NFL Free Agency and College Basketball are in the spotlight this weekend, but the Celtics and Bruins play on both Saturday and Sunday and the Red Sox are on your television screens as well.
If you missed our free agency roundtable on BSMW Game Day, it’s worth a read. We’ll also try to keep you posted if any big Patriots news breaks this weekend.
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Sunday’s Outside the Lines (ESPN, 9:30 a.m. ET; re-air noon on ESPNEWS) will present an investigative piece on a Dominican marriage-for-visa scam involving professional baseball players which many believe is part of a larger human trafficking ring. In 2005 numerous minor league players agreed to participate in a scam where they were paid to marry strangers in order to get the women into the U.S. on their baseball work visas. ESPN has confirmed that 15 players from at least seven Major League Baseball organizations (Yankees, Rangers, Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals, Angels, Pirates) have had their visa privileges permanently revoked and remain banned from American soil by the U.S. State Department.
There will also be a segment on Quincy Carter, who led the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs three years ago, and today is playing in the Arena Football League’s developmental league trying work his way back to the NFL. Carter, who is making $200 a game for the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, talks for the first time publicly about how marijuana use both at the University of Georgia and in the NFL ruined his career.
Ron Borges on MSNBC.com lists out 10 players to avoid in NFL free agency and 10 players to go for. Leading the latter list is Adalius Thomas, who he says wants an $18 million signing bonus and that he will “will probably get it, likely from the 49ers.”
Tom Curran has a look at the first day of free agency.
Gordon Edes has an Ask Edes Mailbag for the week, with many questions and comments centered around Manny.
Bill Simmons writes a rebuttal to a Scoop Jackson column which said that the Vegas All Star weekend wasn’t as bad as some have made it.
Chad Finn has nine innings worth of Boston sports thoughts.
Clark Booth offers his…unique…views on a number of topics.
ESPN360 is offering a free trial from March 1-15.
Sports Media Columns From Around The Country
Susan Bickelhaupt has a piece on Doug Wheeler, who is retiring after producing Bruins TV broadcasts for 40 years. John Howell notes that Mets fans in Connecticut will still be limited as to how many games they’ll be able to see of their favorite team, as Comcast doesn’t appear to have any plans to add SportsNet New York in the near future. David Scott reviews his week in Fort Myers, and also has a few other media items of interest.
Phil Mushnick has a look at John Davidson returning to Madison Square Garden for the first time since leaving the broadcast booth to become President of the St. Louis Blues. He also looks at another example of Mike Francesa attempting to impress a pro coach with his brilliance. Pat Reichart has the Knicks beating up on the Nets…in the ratings. Richard Sandomir wonders how Bud Selig will sell the Extra Innings to DirecTV deal. Neil Best has ESPN jumping into Arena Football with heavy promotion of upcoming AFL broadcasts, including Monday night games on ESPN2 with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic in the booth. Bob Raissman has A-Rod sounding like someone who really wants to be with Lou Piniella and the Cubs next season.
More East Coast
Michael Hiestand looks at Bill Parcells’ hiring at ESPN, but also has a bit on Bonnie Bernstein, who had a health scare with deep-vein thrombosis and will appear in public-TV service ads on the subject. Laura Nachman has a bit on Jim Jackson, who is moving from the Flyers broadcasts to the Phillies. Jim Williams has a pair of columns lined up, one is an appreciation of George Michael, who will be leaving the NBC4 airwaves (and his Sports Machine), and the other is a look at the Orioles and Nationals televising all 162 games for the first time in their first season MASN. Chris Zelkovich reports on CBC turning to Scott Moore to lead its sports department.
Barry Jackson looks at how pro sports leagues are gambling with viewer loyalty with how they are shutting out viewers with deals with broadcast outlets. Dave Darling has more on ESPN’s deal with the AFL. David Barron has a look at Bill Parcells return to ESPN, and a number of other ESPN notes. Barry Horn reports on Michael Irvin’s departure from ESPN, saying that money was as big a factor as anything else.
Bob Wolfley has Dick Vitale reminiscing about the old days of Marquette. Judd Zulgad looks at KFAN making some changes to its afternoon drive show with Dan Barreiro. Dan Caesar has Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell adding to his resume. Teddy Greenstein has Parcells extending some kind words to Bears coach Lovie Smith.
Larry Stewart has a chat with LA sports media personality Fred Roggin getting ready to cover Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, and also has Vin Scully telling a neat story of his first days in Los Angeles after the Dodgers moved West. Stewart’s notebook as a look at boxing announcer Steve Albert. Jay Posner says NASCAR is must-see TV. Tom Hoffarth has more on the LA Marathon. Jim Carlisle says that MLB’s deal with DirecTV is still up in the air. Joe Davidson hopes Bill Parcells will speak with candor on the air, unlike some of his other colleagues who are currently in-between NFL jobs. Michael Lev says that ESPN and Arena Football are a perfect match. John Maffei has the CIF San Diego Section boys and girls basketball championships once again being featured on local TV.
Weekend TV Highlights
Friday, March 2nd
6:00pm, NESN – Red Sox vs Boston College
7:30pm, NESN – Boston College @ UNH (hockey)
8:00pm, ESPN – Pistons @ Heat (HD)
10:30pm, ESPN – Rockets @ Nuggets (HD)
Saturday, March 3rd
Noon, CBS – UConn @ Georgetown (HD)
Noon, ESPN – Michigan St. @ Wisconsin
1:00pm, NESN – Red Sox vs. Phillies
1:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Nets
1:00pm, TV38 – Virginia @ Wake Forest
2:00pm, CBS – UCLA @ Washington (HD)
2:00pm, ESPN2 – Syracuse @ Villanova
2:30pm, CN8 – Northeastern @ Drexel
4:00pm, CBS – Ohio St. @ Michigan (HD)
4:00pm, TV38 – UMass @ St. Joseph’s
4:00pm, ESPN – Notre Dame @ Rutgers
7:00pm, NESN – Canadiens @ Bruins (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN – Pittsburgh @ Marquette (HD)
10:00pm, ESPN2 – New Mexico St. @ Nevada
Sunday, March 4th
Noon, CBS – Kentucky @ Florida (HD)
12:30pm, FSN – Timberwolves @ Celtics (HD)
12:30pm, ABC – Desperados @ Dragons (AFL)
12:30m, NBC – Flyers @ Penguins (HD)
1:00pm, TV38 – Clemson @ Virginia Tech
2:00pm, CBS – Missouri Valley Championship (HD)
2:00pm, ESPN2 – NASCAR Busch Series: Mexico 200 (HD)
3:00pm, NESN – Boston College @ Georgia Tech
3:30pm, ABC – Lakers @ Suns (HD)
4:00pm, CBS – North Carolina @ Duke (HD)
7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Devils (HD)
8:00pm, ESPN – Jazz @ Hornets (HD)