08.31.04 Afternoon

A few afternoon links while we await Sox/Angels tonight…

Joe Haggerty and Rob Bradford made the trip up to Lowell last night to see David McCarty and Kevin Youkilis face some live pitching in preparation for their return to the big league roster. Mike Fine says the emergence of Ramiro Mendoza and acquisitions of Curtis Leskanic, Terry Adams and Mike Myers have made a huge difference in the Red Sox bullpen. Christopher Young looks at how sometimes rooting interests can get clouded by a variety of factors.

Rich Maclone of the CapeNews.net website has the story of Manny Ramirez bringing his 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS to Falmouth Auto Works for custom work. Here’s another photo on their website of Manny.

More on Rosevelt Colvin…Glen Farley has the Patriots linebacker expressing confidence that he’ll be able to regain the form he displayed with the Chicago Bears. Tom King says that Colvin is just about back to feeling normal out there on the football field. Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has the 2004 DVOA Projections, and the Patriots come in at number one. A surprise is that the Jets project to number four.

Mike Loftus looks at the World Cup of Hockey.

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Down the stretch they come…

It all begins tonight. We get an extra day of September baseball with the Angels coming into town to face Curt Schilling and the Red Sox to battle for the Wild Card lead. Bob Hohler looks at the Angels from the perspective of Dave Roberts as well as some of the other Red Sox. A minor correction in the article, Hohler states that the Angels have won 10 in a row coming in, they’ve won nine of their last 10. Art Martone says that the Sox have taken their game to a higher level, going 20-8 since The Trade. John Tomase suggests that even though it’s still August, the Sox could be nine days away from October. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) lists off how things need to be for the Sox in September, how they can avoid derailing the train that is gaining momentum. They need to keep Manny happy, play the defensive guys, keep Pedro quiet about his contract and get Dale Sveum some guidelines. Dennis and Callahan continued this topic on WEEI this morning, trying to put together the postseason roster and worrying about who (Millar, Roberts, Reese, Bellhorn) is going to be complaining about not playing and ruining the entire month for the team.

Mike Fine says there is no time to waste for the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti says that this Red Sox starting rotation might be the best in team history. David Heuschkel looks at the experienced Red Sox setup men, Mike Timlin and Alan Embree, and how they’ll both be here next season after reaching option incentives on the same day. Steve Buckley (subscription only) has a rather pointless column, talking about September callups of the past, and he too takes a crack at putting together the postseason roster. I love it how these guys always say the fans get too far ahead of themselves in anointing players and putting teams in the playoffs prematurely. Hohler’s notebook details how Mark Bellhorn has more than made up for the loss of Todd Walker. Massarotti’s brief notebook looks at who might get added to the rosters when they are expanded.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal today titled “A Baseball Owner Is Beaned by the Market.” (subscription only) Red Sox owner John W. Henry seeks to reassure Red Sox fans that even though his fund is in a slump, it won’t effect his running of the Red Sox:

Unlike with most firms, there is a group on Wall Street with no connection to John Henry & Co. that nonetheless is pulling hard for Mr. Henry's firm to turn around: die-hard Red Sox fans. Some of these people worry that continued losses might make Mr. Henry less likely to open his wallet to help the Red Sox add new, expensive players. "If he loses 20% of his assets I can't fathom how that would be a positive for the Red Sox," says Kevin Caliendo, a lifelong Red Sox fan who manages health-care stocks for Citigroup.

Mr. Caliendo knows the Red Sox are run by Mr. Henry as a separate business from his investment firm. And Mr. Henry notes the Red Sox are profitable and he says the Red Sox fans needn't worry about his investment returns.

