An Ode to Sports Media Musings

Cue the “Et tu, Brute?”, Anakin Skywalker, and Hulk Hogan to N.W.O. jokes. Or, even call me Judas..

Today I’m signing off because (and I’ve thought about a gregarious way to say this), I’m taking my talents to South Beach! I’m going to be writing for WEEI.com.

Needless to say, I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking, “fraud.” And that’s fine, obviously I’ve been critical of WEEI in this space before. But I’ve also been critical of ESPN, 98.5 The Sports Hub, and CSNNE.

I wanted to work in sports media in some capacity, and I really like the news gathering approach of WEEI.com. I think it will teach me discipline both in writing and in my reporting. I also like the writers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both before and after my stint began there.

The crux of the matter is, as I’m approaching the end of my graduate program, the TLC song, “No Scrubs” was slowly becoming germane to my personal situation.

I can’t thank my editors – KC Downey and Bruce Allen – enough for my time in the blogosphere as media critic for Sports of Boston and Boston Sports Media Watch.

Both gave me a platform and let me run with it. I’m sure at times each felt like Grady Little leaving Pedro on the mound during the ’03 ALCS. But, regardless, they let me ruminate and opine at my own discretion.

Additionally I have to give special thanks to David Scott, who provided me with advice when needed along the way.

I also can’t help but thank those in the media that took the time to talk shop with me whether it be on my podcast or in passing — Rich Shertenlieb, Chad Finn, Kirk Minihane, Michael Holley, Tom E. Curran, Jon Anik, Anna Clark, Gerry Callahan, Chris Price, and many more.

Sometimes I think back to last year when I was working at an investment bank and loathing life. I never thought I would have done half the crap I did in my short stint writing this column. From talking to a class at BU about sports media to writing on BSMW (a site I’ve frequented since I was about 18-years-old), it has been a great ride.

You hear the term “outliers” a lot these days, because of Malcolm Gladwell’s book. I can’t help but feel lukewarm about the term as it pertains to my run here. Let’s face it, a lot happened while I wrote Sports Media Musings.

From the politically correct debate of David Portnoy’s “baby-gate” incident to Michael Felger vs. Heidi Watney — the column basically wrote itself.

(As one reader pointed out, I’m happy to learn my “Sports Lodge Is On Fire” column is referenced on Felger’s wikipedia page)

I never wanted to be the Jim Rome or Skip Bayless of media critics, though. I didn’t want to make myself known by putting people on blast (although I’ll admit, when Andy Gresh called me a ‘chump media blogger’ on the radio, I smiled).

A friend asked me how much more mileage I could milk out of the column a few weeks ago. I never really looked at it that way. Bruce has been doing it for so long, David Scott did it before me, and someone will do it after me. That’s why the ”outliers” concept seems disingenuous to associate with Media Musings.

Predictably, I was assured this much while sitting at Health Point, waiting for Celtics practice to open up to the media Wednesday. I chuckled to myself when I overheard a few writers laughing about Bruce’s enemies list.

As far as my future goes, I’m excited to have this opportunity to be a part of WEEI’s site. Down the road, I’ll be doing a media podcast. Working under the prism of mainstream media will give me easier access to guests and resources. I’ll also be writing some other content for Rob Bradford & Co.

As for right now, I’m contributing to their Celtics coverage.  (Here is my debut piece on rookie, JaJuan Johnson. Later on today, I have something going up about Brandon Bass.)

I realize this is going about 500 words to long, so I’ll leave you with my new Twitter handle. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the column as much as I loved writing it.

Media “Friends” and Media Links

Glad to see the Enemies list post getting some good discussion going. The point of the list was not that these are people that I personally dislike, that’s not the case. It was those who I think at the moment are consistently and purposely being an irritant to the Boston sports fan.

Like to hear who I think some of the “fan friendly” media types are?

Greg A Bedard, Boston Globe

Bedard is a pro, who mainly sticks to just football, and while he has not problem pointing out the flaws and weaknesses of the Patriots, unlike some of his colleagues, he also has no problem pointing out the good and giving credit to things that working well. He is extremely accessible on Twitter, @Greg_A_Bedard and even organizes meetups with Twitter followers. He did one in Washington last weekend, and I believe one is in the works for this weekend in Denver as well.

