Celtics Look Bad in Game Four, Series Tied 2-2

Well, I had a full post almost ready to go this morning, but darn it, the save button wasn’t my friend this morning.

As an update, today will be the final day of the BSMW Memorial Day Mystery Sale. There’s still plenty of good stuff to fill 15 or so more boxes with stuff. Most of the boxes will contain more than one item. So as a reminder, here’s how it goes – if you donate $50 or more to the site, you will receive a box of stuff…it could have books, videos, shirts, or some other item. Most of the items are Boston sports related, but there is some other stuff in there.

The Celtics dropped game four in ugly fashion last night in Detroit. The Pistons jumped out to a early lead and never looked back, leading wire-to wire in this one. Since I lost my original post with all the links, I’ll try to bring you some of the top stories from the morning papers. Check the full links at CelticsLinks.com

Mike Fine has the Pistons evening the series at 2-2 with a smothering brand of defense right from the start. Rob Duca has the Celtics unable to take advantage of a generous night from the officials.

Antonio McDyess killed the Celtics last night, with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics erred not only in leaving his open the entire night, but also by not trying to get him out of the game after he picked up three fouls in the first half. Dan Shaughnessy says that if the Pistons come to play, the Celtics are in trouble.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics owners did not get their money’s worth out of the big three last night. For NBA history buffs, Ryan also provides 22 things you might not know about the Pistons franchise. Bulpett has a look at the bad boys in the stands in Detroit.

Mark Murphy’s notebook has Kevin Garnett disappointed in the Celtics defense. Kevin McNamara’s notebook looks at the quest for the ring among the players. Bill Doyle’s notebook has Sam Cassell struggling with his role with the Celtics.

The Red Sox finally won a road game, beating the Mariners 5-3 in Seattle. Check the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

BSMW Memorial Day Weekend Mystery Sale

Edit: For the latest links on Celtics/Pistons check the post below this one.  For an update on the Mystery Sale, we’ve sold exactly 25 35 of the 50 available slots. We’ll keep this running today and through the weekend…thank you again for your support!

It’s a really busy time here in the BSMW household. We’re getting ready to move sometime in the next couple of weeks, and also preparing for the birth of our first child in just over a month. Things are pretty overwhelming in a number of ways right now.

I’ve found that in the last five years or so, I’ve accumulated a ton of books, videos and even shirts related to sports and specifically Boston sports that various entities have sent me to review or look at. The wife tells me there will be no room for a lot of this stuff at the new residence.

So I’ve come up with the following.. I’m a big fan of the site Woot.com, which occasionally runs a promotion called the “Random Bag of Crap” where you have no idea what you’re buying, and could end up with anything. I’m going to take this idea and use it here, as sort of a combination fund drive/clearinghouse.

The first 50 people to donate $50 or more to the site will receive a box of something. It might be worth more than $50, it might be worth much less. It might be one thing, it might be two things or more. It might be a book, it might be a video or a shirt. It might not even be sports related at all. I can tell you though, there are some real treasures to be found in here!

Items are all new or “like-new.” Books may have been read one time. Shirts never worn.

Use the Paypal donate button below, donate $50 or more and be sure to include your mailing address when donating, so I can ship your mystery box out next week.

Once hit 50 donors or run out of stuff, the drive will be over.

If you’ve enjoyed BSMW and have wanted to contribute or show your appreciation, this is a fun way in which you’ll also receive something in return.

Thank you in advance for your support and for all that you’ve done for me in the last six plus years here.

Celtics Lose Game Two, Homecourt

If the Celtics are going to win banner 17, they’re going to have win on the road.

The Detroit Pistons made that a reality last night as they won game two of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Garden, 103-97. Mark Murphy says that defensive breakdowns was what did in the Celtics last night. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics fully aware of the challenge ahead of them after last night’s home loss. Kevin McNamara has the Garden party coming to an end for the Celtics with the loss last night. Scott Souza has the Pistons serving as homewreckers at the Garden last night. Paul Doyle has relying on home court advantage catching up with the Celtics. Bill Doyle has the Celtics fit to be tied right now. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics have a major problem on their hands after losing the home court edge. Jeff Howe says the loss last night sets the Celtics up for their two biggest games of the season this weekend.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press says that it is now time to put Ubuntu to the test. Jessica Camerato and Chad Finn have live blogs from the game.

