The Friday Megalink Thing

Ok, it’s time for the Friday megalinks. Wasn’t able to do them last week and now it’s time to bring them to you while I can.

You can always check your Weekend Viewing Picks for sports and primetime TV.

Now to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with CBS’ Dick Enberg who will call his final NCAA Tournament game tomorrow before embarking on a new phase of his broadcasting career.

Also in USA Today, sports broadcasting historian David J. Halberstam looks at the large number of veteran play-by-play men, including Enberg, who continue to call their respective sports well into their 70’s and some into their 80’s

And USA Today’s version of Mike and Mike, Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate the value of expanding the NCAA Tournament from its current 65 teams.

Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable says MLB is rebranding its Home Plate channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio to MLB Network Radio and will simulcast its programs at night.

Multichannel News looks at the life of former NBC Sports and ESPN President Chet Simmons who passed away Thursday at the age of 81.

R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel notes that Spike and UFC have put together a website for their Ultimate Fighter reality series which archives all ten seasons of the show.

Katy Bachman of Mediaweek looks at ESPN launching a New York-centric website.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says the NCAA Tournament steered CBS to an overnight ratings victory on Thursday.

The Nielsen Wire blog notes that Louisville in basketball-crazy Kentucky is the top rated market for the NCAA Tournament through the first two rounds.

Writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Dave Kindred says it’s important to see both sides of the story. 

The Sports Media Watch says Tiger Woods is shooting a new commercial.

Joe Favorito writes that the New York Jets made the right decision in participating in this season’s Hard Knocks program on HBO.

Gail Sideman in Sports Networker provides 5 proactive public relations tips for athletes to prevent them from getting into trouble.

Len Berman has his top five stories of the day.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe compares and contrasts the ESPN and Golf Channel interviews of Tiger Woods.

The New York Times speculates that HBO could be ending “Joe Buck Live” after three mostly lackluster shows.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post isn’t a fan of MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig’s job on steriods.

Over to Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News who writes that the Jets are taking a stab at HBOs Hard Knocks after turning a request last year.

Writing in Baltimore’s Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com has the latest on the Charm City’s sports radio ratings wars and other media moves.

In the Washington Examiner, Jim Williams asks his readers which is the best sports radio talk show in DC?

South

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson looks at an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel takes Florida football coach Urban Meyer to task for verbally attacking one of his colleagues this week.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News has the latest ratings for the sports radio stations and they’re not good for the local ESPN Radio affiliate.

Ray Buck from the Fort Worth Star Telegram says the national media spotlight will be on Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington after last week’s admission that he took cocaine.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that CBS’ Jim Nantz returns to Houston to call the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks with a national women’s college basketball analyst about Oklahoma’s play in the ladies NCAA Tournament.

In his media notebook, Mel discusses the upcoming season of Hard Knocks and the recent Sports Emmy Award nominations.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press looks at former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves who’s hoping to start a new career on TV.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the Fox Sports’ NFL analysts’ reaction to the new overtime rules.

In Crain’s Chicago Business, Ed Sherman says WGN-AM has eliminated a long-running talk show in place of more Cubs programming.

Ed also has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.

Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin has a whole bunch of media stories in his Friday column.

To Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who writes about Verne Lundquist’s return to the Gateway City where it’s memorable for a very big reason.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says despite having two NCAA Tournament games in town last night, CBS beamed the games from Syracuse into the local market.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on a continued contract dispute between a local sports radio station and its morning show. 

And John Maffei of the North County Times says on-air auditions for potential replacements have turned out to be disastrous.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star explores why ESPN and Golf Channel accepted interviews with Tiger Woods and why CBS did not.

Jim looks at how CBS handled the first four days of the NCAA Tournament.

John Scheibe in the Los Angeles Times says upsets have not hurt CBS’ ratings for the NCAA Tournament.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes about the new social networking venture by new Angels TV voice and Friend of Fang’s Bites, Victor Rojas.

In his blog, Tom expands on Victor’s venture.

Tom also has his extensive media news and notes.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail previews the CBC mini-series on Don Cherry.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star is puzzled as to why the Blue Jays have yet to release their TV schedule.

In Truth & Rumours, William Houston says the Don Cherry movie is definitely worth watching.

And that will conclude the megalinks. Have a good weekend

Bruins Step Back After Two Steps Forward

The Bruins looked to be coming together in their prior two games, but last night they reverted to old habits and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 at the Garden.

A control issue with Woods – Chad Finn examines Tiger Woods’ recent interviews, and says that the disgraced golf star still isn’t being totally candid.

