They say parallel universes could

They say parallel universes could possibly exist. I can only think that I’ve awoken in one such place today. In the Globe, Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo are gushing over the Patriots’ performance last night. Borges says:

As they say from space, "Hello, Houston?" If ever a pro football team looked to be heading to Houston next February, it was the Patriots last night.

He goes on to add that:

Their offense tore apart one of the best defenses in the NFL and their defense squashed the Eagles' offense whether it was trying to run the ball or throw it.

Cafardo was similar in his praise for the sons of Bill Belichick, noting that the defense was “flying around” and making plays. He finds a scout that tells him the Pats are “going to be a top team in the league.”

Meanwhile, as this parallel universe turns, Michael Felger is nowhere near as impressed. He notes that:

The Patriots offense was best described as inconsistent in its first two preseason games. That distinction still applied last night, although there certainly were more signs of life as the Pats found the end zone three times in 35 minutes against their toughest preseason competition to date.

He also adds that the win

left them with a 3-0 preseason record and quarterback Tom Brady with a half-empty feeling.

The Globe boys full of boundless optimism, visions of Super Bowl glory dancing in their heads, while Felger proclaims the glass half empty? What in the name of Clif Keane is going on here?

Some things though, never change. Cafardo’s notebook closes with:

Looking in Buffalo Bills president Tom Donahoe was at the game, scouting the Patriots. Donahoe is excited about the Bills team he has put together. "In time, I think our defense will be much improved," said Donahoe. He also believes he's built a team that can take some of the burden off Drew Bledsoe. As for Willis McGahee, Donahoe said, "He'll start the year inactive and then I think after Week 6, if things are going well, he'll be in uniform if everything has progresses according to plan."

Does Nick get a kickback everytime he mentions Donahoe in a column? Just wondering.

Morning links while still sleeping

Morning links while still sleeping in the back of the Red Sox bandwagon…Pats play the third preseason game tonight, which is, as we’ve been told many times, the closest to a “real” game of all the preseason contests. Tom Curran says that while it is the closest, it not in the same universe as a real game. He says the Pats will be more concerned with themselves than anything the Eagles are doing, and gives us some things to look for. Alan Greenberg looks at tonight through the eyes of guys like Mike Compton, who just want to get through without injury. Not playing on that old Veteran’s stadium turf will help some in that regard. Nick Cafardo says the game will be a good test for the team and opportunity to see what Ted Washington can do. Christopher Price has a preview of tonight. Michael Parente says that both teams tonight have some things to work on, the Pats with their offense, and the Eagles trying to break in five new starters on defense. Michael Felger says that Bill Belichick and his staff will have some tough roster decisions to make in the coming week. Mike Reiss thinks that Seahawks holdout offensive lineman Walter Jones would be a good target for the Patriots to pursue a trade for. Bill Reynolds looks at former Brown standout Michael Malan, a longshot to make the team as he is listed as the fourth string fullback. Greenberg also gives us five Patriots to watch tonight. Felger’s notebook looks at the new digs in Philly. Parente’s notebook says the Eagles running game is in worse shape than the Patriots.

Pedro calls in sick, Sox win anyway. Jeff Horrigan looks at the night at Fenway. Bob Hohler looks at the Sox bats coming alive for fill-in Fossum. Paul Kenyon says it was just another wild & crazy day at Fenway. Tom Yantz focuses on Fossum’s effort replacing Pedro. Kevin Gray says Johnny Pesky has never heard of a player calling in sick before. Lenny Megliola recalls getting into it with Mike Greenwell back in the day. Alex Speier attempting to inject some optimism into the coverage of the Sox, says that the Sox had a very similar stretch back in ’99. Tony Massarotti says the Sox will take last night, things could be a lot worst being 3 games out instead of 1. Gordon Edes says criticism of Pedro for missing last night’s start is way out of line. Jon Couture disagrees, saying plenty of athletes have played sick. (Apparently NL MVP candidate Albert Pujols isn’t one of them. He’s been out of the lineup all week because of a high fever and flu-like symptoms. ) Kenyon and Hohler provide more information on Pedro’s condition. Michael Silverman weighs in as well. Sean McAdam says last night was a step in the right direction. Michael Vega says the A’s were pretty happy when they found out they wouldn’t be facing Pedro. Steve Conroy looks at the fill-in job done by Fossum. Mark Blaudschun also examines Fossum. Silverman also looks at the video of an 18 year old Kevin Millar performing Karaoke on the big screen. Could it be the Sox new rally tool? Bob Halloran says that Millar made a mistake lumping the media and the fans together as being overly negative. Howard Bryant’s pay column today appears to be shifting the burden of the negative vibes off the media and onto the fans. The media is reporting the truth when they report on losses, but as for the fans:

Still, the Boston Way did not impress A's second baseman Frank Menechino, who along with center fielder Terrence Long was shocked by how the hungry Sox crowd turned on its heroes.

"Over these past days in Boston, the aura here has been negative. The crowd wasn't electric the way they should have been,'' he said.

Menechino is from New York City - Staten Island - and is used to the East Coast vibe. He senses this current group of Red Sox possibly responding poorly to the city's attitudes.

"The players sense that the fans are only waiting for something bad to happen,'' Menechino said. "One of two things is going to happen. Either the team is going to put even more pressure on itself, or they will start to say they don't (care).

I realize it wasn’t Howard’s intention to turn things onto the fans, he was making the point that the fans here and on all the east coast are consumed by their teams, which is a stark contrast to places like San Diego. Most players want to play in front of fans who care, but the trade off is that if you don’t deliver, they’re going to get on you. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Todd Walker back in the # 2 spot. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Walker. McAdam’s notebook has Damian Jackson defending his head first slide which resulted in injury. Yantz’s notebook looks at Pedro’s illness.

