Lottery Talk

Michael Silverman reports that the Red Sox are set to officially announce the J.D. Drew deal in the next day or so.

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While there was still talk about Belichick’s manners on the air today, there was a lot more Celtics talk. Which is totally a mixed blessing. On one hand, it’s a break from the negative Patriots talk. On the other hand, the Celtics are headed to the draft lottery and there isn’t much positive you can say about them.

Do we think that any of the WEEI hosts, with the possible exception of Michael Holley, know anything about Greg Oden or Kevin Durant? Larry Johnson spent part of the weekend calling him Ogden. Can these guys talk about their games with any sort of knowledge? No.

The callers were all over the place today. As much as I get on the hosts, the callers to the station are just as bad. A sampling:

  • One suggested that the Patriots sign Drew Bledsoe as a backup to Tom Brady
  • One called Danny Ainge the Matt Millen of the NFL, while another said Ainge had put together an “excellent team” this year.
  • One inquired about the availability of J.J. Redick, thinking that he could be the answer to the Celtics problems.
  • Still another suggested that bringing back Antoine Walker was the answer.

Most knowledgeable sports fans in the country…

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Adam Schefter has a piece on how 2008 could be a huge year for free agent coaches, and tosses in this tidbit in the middle of his article:

And maybe, most interesting, multiple sources around the league believe that Belichick’s contract, which does have three years remaining on it, is filled with mutual options that could allow him or the team to nullify the deal as early as next year.

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If you’ve been watching the “America’s Game” series on NFL Network, the 2004 Patriots will be featured as the number 9 team in the countdown.

Gordon Edes has a look at the Red Sox national TV appearances next season.

A writer from Cleveland of all places, writes a pretty positive article on Belichick.

Michael Gee reflects on the great Paul Brown and makes a connection to Bill Belichick.

Deadspin.com welcomes us to Negro Bowl I.

Eric Wilbur weighs in on MLB’s decision to award DirecTV exclusive rights to the Extra Innings package.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – Clemson @ Duke (HD)
8:00pm, TNT – Mavs @ Bulls (HD)
9:00pm, FSN – UCLA @ Cal
10:30pm, TNT – Nets @ Clippers (HD)
11:00pm, FSN – USC @ Stanford

Celtics Record Loss

The Celtics racked up their ninth consecutive loss last night, this time to the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden, 82-76. The Celtics managed this loss despite holding an 18 point lead early in the third quarter. Al Jefferson appeared to get injured twice last night, and the second time he did not return to the game after rolling his ankle. He finished the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins played perhaps his best statistical game of the season, with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Delonte West led the Celtics with 18 points.

Shira Springer reports on a tough one to swallow, or explain at the Garden. Steve Bulpett notes that this was a franchise record eighth straight loss at home for the Celtics, who played like the clearly wanted that high draft pick more than the Hawks did. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics hit rock bottom last night as they now stand at the bottom of the Eastern conference.

Jackie MacMullan says that in the end, losing all these games might end up to be a winning formula. Mark Murphy says that the injury to Jefferson really slowed the Celtics offense down last night. Mike Fine has a look at Ryan Gomes, who has been a steady force on this young team.

Springer’s notebook updates the lengthy injury situation for the Celtics, made worse by the ankle sprain of Jefferson. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce shedding the protective boot, though a timetable for his return to the court is still unknown. Doyle’s notebook has Sebastian Telfair puzzled at his demotion to third point guard.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports on the NFL toughening up its drug policy, specifically regarding steroids.

Bill Burt takes stock of things following the loss to the Colts, and one of his items is his assertion that the Asante Samuel will be back with the club next season, as his source indicates that the club will not let him walk for nothing and will franchise him if necessary.

John Tomase takes a position-by-position look at who might stay and who might go on the Patriots roster. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots biggest need is going to be at linebacker. Eric McHugh examines the beating that Bill Belichick’s non-football good name has taken this season.

Christopher Price looks back on his own predictions for the 2006 season. Karen Guregian has the agent for Rodney Harrison saying that his client is determined to come back big next season. She also has a short piece on Troy Brown, who has made no decisions on next season yet.

Steve Buckley talks to a local African-American high school football coach about the importance of have Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith coaching the two teams in the Super Bowl. Buddy Thomas is gloating. It’s not pretty. Greenberg also writes that the league has gone too far in protecting the quarterbacks.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes reports on the new construction at Fenway Park this offseason, mostly along the third base line. There is also a NESN video with the article. Paul Doyle has more on the renovations.

Jeff Horrigan reports on the Red Sox signing catcher Kevin Cash to a AAA contract. David Borges has Cleveland manager Eric Wedge glad that his Indians went out and signed Trot Nixon. Jay Miller says that the outfield will be a strength for the PawSox this summer with prospects David Murphy and Brandon Moss likely to spend much of the season there. Edes’s notebook looks at the Red Sox stockpile of bullpen candidates.

Bruins

Stephen Harris has a Bruins mid-season report card. Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy have the East falling to the West 12-9 in the NHL All Star game. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had two goals in the loss.

