Let’s Do The Friday Megalinks

Time for Friday linkage.

The Weekend Viewing Picks have your sports and entertainment suggestions. Let’s get cracking.

National

Michael Hiestand from USA Today looks at TNT’s plans to go mostly split-screen during breaks for Saturday’s NASCAR race.

Tom Perrotta of the Wall Street Journal reports that the one Wimbledon souvenir the players want is the towel.

Alex Sherman at Bloomberg Businessweek talks with NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus about the Olympics.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says enhancing the NFL fan experience might bring more people to games.

Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report is happy to learn that Jeremy Schaap’s ESPN Radio show is now available as a podcast.

Bob Pockrass at The Sporting News says NASCAR hopes that NBC Sports will be a bidder for the sport’s TV rights.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says ESPN Deportes scored with the EURO 2012 Final last Sunday.

Mike says Golf Channel has selected the venue for the next season of “Big Break”.

Christopher Heine of Adweek says MLB’s allowing Twitter votes for the All-Star Game for the first time may have had a hand in deciding which league hosts the World Series.

Jason Del Ray of Advertising Age says the impending Turner Sports purchase of Bleacher Report makes sense.

Wayne Friedman at MediaPost says the NFL easing requirements on local TV blackouts shows the league wants to reach the casual fan.

Dan Daley at Sports Video Group says ESPN will be utilizing plenty of microphones at the MLB Home Run Derby.

Awful Announcing’s Matt Yoder has a screengrab of a Canadian TV station messing up the Steve Nash trade to the Lakers.

And Matt has found an episode of Judge Sapp. Yes, that’s Warren Sapp.

The Big Lead soaked up the latest Twitter battle between ESPN’s Darren Rovell and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

MediaRantz looks at the top 5 ESPN plagiarism scandals.

Nick Bromberg of Yahoo’s From the Marbles blog wonders what is the big deal with the TNT/truTV simulcast of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race on Saturday.

Joe Favorito likes how MLS has adopted “Food Week” to get fans to explore its markets’ restaurants.

East and Mid-Atlantic

At SB Nation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen says it was time for Erin Andrews to leave the ESPN Mothership.

Jerry Barmsah of Fishbowl NY says CBS Radio’s WFAN could be headed to FM and could take the Yankees with it.

Yes, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, we know you hate ESPN.

Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for ESPN tennis analyst Brad Gilbert.

Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says the MLB Extra Innings pay per view package will be free next week.

Don Laible of the Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch talks with the NHL on NBC’s Dave Strader about calling Olympic basketball.

Ken says a local minor league baseball team has found a new radio home.

Dave Sottile of the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News says there are no plans to bring Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic to the local area.

Tim Richardson in Press Box looks at the differences between the Washington Nationals and MASN over the team’s TV rights fee.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with MLB Network’s Chris Rose.

South

Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal says a popular local sports radio host is changing stations.

At the Houston Chronicle, David Barron writes that the new Comcast SportsNet Houston will air Conference USA football featuring the University of Houston.

Midwest

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says MLB feels it has restored integrity to the All-Star Game. It’s an exhibition game!

Paul M. Banks of the Chicago Sports Media Watch wonders who had the best mock NBA Draft?

Paul Christian at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the new TV voice of the Minnesota Wild will have an exciting team to call this season.

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks about Erin Andrews making her Fox debut next week.

Dan writes that Blues analyst Darren Pang turned down a full-time offer from TSN and will remain in St. Louis.

West

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has this harsh takedown of Erin Andrews.

Here’s Tom’s column which has a little more on the last post.

Tom also links to reaction to his Erin Andrews column.

Matt Rudnitsky of SportsGrid replies point-by-point to Hoffarth.

John Maffei of the North County Times writes about Erin Andrews joining Fox.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star talks with Fox’s Joe Buck on the challenges of calling the MLB All-Star Game.

Jim has his Weekend Viewing Picks.

Matthew T. Hall at the San Diego Union-Tribune wonders where’s the fan outrage in the Fox Sports San Diego-Time Warner Cable dispute leaving Padres games off TV.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News tries to clear up some confusion over the Pac-12 Network.

And that will conclude our links for today.

Dice-K struggles in Red Sox loss

Daisuke Matsuzaka was looking for his first win in 2012 last night in Oakland, but it wasn’t to be as the right-hander struggled allowing five runs in 1+ innings on four hits in the worst of his five outings this year. He walked two and gave up two home runs, making it an easy decision for Bobby Valentine’s quick hook. It was learned afterwards that he left with a stiff neck and a DL stint is not out of the question.

Clayton Mortensen pitched extremely well in relief, allowing just one run in five innings of work. The Red Sox eventually fell by a score of 6-1. The two teams meet again tonight for Game 2 of their three game series.

