Sox Can’t Get It Done; Season Just About Over

The Red Sox dropped two out of three in Tampa over the weekend, falling 5-3 last night in a game which pretty much ended the postseason hopes for Boston as they dropped to 6.5 games out of the division and Wild Card standings. Check all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

So, exactly how bad is it for the Red Sox? It’s been better – Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox only remaining hope rests in trying to track down the Yankees.

Red Sox face math problem – Gordon Edes says that a playoff spot is hard to figure at this juncture.

Sox starting pitching fizzles in St. Pete – Sean McAdam has the Boston starting pitching coming up short in this series.

Deal for Angels’ Mike Napoli unlikely – John Tomase looks at the Red Sox putting in a claim on the Angels C/1B , but says he is unlikely to be coming to Boston.

Martinez’s catching is now well-received – Peter Abraham has Sox pitchers more comfortable with Victor Martinez behind the plate.

Tough choice made – Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has Adrian Beltre playing through a tweaked hamstring despite a noticeable limp.

The Patriots will be trimming the roster this week, first down to 75 tomorrow and then to 53 on Saturday. The projections are coming fast and furious: Shalise Manza Young – Mark FarinellaJeff Howe 

Patriots have to-do list before opener – Mike Reiss has preparations shifting into a higher gear this week.

Belichick not sold on early returns by Patriots – Glen Farley says that the coach isn’t ready to put his returners into the Hall of Fame just yet.

Night in cage all the rage – Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at a successful night of UFC at the TD Garden Saturday night.

Kenny Florian defends himself – Dan Duggan has Florian defending himself against comments from UFC President Dana White, who said that Florian “chokes in big fights.”

Hub debut a knockout – Duggan’s notebook has more on a great night for UFC in Boston.

Late Summer Megalinks

We have less than a month to go in summer and with our Labor Day weekend coming next week, we all know that September means school, end of vacations and the like. It also means football in earnest. Where I’m going with this thought I don’t know, but I’m feeling melancholy that the summer is almost done.

My sympathies to Bruce on the loss of his grandmother. Having lost all of my grandparents by my mid-20’s, I do wish at least one was around so I could still talk with him/her.

Let’s do the megalinks and there are plenty of stories for you to read. Of course, the Weekend Viewing Picks give you what’s happening in sports and entertainment.

Now to the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand points out that a possible victim of an 18 week NFL regular season might be the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

At Sports Business Daily, John Ourand writes that CBS has almost sold out of its NFL regular season ad inventory. 

Milton Kent of Fanhouse says another possible victim to the expanded NFL regular season might be The Oscars.

Milton enjoyed listening to CBS US Open analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo square off over the ATP and WTA Tour schedules.

Kelly Riddell and Andy Fixmer of Bloomberg write that a hangup in the Disney/Time Warner dispute is the fees over the ESPN3.com broadband service.

Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News says Gol TV in HD gets picked up by Time Warner Cable in New York.

Lucia Moses at Mediaweek writes that Golf Magazine is feeling bullish about the sport despite its problems this year.

At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Dave Kindred says journalists who try to build a personal brand do so at their own risks.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell feels a webcast on Ralph Lauren’s website might be the future of sports marketing. 

Darren notes that there’s a prime parking spot available at The Barclays this week.

Emmett Jones at Sports Business Digest notes that Reebok is using an au naturel Kelly Brook to sell shoes.

Emmett says the NHL might create an all-women’s league to help the competitive balance in Olympic hockey.

Sports Media Watch has a few news and notes.

From Yahoo!, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy looks at the five things learned from this week’s World Hockey Summit.

Brett Barrouquere of the Associated Press reports on a Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader who won a huge libel and slander award against a gossip website. 

Bob Stockton of World Tennis Magazine says this year’s US Open Tennis Series garnered good ratings for ESPN2.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn from the Globe says Hard Knocks with the New York Jets has become Must See TV.

Brian Ballou of the Globe reports that the son of NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy was arrested this week for allegedly groping a woman.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes that Jay Mariotti is now wearing the shoe on the other foot after being bombastic throughout his career.