Steve Bulpett has more on the Celtics inability to get stops down the stretch last night. Bob Ryan gushes over the class and professionalism of the Pistons while playing a near-perfect game to beat the Celtics at the Garden. Bill Reynolds though, says there are plenty of moves yet to be made in this series. Lenny Megliola says that now we’ll see what the Celtics are made of. Steve Buckley has the veteran Pistons coolly taking one on the road, something the Celtics have been unable to do thus far in the postseason. Dan Shaughnessy reminds us that these are the Detroit Pistons, not the Atlanta Hawks or Cleveland Cavaliers, and this series was going to be tougher right from the start. Bill Burt says that the pressure is on the Celtics now.

Tony “New England fans are a bunch of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups” Massarotti has Ray Allen finally get on track with 20 points on 8-13 shooting. Christopher L. Gasper has the Celtics bench unable to provide any help, scoring just eight points on the night, while the Pistons got 17 from their bench. Paul Jarvey has the two club knowing that controlling the boards is the key to the series.

Julian Benbow has Kevin Garnett studying the stat sheet after the game and making some observations on the little things that got his team beat last night. Robert Lee says that the matchup between Garnett and Rasheed Wallace could be the key to the series. Bulpett has Big Baby growing up in the postseason. Tim Weisberg has Ray Allen finally coming to life last night.

Barbara Matson has Rip Hamilton leading the way for the Pistons with 25 points on the night. Jeff Jacobs has Hamilton leading the way for the Pistons. Dan Ventura has a look at the Pistons two-headed point guard attack of Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey. Gasper looks at Pistons backup Theo Ratliff and his role in bringing Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Massarotti has Celtics legend Dave Cowens doing all he can to try and prevent the team from winning another title, as he serves as an assistant with the Pistons.

Murphy’s notebook has Paul Pierce’s respect for the Pistons coming through. Spears’ notebook has the Celtics making preparations for the draft. McNamara’s notebook has the Ray Allen’s scoring slump coming to an end, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Pistons. Doyle’s notebook has C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck hoping that Michigan remains good to him this weekend. The Eagle Tribune notebook has Chauncey Billups appearing to get healthy in a hurry. Fenton’s notebook has Allen coming back to life for the Celtics.

Media

David Scott is headed to China, but before he goes, he has some last thoughts on Tomase, Bill Simmons and a few other items. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy looking ahead to a very rough series for the Celtics and Pistons.

Red Sox

The Red Sox got grand slams from J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell yesterday and Daisuke Matsuzaka improved to 8-0 on the season as Boston swept the homestand and have won seven in a row. Check all the coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com

Approval Ratings – Greg Dickerson

Greg Dickerson Dickerson has done a little bit of everything in his career.

He’s been a radio host (WWTM, WBZ, WEEI), a television host (FSN/Comcast SportsNet), a PA announcer for two of the local professional sports franchises (Celtics, Patriots) and is currently the sideline reporter for the Celtics broadcasts on CSN.

On the national level, Dickerson has been a Sports Center anchor on ESPN Radio and a studio host on Westwood One’s NHL Radio broadcasts.

On WEEI, he’s recently been added to the Big Show co-host rotation, and last fall he hosted the Sunday morning football show on the program, going up against his CSN colleague Gary Tanguay, who hosts the pregame show for the WBCN Patriots telecasts.

Dickerson is a native of Milford, MA and is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston.

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Greg Dickerson Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1830 Started: May 21, 2008 Back to Vote Screen

Celtics Take Game One Against Pistons

The Celtics took it to the rested Pistons last night, scoring an 88-79 win in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics might just want to keep this play-every-other-day rhythm going. Marc J. Spears has Kevin Garnett continuing his success against the Pistons this season. Kevin McNamara has the Pistons ready to bounce back in game two following the Celtics win last night. Paul Doyle says fatigue was not a problem for the Celtics last night. Scott Souza has the Celtics delivering at home once again last night. Bill Doyle has the home court advantage paying off for the Celtics once again. Bill Burt has the Celtics taking advantage of an ailing Chauncey Billups last night. Mike Fine has the Celtics back in the flow at home. Jeff Howe has Garnett and Pierce leading the way in this one.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press has his own unique look at the game one victory for the Celtics.

