Bruins live to skate another

Bruins live to skate another day. But as Stephen Harris notes, it doesn’t mean a thing unless somehow they follow it up with three more wins…an unlikely scenario. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the difference in the Bruins play, and the pulling of Brodeur for the first time in his playoff career. He also notes:

It felt like a hockey town again, rather than a group of disenfranchised spectators poised to call sports radio with another venting of the spleens.

A fancy way of saying “the fellowship of the miserable”. Joe McDonald says that Dan McGillis made up for the nightmare of a game three breakaway chance that he didn’t convert. Steve Conroy has more on the Bruins leading scorer of the playoffs. Michael Smith makes it a hat trick of McGillis articles. James Murphy gives us the bare basics recap of the game. Mark Blaudschun writes about the sense of desperation that drove the Bruins last night. Douglas Flynn says the only miracle to this series will likely be that Lapointe and McInnis scored in the same game. Karen Guregian and Paul Harber write that last night was a small step for Joe Thornton towards, as it was put yesterday, “salvaging his reputation”. I still can’t get over that one…Jackie MacMullan today wonders what the heck happened to Brodeur and the Devils last night, as the Bruins seemed to turn the switch on. I’ll tell you what happened, it’s hard to sweep any team, especially in their home arena, and second, it’s always nice to finish up a series at home. As was stated on one of the broadcasts last night, if you’ve got home ice, you always want to win in five games and get the extra money from an additional home game. Michael O’Connor says Brodeur wasn’t too fazed after the game last night. Nor should he be. In the other net, Conroy notes that Jeff Hackett was excellent when he had to be, namely in the first period. In his pay column, Steve Buckley chastises the fans who didn’t fill the FleetCenter last night. He writes about how the fans have “packed it in” and that those who didn’t show missed “something incredible”. Harris’ notebook looks at Bryan Berard sitting out last night with an injury. Dupont’s notebook looks at O’Connell’s coaching job last night what he still has to figure out. McDonald’s notebook tells us Brodeur is human after all.

Bob Lobel is growing increasingly dependent on the Dirt Dogs website for the headlines to his nightly sportscasts. Last night it was the three things you can count on “Death, Taxes and a bullpen collapse”. Whoops, they did it again. Mendoza couldn’t retire a single batter from the might Devil Rays lineup, and Timlin allowed those guys to score, tying up the game after a strong start by Casey Fossum. Gordon Edes says Ramiro is redefining the Mendoza line. He also notes the demotion of Bobby Howry to Pawtucket, and adds:

The best guess to replace Howry? Try Erick Almonte, the Dominican who came back from Japan and impressed the Sox this spring before being one of the last cuts.

I’m guessing Gordon means *Hector* Almonte. Erick is the shortstop the Yankees called up to replace Jeter. Jeff Horrigan has the game story for the Herald, and Steven Krasner says just call Shea Hillenbrand Mr. March. David Heuschkel reports that while Grady Little is losing faith in Mendoza, Theo says there is a flaw in his delivery that can be corrected. Christopher Price reports on the game for the Metro. Sean McAdam says these frightening endings are taking their toll, but to their credit the Sox are not in denial about the situation. Dan Shaughnessy is loving this. He says:

It wouldn't be quite as ridiculous if the Sox hadn't spent the offseason telling us how they were going to reinvent baseball. Bill James came on board, and there were lectures about the seventh inning being more important than the ninth and the lack of need for a traditional closer.

Ok, so show me the quotes where the Sox bragged that they were going to “reinvent baseball”…and in case Dan hasn’t noticed, the seventh and eighth innings *have* been more important than the ninth this year. That’s when the leads are getting blown. How would a “traditional” ninth-inning-only closer have made a difference last night? Bring him in after Mendoza loaded ‘em up last night, and you’re going against the modern closer theory by making him work two innings. If the Sox had a stopper in the pen, bringing in him in that situation would be exactly playing into the CBC theory. Yes, these guys stink, but it’s not the CBC theory that is blowing the games. Tony Massarotti says don’t expect any major changes here, what you see is what you’re going to get, for a while, anyway. Michael Silverman says that Fossum’s no-decision was actually a big victory. Kevin Gray says that there is a reason that teams were so interested in Fossum during the offseason. Lenny Megliola thinks that Mendoza should be driving Howry down I-95 to Pawtucket. Krasner has another look at Rocco Baldelli, who had three more hits last night. Edes also has more on DiMaggio. I mean Baldelli. Mike Shalin looks at last night’s hero, Shea Hillenbrand. Horrigan’s notebook reports on Howry’s demotion, as does Krasner’s notebook. Edes’ notebook has fan reaction from the Monster seats. Seats that Eddie Andelman was trashing yesterday, saying they’re obstructed view, and just bad seats overall.

If you missed it yesterday, you need to check out Jim Caple and his parody of the Iraqi information minister joining the Yankees broadcast team for a matchup with Pedro and the Red Infidels, I mean, Sox. Edward Cossette actually did a version of that same theme yesterday morning before Caple’s article went up, his deals with the good minister speaking on behalf of the Red Sox.

