Daytona 500, NBA All Star Game Headline Weekend

This weekend brings us two high-profile sports events in the Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star Weekend.

The 50th Daytona 500 

FOX brings us a number of new technological advances to their broadcast, two being outlined in the exceprts from their press releases below:

On Sunday, February 17 (2:00 PM ET), FOX Sports proudly presents the 50th running of the Daytona 500 with an electrifying 80 minute prerace show to celebrate the races history and most memorable moments from the past 49 races. Hosted by Chris Myers along with analysts Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip the show is a special tribute to living racing legends who have won the Daytona 500 including Bobby Allison, Richard Petty and FOX’s very own Waltrip. In addition to previewing Sunday’s race, FOX welcomes motorsports broadcasting legend Ken Squier as a special contributor to the broadcast, adding historical perspective. It was Squier who called the first live televised Daytona 500 back in 1979 and who coined the phrase “The Great American Race.” Also in the prerace, NASCAR on FOX analyst Larry McReynolds takes a look back at the late Dale Earnhardt’s first and only Daytona 500 win in 1998 where he served as crew chief.

GOPHER CAM PROVIDES “HOLE” NEW PERSPECTIVE — Imagine that your ultimate wish is to stand trackside at the world’s most famous superspeedway, inches away as the best drivers anywhere whiz by at a breathless 185 miles per hour during the nation’s most prestigious auto race.  That’s the view Gopher Cam provides at the 50th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 (2:00 PM ET) and beyond.

Gopher Cam is a small, stationary high-definition point-of-view camera buried underneath the asphalt track surface, inches below the yellow line at Daytona International Speedway.  There are four Gopher Cams in-place for the 50th Daytona 500, one in each of the track’s four turns.  This is the first instance where a camera has been installed below the surface of a superspeedway, and this is the first time that a sub-track surface camera is HD caliber.  The cameras have also been paired with high quality condenser microphones, another first, for an unbelievably realistic audio/video experience.

“Television’s never-ending goal is to bring the viewer as close to the action as possible,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill.  “We’ve had great past success with Catcher-Cam and Diamond-Cam in our MLB coverage and Grass Cam and Wall-Cam in NASCAR on FOX broadcasts.  However, Gopher Cam, and forgive us for having some fun with the name, is different. These are HD cameras developed specifically for this use.  The pictures are phenomenal, and the audio that the mikes provide is mean and loud.  It’s a tremendous complement to our Emmy-caliber NASCAR broadcasts.” 

The camera hardware and electronics have been installed six inches below the asphalt, and is housed in a cylindrical stainless steel fixture.  The lens is less than a half-inch in diameter, and camera is angled slightly to see oncoming traffic.  The assembly is covered by a protective dome that is four-inches in diameter and rises less than one-quarter inch above the track surface.  Cars rolling over them will have no idea of their presence. The cameras are connected to FOX’s mobile production units outside DIS via copper wiring that was trenched in below the track and grass and run to where it meets up with the network’s advanced fiber optic wiring system. 

Live Online Q&A System To be Launched

This virtual Q&A is unlike others that may have preceded it.  On FOXSports.com, NASCAR on FOX analysts Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds, three of the sport’s most knowledgeable experts, can answer viewer’s questions in real time.  Each individual has been recorded providing simple, concise explanations to hundreds of potential questions that might arise during a NASCAR on FOX race.

“Every sport, including NASCAR, is loaded with unique terminology that many core viewers understand, but sometimes has others scratching their heads,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill.  “Our virtual Q&A is designed to enhance the viewing experience by helping the curious fan better understand what they’re seeing while they’re seeing it.”

FOX’s virtual Q&A is an adaptation of patented technology called Synthetic Interviews developed at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Penn., by Scott Stevens, Ph.D. and Michael Christel, Ph.D., computer researchers in CMU’s School of Computer Science and Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). 

“By enabling fans to interact with their favorite on-air personalities online, FOX Sports and FOXSports.com are delivering the type of engaging, multi-platform experience that users have come to expect from sports event coverage,” said Brian Grey, SVP and GM of FOX Sports Interactive.  “It’s these types of multi-platform programming experiences that deliver a new level of engagement for sports fans and also resonate with brand advertisers.”

Synthetic Interviews is a technology that allows users to ask questions and receive video answers as if they were engaged in a face-to-face conversation with a live person.  Specifically regarding this effort, one of the three NASCAR on FOX experts appears to answer the question or explain the term as though speaking directly to the viewer.  When the project is launched on

Sunday, over 300 terms frequently used during race coverage, such as wedge, marbles or camber can be explained by the FOX Sports Answer Man.  While not every possible question can be anticipated, items featured can be refreshed and updated based on demand.  

NBA All Star Weekend on TNT

TNT’s coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend festivities tips off Friday, February 15 at 9 p.m. ET with the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam. Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley will be courtside to call the action with Craig Sager reporting from the sidelines. Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai will follow with Johnson, Smith and Barkley.

The excitement continues on Saturday, February 16, when Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai tips off an exciting night at 5 p.m. ET. TNT guest analyst Magic Johnson and NBA Insider David Aldridge will join Ernie Johnson, Smith and Barkley live from the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. At 7 p.m. ET, TNT will present NBA’s Greatest Slam Dunk Contest: Airborne. Through first-person interviews of players and TNT announcers, ‘Airborne’ reflects on memorable NBA dunk contests and the host cities that served as backdrops to the dunks that made history. Beginning at 8 p.m. ET, TNT will televise exclusive live coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which includes the Haier Shooting Stars competition, the Playstation Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, and the Sprite Slam Dunk. The evening will be capped off by the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2008 presented on TNT by Old Spice Pro Strength at 11 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT.

