Next WEEI Casualty – The Boston Celtics

As WEEI continues to circle the drain – everyday new rumors are coming fast and furious, (shutting down the FM signal and going back to AM?) today there was officially another casualty:

The Boston Celtics will no longer be airing on WEEI. From Jeff Brown:

WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th Championship Banner to the end of the Big 3 era.

Unfortunately we were unable to come to terms on a new contract moving forward. We thank the entire Celtics organization for our tremendous time together and wish them the best of luck in the future.

It speaks to how bad things are at the station when you would think the Celtics broadcast rights would be trending downward cost-wise as the team rebuilds and the station still can’t come to an agreement. Broadcast rights were one of the few assets the station still had.

How the mighty have fallen.

No word yet on the new radio home for the Celtics. You’d think the 98.5 airwaves would be a bit crowded with the Bruins games airing there, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Celtics end up at that station too.

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Lester Lifts Sox

Coming off a late night game and a cross-country flight, it seemed natural that the Red Sox would be a bit sluggish last night in San Francisco. Instead, Jon Lester pitched shutout ball into the ninth inning, and the Red Sox beat the Giants 7-0.

Lester showing that Sox can count on him again – Sean McAdam says that this was the Lester that the Sox need the rest of the way.

Bogaerts left strong impression on PawSox – Tim Britton has those who worked with Xander Bogaerts at Pawtucket raving about his future.

Xander Bogaerts a real big deal – Scott Lauber has the Sox looking for the young phenom to give them a boost.

Brandon Spikes, Adrian Wilson hit it off – Jeff Howe has the hard-hitting pair looking to set the tone for the defense.

Practice is perfect for ramping up NFL coverage – Abraham Madkour in Sports Business Journal has a look at Patriots coverage here for training camp, particularly from The Boston Globe.

The writer concludes:

Five quick conclusions: First, the amount of coverage from camp gives each NFL team an additional six weeks of news footage in its market. Two, with all this coverage, young writers should know there are going to be opportunities. Three, the challenge for editors and writers to differentiate news, analysis and personality coverage will be steep, but vital. Four, teams need to invest in their news and video departments because they are best positioned to offer rare, unique and behind-the-ropes access. Finally, there is already an ad-supported element here, but someone may introduce an additional monetization element by making this news and analysis accessible to premium insider subscribers.

Are you going to pay for practice recaps? I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, our buddy Bert Breer is back at it:

I thought Hernandez was a loner with his teammates? Now they’re involved in his murder plot(s)? That’s quite a sweeping judgment to make.

Then there is this:

Can anyone interpret that for me?

Xander Time Is Finally Here

With the Red Sox scuffling, going 3-7 in their last ten games, and their recent four game lead in the AL East down to one, Boston has made the move that has been anticipated all season:

The X-Man cometh: Why Red Sox are giving Xander Bogaerts his shot – Alex Speier has the scoop on the call-up, as well as a couple of other roster moves for the Red Sox.

Last night’s nationally televised game on ESPN between the Red Sox and Yankees had plenty of drama, along with a note of irony. The broadcast team spent much of the game detailing the cheating of Alex Rodriguez and listing out his misdeeds, then named him the  Chevrolet Player of the Game at the end of it all.

Most seem to be applauding the actions of Ryan Dempster in drilling Rodriguez to lead off the second inning, but there are different schools of thought out there on it:

Many probably applauding Dempster – Joe McDonald has the Sox pitcher a popular figure with his actions.

Plunking Alex Rodriguez didn’t make any sense – Nick Cafardo says it was not a smart move by Dempster.

Dempster ‘made a lot of fans’ plunking A-Rod – Lou Merloni had no problem with Dempster breaking “unwritten rules” because this was a “special circumstance.”

MLB needs to halt vigilante players – Steve Buckley says that Dempster cost the Red Sox the game with his actions.

Only problem with Ryan Dempster was flunking after plunking – Mike Salk says that hitting Rodriguez didn’t lose the game for Dempster, it’s what he did afterwards that lost it .