Rosevelt Colvin is still a hot topic of interest down in Foxboro. Many media types in the offseason speculated that he would never play again. He’s made it back on the field, and in the last two games played as much as anybody in an effort to get himself back into form. Michael Parente and Chris Kennedy take a look at the progress of the 27 year old linebacker, who hopes to be taking down quarterbacks on a regular basis once again. Howard Ulman also has an AP article on Colvin. Alan Greenberg looks at the depleted receiver corps for the Patriots, who have Troy Brown and David Givens dinged up, which gives some opportunities to the young tight ends to pick up some slack. Adam Kilgore has a look at Stephen Neal, a piece that’s been done before, but is usually interesting nonetheless. Funny line from Matt Light, saying he’s learned not to try to wrestle Neal.

Tom Brady looked sharp on Saturday night and his presence back there inspires a lot of confidence, both in his teammates and the fans. Rich Thompson has Corey Dillon putting the moniker of “The Truth” on Brady. (Don’t tell Paul Pierce.) Kevin McNamara says that despite all that he has accomplished already in his career, Brady still hopes to improve on some things as he enters his fifth season in the NFL. Eric McHugh looks at the impressive play of Benjamin Watson during the preseason. He suggests that Watson just may have been worth waiting through that holdout for. Glen Farley says the Patriots really have no time to waste before getting into their next preseason game, Thursday night. Christopher Price says the Patriots still have some fine tuning to do on Thursday night. Kilgore’s notebook looks at Brown’s injury. Thompson’s notebook has more on Colvin. McNamara’s notebook looks ahead at the roster cuts. Parente’s notebook says the Jaguars will provide the Patriots with another test. McHugh’s notebook looks at the absence of Ty Law and Rohan Davey on Saturday night.

Steve Conroy says Joe Thornton might have a hard time cracking the lineup for the Canadian World Cup team.

Dave Scott looks at the Sunday Night shows, rate the Olympic coverage for the local press, has some interesting observation on Internet sports coverage and more in today’s Scott’s Shots. Bill Griffith wraps up the Olympic coverage as well, and has some notes from the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radiothon.

NESN has Red Sox/Angels at 7:00. ESPN2 will have the World Cup of Hockey, USA vs Canada at 7:00.

No Complaints

An on-air Boston media member’s nightmare. An off day with nothing really screaming to be harped on and beaten to death. How boring. Unless of course they want to try to make the case that the Patriots really are on a two game losing streak in the preseason. That’s ridiculous of course, as the Patriots who count beat the Panthers that count. The Red Sox keep rolling on, but today might be a day of reflection and to gather oneself for the very critical next 10 days. Sean McAdam says that the days of easy living are over for the Red Sox, who now go head to head with the teams they’re competing for a playoff berth with. Lenny Megliola notes that the Sox are playing as well as they have the entire year, and the timing couldn’t be better. Gordon Edes says that John W. Henry knew that his team was very capable of putting together the run that it has, and that it was only a matter of time before it would do so.

The Sox kept things going with a 6-1 win over the Tigers that kept them up by one and half games in the Wild Card standings and that brought them to within 4 1/2 games of the Yankees in the AL East. Game stories are provided by Bob HohlerTony MassarottiSteven KrasnerDavid HeuschkelRon Chimelis and David Borges. Yesterday, Bill Burt took a look at the Red Sox and all the other contenders for the Wild Card chase. Alex Speier looks at the red hot Red Sox. Steve Britt says Tim Wakefield and the rest of the rotation at peaking at just the right time. Chimelis says the Sox playing better since getting rid of Nomar is no coincidence. Not a bad column other than the opening line which says Red Sox fans are obsessed with the curse. Bob Halloran, on the other hand, says that the Nomar effect is way overrated. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says Wakefield’s last start against the Tigers in which he gave up six home runs was actually the start of a nice run for the knuckleballer. Christopher L Gasper looks at Wakefield being able to go eight strong innings against the Tigers yesterday. Thompson has Curt Schilling talking about the improved Red Sox defense.

Hohler’s notebook looks at Manny returning to the lineup yesterday after taking a nasty foul ball of his knee on Friday night. Massarotti’s notebook looks at Curtis Leskanic getting a bit of a chemical burn on his arm yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Manny and has an update on Byung-Hyun Kim. Chimelis’ notebook looks at the Sox suddenly tearing it up on the basepaths. Borges’ notebook looks at the critical upcoming stretch of schedule for the Red Sox.

