ESPN Boston Makes Another Move

First, from ESPN Boston:

Beginning on April 3, fans can catch “The Boston Baseball Pre-game Show,” which will air every Monday – Friday from 6pm – 7pm. The show, hosted by 890 ESPN’s Kevin Winter, will provide fans with everything they need to know about the upcoming Red Sox game, and will highlight news from around the league. The show will also feature insight and interviews with some of the game’s most respected reporters including – Peter Gammons, Buster Olney and other Boston and ESPN baseball insiders. Gammons will also have three weekly call-ins to 890 ESPN programming, including one to “The Mike Felger Show” on Thursdays at 4:20 pm.

The Boston Baseball Pre-Game Show makes for a great addition to our already extensive baseball programming,” said program director Len Weiner. “And it’s great to have experts like Peter Gammons and Buster Olney to provide so much baseball insight and analysis.”

The show will also feature the latest news from Fenway Park, as 890 ESPN’s Baseball reporter Mike Salk will provide live reports during the show. When the Red Sox are on the road, Winter will talk with beat writers and play-by-play announcers from the city where the Sox are playing. As a result of the show being added to the station’s lineup, “The Mike Felger Show,” which currently airs from 4 pm – 7 pm, will air from 3 pm – 6 pm.

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Boston Magazine has a pair of Red Sox related stories this month. The first is How the Red Sox Got Their Groove Back from Seth Mnookin.

The second is a piece from Tony Massarotti’s new book Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits. The magazine piece is titled The Papi Monologues.

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The BSMW Game Day page has version 2 of our Monster Mock Mashup.

Tom Verducci has learned that Daisuke “Matsuzaka’s gyroball is nothing more than media mythology, a promulgation the pitcher delightfully enjoys.”

Jessica Camerato has Doc Rivers enjoying watching his young team win.

David Borges has a look how the small town of Camden produced two big league announcers in Joe Castiglione and George Grande.

Mike Fine says that the Celtics might’ve learned a good lesson from last Wednesday night.

Bill Simmons answers some questions, serves up some links, and talks Holy Cross hoops.

Jared Puffer goes behind the scenes with Patriots defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – NCAA Women’s Regional Final – Tenn/Miss
7:00pm, ESPN2 – NIT – W. Virginia/Miss. St.
7:30pm, NESN – Bruins @ Senators
7:30pm, Versus – Devils @ Islanders
9:00pm, ESPN2 – NIT – Clemson/Air Force
9:00pm, ESPN – NCAA Women’s Regional Final – Purdue/UNC
10:30pm, Versus – Kings @ Sharks

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No Tanking This Time

The Celtics welcomed the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors into the Garden last night, and came away with a 95-87 win in which five Celtics reached double figures, led by Paul Pierce’s 23 and Al Jefferson’s 22.

Scott Souza notes that after the fiasco that was the Charlotte game last week, there will be no tanking talk on sports radio and television after last night’s game. Bill Doyle has the Celtics playing some uncharacteristic defense last night, putting the clamps on Chris Bosh and holding the Raptors to 40% shooting. Shira Springer has a game story/notebook combo and looks at the Raptors sustaining a loss in the standings and on the court after Jorge Garbajosa went down with an ugly injury. Mark Murphy has the Celtics making a bit of a statement with the win last night, which included a dunk by Rajon Rondo in the face of Bosh.

Mike Petraglia has Paul Pierce still going full tilt, and setting the example for his younger teammates. From yesterday, we’ve got a look at what life would be like for the Celtics with…or without Greg Oden or Kevin Durant on the FSN Nothing but Net blog. Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers with eyes for only his son at this weekend’s Final Four.

Souza’s Notebook has Leon Powe getting a chance at a larger role down the stretch here of his rookie season. Doyle’s notebook has Doc Rivers planning on going to the Final Four to root on his son, and stay away from Greg Oden. Murphy’s Notebook has Pierce leading the way once more for the Celtics, and another veteran shutting it down for the season.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman has Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching five no-hit, no-run innings, but displeased with his control and refusing to speak with the media afterwards. Dan Shaughnessy has more on Matsuzaka’s struggles with delivery and his decision to not talk to the press afterwards, prompting even more discussion. Jeff Goldberg has more on the performance of Dice-K. Maureen Mullen also looks at the unbalanced performance from the Japanese ace. Tony Massarotti says there is still good to take from Matsuzaka’s performance, most notably the ability to change pitches and still get batters out when one or two pitches aren’t working.

