Dirk better than Larry?

I had a few requests and inquires about a segment on WWZN yesterday with Cedric Maxwell talking about Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird. To clarify, the conversation was pretty light hearted, it did not get heated like the transcript from yesterday. Here’s the entire segment:


Billy Fairweather: Hey Max, Set the record straight because I had somebody in the hallway here tell me just a moment ago that you thought that Dirk Nowitzki was such a great player, he might even be better than Larry, and I said there’s no way those words ever came out.

Cedric Maxwell: Yeah, I did.

BF: You did?

CM: I just talked to Jerry Stackhouse about that. Not to say he’s a better player, I’m just saying he’s a better athlete, and there’s a lot of things that he can do that Larry Bird wouldn’t be able to do. Now I know that’ssacrilegious, and I might get cut off here by Eddie

Eddie Andelman: No you wouldn’t, because Larry couldn’t run as well as Nowitzki

CM: That’s my basic premise. Now this kid, he’s seven foot one, he has better foot speed, just as good a jump shot, if not better, he’s probably a better rebounder than Larry, umm…he can block shots better. Now Larry Bird was just a great player, instinctively. Now, is Dirk better physically than Larry? Yes, I still think if you had to pick between the two, and you had a physical specimen on the side and they were playing, I think you would pick Dirk. But from a purely basketball standpoint, You have to look at another thing about Larry Bird, look at the people that Larry Bird played with. Yes he played and made people better, but Larry Bird also played with guys who are Hall of Famers.

BF: Max, is there a history of memory loss in your family?

CM: No there’s not, now you tell me where I’m wrong.

EA: ah Max, let me ask you the question another way. He certainly can run better than Larry, there’s no question. Rebounding, I don’t think he’s better than Larry, cause Larry got better position. But let me put it to you another way. You’re starting a basketball team tomorrow and you can pick any player other than Russell. Who would be the first guy that you pick, would you pick Nowitzki or would you pick Larry?

CM: No, I wouldn’t pick either one of them. I’d pick Shaq. (laughs all around)

BF: Are you saying Max that if you had the choice to pick between those two guys in their prime?

CM: Yes, if I had my choice in their prime, right now, between the two players, I would take Dirk. I’m not kicking at Larry, Because I think Larry..Larry was one of the greatest players to play the game. But again, If I had just pure physical ability, and if you take it from top to bottom, well, you tell me, what does Larry do better than Dirk does?

EA: I’ll tell you what he does – he leads the team better. His will to win is better, his will to improve his game is better, and I think clutch shooting.

BF: Passing

CM: Have I heard you guys say any physical attributes at all?

EA: no, no

CM: Is there anything physically that you can say that Dirk is not better?

EA: No, Max, No one’s going to argue, you couldn’t argue, on who could run better, ah, but Dirk can’t pass as well as Larry, I could tell you of the things that Dirk could do better, but I would take Larry on my team, nothing to do with being a home guy or anything else Max, and I think Nowitzki is a great player, the Celtics as you know, almost had him…

BF: …and may be as close a player as there has been to Larry that’s come along in a long time.

CM: Well, I think, you know what you’re going to get an opportunity to see him tonight. And you’ll get a chance to see what I say. You know one thing that Dirk does, probably a bit better than Larry does is the fact that he does have that foot speed. So what he does, and he’s taller – Dirk Nowitzki is seven foot, probably seven foot one, and he can take you on the outside, and knock down the jump shot, not only can he post you inside, but he can drive by you and get to the basket. Larry had, Larry did not have the foot speed to get past you.

BF: but you know, Larry didn’t get beat down the court too often though, either

CM: Excuse me?

BF: Larry didn’t get beat down the court too often though, either, on either end.

CM: Wait a minute, Did I hear…are you having memory problems?

BF: Are you going to tell me that Larry wasn’t there on the break?

CM: Wait a minute, who do you think was closer out there, me or you? (laughs all around)

BF: Well, look, you know I’m going to concede that to you.

