Interleague play in Major League Baseball.

The Celtics can close out their 17th championship on Sunday when Game 5 of the NBA Finals takes place. After Thursday’s night impressive comeback, the C’s lead the series, 3-1 and can take home the Lawrence O’Brien trophy with a win on Father’s Day. Game 5 tips off after 9 p.m. Sunday on WCVB, ABC6 and WMUR.

NBC will have full 18 hole coverage of the 3rd and 4th rounds on Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday. Coverage will last until 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. It marks the first time that the U.S. Open has been scheduled to go into primetime. It marks the first tournament for Tiger Woods since The Masters and Phil Mickelson who grew up near Torrey Pines will also be a factor. Last year’s champion, Angel Cabrera will be back as well. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday on 7NBC and NBC10.

Baseball goes into its second phase of Interleague play this weekend, whether you like it or not. The Red Sox will be at Cincinnati in a re-match of the 1975 World Series. NESN will have tonight’s and Sunday’s games at 7 and 1 p.m. respectively. Fox will have Saturday’s game. Jerry Remy gets some national work as he’ll be teamed with Thom Brennamenn on Fox. Saturday’s start will at 3:55 on Fox 25 and 64. If you’re outside of the immediate Boston area, Sunday’s game can also be seen on TBS.

Other interleague matchups include Colorado facing the White Sox, Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Cubs traveling to Toronto, Sunday at 1 p.m., both on WGN. The ESPN Sunday night game will have the Braves taking on the Anaheim Angels.

Euro 2008 continues this weekend as round robin play wraps up before the knockout round begins. ESPN2 will have two games Saturday, Sweden vs. Spain at 11:50 a.m. and defending champion Greece taking on Russia at 2:50 p.m. On Sunday, ESPN2 has co-host Switzerland taking on Portugal and the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo at 2:50 and at the same time, ESPN Classic carries Turkey vs. Czech Republic.

The College World Series begins in its traditional home of Omaha, NE this weekend. The ESPN family of networks will be all over the tournament. There will be a day-night doubleheader on both Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Sean McDonough, Mike Patrick and Needham’s own Karl Ravech will call the myriad of games over the next 10 days.

NASCAR heads to Michigan for the Lifelock 400 this Sunday. TNT has the race Sunday at 2 p.m.

Without golf, CBS will have the NCAA Division I outdoor track & field championships live from Des Moines, IA, Saturday at 4 p.m.

And Mixed Martial Arts fans can watch Elite XC on Showtime, Saturday night at 10.

The full schedule can be seen at USA Today.

Now, let’s get to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks about Bill Walton of ESPN/ABC returning to work last night after suffering a back injury in February.

Also from USA Today, Christine Brennan writes that the Olympics that Jim McKay covered in the 1960′s and 1970′s are much different than the Olympics of today.

Now, let’s do your regional links.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott has a look at the newly revamped digital Sporting News.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says the U.S. Open will be in prime position to be viewed this Father’s Day weekend.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes that Jim McKay was too classy for today’s sports media.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says ESPN/ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy has blinders on when it comes to the Tim Donaghy betting scandal.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reviewed Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals and concludes that the game was poorly officiated.

Newsday’s Neil Best says SNY covers the Mets fairly and quietly. And in his blog, Neil expands on the column. Neil hopes that Texas Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley doesn’t go up to the SNY booth and confront Mets announcer Gary Cohen. On Wednesday, Bradley tried to confront Kansas City Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre for comments he made about the outfielder during an FSN broadcast.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says Jeff Van Gundy is trying to distance himself from Tim Donaghy’s comments.

Midwest

From the Akron Beacon Journal, George M. Thomas is happy to have Bill Walton back on TV.

David Mayo of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press doesn’t like the in-game coaches interviews during the NBA Finals. And Michael Zuidema of the Press writes that a local minor league baseball announcer gets an All Star Game assignment.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN will put out all of the stops for Brett Favre’s retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field on September 8.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes that the Blackhawks are about to bring back long-time announcer Pat Foley to their airwaves.

Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune talks about the U.S. Open going primetime.

Paul Christian from the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the U.S. Open will make for some interesting primetime drama.

Canada

William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail suggests that two proposed all-sports cable channels should be approved despite their similar mission statements.

Crash Cameron of the Edmonton Sun feels CBC is out of tune for not renewing the rights to the 40 year old Hockey Night in Canada theme and allowing CTV to buy it for TSN’s hockey telecasts.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News writes that Brigham Young football will get at least one national appearance this season.

John Maffei of the North County Times says participants in the U.S. Open will become primetime players this weekend.

Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Times says the U.S. Open could pull some big ratings this weekend.

Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times writes that Jeff Van Gundy has become a star doing TV work for ESPN/ABC. In the Sound and Vision column, Stewart writes that Father’s Day viewing will consist of the U.S. Open followed by the NBA Finals.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Lakers radio voice Spero Dedes has a fan in fellow Fordham University alumnus Mike Breen of ESPN/ABC. And Hoffarth has his extensive media notes in his Farther Off the Wall blog.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says the U.S. Open is making for must-see TV.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders why FSN Florida isn’t picking up two Marlins road games over the next five days.

On this Father’s Day weekend, Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel looks at some father-son broadcasting combos. Although fails to mention one famous combination in the northeast, Marv Albert and Kenny Albert.

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron tells us that Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton was pursued three times by the Yankees until John Sterling took the job.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the U.S. Open in primetime would be made perfect if Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were dueling down the back nine.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says the U.S. Open will a great event for primetime. In his weekly notebook, Mel tells us that a local sports radio station will be getting a stronger signal. And the U.S. Open is among Mel’s weekend viewing picks.

Blogs

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has the best way to view the U.S. Open if you’re at Torrey Pines this weekend.

Joe Favorito talks about beach tennis gaining popularity.

Awful Announcing has the video where Mike Breen wasn’t ready for Stuart Scott’s toss during the Game 4 postgame at the NBA Finals last night.

Apparently, Jeff Van Gundy declared the NBA Finals at 2-2 in the 1st quarter! The Big Lead has the video.

Michael David Smith of the AOL Fanhouse blog has Triumph the Insult Comic Dog going over the line at the Belmont Stakes.

The Crowe’s Nest has the video of Jonathan Papelbon vowing to Comcast SportsNet last night that the feud between the Red Sox and Rays will continue this season.

That will do it for now.

Approval Ratings – Ryen Russillo

Hey is this Row-tillo, Row-tillo, Row-dillo, Row-sillo or whoever your name is? John Dennis calling, Row-tillo.

Ryen Russillo is currently a Celtics analyst for Comcast SportsNet and an ESPN Radio host. He hosts a variety of shows for ESPN Radio, including NBA Sunday and The Baseball Show both on Sundays.

Russillo got his start in the Boston sports media as a co-host of The Diehards on sports radio 1510 The Zone. He had previously done play-by-play for the Trenton Thunder AA baseball team.

He had a much-publicized voicemail run-in with John Dennis (see link above) back in 2005 which may or may not have resulted in his getting booted off the WBCN Patriots pre-game show.

Last December, Russillo was named one of the best radio voices by Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. He also did the obligatory David Laurila interview back in 2005.

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Ryen Russillo Approval Ratings
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