Bob Ryan says that this series is going to be a grind each and every game. Bill Reynolds agrees that the Pistons remain tough after all of these years. Tim Weisberg notes that if you’re a fan of grind-it-out basketball, this will be the series for you. Steve Bulpett has more on Garnett leading the way for the Celtics last night. Robert Lee has a determined Garnett proving to be too much for Detroit last night. Lenny Megliola says the big three consisted of Garnett, Pierce and Rondo last night.

Dan Shaughnessy examines the continued struggles of Ray Allen, who had nine points last night. One note Dan, it’s Allen’s stepfather, not his father-in-law, who was targeted in the murder plot. Tony “New England fans are a bunch of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups” Massarotti has Rajon Rondo passing his first test of the Detroit series with his strong performance last night. Julian Benbow has Rondo getting the better of his matchup with Billups last night, and choosing not to talk about it afterwards. Jeff Jacobs looks at lousy lottery luck turning into good fortune for the Celtics. Steve Buckley has the Celtics coming out sharp while the Pistons appeared to be running him mud. Monique Walker agrees that the Celtics were the ones looking fresh last night. Doyle notes that Allen was still a little off last night. Jessica Camerato has Pierce picking up on his game seven performance.

Dan Ventura has the Pistons playing down the rust excuse. Bulpett has Chauncey Billups looking back at his brief stay in Boston. Paul Jarvey has Billups getting back into the lineup last night after missing games with a hamstring injury. Barbara Matson has Billups looking a little out of sync in this one. Lee says Billups will still be a stern test for Rondo in this series. Massarotti looks at the job Joe Dumars has done in building the Pistons.

Murphy’s notebook has Pierce following up his game seven masterpiece with another strong effort in game one. Spears’ notebook has PJ Brown talking about the Hornets being eliminated Monday night. McNamara’s notebook has Rondo winning the game one matchup with Billups. Doyle’s notebook has the Celtics reflecting on how much has changed since last year’s lottery night. Burt’s notebook has Pierce picking up where he left off in game seven. Jim Fenton’s notebook has Kevin Garnett pumped up at his matchup with the Pistons. Howe looks back at the ’07 lottery.

I’ve run out of time again this morning, so I’ll direct you over to RedSoxLinks.com for the coverage of last night’s Red Sox win over the Royals, and to PatriotsLinks.com for some coverage of passing camp.

Why Spygate Is The Most Disgraceful Episode In Recent Sports Media History

Lets get this out of the way first -Bill Belichick and the Patriots broke the rules. There is no disputing that. They were punished for it.

Yes, I’m trying to put this all behind me, but I think it’s important to review just how disgraceful the behaviour of national media was during this whole episode, and attempt to put as much of it on the record as I can here.

Yes, disgraceful.

I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given the news/sports climate in which we live, one that is dominated by sensationalism, exaggeration, rush to judgement and opinion. But things really got out of hand with this one. Let’s review a few of the ways:

The myopic media have chosen to focus solely on the sensationalistic aspects of this case, right from the beginning.

Whether or not this was really a major rules violation that garnered a significant advantage is not the point. THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS CHEATED AND ALL THEIR CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE NOW TAINTED. That’s the message that has been sent out, and that which has been pounded repeatedly into the conscious of the American public.

The implication has been that the taping of signals is the golden lamp which when rubbed, automatically ensures victory. They insist that the advantage gained by these tapes is the single most important factor (even if some faint voices say otherwise) in the Patriots success this decade.

Never mind that the stealing of signals has been going on in all sports almost from the beginning. Never mind that other teams have been caught doing the same or worse. Ignore all of that.

Ignore this statement:

Taping from the sidelines during games, although forbidden, is regarded as a minor violation of the rules.

You know who wrote that?

The one and only Gregg Easterbrook. (On February 3, 2008)

Yeah, the same guy now advocating a lifetime ban of Belichick.

For a “minor violation of the rules.”

Nothing has changed since that day, in fact, the Patriots position has improved, as the notion of the walkthrough video has been dismissed. The Boston Heraldand John Tomase have apologized for putting out this false information. Yet now Easterbrook wants the lifetime ban?