CM: Who do you think was covering Larry’s man from time to time? Who do you think made all-defensive team and I didn’t make all-defensive team? Okay. I’m not kicking at Larry, Larry was a great player, I tease Larry today. But the simple fact is, from a physical standpoint, Dirk is a better player. Now his will, now all the intangibles that you guys are throwing in, makes Larry Bird the better player. But from a physical, from a purely physical basketball…

BF: But Max, that’s not what you’re saying, what you’re saying is that if you were starting a basketball team today, and both guys are in their prime, you’re going to take Nowitzki over Larry Bird.

CM: I’m still saying…

BF: You’re not saying physical,

CM: I’m still saying, no I just told you what he would do, but again, you’re asking me if I’m a GM and I had to pick between the two guys, I’d take Dirk.

Conversation turns to current Celtics team

All Over The Place

A disappointing night for the Celtics, but a number of very good articles in the newspapers from this morning. The Red Sox trade away Byung-Hyun Kim, there are a number of articles on the Red Sox and Yankees (every day, it seems) and a good number of football articles, including some interesting pieces from Mike Reiss and Eric McHugh.

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks sent the Celtics to their fourth straight loss last night, a 112-100 setback which had Doc Rivers closing the lockerroom for 30 minutes following the game. However, Shira Springer says that Rivers has not yet hit panic mode with his club. Steve Bulpett says that last night will likely see an exodus from the Celtics bandwagon, and if the team doesn’t improve their fundamentals, it could be a quick transition to the Red Sox. Carolyn Thornton notes that one thing Rivers emphasized to his team was the need to stick to the game plan. Lenny Megliola takes a look at Doc Rivers’ concerns with his team and gets input from Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker as well. Peter May has an article on Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, who started the season as a player, but is now the head coach of the team, replacing Don Nelson. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Celtics need to share the ball on offense better instead of breaking down into a 1-on-1 team. Mark Murphy has a pair of articles on Antoine Walker, the first looking at his recent struggles from the field, and River’s annoyance at Walker inserting himself into a staredown between Kendrick Perkins and Nowitzki. The second piece from Murphy has Mark Cuban expressing some kind words and admiration for Walker. Springer’s notebook has more on Walker’s struggles, and incident with Nowitzki. Bulpett’s notebook has Rivers taking comfort in the standings. Thornton’s notebook has more from Cuban on Walker.

The Red Sox finally shipped Byung-Hyun Kim out of town yesterday, sending the submarining right hander to the Rockies. Gordon Edes, Jeff Horrigan, David Heuschkel and David Borges all report on the trade, which was done in a pretty creative manner which will end up saving the Red Sox some money as to opposed to if they had kept Kim. Is Eddie Andelman taking notes? Theo saved the minority owners some money! Tony Massarotti has more on Epstein erasing his only critical blunder. Chris Snow has an enjoyable article about Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller. Get off your knees Chris. (That’s a reference to another Andelman comment) Christopher Price files a notebook-style piece on thoughts from Spring Training. Buddy Thomas (is he a Yankees fan in addition to a Colts fan?) makes his baseball predictions, division by division.

The Herald trots out another pair of Upside/Downside dueling articles, this time on baseball addressing its problems. Steve Buckley takes the upside, saying that the league and players are working to correct issues such as steroids. Karen Guregian says that the damage is already done, and that fans are unlikely to forgive and forget. Buckley has a subscription column in which he says that an effort to get the Red Sox and Yankees to line up and shake hands before the game on opening night would be an “overly contrived stunt” and “terribly patronizing to kids”. I would agree. Many on both teams don’t like each other, but they do have grudging respect for the other team. As Buckley says, just play ball. Rick Massimo has a review of the book, Blood Feud: The Red Sox, the Yankees & the Struggle of Good versus Evil. The review describes it as a book “by, and for, fans — it combines history with the slow savoring, and reliving, of the Red Sox’ ultimate triumph.” Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that once again the two team division of the AL East is ready to start play, noting the farce that is the “random schedule” as the Sox and Yankees each open at home against each other, open the second half against each other, and finish the season against each other.

Edes’ notebook reports on Tim Wakefield’s contract situation. The knuckleballer’s deal ends after the season, and while there were contract talks earlier in the spring between the two sides, it appears nothing will get done until after the season. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Mike Myers returning to the Red Sox. The lefty reliever feels like he never left, and is happy to be here. Borges’ notebook looks at one of the strengths of the Red Sox, a very deep and talented bullpen topped off with one of the best closers in the game.