Sean McAdam looks at a poor performance from Craig Hansen, who suffered through some severe wildness yesterday. Massarotti also has a look at the self-destructive performance yesterday by Craig Hansen, who was charged with five runs yesterday, bringing his spring ERA over 15.00. Joe Haggerty has a look at the next generation of Red Sox stars making their way to Fenway Park.

Silverman’s Notebook has Jonathan Papelbon adjusting his arm slot for his delivery, and the results looking very impressive yesterday. Shaughnessy’s notebook has more on Papelbon’s impressive relief inning.

David Scott weighs in on the internet brawl between Shaughnessy and Schilling.

Patriots/NFL

John Tomase has Bill Polian praising the Patriots offseason moves, showing that a Super Bowl title might be able to mellow anyone. Mike Reiss has the NFL owners approving a new revenue sharing system. Albert Breer has the Patriots scheduling Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem for a visit to Gillette Stadium next week.

Thomase’s Notebook has Drew Rosenhaus believing that Donte’ Stallworth will be with the Patriots for more than one season. Reiss’ notebook has a follow-up on the story first reported in the Herald yesterday about Laurence Maroney’s shoulder surgery. He says the running back is expected to be fully recovered and ready to go full speed for the 2007 season.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa has coach Dave Lewis working his team hard as the season approaches the final weeks. Steve Conroy has more on Lewis cracking the whip at practice after a series of lackluster blowout losses by his club down the stretch.

NCAA

Mark Blaudschun looks at plots thickening the NCAA tournament even as the field is thinned to the Final Four. Lenny Megliola has Florida Assistant A.D. Chip Howard – a Northborough native, enjoying the recent success of the Gators in the basketball realm. David Sandora has a quick look at the John Thompson III/Patrick Ewing Jr Georgetown revival.

Paul Kenyon has a look at Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas and their new steakhouse in Rhode Island.

Jaworski in, Theissman out on MNF

ESPN made a change in their Monday Night Football broadcast team today by announcing that Ron Jaworski will replace Joe Theismann in the booth for next season.

Norby Williamson, who serves as executive vice president, studio and remote production for ESPN made the announcement today and said that the network is attempting to retain Theismann in another prominent football role, though he would not comment on what that role might be, if it might be as an analyst on college games or doing studio work similar to what Jaworski was doing previous to this. Williamson was clear, however, that ESPN wishes to retain Theismann in some capacity.

As for questions as to why Theismann is being replaced, there were no answers forthcoming. Williamson insists that they are not unhappy in any way with the performance of the former Redskins quarterback. Several times mention was made of bringing the broadcasts “to the next level.” He said that Jaworski “helps take the broadcasts where they want to go.” Their goal is to have the viewer learn something in the broadcast and that it about the games, the league, the trends and Jaworski helps in those areas. He confirmed that Jaworksi was the only guy he had in mind to replace Theismann.

Jaworski said that he was told of the offer at halftime of a Philadelphia Soul game, the AFL team in which he has a minority ownership stake and serves as team President. He said that he and Theismann have been friends for three decades and that while he hasn’t spoken to him yet, he plans to do so very soon. He also talked about looking forward to working with the Monday Night Football crew, many of whom he has worked extensively before. He noted that he has considered Tony Kornheiser a friend for over a decade now, as he was a frequent guest on Kornheiser’s radio program and also on Pardon The Interuption.

The point was made several times about the focus of the broadcasts being on the games, and that prompted the question about whether the 2nd quarter interviews in the booth with various celebrities would continue. Williamson stated that the interviews will continue, but that the network will perhaps be a little more selection about who gets into the booth.

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FireJoeMorgan takes apart Dan Shaughnessy’s column from this morning, specifically his belief that blogs are for nerds who live in their mom’s basements.

Curt Schilling of course, does have a response to Shaughnessy on 38Pitches.

On the FSN Nothing But Net blog there’s a look at Oden, Durant or…neither.

Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback looks at issues on the table at the NFL annual meetings this week.

The Globe and the Herald are both at the NFL meetings, and Mike Reiss has Bob Kraft’s Q&A session with the media and John Tomase had things seen and heard thus far.

