Most wonderful time of the year

Afternoon links provided by RJ. E-mail him at [email protected]

OK, I know the headline is usually something people starting singing in late November, but you gotta admit Boston has not felt this much pride in its sports teams since … well, never!

We’ll start with the obvious. The Red Sox find themselves just two wins away from their second World Series title in the last four years. Pitcher Josh Beckett is without a doubt the best in the game and is showing the rest of the baseball world he kicks into another gear come playoff time. Curt Schilling is trying to make it hard for Theo and Co. to let him walk away after another strong outing a in Game 2. Jonathan “Dance Fever” Papelbon looks like he’s stronger now than at any point of the regular season. And best of all, the Sox offense isn’t relying on Big Papi or Manny. I predicted a Sox win in six, but now I think Fenway is closed for good in ’07.

On the gridiron, Tom Brady and the Patriots seem more focused, determined and talented than in any of their three Super Bowl-winning seasons. They’re on track to set the mark for most points scored in a season, Brady could demolish Peyton Manning’s TD mark and an undefeated season isn’t out of the question.

Staying on the gridiron, two-thumbs up for BC and QB Matt Ryan for a thrilling comeback against Virginia Tech, even if only a handful of people watched since it was up against the Sox and Rocks. Ryan could join Doug Flutie as Heismann winners and a BCS championship berth is in BC’s hands.
Over to the rink, it was nice to see Bruins captain Zdeno Chara drop the gloves and drop an opponent during their win over a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. Photo of the year, in case you missed it, was of two guys sitting in the Garden, all alone in one section. Just classic. Bruins are 6-3 on the young season and hoping draw the fans in once baseball is over.

It’s just crazy being a Boston fan these days, and I like it that way!

On to the links:

Boston Globe

Red Sox

Bob Ryan says the decision whether to play David Ortiz is trickier this year than in ’04. Dan Shaughnessy discusses how a new legion of Red Sox fans don’t understand the team’s past misery. Jackie MacMullan says the Sox success is overshadowing everything else sports-related in Boston. Gordon Edes writes that Daisuke Matsuzaka has eyed the World Series trophy since his first meeting with the Red Sox brass. Amalie Benjamin says J.D. Drew’s regular-season struggles have become a distant memory. Colin Nickerson writes the thin air of Coors Field may give the Sox problems.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper says lineman Nick Kaczur’s play has helped set the tone for the offense. Gasper also says cornerback Asante Samuel is still playing at the same level he was at last year.

Boston Herald

Red Sox

Jeff Horrigan says Dice-K and the Sox seek a Mile High clubbing. Tony Massarotti writes because Josh Beckett is slated to pitch Game 5, Games 3 and 4 become must wins for the Rockies. Steve Buckley discusses how Dice-K and Jon Lester are ready for their chance to shine on the big stage. Horrigan writes about Terry Francona’s decision to sit Kevin Youkilis for Game 3, and possibly 4 and 5. Rob Bradford says patience at the plate is paying off for the Sox offense. Michael Silverman says playing at Coors Field can be a sobering experience. Alex Speier says Game 3 will be a “family” reunion for Sox pitching coach John Farrell and the Holliday family.

Patriots

Karen Guregian says there’s a spot on the defensive line waiting for Richard Seymour, if he’s ready. Guregian also writes how Donte Stallworth is most dangerous after the catch.

Providence Journal

Red Sox

Daniel Barbarisi writes how Red Sox Nation has migrated West. The ProJo has a nice graphic on Coors Field, with it’s dimensions compared to Fenway. Joe McDonald says Lester’s special season could end on the highest of notes. Sean McAdam says Tim Wakefield is showing what being a good teammate is all about.

Patriots

Rob Lee says cornerback Eddie Jackson is ready to make a name for himself. Lee also writes how three-time Super Bowl winners Bill Belichick and Joe Gibbs are set to clash.

Celtics and Bruins

Click here for all your coverage for the C’s and B’s.

Enjoy the weekend.

Friday Afternoon Links

A few media and housekeeping notes to wrap up the week.

We’re planning on posts both days this weekend, the Saturday post will likely be up around 2:00pm. It’s a another big weekend for Boston sports, and we’ll try to get as many links and stories to you as possible.

Patriots Daily will have College Scout tomorrow, followed by The Sunday Links. Since it is a home game on Sunday, they’ve also got posted the Patriots Buffet Table with food and drink suggestions for the game.

Michael Hiestand has a look at the NFL coming to Europe with the Dolphins/Giants game this Sunday. He also has ESPN/ABC shuffling up their NBA announcing crews.

Ed Sherman looks at Rick Reilly and Dan Patrick essentially switching places this week with Reilly heading to ESPN and Patrick to Sports Illustrated. Michael David Smith tells us who came out ahead in this “trade.”

Richard Sandomir has Taco Bell managing to bring sponsorship integration to new levels in this World Series.

John Maffei has Southern California sportscasters shedding the sports desk to go out and help report on the wildfires.

Michael Silver, previews the weekend’s NFL action, and tells us why London should be awarded a Super Bowl.

Tom Curran looks at the Adalius Thomas/Ray Lewis spat this week, and has a bunch of Joe Gibbs stuff heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Patriots.

Bill Simmons has a mailbag and his weekend NFL picks.

Dan Wetzel says that the Rockies are being outsmarted by the Red Sox in this World Series, pointing to the Matt Holliday pickoff at first from last night.

Meanwhile, here is the Countdown Daily for today from ESPN. (Can you tell I love these ESPN videos?)

Sox Take Game Two, BC Stages Amazing Comeback

In stark contrast to game one, game two of the World Series was a pitching duel, as the Red Sox squeezed out a 2-1 victory behind 5 1/3 innings from Curt Schilling, 2 1/3 innings from Hideki Okajima and 1 1/3 innings from Jonathan Papelbon.

Get your stories and coverage this morning from RedSoxLinks.com.

David Scott was at Fenway for game two, and passes along some observations and some media tidbits from the week.

With the Patriots scoring over 40 points in the first half against Miami, on Patriots Daily, Bill Barnwell examines some interesting scoring and possession trends in the NFL. Check back this afternoon for our weekly roundtable discussion.

The Celtics made a couple of cuts yesterday, waiving guards Dahntay Jones and Jackie Manuel while keeping rookie forward Brandon Wallace, who might be headed to the Development League. Check out the Celtics news at CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins scored a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks at TD Banknorth Garden, improving to 6-3 on the season. Check the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Boston College scored a huge win last night. They were behind and beaten up for much of their game on the road against Virginia Tech, but some late fourth quarter magic from Matt Ryan and a recovered onsides kick gave the #2 ranked Eagles a 14-10 win.

Check out the highlights from this one:

And some commentary from the announcing crew: