Sports Media Musings: Finn Podcast, Influx of Media, Former Athlete Media Grades, Links

Ryan Hadfield is a media columnist for SportsOfBoston.com. You can read his archive here. He also is a feature writer for GossipSports.com. You can yell at him on Twitter or harass him via email at [email protected]

An Informercial Before Our Regularly Scheduled Program

I don’t think I’m going out on a huge limb when I presume (most of) you come to this site for three reasons:

1.) You enjoy having every column relevant to Boston sports at your finger tips in one segregated place.

2.) You like to discuss the media figures, business side of each medium, and what could be done to improve both.

3.) You just want to wake up to Bruce’s mug every morning.

If either of the first two options appeal to you, I encourage you to head here and listen to my podcast with the guru of Boston sports media, Chad Finn.

In the podcast we discuss the recent troubles of WEEI, the coinciding rise of 98.5 The Sports Hub, NESN vs. CSNNE, and Grantland.com.

For the third option simply go to your favorites tab, and keep on living the dream.

Two for the Money?

Speaking of the local radio wars, I find the perceived “animosity” between hosts of each station more disingenuous with every viewing of Sports Tonight. Every day, I listen to each station make crass remarks about one another. And that’s fine, I get it, controversy creates publicity. It’s very essential to what these people do. “We’re number 1!”…”No! We’re number 1″…And so on and so forth.

(Though, after the last ratings book came out, The Sports Hub’s claim is true, while WEEI’s equivocal statements are somewhat delusional.)

My contention is – and I broached this topic with Finn – that these personalities have the relationship of cops and criminals throughout the day, and all of the sudden, turn into Franklin & Bash at night while on various CSNNE shows. The transformation shows, above everything else, the goal is strictly monetary-driven and the aforementioned venom is somewhat fabricated.

Except for John Dennis, Andy Gresh and Glenn Ordway. Everyone can all agree on hating them.

Hot Sports Takes!

With all the new media outlets launching in Boston, opinions often are consumed, regurgitated, and consumed again. It has to be expected with two radio stations, an abundance of websites, and CSNNE which converges all of the talent.

This week hilarity ensued as virtually every radio show on both The Sports Hub and WEEI gave listeners some form of, “No one wants to say it, but we’re straight shooters – the United States blew the women’s World Cup last Sunday. We know it’s weird to think of things in those terms – because they are women – but we’re the platform that tells it like it is. BOOM!”

Someone needs to sit both stations down, and advise personalities to refrain from presenting content like they’re shock jocks. Especially when their adversary is spewing the same crap. Simmer down.

Commenting on the, uh, Commentators!

Doc Emrick is leaving MSG Network to work full-time at Versus and NBC. I never thought I would take to a hockey play-by-play guy like Gary Thorne, but Emrick seems likable and his frantic pace is doting to the common viewer. It’s a good move for both the aging talent, and NBC (I don’t get to say that often). Eh, Enzo?

Additionally, I caught wind from Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch that old friend Sean McDonough is being assigned the lead college football afternoon game on ABC with color commentator, Matt Millen.

(Is it weird, even though McDonough called World Series games and also the Sox for over fifteen years, the moment that resonates most with me is this gem from a college football game? Fast forward to 25:30.)

On Twitter, Deitsch was lamenting about Millen’s presence in the broadcast, because of his failures as the winless Detroit Lion’s general manager.

Millen earned his bones as a player first and foremost, which provoked me to pontificate about former athlete’s in Boston and their role in the media.

Scott Zolak – Zo has been a presence in the market since his retirement from football, frequently appearing on Patriots 5th Quarter. The eccentric ex-signal caller has been a radio personality both in Providence, and now in Boston middays with Andy Gresh at 98.5 The Sports Hub. I think Zo’s football knowledge is worthwhile, but isn’t substantial enough to justify a radio show year round. Bottom Line: Although his enthusiasm for radio is endearing and borderline infectious, a guest host is a better suited role for Zolak.

