A busy, busy day in the world of Boston sports. There were numerous happenings around the Olde Towne Teame yesterday, a long day, short game, comings and goings. We’ve also got Celtics articles, including the summer league debut of Gerald Green, plus NHL news and Reiss’ Pieces is back. Be sure to also check out the Scott’s Shots All Stars.
It was a a whirlwind day for the Red Sox yesterday as they didn’t get into Baltimore until dawn, shuffled a number of players on and off their roster, and then had to play a rain-shortened game that ended up being a frustrating 3-1 loss. Gordon Edes looks at the abbreviated contest last night and ends the story with David Wells endorsing what Kenny Rogers did to the cameraman last week. David Heuschkel looks at the costly mistakes and strange lineup which led to the Red Sox demise last night. Sean McAdam says there were three major mistakes which led to the Red Sox undoing. The biggest was of course Trot Nixon getting picked off second base – with the bases loaded – by the catcher. Since it is Trot it might get mentioned on the radio today and then dropped. But can you imagine if that was Manny who got picked off? WEEKS of piling on by WEEI would ensue. Jeff Horrigan looks at the weather conspiring – twice – to foul up the Red Sox momentum. David Borges looks at a long day ending with a short game.
In addition to all the things happening on the big club yesterday, Curt Schilling also made his first bullpen appearance for the Pawtucket Red Sox last night. It wasn’t exactly a rousing success, as Joe McDonald reports. Adam Kilgore writes that with all the drama around his entrance, Schilling certainly at least looked the part of the closer. His results are still a work in progress. Steve Conroy says that the results were actually not the most important thing for Schilling last night. More critical was for him to get into the mindset and habits of coming out of the bullpen. Brendan McGair suggests that perhaps the fact that Schilling has had to fly all over the country in recent days made have contributed to his struggles last night. Jim Donaldson says that what he saw out of the Pawtucket bullpen last night was all to familiar and fits right in with what we’ve all seen at the major league level this season for the Red Sox. Conroy also looks at the impressive start for Jon Papelbon in his AAA debut last night, as the top prospect went six innings and gave up three hits, one run and struck out seven. Schilling was among those impressed with the performance. Steve Buckley (subscription only)has Schilling addressing the issues that have come up in recent days around the Sox. He plans to speak to Johnny Damon about his comments, and notes that the first place Red Sox certainly create more issues for themselves. Meanwhile, the Inside Track suggests that Damon’s comments were a result of behind-the-scenes bad feelings between their wives stemming back to last year’s playoffs. Yes, the scarves.
Heuschkel takes a look at the chaotic clubhouse yesterday, which had even David Ortiz exasperated with all that was going on. Some good quotes in there, especially Damon recounting what happened when Terry Francona called him into his office yesterday. A lot of the talk around the club yesterday dealt with Jay Payton being designated for assignment, pending a trade. Gordon Edes says that the trade is with Oakland for submarining set up man Chad Bradford. Sean McAdam has the details of the exchange which likely led to Payton’s hastened departure from the club, as the outfielder erupted at manager Francona after being put into the game on Wednesday at the same time as John Olerud and being upset that Olerud was hitting higher in the lineup than he was. Never mind that there was a reason Francona did it that way. Horrigan confirms the story, noting that Payton was sore over losing a potential at-bat by hitting lower in the lineup. Amalie Benjamin looks at Adam Stern and Alex Cora stepping right into the lineup last night. Dave Doyle has a piece on Jason Varitek and includes a brief story about his trade here which I had heard once before, but not for a long time. Horrigan has Kevin Millar disputing a report that he had asked for a trade. He also has the comments from David Wells regarding former teammate Kenny Rogers.
The Herald has a nice on-line feature from Steve Conroy looking at the options for baseball fans to get affordable tickets for minor league baseball games around New England. He looks at the parks and the prices for the various franchises. Kilgore files a minor league notebook for the Globe, looking at the progress of many of the Red Sox top pitching prospects.
