Weekend Watch – Columbus Day Weekend Edition

It’s a long weekend for many out there, and here in New England, the leaf peepers will be out in full force. Be prepared to drive 15mph through any scenic areas.

Football and the MLB playoffs dominate the airwaves this weekend, but the Bruins drop the puck to open the season tonight on NESN. It will be interesting to see what the viewership for the new-look club is like. For the rest of your sports viewing, the Globe has a pretty handy weekend sports guide which has almost all your basics covered. If you’re looking for what programs are available in HD, check the HD Sports Guide.

Here are your NFL coverage maps for the weekend: CBS Single Header, Fox Game 1 and Fox Game 2. (Pretty much just one game being seen nationally there.)

Peter King continues his streak of offering the worst fantasy football advice I’ve ever seen. He clearly doesn’t get the concept. Sorry Peter, I’m not going out and grabbing Bruce Gradkowski OR Damon Huard, even though they’re both very available. (Edit – As usual, I’m an idiot. I guess I have more problem with the ridiculous reasoning that King uses to make recommendations rather than the picks themselves.)

It’s not often that someone beats Mike Reiss to a Patriots story, but John Tomase did it this week with his report on Ellis Hobbs’ broken wrist. The Herald blog is overshadowed by the tremendous job that Reiss has done with his Reiss’ Pieces blog, but Tomase and Albert Breer do a pretty solid job themselves on The Point After.

Speaking of Patriots blogs, MassLive.com has a pretty good one themselves, Eye on Foxborough is written by Dan Lamothe and takes a lighter approach to coverage of the team, while still covering all the major stuff.

Our own BSMW football blog, Patriots Game Day will be updated over the weekend to give updates before and after the Miami game. You can check the newspaper and blog entries on the team on the Patriots Daily Links page.

For the view from South Florida this weekend, you can check coverage in the Miami Herald, in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Dolphins in Depth weblog.

This weekend on ESPN’s Outside the Lines Sunday Jeremy Schaap interviews Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson about the 20th anniversary of the infamous play in the 1986 World Series game six.

Excerpts from the show:

“It just amazes me. I don’t quite get it… To me, that is part of sports, and it bothers me a little bit. I don’t think that is what sports is all about, and I don’t know if it is sending a good message to young players, you know, if you make a mistake that you are going to be criticized for 20 years.” — Bill Buckner, on the lasting image of his error 20 years later

“It baffles my mind that people want an autograph picture of that situation… I have taken a lot of heat with this thing, and I might as well get something out of it.” – Buckner, on fans paying for an autograph photo of the play

“I just think that I am a little bitter towards some of the things that have happened there. I think with the way I was treated there in the media, there is still just a little bitterness there.” – Buckner, talking about Boston

The show airs at 9:30 AM on Sunday.

Correction: The ratings numbers as reported on Tuesday need one adjustment. The rating for Sports Final was actually 3.0 – the number reported (5.9) was for the CBS4 news, which started at 11:30 – the time in which Sports Final normally airs.

Media Columns from Around the Country:

New England

John Howell has Dan Patrick talking about the steroid accusations that came from the Jason Grimsley confidential federal affidavit as revealed by the LA Times. Patrick was told three of the five names on the list back in June, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, but could not confirm his information, so never took it public. David Scott spent an evening at the BU College of Communication undergraduate class alongside ESPN ombudsman George Solomon. Speaking of Solomon, he had a column this week agreeing with viewers that the T.O. coverage from last week was just too much. Susan Bickelhaupt examines the challenges that broadcasters face in determining what information they can reveal ahead of time on the air after they meet with coaches and players prior to calling a game. John Molori’s Media Blitz has a source claiming that Red Sox announcer Jerry Trupiano knew all along that 2006 would be his last season with the club.

