Weekend Watch – British Open Edition

It’s a rather slow weekend for sports viewing, with only baseball, golf and auto racing on the docket. (There is also the Tour de France which is on OLN at 8:30 AM on Saturday and 7:30 AM on Sunday).

The Red Sox will be in Seattle this weekend. Keep up with the coverage on the Red Sox Daily Links page, as well as in the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Today’s Seattle Times had a good article by Larry Stone on Red Sox rookie starter Jon Lester, who grew up a Mariners fan in Tacoma, Washington.

David Scott did a good job covering the NESN/Satellite/Out of Market issue in Scott’s Shots this morning. The Yanksfan vs Soxfan blog also had some strong thoughts on the matter.

WEEI has been crowing about their ratings once again this morning, and truth be told, they have bounced back pretty nicely from a tough winter. However in the overall scheme of things, they remain tied for third in the Boston market behind WBZ and WJMN. The numbers from the Spring ’06 Book also reflect that WEEI remains .08 of a point below the same time period a year ago.

ABC has coverage of the British Open this weekend from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

The ABC production will include:

* “Only at the Open” segments that will recap shots and elements that seem to be unique to the British Open.
* Players walking through their practice rounds as they prepare for a course they have never seen.
* A segment on what players pack for this trip.
* X-Mo camera, a super slow-motion camera for swing analysis.

Monday will see the debut of Outside the Lines First Report hosted by Bob Ley on ESPN. This 3:30 PM daily show will replace and expand upon the Outside the Lines Nightly show which had aired at 12:40 AM nightly.

ESPN’s weekday afternoon lineup will now look like this:

3:30 p.m. ET – Outside the Lines First Report
4 p.m. – NFL Live
4:30 p.m. – Jim Rome Is Burning
5 p.m. – Around The Horn
5:30 p.m. – Pardon The Interruption
6 p.m. – SportsCenter

Just a week until the Patriots start training camp. Check the latest Patriots news on the Patriots Daily Links page.

Keep up with the sports news from New York, including Yankees coverage on the New York Sports Pages.

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Sports Media Columns from Around the Nation

Jim Baker, Nashua Telegraph – OLN fooled briefly as American rider Landis recovers.

Phil Mushnick, New York Post – Hitting Below The ‘Waste’ – ESPY’s Blew Chance to be Great.

Andrew Marchand, New York Post – BCS Shows May Be ‘Damn’-ed – Fox’s Rose Leads Race for Studio Gig.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Wacky Ice Capades Come to Town.
(Islanders challenging Knicks for most dysfunctional sports organization.)

Neil Best, New York Newsday – Ratings rivalry that’s must-see.
(YES vs. SNY)

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – TBS may pitch to Costas.

Jane McManus, Westchester Journal News – Tirico fills in on British Open broadcast

Michael McCarthy, USA Today – Psst, ABC and TNT, Woods-Faldo feud is a grudge match.

Michael Hiestand, USA Today – Billy Packer influence at this week’s British Open? Sort of.

Laura Nachman, Bucks County Courier Times – How Philly?s leading ladies rate.

Aaron Bracy, Courier Post – FCC defeats Philly fans, then ducks them.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune – Quite frankly, Baker bails out – Host denies incendiary e-mail came from staff.

Jim Sarni, South Florida Sun-Sentinel – Landis, Woods giving U.S. something to cheer about.

Rick Harmon, Tampa Tribune – ABC Missing Golden Opportunity.

Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – Tour de Floyd? Uh-uh.

David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Time to get with the NFL Network program.

Judd Zulgad, Minneapolis Star-Tribune – Breakup between Twins, WCCO shouldn’t surprise.

Bob Wolfley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – A small role in NY’s ‘Greatest Days’.

Jim Carlisle, Ventura County Star – British Open an alien game in an alien land.

Michael Lev, Orange County Register – Losing ABC trio is rough for golf.

Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – Landis Keeps Hope Alive in Tour.

