Julie Donaldson Out at Channel 7

Boston TV News and The Inside Track are reporting that channel 7 sports reporter Julie Donaldson has resigned, citing personal reasons.

Donaldson’s short tenure at the station has been a rocky one, after dealing with a high profile domestic battery case in which she was the victim.

According to the Track article, Donaldson didn’t file a report from the Patriots/Steelers game two weeks ago, and that is also part of the situation.

B’s Fall In Washington

The red-hot Bruins were slowed a bit last night down in D.C. as the Capitals beat Boston 3-1.

Fluto Shinzawa has goaltender Brent Johnson, who started the season as the backup behind former Montreal goalie Jose Theodore stopping the Bruins cold. Stephen Harris has the talented Capitals up for this showdown.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Marc Savard finally showing what he can do with quality linemates. Harris’ notebook has Manny Fernandez’s winning streak coming to an end as well.

Red Sox

Amalie Benjamin says that the Red Sox would love to counter the Yankees splashy signing of C.C. Sabathia by grabbing Mark Teixeira. Sean McAdam says that the Teixeira negotiations are a game of high stakes poker. Michael Silverman says that there are at least four teams in the bidding for Teixeira.

Nick Cafardo thinks that Sabathia is a great signing for the Yankees. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox can see past the Yankees, as they’re not the only competition in the AL East any more. Jon Couture says that there is more than meets the eye with the Sabathia signing.

Dan Shaughnessy says that Jim Rice’s time has come.

The Herald notebook has Scott Boras indicating that the Red Sox have made an offer to Jason Varitek to return. Joe McDonald has more on the offer to Varitek, as does Benjamin’s notebook.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Scott Benson says it will be A Long December for Patriots fans.

Glen Farley says Matt Cassel may not play on Sunday due to the death of his father. Rich Garven has more on Cassel’s possible absence. Bob Hohler and Christopher L. Gasper team up in the Globe on this story, giving some background on the late Mr Cassel. Karen Guregian has Cassel’s teammates expressing their support. Shalise Manza Young has Bill Belichick saying that situations like these are bigger than football.

Farley has the Patriots talking about the “Black Hole”  in Oakland. Brian MacPherson says that the tuck rule still lingers in the Bay Area.

Hector Longo says that Randy Moss/Wes Welker could be the best receiving combination since…ever.

Garven’s notebook has  Nnamdi Asomugha sick of losing in Oakland. Gasper’s notebook has Asomugha planning on sticking close to Randy Moss. Shalise Manza Young says that Asomugha’s skills are not lost on the Patriots. Guregian has old pals Moss and Asomugha meeting on opposite sides Sunday. Guregian’s notebook has Vince Wilfork at practice yesterday.

Celtics

Jim Fenton is already looking ahead to Celtics/Lakers on Christmas Day. Frank Dell’Apa thinks Rajon Rondo could be an All Star.

Mike Fine says that the Wizards were too quick to fire Eddie Jordan. Mark Murphy has the Celtics set to take on a Wizards team showing new life.

Hot Stove (finally) Warming Up

It’s been a busy week here, with the hack plus a bunch of other stuff going on, so I apologize in advance for the irregular updates. That’s going to continue for the next week or so as I balance in a trip to the West coast beginning tomorrow night.

The Red Sox aren’t involved yet, but there is finally some action on the free agent market with the Mets and Yankees getting close with K-Rod and C.C. Sabathia respectively. There have been rumors out there of a Red Sox offer to Mark Teixeira and discussions with A.J. Burnett, but nothing solid to this point.

In fact, Sean McAdam says that much of the Red Sox discussions are merely misdirections, meant to obscure their real objectives. Amalie Benjamin is convinced that Teixeira is a real target, while Burnett is a secondary interest.

Joe McDonald has the Sox talking to Texas about a catcher. Joe Haggerty says that the Sox aren’t going to just give away Clay Buchholz. Alex Speier says that the Sox are waiting for the price to be right for any catcher they pursue.

Nick Cafardo says that the jackpot of the winter meetings is Teixeira. Rob Bradford has Mike Lowell focused on being ready for opening day, not on Red Sox rumors. The Herald notebook has more on the Sox interest in the Texas catchers.

Patriots

Mike Reiss has a look at Bill Belichick reaching the 150 win plateau and what it means to his legacy. Karen Guregian has a look at Wes Welker’s importance to the Patriots. Glen Farley looks at the return of Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan to the Bay Area. Ben Swasey says there should be plenty of anger towards Moss on Sunday. Rich Garven looks at one area of strength for the Raiders – their cornerbacks.