TNT’s All-Star coverage takes center stage on Sunday, February 17 at 8 p.m. ET with the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. Play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and analysts Doug Collins and Reggie Miller will be courtside with Craig Sager reporting from the sidelines.

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Weekend Watch – NFL Opening Weekend 2007

It’s opening weekend for rest of the NFL this Sunday, and the Patriots get things started with a matchup with the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

WBZ-TV is your Boston destination for the game, as they kick things off tonight with a Patriots season preview at 7:00pm. On Sunday, they have Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, followed by CBS’ NFL Today at Noon and the Patriots/Jets game at 1:00. Following the game, Patriots 5th Quarter will air on sister station TV-38.

The Patriots/Jets matchup is the national game for CBS, with number one crew Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action.

FOX has the NFL Doubleheader Sunday with Eagles/Packers at 1:00 and Bears/Chargers at 4:15. FOX NFL Sunday at noon welcomes new full-time host Curt Menefee. Menefee joins the cast of co-host Terry Bradshaw and analysts Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson. Also new this year, former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer is paired with fellow National Championship and Super Bowl-winning coach Johnson in a segment called “Grumpy Old Coaches.” Bradshaw moderates/referees this segment. NFL Insider, Jay Glazer joins FOX NFL SUNDAY in the studio this season, reporting the latest news and notes from around the league. Weather forecaster Jillian Reynolds (not Barberie) returns and comedic prognosticator Frank Caliendo contributes his weekly “Frank’s Picks” segment.

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will have a feature on Eric Mangini – What will the second-year Jets coach do for an encore after turning a 4-12 squad into a playoff team that helped launch the “Man-genius” label, a cameo on “The Sopranos” and a spirited rivalry with the New England Patriots and his mentor, Bill Belichick. Reporter Wendi Nix gets an inside look at Mangini’s life on and off-the-field, highlighted by his “take your family to work day” at the Jets headquarters.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football game is Giants/Cowboys at 8:15pm.

For the rest of the country, here are your NFL Coverage Maps for CBS, Fox Game One and Fox Game Two.

(Also back for another year is the College Football TV Schedule.)

Patriots Daily will have you covered on the college games tomorrow, plus the Sunday morning links, game blog and Game Day Rear View. You can check out the NY coverage on the New York Sports Pages, as well as JetsLinks.com.

The Red Sox are in Baltimore this weekend, continuing their series with the Orioles. Keep up with the action on RedSoxLinks.com.

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WEEI’s Glenn Ordway promised an “announcement” at 5:00pm today, (which really means closer to 5:30) but David Scott says that it likely won’t be a new deal for Dennis & Callahan.

Mike Zhe reports on UNH backup quarterback Hank Hendricks being charged with murder.

Pink Hat Hell has the review of Sox Appeal Episode 6.

Bill Simmons has his two-part NFL Preview, and in the first part, he ranks teams 32-12 and in the second part teams 11-1 and has his week one picks.

Pat Kirwan has 10 things to watch for this weekend.

Don Banks has week one matchups, storylines and predictions.

Aaron Schatz for Slate, tells us how to watch Pro Football.

JT the Brick has the Patriots as his preseason favorites.

The Media Circus examines Sean Salisbury’s unhealthy obsession with predicting the NFL MVP.

Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated has a story you simply must read about University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon.

Jessica Camerato has 10 things you won’t see from the Celtics this season.

Sam Smith says that Kevin Garnett will make it work in Boston, partially by deferring to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen when the game is on the line.

Chad Finn goes nine innings for FoxSports.

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New England
Susan Bickelhaupt has Dan Dierdorf talking about the Patriots being the favorites. Bill Doyle has Red Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo changing his philosophy on-the-fly during the Clay Buchholz game about talking about a no-hitter in progress. David Scott offers up a WEEI fantasy draft. John Molori says that Jim Nantz has carved a classy niche for himself in the broadcaster pantheon.

New York
Phil Mushnick says that Keith Hernandez’s “arrogance, condescending manner, impatience, sarcasm, naughtiness, knowledge, and brutal candor would make him both cherished and scorned.” Justin Terranova has John Madden saying that Eli Manning has what it takes to win. He also has five questions with Phil Simms about this Sunday’s Jets/Patriots game. Neil Best has Kenny Albert’s long tenure at FOX finally paying off. Bob Raissman says that NBC is counting on Tiki Barber to “swing the axe” and stir things up. Richard Sandomir has a look at the new stadium for the Jets and Giants.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand has rookie analyst Barber taking some heat from fellow analysts for telling “secrets” about his former team. Chris Zelkovich has the NFL trying to put a bad offseason behind it. Laura Nachman has a game plan for Eagles TV and Radio this season. Leonard Shapiro offers up some analysis of the NFL analysts. Jim Williams talks to John Madden and the NBC crew about opening night.

South
Dave Darling lets it be known that he dislikes Thursday night football. Immensely. He asserts that the NFL season should start on Sunday. David Barron has Austin dropping the Texans game this weekend in favor of Vince Young and the Titans. Barry Jackson has the Miami Dolphins radio crew getting ready for their regular season debut as a three man booth. He also looks at FOX’s Grumpy Old Coaches pregame segment.

