Wednesday Links and Musings

Mixing things up a little bit on a Wednesday…

The Red Sox missed out on a great opportunity last night, falling to the Blue Jays 7-5 in the second game of the doubleheader. They had 3-0 and 5-2 leads in the game and couldn’t hold it. What makes it more frustrating is that the Yankees and Indians both also had rare losses and the Red Sox could’ve gone up a game on each. Get the stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page. Jon Couture looks at non-trades for the Red Sox this year that have worked out just fine. Alex Speier has Curt Schilling doubting himself after another rough start last night. Rob Bradford looks a David Ortiz once again coming up clutch…this time off the field.

Check out your Patriots headlines over at the Patriots Daily Links page . Dan Pires looks at the Patriots’ options with Rodney Harrison done for the season. Michael Parente looks ahead to the Chargers. A letter relating Tom Brady’s efforts to go out of his way towards a Make-a-Wish foundation patient makes up an article from Nick Cafardo this morning, which is a must-read.

Shira Springer has a feature on Celtics rookie Ryan Gomes, who hopes to settle into a starting position with the Atlantic Division champs.

Kevin Paul Dupont reports on Nick Boynton rejecting another offer from the Bruins. Stephen Harris reports that Sergei Samsonov is close to returning to the ice. Harris’ notebook recaps last night’s preseason game between the Bruins and Canadiens.

A few thoughts and items from the New England media this week.

Headset-Gate

On Sunday, Ron Borges in his NFL notes column led off with a section making the case for why Corey Dillon might be washed up. He did this after writing last Monday that it was far too soon for anyone to be making that assumption. Tom Curran called him out for this in a blog entry later that day. However that wasn’t the only item from Borges that has fellow media members questioning him. In the second section of the column, entitled “Caller ID: Brady on the line” Borges quotes a “defensive coach whose team has played the Patriots this season”. The coach says about the New England play calling:

"[Bill] Belichick doesn't even have a headset on, so how's he calling the plays? Smoke signals? If you think a 28-year-old kid [quarterback coach Josh McDaniels] is doing it, you don't understand much about Belichick."

Any fan who has watched the games realizes right away that this coach is incorrect in stating that Belichick doesn’t wear a headset. (This issue was curiously also discussed back in July by Nick Cafardo and Paul Attner, who stated that Belichick isolated himself on the sidelines.) Borges would obviously know this statement is incorrect as well, but he puts it in there anyway. Today Michael Felger calls out the statement commenting:

By the way: Is there really an opposing coach out there, as reported recently, who believes Belichick doesn't wear a headset during games? Is that for real? Anyone who pays attention just a little knows that Belichick never takes his headset off, save for a kneel-down at the end of a half.

Borges will tell you that he merely reports what others say. It is not his job to correct the quotes. To me, this is mind-boggling and irresponsible. For a factually incorrect statement to be allowed to stand in the paper without any sort of corrective context or statement undermines the credibility of the reporter and paper. If the unnamed coach had stated that Brady threw 50 interceptions last season, would the quote had been allowed to stand?

What’s worse for Borges and the Globe is that two reporters at rival papers have actually come on the record and basically ridiculed the content of the column. When has this happened before? The bottom line is that WEEI and internet shut-ins are not the only ones questioning the quality and quantity of the Patriots coverage in the Boston Globe. It has basically become a joke around town, and the Globe is content to sit back smugly with their measuring stick in hand and proclaim that they have the most and best Patriots coverage in the region.

When you’ve got rival papers mocking your coverage, you might want to re-examine your position.

Schilling’s Free Pass

I was asked last week if Curt Schilling deserves a free pass in Boston.

First of all, for the purposes of this site, is Schilling a media member? Obviously not. However, he is a hot topic in the media, with some circles holding the opinion that the guy does no wrong and is worthy of a complete “free pass” for what he did in helping bring the World Series Title to Boston.

How should the guy be covered by the media? That’s going to be more of how I answer here. So I as I mentioned, I was asked if he deserves a free pass.

I said absolutely. For on the field stuff. For what Curt Schilling the pitcher did for the Red Sox last season, I give him a total pass for anything on the field. He’s earned it. He can struggle this season, and even fail in the end, though I’m hoping for the best, and he will still be an untouchable in my eyes. I won’t criticize him one bit for any failings on the baseball field for the Boston Red Sox. The man gave us all he had last year, perhaps even his career.

That’s Curt Schilling, on the field, as a baseball player. Curt Schilling the man, once he steps off the baseball diamond – even into the clubhouse – he’s no longer infallible. He doesn’t have free pass in my mind to say and do whatever he wants and not be subject to criticism. Schilling isn’t afraid to speak his mind and is going to say some unpopular things. He usually is good when it comes to speaking about the ballclub, most of the time he’s not going to say anything that is going to put the team in a bad light. (Scott Williamson might disagree with me) That’s what makes this incident with the unnamed teammate so curious. That he would reveal to Bob Hohler how much this is galling him is baffling. That he would allow his wife to be brought into and comment on the matter is likewise curious. What is gained by this? Sean McAdam on FSN Tuesday night speculated that perhaps Schilling was using it as a means of motivation. To get himself charged up for the final week(s) of the season. Still, it brings unneeded heat and attention on a team already in the spotlight and pressure of a playoff chase. (More on Schilling in David Heuschkel’s notebook today.)