Guregian also has the news that Matt Cassel’s father died this week.

The Week 15 Playoff Scenarios are not kind to the Patriots.

Guregian’s notebook has Randy Moss’ return to Oakland being downplayed. Shalise Manza Young says that Tedy Bruschi’s status is still unknown. Reiss’ notebook says that Cassel will leave the team briefly to be with his family.

Celtics

Jim Fenton and Scott Souza have the Celtics one win away from the franchise’s best ever start. Mark Murphy has the Celtics not really giving their hot start much thought. Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics preferring a strong finish to a hot start.

Fenton has Paul Pierce moving into elite company among the Celtics all time greats.

Bruins

Mike Loftus has a look at the top line for the Bruins, which has been terrific this season. Barbara Matson has Vladimir Sobotka ready to go on an emergency basis for the Bruins. Steve Conroy has David Krejci hoping for further improvement.

NESN.com Bringing Original Content, Too

WEEI.com has gotten plenty of attention with their move to becoming a web content provider. Boston.com has revamped their online sports offerings, with Tony Massarotti coming on, and Chad Finn serving as a jack-of-all-trades on the website. They also launched the OT, the content of which has actually been a pretty nice surprise.

Not to be outdone, NESN.com has quietly been rolling out plenty of original content of their own as well. Once just a sub-page of Boston.com, NESN.com has undergone a transformation and now stands on its own, with its own writers and personalities being featured.

Blogs include those by Kathryn Tappen, Jack Edwards, Heidi Watney, Cole Wright and Tom Caron.

There is also a Red Sox Hot Stove blog, the NESN Newswire, New England Spotlight and NESN University.

The site also integrates plenty of NESN video, and hosts chats with various personalities.

There’s plenty of sports news out there in Boston, NESN.com is a worthy addition to your browsing list.

…and we’re back…

For the moment anyway.

It appears that someone hacked into the database that runs the site and changed some passwords, and corrupted some data.

I think most of these issues have been resolved, but usually these things come in waves, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more downtime…if that’s the case, please keep checking back.

CSN Auditioning Portsmouth Youths Tomorrow

NH readers might be interested in this event tomorrow:

COMCAST & COMCAST SPORTSNET TO AUDITION PORTSMOUTH YOUTH FOR CELTICS TELECAST AT NEW HEIGHTS – ADVENTURES FOR TEENS

Mike Zhe to Host Media Workshop Prior to Auditions

WHAT: Comcast and Comcast SportsNet will bring the 2008-2009 FanCaster Tour to the Portsmouth New Heights Center on Tuesday, December 9, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Club members will benefit from a media workshop led by Mike Zhe, Portsmouth Herald reporter and then have a chance to audition for a role as a Comcast SportsNet Celtics FanCaster.

 

At the end of the tryouts, one student will be selected to attend the January 7, Boston Celtics home game versus the Houston Rockets and tape an on-camera stand-up for Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics Post Game Live show.

WHO: More than 40 New Heights members

Retired NBA player Dwight Davis

Mike Zhe, Portsmouth Herald

 

WHY: Comcast is teaming up with Comcast SportsNet for a 10-city tour to introduce middle and high school students across New England to careers in the media. One student from each stop will be selected as a FanCaster. Each stop will include a media workshop conducted by a CSN personality or local journalist.

 

WHEN: Tuesday, December 9, 2008

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

WHERE: New Heights – Adventure for Teens

100 Campus Drive, Suite 23

Portsmouth, NH 03801

(603) 422-8235

Monday Wrap

A few links while still shaking my head in amazement over Randy Cross exclaiming “Now the Patriots will have a taste of what Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks have dealt with this season” when Mike Vrabel was slow to get up after a play in the first half yesterday.

Sure, the Seahawks have had a series of devastating injuries this season, but I think the Patriots personnel losses rank right up there with anyone thus far…

First the NFL wrapups from around the ‘net:

Two weeks after declaring the Jets the surefire AFC East winners and the best team in the AFC, Peter King now likes the Dolphins to win the division.

Michael Silver also likes the Dolphins’ chances.

John Clayton learned a few things this weekend.

Albert Breer is big on the Steelers. 

Tom E. Curran assesses the free-for-all that is the AFC East.

Pete Prisco hands out week 14 grades.

Mike Florio has a 10 pack of thoughts from yesterday.

Will there ever be free agent signings this offseason, or is Scott Boras just going to hold the entire sport of baseball hostage until spring?

