Another Marathon Monday

After yesterday’s game, a clear pattern seems to be developing with this Boston Red Sox club. When Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett pitches, they’ve got a tremendous chance of winning, now moving to 6-0 on the season with either of their aces on the mound. In games started by anyone else, they’re 2-4. Yesterday’s 3-2 win by the Red Sox was finished off by Jonathan Papelbon’s sixth save of the season.

Chris Snow looks at Beckett dazzling the Fenway faithful once again, including a 98 mph pitch to get out of a jam in the sixth inning. Michael Silverman reports on Beckett rescuing the Red Sox offense, which continues to struggle a bit. Sean McAdam focuses on the slumping offense, which provided just enough for Beckett to work with. David Heuschkel says this one was about the J-Crew, as in Josh and Jonathan. Lenny Megliola says we’re seeing some patterns with this Red Sox team. David Borges and Bill Ballou round out the recaps of yesterday’s action.

Tony Massarotti says that this Red Sox team thus far is totally unrecognizable compared to previous editions. He says it is an understatement to say they’re re-invented themselves. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at closer Jonathan Papelbon, and one of the sterling bits of information Dan provides to an audience hungry to learn more about the phenom is that he says “man” alot. Alex Speier has a look at the Red Sox perfect 1-2 punch.

John Tomase has Carl Everett, Mike Timlin and Dustan Mohr complimenting Manny Ramirez on his defense, after he made a pair of nice plays yesterday despite the wind gusts. Amalie Benjamin looks at the Red Sox getting a break on a blown call from umpire Rick Reed. Massarotti also looks at Wily Mo Pena having trouble with a ball in the field yesterday. Tomase also has more on Josh Beckett’s performance.

Heuschkel’s notebook has David Wells saying that he is 100% sure he will retire after this season. Snow’s notebook looks at more adventures in the outfield for Wily Mo. Silverman’s notebook has another look at the blown call at first base. Steve Krasner’s Inside the game examines Kevin Youkilis not be taken out for defensive purposes last in the game, the struggles of the Red Sox offense and the blown call, among other items. Ballou’s notebook has more on Wily Mo, as well as a presidential lineup of Red Sox, past and present. Borges’ notebook has hitting coach Papa jack confident that Manny Ramirez will start hitting soon.

Today is of course, the 110th Boston Marathon. You can check out the special sections from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Worcester Telegram & Gazette for complete coverage.

The Celtics enter the final week of their season with just games against Cleveland tonight and Miami Wednesday remaining on the schedule. The Celtics dropped a pair of close ones to the Nets over the weekend, falling 79-74 at home on Friday and yesterday in New Jersey, 95-93. Paul Pierce did not play in yesterday’s game, putting Gerald Green in the starting lineup, where he led the team with 19 points. Green has been the reason to watch the Celtics this past month when as they’ve fallen out of the playoff hunt. His play has given Celtics fans something to enjoy and look forward to more of in the future. Peter May contrasts the disappointing year from Al Jefferson with the resurgence of the Nets Richard Jefferson and says it is a “cautionary tale”. Steve Bulpett has a look at Brian Scalabrine, who got 28 minutes and a season high 14 points yesterday again his old club, and realizes that he has a huge offseason ahead of him.

Tim Weisberg looks at Red Auerbach getting after the Celtics players on Friday night after he felt they weren’t showing enough hustle on the floor. Mark Murphy looks at Tony Allen’s role at a combo guard, as it becomes clear that he is not really a playmaker. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Paul Pierce, whose injured elbow caused Doc Rivers to hold him out of yesterday’s game with the Nets. May’s notebook also looks at the injury to Pierce. Shira Springer had a piece yesterday looking at Kendrick Perkins and Ryan Gomes, who may be different in style and background, but who share many of the same qualities and should provide the Celtics with a solid frontcourt duo. Scott Souza has Doc Rivers optimistic about the future of his team, and looking forward to being a part of that future.

Steve Conroy has a season-ending report card for the Bruins. Only Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes and Brad Stuart come away with “A’s”. Joe McDonald had a nice feature yesterday looking at Hannu Toivonen’s interest in a 5-year-old leukemia patient. Karen Guregian says that the Bruins problems run a lot deeper than the team they put out on the ice. Mick Colageo says this offseason is the time for the Bruins to pick up the pieces as he looks at all areas of the organization. He also provides a report card for the players.

Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots are under a lot of pressure to hit it big in this month’s NFL draft. Albert Breer says that Minnesota tailback Laurence Maroney might be someone the Patriots could be very interested in. Nick Cafardo made a top-10 draft list for the Patriots yesterday and had a number of other notes on current and former Patriots, as well as an update from the never-was-a-Patriot-but-still-got-screwed-by-Bill-Belichick-anyhow Cafardo favorite, Rob Konrad. And oh yeah, Carl Poston’s suspension was “head-scratching”. Tom E Curran today looks at NC State Linebacker/Defensive End Manny Lawson.

NESN has Red Sox/Mariners at 11:00 AM. FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:30. CBS4 and WCVB will have Marathon coverage today, with CBS4 going out all with 9 1/2 straight hours of coverage, starting at 9:00 AM and broadcasting live through 6:30 PM.

Friday Media Links

When you’re a computer guy and the power goes out three times in your building in one day, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

I did manage to re-work the Red Sox Daily Links and Patriots Daily Links pages this week. They’re still not “pretty” pages, (any web designers out there feel free to contact me) but I added a lot more feeds to the page to ensure that you’re almost always going to find new stories about the teams. Both pages now include feeds from blogs, both media blogs and select independent blogs. For instance, the Boston Globe and Reiss’ Pieces feeds have been combined into one feed in one box. I did that for the Herald and Projo and their blogs as well.

Those pages should help out for those looking for unique links all on one page while I’m away next month.

Here’s a few links for the afternoon:

Murk Jurkowitz has a look at an interesting study that claims that the New York Times actually devoted more coverage to the Red Sox (of which it is a part owner) than it did to the Yankees and Mets in the 2005-2006 offseason.

Jim Baker, Nashua Telegraph – Newbies may press Kenyans for Boston Marathon title on Monday.

Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News – Low water alters coverage of race.

Boston Radio Watch – Marathon Monday is a One Station Race.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Yankee Programming Goes Over the Wall.

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Hey George, quit shovin’!

Phil Mushnick, New York Post – Lazy Daze

Andrew Marchand, New York Post - Business Boom-ing at MSG.

Michael McCarthy, USA Today – Sprint draft deal just the start for NFL.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – Local sportscasts get mixed reviews.

Dave Darling, Orlando Sentinel – Perfect (or not) for radio.

David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Milo keeps tabs on pupils, Astros on his first day off.

Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – Barkley Won’t Lay Off the Lakers or Playoffs.

Also Stewart – Dodgers, Angels Keep Changing the Channel.

Interesting thread over at sportsjournalists.com (careful, it can get nasty there) looking at the Globe/Red Sox conflict of interest.

Lilly Does It Again

Ted Lilly continued his mysterious mastery of the Red Sox, going seven innings, striking out 10 and giving up just a single run in the Blue Jays 8-6 win over the Sox.

Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox two biggest strengths in the early going, pitching and defense, letting them down in this one. Chris Snow reports on Matt Clement getting rocked by the Blue Jays, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence for him. Last night’s game wasn’t that hard to figure out in advance if you looked at each starter’s measure of success against the other team. Jeff Horrigan has more on Clement not giving the Red Sox much of a chance against Lilly and the Jays. Tom Yantz boils it down to not enough of Clements’ sinkers sank last night. Garry Brown has more on Lilly shutting down the Sox. David Borges says last night was a little deja vu from the night before for the Red Sox. Bill Ballou looks at the Blue Jays having a grand time against Matt Clement.

Jon Couture looks at a lot of little things adding up to the loss for Boston. Bob Ryan looks at the Blue Jays, who plan on being around and in the thick of the race for the entire season. Michael Vega looks at Ted Lilly making the Red Sox look silly once again. Steve Buckley has a piece on how Wily Mo Pena is getting plenty advice in the Red Sox clubhouse about his swing, and is willing to listen to it all. Alex Speier looks at the hot start to the season for Jonathan Papelbon. Jeff Horrigan reports on the versatile Trent Durrington pitching the final three innings for the PawSox after starting the game in left field the other night.