Sports Media Journal offers their thoughts on the WEEI lineup.

The blog Shea Faithful has an interview with Bill James.

Bill Simmons looks at the rebirth of the NCAA tournament this year.

Jeff Gordon on FoxSports.com debuts a weekly sports planner, with storylines to watch in the world of sports for this week.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – NCAA Women’s Regional Final
7:00pm, Versus – Ducks @ Red Wings
7:00pm, ESPN2 – AFL – Dallas Desperados @ Orlando Predators
7:30pm, FSN – Raptors @ Celtics
9:00pm, ESPN – NCAA Women’s Regional Final

Beckett Swings Delivery

Jeff Horrigan has Josh Beckett talking about his new delivery, in which he uses the principles of a golf swing to ensure balance and power. Sean McAdam has Beckett believing that his new delivery will result in his throwing more strikes. Jeff Goldberg has Beckett’s mechanical switch paying dividends this spring.

Terry Francona played his opening day starting lineup yesterday and Tony Massarotti says that this group shows the potential to be much more balanced and potent than last year’s edition. Lenny Megliola has a look at Jonathan Papelbon in the closer’s role and the best and worst case scenarios regarding his shoulder. Maureen Mullen says that the Red Sox fifth opening day shortstop in five years is fitting in nicely thus far.

It didn’t take long. Dan Shaughnessy mocks a Curt Schilling 38Pitches Q&A session. We’ll see how long it takes Schilling to fire back on his blog. Rob Bradford writes about Schilling serving as his own agent.

Horrigan reports on Devern Hansack and Mike Burns being sent to the minors yesterday. Alex Speier has Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen looking to stick with the Sox, but each facing an uphill battle. Massarotti has Mike Lowell talking about the fact that people often think he is older than he really is, just based on his appearance.

Horrigan’s notebook has Joel Pineiro now sitting as potential trade bait with Jonathan Papelbon taking back the closer’s role. Shaughnessy’s notebook has more on Beckett’s new delivery.

Patriots

John Tomase has Laurence Maroney undergoing shoulder surgery which revealed “fairly significant damage” to the Patriots running back. Mike Reiss has Matt Light backing a league motion to toughen the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Albert Breer has Light healthy and ready to go for 2007. Rich Garven has the Patriots offseason moves putting them back among the league’s elite. The BSMW Game Day page continues to crank out draft profiles.

Bruins

The death marched continued for the Bruins yesterday as they were blanked by the Penguins 5-0. Kevin Paul Dupont reports on a zombie-like performance from the Bruins. Steve Conroy says that the good news is that in less than two weeks, all this misery will be over.

Mick Colageo examines the uncertain future of fighting in hockey. Mike Dunshee on the BSMW Power Play has more on the Bruins playing out the string. Conroy’s notebook has Tim Thomas getting yanked in the loss. Dupont’s notebook has Hannu Toivonen staying put in Providence.

Celtics

Shira Springer has Celtics practices remaining upbeat and productive despite the rapidly approaching end of the season. Mark Murphy has Doc River and Paul Pierce noting the outcry in some circles over the Celtics choosing to go with young players down the stretch, which is ironic considering they did the same thing last year and no one said anything. The difference is the fact that the Celtics closer to the top pick this year. Tim Weisberg has more on the tanking issue as regards the Celtics.

NCAA

Bob Ryan has Georgetown moving onto the Final Four with an incredible spurt in overtime to defeat North Carolina. Jeff Goodman notes that there is no Cinderella this season in the Final Four. Jeff Jacobs says there is plenty to criticize the Tar Heels for in yesterday’s performance. Ryan’s notebook has Georgetown players paying tribute to the elder John Thompson.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and John Connolly have Boston College booking a trip to the Frozen Four for the second year in a row. Michael Vega and Steve Buckley look at BC hero Joe Rooney.

Weekend Wrap – Sweet 16 Edition

It’s another busy weekend for sports viewing. In addition to the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, there is also the NCAA hockey tournament, which unlike the hoop version has plenty of local teams involved. (BC, BU, UMass, UNH, Maine)

There is also NBA and NHL action, as well as baseball exhibitions, NASCAR, and golf.

