More baseball to lead off

More baseball to lead off today. With the GM meetings convening today in Nashville, Gerry Callahan and Michael Gee do a point-counterpoint type thing on the topic trading Nomar. This is a bit of a mismatch, sort of like Shaq going one on one with Bruno Sundov. Gerry says yes, trade him before you lose him, Gee says we’ve been moaning since 1918 about trading Babe Ruth for financial reasons, now everyone wants to do the same with Nomar? Despite having that good point in his favor, Gee gets steamrolled by Callahan in the comparison of the pieces, Gee invalidating many of his own points. Todd Walker is your new second baseman for the Red Sox, Gordon Edes discusses the trade and also previews the GM meetings with speculation of what Theo might do. Michael Silverman and Sean McAdam also preview the winter meetings. For more on Todd Walker, articles by Bob Hohler, and David Heuschkel as well as in the Herald by Silverman, in the ProJo by McAdam all provide solid analysis. Almost as if they were responding directly to talk on WEEI from yesterday afternoon, John Henry and Larry Lucchino say that it’s their own fault that they missed Pedro when the paid a visit to the Dominican Republic. Yesterday Ordway and McAdam were saying quite emphatically that Henry and Lucchino have planned this trip for a long time, and that Pedro knew they were coming and simply ducked out on them. They responded in a mocking fashion to the idea that something was bungled, and that Pedro might not have known they were coming down there. Today, in this Edes piece in the Globe, John Henry says: “But it was my fault. I should have gotten his number and called him well in advance.” Lucchino adds: “Don’t make a big deal of this, We should have contacted him directly instead of making assumptions.” Another example of jumping the gun (by WEEI) or an example of spin control by the Red Sox? (using their subsidiary, the Globe) I tend to think the former. Edes has stated strongly that the Globe doesn’t get any special favors or information from the Sox.

Nick Cafardo points out 10 players that have been important, but unheralded contributors this season. Michael Felger looks at Antowain Smith getting his game back on track. Tom Curran examines the pounding the players in the middle of the field take each day. Alan Greenberg looks at the play of Matt Light. Rich Thompson looks at Mike Vrabel, who was a college teammate of Eddie George. Christopher Price looks at the Freak. Ian Clark looks at Anthony Pleasant’s importance to the team. Cafardo’s notebook leads with Matt Light. Felger focuses on Daniel Graham in his Herald notebook. Curran looks at Pleasant in his notebook. Leigh Montville makes his weekly picks.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on the Bruins dropping their second game in a row for the first time since last season. Stephen Harris also reports on the 5-2 loss to the Senators. Kevin Paul Dupont writes about the Kyle McLaren mystery holdout and if the Bruins will move him soon. I find it hard to believe that Dupont doesn’t know what is going on. Dale Arnold knows the story, others locally know what is going on…is Dupont just putting on a charade here? Writing a column pretending to not know the truth? Putting a good front on? Very curious. Harris also touches on McLaren in his notebook. Steve Conroy writes that last night was a revenge game for the Senators. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook focuses on Sergei Samsonov.

Shira Springer and Beth Healy have information on the newest additions to the Celtics ownership group. Gus Martins looks at Tony Battie’s return tonight after his suspension. Anyone else think that it’s a coincidence that after a Celtic gets suspended for kicking a ball at a ref, the very next game the Celtics find themselves on the short end of a terribly lopsided officiating job? Frank Dell’Apa looks at Paul Pierce getting ready to play tonight. While Dell’Apa seems to think Pierce will be ready to go tonight, Martin’s notebook seems to think a return tonight is still up in the air.

Jim Baker writes about all the Pete Rose talk on sports radio, and weighs in on Tommy Heinsohn. Bill Griffith looks at ESPN’s “The Junction Boys” movie, debuting tomorrow night. Lenny Megliola weighs in on Sean McDonough, Carson Palmer and Michael Jordan. I’m told it’s perfectly fine to link to my own columns, so today is the debut of my new weekly column for the Boston Metro website. It will be a weekly wrapup of events in sports media, as well as a look ahead to the weekend.

FSNE has Celtics/Cavs at 7:30. ESPN has Nets/Wizards at 8:00 and Hornets/Lakers at 10:30.

Overheard during an outraged Eddie

Overheard during an outraged Eddie Andelman rant on WWZN today: “…and you have Art Howe, convicted seven times on drug charges!!!” Jags: “err…That’s *Steve* Howe, Eddie…” Red Sox talk was hot on WEEI today, both in on midday as well as the Big Show. Is Pedro Martinez showing up the Lucchino and Henry? Do they need to discipline him? Will the Red Sox trade Nomar at the winter meetings this weekend? All hot topics. Ordway openly admits that controversies like these are great for his format of programming. They enjoy stirring things up and getting people fired up. Also multiple cuts of Tommy Heinsohn from last night’s game. They are just hilarious. Tommy is a gem. Ordway hammered away at Vin Baker again. Could he find an easier topic? Gordon Edes came on to WWZN to report that the Red Sox have aquired second baseman Todd Walker from the Reds for a couple minor leaguers. One of whom is rumored to be Tony Blanco.

