Rough night on the road

It was a rough night on the hardwood for the locals last night, as both the Celtics and Boston College fell on the road. Also on tap are a couple Mark Bellhorn articles, reports on the Opening day ring ceremony, a note from Howard Bryant, and some interesting speculation on the Patriots from Michael Felger.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett bring us the reports of the Celtics getting routed in Denver by the Nuggets. The trade deadline is at 3:00 PM this afternoon, and according the Bulpett’s notebook, it doesn’t look like Gary Payton is going anywhere, in fact, he cites a league source that says Payton and the Celtics are talking about a new contract. He does say though that Jeri Welsch is a strong candidate to be traded today. Tim Weisberg has an article on possible moves involving the Celtics today. Springer’s notebook has Danny Ainge saying that there is “nothing going on” in regards to the trade front. An excellent resource for tracking the Celtics trades and rumored trades today is the Celtics Blog.

BC Falls

Michael Vega and Mike Shalin have the details of BC’s 76-70 loss at Villanova last night, only the second of the season for the #3 ranked Eagles. Ted Sarandis was going nuts over the officiating last night on his broadcast, and the home town calls for Villanova is the subject of Shalin’s notebook, in which Craig Smith muses over the favorable officiating received by the Wildcats.

Red Sox ringing in the new season

David Scott is once again providing a Spring Training caravan (still looking for sponsors) for BSMW. Today is the first entry in the series as he hits Florida running in anticipation of today’s visit to the Nationals training site.

Jeff Horrigan and Chris Snow each have articles on Mark Bellhorn this morning, as the Red Sox second baseman is looking to put together productive back-to-back seasons, something that has eluded the extremely quiet Bellhorn for a number of years now. Dan Shaughnessy tells us the tale of a Red Sox film that will never be seen by the public…Mike Timlin’s “The New Red Sox Movie”, shot by Timlin during the playoffs last year and then sent to a professional videomaker for touching up. Timlin sent a copy to all his teammates, members of the front office and clubhouse personnel. Karen Guregian has a short look at reserve outfielder Jay Payton.

Yes, the rabid dogs can be called off…the Red Sox will receive their World Series rings during a ceremony on Opening Day. David Heuschkel reports on the decision and also has reaction from George Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter. David Borges also looks at the planned celebration, which is planned to happen in a “triple crown” fashion. Steven Krasner and Karen Guregian have more on the plans. Snow’s notebook also mentions the event as does Horrigan’s notebook. Krasner’s notebook looks at the Red Sox…including Pedro Martinez…being invited to the White House on March 2. Borges’ notebook also reports on the invitation.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) examines how the Blue Jays, Orioles and Devil Rays can possibly hope to compete while in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. Their payrolls are 50 million, 48 million and 26 million respectively. The Yankees will spend over 200 million, while the Red Sox will spend 135 million. Speaking of Bryant, I had wondered out loud yesterday about his reference to Gary Sheffield as a “cool cat”. Bryant sent me an email last night and with his permission it is reprinted here:

----- Original Message -----
From: Howard Bryant
To: Bruce Allen
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 7:02 PM
Subject: Cool cats

Hi Bruce,

I've been alerted that you wondered aloud about my calling Gary Sheffield one of the "coolest cats around." I took a look on the site and saw the reference. My response is very simple:

He is.

Sheffield is totally unvarished. Never off the record, sometimes contradictory, but always interesting. He does not shy away from uncomfortable topics and will tell you that you're full of sh*t, if indeed you are. He's not a polished pol like Alex Rodriguez, whose image is so carefully cultivated that you don't really know if he knows himself. Nor is he like Nomar Garciaparra, who has strong opinions and could be a very interesting person but whose quirks and suspicions (and hatred of my profession) are so strong that he will never let you see him.

There are others, guys who "get it" in a lot of ways. They make the job easier; you can talk to them about everything, instead of standing in the middle of the room with the other hacks. They give you insight about the life and have, unimpeachable style.

My cool cat list is short, but I will defend it:

Gary Sheffield
David Ortiz
Jason Giambi
Dmitri Young (the only one on the list I never covered)
Robin Ventura
Frank Menechino
Pokey Reese
Barry Zito
Ellis Burks
Tony Phillips (Sorry, he belongs on the Krazy Kat list)
Rondell White
Orlando Hernandez

They all get that designation from me. The problem is that three of those guys have already retired.

Feel free to publish my response.

HB

It wasn’t a big deal, but I appreciate the response. I guess I was just wondering what image is being presented when a guy who has admitted to using steroids, (though he claims is was unknowing use) is being called one of the “coolest cats around”. I understand what Bryant was trying to say here, I guess I’m just uncomfortable with the word “cool” being associated in any context with a steroid user. That doesn’t take into consideration the admission from Sheffield that he was deliberately making errors in an effort to get himself traded from the early 1990’s Brewers.

BB as OC of the NEP?

Michael Felger reports on the Patriots hiring a couple assistant coaches and releasing four players yesterday. Joel Collier was hired as assistant secondary coach, and you might recall as pointed out by Felger that he was promoted to be the Dolphins offensive coordinator last year, but quickly stepped down from that position. He served as the Dolphins running backs coach, but had also coached on the defensive side of the ball for his first four season in Miami. He had also coached on the Patriots under Dick MacPherson. Here is an article on Collier from last year on the NFLHS website. Felger also speculates that the Patriots may not name an offensive coordinator at all, instead perhaps choosing to spread out the duties among several members of the staff. Michael Parente and Tom E Curran also have reports on the moves. Nothing from the Globe.

Misc

Bill Reynolds has a piece on Jimmy Walker, who was passed last night by Ryan Gomes as Providence College’s all time leading scorer. Jackie MacMullan has a feature on Boston College women’s basketball player Jessalyn Deveny, who was the team’s captain and top scorer, but who suffered a torn right Achilles’ which ended her college career.

Media/Tonight

Bill Griffith, Lenny Megliola and Dean Johnson all have reports on WEEI announcing the hiring of Michael Holley to co-host alongside Dale Arnold the 10-2 “Dale & Holley” show, which will begin March 1st. John Molori’s Media Blitz has Steve DeOssie weighing in on the steroid issue.

TNT has Sixers/Knicks at 7:00 and Kings/Mavs at 9:30. ESPN2 has Marquette/Cincinnati at 9:00 and Gonzaga/Portland at 11:00. NESN has the replay of World Series Game 3 Red Sox/Cardinals.