In light of Bronson Arroyo’s second home run of the season for Cincinnati, Ryan also talks to the Red Sox pitching staff about hitting and their history and stories at the plate. Some amusing tales from that bunch. When I read the headline for the column from Steve Buckley (subscription only) this morning, (Longin

Alls Not Wells For Sox

I knew this would be a crazy time leading up to the wedding, and it’s starting to catch up to me a little bit. The good news is, there will be plenty of updates and material posted during May while I’m away, as I’ve put in a lot of time and late nights getting things ready. Here are some reduced links for an incredibly busy sports morning today:

David Wells returned to the rotation for the Red Sox last night, but it was a short and unproductive outing as the veteran lefty only lasted four innings, giving up seven runs in a 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays, snapping the Red Sox five game winning streak. Coco Crisp also signed a contract extension yesterday that will keep him here for at least the next three years after this one. Check out the links on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Patriots wrapped up Richard Seymour with a new contract extension yesterday, taking care of a major piece of their offseason business. You can get the stories at the Patriots Daily Links page.

Is it ok to get excited about Gerald Green yet? The rookie scored 22 points last night, but the Celtics still fell to the Indiana Pacers 117-112 last night out at Conseco Fieldhouse. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 30 points, but Green was impressive once again, providing a couple more highlight film dunks and some good shooting (10-16 from the field) as he continues to get increased playing time over the last games of the season. Even with the Celtics out of the playoffs, Green continues to give fans a reason to tune in and check the team out. It’s hard not to be excited about the young talent that this team possesses. If they can add a solid point guard in the offseason, someone to handle and distribute the ball a little more smoothly, this team could make great strides next year. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy look at the Celtics getting officially eliminated from the playoffs by the Pacers last night. Murphy’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce closing in on the fifth highest single season scoring average in Celtics history.

With Delonte West out with a strained calf, Tony Allen started at the point guard slot, a position that he has been working at more and more recently, to the point that Doc Rivers stated that Allen was the second string point guard, ahead of Orien Greene. Allen had nine points five assists and five steals last night. In addition to Green and Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Raef LaFrentz and Ryan Gomes all scored in double-digits for the Celtics. You can check out coverage from the Pacers sides of things over at the Indy Star.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. CN8 has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. TNT has Knicks/Cavs at 8:00 and Mavs/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Phillies/Braves at 7:30.

Crisp, Seymour Contracts Extended

A pair of local athletes will be hanging around a while longer…

The Red Sox today extended the contract of Coco Crisp for three years with an option for a fourth. The Extra Bases blog has the news.

Mike Reiss confirms an ESPN report that the Patriots have come to an agreement to extend the contract of Richard Seymour. Details to come.

Paul Perillo on Patriots.com has the news now as well. They report that it is believed to be a four year extension and will likely kick in the big money for the 2007 season, since “Seymour received a raise in salary following a brief contract holdout last summer, and according to a section of the collective bargaining agreement, a player cannot receive another raise for a full calendar year.”

Red Sox, Beckett, Right At Home

Just as they did in the season opener, the Red Sox impressively cruised through their home opener at Fenway Park yesterday, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 before a packed house. Can you say “media saturation”? The coverage that this team generates here in New England is truly prodigious, as you will see from the following links:

Jeff Horrigan examines the newly rebuilt Red Sox having a coming out party in the much changed Fenway park in yesterday afternoon’s opener. Chris Snow says that yesterday was not perfect for the Red Sox, but it certainly was a proper win. David Heuschkel focuses on Josh Beckett in his game story as the ace acquired in the offseason continues to impress with his intensity and fire. Garry Brown also has plenty of Beckett in his report on the opening day win. Alex Speier covers the win for the Union Leader, giving us more on Beckett, who was clearly the star of the day with others in supporting roles. David Borges has more on the Red Sox running their record to 6-1 on the young season. Bill Ballou says that the Red Sox look pretty unstoppable in the early going here.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Josh Beckett, who struggled through the first inning, but then picked things up and cruised through the next six to get the win. Tony Massarotti has an article on Beckett learning from his early struggles and keeping his head about him and making adjustments. Sean McAdam looks at Beckett getting his day off on the right foot, but recovering nicely. Art Davidson has more on Beckett, who has proved himself an eager student of Curt Schilling in his first week with the Red Sox. John Tomase looks at Beckett and Shea Hillenbrand having words yesterday over the latter assuming a walk in the first inning yesterday. Joe McDonald reports on Beckett and Mike Lowell feeling very comfortable in their first home game at Fenway park. Jon Couture says that the best upgrades that the Red Sox might’ve made in the offseason might be on the field, rather than to the park itself.

