The Friday Megalinks. It’s About Time

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog providing your Friday megalinks technically on a Saturday morning. Work issues prevented me from putting this up at my usual time, but they’re up and it’s time to get to the Weekend Viewing Picks.

The Patriots host the Rams at Foxboro on Sunday. Fox25 and Fox 64 will carry the game locally Sunday at 1 p.m. Chris Rose, JC Pearson and Nishelle Turner will be on hand for the call. Gil and Gino are alternatives on radio. In addition, there’s no Sunday night game because of the World Series. One of the games of interest will be San Diego and New Orleans and it’s not because of the matchup, but of the location, Wembley Stadium in London. CBS has that game at 1 p.m. Fox has the featured late game, the New York Giants at Pittsburgh at 4:15 p.m. NFL Viewing Picks are here for your review.

Boston College will be in action on Saturday against North Carolina. Raycom will syndicate the game to TV38, CW28 and a whole host of ACC TV stations at noon. Comcast SportsNet will air Towson visiting UNH also at noon. Charter customers in central Massachusetts will see Lehigh at Holy Cross at 1 p.m. Plus, College Football’s big game this weekend is Penn State at Ohio State. ESPN’s College Gameday will broadcast live from Columbus, OH starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. Then ABC will have the game that night starting at 8. CBS has Georgia at LSU starting at 3:30 p.m. The entire national TV schedule can be seen in the College Football Viewing Picks.

The Bruins will host the Atlanta Trashers at the Garden on NESN at 7 p.m. and the Kathryn Tappen-hosted pregame show can be seen a half hour earlier.

The World Series resumes on Saturday in Philadelphia, weather permitting. If the Series can be played on Saturday, it’ll be on Fox25 and Fox 64 at 8:29 p.m. And Game 4 would be played Sunday night at 8:29 p.m. as well. However, with a Nor’easter expected on Saturday, there’s a 70% chance of rain. I guess watch the Weather Channel to see if it actually gets played on time.

Horse racing’s last big event of the season, The Breeders’ Cup will be run at Santa Anita on Saturday. WCVB and ABC6 have the races starting at 1 p.m., then ESPN takes it to the conclusion starting at 3:30 p.m.

NASCAR heads to Atlanta for the Pep Boys 500 which ABC will carry at 2 p.m. on Sunday Indy Car heads Down Under for the Indy 300 on ESPN Classic, Saturday night at 10:30.

UFC 90 is on Pay Per View Saturday night.

The PGA Tour has the Frys.com Open this weekend on Golf Channel, Saturday and Sunday at 4.

And if you want to watch figure skating, NBC and Universal Sports have coverage of Skate America throughout the weekend.

Now to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael McCarthy looks at the brewing feuds between Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer and ESPN and between Boomer Esiason and Troy Aikman.

The Sports Media Watch says the ratings for World Series Game 2 were the lowest ever in history.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jason Bartlett stands to make some money thanks to the Taco Bell stolen base promotion. Darren wonders if the slow sale of Jets Personal Seat Licenses is due to the economy. And Darren reports that the Boston Red Sox have won the “Sex Rod” case.

The Big Lead looks back at the five best players coached by former Arizona coach Lute Olson.

Christopher Byrne’s Eye on Sports Media looks at 90 year old Furman Bisher’s blog.

Joe Favorito looks at the impact of David Beckham possibly returning to Europe on MLS.

Awful Announcing discovers that ESPN’s Erin Andrews is looking at a move to cover Hollywood down the line.

Simon Thiel of Bloomberg talks about ESPN’s plans to bid for the German Bundesliga and may start a local version of its network.

East and Mid Atlantic

The Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with Comcast SportsNet’s Greg Dickerson about his role as Celtics sideline reporter.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks inside the lower ratings for Game 1 of the World Series.

New York Post curmudgeon Phil Mushnick goes after ESPN for something.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with Ohio State and Penn State alumni Cris Carter and Todd Blackledge about the game involving their respective schools on Saturday. And Justin has five questions for the YES Network’s Howard Cross about his former New York Giants team.

