Special “All Access” Covers Tippett’s Hall Induction

From Kraft Sports Productions:

A four-day celebration honoring Andre Tippett’s induction into to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which began with a raucous sendoff from fans at Patriots Training Camp on Wednesday, will conclude with a special “Patriots All Access” Saturday night at 10 p.m. on WCVB, when Kraft Sports Productions airs “A Call to the Hall” live from Tippett’s post-induction party in Canton, Ohio.

All Access cameras were in Arizona in February to catch Tippett’s emotional reaction upon hearing the news of his induction, and will be in Canton with Tippett on Saturday when he joins John Hannah as just the second career Patriot enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In the interim, All Access followed Tippett home to New Jersey, interviewed a number of former opponents and teammates and captured heartfelt congratulatory addresses from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

“A Call to the Hall” will feature interviews with Tippett’s legendary high school coach, Frank Verducci, Hall of Famers Raymond Berry, Jim Kelly, Eric Dickerson and Joe DeLamielleure and former teammates Steve Grogan, Steve Nelson and Don Blackmon.

Other highlights include rarely seen high school and college footage and live interviews with Tippett and his hall of fame presenter, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.
 
“A Call to the Hall” airs live from Tippett’s post-induction party Saturday, August 2 at 10 p.m. on WCVB and will be streamed live on Patriots.com.

Trade Rumor Links

Here are the links you’ll need to keep up with the latest MLB trade rumors, including the latest on the Manny Ramirez situation:

ESPN MLB Trade Deadline Blog

SI.com Trade report blog

Ken Rosenthal‘s FOX Sports MLB Blog

Boston Globe Extra Bases

Boston Herald Clubhouse Insider

You’ll get a headache trying to keep up with it all…

Bye Bye Manny?

We’ll know by the end of the workday today whether Manny Ramirez will be with the Red Sox for the rest of the season, or if his act will be taken elsewhere.

Sean McAdam has been in front of the rumored three way deal with the Marlins and Pirates and makes his report on the situation this morning. Gordon Edes looks at the Marlins interest in Ramirez, and how the situation with the slugging outfielder has reached a boiling point. Jon Couture has Red Sox nation once again awaiting word on Manny. Tony Massarotti has Ramirez letting all know how miserable he is and how he feels the Red Sox don’t deserve him as a player. Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox are at a crossroads right now.

Mike Fine has the Red Sox working hard to find a new home for Manny before today’s deadline. Alex Speier looks at the all-around stress that the trade deadline brings to clubs. Massarotti says that there are still plenty of snags in the potential Marlins/Pirates/Red Sox deal. Brendan McGair looks at how the trade deadline even has an impact on the minor leaguers.

Steven Krasner has the Red Sox once again missing on all cylinders last night as the Angels finished up a Fenway sweep. Mike Anthony has the Angels finishing off a three game sweep of the lackluster Red Sox last night at Fenway. Edes has the Sox on the search for answers after another dreadful performance at Fenway. Ron Chimelis has the Sox falling three games behind the Rays in the AL East with the loss. Phil O’Neill says that the Angels have made a statement with their eight straight wins against the Red Sox.

Michael Silverman has the Sox holding a team meeting after perhaps their worst performance of the season last night. Michael Vega has Josh Beckett taking his share of the blame for the loss last night. Massarotti has Beckett unable to rescue the Sox from themselves last night. Bradford has David Ortiz weighing in on what the Red Sox need right now.

Bill Burt says that these Angels are a lot like the 2007 Red Sox. Vega has Mark Teixeira happy to joining the high-flying Angels. Kevin McNamara has the Angels making Teixeira feel welcome immediately.

Anthony’s notebook has Manny all for a trade to the Marlins. Edes’ notebook has Coco Crisp hitting his first Fenway homer of the season, and has Alex Cora showing skepticism over the ESPNDeportes rendition of Manny’s quotes. Silverman’s notebook has the Sox still in search of bullpen help. Couture’s notebook has the Sox searching for consistency from the guys that are already in the bullpen. Krasner’s notebook has more on Beckett’s poor outing. O’Neill’s notebook has more on the trade possibilities.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper says that the fires are still burning within Rodney Harrison. Karen Guregian has the veteran safety making his presence felt in his first practice off the PUP list. Bud Barth has more on Harrison, who is getting ready for his 15th NFL season. Robert Lee notes that Harrison has lost none of his passion for the game after all of these years.