A couple articles on Tebucky Jones’ departure. Alan Greenberg seems to disapprove of Jones’s treatment by the Pats, records a couple shots at Belichick and the organization taken by the safety and paints him as a victim. Michael Felger takes a slightly different tact, allowing Jones’ words to speak for themselves for the most part. He says he called just as many of the plays as Lawyer Milloy did, and looks forward to be being freed from having to constantly change gears for special teams. Ron Borges has a mock draft for MSNBC. He’s got them reaching for Rashean Mathis with the #19 pick. Mathis is projected to be able to make the move to free safety in the pros. Can this also be construed as a subtle shot at Belichick, saying now that he has given away Tebucky he needs to burn a first round pick to replace him? Or is my ancestral tie to Oliver Stone showing? If you caught the McDonough group yesterday, you likely heard Butch Stearns going through Belichick’s draft history, listing some mid-round picks as “indictments” against Belichick. Borges joined the show for a short time and also had fun bashing. The funny thing to me is that Stearns listed the 2000 draft as a prime failure for Belichick mentioning picks like Jeff Marriott, Dave Stachelski and David Nugent. (He also threw Jabari Holloway and Hakim Akbar in there from the 2001 draft) A caller later in the show tried to make the point that the 2000 draft was essentially run by Bobby Grier. That suggestion was dismissed by the panel. I wish Borges was still on at the time, because he’s the one who has made that assertion in the past, claiming that Belichick should not receive any credit for Greg Randall or Tom Brady because those were Grier picks. You can’t have it both ways, fellas…

Despite having the #6 seed locked in, and no chance of moving either way, Peter May reports that we’ll see all the guys, including those who should likely get some rest, will be playing their normal minutes, in hopes of gaining momentum. Let’s hope no one gets hurt. Remember Vitaly injured his ACL in a meaningless game last season, and the C’s could’ve used his toughness against the Nets. Mark Murphy looks at possible first round matchups for the Celtics, who could be playing any number of teams in the first round. Though that is possible, it’s likely they’re going to face the Sixers. Christopher Price looks at that matchup. The new Metro basketball writer, Bob Schron looks at the Celtics as they head into the postseason. Murphy’s notebook looks at Pierce taking a kid to school.

You can check out the last Michael Jordan/Mars Blackmon Nike commercial. I found it fairly amusing.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 6:00. FSNE has Celtics/Pistons at 7:00. ESPN has Michael Jordan’s last game with Wizards/Sixers at 7:00, followed by Jazz/Kings at 10:00. ESPN2 has Avalanche/Wild at 7:30 and Red Wings/Mighty Ducks at 10:30.

Eddie was back on today

Eddie was back on today after having yesterday off and waited only 9 minutes to start ripping the Sox for letting it rain on Friday. OK…not quite, but he may as well have. Eddie claimed to have personally called all the meteorologists in town to ask how the weather would be opening day, and said they all told him there was no way they’d get the game in. Jags then told Eddie that the forecasts he saw all said there was a pretty decent shot the game would get played, as did the forecasts I saw. Eddie had no answer for that, so then along with Nick Cafardo moved on to knocking the Patriots for getting nothing for Tebucky Jones. He was a first round pick and they could only get a few late picks for him. That’s one way to look at it. Another way is that Jones wasn’t coming back here unless the Patriots severely overpaid him, and stated so to an NFL security guy at the Pro Bowl. Instead of just losing him for nothing, the Patriots slapped the franchise tag on him, and waited until someone would give them something for him so they wouldn’t let him get away for nothing. Which would have happened. An emailer asked Nick about his negative view on the Pats and about the Zone’s interview with Ron Konrad last week, they claimed to have had Konrad on to talk about the division, the problem is, no one can remember them talking about the division at all. Nick was clearly steamed by the email as he addressed it on both ends of a commercial break. Always fun to show how thin-skinned these guys really are.

They also had Bill Lee on for an hour to pitch his new book.

On The Big Show, Sean McAdam continued to defend his stance that Pedro’s comments after the option got picked up have been blown out of proportion, he seemed to target Gordon Edes as having taken the comments the furthest, somewhat surprising since Edes at times is a voice of reason. McAdam also made a dig towards Shaughnessy for his comments about Pedro coming from a dirt-poor country, insinuating that it should have an effect on Pedro’s contract demands. Interestingly, Ordway, who was so nasty and vociferous last week regarding Pedro, didn’t really challenge McAdam all that much. The other big event of the show was Pete Sheppard’s “exclusive” with Pat Burns, which was hyped, but ended up so underwhelming, I can’t recall a single thing from it.

John Tomase says the Red Sox fans are not the best in the country, in fact they’re among the worst. He outlines several incidents that are “symptomatic of a more pervasive nastiness that has intensified in recent seasons at Unfriendly Fenway.”

