Columbus Day Quick Links and Thoughts on Cooz

It’s Columbus Day, which means a Holiday for some of us, but for the rest of you sitting in your office this Monday morning, here are some quick links and comments to get you started.

Not a good last couple of nights for the Boston sports teams. Josh Beckett got lit up Saturday night, and the game ended with Mike Timlin on the mound for the Sox…not a good thing these days. This led to some of the harshest criticism of manager Terry Francona around these parts during his tenure here in Boston. Every time I switched on the radio or TV yesterday, Francona’s decisions were being questioned. The Sox get back to work this afternoon with Jon Lester on the mound in game three.

Catch up on the Sox coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Last night the Patriots were humiliated in San Diego, 30-10 by the Chargers. The defense struggled with the long ball once again, and the offense just couldn’t get much going on a consistent basis. Chris Warner has the game wrapup for Patriots Daily, and he seems to have had quite enough of the Matt Cassel show, thank you very much. You can check in on the rest of the coverage over at PatriotsLinks.com. We’ll also link out this morning to probably the most popular Monday morning column in Boston, (at least by terms of click-throughs here at BSMW) Christopher Price’s 10 Things We Learned Last Night.

David Scott has a back and forth with Michael Wilbon on Scott’s Shots.

Turning our attention to the Celtics, they won both their preseason games this weekend, but the biggest topic around the team seems to be Bob Cousy’s dismissal from the Comcast SportsNet telecasts. I’m somewhat curious at the amount of coverage this has generated.

I guess I need to first preface my remarks by acknowledging how much Bob Cousy has meant to the Celtics, and to Boston sports in general. It’s very possible that without the Celtics drawing his name out of a hat in a dispersal draft in 1950, the franchise doesn’t survive the decade. His greatness as a player is without question, and watching the old clips of his play, you see how different he was from the other players of his day, and the innovation he brought to the point guard position. His presence on Celtics telecasts has been something that I’ve witnessed during the entire time I’ve been following the Celtics.

In recent years however, Cousy has been scaled back in his appearances, spending more and more time down in Florida, as many people his age have been known to do in the winter. He’s been joining about 10 or so telecasts a season, usually for some of the premiere games, such as a Lakers game or when the Spurs are in town. Sometimes he’s joined them on the road during games in Orlando or Miami.

It’s been pretty obvious during those games however, that the Cooz doesn’t really follow the NBA all that closely anymore. The last two seasons especially, it seemed like Tommy Heinsohn spent much of the telecast acquainting Cousy with the roster. Comments like “You’re going to love this kid, Cooz,” seemed to be acknowledgment that Cousy wasn’t keep up with the roster. (To be fair, the guy is 80 years old…I hope I’m half as active as the Cooz when I’m that age.) His commentary, even last season was usually negative, pointing out the flaws in a player, or predicting doom in the game at hand. Most of his contributions were stories from the old days, (which definitely had some value) or just listening to his unique way of pronouncing words or phrases.

So when it was announced late last week that Cousy would not be a part of the CSN telecasts this season, I wasn’t really surprised. He hadn’t really added much in recent years, and his appearances seemed to be more for “old times sake” and the attraction of having another Celtics legend in the booth than for anything he actually contributed. The uproar began this weekend from a pair of articles, one from Bill Doyle in the Worcester Telegram and one by Frank Dell’Apa in the Boston Globe, where Cousy struck back at CSN, claiming to have been shoved out the door. The Dell’Apa article is particularly inflammatory, with the headline “Cousy fired from Celtics broadcasts” and the opening paragraph:

Bob Cousy will be at TD Banknorth Garden for the Celtics’ banner raising Oct. 28, but he will not be involved in the television broadcasts this season for the first time in 34 years after Comcast SportsNet fired him.

I guess from a cold, technical point of view, “fired” is accurate, but it seems more like Cousy was just let go, not renewed, rather than fired. It seems like CSN could definitely have handled this better, but they were also pretty much in a no-win situation here. Cousy then has plenty to say in the articles, saying in the Dell’Apa article that CSN spends more on office supplies monthly than his salary, but then later in the article his salary is quoted at $50,000.

Cousy also stated:

“Helen and Missy [the wives of Heinsohn and Cousy] were the only ones listening in, then last year the ratings soared and everyone was happy and everyone made money. It turned around completely. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why step in and cause a disruption.”

I know that the first part of the quote was likely meant as a joke, but there’s also a bit of a slap there. I’m not backing CSN here, as I’ll say again that they could’ve handled this better, but at the same time, you can understand their decision in not bringing him back. Cousy could’ve also have handled this a bit better as well. He’s playing up the victim role, but if he added something substantial to the telecasts, or if he even knew who all the players were, his loss from the telecasts would actually be something to lament.

