Trying To Do A Friday Megalink Session

I’m hoping to get this entire Megalink session finished in one sitting. It’s been a crazy day thus far. Of course, all of your weekend sport and entertainment programming are featured in the Weekend Viewing Picks.

Let’s get to the linkage now.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today speaks with noted baseball announcing author Curt Smith who has written another book about the subject.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy has ESPN’s Desmond Howard criticizing the current college athletics system which does not allow for students to get paid.

Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel talks with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott about the details of the conference’s new TV networks.

Mike Barnes of the Hollywood Reporter writes that Golf Channel and CBS will have the honors of airing Tiger Woods’ return to golf next weekend.

Michael Malone at Broadcasting & Cable criticizes WPRI-TV in Providence for recreating golf highlights and passing it off as it actually happened.

Thomas Umstead from Multichannel News says boxing is still a big part of HBO Sports.

Todd Spangler at Multichannel says ESPN will redesign its live streaming site for Xbox 360 users.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the video of Dan Patrick joining old SportsCenter partner Keith Olbermann on Current’s Countdown program to talk about casting the potential ESPN Movie.

Marcus Vanderberg at SportsNewser notes that ESPN’s John Clayton still hasn’t grasped this Twitter thing yet.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser writes that Rory McIlroy called out a BBC golf commentator and had quite the Twitter battle.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Knicks and Rangers fans will have the opportunity to see their team’s players go from the court/ice to the locker room and vice versa.

The Big Lead speaks with actor Dan Lauria about bringing his Broadway role of coach Vince Lombardi “home” to Green Bay this weekend.

Sports Media Watch says viewership declined for the last week of Copa América on Univision as glamor teams Brazil and Argentina lost before the semifinal round.

SMW notes that the ratings jumped for the WNBA All-Star Game on ABC last weekend.

Joe Favorito says Baseball’s governing body is now using social media to its advantage.

Bob’s Blitz has an interesting story of a former cameraman and ESPN director who got a lucky cell phone and has been living the life of a celebrity.

Ben Koo of Awful Announcing notes that the Pac-12 Networks will further fragment sports on cable.

Overseas, this is big news. John Plunkett of the London Guardian says BBC Sport is letting go of most of its Formula 1 contract and satellite provider Sky Sports will pick up a lion’s share of races starting next year. That would be as if Fox decided to allow DirecTV to take over most of the NASCAR contract.

Ben Gallop of BBC’s motorsports division explains why the decision was made.

East & Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe feels melancholy over the loss of HBO’s Hard Knocks, a victim of the NFL lockout this season.

At SB Nation, Kat Hasenauer Cornetta says women are still trying to get a foothold in the Boston sports media.

Newsday’s Neil Best says Derek Jeter finally opened up a bit in the HBO documentary that premiered this week.

At the New York Post, Phil Mushnick warns to be careful what you wish for in wanting replay review in baseball.

Mike Battaglino of the Post notes that there will be no edition of Hard Knocks this season.

Justin Terranova writes that the NFL TV’s partners were never worried about losing games to the lockout.

A couple of more stories from the Post. Tim Bontemps from the Post says Derek Jeter agreed to do the HBO documentary on his quest for 3,000 hits so his future children could see him at work.

Justin has five questions for the producer of the HBO Jeter documentary.

Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union writes that the premiere of NBC’s Summer at Saratoga series did quite well.

On Thursday, Pete, the lovely Rachel Cohen of the Associated Press and your humble blogger were invited to ESPN to talk to several of the network’s production staff and then interview Norby Williamson, the network’s Vice President of Studio and Event Production. Pete has a story on that visit.

Pete Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News writes about the contentious relationship between NFL Network and NFL Films.

To the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog and Dan Steinberg who notes that local talk show host John Riggins isn’t optimistic about DC NFL team coach Mike Shanahan’s chances this year.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says MLB Network will be all over the Trading Deadline this weekend.

South

Jared Hunt from the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail profiles CBS golf producer Lance Barrow as he helms the network’s broadcasts of the Greenbrier Classic this weekend.

Cindy Watts of The Tennessean talks about country star Kenny Chesney writing and performing the theme song for a new ESPN series.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says NFL Films founder Ed Sabol is deservedly getting the NFL Films treatment in a new documentary celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

David talks about the lack of a Hard Knocks series this season.

Rick Cantu and Kirk Bohis of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman says ESPN approached several high schools about putting their games on the Longhorn Network.

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman talks with ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit about the upcoming season.

Mel finds the real reason why Herbstreit chose to move his family away from his native Columbus, OH to Tennessee.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with former NFL’er and current TV analyst Ray Bentley about the 1987 NFL strike.

Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds some interesting Brewers anecdotes in the new Curt Smith book.

Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune interviews ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.

Over to the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin where Paul Christian notes that ex-Minnesota Golden Gopher coaches keep finding their way to television.

West

Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune says former Utah Jazz player Matt Harpring has made the successful transition to the TV booth.

John Maffei of the North County Times understands why Mexican government ads must be played on a local sports radio station, but it doesn’t mean he has to like them.

Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News looks at the new batch of ESPN Films documentaries that will be released later this year.

Tom has Fox Sports/MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal still being wary of Twitter.

Tom talks with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott about his whirlwind tenure that has left the league with a pocketful of riches.

Tom has more on the Pac-12 Network announcement aftermath.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail says the father of new Blue Jay Colby Ramus is using the local media to blast St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.

And that will do it for today.

Sports Media Musings: Felger & Mazz Drop the Ball, Toucher & Rich’s Rise, Rapoport’s Infamous Tweets

A Swing, And A Miss

Fat Albert and a wide receiver doubling as a (somehow) crappier version of America’s Got Talent host, Nick Cannon? To our beloved Patriots? The same team that subscribes, better yet invented, the “Patriot Way.” This is everything local media should be salivating over. Content that, for all intents and purposes, writes itself.

Or so we thought.

Sitting at work, after the Albert Haynesworth deal was announced, I was left with a choice to make. WEEI or The Sports Hub? I went with the latter, because I was interested to hear what Mike Felger had to say. As I’ve written before, the dude’s analysis of the Moss trade was soothsayer-esq, and he had earned the right to have my ears this time around.

The program opened with co-host Tony Massarotti fearfully saying, “This is a bad guy, Mike.”

(A phrase Mazz would repeat roughly 17 times….in the first hour of the show. He reminded me of Michael Myers’ doctor/caretaker trying to warn whatever town the killer was roaming of his lunacy. Relax Tony. Fat Albert isn’t going to break into your house and eat you.)

Felger then put on an exposition from the school of blowhards.

(And to answer your question, yes, Dean Ordway founded the institution in 1987.)

He read the same laundry list of transgressions on the behalf of Big Al that were reiterated to his audience all day. Then he went on to say that he liked the move, and the Patriots should use Haynesworth for one season – then dump him.

My question is if you like the move, presumably, you believe Haynesworth is going to have a good year. And the goal is to win a Super Bowl, correct? So, if the Patriots win it all, we’re supposed to dump Haynesworth?

Felger’s analogous was the mal-content (and out-of-shape) Corey Dillon who – after a ginormous year in the Super Bowl run during ’04 – got fat and happy, never regaining previous form.

In retrospect the comparison works, but in retrospect a lot of decisions look different. The verity of the circumstance is it’s a specious argument. Dillon broke the single-season rushing record for New England that year. If the front office decided to part ways with him, the backlash would have rivaled the Kendrick Perkins trade.

Moreover, Felger incessantly cited the risk that if Fat Al makes it to opening day the Pats are on the hook for his salary. This is the same guy who has killed New England’s frugality in the past, so why does he care if the Kraft’s foot the bill?

This opened up the wounds of a criticism Bruce Allen has noted in the past of Felger – his tendency to talk out of both sides of his mouth. A habit the host ascertained at the lap of his adversary, Glenn Ordway.

Speaking candidly, I’ve never felt that way. I always felt Felger’s strength was his clear-cut takes, whether true or not, and his accountability for mistakes.

(He freely admits being wrong about Julien and the Bruins, just as much as he reminds us about being vindicated in his Branch/Moss prediction.)

But Thursday afternoon this ambiguity was at the forefront of his four-hour show. I still think he’s throwing 98 MPH right now, and though his detractors will disagree with me [and I know there are many of you], if ESPN were to host a special PTI: City vs City – who would represent Boston over Felgy?

You’ve Changed Things And There’s No Going Back

(The Joker, The Dark Knight)

I’ve noticed Fred Toettcher getting more air-time on CSNNE’s Sports Tonight. In fact, the network gave the radio host a segment entitled “Get In Touch”, where hosts ask him rapid questions pertaining to each of the four major professional sports franchises.

I’m happy to see the success from Toettcher’s morning radio show – Toucher & Rich – translate to television. From “Rad Marchand” to “New-Jack Edwards”, it’s clear 98.5’s Toucher & Rich have given this market a shot in the arm that it’s never had before – no, not HGH – but quality sports talk predicated on humor.

