Bob Ryan leads us off

Bob Ryan leads us off today with one of the periodic ” Emptying Out the Desk Drawer of the Sports Mind” columns. He opens with the only way he can conceive of that Grady Little could come back next year. Full page ads in the Globe and Herald, signed by all his players, endorsing him. I’m not sure even that would fly. Michael Silverman says it appears certain that the Sox will not pick up Grady’s option, with an official announcement coming as soon as Monday. Kevin Gray looks at Grady’s preemptive strike and some possible replacements. Michael Holley says that knowing he was gone gave Grady the courage to speak out as he did. David Heuschkel and Sean McAdam also look at the fate of Grady after his having spoken out to the Boston Globe. Lenny Megliola looks at the waiting game we’re all playing when it comes to Grady and the Sox. (Warning: Aaron Boone references contained within that article.) Steve Buckley looks at Mo Vaughn, who appears to be preparing for retirement.

Bruins return from the West coast and drop a disappointing 2-0 decision to the Hurricanes. One of those “first game back from the long road trip” struggles that seems to apply to all sports, or is it just a myth? Some statistician will have to research that. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell recaps the loss. Stephen Harris looks at the B’s falling into the “trap game”. James Murphy and Joe McDonald round out the game coverage. Steve Conroy looks at the Hurricanes snapping a streak of 16 games without a win at the expense of the Bruins. Kevin Paul Dupont tells us the Bruins are going to need more than just a fast start to convince their skeptics. Karen Guregian writes the same article. Douglas Flynn says maybe it would’ve just been better for the Bruins to stay on the road. Joe Gordon looks at the first loss of the year for Andrew Raycroft. Harris’ notebook looks at Sergei Zinovjev. McDonald’s notebook looks at the Bruins goalie tandem. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook reports on an early return for Rob Zamuner.

Last night on the Globe Sports Plus, Bob Lobel, Bob Ryan and Nick Cafardo were gushing over Bill Belichick. Cafardo had as much praise for the Patriots coach as I’ve ever seen him. He called him “incredible” and they talked about how technically advanced over everyone else in the league he must be. They said the impressive thing with that is that he is able to then communicate that to the players. Cafardo did say however, that he feared that the Patriots were peaking too soon and that the rookies would soon hit the infamous rookie “wall”. If you missed “Ask Nick” yesterday, it is a must read. To steal a phrase, the UCF is off the charts. At one point he calls the departed Dennis Brolin “the Michael Vick of groundskeepers.” He’s sure to mention that it was a dispute with Belichick that led to such a talented guy leaving the organization. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots paying a price – literally – for their hard hitting style of play. Michael Smith looks at Ty Law, eager to get back on the field after discovering that his post playing career is not going to be as a coach. Alan Greenberg has a mini-feature on Eugene Wilson, who isn’t your average rookie. Joe Haggerty looks at second year receiver Deion Branch. Tom Curran takes a look at some misleading statistics. Ian M. Clark looks at who the Browns will start at QB this Sunday. Christopher Price examines the Patriots home field advantage. Michael S. Rosenwald has an update on the Kenyatta Jones arrest. Perhaps a little more information in there than I needed to know. Felger’s notebook looks at Ty Law shedding his cast. Smith’s notebook has more on Kenyatta Jones’ place on the team. Curran’s notebook looks at the production of Deion Branch.

All afternoon on 1510 the Zone Ryen Rusillo was pumping a trade rumor he had from a source. The trade would’ve sent Eric Williams and Tony Battie to the Rockets for Eddie Griffin, Cuttino Mobley and Bostjan Nachbar. The trade quickly made the rounds on the Internet and was reported on radio stations as far West as San Francisco. Rusillo initially said the trade had a 75% chance of happening, but before his show ended in the early evening, he had backed off a bit, saying that the trade would not happen last night, but still had a “good chance” of being made. Shira Springer has an article looking at Vin Baker being named a starter for opening night, and what the rest of the starting lineup might be. At the end of the article, she mentions the above rumor, and Danny Ainge is quoted as saying that the rumor was “100 percent make-believe.” The Rockets also denied the rumor, through the agent for Williams. Steve Bulpett says that without Antoine Walker, the Celtics are looking to become a much more balanced team. Bulpett’s notebook also knocks down the trade rumor, marking it as a casualty of the so-called information age. One of his points against it is that he says the numbers will not work. RealGM however, says that the numbers work out just fine. Christopher Price says the Celtics are coming together nicely, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Bill Griffith looks at Bob Neumeier, prepping for the Breeder’s Cup. Jim Baker (Who I hear is close to accepting a buyout from the Herald.) has a pay column today looking at the same event.

