Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-06-25

Sixth Man, We Hardly Knew Ya

The way I see things, if John Smoltz’s first pitch tonight sails three feet wide, that will mean it stays in the park. We’re playing with house money after that. And if that leadoff batter should walk on four pitches, Smoltz will still be a run and three hits better than Daisuke’s first-four-pitch split last Friday night.

Yes, the six-man rotation is dead. Smoltz is in, Matsuzaka out for the foreseeable future. Turns out Tito Francona was right. Things have a way of working out. Tom Caron has Smoltz in the best place at the best time. Fighting Words has Matsuzaka serving well as a $103 million placeholder until the young arms could develop. The House That Dewey Built says Dice-K is a victim of his own hype, but he’s not a bust . . . yet. Fire Brand Of The American League opines that, other than his stuff . . . and command . . . and control, Matsuzaka has been well worth the $103 million pricetag. Peter’s Red Sox Forever says Smoltz and his four buddies will make a nearly unbeatable combination through October. Hmmmm . . . there was no mention of Daisuke.

Red Sox Monster loves the new and antiseptic Nationals Park, where Red Sox Nation is holding a filibuster-proof majority over D.C. fans. A veteran of many beer league triples himself, The Bottom Line‘s Rob has a special appreciation for Ellsbury’s performance in the opener at Nationals Park. Surviving Grady was a bit less appreciative of John Kerry’s performance in the booth on Tuesday night. Basegirl says Dave Roberts treated Kerry better than Eck would.

Hacks With Haggs doesn’t like Pedroia’s performance at leadoff, but who should take that spot? Ellsbury? Forget it, says Lou Merloni, who pencils in Jacoby as an ideal No. 7. Boston Dirt Dogs loves the performances of Ortiz and Varitek at the plate. Sox & Dawgs is happy to see Big Papi in the fifth and sixth slots getting pitches to hit. Sully Baseball has the Sox making a great trade to improve at DH.

Well, it’s finally happened. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine observes that Big Papi has passed up Big Slappi down in the bowels of the AL batting pack. The Mets half of Subway Squawkers delights that his cleanup hitter is matching A-Rod swing for swing, but for pennies on the dollar. A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory equates Girardi’s ejection last night to whacking the remote, and he’s annoyed that it once again turned the Yankee TV on.

38 Pitches says it’s not retiring MLBPA ED Donald Fehr’s fault that A-Rod stuck a needle in his butt. El Guapo’s Ghost says Fehr is guilty only of reticence from his soap box.

Celtics / Bruins

A few quick entries on our winter teams, as they each have upcoming drafts.

Ball Don’t Lie and SB Nation combine great minds to bring you their latest NBA mock draft. Awful Announcing says they’ll be no tweeting allowed to announce tonight’s selections. Cole Wright may not know what will go down tonight, but he’s sure of two things: the 58th pick will be left intact and the C’s will tear through next season. CelticsHub doesn’t believe Danny Ainge when he says he’s not dealing before the draft. Rich Levine looks back at the C’s last 20 draft picks. Celtics Stuff Live advises against pulling a Ricky Pitino when it comes to Ray Allen.

Big Bad Blog gets us current on the Phil Kessel front as we enter the NHL Entry Draft this weekend. Cycle Like The Sedins features Cornelius Hardenbergh’s take on the B’s plan of attack going into this weekend. Boston Blood Sox crosses sports to trace Tim Thomas’ global path to the Vezina. Hey, it’s not the Urpo Ylonen Trophy, but it will still look good on his mantel.

Some scheduling problems created the late delivery today, so my apologies. They also forced me to put the Patriots on hold for another week. Thanks for dropping in and spending a Thursday afternoon with us here on BSMW.

SoSH Raising Money for ALS Research

The Sons of Sam Horn messageboard is more than just a discussion group of all things Red Sox. The folks over there (and there is a lot of cross-pollination between BSMW and SoSH) have always used their community to raise money for worthy charities, such as The Jimmy Fund.

