Bob Ryan’s Farewell, CSNNE’s 5000th and More…

Bob Ryan’s farewell (sort of) column in the Globe yesterday was typical Ryan – passionate, with a nod to history, underscored by humility about his own role in things.

The Globe has lost perhaps the final piece to its glory days, and a bridge to even earlier eras. We’ll continue to read Ryan on many Sundays throughout the year, but the paper will not be the same. Ryan officially closes things out with his account of the United States’ win in the Gold Medal Men’s Olympic basketball game.

You’re up, Chris Gasper. Got 44 years in you?


Comcast SportsNet New England celebrates their 5000th episode of “Sports Tonight” with a one-hour prime time special beginning tonight at 6:30PM.

5000 episodes is an impressive number, and kudos to CSNNE for reaching it. However, I can honestly say I don’t watch it all that much, as it is essentially a recap of whatever subjects were debated on sports radio that day. I’ve heard all the storylines, and the debates once already, I don’t need it again.

CSNNE provides a lot of good programming (SportsNet Central, Celtics broadcasts and pre and post game, various original specials) but they also provide an outlet for ridiculousness like the ongoing Joe Haggerty-Kirk Minihane slapfight.

In case you’re not up to speed on it, old friend Ryan Hadfield provides a recap on his Out of Bounds blog on

Hadfield might find it entertaining, I find it forced, staged and juvenile.


That gushing Boston Globe feature on Bobby Valentine yesterday by Stan Grossfeld was embarrassing. I usually enjoy the somewhat offbeat features that Grossfeld puts together, but I thought we were done with these types of stories after spring training. Given the season that the club is having, it’s even more out of place.


Same newspaper, same day:

Count me as one who missed the memo that the Red Sox are allowing beer in the clubhouse on the road after games. It’s a complete contradiction to what we were told by Bobby Valentine in February. The word then was “no beer in the clubhouse.’’ Now we’re all supposed to shrug and say it’s no big deal that the beer is still there on the road? The Sox made absolutely no distinction between home and road clubhouse rules when they made their big announcement in Florida. The notion that it was common knowledge is incorrect and sneaky.

Biggest non-story of the year: John Lackey having two beers after a Red Sox loss on the road. If you knew the team rule, it wouldn’t be a story. No alcohol in the Fenway clubhouse and no alcohol on return charters to Boston. Been that way since spring training.

The first was Dan Shaughnessy, the second Nick Cafardo.

I’m guessing that since Cafardo is around the team everyday, he actually knew what the rule was.

By the way, John Lackey is severely tone-deaf and lacking in self-awareness and good judgement, but no more so than many of the media weighing in on this whole absurd topic.

Jen Royle says that episodes like this are why we shouldn’t be surprised when players say it is tough to play here.


Doing Our Friday Megalinks

Haven’t been able to provide the Friday megalinks in a while. Let’s do an edition today.

Normally I include a link to the Weekend Viewing Picks, but I’ll be doing that tonight so you can find it on the Fang’s Bites on BSMW site when it’s posted. If you follow me on Twitter or have an RSS feed, you’ll be updated as soon as it posts. If not, you can find it later.

Let’s do the links.


USA Today’s Michael Hiestand wonders what effect the gold medal win by the US Women’s Soccer National Team will have on the sport in the long run.

Michael also live blogged Thursday’s Olympic Primetime on NBC.

Jeffrey Martin of USA Today looks at the grand experiment that’s known as the Pac-12 Networks.

At the Sports on Earth blog, Joe Posnanski chronicles his day in covering the Olympics.

Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily says with NFL preseason games airing in many local markets on Thursday, NBC Olympic overnight ratings took a hit.

Bill King of SBD says CBS Sports is forging ahead with a show featuring the professional debut of several US Olympic boxers despite their poor performance in London.

Ryan Baucom of SBD writes that several Olympic athletes are getting a boost in Twitter followers after their success in the London Games.

