Don Orsillo Returns To NESN Through 2015; Heidi Watney Reportedly Out

Just breaking now, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has tweeted that Don Orsillo will return to NESN as Red Sox voice through 2015. He had reported back in May that Turner Sports was making a run at Orsillo. However, with the latest news, Orsillo will remain as voice for the next four seasons.

Yesterday in a throwaway line in his column, Dan Shaughnessy reported “through sources” that reporter Heidi Watney would not return after four years with NESN.


Six In A Row For Bruins

After their horrific start to the season, the Bruins have gotten red-hot, winning their last six games, and averaging just under six goals a game during that stretch. The Bruins got a OT  third period goal from Benoit Pouliot to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 at the Garden last night.

Bruins score three in third, beat Devils, 4-3 – The game story from Joe Haggerty and Jessica Camerato has the details of the win. More game stories from Steve Conroy | Mike Loftus | Douglas Flynn | Bud Barth | Fluto Shinzawa | DJ Bean

Five things we learned from Tuesday’s Bruins win over Devils – Mick Colageo has some things to take away from last night.

Staring down the bull’s-eye – Joe McDonald has the Bruins skating fine line between physical and dirty, which is resulting in wins for them. Stephen Harris has the Bruins style get the attention of opposing GM’s.

Decision on Milan Lucic no surprise to Claude Julien – The Herald notebook has the Bruins coach not surprised that his forward was not suspended by the league. The Patriot Ledger notebook has Daniel Paille eager to get back to action. The Globe Bruins notebook has Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller raising questions.

10 Crucial Things the New England Patriots Have Done Right in 2011 – Regardless of what you may hear and read on a daily basis, the Patriots have actually made a few good decisions this season.

For the most part, a job done right – Greg A Bedard reviews the Patriots win over the Jets.

Go to Rob Gronkowski in red zone – Karen Guregian looks at how big a weapon the tight end has become in the red zone.

An AFC scout gives five-point plan of attack for Patriots against the Chiefs – Christopher Price has an early look at the Chiefs game.

Unwelcome recognition? – Chris Forsberg says that these two teams know each other a lot more than their history would indicate.

Key player – Stand Grossfeld looks at Andre Carter’s love of the piano.

The secrets behind Belichick’s success – The Globe reviews Michael Holley’s new book –War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team

Rookie Cannon activated – The Globe notebook looks at the fifth round pick being activated yesterday. The Herald notebook has more on Carter. The Patriots Journal has ex-Chief Brian Waters looking forward to facing his old team. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has more on Cannon.

Be sure to check out NFL Turning Point tonight on VERSUS at 10:00pm, as the Patriots/Jets game will be heavily featured. The program uses great footage and sound from NFL Films and is a treat to watch.

Not an unopposed election? – Gordon Edes has Ben Cherington insisting that Dale Sveum is not the only managerial candidate. Scott Lauber says that both the Red Sox and Cubs have their eyes on Sveum.

Sox search for short-term, short-money closer – Sean McAdam looks at what the Sox may do to replace Jonathan Papelbon.

A look at how the baseball world is viewing David Ortiz Rob Bradford has opposing GM’s talking about the Red Sox DH.

Mark Farinella reports the following this morning:

– As if losing Terry Francona and Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t maddening enough, I have it on good authority that Heidi Watney will not be returning to her on-field reporting duties for NESN’s Red Sox broadcasts next year. Can’t reveal my source, but it’s a good one …

Was his source Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote this yesterday?

Tito, Theo, Papel-Gone. Don’t be surprised if Miss Heidi is next. That’s right, Heidi Watney might be the next member of the 2011 Red Sox cast to depart. Heidi’s contract is up at the end of the month and a person with knowledge of NESN’s upper management says Watney is done after four years as the Sox in-game reporter.

Sadly, indications seem strong that we’ve seen the last of Heidi Watney on the Red Sox telecasts. That’s a shame.