Mike Reiss has a very good article on Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who spoke last night at Bryant College, speaking on a number of topics, such as building a team, developing a career, some tales from coaching, and when asked about Tedy Bruschi, he said that he comes in everyday, he’s getter better, and has a smile on his face like he always does. This would probably be the type of article that would drive certain other writers in town nuts. They would accuse Reiss of waving the pompoms, or ingratiating himself, but I believe this is the type of thing the fans want to read. I’m guessing it will be one of the most read links on this site today. Michael Felger reports on the progress of Rodney Bailey, who is eager to get out on the field and contribute this season after missing all of last year with a torn achilles. Eric McHugh has a short piece on Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels, but he also has a piece on McDaniels’ father, Thom, who mentored Maurice Clarett in high school, and who believes the running back just needs some “tough love”. Could he get that with the Patriots? With the direct connection to a member of the Patriots coaching staff, who knows? John Altavilla has a look at the NFL Draft, but mostly from the perspective of the Giants. Nick Cafardo has a report on the NFL looking to toughen its own steroid policy.

Mark Blaudschun looks at an older, wiser Rick Pitino, able to enjoy coaching once again.

John Molori’s Media Blitz lists out a number of items in the sports media world as of late, and looks at them from a good news/bad news perspective.

Dennis & Callahan announced this morning that Curt Schilling will be a guest of the program each Tuesday during the 9:00 hour starting next week.

TNT has Bulls/Cavs at 8:00 and Timberwolves/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN has the NIT championship, South Carolina/St. Joseph’s at 7:00. NESN has Red Sox/Diamondbacks at 8:30.

Ryen vs. Eddie

During Eddie Andelman’s show today, Ryen Russillo came on to challenge Eddie about his constant bashing of Theo Epstein. Here is the full transcript of the conversation, it got fairly heated at times and is worth a full read.

RR: I gotta come after you Eddie, this

How Many More Days Till the Opener?

A variety of stories in the papers today, Curt Schilling’s latest steppingstone in his rehab, Red Sox/Yankees talk, a couple Patriots items, and a number of articles on Gary Payton’s back as the Celtics prepare to take on the Dallas Mavericks tonight at home. A couple more emails and other articles complete today’s posting.

Curt Schilling pitched in a minor league game yesterday and made more progress as he continues his return from ankle surgery. Chris Snow says that Schilling felt very encouraged by his arm angle and stuff yesterday. Jeff Horrigan writes that yesterday could’ve been the moment that triggers another successful season for Schilling. David Heuschkel says that Schilling is aiming for the first series at Fenway as a possible return to the rotation. David Borges also reports on Schilling. Dom Amore reports on the game between the Red Sox and Yankees yesterday, a low key affair won by Boston 7-2. Sean McAdam says that the two teams are ready for the grind of the regular season including the 19 head to head matchups. Michael Gee (subscription only) claims that the biggest thing the Red Sox have going for them is their success against Mariano Rivera. Jonathan Comey says he doesn’t like what he’s seeing from the Red Sox either this spring. He lists out five reasons for his discomfort. Gordon Edes has an article (and slide show) on Randy Johnson talking about the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Tony Massarotti writes that the Yankees have the edge in the pitching department, which Joe Torre says might be the best he’s ever had. Massarotti says Boston fans are blind to this.

Many Boston sports followers are still inhaling the fumes from the outbreak of local championships, and they're so high now that they cannot see straight. That has been the annoying side effect in this golden era of Bill Belichick and Theo Epstein, two leaders who have cultivated such blind faith that nobody bothers to question them anymore.

So is Tony volunteering to become the Ron Borges of the Red Sox beat? The big debate on The Big Show revolved around whether Red Sox fans have lost their edge, and if the team will get a pass this year because of the World Series victory. Be prepared for an onslaught of that discussion as the season goes on, especially if the Red Sox struggle. The Herald does another Upside/Downside discussion today, the issue being the new steroid policy and the future of the game. Karen Guregian says that baseball is taking steps in the right direction, while Steve Buckley writes that there are still a number of disturbing problems facing the game, despite the recent surge in popularity. Buckley also has a short subscription only column talking with one of the construction crew working on the latest renovations to Fenway. The man believes the Red Sox are doing the right thing in staying in the park and making changes to it. Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that after the bad examples of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, etc, Johnny Damon is the latest to show us that ballplayers shouldn’t be role models with the information in his book about the end of his marriage. Edes’ notebook and McAdam’s notebook look at the return of Mike Myers, the Herald notebook also looks at Myers and says that the Sox might be close to sending Byung-Hyun Kim to the Rockies.

