No Playoffs For Sox – Yet

The Red Sox were not able to clinch their fifth playoff berth in six seasons last night, but will get another chance tonight…and tomorrow night…and the next night…and…all the way through the weekend. Let’s hope it doesn’t drag out like that, of course.

Michael Silverman has Josh Beckett with some control issues last night. Adam Kilgore has the basepaths proving dangerous for the Sox in their attempts to clinch a playoff berth. Joe Haggerty has the postseason bubbly remaining on ice for another night. Garry Brown has the Sox losing out on a chance to clinch, and now having to face 22-2 Cliff Lee tonight. Matt Eagan has Josh Beckett not sharp last night in the Boston loss. Paul Jarvey has the Red Sox not needing the plastic sheeting they bought at Home Depot yesterday. Paul Kenyon has the Red Sox forced to wait another day to try again. Maureen Mullen has the Sox celebration on ice for now.

Bob Ryan notes that a playoff berth never comes easy, and that these Red Sox realize that making the playoffs is a big deal. Joe McDonald says that it took a season of banding together for this team to get to this point. Jon Couture wonders if the magic of ’07 can return for these Red Sox. Rich Thompson has Jason Bay getting thrown out on a “debacle” of a play involving a ball that bounced off the third base umpire. Alex Speier has more from Bay on the weird play at third. Mike Fine has sloppiness stalling the Sox clincher last night.

Kevin McNamara looks at a less-than playoff caliber performance from Beckett. Barbara Matson looks at an outing that was sometimes out of control for Josh Beckett. Thompson has Paul Byrd looking forward to facing his old teammates. Haggerty has David Ortiz rounding into form just in time for the postseason. Speier looks at how the Sox focus on getting Healthy Pitching for October.

Keith O’Brien has a story in the Globe about the departure of so many Latino stars from the Red Sox in recent years and months, and what this has meant to the Latino community in Boston. Dan Kennedy correctly points out that when O’Brien refers to the Red Sox as a “team whose stars typically looked like Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski,” he shows his ignorance of the fact that Ted Williams himself was a Latino, as his mother was Mexican.

Kilgore’s notebook has the health of J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell still up in the air. Silverman’s notebook has Drew receiving a second epidural for his ailing back. The ProJo notebook has Jed Lowrie striking out in two big spots last night. Eagan’s notebook has Terry Francona not concerned about what form the celebration will take when it comes. Jarvey’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury heating up toward the end of the season. Couture’s notebook has Drew and Lowell still healing.

Patriots

The Turning Point column on Patriots Daily will be posted around noontime today.

Michael Felger has some tough grades for the Patriots in this week’s report card for WEEI.com. John Tomase isn’t quite as harsh in the Herald, but has a number of failing grades in his class as well. Ian Clark has just one “F” and that would be for the quarterbacks. Eric McHugh has three “F’s” including one for Bill Belichick and his coaching staff.

David Brown urges us not to be so quick to condemn Matt Cassel. Hector Longo says that it is time for Jerod Mayo to step up and be a man on defense. Rich Garven says that there are multiple problems that need addressing. Douglas Flynn has Bill Belichick on the defensive at Foxboro yesterday. Bill Reynolds has the Patriots getting a dose of reality on Sunday. Karen Guregian has the Patriots defense going soft in the middle.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots feeling that the fans turned too quickly on them during the Miami game. Shalise Manza Young has Ellis Hobbs irritated by the fan reaction on Sunday. Guregian has Hobbs and Benjamin Watson unhappy with the boo birds they heard on Sunday. Robert Lee has Randy Moss saying that the Dolphins wanted it more than the Patriots.

Lee’s notebook has Belichick saying that the Patriots had done some preparation for the Dolphins unusual formations. Guregian’s notebook also has Belichick saying that the formations weren’t entirely a surprise. Gasper’s notebook says that the Patriots need to improve their Red Zone offense.

Bruins/Misc

Stephen Harris has Patrice Bergeron making a healthy return in the Bruins first exhibition game. Fluto Shinzawa has Bergeron tallying four points in his return. Harris’ notebook has Manny Fernandez also returning to the ice for the Bruins.

Frank Dell’Apa has a look at the West Side gym in Chicago, where many NBA players get their work in during the offseason.

Monday Roundup

Peter King has the Patriots still in the top 10 of his Fine 15 in Monday Morning Quarterback.

In Morning Rush, Michael Silver lauds Joey Porter as an athlete who actually tells you what he’s thinking.

John Clayton also goes around the NFL.

Sean Leahy looks at Week 3 in the NFL for USA Today.  

Clark Judge welcomes Bill Belichick back to earth.

John Czarnecki thinks that the Patriots might be in for a long season.

Tim Graham says that the dominant and defiant Patriots of the past few years are dead.

Mike Florio says that the Cowboys are now the clear Super Bowl favorites.

Ron Borges (yeah, him again) says that the media coverage of Tom Brady’s injury has been too much.

Yesterday Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune did his own “Mitchell Report” type list of NFL players who have used performance enhancing drugs. Rodney Harrison is the only Patriot connected to the list.

Here are your weekly notes wrapups from the TV networks:

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes – Week 3 (ESPN)

NFL Today’s Boomer Talks Turmoil in Cincinnati with Carson Palmer (CBS)

Bradshaw on Leinart: “He Should Be Starting But He Acted Like a Diva.” (FOX)

News and Sound Bites From Week Three Episode of NFL GameDay Morning (NFLN)

Notes from Sunday MLB on TBS – Sunday, September 21, 2008 (TBS – Red Sox/Blue Jays coverage with Dennis Eckersley)

Pats Squished By Fish

A couple of media items before we launch into the ugliness that is the Patriots stories this morning…

David Scott has a number of media items this morning, including:

  • Bob Costas at Farm Aid
  • Ron Borges still a frontrunner to join the Herald
  • Cold Hard Football Facts signing a content agreement with Boston.com
  • WEEI’s Marconi Award 

In looking through the stories posted at WEEI.com this weekend, it appears that Joe Haggerty has been hired as the new Bruins/Hockey writer for the site. A Celtics/NBA writer is also expected to be hired and announced soon as well.

Scott Benson has the gory details of the Patriots 38-13 home loss to the lowly Miami Dolphins, ending their 21 game regular season winning streak.

Christopher L. Gasper has both the defense and Matt Cassel struggling mightily in the loss. Karen Guregian has the Dolphins running wild with trick plays. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots with no answers for Miami’s trickery on offense. Douglas Flynn has the Patriots in need of some serious remedial education after yesterday’s loss. Mark Farinella says that it hurts to have to say Joey Porter was right. David Brown says that you can’t sugarcoat this listless clunker. Eric McHugh has Cassel and the offense showing absolutely nothing yesterday. Rich Garven recaps the Dolphins’ stunningly easy win over the Patriots.

Dan Shaughnessy says we can only try to move forward in a world that no longer makes any sense. Ron Borges is at his best, sneering self this morning, reminding us that coaching “genius” comes and goes, sort of like quarterbacks. Gee, I just can’t wait to be able to read this exact same garbage in the Herald each week too. OK, maybe if you throw out the unnecessary opening line, the article isn’t horrible, but the opening line is clearly meant as a shot, which is easy to do after an embarrassing loss, and what the disgraced-but-apparently-rehabbing-Borges is here to do. Steve Buckley has the Dolphin’s tricky game plan too much for the Patriots. Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots better hope that what happened yesterday was an aberration. Bill Burt says that there will be plenty of humble pie served up in the next two weeks.

Mike Reiss has a look at the alternative offensive packages employed by the Dolphins which the Patriots had no answer for. Christopher Price pumps out the 10 Things We Learned Yesterday. Ian Clark has Miami’s “College Plays” confusing the Patriots defense. John Tomase says that the Patriots defense should be embarassed for being caught unaware more than once yesterday. Donaldson has Richard Seymour saying that the defense played like “chickens with our heads cut off” yesterday. Chris Kennedy has the Patriots having no answers for the Ronnie Brown show. Farinella observes that the Patriots defense suddenly looks old out there. James Schneider says that the trick formations were no treat for the defense. Tim Weisberg notes that when you have Ronnie Brown as an option…why not run the option, which the Dolphins did, with tremendous success.

Chris Forsberg has Seymour hoping to learn from this game, and then just bury it. Buckley has Matt Cassel struggling for answers. Dan Ventura says that the outcome was shocking to all. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots ending their winning streak in lifeless fashion. Tomase notes that the Patriots still haven’t been able to get Randy Moss going.  Farinella reaches to try and find a difference of opinion between Cassel and Moss. Young has Cassel trying to be philosophical after the loss. Young notes that Ellis Hobbs was one Patriot that showed up yesterday. Farinella says that this was not how one of the more memorable weeks in Patriots history should’ve ended. Glen Farley notes that the Patriots’ bruised bodies and egos both need the rest that the bye week with provide.

Michael Vega has Joey Porter backing up his talk from earlier in the week. Dan Duggan has Porter feeling more disrespected with the Patriots antics in the pregame. Lee also touches on the pregame slight from the Patriots. Glen Farley has more on Porter walking the walk yesterday.  Duggan also looks at the monster afternoon for Miami’s Ronnie Brown, who was lined up behind center in the shotgun and scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for another. Robert Lee has the Patriots having no answer for Brown yesterday. Lee also has Porter playing a good game after talking one all week. Lee notes that the Dolphins dedicated the win to first year coach Tony Sparano. (Wow, even my spellchecker wants to change that name to “Saprano.”)

