12.14.04 Afternoon

Still plenty of discussion and articles out there as we’re in day two of Pedro’s defection and Weis’ promotion. When it comes right down to it…what’s the difference between the two of them? They’re both leaving to get more money, a larger role, and be “the man” where they’re going. If you consider it more closely, Weis did this while he was still under contract to one team, and you could argue that he’s damaging his current team and being “disloyal” by his actions. I’m NOT saying that. I only bring it up because in many circles Pedro is being painted as a selfish villain, while Weis is be lauded for getting an opportunity he deserves. It’s all about how you look at it and spin it, I guess.


Still on Weis, an interesting note from yesterday’s press conference was his denial that his gastric bypass surgery had anything to do with his desire to be a head coach.

Q. The surgery that you went through, I read that you talked about becoming a head coach, it was important to lose weight and appearance --

COACH WEIS: I never said that. The newspaper writer is sitting there saying that's the reason why you do that.

The thing is though, that Weis DID say that. Here’s the Chris Mortensen article from when Weis had the surgery.

"I'm not going to deny what my motive was, even though there are obvious long-term health benefits," said Weis. "My thoughts were that if I wanted to be a head coach, I had to lose weight. If that was the obstacle that was going to keep me from being a head coach, then why not do something about it?"

OK. It doesn’t matter to me what the motivation for the surgery was. It doesn’t even matter to me that he issued that denial yesterday…it’s not exactly something you want to address on your first day. I just find it interesting that no one in the media here has addressed the denial. You know why? Because they like Charlie and want him to succeed. I like Charlie and want him to succeed as well. But shouldn’t their jobs as professional journalists compel them to be reporting inconsistencies like this? Not to gloss it over or ignore it outright because they like the speaker?

Eric McHugh looks at the job facing Weis and the Patriots over the rest of the season and the playoffs. Glen Farley has Bill Belichick speaking about how the team will handle the situation. Tom King looks at how Belichick is unhappy with his team despite their 12-1 mark. McHugh also looks at how the Patriots are taking the best shot from all teams, even the very lowly ones on the schedule.

Mike Reiss has a couple of entries in his blog today. One looks at the job that Pepper Johnson is doing with the defensive line. The latest update has the news that the Patriots have agreed to a contract extension with one of Johnson’s pupils, Rodney Bailey, who is currently on IR and out for the season. The new deal runs through 2006.

Yes, it’s back to Pedro. Chaz Scoggins says that the Red Sox were right not to give into Pedro this time. Bill Simmons can’t believe Pedro is headed out of town, and can’t find it in himself to root against the guy. He floats the Bob Halloran-like theory that the Theo and the Red Sox won in spite of themselves and were helped out by the Yankees, both on and off the field. Mike Fine says that losing Pedro isn’t the end of the world, even if he’s going to pitch in a goat corral. Bob Stern paints a gloomy picture for the Red Sox and says Pedro is “greedy, disloyal, selfish, disrespectful and downright manipulative.” Dan DeLeo gets reaction from Red Sox fans of Pedro’s departure.

Amanda Parry has a look at Ken Burns’ latest film for PBS: “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.”

Bye Bye Petey…

So Pedro is gone…gone to the greener pastures of Flushing Meadow. There are of course a TON of articles on the departure of number 45 this morning, many nostalgic, a couple harsh, and others wishing the former Red Sox ace well in his new life as a New York Met. Bob Hohler reports on the story for the Globe, while Tony Massarotti and Michael Silverman team up in the Herald. David Heuschkel has the story for the Courant. Dan Shaughnessy emerges from the bunker, where he has been writing his new book about how the Red Sox ended the curse and his gravy train, and takes his terribly predictable, expected swipes at Pedro. I wonder if Dan has a “Mad Libs” pad of columns he can just fill out at a moments notice… Tony Massarotti in a solo piece says that Pedro earned every cent he was paid here, and to expect the type of smear campaign in the coming days that you heard after the Sox traded Nomar. He says Pedro might do well in the softer National league. Jeff Jacobs says that the Sox were right not to pay Pedro, and that now Martinez can go to the Mets and have the world revolve around him once again. Jacobs asserts that part of the reason for Pedro’s departure is to get from out of the shadow of Curt Schilling. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes that by chasing the money to NY, Pedro proves his critics right, gives them ammunition. He has not chance of winning with the Mets, and this move is only about the money.

