Are You Ready For Some Football?

I am.

We have to give (Boston’s own) Peter King credit for scoring the first extensive interview with Tom Brady since the Patriots’ All-World quarterback was lost for the season on opening day last September.

In the story, (Tom Brady is Back ) posted on SI.com, we see clearly that #12 has lost none of the fire and zeal for the game which made him so adored in these parts, and which also put him at the very top of the NFL.

We get a glimpse of Brady’s offseason workouts with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis, and learn what caused the infamous staph infection which initially cause his recovery to be set back a bit.

Plus, you just have to love this quote:

With his voice rising as he leaned forward in his chair, Brady said that playing 10 more seasons “is a big goal of mine, a very big goal. I want to play until I’m 41. And if I get to that point and still feel good, I’ll keep playing. I mean, what the hell else am I going to do? I don’t like anything else.

As pointed out by the BSMW message board posters however, critics will still manage to find things to twist take out of context. Here is a prediction of how ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio will summarize the article:

  • Brady says he’ll play ten more years – but made no commitment to New England beyond 2010
  • Struggling to regain timing with Moss
  • Calls self “real gladiator” while mocking the nation’s space program and armed forces
  • Considers self bigger than game, team; was surprised that game carried on without him
  • Turned owner, head coach against team’s medical staff
  • Sees son only once a month
  • Currently running illegal practices
  • Has “family friend” do his surgery

Papelbon, Sox Hold On Against Twins

Michael Silverman has the Sox catching a break yesterday with Joe Mauer out of the lineup for the Twins. However, the Minnesota catcher entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth, and bombed a two run homer off closer Jonathan Papelbon to make the score 6-5 Boston. Papelbon retired the next batter and the Red Sox escaped with a win on the opening game of their longest road trip of the season. Amalie Benjamin has Mike Lowell chipping in with four hits from the DH spot in the lineup. Daniel Barbarisi has Jeff Bailey’s home run giving Papelbon the breathing room he needed.

Sean McAdam has Lowell earning himself a day off today. Rob Bradford says that life is good for these Red Sox right now. Nick Cafardo says that the Sox can trade Brad Penny if they wish, but they don’t seem inclined that way thus far. McAdam notes that Penny was pitching sick yesterday. Barbarisi has Penny turning in another consistent effort against the Twins.

Mike Fine has Sox batting coach Dave Magadan feeling David Ortiz’s pain, and working with him to get him going. Jeff Jacobs says that it is time to move Ortiz in the batting order.

Bill Burt wonders why Theo Epstein hasn’t signed Jason Bay up to a long-term extension. Glen Farley has Jeff Bailey cherishing the moments he has in the majors. Brian MacPherson notes that as of late, the Red Sox starters are the ones providing relief to the bullpen. He also has a look at John Smoltz getting ready to pitch in NH against the Fisher Cats in his rehab start.

Kevin McNamara has Dennis Eckersley speaking his mind on the NESN telecasts in relief of Jerry Remy – for better or for worse.

The Herald notebook says that the signs indicate that David Ortiz will be dropped in the batting order tonight. Benjamin’s notebook looks at another impressive performance from Clay Buchholz down on the farm. Barbarisi’s Red Sox journal also looks at the probability of Ortiz being dropped in the lineup.

Patriots

Karen Guregian and Mike Reiss have Randy Moss telling ESPN that he feels that the 2009 Patriots offense could be even better than 2007.

Christopher Price selects the top five undrafted rookie free agents of the Bill Belichick era. Guregian has Houston Antwine honored to be a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Shalise Manza Young has Shawn Crable hoping to make an impact in the Patriots pass rush this season.

Mark Farinella feels that Foxboro will soon morph into “Kraftville.” Michael Felger says that the NFL has a pit bull problem.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-05-25

Michael Gee on Playoff Sportswriting

Editor’s note: I’m pleased to present you today with a guest post from former Boston Herald sports columnist Michael Gee. Hopefully this is the first of several to come. Today he looks at what covering the postseason is like from a sportswriter’s perspective. 