What A Difference A Week Makes In Report Cards

After flunking out in most areas last week, the Patriots bounced back with a strong performance Sunday night, earning high marks from the resident football professors.

Making The Grades – Patriots at Jets – Jeremy Gottlieb grades out a win that the Patriots needed as badly as any in a long time. Ron Borges says that it is a long time to finals, but the Patriots aced the midterms. Kirk Minihane says that “the red pen gets a break and the ol’ written lap dance returns this week” as he grades the team. Jeff Howe hands out his first set of passing grades since before the bye week. Hector Longo has high praise for Bill O’Brien this week. The ESPNBoston report card has the coaches taking the high marks for the week. Add your own grades on the Patriots report card.

For all their free-agent misses, Patriots’ Carter has been big hit – Tim Britton has a look at the impact the free agent signee has made on the Patriots defense. More on Carter from Mary Paoletti.

Patriots must maintain focus – Chris Forsberg says that the Patriots biggest obstacle the rest of the way may be themselves.

A cast of characters – Tom E Curran thinks that the fans need to tap the brakes on their optimism for this team. Shalise Manza Young shares those sentiments.

Sack attack unleashed – Ian Rapoport looks at the pass rush generated on Sunday night.

Arrival in silence – Rapoport’s notebook has linebacker Jeff Tarpinian keeping his increased role a secret last week. The Patriots Journal looks at a few of the lesser-known defensive contributors. The Globe notebook has the Chiefs preparing for life without Matt Cassel on Monday night. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has more on Cassel.

Jonathan Papelbon has no regrets – John Tomase has the former Sox closer not looking back at his time with in Boston.

Dan Duquette’s shot at redemption – Chad Finn wonders what the former Red Sox GM has learned in the last 10 years.

Sveum brings a lot to table – Nick Cafardo looks at the Red Sox managerial search.

Red Sox boss a busy man – Mike Fine looks at the to-do list for Ben Cherington.

Lucic, Bruins should embrace villains role – Joe Haggerty thinks that the Bruins should welcome the image as the NHL’s bad boys.

Milan Lucic not backing down – Joe McDonald says that the Bruins forward won’t change his style.

NBA fans — maybe C’s — lose the most – Peter May thinks that the Celtics may be the biggest losers of the NBA lockout. A. Sherrod Blakely agrees.

Patriots Beasts Of The East For Another Week

You’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of people who felt real good about the Patriots chances heading into last night’s game with the New York Jets. The Patriots were scuffling, the Jets were soaring, and the AFC East lead was on the line.

Playing a cast of unknowns on defense, the Patriots rocked the Jets 37-16 at MetLife Stadium, to sweep the season series with the Jets and jump ahead of them in the standings.

Patriots seize top spot in AFC East – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots with a statement game after two weeks of struggles. Shalise Manza Young says that after “a week in which Bill Belichick was questioned like never before by fans, he was able to leave the Meadowlands with a satisfying win.” Fans. Yeah. Paul Kenyon notes that the entire team was filled with guys who had special nights. Art Martone says that “the defense played well by any standard and VERY well by its own.” Jeff Howe says that the Patriots revealed a lot of character last night. Nick Underhill has the defense led by Andre Carter and Rob Ninkovich leading the way.

Throwback effort for Pats defense – Mike Reiss says that unexpected performances from fill-in players evoked championship memories last night. Ron Borges has the Patriots unknown defense putting itself on the map and overcoming the general manager’s many missteps of the past several seasons.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday Night: Patriots win a throwback game – Christopher Price has the takeaways from last night’s statement win. Dan Duggan and Mary Paoletti have the best and worst from last night.

Happening right on schedule – Greg A Bedard says that this victory should put worries about the team “in the back of the minds of most fans, until the Patriots’ inevitable loss in the postseason.”Karen Guregian says that the Patriots responded in the right way last night.

