Max Is Getting A Raw Deal

In the crossover and into the Big Show this afternoon, Glenn Ordway went off on those who are trying to make Cedric Maxwell into a villain for the piece in the Herald by Jesse Noyes this morning about Maxwell’s comments on the air Monday night in Houston.

Ordway says the Herald got it wrong, and that this is another example of how anyone today can make a call, send an email or make a blog post and turn their business upside down. He believes Maxwell was in reality doing an imitation of Tommy Heinsohn when he made the comments about Violet Palmer, who has been a frequent target of Heinsohn in the past. Ordway played the tape on the show, which showed what Maxwell’s intent was. Maxwell made his voice scratchy to sound like Heinsohn, and in fact afterwords Sean Grande and Maxwell actually complimented Palmer, saying that last few years, every time they saw her, she was the best official on her crew.

Ordway says Noyes likely didn’t hear the remarks and merely took it off of the Universal Hub blog. He and the Big Show used that as an opportunity to go off on how blogs have a different set of standards and rules, that blogs are “dangerous” etc etc etc.

I can easily accept and agree with Ordway’s premise that Maxwell made the remarks as a joke, imitating Tommy Heinsohn. I would agree with him that this is being way overblown and that Maxwell shouldn’t be getting this sort of heat.

It’s obvious to me that Maxwell shouldn’t have to apologize for this.

I just have one issue here, however. It’s easy to put all the blame on the “blogs” but who made this a legitimate story? Was it Noyes by putting in the paper, or was it Jason Wolfe who was quoted in the Noyes story, and stated that Maxwell would be apologizing on the air tonight?

By making that statement, Wolfe is agreeing with the premise that Maxwell did something worthy of an apology, which is certainly newsworthy. He makes it a legitimate story. Should Wolfe had given a “no comment” or said that they were looking into it more before making that statement? I think so. HE gave Noyes a basis for publishing the story with his comments.

The original blog poster may not have “gotten” the comments by Maxwell, but it appears Wolfe didn’t either. He should be apologizing to Maxwell. Publicly.

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Andy Hart called into ESPN Boston yesterday to talk with Mike Felger about the combine in Indianapolis. He was asked if he had seen Bill Belichick out there, and Hart replied that he hadn’t and one of the things that he mentioned was that he didn’t know if it had to do with his “legal issues.” Other reasons were that Belichick and his staff had been at the Pro Bowl and perhaps needed some time to get back and have their their own meetings and so forth, were making other visits, and a few other possibilities. I was disappointed to hear Hart even raise the legal issues as a possibility.

As was stated here last week, Belichick doesn’t have any legal issues. He is not involved in the legal proceedings in the NJ case. Period. His name has been thrown around, and that is it.

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The Media Circus has more hate for bloggers from mainstream media and their media rant of the week, where they knock “experts” who are picking the Cubs to win it all because this is the year Prior and Wood will be healthy.

Before totally immersing himself into March Madness, David Scott has a look back at his time in Fort Myers, which includes an interesting rumor about Bill Simmons and Sports Illustrated.

The staff of Patriots Football Weekly just got back from the combine, where they filed a number of very informative reports for Patriots.com.

Mike Reiss has five questions with Matt Light.

Patrick Sullivan has a chat with Red Sox Assistant GM Jed Hoyer.

Jon Heyman has a look at the feel-good story of the spring that is being overlooked in the Dice-K mania – Jon Lester.

The BSMW Game Day page continues to pile up the draft player previews.

Frank Deford says that if he was an athlete, he would not want to play in New York. Because of the media.

Chad Finn previews the NL East.

Michael McCarthy has a look at Ohio State coach Thad Matta getting caught using the five-second rule.

Teddy Greenstein has a look at ESPN promoting Arena Football, promising non-stop action.
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After finishing their first season of Monday Night Football, ESPN is also going to be doing Monday Night Baseball, starting with the Orioles and Twins on April 2nd (on ESPN2).

All Monday Night Baseball telecasts will be available in high definition. Each telecast will also feature the use of “K Zone 2.0,” the enhanced version of ESPN’s Sports Emmy Award-winning “K Zone.” In addition to identifying the speed and location of a pitch in replays, “K Zone 2.0” is also capable of tracking the path of the ball from the pitcher’s hand through the strike zone and numerically sequencing pitches thrown.

Highlights of the early season Monday Night Baseball schedule (generally 7 p.m. on ESPN) include:

  • Winner of the 2006 A.L. batting title Joe Mauer and league MVP Justin Morneau will host Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees April 9;
  • N.L. East rivals will meet when David Wright, Jose Reyes and the New York Mets visit 2006 N.L. MVP Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies April 16;
  • Perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals will face a Milwaukee Brewer lineup featuring Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks April 30;
  • Sluggers Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and the Chicago Cubs meeting a potent New York Mets lineup May 14;
  • One of the greatest rivalries in sports will take center stage when the New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox May 21.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox vs. Twins
7:00pm, ESPN – Villanova @ UConn (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN2 – Indiana @ Northwestern
7:30pm, FSN – Knicks @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm, CN8 – BU @ Northeastern (hockey)
9:00pm, ESPN – Maryland @ Duke (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN2 – Texas A&M @ Texas (HD)

Manny Wants To Stay

Michael Silverman reports today that after having requested a trade a number of times, Manny Ramirez is now “at peace” with Boston and would like to play the rest of his career here. The episode Silverman relates at the end would’ve been priceless to see. Bill Burt wonders why we still sweat the small stuff when it comes to Manny.

Steve Buckley says Manny is lying.

And Buck, I’m pretty sure no one has ever said Manny is “blame-free” as you claim towards the end of your column. Nice strawman. Even Manny’s biggest fans are well aware of his shortcomings.

