Mike Felger Shoots Down ‘Net Rumor

Michael Felger put a crazy internet rumor to rest on his 890 ESPN Boston show shortly before 6:00pm today:

Felger: Alright, I’m not going to name names, because, I just don’t want to do it, but we’ve gotten a few calls today , and a few emails, saying “Did you know that so-and-so collapsed on…collapsed today and …could be dead?” And it’s a very well known local player on one of the pro sports teams…

Winter: Ok good, because I got a phone message from a buddy I thought they were sniffing drugs…

Felger: I got, and we’re not going to name names here Kevin, this started last night, there is some lunatic out there, there is some maniac, who has started a rumor that one very high profile pro athlete here in Boston has collapsed, perhaps died. This rumor first came to light last night, I talked to the agent and the agent said, “I just got off the phone with him.” OK that was last night. Um, also, and I’m going to try not to name names, a reporter called some teammates of this player, and asked “Did you hear about so-and-so potentially collapsing or dying?” The next thing you know, the public relations guy for this team, called this reporter back, and said “I just spoke to the player in question, and he asked me to ask you to stop calling his teammates and asking if he’s dead.”

Winter: That’s one way to put an end to that one, right?

Felger: This started last night…can you imagine getting that call from a PR guy…

Winter: Don’t call me I’m alive!!

Felger: “I just got a call from so-and-so and first of all, he’s alive, and second of all stop calling his teammates and asking if he’s dead.” Alright, so this happened last night, so the guy’s alive, we have gotten about three or four phone calls off the air, we’ve gotten three or four emails that we haven’t responded to, that’s the story. It started last night; this individual is very much alive as of last night. Unless there is a massive conspiracy theory that even I couldn’t come up with. So stop. Enough. It’s a vicious, vile rumor out there, I don’t know who or who started this or why they would start it, it is definitely not what we’re looking for, and if someone decides to, if this person wants to talk about it at some point, we’ll give you the name, and you’ll all remember this little talk we’ve had. But not true, when you hear it, maybe this thing is just going to grow, but it’s not true.

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Finding out who the rumor is about isn’t that hard. It has been well circulated by this point. I’ve even gotten a few emails about the situation. It’s just another idiot on the internet starting rumors for fun. Felger showed good judgment by not repeating the name of the player and giving further attention to whoever started this.

I’m more interested at this point in finding out who the reporter was that was making the calls to the teammates. That is ridiculous. I do wish Felger had given that name out.

You’d like to think a guy could lose his job for acting so irresponsibly, but the media wagons are already circled in this matter. It doesn’t seem like anything will happen.

Stern Answers From Commissioner

David Stern held court today on the situation involving former ref Tim Donaghy. WEEI carried the beginning of the press conference, but just as Stern got beyond his opening remarks and started actually talking about the situation, the station broke away from the press conference, with Jon Wallach remarking that he was about to fall asleep, so they cut away.


The press conference was in fact anything but boring. Glenn Ordway said as much, as he noted not only Stern’s comments and answers on the situation, but also the preparedness of the reporters there, who several times brought up points that required Stern to think for a few seconds before coming up with answer.

One question I recall was a reporter noting that Donaghy has not actually been charged yet, so how does the league know he is actually guilty – Stern thought for a moment before answering that Donaghy’s attorneys have told the league that he is considering a plea agreement.

Bill Simmons says that this scandal could be the end of the NBA if not handled correctly.

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A couple of items as noted by readers. From Nick Cafardo this morning:

We don't totally know the team's motivation for bringing him up for this game. We know some of the obvious reasons -- Tavarez was struggling; the Indians don't like to face lefties, and Lester had beaten them last Aug. 2.

If by “don’t like to face lefties” Nick means “have greater success against lefties” then he is absolutely correct. The Indians have a .274 average and .810 OPS in 1050 at bats against lefties as opposed to a .273 average and .738 OPS in 2385 at bats against righties.

And uh, Lester didn’t beat the Indians in that game, either. Papelbon got the win.

The start of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column yesterday:

WHAT I KNOW

The league has told Atlanta owner Arthur Blank the disciplinary ball is in his court, and Blank intends to act by disciplining Vick in some way by the end of Tuesday.

Then of course later in the day on Monday, Vick was ordered by commissioner Roger Goodell to stay away from the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp.

And what was with King’s comment about David Ortiz’s “plant foot?” And what is he trying to insinuate?