They’ve also shown that just because something has already been reported, it doesn’t mean you can’t write it again and shout from the rooftops that there is a new angle.

One of the prominent figures of this whole saga has been ESPN “investigative reporter” Mike Fish. For someone billed as an investigative reporter, I haven’t seen this guy yet bring something of value to the table. You’d think an investigative reporter would…you know…investigate. He would look into all aspects of a story, uncover new facts, perhaps expand the scope of the story to include other teams and their practices, to see if what the Patriots did was really out of line with what other teams were doing to get an edge.

Nope. He’s been solely focused on the Patriots. He hands in pieces like this, which have absolutely no new information whatsoever.

I’m tempted to dub him Mike Fishwrap, but that would be an insult to paper that is actually used to wrap dead fish.

Ready, Fire, Aim.

This will somehow get blamed on the internet, I’m sure, but this whole episode has consisted of events where reporters and media have shot first and asked questions later. The rush to be first get the news out there and garner attention has overidden everything else, including journalistic standards. Tomasegate is the prime example, but there are others.

Remember in the last few weeks when there was a big rush of OFFENSIVE SIGNALS headlines(That Fish guy again) after Walsh turned over his tapes? Some speculated that this was a new facet of the cheating that could open up the case even more and end up in that eagerly anticipated suspension for Belichick.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick could be hit with more sanctions in connection with the team’s past videotaping activities.

This was despite the official comment from the league:

“This is consistent with what the Patriots had admitted they had been doing, consistent with what we already knew,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press.

That statement didn’t stop the media from running with the OFFENSIVE SIGNALS storyline. That went on for a few days before dying out when people finally realized that the offensive signals weren’t really of any use.

From Trent Dilfer in Peter King’s MMQB column this week on the news that the league will be instituting coach-to-defensive-captain communication via radio:

videotaping “will be irrelevant. Now the offense will have no way of stealing signals anymore, because they’ll be done the same way the offense sends in signals — from the coach to a player on the field [through a microphone and speaker].

What that quote is saying is that taping offensive signals in the past was irrelevant – because there are no hand signals to steal.

So besides the fact that the tape were consistent with what the NFL already knew, it’s also come out that the taping of offensive signals was pretty much of no value.

We’ve had columnists and talking heads insinuate that there really was a tape of the Rams walkthrough, but that the Patriots “made it go away.” Or, as this guy asserts, they simply paid off Walsh:

For all we know, Walsh may have had more information and more damning evidence of the Patriots and their use of the infamous practice and signal tapes, but money has a way of making everything better. Again, no one, but Walsh and a few people with the New England franchise, will ever know the truth.

If the Patriots paid Walsh to destroy the tape, couldn’t they just have slipped him a few more bucks just to shut up all together? These types of unsubstantiated claims and assertions have been just far too common during this whole time.

Here’s one more example, from just last night.

DID PATS TAPE RAMS’ SIGNALS DURING 2001 SEASON?
Posted by Mike Florio on May 19, 2008, 9:45 p.m. EDT

One issue that has been overlooked by many/most/all of the media, and of which a reader has reminded us recently, is the question of whether the Patriots used their videotaping system on the St. Louis Rams when the two teams met in the 2001 regular season, only a couple of months before Super Bowl XXXVI.

Even though we now know that the Pats didn’t videotape the Rams’ walk-through prior to the game, it doesn’t mean that there was no cheating on the biggest stage in sports.

It’s unclear whether the question has been asked, but it sure doesn’t appear to us that the question has been answered. And it’s a simple question — did the videotaping of defensive coaching signals include the November 18 prime-time game between the two teams, which the Rams won, 24-17?

Another prime example of “Let’s throw something out there without making any effort to check into it at all.”

From Walsh’s New York Times sitdown:

Q. The regular-season game against the Rams in 2001, what were your duties?

A. I remember before the game, our video room was located right next to the visitor’s locker room. Even though the locker room doors were closed, myself and Pepper Johnson were outside the video room right before the game. And we were able to hear, through the doors, Mike Martz giving his pre-game speech to the team. Trying to incite them about, you know, it was Sunday night football. How good they were. And how we were just another A.F.C. team.

They won by a touchdown, so I guess it worked.