New York

Phil Mushnick notes that this year’s postseason baseball has seemed to bring out the worst in the announcers thus far, as several of them have said things that are just…stupid. (I’m really liking the Post’s new website, by the way.) Andrew Marchand has Five questions with Peter Gammons (and two more in the Post’s blog). Marchand’s Matchup of the Week looks forward to the time when we won’t have to suffer through having Chris Berman do play-by-play on postseason baseball. Richard Sandomir had a terrific piece yesterday on L.A. Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who remembers his days covering the Brooklyn Dodgers. Sandomir also has a piece on Tommy Lasorda and how the former Dodgers manager is being used a a baseball pitchman in a series of ads designed to encourage fans to watch the MLB playoffs even if their favorite team isn’t involved. Bob Raissman looks at Paul O’Neill crafting an excuse for the Yankees, perhaps without even realizing it, on the “Al Yankzeera’s postgame show” yesterday afternoon. Neil Best watches Joe Morgan as he goes through the preparation of analyzing both the Mets and Yankees games for ESPN earlier this week. He finds that Morgan is actually much more enthusiastic and passionate about the game than he comes across as on the air. Jane McManus looks at twin brothers Tom and Jerry Caraccioli (Tom used to work for the Red Sox) writing a book on the 1972 US Olympic Hockey team, which has been overshadowed by the 1980 edition, but was a story in their own right.

Mid-Atlantic

Aaron Bracy has ESPN’s Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan talking about the enigma that is Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell. He also looks at some Philadelphia sports radio ratings and has some reader feedback on his media blog. The Philly media is going to be focused on the return of Terrell Owens to the city this weekend, Laura Nachman has Jimmy Johnson saying that the Cowboys present more receiving threats other than Owens. Jim Williams has Capitals play-by-play man Joe Beninati eager for the new NHL season to start. He also reports on Cal Ripken Jr getting set to join the TBS broadcast crew for next season’s Sunday baseball game of the week. Michael Hiestand talks with
Frank Caliendo, who has been doing impersonations of other TV sports figures on the FOX NFL Pregame show. He also looks at the Sharpe brothers both not only making it in the NFL, but also making it as TV analysts.

South

Barry Jackson looks at a potential battle over broadcast rights to the Dolphins. He also looks at a few examples where it appears that local teams have tried to influence coverage of themselves. Jim Sarni looks at the aggressive coverage of the Panthers provided by WQAM, and has a number of ESPN related notes. David Barron reports on Paul Maguire returning to Texas to call the Texas/Oklahoma game Saturday with Brad Nessler and Bob Griese. He also looks at some of the inaccuracies of NBC’s Friday Night Lights program on his 4 DVRs, No Waiting weblog.

Midwest

Judd Zulgad says the ESPN made a poor decision in putting Steve Stone on the radio broadcast of this week’s Twins/A’s series instead of front and center on the TV telecasts. He says Rick Sutcliffe wasn’t up to the task. Bob Wolfley looks at ESPN’s decision to bump the Wisconsin Badgers off ESPN to ESPN360. Earlier in the week he had numbers and reaction from the Packers appearance on Monday Night Football this week. Ed Sherman looks at the task that Dan Kelly has in following Pat Foley in the Blackhawks radio booth. Former Hawk Ed Olczyk will be working with Kelly in the booth. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on some changes in the Royals broadcasting teams.

West Coast

Larry Stewart notes that the Raiders, despite having a terrible season thus far, are still getting good ratings in the Los Angeles market. This despite the fact that it seems that LA is more of a Chargers town. Stewart also says that there are plenty of reasons to stay home and watch television this weekend. Michael Lev looks at the Ducks locking up analyst Brian Hayward to a new extension and also announcing that 10 of their games will be show in HDTV this season. John Maffei has Al Michaels glad to be in San Diego to call the Chargers/Steelers game this weekend. Jay Posner has more from Michaels on the game and his transition to NBC after so many years at ABC. Jim Carlisle examines the move by CBS to bring Nick Faldo aboard their golf coverage and jettison Lanny Wadkins. Joe Davidson looks at Barry Bonds continuing to shun the media and hand out updates on his own terms.

Patriots Set for Dolphins

David Scott writes about an evening spent with ESPN Ombudsman George Solomon over at Boston University. He also has his usual lineup of thoughts on observations.

To get your Patriots coverage started, head on over to the Patriots Game Day page, where the Roundtable crew has assembled once more to talk all things Patriots.

Bob Ryan waxes about how we’re in the Glory Days of Patriots football and that we should be grateful everyday that we have them in our lives. Wow. Things should be awkward when Ryan and Ron Borges find themselves alone at the coffee machine in the Globe cafeteria this morning…Despite his best efforts not to, Tony Massarotti finds himself falling under the spell of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Jim Donaldson looks at the misery of the Dolphins following all of the preseason hype.