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Alan Siegel was at Wrigley Field last week and saw Barry Bonds hit 752 and 753 and gives his impressions of the park and scene.

Bill Burt on BradfordonBaseball.com says that Terry Francona has a problem.

Mike Loftus looks at the Bruins once again trading away one of their young players.

Eric McHugh has 10 hot questions in the NFC.

Glen Farley says that great expectations surround the Patriots this season.

Teddy Panos says that the Donaghy case opens up a whole can of worms.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Indians

Tonight’s Lineup (via WEEI)

Lugo
Pedroia
Youkilis
Ramirez
Crisp
Lowell
Varitek
Drew
Pena

Lester’s Triumphant Return

Jon Lester made a triumphant return to the major leagues last night, picking up a win after going six innings, giving up two runs and striking out six in the Red Sox 6-2 victory over the Indians in Cleveland last night.

Jeff Horrigan says that Lester’s return “brought hope and reassurance to so many people in vastly different ways.” Amalie Benjamin looks at the Red Sox offense staying hot and giving Lester a four run cushion before he ever stepped on the mound. Joe McDonald says that Lester’s return is not about the past, it is all about what lies ahead. Jeff Goldberg has Lester just happy to pitch again and get the “W.” Bill Ballou says that last night “completed an authentic feel-good story in a sports panorama that these days is too often cluttered with unhappy news.”

Nick Cafardo says that the sight of Lester on the major league mound after all he has been through in the last year “had to tug at the heartstrings.” Rob Bradford says that last night was the completion of a “338-day, life-altering, fortitude-testing, tear-jerking, deconstruction, and subsequent reconstruction, of a major league pitcher.” Dan Lamothe says that Lester’s heroic return deserves our undivided attention.

Horrigan has Manny Delcarmen picking up his first major league save last night, after coming in with two out in the eighth and then pitching the ninth as well. Joe Haggerty has Julio Lugo surging after struggling so much for the first half of the season. Bradford has Kyle Snyder and others reflecting on the death of Snyder’s former teammate Mike Coolbaugh, who was struck in the head and killed by a line drive while coaching first base in the minors on Sunday night. Ron Chimelis has NESN reacting to calls they got about Josh Beckett dropping an F-bomb on live television during a recent post-game segment. Alex Speier has Bill Ballou saying that he will not vote for either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Hideki Okajima for rookie of the year, stating that the rule that allows them to be considered for the award is “patently absurd.”

Bradford also has Trot Nixon calling a players-only meeting in the Cleveland clubhouse Saturday night to work out some issues between players. Brendan McGair talks to 2004 postseason hero Mark Bellhorn, who was in Pawtucket over the weekend with Louisville, where he has been this season after not being able to stick with the Yankees or Padres since leaving Boston. Mike McMahon has Ozzie Guillen breaking down barriers and speaking highly of the Red Sox chances this season. Mike Bogen says it is time for the Cardinals to bring Rick Ankiel back to the majors. Chad Finn plays nine innings of Red Sox thoughts.

Horrigan’s notebook has David Ortiz reporting that his shoulder was improved enough that he could take a few swings, and still hopes to get back into the lineup tomorrow night. Benjamin’s notebook has Ortiz saying that he’s learned the lesson that he should never run on Jermaine Dye. McDonald’s notebook has former teammates Kelly Shoppach and Nixon also thrilled to see Lester come all the way back from his cancer. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Ortiz learning his lesson about Dye. Ballou’s notebook has Coco Crisp continuing his hot hitting to the point where he is now above his career average at the plate.

Bruins
Fluto Shinzawa reports on the Bruins trading goaltender Hannu Toivonen to the St. Louis Blues for center Carl Soderberg. Douglas Flynn says that the deal came down to an underachiever for a malcontent. McDonald has former Bruin Brad Boyes thrilled that he’ll be reunited with Toivonen in St. Louis. Mick Colageo also has a look at the deal.

Patriots
Dan Pires says that the Patriots are loaded this season, but still comes up with 10 questions facing the team as we approach Friday’s start of training camp. Albert Breer reports that second year receiver Chad Jackson will start camp on the PUP list as he continues to rehab the torn ACL he suffered in the AFC Championship game last winter. Michael Parente has Rosevelt Colvin making an appearance at McCoy stadium in Pawtucket on Monday night, talking about the Patriots linebackers and also their newest acquisitions on offense. Mike Reiss has more from Colvin in Pawtucket.

