Papi Trucks Into Camp

David Ortiz arrived in camp yesterday, and Big Papi was the center of attention, as usual. Amalie Benjamin has the slugger receiving a truck from the Red Sox owners as a gift for the new season, and then holding court on the state of the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg notes that Ortiz’s salary is now a huge bargain for the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan has more on the truck given to Ortiz as a gesture from the owners as to how much they appreciate the slugger.Stephen Krasner has more on Ortiz being handed a truck as a breakfast treat.

Gordon Edes and Jeff Horrigan look at the report that Manny Ramirez is scheduled to appear at a classic car auction in Atlantic City on Saturday. Manny’s agent says he will not be there, the organizer of the event says Manny told him he will be there at noon. Smart move by the organizer of the event to attach Manny’s name to the event. Because it is Manny, and everything he does here is scrutinized and talked about ad nauseum, the show is getting a ton of free publicity, and even if Manny doesn’t show up, the local papers will likely send a reporter to the auction. It couldn’t be a better setup if the guy had planned it all out. Maybe if the Red Sox lured Manny into camp with a classic car, he’d be here by now. They gave Papi a truck after all….

Tony Massarotti notes that the way that the market played out this offseason, Manny might be here beyond next season as his option years will fall in line with what other sluggers might be getting. Steven Krasner says that the words “Manny” and “accountability” don’t fit well together. Goldberg has more on Manny’s scheduled appearance at the auto event.

Dan Shaughnessy and Gerry Callahan once again share a topic, this time it is new Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew. Shaughnessy opens with a thinly veiled shot at Curt Schilling, but both columns look at how the laid back Drew seems unfazed by the attention his signing in the offseason brought. Maureen Mullen looks at how Drew has a couple of fences to mend, but is also eager to prove himself to the Boston fans. Horrigan says Drew wasn’t sweating out the seven week delay in his contract.

David Scott made it to Fort Myers in time for the Big Papi press conference and will be in camp the next few days, providing afternoon updates on the Scott’s Shots blog. Rob Bradford looks at how Mike Lowell turned to boxing as part of his offseason conditioning program. David Borges (now with the New Haven Register) has a look at Jeff Natale, the reigning Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, but also known as the guy who took a Curt Schilling fastball off the head in an intrasquad game last spring.

Benjamin’s notebook has Drew looking forward to the series against the Diamondbacks in June, when he’ll be able to play against his younger brother, Stephen. Horrigan’s notebook has Ortiz supportive of the Red Sox reaching to Japan for talent. Krasner’s notebook has Drew defending his even-keeled approach on the field.

Celtics

The Celtics once again put forth a spirited effort, but they didn’t have enough to hang with the Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in the end, falling 118-108. Paul Pierce had 24 points, while Al Jefferson had 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics, who fell to 0-2 on their West coast trip.

Steve Bulpett says that the outcome was never worthy of doubt, but the Celtics still had their moments in this one. Nick Cafardo says that the Celtics showed that they can stay with a team like the Suns, but they’re far from being able to put away a team like that.

Bulpett’s notebook says that the trade winds aren’t even a breeze around the Celtics as we get closer to today’s NBA trading deadline. Cafardo’s notebook has Wally Szczerbiak seeing a specialist in Los Angeles for his balky ankle, to see if there is some structural damage there that is causing the repeated sprains.

Bruins

Steve Conroy looks at three things that have helped turn the Bruins around in the three weeks since the 7-1 embarrassment against the Sabres. He cites : 1. The additions of Jeremy Reich and Brandon Bochenski. 2. The Brad Stuart-Primeau trade. and 3. The emergence of a balanced attack. Fluto Shinzawa looks at whether Peter Chiarelli might have more trades up his sleeve.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports that Patriots rookie Chad Jackson suffered a torn ACL in the AFC title game. This is a costly setback for the receiver, who the teams needs to have make a big jump in his second season. John Tomase says that this might be the year that the Patriots go for a linebacker in the draft. Bill Reynolds says that Tom Brady’s image has only taken a minor hit.

If you missed the post below this one, from yesterday afternoon, you might want to check it out.

Does The Media Make The News?

I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on Tony Massarotti’s column this morning about the media and how they decide what is news and what isn’t news.

Beyond the navel gazing, what I didn’t like about it was the attitude that permeated the column. It seemed to say: “Oh well, this is how things are, this is what we do, it might be wrong, but it’s not going to change.

Tony even admits that the media’s credibility is suffering, but offers no suggestions as to how it could be improved. “We have to accept it” Massarotti says.

But there’s more within the column that bothered me too, and it is a typical example of something that has happened over and over again during the last few months.

It’s this paragraph that I’m referring to:

For all the debate the Brady story has prompted, here is one aspect that is truly mystifying: How is it that the Brady story is front page news in the Boston Globe, yet the ugly divorce case involving third-wheel Pats coach Bill Belichick never gets a mention? How is it that WEEI talks about the quarterback’s situation but not about those of the coach? How do we draw the line between a full-blown, gloves-are-off scandal and one we deem frivolous and irrelevant, even if it is true?