Given what has appeared in the Boston Herald this week, I think this Gawker post as well as this Boston Magazine article are both good reading.

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Sox Head West

David Scott in Scott’s Shots looks at the NESN blackouts of pre and post game shows in markets outside of Boston, an issue that has resulted in a number of emails to this address this week and has generated a huge amount of discussion among out of town fans.

The Red Sox made it four wins in a row yesterday afternoon with their 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. Curt Schilling, though not having his best game, pitched well enough for his 12th victory on the season. Mike Timlin worked the ninth for his second save of the season.

Fluto Shinzawa looks at the Red Sox offense coming through after the pitching carried the club through their last two wins. Michael Silverman looks at the Red Sox finishing up their homestand with a flourish before heading to the West coast. Paul Kenyon notes that Schilling was just good enough to get the job done for the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg looks at the Red Sox squeezing out enough positives to get the win at Fenway. Lenny Megliola reports on a makeshift Red Sox lineup getting the job done yesterday. Garry Brown says this one was a grinder of a ballgame, one that defines team effort. David Borges looks at the Sox heading West on a winning note. Bill Ballou compares Fenway Park to the Statue of Liberty in his game story.

Tony Massarotti says that Mark Loretta deserves a pass for his mistakes yesterday because they were a fluke. Kelsie Smith has more on Loretta, who had three hits, but also had a very rough day on the basepaths, getting thrown out at home after not sliding, and later getting picked off second. Steven Krasner looks at Loretta keeping his focus at the plate despite the blunders on the basepaths.

Alex Speier has a look at the Red Sox 1-2 punch of Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett and how the duo is pushing each other as they sit tied atop the league in wins. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox are going to have to keep scratching their way to wins. Julian Benbow talks to Manny Delcarmen about what Mike Timlin has meant to him, and the rest of the bullpen with all of his experience and savvy. Massarotti has more on Delcarmen, who now has the ability to shake off Jason Varitek according to how his curveball feels in his hand. Krasner and Joe McDonald have a report on Tim Wakefield and his injury status.

Steve Buckley analyzes and dissects the burning issue of uniform numbers. The Red Sox rookie pitchers are wearing some very high uniform numbers. Will they change them if they get a chance? What is involved in changing a uniform number? Are there any great stories in baseball involving uniform numbers? Get answers to all these important questions and more in Buckley’s mini-series. In Part II, he looks at the most popular selling jerseys in the Red Sox team store. Buckley examines other urgent baseball matters such as Doug Mientkiewicz and Keith Foulke whining about returning historic items to the Red Sox while nine-year-old boys will gladly give the ball from Curt Schilling’s 200th victory back to him. That Buckley is really on top of things. (Goldberg also has a look at nine-year-old Danny Russell, who returned the ball to Schilling.)

Shinzawa’s notebook reports on Tim Wakefield’s trip to the disable list, where the knuckleballer should remain for up to a month to allow his cracked rib to heal. Silverman’s notebook has more on Wakefield. The Projo notebook looks at Delcarmen growing into his role as a reliable arm out of the pen for the Sox. Goldberg’s notebook reports on Wakefield and on David Ortiz getting his first day off of the season. Borges’ notebook has more on Wakefield heading to the DL for only the second time in his 14 year MLB career. Ballou’s notebook also reports on Wakefield and his replacement in the rotation. Couture’s notebook has more on Wakefield, looks at what Doug Mirabelli will do while Wakefield is out, and notes the lineup changes yesterday.

Rich Thompson looks at The Minors, focusing on Dustin Pedroia’s play at Pawtucket. Nick Cafardo’s Minor League Notebook looks at Kason Gabbard, who is lined up to get the start tomorrow for the Red Sox in Seattle against the Mariners. Kevin Gray looks at Yankees top prospect Phillip Hughes, who will take the mound tomorrow afternoon in Manchester against the Fisher Cats.

Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at Hazel Mae, who received a contract extension from NESN earlier this week. Bill Doyle looks at NESN’s “What if” production from last night.