Desmond Conner has former Florida State star Andre Wadsworth attempting a comeback with the Jets after six years away from the game.

Celtics/Other
Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers feeling that the NBA is strong right now, despite the current scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy. Bob Ryan strongly disagrees, stating that “Outright dishonesty shatters the trust that must exist between the participants and the sporting public.” Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Mike Brilliant wonders if Gerald Green has some Kedrick Brown in him.

Jim Donaldson announces that he is here is “here to “dis” Barry Bonds. And Michael Vick and Tim Donaghy, too.” Bob Halloran says that Falcons fans must take a stand against Vick.

Steve Conroy has Jeff Jagodzinski showing how different he is from his predecessor at the ACC Kickoff. Mark Blaudschun has a look at the embattled Bobby Bowden. Conroy’s notebook has Tom O’Brien looking to bring some discipline to N.C. State.

Lester’s Back

The Red Sox wrapped up their homestand with an 8-5 win over the White Sox at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon. Tim Wakefield improved to 11-9 on the season, and Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell each hit their 15th home run of the season.

Gordon Edes has a look at a day of “harmonic convergence on Yawkey Way.” Michael Silverman has the Red Sox wrapping up a 6-5 homestand, which he says was a “swirl of mixed messages.” David Heuschkel notes that this one came right down to the end, where a rusty Jonathan Papelbon had to reach deep to record his 22nd save. Paul Jarvey has the Red Sox surviving a rare late meltdown by their bullpen.

Dan Shaughnessy and Steve Buckley each have a look at Jon Lester finishing his long road back from cancer by getting the call to start for the Red Sox tonight in Cleveland, replacing Julian Tavarez in the rotation. Steve Krasner also has a look at Lester getting the call to rejoin the big club. Lenny Megliola says that Lester’s return is an inspiration. Ron Chimelis has more on the surprise announcement of Lester’s promotion. Alex Speier says that the return of Lester to the big leagues is a big deal. Jarvey has more on Lester, including Papelbon saying that it will be a surreal moment to see Lester back out on the mound. Brendan McGair says that Lester had an extra spring in his step Sunday afternoon after getting the news. Jon Couture has Lester coming a long way since his first “B” game appearance in spring training.

Sean McAdam has the offense stepping recently up for the Red Sox, especially Manny Ramirez, who hit .385 on the homestand with 4 homers and 13 RBI. Rich Thompson has more on the Red Sox offense getting back on track the last few games, and also looks at Mike Lowell ending a mini-slump with two hits, including a three run homer yesterday. Krasner also has a look at the performance of Hideki Okajima, who saved the day after Manny Delcarmen faltered a bit in the seventh. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Tim Wakefield being able to talk about the performance of another knuckleball pitcher in yesterday’s game. Buckley notes that this was a rare event, as each team used a knuckleballer, the first time that has happened in five years. Speier looks at the rookie treatment in baseball, from which Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima are not immune.

Silverman’s notebook has Joel Pineiro being designated for assignment following the game to make room for Lester, and Tavarez moving to the bullpen. Edes’ notebook has more on Lester’s promotion. The Projo notebook has more on Pineiro being designated to make room for Lester. Heuschkel’s notebook has Lester getting ready for “the most significant start of his young career.” Jarvey’s notebook has David Ortiz hoping to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Couture’s notebook has more on Ortiz.

Weekend Watch – The Open Edition

I apologize for the continued issues with the messageboard. If it is down when you try to connect, you can use the forum at the BSMW Social Network and registration is free. The admin for the board is currently on vacation, and so the major issues may not get addressed for a few days.

The Open Championship headlines this weekend’s sports viewing. TNT has the early morning coverage both days this weekend, with ABC taking over two hours later.

The weekend also sees the US debut of David Beckham, when he dons the uniform of the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition against the against English Chelsea FC, which won the English Premier League in two of the last three seasons. The match will be aired on ESPN Saturday night at 8:30. However an ankle injury suffered by Beckham could limit his playing time to about 15 minutes or so.

It’s a battle of the Sox at Fenway this weekend. FOX has Saturday’s game between the Red Sox and White Sox, Thom Brennaman and Joe Girardi will have the call of that game. Keep up with the Red Sox coverage this weekend on RedSoxLinks.com.