Bill Griffith reports on the Sean McDonough deal with the Red Sox. A multi-year agreement. Aaron Schatz bucks the rest of the Boston media and puts together a column defending Manny Ramirez. Gordon Edes had a chat with the members of the Sons of Sam Horn board last night.

Eric McHugh looks at the tough remaining schedule for the Patriots. David Pevear looks at the one week from disaster mindset of the Patriots. Tom King looks at Richard Seymour. Mike Lowe says that Matt Light needs to have a big game on Monday night against the Titans. Mike Parente gets Patriots opinion on Steve McNair. McHugh’s notebook tells just what the loss of Matt Chatham will mean.

Mike Fine looks at the ugliness at the Fleet last night. Rob Bradford looks further at fright night, Fine’s notebook looks at Joe Johnson.

If I thought Tommy Heinsohn

If I thought Tommy Heinsohn was chippy on Monday, it was nothing compared to last night. With good reason. Tommy berated the officials on…and off the air last night. Even yelling at them as they walked off the court. How many teams have announcers that will get on the officials? On the FSNE postgame Tanguay and Dickerson tried to kid Tommy about it, but he would have none of it. He was still clearly steamed at the non-call when Paul Pierce was knocked to the ground, stopping the fall with his face, chipping two teeth and cutting open his nose. Tanguay and Dickerson tried to get Tommy to rant more, but Mike Gorman stepped in, and said “Let’s move on before this gets any uglier” …and did so. Class act, Mike Gorman is. It’s ironic that in the pregame they were talking about officials and about a time Tommy was fined by the league, “for acting like a maniac” except whoever it was that handed him fine, spelled maniac wrong, so Tommy refused to pay the fine until the official learned how to spell. Good stuff. Wonder if Tommy will end up getting fined for last night…as the officials walked off the court, according to Peter May and Mark Murphy, Tommy yelled: “You guys were awful tonight. Absolutely terrible”. I’m sure that was among the milder things he had to say. A 33-9 free throw difference in the favor of the road team is a head scratcher, especially when the team with 9 attempts has their star have to be taken off for x-rays.

Peter May files a game story around the scary incident of Paul Pierce getting knocked to the ground on his face. While Mark Murphy’s story looks at the wide array of Suns contributors last night, Gus Martins hones in on former Celtic Joe Johnson, who was terrific last night. Carolyn Thornton notes that the free throw difference was really a second half thing as in the third and fourth quarter, the Suns went to the line 23 times to the Celtics 3. Bob Ryan weighs in on Phoenix rookie Amare Stoudemire. Ryan was busy, also composing an article on the Suns franchise, specifically owner Jerry Colangelo. May’s notebook looks at the maddening officiating. Eric Williams speaks out on the calls in Murphy’s notebook. Thornton’s notebook looks at the end results of the Johnson trade last year.

My hunch was correct. Jim Baker reports that Sean McDonough is going to stay here in Boston, do the reduced schedule and continue his WWZN show. I like McDonough, I’m glad he’s staying. Maybe doing this column each day for a number of months is turning me into a cynic, I’m trying hard to repress the side of me that wants to say McDonough once again negotiated in the media. He did attempt to quell talk of his situation on WWZN, and granted, how could his personal situation not be a topic on the show? But couldn’t all of this have stayed private? Perhaps if it was kept under wraps the Red Sox offer would’ve never increased. Maybe going to his pal Gordon Edes who broke the story last week was a desperate last resort that paid off. I guess that’s business these days. Sean did what he had to do to get what he wanted. Who wouldn’t have done the same? Bottom line, I’m glad Sean’s going to continue doing some Sox games, I wish he had gotten more games, but maybe something will happen. The Sox had to have come way up in their offer. He was saying last week they were offering something like 80% less per game, now it’s either just about the same as last year or the same, depending on who you ask. That’s quite a jump. In any event, it’s a win-win. WWZN has to be happy because Sean will be here more during the Sox season and available to do his show. McDonough gets to keep doing some Sox games, and the fans will come to regard Friday night games on UPN and WBZ as McDonough games.

A few Sox and baseball stories in the papers today, Gordon Edes reports that the kidnapping plot never existed. Michael Silverman says the Red Sox are not going to allow Pedro to dictate negotiations. Edes also reports on Cuban defector Jose Contreras, who filed for free agency yesterday and is hoping to be available to teams by the weekend. On the Pete Rose issue, the Globe has its columnists give their opinions and Michael Gee says it’s all about money, on all sides. Nomar tops Bill Reynolds list of the top ten Boston Athletes.