Midwest
Judd Zulgad has the Clippers swooping in to grab the Timberwolves Radio play-by-play man. Teddy Greenstein says that having Ron Jaworski on board will be key to Tony Kornheiser’s second season on Monday Night Football. Bob Wolfley has Emmitt Smith talking about Brett Favre approaching Dan Marino’s passing records. Jeffrey Flanagan has the Missouri Tigers falling victim to the SEC’s television contracts. Dan Caesar says that KSDK whiffed by not carrying the Deutsche Bank Championship last weekend.

West Coast
Jay Posner has Troy Aikman saying that he won’t give his former offensive coordinator Norv Turner a free ride in his analysis of the Chargers/Bears game on Sunday. John Maffei has more on the Aikman/Tuner dynamic on Sunday. Larry Stewart looks at Tiki Barber stirring up controversy by ripping his former team. Stewart’s notebook has the networks pulling out all the stops for the NFL. Tom Hoffarth has “the stuff you need to know about the 2007 NFL TV season but were afraid to hear the answer.” He has more media notes in his blog.

Weekend Watch – Labor Day Weekend 2007

Can it possibly be Labor Day Weekend already?

It’s our last weekend before the NFL regular season kicks in, and one last chance to spend some quality time with your family on a Sunday afternoon.

The Red Sox look to get back on the winning side of things starting tonight at Fenway in the first of a three game series with the Orioles. Keep up with the news this weekend on RedSoxLinks.com.

The Patriots have started their preparation for next Sunday’s season opener against the division rival Jets down in New York. Saturday will mark cutdown day as the team needs to trim down to the regular season limit of 53 players (though they have an extra spot until Asante Samuel is actually ready to play). Keep up with the news on Patriots Daily. Tomorrow we’ll have a college football breakdown, with an eye towards players that might be in the Patriots future. Sunday will also bring another edition of the Sunday Links.

Will Gerry Callahan and John Dennis magically reappear on the WEEI airwaves Tuesday morning? It wouldn’t be the biggest upset of the year if they did.

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The Red Sox may make more headlines and have their own Nation, but the Patriots are showing that they are no slouches at PR and media production either, as they announced today this season’s offerings on the Patriots Football Network, which spans TV, Radio, Print and the Internet. The new season will include a complete re-design of Patriots.com, set to debut on September 4th. Here’s a breakdown of all the PFN programming for this season:

PATRIOTS on TV

Patriots All Access (Premiering LIVE Friday, Sept. 7 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. on WCVB in Boston)
Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. on WCVB in Boston; Sundays at 1:30 a.m. on WPRI in Providence; Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. on WFXQ in Springfield and anytime on Comcast On Demand

Patriots All Access, winner of the 2007 New England Emmy Award for best Sports Series, airs weekly throughout the season. Patriots All Access features weekly sit-downs with Coach Bill Belichick including the popular “Belestrator” segment where the coach breaks down upcoming opponents.

Kristina Akra
Patriots Today (NEW – Premiering Sept. 4 on Patriots.com)
Daily at Patriots.com and on Comcast On Demand
Patriots Today, the team’s newest media offering, gives fans a daily, in-depth look at the club that is unmatched by any other outlet. The show is hosted by Kristina Akra and features daily reports from Brian Lowe and twice-weekly analysis from PFW’s Paul Perillo. Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman John Hannah will also offer his expertise throughout the season. This daily half-hour webcast is dedicated exclusively to the Patriots and provides daily features, reports and commentary that will satisfy every fan’s daily Patriots fix.

Patriots This Week (NEW – Premiering Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m. on WSBK)
Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. on WSBK Channel 38
Patriots This Week, airing on Channel 38 every Saturday night, provides a thorough recap of each week’s developments to get fans up-to-date and excited for the next day’s game. Hosted by Kristina Akra, the show delivers fans everything they need to know, with the week’s best stories, quotes and analysis.

Totally Patriots (Premiering Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. on WCVB in Boston)
Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on WCVB in Boston; Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on WNAC in Providence; Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on WFXQ in Springfield and anytime on Comcast On Demand

Totally Patriots, a weekly youth-oriented football show is back for its third season on WCVB, Channel 5 in Boston. Hosted by Kerry Connolly, Totally Patriots allows the next generation of Patriots fans unprecedented access to their favorites players, enabling them to ask questions in a relaxed, informal setting. The program also includes football tips from Patriots Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett and a current Patriots player, and the opportunity to win college scholarships by writing weekly essays on the Patriots.

Patriots Football Weekly (TV)
Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. during the season on NECN
Every week during the season on New England Cable News, the writers from Patriots Football Weekly gather to discuss everything Patriots. They’ll review Sunday’s game and look forward to New England’s next opponent. It’s a great half hour of Patriots talk on TV. Every Tuesday night at 11 p.m. hosted by NECN’s Chris Collins. Replayed at 11:30 p.m.

Patriots 5th Quarter
Immediately following each game on WBZ-TV/TV38
WBZ-TV and TV38 team up to broadcast Patriots 5th Quarter immediately following each Patriots game. WBZ-TV Sports Director Bob Lobel and WBZ-TV Sports Reporter Steve Burton join former Patriots players Scott Zolak and Steve DeOssie to provide instant reaction and analysis in studio and at the stadium. Patriots 5th Quarter also features exclusive live coverage of the Patriots post-game press conferences with Coach Belichick and Tom Brady.

