Jim Donaldson joined Dale &

Jim Donaldson joined Dale & Neumy. I managed to listen for about five minutes as Donaldson and Neumeier engaged in a “who can be more pompous” contest…One of the topics they debated was the premise that the NFL draft isn’t as important as it once was. Donaldson says it isn’t as important because of free agency, Neumeier says it’s more important because with the salary cap, teams need to fill out their rosters as well as rebuild with young, cheap players. Dave Jageler was joined by Mike Ratte as Eddie continues his vacation. It made for a comfortable listen. They talked Celtics, Fenway Renovations, and tickets.

The McDonough group had the Touchback Twins, Borges and Cafardo on with Sean. Cafardo said that the Krafts need to “get their house in order” and that the Patriots will be going down before they go up again. He also made the Cowboys his early SuperBowl pick for next year. He also doesn’t understand the big deal being made about the Patriots hiring a QB coach. Sean interjected noting he doesn’t think anyone is making a huge deal out of it…then Borges said “the Herald guy” was trumpeting the hiring as a huge deal…

Sean also said he doesn’t appreciate Larry Lucchino “making snide remarks” about him on another radio station. A look at the transcript (linked in the morning post) doesn’t show any snide comments that I see.

ESPN launches its new reality series “Bill Walton’s Long, Strange Trip” at 8:00 on Sunday. A quote from Walton to look for is:

“I used to have options. I used to be able to soar,” he said. “(But) I turned 50. I had 32 operations, an endless chain of stress fractures, and I have two fused ankles. … But I can still play better than Vin Baker.”

Ouch.

Edward Cossette has an interesting take on Callahan’s article today. Alan Greenwood says the changes to Fenway aren’t really going to please anyone. The people who want a new ballpark as well as the “Save Fenway lunatic fringe” are not pleased with the additions. Michael Parente and Eric McHugh report on the Patriots new QB coach. There are also reports coming in that Hufnagel has quite a daughter as well…Mike Fine gives us an update on Antoine Walker. Mike Loftus says that the Bruins need to cut down on penalties.

Gerry Callahan writes that it

Gerry Callahan writes that it is glaringly obvious that the idea of a new Fenway is dead. The Red Sox owners just want to give the old park a facelift. Steve Buckley looks at the Red Sox new ticket purchasing procedures, and how they might affect ticket scalpers. As usual, Buck cites how much better it was in the old days. Gordon Edes gives us the latest on the never-ending Kevin Millar soap opera. Christopher Price examines Theo’s pursuit of a “relentless” lineup. Tony Massarotti reports on David Ortiz having to remain in the Dominican Republic to testify for being a witness to an assault. (How soon before Shaughnessy implies that Ortiz assaulted someone down there?) Massarotti ends up the article by dismissing some trade rumors that are floating out there regarding the Sox and the Cubs. John Dennis this morning on WEEI said that today being the last day of January, guys like Manny and Burkett are probably just starting their offseason workouts. Stuff like this is clearly just thrown out there. It’s been documented over the winter that Manny and Burkett in particular have been taking part in some serious offseason conditioning, Burkett pretty much for the first time. the Boston Dirt Dogs web site has transcripts of Larry Lucchino’s visit with D&C yesterday, as well as John Henry’s on-air confrontation with Sean McDonough yesterday afternoon. A war over minor league baseball is shaping up in New Hampshire, Michael Cousineau writes about the tug between Manchester and Nashua.

The Bruins couldn’t keep it going, falling to the Blackhawks last night in their last game before the All Star game. Steve Conroy and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell recap the game that, despite the score still had some encouraging signs for the Bruins. Douglas Flynn says the the Bruins weren’t into the game mentally as much as they should’ve been. Joe Gordon notes that Paul Hackett isn’t going to win them all for the team. Karen Guregian agrees, noting that the Bruins really need another goal scorer. Jim Greenidge looks at Martin Samuelsson, who continues to makes a name for himself. Gordon also looks at Joe Thornton’s rough night with a referee. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook also looks at Thornton and the refs. Joe McDonald’s notebook has Don Sweeny remembering the old days. Conroy’s notebook has a look at Kris Vernarsky adjusting to NHL life.

