Doubleheader Sweep

Note: Some of the links from the Boston Herald seem to be going “funky” today. When the links were posted this morning, they were correct, now the same links are opening other stories.

Will Doc Rivers be the man to lead the Celtics back to the top? Jackie MacMullan says that the first thing that Rivers and the Celtics need to do is provide Paul Pierce with support. Mark Murphy looks at what lured Rivers to the Green. Shira Springer notes that Ainge and Rivers share the same vision for the future of the Celtics. Kevin McNamara says that Rivers simply couldn’t say no to the prospect of coaching the Boston Celtics. Lenny Megliola writes that Doc is determined to find a cure for what ails the Celtics. Steve Bulpett says the similarities and common thinking between Rivers and Ainge is notable. Peter May is suspicious of all the agreement and perceived bliss between Ainge and Rivers. Michael Gee has a pay column saying that it is going to take more than the friendship between River and Ainge to turn around the Celtics. Tim Weisberg and Christopher Price also weigh in on the hiring. Tom Yantz looks at the challenges facing Rivers. Murphy looks at Red Auerbach giving his blessing to the hiring of Rivers. Bulpett gets player reaction, mostly from Walter McCarty. Springer’s notebook has Mark Blount saying that the hiring of Rivers doesn’t change a thing as far as his future with the Celtics.

Sox take two from Tampa. Coverage of the games is provided by Gordon EdesJeff HorriganPaul Doyle and Steven Krasner. Even though he was out on the field yesterday between games working out, Tony Massarotti says that Nomar will likely not be back until June. Marvin Pave looks at a warm reception for Byung Hyun Kim at Fenway yesterday. Michael O’Connor looks at Derek Lowe getting a big lift from the offense. (again) Paul Harbor looks at Lowe winning despite not having his best stuff. Joe Haggerty looks at the end of the scoreless streak for Red Sox pitching. There wasn’t enough happening in the two games, so Michael Vega writes an entire article about a play made by the ball boy on the left field line in the first inning. Okay, so it’s a feel-good story. I guess it can stand. Massarotti also looks at the performance of Kim and the reception from the fans. Edes’ notebook looks at Sox management coming up with an idea to allow fans to sit in the centerfield bleachers during day games. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the hitting of David Ortiz. Krasner’s notebook also looks at the centerfield seats. Doyle’s notebook has more on the delayed return for Nomar.

Patriots rookies will be in the spotlight this weekend, with the rookie orientation/camp scheduled in Foxboro. Kevin Mannix, Michael Parente and Tom Curran have articles on Benjamin Watson, who by all accounts appears to be an extremely impressive individual, both physically and in character. Michael Felger and Parente also look at Vince Wilfork. Alan Greenberg has a look at both first round picks. Pro Football Weekly has a nice review of the new “Three Games to Glory II” DVD set. More amusing stuff from Buffalo is found at ProFootball Talk. (Scroll down to the “Buffalo’s New Era is Short Lived” section.) All this would never have happened if Ralph Wilson were still alive. While Donahoe may seem to get a pass nationally, he does have his share of critics in Buffalo. Jerry Sullivan says that the gap between the Bills and Patriots is very wide. It’s laughable to read that article and then consider some of the articles about Donahoe and the Bills that have appeared in say, The Boston Globe the last couple years.

David Scott has a Friday edition of Scott’s Shots. Bill Griffith looks at the Kentucky Derby and WEEI ratings numbers. John Howell also has a bit on the Derby and some other media notes.

UPN38 has Sox/Rangers at 8:00. ESPN has Heat/Hornets at 7:00 and Nuggets/T-Wolves at 9:30. ESPN2 has Flyers/Maple Leafs at 7:00.