Jim Donaldson says watching the Red Sox makes him worry about Tom Brady and the Patriots. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots biggest concern this coming season…and every season…is keeping Tom Brady healthy, especially with no experienced backup in the fold at the moment. The Herald is a year behind in their training camp report, though it does make an interesting thumbnail look at how quickly things can change in a year. (Note: the link has since been removed.)

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a feature on new Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli settling into his job of rebuilding the Bruins into a champion.

Steve Bulpett says that the buzz surrounding the Celtics’ pursuit of Allen Iverson has calmed somewhat, and examines the veterans around the league that have been linked to the Celtics in trade rumors.

Jim McCabe looks at Tiger Woods playing his way onto a crowded leaderboard at the British Open. Bob Ryan looks at the greatness that has eluded Sergio Garcia thus far in his career.

Beckett Shines with New Deal

Other than stories on the Red Sox second straight 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals yesterday, it’s a really slow sports day.

Get the stories on the win and the news of Josh Beckett’s new three year contract extension on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Boston Phoenix has more from Seth Mnookinand his book, but they also have a nice little sidebar entitled the Five Dumbest Globe Stories about the Sox.

Bill Reynolds says that Paul Pierce’s new contract is a signal that the Celtics are trying to win now.

Mike Reiss looks at the tights ends today in his training camp preview.

NESN has Red Sox/Rangers at 2:00 (Makeup game). ESPN has Yankees/Blue Jays at 7:00.

Rookie Night at Fenway

With the Red Sox bullpen in need of a rest, Rookie Jon Lester stepped up for Boston last night and delivered eight innings of shutout pitching, allowing only one hit. Lester improved to 5-0 on the season with a 2.38 ERA. Fellow rookie Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 28th save, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals last night at Fenway Park.

Sean McAdam reports on Lester stepping up when the Red Sox needed him the most. Bill Ballou examines a night for the ages at Fenway Park. Gordon Edes looks at the outing from Lester, which already puts him in some select company in team history. Michael Silverman has more on the most inspiring start yet for Lester. Tom Yantz reports on the pair of rookies combining for the shutout for the Red Sox. Garry Brown examines Lester’s best start yet. Scott Barboza looks at Lester remaining unbeaten on the season and in his big league career.

Jeff Horrigan has the Royals shaking their heads at why they weren’t able to get to Lester last night, who didn’t overwhelm them with his stuff. Kelsie Smith looks at Lester working with efficiency last night, something he hadn’t done in previous starts. Steven Krasner has more on Lester and how the Royals couldn’t figure him out. Lenny Megliola looks at a season of promise for the 22-year-old Lester. Alex Speier looks at a dazzling effort from Lester which only obscured the problems the Red Sox are having in the starting rotation. Jon Couture has a good look at Lester as he begins to piece things together about pitching in the big leagues.

Karen Guregian says that the Red Sox need more starting pitching, but should be very wary of trading any of their prospects to get it. Rob Bradford wonders if it is time for a change atop the batting order for the Red Sox. Julian Benbow has a piece on former Royal Kyle Snyder, who keeps fighting and won’t give up on his big league dreams. Horrigan reports on Javier Lopez being sent to Pawtucket and Jermaine Van Buren getting called up. Smith also has a piece on

Dougie Goes Deep

Trailing 4-0 in the seventh inning, things weren’t looking so good for the Red Sox last night. Their bats had been silenced by Kansas City starter Luke Hudson. However, the Sox rallied to tie the game with four runs in the seventh and then added the winning run on a Manny Ramirez sacrifice fly in the eighth to escape with a 5-4 win at Fenway Park.

David Borges says that for once, Doug Mirabelli and the Red Sox are grateful to the home plate umpire for a bad strike call. Amalie Benjamin looks at the Red Sox waking up in time to shake off the loyal Royals. Michael Silverman reports on the Red Sox rallying after losing Tim Wakefield early in the game. Shalise Manza Young reports on Mirabelli chipping in to the Sox victory. Garry Brown has more on the sudden revival of the Sox last night. Tom Yantz and Bill Ballou round out the coverage from Fenway Park.

