A+ Effort

A very busy morning for links…details of the Red Sox win over the A’s last night at Fenway which featured Kevin Millar’s first home run of the season, a talk with Tom Brady by Michael Felger, many more Celtics links looking back at the season and ahead to the future, and a few other items from around the local media.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox made the A’s pay for their every mistake last night. Jeff Horrigan says that seeing the green jerseys of the A’s seems to wake up the Red Sox offense. Steven Krasner notes that the Red Sox continue to persevere despite many injuries. David Heuschkel says that Kevin Millar’s long awaited first home run of the season was a catalyst for the win. David Borges says that the days of the Big Three and the Red Sox/A’s rivalry appear to be over. Lenny Megliola looks at a power surge at Fenway, led by Millar. Mark Blaudschun looks at another quality start for Tim Wakefield. Steve Buckley (subscription only) tries to project out to the future and predicts that before he’s done, Tim Wakefield is going to pass Cy Young and Roger Clemens and become the all time winningest pitcher in the history of the Red Sox.

Sean McAdam looks at Millar ending his home run drought. Christopher Price says that Millar is no longer poop soup. Marvin Pave and Rich Thompson also look at the Sox first baseman knocking the 0 out his HR column stats. Alex Speier says that there is more to young Cla Meredith than what you saw in his weekend debut. Karen Guregian writes about Bronson Arroyo stepping up his game in the absence of Curt Schilling and David Wells. Mike Shalin looks at Scott Hatteberg helping out his old team with a pair of errors. Blaudschun also takes a look at Oakland’s struggles at the plate this season. Michael Silverman has an update on Manny Ramirez after he was hit in the head with a pitch.

Remember during spring training, when the talk on WEEI was that if Johnny Damon got off to a slow start this season because of all the “distractions” surrounding his book and off-field activities that he would feel a lot of heat? Hosts on the “Sports Radio Leader” even seemed to relish the idea of Damon slumping early so they could jump all over him. It was quite the faux controversy for while on the station. Well, Damon now has a 15 game hitting streak and is batting .373 on the season. Michael Silverman looks at Damon keeping his focus on the field, which means that sports radio hosts need to pretend their earlier statements never happened and find something else to talk about.

Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Manny’s departure from the game after getting hit in the head in the first inning. Cafardo’s notebook also looks at Manny’s hit streak – the wrong kind. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny. Borges’ notebook says that young Cla Meredith will bounce back from his rocky debut. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Arroyo’s decision to drop the appeal of his suspension.

Michael Felger talks to Tom Brady about his new contract with the Patriots. The Patriots quarterback continues to show why he is a once in a generation player that we will appreciate for decades as he talks about the relative importance of winning and money in his life. A revealing statement is this one:

"I've seen a lot of guys leave here, and they don't look any happier where they're at to me. I've seen those guys get a lot of money, and they're still bitter. It shouldn't be that way.''

Hello, Lawyer. Maybe things aren’t so bad down in Foxboro after all. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots loading up a linebacker, and also looks at Brady’s deal. Mike Reiss had a little background on Chad Brown in yesterday’s blog entry. Frank Dell’Apa has a piece on Deion Branch, who talks about his soccer background while doing a promotion with the New England Revolution.

Steve Bulpett has a season ending report card for the Celtics. Mike Fine says that the Celtics future rides on their youthful core. Michael Muldoon writes that there are reasons for optimism for the future with this Celtics team. Jon Couture looks at the enigma that is Antoine Walker…should he stay or should he go? What is his real value to the Celtics? Bill Reynolds makes confession for his wrong prediction of the Pacers/Celtics series, eating humble pie. Kevin Henkin looks at the options available to the Celtics this summer and the decisions they have in front of them. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics veterans have some growing up to do. Shira Springer reports on the Pacers/Pistons game last night.

Bob Ryan says that Celtics fans want a team they can embrace. He includes many emails from readers to that effect. Ryan also emailed me yesterday to disagree with my assessment that that he and others in the media were overblowing this incident. I at no time have defended Pierce’s actions at the end of game 6. I simply stated they weren’t worthy of the hyperbolic statements being tossed around. Ryan concluded his exchange with me with this:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Ryan"
To: "Bruce Allen"
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: Bird vs. Pierce

WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? On what level is it remotely defensible? HE COULD HAVE COST THEM THE GAME FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT SELFISH RETRIBUTION and you say it "wasn't worthy of the hyperbole?" Give me a for-instance that you would therefore consider "worthy of the hyperbole."

Have you looked at it? HE WASN'T EVEN HIT HARD!!! He's as big a liar as Sheffield, who wasn't hit hard, either. Tinsley's artful flop is irrelevant. Pierce ran to the ball knowing the end result would be a foul. If he had prior issues with Tinsley, this would not be the time to address them. Nothing that transpired translated into risking the entire game, series and season just to satisfy his macho pride. And his subsequent actions have revealed that he still does not get it. Some captain.
I repeat: It has no parallel in NBA history. And you insist that it wasn't 'worthy of the hypbole." Whay hyperbole? What I wrote was plan (and accurate) English.
Therefore, the only question remaining os this: Are you on medication? Or should you be?
Go ahead. Print anything we've said here. I'll stand on everything I've communicated to you. I can't think of an easier journalistic call. I am right and you are wrong. Period. As Tony Soprano would say, End of Story.
Bob

(P.S. I have no idea how I got into that boldface mode).

I only put this up here in the interest of the other side being heard on this matter. I still don’t agree, and now that Ryan in this email that the incident has “no parallel in NBA history” – previously he had only confined it to Celtics history…I would submit Scottie Pippen as someone who had a more “unforgivable, untimely, stupid, and flat-out selfish on-court act” when he refused to go into the last second of a playoff game after learning the last play wasn’t designed for him. I’ll say it again. I am not defending Pierce. I am saying that certain members of the media are making more of this than there is to it. Pierce WAS stupid and selfish in that instance. It wasn’t the worst of all time as its being portrayed. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes that Pierce’s stooge act is tired and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the Celtics look to move him this summer. He wonders if Pierce would be content playing Dwayne Wade to Al Jefferson’s Shaq.

Bob Halloran looks at how fickle the fans (and media) are here in Boston, and how they’re given to emotional hyperbole. The Paul Pierce incident is one situation that is examined in that light. The Union Leader’s Joe Sullivan has a collection of thoughts in his “Column as I see ‘em” article this morning.

Bill Griffith has a pretty extensive collection of media notes this morning, looking at local Emmy winners, Celtics broadcasts and blimp views.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. TNT has Wizards/Heat at 7:00 and Spurs/Sonics at 9:30.