Michael Felger looks at Tom Brady’s season and the adjustments he’s made through it. Alan Greenberg looks at the tough schedule ahead, and wonders if the Patriots can repeat last years season ending streak. Tom Curran looks at the mirror image matchup of the Patriots and Titans. Nick Cafardo looks at the importance of coaching during December stretch runs. Mike Reiss looks at the crowded AFC standings. Christopher Price says the Pats D is getting greedy again. The notebooks all deal with the return of Jevon Kearse. Felger’s notebook says Kenyatta Jones isn’t fearful of Kearse, old-school rap fan Curran’s notebook looks at Kearse as well as Steve McNair. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Kearse and Donald Hayes.

NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. ESPN has Penguins/Sharks at 9:00. TNT has Pistons/Bulls at 7:30 and Hornets/Jazz at 10:00.ESPN Classic will be showing the 1997 NCAA basketball tournament matchup between Boston College and St Joseph’s. FSNE has NE Tailgate at 7:00.

Pete Rose was a hot

Pete Rose was a hot topic on both WEEI and WWZN today. Eddie feels Pete Rose should immediately be pardoned and enshrined in the hall of fame. He feels the same about Joe Jackson. They tried to stir up calls by asking people to submit entries for the Sports moment of the year. Eddie also stated that most of the media in Boston is jealous of Dan Shaughnessy and Ron Borges because they have the courage to speak out and because of their integrity. Good call, Eddie. He also again made fun of Theo Epstein and his age. Over on WEEI, talk was much the same, Arnold and Neumeier both agreeing that should Rose publicly admit to wrongdoing, that he should be reinstated and placed on the hall ballot. A caller tried to make a comparison with NFL stars Paul Hornung and Alex Karras who were suspended in 1963 for gambling. Dale and Nuemy both agreed that these guys admitted their mistakes, and went onto live productive, and lucrative lives. But were not Hall of Famers. They talked about how neither of these guys were in the hall, and Neumy even went so far as to look up statistics for Hornung, and declared that his stats were not of Hall of Fame caliber. I guess Neumy wasn’t on the selection committee that elected Paul Hornung to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. I didn’t hear the last hour of the program, so I assume that someone called in to correct them. If Neumy was going to go to the trouble of looking up and analyzing Hornung’s stats, why not just go to Google and type “Paul Hornung” and “Hall of Fame”? Took 5 seconds to do that and I had the answer. I was positive he was in the Hall and it took seconds to confirm it. Sean McDonough still hasn’t got a decision on his future, he hopes, like yesterday to have one made before the end of his show today. With Kevin Paul Dupont along with the three NESN post game analysts coming on the show at different times there is a lot of hockey talk planned for today.

Eric McHugh looks at The Beast, Richard Seymour. Christopher Price has the Patriots not satisfied with their record and looking for more in his Metro piece today. Mark Farinella has a holiday gift guide for sports fans. Chris Kennedy reminds us that if the playoffs started today, the Patriots would not be in.

Vin Baker tells Tim Weisberg: “I’m going to have my turn.” While Weisberg thinks Baker can turn it around, Gary Fitz has no such expectations. He wants a retirement party for Vin, now. Hope Fitz isn’t thinking that Vin retiring will help the Celtics at all. They’ll still be saddled with his salary under the cap. At least now they have a body here, one that is capable it seems of bringing maybe 10 & 5 off the bench, if he retires, they have nothing.

On ESPN.com, Sean McAdam speculates on trades for Vladimir Guerrero, none of which involve the Red Sox and Nomar.

Very slow day in the

Very slow day in the papers today. The Red Sox might actually be the hot story of the day with the kidnap plot …was it real or not? Hot Stove talk and the like. Michael Silverman writes about the plot to kidnap the father of Pedro Martinez. Gordon Edes has a little more information, and says the story might not be as real as Pedro and others thought it was. It’s also interesting to note that for the second time in a week, Edes is responding in his article to quotes that appear in the Herald today. He did it Saturday with the Buckley piece, and now is doing it today. Either the Herald is putting its papers out or website online way too early and giving the Globe time to counter the stories, or there’s a leak somewhere. Edes also provides a number of other interesting items. Manny is working hard in his training, Lee Thomas is staying on, (reported first on WEEI yesterday) and some other free agent speculation and news. Silverman also has a second article in the Herald, which deals with quotes from Larry Lucchino in a Dominican newspaper saying that he wants Pedro and Manny to finish their careers in Boston, and that they’ll talk to Pedro soon about that. Pedro reacts to the quotes, and, as always, has some interesting things to say. Pedro might be one of the few people in Boston pining for the days of Dan Duquette, as he does in this article. John Tomase says that it’s time to get tough with Manny. The Red Sox should no longer do things to make Manny comfortable or give him special treatment. Some harsh words in this piece. Jim Baker has more on the Sean McDonough situation. This is just my guess, not based on any inside information, but I’m thinking he’s going to end up staying.