Some of you have asked how the job search is going…well, it’s not. The market is just horrific, and nothing the least bit promising has appeared. I remain unemployed, but in no immediate danger of fulfilling the dreams of Ordway and Shaughnessy and having to move into my parents basement…

Where have you gone, Jumbo

Where have you gone, Jumbo Joe? Bruins nation turns its lonely eyes to you…The Bruins young captain finds himself facing the question of whether he can step it up in the playoffs. Jackie MacMullan says Joe has possibly just one last chance tonight to step forward and at least “salvage his reputation as the leader of this hockey team. I agree that Joe needs to show us something, but “salvage his reputation”? Isn’t that stretching it just a tad? The kid is 23 years old. He’s going to get better. Steve Conroy also focuses on Thornton, noting his frustration, but also showing that his teammates know he can handle the load and the pressure. Joe McDonald doesn’t think things look too good for the Bruins tonight, as evidenced by a lackluster practice yesterday. In the other locker room, Mark Blaudschun reports that the Devils are simply preparing for the game tonight in their usual workmanlike fashion. Douglas Flynn says the Bruins just need to be simply in survival mode right now. James Murphy records a moment from practice yesterday that could’ve been taken from the movie “Slapshot”, and wonders where enforcers like PJ Stock have been in this series, to help get the Devils off Thornton’s back. Rich Thompson says that Jamie Langenbrunner and the Devils learned from last season’s first round exit at the hands of the Hurricanes. Marvin Pave looks at the preparations the Bruins are attempting to make to stave of elimination. Jon Wallach says that the Bruins troubles are much bigger than just being in danger of being swept out of the first round. Steve Buckley’s pay column this morning is a look at Mike O’Connell’s game in putting himself behind the bench, in the line of fire, when he must’ve known there was a good chance the B’s would be facing Pat Burns and the Devils. Conroy’s notebook looks at the protection Martin Brodeur appears to get from the referees, at least from the Bruins perspective. Pave’s notebook looks at Jeff Hackett attempting to keep the Bruins alive tonight.

Sox get back in action tonight with Casey Fossum taking the mound. Michael Silverman says a sign that things are getting better for Fossum after a terrible spring is that its now safe to joke about him. Bob Hohler notes that Fossum learned a big lesson from his last time out, against the Blue Jays. Paul Doyle also submits a piece on the Sox young lefty. Steven Krasner has an extensive look at local son Rocco Baldelli making his Fenway debut tonight. Bill Reynolds recalls his first time meeting Baldelli. Lenny Megliola has a very simple message for Pedro: “Pitch, don’t bitch.” Gerry Callahan’s column today says that Pedro’s encounter with the infamous booing fan behind the dugout is just another example of Pedro finding something to use as motivation. Hohler’s notebook looks at Mike Cubbage’s scare Saturday night in his own words. Silverman’s notebook says Robert Person is keen on the idea of becoming the go-to guy in the Sox bullpen.

Nick Cafardo weighs in on the Tebucky Jones trade, hoping that the Patriots use the money they saved to sign up his pal Damien Woody. Michael Felger looks at the Defensive Linemen the Pats might be looking to package picks to trade up and get. Tom Curran says the Patriots don’t have a safety to play in coverage now that Jones is gone, and doesn’t see any in the draft to replace him, either. Cafardo has a profile of probably the top safety in the draft, Troy Polamalu, who played for Pete Carroll at USC. Michael Parente looks at the safety position, and where things might end up.

Steve Bulpett chats with Bob Cousy, who isn’t optimistic about the Celtics chances of going deep in this years playoffs. If you’re looking for profound answers to how the Celtics can succeed in the playoffs, Shira Springer’s article isn’t going to provide them. Terms like good fourth quarter play, making the extra pass, getting a good shot every time down, and solid on defense abound throughout the piece.

Peter May reports on a forum in which representatives of the ownership of the four major league sports teams in Boston discussed marketing opportunities and ideas. Among the things discussed, selling the naming rights to Fenway Park. WEEI is running an on-line poll in which you can vote on their war coverage. Apparently you can vote as many times as you want which will pretty much invalidate the results. Bill Griffith tells us where to look for the Sox game tonight, looks at ESPN’s new deal with Wimbledon, and has Masters numbers. Jim Baker also gives us the numbers of the Masters, and adds this note in his Short Takes section:

A clarification: Sunday's commentary on the glut of low-rated TV-radio sports gab did not include WEEI numbers, which will be out with the Arbitron book next Tuesday. Arbitrends have not included the period in which WEEI has aired war commentary.

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but this is what Baker wrote on Sunday that apparently needs clarification:

WEEI's repeated war critiques by sports hosts passing themselves off as combat strategists have one thing in common with the glut of TV sports gab: They're a waste of time. They cry out to be ignored - and multitudes of test cases are doing just that, judging by rancid recent ratings that have to make sponsors wonder why they're supporting such an endeavor.

Roy Williams announcement last night that he was leaving Kansas for his Alma Mater of UNC no doubt left new WWZN morning co-host Holden Kushner a bit red faced. His “scoop” of last week turned out to only be half right, and after a dime was dropped to me, it turns out the half he got right wasn’t much of a scoop, either. Last Tuesday’s Kansas City Star had an article by Jason King with the title: “Source: Roy likely stays if Hadl or Konzem is A.D.” Apparently Dale & Neumy on WEEI had read from that article Tuesday morning, the day before Kushner went on with his “scoop’.

NESN has Bruins/Devils at 7:00.(ESPN Nationally) If you’re in the Boston market, Red Sox/Devil Rays will be on UPN38. If you’re outside the market, it will be on the alternate channel lineup, which would include whichever version of ATT3 that you have. Who knew this stuff was so complicated? ESPN2 has Lightning/Capitals at 7:00 and Stars/Oilers at 10:00.