Tony Massarotti has five things that the Red Sox should do in Vegas.

Gordon Edes has the Tigers eyeing Kerry Wood.

Dayn Perry looks at what movement there might be in the AL East this winter.

It only took a 12 game winning streak for Marty Burns to put the Celtics over the Lakers in his NBA Power rankings. Marc Stein has the Celtics at #1 as well.

Roy S. Johnson says that this season hasn’t been as easy for the Celtics as it has appeared to be.

BSMW Sponsor Shout-Out

I wanted to give a shout out to one the newest BSMW Sponsors, Homage Clothing.

These guys have some pretty cool stuff. They sent over a pair of vintage-style Boston sports t-shirts:

The whole setup is pretty neat, the shirts come made with the authentic thin poly/cotton blend that was popular during the ’70′s, but contrary to what you might think with that material, these shirts are clearly well made. Little touches, like the canvas tags hand-pinned to the shirts, or the pack of trading cards and pouch of “Big League Chew” included with the shipment were a cool little bonus. Even the box that the shirts arrived in was distinctive.

If you want a closer look at those two t-shirts, here they are:

Hick From French Lick

Boston Lumber Co.

We’d like to thank Homage Clothing for their support of BSMW!

Escape From Qwest

Things weren’t looking so good for the Patriots yesterday, their playoff hopes tottered as they trailed the lowly Seattle Seahawks for most of the afternoon. Old friend Deion Branch had burned them for a pair of touchdowns, having one of his most productive games since being traded from New England. Injuries continued to mount up, as Vince Wilfork and Tedy Bruschi left the game, unable to return.

Somehow, the Patriots found a way to claw back and take the lead with just under 3 minutes to go. Then, right after the two minute warning, Brandon Meriweather came on a safety blitz and separated Seattle QB Seneca Wallace from the football, and Richard Seymour recovered, to save the game, and possibly the season for New England.

Chris Warner recaps the action at Patriots Daily, while Chris Price lists out the 10 Things We Learned Yesterday.

Mark Farinella says that this is how it must’ve been in the final days of the dinosaurs.  I think Mark’s trying to be a little too clever. Christopher L. Gasper has this as one of those games that define a team. Karen Guregian has the Patriots not quite ready to give up the chase just yet. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots keeping their playoff hopes alive.

Mike Reiss has old battleaxes Junior Seau and Rosevelt Colvin playing a much bigger role than expected yesterday. Michael Felger examines the keys to a gutsy win for the Patriots. John Tomase has the Patriots doing their part for the economy by creating plenty of jobs on defense. Rich Garven has the Patriots somehow staying in the hunt.

Dan Shaughnessy prefers this year’s exciting AFC East to last year’s series of boring blowouts. Bill Burt says that like Santa, Bill Belichick does his best work in December. Ron Borges has the Patriots teaching the Seahawks a lesson in perseverance. Garven has Brandon Meriweather coming up with the big play on defense to seal the game for the Patriots.

Gregory Lee Jr. has Wes Welker coming up with another big game. Sean McAdam says there was no keeping Welker down yesterday. Farinella has more on Welker’s big afternoon against the Seahawks. Jim Donaldson also writes about Welker.

Hector Longo says that the Patriots could run the table and still finish out of the playoffs.

Stephen A. Norris has a look at the big day from Branch against his former teammates.  Donaldson has Branch trying to warn his teammates yesterday. Also from that Donaldson column is this mess:

Branch was a holdout from training camp in New England in 2005, wanting the Patriots to tear up the final year of his original contract and give him a new deal. They didn’t. He wound up playing and leading the team in receptions, with 78, for 998 yards and 5 TDs.

But when he became a free agent in 2006, he signed with the Seahawks, who gave him a five-year contract worth $39 million.

This is just embarassing for someone who is supposed to be plugged into the Patriots. Does he not remember the trade to Seattle for the first round pick (which turned out to be Brandon Meriweather, who clinched the win for the Patriots with his sack of Wallace yesterday) after the “tampering” situation with the Jets? It was a pretty big deal at the time.

Longo also has his Two-Minute Drill recapping the day that was. Mike Petraglia gives his take. Tomase has the Best & Worst from yesterday. The Projo has more postgame analysis.

Gasper’s notebook has Stephen Gostkowski’s foot coming up big yesterday, but his hands needing some improvement. Farinella’s notebook has Lofa Tatupu talking about his former USC teammate, Matt Cassel. Guregian’s notebook says that it was just like old times for Seau and Colvin. Young’s notebook has more on the return of the veteran duo.

