12/07/04 Afternoon

Tom King writes that it’s time for the Patriots to get healthy. They’re going to need all their talent down the road when the playoffs arrive. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots need to find a way to keep Chad Johnson quiet this Sunday…in more ways than one. Glen Farley looks at the Patriots preparing for annual holiday season tradition…strong finishes in November and December. Paul Attner looks at Tom Brady being named the 2004 Sporting News Sportsman of the year. Regarding Brady, Bill Belichick says:

"There's hardly anything you can criticize the guy for," says the reticent Belichick, who hands out effusive praise about as often as he loses. "He works hard; he's well prepared; he treats every teammate with the ultimate respect; he doesn't expect anything that everyone else doesn't get, too. If he is doing it, then it's hard for anyone to say they can't do something. But it's not for show. If you bump into him working extra in the offseason, fine, but he doesn't make sure you know he is here."

Mike Reiss looks at some relevant stats for this weekend’s Patriots/Bengals matchup. McHugh’s notebook has Belichick explaining the rationale behind pulling starters in a blowout. Time, not the score is the biggest factor.

Kevin Thomas looks at the status of the Red Sox free agents, starting with Pedro Martinez, who has says does not merit a four year contract. Rob Bradford says those railing against Barry Bonds for cheating should save their indignation…cheating has always been a part of baseball.

Jon Goode catches up with Celtics legend Frank Ramsey. Eric Wilbur has a number of random thoughts from around the sports world.

Two sources say that the Globe is set to add a couple writers to the sports department. Chris Snow, who was an intern with the paper in 2002 is a likely addition and could go to the Red Sox beat. (Bob Hohler headed back to news? Or more feature stuff?) Snow has been covering the Minnesota Wild for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tuesday Grades

The quarterback and receivers get “C’s”, while it’s “A’s” and “B’s” for the rest of the Patriots in this week’s Report Card by Kevin Mannix. Must get tough grading a team that just keeps winning. The Professor seems to be reaching for things to grade tough on this club. Once again Steve Grogan has “A’s” for the Patriots offense and defense. A couple of contrived sports radio “controversies” are put to rest this morning by the newspapers. As he reported in his blog yesterday, Mike Reiss reports that Corey Dillon went back into the game Sunday to test his leg, not to reach some potential contract incentive. In addition, Ron Borges says that Bill Belichick was not running up the score on the Browns Sunday, calling that notion “a mini-controversy of the media’s making”. Borges still manages one or two passive-aggressive shots at Belichick, but overall is positive. It seems that Borges and Gerry Callahan might have exchanged bodies this morning, as Callahan spent a lot of time this morning railing against Belichick “rumpswabs” out there, and that he’s taking a stand to ensure that the Patriots coach doesn’t get away with this…what “this” is, isn’t exactly certain from this corner.

Alan Greenberg and Tom E Curran look at how a bad few minutes in Pittsburgh earlier this season could haunt them down the road. Michael Parente writes that the Bengals could be tougher than you would expect this Sunday. Marvin Pave and Rich Thompson look at the Patriots preparation for Carson Palmer. Chris Kennedy has a look at the Bengal offense, a group that has several big weapons. Christopher Price says the Patriots offense isn’t too shabby themselves. Hector Longo writes that Bill Belichick will have his work cut out for him the rest of the season, ensuring that there are no bumps along the way. Paul Kenyon looks at the improvement of second year defensive lineman Ty Warren. George Kimball (subscription only) has the breaking news that the Browns might be interested in Scott Pioli! In fact, he speculates that the compensation might be high enough that “Pioli might feel honor-bound to take it for the good of the Patriots.”

Pave’s notebook and Thompson’s notebook both have more on Warren. Kenyon’s notebook has Bill Belichick talking about why Corey Dillon was put back into the game for one play. Parente’s notebook also tackles this subject. Reiss’ notebook compares the Patriots schedule to that of the Steelers.

The Celtics lost their second straight game on the west coast, falling to the Warriors 110-106. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer report on the action from Oakland. The Celtics Blog also has a good recap of what happened in the game. Springer has another look back at a half effort Sunday night against the Kings. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the NBA avoiding an MLB-like steroid scandal. Springer’s notebook looks at the rejuvenated Raef LaFrentz. I also want to pass along wishes for a speedy recovery to Celtics FSN play-by-play man Mike Gorman, who was taken ill to the hospital with stomach cramps. Cedric Maxwell filled in with Tom Heinsohn last night.

Gordon Edes reports on John W Henry and Larry Lucchino scheduling a “social” visit with Pedro Martinez down in the Dominican Republic tomorrow morning. Tony Massarotti reports that the Sox are likely to offer salary arbitration to Pedro, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera and Derek Lowe. He also reports that Sean McDonough has been not been renewed as the voice of Friday night baseball on UPN38. Chaz Scoggins beats a tired drum as he tells us that:

Sorry to spoil the party, folks, but the worst thing that could have happened to the Red Sox was to win the World Series.

