Patriots 2012 Preseason TV Affiliates

The Patriots’  preseason games on Aug. 9 (Saints), Aug. 24 (at Tampa) and Aug. 29 (at Giants) can be seen live on the Patriots Preseason Television Network, available in all six New England states and Hawaii.

(In the past, games were also shown in Alaska, and in Canada, but that appears not to be the case this year.)

Here are the affiliates:

Massachusetts: Boston – WBZ-TV Channel 4 (flagship), Springfield – WWLP-TV Channel 22.

New Hampshire: Manchester – WMUR-TV Channel 9.

Rhode Island: Providence – WNAC-TV Channel 64. (Reader note: In past years In RI, the Pats/Saints got moved from WNAC (64) to their digital channel MyRI TV, which is 64-2 because of the So You Think You Can Dance finale.  That channel is also carried on Cox, Comcast, Full Channel and Verizon in RI. If you have Satellite, you might be out of luck.)

Maine: Portland – WMTW-TV Channel 8, Bangor – WVII-TV Channel 7.

Connecticut: Hartford/New Haven – WCTX-TV Channel 59. 

Vermont: Burlington – WVNY-TV Channel 22.

Hawaii: Honolulu KFVE-TV Channel 5

Once again, the duo of Don Criqui and Randy Cross will call the games.

Globe Editor Finger-Wags Patriots. Again.

Glad to see the fearless sports editor of the Boston Globe is back in full Patriots finger-wagging mode.

Right, because making rookies go down a slip-n-slide – in full public view of media and coaches – is the same as the sexual assaults and beatings that have been uncovered among high schools.

If anything, the Patriots as showing how to initiate rookies in a fun, non-harmful manner. I might think the whole thing is silly, but it’s not harming anyone.

I just hope Sullivan also comes out and takes a stand when the Red Sox make their rookies wear dresses on the final road trip of the season. If anything, that’s more humiliating than going down a slip-n-slide.

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

This was the big question being debated within the media and across the radio airwaves on Monday. The majority say that Valentine should be gone, but there are still some that want to stick with the manager. The attention that the subject has gotten over the past few days prompted general manager Ben Cherington to address the subject with the media before Monday’s game and also John Henry sending an email out to the local media outlets. Both essentially backed the manager, virtually saying he will not be fired.

Some local writers also gave their opinions on the subject:

Bobby Valentine never fit here, should go now- John Tomase says Valentine should be fired, and fired immediately.

Firing Bobby Valentine won’t fix the Red Sox- Peter Abraham says Valentine isn’t the real problem within the Red Sox, and firing him now wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, he mentions some of the things Valentine has done well.

Desperate times, desperate measures- Gordon Edes looks at past teams who have fired their manager mid-season. It has worked for some teams in the past.

To me, firing Bobby Valentine right now, in the middle of the season is not the answer. Quite frankly, although he’s made some questionable on-field decisions regarding lineups and pitching changes, as a whole he’s done a pretty decent job as a manager on the field. Off the field is a different story, but on the field he has been above average.

Look at what he was given to work with. He’s yet to have a full complement of players for his lineup. His bullpen was a mess as the season began, but he got the most out of the guys he put on the field. Most importantly injuries have been a daily occurrence with the team, a record-number of games missed due to injuries. He was without Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford for virtually half the season, and then adding insult to injury were DL-stints for Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Managing a baseball team without those players for a significant period of time is no easy task, but Valentine has done the best he can and put together a lineup that has put up the third-most runs in all of baseball. As an on-field manager, he’s been pretty good.

Off the field…not so much. Going along with daily occurring injuries seems to be daily occuring miscommunications between Valentine and the front office/medical staff. Valentine will say one thing to the media, and the media will ask the specific player about it, and get a completely different answer. Valentine also runs his mouth a little too much adding unnecessary drama.

A perfect example was last week when appearing on WEEI’s Big Show for his weekly interview Valentine offered a story of management learning of  a comment Valentine made to Will Middlebrooks following a poor inning in the field. Management did not like the way Valentine was communicating to his rookie third baseman, and voiced their displeasure. Valentine was not responding to any particular question, rather he offered the story up on his own, which probably isn’t the best thing to do in a town like Boston considering Middlebrooks was being faced with questions about it the very next day. Unnecessary questions, that no player wants, nor expects to face when they show up to the ballpark.

There have also been reports of Valentine not getting along, over even speaking with some of his coaches. While there have been some miscommunications, people need to remember a lot of these coaches were with the team last season and worked under Terry Francona. Most are not Valentine guys, most didn’t know Valentine until  he was hired. There was going to be an adjustment period, a time where they got to know each other and the way everyone likes to work. Most reports say things are getting better, which was to be expected as time went on.

