With so much happening this week, it's too much to devote this space to merely one topic. Therefore, this week you get a triple-play of media thoughts:
I've been critical of CSNNE for giving Michael Felger free reign to bash the Boston Celtics on their airwaves for eight-plus hours a day, especially since CSNNE is the broadcast home of the team. I have to say though, that the network made a great move in bringing in Brian Scalabrine as a playoff analyst. Few players know this team, the coach, and the Big Four, better than Scalabrine, who played five season for the Celtics under coach Doc Rivers. Scalabrine managed to become one of the most popular members of the Celtics despite being little more than a bit player in his time with the franchise.
Scalabrine has shown no hesitation in coming after some of Felger ludicrous comments about the team, something that is completely lacking in the Boston media. No one challenges Felger. Maybe Scal was unaware of this unwritten rule, but it was a promising start seeing him take on Felger during Sports Sunday this week. Scalabrine is available right now because of the Celtics current opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, who eliminated his top-seeded Bulls in the first round. From playing the 76ers in the that series and preparing for them, Scalabrine also brings knowledge of the Philadelphia squad, more than probably anyone else in the market right now.
It's not surprising that WEEI has not devoted a whole lot of time to the financial woes of Curt Schilling's gaming company (well, not the on-air side of things anyway) and that 98.5 has. While Schilling getting a massive loan from the State of Rhose Island and then not being able to pay it is a newsworthy item, the only sports connection is that the founder of the company just happened to be a former baseball player.
To be honest, I'd prefer neither station discuss it at all.
Schilling isn't the first former professional athlete to run into business problems, and won't be the last. He gets attention around here for two reasons - his performance in the 2004 postseason, and his inability to avoid giving his opinion on any topic that may arise. It's hard to believe that the latter would come to outweigh the former, but many media and fans are taking the opportunity to use this situation to take a victory lap around Schilling - incredible when you think about how people around here felt about Schilling in October, 2004.
If the Celtics should be fortunate enough to advance past this round of the playoffs, be prepared to mute your television for most of the broadcasts. The NBA Conference finals are each given to a specific network, with ESPN taking the Eastern Conference and TNT getting the Western Conference.
This means goodbye, Dick Stockton, and hello, Mike Breen. While many people express frustration with Stockton, who isn't quite what he was when he was in his heyday alongside Tommy Heinsohn as the lead team for CBS back in the 1980's, I still enjoy hearing him call a game. He and Chris Webber - an odd couple if there ever was one - have been surprisingly good together on the Celtics games they've done thus far.
My distaste for Breen extends beyond the fact that the is the regular play-by-play guy for the hated New York Knicks. On the national broadcasts, Breen goes above and beyond to pump up the "superstars" of the game, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. It gets uncomfortable at times. Jeff Van Gundy, his analyst, is equal parts amusing and infuriating, with the occasional nugget of insight tossed in.
What this means is that a matchup with the Miami Heat could be a much bigger nightmare on the broadcasts than it is on the court.