Help! We Don’t Know How To Talk Soccer!

That was basically the message I heard on both morning sports radio stations this morning, as they relied on callers for explanations and analysis of the  USA/Portugal World Cup soccer match yesterday.

Apparently Alexi Lalas was a little too fired up yesterday for the likes of Kirk Minihane as well, as the former Revolution defender was a target of the morning show.

Dan Shaughnessy got plenty of attention for his recycled and moronic  I’m choosing to ignore soccer column from yesterday.

Question: Are you really ignoring something if you’re writing an 800-word column on it in the region’s largest newspaper?

One thing is certain, Shaughnessy and his tomato can Globe editors were high-fiving over the reaction to the column, no matter how negative it was. The reaction is what matters. Effort, interest, prose, none of that matters.

A couple other notes:

Skip Bayless defended? A Q&A with head of ESPN’s First Take – An outstanding job by Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated in trying to get Marcia Keegan, the ESPN vice president of production to explain the appeal of the debate show.

Nick Cafardo wrote twice over the weekend saying that David Ortiz should have enough goodwill built up around Boston to get him through events like his complaints over the official scorer last week.  I agree. It seems ludicrous to me that Ortiz has so many detractors in this town, mostly on the airwaves. The emailers to Nick’s Saturday column (toward the end) are typical of the sort. They can’t wait until he’s gone. I don’t get that. You may not like him, but he’s done enough to earn some respect and some slack for when he does shoot off his mouth.

ESPN’s new SportsCenter set has gotten a lot of ink and attention over the last few days, but WCVB’s SportsCenter 5 OT also has a new look, and I thought it looked pretty good last night.

Where The Media Blows Yet Another Patriots Story Out Of Proportion

Greg Bedard didn’t expect this, even if he probably should’ve known what parts of his story some of his belly-crawling colleagues in the sports media would pick up and sensationalize.

In an profile of new Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, the Boston-based Bedard painted a picture of Pettine as a hard-working, intelligent coach with a chip on his shoulder due to the fact that just 13 years ago he was coaching high school football.

About two-thirds of the way into the column, Pettine started to explain why he prefers to keep his initial playbook relatively thin and simple.

pettine-quote

He then told a story about Tom Brady teasing one of the Jets coaches about having their playbook, and Pettine saying he wasn’t surprised because Rex Ryan gave out playbooks all the time, including to Nick Saban, who is a Belichick friend.

While Bedard thought the anecdote was innocuous, whoever laid out the page at MMQB saw the sensationalistic aspect to the statement, and thus created the pull-quote above.

Immediately Twitter and web headlines everywhere proclaimed the Patriots guilty of stealing playbooks and by extension – cheating.

Bill Belichick was asked about it at minicamp yesterday.

Rex Ryan was asked about it.

Nick Saban’s office was asked about it.

This didn’t stop the freight train. Bedard went onto CSNNE last night to try and set the matter straight, and said if he knew the extent to which the anecdote would be blown out of proportion, he’d have left it out, because it wasn’t important.

Bedard: Media misconstrued Pettine anecdote

Most people who know the NFL know that playbooks get passed around all over the league. Rex’s brother Rob worked for the Patriots – you don’t think he gave his brother one? You can download portions of the Patriots (and other teams) playbook on the internet.

Bedard is pissed that this has become the focus of his story, and I don’t blame him.

Addendum:

This was posted last night:

So when the Patriots are mentioned with anything, it is a huge deal. Stuff like this comes out, and it is completely ignored.

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David Ortiz was wrong to have a tantrum over an official scorers decisions week. It’s not the first time he’s done, and it probably won’t be the last. He’s emotional – for better or worse – but that does not excuse his behavior.

That said, Boston sports radio needs to save their hand-wringing and outrage for other things. They love to tell us how Ortiz gets a free pass for everything in this town, and put on their whiny-baby voice while they say but he won us three World Series when mocking fans. We’ve heard it a million times already.

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It was bizarro Felger and Mazz this week, as I tune in one afternoon to hear Felger saying he made a bet that the Patriots would be a top-five defense this year, and that he feels that this team is championship-built.

Tony Massarotti then stated that the Red Sox aren’t out of it yet, and can still make a run to the postseason.