Firing Valentine now wouldn’t solve much. In fact the players would get their way once again, just like last year when they complained about the schedule and late Sunday night games. In turn they got headphones and a night on a yacht, courtesy of ownership. Then, they wanted their manager fired. They got that too. The players are the ones to be blamed, they are the ones on the field underperforming. Management spent the money to get the star players (a few mistakes), but the players aren’t playing up to par for who they are. While management is at fault for catering to every gripe the players have, for the most part they cannot be blamed for what has happened on the field. So now, why should these underperforming players once again get what they want?

What the Red Sox should do is ride out the rest of the season, then completely reevaluate their team and what kind of direction they want to go in during the off-season. To me, ownership needs to put the team in complete control of Ben Cherington and first, let him decide on a manager, with no input from management. If he is comfortable with Valentine, let it be Valentine, otherwise find someone else. But, that manager needs to be given complete control and able to manage in whatever style he is most comfortable, with 100 percent backing from management.

Next comes the players. Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz — those guys are here virtually no matter what because of their contracts, but serious consideration needs to go into the remainder of the roster. They need players who are committed to the team and organization. They need players that are not going to go crying to the front office if things are run differently, and not the way they are accustomed to. They need guys who just go about their business on a day-to-day basis and all that matters in the end is results. With a solid set and stone core group of players set to return, the team should be in a position to compete for a Division, and World Series title with whomever else is on the roster from newly acquired players and whichever players carry over from this year, as long as the core group of guys perform to what they are capable of.

Rather than “blowing” the team up, what they need is a different way of running the organization, a change in culture and a commitment to the new culture, rather than the players running the organization like is the case now. One can only hope they can get things back on track next season because it isn’t much longer before fans really stop showing up at Fenway and supporting their home team. As bad as things have been this year, it still can get worse.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84, and feel free to shoot me an email whether you agree or disagree to [email protected]

Guest Column – Remembering Larry Whiteside

A guest column from Mike Passanisi.

Larry Whiteside passed away five years ago last month. Younger Sox fans probably don’t remember his name, but he was one of the most admired and respected writers of his era. He was also the first African-American journalist to cover the Red Sox on a daily basis.

Whiteside came to Boston from Milwaukee in 1973, at a time when pressboxes like those at Fenway were ‘”old boys” clubs where racial epithets among the writers were common. Larry must have heard a lot that offended him, but according to Joe Giuliotti, a longtime Herald writer and close friend of Whiteside, he fit in easily. “There were no problems- he covered the sport very well” says Giuliotti, now retired.

Other journalists saw issues, however. Howard Bryant’s famous book Shut Out: A History of Race and Baseball in Boston, speaks of a prominent Globe sportswriter who “had a general reputation as a racist….He was incorrect in his speech, frequently dropping racial slurs as a matter of habit…The arrival of black reporters changed that.” Once, during a discussion commenting on the inferiority of African-Americans, Whiteside told Bryant “he was over there talking about n_____s. I calmly went over and said ‘if I ever hear that word out of your mouth again, I am going to beat the shit out of you.’ The writer backed off. Whiteside could be tough when he had to.

According to Tom Mulvoy, one of Larry’s superiors, Whiteside “was often in an impossible situation. There would be times when Whiteside and a black athlete would share a drink and compare tales of their similar, lonely roads. Journalistically, the details with which Whiteside would emerge made a great copy, but he knew he ran the risk of breaking a confidence with player…many stories would not appear in the newspaper.” Another editor, Dave Smith, saw Larry in “a remarkably difficult position….If he wrote hard stories on racism in the game, he would be accused of making excuses for black athletes. If he criticized blacks in print, they would recoil at the only black in the press box attacking them. That made him an ‘Uncle Tom’.” According to Giuliotti, possible problems of this type never affected his writing.

Larry would cover the Sox through the heartbreaks of 1975, 1978, and 1986. He was still a feature writer in ’75 (Peter Gammons was the beat man and a rising star). After the seventh game loss to the Reds, Whiteside interviewed the controversial and unpredictable Bill Lee. The Sox had led 3-0 in the sixth when the Spaceman threw an “ephus pitch” to Tony Perez that resulted in a two-run homer and the beginning of the Cincinnati comeback. Never one to mince words, Lee refused to apologize for the pitch and blamed his teammates for not turning a double play earlier in the inning. Some journalists might have questioned Lee’s attitude, but Whiteside started the piece with “It’s the way you have come to expect Bill Lee to go down. Kicking and screaming, fussing and fuming with the Reds or just about anyone else who got in his way.” Larry also did a low-key and effective piece on rookie Jim Burton, the Sox pitcher who surrendered the winning run.

