Celtics Getting Vintage

Be sure to check the post below this one for a chance to win prizes from the TV show AX MEN (Mondays, 10pm HISTORY) by submitted your choice for the worst Boston sports column of recent memory.

They’re not quite all the way back, but you’re seeing the signs. Last night contained another, as the Celtics put together a devastating 18-2 run in the second half, putting away the Los Angeles Clippers en route to a 90-77 win at the Garden.

Mark Murphy has Kevin Garnett sparking the Celtics with his defense, even in limited minutes. Frank Dell’Apa likewise has Garnett productive in his 18 minutes. Bill Doyle has Rajon Rondo kicking the Celtics into another gear in the third quarter last night. Scott Souza has the Celtics surging again. Robert Lee has the Celtics playing three good quarters last night and one poor one. Jim Fenton has the Celtics taking another step in the right direction last night.

Lenny Megliola says that KG is the difference for the Celtics. Gary Dzen has Garnett again making the most of his time on the court. Dan Duggan has Garnett impatient to increase his workload. Jeff Howe chips in with three things we saw last night. Paul Flannery has Rondo and KG getting their special connection back.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Doc Rivers saying that health is more of an advantage than home court in the playoffs. Murphy’s notebook has Stephon Marbury’s former teammate Zach Randolph happy for the former’s fresh start with the Celtics. Doyle’s notebook has Rivers saying that he will continue to limit KG’s minutes. Lee’s notebook has rookie Bill Walker still trying to earn his way into the rotation.

Red Sox

Where do we begin on the Curt Schilling retirement?  Curt’s archenemy, Dan Shaughnessy is a good place to start. Shaughnessy mostly plays nice, lauding Schilling’s postseason performances, even calling him the “Bill Russell of pitchers.” Still, Dan refers to him as an “uber-blowhard” and suggests that there are some hard feelings between he and the Red Sox front office.

Sean McAdam says that by sheer will, Schilling changed the course of Red Sox team history. Adam Kilgore looks at Schilling putting his retirement in writing…on his blog. Jon Couture says that Schilling wasn’t always well-received, but he always gave his all. Gerry Callahan says that Schilling has served as Boston anti-ARod. Alex Speier says that Schilling was an all-time bargain buy for the Red Sox. Chad Finn says that we’ll see Schilling in Cooperstown.

Bill Burt says that everything changed when the Red Sox acquired Schilling from the Diamondbacks. Mike Fine checks the Pros and Cons of Schilling. Adam Smartschan says that Schilling’s October performances will land him in the Hall of Fame. Dan Lamothe reviews some key Schilling moments. Howard Ulman of the AP also weighs in on the retirement.  McAdam has Curt Schilling’s Red Sox greatest hits.

Donna Goodison looks at what’s next for Schilling and his 38Studios.

For the rest of the Red Sox news from yesterday and more Schilling chatter, check RedSoxLinks.com.

Other

The Bruins are off until Saturday. Check in with the week of practice at Bruinslinks.com.

The Patriots will be opening their season with a home game on Monday night football against T.O. and the Buffalo Bills.

Chris Warner on Patriots Daily has a Q&A with Wyoming running back Devin Moore, who has drawn some interest from the Patriots.

Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders has their mock draft, and they have the Patriots trading up for once, targeting USC linebacker Brian Cushing.

Get the rest of your Patriots news at PatriotsLinks.com.

BSMW Group Project – Worst Boston Sports Columns

Before I left on vacation at the beginning of the month, Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal wrote a column that was simply staggering in its stupidity. The column was titled Has marriage cost Tom Brady his competitive edge? 

It got me thinking…where does that column rank in the annuals of just bad, absurd, off-base Boston sports columns of the last few years?

There are no shortage of candidates. You’ve got Tony Massarotti’s column while at the Herald last year (“Nobody Wins This One – 5/15/08)  in which he called New England “the official home of yahoos, hero worshipers and gutless suck-ups.”

There’s Gerry Callahan’s over-the-top farewell to Manny Ramirez on August 1, 2008, (“No Dodging it: Manny Ramirez just a bad, bad man”) which can be summarized as “Manny hates kids with cancer.”

We can go with Bob Ryan’s claim that the Celtics might just barely be a playoff team after aquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. (Title for Celtics far from a done deal - 8/2/07) “That’s it? Someone actually thinks this Celtics team will win the East and contend for the championship? Really?” The column ends with “They might even make the playoffs.” The only player the Celtics added before the season started was James Posey.