Bruins take another step back against Lightning – Joe Haggerty has the wrap from the Garden.

Bruins ripe for pickings – Stephen Harris says that the Bruins really need to get the #2 pick in the draft (via Toronto’s pick) and get themselves a pure goalscorer – and several will be available.

Opposite night in B’s loss to Lightning – Dan Rowinski says that everything was backward for the Bruins last night.

Bruins’ special teams anything but – Joe McDonald looks at another lifeless series of power plays for the Bruins.

Shawn Crable may be Patriots’ missing piece – Ian Rapoport talks to the former Michigan star, who has yet to play a regular season snap for the Patriots after being drafted two years ago.

Rocket scientist finds his space – In a piece that must’ve been in the works for awhile, Adam Kilgore (who has been on the Nationals beat for the Washington Post for a few weeks now) has a feature on Patriots linebacker coach Matt Patricia.

Patriots’ offensive line hopes to build upon last season’s success – Robert Lee  talks to center Dan Koppen about how his unit can get better than they were last season.

Matsuzaka starts his comeback – Sean McAdam has Daisuke Matsuzaka making his Grapefruit League debut yesterday.

For new Red Sox third-base coach Tim Bogar, success will mean no one notices him – Brian MacPherson looks at how the new coach is preparing for his first season at the hot corner.

Padres slugger could still find his way to Boston – Mike Fine thinks Adrian Gonzalez is still a good possibility for the Red Sox, though the end of the Globe notebook seems to indicate otherwise.

Journey to the D-League, Part 4: The game – Paul Flannery wraps up his four part series on the NBA Development League.

Rough Celtics begin to smooth out – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics making some progress.

Celtics small lineup comes up big – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the small lineup employed by Doc Rivers against the Nuggets on Wednesday night, and why he might need to use it more over the coming weeks.

Differences between grid & diamond – In a blog entry, Mike Reiss cites access as the main difference between covering football and baseball.

And sort of media-related (For WEEI, anyway):

Congressman Fred Smerlas? It just may happen this fall – The Sun (Hamburg, NY) says that Fred Smerlas is thinking about moving his family to Western NY and making a run at Congress.

WEEI appears to be holding off WBZ-FM in the latest ratings. 98.5’s ratings have gone downhill since the start of the year (though ‘EEI’s have as well). Maybe the WEEI-lite strategy isn’t working.

Week Log: The Tide Is Rising Again

Maybe the Bruins’ wimpy effort last Thursday against the Penguins was the low-water mark in Boaston’s underachieving winter. Since then, the B’s have beaten out the competition for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the C’s have continued on their own renaissance, and hope is rising like the crocuses in my backyard. Well start with the best of the good news.

Celtics

The C’s made it four straight at home with last night’s win over the Denver Nuggets. That’s six of their last eight since hitting their own low-water mark in a 20-point home loss to the Grizzlies on March 10.

Evans Clinchy has the C’s looking more composed now than when they last faced Denver a month ago, and they let the Nuggets know it last night. Gino’s Jungle sees some good things on the court that weren’t there a month and a half ago.

Celtics Stuff Live cites some unexpected play from Tony Allen as a key contributor in last night’s win. The Three-Pointer has Boston’s bench stepping up big as of late. Hardwood Houdini says it may be five months late, but the bench we expected in October has finally arrived in March.

It’s going to take a few more wins against playoff contenders to move any discussion of the C’s legitimacy from Sports Talk Blog‘s heart to their head. With the next six games at home, SportsCenter 5 Overtime says this will be a good test of the C’s ability to hold home court in the playoffs. However, Celtics Blog has Rajon Rondo thinking it’s too late to instill fear in the hearts of visitors coming into TD Garden this spring. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has Rondo snapping out of his funk and making a triple-double look easy last night.

Remember last year when the Bulls beat Boston on St. Patty’s Day dressed essentially in Celtics uniforms? So does North Station Sports, who warns us that this growing trend of jersey theft can lead fans to accidentally rooting for the wrong teams.

Red Sox

Big Shots starts us off with a pictoral blend of spring and spring training, but down in Fort Myers spring is not in full bloom for everyone. Fenway Fruitgirl is perplexed by Boston’s poor Grapefruit League showing and could use a few wins to please her brain and shut up ESPN. Toeing The Rubber pooh-poohed the whole underwhelming Spring Training affair . . . until Josh Beckett was lights out on the mound yesterday.