Lenny Megliola looks at Pedro getting things his way from the Mets, and that he won’t be missed all that much in the Fenway offices and clubhouse. Bill Reynolds says that Pedro leaving to chase the money shouldn’t surprise us one bit. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that he is disappointed that Pedro chased the money, and doesn’t think he’ll have success in NY. He will miss him, however, and says that 50 years from now we’ll still be talking about him and his time here. Jon Couture insists that Pedro has earned the goodwill of Red Sox fans as he says farewell to Boston. Art Davidson looks at what made Pedro so great for the Red Sox. Alex Speier says that like Sinatra, Pedro did it his way, and left a remarkable legacy with the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty looks at the end of the Pedro era and what’s next for the Sox. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that Pedro did what was the best for himself…he gets the money, he gets to be the center of attention, and the Mets desperately need him. Gordon Edes says the Red Sox have nothing to show for the time they’ve spent in negotiations with Pedro, but that they do have a plan for what’s next. The Herald looks at Red Sox stars who left the team and how they fared afterwards. David Borges says the Red Sox have a huge void to fill in the rotation now, and looks at Pedro’s time here. Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that the Red Sox are building a new “team” image, and that stars like Nomar and Pedro don’t necessarily fit with that movement. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a very strange post on SoSH, purportedly originating from a staffer at the Providence Journal, (a Journal exec has since said it isn’t from anyone on their staff) commenting on this whole Pedro situation, making allegations that John Henry is a micro-manager, at odds with Larry Lucchino, and many other just plain weird stuff. It reads as if the author were under duress and in fear of being snatched by the KGB.

The news of Pedro’s decision yesterday afternoon left the Internet and airwaves abuzz. Patriots Monday on WEEI was once again hijacked by Red Sox talk, even though the hosts tried to keep it on the Pats. The most popular message boards for Red Sox fans…SoSH, RedSoxNation.net, couldn’t keep up with the traffic and crashed a few times. Even Boston Dirt Dogs was down for a few moments. Speaking of the latter, where is the line drawn? Reputable news site, or “Friars Club Roast” style site? If DD has a story on the site and it’s used by someone else, that person will be hunted down and demands (and threats) will be made to give credit to the site. (Just ask certain people at WEEI…they have the emails to prove it.) Insisting that the site is a news site…after all, Peter Gammons and others make reference to it, and it is owned by Boston.com and by extension the Globe and NY Times. Yet, at the same time, that site can post things like “Payback’s a bitch. And so is Pedro.”, which if ever called on about, the excuse will be given that it’s all in good fun and that’s what the site is all about. How can it be both ways? Would a reputable news organization such as the Globe or Times put something like that in their content? I realize that by writing this, I’m going to be on the receiving end of scathing emails, so in full disclosure, I’m serving notice that any nasty emails that come from that site will be posted here for all to see. So keep ‘em to yourself. By the way, the site is reporting today that Pedro refuses to take the Mets MRI. It also manages to trash Pedro’s ’99 playoff effort against the Indians. Yes, that’s on BOSTONDIRTDOGS.COM…making sure I give the proper credit here…

Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox options now that Pedro and his payroll money are gone. Do they turn to more offense, Edgar Renteria? What veteran pitchers are still out there? Michael Silverman says that a possible Manny Ramirez deal to the Mets hit a snag when Mets GM Omar Minaya all of a sudden asked for more cash than had been discussed, leading to an “angry exchange” between he and Theo Epstein. Heuschkel’s notebook reports that talks with Jason Varitek have “hit a snag.” Boston.com is reporting that Curt Schilling won’t be ready to pitch opening day, due to his ankle surgery. Hohler’s notebook says that the Red Sox have no plans at this time to trade Manny. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Red Sox selecting Adam Stern in the Rule V draft.

Patriots

Tuesday is grading day, and Kevin Mannix, Michael Parente and Steve Grogan all have their grades for the week. Grogan’s bit was a little more critical than he usually is. Mike Reiss says that the Patriots have work to do, and no one realizes that more than they themselves.