Nick Cafardo looks at Mirabelli’s home run, which gave the catcher a big contribution even though Tim Wakefield was no longer in the ballgame. Lenny Megliola looks at Mirabelli saving the season (so far) for the Red Sox. Sean McAdam notes that it is hard to imagine that Tim Wakefield will not end up on the disabled list after coming out of last night’s game after the fourth inning . Alex Speier looks at Terry Francona running out of options in the pitching department.

Steven Krasner looks at Francona making all the right moves in last night’s victory. Kelsie Smith looks at Tim Wakefield having to shorten his outing due to his sore back. Megliola has a look at Tony Graffanino, who also made his return to Boston last night. Horrigan notes that Mirabelli had a little assist from the umpire on his home run. Smith also looks at Kevin Youkilis who remains positive despite his recent batting slump. Buckley looks at home Wakefield’s injury could affect the Red Sox rotation if he is not able to go the next time out.

John Tomase looks at the shared history that Josh Beckett, Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke have – they are were on the mound to record the final out of a World Series victory. Jeff Horrigan looks at what Doug Mientkiewicz has to say about the ball on his first trip back to Boston. Cafardo also says that yes, we’re all sick of talking about The Ball, but since Mientkiewicz is in town, we have to do it one more time. Borges has more on Mientkiewicz blaming Lucchino for the whole ball incident, and just hoping the whole thing can be over. Steve Buckley has more on Mientkiewicz and Keith Foulke. Krasner also reports on the Mientkiewicz situation, with Larry Lucchino saying he was only doing what he thought best for “Red Sox Nation.”

Benjamin’s notebook looks at Coco Crisp showing signs of life at the plate with a 3 for 4 night. Borges’ notebook has more on David Wells’ bullpen session. Silverman’s notebook has more on Wells progress. The Projo notebook reports on Joe O’Donnell sitting with John Henry at last night’s game. Yantz’s notebook has more coverage on The Ball, as does Brown’s notebook and Ballou’s notebook.

Shalise Manza Young has Ryan Gomes impressed with his new teammates out at the Las Vegas Summer League. Steve Bulpett notes that now that Paul Pierce is taken care of, Danny Ainge may look to get Kendrick Perkins an extension as well. Peter May looks at USA Basketball getting set to begin its quest to bring back the Gold. Speaking of May, the following appeared in the Globe this morning:

Clarification: Because of a reporting error, information about Paul Pierce's old contract with the Boston Celtics was incomplete in the basketball notes in Sunday's sports section. Pierce's contract had two years to run but the second year of the contract included an option that would have allowed Pierce to become a free agent. It is a common option that NBA players rarely invoke.

While it is indeed good of the Globe to acknowledge this, I can’t help but feel that that last line comes off as a bit arrogant – as if the option was totally irrelevant to the story. As chronicled yesterday, there’s no defense for what May did.

Mike Reiss reports that Patriots rookie running back Laurence Maroney is looking for a new agent. Reiss also previews the running backs in his blog this morning.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris report on the Bruins re-signing defenseman Andrew Alberts and five other players.

NESN has Red Sox/Royals at 7:00. ESPN has White Sox/Tigers at 7:00.

The Day The Globe Hoop Coverage Died.

Yesterday, I woke up to an already brutally hot and humid morning and shuffled into my home office to check out the morning’s sports offerings. Despite the obvious decline of the newspaper business, I still have a little twinge of anticipation when I open up the Sunday papers, with their various notes columns, features and coverage. As I sipped my iced coffee, I browsed though a fairly good Dan Shaughnessy column on the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, which, if you read Game of Shadows, you already know everything you need to know about.