Check your Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com and the Bruins at BruinsLinks.com

Sox Take Game One

Daisuke Matsuzakescaped the first inning after walking the bases loaded, and went on to carry a no-hitter through six innings last night. The Red Sox offense only managed two runs, but it was enough as the Sox bullpen backed up Dice-K and shut out the Rays to win game one of the ALCS 2-0.

Get all the Red Sox coverage from RedSoxLinks.com. (Now with headlines from even more sites, such as Bradford and Speier from WEEI.com.) Tonight’s game is slated for 8:07PM on TBS.

The Celtics were victorious in their second preseason game. Kevin Henkin has the coverage live from the Dunkin Donuts center in Providence. Check the rest of the coverage at CelticsLinks.com. The Celtics play the Rockets tonight in their third preseason game. Coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet at 7:30PM.

Over on Patriots Daily, Greg Doyle checks in with a new edition of College Scout, looking at college player from today’s games that the Patriots could possibly be interested in down the road. Check PatriotsLinks.com for stories from the West coast as the Patriots prepare for tomorrow night’s showdown with the Chargers. You can also check out yours truly analyzing the New England – San Diego matchup with Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber on NBCSports.com.

The Bruins get back into action tonight with a game with the Minnesota Wild at 8:30PM on NESN. Check the coverage at Bruinslinks.com.

Friday Megalinks Potpourri

Ken from Fang’s Bites (note the new web address if you bookmark my site) with the Friday Megalinks.

The Megalinks are all over the place with baseball talk with various football and NHL stories thrown in for good measure. Before we get into the megalinks, let’s do our Weekend Viewing Picks.

TBS has full coverage of the American League Championship Series starting tonight at 8:37. While it’s nice not to have Tim McCarver on this series, we do get Chip Carey who does not seem to know a hole in the wall if it’s located two inches in front of his face. He’s offset by solid analysts Buck Martinez and Ron Darling who join Chip in the booth and Craig Sager will be on the sidelines. NESN’s Dennis Eckersley continues his strong work in TBS’ studio with host Ernie Johnson, Jr. and co-analysts Harold Reynolds and Cal Ripken, Jr.

NESN has a pre and postgame show with Tom Caron and Jerry Remy and a co-analyst du jour.

If you can’t watch the action, WRKO/WEEI will have Joe Castiglione and Dale Arnold on the call. If you’re wondering where Dave O’Brien is, he’ll call the ALCS for ESPN/MLB International.

Fox will have Game 2 of the National League Championship between Philadelphia and Los Angeles this afternoon at 4:35 and it will travel to the West Coast and resume Sunday night at 8:22 p.m.

If you’re wondering about start times for the rest of each series, I have them along with the announcing assignments here.

Luckily, there’s no conflict between the Patriots and Red Sox on Sunday as the ALCS uses the day for travel. NBC has Pats-Chargers on Sunday Night Football starting at 8:15. Al Michaels, John Madden and Andrea Kremer will be in the Stadium formerly known as Jack Murphy. For the rest of the Sunday schedule, you can look in the NFL Viewing Picks.

Over to College Football, Comcast SportsNet has the UMass-Northeastern game at noon. Versus carries the Cornell-Harvard game also at noon. NESN has Yale-Dartmouth at 12:30 p.m.

In the national schedule, the annual Red River Shootout (or Rivalry as its now being called) takes place at the Cotton Bowl. Texas and Oklahoma square off and College Gameday will broadcast live from both outside and inside the Cotton Bowl at 10 a.m. on ESPN, then ABC has the game live at noon. CBS has an SEC doubleheader starting with Tennessee-Georgia at 3:30 p.m., then a primetime game between LSU and Florida at 8 p.m. Because ABC has commitments to NASCAR, it will not carry a primetime game and because CBS has a doubleheader, ESPN cannot show any SEC games on Saturday. The list of nationally televised games is in the College Football Viewing Picks.

As mentioned, NASCAR has a night race on Saturday, the Bank of America 500 which ABC carries at 7:25 p.m.

The PGA Fall Swing to which no one has been paying attention is in Texas for the Valero Texas Open and that’s on Golf Channel on Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.

The Seniors Players Championship is on NBC both days also at 4 p.m.

The LPGA Tour’s Longs Drugs Challenge is on tape delay on Golf Channel, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

And on Showtime, Vitali Klitschko fights Samuel Peter for the WBC Heavyweight Championship and Antonio Tarver goes for the IBF Light Heavyweight Belt Saturday night at 9.

Now to your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about a former USC lineman who now helps Hollywood make realistic football scenes for movies.

Joe Favorito likes how the NHL is trying to grab casual fans.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell is going to call out athletes who wear products contrary to what they are paid to endorse.

Awful Announcing (through Going Five Hole) has the video of Def Leppard disrespecting the Stanley Cup last night in Detroit.

