A couple thoughts while waiting for the certain smug media figures rejoicing over a Patriots loss…
A couple months ago I had the gall to lump Greg Dickerson in with the Manny Ramirez bashers. He sent me an e-mail blasting me for saying that, and added that he in fact was one of Manny’s boosters. This morning Dickerson was filling in for Dale Arnold on the WEEI “NFL Sunday” program, and to lead into the segment with Peter King, Dickerson said “Let’s discuss the football version of Manny Ramirez . . . Randy Moss.” Nice comparison. How many times has Manny been arrested?
In case you didn’t hear also, Dickerson has resigned as the Celtics PA announcer. Bring Andy Jick out of mothballs…
Fox25′s “Sports Sunday” had Butch Stearns talking with Ron Hobson about the Patriots loss today. Hobson blames poor tackling for the loss. He says two games is a trend. Not having Troy Brown in there at the end was huge, they missed his presence. Brady was a mixed bag, very good, and very bad. Hobson is confident that Belichick will solve the problem of tackling and stopping the run. Ricky Williams will be looking to prove he’s good against the Pats next week.
Ryder cup highlights and Red Sox coverage from today as well as Manny’s batting title were up next. Manny wouldn’t talk to the media, Rob Nikoleski called it Manny being Manny. Pedro talked, and talked about not wanting to negotiate in-season and have it be a distraction. Alan Embree would like a three year contract. He likes the competitive arena here. Cliff Floyd would like to be back as well, if he gets two similar offers, he’s taking Boston. Rickey Henderson doesn’t sound like he’s coming back unless the Red Sox commit to playing him more. If that’s the case, he would “love” to come back here.
Revolution playoff highlights led off the next segment. (They lost tonight) Larry Moulter then came on to talk about the Celtics sale. The people involved with the sale wanted to keep it quiet, it’s a credit to their self-discipline that it was a secret. The deal wouldn’t have been done by the owners if it wasn’t solid for them. It’s good for tax purposes, and the new owners are smart guys. Again it’s emphasized that this is simply the team, no building, no TV network. Moulter doesn’t think Bird will be involved as he is in with Belkin and Carr for the Charlotte team. Moulter seemed to think that Bird would be wishing he could be with the Celtics. A clip of Bird and Magic together, with Magic first talking about a killer game Larry had against him and part of Larry’s presentation of Magic at the Hall of Fame induction Friday night followed.
A look back the the three year run of the Red Sox on Fox25 was the last segment. Many of Sean and Jerry’s outtakes and miscues as well as on-field highlights from the three years were packaged in the video tribute.
NECN’s Sports Late night had Chris Collins as host and Pete Sheppard as in-studio guest. Pete talked about it as an un-Patriot like game. He was surprised by some of the play calling today by Belichick and Weis. The 4th and short call was not a good call by the coaches even though it was a bad spot. They moved the ball well, 400 yards of offense, but couldn’t finish. Sheppard thinks we’ve been spoiled here and are bound to overreact to this loss. Collins talks about a trend and big problem with stopping the run. Pete thinks they can get Ricky Williams though. Calls were taken from viewers for the rest of the program.
WBZ’s “Sports Final” led off with Bob Lobel saying the Patriots losing wasn’t as troubling as how they lost. Highlights of the day from Steve Burton live in San Diego, included Lawyer Milloy talking about not worrying about 16-0 any more. Ron Borges and Michael Felger were there as well, Borges talked about the Patriots being stomped into the turf, and there’s no evidence that it can be fixed. Felger talked about the age of the defense, and they’re not getting any better, it’s got to concern you. Borges talked abotu asking “coach chuckles” about why Ted Johnson wasn’t in there today. Felger said Johnson didn’t get off the ball last week and wouldn’t have done anything today either. Borges called it ludicrous that Johnson wasn’t active today since he had 13 tackles last week, Felger mentioned Seymour, that people think he’s a superstar in the making, Borges says “Who says that?” As for Brady’s performance, he felt the pressure, today even though he wasn’t sacked. Borges lauded Bledsoe and that he’s Mr Clutch, and called out Felger for saying Bledsoe was washed up, and admitting to Borges that he was wrong about that. Felger tried to clarify and say that he meant Bledsoe is playing better now that he has a fire lit under him.
