Weekend Watch – Red Sox Sign Off for 2006

Baseball season comes to a close in New England this weekend, and for the first time since 2002, the Red Sox won’t be participating in the playoffs. The Orioles are in town to finish off the year at Fenway Park, and this could be good-bye for several familiar faces and voices.

Jerry Trupiano’s contract is up after the season (Feb 1st, actually) and there have been no discussions between the sides on a new contract. Trot Nixon’s Red Sox career also could be finished Sunday afternoon as the long time outfielder is set to hit free agency this fall. The Red Sox are expected to try and trade Manny Ramirez once again, and as much as I enjoy watching Manny, a part of me hopes he gets out of town. I don’t know if I can take another season of incessant Manny talk on the airwaves. Time to break in a new whipping boy. Will Red Sox fans get to see more of Alex Gonzalez’s glove wizardry with the Red Sox, or was it a one-year act? Will Mike Timlin return to notch his 1000th career big league appearance as a member of the Red Sox, or will it be elsewhere. What is the future of Keith Foulke? This is just scratching the surface of many questions facing the Red Sox in what figures to be an eventful offseason for the franchise.

Keep up with the weekend action on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Patriots face another tough test this weekend. They’re on the road in Cincinnati against the high powered Bengals. On the Patriots Game Day page, I’ve got this down as a loss, but this morning a reader suggested that this could be like the Rams game in November 2004. You remember that one. The Patriots had been beaten badly by the Steelers the week before and came into the game wounded and shorthanded, seemingly in a bit of disarray. The secondary was missing several key players, and yet the Patriots won that game 40-22 against the high scoring Rams. The offense is going to have to show improvement this week to be able to put up the points needed to beat the Bengals, but the comparison to this game is intriguing.

The game can be seen locally on CBS4 at 4:15 Sunday Afternoon. You can listen to the game on the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio Network. The Patriots game follows the Jets/Colts game which can also be seen on CBS4 at 1:00. Patriots 5th Quarter will be shown on TV38 immediately following the Patriots game. FOX25 will show Dallas/Tennessee at 1:00. 7NBC has Seahawks/Bears at 8:15 on Sunday night.

Here’s the maps for the rest of the country. CBS Game 1 and CBS Game 2 and the FOX Single Game. It’s always interesting to look at the maps and try to figure out why a game is being shown in a particular market.

For your Patriots articles and coverage this weekend, look no further than the Patriots Daily Links page. For out of town coverage, check the following:

Cincinnati Post

Cincinnati Enquirer

Bengals.com

Bengals Zone

When channel 56 was absorbed by WHDH, the Patriots Football Weekly show was left without a home. It appeared that we’d go without seeing the crew on television this season, but NECN stepped to the plate and will air the program on Tuesdays at 11:00 PM. Chris Collins will be the host.

To plan your college football viewing options for tomorrow, check out the full college football schedule.

Sports Media Guide is a simple website with ties to the The Sports Institute at Boston University, and features a number of interviews with various writers and media professionals. One of their most recent interview subjects was Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, who talked about what he does and how his site got started. (Ron Borges was prominently involved.)

Here’s your weekly sports media column roundup:

New England

David Scott follows up with Red Sox announcer Jerry Trupiano’s agent, Brad Blank who says that they still have not heard anything from the Red Sox. He also has a Jerome Solomon update and many other items. Susan Bickelhaupt has more from Trupiano, who is a bit peeved that he’s reading about his future in the gossip column. John Molori’s Media Blitz had a look at things over at 7NBC. Jeff Jacobs had a column this morning looking at the state of journalism and how the profession is coming under attack. Bill Doyle looks at Worcester native Stephen Iandoli who has come home and is doing part-time freelance work for NECN.

New York

Phil Mushnick goes over ESPN’s Monday Night coverage in New Orleans, wondering if the network was sincere in their coverage of the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina, of if it was just another attention grab by ESPN/ABC/Disney. Richard Sandomir examines how ABC has replaced Monday Night Football with Saturday Night Football. Earlier in the week, Sandomir had also delivered a report on ESPN’s New Orleans coverage on Monday Night. Neil Best chats with new Islanders voice Billy Jaffe, and looks at NFL ratings not breaking any records in New York thus far. Bob Raissman looks at FOX announcers calling out Giants GM Ernie Accorsi during the game in Seattle last Sunday. Andrew Marchand reports that TBS is talking to Cal Ripken Jr about joining its expanded baseball coverage next season. Jane McManus looks at Joe Micheletti, who has the tough job of replacing John Davidson in the Rangers broadcast booth after Davidson, who had been teamed with Sam Rosen for 20 years, left this summer to become President of the St Louis Blues.