So Tony thinks that the Bill Belichick situation should be talked about on the level of the Tom Brady coverage. He ignores the fact that seemingly every article written about the Patriots coach in the last couple months has included a reference to this case.

But what do we really know about this “ugly divorce case” in NJ? Do you honestly think Tony Massarotti really knows what is going on down there?

Of course not.

Just about all that has been reported has been on Page 6 of the New York Post and in the Inside Track of the Boston Herald. Credible sources both. (Is my sarcasm thick enough?)

We’ve heard plenty in those columns from the disgruntled husband. Nothing really from the other side. We’ve heard numerous times that Belichick is heavily involved in this mess and is going to be giving a deposition. We heard that this was going to happen as soon as the season was over.

Has it?

No.

Will it?

Not going to happen.

Mark my words.

The husband in the case has clearly made it his aim to try and involve Belichick somehow, and to publicly embarrass the Patriots head coach. That is the full extent of Belichick’s involvement in this case. He is not the “third-wheel” in this case.

Massarotti wasn’t the only Herald columnist referencing the New Jersey divorce case today, from Howie Carr’s column:

But this isn’t the only unfolding sex scandal involving the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is embroiled in a messy divorce with that former secretary for the New York Giants. But again, there’s a video problem – no videotape of The Other Woman. Plus, the local sporting press is terrified of Belichick. They’d rather kiss butt than kick it.

Right. The sporting press is terrified of Belichick. They’ve NEVER said a disparaging word about the Patriots coach. Ever. They’re too scared to. Please. They spend the last few years taking shots at him for any possible reason, and now they’re “terrified” to bring up this subject?

If you’ve read the books on Bill Belichick, you’re familiar with the stories about him helping out friends in need. That he’ll reward lower level staff members out of his own pocket. That quality extends to his non-football life as well.

Like many people with means, Belichick has investment properties. Several in fact. (Nantucket, Weston and others) Owned by him. The reports that he has purchased a house FOR the woman in the NJ case are off base. Belichick’s generosity to friends in need is well known among people who know the man outside of football.

This example is from Peter King’s November, 2005 SI article “Master and Commander“:

Unlike many of the Cleveland players, Browns coaches loved working for Belichick. Every Monday after a win over an AFC Central opponent, he would have his secretary cash a check from his personal account, and $200 in cash would be left on the desk of every assistant. Before the coaching staff headed off on vacation every June, he would distribute the proceeds from his TV and radio shows to his assistants — maybe $12,000 a man — and take nothing for himself. “Bill remembered what it was like to be an assistant coach,” says his former line coach Kirk Ferentz, now the head coach at Iowa. “He gave everyone a second Christmas. You think that doesn’t make you loyal?” One time Belichick left a $100 bill in the car ashtray of low-level scout Scott Pioli. When Pioli protested that he didn’t need the money, Belichick replied, “Shut up and take it. I’ve been where you’ve been.”

Those are coaches he worked with. This generous side of Belichick also extends to his private life. He has assisted a number of people over the years without publicity and in a platonic manner.

From what I hear, the NJ case is moving rapidly towards a conclusion….a conclusion that does not in any way involve Bill Belichick. Yet the gossip columns have set this up to be something huge, that things are moving towards the day when Belichick is called to the stand and dramatically forced to tell all, spilling secrets that will ruin his career and shame the New England Patriots.

What’s going to happen when none of that comes to pass, and the case quietly ends? Nothing. There will be no corrections, no mentions that the whole thing was overblown and simply lifted from gossip columns in tabloid newspapers.

Over the last few months we’ve had plenty of mentions of this case in various columns, both local and national. Where are these columnists getting their information on the case? Do you think any of them have actually attempted to look into them themselves? Not a chance. They’re taking what is published in the gossip columns and taking it as fact. It seems that some fans and callers to sports radio, also believe everything they read in those columns as well.

So when you hear the question asked “Why aren’t we hearing more about this Bill Belichick case?” the answer is simply because there really isn’t one at all.

What’s become clear out of all of this, is that too many members of the Boston (and national) sports media simply rely on the gossip pages for their source material.

THAT’S got to change.

Coco Hoping For Fresh Start

Jeff Horrigan has Coco Crisp looking for a turnaround in his second season with the Red Sox. Gordon Edes talks to Red Sox minor league outfield and base-running instructor Lou Frazier about Crisp. Frazier goes back to 203 with the Red Sox centerfielder and expects a big season out of him.

Dan Shaughnessy talks with John Henry about NASCAR and the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox owners explaining their willingness to spend big money this past offseason. Steven Krasner has the Red Sox owners dancing around putting expectations on Matsuzaka for this season.

Rob Bradford has an interesting story on Alex Ochoa, in camp on a minor league deal, who has played in Japan, facing Matsuzaka, and adjusting to life there. Horrigan has the Sox reaching out to Manny Ramirez in an effort to convince him to report before March 1.

Tom King reports on the Nashua Pride bringing “El Guapo” Rich Garces back to New England. Marc Thaler says Garces was not signed as a gimmick, as the team believes Garces could be the answer to their closing situation. Dan Duggan has Garces hoping that this is the first step in a road that will lead him back to the major leagues.

