Amalie Benjamin Moves Off Red Sox Beat

In a blog post on Extra Bases, The Boston Globe’sAmalie Benjamin has announced that she is leaving the Red Sox beat.

New challenges, and a word of thanks

She makes it clear that she is not leaving the Globe, just the Red Sox beat, and will instead focus on “features and other daily duties in sports.”

As for the reasons for leaving the beat, which she describes as her dream job since high school, she writes:

But the daily grind of the beat — the hundreds of thousands of airline miles, the hundreds of hotel nights, the thousands of unhealthy meals — is over for me, a move that will allow me to report on the stories that are so important to me, and hopefully to you.

This sounds very much like what happened with Shira Springer, who toiled on the Celtics beat for a number of years (with some very bad teams) before moving off to another “features” type role. Hopefully we’ll get more from Benjamin than we’ve gotten from Springer over the last couple of years.

This opens up a spot on the Red Sox beat, which still has Peter Abraham as Red Sox reporter, and Nick Cafardo as national baseball writer.

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Giving You The Friday Megalinks

Ok, let’s do the Friday megalinks. Getting a late start as I’ve been all over the place today, but better late than never.

Check out the Weekend Viewing Picks for information on the sports and entertainment programs for the first weekend in October.

Now to the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about ESPN creating a new brand that will target women and could eventually become a dedicated TV channel. This was already scoffed at on Twitter. We’ll see how this evolves. Asides from ESPN Mobile, the Alleged Worldwide Leader’s ill-fated cell phone brand, when the network commits to an idea, it will usually work so we’ll see.

Eleanor Barkhorn from The Atlantic shares her thoughts, pro and con, on the new ESPN women’s brand. 

A Girl’s Perspective on a Boy’s Game blog has some thoughts on ESPNW.

Dylan Stableford at The Wrap notes there are many women who aren’t in love with ESPNW.

Joe Posanaski of Sports Illustrated has a very good tribute to Los Angeles Dodgers voice Vin Scully.

Noah Davis of SportsNewser says the Boston Globe will put all of its web content content except sports and breaking news behind a pay wall. 

Dave Kindred at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center looks into the history of one of his favorite leads and finds it doesn’t quite measure up to its legend.

Milton Kent of Fanhouse notes that weather delays at the Ryder Cup will force NBC to go live with its coverage on Saturday instead of planned taped coverage.

Fanhouse’s Brett McMurphy has a facetious look at the first televised college football game.

Martin Rogers of Yahoo! Sports says the Ryder Cup has to move to an earlier date to avoid inclement weather.

Spencer E. Ante of the Wall Street Journal notes NFL games are about to be seen on tablets.

Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter notes that Fox has pulled 19 of its channels including several sports regional networks off Dish Network over, what else? A carriage dispute.

Andrea Morabito from Broadcasting & Cable says in addition, MSG Network and MSG Plus were pulled from Dish over a pricing dispute.

John Consoli of Mediaweek looks at Fox making Game 3 of this year’s World Series an extra early start.

Mike Freeman of CBS Sports says LeBron James can’t call racism over criticism over “The Decision” when he’s never taken a stand in his life.

The Huffington Post has TNT’s Charles Barkley ripping James for his comments. 

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says US Ryder Cup team outfitter Sun Mountain Sports is getting heat over its non-waterproof raincoats.

The Big Lead notes a new poll in which an overwhelming majority of respondents want women banned from NFL locker rooms. 
Sports Media Watch says Fox’s regional coverage in Week 3 drew big ratings.

SMW notes that Fanhouse writer Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges and was eventually sentenced to probation and community service.

SportsbyBrooks says while ESPN doesn’t have Mariotti in its plans, Fanhouse is apparently lobbying owner AOL to keep him.

Dave Kohl in the Major League Programs blog looks at the stellar ratings for Monday night’s Packers-Bears game.

Brady Green at Awful Announcing says Screamin’ Gus Johnson is now launching a new clothing line based on one of his catchphrases.