Nick Cafardo gets to write the story he’s been waiting for a long time to pen. Charlie Weis is a head coach somewhere other than New England. The first paragraph tells you all you need to know about Nick and the other writers like him. They want to be entertained. Results are optional. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriot loss is certainly Notre Dame’s gain. George Kimball looks at Weis vowing to bring Notre Dame back to glory. Tom E Curran says that the performance of Weis in dual roles for the rest of the season shouldn’t suffer. Alan Greenberg also looks at the challenge facing Weis and the Patriots for the next couple months. Michael Parente also looks at Weis being twice as busy now. If there is a controversy, Ron Borges is sure to weigh in. He opens his piece by chiding Bill Belichick for not giving a simple yes or not answer to the question whether this situation will be a distraction, yet closes that article by saying:

Can a man do all those jobs as fully as he could only one of them?

Probably not.

Will he be "distracted?"

Perhaps.

Yeah, way to take a stand and answer the question with a Yes or No, Ronnie. By the way, Rodney Harrison was asked if this whole “distraction” thing will be a factor to the Patriots and his answer was:

This past year and a half, there's been so many different ups and downs, and so many different distractions and we've managed to stay focused and I think that's one key of this team, our ability to stay focused and keep our eye on the prize and that's what we're going to continue to do.

In the above article, Borges had also said “distractions” was the most overblown term used around Foxboro (even more than “genius”, he said.) I guess the Ron Artest of the NFL is a liar, too. Rich Thompson has a piece on how Belichick is supportive of his friend Weis’ opportunity. Another Patriots writer emailed me to tells me that Weis was now “dead” to Belichick. I think he was kidding, but who knows. I don’t believe that information to be correct. Kimball also has a subscription column on how Weis plans to juggle both jobs for the time being, and how he owes both of them his best performance.

Bruce Mohl reports on another fan causing waves after having his season tickets revoked after a guest of his was arrested at a game. Curran’s notebook looks at the Dolphins up next, Miami has been playing a little better as of late, though the standings don’t show it. Parente’s notebook has a look at the Patriots pursuit of homefield advantage for the playoffs. Michael Vega’s Patriots notebook has more on how the staff plans to pick up the slack with Charlie Weis holding two jobs.

Somewhere, Bob Lobel is very happy with Pedro Martinez and Charlie Weis…

Celtics
Two words for the Celtics last night Ricky Davis. The Celtics swingman might’ve had a breakthrough performance for the green last night, scoring 34 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter as the Celtics stormed back from being down 12 with six minutes left in the game. The Celtics won in double overtime, 134-127. Paul Pierce had fouled out with a little over three minutes left, having scored 33 points himself. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett have the details from LA. The Celtics Blog has a more complete account of the action from last night, including the insane officiating. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce expressing a willingness to change his game if it is needed. Springer’s notebook catches up with former Celtic Chucky Atkins, now in LA with the Lakers.

Kevin Paul Dupont files an update on the NHL lockout.

ESPN has the Wyndham New Orleans Bowl, Southern Mississippi/North Texas at 7:30. ESPN2 has Illinois-Chicago/Duke college hoops at 9:00.

Pedro gone…

From the Boston Herald:

Sources say Pedro is gone: ANAHEIM -- After weeks of negotiations, all indications today pointed to Pedro Martinez ending his career as a Red Sox and accepting a four-year offer from the New York Mets, the Herald learned. According to sources, Red Sox officials were awaiting official word this afternoon that Martinez had accepted the offer to New York.

From the front page of Boston.com:

BREAKING NEWS: WBZ radio is reporting that it appears Pedro Martinez will be leaving the Red Sox to take a four-year, $50 million deal with the New York Mets. Nothing is official and neither the Red Sox or the Mets have made an announcement. -- Developing

Let the Distractions Begin

The local media covering the Patriots could be celebrating this morning, for many different reasons. A writer or two might be celebrating the fact that they personally liberated Charlie Weis from the evil Bill Belichick and personally got him a high profile coaching job. Of course, there’s not an ounce of truth to that theory, but they likely feel responsible anyway. Others are celebrating because the impending departure of Weis at the end of the season gives them almost unlimited speculative material. Every single day, every game, they can look at something and say “Are the Patriots distracted because of Charlie leaving?” “Will the Patriots suffer from Charlie trying to serve two masters?” Get used to it. The next two months you’re going to see and hear that topic beaten to death. This is not to say it isn’t a concern…of course it is…but not to the extent to which it’s going to be covered. But if any organization is capable of tuning out something like this, it’s the Patriots.


