New Outshines the Old

(Morning Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here.)

“I don’t play for Minnesota anymore; I’m in Boston,” Those were the words of Kevin Garnett after he ran triumphantly around the court holding up the front of his jersey for the crowd to see.

The ’06-’07 Celtics stepped onto the hardwood at the TD BankNorth Garden to take on the ’07-’08 Celtics last night. Former Celtics Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, and Gerald Green, who were shipped to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Garnett, nearly pulled off a huge upset. The Celtics who looked rather sluggish for a majority of the night nearly fell to the league’s worst team. Garnett who briefly left the game in the middle of the 4th quarter with an abdominal injury, returned to the bench and decided not to err on the side of caution, a la LDT, deciding to come back and play last night after the team’s trainer told him otherwise. Garnett ultimately put the nail in the coffin of his old team when he stole the ball from Telfair with 1.8 seconds left, sealing a 87-86 victory and pushing the C’s NBA best record to 34-7. Over in the Herald Mark Murphy describes last night’s contest to the meeting of an ex-spouse and a current spouse. Bob Ryan tells us that the Celtics essentially pulled off a Brady last night in winning a game that they did not deserve. Last night’s game brought some friendly competition to close friends Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins. Antoine Walker was another former Celtic on the floor last night, he describes his situation as he plays for the league’s worst team.

Patriots

As the buildup to Super Bowl XLII mounts, the angst of the Patriot fanbase mounts. Where is Tom Brady? The collective hopes of this Patriot nation are lying in the wings, our star quarterback injured and missing from practice for TWO days, what are we going to do. Is it possible that Matt Casel may have to lead the Patriots when they step onto the field at the University of Phoenix stadium to take on the team of destiny, the New York Giants? As one fine gentleman told me at the gym the other day “this is all just a plan”. According to this guy “Belichick has this thing all planned out, he wants to catch the Giants sleeping”. Really? Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes lies the truth about this “BootGate”. Mike Reiss sits down with an orthopedic surgeon to describe exactly what is a “high ankle sprain”, in the meantime there’s quarterback controversy brewing in the Pats locker room. After staring at the arrangement of clothes and cleats in Brady’s locker, Karen Guregian sits down with Brady’s longtime passing coach and mechanics guru Tom Martinez to get his take on this “mess”.

According to a source of the boys at Cold Hard Football Facts, Brady sprained his ankle during practice BEFORE the AFC Championship Game. Also, he was sporting a 101-degree fever. Take it for what it is but it does lend some credence to Brady’s “shaky” performance last Sunday.

Even with Vrabel gone, Felgie had the opportunity to speak with Pats Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light, Light responded to the recent comments made claiming he was a dirty player. Osi Umenyiora checks back in with some more comments about Matt Light, also saying that “If they put on their bulletin board that I called Matt Light a dirty player, if they need that for motivation, then they’re in the wrong game.” Osi says he was mainly trying to bring light (no pun intended) to the fact that the Patriots are a “dirty” team. Speaking of dirty, Vince Wilfork continues to throw fuel to the fire of those who call him “dirty”. The league made another deduction from his earnings this week, this time for attempting to decapitate Chargers running back Michael Turner. Tony Massarotti has something to say about everyone in the league crying that the Patriots are being “dirty”. Keeping with the big guy in the trenches theme, Michael Vega has Bill Belichick discussing the play of center Dan Koppen

There’s no quarterback controversy on the opposing sideline as baby brother Eli Manning has played mistake free football thus far in the playoffs. Belichick was asked to compare the Manning siblings. Ralph Vacchiano in the NY Daily News has big brother Peyton saying that this will not be Eii’s only trip to the Super Bowl. In case it is, Peyton is now trying to buy up as many tickets as possible for his brother’s “super” appearance.

Seeing shades of the “Tyra Banks Show” fat suit experiment, a Globe scribe dressed up in full Giants garb and hit the streets of Boston. What resulted was a “surprising” reaction.

As always, be sure to head over to the best Patriots blog on the web, Patriots Daily for all the rest of your Patriots coverage.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were able to come to terms with Kyle Snyder signing him to a one-year $835,000 contract. This means that Kevin Youkilis is now the lone player left that’s eligible for salary arbitration.