Many sports fans believe the sportswriters who cover their favorite teams have it in for them and those teams. The writers hate the teams, the players, the coaches, the furry mascots, and of course, most of all, the fans. Writers go to the park or arena hoping that the home team loses every game by a humiliating score.

This is false. Oddly enough, it is contradicted by the most common complaint actual athletes make about sportswriters, which is “You only care about us when we’re winning!” Well over 90 percent of the time, the interests of sportswriters and the people they cover mesh perfectly.

This isn’t complex. Winning sells. The day after the final game of the 2004 World Series, the Herald sold almost a million copies, quadrupling normal circulation. Stories on the team get more space and better play. The aim of the sportswriter, as of any writer, is to tell a story to an audience, and the bigger the audience, the better. Athletes have it all wrong. Writers aren’t front-runners-fans are. We’re just the unpleasant reminder of that fact.

At a more human level, being around a consistent loser is depressing. Think summer’s going to be an endless joy for those assigned to report on the death march of the Washington Nationals? Sportswriters get paid, in part, to be able to maintain a level of human understanding of those they cover. When the people getting covered are constantly on the verge of personal professional oblivion, that’s tough on both parties.

Which makes it all the more strange that the mutual interests of the sports reporter and sports teams diverge precisely at the moment of the latter’s greatest success and when public interest is highest-the post-season. Any post-season.

Baseball is the worst, and football the relatively easiest, but for the sports section, playoffs equal pain. It’s a matter of supply and demand. The demand for information from the public (those front-running SOBs) easily swamps the ability of the sports department to supply said demand. All of a sudden, there’s five pages of space to fill on an off-day hockey practice. You know what goes on at a hockey practice? Not much is the correct answer.

Playoffs are weeks of 2 a.m. hotel check-ins and 6:45 a..m flights. They are 12-14-16 hour days spent in arenas and ballparks, writing, always writing. The Internet (all technological advances in journalism create more difficult working conditions for journalists) has made it possible to achieve the ultimate in demand-the permanent writing cycle.

In addition, there is the added pressure of micromanaging from the super senior management of the news organization, who, alas, are usually sports fans. These worthies abandon their hard-bitten personas to, as a former boss of mine once stated, “dance down Yawkey Way in their underwear.” The closest I ever got to being fired at the Herald before I got fired was in 1994 during the Winter Olympics. The bosses just wouldn’t accept that poor Nancy Kerrigan was not exactly the American heroine on the order of Betsy Ross which the Herald had decided she should be.

Before you break out the “boo-freakin-hoos,” there are compensations.. The playoffs are also tremendously exciting and fulfilling professional experiences. Hey, I got paid to see the Patriots win their first Super Bowl and the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But I remember the pain of the process along with the thrills. Sportswriting is a profession that entails a constant struggle between fun and work. Fun’s usually an easy winner. During the playoffs, work gets the upper hand, and believe me, it fights dirty in a clinch.

So during the playoffs, what writers root for is mostly for the pain to go away. Let’s wrap this up. Maybe I can eat a meal at home before the end of the month. You’re up 3-2? Win that damn game six..

Here’s a weird offshoot of that sentiment. Once the home team makes it to the championship round of its post-season, the home writers sometimes express the following sentiment. “Well, as long as we’re here, they ought to make it worth our while and win the damn thing!” Surely all this work has to have some ultimate justification.

Going back to 2004, I’m sure press box sentiment was all with the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS. During Game 4 of the World Series, the Sox had no stauncher fan than yours truly. It was truly amazing to watch the Patriots win that first Super Bowl. I wasn’t exactly heartbroken when they missed the playoffs the following season. Nothing personal. Just business, or the relative lack of same.

