Whiteside Elected to Hall

A few more links for the afternoon:

Nick Cafardo has the late Globe baseball writer Larry Whiteside being elected as the winner of the J.G. Spink Award, meaning that Whiteside will be inducted in the baseball Hall of Fame.

Eric McHugh has his version of the Patriots Report card.

Michael Hiestand examines a new NBA edict that will require head coaches to wear microphones and do interviews during nationally televised games. Some coaches aren’t happy with this arrangement.

Neil Best goes after WFAN for reaction to the death of Sean Taylor. Many of the same things were said locally on WEEI.

Richard Sandomir has another piece on the NFL Network situation.

Pete Prisco says that the Patriots aren’t as good as we thought they were.

Curt Schilling weighs in on the proposed Johan Santana trade.

Bill Simmons looks at why every single Knick fan might go off the deep end before the holidays are over. Chris Mannix says that the Knicks are spending too much time watching the media coverage of their team.

Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Devils
7:00pm, CSN – Celtics @ 76ers
7:00pm, ESPN – Georgetown vs. Alabama
7:30pm, ESPN2 – Syracuse @ Virginia
9:00pm, ESPN – Lakers @ Denver
9:30pm, ESPN2 – West Virginia vs Auburn

Morning Quickie

A few quick links this morning as we await the end of the Johan Santana saga, we’ll try to have more later on…

Patriots Daily serves up another edition of Niner Watch.

Mark Farinella realizes that the ex-jocks in the media are the ones who are the toughest on the Patriots. He argues that for the most part, the “ex-jock” label gives too many people a form of instant credibility that may not be deserved.”

John Tomase tells us that Conspiracy-gate is laughable.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card. Ian M. Clark has his own grading system in his report card.

Christopher L. Gasper says that the Patriots winning drive was “equal parts luck and pluck.”

Bruce Mohl, the ticket guy, looks at the NFL embracing ticket reselling, and what that could mean for the Patriots.

Mike Fine says that Johan Santana is worth trading Jacoby Ellsbury for.

Lenny Megliola has a look at the busy and remarkable life of M.L. Carr.

After tutoring the likes of Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson to becoming big-time post players, Clifford Ray has a new project: Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Peter May has a look at the work the big men are doing together.

Exhale…exhale…

Bob Ryan looks at the reality that is the fact that the Patriots are vulnerable.

Gregg Easterbrook tells us that “the widespread belief — regardless whether this belief is grounded in fact — is that the league wants the Patriots to finish undefeated.” Prior to that, he went through the calls in the late stages of the Baltimore game, and agreed with most of them. No contradiction there.

So the league wants the Patriots – whom the entire rest of the country hates, or so Tony Kornheiser tells us, and who were punished for breaking league rules at the start of the season, to go undefeated, and is actually helping them by means of the officials.

Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said following the game: “Everybody is kind of cheering for them to go undefeated and break all the records.”

I’m really confused. Does the whole country hate the Patriots, or is “everyone” cheering for them to go undefeated?

Peter King goes over the fourth quarter calls one-by-one and says none of the calls helped the Patriots unfairly. He’s also dead set again including Jacoby Ellsbury in any trade for Johan Santana.

Len Pasquarelli examines an incredible sequence of events that allowed the Patriots to escape with the win.

Tom Curran tells us that the Patriots were both lucky and good yesterday.

Adam Schein thinks that the Steelers will be the ones to beat the Patriots and prevent a 16-0 season.

Glenn Dickey tells us that history isn’t going to hold spygate or poor alleged poor sportsmanship against these Patriots.

Tonight’s edition of Costas Now (HBO, 10:00pm) wraps up the year in sports, and has David Ortiz talking about prank pulled on him.

Fantastic Finish

The Patriots needed every one of the 60 minutes on the clock last night to come back and defeat the charged up Baltimore Ravens last night. Tom Brady found Jabar Gaffney in the end zone with 44 second left to give the Patriots a 27-24 victory, and preserving their perfect record.

Christopher L. Gasper says that the Ravens handed the Patriots this victory with their penchant for penalties. Mark Farinella says that the perfect season should have come to an end last night. Karen Guregian has Tom Brady stepping up down the stretch to keep the game alive for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has the Ravens hot heads and a timely (for the Patriots) timeout call by Baltimore giving the Patriots the escape. David Heuschkel has the Patriots staying unbeaten thanks to a bizarre series of events. Rich Garven has the Patriots taking another opponent’s best shot.

