Hope Springs Eternal For Sox

Mike Fish of ESPN.com report that Sen. Arlen “single bullet” Specter wasn’t satisfied with what he heard from the NFL about Spygate and will continue his investigation.

Gordon Edes assesses the Red Sox at the start of spring training, with comments from Theo Epstein and Terry Francona. Amalie Benjamin and Steve Buckley have Jonathan Papelbon holding court at the start of spring training, showing both his comical and serious side. Dan Shaughnessy says that Theo Epstein has the look of a winner, and has matured into Bill Belichick without the hoodie.

Rob Bradford has Theo Epstein talking about Curt Schilling and the path ahead of him as he attempts to rehab his shoulder and pitch his final season in baseball. Sean McAdam has Schilling as just about the only variable for the Sox as they head into camp. Jeff Goldberg says that the Red Sox and Schilling are now working together on getting him healthy. Maureen Mullen says that the team is unlikely to go outside the organization to replace Schilling in the rotation to start the season.

Buckley has Epstein talking about not being willing to overspend this offseason and the resulting lack of moves by the club. Bradford has a look at how the training drills are Brad Mills’ time of year.

Edes and Benjamin report on Doctor Arthur Pappas being interviewed about Roger Clemens for the committee conducting the steroid hearings. Bill Burt declares that it is easy to tell that Brian McNamee is the one telling the truth. Jim Donaldson wasn’t amused by the Clemens hearing.

Bradford’s notebook has the Red Sox centerfield position up in the air as spring training begins. Goldberg’s notebook has Papelbon no longer insisting that his dog ate the World Series ball.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett hands out a midseason report card for the Celtics, an assessment loaded with “A’s” and “B’s.” Peter May notes how much things have changed in a year for the Celtics. Robert Lee has the Celtics looking to heal up during the break. Lenny Megliola says that we knew the Celtics would be better, but we didn’t know they’d be this good. Mark Murphy has a quick note stating that it is a Bruised knee that was suffered by Glen Davis on Wednesday night.

Marc J. Spears has a feature on the struggles of the Hornets in New Orleans, as the city continues to rebuild. Mark Murphy has the Celtics headed to New Orleans glad to do what they can to help the city. Jim Fenton looks at big doings in the big easy for the Celtics this year.

Bruins/Patriots

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris has injured Bruins star Patrice Bergeron getting through some light workouts this week, and not closing the door on a return this season. Harris’ notebook has an injury update on Aaron Ward.

Christopher L. Gasper looks at the possibility that the Patriots could try to strike a deal with Asante Samuel before the start of free agency.

Media

David Scott says that Entercom really had no choice but to put Dale Arnold in the booth for most of the Red Sox games that Dave O’Brien will miss this season, it made the most sense for them.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at NESN’s plans for Spring Training.

In New York Newsday, Neil Best has a look at the history of the role of sports media columnist at his paper.

In the Daily NewsBob Raissman says that Suzyn Waldman finds herself in a sticky situation with the Roger Clemens steroid story.

Phil Mushnick targets major league baseball to lead off his Friday column as well. (Yes, he hates everyone.)

The Five Worst Media Blogs in Boston

Boston has certainly entered the blog age in full force. Everywhere you turn there is a traditional media outlet trying to to enter the digital age by putting out a new blog, with a media member trying to latch onto this new form of information distribution.

We’ve got some of the best MSM (MainStream Media) sports blogs in the country here, led by Reiss’ Pieces – Mike Reiss’ creation sets the standard for all sports blogs. It’s constantly updated, and always informative. Rob Bradford’s Bradford Files isn’t updated quite as much, but he’s put some tremendous material in there over the years. There are many others which provide steady information flow which attracts both website visitors and RSS subscribers.

Some blogs however, haven’t been executed quite so successfully. Here’s some of the worst blogs we’ve come across that are run by media outlets or media members…

5) The Boston Herald’s Celtics Insider.

