Felger Discusses New Role at WEEI

Boston Daily, the blog of Boston Magazine has an email interview with Michael Felger this afternoon discussing his recent changes in employment.

Felger discusses his departure from 890 ESPN and the Boston Herald, and sums up what his duties are going to be with WEEI.com.

I will be a fill-in host for primarily the morning and mid-day shows, when the regulars are on vacation or out. I start July 21 on Dale and Holley. I will also write for the web twice a week during the football season and every-other-week in the offseason. I will do my report card for one of the stories and an extended mailbag—responding to report card emails, looking ahead to the upcoming week, etc.—later in the week. That’s pretty much the extent of it. I’m a regular freelancer.

I guess I’m a little disappointed at the quantity of content he’s going to be creating for the website. I envisioned him sort of being the WEEI beat writer for the Patriots, filing articles each day from Patriots practice. I think if WEEI.com really wanted to be the online destination for Boston sports fans, that is the type of daily content they’re going to have to deliver if they want to compete with Boston.com.

In the rest of the interview Felger says that Comcast SportsNet is his full time employer, and that he had an arrangement with them that allowed him to serve out the remainder of his 890 ESPN contract. The idea all along was that he would be leaving the station at that point.

Posey Hits The Big Easy Button

The World Champion Boston Celtics took their first hit yesterday, as free agent reserve forward James Posey opted to sign with the New Orleans Hornets.

Marc J. Spears says that Posey wanted to come back to Boston, and the Celtics wanted him back, but it came down to security at this point in his career. Steve Bulpett says that Danny Ainge has got work to do this offseason to try and put the Celtics in position to repeat. Scott Souza says that closing the door on Posey may open a new one elsewhere for the Celtics.

Red Sox

Rob Bradford says that J.D. Drew hasn’t changed this season, only his stats have. Bill Burt thinks that Jonathan Papelbon should just shut up. Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox offense has continue to produce and put up numbers even in the absence of David Ortiz.

Steve Buckley says that the Red Sox should ignore Manny Ramirez’s demand that they meet with him to reveal their intentions for him going forward. Joe Haggerty has some things to keep an eye on over the second half of the season. Bradford talks to pitching coach John Farrell about the perceived struggles of his bookends, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

Joe McDonald has Big Papi becoming the big attraction at McCoy Stadium tonight.

Ron Chimelis says that the controversy over extra innings and lack of pitchers could’ve spoiled what was the greatest All Star Game in history. Dom Amore says that the ending of this All Star game was fitting.

Jennifer Toland has Johnny Pesky throwing out the first pitch at the Worcester Tornadoes game last night. The Tornadoes are managed by former Sox catcher Rich Gedman.

Bradford’s notebook has John Henry taking offense at Manny’s suggestion that they have been anything other than completely straightforward in dealing with him.

Allen Lessels and David Willis each look at the Eastern League All Star game that was played in Manchester, NH last night. Kevin Gray says that the night went exactly as planned for the city of Manchester and Merchantsauto.com Stadium.

Misc

Bob Ryan touches on a wide range of subjects in an “Emptying Out The Desk Drawer Of The Sports Mind” column.

Lenny Megliola says that Atonement begins next week for the Patriots.

Jim McCabe previews the 137th Open Championship, which gets underway this morning.

Epic All Star Game Goes To AL

It was quite a night at Yankee Stadium, one which didn’t end until after 1:30 am ET.

Gordon Edes recaps the AL’s 4-3 15 inning victory over the NL in the All Star game last night, in which J.D. Drew was named MVP. Rob Bradford has a look at an All Star game for the ages. Dom Amore says that if this one had lasted much longer they would’ve had to finish it in the new stadium.

Steve Buckley looks at the emotional appearance of George Steinbrenner on the field prior to the game. Jim Donaldson shares his memories of Yankee Stadium, going back to the 1950’s when he was a kid. Jeff Jacobs says that last night’s game provided the kind of drama that can’t be scripted. Nick Cafardo says that last night was almost a repeat of 2002, and calls for more pitchers to be added to the All Star rosters.

Mike Fine has a Red Sox report card for the first half of the season. Joe Haggerty has the top ten moments from the first half of the Red Sox season. Bradford has Manny Ramirez getting serious when talking about his future with the Red Sox and his desire to meet with team management to find out their plans for him.