Mid-Atlantic

Michael McCarthy says that media and fans went completely overboard on T.O. coverage this week. Aaron Bracy thinks that this event is one where the media was much more interested than the general public. Chris Zelkovich looks at CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean refereeing the second period of a preseason game as part of a feature. MacLean has been very critical of the league’s officiating in the past. Laura Nachman has Mike Tirico looking forward to coming to Philadelphia to call the Eagles/Packers game. Michael Hiestand says that the Yankees will once again dominate the postseason TV schedule. Jim Williams looks at the Orioles taking a risk with their own regional sports network – the Mid Atlantic Sports Network. A couple of interesting articles from Slate this week, David Roth has The Secret Lives of Baseball Card Writers. Bryan Curtis takes a critical look at Mitch Albom.

South

Jim Sarni reports that there may not be any national coverage of Baseball on Sunday, despite there still being playoff spots up in the air. ESPN has their final regular season game tonight, and say they don’t have rights to air any games on Sunday. He also has Phil Simms talking about Jeremy Shockey and his dealings with the media. Barry Jackson says Monday Night Football needs work, Tony Kornheiser in particular. He also reports that the December 10th game between the Dolphins and Patriots, currently scheduled for 1:00 PM has been placed by the league “as its NBC Sunday night ”place-holder” game. The NFL has the right to replace that game on NBC’s schedule — moving it to CBS for a 1 or 4:15 p. m. kickoff — 12 days in advance.” Dave Darling looks at the NHL season getting ready to start, and talks to Lightning announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick. Barry Horn has a quirk blurb about the T.O. media frenzy. David Barron has Tim McCarver talking about the Astros amazing comeback in the National League Central race.

Midwest

Bob Wolfley has more on Tirico, who is proud about what ESPN did on Monday night in telling the story of New Orleans. Ed Sherman has a look at Al Michaels and the other former ABC staffers feeling welcome in their new home over at NBC. He also has a quick mention of the book Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas as a recommended read. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on former Chief Jayice Pearson being tapped to call this Sunday’s Chiefs/49ers game alongside Chris Myers on FOX this weekend.

West Coast

Larry Stewart has one of the best examinations of the Terrell Owens coverage today as he says that objectivity was lost for many during the coverage of the story, and ESPN had people not accustomed to being news reporters working the story, which caused some to step over the journalistic line. Michael Lev says that the coverage showed the fluidity of the electronic media, and that on-the-fly reporting isn’t always responsible. Stewart also looks at Kings announcer Bob Miller getting a star on the Hollwood Walk of Fame. Tom Hoffarth has a more detailed look at the honor for Miller. Joe Davidson has a look at the new BETJ reality series starring Doug and Jackie Christie. Jay Posner looks at Padres announcers with expiring contracts, who say they’re not worried about the future. John Maffei tries to figure out when the Padres will play should they win the division. He speculates on what the schedules of ESPN and FOX will look like this week. Jim Carlisle recaps Baseball Tonight‘s analysis about the Dodgers’ Wild Card hopes this weekend. Carlisle also has some notes on high school football numbers on ESPN and other ratings numbers.

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Trash Talk is in the Air

It’s Friday, which means Roundtable day over at the Patriots Game Day page. Dare I say things are a little testy around there these days. All it took was one loss, apparently.

John Tomase says that Corey Dillon will have some fire within him as he returns to Cincinnati for the first time in the regular season as a member of the opposition. Mike Reiss has a look at Otis Smith, who has continued his Patriots career as a member of the coaching staff. Joe McDonald has Rodney Harrison rising to answer the playful trash talk of Chad Johnson. Tony Massarotti has a rather weak column this morning on Bill Belichick and the fact that he might not have given himself enough to win with this season. I say weak not because the article is mildly critical of the Patriots coach, but because it doesn’t contain any strong arguments for the case he’s trying to present. He seems to waffle his way through it at times. Chris Kennedy has Tom Brady translating his body language for the media.

Michael Parente notes that the Bengal’s ball hawking defense will also provide a test for the Patriots. Hector Longo has Stephen Gostkowski remaining confident despite his early struggles. David Brown has more on the talk between Johnson and the Patriots. Eric McHugh has Tom Brady urging the media to move on from analyzing his body language. Christopher Price has a look at the knee injuries of Rodney Harrison and Carson Palmer. Massarotti looks at Rodney Harrison and Carson Palmer each returning from devastating knee injuries to start the season on their team’s active roster.

