NLL Makes Debut on CBS and Other Lacrosse Media Notes

There’s no truth to the rumor that this is being published simply to try and curry favor with Bill Belichick…

Interest in the sport of lacrosse in Boston is growing. UMass right now is a final four contender in the NCAA, BU will be joining D1 next season and the Boston Cannons are MLL champions, (another championship for Boston!) draw 10,000 fans a game and will have nine games on national TV.

Marisa Ingemi is a rising star in the coverage of lacrosse. She knows the sport, and the people who cover it.

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NESN and WBZ TV Announce Partnership

NESN and WBZ-TV today announced a partnership in which NESN will provide pre-game reports from each game for the WBZ newscasts, and WBZ will provide the official weather updates on NESN. In addition, WBZ-TV sports anchor Dan Roche will be a regular guest on NESN’s pre-game shows.

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Playing Stupid And Making Big Bucks – The Life Of A Sports Media Superstar

INT. MASSAROTTI HOME – 8:00 P.M. APRIL 11TH

A weary TONY arrives home after a long, arduous day in the 98.5 The Sports Hub Studios.

TONY

Honey, I’m home!

MRS. MASSAROTTI

Hi Dear! I just put the kids to bed, and your dinner is in the oven. How was your day?

TONY
(sighs)

Just another day at the office. I made a complete and utter fool of myself, just as I am paid to do. I actually made the statement that Rajon Rondo’s 18 point, 15 assist performance against the Heat is proof that he is NOT a great player in this league!

MRS. MASSAROTTI
(confused)

Um, OK.

TONY
(squeaking excitedly)

YES! Because if he WAS a great player, he’d do that every night! See? It’s brilliant! I totally ignore the part where he’s had double-digit assists in 19 straight games – the longest streak in the NBA in 20 years! I also ignore the part where, since 1986 there have only been seven triple-doubles with at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists and Rondo has the last five of them! Not a great player! I sounded so dumb!

MRS. MASSAROTTI
(placatingly)

Well honey, you know we’re still really proud of you..

TONY
(interrupts)

Wait, there’s more! I’m learning, I really am. Instead of “You’re absolutely right, Mike.” I’m learning to mix it up a little, saying things like “No doubt, Mike.” and “Listen Mike, I can’t argue that.” I’m really getting a grip on this whole “play dumb on the radio” role! I also insulted the Celtics fans, and suggested that maybe, just maybe the team is “juiced up” and then Mike and I suggested that Terry Francona is just like Josh Beckett. He’s only interested in finding the snitch, not admitting that he really was a drug-addled philanderer like Hohler said he was!

MRS MASSAROTTI
(sighs)

Well, today was payday, right? You’re such a good provider for the kids and I. Even if you do refer to them as “little monsters” in that Dragon Naturally Speaking commercial you do. How much did you make off that again? Never mind, I can see you’re exhausted from thinking so much today.

TONY
(relaxes)

Thanks honey. I do it all for you guys. It not always easy playing a complete imbecile, but the pay makes it worth it. You know what I’ve decided to post on Twitter tomorrow morning?

EXT. TONY’S COMPUTER 8:39 A.M. TODAY

[blackbirdpie id="190418910011588609"]

Dueling Bruins Playoff Coverage From NESN, CSNNE

NESN and CSNNE have announced their Boston Bruins playoff coverage plans for the first round series against the Washington Capitals, which begins tomorrow night at the TD Garden.

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Ownership Hubris Threatens Fenway 100 Celebration

For a group that has been touted so highly as being PR conscious and purports to care about the fans and what they think, the Red Sox ownership group just continues to be completely tone-deaf, clueless and more interested in selling merchandise than the actual baseball product they are putting on the field.

Yes, they’re putting big money into the payroll, they can’t be faulted for the amount of money they’re spending there. (Though the quality of what they’re getting for that money can certainly be questioned.) But, their  handling of the Terry Francona situation threatens to put a black cloud over the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

It’s not often that I tell you that you need to read Dan Shaughnessy, but today is one of those days.

Terry Francona wants no part of Fenway’s celebration

Francona and Shaughnessy are working on a book together, so expect Dan to be Tito’s mouthpiece for the foreseeable future. Shaughnessy talks to Francona today about why the manager who led the team to two World Series championships does not feel comfortable coming back to Fenway Park for the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park.

From today’s column:

“Larry called me yesterday,’’ Francona said Tuesday. “I was in a phone store in Arizona. I had three people standing around me. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage. He got a little perturbed at me, telling me I was being unfair to them. I called him back last night and left him a message. He called me back and we ended up getting into an argument. I just feel like someone in the organization went out of their way to hurt me and the more we talked I realized we’re just not on the same wavelength. They’re probably better off going forth and leaving me out of it.’’

