Blaming Media The Wrong Move For Sox Ownership, 1510 To Rise From The Ashes?

There are plenty of things to criticize the Boston media for. The failure of the 2012 Red Sox is not one of them.

That’s all on the team, from top to bottom.My SB Nation Boston media column deals with that topic more in depth, except it’s not posted yet. I’ll link it when it is.

Red Sox wrong to place blame on media – Peter Abraham, fresh off back-to-back nights at Springsteen, makes some valid points on the tactics of ownership, and ridicules a Boston Herald article.

While I respect Abraham’s right to take a couple nights off and to even tweet and blog the concert setlists, he comes off a little defensive in the comment section. His comment “Sorry I took my first road series in two years off.” is a little Beckett-esque, shades of “I only get 18 off-days during the season, I’m going to do what I want.

Red Sox owners making presence felt – Meanwhile, Nick Cafardo is being ripped to shreds in the comment section of this piece today.

Here’s how Sox would tell their story – Gordon Edes goes off-beat and attempts to write about the Red Sox in 1910 fashion.

Red Sox Game 117 (Sox 6, @Balt 3) Reloaded – Oh yeah, the red Sox actually won last night. Jon Couture runs down the coverage and notables.

The Legend of Larry Bird: 20 Years Later – Rich Levine with an epic tribute to Larry Bird, who retired 20 years ago this month. Man, I’m old.

This image was tweeted out by @BostonRadio last night.

Its seems that Boston will soon have four sports radio stations in town. (Assuming Entercom does put ESPN Radio full-time on the dial somewhere.) NBC Sports Radio is due to launch on September 4th. An official announcement about Boston has not yet been made, but there have been plenty of rumblings. A connection to CSNNE seems natural, given the Comcast/NBC dynamic.

Right now, programming has only been announced for nights and mornings, so it’s unclear what the lineup is going to look like.

Ultimately, the station will face the same issues that doomed 1510 the Zone, mainly the lack of signal strength. (Well, the signal comes in great if you’re in the Atlantic ocean. )

The NBC Sports Radio Network is the latest move by Comcast/NBC in the sports arena as they attempt to mount a challenge to ESPN in the sports programming market.

The Renaissance Golfer: Kevin Walsh - John Molori profiles the CSNNE anchor, whom he says might mount  a challenge to the Most Interesting Man in the World.

Check Patriots coverage today and over the weekend on PatriotsLinks.com.

Red Sox lose second straight to Orioles

The Orioles scored five times in the fifth inning, the only inning in which they scored runs all night, which was good enough for a 5-3 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night. The Red Sox are now four games under .500 for the first time since May 13. Starter Aaron Cook oddly enough had a no-hitter with one out in that fifth inning until the wheels fell apart. The big blow came on a double-play ball to end the inning, in which Cook threw the ball into center field allowing the flood gates to open.

Adrian Gonzalez and manager Bobby Valentine were both ejected in the eighth inning. It all started when Gonzalez was upset with a quick-pitch when he was at the plate and then grounded out. Valentine was ejected right after when he went out to defend Gonzalez. It seems nothing can go right for the Red Sox, both on and off the field.

On Wednesday John Henry sent another email to media outlets, this time regarding the meeting that occurred in New York late last month. He insisted the players did not want to get Valentine fired, and these meetings have taken place for a number of years now, just this was the first to get leaked. Here is an except:

First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win — what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

I think Henry needs to do something more than just sending an email at this point, don’t you think?

David Ortiz feeling better, but still idle- Michael Vega has David Ortiz not knowing when he will be able to return to the lineup.

It’s time to call it quits, Sox aren’t worth our attention- John Tomase says fans should start focusing their attention on 2013 as this season appears to be all but over.

Bobby V’s Sox on wobbly legs- Gordon Edes looks at how this season might have an affect on next season. He mentions free agents and if they would want to even come to Boston.

Who’s to blame in this latest Red Sox fiasco- Tim Britton says that the blame can go to almost everyone in the entire organization.

Adrian Gonzalez refutes claim in report- Rob Bradford exclusively gets Adrian Gonzalez’s take on the Yahoo! Sports report.

Matsuzaka: ‘I’m ready to make the next step’- Maureen Mullen has Daisuke Matsuzaka’s comments following his latest outing in Pawtucket. He feels he is ready to return.

