Bobby V – The Next Rex Ryan? Um, No.

While I admit that I am skeptical of the Bobby Valentine experiment, and can’t say that I was a huge fan of his hiring, I think it’s going a little too far to proclaim him the next Rex Ryan, as I’ve heard several times already.

Is he guaranteeing World Series championships? Is he saying he’s not going to kiss Joe Girardi’s ring?

We know he doesn’t shut up, and he’s already made it a point to tweak the Yankees a couple of times already, but he’s not boasting about how great his team is, and he’s not making promises of championships. Of course, he could do all of that today, and make this entire post void, but for now, the comparison to Rex Ryan is just dumb. Buck Showalter took shots at the Red Sox last spring training, did he become the next Rex Ryan? Joe Maddon has gotten in a tweak or two at the Red Sox, is he the next Rex Ryan?

What this is, once again, is an easy, lazy, hot-button topic for sports radio and TV hosts.

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The Celtics managed a much-needed, if uninspiring 86-83 win in Cleveland last night. Rumors continue to fly about the future of the franchise and what this team will look like in the next couple of weeks, never mind to begin next season. On NBC SportsTalk, Adrian Wojnarowski stated that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers had decided that this team cannot contend this season. Wojnarowski then gave his opinion that Paul Pierce is the most likely member of the big three to be traded, since he had multiple years remaining on his contract.

I can’t really picture Pierce being dealt, but this is Danny Ainge we’re talking about. If they really have determined that this team cannot contend this season, even with possible additions, (Lamar Odom? No thanks.) then the only thing that make sense is to gather as many chips and assets as you can for the future. I think I’m done with Rondo. He’s too inconsistent and moody and just seems to have lost something. In the past, he would’ve treated last night’s game against rookie sensation Kyrie Irving as a challenge, instead, he goes scoreless with 11 assists in 32 minutes, while Irving scored 24 points on the other end.

On an aside – how many times did Glenn Ordway refer to Jermaine O’Neal as “J-Bone” yesterday? 10? 20?

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Not really a great day for links, but here’s the top five today:

Why aren’t these fans in Valentine’s camp? – Nick Cafardo is surprised at all the negative emails and tweets he receives about the new Red Sox manager.

Red Sox have new leader of pack – Joe McDonald thinks that Jarrod Saltalamacchia could become the next Jason Varitek for the Red Sox.

Felix Doubront Hoping to Find Key to Health in His Footwork – Didier Morais  looks at the young lefty who hopes to nail down the fifth spot in the Red Sox starting rotation.

Bruins waste golden chance to take control – The Bruins were shut out 1-0 last night, and Joe Haggerty says they blew a great chance to go up another game in the division.

Welcome to The Grind – Chris Forsberg with a look back at last night’s Celtics win, the style of which figures to be a sign of things to come.

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Not surprisingly, Michael Felger stuck to his guns yesterday when it comes to Cap is Crap, saying that the Bart Scott contract in no way impacts the Jets ability to sign free agents as they can simply restructure other contracts to do it.

Of course, they’re in this situation because they restructured Scott’s contract in a failed bid to sign Nnamdi Asomugha last offseason. It will be a repeating problem, just pushing off problems for another season. By restructuring the contract of D’Brickashaw Fergsuon, which they did this week, as Felger pointed to as an example, they’ve basically committed to having Fergsuon on the roster through 2015, as his “dead money” hit would make it about impossible to cut him. So they’ve created another Bart Scott.

What if certain players, who they want to keep, refuse to re-do their contracts? As it is, if the Jets want to sign any free agents, they need to restructure more contracts.

Bruins Stock Up, Celtics Back In Action

The Bruins made a pair of minor trades yesterday, getting old friend Brian Rolston from the Islanders along with former Boston College star Mike Mottau, and also getting defenseman Greg Zanon from Minnesota.

The moves add depth and experience to specific roles, and we about the best that could be done without sacrificing top prospect Dougie Hamilton. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins are a better team this morning.

