Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots Weekend

Another gem by a Red Sox starting pitcher, the Celtics prepare to tap off the NBA playoffs tomorrow night, and plenty of NFL draft coverage highlight today’s links.

The Red Sox shut down the Orioles for the second night in a row, as Matt Clement threw eight shutout innings last night, winning under the narrowest of margins, 1-0. Chris Snow looks at the Red Sox winning despite their own bats being shut down by Rodrigo Lopez. Jeff Horrigan looks at Clement shutting down the Orioles lineup that had been feared coming into this series. Steven Krasner looks at a game made up of “key moments, stellar defensive plays and superb individual performances.” David Heuschkel says this was a switch for Clement, who lost two 1-0 games last season with the Cubs. David Borges says Clement last night and Wells the night before made the Orioles lineup “look like a bunch of Mark Belangers”. Bob Ryan looks at Kevin Millar’s role in last night’s game. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that Matt Clement showed that he does possess mental toughness because soft pitchers don’t win 1-0 games on the road. Gee also writes about the Nationals cutting into the Orioles attendance. Bob Ryan looks at Nomar’s injury the other night, and raises the inevitable question.

Look, I'm hardly the first person to raise the question. When he was with the Red Sox, who was bold enough to link our fair shortstop, a noted workout guy, with the dreaded S-word? But he did go from, like, standard athlete issue normal to ultra-buffed in one winter, and he has been -- there is no other way to say it -- systematically breaking down for the past six years, so you can't help wondering just what he's been putting into his body other than Wheaties and sirloin steaks. If we're going to assume that Mark McGwire's physical breakdown was because of a reliance on steroids, then it would be quite logical to adopt the same line of thinking about Nomar. It's a legitimate question.

It’s quite a statement from Ryan there, and although some people may have been thinking this, it’s quite a leap to put it down in writing. Still on Nomar, Jon Meterparel apologized this morning for his comments yesterday when he stated that Nomar might’ve been faking the injury because of his batting slump and he wanted to get some time off. If you missed yesterday’s comments, John Dennis fed Meter by noting that he had had a grin on his face all morning, after a few minutes, they led into Nomar getting hurt, with Meterparel saying “Gerry, are you buying the fact that he

Bring On The Playoffs

The Celtics wrapped up the regular season, David Wells pitched a gem for the Red Sox, and Ron Borges is again in the crosshairs, and not from BSMW.

The Celtics once again went mostly with their kids last night, and jumped out early on the New Jersey Nets, who were playing for their playoff lives. However they couldn’t sustain it, and ended up on the short end of a 102-93 regular season ending loss. Next up, the Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, starting Saturday night at home. Shira Springer reports that Doc Rivers was quite pleased by the effort of his youngsters. Mark Murphy says that the kids made a spirited effort, but in the end they were shot down by the NJ veterans. Carolyn Thornton also reports on the efforts of the first and second year players for the Celtics. Christopher Price looks at the stiff test the Celtics will face in the first round, going up against the talented Indiana Pacers. Steve Bulpett looks at what the advantage of having home court in the first round means for the Celtics.

Michael Holley went off on the Celtics this morning, and Doc Rivers decision to play the kids and not make the full effort to knock the Nets out of the playoffs. Calling it a “lack of competitiveness” that drives him crazy, and saying if he was a fan he’d ask for his money back. I can’t tell if he’s really mad, or if he’s acting on an edict from above to be more “edgy”. (He insists it isn’t) Bill Reynolds feels that the Celtics mission for the playoffs should be to make people care about them again. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) also tackles this subject, saying that the Celtics have a chance to make a little noise and get some attention, even if they don’t raise banner 17 this year. Michael Vega looks at Vince Carter, who scored 37 last night as has been a big boost to the Nets in their charge to the playoffs. Springer’s notebook looks at a couple veterans getting the entire night off for the Celtics last night. Murphy’s notebook takes a closer look at the play of some of the youngsters. Thornton’s notebook has Rivers criticizing three of the young players for their efforts against Cleveland on Tuesday night.