Going back a little further, we’ve got the column Dan Shaughnessy wrote which essentially caused Theo Epstein to quit – Let’s iron out some of this dirty laundry (10/30/05)

That’s without touching anything from Bill Burt, Ron Borges, Steve Buckley, Nick Cafardo, Peter May, Bill Reynolds, Jeff Jacobs or even Buddy Thomas.

John Tomase’s Rams Walkthrough Tape report doesn’t really fit here, as it was reported as news, not an opinion column, so it doesn’t fit here. We’re looking for columns only here. Let’s keep it fairly recent, maybe the last 10 years or so.

Your assignment is to submit further columns – with links and excerpts if possible, and post them in the comment section below.

There will be prizes given away as part of this project. Everyone who submits a comment suggesting a column or voting on a suggested column will be entered in a giveaway for one of two AX MEN (Mondays 10:00pm on HISTORY) roadside kitsclick here for a photo of the prize - they’re pretty sweet.

You need to enter a valid email address in the comment form email field (won’t be displayed to others) to be eligible for the prize.

We’ll leave this open through the end of the week, and then we’ll publish a list of the top columns as suggested and put them to a formal vote.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-23

Patriots to Open Season on Monday Night

Ken from Fang’s Bites with some late afternoon news for you.

The NFL announced this afternoon its opening season primetime games as well as its Thanksgiving Day games.

On the docket includes your New England Patriots which will open the season on Monday night, September 14 as part of an “AFL 50th” doubleheader. Here’s the press release from ESPN:

ESPN’s Monday Night Football Season-Opening Doubleheader – Bills-Patriots and Chargers-Raiders on Sept. 14

Tom Brady’s Return, Terrell Owens’ Bills Debut to Highlight Kickoff of MNF’s 40th Season

Monday Night Football will kick off its 40th season with two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady expected to make his highly-anticipated return to the field when the New England Patriots host wide receiver Terrell Owens and the Buffalo Bills in the first game of a nationally televised ESPN doubleheader on Monday, September 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET, followed by the San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders in a matchup of AFC West rivals at 10:15 p.m.

The Patriots finished with an 11-5 record in 2008 despite losing Brady to a season-ending knee injury in their opening game. In 2007, Brady was named the NFL MVP after leading the Patriots to a perfect 16-0 regular season record and a Super Bowl appearance. The AFC East rival Bills will make their season debut with a revamped offense featuring Owens, the dynamic All Pro wide receiver who signed as a free agent earlier this month. ESPN’s MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and analysts Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will call the game.

Quarterback Phillip Rivers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson will lead the Chargers against the Raiders in Oakland in the second game. San Diego won the AFC West a year ago and advanced to the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. The Chargers and Raiders also played in ESPN’s inaugural season-opening MNF doubleheader in 2006. The ESPN commentators who will call the game will be announced later this offseason.

The MNF doubleheader will be part of the NFL’s celebration of the 50th anniversary season of the AFL. All four teams in the opening weekend ESPN games originally began playing in the inaugural 1960 American Football League season.

The rest of the season schedule will be announced in April.

Schilling Uses Blog To Announce Retirement

Curt Schilling made it official today, announcing his retirement from baseball. There will be no late-season signing and stretch run with the Cubs or Rays for Schilling.

What’s interesting is that Schilling has eschewed the traditional press conference (though that may come later) and announced this decision through his 38Pitches blog: Calling It Quits.

The guy was polarizing off the field, but Red Sox fans cannot complain one bit about his performance on the field, and the impact he had in finally bringing the World Series championship back to Boston.

We’ll also miss his sometime contentious relationship with the media, particularly Dan Shaughnessy, though that might just continue as well.

Bruins Turn Back Red-Hot Devils

The Bruins shook themselves out of their funk yesterday for a convincing 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Fluto Shinzawa has hard work and mental preparation paying off for the Bruins in this one. Steve Conroy has the Bruins finally producing a game they could hang their hats on – right at the perfect time. Joe Haggerty has the Bruins turning things around in the biggest game of the season. Bud Barth has the Bruins standing up the surging Devils yesterday. Glen Farley says that there was old-time hockey on display at the Garden yesterday.

Stephen Harris has Bruins fans and players breathing a sigh of relief after this one. Michael Felger says that this was a nice win, but Bruins fans shouldn’t be making parade plans anytime soon. Mike Loftus has the Bruins clinching the division yesterday, but this wasn’t their biggest goal of the day.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Matt Hunwick playing his second straight game after being scratched the previous five. Conroy’s notebook has Milan Lucic chipping in with a goal after being moved down to the fourth line. Barth’s notebook says that yesterday’s win was a team victory. Loftus’ notebook has more on Lucic scoring with his new linemates. Farley’s notebook has Mark Recchi feeling right at home with the Bruins.