Elsewhere and from the weekend:

Tom Brady says last week’s knee injury was an overblown storyline – An overblown storyline involving the Patriots? Never happens.

Guess who:

And how about a shout-out for David Ortiz? The man is simply amazing. The Yankees have the easily mocked, cheatin’ and lyin’ Rodriguez. Here in Boston, we have Big Papi, who Saturday crushed his 24th home run and continues to be the best American League hitter this side of Miguel Cabrera. Last week in Toronto, Ortiz hit a home run that left the bat at 118.8 miles per hour. According to ESPN Stats, that represents the 37-year-old Ortiz’s top bat speed in seven years. Clearly, all the hard work is paying off.

Why not just say it? You are the “bravest columnist in town” after all.

Speaking of reading between the lines, did you figure out who Joe Fitzgerald was talking about in his Jerry Remy column this weekend:

One night a celebrated Globe columnist called here with a plea, not as a competitor but as a heartsick dad. His kid had just been picked up for an incident that would eventually lead to his incarceration.

“Look, I know what you guys are probably going to do with this,” he said. “But my kid’s in enough trouble without your paper piling on to get at me. Can you do anything to help?”

Hmm. Could it be this? Or someone else?

I also enjoyed this post over the weekend from PFT:

Belichick takes a shot at “experts who have it all figured out”

In, Belichick is quoted thusly:

“I don’t know how you can know that unless you’re really part of the team and know exactly what was supposed to happen on that play. I know there are a lot of experts out there that have it all figured out but I definitely don’t,” Belichick said.

It’s awesome that a quote like that can lead to comments like this:

Bill Belichick is one of those guys that you see getting his coffee every morning at the local Tim Horton’s, You say good morning and he grunts and walks away shaking his head. One of those guys that needs shock treatment to be social. I feel bad for the media up in New England. Those guys must have amazing self-control, because I don’t think I would last 5 minutes in the same room as him. The guy literally thinks he knows it all.

That comment has it all, ignorant mention about Tim Horton’s, (shouldn’t it be Dunkin Donuts? Must be a Canadian.) Who makes conversation with strangers at coffee shops anyway? The line about feeling bad for the media. Who feels bad for the media? Anyone? The tough guy line about how he wouldn’t stand for it. Then the breathtakingly bad reading comprehension by stating that the coach think he literally knows it all when he specifically states he doesn’t. Only thing missing was the Spygate reference. (Though there were plenty of those elsewhere in the comments section.)

Jerry Remy’s Son Arrested For Murder, Friday Notes

As you’ve no doubt heard already, the son of NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy was arrested this morning on the charge of murdering his girlfriend. Jared Remy was also a former Red Sox employee, having been fired in a 2009 steroids probe.

Jared Remy arrested in girlfriend’s killing

For the second time this summer, the Boston sports media has a murder to talk about. This one has a woman, a mother as the victim.

What this means for the future of Jerry Remy is unclear. NESN has not yet released any statement on his status, though it seems safe to assume he’ll be taking some away. WEEI afternoon show Salk and Holley was originally scheduled to broadcast from Jerry Remy’s Restaurant at Fenway today, that location has been changed to the Fenway Studios.

Note: NESN has said that Dennis Eckersley will fill in for Remy through at least next week’s series with the Giants and Dodgers.

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There is some more reaction on yesterday’s firing of Jason Wolfe by Entercom Boston:

Firing took WEEI’s Jason Wolfe by surprise – Chad Finn has the former program director taking his exit well.

’EEI assures duo after boss axed – Gayle Fee reports that John Dennis and Gerry Callahan are seemingly not in danger of being replaced any time soon.

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The Patriots play their second preseason game tonight, this one will be broadcast on FOX at 8:00, so no “talk radio” format this week. The game will be rebroadcast on NFL Network on Sunday morning at 1am, and Tuesday at 10am.

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FOX Sports1 launches this weekend, and will be carried on most major TV distributors. If you’re on Comcast in the Boston area, that should end up on channel 250. If you have DirecTV, it should be channel 219. For other cable/satellite providers, check here.