OK…I finally have the results

OK…I finally have the results of the Mediamadness fan brackets that were sent in. I originally expected to get maybe 10-15 brackets from hard core readers. But with very little encouragement from me, you sent in about 70. Here are the compiled results. The screen is huge, so be prepared to do a lot of scrolling across the page. Beside each winner are the vote totals for that matchup. You might notice differing vote totals across the rounds, not everyone filled out every matchup. Some quit two rounds in. Quite a few picked the final matchup, but didn’t pick a winner. But the results are accurate.

A quick overview:

All four #1 seeds (Lobel, Ryan, Callahan & Ordway) advanced to the Final Four. Looks my seedings there were pretty good.

Bob Ryan beat Bob Lobel 28-19 in one Semi-final matchup, while Glenn Ordway knocked off Gerry Callahan 28-9 in the other.

Ryan then beat Ordway 18-11 in the Finals.

Others who got votes as winners of the tournament:
Bob Lobel (11)
Gerry Callahan (5)
Bill Simmons (2)
Sean McDonough (2)
Gary Tanguay/Greg Dickerson (2) No winner was picked on either ballot, both of which had those two meeting in the finals, and were sent from FSNE email.
Eddie Andelman (1)
Sean McAdam (1)
Tony Massarotti (1)
Ted Sarandis (1)

I don’t generally watch much

I don’t generally watch much Hockey on TV. I’ve made a concerted effort to watch this Bruins playoff series though, and have come away incredibly frustrated. The Bruins always seem to run into a hot goalie come playoff time. I don’t know a whole lot about the intricacies of the game, but just from watching it always seems the B’s aren’t putting themselves in any positions to get a break. The Devils capitalize on their chances. I’ll now take off my Don Cherry cap and look and see what the experts have to say here locally. Kevin Paul Dupont wraps up the series thusly:

Game 4 of what has become a dispiriting and lopsided series for the Bruins will be back on FleetStreet tomorrow night. There may be a way - even a legal one - for them to beat Brodeur and the Devils, and longtime fans are encouraged to e-mail in those bright ideas. At the moment, it's obvious the Bruins don't have a clue.

Maybe I’ve missed it, but I’m waiting for Bob Lobel to trot out “Why can’t we get coaches like that?” in a nod to Pat Burns. Stephen Harris says Brodeur would be the MVP of this series, but this isn’t a one man show here. Douglas Flynn and Joe McDonald round out the local game stories. Before the series we were told that John Madden would be Joe Thornton’s full time shadow. Well, he’s done that and more, Mark Blaudschun looks at his contributions to the series. Karen Guregian wonders if Mike O’Connell is finally figuring out that the team he assembled here just isn’t that good. Paul Harber looks at just how effective the shadowing of Thornton has been. Rich Thompson says Martin Brodeur just continues to build his Hall of Fame resume. According to Jackie MacMullan Brodeur has totally deflated the fans and decimated the ‘second season’ of the Bruins. Steve Conroy and Marvin Pave look at the performance of Jeff Hackett yesterday. It was more of the same, good effort, but not good enough. Thompson also looks at local kid Jay Pandolfo, who had a goal yesterday, and who enjoys beating the team he cheered for as a kid. Steve Buckley’s pay column today notes how the Bruins are such a second fiddle that an early season Red Sox game overshadows a Bruins playoff game. Dupont’s notebook looks at a couple of examples of Brodeur’s greatness. Harris’ notebook looks at how the Devils have kept the Bruins out of prime scoring space. McDonald’s notebook has more on Brodeur outdueling Hackett.

During the Red Sox telecast yesterday, analyst Jerry Remy noted that if Tim Wakefield came on and did well that there would be a cry for him to remain in the bullpen and stabilize that group. Well, there isn’t exactly an uprising for that notion, but Dan Shaughnessy does write about Wakefield becoming a Committee of one. Sean McAdam has a similar article, noting that Wakefield didn’t exactly seem eager to embrace the idea of returning to the bullpen. In a pay column, Michael Gee says that Wakefield’s performance yesterday was the first time the CBC worked the way it was supposed. Bob Hohler, in the game story, notes how a videotape session helped Derek Lowe get back on track. David Heuschkel has more on Lowe getting back in control. Michael Silverman says the Sox now need to figure out how to duplicate the performance of yesterday. Steven Krasner has more on the ‘video detective work’ done by Lowe and a couple of the coaches. Continuing the theme, Michael Vega looks at the adjustments as well. Mike Shalin cranks out an entire article on how Nomar’s Home run in the first inning yesterday didn’t make it to the fans in the Monster seats. He also looks at Hillenbrand making his ‘first start‘. Howard Bryant in a pay column looks at the importance of Lowe’s performance yesterday, noting that the Sox need him to repeat his record of a year ago if they hope to achieve success. Alex Speier weighs in on the “Bull Durham” Hall of Fame controversy. He also has a few other baseball notes. Hohler’s notebook looks at Hillenbrand’s comfort level playing at first base. Silverman’s notebook makes mention of the fact that with the win yesterday, Grady Little becomes the third-fastest manager to reach 100 wins. Heuschkel’s notebook has Little saying that Wakefield’s turn in the bullpen is only temporary. Krasner’s notebook leads with Shea at first and has a number of other items, including word from Mendoza on his struggles, and updates on Cloninger and Cubbage.