Newsday’s Neil Best speculates on the possible new sidekick for WFAN’s Mike Francesa. In his blog, Neil says New York was listed in the top 10 markets viewing Game 2 of the World Series. Neil talks about two new shows premiering on the World Fishing Network. I kid you not.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman talks with Tampa Bay Rays TV voice Dewayne Staats.

Will Leitch and Joe DeLessio of New York Magazine says ESPN is making up editorial policy as it goes along.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says the local Fox affiliate has permission to break away from the Rams-Patriots game to go to the Giants-Steelers game. Pete says there’s a silver lining to the lower ratings for the World Series.

Laura Nachman says America is just not catching on to her Phillies.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun talks about the ESPN directive not to report Jay Glazer’s Brett Favre-talking-to-the-Lions story.

South

Doug Nye of The State wonders why sports radio talk show hosts criticize the South Carolina fans.

Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald says fans of the U won’t be able to watch Saturday’s game against Wake Forest because Comcast doesn’t carry ESPNU. And Barry writes about the latest Arbitron ratings for the sports radio stations in South Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Dave Darling says the Fox Sports Florida-Bright House cable dispute is getting uglier. An editorial in the Sentinel says the dispute hurts Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Rays fans.

Ray Buck in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa have developed a great chemistry despite not being in the booth.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that Fox is spinning its World Series ratings.

Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News enjoys his beat. And Barry gets a tidbit on the Cowboys from Siragusa. Barry says a majority of Americans aren’t watching the World Series.

Mel Bracht of The Daily Oklahoman writes that ESPN/ABC’s Brad Nessler is happy to covering his first Big 12 game of the season. Mel looks at what the national media is saying about the new Oklahoma City Thunder. In his media notes, Mel says Marv Albert did some extra work for the NBA Live video game thanks to the Thunder. And Mel has his weekend viewing picks.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News says a popular sports anchor is leaving. And Chick Ludwig of the Daily News says he’ll miss her as well. And Marc looks at the 60 years of the World Series on TV.

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that three Red Wings prospects get a chance to be on TV next week.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the ratings for the World Series locally were quite good.

Ted Cox from the Chicago Daily Herald writes that length matters to Fox.

Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says sports radio station KFAN has fired one of its hosts after he was arrested on drug possession charges.

Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about the sports radio ratings in the Gateway City.

Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star says there’s another casualty for sports radio station KCSP.

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News says Utah’s football coach made the rounds on ESPN earlier this week.

Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that CBS Sports is looking forward to producing the Chargers-Saints game from London. Jay has the ratings from San Diego from last weekend.

John Maffei from the North County Times says CBS Sports has some challenges broadcasting from Wembley Stadium in London.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says ESPN is dealing with its NBA personnel making some career choices this season.

Steve Springer at the Los Angeles Times says ESPN is going to try to make a big deal out of the Breeders’ Cup.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is the subject of Tom Hoffarth’s Friday column in the Los Angeles Daily News. In the first part of his extensive media notes, Tom looks at the start of the NBA season on TV. And Tom has more media notes here. Tom also has the ratings of World Series Game 2 in Philly and Tampa-St. Pete.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says NBA’s national voices feel Seattle will be back in the game soon.

Canada

William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says the Dallas Stars’ Sean Avery is causing TV analysts to rightfully trash the very annoying pissant of a player.

CBC Sports has announced its figure skating schedule.

That’s going to do it. Have a great weekend.

Kudos To Globe For Brady Coverage

I singled out WEEI and the Boston Herald  this morning for their sensationalistic and doomsday coverage of Tom Brady’s knee situation.

I should’ve also mentioned that I’m pleased with the even-handed way the Boston Globe has covered the matter. Yesterday, when WEEI was “reporting” every 20 minutes that the Patriots were upset with Brady for choosing a West coast doctor, the Globe never published that rumor on Boston.com. I applaud them for that.

