A pair of sports that were huge back in the day, but have almost completely faded from the consciousness of the casual sports fan take the center stage this weekend, as the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday afternoon and the biggest boxing match in years, Saturday night’s Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in Las Vegas.

The Derby will be run at 5:00pm Saturday on NBC, while the fight takes place at 9:00 that night on HBO Pay Per View.

The Red Sox are in Minnesota for a weekend series with the Twins.

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Dale Arnold mentioned this morning on his WEEI show that next week he will be co-hosting the early morning show with John Dennis. This is a curious move on a number of levels, and one that if it were made by a manager or coach on one of Boston’s sports teams would be debated and speculated about endlessly on the airwaves.

During the crossover to The Big Show, it seemed like it was being hinted that Michael Holley would also do some mornings with Dennis at some point.

What’s the rationale for having Arnold moved to the mornings for the week? When you consider that WEEI also tried out Dennis with Glenn Ordway for the Sunday morning draft program last week, you see some tinkering, some experimenting with combinations going on over there. Is this in preparation for the possibility that Callahan doesn’t come back – either because his voice doesn’t recover or he decides to sign on elsewhere at the end of the summer?

Also in WEEI news, afternoon flash guy/backup host Pete Sheppard signed a new multi-year deal to remain at the station.

“I am very excited to continue in my role with WEEI,” Sheppard said. “The station is the best sports station in the country, I really enjoy the people I work with and I’m looking forward to the future.”

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This was brought up on the BSMW messageboard the other night, and while I hadn’t taken notice of this point, in retrospect it seems accurate: Is Jerry Remy not pitching as many of his ventures on the NESN game broadcasts this year? It seems that way. Was he talked to about this? The last few years the telecasts had been filled with Remy talking about all of his side ventures throughout the telecasts.

If he’s cut back on that, it’s a good move. He’s much better at analyzing the games.

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Here’s a portion of an interesting email that hit my box this week, noting more of the hypocrisy of the media eager to bash Bill Belichick and the Patriots for bringing in Randy Moss:

Here's another angle that's been little discussed....by now the perception of Brady relative to the trade is anywhere between he is excited to he talked a great deal to moss to he engineered the deal. I think everyone would agree that Brady was in favor. So if the leader of the team, the understood character guy of all character guys, the player who would be most affected by a player's dependability or lack thereof.....is somewhere between approved of it and went to great lengths to make it happen....if that's what he thinks...where is the criticism of the misguided, desperate, lost his way/soul, arrogant captain? You know where it is - redirected by media scared silly to take him on.

Now the emailer is by no means insinuating that Brady should be criticized here, just noting that nothing like that has even been mentioned in all the handwringing over the Patriots losing the “moral high ground” and their “sanctimonious standards.”

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A followup on the note I posted about Michael Parente being taken off the Patriots beat by the Woonsocket Call:

The Woonsocket Call was formerly owned by Journal Register Co. and was bought out a few months back by Surburban Rhode Island Newspapers.

Parente was JRC’s Patriots beat writer and now and his stories were used in the Call and the Pawtucket Times, as well as other JRC papers. Since the JRC doesn’t own any papers in RI, his job isn’t needed anymore. JRC will use a writer from New Haven to cover the beat.

The decision isn’t being made directly by the call – it’s by the new publisher. In fact, the Call doesn’t even have a sports editor anymore – Pawtucket’s Terry Nau is running the show, sort of.
Is Pats coverage needed in the Call? Not really, because the paper can use AP stories, features, etc. to fill its coverage. The smaller papers in RI use high school sports as its focus, with Pawtucket obviously using the PawSox as its pro beat.

While it sucks for Parente, there’s nothing he nor the editors at the paper can do. SRIN cannot afford to send him to and from games when that paper is struggling to fill its section with local copy because it’s short-staffed.

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A special draft edition of Patriots All Access airs this Saturday May 5 at 7:00pm on WCVB channel 5. Among the highlights…

  • One-on-one conversations with Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick on how the Randy Moss deal went down.
  • Inside the Patriots draft room. Listen and see the offers come in, as the Pats ultimately dealt the 28th overall pick.
  • NFL Network’s Mike Mayock analyzes the Patriots 2007 draft.
  • A different side of Tom Brady, as he sits down and discusses his recent visit to Africa.

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Gordon Edes has a Red Sox mailbag on Boston.com.

Chad Finn leads off his FoxSports Nine Innings column with a look at the new Josh Beckett.

Howard Wasserman of Sports Law Blog has a look at the issue of Credentialing Sports Bloggers.