PATRIOTS on RADIO

Patriots Monday
Mondays during the season on WEEI Sports Radio 850 AM (Boston); 103.7 FM (Providence); 1440 AM (Worcester); 105.5 FM (Springfield).

WEEI Sports Radio broadcasts Patriots Monday each week, offering fans the chance to hear from Coach Belichick, Tom Brady and the players of the game.

Patriots Friday
Fridays during the season on 890 ESPN Boston
890 ESPN Boston has the exclusive rights to broadcast Patriots Friday from Gillette Stadium each week during the season. Kevin Winter delivers Patriots updates throughout the day, and ESPN Boston’s Mike Felger hosts The Mike Felger Show from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. from Gillette Stadium, where he is joined by prominent Patriots players each week.

Patriots Pregame and Postgame
Before and after each game on the WBCN Rock Radio Network
WBCN is the Patriots’ flagship station, broadcasting every Patriots game across its FM radio network. Three hours prior to kickoff, during halftime and after the game, host Gary Tanguay is joined by co-hosts Scott Zolak and Andy Gresh among other guests, serving up all the pregame and postgame news and notes, including live sound from the postgame press conferences.

PATRIOTS IN PRINT

Patriots Football Weekly
Subscriptions Available by calling 800-494-PATS
Patriots Football Weekly is the official newspaper of the New England Patriots and the nation’s only full-color football newspaper. PFW is published weekly throughout the season and monthly during the offseason, providing readers with exclusive Patriots coverage. Each issue of Patriots Football Weekly is loaded with the latest news, game previews and reviews, feature stories, contests and full-color posters.

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Pink Hat Hell reviews Sox Appeal Episode 5.

Tony Massarotti notes that it has been 40 years since Carl Yastrzemski became the last triple crown winner in baseball.

Mike Celizic says that the Red Sox will be fine as long as their pitching holds up.

Greg Cosell says that Tom Brady is the most mobile quarterback in the NFL.

Rich Cimini has a Patriots season preview on NFL.com.

Bucky Brooks predicts the best and worst of the upcoming NFL season.

Bill Simmons has his top 50 fantasy football picks.

Tom Curran Tom Curran recently ranked Eli Manning and the 25th best QB in football. He heard from a few Giants fans afterwards.

Steve Greenberg says that Paul Pierce needs to get into the best shape of his life so that he doesn’t wear down late in games this season.

Chris O’Leary of Slam has Paul Pierce among those players who participated in the making of EA Sports NBA Live 08 – a pretty entertaining article, especially reading the talk among the various players.

Frank Isola says that the Kevin Garnett trade will have an impact that will be felt throughout the NBA.

Richard Deitsch talks to Boomer Esiason about his new job taking over for Don Imus on WFAN, which starts next Tuesday.

Matt Casey looks at some of the greatest names in the world of sports.

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New England
David Scott wraps up his experience at the ESPN Media Workshop yesterday. Susan Bickelhaupt checks in with Tommy Roy of NBC sports, who has been nominated for more Emmys than anyone in the history of sports television. Bill Doyle has a look at Worcester Sharks announcer Eric Lindquist, who has a Showcase Showdown victory on The Price is Right under his belt. John Molori had Cris Carter talking about former teammate and new Patriot Randy Moss.

New York
Phil Mushnick knocks ESPN/ABC for using 50 Cent to open the network’s Saturday night college football games. Richard Sandomir has John McEnroe mellowing from “superbratty to cuddly.” Neil Best wonders if college football will ever be relevant in New York City.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand looks at ESPN/ABC launching into college football with 25 games this weeks, profiles 89 year old Jimmy Wall, who has been a stage manager at CBS for 40 years, and has Faith Hill professing her love for football as she replaces Pink in the intro to NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Leonard Shapiro has Mike Tirico jumping at the chance to cover Virginia Tech’s home opener, the first game since the April 16th tragedy that killed 32 people. Chris Zelkovich notes that Canadians will even watch hockey in the sweltering August heat. Laura Nachman has Comcast and the NFL Network still battling over placement of the network on the Sports Tier.

South
Barry Jackson has former UM coach Larry Coker getting ready to cover his former team this weekend as an analyst for ESPNU. Dave Darling gives us 10 reasons why the BCS works. David Barron has high school football going up against the Texans last night on Houston television. Barry Horn lists out his top 10 NFL announcers.

Midwest
Dan Caesar reports that FOX NFL Sunday will again have a new look for this season. Judd Zulgad notes that KMSP could take a huge hit if the Vikings’ season opener is blacked out, as no other game will be available as a replacement to the station. Teddy Greenstein looks at three new books on college football, and has a few other media items. Bob Wolfley notes that the Big Ten Network is currently only available by satellite TV as Time Warner, Comcast and Charter have not yet made a deal to bring the network on.

West Coast
Jay Posner looks at a possible new competitor for XX Sports Radio. Larry Stewart has a look at the return of college football. Tom Hoffarth has NBC on the Jimmy Clausen watch. John Maffei notes that the new San Diego State radio crew is a bit of a mismatch. Jim Carlisle has a piece on Dr. Jerry Punch and what the Dr. part has to do with his role on television. Carlisle’s notebook has former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter now doing 90 second commentaries on KLAC. Carlise also has a new blog: Jim Carlisle’s Sports Notes.

