Pierce Nets Game Winner as Celtics Stay Unbeaten

Saturday Links by Dan, send him feedback here.

The Boston Celtics continue to roll as they squeeze out a late win against the Miami Heat Friday night at the Garden to up their record to a stellar 8-0. Steve Bulpett has the game story and has Kevin Garnett sounding like any voice inside a Patriot locker room.

Former Celtic Ricky Davis found his way back to Boston with yet another team. Mark Murphy has the piece on how the 28 year old Davis is on his 6th NBA franchise. (Yes 6, Good Luck Pat…)

Marc J. Spears has the Celtics staying perfect despite blowing a 15 point 4th quarter lead.

Peter May talks about Garnett finally being surrounded by a supporting cast he can count on. As opposed to the debacle that was his team in Minnesota most of his career.

PATRIOTS

Now onto the OTHER unbeaten team in this town. The Patriots look to take on the Buffalo Bills tomorrow night after their much deserved week off. For the Bills,. all signs are pointing to franchise Running Back Marshawn Lynch sitting this one out. If that’s the case, look for the Patriots ‘D’ to have even more of a field day against this fraudulent 5-4 Bills team.

Karen Guregian has an article on Adalius Thomas’ reduced role in the Indy game. There is belief that Thomas has been banged up since the Cleveland game with an ankle injury.

Guregian also takes a look at New England’s #1 draft pick Brandon Meriweather who is slowly but surely making a name for himself.

RED SOX

Should Theo give Mike Lowell the 4th year he apparently wants? That seems to be the hang-up in the negotiations. Tough call here if you ask me for 2 reasons. Theo and Co. have taken a hard line stance on giving a guaranteed 4th year to aging veterans, a la, Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez. How did those work out for Boston? Exactly. On the other hand, you have a gold glove caliber 3rd baseman who was your unofficial regular season MVP and tabbed as the World Series MVP. Lowell also has the respect and admiration of all in that Boston clubhouse, which can be divisive. Reports are saying Lowell could make a decision by the weekend one way or the other. Heres’ to hoping Lowell gets a 3 year deal with a club option for a 4th with incentives. Stay tuned……

Michael Silverman had the Sox and Lowell continuing to talk and Lucky Lucchino proclaiming “We want him back”. Please….

Amalie Benjamin looks at the price increase to see your World Champs in 2008(shocker)

AROUND THE WEB

Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN has a fantastic piece on the greatest coach in the history of the NFL (Yes folks, that’s your own Bill Belichick)

Top seed just about wrapped up

Afternoon notes provided by RJ. Contact him here.

I guess every Patriots fan can thank Colts kick Adam Vinatieri for missing a kick he could have made with his other leg. Did anyone really think the Chargers were going to win with a 29-yarder on the line? Wow!

With Indy’s loss, that gives the undefeated Patriots basically a three-game lead in the conference. The 9-0 Pats own the tie-breakers with the 7-2 Colts. The Pats have three of their final seven games against teams with a winning record, so I think it’s safe to say the top seed in the playoffs is theirs.

For all you fantasy footballers, a note on tonight’s game – Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander and Deion Branch are likely out tonight against the 49ers.

Major League Baseball will announce its American League Rookie of the Year this afternoon. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia plans to hold a press conference after the announcement. The Boston Globe plans on blogging the event here. For a look at who the ESPN experts think will win, click here.

The Boston Herald’s Rob Bradford is hot on the Mike Lowell contract negotiations. The Sox have until midnight to strike a deal before other teams can get involved. Word is three years is not enough for the World Series MVP.

Over in college football, John Walters of NBCsports.com takes a look at another crazy weekend, where more top seeds (yes, including Boston College) took another tumble.

Click here for all of your up-to-date news and notes on the Bruins and the Celtics.

Over at Patriots Daily, Scott Benson takes a look at how a loss by Indy and a comeback win by Pittsburgh have changed the landscape in the AFC.

Happy Friday

(Morning Links provided by Guest Blogger Brian. Brian can be reached at [email protected])

With the Pats on their bye week, and Celtics with the night off, it was a fairly quiet night for Boston sports fans, as the Bruins couldn’t steal the spotlight with a victory last night against the Canadiens. But of course we’ll start with our World Series Champs and the Mike Lowell sweepstakes.