I don’t believe any of the Boston writers covering the Bruins and Celtics this spring were HAPPY when those teams lost Game 7s. I believe part of their inner selves were truly sad. But I know that another part was deeply relieved. It’s a long season. When your workload triples at the end of said season, you’d have to be more or less than human not to feel some pleasure when the work comes to a temporary halt. I’d be surprised if fans of those teams didn’t experience the fleeting thought, “well, at least I can go to bed early tomorrow night.”

The late, great sportswriter Leonard Koppett (Get his book on the NBA if you can find it) came up with two statements that summarize the sportswriter’s thoughts on postseason play. One, called “Koppett’s Law,” sayss “the outcome of the game will be the most inconvenient one.”

The other Koppett motto is a corollary to the rule “no cheering in the press box.” It goes “you’re allowed to root for yourself.”

In 30 years, I never once saw a sportswriter root against a team. In a lot of postseasons, I saw a lot of guys and gals root for themselves.

That’s no sin. Sorry if you think otherwise.

Michael Gee

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-05-24

  • A well-crafted relationship – Patriot owner reflects on time with Belichick – Globe NFL notes from Mike Reiss: http://tr.im/miyV #
  • (Ortiz) Makin’ a stand after slumping – Herald MLB Notes by Michael Silverman: http://tr.im/miyu #
  • A game of dealers’ choice – Heavy trade action may be in the cards Globe MLB notes by Nick Cafardo: http://tr.im/mixF #
  • First aid for Clippers – Getting top pick will ease the pain Globe NBA Notes by Marc J Spears: http://tr.im/mixo #
  • Home where the dart is -Inexplicably, Ward target of N.C. neighbors’ barbs Herald NHL notes by Stephen Harris: http://tr.im/miwM #
  • Chiarelli has some operating to do – Globe NHL Notes from Kevin Paul Dupont: http://tr.im/miwv #
  • BSMW Network Post: Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-05-23 http://tr.im/mhqA #

A Memorial Day Weekend Megalink Thing

Ken from Fang’s Bites with the megalinks again.

Well, with this being Memorial Day weekend, we have plenty of stuff going on. The start of interleague play this weekend and the NBA and NHL Playoffs are in their Conference Finals plus the French Open begins on Sunday and motorsports fans have plenty to watch with the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Let’s go over everything.

Weekend Viewing Picks

The Red Sox hope to rebound from Friday’s loss to the Mets and hope to even the series on Saturday on NESN at 7. On Sunday, they’ll play at 1:30. We’ll see if NESN decides to discipline Dennis Eckersley for cursing not once, but twice tonight.

In other Interleague play this weekend, Fox has two games, Phillies-Yankees and the Battle of Lone Star State, Texas at Houston, both of 4 p.m. I have the regional splits right here. WGN will have the White Sox hosting Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. Saturday, then the Cubs at San Diego at 4 p.m. Sunday. And ESPN’s Sunday night game pits Milwaukee at Minnesota.

The NCAA men’s Division I Lacrosse Championships take place in Foxboro. ESPN2 has the semifinals on Saturday at noon and 2. The Final will be played on Memorial Day on ESPN at 1 p.m.

The second tennis Grand Slam tournament begins on Sunday as the French Open starts at Roland Garros. Tennis Channel is the main cable rightsholder and will have live action every morning at 5. ESPN2 will join in most days at noon with some live coverage and mostly taped matches. NBC will have weekend coverage, but before the Peacock network gets involved, Tennis Channel and ESPN2 will carry the majority of the action.

The Eastern and Western Conference Finals in both the NBA and NHL will be showcased this weekend.

In the NHL, Game 3 of the Pittsburgh-Carolina series will be seen on Versus, Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. 7NBC and NBC 10 have Game 4 of the Detroit-Chicago series, Sunday at 3.

Over to the NBA where WCVB and ABC 6 have Game 3 of Lakers-Nuggets Saturday night at 8. Then on Sunday, TNT has Game 3 of Cavs-Magic at 8:30 p.m.

It’s a big motorsports Sunday as the Grand Prix of Monaco is run on the Formula 1 circuit on Speed at 7:30 a.m. The Indianapolis 500 runs on ABC at 1 p.m. Then at 5 p.m., Fox has the Coca-Cola 600 live from Charlotte.