Tripp Mickle of SBD says Universal Sports broke out an ad on NBC Thursday trying to promote its Olympic sports programming. Good luck with that.

Eric Fisher of SBD says Yahoo is declaring victory over for unique pageviews.

Sohrab Amari of the Wall Street Journal reviews an NBC News documentary fronted by Tom Brokaw which will air on NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday.

Sarah Kwak of Sports Illustrated talks with Lolo Jones about the media firestorm that swelled just before she ran her 100 meters hurdles race.

In the Sherman Report, Ed Sherman talks with outgoing Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan about his first job. Ryan will be missed in the pages of the Globe.

Sports Media Journal’s Keith Thibault and I have an Olympic-themed podcast with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times and Bruce Beck of WNBC-TV.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Today Show host Matt Lauer had an icy reunion with former co-host Ann Curry on NBC’s London Olympics set.

John Eggerton at Broadcasting & Cable writes that the FCC has already denied a Comcast request to stay its decision requiring the cable provider to give space to the Tennis Channel.

Christopher Heine of Adweek says Olympic marketers have failed to medal in their social media campaigns.

But Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age looks at the Olympic sponsors that managed to get a boost through social media.

Michael Learmonth of Advertising Age says NBC and the International Olympic Committee have to fix the Olympic business model before it breaks down.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life notes that NBC’s ratings for Wednesday Olympic Primetime show drew better viewership numbers than Atlanta in 1996.

Brandon Costa of Sports Video Group says CBS Sports is preparing for all type of weather conditions for this weekend’s PGA Championship.

Karen Hogan of SVG looks at NBC New York Olympic operations.

Ken Kerschbaumer at SVG says Denmark TV has a floating barge studio for the London Olympics. Now that’s pretty cool.

And Birgit Heidsiek of SVG says Eurosport TV is producing the Olympics in 3-D.

Jason Fry of the Poynter Institute and writing as the ESPN Ombudsman investigates a plagiarism incident at the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

Ronnie Ramos at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center writes that the Pac-12 Conference is readying an aggressive digital strategy that will go along with its television distribution.

Ty Duffy at The Big Lead goes after former NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol for being out of touch in defending the tape delayed Olympics.

The Big Lead looks at the Pac-12 being in the forefront of digital distribution after being marred for years of being behind the curve.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says the Miami Dolphins will take advantage of the NFL’s relaxed TV blackout policy this weekend.

Emmett Jones of Sports Business Digest notes that Buffalo Wild Wings has purchased naming rights for a college bowl game. Looks like it will be going to overtime every year.

Sports Media Watch says with NBC committed to the Olympics this year, the NFL Hall of Fame preseason game was aired on NFL Network and naturally suffered a big viewer dropoff.

SMW reports that NBC got another ratings increase for the Olympics.

TVNewsCheck says Gannett is declaring victory saying three of its stations are the top-rated local NBC affiliates in key demographics.

Alex Weprin of TVNewser looks at NBC’s Today Show operations in London.

At TVSpy, Alex tours NBC’s operation center for its local affiliates in London.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Globe talks with Celtics TV voice Mike Gorman who’s been calling Olympic handball off a monitor for NBC.

At SB Nation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen discusses Golf Channel’s meteoric rise and its plans to cover the PGA Championship this weekend.

Verne Gay at Newsday notes that a long-time NBC Sports director is retiring after the Olympics.

Newsday’s Chris Serico wonders if NBC’s Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera will be a bit more subdued during the Olympic Closing Ceremony on Sunday than their talkative performance during the Opening Ceremony two Fridays ago.

Neil Best of Newsday catches up with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski who’s filling a new role at the network after being in the Monday Night Football both.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is in another one of his moods today.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes a local radio station’s high school football schedule.

Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says Pac-12 Networks will be seen on Time Warner Cable locally.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says despite a lost season, the Philadelphia Phillies TV crew still has plenty to talk about during games.