As beat writer in ’86, Whiteside had the unenviable task of reporting the collapse in game 6 and sad loss in game 7. About Saturday night’s contest, he began “The Miracle Mets have returned to Shea Stadium. And the demons of 68 years worth of failure will haunt the Red Sox for at least another day. On that gloomy Tuesday morning after the final game, he began “Pitching carried the Red Sox to the threshold of their first World Championship in 68 years. Pitching has extended the wait through the 69th year. Perhaps that is the most deflating irony of a grand Boston chariot ride that ended in heartbreak. No angry recriminations, just the reality of the Sox’ seemingly eternal pitching problems.”

A few days later, Whiteside conducted a lengthy interview with Sox manager John McNamara. “Johnny Mac” was not known as a friendly or talkative man, even in good times. Despite what must have been a terrible disappointment, Mac was very cooperative. Unlike some writers, Whiteside met McNamara half way, in spite of some bizarre remarks from the manager. Regarding fan target Bob Stanley, he answered “Overall, I think Stanley did a very good job for us, especially in the postseason, when he threw the ball very well.” Given what happened in game 6, a very strange statement. Yet Whiteside would seldom if ever criticize, and that must have helped in interviews such as this one. Unlike some beat people who regularly inject their opinions, Whiteside stayed a reporter. A beat man recently called a Sox loss “a dispirited effort“. Larry would seldom if ever make such a remark

As the 80’s wound into the 90’s, Whiteside’s career seemed to wane a bit. Perhaps because of ill health and perhaps because there were some new, more aggressive writers at the Globe, Larry’s stories began to go off the front sport page. Nick Cafardo and Gordon Edes were the new beat men, and Larry’s work was sometimes limited to feature stories or less important material. With the paper now only printing one daily edition, there was less space for men like Whiteside. For example, in 1998, as the Sox were losing to Cleveland in the ALDS, Larry was covering the National League playoffs.

According to a fine obituary written by Christopher Gasper, Whiteside retired from the Globe in 2004. No stories about the team finally “breaking the curse” that fall appeared under his byline- too bad, because he surely would have enjoyed covering the ultimate victory. Only three years later he was gone, victim of a long illness at age 69.

Whiteside never seemed to “cater” to his readers. “We were not there to win popularity contests”, says Giuliotti. But he definitely had the respect of the players- it was not all about him.” RIP Larry. You are missed.

Four Steps Forward, Two Steps Back For Sox

As has been their pattern this season, just as you think the Red Sox are getting it together, they go on another cold streak. After winning four games in a row, they have now dropped their last two, and the circus continues at Fenway Park.

Bobby Valentine smells a rat in clubhouse – Here is today’s topic teed up for sports radio. Michael Silverman reports that a current player has been going behind the manager’s back and complaining to ownership about him.

Can this season just be over, already?

Magadan says Red Sox hitters need better approach – Sean McAdam has the team’s hitting instructor not happy with the inconsistency of his charges.

Did Boston Media Influence The Booing Of Josh Beckett? – The Red Sox pitcher has deserved to be booed this season. But Tuesday night after getting injured pitching off a wet mound in a one-run game? There were other factors at work here. In my SB Nation Boston media column, I examine them.

ESPN radio returning to Boston dial – Chad Finn reports that 850 AM will soon be the home to ESPN Radio.

Live Chat with WEEI program director Jason Wolfe, 11 a.m. – You can chat with the Entercom honco about the move.

Chat with Chad Finn at noon – You can then chat with Chad from London.

NBC isn’t hurt by showing Olympics on delay – Finn notes that despite complaints, the ratings numbers have been huge for NBC.

Check all your Patriots coverage today over at PatriotsLinks.com.

And finally….

Um, whoops.

Red Sox fall to Tigers, Patriots players mix it up at practice

The Red Sox were seeking their fifth straight win Wednesday night at Fenway Park, but it was not meant to be as starter Aaron Cook got knocked around for the third straight outing and the team fell 7-5. Cook went 4 2/3 innings allowing six runs on nine hits. He allowed back-to-back home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the fourth, which gave the Tigers a 6-1 lead at the time.

Before the game the team announced Daniel Nava will be placed on the 15-day DL with sore wrists, and Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket. Reliever Craig Breslow arrived from the West Coast and Clayton Mortensen was sent back down to Pawtucket to make room for the lefty specialist.

The Patriots held their annual season ticket holder practice inside Gillette Stadium Wednesday night. It was a spirited practice which saw the offense and defense going after one another following a scrum between Brandon Spikes and Nate Solder. To me it isn’t a big deal, rather it shows how intense all of the players are and how they cannot wait to hit someone on another team.

To no one’s surprise, Scott Zolak will be taking over for Gino Cappelletti in the Patriots radio booth this season working along side Gil Santos. A formal announcement from 98.5 should be coming soon.