Q. And what did you do during the game?

A. Filmed, to the best of my recollection. I can’t specifically say I remember the details of what I filmed.

Conveniently, Walsh doesn’t “remember the details.” He seems to remember everything else about that season, including meaningless preseason games, but he doesn’t remember this game and what he was doing. (Though he remembers the pregame incident from that same game.) If he DID film that game, don’t you think he would’ve said so directly, rather than vaguely dodging the question by saying he must’ve filmed, but doesn’t remember the details?

That tells me he didn’t film it. In fact, if he did, don’t you think that would’ve been one of the tapes he would’ve taken before he left the organization, given the significance of that game later on down the line?

This tells me two things…one, Florio truly was just “throwing it out there” – shooting before aiming, a problem throughout this entire episode – and two, the more you look into it, how much of anything Walsh says can you really believe?

That hasn’t stopped the media from breathlessly taking his words and running with them.

They’ve behaved with the subtlty of a pack of screaming jackals.

You can’t turn around these days without someone howling about the integrity of the game, about tainted championships, about lifetime suspensions.

They’ll howl at whatever camera, microphone or keyboard is in front of them. Attempts to reason with them go about as well as a carcass trying to talk its way out of getting torn to shreds by the pack.

These are the same ones who were (and are) screaming about “running up the score” and “sportsmanship” and even Belichick’s postgame handshakes.

They haven’t even bothered to hide their agendas

Everyone with an axe to grind against the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick has taken full advantage of the opportunity to kick them while they’re down. They don’t even try to hide why they’re doing it. Here’s a few of the key players:

Matt Walsh – Disgruntled ex-Patriots employee who was fired from his job for recording conversations with his superiors. ‘Nuff said

Arlen Specter- Disgruntled Eagles fan, who is also trying to strongarm the NFL into granting more favorable terms to Comcast, one of his key campaign contributors. He apparently believes everything he hears from Mark Schlereth on ESPN and what he reads in the New York Times, which may not be such a great idea. (See below.)

Greg Bishop, New York Times – You can detect a clear pattern in his stories. Let’s see, a puff piece on Charley Casserly in April leads to a piece in May with a “longtime N.F.L. team executive.” Think they’re not one and the same?

Another puff piece on Michael Levy in March leads to the Times getting the 8 Tapes from Walsh before the NFL did and also an exclusive interview with Matt Walsh.

Why in the world would the New York Times write a piece on Drew Bledsoe? (March 10) Well, on February 22nd, Bishop got a “a former Patriots player” to talk about the Patriots taping signals as far back as 2000. Is it too much of a stretch to consider that Bishop wrote the article on Bledsoe’s wine and coffee business ventures as payola for the info in the Feb 22nd article?

Mark Schlereth, ESPN – Prior to the Patriots, his Denver Broncos were considered a mini dynasty of their own. Now, relegated to a footnote Schlereth has tried to discredit the Patriots at every turn. He insists that the team used the filmed signals during the same games, something that not only defies logic, (How could the team edit all that raw footage into a usable video AND decipher the signals within the same game?) but that even Walsh has denied.

Schlereth has convienently not addressed the fact that the Broncos circumvented the salary cap so they could pay John Elway and Terrell Davis $29 million in deferred payments. This allowed them to stock their team and win those two Super Bowls. I kind of think this is worse than the taping of signals…

There’s plenty more out there. Just look at any of the key figures and think about what their ties to the stories are or what their history with the Patriots is…

Tomasegate gave new life to the story that should have been put to bed.

The same media types who are shaking their heads at John Tomase for his handling of the Rams walkthrough video story were the first ones to gleefully run with his story when it came out. The walkthrough video story dominated ESPN’s Bottom Line and NFL Network’s ticker as well. Columnists and reporters around the country lined up for a second shot at the team and coach, and this has continued for three and a half months.

Had Tomase not published his story, perhaps this thing would be a dead issue by now. Instead, the witch-hunt has intensified, and even though the Tomase story has been retracted and an apology issued, the Spygate hysterics are back in full swing.

Tomase’s story is the single most egregious part of this entire matter, and he has skated, scot-free. As Patriots Daily pointed out today, Tomase may be accountable for his actions, but he hasn’t yet been held to account.