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This weekend also marks the debut of  Barclays Premier League Soccer (football) coverage on the NBC Sports Group. The games will be shown on NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, Telemundo, Mun2 and other NBCU channels. Xfinity customers will have the ability to watch games on demand and can use their Comcast ID to sign in at NBCSports.com/LiveExtra and watch any matches on their desktops or laptops. Comcast customers can also download the free NBC Sports Live Extra App and sign in using their Comcast ID.

Source: Kevin Graham To Replace Jason Wolfe as WEEI Program Director

According to an industry  source, the choice to replace Jason Wolfe is likely to be current 1320 KFAN Salt Lake City Program Director Kevin Graham.

Here is a quick bio on Graham from when he returned to KFAN last summer:

Kevin Graham is no stranger to Utah Sports Radio. One of the original architects of 1320 KFAN in 1996, Kevin returns to rebuild the heritage sports talker into the dominant sports radio station in the market. After leaving KFAN Kevin went on to a successful programming career assembling and building sports stations in Columbus, ESPN Radio Pittsburgh and New York City, as well as Detroit before returning to Salt Lake to host the highly popular Monson and Graham afternoon show for five years on the old 1280 The Zone. In 2010 Kevin moved to Phoenix to program Sports Radio 620 KTAR and then left to start his own sports digital and sports radio consulting company. He is married to his wife of 18 years Amy and has 12 year old twin daughters Madie and Josie.

Graham also cohosts the Gunther & Graham radio show each day on afternoon drive.

Graham is on twitter at @KevinGrahamKFAN

I haven’t received confirmation on this, so we’ll see how things play out, but  I thought I would pass it along.

Jason Wolfe Has Been Fired by Entercom/WEEI

Entercom Boston announced this morning that Vice President of Programming for WEEI and WRKO,  Jason Wolfe, is “‘leaving the company.” They also said an announcement on a replacement would come shortly.

“Jason Wolfe has defined sports talk radio, not only in Boston, but around the country as well. There are very few people who have influenced an industry like Jason has,” said Jeff Brown, VP/Market Manager at Entercom Boston. “From his work with the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox’s historic championship run to WRKO’s engagement with politics, Jason’s behind-the-scenes work has made an impact few people will ever understand. We thank Jason for all his hard work, dedication to Entercom, and his commitment to the Boston community.”

However, in a separate letter, Wolfe stated that “Entercom has chosen to replace me because they feel it is time for a change with my position.”  (They fired me.)

In some eyes, the move has been expected for quite a while, not only because of the declining ratings of the station, but also because of the perception that Wolfe had already been deposed and that Jeff Brown was personally making all of the recent moves at the station.

Wolfe was with WEEI for 22 years, having been brought in by Glenn Ordway and then replacing him as programming chief.

The Exaggerated Myth of Bill Parcells in New England

Let me begin this post by saying that I LOVED having Bill Parcells as coach of the New England Patriots, and wished he had stayed on. When he was hired by the Patriots, I was ecstatic, having found myself rooting for the Giants during several 1980’s postseasons – mostly because of Parcells and LT.

To that point, Chuck Fairbanks had been the best coach in franchise history, and to get another top coach into a franchise that was struggling with possible relocation at the time was a major coup.

There is no denying that Parcells, along with Robert Kraft and yes, Drew Bledsoe, led a major turnaround in the situation here in New England. When Parcells left, I was thoroughly dismayed.

The circumstances under which Parcells left New England has been documented ad nauseum, and really should’ve created much more acrimony towards the coach than it really did. He was negotiating with a division rival during Super Bowl week in which the Patriots were participating. It was betrayal of outrageous proportions, no matter what the personal situation between he and Bob Kraft was at the time.

Yet, the undeniable charisma of Parcells (along with the Patriots steady decline under Pete Carroll) led some to keep their loyalties to Parcells, and to pardon him for his actions. Particularly in the media was this case, with Parcells toadies breathlessly praising him at every opportunity.