Mike Reiss looks at the bond that Benjamin Watson has with Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael, going back to their time together at the University of Georgia, where they vowed to start a “Dynasty” of tight ends coming out of that school. Rich Garven looks at the progress being made by the Patriots third tight end, rookie David Thomas out of Texas. John Tomase writes that the Patriots smashmouth running attack brings back memories of the Patriots clubs of the late 70’s who ran behind Hall of Fame guard John Hannah. Hector Longo looks at how the Patriots offense is being transitioned around the running of rookie Laurence Maroney. Mark Farinella looks at Matt Light and Jason Taylor getting ready to renew acquaintances once again this Sunday. Christopher Price says that this week the Patriots could really separate themselves from the rest of the division.

Kevin McNamara has Junior Seau saying he’s not going to be out for revenge against the Dolphins. Albert Breer notes that Nick Saban could actually be given credit for a lot of what the Patriots do, considering he trained a number of their coaches. Alan Greenberg looks at how ante Culpepper has had to adjust his game after the knee injury which has limited his mobility even further. Massarotti points out that the Dolphins have been better than the Patriots in one category this season: forcing turnovers. Eric McHugh says that Ellis Hobbs still isn’t ruling out playing this weekend. Michael Parente says that the Patriots reserve defensive backs have already proven themselves to be very capable. Glenn Farley has more on the early season troubles of the Dolphins. Price also has a look at lineman Wesley Britt.

Reiss’s notebook says that Seau won’t be out for revenge this Sunday against his old club. Tomase’s notebook says Seau has no bitter feelings towards the Dolphins for not bringing him back this season. McNarama’s notebook chronicles Dante Culpepper’s early season struggles. Garven’s notebook has more on that topic. McHugh’s notebook has Reche Caldwell talking about the hit he took on Sunday. Parente’s notebook looks at the contributions made by the practice squad.

Susan Bickelhaupt looks at the fine line writers and reporters have to tread when it comes to what they should and should not report after sessions with players and coaches leading up to a big game.

Jim McCabe has his weekly NFL selections in the Globe. Jim Lazar offers up his picks for the Herald. Double D also has Pro Picks, and I.M. Bettor says that his money is going on Miami this week, taking 9 points, as he feels the Patriots are bit over-hyped after their win in Cincinnati last week.

Michael Salfino has some Buy Hold and Sell advice for fantasy football owners. Josh Bousquet looks at the furor caused by a small High School fantasy league started by a paper in Minnesota.

Ron Chimelis says that body language is overrated in sports.

Bruins Open Tonight

The Bruins drop the puck for real tonight, as they open their 2006-2007 regular season on the road against the Florida Panthers. (NESN, 7:30)

Jackie MacMullan has a feature on Patrice Bergeron, who knows that expectations for him will increase this season now that he has signed a big contract with the Bruins. Steve Conroy looks at rookie Phil Kessel preparing for his first NHL game. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins hope they have a winning hand with all the offeason changes they made to their roster and organization. Douglas Flynn looks at a new beginning for the Bruins. Stephen Harris notes that the Bruins have spent pretty close to the cap, leaving them not much room for adjustments should reinforcements be needed this season.

Mick Colageo looks at a season of promise for the new-look Bruins. Mike Loftus has a season preview for the Bruins, noting that the changes to the team start with the biggest one, Zdeno Chara. He also looks at the roster changes made by the club. Tom King also has a look at how the Bruins shape up for the new season. Karen Guregian reports on Bruins coach Dave Lewis selecting Tim Thomas as his opening night goaltender. Bud Barth also reports on the decision by the B’s coach. Win Bates looks at the Bruins new second line. Colageo also has a look at new Bruin Marc Savard.

Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Thomas getting nod in net for the opener. Conroy’s notebook has the Bruins coming home after the game tonight, rather than heading directly to the next city on their schedule. Barth’s notebook looks at 12 players making their debut with the Bruins tonight in Florida.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett looks at the effect that Theo Ratliff is already having on youngsters like Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson. Mike Fine has Delonte West appreciating the speech that former Celtic Togo Palazzi gave to the club earlier this week at practice. Scott Souza looks at the Celtics putting in long hours on the practice court this week. Jim Fenton has Wally Szczerbiak hoping to show the Celtics and their fans what he can do on the court, as well as be a leader off of it.