On Patriots Daily, Scott Benson observes that the Kings still aren’t dead this morning. Christopher Price checks in with 10 Things We Learned Last Night. Dan Shaughnessy says that the Patriots were just plain lucky. And clutch. Michael Felger says that the Patriots were a little soft last night, as they were pushed around by the Ravens all night long. Jim Donaldson says that at least this Roller coaster ride had a happy ending for the Patriots. Ian M. Clark has the Patriots closing in on home field advantage.

Mike Reiss tries to figure out why the Colvin-less defense allowed Willis McGahee to run all over them the entire night. Donaldson also looks at the Patriots defense, which showed it’s problems once again. Gregory Lee Jr. has the Patriots leaving a lot of plays out there on offense as well. Heuschkel has a look at the Winning Catch from Gaffney. Garven has Laurence Maroney playing a larger role in the offense last night, including a couple of big catches and long runs.

Tony Massarotti has the Patriots able to make the clutch plays, while the Ravens were shooting themselves in the foot. Reiss and Jim Rodenbush have the Ravens placing the blame for the loss on the officials, claiming that the refs gave the game to the Patriots. Jeff Seidel also has the Ravens angry at the refs. Jim Donaldson has the Ravens blaming the officials, rather than themselves, for the loss. He also writes that the Ravens showed that they were no no laughingstock.

Frank Dell’Apa has a piece on Jabar Gaffney that was written prior to the game, as there is no mention of the game winning touchdown catch. Tomase tabs the Gaffney TD as the Play of the game from last night. Robert Lee puts together the postgame analysis in the ProJo. Massarotti puts together the best & the worst from the game. Young has Rodney Harrison getting some kisses from Brian Billick. Heuschkel’s Patriots Sidelines report has more analysis. Donaldson looks at a “good” false-start penalty for the Patriots.

The Globe notebook has Randy Moss thankful for Tom Brady’s defense last week, and has Tony Dungy talking about his “frosty” handshakes with Bill Belichick. Farinella’s notebook has Belichick talking about growing up around Baltimore. Guregian’s notebook has more from Moss on Brady.

The ESPN broadcast last night was uncomfortable, especially from the standpoint of a Patriots fans. Now, Patriots fans realize that the rest of the country hates this team, and accept that fact. However, with the broadcast crew (especially Tony Kornheiser) openly rooting for the Ravens to win at times, it resulted in the sound being turned off at more than one point during the game. Bringing Don Shula into the booth in the third quarter only seemed to cement the broadcast in favor of a Patriots loss.

The opening bit by Kornheiser on Belichick was simply disgraceful. In another arena, it might’ve been considered slander. While meant to be biting, but a little tongue-in-cheek, Kornheiser delivered his harangue against the Patriots coach with a surprising bitterness.

Did we get any real mention of how pathetically bad losers the Ravens were? Bart Scott completely lost his mind after the Gaffney touchdown, throwing the officials flag into the stands, and having to be held back from going after the official, it was termed a “meltdown” and not criticized beyond that. While I’m not going to doubt the sincerity of Ray Lewis’ feelings for fallen Redskins safety Sean Taylor, I’m curious as to why the ESPN crew only showed the Baltimore side of the Miami connection to Taylor. The Patriots’ Vince Wilfork, unlike Lewis, actually played with Taylor at Miami, and you got very few shots of him throughout the night. Rookie safety Brandon Meriweather also played with Taylor at Miami.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin report that the Red Sox and Twins were exchanging medical information on Jon Lester and Johan Santana – an indication that a deal could be close. Joe Haggerty claims that the talks took a decided turn in the Yankees favor last night. Rob Bradford has the Red Sox taking things easy as the Yankees self-imposed deadline passes. Sean McAdam says that the price for Santana could get too hot for the Red Sox.

Tom Caron says that Red Sox fans can rest easy – Theo Epstein is always in control. Michael Silverman looks at the Santana sweepstakes as just another arms race between the Red Sox and Yankees.

The Globe notebook has Curt Schilling in favor of a Santana trade. Bradford also reports on the Francona Rule – no more pullovers in the dugout.

Celtics

Be sure to head on over to the BSMW Full Court Press, where Kevin Henkin has part one of A Celtics Blogger Christmas Carol.

Steve Bulpett has Rajon Rondo getting more comfortable and confident out on the floor leading the Celtics offense. Peter May examines the Celtics “astonishingly” good defense, especially at home, which is a big reason for their 14-2 record thus far. Scott Souza has the Celtics giving themselves a little room for error with their fast start. Jeff Howe looks at a historic start to the season for the Celtics. May’s notebook has the Celtics returning Gabe Pruitt to the NBADL.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have the Bruins skating to a 3-1 win over the Islanders, the first win on Long Island for the Bruins since 2001.