It’s possible that this weekend could also see Barry Bonds tying or breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record. The Giants are appropriately enough in Milwaukee this weekend, both Bud Selig’s hometown and the city where Aaron played 14 of his 23 season. Most still feel that the Giants will manipulate things so that the record is broken in San Francisco, but FOX will still show Bonds’ at-bats live on Saturday in a split screen. Ken Rosenthal is also in Milwaukee for the weekend. If Bonds is on the verge of breaking the record on the other days of this weekend, ESPN will cut to the at-bats.

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890 ESPN is rolling out a new Sunday program, the Baseline Report which will air from 10:00-11:00am. Former major leaguer Mike Pagliarulo co-hosts with Adam White, and they promise “a very candid, hard-hitting evaluation of players and front office personnel from a player’s standpoint.”

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A pair of TNT announcers had very different opinions on the Thursday telecast about the accusations by Gary Player that professional golfers are using performance-enhancing drugs. Here’s what Bobby Clampett said:

Gary (Player's) got so much integrity, he speaks from the heart. As a player, it saddens me that these kinds of reports would be coming out. This is a game of integrity that we have enjoyed being free of any of these kinds of allegations in the history of the game. It looks like we might have to move into drug testing of players, that saddens me.

And here is Peter Alliss’ take on the comments:

I have no idea (what prompted Gary Player’s statement) unless he needed the publicity. I don’t know why he waited until he was 70-odd years of age to come out with it and then not tell us who it is. Just taking a stick and stirring a muddy pond for no reason, it’s very stupid.

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Murray Weiss has the HUGE story of an NBA referee being investigated for allegedly betting on basketball games over the last two season, including games in which he worked. You can bet this will take some attention off of Michael Vick and his problems. (Jackie MacMullan says the official is 13 year veteran Tim Donaghy)

Joe Haggerty has Peter Gammons’ comments on Craig Hansen from his appearance on 890 ESPN this week, where Gammons says that Scott Boras’ coaching staff has completely changed Hansen’s delivery from what it was a St John’s and blames this for his struggles in the minors.

Jessica Camerato has a Celtics summer league recap.

The Media Circus confirms for us that Steve Phillips is unequivocally an idiot.

Three more Patriots positional previews today, Mike Reiss has the linebackers, Albert Breer the receivers and Erik Scalavino the cornerbacks.

Pat Kirwan notes that the Patriots have loaded up on experience this offseason, which he says fits in very well with the Bill Belichick/Scott Pioli method of doing business.

Don Pierson thinks that only the Patriots can beat the Patriots.

Dave Hollander talks to Frank Deford about his new book The Entitled. The interview starts off with a few thoughts on the state of sports media today.

Chad Finn has his Nine Innings national column for FoxSports, complete with a baseball card of Tim McCarver as a member of the Red Sox.

Dan Lamothe is disappointed with the Inside Track.

Paul Gardner says that the David Beckham hype is very much like the hype when Pelé joined the New York Cosmos.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday
7:00pm, NESN – White Sox @ Red Sox

Saturday
7:00am, TNT – British Open
8:00am, Versus – Tour De France
9:00am, ABC – British Open
3:30pm, FOX – White Sox @ Red Sox
8:30pm, ESPN – Chelsea FC @ Los Angeles (Beckham debut)
8:30pm, ESPN2 – Busch Series: Gateway 250

Sunday
6:00am, TNT – British Open
8:00am, ABC – British Open
8:00am, Versus – Tour De France
2:00pm, NESN – White Sox @ Red Sox
4:00pm, TV38 – Dynamo @ Revolution
8:00pm, ESPN – Cardinals @ Braves

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New England
David Scott is back, with a look at all that has been going on this summer in the world of Boston sports media, from Jason Wolfe’s embarrassments, to NESN making a mistake by dumping Dale Arnold, the Globe’s attempts at create Boston’s version of PTI, and Bill Simmons declaring himself still in the race for President of Red Sox Nation after all. Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at ABC’s coverage of The (British) Open this weekend. Bill Doyle has more on ESPN/ABC putting its own stamp on their coverage of The Open Championship.

New York
Phil Mushnick has Joe Morgan’s untrue story on Sunday Night Baseball last week as just the latest example of how ESPN is killing sports for viewers. Neil Best says that ESPN’s Who’s Nowis definitely not must-see TV. He also offers tips for watching SportsCenter. Bob Raissman says that the Michael Vick story will be a costly one for the NFL and its TV partners. Richard Sandomir looks at the coincidence that Barry Bonds could be going for the all time home run record this weekend, in Milwaukee, where Hank Aaron spent much of his career with the Braves and Brewers.