So the bottom line from me is that you won’t hear me knocking Schilling for anything he does on the field. He’s got a “free pass” there. Anything else, when he opens his mouth, he’s just another guy.

Old School Coach

Dale and Holley asked yesterday why Doc Rivers is referred to as an “old school coach” on those Celtics ticket promotions. On Sports Xtra Sunday night, Rivers answered that question in a sit-down with Joe Amorosino:

There are things that I think that have to be done the right way, and I think, that's where people get the 'old school coach' idea from, because I believe there are certain things you have to do to become a good teammate, and to become a good team, and I think we're starting that. And I can't...because our team is so young, I can't not allow them not to. I just can't. If this were a veteran team, you can let some of those things go, but with this team, you can't.

Hopefully that clears things up a little bit. He’s trying to instill old-school values into his young players.

Misc

  • WEEI continued to lob their own grenades in the direction of Morrissey Blvd over their Patriots coverage. Michael Holley questioned the placement of stories. Glenn Ordway ridicules the topic and placement of features and decries the lack of Patriots coverage. I agree to a certain extent. Yesterday the Globe had seven Red Sox and Baseball articles and two Patriots articles. This on a day in which the Red Sox were rained out the night before, and that the Patriots had lost one of their defensive and inspirational leaders in a huge conference win over a team they faced in the most recent AFC championship game. I think more than one Patriots story and a notebook was called for.

    Yet, the ironic thing is that the Schilling/unnamed teammate story dominated WEEI talk all day yesterday, not Patriots talk. Is WEEI really concerned about the Patriots coverage or are they trying to bully the Globe after being rebuffed once again in their efforts to bring the Globe writers onto the station?

  • If you’re looking for Patriots talk, The Drive on ESPN Boston with Mike (not Michael) Felger continues to impress. His lineup of guests is outstanding, with a variety of viewpoints and expertise, Mike Reiss is a regular and after the Rodney Harrison injury went through a list of possible roster replacements. Reiss and Felger could talk with insight on each of the candidates, something I don’t think you’d hear on 850. The weekly segment with Patriots punter Josh Miller is quickly becoming appointment radio. He even takes calls from the fans. Now if they could just do something about that signal and the online-streaming…
  • It’s again ironic that WEEI apparently tried to get the Globe writers around the same time that Felger and ESPN Boston were coming on the air. Trying to make a preemptive strike against a possible competitor?
  • CBS4 has relaunched their website, the idea to make it a place to also break news, as Bob Lobel did with the Rodney Harrison injury report on Monday. They also have a Red Sox Blog from Dan Roche.
  • Out in Los Angeles, Billy Witz says the Patriots are done. For the record, Jon Anik on 1510’s The Diehards also said on Tuesday that the Dynasty is over with the injury to Harrison.
  • In USA Today, Jon Saraceno has some interesting quotes from Phil Simms regarding Bill Belichick and his approach to injuries:
    "When we meet with NFL coaches (the day before games), many of them complain about injuries to us," Simms said. "Bill Belichick never

Lost Leader

While the Red Sox were rained out at Fenway last night, the area was still abuzz over the reports that Rodney Harrison would be lost to the Patriots for the rest of the season, and possibly forever. The club has not confirmed this news yet, but multiple news sources are reporting it and last night Clark Judge on CBS Sportsline .com had Harrison’s agent confirming that his client was done for the year, and that the safety had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This is similar to the injury suffered by Bills running back Willis McGahee when he was in college at Miami. This article from the Buffalo News of a couple years ago is a good reference for what those three ligaments do, and what the hopes for recovery are.

Locally, Jerome Solomon also has the quote from the agent, but only mentions the ACL tear, which is the most serious of the three. Karen Guregian mentions the national reports of all three ligaments being torn, and notes that Matt Light could well be done for the year as well. Chris Kennedy reports on the injuries, which put the Patriots into a familiar position. Kevin McNamara notes that the backups will be counted on to come in and do the jobs they’ve prepared for. Alan Greenberg says that to brood about injuries or to use them as an excuse is “totally un-Patriotic”, and you won’t catch any that around Foxboro. Tim Weisberg observes that this team has overcome devastating injuries before. This might be the ultimate test, with both Harrison and Tedy Bruschi done on defense and Light on offense. Michael Parente also reports on the Patriots losing the heart and soul of their defense. Steve Buckley (subscription only) notes that while the Patriots were going about their business yesterday these injuries hurt more than most. Jim Donaldson says that the implications of these injuries are severe, perhaps moreso for Light in terms of team impact.