The Patriots continued their week-long grind at Gillette Stadium with their fourth straight day of practice. They will host the Eagles at Gillette Monday night.

Get all your Patriots coverage at Patriotslinks.com.

Local Media Burned Again on Red Sox Story

By now, you’ve all likely read the story on Yahoo! Sports by Jeff Passan about the July meeting that Red Sox players held with management to express their unhappiness with manager Bobby Valentine.

So again, just like with Buster Olney’s story, and Passan’s earlier stuff, how does a national guy get this story ahead of all the local guys who are in there every day?

And how are stories like these ones, which ran yesterday, still being written – Ownership’s fault? Not buying it and Sox demise not what you think ?

I’m aghast. Everyone on that team, from top to bottom, but especially at the the top, is to blame for this disaster. This team has me openly pining for the glory days of John Harrington, Dan Duquette, Joe Kerrigan, Mike Lansing, Dante Bichette and Carl Everett.

The Nick Cafardo column above on ownership is truly mind-blowing, (at one point, Nick turns the finger at the fans, saying we’re too spoiled around here) as is Gerry Callahan’s continued defense of Larry Lucchino.

Meanwhile, my Twitter feed last night during the game was more about the setlist at the Springsteen concert.

At least there’s some hope today in these pieces:

Red Sox ownership lacking courageMinihane, WEEI.com

Bobby Valentine continues to talk himself into troubleTomase, Herald.

It’s time to fire Bobby ValentineGasper, Globe (making his debut as full-time columnist.)

And then there is Joe Haggerty, making friends and influencing people:

After all this Red Sox combustion, I fully expect Joe Sullivan to commission a full investigative piece into the Patriots rookie hazing practice. Send Hohler to Foxborough!

Sticking with the NFL for a second, does anyone find the Jets secrecy about their “Wildcat” formation to be hilarious? Media is forbidden to report on it, and they’ve booted fans from practice.

The Patriots do similar things and Sullivan is filing complaints to the league office. Meanwhile the Jets continue to be praised as an open team with nothing to hide. Got it.

Get all your Patriots news today at Patriotslinks.com.

Q&A with Michael Felger

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992.

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992 when he graduated from Boston University. He has spent time with a number of media outlets with various roles for each from beat reporter to now radio and television host. He has become one of the most prominent members of the Boston sports media. Like him or not, for every major Boston sports story or game everyone wants to know what Felger has to say. Felger celebrated two milestones this week, one being the three year anniversary of 98.5 The Sports Hub and also the 5,000th Sports Tonight Show on Comcast Sportsnet. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Felger for a Q&A on a wide variety of subjects.

BSMW: What do you miss most about being a beat writer and covering a team on a day-to-day basis? Do you miss the writing side of journalism?

MF: There was nothing better than breaking a story in the newspaper (i.e., the actual thing you held in your hands over morning coffee), which was still possible during most of my time as a beat reporter. Now, of course, that rarely happens. So the thing I miss the most doesn’t really exist any more.

Otherwise, I liked this time of a year a lot on the Pats beat. I thought that if you went to those training camp practices every day, paid attention and knew what to look for, you could learn about the team. Once they got out of camp and closed practices, forget it. Everyone was back in the dark. But right now was one of the few times you could provide true insight. Covering hockey was great because of the people– the players were mostly humble and fun and there were characters like Pat Burns and Harry Sinden who I enjoyed even as they crushed me. The hockey culture is unique. And the games were great.

But to say I  “miss” any of that would be an overstatement. I’d rather be doing what I’m doing now. I don’t miss writing.

BSMW: Do you enjoy working full-time in radio and TV more than when you worked in print? Has not being on a beat/covering games allowed you to voice your opinion on players more than you would if you were still covering games?

MF: There were many days when I categorically did not enjoy being a beat reporter. There are very few days when I don’t enjoy commentating on radio or TV. The radio, in particular, is a blast. There’s nothing else like it.

As for the voicing of my opinion — yes, of course, there’s more freedom now. And that’s essential, because I pretty much can’t  put a sock in it, so to speak. It ultimately made me a pretty average beat guy. If I was doing a report card in the Herald and Joe Andruzzi (one of the best guys to ever come through there) had a bad game, I couldn’t downplay it just because I was friendly with him. Or if I felt the Pats should have paid to keep Deion Branch or Adam Vinatieri, I wouldn’t hesitate to criticize the team even though Bill Belichick wrote the epilogue for my book or the Krafts had been good to me (both true). So relationships were frayed, and I grew to hate the politics of the job.