After the Pete Carroll era flamed out, longtime Parcells assistant Bill Belichick was hired – under perhaps just as big a cloud of controversy as Parcells’ departure from New England – and after a season of adjustment, proceeded to win three Super Bowls in four seasons.

Belichick possesses none of  the innate charisma of Parcells. This has turned off many in the media, and some of the fan base as well, who wistfully pine for the entertaining press conferences of Parcells. To these, Parcells is the ultimate football guy, and no one can compare.

The people still exist, and attempt to give credit for the Super Bowl victories to Parcells, claiming that those titles were won with “his” players.

A caller to Felger and Mazz at the start of yesterday’s show was one of these people, claiming forcefully that “70% of the defense on those Super Bowl titles were Parcells’ draft picks and players.” The hosts, naturally did not disagree, though Felger tempered it somewhat by saying that by the ’04 team, “it was more 50/50 Parcells and Belichick guys.”

Complete Myth.

Let’s take a look. Now remember, the caller and host was only talking about defense here. First of all, five* Parcells draft picks on defense ever won a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

1994 Willie McGinest (3 titles)
1995 Ty Law (3 titles, though injured for 2004 postseason)
1995 Ted Johnson (3 titles)
1996 Lawyer Milloy (1 title, gone after 2002 season)
1996 Teddy Bruschi (3 titles)

*Marty Moore was a 1994 Parcells pick (Mr Irrelevant) played 3 games with 2001 Patriots, assisting on two tackles.

Granted, those are five outstanding players in Patriots history. You might eventually see all five in the Patriots’ Hall of Fame. You could call those guys the core of your defense.

What about the rest of the squad though? What guys on defense had played for Parcells previously?

2001

Bryan Cox – played two seasons under Parcells with the Jets. Played 11 games for 2001 Patriots. (1 title)

Roman Phifer – played one season under Parcells with Jets. Played four seasons under Belichick with Patriots. (3 titles)

Otis Smith – played four seasons under Parcells, with NE and Jets. Three seasons with Belichick with Patriots. (1 title)

Bobby Hamilton – played three seasons under Parcells with Jets, four seasons with Belichick with Patriots. (2 titles)

Anthony Pleasant – played five seasons under Belichick in Cleveland, two with Parcells with Jets and three with Belichick with Patriots (2 titles)

2003

Phifer
Hamilton
Pleasant
Rick Lyle – played three seasons under Parcells with Jets, two with Belichick with Patriots. (8 games in 2003)

2004

Phifer

That’s it.

Am I seeing 70% of the defense? Am I even seeing 50/50?

Furthermore, those five core guys are the only players drafted by Bill Parcells to win a Super Bowl with the Patriots, period. He didn’t draft any of the other guys who played for both him and Belichick.

Furthermore, what did Parcells say in his farewell press conference with New England? A complaint about not being able to “shop for the groceries?” Indicating that he didn’t have control over the draft picks and personnel? So are the “Parcells guys” listed above, really “Parcells guys?”

Remember, the 1996 draft was the one that yielded Milloy and Bruschi, but that was also the one that triggered the whole exodus of Parcells from New England because he was overruled in the draft when the Patriots selected Terry Glenn in the first round.

Check this quote from Charley Armey in a Michael Madden column from 2000:

Parcells, said Armey, “didn’t make any selections at all” after the infamous Terry Glenn episode on draft day in 1996. And, by then, Armey had been relegated to being “like any other scout. I wasn’t running the draft.”

In that column, Armey also states that Parcells never had full authority over the draft to begin with:

See, people think Bill had the final authority to make the picks with the Patriots but that was never in his contract. Not when I was there, and I left after he did.

The whole argument of Parcells being the architect of those Super Bowl champions is just not true.

Like I said in the opener, I loved having Bill Parcells coach the New England Patriots, but lets ease up on the legend that he “built” the defenses that won three Super Bowls here in New England. If you want to attack Belichick for not being able to build a championship defense since 2004, that’s one thing, but to give all the credit to Parcells for the three wins, or even claiming that 70% or 50% were “Parcells guys” is preposterous.