The Thoroughbred Times says the Breeders’ Cup will be aired live on five ESPN networks. 

East and Mid-Atlantic

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn talks with NESN’s Bruins voice Jack Edwards who’s looking forward to hockey season.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Bill Doyle looks at a local movie theater that shows New England Patriots games on its really big screen.

Amanda Bruno at Batter-up with Bruno has some thoughts on the Boston Globe’s online paywall. 

The Watertown (MA) Tab & Press talks with a town native who directed the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, “Once Brothers”, that airs later this month.

Over to the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir who delves into why Fox decided to start World Series Game 3 an hour earlier than the other games.

50 years later, Richard gets analysis from SNY’s Keith Hernandez on a pivotal play that occurred in the 1960 World Series.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with CBS/WFAN/Westwood One Radio’s Boomer Esiason who hardly has time to sleep these days.

Neil also talks about MSG and MSG Plus getting pulled from Dish Network.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says SNY’s Mets crew’s mocking of the White Sox Hawk Harrelson got them close to mocking the Yankees’ Derek Jeter. That’s what Raissman is contending.

The New York Post’s Dr. Doom and Gloom is disappointed in NBC’s Cris Collinsworth. I’m sure Cris is going to change his style just for you, Dr. Doom and Gloom.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with NBC’s Johnny Miller about the Ryder Cup.

The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty looks at the revised Ryder Cup TV schedule.

Pete talks with the new voice of the AHL’s Albany Devils.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik explains why the local ESPN Radio affiliate is going by the wayside.

Brian O’Neill of the Post-Gazette says the long-lost TV footage of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series will be premiered by MLB Network in the Steel City before it airs on television.

DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes writing in Press Box says the Baltimore Orioles are shopping their radio rights between two parties.

The Washington Examiner’s Jim Williams interviews legendary DC area sportscaster Johnny Holliday.

South

Rodney Ho from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Dish Network/Fox dispute could prevent Braves fans from seeing the Bobby Cox tribute tomorrow. 

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says the fans are the losers in the Dish Network/Fox carriage dispute.

William Pack from the San Antonio Express-News writes about the Dish Network/Fox dispute. 

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman writes that both Oklahoma and Texas are working to develop their own independent TV networks.

Mel writes about Fox’s Jimmy Johnson getting voted off Survivor this week. 

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Northern Kentucky’s long-time basketball radio voice will be honored on Saturday.

John says Fox Sports Ohio among other Fox channels were pulled from Dish Network.

And John says the Cincinnati Reds will be featured in a new MLB Postseason promo.

Michael Zuidema in the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says a local TV sports director is busy during high school football season.

Arthur Rothstein of AnnArbor.com speaks with Big Ten Network’s Charissa Thompson. 

Terry Hutchens in the Indianapolis Star notes that Indiana University will go 3-D next Saturday.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers.

Ed talks with new Chicago Bulls President Ed Reinsdorf.

Julie DiCaro at the ChicagoNow blog doesn’t like the idea of a separate ESPN women’s brand.

Lauren Fitzpatrick of the Southtown (IL) Star writes about the sad story about the mother of a Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor being allegedly killed by her husband.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley has Fox’s Brian Billick high on the Green Bay Packers.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says legendary Gateway City broadcaster Jay Randolph will most likely call his last Cardinals game this Sunday.

Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Rams managed to avoid a blackout of this Sunday’s game against Seattle.

West

Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune has 1st year Padres TV Dick Enberg looking forward to calling the games again next year.

Mark Zeigler of the Union-Tribune says fans in blacked out markets are finding creative ways to watch NFL games.

And this leads into Kevin Acee’s article in the Union-Tribune that the Chargers are blacked out once again on Sunday.

John Maffei at the North County Times says there will be plenty of lineup changes on local sports radio stations on Monday.

Meg James at the Los Angeles Times looks at the Dish Network/Fox carriage dispute.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Times says Torii Hunter of the Anaheim Angels will be a guest analyst on MLB Network during the postseason. 

Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News says the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary unit has added a film on former Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.

As we go into the 10th month of the year, Tom has 10 sports media issues he’s thinking about.

Tom reviews the week in sports media.

Tom says thanks to the bad weather in Wales, the entire Ryder Cup will be shown live one way or another throughout the weekend.

Tom notes that the late Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Raiders voice Bill King is on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says UK’s Sky TV which is carrying the Ryder Cup shows no objectivity when it comes to covering the event.

Mark Brownlee of the Centretown News notes that Rogers Sportsnet’s new channel will leave Ottawa Senators fans out in the cold. 

And that will conclude the megalinks

You’ll Have To Pay To Read Shaughnessy Starting in 2011 (Perhaps Not)

The Boston Globe announced today that starting next year, they will break the content of the Globe and Boston.com into two separate sites. BostonGlobe.com will require a paid subscription to access, while Boston.com will remain free.

Globe to offer two websites: one free, one pay

So soon you’ll need to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy. On the other hand, apparently you’ll get all the Tony Massarotti and Chris Gasper you want for absolutely free!

Update…

The following was posted on Twitter by a Boston.com sports producer:

The good news about all of this two websites business is that all of sports will be free. Sports fans have nothing to worry about.Thu Sep 30 20:13:32 via Seesmic Desktop

Now I have to say, if true, that is extremely smart on the part of the Globe. Sports articles are among the most visited on the website, (some people only visit the sports articles) and to continue to offer them from free would be a win for many consumers.

I can’t help but think that the amount of competition out there in this market for sports coverage lead to the decision to keep it free. Who would pay just for the Globe’s take on sports when they can choose from dozens of other outlets?

Who Will The Globe Hire To Replace Albert Breer?

This is Albert Breer’s last week with the Boston Globe before he joins the NFL Network next week. In his weekly chat on Friday, Chad Finn answered the following question from a reader:

What’s the Globe’s plan that Bert is leaving? 
 
Chad Finn:
Not my place to divulge names, but I know of at least one pretty well-known NFL writer who interviewed this week. I know Bert took a lot of heat from readers for his occasional contrarianism, but I’ll miss him. The only person I’ve met in this business who exudes a genuine passion for football like Bert does is Mike Reiss. He did get a very sweet gig at the NFL Network. He’ll be making 150 TV appearances over the course of a year as well as writing for NFL.com as one of their eastern correspondents.

It is a great gig for Breer, no question about it.

So who has interviewed at the Globe, and who might they consider hiring as a replacement for Breer has the top NFL writer?

Here is my very short list.

1) Todd Archer, Dallas Morning News  (@toddarcher )

A source tells me that Archer (right), Breer’s former coworker at the DMN, was actually very seriously considered when the Globe hired Breer. In fact, they may have preferred him over Breer, but couldn’t get the details worked out.

I don’t know if they would still have the same level of interest this time around, but Archer, who I believe does have Boston ties, would have to be considered a serious candidate.

2) Greg A Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(@Greg_A_Bedard )

I believe strongly that Bedard (right) is the “pretty well-known NFL writer” cited by Finn in his above chat. Ultimately, I think he is the one who may well end up with the job. In fact, my source says he’s been offered the job. He’s also got local ties, as Breer himself pointed out in a training camp blog post that Bedard did for Boston.com on the Packers, noting that like Breer, Bedard is a “Lincoln-Sudbury guy.” Prior to covering the Packers, Bedard covered the Miami Dolphins for the Palm Beach Post.

Bedard is prolific on Twitter, which is where I first came across him. This interview with Cheesehead TV gives you some more of his background, and that he cites the Boston Globe as  big influence on his career. (Uh oh, a slight slam at Shaughnessy in there.) This more recent interview with a Rutgers blog (Bedard is an alum) has Bedard weighing in on Devin McCourty, also a Rutgers product: “I like Devin McCourty but don’t think he’ll be any better than a pretty good player (not elite).”