Rather than doing their jobs the way they’ve been trained, the media have taken as gospel the words of someone whose only true value was fueling the fire. To the media, everything is all about “advancing the story” – Walsh and Tomase were supposedly doing this, yet we see after the fact that they didn’t have anything new to offer.

A Real Reason for the Hate is Lack of Access

Even though they’ll dismiss this notion out of hand, this whole episode boils down to access. Can you sit there and realistically say that had it been Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden or Herman Edwards that did this that the stories and commentary would be as nasty and personal? If Bill Belichick sat down with the likes of Peter King on a weekly basis and invited them to watch him mow his lawn like Brett Favre, how do you think this would’ve gone?

You can almost hear the excuses that would’ve been made had these ones offered the same explanations that Belichick has offered.

“Dungy’s got a such a strong moral fiber, he wouldn’t have done this unless he was firmly convinced his interpretation of the rules was correct.”

“Herm just wants to win so badly, ‘You play to win the game’ – that’s what he always says. This is just a reflection of that.” 

“Jon gets up at 3:30am every day to pour his soul into the preparation of his team, the taping and analysis of the signals just shows how obsessed he is with getting every detail just right.”

With Belichick, it’s because he is a cheater. All because he doesn’t “play the game” of keeping the media happy and well supplied with snappy quotes.

The actual accomplishments of the players and team are now dismissed. 

Regardless of perceived advantage that the filmed signals would’ve provided, the players on the field had to make plays in order for the Patriots to win their championships. They had to make key stops, they had to catch the ball, run through the hole, or knock the offensive lineman aside to get to the quarterback. Nothing gained through film work could possibly help the players on the field do these things.

Knowing the defensive signals didn’t help Ty Law pick off Peyton Manning in the playoffs. It didn’t help Rodney Harrison seal the Super Bowl against Specter’s Eagles with a pick.

This is perhaps the saddest aspect of the whole affair. The accomplishments of such talented players have been muddied because of how the scandal has been blown out of proportion. Sure, Belichick and the Patriots do deserve a share of the blame because they broke the rules and started this whole mess, but the media has taken this event and taken it entirely too far.

Soon they will move on like nothing happened

At some point, another big scandal will erupt in the world of sports. The sports media’s attention will shift to that, leaving this episode in the past, to be revisited whenever convenient. (Especially if the Patriots roar out of the gate next season, or perhaps even more so, if they struggle.) To be sure, this isn’t going away completely, but it will fade into the background somewhat, but the damage will be permanently done in its wake.

It all added up to the The Most Miserable 18-1 Season in History but it clearly hasn’t stopped there.

The amount of coverage given this scandal has been nothing short of overwhelming. The average fan trying to follow this story could find himself hopelessly lost in the shouting, conjecture and speculation. Unfortuately, responsible reporting has not prevailed at all in this case, and reason is a rare commodity among this crowd.

Keep in mind that most of these same reporters and outlets were silent during the whole steroid era in baseball - even though most of them had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Is the outcry over this story merely these same ones overcompensating for their silence on steroids? Or is it part of our society’s macabre habit of turning on and tearing down our heroes after we’ve built them up?

Whatever the reason, the stench from all of this mess is going to take a long time to wear off.

Approval Ratings – Nick Cafardo

Nick CafardoA hell of a nice guy, from most accounts.

Cafardo begin his career in Brockton in 1975 before moving to the Quincy Patriot Ledger in 1981. In 1989 he joined the Boston Globe sports staff.

Cafardo has covered both the Red Sox and Patriots during his tenure at the Globe, but his heart is clearly with baseball. During his time on the Patriots beat he was clearly frustrated with the working environment and it reflected in his coverage of the team. Having moved back to baseball, he’s noticeably more confortable and in his element.

He was a frequent presence on the various NESN programs, and in the past was in demand on WWZN radio, ESPN Radio and WBZ-TV’s Sports Final.

He is the author of several books, including The Impossible Team: The Worst to First Patriot’s Super Bowl Season, 100 Things Red Sox Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die and Boston Red Sox: Yesterday and Today

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Nick Cafardo Approval Ratings
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Lester With the No-No

Jon Lester last night became the first Red Sox lefthander since 1956 to throw a no-hitter at Fenway Park as he blanked the Kansas City Royals 7-0.

