It was just another week in Boston, with wall-to-wall controversy, backbiting and steroids talk filling the airwaves.
It leads into a “normal” May sports weekend, with NBA and NHL playoffs, MLB regular season and Golf (TPC Sawgrass) all available for viewing the next two days.
Locally, the Red Sox entertain the Orioles at Fenway, and the Patriots hold their rookie mini-camp this weekend.
David Ortiz’s honeymoon with the Boston sports media might’ve ended this week as the Red Sox slugger refused to talk to print media this week after he felt his comments earlier in the week on whether he might’ve unwittingly had taken performance enhancing substances as a young player in the Dominican Republic. We’ll see how long this lasts and how it is treated by those effected by the boycott.
Meanwhile, Ortiz might consider just freezing out all media, there was speculation about him on WEEI as well. After railing on about how irresponsible it was for Curt Schilling to call a name under suspicion for steroids without direct proof, a WEEI host then started to wonder aloud if Ortiz was working on lessening the blow if he was later found to be connected to steroids. Ortiz’s power numbers now compared to his time in Minnesota was present as possible evidence. Of course, last week, Ortiz’s former teammate with the Twins (and Red Sox) Todd Walker was on the same show and talk about how the coaches in Minnesota really tried to change Ortiz’s natural style, which led to his struggles there.
Former Patriot Ted Johnson will be interviewed as part of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on Monday night at 10:00. One of the topics for the show is post-concussion syndrome that is of increasing concern due to the number of former NFL players suffering from debilitating memory loss, confusion, dementia and even suicidal depression.
Though he cleaned himself up for the HBO interview, Johnson, the former Patriots linebacker, had spent the previous 11 days in a darkened apartment.
Johnson says on the show: “I don’t shave. Don’t shower. Don’t brush my teeth. You don’t care.”
In between dodging inquires about his suspension on 890 ESPN this week, Ron Borges actually was pretty positive about the moves made by the Patriots this offseason. When asked about Randy Moss, he compared it to the move to get Corey Dillon three years ago, and he was very supportive of the Dillon move when it occurred. He also gave the other side of the Brandon Meriweather incident in the Florida International game last season, (as chronicled by Chris Gasper in the Globe today) noting that an FIU receiver had repeatedly been trying to hit Meriweather in the head throughout the game.
A few radio notes:
With each week that goes by, Gerry Callahan’s absence becomes more and more curious. There’s no doubt Gerry sounded horrible in the weeks (months) leading up to this “break”, but WEEI’s actions in handling this have only raised questions about the future of the Dennis & Callahan show. By switching around their lineup with Dale Arnold doing this week with Dennis and Michael Holley doing next week (Who is next in line, Pete Sheppard?) the station appears to be trying to scramble and try combinations on the chance that Callahan doesn’t come back from this, either because his voice is permanently damaged, or he decides to move on when his contract is up in a few months. Could Entercom be thinking of moving him over to WRKO to try and spark ratings on that morning show?
What makes it even more curious is the fact that no one as the station is talking about it. You’d think a topic like this would be one ripe for plenty of jokes, and while there have been a few here and there, it’s been very tame, like no one wants to talk about it. When an edict is issued at WEEI not to talk about something, it is usually followed to the letter.
Callahan last appeared on April 24th. Next week will be his third away from the station.
We heard a little sniping between media heavyweights this week
Glenn Ordway took a shot at Peter Gammons on Wednesday by saying that he had his “head in the sand” over the whole steroids issue.
In his weekly appearance on 890 ESPN radio on Thursday Gammons then referred to WEEI as “angry white radio” when discussing Curt Schilling’s comments on Barry Bonds.
Gammons, of course, used to appear on WEEI weekly, and now is exclusively on 890 ESPN.
In the Phoenix this week, Mike Miliard had a look at the Boston Braves and how big a part of Boston they once were. The title of the article asks if the wrong team left town in 1953. Like several readers, I was curious about this section of the story:
Several years ago, Johnson, who’s written books about both Boston baseball teams, remembers getting a call from a local sports-media figure who shall remain nameless: “Gee, could you tell me, when did the Braves become the Red Sox?” Johnson was dumbfounded. “It took me 10 minutes to explain that there were two teams.”
I demand to know who this was. Butch Stearns? Steve Burton? Bill Burt? Michael Felger?
After the Celtics gave Doc Rivers a contract extension, Bill Simmons needed to do a mailbag as therapy.