SportsbyBrooks has a story of a Minneapolis talk show host claiming Magic Johnson faked having AIDS. Hoo boy. And Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune gets Magic’s reaction.

To Maury Brown’s Biz of Hockey blog and a story in which the NHL is teaming with CBC and sponsor Scotiabank to create a new FanFav Award.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch makes his last blog entry for a while as he prepares to finish a book project. In this last entry, David talks about Michael Wilbon making some questionable remarks about Elite XC’s Kimbo Slice and Bob Cousy no longer a part of Celtics broadcasts.

Barstool Sports has the video of Philadelphia TV anchor Dawn Timmeney getting hit in the boob by a baseball during an interview. Really. You can’t make this stuff up.

From the Boston Globe, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with TBS’ Buck Martinez about the Red Sox-Rays ALCS.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has NESN’s Jerry Remy missing the booth during the MLB Postseason.

Justin Terranova of the New York Post talks with ESPN’s Lou Holtz about the marquee college football matchups on Saturday. And Justin has five questions for Fox Sports’ Tim McCarver.

In his blog, Neil Best of Newsday says WFAN’s Mike Francesca will bring in midday host Joe Benigno in for a tryout today. And Neil writes that the Mets are close to hashing out an agreement with current radio rights holder WFAN.

Laura Nachman has the Philadelphia sportscaster lineup heading out west to cover the Phillies-Dodgers series.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun discusses Versus’ foray into sports comedy.

Jim Williams in the DC Examiner discusses the Washington Capitals’ NHL season opener being aired on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and WFED tonight.

West

Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune talks with NBC’s John Madden about the Chargers. Jay also has a look at the ratings in San Diego over the last week.

John Maffei from the North County Times says Patriots-Chargers is must see TV on Sunday night.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star discusses Fox Sports’ Tim McCarver’s statements calling Manny Ramirez despicable for his behavior for forcing a trade from the Red Sox. In his TV notes, Jim says the MLB Postseason is having trouble rating up against other TV competition.

Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times does not like the DirecTV ad recalling “Poltergeist” which also uses the image of Heather O’Rourke who died at age 12. I don’t like it either and I can’t help but thinking about her death whenever I see that ad.

Steve Springer of the Times feels Charles Barkley is missing from TBS’ baseball studio.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks with TBS’ Ron Darling about the 1988 NLCS in which the Dodgers beat his Mets. Tom reviews a week’s worth of his blog posts in his blog (naturally). Tom has his extensive media notes that he could not fit into his column.

In the San Jose Mercury News, John Ryan points out an important factual error in the Ernie Davis biopic, “The Express” which opens in movie theaters today.

Gary Washburn in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer welcomes Harold Reynolds’ return to MLB TV analysis this season.

Canada

The Montreal Gazette says CBC’s ignoring of the Canadiens has proven to be a boon for French language network, RDS.

Slam! Sports picks up a Canadian Press story on the two finalists for the new Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge.

As for the original theme, the Canadian Press says a Montreal rock group plans to re-record it this weekend.

Broadcaster Magazine says all of TSN’s studio shows are set to air in HD starting this weekend.

South

Doug Nye of The State says the SEC’s TV partners are leaving next week’s South Carolina-LSU game in the lurch.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel also discusses Versus’ new “Sports Soup” program.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says ESPN’s Steven A. Smith is tired of covering Adam “Don’t Call me Pacman” Jones.

Barry Horn in the Dallas Morning News also has Smith lashing out at Adam “Not Pacman” Jones. Barry also has a College Gameday quiz. Barry is happy that all Dallas Stars home games will be aired in HD.

The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron says ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit will be all over the place during College Gameday tomorrow.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht also looks at College Gameday starting its show outside the Cotton Bowl, then moving inside. Mel talks with Herbstreit about his busy day. And Texas-Oklahoma tops Mel’s Weekend Viewing Picks.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News advises readers to get their antennas out to watch Sunday Night Football as a dispute between Time Warner and the local NBC affiliate has left the channel off the lineup.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says a local sportscaster is happy to be back on the job after a heart attack.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Yankees are conspicuous by their absence by the lower ratings for the MLB Postseason on TBS.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald is happy to have Pat Foley callling Blackhawks games again.

Over to the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin and Paul Christian who says you can add the NHL to a sports weekend that is already overflowing.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar says popular Blues radio analyst Kelly Chase is battling a lesion on his brain.

Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star writes that if you want to irritate Chiefs’ radio voice Mitch Holthus, call him a homer.

That’s going to do it. Enjoy your three day weekend.

ALCS Game One Set For Tonight

David Scott has his last (for awhile) edition of Scott’s Shots before he settles down and gets his book project finished. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has her media column in the Globe, with Buck Martinez talking Red Sox/Rays. Bill Doyle has Jerry Remy not as comfortable analyzing games from the NESN studios instead of the booth.