For the second straight year, SoSH will run an auction to benefit the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association, and will partner with Curt’s Pitch for ALS during the event, which will take place from July 6-19. Details below:

SONS OF SAM HORN HOLDING ANNUAL

AUCTION TO BENEFIT ALS RESEARCH AND CARE

Last year, popular Red Sox message board raised over $63,000

for the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association

Boston, Mass. (June 24, 2009)—The web site that made its reputation on dissecting Jimy Williams’ lineups, analyzing Nomar Garciaparra’s penchant for hacking away at the first pitch, and analyzing the latest moves by general manager Theo Epstein is going to bat against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Sons of Sam Horn (SoSH), a popular message board dedicated to the discussion of the Boston Red Sox, will hold its annual online auction July 6-19. All proceeds will benefit the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association.

SoSH will partner with Curt’s Pitch for ALS during the event. Founded in 1993 by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, the organization is committed to ALS patient care and the search for a cure.

“I am proud to join with the members of the Sons of Sam Horn in their efforts to raise money for ALS patients and their families,” Schilling said. “The goal of Curt’s Pitch has always been to help improve the quality of life for those living with the disease and their loved ones, and fundraisers like the on-line auction run by SoSH go a long way toward helping meet that goal. I sincerely hope you will join us and participate in this year’s auction.”

Last year, SoSH’s online auction raised over $63,000 for the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association. Winning items included a Red Sox clubhouse tour with Curt Schilling, a week’s use of a beach house on Cape Cod, original artwork, and a visit to the set of the NBC television hit “The Office.” Auctioned items and services are mostly donated by SoSH members, but anyone can donate an item, and bidding in the auction is open to everyone. This year’s auction items can be found at www.sonsofsamhorn.net.

Since 2003, SoSH has also held an annual pledge drive that benefited the Jimmy Fund. The drive has raised close to $250,000, with a high of nearly $75,000 in 2007. Over the years, SoSH has received donations from a variety of organizations and businesses, including the Boston Red Sox, Rotoworld, the Ryan Center, NBC Sports, Kittery Trading Post, The Red Seat, Sports Propaganda Print, and Limo’s by Liz.

For more information, visit www.sonsofsamhorn.com/index.php/sosh-auction-for-curts-pitch-for-als.

I would like to encourage all to consider participating in this event.

Ortiz, Sox Power Over Nationals

David Ortiz hit a three-run homer last night to spark the Red Sox offense in a 6-4 win over the Washington Nationals.

Adam Kilgore has Ortiz seemingly having turned it all around for himself. John Tomase says that Ortiz’s home run last night was just a like the old days  – a no-doubt-about-it moon shot. Joe McDonald has Ortiz and Jason Varitek powering the Sox to victory.

Michael Silverman looks at John Smoltz’s first start for the Red Sox tonight, and prepares us not to see a finished product just yet.  Brian MacPherson notes that today has been more than a year in the making for Smoltz. Mike Fine says that Smoltz is still pitching because that is what he loves to do.

Nick Cafardo says Jason Varitek is giving the Red Sox everything he has, and a little more. Cafardo compares him to Bill Buckner in 1986, who did anything he could to get on the field. Rob Bradford says that there was a lot of the familiar in last night’s win. Silverman has Nick Green nearly getting impaled by a flying broken bat last night. McDonald has Green able to avoid injury on the play.

McDonald has Julio Lugo just trying to be a good soldier. McDonald has Dusty Brown talking about his “awesome” time in the majors as he prepares to go back to Pawtucket. Bradford has Jason Bay working to become a United States Citizen.

Jeff Jacobs has Sandy Koufax making an appearance at a CT charity golf tournament.

Kilgore’s notebook has Smoltz set to make his debut with the Red Sox tonight. Tomase’s notebook looks at a little piece of history between Smoltz and Dave Magadan. McDonald’s Red Sox journal has Smoltz rarin’ to go tonight.

Celtics

The NBA draft is tonight, and the Celtics will either do something big, or nothing at all, it seems.