A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE.com

Blakely is another seasoned pro, with great contacts around the NBA. He is also known for marathon sessions on Twitter with his followers, even when he has to answer Rasheed Wallace questions 20 times a day. He gives good reports both on television and in print, and always keeps things professional.

Michael Holley, WEEI

Holley is coming up fast after a rough start in his pairing with Glenn Ordway on the afternoon drive. Initially, Ordway dominated the show, and bringing Mike Adams on board compounded the confusion, as Ordway and Adams would talk inane things, leaving Holley out of the discussion. He’s asserting himself more, and spreading goodwill at his book signings around New England, where he is said to be gracious and friendly. He’ll also talk to fans on Twitter from time to time.

Ian Rapoport, Boston Herald/Mike Reiss ESPN Boston

Can’t have this list without Rap. Is anyone on Twitter more than he is? He answers questions, teases fellow reporters and still manages to bring solid reporting and information in the paper and online. Reiss is still the standard for a fan-friendly reporter, keeping agendas and personal gripes out of his work, and responding to even most annoying questions in his mailbag and chat session.

Others worthy of mention: Rich Shertenlieb, Gordon Edes, Carolyn Manno, Joe Haggerty, Chad Finn, Christopher Price, Tom E Curran, Rob Bradford, Bob Ryan.

I need to give Michael Felger credit on something. Two years ago, he was on the Tim Tebow bandwagon before anyone else. He talked day after day about how the Patriots should draft Tebow, (and I think they might’ve, had Denver not grabbed him in the first round) not so much to groom him as a QB, though that was part of it, but to have his leadership, work ethic and passion here in that locker room – all the things we’re seeing Tebow display in Denver. I’m not sure what Tebow’s role would’ve been here, but I’m sure Bill Belichick would’ve found a way to get him on the field, as he does with Julian Edelman.

Here are a couple of media links from this morning:

Media Roundup: Sick of Tim Tebow? Blame The Media, Not Tebow – My SB Nation Media column looks at why you shouldn’t be mad at Tim Tebow for the media overload around him.

Not in the holiday spirit – Chad Finn has Jeff Van Gundy feeling that the NBA is rushing things too much to get games played on Christmas Day.

Why Tony Mazz Is Wrong About Brady: Breaking Down His Monday Column – Tanya Ray Fox on SB Nation Boston has a nice takedown of Tony Massarotti ludicrous column about Tom Brady earlier this week, a column clearly written by “Mazz’s On-Air Persona.”

Friday’s Viewing Picks – Ken Fang has your Sports TV listings for tonight.

 

BSMW Enemies List – Edition 1

In reality, I can’t say I have a lot of personal enemies. When it comes to the Boston sports media however, there are figures who I think do their best to simply annoy people, get under their skin and do nothing but bring attention to themselves. These people I view as “enemies” of the Boston sports fan. Their aim is not enlightenment or to be informative, but to upset and annoy people. They excel at it.

This is my current list. It is constantly changing based on events of that week or month, and I may update it periodically going forward. There are some who certainly would’ve been on the list in the past, but who have been quiet as of late, or haven’t been as effective at being annoying as they are capable.

1) Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The SportsHub, Boston.com.

I don’t see anyone knocking Tony off this perch in the near future. I know it’s called his “on-air persona” and that people insist that off the airwaves he is the nicest human being you could possibly ever want to know. I really don’t care. His 98.5 persona is the most miserable person I could imagine. According to Tony, everything and everybody SUCKS, he does incredibly terrible “impressions” of Boston sports fans (out of the Glenn Ordway playbook) and actually seems to hate sports and that fans that enjoy them. I cannot listen to him on that show. He makes Michael Felger sane, reasonable and likable by comparison.

2) Joe Sullivan, Boston Globe sports editor.

When he’s not taking shots at Patriots fans on Twitter, he’s using his staff to do it for him. Or he’s allowing his investigative reporters publish insinuations that Terry Francona was a drug-addled philanderer in his final days of his tenure as manager of the Red Sox. He does things like insist that his staff refer to Tom Brady’s Monday morning WEEI interview as a “paid contractual obligation.” He’s overseen the decline of the greatest sports section of the country, a section that pushes Dan Shaughnessy as its superstar over the much superior Bob Ryan.