This is hardly unique to me, by the way. If you want sources, you pretty much have to play favorites. That’s not a criticism of reporters who do it. It’s just the nature of the job. It’s a hard, hard thing to pull off. I’m a heck of a lot more comfortable coming at it from the outside and just saying what I think.

BSMW: What is your take on being labeled a “DB”? Does it bother you at all? Is it what you’re trying to be? Have you always been this way?

MF: You mean, was I born a douche bag? No. I’d say it’s a skill I’ve developed over time.

Seriously, it doesn’t bother me, but it’s also not what I’m trying to be. I’m not trying to be anything other than myself and, hopefully, entertaining. How it actually comes across to listeners  is up to them.

BSMW: Having worked at WEEI for some time, what do you see are the biggest differences between WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub? Has there been a time where what Felger & Mazz and 98.5 in general has done has surprised you, in terms of growing so quickly? Is there something you’d like to see your show to do in the near future to help it grow?

MF: I’ll pass on most of the first part of your question, except this: When Tony and I came on the air (exactly three years ago, Aug. 13, 2009), I said we would be different because we wouldn’t be held hostage by the relationships we had. Too often when I listen to sports commentary (the radio, ESPN, etc), I feel punches are being pulled because of a friendship, or a business relationship, or a broadcast rights agreement, or a weekly interview segment, or whatever. Just too much protecting of the brands and the people. I like to think Tony and I avoid that better than most. We try to go after everyone the same way. And I think the Hub and Comcast deserve a lot of credit for allowing it. Comcast doesn’t stop me from speaking my mind on the Celtics and the NBA, and the Hub doesn’t prevent me from going after the Bruins or NFL owners. That’s rare. We’re lucky.

As for the how quickly the competition heated up on the radio, I was surprised by it. I thought if we were lucky, that by Year 5 we’d have made it a ball game. Instead, we starting winning in 2010 and were No. 1 in the demo for a year starting in the spring of 2011 (the only sports show to do that since we came on). By this spring, it was actually treated like a failure when we finished third. We also got the simulcast deal in place. All that happened within three years.  So, yes, I was not expecting all that so soon.

BSMW: Why aren’t you on Twitter? Will you ever be on Twitter? Do you think it is good or bad for sports journalism?

MF: Excellent question. Laziness. No other reason. I have nothing against it. It seems like a great tool for news events (like a trade deadline), and as a marketing vehicle, it’s not just the future, it’s the present. So you can add “dumb” to “lazy.”  I should be on there.

BSMW: Where do you see yourself in the coming years? Have you ever considered moving to a national platform?

MF: No one has ever asked me to move to a national platform, so I’ve never really considered it. Basically, if I can do what I’m doing now for the rest of my professional life (on the radio every day in Boston; some TV at night), I would consider myself extremely lucky. In fact, I’m sure they will have to tell me to leave, not the other way around.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84. Shoot me an email at [email protected]

Bob Ryan’s Farewell, CSNNE’s 5000th and More…

Bob Ryan’s farewell (sort of) column in the Globe yesterday was typical Ryan – passionate, with a nod to history, underscored by humility about his own role in things.

The Globe has lost perhaps the final piece to its glory days, and a bridge to even earlier eras. We’ll continue to read Ryan on many Sundays throughout the year, but the paper will not be the same. Ryan officially closes things out with his account of the United States’ win in the Gold Medal Men’s Olympic basketball game.

You’re up, Chris Gasper. Got 44 years in you?

**********

Comcast SportsNet New England celebrates their 5000th episode of “Sports Tonight” with a one-hour prime time special beginning tonight at 6:30PM.

5000 episodes is an impressive number, and kudos to CSNNE for reaching it. However, I can honestly say I don’t watch it all that much, as it is essentially a recap of whatever subjects were debated on sports radio that day. I’ve heard all the storylines, and the debates once already, I don’t need it again.

CSNNE provides a lot of good programming (SportsNet Central, Celtics broadcasts and pre and post game, various original specials) but they also provide an outlet for ridiculousness like the ongoing Joe Haggerty-Kirk Minihane slapfight.