Dan Shaughnessy looks at a grand day at the renovated Fenway park for the opener. Scott MacKay reports on the changes made at the ballpark, which are so striking and subtle at the same time. Paul Doyle has more on the changes at Fenway, which fans seem to be paying for through increased concession prices. Jim Donaldson says that the first week shows promise of this being an extraordinary season for the Red Sox. Lenny Megliola summarizes a great day at the park for Red Sox fans, with promise of much more this season. Kevin Gray looks at that magic living on for another year at Fenway. Nick Cafardo looks at the remaining members of the Red Sox 1946 AL Championship team who were in attendance and honored yesterday as part of the festivities.

Gordon Edes looks at Adam Stern handling everything that comes his way, including assisting with the Canadian National Anthem. He’s show he can play a little bit, too. Paul Kenyon has more on Stern. Silverman has a look at Kevin Youkilis, who thrived in the leadoff role yesterday. Megliola has more on Youkilis, who enjoys his new roles with the Red Sox, both as a starter, and yesterday as the leadoff hitter. Dan Ventura reports on David Ortiz celebrating his new contract with a 2-3 day, including a home run.

Jennifer Toland has a look at Mike Lowell, who enjoyed the left field wall at his new workplace yesterday. John Tomase looks at Lowell acing his first home test with a 4-4 afternoon, including 3 doubles. Michael Vega looks at Lowell starting off the home schedule with aplomb. Massarotti has a short note about Jason Varitek being suspicious of the Blue Jays stealing signs from second base.

Michael Silverman looks at Jonathan Papelbon continuing to grow and flourish in the closer’s role with another save yesterday. Peter May says that the new bullpen setup of Foulke in the eighth, Papelbon in the ninth seems to be working out pretty well. Davidson has more on Papelbon, who has been rock solid in the closer role. Amalie Benjamin looks a the rough Red Sox Fenway park debut for Wily Mo Pena, who helped a ball over the fence for a homerun, and didn’t look too graceful doing it. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also writes about the tough play for Pena, and gives him credit for taking everything in stride. Ron Chimelis reports on the Red Sox outfield taking another hit with Trot Nixon getting injured, which was how Pena found himself in the game.

Snow’s notebook looks at outfield injuries to Coco Crisp and Trot Nixon opening up playing time for Stern, Pena and Dustan Mohr. Horrigan’s notebook says that Nixon will be out at least two days with his left groin strain that he suffered in the second inning. Ballous’s notebook has more on Nixon, who was hurt after misjudging a liner to him in right field. Borges’ notebook examines the perfect Fenway debut for Mike Lowell. Steven Krasner’s notes style column leads off with a look at Youkilis in that role. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Trot, as does the Projo notebook.

Cafardo also looks at the Blue Jays, who haven’t quite gotten their act together yet in the young season. Kevin Gray looks at a pair of former Fisher Cats who are contributing to the Blue Jays.

On a bit of a downer, Michael Felger posts his 1-1 interview with Adam Vinatieri this morning, where the Colts kicker talks about his new life and challenges in Indianapolis. Felger also has an article on Vinatieri, who say he holds no grudges towards the Patriots. Eric McHugh says that Tebucky Jones won’t recognize the Patriots team he is returning to. Mike Reiss has a Patriots notebook where he looks further at the return of Jones, who is looking forward to getting back to the playoffs. Tom E Curran profiles Ohio State cornerback Ashton Youboty today.

From the Inside Track this morning:

Imagine WEEI chief Julie Kahn

Review: The Maple Street Press 2006 Red Sox Annual

For years Jim Walsh had been reading baseball preview guides and found himself wanting more than the 3-4 pages that these national publications would devote to each club. He wanted a preview devoted to the Red Sox, that would give the Boston fan more, something he felt they deserved “due to their undying loyalty to the team and insatiable appetite for Sox-related information.” To that end, Walsh heeded to the old adage that “If you want something done right, do it yourself” and set about creating that dream publication.

The result is the 108 page 2006 Red Sox Annual, published by Maple Street Press. Walsh edited the project, which was done in partnership with the Sons of Sam Horn website, of which Walsh has been a member of for four years. The publication is chock full of features, interviews, reports, analysis and yes, plenty of statistical charts and formulas. (In the effort of full disclosure, it should be noted that I wrote an article for the book, a four page look at the newspaper, radio, television and internet coverage of the Red Sox.)