Nick Cafardo reports on Barry Bonds reporting to Giants spring training, preparing to make the fun push towards Hank Aaron’s home run record. Steve Buckley weighs in on the two biggest stories of spring training thus far, Manny’s late arrival and the A-Rod-Jeter rift. Those are the biggest stories of spring training? How about Dice-K?

Edes’ notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka putting in a heavy workload already. Horrigan’s notebook has the Sox owners looking to wait and see how Curt Schilling looks before giving him a contract extension. Krasner’s notebook has the Red Sox possibly opening their season in Japan in one of the next few years.

Celtics

The post-All-Star break Celtics looked pretty much like the pre-All-Star edition last night, dropping the first game of their West coast road trip 104-101 to the Sacramento Kings, in what may have been the most winnable game of the trip. The Celtics were way behind several times in this, fought back to make a game, but then dropped it at the end.

Shira Springer has the game story for the Globe, while Steve Bulpett does the honors for the Herald.

A new edition of the BSMW Full Court Press features a roundtable discussion on the state of the Celtics at the All Star break. Bulpett has Allan Ray being sent to Austin of the NBA Developmental League, where he can get some consistent playing time under coach Dennis Johnson.

Bulpett’s notebook has GM Paul Pierce again offering his input into what the Celtics should do at the trade deadline and this summer. Springer’s notebook says that things are pretty quiet on the trade front for the Celtics and are likely to remain that way.

Bruins

The Bruins submitted a strong effort on the road last night as they continue their playoff quest. Tim Thomas was great in net as he shut out the Maple Leafs 3-0 in Toronto. Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins are showing flickers of something they’ve trying to achieve all season long – life. Steve Conroy notes that the Bruins get help from unlikely sources last night…and needed it.

Shinzawa’s notebook examines the report on TSN that the Bruins might be close to re-signing Marco Sturm. Conroy’s notebook has Jason York calling his shot prior to the game last night.

Misc

Ron Borges has Zak DeOssie getting ready for the NFL combine, hoping to improve his NFL chances.

Tony Massarotti attempts to address the media’s role in determining what is news and what isn’t. I’ll have to chew on this one for a while, as while I think the intent is good here, the execution might be a little off.

Lenny Megliola goes after the two stories I said in yesterday afternoon posts were the only things being talked about: Manny and Brady. Mark Farinella says that Brady has developed an image problem with this latest development.

Ted Panos offers some random observations on a number of topics.

Tuesday Wrap – 02.20.07

So the topics that sports radio and the newspapers can’t get enough of the last couple days are:

  • Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan’s baby
  • Manny showing up late. (Though the mandatory reporting date isn’t until next week.)

It’s hard for me to expect more from the Boston sports media, so it doesn’t surprise me that these are the topics that we’re subjected to. But what about Curt Schilling’s conditioning?

What’s worse, showing up on time, but overweight, or showing up a day after the deadline and in good shape? Neither is preferable, of course, but Schilling is skating this spring for things that other players have been crucified in this city for – openly demanding a contract extension and showing up out of shape.

Since Schilling is articulate, a great soundbite and willing to challenge reporters, does he escape their withering criticism? It seems so.

Bridget Moynahan is taking more heat on WEEI than Schilling is.
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The Celtics owners didn’t do themselves any favors in Jackie MacMullan’s feature this morning in the Globe. Check out some of these quotes:

“They wore bags over their heads in New Orleans, and their [NFL] team ended up [almost] going to the Super Bowl this year,” said Celtics managing partner Steve Pagliuca.

What does that even mean? Almost went to the Super Bowl? When were the Saints fans wearing bags over their heads? 20 years ago? So in 20 years the Celtics will make the Eastern conference finals?

“You can’t make a judgment on Danny right now,” Pagliuca said. “It’s only been four years. If Delonte [West] becomes [Mike] Bibby and Al Jefferson becomes Karl Malone, I’d say Danny has done pretty well.”

Sometimes it’s better to just not to say anything at all.

Then there were the following from Wyc Grousbeck:

“Most trades are sideways,” he said. “I can take or leave them. They usually don’t work out quite the way you hoped. I’m in favor of drafting and holding.”

…because that strategy has worked out so well thus far…

“How long am I willing to wait?” Grousbeck said. “The rest of my life. That’s how long I plan to own this team. I’m not going anywhere.”

That’s reassuring.

Unfortunately these guys are pretty bulletproof in town as well, because they’re accessible. The Celtics owners make appearances at the Whiney Awards and have Lenny Clarke sit with them courtside. It would seem in every possible way the Celtics are the opposite of the Patriots. The Celtics have a horrible team, but a friendly management. The Patriots have a winning team, but uncooperative management.

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On the Dale & Holley show this morning, Dale Arnold read the following post from Eric Wilbur on Boston.com that suggested that Theo Epstein and the Red Sox owners were considering using Jonathan Papelbon as their closer this season after all.

Gordon Edes, who conducted the interview with Epstein, now says that the owner’s comments as posted by Wilbur were a joke.

Edes says the “blog universe got a bit carried away” by the original posting by Wilbur, and that the comments shouldn’t have been taken at face value as one website apparently did. Well, it wasn’t just the “blog universe.” As mentioned, Dale & Holley read the piece and had a discussion on it, Arnold even going as far as to praise Steve Burton, who had months ago on the Big Show proclaimed that Papelbon would be the closer.

