Moving up and down the dial while believing Boston fans were better served when Mike Lynch was putting the sports scene into perspective on Channel 5 every weeknight
· Fox Sports had a two-sport void to fill when Joe Buck – who had called six Super Bowls and every World Series since 1996 for the network – left to join longtime NFL broadcast partner Troy Aikman in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth.
The network has made two wise decisions in filling those vacancies.
Fox elevated 34-year-old Joe Davis – the television play-by-play voice for the Dodgers who has been part of Fox’s coverage since 2014 – to its No. 1 baseball booth, where he will partner with analyst John Smoltz.
On the NFL side, Kevin Burkhardt, whose easygoing, authentic style has helped him ascend the depth chart since arriving at Fox in 2013, will be part of the No. 1 booth that will call the Super Bowl next February. Burkhardt teamed with Greg Olsen on Fox’s No. 2 team last season, and it’s expected that Olsen will join him on the lead team, though nothing has been announced.
Davis and Burkhardt are excellent choices.
· The business model of ginning up fake outrage or exaggerating a team’s potential problems to detract from what ought to be an enjoyable time is tried and true in Boston sports radio. Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti are the most successful current perpetrators of this approach, having dominated afternoon drive for more than a decade, with many other shows less successfully trying to duplicate the blueprint.
I’d like to believe I’m in the majority in finding this approach an excellent reason to turn off the radio and put on a podcast, but the reality is that this approach works better than any other in this market. My longstanding question is, why? Is everyone really that eager to be miserable about sports?
· The great Doc Emrick retired in 2020 after 47 years of calling hockey games, including 15 as the lead NHL voice at NBC Sports. But Emrick still contributes essays and features from time to time, and hearing from him is always welcome, particularly when there’s a Boston angle to the story he’s telling.
That will be the case Monday, when highlights of an Emrick-narrated feature on Johnny Kelley, the local icon who ran the Boston Marathon 61 times from 1928 to 1992 (when he was 84 years old) will air on USA and Peacock’s programming before their coverage of the marathon beginning at 8:30 am The full six-minute feature can be found on NBCSports.com.
· File this one under Glad To Hear It: Mike Gorman, the television voice of the Celtics since 1981, said recently on the “Celtics Beat” podcast hosted by Adam Kaufman that he would like to continue to call games on NBC Sports Boston for at least two more seasons.
By his own design, Gorman has cut back on travel significantly; he didn’t call a road game this season on-site until the April 6 win in Chicago. But at age 73, the Basketball Hall of Famer remains as enjoyable a play-by-play voice as anyone calling NBA games nationally or in local markets.
· Major League Baseball’s pursuit of every last dollar it can collect from shipping out exclusive rights to games to streaming services is understandable, and yet wholly annoying to fans. Based on what we now know about the schedules, the Red Sox will have two exclusive broadcasts – meaning they will not air on NESN locally – on Apple TV + (May 6 vs. the White Sox; May 27 vs. the Orioles), one on Peacock (May 8 vs. the White Sox), and none on YouTube.
· The rapport and good humor between Joe Castiglione and Will Flemming has been on-point early in this Red Sox season. The addition of Flemming and Sean McDonough, who will work 35-40 games this season, are the positives that came out of that bizarre situation in 2019 when WEEI used an assortment of broadcasters alongside Castiglione, among them Mario Impemba and Josh Lewin, neither of whom returned the next year.
· ESPN info-trader Adam Schefter has had an assortment of tone-deaf tweets over the last year or so, most recently when he felt the need to note that Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins had struggled to catch on in the NFL in a tweet announcing that Haskins had died after being hit by a vehicle in Florida. ESPN recently re-signed Schefter to a contract that reportedly pays him $ 9 million a year. Hopefully a few of those bucks are earmarked for someone with common sense to read his tweets before he hits send.
· If you’re into sports-and-media-themed thrillers and dulcet tones, Gary Tanguay’s novel “The Arm and the Fall” is now available in audio-book format on Audible.com. Tanguay, a longtime Boston media personality who has found a cool niche playing TV anchors and reporters in prominent movies (“Knives Out,” “Don’t Look Up,” “I Care a Lot”), handles the narration.
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