Lucchino actually had the nerve to argue with Francona, and tell him he wasn’t being fair to them? There are no words. Unbelievable. After the slime job they did to him on the way out the door? (In Dan’s own paper, which makes this whole situation even more unbelievable.)

For me to go back and start waving and hugging, I’m just not comfortable doing that. I made it pretty clear to John Henry. When I told Larry that, he said, ‘Well, I haven’t talked to John about it.’ I said, well then how [expletive] important could it be?

“When I spoke to John he made me think they were going to make an effort. John and Larry made it clear to me they weren’t responsible for what was said [in the Globe article]. I thought they owed it to me to get to the bottom of it a little bit.’’

UPDATE - Interestingly, the Globe has cut out the last two sentences of the first paragraph above. (in bold) Hmmm, why would they do that? Seems rather important to Francona’s case for not showing up.

So after arguing with Francona about why he’s not coming, Lucchino tells him that he and John Henry haven’t even talked about the source of the Bob Hohler story?

This is a disaster. I sincerely hope that if Lucchino and Henry show their faces at the celebration that the crowd gives them an extended boo. A few “We want Tito!” chants would be nice too.

Fair or not, in 25 years, all people are going to remember about the Fenway 100 Celebration is that Terry Francona wasn’t there because ownership trashed him to the Boston Globe on his way out the door.

Meanwhile, the team on the field continues to struggle, losing to the Blue Jays 7-3 last night. Manager Bobby Valentine appeared on Dennis and Callahan this morning for what can only be described as a very terse interview. At the end, they insisted on pressing Valentine about their buddy Curt Schilling, and Valentine refused to be drawn in, only saying that Schilling’s comments didn’t have credibility with him. He refused to elaborate, leaving a nice 10-second silence before saying “next question.” The interview ended right then and there. Valentine signed off with a “You guys are great!”

Callers afterward accused D&C of being in the bag for Francona, which they denied, and then the third caller said that D&C were tweaking Valentine because their ratings are horrible. He then noted he had no wait in calling in and getting on the air. Callahan shouted that they have 12 phone lines and that’s the reason he got right through.

Over-the-hill newspaper columnist proclaims the Red Sox are, like, SO over… – Fenway Pastoral looks at Brian McGrory’s Red Sox column today. Dead on.

That’s about enough on the Red Sox for me. The Celtics once again got the better of the Miami Heat, running out to a big first half lead, and then keeping the Heat at bay the rest of the way for a 115-107 win down in South Florida.

Check all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Are the Celtics legitimate contenders? – Paul Flannery wonders if a strong showing in the second round is too conservative a hope for this team.

Celtics show off muscle at beach – Gary Washburn says that the second half of this game was especially telling.

Brandon Spikes, Stevan Ridley Gearing Up for Promising Patriots Season and 19 Other Thoughts – Jeff Howe has Patriots players drifting back to Gillette for offseason workouts.

Brown a no-brainer for Hall – Mark Farinella says that Troy Brown is an easy pick for the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Spotlight shifts to Seguin – Mick Colageo says that the postseason could be Tyler’s time if he wants it to be.

Thoughts On The Celtics

The Celtics resurgence in the second half of the season has generated a lot of discussion about the team, and what their ceiling is this season, as well as what the future holds.

I maintain that a reasonable expectation for the team is a strong showing in the second round. That doesn’t mean a win in the second round, but instead, just as I said, a strong showing.

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For Second Straight Year, Bruins Set Ratings Record

NESN announced this morning that the Boston Bruins set a new record by averaging a 4.7 rating in the Boston DMA. This is a 52% increase over the 2010/11 season which had been the previous record season with a 3.1 average.

More from their release:

NESN’s Bruins ratings have increased an astounding 115% over the last two seasons.

“The impact that the Boston Bruins are having here in New England is undeniable, as the team’s popularity continues to rise and all of NESN’s Bruins programs continue to set new ratings records,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “The excitement around the Bruins will only get more intense as the Bruins get ready to take on the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs to defend their 2011 Stanley Cup Championship.”

NESN’s Bruins ratings showed an incredible level of consistency throughout the season, as 23 of the network’s 25 top-rated Bruins regular season games of all-time were played during the 2011/12 season, including the six highest rated hockey games in NESN history. The consistent support shown by Bruins fans was also illustrated by the fact that only six of NESN’s 71 Bruins games failed to garner at least a 3.1 household rating (last season’s record-setting average rating).

Bruins Fans Watch More Than Just NESN’s Game Coverage

All of NESN’s Bruins-related studio programs also experienced substantial ratings gains this season. W.B. Mason Bruins Face-Off LIVE (1.1 HH, up 96%) and Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE (1.9 HH, up 55%) both earned their best-ever regular season average household rating. Big Bad Bruins LIVE presented by DCU (+177%) and The Instigators LIVE presented by Cadillac Village of Norwood (+10%) both improved after making the switch from tape delay to a live program format.