Mid Atlantic
Michael Hiestand says that NBC and FOX are both destinations that make sense for Dan Patrick in the future. Laura Nachman has Sports Radio 950-AM looking to increase local programming. With the Michael Vick case everywhere, Jim Williams asks if the media has learned anything from the Duke lacrosse case. Chris Zelkovich notes that amateur sports, even to the level of the Pan Am Games, are getting virtually no airtime. Williams also talks to Sirius Radio’s Giorgio Chinaglia about David Beckham’s potential impact on US Soccer.

South
Dave Darling has a whole cornucopia of information about ESPN, including a look at the network finally getting around to devoting a daily highlight show to college football. Barry Jackson has the Dolphins media coverage getting an upgrade with revamped shows. He also reports that former Dolphins Rob Konrad and Keith Byars are not being retained by 790 The Ticket. David Barron has Chronicle columnist Richard Justice joining Houston’s newest sports talk station, KILE (1560 AM) this summer. Barry Horn has the All Star ratings hitting new lows.

Midwest
Teddy Greenstein has NFL photographers from several prominent newspapers considering boycotting NFL games this fall because of a league edict that would require them to wear red vests with prominent product logos. Bob Wolfley has SportsCenter anchor John Anderson – a Green Bay native talking about his family history related to the Packers. Judd Zulgad examines a report that ran Wednesday night on KSTP-TV’s news which “painted a rather unflattering picture — literally — of various Gophers football players who have Internet pages on MySpace and Facebook.”

West Coast
Larry Stewart covers a number of items in his column this week, starting off with this weekend’s coverage of The British Open. Tom Hoffarth wonders if David Beckham will be able to carry ESPN’s soccer coverage, even with a bad ankle. His media blog delves even deeper into Beckham. John Maffei says that Beckham’s US debut is the “equivalent of Babe Ruth coming back from the dead to play right field for the New York Yankees.” Jim Carlisle says that The Open being played at Carnoustie brings back memories of Jean Van de Velde’s 1999 meltdown. Jay Posner has channel 4 covering more than just the Padres these days, and a number of other media notes.

Sox All Wet

(This is entry number 2500 on this blog)

The Red Sox seemingly cannot get out of their own way these days, as they stumbled yet again last night, falling to the Chicago White Sox 4-2 at Fenway Park. Daisuke Matsuzaka took the loss after walking six batter on the evening.

Michael Silverman notes that the “recent uninspiring level of play” was on display again last night for the Red Sox. Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox offense remained all wet for another night at Fenway Park. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox sputtering once again last night. Jeff Goldberg says that the wheels haven’t come off the wagon just yet, but they’re pretty wobbly at this point. Bill Ballou has the Red Sox pounding out 10 hits, yet only being able to plate 2 runs on the night. Jon Couture says it was a long night of missed chances for the Red Sox.

Jackie MacMullan has Matsuzaka remaining as mysterious as ever with his performance last night which was “alternately brilliant and vexing” as he cruised at times, and issued free pass after free pass at others. Rob Bradford notes that last night illustrated once again the Red Sox inability to generate any late inning magic this season. Sean McAdam looks at J.D. Drew’s stock continuing to plummet. Alex Speier notes that the recent numbers just don’t add up for the Red Sox.

Daniel Malloy has Kevin Youkilis mired in a slump and not wanting to talk about it. Douglas Flynn says that the Sox are suffering a power outage. Bradford also has Julio Lugo understanding how seriously the fans in Boston take winning and losing. McDonald says that the Red Sox aren’t looking back over their shoulders just yet. Ballou examines the strong comeback of Mike Timlin in recent weeks. Joe Haggerty has Matt Clement feeling good and hoping for a few September appearances.

Bradford also checks in with almost-Red-Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, who reflects on what could’ve been here in Boston. Malloy examined the fall of the White Sox, who have been plagued by injury and inconsistency this season. Mike Petraglia has a piece on White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, who took the baseball world by storm in 2005.

Maureen Mullen has a look at the importance that blood typing has in Japan when it comes to personality characteristics.