Word is, time to get series- Michael Silverman says all the Red Sox need to do is keep winning series’, and they will be right in the thick of the Wild Card race.

Sox make it interesting by racking up wins- Joe Haggerty has the Red Sox making this interesting of late by winning games and series’.

Red Sox rotation still unsettled- Joe McDonald says the Red Sox front office believed in their rotation by not trading for a starter at the trade deadline, but with Beckett getting injured and Cook struggling again things aren’t looking so positive.

A catching conundrum: Red Sox have decisions to make behind the plate- Alex Speier looks at the situation the Red Sox have at catcher with three catchers on their roster after Ryan Lavarnway was called up on Wednesday.

Craig Breslow overcomes hectic travel schedule to make strong impression- Didier Morais has the newest Red Sox reliever having a solid first outing with the team, despite arriving just one hour before game time.

Blame falls on Larry Lucchino- Ron Borges says everything that has happened with the Red Sox is on Larry Lucchino and all of the decisions he made back in the off-season.

Pieces in place for McDaniels- Greg A. Bedard says McDaniels has everything an offensive coordinator could want in terms of players in his first year back in New England.

Players get into swing of camp- Shalise Manza Young has in her notebook the scuffle that highlighted the practice session. Bill Belichick spoke before practice, so did not comment on what happened.

Patriots engulfed in ‘dog’ fight- Mike Reiss says the scuffle was not a big deal since no one really got hurt, and the team seemed to have no hard feelings for one another following the practice.

Chandler Jones’ early polish is impressive- Tom E. Curran looks at Patriots rookie Chandler Jones and what a strong camp he’s had thus far.

Beckett, Sox Booed As They Win Fourth Straight

It was an ugly night at Fenway Park as boos and rain poured down equally hard upon the field.

The target of the boos was Josh Beckett, who has become, fair or not, the symbol of everything that is wrong with the Boston Red Sox.

Beckett was removed from the game in the third inning after feeling back spasms. As he left the field, the fans remaining at the soaked ballpark booed loudly. The moment felt like it was bigger than Beckett, as it was the fans making a general statement about the state of the team, and the failure of the front office to make sweeping changes to a team that most people removed from Yawkey Way feel has absolutely no chance to turn things around permanently anytime soon.

Have we mentioned yet that the Red Sox actually got the win last night? (A rain-shortened 4-1 victory) And that it was their fourth straight?

Callers to sports radio this morning have been absolutely brutal towards Beckett. I realize these people are not representative of all fans, but I’ve rarely heard this kind of vitriol aimed at a local athlete .

The situation is right in Dan Shaughnessy’s wheelhouse, and he performs as expected this morning. He makes it about himself – referencing this incident where Bobby Valentine walks behind him and says he’s not trying to get fired and Shaughnessy was making it up – and brags about John McNamara hating him more.

Red Sox, Rangers talked blockbuster – Rob Bradford has a half-report. He says the Red Sox talked to the Rangers about a package that included Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kelly Shoppach, but has no idea who the Rangers might’ve been sending to Boston.

Red Sox stuck in limbo at trade deadline – Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox lack of a big move yesterday, noting that they might’ve been bold just by standing pat.

Team’s bold idea: Stick with roster – Michael Silverman has more on the team’s approach.

The Patriots continue to slog through training camp, and yesterday had a visitor, as former Giant Carl Banks, who played with Pepper Johnson under Bill Belichick both with the Giants and Browns, was at practice, decked out in Patriots grear.

Banks will apparently spend a few days with the Patriots, working with the linebackers. What’s interesting is that Banks is also the color analyst for the radio broadcasts of the New York Giants.

While I think it’s great to have someone of the level of Banks working with the young linebackers of the Patriots even for a few days, can you imagine if the situation was reversed, and someone with the Patriots broadcast team was working with the Giants in training camp. Knowing this area, I think a big deal would be made of it by someone.

Update: Apparently some people do think it is a big deal: Carl Banks doesn’t understand the uproar over Pats visit (ProFootballTalk)

Sackful of hope for new-name ‘D’ – Karen Guregian looks at the new faces on the Patriots defensive front, and whether they will be able to make up for the loss of Andre Carter and Mark Anderson.

Spikes happy to be back on field for Patriots – Shalise Manza Young has a look at the third year linebackers getting a full run at practice.

Spencer Larsen found his mission in life – Jeff Howe’s notebook looks at how a Mission to Chile shaped the fullback/linebacker into what he is now.

Fanene adds girth to team’s defensive line – Young’s notebook looks at the role that the team’s top defensive free agent target of the offseason might play.

Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

It seems like the experiment of ESPNBoston Radio is over. The show, hosted by Adam Jones said goodbye yesterday as Mike Reiss was the last guest and closed things out.