In going over the moves yesterday, Michael Felger asked Joe Haggerty what there was to bash the Bruins about. (Maybe he said “bitch about” – I can’t remember exactly.) After needed to think a few seconds about it, Haggerty replied that if anything, it could be that GM Peter Chiarelli didn’t have the chips to make a really major move, but that would be stretching things.

A caller later asked why Felger was looking for things to bash the Bruins about, and suddenly everyone got really sensitive about the topic. Felger insisted he wasn’t looking to bash the Bruins, but he was just asking what the Bruins could be bashed about.

OK.

Then Massarotti piped in “These things always get TWISTED, Mike.”

Yeah, twisted. How so, exactly?

Then again this morning the episode was raised, and for some reason Fred Toucher felt the need to clarify Felger was being tongue-in-cheek about it. Why so sensitive? It’s OK if Felger is looking for things to bash a team about. It’s his M.O.

Felger and Mazz then spent the rest of the show bashing Josh Beckett, another favorite topic of Felger’s. Like most hosts, Felger has a number of “fallback topics.” Beckett is one. The Patriots drafting is another. The NBA/Celtics suck is one, and the Cap is Crap is a tried and true topic as well.

Meanwhile, Felger’s favorite model of NFL team building, the New York Jets continue to be in cap hell, as now Bart Scott, who is supposed to be the Rex Ryan mouthpiece and advocate, is seeking a trade, but the Jets likely can’t get one, since his $4.2 million dollar salary is guaranteed – a move done last offseason when the Jets were frantically trying to move cap space around to make a failed run at Nnamdi Asomugha. And oh yeah, the Pittsburgh Steelers could likely lose Mike Wallace described by Bill Barnwell as possibly the next Jerry Rice or Randy Moss, because of their own cap hell.

But remember – The Cap is Crap.

An aside – Tom E Curran seems to view things the same way:

I don’t get this about Felger. He’s smart, he can discuss topics intelligently, but too often falls back into whatever is going to stir people up, even it if makes him look dumb.

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Meanwhile, the Celtics are set to begin the post-All Star Break portion of their schedule, and hope to welcome back Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox tonight in Cleveland. Kevin Garnett apparently had some strong words for his teammates before the break, we’ll see if the response is here.

The Celtics will be a very interesting team to follow here over the next couple of weeks, as we watch whether they make any moves, and what the moves will be. Does Danny Ainge hold a firesale, hoping to piling up some picks, and take on more expiring contracts, or does he make a bold move in an effort to try and salvage a final run here?

There have been rumors about Rajon Rondo again, (one involves Pau Gasol) and this morning there is word that the Celtics are interested in Michael Beasley. (Jon Wallach on 98.5 this morning said how Beasley has been with 4 or 5 different teams already in his career. He’s played for two.)

Any Rondo deal would be made with the idea of making a run this season, I find the Gasol idea far-fetched, but intriguing. Would they go with Avery Bradley as the point guard? He’s had his moments this season, turning into a dynamic, on-the-ball defender, and making enough jump shots to keep defenses honest.It would be a lot to ask of him, however, and you would expect a veteran PG to be brought in. I still find it tough to believe that Rondo would be dealt, unless Ainge and Rivers feel they need to cut ties, and perhaps make a run at Deron Williams in the offseason. That also seems a longshot.

The Celtics biggest problem this season has been injuries. If they think they can work to get healthy and sneak into the playoffs with the current roster and perhaps a tweak or two, that might be the best option. They’ve shown flashes, but really need a completely healthy roster and a lot of luck in order to have a chance to do anything.

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Word came out late yesterday afternoon that Jason Varitek is expected to retire on Thursday. We can expect plenty of retrospectives and platitudes about the catcher in the days to come, and a couple are out already:

Jason Varitek and the trade that changed a franchise – Alex Speier.

An example of why Varitek was a man of respect – Danny Picard.

What Varitek has meant to Red Sox – Gordon Edes (video)

2011 still lingers, and isn’t going away anytime soon. Michael Silverman says that it isn’t the fans or media that won’t let go, it is the players. Steve Buckley says that this team needs to play game, quickly.