In case you’re not up to speed on it, old friend Ryan Hadfield provides a recap on his Out of Bounds blog on WEEI.com.

Hadfield might find it entertaining, I find it forced, staged and juvenile.

***********

That gushing Boston Globe feature on Bobby Valentine yesterday by Stan Grossfeld was embarrassing. I usually enjoy the somewhat offbeat features that Grossfeld puts together, but I thought we were done with these types of stories after spring training. Given the season that the club is having, it’s even more out of place.

***********

Same newspaper, same day:

Count me as one who missed the memo that the Red Sox are allowing beer in the clubhouse on the road after games. It’s a complete contradiction to what we were told by Bobby Valentine in February. The word then was “no beer in the clubhouse.’’ Now we’re all supposed to shrug and say it’s no big deal that the beer is still there on the road? The Sox made absolutely no distinction between home and road clubhouse rules when they made their big announcement in Florida. The notion that it was common knowledge is incorrect and sneaky.

Biggest non-story of the year: John Lackey having two beers after a Red Sox loss on the road. If you knew the team rule, it wouldn’t be a story. No alcohol in the Fenway clubhouse and no alcohol on return charters to Boston. Been that way since spring training.

The first was Dan Shaughnessy, the second Nick Cafardo.

I’m guessing that since Cafardo is around the team everyday, he actually knew what the rule was.

By the way, John Lackey is severely tone-deaf and lacking in self-awareness and good judgement, but no more so than many of the media weighing in on this whole absurd topic.

Jen Royle says that episodes like this are why we shouldn’t be surprised when players say it is tough to play here.

Doing Our Friday Megalinks

Haven’t been able to provide the Friday megalinks in a while. Let’s do an edition today.

Normally I include a link to the Weekend Viewing Picks, but I’ll be doing that tonight so you can find it on the Fang’s Bites on BSMW site when it’s posted. If you follow me on Twitter or have an RSS feed, you’ll be updated as soon as it posts. If not, you can find it later.

Let’s do the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand wonders what effect the gold medal win by the US Women’s Soccer National Team will have on the sport in the long run.

Michael also live blogged Thursday’s Olympic Primetime on NBC.

Jeffrey Martin of USA Today looks at the grand experiment that’s known as the Pac-12 Networks.

At the Sports on Earth blog, Joe Posnanski chronicles his day in covering the Olympics.

Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily says with NFL preseason games airing in many local markets on Thursday, NBC Olympic overnight ratings took a hit.

Bill King of SBD says CBS Sports is forging ahead with a show featuring the professional debut of several US Olympic boxers despite their poor performance in London.

Ryan Baucom of SBD writes that several Olympic athletes are getting a boost in Twitter followers after their success in the London Games.

Tripp Mickle of SBD says Universal Sports broke out an ad on NBC Thursday trying to promote its Olympic sports programming. Good luck with that.

Eric Fisher of SBD says Yahoo is declaring victory over NBCOlympics.com for unique pageviews.

Sohrab Amari of the Wall Street Journal reviews an NBC News documentary fronted by Tom Brokaw which will air on NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday.

Sarah Kwak of Sports Illustrated talks with Lolo Jones about the media firestorm that swelled just before she ran her 100 meters hurdles race.

In the Sherman Report, Ed Sherman talks with outgoing Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan about his first job. Ryan will be missed in the pages of the Globe.

Sports Media Journal’s Keith Thibault and I have an Olympic-themed podcast with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times and Bruce Beck of WNBC-TV.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Today Show host Matt Lauer had an icy reunion with former co-host Ann Curry on NBC’s London Olympics set.

John Eggerton at Broadcasting & Cable writes that the FCC has already denied a Comcast request to stay its decision requiring the cable provider to give space to the Tennis Channel.

Christopher Heine of Adweek says Olympic marketers have failed to medal in their social media campaigns.

But Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age looks at the Olympic sponsors that managed to get a boost through social media.

Michael Learmonth of Advertising Age says NBC and the International Olympic Committee have to fix the Olympic business model before it breaks down.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life notes that NBC’s ratings for Wednesday Olympic Primetime show drew better viewership numbers than Atlanta in 1996.

Brandon Costa of Sports Video Group says CBS Sports is preparing for all type of weather conditions for this weekend’s PGA Championship.

Karen Hogan of SVG looks at NBC New York Olympic operations.

