Red Sox win third straight, trade deadline looms

The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 7-3 Monday night at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight outstanding performance going eight innings allowing three runs (two earned), on five hits while striking out four. Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run home runs supplying the Red Sox with all the offense they needed.

Today at 4 p.m marks the Major League Baseball trade deadline and plenty of rumors surrounding the Red Sox have surfaced, particularly surrounding Josh Beckett. Teams reportedly interested in the right-hander are the Dodgers, Braves and Ranges, but many Red Sox insiders have downplayed those reports (Alex Speier gave a good run down of where things stood last night with the team on the trade front).

Today should be more of the same with more rumors being thrown around, with most of them being just that, rumors. In the Twitter age no rumor goes unreported. It is very unlikely that the Red Sox will make a blockbuster move. If a move were to be made, it would be a minor one involving a current role player. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who has come up in trade talks, is unlikely to be dealt after punching a wall after grounding out last night. As always in this area and with this team, the trade deadline will be interesting.

The Patriots were off on Monday, but return to the practice field today. For all the Patriots coverage, visit patriotslinks.com.

Careful shopping needed in this market- Nick Cafardo looks at the Red Sox’ situation at today’s trade deadline and warns they need to be very careful in any deal they choose to make.

Sox reality check arrives with trade deadline- Gerry Callahan says today’s deadline is a “defining” moment for general manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox organization.

Odds are against a Sox comeback, but it’s happened before- Tim Britton has although the numbers don’t look promising for the team to make the playoffs, it has happened before.

Clay Buchholz has come a long way- John Tomase has a look at Buchholz’s season, and how there has been a drastic improvement since the first few months of the year.

He’s only getting better- Alex Prewitt says Buchholz is now pitching like the ace of the Red Sox staff.

Dustin Pedroia continues to pull team together- Joe McDonald has Pedroia leading the team both on and off the field of late, and keeping the team close with the trade deadline looming. He also notes Pedroia is getting hot at the plate at the right time.

Pedroia backs up the talk with his bat- Maureen Mullen looks at the Red Sox’ second baseman and how his comments last Friday night may have fired both he and the team up.

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Pedro Is Yankees’ Daddy

At this point, the Yankees should just tip their cap to Pedro Ciriaco, who beat them for the second straight night, and is hitting .500 against the Yankees this season (11 for 22).

The Red Sox took two of three against the Yankees this weekend, but is this a good thing (the start of the hot streak everyone has been waiting for) or a bad thing (just an illusion that will prevent the team from making needed changes)?

I’m thinking the latter,

Valentine shows that he is feeling connected to the cause – Nick Cafardo rebuts Dan Shaughnessy’s claim that Bobby Valentine is actively trying to get himself fired.

Can disagreement bring harmony? – Gordon Edes wonders if Valentines ejection in the Red Sox win last night could finally get them going.

Wins in New York something to build on – Sean McAdam says that if this doesn’t get the Red Sox going, nothing will.

Andrew Miller miffed by criticism from ESPN’s Hershiser – Brian MacPherson has the Sox lefty upset that the ESPN analyst said he shouldn’t have been laughing in the dugout after giving up a two-run double to Andruw Jones.

Carl Crawford desperately trying to live up to his end of the bargain – Rob Bradford says that the outfielder is really, really trying to justify his contact.

Lots of issues complicate Josh Beckett deal – Scott Lauber says that Josh Beckett is unlikely to be traded.

Early takes from Patriots camp – Mike Reiss is impressed thus far.

New play’s no smoke screen – Karen Guregian says that there has been a lot of work on screen passes thus far in camp.

Cunningham in better spot after hard work – The Globe notebook has the third-year defender being honored for his offseason work.

Get all the Patriots news (Off day from practice today) at PatriotsLinks.com.

Two short, random, unimportant thoughts:

Listening to Jon Heyman on Gresh and Zo, The guy is 51 years old, but has always sounded like he’s 91 years old.

Is Gerry Callahan incapable of pronouncing Mike Aviles name correctly? He always says AH-va-less when it’s really uh-VEE-less.

Record Crowds At Patriots Camp, Olympics Start Tonight

…and oh yeah, the Red Sox are in New York to take on the Yankees.

12,000 people showed up for the first day of Patriots training camp yesterday, a figure that must have even the most obstinate people questioning their stand on whether the Red Sox are the clear #1 team in New England right now.