A couple emails from the inbox yesterday:

----- Original Message -----
From: William H
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 10:57 AM
Subject: BSMW Thoughts

Hi Bruce--

I enjoy your site when I get the time to browse it, but fear after reading this morning your outrage over Shaughnessy's excerpt that you may be getting too sensitive. I have objected over the years to a number of Dan's tactics--submarining players with an ambiguous 'on the record/off the record' policy; employing childish insults (Offerman) to emphasize arguments; mailing in slapdash copy more frequently as he gets older--but I can't agree that he has always been out to "profit from the pain" of the Red Sox fans. Fact is, for years the Sox broke our hearts. Last year they warmed them. Dan chronicled it as every journalist did, and his copy reflected what took place on the field. Simple as that. In his opinion--a lazy one, if you ask me, but still his opinion--extraterrestrial factors were at work. This was not the opinion of one man, but a consensus of conspiracy theorists nation-wide. It was a silly theory, and I don't think readers should stoop to Dan's level in implying that he had in mind a grand plot to make money off of all this drama. He isn't that smart.

I like your site, and I think the media stars in Boston need it--Borges, Cafardo, Stearns more than most--so I don't want to see you jump the shark by overreacting. Keep up the good work,

Liam H
Washington, D.C.

Is it possible to defend Dan Shaughnessy while trashing him at the same time? I do think there is a good point here, there’s always difficult point of trying to determine where the point of “piling on” is reached. It is ironic that many of the media types who use this tactic for whatever agenda they have, are the first to accuse me of doing the same. I try not to do it, but I’m sure I’m guilty of it at times. Here’s another email that addresses a long standing point of contention in the hallways of BSMW:

----- Original Message -----
From: D___, Michael H.
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 6:25 PM
Subject: Sports Media "Knowledge"

Bruce,

When reading your Shaughnessy comments and reader emails today I was reminded of something you often mention that goes largely unnoticed by the rest of the media and many of the listeners / readers of the Boston sports scene. I

Tame Tuesday

Another light morning for the daily links, so in addition to Red Sox coverage, I have a mini “Mailbag”, which has some readers giving some thoughts on Dan Shaughnessy. We also have updates on Gary Payton’s back, and some NCAA tournament coverage. A couple media columns round up the day’s links.

In the area of Red Sox links, Jeff Horrigan, Sean McAdam, Chris Snow and David Borges report on David Wells giving up five runs in yesterday’s spring training game, and then pronouncing himself ready to go for opening night on Sunday. Tony Massarotti reports on Kevin Millar, who is hoping to put together a complete season with the Red Sox this year, after putting up two season where he was hot for half of the season and cold the other half. The Herald has a pair of its columnists squaring off in giving the upside and downside of the current state of baseball. In the upside, Steve Buckley looks at how more and more players are playing past the age of 40. Not just playing, but dominating. George Kimball takes the downside and says that having all these senior citizens in baseball is retarding the development of younger players, claiming there are no players under the age of 21 in the major leagues.

Gordon Edes talks with Yankees starter and former Red Sox farmhand Carl Pavano, who picked the pinstripes over the Sox this past offseason. Pavano talks about missing out on meeting Curt Schilling as a 12 year old, picking the Yankees this winder and his friendship with another former Sox prospect, Brian Rose. Joe Sullivan of the Union Leader writes about a poster that caught his eye in a Manchester pub, a poster of Orlando Cabrera hitting in the World Series. He was so transfixed by the poster that he just had to find out more about it. Jack Perry of the ProJo relates his experience taking his family to Red Sox spring training. Horrigan’s notebook today says that the Red Sox will not show any of their starting pitchers to the Yankees in today’s spring training game. John Halama and Byung-Hyun Kim will get in some work today.