Hot Summer Nights

The Patriots are in Charlotte taking on the Carolina Panthers tonight and the Red Sox are in Chicago, headlining this weekend’s local sports events.

The Red Sox play a doubleheader with the White Sox Friday on NESN, (though the weather isn’t looking good) while Saturday’s 3:30pm game is on FOX, with Matt Vasgersian & Joe Girardi calling the game. Sunday’s game is back on NESN. Keep up with all the Red Sox coverage on RedSoxLinks.com.

The Patriots are on CBS Friday night, where Greg Gumbel teams with Dan Dierdorf in calling the action from the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. This game will be shown in HDTV at 1080i lines of picture resolution along with 5.1 digital audio.

On Patriots Daily, we’ll have a wrapup of the game, and the coverage from the weekend, including the extensive Sunday Links posting.

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It was another eventful week in the Boston sports media, with the Boston Globe bringing on board former Denver Post NBA writer Marc Spears to headline what would seem to be a new emphasis on Celtics coverage at the Globe.

Local guy and former Boston Herald columnist Howard Bryant had his first column for ESPN.com this week, writing about the how the NFL Players Association has failed both Michael Vick and itself.

A pair of curious comments stood out this week in reading over sports coverage. Both statements appeared to be overreaction on the part of the writers. The first one was regarding the Patriots kicker when the Providence Journal Patriots notebook stated that “many Patriots fans started to lose confidence in Stephen Gostkowski” after the second year kicked missed some kicks in practice last week, and then missed a 33 yard kick and sent a kickoff out of bounds in the second preseason game.

Were “many” Patriots fans really losing confidence in a guy who made some huge kicks towards the end of last season (including the game winner in the San Diego playoff game and outkicking Adam Vinatieri in the AFC championship game- both road games, by the way)? It seems a little far-fetched that fans would be jumping off the Gostkowski bandwagon so quickly.

The other comment was from Worcester Telegram & Gazette baseball writer Bill Ballou, who led off Thursday Red Sox game story thusly:

This certainly isn't what the Red Sox expected when they shelled out $100 million, give or take a nickel, to obtain the services of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

They didn't expect him to be 13-10, just three games over .500 on a team that is 25 games over. And they didn't expect him to be 1-3 against the Devil Rays, the worst team in the AL East, especially when the rest of the Boston pitching staff is 8-1 against Tampa Bay.

Seth Mnookin tackled this ridiculous statement already in a post on his blog, which shows that if anything, Matsuzaka has actually exceeded expectations thus far in his first season in Boston.

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Many of those not in the Boston market this weekend will see the Mets and Dodgers on FOX, in a broadcast that will feature a special coming together of two prominent voices in the history of the New York Mets when Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner rejoins long-time broadcast partner Tim McCarver. In the third inning of Saturday’s game, Kiner will enter the Shea Stadium television booth named in his honor and broadcast with McCarver for the first time since 1998. Kiner, who has been a part of the Mets broadcast team since their inception in 1962, spent 16 seasons (1983-1998) working alongside McCarver, a span that covered the Mets incredible World Series run in 1986 and division title in 1988. During Ralph’s visit to the booth, McCarver will resume his old duties and call an inning of play-by-play alongside Kiner, just like the old days. “We spent sixteen great years together,” said McCarver. “I’m looking very forward to seeing my good friend.”

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Starting next Wednesday, at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN will feature 25 consecutive hours of college football-themed programming leading up to the #2 LSU at Mississippi State telecast Thursday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. also on ESPN.

The schedule will include six special editions of College Football Live, while ESPN’s regularly scheduled programming – such as SportsCenter, NFL Live, PTI, Rome is Burning, Around the Horn and Outside the Lines – will provide extensive college football content. Davis will host every college football show and segments in non-college football programs during the 25 hours of coverage.

They’re promoting it as a 25 hour pregame show leading up to the first televised college football game of the season.
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Jessica Camerato lists out five reasons that Reggie Miller should’ve come to Boston.

Pink Hat Hell reviews the fourth episode of Sox Appeal.

Kevin Hench says that we shouldn’t expect J.D. Drew to all of a sudden turn on the power switch.

Tom Pedulla in USA Today has the Patriots hoping for big returns from Wes Welker.

Steve Henson has an interesting look at Jim Bouton’s first Vintage Base Ball Federation World Series which took place last weekend in Westfield, Ma.

Tony Massarotti looks at the 16 MLB teams that are still in playoff contention.

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Nationals Sports Media Columns

New England
Susan Bickelhaupt has Doug Flutie insisting that he’ll be able to remain objective when analyzing a Boston College game for ESPN. She also enjoyed Dan Patrick’s co-host stint on WEEI Thursday. Bill Doyle talks to Evan Brunell, founder of the sports blog network Most Valuable Network. David Scott checks in with new Boston Globe Celtics writer Marc Spears, who seems thrilled to be here in Boston with everything that is going on in the world of Boston sports. Andrew Neff has Time Warner cable apologizing to viewers for going to a commercial just as the Angels were in the process of executing a walk-off win against the Yankees on Monday night.

