By: John Molori
July 07, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Diehards live on
- Herald heroes
- Foulke music
- Crazy about Kelly

Seeing through the smoke of July 4th fireworks

This past week, AM 1510's "The Diehards" celebrated their 500th show. The afternoon drive entry has not made a ratings splash, but it has provided area listeners with an alternative to WEEI's wildly popular "Big Show." The show that began with a marketing guy (Anthony Pepe), a sales guy (Mike Winn) and a minor league baseball play-by-play guy (Ryen Russillo) has made its mark with fun discourse and loyal listeners.

Comcast continues to grow as a major player in the Boston sports market. This week, it has added The Tennis Channel to its Digital Cable sports pack line-up. The Digital Sports Pack also includes CSTV, Fox Sports World, Fox College Sports Atlantic, Fox College Sports Central, Fox College Sports Pacific, GOL TV, NBA TV, NFL Network, Outdoor Channel, Speed Channel and TV Games.

June 30 marked the final day at the Boston Herald for Mike Shalin, Gus Martins, Joe Gordon, Kevin Mannix, George Kimball, Michael Gee and Michael O'Connor. Change is a fact of life in today's business, but this "Magnificent Seven" will be missed in the fine forum that is the Herald.

AM 1510's "New England Ringside" radio show has expanded into Providence, RI at AM 1320 The Drive and Hartford, CT at WXTC 990 AM in Hartford. In addition, George Kimball, late of the Boston Herald, has signed on as a writer for the monthly magazine. Check out Rick Brutti's growing multi-media empire at NewEnglandRingside.com.

Brian Connor of the TPC of Boston is involved in a fundraising campaign to support the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. Working with the PGA Tour and " America Supports You," a program that aids members of the armed forces and their families, TPC clubs will initiate fundraising activities through September 25, 2005 with a final goal of $200,000 to benefit Homes for our Troops, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Wounded Warrior Project. A presentation will be made at the 2005 Medal of Honor dinner on September 29. President Bush will be in attendance.

NESN's Corey Masse is a fast riser in the Boston sports media scene, but he seemed to hit a roadblock following Keith Foulke's most recent blown save against Texas. During "Terry's Take," Masse's postgame chat with Sox manager Terry Francona, Masse did not ask Francona about Foulke's performance or future. Knowing Masse's high reporting acumen, I have to wonder if Francona requested ahead of time that they not discuss Foulke.

IRL driver Danica Patrick has done for Indy racing what hydrogen does for water. Last weekend's "Argent Mortgage Indy 300" was ESPN's highest-rated and most-viewed telecast of the circuit. Through five races, ESPN is 17% ahead of last year's ratings and 11% ahead of last year's household totals.

Red Sox closer Keith Foulke continues to take a lot of heat for his "Johnny from Burger King" comments last week. If you missed it, following another tough outing, the Red Sox closer said, "I'm more embarrassed to walk into this locker room and look at the faces of my teammates than I am to walk out and see Johnny from Burger King booing me." The ongoing furor is just another example of Boston fans and media trashing a guy for speaking the truth. Foulke shouldn't care about the opinion of the fans because the fans truly don't know anything about his craft.

As a postscript to Foulke's comments, shame on the Herald's Howard Bryant, Boston.com's Eric Wilbur and others who tried to paint Foulke as an enemy of the common man. Foulke was not making any deep socio-economic statement. He was just ticked off after blowing a game. When WEEI's Pete Sheppard digs callers by telling them to go back to "flipping burgers," everyone laughs. When Foulke does it, it's a controversy. Welcome to Beantown!

Here's one for media mercenaries like Keith Foulke and Curt Schilling. In his book, "One Pitch From Glory," ex-Sox GM Lou Gorman explains why he turned down compensation to appear on air with Eddie Andelman in the late 1980s. Says Gorman, "I did not want to be under obligation to the station or Andelman. I did not intend to compromise my position in that regard because of a financial commitment."

Ex-ESPN'er Rich Eisen has found his niche on the NFL Network, schmoozing players as the host of "Total Access." Eisen has gotten great commentary out of analysts Rod Woodson, Dhani Jones and Lincoln Kennedy. Thanks also to the NFL Network for their recent documentary, "Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders: Making the Cut." It was the most wonderful, most captivating, most"¦well, just thanks.

Mike Adams and Larry Johnson have done yeoman's work filling in for WEEI's " Dennis and Callahan" and Pete Sheppard is a great backup for Glenn Ordway on " The Big Show." However, Wendi Nix's performance subbing for Dale Arnold alongside Michael Holley on July 5 was nearly unbearable. Nix is talented and very knowledgeable, but she simply talked too much, too loudly and too sarcastically. Holley wasn't much better, acting like a giggling toddler. The pair wasted too much valuable airtime talking about WEEI's phone number and other minutiae. My advice? Chill out and take a breath.

On his recent list of Top 50 NFL players, CBS Sportsline.com's Pete Prisco placed Randy Moss ahead of Ray Lewis, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb. I can only surmise that Prisco was basing his ratings on immaturity and stupidity. Meanwhile, ESPN's John Clayton rates Vinny Testaverde as the tenth best free agent still available on the market. Who' s number eleven, George Blanda?

Jimmy Myers' scheduled appearance on CN8's "Sports Pulse" this week once again leads me to ask why he does not have a regular slot in Boston sports media. He remains one of the most candid, provocative and lucid commentators to ever throw on a headset in this town.

FoxSports.com's Adrian Hasenmayer recently said of Cowboys' QB Drew Bledsoe, "It's not that Bledsoe can't make plays anymore. It's just that he needs max protection at almost all times to keep from landing on his rump." Bledsoe's toughness and intelligence are unquestionable, but this media-promulgated belief that if he has protection, he can be a top flight signal-caller is outdated. Simply put, Bledsoe has taken too many hits. He knows what to do, but can no longer do it. Hasenmayer's point might have been valid in 2002, not in 2005.

And because man does not live on sports media alone, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" beauty Kelly Monaco has filled the void in my heart left by Eva Longoria, on summer hiatus with "Desperate Housewives." Monaco, a "General Hospital" star, gives new meaning to the "fox" trot.

John Molori's columns have been published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The L awrence Eagle-Tribune, The Salem Evening News, The Newburyport Daily News, The Gloucester Times, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, ColdHardFootballFacts.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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