Patriots show their grit, guts, sweat – Jackie MacMullan, who predicted that this game would result in “the darkest hours of both Belichick and Brady’s career in New England” says that for this week anyway, the Patriots were “a mix of grit and gristle and sweat” but that next week is anyone’s guess. Bob Ryan says that this win had to be sweet for Belichick and company. Jim Donaldson says that it wasn’t talent that won this game. It was tenacity. It was guts. It was character. Bill Burt has the Patriots again answering their critics and skeptics.

Chung sits; McCourty hurts shoulder – The Globe notebook from Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker has the Patriots playing without Chung for all of last night and without McCourty for most of the night. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport looks at a record night for Andre Carter.

Big holes to stitch up in these Sox – John Tomase has the Red Sox with a lot of work to do. Nick Cafardo looks at some of the big issues Ben Cherington will have to deal with in the coming days.

Leigh Bodden Suddenly Needs Surgery, and Media Links

Last night on Twitter, Alvin Keels, the agent for Leigh Bodden tweeted the following:

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He then added:

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Contrast that with the statement Keels put out when the Patriots released Bodden:

“He’s enjoyed this time in New England, but after meeting with coach (Bill) Belichick this morning, both parties agreed it was time to move on. Leigh still has a strong desire to play football and welcomes his next opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl. Leigh is totally healthy and can contribute right away.”

At the time of the release, there was a lot of hand-wringing over the move, especially on sports radio. Some said Bodden had an attitude problem, others just blasted the move based on the lack of depth in the secondary. (Some print reporters, like Greg A Bedard astutely insisted that something was wrong with Bodden, noting his total lack of speed, especially when contrasted to training camp.) Will those who blasted the release revisit their comments now that this injury has been revealed?

Moreover, do any of them feel misled by the agent and/or Bodden?

Ian Rapoport talked to Bodden last night, (After getting cut, Leigh Bodden needed surgery) and the CB says he nearly signed with the Chiefs before he “came clean” about his health. Bodden also says that the Patriots didn’t believe he was hurt, but that even he didn’t really know how bad it was.

Just kind of a strange situation all around, and one that should be a lesson about blindly lapping up whatever an agent says.

The media links:

ESPN caught out of position – Chad Finn is critical of ESPN for being slow to cover the events at Penn State.

NBA lockout costing broadcasters – Johnny Diaz looks at stations impacted by the cancelled NBA games, such as CSNNE, WEEI and WCVB.

Media Roundup – My SB Nation Boston media column is a look at Penn State talk on local radio, as well as Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy previewing Patriots/Jets.


Jets Week An Afterthought

The Patriots and Jets renew their intense rivalry this Sunday night, but with the Penn State scandal (which just seems to be getting worse and worse every day) and the release of Albert Haynesworth, the game has been pretty much an afterthought when it comes to sports talk this week.

Patriots articles this morning pretty much fall into three camps – rehashing Bill Belichick’s failed personnel moves, Tom Brady’s recent struggles, and getting to know Kyle Love, who seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Haynesworth release.

Bill Belichick strayed from principles – Mike Reiss says that Belichick should take a lesson from the Haynesworth experiment. Karen Guregian says that Belichick hasn’t made the necessary moves to beat the Jets. Shalise Manza Young has Belichick not wanting to discuss Haynesworth any more. Christopher Price looks at the low production from Shaun Ellis thus far. Tim Whelan Jr. says that Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco are linked as failures of this season.

Brady looks at why his interceptions are on rise – Tom E Curran has Brady talking about his struggles, which have him on pace for a career-high in interceptions. Chris Forsberg says that the jersey is still number 12, but there is something not right about Brady right now. Ian R. Rapoport says that Brady is more frustrated than anyone over his performance.

Patriots are getting a lot of Love on defensive front – Paul Kenyon has the undrafted second-year player making an impact with the Patriots. Mark Farinella has Love looking forward to an increased opportunity. Jeff Howe has Love crediting an offseason boxing routine with keeping him in shape. Mary Paoletti has Love growing out of the “underrated” tag. Guregian notes that even Rex Ryan loves him.