10 Years Of Boston Sports Media Watch

I really don’t want to dwell on this too much, but yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the very first post on Boston Sports Media Watch. That first post, composed on a new service called Blogger, mentioned Dan Shaughnessy, Tommy Heinsohn, Dick Harter and Drew Bledsoe.

Things have come a long way since then. Originally, my idea was to somehow be able to write a sports TV column for a small local newspaper. After talking with a couple of editors, they let me know they just didn’t have the space for such a column, and were unsure of the interest something of that nature would draw. I had some conversations with Bill Griffith, then the sports media columnist for the Boston Globe, and he was very helpful. I sent him some samples, and he gave me some good feedback.

I realized I needed to practice if I was going to do anything with this idea, so I thought of the idea of a website, though I had no idea what was involved in setting one up. Then I came across Blogger. It was a relatively new service, as was the concept of a blog. I signed up for an account, and started posted. I’m not sure how people found it originally, though I did post the address in a few Usenet groups I frequented at the time, and in fact, that was were I had made my first online comments about sports media. Eventually I acquired the current domain name, and moved the site to it, though the background publishing software has changed from Blogger to Movable Type to WordPress.

A few months into my postings on Blogger, Griffith mentioned the site and gave the address in one of his Sunday media notes columns, and things really took off from there. There are still people who tell me that is how they first learned of the site.

In April, 2002, the Patriots were coming off their first Super Bowl title, and since then, the site has seen championships from the 2003 and 2004 Patriots, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, the 2008 Celtics and the 2011 Bruins. Quite a run.

A big part of the reward of doing the site has been sort of “discovering” writers from small local papers, and introducing them to a larger audience. I enjoyed reading the likes of Mike Reiss (MetroWest Daily News) Rob Bradford (Lowell Sun) John Tomase (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune) Chad Finn (Concord Monitor) and Albert Breer (MetroWest Daily News) before they became the everyday presence on the Boston (and national) sports media scene that they currently are.

I’ve enjoyed chatting and trading emails with some of the veterans on the scene, who, may not be the “stars” of the local media, but who have been around forever, and have seen everything. Mike Fine, Michael Gee and Mark Farinella fall into that category. There have been contentious emails (and phone calls) from a few people, but for the most part, feedback is positive. Getting random emails from people I respect and admire, (as I did recently from Bob Ryan and Steve Bulpett) is always a thrill.

Bill Simmons gave me some very good early advice, telling me I needed to have my name on the site, and contact information, if I wanted to have any sort of credibility. Michael Felger encouraged me to be critical, to take shots when warranted. Frank Shorr and Roy Reiss and Griffith have provided opportunity and insight into the business. Dan Shaughnessy once called me to take issue with something I wrote, and explain the situation I was referencing, and after that, we actually had a pretty pleasant exchange remembering the 1980′s Celtics.

WEEI is still a monster on the local media scene, but shockingly is now second fiddle as 98.5 FM came on the airwaves three years ago and toppled the Entercom entity. 98.5 was the third competitor to attempt to challenge WEEI as 1510 the Zone and ESPN 890 Boston both came and went locally.

Now, as in 2002, Bob Ryan is a must-read, no matter if the topic is the Celtics or an indoor track meet at Northeastern University. The Globe will sorely miss him when he retires this year, and even though he is expected to continue a regular column, replacing him will be impossible. No offense to Chris Gasper, who is expected to be named a sports columnist when Ryan retires, but it’s a big step down from Bob Ryan to anyone.

Even though I am a rank amateur at this, I’ve attempted to behave as a professional. I attempt not to get into name-calling and insult-swapping in this medium. I land barbs here and there, of course, but in many ways, my spirit in originally starting the site was to sort of give some in the media a taste of their own medicine when it came to how they were covered. Many think nothing of questioning the manhood and insulting the subjects they cover, yet when I write something negative about them, I get an angry, expletive-filled email. Those are always fun. If someone has respectful, constructive criticism, I am happy to take it under advisement and reply with my own thoughts on the matter.

What does the future hold for BSMW? I hinted last year that I might consider closing things up at the 10 year mark. I don’t think I’m ready to do that. However, there will likely be changes as my family continues to grow. (Son #3 arrives next month.) I’m not sure what those changes might be, but I think the posting frequency could be involved. Unless someone or a few people wanted to come in and keep doing links every single day, I think those may go away, and be replaced by a regular rotation of more traditional sports media news, columns and notebooks. I haven’t worked it out yet, but BSMW will remain.

