Was yesterday the greatest day in Boston Sports? 4 games, 4 victories. 2 of them playoff games held in the same building. A trade of the man, who along with Bill Parcells, resurrected football in New England. Patriots draft another sleeper QB with a cannon arm and great leadership skills. Could any fan ask for anything more in one day?
It was truly a day for the ages. Not to mention the clickers. Mike Dunleavy, calling the Celtics game with Bob Costas, predicted 50 points for Allen Iverson before the game. For the first quarter anyway, it looked like he might be right. Dunleavy also goofed saying the Celtics had only played the Sixers once since the trade that netted Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. He said the Celtics won the only meeting. Not true, they played twice, the second game being the one in which Iverson injured his hand, and the Sixers still won. They did mention that Iverson’s conditioning could be a factor later in the game, making the observation that Allen isn’t a big fan of extra workouts. Either he was tired, or it was the Celtics “Mirage and five” defense which shut him down the rest of the game. Celtics need the same intensity Thursday night (8:00 TNT) or the series will quickly be tied heading into Philadelphia. Peter Vescey said later in the day that the player he was most impressed with during the Celtics game was Antoine Walker. After Vescey’s comments about Larry Bird yesterday, Walker should be ashamed to be recognized by Vescey.
Johnny Damon, who didn’t expect Grady Little to put him in the lineup, led the Sox to a doubleheader sweep of the Royals. Damon, booed every at-bat, responded with a 2 run homer in game one, and a grand slam in game two. Best prediction of the day: The Royals, conceding game one, put in a Rule V. draft pitcher, who quickly got pounded. Jerry Remy said as Manny Ramirez strolled to the plate, “I bet Manny’s been chomping at the bit to get in there against this pitcher.” Ramirez then CRUSHED the first pitch he saw for a mammoth homer to left.
It wasn’t clear what the broadcast schedule for the doubleheader was. More than one person turned to NESN around 5:30, expecting NESN Extra Innings to still be going, to find the 2nd game in progress and the Sox trailing 2-0.
Patriots.com was indeed the first the break the news that Drew Bledsoe had been traded to the Bills. It took some time for other media outlets to pick up on this posting. ESPN didn’t mention the web site announcement until nearly an hour after it was first posted.
The Sunday night sports shows on WBZ 4 and WHDH 7 were a whirlwind of talk and discussion. “Sports Extra” on channel 7 had the disadvantage of only being a half hour long. Jackie MacMullan and Michael Holley were on to discuss Bledsoe and the Celtics. “SportsFinal” on channel 4 and “Sportsfinal overtime” had more room for discussion, and was much more memorable, bringing in Nick Cafardo and Michael Felger, who along with Bob Lobel and Scott Zolak were able to debate the merits of the Bledsoe trade. Cafardo insisted on comparing this with the departure of Roger Clemens, saying that Patriots manangement thinks that Bledsoe cannot play any more, just like the Red Sox thought Clemens was done. He thinks Bledsoe could come back to haunt to Pats, much like Clemens. Felger correctly countered that argument, pointing out that the situations were totally different. The Patriots have their replacement for Bledsoe, and they *had* to get him out of town for the good of the team. With Clemens, it was just about the money, and Clemens chose to leave on his own and alienated the fans along the way. Zolak dismissed “sources” earlier in the week who said that Bledsoe had said he would rather stay here and compete for the job rather than go to the Bengals or Bills. The show followed with Bob Ryan talking Celtics. He’s “in like” with this team. Not loving them yet, but likes them alot. Yesterday’s pregame with the legends walking across the court before the game impressed him, along with the action of the first quarter, which he likened to the good ol days of the NBA. The last segment was with Ryan and Sean McAdam, and they talked Red Sox. McAdam made the comment that this was the best Red Sox team *up the middle* that he’s seen in his lifetime. Lobel wasn’t listening for the the whole sentence and didn’t hear the “up the middle” phrase, which led to a few awkward moments as he tried to get over his shock at what he thought he heard.
WEEI and WWZN should be interesting today. We’ll keep you posted.
In the papers today, the old cranky guys actually show a pulse….Dan Shaughnessy says “Welcome to winnersville.” Bob Ryan gives the Celtics an A+, Steve Buckley says this was for the fans. Even Michael Gee chimes in, saying to the Celtics “Congratulations, fellows. This old fuddy-duddy wasn’t sure you had such simple wisdom in you.” I’m sure they’re grateful for the compliment. Ron Borges does attempt to throw a wet blanket on the Bledsoe trade.