The Doc is IN

The Celtics will be naming Doc Rivers head coach at a press conference later today. The swiftness of the move has media types scratching their heads. Peter May used to think that Rivers was a great coach, until the Celtics got him. Now he must have something wrong with him, and doesn’t know how to coach defense. Steve Bulpett however, says that the lure of working for the Celtics is what brought Rivers to the Green. Bob Ryan sounds on the verge of excitement that Rivers is coming here, and notes:

I'm not going to guarantee he'll be a great coach here, but I will be very surprised if he isn't a success, and I can assure you he is a terrific person who will represent the Boston Celtics with class and dignity.

I’ll take Ryan’s opinion over that of Peter “Captain Hindsight” May any day. Mark Murphy says that it is going to be a challenge for Ainge to step back and let Rivers call all the shots on the court. Shira Springer looks at the qualities that Rivers will bring to the Celtics, and who his assistants are likely to be. Murphy also looks at signs that Rivers is restless and eager to get back into the coaching game. Walter “Buddy” Thomas gives his opinion of what moves might be upcoming for Ainge and the Celtics. Michael Gee also has a pay column wondering why Rivers would want to come to Boston and coach the Celtics.

The Sox got to play last night, and Curt Schilling atoned for his last performance in Toronto by hurling 7 1/3 shutout innings at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Game stories provided by Bob HohlerJeff HorriganJoe McDonaldPaul Doyle and David Borges. The Red Sox pitching has been stellar thus far. Tony Massarotti looks at the strength of the starters and relievers. Lenny Megliola takes a look at the bounce-back performance of Schilling. Michael Vega takes a look at Schilling moving forward from his last start. Michael O’Connor and Nick Cafardo and Robert Lee have a look at the play of Jason Varitek last night, who in addition to his home run and three RBI, also called a terrific game behind the plate according to Schilling. Bill Reynolds says that the big story in baseball this year is the struggles of the Yankees. Vega and O’Connor also have pieces on Tampa Bay centerfielder Rocco Baldelli. Steve Buckley has a pay column saying that the Devil Rays have hope. Ain’t that sweet. The notebooks are all Byung Hyun Kim, all the time. HohlerHorriganMcDonaldDoyleBorges.

Michael Felger has a piece on the dynamic Bethel Johnson, who is hoping to build upon a rookie year filled with some dramatic highlights, but also some down points including a benching against Jacksonville. Mike Reiss says that rookie tight end Ben Watson already needs a new agent.

NESN has Sox/D-Rays at 1:00 and 7:00. TNT has Pistons/Bucks at 8:00 and Kings/Mavs at 10:30. ESPN has Lightning/Canadiens at 7:00. ESPN2 has Red Wings/Flames at 10:00.

No Game

With the Sox rained out last night it was another slow night on the Boston sports scene. A few rainout style articles to offer up today. Bob Ryan takes a look at the most valuable .185 hitter in baseball, Mark Bellhorn. Tony Massarotti writes about Tim Wakefield taking one for the team, being skipped in the rotation and available for bullpen duty during the doubleheader tomorrow. Lenny Megliola notes the value and versatility of Wakefield. Jeff Horrigan and Joe McDonald look at the return of Byung-Hyun Kim to the rotation, a bit earlier than expected. Curt Schilling will take the mound tonight, and according to Michael O’Connor, he is hoping to avoid the same kind of trouble he ran into in his last start against the Blue Jays. David Heuschkel, Michael Vega and McDonald look at the return of Brian Daubach to the big league roster. David Borges and McDonald write about Rocco Baldelli, the Rhode Island native now in his second year with the D-Rays. Laura Meade Kirk has a look at the food and service in the new rooftop section at Fenway. Horrigan has a look at the Dodger eying David McCarty for an executive position. Karen Guregian has a piece on Don Zimmer’s return to Fenway, this time in the uniform of the D-Rays. Nick Cafardo’s notebook looks at Kim’s return to the rotation tomorrow. Horrigan’s notebook has more on the return of Daubach. McDonald’s notebook (busy guy today) looks at Ellis Burks missing six weeks due to knee surgery. Heuschkel’s notebook touches on the return of Kim.