Onto the Celtics…Steve Bulpett openly wonders if the Heat are tanking it down the stretch, hoping for a better chance in the Lebron/Carmelo sweepstakes. He notes that the normally animated Pat Riley was silent on the sideline and that he played little used rookies for most of the game. Despite that, the Celtics needed to withstand a fourth quarter charge by the Heat and hang on for the win. Shira Springer says that while this edition of the Celtics has struggled to the finish line, this win coupled with perhaps another against Detroit on Wednesday could bring them into the playoffs on a high note. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the fact that several of the assistant coaches will have their contracts expire at the end of the season, and seems to be pushing for them to be taken care of. Could this be a harbinger of changes after the season? Springer’s notebook says that O’Brien will not be resting his starters on Wednesday night, they’ll play their usual minutes.

Patriots also in the news…first, some props to Michael Smith, who used connections in his hometown of New Orleans to get the details first on the Tebucky Jones trade to the Saints yesterday. The Globe breaks some news. Of course it wasn’t be either of their top two football writers who did it, but it was from their young third writer. The other papers have the story today, with Michael Felger making the point at the end of the article that the Patriots did play this one right, for had they not franchised Jones, he would’ve just left in free agency, now they’ve gotten three draft picks for him. Tom Curran wonders who is going to replace Jones, but acknowledges that he is not worth the money that the Saints are going to pay him. He also adds this as the reason for his Special Teams play:

There's a reason Jones, a first-round pick in 1998, is one of the best special teams players in football. It's because he took so long to become a trustworthy regular-down player. So for most of his first three seasons, Jones -- a rare physical talent -- was playing special teams so that the Pats got something from him. Running around against late-round picks and street free agents? Jones better dominate.

Elsewhere, Alan Greenberg seems somewhat mystified that the Patriots and Jones are parting ways. Michael Parente also weighs in on the trade. WWZN’s Morning Press Box had Nick Cafardo on this morning, and they talked NFL draft. Nick said if he were the Patriots we would not take MaGahee. He then amended that to say he wouldn’t take him in the first two rounds, the third round at the earliest. He says MaGahee is not going to play this year. It’d be a miracle if he did. With the Patriots, if they mess up a couple of draft picks and they’re cooked especially with Tom Donahue in the division who always makes fantastic picks. Is there a more hyped GM than Tom Donahue? His Steelers were always competitive, and always able to restock after losing big free agents each year, but how many Super Bowls did they win? Isn’t that what it comes down to? Donahue is very shrewd with the media and knows how to promote himself so they’ll write and say glowing things about him. A glaring omission on the WWZN interview; they had Cafardo on there, and didn’t ask him about the Tebucky trade. I’m sitting there waiting to hear how Nick will spin it, and they didn’t even bring it up.

Rioting at UNH after the NCAA Championship loss Saturday night. Gary Dennis reports on the 87 people arrested in riots on the Durham campus. Vin Sylvia looks at another disappointment for the Wildcats, and how with each failed appearance the burden increases.

John Molori chats with Michael Andelman about the new 1510 morning show, looks at the TNT crew ripping on the Celtics, tees off on WBZ’s Alan Segal, and toots his own horn on Cedric Maxwell’s number being retired a month after he said it should happen. All in all, a busy column for Molori.

ESPN has Flyers/Maple Leafs at 8:00. ESPN2 has Avalanche/Wild at 7:30 and Red Wings/Mighty Ducks at 10:30. ESPN also has Astros/Giants at 10:00. NESN has AA Sox/Yankees with the Portland Seadogs vs. the Trenton Thunder at 6:00

Here’s the Sunday Night Sports

Here’s the Sunday Night Sports Shows for this week. Sorry, no Fox25 Sports Sunday, didn’t get in until after 11:00.

Sox win, Sox win, Sox

Sox win, Sox win, Sox win.

But not without a little squirming involved. I’ll take it though. God only knows the maelstrom that would’ve been the media had that one been blown last night as well. Finally, we get opening day at Fenway…the sun will be shining, the weather will be warm, and a Pedro will be on the mound. I’ll settle for one out of three, and we may not even get that. You can tell Dan Shaughnessy put at least some thought into his work today. Yeah, he’s negative. But he’s very careful about his wording of what he says about Pedro. He blasts the Sox ace, but does so carefully, as if he’s conscious of the potential backlash he’d get if he treated him like Carl Everett or Jose Offerman. (Mike from Southie points out however, the distasteful line from Dan where he insinuates Pedro should take less money because he comes from the “dirt-poor Dominican Republic”) He ends the column by saying:

Weather permitting, Pedro gets the ball today at 2:05. Let there be no more distasteful contract talk this season. Time to play ball.

I agree. We’re also going to hold you to that. I have a feeling though, every time you mention Pedro this year, the contract will be mentioned as well.