With the baseball (and other) links a bit sparse today, I figured I’d share a couple emails I’ve gotten in the last day or two. A couple deal with my comments regarding Dan Shaughnessy’s new book. The first is from Charlotte, who writes:

----- Original Message -----
From: Charlotte
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 10:56 AM
Subject: Shaughnessy's book

Dear Bruce:

Thank you so much for your comments on Shaughnessy's book. I've been telling everyone I know NOT to buy it, not only because of CHB's moronic "curse" milking but also (and even more importantly) because of the man's incessant trashing and backstabbing of Red Sox players over the years. His insane attack (which continues to this day) on Doug Mientkiewicz was the last straw.

I posted a poll at theremyreport.com asking for opinions on which new member of the Red Sox will be the first to be trashed by Shaughnessy. The "winner" was Edgar Renteria. I left off David Wells because Wells would probably stuff CHB head-first into a whirlpool.

Keep up the great work - I love your site.

Sincerely yours,

Charlotte

I’d have to say that I get quite a lot of emails along this vein. I wonder if Shaughnessy and his employers really know how much he has turned off a lot of people over the years. Here’s another:

----- Original Message -----
From: Rocky
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 4:53 PM
Subject: Shank's sham

Shaughnessy is the L Ron Hubbard of the Boston sports scene. The guy creates a "curse" sycophantic saps buy into it,and the smirking Shank cashes his checks. He's hack in the vein of Lobel, Andelman, Dennis, Lynch... highfalutin' creeps who don't care all that much about sports and know next to nothing about them.

My hope is that new tome is a Buck a Book stalwart,but since I'm a realist,I know the book will be a success. Life sucks.

Rocky in Southie

The L Ron Hubbard of the Boston sports scene, I kind of like that one. There are quite a few others in a similar tone, but not fit for publishing on a family site like this. Ok, here’s one more, a little different angle:

----- Original Message -----
From: "mike b"
To: [email protected]>
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 12:03 PM
Subject: What are they teaching at Harvard these days?

Bruce,

How I fear for dear old Harvard!

My brother in-law is a smart, Harvard educated fellow who by all measures is a rousing success. Yet for some reason , after years away, he has started reading Shaughnessy again.

It may be time to burn down the place. Here's why. (From Shaughnessy's column Sunday:)

"It is therefore no surprise that Steinberg took an interest in the young Theo Epstein. By 1992, he was the Orioles' director of public affairs, overseeing four departments. He'd reviewed 10,000 resumes and interviewed more than 1,000 young candidates when Epstein went to see him during spring break in 1992."

Let's see. Ten thousand resumes, at one minute per resume, comes to 166.67 hours, or a little more than four work weeks. One thousand interviews, at roughly 30 minutes per candidate, comes to 500 hours, 12.5 workweeks. Combined, that equals nearly 17 workweeks -- one-third of the working year -- devoted to finding a single unpaid intern!

No wonder the Orioles were such a mess.

Realistically, either Shaughnessy made those numbers up, or Steinberg made them up and old afro-head was too dumb to do the math. And now he's got Harvard grads falling for it. Can anything be done?

Mike B

The column referred to here is actually an excerpt from the book. Now I realize there was likely some exaggeration involved there to make a point, but that’s not even the statement that jarred me the most. That would be this one:

Like John F. Kennedy's, Giamatti's term in office was cut short by an early death

Huh? A. Bartlett Giamatti = John F. Kennedy?You’ve got to be kidding me. I first saw the quote on the message board here on the site, and thought someone had to have made it up as a Shaughnessy parody.

Mark Murphy looks at how Antoine Walker’s role with the offense may need to increase if Gary Payton’s bad back hampers him from playing or playing big minutes the next couple games. Marvin Pave looks at Payton’s sore back, and whether he would be risking further aggravation if he tries to play through it. Murphy’s notebook has more on this topic.

Bob Ryan says yes, this could be the most exciting NCAA tournament ever, but he’s still not happy. He doesn’t like the three-point shot in the college game, at least from the distance that the NCAA puts it. It’s too easy, he says. Jeff Jacobs looks at a 12 year run in Connecticut coming to an end. For the first time in that period, neither the mens or womens basketball teams made the elite eight with a chance to go to the final four. Mark Blaudschun looks at how the final four teams made it there. Lenny Megliola looks at Rick Pitino, and offers up his top three memories of Pitino in Boston. The first is from BU, the other two from his arrival and departure from the Celtics. Michael Gee (subscription only) also has a piece on Pitino, but says we should chalk up his time with the Celtics as a “seemed like a good idea at the time” blunder. Jon Couture says that Travis Ford is an appropriate choice for UMass.

