Well, perhaps it’s better this way. By a sweep, the Celtics weaknesses and needs are even more glaringly showcased. Had they won a couple games, perhaps people would’ve reasoned that they’re not all that far away and just need some minor tweaks here and there. This way, everyone knows they need a lot of help. Most people calling into sports radio and on the airwaves already have Antoine Walker ridden out of town on a rail. Even Glenn Ordway thinks Walker is likely on his way out. Steve Buckley on the Big Show wants to know who is going to be out of here first, Antoine or Nomar. Ordway demonstrated the tough spot that the Celtics are in by his own comments on the matter, he went back and forth from Ainge needs to make a big risky move, to Ainge can’t make a big risky move because of the cap to Ainge needs to blow it up, sink the ship and start over by aiming for a number one overall pick somewhere down the line. Dan, who was calling in from Real GM.com, a site Ordway was mentioning all day, enlightened the crew with a scenario in which the Celtics could obtain a high priced free agent via the sign and trade route. In this case it was point guard Andre Miller of the Clippers, who has been rumored to be heading to Utah, where he played college ball and Stockton has retired, leaving a salary cap slot there. In the Celtics scenario, if the Celtics could agree to get Miller to come here, they could offer the Clippers Eric Williams (in the last year of his deal) their 2 Million dollar trade exemption, a few million in cash and a first round draft pick in exchange for the re-signed Miller. That type of thing is what the Celtics would need to do to get someone of impact.
In wrapping up the game, Steve Bulpett says that this season was over last summer. Jerry Trecker says the Celtics ran out of gas in OT, and that’s when Martin and Kidd took the game over. Carolyn Thornton writes about the final, valiant effort of the season by the Celtics. Christopher Price looks at only the second four game sweep in Celtics history. Shira Springer concludes the game stories. Lenny Megliola examines the game, series, season and future, concluding himself personally that Pierce and Walker will both be back next year. Mark Murphy looks at Antoine after the game, reflective, hopeful that he and the other core guys can remain together. Peter May also looks at the rough ending for Antoine, notices Cedric Maxwell consoling him afterwards and looks to the future. Jeff Jacobs wonders if Ainge will be getting rid of Walker, -a huge risk if he does. Dan Shaughnessy relishes the loss, looks forward to the trade Antoine talk, takes his obligatory shots at the new Celtic owners and throws in as an afterthought that the Celtics did play hard. Howard Bryant looks at how Jason Kidd outplayed Paul Pierce last night, and put the Celtics away. Kevin McNamara looks at the solid job the Celtics role players did last night, albeit in a losing effort. Dan Ventura focuses specifically on the job done by Tony Delk last night. John Powers looks at a gimpy, sore and exhausted Paul Pierce after the game. Rich Thompson says that -surprise- the players want O’Brien to stay. Mark Blaudschun looks inside the jubilant NJ locker room after the game. Richard Jefferson still talking about the crowd being “mean” to poor Jason. Bill Reynolds tells us that the Celtics went as far as heart would take them, after all, he says, “in the end, talent trumps pride.” Tell that to the Rams and Patriots…Nick Cafardo says the Celtics just didn’t have enough in the overtime to get it done. Murphy’s second article of the day looks at Ainge’s lengthy “to-do list” Peter May looks at the uncommon result for the Celtics…getting swept is something this franchise just isn’t used to. Michael Gee’s pay column says the Celtics would be stupid to get rid of Walker. He points to how the team played last night after Antoine fouled out as evidence to how much the team relies on him. That may be true, but the bigger picture is if Walker fits in with the long term picture that Ainge has in mind for the team. Bulpett’s notebook has Chris Wallace sounding like someone who will quickly bolt here if another offer comes along. Thornton’s notebook looks at the positive reception that Antoine got from the fans last night. Springer’s notebook looks at how injuries to Pierce and Battie, along with Walker’s fouling out, really hurt the Celtics in OT.
Gordon Edes has a look at Bill Mueller, how his hot start is gratifying for all that he’s been through in his career. Could a batting title be in his future? Dusty Baker once predicted Mueller would win one in his career. Mueller seems to be one of those guys no one has a bad word to say about. Jeff Horrigan looks ahead to the homestand, wondering if the Sox are disappointed Rafael Palmeiro didn’t get a chance to hit his 500th home run here. We know Buckley’s disappointed. Steven Krasner looks at the Sox ready to finally spend an extended period of time at home. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox new found love of the small ball style of play. Even Manny has caught on to the style, and Heuschkel cites a couple incidents where Manny has gotten the Sox a run just on smart base running and hustle:
Two weeks ago in Anaheim, Ramirez's base running was impressive. He got hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a pitch that bounced just a few feet away from the catcher, who didn't attempt a throw. Ramirez moved to third on a fly out to center, just beating the throw with a feet-first slide. He scored on a single by Shea Hillenbrand.
Saturday in Minnesota, Ramirez scored from third on a heads-up play in the eighth that helped the Red Sox win their seventh game of the season when trailing after six innings. He tagged up on a shallow fly to center, then broke for home when Torii Hunter's throw bounced away from the catcher about 10 feet or so in front of the plate.
I’m glad someone pointed that out. I’m preserving these quotes for later use. We’ll call them evidence. Keeping on the positive vein, Jon Wallach says there is a lot to like about this team, he also acknowledges:
Finally, it is time to give Theo Epstein a big pat on the back for not trading Casey Fossum in a package for Bartolo Colon when he had the chance (A deal, by the way that I was screaming for). Fossum is 3-1 this season with an ERA of 4.38. He has walked 16 and struck out 30. Colon is 3-3, with an ERA of 4.23, and has walked 18 and struck-out 34. He has also pitched 16 more innings.