Bob Raissman at the New York Daily News feels Hard Knocks is riding the Darrelle Revis train despite his training camp holdout. Is Raissman actually watching the show?

Phil Mushnick in the New York Post says YES failed to cover all bases during an incident in a Yankees-Blue Jays game on Monday.

Claire Atkinson of the Post looks at how NFL fans can now watch games on their cell phones. 

Brett Cyrgalis of the Post writes that a lack of American players will hurt U.S. Open ratings for CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel. 

Brett has five questions for SEC on CBS analyst Gary Danielson.

In NY Sports Journalism, Barry Janoff has the results of a readers poll of the greatest sports broadcast calls of all-time.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says the new local AHL team is planning to be proactive on local TV and radio.

Pete has more on the Albany Devils broadcast hopes.

Pete says Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga goes to regional television after being on national TV for a quarter century.

Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record has a partial college football schedule for the MSG Networks.

Ken says get ready for preseason hockey.

Steve Sampsell of the Centre (PA) Daily Times talks with ESPN NASCAR analyst Tim Brewer.

The Delaware County Times says College Gameday will be visiting the Villanova campus in February.

Dave Hughes from DCRTV writes in Press Box that the Baltimore Ravens have signed with Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic for most of its TV programming.

Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner talks with ESPN/ABC college football analyst Jesse Palmer on Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.

South

The Virginia Gazette picks up a story from William & Mary’s newspaper written by Virginia Nadler regarding ESPNU using school students to produce programming.

Tim Clodfelter of the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal says it’s getting down to the wire between Time Warner Cable and Disney. 

The State in Charleston, South Carolina says it’s moving its Go Gamecocks website to a pay model.

Josh Hoke of The State writes that big name high school recruits bring the big lights to town. 

Dave Scheiber of Fox Sports Florida has Rays analyst Kevin Kennedy recalling the moment when he got the networks’ attention.

John Lembo of the Bradenton (FL) Herald notes that ESPN is in town for a high school football game tonight.

John looks at the reasons why ESPN chose Bradenton as a broadcast location.

In the Orlando Sentinel, Shannon Owens has ESPN’s Lee Corso being bullish on the Florida Gators.

Stan Diel of the Birmingham (AL) News says the clock is ticking down in the talks between Bright House cable and ESPN.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Texas Rangers continue to rack up the ratings.

Matt Heika of the Morning News says the Dallas Stars will have a new radio studio host this season. 

Ray Buck at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looks at former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach going to TV this season.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that the local Little League baseball team is pulling in the ratings.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says ESPN’s Lee Corso hopes to fulfill his new contract with the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says high school football will be covered heavily by local TV throughout the season.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at NFL Films’ new documentary series that will air on NFL Network throughout the fall.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has this week’s winners and losers.

Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune looks at the Fanhouse suspension of former Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.

Interestingly enough, Mariotti’s former paper, the Sun-Times, uses wire reports to report on his suspension.

Paul Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Wild will have all of its games on TV for the first time since entering the NHL.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says a minor league baseball broadcaster still can’t over the death of a player last weekend.

West

Jay Drew of the St. Lake City Tribune looks at the factors, including ESPN, that led BYU to remain with the Mountain West Conference after briefly flirting with the WAC. Thanks to The Big Lead for the link.

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News says BYU has long been owed a bigger slice of the TV pie due to the audience it brings to the table.

Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune says long-time Padres broadcaster Ted Leitner will return for another season.

To the North County Times where John Maffei talks with Texas Rangers/San Diego Chargers voice Josh Lewin who will also be doing duties for Fox this weekend.

At the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes about Notre Dame requesting NBC to reduce its commercial breaks for football games this season.

In the Los Angeles Times, Diane Pucin has CBS/NBC/ESPN2/BBC/7 Network analyst John McEnroe’s controversial comments about women’s tennis schedule being too demanding for its stars.

Joe Flint of the Times says an 18 game NFL schedule could bring a new TV partner and a permanent date for the Super Bowl. 

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at the Sport Science franchise which ESPN picked up from Fox Sports Net.