Big fan of Steve Bulpett at this address. Unfortunately, the blog is pretty weak. It can go days without being updated, and usually the updates are no more than just a couple of lines. It seems like the blog is an afterthought, and only exists so that the Herald can say they have a blog for the team.

4) The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune’s Burt Talks Sports

Burt does try to be regular with his updates, brief as some of them are. The posts are simple, usually based on a question, trying to engage the commenters. The hard returns after each sentence are a little weird. At least the E-T seems to have finally given up the Bradfordonbaseball.com forwarding, for the longest time that address, which was the original Rob Bradford blog on the E-T was kept by the paper and forward traffic to Burt’s blog.

3) Back and Forth with Ron Borgesby Former Globe Football writer Ron Borges.

Had hate on this one just out of principle. It’s actually not that horrible, but it’s not so much a blog, as it is a place for Borges to file columns that he can’t get published in the Globe any more. The updates could be a bit more regular, and his “Lockadini” of the week during football season proved that Borges was probably more successful when he had the interns picking for him. In the regular season, Borges ended up 20-32 overall in his picks and by Championship weekend he was 4-6 in the “Lockadini” category.

2) The Patriots Football Weekly Official Blog

Train Wreck. Just read this. Or this. Or even this. I detect some…issues there.

1) Butch Stearns’ NewsroomFOX25 Website.

Wow. I’m not sure what is worse, Stearns’ simpleton posts or the commenters that rush in to agree with him. Today, for instance, he has praise for Dan Burton’s performance on the congressional hearings yesterday, while he says that Stephen Lynch “bored us with medical documents.” So Butchie liked the grandstanding of the former, and the latter was too deep and serious for his liking. Lynch was discussing…you know, facts. Dangerous! He also likes to play the game of stating a unquestioned fact, and then trying to attack it. Sometimes when he’s pressed for time, the “caption contest” is favorite standby. This blog does make great entertainment, not exactly in the ways in which it is intended, but I suppose that has to count for something.

A “best of” list will be forthcoming in the next few days as well.

Celtics Cruise Into Break

Morning links while trying to figure out how I misremembered that my mother-in-law is visiting this weekend…

The Celtics ended the first half of the season with a couple more injuries and another win, their 41st of the season (against only 9 losses) and head into the All Star break before embarking on the traditional February West coast swing. Brian Scalabrine and Glen Davis left the game with injuries last night, but the Celtics built up a big lead and were able to hold off the New York Knicks by a final score of 111-103 at the Garden last night.

Peter May says that both teams played as though they were already in the All Star break. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics limping into the break after sustaining a couple more injuries last night. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics keeping their winning ways alive despite being short-handed once again. Bill Doyle says that the All Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Celtics. Tony Lee has the Celtics taking care of business despite the injuries.

Frank Dell’Apa has Knicks coach Isiah Thomas getting ejected last night, just as his team was starting to rally. Jeff Horrigan has Doc Rivers giving Ray Allen the news of his All Star selection at halftime last night. Jeff Howe has the Celtics bench taking control of the game when they come in. In his media column, Doyle has TNT analyst Doug Collins saying that the Spurs are still the team to beat in the NBA, citing the Celtics lack of experience as a factor.

May’s notebook has Ray Allen getting the call to go to New Orleans as a All Star replacement, filling the spot of Caron Butler. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge not in a rush to make any trades right now. Doyle’s notebook has more on Allen getting the call to New Orleans.

Clemens on the Hill

Bob Hohler has Roger Clemens failing to clear his name yesterday. Tony Massarotti says that a wiser man would’ve cut his losses long ago. No one, however, has ever accused Roger Clemens of being wise. Michael Silverman says that Clemens’ character took a huge hit yesterday. Bill Reynolds has Clemens fighting for his legacy yesterday. Adam Riglian on the newly launched Patriot Ledger site has fans left to wonder about Clemens. ESPN.com has a piece from Wayne Drehs, who has body language expert Janine Driver telling us what Clemens wasn’t saying verbally. The Metro also has a short piece where an expert analyzes Clemens body language and says he showed fear

Dan Shaughnessy says that no one helped themselves with their performances yesterday, and correctly identifies Representative Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana, as the buffoon of the day. Even Gerry Callahan admits that the Republican side looked like total bozos yesterday, with Burton leading the way. Jeff Jacobs says that only Andy Pettitte did what was right in this case. Kevin Gray feels that a quote from Burton sums up the hearings yesterday: “Gee, whiz, are you kidding me?” Hard to disagree.