Michael Felger has a look at Rohan Davey, who is tearing up NFL Europe. Some have even called him the best QB to come through that league. Jonathan Comey says that the Patriots draft should seal their position as favorites to win it all again next year. Eric McHugh gives us the best and the worst of the NFL draft. Matt Kalman looks at the Patriots signing A Bentley college player as an undrafted free agent. Drew Bledsoe restructured his contract yesterday with the Bills. It seems that Bledsoe may have even taken a pay cut in some areas. Wonder what guys like Lawyer Milloy think of that…

Peter May says that John Carroll is lucky to get away from the Celtics, who he says are in worse shape right now than they were in the mid 1990′s. Michael Muldoon says there are hard times ahead for the Celtics. Mike Fine looks at the search for a new coach. Steve Bulpett says that Dennis Johnson could be a candidate to join the Celtics, though no necessarily as the head man. Shira Springer looks at the Celtics players clearing out their lockers yesterday and gets some comments from the outgoing players. Mark Murphy says that Carroll hopes that lessons learned from this experience can help him going forward. Springer’s notebook looks at candidate Lionel Hollins, who seems to fit what Ainge is looking for.

NESN has Sox/D-Rays at 7:00. ESPN has A’s/Yankees at 7:00 and Sharks/Avalanche at 10:00. ESPN2 has Flyers/Maple Leafs at 7:00 and Braves/Giants at 10:00. TNT has Rockets/Lakers at 10:00.

Back To It

Yesterday was a day to breathe a little bit. Enjoy the events of the weekend. David Heuschkel has a nice look at Keith Foulke and what he has meant to the Red Sox bullpen. Even the Yankees are impressed by him. Bob Hohler also looks at Foulke, for whom baseball is job, not something he’d pay to watch if he wasn’t pitching. Jeff Horrigan says that the bullpen as a whole is functioning in textbook fashion. Dan Shaughnessy loves Manny. He wants you all to know that Manny is not a bad guy, and he never thought he was.

Let’s get this straight about Manny: He has been roughed up in this space and others when he declined to run out a ground ball, or vanished on an important weekend, or refused to pinch hit. But he is not a clubhouse cancer. Never has been. Not even close. He comes to the park early, does his job, and goes home.

Thanks for setting that straight for us, Dan. Some of us were confused. David Borges also has a look at this “new” Manny. Michael Silverman has a look at Mark Bellhorn, who has been effective enough at the plate to draw a league high 19 walks thus far. Jeff Sullivan looks at the return of Brian Daubach. Jon Couture says that games in April count as much as games later in the season. Sullivan also has some baseball thoughts from the weekend. Did you know that “Byung-Hyun Kim is one small dude?” Hohler’s notebook looks at knee surgery for Ellis Burks. Horrigan’s notebook also looks at Burks.

Kevin Mannix polls GMs around the league who feel the Patriots got a steal with Vince Wilfork, even if the rest of their draft wasn’t all that good. Michael Parente says the Pats hope as many players from this draft stick around as have players from the last two drafts. Ron Hobson says the draft went according to plan. Gerry Callahan has a pay column on Pat Tillman, who he calls the ultimate American. Jim Donaldson lauds Chargers GM A.J. Smith. Why? Because he’s a Providence homey. Rich Thompson looks at Marquise Hill. Mike Reiss says there is a lot to ponder from this draft. Parente also looks at safety Dexter Reid.

By the way, when thinking about the Patriots being knocked for having a “make up” draft by a certain Globe writer…it occurred to me…what does that same writer think about the Bills spending a first round pick on a QB, a mere two years after trading a first rounder for Drew Bledsoe – a favorite of the writer? Is that an admission that Bledsoe was a bust? Anyone remember Tom Donahoe crowing after acquiring Bledsoe…saying that they stole him for only one first round pick, when they were actually willing to give up more? Remember the huge rally in Buffalo? The parade? How quickly things change. This is not a knock on Drew, its just another indictment of the ability of the media to make any sort of player evaluation. ProFootballTalk.com has a bit on the media’s inability to judge talent. Scroll down to the “Scouts Scoff At NFL Writers” section.