The Pats get themselves a QB coach to go with Tom Brady. Tom Curran reports on the hiring of John Hufnagel. Michael Felger notes that Hufnagel will focus on the quarterback’s footwork and escapablility. Michael Smith also has a brief look at the hiring. Steve DeOssie says that you can throw all that politically correct crap out the window in the Barret Robbins situation. DeOssie says Robbins was wrong, period, to leave his teammates. Bill Burt wishes he could write as well as Bill Belichick. Chad Finn says the Patriots need a pass rusher, and no, Greg Spries wouldn’t have been the answer.

Peter May reports on Antoine Walker and the knee brace he’ll need to wear if he’s going to play tonight. Steve Bulpett reports that Walker used the time on the sideline to get a better idea of his teammates ability and play. Bulpett’s notebook has a disappointed Jim O’Brien still lamenting the loss in Detroit.

Only Bob Ryan can make me even look at an article on indoor track. Bill Simmons wonders if fans really can jinx sports events. Jim Donaldson looks at Tiger Woods getting ready to come back strong after hurting much of last year. Jim McCabe looks at 20 years of Bowdoin hockey under Terry Meagher.

Bill Griffith previews a weekend of unusual sports events. He also looks forward to some Red Sox broadcast plans. Jim Baker looks ahead to the premiere of the Arena Football League on NBC. In The Week That Was, I’m looking back at Super Bowl talk, Sean McDonough’s WFAN interview and handing out a couple of awards.

FSNE has Celtics/Pistons at 7:30. ESPN has Spurs/Magic at 8:00 and Lakers/Kings at 10:30.

Time for another edition of

Time for another edition of “Answering out loud”.

From: Brian
Subject: weei

“Do you have any info about when WEEI will get back online. Jason Wolfe continues to say they will, but won’t give any time frame. I love your site. Keep up the good work.”

Brian – I get this one alot. I wish I had an answer. One one hand, I have people telling me that the extremely high bandwidth traffic makes it cost prohibitive in that there isn’t much of a return on streaming to WEEI, and that we shouldn’t look for it to return anytime soon, especially since WEEI’s ratings have gone up from what they were a year ago…they just don’t feel the loss of streaming hurt the bottom line. That seems to be shortsighted thinking in cutting off the vast listenership outside of New England. Jason Wolfe on the other hand has always been consistent in his answer that they’re still seeking the right “business platform” to bring it back on, and don’t want to comment about it until they have a definite plan in place. Others who have contacted Wolfe have told me he’s said that Entercom has the decision with them and that his hands are tied. If you’d like to contact Entercom about this issue you can e-mail Amy Van Hook at [email protected] or the Public Relations depart for Entercom at publicrela[email protected]

From: Home Run Derby
Subject: Sox Box Office Mess

This morning on Dennis and Callahan Larry Lucchino announced that groups of 20 or more would be able to buy the new Green Monster tickets today. (He also mentioned that individual ticket would be available in about 10 days.)

He was wrong. The group tickets will not be available until sometime in February. As a result, the Red Sox Box Office, which would already be swamped answering questions about tickets going on sale this week, was in chaos today and the phone system was completely stifled. All because of Larry’s unknowing comments.

Homer- Poor Larry, he not only isn’t a “baseball guy” but he’s apparently behind in the business department as well. Thank God Eddie is on vacation this week. “Larry the Lobster” would be getting broiled.

From: Jason
Subject: Shaughnessy

I’d definitely pay to dunk him. Did you notice the shot at Todd Walker’s fielding? Of course he did lead MLB in fielding % and was 2nd in total chances. He’s also in the top 8 in those “range factor” and “zone rating” stat categories that I don’t really understand. Any way you look at it, the guy is an above average fielder. Maybe he should change his name to “Todd Gonzalez” and Dan would think he’s a better fielder.

