New Year’s Eve Eve Top 10

Quite a bit going on yesterday with Jason Bay agreeing to terms with the Mets, and the Pro Bowl rosters being announced.

Bay was a nice player here, a professional guy who hit for power and drove in runs, but wasn’t the type of guy you build your lineup around. Despite his durability over the course of his career, there was also apparently something in his physical that prompted the Red Sox to move on. Speaking of moving on, I think most of us had moved on from Bay a couple of weeks ago, so all these columns and talk about Bay this morning are not nearly as interesting as the media seems to think it is.

As for the Pro Bowl selections…the NFL is trying their hardest to make the selections an “event.” They had a show dedicated to the Pro Bowl last night, where the selections were announced. The most notable part of that show however, was a rambling interview with Colts president Bill Polian, who took shots at his own fan base, intimating that they were too stupid to understand what was really important, and outlined what he felt was really important: he stated that he didn’t think 16-0 was of any significance, (“inconsequential” he called it) and that they had set two goals this season – the first was to get to 23 straight regular season wins, and the second was to get the most regular season wins this decade. No mention of the Super Bowl. (You can see a similar rant on the Colts web page.)

Anyway…on to the links.

They looked coordinated on offense – Albert Breer notes the improvement in play-calling for the Patriots on Sunday. (Of course, the picture with the column is actually of defensive coordinator Dean Pees.)

‘D’ is the key to Pats’ surge – Rich Garven looks at lineup changes on the other side of the ball that have made a difference for the Patriots.

They finally grasped The Patriot Way – Tom E Curran says that the team is finally coming together.

Patriots drop back to the pack – Karen Guregian isn’t optimistic about this team.

Cold, Hard Football Facts That Defined The Decade Of The Patriots – Kerry Byrne with 81(!) numbers that stand out for the Patriots in the last ten years.

Life Comes Full Circle for Jason Bay, Mets – Alex Speier looks back at how the Mets deemed Bay utterly expendable seven years ago.

Pioneers and Racism in Major League Baseball – Scott Coen with some thoughts after the passing of former baseball writer Lester Rodney.

Mental lapses are proving to be a real headache – Gary Washburn looks at the Celtics recent struggles.

Goal within reach? – Kevin Paul Dupont has Tim Thomas still dreaming of Olympic gold.

Rink can freeze out Mother Nature – Rich Thompson looks at how rain won’t deter plans for the Winter Classic.

#2 Spygate

Number Two?

Really?

Aren’t I the one who wrote Why Spygate Is The Most Disgraceful Episode In Recent Sports Media History as well as The Most Miserable 18-1 Season in History?

Yes. I’ll still say that Spygate was the most disgraceful Boston sports media episode this decade. But was it the most significant? No. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out that one.

Spygate. Ugh. I still shudder when I hear or see that word. The whole episode was more of a national media episode, that is, until the bastard child of Spygate appeared – Tomasegate. When John Tomase reported in the Boston Herald prior to Super Bowl XLII that the Patriots had taped the walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams prior to Super Bowl XXXVI a whole new explosion of screaming jackals on the airwaves and in print came out.

Even though the Tomase story was later retracted and the Herald forced to issue an apology to the Patriots, the damage was already done.

Let’s get this out of the way. Did the Patriots break the rules? Yes. Were they punished? Yes. Did the media go over-the-top in a manner unprecedented in this decade? Absolutely.

If you have the stomach for it, go ahead and re-read the first link above, on why Spygate was just so disgraceful. Looks at how the sensationalistic aspects of the case were emphasized over cold analysis. Look at the willingness to shoot before looking by the media, examine some of the obvious agendas by some of the biggest media outlets and names, as well as the real reason for the hatred aimed at the Patriots.

It still lingers to this day. Just this weekend, I was watching NFL Gameday Morning on the NFL Network, which features Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin. With the Pro Bowl announcements coming this week, they were listing out the top 10 players of the decade.  Tom Brady came out on top of the list, just ahead of Peyton Manning. When Brady’s name was mentioned, there was an audible groan on the set. They were  then reviewing Brady’s accomplishments, and Eisen, I believe, mentioned that Brady had the three Super Bowl titles. One of the rest of the crew, and I couldn’t tell which one, as the screen was showing the Brady graphic and not the panel, snidely said “Yeah, but how many were without asterisks?”

Spygate was media at its worst. The aftereffects are still lingering.

The Terrific Tuesday Ten

The sports articles you’ll need to read today:

Boston transforms from Loserville to Titletown – Gerry Callahan chronicle’s Boston’s transformation this decade.

Should Pats hit brakes or accelerator? – Mike Reiss says that Bill Belichick has done both in the past.

The Pats’ top 10 role players of the decade – Jonathan Comey compiles a list of good-not-great guys who never made it to Hawaii or into the national consciousness, but possess at least an AFC championship ring for their troubles.

Ron Borges’ Patriots Report Card – Straight “A’s” for Bill Belichick’s team? You betcha. (Be sure to also check out the Patriots Daily report card – Making The Grades by Jeremy Gottlieb.)

Lightning strikes down the Bruins – Joe Haggerty wraps the Bruins 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ice men cometh – Kevin Paul Dupont looks at how the Winter Classic came into being, and how it came to Fenway this year.

Celtics fall once again on their trip – Gary Washburn’s game story of a frustrating 103-99 loss to the Warriors.

Celtics Find Fools Gold Against Warriors – Paul Flannery with some things we can take away from the Celtics second consecutive loss.

Red Sox’ Casey Kotchman on Claus’ nice list – John Tomase tells us why the Red Sox might already have their 2010 everyday first baseman on the roster.

Mike Lowell May See Time at First Base During 2010 Season – Terry Francona’s mailbag on NESN.com answers a number of Red Sox related questions.