Jeff Horrigan has a look at Pawtucket pitching coach Mike Griffin, who in entrusted with some of the most valuable prospects in the Red Sox farm system. Amalie Benjamin has Craig Hansen showing signs of getting his slider back, which was his devastating out pitch at St. John’s. Horrigan also has Jon Lester ready to answer the call to Boston anytime he is needed.

Silverman’s notebook finds J.D. Drew on the Sox bench last night due to his balky hamstring. Edes’s notebook has the Red Sox trying to be aggressive in the trade market, but not finding too much out there at the moment. McDonald’s notebook has Hideki Okajima giving up his first homer since opening day last night. Ballou’s notebook has the Red Sox wasting another great outing from Manny Delcarmen. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Drew and his hamstring. Garry Brown’s notebook also looks at Drew. Couture’s notebook has still more on the $70 million outfielder.

Christopher L. Gasper has a feature in the Globe today about the attraction video games have for professional athletes, as they allow for an escape and an opportunity to tune out the pressures they face. Tony Allen, Curt Schilling and Reche Caldwell are among those Gasper talked for the feature.

Albert Breer and Mike Reiss bringing back 14 year veteran linebacker Chad Brown yesterday. Jim Donaldson says that Asante Samuel should report to camp, have the best season of his career, and then demand to be paid like a top cornerback.

David Scott is back, with a look at all that has been going on this summer in the world of Boston sports media, from Jason Wolfe’s embarrassments, to NESN making a mistake by dumping Dale Arnold, the Globe’s attempts at create Boston’s version of PTI, and Bill Simmons declaring himself still in the race for President of Red Sox Nation after all. Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at ABC’s coverage of The (British) Open this weekend. Bill Doyle has more on ESPN/ABC putting its own stamp on their coverage of The Open Championship.

Jim McCabe looks at Sergio Garcia leaping out to the lead at The Open, while George Kimball looks at John Daly starting fast, and falling just as fast yesterday.

A Hearty Well Done

It’s too infrequently that I hand out “attaboys” on this site. So today, I’m going to start off with two.

First, John Dennis. The WEEI morning co-host did an outstanding job this morning in the interview with ESPN.com’s Lester Munson on the topic of Michael Vick’s indictment this week.

Dennis’ questions were on-point, and he was able to clarify several points by making appropriate analogies to other situations, such as how Vick could get charged with conspiracy in the matter, even if he wasn’t present for the events. Dennis compared it to the “guy who drives the getaway car getting charged with murder when the bank guard gets killed inside.”

While Munson was a very knowledgeable guest on the topic, Dennis’ questioning made the interview even better. Some of his other comments this morning may have been questionable, but for the Munson interview, he was spot on.

The second goes to Tony Massarotti. He turned in two quality articles in the Herald this morning. The first one, regarding Boston’s rapidly-shrinking lead in the AL East, expressed appropriate concern at things going on around the Red Sox, but stopped short of fanning the flames to stir up panic among the masses.

His second article which focused on possible trading partners for the Red Sox, was a good overview of what the team might be trying to do at the trading deadline, and which teams might be a good fit. The article was very easy to scan and read, and while it wasn’t a deep look at the situation, it was informative enough to keep your interest.

I’ll try to do this more often, as it is at times easy to overlook some of the quality work that is put out there every day in this market.

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Gordon Edes held a Boston.com Red Sox chat this afternoon.

David Gassko of The Hardball Times examines whether the Red Sox are collapsing, or just unlucky.

Bob Ryan highly recommends a visit to the exhibit entitled “The Glory Days: New York Baseball from 1947-57,” which is currently at the Museum of the City of New York.

Albert Breer assesses the Patriots running backs. Mike Reiss looks at the offensive line, and Erik Scalavino looks over the wide receivers.

Tom Casale has another edition of the Ask PFW mailbag.

John Tomase, writing for The Sporting News, has a look at how Randy Moss will fit in with the Patriots.

Scouts Inc. has a Patriots preview on ESPN.com

Tom Curran has a Patriots preview video on NBCsports.com

Mike Loftus has the Stanley Cup visiting Squantum.