3) Gerry Callahan, WEEI, Boston Herald.

Another miserable human being, though unlike Massarotti, I don’t hear a lot of people saying that he’s a great guy off the air. Maybe he is, but I haven’t heard anyone say it. If you heard Callahan’s interview with Kevin Garnett this morning, you were just waiting for him to say something that would have him back in sensitivity training. Nothing makes me switch the dial quicker than when the patented Callahan whiny sneer is employed.

4) Shalise Manza Young, Boston Globe.

What happened here? Shalise has become so much of what is wrong with the sports media today – entitled, whiny and uninformed. Her Boston.com chats are mind-numbing in terms of the strawman arguments she employs. “If you’d rather finish 13-3 and lose in the first round of the playoffs instead of going 11-5 and winning the Super Bowl, that is certainly your right as a fan.” Complaining about access and Coach Personality is her schtick, and she does it well.

5) Mark Farinella. Who?

I have a lot of respect for Farinella as the longest-tenure guy on the Patriots beat. He’s seen everything down there. Maybe he could share some of that perspective rather than talking about organizing walkouts of Bill Belichick press conferences or devoting entire columns and blog posts to childish foot-stomping against “self-appointed NH-based media critics.”

Others warranting mention: Dan Shaughnessy, Mike Adams, John Dennis, Lou Merloni, Andy Gresh, Ron Borges. Jermaine Wiggins.

Patriots Grade Out Poorly In Win

The Patriots may be 10-3, but looking at the grades from Sunday’s win over Washington, you’d have a hard time believing that.

Patriots Report Card: No defense for league’s worst secondary – Kirk Minihane says Rodney Harrison is right about the Patriots secondary.

Patriots report card – Ron Borges says that if the defense doesn’t improve, Tom Brady might have a meltdown before the playoffs even start.

Patriots Center – ESPN Boston also has a low grade for the Patriots pass defense.

Hector Longo’s Two-Minute Drill - He’s got Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork among his “No Shows” for the week.

Patriots Report Card: Dane Fletcher Brings Solidarity to Linebacking Corps, Rob Gronkowski Earns MVP Honors – Jeff Howe with a few words on the game.

Patriots report card Game 13 – Put your grades in on Boston.com.

Hail Mary passer – John Powers in the Globe scares up an Atheist to say that Tim Tebow’s prayers on the field are inappropriate.

Tim Tebow lords over NFL – Gerry Callahan says that Tebow has more than a prayer to beat the Patriots this week.

Pats say Broncos aren’t one-man team – Steven Krasner has the Patriots preparing for more than just Tebow this week.

Loyal to a ‘C': Why Pierce won’t give up on Boston – Jessica Camerato with a great feature on Paul Pierce, who has been through everything in Boston, and who wants to be a Celtic for life.

A positive spin on Rondo revolution – Steve Bulpett with a tremendous look at Rajon Rondo, including an incident in last year’s playoffs where he shattered a video screen during a team film session, and how he says he’s ready to mature and be a leader.

How Danny Ainge built a roster from scratch – Paul Flannery with a look at how Ainge built a team in three days while preserving the team’s options for the future. Gary Washburn says that Ainge may not be done.

Will same old Celtics be enough? – Peter May says that missing out on Chris Paul and David West may haunt this team.

In first at-bats since surgery, Westmoreland says he ‘felt comfortable’ – Brian MacPherson has the Red Sox prospect feeling comfortable after seeing game action for the first time since brain surgery.

Red Sox should talk to Rick Peterson – Gordon Edes thinks that the unconventional pitching coach would be a fit on Bobby Valentine’s staff.

Bruins prepare for play without their giant - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins getting ready to play a game without their injured captain. Douglas Flynn says that the team is confident in their depth and system without Chara. Joe McDonald says that it will still be a be void for the Bruins.

Patriots Continue Death March Towards Playoff Loss With Another Lousy Win

OK, OK. The defense is bad. Alright? We get it.

What are fans supposed to do about it? Sit around and be miserable until the inevitable playoff loss? I guess so.