Shira Springer’s notebook looks at the Celtics bringing in referees to help them out during scrimmages at practice. Fine’s notebook has the Celtics OK with the new basketballs being used by the NBA. Bulpett’s notebook has more on the referees at practice.

Alex Speier looks at what starting pitchers could be out there for the Red Sox this offseason, including Roger Clemens. Michael Silverman has David Ortiz saying that health will be a big factor for the 2007 Red Sox. Silverman also has thumbnail sketches of the Red Sox infield for 2007.

Late Links Thursday

The weekend weather is looking pretty good at this point, and if you’re looking to get one of your last golf rounds in for the season or to be able to help out a family and cause in need, consider supporting the Cooper Open. The golf tournament and barbeque will be held on October 7, 2006, 11 a.m. at the Pease Golf Course in Portsmouth, NH. The Cooper family has three beautiful daughters who are afflicted with Mitochondrial Disorders, and the cost for treatment is constantly rising. Last year $16,000 was raised at the Open, with half going to the Coopers and half going to Marcel’s Way (a non-profit established to provide information, education and financial support to those whose lives are touched by Mitochondrial Disorders.)

Your support would be greatly appreciated. If you’re unable to attend, you can also donate on the page for the Cooper Open.

Ellis Hobbs garnered a lot of attention in the Patriots locker room yesterday as the second year cornerback tries to work his return from a broken wrist suffered in the Denver game. John Tomase has Hobbs preaching the “day-to-day” line, while still holding out hope of playing this weekend. Shalise Manza Young has Hobbs hoping for a rapid recovery. Alan Greenberg also has a look at Hobbs, who says he was so upset at not being able to play against that the Bengals that he had a few tears while watching the game at home. Jennifer Toland has more of Hobbs talking about his injury and hopes for a quick return. Michael Parente says Hobbs is anxious to get back out on the field. Mark Farinella has more on Hobbs wanting to play Sunday against Miami.

Tony Massarotti claims that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are talking up the Dolphins because they know this week is a cream puff. Jim Donaldson says that Belichick must be joking with us when he’s praising Miami. Mike Reiss notes that the high expectations set for the Dolphins at the start of the year have yet to be realized. Albert Breer looks at how both the Patriots and Dolphins are able to change up their appearances and schemes from week-to-week, making them hard to prepare for. Tomase says that despite their tough start, Dante Culpepper and the Dolphins remain confident that they will be able to turn things around. Eric McHugh offers up a report card from the Cincinnati game.

Jackie MacMullan says that the Patriots will be coming at Culpepper full force this Sunday. (Nice touch with Boston.com adding video clips to the top of certain stories.) Jeff Howe also says that the Patriots aim this Sunday will be to rattle Culpepper.

Ian Clark looks at Jarvis Green being honored as AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his three sack performance against Cincinnati. Massarotti also looks at some of the struggles that Tom Brady has had against the Dolphins. Breer has a look at Chad Scott, who stepped up big in the absence of Hobbs last week against the Bengals. Glenn Farley looks at Ty Warren’s strong performance thus far this season.

Tomase’s notebook has more on the hit that Reche Caldwell took on Sunday and how he feels now. Dan Pires’ notebook also looks at Caldwell bouncing back from the hit. Reiss’ notebook (also with a video clip) has Hobbs talking about his injury. Young’s notebook has Belichick warning us not to dismiss the Dolphins. Parente’s notebook has more on Green being honored by the league. Toland’s notebook also reports on the honor.

David Ferris has some fantasy football player rankings by position for this week.

Sean McAdam reports that Indians director of player development John Farrell could be the top candidate to replace Dave Wallace as pitching coach. He also says that the firing of Buck Showalter in Texas could’ve closed a potential landing place for Manny Ramirez. Michael Silverman says that atop the Red Sox list of things to do this winter is to overhaul the bullpen, which includes finding a replacement for Jonathan Papelbon in the closer role. Buddy Thomas says that the only chance that Theo Epstein has to make amends for 2006 is to trade Manny Ramirez this offseason. Joe Haggerty looks at what moving Papelbon to the rotation next season means for the Red Sox.