John Carroll is out at Celtics coach, and the search for a replacement begins. There are also roster reviews from both major papers. Links are over at Fox Sports Net. Lenny Megliola also has a piece on Danny Ainge meeting with the players yesterday morning.

John Molori looks at Pat Tillman, the NFL draft, Bob Ryan and a couple other items in this week’s edition of Media Blitz.

Stan Grossfeld looks at a program of youth boxing. Children, actually as young as three years old.

The registration page for the message board is once again open. The cost for registration is $15. This helps keep the site in bandwidth and is also an attempt to keep the nitwits away.

NESN has Red Sox/D-Rays at 7:00. TNT has Heat/Hornets at 8:00 and T-Wolves/Nuggets at 10:30. ESPN has Red Wings/Flames at 9:00. ESPN2 has Lightning/Canadiens at 7:00.

Sweet Sweep

What a weekend for Boston sports. Sox sweep the Yankees in Yankee Stadium and the Patriots score some prospects in the draft.

Ron Borges completely reverses course from his column of yesterday. Yesterday he said that the first two picks on Saturday were nothing more than an admission that the Patriots last two number picks Daniel Graham and Ty Warren were complete busts and needed to be replaced. Today he gives the Pats high marks, says they got younger on defense and are a stronger team this morning. He gives them high marks in the AFC East. How can he do that? Tom Curran looks at why the Patriots drafted more D-line and another tight end, and the depth that the team now has. Kevin Mannix says character issues aside, the Patriots drafted well. Tom Curran, Nick Cafardo and Rich Thompson look at Cedric Cobbs, the running back from Arkansas who has a bit of a troubled past. The Patriots hope he can get a fresh start here in New England. Thompson also has a look at free safety Dexter Reid from North Carolina, picked in the fourth round. Alan Greenberg looks at Patriots picks from the south who are happy to come north. Mike Reiss looks at the depth added by the Pats this weekend. George Kimball has a pay column looking at Bob Kraft, and his sideline role in the draft these days as he lets his staff do the work. He’s content to sit back and enjoy this run. Cafardo’s notebook has Belichick saying that he has a better team this morning than they were. Curran’s notebook has the Pats moving forward on players with character issues. Reiss’ notebook has more on Cobb.

Pedro and Manny lead the Sox over the Yankees yesterday in the Bronx. Game stories are provided by Bob HohlerJeff HorriganDon Amore and Steven Krasner. No Dan Shaughnessy, Red Sox fans are not “calculating the Sox’ magic number and planning Yankee Elimination Day parties.” Tony Massarotti looks at Pedro, changing his style, yet still dominating. Sean McAdam says the Yankees knew early they wouldn’t be getting to Pedro this time. David Heuschkel says there was no Bronx nightmare for Pedro this time. Howard Bryant says Pedro is less intimidating, but still impressive. Gordon Edes looks at the silent Yankee offense. Michael Silverman looks at another big homer against the Yankees for Manny Ramirez. Jeff Jacobs looks at the mess that is the Yankees. Massarotti looks at the work done by Jason Varitek, while Silverman looks at Scott Williamson doing what he should’ve had a chance to do last October. Hohler’s notebook looks at a smooth road trip. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Francona giving Keith Foulke a day off. Krasner’s notebook has more on Williamson. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Manny’s blasts against the Yankees.

The Celtics season is mercifully over. Links from yesterday’s loss are over at Fox Sports Net.

The best NHL writer in New England, Russ Conway has a great piece yesterday on Joe Thornton, challenging the attack made on the Bruins captain by Kevin Paul Dupont in the Globe on the morning of game 7 against Montreal. He looks at what it means to be a captain and gets quotes from Bruins past on the subject. A must read for Bruins fans, and hockey writers alike.

Dave Scott looks at the draft, Sunday night shows and all over things Boston sports media in a Monday edition of Scott’s Shots.