David Wells was in fine form last night, throwing eight shutout innings against the Orioles, who have been mashing the ball early this season. Chris Snow says that it was vintage Wells last night. Jeff Horrigan says it’s a cosmic fit for Wells to have done well in Baltimore. Steven Krasner tells the tale of when Terry Francona visited Wells on the mound in the sixth inning. David Heuschkel and David Borges round out the game stories from Camden Yards. Bob Ryan has a good look at the effort by Boomer last night against the hot hitting Orioles, good enough that Wells even impressed himself. Michael Gee (Subscription only) says don’t let Wells’ body fool you, his arm and mind are in perfect shape.

Ryan also has a commentary piece in which he says he’s already sick of hearing about this whole fan incident from last week. It’s time to move on. Snow and Horrigan report that MLB will be taking no action against Gary Sheffield. Michael Gee has a piece on hot hitting Brian Roberts of the Orioles. Krasner’s notebook has an update on Wade Miller. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Lee Mazzilli employing a little gamesmanship against David Wells. Borges’ notebook looks at Manny returning to the lineup, also the lead of Snow’s notebook. Horrigan’s notebook has Francona sticking by the scuffling Keith Foulke.

Kevin Mannix looks at the linebackers in this years draft. From the headlines of Mannix’s columns this week, it would appear there are no prospects at any positions except wide receiver. Today: “Prospects backin’ in: Few blue-chippers in this field” Yesterday: “No great rush to get these guys” Tuesday: “Talent pool isn’t deep on the line.” and Monday: “Williams part of another solid corps”. (Receivers) Mannix today says of prospect Kevin Burnett: “needs to play more aggressively at the point of attack.” What do you think they odds are the Mannix has seen Burnett play at all? Shouldn’t he tell us where this information came from. Of course, many of the other writers do the same thing, it’s not just Mannix. Michael Felger tells us what the Patriots would be looking for in a linebacker. Michael Parente also looks at the linebackers. Jerome Solomon and Alan Greenberg look at the receiving prospects in the draft. Solomon also looks at Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards. On the offensive line, Tom E Curran says that the Patriots aren’t going to spend an early pick on this position. Eric McHugh writes that time is the only way to make a proper judgement on a draft. Michael O’Connor looks at Boston College NFL hopefuls.

As mentioned on Dale & Holley yesterday, the lads at Cold, Hard Football Facts took Ron Borges to the woodshed once more yesterday, showing Borges to be wrong regarding a recent column on Patriot Fullback Patrick Pass’ new deal. They also have Borges’ reaction to the column as well. Borges made his weekly appearance on the Eddie Andelman show yesterday and was his usual entertaining self. Overheard on the WWZN stream:

Eddie Andelman: Well there would be a revolution if they didn

Red Sox for Life

Another busy morning in the newspapers. The Red Sox and Celtics both lost last night, Tim Wakefield signs on to be a Red Sox for life, the fans in the Sheffield incident are going to be facing charges, and Bill Belichick speaks on the Patriots draft.

The Red Sox bullpen was unable to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning and the Sox wound up losing to the Blue Jays 4-3 at Fenway. As it was the night before the road trip, most of the regular beat writers had the night off. Chris Snow however was still on the beat, and he witnessed a Manny Ramirez home run that could’ve eclipsed the 502 foot Ted Williams blast marked by the red seat. The blast by Ramirez cleared the light tower. Michael Silverman focuses on the bullpen imploding after David Ortiz had also launched one, giving the Red Sox the lead. Shalize Manza Young covers the rough night for Alan Embree and Keith Foulke. Sean Courchesne and Paul Teves round up the game stories. Lenny Megliola looks at the bullpen melting down for the Sox last night. Tony Massarotti looks at Manny Ramirez leaving the game early with what was called a strained quad. As is always the case with Ramirez, the severity and veracity of the injury is immediately called into question. Ron Indrisano and Steve Conroy look at a good outing from Bronson Arroyo going to waste.

