Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-08-31

Bruschi Calling It Quits Today

After 13 seasons with the Patriots, Tedy Bruschi has decided to call it a career, with a press conference scheduled this morning at 10:45 to make it official.

Mike Reiss says that Bruschi’s decision might’ve been prompted by injuries in camp, as well as his performance Friday night against the Redskins. Karen Guregian says that Bruschi was not in any danger of being cut this week, but went out on his own terms. Shalise Manza Young says that this development was not entirely unexpected. Christopher Price says that Bruschi had struggled a bit in trying to form a new identity this camp. Glen Farley says that Bruschi spent much of his career defying the odds.

Bruschi’s retirement wasn’t the only surprising roster development yesterday. The team also informed second year quarterback Kevin O’Connell that they are waiving him. Reiss wonders if the move clears the way for another acquisition at QB. Guregian says that the Patriots had high hopes for O’Connell coming out of college, but apparently didn’t see enough development. Rich Garven says that the move was a bit of a shock. Mark Farinella agrees that the move probably indicates that the Patriots are in the market for another QB. Young terms the decision a bit of a bombshell.

Guregian takes a look at how the Patriots roster is shaping up. Garven’s notebook has Jonathan Wilhite continuing his rise in the CB corps. Young says that the fight for a roster spot can lead to bad mistakes for young players. Price has James Sanders the leader of a new generation of defensive backs for the Patriots.

Because of an early morning appointment, I’m going to have to refer you over to RedSoxLinks.com for the coverage of yesterday’s 7-0 win over the Blue Jays.

David Willis has Glen Davis, his contract issues resolved, looking forward to another title run with the Celtics.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-08-30

  • BSMW Network Post: The Return of Linkage! http://bit.ly/8Z4fm #
  • Pepper still grinding away – Turns out, assistant was in it for long run: Boston Globe Football Notes by Mike Reiss: http://bit.ly/Rucwr #
  • NFL Blitz: Pats' Plan B needs some work: New Bedford Standard Times Football notes by Jonathan Comey: http://bit.ly/1420FM #
  • Harvard star Ryan Fitzpatrick’s long road stops with Bills – Boston Herald Football notes by Karen Guregian: http://bit.ly/180itM #
  • Can Angels earn their wings? Postseason chances may have improved. Boston Globe Baseball Notes by Nick Cafardo: http://bit.ly/2jWTqs #
  • Exposito another top catcher on fast track to bigger things – Portland Press Herald Baseball Notes by Kevin Thomas: http://bit.ly/2mMhYU #
  • Strasburg brings hope to Nationals – Metrowest Daily News Baseball Notes by Art Davidson: http://bit.ly/3VyMZ #
  • J.D. Drew thrives as silent type – Hopes cool demeanor nets big September. Boston Herald Baseball Notes by John Tomase: http://bit.ly/18BmOw #
  • Now it’s the Dee League – Former Celtic has spring in his step. Boston Globe NBA notes by Frank Dell'Apa: http://bit.ly/JvBmY #
  • Allison a renewed Leaf? Out since 2006, he wants back in. Boston Globe NHL Notes by Kevin Paul Dupont: http://bit.ly/11D7Ok #
  • BSMW Network Post: This Week on PD, August 23-29 http://bit.ly/zYKyk #

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-08-29

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-08-28

Initial Thoughts on ESPNBoston.com

By now, thanks to Fang’s Bites, you know that ESPN will be launching a local version of ESPN.com, ESPNBoston.

The site is slated to launch on September 14th – or opening day for the Patriots, who play on Monday Night Football that night on ESPN. ( I wonder if it is telling that 98.5 The SportsHub launched on the day of the Patriots first preseason game, while ESPNBoston launches on the day of the Patriots first regular season game.)

Here are a few of my initial thoughts on the topic:

First of all, the ESPNChicago site should give you a pretty good feel of what you can expect from the Boston version.

While there will be a lot of “re-purposing” of Boston content from the main ESPN.com site, there will be plenty of original content as well. The splash hiring of Mike Reiss gives the site some instant credibility, and you can expect some other local defections to this site in the coming weeks.