Mike Freeman says that race will come into play in the Michael Vick case.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – White Sox @ Red Sox

Starting Lineup:

Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Wily Mo Pena, RF
Julio Lugo, SS

The Slide Continues

The Red Sox continued to move backwards last night as they dropped another game to the Kansas City Royals, this time by the score of 6-5 at Fenway Park. Julian Tavarez gave up all six runs between the 4th and 5th innings to suffer the loss.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox getting a number of key contributions, yet still falling to the Royals, as the Yankees charge closer. Jeff Horrigan suggests that this might’ve been Tavarez’s last turn in the rotation. Joe McDonald also speculates that the time might’ve come for Tavarez to go back to the bullpen. Jeff Goldberg says things are getting interesting as the AL East race continues to tighten up. Ron Chimelis has Tavarez flunking his latest test and may not be long for the rotation. Bill Ballou suggests that the Red Sox pick up some lifeboats at the trading deadline, as the ship is sinking.

Sean McAdam says that it’s not unusual for good teams to struggle for a month or so, this Red Sox team just needs to decide if they’re going to have a repeat of 2002 or 2004. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox can hear the footsteps now, and are being tested for really the first time this season. Alex Speier says that a lack of clutch hitting is doing in the Red Sox during their most recent struggles.

Michael Silverman notes that the Red Sox bullpen certainly did their job in taking over for Tavarez last night. Daniel Malloy has Tavarez starting strong, but ultimately failing in perhaps his most critical start of the season. Douglas Flynn says that the Red Sox may need to develop a sense of urgency. Massarotti looks at some potential trade partners for the Red Sox as the deadline creeps closer. Sarah Green wonders if the Red Sox are lucky or good as they approach the final two months of the season.

Steven Krasner has a look at how badly David Ortiz is struggling against lefties, especially in the power department. Silverman has the Sox ordering Daisuke Matsuzaka to get a little more rest in between starts and not throw quite so much. Malloy has a look at how Manny Ramirez plays Fenway Park’s legendary left field and how he changed things up a little last night. Speier notes that it appears that Manny is still Manny, showing signs of his power coming back.

Dan Lamothe takes a look at the numbers from the Red Sox regulars since June 1st. Eric Benevides has PawSox catcher George Kottaras finally awakening at the plate, and notes that Clay Buchholz will pitch Sunday rather than Saturday. Speier notes that the Farm system is paying off for the Red Sox these days. Buddy Thomas has Gary Sheffield continuing to cook up nonsense.

Horrigan’s notebookhas Sox skipper Terry Francona keeping an even keel over the struggles of his key players. Edes’ notebook has Francona not ready to restore Julio Lugo to the leadoff spot, despite his hot hitting as of late. The Projo notebook says that we should not expect Jermaine Dye to be coming to the Red Sox, as the White Sox outfielder only wants to go somewhere where he will play everyday. Goldberg’s notebook looks at the club’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Chimelis’ notebook also examines the lack of clutch hitting for the Red Sox. Ballou’s notebook has still more on the struggles with runners in scoring position.

Misc
Bob Ryan is sickened at the things Michael Vick is accused of being involved in.

Kevin Paul Dupont has new Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez adjusting to his new surrounding and preparing for a heavy workload this season.

Jon Couture has a look at some of the more surreal moments in sports over the last 20 years. In the Metro that Bruce Allen guy notes that July isn’t the sports deadzone that is used to be.

Jim McCabe has Tiger Woods finding his groove in links golf. George Kimball has Woods the favorite for the British Open once again. Jim Donaldson recalls the collapse of Jean Van de Velde in the ’99 open at Carnoustie.

Eric McHugh has Asante Samuel saying that he is only standing up for what he feels is right.

Wednesday Wrap

Wednesday afternoon links…

The training camp positional previews are in full swing, as Mike Reiss has a DL snapshot and Albert Breer has Camp battlelines: QB.

Jemele Hill of ESPN.com Page2 has “Riding with … Asante Samuel”

Bill Simmons has observations from Las Vegas and the NBA Summer League.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has apparently advised the Buffalo Sabres that they should raise their ticket prices.

Michael Vick was indicted late yesterday by a grand jury on charges involving the dog fighting ring that allegedly operated from him home in Virginia. Lester Munson examines what the legal implications the charges hold for Vick. Tom Curran says Vick has no one to blame but himself. Peter King feels that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell will proceed cautiously on how they handle the situation. Don Banks says that Vick won’t be able to escape permanent damage, no matter how the case is resolved. Michael Wilbon consults with a sports lawyer about the Vick case.

Dayn Perry looks at what the MLB contenders might be looking for at the trading deadline.

Is Barry Bonds intentionally sitting out all Giants games broadcast by ESPN? John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News is suspicious.