Jason – Can the guy have his head in the sand of his own “curse” myth any deeper? Shaughnessy also today during a call in to the McDonough group said that “the Red Sox hired Bill James, who is just a fan, to help make front office decisions”. Right. I’ve got a 1000 page book on my desk here written by James which is 100 times more informative about the game of baseball than anything Shaughnessy has written. No “fans” that I know write 1000 page books. I’d love to see Shaughnessy and James debate baseball sometime. To steal a phrase, “This needs to happen”.

From: MacLaw2000
Subject: Dale does suck

(Quote from my site) Dale ended the call with the gentleman by hanging up on him and saying “bite me”.

Come on Bruce.. this guy needs to be addressed in a big bad way. I know you like him but how about some even handed treatment……. a feather in your cap for the Borges fans? He doesn’t even know what “bite me ” means.

Mac- What can I say….I do like Dale most of the time. But he’s got his detractors out there, for sure. Ones who say he gets unreasonable when defending the Bruins, and that he’s perhaps the most apt to hang up on you if you go against him on the air. (Even more so than Sarandis, but that’s a story for another day) People complain that he can’t take criticism. I don’t really watch the Bruins games…I follow them in the paper, so I can’t comment too much on his skills as a play-by-play guy. I happen to think he’s pretty good on WEEI. Perhaps if I can find a decent polling software I’ll make Dale the subject of the next poll…or if any of you out there want to comment on Dale, I’ll see if there’s enough to put up his own page.

From: Chris Matthews
Subject: Letting Felger off the hook again….

I just wanted to show you how you treat your favorite writer (Felger easily is yours) over your whipping boys (Borges,Shaughnessy, & Carfardo).

You make no snide comment when Felger mentions the following in his Tuesday article “And how good would defensive end Greg Spires have looked on the Pats this year?”

But in yesterday’s blog, your replied with this snide comment “No Dan…we weren’t thinking that” when Dan Shaughnessy asked with regard to Spires “why don’t we get players like that”

Well…….it looks like your boy Felger was thinking that! Why no snide comment for Felger’s column? You didn’t hesitate to spring forward with your venom toward another one of your Globe whipping boys.

Personally I would prefer no negative comments at all, but last week you made it clear that this is your web page and basically you’ll say whatever you want, so be it, but at least if you’re going to continue to spew venom, at least be fair and spew it all around instead of leaving Felger free and clear, when I’ve once again shown that he is deserving of this treatment that you seem to enjoy doing on your web site.

Chris- I’m sure Felger will be glad to know he’s my boy…In any event, I messed this one up. I did notice the line by Felger, and just didn’t bring it up. Then Cafardo brought up the same subject in his mailbag yesterday. I still don’t see what the big deal about Greg Spires is. I didn’t hear these guys moaning and groaning when he wasn’t re-signed here. Typical that when someone does well somewhere else it’s quick to brought up here and reminded to the fans. I didn’t like when Felger did it anymore than when Shaughnessy or Cafardo did it. I should’ve called him out the same way. In general, I think Felger is a more fair writer than those other guys. He’ll criticize anyone if they deserve it, Tom Brady included. But he doesn’t go out of his way to knock the team the way others do. I just think he does a good job covering the Pats. Now, if we’re talking listening to him talking Red Sox during a summer Big Show appearance, then forget it. I swing the other way on that pendulum. I think he loves to knock the Red Sox. Just for the record, my favorite Boston writer is a Globe guy…Bob Ryan.

From: Jonathan
Subject: Shank

“Hey Bruce,
I really enjoy the site, keep up the good work. I just had a quick comment about the whole CHB hating David Ortiz thing.

I think it’s pretty obvious what is going on here. “Scoop” picks a player the Sox may acquire, before they actually do, and to show how much insider info he has, says the guy is “a sack of [Shaughnessey]“. That way, if the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs he can trash Theo, siting his take on this transaction as evidence that he was on to them from the beginning.