Gordon Edes looks at the young Red Sox lefty coming full circle, showing he has finally recovered fully and turned the chapter on part of his life. Jeff Horrigan says that Lester redefined his Red Sox career last night. Joe Haggerty says that Lester delivered on all of his great promise and expectations last night. Bob Stern has Lester’s journey taking another turn for the better last night. Paul Kenyon looks at an emotional night for both Lester and Terry Francona. Jeff Goldberg has Lester adding a new chapter to his personal feel-good tale. Ron Chimelis has Lester repaying the Sox for their confidence in him. Bill Ballou has a look at Lester’s crowning achievement.

Rob Bradford notes that Lester wasn’t sharp prior to the game, but sure had it once the game started.Dan Shaughnessy looks at the latest in a string of great moment for Boston fans. Steve Buckley has Lester getting a moment to savor after his long road back to health. Jon Couture has Lester capping his long road back with the no-no. Sean McAdam says that last night could be a sign of things to come for the Red Sox.

A no-hitter is almost always a team effort, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the contributions of the rest of the Red Sox to Lester’s gem. Steven Krasner says that Lester had his entire repertoire working last night. Horrigan looks at Jason Varitek making some history of his own by catching his fourth no-hitter. McAdam notes that catching no-hitters is becoming old hat for Varitek. Goldberg has a look at Ellsbury’s catch which preserved the no-hitter.

Alex Speier has a look at Red Sox AA prospect Zach Daeges, who is drawing comparisons to Kevin Youkilis. Mike Petraglia looks at the recent power trip of Youkilis.

Horrigan’s notebook has a look at the defensive play of the game, a grab by Jacoby Ellsbury in the fourth inning. Edes’ notebook has more on Varitek making history. Stern’s notebook has more on Varitek’s fourth no-hitter behind the plate. The ProJo notebook has the Royals realizing early on that Lester had special stuff. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Varitek. Ballou’s notebook looks at Youkilis now as a triple threat at the plate.

Celtics

The Eastern Conference Finals are back in Boston, as the Celtics get set to take on the Pistons in game one tonight at the Garden.

Marc J. Spears says that the Pistons come into this one rested, having not played in a week, while the Celtics feel ready having just dispatched the Cavs less than 48 hours ago. Mark Murphy looks at the Celtics backcourt, which will face its stiffest challenge of the postseason in this series. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics momentum going up against the Pistons’ rest. Lenny Megliola says that the Pistons may be rested, but the Celtics have rhythm in their favor.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics enter this series looking a little vulnerable…though he says that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Steve Bulpett writes that the home court advantage is even more important to the Celtics now. Bill Reynolds claims that having made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, the pressure is now off the Celtics. Mike Szostak says that the Pistons depth and experience will provide a challenge for the Celtics.

Bill Burt says that Ray Allen could cost the Celtics the series if he doesn’t snap out of his slump. Scott Souza has more on Allen trying to find his role for the postseason. Bill Doyle says Allen has been merely a decoy thus far in the playoffs. Desmond Conner has UConn products Allen and Richard Hamilton going head-to-head this series in search of the NBA title.

Murphy goes through the matchups between the clubs and gives the Celtics the edge in only one position. Jeff Howe goes through the same matchups and gives the Celtics the edge in five out of seven areas. Kevin McNamara also goes through the matchups. Bulpett offers Five keys for the Celtics in this series. Spears has Pierce game for more after the Cavs series.

Gerry Callahan satires about just how bad things could’ve been this season.

Murphy’s notebook has Pierce moving on from game seven against the Cavs. Vega’s notebook has Ray Allen putting in extra work in an effort to break out in this series. Szostak’s notebook has Allen keeping his head up despite his struggles.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp says that John Tomase may be accountable, but he hasn’t been held to account for his actions.

Mike Reiss has preseason games a subject of discussion at the NFL owners meetings. Karen Guregian has all the Patriots hopeful cornerback candidates getting thrown into the mix at passing camp this week.

Approval Ratings – Steve DeOssie

Steve DeOssieWith TomaseGate slowing down, (though I still plan on a wrap-up post) its time to get back to the approval ratings.

Today we’re looking at WEEI Big Show Football co-host Steve DeOssie.