Gasper’s notebook gets into reading Randy Moss’ body language on the sidelines. Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots fuming after a low hit from Ricky Williams at Mike Vrabel’s knees after a TD had already been scored. Flynn’s notebook has the Patriots with no answers for the spread offense of the Dolphins. Schneider’s notebook has Joey Porter proving to be prophet. Weisberg’s notebook has Ellis Hobbs saying that he would gladly exchange the return record he set yesterday for a win. McHugh’s notebook has more on the bittersweet day for Ellis Hobbs.

Red Sox

With the Patriots off for two weeks, New England fans can turn their sole focus to the Red Sox, who clinched at least a tie for the wild card spot yesterday with the 3-0 shutout win over the Blue Jays.

Daisuke Matsuzaka improved to an amazing 18-2 with the win. The Red Sox can clinch their playoff berth with a win tonight over the Cleveland Indians. The Sox send Josh Beckett to the mound.

Get all the Red Sox stories and coverage from today over at RedSoxLinks.com.

The Last Friday Megalinks of the Summer

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog with your media links today.

As we speed into the Fall season (it begins on Monday), this is our last official Megalink session of the Summer. Yes, our mindset of Summer is gone, but officially, Fall begins on Monday. We have a lot of good links for you today so let’s get cracking, but first, we have our Weekend Viewing Picks.

The NFL is in Week 3 and CBS has the doubleheader for the second consecutive week. The Patriots hope to silence Joey Porter and the Miami Dolphins as they come to visit the CBS Scene Gillette Stadium on Sunday. I believe this is the first time in a very long time that Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots have called a Patriots game. WBZ and WPRI will air the contest on TV and WBCN has Gil and Gino’s call on radio. The second game of CBS’ doubleheader will be Jacksonville at Indy with Dick Enberg and Randy Cross at 4:15 p.m. NBC’s Sunday Night Football has the game of the day with a battle of the undefeated, Dallas at Green Bay. The entire viewing schedule with announcing assignments, coverage maps, DirecTV and Sirius Satellite Radio channel assignments can be seen in the NFL Viewing Picks.

For college football, Boston College will host Central Florida at Chestnut Hill starting at 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. To be honest, I have no idea if Comcast in Massachusetts carries ESPNU, but I do know DirecTV has it. Other games on Saturday include Notre Dame-Michigan State on WCVB and ABC6 and Florida-Tennessee on WBZ and WPRI at 3:30 p.m. In primetime, ESPN has LSU-Auburn at 7:45 p.m. and ABC returns with Georgia-Arizona State at 8 p.m. on WCVB and ABC6. The full national TV schedule along with Big Ten Network, ABC and ESPN coverage maps is in the College Football Viewing Picks.

The Red Sox try to recover from losing two out of three in Tampa Bay by heading up to Canada to take on the Blue Jays. NESN will have all three games starting with tonight’s contest at 7. And again on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. For those out in Western MA, they can also watch Sunday’s game on TBS.

Fox has coverage of three games on Saturday. Cards-Cubs will be the feature game, going to most of the country, but in New England, we’ll see Minnesota at Tampa Bay. Again, the network has some funky announcing teams for Saturday. The regional splits and announcing assignments are here.

WGN has the White Sox hoping to get closer to the AL Central crown against Kansas City on Saturday at 7 p.m. And the following day, if the Cubs haven’t clinched the NL Central, WGN hopes to have the celebration during its coverage of the Cards-Cubs at 2 p.m.

ESPN will conclude its Sunday Night Baseball coverage for 2008 with the final game ever at Yankee Stadium. ESPN2 will have pregame ceremonies starting at 7 p.m., then turn it over to ESPN at 8. The game between the Orioles and Yankees will be secondary. Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford are expected to visit the booth with Jon Miller and Joe “I’m the Greatest” Morgan. First pitch is scheduled around 9:05 p.m.

The Ryder Cup dominates both ESPN and NBC this weekend. ESPN is providing coverage today through 6 p.m. Then NBC takes over the coverage from the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville with the Foursome and Fourball matches on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. Then the individual match play begins Sunday at noon. The US hopes to break the European three match winning streak. In addition to NBC’s coverage, ESPN will have extensive coverage of the Ryder Cup with live SportsCenters from Valhalla at midnight on ESPN2. Live streaming coverage can also be seen at Ryder Cup Live.

NASCAR has the Camping World RV 400 on ABC at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Did you know that the Davis Cup is in the semifinal round and the US has a chance to advance to the finals against Spain? You do now and Versus has same day coverage at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

And Fox Sports brings the AVP tour to its airwaves for the very first time. It will carry the women’s championship of the Manhattan Beach Open and hopes to have Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in the match. You can see the match Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on Fox 25 and Fox 64.

Now let’s get to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about future Hall of Fame Braves pitcher John Smoltz joining TBS for the MLB playoffs.

The always lovely Daryn Kagan has the story of a man who’s walking every round of the PGA Tour this season despite a serious physical challenge.

Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media says he’s happy to see Dave Rowe back in the broadcast booth after getting a new lease on life.

Maury Brown in the Biz of Baseball recaps an interview that MLB El Presidente del Mundo Bud Selig did with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Glen Dickson of Broadcasting & Cable says subscribers to AT&T and Verizon Wireless can watch the Ryder Cup on their cell phones.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe discusses NBC’s coverage of the Ryder Cup from Valhalla.

The Sox & Dawgs blog has the news of WEEI somehow winning a prestigious Marconi Award. Prestigious and WEEI do not mix.

The great Neil Best of Newsday talks about ESPN preparing to give Yankee Stadium a proper sendoff. Neil also has a story on baseball home run ball hog Zack Hample who has yet to meet a microphone he doesn’t like. In his blog, Neil wonders if WFAN’s Boomer Esiason took a shot at former co-worker Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Speaking of Russo, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick bashes both him and his former partner Mike Francesa.

Justin Terranova from the Post talks with NBC’s Johnny Miller and Roger Maltbie about the Ryder Cup. And Justin has five questions for the YES Network’s David Cone.

Over to the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman says Yankee Stadium owes a lot to Boss George Steinbrenner.

This is the first time for Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News in the Friday megalinks. He writes that Matthew Barnaby will replace Barry Melrose as the NHL analyst for ESPN.

To the Baltimore Sun where Ray Frager writes about the Ryder Cup and Johnny Miller’s thoughts about the US’ chances this weekend.

From the DC/Baltimore Examiner, Jim Williams writes that NBC’s Johnny Miller is never afraid to speak his mind.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times has his sports viewing best bets for the weekend.

West

Bob Diddlebock of the Denver Examiner says it should be no surprise that the local CBS affiliate has chosen to blow away “Face the Nation” for a local NFL pregame show.

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News writes that UCLA fans spent last Saturday ripping Versus.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune talks with ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser. Jay also has last week’s ratings for San Diego.

John Maffei in the North County Times says the San Diego Chargers are primetime players this season.

In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes about the Ryder Cup coverage on ESPN and NBC.

Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times wonders what Howard Cosell would think of Monday Night Football today.

Tom Hoffarth in today’s Los Angeles Daily News catches up with ESPN’s Linda Cohn whose new book chronicles her rise at the Worldwide Leader and her divorce from her husband. In his blog, Tom has some more notes on Linda. And Tom has some extensive media notes as well.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News has his Morning Buzz On the Air column.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the city’s losing teams are taking a toll on the local sports radio talk shows.

South

Doug Nye of The State goes over his ten favorite baseball movies.

Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald says ESPN’s Monday Night Football could use some further tweaking.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel writes that ESPN’s coverage of this weekend’s Ryder Cup completes the Al Michaels for Oswald the Rabbit trade.

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron says the area’s sports reporters were pressed into news duty for Hurricane Ike coverage.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says hard work paid off for the new TV broadcast team for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Mel has a preview of the Ryder Cup. You can look at Mel’s media notes. And the Ryder Cup is among Mel’s weekend viewing picks.

Midwest

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has NBC’s John Madden singing the praises of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wonders if Sarah Palin can make the transition from sports anchor to politics, who else from the sports TV world canmake the transition.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald says the swap of White Sox radio and TV analysts for next season does not come without some risk.

Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin tells us that there will be plenty of Ryder Cup coverage on your TV this weekend.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel will be all over ESPN’s multiple platforms on Tuesday. And Dan has the St. Louis Blues’ TV schedule.

That will do it. Enjoy your weekend and I’ll be back next week with more media links.

A Hall Of A Weekend Ahead

Over at Patriots Daily this morning, Britt Schramm looks ahead to the Dolphins/Patriots matchup on Sunday.

Mark Farinella and Eric McHugh say that the Hall at Patriots place, which will have its first induction ceremony this weekend, is a must-see. Farinella also takes us on a video tour of the Hall. In the ProJo Shalise Manza Young says that the Hall is the crown jewel that the Krafts intended it to be.

Check out the rest of the Patriots stories this morning on PatriotsLinks.com.

Joe Haggerty talks to a renowned orthopedic hip surgeon about Mike Lowell’s situation and whether he can or should keep playing through it.

Bill Burt looks at how Theo Epstein relishes making the tough decisions, such as trading away Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez during pennant races.

Lenny Megliola says that the Red Sox don’t need to win the division anyway.

Get all the Red Sox coverage at RedSoxLinks.com

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has the Globe media column, with a look at this weekend’s Ryder Cup on NBC.

Globies Back on CSN, The Genius Of Manny

Yeah, that was Dan Shaughnessy on the 6:30 edition of CSN’s Sports Tonight program last night. As Gary Tanguay explained in his blog yesterday, CSN’s partnership with the Boston Herald (they were a sponsor of New England Sports Tonight) has expired, and that partnership was what had kept Globe writers off the show. Tanguay says that Tony Massarotti will be back on the show as well.