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Geez, I take a day off and next thing I know, my message board posters are in the Inside Track. What is this world coming to?

Michael Gee is embarrassed for the Boston Globe.

Bill Simmons submits a marathon length recap of NBA All Star weekend in Las Vegas.

Albert Breer has a look at the Patriots Inside Linebacker position and free agent options.

Mike Reiss checks out the defensive line and available free agents.

So are the Feds going to take action against Dice-K for the Japanese beer ad, or not?

Richard Sandomir has a look at how commercials and the action merged into one during the Daytona 500.

Neil Best warns baseball fans buying tickets to baseball games that ESPN has the right to change up to three games a week to prime time.

Bob Raissman notes that Brian Cashman has the power he wants, further scrutiny will follow.

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Red Sox fans in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the team’s season home opener against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, April 10 through Comcast.

Fans will be automatically entered to win the Triple Play Sweepstakes when they purchase the Comcast Triple Play bundle of Digital Cable with ON DEMAND, High-Speed Internet and Comcast Digital Voice. Each product is available for $33 a month for 12 months when you subscribe to all three.

Existing Comcast customers and non-customers are also invited to enter the Triple Play Sweepstakes without making a purchase just by mailing a 3×5 postcard with name, address and daytime phone number to Comcast Red Sox Triple Play Sweepstakes, c/o Fenway Sports Group, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. The contest will last until March 11, 2007 and winners will be notified before April 1, 2007. All contestants must be at least 21 years old to enter.

225 pairs of tickets are up for grabs in this promotion.

Comcast and the Red Sox today also unveiled “Triple Play Frenzy,” a new, interactive online Flash game where fans can test their skills and compete for the best score. Triple Play Frenzy can be played at www.tripleplayfrenzy.com.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Maple Leafs (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN – Wisconsin @ Michigan St. (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN2 – DePaul @ Notre Dame (HD)
7:00pm, Versus – Flyers @ Sabres
8:15pm, TNT – Nuggets @ Spurs (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN – LSU @ Kentucky (HD)
10:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Kings
10:30pm, TNT – Suns @ Clippers (HD)

Julio, Julian Speak Up

Tony Massarotti has a look at new Sox shortstop Julio Lugo’s first day and camp and his thoughts on being part of the Red Sox. Steven Krasner has more from the dynamic shortstop, who is replacing Alex Gonzalez, and being compared personality-wise to Orlando Cabrera. Gordon Edes has NH native Kyle Jackson enjoying his time in camp, and looking forward to the day he can walk into Fenway Park through the player’s entrance.

Jeff Horrigan has Julian Tavarez talking about his pal, Manny Ramirez, and why he’ll be reporting on March 1st. Jeff Goldberg has more on Tavarez and Manny. Lenny Megliola says that Boston College will be the first live batters to Daisuke Matsuzaka on March 2nd. Massarotti has Mike Timlin expressing an interest in closing, but the Red Sox might feel he is more valuable in his set-up role.

Horrigan’s notebook has Coco Crisp still feeling the aftereffects of a broken finger suffered almost a year ago. Edes’ notebook has Terry Francona still waiting to hear from Manny. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny’s likely late arrival.

Bruins

Steve Conroy and Fluto Shinzawa report on the Bruins 6-3 win in Philadelphia over the Flyers last night. As Conroy notes, whether the Bruins play the best teams or the worst, wins don’t come easy.

Shinzawa’s notebook says that this week’s GM meetings could produce some trade action. Conroy’s notebook has Petr Tenkrat breaking out of his 25 game scoring drought.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett has a mid-season report card for the Celtics, with higher grades than you might think for a team coming off an 18 game losing streak. Jackie MacMullan has a feature on the Celtics owners determined to stay the course with Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers despite the losing ways.

Shira Springer says that the Celtics may be going West starting tonight, but they could very well be going South again at the same time. Bulpett has Doc Rivers not expecting and not wishing for a trade to be made before Thursday’s deadline.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots moving Nick Caserio from the personnel department to the position of wide receivers coach, replacing the departed Brian Daboll. John Tomase has more on Caserio, who was a college teammate of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Shalise Manza Young has a bit more on Caserio.

Dan Shaughnessy and Gerry Callahan weigh in on Bridget Moynahan’s announcement that Tom Brady is the father of her unborn child, and how they think Brady will handle things.

Green Shows Celtics Pride

A few quick weekend notes.

We’ve got all four of Gerald Green’s dunks for you on the FSN Nothing But Net blog, as the second-year Celtic won the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk contest last night in Las Vegas. Green showed nice creativity while also paying homage to the past in his four dunks on the night. They’re worth a view.

Scott’s Shots also has a number of notes, links and videos from the contest.

Rob Bradford has been bringing it all weekend on his Bradford on Baseball Blog.

Globe Baseball Notes by Nick Cafardo.
Herald Baseball Notes by Tony Massarotti.

Globe Football Notes by Ron Borges.
Herald Football Notes by Michael Felger.