Alan Greenberg compares Chad Johnson to a young Muhammad Ali in his ability to good naturedly trash talk his opponents and then whip them on the playing field. Albert Breer notes that if the Patriots attempt to blitz Carson Palmer and the Bengals repeatedly on Sunday, they could end up getting burned. Peter May examines the off-field troubles of many of the Cincinnati Bengals. Jennifer Toland examines Palmer’s return from the knee injury suffered in the playoff game last winter.

Bob Ryan weighs in on the whole Terrell Owens story, and offers that no matter what we might think, we really don’t know the guy.

Reiss’ notebook has Belichick and Harrison returning some playful trash talk in the direction of Chad Johnson. Tomase’s notebook has more on the barbs being hurled between to two sides. McDonald’s notebook focuses on Belichick’s answers for Johnson. Toland’s notebook features more of the Chad Johnson show. Parente’s notebook has still more on this topic. McHugh’s notebook has a look at Dillon’s return to Cincinnati.

Jim Lazar opens his weekend Bet Box by predicting a Bengals win over the Patriots. Jim McCabe offers his picks for the weekend in the Globe. I.M. Bettor lets you know what’s bouncing around in his head for this weekend as well. Double D also has his pro picks.

Michael Salfino offers some Buy Hold and Sell advice for fantasy football. The Globe offers you who’s hot and who’s not in terms of Fantasy. You can also check their Fantasy Hub on Boston.com for more advice. Josh Bousquet also offers up some advice for those involved in fantasy leagues.

Nick Cafardo has a mini-feature on Phillies slugger Ryan Howard, who is frequently compared to David Ortiz, with good reason.

Michael Silverman has Alex Gonzalez hoping to be rewarded with a Gold Glove for his play at shortstop this season. Amalie Benjamin has Trot Nixon reflecting on his time here in Boston, which might come to an end this weekend. Jeff Goldberg has more from Nixon. Alex Speier also has a look at Nixon, the original “dirt dog”.

Steve Buckley has Carlos Pena remaining positive despite not seeing the field all that much this month. Steven Krasner has Mark Loretta acknowledging that this season hasn’t quite worked out as he had planned. Rob Bradford says that Josh Beckett is done learning on the job for the Red Sox. Kevin Henkin says that David Ortiz will be OK without Manny Ramirez. Silverman’s notebook has a sneak peek at some highlights of the 2007 schedule.

Scott Van Voorhis reports that the Red Sox may sell naming rights to the season next year.

David Scott follows up with Jerry Trupiano’s agent, Brad Blank who says that they still have not heard anything from the Red Sox. He also has a Jerome Solomon update and many other items. Susan Bickelhaupt has more from Trupiano, who is a bit peeved that he’s reading about his future in the gossip column.

Jeff Jacobs weighs in on the state of journalism. Lenny Megliola offers up a thoughts column.

Stephen Harris has Bruins defenseman Jason York talking about his time in Switzerland last season. Bud Barth says that Peter Kalus won’t have to be sent back to his Junior team in Canada if he doesn’t make the Bruins final roster. Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins sweating it out at practice after a poor performance against the Rangers. Harris’ notebook has Wayne Primeau continuing to play through the pain in his surgically repaired hip.

Check back later for a weekend preview…

BSMW-Roundup

With time an issue this morning, here’s a few columns from the BSMW archives that I thought would be worth reviewing if you missed them the first time around.

Things that have ruined sports coverage in Boston for me – This is an entry from last October where I listed out the top 14 things in the media that have really ruined by enjoyment of sports.

Bill Belichick and the New England Media – A column from April 2005 looking at the relationship that the Patriots coach has with the media around here, and why things are the way they are.

The Tangled Web of the New York Times Co and the Boston Red Sox – A look at how the NYT Co values their investment in the Red Sox as evidenced by their financial statements and what their influence on the team is.

The Story Behind BSMW – Self explanatory.

What I’ve learned since starting BSMW – Sports media people are thin skinned? Sports radio is faked?

If BSMW was Full Time – What would I do with the site if it was my full-time job? I took a day to brainstorm some ideas on this topic.

Trupiano Bummed Out About Track Report

David Scott talks to Red Sox radio voice Jerry Trupiano about an item that appeared in the gossip section of this morning’s edition of the Boston Herald.

The item suggested that the Red Sox were ready to move on from Trupiano after 14 years in the booth and that former team PR man Glenn Geffner was the favorite to replace him.

Scott talked to Trupiano this afternoon, and reached out to Red Sox Executive Vice President/Public Affairs, Dr. Charles Steinberg, as well as Entercom’s Jason Wolfe for comment on the story.

Vinny and the Pats?