#mindblown

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Enormous changes coming to ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ – Chad Finn details the upcoming changes to the ESPN flagship show which has a new 194,000 square-foot studio. If you’re a fan of “show the highlights and get out of the way” the new SportsCenter may not be for you.

Bengtson has used the phrase “talent forward, content back” — one of those buzzy sayings that if you hear enough might leave you with a hangover the next day — to describe a more personality-driven approach to “SportsCenter.”

Great.

NESN’s Tom Caron brings out best in all analysts – Bill Doyle looks at the Red Sox host’s ability to work with varied personalities like Tim Wakefield, Steve “Psycho” Lyons, Jim Rice, and Dennis Eckersley

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Finally, a minor request to my friends on the Patriots beat. Can we dispense with the whole habit of including Matthew Slater in with the wide receivers on the roster? Every time a reporter lists out the wide receivers who will make the team, they usually list six, but with the caveat that one spot is reserved for Slater. Ben Volin does it today, most of the other reporters do it as well. It is tedious.

Matthew Slater is not a wide receiver. Does Danny Aiken get counted as a tight end or offensive lineman? No, he’s a specialist, as are the kicker and punter. Slater is as much a specialist as those guys. List him as one.

Cup Fever Grips Hub

The World Cup continues to be a huge hit here in Boston, as last night’s U.S.A./Ghana match showed with a 7.0 overnight national rating for ESPN, (a record for them) but 10+ in Boston and Hartford.

Talking World Cup soccer is still something the local media is not well-versed in. Dalen Cuff of CSNNE did a nice job on the Felger and Mazz program yesterday afternoon, but he’s the exception to the rule. Most seem to still prefer to mock it as that is easier to do than actually trying to learn about it.

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As the baseball world mourned Tony Gwynn yesterday, the media was almost unanimous in praising Gwynn as not just a great player, but a great person as well.

The exception, as always, was the aforementioned Felger and Mazz, with former baseball reporter Massarotti calling Gwynn “overrated” and Felger suggesting that the Padres star used steroids. Stay classy, guys.

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Glad the Globe devoted front page space to a column on poor losers. You can guess who was lumped in with Richard Nixon and Whitey Bulger, cant you?

This must be what Kevin Paul Dupont is talking about when he rails on about how important newspapers and print journalism continue to be in our society.

Oh, and a rebuttal to that Globe piece?

Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser. – Vince Lombardi.

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Patriots minicamp runs over the next few days. I’ve been finding myself heading over to the Boston Herald Patriots blog (The Blitz)  more often these days. It is straightforward and updated constantly.

While I still think Mike Reiss is head of the class, ESPN has absolutely destroyed his blog. It isn’t so bad during the offseason, as there isn’t as much Patriots news on the national front, but when things heat up and the Patriots are being talked about by the likes of Skip Bayless, I don’t want those segments jammed into the blog at me. Reiss doesn’t have control over that, and has himself expressed frustration at the arrangement, but it is still annoying having to weed through those posts.

With the The Blitz, you’re actually getting information from the Herald writers on the beat – Jeff Howe and Karen Guregian. The Globe no longer has a Patriots blog since the spin-off of Boston.com. The writers on Extra Points are a mixed bag. You might get Eric Frenz (good) or Zuri Berry (bad) or you might get someone else entirely.

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A few good links from today:

Depth charge: The importance of Rubby De La Rosa (and friends) – Alex Speier on the contributions of a pair of 25-year-old pitchers for the Red Sox.

Thornton, Bruins will miss each other – Joe McDonald says Shawn Thornton will always have a place in the hearts of Bruins fans.

Shabazz Napier works out for Celtics – Baxter Holmes looks at the Roxbury native who would love nothing more than being drafted by his hometown team.

Kevin Love trade rumors 2014 – Jay King looks at Chad Ford’s suggestion that Minnesota is coming around to the idea that the Celtics could offer the best package for Love.

It’s convenient for NFL to cluck about Irsay now – Tom E Curran thinks the NFL should’ve checked in on the Colts owner before his incident.

How do sports reporters at newspapers adapt to the Internet? Often, grudgingly – So true.