Bradford has a look at Jonathan Papelbon‘s beef with the New York Daily News, which led to the Sox closer not feeling safe in New York. Donaldson says that Dustin Pedroia, of all the Red Sox All Stars, is most deserving of a bonus for playing in the game. Alex Speier says that the hits just keep coming for Pedroia. Buckley checks in with MVP J.D. Drew, who was willing to pitch last night if needed as well.

Joe McDonald looks at what Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and the PawSox’ Chad Spann did on their day off. David Willis checks in with former Red Sox first baseman Brian Daubach and his new roles as the hitting coach with the Nashua Pride and occasional WEEI Big Show co-host. Josh Egerman looks at a couple of former Cape League stars enjoying the All Star experience.

Benjamin takes another look back at the amazing performance of Josh Hamilton in the Home Run Derby on Monday night. Sarah Green says that Hamilton’s story provides an important message.

Amalie Benjamin has commissioner Bud Selig refusing to engage in any “what if” conversations after the game. Cafardo also has Selig talking about the economy and how it impacts baseball. Amore has Selig saying that baseball is working on a replay plan.

Edes’ notebook has a look at a rough All Star experience for Jonathan Papelbon, and has Curt Schilling’s thoughts on Yankee Stadium. Bradford’s notebook has the Sox All Stars in awe of Hamilton’s performance in the Home Run Derby.

Celtics

Frank Dell’Apa has James Posey seeking a four year deal. Steve Bulpett has Eddie House weighing his options and wanting more than the one year minimum salary deal the Celtics are offering.

Jim Fenton says that the Celtics are enjoying the view from atop the NBA. Scott Souza has Kendrick Perkins talking about the pain level at which he played with in the postseason, and how it was all worth it.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Scott Benson has a look at the first four games on the schedule for the Patriots in 2008.

Glen Farley has Andre Tippett ready for his Hall of Fame induction. Ross Kerber in the Globe today reports on Patriots affiliate NPS LLC suing Ambac Assurance Corp over the market for auction-rate securities.

Mike Reiss posted the latest edition of his Ask Reiss Mailbag yesterday and has a WR snapshot posted today.

Bradford, Felger to WEEI Official

As reported last week on Scott’s Shots, Rob Bradford and Michael Felger will be joining the all new WEEI.com.

Here is the official Entercom Press release:

WEEI.com Snares Noted Sports Journalists Michael Felger, Rob Bradford to Head Up Major Re-Launch of its Website

Boston (July 15, 2008) — In a major development reflecting the growing influence of digital media, Entercom Boston has announced that Boston Herald sports reporters Michael Felger and Rob Bradford are leaving the newspaper to join WEEI.com, as the website of the WEEI Radio Network builds towards a new position in the market beginning with enhanced coverage of the Red Sox playoff push and the 2008 Patriots season. The addition of Felger and Bradford come on the heels of the hiring of Tim Murphy as Vice President and General Manager of WEEI.com

Felger, a veteran Herald sports reporter who has become highly visible as the New England Patriots beat reporter, and as co-host of the popular television program Sports Tonight on Comcast Sports Net, will provide ongoing content for WEEI.com, including his weekly “Patriot’s Report Card,” which has long been an informative, lively and sometimes controversial feature for Patriots fans. Felger will also serve as a host on WEEI radio beginning on July 21.

Bradford, known for his innovative blogging, covered sports for the Lowell Sun and Lawrence Eagle Tribune before joining the Herald. He will serve as the editor of WEEI.com, with overall responsibility for all editorial content. He will also contribute his own content, including regular columns and the continuation of his acclaimed “Bradford Files” blog.

WEEI.com Vice-President and General Manager Tim Murphy said: “We are thrilled to welcome Michael and Rob to our new venture. Their talent, experience and knowledge of the Boston sports market speak for themselves.”

“Obviously, the media landscape is undergoing dramatic changes,” he continued. “Consumers are increasingly going online for timely, informative and entertaining content, and sports are no exception. The hiring of these two professionals makes it clear that we are setting the bar extremely high as we extend the phenomenally successful radio platform built by the talented personalities at WEEI. Changes to the site will be apparent in the coming weeks and months, but the final result will be a website with a dramatically new look and greatly expanded content.”

Julie Kahn, Vice President and Market Manager for Entercom New England, said: “Under Tim’s leadership and with talented individuals such as Rob and Michael, we intend to create an online product that is at the same level as WEEI Sports Radio, which remains the most successful sports talk station in the country.”

 

Approval Ratings – Top Ten Disapproves

As promised, here is the other side of the coin from yesterday’s results, the ten Boston sports media personalities with the highest (lowest) disapproval percentage.