Tony Massarotti says that Terry Francona has redefined the position of Red Sox manager from one that used to be measured in terms of failure. Steve Buckley says that Fall no longer means a Red Sox collapse is in the cards. Hasn’t it been that way since 2004? This is new? Sean McAdam has the Rays refusing to back down in any way in this series. John Powers has a feature on the Red Sox youth movement, and how the franchise has been rebuilt in the last five seasons. John Tomase says that Jonathan Papelbon is the Red Sox own Mr October.

Dan Shaughnessy tries to find some tradition in Tampa, but can’t get past the ugly dome. Adam Kilgore has more on the experience of playing in the Tropicana Dome. Ron Chimelis has the Red Sox well aware that these Rays are formidable. Brian MacPherson says that the Rays’ pitching is the real deal. Kevin McNamara looks at Tampa’s transformation from worst to first. Joe McDonald has former Devil Rays Kevin Cash and Julio Lugo aware of the teams potential during their stint there. Jeff Jacobs has a look at Joe Maddon’s effectiveness as a manager. Nick Cafardo has the Rays finding the right mix this season.

Michael Vega has Daisuke Matsuzaka getting ready for his big assignment of pitching game one. Gerry Callahan says there is no telling what the Red Sox will get from Dice-K tonight. Rich Thompson has a look at the Rays game one starter, James Shields. Joe Haggerty has the Sox and Rays ready to do battle. Michael Silverman runs through the ALCS matchups. Joe McDonald also goes through all the matchups. David Brown has Mike Lowell still hoping for another chance to play this season.

This Bruce Allen guy also has a column on the long, crusty relationship between the Red Sox and Rays. Jeff Goldberg has more on the bad blood between the teams. Jon Couture says that the past brawls are not a factor in this series. Buckley has Jed Lowrie ahead of his own schedule. McNamara has Mark Kotsay getting the call to play first base in this series for the Red Sox. McNamara also looks at Mike Timlin, who finds himself on the roster for this series.

Kilgore’s notebook has Mike Timlin getting back onto the active roster for the ALCS. Tomase’s notebook looks at Cliff Floyd’s childhood friendship with Rodney Harrison. The ProJo notebook has David Ortiz saying that this is baseball, not professional wrestling, so there are no hard feelings in this series. The Projo Rays notebook has Evan Longoria saying that the Rays knew they’d be facing the Red Sox in the postseason. Goldberg’s notebook has the Sox rolling the Dice tonight. Bill Ballou’s notebook says that the Rays aren’t in the ALCS by accident.

Bruins

The Bruins opened up their regular season late last night with a 5-4 win in Denver over the Colorado Avalanche. Stephen Harris and Fluto Shinzawa report on the win for the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has Patrice Bergeron completing his comeback, while Shinzawa’s notebook has a look at Bruins draft pick Joe Colborne, who is playing a the University of Denver.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Britt Schramm goes on a bit of a media rant against ESPN, and then settles into what the Patriots need to do to beat the Chargers this weekend.

A couple quick links: Glen Farley notes that the Patriots/Chargers rivalry dates back to the 1963 AFL Title game. Mark Farinella has Matt Cassel and the Patriots all business out West.

Get the rest of your Patriots stories at PatriotsLinks.com

Get your Celtics coverage at Celticslinks.com.

McCarver A Hero Among Boston Sports Media

Tim McCarver, roundly mocked by the Boston sports media in the past for his work on the FOX baseball broadcasts, is now their new hero for his comments about Manny Ramirez as recorded by Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It’s extraordinary – the dichotomy between what he was in Boston and what he is in Los Angeles,” McCarver said. “I mean, talk about wearing out your welcome in a town, and it was a long welcome with the Red Sox. But some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable – like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it’s washed, it’s gone.”

Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus has a rebuttal to McCarver’s quote.

Hey, some guy named Bruce Allen is analyzing the Patriots/Chargers game with the NBC Football Night in America crew. (And its not the Tampa Bay Bucs GM.)

Nice article in the Baltimore Sun: Ex-Colts connecting again. It about legendary Colts receiver (and former Patriots coach) Raymond Berry reconnecting with Leroy Vaughn (Mo’s father) after the two were rookie teammates on the Colts over 50 years ago.

Comcast SportsNet has their Celtics broadcast schedule for the new season. The big news is that for the first time in 28 years, Tom Heinsohn will only be doing the home games with partner Mike Gorman. Donny Marshall will go on the road with Gorman, and Heinsohn will remain in the studio for those games. Greg Dickerson will again serve as the sideline reporter. All games this season are in HD.

Tony’s Top 5 reasons to root for a Sox-Dodgers World Series. Tony’s all about the Stoooorry Lines. Not whether the games would actually be good or not. I’m rooting hard for that series NOT to happen. I want either team in the series, but not both.