Tito’s Still Upset, NESN Giving Time Off To Orsillo, Remy

The Red Sox got back on the winning side of the ledger last night at Fenway Park. Old friend Terry Francona was in the house, and like old times, made an appearance on the Dale and Holley show. He again said he has not spoken with John Henry or Tom Werner and isn’t sure he ever will again.

A few quick media notes this morning:

NESN will give Don Orsillo time off in July – Chad Finn looks at a memo from NESN this week that Orsillo and Jerry Remy would be taking vacation time this summer.

Like Chad, I find the Orsillo bit rather strange. NESN is known for their cryptic releases and this one was no exception. It stated “Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo will each get a week-long break this season, consistent with what many regional sports networks do for their MLB broadcast teams.” and then gave the dates.

It did note that Jon Rish will fill in for Orsillo while he is “on break.”

Join Eddie Andelman’s ‘Huddle’ on Boston Herald Radio – The sports radio pioneer will do a one-hour show this afternoon at 2:00 on Herald Radio.

Fran Quinn will get air time at U.S. Open – Bill Doyle looks at coverage of the U.S. Open, including of Massachusetts native Quinn, who had a strong showing on the first day of the tournament.

Random Thoughts:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a broadcast trio as depressed as Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were when the second half of last night’s Spurs/Heat game began.

One of the things that makes Dan Shaughnessy’s incessant trolling so infuriating is columns like this.

I’ve seen hang-wringing on Twitter and elsewhere over the comments of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann that his team has no chance to win the World Cup. The media is a funny group. They demand honesty from the people they cover. But when they get it, the criticize the person for giving it. They’d rather have Rex Ryan’s yearly Super Bowl guarantees.

Early returns on the MFB: Not good. Gresh and Zo have little to worry about. Tim Benz seems to be of the Mike Salk school of painful teases – “There IS one star that I don’t think should be getting more heat from the media. I’ll tell you who when we come back.” Christian Fauria can’t complete a thought without getting distracted, or he comes out with a gem like “90% of the time he always does the right thing.”

Tony Massarotti spent a good chunk of time yesterday staring at the ceiling while trashing David Ortiz and his season thus far. His timing was perfect.

Week Wrap – Just Another Week of Sports Media Trolling

Where do we begin?

It was a non-stop week of media trolling, which isn’t all that different from most weeks, but this week seemed to be on a different level.

We started out with the Brady isn’t an elite QB anymore – which somehow completely dominated almost all sports outlets at the beginning of the week. Given that it is the first week of June, many welcomed an NFL debate. Mostly from this viewpoint, it was another example of the blind allegiance to the stats of Pro Football Focus, which was the subject of the Wednesday column here.

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The Kevin Love/Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics talk also generated a lot of discussion – it’s always great to hear TV and radio shows tease We’ll give you latest on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics coming up… when you know there CANNOT be anything “new” on the situation, given as how free agency hasn’t started, trades can’t be made and the draft is still three weeks away. But still, they try to tease you into tuning in for the “latest.”

But you also know there’s something to it when Jackie MacMullan feels she has to rush in an throw cold water on everything: Kevin Love-to-Boston is no sure thing. Really? I thought the deal was already done? Didn’t they have the press conference already?

Jackie throwing the water on this ensured that she would get herself plenty of on-air gigs this week to talk about her column, in which she notes that when the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett, the talks were between Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale who were BFFs. Now the talks will be between Danny Ainge and Flip Saunders who are not BFFs, so talks might not be “as fluid or cooperative as they were when McHale and Ainge were striking a deal.

Whoa. You can’t get that type of deep analysis just anywhere.

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Then we had Patriots receiver Danny Amendola making the career-killing move of possibly hanging up on superstar radio host Adam Jones. At the very least he conveniently got disconnected and didn’t call back.

After Amendola did this to poor Jones, the media outlets of 98.5, CSNNE and Boston.com (or was it “The Lodge”) immediately circled the wagons around Jones, rallying to his defense as if the guy had just come through some harrowing experience. On air CSNNE folks slapped him on the back and congratulated him for “busting his cherry.”

On Toucher and Rich, Fred Toucher described Jones’ show as a “straight ahead sports talk program.” Clearly, Toucher has never heard Adam Jones’ program, which is nothing but #hotsportztakes and “worries” and “concerns” and worst-case scenarios.

