WEEI Today Re-playing Celtics Run To Title

Today’s WEEI schedule:

  • 10 AM – 1 PM: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Cleveland
  • 1 PM – 4 PM: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit
  • 4 PM – 7 PM: Game 4 of the Finals against the Lakers
  • 7 PM – 10:30 PM: Game 6 of the Finals against the Lakers, including the post game celebration.

CSN’s “Manny Being Manny” – Not as bad as you might think…

OK, so that doesn’t exactly read as a ringing endorsement of the Comcast SportsNet special Manny being Manny – The Final Days in Boston, which is set to debut tomorrow night following the Celtics post game show.

But I’m sure you can forgive me for fearing the worst of this show, which I assumed would be simply an hour video extension of the Dennis and Callahan program, especially since Gerry Callahan is one of the commentators. With Dan Shaughnessy and Steve Buckley also lined up to appear, I was fearful to even pop the review DVD into my player last weekend.

But I did, and found it to be better than expected. Shaughnessy and Callahan were nowhere near as vitriolic about Manny as they have been elsewhere, and Shaughnessy actually spent some time gushing about Manny’s skills at the plate. Callahan called most of Manny’s antics harmless.

 

The show starts with a fairly quick overview of Manny’s tenure in Boston leading into the 2008 season. Many of his prodigious home runs are shown, and previous “Manny being Manny” incidents are not rehashed. As the show moves into this year, the hiring of super-agent Scott Boras is highlighted, as is the subject of Manny’s option years. Ramirez got into great shape coming into this season, initially hoping to get those options picked up and a contract extension worked out, and was even talking to the media. His pursuit of home run #500 for his career occupied much of the Manny talk in the early going of the season, and once he had reached that mark, things seemed to go downhill from there.

The dugout scuffle with Kevin Youkilis (which Callahan shows some of his WEEI venom when commenting on) and the strange confrontation with traveling secretary Jack McCormick are discussed, as well as the three-pitch at bat against Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium (which Shaughnessy wavers on a bit before opining that Manny was sticking it to Red Sox management) and his mysterious knee injury that couldn’t be diagnosed with an MRI.

The show could’ve been a lot harsher toward Ramirez, and I give CSN credit for not going that route totally. I think the show was a pretty good balance of Manny’s accomplishments here in Boston contrasted with his tumultuous exit from the Red Sox and the huge sense of relief felt in the clubhouse when he was finally traded.

There still seems to be a lot that we don’t know about Manny’s exit from Boston, and while the show doesn’t really shed any new light on things, it gives us a snapshot of the end one of the strangest tenures in Boston sports.

Press Release from CSN on Program.

Sox Trumped By Yanks for Teixeira

So the Boston Celtics – the most storied franchise in pro basketball - set a record for the longest winning streak in team history, AND beat the NBA record for the best start in league history (27-2)…and they can’t even be the lead sports story in Boston? Instead, all the coverage and talk is about a player that the Red Sox didn’t sign?

Yup.

Internet reports starting trickling out in the late morning yesterday that Mark Teixeira was ready to finally make a decision on where he was going to sign. The Red Sox seemed to be the favorite. On SI.com, Jon Heyman warned that the Yankees were lurking, but it seemed easy to dismiss that as simply Scott Boras propaganda.

By mid-afternoon word was out that the Yankees had actually swooped in and sign Teixeira from under Boston’s noses, stunning those who had placed their middle of the lineup hopes in the first baseman.

Brian Cashman and the Yankees have an odd, but very effective negotiating tactic when it comes to players. In the case of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, the Yankees interest was well known, and the negotiations were almost public. It could be because the Yankees knew the Red Sox weren’t serious interested in either player. The Red Sox were interested in Teixeira, and the Yankees knew that too, so they kept quiet about their interest, even releasing carefully worded denials that they were involved in talks. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they come in at the last moment and beat all other offers.

They seem to have done this a couple of times now. The Johnny Damon signing a few years back was another example. I recall the Yankees seemingly having no interest in Damon until the day he signed with them, beating the offer the Red Sox had on the table.