Not many surprises here, though I’m mildly surprised that Tony Massarotti made it into the bottom 10 here. His column insulting Patriots fans really damaged him in this poll.

John Tomase certainly isn’t the worst writer or reporter in Boston, but he overwhelmingly received the most “disapprove” votes.

Only five personalities finished with more than 1000 disapproves. The four you see in the list above were joined by Gerry Callahan (1133) disapproves. Callahan finished just ahead of Massarotti at number 11 on this list. They are all in the top ten.

Shaughnessy and Massarotti are the only ones in this group whom you would classify as mainly writers, the rest are radio/TV types.

(I’m an idiot. The original chart I posted had only 9 names and Massarotti’s approves/disapproves were switched. The above chart is a corrected one. ) 

Approval Ratings – Top Ten Approves

For now, the Approval Ratings have run their course. I could’ve continued to trot out names in this space, but increasingly I would’ve gotten a string “WHO????” replies in the comment fields. This feature may pop up from time to time in the future, but for now, I’m going to table it.

All in all, we’ve rated about 75 Boston sports media people, which is pretty amazing in itself.

Thanks to an industrious BSMW message board member (jforb) who has been tabulating the results in a spreadsheet, we have a point of comparison to see who has been the most approved – and least approved – among the media personalities we’ve put up for approval.

So, without further adieu, here are the 10 Boston sports media personalities according to the percentage of “approves” in their total votes:

It’s an interesting list. Five are mostly writers and the others are mostly broadcasters/analysts. No sports radio WEEI personalities in the top 10. The highest WEEI regular in the polls was Michael Holley, who finished 23rd in approval percentage at 84.5.

Mike Reiss had the most actual “Approves” in the series with 1547, Bob Ryan was second, with 1407. Heinsohn and Gorman were next with 1290 and 1274, while Holley was fifth in approves with 1271. Holley was also the very first subject of this series.

Tomorrow we’ll have a look at the Top (bottom) Ten Disapproves.

Sox Hit Break In First

The Red Sox beat the Orioles 2-1 at Fenway Park yesterday, closing out the pre-All Star Break portion of the schedule by moving into first place by a half game over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Amalie Benjamin has Daisuke Matsuzaka with a typical frustrating, yet victorious outing. Jeff Horrigan has the Sox finding themselves in first place at the break, just as expected. Joe Haggerty has the Sox climbing back atop the AL East with the win yesterday. Joe McDonald has the bullpen getting the job done for the Red Sox yesterday. Bill Ballou says that watching Matsuzaka pitch is what it must have been like watching the pioneers head west on the Oregon Trail. Ron Chimelis says that yesterday was typical Dice-K. Jeff Goldberg has the lead-footed Sean Casey providing his teammates comic relief.

Michael Silverman has his midseason report card for the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo assesses the field that the Red Sox find themselves in around the American League. The Metro has their own list of winners and losers at baseball’s halfway point this season. Alex Speier has the Red Sox finding themselves in first place despite all the injuries this season. Lenny Megliola has the Sox taking the long way to the top thus far this season.

Bill Burt submits a feature on Red Sox All Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who David Ortiz calls “one of the toughest, bad asses ever in baseball.” Silverman feels that the Red Sox sending so many key guys to the All Star Game could prove costly since they need the rest. Steven Krasner goes inside yesterday’s game to offer some insight on a few key plays of the afternoon. Goldberg provides a few Red Sox Stories Of The First Half.

Sean McAdam says that Dice-K needs to lower his pitch count, and offers a number of other thoughts. Silverman wonders if there has ever been a less impressive 10-1 record and 2.65 ERA than what Matsuzaka has put up this season. Chimelis says that the combination of Jed Lowrie and Alex Cora at shortstop should be fine for the Red Sox. David Willis has World Series hero Bobby Kielty looking for a job after getting his release from the Red Sox yesterday. John Tomase looks at Jonathan Papelbon joining the century club with his 100th career save. Brendan McGair says to get your PawSox tickets now, David Ortiz is coming to Pawtucket.

Over in the Metro I’ve got a look at how these are Changing Times for Red Sox fans.

Tomase has Sox minor league outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin being named MVP of the Futures Game yesterday at Yankee Stadium. Paul Doyle has Lin already upsetting Yankees fans.