I’m occasionally accused of ignoring Boston College athletics, and I’ll plead guilty to that charge, not because of lack of desire, but a lack of time. Here are two good blogs for keeping up with BC, first, Eagle in Atlanta wonders if BC could host the ESPN Gameday set on October 18th. A second blog is BC All Access.

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Looking for information on baseball betting? Or about sports betting?

It’s Dice-K In Game One

When the Red Sox and Rays finally get the ALCS started tomorrow night, it will be Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound for the Red Sox, as the Japanese lefty (where did that come from?) pitcher got the game one nod from manager Terry Francona yesterday.

Adam Kilgore reports on the decision by the manager, as well as the rotation for the rest of the series. Sean McAdam says that a key for the Red Sox is for David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia to return to form in this series. Daniel Barbarisi has more on the rotation for the Sox. Jeff Goldberg says that Pedroia has been coming up big all season for the Red Sox. Mike Fine says that the decision about the rotation was actually pretty simple for Francona. Paul Jarvey has the Sox still getting their top three starters potentially two starts each in the series. Joe Haggerty has more on the rotation.

Bob Ryan notes that the fans in Tampa are finally starting to realize they have a pretty good team and are actually showing up at the games. Steve Buckley says that the Red Sox will be view nationally as the bad guys in this series. Bill Reynolds says that the Red Sox are now the Yankees. Jeff Jacobs looks at the budding rivalry between the Rays and Red Sox. Rob Bradford and Alex Speier debate the Red Sox/Rays series.

Michael Silverman explores whether there are any lingering hard feelings between the two teams. Kenyon has the Sox hoping to win without a fight against the Rays. John Tomase looks at Tim Wakefield getting the call for game four. He also has a look at this year’s rookie duo of Lowrie and Masterson who are playing a big role in the postseason. Rich Thompson has Javier Lopez just focusing on lefties for now. Paul Kenyon has Gil Velazquez enjoying his major league experience. Barbarisi has Timlin and Lugo hoping to be a part of the ALCS roster.

Jon Couture has the Rays bullpen as a big part of their turnaround this year. Gerry Fraley has Rays manager Joe Maddon talking about what his team expects to see from Matsuzaka in game one. McAdam offers up a Scouting Report on the Rays. Joe McDonald has Rocco Baldelli as the spirit of the Rays. Kevin McNamara has a look at former Pilgrim High pitcher Dan Wheeler.  McDonald’s notebook has the Rays becoming a family.

Kilgore’s notebook has the Red Sox downplaying any hard feelings with the Rays dating back to the June brawl between the two clubs. Silverman’s notebook has more on the decision to go with Dice-K in game one.  The Projo notebook has Paul Byrd OK with hanging out in the bullpen. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the rotation. Jarvey’s notebook has Crisp with no hard feelings against the Rays. Fine’s notebook has the Sox downplaying any hard feelings.

Patriots

Be sure to check out Tyler Carter‘s piece on the similar “Air Coryell” offenses run by the 49ers and the Chargers, as well as how the Patriots will likely plan to stop San Diego.

Christopher Price has the Patriots renewing their rivalry with the Chargers. Christopher L. Gasper has more on the latest installment of what has become a grudge match. Karen Guregian says that LaDainian Tomlinson has not quite been himself this season. Mark Farinella has LT OK with the Patriots style of play. Glen Farley has more on the bitter rivalry.

Rich Garven has the Patriots four-headed ground attack getting into gear. Shalise Manza Young has Deltha O’Neal enjoying his chance to finally play alongside Rodney Harrison.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Mailbag. Kerry J. Byrne and his Cold Hard Football Facts are now also on WEEI.com, and he looks at how the Patrots defense is not up to snuff this season.

Gasper’s notebook has Matt Cassel gaining confidence with each week. Guregian’s notebook has Richard Seymour dismissing the “dirty player” talk from the Chargers after last season’s AFC title game. Farinella’s notebook has a battle of Purdue bragging rights shaping up for Sunday. Garven’s notebook has more on the feisty on and off-field rivalry with the Chargers. Young’s notebook has Tedy Bruschi getting a chance to catch up with his college coach this week.

Celtics

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press has a look at last night’s preseason opener for the Celtics.

Bill Doyle has rookie Bill Walker looking pretty good in last night’s exhibition opener for the Celtics. Steve Bulpett has Darius Miles ahead of where even he thought he would be after playing in last night’s game. Mark Murphy has J.R. Giddens soaking up all he can from Ray Allen and company.

Ron Chimelis has another report on the game last night. Frank Dell’Apa has Doc Rivers missing the game to attend to family business. Murphy’s notebook has more on the game last night.

