More Manny Moments

Manny Ramirez showed up at camp yesterday, later than everyone else, but ahead of his own personal deadline set by the club.

Michael Silverman reports on the welcome received for Ramirez by his teammates and fans. Sean McAdam has more on Ramirez showing up earlier than expected. Jeff Goldberg says it was just another Manny Monday.

I’m pretty sure Jackie MacMullan and Dan Shaughnessy are slowing morphing into the same person. Why did the Globe feel they needed redundant columns on Manny’s arrival into camp? Both cover the same topics, both barely conceal their contempt for Ramirez and his agents and fans (enablers).

Rob Bradford has David Ortiz and Julio Lugo very impressed with the new and improved Joel Pineiro. Steve Buckley has Curt Schilling speaking out against unnamed front office types that are telling reporters that the club is unhappy with his conditioning. Bradford also has a look at how Schilling’s new venture, Green Monster Games took up a lot of his time during the offseason – time he’d usually spend conditioning. Rob Duca says there are plenty of stories in camp as the team gets ready to start playing games.

Silverman reports on Daisuke Matsuzaka throwing batting practice to David Ortiz and Ramirez. Steve Buckley has Ortiz giving his first impressions of Matsuzaka. Silverman also has a quick bit on Manny’s first batting practice session of the spring.

Tony Massarotti has Dan Duquette getting back into baseball…with the Israel Baseball League. He’ll serve as the league’s director of baseball operations. Garry Brown says that despite what the Veteran’s Committee may decide today, Luis Tiant deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Shaughnessy’s notebook has teammates impressed with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s stuff during a batting practice session. Silverman’s notebook has Mike Timlin dealing with an oblique spasm. McAdam’s notebook has more the session from Dice-K.

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Bruins

The Bruins suffered a tough loss as home last night, 3-2 to the Atlanta Thrashers. Fluto Shinzawa notes that a bad bounce was all it took for the Bruins to be hit with a loss. Steve Conroy says that the Bruins just cannot afford to lose games like they did last night. Joe McDonald notes that there are plenty of distraction around the Bruins right now, mainly because of the trade deadline. Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins window of opportunity closed a little more last night. Bud Barth says that games in hand don’t mean anything unless you win them.

Karen Guregian says that trading Glen Murray makes sense for the Bruins right now. Barbara Matson says that with the team in a playoff push, this loss was especially tough. McDonald has Hannu Toivonen trying to stay positive after his demotion last weekend. Mick Colageo says that Keith Tkachuk will be a big boost to the Thrashers. Mike Loftus doesn’t foresee any big moves being made by the Bruins.

Shinzawa’s notebook looks a Tim Thomas’ latest backup, Joey McDonald, acquired from Detroit last week. Conroy’s notebook says there has been plenty of talk, but little action leading up to this afternoon’s trade deadline. McDonald’s notebook has Murray just trying to get back onto the ice right now. Barth’s notebook has the Bruins latest arrivals starting to settle in with their new club.

Celtics

The Celtics salvaged the final game of their trip, coming back in the fourth quarter to defeat the Houston Rockets 77-72. Paul Pierce had 28 points and Al Jefferson had 16 with 17 rebounds.

Shira Springer looks at the win, in which the Celtics took their first lead of the night with 90 seconds to play. Steve Bulpett says that trailing by 13 with nine minutes to play, the Celtics reached into a place they didn’t know they had to pull out this win.

Did anyone hear this on the Celtics radio broadcast last night?

Bulpett looks at a rough night for Gerald Green in his homecoming. Springer’s notebook has the Celtics catching a break after Tracy McGrady sat out with flu-like symptoms. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge taking blame for how things have gone this season.

Other

Albert Breer has Daniel Graham set to test the free agent waters as no deal with the Patriots is likely to get done before Friday. In the Point After blog, Breer looks at rumors that two of the top linebackers on the market – Adalius Thomas and London Fletcher-Baker – might off the market before the market even opens.

Manny Shows Up, Raises Suspicions

The power of the press to slant opinion was evident this morning, as Manny Ramirez reported to camp. The accounts on blogs such as the Globe’s Extra Bases, described things as “terse” and that Manny spoke “sharply” to Jackie MacMullan. This led Dale Arnold on WEEI to extrapolate that into his own interpretation of how Manny “snapped” at MacMullan, and then to speculate as to why Manny was so angry and that this could only mean bad things, and how he is sick of the whole Manny experience.

This led to a lengthy discussion on the the topic, all based on the wording of writers. How do we know how Manny actually sounded when he spoke to MacMullan? The ones writing those words have the power to shape not only public opinion, but also sports radio discussions as well.

To further illustrate this point, note the AP version of the encounter with MacMullan as noted on CNNSI.com:

"Please move," he told a reporter politely. "I need some space."

So did Manny “sharply” ask MacMullan to move, “snapping” at her, or did he ask her “politely?”

Which is the better (and easier) story for the media? For Manny to have “snapped” at her, of course.

In any event, more easy talk show fodder has been found. Glenn Ordway feels that Manny showing up now is “suspicious.”

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Can I also say that I am disgusted by some of the questions asked by the reporters at the brief press conference held by Manny’s agents? Check them out, especially the fourth and fifth questions, which were apparently asked by Johnny Miller of WBZ radio:

Manny is 34 now. Do you think it’s time for him to be more accountable instead of being babied like a 12-year-old?

