Post Season Bound

The Red Sox will be playing in the playoffs once again this year. Down in Tampa, Scott Kazmir was once again mowing down the Red Sox lineup until he inexplicably got embroiled in a beanball war, and was tossed from the game. Bob Hohler looks at the game and celebration afterwards. Jeff Horrigan looks at the celebration and the players noting that they have a lot more to accomplish still. Sean McAdam says last night’s celebration was a bit more subdued than last year’s wild card clincher at Fenway. David Heuschkel has more reaction from the Red Sox clubhouse regarding the playoffs. David Borges says the Sox are hoping to go further in the playoffs this time around.

Gordon Edes says clinching the playoff spot was just the beginning of the journey that the Sox hope will lead further than last year. He also leaves a note for Butch Stearns, telling him that “that was Curt Schilling slapping Pedro Martinez on the back, then wrapping his arms around him.” Phew. I was worried about that. The overall theme of Tony Massarotti’s column is almost biblical. What they have done is what they ought to have done. He notes the high expectations in the Red Sox clubhouse. Bill Reynolds says the Red Sox will only go as far as a self-doubting and petulant Pedro Martinez will carry them. Jon Couture looks at Terry Francona’s shortcomings, real or perceived, but says they’re not really the reason the Sox will win or lose. His biggest contribution might’ve been swinging the scales so Curt Schilling would come here. Jeff Horrigan looks at Bronson Arroyo getting win number 10 on the season. Massarotti has a look at tonight’s starter, Derek Lowe, who is putting his struggles behind him, at least in his mind. Howard Bryant has the first in a series of articles looking at the language barrier in baseball.

Hohler’s notebook looks another episode of ugliness in a late season series in the Tampa. McAdam’s notebook also looks at the ejections of Kazmir and Lou Piniella. Borges’ notebook looks at postseason preparations already underway. Horrigan’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both look at Scott Williamson, who is on the postseason bubble.

Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots still really haven’t proven that they can stop the run, and that if they don’t, this season could turn out like 2002. Preparation for the Bills is well underway, and Rich Thompson and Michael Parente have a look at what the Patriots are going to be looking at from the Bills under a new coaching staff. Christopher Price says that even though the personnel is much the same, there isn’t the same grudge-match feeling between the two clubs. Kevin McNamara says that the Patriots are just anxious to start working normal work weeks, something they have yet to do this season. Nick Cafardo and Chris Kennedy each have a nice look at linebacker Roman Phifer, a productive marvel at the age of 36. Mike Reiss compares the tight ends drafted the same year as Daniel Graham, and notes that Graham is moving to the head of that class. McNamara’s notebook looks at the Pats going against old friend Drew Bledsoe. Thompson’s notebook says having Corey Dillon is an advantage for the Patriots.

Dan Shaughnessy has the story of former Jamaica Plain High School football player Darryl Williams, who was shot in the neck at halftime of a game 25 years ago today. Lenny Megliola is all over the place in his “thoughts” style column.

Bill Griffith looks at the Red Sox record breaking ratings numbers.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.

09.27.04 Afternoon

A brief afternoon update. Mike Fine looks at the Red Sox perhaps sending a message to the Yankees with their performance in the last two games. David Pevear says it seems inevitable that these two teams will meet again in a few weeks. Steve Solloway says that the weekend series victory over the Yankees isn’t all that satisfying. Alan Greenwood looks at Curt Schilling pitching the Sox past the bombers. Glen Farley looks at the ugliness that erupted in the later innings. Kevin Thomas says yesterday was a great way to end the regular season at Fenway. Bob Stern says the hunt for a playoff spot could come to a (successful) end tonight. Fine’s notebook looks at Schilling’s outing. Thomas’ notebook looks at Trot Nixon getting comfortable in the lineup.

"I'm still not happy with Belichick. I don't know how you can take a million dollars to stay another year to become the head coach and then walk out on the job. I still can't figure out why he didn't take this job." "Bill did a good job for me. But I did a good job for him. Honestly I still can't figure out why he didn't take this job instead of going to New England. If the Patriots never came forward, I think he would have been happy to be the head coach of the New York Jets."

"His excuse about things changing with the death of Mr. Hess was weak. Mr Hess had been dead for seven months. The potential buyers of the the Jets were all told by Goldman Sachs that Belichick, by contract, would automatically be the next coach as soon as I as stepped down."

Who’s that? It’s Bill Parcells. No, that’s not his reaction to Bill Belichick’s comments, rather, those are his comments from the book: “The Final Season My Last Year as Head Coach in the NFL” by Parcells and Will McDonough. Those comments are from 2000. Belichick’s comments in “Patriot Reign” are from 2002. They’re both old. But the Parcells worshipers in the media will never bring up or criticize the words of big Bill, even though he’s squirmed out of multiple agreements himself.

Patriots.com got a facelift.