Bill Griffith looks at 10 years of Revolution Soccer on Television. He has a few other notes, such as WEEI winning their second straight “Station of the Year” award from the Sports Radio Awards and also that UPN38 will be added to the Comcast HD tier in time for the Red Sox/Yankees opener Sunday night. Boston Radio Watch also reports on WEEI and had word of the upcoming ESPN Radio affiliate in town, AM 890 looking to hire some people, including a program director, which indicates that there may be local programming planned for the station.

You can now see the top five links of the day by looking in the box to the left.

A few people have emailed to asked about the runner that Dennis & Callahan had on this morning, who does the 75 hour runs, and is looking to do a 400 mile straight run. Here’s his book: Dean Karnazes – Ultramarathon Man

NESN will show Red Sox/Yankees at 1:00 and has a special Season Preview at 8:00. ESPN has the NCAA women’s tournament, while ESPN2 has the NIT Tournament.

Man of the People?

A fairly slow Monday for local sports links. A little of this, a little of that. In the Globe, what passes for the main baseball story is an excerpt from Dan Shaughnessy’s new book. You won’t find a link here. You also won’t find a link to the (shockingly) positive review of the book by Dan’s employer, the Boston Globe today. I’m protesting on behalf of Red Sox fans who have been subjected to the curse mongering that has gone on for the better part of two decades by Shaughnessy. During this time, he has profited by the pain of Red Sox fans. Now he writes a cheerful account of the Red Sox finally winning it all, and wants fans to buy that as well? How stupid does he take us for? You would think that the chant that erupted in St Louis following the Red Sox World Series clinching victory would’ve been a sign that perhaps he wasn’t the one to write a popular book about this. People will buy it, of course, many just don’t know any better.

There are plenty of great books out there about the Red Sox winning the World Series. Faithful has been very popular, I enjoyed Leigh Montville’s Why Not Us? and I’m in the middle of reading Our Red Sox and liking it very much. There are literally dozens of other books out there on this topic. You have plenty of choices to read to enjoy this very special time in Boston history. I don’t think it’s necessary to bring more attention to someone who has spent as much time as possible emphasizing the negative and reminding fans of decades of failure.

Elsewhere this morning, there are a few other baseball stories, a look at NCAA basketball and hockey action from yesterday, a couple Celtics stories and some leftovers from yesterday in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.

Byung-Hyun Kim is the subject of most of the baseball links this morning, as the submarining right-hander makes a late bid to be a part of the Red Sox opening day roster. He also talked (through interpreter Chang Lee) to the media following yesterday’s game about how he feels and his desire to do well in Boston. Tony Massarotti says that if Kim struggles early in the season, it will be harder for the Sox to escape from “the worst – and perhaps only – significant blunder” of Theo Epstein’s reign. Sean McAdam says that Kim could be gone as soon as Curt Schilling is ready to return. He can refuse an assignment to the minor leagues, but hasn’t decided if he would so so in that situation. Chris Snow’s notebook and David Borges notebook each have more on Kim and what he had to say to the media yesterday and what the future holds for him.

Jeff Horrigan looks at Trot Nixon, who is healthy this spring after coming in last year heavier and then getting injured quickly. Nixon said that reflecting on “real world” news helped him have some perspective when he was frustrated with his injuries last year. Lenny Megliola looks at the popularity of the Red Sox, taking a trip through Barnes & Noble to see how many Red Sox he can find on non-baseball magazine covers. John Tomase looks at how the Red Sox have rebuilt their minor league system under Theo Epstein. Christopher Price looks at how the events of last October have changed the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry…a real rivalry now. David Borges looks at Pawtucket native Jay Rainville, a Twins prospect. McAdam’s notebook looks at yesterday’s win over the Pirates. Horrigan’s notebook says that only one roster spot remains to be decided for the Red Sox, and because of Kim’s large contract, the Sox are likely stuck with him.