Get all the Patriots-related coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

The Olympics begin in earnest tonight, kicking off Bob Ryan’s final assignment as the full-time columnist for the Globe before retirement.

In 1948, London Olympics provided different challenges – No, Bob wasn’t there in 1948, but while he was coming up at the Globe, Jerry Nason, who did cover those games for the Globe was still around, and Ryan looks at how things have changed, both from the venue and journalistic points of view.

NBC has new boss for Olympic challenge – Chad Finn is also in London for the games, and has a look at NBC’s coverage, including the utilization of several CSNNE staffers.

My SB Nation Boston media column is also on the London Olympics and NBC’s coverage of it. For some reason it hasn’t been posted just yet.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch on Deadspin, the blogosphere’s rise and much more – Old friend Ryan Hadfield has a new blog at WEEI.com (Out of Bounds) which can basically be described as a Boston-centric version of Deadspin. He’s got an interview with SI media writer Deitsch, as well as thoughts on the media coverage of Tim Thomas’ comments on Chick-fil-A.

Question and answer with WEEI program director Jason Wolfe – The WEEI head honcho did an online chat this morning, which was more of a PR push than anything else. All is well! We’re happy with our choices! Dennis and Callahan have the best sports talk anywhere! Mutt and Lou are improving! Glenn is the best! Mikey Adams sure is whacky!

2012-13 Boston Celtics Schedule – The Celtics schedule was released last night, as expected the Celtics will open up against Ray Allen and the Miami Heat down in South Florida on October 30th.

Beyond the Arc: Jared Sullinger – Jessica Camerato has an interview with the Celtics top pick.

Is It Important That Josh Beckett Speaks To The Media?

The Red Sox dropped another one in Texas last night, as Josh Beckett pitched decently before giving up the go-ahead run in the 7th inning on a wild pitch as the Rangers beat Boston 5-3.

Following the game, Beckett once again did not make himself available to the media, a fact that was decried in the usual fashion by the scribes. I’ll say it again, in my opinion, some players are just better off not talking to the media, and I think Beckett is one of those players. Some can say he’s ducking accountability by not speaking with reporters, which I can see, but I think he’s actually saving himself from further trouble by muzzling himself in these situations.

What’s he going to say in these situations? What possible insight could he deliver in one of these sessions? He’s not that type.

Peter Abraham gamely attempted to explain last night why it’s important for Beckett to speak to the media:

I do find it a little undignified that they chased Beckett out to the bus, but the effort was made, I guess. (How did that go down, exactly? “Hey, Beckett’s not here! Think he went out to the bus? Let’s go find out! Yeah! Let’s go! There he is! Get him!!“)

Clarification – Abraham was the only reporter to go outside to seek Beckett, and walked (not chased or ran) up to him after he was done with his family. What happened then is described below in his Extra Bases entry on Beckett:

Beckett left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in. A team official said he was not available. But Beckett was spotted in the concourse outside the clubhouse, posing for photos with family and friends.

Beckett was approached as he was walking alone to the team bus. He said he was trying to throw the pitch for a strike and “just yanked it.” He refused to answer further questions.

Beckett left it to his teammates and Valentine to speak about a mistake they didn’t make. That lack of accountability has become a common practice for Beckett this season. The righthander is now 5-9 and has one victory in his last nine starts.

Abraham went on further about why he feels Beckett is wrong not to speak to the media, and had quite a conversation with a few fans on Twitter about the situation. Here are a few, but it’s worth checking out his timeline for more. @PeteAbe

Look, I get it. I know why reporters want to talk to Beckett after the game, and I agree that at least attempting to find out more about the wild pitch that lost the game is important to them.

At the same time, I don’t buy the whole argument that Beckett not speaking places a greater burden on his teammates to answer the questions, and I find the notion of complaining about it on Twitter afterwards a bit unseemly.

Josh Beckett is not a popular figure around these parts, (Gerry Callahan said this morning he’d root for Penn State ahead of Beckett at this point.) I’ve had enough of his act on the field, and I think he and the Red Sox would be better off parting ways at this point. His attitude is horrible, and his performance has not been good enough for him to behave the same way he did when he was successful.

But I also understand why he would not wish to speak to reporters, and that he would likely only get himself in further trouble if he did speak with them extensively.

If they can get 75 cents on the dollar for him in the trade market, I think the Red Sox need to seriously explore that.