Their coverage of the infection in Brady’s knee has been similarly even-keeled. The piece by Shira Springer this morning pointed out that “When doctors wash out a septic joint, a similar action often must be done two or three times to help clear out the infection.”

This is a change from most reports that just hysterically report that Brady needed multiple procedures to clear out the infection. Springer’s report points out that flushing the wound multiple times is a common practice when there is an infection. (Though I’m a little unclear about the comment about his return being delayed a couple months in the “best case” scenario.) The Reiss’ Pieces blog has only devoted one post to Brady’s knee condition in the last couple of days, and it was a post this morning pointing readers to comments by Dr James Andrew in the Los Angeles Times this morning which indicates that Brady is winning the infection battle.

Contrast that with this headline banner on WEEI.com:

I got an email from WEEI.com this morning pointing out that the screaming headline was an actual quote from the Doctor in the report.

“What will probably have to happen is that they will have to go in, remove everything–including the screws, everything—because everything has to be sterile and clean for (the repair) to take,” Kremchek said.

What does that mean in terms of timetable?

“Next year, I have to think, is seriously in doubt,” Kremchek said.

Now it becomes clearer why so many people are concerned.

Worst case?

“His career could be in jeopardy,” Kremchek said.

OK, so Dr Kremcheck did say Brady’s career could be in jeopardy.

In the Worst Case scenario.

If you read the Doctor’s comments in the report, his opinion is quite different from what others have said about the situation. More pessimistic, for sure.

WEEI.com chose to run with this approach to the story. The “worst case” angle, and play it up accordingly. That’s their perogative, and they likely will get a few more people to click over to the story by doing it that way.

Ron Borges in the Herald also chose to run with the worst case scenario, comparing Brady’s situation with a boxer who had surgery from the same Doctor that Brady did, and who never returned to the ring.

I’ll take the cautious, even-keeled reports in the Globe yesterday and today over the panic-mongering style shown in this incident by WEEI.com and the Herald any day.

Brady’s Knee in Focus

Tom Brady’s knee is the story that the media has attached themselves to this week, with reporters getting opinions from every single source they can find, relishing the doomsday predictions, and wildly speculating about the future of the reigning NFL MVP.

A lot of reporters and outlets are going for the sensational here. WEEI.com gave this Mike Petraglia report a banner headline of CAREER IN JEOPARDY?, Ron Borges questions the selection of Dr. Neal ElAttrache for the surgery, giving the worst case scenarios all around. Hector Longo says that it is time to panic. Eric McHugh is starting to believe in the Super Bowl loser jinx.

Karen Guregian reports that the infection is a result of having had to make separate incisions for the ACL and MCL, after the Dr found that the MCL hadn’t healed completely when he went in to repair the ACL. The Doctors consulted in that article, and the ones quoted by Shira Springer in her article are a bit more positive on the future prognosis for Brady’s knee. The doctor consulted by Shalise Manza Young says that even if the ACL has to be redone, Brady is only looking at a two or three month setback.

Meanwhile, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots are way too secretive about player injuries. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots were circling their wagons to avoid inquiries from the media yesterday.

After discussing Rodney Harrison’s injury, Britt Schramm on Patriots Daily previews this week’s matchup with the Rams. Scott Benson also tied up a few Loose Ends last night.

As for the Patriots who will take the field this weekend against the Rams, Christopher L. Gasper has Matt Cassel talking about what he needs to do to avoid getting sacked so much. In the article, Gaspar consults former NFL QB and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer about the situation. Jennifer Toland has the ground attack led by Sammy Morris opening things up for Cassel last week. Robert Lee says that despite all the injuries, the Patriots aren’t running on empty just yet.