Fond Fenway Farewell

The Red Sox wrapped up their regular season home schedule and season series with the Yankees by thumping the bombers, 11-4. This one had a little bit of everything in it. Bob Hohler comments on the little bit of ugliness towards the end of the game. Michael Silverman looks at the Red Sox finishing out the home schedule, but looking forward to returning in a couple weeks. Steven Krasner looks at the feistiness that once again surfaced between the two teams yesterday. David Heuschkel focuses on the outing by Curt Schilling and the hostilities between the clubs being the result of familiarity. Garry Brown looks at Schilling breezing through the Yankee lineup. David Borges has more on Schilling getting win number 21 on the season. Lenny Megliola looks at the Sox and Yankees facing off…in more ways than one…for the final time during the regular season. Joe Haggerty also has a game story from Fenway on the Red Sox win.

Curt Schilling is the popular topic today. The obvious angle for all is that he is the Red Sox ace based on his season and performance yesterday against the Evil Empire. Jackie MacMullan has a look at Schilling as the main attraction yesterday, saying that he was the Yankees “Daddy” and spanked them hard. Pedro can say it, but it just doesn’t sound right coming from Jackie…Karen Guregian says Schilling has to get the start to open the playoffs and if not, shame on Terry Francona. Jim Donaldson says Schilling is the Red Sox ace and he also calls him the Yankees “daddy”. Rich Thompson briefly looks at the Yankees struggles against Schilling yesterday. Alex Speier looks at Schilling padding his already impressive season resume with an overpowering performance against the Yankees yesterday. While Schilling may deserve the game one start, (What does it matter, really? Other than to generate controversy, of course.) unless Francona alters his rotation, it still may be Pedro in that first game. Schilling is scheduled to pitch Saturday.

Dan Shaughnessy says the regular season may be over for Fenway, but we’ve surely not seen the end of Red Sox baseball there for this year. He ponders the A’s and Twins and hopes the Red Sox don’t put a World Series logo on the field too soon this time. Ron Chimelis says that we all need to cower in fear of the Twins. John Tomase also says we need to be afraid, very afraid of the Twins.

Stephen Harris looks at the old hostilities surfacing during yesterday’s Red Sox rout. Howard Bryant (subscription only) also has a look at the ugliness between the two clubs, which has to be set aside as both teams have other things to focus on before they have a chance to meet again. Gordon Edes and Mark Murphy look at Trot Nixon, who is finally feeling healthy and ready to be a big part of a playoff run. Steve Britt has a look at the Sox beating back the bombers and perhaps sending a message. Michael O’Connor has a look at Bill Mueller, whose defense, hustle and grit is a big part of the Red Sox team character. Thompson looks at Kevin Brown’s early exit, and Nick Cafardo looks at the Kenny Lofton elbow incident at first base.

An article by Rob Bradford yesterday contained the nugget that there are plans to transform the Fenway park outfield into a skating rink during the winter.

Hohler’s notebook looks at the Red Sox 2004 success at Fenway. Silverman’s notebook looks at the team’s travel plans to Tampa with the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne. Krasner’s notebook looks at Lofton’s flying elbow. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Trot Nixon’s impact on the lineup. Chimelis’ notebook leads with the Sox and Yankees throwing at each other. Borges’ notebook also looks at the hot tempers.

Alan Greenberg looks at Charlie Weis, rumored to be heading elsewhere after the season, but very happy with the players he has to work with this season. He calls it the best group of “football players” he’s had to work with since he’s been here. Kevin Mannix spends an entire column telling us that the playoff wins don’t officially count towards the winning streak, so all this hype over the Patriots streak is moot. Yesterday’s Patriots notes by Hector Longo says that the Patriots offensive lineman are unhappy with how they’re being rotated. Chris Kennedy had an interesting Q&A with Tedy Bruschi. Nick Cafardo’s Patriots notebook looks at Troy Brown, surrounded by talented receivers, and having to “endure” a stint as a cornerback in the preseason. Endure? Mannix’s notebook looks at the Patriots depth.

There is another excerpt from Patriot Reign in the Globe today. This one looks at Super Bowl 38.

As a followup to comments made by Cafardo and Alan Greenberg yesterday criticizing Bill Belichick for comments in the book about Bill Parcell’s actions during the week of Super Bowl 31, I would state that Belichick is not the only one that has done this. In Parcell’s book that he did with Will McDonough, “The Final Season” The Tuna leveled some accusations towards Belichick, calling his loyalty to Leon Hess into question and making comments about him turning his back on an agreement that was made, that sort of thing. Certainly just as strong, if not stronger than anything that Belichick has said.

All that being said, the “truce” between the two coaches than Greenberg wondered about is still in effect. The release of Patriot Reign has not changed anything. The official BSMW review of the book should be up sometime this week, and I hope to include a Q&A session with Michael Holley as a part of it.

Ed Berliner of CN8 SportsPulse calls out Butch Stearns (without mentioning him by name) for creating a “non-story, and perhaps something of a slightly exaggerated one at that” in his episode with Curt Schilling last week. Stearns, despite his claims that he was “done” talking about it, still referenced it on his Sportscast last night and said he hasn’t talked to Schilling yet, but still hopes to.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ABC has Cowboys/Redskins at 9:00 CN8 will have Andy Hart from PFW and a 1-on-1 with Red Sox closer Keith Foulke on SportsPulse at 10:00.