The post-Antoine era began last

The post-Antoine era began last night at the Fleetcenter. As some thought, it was a rout. But the Celtics were the ones on the winning side of the scoreboard. Steve Bulpett was one of those who believed the Green might be in for a long night. Instead, he notes, the Celtics looked the best they have all preseason. Raef LaFrentz made his debut for the Celtics yesterday, and Shira Springer looks at his game and what he brings to the team. Carolyn Thornton also has a look at the Celtics’ newest big man. Christopher Price also has a look at the Celtic debut of LaFrentz. Lenny Megliola examines the new look Celtics, mostly through the eyes of Eric Williams, who himself may not be around a whole lot longer. Mark Murphy takes a look at last night’s pasting of the Timberwolves. Peter May says that Ainge likely isn’t done trading, and Tony Battie is rumored to be a guy who they’re shopping around the league. Rob Bradford takes a look at Jiri Welsch and wonders if the 6-7 guard was meant to end up here in Boston all along. Michael Muldoon also has a look at Welsch, who is only the second Czech to play in the NBA. Bulpett talks with Kevin McHale about the moves being made by his former Celtics teammate, and the TWolves executive thinks the trade makes a lot of sense for the Celtics. Thornton’s notebook says that Paul Pierce is more than capable of stepping into an even more expanded leadership role. Murphy’s notebook looks at the first game in green for LaFrentz.

Mike Reiss takes a look at the contributions of first round pick Ty Warren. He also compares Warren’s stats to those of the other defensive lineman taken in the first round and he’s right up there with any of them. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots huge improvement in playing against the run. One of the reasons cited is the revamped secondary. Michael Felger looks at the success the Patriots are having in throwing the long ball. Glen Farley has an interesting piece on the bond between Adam Vinatieri and handicapped kicking coach Doug Blevins. (Article is likely replaced by noon.) Michael Smith has a look at the “madman” style of play from Rodney Harrison. Tom Curran and Michael Parente each ponder who is going to be the Browns quarterback on Sunday to face the Patriots. Christopher Price says that the Patriots will be prepared for either quarterback. Erin Walsh reports on the arrest of Kenyatta Jones on Monday night. Mac Daniel & Michael S. Rosenwald have a more extensive account of the incident. Parente’s notebook also reports on Jones. Felger’s notebook says that the Jones incident might’ve resulted from “horseplay” and also that when reporters went to Jones’ condo, they were greeted by J.R. Redmond. He also reports an injury to Roman Phifer that might be worse than just day-to-day. Smith’s notebook looks at a BC reunion on Sunday at Gillette.

Sean McAdam has a source telling him that Grady Little will not be back as the Red Sox manager. Gordon Edes talks with Grady, who says he isn’t sure he wants to come back and manage this team. No shock there. This is the best for all involved. Grady knows that. He doesn’t get fired, and the Red Sox can hire someone else. Bill Reynolds says all season Grady was the fall guy, and he’ll take the fall now, especially from this ownership group that “is supersensitive to fan sentiment”. John Tomase reports on another Padres assistant being added to the Red Sox scouting staff.

Steve Conroy looks at the cautiously optimistic Bruins as they return from their West coast swing. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell gives us five reasons that the Bruins find themselves atop the Northeast division. Stephen Harris looks at the leadership of Joe Thornton.

Feel free to avert your eyes from these last two linked columns. Stan Grossfeld, who has done a bang-up job composing feature articles at the Globe, submits one today on Bill Buckner. Sure, he may be at peace, but why not let Red Sox fans be in peace as well? We don’t really want to read another story on the guy, no matter how well written. The last column is just here for sheer morbid car-wreck gawking value. Yup, Buddy Thomas strikes again. He’s got this new, original idea, this thought that maybe there is a curse surrounding the Red Sox, and that it involves Babe Ruth. It’s a little sad, but I think Buddy might’ve actually tried to put some work in on this one.

