Labor Day Weekend Media Notes

It’s actually been a fairly busy week in terms of media news and happenings.

ESPN extension is good for baseball – Chad Finn looks at a number of things, starting with the extension between ESPN and MLB. He also looks at the interest in Ryen Russillo from WEEI, the continued slippage of Don Criqui and Randy Cross on the Patriots preseason broadcasts, and NESN.com’s decision to do away with beat reporters in an effort to fully become the TMZ of Boston sports.

FOX Jumps Into First Full Season Of College Football – My SB Nation media column has a look at FOX launching its first season of over-the-air football games, and their new pregame show with their new star, Erin Andrews.

WEEI announced their NFL programming this season. The biggest change is on the NFL Sunday show, which will still feature Dale Arnold and Christopher Price, but instead of Troy Brown and Christian Fauria, (who took Steve DeOssie‘s spot on WBZ-TV programming – and yes it was related to fallout over DeOssie’s appearance at the Giants Super Bowl pep rally.) former Patriots Matt Chatham and Kevin Faulk will be with Arnold and Price on the show, which will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place before home games.

The addition of Faulk seems to be a recent development as Dale Arnold had tweeted this on Sunday:

(Chatham will also be writing two columns a week for the Boston HeraldEx-Patriot Matt Chatham joins Herald NFL team. )

WEEI will return The Real Postgame Show, which will be hosted by Butch Stearns (! I’d have thought Pete Sheppard was a lock to be back in there.) and Fred Smerlas.

Patriots Monday and Friday lineups will remain much the same.

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It’s official, AM 1510 will again be a sports radio station (at least at nights) starting next Tuesday, September 4th. The station is among eight nationwide that will carry all of the offerings of the new NBC Sports Radio network. Initially, this programming is only from 7:00pm to 5:00am ET.

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New England sports media had two more anchors recently leave the market, CSNNE’s Carolyn Manno, long tabbed a rising star is starting  at NBC Sports Network today.  Courtney Fallon left WLNE in Providence on Monday, according to her friend Jen Royle, Fallon is landing in Miami. As reported last week by Finn, Kristine Leahy left FOX 25, no announcement has been made yet as to her next job.

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Patriots.com radio is also expanding their lineup. In addition to its  flagship show “PFW in Progress” and “Patriots Playbook with John Rooke,” the team’s website will also feature three new shows: “Fantasy Football Champs,” “Cold Hard Football Facts” and “Football Nation.” All three shows will premier the week of September 3, leading into the NFL season kickoff.

“Fantasy Football Champs” is hosted by Todd DeVries and Bill Enright, and will air Tuesdays 4:00-6:00pm. Kerry Byrne hosts “Cold Hard Football Facts,”  airing Wednesdays 4:00-6:00pm and will also write a weekly column for Patriots.com during the season. “Football Nation” is also hosted by Todd DeVries and Bill Enright on Thursdays from 4:00 -6:00pm and will focus on the latest storylines and matchups around the NFL.

And oh yeah, today is Patriots cutdown day. Keep up with everything at PatriotsLinks.com.

Week Log: Grabbing a Gators Cap and a Beer

Red Sox

Payback can be a bitch. Following the Angels’ 3-0 sweep over Boston last October, the Red Sox have responded with a vengeance. Although most fans would prefer the ALDS win, the Sox have taken nine straight when it counts the most – i.e., lately. On Tuesday, Ryan Kalish and Clay Buchholz did the damage in this most recent series opener. Red Sox Monster has Terry Francona’s move of Kalish to center raising lots of questions about Jacoby Ellsbury’s future. Kirk Minihane thinks that Buchholz’s 2010 has been the very definition of a break-out season. With the Sox bullpen in shambles, The Bottom Line hopes the rest of the rotation took notice of Buchholz’s 7-inning outing Tuesday.

Perhaps they did. Throw in another seven from Lackey last night, then Bard in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th, and Surviving Grady has all the ingedients for a textbook ‘W’ . . . almost. Sean McAdam thinks Paps’ milestone 30th save last night may have been more important as a boost to his confidence. Full Count applauds Francona’s pinch-hitting elections in the 7th, although bats were optional for those plate appearances.