Conroy’s notebook has more on Chara’s performance in the All Star game. Shinzawa’s notebook has Daniel Briere being named the MVP of the game.

Wednesday Wrap – 01.24.07

A Wednesday wrap after a disappointing 9-7 Patriots season…

Wait, they went 12-4 and went to the AFC Championship game? You’d never know it reading many of the stories from today and listening to a lot of what is being said on the airwaves.

Then again, when I find myself agreeing with the viewpoint of the Big Show, it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

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The NHL All Star game is on tonight. On a Wednesday night. On Versus. No disrespect to Versus here, but tell me again how this is the same league that Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux made great.

The league actually has a head of TV operations in senior vice president for broadcasting John Shannon. Richard Sandomir talks with Shannon about his plans for improving the TV broadcasts of the league.

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Looking over Dan Shaughnessy’s column this morning, I get the distinct impression that Dan was bound and determined to run his Boston vs. Chicago paragraph no matter what. He just threw a few “No’s” in there here and there.

Getting a glimpse of some of Shaughnessy’s storylines for the two weeks of Patriots/Bears hype should surely make us thankful for small favors.

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The Media Circus is back for another week of incredibly stupid and inane things said by national broadcasters this week, such as:

”We’re not supposed to cheer, but I did.”
”I’ll be honest, I could never be more proud of a player than Manning.”
– Sean Salisbury

”Understand how much (Peyton Manning) wants to win, how hard he works at it, how much he loves the game… And then you’ll feel like I feel right now. Like justice has been served.” – Peter King

Getting to the Super Bowl must be much more gratifying for Manning knowing that various mainstream media members are willing to offer the chance to make hot sweaty love to him.

They devote their rant of the week to how the sports media world went into complete chaos when Bill Parcells announced his retirement on Monday.

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I meant to post this last week, but totally spaced it. The Phoenix had a feature entitled Bad Boston, on 27 things that drive us crazy about the city. Nestled in right after a complaint about the lack of lesbian bars in the city was this:

Snake-biting
This town dearly loves its sports teams. So why do so many in the media seem to hate them so much? Boston’s POISONOUS SPORTS MEDIA can’t seem to get in enough licks.

Exhibit A: Dan Shaughnessy. Whether it’s Theo Epstein (a “boy wonder” whose hand was “held” by Larry Lucchino during his “wonder years”), Pedro Martinez (“The Dominican Diva”), or even David Ortiz (whom he purportedly called a “giant sack of you-know-what” on TV before Big Papi had even taken a swing in a Red Sox uniform), the Shank takes evident glee in skewering this team and typifies the worst impulses of the bitter Boston sports fan. At least he can’t keep flogging that “Curse of the Bambino” crap.

Sort of a Shaughnessy-lite, Steve Silva, proprietor of BostonDirtDogs.com also traffics heavily in petty negativity. He exhorted fans last June to boo Martinez, perhaps the most transcendent pitcher ever to wear a Red Sox uniform, for defecting to the New York Mets. Interestingly, when Johnny Damon returned to Fenway in a Yankee uniform, he pleaded for people to cheer long and loud. Curious, that.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Ron Borges is a fine boxing writer. But his football columns are tainted by his consuming, unquenchable hatred for the New England Patriots, especially head coach Bill Belichick, who’s won us three Super Bowls in the past five years. Then there’s WEEI, the powerhouse sports-talk station that’s all but antithetical to nuanced and knowledgeable sports discussion. Whether they’re running clueless blowhard Glen Ordway or crass bigot Gerry Callahan, the station caters to the lowest common denominator, whipping listeners into a racist, sexist, homophobic lather. Stop listening. Stop reading. Write letters and ask for offensive on-air “talent” to be fired. Support the city’s good sportswriters — Edes, Ryan, Silverman — and keep tabs on the bad ones at Boston Sports Media Watch and Dan Shaughnessy Watch. Get your news from Sons of Sam Horn. And if you need sports radio, tune in online to New York’s WFAN. Sure, they mostly talk about Yankees and Mets. But you learn more any time Mike and the Mad Dog spend even a half hour on the Red Sox than you do listening to an entire week of 1440 AM.

Even if they didn’t mention this site, I’d be applauding that section.

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Dr Z doesn’t want to see Parcells go back into the TV analyst role.

Bill Simmons read both new Pete Maravich biographies in a week and offers his thoughts on the books, and on Pistol Pete’s brief stint with the Celtics.

Globe Sports editor Joe Sullivan read one of the books on his way out to Indy last week and offers his thoughts on it.

Michael Hiestand has a number of media notes, including the first Baghdad Bowl, played by U.S. Soldiers set to air during the Super Bowl pregame show.

Dallas Morning News sports media writer Barry Horn has more on the NHL All Star game.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – North Carolina @ Wake Forest (HD)
7:30pm, FSN – Hawks @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm, ESPN2 – DePaul @ Georgetown (HD)
8:00pm, Versus – NHL All Star Game (HD on INHD)
9:00pm, ESPN – Rockets @ Spurs (HD)