Nick Punto looks ahead, behind – Gordon Edes has the backup infielder in familiar surroundings and hoping to play his way into a bigger role.

There’s a catch with Welker, Patriots – Greg A Bedard looks at where things stand on the Patriots roster.

NHL Trade deadline, Daytona 500, and a Dry Sox Clubhouse

It’s a busy Monday in the sports world, with the NHL trading deadline set for this afternoon, and the Bruins looking to add a piece or two to their roster. Stephen Harris thinks that anything the Bruins do would be minor in nature. Joe Haggerty has a look at some possible targets.

The Daytona 500 was rained out yesterday for the first time in history, and will be run tonight at 7:00 PM.

The Red Sox announced over the weekend that alcohol will be banned from the clubhouse. Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike this morning, called the decision “a PR move.”

SI’s Peter King continues to use his Monday Morning Quarterback column as a bully pulpit to speak on the matter:

g. Lord, who is doing the Red Sox PR? More shooting the messenger after an offseason of ignoring the drinking-in-the-clubhouse-during-games stories from last season. The team never addressed it, except to say it wants it buried and wants everyone to look ahead, not behind. “It’s a new chapter, beginning today,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said at spring training the other day. “Our idea is, let’s write this new chapter. Enough has been said about the last chapter.”

But not by you. Not saying, “It’ll never happen again, and it’s a disgrace it ever happened in the first place.” Whoever in the organization had the grand plan of eliminating the issue by ignoring it and sneering at the media when it was brought up has no idea that such an irresponsible issue doesn’t go away in the eyes of many followers — like me — if you bash people over the head for bringing it up.

Peter, I’m begging you to set the moral compass down, and step away from it.

Airing it out: On the mound and off, Josh Beckett sees no reason to change – Rob Bradford has a long talk with Josh Beckett, who explains why he looks at what happened last year through a drastically different prism than any of his critics. Eric Wilbur doesn’t think Beckett has his facts straight.

Punto, Ross bring World Series experience to the Red Sox – Tim Britton looks at how the Red Sox have added a pair of players with World Series credentials to their clubhouse.

Youkilis ends D&C boycott: ‘It’s a new year – Kevin Youkilis showed up at Dennis and Callahan’s picnic table this morning, and they proceeded to tell him why he was mistaken for avoiding them for years. He also said that despite getting engaged to Tom Brady’s sister, he’s done attending Patriots playoff games, as he is now 0-3. D&C also did their best to provoke David Ortiz this morning, who said he was tired of the media talking trash.

Patriots weigh risk, reward – Mike Reiss thinks that the Patriots need to add an elite athlete to their front seven.

What we learned at the combine: Patriots poised to address weaknesses – Chris Price takes away some observations from the combine.

Janoris Jenkins worth gamble – Karen Guregian thinks that the troubled cornerback could be a big reward type of pick. Colleague Ian R. Rapoport thinks that Alabama safety Mark Barron is a potential perfect fit.

January Numbers See 98.5 Still Riding High

Thanks to Chad Finn (on vacation this week, but he still posted this to his blog) we have the Arbitron radio numbers from January.

The trend continues.

Morning drive: Toucher and Rich: 12.0 share. Dennis and Callahan: 8.6.

Midday: Gresh and Zo, 11.8; Mut and Merloni, 6.0.

Afternoon drive: Felger and Mazz, 11.0; The Big Show, 7.3.

Chad doesn’t mention whether this includes the Providence numbers for WEEI. (But honestly, how much difference could they make here?) Is this WEEI AM and FM against 98.5? or just one? Update: Chad checked in with me to clarify that the WEEI numbers are for both 850 and 93.7, Arbitron combines them as one. The numbers do not include Providence, but as I said, it’s not going to make much difference here.

I’m just wondering so we’ll know when can we put the FM argument to rest.

Does it mean anything that Felger and Mazz is 98.5’s lowest rated daytime show?

I’d like to go back to when it was announced that 98.5 would be coming on the air, and WEEI management was asked for comment.