The Patriots secondary was once again shredded by a bottom-tier quarterback, albeit one who once took a team to a Super Bowl. What was more worrisome however, was the ease with which the Washington Redskins were able to run the ball on the usually stout run defense of the Patriots. Tom Brady threw a 4th quarter interception in the end zone when a field goal would’ve been enough to put the game away. Jerod Mayo made the big play in the end, snatching an interception off a tipped pass at the 7-yard line to seal the win for New England, which is now 10-3 on the season.

Former Patriot Rodney Harrison on NBC, had quite a bit to say about the Patriots last night, saying the following on Football Night in America:

Harrison on Tom Brady’s frustration (yelling on sideline with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien): “I’ve seen Tom Brady play a lot on the other side of the field. I saw some things today that I really haven’t seen too much; and that is balls hitting the ground, open receivers and Tom Brady missing them. That is why there was a little bit of frustration today. You just are not used to seeing this.”

Harrison: “I played six years with him and I have never seen him this frustrated, yelling back and forth with an offensive coordinator. But that is why he is frustrated, because offensively, they weren’t clicking, and defensively he feels like he has to shoulder a lot of the pressure because that defense is so bad.”

Harrison: “They won a football game but they should be concerned because that secondary is probably the worst secondary I’ve seen in the last decade. It’s been proven the last two years in the playoffs, if Brady’s off just a little bit they’re vulnerable to lose.”

Dan Patrick to Harrison: “They have two offensive players playing in the secondary. Did it just sneak up on Bill (Belichick) that he may need another defensive back this year?”

Harrison: “You have to ask Bill that. I’m done trying to figure it out, Dan. I can’t figure it out!”

Worst secondary he’s seen in the last decade. I can’t say Rodney is wrong, but it is ironic that the guy who fueled so much on bulletin board material is now providing it to his former team.

We may actually get a break from talk about the lousy defense this week, with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on the schedule. This will be tough one, not just because of the Denver defense, but also because weird things always seem to happen to the Patriots in Denver.

For today, the blow up on the sideline between Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will get most of the headlines, as Mike Reiss, Greg A. Bedard and Ron Borges   all made it their main story of the day.

Here are some other takeaways from this one:

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Time running out for Patriots’ defense – Christopher Price

Mayo picks up defense in the end – Tom E Curran has Jerod Mayo’s interception saving the game for New England.

Giving in is not their style – Michael Whitmer says that the defense might not have dug itself out of the star cellar, but they made some big plays at the right times to seal the win.

White knows his place in the scheme of things – It’s a short article, but I’m glad someone saw fit to write about Tracy White’s role on that final defensive play. Mark Farinella has the special teams star talking about his increased role on defense.

Rob Gronkowski re-establishes TD record – This week won’t be Brady vs Tebow. This week is GRONK vs Tebow. Karen Guregian has the force-of-nature tight end getting into the record books.

Wilfork didn’t let his big chance slip – The Globe notebook has Vince Wilfork getting his first career TD. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport and the Patriots Journal have more on Wilfork.

Sports Media Musings: Andy Gresh Needs a Hug, Holley & Felger Crushin’ It, Minihane/RapSheet/Klosterman Deliver

Final papers in grad school are the bane of my existence. In the journalism world, they have these weird concepts called “sources” and “quotes.” And you have to “attribute” everything.

Right now I’m in the middle of a paper on concussions in high school athletics. You wouldn’t believe it, but Athletic Directors aren’t exactly excited to talk to me about it. I’ve talked to nearly 20 sources: players, trainers, organizations, ADs, doctors, MIAA, and the Department of Public Health.

…Now I have to write it.

But you don’t care about any of this. I’m just giving you heads up to why this will be the shortest Media Musings column ever.

Am I Being To Tough On ‘Em?

@GreshandZo: And you waste no time being wrong dickhead RT @KenAolfoque: @GreshandZo jeezz fatboy you waste no time with the speculation…

Some personalities in the local media I crush more than others. As much as I enjoy finding holes in work or flawed logic, part of me feels bad.

Andy Gresh doesn’t get any of this sympathy.

Gresh came into my life as the “matter-of-fact” guy on Patriot broadcasts. Once a week was the perfect dosage of Gresh. In fact, to this day, I like him on that show.

I never listened to the Providence incarceration of “Gresh & Zo”; therefore, when Gresh took over for Gary Tanguay at “The Sports Hub” I was intrigued.

