Sunday Night Sports Shows
Sports Sunday on Fox25 led off with Butch Stearns pleading all to stay to the end of the show as another Red Sox trade could be done by then. Stearns mentioned the Giambi trade earlier today, and said the next trade could be for Javier Vazquez. A clip from Theo Epstein was shown talking about the Giambi trade, that Jeremy is ecstatic to be coming to Boston being a part of the Yankee rivalry and the added aspect of his brother being there. Then Wendy Nix (formerly of FSNE) reported in from Nashville, talking about the Expos getting ready to make a trade, but they’re playing the offers off each other right now. She’s hearing Vazquez for Hillenbrand could be done, but that the Expos want Fernando Tatis taken off their hands, and that the Red Sox will not take on that salary. Nix talked about Hillenbrand being mentioned in many trades, Arizona prominently. Stearns mentioned something he heard that if the Yankees get Vazquez, Roger Clemens will likely be done in New York and might sign with the Rangers. Cliff Floyd appears to be coming back to the Sox next year as he hasn’t received any significant offers.
NFL highlights from the other AFC East teams in action today followed, then a look ahead to tomorrow night’s game. Stearns feels the Patriots can and should win. Levan Reid made that observation that if the Patriots lose tomorrow night, and both teams finish at 10-6 and neither team wins their division, that the Titans would win the tie breaker over the Patriots. (Only problem with that theory is that if the Patriots finish at 10-6 after losing to the Titans, it will mean that they did win the division, having beaten Miami.) Reid had Patriots perspectives on Steve McNair. Reid feels if the Patriots keep blitzing and hitting hard they should do ok. McNair has sore ribs. Donald Hayes could be a big factor on offense, Tom Brady talked about Hayes’ confidence growing and that he’s getting better each week.
Ted Johnson was on the show next, this season has been rewarding for him personally. He’s made himself a valuable asset to the team, he’s gotten more playing time, and his happy. Stearns said he won’t asked what happened at the beginning of the year when he walked out, but asked what he would tell people who say he walked out on the team, Johnson said that’s fair, but that no one knows all that happened, that he just felt it was something he had to do, a line was crossed and he needed to do that. He feels the same type of momentum as last year, and it’s fun. He likes Gillette stadium, it was like playing at the old stadium. Stearns picked up on that, as this was a big topic on WWZN Friday, asked if it was an advantage. Johnson said it was. Stearns asked about being booed at home, Johnson said it shows that the fans care. Stearns pushed it, laughing, saying c’mon, they booed you after a bad series….Johnson said that’s New England, there are high expectations here, and at times they’ve deserved the boos.
B.C. Hoops highlights followed, with focus on Troy Bell for going over 2000 points in his college career. Last Blast was a Pete Carroll clip during a recent celebration where Pete says “If New England could see me now…” Stearns closed the show by saying “late word” was that the Red Sox were backing away from having to take Fernando Tatis in a deal for Javier Vazquez. (That’s what Wendy Nix said on the show earlier) He added that if the Yankees get Vazquez that could possibly lead to Roger Clemens coming back here.
WBZ’s Sports Final promised an inside look at the GM meetings in Nashville, as well as the Patriots playing in Nashville tomorrow night. Dan Roche was reporting live from the Winter Meetings, he had a look behind the scenes at the meetings, showing Theo’s arrival at 5:30 AM Friday, and heading right to work. The went inside the suite talking about players, for the minor league draft coming up. Showed Theo talking about a player, (not named) who might be a prospect, who had hit the weights too much and lost his “looseness”, became a connect-the-dots type delivery when he throws the ball now, they get him off the weights, he could come around. They showed Theo walking to the press conference for the Giambi trade today. Jeremy is in the best shape of his life, ready to play everyday and capitalize on this opportunity. Asked if there were more trades, Theo said they were still working on something, “so don’t hit the bar yet”. Peter Gammons was interviewed talking about a possible Vazquez trade, the Yankees have the prospect, the Red Sox have the money. He also talked about Clemens, and how his agents are asking Gammons if Boston would be interested in him, saying of the places he played, Roger enjoyed Boston the most. Didn’t like management, but loves the city of Boston. Asked his assessment of Epstein’s work here, Gammons said as expected, Theo came in phenomenally prepared. Surrounded himself with great talent evaluators, Bill Lajoie, Shipley, etc.