In any event, it seems clear that the Yankees clearly enjoy pulling the rug out from under the Red Sox when it comes to free agent signings.

Adam Kilgore outlines how the Yankees swept in and grabbed Teixeira from the Red Sox and Nationals. Sean McAdam has weeks of back-and-forth negotiations coming to an unhappy end for the Red Sox yesterday. Daniel Barbarisi notes how the Red Sox pushed Scott Boras for an answer after increasing their offer on Monday. Dom Amore has the Yankees taking their spending spree from wild to epic with this move.

Nick Cafardo calls this a “knockout punch” by the Yankees. Knocked out of what, exactly? Steve Buckley says that this deal is great for the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Mike Fine says the loss of Teixeira hurts, but it doesn’t cripple the Red Sox. Brian MacPherson says that this is the Yankees’ idea of going young. Dan Lamothe says that the Yankees got to us on this one.

Bob Ryan says that this is the Yankees (and the Steinbrenners) sending a loud message – “We’re back!” Bill Burt claims that the Red Sox just didn’t want Teixeira enough. Jeff Jacobs says that this is just the Yankees doing what they do best. Steve Krause says that John Henry dropped the ball on this one. Curt Schilling weighs in as well.

With this issue settled, Barbarisi says that the Red Sox now can concentrate on acquiring a catcher.

Celtics Make it 19 in a Row

The Celtics won a franchise record 19th game in a row last night, routing the Philadelphia 76ers 110-91 at the Garden last night. Frank Dell’Apa has the fans at the garden last night already looking forward to the matchup with the Lakers. Mark Murphy says there is no avoiding history for the Celtics now. Bill Doyle has the Celtics heading out cross country a night ahead of Santa. Jim Fenton looks at another historical night for the Celtics.

Monique Walker has the Celtics players not focused on their winning streak. Patrick Gilroy says that continued good health and humility are about the only things Danny Ainge can wish for this Christmas. Steve Buckley says that the game everyone has been waiting for Celtics-Lakers, is finally here. Burt says that the L.A. Fakers are back at it again. Lenny Megliola says that the suits at league headquarters and at the ABC network are hyperventilating over this game tomorrow. Bill Reynolds says that Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins can no longer be overlooked on this team. Paul Flannery tells us how Lakers/Celtics really is just another game.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has the crowd clearly into the L.A. game on tap tomorrow. Murphy’s notebook has Glen Davis inactive again last night after his car accident last weekend. Doyle’s notebook says that 19 games isn’t a lot to Rajon Rondo, who won 44 in a row in high school. Fenton’s notebook has the Celtics celebrating the holiday with their families in the locker room after the game.

Bruins Shut Out Devils

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins proving they can muck and grind for wins as well. The Herald had Sean McAdam on the Bruins beat last night, and he’s got the Bruins beating the Devils at their own game.

Joe Haggerty notes that Phil Kessel and Jon Lester have a lot in common.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Zdeno Chara returning to form on offense as of late. McAdam’s notebook has Tim Thomas taking a winning turn in net.

Patriots Prep For Final Exam in Buffalo

Mike Reiss takes a closer look at the three games that will determine the Patriots playoff fate this weekend. It still doesn’t look too good for the Patriots. Karen Guregian wonders about the possible absence of Richard Seymour this weekend. Eric McHugh says that offense is once again this team’s strong suit. Mark Farinella has the Patriots just focusing on their own business for now. Rich Garven has the Patriots offense juiced after a slow start to the year. Shalise Manza Young says that everything has been adding up on offense for the Patriots.

Ben Swasey would like to end the “trade Brady”  idiocy. Farinella offers a number of Ponderous thoughts. A disturbing bit in the Projo informs us that in the six times that the Patriots have needed help to get into the postseason…they’ve never gotten it. Burt has Ron Jaworski gushing over Matt Cassel.