You also have to love Fred Toucher weighing in on the Amendola “hangup” after he himself hung up on Rick Pitino not too long ago, and has bragged about it ever since.

Then on Boston.com, the “other” Adam, Kaufman weighed in with nearly 1200 words on the topic: Uncomfortable Questions No Excuse for Patriots’ Danny Amendola to Hang Up During Radio Interview.

Here are some gems from this hit piece:

Athletes, particularly those at the professional level and regardless of the sport, have a responsibility to the media.

Only the media thinks this.

Jones is an established radio talent in this market…

I’ll take your word for it.

Simple, logical, easy to answer queries from Jones for a veteran receiver with a high salary (he’s entering the second of a five-year, $28.5 million deal), high expectations, and an even higher likelihood of failing to make it through a full season unscathed.

So easy to answer he asked three times, and no, there’s no chance there was sarcasm behind any of it, just as in this sentence.

Those are just the facts and it’s his responsibility to live with that and, if necessary, be reminded of it.

Amendola needs to be reminded of it? I’m sure he forgot the time he almost died on the field. He has a responsibility to live with that, you know?

Truthfully, it’s unfortunate for Amendola because many people – and I am on that list – were expecting him to struggle to stay healthy before he ever put on a uniform.

But Kaufman has no agenda here.

Even so, if an athlete, any athlete, is permitted to cash his paychecks without performance, he can at least discuss the components of what prevented him from doing his job in years past.

If he’s going to get injured so much, clearly he should not be permitted to cash his paychecks.

But, in the future, he should realize answering challenging or unpleasant questions is simply part of the job, even if he’d rather focus his time and energy on how he’ll avoid being a disappointment and future cap casualty by the winter.

Zing! I’m so clever!

Does Kaufman reveal that he too works at 98.5? Could this also be a part of his motivation for writing this? I’m sure it isn’t. Really.

Then you get Tweets like this:

What? So an undrafted free agent who was cut by the Cowboys (publicly on Hard Knocks) and Eagles and bounced on and off their practice squads and then finally made the Rams, had some production, only to suffer a freak injury in which his clavicle pushed in and nearly crushed his his trachea and aorta and killed him, who then came back from that, and signed with New England and tore his groin in the first half of the first game of the season, and came back in that same game doesn’t know what adversity is? Not until Adam Jones asks him a few dumb questions?

Berry tried to then say this is the first time Amendola hasn’t been considered “great.”. Um, read the above paragraph.

Yes, these are the people paid to make their living talking about and covering sports.

Deadspin covered this Amendola story as well – Danny Amendola Draws Ire Of Insufferable Boston Media

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Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t want to be left out of the action. So he launched another tirade at David Ortiz, again suggesting that Ortiz must be using steroids right now because his performance is so good at his age.

He also criticizes Ortiz for his profanity in the ceremony following the Boston Marathon bombings last year.

Adam Gaffin had the best take on this. Bitter old clown complains about David Ortiz’s post-Marathon comments

I realize Shaughnessy is the columnist equivalent of a vampire, who will quickly die without the fresh blood he gets by riling people up, and I guess he succeeded again, or I wouldn’t have gotten this far with this post, but, really, attacking Ortiz for helping to bring the city together after an event that, unlike anything Ortiz has ever done, truly was evil? Have you no sense of decency, sir?

No, he doesn’t.

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This caught my eye  as well yesterday:

They are conditioned to this belief by the constant mouthings of as depraved a group of radio talk-show hosts as ever fouled the air. They do this with the massive second-guess whenever the Red Sox lose, which is always more than 60 times a year.

The minds of Boston fans are shaped by these instant baseball experts who, with an eye to their own ratings, have latched onto the Red Sox as the hottest topic in town.

Hey, that’s a pretty dead-on take.

Wait, that was Shirley Povich of the Washington Post writing in 1979 about the treatment of Don Zimmer in Boston?

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Just another week in Boston, eh?

Rangers-Kings matchup a boon to NBC – Chad Finn looks at the ratings numbers that Stanley Cup Final should generate given the cities involved.

Dan Trant recalled in NBA TV special on 1984 Draft – Bill Doyle looks at the special, and the mention of the former Celtics draft pick who was killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers.