DeOssie and Zolak were up next, in studio with Lobel, and Zolak is twice as impressed with what Bledsoe has done with his team than what Brady has done with his team. Zolak is clearly pleased with his pal Bledsoe. The hint of a QB controversy was brought up by Lobel as the comparison between the two of them was discussed. Next week’s battle with Miami is now a huge game with one team going to be 3-2 afterward. Lobel wants to know what’s wrong with the defense, what has changed? DeOssie says it’s just one guy trying to make the tackles. (Bruschi) There’s no one on either side of him, and he can’t do it by himself. Zolak says the team is not hitting like they were previously. They’re not punishing teams. Lobel talked about Belichick “supposed to be a great motivator” and what is he going to do now? Dolphins and Bills highlights were shown. Lobel has now trotted out his patented “Why can’t we get players like that?” phrase three times during this show in regards to Bledsoe.
Red Sox were up next. 93 wins is deceiving as there are so many weak divisional opponents. Clips from John Henry, saying they need more pitching depth, Pedro saying he’s proud of what he was able to do. Damon talked about Manny as a character, and that the players respect that. Grady Little’s future was discussed by Derek Lowe. Payroll issues, Nomar said he tried to warn everyone before the labor agreement about how teams like the Sox might lose superstars, but everyone just thought the players were being greedy. Dan Shaughnessy and Dan Roche were in next. Pedro’s talk last weekend was the topic, Lobel talked about thing that make the fans mad like Pedro and Manny sitting out today. Sahughnessy said Ted must’ve been spinning in his cylinder about Manny not playing today. Lobel again said stuff like this really bugs fans. Shaughnessy said Pedro was backpedaling today from his statements last week. Roche discussed Nomar’s comments above. Lobel went through the individual stats ( 2 – 20 win pitchers, batting champion, 7 all stars) and how did this team not win? Shaughnessy says in his column tomorrow he’ll be talking about a black Lincoln Town Car that Joe Kerrigan never returned to the team. Rickey getting a car today was odd too they thought.
Celtics sale …Lobel said how nobody in the Boston sports media knew about this, even Will McDonough. Shaughnessy said it was better this way, rather than dragging it out like the Red Sox sale was. Gaston (and Harrington) cleaned out the town. They made money off the efforts of Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy etc. Rick Pitino had it in his contract that if the team was sold while was coach he got 16 million dollars and wasn’t obligated to coach anymore. Harrington being inducted into the Red Sox hall of fame had them scratching their heads.
Billy Andrade was interviewed via phone about the US Ryder cup loss today. He thinks his game would be perfect for Ryder cup, he’s the ultimate team guy and thinks he would thrive in that format.
Larru Lucchino was in next and in looking back at the first season, Lucchino said it was a transition year, it’s the beginning. Next season they’ll have an entire year to work. First meeting about the 2003 season is tomorrow morning. Lobel wanted to go through his list that upset fans. Lucchino first thanked and saluted the fans. Lobel started by saying he’s happy with the new ownership, they deserved better than they got on the field. The little things: second game lineup in the doubleheader, Pedro’s comments and his “shutdown”. Manny not starting today. Lobel repeatedly used the word fans being driven “crazy”. Lucchino talked about minor things getting blown out of proportion, but some one the complaints are valid, he didn’t get a valid reason from Grady on the doubleheader, just that it was a long day and some guys needed their rest. There are plenty of issues that upset people, he’s gets many many e-mails. Lobel talked about how a new ballpark looks like it isn’t going to happen. But that isn’t such a bad thing, we just need to see what we can do with it. Lucchino said since the beginning their intention has been renovation, they wanted to take a season to observe the ecosystem of the park and see what can be improved. Couple things for next year. More seats behind home plate and up above the wall. He admits they’re at the high end of the ticket scale, and need to maintain some tickets at an affordable level. Retain seats for families, groups, etc. Payroll projections…it’s much too soon to say what it will be. They try in general to live within their means, but try to push the envelope whenever possible. About the General Manager position, they want someone in before the GM meetings in early November. They will be looking also at qualified minority candidates. Not going to just give it someone without a full search. Lobel talked about hearing Lucchino on Dennis and Callahan, how they ask tough questions and it adds to their and Lucchino’s credibility. Lobel went through the individual awards and the lack of success, Lucchino said the team was a few bricks short of a load, especially in pitching, they’re going to build the bullpen. They’re not going to lose all those 1-run ball games again. He’s very optimistic about next season. Lobel is sick of talking about Manny, but again mention him not playing today.