Shank will point to Ortiz’ poor fielding or clubhouse demeanor or overly high OBP as a reason the Sox didn’t play well. I think he actually would have liked to use Giambi for this but the Sox got him too quickly, before CHB could run an article. Find and replace “Giambi” with “Ortiz” and “Phillies” with “Twins” and he has his column. Either way, if the Sox somehow stumble at any point this year look for a Shank column with negative references to Ortiz.

Shaughnessey is the Christina Aguilera of the Boston Media – talented, but plays dir[r]ty and not someone you want your kids to grow up to be. With really bad hair.”

Jon – Interesting theory as well as comparison. But don’t waste your time trying to tell any of this to Shaughnessy. He’ll just say “I’m sure you’re at the top of your profession” or “You’re welcome to apply for a job at the Globe” -those seem to be his two favorite responses to anyone who dares criticize him.

From: Kevin
Subject: First Base for the Sox

If I were covering the Sox for the AP, this is the story I would have submitted on the Ortiz signing:

Thursday, January 23, 2003

AP-The Red Sox announced the signing today of David Ortiz to a one-year contract. Although he was used primarily as a DH last year by the Twins, Ortiz will compete for the starting job at first base with Jeremy Giambi. Also in the mix at first are Shea Hillenbrand and Doug Mirabelli. Hillenbrand might be displaced at third by Bill Mueller, although Mueller could conceivably see some time at first as well, while Mirabelli might be used in a platoon at first against lefties. In addition, the Red Sox are still in the hunt for the services of Kevin Millar, awaiting a settlement with the Japanese club the Chunichi Dragons. Millar is slotted to be used at first. GM Theo Epstein also confirmed that Boston is still searching for another right-handed bat, preferably a 1B/DH type. “We’re looking at several options”, Epstein said. “David Justice, Andres Galarraga, and Jose Offerman are still on the market, and Ron Gant too. We could always convert Gant to first. Tim Raines, too. We’re also considering trades for Matt Stairs, Melvin Mora, or John Flaherty and then converting one of those guys to first. Or maybe lulling Jose Canseco out of retirement. We’ll see. The plan is to give Grady Little as many options as possible to fill the open positions in the lineup.”

Kevin – You should’ve sent it to the Globe. We might’ve seen it in the paper the next day.

With it being a cold

With it being a cold Thursday in January, football over and the Bruins and Celtics off last night, the Red Sox move to the limelight. With the Boston media being a day late to the party once again, they scramble to report on the new seating at Fenway. I’m still wondering why a New York paper had the first article detailing the plans for the seats above the Monster. Yes, the New York Times, which ran story is connected to the Red Sox ownership, so that’s one angle, but so is the Globe. Maybe the owners are already fed up with the Boston media, and gave this to NY to spite them. Probably not. Or maybe this is a PR trick. I sound like Eddie here, but maybe the owners gave it to a paper in the biggest market in the country, knowing it would certainly trickle this way, if they could get the NY media behind them, criticism from Boston might look silly. Don’t know. Of course, it’s always possible that the NY writers just out-worked, the Boston ones. That wouldn’t be the first time, not the first time even this winter.

Anyway. Gordon Edes has the Globe version of that Times story, though a somewhat more brief edition. Tony Massarotti writes that the changes are good, and make sense. He aims his article towards fans who are afraid and resentful of change. Painting with a broad brush. Art Martone also lists out the changes you can expect to see at Fenway. Steve Buckley looks at the changes and decisions made by the “ambitious carpetbaggers” (I think he meant it affectionately) tell you what he likes and doesn’t like. He does manage to work in his Tony C Pitch. Christopher Price puts the changes in a nutshell for the Metro. David Heuschkel looks at the controversy surrounding the new ticket purchasing plan unveiled earlier in the week. Edes also has a story detailing the Sox response to the negative reaction that the ticket plan caused. The best idea in Dan Shaughnessy’s article about additional ways the Red Sox can raise revenue is the sportswriters dunking booth. How many would line up to take their shots at the CHB? Massarotti’s notebook leads off with Lucchino denying collusion charges in MLB, while Edes’s notebook says don’t expect the Sox to pick up Grady Little’s option anytime soon.

