Ken from Fang’s Bites here again with your extensive media links on this Friday. We have a lot of media links to get to and so little time so let’s get started.

For your weekend viewing, the Red Sox play their third season/home opener tonight, kicking off a three game series in Toronto. I really don’t understand MLB’s rationale for having the Sox go to Toronto after playing in Japan, Los Angeles and Oakland, but that’s me. All the games are on NESN. Tonight’s game is at 7, Saturday and Sunday are at 1 p.m.

Of course, the Bruins are playing tonight causing a conflict for NESN. The B’s are in Ottawa hoping to keep their struggling playoff hopes alive. On Comcast systems, the Bruins will be on CN8. For subscribers of Cox Communications in Rhode Island, Charter in Central and Western Massachusetts, DirecTV and other providers, click here.

The Celtics have a rare Friday off, but they’re on for Saturday traveling to Charlotte to play the Bobcats. Comcast SportsNet has the game at 7 p.m.

Nationally, CBS Sports has the glamor matchups with all four men’s number one seeds intact in the Men’s Final Four. UCLA and Memphis will tip off at 6:07 p.m. with North Carolina taking on Kansas in an old school matchup at 8:47 p.m. Jim Nantz and Billy Packer will call the action. Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis will be hosting from somewhere in the Alamodome rafters. Westwood One Radio begins its coverage at 4 p.m. with the unbearable Tommy Tighe hosting. Then Kevin Kugler, Bill Raftery and John Thompson will be courtside with the venerable Jim Grey on the sidelines.

ESPN couldn’t be happier having Tennessee and Connecticut in the Women’s Final Four in Tampa. Both teams are on a collision course for the finals, but they have to get by their semifinal opponents. UConn will play Stanford at 7 p.m. with Tennessee squaring off against LSU at approximately 9:30 p.m. Mike Patrick and Providence’s Doris Burke will call the games with Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe on the sidelines. Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and the always lovely Stacey Dales will be hosts. On Westwood One, Beth Mowins and Deb Antonelli will have the call.

If you want to avoid basketball, there’s baseball. Fox and TBS begin their national packages this weekend. Fox Sports will have three games, Mets at Atlanta, White Sox at Detroit and the Dodgers playing So Cal rival San Diego. I have the regional splits and announcing assignments here. TBS premieres its Sunday afternoon package with the Red Sox at Toronto (blacked out in New England). Also on Sunday, the Cubs host Houston on WGN and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball stops in Detroit to see the Tigers host the White Sox.

The last PGA Tour stop before The Masters next week is the Shell Houston Open and it will be on NBC on both Saturday and Sunday. The LPGA’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship is on ESPN Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and CBS Sunday at 3.

Motor sports will be aplenty this weekend. The Formula 1 circuit is in Bahrain on the Speed Channel, Sunday at 7 a.m. NASCAR’s Nationwide Series is in Fort Worth on ABC Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series’ Samsung 500 is on Fox at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Indy Car Racing Series heads to St. Petersburg on ESPN also on Sunday.

The NBA has a doubleheader on ABC on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ESPN has a special Saturday NBA telecast with Orlando taking on Cleveland at 3 p.m.

NBC has its last regular season game with an Original Six matchup, the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Detroit Red Wings, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

For tennis fans, CBS Sports has the women’s and men’s finals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

NBC has the prep races for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with coverage of the Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial starting at 5 p.m.

Now let’s get to your links.

First a BSMW exclusive. The big news this week was WBZ-TV sports anchor Bob Lobel accepting a buyout from CBS and ending a three decade career. From the comments I’ve read in the forums and on the site, the feeling is that Lobel has seen his better days and I agree. In the 1980’s, I felt that Lobel was the best sports anchor in Boston. Sports Spotlight was appointment viewing. So was Sports Final on Sunday nights. Who could forget the night Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Ted Williams all sat together in the same studio? But in the 1990’s and in this decade, Lobel was a shell of himself. But he could always come up with a one liner and give perspective for the big moments.

I’ll give you some Lobel-related links from this week. Many of you have read it already, but I’ll link to Bruce Allen’s impressions on meeting Lobel. Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talked with Lobel after he got the bad news. Amy Derjue of Boston Magazine’s Daily Blog has her thoughts on the staff cuts at WBZ. Jenn Abelson of the Boston Globe says Lobel’s departure ends an era of personality-driven TV news in Boston. And the lovely Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald says most likely, Steve Burton will take over for Lobel.

Now, let’s get to the national links. As always, we start with Michael Hiestand of USA Today says CBS’ Jim Nantz can actually be a cutup. Could have fooled me. Here is your complete schedule for sports viewing this weekend.

We’ll head to the South Region today and work our way north then west. It’ll make sense when all is said and done.