Harris’ notebook and Shinzawa’s notebook each look at the welcome return of rookie Milan Lucic to the Bruins lineup.

Patriots Set For Yet Another Prime Time Tilt

The Celtics had a rare 12:30 start yesterday at the Garden, and the early hour showed as they played a “low energy” game, but had enough to take a 80-70 win.

Marc J. Spears has the sluggish Celtics having enough to take down the LeBron-less Cavs at the Garden yesterday afternoon. Mark Murphy has James Posey attempting to give his teammates a wake-up call yesterday. Scott Souza has the Celtics turning to defense to deliver this win. Bill Doyle notes that while the Cavs played without LeBron, the Celtics played without their jumpers. Jeff Howe has more on the win for the Celtics.

With the Celtics a perfect 9-0 at home, Steve Bulpett notes that the Garden is once again a happy place to watch basketball. Peter May tries to figure out why this game had to be played at 12:30, when there was nothing else scheduled at the Garden later in the day. (Bill Doyle has the answer in his column above.) Jeff Horrigan has the Celtics needing to dig deep yesterday as neither Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce managed double-figures.

Lenny Megliola has a look at an active afternoon for “Big Baby” Davis. Tim Weisberg also looks at the impact that the large rookie is having for the Celtics. Jeff Horrigan has Ray Allen still trying to get his outside touch back on track. Souza notes that the Celtics are now in NBA’s sights, as they are a target of whomever they play.

Spears’ notebook has rookie Glen Davis providing a much-needed spark for the Celtics yesterday. Murphy’s notebook has more on “Big Baby” making his presence felt yesterday. Doyle’s notebook has Big Baby as the personality of the team.

Patriots

The Patriots play yet another prime-time game this evening as they are in Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Over on Patriots Daily, the gang has a roundtable discussion as well as a look back at the action from yesterday.

Jim McCabe offers up a game day feature on Patriots receiver Wes Welker and his refusal to quit. (How come we didn’t learn about where he finished in his class though?) Shalise Manza Young has a look at Adalius Thomas, who says a car crash when he was 14 helped make him who he is today.

Christopher L. Gasper says that the Patriots are going to get the Ravens’ best shot tonight. John Tomase says that the Eagles’ “Blueprint” won’t be of any help to the offensively challenged Ravens tonight. David Heuschkel has the Ravens hoping to finish the job that the Eagles started. Douglas Flynn also looks ahead to tonight. Mark Farinella has a look at the coaches tonight, who are pretty much opposites in everything, but share admiration for Randy Moss and Ed Reed. Christopher Price has the Patriots living in prime time this season.

Jim McBride has a Patriots/Ravens scouting report for tonight. Tomase offers up Five things to keep an eye on for tonight. Jim Donaldson looks at the remaining schedule and figures there are only two tests remaining for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has the Patriots primed for action on Monday Night Football. Rich Garven says that Baltimore might still be a tough place to play, but the Patriots should still win. David Brown speculates on some of the shuffling we might see from the Patriots defense tonight.

Gasper’s notebook has the Patriots less than enthusiastic about playing a third straight night game. Karen Guregian’s notebook has a look at the Ravens’ still-solid defense.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin have Hank Steinbrenner showing that he has a lot of his old man in him, as he blusters his way through trade talks for Minnesota ace Johan Santana. The Red Sox are also willing now to include Jacoby Ellsbury in a deal, but not along with Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz. Michael Silverman has more from Hank, while the Red Sox remain quiet publicly. Sean McAdam also looks at Ellsbury being included in the latest trade offer.

Joe Haggerty has a look at the start of the winter meetings. Mike Fine says that Theo Epstein has more than just Santana on his mind at these meetings.

Bruins/BC

Stephen Harris has the Bruins looking to bounce back from a lackluster performance against the Lightning. Fluto Shinzawa has Jeremy Reich grinding his way towards a regular shift for the Bruins.

Bob Ryan has Boston College trying to console themselves with their 10 win season after their ACC title game loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday. Steve Conroy and Mark Blaudschun have the Eagles heading to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando on Dec 28th against Michigan State.

Passing Up The Oranges

After taking an early 10-0 lead yesterday in Jacksonville against the No. 6 Hokies of Virginia Tech, No. 11 Boston College went on to lose the ACC Championship, 30-16, and a trip to the Orange Bowl in the process. The complexion of this game may have been radically different if not for blocks of two first-half BC kick attempts – a 32-yard field goal and an extra point returned for a two-point conversion by the Hokies – that resulted in an unfavorable six-point swing. Despite holding the ball for 70% of the first half and gaining 14 more first downs than the Hokies at one point, the Eagles went to the locker room tied, but not before Coach Jagodzinski threw long snapper Mike McLaughlin under the bus in front of a national television audience on his way. Oucccch!