It was another busy week in Boston sports. To recap:

Monday: Gerry Callahan says he worked just as hard at basketball as John Stockton, he just didn’t have Stockton’s talent. Red Sox Annual reviewed.

Tuesday: We learn of the eBay auction for a grill that is supposed to belong to Manny Ramirez. Story dominates the afternoon and evening.

Wednesday: More Manny grill talk, John Dennis investigates as to whether Manny violated eBay rules. Gerry Callahan talks about his Asian neighbors. Karen Guregian and Amalie Benjamin get Manny to talk about the grill and his future in the papers.

Thursday: Guregian continues a good week by talking with Jonathan Papelbon about closing and Pedro Martinez about his time in Boston. Word comes on the ESPN telecast of the Red Sox game that the Red Sox will move Papelbon to the closers role. All hell breaks loose on WEEI.

Friday: More Papelbon talk. I should say almost ALL Papelbon talk. Oh, a little Fred&Steve’s Steakhouse talk as well. Glenn Ordway announced this afternoon that The Big Show will be traveling to Beijing, China this August when the Patriots tgo there to play the first NFL exhibition game in China on Aug. 8, 2007. He noted that the time difference is such that 2-6 PM here is 2-6 AM in Beijing.

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A little revisionist history from Nick Cafardo this morning in his article about Jonathan Papelbon being moved to closer, specifically this paragraph:

What the Red Sox didn't want was a return to the bullpen-by-committee days of 2003 that was taxing, to say the least, on Grady Little. That committee ultimately led to Little's decision to keep Pedro Martínez in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. In modern-day baseball, it's imperative to have a reliable closer.

Where do I start here? “bullpen-by-committee?” All bullpens are committees. It was closer-by-committee. Second, the Red Sox had a closer by that point. It was Scott Williamson, who had saved all three games that the Red Sox had won in that ALCS. He had also pitched all five games of the Oakland series. The bullpen was solid, the closer by committee experiment was over by that point, and had nothing to do with Grady Little’s decision to stick with Pedro.

From Nick’s series wrap up after that 2003 ALCS:

The Sox bullpen, which had given up one run since the first game of the playoffs (21 2/3 innings) again was strong. Bronson Arroyo, Todd Jones, Alan Embree, Mike Timlin, and Williamson helped to slam the door on the win, setting the dramatic stage for last night's Pedro-Roger II.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to check out the Patriots Draft Rumor Inventory chart put together on the BSMW Game Day page.

Chad Finn has 10 thoughts for the week.

Tom Casale of Patriots Football Weekly rates the Inside Linebackers available in next month’s NFL draft.

Deadspin.com has their Red Sox preview post.

WEEI has a newly re-designed website. This new version is much cleaner and easier to navigate than the old one was.

Curt Schilling talks blogging to SI.com’s Alex Belth.

Eric Wilbur hates the move of Papelbon back to the closer’s role.

If the Celtics get the number one pick AND both Greg Oden and Kevin Durant come out, who should the Celtics pick? Jessica Camerato looks at the options.

Kevin Gray has a look at some of the traditions of UNH hockey.

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Media Columns

New England

Christopher L. Gasper has NESN throwing a curveball to the local TV stations with their now-infamous memo of last week. Bill Doyle has a look at NESN anchor Kathryn Tappen being able to follow her dream of being a sportscaster. David Scott says that NESN scored a 10 by naming Bob Ryan as host of their new Boston Globe sports show. Ron Brown says that decisions in the University of Maine sports broadcasting are confusing.

New York

Neil Best has Billy Packer creating a buzz in the NCAA tournament for the 33rd consecutive year. Phil Mushnick looks back at the best free throw shooting in NCAA tournament history, and has a number of other items. Bob Raissman has CBS and the NCAA dancing around the issue of money and who is making it from the tournament. Pat Reichart has Ron Darling set to sign a new deal at SportsNet New York.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand has George Michael’s Sports Machine shutting down for the final time on Sunday night. Laura Nachman has former Phillies pitcher Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams is joining the WIP morning show as a regular contributor. Chris Zelkovich says CBC isn’t totally out of the baseball business just yet. Jim Williams has ESPN’s Mike Tirico cutting loose on PTI.