For a guy like Reiss, leaving the uncertainty of what the future holds for The Boston Globe (not to mention that recent pay cut all Globe employees had to take) probably made this a pretty easy decision. If you’ve been following the news of some of the potential buyers of the Globe, you know that the idea of Platinum Equity purchasing the Globe should have employees terrified. ESPN offers stability and reach.

I’d say the days of Reiss’ Pieces (as a brand) are over, for now anyway. Boston.com will obviously have to change the name of their Patriots blog, but I don’t expect it to follow Reiss over to ESPNBoston. ESPN is about their brand, not that of its talent. Reiss however, will continue to do exactly what he’s going now for Boston.com, except without the added burden of having to produce something for the print edition.

You can probably expect some change in ESPN Radio locally. The 890 station is not owned by ESPN, they are an affiliate. I would expect that you’ll see some move by ESPN to get their brand better established on the local airwaves. I don’t think that would come in the form of a new locally staffed and hosted ESPN Radio Boston to compete with WEEI and WBZ-FM, but something more along the lines of a more solid platform for their national shows, such as Mike & Mike in the Morning. The current incarnation of 890 simply isn’t up to ESPN standards.

The local edition of SportsCenter is intriguing. Rather than sitting through the full version of SportsCenter on ESPN for the few Boston highlights (if you even do that anymore), you’ll be able to go online and get them all instantly, at any time.

The Chicago site still seems to lean on a lot of AP content, and straight links back to ESPN.com. That’s not going to be appealing here, but I expect there to be more of a focus on local original content on the Boston site.

In a similar vein, I would hope the local focus would also result in a scaleback of the ESPN hysteria. I don’t think the Mark Schlereth type of hysterical, irresponsible speculation would go over well here. Based on the emails and comments I receive, people in this market smell out that type of stuff pretty quickly and reject it.

Also check out the Globe media column by Chad Finn on the topic.

It doesn’t touch on ESPNBoston, but the New Bedford Standard Times rates New England’s “Big 6″ sports media outlets.

One other quick unrelated link, over on Patriots Daily, we’re Trading Places with a Redskins blogger.

ESPN Boston Site To Launch and Takes Mike Reiss From Boston Globe

A new ESPNBoston.com site will be launching in a short few weeks and they’ve already announced that they will be hiring Mike Reiss from the Boston Globe to be the site’s Patriots beat writer.

Check it out at the Fang’s Bites page.

Great discussion in the comment section below. Jump in!

Emptying the Mailbox

With my schedule completely slammed today, I figured I’d take this opportunity to pass along a few items that have crossed through my inbox over the last few days.

WEEI.com Announces Massive Year-Over-Year Increases in Web Site Traffic and Digital Audio Consumption

Unique visitors to WEEI.com have grown 173% in the past 12 months, jumping from 247,531 to 676,716, according to Onestat Analytics.  

WEEI.com has also significantly grown their page views, on-demand and streaming audio audience over the last year. According to Ando Webcast Metrics, the year-over-year statistics show: 

  • Along with unique visitors, WEEI.com page views grew 90% since July 2008, jumping from 2,275,405 to 4,279,677. This was the first time the site cracked the 4 million page views mark in a single month.
  • On-Demand Audio Plays have grown 112% from 129,915 to 274,208.
  • Live Streaming Hours increased 32% from 919,542 to 1,206,043. This makes WEEI the top internet radio station in the country in terms of streaming Average Quarter Hours (AQH) as percentage of market size.
  • Live Streaming CUME jumped 69% from 42,413 to 71,779.
  • Live Streaming Sessions are up 90% from 253,169 to 481,900. 

AQH on Stream Monday-Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. grew 12% to 3,393. The site now has a greater streaming AQH than multiple competing radio stations in the Boston market have on their terrestrial broadcasts.

Also this past July, 22,000 people accessed WEEI.com from mobile devices, utilizing their WAP site, FlyCast and the station’s recently launched iPhone application. Leveraging social media to increase their audience, WEEI has more than 8,500 combined fans/followers on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, visits from search engines have increased 134% from a year ago.