Mark Farinella and Robert Lee each have pieces on cornerback Mike Richardson, who finally made his NFL debut on Monday night against the Broncos after being drafted by the Patriots in 2007.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Mailbag on WEEI.com

Gasper’s notebook looks at the suddenly bare backfield for the Patriots. Guregian’s notebook has Cassel still getting advice from Brady about his play on the field. Toland’s notebook has more on Brady’s knee. McHugh’s notebook has Wes Welker getting back to returning punts on Monday night.

Bruins

Up 2-0, the Bruins allowed four unanswered goals to the Maple Leafs and fell 4-2 to Toronto at the Garden last night.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins turning in their biggest stinker of the season. Bob Stern says this wasn’t how it was supposed to be after Patrice Bergeron’s first goal of the season. Bud Barth has the lethargic Bruins letting the Leafs take this one right away from them. Steve Conroy has coach Claude Julien describing the Bruins effort as unacceptable. Joe Haggerty says that it wasn’t good times for the Bruins last night.

Kevin Paul Dupont has a look at P.J. Axelsson, the longest tenured Bruin, who is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. Steve Buckley has Bergeron’s first goal a highlight of an otherwise dismal night. Haggerty has Bergeron coming Full Circle with his goal last night.  O’Ryan Johnson reports on a couple fans who were injured during the game. Bob Halloran says that for the Bruins, relevance is relative.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Milan Lucic shattering the glass with a second period check. Stern’s notebook has more on the big impact from Lucic. Barth’s notebook examines Boston’s struggles in the shootout. Conroy’s notebook also reports on the glass shattering hit of Lucic.

Red Sox/Celtics

Sean McAdam has the Red Sox waiting until the World Series is over to make Theo Epstein’s new deal official. Haggerty says don’t expect many changes to the Red Sox for next season. McAdam’s notebook says that Derek Lowe’s pricetag likely got too high for the Red Sox after another strong postseason.

Marc J. Spears has the Lakers talking about and wishing for a rematch with the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Mark Murphy has the Celtics looking forward to getting their rings. Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics trying to get their bench in order.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Greg Dickerson talking about his role as the Celtics sideline reporter for CSN.

Laurel J. Sweet and Jonathan Saltzman have more on Boston sportscasting legend Bob Gamere’s arrest on child porn charges.

Patriots Statement on Media Speculation

On every sportsflash on WEEI today and on many other outlets nationwide, a report from ESPN was parroted regularly that said the Patriots were displeased with Tom Brady’s choice of a Los Angeles surgeon “because they wanted Brady’s surgery done under the direction of doctors of their choosing in Boston.” The Patriots released a statement tonight:

“Today, ESPN cited an unnamed source who supposedly expressed the feelings of the Patriots ‘organization.’ This unsubstantiated report does not represent the team’s views whatsoever. We have supported Tom Brady one hundred percent from day one of this process and will continue to do so. We issued a statement last Saturday expressing our complete organizational support for Tom. That support includes all aspects of the process. Unfortunately, our statement was not mentioned or referenced in ESPN’s report. Today, we reiterate our total support for Tom as he recovers from his injury.”

This is a separate issue from the speculation over the infection in Brady’s knee, which is a legitimate, if not unknown, issue. There is reason to be concerned about the reports we’re hearing about the multiple procedures needed to clear the infection, though Will Carroll on WEEI today did attempt to calm things down some.

Bob Gamere Faces Child Porn Charges

Boston.com reports that former TV sportscaster and “Candlepins for Cash” host Bob Gamere has been arrested on charges of transporting and possessing child pornography.

The article states that Gamere “told the Globe a year ago that he was “semi-retired,” though he had been doing some announcing at Boston University track meets and was until recently calling horse races at the Brockton Fair.”

He also did a one-time fill in appearance on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program.

Boston In The World Series

I came across a couple of pretty interesting photos that I thought I would pass along. These show crowds gathered around a high-tech “electric scoreboard” for the 1912 World Series between Boston and New York:

Click For Full Size Version

Click For Full Size Version

Click For Full Size Version

Click For Full Size Version

Since the Washington Post was sponsoring this scoreboard, I’m assuming the photos are from D.C. Getting these type of “real time” updates must’ve been a thrilling experience for baseball fans of that era.