(*Also worth noting: His rambunctious persona would fit in with, dare I say it, The Big Show).

Lou Merloni – While playing for the Red Sox “Utility Lou” was lauded for getting the most out of his abilities. He was never a stud prospect, which is ironic, because decision-makers in both television and radio fawned over Merloni. In fact, it’s been said The Sports Hub wined and dined Merloni trying to bring him on board to spar with Mike Felger in the afternoons. WEEI thwarted those attempts, giving Merloni a slot in the revamped midday show Mutt & Merloni. And while I think Merloni has tremendous upside as a host and analyst, he needs to add more insight and conviction in his work. Bottom line: Merloni belongs.

Brian ScalabrineI’ve written about his transient endeavours in media before. Bottom Line: As I wrote in the linked piece, Scal could be a rich man’s Merloni; conversely, his worse-case upshot is Merloni’s ceiling. Consequently, Scanilla Ice belongs.

Jermaine Wiggins – Maybe not as grating, but unfortunately Wiggins is the Mike Adams of 98.5′s afternoon drive show. He either struggles articulating his point, or doesn’t have one — I still am trying to figure out which it is. Bottom line: “Wiggy Wednesdays” are as entertaining as the pending NFL lockout.

Speaking of the lockout…

The NFL’s labor strife has turned into a will-they-won’t-they soap opera of epic proportions. It’s like an episode of Entourage. And I hate Entourage.

Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I love writing and reading about these negotiations. Frankly, the lock-out has joined the pantheon of topics that I refuse to talk about in even the most colloquial circumstances.

(Note this is a prestigious group: The lockout joins such subjects like Brett Farve’s penis, anything related to Tiger Woods, the economy, the Kedrick Perkins trade and Adrian Gonzalez playing right field as issues I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole.)

The immediacy of Twitter, which is doubling as a news gathering entity, exacerbates the blurriness between news and rumors.

With all that being said, I think we – as consumers – have to give some adulation to Mr. Albert Breer for his persistence during this ordeal. Breer’s efforts to keep readers informed is unparalleled. And, granted, his access through his employer (NFL Network) certainly behooves his purpose -he still deserves credit. Breer has been crushing it on the beat, telling us about each and every meeting, any advance in discussions, prevalent issues, and the like.

Even former co-worker and peer, Chris Gasper, gave his support of Breer’s work on the lockout.

@AlbertBreer You are the hardest-working man in NFL journalism. Almost home, man. Hang in there.

In his time at the Boston Globe Breer wasn’t exactly beloved like Bob Ryan. I got the sense readers felt he was a bit smug in his tone. I never got that sentiment, though.

So I ask, what say you readers? Was Breer under-appreciated, or did he just need a new forum to thrive?

Things I’m Reading

The Big Lead’s take on ESPN trying to capitalize on Twitter. An acute look at the motivations, pitfalls, and benefits of the four-letter network’s new initiative.

Peter Abraham gives us an idiot’s guide to the trading deadline.

David Shoemaker, of Deadspin and Grantland (Funny, right?), helps explain the new era of professional wrestling. (I know, I know – not really sports related. Consider it alternative viewing.)

 

 

Guest Column – The Local Boston Sports Scene in the Information Age

Bruce is on vacation -during his time off, a series of guest columns and posts will appear in this space.

The Local Boston Sports Scene in the Information Age

By George Cain

When I was a kid I spent many summers at a rental cottage in Hampton Beach, NH.  In the morning I would wake up, take fifty cents down to the corner store and purchase the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.   This was how I USED to get my daily sports fix.

