Clicking through some sports media observations while missing Gus Johnson during the madness . . .
■ WEEI program director Jason Wolfe assures us that John Dennis was joking when he suggested during Thursday’s “Dennis and Callahan’’ program that Kirk Minihane was relegated to the Kevin Winter Memorial Sports Flash booth because NESN had cut back on a camera during its simulcast.
The party line is that NESN and WEEI just want to see how having Minihane set apart from the other two works for a couple of days. Reasonable enough under most circumstances, right?
Sure. But anyone who appreciates the benefits of healthy skepticism has to wonder why Minihane, whose presence as a third voice has invigorated the program (especially when Dennis is absent), appears to be on the verge of marginalization roughly a month after his addition in a vaguely defined role.
One doesn’t have to be an accomplished conspiracy theorist to watch the simulcast and notice that Dennis often appears to treat Minihane as a threat and yet also with a “what’s your name again?” casual condescension. (He openly revels in calling him “Minnifield,” just as he infamously called Ryen Russillo “Rotillo.”)
The appearance of appeasement during this truly strange week on the program (I could spill another thousand words on the random Jerry Remy call-in) makes one wonder what comes next.
Will Minihane be forced to play his part from inside a giant plastic bubble? Will he be ordered to emerge from a crate in the building’s basement as Dennis directs, “Bring out the Minnifield!”?
Anything seems possible. Let’s just hope they don’t put him out on the street. Because they would be doing it to the wrong guy.
■ WEEI’s afternoon drive pairing of Mike Salk and Michael Holley sounds promising. I probably have emphasized the importance of hosts sounding like friends too much, but I can’t help but note that the chemistry between Salk and Holley seems fairly effortless already, and that’s a good place to start.
■ There will be more in this space over the next few weeks regarding 98.5 The Sports Hub and CBS Radio’s search for a play-by-play successor to the legendary Gil Santos on its Patriots game broadcasts. One name that readers have frequently brought up is Sean McDonough, the talented, candid former Red Sox voice, who has a great thing going at ESPN with high-profile baseball, college basketball, and college football duties. McDonough did have an informal conversation with CBS Radio executives about the job, but nothing beyond that yet.
If the choice ultimately isn’t a well-known national name such as McDonough, here’s hoping CBS Radio and the Sports Hub discover the NFL equivalent of their Bruins voice, the excellent Dave Goucher.
■ An enjoyable element of WEEI’s Celtics-Bobcats broadcast last Saturday night: Bob Ryan and Russillo filling in for Cedric Maxwell as co-analysts. (That’s no knock on Max.) An enjoyable element of WEEI’s Celtics coverage every game: announcer Sean Grande’s informed banter with Celtics coach Doc Rivers during their pregame interview.
■ When New England sports fans think of Tom Caron, it’s probably for his role as the adept ringleader on NESN’s pregame and postgame Red Sox telecasts. But he’s also a bona fide hockey guy, and, with analyst Craig Janney, he’ll be calling his 12th Hockey East championships for NESN beginning with Friday’s semifinals. The puck drops for Providence-UMass-Lowell at 5 p.m., followed by what could be Jack Parker’s farewell, Boston University-Boston College at 8. The title game airs on NESNPlus and NBCSN Saturday at 7 p.m.
■ Two Red Sox blogs that should have a place among your favorite bookmarks this season: The hilarious, sincere, joyously ribald Surviving Grady (survivinggrady.com, and yes, the title is a clue as to its origins) and Over The Monster (overthemonster.com), an ideal blend of sabermetrics and common sense, not that the two are mutually exclusive.
■ For those among us who prefer to know all about prospects such as Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. before they become springtime revelations to the masses, it’s always worthwhile to check out Alex Speier’s excellent “Down on the Farm” program, which returns to the WEEI airwaves Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m.
■ Steve Ciaccio, a longtime executive producer for WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan’’ program, announced on his Facebook page that he will leave the station April 2, writing “that the time was right for me to exit.” Ciaccio, who began at the station in 1997, said he has taken a position with Gerrity Stone in Woburn.
■ More than any other sport, football is the one in which self-starting reporters can build an advantage by becoming immersed in its nuances and complexities, then finding an accessible way to relate that depth of knowledge to an audience. I don’t know of anyone anywhere who has done that better than Greg Bedard since he became the Globe’s national NFL columnist in October 2010. There’s no doubt he’ll continue to provide original insight in his new gig as a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, a position related to the new Peter King project, effective May 1. Bedard will stay on at the Globe through the NFL draft.