Come to think of think of it, this scoreboard doesn’t really look all that different from the online gamecasts that ESPN, CBS, Yahoo! and all the other online media outlets use today to pass along game information to those sitting in front of computers.

Would the crowds gathered together to watch in the streets back in 1912 be the equivalent of the Sons of Sam Horn message board?

Pats To Carry On Without Harrison

The Patriots officially placed Rodney Harrison on injured reserve yesterday, officially ending his 2008 season. To replace his spot on the roster, the team activated safety Antwain Spann from the practice squad. No move to bring a veteran such as John Lynch or Ty Law appears to be in the works.

On Patriots Daily, Tyler Carter looks at the return of the big play to Foxboro.

Mark Farinella has the Patriots players paying tribute to Harrison yesterday. David Brown has more from Harrison’s teammates on what he means to them. Christopher Price has the team trying to get used to life without Rodney. Shalise Manza Young says that Harrison is a mighty big loss to the team, both on and off the field. Rich Garven has the team already trying to move on and put Harrison’s injury in the past. Andy Vogt says that the injury to Harrison is no ordinary loss to the Patriots defense. Chris Kennedy has Brandon Meriweather sliding into the safety role left open by Harrison.

Meanwhile, the offensive backfield is dealing with its own set of injuries. Mike Reiss has this unit trying to carry on with Laurence Maroney out for the season and Sammy Morris’ status uncertain for this weekend. Karen Guregian reports that Tom Brady has had to have two more procedures on his knee to attempt to clean out infection from the ACL surgery. Robert Lee says that while the Patriots are battered, they’re not broken. Kerry J. Byrne on WEEI.com says that everything for the Patriots this season has been feast or famine. Glen Farley has Heath Evans talking about his personal commitment to his Heath Evans Foundation.

Kennedy’s notebook has Matt Cassel winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Broncos on Monday night.  Farinella’s notebook has more on Cassel’s AFC honor. Reiss’ notebook has more on the safety spot, where Meriweather will take over, but several players will need to fully fill Harrison’s role on the defense. Guregian’s notebook has more on the team trying to soldier on without Harrison. Young’s notebook looks at the suddenly red-hot Rams. Farley’s notebook has the focus now shifting to Meriweather at safety. Garven’s notebook has things looking grim for both Sammy Morris and Stephen Jackson of the Rams this weekend.

Celtics

On the BSMW Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin says LeBron James needs to show Gabe Pruitt a little respect.

Paul Flannery assesses the point guard position for the Celtics, which has gone from being a question mark last season, to a strength this year. Mark Murphy has Eddie House more in control this season when he’s called on to run the point. Mike Fine has GM’s around the league picking the Lakers to beat the Celtics in the NBA finals this season. Frank Dell’Apa has more on the Lakers getting the love from the league GM’s.

Marc J. Spears looks at whether Larry Bird can bring the Pacers back to being a contender.

Michael Holley will be the new host of the weekly Celtics magazine shot on Comcast SportsNet.

Red Sox

Rob Bradford talks to Josh Beckett to find out just how much pain the Red Sox ace was in during the postseason. Michael Silverman has a postseason report card for the Sox. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox are not afraid to be bold, and looks at some moves they could make this offseason.  Joe McDonald has the Red Sox bringing back five of their coaches for next season.

Sean McAdam says that this season has proved that the Red Sox have a lot more than just the Yankees to worry about now. Ron Chimelis asserts that the Red Sox need to figure out what to do with Manny Delcarmen. Bob Halloran says that life has changed for Sox fans. Steve Buckley has Curt Schilling still talking to anyone who will listen.

Adam Kilgore has Scott Boras already going on the offensive and making the case for Jason Varitek, Boras states that he doesn’t feel that Varitek’s offensive woes are “anything that’s permanent.” Has he watched Varitek at all the last few seasons?

