Extra Painful

Finding themselves in their first extra innings of the season, the Red Sox fell to the Devils Rays 4-3 in Tampa. The Patriots have their entire draft class under contract, and there are a few hockey, basketball and media stories out there today as well.

Trot Nixon figured in a couple big plays on either side of the ball in the Red Sox first extra innings play of the season, but neither play was a positive one for the Red Sox right fielder. In the tenth inning, after having stolen second, and accounting for the go-ahead run, Nixon was hit on the leg by the a grounder off the bat of John Olerud. In the bottom of the inning, Nixon could get to an Aubrey Huff drive to the wall, which then rolled away from him, allowing the winning run to score from first. It was a couple of plays so frustrating, that it is little wonder that as David Heuschkel notes, Nixon did not make himself available to reporters following the game. However, as Steven Krasner notes, it was a lot of little things that added up to to this loss for the Red Sox. David Borges refers to the Devil Rays as Boston’s true “blood rivals” for the intense games these clubs always seem to play, as well as the hostilities which often ensue. Chris Snow notes that the Huff winning hit deprived us a chance to see if Curt Schilling could’ve gone three innings for the first time. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox need to play to the level of their own talent, not that of the opposition.

Lenny Megliola takes a look at Curt Schilling, a man he calls a walking paradox for the Red Sox, but noting that whatever he is, he holds the key to the Red Sox success down the stretch. Tony Massarotti notes that while he hasn’t been terrible out there, Schilling hasn’t exactly solved the Red Sox bullpen woes. Gordon Edes talks to David Wells and others about the Devil Rays, why they’re so pesky and whether Lou Piniella actually holds them back from getting better. In addition, Wells calls the current Red Sox, the “best bunch of guys” he’s ever played with, including his time with the Yankees. Brendan McGair looks at how the Red Sox ownership group has reached out to former team legends, anticipating that that will also be the case with Roger Clemens.

Joe McDonald looks at Red Sox phenom Jon Papelbon, and how he is trying to pattern himself after Roger Clemens. Massarotti takes a look at the Red Sox clubhouse as the players dig in this week and wait and wonder about the inevitable trades and how the team will be different at this time next week. Gerry Callahan, (subscription only)looks at whether Theo Epstein will be able to make a deal with the impact that last year’s trading deadline deal had, which essentially re-made the Red Sox and set the tone for the rest of the season. Epstein notes that it is a difficult trade market this year, but that he and the Red Sox don’t plan on failing this season. Bob Halloran says that the Red Sox didn’t need to trade Nomar last year to win it all because the team was good enough. He doesn’t believe this years team can win it all, and that there isn’t anyone out there that help them to win it all.

Silverman’s notebook reports on Boston native Manny Delcarmen being promoted today to the Major League roster. Snow’s notebook also reports on Delcarmen. Krasner’s notebook looks at Wells being unable to finish off the Devil Rays. Heuschkel’s notebook has Curt Schilling unfazed after taking the loss last night. Borges’ notebook looks at how Dale Sveum and Rocco Baldelli will always be linked in Red Sox lore.

Jerome Solomon submits an interesting feature on Patriots Defensive Coordinator Eric Mangini, who started his coaching career by accident in Australia. This is the best work we’ve seen yet from Solomon, who is still getting his feet wet on the Patriots beat since joining the Globe after the Patriots latest Super Bowl win. Alan Greenberg takes a look around the 2005 AFC Training Camp headlines. Michael Felger’s daily training camp preview looks at the running backs today and the battle to be Corey Dillon’s top backup. Michael Parente looks at the linebacker position, where even though Tedy Bruschi’s emotion, skills, instincts and leadership are going to be sorely missed, the Patriots still have a very talented group.

The Patriots signed first round pick Logan Mankins yesterday, becoming the first team to sign a first rounder, and the first team to sign all their draft picks. The sticking point was the number of years, and the Patriots eventually came down to five from their original wish of six. Felger says that this could be because of the new, unsigned CBA, which will only allow teams to spread a signing bonus across five seasons. However, Tom E Curran reports that number as four seasons. It’s not clear who is right here, but either way, it makes sense as to why this was the reason that the Patriots only went five years.

The guys on the early FSN New England Sports Tonight show had a faux argument (The type I hate) over this topic last night. Mike Reiss was on with Greg and Gary and Reiss started wondering what precedent this was going to set with the Patriots and that guys like Benjamin Watson and Vince Wilfork would be upset that Mankins got five years when they had to take six. As was pointed out to Reiss, there isn’t much they can do about it. Reiss then worried what the future impact would be, that the Patriots wouldn’t be able to hold the line at six years in the future now that they’ve given Mankins five. (Even though Daniel Graham got five) The obvious (to me) point that they were all ignoring, and thus why I call this a faux argument, was the fact that this five year deal was likely a direct result of the rule changes mentioned by Felger and Curran above…Reiss even mentioned it on the program earlier. They were getting semi-heated over this topic, when the subject was likely moot. The Patriots may not insist on six year deals in the future because of the salary cap implications. Have I mentioned I dislike fake controversies?

The Mankins signing is also reported by Solomon, who takes a short look at the character and makeup of Mankins, Greenberg, who says that Mankins will likely challenge for a starting position, and Parente, who says there will be no rookie holdouts this season.

Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins progress towards rebuilding their roster as they talk to a couple of old faces about a possible return. Shira Springer reports that the Celtics are close to a deal with second round pick Orien Greene.

Bill Griffith looks at an ESPN Radio legend signing off just as the network reaches Boston for the first time. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at upcoming Patriots training camp coverage by the local and national media, as well as WEEI’s new ratings numbers and lists out his top 10 Patriots commentators in the area. Not mentioned in the coverage is the fact that BSMW will be launching an expanded “Game Day Rear View” this season, which should be enjoyable for Patriots fans.

The New York Sports Headlines are full of trade talk for the Yankees and Mets, more speculation on Larry Brown talking to the Knicks and a few NFL and NHL articles.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.

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