SportsCenter existed at this time but it was on cable, which was not in everyone’s living room.  It definitely was not on a black and white television set with rabbit ears sitting in the cottage living room.  You had to rely on the newspapers in those days.  Most games weren’t on television, they were on the radio.   So it was common to read the game story the next day to help fill in the blanks from the radio cast the previous night.  Some of those game stories were written by Peter Gammons.   Do people even remember Peter Gammons writing, never mind writing the game stories?  There were also the all-important notebook columns.  This was the only way to find out about injuries, lineup changes or comments from the Manager/Coach.   And finally, there were the box scores.  I could read the baseball box scores for an hour back then.  These were the days way, way before fantasy baseball. You read the scores because you were a fan of the game and not because you were in first place in your $2000 fantasy baseball league.   The Sunday Boston Globe was a particular treat where you had the weekly columns written by Hall of Fame writers: Jackie MacMullan, Peter Gammons and Will McDonough.    Today’s its all changed.

Today we have the internet, 24 hour sports talk radio, 24 hours sports TV, ESPN, blogs, tweets and mailbags.  There are sportswriters , insiders, and personalities who jump from show to show to show to supplement their income and stay relevant in an industry that is completely focused on the NOW.

The newspaper industry is dying , if not dead.  For most people, especially men and women under the age of 35, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald are nothing more than websites that you visit for information.  These papers don’t break stories anymore, unless it’s through their own website.  Seldom do we ever see something on printed paper before we see it on our computer.  So if you live in Boston or are a Boston native where do you go to get the best information?

TWITTER,TWEETER, AND TWITS

I think everyone has a general knowledge of Twitter with the exception of my father and a few select tribal members deep within the South American rainforest.  But to refresh, all the sportswriters have an internet Twitter account they use to send out information. They will tweet a line and usually that line will link to a column or blog entry.  Those “tweets” are also published within websites like WEEI.com, ESPNBOSTON.com or CSNNE.com.  CSNNE.com does the best job of publishing contributing tweets within their website.  So if you want to find out quickly what happened to Josh Beckett when he fell of the mound, well CSNNE.com is a good place to start.   The problem is many of their “on air” personalities think it’s their personal Facebook and tweet completely useless information including what they are doing on their weekend.   I consider this totally unprofessional and tedious.  My advice is to follow a reliable source and go directly to their Twitter page.   Bill Simmons, the former “Boston Sports Guy” and now internet sports writing “King” is also worth checking out at least once a day, if for no other reason than to find out when his next column is appearing.  WEEI.com has “this just in” which is essentially bullet point headlines.    I like this format, the problem is that “this just in” becomes “guess what happened yesterday” so less is more when it comes to headlines.

BEST LOCAL TWEETER: Sean McAdam  

WORST LOCAL TWEETERS: MOST OF THE CSNNE.COM STAFF

BLOGS

I am much more of a blog reader than a Twitter reader.    So for me, Bruce Allen’s Bostonsportsmedia.com blog, is a must read everyday.  Bruce links all the local websites, newspapers sites, national articles pertaining to Boston sports and he’ll throw you some commentary as well.   He’s basically saving you at least 2 hours of time you could be wasting in other places.  Second locally would be WEEI.com with ESPNBOSTON.com a close third.  WEEI.com has the best daily blogs because they have the most range and cover 3 of the 4 sports well.  (hockey being the exception, check out Hags on CSNNE.com for hockey)   If its football season, Mike Reiss has the best information.   The Patriots clearly feel comfortable talking to Reiss, which is a rarity, since they tend to be close lipped on everything.  But, Reiss will bring you more than opinion.  Reiss provides stats, number of snaps players played in the previous game and formations used during the course of a game.   Reiss doesn’t just watch the game and give an opinion.    He breaks down the tape and informs the reader, something I myself enjoy as opposed to bloviating sports writers who like to gesture to cameras and read emails on air. (ahem..Tom Curran, Quick Slants is a mess)