Jon Couture notes that sleaze lurked around every corner of the hearings yesterday and notes how Jose Canseco suddenly has become a reliable and trustworthy witness for those making the case against Brian McNamee. Couture observes:

And also like McNamee, Canseco is a disgusting character, neck-deep in drugs when the times were good, then telling his tales once the cash was short. Lest we forget, as his affidavit sits on a Congressional pillar, we’re a month removed from the New York Times reporting he tried to blackmail Magglio Ordonez for cash surrounding a film project.

Nick Cafardo visits Yankees camp to see how the events of yesterday and during the rest of this investigation will impact Andy Pettitte.

Rob Bradford has Josh Beckett not concerned about the future, but focused in on this season and getting better. Jeff Goldberg has Hideki Okajima hoping to be a secret weapon for the Red Sox once again. I know you’re all anxious to see what they’re going to be this year, so I put together your Spring training storylines for the Metro.

Bradford’s notebook looks at how the role of the strength and conditioning coach in major league baseball has evolved.

Bruins

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins playing with desperation and getting an “edgy” 2-1 win over the Penguins last night in Pittsburgh. Steve Conroy says that the performance couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bruins.

Dupont’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook each report on Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward having to leave the game after getting hit in the throat by former Bruin Sergei Gonchar.

Patriots/Misc

Bill Burt has Giants defensive backs coach Peter Giunta, a Salem, Mass., native, revealing the game plan that the New York used to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Christopher L. Gasper and John Tomase report on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s meeting with Sen. Arlen Specter yesterday, to explain why the tapes taken from the Patriots were destroyed. Tomase also reports on the Patriots raising ticket prices. (Also reported by Mike Reiss in his blog yesterday afternoon.)

Steroid Hearings Updates

There’s plenty of live coverage of this morning’s hearings by the Committee on Steroids and Baseball taking place today.

You can watch it live on ESPN, NESN and CSN and other channels as well. Online, CSpan is streaming the hearings, though the stream is choppy at times.

Both the Herald’s Clubhouse Insider and Globe’s Extra Bases blogs are providing constant updates on the hearings.

You can also check the Washington Post baseball blog which is covering the hearings.

Clemens claims in his opening statement that he was raised never to take shortcuts, treated Brian McNamee as family – like he does everyone he meets and that if he is guilty of anything, it is “only of being too trusting.”

He ended by saying “Let me be clear – I have never taken steroids or HGH.”

McNamee opened his statement by saying he injected Clemens multiple times with steroids and HGH.

A Cool 40 For Celts

The Celtics pushed their record to 40-9 this season with a 104-97 win over the Pacers in Indiana. Paul Pierce led the way with 28 points and 12 rebounds, while Ray Allen had 23 points, and Leon Powe contributed 16 points and 9 rebounds to the effort.

Marc J. Spears has the Celtics becoming the first team in the NBA to reach the 40 win mark this season, and becoming the third-fastest squad in franchise history to reach the 40 win level. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics came out flat last night, but Pierce and company turned things on to win the game. Mike Fine has a look at Big Baby doing some growing up as of late. Jeff Clark says that the Celtics have finally found a true point guard they can build an offense around in Rajon Rondo.

Spears’ notebook has Ray Allen talking about his chances to be named an All Star replacement with Washington’s Caron Butler missing games with a hip flexor. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics and Knicks gearing up for round three of their often-times ugly battle this season.

Bruins

The B’s fell behind 3-0 early last night, rallied to get within a goal, but couldn’t tie things up as they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes last night 3-2 at the Garden. Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins started this one 50 minutes too late. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are quickly entering crisis mode with their play of late. Rich Garven notes that two goals in 27 seconds by Shawn Thornton couldn’t give the Bruins enough of a lift last night. Douglas Flynn has the Bruins in a bit of a free-fall with the loss.

Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Thornton breaking his scoreless streak with the goals, but wishing they had come in a winning cause. Steve Conroy has more on Thornton and his pair of goals.

Garven’s notebook has the Bruins in a precarious spot, sitting right on the edge of the playoff picture. Harris’ notebook has the Bruins furious at an apparent kick-in goal by the Hurricanes last night. Shinzawa’s notebook has the Hurricanes shaking things up with a trade earlier this week.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti writes that the Red Sox remain a threat to win it all, thanks to the vision of GM Theo Epstein. (You’ll recall back in the day, Massarotti was a harsh critic of Epstein, especially when the young GM first got the gig.) Amalie Benjamin raises the possibility that Julian Tavarez might get the call to replace Curt Schilling in the rotation, rather than just handing the role to Clay Buchholz. Michael Silverman looks at the offseason comings and goings around baseball.

Sleep apnea was the buzzphrase at Fort Myers yesterday, as the baseball blogs reported on Craig Hansen’s offseason surgery to correct this problem. Rob Bradford has the full story on the young reliever, who is hoping that the surgery will allow him to get the rest he needs to be a bigger contributor this season. Gordon Edes has more on Hansen, who claims that before the surgery he snored “like a 500-pound fat man.” Seems redundant to me. Jessica Heslam reports on just what sleep apnea is.

Bradford’s notebook has the Red Sox planning on giving their starters extra rest whenever they can this season.

Bob Hohler says that today is the moment of truth for Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee as they get set to testify in Washington.

Patriots/NFL

Dan Snapp over on Patriots Daily weighs on on petitions circulating from so-called Patriots fans claiming that the team was robbed of the Super Bowl.

Christopher L. Gasper and Karen Guregian (Could the Herald spell her name right, please?) report on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell getting set to meet with Sen. Arlen Specter to discuss the Patriots camera scandals.

David Scott on Scott’s Shots has a look at ESPN requesting YouTube to remove videos of Chris Berman in “unguarded moments” from a number of years ago.

No Place To Hide For (or From) Roger

Roger Clemens steroids talk is now all the rage on sports radio, as Clemens gets ready to testify under oath tomorrow. I hate all this steroid talk and how it has absolutely dominated sports talk radio during morning drive in Boston for going on three years now, but I have to say that I’m going to be looking for a way to watch Clemens go before the committee tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be entertaining.

In other news, today was the first time I actually ventured onto the national web sites since…you know. Not too much out there other than the Clemens stuff.

Chad Finn has some thoughts on Roger Clemens, and a number of other Boston sports items.

Eric Wilbur says that Clemens is apparently dumb enough to believe himself.

Jason Whitlock says that Clemens’ major problem is that he is addicted to having people kiss his butt all the time.

The Storming the Floor blog talks to David Scott about CSTV and BSMW.

Bill Simmons has an NBA All Star edition of the links.

Charley Rosen was impressed with the Celtics on Sunday, particularly on defense.

As for the site, we’re still making some tweaks here and there and moving stuff around. This will likely go on for some time until things “feel” right. If you’re having problems displaying the site, please feel free to email me what browser you’re using, and what issues you’re having.

BC is Cool Beans

The Beanpot leads off the local sports for a Tuesday AM:

John Connolly and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell report on Boston College’s 5-6 OT win over Harvard with take the Beanpot championship. Jeff Howe also reports on the Beanpot win for Boston College.

John Powers says that finishing the job and taking the title was important for the Eagles. Jeff Horrigan has BC freshman defenseman Nick Petrecki, who scored the winning goal, glad that he was able to make up for some earlier mistakes in the game. Jim McCabe has BU beating Northeastern in the consolation game. McCabe has Petrecki glad part of Beanpot lore. Howe remembers the impact of the Blizzard of ’78 in Beanpot history.

Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook has BC forward Brian Gibbons being named MVP. The Herald notebook has more on BU’s win in the early game.

Red Sox

Gerry Callahan says that the fall of Roger Clemens and transformation into Barry Bonds is complete. All that is left is for him to do is lie under oath, which he expects Clemens to do this week. If you’re not a Clemens fan, this is the article for you.

Gordon Edes and Rob Bradford check in with Clay Buchholz, who is in early at spring training, bulked up slightly, and looking forward to another shot in the majors. Lenny Megliola tries to figure out what the last act of Curt Schilling will be.

Tony Massarotti has Terry Francona feeling a little smarter on his second time around after winning a World Series. Massarotti also has a short piece on Francona’s lack of a contract extension and how the Sox would do well to get this addressed prior to the start of the season. Amalie Benjamin has Daisuke Matsuzaka trying to avoid the fatigue that set in during his first season in Boston.

Bradford’s notebook has more on Matsuzaka talking about fatigue.

Celtics/Bruins

Bill Burt says that the Patriots had a nice little run, but now it’s time for the Celtics. He thinks that’s just how you’ve got to look at it. Scott Souza says that the Celtics record is a direct reflection on coach Doc Rivers. Marc J. Spears and Mark Murphy look at the Celtics bench, especially Leon Powe and Glen Davis, which have given the team a big boost in the frontcourt in the absence of Kevin Garnett.

Stephen Harris says that the Bruins just need to get back to winning. Kevin Paul Dupont has a look at the horrific injury to Richard Zednik in Buffalo the other night.

Arnold to Fill In on Red Sox Radio Broadcasts

Entercom Boston announced today that WEEI mid-day host Dale Arnold will be part of the Red Sox radio announcing rotation this season, filling in the majority of games that Dave O’Brien will miss this season due to his ESPN duties. Entercom studio host Jon Rish will fill in during the remaining games.

O’Brien will be greatly increasing his Red Sox duties, calling a minimum of 135 games this season alongside Joe Castiglione, who enters his 26th season of calling Red Sox radio broadcasts. As mentioned, Arnold will fill in for most of the games that O’Brien misses, and likely for any that Castiglione might miss as well, with Rish picking up the rest.

“Dave is an outstanding announcer, and I’m very excited to hear him take on a much larger role on our radio broadcasts this season,” said Jason Wolfe, Entercom Boston Vice President of AM Programming. “When we hired Dave a year ago, I knew that he would make an immediate impact in this marketplace and he’s done that and more. I’m looking forward to working with him for many years to come. He drew rave reviews from Red Sox fans during his first year, and with the additions of Dale and Jon, I’m excited to get the baseball season going.”

Wolfe continued, “I’ve worked with Dale Arnold for nearly 20 years. His professional play by play resume is lengthy, having spent 11 years with the Bruins and 4 with the Patriots. He is a truly professional announcer and will do an excellent job, and Jon Rish is one of our young stars. His addition as host of the pre and post game shows has made a significant difference in the quality of our overall broadcast. I’m very happy to give him this opportunity.”

Arnold said on his WEEI show today that he’ll be going with the team to Japan for the season opener over there, as well as for the first two games of the season in Oakland.

Celtics Clamp Down on Duncan, Spurs

There are still things to finish up here, such as finding a place for all the links that used to fill the left sidebar, (and they will be on the site somewhere) and tweaking some appearance options, (If you have suggestions for the font in the posts let me know) but the BSMW site redesign and move is just about done.

The Celtics made a statement on national TV yesterday, defeating Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs at the T.D. Banknorth Garden – something that Boston hasn’t been able to do since Duncan came into the league. Marc J. Spears calls this one the most impressive victory of the season for the Celtics. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics once again showed their ability to play through adversity, playing without both Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins yesterday. Scott Souza has this one as another statement game for the Celtics, with their defense leaving a mark on the Spurs. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics proved once again that the NBA’s best team is in the East. Tim Weisberg says that this one proves that the Celtics are championship material. Jeff Howe has the Celtics getting the job done without Garnett once again.