Globe Basketball Notes by Peter May.
Herald Basketball Notes by Steve Bulpett.

Globe Hockey Notes by Kevin Paul Dupont.
Herald Hockey Notes by Douglas Flynn.

Today’s TV Schedule:

1:00pm – CBS – Georgia Tech @ Duke (HD)
1:30pm, NBC – Champions: Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (HD)
2:00pm – FOX – Daytona 500 (HD)
3:00pm – CBS – Nissan Open (HD)
3:30pm – NBC – Capitals @ Penguins (HD)
8:30pm – TNT – NBA All Star Game

Weekend Watch – Daytona 500 Weekend 2007

This weekend features the scandal-tainted Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star game from Sin City, Las Vegas. Good times.

FOX is going all-out in their coverage of the Daytona 500, which has been rocked this week with suspensions for cheating among some of the top teams in the circuit. This is the first major event of 2007 for NASCAR, which will see some unprecedented media coverage this season, as ESPN has picked up some of the races, and is already hyping their coverage.

Here’s a small section of FOX’s 20 page Daytona 500 Press Kit outlining some of the productions facts for Sunday’s broadcast:

EQUIPMENT
For its coverage of the 49th Daytona 500, FOX Sports is employing seven mobile production units, one graphics truck, one uplink transmission unit, two edit suites, one audio submix truck, and a quad generator capable of outputting nearly a megawatt of power. In addition, the FOX Sports production compound at Daytona International Speedway features six office trailers and support vehicles. This command center directs the following arsenal of production equipment: Daytona_500.jpg

  • 20 Manned cameras
  • 2 Super slow motion cameras, capturing 180 frames per second
  • Cablecam
  • 10 Robotic cameras
  • 16 In-car camera packages, each featuring three cameras
  • 6 Stationary POV cameras, including “Grass Cam” and “Wall Cam”
  • 3 Prerace cameras
  • 25 Video replay devices with over 72 channels of recording/playout
  • 43 Race team communication radios, one for each car on the track
  • Over 150 microphones placed along the track and throughout Daytona International Speedway

CREW
A staff of approximately 300 production, technical and support personnel are expected to consume approximately 13,000 bottles of water, 125 gallons of coffee, 5,000 bottles/cans of soft drinks and over 5,000 meals during Daytona SpeedWeeks.

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NBA All Star Weekendas2007_logo_ea.jpg
Gerald Green is the Celtics lone player representative at All Star Weekend, (Courtney of the Celtics Dance Team is there as part of the NBA All-Star Dance Team.) as he hopes to become the first Celtic since Dee Brown in 1991 to win the slam dunk contest. TNT has the contest as part of All Star Saturday night at 8:30pm. (Click here for a podcast with Dee Brown)

The festivities actually begin tonight at 9:00 when TNT will show the Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. The game itself is on Sunday night at 8:30.

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Is anyone else already sick of the media complaining about being sick of the media coverage of Daisuke Matsuzaka? It cracks me up to see someone like Greg Dickerson (sorry Greg, but you made the mistake of putting yours in print.) complain about the Matsuzaka coverage. Dickerson is heading down to spring training next week for the FSN New England coverage, and you can be sure his station is going to have as much Daisuke coverage as anyone else.

In the Red Sox coverage this week, Amalie Benjamin brought something different to the Extra Bases blog on Boston.com. While she kept up with the news items going on, she also mixed in reports on Manny Delcarmen’s orange highlights and her morning jogs. It’s not for everyone, but from this view she’s been a refreshing change from reading Nick Cafardo write about his bunions. (OK, to my knowledge Nick never actually blogged about his bunions, but he may as well have been given the level of enthusiasm in some of his blog posts.)

Glenn Ordway today said that the local media is being too quick to build up Matsuzaka as being a captivating personality. Ordway said that Matsuzaka took too long (4 or 5 seconds!) to answer questions presented to him in Japanese at the press conferences, and that the local media is jumping the gun by presenting him as this dynamic/bold/affable personality. Apparently to Glenn anyone who takes 5 seconds to compose their thoughts and present them is just plain boring.

I’m thinking Glenn might need to take a moment and think himself before making a statement of this nature. According to the book Managing Cultural Differences: Leadership Strategies for a New World of Business it is part of the Japanese culture to think before giving a response.

To Americans, people who pause before replying to a question are probably dissembling. They expect a trustworthy person to respond directly. The Japanese distrust such fluency. They are impressed by somebody who gives careful thought to a question before making a reply. Most Japanese are comfortable with periods of silence. Americans find silence awkward and like to plug any conversational gaps.

You just KNOW that there is going to be a big cultural blow-up at some point this season as some Boston media member makes a comment that is offensive to the Japanese.

Mark February 16, 2007 as the first day that Steve Buckley wanted to talk about the potential playoff rotation for the Red Sox…

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Gary Tanguay hasn’t always been a favorite of this space, with his penchant for trying to create sensationalism with worst-case scenarios and Devil’s Advocate positions with whatever other topic he might be discussing, but I have to give him credit to stepping in for Mike Gorman on the FSN Celtics broadcast on Wednesday.