Benjamin’s notebook has more on Papelbon picking up his 100th career save the hard way. Horrigan’s notebook has Josh Beckett and Jon Lester in line for plenty of rest around the All Star break. McDonald’s notebook has more on Papelbon’s mark. Ballou’s notebook has the Red Sox in first at the break again – an occurrence that means nothing. Chimelis’ notebook says that the break will be a chance for Jon Lester to get some rest. Goldberg’s notebook has more on save number 100 for Papelbon.

It’s the Friday Megalinks!

Ken here once again from the Fang’s Bites blog. On this day when many people are waiting for the new iPhone 3G launch, I remain outside of that loop and will provide you the Friday megalinks.

This being All-Star Game weekend in New York, we don’t have much for TV viewing. The big summer events happen next week with the MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium and the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, but this is a nice quiet weekend especially after last weekend’s great Wimbledon finals.

Weekend Viewing Picks

MLB is the main agenda for the weekend. NESN has coverage of the Orioles-Red Sox series. Game time is 7 both tonight and Saturday night. On Sunday, the game time is 1:35 p.m. with TBS also airing the contest.

Fox prepares for the All-Star Game in New York by sending its A team, Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal to Shea Stadium for the Colorado-Mets game. Fox 25 and Fox 64 have the broadcast at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday. WGN will air the White Sox at Texas, Saturday night at 7 and the Cubs hosting San Francisco, Sunday afternoon at 2:10. And ESPN’s Sunday night game will be the Rockies-Mets.

The Tour de France continues on Versus throughout the weekend. Coverage on Saturday morning begins at 8:30 and on Sunday at 7:30 a.m.

HBO brings us live boxing from Hamburg, Germany Saturday afternoon as IBF/WBO/IBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitchko defends his titles against Tony Thompson. Jim Lampley leads the HBO World Championship Boxing crew. If you can’t watch the fight, it will be re-aired later at 10 p.m.

NASCAR heads to the Chicagoland Speedway for the Lifelock.com 400 Saturday night at 8 which marks the end of TNT’s 6 race season. In two weeks, ESPN/ABC picks up the rest of the Sprint Cup Series.

IndyCar will have Firestone IndyCar 200 from Nashville. ESPN goes head-to-head with NASCAR as it will show the race live Saturday at 8 p.m.

The PGA Tour has the John Deere Classic which CBS picks up for the weekend. Watch 3rd and final round coverage on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

ESPN2 has live 3rd round coverage of the LPGA Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, Saturday at 4 p.m., then will show the final round on tape, Sunday night at 6.

NBC will show the American Century Celebrity Championship, the golf tournament featuring celebrities from movies, sports, TV, news, you name it. NBC has the second round Saturday at 4, then on Sunday at 3 p.m. Charles Barkley is among the big names playing at Lake Tahoe.

Summer also means beach volleyball as NBC shows the AVP McDonald’s Chicago Open throughout the weekend.

The entire weekend schedule can be seen over at USA Today.com.

Now to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that MLB is putting its best foot forward for the All-Star Game festivities for ESPN and Fox. As you’ll notice in today’s links, the All-Star Game will be the theme.

This next link has nothing to with the sports media, but it’s to give you something to look at. They’re known as the “Wilhelmena 7″, a group of LPGA golfers selected by Wilhemena Artist Management to be showcased to show a different side of women’s golf. Here’s the first salvo, a very nice photo shoot for Golf.com.

We continue with the links.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott breaks news that Michael Felger is leaving 890 ESPN Radio to join WEEI.com. Earlier today, David reported that Boston Herald Red Sox beat writer Rob Bradford will be leaving the paper to write for the soon-to-be-relaunched WEEI.com. This is a big shake up in the Boston media as two mainstream writers join a sports radio station’s website.

And John Crowe, formerly of the Score in Providence is hinting that a new sports radio station could be launching in Rhode Island very soon.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says Fox Sports is pumped up for the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium this Tuesday.

Roger Catlin of the Hartford Courant discusses ESPN’s new “30 for 30″ documentary initiative.

Brian Shelter of the New York Times also writes about the increased number of documentaries at ESPN.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium is an exercise in excess.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post says the Mets are gouging their season tickets holders. Justin Terranova of the Post writes that Yankee Stadium will be the real star of Fox’s coverage of the All-Star Game. Justin has five questions for YES’ Ken Singleton.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun writes that the Ravens will now use their radio team to call its exhibition games on TV.

Ryan O’Halloran of the Washington Times says the Redskins-owned sports radio WTEM made some firings this week including the Redskins beat reporter.

Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner writes about some football-related media moves including Inside the NFL, Dan Patrick joining Football Night in America and Bob Papa joining the NFL Network.

Midwest

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal says the ratings for the Arena Football League’s Cleveland Gladiators are pretty decent.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has Fox’s Joe Buck and Tim McCarver raving about the Brewers’ young pitching.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald has the pros and cons of watching the All-Star Game.

Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune has his weekend viewing selections.

Judd Zulgad over at the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Fox will have some challenges in airing the All-Star Game.

Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin writes that this All-Star Game will be one to watch.

South

Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald says ESPN plans to produce a documentary about the U, University of Miami’s football program and it’s not expected to be sugarcoated. Barry Jackson of the Herald has a primer on the changing landscape of local sports talk radio.

Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post says Michael Strahan’s candor will make him a hit on Fox.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel looks forward to Bob Costas’ latest town hall meeting coming up on Wedensday. Also from the Sentinel, Brian Schmitz and Kyle Hightower wonder when FSN Florida will settle its dispute with Bright House cable about Magic games.

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that Fox is promising everything but the kitchen sink in its All-Star Game broadcast. And David tells us that NBC plans to air a majority of the Olympics on the internet.

Ray Buck in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Fox likes the storylines heading into Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

We have quite a few stories from Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman. First, Mel talks with Fox’s Joe Buck who wishes he had one more game with his father, the late great Jack Buck. Next, Mel has Sonics TV voice Kevin Calabro ripping Seattle for allowing Oklahoma City to take the team. Here’s Mel’s media notebook. And Mel has his viewing picks.

West

Jeremy Evans of the Tahoe (NV) Daily Tribune writing in the Nevada Appeal says ESPN’s Rick Reilly is the Michael Jordan of sports writers.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Yankee Stadium is the going to the real star of the All-Star Game. And here are the ratings from last weekend in San Diego.

John Maffei of the North County Times writes that Fox is trying to create moments at the All-Star Game instead of letting them happen.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star says Yankee Stadium will be the focus of the All-Star Game on Fox.

Larry Stewart from the Los Angeles Times writes that everybody loves a parade including Fox for the All-Star Game.

Tom Hoffarth in his weekly media column at the Los Angeles Daily News says NBC is planning to show everything at the Olympics in Communist China. Tom has his extensive media notes in his Farther Off the Wall blog. Tom facetiously combines two of Joe Buck’s favorite things.

Ferd Lewis from the Honolulu Advertiser says the WAC is appears to be getting increased exposure from ESPN in a new contract.

Media Publications

Kimberly Nordyke of the Hollywood Reporter says ESPN has signed 30 filmmakers for its “30 for 30″ project.

Larry Barrett of Multichannel News writes that ESPN is pulling out the heavy hitters for the All-Star Home Run Derby this Monday.

Press Releases

ESPN has also announced four new documentaries for the winter season.

NBC says its coverage of Wimbledon received its highest ratings in 8 years. And NBC talks about the stars participating in the American Century Championship this weekend.

Blogs

Awful Announcing looks at Bob Costas’ latest town meeting on baseball which will run live on HBO the day after the All-Star Game.

The Big Lead has video of Alyssa Milano visiting the Philadelphia Phillies’ TV booth.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders how Stephon Marbury can sign a shoe deal with Amazon.com.

SportsbyBrooks talks about Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy going off on agent David Falk in the Elton Brand negotiations.

That does it for an expanded megalinks today. Enjoy your weekend.

Felger, 890 ESPN To Part Ways

Just as I was about to post the 890 ESPN memo regarding Michael Felger’s departure from the station, David Scott beats me to it.

Felger’s rumored to be joining Bradford on the new WEEI.com.

Approval Ratings – Alice Cook

Alice CookAlice Cook is a figure skating queen turned TV sports reporter.

Cook competed in the 1976 Winter Olympic games in the pair skating competition. In 1984 she joined WBZ-TV as a sports producer, and the next year became a sports reporter for the station.

During her career at WBZ, Cook has covered the Patriots extensively for the last 10 years, being a key part of the station’s pre and post game coverage. Cook has also covered several Olympic games, both for WBZ-TV and Turner Sports.

Cook worked for ESPN in 2001 and 2002, winning a Gracie Award in April 2002 for a story she did for “Outside the Lines” on Mari-Rae Sopper, a former gymnast killed in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.

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Alice Cook Approval Ratings
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