McAdam’s notebook has Luis Alicea out as first base coach for Terry Francona.

Bruins

Matt Porter has Zdeno Chara working hard on his off day.  Stephen Harris says that the shootouts are the true hole in the Bruins game right now. Mike Loftus has a look at Manny Fernandez, who has split time with Tim Thomas in net thus far for the Bruins. Loftus’ notebook has the Bruins shoring up their defense in front of the net.

Book Review: Rebound!

One of the books that has recently passed across my desk here at BSMW headquarters is Rebound: Basketball, Busing, Larry Bird and the Rebirth of Boston.

Written by Boston Herald writer Michael Connelly ( who also writes the daily Connelly’s Top Ten blog for the Herald website) the book parallels the struggles of a city in crisis during the tumultuous 1970’s with a once-great sports franchise in decline. Drawing upon his own experiences as a youth during that decade, Connelly presents a compelling social history of Boston.

With forced desegregation polarizing the city, the Celtics were in decline following their 1976 NBA championship over the Suns. Both the city and the team had histories of liberty, greatness and pride which were severely tested during the decade. The chapters alternate between events in the city, such as Judge Garrity’s 1974 decision on desegregation and the history of the Celtics through the years, and into their tough times in the late 1970’s. Tales of Red Auerbach talking to both the 76ers and Knicks about taking over those clubs because of his disgust with the owners of the Celtics are discussed.

Then, as Auerbach drafted Larry Bird and then maneuvered meddling owner John Y Brown out of town, the Celtics fortunes turned around. Events in the city, such as the senseless shooting of high school football player Darryl Williams rallied communities into taking action and galvanizing the city. When the Celtics won the 1981 championship, the team and city celebrated together, marking a change in both.

The book is due to be released on December 12th, but is available for pre order through Amazon.com. (Click on the image of the book to be taken to the Amazon order page.)

Bruins Fall in 2nd Straight Shootout

For the second night in a row, the Bruins battled hard, only to fall in the shootout portion of overtime, this time 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres.

Fluto Shinzawa has head coach Claude Julien happy with his club’s effort, but feeling as if he’s living the movie Groundhog DayStephen Harris says that the Bruins shouldn’t feel that badly about last night’s loss.

Shinzawa’s notebook has rookie Blake Wheeler still adjusting to his role. Harris’ notebook has Manny Fernandez continuing his upward trend in goal for the Bruins.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Scott Benson has A Cautious Optimism about this team after Monday night.

So what was with the trashing of Matt Cassel yesterday on the Big Show? Yesterday’s script for the show must’ve included making sure to downplay and ridicule the quarterback’s performance in any way possible. We know the guy will never be Tom Brady, but give him some credit when he plays well, ok?

With the Patriots having played Monday night, Wednesday becomes report card day. Michael Felger offers up a uniformly positive report card while also asking what happened to the Broncos. Ian Clark has high marks all around for the Patriots. Even Ron Borges is hard pressed to find too many negatives from Monday night. Robert Lee says that the Patriots made a statement with their win over the Broncos. Ben Swasey looks at what a difference a week can make.

Christopher L. Gasper says that what could be Rodney Harrison’s final season in the NFL didn’t end on his own terms. Karen Guregian has the Patriots losing the Tom Brady of their defense with Harrison sidelined for the season with a torn quad. Mike Reiss looks at just what a huge part of the Patriots defense Harrison is and how the team will try to cover his loss. Hector Longo has the Patriots starting life without Rodney today. Rich Garven reports on the Patriots losing their defensive leader.

I’ll give you all you need to know about the column from Mark Farinella this morning:

Of course, the “In Bill We Trust” crowd will see this as just another example of the media whining and crying about how it gets no cooperation from the best coach in the league.

That’s because that’s exactly what your article this morning is, Mark.

Jim Donaldson would like the real Patriots to step forward. David Brown has a look at the dominant running game on Monday night. Lenny Megliola says that in this crazy season, the Patriots are as viable contenders as anyone else.