Does Jared Remy’s Guilty Plea Help His Dad?

In a somewhat surprising move, Jared Remy yesterday pleaded guilty to the murder of his girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Jennifer Martel.

The plea avoids a very public and gruesome trial, which is good for the victim’s family. Is it also good for Remy’s father? By entering the plea and going to jail, the case will fade in the public eye faster than if a trial was going on this fall.

This was something in the works, as NESN had sent out a notice on Monday morning that Jerry Remy would not be in the booth  that night or last night. They were “planned days off.” According to that email, Remy will be back in the booth tonight at Fenway Park.

Update: NESN has since said that Remy will be out tonight and tomorrow night, replaced by Steve Lyons.

Jerry Remy is still getting heat from Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan – ‘RemDawg’ benefits from a blatant double standard – but it seems in general the cry is fading out against the broadcaster, who has as many or more defenders in the media as he does those who are uncomfortable with his continued presence on the air.

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In other news involving the legal system and sports media, former Channel 7 and 56 sports anchor Bob Gamere is a free man, released after serving 4 1/2 years in prison for child porn.

Ex-sportscaster Bob Gamere out of prison after child porn conviction

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Yesterday marked the debut of the new WEEI midday show.

middays-with-mfb

I gave it some time yesterday. I’m not making any judgments after a day, the show went pretty well, Benz to me anyway sounds a lot like Mutnansky. A little deeper voice maybe. We’ll see how the show develops over the coming weeks and whether or not the station made an upgrade here.

I heard Mike Mutnansky a little last night on with Mikey Adams before the Red Sox pregame, and some after. He needs some time as well to adjust into the new role.

Media Links and Week Wrap

Yesterday was the last edition of the Mut and Lou show on WEEI. Mike Mutnansky will soon transition over to the role previously held by John Ryder, working Red Sox broadcasts and last nights. All in all, it’s not a horrible move for Mutnansky, who stays employed and gets a role that still gives him some of the spotlight.

Kirk Minihane wrote a column yesterday paying tribute to Mutnansky – Taking time to appreciate the Mut Man – and it was a sweet of Kirk to come to the defense of the exiled midday host. (Though how many radios tuned to 98.5 at 10:00am to hear Andy Gresh respond to Kirk’s insults about him?)

Just like Minihane tends to go over the top when writing about someone like Joe Haggerty, he goes a bit over the top in writing nice things about Mutnansky. It’s what Minihane does. I agree with much of what he writes about Mutnansky as a person. He’s a good guy, he works hard. I feel like he unsuccessfully tried too hard to be something he’s not. Some people can get away with that, he couldn’t.

If Kirk really wanted to be brutally honest and over the top he might question how the son of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute President and Chief Executive Officer got the midday job on the station that just happens to hold the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon every year. I’m sure there’s no connection there whatsoever.

In the Globe today, Chad Finn looks at How NESN has changed in 30 years with a look back at the first telecast (which literally no one saw) and several milestones along the way.

There are also links to a Jack Craig column after the debut of NESN and foot-stomping columns by Bob Ryan (Why can’t I watch the Red Sox on Ch. 38?) and Leigh MontvillePay-cable television will begin for the Red Sox with this game and I will kick the Florida ground at the very idea.

Over on the T&G Bill Doyle writes Holy Cross football to have bigger presence on Charter TV-3.

Dan Kennedy looks at the sale of the T&G – John Henry sells Worcester Telegram to Florida chain which is noteworthy since the Red Sox and Globe owner had previously said he would only sell that paper to local owners or he would continue to operate it himself.

What Is The Fascination (if it is true) With Stephen Drew?

The Red Sox re-signed shortstop Stephen Drew yesterday, a move that has been called for by the media pretty much non-stop since the beginning of the season.

A guy that many of these same media folks were snickering at when he was originally signed, they called for his benching when he struggled with his batting average for much of last season, and these same people now view him as the savior of the Red Sox season?

He’s a nice, steady player, and maybe that’s all that’s needed for this team, but somehow I doubt it. The Red Sox lost their fifth game in a row last night, and appear to have lost the magic that carried them to a World Series title last season. Does Drew solve all that?