DeOssie played for Don Bosco Technical High School and then Boston College for playing 12 years in the NFL for the Cowboys, Giants and Patriots, winning a championship with the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.

Year-round (but especially during the football season) DeOssie is a presence on WEEI as well as various television outlets around New England, such as WBZ-TV. He plays up the touch-guy persona, but can also bring strong analysis of the game to his appearances on the various shows. He also co-hosts The Real Postgame show with Pete Sheppard and Fred Smerlas.

During the week of Super Bowl XLII DeOssie did a creditable job of balancing his Patriots analysis with the fact that his son Zak was playing for the opponent.

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Steve DeOssie Approval Ratings
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Shades Of ’88 – LeBron, Pierce Engage in Game 7 Shootout for the Ages

The Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals yesterday with their 97-92 game seven victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Garden. Paul Pierce and LeBron James drew comparisons to the legendary Larry Bird/Dominique Wilkins shootout 20 years earlier as they went for 41 and 45 points respectively.

Mark Murphy has Pierce and the Celtics getting the last word in this one, just like in ’88. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics finally getting into the Eastern Conference Finals, having taken the longest road possible to get there. Jim Fenton has insurance policy PJ Brown making some huge plays for the Celtics to help them into the ECF. Mike Fine doesn’t get moved by basketball games, but yesterday was a classic in his eyes. Scott Souza notes that Pierce might’ve truly earned his place among the all-time Celtics greats with his performance yesterday. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics turned back the clock in order to move on. Bill Burt has Pierce willing the Celtics into the next round.

Kevin Henkin of the BSMW Full Court Press noted two worthy sub-plots to the James/Pierce shootout.

Steve Bulpett has PJ Brown coming up big in game seven, scoring 10 points and playing some huge defense down the stretch. Christopher L. Gasper says the Celtics know now what Brown can do for them. Robert Lee has Brown thrilled to be able to lend a hand in this one. Dave Nordman says Brown could end up being the Dave Roberts of the Celtics after his huge shot yesterday. Tim Weisberg recounts how Brown came to Boston for his best shot at a ring, and how he did his best to keep that dream alive yesterday.

Jeff Jacobs has Pierce winning this duel with James. Tony “New England fans are a bunch of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups” Massarotti has Paul Pierce carrying the Celtics into the Conference finals. Reynolds says it is only fitting that Paul Pierce be the man of the hour in this one. Bob Ryan has Paul Pierce coming up huge in his moment of truth. Lenny Megliola has Pierce winning the mano-a-mano showdown. Tim Weisberg says that the Truth was the last word in yesterday’s discussion.

Steve Buckley expands on how this game brought back memories of that great Bird/Dominique shootout so many years ago. Dan Shaughnessy has LeBron coming up short at the end of this duel, and hits the right tone with the analogy at the end. Monique Walker has a look at the continued struggles of Ray Allen in the postseason.

Dan Ventura has Eddie House making huge contributions with his energy, despite only going 1-5 from the field.

The Celtics next get ready to face the Detroit Pistons starting tomorrow night. Bulpett has some thoughts from both sides on the matchup. Ventura gets some parting thoughts from LeBron James on the next series. Michael Vega has James’ supporting cast letting him down yesterday. Lee has James’ best moves coming up just short.

Murphy’s notebook has Chauncey Billups and the Pistons ready and waiting to take on the Celtics. Spears’ notebook leads with James talking about Pistons/Celtics. Fenton’s notebook has the Celtics with very little time to enjoy their win over the Cavs. McNamara’s notebook has the Celtics jumping right back into the wars tomorrow night with the Pistons coming to town. The Telegram notebook has Celtics/Pistons on tap for tomorrow night, just as we had all planned since August. The Eagle-Tribune notebook has more on Brown’s heroics.

Red Sox

The Red Sox finished off a three game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with an 11-7 win at Fenway Park yesterday. The Sox are back in first place atop the AL East. Four home runs – two from David Ortiz – powered the attack yesterday and got Josh Beckett off the hook for another sub-par performance. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Patriots

Over at Patriots Daily, Scott Benson is ready to move on from Spygate once and for all. David Scott lists out some Winners and Losers from Tomasegate.

Check all the local coverage on the Patriots at PatriotsLinks.com