Rob Bradford has Carlos Pena saying that he’ll always cherish the time he got to spend with the Red Sox. Mike Fine tries to figure out what happened to the 2006 season.

Bob Hohler has a good feature on former Red Sox outfielder Jimmy Piersall, who is being honored by the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for his play as a high schooler in Connecticut. Hohler even manages to talk to Piersall’s godson, who is none other than disgraced US Representative Mark Foley.

Lenny Megliola looks at whether the Celtics and Bruins can grab some of the spotlight away from the Red Sox and Patriots this winter.

Shira Springer profiles Celtics rookie point guard Rajon Rondo, who is impressing early on in camp, even as he learns the pro game. Mark Murphy looks at Tony Allen as the third year guard continues to recover from knee surgery and regains his confidence (with the help of Paul Pierce) after a wasted second season in the league. Kevin McNamara has Ryan Gomes looking to build on his strong rookie season after a summer of hard work on his game. Jim Fenton has Gerald Green looking to make a big leap in his second season in the league. Mike Fine looks at what Theo Ratliff can bring to the Celtics – defense and the ability to teach it to his younger teammates.

Springer’s notebook has Delonte West planning on practicing on Sunday. Murphy’s notebook has Togo Palazzi addressing the team about the importance of roles on a winning team. Palazzi was the player cut when Bill Russell joined the Celtics in 1957 following the Melbourne Olympics. Fine’s notebook has Paul Pierce displaying that he’s in great shape to start camp.

Karen Guregian looks at the ways in which Zdeno Chara is going to influence and improve the Bruins. Mike Loftus says that Chara will stand tall as the Bruins captain. Steve Buckley has Charlie Jacobs hoping to reward the patience of Bruins fans. Steve Conroy looks at one of the Bruins many newcomers, winger Shean Donovan. He also has an extensive Bruins Roundup, looking at who’s back and who’s new.

Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins looking to be a force on the power play this season. Conroy’s notebook says that Petr Kalus is being sent to Providence to get an opportunity to play regular minutes.

Bill Doyle‘s Tuning In column this week checks in with Andy Brickley, looking forward to another season of Bruins telecasts, and has a quick preview of what NESN has planned for this season. Richard Sandomir had a terrific piece on Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who remembers his days covering the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Condolences go out to the family of Rich Pedroli, the former sports editor for the Woonsocket Call and Sunday editor for the MetroWest Daily News passed away on Monday at the age of 44. Russ Olivo has a remembrance of Pedroli in the Call, and Joe Fitzgerald remembers him in the Herald.

ESPN has Tigers/Yankees at 1:00 and Cardinals/Padres at 4:00. FOX has Dodgers/Mets at 8:00. ESPN also has Florida St/NC St college football at 7:30.

Site Announcements

1) I’m currently looking for someone to step in and organize the posting of the BSMW Power Play Bruins blog. We have contributors lined up, but due to other commitments, the person who posted the articles and put together the blog postings has to scale back his work on the site. The blog has a high ranking in search engines and is a good opportunity for a knowledgeable hockey fan to get noticed. If you’re interested in taking on this role, send me an email with the subject “Power Play Blog.”

2) Work is beginning on organizing the 2006 BSMW Fall Fund drive. We scaled down to one drive this year, skipping the May Mini-drive. I’m looking for people or business willing to donate prizes to be handed out to contributors to this year’s drive. If you’re interested in donating a prize, (and receiving acknowledgement on the site) please send me an email with the subject “Fund Drive.”

Midweek Sports Media Columns

Here’s a few columns from around the country from the last few days:

Richard Sandomir reports on Nick Faldo replacing Lanny Wadkins as lead analyst on CBS’ golf coverage. Neil Best looks at a hazard of postseason baseball…your local broadcasters being replaced with national guys who haven’t been around the team all season. He also looks at efforts by local radio stations to sync up their play-by-play with the TV broadcasts for fans who don’t want to hear the national broadcasters. Bob Raissman chats with Mets radio voice Tom McCarthy, who started out in baseball as the play-by-play man and assistant GM of the Trenton Thunder when they were a Red Sox affiliate. McCarthy had to make a choice of either working a baseball front office, or as a broadcaster. He chose the latter and is now in his first season as the Mets voice on WFAN. He also lost 137 lbs this season.