An age old theme for the Bruins last night..hot Bruins team on a roll gets shut down by a sliding Montreal team and its hot goalie. So says Jim McCabe. The Bruins should hope hard that they don’t face this Canadiens team in the postseason, writes Steve Harris. Goalie Jeff Hackett is the subject of a Steve Conroy article. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Robbie Ftorek and his love of and use of sports cliches. Frank Dell’Appa looks at B’s goalie John Grahame’s performance last night. In his notebook, Harris writes of the Canadiens anger at Joe Thornton for a spearing incident. McCabe’s notebook looks at PJ Stock.

By the way, according to WWZN yesterday afternoon, Ron Borges was in Vegas on Sunday. Michael Felger looks at the revival of Otis Smith and the rest of the Patriot graybeards. Bob Ryan weighs in on the Patriots with a look at the earlier struggles by the Patriots and how they’re following the blueprint that got them far last year. Lenny Megliola reports that Doug Flutie is trying to convince his coaches in San Diego to let him get into some games as a wide receiver. Megliola gets the thoughts of Doug’s brother Darren in this story. Hector Longo looks at the respect Eric Moulds has for Ty Law. Felger’s notebook looks at Patriots charity work and scripting of plays early in the game. The Globe provides an early look at the Playoff picture.

With the Suns coming in tonight, Steve Bulpett gets some thoughts on Joe Johnson from a few members of the Celtics. Paul Pierce forgot he was on the team, and Jim O’Brien didn’t want to talk about him. Bulpett also has a look at Rich Pond and how he’ll be missed around the Celtics organization. Rob Bradford gets Vin Baker to speak out a little on his performance and the boos that are starting to pile up. Shira Springer’s notebook looks at Battie’s suspension, Baker and Paul Pierce. Bulpett’s notebook also looks at Battie and O’Brien has praise for Baker in here. Something that has gone under the radar here: Yesterday in the NY Post, Peter Vecsey commented that the Bob Johnson group is now the favorite to land the expansion Charlotte NBA franchise. Johnson, who founded BET, meets three critical criteria the league is looking for, he’s a minority, he’s got a ton of cash and owns TV stations. How is this relevant to Boston? If the Johnson group is in, it means the Belkin/Bird group is out, freeing Belkin to invest in the C’s if he wishes, and more importantly, the new owners of the Celtics could score a huge PR coup by bring Bird back to the organization. The situation is set to be resolved within a week, and this bears watching.

FSNE has Celtics/Suns at 7:00. ESPN has Blazers/Nets at 7:00 and Mavericks/Spurs at 9:30. ESPN2 has Blackhawks/Rangers.

Nice win by the Celtics.

Nice win by the Celtics. Tommy Heinsohn was in rare form on FSNE last night, not just getting on the officials, but his energy level was just very high….more so than usual, he sounded like he had a few cans of Red Bull in him. exhorting the C’s the run, lamenting bad shots, it was an entertaining package with Tommy, and a pretty good game. McGrady went on one of his scary runs in the third and the C’s still managed to pull it out in OT. Shira Springer writes that big stops and big shots got the win. Steve Bulpett simply states that the Celtics were better late. Carolyn Thornton looks at the team’s comfort in OT. Mark Murphy looks at the unorthodox Antoine Walker. I like the Miles Davis comparison. Peter May gets the story on Grant Hill and his health. Looked pretty healthy last night. Gus Martins looks at Paul Pierce as a complete player, and even McGrady praises Pierce. Springer’s notebook consists of Pierce trying to shed the unfair “selfish” label placed on him. Bulpett’s notebook has word that Rich Pond will be stepping down. For many fans, that’s perceived as just more good news. I still recall the day clearly when Jim O’Brien was named as coach before last season – removing the interim tag from his title – and Pond misspoke saying that O’Brien was the 4th coach in franchise history, (he meant 14th) and Glen Ordway and the boys went on a huge tangent and spent the whole afternoon stating as fact that these guys only saw the Celtics franchise as the Gaston era…as O’Brien would be the 4th coach of that period and that they were ignoring purposely the entire storied history of the Boston Celtics like it didn’t exist. They really spent an entire Big Show on that premise. It’s clear Ordway doesn’t like Pond…and he’s not the only one. Thornton’s notebook has Paul Pierce receiving player of the week honors.

Kevin Mannix hands out to the Patriots some pretty average grades this week, but concedes that this team could be on its way. Nick Cafardo says the Patriots still have plenty to work on. Tom Curran notes that one huge improvement has been red zone defense. Michael Felger agrees, and adds the coaching and return of the “old guard” as keys to the turnaround as well. Ron Borges pulls his head out of the sand just long enough for a look ahead to the Titans and Steve McNair. Not a single word about the Bills, Bledsoe, none of it. How can this happen? When the team was struggling, his columns were full of mocking “genius” references and the like, and now he won’t write about the Patriots at all. Bill Reynolds thinks things are looking good down the stretch and looks at the things that could’ve tripped this team up this year, but so far they’re getting past them all. Michael Gee tries to figure out playoff tiebreakers. Alan Greenberg closes the book on Brady/Bledsoe…for this year. Christopher Price writes that the Red Sox would do well to copy the Patriots…defense wins championships. Curran’s notebook hones in on what the Patriots were able to fix during their time off. Felger’s notebook looks at Richard Seymour, while Carfardo focuses on Terrell Buckley in his notebook.