Reiss’ notebook has Junior Seau comparing Mike Vrabel to Karl Mecklenburg. Guregian’s notebook has Matt Light talking about playing in pain. McHugh’s notebook has Matthew Slater and Russ Hochstein enjoying their dual roles with the team. Young’s notebook has more on Seymour’s back injury.

CSN Celtics-Bulls Top Rated Show on Local TV

From CSN this afternoon:

Celtics-Bulls at Top of Ratings Chart in Seven Male and Female Demos

BURLINGTON, MA – Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics-Bulls telecast was the Number 1 or Number 2 rated program in seven different demos on Friday, December 19, earning a record 7.5 rating and reaching an estimated 270,000 households in New England.

In the Boston television market, Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics-Bulls telecast was a winner in the following demos:

No. 1 with Males 18-34 – 9.2 peak

No. 1 with Males 18-49 – 8.7

No. 1 with Males 25-54 – 8.6

No. 2 with Adults 18-34 – 5.3

No. 1 with Adults 18-49 – 6.5

No. 1 with Adults 25-54 – 6.6

No. 2 with Women 18-49 – 4.6

CSN’s Celtics-Bulls household rating peaked at a 10.2, reaching an estimated 368,000 homes in New England. The previous regular season record of 6.8 was set earlier this year when the Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks on November 12. Celtics-Hawks also peaked at a 10.2.

“We are delighted that our Celtics games have become a top draw with both male and female viewers. Being number one or two with adults demonstrates that the Celtics are reaching a larger audience than ever before,” said Bill Bridgen, Comcast SportsNet executive vice president and general manager.

Tuesday Quicklinks

Just some quick hits from this morning:

It’s report card day, and as you can imagine, there weren’t many bad grades to be seen on the Patriots side on Sunday. Here are the reports:

Michael Felger - The only “F” is for Favre.

Ron Borges - Randy Moss the only Patriots player relegated to the back of the class.

Eric McHugh - Straight “A’s”

Ian Clark - Defensive backs have the only “B” grade.

We still have to root for the Jets Sunday? Might as well keep up with the sniping and fun at TheJetsBlog and JetsLinks.com.

The Small White Ball blog has put together a pretty comprehensive list of the top 20 stories in Boston sports during 2008. Here are the lists:

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2008: #11-20

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2008: #1-10

A couple of shameless self-promotion items here, first is my monthly column in Patriots Football Weekly, (subscription required) where I talk with former Browns and Raiders excutive Mike Lombardi, who is now writing about football for The National Football Post.

Second, this week in the Boston Metro, I look back at those great Celtics team of the 80′s and choose my 5 Favorite Benchwarmers from that period. David Thirdkill anyone?

John Tomase does it again…in today’s article For Patriots, it’s up to Brett Favre again he includes this:

The 2002 team’s fatal flaw was an inability to stop the run following the loss of nose tackle Ted Washington in free agency.

Washington of course didn’t join the team until 2003 following a trade from the Bears, and was a big part of that season’s Super Bowl win.

In Case You Missed It…

A few soundbites from the network shows yesterday:

FOX Analyst Howie Long on the New England Patriots: “Matt Cassel in my mind has been the best quarterback in the division. Bill Belichickhas done as good a job coaching as he’s done at anytime during his career, but he won’t get any credit for it because he’s one of the most hated head coaches in football.”

(CBS’ Charlie Casserly On New England’s Tom Brady):Good news for the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. He’s off antibiotics. The infection he had when he had the repair of his knee when he had the ACL is gone. Therefore he’s back on his rehab schedule and should be ready for training camp and the season next year.

“Age has caught up with the defense…but to win 11 games is remarkable.” – NFLN’s Marshall Faulk on the Patriots

Jets, Dolphins or Patriots: Who do you trust most today?

Cris Carter: “Miami. Kansas City used to be a special place to play. But, last Sunday before Christmas, a lot of people will be doing some shopping. No fans in the stands.”

Tom Jackson: “I trust New England. Been there, done that. This is their kind of weather. Arizona looks like they already have given up because they already have won that division.”

