By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

UPDATE ADDED: A reaction from the Patriots on today’s Jessamy Tang story; a potential landing spot for Tina Cervasio and a Steroid Display in the Baseball Hall of Fame are included items at the bottom of this post.

ESPN 890 AM’s involvement in a charity golf tournament to support veterans last summer was not quite as charitable as it may have seemed. The station’s General Manager, Jessamy Tang held back two (of four) Patriots-Giants tickets donated by the New York Giants for use at the the July 2007 Homes for Our Troops golf tournament. The two remaining tickets were then used in late-December in a promotional manner by the station.

After telling Shots earlier in the week that “(Tang) strenuously denies any allegations,” and that the station’s “board was aware” of the allegations, 890 AM’s counsel, Richard Gelb, confirmed on Thursday evening, via email, that Tang made a “mistake.”

“The Station (890 AM) was indeed given four game tickets by the New York Giants to use in connection with its charity golf tournament,” Gelb said in an emailed letter. “Two of those four tickets were used for charitable purposes; that is, they were sold at the charity auction and the winning bidder made payment directly to the charity. Regrettably, however, the other two tickets were not used for charitable purposes. Instead, they were used for Station promotional purposes, which was a mistake and one for which Ms. Tang takes full responsibility.”

The New York Giants, through team spokesman Pat Hanlon, confirmed the Giants “donated four tickets and pregame field passes to ESPN Boston Radio for use in its charity golf tournament to benefit Homes for Our Troops. . .”

The tickets were for the Dec. 29 regular season finale at the Meadowlands and Hanlon referred specific questions on the actual usage of the tickets to 890. “Any other information would have to come from ESPN Radio in Boston,” said Hanlon.

“Hopefully,” said Taunton-based Homes for Our Troops president and founder, John Gonsalves on Thursday afternoon before confirmation of the transgression was made, “there is nothing inappropriate that happened. I thought they did a great job with the tournament.”

According to two separate involved parties, the event held at the Hopkinton Country Club, which included golf and dinner, raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the charity that helps “build new homes and adapt existing homes across the country to make them fully handicap accessible for severely injured and disabled veterans.”

The Giants’ donation was reportedly turned into a package item for the silent auction by 890. It included travel and hotel and is not thought to have brought in more than $1,000 in bidding – but still a significant charitable contribution for a night that raised 15K. The tickets – in addition to the field passes – would likely have a auction value well above the 2006 or 2007 average Giants ticket price. The inclusion of hotel and travel boosted the package’s value – a value that could have been doubled with the inclusion of all the tickets provided by the Giants.

When the game became one for history, the tickets’ value increased multifold and Tang apparently thought the best use of the tickets she had held back would be to lure more listeners to her weak-signalled dial position with a ticket giveaway. At a time when her struggling, For Sale station, with a dearth of local programming is doing anything it can to battle with market-leader WEEI 850 AM, Tang decided to use the ducats and field passes in a way very different from the Giants’ intended use.

At best it was a dubious move by Tang, a Lexington-native and MIT graduate (Class of 1989); at worst it was fraud perpetrated on the community relations department of the Giants, through which the ticket donation was arranged. It was also a blatant display of disrespect for the non-profit veterans’ organization and a misuse of that group’s name in procuring the tickets.

“Having had this issue brought to her attention,” said Gelb in his letter. “Ms. Tang reflected on this decision made several months ago and recognizes that she should have given this her full attention at the time and taken care to ensure that all four tickets were used for the purposes for which they were donated to the Station. Aware of this mistake, the Station will bring in an independent consultant to improve its internal controls with respect to the use of donated game tickets.”

Gonsalves had already confirmed that ESPN 890 handled all facets of the July tournament, including securing the donations and controlling the silent auction. It was the second ESPN 890 golf tournament, according to literature for the event, but the first time the station had partnered with HFOT.

“It was their event, they put it together,” said Gonsalves. “(Because of that) I would not be able to comment on the tickets.”

. . . [Disclaimer: Shots did a six month, weekly radio show on the 890 airwaves last year on Saturdays with Mike Salk. My employer for that show was Boston Sports Review and Seamans Publishing. ESPN 890 simply provided the studio space and my affiliation with the station was limited to drinking their in-trade Polar cola and spitting repeatedly into their microphones.]

. . . As “partners” with the Patriots for “Patriots Friday,” there is no word on how or if the misuse of NFL tickets will affect 890′s relationship with the organization.

. . . Shots currently has requests into both Stacey James at the Patriots and a follow-up email to John Gonsalves at HFOT seeking reaction to the inappropriate use disclosure by Tang, which came after we had communicated with Gonsalves on Thursday.

. . . In other ESPN 890 news, it appears that former New England Patriots director of media sales, Al Turner, is now heading up the Tang Gang sales team for 890. Turner is believed to be assuming the role of Neil Kelleher. Turner had previously directed sales at WBZ-TV.

. . . Gelb mentioned during our early week conversation that he was related to Arthur Gelb from the New York Times. We think that was his way of saying he knew a little something about journalism and that he was not impressed with a blogger like us.

. . . Information on donating to Homes for the Troops.

•On a much lighter note, WBZ’s Dan Roche topped all of his prior Cookie-Off tomfoolery of the past two Spring Trainings with an outstanding (if a tad long) package that aired on Sunday night’s “Red Sox This Week.” The only true complaint we have is that there wasn’t a true winner of the cookie comp. It seems Rochie only kinda kept score and the only official word was that the Lunch Lady lost. Again.

We can only imagine the steroid hearing jokes that were left in the edit bay from that masterpiece.

There also should have bee a way to include Kapler, even if it’s by phone or video-conference. The press release from Gabby Gabe post-event is a bit hollow.