Ken Kerschbaumer at SVG says Denmark TV has a floating barge studio for the London Olympics. Now that’s pretty cool.

And Birgit Heidsiek of SVG says Eurosport TV is producing the Olympics in 3-D.

Jason Fry of the Poynter Institute and writing as the ESPN Ombudsman investigates a plagiarism incident at the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

Ronnie Ramos at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center writes that the Pac-12 Conference is readying an aggressive digital strategy that will go along with its television distribution.

Ty Duffy at The Big Lead goes after former NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol for being out of touch in defending the tape delayed Olympics.

The Big Lead looks at the Pac-12 being in the forefront of digital distribution after being marred for years of being behind the curve.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says the Miami Dolphins will take advantage of the NFL’s relaxed TV blackout policy this weekend.

Emmett Jones of Sports Business Digest notes that Buffalo Wild Wings has purchased naming rights for a college bowl game. Looks like it will be going to overtime every year.

Sports Media Watch says with NBC committed to the Olympics this year, the NFL Hall of Fame preseason game was aired on NFL Network and naturally suffered a big viewer dropoff.

SMW reports that NBC got another ratings increase for the Olympics.

TVNewsCheck says Gannett is declaring victory saying three of its stations are the top-rated local NBC affiliates in key demographics.

Alex Weprin of TVNewser looks at NBC’s Today Show operations in London.

At TVSpy, Alex tours NBC’s operation center for its local affiliates in London.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Globe talks with Celtics TV voice Mike Gorman who’s been calling Olympic handball off a monitor for NBC.

At SB Nation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen discusses Golf Channel’s meteoric rise and its plans to cover the PGA Championship this weekend.

Verne Gay at Newsday notes that a long-time NBC Sports director is retiring after the Olympics.

Newsday’s Chris Serico wonders if NBC’s Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera will be a bit more subdued during the Olympic Closing Ceremony on Sunday than their talkative performance during the Opening Ceremony two Fridays ago.

Neil Best of Newsday catches up with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski who’s filling a new role at the network after being in the Monday Night Football both.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is in another one of his moods today.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes a local radio station’s high school football schedule.

Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says Pac-12 Networks will be seen on Time Warner Cable locally.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says despite a lost season, the Philadelphia Phillies TV crew still has plenty to talk about during games.

Tim Richardson in Press Box looks at the business of fantasy football as leagues get ready to hold their drafts soon, if not already.

Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that more people were watching the DC NFL Team in area sports bars last night as compared to the Nationals.

Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog says the Nationals radio team tried to explain the term “ball bag”.

South

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald reviews HBO’s Hard Knocks on the Dolphins.

Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Dolphins have announced their TV blackout policy today.

Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman says a local high school sports TV show expands to a new market.

Midwest

The Cincinnati Enquirer says ESPN’s College GameDay could be visiting the Queen City in February.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at Dick Ebersol’s latest comments on tape delaying Olympic events.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with a local sports radio host who’s perturbed at a former employer.

Dan notes that the Olympics and the St. Louis Cardinals ratings have been hurt by each other.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times talks with a former NBC Olympics analyst who was fired on the spot after calling a race.

To the Ventura County Star where Jim Carlisle talks about the increased spotlight on the Pac-12 through its new TV networks.

Jim says Twitter has become an Olympic event.

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times has the Irish radio call of boxer Katie Taylor’s victory giving the country its first gold medal of the Olympics.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says this is a critical time for beach volleyball as the sport is in transition now.

Tom has some Olympic TV notes in his blog.

And those are your supersized megalinks for today.

Patriots Show Signs, More Red Sox Beer Drama

The Patriots and Saints didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard at Gillette Stadium last night, as the Patriots took a 7-6 win in their preseason opener. Rookie Chandler Jones seems to be the takeaway story from this one, as the first round pick was impressive in his time on the field, showing the pass rush that fans and media have been clamoring for in recent years.

Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com, but here are a few of the top stories:

Debut of top pick Jones is a show of strength – Greg A Bedard says that Mr. Jones has arrived.

Ten Things We Learned Thursday: Quite an opening act for Jones, Hightower – Christopher Price says that both first round picks looked good, and that Bill Belichick should be expecting a note from the league office.

A little good, a lot bad, mostly ugly – Mike Reiss says that this one was predictably sloppy.