Red Sox

Nick Cafardo has a look back at a “relaxing and enjoyable” stay at the GM meetings for Theo Epstein, as he indicates the Sox have made a guaranteed three-year offer to Lowell, but all remains quiet. Cafardo also provides a to-do list for the young GM in the coming weeks. Michael Silverman has more on the Sox “really strong” offer to Lowell, and the Sox options should negotiations break down. Silverman’s Notebook has Theo downplaying his late night meeting with Boras and Co., and the Sox sending Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz down to Josh Beckett’s ranch this offseason to train with him. They might even shoot some deer. The Associated Press reports that 11 current free agents are listed in the highly anticipated Mitchell Report, and also reports on the commissioner’s attempts at open information sharing and honesty at the GM meetings, which obviously doesn’t bode well for one Scott Boras and A-Rod, who thrive on false leverage.

Patriots

John Tomase hands out his midseason awards, with a lot of electrifying moments to remember from the first nine games, and almost all of them involving one Randy Moss on offense. Karen Guregian discusses some holes the Pats might try and fill heading into the home stretch, with a look at some deceiving stats from the first 9 games. Since the majority of us don’t get the NFL Network, we depend on various media outlets to keep us aware of any interesting developments from the mother station. Guregian has Mike Pereira, the NFL’s VP of Officiating, defending the absurd pass interference call on Ellis Hobbs Sunday, as well as the rookie crew, who had extensive NFL Europe experience. His defense of the call is laughable, and a point was made by Mike Felger yesterday that if these are the types of calls the NFL is beginning to make, defenses don’t stand a chance in stopping teams like the Colts or Pats. Sure sounds like someone on the Competition Committee has had Pereira’s ear, no? Robert Lee has Richard Seymour working his way back into playing shape amidst the first real adversity he has faced in his career. The Hartford Courant has the AP article on Don Shula backing off his comments about the Patriots and asterisk talk.

Don’t forget to head over to Patriots Daily for all your coverage of the Pats this weekend.

Celtics

Bob Ryan can barely contain himself with excitement over the Celtics finally being relevant again, reflecting back on the days of the real “Big Three,” even soliciting the praise of some esteemed Holy Cross graduates/Celtics legends (shameless alma mater plug). With the Celtics trying to continue the momentum of the Pats and Sox, Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers sounding Patriot-like in his assessment of the team and where they hope to be come early spring. Peter May’s notebook discusses James Posey’s status for tonight’s game, as well as the Celtics second quarter success early in the season. Bulpett’s notebook has more on the Celts approach with Posey this weekend, as well as high praise for tonight’s opponent, the Atlanta Hawks. Apparently Glen “Big Baby” Davis has a diary in the Herald. Basically exactly what you think you’d hear from a rookie entering the league (trying to find my role, adjusting to NBA life is different than college, etc.) But at least he addresses the fisticuffs between him and Leon Powe last weekend!

Bruins

With the Bruins losing again last night to the hated Canadiens, Stephen Harris has the team frustrated with their inability to score lately. Fluto Shinzawa has more on their struggles as of late, pointing toward a scoreless 5-3 shift in the third period as the prime example. Harris’ Notebook discusses yet another cheap shot taken at the Bruins, this time by Francis Bouillon with an elbow to Aaron Ward’s head as he Bouillon came out of the box, as well as the goalie situation behind Tim Thomas. Shinzawa’s Notebook discusses Glen Murray’s slow start to the season, the Bruins inability to generate power plays thus far, and the contrast in goaltenders between Montreal and Boston. On a more sombering note, Patrice Bergeron addressed the media yesterday for the first time since the gruesome hit he suffered, and Steve Buckley captures the scene, with a visibly weary Bergeron discussing his current state, and pleading for the NHL to address hits from behind to prevent further injuries. Buckley appropriately describes this press conference of the 22 year-old as “not just throwaway words from a garden-variety press conference. This was one of those cases when, suddenly, real life turned the games we love into secondary news. We went through this when Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke, and when Jon Lester was diagnosed with cancer.” Shinzawa has more on the press conference, detailing the daily struggles Bergeron endures, and has Bergeron coming off as a mature, classy individual who does not hold ill will against Randy Jones for the hit.

Misc

Mark Blaudschun has BC taking it easy before their game with Maryland tomorrow night. Blaudschun has the BC defense playing well amidst the team’s offensive success this season. Steve Conroy has more on the challenges the defense faces tomorrow night. Mark Murphy has a look at the BC hoops team, and has questions that the young team must answer this season.

Kyle McCarthy has even the Revolution getting involved in the fun, capturing their third straight Eastern Conference title last night at Gillette. John Connolly has more on the spectacular goal by Taylor Twellman that lifted the Revs.