Michael Felger wraps up the win in Pittsburgh with his Patriots report card. Former Pats great Steve Grogan hands out his grades for Patsfans.com. Jonathan Comey notes that despite the loss of Harrison, the Patriots showed championship form on Sunday against the Steelers. Christopher Price says that there is no truth to the rumor that the Patriots are looking to sign the Burger King for their secondary, despite his obvious ball-hawking skills that he displays in picking off Drew Bledsoe in the commercial. Bob George wonders if this could really be the end of the line for Harrison. Tom E Curran gives a hats off to the Patriots offensive play calling (whoever was responsible) for making adjustments against the Steelers defense. Guregian looks at the strong play of the offensive line rookies, who are holding their own while being thrust into the fire. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) is at his best this morning as he looks a the comparisons between Larry Bird and Tom Brady, and appears that he might be considering putting Brady ahead of Bird at some point, an idea that he appears he cannot even fathom himself. Jeff Jacobs also has an ode to Brady. Guregian has a short report on the clock error Sunday which resulted in an extra minute being put on the game clock.

Solomon’s notebook has more on the game clock error, plus a look at Matt Light’s injury, the replacements for Light and Harrison, and Corey Dillon taking a little shot at Ron Borges by refusing to talk to the media, saying that he is “too old”. Guregian’s notebook says that Adam Vinatieri’s late game heroics are simply becoming routine. McNamara’s notebook reports that the Patriots kicker hopes to be around playing this game for quite a while longer.

The BSMW Patriots Game Day Rear View is undergoing some changes at the moment. Due to a heavy personal load, Scott A Benson is stepping down and has brought in Greg Doyle to handle the blogging about the Super Bowl Champions. I want to thank Scott for all he’s done for the page, and look forward as Greg gets his feet wet with the duties.

The Red Sox were rained out last night, forcing an unwanted doubleheader today. Chris Snow reports that the rainout means that the much anticipated Curt Schilling/Randy Johnson matchup will not happen this weekend after all. Michael Silverman also looks at the Red Sox flipping their rotation after the rainout, as does Jeff Goldberg. Another factor is that that the Red Sox now have to play two games today against a team that has given them trouble all year. Joe McDonald pursues this angle. Lenny Megliola looks at the curveball thrown by Mother Nature last night at the Red Sox. Ron Chimelis and Brendan McGair again look at how the rain foiled the Red Sox weekend plans.

Bob Hohler has a look at a difficult season for Curt Schilling, who hasn’t recovered from his ankle injury enough to be able to pitch consistently the way he would like. He is also stung by the recent comments from a teammate which appeared in a Howard Bryant column last week. Dennis & Callahan have put the finger on Manny or Keith Foulke being the teammate, without giving any evidence other than they are guys they don’t like. Stan Grossfeld offers up a feature on Carl Yastrzemski, out on a fishing boat, talking about the pressures of Boston, 1967, clashes with Ted Williams, losing his son and many other topics. Bob Ryan looks at the Blue Jays, who plan on playing the role of spoiler this week at Fenway. Silverman notes that the pressure is doubled with two games against the Jays today for the Red Sox. Usually skeptical and pessimistic (by his own admission) Ron Chimelis says at the Red Sox are a lock to make the postseason. Tony Chamberlain looks at how Craig Hansen is adjusting to big league life, just a couple months removed from college. Rich Thompson has a quick hit on Alex Cora and how he is enjoying his time in Boston. Gordon Edes reports on a proposal from the Players Association to increase the penalties for positive steroid tests. Howard Bryant (subscription only) looks at the rain last night dousing the dream duel that had been set up this weekend between Johnson and Schilling.

Snow’s notebook looks at the Yankees making plans for the postseason. Silverman’s notebook wonders how many people are going to call in *ahem* sick today. The Projo notebook has brave words from Johnny Damon, who declares himself at 100% and ready for a run at the postseason this week.

Stephen Harris looks at unanswered questions facing the Bruins as they prep for the season opener. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Montreal rookie sensation Guillaume Latendresse whom the Bruins will see tonight. Matt Kalman looks at the situation between the Bruins and Nick Boynton reaching a critical point, and why other teams haven’t put in offers for the restricted free agent. Bill Griffith reports on NESN signing up Jack Edwards to handle play-by-play on their Bruins road telecasts.

Celtics Blog has a nice Q&A with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck.

Vin Sylvia looks at the UNH Wildcats being ranked #1 in NCAA Division 1-AA Football for the first time ever. Michael Vega looks at BC QB Matt Ryan’s quick recovery from a nasty hit on Saturday.

The New York Sports News page has coverage of the AL East race, a piece in the Post has Johnny Damon saying that the Red Sox missed out on a chance to sign him at a discount, and NFL coverage as the Jets lose two quarterbacks for the season.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 1:00 and 7:00. ESPN2 has Toledo/Fresno State college football at 9:00.

Lobel reporting Harrison out for year

From the website for CBS4-Boston:

It looks like the Pats win yesterday in Pittsburgh was a costly one. CBS4 Boston Sports Director Bob Lobel has learned that Rodney Harrison suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's done for the year, and this could potentially be a career-ending injury