Fox25 started out Sports Sunday with a look at AL contender’s records on May 31 and then since then. Sox had best record back then, and by far the worst record since then. Host Butch Stearns comforted us after the depressing Sox highlights from the day with highlights of Clemens losing today. Football was up next and the first thing mentioned was the traffic problems at the game last night. “Reid Between the lines” was about the players needing to get adjusted to the “fast grass” at Gillette stadium, and the struggles last night of the first team offense.
An Interview with Yaz, done by Ron Nikoleski was in the next segment, Yaz said the first few years in Boston was tough, usually under 10,000 fans a night, more emphasis on the individual than the team. 1967 changed it all, they thought that was just the start of a run, but the losses on Lonborg, Tony C. and Jose Santiago really hurt. The loss of Ted Williams is tremendous, they were close. On the labor front, Yaz says neither side should be out just to win, they need to get together and get it done. Yaz would like to see Fenway park stay. It’s historical, fans so close to the field, different from every other ballpark, it’s alive, great, great ballpark to play in. Remembered how the Wall used to be, rivets sticking out, ball could bounce anywhere, wishes it was still that way.
Lenny Megliola was in studio for the next segment. Why have the Red Sox been so bad? Lenny says the middle bullpen, Howry is not the answer, this is the “curse of el guapo”. Lenny puts blame on Manny for something missing with the team. He’s not producing. Butch agreed and brought up Nomar’s slide and emotional jump up as noteworthy. Lenny says the team is too laid back, he’s never seen Nomar do that, more of that sort of thing is needed. On to football, Lenny says the honeymoon is almost over for Tom Brady. Lenny wants to be ahead of the curve in promoting Huard, but he does think a new contract for Brady will get down before the season. As for the baseball labor front, Lenny is optimistic, he thinks an agreement will get done. His prediction is no strike.
“Sunday’s best” remembered Elvis’ movie roles in which he played an athlete. Roles as a boxer, race driver, and cliff diver were shown. “Last Blast” was a thumbs down from Butch for Terrell Davis as a Hall of Famer. Didn’t play long enough and was injured too often.
Chris Collins hosted NECN’s Sports LateNight. Highlights from the days events were followed by a look at the Patriots last night, and Patriot reactions on playing at Gillette Stadium for the first time. Mark Ockerbloom caught up with Patrick Pass. and Mike Giardi had a piece with Rohan Davey. There were no guests on this 1/2 hour edition.
Channel 7’s Sports Xtra with Gene Lavanchy had the news of former Sox GM Dick O’Connell passing away. Tim Fox was in to analyze the Patriots from last night. He isn’t too worried about Brady. When asked about Brady/Bledsoe, Fox thinks that as long as Belichick and that system is there, that Brady is the right QB. Fox says in the last two preseason games look for the Patriots to try to get the ball into the end zone more. Going for it on 4th down instead of kicking the field goal, getting the extra reps in. Michael Smith and Michael Holley were both in to talk baseball and football. Nomar’s pitch selection and his career pattern of low strikeout numbers were talked about. Holley called him an “unconventional great hitter”. Strike talk. Brilliant PR move on Monday by not setting the strike date, now with the talks breaking down midweek, it makes the owners look bad. An interview with Lawyer Milloy wrapped up the show.
WBZ’s “Sports Final” was hosted by Bob Lobel. The tact was to get the Red Sox out of the way first. Trying to figure out what is the problem. Steve Buckley and Sean McAdam were the first panel in to discuss this topic. The numbers do not compute, says McAdam, some “x factor” is working against them. Lobel said once they got rid of Everett wasn’t that supposed to solve all the ills? Buckley wants to blame Duquette for the problems and wants to know if he’s still going to be showing up at the games if they fall completely out of the race. Lobel brought up Grady Little — too laid back? McAdam says the firey manager doesn’t work these days. Dick O’Connell’s place in Red Sox history was discussed. Buckley waxed poetic in calling O’Connell as the greatest executive in team history. He was responsible for putting together the ’67 team which turned around baseball in Boston. Will McDonough appeared in a tape interview, and called him to most underrated GM in the last 50 years. McDonough talked about O’Connell the man, and that he had a huge role in planning the Pacific strategies during WWII. Jean Yawkey hated Dick O’Connell, because as Lobel said, he know who she was and where she came from. As soon as Tom died, Jean made the moves to oust O’Connell.