Keyshawn Johnson: “I trust the Miami Dolphins. You know exactly what you’re going to get. They are playing Kansas City Chiefs, they can’t figure it out right now. Who’s the general manager? My coach is getting an extension? They’ve already packed it up, they’re gone.”

Mike Ditka: “I’m extremely comfortable with New England, they know how to play. Now, if you think that the Cardinals didn’t show up last week, wait till you see this drive-by today.”

Also:

Highlights From Week 16 of NBC’s “Football Night In America”

Final Week 17 Schedule

BSMW on “Celtics Stuff Live”

In case you missed it, last night I was a guest of the excellent Celtics post game show, Celtics Stuff Live. The show is now part of Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics coverage, and a recap and podcast download of the show is available on the Celtics Stuff Live section of the CSN website.

During the show we talked about this year’s Approval Ratings series here on BSMW, as well as the coverage of the Celtics here in New England. This week’s matchup with the Lakers was also a topic of conversation.

I came clean on Leon Powe being my Celtics binky, and we also discussed Paul Pierce’s place in the Celtics pantheon.

I had a pretty severe echo on my phone line, so it might come through with some of my responses. I don’t think it comes through on the broadcast, but for much of the segment I felt like Lou Gehrig giving his farewell address at Yankee Stadium. “Today…” (today…today…today…).

Pats Roll At Snowy Gillette

OK, so let’s get this out of the way right off the top.

  1. There’s no way that that New York Jets can beat the Miami Dolphins next Sunday. No way. Even though the game is at the Meadowlands,  Eric Mangini’s crew has proven once again to be about as mentally tough as a Dodo bird.
  2. There is no way that the Baltimore Ravens will lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. A preseason favorite to win it all, the Jags have stumbled badly this season, showing a lot of the same traits as the Jets.

I believe there is a better chance that the Buffalo Bills will beat the Patriots than either the Jets or Jaguars winning next Sunday.

I sure hope I’m wrong, but this week 17 is looking a lot like the final week of the 2002 season. Patriots fans needed Brett Favre to come up big then too.

So now that I’ve played Debbie downer this morning, let’s take a quick look back at an impressive performance by the Patriots yesterday, one that has to have the rest of the league rooting hard for the Dolphins and Ravens next week.

Chris Warner has the Patriots playing their Cards right at Gillette. Chris Price plows through the 10 Things We Learned Yesterday.

Christopher L. Gasper takes care of the game story in the Globe. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots gave their fans something to remember in what might be their final appearance at Gillette this season. Karen Guregian has the Patriots taking care of their own business yesterday. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots taking a step forward yesterday.  Christopher Price has the Patriots keeping their playoff hopes alive with the win. Matt Eagan has the Patriots thriving in the snow. Andy Vogt has the Patriots plowing through the Cards. Jennifer Toland says that the weather was no issue for the Patriots offense yesterday.

Bob Ryan reminds us that the Patriots must rely on the kindness of strangers to make the postseason. Michael Felger says that things just aren’t looking good for the Patriots playoff chances.  John Tomase says that the division math is pretty tough for the Patriots. Farinella looks at the tough path to the playoffs for New England. Despite a possible 11-5 record, Young points out that the Patriots will still need to hope for help to get to the postseason. Bill Burt notes the irony of having to root for the Jets next week. Ben Swasey hopes this isn’t 2002 redux. Tim Weisberg says that the Patriots can only do their best with one game left. Eric McHugh points out that the Patriots could suffer the same fate as the 1985 Broncos.

Mike Reiss doesn’t think that the NFL will be pleased with the Cardinals approach yesterday. Ron Borges wonders about the vagaries of life after watching Matt Cassel and Matt Leinart yesterday. Young has Leinart and Cassel reunited in a strange way yesterday. Brian MacPherson says that victory was not in the Cards for Arizona yesterday. Jim Donaldson has the Patriots making a mockery out of the playoff bound Cardinals.