That’s all for today, enjoy a weekend of running-up-the-score/spygate-free football, as well as the Celtics in action at home tonight against the Hawks, and traveling to New Jersey to face the Nets tomorrow night. The Bruins square off against the Sabres on Saturday night in Buffalo as well.

Rookies Run Riot, Wrap Up Game Three

(Guest Blogging by T.J. Donegan; he can be reached at [email protected])

The Red Sox took the first of a possible three games in Colorado last night 10-5, forcing a do-or-die Game Four for the Rockies tonight.

Dice-K Matsuzaka was not especially dominant, but more than proficient, in shutting down the Rockies through five and a third, giving up only two runs on three hits, taking the bat off his shoulder to drive in two of his own, though, on an RBI single. Again, he seemed to out-think himself and needed over 100 pitches to get through, however, precluding much further action for the Japanese rookie.

The story of the night was the Red Sox offense, however, which knocked out starter Josh Fogg, looking to plug the leak for the Rockies, after he gathered just eight outs. The Sox smacked Fogg around with six earned on 10 hits, all the runs coming in the third inning.

Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia combined at the top of the order for eight hits, three doubles, and four RBIs (to go along with Dice-K’s two) in 10 at-bats to carry the Sox to a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.
The Sox would add to their lead after Colorado made it close with five runs in the sixth and seventh. Boston’s four runs in the eighth and ninth provided the breathing room though as the Sox coasted through to their sixth straight postseason win after falling behind 3-1 to Cleveland in the ALCS.

Jon Lester is expected to take the mound tonight to try and finish off the reeling Rockies, just one year after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s a spectacular finish to a tortuous and draining year for the young pitcher, and we all wish him and the Red Sox the best of luck.

Jeff Horrigan talks about the rookies and their contributions last night. Rob Bradford talks about the success of Terry Francona deciding to put Ortiz at first. Steve Buckley said the results of the last three games really should have been obvious going in. Tony Massarotti talks about Jacoby Ellsbury, a unique player for the Red Sox. Michael Silverman says Dice-K has earned the trust of The Nation, and “Dice-K. Game Seven.” doesn’t sound quite as cataclysmic as it might have a month ago. Silverman also talks about Matsuzaka being the first Japanese pitcher to start in the post season.

Alex Speier talks about Julio Lugo playing a pivotal role in the win last night. Massarotti talks about Jon Lester’s chance to clinch a World Series for the Sox tonight.

Dan Shaughnessy says this series feels “more like a coronation than a contest.” Gordon Edes talks about the possibility of a second Red Sox World Series sweep. Bob Ryan says, barring “Divine Payback” for the Sox dumping the curse with a four-game comeback, the Red Sox are back at the top. Jackie MacMullan talks about Ellsbury’s big night in Game Three. Shaughnessy also talks about Lester’s chance to put another chapter in his remarkable story. Nick Cafardo has Dice-K doing it all, playing the game of his life last night.

Jon Couture talks about the Sox dealing with the altitude of Coors field. David Brown has the Sox’s pirate bullpen plundering the World Series trophy. Bill Ballou has a wrap up of last night’s proceedings. Art Davidson says it might be premature, but you might want to anticipate a parade sometime this week. Davidson also talks about the composition of these plucky Rockies that have unfortunately found themselves under the boot of a Red Sox juggernaut. Lenny Megliola has the Sox just one win away. Let me just let you soak that in. One. Win. Away.

Jayson Stark says get your champagne ready. Jim Caple gets things from Colorado’s side of the ball, calling it the worst postseason in baseball history. Excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for the dear, departed excitement of comebacks and curses.

Joe McDonald says, despite it all, it’s been a grand year in Denver for these Rockies. Sean McAdam calls up memories of old boxer Jim Braddock, saying the Sox took the best shot the Rockies could muster and just stood tall and smiled. Jim Donaldson puts on the brakes and reminds us of the 2004 ALCS, saying it ain’t over yet. Jeff Goldberg says different year, field named after a different beer, same result for the rampant Red Sox. Goldberg also talks about the prolific Ellsbury. I love the rook, I think he looks like the superstar kid from The Sandlot, but he was 1-7 with a walk coming into last ni–who am I kidding? I love the guy.

Alex Speier says this all just feels like Commencement day. Troy E. Renck says the carriage’s about to turn back to a pumpkin for the Rockies after the Game Three dismissal by the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook talks about Francona’s handling of Papelbon over the season. Michael Vega’s notebook has Carlton Fisk take on the series.