Do you think since he’s your meal ticket, you should try to help him grow up?

And the media wonders why so many hate them. Even Michael Holley says these were “dumb” questions.

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Fred Smerlas and All Pro Productions get more bad publicity. This time they are the focus of a Team 5 Investigation on WCVB after the company was hired by the Police Relief Association for a fundraising campaign.

Team 5 investigates reviewed the state’s most recent fundraising report and found startling numbers. More than $14 million was raised in 2005 in the name of police, firefighters and paramedics, but less than $4 million actually went to the groups. The rest — more than $10 million — went to the telemarketers.

The largest company, All Pro Productions, raised $5 million in 2005 and on average gave 37 percent to charity. The contract in North Andover was for 40 percent.

The Team 5 investigates crew attempting to talk to Smerlas about the situation and reports thusly:

Smerlas wasn’t available for an on-camera interview but in a telephone conversation, he acknowledged confusion over who’s calling, but he defended his telemarketers saying they identify themselves are monitored and read from scripts, although All Pro refused to provide one.

Smerlas called All Pro’s 60 percent return reasonable considering fund-raising expenses. As for the complaints received by Stanley, Smerlas denied responsibility, saying there are dozens of competing campaigns going on every day.

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Seth Mnookin offers proof that “Boston is, without a doubt, the city most in need of some perspective of the relative importance of baseball.”

Peter King has his weekly edition of Monday Morning Quarterback from the scouting combine.

Richard Deitsch has his media power rankings for February.

Chad Finn previews the NL Central.

Mike Reiss looks at the 10 top free agent signings of the Belichick/Pioli era. Interesting that all of them are from prior to the 2003 season.

Jackie MacMullan had a chat on Boston.com this afternoon. She describes Manny as “curtly” asking her and Shaughnessy to give him some space. Shaughnessy wasn’t mentioned in the earlier reports.

Richard Sandomir reports on a viewing of NBC’s broadcast of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and notes how much things have changed since then.

David Barron looks at fan concerns over a pair of pending deals – first between Major League Baseball and DirecTV for the Extra Innings package, and also the pending merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio.

Bob Raissman says Versus messed up by promoting the Tommy Morrison comeback fight heavily and then not showing the actual fight.

Michael McCarthy looks at ESPN’s newly announced weekday series College Football Live.

Sox and Pinstripes is a new blog that promises to be “devoted to all things Red Sox and Yankees.”

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Tonight

7:00pm, Versus – Thrashers @ Bruins (Channel 65 on my Comcast system)
7:00pm, ESPN – Georgetown @ Syracuse (HD)
8:30pm, FSN – Celtics @ Rockets
9:00pm, ESPN – Kansas @ Oklahoma (HD)
10:00pm, Versus – Ducks @ Sharks

Sox Looking Closer

David Scott enters his last day of spring training blogging, and hopes to have another post or two today before heading home.

Gordon Edes has a piece on Sox closer candidate Joel Pineiro, who finished with the worst ERA in the AL last season, but the Red Sox think he can be very effective in short stints out of the bullpen. Jeff Horrigan looks at Manny Delcarmen, who may not be a serious candidate for the closer role, but is someone the Red Sox have high hopes for. Steve Krasner has an article on Dustin Pedroia, who is being handed the keys to the Red Sox second base position at the age of 23. Joe Haggerty has the Red Sox feeling their way towards finding a closer.

Dan Shaughnessy submits a solid piece on another bullpen candidate for the Red Sox, former Angel Brendan Donnelly. Steve Buckley looks at the Red Sox trio of pitchers over the age of 40, each of whom is vital to the success of the club this season. Jeff Goldberg has Jonathan Papelbon eager to begin his stint as a starting pitcher for the Red Sox.

Buckley also has Kevin Youkilis proclaiming his willingness to play anywhere on the field that the Red Sox would need to put him. Jeff Howe has David Murphy doing what he can to try and stick the Red Sox this season out of camp. Horrigan has a quick note on Mike Timlin’s sister, who is starting a 2000 mile walk to benefit ALS research.

Edes’ notebook has Luis Tiant not confident that he’ll get a call from the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee tomorrow after their vote. Horrigan’s notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka headed back to the mound today for a session of batting practice that will include David Ortiz. Krasner’s notebook has Timlin starting to feel the effects of age.

Patriots

John Tomase has the Patriots heading to free agency with money to spend, but attempting to keep their salary cap philosophy the same. Albert Breer follows up his analysis of the Patriots offense yesterday with a breakdown of the Patriots defense today, noting that a lack of speed at linebacker and depth in the secondary lead to problems when the Patriots face a balance offense. Tomase’s notebook has signs seeming to point to Troy Brown calling it a career.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett notes that while Paul Pierce is back for the Celtics, he’s still a ways away from being himself, and that has translated to a 1-6 record for the team since he returned. Shira Springer has the Celtics unable to find any answers, and notes that the only good news is that every day the season is closer to the end.

Tim Weisberg’s Free Throws column looks at the NBA least eventful trade deadline since 1995, and has a few other NBA notes.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa notes that despite a rough start and ending, the Bruins recent road trip can be labeled a success. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins must now focus on taking care of things are home. Mike Dunshee has a look at an up and down weekend for the Bruins on the BSMW Power Play blog.

Mick Colageo’s Rick Rap column has the league watching out for “predatory” hits.

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