There was a football game in Foxboro yesterday, and the Patriots had some problems with the upstart Bengals, even though you never really had the feeling that the game was in danger. Michael Felger is the first to raise the “were the Patriots distracted by Weis” flag in a game story. Nick Cafardo says that except for three plays, the Patriot defense was awful. Tom E Curran writes that the Patriots once again showed the bend-but-don’t-break style of defense, and that Bill Belichick was not pleased after the game. Ian M Clark looks at the performance of Weis’ offense yesterday and speculates on possible replacements. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots escaping yesterday and coming out of it with a playoff berth. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots continuing their roll. Scott A Benson reviews the action from Gillette yesterday and tips his cap to Charlie Weis. Chris Kennedy looks at the Patriots winning the game, and the division.

Michael Felger looks at the details of the Charlie Weis deal with Notre Dame. Jackie MacMullan writes that the Patriots are losing a big part of their braintrust with the departure of Weis, and that he will be sorely missed. Mike Reiss looks at the questions that will be raised with the departure of Weis, and how it will affect the Patriots. Tim Weisberg looks at the hush around the Patriots regarding Weis. The other story of the day yesterday was Corey Dillon facing his old teammates. New Globie Fluto Shinzawa says Dillon is just thrilled to be in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Paul Kenyon looks at Dillon making a vow not to say anything negative about the Bengals. Alan Greenberg has more on Dillon’s deal with Mavin Lewis about the situation. Dan Pires says that Dillon has truly moved on from Cincinnati, as he has been reborn here and is loving life. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also has a piece on Dillon and how he isn’t providing the media with any juicy subplots to the season, he just wants to play football and win games.

Kevin Mannix looks at the performance of Tom Brady yesterday, who after being “barely average” (his exact words) the last two weeks, was back at his best yesterday. Michael Vega also looks at the performance of Brady, including a completion from the seat of his pants. When I saw that play, I just had one thought: Larry Bird. I’m not exactly sure why, but it just seemed to be the type of improvisational play you’d see from #33. Mike Reiss looks at Brady answering the criticism of his play from the last few weeks. Michael Gee (subscription only) wonders if Michigan alum Brady is going to be doing any recruiting for hated Notre Dame. Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots refusing to get too excited over clinching a playoff berth and winning the AFC East again. Jim Donaldson looks at the two-way play of Troy Brown, who is now tied for the team lead in interceptions. Rich Thompson also has a look at Brown hurting the Bengals on both sides of the ball.

Gus Martins and Paul Kenyon look at the play of the Patriots tight ends with Daniel Graham out yesterday. Frank Dell’Apa looks at the Patriots getting turnovers at the key time. Dan Ventura and Garry Brown look at a key turnover yesterday, the interception and return for a TD by Asante Samuel. Michael O’Connor looks at the Patriots receivers stepping up with David Givens out after coming up lame prior to the game. Paul Harber looks at the play that knocked Bengals QB Carson Palmer out of the game. George Kimball (subscription only) says that the Bengals are still trying to shake their “lowly” reputation, but that moral victories are no longing acceptable in Cincinnati. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Tyrone Poole easing back onto the field yesterday. Felger’s notebook looks at the big game by Richard Seymour. Curran’s notebook has more on Brady’s pass from the ground. Parente’s notebook looks at the silence around the Charlie Weis to ND talk for the Patriots.

Bob Hohler and Michael Silverman look at the Pedro Martinez situation. Hohler reports that Pedro hopes to make up his mind today, while Silverman says it’s more likely to happen in the next 48 hours. Silverman says the Tim Hudson to the Dodgers deal hit a snag Sunday night, and that the Red Sox would much rather have Hudson than Pedro. Tony Massarotti urges the Red Sox not to overpay for Pedro and to try to move heaven and earth in attempting to pry Hudson from the A’s. Dom Amore looks at the status of the Pedro talks and the Edgar Renteria situation. Gordon Edes and Jeff Horrigan look at a quiet Winter Meeting session for the Red Sox and all of baseball. In that piece, Edes looks at the Sox interest in Carlos Delgado as well.

Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News reports that the Red Sox offered Manny for Cliff Floyd and the Mets turned it down. He says that Red Sox want to free up money to sign Delgado and Renteria. Hohler’s notebook looks at Peter Gammons being being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Horrigan’s notebook also has the award for Gammons, as well as a look at David Ortiz getting his shoulder checked out. I’d also like to express congratulations to Mr Gammons for his award. As someone who grew up on the Sunday Baseball Notes in the Globe, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time…

Shira Springer has a piece on the Celtics having some reasons for optimism after a win in Seattle Saturday night. Steve Bulpett looks at the emergence of rookie Tony Allen, who has seen his role on the club expand with some impressive play out West. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics hoping for some carryover from Saturday night.

FSN will have Celtics/Clippers at 10:30. ABC will have Chiefs/Titans at 9:00. ESPN2 has Temple/Wake Forest at 7:00.

Double Duty for Charlie

Sunday links by Ben ([email protected])

Patriots
The Sox almost did it again. Push the Patriots right out of the news during their December playoff drive. Offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, took care of that problem, however, reportedly set to moonlight as the head coach of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Stories abound including those from the Boston Herald

Boomer On Board

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected])

Sox
But will he be here when they blow the place up? The Sox officially inked David Wells to a two year deal last night. The Globe’s Gordon Edes and Bob Hohler have the story on Boston.com (it didn

Free Form Friday?

A few media quick hits before getting into the links:

OK…I’m trying to reconcile something here. How can Dennis and Callahan be our moral guardians of the gate, expressing outrage over the Monday Night Football opener, and pressing their values on us at every turn, and still have “Mr Skin” as a regular guest and fawn over him while he’s on the program? Not that I’m really complaining, mind you, I’m just trying to determine if there is hypocrisy going on here, or if these two concepts can really be reconciled…

In another note, I’ve gotten some more information regarding the exit of Kevin Winter from 1510 following the Dakota in the Morning fiasco as outlined in John Molori’s piece yesterday. Winter was not fired, yet he is no longer working at the station, either. He was let go after the show was canceled, simple as that. There was no suspension or firing because of his role or conduct on the show.

According to the Inside Track, it looks like Bob Lobel is having a bit of a rough go of it in his personal life lately. Darn the success of the local sports teams, with two championships in 2004, those sports guys are forced to work long grueling hours and don’t have any time to properly attend to their families and rest or recover. (sarcasm intended) I like Lobel personally and hope he’s able to straighten his situation out and get himself back on track. (and out of the Track) C’mon, Bob pull yourself together. This is sports. (On a side note, can you imagine if this was an athlete that got into this situation…the media would be all over him…)

David Scott files a timely edition of Scott Shots, looking at the Globe and Red Sox (aren’t they sort of one and the same now?) hiring and firing practices. Hey Dave, don’t you know, that’s just the way they do things down there… Kevin Paul Dupont has more from Sean McDonough regarding his outster from Red Sox TV broadcasts.

Yes, I stayed up for that entire Celtics game last night. I know…I know…save the wisecracks. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett report on another late game collapse for the Green, who lost on a 25 foot heave at the buzzer by Shareef Abdur-Rahim. The Celtics Full Court Press looks at the job done so far by Doc Rivers in the early part of the season. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge coming to the defense of Paul Pierce.

Michael Silverman says that Pedro Martinez’s future with the Red Sox may well be decided in the next few days, following the team’s latest revised offer to the right hander. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti look at the Red Sox position and needs going into the Winter Meetings. Art Martone says that once Pedro and Jason Varitek decide if they’re coming back to the Sox or not, the rest of the offseason will likely fall in place quickly. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) continues his in print assertion that the Red Sox need to get a deal done with Pedro. He calls him a “primma donna pitcher” and he and his on-air cohorts continue to take shots at Pedro at any opportunity, but Gerry still wants him on the Red Sox. Dom Amore has a look at the Winter meetings as well. Jeff Horrigan also takes a look at the Red Sox objectives heading into this weekend.