For the sake of time I’ll have to refer you to BruinsLinks.com for hockey stories.

Afternoon Update

Sporting News Cover The Sporting News has named Boston as the best sports city in America for the fourth time in seven years.

Interesting article by Jack Curry in The New York Times today about how the Red Sox knew the suicide squeeze attempt was coming last night. The Angels had tried it on Manny Delcarmen before…Tom Verducci says not to blame Mike Scioscia for the failure of the play. Gordon Edes has the Angels getting squeezed right out of the playoffs.

Here are a couple of relatively new blogs by local sportswriters, first there is Flynn’s Spin, by Douglas Flynn, who says that his intention is “going more for an opinion-based and hopefully occasionally humorous take on things, trying to come up with some offbeat ideas as well as insight and analysis rather than just posting who’s practicing or who’s in the starting lineup kind of thing.” It will have a Patriots and Bruins flavor, as those are the teams that Flynn covers the most, but he plans to weigh in on the Red Sox and Celtics as well.

Patriot Ledger football writer Eric McHugh has also launched the Ledger Pats Blog, which is naturally devoted to the Patriots, a team he can speak with authority about, as he covers them on a daily basis.  

Here are the Turner-released Notes from TBS’ Coverage of yesterday’s games.

From those notes:

(Buck) Martinez on Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester playing in the World Series in his first outing after battling cancer: “Last year when (Lester) was given the start in game four of the Worlds Series everything was the first. His first game back, his first start, his first postseason start, his first opportunity. Now he’s a regular, now he’s a pitcher again. He’s more than a cancer survivor, he’s an ace on a very good staff.”

Does Martinez think that Lester’s World Series start last October was his first of the season?

Boston sports tickets are in demand.

Ken Rosenthal says that the BoSox are baseball’s consummate winners

Mike Celizic says that Red Sox/Rays is going to add some juice to the postseason. Gerry Fraley says that the Red Sox are just another division foe to the Rays.

Tom E. Curran says that the Cowboys are missing some spine.

Scioscia Squeeze Suicidal For Angels

The Red Sox landed back in the ALCS who got seven shutout innings from Jon Lester, only to see the Angels roar back with two runs to tie the game in the eighth. The Angels then had a runner at third base with one out in the ninth, but Erick Aybar missed a bunt attempt and Jason Varitek chased down pinch runner Reggie Willits to snuff out the final Angels threat. In the bottom of the ninth Jason Bay hit a ground rule double, and was then chased home on a single through the infield by rookie Jed Lowrie, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 series clinching win.

Amalie Benjamin checks in with the heroes of last night, Bay, Lowrie and Lester. Michael Silverman says that it is time to bring on the Rays after last night’s clincher. Jeff Goldberg says that it wasn’t a sweep, but it was pretty sweet.  Joe Haggerty has the Sox heading back to the ALCS for the second year in a row. Kevin Thomas looks at the finishing frenzy by the Sox which landed them in the next round. Steve Krause looks at a couple things that we learned from last night’s game. Kevin McNamara has the Red Sox closing out the powerhouse and saying hello to the scrappy upstarts. Ron Chimelis calls this one a “triumph of tenacity and intelligence.” Bill Ballou says That the Red Sox had no business winning this series. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox have just learned to own the moment.

Sean McAdam says that winning might be nothing new for the Red Sox, but the guys who are getting the job done are new. Dan Shaughnessy has the front page game story in the Globe. Bill Reynolds has last week’s questions getting answered in this series, as the Sox move on to the next round. Reynolds also hates playoff baseball because the games are too long. Alex Speier looks at the youth movement which has fueled this latest Red Sox run. Mike Fine has the Red Sox once again refusing to lose in the postseason.

Bob Ryan recaps the the final two thrilling innings. Maureen Mullen has Jason Bay getting a little banged up during the final play and in the celebration. Steve Buckley says that this team is built and prepared for a title run. Steve Solloway has the Sox relieved that there will be no game five in California tomorrow night. Rich Thompson reports from the clubhouse celebration following the game. Reynolds has Terry Francona choosing to stay in the moment following the win.

Adam Kilgore looks at Jon Lester once again rising to the occasion and shutting out the lineup that won more games than any other team in baseball this season. Tom Caron, for the Portland Press Herald, says that the Red Sox are certainly glad they didn’t trade Lester for Johan Santana now. Reynolds says that stats only tell part of the story about Lester. Jeff Jacobs says that if you knew anything about him, you knew Lester wasn’t going to blink last night. Art Davidson agrees that it’s not surprising that Lester pitched well last night. Phil O’Neill has Lester remaining The Man for the Red Sox last night. David Brown says that Lester has been a heck of a backup plan for the Red Sox.