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A bit further on, I came across Peter May’s Basketball Notes with the title of “Truth is, Pierce’s deal could have waited.” Knowing that Peter likes to get his shots in at Danny Ainge and the Celtics, I wondered how he was going to work this one.

So I read it.

Then I read it again.

Then a third time.

No, it wasn’t because I was amused by May’s line about James “Thanks Dad II” Dolan, but instead, I re-read this column three times because I really wanted to believe that May wasn’t as clueless as I thought he was about Paul Pierce’s contract status. I even went onto the BSMW message board to point out the May column and hope that someone else would see what I was clearly missing. May sums up his position on the Pierce extension thusly:

I understand this is a contrarian line of thinking, but I also can't fathom why the Celtics were so eager to get this done. Why not wait another year, see where the team is going, see how Pierce responds, and go from there.

OK, here’s the problem. Pierce has a player option after next season, so if the team didn’t re-sign him, they risked allowing him to hit the open market as a free agent.

Now, I tried really hard to understand where May was coming from here. I figured he HAD to know about the option…didn’t he? So assuming he did, and still wrote the article, what is his angle? That Pierce might not be worth giving a three-year max extension to? OK…that point is actually debatable. I come down strong on the side of re-signing Pierce before he hits the market, but you can debate whether Paul Pierce is worth hitching your wagon to for the foreseeable future.

So May might’ve written the article trying to be a contrarian (as he states) and taking the view that signing Pierce wasn’t worth it. That the team would be better off seeing how things go this season and then taking the risk of letting him go to free agency if things didn’t go so well next season. Again, that is IF May knows that Pierce can opt out after next season. It’s a bad position to take, in my opinion, but still feasible.

However, the truth is that Peter May had no clue that Pierce held an option on his contract for next season. That is borne out by this section from May:

Sure, you would have run the risk of the "disrespect factor" by waiting. But here's what the Celtics also should have been gauging: What teams were going to have cap space in the summer of 2008 and did they really think any of those teams were going to keep that money to sign Pierce? In other words, were they negotiating against themselves?

Unless that 2008 is a typo, (though we’ll see in a moment that it is not) then May reveals here that he believed that the Celtics had Piece locked in for the next two seasons (thus the reference to Piece hitting the market in ’08) and that they extended him for three beyond that. Not convinced? Well, this should cement the case that May, the top NBA writer for the Boston Globe, had no idea of the contract status of the best player of the local team:

This is not to suggest Pierce didn't merit an extension. But he still had two years left on his previous deal and while he is clearly the Celtics' best player, do you really think he deserves $20 million a year for three more years when he still has yet to prove he can carry a team?

Whoops. May asks:

What would have been the downside had the Celtics decided to wait a year on the extension?

The downside of course is that Pierce could’ve opted out of his contract and become a free agent next summer…and the Celtics could’ve ended up with nothing.

This is a joke…The Globe continues to embarrass itself with this type of coverage.

Let’s review again here, for those inclined to defend Peter May (and I know you’re out there.)

The point here is NOT whether it is a good idea to sign Paul Pierce to a max extension or not. That issue is debatable.

The point here is that the lead NBA writer for the largest and most influential newspaper in the region had no idea about a very important contract clause for a player that he covers which many casual fans were aware of. Further, no one on Morrissey Blvd caught this mistake, either.

There’s nothing to defend. The whole premise of the column is invalid because May thought Pierce had two years left on his deal, when in fact Pierce could opt out after next season. Had it been true that the Celtics had Pierce locked in for the next two seasons, the premise of May’s column, while likely unpopular, would still have had some merit to at least consider. But it doesn’t. He looks rather foolish at the moment.

All of this aside, the Globe has been way behind on this whole Paul Pierce contract from the beginning. Steve Bulpett in the Herald has been providing updates almost every day on the status of the extension, and has had the details about Pierce’s option correct the whole time. From last Monday:

Pierce has two years remaining on his current contract, but he can opt out of it and become a free agent next summer. Schwartz dismissed talk that Pierce might like to take that route and join a team with a better chance at the title.