Charlie Weis is getting (or already has had) his head coaching interview. According to the Globe, Notre Dame will talk to the Patriots offensive coordinator either today or tomorrow. Nick Cafardo and Mark Blaudschun report the story, But Notre Dame alum Jim Donaldson reports that ND has already talked to Weis earlier this week. He weighs in on whether Weis would be a good choice for the position. Michael Smith endorses Weis on ESPN.com. Mike Reiss has the story for the MetroWest, and it is the subject of Michael Felger’s notebook, who reports that if Weis gets the job, he could leave the team before the end of the season, possibly leaving the Patriots in a bind.

Frank Dell’Apa looks at the Bengal offense. Chris Kennedy says the Patriots are out for revenge on Sunday. Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente hit the “Corey Dillon facing his old teammates” angle, which I don’t think has been covered this week yet. Michael Felger and Ian M Clark have articles on Ted Johnson, and his strong play this season. Michael Gee (subscription only) shows signs of being a media person who “gets it” in reference to Bill Belichick. He says:

Belichick has a reputation for being close-mouthed. That's a very narrow view. The coach doesn't like to get into specifics and won't ever speculate.

But Belichick will discuss football theory, method, and process at length, taking pains to omit professional jargon. Belichick is truly pleased when laypersons get his point.

Belichick lets one see how his football mind works. That's real candor. What's more revealing than a person's first principles?

That’s quite contrast to the media types who complain about how “boring” Belichick’s press conferences are, and how he “drones” on. Gee gets a BSMW point for this bit. Tom E Curran looks at the season for Tom Brady and whether he really is in any sort of “slump”. Dell’Apa’s notebook looks at the Patriots rushing attack. Curran’s notebook looks at the Bengals top receiving duo. Parente’s notebook has the Patriots hoping for a little help from the Jets this Sunday.

Jim Baker isn’t amused by HBO’s regurgitated “Curse” program.

The Terminal

The Red Sox got a little bit of business done yesterday, meeting with Pedro Martinez in an airport terminal, and also signing former Diamondbacks closer Matt Mantei to a one year deal. Gordon Edes reports on both events. Interesting is the comment by David Ortiz regarding Pedro: “He ain’t going to no Mets”. Jeff Horrigan also reports on the meeting, and says there was no clear indication from Pedro about what he intends to do. David Heuschkel looks at the challenges facing Theo Epstein as he prepares to assemble his third Red Sox club. Lenny Megliola talks with Sean McDonough, who says that NESN and the Sox ripped his heart out by not bringing him back to broadcast games. Megliola says that McDonough was on the verge of tears while discussing this issue. Count me as a fan of McDonough as an announcer, and I think it’s too bad he’s out after 17 years of calling Red Sox games. Horrigan’s notebook has more on the signing of Mantei. Heuschkel also has a bit looking at the Red Sox priorities.

Before the winning streak started last year, Nick Cafardo used to like to refer to Bill Belichick’s career .500 record as a head coach. I think he’s found a new stat to trumpet, 5-13. That’s Belichick’s record with the Patriots before Tom Brady became the starter. Of course, that 5-13 record was compiled with Nick’s boy Drew Bledsoe at QB, so perhaps the worm has turned a bit in that regard. Nick’s piece today is a look at whether Brady is actually in a slump the last few games. Alan Greenberg looks at the improvement in Ty Warren over his rookie year, answering the critics who had already labeled him a first year bust. (Say hello, Ron.) Michael Felger and Tom E Curran look at the Patriots using their preseason loss to the Bengals as motivation for this Sunday’s rematch. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots only care about that preseason game because they lost. It means nothing to the Bengals. Chris Kennedy says that Marvin Lewis knows something about the pressure of trying to repeat as a Super Bowl champion. Mike Reiss has Belichick remembering Bengals founder Paul Brown. Karen Guregian has Corey Dillon downplaying his meeting with his old teammates. Christopher Price says the Patriots need to take care of the ball against the Bengals.

Cafardo’s notebook tackles another one of his favorite topics…contracts…this time looking at why Adam Vinatieri is still without a new deal from the Patriots. Felger’s notebook says that Tyrone Poole may not get his starting job back when he returns, thanks to the strong play of Randall Gay. Curran’s notebook has more from Belichick on Paul Brown. Parente’s notebook has Tom Brady unconcerned about his “slump”. Reiss’ notebook says that the Patriots and Bengals have different views on that August preseason game.