New York
Phil Mushnick says that Tiki Barber may not have been correct in his comments about Eli Manning and Giants Sunday night, but he wasn’t far off, and his is now being paid to give him opinion, for better or for worse. Richard Sandomir has Bill Cowher settling into his new role as analyst on CBS’ The NFL Today. He also has Nike featuring 18 women in an ad that will debut tomorrow. Bob Raissman says that the Michael Vick story is going to linger throughout the NFL season.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand has Keith Olbermann getting back into sports with his debut on NBC’s NFL coverage this Sunday. Laura Nachman has former NBA assistant coach and “Post Game Live” analyst Bob Salmi being hired as an analyst for Sixers games on Comcast SportsNet. Leonard Shapiro remembers the late Phil Rizzuto. Chris Zelkovich says that like it or not, mixed martial arts fighting is here to stay. Jim Williams notes that with the Redskins and Ravens playing their annual preseason game, viewers get to see dueling game broadcasts. He also notes that Michael Vick has become more than a sports story.

South
Barry Jackson has the sports radio wars in Miami heating up. He also says that Sid Rosenberg needs to stop telling guests how fabulous they are. Dave Darling notes that Roger Federer’s dominance flies under the public radar. David Barron has Jim Rome saying that the Michael Vick story tops all the hot button issues, from O.J. Simpson to Ray Lewis to Kobe Bryant and beyond. Barry Horn has Daryl Johnston noting letting his NFL job for FOX silence him from supporting retired NFL players’ gripes with the league and its players association over disability payouts.

Midwest
Teddy Greenstein has Comcast and the Big Ten Network battling over the channel’s placement on the cable system, and with the season getting close, no deal is on the horizon. Judd Zulgad also reports on the Comcast/Big Ten Network battle. Dan Caesar has Tim McKernan staying on the St. Louis airwaves rather than taking an offer from SportsNet New York. Bob Wolfley says that Tiki Barber’s candor was just what NBC hired him for. Jeffrey Flanagan has FOX planning changes to the Royals broadcasts for next season.

West Coast
Jay Posner notes that despite having the Padres leading in the NL Wildcard chase, this has still been a summer of discontent for San Diego fans. Tom Hoffarth says that the media has been on target in the Michael Vick case. He also has a collection of wiseacre media comments in his blog. Larry Stewart looks at the upcoming coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis championships. John Maffei has ESPN pushing hype to new levels with their upcoming “25 Hours of College Football” event. Jim Carlisle looks at a number of changes coming in NFL telecasts this season.

Weekend Watch – PGA Championship Edition

It’s a busy summer weekend of sports as a golf major, baseball and preseason football is all on the schedule, along with David Beckham coming to Foxboro.

*The Patriots preseason kicks off tonight down in Tampa at 7:30 on Channel 5 (WCVB). Patriots Daily will have a Game Day Rear View feature following the action, and is the place to check in over the weekend for Sunday football links.

*The PGA Championship takes place this weekend, as golf wraps up the final major of the season. TNT coverage from 11:00am to 2:00pm Saturday and Sunday, while CBS follows with 2:00pm to 7:00pm coverage each of those days.

*The Red Sox are in Baltimore to face the Orioles this weekend, hoping to keep their AL East lead comfortable over the New York Yankees. Keep up with the action on RedSoxLinks.com.

*British Soccer superstar David Beckham is in New England this weekend as the first place (9-4-6) New England Revolution take on the Los Angeles Galaxy this Sunday, August 12 at 7:00PM. The game can only be seen on TV38. This is also the only match-up this season between the two teams.

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David Scott checks in with another Dennis and Callahan negotiations update. He says Dennis’ vacation this week was planned, but that Entercom could possibly not put him back on the air until the contract situation with he and Gerry Callahan is straightened out.

Bill Simmons takes a break from the book writing to bang out a mailbag.

Chad Finn has nine innings worth of Red Sox thoughts.

Clark Booth loves The Bronx is Burning.

Eric Wilbur is glad football is back, but doesn’t care for the league’s restrictive media policies.

Bill Wallace remembers Bucky Kilroy.

Tom Curran reports from Steelers training camp.

Tim Sullivan in the San Diego Union Tribune has an interesting feature on Richard Birch, whose father Paul had his career ruined by the Jack Molinas point shaving scandal in the 1950’s.

Dr. Z. has an NFL mailbag.

Mike Freeman doesn’t appear to be a fan of Bob Costas.

Eric Edholm is enjoying Hard Knocks on HBO.

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New England
David Scott looks at WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan mystery, and also 890 ESPN being on the market. Susan Bickelhaupt talks to Red Sox announcer Dave O’Brien, who made the calls of Barry Bonds’ record tying and breaking home runs in the last week for ESPN. Jeff Howe talks to CBS football analyst Randy Cross about the Patriots, and also the passing of his former coach, Bill Walsh.

New York
Neil Best examines the various calls of the announcers who were there for Barry Bonds’ 756th home run. Richard Sandomir compares the ratings and viewership for the game in which Hank Aaron broke the home run record in 1974, to the game in which Bonds broke the record this week. Aaron’s game drew 15 times as many viewers and Sandomir says there is more to it than simply the difference in TV eras. Phil Mushnick says that it is fine to feel repulsed over Bonds breaking the record, no matter what the networks tell you. Justin Terranova has 5 questions with Nick Faldo. Bob Raissman says that Carl Banks displayed a brain and a conscience in declining to attach ARod’s name to the steroid discussion on WFAN this week.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand says ESPN is planning plenty of storylines for Monday Night Football each week, and suggests several of his own…such as showing Joe Theismann in the stands. Howard Kurtz notes that following the Barry Bonds home run chase has been a “joyless process for many of the journalists” assigned to the story. Chris Zelkovich has the new executive producer for Hockey Night in Canada promising to keep the show on top. Laura Nachman has NBC10’s Jade McCarthy leading all Philadelphia sportscasters with four Mid-Atlantic Emmy nominations.