South

Barry Jackson looks at a big weekend for TV sports viewing. He does note, however, that South Florida has lagged in the TV ratings for the NCAA tournament. Dave Darling looks at HBO’s documentary on the John Wooden dynasty at UCLA, set to air next week. David Barron has Verne Lundquist returning to his San Antonio roots for this weekend’s NCAA tourney games.

Midwest

Dan Caesar looks at whether the coverage of Tony LaRussa’s arrest for suspected DUI is fact finding or media feeding frenzy. Bob Wolfley has more on the HBO documentary on UCLA basketball. Judd Zulgad has FSN North announcer Jeff Dubay coming back from being suspended for some off-the-microphone insults aimed toward a WCHA referee in late January. Teddy Greenstein has Southern Illinois fans upset that CBS cut away from the last few minutes of their school’s win over Virginia Tech in favor of a Kentucky/Kansas preview. He also has Dusty Baker ready to go in his new ESPN analyst role.

West Coast

John Maffei is breathing a sigh of relief that Bill Raftery was assigned to games in the South region. He also rates the CBS announcers with a quick note on each. Larry Stewart has Dick Enberg remembering his eight year run as announcer of UCLA basketball, and how popular the games were, despite being shown only on tape delay. Tom Hoffarth has an in-depth look at the HBO special which doesn’t leave out tales of booster Sam Gilbert, whose gifts of cars, clothes and other….services were apparently well known on campus. Jim Carlisle has more on the documentary, which the more I read about it, seems to be a can’t-miss show. Joe Davidson has ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick feeling at home with putting family first in his life. Jay Posner looks at San Diego State likely changing radio stations for next season.

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Weekend TV Highlights

Friday March 23rd

6:00pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament – Maine vs. St. Cloud State
7:00pm, CBS – Florida/Butler (HD)
7:30pm, CBS – Georgetown/Vanderbilt (HD)
7:30pm, FSN – Mavericks @ Celtics (HD)
8:30pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament – BU vs. Michigan State
9:40pm, CBS – UNLV/Oregon (HD)
10:00pm, CBS – UNC/USC (HD)

Saturday March 24th

1:00pm, NESN – Rangers @ Bruins (HD)
1:00pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament – UNH/Miami
1:00pm, CBS – NCAA Div II Championship (HD)
2:00pm, NBC – Golf – WGC Championship (HD)
3:00pm, ABC – NASCAR – Sharpie Mini 300 (HD)
4:30pm, CBS – NCAA Regional Finals (HD)
4:30pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament – BC vs. St. Lawrence
7:00pm, CBS – NCAA Regional Finals (HD)
7:00pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament (TBA)
8:00pm, ESPN2 – Indy Car – XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 (HD)
8:30pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Tournament (TBA)

Sunday March 25th

12:30pm, NBC – Bruins @ Penguins (HD)
1:00pm, NESN – Red Sox/Marlins
1:30pm, FOX – NASCAR: Food City 500 (HD)
2:30pm, CBS – NCAA Regional Finals (HD)
3:00pm, NBC – Golf – WGC Championship (HD)
3:30pm, ABC – Suns @ Kings (HD)
3:30pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey Northeast Final
5:00pm, CBS – NCAA Regional Finals (HD)
6:00pm, CN8 – NCAA Hockey West Final
8:00pm, ESPN – Nuggets @ Cavs (HD)

Case Closed

After watching closer candidates flounder all spring, Jonathan Papelbon couldn’t take it anymore. He loved being in that role last season, and while he was publicly supportive of his move to the rotation, he still harbored the desire to close. So much so that he was literally losing sleep over it. He went to his captain and then his manager with his feelings, and the result is yesterday’s surprising-but-not announcement that Papelbon will be the closer.

Gordon Edes has Papelbon hoping that this is his job for the next 10 years. Jeff Horrigan says that now the ones who will be losing sleep will be American League batters. Sean McAdam has more on Papelbon missing being the Red Sox go-to guy in the late innings. Jeff Goldberg has Papelbon himself as the proactive force towards this move being made. Jon Couture says that this move can only work if the other relievers ahead of Papelbon do their job.

Karen Guregian has Papelbon back where he wants to be and back where he belongs. Nick Cafardo says the decision was the logical one, and he gets reaction from the other teams in the AL East on the move. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox insist that this decision was made in a vacuum, with no influences from the outside.