BEST LOCAL BLOGGERS: Bruce Allen and Mike Reiss, 

BEST NATIONAL BLOG: Buster Olney’s on ESPN.com

COLUMNISTS

If you’re looking for QUALITY sports columns on a day to day basis its pretty slim pickings out there.  WEEI.com has Rob Bradford, Kurt Minihane and Alex Speier, three strong writers who seem to try to give you more than what you can simply watch on TV at night.   McAdam has always been a favorite of mine, but he’s become much more of a TV personality than a columnist.   And that pretty much goes for everyone at the Globe and Herald with two exceptions:  Ian Rapoport who actually seems more interested in journalism than television and Chris Gasper, who has tremendous upside as a writer and radio personality.   Jackie MacMullan, of ESPNBOSTON.com is always a superb read and is one of my favorite sports writers in the country.  Some people are much better suited for the TV, that’s right Michael Felger I’m talking about you.  But it makes you wonder if the journalist is dead?  Do words mean anything anymore, or do we all just want to listen while we multi-task.    I often think about what Thornton Mellon said in the movie “Back to School” when asked if he ever reads.  “Read?   Who has time?  I see the movie.  I’m in and out in 2 hours.”  I don’t know if that makes us lazy or a product of an information evolution.  But TV and now video podcasting are becoming the new printing presses.

BEST LOCAL COLUMNIST: Jackie MacMullan, ESPNBOSTON.com,

WORST LOCAL COLUMNIST: Ron Borges (which is a shame because at one time, one of the best)

CHATS, MAILBAGS, etc.

Lots of writers do on-line chats or mailbags.   Once again I recommend Mike Reiss on ESPNBOSTON.com for his weekly chats.  Felger used to have a pretty entertaining mailbag but with all his fame and multiple jobs it looks like he’s put the keyboard aside for good.  It’s now much easier for him to butcher the English language 4 hours a day on the radio and ½ hour at night without the stress of coming up with witty answers for his minions.   Bill Simmons to me is still the gold standard for which young writers today should strive to emulate.   He didn’t want to fetch coffee and wait his turn at the Boston Herald so he went out and started a website of this own, “The Boston Sports Guy.”  He’s parlayed that into ESPN.com.   And he’s parlayed ESPN.com into the most financially successful sports writing career in the history of the industry.  He has his detractors but the stats don’t lie.  Just check out his Twitter following, podcast downloads and visitors to Grantland.com where he is Editor-in-Chief.

BEST LOCAL ON-LINE CHAT: Mike Reiss ESPNBOSTON.com,

BEST MAILBAG: Kirk Minihane WEEI.com

So to sum it all up, there is more information than time to digest it all.  There is no clear #1 as far as I am concerned.  You have to be able to navigate through the useless stuff or you can waste a LOT of time.  There are definitely things today that work better than 25 years ago.  The media today can interact with the fans and vice-versa.   But there are some things that are worse.  Opinions are more plentiful but so is redundancy and mistakes.   By the time you get to the article about the Red Sox pursuing Matt Garza four other outlets have shot it down.  So, for me, while I do like the wealth of information available through all the different mediums, in some ways, I still miss the daily box scores all there in front of you in print.  I miss reading the game story which helped give context to the radio broadcast I listened to from the night before.  And finally I miss the breaking story that you got when you picked up the front page.  “Red Sox trade Eckersley for Buckner.”  Today that would have been tweeted, blogged, posted, discussed and Facebooked before the presses finished printing.  I still enjoy getting the Sunday paper delivered so I can read it on my porch and comb through the box scores.

That’s my opinion, what say you?

Vacation Time

Yes, it’s once again time for Bruce’s ill-timed vacation. Each time I go away, something huge happens, and this will be no exception, as the NFL prepares to go back into business. Surely there will be some unexpected move which have the local sports media going crazy, and dwelling on for about a week too long.

During my absence, (I’ll be back August 3rd) I’ve got guest columns and posters lined up each day. I’ve got three guest columns from George Cain, two from Michael Gee and one each from Roy Reiss and Mike Passanisi. Ryan Hadfield, who has been doing a bang-up job on media musings over at SportsOfBoston.com will be by each of the next two Fridays with his media musings and links. Ken Fang will interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with any huge news. These guest columns are terrific, and I guarantee that some of you will say (or just think) “Gee, BSMW is better when Bruce is away.”