In the end, I think Bedard is the one that they want, the questions will be a) whether he wants to move his family, and b) if the job, as offered is going to be appealing to him. How much support will he get from management…will he feel comfortable with the beat writers already in place at the Globe? Is the Boston Globe still an appealing destination for writers to come to?

I think we’ll find out relatively soon. I believe the position will be filled rather quickly, one way or the other.

A Challenge To Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy submitted a routine hack job of the Patriots and their methods in this morning’s newspaper. He made the usual comparisons (Nixon White House) and accusations (arrogance) and even made a statement calling out some of his colleagues in the media.

The Patriots are the Nixon White House of sports. They see demons everywhere. They bash dissent, deny the obvious, and rely on a silent majority of loyalists (including some credentialed media) to pledge allegiance.

(emphasis mine)

So here’s the challenge to the bravest columnist in town (as described by his editor, Joe Sullivan):

Name the credentialed media. Call them out by name. Do it publicly. Don’t send an email or make a phone call. Just name them.

I mean, this is a serious offense, is it not? These so-called objective media members, who have pledged allegiance to the evil empire that is the New England Patriots and their emperor, Bill Belichick, need to be identified.

I like how Dan is implying his own bravery here as well by mentioning the “silent majority of loylists” – the implication being that there are only a few brave souls – including himself – who dare speak against the evil being committed down in Foxborough.

So let’s hear it Dan. Who are the credentialed media members who have pledged allegiance to the Patriots?

Today in Boston Sports Media History – Remembering Ray Fitzgerald

From August 5th, 1982.

Ray Fitzgerald Is Dead at 55; Sports Columnist in Boston
UPI

Ray Fitzgerald, an acclaimed sports columnist for The Boston Globe, died Tuesday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital after a long illness. He was 55 years old.

Mr. Fitzgerald, a versatile writer, covered many sports for the newspaper for 17 years. He began writing his column in 1975, taking over after the retirement of the veteran columnist Harold Kaese.

The columns were known for quips and tongue-in-cheek humor, characteristics that helped Mr. Fitzgerald win the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year Award 11 times in balloting by sportswriters across the state.

After graduating in 1949 from the University of Notre Dame, which he had attended on a baseball scholarship, Mr. Fitzgerald began his newspaper career that year at The Schenectady (N.Y.) Union-Star. He later worked for The Springfield (Mass.) Union for 12 years before being hired by The Globe in 1965.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, his mother, a brother and two sisters.

If you can come across a copy of the compilation of his columns, Touching All Bases, I highly recommend picking it up. You’ll get a great feel for Boston sports in the 1970’s and very early 80’s.

Globe Staff Going Whole Hog On Brady Holdout

C’mon guys.

The Boston Globe. Allegedly THE paper of record for New England sports, is embarrassing themselves with this Tom Brady holdout garbage.

Albert Breer’s lede on the Extra Points blog:

With all the noise of a Tom Brady holdout (which I hear pretty strongly isn’t happening … and was never happening), it’s worth asking this question: How could it really come to this?

Um, what? Yeah, How could it really come to this which was never happening? Does that lede even make a modicum of sense?

Breer then goes on to quote colleague Chris Gasper, who has a few gems of his own:

He shouldn’t have to threaten not to show up to camp to get a new contract.

What threats would those be? The ones solely created by the media to “move the needle?”

The Patriots are playing a dangerous game here with their most valuable asset.

As far as I can tell, they’re not playing any game here.

The CBA has become a rather convenient bit of CYA for the Patriots not to cut Brady a big, fat check.

Right. That’s really all it is. How stupid does he think they are?

Tony Massarotti took his whack at the situation earlier this week…practically begging Brady to hold out. Not only hold out, but not play the entire season.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning sits in the exact same situation. The only difference being he’s getting a higher base salary than Brady. But isn’t he also risking $50 million dollars by showing up for Colts camp?

Congratulations, Boston Globe, for abandoning any real reporting in favor of trying your hardest to simply stir the pot.