Back in September, 2005 the Patriots played the Oakland Raiders in the first week of the season. In a Bill Belichick Press Conference from that week, he talked extensively about Randy Moss and whether the receiver could play for him. He also talks about Moss taking plays off.

As recommended by Adam Reilly of the Phoenix, this Mike Mosedale feature on Randy Moss from 2002 is a good companion to John Tomase’s piece in the Friday Herald.

Erik Scalavino of Patriots.com has a look at the rookie free agents signed by the team.

Len Pasquarelli says that Tom Brady’s restructuring of his contract gives him leverage later on the deal.

Shocker: Clark Booth doesn’t like the Patriots move of picking up Randy Moss. He asks: ‘What is Clan Kraft possibly thinking?’

Bill Simmons says Dirk Nowitzki’s career is on the clock after the first round exit at the hands of the Warriors.

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Sports Media Columns from Around the Nation

New England
David Scott looks at the scheduled return of Ron Borges from his two month plagiarism suspension this weekend. He also looks at the early results of the Dave O’Brien/Glenn Geffner for Jerry Trupiano switch in the Red Sox radio booth. Susan Bickelhaupt looks at NBC’s storylines for their Kentucky Derby coverage tomorrow. Bill Doyle has a look at Bob Fouracre being inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame for his 37 years of television and radio coverage of the school’s basketball and football teams.

New York
Phil Mushnick casts a critical eye towards the study that accuses NBA referees of racism. Neil Best looks at whether the pay-per-view numbers for Saturday night’s Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout will live up to the hype. Bob Raissman looks at the future of Larry Merchant with HBO. Richard Sandomir has De La Hoya reaching out to Mayweather Sr. Pat Reichart has a look at how ESPN radio’s Mike & Mike had the second highest AM ratings for their time slot. He also has Five Questions for HBO boxing announcer Jim Lampley.

East Coast
Michael Hiestand says that the NBA playoffs have been entertaining, but could still use some Red Sox/Yankees allure. Chris Zelkovich has praise for the netcam in the NHL playoffs. Laura Nachman has local writer Joe Santolquito earning some national recognition. Jim Williams has NBC doing up the Derby on a grand scale. Robert Weintraub has high praise for the HBO boxing documentary De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7.

South
Dave Darling looks at “the most anticipated boxing match of the century” coming up Saturday night, and notes the huge paydays on tap for each fighter. Barry Jackson has sports radio host (and Dolphins broadcaster) Joe Rose weighing his options. He also has former Dolphins receiver O.J. McDuffie being considered for a role at WQAM.

Midwest
Judd Zulgad has the NFL considering expanding the NFL draft to include Friday evening. The idea is to have the first round selections made in prime time, with the rest of the draft taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Bob Wolfley has ESPN2 offering new and improved morning programming starting Monday morning. Teddy Greenstein has WSCR’s ratings dominance coming to an end.

West Coast
Larry Stewart talks to NBC’s Bob Neumeier about the Kentucky Derby. He also wonders if De La Hoya-Mayweather can match the hype that is being generated. Tom Hoffarth talks to Harold Lederman about Saturday’s fight. Jay Posner has experts offering their opinions on the Derby field. John Maffei has Sand Diego State and the University of San Diego playing musical chairs on broadcast outlets. Jim Carlisle says that Barbaro’s presence is still felt at the Derby. Carlisle’s notebook has more on the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight. Joe Davidson has Warriors voice Tim Roye thoroughly enjoying the playoff run.

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Weekend Sports Highlights

Friday, May 4th
7:00pm, Versus – Rangers @ Sabres
7:30pm, TBS – Dodgers @ Braves
8:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Twins
8:00pm, TNT – Nets @ Raptors

Saturday, May 5th
2:00pm, NBC – Sharks @ Red Wings
3:30pm, FOX – Mariners @ Yankees
5:00pm, NBC – Kentucky Derby
7:00pm, TBS – Dodgers @ Braves
7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Twins
7:00pm, TNT – Bulls @ Pistons
7:00pm, FOX – NASCAR Nextel Cup: Jim Stewart 400
8:00pm, Versus – Senators @ Devils
9:00pm, HBO PPV – De La Hoya-Mayweather
9:30pm, TNT – Jazz @ Rockets

Sunday, May 6th
2:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Twins
2:00pm, NBC – Sabres @ Rangers
3:30pm, ABC – Spurs @ Suns
8:00pm, ESPN – Phillies @ Giants

Note: I’ll be out of town this weekend, celebrating my wedding anniversary. I’ve got a Boston Sports Review recap lined up for Monday morning, regular posting will resume on Tuesday.

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