I’d like to thank everyone who has come to this site over the last 10 years. For a website, especially a blog, 10 years is a lifetime, and eternity. I’m proud to have gone this long in doing this. The feedback, via email, comments and on the BSMW messageboard has been entertaining and informative. I’d especially like to acknowledge and thank the regulars on the messageboard, who never fail to provide humor, insight, and support even as they vociferously tear apart some of their favorite targets.

I want to also thank the guys at Patriots Football Weekly for giving me a legitimate, print platform to write in. Through them I’ve had the opportunity to interview the likes of Lesley Visser, Michael Silver, Fran Charles, Michael Lombardi, Andrew Brandt, Pete Prisco, Mike Freeman and many other national NFL media figures. It’s been a great opportunity and experience.

It has been a blast, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. I dropped way too many names in this column, and went way longer than I intended to. For that, I apologize. I’ll try to stay focused on media matters the rest of the week.

Thanks again to all who have made this enjoyable.

Sox Drop Opener, Bobby V Still the Story

The Red Sox dropped their opener, 3-2 to the Detroit Tigers, despite coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the ninth inning. Manager Bobby Valentine is still the story, as his moves – on and off the field – are already being debated.

New man in charge: Breaking down Bobby Valentine’s first game as Red Sox manager – Alex Speier does an entire story on the manager’s debut.

Eckersley mum on this subject – Chad Finn talks to NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley, among others, about the new Red Sox manager, and also mentions the latest WEEI efforts to stay relevant.

Bobby Valentine takes ‘hands-on approach’ – Bill Doyle talks to NESN broadcasters Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo about the new manager, and about the team in general.

Seven ex-PawSox announcers in the bigs – Did you know that seven former Pawtucket Red Sox announcers are now calling games for an MLB, NFL or NBA team? Christopher Smith tells you who they are.

Is It Wrong For Bobby Valentine To Have A Regular Spot On New York Radio? – My SB Nation Boston Media column looks at the outcry over Valentine’s New York radio gig.

The Celtics imploded in the second half last night, losing to the Bulls in Chicago, 93-86. Doc Rivers blasted the team following the game for playing “cool.”

Doc Rivers gives Celtics wakeup call – Paul Flannery has Rivers letting his team have it.

Doc Rivers’ frustration boils over -  Chris Forsberg has more on Rivers reaction.

The Bruins were the only local winners on the professional scene yesterday, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-1 behind rookie goaltender Anton Khudobin.

Khudobin proves plenty in Bruins debut – Joe Haggerty has a good look at the rookie’s debut.

Red Sox Set To (Finally) Open Season

Has this been the longest offseason ever? It sure feels that way, but in a sense, it also feels like the Red Sox never went away. They were a topic all winter long – even more than usual.

Now, finally, they can actually begin playing games that count, and hopefully focus can shift more to the action on the field, rather than off of it. Good luck with that, I know.

Long winter makes baseball’s return that much sweeter – Jon Couture says that baseball is for fresh starts, and this team desperately needs one.

Reasons aplenty to expect no title for Red Sox – On the other hand, Dan Shaughnessy accurately sums up what many people feel about the Red Sox heading into the 2012 season.

Shockingly, I tend to be more of an optimist, and see that this team does have the talent to contend. Whether they can put it together and stay healthy is anyone’s guess.

Sox season begins under much uncertainty – Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox will not be able to ease into this season.

25 Red Sox, 25 Questions: Predicting the performances of the ’12 team – WEEI.com and their staff of writers look at every player on the roster.

GM Ben ready to ‘sit back and watch’ – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox GM eager to see how his team performs.

Meanwhile, out in Chicago, here is the cover of the Sun-Times:

No pressure there.

Good start crucial to put nightmare of 2011 to bed – I think Tim Britton is saying that it is OK to overreact if the Red Sox lose this afternoon.

Transcending The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry – Kids with cancer can make even the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry melt, as Heather Murphy in the Hartford Courantexperienced.

Trust exercise – Eric Avidon says that the first order of business for the Red Sox has to be regaining the trust of the fans.

Bobby Valentine plays down NY chats – Steve Buckley has the Red Sox manager talking about his weekly gig on NY radio.

Raising hell with Sox bats – John Tomase says that the team will need to rely on their offense to overcome their shaky pitching.

Alfredo Aceves to close deal – Scott Lauber looks at the call to make the former Yankee the new closer. Nick Cafardo meanwhile, is not happy with the choice. He says Daniel Bard would’ve been the “common sense” choice.

One bump can’t stop Boston – Peter May says that despite the one-point loss to the Spurs last night, the Celtics feel good about where they are.

Meet your new sixth man: Avery Bradley – Paul Flannery looks at Bradley’s 19 points off the bench last night and sees a terrific sixth man. Steve Bulpett has more on Bradley, who earned praise from Gregg Popovich for his play.