I was also ignorant.

There is no way “Gresh & Zo” survive if “Dale & Holley” never disbanded, am I right? Is that a tipping point?

“Gresh & Zo” are dominant in the midday. There is no disputing this fact. But they are becoming insufferable. Look, I think every personality over at “The Sports Hub” feels great right now. They’ve taken down the institution that was sports talk radio here in Boston….for the time being.

Although, “Gresh & Zo” seem to represent much of what consumers criticized about WEEI. (Condescending attitudes, Dumb bits [their 'Instant Request' segment is a woeful attempt at capturing "Toucher & Rich" magic], Talking-head attitude — “We’ll tell you why..next!”)

This is not as much an assault on Scott Zolak, as it is Gresh. Zolak enables Gresh to act the way he does by NEVER disagreeing with any bite or vehemence.

*Side note: Furthermore, the exchange on Twitter isn’t something I’m going to harp on in terms of “Gresh’s professionalism” (which I’ve attacked before). Gresh calling someone a “dickhead” on Twitter, illustrates his lack of awareness. I can’t call professionalism into question — Fred Toettcher has the same exchanges from time to time. That said, it looks bad. A random dude calling you “fat” should elicit a reaction, but not necessarily a response. Know your platform. I digress.

Anyway, something tells me, you’ll see less discrepancy across the board in the Fall ratings book.

“Mut & Merloni” are improving. Guests are getting better, chemistry is developing, and I don’t think I’ve ever rooted harder for two guys to do well. Earlier this week they landed Adrian Wojnarowski – who is absolutely CRUSHING IT on the NBA beat for Yahoo! Sports – and John Farrell within the same hour of programming.

Quick Musings

1.) Michael Holley & Michael Felger on Sports Tonight together? Break up the band! By far the best combo CSNNE has to offer to host the show. Great stuff last night.

2.) Tony Massarotti has been a respected sports writer in this town for 20 years. Yet, everyday, his “take” is that “____ SUCKKSSS, Mike! And it’s NOT EVER CLOSE!” Did he catch wind, his incessant “YARM-ing” (You’re Absolutely Right, Mike) was over-the-top and called an audible?

3.) Ian Rapoport delivers a great column on Antwaun Molden. Great profile piece.

4.) Kirk Minihane does well to show both sides of the Tyler Seguin benching, but ultimately says, “You’re either a professional athlete or you aren’t.”

5.) COLUMN OF THE WEEK: Chuck Klosterman’s extensive look at the Tim Tebow craze. Voluminous…For sure. Awesome piece, though.

This should be in the next Grantland Quarterly. Remember last week, when I criticized the book’s existence? Well one of the reasons, according to Bill Simmons, was to capture what the period in sports meant. Tebow, like it or not, is one of the biggest stories in sports right now.

No Chris Paul For Celtics…and Media Links

It looks like Rajon Rondo will continue to be the point guard of the Boston Celtics for the foreseeable future, as Danny Ainge has been unable to work a deal with New Orleans for guard Chris Paul. The Hornets did agree to send Paul to the Lakers last night, but after the deal had been leaked out, NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in and killed the deal.

While as a Celtics fan I’m certainly glad the deal was stopped (though it may eventually still go through) from an objective viewpoint it’s hard to agree with the decision. The NBA currently owns the Hornets, and that is part of the situation, but there was also objection to the deal from other NBA owners who felt that it was lopsided and went against competitive balance. The whole thing just shows again that the lockout was never really players vs. owners, it was owners vs. owners, and that situation remains unresolved by the new CBA.

The Celtics start training camp today, and will likely have several minor signings and moves to announce to get camp underway.

Here are the media links for today:

Media Roundup: Terry Francona Joins ESPN, Talks Red Sox Collapse – My SB Nation Boston media column has the former Red Sox manager talking about his new role at ESPN, and whether he’ll do any managing from the booth.

MLB shows ‘saber’ teeth – Chad Finn has the MLB network crunching the numbers on Albert Pujols new contract and whether it will be worth it for the Angels.

Friday’s Viewing Picks – Ken Fang has your sports on TV for tonight.

Monday Night Lights – I had tweeted this link earlier in the week, it’s a look from The New Yorker at Jon Gruden in his role on Monday Night Football, and the preparation he puts into it. Much of it deals with the week leading up to the Patriots/Chiefs Monday night game, so there is quite a bit of Patriots-related stuff in there.