The Bottom Line wonders how the Sox can extend both Beckett and Victor Martinez now that the latter has become the top potential free agent catcher in next year’s market. Boston Sports Then And Now brings us the dilemma posed by Joe Mauer’s extension in Minnesota. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is glad Mauer is staying put.

Mike Lowell is another guy that appears to be staying put, as Clubhouse Insider has his lack of mobility on stage for every scout to see. Full Count brings us Clay Buchholz being plagued by his old nemesis, the baserunner, in a disappointing spring thus far. Keep Your Sox On has Buchholz aging a little in his singing debut. On Subway Squawkers, Lisa claims a hatred of Sweet Caroline even as you know she was singing the chorus while logging her venomous thoughts. So good, so good! Masshole Sports tells Johnny Damon to pick a side already in the Good vs. Evil Empire war being waged within his head.

Fire Brand Of The American League learns the hard way that if you want to cheer in the press box, your pass better be made of cardboard. Sox ownership is fading fast in the estimation of Bingo Bar Blog, which finds the Krafts and Wyc Grousbeck more appealing. Funny, they didn’t mention Jeremy Jacobs. And with the regular season quickly approaching, Surviving Grady says nobody wins with a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis in the lineup but that appears to be the voters’ choice for Youk’s Opening Night do.

NCAAM

Thoughts From Press Row promises us some excitement tonight and tomorrow in Sweet Sixteen matchups. Jade McCarthy is willing to sacrifice her bracket in the spirit of true March madness.

Down in Kingston, cows aplenty woke up on their backs this morning as fans celebrated URI’s comeback victory at Virginia Tech last night. Rhody is going to the NIT Final Four, and Ram’s Journal says they’ll be right at home in Madison Square Garden. UConn Men’s Basketball bemoans a lost opportunity to travel to Rhode Island as the Huskies dropped 10 of their final 14 games, the last coming Monday in their NIT quarterfinal at Virginia Tech.

Patriots

One thing you won’t see coming out of this year’s NCAA tournament is the Pats’ next corner as Tom E. Curran has Bill Belichick less than wowed by basketball’s foot speed. Extra Points is just as confused as the rest of us while Belichick, in classic Dickensian style, discusses the importance of participation in his offseason training program. The Rap Sheet has Ron Brace working it this offseason, as he looks to fill the void left by Jarvis Green.

The Crowe’s Nest doesn’t think the new rules fully solve the overtime problem, so they shouldn’t solve it at all. On New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss has seven NE-related observations from the NFL owners meetings, including the Pats’ award of four compensatory draft picks come April. Pro Football Talk thinks Belichick would do well to extend former compensatory pick Tom Brady before Peyton Manning gets a new contract in Indy.

Bruins

Even after outright wins against both the Rangers and Thrashers this week that have lifted the B’s playoff hopes, the punch in the guts taken by fans last Thursday has tempered enthusiasm. For instance, Jerry Thornton says last week’s no-heart effort against the Penguins smelled of dead woodchuck under the porch, making B’s fans have to decide how long we’ll put up with the smells until someone goes down there to clean it up. ESPN Boston Bruins says the B’s defense is in flux and the Andrew Ference extension leaves them little wiggle room for maneuvering. Rink Rap was surprised by the extension, given Ference’s history of injuries and questionable NHLPA politicking.

If you thought getting a national health bill through Congress was complicated, Kathryn Tappen takes you through the maze in getting some no-brainer legislation enacted in the NHL. Bruins Blog reports the NHLPA hurdle was cleared this morning, making headhunting a punishable offense starting tonight.

Tea Party Throwdown much prefers Tuukka Rask’s calming presence between the pipes to the heart-attack style of Tim Thomas.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

With Boston College getting a top seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, BC Interruption asks whether the Eagles are better served with success in hockey or in basketball. JSilver’s UConn Blog gives us the skinny on UConn’s Pro Day. If you watched much Huskies football last fall, you know their lineup was filled with some interesting skills positions.

The Inside Track hears of a new NESN program in development that explores the top MLB cities Sox fans travel to. Joe Posnanski looks back on an eternally long four months in the life of Tiger Woods.

And finally, The Joy Of Sox is livid that 60-something Mick Jagger has gone into the studio to enhance tracks for the Stones’ remastered Exile On Main Street. Kind of like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson going back into the ESPN Classics studio to enhance some missing footage from the 1984 NBA Finals.

Sorry for the late delivery, but I had some computer issues this afternoon. Have a great spring weekend, and we’ll see you next week. In the meantime, I’m on Twitter and Facebook these days.