Silverman reports on the Red Sox decision to take Mike Lowell off the active roster. Ryan looks at the Red Sox shutting down Lowell last night and for the ALCS, but wonders if there might be a Kirk Gibson moment in the future still. McNamara has Lowell disappointed, but acknowledging that is the right decision for the team. Bob Stern says that Lowell is likely done for the postseason.

 McAdam looks at why Sean Casey has been MIA in this series. McNamara has Jed Lowrie‘s dream rookie season getting even better last night. Chris Forsberg has Lowrie going to the plate in the ninth looking for a curve and getting one to hit. Brian MacPherson has newcomers getting the job done for the Red Sox last night. O’Neill has Dustin Pedroia snapping his ALDS slump.

Kilgore has another look back at the performance of Josh Beckett on Sunday night, while looking ahead to what he might have in his next start, which could be game one of the ALCS. Tomase looks at sinkerball pitcher Justin Masterson pulling a 96 mph fastball out of his pocket to blow away Vladimir Guerrero in the eighth inning. Brown says that the Red Sox defied some history last night involving games after marathon losses in the postseason.

Michael Vega analyzes the failed suicide squeeze attempt by the Angels in the ninth inning. John Tomase has more on that pivotal play.

This is hilarious to me: Last week in a Boston.com chat, Dan Shaughnessy said that Manny Ramirez was probably right when he said that Boston fans care too much. He haughtily added that HIS happiness certainly does not depend on whether the Red Sox win or lose. Today, he chides Red Sox fans for holding back on their enthusiasm until the World Series, saying that it seems that some of the thrill is gone for many fans, who have come to expect that their team will be playing in October every year. He talks about the “Fat Cat” fans and that it is “arrogant, sad, and unavoidable” that things are this way. He admonishes:

Enjoy the rest of the Red Sox season, Boston fans. Don’t stress too much about the thought of losing the next game.

How can you be a “Fat Cat” fan and yet still be stressing too much about losing?

Benjamin’s notebook has more on the Red Sox decision with Lowell. Thomas’ notebook has more on Lowell. Silverman’s notebook looks at Francona’s decision to pull Lester after seven innings. McNamara’s notebook has Francona saying that Beckett is physically sound after his outing on Sunday. Goldberg’s notebook has the Red Sox choosing to get Lowell some rest. Davidson’s notebook has more on the decision about Lowell. MacPherson’s notebook looks at how decisions can sometimes backfire on managers. Ballou’s notebook has an AL East battle on tap for the ALCS. Couture’s notebook has Lowell likely finished for the season. Vega’s notebook has another short playoff run coming to an end for the Angels.

Patriots

Michael Felger has the Patriots moving back to the head of the class in his weekly report card. Eric McHugh‘s report card is hard on the cornerbacks in the red zone, but that’s about it. Ian Clark would like to see the offensive line do better. Ron Borges has pretty solid grades across the board for the Patriots.

Christopher Price has the Patriots trying to find some routine during their week on the West coast. Hector Longo claims that while the Patriots won, there is still little reason for optimism. Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots certainly weren’t perfect, but they were a whole lot better that we had seen previously. Mark Farinella says that Sunday saw the return of the scheming Belichick.

Karen Guregian says that Matt Cassel scheduled some time to meet with Randy Moss last week to make sure that both knew what was needed to lift the struggling offense. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots making use of some exotic defensive packages Sunday. Rich Garven says that it was a much needed win and confidence builder for Cassel. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots defense thanking the offense for making them look good.

Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots making themselves at home in San Jose. Guregian’s notebook has Belichick standing by Laurence Maroney. Gasper’s notebook has the players enthusiastic about staying out in San Jose for the week. Garven’s notebook has more on the defensive packages from Sunday. Young’s notebook says that the stay out West will allow the team to get a full week of preparation for the Chargers.

Check the rest of the sports coverage at CelticsLinks.com and BruinsLinks.com.

TV/Radio Notes From Yesterday

Poor Dick Enberg. Though his voice is still strong, and I enjoy his enthusiasm calling the game, the 73-year-old Enberg struggled mightily at times yesterday, calling the wrong players, and getting numerous facts incorrect. I’ve always liked Enberg, but he’s clearly on the way down.

We never really got an explanation of why Dan Fouts was also there, forming a three man booth with Enberg and Randy Cross. They mentioned several times that Fouts would be with them for the next few weeks, but didn’t really mention why.

During the direct-snap Faulk TD run, it was also curious to hear the crew (Cross especially) wonder if the Patriots coaching staff cribbed that play from the Dolphins “wildcat” formations. Haven’t they seen the direct-snap to Faulk any of the numerous times the Patriots have done it since 2001?

On a local note the SOX & Dawgs blog says that it is time to replace Gil and Gino in the Patriots radio broadcast booth.