Bonus points for the Cookie Monster usage and voice over, by the way.

• At the other end of the spectrum was FOX25′s Butchy Stearns on Sunday night, when he essentially passed off a package from Duke Castiglione in New York as if it were work done by Stearns and FOX25 themselves. The practice is common – especially at FOX affiliates – where sensational stories are shared and re-voiced all over the nation. It’s especially common if there are local angles as there were with Joe’s Kid’s solid work on the ADD drugs seeping into MLB (which is causing MLBADHD, from what we can gather). All we’re asking for from Butchy and his brethren is a little credit be given to the reporter who did the legwork by the station that is re-packaging the story.

It’s more of that “transparency” that we all try to operate under if we care about such things.

• It would have helped a bit if New York Times Employee Shaughnessy, Daniel, Boston Division could have mentioned the proper NYT family magazine in which the Hank Steinbrenner comments appeared. It was PLAY, not the NYT Magazine, as Shaughnessy reported in his easy-pickins’ piece on Hank from last weekend.

. . . Just one more Globe nitpick: What took so long on the follow-up to the NYT’s Harvard mini-scandal story? The Globe ran the AP copy on Wednesday and then an in-house re-hash of that on Thursday that didn’t further story in any significant way at all. Was Joe Sullivan trying to downplay the story’s importance or was he covering for the fact that his paper got so thoroughly beaten in their own backyard?

The Herald, not exactly a staple within the Ivy-Walled halls of Harvard, has not even touched on the subject from what we can find.

. . . Just a heck of a week for the NYT investigative units. Not to mention the ability to elicit Rocket Lawyer Rusty Hardin to utter this gem to reporters: “You are on a witch hunt.”

• A hearty Mazel tov to Suzy Kolber. Greatest job of hiding the baby bump in the history of broadcast TV. Even better than the initial Amanda Peet hide on “Studio 60.” The Kolber pregnancy was revealed months ago, but we were never reminded of it until Kellyn entered the world this week. Shots has always had a special spot in his heart for Suzy and we still hold out hope that we could be a single parent, together, with Suzy.

. . . Hey, you know what? Peet could probably even play Kolber in the film we’re developing for Suzy. How perfect would that set be to visit?

• I’ll echo the second graf of this outstanding Blogford entry and send along thoughts and prayers to WEEI’s Glenn Ordway and his family.

• Don’t forget that CN8 will have CAA tournament coverage this Saturday (Noon, 2:30, 6:00 and 8:30) and Sunday for the semis (3:00 and 5:30). Northeastern is a dark horse in the Richmond-based tourney and eternal Cinderella George Mason likely needs to win it all to get into the Big Dance. VCU is the favorite to return to the NCAAs. The underrated, but rising (and Emmy-winning) Scott Graham will work the tournament semis on play-by-play with always solid, Rob Kennedy Glenn Consor on color. Always great Gregg Murphy of CN8′s 7 p.m. “Out of Bounds” fame serves as in-between host. ESPN picks up the title game on Monday night.

• 9 p.m., Sunday night, Do Not Disturb Shots. I’m hangin’ with my man, Bubbles and praying for a complete and public takedown of Templeton by my man, Gus.

I’m a Wire-come-lately type of fan, but it doesn’t make me any less of one, I assure you.

• So, with our usual caveat, that’ll be all for Shots for the next six weeks or so. Starting Wednesday, we’ll be on the road to San Antonio for CSTV.com (evolving into the CBS College Sports Network). If, per chance, major media news breaks in Boston, we’ll do our best to hop on it, but for the most part, you’ll have to get your fill of Shots through our NCAA hoops coverage and usual tales of road-tripping mischief. With some 20-plus days of travel on the horizon, you can be sure we’ll stir up all sorts of interesting shenanigans.

UPDATE 3 p.m. FRIDAY:

1. Stacey James at the Patriots returned our email regarding the future of Patriots Friday by replying, “”We are aware of your report, but I can’t say whether it would have any impact on our partnership.”

2. Two separate sources – one in New York and one in Boston – are indicating that Tina Cervasio’s next stop will be with the Madison Square Garden network in Manhattan. Cervasio is finishing up her run at NESN this month and has been seeking employ in the Big Apple.

3. Ex-ESPN stalwart Dan Patrick (who appears to be getting marketing support from the ever-expanding Elevate Communications) had the Baseball Hall of Fame’s VP of Communications, Jeff Idelson on his fledgling show today and here’s an excerpt of their conversation:

Dan Patrick: “Have you thought about a steroid exhibit in the Hall of Fame? Brian McNamee says to you, ‘Jeff, I’ve got some viles, I’ve got syringes, I’ve got HGH — I’d like to donate it to the Hall of Fame.’”

Jeff Idelson: “There’s no doubt that in time, Dan, we will address steroids and human growth hormones in our museum. It’s a part of the game. It’s a lousy part of the game, but it’s part of the game’s history — But when we do tell the story, it will be in the context perhaps of good medicine versus bad medicine. It will be done in an educational way. Would we accept artifacts or items from Brian McNamee? I don’t know, I mean if it allows us to tell the story in an educational way, we’d consider it. But if it’s just to have, I doubt we’d take them.”

If Patrick were still on ESPN Radio, this “news” would be “breaking” on the crawl all afternoon. Instead, his new PR people are sending out emails itching for a nibble. Amazing how powerful those four letters are, isn’t it?

David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.

His work – and weekly college hoops report card – for CSTV.com can be found at Hang Time and live-blogging at Posting Up throughout all of March Madness, beginning with the Conference USA Tournament on March 12 and continuing through the NCAA Tournament in Little Rock, Houston and finally San Antonio for the Final Four. We welcome all our Shots regulars to join with us and experience the Madness from a whole different perspective.