The analysis of the Antoine

The analysis of the Antoine Walker trade continues. Steve Bulpett compares Antoine to Roger Clemens, and thinks he will be revitalized by a change of venue. Peter May says to judge this trade from the Celtics point of view requires a long term vision. Tim Weisberg says the trade leaves a big hole with the loss of Walker, but other holes are filled by it. Mark Murphy looks at an expanded role for Vin Baker, possibly even a starting spot. Michael Muldoon looks at the trade and says Ainge got as much as he could for Walker, who divided allegiances like no other player in town. Shira Springer looks at the delay in getting Raef LaFrentz onto the practice court. Carolyn Thornton also looks at the debut delayed for LaFrentz. Murphy writes about Red Auerbach signing off on the deal. Mike Fine looks back at Walker and Ainge has more moves up his sleeve. (That link will likely be to another article by noon, as the Patriot Ledger recycles links each day.) Bulpett also looks at Jiri Welsch, who choose to wear # 44, and got some advice from Ainge on wearing that number. Bulpett looks at Ainge dealing with the negative reaction to the trade locally and around the league. Murphy’s notebook looks at Jim O’Brien getting a little testy at practice yesterday. Springer’s notebook also looks at Welsch wearing the number 44.

Michael Felger in his Patriots Insider looks at the Patriots youth movement, the job Bill Parcells has done with Dallas and Terry Glenn, and at the officials in the Patriots/Dolphins game on Sunday, who seemed rather confused at times. Dan Pires looks at how Richard Seymour has become a favorite of coach Bill Belichick. Nick Cafardo looks at the two Bills, Parcells and Belichick, and how they’re finally enjoying success apart from each other. A nice, positive article, but I don’t know if we can “finally say” they are good without each other too. The season is still pretty early on both sides. When both Belichick (Browns) and Parcells (Patriots) led their teams to a playoff matchup in 1994, could it be said then that both enjoyed success without each other? How you define success? One good season? A playoff berth? Super Bowl title? In any event, it’s a positive article about Belichick from Cafardo. There isn’t even a single mention of Tom Donahoe, either. John Altavilla has a look at the job done by Parcells in Dallas. Michael Parente has a look at Richard Seymour, who is still enjoying beating the Dolphins in Miami. Glen Farley welcomes back fans who have been wrapped in the Sox. (Another article that is likely gone by noon) Christopher Price looks at Boston as a target of the AFL.

The Bruins West coast swing came to and end last night with a 4-1 win over a stacked Avalanche team. Steve Conroy and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell look at the huge win. Conroy’s notebook looks at Joe Thornton’s three assist night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the contributions of Ian Moran on defense.

I’ve pledged no World Series Articles for this space, but I have point out a just inane article by Sean McAdam. He’s trying to point out the irony that Carl Pavano is starting for the Marlins tonight in the World Series. The insinuation is clear that is the Red Sox might’ve been better off just hanging onto Pavano, with him they just might be in the World Series, since Pedro hasn’t been able to deliver them there. Never mind that Pavano was an injury-plagued disappointment in Montreal, or that he was 12-13 with a 4.30 E.R.A for the Marlins this year. McAdam further tries to stretch his irony by saying:

Finally, last year, he was dealt with two others to Florida. In exchange, the Expos received Cliff Floyd, who weeks later, would be sent on to Boston for the second half of last season. Still another player included in the deal to Montreal was infielder Wilton Guerrero, who, in another lifetime, was traded by Duquette from Montreal to Los Angeles for Martinez. Just one more Six Degrees of Baseball Separation moment.

Sorry, Sean. Guerrero was never traded for Pedro. That was Delino Deshields. Guerrero was part of a separate Dodgers/Expos trade, one involving among others, Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek.

In his Boston Uncommon pay column, Howard Bryant first gives us a history lesson, pointing out managers who have been fired after winning 97 & 99 games. (Charlie Dressen of the Dodgers and Yogi Berra of the Yankees, respectively) The point is, there is precedent for a manger to be fired after winning a lot of games, no matter what beat writers will tell you. Bryant also weighs in on the Dennis & Callahan flap, with some harsh words for the station and his Herald colleague, Gerry Callahan. He recalls a Callahan article from Sunday in which Gerry said that one bad decision, “a gaffe of epic proportions, an unforgivable error in judgment: by Grady Little will be something that Little wear like a tattoo on his forehead forever. Bryant says:

Whatever tattoo Callahan now wears is much worse than that of Little, whose error was having too much faith in a Hall of Fame pitcher. Callahan's warrior mark is a living reminder of the attitudes that have made Boston such a difficult, divisive place to live, and people should remember this when deciding to listen or appear on their show.

He ends that section of his column by thanking Dennis and Callahan for revealing where they stand.

Mike Giardi introduces a new term into his vocabulary: “Gradied”.

FSNE has Celtics/Timberwolves preseason action at 7:00.