Shade of Bob Hohler moving from news side to the sports side at the Globe: Ian Donnis reports that the ProJo is moving City Hall reporter Dan Barbarisi to the Red Sox beat.

During CBS’ The NFL Today broadcast, there wasn’t too much Patriots talk, but Dan Marino did say of the team:

This team was built to win games with Tom Brady and play with a lead. I don’t think Matt Cassel is going to put them in a position to play with a lead.

On NFL GameDay Morning yesterday, Adam Schefter had the following to say about the tampering allegations that Al Davis made against the Patriots:

During his news conference, Al Davis also took some shots at the New England Patriots saying that they tampered with the former Raiders WR Randy Moss. Last June, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo that said teams should not be criticizing other teams or questioning them in public. The same thing happened after the ‘Spygate’ scenario last year. A memo went out saying teams should not be criticizing other teams and the New England Patriots are more sensitive about this than any other team in the league. The NFL is expected to take a look at this and either Davis has direct evidence that the Patriots tampered with Randy Moss, and in this case Davis gave them permission the day before the trade was made to speak with Moss directly, or the Oakland Raiders are going to face discipline from the NFL in the form of a fine or some sort of discipline. Al Davis opened up an entirely different can of worms when he went after the Patriots. That is an issue that is not going to go away anytime soon. That is something the league is now looking at.

On ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown”, the question was raised: Patriots or Colts: Who’s in more trouble?

Mike Ditka: “The Colts are. They are 32nd in trying to stop the run and 31st running the football. I don’t care, all the bye weeks I the world can’t change that. The other thing is the timing right now between Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, its not just what it seemed to be. Marvin Harrison is a heck of a football player, they are just not in sync right now. I think they have problems.”

Tom Jackson: “Both teams are in a little bit of trouble. One team lost the best player in the league. That’s going to be the most trouble anybody is going to have all year. When we saw them two weeks ago, to put it bluntly, ‘we can’t run the ball, we can’t stop the run, we can’t pass the ball, we can’t stop the pass.’ All of that is not Matt Cassel’s fault. I don’t know how much of that you can fix in two weeks. But the ongoing question – who’s in the most trouble, the team that lost Tom Brady.”

Cris Carter: “Both teams that we’re trying to discuss are built for their quarterbacks. One has their quarterback, one doesn’t have their quarterback … I’m not going to say I don’t think they can throw, they think they can’t throw. If you look at their playbook, four pass attempts over 20 yards in three games. Now, this is a team that’s built for (Tom) Brady, operated by Brady, and can’t be operated by anyone else. So, forget my opinion, their play calling dictates to me that Cassel is not a great reader of coverages and they don’t have confidence in him.”

Keyshawn Johnson: “I wouldn’t panic right now. You are in the first quarter of a four-quarter season. In the first quarter, the Buffalo Bills are leading this division in the AFC right now – New England wins today, Buffalo loses, they pretty much are even … You’ve got two veteran coaches here who know how to make changes. When things are tough, these two coaches, coach (Tony) Dungy and coach (Bill) Belichick, have been in these situations before. I wouldn’t just say they’re in trouble.”

FOX NFL Sunday also discussed the Raiders situation at length.

NBC promoted next week’s Patriots/Chargers matchup with a montage of highlights and clips between the two teams, with Brady’s injury, Tomlinson’s “no class” comments about Bill Belichick and featuring the tagline “No Love, No Brady, No Mercy.”

During TBS MLB on Deck on Saturday, the network offered up a Dennis Eckersley lexicon. We here in New England are of course familar with these terms from Eck’s work on NESN:

Ecktionary

Cheese = Fastball
Salad = Bad Pitch
Paint = Good Control
Johnson = Home Run
Moss = Hair
Boiling = Fat
Iron = Money
Filet = Ugly Person

Eckersley has been outstanding in the TBS role, easily the best part of the studio shows. As on NESN, he speaks his mind, and isn’t afraid to disagree with Cal Ripken Jr.

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National Views

A few quick national views for the mid-morning…

Peter King is back with another edition of Monday Morning QB. The Patriots move up to number 6 on King’s Fine Fifteen.

Michael Silver looks at a rejuvenated Kurt Warner in his Morning Rush column.

John Clayton leads off his Last Call with a look at the 5-0 Tennessee Titans.

Clark Judge has his week five NFL judgements.

Cold, Hard Football Facts has a look at Bill Parcells’ latest reclamation project, the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be ahead of schedule.

Gordon Edes looks at the Angels finally breaking through against the Red Sox.

Jerry Crasnick has the Angels managing to win a game against the Red Sox despite still having not brought out their “A” game in this series.

Tony DeMarco in analyzing the Angels victory, gets a little bullet-point happy.

Danny Knobler says that this Angels victory could be a sign of things to come.

Jeff Goodman says that the Red Sox injuries could come back to hurt them in this series.

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