Beckett Bowl

Boston Red Sox All-Star pitcher Josh Beckett will throw strikes of a different kind on September 10, when he hangs up his cleats and laces up a pair of bowling shoes at the third-annual Beckett Bowl, a star-studded bowling tournament held at Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston. Beckett spoke to the media about the event today while signing special Beckett Bowl branded bowling pins at a Fenway Park news conference.BeckettBowllogo2009

The fun-filled evening will begin at 6 p.m. with red-carpet arrivals and autograph session. The bowling tournament will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and festivities will conclude with the official Absolut Beckett Bowl After-Party at the House of Blues with Josh Beckett and friends. The after-party will feature celebrity appearances and live entertainment, including performances by Texas country music star Pat Green, Matt Cline and DJ Buddy Costa. Absolut is the presenting sponsor of the official Beckett Bowl After-Party.

A limited number of tickets for Beckett Bowl and the Absolut Beckett Bowl After-Party are available now at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets for the bowling event are $250 and after-party tickets are $45.

In advance of the event, Beckett will host an online raffle at netRaffle.org to benefit The Josh Beckett Foundation. The winner will receive a celebrity bowling package to bowl with the stars at the tournament, as well as a special experiential fantasy day at Fenway Park. Raffle tickets are $2 with a minimum purchase of five tickets and can be purchased now at netRaffle.org. The winner will be selected on Monday, September 7, 2009. For more information, visit netRaffle.org.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from the local sports and business communities over the last two years,” said Beckett. “They’ve really pulled together to help kids, and as a result of those efforts, we were fortunate enough to open the Josh Beckett Cancer Treatment room at Children’s Hospital Boston. But this is only the beginning. I’m thrilled to be back this September to rally around these deserving children and make an even greater impact.”

The annual Beckett Bowl fundraising event is organized by The Josh Beckett Foundation, which supports community-based programs that improve the health and well-being of children, especially those who are seriously ill, disabled, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged. Since its inception in 2007, Beckett Bowl has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the Foundation and the event’s primary beneficiary, Children’s Hospital Boston.

Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation online auction

Enjoy a round of golf with Mark Wahlberg, Meet Tom Brady after a Patriots training session, Enjoy a personal batting lesson with David Ortiz or a pitching lesson with Jonathan Papelbom, golf with Adrian Grenier and shoot hoops with Boston Celtics own Ray Allen!attce321

Join us in supporting the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation online auction. Now LIVE at http://www.charitybuzz.com/through September 17, 2009.

  • Go golfing with Mark Wahlberg
  • Meet Tom Brady after VIP seating at a Patriots training session
  • Enjoy a round of golf with Entourage’s Adrien Grenier
  • Swing away at a private batting lesson with “Big Papi”, David Ortiz
  • Enjoy a private pitching lesson with star Red Sox Pitcher, Jonathan Papelbon
  • Shooting lesson with one of the best in the NBA, Boston Celtic’s own Ray Allen
  • Meet Michael Douglas on the Set of “Wall Street 2” in NYC
  • Attend the Premiere of Charlize Theron’s Latest Film, “The Road”

To raise funds for his youth foundation, Mark Wahlberg has joined forces again with the leading global auction site http://www.charitybuzz.com/ and offered an incredible array of over-the-top online auction experiences that are guaranteed to create BUZZ.

Everett High School selected to star in next Eastern Bank TV commercial

Runner-ups Lynn English and Middleboro high schools to appear in posters  

Everett High School’s football team has thrived on the field for generations, but now that success will be carried over to television after the team won the opportunity to appear in Eastern Bank’s next TV commercial, the bank announced today.

In addition to a little more fame, the school’s athletics department will receive $5,000 for winning the contest, which generated entries from more than two dozen high schools across eastern Massachusetts.

Everett was one of five finalists selected last week. Each finalist underwent site visits by Eastern Bank marketing officers or representatives of its advertising agency and production company.  In the end, the competition was so close that the bank awarded two runner-up prizes to Lynn English and Middleboro high schools, whose football teams will be featured in posters in more than 80 branch locations.