Michael Silverman has some hot stove talk, with the focus on Edgardo Alfonzo, and other possible player moves. Bob Hohler writes about Grady Little talking of putting Tim Wakefield in the # 2 slot in the rotation, along with other rumblings. Sean McAdam also has a notebook full of Red Sox items. David Heuschkel also writes about Wakefield being put into the rotation and other wishes of Grady Little. Gordon Edes profiles World Series champ David Eckstein. Alex Speier also chronicles the holiday wishes of Grady Little. No word locally on the foiled attempt to kidnap the father of Pedro Martinez. Despite needing the money badly, the new Red Sox owners are not considered suspects.

Jim Baker reports on Patriots broadcast numbers and the team of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti. Bill Griffith has a long media notes column with Sean McDonough, Gil Santos and Phil Simms among the subjects. John Molori also looks at the Sean McDonough situaton and how it could effect WWZN and the rest of the media scene.

NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. ESPN has Boston College/Iowa State college hoops at 7:00, as well as Kentucky/Tulane at 9:00. ESPN Classic has a Bill Russell SportsCentury at 8:00 and 11:00.

It’s amusing to compare the

It’s amusing to compare the Boston sports media with others around the country. Take, for example Pittsburgh. Imagine the reaction here had the Patriots lost to the first year Houston Texans in the manner in which the Steelers did yesterday…at home. Can you even begin to imagine the articles from Borges, Cafardo, Shaughnessy, et all? Much different in Steel town. Look at this article by Mike Prisuta. Hey…don’t panic…it’s ok, Bill Cower has lost to expansion teams before….twice! (What an indictment! Imagine that…Cower has lost THREE games to first year expansion teams -Jaguars, Browns, Texans- during his time in Pittsburgh.) Not to mention that “The defense, meanwhile, may have finally found itself against Houston.” Really! They stoned that offensive juggernaut known as the Texans real good. Totally shutting down those awesome weapons Houston puts on the field. None of the other writers in town are particularly scathing of the team in their articles this morning. Do I wish the Boston writers were like the Pittsburgh ones? No way. But the vast difference is very amusing.

I wondered if Ron Borges was out covering Boxing yesterday…well apparently he did watch some football, as he reports in for MSNBC. Is he back on his old beat? He’s in love with the Raiders. He notes that “The class of the conference appears to once again be the Raiders”. Once again? Were they the class of the conference last year? So just where was Borges and his sidekick Cafardo last night? It was interesting all last week to hear the Buffalo writers and personalities talking in fear about Belichick and the Patriots against Bledsoe. Here, all you heard was talk from Cafardo about how stupid the trade would be if Bledsoe beat the Patriots. Worst trade in history, Nick has called it. In Buffalo, Jerry Sullivan says Belichick knew exactly what he was doing in trading Drew to the Bills. Ron Hobson writes about the homecoming from hell. Eric McHugh writes that Drew can join Payton Manning in the Belichick anonymous club. David Pevear says yesterday was just like old times. Marc Connolly writes that December is the Patriots month. Peter King submits his Monday Morning Quarterback column which includes the following: “The Boston Herald says Manny Ramirez wants to be traded. Assuming that’s true, and assuming some team will take on his entire salary (both dubious assumptions), I have one comment: Yahoooo!” I just have to shake my head at this eagerness to dump the greatest right handed hitter in the game today. A guy who, when he is on, is dominating. Hits with both average and power, who in games against the top 6 teams in the league this year hit almost 50 points above his average, and has shown he loves to knock the ball out of Yankee stadium. Yeah, lets dance about getting rid of that in a salary dump.