There’s also college lacrosse, college softball and we’re fast approaching the College World Series.

I have the Weekend Viewing Picks complete with primetime programming as well.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today has some suggestions on who should fill the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football analyst spot.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell feels IndyCar driver Tomas Scheckter’s MonaVie endorsement is a rather risky one.

Joe Favorito says not every athlete should feel he or she should have to be on Twitter.

The Sports Media Journal’s Ray Frager has some thoughts on ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd.

The Sports Media Watch says TNT saw some monster ratings for Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. SMW says the NHL is also seeing solid ratings for its Conference Finals.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that Lance Armstrong fans can keep up with their favorite cyclist in the Giro d’Italia on TV or online through Universal Sports.

Mike reports that ESPN has reached a cable syndication deal with Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast for SEC sports.

David Goetzl of Mediapost writes that ESPN will take over YouTube’s home page to promote the NBA Finals.

Jay Busbee of Yahoo! Sports goes behind the scenes of a TNT NASCAR promotional shoot.

Paula Duffy of Examiner.com writes that Cavs fans without cable or satellite won’t be able to watch their team in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Awful Announcing has NFL Network’s Rich Eisen commenting on the Dan Patrick Show that he was expecting Jon Gruden to be on his channel instead of making the surprise move to Monday Night Football.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes about Gruden moving into the Monday Night Football booth.

Johnny Diaz of the Globe says the Bruins and Celtics playoffs runs affected the May sweeps in Boston.

Red Sox fans heard NESN’s Dennis Eckersley curse twice during tonight’s game against the Mets.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette profiles new minor league Tornadoes voice Pete Sachs.

Newsday’s Neil Best says Alex Rodriguez is finally learning how to deal with the media. Neil says the new Citi Field looked pretty on “Ugly Betty”.

Bobby Cassidy, Jr. of Newsday talks with ESPN/ABC Indy 500 pit reporter Brienne Pedigo.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes about more incidents involving the Yankee Stadium Gestapo.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post praises MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig for scheduling World Series games a half hour earlier.

Justin Terranova of the Post talks with ESPN/ABC motorsports analyst Scott Goodyear about the Indy 500. Justin has five questions for ESPN MLB analyst Steve Phillips.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com has some Baltimore and DC-related media notes in the Baltimore-centric Press Box website.

A couple of articles from Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner. Jim writes that gearheads have a big day on Sunday. Jim talks about Sirius XM radio having a big sports smorgasbord for the Holiday Weekend. Jim also talks with a Delaware gaming official about the state’s new law which allows sports gambling.

South

Kyle Tucker of The Virginian-Pilot writes that Virginia Tech and Alabama will kick off the college football season on ABC in primetime.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says two members of the Texas Rangers will be featured on a Fox Sports Southwest original program.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News looks at the debate over the greatest Cowboys player of all time. Barry says the NBA Playoffs are ruling the cable roost.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says Astros voice Milo Hamilton caught a lineup card error before most everyone else did.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman writes about a documentary on the late Wayman Tisdale. Mel has his usual media notebook.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that Red Wings fans would rather have TV voice Ken Daniels call their games in the Western Conference Finals.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN’s John Kruk is taking notice of the Brewers.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business says Chicago’s WSCR is holding open auditions to find a new reporter.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if a popular local sports radio show will be leaving its current home.

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) says Versus bidding on the NFL is a distinct possibility.

Bob Young in the Arizona Republic feels NBC’s Sunday Night Football outshines ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner talks with ESPN/ABC’s Bill Walton who is missing the entire NBA Playoffs after undergoing back surgery.

John Maffei of the North County Times says San Diego sports radio legend Lee Hamilton will be calling NFL games on national radio.

Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Star says this was a busy week for the NFL’s TV partners. Jim looks at ABC’s long history with the Indianapolis 500.

