Just a quick blink of a post here to supply some linkage to today's media column, in case you happened to miss it or require my subtle badgering to actually read the thing. Led it off with a chat with ESPN's Mike Tirico, who will be in the area for an interesting bit of broadcasting double duty next week, first calling the Patriots-Jets bout on "Monday Night Football," then handling the play-by-play duties on ESPN's broadcast of the Celtics-Nuggets game Wednesday. Seems to me Tirico's engaging tone and multi-sport versatility makes him a heck of an asset for ESPN, perhaps even an underrated one.
It's fair to say the biggest news was probably buried a little bit within the column -- 98.5 The Sports Hub had an exceptional November book in the Arbitron ratings, winning the men 25-54 demo that is crucial to advertisers while also finishing No. 1 in the market among men 18-49 and 18-34. At this point, we've moved beyond wondering whether they are a sustainable long-term competitor to WEEI. The question now has to be whether this is a sign that they will consistently beat them going forward, particularly in morning and afternoon drive.
As for a couple of other deleted scenes from today's column (meaning notes that didn't make it because I write way too damn long), here you go . . .
- Sports Business Daily and Sports Business Journal this week revealed the results of a readers’ survey that included this question:Who produces better sports documentaries, ESPN or HBO? Readers gave the nod to HBO, 56 to 44 percent. Tough call, but our vote would go to ESPN. While HBO’s productions are more polished and stylistically consistent, an approach that has resulted in multiple Sports Emmy awards, ESPN’s films -- specifically those in its stellar ‘‘30 for 30’’ series -- tend to be more entertaining and relate to a younger demographic. ‘‘The Best There Never Was,’’ director Jonathan Hock’s reflection on what became of former Oklahoma football phenom Marcus Dupree that debuted last month, is as compelling as any sports documentary we can recall seeing on ESPN, HBO, or elsewhere.
- Phil Simms, CBS’s lead analyst, will miss the network’s broadcast of the Raiders-Chargers game Sunday while recuperating from scheduled surgery on his back. Simms is expected to return to the booth next week when he and play by play partner Jim Nantz are scheduled to call the Patriots-Bears game in Chicago. In the meantime, Nantz will be joined by another former quarterback-turned-analyst, Dan Fouts. Jeff Hostetler must not have been available.
- Actor/singer Donnie Wahlberg will serve as the narrator on ESPN’s upcoming five-part behind-the-scenes series titled ‘‘The Association: Boston Celtics.’’ The Dorchester native has the right stuff for the role: he’s a regular at Celtics games at TD Garden as well as on the road when his schedule permits. The series’ half-hour premiere airs tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
- The programming honchos as CBS College Sports Network recognize a good college hockey rivalry when they see one. The network, which is found locally on Comcast Channel 261 and Verizon FiOS Channel 94, will broadcast both Boston College-Boston University hockey games this weekend. The telecast both tonight and tomorrow will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a pregame show hosted by Shireen Saski. The always dependable Eric Frede will handle play by play, with Dave Starman on color.
- Finally, one last item relating to the "Monday Night Football" matchup: If you want to help out a good cause -- and maybe, if you're lucky, get called "that guy" in person by Jon Gruden -- there's a special event at the Greatest Sports Bar Saturday night that may be of some interest. The MNF crew -- including Tirico, Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Suzy Kolber, and Michele Tafoya -- will be in attendance for a sports-themed auction fundraiser for the Graham Gardner Foundation. Graham Gardner, the son of Marblehead resident and MNF stylist Cynthia Gardner, passed away this summer at age 22. The auction will take place from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and is open to the public, though guests will be limited to 150. Memorabilia from Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and other NFL stars will be up for bid. Good luck outbidding Gruden for the Favre goodies.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.