After writing a column in which he said Duke Basketball was the only thing going on in Durham, North Carolina, Steve Buckley got invited by the Durham Bulls to attend a game there after some took offense to his remarks. He’s going to take them up on their offer. David Borges has Craig Breslow trying to come up with a formula to get better command on the mound and thus stay with the big club in the future. Speier has Curt Schilling still making adjustments on the mound as he hits 40.

Edes’ notebook has Tavarez getting a shot to pick up where he left off last season. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Tavarez’s move to the starting rotation, where he might just be keeping the seat warm for Jon Lester. McAdam’s notebook has more on Tavarez getting ready for his new role.

Bruins

The Bruins pretty sealed their playoff-less fate last night with a late collapse against the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins have been a very easy team for opponents to play against this season. Kevin Paul Dupont has this one as just another example of an opportunity lost, which should be a theme of this year’s Bruins squad. Joe McDonald has more on the Bruins season fading fast. Douglas Flynn says that this one might’ve been an exclamation point to close out the season for the Bruins. Bud Barth has the Montreal power play coming alive in the third period to sink the Bruins. Mick Colageo says that it was fun while it lasted last night.

Harris’ Notebook has the Tim Thomas feeling that his teammates have needed to play a little looser all season. Flynn’s notebook says that the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry still has a little spark to it. Dupont’s notebook says that the club likely won’t be getting any of their injured players back before the end of the season. Barth’s notebook has the season coming to a sour end for the Bruins.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett has Paul Pierce OK with Doc Rivers leaving the reserves on the floor while Charlotte stormed back to win the game on Wednesday night. He says it as time to take the training wheels off the youngsters for a bit. Shira Springer has Rivers defending his actions on Wednesday night. Scott Souza has Rivers insisting that everything was on the level for the game.

Jackie MacMullan has a feature on the Dallas Mavericks being ready to take the next step towards becoming NBA champs.

Patriots/Misc

Benjamin Watson just returned from a NFL-USO tour of Iraq, and shared his experience with the media yesterday. Mike Reiss has Watson describing the situation as “real.” John Tomase has the Patriots tight end saying that it was a life-altering trip. Albert Breer also has a very good piece on Watson recounting his trip to the Middle East.

Christopher Price says that Adalius Thomas’ versatility can be traced back to his college days at Southern Miss.

Christopher L. Gasper has NESN throwing a curveball to the local TV stations with their now-infamous memo of last week. Bill Doyle has a look at NESN anchor Kathryn Tappen being able to follow her dream of being a sportscaster.

Bob Ryan looks at USC making a name for themselves in basketball.

Kevin Paul Dupont has UNH trying to shake its label of the University of No Hardware as they hit the NCAA tournament for the six straight year, a feat equaled only by Minnesota and Michigan. UNH is a number one seed and playing in Manchester.

Papelbon To Be The Closer, After All

Bangor, Maine native Gary Thorne (and Erin Andrews) apparently broke the news on the ESPN telecast of the Red Sox/Phillies game this afternoon that Jonathan Papelbon will in fact be named the Red Sox closer, with an official announcement coming soon. Curt Schilling “reports” it in a post on his blog today, which might be a first. A player reporting the news about another player and his team on his own website

Rob Bradford has a post about it on his blog, and the Extra Bases and Clubhouse Insider blogs are sure to follow.

Prepare yourself for the endless “Steve Burton called this months ago” tributes.

We also get Glenn Ordway yelling that “THE RED SOX LIED TO US!!!” The show spends weeks pounding the Red Sox to make Papelbon the closer, they finally do, and Ordway needs to find something else to scream about. He LOVES this move, but the team LIED. He accused the Red Sox of having a “chicken little” mentality. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Tony Massarotti and Rob Bradford tried to call Ordway for talking out of both sides of his mouth, but unfortunately several exchanges went exactly like this:

You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth!

No I’m not!

Yes you are!

No I’m not!

Yes you are!

No I’m not!

Yes you are!

Great radio. *click*

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Gary Tanguay cracked me up last night. It was on Sports Tonight, following the Celtics game, and Andy Gresh was with him on the show. Gresh was going off on how even if the Celtics get Durant or Oden, are all the other Celtics suddenly going to learn how to win, and are they going to suddenly play with “gumption.” This rant went on for about a minute or so, during which time Tanguay stood staring off into the distance, eyes slightly rolled. As Gresh went on, Tanguay threw his hands in the air and exasperated, exclaimed something about “contrived arguments.” Trust me, it was both ironic and hilarious at the same time. Having both of them standing side-by-side with Gresh looking twice as big as Tanguay in height and width only added to the hilarity.

