Finally Some Friday Megalinks

Let’s do some Friday megalinks. You’ve been owed some and I haven’t been able to do links at the Fang’s Bites BSMW page for most of the week.

Of course, you have the Weekend Viewing Picks which provide plenty of college sports, soccer, baseball and the NBA and NHL postseason action.

Now let’s do your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today explores Jason La Canfora’s decision to leave NFL Network and bolt to CBS.

Media Rantz looks into the potential departure of Michelle Beadle from ESPN to NBC.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch says E! will produce a special on New York Jets QB Tim Tebow.

Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report hears from a Fox Soccer executive on why the Fox Sports Media Group chose to air so many English Premier League games on the final day of the season.

Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk writes that despite reports to the contrary, it appears that the New York Jets won’t make another appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer.

Eriq Gardner at the Hollywood Reporter says a group of fans have filed a class action lawsuit against MLB and its TV partners on the antiquated and silly blackout policy.

Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel says while the Minnesota Vikings will finally get their long-awaited stadium, one state legislator attempted to sneak a bill ending all local NFL blackouts. I think that was a great idea.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable writes the long-anticipated Time Warner Cable Los Angeles Lakers-centric regional sports network will launch in October.

At Adweek, Anthony Crupi writes that Fox has sold out its ad inventory for the UEFA Champions League Final.

Thomas Pardee of Advertising Age says social media is changing the way we watch sports.

In the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says there are times when the N-word should to be published in full.

Eric Goldschein at SportsGrid says CBC Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean stretched his analogy too far in comparing the 9/11 First Responders to NHL players this week.

Jason Dachman of Sports Video Group looks at NBC/Golf Channel’s joint production of this week’s Players Championship.

Brandon Costa of SVG explores ESPN’s expanded multiplatform rights for NCAA Championships.

And SVG tells us about the Big East Conference’s in-house production of the league’s Baseball Tournament.

Kristi Dosh at ESPN.com looks into the dollars and cents of the major college sports TV rights contracts.

Patrick Rishe at Forbes says while the ACC signed a rich contract with ESPN, it still doesn’t compare to the Pac-12’s huge megadeal.

My Twitter Trophy Wife, Amanda Rykoff chronicles her day spent at the MLB Fan Cave for espnW.

Paulsen at Sports Media Watch crunches the numbers behind the ratings rise for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and the lower for the NBA Playoffs.

Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing also looks into the ratings for the NBA and NHL Postseasons.

Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead notes the disturbing arrest of the PA Announcer for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Dave Kohl at The Broadcast Booth looks at some of the sports media stories that are irking him this week.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott at ESPN’s Front Row PR blog gets reaction from people at the network who knew the late Carl Beane.

Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston says Beane felt he was born to be the Fenway Park public address announcer.

WEEI’s Mike Petraglia writes about his personal connection to Beane.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox paid tribute to Beane at last night’s game by not having anyone do the PA.

Amanda Bruno of the Springfield Republican writes that Beane was a role model and mentor to her.

To other stories now, heading back to the Globe, Chad Finn says the ACC got its huge deal and it will affect member school Boston College in many ways.

Chad says former Red Sox voice Jerry Trupiano is getting some familial help in trying to get the Houston Astros radio gig.

Desmond Connor of the Hartford Courant says the Big East’s interim commissioner is hopeful his conference can cash in on the recent big spending by ESPN and other networks.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir talks with the legendary Vin Scully.

Richard profiles the person behind a fake Walt Frazier Twitter account.

Jack Bell of the Times interviews Fox Sports President Eric Shanks about Sunday’s unprecedented English Premier League coverage.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Times rails over player unions defending their membership for the wrong reasons.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with NBC’s Pierre McGuire.

Justin has five questions for TNT’s Kenny Smith.

Jerry Barmash at Fishbowl NY says a former local sports reporter is returning to her roots with Time Warner Cable’s Southern California network.

Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union says technical difficulties plagued a local radio broadcast of the Yankees.

Pete says many of NBC/Golf Channel’s cameras will be focused squarely on one hole at the Players Championship this week.

Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record explores the new SNY deal to air UConn women’s basketball games.

At the New Jersey Newsroom, Evan Weiner asks if high school football is doomed.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call watched the train wreck of former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens appearing on Dr. Phil this week and being confronted by his multiple baby mommas.

Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post says MLB Network compared the swings of the late Mickey Mantle and the Nationals’ Bryce Harper.

South

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says a new local sports radio morning host comes with some baggage from his old job.

David says Comcast and ESPN cut a deal this week for subscribers to watch the network online.

Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman notes that Fox Sports Oklahoma will air specials next week on the state’s two major college football programs.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds TV and Radio ratings are up this season.

Paul M. Banks of Chicago Sports Media Watch explores the Cubs’ Kerry Wood blowing up at the local media this week.

Paul Christian at the Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin looks at NBC’s coverage of The Players Championship.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that a local sports anchor gets to talk news on the radio.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times says the local media plans to cover Junior Seau’s public memorial today.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star notes that outgoing flagship TV station KCAL gave another farewell to the Los Angeles Lakers this week.

Jim looks at the 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass which will get plenty of attention on NBC/Golf Channel at the Players Championship.

Jim provides his weekend viewing picks.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Time Warner Cable’s new sports channels.

Tom tries to give Kings fans missing their local TV voices a silver lining.

Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News goes over the latest developments at the Pac-12 Networks.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail says CBC’s Ron MacLean had to clarify his 9/11 remarks before Game 6 of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals series.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog has the announcing assignments for both CBC and TSN in the NHL Conference Final round.

And we are done. Enjoy your sports weekend.

Coming to the defense of Josh Beckett

There really isn’t a member of the Red Sox that is criticized more than Josh Beckett. That has been the case the past two days after yesterday’s report of Beckett golfing last Thursday with Clay Buchholz on the teams’ day off.

Why it has been made such a huge story is the fact that it was announced the day before, (last Wednesday) that Beckett would be unable to make his next start (last Saturday) because of a sore right lat. Then he went out and golfed the next day. While it probably wasn’t the best idea because it sent the wrong message and gave the wrong perception, it doesn’t warrant all the negative media coverage that it has. It wasn’t that big of a deal.

Let’s look at things more closely. Beckett threw 126 pitches in his last outing, Sunday, April 29. He said even before that start his lat was sore, but he did not tell manager Bobby Valentine. Then, it was decided last Wednesday that it would be best for Beckett to miss his next start. This is what Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington had to say last week:

“I don’t think there’s any concern about him making his next start or even if he could have with the extra day made this start,’’ Valentine said. “But it would have been a situation that we would have had to watch carefully. So no need.

“There’s a reason for everything, and I guess the reason is that Aaron Cook gets the start and Josh gets more than just that one day extra.’’

“We’re not concerned about Josh,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “At different points of the year, he might pitch with it. But we just wanted to be cautious and get ahead of it.”

Judging by those comments, there really wasn’t much of an injury with Beckett. With it being early May it isn’t unusual to be overly cautious and skip a start of a star pitcher. Also, it gave the chance for the Red Sox to see what Aaron Cook had, since he needed to be called up last week to avoid an opt-out clause in his contract. Everything considered it made sense for Beckett to miss his start, not due to an injury, but just to give Beckett some extra rest and Cook a chance to start.

Ever since the report came out the local sports media airwaves have been filled with everyone hammering Beckett for going golfing on the teams’ off day, two days before the start he was being skipped in. Beckett wasn’t really injured, it was more of a precaution than anything, so what is the big deal for two friends on the pitching staff to go play 18 holes on the morning of their off day?

Some have said he should have been in the clubhouse getting treatment. How do they know what he did the rest of the day? It doesn’t take all day to play 18 holes, it takes 4-5 hours. Beckett could have very well gotten treatment after the round. Nowhere was it confirmed what he did with the remainder of his day.

Others have said he should be spending time with his family, considering his comments in the offseason about family coming first after the birth of his daughter last September. How do these people know for sure his wife and daughter were in town? They could have been at his Texas ranch. How can people call him a fraud without knowing all the facts?