Tim Richardson in Press Box looks at the business of fantasy football as leagues get ready to hold their drafts soon, if not already.

Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that more people were watching the DC NFL Team in area sports bars last night as compared to the Nationals.

Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog says the Nationals radio team tried to explain the term “ball bag”.


Greg Cote of the Miami Herald reviews HBO’s Hard Knocks on the Dolphins.

Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Dolphins have announced their TV blackout policy today.

Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman says a local high school sports TV show expands to a new market.


The Cincinnati Enquirer says ESPN’s College GameDay could be visiting the Queen City in February.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at Dick Ebersol’s latest comments on tape delaying Olympic events.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with a local sports radio host who’s perturbed at a former employer.

Dan notes that the Olympics and the St. Louis Cardinals ratings have been hurt by each other.


John Maffei of the North County Times talks with a former NBC Olympics analyst who was fired on the spot after calling a race.

To the Ventura County Star where Jim Carlisle talks about the increased spotlight on the Pac-12 through its new TV networks.

Jim says Twitter has become an Olympic event.

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times has the Irish radio call of boxer Katie Taylor’s victory giving the country its first gold medal of the Olympics.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says this is a critical time for beach volleyball as the sport is in transition now.

Tom has some Olympic TV notes in his blog.

And those are your supersized megalinks for today.

Patriots Show Signs, More Red Sox Beer Drama

The Patriots and Saints didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard at Gillette Stadium last night, as the Patriots took a 7-6 win in their preseason opener. Rookie Chandler Jones seems to be the takeaway story from this one, as the first round pick was impressive in his time on the field, showing the pass rush that fans and media have been clamoring for in recent years.

Get all the coverage at, but here are a few of the top stories:

Debut of top pick Jones is a show of strength – Greg A Bedard says that Mr. Jones has arrived.

Ten Things We Learned Thursday: Quite an opening act for Jones, Hightower – Christopher Price says that both first round picks looked good, and that Bill Belichick should be expecting a note from the league office.

A little good, a lot bad, mostly ugly – Mike Reiss says that this one was predictably sloppy.

Patriots defense came ready to play – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots got some good returns from the unit on its first time out.

One thing I keep hearing and reading over and over this preseason is how either Deion Branch or Donte Stallworth will be cut, as the Patriots can’t keep both.

The consensus seems to be that Walker and Lloyd are locks as the top two, Gaffney as the third receiver, and then Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater are both indispensable for the other things they do for the team, leaving only one spot available between Branch and Stallworth. In 2007, the Patriots carried 7 receivers for a good part of the season – Moss, Welker, Gaffney, Stallworth, Kelley Washington, Chad Jackson and Troy Brown. Both Jackson and Brown were PUP’d to start the season, but were later activated and carried on the 53-man for the rest of the season. The Patriots also carried three tight ends and four running backs for most of that season.

All I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s impossible that the Patriots carry 7 receivers. They’re going to need them all at some point.

The Red Sox season to nowhere continued in Cleveland last night with a 5-3 loss to the Indians.

After the game, Joe Haggerty tweeted:

He then followed up with a column today:

Signs are there that Sox are giving up on the season

This provided plenty of fodder for the talk shows this morning, and on Twitter, with plenty expressing outrage that Lackey had beer after the Red Sox had supposedly banned all beer in the clubhouse.

Dale Arnold and John Dennis noted that no one else had reported what Haggerty said about Lackey and the beer, and Rob Bradford called in to say why – the ban on beer was only ever about their own Fenway clubhouse. Beer has been allowed in visiting clubhouses all season. Bradford then noted that this was the first time Haggerty had been on the road with the Red Sox this season, so he must not have been aware.

Meanwhile, Hardball Times issued a rebuttal to Haggerty’s premise about the Red Sox:

John Lackey has beer in the clubhouse, so apparently the Sox have given up

Is Lackey tone-deaf ? Yes. Do I want him gone? Absolutely. Is this another media-created tempest in a teapot? Definitely.

