April Fools Edition

Back with the Friday media columns from across the country. Don’t worry, I’m not going to passing off false reports, that’s not what this whole thing is about. If you do want to read some humorous columns, you can click on the link to the “Call of the Green Monster” site which is all parody and very funny. It’s all about the Red Sox, but it has a good sense of humor and doesn’t cross the line.

Over to USA Today, Rudy Martzke in his last two weeks before retirement apparently mailed this column in. It’s so short you wonder why he even bothered. He spreads his manlove to the CBS production team of Director Bob Fishman and Producer Bob Dekas. It’s not a great column, but then again, Martzke is leaving on April 15 so he’s looking forward to spending time on the beach.

Boston is getting ready its the first season since 1919 as the Red Sox as Defending Champions. With ESPN2 televising the season opener this Sunday between the Red Sox and Yankees (weather permitting), the Boston Globe’s Bill Griffith comes through with a very thorough article on the improvements and additions Red Sox fans will see on the NESN broadcasts, plus other new features on Red Sox radio flagship WEEI and how fans can listen to out of town broadcasts through XM Satellite Radio.

Jim Baker of the Nashua Telgraph in New Hampshire also has an article on the Red Sox broadcasters, the Final Four weekend and a few other events sports fans will watch over the next few days.

I love reading Phil Mushnick’s weekly column in the New York Post mostly to see who this curmudgeon criticizes. Some of the criticisms are off-base, others come from left field. This week’s is more legitimate as New York City accepted the New York Jets’ bid to build a new stadium that will also spearhead the city’s 2012 Summer Olympic proposal. Mushnick also mentions the fact that Time Warner continues to shut out Mets and Knicks fans of MSG Network. Good column today.

Andrew Marchand has a series of articles in the Post today. His first deals with the sports weekend that has both the Final Four and the Red Sox-Yankees opener.

Marchand adds that the enjoyable Monday Night Football announcing duo of Al Michaels and John Madden could be doing their last season in 2005. This blog has been following the NFL TV negotiations and there’s still no resolution of the primetime packages. Marchand writes that Michaels can leave ABC if it loses MNF. Madden hopes he will stay in the broadcast booth if Monday Night Football goes elsewhere. And in that same story, Marchand talks about the use of sideline reporters in the NCAA Tournament.

Lastly, Marchand has five questions for new ESPN baseball analyst Larry Bowa.

ESPN Radio 1050 in New York got rid of “Wally and the Keeg”, the show featuring Wally Matthews and Tom Keegan. They were moved from afternoon drive to midday and this week, they were effectively shown the door. It leaves Michael Kay as the only local show on the radio station. ESPN entered the sports radio market in New York to give competition to WFAN, but so far, the FAN has won every ratings book over ESPN since their competition began four years ago. Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News has the story.

Billy Packer is growing more and more delusional by the day. Last week, there was a bizzare incident with Kentucky guard Patrick Sparks who said something to Packer after hitting a three pointer during the regional final against Michigan State and then slapped hands with him. Now, Packer is suggesting the NBA go to a four-on-four matchup on the court. That would go over well with the NBA Players Association. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune covered Packer’s comments during a teleconference call with media reporters.

Also covering Packer’s remarks is David Barron of the Houston Chronicle.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a very good article on the growth of college basketball on TV. He traces the popularity to the broadcast of the UCLA-Houston game in the Astrodome in 1968. Dick Enberg called the game on a syndicator known as TVS and Enberg’s career has grown to the announcer that he is today.

The signature video to CBS’ NCAA Tournament coverage is “One Shining Moment”, encompassing the best moments of the Tournament and the Final all the way down to about three minutes total. Scott Andera of the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has a column on that and other TV news.

Also focusing on “One Shining Moment” is San Francisco Chronicle media writer Steve Kroner and it’s more enjoyable than what Andera wrote. Perhaps Kroner wants to edit the video next year. It’s a good article, I’m not disparaging Kroner.

Larry Stewart of the LA Times has the story on the Lakers deciding to drop TV play-by-play man Paul Sunderland after this season. From all accounts, Sunderland has done a bang up job after stepping into the booth after Chick Hearn got sick and subsequently passed away. It was not the easiest of positions to be in, but Sunderland did a very good job under the circumstances and acocrding Stewart, is well liked by the Laker organization, so why are the Lakers making this decision? In Stewart’s story, Sunderland even gets an endorsement from Hearn’s widow.

Figure skating was one the hottest sports ten years ago after the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan debacle. Now, ratings are so low, ESPN is questioning its new deal with the International Skating Union. The network took over the World Figure Skating Championships this year from ABC and you probably didn’t watch it judging from how low the ratings were earlier last month. Chicago Tribune Olympic Sports writer Philip Hersh has the story about ESPN’s exasperation over the ratings and the unccoperative ISU.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union Tribune has a preview of the Red Sox-Yankees on ESPN2.

The Baltimore Orioles have announced the formation of a new Regional Sports Network, Mid-Atlantic Sports that will broadcast both the O’s and the Nationals games. It will pay a rights fee to the Nats and all profits will go to the Orioles. Nice deal for Peter Angelos. Thomas Heath of the Washington Post has the details.

Jim Sarni of the Miami Sun-Sentinel has his media column concerning the events other than the Final Four

Finally, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has the story over who will be the new Dolphins broadcast team. As it stands, there has yet to a hire. Jackson speculates that Jon Sciambi, formerly of the Marlins broadcast team would be a good choice.

Have a good weekend. I hope to have a review of the CBS coverage of the Final Four and Baseball Tonight on ESPN2 late on Sunday.

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