Manny’s not focused again, blows

Manny’s not focused again, blows game with bonehead play

Manny throws game away

Should Manny even be playing the field anymore?

Wow. Manny really blew it this time, didn’t he? According to Bob Lobel on the Globe SportsPlus last night, Manny was the sole reason the Sox lost the game last night. He couldn’t get off the air without getting his panel to agree with him and then smugly staring into the camera to say good night. The first headline above is from my pal over at DirtDogs. The second headline was the one the show displayed while they replayed Manny’s throw (which admittedly was horrible) about 20 times in succession. The third was a question asked by Lobel. To which I ask, who are you gonna stick out there? Millar? Ha. Giambi? Haha. Another question…what if that was Trot that made the throw? Would it had even been noticed? Trot can throw the ball into the stands after catching the second out of the inning and not catch any heat for it.

While Manny’s terrible throw was a factor in losing the game, there’s no way you can pin sole responsibility on him for the loss. Too many other things happened last night, as Jeff Horrigan points out this morning, asking a series of “What if” questions. Lobel’s panel agreed that Grady did the right thing by intentionally loading up the bases after Manny’s throw to attempt to get a force at home. No one seemed to remember that this is the second time Grady has done this “Lets intentionally load the bases so we can get a force at any base” trick against the Yankees. He did it last year, on July 21. The now immortal Urbina was the closer…and he walked Posada to force in a run and lose the game…just like last night. I didn’t like the strategy last year when he did it with Urbina and I don’t like it now. Too much pressure on your pitcher to throw strikes. Especially a young pitcher like Lyon. Gordon Edes acknowledges that Grady did this last year, and says there is little comfort to be taken in the comeback. Edes says he checked and Jason Varitek was not thrown out of the game…after the game was over, while Steven Krasner says he was. Don Amore says this is just the same old story. Yankees get the upper hand in the end. David Heuschkel looks at the emotionally charged ninth inning, remembers lasts years similar loss and notes there was some anger in the Sox clubhouse after the game. Nick Cafardo notes further the frustration of Varitek and Lyon, and focuses on the comeback, though it is of little solace. On another note, Nick has been around the Sox for some weeks now, and I’m still waiting for him to get that interview with Manny. He said on WWZN one day that if he was still covering the Sox, he’d get Manny to talk to him. George Kimball does devote an entire article to Manny’s throw, but says while he wasn’t to blame for the loss, he set the stage for it, which is true. Sean McAdam says that the Sox really wasted opportunities to put ground between themselves and the Yankees, and just might’ve awakened the Yankees from their swoon. Tony Massarotti is more positive, he says there can be no doubt that this is a different Red Sox team, fearless and without quit. Steve Buckley garners reaction to that controversial ball three call. Larry Lucchino said on WEEI this morning that Umpire Joe West has a reputation in the game, which was affirmed last night. He said the team will be putting in an inquiry into the quality of the calls last night. Edes has a short sidebar looking at Rivera’s ninth inning meltdown. Edes further looks at Derek Lowe’s ongoing case of hodophobia…what’s that? “fear of road travel”. Massarotti also looks at Hillenbrand’s power outage this year, last night’s homer was only his third of the year. Jack O’Connell looks at Don Zimmer firing back at the Boss. Bill Reynolds has a look at Moneyball, the much talked about book about the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane. There are Sox-related excepts in there as well. (If you want to purchase the book, if you buy it through the icon in the right column, I’ll get a couple pennies from it.) Charlie Pierce, writing for Slate, says that Roger is the last great flake in the game. Howard Bryant’s pay column says the missed third strike call was not the reason the Sox lost the game. Shoddy defense was to blame. The Yankees made great defensive plays all night, and the Sox didn’t, including Manny. Steve Buckley’s pay column is a tirade against John Henry Williams, who was released from his minor league team yesterday. George Kimball has a pay column looking at John Burkett, again wary of going to Toronto, due to the SARS scare. Burkett came under fire for his comments on the Sox last trip, and is scheduled to pitch the opener on Friday. Krasner’s notebook has more on Toronto and SARS. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the tough ninth inning for Brandon Lyon. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Tony Cloninger note making the trip to Toronto because of his weakened immune system and the SARS scare.

Steve Conroy gets Mike O’Connell’s thoughts on the retiring Patrick Roy. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at an NHL that desperately needs a style upgrade. Stephen Harris looks at former Bruin Adam Oates trying to win a cup with the Ducks. Dupont’s notebook gets Pat Burns’ thoughts on his former Montreal goalie.

Peter May looks at the Spurs attempting to finish off the Mavs once again.

For those looking for football news, out in Buffalo, Allen Wilson says Drew Bledsoe is “fired up” to start his second season out there. ESPN.com has its offseason overview for the Patriots posted.

Here’s a snippet from Rick Gosselin’s Inside the NFL newsletter today.

Who has had the best off-season?
Jeff Elmore, Colleyville, Texas

GOSSELIN: The Patriots. I gave them one of my two A's in the draft, and they picked up four veteran starters in free agency, including Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison. This is a team that won a Super Bowl a season ago and tied for first place in the AFC East in 2002. The Patriots just keep accumulating talent.

From yesterday, Jim Donaldson says athletes that choose not to speak to the media are actually playing it smart.

ESPN has Devils/Mighty Ducks game two tonight at 8:00. TNT has Spurs/Mavs game six at 9:00. ESPN2 has Mets/Phillies at 7:00. Those interested in self-flagellation can check out the Bruins/Canadiens from game seven of the 1979 Stanley Cup semifinals on ESPN Classic at 5:00.