The Red Sox announced yesterday that they had agreed to a long term deal with Tim Wakefield, to keep the knuckleballer pitcher with the club as long as both sides want him. An unusual deal, to be sure. Sean McAdam writes that Wakefield has shown a lot of loyalty to Boston by agreeing to this deal, which for once, is not about the money to the player. Dan Shaughnessy also lauds Wakefield and has an overall feel-good piece about the knuckleballer…until he takes his obligatory shot at Pedro Martinez towards to end, putting a mar on an otherwise sterling column. But I guess it just wouldn’t be Shaughnessy not to do that. Alex Speier and Christopher Price also have articles on the signing, as do Snow, Teves and Massarotti. However, it is noteworthy to observe that all of the articles basically refer to this deal as being “in perpetuity” – without an end until the Red Sox say so. Massarotti’s article though, is the only one that says that the Sox hold options until 2009. That’s only 4 seasons beyond this one. If Massarotti is correct, he’s got information that I didn’t see anywhere else this morning. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) has a piece on how Wakefield and David Ortiz have forsaken big money elsewhere to remain here in Boston, and how that endears them to the Boston fans. A feelgood article without taking shots at anyone else.

John Ellement in the Globe looks at the Boston police looking to file charges against the fans involved in the Gary Sheffield incident last week. Laurel J. Sweet, Michele McPhee and O

Marathon Manny Madness

The Red Sox win their fifth game in a row, the team revokes the season tickets of Christopher House, the Patriots continue their draft preparations and the Celtics clinch home court advantage in the first round without playing. All this and analysis of the NFL’s move of Monday Night Football from ABC to ESPN.

It was indeed a marathon at Fenway Park yesterday as the Red Sox and Blue Jays played nearly 4 hours of baseball yesterday. Chris Snow looks at Curt Schilling getting the win despite struggling once again at times. Jeff Horrigan says that the the early wakeup call was no problem for the Sox. Sean McAdam writes that the Red Sox hitters covered up a multitude of sins by the defense and pitching. David Heuschkel has more on the Red Sox bats picking up Schilling. David Borges has more on a wild midday at Fenway. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox aren’t just hitting at Fenway, they’re “annihilating people.” Jon Couture says that yesterday was a holiday from regular baseball and instead fans were treated to the full Manny Ramirez experience. Gordon Edes takes a further look at Manny’s adventures both at the plate and in the field yesterday. Ron Chimelis also looks at Manny’s day. Howard Bryant (Subscription only) looks at Manny’s afternoon, and the sun in the outfield, which also caused steady Frank Catalanotto to miss a ball, which made talk about Manny’s miscues subside.

Michael Silverman looks at a grueling outing for Curt Schilling, who is still rounding into form. Lenny Megliola has more on the effort for Schilling. Chimelis also says that Schilling needs to improve in order to be the ace the Red Sox need. Joe Haggerty also writes about Schilling laboring through five innings. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that playing for the Red Sox gives Schilling “perks” such as heavy run support. Nick Cafardo talks to Shea Hillenbrand, who wasn’t upset at being hit yesterday, and had hoped to talk to Theo Epstein to clear the air. John Tomase says that Tim Wakefield might just be entering the prime of his career, if you go by some of the careers of other knuckleball pitchers.

The Red Sox revoked the season tickets of Chris House, at least for this season, following the incident last Thursday night with Gary Sheffield. Silverman, McAdam, Heuschkel and Borges all have stories on the decision by the Red Sox. Gerry Callahan (Subscription only) says that Chris House gave the Red Sox an excuse to make an example out of him, and comments that we know know all about House, (Boston.com even briefly posted a picture of his girlfriend last week before it was quietly taken down.) but we haven’t gotten the name of the GAP shirt wearing Gutless A. Puke (copyright Dale Arnold, 2005) who flicked his beer onto Sheffield. Snow’s article on this subject this morning gives the name of the beer thrower, Matthew Donovan of Dorchester.