From Finn on July 17th, 2009:

On Tuesday, Julie Kahn, vice president and market manager of Entercom New England, told the Globe, “This is the third effort to come after us at ‘EEI. The best content will win.”

I’m not sure it’s really about the best content…

From Don Aucoin on July 15th, 2009:

Jason Wolfe, vice president of AM programming for Entercom New England, which owns WEEI, voiced confidence the station would withstand the challenge. “It doesn’t change what we’re going to do,” Wolfe said. “We’ve dealt with competitive situations before, and we’re fully prepared to deal with it again. . . . We have the largest audience, and we know what it takes to maintain that audience.”

Apparently, they didn’t know what it took…

Thinking About The Patriots Radio Situation

We’ve got a long ways to go until August, when the Patriots will play their first preseason game and debut what is almost certain to be a new broadcast team.

It will be a topic of interest until the official announcement is made. Boston Globe media writer Chad Finn has said that long-time analyst Gino Cappelletti has almost certainly done his last game in the booth. He’s also said that play-by-play man Gil Santos would like to do another season.

The pair has done 28 seasons together, 21 of those consecutively. However, as Finn noted in a December 23rd column, the time has come for changes to be made in the radio booth.

Finn’s column was met with one of two reactions – agreement, or anger. The suggestion that these two broadcasting legends, who have called so many great (and some not-so-great) moments in franchise history, would no longer be on the air, is not an easy one to take. The genuine affection between the two of them is palpable, and almost familial.

It is certainly more noticeable with Cappelletti, as the Patriots AFL legend struggles to keep up and get his thoughts on the game across. Santos has attempted to cover for him, and you could even hear it in pregame talks with Bill Belichick in recent years, that the coach too was making an effort to make things easier for Cappelletti.

As for Santos, he’s still got the great voice, even after 35 seasons of calling Patriots games. No one is going to dispute that. His call of the missed kick by Billy Cundiff to clinch the AFC Championship for the Patriots last month was classic Santos. He still paints a great picture and has the strong voice. However, he sometimes struggles with the action on the field, such as whether a ball is caught or dropped, and which player made the play. I don’t know the situation in the booth – would he benefit from a strong spotter, to assist him with some of these things? I’d like to find out.

Bringing Scott Zolak into the broadcasts this season as the sideline reporter was a very good move. His enthusiasm and ability to see the field as a former player gives him some good insight into what’s happening, and he’s able to convey that. Bringing him into the booth is a no-brainer. I would very much like to see what a Santos/Zolak pairing in the booth sounds like, perhaps with some more help for Santos as well. (Maybe he already has it, and still struggles, which would be very depressing.)

But how long could that pairing go? It seems like Santos might have one season left. Then what? The rumor over the last few years was always Gary Tanguay as Santos’ successor, some have even suggested that the carrot of that role is why he didn’t kick up a bigger fuss when he was replaced by Andy Gresh alongside Zolak on the 98.5 mid-day show.

I’ve heard Tanguay do Celtics games from time to time, while his voice is strong and prototypical for a sports announcer, honestly, I don’t want him doing Patriots games. Tanguay in the role may not be a foregone conclusion, however. This season momentum seemed to be picking up for John Rooke, ( @jrooke0722 ) who currently does the PA work at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots and Revolution and is a veteran play-by-play announcer and radio broadcaster.

Some have asked about Sean McDonough. While the former Red Sox voice has the pedigree and name recognition to be a strong candidate, he’s currently very busy with ESPN, being the voice of the Monday Night Baseball telecasts, and doing a ton of college football and basketball as well. I’m not sure what the logistics could be with bringing him in, but it seems a longshot at best.

With Zolak going to the booth, it would seem that doing that would take him off of the pregame show. Who should replace him there, alongside Tanguay and Gresh and the rest of the cast? I think 98.5 has the perfect candidate in Mike Flynn, who played his college ball at Maine, and had a strong 11-year run with the Baltimore Ravens, finishing up his career in the training camp of the Patriots in 2008. Flynn is very good analyst, oftentimes a voice of reason. He’d be the best fit for that role.