Steve Bulpett gets Chris Wallace to claim the Vin Baker deal as his own, but doesn’t really put his feet to fire for it. Perhaps he’s afraid of getting his seats moved back even further. A great call on the WEEI whiner line yesterday…What’s the difference between Barret Robbins and Vin Baker? One is a depressed, overweight slob who lets his teammates down and the other is the All-Pro Center for the Oakland Raiders…Shira Springer writes that the Celtics have garnered a reputation around the league as a “gritty” and “tough minded” team. Ron Borges, writing for MSNBC, tries his hand at writing about the NBA his topic is misconduct in the the league and the meaningless apologies that are issued. Michael Gee hates all star games.

Tom Curran gets player to reaction to the Patriots possibly losing Romeo Crennel to a head coaching position. Bill Reynolds gets around to commenting on the Bill Belichick-written piece that appeared in the NY Times Op-Ed section Sunday.

Stephen Harris has a mini-feature on Jeff Hackett. Jim Greenidge briefly notes how Steve Shields feels being relegated to the background with the arrival of Hackett. Harris’ notebook mentions that we might be seeing Don Sweeny on the ice again soon.

Sean McDonough commented on his WFAN interview from last week, noting that he resented the comments from people who don’t really know his situation. He buffered his statement about if he had it to do over he’d be calling Mets games by saying there were other factors besides his dad which motivated him to stay in Boston. He also said some of his comments were made for the benefit of the New York listening audience as he wanted them to all know how wonderfully the Mets treated him. He said just because he said how much he liked Joe O’Donnell and Steve Carp, that doesn’t mean he dislikes John Henry and Tom Werner. Ron Borges was also on the program and said Bob Kraft should think twice before giving Bill Belichick a contract extension. He brought up the incident he mentioned over the weekend where sources tell him that Belichick discouraged the Bears from going after Bledsoe. When a caller said he thought Belichick was a decent and honest human being, Borges snorted. When asked why he only trashes Belichick, Borges said that when Belichick does something good, he’ll write about it. He said its taboo in this town to say anything bad about Belichick.

Finally, from Philadelphia, you can only imagine if this sort of thing happened here. We only get talk show hosts driving their cars into buildings and then fleeing, we don’t get stuff like what’s happening to Howard Eskin. Just read it. Eskin is sort of the Ron Borges of the airwaves in Philly. He’s always saying controversial stuff and knocking the Philly teams and fans. I particularly like his explanation in the fourth sentence from the end.

ESPN has Bruins/Blackhawks at 8:00. FSNE has BU/Merrimack hockey at 7:00 and Oregon/UCLA college basketball at 10:30. TNT has Timberwolves/Mavs at 7:30 and Sonics/Kings at 10:00.

Tyler Kepner reports in the

Tyler Kepner reports in the New York Times about the new seating on top of Fenway. More information here than anything we’ve gotten locally. Even a view of a model of the seating. This article has been talked about on both WEEI and WWZN today.

Steve Buckley’s heart was in

Steve Buckley’s heart was in the right place with his column today. Something light, dare I say…positive, no references to Tony C, and only one factual screwup. He’s writing about Jeff Hackett playing goal for the Bruins while wearing the pad from his Montreal days. He compares it to Larry Bird’s retirement night at the Garden, where he claims that “Magic Johnson, Bird’s longtime nemesis, unbuttoned his shirt to reveal – be still all our hearts – a Boston Celtics uniform top.” He goes on later to refer to Magic “sporting a Celtics jersey, right there at the Garden, right next to Larry.” Nice story, it really is. Unfortunately, Magic was only wearing a gray Celtics t-shirt under that Lakers warmup suit…not a uniform jersey. Well give Buck credit for trying though. As for Hackett, after only two games, Jim Greenidge says he is the “toast of Causeway Street.” Joe McDonald says Hackett is the talk of the town, but he