The guide is divided out into three major sections, plus an appendix with scoring and win probability tables. The first section is Analyzing the 2006 BoSox, and leads off with 10 page, position-by-position, player-by-player breakdown by Chad Finn. The thumbnails of each player are both informative and fun at the same time. Finn mixes in plenty of one-liners in his player profiles, such as this one in Mike Lowell’s section: “…played prep ball with A-Rod in Miami…says they are not close…so he’s a good judge of character.” After Finn’s “From the Ground Up” article there is an American League preview by Aaron Gleeman, (with plenty of attention paid to the Yankees) followed by analysis from Pete Palmer (co-author of The Hidden Game of Baseball) on the Red Sox’s approach to the sacrifice bunt.

Vince Gennaro then examines the topic “Turning a Winning Red Sox Team Into a Financial Winner“, he compares the revenue advantages that the Yankees have over the Red Sox, noting that it is “entirely driven by the broadcast arrangements and largely attributable to the size of the New York market”. He also examines nuggets such as how much Johnny Damon was worth to the Red Sox after they signed him in 2002 and how revenues will rise and fall with a team’s number of wins. There a look at the reign of Theo Epstein, as he built and dismantled the 2004 championship team. The Moneyball approach and misconceptions surround it as regards the Red Sox is the subject of the article immediately before mine, which as mentioned is a look at the Red Sox media coverage. Jim Bennett then closes out this section of the book with an in-depth statistical breakdown of what Red Sox fans might be able to expect out of this 2006 edition of the hometown nine.

The second section of the book is Down on The Farm, which leads off with a Red Sox minor league report, followed by features and interviews with Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen and Jed Lowrie, all done by David Laurila. The Papelbon article has the family of the pitcher recalling the day of his first major league start last season against the Minnesota Twins and their emotions and feelings on the event. The interviews with Hansen and Lowrie are straight Q&A session with the closer and infield prospects.

The last section of the book is dedicated to Red Sox teams and legends of the past. Mark Armour (co-author of Paths to Glory) has an interesting look at “The Year After“, which examines how the Red Sox squads of 1947, 1968, 1976, 1987 and 2005 fared after the team of the previous year had made a World Series appearance. Stephen Vetere and Jim Walsh then examine the 13 postseason elimination games that the Red Sox played between 1999 and 2004. Remarkably, the Red Sox won 11 of those 13 games in that span, making it the most prolific elimination game streak in baseball history. Each of the games is examined and dissected. There is a 20th Anniversary look back at the 1986 Red Sox, followed by a remembrance of Tony Congliaro by Shaun Kelly. (Who started the famous “Win it for…” thread on SoSH during the 2004 postseason) The final article in the publication examines the Hall of Fame candidacy of Jim Rice. Author Mark A Brown notes that Rice has no less then eight strikes against his when it comes to Hall admission, and probably in the end falls just short of the qualifications needed for the induction into the Hall.

The appendix, as mentioned earlier, contains win and scoring probability tables for major league baseball, as noted in the introduction the tables, these can be an interesting guide to compare Terry Francona’s late inning moves as the tables go through a plethora of scenarios for each team for last season.

Walsh wanted to create a publication completely devoted to the Red Sox, with plenty of in depth information and analysis. I believe this book succeeds in doing that, and is a worthwhile read to anyone planning to follow the Red Sox on their season-long journey to October. The 2006 Red Sox Annual can be purchased for $9.95 through the banner ad at the top of this page, which is directly through the publisher, or on Amazon.com.

Another Year at Fenway Starts Today

Chris Snow reports on David Ortiz’s new four-year $50 million contract extension that was made official yesterday. Michael Silverman looks at four more years for Big Papi in Boston. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that despite our initial misgivings about them as outsiders, this Red Sox ownership group continues to make all the right moves. Art Martone looks at the group locking up the face of the franchise into the next decade. Jeff Goldberg reports on Ortiz and the Red Sox bringing some good news to the fans after so many recent high-profile departures.

Garry Brown also reports on the new deal for Ortiz. Alex Speier says that with the signing of Ortiz, things are looking mostly sunny for the Red Sox as they head into the home schedule. Jon Couture says that this extension really stamps Ortiz as the face of the franchise. Joe Haggerty also looks at the Red Sox and Ortiz both wanting this deal to get done, making it fairly easy for Fernando Cuza, Ortiz’s agent.