Jackie MacMullan has a terrific article this morning looking at Red Auerbach sitting down with the four Celtics rookies, who have bonded and become close friends, all living in the same complex. Auerbach has words of advice and wisdom for the youngsters, who collectively could hold a big key to the future of the team. Steve Bulpett has a follow up on his piece from yesterday. Gary Payton’s words were apparently well received by coach Doc Rivers, who was careful to also defend Paul Pierce, however. Shira Springer has Rivers emphasizing the need for the Celtics to get better on defense. Lenny Megliola wonders if Pierce is suffering from a seven-year itch and wouldn’t be better off being traded by the Celtics. Buddy Thomas says that Pierce is the Celtics star and go-to guy only in his own eyes. Bulpett’s notebook has Pierce laid up with a 104 degree fever.

John Molori’s Media Blitz details the reasons why the Morning Sports Brawl was canned by 1510 the Zone. He gets some interesting quotes in here from the people involved and in the industry, and speculates that Kevin Winter was fired as well.

TNT has Celtics/Blazers at 10:30. Spurs/Rockets is just prior to that game at 8:00 on the same network. ESPN has TCU/Kansas at 9:00 and ESPN2 will have Connecticut/UMass at 9:00.



12.08.04 Afternoon

A light afternoon for links, but some interesting items nonetheless. Scott A Benson looks at the playoff picture this week, who can clinch, who would be seeded where, and what Patriots fans should be hoping for this week. Eric McHugh says the Patriots are going to need a little help if they hope to secure the number one seed for the AFC. Glen Farley looks at Corey Dillon renewing old acquaintances this week. Mike Reiss has his daily update from Foxboro, where he looks at Tom Brady’s play the last two weeks and spots Tyrone Poole getting instruction from Romeo Crennel. McHugh’s notebook says that Charlie Weis is a candidate for the Notre Dame job.

A BSMW member posted the following on the message board this morning and I felt it captures the frustration of the sports radio listener quite well:

I've got to ***** about the AWGs this morning YET AGAIN. Once again, they were beating their "we can't talk about the Patriots because everyone thinks Belichick can't do anything wrong" horse at the start of the 8 o'clock hour because they've been taken to task for trying to turn small curiosities into major soap operas. Maybe they didn't realize it, but their brief whining was a tacit admission that they really are incompetent and ignorant "sports-talk" hosts who can't generate discussion unless there are palace intrigues and Melrose Place like antics going on with the local teams. They can't, you know, talk about the stuff on the field because that might actually take some work. It's much easier to stir up the natives when you can put a black hat on someone, a white hat on someone else, choose your sides, and stoke the ensuing blaze.

This couldn't have been further underscored not more than 30 minutes later when they started getting into Gary Payton's comments to Bulpett. Anyone who pays even a little bit of attention to the Celtics has come to understand that Paul Pierce's poor shot selection and decision making has been hurting this team for a while now. It's an interesting topic that I would think the "#1 Sports Radio Station in the Country" might have dealt with extensively in the past. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the AWGs talk about the Celts about as often as [the unabomber] bathes. This morning we've got a teammate in Gary Payton saying to Bulpett what we've all seen. BINGO! Tension! Intrigue! Dissension! The possibility of controversy! So finally, the AWGs jump on the Payton/Pierce topic, even though Pierce's issues could have been fodder for intelligent discussion for quite some time now.

(In case you’re wondering, AWG stands for “Angry White Golfers” – the official BSMW acronym for Dennis and Callahan.)

Callahan said on the show that they cannot discuss the Patriots on their program because their “listeners are not capable of handling it”. He said all listeners are basically Pete Sheppard-like clones who just sit around and say “Remember that long bomb Brady threw to Patten…that was AWESOME!!”. How about using your brains, radio show hosts, and coming up with an intelligent conversation. How about trying to figure out how the Patriots secondary has continued to get the job done despite having nickel and dime backs as your starters? Is it scheme, or are these guys pretty good? About Brady…is his completion % drop a result of struggles, or throwing more long passes because he has a running game now? Instead of just rehashing and contriving controversies…do some work. Foreign concept, I realize.

Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio reported that Pedro Martinez re-signing with the Red Sox is “imminent”. They also reported that the Sox have signed Matt Mantei. In the local afternoon papers, Mike Fine writes that the Sox are going to take their time with making moves this offseason. Bob Stern looks at Theo Epstein
taking a patient approach.

The Globe “moles” report that the second sportswriter hire (see yesterday afternoon’s post) is a college hockey writer…

The Glove Speaks Out.

The Celtics will get some play on the airwaves today, and not really for a positive reason. Things aren’t going so well in the early part of the season, and Gary Payton thinks some things need to change, starting with Paul Pierce’s game and attitude. Steve Bulpett has the view from Payton about the situation here, what he’d like to do to attempt to fix it, and the likelihood that this is his only season with the Celtics. Payton believes he needs to be allowed to take more control of the team and that Pierce’s life will be considerably easier if he were to fully commit to the running game. An interesting bit from Payton, and certainly from this perspective, something that is sorely needed on this squad.

Shira Springer, meanwhile, talks to Paul Pierce about the current state of the Celtics. The Captain, while frustrated with the team’s won-loss record and inconsistency, believes that the team is working towards a more unselfish style of play. On a totally different note, the saga that is the life of former Celtic Chris Herren took another sad twist early Monday morning when he was found unconscious in his car in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot after having crashed into the building. Heroin residue was found in the car. Mark Murphy, Jonathan Comey and Gregg Miliote all have articles on the incident. That last article is the only one to have quotes from Herren himself on the incident and what it means to his future. Bulpett’s notebook has Pierce’s view of the current Celtics situation and has an update on FSN announcer Mike Gorman’s condition.

As expected, the Red Sox offered salary arbitration to eight of their free agents. Each major paper has an article with essentially the same information. Michael Silverman’s piece has a source saying that Pedro will not accept arbitration, and that the Mets aren’t going to guarantee a fourth year for him. Gordon Edes says the Sox aren’t going to be making changes just for the sake of making changes. Sean McAdam also says the likelihood of Martinez accepting arbitration is slim, and that the Sox might make some moves at the Winter meetings in Anaheim starting tomorrow. David Heuschkel looks at the players involved and some other current Red Sox news items. David Borges also looks at possible Red Sox moves and decisions this winter. Joe Haggerty has more on the Red Sox.

With Nomar Garciaparra accepting a one year deal with the Cubs yesterday, Lenny Megliola says it’s hard to believe how far the former Red Sox shortstop’s stock has plummeted. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) says that Derek Lowe’s exit is probably the best thing for all involved. The Red Sox are worried about his struggles the last couple seasons (except for the postseason, of course) and the pitcher could probably use a fresh start somewhere else without all the pressure that comes with Boston. Dan Shaughnessy weighs in on the steroid issue and says that the real Evil Empire in baseball is the Players Association, not the Yankees. Michael Gee says he’ll vote for Barry Bonds for the Hall of Fame when the time comes, and that steroids are just another aspect of the game not really worth getting all worked up over. Jim Donaldson feels he’s got the answers to all the pressing problems in sports.

Michael Felger has an extended one-on-one interview with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who touches on becoming comfortable with who he is off the field, the perception in some quarters that he’s having an off year, the addition of Corey Dillon to the offense, and what the future holds for himself and Richard Seymour. Nick Cafardo talks to the parents of Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who actually live and work in Boston. Michael Parente looks at how the Bengals have yet to put it all together. Christopher Price looks at the talent on the Bengals roster.Chris Kennedy looks at the jumbled playoff picture.

Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at Corey Dillon facing his old team this Sunday, Charlie Weis not getting contacted by Notre Dame as of yet, the success of Jermaine Wiggins, and a couple other items. Cafardo’s notebook has some good information on the contract incentives of Corey Dillon.

ESPN has more college hoops tonight with Notre Dame/Indiana at 7:00 and Oklahoma/Purdue at 9:00. ESPN2 has Minnesota/Nebraska at 9:00. NESN’s SportsPlus will have Gordon Edes, Jackie MacMullan and Kevin Dupont to talk Red Sox hot stove, and Nick Cafardo also goes one-on-one with Ted Johnson.