No regular links this morning as once again I’m away from a computer this morning, so I’ve done up an advance version of SporTView for the weekend.
You can browse links for the Red Sox for today and the weekend on the Red Sox Daily Links page. Should something happen with the Patriots and the NFL labor situation, you can check in with the Patriots Daily Links page to see the stories from the local media. The New York Sports News page and the Bay Area Sports Page are also good sources of links.
College basketball dominates the weekend as we enter the early stages of March Madness. Conference tournaments are going on, and teams are jockeying for position and seeding in the NCAA Tournament a few weeks from now. Boston College hopes to clinch the #2 seed in their first ever ACC tournament, and can do so with a win Saturday vs Virginia Tech (Noon, UPN38) and a UNC loss at Duke the same day (9:00 PM ESPN, ESPN2).
Baseball pops up a couple times this weekend with NESN showing the Red Sox and Pirates (Sat, 1:00 PM) and ESPN showing a exhibition between the Mets and the Puerto Rico entry in the WBC on Sunday at 2:00 PM.
Notes From the Week
Watching the Sports Reporters on ESPN last Sunday, there was a moment of irony which was too much to pass on mentioning here. Mike Lupica was giving his parting shot about Curt Gowdy. He noted that Gowdy never made himself the story of the broadcast, never screamed or said outrageous things just to get himself notice.
Also on the panel were Stephen A Smith and Michael Kay. I wondered what those two were thinking as Lupica said those words. Did they even have the self-awareness to grasp that Lupica was subtly slamming them and their style of “I’m the show” broadcasting?
Talkers Magazine came out with their list of the 250 top radio hosts in the country. WEEI had two positions in the list. Coming in at #97 was Dennis and Callahan. Somewhere between 101 and 250, Glenn Ordway made the list as well. (After #100, the hosts are listed in alphabetical order.)
John Rish did a good job after being put in a tough position on Tuesday afternoon. The WEEI Flashguy, who was in Fort Myers covering spring training for the station was called upon to fill time on the Big Show after Glenn Ordway and company were forced to leave the TD Banknorth Garden where they had been broadcasting from due to an alarm of some sort. Rish had the disadvantage of not only being placed on the air without much warning, but also from Florida, where he probably had little idea of what had been talked about on the station for much of the day. He didn’t have to be on the air by himself for too long, but still, it had to be a unnerving few minutes for him.
Having done this site for almost four years now, I’ve read many articles which left me scratching my head as to the motivation of the author. On Wednesday in the Boston Metro, Bob Halloran submitted one of the most outrageous columns these eyes have seen. We’re probably all familiar with the uplifting story of Jason McElwain, the autistic 17 year old who has served as team manager of his high school basketball team before getting a chance to play in the final game of the season. He scored 20 points in 4 minutes and had the whole country feeling good for him. However, Halloran managed to take this feel-good story and make a negative out of it. In his column, he called coach Jim Johnson “an evil hypocrite” for only putting McElwain in the very last game of the season, and with the game well in hand. According to Halloran, the coach was more concerned with getting his “greedy little fingers” on the division title, and paid no attention to the feelings of the youth. The coach is called a “disgrace” for not letting the kid play for the whole season. He claimed the coach took the attitude “You had your moment, kid. Now get out of the way, we’ve got games to win.” when McElwain did not play two days later in tournament action.
I think I can, faintly at least, see the point Halloran is trying to make through the ugliness, but his insulting style negates any credence there might be to his argument. I don’t get it. Why take this story…one which has the whole country feeling good, and try to put this level of nastiness and negativity to it? It’s uncalled for. More, it smacks of the whole “Look at me, I’ve got a contrary opinion!” mentality that is sadly all too common these days. The name-calling towards this coach, of whom I have heard nothing negative, is just plain low. McElwain, as well as his parents, seem very happy and satisfied with how things turned out. Johnson had McElwain as the team manager, made him a part of the team, and looked for a chance to get him into a game. Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News wrote on Sunday that Coach Johnson said that because of league rules McElwain’s appearance was a one time thing. According to Halloran, however, rules aren’t the reason. The real reason is that Jim Johnson is an “evil hypocrite”.
…After I mentioned on Thursday morning regarding the lack of NFL labor talk on WEEI, the station went and dedicated some good chunks of time to the issue the rest of the day. ESPN.com has a good questions and answers piece about the labor issue and what is involved and at stake here. With the three-day extension made yesterday, the NFL should continue to be in the news over the weekend.
In some positive football news, it was great to see and hear Rodney Harrison on FSN’s Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight on Thursday. The Patriots safety was in great spirits (as usual) and seemed very determined and optimistic about his future on the field. He talked some about what he was doing during the season, watching film and reporting to Eric Mangini and giving tips and talks to guys like Asante Samuel, Willie McGinest and Richard Seymour. He also talked about Tom Brady and how he brings a ‘defensive’ attitude to the offense, and is a “tough son of a b…gun”. Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson had quite a week in their first days in their new set, and score especially high for the segment with Harrison, which left the viewer eager for some football news and play on the field, and away from the boardrooms.
Since this column was put together in advance, I don’t have the usual exhaustive list of Friday sports media columns. Here’s a few that were published in the course of this past week:
Scott’s Shots, BSMW – Calling Mr Dee.
AP Television writer David Bauder has a look at the job done by ESPN Ombudsman George Solomon in his six months on the job. Solomon has another year to go on a nonrenewable contract.
George Solomon, ESPN Ombudsman – Rights issues chill ESPN’s Olympics coverage.
Richard Sandomir, New York Times – By Opening Day, Cablevision May Carry New Met Network.
Neil Best, New York Newsday – ESPN360 gets turn with St. John’s game
Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – So bad it’s funny – Everyone’s laughing at the Knicks.
Jim Williams, Washington Examiner – Olympics not a bust for NBC.
Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News – Advances don’t stop NBC’s waiting game.
Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – NASCAR Moves Into Fast Lane.
Finally, I saw this video earlier this week and it was like a punch in the stomach. This June will be 20 years since Len Bias died, and this video gives us a glimpse of what Celtics fans were denied of seeing throughout the late 80’s and into the 90’s. I’ve never seen this many Bias highlights in one place at a time. It’s very sad.