After winning 11 of 12 games, the Celtics have now lost three games in a row. Mark Murphy looks at the last 12 games of the season, seven of which are on the road, and eight of which are against teams that will be in the playoffs, or are on the bubble. Shira Springer looks at what the Celtics need to do to get back on track.

Michael Vega has the game story from Michigan State/Kentucky, while Adam Kilgore covers North Carolina/Wisconsin. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Alan Lessels and Stephen Harris have coverage of the UNH men’s Hockey team falling to Denver in the NCAA Hockey Regional Finals.

Bill Burt says that Drew Bledsoe is the most overrated quarterback ever. He is responding to some of Bledsoe’s own comments in a piece by Michael Smith last week on ESPN.com. Burt says he wasn’t going to bash Bledsoe any more , but after reading the Smith piece, he had to address some of Drew’s comments. It’s a long running joke on the Big Show that a drunken Bill Burt heckled Bledsoe during a Super Bowl week a couple years ago. They make reference to it quite often. Apparently though, it didn’t happen. I made reference to it once, and got a response from Burt saying it wasn’t true.

Russ Conway looks at how fans are striking back against the NHL.

Dennis & Callahan announced this morning that the new WEEI streaming will officially launch next Monday morning.

No local or national games on broadcast or standard cable TV tonight.

Overtime action galore

A night of overtime games on the hardwood and on the ice to recap this morning. Plenty of baseball links as well.

Celtics lose
For the second time this month, the Celtics and Pistons went beyond regulation to settle a game. Two weeks ago, Boston outlasted Detroit in double-overtime. Last night, the defending champions came away victorious, topping the Celtics, 105-99, in one extra session (

Celtics drop second straight

It’s a basketball and baseball morning with the links. The Celtics fall at home to the Bulls, while Curt Schilling makes his first Grapefruit League appearance for the Red Sox. A podcasting link also makes today’s posting.

A poor fourth quarter at the FleetCenter last night cost the Celtics. The home team was outscored 28-14 (

Brady and Bruschi News

A pretty light morning for links, I think I eventually found enough though. Tom Curran has some information on a couple pretty important Patriots. There are baseball articles, a few on the Celtics and some assorted other items.

Tom E Curran reports that a hangup on how the signing bonus is to be distributed is what is delaying the signing of Tom Brady’s new contract with the Patriots. He also reports that Tedy Bruschi has in fact had surgery to repair a hole in his heart. Speaking of Bruschi, I thought they were supposed to be nice out there in St. Louis. Jeff Gordon, an online columnist from that fine city made a pretty offensive comment yesterday in his “Gordo’s Tipsheet” described as “our daily look at who’s in and who’s out in the world of sports”. Under a section untitled “Mysteries of the Universe” he makes the following comment:

Shouldn

Fenway Saved!

For those of you who ended up on this page today looking for David Scott after his appearance on the O’Reilly Factor last night, you can read his work over on the BSMW Scott’s Shots page, and he has an update today, including from feedback from O’Reilly viewers. The column has been on fire recently and is a must read. He updates at all different times of day, so again the best option to get notified might be a RSS or XML subscription. Today on the main page, we’ve got the account of the Celtics getting whipped in New York, more on the Red Sox and Fenway, continuing articles on Tedy Bruschi, and we’re back into March Madness and the NCAA.

The Celtics laid an egg in Madison Square Garden last night, and Doc Rivers was not at all happy with it. Peter May looks at Rivers saying that his club acted like a low-class basketball team last night. Mark Murphy and Dan Hickling also have game stories from New York. Mike Fine looks at the development of Ricky Davis into a Sixth man of the year candidate. Murphy’s notebook has detailed accounts of the trash talking between the two clubs last night, with the Knicks obviously getting the better of the situation. Who says the Boston/New York rivalry has lost spirit? Hickling’s notebook also looks at the tempers flaring in the first half of the game. May’s notebook looks at how the “new” Celtics were completely out of sorts last night.