Could Flynn also be used in the sideline reporter role that Zolak had this season? It would depend on whether the Patriots Radio Network wants to keep that position. They may feel that it was just created for Zolak to get him involved with Santos and Cappelletti this season and sort of ease the transition. If they keep the role, I’d like to see Flynn give it a shot.

If you want a real longshot candidate for the play-by-play role in the future,  you could do worse than Flynn’s usual partner on 98.5, Ryan Johnston, @RJVoice who has done some fill-in work on the Boston Bruins radio broadcasts and has very good chemistry with Flynn.

So what we might see for next season is this:

Play-by-play – Gil Santos
Booth Analyst – Scott Zolak
Sideline reporter/analyst – Mike Flynn

Pregame: Gary Tanguay, Andy Gresh, Mike Flynn.

Of course, I’d love an entirely new pregame show, but as Jonathan Kraft apparently loves to have his franchise torn apart on its own flagship station’s airwaves, that’s probably not going to happen.

Depending on how Santos does this season, could he do more? Perhaps Zolak lifts him up a bit and he can get another couple years in? That’s hard to say. I wouldn’t mind it, given the likely alternatives at this point. As far as I’m concerned, Santos can have the job as long as he can keep doing it. Unfortunately, that day is likely to come sooner, rather than later.

Change isn’t always easy, but sometimes it just has to happen.

WEEI Has Zero Credibility on Jeremy Lin/ESPN Issue

Station Shows Mind-blowing Lack of Self-Awareness

The incident over the weekend in which an ESPN.com editor was fired for using the headline “Chink in the Armor” on a story about the New York Knicks and sensation Jeremy Lin losing their first game since Lin became a starter has been a hot topic everywhere this week.

Naturally the topic has been discussed on WEEI, and while the hosts discussing the issues do manage some thoughtful commentary, it is completely invalidated by the embarrassing lack of self-awareness or just plain willful ignorance the station has shown in ignoring their own history in the same area.

Yesterday, Glenn Ordway was talking about the subject, and how he believes that Anthony Federico should not have been fired, and that media outlets and society in general are too quick to just fire or suspend people when mistakes are made. (I tend to agree.)

Ordway argued that instead of firing or suspending that the time should be taken for the topic to be discussed, and thus educate people on why such things are offensive, and perhaps all could benefit and heal from the lessons learned. Sounds good.

Then Ordway presented his example. He cited when Bob Ryan was suspended from the Boston Globe for a month in 2003 for saying in a discussion about the self-promoting ways of Joumana Kidd, (which included using her son as a TV prop) that someone needed to “smack her.” Ordway opined Ryan was not advocating domestic violence (again, I agree) and that  instead of being suspended and silenced on the matter, that Ryan should have been given the opportunity to explain himself, perhaps in a column, and that dialogue should’ve been opened on the topic, and that discussing the matter would help in healing.

All sounds perfectly reasonable. But why choose to criticize the Globe for its handling of the matter, and ignore his own employer’s handling of a matter that much more closely resembles the Lin matter because it was tied to race? I’m speaking of course, about the Metco incident in which John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were each suspended for two weeks later in 2003, (so after the Ryan incident) for a racially insensitive comment.

At the time of the incident, Ordway and WEEI would not discuss the matter at all. It became a running joke that Ordway would always decline to talk about it because he claimed he hadn’t heard the tapes of the incident, and in fact that the tapes had been “lost.”

So apparently the Globe should’ve allowed the Ryan incident to be discussed and dialogue opened on the matter, but not when WEEI hosts made insensitive comments?In the time that I listened yesterday, Metco was not brought up at all. Perhaps it was, and I didn’t hear it, but in the time I listened, it was not brought up, so it certainly was not a significant part of the discussion.

It says a couple of things about Ordway, either he’s protecting his WEEI colleagues (likely) or he doesn’t put it in the same category as the Federico and Ryan incidents. That too can go two ways; does Ordway believe that what D&C said was not intentionally insensitive? Or does he believe it WAS intentional, but not insensitive?