The idea that the Red Sox still fancy themselves contenders, and perhaps point to a team like St. Louis of last year as an example of how a team can sneak into the postseason and win it all is scary. I don’t know much about how the Cardinals were last year, but I suspect they never went through the type of turmoil and inner upheaval that this Red Sox team has. I also suspect that the Cardinals were in general, a band of over-achievers, whereas this group of Red Sox are under-achievers. The comparison is flawed. I don’t see the Red Sox putting together any sort of sustained run over the final two plus months of the season.

However, I don’t see the Red Sox making any major moves before next Tuesday. They will stick with what they have, and we will be stuck with it for the rest of the season.

Ever since the Celtics were eliminated by the Miami Heat, the Red Sox have been the only game in town, and it has been a painful six weeks or so.

With the Patriots beginning training camp today, we can shift focus, if desired, off of the nightmare that is the 2012 Red Sox and onto presumably more pleasant things with the Patriots.

Check all the activity from the first day of camp over at PatriotsLinks.com.

Media Storylines For Patriots Camp

With Patriots training camp starting up tomorrow, the epic struggle between the fearless media corps and Bill Belichick’s evil empire begins anew.

Beyond the usual day-to-day reporting of practices, transactions and that day’s player profile, what can we expect to hear a lot about during this camp?

The Spectre of 16-0.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has already predicted that the Patriots will run the table in 2012. In the regular season. He has them losing the Super Bowl (this time to the Packers) once again.

Prisco, who has been known to take pleasure in tweaking Patriots fans in the past, no doubt enjoyed making this prediction, and is reveling in the attention it is receiving. It has already been a topic of discussion on the local airwaves and in the local papers and will continue to be, at least until the Patriots lose a game.

Joint Practices and the Preseason Game with the Saints.

I’m already cringing at the references to this one. Expect to be overloaded with Spygate/Bountygate comparisons. Expect some “CheaterBowl” references. You can be sure that there will be plenty of talk about how the Patriots got off easy, and the taped Rams walk-through will be referred to as a fact. I’m not looking forward to that week.

The Status of Andre Carter/Loss of Mark Anderson

We’ll hear plenty of speculation about whether the team is going to bring back the defensive lineman who was so productive for them last season before being lost to injury. The conversations will accelerate if it appears that the Patriots are not generating pass rush from the defensive end position. Last year, many dismissed the signings of Carter and Anderson as of little importance. This year, the same people may be moaning over the fact that they are not here.

Laser Focus on Rob Gronkowski

Many sets of binoculars will be focused on the ankle of the Patriots tight end, and his status at every practice will be one of the first things mentioned. Whether he plays in preseason games will also be a subject of debate. After getting the big contract, there will be plenty of speculation about his focus, especially coming off the busy offseason he just completed.

Is Wes Welker Unhappy?

You can be sure that Welker’s contract will be mentioned at least a few times every day. He will be watched, scrutinized for any signs of discontent or unhappiness. The contract will be brought up to him, numerous times. His production will be watched, and any deviation in either direction will have people say that the team should either give him a 5-year $100 million contract, or cut ties with him at the end of the season.

Reduced Media Work Area

As Mike Reiss noted over the weekend, the Patriots are expanding their weight room into the area that formerly served as the media workroom. The media will now work out of the two-story press box, and I can already hear the griping that will result from this. Even if there is no inconvenience whatsoever.

The Curse of the Super Bowl Runner-Up

This may not be as big a topic as it might normally be, given as how the Patriots really re-loaded this offseason, while many teams that make it to the Super Bowl think they’re close enough, and usually bring back the same team the next season. Expectations are sky-high, but any rash of injuries during camp, and this line of talk will be trotted out quickly.

Worst Defense in All of Football

I’ve heard this one plenty already, (though in reality, the Packers slipped behind the Patriots at the end of the season to finish last in the NFL’s total defense numbers.) and early on, you can expect plenty of talk about whether they have made enough improvements to the unit. The losses of Carter and Anderson will be mentioned, and whether the rookies can make any sort of contributions to this group.

Any Other “Issue” That May Pop Up.

In 2007, Randy Moss pulled a hamstring during the first week of camp, and was not seen again. This led to rampant speculation that he might not even make the team. He then went out and had one of the greatest seasons ever by a wide receiver. A veteran stalwart might retire. Brian Waters might not show up until the week before the opener.  All sorts of things could happen which will suddenly take the conversation away from the relevant stuff, (you know facts, anecdotes, and quotes) and give the talkers plenty of material for hours of inane debate.