It was also brought up that Beckett didn’t offer his services to pitch in Sunday’s 17-inning game with the Orioles. Valentine said Wednesday that it would be up to the starting pitchers to volunteer themselves because of a starters routine and how long it takes them to get loose, etc. Valentine did note that in the ninth inning he went up to Jon Lester and asked if he would be available to pitch in extra innings if needed since it was the day in between starts for Lester where he would normally throw his side session. If a starter were to go in and pitch it made most sense to be Lester. He replied, “no.” Why hasn’t this been brought up at all? Sure, Beckett could have offered his services, but so could have the other three Red Sox starters. Everything has been centered around Beckett, but what about the teams’ number one starter who was asked to pitch, why not get on him?

Beckett has actually pitched quite well this season with the exception of his first start where he gave up five home runs. In his last four starts he has allowed one, three, two and three runs respectively. Even last year, despite the poor September, Beckett pitched well, making 30 starts, the third most in his 12-year career. He went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA, his lowest in a full season of his career. With the way he is being talked about it is like he went 7-13, with a 9.82 ERA.

For whatever reason Beckett is the one the media gets on with the Red Sox pitching staff. Maybe because of his fiery personality, or even something personal against him. The fact of the matter is that Beckett delivers when he is on the mound, and he really doesn’t miss much time either. In his six full seasons as a Red Sox he has started 27 or more games every year except 2010 where he battled a back injury virtually the whole season. So, the criticism of Beckett for missing starts due to phantom/minor injuries in fact really is not accurate.

Beckett almost always comes back strong with strong performances after things such as this come up, and I’d expect tonight wouldn’t be any different.

Questions, comments, fire away to [email protected] Follow me on Twitter @hannable84.

 

Royals take two-of-three from Red Sox, Celtics prepare for Game 6

The Red Sox lost to the Royals 4-3 Wednesday night in Kansas City. The Royals took two-of-three from the Red Sox; it was the third straight series loss for the Red Sox. Starter Jon Lester battled, throwing 108 pitches before being pulled after five innings. The umpires made some questionable calls in the game, which upset manager Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox return back to Boston tonight in the first game of a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

‘Just too many pitches’- Sean McAdam looks at the night for starter Jon Lester.

Bobby Valentine boils over- Scott Lauber looks at the questionable calls that upset the Red Sox manager.

This Ross ‘pop out’ really hurt- Michael Vega has the miscues in the outfield that came back to hurt the team.

Will Middlebrooks hits, Kevin Youkilis sits- Ron Borges says when Kevin Youkilis returns from the DL, Will Middlebrooks should still be the starting third baseman.

Daniel Bard is playing out of position- Tony Massarotti doesn’t like Daniel Bard in the starting rotation, he says he belongs in the bullpen.

A major topic on the local airwaves yesterday was the discussion of Josh Beckett, who reportedly was seen playing golf last Thursday on the teams’ day off with Clay Buchholz. It was announced the day before that Beckett would miss his next start (last Saturday), due to tightness in his right lat. Beckett takes to the hill tonight at Fenway.

Carl Beane, the Red Sox public address announcer for the past nine seasons tragically died in a one-car accident on Wednesday in Sturbridge, Mass.

Carl Beane was much more than the ‘voice of Fenway Park’- Mike Petraglia has an unbelievably well-written, personal piece remembering the man who was “living his dream” as the Red Sox public address announcer.

Voice of Fenway’ Silenced- Gordon Edes remembers the hard-working man, who truly loved his job.

The Celtics and Hawks will play Game 6 tonight at TD Garden. The Celtics can close out the Hawks with a win.

More Kevin Garnett best bet vs. Hawks- Steve Bulpett says Kevin Garnett is playing his best basketball since becoming a Celtic five years ago.

Game 6: It’s Rajon Rondo time- Paul Flannery has how the Celtics need Rajon Rondo more than ever.

Should Allen return to the starting lineup?- A. Sherrod Blakely asks the question of should the Celtics shake things up and insert Ray Allen into the starting lineup.