Patriots

The Pats look to keep their momentum going as they take on a tough defense this afternoon with the Washington Redskins coming to town. New England will try to move to 8-0 and avoid what might be considered a trap game with a certain well-publicized matchup with a certain undefeated defending champion next weekend. You might have heard about that one, I don’t know, it seems to be flying under the radar a bit.

For your links I’ll kick it over to Patriots Daily.

With all the extra Sox coverage I’ll have to send you to bruinslinks and celticslinks for your coverage of the Bs and Cs.

That should wrap it up for me, big night tonight with the Pats and Red Sox. Anyone else planning on coming down with some rare disease for tomorrow morning? WebMD, always there to help a fan get out of work.

Most wonderful time of the year

Afternoon links provided by RJ. E-mail him at [email protected]

OK, I know the headline is usually something people starting singing in late November, but you gotta admit Boston has not felt this much pride in its sports teams since … well, never!

We’ll start with the obvious. The Red Sox find themselves just two wins away from their second World Series title in the last four years. Pitcher Josh Beckett is without a doubt the best in the game and is showing the rest of the baseball world he kicks into another gear come playoff time. Curt Schilling is trying to make it hard for Theo and Co. to let him walk away after another strong outing a in Game 2. Jonathan “Dance Fever” Papelbon looks like he’s stronger now than at any point of the regular season. And best of all, the Sox offense isn’t relying on Big Papi or Manny. I predicted a Sox win in six, but now I think Fenway is closed for good in ’07.

On the gridiron, Tom Brady and the Patriots seem more focused, determined and talented than in any of their three Super Bowl-winning seasons. They’re on track to set the mark for most points scored in a season, Brady could demolish Peyton Manning’s TD mark and an undefeated season isn’t out of the question.

Staying on the gridiron, two-thumbs up for BC and QB Matt Ryan for a thrilling comeback against Virginia Tech, even if only a handful of people watched since it was up against the Sox and Rocks. Ryan could join Doug Flutie as Heismann winners and a BCS championship berth is in BC’s hands.
Over to the rink, it was nice to see Bruins captain Zdeno Chara drop the gloves and drop an opponent during their win over a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. Photo of the year, in case you missed it, was of two guys sitting in the Garden, all alone in one section. Just classic. Bruins are 6-3 on the young season and hoping draw the fans in once baseball is over.

It’s just crazy being a Boston fan these days, and I like it that way!

On to the links:

Boston Globe

Red Sox

Bob Ryan says the decision whether to play David Ortiz is trickier this year than in ’04. Dan Shaughnessy discusses how a new legion of Red Sox fans don’t understand the team’s past misery. Jackie MacMullan says the Sox success is overshadowing everything else sports-related in Boston. Gordon Edes writes that Daisuke Matsuzaka has eyed the World Series trophy since his first meeting with the Red Sox brass. Amalie Benjamin says J.D. Drew’s regular-season struggles have become a distant memory. Colin Nickerson writes the thin air of Coors Field may give the Sox problems.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper says lineman Nick Kaczur’s play has helped set the tone for the offense. Gasper also says cornerback Asante Samuel is still playing at the same level he was at last year.

Boston Herald

Red Sox

Jeff Horrigan says Dice-K and the Sox seek a Mile High clubbing. Tony Massarotti writes because Josh Beckett is slated to pitch Game 5, Games 3 and 4 become must wins for the Rockies. Steve Buckley discusses how Dice-K and Jon Lester are ready for their chance to shine on the big stage. Horrigan writes about Terry Francona’s decision to sit Kevin Youkilis for Game 3, and possibly 4 and 5. Rob Bradford says patience at the plate is paying off for the Sox offense. Michael Silverman says playing at Coors Field can be a sobering experience. Alex Speier says Game 3 will be a “family” reunion for Sox pitching coach John Farrell and the Holliday family.

Patriots

Karen Guregian says there’s a spot on the defensive line waiting for Richard Seymour, if he’s ready. Guregian also writes how Donte Stallworth is most dangerous after the catch.

Providence Journal

Red Sox

Daniel Barbarisi writes how Red Sox Nation has migrated West. The ProJo has a nice graphic on Coors Field, with it’s dimensions compared to Fenway. Joe McDonald says Lester’s special season could end on the highest of notes. Sean McAdam says Tim Wakefield is showing what being a good teammate is all about.

Patriots

Rob Lee says cornerback Eddie Jackson is ready to make a name for himself. Lee also writes how three-time Super Bowl winners Bill Belichick and Joe Gibbs are set to clash.

Celtics and Bruins

Click here for all your coverage for the C’s and B’s.

Enjoy the weekend.

Schilling’s Last Call?