Guregian’s notebook has a look at the suddenly thin running back position. Lee’s notebook looks at the mounting injuries for the Patriots. Garven’s notebook says that BenJarvus Green-Ellis looks like a keeper.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman has Terry Francona and the Red Sox battling adversity this entire season. Adam Kilgore looks at just what a grind 2008 was for Francona. Bob Stern has more on the upcoming offseason for Francona, which includes back surgery and plenty of rest. Jeff Goldberg has more from the Red Sox skipper. Joe McDonald notes that the players weren’t the only battered ones at the end of the season.

John Tomase says that the Red Sox starters are fine, but that the club will still look to improve the rotation in the offseason. He also tosses out a few names that will be available. Steve Buckley says that the Sox better not trade Kevin Youkilis if they decided to bring in Mark Teixeira. It would be crazy to trade Youkilis, but I haven’t heard a single person suggest it. Most scenarios that have Teixeira coming here (including mine) involve keeping Youkilis.

Bill Doyle says that FOX can’t be happy with a Rays/Phillies World Series.

Shira Springer looks at the difficult job of baseball authenticators.

Silverman’s notebook has Francona explaining how he handled Jason Varitek in the postseason. Kilgore’s notebook looks at what the Red Sox would’ve done had they needed a closer in game 7.

Celtics

Marc J. Spears has his NBA preview, with the Celtics trying to repeat, and many of the top contenders making moves in the offseason to try and catch up. Spears focuses in on the New Orleans Hornets, who many feel are ready to make the leap this season.

Mark Murphy looks at Leon Powe and Bill Walker as players who underwent multiple knee surgeries before even getting to the NBA.

We want to be sure to remember Harry Mangurian, who passed away on Sunday. Mangurian had been a part-owner of the team with John Y. Brown, and then bought the rest of the team from Brown after Red Auerbach threatened to leave for the Knicks if Brown didn’t sell his stake in the team. The team came back to glory and won the 1981 championship under Mangurian’s ownership.

Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics ready to get the season started for real. Frank Dell’Apa has Gabe Pruitt once again impressing in his time on the floor.

Will Leitch has his mailbag for WEEI.com

Pats Rout Broncos on MNF

Note: To those who expressed dismay or concern over the lack of a post yesterday, I had some family matters to take care of. Yes, it was the day after the Red Sox were eliminated, and some of you commented that you hold the site to a high standard, but I hope you can also understand that I run this site by myself, around a full-time job and sometimes I just can’t do as much as I would like here.

When I saw last night that the Patriots were wearing their dark jerseys at home rather than the white, and that Bill Belichick had on his familiar gray cut-off sweatshirt, for some reason I immediately felt better about their chances. When they forced a couple of early turnovers and converted them into field goals, I felt even better.

Last night was a badly needed win for the Patriots, who made the Denver Broncos look as bad as the Patriots themselves had looked last week against the Chargers. The only concerns coming out of last night’s game were the injuries. After piling up 138 yards in the first half, Sammy Morris didn’t come out for the second half. Ellis Hobbs left the game with an injury, and Rodney Harrison had to be carted off the field with a knee injury that even Bill Belichick said after the game “doesn’t look so good”, which to me spoke volumes and is about the most he’ll ever say about the severity of an injury.

Head on over to Patriots Daily, where Chris Warner has your first look at last night’s win.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots bouncing back strong from their defeat in San Diego last week. Karen Guregian has the aforementioned injuries marring an otherwise great night for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots having fun last night at Gillette. Mark Farinella looks at a reversal of form for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has the Patriots flexing a bit of their old muscle last night. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots defense putting on a show last night. David Brown says you might need to rethink your ideas of these Patriots. Steve Krause has everything going the Patriots way last night.