Michael Hiestand looks at the Yankees and Mets predictably being chosen as the TV darlings of the postseason, as well as some NFL broadcast notes from the weekend. Aaron Bracy has extensive notes on the Eagles/Packers Monday Night Football broadcast. Jim Williams reports on the Baseball Tonight crew speculating on who will be the next Nationals manager. Chris Zelkovich has a look at former NHL enforcer Tie Domi making his debut in the television world with TSN’s NHL Preview.

Barry Horn reports that 76-year-old Pat Summerall is likely to come out of retirement and call the Cotton Bowl for FOX as part of its BCS coverage. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on the Chiefs trouncing NASCAR in the KC ratings on Sunday, despite the race being held at Kansas Speedway. David Barron kept a running tab on a big Sunday in Houston sports, with the Astros trying to stay alive in the NL Central and the Texans looking to topple the Dolphins for their first win of the season. Dan Caesar chronicles the strange season of a Cardinals announcer, who will get to do some postseason work for ESPN radio covering the Cards.

Announcements

1) I’m currently looking for someone to step in and organize the posting of the BSMW Power Play Bruins blog. We have contributors lined up, but due to other commitments, the person who posted the articles and put together the blog postings has to scale back his work on the site. The blog has a high ranking in search engines and is a good opportunity for a knowledgeable hockey fan to get noticed. If you’re interested in taking on this role, send me an email with the subject “Power Play Blog.”

2) Work is beginning on organizing the 2006 BSMW Fall Fund drive. We scaled down to one drive this year, skipping the May Mini-drive. I’m looking for people or business willing to donate prizes to be handed out to contributors to this year’s drive. If you’re interested in donating a prize, (and receiving acknowledgement on the site) please send me an email with the subject “Fund Drive.”

Celtics Meet the Media

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a source saying that Jerry Trupiano knew all along that 2006 would be his last season in the booth for the Red Sox. The source also claims that infamous Red Sox VP of public affairs Charles Steinberg leaked the information to the media. Big surprise there.

Michael Felger issues his Patriots report card, and although he hands out all A’s and B’s, he questions whether their talent level is sufficient to legitimately contend for another Super Bowl. Ian Clark also issues a report card with high marks all around.

John Tomase looks at how the Patriots dominant defensive line wreaks chaos on opposing offenses. Kevin McNamara examines the Patriots ability to finally swing the turnover ratio in their favor. Albert Breer says that the challenge for the Patriots is to not fall into the same trap Cincinnati did. The Bengals were coming off a big win against Pittsburgh and perhaps weren’t as focused as they should’ve been for the Patriots. Now with the Patriots facing the Dolphins this week, they need to make sure they’ve got their stuff together. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots ability to bounce back when the odds are against them. Cold Hard Football Facts had a good piece on this topic as well yesterday, looking at the Patriots off-the-mat performances from the last few years. I would’ve also found a place for the Philly game in ’03, which came on the heels of the 31-0 loss to Buffalo and the “They hate their coach” proclamation by ESPN analyst Tom Jackson. Michael Parente has some more on this theme.

Christopher L Gasper looks at the Patriots bringing back Hank Poteat, and the defensive back once again grateful for the opportunity to be playing football. Breer also looks at the offense and defense stepping up in the fourth quarter against the Bengals to really put the game away. Hector Longo says that Bill Belichick clearly outclassed and outcoached Marvin Lewis in this one. Mike Petraglia says that the Patriots showed that they still have considerable bite left in them.

If you haven’t seen the Ron Borges video clip from last week, it’s worth viewing. There is also a new edition of the Patriots Second Look – a review of the film from Sunday’s game.

Tomase’s notebook has Reche Caldwell doing fine after the brutal hit he took on Sunday. The fact that he took the hit and then came back into the game should put to rest questions about Caldwell’s toughness that some had raised. Gasper’s notebook has Bill Belichick praising Troy Brown for his willingness to step into the secondary. McNamara’s notebook has more on Brown getting the call to play defensive back.