Gorman was stranded because of the storm and unable to make it to the Garden for the Celtics/Bucks game. Tanguay took Gorman’s place alongside Tommy Heinsohn and did a decent job considering he probably had a matter of hours at most to prepare for doing play-by-play of an NBA game. It may have been a one-game stint, but he showed he already had his own trademark phrase, as he said “Why not?” at a number of points during the game.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday
7:00pm, CN8 – College Hockey: Harvard @ Yale
7:00pm, ESPN2 – College Hoops: Winthrop @ Missouri St.
7:30pm, NESN – College Hockey: BU @ UNH
9:00pm, TNT – NBA Rookie Challenge

Saturday
Noon, ESPN – Georgetown @ Villanova
Noon, WCVB – St. John’s @ Providence
1:00pm, CBS- Florida @ Vanderbilt (HD)
1:00pm, TV38 – Florida St. @ Virginia
1:15pm, ESPN2 – NASCAR Busch Series: Orbitz 300 (HD)
3:00pm – CBS – Nissan Open (HD)
3:30pm, WCVB – UConn @ Syracuse
4:00pm, NBC – Champions: Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (HD)
4:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Michigan
7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Sabres (HD)
8:30pm, TNT – NBA All Star Saturday night
9:00pm, ESPN – North Carolina @ Boston College (HD)

Sunday
1:00pm – CBS – Georgia Tech @ Duke (HD)
1:30pm, NBC – Champions: Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (HD)
2:00pm – FOX – Daytona 500 (HD)
3:00pm – CBS – Nissan Open (HD)
3:30pm – NBC – Capitals @ Penguins (HD)
8:30pm – TNT – NBA All Star Game

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Rob Bradford and the Laurence Eagle-Tribune launched their new Red Sox blog this week, Bradford on Baseball.

Globe Celtics beat writer Shira Springer had a chat on Boston.com Friday.

Andy Gray of SI.com has a Slam Dunk contest preview.

Bill Simmons looks back at the most memorable All Star game ever, the 1987 game in Seattle.

The Media Circus is back this week with a look at ESPN’s cleverly named college basketball nights, DR Z’s broadcasting picks and quite possibly the dumbest thing ever said on the air.

Tim Hardaway apparently forced Mary Buckheit of ESPN Page2 out of the closet.

Michael McCann on Sports Law Blog has a look at the Peculiarities of Beer Advertising and Major League Baseball. This is a result of the Daisuke Matsuzaka beer ad that surfaced on YouTube recently. McCann makes a number of interesting points about MLB and Beer, and asks a succinct question at the end about smokeless tobacco.

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Sports Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt as more on NASCAR coverage shifting into a new gear. Bill Doyle looked at Red Sox owner John Henry’s investment into Roush Racing, forming the new Roush Fenway Racing. David Scott has more on the partnership with NASCAR, as well as thoughts on Spring Training and college hoops.

New York

Pat Reichart has John Davidson figuring to get a little emotional in his first trip back to Madison Square Garden after so many years analyzing Rangers games. Phil Mushnick says that the NYRA treats horses and fans better than MLB treats fans. Richard Sandomir says a long friendship with the president and chief executive of NBC Universal is big reason why Tiki Barber chose that network over FOX and ESPN. Bob Raissman notes that Barber’s new career began by ripping his old coach, Tom Coughlin. Reichart also sits down for five questions with NBC new hire Barber. Neil Best looks at how ESPN is going into overdrive in their NASCAR coverage this season.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand says that NASCAR viewers have more options than ever in the network telecasts of their sport. Jim Williams says that the coverage of NASCAR from all outlets – TV, radio and Internet, is the best of any sport. Williams has a second column on the Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star game on his blog. Hiestand also has a look at Bill Cowher joining the CBS NFL team. Laura Nachman has Phillies director of media and public affairs Scott Palmer learning from the mistakes he made in handling the Brett Myers situation last summer. Aaron Bracy has Cowher expressing sympathy for the situation that Andy Reid finds himself in at the moment.

South

Dave Darling notes that NASCAR, even though it is the second-most-popular television sport in America, is still coming back from an off year, with attendance and ratings down for many races. Barry Jackson has WQAM and 790 the Ticket sparring over Dolphins radio rights. He also touches on a number of other topics.

Midwest

Teddy Greenstein has a look at Chicago radio personality Dan Jiggetts, who is coming off a pretty rough year personally. Jeffrey Flanagan observes that the media tour conducted by Royals prospect Billy Butler was perhaps a bit premature. Bob Wolfley reports that Brewers fans will get to see 15 games over the air this season, a change from the last two seasons where all games were carried on cable. Judd Zulgad notes that the Twins opener has been picked up by ESPN.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at a busy weekend ahead for Charles Barkley during All Star weekend in Las Vegas. Stewart’s notebook has Fox’s BDSSP getting into boxing with a two-hour fight show from the Playboy Mansion. Jay Posner has channel 4 beefing up their Padres coverage with an expanded post game show. Joe Davidson reports on Sacramento getting a second all-sports radio station. John Mafferi has new CBS analyst Bill Cowher talking about the firing of his friend Marty Schottenheimer. Tom Hoffarth has Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz still missing partner Chick Hearn, five years after the death of the legendary announcer. He also lists his top 10 and bottom 5 TV analysts in the Los Angeles area. Old friend Steve Lyons heads the bottom 5 list.

