Danny Pires 1956-2008

Dan PiresIt is with great sadness that I post about the untimely death of another long time fixture on the Patriots beat.

New Bedford Standard Times writer Dan Pires passed away this morning at the age of 52.

Pires was a friend of BSMW, (as apparently he was of everyone else) often writing in and sharing little tidbits he had picked up from either online, or from Gillette Stadium.

Pires is survived by a wife and two children.

Colleagues of Dan Pires: please feel free to leave your memories of and comments about Dan below.


Approval Ratings – Dave O’Brien

Dave O'BrienDave O’Brien is in his second year alongside Joe Castiglione in the Red Sox radio booth.

O’Brien is another New England native, having grown up in both NH and Massachusetts. He broke into broadcasting in 1990 with the Atlanta Braves, and then was the voice of the Florida Marlins from 1993 to 2001. In 2002 he joined ESPN, where he has had a variety of assignments for the network. During 2003-2005, he was the television voice of the New York Mets.

His arrival in Boston last season was celebrated in some circles simply because it meant the end of the Jerry Trupiano era, but O’Brien quickly became a favorite with his strong presence on the broadcasts. He was still doing a large number of games for ESPN, a number which has shrunk this season, allowing him to be in the Red Sox booth more often.

There have been a couple of recent bios on O’Brien in New Hampshire papers such as the Portsmouth Herald and Nashua Telegraph.




Sox Roar Back In The Eighth

Trailing 4-1 in the eighth inning, the Red Sox slumping offense suddenly erupted for four runs, giving Boston a 5-4 lead, which Jonathan Papelbon closed out in the ninth for the win over the Red Sox first ever win over the Diamondbacks at Fenway Park.

Nick Cafardo has Jason Varitek, who was in the biggest slump of all, providing the key hit in the eighth. Michael Silverman has things finally getting back into order for the Red Sox last night. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox veterans coming through in the clutch last night. Jeff Goldberg reports on the Red Sox finally breaking through after being stymied by Doug Davis for seven innings. Eric Avidon has the Sox with a post-Neil Diamond comeback last night. Ron Chimelis has more on the eighth inning rally. Paul Jarvey and Joe Haggerty wrap up the game stories.

Rob Bradford has Mike Lowell campaigning for the Red Sox to get Varitek signed to a new contract. Sean McAdam says that perhaps the big hit last night will help Varitek get back on track. Alex Speier examines the defensive play of the outfield since Crisp, Ellsbury and Drew have been playing most of the time together out there. Mike Fine notes that the heroes of last night’s game had very different perspectives on the win.

If Curt Schilling’s career with the Red Sox is over, Lenny Megliola has no regrets. Bill Burt pleads with Schilling to just hang it up. Stephen Harris has Chris Smith picking up his first major league win last night. Maureen Mullen has more on the 27-year-old Smith finally getting that first win in the majors after being drafted in 2002 by the Red Sox. Barbara Matson also has Smith savoring that first victory.

Steven Krasner has Mike Lowell spoiling the Diamondbacks’ strategy last night. Haggerty has another look at the Drew brothers. Krasner also has Justin Masterson struggling a bit last night.

Bradford also has Manny Ramirez‘s high five to a fan in the stands in Baltimore paying off with an All Star vote – just as he wanted. McAdam has a report on the blurred vision being suffered by Kevin Youkilis after getting hit in the face with a throw Monday night. Krasner has Sean Casey lamenting the bad timing of his suspension. McAdam reports that David Ortiz is two weeks away from returning to the lineup. Krasner has a look at the stuff of Doug Davis, the Arizona starter.

Christine McConville has Red Sox owner John Henry receiving an Ernst & Young master entrepreneur award.

Silverman’s notebook has an update on Youkilis. Cafardo’s notebook has Terry Francona praising the effort of Justin Masterson last night. The Projo notebook has more on Smith picking up the win. Goldberg’s notebook has Youkilis making an appearance at first base in the ninth. Chimelis’ notebook has more on Youkilis returning to the field in the ninth inning. Jarvey’s notebook has Youkilis already on the mend.


Kevin Paul Dupont and Steve Conroy have the Bruins signing defenseman Mark Stuart to a two-year extension. Douglas Flynn also reports on the signing, as well as the Bruins acquiring blueliner Jonny Boychuk from the Avalanche yesterday.