Gerry Callahan (subscription only) compares Barry Bonds to Pete Rose and says that the former, like the latter, should be banned from baseball for life. Joe Haggerty talks to former Sox farmhand Freddy Sanchez, who was happy to see his former club win it all. Patrick Smith of the Union Leader looks at the Sox interest in Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi. Steve Buckley (subscription only) informs us that he intends to vote for Wade Boggs and Jim Rice for the Hall of Fame, and explains his reasons why.

Bill Griffith has a peek at the new DVD from Carmer Productions and the Globe: “Boston’s Greatest Sports Stories: Beyond the Headlines”. I got my copy yesterday and intend to provide a full review here soon. I had it on last night, and the nearly three hour DVD has just about all you could hope for from a Boston sports documentary. Even Borges and Shaughnessy come across as actually liking sports and enjoying their jobs…as I said, more on that later, and we’re also putting together a promotion that will allow you to purchase the video through this site…

ESPN has college hoops with Pitt/Memphis at 7:00 and Oklahoma State/Syracuse at 9:00.

Jet Lag…

Just back from the West coast and not enough energy to file the full links, so here’s a few quick thoughts…

  • With the state of the local NFL franchise, why did the Globe feature an article on the interim coach of the Browns? Hint – there’s a Raiders connection.
  • Gerry Callahan has been waiting all season for something to pounce on regarding Corey Dillon. His hyperbolic comments this morning on WEEI regarding Dillon going back in to get two yards to finish with 100 seemed a bit transparent though.
  • Staying on that last point, Mike Reiss reports that the agent for Corey Dillon says there is no incentive clause for Dillon reaching 100 yards in a number of games.
  • Not to turn this into a Peter King style coffeenerdness blurb, but I had my first Krispy Kreme over the weekend. Now I see what the fuss is about.
  • As you might imagine, the steroid issue is HUGE on the West coast. Front page material in all Bay area papers, and atop the evening news.
  • A BSMW member suggested in jest this morning that perhaps the Globe should have Dan Shaughnessy cover the Patriots and Nick Cafardo the Red Sox. Not a bad idea. I enjoy reading both of them when they cover those teams instead of vice versa.
  • The Red Sox World Series Trophy made it to the West Coast last weekend, visiting a couple Red Sox hotspots out there.
  • I meant to post this last week, but eWeek has an article on the Red Sox IT Operations.
  • Gotta promote the BSMW brands, Patriots Rear View and Scott’s Shots both have new pieces up.

Hope to be back on the regular posting schedule tomorrow…

Bill Belichick Has Come Back to Cleveland!

Sunday links by Ben ([email protected])

NFL
The Patriots are in Ohio today for a matchup with the wounded Cleveland Browns at 1p. With their coach, Butch Davis, resigning in mid-week and uncertainty at quarterback due to injuries, the Patriots would appear to have an easy time with a club that put up a fight in rain soaked Foxboro last year before eventually succumbing 9-3. The Boston Herald

Glove’s Swipe Seals W for C’s

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected])

Celtics
Game stories: The C’s won their 3rd straight with another nailbiter. The action is detailed by the Herald’s Mark Murphy, the Globe’s Peter May, the ProJo’s Carolyn Thorton, and the Patriot Ledger’s Mike Fine.

In a pay column for the Herald, Michael Gee weighs in on Paul Pierce, and says unlike Toronto

Apology Accepted

Brief Friday links by Rich ([email protected])

Celtics
Pierce contrite: Well, it took Doc Rivers mini benching of Paul Pierce, but the WEEI airwaves had extensive Celtics talk for the first time in awhile, including guest appearances by both Danny Ainge and Gary Payton, who said that Pierce had apologized to Rivers and the team. The Herald

MANAGEMENT…STOP THE GONGS!!!

As the Bucks prepared to take the court for their final possession, Hells Bells blared over the PA system and Tommy Heinsohn screamed the above…easily the funniest moment in a night of drama at the FleetCenter. The Celtics won the game, 101-100, improving their record to 6-8, but the moment that will be remembered and talked about will of course be Doc Rivers pulling Paul Pierce with 4:45 left in the game after the captain failed to run the fast break all out. Games stories are provided by Shira Springer, Steve Bulpett and Shalise Manza Young. Pierce came in a couple minutes after the benching and hit a huge three point shot to essentially seal the game for the Celtics. Lenny Megliola says that Pierce and Rivers likely didn’t go out for a beer after the game, as Pierce quickly left the building without speaking on the matter. The BSMW Full Court Press concludes its two-part look at Pierce today. These comments were never more relevant than they are today.