Patriots defense came ready to play – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots got some good returns from the unit on its first time out.

One thing I keep hearing and reading over and over this preseason is how either Deion Branch or Donte Stallworth will be cut, as the Patriots can’t keep both.

The consensus seems to be that Walker and Lloyd are locks as the top two, Gaffney as the third receiver, and then Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater are both indispensable for the other things they do for the team, leaving only one spot available between Branch and Stallworth. In 2007, the Patriots carried 7 receivers for a good part of the season – Moss, Welker, Gaffney, Stallworth, Kelley Washington, Chad Jackson and Troy Brown. Both Jackson and Brown were PUP’d to start the season, but were later activated and carried on the 53-man for the rest of the season. The Patriots also carried three tight ends and four running backs for most of that season.

All I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s impossible that the Patriots carry 7 receivers. They’re going to need them all at some point.

The Red Sox season to nowhere continued in Cleveland last night with a 5-3 loss to the Indians.

After the game, Joe Haggerty tweeted:

He then followed up with a column today:

Signs are there that Sox are giving up on the season

This provided plenty of fodder for the talk shows this morning, and on Twitter, with plenty expressing outrage that Lackey had beer after the Red Sox had supposedly banned all beer in the clubhouse.

Dale Arnold and John Dennis noted that no one else had reported what Haggerty said about Lackey and the beer, and Rob Bradford called in to say why – the ban on beer was only ever about their own Fenway clubhouse. Beer has been allowed in visiting clubhouses all season. Bradford then noted that this was the first time Haggerty had been on the road with the Red Sox this season, so he must not have been aware.

Meanwhile, Hardball Times issued a rebuttal to Haggerty’s premise about the Red Sox:

John Lackey has beer in the clubhouse, so apparently the Sox have given up

Is Lackey tone-deaf ? Yes. Do I want him gone? Absolutely. Is this another media-created tempest in a teapot? Definitely.

Interesting that other media types have jumped on the clarification bandwagon, probably to explain why they didn’t report what Haggerty did.

This Boston.com headline though, cracks me up:

You’ve got your sensational bold headline with “Double Fisted” and the underneath it, in much smaller type, why it’s not a big deal AND the suggestion that the person who reported it didn’t know the score.

Good times.

At 55-58, Red Sox facing a new reality – I approve of Peter Abraham’s plan.

A couple of media columns to wrap up Friday:

Mike Gorman tries his hand at calling a different sport – Chad Finn talks to the Celtics announcer about calling Olympic handball for NBC this summer. Interestingly Gorman is not in London, he’s called all the games remotely from New York.

Golf Channel Hopes For Big Weekend With PGA Championship – My SB Nation Boston media column. Golf Channel is on an incredible run, and this weekends PGA Championship (On TNT and CBS) could be one for the ages.

Red Sox, Beckett fall to Rangers, Patriots open preseason tonight

It was a another rough outing for Josh Beckett yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park. The right-hander gave up eight runs on eight hits in 5 plus innings of work. The Red Sox battled back from multi-run deficits all game long, eventually tying the game at nine, but Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Rangers the lead and the Sox couldn’t do any more in the bottom half of the inning, losing by a count of 10-9.

Following joint practices the past two days at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots and Saints will meet Thursday night for the Patriots’ first preseason game. It will be the second game for the Saints. Although the starters are not expected to play much, football being back is just what many fans in the area need right now with the Red Sox struggling. Also, it will give reporters and analysts game action to discuss, rather than what happened in practice. Hopefully it will put an end to some of the bogus story lines coming out of camp thus far such as: Is this offense going to be better than the one in 2007? or Is Tom Brady still a clutch quarterback, having not performed  well in the postseason of late?

Another rough day for Beckett- Alex Prewitt looks at Beckett’s start on Wednesday, one in which he was boo’d off the mound when he was taken out in the fifth inning.

Root of all Red Sox woes- Michael Silverman says the majority of the problems with the Red Sox this season all come back to pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett and their poor records.

Broken record: Beckett buries Sox- Joe McDonald looks at Beckett’s outing and season, one the right-hander feels like he is letting down his teammates.

Everything is wrong with Josh Beckett- Kirk Minhane looks at Beckett’s rough season.