The bad news is that Better Red Than Dead says .700 baseball will be needed just to tie for the Wild Card, and National League teams aren’t walking in that door to help the Sox anymore. Bosox Injection cites injuries as a great and convenient excuse for missing this postseason, although Two Cents From Beantown suspects the Sox use injuries as an excuse to unfairly stock the roster. If the Sox do go on a tear from here on out, Fire Brand Of The American League would not be surprised in the least.

Over The Monster has the highest paid starters also doubling as the most disappointing performers. I’m Just Sayin’ is just saying that Lackey and Josh Beckett need to pitch like aces before Theo throws more good money after bad. Extra Bases would throw a pile of Theo’s money at Adrian Beltre this winter. Boston Dirt Dogs has money tight among scalpers as well.

Patriots

Coming off a win in their preseason opener against the Saints last Thursday night, the Pats scrimmaged the Falcons down in Atlanta this week leading to tonight’s game. Pats Pulpit theorizes that trips like these are designed to cram in as much experience for first- and second-year players as possible.

You can’t blame a guy for asking, but Masshole Sports is blaming Falcon Matt Ryan for asking Tom Brady for QB tips. Why should Ryan even bother if Michael Felger is right? PatsFans takes Felgie to the woodshed for asserting that Tom Terrific is no longer a playoff-caliber QB. Luckily, Extra Points has the Pats brass feeling good about the development of Brian Hoyer. Michael Hurley has Brady gunning for perfection in everything so far this summer.

NE Patriots Draft updates their roster predictions after a promising performance against the Saints. After his Brady attack, Felger pines for a Welker/Edelman tandem of slot receivers rather than butting heads against the wall with non-performing TEs. Pats Chowder would find Ty Warren’s IR a little easier to swallow if Bill Belichick hadn’t let Jarvis Green walk. It Is What It Is considers the mystery of punter Zoltan Mesko, the Most Interesting Man in the NFL. Stay thirsty, my friend.

If Chucky Gruden’s fawning on Monday night didn’t clue you in yet, there ‘s going to be a lot of Jets obsession this season, but Boston Blood Sox thinks they still suck. Patriots Gab says to go ahead and push the Pats to the back of the pack because that’s where they like it.

Odds & Sods

The fight for Jerry Thornton is over, as he officially endorses Brett Favre’s candidacy as the most beloved athlete in all of sports. Speaking of pseudo-retirement, Evans Clinchy speculates on Rasheed Wallace’s worth in a mid-season return next year. Marc Savard may not be returning, as Joe Haggerty has the center hurt by the B’s shopping him around this summer.

Toeing The Rubber rails against Rob Dibble and misogynists everywhere as she recounts some of her own bad experiences. And Another Thing . . . remembers the greatest baseball ballplayer and most significant musician of all time, who both died on this week 29 years apart. Boston Homer hopes that what goes around comes around for Dustin Johnson, who handled his two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole in last weekend’s PGA Championship with class.

Let’s close on an important note, as NESN tells you how you can contribute to the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon going on today and tomorrow.

Now, about that cap and beer

The Boston blogging landscape changes fast. It has to. New bloggers with a little spare time step into the jetstream daily, as existing ones struggle to retain reader share and their day jobs while manning shields against attack from the mainstream media. This is what I like to call the off-Broadway of the Boston sports world. These bloggers give us color – and sometimes, off-color – but they speak with an unfiltered voice that is missing in traditional outlets.

For 20 months now, Bruce has given the blogging community and me the chance to have that voice heard. It is an opportunity I can no longer reap. For me, the mainstream media has been most hospitable, and readers keep coming to our site. However, Week Log is falling victim to the most virulent of blogging obstacles: the day job.

In some ways I envy the full-time press who make a living at what is a true passion of mine, and have access to perqs I must stand in line and pay for. Then again, I can’t be fired for the vagaries of my headwear, so when The Man continually asks me to do more with less – as he is everywhere and to everyone in this economy – I can either comply or put on a Gators cap, grab a beer, and slide down the chute. The problem is, I’ve never looked good in a cap. The choice is one of necessity.