TNT has Bucks/Pistons at 7:00 and Kings/Mavs at 9:30. ESPN has Sharks/Avalanche at 8:00. ESPN2 has Cubs/Diamondbacks at 9:30.

Taking the Bronx

Bill Belichick and the Patriots stood pat and made their scheduled selections yesterday in day one of the NFL draft.

Draft Day

Saturday Links by Len

The Red Sox continued their early season dominance over the Yankees as the season series moved to the Bronx. Jeff Horrigan and Bob Hohler have game stories on the 11-2 beating administered by the Sox. Gordon Edes says the Yankees are in a funk and Contreras may not be ready for the rivalry with the Sox. Michael Silverman tells us that the Red Sox couldn’t sign Jose Contreras but they do own him. Tony Massarotti says it

Tito Repeato?

Links from Len

Dale Arnold of WEEI just reported (10:15 am) that NFL veteran, Pat Tillman, has died serving his country in Afghanistan. Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar salary in the NFL to volunteer to serve in the war against terror.

It didn’t take long for the media to bring the heat to Tito Francona. The Sox lost yesterday 7-3 to the Blue Jays after taking a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning. John Dennis started the assault on D&C at 6:00 am by referring to the manager as “Grady Francona”. As Dale Arnold pointed out, the circumstances are entirely different. Foulke and Embree were not available last night. The other side of the argument is that Timlin and Williamson were available. But the key point here is that Schilling is not Pedro and has no such history after 105 pitches. Bob Hohler, Sean McAdam, and Jeff Horrigan have game stories. Tony Massarotti explains the tough decision made by Francona. Gordon Edes explains the changes in the sudden media and fan friendly, Manny Ramirez. Hohler’s Notebook explains that the Sox will use the off day on Monday to give the starters an extra day of rest. Tony Massarotti’s On Baseball looks forward to a weekend series in New York.

The NFL Draft begins tomorrow (ESPN). Michael Smith looks at the needs of the Patriots. I prepared a Patriots Needs Analysis for the draft coverage on this site as well. Kevin Mannix explains that running backs are a gamble at the 21st pick of the draft and that may be why Corey Dillon is a Patriot. Tom Curran says that this draft is hard to figure out for the Pats with the Ty Law situation being a big X factor. Ron Borges tells us that the University of Miami is a prep school for the NFL. Contrast the Borges article with Adam Shefter’s column a couple weeks back in the Denver Post. According to Adam, Miami is corporate headquarters for Football for Dummies as Shefter looks at Wonderlic scores of all prospects. David Scott has his take on the NFL Draft in Scott’s Shots.

3 Games to Glory II is now available at CVS Stores after it premiered at the Showcase Cinemas in Randolph last night. The Red Sox 2003 movie, We Still Believe (7 Games to Agony II), will premier at theatres on Monday. I won

It’s All Mirabelli

Links From Len

There are only brief morning links. I hope to bring some extensive draft coverage beginning tonight and going through the weekend.

Brad Blank – Agent to the media

The Patriots and their trade for Corey Dillon continue to be the focus of much talk around town. On WEEI, Gerry Callahan continues his campaign to enlighten us on everything Dillon has done in his life. It is curious to me how someone who has been suspended for participating in racist remarks and who annually fetes Tommy Spears, aka Butch from the Cape, can sit on the moral high ground in judgment of anyone. This morning, agent Brad Blank came onto the program to talk about the Dillon trade and to give his opinion of what the Patriots are doing. He said the Patriots misled him and all of New England by promoting that they go for strictly “character guys”. He said he was drinking the kool aid for a while, but no more. This move in his opinion signals a sharp change in the way Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do business. He was critical of that, repeatedly mentioning how “miserable” Dillon is as a person and how this move can only hurt the Patriots.