Celtics

The Celtics improved to 20-2 on the season, matching the best start in franchise history. Frank Dell’Apa has the details of the 122-117 OT win in Indiana for Boston. Steve Bulpett has a big night from Ray Allen leading the way for the Celtics.

Bulpett has Big Baby Glen Davis not afraid to cry. Tim Weisberg has Rajon Rondo’s play speaking for itself. Bill Doyle has Kendrick Perkins not backing down from large challenges.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has more on the record start by the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has Jim O’Brien without regret about his exit from the Celtics.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman looks at whether the Red Sox will gamble in Vegas. Dan Lamothe looks at the stalled free agent period thus far. Alex Speier looks at the night that the catching market changed for the Red Sox. Silverman also has Jason Varitek rejecting arbitration. Nick Cafardo says Varitek will be receptive to offers from other teams. Joe McDonald has more on the Varitek situation.

Jon Couture has the Junichi Tazawa signing highlighting US/Japanese relations.

Bruins

Joe Haggerty has Marc Savard as Boston’s best kept secret. Mike Loftus has the Bruins looking to extend their Garden winning streak. Kevin Paul Dupont has Manny Fernandez not interested in stats. Stephen Harris has the Bruins growth even impressing their own management.

Friday Megalinks … At Night

Ken from Fang’s Bites with the Friday Night Megalinks. Due to me being all over the place today, I was not able to do the megalinks during the day, so I’m doing them at night. One of these Fridays, I’ll be able to provide them to you at its regular time.

So we begin as always with the Weekend Viewing Picks.

Your college football Saturday has a bunch of conference championships including the ACC Championship in which Boston College takes on Virginia Tech (WCVB/ABC6, 1 p.m.). Then, there are the two biggies, the SEC Championship involving Alabama and Florida (WBZ/WPRI, 4 p.m.) and the Big 12 Championship which has Missouri and Oklahoma (WCVB/ABC6, 8 p.m.). The winners of each conference championship get to go move on to the BCS, but the winners of the SEC Championship will most likely advance to the BCS Championship game on January 8. Most of the country is rooting for Missouri to correct an injustice in the last BCS poll when the Sooners leapfrogged over Texas. But the most important game is of course, Army vs. Navy which kicks off the day on CBS at noon. You can check out the national viewing schedule in the very last College Football Viewing Picks of the season. When all the dust is settled, Fox has the BCS Selection Show, Sunday night at 8.

Comcast SportsNet will air the UNH-UNI (Northern Iowa) Bowl Championship Subdivision playoff game live at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The NFL has a full schedule of games for Week 14 including six, count ‘em six late games, four regional games on CBS and two on Fox. The featured late game will be the Patriots at Seattle, flexed out of primetime and sent to CBS (WBZ/WPRI) at 4:05 p.m. Dick Enberg and Randy Cross will be in the Great Northwest for the game. Check out the entire schedule in the NFL Viewing Picks.

The Celtics play Sunday night against Indiana at 6 on Comcast SportsNet.

The Bruins continue their Sunshine State swing by taking on the Florida Panthers on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

College hockey fans can watch BU/BC on ESPNU at 7 on Saturday night.

College Basketball is underway and there a lot of games this weekend. My focus is on my University of Rhode Island Rams playing against the most corrupt college basketball program in the country, the Providence College Friars … I keed … I keed (Cox 3, 2 p.m., Saturday). CBS College Sports has BC at UMass at the Mullin Center in Amherst at 8:30 p.m. NESN has LaSalle at Hartford at 4 p.m. while Comcast SportsNet carries Northeastern at James Madison also at 4. Take a gander at the College Basketball Viewing Picks for the weekend to see if your favorite team is playing on television.

There’s also the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquaio fight which is on HBO pay per view, Saturday night at 9.

Now to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand visits MLB Network’s headquarters at the old MSNBC studios in Secaucus, NJ and finds that there’s a half-regulation infield that will be the showcase for its studio shows.

Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable says the MLB Network studios honor two of baseball’s greatest players.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News also toured the MLB Network studios.

Linda Moss of Multichannel News says GolTV and Dish Network are locked in a massive dispute over carriage fees.

Christopher Byrne has some thoughts on Raycom’s last SEC production before giving way to ESPN Regional Television next year.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has the last word on a mini-controversy that brewed this week regarding an ESPN/ABC factoid that Florida State University invented Gatorade. Darren says Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach is one weird dude.