Farinella has Matt Cassel doing quite well in his first ever snow game. Dan Ventura has the Patriots running on all cylinders in the snow yesterday. Daniel Barbarisi has the Patriots power running game opening things up for the offense.  Steve Buckley says that the Patriots RULE in the snow, bitches!!! Chris Forsberg has Russ Hochstein plowing through the Cardinals at fullback. Lenny Megliola has the snow boosting the Patriots to victory.

Ventura has Junior Seau connecting with a fan yesterday. Barbarisi says that the Patriots might’ve singlehandedly wrecked the MVP candidacy of Kurt Warner yesterday. Toland has praise for the Patriots relentless defense yesterday.

Michael Vega has Wes Welker having fun in the snow. Young has Welker finding out that snow angels aren’t cute any more. Lauren Carter has the Patriots receivers as a group enjoying a big day. Ron Chimelis has Randy Moss playing good soldier. Monique Walker has Stephen Gostkowski further strengthening his own place in team history. Glen Farley has the Patriots saying that the weather helped.

I found these dueling headlines in my RSS reader interesting:

Globe: Seymour injury not serious

Herald: Source: Seymour could miss Buffalo game

Borges looks at the Best and Worst from yesterday. Tomase pinpoints the Play of the Game yesterday. The Projo follows through with postgame analysis of its own. Mike Petraglia has his postgame take and sound bites. Hector Longo cranks out the two minute drill.

Gasper’s notebook reports on a fan being arrested after coming out of the stands to tackle Junior Seau. Farinella’s notebook has Gostkowski breaking the team record for field goals in a season. The Herald notebook has more on Seymour’s back injury. Vogt’s notebook has the Patriots still needing help to make the playoffs. Chris Kennedy’s notebook says that Welker is still an Angel. Weisberg’s notebook has Gostkowski booting himself into the record book.

Celtics and Bruins

The Celtics won their 18th straight game last night, routing the Knicks 124-105 at the Garden. Catch up on the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins are on a hot streak of their own, and beat the Blues 6-3 last night. Check the links at Bruinslinks.com.

A Snowy Friday Megalinks

Ken from Fang’s Bites happy to be inside as the snow falls.

Anyway, time do to the megalinks, but as always, we begin with the Weekend Viewing Picks.

The Patriots host the Arizona Cardinals in what is expected to be some bad weather at Foxboro. Fox25 has the game with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa with the call. Then in primetime, NBC has the Carolina Panthers-New York Football Giants game at 8:15 p.m. Check out the games, announcing assignments and distribution maps in the NFL Viewing Picks.

The Bruins play an afternoon game at the Garden on Saturday hosting Carolina. NESN has the game starting at 1 p.m.

The Celtics get another Saturday off and host the Knicks Sunday night at 6. Comcast SportsNet carries the game as usual.

College Bowl season kicks off Saturday with four games starting with the EagleBank Bowl between Wake Forest and Army on ESPN at 11 a.m. (?) You can see the matchups and times in the 2008-09 College Bowl Schedule.

There’s a lot of college basketball on Saturday including a doubleheader on CBS and plenty of games on the ESPN family of networks. NESN will have former Big East rivals Providence College and Boston College squaring off Saturday at 4 p.m. The URI Rams take on Oklahoma State at the All-College Classic on ESPN Classic, Saturday night at 7:30. Check out the schedule for the weekend in the College Basketball Viewing Picks.

ESPN2 carries the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship pitting Penn State against Stanford, Saturday night at 8.

NBC carries Tiger Woods’ golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge this weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tiger is expected to join Dan Hicks and Roger Maltbie in the 18th tower sometime during the telecast to talk about his recovery from surgery and when he expects to rejoin the PGA Tour.

Now let’s get to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says this season’s edition of the NHL Winter Classic, the outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks could lead to some big ratings.

From the Puck The Media blog, Steve Lepore gives praise to NESN for bringing two cancer patients from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to call play-by-play for portions of Tuesday’s Canadiens-Bruins game.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with MLB Network head honcho Tony Petitti about the largest channel launch in cable TV history.