Mike Reiss talks to Gino Cappelletti and Bills kicker Rian Lindell about the early struggles of Patriots rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski, and gets their advice for him and the team in dealing with him. Michael Felger reports that the team worked out Vinny Testaverde yesterday, and also examines the defense’s problems on third down and in forcing turnovers. The Projo offers up a She Said/He Said between Shalise Manza Young and Joe McDonald. Subjects are Tom Brady and John Madden. Ian Clark has a report card for Sunday night’s game against the Broncos. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots came out of Sunday night very unsatisfied.

John Tomase gives us a good look at Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees and the path that he has taken to the NFL and the position he currently holds. Michael Parente looks at the Bengals, who are no longer the NFL doormat that they were for so long. Christopher Price has a look at the Patriots’ struggles in forcing turnovers, something that was a mainstay of the title years. Reiss’ notebook says that Matt Cassel and the Patriots won’t be getting any advance help this week from Cassel’s college teammate Carson Palmer. McHugh’s notebook has Belichick passing on questions about the team’s trip to China next summer.

Curt Schilling picked up his 15th win of the season and David Ortiz hit his 54th home run as the Red Sox defeated the Devil Rays 5-1 last night at Fenway Park.

Karen Guregian has Schilling suggesting with a single word that last night could’ve been his final big league appearance. Amalie Benjamin has Schilling ending his season on a high note. Jeff Goldberg has more on Schilling getting his 15th win of the season. David Borges looks at Schilling capping a difficult season with a win.

Michael Silverman reports on the sudden surgery to Matt Clement, which will likely keep him out all of next season, ending his Red Sox career. Rob Bradford has Terry Francona passing the test of the tough times as Red Sox manager. Steven Krasner has a look at the Red Sox stellar infield defense this season. Bill Ballou says that among the Red Sox biggest flaws this season was weak hitting in the clutch.

Lenny Megliola has a nice look at Johnny Pesky, who turns 87 today. Guregian also has David Ortiz trying to discourage any talk of trading Manny in the offseason. Alex Speier notes that Josh Beckett has made a lot of improvements since hitting rock bottom against the Yankees in August, with changes that bode well for the future. Joe Haggerty has Bronson Arroyo still missing Boston.

Silverman’s notebook has Alex Gonzalez hoping that he can sign a three or four year contact with the Red Sox, though the two sides have not spoken yet. Benjamin’s notebook has more on Clement’s “extensive” shoulder injury and surgery. Krasner’s notebook looks at David Ortiz continuing to come through for the Sox. Ballou’s notebook has more on Big Papi continuing to erase the Red Sox record book. Borges’ notebook looks at the strong Rhode Island contingent in the major leagues.

Fluto Shinzawa has a look at Bruins defenseman Paul Mara, who is back at home in Boston and looking forward to being a big contributor to the team. Steve Conroy has UNH product Mark Mowers hoping that he’s found a home with the Bruins. Bud Barth looks at Jeff Hoggan, hoping to stick with the Bruins. Mick Colageo has a look at the Bruins huge defensive corps. Shinzawa’s notebook also looks at Hoggan.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN has Phillies/Nationals at 7:00.

Brady, Patriots getting Frustrated

Scroll down for TV ratings numbers from the weekend.

Greg Doyle deserves combat pay for going back and watching the Patriots/Broncos game a second time, but he comes away with a few new views of the game and individual performances.

Gerry Callahan chooses a focus point for his column on whether Tom Brady is out of sorts…Brady throwing the ball “into the ground” during a 3rd and 6 play on Sunday, which Callahan expands to mean that Brady was totally frustrated at a non-call from the officials and allowed his anger and frustrations to get the better of him. Jackie MacMullan says that Brady’s body language is downright troubling these days, and like Callahan, she projects that it is either because he is upset at the lack of talent around him, or that he is upset at himself for his own poor play thus far. Shalise Manza Young has Rosevelt Colvin upset at himself for not getting to Jake Plummer a split second earlier and having the chance to make a big play in the second quarter Sunday night. Albert Breer looks at the Patriots being unable to come up with the big play or stop.

Michael Felger has his weekly Patriots report card. Ian Clark says that the Patriots are work in progress, as the passing game needs to improve to take some pressure off the running game. Alan Greenberg has Bill Belichick focused solely on Cincinnati and not China or anything else going on at the moment. Michael Parente says that the Patriots need to solve their issues with the big play before this weekend’s meeting with the Bengals, who are all about the big play. Bill Reynolds says that the Patriots have lost their mystique and are just another ordinary team.