Celtics

Mark Murphy has Glen Davis finally making opponents pay with his jump shot. Robert Lee has a look at the job Doc Rivers has done in keeping the Celtics together. Mike Fine examines Kevin Garnett’s impact on the Celtics over the weekend in his return from injury.

Tim Weisberg looks at the path remaining for the contending teams in the NBA. With the Clippers in town, Marc J. Spears looks at the maturity of Marcus Camby since his UMass days.

Red Sox

Rob Bradford has a look at Daniel Bard, who was sent to the minors yesterday. Daniel Barbarisi has Bard as the last of the Red Sox top prospects to be returned to the minor league camp. Maureen Mullen also reports on Bard being sent down.

Nick Cafardo says that we have to assume that the Red Sox know what they’re doing with George Kottaras. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox might seek outside help for the temp jobs they’re going to have open on their roster. Alex Speier has Jason Bay opening eyes with his power. Mike Fine wonders if David Ortiz was the victim of lack of protection in the lineup last season, or if he is just trending downward.

Barbarisi checks out the Sox latest Japanese import in Junichi Tazawa, who has also impressed in camp. Adam Kilgore has more on Tazawa, and a number of other Red Sox notes.

Barbarisi’s Journal has Josh Beckett getting out of a jam in an otherwise solid outing against the Phillies. McAdam’s notebook has Mike Lowell’s comeback on track.

Patriots/Misc

Chris Warner has a Q&A with Houston defense end Phillip Hunt on Patriots Daily.

Mark Farinella checks in with another edition of Ask Fearless.

Karen Guregian has Pierre Woods missing Mike Vrabel already.

Bob Ryan has Pitt making it through to the Sweet 16 and a trip to Boston.

David Scott is impressed with the new WEEI.com, not so much with CBS sports and Dan Shaughnessy.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-22

  • This is the week to tweak, At meetings, owners consider rule changes – Globe NFL Notes by Gasper: http://ow.ly/1faT #
  • Sheffield adjusts his stance – Globe MLB Notes by Cafardo: http://ow.ly/1faB #
  • For Red Sox, age now the rage – Herald MLB Notes by Silverman:http://ow.ly/1fav #
  • Yes, President Obama’s got game – Herald NBA Notes by Murphy: http://ow.ly/1fa6 #
  • The consolation prizes? – Herald NHL Notes by Harris: http://tinyurl.com/d37hxu #
  • NBA Playoff Success Has Eluded Dwight Howard, Magic – Globe NBA Notes by Spears: http://ow.ly/1f9Z #
  • Seasons changed, and so have Bruins – Globe NHL Notes by Dupont: http://ow.ly/1f9V #
  • BSMW Network Post: Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-21 http://tinyurl.com/dh6qsc #

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-21

Another Edition of the Friday Night Megalinks

Ken from Fang’s Bites with another edition of the Friday megalinks. Let’s start with the Weekend Viewing Picks.

The NCAA Tournament heads into its first weekend of action with the 2nd round. WBZ and WPRI have a quadruple header Saturday starting at 1 p.m. and a tripleheader Sunday starting at noon. I have the tip times for you in case you need to check what time your team is playing.

Believe it or not, there’s other sports going on this weekend.

The Celtics are on the road again Saturday and they’ll visit the Memphis Grizzlies. Comcast SportsNet has the game at 8 p.m. Other NBA games this weekend include the Los Angeles Lakers visiting Chicago, Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on WGN America. ABC has Miami at Detroit, Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Bruins have a rare Saturday off and will be home on Sunday hosting New Jersey on NESN at 3. 7NBC and NBC 10 have Philadelphia traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

There’s also the NCAA Women’s Tournament that will be shown mostly on ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday and Sunday.

ESPN Classic has the WBC Heavyweight title fight between Juan Carlos Gomez and Vitali Klitschko Saturday night at 6.

The World Baseball Classic heads to the semifinals at Dodgers Stadium this weekend. On Saturday at 9 p.m., South Korea faces Venezuela and on Sunday, defending champion Japan takes on the US, Sunday at 8. Both games are on ESPN2.

For tennis fans, the BNP Paribas Open finishes at Indian Wells, CA this weekend. Fox Sports Net has the action on its local affiliates with the men’s semis Saturday at 4 p.m. with the men’s and women’s championships on Sunday at 3 p.m.

And the NASCAR Sprint Cup series is in Bristol, TN for the Food City 500. Fox25 and Fox 64 have the race Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

The Weekend Viewing Picks has the entire schedule including primetime programming.

Now to the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand looks at the season premiere of FSN’s Sports Science this Sunday night.