Mark Farinella has Victor Hobson learning the Patriot way. Glen Farley has Kelley Washington hoping to land a role with the offense this season in addition to his special-teams duties. Baxter Holmes has punter Chris Hanson a lonely man in camp, with no competition for his job. Steve Buckley has Robert Kraft offering a few thoughts on his team.

MARK FARINELLA has Andre Tippett ready for his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. John Tomase has more on the Patriots’ send-off for Tippett heading into his big weekend. Douglas Flynn has Tippett recognized as a revolutionary linebacker. Shalise Manza Young has more on the send off for Tippett, who was someone that Bill Belichick had his linebackers, including Lawrence Taylor, watch film of.

Gasper’s notebook has more on the team sending Tippett off to Canton in style. Farinella’s notebook looks at Tippett’s use of martial arts as a training method for his playing career. Guregian’s notebook has Tom Brady getting yesterday off from practice. Barth’s notebook has the Patriots getting ready for their first preseason game, a week from tonight. The Projo notebook has Kraft optimistic about his team’s chances.

On a media note, Patriots Football Weekly  writer Tom Casale appeared determined to burn all bridges on his way out of Gillette, as he posted a screed on the message board of his new employer, an online sports handicapper, with several allegations and insinuations about members of the Patriots. A couple of the items have been removed from the original item. In a follow up comment on the site, Casale told a poster that the reader should hope Casale doesn’t go to “Arlin Spector,” with what he knows, warning “You don’t want to open up that can of worms.”

The entire episode left Casale looking rather unhinged, and may do damage to his former colleagues at PFW. Way to leave with class, Tom.

See also: Things That Make You Sad To Be A Fan by Scott Benson over at Patriots Daily.

Lack Of Offense Dooms Sox

Maybe it just seems this way, but do the Red Sox have to struggle around the trade deadline every year? They seem to falter in July, play frustrating baseball, and then they either turn it around in August and September (’03, ’04, ’07) or crash and burn (’06). Which will it be this season, and how long do we have to figure it out?

There seems to always be a point where I say, “that’s it, the Patriots links come first now, unless the Sox turn it around and make the playoffs.” I’m almost there. If we’re fed up with the Sox play, Mike Fine says that they’re fed up with themselves.

The Red Sox will get top billing today, but not the links. If you want to read about how they almost got no-hit by John Lackey, who has usually lived up to his name when he faces the Sox, you’re going to have to head on over to RedSoxLinks.com.

Patriots

The Patriots season is still fresh and new, so we haven’t gotten totally sick of the patented storylines that are being pounded at us on a daily basis. The storylines are there, the top ones that you are going to be totally sick of hearing about sometime in the next few weeks are as follows:

  • The Super Bowl hangover.
  • Who is going to wear the radio headset on defense?
  • Tom Brady took time off this offseason rather than working out.
  • Is Chad Jackson a bust?
  • Why isn’t Randy Moss playing in the preseason games?

There will be more, I’m sure. Refreshingly, there are really none of those on display today. Instead, there is a nice variety of coverage.

Christopher Price has LaMont Jordan denying that he and his agent had any sort of agreement with the Raider that he would not sign with the Patriots after his release from Oakland. 

Christopher L. Gasper has Tank Williams not saying whether he’s going to be a safety or a linebacker in the Patriots defense. Karen Guregian has more on Williams getting his feet wet at linebacker for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has Williams accepting the challenges of learning a new system and position with the Patriots.

Douglas Flynn has a look at the Patriots young defensive backs getting an education in training camp. Guregian has the Patriots’ rookie DBs trying learn on the job as they get experience going up against NFL receivers in practice. Rich Garven has Terrence Wheatley looking to secure a spot in the starting lineup once the season begins.

Tony Massarotti has Tedy Bruschi saying that he won’t pull a Brett Favre when it comes time to decide whether or not to retire. Mark Farinella talks to Sammy Morris about his long road back to action after his injury last season. Eric McHugh gets to know special teamer Sam Aiken a little better. Baxter Holmes has a look at the new rule changes for this season, and how the NFL officials helped out the Patriots in understanding them yesterday at practice. Massarotti has Kevin Faulk not feeling threatened by the signing of Jordan.

Farinella reflects on how times have changed since his first Patriots camp back in 1977.