No articles from Borges today,

No articles from Borges today, I assume he’s out of town on a boxing assignment or something. Nick Cafardo puts all the blame on Drew, and gives no credit to the Patriots defense, to wit: “The Patriots’ defense was fairly vanilla, with an occasional blitz, but it was mainly Bledsoe who spoiled his own homecoming” No acknowledgement of what now must be obvious, even to Cafardo, Belichick knows how to defend Drew. But no mention of that from Nick. Not a peep. Amazing. Alan Greenberg, Michael Felger and Tom Curran weigh in with game stories. In his story, Curran hints that Belichick likely feels the same for Drew that Drew feels for him. Bob Ryan gives the defense credit and includes the line that “Bledsoe on the move is like seeing Ben Wallace assume the launch position for a 3-pointer. Absolutely no good can come of it. One can reasonably argue that it is life-threatening.” Kevin Mannix concurs that the defense is the engine to this team, and even gets quotes from the normally off-limits Romeo Crennel. Jim Donaldson likes the Bledsoe trade. Jeff Jacobs says that Drew is soooo predictable. Dan Shaughnessy sounds disappointed that Drew didn’t stick it to his old teammates. He does however, come much closer than Borges or Cafardo ever will to admitting that he was wrong…”The notion Bill Belichick owns Bledsoe is now written in concrete. It’s NFL Axiom No. 101, right up there with ‘Johnny Unitas owns the 2-minute drill,’ and ”Al Davis will sue the league.’ A lot of us thought the Patriots were arrogant for trading the talented veteran QB to a division rival.” and later: “And the coach has proven to be 100 percent correct. The Bledsoe Bowls of 2002 served only to validate Belichick’s legend.” Way to go Dan, I might even take down your nickname poll today….

Michael Smith looks at the monster game of Richard Seymour yesterday. Mark Murphy has a long look at another strong year from Ty Law and his bond with Otis Smith. Steven Krasner also looks at Seymour. Kevin McNamara says Drew was doomed from the start yesterday. Kevin Paul Dupont writes about Tebuckey Jones. George Kimball says that Drew even bungled the coin toss. Tim Weisberg looks at Bledsoe as a Patriots opponent. Michael Gee says the Patriots must continue this type of defense if they want to make the playoffs, let alone go any further than that. Cafardo’s notebook focuses on Otis Smith and Ted Johnson, along with a couple impending contract extensions. Felger’s notebook looks at the costly penalties yesterday. Curran’s notebook observes that Antowain Smith is quietly having another good year. 850 yards with three games to play. He gets just 50 yards a game in the last three and he goes over 1000 again. Christopher Price has various sundry items in his Metro notebook. Ian Clark says the trade has helped the Patriots in more ways than one. The NY Post endorses Charlie Weis to be the next coach of the Giants.

Once again a Boston sweep of New York teams over the weekend, with the Celtics beating the Knicks Friday night, Pats beating the Bills yesterday and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on yesterday’s 4-1 Bruins win in New York. Steve Conroy says that Al Davis would love this Bruins team. Both notebooks in the Herald and the Globe focus on John Grahame

Steve Bulpett observes that the Celtics need to, and want to be, a better team. Peter May looks ahead to the Celtics facing an angry Orlando Magic team. Bulpett’s notebook looks at matchups for tonight.

If you’re interested in a complete, word for word transcription of the Steve Buckley/Gordon Edes confrontation on Sports Final last night, you can read it here.

FSNE has Celtics/Magic at 7:00. ESPN2 has Indiana/Vanderbilt college hoops at 7:00. ABC has Dolphins/Bears on Monday Night Football at 9:00.

Sunday Night Wrapup Does it

Sunday Night Wrapup

Does it surprise anyone that neither Nick Cafardo (Who picked the Bills to win this morning on WB56) nor Ron Borges made an appearance on the late night shows? Sure, they might’ve had legitimate reasons for not being on the shows, but after all the stuff they’ve said this year about the Patriots, and about Bledsoe and the trade, they owned it to their reputations to sit there and face the music. I don’t know if Borges was even in town, but Cafardo as mentioned was on the WB56 show this morning, repeating his rant that if the Bills win today the trade is looked at as completely horrible. What was Belichick thinking trading him within the division. No matter their reasons, their not being around to take the heat is poor form.

After the highlights of the Patriots win and other key AFC games, Fox25’s Sports Sunday with Butch Stearns had Kevin Mannix in to talk about the return Drew. Mannix said the fans were very supportive of Drew, until the end, when they chanted a Clemens-like “Bled-soe, Bled-soe”. The INT to Jones was terrible. Stearns says he’s not trying to be negative, but they can’t put anyone away. Mannix said they’re starting to turn things and look like last year, they’re making key plays at the key time, which is the sign of a good team. Tennessee is going to be a real tough game, Eddie George is looking good again, if McNair can stay healthy those are going to be a tough twosome for the Patriots next Monday night. Mannix ending saying again that it’s concerning that the Patriots can’t put teams away.

Rob Nikoleski had a report on Bledsoe from the day, reaction from fans all kinds, and a look at his performance today. Drew feels bad for the interceptions, his teammates feel for him and though he says he wasn’t pressing today, they all know how much this game meant to him. Though Bledsoe is a top notch performer, with admirable off-the-field qualities, he has critics who say he turns the ball over too much and too often makes the big mistake at the wrong time. Today’s performance did nothing to quiet those critics. Levan Reid’s segment looked at the job the secondary did today. They consistently make big plays. Clips from members of the group, (Smith, Buckley, Jones) as well as Brady talked about a top-notch group the Patriots have back there. Buckley talked about the older guys setting an example and it’s trickling down to the younger guys and that’s exciting to see. Milloy talked about the return of the big hits, something they’re aiming for. For his Last Blast, Stearns says Theo Epstein should shop Nomar around at the winter meetings, but not trade him. They should sign him up long term. He is the leader in passion on the team.