Gordon Edes has the account of the game from last night, noting that this team has offensive power, scoring runs at a pace not seen since the ’01 Sox. 1901, that is. Michael Silverman says that Mike Timlin picked “up his fellow relievers by the scruff of their necks last night.” Timlin tells David Heuschkel that he doesn’t want to hear anything negative around the club, and feels that if everyone would just think positive, the club will use that energy for good. Okay. Howard Bryant says that John Burkett deserves credit as a #5 starter dueling the other teams’ ace to a draw. Bob Hohler looks at the preparations made for today’s opening. Bill Dedman (name is appropriate for this article) looks at the risks the Sox are taking in putting fans so close to the action, noting the odds are increasing that a fan is going to get killed at a ballgame. Keeping on the negative theme, Steve Buckley in a pay column, gives a thumbs down to the changes around Fenway, and the “ballpark experience”. Paul Doyle looks at the Monster seats, and wonders when the owners are going to decide on the long term fate of Fenway. Edes also catches up with Tony Cloninger, who is hoping to be able to contribute soon. He’s been very weak from blood loss. An interesting bit is that one of the players who has called him, twice a week, is former Sox pitcher Rolando Arrojo. Howard Bryant has a pay column in which he notes that in the next tight spot, Grady Little will likely be turning to:

The same 24-year-old Brandon Lyon who failed to live up to the expectations of the Blue Jays, prompting a club desperate for live pitching arms to give up on him? The same Lyon who in 26 career major league games owns an ERA of 5.40, has won 6-of-14 career decisions, and doesn't have a save to his name?

The Sox came up with another revenue stream by reaching an agreement with “Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center that will give the hospital exclusive advertising rights in Fenway Park but will not place the team’s players under the center’s care.” huh? Kevin Gray looks at the changes fans can expect at Fenway. Rob Mueller of the Augusta Chronicle has a feature on the Red Sox other minor league phenom, Hanley Ramirez. Sean McAdam’s notebook looks at who is going to be used from the ‘pen these days in tight situations. (on another note…I’m taking a stand…I will no longer link to Projo articles that omit the author’s name. Not gonna do it…It’s not too much to ask, and I’ve taken grief from assuming an article was written by someone, and it turns out it was someone else’s work. Today I could assume the Sox game story was written by McAdam, but there’s no name, so no link.) Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Kevin Millar looking forward to being a home player at Fenway. Silverman’s notebook looks at the offense, hopefully starting to come around. Edes’ notebook looks at Trot Nixon finally getting on the RBI stat sheet.

Yes, the Celtics game last night could be compared to passing a kidney stone. But rather than blame Walker or Pierce, which some seem to want to do, why isn’t anyone getting on Jim O’Brien for his failure to coach offense? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. O’Brien has done a good job overall. He gets these guys to play hard, they play defense most nights, but they have no offense. Pierce & Walker are not the problem, they’re the only ones who can create any sort of offense on their own on a regular basis. Steve Bulpett, Shira Springer and Carolyn Thornton report on yet another embarrassment on National TV. That’s another thing…has any team ever played as consistently bad on national TV as this squad? Rich Thompson looks at Paul Pierce setting a Celtics record for most free throws made in a season. Paul Harber looks at a tough Philly squad led by Iverson. The Celtics also announced that they will retire Cedric Maxwell’s number 31 sometime early next season. This is the topic of all the notebooks out there. Christopher Price notes that having Red Auerbach sign off on this move was big to Max. Springer’s notebook also has some injury updates and a look at Larry Brown and UNC. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Tony Battie in addition to Maxwell, and Thornton’s notebook gets Danny Ainge’s thoughts on the Eastern Conference. He doesn’t think much of the Celtics.

Stephen Harris says game one of the Devils series seemed to be a microcosm of the entire season for the Bruins. Kevin Paul Dupont says the Bruins effort in game one was good, but they need more in a must win situation tonight. Dan Hickling says the Bruins remain confident that they can get the job done against the Devils. Steve Conroy looks at John Madden, who has been assigned to be Joe Thornton’s shadow in this series. Karen Guregian says Jumbo Joe needs to step up, bring it, and carry this team in the postseason. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Mike Knuble, who has had his role mixed a little with the return of Samonsov and needs to find a comfort level. The Herald notebook reports that Samonov is still not fully up to speed coming off his injured wrist. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at a remorse Michal Grosek, who made the ill fated pass that led to the Devils’ second goal on Wednesday night.

Tom Curran continues his look at NFL draft prospects, today he has a look at Tennessee receiver Kelley Washington. Michael Smith looks at the ongoing Tebucky Jones trade talk and rumors. He solicits opinion from around the league on Jones, his value and his level of play. Michael Parente notes the match by the Seahawks of the offer tendered to Woodard by the Pats, and catches us up on a few other Pats items. Profootballtalk.com does have a little further snippet on the Konrad story, noting that they’ve heard from a league source that the Pats did express an interest in Konrad at the start of free agency, but that that news doesn’t really clarify anything.

Bob Ryan looks at the Rangoon open…err, the Masters. Chris Snow looks at UNH’s victory in the Frozen Four yesterday, advancing them to the NCAA Championship game. Jeff Jacobs looks at the Hall of Fame’s decision to cancel a ceremony honoring the 15th anniversary of Bull Durham, due to the political views of a couple of the stars. A letter of protest was sent by one of those stars, Tim Robbins.