He solidifies the infield, taking over at shortstop while Xander Bogaerts gets pushed over the third base. He’ll get on base, provide some power and runs, but the Red Sox have a lot of other issues to still sort out.

It will be interesting to see how Super Agent Scott Boras is treated in all of this. He cost his player 4 million dollars by having him not accept the qualifying offer from the Red Sox last offseason. The Boston Globe Sunday Baseball Notes, which should just be renamed The News That Scott Boras Wants Put Out There should be an interesting read this week.

Get all the Red Sox news and views at RedSoxLinks.com.

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The NBA Draft Lottery didn’t go the way the Celtics and their fans wanted last night, but at least they got the pick they had the greatest odds of getting, and the Lakers weren’t the team that moved into the top three.

Now attention will shift to Kevin Love for the next few weeks until the draft, as the Timberwolves forward appears to be the player that media and fans have targeted as the star that the Celtics should aggressively pursue.

Part of me thinks that Minnesota won’t be quite so eager to deal with the Celtics this time around, but if they’re interested in the best package, it might just be Boston that has it.

At a minimum we know that we can safely cross Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid off the Celtics draft list. Instead, guys like Dante Exum, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh and Marcus Smart look to be the possibilities if the Celtics stay put at pick number six.

Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

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Interesting to hear Jon Meterparel on the WEEI morning show today with Callahan and Minihane. It was his first appearance on the station since departing in October 2012. He’s had a stint at Boston Herald radio, he’s been on the Big Show Unfiltered, tried his own podcast on jonmeterparel.com/. He’s done Pawtucket Red Sox games and continued his work on Boston College football and basketball radio broadcasts.

Bruins Bow Out In Depressing Game 7 Loss

The Bruins ended their postseason run earlier than anyone wanted or expected as their hated nemesis the Montreal Canadiens took the final two games of the series, including last night’s game 7 on the Bruins home ice at TD Garden.

The 3-1 loss for the Bruins is hard to take, especially given how dominant they were during the regular season and in their first round series against the Red Wings.

There was plenty of trolling by the local media going on last night, with some taking victory laps and others just glad this annoying hockey stuff can be done and over with so the focus can be on real sports like baseball.

Dan Shaughnessy is happy, he got to write his Bruins are guaranteed to win game 7 column yesterday and followed up with his ghosts and curses and choke column today. Mike Felger after game three lectured the Bruins fans about how they underestimated Montreal and how it was going to be a really tough series, but yesterday also said if the Bruins didn’t win it would be a choke. Good times.

Get all the coverage at Bruinslinks.com.

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Interesting article in Boston Business Journal about Glenn Ordway’s project the Big Show Unfiltered and his future plans for it – Glenn ‘The Big O’ Ordway plots a comeback amid sports-media tumult in Boston.

Ordway and Jason Wolfe confirm in the article that they are in negotiations with several terrestrial broadcasters and that a deal for the show on traditional radio is likely happening in the months ahead. They also will increase programming, but not just on sports.

The show might have a winner with the #TwitterPolice segment. Pete Sheppard goes after inane Tweets by the sports media. There’s plenty of material out there.

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The Inside Track had this bit on the recent changes at WEEI:

That Mike Mutnansky, who was booted from WEEI’s midday show last week, was reassigned yesterday to host the station’s Red Sox pre- and postgame shows, replacing John Ryder later this month. As part of his new duties, Mut will take over the 10 p.m.-midnight shift and will appear on the “Planet Mikey” show that airs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ryder is moving over to the Total Traffic & Weather Network and will provide updates for stations all over New England. Last week, the station announced the shakeup in the midday show, teaming Mutnansky’s partner, Lou Merloni, with former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and Tim Benz, a host and sports director for 970 ESPN Pittsburgh. WEEI has been losing the midday battle badly to rival 98.5 The Sports Hub, which finished second with adult male listeners in recent ratings, while ’EEI was 10th.

With Mutnansky, that’s pretty much what I expected to happen. For Ryder, hopefully this is just a placeholder job for something bigger and better. The reaction from both fellow media and from WEEI listeners to Ryder’s termination has been completely supportive of Ryder and expressing dismay at the loss of his intelligent, reasoned voice on the airwaves.