WHDH’s Sports Xtra followed the Patriots highlights with Gene Lavanchy sitting down with Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox, looks like Belichick might know how to handle Bledsoe after all. Smerlas noted Drew has trouble with the pressure up the middle, when he can’t go over the top, when he’s under pressure. Lavanchy said this is the Bledsoe we remember from the past few years. Fox gives credit to coaching staff for all the different looks. Bledsoe never had the chance for a deep ball. Seymour was a key, not letting Drew step up in the pocket. Defense had a great effort today, starting to create turnovers, make big hits. Smerlas said whenever a team goes up big there is a tendency to step back a little bit. More on that, why can’t they go for the jugular, Lavanchy wants to know. Smerlas talked about the bad calls by the officials, and also the three TD’s called back. Fox says it’s Belichick’s personality to shut it down and play cautious after getting a lead, feeling confident on the defense. Fox also liked the diversity of the offense with all the different players catching passes. Smerlas says the game is in hand they don’t want to take risks, do enough to just win the game. The team has a mindset about turnovers…don’t want to give any away.Fox noted that Brady always overthrows on the deep ball, because he doesn’t want to take a chance that it could be picked off if it is thrown short. They considered the rest of the schedule, three tough games. The Patriots though, seem to be able to step it up down towards the end. Fox think they’re in great position, and no one in the national media is even considering them. Lavanchy detects many similarities to last year, Fox does too, but is wary of Oakland. He doesn’t think the Patriots could go to Oakland and win a playoff game.

Gary Gillis sat down with former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette in the next segment. Duke says once you’re in the job you just need to concentrate on doing the job, he wishes Theo the best of luck and hopes for a good season. He said that everyone wants to trade with a new GM…to help them into the position. Red Sox fans are the most passionate and knowledgeable in baseball, they know talent, and there are no secrets in Boston baseball. You need to have a competitive team year in and year out to generate excitement. His biggest regret during his time here was not winning a pennant. As for Carl Everett, they couldn’t do anything about his behavior during the season, they eventually had to trade him off to Texas during the offseason. They closed with some details of the new Dan Duquette Sports Academy.

WBZ’s Sports Final with Bob Lobel had the latest Las Vegas odds which have the Patriots as the team with the second best chance in the AFC to make the Super Bowl at 7-1, behind the Raiders, who are 4-1. In as the first group of commentators was Scott Zolak (who picked the Bills to win by 10 today) and Steve DeOssie, along with Lobel and Steve Burton. Deossie said the defense was swarming like last year, Belichick/Parcells teams peak in December. Burton wants to know again about why did the team look complacent after going up 20-0. Zolak and DeOssie said it’s easy to try to settle in, and not make mistakes, be conservative. Lobel brought up the three drives in the third quarter that went three and out, and a drive in the fourth that could’ve used more time. He thinks last years team did a better job at game management on offense. He questioned some of the play calls. DeOssie questioned the end-around attempt to Graham. DeOssie interjected about Bledsoe making many of the same mistakes he made here the last few years. Burton liked the play where Brady caught the TD and had it called back. Didn’t agree with the official’s call. Zolak noted they were able to make a couple good down field passes, which makes them tougher to defend. Today’s plan was totally different from last game. Not many screen plays called this week at all. A clip of Bledsoe checking out the stadium with Burton was shown, Drew was looking around, saying “really cool, really cool, I knew they’d go first class all the way.”

After the Burton game recap, back to the studio, where Lobel talks about the play of game being Otis Smith’s strip of Peerless Price. Smith was in studio with them, and he said they needed a big play then. He said earlier in the game Price had made a catch and he stripped it out along the sideline and tried it again and was able to get the fumble. He said it’s just as good as a interception, though he wishes he could’ve had one as all his buddies seemed to have one today. The Antowain Smith TD after that was really big for them. Belichick didn’t say much after the game, but they do have to come in tomorrow. It’s playoff time. As for why the defense is giving up less points, earlier in the season they were going with a more conservative defense, in recent weeks more blitzes have been worked in. Michael Smith and Michael Felger joined at this point, and Michael Smith also praised the strip play by Otis. Felger says Otis represents alot about this team, left for dead, thought they couldn’t play any more, like Smith, Phifer, Pleasant, Ted Johnson, all those guys are now making plays. Felger asked Otis if the players went to the coaches and asked to be more aggressive, Otis said he did go to Romeo and asked if they could go after teams a little more, and they did, and that’s a great part about this coaching staff, that they’ll listen to the players. Otis knows today was tough for Drew to lose here. Michael Smith talked about getting into Bledsoe’s head, it isn’t so much that as it is that they can read Bledsoe, know what he’s going to do. Felger says Belichick owns Bledsoe, he has his number, it’s clear. Lobel asked Otis who was keyed in most on the Bills offense, Otis said it wasn’t any one player, they needed to be aware of everyone. Asked about Tennessee, Lobel asked what the Patriots would do against the Titans, a good team, they’re winning. Otis said “We’re winning too.”