While this year’s Patriots team and even to some extent Celtics team has garnered all the attention of the Boston sports faithful, the team over in the Fens has yet to make a peep. History has showed that the Sox have done all in their powers to steal some thunder from the other home teams, this year though that has definitely not been the case. As Bruce Allen tells us this year’s “Hot Stove” has been rather cold.

Misc.

In case you’re still interested in the Dana Jacobson saga from earlier in the week, the Big Lead has come through with some pics of her “acting a fool” at the Mike and Mike Roast. Most notoriously is her swigging Belvedere vodka straight from the bottle (as mentioned hundreds of times this week by John Dennis). My favorite part has to be the fact that the pourer is still on the bottle. These are just a few of the things that led to the suspension.

Not Always Pretty But Always Effective

(Morning Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here.)

“Eric…..nice game…..that was awesome”

That’s it? No walking directly off of the field, no chocking out cameramen? All we have to look back at is a simple few words with a happy grin. For all the buildup that was “CameraGate”, “SpyGate”, “HateBowl”, whatever you can come up with, Sunday culminated in the most boring game of the season. There was no “RunningupthescoreGate” to discuss. Robert Kraft and Co. didn’t have to install a NBA scoreboard in order to hold the three-digit score, Vegas didn’t break any records, ultimately the Patriots did what they always do, win, no matter how pretty. Let’s face it, Sunday was not pretty but we’ll take it. 14-0 and getting ready to welcome in the surging Dolphins on Sunday, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Michael Felger has the Patriots Report Card. Everyone made the Honor Roll except Tom Brady and the wide receivers. Felger sites Brady’s insistence on getting Moss the ball, even in coverage as the reason for his average grade. Brady admitted that he sometimes locks in on Moss even when he’s double covered. Felger even has a strange name in the “Back of the Pack”. Over in the New York Post Mark Cannizzaro has the Jets’ Report Card. Brady and Co. should not fret about their passing grade because the Jets’ QB’s will be heading to summer school. While option-QB Brad Smith had marginal success, he was just a small part of the “man-genius” surprises the Jets cooked up for the Patriots.

Over at Patriots Daily, Christopher Price has his weekly “Inside Gillette” segment. Chris looks at the Patriots clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and Belichick’s success at home.

Christopher Gaspar has the elements, as well as, opponents playing a role in the offense going from superhuman to just superb. With Sunday’s win the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, although based on history this does not always guarantee success. There’s good news for Patriots’ fans though.

It was just last week that Seymour told reporters that his knee was not 100% but Sunday’s game versus the Jets showed otherwise, Bill Belichick discusses the continued progress of Richard Seymour, who coming off of surgery has slowly began to make an impact. Shalise Manza Young has Randy Moss describing how it felt to lineup as a fullback for a play.

Peter King checks in with his Monday Morning Quarterback. Peter puts down his latte and goes for a walk with former Giants safety George Martin. Martin is walking from the George Washington Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge to raise awareness for the 9/11 First Responders, who are now facing severe health issues related to the tower collapses. Peter speaks with Pats RB Lawrence Maroney in the Fine Fifteen.

In Michael Silver’s Morning Rush, he has the Dolphins feeling like they just won the Super Bowl after their comeback overtime victory over the Ravens. Patriots fans came out in full force in Silver’s mailbag, or as he so eloquently puts it “Trippin on E(Mail)”, voicing their displeasure with Silver’s “Hate-riots” article from last week. In case you missed it, Silver sat down with Nancy Brady, Tom’s sister, and detailed for her “Six reasons why almost everyone hates the Patriots.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has his weekly 10-Pack, Florio takes a page out of Ted Sarandasis’ book on stadium construction, giving Robert Kraft some construction advice. While the statement may be tongue-in-cheek, the notion that the Patriots cannot play in cold weather is rather baffling. This assumption is based on what?

Don Banks has Bill Belichick treating the last two games of the season like all the rest.

Awful Announcing was not impressed with Joe Buck’s performance on Sunday.

Celtics

Over on Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin is placing the C’s on a microscope slide and as you’ll see, no degree of minutia escapes his lens. He’s discovering what every Patriots journalist knows: that the rules of examination must intensify when your subject approaches perfection.

Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders is impressed with the early success of the Celtics. He even wishes his former player Kevin Garnett success in the playoffs, with a small stipulation. Mark Spears looks at James Posey who coming to Boston via trade this offseason, expected this team to be a powerhouse on offense. Yet, the defense has provided the firepower for the best record in the NBA. Steve Bulpett sits down with Tommy Heinsohn to discuss the similarities between this Celtics team and the 1963-1964 team Heinsohn was a part of.

Boston Sportz has a look at what the Celtics might look like as members of the hit TV show “The Office”.

Red Sox

“I’m not talking to y’all about it”

If you were waiting for Roger Clemens to come out and give a pre-meditated statement to the press, ripe with apologies and gut wrenching stories of tough decisions, don’t hold your breath. The brief statement above is all the “Rocket” could muster yesterday outside his palatial mansion as he continues to refuse to speak about the Mitchell Report. The fact that McNamee signed a proffer agreement with federal prosecutors last summer only serves to add credibility to McNamee’s testimony. The New York Times explains the punishment McNamee would face if he lied to investigators.

Gerry Callahan has the world crumbling around the fraud that is Roger Clemens. With Andy Pettitte coming out and confirming Brian McNamee’s claims, Clemens is now cornered like a “sewer rat”. Callahan now has Clemens and Bonds together as “the bookend bums of baseball.” Clemens teammate Mariano Rivera says he “admires Pettitte for coming out and saying he did it.” Is that a direct shot at Clemens? Who knows, but Roger is already losing out on speaking engagements. Jayson Stark somehow tries to make the case that Clemens and Bonds are different. Curt Schilling has some advice for Clemens on how he should handle this.

On the non-steroid front, Gordon Edes reminds us that the Red Sox have done some of their best work after the holidays. Explaining that the Sox are still in the running to acquire the services of Johan Santana, adding that the Red Sox are in a position of strength, not desperation.

Mitchell Report Names Released

Dave here…

Earlier today Deadspin had printed a list of names that were to appear in today’s Mitchell Report. The names on the list were pretty shocking, with a number of former Red Sox players and two current players. Some of the names were out right jaw dropping.

As the day went on, the names turned out to be incorrect.

The Official Mitchell Report has been released, it’s contents are not as shocking as we thought earlier in the day. The good news for Red Sox fans is that there were only two current players, Eric Gagne (HGH, pg. 217) and Brenden Donnelly (pg. 224), mentioned in the report.

Extra Bases has some interesting excerpts from the report about the Red Sox having some reservations about Gagne and steroid use. Plus, the Red Sox are denying the release of Donnelly had anything to do with the Mitchell Report.

The report itself is over 400 pages in length, and is written in more of a narrative style, rather than a list. One of the most prominent names on the list is of course, Roger Clemens. Clemens use of performance enhancing drugs is described in detail, beginning on page 167.

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says the Astros should be embarrassed.

Baseball Reference has a complete list of the names in the Mitchell Report as well as a link to their statistics.

Former Red Sox MVP Mo Vaughn is listed in Mitchell’s Report, with a copy of a check in the amount of $3,200 written out to Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski (page 186)

David Scott checks in with his Scott’s Shots. He looks at the Mitchell Investigation, as well as, some chages over at CN8.

Hometown boy, Dan Wetzel, says that Roger Clemens is now the white Barry Bonds.

“Arizona Diamondbacks righthander Curt Schilling thinks twice before giving a teammate the traditional slap on the butt for a job well-done. “I’ll pat guys on the ass, and they’ll look at me and go, ‘Don’t hit me there, man. It hurts,'” Schilling says. “That’s because that’s where they shoot the steroid needles.”

The above quote is the lead on an article from June 2002 by SI’s Tom Verducci. If you have forgotten how the whispers sounded pre-“Game of Shadows” and BALCO, look no further than this piece.

“I thought Tom Brady was totally classless with Anthony Smith. Smith shouldn’t have made a guarantee, he’s an idiot, but you won the game, you proved your point. Why are you in his face now? That’s ridiculous. Tom Brady, every week, he’s going down in my estimation as a classy guy… totally classless.”

Bill Plaschke is the blowhard who said the above statement. He also writes in the LA Times that baseball will survive.