Danny Ainge went on WEEI yesterday morning and had some curious things to say about Rajon Rondo. Bob Ryan believe that where there is this much smoke there has to be at least a small fire. You know what? This Bruce Allen guy agrees in the Metro. Glad we see eye-to-eye for the most part, Bob. Bill Burt says that this just might all be a wake-up call for Rondo. Mark Murphy says that the saga with Rondo is more important than tonight’s draft. Marc J. Spears has Rondo’s agent responds to Ainge’s criticism of his client. Matthew Conyers has Ray Allen speaking at a golf event about the trade rumors around him.

Steve Bulpett notes that Danny Ainge can pretty much sit back and relax during this draft, a marked change from some years past. If they pick at all, Scott Souza says the goal will be to find a diamond in the rough. Jim Fenton says that pickings will be slim for the Celtics at #58. Jessica Camerato notes that taking flyers on international players in the second round hasn’t really panned out for the Celtics thus far. Bill Reynolds notes the trade talk surrounding Ainge and the Celtics. Jeff Howe tries to figure out what the Celtics are going to do tonight.

Ron Chimelis thinks that the Celtics should draft UMass’ Tony Gaffney. While the talent level isn’t as high as some drafts, Spears thinks that this could be among the most entertaining and surprising drafts ever because of some of the side stories. Dan Duggan checks in with Memphis guard Antonio Anderson, a Lynn native hoping to hear his named called tonight. Frank Dell’Apa thinks that UConn’s Jeff Adrien could be worth a second look.

Bruins/NHL

Kevin Paul Dupont has BC-bound Chris Kreider likely to be a first round pick in the NHL draft. Steve Conroy has Ryan Bourque ready for the next step in his career. John Connolly has Merrimack goaltender Joe Cannata also among those who could be drafted.

Steve Buckley has a report from The Tradition.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-06-24

Sox Erupt Late To Take Down Nationals

In a tight 3-3 battle heading into the seventh inning, the Red Sox erupted for eight runs in the final three innings, including six runs in the eighth to post an 11-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Adam Kilgore has Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay and Jason Varitek standing out as the stars of this win. John Tomase says that last night’s game actually hinged on two defensive plays. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox successful in their first visit to Nationals Park.

Michael Silverman says that the Nationals are simply a disaster. Brian MacPherson is talking hitting with Chipper Jones. Alex Speier says that Jason Bay is a run-producing monster. Joe Haggerty has Kevin Youkilis going through a bit of a rough patch at the plate. Speier also has a Day in the Life of the Red Sox Draft.

Nick Cafardo says that we just need to wait and see what kind of player Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be, rather than placing high expectations on him. Silverman has hitting coach Dave Magadan still keeping a close eye on David Ortiz at the plate. McDonald has Dusty Brown making his Major League debut. He also looks at another big night for Jason Bay.

Adam Kilgore’s notebook has Mike Lowell benefiting from his weekend rest. Tomase’s notebook has Jason Bay saying that he will not participate in the Home Run Derby. McDonald’s Red Sox journal has the team giving a thumps up to Nationals Park.

Celtics

You can’t turn around these days without hearing a Rajon Rondo trade rumor. Danny Ainge has been doing his best to defuse such talk, but it persists. Frank Dell’Apa has Ainge saying that while no one is untradeable, he likes the lineup he has right now. Mark Murphy has Ainge reaffirming his love of Rondo. Scott Souza also has Ainge downplaying any trade rumors.

Jim Fenton notes that the Celtics will have a long wait before they pick in tomorrow night’s draft. Paul Flannery has five things we know about this year’s NBA draft. Kirk Minihane rates the best and worst of Celtics drafts. Murphy’s notebook has Ainge reporting that KG’s rehab is going well.

Dan Duggan and Ron Chimelis have UMass forward Tony Gaffney hoping to hear his name called on draft night.

Bruins/Misc

Steve Conroy has Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins looking to make a move up in this week’s NHL draft. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins have targeted a player and may have to move up to get him. DJ Bean has a couple of ideas as to who that player might be.