Art Martone remembers Ken Coleman. Tom Yantz and Steve Buckley also look at career of the great broadcaster. I remember Coleman very well, summer nights spent sleeping outdoors in the 80’s, with his voice coming over the radio, keeping my mind off the Fisher cat screaming in the woods aways off. Always hated when the game ended.

Bob Ryan is covering Team USA at the Tournament of the Americas. but looks at an shocking upset loss by Argentina to Mexico.

John Howell looks at ESPN’s new “Playmakers” show. Bill Griffith looks ahead to the college football TV schedule. Out on the west coast, the Sacramento Bee has fired a reporter for filing a Giants story after watching the game on TV, and pretending he was actually in attendance at Pac Bell Park.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Mariners at 7:00. WCVB has Patriots/Eagles at 7:30. WBZ (CBS) has Dolphins/Falcons at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Rockies at 9:00.

Just a note before we

Just a note before we get started, I’m getting bombed with emails as a result of the “Sobig.F” virus. I am not infected with it, but my email address is out there on someone’s infected computer, and I’m literally getting hundreds of emails as a result of this. If you send a legit email, there’s a possibility it could get lost or accidentally deleted in the shuffle…

Keeping with my resolution yesterday that the Patriots are now number one, here goes. Ted has hit town. Alan Greenberg says nose tackle-by-committee wasn’t working for the Pats, so they brought in a stopper. Michael Felger has a look at the newest big man on campus, who declined to give his actual current weight. He gets a quote from Jets center Kevin Mawae, who clearly isn’t afraid nor impressed with Washington. Mark Blaudschun says the Patriots might have finally hit it on the nose. Kevin McNamara says that having Washington can make it easier on all the defense, all the way back to the safeties. Christopher Price has a quick wrapup of Washington’s meeting with the media yesterday. Hector Longo says the addition of Washington has people on the defense smiling. Mike Reiss says the Pats likely landed a key piece to their defense with this move. Michael Parente looks at the “steel beam”. Ian M. Clark dubs him the mountain in the middle. While at times the Boston media can go over the top with their negativity, sometimes they have a tendency to go just as much the other way. You get the feeling here that by acquiring Washington, the Patriots have solved all issues. Even Ron Borges loves this move, as evidenced by his comments on the Globe SportsPlus. Will they feel the same in a few months? Lets hope so. Greenberg also has a look at David Givens, working hard to make great strides in his second season. Felger’s notebook looks at Larry Centers, still making adjustments to his new team. McNamara’s notebook looks at Belichick’s choice of music to simulate crowd noise. Blaudschun’s notebook has more of the same. Parente’s notebook looks at Ken Walter’s job being safe again….

Wrong time to be complaining about the media, Kevin Millar, because right now, you guys deserve it. It doesn’t make the stories enjoyable to read, but the best way to shut up critics is to win. (Even that doesn’t even always work.) It’s not happening. I’m not too bothered by it all, as the page has been turned. I’m not off the bandwagon, but perhaps sleeping in the back seat, not paying too much attention. Michael Silverman, Bob Hohler, Sean McAdam, Christopher Price and Tom Yantz look at another miserable loss. Dan Shaughnessy is in his element. No one enjoys these things more than Dan. Think he has a little spring in his step today? Lenny Megliola says the Sox better get their focus on the wildcard, as the division is out of reach. Kevin Gray says the Sox have no handy excuses for last night. Mike Shalin looks at Scott Hatteberg, enjoying his return to Fenway. Carolyn Thornton talked to Millar more about his comments about the negativity of the fans and media, and he doesn’t back down, but gives examples instead. Steve Conroy says Rich Harden will fill in for Tim Hudson tonight. Jason Devaney looks at a very happy Oakland clubhouse after the game. Matt Kalman looks at Byung Hyun-Kim not getting the job done. John Tomase looks at what happens when good deals go bad. Price has another look at the meltdown by Kim. Tony Chamberlain says last night might take the prize for the season’s ugliest lost, and there are a lot of candidates for that honor. Silverman notes that Pedro missed the team photo. Again. Conroy looks at the stranded runners last night. Howard Bryant has a pay column on the use of the bullpen, and how fair or not, that’s going to come back to Grady:

The game of ``outguess the manager'' is a dangerous and subjective thing, but Little failed last night. Still, the margins of error in this game are razor-thin and this morning - had Kim excelled - Little would have been lauded for recognizing a playoff-style game in August, using his closer effectively and leaving nothing to chance. He may have been compared to Yankees manager Joe Torre, who often uses Mariano Rivera for two innings in big games.

``This is our time of the year. We know what this is. We've been here before and we know how to handle it,'' A's third base coach Ron Washington said. ``I wouldn't say he got outmanaged, because if Kim comes in there and gets through the eighth, Grady Little would be a genius. I'm glad it didn't work out.''

Karen Guregian says players and fans both need to get a grip on this negativity. She knocks Kevin Millar for his comments, putting him in the group that hasn’t been here long enough to know how things work here. The media is infallable, he should just accept it. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Millar’s comments. Silverman’s notebook says Derek Lowe should be fine for his next start. Lowe also invokes his own new set of rules regarding talking to the media. Only on days he pitches. McAdam’s notebook waves the white flag on the AL East. Yantz notebook says the Sox didn’t win because of lack of hustle.

John Molori looks at media coverage of Bill Parcells in Dallas.

NESN has Sox/A’s at 7:00. ESPN has the Saugus Little league squad taking on Richmond, TX at 7:00. Wonder if that game will outdraw the Sox… FOX has Steelers/Cowboys preseason at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Giants at 10:00.