James Hibberd of the Hollywood Reporter writes that the NCAA Tournament is scoring for CBS in the ratings.

David Tanklefsky of Broadcasting & Cable says online traffic for CBS’ March Madness on Demand soared on the first day of the NCAA Tournament.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News talks about MLB Network’s new hires.

Mike adds that there’s a free preview of the MLS Direct Kick pay per view package this weekend.

The Sports Media Watch says CBS saw a ratings uptick for the NCAA Tournament in primetime on Thursday. And the SMW notes that the tournament also did well in its afternoon windows. On the other hand, SMW says the NBA did horribly last Sunday on ABC. And the PGA on NBC saw a double digit ratings increase last Sunday.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says expect to see a bit of scrutiny for Sony Ericsson for its tennis tournament next week. And Darren writes that there could be a flurry of activity of team owners seeking ways to sell or contract their franchises.

Joe Favorito looks at smaller college basketball tournanments trying to drive traffic and create media buzz.

Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball writes that ESPN is seeing higher ratings for the World Baseball Classic from three years ago.

South

Doug Nye of The State writes his farewell column as he retires after 40 years in journalism.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says South Florida will get its 6th sports radio station in April.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says March Madness is the closest thing to perfection in the sports world.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram likes having Clark Kellogg on CBS’ “A” announcing team on the NCAA Tournament.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning Star says it’s not a surprise that Texas-Duke will in primetime on Saturday. Barry says it’s not a surprise that former President Bill Clinton’s NCAA Tournament picks differ from President Barack Obama’s.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the local CBS affiliate has laid off several workers including a long time sports producer. And David has an inside look at the TV production behind bringing a local rodeo to DirecTV.

Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman writes that online viewing of the NCAA Tournament is gaining in popularity. And Mel says the NCAA Wrestling Championships go HD on the ESPN family of networks this weekend.

Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World notes Clark Kellogg’s first play-by-play partner.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News reports that all of the MLS’ Real Salt Lake games will be seen on local TV.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that after a major lineup change last week, a sports radio station has become boring.

John Maffei of the North County Times says Clark Kellogg is a welcome change over Billy Packer.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star is looking forward to watching the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. Jim looks at the Presidential NCAA Tournament bracket.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times writes that the first round of the NCAA Tournament is a long day for the men calling the games.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News wonders why Fox Sports West’s Norm Nixon was allowed back on the air just less than 24 hours after his arrest on DUI charges. Tom’s weekly column looks at how you can watch the NCAA Tournament on your iPhone. Tom has his weekly news and notes. Tom remembers Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field. Yes, there was a Los Angeles Wrigley Field. Tom previews the season finale of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down.” Tom has a look at his week in blogging.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says the ribbing of President Obama by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski got misconstrued by political blogs.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe writes that NESN is rebranding and revamping its Red Sox pregame show.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks about the demand for March Madness on Demand. Neil looks at the other ways fans can watch the NCAA Tournament besides going online. Neil looks into the decisions that go into a potential CBS switch of games in a particular market. And Neil has one more explanation about why CBS switched from Duke-Binghamton to another game for the New York market. Neil has news about an SNY host switching jobs at the regional sports network.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says the coaches are the stars of the NCAA Tournament.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post wants to know the rest of the story behind the NCAA Tournament.

Justin Terranova of the Post talks with MSG Network’s Mike Breen about the Knicks. Justin has five questions for Billy Packer.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union looks at Clark Kellogg replacing Billy Packer on the NCAA Tournament. Pete wishes that CBS would not cut away from the main game for look-in’s at other games. And Pete says CBS did not have a good first half of the Siena-Ohio State game.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun looks at CBS’ production of the Cal-Maryland game on Thursday. Ray has some suggestions on which CBS NCAA Tournament announcers you should hire for various events in your life.

Jim Williams of the DC Examiner looks at former President Bill Clinton’s NCAA picks during an appearance on Sirius XM on Friday.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News talks with the Voice of the Tennessee Volunteers who has local ties.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press chronicled his day watching the NCAA Tournament.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Clark Kellogg did a good job in place of Billy Packer on Thursday.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business says a local sports radio station spoof of the NCAA Tournament has turned out to be a big hit.

Judd Zulgad from the Minneapolis Star Tribune talks with CBS’ Screamin’ Gus Johnson as he’s in town for the NCAA Tournament. And Judd looks at Clark Kellogg’s move from the studio to game analyst.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin gives you all you need to know about the NCAA Tournament.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about a local sports radio move involving one of his colleagues.

And that will conclude the megalinks for tonight.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-20