Critics will point to the stereotypical “Morning Drive Zoo Radio Formula”. And that would make sense if T&R were two hosts yelling over one another playing obnoxious sound bytes. This is not the case though. The show’s ingenuity focuses on the ideology of grasping an evanescent event in sports, and yielding a comical skit.

It’s easy to argue the show’s lack of credibility since it derived from the now defunct alternative rock station, WBCN. However, the reason T&R has taken off has to do with the previously discussed innovative comedic talents and, more importantly, the duo’s willingness to out-work its competition.

It’s palpable how much both host’s, Rich Shertenlieb and Fred Toettcher, have improved their sports knowledge. That takes work. Shertenlieb attending a late-night Charlie Sheen performance, and convincing the crazed star to come on the show takes work. In the same token, Toettcher getting out of bed at 2 AM to do the show takes work. The two have hit their mark.

On the other hand, I think Dennis & Callahan didn’t expect worthy competition at this stage in their career. I don’t think the WEEI hosts want anything to do with it either, especially considering the unorthodox style T&R is broadcasting. D&C seems to impose the opposite strategy that T&R employs. While T&R produce comedy on the ephemeral, D&C harp on serious issues over LONG periods of time, to the point of exhaustion.

Adding to the Rap Sheet

In what feels like a month ago, Ian Rapoport was castigated by fans and peers this week after he tweeted inside the temple of Myra Kraft’s funeral. Rapoport defended himself in multiple mediums.

First, on his Twitter page – the origin of the scandal – he denied using his phone during the actual service:

So everyone debating has the facts: There was no tweeting during the service. Only before and after. All were respectful.

Later on, the beat reporter for the Boston Herald appeared on WEEI’s The Big Show to further address the situation and his intentions.

While I was there to pay respects to Myra Kraft, I was there as a reporter going to write a story on the funeral, on the service, which I did. So you know, what I want to do every time is bring timely newsworthy information to readers and followers and whoever else, basically in every way that’s available, and so i tweet a lot.

Rapoport did show hesitation in regards to his actions, alluding to things he could have done differently.

I didn’t tweet once [the service] began. The only thing that I’m sort of still thinking about that I think is difficult for some people to wrap their head around is I was inside the building. I was physically in the temple. …Maybe it might have been better to step outside in the reporter area, communicate the news that way and then go back in. I just didn’t want to lose my seat. So maybe that’s something if I could do it again I would consider physically where I was. I was in my seat. Would it have been better if I was in the hallway, in the doorway? I’m not sure, but those are the kind of things I’m thinking about.

Aggregate reaction was predictably harsh, before calming down. Boston.com’s Chris Gasper seemed perturbed initially, but then backed off saying “It’s a personal choice. Just not something I would have done.” Gerry Callahan said he read his colleagues tweets and thought they were interesting.

What do I think?

Well, I hate to play the middle (it’s cop-out, to a degree), but I have to here. Rapoport’s tweets isn’t an exemplar of desecration, but I’m not going to go as far as Callahan and say, “They were worthwhile and provocative.”

I love Twitter. I think it’s a great forum for everyone (Players, Fans, Media) to interact. He was “doing his job” and letting the masses know who was in attendance. Strictly from a utilitarian point of view, Rapoport’s ‘scandal’ is not really a scandal – it’s just natural runoff from covering an event.

Although, hearing that Curtis Martin came to Myra Kraft’s funeral can wait. And, like with anything in life, there’s a sense of discretion and autonomy in play here. I doubt his editors were demanding a play-by-play of the timeline in which players appeared at the service. That’s not an attack on Rapoport. He is simply a conduit for this social media debate.

So I ask you, readers, did Rapoport go to far? At what point is the line separating immediacy of information being disseminated and humanity superseding intersected?

2011 Approval Ratings – Gary Tanguay

Gary Tanguay is the co-host of Mohegan Sun’s Sports Tonight on Comcast SportsNet.

The self-proclaimed “truck guy,” Tanguay is very busy, co-hosting Mohegan Sun’s Sports Tonight for CSNNE alongside Mike Felger as well as the pregame and postgame shows for the Celtics broadcasts on the network. He has been with CSNNE since 2000.

In addition, Tanguay is the host of the pregame and postgame shows on the 98.5 FM Patriots radio broadcasts. He was part of the August 2009 initial launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub, co-hosting the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show with Scott Zolak before being dumped the following April in favor of Andy Gresh.

Prior to joining CSNNE, the Maine native worked at WBZ-TV, and also did radio work with WEEI, WVEI and WTKK, where he hosted “Calling All Sports.”

{democracy:122}