Julian Benbow has UMass guard Gary Forbes hoping to hear his named called during tomorrow night’s NBA draft. Jim Fenton says that last year’s draft is a distant memory for the Celtics. Rich Thompson has more on Hall of Famer John Havlicek, who was honored at The Tradition last night.

Mark Farinella has more tidbits from Tedy Bruschi and a number of other thoughts.

Mike Loftus looks at the upcoming NASCAR weekend up in New Hampshire. Baxter Holmes has Martin Truex Jr trying to become the new face of Dale Earnhardt Inc. after Dale Earnhardt Jr left the team last year.

WBZ-TV has posted on their website the legendary Sports Final show which featured Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Ted Williams.

Approval Ratings – Gil Santos

Gil SantosWe’re only about a month away from the start of Patriots training camp, which means that the still-strong pipes of Gil Santos will be heard on a weekly basis soon thereafter on the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio network…

Of course, you can catch Gil on a daily basis at his day job over in the mornings at WBZ Radio 1030, where he does the sports updates at :15 and :45 past each hour.

Santos first called Patriots games on the radio in 1966, and despite a 10-year absence between 1980 and 1990, he is the longest-serving current announcer in the NFL. His eyes may betray him at times in the booth, but the voice remains steady and strong.

During the 1980’s he did some Celtics games on TV alongside Bob Cousy for channel 56. He also did 16 years of Boston College football, 13 on the radio and 3 on television. Some of the honors he’s received in his career include a New England Emmy in 1978 for Boston College vs. Stanford Play-by-Play, four Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year Awards, 25 Associated Press Best Massachusetts Play-by-Play Awards, four United Press International Tom Phillips Awards for Best Sports Coverage for the Boston Marathon, a UPI Best New England Sportscaster Award, and two UPI National Awards for Best Play-by-Play and Sports Reading. He was inducted into The Sports Museum Hall of Fame in 2004 with a Legacy Award.




Sox Offense Sputters Against Haren

The Red Sox got a strong outing from Josh Beckett, but couldn’t solve Dan Haren, who held Boston to two hits over seven innings last night in a 2-1 Arizona win at Fenway Park.

Amalie Benjamin has the Sox dealing with their share of bad luck last night, including an injury to Kevin Youkilis on a night that Sean Casey began his suspension. With the inexperienced Brandon Moss at first base, a grounder to first was mishandled by Moss, allowing the second Diamondback run to score. Michael Silverman has more on the rough night for Beckett and the Red Sox, with Beckett getting a little sarcastic after seeing a TV report on the game. Steven Krasner has last night’s game turning in the seventh inning. Joe Haggerty reports on a pitching duel at Fenway Park last night. Jeff Goldberg has the Diamondbacks extending their undefeated record at Fenway Park. Maureen Mullen and Paul Jarvey also have Beckett taking the hard-luck loss last night.

Dan Shaughnessy needs to get a few words in on his arch-enemy Curt Schilling. He admits it won’t be as fun to cover the Red Sox without Schilling around to trade barbs with. Rob Bradford reports on Schilling’s surgery, and says that the shoulder wasn’t as bad as it was feared that it might be, and a comeback is not out of the question. Goldberg has more on the successful surgery for Schilling. Steve Buckley has Randy Johnson hoping that his former teammate will be able to come back and pitch again. Brendan McGair has former teammate Ken Ryan reflecting on Schilling. Haggerty says that the Big Schill may not be quite ready to ride off into the sunset..

Sean McAdam writes that a number 2 starter might be on top of the Red Sox shopping list this summer. He mentions C.C. Sabathia, Erik Bedard, Rich Harden and A.J. Burnett as possibilities. Baxter Holmes has Beckett giving the Red Sox eight strong innings last night, and letting the bullpen rest up. Steve Buckley reports on the black eye that bounced Kevin Youkilis from the game last night. Bob Stern has more on the black eye for Youkilis. Mike Fine says that the Red Sox just need to get healthy right now. Mike Petraglia says that Terry Francona is going to have some tough decisions to make as All Star manager.

Alex Speier has a look at the production that the Red Sox have gotten from J.D. Drew since the injury to David Ortiz. Ron Chimelis says that Drew has been a silent standout for the Sox this year. Lenny Megliola has a look at the Drew boys, J.D. and Stephen. Jarvey says that it was a draw for the Drew brothers last night.

Stephen Harris has a look at the performance of Haren, who was dominant last night.Harris also has a look at former Red Sox pitcher Brandon Lyon, who has settled in nicely to the closer role with the Diamondbacks.