Bill Ballou says that with the signing of Big Papi, the Red Sox were willing to take the good news with the bad news on Coco Crisp. Snow also reports on Crisp’s broken knuckle. The Red Sox are not giving a timetable for his return other than to say that he will be in a splint for 10 days. Silverman reports that the injury is expected to keep Crisp out at least a month. Martone has some more on the injury to Crisp, which could have him back sooner than a month.

Amalie Benjamin serves up a feature on Red Sox captain Jason Varitek and his teammates, building a team chemistry and the reality of getting older. (Varitek turns 34 today.) Silverman gets the thoughts of several Red Sox players about playing opening day at Fenway. Kris Russell talks to Jonathan Papelbon who was in Manchester yesterday shooting a TV commercial. The right hander says the he’d prefer to start, but doesn’t mind closing, either. Gordon Edes has a look at starting first baseman Kevin Youkilis, one of the survivors left over from the 2004 championship squad.

Dan Shaughnessy looks at an improved and renovated Fenway Park ready for its 95th opening day this afternoon. Tony Massarotti says that with all the changes made to the roster this offseason, the Red Sox team itself could be a feature on Extreme Makeover. Lenny Megliola says that it is opening day and time to start the party. He knows what to expect for much of the event, but knows there will be a surprise or two. Brown says that the day will be a celebration of both old and new. Paul Doyle serves up an essay exploring why the Red Sox should retire Johnny Pesky’s number 6. Steve Buckley (subscription only) devotes an entire column today to pondering who on the Red Sox might get booed today.

Snow’s notebook says that we shouldn’t expect Josh Beckett to have a case of the nerves when he takes the mound this afternoon for his first opening day start for the Red Sox. David Borges’ notebook has more on Beckett embracing the chance to start for the Red Sox at the Fenway home opener. Goldberg’s notebook looks at the Red Sox scrambling with the loss of Crisp for the time being.

Chad Finn has some opening day thoughts, and includes some shots at WEEI and media coverage of yesterday’s events. He asks who played the role of the turd in the punch bowl and tried to project some negativity onto the signing of Ortiz to a contract extension…with apologies to Lennox Financial…the biggest no-brainer in the history of earth. Well my friends, that role was ably played by Andy Gresh on FSN’s Sports Tonight, where he stated that because of Ortiz’s knees, this wasn’t a good deal for the Red Sox, and that essentially they are hypocrites because they wouldn’t give Johnny Damon a similar four year deal as they are about the same age.

CBS4 will have coverage from Fenway today, which will include webcasts available on the station website they will cover Terry Francona’s press conference at 11:00 and have another webcast at 12:30 with Bob Lobel and Dan Roche.

A special edition of Patriots Game Day looks at the team’s free agent signings thus far and specifically explores the notion that Martin Gramatica can’t be a cold weather kicker. The statistics in a limited sample size seem to say otherwise. Christopher Price reports on Gramatica getting fired up to be a member of the Patriots. Michael Parente notes that a new addition to his family has made this a special time for the new kicker, who is excited for the opportunity. Tom E Curran and Alan Greenberg look at Gramatica speaking very highly of Adam Vinatieri as a player and a person in his first talk with the New England media last night. Michael Felger says that Gramatica is confident in his abilities and that he will find success here with the Patriots. Jerome Solomon also reports on Gramatica.

From the weekend, Albert Breer took a look at what the Patriots might be focused on in the draft. Curran’s draft card looks at Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.

Peter May says we’re going to see a lot of the kids during the last five games of the Celtics season. Mike Fine says that the Celtics have a future that appears to be brighter, and will use the final few games to work towards that. Steve Bulpett has Wally Szczerbiak being optimistic as he heads into knee surgery this afternoon.

Steve Conroy reports on the Bruins 2-1 loss to the Capitals last night. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Boston College winger Chris Collins, who is talking to the Bruins, among other teams, about signing on. Conroy’s notebook looks at Yan Stastny getting some extended time as the Bruins play out the string.

Yesterday, Jessica Heslam had a piece in the Herald outlining how sports fans are tuning out the sports segments on the news telecasts and instead tuning into regional and national sports broadcasts and the internet. FSN’s Sports Tonight is cited as an example of where the sports fan tunes for his information rather than the 6:00 & 11:00 PM newscasts.

Check back at noon for a review of the Maple Street Press 2006 Red Sox Annual.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 2:00 and Bruins/Senators at 7:30.