There will also be Approval Ratings on most days, but not all. Keep in mind that with me away from a computer most of the time, your comments will not immediately appear unless you’ve registered with IntenseDebate and then logged in here. Otherwise, comments will still need to be approved manually, and that could be very infrequent.

So until August 3rd, enjoy (hopefully) the end of the NFL lockout and (hopefully) the start of free agency and training camp.

Sox Quieted By Guthrie

The Red Sox bats were held in check by Jeremy Guthrie last night, and while rookie Kyle Weiland managed not to get thrown out of his second major league start, he did pick up the first loss of his major league career as the Orioles beat the Red Sox 6-2 in Baltimore.

Swings and a miss - Peter Abraham focuses on the post-All Star break slump by Adrian Gonzalez, who is now 2-24 in the second half of the season. More game stories from Scott Lauber (also focusing on Gonzalez) | Tim Britton | Sean McAdam | Tony Lee | Baltimore Sun

Gonzalez not worried about slump - Sean McAdam has the Sox slugger refusing to blame the Home Run Derby for his batting slump.

J.D. Drew could be on borrowed time - Gordon Edes has the outfielder seemingly OK with the idea of losing his job to Josh Reddick. Jeff Goldberg notes that a roster squeeze is coming in the outfield.

Heavy hitters are able to deal with deadline - Nick Cafardo with a long, stream-of-consciousness piece on the trading deadline. Pretty sure he mentions every prospect the Red Sox have ever traded, and every player who might be available for trade this month.

Seven years later, Sox rejoin Beltran sweepstakes - Alex Speier’s trade deadline piece is focused on Carlos Beltran.

Control problems vexing Miller - Tim Britton has the Sox getting their first look at the frustrating side of Andrew Miller.

Weiland a winner in first loss - Ron Borges has Kyle Weiland feeling much more comfortable in his second start. Borges also has a piece on Clay Buchholz, who feels fine when throwing on flat ground, but still has back pain when throwing off a mound.

Reddick’s well-seasoned - Scott Lauber’s notebook in the Herald looks at the difference between the Josh Reddick of the past and the one we’ve seen in 2011. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Darnell McDonald on a nice little run at the plate. The Red Sox Journal looks at the contributions of Dan Wheeler. The CSNNE notes from McAdam have more on Weiland.

NFL stays on track for new CBA - Greg A Bedard with a good summary of where things stand on the NFL labor front.

No lockout on NBA schedule - Steve Buckley mocks the NBA TV schedule release show.

In a “thoughts” column, Dan Shaughnessy stumps for Mike Barnicle, rails against Twitter, lauds Logan Mankins for standing up to the Krafts, and says Jacoby Ellsbury is gone after 2013. Makes you want to run right over and read it, no?

Toucher and Rich had an interesting segment this morning where they had people telling them of a “marketing” survey that some of their listeners took part in yesterday which certainly appeared to be coming from WEEI as a way to figure out how to change up their programming to compete with 98.5.  A sample question from the survery was along the lines of “Are Dennis and Callahan past their prime?”

I’d be curious if anyone reading here was contacted for such a survey.

2011 Approval Ratings – Nick Cafardo

Nick Cafardo is the national baseball writer for The Boston Globe.

Cafardo begin his career in Brockton in 1975 before moving to the Quincy Patriot Ledger in 1981. In 1989 he joined The Boston Globe sports staff.

Cafardo has covered both the Red Sox and Patriots during his tenure at the Globe, but his heart is clearly with baseball. During his time on the Patriots beat he was clearly frustrated with the working environment and it reflected in his coverage of the team. Having moved back to baseball, he is noticeably more confortable and in his element.

