By: John Molori
March 22, 2006

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THIS WEEK:

- Rumor mill
- Park and ride
- Steroid scandal

Sources: Tribou may be out at ESPN Radio Boston

Two Boston sports media sources have told Media Blitz that ESPN Radio Boston program director Doug Tribou could be dismissed as soon as this week.

The rumored move comes as somewhat of a surprise given the growing popularity of the station's "Mike and Mike" morning show and Michael Felger's drive time program. ESPN Radio Boston even made a small but significant appearance in the latest Boston radio ratings book.

General manager and principal executive Jessamy Tang hired Tribou as program director last year. He has gained a reputation as a cooperative and amiable executive. Tribou has not returned calls from Media Blitz. Tang left a message, but would not address the staff change rumor. Follow up calls to Tang have not been returned.

Boss Brad

Continuing to add interesting and unique programming to its lineup, NESN has jumped on the reality television bandwagon hockey style. "Be a Bruin" will premiere this fall and follow a group of hockey hopefuls trying to earn one of three invites to the Bruins' 2006 training camp.

The program is the brainchild of former Bruin Brad Park and Chris Miller 's One-on-One Productions. "Chris and I were kicking around some ideas regarding what it takes to succeed in pro sports," says Park. "We pitched the idea for "Be a Bruin" to Harry Sinden and he liked it."

Park and his fellow coaches, former Bruins Terry O'Reilly and Gerry Cheevers as well as two Bruins scouts, will judge forwards, defensemen and goalies based on a skill management system.

Registration kicked off in early March and is ongoing. Those who wish to tryout for the show should log onto BeaBruin.com. There is a $100 registration fee that Park says will insure that those who do tryout are serious about the endeavor.

Says Park, "We have three skating, two puck handling and three shooting drills, and we will rate the players overall." Testing and tryouts will take place at New England Sports Center in Marlboro in late April and May.

"I'd like to have 500-600 guys register, but we can accommodate more than that," Park explains. "We'll trim it down to 18 forwards, 12 defensemen and 6 goalies. We are looking at eight power-packed half-hour episodes. The kick-off show will be an hour and show how we got down to the final 36."

The top 36 players from the first phase of the competition will return for a weeklong "Be a Bruin" Training Camp in July 2006. Three will be invited to camp.

Players will be broken down into teams. In addition to footage of practices, "Be a Bruin" will also feature a regular roundtable segment featuring Park, Cheevers, O'Reilly and the Bruins' scouts analyzing and discussing players. In this light, Park will play a kind of hockey version of Donald Trump in " The Apprentice."

Says Park, "There will be drama as we post the results daily. Initially, players will be responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses. We will provide travel expenses and lodging for the final 36 players."

There are no specified age requirements, but Park feels that to be a legitimate contestant, hopefuls should be no younger than 18 and no older than their late 40s.

NESN's "Be a Bruin" is a collaborative effort with Moody Street Pictures, Supervising Producer/Director Rick DiGregorio and Emmy-Award winning Executive Producer Timothy T. Egan.

Bonds' stock

In recent days, San Francisco Chronicle writers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams have challenged even the staunchest Barry Bonds' supporters. Their book, Game of Shadows, excerpted in the March 13 issue of Sports Illustrated, paints Bonds as a habitual and out of control steroid abuser.

How damaging are the allegations? Simply put, if what the authors have written is untrue, Bonds should go Johnny Cochrane on the scribes and sue them, the Chronicle and Time, Inc., SI's parent company. If he doesn't, I have to wonder.

On the issue of Bonds, hypocrisy and lunacy reign. For two years, ESPN has had reporter Pedro Gomez trail Bonds like Buford T. Justice trailed the Bandit. Now, the network is planning on turning Bonds into a TV star with his own reality series.

So, which is it? Is Bonds a cheat worthy of ESPN's investigative reporting efforts or is he just another face to market in clever commercials? Why didn't Gomez uncover what Fainaru-Wada and Williams did? Well, for starters, freakish drug abusers don't translate into good ratings and happy sponsors on the entertainment side.

We shouldn't be surprised. In 2002, ESPN cast Brian Dennehy in a satanic portrayal of Bobby Knight. Amid the furor of Knight's dismissal from Indiana University, ESPN recommended that Knight seek professional help for his anger issues.

Now, Knight is also a reality TV star on ESPN. I can only wonder who will star in ESPN's next reality series. Early candidates must include Neil Entwistle and Andrea Yates. The E in ESPN stands for Entertainment and it is clear that ESPN czar George Bodenheimer never lets a little criminal activity get in the way of entertainment.

Locally, the most laughable quote came from WEEI morning host Gerry Callahan. In describing Bonds, Callahan reached new heights of hypocrisy when he called the Giants outfielder racist.

Callahan's assessment of Bonds might be correct, but the morning host has no right calling anyone a word that all too often describes himself. Politically and socially speaking, Callahan makes pat Buchanan and Jerry Falwell look like Beatniks.

Recently, WEEI's Pete Sheppard, Fred Smerlas and Bill Burt had an interesting exchange regarding Bonds. Sheppard said that after reading the Sports Illustrated excerpt, he is positive that Bonds took steroids.

Smerlas, the surprising voice of reason in this discussion, correctly retorted that the fact is that Bonds has never tested positive for steroids. In response, Bill Burt offered a line for the ages, one that pretty much sums up the Bonds media madness. Burt exclaimed, "I don't care about the facts!" Now that, Mr. Bodenheimer, is entertainment!

John Molori's columns are published in The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, ColdHardFootballFacts.com, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine, Boston Baseball Magazine, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com and BostonSportz.com. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.


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