Twelve Points For Patriots Training Camp

by Chris Warner

Off-season, off-season, free agents, rookies, whatchathink, whaddyaknow, blah, blah, blah.

Enough. Let’s do this …

Jones-ing For Athleticism: Before we speak of rookie Chandler Jones, a quick anecdote about last year’s defense, focusing on fan (and BSMW) favorite Rob Ninkovich. Playing against an AFC East rival, Ninkovich made two plays that defined the 2011 season defensively. On one play, he read a misdirection play, avoided the block, and ran toward the outside. Due to his lack of quickness, however, the back eluded contain and gained a first down.

Keep reading this post

Red Sox lose fourth straight, time to panic?

In what is the most pivotal road trip thus far in the 2012 Red Sox season, the team dropped the first game 9-1 in Texas to the Rangers Monday night. The loss drops them below .500 for the first time since June 16. The games don’t get any easier as they will face the Rangers the next two nights before a travel day on Thursday before taking on the Yankees this weekend in New York. Both teams lead their respective divisions. If the team doesn’t start winning now, the next few months of baseball could have very little meaning in these parts of the country.

Bad starting pitching was once again the issue Monday. Felix Doubront, who leads the team in wins with 10, struggled. He allowed six runs in 5+ innings of work. The offense wasn’t much better as they finished the game going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Their only move: Going backward- Nick Cafardo has things are not going well for the Red Sox at the worst possible time.

Cellar and sellers- Scott Lauber says this stretch for the team could turn them into sellers at the trade deadline.

Red Sox trying to hold together- Joe McDonald has the team needing to start winning games, but most players aren’t panicking yet.

One-and-done playoff might not be worth big trade for Red Sox- Brian MacPherson says the Red Sox might want to consider holding on to their top prospects and not make a big trade at the deadline.

Doubront can’t get Sox back on track- Sean McAdam looks at Doubront’s performance Monday night, one of his worst outings of the year.

On a more positive note, the Bruins signed head coach Claude Julien to a multi-year contract extension, and Patriots training camp kicks off Thursday.

Julien’s extension with Bruins well-deserved- Joe Haggerty says Julien getting the extension that he has certainly earned.

Two Brady favorites vie for jobs- Jeff Howe looks at Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney possibly competing for playing time.

NESN Hires Former FSN, ESPN Exec Joseph Maar

NESN announced today that they have hired former FOX Sports North Coordinating Producer and ESPN Coordinating Director and Dir of Operations Joseph Maar as their new vice president of programming & production, executive producer.

Here is their full release:

BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, announced today that Joseph Maar has joined NESN as the vice president of programming & production, executive producer. Maar’s responsibilities will include leading, overseeing and managing NESN’s production, programming and network operations teams.

Maar comes to NESN with over 25 years of experience in the sports media industry, leading and developing the operational, logistical and creative aspects of studio and remote event productions. In his most recent position at FOX Sports North (FSN) regions based out of Minneapolis, Maar led the redevelopment of their original programming. He oversaw live events, studio shows, interactive projects, second screen media and new channel initiatives for two FOX regional sports networks across a five-state region of the Upper Midwest. The telecasts Maar oversaw included the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), the Minnesota Wild (NHL), the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Vikings (NFL).

“Joseph has a rare combination of experiences in live sports, original programming, production, operations, and social media that he’ll bring to the management team at NESN,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have someone of Joseph’s caliber join the management team at NESN.”

Prior to working at FSN, Maar worked in ESPN’s Original Entertainment division and helped launch 20 new shows including Pardon The Interruption (PTI) and Around The Horn. Throughout his career he has received three national Emmy Awards, three Telly Awards and over two dozen regional Emmys. In addition, for over a dozen years Maar wrote feature stories and a monthly print column on television production and operations for national trades Television Broadcast and SportsTV Production. He is an oft-requested moderator and panelist at national television industry conventions.

”I am very excited at the opportunity to work with the storied franchises of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins, combined with the tiffany reputation of the programming and staff at NESN,” said Maar.  “I’m equally grateful to serve a network with such a high commitment to volunteerism and charity–something that speaks to my core values.”

Maar is an honors graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also taught for eight years as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He will be relocating to Boston with his wife and three children this summer.

Maar actually announced he was joining NESN last week on his Twitter account:

Let’s hope this leads to some improved programming from NESN.

Monday Thoughts – Ugh, Red Sox.

At what point do we declare the 2012 Red Sox a lost cause?