Waivin’ goodbye – Rapoport’s notebook has Belichick giving his final thoughts on Haynesworth. The Patriots Journal notes that in a reversal, it is Brady, not Mark Sanchez, who is struggling coming into this game. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has more on Brady. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has more on Haynesworth.

For Red Sox, dugout search goes well beyond the manager – For those of you scratching your heads over the likes of Gene Lamont being interviewed with the Red Sox, Tony Massarotti explains that the team is actually interviewing for an entire staff. Yesterday, towards the end of their show, Felger and Mazz took a break from the Penn State and Belichick-fail talk and dedicated about five minutes to just Red Sox-related issues. It was the best five minutes of the show, with Massarotti actually showing some insight and some of his old baseball reporting knowledge. A lot of that discussion is in this column.

What we’ve learned and what remains in the Red Sox managerial search – Alex Speier has more on the managerial search. Peter Abraham has Sandy Alomar Jr interviewing yesterday and Scott Lauber says that Alomar made a great first impression with Ben Cherington. Not yesterday, but in 1998. Brian MacPherson says that while Alomar may lack experience, he has all the tools to be a successful manager.

Sox keep in touch with Ortiz, Papelbon – Mike Fine’s notebook has the Sox keeping tabs on their free agents.

Michael Cuddyer’s Leadership and Grit Similar to Trot Nixon’s, Making Him Perfect Fit for Red Sox – Ricky Doyle thinks that the Twins outfielder should be a top priority for the Red Sox.

BC’s Spaziani affected from afar by Penn State scandal – Eric Avadon talks to the Boston College head coach, who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and crossed paths with Jerry Sandusky, though he says he doesn’t know him.

Michael Holley on War Room, The Globe, The Sports Hub, & Much More!

Just a couple pieces of cheap self-promotional junk from me today. (Don’t tell Bruce) I’ll be back for Sports Media Musings on Friday…

First, I made an appearence on TSN’s ESPN affiliate to talk about an array of Boston sports topics. Check out the 10 minute spot here.

Secondly, yesterday marked the debut of the revamped podcast on Sports of Boston named, Point Taken. I’ll be doing the show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with co-host Brian Moller (send him some hate on Twitter). We’ll be launching a website to go along with the show that I’ll be writing columns on.

Part 1 of the podcast is what the show will (mostly) consist of each Monday and Friday edition. It is basically a fun banter of sports topics which, right now, we’re calling “The Rundown” (I know, wicked original). Keep in mind, this was the first time Brian and I have ever worked together, and it shows. There’s sloopiness and even some technical issues you guys can harass me about.

With more reps, maybe it won’t be terrible.


Wednesdays we are going to have a guest interview. When that guest is prominent in the local media scene, I’ll give a quick heads up here.

This week (in Part 2) we talked with WEEI’s Michael Holley about the Chris Herren doc, his new book War Room, the state of the Patriots, working at the Boston Globe, Joe Paterno, THE SPORTS LODGE, and my criticisms of NESN.

Holley generally comes across as an affable dude who is down to earth. The talk – both on and off the air – reminded me of when I had Rich Shertenlieb on the podcast. It was a good talk with a guy I’ve generally enjoyed since the early aughts (did I say that right, aughts?)..

I’m presuming most of the BSMW readership will know his thoughts on the state of the Patriots section and are fed up with the Paterno stuff. Consequently, I provided a timeline for those who wish to skip around.

Below is a breakdown of the conversation…

0:00 – 6:00 – Breaking down the “Unguarded” doc

6:00 – 16:00 – Talking about the premise of War Room and also the subordinates that have come & gone around The Hoodie. (And, gasp, some Spy-Gate references)

16:00 – 21:30 – The state of the Patriots now. Is the dynasty over?

21:30 – 30:30 – Why Michael left the Globe & some fun stories from his days in the newspaper industry..

30:30 – 39:00 – The Penn State scandal

39:00 – END – Diving into local media topics. We talk about the Sports Lodge, WEEI vs 98.5, NESN and more.