Laurel J. Sweet reports on an encounter that an eight-year-old boy had with Manny Ramirez in a Whole Foods Market recently.

Benjamin’s notebook says that Schilling could be throwing by January. Silverman’s notebook has Coco Crisp awaiting word on the appeal of his suspension, and notes the low-key similarities between the Drew brothers. Joe McDonald’s notebook has more on Schilling’s surgery. Goldberg’s notebook reports on the injury to Youkilis. Stern’s notebook has Jason Varitek breaking his slump last night. Jarvey’s notebook has more on Lowell knocking Youkilis out of the game with a throw.


Eric McHugh says that strong drafting has helped the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics all become Champions.

Rachel Dolin has the Sports Museum honoring Irving Fryar and John Havlicek. Rich Thompson has more on the Tradition ceremony tonight.

Marc J. Spears has no Celtics on Team USA, but has the selection committee keeping an eye on Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins for the future, and inviting them to scrimmage against the national team.

Mark Farinella and David Heuschkel have Tedy Bruschi teeing it up for charity.

Friday Megalinks, Finally

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog here again. Because I was at a jobsite all day Friday, these links are coming to you late, but better late than never. As usual, we preview the weekend viewing.

Weekend Viewing Picks

This is one of those lazy weekends where there are a lot of events, but not a lot of buzz as we have baseball, boxing, the College World Series, motorsports, Olympic trials and soccer.

Interleague play continues as MLB heads into the first day of summer. The Red Sox are hosting the St. Louis Cardinals and hope to rebound Saturday afternoon. Fox 25 carries Saturday’s game at 3:55 p.m. NESN and TBS have Sunday’s game at 1:30. WGN has the Crosstown Rivalry on Saturday between the White Sox and Cubs at 1 p.m. ESPN’s Sunday night game will be the White Sox-Cubs at 8 p.m.

The College World Series in Omaha, NE will have two games on Saturday and ESPN has both of them. Georgia and Stanford starts at 2 p.m. Then in primetime, Fresno State takes on North Carolina at 7 p.m.

The Euro 2008 soccer tournament will have its last two semifinalists after this weekend. On Saturday, the Netherlands takes on Russia (ABC) and on Sunday, Spain and World Cup Champion Italy square off (ESPN). Both games will be on the air at 2:30 p.m.

The U.S. Olympic trials are underway and NBC will have coverage of Diving and Gymnastics this weekend. The Diving trials will be seen on both Saturday (3:30 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). And since NBC will show a heavy menu of Gymastics at the Olympics in Communist China, it will have extensive coverage of the men’s finals (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.) and the women’s finals (Sunday in primetime at 7 p.m.) which should include the 16 year old sensation Shawn Johnson.

The PGA Tour without Tiger Woods, limps into Cromwell, CT and the Travelers Championship. CBS has third and final round coverage at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Plenty of racing this weekend. The NASCAR Nationwide Series is in Milwaukee for something called the Camping World RV Rental 250. ESPN2 has it Saturday in primetime at 8:30. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Infineon Raceway in California for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Sunday afternoon at 5.

The Indy Car Racing League has the Iowa Corn Indy 250 (who comes up with these names?) which ABC will carry Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Fox will have same day coverage of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix, Sunday at 1.

Boxing fans have their choice of watching bouts either on Showtime, Saturday night at 9 or on HBO’s Boxing After Dark at 10.

Now to your links.


We have some late breaking news. Sam Schechner, Matthew Futterman and Merissa Marr of the Wall Street Journal report that the NFL and ESPN are talking about a joint venture which would combine the NFL Network and ESPN Classic. Stay tuned.

Jon Lafayette of TV Week says the talks between the two parties are quite serious.

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that NBC will have gymnastics legend Bela Karolyi with Bob Costas during this weekend’s U.S. Gymastics Olympics Trials.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott looks at the coverage of the Celtics celebration this week.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe previews ESPN2’s coverage of Wimbledon which begins on Monday.

Newsday’s Neil Best writes in his Friday column that tennis has a chance to grab summer viewers now that Tiger Woods is not playing golf. From his blog, Neil expands on the Friday column and talks about ESPN2’s revamped tennis scoreboard that will debut at Wimbledon. Neil has the ESPN press release which outlines the new ESPN SportsCenter morning anchor lineup which begins in August. And Neil writes that NBC’s Johnny Miller has apologized for comments made about U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says NBC Sports is remaining loyal to Notre Dame despite poor ratings last season.