Dale & Neumy were joined

Dale & Neumy were joined by the touchdown twins to wrap up the Super Bowl and the NFL season. Looks like Neumy drew the short straw in the “someone has to take a stand on a ridiculous argument and stick by it hell or high water” pool. He is angry that the Patriots didn’t go after Simeon Rice. He lauded the “courageous” (His exact word) Tampa Bay ownership for signing Rice. (Rice was actually signed two years ago, and had a subpar year his first in Tampa.) Neumeier says teams should be praised for having the courage to spend money and sign free agents. He added that that is the reason why the Patriots are “mired in mediocrity”. When the New York Rangers were brought up to him, he waffled a bit. When Dale and the Twins tried to convince Neumy that the reason Rice was so much better this year was due in large part to the guys playing around him. Neumy said he was sick of hearing that “tired, lame” argument about the surrounding cast and wants to dismiss that idea entirely. Dale took a few hits from Bruins fans, one of whom wants him to trash the players more while on NESN. He thinks Dale should just say Steve Shields “stinks”. Dale ended the call with the gentleman by hanging up on him and saying “bite me”. Another caller later had the good humor to say Dale did a “serviceable” broadcasting job on NESN.

There is a blissful two week vacation from Eddie on WWZN. Today Jageler was joined by Nick Cafardo and Tony Massarotti. Their main topic morphed from the Super Bowl to the Super Bowl MVP to fan voting. Jageler says only “get-a-lifers” vote for those things. Massarotti and Cafardo say voting for MVP, All Star games etc should be taken away from the fans. Tony says there should be no emotion in the voting for these things. He says the media is unbiased and not involved emotionally in the games, so they’re the ones who should be doing the voting.

Sean McDonough jokingly today talked about how he’s a “company man” regarding the Red Sox now. When comments were made about the high ticket prices at Fenway, Sean made sure to joke that the Red Sox have many reasonably priced tickets and that they, not he were saying otherwise…

One of the few media members younger than Theo Epstein, Jon Couture says that Theo needs to pull a John Gruden with the Red Sox. A few tweaks here and there to an already established team. I think he’s a week early in his Spring Training schedule though. An article from the Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the Super Bowl’s move to February, and the reverberations that will have. From yesterday is Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. Among the items in Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback is this gem: “After Oakland missed its third of three two-point conversion attempts and trailed by 13 instead of 10 points as it would have been had the Raiders taken singletons, John Madden reminisced, “When I was coaching in this league, I never went for two until the very end, regardless of the scoreboard. I believed in always taking one point unless it was the very end.” Surely, Madden is in sync with TMQ’s immutable law of the conversion: Take One Till the Fourth. But John — when you were a head coach, there was no two-point option. Madden ran the Raiders from 1969 to 1978. The old AFL two-point rule was ended when the AFL and old NFL merged in 1967. The deuce conversion option was not reinstated until 1994.” What’s this? A national article knocking Madden? Isn’t that sacrilege, or something? I only mostly hear local radio guys like Dennis and Callahan (rightfully) complaining about Madden. He seems exempt from criticism in most TV columns (Hi, Jim Baker) as well as national TV columns. (How ya doin’ Rudy Martzke?)

Eric Kane disagrees with the facts in the TMQ clip: “I think TMQ is one of the best things going…..but I think he’s wrong about Madden and the 2 pt. conversion. The merger may have begun with SB I, but the AFL and NFL remained separate until the 1970 season, when Pit, Balt and Cleve. joined the AFC. As such, 2 pt conversion remained alive and well in the AFL in the ’68 and ’69 seasons.”

The host I was using

The host I was using to create the website polls appears to have gone belly-up. I tried another host briefly, but the poll looked dog-ugly. I’m in the process of looking for another place to create polls with. I’ve looked at about 10 so far this morning, and none have been right. Most limit the amount of characters you can include in the question or answers, other have ads included in the poll, and others are just ugly. If anyone has a good poll software program, let me know. Then I’ll bump the Amazon box down lower on the page again. By the way…would there be any interest in an Amazon “store” here? I was thinking of putting together all the books and movies related to Boston sports and by Boston writers and creating a mini “store-front” type page. I would get some minor commission on anything bought through here. Not looking to get rich, just looking for more to offer. Any other site improvement suggestions are also welcome.