Alan Greenberg notes that there was much more good than bad for the Patriots to take out of Saturday night’s preseason game with the Panthers. Ian M Clark says that the Patriots put alot of things together on Saturday night. Michael Parente says that Saturday night wasn’t about who won or lost, but how the Pats played the game, and they played it pretty well. Tom Curran suggests that the Patriots are slowly coming together and getting things in order for the season opener a week from Thursday. Joe Burris says that the Patriots have to begin trimming the roster, starting tomorrow.

Free of annoying spin, (unlike his NFL Notes yesterday, which have turned into little more than an Ex-Patriot update column) Nick Cafardo says that the Panthers brought out the intensity in the Patriots, and perhaps some nastiness and dirty play as well. Michael Felger looks at the multiple options that rookie Ben Watson brings to the Patriots offense, all of which were on display Saturday night. Dan Pires looks at a number of things of interest from Saturday night. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots are still trying to get sharp in a number of areas before the opener. Kevin Mannix says that Corey Dillon is starting to come into form nicely for the Patriots. Del Jones previews the Dolphins in part three of his look at the AFC East. Be sure to also check out the BSMW exclusive football column – Patriots Rear View.

Felger’s notebook has Bill Belichick being very direct in his response about an inquiry regarding Ty Law’s unavailability for the game Saturday. Curran’s notebook also pursues this topic and looks at Steve Smith, still trash talking. Parente’s notebook looks at a solid performance from Tom Brady on Saturday night.

Dave Scott apologizes for his absence today, but promises an edition of Scott’s Shots for tomorrow.

ESPN2 will have Cubs/Expos at 7:00. ABC will have Titans/Cowboys preseason action at 8:00.

What Olympics?

Sunday links by Ben ([email protected])

Up in Montreal the French version of Bob Lobel might have said,

Sox On Track, Panthers Talk Smack, USA Basketball Whacked

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected])

First, hats off to WEEI and NESN, whose Strike Out Cancer Radiothon raised more than $1 million for the Jimmy Fund, as detailed by the Herald

Tigers by the Tail

The Red Sox continued their winning ways last night with a 4-1 win over the Tigers at Fenway. Bob Hohler looks at the Sox getting their ninth win in ten games. Tony Massarotti says the Tigers are just the latest victims of the new-style Red Sox. Sean McAdam says that right now, there is not much to dislike about this Red Sox team. Ken Davis looks at Bronson Arroyo getting the win at home – a place he has struggled at times this year. Garry Brown looks at another encouraging outing for Arroyo. Nate Thompson looks at the Sox as they keep on rollin’. Dan Shaughnessy says the trade of Nomar is what has turned the season around for the Sox. If you’re sick of talking about Nomar, get used to it. This is going to be a story for months to come. I don’t like it, but that’s how it is. Lenny Megliola says the Red Sox are hitting their stride at just the right time. The Herald has a couple subscription only columns one by Michael Gee and another by Steve Buckley, but I couldn’t read either one because the login screen was busted. (again)

Rich Thompson and Shira Springer look at Bronson Arroyo’s outing last night and how the righthander is trying to improve his performances at Fenway and how getting standing ovations doesn’t hurt the cause. Alex Speier has a look at how Orlando Cabrera has gotten his swing back in order and is now one of the hottest hitters for the Sox. Joe Haggerty looks at Doug Mirabelli making the most of his opportunity to play a few games straight. Thompson looks at what Jason Varitek has been doing during his suspension. Springer has a piece on Carlos Pena hoping to keep up his hot hitting in some familiar surroundings. Massarotti’s notebook looks at Trot Nixon, hoping to start taking batting practice next week. Hohler’s notebook also has a number of injury updates. The ProJo notebook also looks at Trot. Davis’ notebook looks at David Ortiz’s comments from Wednesday night about hitting fourth. Thompson’s notebook says that Doug Mientkiewicz should only miss a couple games with his injury. Brown’s notebook looks at the Sox playing without a backup catcher.

Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots practicing in pads all week in preparation for the Panthers. He also has an interesting look at Bill Belichick fondly recalling his days as a defensive coordinator. Kevin Mannix knows how to build a team. He has the roster all picked out and ready to go for the opener. Ian M Clark looks at the buildup down in Carolina for the Super Bowl “rematch”. Tom Curran says that the Patriots prefer not to look back at the Super Bowl. The same can’t be said for those Panthers. Michael Parente looks at one of Belichick’s methods for duplicating crowd noise…rock music. Adam Kilgore looks at Scott Farley, the only Massachusetts native in camp for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots remain a work in progress. Curran’s notebook looks at Mike Cloud. Parente’s notebook looks at the pumped up Panthers. Kennedy’s notebook has more on Scott Farley. Kilgore’s notebook has Bill Belichick enjoying the happy ending of the Super Bowl film from last season.

Bill Griffith looks at the Olympic coverage, but also raises the possibility of an all-Patriots TV channel, similar to what the Cowboys have done. Jim Baker also has a look at the Olympic coverage and not a single mention of the WEEI Radiothon today. Glad to see bygones are bygones with ol’ Jim. John Howell looks at Jim Nantz, doing Golf coverage, but also having to deal with the added responsibility of being CBS’ new top NFL play-by-play man. Andrew Neff looks at WEEI’s Jimmy Fund Radiothon today, and has some other media items. Scott’s Shots for today includes a big thumbs down to the Big Show, some Globe v. Herald dissection and a college hoops game of local (sort of) interest.

CBS4 will have Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00. FOX will have Redskins/Rams Preseason NFL at 8:00.

Boston Metro Celtics Article Reprint

The following is a reprint of an article that ran in the Boston Metro Newspaper this morning:

The Red Sox are in the middle of another playoff chase, and the Super Bowl Champion (Never does gets old, does it?) New England Patriots have just started out a new season.

So naturally I

08.26.04 Afternoon

Mike Fine says that the Red Sox have turned the corner. Some interesting comments from Fine in this article. This paragraph was one:

This year is different. It does appear that they've righted themselves in the nick of time, and the reasons are apparent. Injuries have crippled this team from the opening day of the season. The Nomar issue has finally played itself out to a satisfactory conclusion. The perspicacity of GM Theo Epstein has restocked the roster with people who can actually play, witness shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who has twice the speed and twice the range of Garciaparra and who shook off post-trade jitters to hit safely in his last 10 games, batting well over .400 in the process.

High praise there. In the past, Fine has been hard on Manny Ramirez. Today, he writes:

Manny Ramirez has become a joy to watch, but, more importantly, he's become a clubhouse character who has had a way of bringing his teammates together. It's a great clubhouse, too, unshackled by a bit of a dark cloud that dissipated on July 31. Imagine your own workplace having to deal with one or two malcontents and cranks, and you can understand how the newfound pleasantness affects your workplace demeanor.

Manny, uniting the clubhouse. Who would’ve thunk it? Eric Wilbur handicaps the AL playoff contenders.

Eric McHugh looks at the thin options at safety for the Patriots, a possible area of concern. Glen Farley has a look at rookie tight end Benjamin Watson, who feels he might have been “destined” to play for the Patriots.

Bill Simmons has the controls of NBA TV this weekend, and has put together 59 hours of NBA games from the past 25 years. Included is a Larry Legend Marathon all day Sunday and into Monday.