South
Dave Darling credits his DVR with allowing him to view the Bonds record breaking blast on his own schedule. He also looks at FSN Florida trying to get Bright House Network to put the channel on their expanded-basic cable lineup. Barry Jackson has Ron Jaworski getting ready to take on his Monday Night Football duties, and also talks to Dave O’Brien about his call of the Barry Bonds record breaking home run. David Barron has Ken Double working his last game for the Houston Aeros.

Midwest
Teddy Greenstein observes that the recent Hawk Harrelson/Steve Stone pairing on White Sox broadcasts was a hit, and wonders if things might be in the works to make it a permanent change. Bob Wolfley says that the ratings numbers for the Bonds home run are not impressive. Dan Caesar says that the chase has been good for ESPN’s ratings. Judd Zulgad looks over the latest Twins ratings numbers as well as other figures from the ratings book. Jeffrey Flanagan has Brian McRae likely moving with the Royals broadcasts to Entercom next season, even if he is an investor in their competitor.

West Coast
Larry Stewart tells about the time that Nick Faldo dropped Jim Nantz’s name to get into the NCAA Final Four…before they really knew each other. Tom Hoffarth notes that after two years of basically stalking Barry Bonds for ESPN, Pedro Gomez almost missed the record breaking home run. Jay Posner has John Madden talking about the Chargers atop a collection of media notes. Jim Williams says that the Bonds chase was a ratings monster for FSN Bay Area. John Maffei has San Diego State football “unofficially” putting together their broadcast team.

Blogs
Awful Announcing has a season preview of the FOX NFL Broadcast crew. The Starting Five has baseball writers trying to abort Barry Bonds from their systems now that the chase is over. Sports Media Journal checks out the scene inside the press box at a Pawtucket Red Sox game. Sports Media Watch has more on the Bonds coverage. TheBigLead has Bob Costas and Bill Rhoden going a few rounds over Bonds. Fire Joe Morgan tears into a Ian O’Connor column about Bonds. the Journal of Sports Media examines jockocracy ethics. Sports Law Blog has a look at how teams and leagues are limiting media access to boost online profits.

Red Sox Head West, NFL Enshrines Six

The Red Sox hit the West coast yet again this weekend as they have three games with Seattle starting tonight,(10:00pm, NESN) followed by three in Anaheim against the Angels.

Jon Lester gets the start tonight in front of his home crowd. Keep up with the coverage this weekend on RedSoxLinks.com.

There is plenty of other baseball action going on as well, as three big milestones are still waiting to be reached. Barry Bonds continues his home run chase in San Diego (where the Padres announcer hopes not to have his call “repeated for generations” (See media columns, West Coast section, below). Alex Rodriguez is still seeking career home run number 500, while (Billerica’s own) Tom Glavine will again be seeking his 300th win. Glavine’s start can be seen on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball starting at 8:00.

ESPN2 has added the Giants/Padres games to their schedule Friday and Saturday night, both at 10:00pm. Red Sox radio announcer Dave O’Brien will be calling both games.

NFL Hall of Fame induction is this weekend as the six members of the Class of 2007 – Gene Hickerson, Michael Irvin, Bruce Matthews, Charlie Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Roger Wehrli are enshrined in the Hall. ESPN will present live coverage induction ceremonies Saturday, August 4 at 6 p.m. ET from Canton, Ohio. Trey Wingo will host the three-hour telecast – in primetime for the first time – with analysts Tom Jackson and rookie Emmitt Smith.

The weekend also gets us our first glimpse of live NFL action, as the Hall of Fame game between the Saints and Steelers is Sunday night at 8:00 on NFL Network.

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Susan Bickelhaupt‘s media column in the Globe today included a quick update on the status of WEEI morning host Gerry Callahan, who has now been out over three months with an undisclosed throat ailment that required surgery. Callahan says he hopes to be back “in a couple weeks” – but since the original premise was that Callahan was just taking “a couple weeks” off to rest his voice, does this mean we can expect to hear him in November sometime? We all wish Callahan well with his recovery, but the secrecy around the whole thing has been Belichickian. I hope Gerry makes it back, but never again complains about the Patriots coach not giving out injury updates.

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Rob Bradford promises to get back to regular updates on The Bradford Files, and also is going to try to add audio links into the page to add another dimension to the site, so that you can listen to his comments and thoughts on team as well.

Suuuurrre, Rob, I think you’re just trying to get out of a little typing…

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We’ve got a week of Patriots Daily under our belts. Today we’re looking at Stanley Morgan being elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame and looking at some numbers from our first week. Check back both days this weekend, as we’ll have links and commentary.

Bob Ryan wishes that we would Please sober up when it comes to the Celtics.

Kevin Henkin pens An Open Letter to the Wet Blankets (like Ryan) on the BSMW Full Court Press.

John Klima says that Eric Gagne should be examined in the same light as Barry Bonds as regards steroids.

Gelf Magazine talks to Grant Farred, who wrote a paper in 2000 praising ESPN for raising the sports IQ. He doesn’t feel the same way now.

Paul McNamara looks at StubHub becoming “the official scalper of Major League Baseball.”