Celtics

The Celtics opened training camp yesterday with their annual media day, and there was at least one surprise arrival in camp. (More on that in a bit)

Bob Ryan has a look at Gerald Green, who enters his second season in the league after having spent an exhaustive summer trying to improve in all areas of this game. Already an exceptional athlete, Ryan is encouraged that Green “knows what he doesn’t know” and is working hard to improve. Mark Murphy reports on captain Paul Pierce arriving in camp ready to go. Lenny Megliola says that Pierce relishes his role as an elder statesman at age 29 on a team of youngsters. Shalise Manza Young looks at Al Jefferson, who has slimmed down, and attempted to address as many issues as possible with his game and career this offseason. Bill Doyle also reports on Jefferson, who has lost 30 pounds and gained a sense of maturity.

Steve Bulpett has new point guard Sebastian Telfair putting a guarantee out there that the Celtics will make the playoffs. Scott Souza has more on Telfair talking a big game when it comes to the Celtics chances this season. Murphy reports on Michael Olowokandi showing up for camp, which was a surprise to many, but the 7-footer is simply looking for an opportunity. Tim Weisberg says that Olowokandi is the only one who can save his career at this point.

Peter May’s notebook reports on Michael Olowokandi making a surprise appearance for the first day of camp. Not signed by anyone as a free agent, the former number 1 overall picked is in camp on the veteran’s minimum and seeking to prove himself enough to warrant a roster spot. Bulpett’s notebook has Delonte West determined not to let a sore back slow him down during camp.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti issues his Red Sox report card, which includes an F for Theo Epstein.

The Red Sox informed hitting coach Ron Jackson and pitching coach Dave Wallace that they will not be brought back to the club next season. Gordon Edes looks at the dismissals, and talks to Wallace, who is a bit mystified and hurt at the situation. Karen Guregian focuses more on Jackson, who is disappointed, but thankful to the organization and fans for the the opportunity he had here. Sean McAdam has more on the two coaches cleaning out their lockers at Fenway for the final time. David Heuschkel says it shouldn’t take long for the club to name their successors. As he says a source tells him that “former Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach is a leading candidate to replace Jackson, and Kirk Champion, the White Sox minor league pitching coordinator, will take over for Wallace.” David Borges has Terry Francona saying that the decisions were difficult ones to make.

Steve Buckley says that Terry Francona and the Red Sox made a mistake by having Wallace and Al Nipper work as a tandem for the final two months of the season. Joe Haggerty has a brief report on the dismissals. Garry Brown has more on the Sox beginning to clean house. Rob Bradford says that the evolution of this team begins now. Jon Couture has more on the moves at Fenway as heads begin to roll. Mike Fine has Theo Epstein admitting to his shortcomings this season.

Steven Krasner examines what went wrong for the Red Sox this season.

Not surprisingly, Gerry Callahan says there is no comparison between Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Guregian’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis expressing confidence that the front office will make the Sox a contender again next season.

Bruins

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that the Bruins are considering using P.J. Axelsson on the power play. Steve Conroy has a look at new Bruins forward Jeff Hoggan. Bud Barth says that the Bruins will likely make a roster move today. Conroy’s notebook has more on Axelsson.

Ratings

Here are some ratings numbers from Sunday:

ratings100106.jpg

ESPN has A’s/Twins at 1:00 and Cardinals/Padres at 4:00. FOX has Yankees/Tigers at 8:00.

Patriots Make a Statement

The Patriots furnished an answer to the many who felt they didn’t have a chance of beating the Bengals high powered offense, especially with a decimated secondary for the 19th season in a row. After a slow first quarter, the Patriots stomped the Bengals, 38-13 in Cincinnati.

John Tomase reports on the Patriots proving all prognosticators wrong once again. Mike Reiss says that “while the team picked up a victory, it also gained something just as important: confidence.” Joe McDonald says that the Patriots showed “absolute concentration” in their performance yesterday. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots turning back the clock and putting it all together. Rich Garven calls this one an absolute team victory. Michael Parente says that the Patriots are tough to beat when no one expects them to win. Mike Petraglia also reports on the win for the Patriots.