5-1 Road Trip

I guess this qualifies as a successful road trip, eh? Kevin Paul Dupont looks at a late summer display of the Northern Lights in Toronto as the Red Sox rocked the Blue Jays 11-5. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox continuing to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Steven Krasner looks at the incredible road trip performance of Manny Ramirez as reason for the Sox success. The numbers he put up in the six games are mind boggling. David Heuschkel looks at Curt Schilling and the Red Sox continuing their hot streak. David Borges looks at the impact of Ramirez and David Ortiz crushing Blue Jay pitching. Gordon Edes has a look at Johnny Damon, who continues to struggle with the effects of the concussion suffered in the playoffs last year, though you wouldn’t know it by his play on the field.

Michael Silverman might have the controversy that sports radio is thirsting for with his article on David Ortiz being unhappy hitting in the cleanup position. What else is there to complain about for the Sox these days? Horrigan has a brief sidebar on Doug Mientkiewicz straining his shoulder. Edes also takes a look at Curt Schilling as he gears up for the stretch run of September. Silverman suggests that Bronson Arroyo might be the Red Sox third best starter at this point. Horrigan’s notebook says that Gabe Kapler does not intend to drop his appeal of his suspension at this time. The rest of the notebooks focus on the injury to Mientkiewicz. Dupont’s notebook also has word of the Sox signing a very highly touted prospect. Krasner’s notebook has a few injury updates. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Mike Timlin, who recently reached a clause that kicks in his option for next year. Borges’ notebook has the amusing note that Pedro volunteered to serve as backup catcher with the injury to Mientkiewicz.

Veteran reporters Nick Cafardo and Kevin Mannix look at Dan Klecko’s transition from Nose Tackle to Middle Linebacker, this is a big move, and while progress has been slow, it has been steady. Alan Greenberg also looks at Klecko and the linebackers in general. Mike Reiss and Michael Parente both examine the situation at safety, where the injury to rookie Guss Scott has left the team rather thin at that position. Reiss compiles a list of possible additions and solutions to the problem, while Parente looks at the other rookie safety, Dexter Reid. Tom Curran looks at Adrian Klemm, who somehow manages to keep sticking around.

Christopher Price looks at the Carolina Panthers, taking the preseason game on Saturday very seriously. Glen Farley also looks at the Panthers getting fired up. Mark Farinella says the Patriots are questioning themselves after the loss in Cincinnati and says the coach may be to blame:

Belichick has already added himself to the list to those culpable for the loss, but you have to wonder how he could have been so wrong about the preparation level of his team. One possible answer may be arrogance -- the likelihood that five years into his "program,'' and with two Super Bowl championships to his credit, he is starting to believe the sycophantic national media when it calls him the man with all the answers.

It doesn’t take much to turn on the guy, does it? One preseason loss and he’s an arrogant Dr Evil clone bent on world domination. Eric McHugh looks at the release of fullback Fred McCrary. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Tom Brady and talks to him about Troy Brown working out and defensive back. Brady comments that he’d like to see Brown be at receiver full-time and Cafardo adds this comment:

Brady's sentiments seem in lockstep with those of a few other Patriots, who have rolled their eyes and bit their lips when asked about Brown's switch in position.

Gotta love Nick, getting the little jabs in whenever he can. Nick is a mystery to me. By all accounts a very nice man, I enjoy reading his Red Sox coverage. His Patriots coverage however always seems slanted and so very different from his coverage of the Red Sox. He’s always got to get the little jabs in at Belichick. Of course, maybe the players were rolling their eyes at the question. Mannix’s notebook looks at the Panthers getting fired up for Saturday. Curran’s notebook has more on Klecko. Reiss’ notebook looks at hard feelings between Tyrone Poole and Steve Smith. Parente’s notebook looks at concern over fumbles in the first two preseason games. McHugh’s notebook says that this year’s rookie class is far behind where last year’s was at this time.

Kevin Paul Dupont says there has been no movement in the NHL Labor talks.

Shira Springer has a brief note about the Celtics coming to terms with second round pick Justin Reed. It’s a bit of a curious signing, as Reed didn’t really impress with his play in the summer leagues, but when you consider he shares the same agent as Mark Blount, you gotta wonder if there were some favors being exchanged there between the Celtics and the agent…

NESN will have Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00. ESPN will have Steelers/Eagles preseason football at 8:00.