A look at the new stadium overlaid with vintage Gillette ads was up next. Dan Roche got reaction to the new stadium. The first football panel was Ron Borges, Steve DeOssie and Scott Zolak. Borges says defensively the Pats are ok, but on offense they don’t score touchdowns. Against Carolina next week they should score 50 points against that team. DeOssie said you don’t worry about the offense right now, this past game was all about the Stadium. Lobel asked what if Bledsoe threw those interceptions, and Borges jumped in right away…”get him out of there, he’s throwing off his back foot…” Zolak said Brady hasn’t hit a guy in stride since hitting Patten in the Indy game last year. He doesn’t have enough RPM’s on his ball to hit the long sideline routes. Borges has it all figured out about how Defensive coordinators are going to play Brady, take away the underneath routes and dumpoffs, he talked about the Rams having him all figured out in the Super Bowl. Zolak wants to see more of Huard. Thinks he should get more time with the first team. Borges said if you base things strictly on performance from the first two preseason games, then Huard should be the starting QB, but you wouldn’t say that, of course. DeOssie asked if Borges was saying that last year when Brady outplayed Bledsoe, Borges said no, you don’t say those things. DeOssie is a Belichick fan…he’s all about winning. Doesn’t care about egos. Borges says just one…his own. DeOssie said that Belichick is smarter than Borges, tougher than Borges and better at his job than Borges, and that Borges is just upset because he was wrong last year. Borges tried to say something about writing a column last year saying he should be coach of the year, but it was a week defense. Zolak says Pittsburgh is going to be 12-4 easy, and the Patriots have to get back to the Big game for this season to be successful.
A copy of Nick Cafardo’s new book “The Impossible team” was first on the next segment with Cafardo and Michael Felger. Felger hopes there’s a whole chapter in the book on all the things Cafardo and Borges got wrong last year. Drafting a WR over Seymour, can’t win without Terry Glenn, can’t win with Brady…just a few things. Cafardo says there is no way that Brady comes out of the starting lineup this year. He’s Belichick’s guy, Belichick will be loyal to him. Felger agrees with DeOssie who said if Brady is throwing interceptions in the end zone and not getting the job done, Belichick will take him out. Felger wonders what Brady thinks about being the lowest paid QB in the league. Cafardo thinks that notion is ridiculous, Brady doesn’t need the money, he’s got plenty of endorsements. Felger says they run the risk of Brady getting ticked off. Cafardo says the Krafts are going to pay him.
The next segment was the same participants, Lobel led off saying this could be a better team and not do as well. Felger agreed, they had alot of things go right, coaching, momentum, mojo, etc. Cafardo wanted to know what mojo was. Felger put forward that this team has more talent than last year. The baseball aspect was brought up, with the impending strike more and more attention is going to be paid to the Patriots. Felger says the Red Sox are the anti-Patriots. Big payroll, superstars, too comfortable etc.
The baseball guys were brought back to talk labor situation and possible strike. McAdam says he has previously been the prince of darkness with regards to this situation, but he now thinks this thing can be salvaged. The sides know something must be done, it’s just a matter of numbers now, no great philosophical divide. Buckley agrees. He again evoked Glavine’s comments from Monday that the players recognize the damage that was done “to the game of baseball” back in ’94. Owners have too much to lose right now, hardliners who want to get back all they’ve lost in labor from the last 30 years will not prevail, the union cannot be broken, they can’t blow up the game and start over. McAdam talked about football taking over, that they always get their labor situation resolved, they’re always there on Sunday, fans can make the emotional investment. Buckley thinks there divisions within the players association, McAdam disagrees, there are more divisions among the owners. The players will always present a united front. As for the Red Sox, they need a streak. Lobel asked if they need a clubhouse fight…McAdam said that is overrated. Buckley is encouraged by Wakefield. He thinks with Wakefield, Lowe and Pedro they can rip off a streak. Team hasn’t won three in a row in over a month. Interleague play sent them into a funk that they haven’t recovered from since.