Mike Penner of the Los Angeles Times writes that ESPN/ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy still holds steadfast to a Cavs-Lakers NBA Final.

Jon Weisman of the Times wonders why Dodgers fans are angry over Jeanne Zelasko’s internet webcasts.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News profiles ESPN/ABC’s Doris Burke of Providence who’s doubling as NBA analyst and sideline reporter. Tom has more with Doris in his blog. Tom has a slimmed down version of his media notes. Tom reviews his week in blogging.

Tamara Chuang of the Orange County Register says Tennis Channel will be offered free on selected cable and satellite providers in time for the French Open.

John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News looks at Jeanne Zelasko calling selected Dodgers home games on the internet.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Jim Balsillie is using new media in his attempts to buy the team.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star blogs that the Maple Leafs will have a major say whether Balsillie intrudes on their TV territory.

CBC Sports says the NHL has announced the start dates for the Stanley Cup Finals.

Rick Owen of the Northern Times says a local town is a finalist to host CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada next year.

TSN will have plenty of coverage of the French Open starting on Sunday.

That will do it. Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Bay Paces Sox To Sweep

Amalie Benjamin has Jason Bay hitting his 11th straight home run with runners on base, setting a club record, and pacing the Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays, giving Boston a sweep over first-place Toronto. John Tomase has Jon Lester redeeming himself last night after his poor outing in Seattle. Robert Lee asserts that in this series, the Red Sox may have exposed the Blue Jays for who they really are. Ron Chimelis has Lester showing the right stuff last night. Jennifer Toland notes that Fenway Park had a definite midsummer feel last night.

Bob Ryan says that with Dice-K back, we can expect a long night of baseball. Steve Buckley looks at how everything is going Jason Bay’s way these days. Joe McDonald notes that Bay has been equally impressive with the glove this season as well. Sarah Green says that David Ortiz’s first home run should remind us of the fun times of baseball. Chaz Scoggins  says that while the Jays may have been exposed as pretenders in this series, we still don’t know if the Red Sox are real contenders.

Joe McDonald has the Sox making preparations for Interleague play. Adam Kilgore has Jon Lester bouncing back with a quality start of  6 1/3 innings giving up just one run. Rob Bradford reminds us why Lester is here and Johan Santana isn’t. Brian MacPherson looks at the case vs. the Red Sox defense, which has been one of the worst in the league. Joe Haggerty examines the nice start that Jason Varitek has gotten off to this season. Glen Farley says that there will be some new looks on display at Fenway tonight.

In Kilgore’s Minor League Notebook, he looks at Ryan Kalish, who has struggled in his call up to AA, though the outfielder is the youngest player on the team.

Sean McAdam has Jake Peavy turning down a trade from the Padres to the White Sox. Bill Burt chases down the reclusive J.P. Ricciardi for a chat about his Blue Jays and the AL East. Farley has the Sox leaving the Jays feeling blue after this series.

Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox gearing up for Interleague play, with Johan Santana and the Mets coming to town. Tomase’s notebook has David Ortiz recalling Santana’s early struggled with the Twins. In McDonald’s Red Sox journal, he has a further look at the return of Matsuzaka. Chimelis’ notebook has Justin Masterson heading to the bullpen with Dice-K’s return. Toland’s notebook has more on the return of Dice-K 

Patriots

Shalise Manza Young checks in with second year cornerback Terrence Wheatley, who is determined to pick up and move forward from where he left off last season. Andy Vogt  has Wheatley itching to show what he’s learned in the time since his season ended last year because of a broken wrist. Rich Garven has the Patriots starting over completely at cornerback this season. Karen Guregian looks at linebacker/special teams ace Vinny Ciurciu, who is grateful for the chance to play football for the Patriots. Christopher Price has Tully Banta-Cain happy to be back in familiar settings. He also has a look at Kevin O’Connell. Jeff Howe has Tank Williams ready to move forward and contribute to the defense.

