Well, after seeing my sister graduate yesterday, I’m back blogging today. Yes, I bought a new computer and I’ll be back on a regular blogging schedule very soon. I don’t want to make guarantees, but constant visitors can rest assured that I’ll be back here providing your links every day. There are several things that when you lose them, you feel totally lost. When you lose your wallet and/or your car keys, your cell phone, your driver’s license or anything else that defines you, you have that dreadful feeling and when I lost my computer, I felt helpless. But now that I’m back, I feel complete. Strange, I know, but I’m glad it’s over.
Ok, let’s go over your weekend viewing and then do your links.
Weekend Viewing Picks
Big Brown goes for the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. With all of the drama over his cracked hoof, ESPN has been milking the story as much as possible to try to get viewers to the race, which does not need much hype as Big Brown tries to become the first horse since Seattle Slew in 1978 to complete the Triple Crown. ESPN will produce ABC’s coverage which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Chris Fowler and Kenny Mayne will be among the cast of thousands at Belmont Raceway in Elmont, NY for the coverage.
Over to Paris where the French Open will be coming to a close this weekend. Saturday will be the Women’s Final where Ana Ivanovic will attempt to win her first Grand Slam title against Daniela Safina, the sister of Russian Marat Safin. And on Sunday, the men’s title will be contested between rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. While no Americans are involved in either final, the tennis should be quite stellar and if Ivanovic wins the title, expect to see her face plastered in many ads here in the States. She’s already quite popular in Europe. Anyway, NBC has both finals starting at 9 a.m.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals will be held on Sunday as ABC will carry the Lakers and Celtics live from the TD Banknorth Garden starting at 9 p.m.
Baseball heads into the warmer weather across the country with several interesting matchups. On Fox on Saturday, the Red Sox host the Seattle Mariners, the Cubs visit Chavez Ravine and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland takes on Detroit. The games on Fox start at 3:55 p.m. WGN will carry Cubs and Dodgers tonight at 10 p.m. and the White Sox hosting Minnesota, Saturday at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday, TBS has the Phillies at Atlanta at 1 p.m. and ESPN’s Sunday night game will be the Cubs at the Dodgers at 8.
NASCAR heads to the Poconos for the Pocono 500 and it marks the first race for TNT this season. The race begins at 2 p.m.
Formula 1 is in Canada and Fox will have that race Sunday at 1 p.m.
The IndyCar series is in Fort Worth on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m.
Soccer fans have the second most important tournament to watch this weekend as the UEFA Euro 2008 begins this weekend. ESPN Classic will have live coverage with 5 games this weekend.
And golf will be in full swing. The PGA Tour’s last tournament before next weekend’s US Open is the Stanford FedEx Championship and CBS has coverage at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Golf Channel has the McDonald’s Championship which is the LPGA’s second major.
Now to your links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks about how Big Brown’s attempt for the Triple Crown could boost ratings.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch says ESPN/ABC execs were not only rooting for a Celtics-Lakers NBA Final, but were also rooting for a seven game series.
Let’s head from East to West today.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Friend of Fang’s Bites David Scott is back from his trip to China and immediately jumps into the Bob Ryan-Bill Simmons fire, has a reply from Simmons about his comments about colleague Rick Reilly and looks at the NESN decision to drop Hazel Mae.
The Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with the lovely Rachel Nichols of ESPN as she’s embedded with the Celtics for the Worldwide Leader’s coverage of the NBA Finals.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes that there will be blanket coverage of Big Brown in the Belmont on Saturday.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with ESPN/ABC’s Jerry Bailey about Big Brown’s chances in the Belmont. In his blog, Neil discusses more about the Belmont with ESPN executive Len DeLuca. Neil also writes that the ratings for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals were twice as nice as last year’s.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes that the News’ headlines gave YES Yankees “apologists” a headache.
From the Schenectady Gazette, Ken Schott writes that Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals got another good rating for NBC.
Laura Nachman says the Phillies topped the ratings on Wednesday night (you may have to scroll down depending on the news that Laura adds to her site).
From the DC/Baltimore Examiner, Jim Williams talks with Red Zebra Broadcasting’s CEO about its purchase of DC Sports Talker WTEM.
Doug Nye of The State says the renewal of the University of South Carolina’s radio rights with Citadel Communications has left Clear Channel seeing red.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that local ratings for the Marlins do not jive with attendance for the team.
Dave Darling from the Orlando Sentinel says despite not having a Game 7 for the Stanley Cup Finals, there’s plenty of great sports action to watch this weekend.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron talks about FSN’s Amazing Sports Stories which will focus on a story about a former Astro who hit three home runs for a blind boy back in the 1960′s.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Texas Rangers TV voice Josh Lewin is getting plenty of suggestions for a nickname for Josh Hamilton.
Mel Bracht of the Oklahoman wonders if Big Brown’s attempt for the Triple Crown will be enough to garner TV ratings. Mel has his weekly notebook including Oklahoma University negotiating a new satellite radio rights deal. Mel has his viewing picks for the weekend.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that Big Brown in the Belmont will be something watch.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says NASCAR saw a bump in the ratings for Fox in the early part of the season.
Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that the NHL has to capitilize on its good ratings.
Teddy Greenstein from the Chicago Tribune writes that Mike North could be leaving his morning sports radio talk show.
Judd Zulgad from the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that KSTP has hired a new sports anchor from Denver.
Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin talks with ESPN/ABC horse racing analyst Randy Moss about the Belmont Stakes.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News writes that DirecTV will not charge extra for the mtn.
Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says US Open viewers can put up with Chris Berman for two days. No we can’t. Jay adds that TSN/NBC NHL analyst Mike Milbury didn’t find Tiger Woods comments about hockey funny. And Jay has last weekend’s ratings from San Diego.
John Maffei of the North County Times says ESPN’s MLB analyst Rick Sutcliffe is a Profile in Courage as he battles colon cancer.
The Ventura County Star’s Jim Carlisle says this has been a special season for the NBA.
John Scheibe of the Los Angeles Times reviews HBO’s new documentary on the 1960 US Open as Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus all battled for the lead.
Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News says the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers transcends generations. In his blog, Hoffarth has a bunch of media notes and numbers crunching over the Finals. And Hoffarth says don’t get carried away about the high ratings and website traffic numbers over Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals average ratings were the best in six years.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says CBC should reflect on its NHL coverage.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says Wednesday could have been the last time viewers heard the familiar Hockey Night in Canada theme on CBC.
Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch has his take on the media’s performance from Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Sports Media Watch says Game 1 of the NBA Finals got a good overnight rating, but it could have been better.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell reveals a company that changes the netting at many arenas before each and every NBA game.
Joe Favorito says Barack Obama has done a good job in courting the sports vote.
Maury Brown from the Biz of Hockey blog writes that NBC is reporting a 111% increase in the ratings for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals from 2006.
David Scott mentioned this in his entry today, and you can read it for yourself. Will Leitch is leaving as editor of Deadspin for a job in *gasp* mainstream media.
That will do it for this week.