The Thursday Links

The Thursday Links

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The Thursday Links

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Let’s get to our links today. MLB finally gets back into action. It seemed last night was a long grind. I will start with a quickie review of HBO’s documentary, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush.

This was done very well by HBO’s sports documentary unit. The documentary went two hours instead of the normal one and it covered a lot of bases. From the beginning of the franchise to the building of Ebbets Field on one city block in Brooklyn to the signing of Jackie Robinson to the departure of the beloved Dodgers to Los Angeles. There was a lot of ground to cover and one hour was just not enough. I could feel the passion and love for the Dodgers from the interview subjects such as Gil Hodges’ widow (a resident of Brooklyn), Larry King (!), Louis Gossett, Jr., Fox Sports Executive Producer Ed Goren and regular residents of the New York City borough. You could also feel the hurt when the subject of the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn was broached. While many residents blame team owner Walter O’Malley for leaving, the documentary also blamed developer Robert Moses and Mayor Robert Wagner for blocking the building of a domed stadium in Brooklyn. The offering of land in Chavez Ravine in LA was too much for O’Malley to turn down and by 1959, the Dodgers were gone, leaving millions of fans in Brooklyn broken hearted.

I did feel the documentary was even handed in covering so many issues including the integration of the team. You look at what Jackie Robinson had to endure in 1947 in breaking the color barrier and you could see what integrity and character he had. GM Branch Rickey and Robinson formulated a plan that would have Robinson not fight back when people would fire racial insults. Both knew if Robinson failed in 1947, it would take many years before baseball could be integrated and the success of Robinson paved the way for Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey, Jr. and yes, Barry Bonds to make it. I was more touched by this segment and the Dodgers winning the Series in 1955 than the departure of the team.

I guess it’s due to the fact that I’m more used to seeing the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but seeing the passion of the fans who loved the team and grew up watching the Boys of Summer, I can emphasize with their loss. Being a Cleveland Browns fan, I saw the team taken from a passionate fan base, but unlike Brooklyn, my team came back. The Dodgers went to LA and never looked back. The documentary gets an A.

To the links now, but before I do, let me say that Sarah Brightman is gorgeous. I just finished watching her performance at Live Earth in Shanghai and it was tremendous. Not only does she have a great singing voice, but she’s also beautiful. Just had to say that. If you want to see the performances from last week, you can seem on demand at the Live Earth concert website. And don’t forget to sign the pledge. That’s the only political statement you’ll get from me today.

Now to the links. I keep saying it, but I move to something else. First off, Bill Doyle in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette writes about two New England hockey voices being silenced.

Newsday’s Neil Best was hilarious in his blog recapping the programming on various sports channels on the worst sports night of the year.

In the New York Times, Richard Sandomir recaps a conference call with legendary Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner who will be honored this weekend at Shea Stadium.

DC/Baltimore Examiner TV/Radio writer Jim Williams caught up with Versus‘ Phil Liggett who’s doing the Tour de France for the barely seen channel again this year.

ESPN’s syndication arm, ESPN Plus, which has contracts to televise Big East, Big 12, and formerly the Big Ten has signed a deal with the Mid-America Conference to televise its football games this fall. George M. Thomas has the story in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Julie Ganz in the Journal News of New York profiles 23 year old Jon Rothstein who has quickly made a name for himself on ESPN Radio in New York and MSG Network.

Lenox Rawlings of the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal says the sports media sometimes has to stretch to find things to talk about. Prime example: ESPN’s “Who’s Next”.

Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the night after the All Star Game is just tough viewing.

The New York Daily News reports that Boomer Esiason is CBS Radio’s choice to replace Don Imus.

SI.com says 32.4 million viewers watched at least one part of the All Star Game.

Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post updates us on the Florida Panthers TV play-by-play situation. The job opened up when Dave Strader left for the Phoenix Coyotes.

That’s it for now

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