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Metro Boston sent over the following press release this afternoon:

Publishers of Metro Boston, the City of Boston’s largest circulated daily newspaper, announced today an innovative partnership with the Boston Red Sox to produce the official free game day publication of the Boston Red Sox – Metro GameDay.

Metro will manage content and production of this 12 page free tabloid paper that will be made up of fresh content every game. Metro GameDay will be distributed at all 81 home games and postseason home games for the Red Sox season. 15,000 copies will be distributed throughout the Kenmore Square and Fenway areas, including on Yawkey Way.

Metro GameDay provides a great opportunity for the team to communicate directly with its loyal fan base. Through the publication fans will learn about events of the day including game and player stats, who is throwing out the first pitch and singing the national anthem, Red Sox community activities and fan programs. Each Metro GameDay will also include a scorecard and Kcard for additional fan participation.

“As a child in Baltimore, I remember going to the ballpark with my dad and receiving a page of notes and stats that had been run off on a mimeograph machine,” said Dr. Charles Steinberg, Executive Vice President/Public Affairs. “It was included in the program. Metro GameDay will restore part of that experience for visitors and fans at Fenway Park. In addition, Red Sox Magazine will still be available inside the park with full color photos and more timeless literary features.”

Metro GameDay extends Metro’s reach within Boston by becoming the official game day publication of Red Sox Nation. Metro Boston is the fastest growing newspaper in the City of Boston and has a growing daily readership of more than 235,000.

“The Red Sox are the biggest brand in all of New England. We are honored to partner with them on Metro GameDay and excited to contribute to the fan experience at Fenway,” said Stuart Layne, publisher of Metro Boston. “Metro GameDay will be groundbreaking communication for major league baseball and all sports.”

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The Metro Toronto is reporting that NESN Sports Desk anchor Hazel Mae is engaged to Kevin Barker, who is a non-roster infielder currently in the Blue Jays camp. (Glenn Ordway says his reliable sources say this is not true.)

Reid Laymance has a look at Bob Ryan being named host of the the new Globe/NESN show “The Globe 10.0,” presented by Verizon. David Scott also weighs in on the announcement.

The Media Circus notes that Peter King in baseball spring training means twice as much name dropping.

Bill Simmons has a Oden/Durant/Tanking update and some housecleaning.

Erik Scalavino has a look at the Patriots wide receivers.

Curt Schilling has another massive Q∓A session on 38Pitches. Some harsh words for Bob Tewksbury there. Does he know that Tewksbury is employed by the Red Sox?

Clark Booth endorses Bowie Kuhn for the Hall of Fame.

Jessica Camerato has Doc Rivers teaching his team a lesson last night.

Richard Sandomir looks at cable operators calling MLB’s bluff on the Extra Innings package, but MLB turning them down anyway.

Michael Hiestand looks at how you can watch each individual game of the women’s NCAA tournament, but that most of the men’s games overlap each other.

Bob Raissman looks at Rudy Giuliani getting free airtime from the YES network to promote his Presidential campaign.

Could the NHL go back to Hartford? The blog Too Much Sports examines the possibility.

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ESPN will present all Major League Soccer matches in high definition beginning with the Saturday, April 7 season-opener – D.C. United at Colorado Rapids – on ABC HD at 3:30 p.m. ET; and the first telecast of ESPN2’s new MLS Primetime Thursday April 12 at 10 p.m. featuring FC Dallas at the Los Angeles Galaxy. This will mark the first season in ESPN’s Major League Soccer (MLS) history that all matches will be presented in high definition.

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Tonight

Note: CBS has the NCAA tournament coverage, with games at 7:00 and 9:30. As they will likely switch back and forth between games, the early matchups are S. Illinois/Kansas and Memphis/Texas A&M. The late games are UCLA/Pitt and Ohio State/Tennessee.

7:00pm, ESPN2 – AFL – Colorado Crush @ Philadelphia Soul
7:30pm, NESN – Canadiens @ Bruins