Interesting that other media types have jumped on the clarification bandwagon, probably to explain why they didn’t report what Haggerty did.

This headline though, cracks me up:


You’ve got your sensational bold headline with “Double Fisted” and the underneath it, in much smaller type, why it’s not a big deal AND the suggestion that the person who reported it didn’t know the score.

Good times.

At 55-58, Red Sox facing a new reality – I approve of Peter Abraham’s plan.

A couple of media columns to wrap up Friday:

Mike Gorman tries his hand at calling a different sport – Chad Finn talks to the Celtics announcer about calling Olympic handball for NBC this summer. Interestingly Gorman is not in London, he’s called all the games remotely from New York.

Golf Channel Hopes For Big Weekend With PGA Championship – My SB Nation Boston media column. Golf Channel is on an incredible run, and this weekends PGA Championship (On TNT and CBS) could be one for the ages.

Red Sox, Beckett fall to Rangers, Patriots open preseason tonight

It was a another rough outing for Josh Beckett yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park. The right-hander gave up eight runs on eight hits in 5 plus innings of work. The Red Sox battled back from multi-run deficits all game long, eventually tying the game at nine, but Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Rangers the lead and the Sox couldn’t do any more in the bottom half of the inning, losing by a count of 10-9.

Following joint practices the past two days at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots and Saints will meet Thursday night for the Patriots’ first preseason game. It will be the second game for the Saints. Although the starters are not expected to play much, football being back is just what many fans in the area need right now with the Red Sox struggling. Also, it will give reporters and analysts game action to discuss, rather than what happened in practice. Hopefully it will put an end to some of the bogus story lines coming out of camp thus far such as: Is this offense going to be better than the one in 2007? or Is Tom Brady still a clutch quarterback, having not performed  well in the postseason of late?

Another rough day for Beckett– Alex Prewitt looks at Beckett’s start on Wednesday, one in which he was boo’d off the mound when he was taken out in the fifth inning.

Root of all Red Sox woes– Michael Silverman says the majority of the problems with the Red Sox this season all come back to pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett and their poor records.

Broken record: Beckett buries Sox– Joe McDonald looks at Beckett’s outing and season, one the right-hander feels like he is letting down his teammates.

Everything is wrong with Josh Beckett– Kirk Minhane looks at Beckett’s rough season.

Thanks to starters, Red Sox will be forced to call uncomfortable audible– Rob Bradford looks at the Red Sox starting rotation going into next season and possibly who the team might need to try and deal away, likely Beckett or John Lackey.

Playoffs?! You kidding me?– Gordon Edes says if the Red Sox don’t get hot on the upcoming 10-game road trip their playoff hopes will be all but over.

Brady, Brees pass the compliments– Shalise Manza Young and Julian Benbow in the Patriots notebook have the respect Drew Brees and Tom Brady have for one another.

Five things to watch for with Patriots vs. Saints– Greg A. Bedard has five things to watch for in tonight’s game.

Patriots: Five things to watch– Jeff Howe has his five things to watch tonight.

Ten spot: Who you should watch for Thursday against the Saints– Christopher Price has 10 players to keep your eye on tonight.

Things to watch: Patriots-Saints– Field Yates has 13 things to watch for in the Patriots first preseason game.


Scott Zolak Officially Named To Replace Gino Cappelletti

Chad Finn had it last week, but WBZ-FM made it official this morning when they named Scott Zolak to be the Patriots color analyst alongside Gil Santos this season.

Here is the release:




Zolak Joins Veteran Play-by-Play Announcer Gil Santos in the Booth

98.5 The Sports Hub is the Official Flagship Station of the Three-Time

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots

Boston, MA – Wednesday, August 8, 2012 –  Longtime sportscaster and expert football analyst Scott Zolak has been named color commentator for the Patriots Radio Network on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM)…the Official Flagship radio station of the three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.  In his new role as color commentator, which is effective immediately, Zolak joins renowned play-by-play announcer Gil Santos to provide in-depth game analysis and complete play-by-play detail of every Patriots game.  Zolak replaces Gino Cappelletti who retired last month, and Zolak’s announcement was made earlier today by Mike Thomas, Vice President of Programming for CBS RADIO Boston.