Harry Manion was in next to talk about the Paul Pierce trial. He characterized the trial thus far as a travesty. The police in this case based on strong, multiple eyewitness testimony arrested suspects. Now the eyewitnesses are recanting. Especially one young lady who completely changed her story. Even Pierce now says he can’t be 100% sure about the identification. The defendants will get off, and if they are convicted it will be overturned. Manion can’t understand why Pierce would change his story, he might be able to understand the other witnesses changing their stories, but doesn’t quite understand about Pierce, he must be afraid of something. It’s like the old mob trials of the 30′s and 40′s. People now say there’s nothing in it for me, and don’t feel compelled to tell the truth. The witnesses are obviously being intimidated. The judge has no power even it is later brought out that the witnesses were threatened. Where would this case had gone if Pierce had died? It would be a case of global proportions, right up there with OJ. Manion thinks Pierce made a calculation, he lived another day, and has decided to keep living and not making trouble. (Show ended 12:50 PM)
WHDH’s “Sports Xtra” with Gene Lavanchy had Gary Gillis reporting live from San Diego and narrating the highlights and player clips from the day. After Red Sox highlights, Kip Lewis talked with Tony Massarotti about the season and the future. Tony says the first order of business needs to be their own free agents. Floyd, Urbina and Embree, he doesn’t know if they can sign both of the first two. As for Mike Port, he doesn’t have the GM job locked up yet, they’re going to look at others out there. We should have the answer by the beginning of November. Grady’s future depends on the GM situation, but he didn’t do anything to lose this job.
Patriots talk with Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox was up next, failure to stop the run was again the major topic. Smerlas talked about the Patriots getting out-physicalled at the line, which hasn’t happened much. They’re creating lanes for the backs to run through, and they’re not tackling. There wasn’t room for a guy like Seymour to disengage from his guy to go make the tackle, they were right up close. Lavanchy brought up Phifer and Bruschi being back in today and it not making a difference. Fox noted they seemed to change their scheme today and it wasn’t successful. Fox said on offense, the Patriots need to balance more, they’re letting the defense dictate what they’re going to do. Smerlas noted that Weis often outguesses the defense but didn’t today. Fox said at the end, they almost seemed to run out of ideas and things to try. Smerlas talked about the passive approach today, cited not going for a 52 yard field goal and punting instead. Fox said you take two plays out of the game they can win. (long pass and long run) As far as Ricky Williams, they’re going to have to tighten up, play more team defense. Fox is more worried about next weeks game than he was about todays. Long flight back, another tough running back.
Jackie Macullan and Gerry Callahan were in next, MacMullan tried to be positive saying if she told you they’d be 3-1 after four games….Lavanchy cut her off with a groan and roll of his eyes, saying they should be 4-0. Callahan said they could easily be 3-2 after next week. He was disappointed by the lack of in-game adjustments by Belichick, Weis and Crennell. Sale of the Celtics…Jackie says Sherman Douglas was right years ago when Gaston said the team stinks and Sherm said he thought the owner stunk. Being local guys is a plus, Callahan thinks they could be in it more for the love of the game than just the money. He also thinks the public sale of stock those years ago was a huge scam taking advantage of the loyal Celtics fans. The money just went to Gaston’s pocket. His claim of being the guardian of that money for the shareholders was a ruse, a shell game. MacMullan talked about the disgraceful way Gaston left the team, not resigning Rodney Rogers, he should have kept him, signed Travis Best and paid the luxury tax for one year. Instead he’s stuck them. Callahan says good riddance to bad rubbage. Larry Bird’s name was brought up, sense is that he is more focused on the Charlotte team. MacMullan said she wouldn’t call it a pipe dream that he could come back here, but that the Charlotte team could be more financially attractive to him. To the Red Sox…Callahan says the 93 wins needs a big asterisk because of the weak teams in the division. A John Henry quote from the paper today where he said if they had 9 Manny Ramirez’s they’d go undefeated drew a chuckle from the three…”undefeated in what?” asked MacMullan, said Lavanchy: “Did he mean they’d have gone winless…” MacMullan said maybe undefeated in a bad music contest…