Either way, to completely ignore an incident that occurred on your own airwaves and instead mention something from another media outlet, is completely disingenuous.

I listened to some of Dennis and Callahan this morning, and their commentary on the matter. They referenced the ESPN Ombudsman column from Poynter, and some of the comments from Stephen A. Smith on the matter (who was actually very good) and generally went with the view that Federico as well as Max Bretos and Spero Dedes, who also used the term, all did so without any malicious racial intentions whatsoever. Their conclusion seems to be basically that this is another example of the politically correct world gone mad. (So those who used the term are the persecuted victims here.)

Even when a caller who claimed to be Asian-American attempted to explain that the term, no matter how it was used was offensive to him, even though he believed it not to be used in an intentionally malicious manner by any of them. He added though, that the people involved should not have been fired, but reprimanded.

Dennis and Callahan basically both invalidated the feelings of the caller and anyone who could claim to be offended by the matter. They insist that no one would ever intentionally use that phrase referencing someone with an Asian background in a racist manner. That it would just be stupid to do so. Which is true. However, what the caller, and other callers tried to explain, (unsuccessfully to D&C) is that even if it the phrase was not racially motivated, it was, at the very least, being used as a double entendre, which means race entered into it, perhaps without actually realizing that it was as offensive as it was.

Intentional or not, using the phrase in the manner in which it was, to reference Jeremy Lin, is not acceptable.

Once again, I did not hear the Metco incident brought up at all, except indirectly by a caller, who stated that he felt that D&C’s stance on this matter was not surprising at all, he then attempted to bring up Metco, and Callahan loudly shouted over him to obfuscate the caller so that he wasn’t heard at all, and then called it a “cheap shot.”

How in the world was it a “cheap shot” to bring up an incident which was exactly relevant to the discussion they were having at that moment, and involved the very hosts of the show?

When you think about Dennis’ comments after the Metco incident (quoted in the article linked above), you can see why the incident is especially relevant. He called it “the single stupidest thing I’ve ever said in 26 years of broadcasting in Boston.”

“I’ve heard people who know nothing about me evaluate my character, analyze my heart, dissect my brain, and pronounce me a lost and despicable soul,” Dennis wrote. “I understand their anger, and, frankly, I deserve much of what I’m getting.”

So why is it so hard for them to understand why Asian people would be angry over the comments made about Lin? D&C would’ve been better served trying to explain how “the single stupidest thing” can slip out at the worst time, but that the anger generated is still understandable and deserved.

Instead, they did their best to hide from the incident and shout over a caller who attempted to introduce it into the discussion.

This gives them, and the entire station, zero credibility when discussing how the Jeremy Lin incident was handled by ESPN.

Accountability, Responsibility and Apologies, Oh My!

The collective moral arbiters known as the Boston sports media are cranking things up into high gear as the Red Sox begin spring training.

The sins of September 2011 will not be forgotten! It is their duty to ask the tough questions, to probe and ensure that there is a new attitude in Red Sox camp this spring, that all offenders are sufficiently humbled and effusive enough in their regret over their transgressions.

Get used to it. We haven’t even gotten to the first full-squad workouts yet, and the radio airwaves are oversaturated with talk about whether Jon Lester and Josh Beckett were sincere enough or said the right things. Carl Crawford’s every word is being micro-analyzed and hosts are already asking on-site reporters whether Bobby Valentine has changed the attitude of the club yet.

Give me a break.

While the topics are an easy way to fill time, and generate angry calls, the majority of fans aren’t interested in rehashing this hour after hour. The radio stations are basing their assumption that this is a hot topic on the calls that they receive – never a good barometer of public sentiment. Sports radio callers are about as far from the average fan as you can get. It’s amusing to hear the hosts say they need these contrite confessions so that they can “move on.”

That’s the last thing they want to do.