Gasper’s notebook has Stephen Gostkowski working on extending his range on field goals. Guregian’s notebook has Belichick talking about the rule changes. Farinella’s notebook has more on the rules. McHugh’s notebook has more on Gostkowski’s practice habits this summer. Garven’s notebook has Faulk focused on only his job, not the signing of Jordan. Flynn’s notebook has the refs explaining the new rules at practice yesterday. Young’s notebook has more on the rule changes.
 

Globe Taking on WEEI.com? Boston Mag on Belichick

A couple items of interest this midday:

David Scott has The Boston Globe preparing for life without Gordon Edes, and at the same time gearing up to battle with the all-new WEEI.com by creating an internet-only Red Sox reporting position in addition to a replacement for Edes. Interesting stuff. Scott provides a list of potential hires by the Globe for the open spots.  

Boston magazine has 14 armchair psychologists (including Senator John Kerry, Michael Felger, Will Leitch, Gregg Easterbrook, and embattled author James Frey) break down the mind of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

 

Angels Have Their Way With Sox Again

After getting swept in the playoffs last year by the Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels have had their way with Boston this season, winning six of the seven games the two team have played, including a 7-5 victory last night at Fenway Park.

Jeff Horrigan has the Angels striking with a big sixth inning to knock out the Sox. Amalie Benjamin has the Angels giving the Red Sox plenty of fits. Joe McDonald has Dice-K falling apart in the sixth inning last night. Joe Haggerty has the law of averages catching up with Matsuzaka last night. Mike Anthony has the Japanese ace getting roughed up by the Angels last night. Bob Stern has the Angels outclassing the Sox. Ron Chimelis notes that walks weren’t the problem for Matsuzaka last night, it was the hits. Phil O’Neill has Dice-K unraveling quickly in the sixth inning.

Dan Shaughnessy declares his column a Manny-free zone – for today. Steve Buckley makes the exact same pledge, focusing on Daisuke’s role as the number three starter. Alex Speier has Jacoby Ellsbury trying to weather his first ever slump. Mike Fine has the Red Sox struggling against the top teams in the league.

Rob Bradford says that the Manny situation boils down to money (over who gets it) and whether his knee is really injured or not. Jim Donaldson says that it is time to close the book on the Manny era in Boston. Bob Halloran says that it is time for the Manny apologists to man up. Alan Siegel says that resolving the Manny situation will go a long way towards allowing the Red Sox to concentrate on the pennant race. Stern says that it is clear: Manny must go.

Baxter Holmes has Daisuke Matsuzaka lamenting the sixth inning walk which opened the floodgates for the Angels.  Sean McAdam says that last minute trades before the deadline could determine who wins the AL East. Bradford looks over the latest trade rumors, which include Miguel Tejada, among others. Buckley has Kevin Youkilis saying that hitting leadoff just isn’t for him. Haggerty has Bartolo Colon throwing a bullpen session yesterday. Holmes has the Angels using short-term memory when it comes to the playoffs last year.

Benjamin’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury’s slump extending to the basepaths. Horrigan’s notebook has Clay Buchholz finally feeling like himself out on the mound. McAdam’s notebook has Bartolo Colon inching closer to a return to the rotation. Anthony’s notebook also has an update on Colon. O’Neill’s notebook reports that all was quiet on the Manny front yesterday. Stern’s notebook has Justin Masterson looking much better last night.

Patriots

Christopher Price has Raiders owner Al Davis steamed that LaMont Jordan signed with the Patriots.

Christopher L. Gasper looks at a new era starting in football with the defensive headsets being put into place this season. John Tomase has the Patriots weighing in on the possible difficulties caused by the new policy. Glen Farley says that the Patriots defense isn’t quite ready to go radio-active.

Rich Thompson checks in with backup QB Matt Cassel, who feels comfortable in the offense with four years of practice experience under his belt. Price says that things are coming into focus in the early days of camp. Mark Farinella has Logan Mankins and the offensive line viewing camp as a fresh start. Hector Longo tells us we shouldn’t sell LaMont Jordan short.

Thompson has a look at the value of Jabar Gaffney, now in his third season catching passes from Tom Brady. David Brown has Gaffney glad he ended up here with the Patriots after bouncing from the Texans to the Eagles. Shalise Manza Young has a look at Gaffney’s strong rapport with Tom Brady.