(Non-Boston Post) Rams, NFL Network Draft Setup A Bit Fishy

I apologize for the non-Boston sports media related post here, but I found this whole thing below interesting and I haven’t seen anyone else weigh in on it.

Over the three days of the NFL draft, the NFL Network had top reporter Mike Silver “embedded” with the St. Louis Rams during the process, allowing him complete access to what was happening in their ‘war room.’

That it was the Rams that were chosen for this didn’t seem like an accident. GM Les Snead seems to enjoy the spotlight, and is married to former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson. Jeff Fisher is adored by the national press, a fact seems somewhat curious given that while he has had a few very good teams, including one that went to a Super Bowl, he’s also had some very bad teams. His lifetime winning percentage as a head coach is .532 – pretty good, but not great.

He knows how to work and media and get them on his side. He likes to put on a show for them, and he’s got this whole “legend of The ‘Stache” thing going on.

An incident in the Silver article seems to show how this charisma he has can influence the coverage he gets as opposed to other coaches. (You probably know the one I’m thinking of.)

When the Rams selected cornerback Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, Silver tells of the circumstances around the pick.

It was the arrival of Joyner — and the way the Rams finessed it — that brought the most pleasure to Fisher and those close to him. Intent on drafting the former Florida State star with the 44th overall pick, Fisher and others in the Rams’ war room became convinced that the Titans were preparing to snag Joyner two picks earlier. Rams general manager Les Snead began working the phones, agreeing to a trade with the Bills, who held the selection before Tennessee’s, that saw St. Louis give up a fifth-round selection to move up three spots.

When the deal was consummated, and the Rams turned in the card for Joyner, Fisher burst into a huge grin, and there were hoots and hollers of excitement. A few minutes later, when the Titans traded out of the 42nd selection — a move viewed in the Rams’ war room as confirmation that Tennessee had targeted Joyner, only to come up empty — there was another surge of congratulatory cheers.

“I don’t know how we did it,” Fisher said afterward, concealing a twinkle in his eye. “I just had a feeling.”

“Twinkle in his eye….just had a feeling.” Was it just a feeling?

A “mole?” So the suggestion is that Fisher has someone in the Titans inner circle – the franchise he coached for 17 years, who is still loyal to him, and gave up this information to the detriment of his own team?

Can you imagine if a former Belichick employee was giving out secrets of his team back to his former boss like this? Where would the outrage meter land? But here, it’s written in an admiring fashion. Silver, has been one in the past to hold no punches when it comes to this stuff, but for “The ‘Stache” its awesome.

Then there was the Michael Sam pick.

Troubled receiver Kenny Britt had found himself in yet another situation over the weekend. The Rams were in the process of dealing with it. Then Silver writes:

On Day 3 of the draft, this ranked as a legitimate headline, and headache. Little did he know — hell, little did anyone at Rams Park know — that Fisher was about to render him (Britt) a mere footnote to history.

So Fisher has decided to draft Sam.

At 5:48 p.m., the Rams officially selected Sam, and the war room scene turned surreal. The ‘Stache soaked it all in, thoroughly enjoying the experience. He got excited when informed by Artis Twyman, the team’s senior director of communications, that the Rams were the franchise which 68 years earlier signed the first African-American player of the NFL’s modern era, UCLA product Kenny Washington.

There’s no doubt that this was a historic, significant moment. The Rams made the pick. They made history. Fisher made history.

OK. Is it at all coincidental that the franchise who drafted Michael Sam just happened to have an NFL Network reporter embedded with them for the entire draft, and who got to see first-hand the entire process play out?

To me, it seems that one of two things happened. Either the plan all along was to draft Michael Sam at the end of the draft if he was still available and have that moment recorded, or Fisher, seized the moment, knowing that there was a reporter there to record it all, made the pick to further the legend of “The ‘Stache.”

Silver concludes his piece:

It’s not what anyone at Rams Park other than the head coach had in mind until about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, but now it’s happening, and the momentum behind it is unmistakable.

Perhaps, in retrospect, we should have seen this coming — for it’s very simple, and it can be summed up in three words: Trust The ‘Stache.

Maybe someone did see this coming, and that’s why Mike Silver was there in the first place.