Heuschkel’s notebook has more on the departure of Jay Payton. It was Heuschkel who broke the story yesterday, getting it up on the Courant website around 11:15 am. McAdam’s notebook looks at the trade of Ramon Vazquez to Cleveland for Alex Cora. Horrigan’s notebook reports on the surgery and rehab for Keith Foulke. Borges’ notebook looks at the wild day in the Red Sox clubhouse. Edes’ notebook has more on Wells comments regarding Rogers.
After praising WEEI for their scoops in yesterday’s post, today I have to say that it was a rough day for the Sports Radio Leader yesterday, as they were consistently behind in their coverage of the breaking stories throughout the day. The information regarding Payton wasn’t reported on air until nearly 1:00 PM, and by that time, web-savvy Red Sox fans already knew not only about Payton being designated for assignment, but who would be coming up from Pawtucket to take his place and also about the trade of Vazquez for Cora. The Big Show had a hard time sorting through all the news, and were reduced to making statements that they seemed to be pulling out of the air, such as Larry Johnson suggesting that Johnny Damon and others don’t view Theo Epstein with as much respect because he never played the game at a high level. Pete Sheppard has been very good this week in filling in for Glenn Ordway – he has made marked improvement in his skills in this role – but he wasn’t given much to work with yesterday with Johnson and Bill Burt, neither of whom are around the Red Sox all that much.
Shira Springer has an extensive conversation with Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins and Gerald Green, three players the Celtics have obtained out of high school in the last three drafts. It seems that Jefferson and Perkins are taking a role in helping Green adjust to this level. Steve Bulpett says that Jefferson is working most on his conditioning and strength this summer, as he prepares to play more minutes and take on a larger role. I have to say that I’m very impressed with all that I read about Jefferson and Perkins, who seem to be looking to take a leadership role among the young players. They’re also hard working and eager to get better. One of the best pictures I saw of the NBA playoffs was a photo from the Miami/Detroit series and it showed Doc Rivers with Jefferson and Perkins sitting in the crowd watching the game. It just spoke volumes to me, not only about the players who want to be participating at the higher level of the playoff, but also on Rivers, who was there to support and teach them.
Bulpett has a brief recap of Gerald Green’s Summer League debut which included, according to Danny Ainge, one of the best dunks he had ever seen. Springer reports on the Celtics coming to terms with free agent forward Brian Scalabrine from the New Jersey Nets. The move seems to make a little more sense when you figure in Ainge’s fondness for the brain-typing philosophies of Jon Niednagel, who has assisted Scalabrine in some of his best NBA performances. For more on Brain typing, click here and if you scroll down a bit you’ll see Scalabrine mentioned prominently. Bulpett also reports on the move, noting that this likely spells the end of Antoine Walker in Boston. Bulpett’s notebook looks at point guard Will Bynum, who has impressed the Celtics to the point that they have offered him a “financial commitment” to ensure that he is in their training camp this October.
Kevin Paul Dupont says that it is still close, but no cigar for the NHL labor talks. He provides details on the remaining sticking points. Bob Ryan says that we don’t really care about the details, but it is clear that the owners have routed the players in these negotiations and that what the game needs now is a more open, free flowing style. Mick Colageo says that the death of the lockout has been greatly exaggerated.
Mike Reiss is back on the job at his Reiss’ Pieces blog and his latest entry reports that linebacker/safety Don Davis has taken on another role – unofficial assistant strength coach.
Bonnie DeSimone’s Tour De France update today looks at German Jan Ullrich, who won the race in 1997, but has finished second five times.
David Scott trots out his Scott’s Shots All Stars, and looks at WEEI job postings, which Jason Wolfe did not answer inquires to/ Bill Griffith looks at a Maine man who will be blogging from the Tour De France. He also looks at Billy Fairweather’s persistence in the sports media circles finally paying off and has a few other notes and items. Jim Baker looks ahead to the FOX coverage of the All Star game and closes his column with the following note:
A followup to this column