Snow’s notebook looks at the fans clearing out nicely to give Trot Nixon room to make a catch. Horrigan’s notebook also reports on this as well as some on Mark Bellhorn. McAdam’s notebook looks at the sun and wind conditions yesterday which made things tricky for more than just Manny. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Bellhorn. Borges’ notebook has more on Manny’s eventful day.

Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots signing free agent middle linebacker Wesly Mallard away from the Giants. Kevin Mannix says that the talent level isn’t high on the offensive line in this draft, while Jerome Solomon says there is talent. That’s ok either way, because Michael Felger says the Patriots don’t draft offensive lineman high anyway, choosing to develop them instead. Tom E Curran says the Patriots might be looking for a backup QB to develop behind Tom Brady. Alan Greenberg looks at the defensive back prospects in the draft. Don’t forget the BSMW Draft Central Website for player ratings as well

The Celtics clinched home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with the Pacers losing to the Magic last night. Peter May says that the Celtics can also have a say in who gets the eighth seed in the playoffs as they play the two candidates for that spot, Cleveland and New Jersey in the first round. Curiously, the Herald has no Celtics article today, just a paragraph about getting home court in the first round.

Get full coverage of yesterday’s Boston Marathon from the Globe Marathon and Herald Marathon pages.

Bill Griffith looks at Monday Night Football moving from ABC to ESPN. John Molori’s Media Blitz also looks at the move as well as some WEEI commentary and rising and falling stars.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:00.

Monday Night Football moving to ESPN

Received via email from Sports Business Daily:

The WALL STREET JOURNAL is citing sources as saying that "MNF" will leave ABC for its sister cable network ESPN in '06. NBC will reportedly pay $600M a year to replace ESPN as the league's broadcaster of Sunday night games. While ABC is paying the NFL $550M a year for "MNF," ESPN's "new eight-year deal is expected to be much more expensive and could be in the neighborhood of $1[B] a year." ESPN will carry "only regular-season games." ABC aired the Super Bowl in rotation with CBS and Fox under its deal with the league (WSJ.com, 4/18).

Book Review – Our Red Sox

There have been dozens of books released about the Red Sox since their historic World Series Championship in October. I’ve been sent a number of them and I’m still working my way through several. I expect to read more as time goes by. However I wanted to make a special mention of one book that I particularly enjoyed. Our Red Sox by Robert Sullivan.

Sullivan is the Deputy Managing Editor of LIFE magazine and Editorial Director of LIFE Books. He is also a lifelong Red Sox fan, having grown up in the Chelmsford/Lowell area, but he is now living with his family in the heart of Yankee country in New York, due to his job. He is a long time member of BLOHARDS, (Benevolent Loyal Order of the Honorable Ancient Redsox Diehard Sufferers of New York) which, for those newbies not familiar with the group, was SoSH before there ever was an Internet. Living in New York, he has a unique perspective on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry as he is in the heart of enemy territory.

What really appealed to me about this book was how personal it is. You get to see the impact of the Red Sox on a New England family, the heartbreak involved in the losses, (which is not romanticized the way the national writers would describe it) and more importantly the joy and satisfaction in the eventual triumph of the Red Sox last fall. Among the tales in the book, Sullivan writes about taking his daughter to her first baseball game – a Lowell Spinners game – from which she is rushed to the hospital after being struck by a foul ball while playing in the playground at the park. He recalls that his uncle was one of the men who carried Tony C out of the ballpark that night in 1967 when he was struck by a pitch.