I’d like to thank a certain small-paper Patriots columnist for his column earlier in the week that was clearly aimed directly at me. In the web world, the column would be called “link bait” – written for the sole purpose of getting linked and getting attention (and page views) brought to the writer. But there will be no link here.

Hopefully the writer and his boss are successful in their dream of organizing fellow Patriots writers to walk out of a Bill Belichick press conference the next time he’s insulting them by being “condescending and unresponsive.” It would be entertaining, and I don’t think Belichick would mind at all.

While the writer might be offended by the self-appointed media watchdogs, and “beaten down” by “Coach Three Rings,” the most offensive thing in the column might be referring to Kristine Leahy as simply the “newbie blonde.” Can you imagine if a player or coach did that? What does her hair color have to do with anything? What’s he saying by that? She’s just down there doing her job, and Belichick treated her as he would any other reporter, which it how it should be. Referring to her as the “blonde” seems more out-of-bounds than anything he accuses others of doing.

Check back later for more media musings and links as the day goes on.

CSNNE Reveals Celtics Schedule and Programming

CSNNE announced their Celtics coverage plans this afternoon. The network will carry 57 games, including two preseason contests, and will have a training camp opening special tomorrow nigth at 9:00PM

BURLINGTON, MA - Boston Celtics basketball returns to Comcast SportsNet and the Home of the Celtics begins its telecast schedule with a pair of preseason games on December 18 and December 21, against the Toronto Raptors. Comcast SportsNet’s 55 game regular season schedule starts on Wednesday, December 28, with a match-up against Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets.

Highlighting Comcast SportsNet’s schedule is a January 11, match-up with the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks; a battle with the Heat in Miami on April 10, and a Super Bowl matinee against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 5.

Comcast SportsNet will deliver all Celtics telecasts in High Definition throughout New England and the network will have pre and post-game coverage for all Celtics games, including the Celtics’ 11 national network appearances. For the first time, Comcast SportsNet will deliver all telecasts in Dolby 5.1 audio.

Mike Gorman returns as the voice of the Boston Celtics and will be joined for a 31st consecutive season by Basketball Hall of Famer and Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn. Greg Dickerson will provide court side coverage on all telecasts. CSNNE.com Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely will also contribute to the telecast and provide in-game reporting on CSNNE.com.

Gary Tanguay returns as host of Celtics Pre-Game Live presented by Ace Tickets, Celtics Halftime presented by McDonalds and Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford Dealers. Former UConn standout and NBA veteran Donny Marshall joins Tanguay as studio analyst and will provide in-game color analysis on select telecasts.

As a lead in to the season, Comcast SportsNet will tip off its coverage with two special shows – Live at Celtics Training Camp and The Basketball Show Tip-Off Special.

Live at Celtics Training Camp
As soon as the Celtics open training camp on Friday, December 9, Comcast SportsNet will be there with Celtics Training Camp Live from 9 to 10:30. Celtics Training Camp Live will include coverage of the first official team workout, exclusive interviews with coach Doc Rivers and the players from court side and analysis on the roster.

The Baskeball Show Tip-Off Special
Comcast SportsNet’s entire Celtics telecast team will join The Basketball Show Tip-Off Special to answer fan calls, Tweets and posts on Thursday, December 22, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Gorman, Heinsohn, Tanguay, Dickerson, Blakely and Marshall will all participate in a lively and passionate discussion on the 2011-12 season.

“The 66 game schedule means that every Celtics game will have added importance. Mike, Tommy and the entire Comcast SportsNet team will be there from the moment the Celtics hit training camp and begin the chase for another title,” said Bill Bridgen, Comcast SportsNet executive vice president and general manager.

Papi’s Staying, Is Rondo Going?

David Ortiz accepted arbitration from the Red Sox last night, meaning that the Red Sox DH will be back in Boston for at least another season. Meanwhile, Danny Ainge continues to push hard for a Chris Paul for Rajon Rondo swap, and Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Celtics competition in this quest may be getting cold feet.