The ultimate swing game- Chris Forsberg looks at the importance of Game 6 for the Celtics, and not letting the Hawks force a Game 7.

Way To Go, CSNNE.

This is the star that the Television home of the Boston Celtics has attached its wagon to:

He is on their airwaves for about 8 hours a day, between the simulcast of the Felger and Mazz radio show, and UNO Sports Tonight and the repeat showings of that program.

While most “green teamers” can switch the radio during Felger’s show over to WEEI for semi-intelligent Celtics talk, CSNNE viewers. many of whom tune in to see the Celtics and programming related to them, have no equivalent alternative in that medium. NESN pretty much ignores the Celtics altogether, beyond cursory highlight packages.

The Celtics apparently, are OK with this arrangement.

“Green teamers” apparently occupy an even lower slot than “footy pajama Patriots fans” when it comes to Felger’s contempt. Not sure where the “Texas Tough Guy” fits in when compared to those two.

Red Sox beat Royals, Matt Light officially retires

The Red Sox got back on the winning track by defeating the Kansas City Royals 11-5 Monday night in Kansas City. Will Middlebrooks was once again the star as he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double and five RBI’s to lead the offense. Felix Doubront pitched well enough to earn the win, going 6 1/3 innings allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, and striking out two.

Doubront answers bell in win over Royals- Sean McAdam has the Red Sox needed a big start from Doubront, and he delivered.

Middlebooks: Sox’ Roy Hobbs- Michael Silverman takes a look at the start to Middlebrooks’ big league career.

Middlebrooks lightning strikes twice- Gordon Edes has Will and his sister Lacey, a softball player at Tulsa, each having monster games on Sunday, including hitting home runs at virtually the same time.

Coming out swinging- Peter Abraham looks at Adrian Gonzalez and why his slow start isn’t concerning the slugger yet.

Improving on greatness: Dustin Pedroia looks poised for a career year in 2012- Alex Speier has a look at how this season could be Dustin Pedroia’s best year as a professional.

Matsuzaka feels good, even on an off night- Brian MacPherson looks at Daisuke Matsuzaka’s rehab start with Pawtucket.

After 11 seasons with the Patriots, left tackle Matt Light officially announced his retirement Monday at Gillette Stadium. Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick both spoke about Light before he took to the podium. While it is highly unlikely Light will make the NFL Hall of Fame, he is almost a guarantee for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Light is one of the five NFL players in history to start in five Super Bowls.

Matt Light reveals decade-long battle with Crohn’s- Mike Reiss looks at the battle Light had to fight after revealing he had the disease for the first time Monday morning.

Light retirement highlights post NFL- transition- Tom E. Curran has Light’s transition into his post football life and what that means for him, as well as others who have struggled to deal with it.

Light’s out: Veteran lineman calls it a career- Christopher Price takes a look at the 11-year career of the Patriots left tackle.

Matt Light remembered as a legendary prankster- Jeff Howe has how Light will be remembered as one of the biggest pranksters on the team and has some of his most memorable moments.

The Celtics and Hawks will play Game 5 tonight in Atlanta with the Celtics having a chance to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Game 5: Defense and rebounding fuel Celtics- Paul Flannery looks back at Game 4 and ahead to Game 5.

Quick closeout critical for C’s- Peter May says it is important for the Celtics to close out this series tonight, and not have to come back to Boston for Game 6.

No surprise: Pierce wants to play- Mark Murphy, in his notebook, has Paul Pierce wanting to play after suffering a knee injury prior to Sunday’s game. He highlights other injured Celtics including Avery Bradley (shoulder) and Mickael Pietrus (hamstring).

Celtics’ Bradley grows into key player- Scott Souza has Bradley’s role with the Celtics and more on his injured shoulder.

Premature to break them up- Gary Washburn says Danny Ainge and the Celtics should keep the “Big Three” together for one more season.

