By: John Molori
August 09, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Holdout haven
- Midday mess
- 50 Follies
- Old Time fun
- Blitz Bits

Heavy hammers hit the holdouts

Several weeks ago, when Packers' receiver Javon Walker threatened to holdout if his contract was not renegotiated, teammate Brett Favre scolded Walker publicly and said that the talented wideout should honor his current contract and be in camp as scheduled.

Walker, as it turns out, was in Green Bay's camp on time, but it is Favre who has taken much heat for slaying Walker in the press. ESPN "Pardon the Interruption" (PTI) host Michael Wilbon slammed Favre as did Eagles' Quarterback Donovan McNabb on ESPN2's "Quite Frankly" with Stephen A. Smith.

Both argued that it was not Favre's place to comment on a teammate's contract situation. What Wilbon, McNabb and the rest of Favre's critics are missing is the concept of leadership. That word is defined not only by taking a team on a game-winning drive, but also by calling out a teammate who is acting in detriment to the club.

Favre knows how important Walker is to the Pack's season. He was merely saying what he felt as a leader on the team. This is the ultimate hypocrisy of the press. The media loves an outspoken player as long as what he says is palatable to that particular media person.

Holdout talk has dominated the early days of training camp and Philadelphia's Terrell Owens has been at the top of the headlines. It is interesting to note that the embattled Owens was in Eagles' camp before the respected Richard Seymour arrived at Pats' camp. The latter only showed up after the Patriots relented and renegotiated the terms of his 2005 contract. So, who is classy and who is not?

Clearly, Seymour avoided the wrath of the media because he has always been soft spoken and cooperative. Owens, meanwhile, has been annoying. On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," Bob Ryan said that Seymour should not be classified with Owens because he is "likeable and quiet." Still, a holdout is a holdout and, in truth, Seymour is no better than Owens.

There has been much discussion about Owens' value to the Eagles. On ESPN's "NFL Live," Mark Schlereth said that running back Brian Westbrook is a more valuable Eagle than Terrell Owens because of Westbrook's versatility.

Sean Salisbury argued in favor of Owens saying that Philly couldn't win an NFC Championship Game without Owens, but they did win with him. One problem, Sean. Owens did not play in last year's Philly-Atlanta NFC Title game.

It is interesting to note that while McNabb slammed Favre for talking about Javon Walker, he had no problem opening his own mouth about Westbrook's holdout, which ended on Monday. According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, McNabb stated, "We need Brian Westbrook in camp. We need our ultimate weapon here."

Schlereth and Salisbury showed uncharacteristic ignorance in discussing Miami running back Ricky Williams this past week. In a press conference, Williams stated that he was not in camp to have fun, but to work. He also said that he is not trying to be what he once was, but was looking ahead. Sounds OK to me.

In response, Schlereth said that Williams is dispassionate and Salisbury questioned whether he is from Mars. In the world of bone-crushing football, it's tough to understand a guy who is equally sensitive as he is strong. Williams made an ass of himself last year, but he deserves a chance to redeem himself.

Dale's dilemma

There was an interesting exchange on WEEI's "Dale and Holley" show this past Friday. Several emailers slammed Dale Arnold, who calls Bruins games for NESN, for not challenging Bruins' GM Mike O'Connell in an interview. Arnold responded angrily saying that listeners want him to "yell" at O'Connell.

A subsequent caller challenged Arnold's claim saying that fans don't want Arnold to scream or be impolite to O'Connell, but they do want him to ask some tough questions. Arnold then inexplicably denied saying that fans want him to yell. He also angrily implied that former co-host Eddie Andelman created the myth that the Bruins withhold information from the press.

Michael Holley defended Arnold, saying that because Arnold works for the Bruins, he cannot win with listeners. In this case, the caller to WEEI was much more intelligent than the hosts. Arnold has always been objective regarding the Bruins. He should not have gotten so defensive and made a blanket statement about listeners.

Holley's obsequious coddling of Arnold was weak and only added to his partner's woes. The bottom line is that such savvy media pros should handle criticism a little better and need not overreact so vehemently. Dumped in Derry

WNDS-TV 50 in Derry, NH is set to re-launch as WZMY-TV in September according to a source close to the station, and the long running "Candlepins Stars and Strikes," hosted by Dick Lutsk and Mike Morin, has been cancelled.

Says the source, "It is by far the station's highest rated program, averaging a 2.0 on the Nielson ratings, and peaking as high as 2.8 at times. It usually generates ratings 3 to 4 times higher than the station's next highest rated programs."

Reaction has not been favorable according to the source. "The owner at the bowling lanes (Leda Lanes in Nashua, NH) started telling his customers and they've besieged the station with angry phone calls. The person who made the decision at the station is Gene Steinberg. They are hell bent on changing the entire image of the station, and would prefer to slash and burn anything associated with the old WNDS."

WNDS was once the home to local sports programming such as "Sports Rap" featuring frequent WEEI and CN8 guest Tom King as well as a bevy of local high school and college sports coverage. Recently, the sports department has been slashed. Sports anchor Mike DiBlasi's contract is up in September and anchor/reporter Ted Panos has left the station.

Buckley's best

The 12th Annual Bank of America Oldtime Baseball Game will once again be played at St. Peter's Field in North Cambridge, Wednesday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Area media personality Steve Buckley is the driving and most visible force behind the annual event. This year's game will benefit the Lupus Foundation of New England, serving people with lupus as well as their families and caregivers.

Vintage uniforms highlight the annual event. Among the uniforms worn by players are the Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Browns and Boston Braves. Negro League teams are represented by the Kansas City Monarchs, Baltimore Elite Giants and Homestead Grays. Also included are classic minor league teams such as the San Francisco Seals, Oakland Oaks and Roswell Rockets. This year, two new uniforms have been added, the 1964 Alaska Goldpanners and the 1940 Cienfuegos Elefantes of Cuba.

The Game features period music, a raffle and amateur players from throughout the area, representing such schools as Harvard, Tufts, Suffolk, Boston College and Holy Cross. According to Buckley, more than twenty veteran s of the game have gone on to play professionally, and one, Carlos Pena, has made it to the major leagues.

Says Buckley, "Most of the players are from Boston-area colleges, but we've invited Jeremy and Josh Papelbon, the younger brothers of Red Sox prospect Jon Papelbon. They're both in school in Florida, but are flying up for the game.

"Their mother, Sheila, got chummy with Judith Klimkiewicz, whose son, Josh, plays with the Papelbons in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Judith told Sheila how much her son enjoys being in the Old Time game, and, out of the blue, Mama Papelbon called me up to see if her twin sons could be involved."

Blitz Bits

NESN has extended the contract of Red Sox color analyst Jerry Remy through the 2010 season " Former AM 1510 host Holden Kushner is now a host for XM Satellite Radio's "MLB Home Team"" In last week's Media Blitz, SIRIUS Radio VP of programming Steve Cohen stated that SIRIUS Radio's approach to sports talk is less arrogant and more intelligent than WEEI and other sports radio stations, he clarifies stating, "I think Jason Wolfe is an incredibly talented progr ammer and I'm proud to call him a friend. I also think WEEI's on-air staff is second to none."" Patrick Gilroy, late of AM 1510's Celtics programming, is the chief columnist for a new blog, BleacherTalk.com " On Friday at 10:00 p.m., CN8' s "Sports Pulse" airs interviews from the ACC Kickoff Weekend in North Carolina. According to Boston College officials, "Sports Pulse" was the only Boston television show with cameras at the festivities.

John Molori's columns are published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, ColdHardFootballFacts.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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