Peter May says that the Spurs must’ve felt like they were playing against themselves at times yesterday. Jeff Horrigan examines the defense that the Celtics coaching staff cooked up to slow down Tim Duncan. Lenny Megliola says that the Celtics certainly showed resiliency yesterday, but Celtics fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves and picture yesterday as a preview of the 2008 NBA Finals. Horrigan has Rajon Rondo earning praise from the Spurs, while playing very much like their own Tony Parker. Kevin Gray’ has NH’s Matt Bonner not getting a chance to play in this one for the Spurs. Mike Fine has a look at NBA referee Bob Delaney’s former life as an undercover officer infiltrating the mob.

While it was great to have the Celtics on national television yesterday, ABC’s play-by-play man Mike Breen referred to Brian Scalabrine at least three times as a “fan favorite” here in Boston. If anything, Scalabrine has been a fan whipping boy during this time here with the Celtics, and certainly ranks lower than many of his teammates on the popularity scale in the Garden. Jeff Van Gundy was also highly critical of Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who then went out and piled up 11 rebounds and 12 assists on the afternoon, which apparently didn’t convince the former Knicks and Rockets coach, as he stated toward the end of the game that the Celtics still needed a veteran starting point guard in order to go deep in the playoffs. Van Gundy had praise for Doc Rivers, however, tabbing him as one of the best in the league coming out of timeouts with a specific play to run.

Spears’ notebook and Bulpett’s notebook each lead with the news that Kevin Garnett is officially out of next weekend’s All Star game, and has been replaced on that roster with Rasheed Wallace. They also both report on Perkins’ strained left shoulder. Doyle’s notebook has Garnett likely sitting out until after the All Star game for the Celtics. Weisberg’s notebook has more on Garnett, and also on rookie Glen Davis, who was huge in his defense of Duncan yesterday.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes reports this morning that Curt Schilling’s contract for 2008 with the Red Sox is not insured by the club, meaning they are on the hook for the full amount should Schilling only pitch briefly during the season, or even if he retires. Tony Massarotti strings together the preseason favorite – nine questions facing the Red Sox going into Spring Training. Rob Bradford has Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima taking the field yesterday as two of the earliest arrivals among the Red Sox.

Amalie Benjamin has Kevin Youkilis getting a nice raise for 2008, getting a bump to $3 million, up from the $424,500 he earned last season. Bradford has more on Youkilis and the Sox avoiding a salary arbitration hearing with the agreement. Bob Halloran says that Roger Clemens should make this an interesting week.

Bruins/Misc

Kevin Paul Dupont has Manny Fernandez making strides towards a return in net for the Bruins this season. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are better off holding onto their young players and not making a rash trade before the deadline to try and get a quick fix this season. Mick Colageo says that we shouldn’t count the Bruins in for more than a minor deal prior to the deadline.

Pat Bigold has the Patriots Pro-Bowlers getting a rough welcome in Hawaii yesterday. Karen Guregian has the signs pointing towards a return for Rodney Harrison to the Patriots in 2008.

The Beanpot Final is tonight with Boston College taking on Harvard. Jim McCabe has a look at BC’s Benn Ferriero, while John Connolly has a look at his teammate, Anthony Aiello. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Harvard looking for the upset, and Connolly has both the Crimson and Eagles seeking their shot at Beanpot glory. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook has Harvard goalie Kyle Richter as the possible X-factor tonight.

The Globe “Names” column has Carol Beggy and Mark Shanahan reporting on Manny Ramirez offering one of his classic cars up for auction to benefit the Franciscan Hospital for Children, and also has Bob Cousy excited at a new sneaker deal and offering his thoughts on the current Celtics.

David Scott has a Tina Cervasio sighting and a few other notes on the new-look (and new address) Scott’s Shots.

Update In Progress

As you can see, the update is well underway. We’re now on the new server. While the basic design is here, and the old posts have been imported, there are still many elements that need to be configured and fixed.

What you see this weekend is not the finished product.  I encourage you to keep checking back to see the progress being made.