Lynn English will also appear briefly in the TV commercial, because it will be filmed playing Everett in a scrimmage.  Lynn English will be awarded $2,500, while Middleboro will receive $2,000.  The other two finalists, Tewksbury and Hull high schools, earned $1,000 for their athletics departments.

The contest, which ran from July 24 to Aug. 7, asked entrants to answer the question: What makes your team special? Everett’s video entry featured its football players talking about the importance of teamwork, tradition and pride.  The team showcased highlights and special moments in Everett’s football history, which dates back to the late 1800s. 

“Eastern Bank congratulates Everett High School and every school that entered our contest,” said Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.  “After reviewing responses to our question, it became clear to our review committee that each team was special in its own way, so we decided it was appropriate to acknowledge everybody’s efforts.

   “As a result, I am happy to announce that we will award more than $20,000 to high school athletics departments in eastern Massachusetts,” added Holbrook.

The bank announced last week that it decided to reward each qualified, non-finalist entrant with a $500 prize.  In order to qualify, applicants needed to answer the question in the form of videos, essays or photos.  Most of the entries can be viewed at www.easternbank.com/teamwork and the public is encouraged to follow future updates on Facebook (search “Eastern Bank”).

The commercial, scheduled to launch in mid September, will be part of a broader advertising campaign to illustrate the value Eastern Bank’s team of banking, investment and insurance professionals brings to its customers. 

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-08-27

Patriots Prepping For ‘Skins

With the Patriots heading down to Washington D.C. later today for tomorrow night’s preseason game with the Washington Redskins, Chris Warner on Patriots Daily cranks out his latest Worry Wart column prior to the game.

Yesterday we had a look at how Brady’s contract comments sparked a media overreaction.

In the Metro, I’m looking at how Bill Belichick’s “evil” and “dour” reputation is taking a hit as of late.

Mike Reiss has a look at Derrick Burgess still trying to play catch-up with the defensive playbook for the Patriots. Ian R. Rapoport has Laurence Maroney receiving praise from Belichick for his work in the passing game. Shalise Manza Young and Mark Farinella each look at how James Sanders has stepped into the leadership role in the secondary.

Karen Guregian says that the release of Tank Williams leaves a hole at nickel linebacker for the Patriots. Hector Longo seems to be endorsing a walkout by Vince Wilfork, talking about how the nose tackle has felt the “punishing wrath of the NFL’s current contract structure.” The punishing wrath of $18 million. Jennifer Toland has BenJarvus Green-Ellis just looking to do his job. Glen Farley has Terrence Nunn just happy to be given an opportunity by the Patriots.

Christopher Price looks at how bad things can happen when rookies and young players try to do too much. Rapoport looks at Belichick’s comments on Ted Kennedy yesterday. Guregian notes that with the trade of Russ Hochstein, jobs are open on the offensive line.

Reiss’ notebook has a look at the four candidates vying for the backup center role vacated by Russ Hochstein’s trade to Denver. Brian MacPherson’s Patriots Notebook reminds us that the third preseason game is the one closest to a real game. Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots defense looking at making a statement against the run. The ProJo Patriots journal has Brady looking to get on the same page with all of his receivers. Farinella’s notebook has Belichick with some interesting words on the specialization of certain football positions. Toland’s notebook has more on Belichick’s statements about Kennedy. Farley’s notebook has more on the opening left by the Hochstein trade.

Misc

Check in with Fang’s Bites today as he attends the ESPN Media Workshop.

Mark Blaudschun has the BC quarterback situation starting to settle down. Steve Conroy has coach Frank Spaziani saying that he may play multiple quarterbacks. Eric Avidon has the Eagles’ front seven with a new look this season.

Kirk Minihane has a massive mailbag.

Mike McMahon looks at the price hike on new season tickets for the Bruins.

Michael Whitmer looks at the first leg of the PGA Tour playoffs, The Barclays. Whitmer’s notebook has Tiger Woods committing to play in next week’s TPC Boston.

Red Sox links in the post below this one.

Bob Ekstrom’s blog links will be taking a week off this week.