Jackie MacMullan has Curt Schilling eager to silence his doubters. He also reiterates that he will never pitch for the Yankees. Maureen Mullen also has a look at Schilling. Jeff Horrigan has a look at the relationship on the field between Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli, one that they both hope continues for a few more years. Steven Krasner makes an early assessment of the closer position for the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg has a look at the attempts by MLB to speed up the game, however, several Red Sox players place the blame on TV for the excessive length of the games.

Rob Duca has a look at Joel Pineiro, who is considered the top closing candidate for the Red Sox. Buckley has a look at Dustin Pedroia getting set to open the season at second base, and has Mike Andrews saying that Pedroia’s situation is very similar to his own in 1967. Joe Haggerty reports on a slimmer David Ortiz this spring. Nick Cafardo reports on the veteran’s committee once again not electing anyone to the Hall of Fame. Lenny Megliola looks at Dan Duquette’s new role with the Israel Baseball League.

Horrigan’s notebook has veteran pitcher Adam Bernero feeling pain in his elbow and going to visit Dr James Andrews to have it checked out. Dan Shaughnessy’s notebook has the Red Sox trying to find a place for Wily Mo Pena on the field and in the lineup. Sean McAdam’s notebook has Joel Pineiro first in line for the role of closer. Goldberg’s notebook has Terry Francona holding Manny out of the first few exhibition games.

Bruins

The Bruins were busy yesterday, making a pair of trades before the deadline. Steve Conroy looks at Peter Chiarelli adding Aaron Ward and Dennis Wideman to his defense while giving up Paul Mara and Brad Boyes. Fluto Shinzawa has more on the trades, which came as a surprise to those involved. Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins gave up too much in these deals. Joe McDonald further examines the moves made to shore up the defense. Bud Barth calls the moves a surprise and a major engine overhaul for the Bruins.

Karen Guregian looks at the addition of Ward, who has three Stanley Cup rings, to the Bruins locker room. Mick Colageo says that by trading Mara, Chiarelli showed that he can admit his mistakes. The BSMW Power Play also has a look at the deals.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett has Al Jefferson impressing Paul Pierce with the improvements in his game and how he showed more power to his game during the West coast road trip. Shira Springer says that everything the Celtics are doing and learning right now is being stored up for the future.

Jesse Noyes in the Herald reports that Cedric Maxwell will apologize on the air tonight for his remarks that referee Violet Palmer should “go back to the kitchen” during Monday’s win over the Rockets.

Patriots/NFL

Albert Breer has comments from Rodney Harrison’s agent after the NFL Network reported that Harrison would be back for his 14th NFL season in 2007. Christopher L Gasper reports on the Patriots hiring Bill O’Brien as an offensive assistant.

Shalise Manza Young has a look at Don Shula, who still has the NFL in his blood. Kerry Byrne has a look at Shula’s newest restaurant, which just opened in Providence.

Gasper also has a piece on former 49ers assistant Robert Talley becoming the 2nd African-American head coach at a New England school, Stonehill College.

Comcast to take over FSN New England?

According to Keith Reed in the Globe today, Comcast is close to acquiring FSN New England and 60% of FSN Bay Area from Cablevision.

Apparently the move is at least in part a strategic move to give Comcast an upper hand against the increasing competition in the TV market, which has seen satellite TV becoming more popular and Verizon FiOS gaining a foothold in more markets.

Having the TV rights to all the Celtics games in the Boston market and partial rights to the Giants and A’s games and exclusive right to the Warriors and Sharks in the San Francisco/Oakland market, Comcast’s ownership of these networks would put them in a position of power. Comcast could force competitors to pay high fees for the rights to carry the networks, or as Reed points out, block them from carrying them altogether.

That seems a little heavy handed, and Comcast could face a nasty PR battle if they were to force people to change systems or pay very high fees in order to view their favorite teams. On the other hand, Comcast has made a lot of innovations in their service and generally people I’ve talked to are happy with their service. It might be a little on the pricey side, but they are always adding new things. This acquisition could be mean more OnDemand sports programming, there could be more HD programming on the FSN channels or other improvements.

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A bit of a nitpick with how certain sportsflashes are worded. All morning, Jon Wallach on WEEI’s Dale & Holley announced that “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots and will become a free agent Friday.” The issue I have with that statement is that it should have been stated as “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots before free agency opens on Friday.” Big difference. The first statement indicates that there is no chance that the tight end will be back with the team, when in reality, the Patriots could still sign him after he tests the market.

Graham has been rumored as a hot property around the league, with the Broncos, (Where his Dad played and he grew up) Bengals and Vikings among those teams said to be interested. It might be tough for the Patriots to retain his services.

But nothing is official. It is not set in stone that “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots.”

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Wright Thompson of ESPN.com writes about how the entire Red Sox organization is attempting to ease the assimilation of Daisuke Matsuzaka to America.

The Bruins Insider and Bruins Blog from the Herald and Globe weigh in on the Bruins moves today before the trade deadline.

Following up his 10 best signings from yesterday, Mike Reiss today has the 10 worst signings of the Belichick/Pioli era.

Reiss also reports on the Patriots hiring of Bill O’Brien as an offensive assistant.

Albert Breer notes that the NFL Network reports that Rodney Harrison will be back in 2007.

Bill Simmons weighs in on Greg Oden.

Tom Verducci notes that in the afterword in the new paperback edition of Game of Shadows, authors Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada document Barry Bonds’ freakish growth late in his career.

Richard Sandomir examines how the league offices of various professional sports view YouTube these days.

Neil Best reports that Bill Parcells has reached a verbal agreement with ESPN.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – Michigan St @ Michigan (HD)
7:30pm, Versus – Stars @ Lightning
9:00pm, ESPN – Florida @ Tennessee (HD)