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.



Slowly Winding Down

David Scott has a look at the Celtics coverage this week, along with a few other media notes, including old friend Albert Breer moving onto a national gig.

Over on Patriots Daily, Scott Benson salutes the Celtics for A Job Well Done.

The BSMW Full Court Press thanks the readers for a great season.

Parade coverage is a team sport, with reporters stationed along the route. The Globe has a report from Michael Levenson and Andrew Ryan on the Celtics celebration, while the Herald has Jessica Fargen, Mike Underwood and Laurel J. Sweet giving us the details on the parade. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics joining the ranks of the Duck Boat championship squads.

Steve Bulpett writes that for Paul Pierce, this title was 10 years in the making. Mike Szostak says that the new big three played with a sense of urgency all season long. Marc J. Spears says that the Celtics are in relatively good health heading into the offseason, with no majors surgeries planned for any of the players. Mark Murphy explores what the future holds for each member of the Celtics roster.

Steve Buckley says that Boston is hated all across the country because of our athletic success. Leave it to the 17% Globe to remind us that Boston remains a baseball town. Up in Lawrence, Alan Siegel makes perhaps the first ever comparison between Kevin Garnett and Dan Jansen.

Red Sox

Phil O’Neill says that the Celtics will be honored at Fenway Park tonight prior to the Red Sox/Cardinals game. Jeff Goldberg has Terry Francona and the Red Sox embracing the title run by the Celtics.

Amalie Benjamin has a feature on why it is so hard to find catching prospects these days. She also looks at the value of Jason Varitek to the Red Sox.

Jeff Horrigan has a look at Jacoby Ellsbury, who has brought a brand of baseball to Boston that we’re not used to seeing. Steven Krasner has a look at the dramatic improvement by Manny Delcarmen as of late. Gordon Edes has Manny Ramirez impressed with teammate J.D. Drew. Rob Bradford has the Red Sox buying into the power of Phiten, the titanium necklace made popular by Daisuke Matsuzaka. Jim Donaldson says that interleague play is hazardous to the health of AL pitchers.

Benjamin’s Minor League notebook leads with a look at Michael Bowden, who is 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA in his last 10 starts for AA Portland. Michael Silverman also has a look at Bowden, who is on the verge of moving up to AAA.

Horrigan’s notebook has injury updates for the Cardinals and Red Sox.


The NHL draft is tomorrow, and Fluto Shinzawa has Cam Neely getting much more involved in the process for the Bruins this year. Steve Conroy has a look at some of the hot rumors floating around the draft. Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins would love to see left wing/center Kyle Beach fall to them at pick number 16. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at BU freshman center Colin Wilson, who will see what happens tomorrow and weigh his options.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at ESPN2’s new Wimbledon coverage, and also notes that Leon Powe will have a busy day at ESPN on Monday.

Approval Ratings – Dennis Eckersley

Dennis EckersleyThe Eck is up today…

After a Hall of Fame playing careerwith the Indians, Red Sox, Cubs, A’s and Cardinals, Dennis Eckersley began his broadcast career as a color analyst for the A’s TV broadcasts in 1999.

For the last several years Eckersley has been in the rotation of studio analysts for the Red Sox telecasts on NESN, and has consistently proven himself to be the most candid,  and also insightful of the group. On occasion he has also filled in during the game in the booth, either in place of Jerry Remy on the TV telecasts, and even a few times in the radio booth.

He’s developed his own unique lingo over the years, referring to pitches with “hair” or throwing “cheese.” He is not limited to just commenting on pitching however, as his knowledge of the game allows him to speak to all parts of the game.



Phoenix Explores Old vs New in Sports Media

Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix examines the animosity between old-media sportswriters and their new-media counterparts.

Plenty of quotes in this article from Bill Simmons, Buzz Bissinger and Tony Massarotti, who sounds somewhat confused that he’s been labeled an internet basher.

Reilly wonders why the antipathy between traditional sportswriters and their new-media peers is so toxic, and lists these factors:

  • Sportswriters are old-fashioned.
  • Sportswriters are used to getting sand kicked in their face.
  • Despite impassioned protests from the traditionalists, old-school sportswriting really isn’t all that different than blogging.
  • Nothing hangs in the balance.
  • Sportswriters think their profession is in jeopardy — and they might be right.

Each point is explored in more detail in the article.

He ends on a positive note:

The best reason for optimism, though, may be the relentless convergence of old and new media. That aforementioned Ryan piece? The one that criticized Bill Simmons’s take on the Celtics and Lakers? It appeared — wait for it — on Ryan’s blog, And Another Thing . . . (Incidentally, Leitch was just named a contributing editor at New York magazine.) Five years from now, every sportswriter lucky enough to have a paying job will be blogging, too. And if they have complaints about the work their lesser-known colleagues are doing, they’ll have to focus on the merits of the content, not on the mode of delivery. Which is exactly how it should be.