Tanguay’s blog has had some interesting entries as of late, as he tries to give us more “behind the scenes” type narratives about what’s going on at CSN.

Due to a scheduling conflict, Troy Brown will not be making his scheduled appearance tonight on Sports Tonight, as had been reported on the Herald’s Point After blog.

Yesterday Curt Schilling blasted Manny Ramirez on a call-in appearance to WEEI’s Big Show. Schilling’s remarks irritated me at first, simply because this is a topic we’re all sick of, and we know full well Manny was a major disruption near the end of his Red Sox tenure. Manny’s gone now, and his teammates have moved on, and have been playing their best ball of the season (well, except against Tampa) and I just didn’t see why Schilling, who hasn’t thrown a pitch all season felt it necessary to talk more about it.

On reflection, I think I have a bigger problem with how two-faced Schilling is with this stuff. When Manny was his teammate, he defended the guy to death to these very same radio shows. When Manny and Youkilis had the dust-up in the dugout earlier this season, Schilling was calling the media fools because this stuff happens all the time between teammates, and we just don’t see it. He’s defended Manny’s work ethic in the past, and played the role of good teammate.

Incidents like yesterday show that he really was just playing that role, since as soon as Manny is gone, Schilling can do an about-face and start telling all sorts of tales. I don’t like that.

It’s become customary when criticizing Schilling to acknowledge his huge contributions to the 2004 World Series championship, and to a lesser extent, the 2007 title. OK, duly noted. I’ll always be thankful that we had Curt Schilling on those clubs, and he turned in some legendary performances in his time here.

However, now that his career appears over, I’m rather sick of him. I’ve taken 38 Pitches out of my RSS reader, simply because I’m not interested in what the guy has to say. I’d rather get out now while I still have that great respect for him as a player, rather than keep reading, and totally losing all fondness for the guy.

Back to Manny for a moment, Joe Posnanski, the KC writer who has gained a huge following here in Boston simply because he puts out great stuff, has a piece on SI.com entitled The genius of Manny Ramirez. It’s a lot of stuff we already knew about Manny in better times, but also has some interesting perspectives on Ramirez as a person. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says Manny has made a huge difference to the Dodgers both in the lineup and in the clubhouse.

Tony Massarotti wonders if David Ortiz is returning to form just in time.

TBS has announced their MLB Postseason Broadcast Team, and both Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley will be a part of the coverage.

Peter May on Yahoo! Sports has a feature on new Celtic Darius Miles, who says “I would have come here (to Boston) for $5 and a bag of Doritos.” No joke.

Jim Corbett of USA Today has a look at Randy Moss taking on a leadership role with the Patriots in the absense of Tom Brady.

Jeff Pearlman has a must-read feature on former Angels outfielder Lyman Bostock, a budding star who was murdered during the 1978 season.

Sox, Wakefield Smacked Down By Rays

Remember the good old days when Tim Wakefield simply couldn’t lose to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays? Now that they’re just the Tampa Rays, those days appear to be long gone. Wakefield was roughed up last night, giving up six earned runs in just two and a third innings in the Red Sox 10-3 loss.

Amalie Benjamin has the Rays building on their position of power in the AL East. Michael Silverman has the Sox finishing their season series between these two clubs with a healthy respect for the Rays. Sean McAdam has the Red Sox losing ground once again in the AL East. Paul Jarvey notes that the Sox will likely now have to turn their attention solely to the Wild Card chase. Jeff Goldberg says that reality might be setting in for the Sox: The Rays are going to win the AL East. Joe Haggerty has the Rays blasting the Sox last night.

Nick Cafardo has Wakefield and Paul Byrd battling for the role of fourth starter in the postseason. Steve Buckley says that the Red Sox can forget about any hopes of winning the AL East. Adam Kilgore has Mike Lowell’s ailing hip getting looked at once again. Haggerty says that watching Jed Lowrie play defense is “like viewing the perfect marriage of brainpower and skill on the baseball diamond.”

Tony Massarotti says that the Rays will win the division in the event of a tie, thanks to tiebreakers. Massarotti originally got the tiebreaker incorrect, but after a commenter corrected him, the entry was corrected. Buckley says that the Sons of Sam Horn website discovered that Paul Byrd was tipping his pitches, something that he is now more conscious of.

Benjamin’s notebook has Paul Byrd crediting a note from an opposing player earlier this season telling him that he was tipping his pitches, which allowed him to turn his season around. This is slightly different than Buckley’s version above. Silverman’s notebook has more on Lowell’s hip and his availability to play going forward. McAdam’s notebook has Lowell sitting out last night after tweaking the hip on Tuesday night. Goldberg’s notebook has Lowell not expecting to be out for too long. Jarvey’s notebook has more on Lowell toughing it out.

Patriots

Scott Benson answers five quick questions over at Patriots Daily.

