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.