Douglas Flynn has veteran tight end Marcus Pollard hoping to find a spot on the final roster for the Patriots. Bud Barth recounts how Pollard made the jump to the NFL without playing football in college. Farley says that Pollard was a legitimate long shot to even make the NFL in the first place, much less play 13 seasons.

Gasper’s notebook has Gaffney proving to be a fine catch for the Patriots Tomase’s notebook has Pollard as the original Antonio Gates, making the jump from college hoops to NFL tight end. Farinella’s notebook has Bill Belichick talking about the helmet issue. Brown’s notebook examines some of the difficulties the radio system might have. Young’s notebook has the Patriots needing to make a decision on who will wear the headset on defense. Barth’s notebook has NFL officials coming to camp today to brief players on rule changes for this season.

Smelling A Rat

Our good friends over at Pink Hat Hell have dared to take on the head of the fanatical wing of Red Sox Nation known as Boston Dirt Dogs, Steve Silva himself after the latest dispatched from Red Sox Nation.

Watch your inbox, guys.

I wonder which mindroastingly annoying situation will be resolved/go away first, the latest Manny Ramirez saga, or Brett Favre’s return to the NFL?

You couldn’t have two more dynamically opposite athletes than those two, and yet in their own ways, they’ve held the sports pages, websites and airwaves captive for the better part of a week now.

Here’s something that I’m having a hard time getting past. Manny switched agents over the winter, and is now represented by Scott Boras. While known as a nightmare to negotiate with, Boras has had a reasonably good relationship with the Red sox front office, as their roster is littered with players from his stable. So why have we not heard about efforts on his part to broker peace between the two parties?

Since Boras did not negotiate Manny’s original contract with the Red Sox, (Jeff Moorad did -who can forget the ESPN “behind the scenes” clips of Dan Duquette’s negotiations with Moorad?) he does not get anything out of this contract, and will get nothing if the Red Sox pick up either of the option years.

It is in Boras’ best interest to see that Manny gets free of the Red Sox and becomes a free agent. It’s the only way he can make money on a Manny Ramirez baseball contract.

Following the All Star break at the outset of the Red Sox West coast road trip, It was reported that Manny met with Boras in California. Just a couple of days later, Manny asked out of the lineup, triggering this latest insane media fracus around the slugger.

Is there any connection between the two events? I’d like to think not, but as coincidences go, this one is pretty tough to ignore.

Manny Madness Reaches New Levels

After another weekend of Manny Madness, the Red Sox managed to salvage one game of the three game set with the New York Yankees last night behind approaching-ace-status lefty Jon Lester, 9-2.

Gordon Edes has the Red Sox restoring a little bit of sanity to their universe with the win last night. Jeff Horrigan has the Sox avoiding the sweep behind some early offense and the strong pitching of Lester. Joe McDonald has Lester coming up big in the series finale for the Sox. Jeff Goldberg has Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz proving again that they are baseball’s most dynamic duo – the question is simply how much longer they’ll be together. Bob Stern has the Red Sox salvaging their dignity with the win last night. Bill Ballou has Lester taking command of the game last night.

Sean McAdam says that Manny and the Red Sox seem to be in sync on getting the slugger out of town quickly. Amalie Benjamin and Gordon Edes assess the Manny situation, noting that the slugger is hurt that the front office and others will never take him at his word when he says he is injured or in pain. Joe Haggerty has Manny challenging the front office to deal him. Rob Bradford has Manny saying that he’ll accept a trade if the Red Sox can find someone to take him. Horrigan has Julio Lugo coming to the defense of Manny, and saying that if he says he’s hurting, he’s hurting. Goldberg has Manny open to a trade following the latest saga.

Dan Shaughnessy actually treads pretty carefully around the Manny subject, but states that the Manny act has gotten tiresome and wonders if Theo Epstein can deal him out of town before the trade deadline as he did Nomar in 2004. Terry Nau wonders if Manny can be salvaged. Steve Buckley says that even the win last night isn’t enough to cure the latest Manny mess. Jeff Jacobs says that the latest Manny mess is grounds for a divorce between the two parties. Stern says we can call it the saga that won’t die until there is a resolution. Alex Speier examines the headache that is managing Manny. Ron Chimelis says that Manny should just let his bat do the talking for him, as he did in the game last night.

