By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

Watch the following clip get a taste for just how incongruous and out of place it was to have Bob Costas introduce John Mellencamp at Saturday’s Farm Aid music extravaganza in Mansfield.

Was that odd or what? And Costas doesn’t deliver on his 10-second promise, instead taking 30 uncomfortable seconds to bring on the ever-more schmaltzy artist formerly known as John Cougar. Costas was in the NBC Sunday night studios, so he evidently snuck in from Manhattan for his bizarre appearance from stage left which had been delivering Carson Daly to the Mansfield stage as the day’s emcee.

Some more Farm Aid-related tidbits below if anyone cares, but first a few updates and tidbits for your Monday morning:

• The final stages of the Boston Herald’s attempt to fill three sportswriting positions appear to be nearing as Scott’s Shots is still being told by several reliable sources that Ron Borges is close to joining Hank Hryniewicz’s staff as a general columnist. Two other positions – now believed to BOTH be on the baseball beat – are also close to being wrapped up with a local writer and a New York tabloid baseball scribe holding the edge for what will likely become a baseball columnist and a Sox beat position.

That development is intriguing because it could potentially mean that John Tomase would remain on the Patriots beat instead of being switched over to the Sox, as had been discussed over the past month.

A Friday email response to s Shot’s request from Hank Herald would only say, “I will have no comment on any ongoing interviews or negotiations. I will say, however, that I continue to speak with a number of impressive candidates for the three positions and I am quite pleased with the quality of the individuals who have shown an interest in coming to work for the Boston Herald.”

. . . A Borges hire would be similar to the tactic the Herald used in 2004 – with mixed results – in employing Mike Barnicle. That track record alone, would make the hire a must-follow storyline for area business and media writers.

• Meanwhile, one of Borges’s most fervent opponents has entered into an agreement with the Bully’s former employer (which directly accused Borges of plagiarism). Scott’s Shots has learned that Kerry Byrne, the founder of Cold Hard Football Facts has signed a sales and content deal with Boston.com. Combined with pre-existing deals with both Sports Illustrated and OpenSports.com, the move completes an impressive “Big Three” of content distributors for Byrne’s wide-ranging site.

Adding further intrigue into the new deal for CHFF is the fact that Byrne is also a part-timer at the Herald for the Food section.

• Last week’s travel schedule allowed us to have access to the debut week of Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo on Sirius XM and we were pretty encouraged by the Puppy’s first nibbles. There was – as should have been expected – a huge New York presence on the phone lines, but that’s a big reason why Russo was coveted by the satellite radio giant. There’s potential for strong banter with Steve Torre and the addition of a another few “characters” will go a long way in solidifying the show. But overall, Russo is deft enough to handle the show by himself and gets a fairly intelligent and well-spoken class of caller (at least early in the show’s existence).

Russo also happened to be 100 percent correct when he explained on Friday that EVERY sports fan – or TRUE sports fan – would be wise to take in the Yankee Stadium ceremonies on Sunday night. From Don Larsen scooping dirt from the pitcher’s mound to Bern Baby Bern’s ovation and with many other moments mixed in, the event had significance and meaning beyond the glitz and glamour it artificially created (thanks, ESPN).

• Those master marketers, the Kraft Family, last week sent out “2008 Season Ticket Holder lapel pins” as a “small token of appreciation for your loyal support and to recognize your unique status in the Patriots fan base.” Conveniently included in the same padded envelope were four coupons for use at four separate Patriot Place stores (20 percent off at Off Broadway, Reebok and Bed, Bath & Beyond and 10 percent at Bass Pro Shops) and a reminder “Be a part of Patriots history!” at the newly opened Hall of Fame (but no discounts or comps for admission to the new venue).

. . . Fear not, Boston sports media inhalers – the Pats’ bye week will not be as all-encompassing and banal as it would be in, say, Novemeber when they are the only meaningful show in town. The start of the baseball post-season will surely temper the overkill and over-reaction to Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Miami Dolphins.

• Stop, already, with the people who truly believe that the team’s radio duo of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti is still worthy of being on-air. The misidentifications, missed plays and repeated mis-speaks by G&G are ghastly. In less than a full (first) half of listening on Sunday, Shots heard one or the other or both of the duo call Bill Belichick “Bill Parcells”; completely miss a Miami penalty flag that led to a Patriots first down; and give a reception to a receiver who didn’t get his first reception until the second half (an error feintly corrected by Santos when he gave the catch to Ted Ginn, Jr.).

The Rock Radio Nitwits are ready for their curtain call and it’s time to send in the replacements (where the new conjoining of Scott Zolak and Mike Lynch at WCVB has some informed people thinking that duo could be next in the radio booth.)

[Harsh? Maybe - but let's not allow the Krafts to get a pass for foisting the past-their-prime pairing upon us for another full season of sub-par broadcasting.]

. . . WEEI 850 AM picked up the Marconi Award for national Sports Station of the Year and we’d be foolish not to recognize the significance of that accomplishment. So, yes, loud and boorish is actually a way to go through life, we suppose. Congrats to the Wolfe Man and the gang – the formula does seem to work.

. . . Bob Lobel on morning radio at an oldies station. Perfect. Just perfect.

• So, the Neil Young set list at Farm Aid – which started off completely smoking and peaked with a stirring “Powderfinger,” went like this:

Love And Only Love
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Powderfinger
Mother Earth
Unknown Legend
Old Man
Get Back To The Country
A Day In The Life

. . . Kenny Chesney had the women swooning and we gotta admit, there’s some appeal to the Sox-inclusive She’s From Boston Girl and this one, too (having been there before. Several times.) Consider Shots a newfound Chesney chooser (although I was unfairly swayed by a Section 13, bespectacled beauty who sang every song and glowed through the entire Chesney set.)

. . . The Pretenders set was completely overlooked in all the early reviews I saw. Chrissie Hynde still has the sultry voice that can’t be ignored.

. . . Last moment of playing “Rolling Stone Shots”: Great Woods (insert real name if you feel it necessary) is an awful, awful venue that needs to be thoroughly re-done or simply imploded. Saturday night’s monster gathering stretched the place to its limits and it was an ugly sight to see the hammering the facilities took. Concession costs were OUTRAGEOUS and the feel of “Farm Aid” was lost on a very young, very drunk and very green crowd that roamed the upper portions of the seating area and the incredible, shrinking, grassy knoll up top.

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

Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009.