In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Sun Sports did a "nice job" in addressing Rays DH Manny Ramirez' retirement from baseball in lieu of serving a 100-game suspension "straight on." Prior to Friday's game against the White Sox, there were "interviews with key players Johnny Damon and B.J. Upton, as well as Rays manager Joe Maddon." It "would have been nice if game announcers Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson had talked in greater detail about the situation, but at least the topic wasn't ignored" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/11).
DISPUTING DIBBLE'S STORY: In DC, Adam Kilgore noted former Nationals TV analyst Rob Dibble last week "re-opened the controversy surrounding his dismissal from MASN, claiming an email from Stephen Strasburg's father to members of the Lerner family caused the Nationals to fire him." But a day after Strasburg "denied the claim on Twitter," former Nationals President Stan Kasten Friday "blasted and discredited Dibble's account." Kasten: "Neither Stephen nor his father had anything to do with this decision. Rob's account is both fictional and, really, quite sad" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/8).
MISSING ACTION: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted a "financial dispute between Fox Sports Midwest and AT&T U-Verse and others is threatening to keep up to 20 Cardinals games off those TV programming outlets." FSM is "in the first year of its deal with the Cardinals to be the sole provider of the team's locally produced telecasts, adding the 20 games that had been the property of" KSDK-NBC and "charging carriers extra for those games." FSM Friday said that "unless a settlement is reached, the affected blackout schedule" would have begun with yesterday's game against the Giants. Tonight's and tomorrow's games against the D'Backs also are "to be withheld" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/9).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: In Indianapolis, Mike Wells noted Pacers radio analyst Bob Leonard returned for Friday's game against the Hawks "after being out for almost four weeks following a heart attack." Leonard "suffered the heart attack on the team bus" after the March 13 Pacers-Knicks game. Leonard is "returning in time to be part of the Pacers' first playoff appearance in five years" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/9)....In Cleveland, Terry Pluto noted the Cavaliers before Friday's game against the Bulls honored retiring radio announcer Joe Tait "by placing his banner" next to Cavaliers players "who have had their numbers retired." Tait "received a long standing ovation" and "waved to the crowd." Tait's final game will be the Cavaliers' season finale against the Wizards on Wednesday, "only the fifth game for Tait this season, as he recovered from major heart surgery" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/9).