To which I say, “Who is Brad Blank, and what does he know about building an NFL team?” Oh, he’s an agent, you say. In fact, he represents David Givens of the Patriots. Well, having been in the league 20 years, he must be knowledgeable. The fact is, the number of NFL clients that Blank represents has been dwindling, and at present he represents a grand total of 10…count ‘em…10 NFL players. Among that total is such luminaries as Todd Collins, Brock Williams, Marcel Shipp and Tom Nalen. (Ok, Nalen is pretty good – but he’s a BC guy which could explain why Blank got him.) More telling might be that Blank represents more Boston media personalities than he does NFL players. His roster of media clients includes Ron Borges, Glenn Ordway and Jon Meterparel. Blank recently was on WEEI and made the comment about how much he enjoys reading columns from Borges as they are so “provocative”. No mention that he’s his agent. How can we expect fair, objective commentary from Blank when he’ll shamelessly stump for his client on the airwaves in that manner? Since he also is the agent for WEEI personalities, do his appearances amount to much more than free advertising for Blank? More importantly, is the public believing what this guy is saying? Agenda driven, my friends. Agenda driven.

As for the Patriots, they have stated repeatedly that they do have a core philosophy to bring in character guys. They have also said publicly, and I believe Pioli said this on his WEEI interview a few weeks back that occasionally they will deviate from that core philosophy. They have to, it’s a reality of doing business. However…what was also strongly stated is that they are not going to allow one guy to blow up what they’ve worked on. What they’ve worked on is creating a stable environment, one very much under control, in which they can occasionally take a risk like they did with Dillon and introduce him to that environment and hope that he can succeed. Dillon is a risk, no doubt, but they’ve set it up that should he falter or be trouble, he’s gone.

Patriots links for today. Bob Kraft weighed in on the Dillon trade yesterday and expressed his confidence in the judgment of Pioli and Belichick. Michael Smith, Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran look at the comments by the Patriots owner. Can people change? Brad Blank said the only bad guy he ever saw change was Irving Fryar. Jim Donaldson doesn’t think that people can change, either. As pointed out by a reader, Donaldson is actually a perfect example of this. Bad writers can’t change into good ones. Ever. Kevin Mannix says that the trade for Dillon shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Belichick has historically avoided drafting running backs. Michael Parente looks at the altered plans of the Patriots draft this weekend. Michael Felger says that the trade for Dillon gives the Patriots more options this weekend. Ron Borges looks at the Patriots signing of cornerback Jeff Burris. Felger also says that Kraft still likes Ty Law, and reports on the signing of Burris. Borges looks at defensive line prospects. Smith’s notebook looks at the Burris signing and numbers on Dillon. Curran’s notebook looks at Burris. Parente’s notebook has more on Burris.

Pedro and the Sox came up with a win in Toronto last night. Game stories are filed by David HeuschkelSean McAdamJeff HorriganDavid Borges and Bob Hohler. Pedro wasn’t talking after the game, but others had plenty to say about his performance. Gordon Edes gets the reaction from Manny, Dave Wallace and others. Tony Massarotti says Pedro was in control last night. Massarotti also looks at the Sox players taking two separate flights to Toronto after several stayed in Boston to watch the Bruins play in game 7 monday night. Hohler’s notebook has Manny a little ticked off after some chin music was thrown his way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ellis Burks playing through his knee injury. McAdam’s notebook, Heuschkel’s notebook and Borges’ notebook all look at Burks as well.

Celtics looked good for three quarters, but collapsed in the fourth. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.

Bob Ryan says that the Bruins loss was not due to lack of effort. Stephen Harris says changes may be on the way for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Canadiens never doubted that they’d beat the Bruins. Douglas Flynn looks at the Bruins looking for answers. Karen Guregian says that a blame game is useless in this case. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that it just doesn’t seem right that the Bruins season is over. Steve Conroy says that there will several keys to Montreal’s success in the series.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TNT has Bucks/Pistons at 7:00 and Nuggets/Wolves at 9:00. NBATV has Hornets/Heat at 8:00. ESPN has Astros/Cardinals at 7:00. ESPN2 has Padres/Giants at 10:00.