Schwartz is Pierce’s agent. So there doesn’t appear to be any issue here with the Herald having mixed up the details here. Bulpett made several references throughout the week to Pierce’ option.

I went out for the day and returned in the early evening to find my inbox jammed with messages about the column and about the Globe’s basketball coverage in general. This one stood out:

Dear Bruce,

I hope to God you mention how badly Peter May screwed up in today's Sunday Globe. He's allegedly the "basketball expert" for a newspaper section that used to mean something. Well, here's the kind of expertise we get from him: He wrote an entire column slamming the Celtics for signing Pierce to an $60M extension when he allegedly had "two" years remaining on his current contract -- including such classic lines as "What was the hurry?" and "What would have been the downside had the Celtics decided to wait a year on the extension?" and my personal favorite, "I understand this is a contrarian line of thinking, but I also can't fathom why the Celtics were so eager to get this done" -- without f***ing realizing that Pierce had an out clause next summer and could have been an unrestricted free agent.

Can you imagine if a Red Sox writer or Pats writer screwed up that badly? Would they ever hear the end of it?

I'm sure May is a nice guy ... but I can only judge him by his production over the past 20 years. It doesn't seem like he has given a crap about basketball since Bird retired; if anything, he comes off like a middle-aged white guy who openly dislikes the sport and can't relate with most of the players. Even worse, he gets a free pass because so few fans follow the Celtics diligently anymore and none of the media members seem to give a crap anymore except for MacMullan/Holley/Russillo. A good example of how far the basketball IQ has fallen in Boston came over the extended July 4th weekend, when John Wallach (subbing on the Arnold/Holley show) tried to claim that Ben Wallace would be a better fit for the Celtics than Kevin Garnett because KG "doesn't rebound," which was the equivalent of saying you'd rather have Jim Thome over David Ortiz because Big Papi "doesn't hit for power." And you wonder why nobody cares about basketball in Boston anymore.

In all seriousness, why can't the Globe hire someone who actually likes basketball to cover the team? And where were the copy editors on this one? Not one person working for the Globe's sports section knew that Pierce, the single best Celtics player of the past 15 years, could have opted out and become a free agent next summer? Really? Nobody knew the contract status of a Boston player who's one of the top-15 guys in the league? Why have copy editors then?

I just can't believe how far this newspaper has fallen - we have now reached the point where the alleged lead basketball writer for the paper had no idea that the team's best player could have been a free agent in 12 months, and even worse, slammed the Celtics for re-signing him because he was so desperate to be a contrarian (and only because he doesn't have the talent or the passion to make this team more fun to follow). I'm so tired of this crap - it's really sad that I trust the opinions/information of complete strangers on a message board over someone who's employed by the Boston Globe to cover the only basketball team in town. What a disgrace.

Please call May and the Globe out on this one. It's one thing to be mediocre at your job; it's another thing to perpetuate a complete falsehood because you were too lazy to do any research. And you wonder why newspapers are going bankrupt.

--SIMMONS

That of course, was Bill Simmons of ESPN.com. I got a lot of other emails as well, many with the same points.

Chalk this one up as the Globe being the Globe…

Coming out of the All Star break, the Red Sox dropped three out of four to the Oakland Athletics, including yesterday’s 8-1 defeat. You can check the coverage on the Red Sox Daily Links page and the Bay Area Sports Pages.

Jon Couture admits to initially being disappointed with “Feeding the Monster“, but says that a strong finish to the book really makes it a rewarding read. Couture also touches on my Manny column from last week and looks at Sam Horn’s only spot in the record books.

Kyle Busch won the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 up at New Hampshire International Speedway yesterday. Michael Vega, David Exum and Mark Labore report on the race, which basically went into overtime due to a caution flag on lap 298. Fluto Shinzawa looks at a collision between the last two winners at NHIS, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Allen Lessels goes inside pit row at the speedway. Exum’s notebook has more on the Stewart/Newman dust-up, while the Globe notebook looks at Denny Hamlin’s day ending early.