“Scott’s vast knowledge of football and his long relationship with the team make him the obvious choice for this position,” said Thomas when making the announcement.  “I’m looking forward to hearing him with Gil this season.”

“It is with great pride and gratitude that I have been given the opportunity by 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Patriots organization to continue the tradition established by the great Gino Cappelletti to be the color commentator for the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots,” said Zolak about his new role.  “I am beyond looking forward to sitting in next to the legend Gil Santos as I make this transition from the sideline to the booth.”

In addition to his expanded role as color commentator on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Zolak currently co-hosts the “Gresh & Zo” show on 98.5 The Sports Hub for three years with Andy Gresh live weekdays from 10AM to 2PM, and he contributes to “Patriots All Access,” “Patriots Game Day, and “Patriots 5th Quarter” on WBZ-TV.  Before being named color commentator joining Gil Santos in the booth, Zolak reported from the field as part of the Patriots Radio Network programming on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Zolak is a former football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons…most of them as quarterback for the New England Patriots.  Over the course of his career, he played in 55 games, completed 124 of 248 passes for 1,314 yards, threw eight touchdowns and seven interceptions, and finished his career with a passer rating of 64.8.

New England Patriots football coverage on 98.5 The Sports Hub begins three hours prior to kickoff with Sylvania Patriots Preview, continues with the GMC Halftime Show, and wraps up with the Kaspersky Lab Patriots Postgame Show for three hours after the game.  Patriots Preview is a fast-paced, energetic and informative prelude to kickoff, featuring in-depth analysis, dueling opinions and the only game-day interviews with Coach Bill Belichick and Vice-Chairman and President Jonathan Kraft.  Our postgame is a high-energy, opinionated breakdown of the game, with the press conferences of Belichick and Tom Brady aired live, and immediate reaction from the fans.

Patriots Preseason Predictions

by Chris Warner

Despite the fact that a team’s preseason performance has little relation to how the regular season will go, New England’s competition over the next few weeks will mean a great deal to fans.

For one, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to actual football in over six months. We can also begin to answer questions: Has the offense gotten its deep threat in Brandon Lloyd? Has the defense-minded draft made that side of the ball less charitable? We shall see, eventually.

In the meantime, we’ve compiled some predictions based on preseason reports, gut instincts, and a lack of interest in whatever Olympic event happened to be on television as we wrote this.

Keep reading this post

Patriots 2012 Preseason TV Affiliates

The Patriots’  preseason games on Aug. 9 (Saints), Aug. 24 (at Tampa) and Aug. 29 (at Giants) can be seen live on the Patriots Preseason Television Network, available in all six New England states and Hawaii.

(In the past, games were also shown in Alaska, and in Canada, but that appears not to be the case this year.)

Here are the affiliates:

Massachusetts: Boston – WBZ-TV Channel 4 (flagship), Springfield – WWLP-TV Channel 22.

New Hampshire: Manchester – WMUR-TV Channel 9.

Rhode Island: Providence – WNAC-TV Channel 64. (Reader note: In past years In RI, the Pats/Saints got moved from WNAC (64) to their digital channel MyRI TV, which is 64-2 because of the So You Think You Can Dance finale.  That channel is also carried on Cox, Comcast, Full Channel and Verizon in RI. If you have Satellite, you might be out of luck.)

Maine: Portland – WMTW-TV Channel 8, Bangor – WVII-TV Channel 7.

Connecticut: Hartford/New Haven – WCTX-TV Channel 59. 

Vermont: Burlington – WVNY-TV Channel 22.

Hawaii: Honolulu KFVE-TV Channel 5

Once again, the duo of Don Criqui and Randy Cross will call the games.