Michael Felger says that this was finally a “shut up” kind of win for the Patriots. Ron Borges says this was a win for the defense, even though the offense was “alternatingly grinding and explosive.” Ian Clark says that “impressive” is the best word to describe this win.

McDonald looks at Maroney making a loud statement in his fourth NFL game. Tony Massarotti says Maroney was the best player on the field yesterday. Christopher L. Gasper looks at Corey Dillon doing some mean running of his own in his return to Cincinnati.

Massarotti notes that Brady’s body language after the game was just fine thank you. I’d like to give a nod to WBCN play-by-play man Gil Santos, who as yesterday’s game wound down, made sure to needle all those who focused so much on Brady’s body language last week. Try as we might, we can’t seem to prevent Dan Shaughnessy from writing about the Patriots. Shannon Russell reports on Doug Gabriel starting to make a name for himself in the Patriots offense. Felger examines how the Patriots defense stopped the 16 Power O running attack of the Bengals.

Shalise Manza Young has Game Analysis for the contest. Felger lists out the best and worst from yesterday afternoon. Russell has a quick look at Maroney’s 25-yard TD run the play after Reche Caldwell was decked by the Bengals safety. Greenberg has his Patriots Sidelines report, which lists more of what went right and wrong.

Ryan Clark gets reaction from the Bengals in the wake of the loss. You can get more Cincinnati reaction from the Cincinnati Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer .

Check the Patriots Game Day page for more reaction to yesterday’s win, a video clip of Ron Borges spouting lies and mis-truths on FSN last week, and later this morning, a new column from Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders looking at the impact of the bye week.

Reiss’ notebook has Maroney thinking End Zone on every run. McDonald has some Talking Points in a notebook-like format. Thomase’s notebook looks at Asante Samuel having the final laugh against fast-talking Chad Johnson. Garven’s notebook has the Patriots banged up secondary coming up big against the Bengals. Parente’s notebook looks at Maroney mauling his way through the Bengal defense.

Karen Guregian reports on Devern Hansack pitching 5 no-hit innings in a rain shortened 9-0 Red Sox win over the Orioles to close out the 2006 season. David Heuschkel also looks at the season coming to a close on a soggy afternoon. David Borges notes that yesterday was a a fittingly bizarre ending to a bizarre – and incredibly disappointing season. Phil O’Neill has more on Hansack’s five inning no-no. Alex Speier has more on the Sox saying so long to ’06.

Lenny Megliola looks at an afternoon of good-byes at Fenway Park. Steve Buckley writes that even though this season was a disappointment, the team never lost their ceased acting like professionals, even down to Terry Francona removing Trot Nixon so he could get an ovation from the fans. Gordon Edes looks at what was likely Nixon’s final day as a member of the Red Sox. Buckley has Gabe Kapler denying that he intends to retire and pursue a career in broadcasting. Guregian also looks at Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson being among those awaiting his fate.

Sean McAdam has Theo Epstein vowing to make things right with this club. Guregian says that the “one-time boy-wonder GM needs to be more of a miracle worker this winter.” Alex Speier says that this is a critical offseason for the Red Sox front office. David Borges says that Epstein has no regrets about standing pat at the trade deadline this season. Bill Ballou says that this season started to unravel on July 9th in a 19 inning loss to the White Sox.

Nick Cafardo has Roger Clemens denying the claims made by Jason Grimsley that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Bob Ryan also weighs in on the steroid rumors and how it has effected how we think about baseball and anyone who puts up big numbers or who plays at a high level very late into their career.

Guregian’s notebook has the fans giving Nixon a proper sendoff. McAdam’s notebook looks at Hansack brightening a dreary day with his performance. O’Neill’s notebook has the club looking forward to 2007.

Steve Bulpett examines the Celtics roster, noting that this group has a lot to prove this season. Scott Souza says that hopes are high with the Celtics going into camp. Jackie MacMullan had a nice feature yesterday on Doc Rivers and why family is so important to him that he’s willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to be able to see them regularly.

Dan Hickling looks at some power play lapses costing the Bruins in their preseason finale last night. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are an improved team that should earn a playoff berth this season. Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins need to clean a few things up before the puck gets dropped for real this Friday. Hickling’s notebook has Marc Savard feeling OK after taking a slapshot off the knee.

ESPN has Packers/Eagles at 8:30.