Relief

The bullpen did the job for the Sox last night, enabling them to hold on and beat the Blue Jays 5-4 at SkyDome. Jeff Horrigan looks at the efforts of the relievers and catcher Doug Mirabelli in the victory. Steven Krasner says that even though Tim Wakefield got the “W” and Keith Foulke the “S”, it was Mike Timlin that made both possible. David Heuschkel also looks at efforts of Timlin, Mirabelli and Ramiro Mendoza. David Borges and Kevin Paul Dupont round out the game stories. Gordon Edes looks at the Sox picking up another one-run victory, something that has been a rare occurrence this season, and it was helped in part by Ramiro Mendoza bridging the gap between Timlin and Foulke. Michael Silverman also has a look at the job done by Timlin.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) asserts this morning that the Red Sox should begin negotiations with Pedro Martinez now, even during a playoff chase. He says that if Pedro hits the open market, he’s going to get an offer from someone else (Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Angels) that he can’t refuse. But Bryant also warns against spending foolishly as the Yankees have done with Jason Giambi. He ends the section by saying the Sox can’t afford to let Pedro hit the market. Later in the column he wants to set something straight for all who can’t figure out “games over .500″:

It is inconvenient, yes, but could we once and for all cease with calling teams x-amount of games over .500? A team that is 24-16 is not eight games over .500, but actually has eight more wins than losses. After 40 games, the .500 mark would be 20-20, which means to be eight games over, a club would have to be 28-12. End of sermon.

I hope the on-air media brethren take notice of that. Christopher Young remembers the good ol’ days when the Yankees were laughingstocks. Michael Silverman has a look at Curtis Leskanic, ready to take a larger load down the stretch. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Pedro passing a Sandy Koufax mark on Monday night. Edes’ notebook has Doug Mientkiewicz recalling his Olympic experience. Krasner’s notebook has more on Leskanic. Heuschkel’s notebook has some good news on the knee of Ellis Burks. Borges’ notebook has more on Mike Timlin’s outing.

Michael Parente says that just because Saturday night was a preseason game doesn’t mean that the things that happened on the field were meaningless. Dan Shaughnessy lists out how the beating in Cincinnati was a good thing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. He also says:

These world champion Patriots have taught us a new way of thinking about a local pro sports team. The competence and success of the Patriots has produced a fan base that expects good things to happen -- no small accomplishment in a region famous for another team with a nation of fans who've been trained to see a dark cloud on every horizon.

Ironic words from a guy who, as reader Kevin says, wrote the training manual on viewing the dark cloud. Michael Felger has the Patriots putting on pads and hitting each other in an effort to improve the run defense. Chris Kennedy also looks at the Patriots addressing their defensive issues. Shalise Manza Young has more on the Patriots getting back to business this week.

Adam Kilgore has an encouraging look at Rosevelt Colvin, who is back on the field and continuing to progress from his devastating injury of last year. Alan Greenberg looks at the release of fullback Fred McCrary, with comments from his former teammate on the Chargers, Rodney Harrison. Yesterday, Glen Farley said that the results thus far in the preseason have not all been encouraging for the Patriots. Sam Farmer of the LA Times had a look at Tom Brady. Felger’s notebook looks at the injury to rookie safety Guss Scott, which will cost him the season. Kilgore’s notebook also looks at the injury to Scott. Young’s notebook looks at the release of McCrary, who could be back at some point if he doesn’t hook on elsewhere. Kennedy’s notebook has more on McCrary.

Jonathan Comey looks at the new video game debate…Madden vs ESPN.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN2 has Yankees/Indians at 7:00 and Orioles/A’s at 10:00. CN8′s Sports Pulse will have Shira Springer on at 10:00. Dan Shaughnessy and Nick Cafardo, along with John Valentin, will be on NESN’s SportsPlus and will discuss this week’s Jimmy Fund Radiothon at 11:00.