Bill Griffith reports that the Patriots have dropped Jerry Glanville from their preseason TV crew and replaced him with Randy Cross. He also looks at the Master’s coverage. John Howell looks at Connecticut’s WPOP 1410 sports radio’s new afternoon show with former ESPN staffer Jason Jackson. In The Week That Was, I look at the hot topics on TV and Radio.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Orioles at 2:00. NESN has Bruins/Devils at 7:00. ESPN has Magic/Pacers at 8:00 and Warriors/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Maple Leafs/Flyers at 7:00, followed by Oilers/Stars immediately after. ESPN Classic is showing a Celtics/Bullets playoff game from 1982 at 9:00.

Hmmm, a sign of the

Hmmm, a sign of the apocalypse? A column by Steven Goldman on the YES Network website defending the CBC concept. He notes:

Like the army, baseball is hostile to change. Ironically, there is nothing terribly revolutionary about the Epstein/James headless bullpen concept. It merely asks baseball to recognize that, despite Harold Reynolds' insistence on Sunday's "Baseball Tonight," that the last three outs of the ballgame are not necessarily the hardest. Sometimes the crucible comes in the seventh or eighth. Leo Durocher said, "You don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain." Similarly, there's no reason to save your best weapon for the ninth when you might not get the lead to the ninth.

(Thanks to John Bakum for the link. I don’t regularly hang out at the YES website…)

Media Madness Final Bob Ryan

Media Madness Final

Bob Ryan (1) vs. Glenn Ordway (1)

Somehow we knew it would come to this matchup, didn’t we? Quite a few thought Lobel would’ve been in here, but it just didn’t work out that way. This matchup presents two of the most powerful figures in the Boston sports media, each with their own strengths. One veteran scout proclaimed of Ryan, “If I had to pick one person to be on a show with me, it’d be Ryan, you can just stick him in there, bring up a topic, and he’ll run with it. He’s been doing this longer than anyone else in town. TV, Radio, he’s done it all.” Ordway has similar abilities, but his strengths lie in bringing out the best in his teammates. Since losing out on the Globe talent pool, (including Ryan) Ordway has consistently been saddled with inferior talent on his daily radio program. He still maintains the highest ratings in his target audience. That being said, Ordway, while by far the best radio host in the area, is somewhat of a one trick pony. His occasional forays into Television (FSNE’s NE Tailgate for instance) are ok, but he clearly isn’t as comfortable before the camera as he is behind the mic. Ryan has a presence in radio, television and of course in the newspaper. The Big O is feisty and pulls out some of his old tricks, including lighting Ryan’s pants on fire. But it isn’t enough, as in rapid fire sequence Ordway is outgunned and overpowered in the end. Final Score, Ryan 87, Big O, 72.

(Just for clarification, I know Glenn didn’t light Johnny Most’s pants on fire, but it’s a fun myth)

More on the Rob Konrad/Patriots story is out there on ProFootballTalk.com.

According to a source close to the contract negotiations that occurred between Konrad and the Dolphins, the Patriots supposed interest in Konrad was manufactured by his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, as a bargaining tool for contract negotiations with Miami.

Specifically, we're hearing that Rosenhaus told the Dolphins that he had an offer in hand from the Pats for Konrad. The Dolphins then confirmed via a separate source that there had been no offer made at all by the Patriots..

They then go on to say:

Though we have no specific information regarding any conversations that occurred along the way between Konrad and Rosenhaus, Konrad's statements suggest that he, too, was led to believe that the Patriots' interest was stronger than it really was.

While of course, we have no idea whether this account of things is true, it does seem to make sense.

Eric McHugh has an interesting bit about a darkhorse running back the Patriots have invited to their May minicamp. He also looks the Pats interest in Oronde Gadsden

Think the Red Sox are the only team having major bullpen problems? Think again. John Collins recaps his experience trying out for the Red Sox PA position. He made it to the final 25, and had a try out at Fenway. Mike Fine looks at the new look Fenway (and Red Sox) set of opening day at the lyric little bandbox. Chaz Scoggins has a feature-type look at Sox super-prospect Kevin Youkilis. Rob Chimelis says that panic over the bullpen is still premature.

Buddy Thomas takes a few moments to rip the Celtics. When the subject of clutch shots comes up, Thomas characterizes “Pierce and Walker, a couple of tough scorers in the early going who tend to disappear when the going gets tough.” He says neither player is a clutch player, and neither ever will be. He describes how he sees the Celtic playbook down the stretch, and ends the column exhorting Chris Wallace to trade Walker. (This will make Buddy a hero among a certain group) This column is awful, and not just because I disagree with the premise. His premise may even be correct, but he resorts to the generalizations common among people who have no idea what they’re talking about. Reading it makes it clear that Buddy does not watch this team on a regular basis. Antoine more often than not makes sure Pierce gets the ball down the stretch, setting him up. He does not, as Buddy claims, down the stretch look to fire the ball up as soon as he crosses halfcourt. If Pierce & Walker struggle down the stretch because they’re constantly double or triple teamed, how can they be severely faulted for that? None of their teammates can be depended on to do anything on a consistent basis. Buddy must’ve missed all the clutch play in the playoffs last spring. Buddy doesn’t like Antoine, which doesn’t make him all that uncommon around here, but if he thinks just trading him away for anything you can get is the answer, he’s delusional.