Christopher Byrne’s Eye on Sports Media blog has a guest column today from a Technical Director who gives us an idea of what it is like inside a production truck.

The Big Lead notices one website that is defending ESPN’s Ed Werder in his battle with Terrell Owens.

The Sox & Dawgs blog says the NFL Network got a bit goofy during its postgame on Thursday night.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that MSG Network will start depending on original entertainment programming.

Mike also writes that CBS College Sports will make its coverage of a high school basketball tournament available to Big Cable’s Video On Demand services in participating states.

Also from Multichannel, R. Thomas Umstead writes that the next big boxing pay per view fight could be Manny Pacquaio vs. Ricky Hatton.

Anthony Crupi from Mediaweek says ESPN/ABC received good ratings for college football.

The Sports Media Watch says for one night, ESPN’s top NBA and college basketball announcing teams will switch sports.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe catches up with former NESN anchor Hazel Mae who’s now part of the MLB Network.

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is complaining about something.

Also from the Post, Justin Terranova talks with CBS’ Phil Simms about Sunday night’s Panthers-Giants game. Justin has five questions for ESPN college football analyst Bob Davie.

From the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman feels Yankees GM Brian Cashman has too much of a thin skin when it comes to dealing with the media.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with CBS Big Kahuna Les Moonves about CBS-owned WFAN. In his blog, Neil asks Les about WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. And Neil asks Les if he rejected the idea of Miami talk show host Sid Rosenberg rejoining WFAN. Neil feels it’s funny to have Bob Papa, the Voice of the Giants, calling the final game at Texas Stadium on Saturday. Neil has a fascinating discussion with former ABC Monday Night Football producer Don Ohlmeyer.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union lists his top 10 play-by-play men.

Laura Nachman writes that Philadelphia all-news station KYW will have its sportscasts outsourced to sister station, all-sports station WIP.

Chuck Bausman of the Philadelphia Daily News previews ESPN’s Outside the Lines story on the reunion of Julius Erving and his daughter, Alexandra Stevenson.

Ray Frager from the Baltimore Sun writes that locker room drama is not restricted to the Dallas Cowboys.

South

Roger van der Horst of the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer says a long-time local TV sports anchor has retired. Roger says the NBA national TV schedule is heavily skewered towards playoff teams.

Doug Nye of The State has some sports viewing suggestions for your Christmas holiday.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that Panthers play-by-play man Randy Moller is using listeners’ suggestions to call goals.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel reviews the year in sports ads.

Ray Buck from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram talks with the NBC Sports production team for the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says this weekend will feature a smorgasbord of high school football championship games.

The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn says Dallas is not on the list of cities that will participate in the 3-D BCS Championship Game test. Barry says the Closing Ceremonies for Texas Stadium will be carried live nationally and locally.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says the plug has been pulled on a sports radio station. Mel looks at the Oklahoma City ratings from last week. And Mel says Stillwater, Oklahoma will be the only city in the Sooner State that will have a cinema showing the 3-D BCS Championship Game.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News writes that a local TV station has no plans to cut sports from its daily newscasts.

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says a local theater will have the 3-D presentation of the BCS Championship Game.

Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune has the weekend viewing picks for the local area.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has some various news and notes. Ed also toured the NHL Winter Classic preparations at Wrigley Field. And Ed talks with ESPN’s Mike Tirico.

Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says there’s going to be a lot of basketball to watch on Christmas Day.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the St. Louis Rams have been no fun for broadcasters this season. And Dan says the management team has been named for the city’s newest sports radio station.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News says the Mountain West Conference is finally getting some love.

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that a local high school football wrap up show is must see TV.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times talks with NBA TV’s Gary Payton about his transition to television.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. Tom has some news and notes in his blog. Tom reviews the week in blogging.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News writes that 49ers voice Joe Starkey is stepping down to focus on calling the Cal Bears. John Ryan of the Mercury News says Sunday is shaping up as a day to catch up on holiday shopping for Bay Area football fans.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that former Sonics voice Kevin Calabro will be back behind the mic on Christmas Day calling an NBA game for ESPN Radio.