The best parts of the book from my perspective are the accounts of the 2003 and 2004 ALCS Series. Sullivan was at the games, sitting in the stands, both in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and describes his days and nights, his interaction with his friends, both Yankee fans and Red Sox fans during those epic series. (Including one of his friends who grew up a Red Sox fan in NH and moved to NY and became a Yankees fan. I, on behalf of the State of NH, disown that person.) The agony of 2003 is followed by the ecstasy of 2004. He mentions a one day buffer in New York after the Red Sox victory last fall. He wore his Red Sox cap the day after the win and Yankee fans were mostly congratulatory. The next day was a different story.

Next morning, I went to the city similarly accoutered as on the day after the Day. I received a different reception. "Take off the damned hat!" This was issued by someone on the other side of the street, passing the other way. That evening: "Boston sucks." All goodwill was gone, and I realized: I'm gloating. Yesterday, we were still in the event, and Yankee fans were passing a torch. Today, I'm wearing a hat indoors, in someone else's house. It's impolite. I would, I resolved, only wear the B-hat during the games. (And maybe at breakfast after a win.)

You can get a taste of the style of the book over at Time.com, where Sullivan has a new article up looking at the Red Sox after the first couple weeks of the season, entitled Our Red Sox, Still? As mentioned at the outset, there have been dozens of Red Sox books published since last fall, this one, in my opinion stands above just about all the others that I have read thus far and is one I will be glad to read again in the future.

Marathon Monday

Another Patriots Day is upon us with the Boston Marathon and traditional 11:00 AM Red Sox game. Your Celtics are champions of the Atlantic Division and have the t-shirts to prove it. We also have the beginnings of a week of NFL draft coverage.

The Celtics beat the Raptors in Toronto to wrap up their first division crown in 13 years last night, giving them 45 wins on the season with two to play. Peter May doesn’t seem all that impressed, but I guess that’s just May being May. Steve Bulpett says this was just one of the Celtics goals for this season, and they have more ahead of them. Tim Weisberg is excited about what he’s seen from the Celtics young big man duo of Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, who were both particularly impressive facing Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning in Friday nights win over Miami. May’s notebook looks at Wayne Embry taking on a large role in the Raptors front office. Bulpett’s notebook says that the Pacers will be a tough draw for the Celtics in the first round.

If you were missed most of the last minute of the game last night due to technical difficulties, here is an explanation from FSN:


Patriots Day … Eve

A bit of a change this Sunday with a nightime posting of thoughts and links.

We couldn’t have asked for much more this weekend, as the Red Sox swept away the Devil Rays, and the Celtics collected wins against the Heat and Raptors to capture their first Atlantic Division crown since 1991-1992, Larry Bird’s final season (unfortunately, technical difficulties on FSN tonight meant we missed the closing seconds of a 103-98 win).

It was a perfect conclusion to a memorable week in Boston, highlighted by Opening Day at Fenway Park last Monday. Count me among those who had the shivers during the ring ceremony and the raising of the 2004 championship banner in center field. One of the most interesting – and passionate – recaps of the festivities was delivered in Chad Finn’s Touching All The Bases blog entry called “The best day ever.”

Apart from the nonsense “curse” lyrics, I actually enjoyed Terry Cashman’s song. As Bill Griffith points out in his Sunday column this morning, Cashman’s effort brought “the only mention of many of the Sox old-timers who thought enough of Monday’s flag-raising ceremonies to be on hand.”

Pete Gustin, the voice guy for WEEI’s in-show parodies, pokes fun at Cashman on his production website. Go to the “TERRY CASHMAN SONG PARODY” link. Gustin’s bits don’t usually work for me, but this one should give you a chuckle or two.

Moving forward to today’s papers, I’ll just mention a handful of articles.

The Globe’s Bob Hohler has an in-depth report on the rampant use of amphetamines, or “greenies,” in Major League Baseball, as well as the league’s struggles to grapple with the problem. Hohler has a separate, shorter story on the potential role of Congress in shaping a revised drug policy for baseball. Given the millions that MLB has spent in lobbying and making federal campaign donations, there’s certainly reason to be skeptical.

Also in the Globe, Nick Cafardo writes about a hard-working Manny Ramirez.

