By: John Molori
July 13, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Mr. Ed
- Star stuff
- Blitz Bits
- Rising Stars, Falling Stars: Who's hot and not in Boston sports media?

Berliner signs two-year extension with Comcast

CN8 "Sports Pulse"¯ host Ed Berliner has signed a two-year contract extension with Comcast. Berliner debuted as host of the nightly program in the summer of 2003.

"Sports Pulse"¯ (weeknights, 10:00 p.m.) has become a unique and anticipated part of the New England sports media scene. In addition to providing sports news, information and interviews, Berliner has helped launch the television and radio careers of heretofore unheralded writers such as Shira Springer of The Boston Globe and Mike Reiss of The Metro West Daily News.

Berliner also does play-by-play for a variety of Comcast sports productions. "Sports Pulse"¯ has been recognized with numerous New England Emmy nominations and features reporters Phil Burton and Emmy winner John Carchedi. According to a source, Berliner is also on the short list of potential hosts for the new ESPN Radio affiliate in Boston at AM 890.

In addition to Berliner's signing, CN8 has promoted Bill McColgan to director of New England sports programming.

Detroit doings

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver did a great job on Tuesday's All-Star Game in Detroit, providing quick and pertinent notes on players and coaches. Buck and McCarver tend to get in trouble when they delve too deeply into a particular team or player, ultimately showing their lack of in-depth knowledge. This event was perfect for them.

Terry Francona did a great job on his in-game interview; unlike National League skipper Tony LaRussa who was about as animated as yogurt. Francona has become a media master, adeptly handling tough postgame questions and setting the tempo for his weekly calls to WEEI. He deserves credit for being accessible (see Bill Belichick) but not overly ingratiating (see Pete Carroll) to the media.

It's fair to question whether a meaningless exhibition game should decide World Series home field advantage, but I think Commissioner Bud Selig is onto something. In that vein, why not let Interleague play decide? At least those games actually count in the standings. Whichever league has the best cumulative record in Interleague play gets home field in the Series. Just a thought.

After watching endless video of Reggie Jackson's towering home run in the 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit, can we now say that that was the worst camera work in the history of sports television? If that cameraperson were working Super Bowl XXXVI, we'd still be wondering if Adam Vinatieri's kick was good.

Allowing suspended Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers to participate in the All-Star Game was incredibly hypocritical. Rogers nearly assaulted a cameraman and was slapped with a 20-game suspension. He, in effect, is banned from baseball temporarily and should not be allowed to participate in an MLB event, ceremonial or otherwise. If Rogers can pitch in the game, then Pete Rose should be allowed in the Hall of Fame.

Speaking of Rogers, Joe Buck essentially gave the Rangers pitcher a free pass during the game saying that Rogers had apologized and should be forgiven. This is the same Joe Buck who vilified Randy Moss for a mock-mooning touchdown celebration last season. Buck labeled Moss "disgusting,"¯ but completely exonerated Rogers. McCarver and Kevin Kennedy also treated Rogers like Mother Teresa. Questionable values for sure.

Fox's ground level mound camera was useless. If I want to know how an ant sees Mark Buehrle, I'll ask an ant.

In these days of multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts, isn't it time for Major League Baseball to stop giving Corvettes to All-Star Game MVP's? While Miguel Tejada is a deserving guy, more good would come from General Motors making a donation to the charity of the MVP's choice. A giving and humble guy like Tejada would probably agree.

Blitz Bits

Jon Meterparel's ascension to Boston College football play-by-play man on AM 680 WRKO was no shock to media insiders. According to several sources, Meterparel has been telling anyone who'll listen that he had the job. The question is whether he will be a better football announcer than he was a soccer announcer. Meterparel's radio calls of New England Revolution matches were enthusiastic, but lacked even a basic knowledge of the game. He should thrive in the more familiar sport of football.

In response to last week's item on Jimmy Myers not having a regular sports gig in Boston, several e-mailers in and out of the sports media field opined that Myers is a risky hire for stations because he comes across as an "angry black man."¯ While none of the e-mails were overtly racist in content, they do create a troubling feeling. The airwaves are scattered with similarly provocative personalities, Glenn Ordway, Gerry Callahan, Ron Borges, Bob Ryan and Andy Gresh to name a few. Does this mean that it's OK to be angry, as long as you are an angry white man? Myers, incidentally, may also resurface at ESPN Radio in Boston.

Fox Sports Net (FSN) has done a great job covering the Celtics at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Kudos to Greg Dickerson for chasing down some excellent interviews with players, VP Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers. FSN is clearly trying to do with the Celtics what NESN has done with the Red Sox, namely, provide year-round coverage. It's working.

FSN's "New England Sports Tonight"¯ Grab Bag segment is fast and fun. I just wish it would not degenerate into silly topics. This week, Gary Tanguay, Michael Felger and Ryen Russillo discussed nicknames for Shaquille O'Neal and " Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."¯ Humor is great, but I'd rather see these very talented guys rant on sports.

Does Jackie MacMullan actually say "looney bin"¯ in a NESN "SportsPlus"¯ promo? I'm no political correctness bloodhound, but surely NESN could have chosen a better sound bite from the incredibly intelligent MacMullan.

"Patriots Football Weekly"¯ writer Paul Perillo deserves credit for his July 6 column looking at the Richard Seymour contract controversy from Seymour's perspective. Kudos also to the Kraft family for allowing such a column. PFW continues to be uniquely objective in reporting on the team that pays its bills.

Cris Collinsworth will return to NBC as an NFL studio analyst and co-host of " NBC's Sunday Night Football"¯ in 2006. Collinsworth provokes response from viewers and has become a signature voice of the league. Good move for NBC.

Rising Stars

Rob Bradford, WEEI: Lowell Sun writer was glib, informative and engaging alongside Dale Arnold this week. Should be on WEEI's short list of guest hosts.

Eddie Andelman, AM 1510: Signed new deal with WWZN this week. Yes, he sides with his friends. Yes, he talks too much about gambling and food and yes, he does not garner high ratings, but Andelman remains one of the few unique voices in Boston media.

Dennis Eckersley, NESN: Outspoken Hall of Famer was the first Boston media guy to say that Keith Foulke had to be replaced as the team's closer. Very refreshing candor for a former player. Ex-big leaguers are notoriously soft on their contemporaries.

Falling Stars

Mike Adams, WEEI: Trashed Terry Francona for giving several players a day off vs. Baltimore. Very hypocritical given that Adams was working at a station where most of the regular hosts were on vacation during a busy sports week. Trashed Barry Bonds for taking steroids. Very hypocritical given Adams' own past drug-related offenses.

Alan Greenberg, FSN: Following Johnny Damon's comments about Curt Schilling going to the bullpen, Greenberg said that Damon considers himself "the straw that stirs the drink"¯ in Boston. An irresponsible and incorrect assessment of Damon, who is every bit the team guy that Schilling is.

John Valentin, WEEI: Unlike Eckersley, Valentin was laughably soft on Keith Foulke during a recent radio interview. Valentin continues to spew the same tired, unremarkable ex-player drivel. He needs to make a stand.

John Molori's columns have been published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The Lawrence 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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