Tim Graham has Joey Porter providing plenty of bulletin board material for the Patriots, as the Miami linebacker says that it should be “easy” on Sunday with Matt Cassel in there and that it will be nice for the Dolphins to get their first win of the season.

Michael Vega has the Patriots showing plenty of respect for Chad Pennington. Robert Lee looks at the rapid transition that Pennington had to make after joining the Dolphins. Chris Kennedy says that the Dolphins have changed their defensive strategy with Parcells building the team. Douglas Flynn has more on the new look that the Dolphins will bring to town this weekend. Christopher Price has the Patriots getting ready for the new look, bulked up Miami defense.

Michael Felger has his Patriots mailbag, with readers accusing him of being both a Patriots hater and a suck-up.

Karen Guregian has Stephen Gostkowski turning into a weapon for the Patriots. Mark Farinella has Gostkowski enjoying his performance against the Jets. David Brown says that Gostkowski is growing into what the Patriots hoped he would be when they drafted him.

Rich Thompson has Matt Light looking forward to facing the Dolphins without having to deal with Jason Taylor. Hector Longo says that the NFL need to look out…Richard Seymour is back. In matchup of dueling headlines, Rich Garven says that the Patriots are still suffering from Red Zone Woes, while Robert Lee says that the Patriots have picked up the pace on their Red Zone defense.

Bill Reynolds stumbled across an article in Blitz magazine about Randy Moss that he really enjoyed. In it, Moss talked about how he became a Patriot and about his first weeks with the team. Eric McHugh looks at the bond between Pennington and Moss. Guregian has Pennington showing some love for Randy Moss.

Meredith Goldstein has “Patriots Nation” wondering if Matt Cassel can be like Tom Brady off the field, too.

The Globe notebook has the offseason work put in by Gostkowski paying dividends in the early going so far. Guregian’s notebook wonders if the Patriots might activate massive tight end Tyson DeVree off the practice squad to help out the blocking game. Farinella’s notebook says that these Dolphins are beginning to look like a Parcells-built team. Garven’s notebook has the Miami defense looking quite different without Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas.

Bruins/Misc

Kevin Paul Dupont has a piece on Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, who earned himself a new contract with his play last season. Stephen Harris looks at Blake Wheeler as someone with a chance to make an impact on the Bruins. Bud Barth says that the Bruins could surprise some people this season. Fluto Shinzawa says that Wheeler and Matt Marquardt have been showcasing themselves early on in camp.

Steve Conroy and Mark Blaudschun look at whether BC quarterback Chris Crane is going to be able to start getting the ball downfield more. Eric Avidon has chemistry class in session between Crane and his wideouts.

KC Joyner on WEEI.com

So yeah, that guy KC Joyner that Glenn Ordway, Pete Sheppard and company were ripping apart on Monday? 

He has in fact been signed up to write some content for WEEI.com. His first column is posted today, entitled Jets-Patriots, a Fascinating Concoction.

Now this just makes their attacks on the guy even more curious. Obviously they knew all along he was coming aboard. They were ruthless in the things they said about him. 

Either there is some tension in the offices over at 10 Guest Street between the web side and the radio side, (which there is a certain amount of) or was this perhaps all orchestrated just to generate some pub? In that case, it worked, as they’ve gotten plenty of attention over this matter. 

Or is that just giving them too much credit?

Sox Knocked Back To Second

The Red Sox stay in first place lasted for just one night, as the Rays scored a walk-off win last night to beat Boston 2-1.

Amalie Benjamin has the Rays booting the Sox back to second. Michael Silverman observes that this one seemed to hurt a little more than the other losses to the Rays this season. Sean McAdam has the Sox losing out on an opportunity to gain first place all to themselves. Jeff Goldberg has the Rays holding onto first place, just as they have for most of the season. Paul Jarvey examines a textbook example of how the Rays have been winning all season long.

Dan Shaughnessy follows up on his scoop from yesterday that the Red Sox and Theo Epstein are close to getting a new contract done. Anyone else find it strange/ironic that Shaughnessy would be the one getting this scoop, given his role in Theo’s prior contract negotiations? Joe Haggerty also reports on the new deal for Theo. Benjamin says that obviously secrecy is priority for the Red Sox in these talks. Silverman also throws in his two cents on the Epstein extension agreement, which seems close to being finalized.

Even with the loss, Nick Cafardo says that the Sox might’ve gotten the biggest victory last night with the performance of Josh Beckett. Steve Buckley agrees that Beckett’s performance was the bright spot in the tough loss for the Sox. Will Leitch has a piece on Jason Bay for WEEI.com. Buckley has Jed Lowrie moving all around the infield for the Red Sox. Adam Kilgore looks at the excitement in Tampa after the Rays walk-off win.

Jon Couture has a New Bedford native now living in Sarasota leading the charge to bring Red Sox spring training to that town by leading a “Citizens For Sox” community group.