Peter King had perhaps the most sanctimonious item on this in his Monday Morning Quarterback column yesterday:

So Josh Beckett on Sunday talked about “lapses in judgment” in his clubhouse behavior in 2011. Why, oh why, oh why, can’t he come clean and say, “I was wrong to drink beer in the clubhouse during games.” If that’s what happened — and with no one ever denying it, it’s hard to imagine it didn’t happen — a full apology to the fans is what’s needed from the Red Sox and the offending players. Based on what I’ve heard in the last few months, and over the weekend, that apology is never coming. Sad. Just sad.

Again. Give me a break.

Yes, I’d like to make sure that what happened last season doesn’t happen again. But I don’t need an apology from anyone. Just win.

Wringing Out Some Friday Megalinks

Let’s do your media megalinks since last week you did not get any.

Hard to believe that college baseball, college lacrosse and NASCAR seasons are starting up, but they are and they’re included in the Weekend Viewing Picks along with the regular Golf, NBA, NHL, Skiing, Soccer, Tennis and Entertainment recommendations.

To your links now.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today says Jeremy Lin will make his nationwide broadcast network debut this weekend.

Tim Baysinger from Broadcasting & Cable notes that Floyd Mayweather’s next pay per view fight has been set by HBO for the spring.

Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News writes that Jeremy Lin continues to drive the MSG Network ratings engine.

Mike Shields of Adweek looks at CBS/Turner Sports’ plans to charge to view the NCAA Tournament online.

Ted Johnson of Variety talks with Ken Solomon of Tennis Channel on his ongoing battle to get a better footing with Comcast.

Michael Bradley at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says the Jeremy Lin media coverage is over the top.

Sports Media Watch notes the increased viewership for the NHL on NBC Sports Network.

SMW says Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon have lent their voices to a Disney XD cartoon series.

Andy Hall at ESPN Front Row PR blog celebrates the 5th anniversary of NASCAR’s return to the network.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell speaks with Jeremy Lin’s agent.

Andrew Bucholtz writing his first article for Awful Announcing looks at the reaction to Jeremy Lin in Canada.

Mat Yoder at AA says the ratings for last weekend’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am show fans are still interested in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Joe Favorito explores the steady growth of college lacrosse.

Mark J. Miller of Brandchannel says NASCAR fans don’t like it when drivers juggle sponsor logos throughout the Sprint Cup season.

The Big Lead has ESPN’s Erin Andrews out and about during New York’s Fashion Week.

Chris Chase at Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner notes that ESPN has been coaching Jon Gruden to use his words judiciously.

Harrison Mooney of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy says Jeremy Lin’s drawing power might indirectly benefit the New York Rangers, Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils which have been missing from Time Warner Cable systems in addition to the Knicks.

David B. Wilkerson at MarketWatch wonders if the MSG/Time Warner Cable feud will eventually push sports into a premium tier.

East and Mid-Atlantic

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn gets some advice for new NESN Red Sox field reporter Jenny Dell from MSG’s Tina Cervasio.

BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen in his Media Roundup at SB Nation Boston pays tribute to Bob Ryan.

Surviving Grady has a podcast with Jen Royle.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the new charge for viewing the NCAA Tournament online.

Richard writes about the increased ratings for Knicks games since Jeremy Lin arrived on the scene.

Phil Mushnick at the New York Post is in rare form today even for him.

Brett Cyrgalis of the Post has five questions for CBS college basketball analyst Bill Raftery.

The Post’s David Seifman reports that the New York City Council is pressuring MSG Network and Time Warner Cable to work out a deal.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes that ESPN bumped tonight’s Hornets-Knicks game not realizing it would be another opportunity to showcase Jeremy Lin.

Jerry Barmash from Fishbowl NY has reaction from various NYC sports anchors to the death of former Mets catcher Gary Carter.

Mike Silva at the Sports Media Watchdog feels hockey coverage in New York is woefully inadequate.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a local sports TV reporter received a New York Emmy nomination.

Pete lists his top studio analysts.

DCRTV’s Dave Hughes has the latest in Baltimore-Washington DC sports media news in Press Box.

Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog has a clip of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon as cartoon characters.

Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner says talks with sports business writer Evan Weiner about the NFL’s antiquated blackout rules.