A look back 20 years ago (10 years ago tonight was the Ted Wiliams/Bobby Orr/Larry Bird show) to Norman Leveille was up next. This was the same piece that ran on ESPN earlier in the week. Lobel recalled after the piece being in the Hospital after it happened, as well as the closing of the Garden when Bourque guided him on skates onto the ice.

Steve Buckley and Gordon Edes were in next to talk about the Red Sox and the supposed Manny Ramirez trade request that hit the papers yesterday. Lobel says that Manny has wanted to leave since he got here. Buckley brought up a Peter Gammons article last winter that Manny wanted to be traded and all the talk last winter about making Manny comfortable. Buckley said he just thought it was weird that they had the meeting with John Henry, and stuck by his “source” that said he asked for a trade. Edes questioned him on this. Buckley says Manny should’ve stayed in Cleveland. When Edes related what Manny’s agent told him about denying a trade, Buckley said “what do you expect him to say?”. Edes brought up the fact that Manny wouldn’t likely speak out to the owner like that and ask for a trade, he would go through his agent. Buckley disagreed, and said this was an unstructured meeting, so it’s certainly possible that he would just blurt out that he wants a trade. Lobel says he asked Bill James which was a bigger mistake, Jose Offerman for 26 million or Manny for his contract. Lobel says James avoided the issue. Edes says everyone needs to be careful about saying what an awful contract he has, he brought up Manny’s perfect rating in a recent ranking. All said they would definitely consider trading Nomar for Vladimir Guerrero. (“In a New York minute” said Lobel) Buckley thinks he’d be easier to sign long term too. Back to the Manny issue, Edes talked about responsible journalism is going to the agent for comment, and from his talking with him he never even hinted that Manny might’ve asked for a trade. Buckley dismissed that and pointed to the Red Sox not denying that Manny asked for a trade as evidence for his story.

Bonus Saturday coverage of Steve

Bonus Saturday coverage of Steve Buckley trying to create “Red Sox star doesn’t want to play here” Part II

For the second time in a week, there is a clear case of “Who do you believe?” in the Boston media. Last weekend Gordon Edes and Will McDonough had starkly contrasting pieces on why Sox phenom Hanly Ramirez was sent home from the Instructional league. McDonough said it was for “acting like a jerk”, while Edes had a Red Sox source tell him it was a “relatively minor disciplinary action.”

Today, Steve Buckley has a poorly edited, rambling, repeating story in which he asserts that “one source” has told him that at a recent meeting between owner John Henry and Manny Ramirez, that Manny asked to be traded. The story is clearly a rush job, and several paragraphs in the online edition are repeated verbatim. I wonder if Buckley’s “one source” is the same guy who told me that “Mike Port is gone” yesterday morning. (Just kidding big guy…I know it isn’t you) The whole thing is curious, as it seems this happened a while ago. Buckley says “As recently as two weeks ago.” If Buck really wanted to make a splash with this, you’d think he’d have put it out there on a day he was going to be on the “Big Show”. Given Buckley’s criticism of Manny in the past, and also the fact that he uses the rest of the article to take some shots at the front office and the GM, I think Buckley discredits himself as an objective reporter…which is what he’s trying to do here…he’s trying to report a news story, but lets commentary cloud his objectivity and ultimately, discredit his facts.

In any event, Gordon Edes was quick to come back with a counter piece. He, unlike Buckley, was actually able to get through to Manny’s agent, who flatly denies that Manny asked out, and in fact tells Edes that for Manny, “”The adjustment is complete,” and that “Manny Ramirez is a member of the Boston Red Sox, as happy as can be, for the next six years and possibly eight.”

I’m going with Edes here. Not only has his track record been solid, he was able to talk to a key figure that Buckley was not. After Buckley’s little episode over the summer with Nomar, his reputation as “the baseball dude” is tarnished. This is little more than grandstanding. Let me ask you this. Can you seriously picture Manny talking to John Henry and telling him he wants to be traded? From all indications, it appears that Manny’s agent was not at this lunch meeting, I simply cannot picture the bashful Ramirez saying such a thing to the owner. Remember when he showed up this past year at spring training, and all the media asked him about being uncomfortable and regretting his decision to come to Boston? Manny acted like there was never any problems, dismissing the questions. He was like a little kid embarrassed in front of all his friends. I think he would be the same with the owner of the team. If he wanted a trade, he would tell his agent, who would then take the appropriate steps.

Of course, the other end of the spectrum is that Manny really did ask for a trade, and the Red Sox, through their ownership ties with the Globe, immediately put this piece through to put a stop to the rumors. I kinda doubt that, but you never know.