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:
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.