The Globe notebook has Mike Lowell aggravating his hip injury, while J.D. Drew is hopeful to get into a game this weekend. Silverman’s notebook says that Lowell was unable to hide the pain that he was in last night. McAdam’s notebook has the Sox apparently learning their lesson from the last Epstein negotiations. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the Epstein talks. Jarvey’s notebook has still more on the impending extension for the Sox GM.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp says that Matt Cassel needs to begin the transition from mere “game manager” to full fledged passer.

Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots’ short passing game, which was on full display against the Jets. Rich Thompson looks at how the screen pass with Wes Welker was one of the biggest parts of the Patriots offense on Sunday. John Tomase has Richard Seymour taking big steps towards once again becoming the dominant defensive force he was in the past.

Jim Donaldson has a look at the Hall at Patriot Place. Mark Farinella says there isn’t anywhere affordable to eat at in Patriot Place. He also has to deal with a reader complaining about too much Patriots coverage - since the team “isn’t going anywhere” this season.

Tomase has Tom Brady taking an active role in helping Matt Cassel prepare for his role as the starting quarterback. Christopher Price also says that Brady will continue to have a hand in tutoring Cassel.

Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has more on Brady’s role with the team this season. Reiss’ notebook has more on Brady’s mentoring role to Cassel going forward.

Bruins/Misc

Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are going to need big contributions from their young players if they want to make the leap to the next level this season. Fluto Shinzawa says that there was plenty of optimism in the air as the rookies took the ice for the first time yesterday.  Mike Loftus has Patrice Bergeron eager to get some game action under his belt. Rich Thompson has Marc Savard ready to get the new season going. Thompson also has Manny Fernandez hoping to complete his comeback and be able to challenge for the starting goalie job. Harris’ notebook has more from Bergeron, and also Zdeno Chara, as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.

Lenny Megliola has Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca talking about Doc Rivers and his new contract extension.

Jim McCabe looks at the US Ryder Cup team moving ahead without the injured Tiger Woods. He’s got Curtis Strange even comparing it to the Patriots losing Tom Brady – though he says their “backup QB” is much better than the Patriots’.

The Eagles/Cowboys Monday Night Football game on ESPN pulled in the largest audience in cable TV history, beating the Patriots/Ravens game from last season.

The Big Show Realizes Fantasy Football Isn’t Real

Fantasy football has been a topic of jokes and sarcasm for some time over at WEEI’s Big Show. I’m no fantasy football expert – I play one league with my friends for fun, and that’s it, but this segment caught my attention.

I don’t know if you heard any of this, but in this very curious segment yesterday, the Big Show crew angrily went off on the entire fantasy football concept, and in particular, ESPN.com’s K.C. Joyner who bills himself “The Football Scientist.”

The segment started innocuously enough, a little after 4:30 with a caller casually mentioning that LaMont Jordan was a guy who had killed his fantasy team for the last couple of years, and now here he was, playing for the team that he roots for.

It seemed to be the signal that Ordway and company were waiting for, as they went on a collective tirade that lasted until the 5:00 commercial break.

Pete Sheppard started it off with “Fantasy Football, who gives a rat’s ass?”

The Millions who sign up to play, apparently. But these guys either aren’t smart enough to understand it, or somehow the word Fantasy threatens their cigar-smoking, leather chap-wearing, motorcycle riding existence. They mock what they can’t understand.

Ordway then followed up with his “I must say…” introduction that he uses when he wants to get serious and pretend that he has an actual important message he wants to get across…“I gotta throw this out there…please people, we have no problem with anyone playing fantasy football, ok, if you could get a date, it would probably improve your life a little bit, but there’s nothing wrong with it…BUT ITS NOT THE SAME GAME AS THE REAL GAME OF FOOTBALL.”

Really Glenn? How did you figure that out?

“The problem is, but now there are these geeks out there, who are now taking fantasy football, crossing the line, and think its actually REAL football.

Think about how totally absurd that entire statement is. A “problem?” Is that a problem like the financial crashes or the housing crisis? Is it something we should all be concerned about? “Geeks” – the buzzword for anyone who knows how to use a keyboard. “crossing the line” – whoa! These guys have taken it way too far. THEY’VE CROSSED THE LINE. Um, what line exactly is that? They “think it’s actually REAL football.” Once again, WHO thinks fantasy football is real? What in the world is he talking about?

“And they’re basing it all on numbers.” Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point of fantasy football…

“IT’S NOT REAL FOOTBALL…fantasy football is…listen to the word they use how to describe it…FANTASY. OK?

Once again, I guess I missed out on the people who were claiming that fantasy football was in any way real football.

The stuff we actually watch on Sunday is REAL. Another brilliant revelation!

Fred Smerlas then chimed in “Like the clubs you go to – fantasy.” To which Ordway said “Exactly.” Ordway then launched into his attack:

Have you seen this, this kid, who calls himself the uh, the football scientist? He wears like a white scientist jacket? I mean, this kid,  he’s on ESPN.com as well.