Another Parade Day

It’s another parade day here in Boston. These days just don’t get old, do they?

The parade will start at 11:00am at the TD Banknorth Garden and roll past City Hall and Boston Common before ending at Copley Square.

Somehow, the Boston Globe let Bob Ryan get the front cover of the paper today. I thought that was space exclusively reserved for Shaughnessy? Ryan examines where this Celtics team ranks in comparison to all the great teams in the history of the franchise. You might be surprised where he puts them. Steve Bulpett says that Danny Ainge’s vision for this team proved to be right. Bill Burt offers up 17 thoughts, comments and observations on the latest championship season for the Celtics. Bill Reynolds gives us five things we can learn from the World Champs.

It’s curious as to why the papers picked two of the more negative, miserable guys in town, Dan Shaughnessy and Tony Massarotti to tell the fans just how good we all have it here in Boston right now. Maybe it’s for their own good. Even though Gerry Callahan can’t resist taking a shot at Bill Belichick, his article on Doc Rivers today is top notch. I actually got some chills on the line from Remember The Titans. Lenny Megliola says that this championship is full of private joys for those involved.

Bulpett explores what the Celtics will do with James Posey and his contract option, Christopher L. Gasper has Larry Bird offering his congratulations to the Celtics and the fans of Boston. Jessica Camerato looks at how things have changed since she started covering the team last season.

Get all the rest of the stories from this morning on

J.D. Drew continued his red-hot hitting for the Red Sox as they beat the Phillies yesterday afternoon. Check all the coverage on

Game Six a Winner for ABC, Too


ABC’s NBA Finals Deliver Highest Viewership for Game 6 Since 2000
Finals up 51% From 2007
All Six Finals Telecasts Enable ABC to “Win the Night” Among All Networks

Game 6 of the NBA Finals on ABC – the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the championship – last night, Tuesday, June 18, was the highest-rated and most-viewed Finals Game 6 since 2000. This year’s Game 6 averaged 16,878,000 viewers (P2+), 12,085,000 households and delivered a 10.7 rating, compared to Game 6 in 2000 (Pacers/Lakers), which averaged 22,396,000 viewers (P2+), 14,854,000 households and a 14.7 rating.

The 2008 Game 6 outperformed Game 6 in 2006 (there was no Game 6 last year), which averaged 15,710,000 viewers for Dallas at Miami, an increase of seven percent.

ABC marked its top-rated Tuesday in nearly seven months among adults 18-49 since November 27, 2007. The network posted its strongest Tuesday across each of the key men demographics in two and a half years — since January 3, 2006, men 18-34 (5.6), men 18-49 (5.7) and men 25-54 (5.9)

ABC’s 2008 NBA Finals Game 6 overshadowed its primetime competition, ranking as Tuesday’s No. 1 TV program in viewers and across each of the key adult demographics: adults 18-34 (6.9), adults 18-49 (6.9) and adults 25-54 (7.1). For the sixth consecutive broadcast, the NBA Finals sparked ABC to “win the night” among all television networks. The NBA Finals averaged more homes and viewers than any other show, with ABC winning primetime overall among all networks.

The six Finals broadcasts averaged a 9.3 rating, up 51 percent over the four-game series last year (6.2). The 2008 Finals ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed Finals since 2004 (Lakers/Detroit, 11.4).

Moreover, ABC ranked #1 during the week of June across each of the key adult demographics (adults 18-34/adults18-49/adults 25-54). Leading the week by 14 percent in Adults 18-49, ABC snapped Fox’s 22-week winning streak — beginning in early January. In addition, the Finals on ABC also registered as the Top 3 most-watched programs overall for the week .

Approval Ratings – Tommy Heinsohn

Tommy HeinsohnTime for a Tommy Point?

For over a quarter of a century, Tom Heinsohn has been next to Mike Gorman on Celtics broadcasts. He has picked up the mantle from Johnny Most as the unabashed homer in the broadcast booth, screaming at the officials and making villains of the opponents. In the 1980’s Heinsohn was alongside Dick Stockton on the CBS national telecasts, and try as he could, he never quite managed to avoid looking at the games through the green tinted lenses.

For an older generation, Heinsohn is remembered for his Hall of Fame playing career, first at Holy Cross, and then with the Celtics. He retired as a player at the age of 30, and then at the age of 35 became the Celtics coach, leading them out of the Bill Russell era and back to championship glory in 1974 and 1976.

In between his playing and coaching career, he got started in the broadcast booth, doing the play-by-play for WKBG (Now WLVI Channel 56) from 1966 -1969.

Due to advancing age and health, Heinsohn has started to scale back his workload the last two seasons, avoiding the longer road trips, and instead serving as studio analyst for those games.