That’s going to do it for now.

If you enjoy the Friday megalinks and the links during the rest of the week for that matter, I ask that you join my blog network on Facebook. Bruce also has a blog network and by all means, join his right here.

Bruins Home Streak Hits a Dozen

The Bruins stretched their home winning streak to 12 games last night with an 8-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins exploding offensively at the Garden last night. Steve Conroy has a look at an old-fashioned shootout last night won by the Bruins. Mike Loftus has the Bruins riding their offense to the win last night. Mick Colageo notes that a tough night for Tim Thomas couldn’t slow down the Bruins. Bud Barth recaps a real roller-coaster ride for fans at the Garden last night.

Dan Shaughnessy decided to check out this hot, trendy new sport of hockey. Stephen Harris has the Bruins proving that two goalies are better than one. James Murphy says that it is hight time that he and others in the Boston media start giving Peter Chiarelli credit for assembling this team. Barbara Matson has David Krejci landing his first NHL hat trick in the victory. Joe Haggerty also examines the hat trick from Krejci.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Mark Stuart showing signs of coming on following a slow start to the season. Conroy’s notebook has more on Krejci’s hat trick. Loftus’ notebook has Aaron Ward working the comeback trail once again. Bob Stern’s notebook also looks at the hat trick from Krejci. Barth’s notebook has a look at Marco Sturm’s short-lived return to the lineup.

Red Sox outbid, or calling Boras’ bluff?

Adam Kilgore has John Henry and the Red Sox seemingly pulling out of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes with an email to the media last night. Sean McAdam has more on the Teixeira talks breaking down just when it appeared progress was being made. Dom Amore also reports on the breakdown. Alex Speier looks at whether this is a bluff by the Red Sox, and looks at some other Red Sox/Boras negotiations.

Daniel Barbarisi has a look at slugging first base prospect Lars Anderson. He also looks at a few of the other top Red Sox prospects.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Hazel Mae looking forward to starting her new job with the MLB Network.

Kilgore’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis unfazed at the pursuit of Teixeira. McAdam’s notebook has Youkilis willing to shift to third base if the Sox were to land Teixeira.

Patriots

Karen Guregian has Matt Cassel earning the respect of his teammates with how he handled the difficult situation with his father’s death last week. Christopher L. Gasper has Cassel saying that he just did what his father would’ve wanted. Christopher Price has Cassel saying that he never doubted he would play against the Raiders. Shalise Manza Young has Cassel paying tribute to his father with his mental toughness. Rich Garven has more on Cassel dealing with the death of his Dad.

Hector Longo has a look at the reversal of fortune between Cassel and Matt Leinart – one of the guys he used to back up in college, and who is now a backup in Arizona. Ben Swasey uses a little foresight to determine how the Patriots will beat the Cardinals. There are some Mole Chicken Enchiladas on the buffet table at Patriots Daily.

Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots stressing ball security against the Cardinals. Gasper’s notebook has the Cardinals possibly giving wide receiver Anquan Boldin a rest this weekend. Young’s notebook has the Cardinals riding Kurt Warner’s second wind to success. Garven’s notebook looks at a learning year for Leinart.

Celtics

Paul Flannery looks around the NBA, and then tries again to get into the head of Kevin Garnett…without much success. Mark Murphy has the Celtics being toughened by taking the opponent’s best shots every night. Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics current winning streak bringing up memories of previous streaks. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking to make it 17 in a row tonight.

Jeff Howe says that Rajon Rondo learned how to take a hit as a high school QB in Kentucky. Lenny Megliola says that the Celtics have been unaffected by the bullseye on their backs. Robert Lee has Paul Pierce reaching the pinnacle of life on and off the court.

ESPN/ABC held a conference call with Magic Johnson and Jeff Van Gundy to preview the Celtics/Lakers Christmas Day matchup.

Ron Borges says that Lennox Lewis is the only ex-boxer in recent memory to retire before the sport made a fool of him.