He is a frequent presence on the various NESN programs, and in the past was in demand on WWZN radio, ESPN Radio and WBZ-TV’s Sports Final.

He is the author of several books, including The Impossible Team: The Worst to First Patriot’s Super Bowl Season, 100 Things Red Sox Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die and Boston Red Sox: Yesterday and Today

Nick’s son, Ben Cafardo works at ESPN in the communications department.

Nick Cafardo 2011 Approval Ratings
View Results

 

Sox Win Slugfest With Orioles

The Patriots Red Sox scored two touchdowns and made a two-point conversion to edge the Baltimore Ravens Orioles 15-10 last night in Baltimore.

Red Sox 15, Orioles 10: Boston’s bats leave no doubt - Tim Britton notes that it was logical that the Red Sox would follow up their lowest scoring game of the year by playing in their highest scoring game of the year. More game stories from Peter Abraham | Scott Lauber | Tony Lee | Sean McAdam

Tip your hat to Dustin Pedroia - Lenny Megliola says that the Red Sox second baseman is very special, “the little sonuvagun.”  More on Pedroia from Nick Cafardo. McAdam has Pedroia coming up big on Sunday night.

Reddick the right choice - Gerry Callahan says that it is time for Josh Reddick to play right field fulltime, and for J.D. Drew to go home.

Perfectly happy to manage incredible 16-inning game - Bob Ryan stayed up right to the end of Sunday night’s 16-inning marathon, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Hits must keep coming - Ron Borges astutely observes that with the starting rotation banged up, the offense has to keep scoring runs. He also has Kyle Weiland hoping not to get tossed out of his second major league game.

Crawford’s return a boost to Sox - Britton has a look at the return of Carl Crawford to the lineup.

Red Sox in comfortable position as trade deadline looms - Alex Speier looks at some areas of the roster that the Red Sox may tinker with in the coming weeks.

Dan Wheeler a hidden contributor - Gordon Edes says that the efforts of the Red Sox middleman last night should not be overlooked.

Jonathan Papelbon is bracing himself for a whole new world - Rob Bradford has the Sox closer very excited to test free agency at the end of the season.

Beckett’s start went long way - Abraham’s notebook has Josh Beckett setting the pace in the marathon game Sunday night. The Herald notebook from Lauber has David Ortiz starting his three-game suspension last night. The Red Sox Journal has more on Ortiz. The CSNNE.com notes have Tim Wakefield disappointed in his start last night.

Milan Lucic Enjoyed Offensive Breakthrough Last Season, But Must Maintain Physical Presence in Upcoming Campaign - Douglas Flynn has a look at the Bruins power forward.

One writer’s review of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup DVD - DJ Bean reviews the Bruins Stanley Cup DVD.

Brad Marchand knows deal will get done - Dan Duggan has the Bruins rookie confident that he’ll be back with the Bruins next season.

Leigh Bodden not seeing red - Karen Guregian has the Patriots cornerback ready for full contact as soon as training camp begins.

Light at the end of the tunnel - Jonathan Comey looks at the New England future of Matt Light once the lockout is lifted.

Jackson, Mankins push for compensation - Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports has Logan Mankins threatening to hold up the entire NFL by demanding to be either a free agent or given a $10 million payout.

Celtics-CSNNE deal includes an equity stake - Chad Finn with a short report on the possible deal between the Celtics and Comcast.

A couple other notes:

WEEI announced today that it will maintain and extend its agreement with Westwood One to carry Sunday and Monday night football which includes the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A bit of a change with the deal though is this – if the Patriots make it to the AFC Championship and Super Bowl, WEEI will be allowed to air the national feed of those games. The NFL broadcast blackout restriction has been lifted in home markets for the conference championship games and the Super Bowl for the first time. This means that the AFC Championship and Super Bowl could potentially be aired both on 98.5 FM (with Gil and Gino) and WEEI (with Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan.)

Jason Wolfe says that it will be “a real thrill for Patriot fans to be able to hear Boomer Esiason on the call of the Super Bowl, should the team get there. He’s the best analyst in the business.