Christopher L Gasper looks at Doug Gabriel finally showing a glimpse of what he could bring to the Patriots during the fourth quarter of the Broncos game. Rich Garven, normally mild-mannered and solid with his reporting, gets a little critical of the Patriots this morning, saying that Chad Jackson is injured more than Manny Ramirez, that the Patriots did absolutely nothing to improve their secondary this summer, and compares Tom Brady on the field to Aaron Brooks and off the field makes reference to Brady calling out his teammates as if it’s like what the Yankees have been going through lately. Eric McHugh has Tom Brady seemingly not as frustrated after the game with his performance, yet still dealing with a loss. John Tomase looks at the Patriots opponents hitting it big against them.

Gasper’s notebook says that the long pass plays really have hurt the Patriots the last couple weeks. Young’s notebook has Belichick sidestepping specific questions regarding Tom Brady and his frustrations and struggles. Parente’s notebook had Belichick not choosing to talk about China. McHugh’s notebook has more on the big play struggles of the Patriots and capabilities of the Bengals. Tomase’s notebook has more on Gabriel.

Gordon Edes has Matt Clement going to visit Dr. James Andrews in an attempt to get some answers for the discomfort in his shoulder which has kept him out since June. Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox hoping that Manny will be able to play before the end of the season, and has a few experts discuss knee tendonitis. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox coaching staff will learn their fate pretty quickly once the season ends on Sunday. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox loss last night in which David Ortiz just missed his 33rd road homer of the season. David Borges ponders second base for 2007 – will the Sox bring back Mark Loretta, or will the position go to Dustin Pedroia? Phil O’Neill notes that we might be witnessing Trot Nixon’s final homestand as a member of the franchise this weekend.

Edes’ notebook looks at the Red Sox dropping into third place. Horrigan’s notebook has the Sox planning on having Wily Mo Pena work on his defense during this offseason. Borges’ notebook has more on the Blue Jays moving ahead of the Sox in the standings last night. O’Neill’s notebook looks at both the Sox and Jays struggling for hits early on last night.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on the Bruins sending a dozen players down to Providence to trim their roster to 25. Bud Barth also looks at the cuts, which put the team close to the regular season roster size. Karen Guregian looks at the Bruins aiming to set a different defensive tone this season. Barth’s notebook looks at teenagers Phil Kessel and Petr Kalus, each of whom appear to have made the regular season roster and who sport very different playing styles. Guregian also looks at how the Bruins might plan to use Zdeno Chara on the power play.

Mark Blaudschun says that the ACC has not been an impressive football conference this season.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.

9.25.06 Afternoon

A few afternoon media links plus a look at some of the weekend TV ratings.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at 7NBC still trying to replace Wendi Nix while preparing to launch a new sports segment on the newly acquired channel 56.

Michael Hiestand looks at a huge night for ESPN tonight with the Saints/Falcons game, which marks the return of the NFL to New Orleans and the Superdome. Bob Raissman says that tonight is ESPN’s first big Monday Night moment. David Barron says that ESPN will mix in more serious matter amidst the usual frivolity that is New Orleans.

ESPN and the NFL are giving this game a Super Bowl-like feel. Monday Night Countdown begins at 7:00 and opens with the Goo Goo Dolls performing “Better Days” – which has served as an anthem of recovery for many throughout the Gulf Coast region since the hurricane. U2 and Greenday will also perform during the night, as the two bands have been active with Music Rising – replacing the musical instruments and equipment that were lost during the hurricane. Former President George H. W. Bush is also expected to be a guest on Countdown.

Here are some weekend numbers for the local TV stations:

092506ratings.jpg

Each HH (Household) rating point represents nearly 24,000 households, and the share is the percentage of turned-on sets in the market tuned to that particular program.

The Patriots numbers weren’t quite as high as I had expected them to be, they actually finished with a lower rating than last week’s game against the Jets. The Ryder Cup numbers were higher than I thought they’d be, given how early in the morning they aired.

The October issue of Boston Magazine features an article from John Wolfson on Bill Buckner, who after years of comments that he was being persecuted by Red Sox fans for his 1986 World Series gaffe, has recently been making appearances with Mookie Wilson and cashing in on the 20th anniversary of the event. The feature also comments on some of Buckner’s dealings after baseball:

Buckner, on the other hand, began a lucrative business career, developing 28 acres in the Boise suburb of Meridian into three housing subdivisions. He chose to call these new communities Fenway Park, an odd decision given that Buckner played for seven years with the Chicago Cubs—twice as long as the Red Sox—a team with a fairly well-known ballpark of its own. Considering Buckner’s mistreatment in Boston, you’d think he might have named his developments Wrigley Field instead.