David Wells is your opening night starter for the Boston Red Sox. He is also the subject of a number of articles this morning, as the lefty was roughed up by the Orioles in a spring training start yesterday. He isn’t too worried about it though, and Tony Massarotti says that he fits right in with the Red Sox loose clubhouse. Dan Shaughnessy has Wells speaking about yesterday, opening night, and the pressures of playing for the Yankees and the Red Sox. David Borges looks at Wells being able to laugh off his performance yesterday, thanks to the ribbing from his teammates. Sean McAdam looks at Johnny Damon, who became in many ways the identity of the Red Sox “idiot” culture last season, and who may part ways with the Red Sox after the season as his contract will be up then, and there have been no talks on a new one. Jeff Horrigan looks at Keith Foulke, who is having a much better spring than he had last year in his first season with the Red Sox. Alex Speier has a look at Edgar Renteria, who he compares in many ways to Derek Jeter. Gordon Edes has a detailed piece on Mike Timlin, the anchor of the Red Sox bullpen. There is also a slide show with audio included with the article, which is interesting as well. Boston.com is trying out some neat things with multi-media content on their pages. Joe Haggerty catches up with David Ortiz and talks to the Red Sox slugger on a number of subjects. Bill Reynolds has a column on Barry Bonds.

The subject of the Red Sox staying in Fenway Park is still the subject of a number of articles today. Sasha Talcott has the story in the Globe of the Red Sox decision and their plans for the revamping of the park and surroundings. Art Martone looks at the decision to stay in Fenway and the vision for the future of the ballpark. Michael Silverman also looks at the decision and the many improvements that have been made in and around the ballpark. Joe McDonald and Tom Yantz also have articles on this subject. Mike Barnicle (subscription only) has a column today where he fears that the shortsightedness of critics could hinder an opportunity by the Red Sox to turn the Fenway neighborhood into a revitalized, vibrant community. Michael Gee (subscription only) compares the Red Sox to a good neighbor who is always working on improving his property, and thus the value of the neighborhood.

Chris Snow’s notebook has a progress report on Alan Embree, who will pitch in his first game in over a week today against Baltimore. Horrigan’s notebook has Wade Miller feeling good physically and excited mentally after having face live hitting yesterday. McAdam’s notebook has more on David Wells fitting in with his teammates. Borges’ notebook has some more on Wade Miller.

Kevin Mannix says the Patriots need to find an inside linebacker and takes a quick look at the remaining thin free agent class and the few prospects in the draft. Ron Borges talks to Romeo Crennel about the challenges he faces in rebuilding the Browns and bringing them to respectability. There seems to be a little confusion about what the Patriots were protesting at the NFL meetings when they tried to pass a motion limiting the powers of the competition committee. On Tuesday, Borges wrote a whole article saying that it was about the point of emphasis on illegal contact last season. It appears the actual reason for the Patriots motion had nothing to do with that rule but was regarding the “icing the kicker timeouts. John Clayton of ESPN.com notes this at the end of his report on the meetings.

The Patriots lost 28-4 on a proposal to prevent rule changes or interpretations by the league or the Competition Committee unless there is a formal vote by the owners. A lot of that was caused by Bill Belichick's protest of a rule adjustment by the league last season involving the stoppage of back-to-back timeouts to ice the kicker.

You may recall that the committee actually changed a rule in the middle of the season this year as a result of Mike Vrabel motioning for last second timeouts in both the Indianapolis and Arizona games early this past season. Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots bringing Don Davis back into the fold. Tedy Bruschi is still a hot topic, as Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente report on the linebacker possibly sitting out this season and of his hiring Brad Blank as his agent. Eric McHugh also reports on Bruschi and addresses the rumors that the Patriots have an offer on the table to Ty Law. Mannix has a short second piece on what Blank’s role with Bruschi might be.

Mark Blaudschun and Rich Thompson both report on UMass’ expected decision to name Travis Ford as head coach. Bob Ryan looks at why University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl is public enemy number one in the eyes of Illinois fans. The Globe has many more articles on the NCAA tournament games as editor Joe Sullivan has made a commitment to bringing full coverage of this event, which is a passion with him. The offerings are impressive.

Top Five Links from Yesterday
1) Jonathan Comey (Five questions around the Patriots)
2) Ron Borges (Bill Belichick at NFL coaches breakfast)
3) Kevin Mannix (Patriots need Pioli’s best)
4) Ron Borges (NFL Notebook)
5) Steve Bulpett (Struggles of Jim O’Brien and the 76ers)

CBS has NCAA Tournament action starting at 7:00.