Baxter Holmes has Lester able to close down a Yankees rally in the fifth inning. Bradford says that Lester has officially become an ace with his latest performance.

Fluto Shinzawa has a move to the bottom of the lineup benefiting Jacoby Ellsbury. McAdam has more on the move to the bottom of the order working out for Ellsbury last night. Shinzawa has Jed Lowrie focuses on always being prepared, whether he’s playing or not. Kenyon has Ramirez and Ortiz restoring the proper thump to the 3-4 spots in the Red Sox offense.

Holmes has a look at Robinson Cano and his hot streak since the All Star break. Paul Kenyon has this version of the Yankees finding a new path to success. Bill Burt says that the Yankees will be in this race for the long haul. Burt also played word association with Derek Jeter yesterday.

Buckley remembers Russ Gibson, a catcher from the 1967 Red Sox, who passed away at the age of 69 yesterday morning.

Benjamin’s notebook has the Red Sox offense showing some signs of life last night. Horrigan’s notebook has Terry Francona gaining confidence in his bullpen. The Projo notebook has more on Lugo speaking up on behalf of Manny. Goldberg’s notebook has Ellsbury picking up three hits in the nine spot. Burt’s notebook has Lester making a name for himself as one of the better lefthanders in baseball. Chimelis’ notebook has more on the latest Manny mess. Ballou’s notebook has more Manny talking Manny.

Nick Cafardo has former Sox manager Dick Williams talking at the Hall of Fame ceremonies this weekend about his role in creating “Red Sox Nation” back in 1967. Cafardo’s notebook has the Hall honoring the late Globe writer Larry Whiteside with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Chris Warner kept a running diary from his visit to Patriots training camp last week.

John Tomase has the Patriots adding some solid insurance to their backfield with the addition of LaMont Jordan. Barbara Matson has Jordan eager for a fresh start with the Patriots. Eric McHugh has more on Jordan, who rejoins former teammate Randy Moss here in New England. Rich Garven says that Jordan’s ability to both run and catch made him attractive to the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has Jordan ready to contribute to the Patriots’ winning ways.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots attempting to keep players healthy in camp by carefully managing their workload. Mark Farinella takes a look at Tank Williams, and how his versatility has already been on display in training camp. Rich Thompson has Pierre Woods opening some eyes and getting some praise from Bill Belichick in camp. Christopher Price has Sammy Morris and Chad Jackson looking to come back strong after an injury filled 2007 season. Thompson also has Heath Evans taking on all comers in blocking drills, but especially relishing matchups with Tedy Bruschi.

Tomase has Bill Belichick taking some time to speak with the fans and sign autographs.

Reiss’ notebook has Nick Kaczur returning to the field at practice yesterday. Farinella’s notebook has Jordan hoping to follow the example of Randy Moss in coming to New England from the Raiders. Tomase’s notebook has Kaczur returning to practice at just the right time for the Patriots. McHugh’s notebook has Jabar Gaffney showing off his skills at practice, and hoping to land a starting spot. Garven’s notebook also has a focus on Gaffney. Young’s notebook has undrafted linebacker Gary Guyton putting in the hard work necessary at camp. 

Weekend Update

Over at Scott’s Shots, David Scott reports that Gordon Edes has finally given his notice at the Globe, and will be done at the end of this month.

On Patriots Daily, Scott Benson has the first edition of The Sunday Links for the 2008 season.

 

A Friday Megalink Thing

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog to do your Friday megalinks. As usual, we look at the weekend viewing picks before we do our links.

Weekend Viewing Picks

Baseball dominates the viewing landscape this weekend. Yankees-Red Sox will be a major part of the viewing. NESN has tonight’s game starting at 7. Then Fox with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver airs the Saturday’s game at 3:55 p.m. And on Sunday, ESPN with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Peter Gammons has the third game at 8 p.m.

Other baseball includes Marlins-Cubs on WGN, Saturday at 1 and on TBS Sunday at 2 p.m. White Sox at Detroit also on WGN on Sunday at 1. And there’s the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on ESPN Classic, Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

ESPN picks up the NASCAR Sprint Cup series with its first race on Sunday. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard from Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts at 2 p.m. The night before, ESPN2 will have the Nationwide Series’ Kroger 200 from Indy at 8 p.m.

The IndyCar Series is in Canada for the Rexall Edmonton Indy, Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN.