The NBA will announce the 2011-12 season schedule today, which is an absolute joke. I have yet to talk to one person who believes that the NBA will play at all this season, let alone the full schedule. It’s a little insulting to have a schedule release show and analysis for games that won’t be played, such as Celtics-Knicks on Christmas Day.

Report: Celtics To Acquire Up To 20% Stake in CSNNE

John Ourand and John Lombardo of Sports Business Journal are reporting that the Boston Celtics have been in negotiations with Comcast SportsNet New England to extend their broadcast partnership, with the Celtics also acquiring as much as a 20% stake in CSNNE.

As story points out, this continues a trend in which professional sports franchises are teaming up on the business side with regional sports networks (RSNs).

It is possible that the deal may not be formally finalized until after the NBA lockout is over.

As Ben Rohrbach on WEEI.com points out, this also means that like the Red Sox, the Celtics will be covered by a media entity in which there is an ownership stake involved.

2011 Approval Ratings – Michael Holley

Today’s subject is WEEI’s Michael Holley.

An Ohio native, Holley worked for the Akron Beacon Journal before joining the Boston Globe in 1997. He was the Celtics beat writer before being moved into the columnist role. At the time, he was also a frequent guest on WEEI, especially on The Big Show, prior to the WEEI/Globe schism.

In September, 2001, Holley left the Globe to join the Chicago Tribune as a columnist. He quickly realized that he had made a mistake, and has spoken of the impact that 9/11 had on him at that time. By January, 2002, he was back at the Globe, and remained there until 2005.

In 2004, Holley was working on television on Fox Sports Net’s I, Max alongside Max Kellerman. He has also done ESPN’s Around the Horn. Locally, he has been a regular on CSNNE, and has been the host of Celtics Now.

In 2005, he was named to replace Bob Neumeier alongside Dale Arnold on the WEEI midday show. In February of this year, it was announced that Holley would be moving to The Big Show as permanent co-host alongside Glenn Ordway.

Holley has published three books – Patriot Reign, Never Give Up

His fourth book, War Room: Bill Belichick and the Patriot Legacy is due to be released on October 4th, 2011.

Michael Holley 2011 Approval Ratings
View Results

Sox Win Marathon In Tampa

The Red Sox and Tampa Rays played until almost 2:00 in the morning as they battled for 16 innings, with Boston coming out on top, 1-0 thanks to a Dustin Pedroia single that plated Josh Reddick with the game’s only run. It was a pretty bizarre night in many ways for the two clubs, and the national television audience on ESPN.

Red Sox go deep to beat Rays – Scott Lauber’s game story leads off with Josh Beckett submitting another ace performance. More game stories from Peter Abraham | Tim Britton | Sean McAdam | Rob Bradford looks at five things we learned from this one.

Starting to get that feeling about Sox – Joe McDonald notes that in this game, the Red Sox displayed the mental toughness that is necessary for a championship club.

Peace of mind is helping Pedroia put together one of his best streaks – Tim Britton notes that ever since he missed a game in New York to get his knee checked out, Dustin Pedroia has been on fire.

They’d like him up to speed – With Carl Crawford set to come off the DL today, Nick Cafardo says that it is time that the high-priced outfielder shows that he is worthy of his contract.

Date is set for Lester’s return – Peter Abraham’s notebook reports that the lefty will rejoin the rotation on July 26th. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has the same report. The Red Sox Journal looks at Crawford’s return today. The CSNNE.com notes have a look at the strong outing from Beckett and the contributions of Josh Reddick.

David Krejci Proves His Worth With Stellar Postseason, Will Be Counted On to Lead Bruins Offense Again – Douglas Flynn looks at the strong playoff performance of the first-line center.

Ras-I Dowling aims for quick impact – Mike Reiss has the Patriots second-round pick looking to contribute quickly.