South

Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald has some thoughts on Shaquille O’Neal’s rookie season at TNT and ESPN’s decision to remove Ron Jaworski from Monday Night Football.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the Astros plan to bring in former players to their radio booth to celebrate the team’s 50th season.

Mel Bracht at the Daily Oklahoman notes the first network appearance of Jeremy Lin is this Sunday.

Midwest

The Detroit Free Press notes that all of the Tigers games will be on TV this season.

Bob Wolfey of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Dick Enberg told a captive audience at Marquette University about the art of the pause and when to use it in broadcasting.

Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.

To the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin where Paul Christian writes that Fox Sports North will be all over the Minnesota Twins this season.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals have mostly put the kybosh on late afternoon games at Busch Stadium this season.

Dan says a local sports radio host is recovering after undergoing heart bypass surgery.

West

Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the new Fox Sports San Diego is set to launch next month.

Jay writes the San Diego Padres stand to double their rights fees from Fox as compared to Cox a year ago.

John Maffei at the North County Times says the official announcement between Fox Sports San Diego carrying the Padres is due any time now.

At the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle says NBC and the NHL have become very good partners.

Jim feels ESPN should not have jettisoned Ron Jaworski from Monday Night Football.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times notes that ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham is up for a Best Documentary Oscar.

Bill Shakin of the Times says Frank McCourt’s legal problems are holding up Fox’s announcement with the Padres.

Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News recaps a lecture from three noted network broadcasters discussing TV coverage of the Olympics.

And that’s going to conclude the megalinks for today.

Ken Powers Acquitted

Former Worcester Telegram & Gazette Patriots beat writer Ken Powers was acquitted today after being charged with stealing $100,000 from Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton.

Powers found not guilty of stealing from Sutton golf course

Powers is best known around these parts for being fired from the T&G for plagiarizing Peter King, among others, in 2005.

Advice For Jenny Dell, The Globe’s Disrespect of Bob Ryan, and More…

Catching up on the world of Sports Media this morning. (For stories on the Celtics loss to Chicago, head to celticslinks.com.)

Sideline coaching for Dell – Chad Finn has Tina Cervasio offering some advice for new NESN Red Sox reporter Jenny Dell.

Chat sports and media at 2:30 p.m. – Chad will be doing his weekly chat at 2:30 this afternoon.

Media Roundup: Bob Ryan, The One Of A Kind Boston Sports Media Icon – My SB Nation Boston media column has a look at how Bob Ryan is more respected nationally, but for some reason the Globe views Dan Shaughnessy as their “star” columnist.

Here are a few of the national items in the world of sports media this week:

New MNF Commentator Team – This week ESPN announced that Ron Jaworski would no longer be part of the Monday Night Football broadcast team, but had signed a new multi-year deal with the network for an “expanded multi platform NFL analyst role.” Finn touched on this in his column this morning and earlier this week.

Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA Unveil NCAA MARCH MADNESS LIVE for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships – Did you enjoy watching the NCAA Tournament online from your office for free in the past? Well, now that you’re sucked in, you’ve got to pay $3.99 for it this year.

MLB ON FOX Lights The Night in 2012 – FOX announced their Saturday national broadcast schedule for this season, which is heavy on night games. The Red Sox are on the schedule the maximum of nine games.

Who will be the #1 Pick? NFL Network & NFL.com’s 2012 Scouting Combine Coverage – NFL Network announced their scouting combine coverage for the week.

From NESN yesterday afternoon:

NESN has produced a unique, behind-the-scenes special that follows Boston College hockey player Tommy Cross, chronicling his day on Monday, February 13th leading up to the Beanpot Championship at TD Garden. “Beanpot All-Access: Game Day” will debut on Saturday, February 18th at 10:30pm.   NESN’s camera crew was given unrestricted access to the Eagles’ senior captain and the rest of the team on game day, and the result is this compelling look at the life of an elite student-athlete.

NESN will also carry Tim Wakefield’s retirement announcement this afternoon at 5:00pm.