The Tradition is tonight, and there are a trio of articles in the papers this morning on the events and honorees:

Lenny Megliola has a look at the event, John Connolly has a piece on Ken Hodge getting recognized for his contributions to the Big Bad Bruins, and Dan Shaughnessy checks in with ice queen Nancy Kerrigan.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-06-23

Leigh Montville Tidbits

This post is part of the effort to select The Best All-Time Boston Sports Columnists

Browsing the Sports Illustrated Vault, I noted a couple of publisher’s notes from the magazine which give us a glimpse into the writer that Leigh Montville is.

From the April 20, 1987 issue:

Eighteen years of writing for the Boston globe and living in Newton, Mass., has given columnist Leigh Montville a special perspective on the Boston Marathon. Not only has he written about Heartbreak Hill, he has frequently driven over and around it. So when the idea came up to have him describe the residents and merchants along the storied marathon course (page 94), he had an assignment close to both heart and home.

“Most of the people I talked to have the feeling they’re involved in something special,” says Montville, 43. “Each of the places I went, people didn’t have to think very deeply for stories.”

In addition to writing for us—his two previous contributions were stories on the Boston Garden (May 19, 1986) and the inventor of the Zamboni machine (March 30, 1987)—and for other magazines, he turns out four sports columns a week and the random essay for the Globe’s Sunday magazine. Seeking inspiration, he often turns to a mystical—to him—rubber-coated baseball the late Globe columnist Ray Fitzgerald also favored. “Ray developed the notion that if he held on to the ball, War and Peace would come into his head,” Montville says. “Michael Madden, his successor, uses it, too. It’s surprising how many times you need it.”

Montville’s stories generally reflect a fresh point of view. “Everyone else looks at things from the ground floor,” says SI senior writer Peter Gammons, a former Globe colleague. “Leigh writes like he’s got his own hot-air balloon.” Globe sports editor Vince Doria says, “Leigh’s not a hard-opinion guy. He sees a lot of gray in everything.” And it’s usually funny. To which Montville says, “I think that’s one part of writing columns they don’t mention in journalism school—entertainment. There’s as much Woody Allen in it as Woodward and Bernstein.”

Montville is easy to spot in a press box. He’s the rumpled guy with a toothpick in his mouth and a Coke in his hand. When he isn’t working, he reads Anne Tyler and John Gregory Dunne, vacations in Maine, goes full court at the Newton Y and slugs down junk food.

And then the September 25, 1989 issue:

The first time Leigh Montville entered the time-life Building in New York City, in 1965, he was a callow youth newly graduated from the University of Connecticut. His objective then was to be what he is today—an SI writer. But perhaps he was a tad naive.

“I put on my little suit and gathered my little college newspaper clips and showed up unannounced at the personnel office, where there were two other guys—who were waiting to interview for a maintenance job—and me,” says Montville. “We all saw the same woman and we all heard the same speech, ‘Get some experience and then come see us again.’ ”

Montville has been collecting experience bulk rate ever since. He took a job at his hometown paper, the New Haven Journal-Courier, and three years later moved on to The Boston Globe, where he became a columnist in 1970. Several thousand deadline stories later, he longed for the luxury of time to reflect on his stories. “Doing a daily column is usually more typing than it is writing,” he says. “It’s like being a contestant on Beat the Clock.” That was why when SI asked him to do a piece on the Boston Garden, in ’86, his first question was, “When’s the deadline?” Told it was in four weeks, he accepted the assignment with relish.

Be sure to check out this 1986 SI column by Montville on the old Boston Garden: And They All Say, ‘this Is It?’

Excerpt on Dave Egan

This post is part of the effort to select The Best All-Time Boston Sports Columnists

This is from Leigh Montville’s book Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero, in a part noting the death of noted Williams critic Dave Egan. It might give you a little glimpse into the man, as we consider his place among Boston columnists:

Egan left a complicated legacy. He was the only writer in Boston who had complained loudly about the Red Sox racist outlook under Yawkey, the only one who saw the shame in a forced, half-baked, no-chance tryout in 1945 for Negro League stars Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams. He was often credited or derided as one of the major forces in the Boston Braves’ decision in 1953 to leave town. He was a different voice at all times, making fun of the powerful and successful, siding with the unpowerful and unsuccessful. . . and, of course, there were his “accounts” at the racetracks and boxing rings.