Tom has more with Sport Science host John Brenkus who has been the human guinea pig for the show.

Tom also reviews the week in blogging and more.

Mark Glover of the Sacramento Bee says high school football is growing in the national spotlight.

Matt Phelps and Megan Managan of the Kirkland (WA) Reporter preview an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on a monumental Little League World Series upset from the early 1980’s.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail wonders when a local sports radio station will name a morning show host.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the war of words over the new Rogers Sportsnet one is really heating up.

And we’re done. Thanks for reading.

Reality Check For Patriots

Before I begin I want to take a moment to remember my Grandmother, Frances (Schanda) Allen, who passed away this morning at the age of 96.

There aren’t many people left who can remember the roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and everything since. Born in 1914, my grandmother could remember all those times, and even up until recently could talk about them. Hers was truly a great generation.

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After so many positives in their first two preseason games, the Patriots took a big step back last night against the lowly St Louis Rams and rookie QB Sam Bradford, who lit up the Patriots first team defense well into the second half, and the Rams kicked a field goal as time expired to beat the Patriots 36-35 in the third preseason game.

While the media will be up in a tizzy for the next week over Laurence Maroney not seeing the field for the second straight game, don’t pay any attention to it, if you can. Despite the proclamations of guys like Peter King, Maroney is in no danger of being cut. My take on it is that the coaches already know what Maroney is, and that he will be the lead back much of the season. Belichick himself said earlier this week of Maroney “He’s ready to go.” They’re taking the games to evaluate the other backs (namely Morris and BJGE), to determine which of them is going to make the roster. I think Maroney and Fred Taylor (and Kevin Faulk, of course) are givens. Maroney could also be sitting down in part to protect him from injury. The Patriots have in the past held players without any known injuries (Deion Branch being one) out of the entire preseason simply to keep them healthy.

Though he may have a slightly smarmy way of saying it:

This has been a bad one for the Patriots. But I wouldn’t get overly concerned … Just like I wasn’t gaga like so many others after Atlanta.Fri Aug 27 01:21:58 via web

Albert Breer speaks the truth here. No need to get too concerned over a preseason game, one way or the other.

Consider it part of the learning curve – Breer says that while the Rams dominated the Patriots last night, there is no reason to press the panic button.

Patriots defense takes a step back – Mike Reiss says it plainly – This one stunk.

Ten Things We Learned Thursday Night: Maroney still MIA – Christopher Price leads with Maroney and nine other items from last night.

Five things to remember – Tom E Curran notes that this was not an unmitigated disaster, despite all the negatives.

Brandon Tate makes a favorable impression – Need a bright spot? Brandon Tate was one of the few with his 97-yard kickoff return to open the game. Jim Fenton looks at the night for Tate.

With Hernandez out, Gronkowski showcases skills – Rookie right end Rob Gronkowski was the other bright spot, catching a pair of touchdown passes. Danny Picard has a look at his night.

Few bumps for Tom Brady – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the QB getting a look at what the offense needs to fix before opening day.

The Red Sox are in Tampa this weekend for what could be another “make or break” series for their playoff hopes.

This trip at Tropicana, it’s all or nothing – Jon Couture says that this Red Sox team is teetering on the line between feel-good and actually good, and that now is the time to show what they are.

For Sox pitchers, it’s show time – Joe McDonald says that the Red Sox built their rotation for series like this one.

Daisuke Matsuzaka nibbles less, fares better – Michael Silverman says that Dice-K has been picking up his pace, with improved results.

Bard having brilliant year in Boston bullpen – Mike Fine looks at the strong year from the hard-throwing reliever.

Prospect has good moves – Peter Abraham’s Minor League Notebook leads off with a look at the Sox trying to find the right position for first-round pick Kolbrin Vitek.

It’s hard to resist bombast of Jets – Unlike Tom Brady, Chad Finn has gotten sucked in by “Hard Knocks.”

Media Roundup: About That ‘NESN Daily’ Program – Over at SB Nation Boston,  my thoughts on NESN Daily…and a few other items.