Newman’s own – Michael Vega has Ryan Newman taking the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon NH yesterday. More on Newman’s win from Rich Thompson.

Sox Ready To Get Back To Work

The Red Sox begin the post-All Star break portion of their schedule tonight in Tampa as they begin a weekend series with the Rays.

David Ortiz received a four-game suspension from the league as a result of his role in a bench-clearing ruckus with the Baltimore Orioles. Ortiz plans to appeal the suspension and play this weekend in Tampa.

With the Sox yet to play, things are still fairly slow on the sports pages. Today, we’ll look at a few sports media columns, some baseball stuff, and a thought or two.

First, it seems I need to clarify a couple of paragraphs from the other day. I wrote:

Speaking of Jeter’s absence, I found it funny that in the past, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez had skipped All Star games, and the furor from the media was fierce. In 2006 when Manny skipped, Buster Olney said that his name should never again appear on an All Star ballot.

Derek Jeter is “mentally exhausted” from his quest for 3000 hits, and that’s why he stayed home from last night’s game. No problem at all from anyone. He’s Derek Jeter. I’m not a Derek Jeter basher, and this is not a shot at him, it’s a shot at the double-standards employed by so many in the media toward their favorite sons.

I’ve received quite a bit of feedback regarding the mention of Buster Olney. In retrospect, I made it appear that I was singling him out for letting Jeter off the hook while being harsh towards Manny Ramirez for doing the same thing. I was only attempting to use what Olney said about Manny as an example of the things that were being said on a national level at that time, not insinuating that Olney was letting Jeter skate. Olney in fact, has been pretty critical of Jeter not making an appearance at the All Star game (though he hasn’t called for his name never to appear on an All Star ballot again).

I probably just should’ve used the quote, perhaps without attributing it to Olney, or been more verbose and specific in my views on this. Either way, my intention was not to imply that Olney was being hypocritical in the two cases. (To clarify even more, since I apparently am incapable of making myself coherent on this topic, my scorn was more aimed at the likes of Tim McCarver and the other Jeter fanboys in the media. I do know that he’s gotten some amount of critism, but no one to my knowledge has called for Jeter to never be allowed to be on the All Star ballot ever again.)

Now, let’s get down to what’s happening today:

How Can WEEI Bounce Back After Ratings Slip? - My SBNation Boston Media column looks at what has gone wrong for WEEI, and what things they can do to get back on top of the ratings war.

The Cup spilleth over - Chad Finn’s media column has Jason Wolfe predictably downplaying the significance of the 98.5 win.

Jessica Heslam posts a nasty memo signed by Entercom boss Julie Kahn and several WEEI-AM (850) personalities, including John Dennis and Michael Holley, from last summer, in which WEEI accuses WBZ-FM of  a “patently false misinformation campaign in an effort to discredit our ratings supremacy in the Boston market.

Sports Media Musings: Taking Stock in Finn’s Column, Grading Gary Tanguay, Dismissing Andy Gresh - Ryan Hadfield (who is going to get some time here on BSMW in the near future) weighs in with an epic amount of thoughts and notes on the Boston sports media scene.

ESPN has changed British Open coverage for the better  - Bill Doyle’s media column looks at ESPN’s coverage of The Open Championship.

Fife delivering after changes – Monique Walker’s Minor League notebook has updates on several Red Sox prospects.

Minor-league talent gives Sox options and roster problems – Brian MacPherson says that the depth of the Red Sox system will make it hard to protect all their prospects in the Rule V draft this winter.

Under studies – Nicole Auerbach has a pair of Australian brothers learning the game while playing for the Lowell Spinners.

Kevin Youkilis again a hidden gem among stars – Michael Silverman has Kevin Youkilis managing to be overlooked while still producing.

Five keys for the Red Sox’ second half – Sean McAdam has a few things that need to work out for the Red Sox in the second half of the season. Kirk Minihane also cranks out five storylines for the second half of the season.