After the most encouraging win of the season last Thursday night, allowing the Red Sox to take 3 of 4 from the White Sox, after taking 2 of 3 from the Rays, the Red Sox were swept, in decision fashion, by the then-last place Toronto Blue Jays this weekend. As a result, now the Red Sox sit in last place in the AL East.

Horrific starts by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester did the Sox in this weekend, continuing a season-long trend. Rob Bradford notes that the Red Sox are 13-23 in starts by those two this season.

I read over and over how the team cannot trade either of those two while their value is so low. But clearly, something needs to change.

All in all, this may have been the most devastating/disappointing weekend of a season that has been disaster from the beginning.

Elsewhere:

A couple of interesting media bits from the weekend football notes. First Mike Reiss in his Sunday thoughts column:

Bill Belichick is scheduled to meet with reporters each day at training camp at 1 p.m., right before the team takes the field for its lone practice (1:30-4 p.m.). Those news conferences will be in the press box at Gillette Stadium, per usual in camp, but in a change from years past, that’s also where media will work throughout the 2012 season (instead of the media workroom). The team is expanding its weight room into the area where media members usually work during the season.

Over-under on number of times this is mentioned throughout the season? 50?

Then, in the Globe Sunday Football Notes, Shalise Manza Young, filling in for Greg Bedard cited ridiculous comments made by Jets receiver Santonio Holmes about how the media needs to be more supportive of the Jets, and used them to launch into a lecture on the impartiality of beat writers.

That’s not how media works. A good beat reporter isn’t a team’s enemy, and isn’t a fan. He or she is there to gather facts, anecdotes, and quotes and pass them on to readers or listeners. Is every reporter completely impartial? Sadly, no. Can some be accused of being a fan of the team they cover? Sadly, yes.

Being impartial means writing about the good and the bad, and trying to paint as honest a picture about what’s going on as possible. If a team or player is struggling, sometimes the truth isn’t well-received. But at the end of the day, a beat writer’s job is to present what he or she knows, good or bad.

If it were only that simple. I often wonder where the lines of being a beat reporter end. For many of them, what they write in the paper is much different than what they write on Twitter, or what they say in online chats or radio/TV appearances. Are they still a beat writer in those instances, or are they crossing over into a more opinion-based role, and does that negatively impact their self-claimed “impartial” beat writer material?

It really is not as simple as just presenting facts and quotes and passing them onto readers.

WEEI-FM is a finalist for the 2012 Marconi Awards Sports Station of the Year. That seem a little strange to you?

On the Penn State matter, I’m glad some people are keeping a proper perspective on these events:

[blackbirdpie id="227391836145213440"]

To be fair, the original Tweet was deleted fairly quickly by Breer, but not after it had been re-tweeted extensively, thus preserving a record of it.

Week Wrap: Ross, Ainge Big Winners, Cappelletti Retires

Ben Cherington’s first season as Red Sox GM has been rocky, but it’s pretty safe to say that we can place the signing of Cody Ross into his “win” column. The outfielder, on a one-year, $3 million contract had a game-winning  three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth last night to give the Red Sox a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. The home run was his 16th of the season.

Meanwhile, Danny Ainge continues an impressive makeover of the Celtics this offseason, as he appears to have landed shooting guard Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade with the Rockets. Steve Bulpett  (@SteveBHoop ) led the coverage on this, providing updates throughout last evening, even when it looked like the deal might fall apart.

The Celtics will be a younger, faster, more athletic team this coming season while they will still lean heavily on stalwarts Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, they will should have more support and rest.

Media news this morning revolves largely around the Patriots radio team, where team legend Gino Capelletti has retired after 32 seasons in the radio booth.

Gino Cappelletti leaving Patriots’ radio booth – Chad Finn has more, as well as a note about ESPN Radio possible showing up on Entercom-owned 850 or 680 AM by the end of the summer.

Gil Santos set for final season with Patriots – Bill Doyle talks to the other half of the Patriots radio duo, play-by-play man Gil Santos, who will return this season following an offseason of health issues which led to him receiving last rites three times.

Matt Light Joins ESPN as NFL Analyst – The recently-retired Patriots lineman joins former teammates Tedy Bruschi and Damien Woody at ESPN.

‘NFL AM’ To Offer Football Fans An Early Start – My SB Nation Boston media column looks at the NFL Network’s new morning show, set to debut on July 30th.

Weekend Viewing Picks – Ken Fang runs down what to watch this weekend.

Meanwhile, stop the presses:

Two columns in one day!