The Patriots start training camp next Friday, and the camp previews should be starting up shortly. Today, Jonathan Darling says that rookie Jeremy Mincey might remind some people of Willie McGinest. Mike Reiss gets the ball rolling on positional previews with a look at the QB spot.

Other Weekend Coverage:

Putting Peter May’s column aside, here are a few other highlights from the weekend:

Nick Cafardo catches up with Theo Epstein’s former right hand man Josh Byrnes in the Baseball Notes. Tony Massarotti tried to respond to reader email in Covering All Bases. Alex Speier examines how impressive David Ortiz has been, especially in the post-steroid era. He also had a bit on how the A’s lost out on Jonathan Papelbon after drafting him in the 40th round in 2002 and not getting him signed. Art Davidson looked at former Sox hero Dave Roberts having the season of his career in San Diego. Shaun Tolson took Herald readers inside the Green Monster.

In his NBA Notes Steve Bulpett talked to Walt “Clyde” Frasier about whether Paul Pierce and Allen Iverson could play together. Scott Souza reviewed the Celtics summer league efforts in Vegas.

Jerome Solomon says Deion Branch is a victim of poor timing in the Football Notes. Solomon and the Globe get some props for having the only NFL Sunday columns the last two weeks. Training camp previews should start up this week…

Kevin Paul Dupont says that it isn’t a lock that Bruins first round pick Phil Kessel will head back to college in the Hockey Notes. Stephen Harris in his NHL Notes reports that the Bruins originally offered Pat Quinn their head coaching job, but he turned them down. Douglas Flynn thinks Zdeno Chara could be the next Bruins Captain.

NESN has Red Sox/Royals at 7:00. ESPN has Braves/Cardinals at 7:00.

Weekend Watch 07.14.06

NOW we’re in the dog days of sports viewing…pretty much just baseball and NASCAR this weekend for viewing on the tube.

In the name of further shameless self promotion, if you haven’t checked out the Manny Ramirez column I posted earlier in the week, you can find it here:

PDF iconManny – Perception vs. Reality (68k)

The Red Sox and A’s will continue their four game series at Fenway Park tonight and this weekend. You can check both all sides of the coverage on the Red Sox Daily Links page and the Bay Area Sports Pages.

NH will be the center of the NASCAR world this weekend with the New England 200 on Saturday and the Lenox Industrial Tool 300 on Sunday. Both will be on TNT in high definition. By all means avoid route 93 in NH this weekend…

Sunday night will feature the 14th annual ESPY Awards. This year will no doubt have less New England players and moments being honored in the show, which will be hosted by Lance Armstrong.

Media Columns

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Jim Baker, Nashua Telegraph – Fox keeps stronghold on MLB coverage.

Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News – Patriots travel to I-95 this season.
(Dealing with Patriots Radio rights changing stations in Bangor area)

Phil Mushnick, New York Post – Truth Decay: Fudged Facts Plaguing Sports World.

Excerpt:

The NHL has asked the media to begin referring to OT goals as "skate-off" goals ... Reader Peter Berman of Forest Hills notes that in "Yankee Classics" on YES, the Yanks are 51-0.

Mike Forde, New York Post – Best ‘Wishes’ From ESPN.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Postseason Potluck May Return.

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Falling Stars: Classic gimmick strikes out on television.

Michael Hiestand USA Today – For ESPN, Mondays to be ‘Super’ NFL spectacle.

Excerpt:

This will be an NFL season on TV like no other. Prepare to redefine your definition of hype.

ESPN has detailed its plans to turn every regular-season Monday into the moral equivalent of a Super Bowl. It will deploy 30 on-air people for elaborate coverage that, after some warm-ups on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike In the Morning and ESPN2's Cold Pizza, begin in earnest with a two-hour SportsCenter Special Edition: Monday Night Kickoff at 3 p.m. ET