And this from Tony Massarotti today:

The Sox had played only nine games when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays [stats, schedule] arrived at Fenway on Friday, but their starting pitching over the first 12 days of the season left a great deal to be desired. Red Sox starters ranked 23rd in baseball with a 5.02 ERA entering the weekend series with the Devil Rays, a number that ballooned to 6.34 without the contributions of Tim Wakefield [stats, news] (1-0, 1.32 ERA), who is the only starter to have turned in two solid outings.

And lest anyone forget, Wakefield is the only member of the group eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

Of course, the season has only just begun, though there has been little seen to ease the concerns about the Sox' starting rotation.

Another case of the media playing up statistics far too early and attempting to incite controversy when there is none. Tony either had a Friday afternoon deadline for his Sunday notes column, or simply decided not to at least mention the seven shutout innings tossed by David Wells in the weekend’s opening game against the Devil Rays.

After Wells, Matt Clement, and Tim Wakefield combined to allow just three runs over 20 innings in three wins over Tampa Bay, Boston’s starters now sport a respectable 3.88 ERA, which undoubtedly has vaunted the group well above the 23rd spot in baseball.

This season’s rotation may ultimately prove to be weaker than the 2004 edition, but might the media be capable of waiting until May or June before issuing such a judgment?

On the football front, Ron Borges offers an uplifting profile of Lofa Tatupu, son of former Patriots fullback and special-teams standout Mosi Tatupu.

Kevin Mannix, meanwhile, warns that the early part of the 2005 schedule could pose major problems for a Patriots team in “full-blown transition,” and reminds us that “[f]or all his obvious skills as a head coach, [Bill Belichick] doesn’t have the best track record when he handles one of the coordinator jobs.” Sounds like trouble, huh?

Fortuantely, the ProJo’s Tom E. Curran offers us a more positive story, as he catches up with the Super Bowl MVP, Deion Branch.

Patriots Day schedule and feedback
Are you ready for the Boston Marathon? The women’s race goes off at 11:31am tomorrow, while the men start 12:00. Channels 4 and 5 have TV coverage, and WBZ broadcasts the event on radio beginning at 11:15. On WEEI, “Dennis and Callahan” and “The Big Show” are likely to cast the competitors as tall, skinny freaks of nature.

The traditional 11am Patriots Day game for the Red Sox is always fun. Enjoy it.

Thank you for your feedback yesterday. More is always welcomed on today’s posting: [email protected].

A pair of home wins

A good night for the locals–Paul Pierce hits another game-winning shot as the Celtics edge the Heat, and David Wells picks up his first ‘W’ in a Red Sox uniform in a 10-0 laugher against the Devil Rays. To the links …

Sox steamroll Devil Rays

No new calls from Wells to blow up Fenway, as the lefty threw seven shutout innings last night against Tampa Bay (

A Break from the Sheffield Shove

The website Soxlovers.com describes itself as “the creators of The Hubbub, last year’s extremely popular satire site devoted to all things Boston. We also created the Screw The Curse tee shirt, sometimes called “the Manny shirt”, which was one of the most popular Sox shirts in ‘The Nation’ last season.

“With soxlovers.com you’ll see our passion for the Red Sox combined with our continuing effort to give the good people of Boston something to smile about. We’re not bloggers and we’re not going to give you a daily post game summary. We will give you fun cartoons about anything related to the Sox, thoughtful analysis and opinions, not-so-thoughtful analysis and opinions and the coolest Sox shirts East of the Berkshires.”

I found this cartoon amusing. And you thought BSMW was the only one who thought this way.

Click on the picture to go to soxlovers.com

WEEI has been wall-to-wall with coverage of the Sheffield incident from last night. I’ve had about enough.

Reiss’ Pieces has a new look and a Q&A with Jarvis Green today. Looks like you can now link to individual articles now, which is a huge plus. The lads at Cold Hard Football Facts have a new edition up, looking at the 2005 schedule and answer some mail.