Thanks to starters, Red Sox will be forced to call uncomfortable audible- Rob Bradford looks at the Red Sox starting rotation going into next season and possibly who the team might need to try and deal away, likely Beckett or John Lackey.

Playoffs?! You kidding me?- Gordon Edes says if the Red Sox don’t get hot on the upcoming 10-game road trip their playoff hopes will be all but over.

Brady, Brees pass the compliments- Shalise Manza Young and Julian Benbow in the Patriots notebook have the respect Drew Brees and Tom Brady have for one another.

Five things to watch for with Patriots vs. Saints- Greg A. Bedard has five things to watch for in tonight’s game.

Patriots: Five things to watch- Jeff Howe has his five things to watch tonight.

Ten spot: Who you should watch for Thursday against the Saints- Christopher Price has 10 players to keep your eye on tonight.

Things to watch: Patriots-Saints- Field Yates has 13 things to watch for in the Patriots first preseason game.

 

Scott Zolak Officially Named To Replace Gino Cappelletti

Chad Finn had it last week, but WBZ-FM made it official this morning when they named Scott Zolak to be the Patriots color analyst alongside Gil Santos this season.

Here is the release:

SCOTT ZOLAK NAMED COLOR COMMENTATOR

FOR THE PATRIOTS RADIO NETWORK on

98.5 THE SPORTS HUB!

Zolak Joins Veteran Play-by-Play Announcer Gil Santos in the Booth

98.5 The Sports Hub is the Official Flagship Station of the Three-Time

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots

Boston, MA – Wednesday, August 8, 2012 –  Longtime sportscaster and expert football analyst Scott Zolak has been named color commentator for the Patriots Radio Network on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM)…the Official Flagship radio station of the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.  In his new role as color commentator, which is effective immediately, Zolak joins renowned play-by-play announcer Gil Santos to provide in-depth game analysis and complete play-by-play detail of every Patriots game.  Zolak replaces Gino Cappelletti who retired last month, and Zolak’s announcement was made earlier today by Mike Thomas, Vice President of Programming for CBS RADIO Boston.

“Scott’s vast knowledge of football and his long relationship with the team make him the obvious choice for this position,” said Thomas when making the announcement.  “I’m looking forward to hearing him with Gil this season.”

“It is with great pride and gratitude that I have been given the opportunity by 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Patriots organization to continue the tradition established by the great Gino Cappelletti to be the color commentator for the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots,” said Zolak about his new role.  “I am beyond looking forward to sitting in next to the legend Gil Santos as I make this transition from the sideline to the booth.”

In addition to his expanded role as color commentator on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Zolak currently co-hosts the “Gresh & Zo” show on 98.5 The Sports Hub for three years with Andy Gresh live weekdays from 10AM to 2PM, and he contributes to “Patriots All Access,” “Patriots Game Day, and “Patriots 5th Quarter” on WBZ-TV.  Before being named color commentator joining Gil Santos in the booth, Zolak reported from the field as part of the Patriots Radio Network programming on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Zolak is a former football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons…most of them as quarterback for the New England Patriots.  Over the course of his career, he played in 55 games, completed 124 of 248 passes for 1,314 yards, threw eight touchdowns and seven interceptions, and finished his career with a passer rating of 64.8.

New England Patriots football coverage on 98.5 The Sports Hub begins three hours prior to kickoff with Sylvania Patriots Preview, continues with the GMC Halftime Show, and wraps up with the Kaspersky Lab Patriots Postgame Show for three hours after the game.  Patriots Preview is a fast-paced, energetic and informative prelude to kickoff, featuring in-depth analysis, dueling opinions and the only game-day interviews with Coach Bill Belichick and Vice-Chairman and President Jonathan Kraft.  Our postgame is a high-energy, opinionated breakdown of the game, with the press conferences of Belichick and Tom Brady aired live, and immediate reaction from the fans.

Patriots Preseason Predictions

by Chris Warner

Despite the fact that a team’s preseason performance has little relation to how the regular season will go, New England’s competition over the next few weeks will mean a great deal to fans.

For one, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to actual football in over six months. We can also begin to answer questions: Has the offense gotten its deep threat in Brandon Lloyd? Has the defense-minded draft made that side of the ball less charitable? We shall see, eventually.

In the meantime, we’ve compiled some predictions based on preseason reports, gut instincts, and a lack of interest in whatever Olympic event happened to be on television as we wrote this.

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