The PGA Tour heads up north for the RBC Canadian Open. CBS has the weekend coverage starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

The LPGA Tour is in France for the Evian Masters. Golf Channel will have same day coverage starting at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Senior Open Championship is on ABC and again, it’s same day coverage starting Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m.

CBS has its second Elite XC Mixed Martial Arts broadcast, Saturday night at 9.

Tennis fans can watch the U.S. Open series which continues this week with the Rogers Cup being played just outside Toronto and the EastWest Bank Classic in Los Angeles. ESPN2 has all night semifinal coverage from both tournaments Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Then on Sunday, ESPN2 has the Rogers Cup championship at 3 p.m. and the EastWest Bank Classic final at 5 p.m.

The Tour de France concludes its month-long endurance test. Versus has live coverage of Stage 20, Saturday morning at 8. Then on Sunday, the final stage, the procession into Paris, will be live on Versus at 7:30 a.m. and CBS has a complete wrap up of the race later in the day at 1 p.m.

Beach volleyball prepares for the Olympics as the #1 seeded men’s and women’s teams in the world play in the Long Beach Open on NBC. Both finals will be played at 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s get to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today says ESPN will be using a TV novice to star in live spots to promote its new live morning SportsCenter block.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that Comcast SportsNet Northwest will celebrate roller derby next week.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch looks at the media coverage from Patriots Training Camp.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe talks with Fox Sports’ Tim McCarver about Yankees-Red Sox.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a story on SNY becoming the official New York home of the Big East conference.

From the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman talks about how the Mets’ Billy Wagner is the latest athlete to have a problem with the media.

Over to Phil Mushnick of the New York Post who goes after New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling for making a miscall on a close play at the plate during Monday’s game against the Twins.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with YES’ Al Leiter about Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon re-igniting the Yanks-Sox rivalry. And Justin has five questions for New York Giants’ voice and new NFL Network play-by-play man Bob Papa.

To the Baltimore Sun and Ray Frager who says WMAR-TV is an adjustment period after long-time sports anchor Scott Garceau stopped doing nightly reports.

Jim Williams in the DC/Baltimore Examiner lists his best and worst sports announcers.

South

Paul Stelow of The State in South Carolina says current TV deals prevent any changes in the Bowl Championship Series for at least six years.

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson has 15 things that would make his TV sports viewing a better experience.

Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel writes that Florida’s Tim Tebow is bound to be mentioned every day on ESPN’s College Football Live program.

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle discusses the local TV sports reports changing over to HDTV.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes about Dallas Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg having to overcome a speech impediment.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman laments the loss of sideline reporters on football broadcasts. Mel also has a look at the early college football matchups on TV. Mel has his viewing picks.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press profiles a local sports radio host who took an unorthodox path to his show.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald is happy for Sun-Times sportswriters Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley who have replaced Mike North on WSCR.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune has his five TV (and radio) picks for the weekend.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says there’s a potpourri of sports to watch this weekend.

West

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says a Los Angeles sports radio station showed up in the local radio ratings, but a local station did not. And Jay has the ratings from the weekend.

From the North County Times, John Maffei says NBC will use eight outlets to air the Olympics.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star writes that NASCAR fans don’t like the extra features ESPN throws at them.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times says the Dallas Cowboys are a perfect candidate for reality TV. John Scheibe in the Sound and Vision column tells us that NASCAR has fit in very well at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at David Wallechinsky’s comprehensive book on the Summer Olympics. And in his media notes, Tom has an interview with Wallechinsky.

Canada

William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says the CBC is still wondering what rules it will have to abide by for the Olympics in Communist China because they keep changing.

CBC has announced that world champion hurdler Perdita Felicien is joining its commentary team in Beijing.

Mediacaster magazine reports that Rogers Sportsnet will increase its schedule of Toronto Maple Leafs games.

Blogs

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks inside the bidding finalists for the Chicago Cubs.

Joe Favorito says the Chicago Blackhawks have done a tremendous job in resurrecting its brand.

Awful Announcing has the video of a huge basebrawl between the Dayton Dragons and the Peoria Chiefs.

SportsbyBrooks looks at the Lowell Spinners’ “Politically Incorrect” promotion night on Thursday.

The DC Sports Bog at the Washington Post continues its battle with the Redskins over video shot at Redskin Park.

That’s it. Enjoy your weekend.