Steve Lepore’s Puck The Media has another round of his NHL Tournament of Announcers. And Steve loves the fact that CBC is carrying another tripleheader on Hockey Night in Canada this Saturday (the last two games will be carried on NHL Network in the States).

Deadspin has an interesting story about why Fred Hickman no longer works at ESPN.

And New York Magazine says the Fred Hickman story is just part of an embarrassing week at ESPN.

SportsByBrooks has this year’s Playboy Sexiest Sportscaster Poll participants.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe talks about the NFL’s 3-D experiment that was showcased in movie theaters in selected cities (including Boston).

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Charter Channel 3 is committing its resources to bringing high school sports to the local area.

Newsday’s Neil Best says the Plaxico Burress mess got all types of coverage in the New York media this week. Neil has a little more on the Plax mess in his blog. Neil says the New York Jets and Brett Favre have become national attractions this season. Neil has noticed Jerry Seinfeld has appeared on WFAN quite a bit this week. And Neil went to the NFL 3-D test broadcast on Thursday. Finally, Neil announces the latest round of cutbacks at Newsday.

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick feels the Mets are treating their fans like suckers.

Justin Terranova of the Post talks with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and others about the SEC Championship Game on CBS. And Justin has five questions for NBC’s Tiki Barber.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says the YES Network is televising the University of Albany’s game against Jacksonville for a cause.

The Schenectady Gazette’s Ken Schott has some news and notes in his blog.

The Baltimore Sun’s Ray Frager talks with sports radio host Anita Marks who says she welcomes a partner to her show. In his blog, Ray says MASN fires up the Orioles Hot Stove next week.

Jim Williams of the Baltimore/DC Examiner writes that the Ravens and Redskins want Baltimore and DC to be an NFL shared market.

South

John Patton of the Gainesville Sun talks with CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson about the SEC Championship.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald lists some things he likes about football broadcasts.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says a popular internet show gets its TV debut after David Letterman tonight.

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (AL) News writes that CBS hit the jackpot with a #1 vs. #2 SEC Championship Game.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle talks with ESPN’s Lee Corso who feels that Texas’ QB Colt McCoy deserves the Heisman Trophy.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram talks with Pat Summerall about the NFL’s Greatest Game Ever Played.

The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn talks with ESPN’s Dick Vitale. Barry feels the Chargers-Raiders game should have set an all-time ratings low.

The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht interviews ESPN/ABC’s Brent Musberger who will call his 7th Big 12 conference game of the season with the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday. In his notebook, Mel says the BCS Championship Game will be shown in selected movie theaters including in Oklahoma.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News looks at HBO’s documentary on the integration of college football.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says the SEC Championship is the closest thing we have to a college football playoff.

The Chicago Daily Herald’s Ted Cox speaks with the man who is credited with inventing instant replay.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business says Cubs TV voice Len Kasper will be on the job for a bit while longer.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says people are indeed watching sports and the numbers prove it.

Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin previews the SEC Championship on CBS.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speaks with a local sports radio veteran who lost his job this week.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News likes a local TV station’s coverage of high school football.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that ESPN is splashing some color on the 1958 NFL Championship Game. Jay has the ratings in San Diego from last weekend.

John Maffei of the North County Times says Cox 4 is looking to find that special someone to replace Padres voice Matt Vasgersian.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times was one of the 400 lucky people to watch the Oakland-San Diego game in 3-D at Mann’s Chinese Theater.

But the Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth wonders if 3-D is THE definining moment for sports television. In his blog, Tom has some more impressions on the 3-D experiment. You get Tom’s extensive media news and notes here. Tom has his early favorites for Playboy’s Sexiest Sportscaster Poll. Tom says USC football voice Pete Arbogast is kissing up to ‘SC athletic director Mike Garrett to get back in his good graces. And Tom talks with ESPN/ABC’s Todd Blackledge about the next eating establishment he’ll review during the USC/UCLA game.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers radio voice Joe Starkey is probable for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that NFL Network’s Rich Eisen sets the standard for hosts of league-owned TV channels.

Canada

Here we go again. William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says Rogers Sportsnet NFL analyst Chris Landry has been fired and has had his web column spiked for allegedly plagiarizing work from NationalFootballPost.com. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has been all over it just like he was with the Ron Borges plagiarizing scandal.

William Houston also writes that viewership for the NHL on CBC, TSN and RDS are all up. Way up.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the Dolphins-Bills game at the Stadium Formerly Known as Skydome sold out in time meaning that it will be seen live in the local area.

And that’s going to do it for the megalinks. Enjoy your weekend.