Steve DeOssie: He’s unbelievable.

I don’t watch it…I don’t watch it…why don’t you click it off? – Sheppard was reaching the boiling point now, as his words were impatiently spoken like someone ready to just completely lose it…

Ordway continued: He comes up with numbers that obviously may make some sense if you’re playing fantasy football, but then when you try to convert them to stuff on the line, line play…guys…this is not…you can’t…this is not baseball, you can’t take…

Isn’t the whole point that those numbers are meant for those playing fantasy football? What idiots are using them to analyze REAL football? Who are these people, Glenn?

After stammering a bit longer on what a “goofball” Joyner was (though they never mentioned him by name) Glenn made what he felt was his most important point:

You’ve got to be able to separate…you guys played the game…statistics in football do not tell you the story…

They went to say how these fantasy geeks have no idea about how the game is really played, that they can’t account for double teams, or how well a cornerback played or other factors. These are all valid points, which make sense, but apparently these guys can’t fathom that people actually understand that fantasy football is separate from the real game. To them, if you play fantasy football, you’re not a fan of REAL football.

Ordway made fun of Joyner’s claim that he watches game film and rates the players and the plays. “IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE GAME, HOW CAN YOU WATCH TAPE AND RATE A PLAYER’S PERFORMANCE? You know what? I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna go home tonight, I’m gonna watch five operas, I’m gonna come in tomorrow, and I am going to rate for you all of the operas. OK? And guess what? Whatever I tell you will be absolutely USELESS – because I won’t know what I’m talking about.”

That hasn’t stopped you from speaking on any other topic, Glenn.

They then ranted about how these formulas have credibility among the blogs and other sites on the internet. Sheppard yelled “ITS ONLY CREDIBLE TO THE IDIOTS OUT THERE WHO DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. IF IT’S CREDIBLE, YOU’RE AN IDIOT! SERIOUSLY NO OFFENSE BUT YOU’RE AN IDIOT. WHAT IT IS IS EMBARRASSING!”

Ordway then made the following statement: “I gotta tell you (that voice again, and repeated about three times) you guys are around, and we’re around some of the football guys you guys are around a lot of them…people in the game, the coaches, the GMs, they LAUGH AT THIS STUFF! Because its not what they do. It’s not their business, it’s not real football. They LAUGH at this stuff, these stupid statistics are an absolute JOKE…it’s just a joke.”

Ordway then condescendingly gave the “kid” credit for being able to sell his stuff even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Sheppard yelled again that they should get someone on to challenge him and not let him “spew his ridiculous crap.”

Wouldn’t you love to hear Sheppard just try and do that?

Smerlas referred to him as a “con artist” able to sell his stuff to salespeople at ESPN who don’t know any better.

I think Ordway had an inkling of how stupid they were sounding, as he tried to change up the arguement by saying what they were talking about was “separate from fantasy football” and he then talked about how these people were “trying to put a spin on the game of football like it’s above this violent game where two people are going to butt heads in the trenches…they want to make it above that, and they want to suddenly integrate NUMBERS into it, which will tell you why this team did this and why they won by seven and didn’t lose by four.”

Somewhere along the line, Ordway and company have gotten the impression that the statistics and analysis used by these fantasy “experts” are being taken seriously and being applied and used to try and predict “real” football. Who does this? Anyone? These stats are designed for fantasy football and are used by those who play the game. There are new football stats out there, which, like any stats, can be used as another way to look at the game, as long as you keep things balanced. Is Football Outsiders, which has a weekly segment on WEEI’s Dale and Holley show an “embarrassment” in the eyes of Pete Sheppard? The more likely scenario, as mentioned earlier, is that these guys simply can’t understand these new ways of looking at things, and so they mock them…

I would venture to say that this “kid” Joyner (he’s not a “kid”) would talk circles around Sheppard and Ordway when it comes to football.

When Smerlas and DeOssie are talking football seriously, you can tell, and they do give you some pretty good insight at times as to what is happening on the field, and the mindset and techniques needed to play in the NFL. Ordway has never impressed me with his football knowledge, which seems to mostly consist of knowing which buzzphrases to throw out there that week: “Eight in the box” “cover two” “punch them in the mouth” “two gap.” Sheppard is clearly a huge fan of the game, and his enthusiasm for it is evident, but his analysis not something you tune in the radio specifically to hear.

ESPN has tried to limit their personalities to appearances on only ESPN outlets, unless they are promoting something such as a book, or charity. Joyner happens to have a book out right now, so maybe they can get him on and challenge him on their airwaves.

As a followup based on the comment from “Lefty” below…Ordway and crew said a couple times in the segment that “The Football Scientist” appears on WEEI.com…I haven’t seen him on there that I remember. The site has Kirk Minihane on there as their fantasy specialist. (He also has a blog.) I meant to mention these items in the above rant.