Tony Massarotti says that Hank Aaron’s record might be in jeopardy, but his greatness will never be eclipsed.

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TNT tees off its 2007 golf programming tomorrow morning with the first of more than 50 hours of combined televised and online coverage of the 136th British Open Championship from Carnoustie in Angus, Scotland beginning with a preview show on Thurs., July 19 at 6:30 a.m. .

The network will air exclusive coverage of the first round from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thurs., July 19 with full round coverage of the second-highest ranked player in the world Phil Mickelson and his group, which includes Toru Taniguchi and Lee Westwood, when they tee off at 9:20 a.m. ET. If you want to follow Tiger Woods tomorrow, you can watch on Open Championship Live on PGA.com, which is operated by Turner Sports.

Exclusive TV coverage continues with the second round from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET/PT on Fri., July 20 featuring full round coverage of defending British Open champion Woods along with Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose when they begin play at 9:20 a.m. ET.

Coverage continues with the third and fourth rounds from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET on Sat., July 21 and 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. ET on Sun., July 22.

ESPN’s production of The Open Championship from will be broadcast on ABC including live weekend coverage on Saturday, July 21 (9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET) and Sunday, July 22 (8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.).

Additionally, highlight shows will be aired following the Thursday and Friday rounds from 1:05-1:35 a.m. (both ET and PT) and Saturday and Sunday from 5-6 p.m. (2-3 p.m. PT). Tiger Woods will attempt to win his third consecutive Open Championship.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Royals @ Red Sox
8:00pm, ESPN – Tigers @ Twins

Bill Simmons Won’t Be President of Red Sox Nation

You might’ve heard Jerry Remy during the NESN telecast last night going through letters he received from people applying to be “President of Red Sox Nation” – a new contest the Red Sox are running.


One of the ones last night was from a guy who “really kind of irked” Remy, who asked “Who the heck is Bill Simmons?” He noted that Simmons “calls himself the Sports Guy.” Remy read portions of the letter, and said something along the lines that Simmons was in it for himself (for free tickets) and that “He’s got no chance of being president.”

Some people have wondered if it really was Simmons who sent in the letter, or someone pretending to be him. Here’s your answer: It really was Simmons.

Here is the “application” that Simmons sent in:

I’m running for the President of Red Sox Nation for ten reasons.

First, I’ve always wanted to be the President of something; at this point, I don’t really care what it is.

Second, I think I can get free tickets out of this.

Third, I heard Mike O’Malley might run and, as much as I enjoy his work, we can’t let him be President after he already subjected us to seven years of “Yes, Dear.”

Fourth, I’m the guy who once wrote a column called “Why Roger Clemens is the Anti-Christ,” you have to vote me just for that.

Fifth, unlike with that chainsmoker Jerry Remy, you’d never have to worry about my health during my tenure – and even if something does happen to me, you’ll be in capable hands with my running mate, Rich Garces.

Sixth, I dressed up as Fred Lynn for two straight Halloweens in ’75 and ’76 – even as a kid, I was making great decisions.

Seventh, I’m sure you have people in your life – in the office, in your dorm, in your family – who claim to be true Sox fans but couldn’t pick Todd Benzinger or Dewey Evans out of a police lineup. I’m going to create a nationwide competency test to weed out these bandwagon jerks.

Eighth, I spent the last four years in California learning about political leadership from the great Arnold Schwarzenegger – with that kind of training, I’m going to be unstoppable.

Ninth, I have not one, not two but THREE friends named Sully. That has to count for something.

And tenth, I’m going to use my presidential powers to get more free stuff for kids – free Red Sox Nation memberships, free tickets, free stuff from the Pro Shop and everything else. Vote for Simmons or you’re basically admitting that you don’t care about kids.

You think the line about Remy being a chainsmoker might’ve ticked Jerry just off a little? Jerry remarked about Simmons “ripping” his health and “ripping Mike O’Malley.” In any event, I think Remy knew exactly who Simmons was, and was likely playing the whole thing up a bit, perhaps under orders from above to generate some publicity for the contest. (Such as this post. I now hate myself.)

But as you can see from the above, the “application” was clearly tongue-in-cheek.

Simmons told me that he was asked to run, but that actually plans on “bowing out” of the process, as he didn’t know that Peter Gammons was also running, and he is throwing his support behind Gammons as he feels that he is the “logical choice” for the position.

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