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New England
Susan Bickelhaupt has FSN New England excited at the prospect of being able to feature Kevin Garnett for the entire season. She’s also got some advice for Jerry Remy on the NESN telecasts and has an update on Gerry Callahan’s recovery and return to WEEI “in a couple weeks.” Mark Murphy looks at the Celtics suddenly becoming a must-see attraction for the national networks. Bill Doyle checks in with FOX25’s Butch Stearns, who can’t hide from Boston fans while on WEEI. David Scott has a look at the Theo Epstein Line of The Week regarding NPR vs WEEI, the Pats stealing revenue stream ideas from the Redskins and news of the pending FSNNE re-branding.

New York
Richard Sandomir says that while the YES Network is indeed for sale, the 37% ownership stake of the Steinbrenner family is not, and will remain under the control of the Yankees. Bob Raissman says to forget about James Dolan and Cablevision getting involved in the sale, but looks at the possibilities for Comcast. Phil Mushnick wonders if ESPN is finally figuring out just how bad Joe Morgan is as America’s lead baseball analyst. Neil Best checks in with the new ESPN Monday Night Football crew, and observes whether the chemistry between Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski will be better than it was between Kornheiser and Joe Theismann.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand has a look at the NBA national broadcast schedule, which will make TV stars of Kevin Garnett, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Leonard Shapiro has an extensive talk with Joe Theismann, who still cannot understand why he was fired from the Monday Night Football analyst role. Jim Williams looks at Washington D.C.’s Legg Mason event becoming a key stop on the tennis tour for ESPN2. Chris Zelkovich has quasi-sports talk radio station AM 640 taking a run at the bigger FAN 590. Richard Deitsch talks to Dan Patrick about his decision to leave ESPN.

South
Barry Jackson looks at the NFL Network getting moved to a sports and entertainment tier by Comcast, which will charge an extra $5 per month. He also looks at some troubling media musings on the Michael Vick dog-fighting case. David Barron has longtime pre and post game host finally taking his act to the field as the Texans’ new sideline reporter for KILT. Barry Horn has more on the maturation of the NFL Network.

Midwest
Judd Zulgad has a look at how the Twins announcers had to tread a very difficult line on Wednesday night between calling the game and keeping up with the tragedy of the Interstate Hwy. 35W bridge collapse. Teddy Greenstein has Joe Buck bullish on the Cubs chances and hopes to be calling Cubs postseason games in the fall. Dan Caesar catches up with a number of sports radio moves in the St. Louis market. Jeffrey Flanagan has channel 41’s Jack Harry hoping that his 2005 prediction that Priest Holmes would never again play for the Chiefs is proven wrong, but he still stands by it.

West Coast
Larry Stewart chats with Sal Masekela, host f ESPN’s Summer and Winter X Games. Stewart’s notebook has the Lakers front and center in the national NBA TV broadcasts for next season. Tom Hoffarth looks at the Summer of Beckham dragging on, and also talks with Paul Page, an X Games announcer who doesn’t quite fit the demographic of the audience, but is still well liked. Jim Williams has FSN Bay area joining the Comcast family. John Maffei has Padres announcer Ted Leitner hoping that Barry Bonds doesn’t break the home run record with him behind the mic. He says: “I don’t even want to be a part of it. I don’t want my call repeated for generations.” Jim Carlisle looks at ESPN trying to bounce around and keep up with the milestones, between the Bonds chase, Tom Glavine seeking win number 300, and David Beckham playing in the U.S. Carlisle’s notebook has a peek at the NBA schedule.

National Media Columns

Just a few links as we head into the weekend, as the launch of PatriotsDaily.com has consumed the week.

By the way, the plan for the weekend over there is to have links in the morning along with a look at the action from training camp.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are in Tampa this weekend, keep up with the action on RedSoxLinks.com.

The Baseball Hall of Fame inductions, AFL title game, and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard highlight the national sports event this weekend…those and the Barry Bonds home run chase.

National Media Columns

Boston/New York
David Scott – Boston-bred Bryant Bounces to ESPN
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell – ESPN’s coverage will air it out
Richard Sandomir – Unfettered Rose Inquiry a Contrast to N.B.A.’s Case
Neil Best – Ex-Isle GM Milbury will join NBC’s hockey team
Bob Raissman – Mets voices off base & on babble
Phil Mushnick – Good News From Bad Ref? You Bet!

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand – ESPN steps up coverage for Bonds’ home run chase
Chris Zelkovich – Very little Canadian about Open coverage
Laura Nachman – Former Eagle tackles second career
Leonard Shapiro – Wouldn’t It Be Nice…
Jim Williams – Baltimore media descends on Cooperstown
Jim Williams – What do Beckham and Geraldo have in common?

South
Barry Jackson – Dolphins radio gig excites Mandich
Barry Horn – Double take
David Barron – Franklin fine following scary auto accident

Midwest
Teddy Greenstein – Comcast, Big Ten continue cold war
Judd Zulgad – Getting Twins on KSTP not easy for some
Bob Wolfley – A chance for sweet-talk

West Coast
Jim Carlisle – ESPN won’t just be shooting the breeze
John Maffei – The Hall truth on watching Gwynn
Jay Posner – Proctor has been there for both Gwynn, Ripken
Tom Hoffarth – Media notes, the stuff that’s not good enough
Larry Stewart – Patrick finds a new course for career
Larry Stewart – Announcers can make history too

Blogosphere
Sports Media Watch – Weekend ratings predictions.
Sports Media Journal – You Too Can Be On ESPN. But Why?