Poor Matt White. Anyone think

Poor Matt White. Anyone think that might’ve been a bit of a tough spot to make your major league debut? Well, it can only get better from here for White. The game was likely over by the time White came in, but any doubt was erased after he gave up six runs in the inning. Nick Cafardo reports on the 11-3 loss in the Bronx. Jeff Horrigan says perhaps the Yankees got a small bit of satisfaction in thwarting a Boston player in search of a milestone, with Nomar being held hitless. Don Amore looks at how Andy Pettitte took control of this game like it was a playoff game. Tony Massarotti looks at the end of Nomar’s streak, and assures us there will be more like it, even if Nomar doesn’t acknowledge the next one, either. Dan Shaughnessy puts himself in the action, and shoulders the blame for ending Nomar’s streak. Steve Buckley looks at the nightmarish debut for Matt White. Bob Hohler has another look at the rough debut for the left hander from Massachusetts. David Heuschkel says that Grady putting White in there might’ve just been a white flag that the game was over anyway, things just were not going the Sox way last night with several near-miss home run balls earlier in the game. (Jerry Trupiano had me punching the steering wheel in frustration after a couple of those calls…you know the drill…SWING AND A DRIVE….WAY BACK….DOWN THE LINE, AND THAT BALL ISSSS…..foul) George Kimball says that the home runs that the Yankees managed to get out of the park were the undoing of Bruce Chen. Gordon Edes has a look at how the even keeled Joe Torre handles the eruptions of the boss. Steinbrenner’s quotes are told to Torre, who reacts to them. Howard Bryant has more on Steinbrenner’s words and how they resonated with the players and GM. Kevin Gray looks at the Yankees trying to get out of an uncharacteristic funk. Brian Fleming has a short look at the red hot Bill Mueller. Buckley has a pay column on Mueller, who is now getting recognition from the Red Sox fans on the rare occasions that he goes out. Yankee fans still don’t know who he is, so they ignore him and boo Manny and Nomar and leave Meuller alone. Edes has a look at Derek Jeter, who is finally back to his full self and causing problems for the Sox. In Kimball’s pay column, he chats with Charley Steiner about the spin the Yankees are in. Getting swept by the Rangers and Blue Jays, two teams that had never swept the Yankees in NY anywhere was a low point for the franchise. In the latest edition of Hench’s Hardball, he says this Red Sox team is pretty on dimensional. They can hit, but not much else. He also wonders what it means when your headiest player is Manny…Hohler reports on the settlement reached in the Donald Fitzpatrick molestation case. This monster spent years in the Red Sox clubhouse preying on the young boys working there. Bryant’s pay column is a look at the Yankees and Red Sox each having a such a small margin for error when they play each other. Neither team can just show up and win, they have to play a nearly flawless game to beat each other. Edes third bit in the paper today is a one-on-one bit with Joe Torre for the Globe’s SportsPlus TV show. Cafardo’s notebook points to Tuesday as a target for Pedro, and notes another dead-end to the baseball career of John Henry Williams. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Pedro, plus a SARS update from Toronto.

Bill Griffith looks at NESN numbers for the holiday Red Sox/Yankees game and revisits the Annika coverage. Jim Baker chats with Don Orsillo about the Sox, Don thinks this edition of the team has better potential for the long haul of the season because of its depth. John Molori recaps his visit to FSNE from Monday and weighs in with his thoughts on the Boston sports media. He mentions this website, but apparently in a negative sense, pointing to me as someone who gets on media people when they change their mind about things. He calls that “The worst aspect of today’s Boston media”. My take: First of all, that is certainly not the worst thing in the media…the worst thing is the petty grudges and agendas that media people carry out against the people and teams that they are supposed to be covering objectively. Second, I don’t have a problem with people changing their mind…as long as they admit that they’re doing so, and that this is a change from how they previously felt. Too often around here, someone will spend weeks, months just ripping on someone or some team. Just tear them up. Then, at a later point, when the player or team is doing well, at that point, they’ll totally change their tune, and all the stuff they said before just never happened and should be forgotten. We’re just supposed to let go that this person has spent a long chunk of time spewing venom towards the person or team, and just let them move on without their being called on it. So my mantra is…feel free to change your mind, but have the stones to admit that you are changing your earlier position, don’t pretend that opinion never existed.

Jeff Jacobs looks at the retiring Patrick Roy. Kevin Paul Dupont gets the commissioner’s take on the state of the NHL. Stephen Harris reports on game one of the Stanley Cup finals from last night.

Peter May reports on the Spurs fourth quarter meltdown last night that postponed the all-ABA finals of the Spurs and Nets for another game at least, and might’ve given the Mavericks new life.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally) ESPN2 has D-Backs/Giants at 10:00

Bill Simmons thoroughly enjoyed the

Bill Simmons thoroughly enjoyed the Red Sox victory over Roger Clemens yesterday. He also revisits the reasons why true Boston fans despise the Rocket.

Dale & Neumy spent quite a bit of time trying to add the final pieces to this Red Sox team. Closers were discussed, Byung-Hyun Kim from Arizona, was discussed Closer of a blurb in Peter Gammons’ column from yesterday. That giant sagging on the Red Sox bandwagon today was from Eddie Andelman making the leap onto it. Yup, after spending the entire offseason and early season mocking the team and Theo Epstein, Eddie is now telling everyone they need to appreciate this team. He also recycled the classic debate, who would you rather have in his prime, Roger or Pedro…deep stuff there.