The Smittblog is pretty sure that Simmons’ column from Thursday got shortened a bit after the fact.
Chad Finn has his national nine innings column for FOX Sports.
ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber addresses perceived conflicts of interest in ESPN coverage.
Dr Z says that no matter how many great years Randy Moss has with the Patriots, he’s going to do all he can to keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
Pete Prisco has post-draft NFL power rankings, with the Patriots coming in second behind the Colts.
Football Outsiders is re-running a column on Randy Moss from 2004.
John Smallwood in Philadelphia says Curt Schilling shouldn’t apologize, he only said what the rest of us are thinking about Bonds.
Lars Anderson of Sports Illustrated looks at Dale Earnhardt Jr’s decision to leave Dale Earnhardt Inc, including an exclusive chat with Earnhardt.
Paul Lukas has a look at uniform cameos – players who spent much of their career with one team, but also appeared in the uniform of another, which are usually forgotten. Dr J as an Atlanta Hawk? I must’ve spent a half hour on this article, clicking on all the links to the photos.
Sports Media Columns from Around the Country
David Scott looks at the Ron Borges Redemption Tour getting into full swing this week, with the reinstated writer acting “equal parts smug and fidgety” during a few appearances this week. Scott examines the Globe’s silence on the matter of Borges’ work for Oscar De La Hoya during his suspension, and the Boston Newspaper Guild’s support and defense of Borges at an upcoming arbitration meeting. Susan Bickelhaupt talks to Entercom’s Jason Wolfe about the switch of Red Sox games from WEEI to WRKO. Wolfe, as you might expect, says everything is going very smooth and easy. Bill Doyle has WTAG radio host Mike Messina (“the moose”) making a name for himself.
Bob Raissman notes that Roger Clemens is already dealing with the media on his own terms. Richard Sandomir has NFL Network losing a court ruling that allows Comcast to put the network on their sports tier on the systems they recently acquired from Time Warner. Neil Best has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issuing updated media guidelines which indicate that head coaches must make their assistants available to the media on a regular basis. Best also launch his sports media blog WatchDog this week, and is off to a terrific start with it. Pat Reichart has five questions with YES Network analyst Al Leiter.
More East Coast
Michael Hiestand says that hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass will be in the spotlight at this weekend’s NBC coverage of The Players. Michael McCarthy says that Johnny Miller might be rough on the players, but he is very good for the viewers, which is how it should be. Chris Zelkovich looks at the Maple Leafs changing the TV landscape in terms of local TV rights. Laura Nachman has FOX’s Ken Rosenthal having a homecoming of sorts this weekend in Philadelphia. Bob Smizik says Penguins radio voice Mike Lange could be interested in the Coyotes TV job which recently opened up. Jim Williams has another case of when good broadcasters go bad in Baltimore. He also notes that the Washington Capitals website will be streaming the World Hockey Championships. Leonard Shapiro examines the strategies and competition between Washington D.C.’s two sports radio stations, WTEM and Triple X ESPN Radio.
Barry Horn says Derek Harper called it like it was during the Mavericks elimination at the hands of the Warriors. Barry Jackson has 790 The Ticket beating out WQAM in the latest ratings book. Dave Darling has SPEED channel examining the Dale Earnhardt/Jeff Gordon rivalry.
Teddy Greenstein looks a FOX’s experiment of putting microphones on umpires during their Saturday baseball broadcasts. Jeffrey Flanagan has former Kansas City broadcaster Doug Franz calling KC the “greatest sports town in America.” Dan Caesar has KTRS host Mike Claiborne back on the air after a serious illness. Judd Zulgad has both FOX and ESPN focusing on the Twins/Tigers series this weekend. Bob Wolfley has criticism of Johnny Miller, saying that the NBC golf analyst has been getting a bit too cozy with the sponsors.
Larry Stewart has the TPC limiting the number of commercial breaks during the NBC broadcast in an effort to raise the stature of the event. John Maffei has more on NBC going all-out in their coverage of the TPC. Jim Carlisle has the focus on the 17th hole at “the fifth major.” Carlisle’s notebook has a look at a high ratings weekend for a number of sporting events. Jay Posner has a look at the NFL’s revised media policy. Tom Hoffarth looks at FOX letting the umpires have their say on the telecasts. Joe Davidson has Sacramento native Jeff Ogan working his way up to becoming vice president of Turner Sports and a big part of the TNT NBA coverage.