Football was up next, Zolak, Felger, DeOssie, with Burton and Lobel. Season ends today, Patriots are in, they play Indy in the first round. They then looked at the Titan’s schedule this year. Not a whole lot of wins against teams with winning records. Looking at the Patriots, Zolak says the team is focused on getting a bye. Lobel feels better after looking at the schedule that the Titans played this year. DeOssie says none of the playoff teams really scare him, Of course the Raiders and Dolphins are tough, but no one is unbeatable. Burton chimed in that you can’t tell what is going to happen, cited the Jets losing to the Bears today. Felger noted that the Patriots have the longest winning streak in the AFC right now, playing well at the end is important. Felger again emphasized the importance of getting that first round bye. DeOssie talked about how tough it is to win a Monday Night Game on the road, but he picks the Patriots to win. Zolak is liking the Patriots chances better, but he’s picking the Titans. Felger likes how the Patriots match up with the Titans, and picks the Patriots to win, as does Burton.
Alice Cook was live in Nashville, with Dan Shaughnessy, who noted the only people working around the place right now are Boston reporters. Onto football, Dan says the Dolphins are not folding in December this year. They beat possibly the best team in the AFC today. Tomorrow will be tough, as the Patriots haven’t beat a hot team at home since winning in Buffalo. The Patriots are coming together, things are falling into place, getting breaks, only thing not working is that the Dolphins are still winning. Dan says Brady is better, better than earlier in the season, and better than last year. Shaughnessy predicts that the Patriots lose tomorrow night and we see where we go from there.
Dan Roches was back up with Gordon Edes and Sean McAdam. Talks are still ongoing at this moment with the Expos, though Edes isn’t as optimistic as others about the possibility of getting something done with Montreal. McAdam talked about the Expos playing the Red Sox and Yankees off of each other. As for the moves to date, Edes says there is a lot more to do. Giambi won’t be an everyday first baseman, Cliff Floyd situation is still up in the air, no offers on the table right now from the Red Sox, or anyone else. the Orioles and Dodgers have both backed out, and the Red Sox might be left “holding the bag” if Floyd accepts the arbitration offer. McAdam feels that the Red Sox have gotten better offensively, but they’re looking very shaky defensively in that infield.
WHDH’s Sports Xtra also had a Nashville flavor to it, with live segments from there. A Patriots segment was up first, looking at the home stretch and the importance of the last three games. Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox were in, homefield advantage in the playoffs is the most important thing, win the final three games and things will take care of themselves. Fox says the team is playing better than it was, hopefully they can keep it up. Smerlas noted that since Miami beat the AFC west teams, if they finish behind the Patriots, they’ll still likely be in as a wild card. Titans don’t make mistakes, Lavanchy brought up again that the Patriots can’t put teams away. Fox says that’s Belichick, he’s conservative, he gets ahead he’s not going to take any chances.
Onto the Winter Meetings. Gary Gillis reported from Nashville, noting that there is a lot of “hurry up and wait” going on. A report on the day’s activity, with the Giambi trade today, Theo noting that he is “an on-base machine” and is not being viewed as a safety net, he is going to be a weapon for them. Tony Massarotti joined Gillis, and noted that at one point this year his on-base percentage was 200 points higher than his batting average. Massarotti then questioned the infield defense once again, going around and noting how bad it will be. As for giving up Hancock, Tony said there were a couple people from other organizations with “raised eyebrows” over Epstein giving up Hancock, but noted that perhaps the new GM might not have loyalty to the minor leaguers from the previous regime. As for Montreal, nothing seems imminent, especially in view of the possibility of Floyd accepting arbitration and taking up all the money they had left for the offseason. They’re talking with Montreal still for Vazquez, hesitant to talk on other salary. For relief pitchers, Massarotti says they have talked to some clubs about pitchers, but there are more options in free agency, and after the meetings are done there will likely be more signings. As for other’s impressions of Theo, most view him as an impressive young man, and that clearly he believes in offense, if that is effective remains to be seen.
Back to Smerlas and Fox, a look at the division standings, with the Jets basically getting knocked out today. Smerlas says the Patriots need to run the table, he likes the matchup with the Titans, they don’t do a lot of fancy things, the Patrios could be physical with them. Lavanchy discussed the schedule of the Titans and that it isn’t all that impressive. Fox feels playing on Monday Night is a little of an advantage because there is less of a home field advantage, the Patriots are going to give the Titans and McNair a lot of different looks, change things up, he mentioned McGinest as a key to the game. A fluke thing could turn the game, fumble, turnover, etc. Fox also noted not having Bruschi is a blow to the Patriots because of his speed if needed with McNair. But Ted Johnson is better at the run, and Smerlas feels if you shut down Eddie George completely, and make McNair beat you by himself, you’ll be in good shape. They compared the two teams and the players, noted similarity in stats, They also looked at the Wild Card standings, Patriots lose tomorrow, and they are in big trouble in that. Fox says forget about the Wildcard and take care of the division.