The lack of consistent starting pitching is really starting to catch up to the Red Sox. This west coach swing was supposed to be a time for the team to gain some ground in the AL East, but the lack of good starting pitching has contributed to the Red Sox going 2-3 on the road trip thus far. For the team to really be a contender in the AL East and the Wild Card their starting pitching needs to improve dramatically.

On a side note, it should be noted that Felger & Mazz were the only local sports radio show to have both regular hosts in studio and not taking a few extra days off for the 4th of July holiday. Love or hate them, they are two of the hardest working men in the Boston sports media.

Here are a few links going into the 4th of July holiday:

Daisuke Matsuzaka bombs in loss to A’s- Scott Lauber looks at the rough outing for Matsuzaka.

Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matzusaka to overcome- Sean McAdam has how Matsuzaka couldn’t pitch through the pain.

Daniel Bard: Something clicked- Joe McDonald talked with Daniel Bard after he pitched for Pawtucket Monday night. He retired the side in order, in his only inning of work, which was arguably his best outing since being sent down about a month ago.

Red Sox in great shape with help on the way- Ron Borges says people are jumping to conclusions with this Red Sox team, and says after this weekends series with the Yankees things could be a lot different.

Halfway home- Nick Cafardo looks back on the first half of the season and all the injuries the Red Sox have had to deal with, and how Valentine and GM Ben Cherington have done their best to work around them.

Celtics rookies past first test- Chris Forsberg has the three Celtics draft picks and their reactions after being drafted by the Celtics last week.

Sully won’t go negative- Mark Murphy says Jared Sullinger isn’t feeling bad about dropping down to No. 21 in the draft.

Ainge confident on Jeff Green, calls Ray Allen and Brandon Bass top priorities- Gary Dzen has Danny Ainge feeling confident the Celtics will get all three of those players back next season.

10 Thoughts Wrapping The Weekend

Not exactly MMQB style, but some thoughts from the weekend:

1) Great to get KG signed up. (The Herald‘s Steve Bulpett broke the story first on Saturday morning.) This morning I heard both mid-day shows talking about negativity regarding the deal – are they making this up? The guy will finish his career here, at a very friendly cap number, and can still play. There are no negatives here. If he feels he’s done before the three years are up, he’ll retire.

2) Tim Wakefield made his NESN debut as a studio analyst over the weekend. Bringing in a guy so closely removed from the end of his playing days is a double-edged sword. He’s beloved by the fans will be an attraction for NESN, but will be able to offer critical analysis of guys he was playing with so recently?

3) The return of Ray Allen is still very much up in the air. I think it might be time to move on for both parties, but I’m OK if they bring him back too. Part of me thinks that Danny Ainge saying how much they want Ray back and even having the numbers floated out there to show they’re offering more than Miami or Memphis can is just so that if Ray chooses to go to Miami, it will clearly be his own choice and the public will see that.

4) Minor annoyance – listening to sports flashes over the weekend, kept hearing update guys saying that “the Celtics are willing to double any offer Miami extends to Ray Allen.” Well, there’s really only ONE offer Miami can make, and it’s for $3 million. Numbers floated that the Celtics would offer $6 million. The “double any offer” is a little misleading.

5) Is Gary Tanguay feeling unloved and unnoticed lately? The stuff he just keeps saying – in all mediums, radio, TV and Twitter is mind-blowingly insane. It’s like he and Dwight Howard are having a competition or something.

6) Hey, did you know that we’re coming up on “Anti-‘Boston Sports Media’ Sign” Weekend At Fenway this weekend when the Red Sox play the Yankees? Me either.

7) I’ve never understood why reporters feel the need to tell us when a player declines to speak with the media. Over the weekend it happened again with Josh Beckett in Seattle. From this chair, Beckett is much better off not speaking with the media, because when he does, he usually gets himself in trouble, either with his generous use of expletives or his defiant attitude. He gets criticized by the media when he does talk to them, and they complain when he doesn’t talk to them.

8) New England (Lewiston, ME) native – and huge Celtics fan –  Erin Andrews is on the move, leaving ESPN and joining Fox Sports over the weekend.

9) Heard a voice I have not heard in some time over the weekend – Butch Stearns on WEEI. Perhaps he’s been on their regularly and I just haven’t caught him. With Dan Duquette finally acquiring Jim Thome over the weekend, I was reminded of a decade ago when Stearns proudly proclaimed on FOX 25 that Thome to the Red Sox was a “done deal.”

10) I like having Pete Sheppard back on WEEI. With Sheppard and Dale Arnold taking more and more shifts lately, it’s like old home days at WEEI.