The Mark Blount that the Celtics paid out 38 Million dollars to during the offseason finally showed up last night, putting in 16 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Peter May and Gus Martins look at the biggest night of the season for the Celtics center. Kevin Gray looks at ahead to NH’s own Matt Bonner facing the Celtics when he comes in with the Raptors on Friday night. May notes that the appeals process for the suspensions handed out by the NBA in the Pacers/Pistons fight is getting started. Buddy Thomas says the NBA is a shell of it’s glory days. Martins looks at John Havlicek coming in to honor Gary Payton for scoring his 20,000th NBA point. Springer’s notebook looks at Delonte West having hand surgery. Bulpett’s notebook says that increased time for Marcus Banks is the short term result. Young’s notebook looks at Payton being honored.

Ty Law made an appearance in the Patriots locker room during media time yesterday and the Pats cornerback talked about his injury and that he hopes to be back “in a couple weeks”. Nick Cafardo, Michael Felger and Mike Reiss all report on Law’s progress. Alan Greenberg also reports on Law as well as Matt Light, who practiced yesterday and did not even appear on the injury report. This is the second time in a few weeks that a Pats player has left the game with what appeared to be a serious injury that turned out to be minor. Tedy Bruschi in the Buffalo game was of course the other. Michael Parente has Bill Belichick’s opinion of the Browns, a team he feels could be sparked by the coaching change. Christopher Price also covers this angle. Tom E Curran looks at Belichick’s time in Cleveland and how it still affects him.

Chris Kennedy says the Patriots are just as worthy of the sportsmen of the year award as the Red Sox are. This is a theme covered by David Pevear of the Lowell Sun earlier this week. Mark Farinella writes an “open letter” to the Krafts, pleading them to allow High School football games to be played at Gillette. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that Tom Brady may not make the Pro Bowl this year, (he feels Manning, Brees and Roethlisberger will likely be the choices) but he’s the number one QB in the league when it counts. The Financial Times reports that the Krafts may be part of a group looking to purchase a European Soccer Franchise.

Cafardo’s notebook has Belichick wary of the Browns. Felger’s notebook has more from Belichick on Cleveland. Curran’s notebook also pursues this theme. Reiss’ notebook looks at the Browns QB situation. Kennedy’s notebook and Parente’s notebook each look at Ty Law.

Bob Ryan looks at the Pedro Martinez situation, trying to read the tea leaves and figure out what exactly is going to happen with the erstwhile Sox ace. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also looks at the Pedro talks, and says that if Martinez insists on a fourth year, than the Sox should just say farewell. He praises Theo Epstein for his bottom-line approach. David Heuschkel says that the Sox are already trying to find a replacement for Pedro. Sean McAdam says that the Mets are already looking to sweeten their offer to Martinez. Bob Hohler looks at the Sox trying to cover all options for adding pitching to their club, both free agents and trades. Michael Silverman looks at the Yankees supposedly pulling out of talks for Randy Johnson, and if this means they could again be players for Pedro. Kevin Gray reports on John Valentin joining the NH Fisher Cats as hitting coach. Does this mean putting his media career on hold? Silverman’s notebook says things might be looking up in the Varitek contract talks.

The big story on sports radio and likely TV as well is from this article in the San Francisco Chronicle which reports on Jason Giambi admitting to talking steroids.

There may be no links tomorrow as I will be out of town. Unless one of the weekend guys has time to put a post together, you might be on your for stories…

TNT has Mavs/Rockets at 8:00 and Cavs/Nuggets at 10:30.

Weary Wednesday

Just a few links today as time has again snuck up on me.

In what may turn out to be a weekly feature, Scott A Benson of Patriots Rear View has a look at the playoff picture in the AFC…who stands where, what the seedings would be, and what Patriots fans should be hoping for this week. Michael Felger has his Patriots Insider, and this week he looks at players the Patriots have let go the last few years and how they’ve fared elsewhere. Marvin Pave looks at the Patriots versatility. Jonathan Comey says that the Pats are making it look easy. Felger also looks at how the openings at Cleveland and Notre Dame affect Charlie Weis.
Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox have talked to the Diamondbacks about Randy Johnson. Michael Silverman and Bob Hohler report that the Red Sox will not go beyond three years for Pedro Martinez. Kevin Gray talked to Alan Embree yesterday in Manchester. Silverman’s notebook looks at the Sox interest in Jose Valentin, Jeff Kent and others. Hohler’s notebook looks at the playoff shares.

Steve Bulpett looks at the frustration of Paul Piece. The BSMW Full Court Press weigh in on what Pierce’s future might be in Boston. Shira Springer looks at the injury to Delonte West and how it benefits Marcus Banks. Mark Murphy has a shorter look at the same topic.