South

In The State, located in Columbia, South Carolina, Doug Nye is not a fan of the Nike commercial that states there are no Cinderellas. It’s a good ad, but Nye feels the message is wrong.

Here’s another media writer who wondered why Chris Berman was left out to host The Masters when ESPN got the contract last year. Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says Berman might have been an obvious choice, but looking closer, it’s probably better to have Mike Tirico in the Butler Cabin for the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Believe me, just because Berman does one tournament a year (U.S. Open), he’s not an obvious choice.

Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald says the NFL Network is no closer to getting on basic cable on many of the major providers’ systems.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle talks with NBC’s Dan Hicks who’s in town to call the Shell Houston Open.

Mel Bracht in the Oklahoman has a story on a local sports radio host who’s been recovering from a serious illness. In his weekly notebook, Bracht says Oklahoma University’s baseball team will be on TV throughout the weekend. And Mel has his usual viewing picks.

Midwest

The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein says ESPN will be keeping it low key during The Masters.

George M. Thomas from the Akron Beacon Journal writes that this weekend’s Men’s Final Four will make history in more ways than one.

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob Wolfley says the Brewers have renewed their radio rights with long-time home WTMJ.

Judd Zulgad from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes that NBC has ignored the Minnesota Wild this season despite the team being on top of its division.

Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says college basketball fans will finally get some compelling games this weekend.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe writes that NESN will have to deal with a rare Red Sox-Bruins conflict tonight.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says the Yankees and Mets will oversell their final seasons in their respective stadia this year.

New York Post curmudgeon Phil Mushnick says 1050 ESPN Radio did Yankees fans a disservice this week by not mentioning the mysterious mist-out of the season opener on Monday.

Newsday’s Neil Best writes that recently named New York Knicks President Donnie Walsh is trying to kill the media with kindness. And you can help Neil write a column for this Sunday. He’s asking you to list your favorite and worst sports-themed TV shows. And he follows it up with another blog entry. And Neil noticed that the CBS Orchestra played “You Talk Too Much” when snake Jose Canseco made his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week.

Some sports radio-related posts from Laura Nachman’s Philadelphia TV and radio blog today. She first wonders why WPEN does not air ESPN Radio’s John Kincade Show on Sunday mornings. Kincade is a Philly native. Next, ESPN’s Jayson Stark will be a weekly guest on WPEN. And Laura has the updated schedules for both WIP and WPEN after the stations went through some recent talent shuffles.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun has a Final Four-related sports media news and notes column today.

Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner talks with Fox Sports MLB analyst Tim McCarver about the Orioles.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says the Mountain West Conference TV schedule for football may not satisfy everyone.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner talks with Fox Sports’ Jeanne Zelasko who returns to her role as MLB studio host after surviving a cancer scare earlier this year. Jay has the ratings for last weekend.

The North County Times’ John Maffei also talks with Jeanne who also had to deal with the sudden death of her father and her sister having an aneurysm last year.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star says ESPN’s Mike Tirico moves into the Butler Cabin at Augusta National for The Masters this year.

The Los Angeles Times’ Christine Daniels says CBS’ Billy Packer likes to talk about other things, not himself. And Daniels talks about Vin Scully’s 50 years in LA as Voice of the Dodgers.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that former Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly is now raking in the cash with his new contract for ESPN and the movie “Leatherheads” which he co-wrote. Hoffarth has some more on the life of Reilly in his blog. And Tom’s extensive media notes from his blog can be found right here.

In his Morning Buzz column, John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News talks about a few Final Four-related items.

Canada

William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail reports that NBC is close to renewing its TV deal with the NHL for next season.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says curling fans will have to scramble to watch the World Men’s Championships this weekend.

Blogs

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says don’t look now, but Jose Canseco could be the best selling sports author of all time.

Maury Brown from the Biz of Baseball blog tries to explain the archaic and confusing MLB TV blackout rules.

The Sports Media Journal is now in the Finals of the Sports Radio Madness sports host contest.

The Big Lead says ESPN is using fake coyotes to get rid of a geese problem on its Bristol, CT campus. This story is not a joke.

Awful Announcing has the video of ESPN’s Steve Lavin almost … almost getting into an uncomfortable situation when he spotted fellow analyst Jimmy Dykes’ wife and daughter.

In his Sports Marketing and Public Relations blog, Joe Favorito says Topps outdid itself by putting out April Fools Day baseball cards.

The Eye on Sports Media blog has a talent profile of Arizona Diamondbacks TV announcer Darren Sutton, son of pitcher Don.

That will do it. Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be back next Friday with more media links.

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2 thoughts on “It’s a Friday Media Link Thing

  1. “Bruins’ struggling playoff hopes”?

    I believe they can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight. Not sure how that qualifies as “struggling playoffs hopes”.

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