Ron Borges says that Michael Vick has been punished sufficiently and it’s time to let him move on with his life. Jonathan Comey feels that there should be plenty of teams interested in Vick.

Other

Chad Finn  says that Jon Gruden is likely a short-timer on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Johnny Diaz  reports that the playoff runs by the Celtics and Bruins played a large role in the May sweeps.

Mark Murphy  has a Celtics postseason report card.

Paul Flannery  and Joe Haggerty debate whether the Celtics or Bruins had a better season.

Stephen Harris  and Fluto Shinzawa  report on Phil Kessel’s shoulder surgery.

Monique Walker  has the struggling New England Revolution looking to get back on track against Toronto.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-05-21

  • Glenn Ordway says he MUST tell us that he is laughing at those criticizing the media for burying their heads during the steroid era. #
  • BSMW Network Post: Some Postmortems, Then Back To The Living http://tr.im/m1S0 #
  • Jon Couture’s Red Sox Reloaded, Game 40 – http://tr.im/m1lt #
  • BSMW Network Post: Patriots on TV This Week (5/21 – 5/27) http://tr.im/m0hk #
  • RealGM – Mission Impossible? All Eyes On Danny Ainge: http://tr.im/m0bs #
  • Some names I’d love to see on the Celtics bench next season: Udonis Haslem, Hakim Warrick, Corey Brewer, Antonio McDyess, or Joe Smith. #
  • BSMW Network Post: Homer Odyssey Finally Comes To An End For Ortiz http://tr.im/lYTJ #
  • BSMW Network Post: Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-05-20 http://tr.im/lXre #

Some Postmortems, Then Back To The Living

Hard to believe that one brutal week ago tonight the Bruins and Celtics both stood on the threshold of their conference championships. But one B’s and two C’s losses later, TD Banknorth is now closed for the year. Throw in the Sox dropping four of their last five out West, the Lakers advancing to the Western finals, and the Yankees taking eight straight, and it’s been a bad stretch. With weeks like these, who needs eternity?

Allright, let’s get a few postmortems over with and return to teams of the living.

Celtics

Did all those extended series of the past two years finally catch up to a depleted Green squad last weekend? Yes, according to Basketbawful, which has the C’s falling apart like Belushi & Aykroyd’s Bluesmobile. Full Court Press has crossed The Green’s arms over their chests and delivered their eulogy, but they are not about to bury them. Red’s Army says KG should have made a better attempt to get on the floor. Celtics Hub thanks the basketball gods for sparing the injured C’s from inflicting more damage upon themselves against Cleveland. Celtics 24/7 is happy for two extra weeks of a restful offseason, a draft pick two selections higher, and . . . being spared an ignominious fate against the Cavs.

Perk Is A Beast is speechless, but Magic fans aren’t; in the final Comments From The Other Side, Loy’s Place has them complaining about the officiating. Something tells me LeBron is going to give them a little more to worry about, last night’s hiccup aside.

Celtics Stuff Live may not be driving the Bill Walker bus, but they’re in the front seat. CelticsBlog has A Few Big Men on their list of offseason priorities. Thanks For Playing is floored by Big Baby’s comments as he figures prominently in next year’s solution . . . or is it problem? With free agency looming, Green Street says none of the players affected can fill the void created by the one free agent who got away last year. It’s free agency for the coaching staff too, as Boston.com’s Celtics Blog reports on more interest in Tom Thibodeau.

Bruins

The housekeeping stage of the hockey season has prematurely arrived as we take inventory of our wounds and build the To Do list for next season. For Puck’s Sake goes the full gamut of emotions as she lives through the five stages of defeat. The Bruins Report is still on the ledge and thinking about ending it all . . . the blog, of course. So, if you like it, let Russ know!

Stanley Cup of Chowder looks for front office ulterior motives in the sudden deluge of injury information. Bish’s Blog‘s heartache is assuaged knowing the B’s went down swinging. Wicked Bruins Fan sees earlier surgeries for all as the silver lining in the B’s early exodus. Kathryn Tappen frets over the adverse effects carryover injuries may have on the B’s ability to quickly accumulate those all-important early season points. Big Bad Blog has GM Peter Chiarelli doing some salary skinning this summer.