The baseball winter meetings ended with not a whole lot of action from the Red Sox. New GM Ben Cherington has said several times already that his style is very deliberate, and he does not rush into decisions. At some point, that may turn into a source of frustration, but at this point, his options for making changes seem pretty limited to begin with.

Ben Cherington easing into things – Gordon Edes says that the Sox GM might not have made moves this week, but he got a lot of work done. Scott Lauber says that Cherington’s patient approach may pay dividends this offseason. Alex Speier further examines why Cherington and the Red Sox are in no hurry to make moves.

David Ortiz’s Presence Gives Stability to Red Sox Lineup, Making His Return a Necessity – Didier Morais looks at why retaining Ortiz is essential for the Red Sox lineup.

Bobby Valentine adds fuel to Sox-Yankees fire – John Tomase has the new Red Sox manager having his Rex Ryan moment yesterday.

Team in need of toughness – Nick Cafardo claims that the problem with the 2011 Red Sox was that “nobody went up to Josh Beckett or Jon Lester or John Lackey to say, “Uh, it’s the fifth inning, you shouldn’t be having a cold one.’’

Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and the importance of timing – Paul Flannery looks at the pursuit of Paul by the Celtics. Chris Forsberg urges Ainge to go get his guy, even if Chris Paul wants no part of Celtics according to Mark Murphy.

Ahead of the game – Shira Springer looks at how important conditioning will be coming out of the lockout, and whether the Celtics might actually benefit from the reduced, though compacted schedule.

Celtics could make a splash next summer – Gary Washburn looks at Ainge making moves with next summer’s free agent class in mind.

Hornets’ Williams, Rivers have similar styles – A. Sherrod Blakely notes that if Paul and Rondo are traded for each other, they may not have to make much of an adjustment.

Ronnie Lippett: Devin McCourty must follow instincts – Ron Borges has the former Patriots cornerback giving some advice to the struggling second-year cornerback.

Gaffney gives tutorial on working as No. 3 receiver in New England – Christopher Price has the Redskins receiver talking about what made him so effective in New England. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots have never been able to replace Gaffney.

Andre Carter has fans on all sides – Mike Reiss says you can’t find anyone with a bad word to say about the Patriots defensive lineman, even as he prepares to face his former team on Sunday. Ian R. Rapoport has the signing of Carter a huge boost for the Patriots. Mark Farinella says that Carter has been a perfect fit in Foxborough.

Lack of turnovers key for Pats – Glen Farley has the Patriots not losing the ball during this four-game winning streak.

Family reunion on the slate – Monique Walker has Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater talking about his son, Matthew.

B’s to play big game – Mike Loftus says that all of sudden, tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers is a big one for the Bruins.

Bruins aim: Score on rebound – Stephen Harris has the Bruins looking to bounce back from the loss in Winnipeg.

A Wednesday Catchup

Out of commission yesterday, apparently I missed a number of noteworthy items.

CBS and NBC have been wrestling over the Patriots/Broncos game on December 18th. NBC would like to flex out the game to Sunday night, while CBS wants to keep it right where it currently is – a 4:15 start on their network. The NFL announced that a decision would be made today on the schedule for the game. Chad Finn has more on the situation.

Update: ProFootballTalk.com reported first that the game will not be flexed to NBC. The Patriots and Broncos will play at 4:15 on CBS on December 18th.

The Celtics 66-game regular season schedule has been released.

Talk continues about a possible trade involving Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul. It still seems a longshot, but Celtics fans should feel conforted by the fact that Danny Ainge is doing everything he can think of to keep the Celtics a contender, and will continue to do so. The rumored price (Rondo, Green, two first-round picks) seems very steep, but we’ll see how things shake out.

Currently there is a lot of hand-wringing over the airwaves on Tyler Seguin missing a team breakfast and then being a healthy scratch in last night’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets. It’s a topic worthy of discussion and judgement, though certainly not enough to fill entire segments of airtime, which it is being used for.

Terry Francona has joined ESPN and he and new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine were on the ESPN Baseball Tonight set last night after having essentially swapped jobs in the last few weeks. Here is the video from ESPN of the two of them.

At the moment, it appears that David Ortiz will be back with the 2012 Red Sox, reports have him set to accept arbitration from the club.

I’ll have the NFL decision on Patriots/Broncos on Twitter when it is announced, and will update this post as well.