First Official Day of Spring (training)

Dice-K Speaks!

On the eve of the official start to Red Sox spring training, the $103 million dollar man, Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka addressed the media for his thoughts on the newest and biggest chapter of his life. Tony Massarotti says based on his comments during the press conference, we’re going to like this guy. Amalie Benjamin notes that Matsuzaka showed a sly sense of humor and “an engaging personality that hardly required an understanding of Japanese.” Jeff Horrigan also took note of the comedic side of the pitcher. Steven Krasner says that if Matsuzaka’s performance on the mound matches his winning the personality, the Red Sox will indeed have found themselves an ace. Jeff Goldberg says Matsuzaka showed the poise that made him a winner in Japan.

Rob Bradford has a peek at how Matsuzaka mania is affecting everyone down in Fort Myers. Dan Shaughnessy gives his impression of the Daisuke press conference. Lowell Sun sportswriters Rick Harrison and Barry Scanlon square off on whether Matsuzaka will live up to the hype. Alan Greenwood says that the notion that the Red Sox have a top rotation is based more on wishes than reality right now. Gordon Edes has a look at the crew responsible for packing, driving and unpacking the spring training truck. Joe Haggerty says prospects might play a large role with the 2007 Red Sox. Massarotti has a few quick observations on the Red Sox deal with Funai Electric.

Benjamin’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis offering his thoughts on the team this year. Horrigan’s notebook has Youkilis finding a bright side to all the media coverage.

Bruins

Frank Dell’Apa and Steve Conroy report on the Bruins 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders, kicking off the longest road trip of the season.

Conroy’s notebook says backup goaltender Hannu Toivonen should get a chance to play sometime on this trip. Dell’Apa’s notebook looks at the storm causing the Bruins some troubles in getting into New York.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett talks to Dee Brown, who offers his thoughts on Gerald Green, as well as taking some time to remember his 1991 slam dunk title. Christopher L Gasper has the young Celtics displaying some bravado after finally winning a game. Steve Buckley examines why the Celtics have become lovable losers in a sports town that is “famous for its biting media and a demanding customer base.”

NASCAR

David Exum and Michael Vega report on a contrite Michael Waltrip apologizing for the scandal around the suspension of two of his team members for cheating.

Susan Bickelhaupt looks at NASCAR coverage moving into a different gear.

Exum’s notebook and Vega’s notebook have Jeff Gordon as the latest driver being dinged for rules violations.

Misc

David Scott is getting ready to head to Fort Myers in his latest edition of Scott’s Shots.

Ron Borges has boxing notes in the Globe.

Celtics Buck Off Streak At Last

The Streak is over.

After a shaky 1 1/2 quarters the Celtics finally came to life last night and turned a 15 point deficit into a 20 point win, 117-97 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 32 points, while Gerald Green added 21, including 16 in the second quarter to help turn things around for Boston. Al Jefferson had another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Steve Bulpett says that the win resulted in mostly relief for the Celtics, who had been a biblical 40 days and 40 nights without a win. Christopher L Gaspar notes that having both “Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 16 and a sense of urgency befitting the playoffs, not the NBA draft lottery” helped the Celtics snap the record streak. Bill Doyle has the Celtics keeping things in perspective following the win, as they realize they have a long way to go still. We also had a live blog going on over at the FSN Nothing But Net page.

Peter May notes that for the second time this season, the Bucks may have saved Doc Rivers’ bacon. Matt Kalman has a look at Gerald Green, who was 6-7 from the floor last night, including 4-4 from three point range, after a talk prior to the game with Piece. This game gives Green a nice confidence boost going into the Slam Dunk contest.

Gaspar’s notebook and Bulpett’s notebook each look at Paul Pierce’s comments on WEEI yesterday, where the Celtics captain expressed frustration that he would be on a team this bad in his ninth season in the league. Doyle’s notebook has more on Green, who is looking forward to Las Vegas this weekend, but whom Doc Rivers wants to develop into a more complete player.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti has a look at Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, entering his fifth season on the job, and for the first time feeling a bit of heat for the performance of the team the previous season. Gordon Edes has a piece on Dan Okimoto, who has become Larry Lucchino’s top adviser over the years for anything that has to do with Japan.

Jeff Horrigan has a look at Craig Hansen, who would certainly like to take over the closers role, but would also just like to make the team out of spring training first. Jeff Goldberg has more on Hansen, who is in the Sox plans to the extent that they would not include him in a trade to Colorado for Todd Helton. Steven Krasner has a piece on Abe Alvarez, who is trying to reopen some eyes in camp after being taken off the 40 man roster this offseason and re-signed to a minor league deal. Alex Speier says health is the biggest question facing the Red Sox outfield.

Horrigan also reports on the Sox landing a partnership deal with a Japanese electronic equipment maker. Bill Doyle looks at John Henry buying into Roush Racing.

Horrigan’s notebook has J.D. Drew finally being added to the 40 man roster, but at the expense of Lenny DiNardo, who was immediately claimed by Oakland. Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has more on Hansen, who is hoping to get back to the success he enjoyed as a closer at St. John’s.