Jeff Howe new Patriots beat reporter for Boston Herald

NESN.com Patriots beat reporter Jeff Howe announced on his Twitter page this morning that he will be now be the Patriots beat reporter for the Boston Herald. He will replace Ian Rapoport who recently left the Herald, to move to Dallas and a job with NFL Network.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/jeffphowe/status/199485347669868546″]

I was able to reach Howe for a quick comment this afternoon, in what has been a crazy day for the UMass Amherst graduate. He has been NESN’s Patriots beat reporter since 2009, but is looking forward to the opportunity he has with the Herald.

“I can’t express enough just how excited I am to join an amazing staff at the Boston Herald. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity, and it’s going to be a fun challenge. With that said, it’s tough leaving NESN.com. The last three years have been such a blast, and I’d like to thank everyone at NESN for helping me develop my career. There’s so much talent in that building, and I wish everyone the best of luck.”

Howe is one of the most underrated reporters on the Patriots beat, so the new gig is definitely well-deserved.

Red Sox’ lack of offseason moves proving costly

Starting the 2012 season 11-16 there is plenty of blame to go around. You can start with the team itself, or some people have called out new manager Bobby Valentine, but the real issue, and where the real blame should be is the front office. The failure to make offseason acquisitions to boost the teams depth is really starting to prove costly with the injuries and rough starts that the team has had to deal with in the first month.

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Reach For This Guy

Wilson Pick Triggers Uproar; Fans Question Belichick’s Aim

by Dan Snapp

Matt Light will retire on Monday. He had a tremendous career, sliding in as the starting left tackle almost immediately, and offering solid play on the field and solid character off it for more than a decade. But Light’s career should also serve as reminder for us all to stop thinking we know better than Bill Belichick what he should do with his football team.

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A slow day in Boston sports

With both the Red Sox and Celtics off on Thursday, and the Bruins and Patriots in their off-season it was a relatively slow day in sports, especially for Boston standards. Cam Neely and the Jacobs’ did address the Bruins media to discuss the future plans for the team and look back at the 2011-2012 season.

The Celtics are back in action tonight as they host the Hawks for an important Game 3 at TD Garden, and the Red Sox open a weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

Making sense of unapologetic, defiant, thankful Rajon Rondo- Paul Flannery looks at Rajon Rondo and how he reacted following Game 2, thanking his teammates for pulling out the victory.

A contrite Rondo? Don’t count on it- Chris Forsberg has Rondo not apologizing for being suspended, and in Rondo’s mind he doesn’t think he has to.

Celtics can’t afford to go soft on Hawks- Gary Washburn says the Celtics need to keep riding their momentum and not let up.

Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith bring a close relationship to postseason series- Mark Murphy looks at the friendship between Rondo and the Hawks’ Josh Smith

Looking forward Bruins need consistency- Stephen Harris has the consistency of all four of the lines being the key to the Bruins’ future success.

Deep-rooted belief- Fluto Shinzawa says depth will be important for the Bruins to improve upon for next season.

Full circle at Fenway: The making of Will Middlebrooks- Alex Speier looks at Middlebrooks’ entire career in the Red Sox organization.

It sure feels like bridge year for the Red Sox- Tony Massarotti says with Will Middlebrooks already being called up, Josh Beckett injured, and Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list, it is beginning to feel like a bridge year.

Red Sox sellout streak a real numbers game- Bob Hohler and Seth Lakso look at whether or not the Red Sox really sell out each and every game by attending a game this past week conducting  gate-by-gate reviews, and interviewing team executives.

Jerry Remy’s absence concerns Red Sox fans- Chad Finn in his weekly media column writes about Jerry Remy, and when he expects to return to the booth.

Round And Round: Belichick’s Draft History

By Chris Warner

Followers of the most recent New England draft noted the contrast between the elation of Day One and the confusion of Day Two. This isn’t a new phenomenon, as we see in our round-by-round review of Bill Belichick’s drafts. (We ran a similar piece in 2009 on Patriots Daily – worth checking out for the scathing critique of the 2007 selections.)

This just in: drafting looks really, really hard. Sometimes Coach Bill Belichick seems to make it a little bit harder on himself.

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