I’ll still be around, backing up Bruce on Morning Links and keeping slots open for the occasional special edition Week Logs, such as when the Sox make the 2010 playoffs. Look for advance notice on Twitter and Facebook. And, as always, I’m at [email protected] Thanks for all your support. Until the next gig . . .

Week Log: Ready For Some Football

Welcome back for another Week Log and, more importantly, another NFL campaign. The always controversial preseason kicks off for the Pats against the defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium tonight, so let’s start in Foxborough.

Patriots

Pats Fans give you five good reasons for watching this game tonight, as if you needed any. Patriots Gab has the Saints following the Patriots model to perfection last season. Patriots Daily is worried how the Pats will fare tonight given all the new kids who’ve never played a down before.

Boston Sports Then And Now tries to figure out how the Pats can pressure opposing QBs this fall, while Pats Pulpit examines the lingering question of inside linebackers. NE Patriots Draft has Aaron Schobel a potential resolution to the uncertainty at outside linebacker. It Is What It Is has long-forgotten CB Terrence Wheatley beginning to pay dividends.

On ESPN Boston New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss doesn’t believe a Tom Brady deal will be done before kick-off tonight. The Rap Sheet reveals how Randy Moss kept himself in great shape this offseason, while Extra Points examines Wes Welker’s long and improbable comeback to the September 12th opener.

Pats Confidential‘s eyes tell them that, despite impressive career stats, Drew Bledsoe does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Jeff Howe has ex-Pats and Raiders CB Mike Haynes defending Jack Tatum’s 1978 hit of Darryl Stingley as coming in an intent-to-hurt era. Yeah, that works for me.

Red Sox

With a split salvaged in the Bronx, Boston Blood Sox has things not so doom-and-gloomy to start this baseball week. Hit And Run With Dan Roche says the chance to redeem yourself as Jon Lester did on Monday is what baseball is all about. Confessions of a She-Fan bemoans her Yanks’ lost game of what ifs. Subway Squawkers thinks this series lacked the typical Sox-Yanks buzzworthiness.

Recent Yankee woes have Bosox Injection declaring the full-time sport of scoreboard watching officially back in season. Extra Bases says there’s still plenty of room on the pennant-chasing bandwagon. Boston Sports Blog believes this 2010 edition is more entertaining, a better story, and a better team than last year’s. All the unsung heroes that have kept the Sox in dreaming range of the playoffs remind A Very Simple Game of the 1967 Impossible Dream team.

Surviving Grady is hearing the footsteps now as the Sox crept closer to the Yankees with a win to open their series in Toronto on Tuesday. Better Red Than Dead‘s prognostication of doom in Toronto got off to a bad start after Mike Lowell’s go-ahead homer proved the difference. Boston Dirt Dogs is glad to see Lowell back in the swing. The Bottom Line has timely hitting and – yes! – the bullpen as two sights for their sore eyes. Full Count calls last night’s win a collective effort by Clay Buchholz and the bats. Red Sox Monster says Buchholz keeps getting better and better. Over The Monster has the Sox closing the long ball gap between them and the Blue Jays after last night’s 4 HR effort.

Fire Brand of the American League does some reworking of the Sox lineup to maximize run-scoring potential. Beantown Sports Observer thinks it well worth the wait for Carlos Delgado to recover his stroke. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine wonders if the No. 21 jersey will be available when Delgado gets to Boston. And to goldbricking slackers like Jerry Thornton, J.D. Drew is a hero.

Finally, Beyond Fenway reports on an unprecedented trifecta of Players of the Week down on the Sox farm.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston blogging world

With UFC en route to Boston, SportsCenter 5 Overtime Blog says Shaq will not be the biggest thing to come to town this summer. We’re Just Saying found their summer oasis in the parks of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

As the Revs prepare for a chance to become the first two-time SuperLiga champs, New England Revolution compares this run to 2008.

Hey, are the big media outlets really plagiarizing the work of Masshole Sports? You be the judge as the prosecution takes the stand.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll be back next Thursday.