Boston College

Yesterday Jim Donaldson was worried that BC fans would get all cocky after their team defeated Duke last night, and he said that BC would win because Duke is in a down year.

So much for that.

Duke came in and smothered Jared Dudley to the point that the Eagles forward only attempted five shots on the night, and the Blue Devils beat Boston College 78-70 at Conte Forum. Mark Murphy says BC just doesn’t look like that can share the floor with Duke, even in an off year for Mike Krzyzewski’s crew. Mark Blaudschun says that Boston College may not be ready for prime time after all. Lenny Megliola says that if BC was ever going to knock off Duke, this was the time to do it.

Jackie MacMullan says that Duke shutting down Dudley made the game impossible for the Eagles to win. Steve Buckley looks at Boston College getting embarrassed in their own building, a place they hope to turn into their own home court advantage along the lines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. MacMullan has senior Sean Marshall looking to finish his BC career strong.

Murphy’s notebook says that Coach K has Dudley’s number. Blaudschun’s notebook observes that Duke is formidable even in a down year.

Misc

Mike Reiss reports on Patriots assistant coach Brian Daboll bolting the team in favor of Eric Mangini’s New York Jets. Yesterday Reiss looked at the free agent wide receivers in his blog, as did Albert Breer. Today Reiss has a look at the free agent safeties that might be available.

Barbara Matson looks at the Bruins as they get set to start their longest road trip of the season. Mat Kalman’s notebook says this is a make-or-break trip for the B’s.

Bill Reynolds has a piece on Brown coach Craig Robinson who is Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s brother-in-law.

Dice-K Day One

Dice-K played long toss!

Daisuke Matsuzaka arrived in Red Sox spring training around noon yesterday, and one of his first acts on the field was a session of long toss with minor league catcher George Kottaras (acquired in the David Wells trade last season). Jeff Horrigan says the shutters from all the camera for the events made it sound like a den of rattlesnakes. Gordon Edes has Kottaras getting his moment in the spotlight this spring, thanks to Matsuzaka. Steven Krasner has more on the meeting between Kottaras and Matsuzaka.

Tony Massarotti has a piece on Red Sox manager Terry Francona as he prepares for another season leading the Boston nine. Jon Couture goes through nine stories that figure to be big for the Red Sox this spring. Ted Panos says Spring Training is a wonderful time of year. Joe Haggerty has the Sox putting together an entirely new infield for this season.

Edes’ notebook has the Red Sox and Wily Mo Pena apparently headed to an arbitration hearing on Friday.

Keith Reed wonders if John Henry is buying into NASCAR too late.

Bruins

With a 3-0 win over the Oilers last night, Kevin Paul Dupont suggests that maybe the Bruins have begun to change their fortunes. Maybe. Steve Conroy says that the Bruins did not disappoint those who showed up last night to honor Johnny Bucyk. Joe McDonald says last night’s game could end up being a benchmark for the Bruins. Bud Barth has Brandon Bochenskiand Marco Sturm taking care of the scoring for the B’s last night.

Mick Colageo looks at how Johnny Bucyk has made his mark in a half century of service to the Bruins. Bill Kipouras has former teammates raving about the Chief.” Karen Guregian says that these Bruins could use a few like Bucyk. Dupont has more on Bucyk being honored by the Bruins last night. Guregian has Marco Sturm as the latest Bruin dealing with trade rumors.

Dupont’s notebook has Chuck Kobasew stuck in Calgary, a victim of immigration papers in limbo. Conroy’s notebook suggests that when Kobasew does finally get here, he’ll find a nice comfort zone in Boston. Barth’s notebook has Andrew Ference making a good impression in his first game as a Bruin.

Celtics

Mark Murphy has the Celtics hoping that having both Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak on the floor tonight will finally get them a victory. Christopher L Gaspar has more on the Celtics hoping their two best players can help them finally break the streak. Scott Souza says the size of the streak is starting to really hit home with some of the players.

Shira Springer has a mini-feature on Gerald Green and his preparation for the Slam Dunk contest. Green is getting help from his brother in figuring out what to do to win the contest, but also wants to be known as an all-around player, not just a dunker.

Dylan on the BSMW Full Court Press has a look at the Celtics competition for the top pick in the draft.

Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics realizing that if they don’t get a win tonight, the road ahead gets much tougher. Souza also asks Leon Powe for his favorite high school memory.

College/Misc

Mark Blaudschun has a look at BC coach Al Skinner, who “has pushed all the right buttons and prepared his team the best way he can — but with only the slightest touch of emotion.” Which of course, is exactly his style. Steve Buckley has Skinner with no intention of changing the way in which he does business.

Jim Donaldson wants to remind Boston College fans that if their team beats Duke tonight, don’t rush the floor – this is an off year for the Blue Devils.

Michael Vega has NASCAR suspending four crew chiefs for “unapproved modifications discovered during pre- and post-qualifying inspections last Sunday.”

John Altavilla says Tiki Barber’s new role at NBC fits him just fine.

Mark Farinella has another edition of Ask Fearless, with a few Patriots items thrown in the mix. Garry Brown hits to all fields.