By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch

The developing East Coast-West Coast feud between Boston’s Gerry Callahan (WEEI 850 AM and the Boston Herald) and Los Angeles’ T.J. Simers (LA Times) is starting to provide a nice sideshow to the Sox-Angels series.

Catch yourself up on the Manny Ramirez-fueled matter here and then check out this Thursday afternoon rebuttal from Callahan (after a request for comment from Shots):

“T.J. is like that friend in junior high who meets his first girlfriend and loses his mind,” Callahan said through email. “I liked him a lot better before he fell in love.”

There’s no record of a Simers-Ramirez couple registered at Williams-Sonoma as of yet, so we are going to state the obvious and say, “The ball is now in the court of Mr. Simers.”

. . . Just do a search of Simers to absorb the pure showmanship he constantly wields.

. . . And how about his complete takedown of the Herald, which he calls a “shopper.”

That’s journalistic trash talk of the highest order.

• Local live-blogging of games has been elevated to a new level with the WEEI.com Game Day blog and especially the yeoman’s work of Alex Speier on Wednesday night. Not merely a play-by-play re-hash of what everyone is watching at home, the GDB offers insight, analysis and pithy humor – exactly what live-blogging should and can be. Tony Massarotti just isn’t there yet and we suspect Mazz would admit as much.

We’re also of the opinion that live-blogging needs to be done with the fabulous CoverItLive web-based software and word is that WEEI.com (and at least one other entity in the market) have been experimenting off-line with it.

. . . Speaking of WEEI.com, the Will Leitch experiment is apparently going very well for the Entercom dot-commers. Leitch will add an every-other-week mailbag to his every-other-week Outsider column, giving him a weekly presence for the site.

. . . The dot-com also confirmed three other new contributors who have already started:

“WEEI.com has added Woburn Daily Times Chronicle sports writer Joe Haggerty to report on the Boston Bruins, while HOOPSWORLD Senior Reporter Jessica Camerato and Boston magazine Online Editor Paul Flannery will join FOXSPORTS.com’s Jeff Goodman in covering the Boston Celtics,” WEEI.com said in a release.

“We’ve compiled a first-rate collection of reporters to cover Celtics and Bruins at WEEI.com,” Editor Rob Bradford said. “With these talented additions, as well as our current staff, I feel that WEEI.com will be a must-read website for any Celtics and Bruins fan.”

• The “Borges Countdown” being run by the Herald this week has been a bit laughable. At a real tabloid, the marketing people would be going bonkers over The Bully arriving at Wingo Way. But at the teetering Herald, all the buzz-creation has to be done by editorial and it amounts to a one-inch box trumpeting the days until Borges’s debut.

Sure would make us feel a lot better if the editorial side were a bit more forthcoming about Borges’s immediate past and a little less smug about adding the provocateur.

• Shots is being told to expect a smaller cut size for the Boston Herald once its printing completely shifts out of the current set-up. It will likely be closer to the relatively new size of the New York Post, we’re told – about a full-inch smaller. The re-shaping of the Herald means even less space for printed content which should, in turn, mean more electronic content (if transitioned properly).

. . . Sean McAdam should be starting up with the Herald any day now and you can expect his re-emergence on radio to follow shortly thereafter.

• CORRECTION: Last week we mentioned that Mark Cofman is editing OT magazine and sloppily reported he was a lecturer at Emerson College. Cofman is actually teaching at Endicott College, but reports to Shots that his class load is significantly diminished now that he is heading up OT.

Shots regrets the error but not as much as the Globe regretted its Kevin O’Connell error from last Sunday. Tough week for the section overall, it appears.

Cofman is a 1979 graduate of Emerson and he is a former Herald sportswriter, who covered UMass basketball back in the days when Shots was a little tyke running around Boyden making copies and inhaling chlorine.

• There is already one substantive reason to give ESPN Original Digital’s Mayne Street a shot and her name is Alison Becker (playing the role of producer Sarah). Scott Van Pelt was pretty damn good in the episode we screened as well and kooky Kenny Mayne has always been a huge talent in our eyes.

See for yourself:

• Ashamed that we missed this one: Ex-CN8 host and reporter Phil Burton (of the famous Burton family) has left the Boston market and landed in Orlando with the ABC affiliate. Burton was one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys in Boston’s electronic sports media and we wish him all the best down South.

• Time to shed a tear for the no-longer-running I.M. Bettor from the Herald. Insiders say that Bettor’s bad results over last few seasons, coupled with a dearth of freelance money in the budget, sealed the Bettor’s fate.

• The New Hampshire Union Leader welcomed a new Patriots writer and Boston sports correspondent this week in Brian MacPherson. The North Carolina grad is an Exeter, N.H., native and for the past two years had been covering Division II football and basketball for the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times. Prior to that, MacPherson worked as a Pulliam Fellow at the Arizona Republic and as a reporting intern at Sports Illustrated. His work in St. Cloud earned him the 2007 New Journalist of the Year award from the Minnesota Associated Press Association.

Alex Speier did terrific work during five seasons reporting on the Sox for us, and Ian Clark, who remains an invaluable member of our Sports staff, has provided excellent coverage of the Patriots for more than seven years,” said UL Deputy Managing Editor-Sunday and Sports Vin Sylvia. “Providing quality coverage of both beats will be a challenge, no doubt, but Brian is extremely talented and hard-working, and I’m certain he’s up to the task.”

Clark will continue to file a weekly Patriots report card while taking on additional reporting duties for the paper, according to Sylvia.

• Old friend and Salem State grad Paul Biancardi has landed a very promising gig at the Worldwide Leader as the National Director of Recruiting for ESPN Basketball. Biancardi, now living in Charlotte, will get some air time on select high school and college games, where he will surely excel with his engaging personality and deep knowledge of all levels of the game.

• Happy 20th birthday to one of our favorite shows of all-time, ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters.” Joining John Saunders on this week’s show will be Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica and our own Basketball Bob Ryan. In fact, the very first show in 1988 (with Gary Thorne hosting) included ex-Globie Jackie MacMullan on the panel.

“We were the first sports show with this format – respected journalists addressing the major national stories,” says the show’s executive producer, Joe Valerio. “There’s no agenda. The strength of the show is our unbiased view. We don’t root for teams; we root for good stories.”

Mostly we just root for Lupica not to be part of the panel – sadly he gets a LOT of reps.

• The Duxbury (Mass.) DPW hard at work, in conjunction with the Duxbury’s Clipper’s publisher.

 

• Pete Thamel strikes again for the New York Times. While the Globe is busy cornering the market on Lifetime stories, the Big Daddy NYT actually does some dirt digging.

• TBS completely missed the boat with no live shots or split screens from Milwaukee as the Mets finished off their collapse on Sunday afternoon. Half the story was the fact that the Brew Crew was on the verge of the playoffs and TBS completely fumbled that portion of the drama.

. . . And what’s with the no sport coat thing for Ernie, Eck and Cal on Tuesday night?

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.