Note to Sox: They’re laughing

Note to Sox: They’re laughing at you.

From Bob Lobel parading a gas can onto his sports segment last night, to the DirtDogs site figuring out acronyms for SARS, the Sox are the butt of jokes everywhere.

And to think, they haven’t even played a home game yet. Interesting how a Sox game at the beginning of April can overshadow a Bruins playoff game, and a game in which the Celtics clinch a playoff spot. Yet, that’s how it is in Boston.

Gordon Edes looks at the implosion by Ramiro Mendoza and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Silverman says the blame can be split between Fossum and the pen. Sean McAdam notes however, that Fossum was pretty much brilliant over the first 4 2/3 innings. He looked terrific. David Heuschkel has more on that theme, and adds at the end that Derek Lowe won’t mind if if his option isn’t picked up for next year. (It’s “only” for 5 million) Howard Bryant in a premium column today ends his piece by predicting that by the all star break, Robert Person will be the closer and the other guys will settle in and fall in place behind him. Bill Reynolds says Pedro is following in the grand tradition of Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens. It’s always about the money. Steve DeOssie agrees, and also blasts fans who complain about the exorbitant salaries given to athletes today. Heuschkel also looks at Charlie Zink, a knuckleball project the Sox are working on. Lenny Megliola looks at Carl Beane, making his debut as the Sox PA announcer tomorrow. If you missed John Henry’s call-in to the Big Show yesterday, Dirt Dogs has a transcipt of it. Steve Buckley has a pretty fair premium column looking at the role of statistical analysis in baseball, noting it is not a new thing, as Branch Rickey and Earl Weaver both relied heavily on stats, and noting that the Sox are by no means only using stats to analyze players. Alan Miller has a portion of a One-on-one interview with Janet Marie Smith, vice president/planning and development for the Red Sox. The full interview will be on the Globe SportsPlus tonight on NESN. In Silverman’s notebook, he says Derek Lowe has spotted a flaw in his delivery that he hopes corrected, will straighten out the problems he’s been having. Edes’ notebook looks at contingency plans should the rain wipe out tomorrow’s home opener. McAdam’s notebook has more on the same.

With the home opener slated for tomorrow, The Herald also has a preview section for the Sox. I’ll try to recap these articles later.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris recap last night’s Bruins playoff game. Dan Hickling has the game for the ProJo. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins forwards, though very talented, really need to step it up in these playoffs. Karen Guregian notes that the Devils did what they wanted last night, which was to shut down Thornton and the other Bruins forwards. Jackie MacMullan (writing hockey? again? who’s calling the shots over there?) and Steve Conroy look at the solid job Steve Shields did in net for the B’s last night. Elliot Denman looks at the performance of Jamie Langenbrunner, who tallied both Devils goals last night. Conroy has a couple other short articles, taking a peek at Martin Brodeur, playing his usual playoff type hockey. Dupont previews and predicts four other first round series. He also looks at former Devil Brian Rolston, who at one time thought he’d spend his whole career in New Jersey. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook and Harris’ notebook both look at the early hit on Bryan Berard, and give updates on Sean O’Donnell. Hickling’s notebook looks at Lee Goren.

Errr, ok, maybe Jim O’Brien had it right in sending JR Bremer to the bench to start the game. The Celtics rookie started the game 7-7 and scored 20 points off the bench last night to help the Celtics clinch a playoff berth. I think O’Brien also mentioned something along the lines of that Bremer was going to win a game for the Celtics down the stretch sometime. Mark Murphy has the story of the game. Shira Springer says the Celtics are now in full playoff mode, serious, no big celebrations at merely securing a slot in the postseason. Murphy’s notebook has more on Bremer, and a few other items, Springer’s notebook says MJ isn’t ruling out a return to the Bulls…in the front office.

Tom Curran looks at another possibility for the Patriots through the Nick Saban pipeline, linebacker Bradie James. Michael Smith reports on a visit tomorrow from Georgia running back Musa Smith, a possible second round selection. Michael Felger says the Patriots interest in Willis McGahee sure seems to be for real. Michael Parente seems to think Oronde Gadsden would be a really nice fit for the Patriots. Economical, too.

Jim Donaldson says Arnold Palmer should be allowed to play in the Masters as long as he wants, but at the very least this year and next, to give him a total of 50 Masters. George Kimball also weighs in on the lifetime exemption policy. Bob Ryan notes the importance of being able to hit the long ball at the Masters. Jim McCabe looks at Tiger attempting to continue his mastery at Augusta.

Luke Meredith looks at the Bruins, Johnny Wasdin’s perfect game, and the chronic count in the Unsilent Majority.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TNT has Celtics/Sixers at 7:30 and Kings/Lakers at 10:00. ESPN has Mighty Ducks/Red Wings at 7:00. ESPN2 has Wild/Avalanche at 9:00.