An eye for an eye. That’s how Steve Conroy sums up Virginia Tech’s theft of this one in a reversal of the Eagles’ last-minute victory in Blacksburg earlier this season. Bob Ryan prefers to think of it as a market correction.

Steve Buckley has the Eagles as Boston’s quintessential under-achievers who missed an opportunity to alter their image with an Orange Bowl appearance. Mark Blaudschun has the Eagles dissappointed with what could have been.

Michael Vega recalls previous games in which the Matt Ryan Magic came up short. Buckley talks with senior safety Jamie Silva, who was involved with seemingly every play on the field, not to mention every pan of ABC’s cameras. Conroy’s notebook says that BC’s poor traveling reputation may well land them in the Champs Bowl in Orlando.

UMass Minutemen

In the other big collegiate gridiron contest of local interest yesterday, No. 7 Massachusetts fell to No. 4 Southern Illinois, 34-27, in their Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal matchup. From our western-most reaches, Mike Marzelli says it was a matter of too little, too late for the Minutemen.

Bruins

With B.C. Eagles action on hold until the New Year, the decreased supply may vault the Bruins back into the limelight. If so, yesterday’s 4-1 loss in Tampa Bay is an inauspicious start. Fluto Shinzawa has the Lightning’s Vincent Lecavalier a one-man wrecking ball, figuring in on all four Tampa Bay goals. Stephen Harris grades the B’s effort last night as an ‘L’ in more ways than one.

Sinzawa recounts the infusion of energy from Providence. Harris also admires the efforts of the Nokelainen line in a losing effort.

Patriots

One of the costs of fame is never seeing your team play on Sunday afternoons. As the Patriots sleep in late at a hotel overlooking the Inner Harbor, head on over to Patriots Daily for your complete Sunday Links.

Red Sox

When no news is news, you know this is still a baseball town. In true Seinfeld fashion, Michael Silverman reports nothing to report on the potential acquisition of Johan Santana, but does offer a nice rundown of other Red Sox transactions consummated yesterday. However, Sean McAdam says a deal could be struck before winter meetings begin on Monday.

News out of The Empire has the Twins less than wowed by the Yankees’ inclusion of Philip Hughes in a deal for Santana. When Hughes’ inclusion was announced, many in Red Sox Nation – including myself – justifiably thought that was in addition to Ian Kennedy, but not so say the Yankees, bringing arrogance to a new level in the process. And, while Epstein & Co. remain calm and collected, Don Amore has the Bombers in a full press panic for Santana’s services. Silverman compares the Santana sweepstakes to a similar battle for Pedro Martinez a decade earlier. Look how that changed the dynamic between Boston and New York.

Nick Carfado gives us a rundown of what to expect in Nashville, while Gordon Edes recounts some winters of past contentment.

Odds and Sods

Thirteen high school football champions were crowned throughout the Bay State yesterday. Here are the results for the seven Eastern Massachusetts and six Central / Western Massachusets Super Bowls. Congrats to all, both winners and losers.

Now that arrests have been made, Shalise Manza Young says there may have been a rush to judgment concerning Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s past in some way contributing to his murder.

And just when we thought there wasn’t anyone more deserving of The Nation’s contempt than George Steinbrenner, Bill Madden introduces us to young Hank.

As always, send your thoughts and comments to me at [email protected]

ESPN Covers All The Bases

Seems like ESPN had been a little confused about whether Les Miles would be leaving LSU to become the head coach at Michigan (which he has said in the past would be his dream job) or if he would be staying with the Tigers, who are currently ranked 7th in the country in the BCS standings.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit had reported this morning that “barring unforseen events” Miles would be leaving LSU to join Michigan. He also added the detail that Georgia Tech defensive coordinator John Tenuta would be joining him with the Wolverines.

Later in the morning, it was announced that LSU and Miles had agreed to a contract extension to remain at the school.

The fact that Herbstreit got bad information was embarrassing enough, but understandable. These things happen, and things can change rather quickly. (Could it be that a Michigan guy fed Herbstreit – an Ohio State guy – bad information on purpose?) What is worse is that for a time this afternoon, ESPN.com actually was showing both stories on their front page:

espnmiles2.jpg

The page was updated pretty quickly, but still leaves the network with some egg on their faces. Or maybe this is just a new source of journalism. It could’ve worked here in Boston. This week we could’ve had headlines like “Source – Red Sox favorites to land Santana” and “Report – Yankees leading Santana sweepstakes.”

Just another example of the “instant update” world in which we live. A news outlet can be reporting two different things at the exact same time.