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick feels SNY’s announcers looked the other way as former Mets manager Willie Randolph was enabling his team’s lazy play. Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for SNY’s Darryl Strawberry. And Justin talks with ESPN2’s Patrick McEnroe about Wimbledon.

Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record says WCBS-AM sports anchor Kevin Connors is heading for the Worldwide Leader.

Laura Nachman writes that Philadelphia’s Fox 29 let go of its sports director shortly after he returned from a car accident.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says the real winners of the U.S. Open were NBC and Callaway Golf.


Doug Nye of The State says the U.S. Open 18 hole playoff on Monday gave viewers a moment to remember.

Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald says ESPN is revamping its lineup for the NBA Draft next week.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says we’re truly in the Dog Days of Summer.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says Bela Karolyi is a natural for TV.

Mac Engel writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that sportscasting legend Pat Summerall has been in the hospital this week.

Over to the Daily Oklahoman where Mel Bracht tells us that ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jon Anderson has a new gig for ABC. In his notebook, Mel talks about NBC extending its deal to televise Notre Dame football games through the 2015 season. And here are Mel’s weekend viewing picks.


Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal says local viewers did watch the NBA Finals.

Brian Vanochten of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press discusses the Big Ten Network-Comcast deal struck late Thursday afternoon.

The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein also talks about the BTN-Comcast agreement. And Greenstein writes about the NBC Sports-Notre Dame five year contract extension. Teddy adds that Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti blasts his fellow newspaper colleagues and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in an interview that aired Friday night. And Teddy has his weekend viewing picks.

Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says a former local sports anchor has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And Judd reports that Minnesota Vikings safety Darren Sharper is one of 20 current players who attended the NFL broadcasting boot camp.

Paul Christian writes in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin that the pressure is on Charter Communications to come up with a deal with the Big Ten Network now that Comcast is in the fold.

Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star says Comcast viewers will be able to watch the Big Ten Network on expanded basic for eight months, but beyond that is anyone’s guess.


Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says ABC’s cameras caught too much of the Celtics’ swearing on Tuesday night.

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the PGA Tour’s TV partners will definitely suffer from Tiger Woods’ absence. And here are the ratings in San Diego last week.

John Maffei from the North County Times says the U.S. Olympic Trials begin in earnest this weekend.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star feels the networks will be hurting without Tiger Woods.

Greg Johnson and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times says the talks between ESPN and the NFL could finally resolve the league’s battle with the major cable operators. John Scheibe writes that NBC is joining forces with the online World Championship Sports Network to show more Olympic sports.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News also writes about NBC and WCSN combining forces. And here are Tom’s extensive media notes in his Farther Off the Wall blog.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News wonders if Notre Dame football is must see TV anymore.


William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail outlines CBC’s plans for its contest to replace Hockey Night in Canada’s theme which went to CTV last week.

The Canwest News Service says Canadians are being asked to put their best foot forward in the CBC contest.

CBC says the winner will receive $100,000.

Marija Dukic of Media in Canada says TSN is ready to pick up the entire CFL package that was once shared with CBC.

Media Publications

Paul J. Gough of the Hollywood Reporter discusses the ESPN early morning SportsCenter lineup.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that Euro 2008 is pulling decent ratings for ESPN2 and its online service, ESPN360. Reynolds adds that Fox Sports Net will air a 13 part series on Baseball’s Golden Age.


The Sports Media Watch has some ratings news and notes. And the SMW looks at the good and bad of ESPN/ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if Michelle Wie will ever live up to her endorsements.

Awful Announcing has the network announcing assignments for baseball this weekend.

Joe Favorito says the Women’s Tennis Association is conducting a major rebranding campaign.

That’s going to do it for now. Enjoy your weekend.

Approval Ratings – Mike Dowling

Mike DowlingHere’s another veteran of the Boston sports media scene…

Mike Dowling has been with WCVB-TV channel 5 since 1985. During that time, he has been the principal sports reporter for the station, while also serving at the weekend sports anchor.

Before coming to WCVB, Dowling worked at WBZ-TV in Boston as weekend sports anchor. He had begun his career  at KBYU-TV in Provo, UT, in 1980, where he covered Brigham Young University (from which he is a 1976 graduate) athletic events. He also worked at WANE-TV, Fort Wayne, IN, as Sports Director from 1981 to 1984, covering Big Ten and Notre Dame football and basketball.

Dowling has won three Associated Press Awards for Best Sports Feature of the Year.