Sox Home in First

A bit pressed for time this morning…

The Red Sox finished off a three game sweep of the Orioles with a 4-1 win yesterday. You can check the stories and recaps on the Red Sox Daily Links page. The Boston Herald also has their season preview for the Red Sox with the the home opener tomorrow.

It’s probably worth checking in with the Clubhouse Insider and Extra Bases blogs today for updates on Coco Crisp’s injured finger and David Ortiz’s possible contract extension.

The Celtics clearly have entered “playing out the string” territory, as they suffered a lackluster 101-86 loss to the dreadful New York Knicks at TD Banknorth Garden yesterday afternoon. Mark Murphy has a recap of what was essentially a summer-league game by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Kevin McNamara says that the struggles of his kiddie korps in the fourth quarter shocked coach Doc Rivers. Scott Souza observes that the Celtics played like a team “comfortably resigned to its fate”. Steve Bulpett looks at the Knicks extracting a little revenge for the whipping the Celtics handed them the last time these clubs met. You can get the coverage from New York and their side of things on the New York Sports Pages.

Lenny Megliola isn’t too happy with the current state of the Celtics franchise, expressing skepticism that this team can build successfully for the future. Tim Weisberg looks at the play of Gerald Green as of late, as the rookie has shown flashes of brilliance and given some hope for the future. Peter May looks at Big Al Jefferson’s season of frustration likely being finished. Bulpett also looks at Jefferson being shut down for the remainder of the season.

Murphy’s notebook looks at Tony Allen and Orien Greene attempting to hold down the point guard position after Delonte West left the game with a calf injury. May’s notebook provides a recap of the loss, and a look at Gerald Green’s showtime moments. McNamara’s notebook has more on the season coming to an end for Al Jefferson.

SporTView – Masters Weekend

This weekend provides a plethora of sporting choices for the viewer. We’ve got the Masters, as well as regular season MLB, NBA and NHL games. Boston College plays for the NCAA hockey championship Saturday night. There’s also MLS and NASCAR events this weekend.

Some Weekend Links:

Red Sox Daily Links

Patriots Daily Links

New York Sports Links

Live From Augusta

Notes from the week:

*If you’re watching the Masters this afternoon, here’s a heads up. If you want HD coverage, turn to your CBS HD channel (On Comcast, I think it should be 804). If you turn to just regular channel 4, you’re going to get regular daily CBS programming. If you don’t have HD and want to watch the action from today, it’s being broadcast in regular definition on USA.

*The Red Sox began the regular season this week, and the storylines so coveted by talking show hosts are playing out as well as can be expected. We’ve already have mini maelstroms around Josh Bard’s debut catching Tim Wakefield (They never should’ve traded Mirabelli!!!) and Jonathan Papelbon being brought in to close a game Wednesday (Foulke is angry!!! What are they going to do when Foulke is back!!! They’re hindering the kid’s development by not having him in the rotation!!!) Just think, only six more months of this!

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*The Red Sox have their home opener this Tuesday with an afternoon game against the Blue Jays. ESPN Radio (Mike & Mike in the Morning) and WEEI will be broadcasting from the Red Sox home opener.

*Office-bound sports fan in New England will soon have another option in sports radio to help them through the day. WFAN in New York will so begin on-line streaming of their daily broadcasts, starting next Tuesday. While this will be especially good to listen to when Boston teams are playing New York, it will also be a welcome option to listen to during the NFL season. Of course, this week hasn’t been a great one at WFAN as they’ve been having WEEI-like shouting matches over whether Mets closer Billy Wagner has the right to have “Enter Sandman” played when he comes into the game. After all, that is Mariano Rivera’s theme song…no one else can use it! (See Neil Best’s column linked below)

*While we’ll get the chance to listen to Mike and Mad Dog and other WFAN programming, word came down earlier this week that FSN NY will be showing “Sports Tonight” with Greg Dickerson and Gary Tanguay in the NY market on a nightly basis for transplanted Red Sox fans living in enemy territory. Somehow, I think we got the better of that particular exchange…

*Who wants to break the news to Nick Cafardo that the NFL office didn’t feel bad for the Patriots and decide to give them an easy schedule this year? The “Hostess” cupcake schedule delivered to the Patriots was actually put together years ago. You can go out and look at most of the Patriots home and away games for 2009 with a little work on Google. Don’t Patriots fans deserve a little better coverage of this team? While we’re at it, how about John Tomase suggesting…nay, declaring, on his blog that

They