When life deals you lemons, make lemonade. Kudos to the Bruins blogs that quickly redeployed some idle cyberspace and picked up the Baby B’s chase for a cup of their own. The Bear Cave has them knotted with the other Bears at a game apiece after dropping the second of two in Hershey. Kynch’s Korner! says the P-Bruins took too many and threw too few. Cornelius Hardenbergh And The Hockey Blogging Adventure eagerly awaits Tuukka Rask’s appearance in Boston next year, but right now he’s got a Calder Cup to win.

Red Sox

A quick end to winter means the Boston bisportual must be quick on his feet and no one is quicker than Hacks With Haggs, whose analysis of the Lester hangover effect shows he can play well for both teams – not that there’s anything wrong with it. The Bottom Line hopes some of the recent positive mojo will rub off on Lester starting tonight. Staying with the starters, no one talks more Tim Wakefield smack than Fenway West and now he wants to confess his idiocy. Tim is listening.

Hey, if you had Memorial Day in the Big Papi Home Run Pool . . . you lose!!!

By the time I checked in for a score last night, the Sox were up, 8-1, and my first reaction was: maybe Papi hit one. Naw, said my sons, Youk was back in the lineup. But, as Boston Dirt Dogs decrees, the Nation’s nightmare is over. Ortiz’s blast opened the floodgates, as the Sox pounded out two more right behind him and Toeing The Rubber was reduced to tears. Surviving Grady can now sleep and eat again. And to think all this could happen without the necessity of implementing Cole Wright‘s lively experiment. The Joy of Sox has Big Papi putting the crowd into a frenzy as he put one in the centerfield camera well.

NESN’s Boston Red Sox blog has Jason Veritek giving up the spotlight on a night he tatered twice himself. Despite his newfound hitting prowess, Extra Bases has the Captain insisting his importance comes in what he wears. SoxSpace has Jacoby Ellsbury’s yeoman effort with the glove, where he tied an MLB record. With all the attention paid to centerfield last night, A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Country was either a dollar late or a day short of the fame that comes with continuous NESN face time. At the close of a tough week, Fire Brand of the American League takes stock of all that’s gone right recently.

The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is happy that Fox and MLB are finally reading his blog. And from a hatred of baseball to a love of pitching, Fighting Words completes the morphing of Keith Foulke, who has reemerged in the independent Atlantic League. Newark will soon know the joy of empty antacid shelves at the corner CVS. Caught Off The Wall has Foulke dissing Johnny Burger King with his constant complaints of Atlantic League conditions.

Next week, we’ll get back into more football as we put the B’s (the Big B’s, anyway) and C’s on the back shelf. For now, Papi’s back, Beckett’s coming around – maybe Lester will to – and Tuukka is between the pipes. Teams of the living.

Homer Odyssey Finally Comes To An End For Ortiz

In the fifth inning last night against the Toronto Blue Jays, it finally happened. Facing rookie pitcher Brett Cecil, David Ortiz broke through and connected for his first home run of the season – a bomb to the camera position in straight-away center field.

Hopefully it is the first of many more to come.

Adam Kilgore has Ortiz as the main story in the clubhouse following the Red Sox 8-3 win last night. Michael Silverman has Ortiz finally putting the “Big” back into Big Papi. Kevin McNamara has Ortiz’s father coming into town to offer support and advice. Jeff Goldberg has Ortiz putting an exclamation mark on things last night. Ron Chimelis has life returning to normal last night at Fenway. Bill Ballou has the Sox hoping that last night was just the start of things for Ortiz.

A warm and fuzzy Dan Shaughnessy says that the fans reaction to Ortiz is why the truly great players love to come here. Steve Buckley says that last night turned into an outrageously festive night at the old ballyard. Bill Reynolds says that fair or unfair, Ortiz is branded with baseball Scarlett Letter of steroid suspicion. Mike Fine has more on the return of Big Papi.