Ron Borges gets the story

Ron Borges gets the story of what happened to AWOL Raiders center Barret Robbins. From a quick look at sites around the country, Borges appears to be the first to have broken many of the details contained within his story. A good job by Borges, showing what he’s capable of when not obsessed with petty grudges. My favorite line from the story, one which actually made me laugh at the irony, comes from Bill Romanowski, who says of Robbins: “Obviously, the guy has a problem. He’s got to get some help…Hopefully for his sake, for his family, he’s able to get his life cleaned up, whatever there is.” Gerry Callahan can’t resist taking his favorite whipping boys -Raiders fans- out to the woodshed one final time this season. Dan Shaughnessy flashes the good side of his bi-polar columnist skills. I read the column waiting for the other shoe to drop, for a shot at Boston somewhere…it never came. Kevin Mannix warns us not to write off the Raiders yet. He says they’re still a contender…he fails to mention that according to some reports, the Raiders will be around 45 Million dollars over the cap heading into next season. The team you saw Sunday is likely going to be much different next year. My namesake in Oakland has his work cut out for him. Hector Longo says they’re 50 Million over the cap. Michael Gee comments on the piece Bill Belichick wrote for the Op-Ed section of the NY Times Sunday. I meant to mention the Belichick piece yesterday, but got way too busy in the afternoon. If you haven’t read it, register for free at the Times and check out the piece. It puts many of the “ramblings” type columns that local sportswriters love to do around here to shame.

Bill Reynolds hates the Super Bowl. Nick Cafardo looks at John Gruden struggling to find time to spend with his family. Michael Smith looks at Raider taunts that got Simeon Rice fired up for the Super Bowl. George Kimball and Jim Donaldson write about how Gruden ran the scout team as QB in practice so the defense could get familiar with Rich Gannon’s mannerisms. Ron Borges reports on how that paid off for the Buccaneers, as they were able pick up on some of Gannon’s habits. Michael Felger looks at how the Patriots need to improve on defense. Cafardo catches up with Damien Woody, who will now be going to the Pro Bowl in the absence of Robbins. Kimball also has that in his Super Bowl notebook.

Jackie MacMullan has an in-depth look at the relationship between Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, how their competitive drive leaves them bickering at times, but that they’re determined not to let it effect their friendship off the court. The sparring came to a head during the Christmas day blowout in New Jersey. Steve Bulpett looks at the two of them as they wait to see if they’ll be selected for the All Star game. Peter May looks at former Celtic Chauncy Billups, settling in as a Piston. Carolyn Thornton says Paul Pierce is coming of age in Walker’s absence. Bulpett’s notebook says the Pistons aren’t out for revenge tonight.

Gordon Edes says the Kevin Millar soap still isn’t over. David Heuschkel also has a little bit on the situation.

John Molori runs down the Super Bowl highs and lows. Jim Baker breaks down the ratings numbers for the Super Bowl. Bill Griffith has the Super Bowl from A-Z and assorted media notes.

NESN has Bruins/Predators at 7:00. FSNE has Celtics/Pistons at 7:30. College hoops reign on ESPN, with Indiana/Michigan at 7:00 and Florida/LSU at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas A&M/Oklahoma at 7:00.

Very interesting interview with Sean

Very interesting interview with Sean McDonough on WFAN from last week. He rips the Red Sox owners, he says he only took their offer because of his father, and now that Will is gone, if he had it to do over again he would be broadcasting Mets games. He rips the club for not giving up Casey Fossum for Bartolo Colon. He thinks Theo is getting a free ride in the Boston media. He said the Patriots got a free ride this year, no one criticized them at all, and they’re not likely to be contenders next year. A few other items in here too that make you think Sean is trying to get himself fired or something. (It’s a Real Audio clip)