Mike Reiss looks at the return of smashmouth football to New England. Ron Borges wonders if the thrill of victory will be worth the agony of the injuries. Farinella says that a key last night was the Patriots being able to convert opportunities into points. Rich Garven has the Patriots putting it all together last night. Hector Longo says that there is no middle ground with these Patriots.

Dan Shaughnessy says that this game said more about the state of the NFL than it did the Patriots or Broncos. Jim Donaldson has the Patriots going from terrible to terrific in just one week. Prior to the game though, Donaldson had a much more pessimistic view of the Patriots, especially after they placed Laurence Maroney on IR earlier in the day. He then changed his view after the strong first half from Sammy Morris. Did he change it again after Morris got injured?

Christopher Price lines up the 10 Things We Learned from last night’s game. Dan Duggan lays out the Best And Worst from last night. Robert Lee offers up some post game analysis from both sides of the ball. Garven has notes and figures from last night’s win.

Brian MacPherson notes that last night was a good night for fancy footwork on the Gillette Stadium turf.  Chris Forsberg has Randy Moss having a big night in the short-passing game for the Patriots.

Dan Ventura reports on the injury to Rodney Harrison. Young has more on the ugly looking knee injury suffered by the veteran Harrison. Farinella notes that the injury cast a pall over a strong defensive effort by the Patriots.

Gasper has Hall of Famer John Hannah talking about the Patriots struggles in the passing game this season with Matt Cassel under center. Dan Duggan has Cassel getting a passing grade for his work last night. Guregian has Hannah with plenty to say about Randy Moss as well. Donaldson has Cassel finding a comfort zone last night.

Borges has a look at the big night for Andre Tippett at Gillette Stadium. Borges, of course played a huge role in Tippett getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with his tireless advocacy of the former Patriots linebacker.

Julian Benbow has Mike Shanahan and the Broncos at a loss to explain what happened last night.

Gasper’s notebook has the Patriots placing Laurence Maroney on season-ending IR. Guregian’s notebook has more on the end of 2008 for Maroney. Farinella’s notebook has more on Maroney being shelved for the year. Brown’s notebook has more on the disappointing running back.

Bruins

The Bruins had their home opener last night, and managed to just salvage a point from the game, as they lost 2-1 in a OT shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fluto Shinzawa says that the only thing sour about last night’s game was the outcome for the Bruins. Joe Haggerty offers some postgame thoughts on the loss. Steve Conroy has the Bruins showing that they aim to keep their fans attention this season. Mick Colageo has the Bruins giving their fans everything except a win last night.

Kevin Paul Dupont has hockey crawling back into our sports consciousness with the end of the Red Sox season. Stephen Harris has Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs very gloomy about the financial future of the NHL and his team in this struggling economy. Barbara Matson has a look at Patrice Bergeron playing his first game that matters on the Garden ice since early last season.

Shinzawa’s notebook looks at the Bruins lack of opportunities on the power play. The Herald notebook has more on Bergeron getting back on the Garden ice.

Red Sox

Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox largest offseason decision involves Jason Varitek. Joe McDonald looks at the Sox to-do list for 2009. Bob Ryan deems this season a success. Jon Couture looks at David Ortiz being unable to fill the hero’s role this postseason.

Adam Kilgore has Theo Epstein and the Red Sox already looking ahead to next year. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox will likely just do some “tweaking” but that a big move shouldn’t be ruled out either. Paul Kenyon has Theo Epstein not anticipating wholesale changes to the team. Mike Fine has more from Epstein on the winter ahead.

Bill Reynolds says that it is time to reload. Ron Chimelis says the Sox need to add some power.

Steve Buckley gives us permission to root for the Rays. Nick Cafardo tells us that the Red Sox had to trade Manny. Jeff Goldberg has the Red Sox proud of themselves.

Kilgore’s notebook has an offseason of rest ahead for Josh Beckett. Kenyon’s notebook looks at the futures of Sean Casey and Alex Cora with the Red Sox.

The Celtics cut Darius Miles yesterday. Steve Bulpett and Monique Walker report on the move.