Tony Massarotti explores whether Ortiz will be able to make the necessary adjustments as he ages to in order to remain productive. Brian MacPherson notes that finally all is right with the world. Alex Speier looks at what we can learn from the end of the drought.

Nick Cafardo has Jacoby Ellsbury tying the major league record with 12 putouts in centerfield last night. McDonald has more on Ellsbury catching a major-league record last night. Joe McDonald notes that the Red Sox offense returned with Kevin Youkilis. Speier notes the struggles of another slugger in the Red Sox organization, Lars Anderson, who is hitting just .229 in AA Portland.

Kilgore has Jason Bay saying that he doesn’t want to play all 162 games this season, it just puts too much strain on the body. McNamara though, says that Boston’s new ironman doesn’t plan on missing any games. Buckley has the Grandfather of Daniel Bard, Fran O’Brien, who happened to coach baseball at MIT and Holy Cross, thrilled at being able to watch his grandson at Fenway Park. McNamara notes that it was a rough home debut for Bard.

Jon Couture has a look at Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill, who led the Wareham Gatemen to the 2001 Cape League title.

Kilgore’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis picking up right where he left off with three hits last night. Silverman’s notebook has more on Ellsbury tying the record. Chimelis’ notebook has more  on the return of Youkilis. Ballou’s notebook has the Sox weathering the storm in Youkilis’ absence, and glad to have him back. A notebook from Glen Farley reports that Mark Kotsay is heading to Pawtucket in preparation for a return to the Red Sox.

Patriots

The media got to take a look at the Patriots Organized Team Activity sessions yesterday, and though it was mostly for the young players and newcomers, there was plenty to report.

Karen Guregian has veteran Fred Taylor among those on the field yesterday. Mark Farinella has the Patriots uniform suiting Taylor very well. Shalise Manza Young has Taylor glad to be able to get on the field and have a chance to learn the playbook. Andy Vogt says that the running back seems Taylor-made for New England. Mike Petraglia has Taylor hoping to catch Jim Brown in the record books.

Ron Borges has Tank Williams believing that he can be a big part of the Patriots defense this season. Christopher L. Gasper has second year players Shawn Crable and Terrence Wheatley looking to make a big leap this season in the team’s defense. Vogt has Kevin O’Connell taking center stage at QB yesterday. Christopher Price has O’Connell ready to take another step forward.

Mike Reiss explores whether the IR system might be in line for a change. Bill Burt wants the Patriots to go out and sign Michael Vick when he is reinstated.

Farinella complains about Tom Brady speaking only to a team-run “media” outlet:

The quick Brady interview is another example of the Kraft organization’s growing inclination to sidestep traditional, non-affiliated media to produce “news” it can control and sanitize through its own outlets, which include the newspaper “Patriots Football Weekly,” the Webcasts under the “Patriots Today” label, television programming produced by the Kraft Group such as “Patriots All-Access” and “Totally Patriots,” and exclusive content to WEEI radio in which players and Coach Bill Belichick are contractually obligated to appear as live or phoned-in guests on WEEI programs.

Guregian’s notebook has Tom Brady saying that he feels great and is looking forward to getting on the field. The Globe notebook has more from Taylor and Brady. Farinella’s notebook has backup QB Kevin O’Connell talking to the media yesterday. Young’s Patriots journal has former Bears safety Brandon McGowan excited about getting a chance with the Patriots.

Celtics

Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers talking about the end of the season for the Celtics, and what they need next year to get back on top. Buddy Thomas says that the best thing that could’ve happened to the Celtics was losing on Sunday night to the Magic. David Willis thinks that the Big 3 have another year in them. Patrick Gilroy says that there are plenty of decisions looming for the Celtics.  Murphy’s notebook has the Kings adding Tom Thibodeau to their coaching search.

Michael Felger dumps all over the Celtics in his mailbag.