His columns about Williams were remembered more than any others. He had been a defender of Williams in personal situations — the controversy surrounding the birth of Bobby-Jo, for instance — but a constant critic on all other matters. No one attacked Williams more often.

Later on it was noted that honorary pallbearers at Egan’s funeral included Walter Brown, Bob Cousy, Milt Schmidt, boxers Tommy Collins and Tony DeMarco, race track owner B. A. Dario and Joe Cronin. Egan’s space in the Record the next day was taken by Larry Claflin.

We’ve discussed Egan on this site before: Infamous Moments in Boston Sports Media History

More Off Day Musings

To start things off this Tuesday morning, David Scott is calling it quits over at Scott’s Shots. I’d like to thank David, who has been here at BSMW almost from the beginning, and who certainly brought a lot of eyeballs over to the site with some of his posts and commentary on the local media happenings. He’s fleshing out details of a new gig, which he’s not ready to fully announce just yet, but he’s going to be missed here.

Bob Ryan says that we should all agree that Daisuke Matsuzaka has not been worth $102 million. He will not argue this. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox need Dice-K to get on a shoulder program. Ron Chimelis says that Matsuzaka is willing to listen to the Red Sox for advice on his shoulder.

Amalie Benjamin looks at John Smoltz set to enter a Brave new world with the Red Sox. Dom Amore says that a competitive spirit has kept Smoltz going. Lenny Megliola says that Smoltz’s debut on Thursday will be must-see TV.

Bill Burt thinks that Brad Penny has found a home in Boston, and rather than looking to trade him, perhaps Theo Epstein should be offering him an extension. Daniel Barbarisi looks at several promising catchers in the Red Sox organization. Mike Fine says that Jason Bay has been easy to manage for Terry Francona. Adam Smartschan looks at whether Nick Green’s homer on Sunday was the best of the year for the Red Sox.

Adam Kilgore has a look at the next team up on the Red Sox schedule, the hapless Washington Nationals, who are flirting with the 1962 New York Mets modern day record for worst record. Brian MacPherson has a great opportunity facing the Red Sox as they prepare to face three teams with losing records on this trip.

Nick Cafardo has Donald Fehr retiring as executive director of the baseball players union. Steve Buckley says that Fehr’s legacy will face scrutiny. Bob Halloran is tired of people avoiding the phrase “no-hitter” while one is in progress.

Benjamin’s notebook has David Ortiz finally starting to look like his old self. Silverman’s notebook says that Dice-K’s star hasn’t dimmed in Japan, where they view the WBC as more important that MLB and the Red Sox.

U.S. Open

Michael Whitmer has Lucas Glover taking home the U.S. Open title. Ron Borges has Phil Mickelson coming up short, but aware of what truly matters. Whitmer says that Mickelson will now shift focus to his wife and her cancer treatment. Borges has David Duval getting back into the game.

Whitmer’s notebook has Duval feeling like he belongs among the best. Borges’ notebook has a poor start and putting woes doing in Tiger Woods.

Misc

Mike Reiss has Tedy Bruschi leaving his options open beyond this season. Christopher Price has Joe Theismann talking about Tom Brady’s recovery.

Jim Fenton says that the Rajon Rondo trade rumors are absurd.

Mark Murphy has UConn’s Jeff Adrien working out for the Celtics. Dan Duggan has BC’s Tyrese Rice hoping that the NBA recognizes the sacrifices he made in putting his team first in his senior season.

Jeff Howe reports that it appears that Boston College will play in the winter classic at Fenway Park as part of a doubleheader with the Bruins.

Michael Felger has five assorted thoughts on the Boston sports scene.

Um, I don’t have the words.