(Afternoon Links Provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Dave can be contacted at [email protected])

After last night’s rout of the Colorado Rockies, Terry Francona will hand the ball to Curt Schilling in hopes of flying to Denver with a 2-0 series lead. The Sox offense, which is currently on fire, tore into Colorado pitching last night on their way to a 13-1 victory, and breaking some World Series records on the way. The Sox offense set a record for runs and victory margin in an opener. The Sox offense has now outscored opponents 43-6 in their last four games. Red Sox ace Josh Beckett wasn’t too shabby himself, allowing six hits over seven innings of work. Beckett struck out nine and walked only one (Spilborghs on two questionable balls) improving to 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in the postseason this year.

Meanwhile, Schilling who may possibly be pitching in his final home game at Fenway will look to keep the momentum in the Sox favor. The big right hander last pitched Saturday in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians. In that game Schilling was effective, allowing only two runs on six hits over seven innings; he struck out five and walked none on a way to a convincing 12-2 victory. Schilling faced Colorado earlier this season and was shelled for six runs on nine hits, but we saw just how relevant those games were last night.

The Rockies will counter with their 23-year-old hard throwing right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez who went 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 15 regular-season starts, will look to do something opposing pitchers have had difficulty doing as of late, silence the Sox bats. With a fastball hovering around the century mark, Jimenez has been dominant in this postseason. Jimenez last pitched on October 12th, going five innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out six, while walking four.

Tonight’s game will give us a much better idea of how this series will play out. Currently there isn’t a team in baseball that can mount any semblance of an offensive attack versus Josh Beckett. That leaves tonight’s matchup even more intriguing for two reasons. First, we will be able to see if the rest of the starting rotation will answer the call, and second, was Game 1′s abysmal performance by Colorado a side effect of the long layover or more realistically an example of Beckett’s dominance. Only time will tell.

Around the Web

All but one of the Red Sox starters scored above a B in John Donovan’s Game 1 Report Card.

On the night his favorite Red Sox player is pitching, Dan Shaughnessy answers your questions in today’s chat.

Tom Verducci credits the extensive scouting, not Colorado rust, as the main reason for the Red Sox Game 1 success.

Gene Wojciechowski has an open letter to Red Sox Nation.

Fox Sports Mark Kriegal asks the question “if the Rockies spent the past eight days engaged in simulated games, what exactly were they simulating?”

Jayson Stark (who picked the Rockies) talks up the Red Sox red hot offense.

Yahoo! Sports Tim Brown has a nice piece on “Big game Beckett” saying “Beckett has not just won four times in the playoffs, he’s shamed his opponents.”

CNBC’s Darren Rovell takes issue with Fox’s “shameless” moments in last night’s broadcast. Fox even manages to respond to Rovell’s “shameless” assertion.

The Yankees organization has officially appealed this announcement.

Howard Bryant throws a wet blanket on all the excitement after Game 1.

According to Matt Palmer of The Examiner in Washington, Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas had the “biggest ego inside the Raven’s locker room”.

“I enjoyed watching [Eli] play on Monday night because I got a chance to see him play live on TV, and being able to watch the game in mute. Because it’s an easier way to watch the game than hear some of those broadcasters.’’

That’s Peyton Manning’s view of the MNF crew. Those and more in Football Outsiders Week in Quotes.

Peter King made his weekly game predictions.

Dr. Z has his power rankings. Quick update on the Jets. They remained steadfast at #29. J-E-T-S, JETS!, JETS!, JETS!!!! I wonder if that season ticket holder will file lawsuits against the entire league now?

Belichick had some comments on Richard Seymour practicing.

Football Outsider’s Mike Tanier has his weekly NFL rundown.

Mike Reiss had his weekly mailbag.

Ed Berliner’s new venture, the Speeding Bullet Network is online with constantly updating video and audio sports discussions and opinions.

Tonight on TV

Boston sports fans will have a plethora of programming to choose from tonight. While Game 2 of the World Series will certainly garner a majority of the attention, one positive aspect of the ridiculous 8:30PM start times, is that you get the opportunity to watch a good portion of BC Football or the Bruins. The #2 Ranked Boston College Eagles will head down to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on #8 Virginia Tech. The game can be seen on ESPN starting at 7:30PM. Back here in Boston the Bruins will look to improve on their 5-3 record against the 5-4 Chicago Blackhawks. That game can be seen beginning at 7PM on NESN. For the rest of tonight’s matchups check here.

The Wait is Over

(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger David Vidinha. Dave can be contacted at [email protected])

Around the Web

Bill Simmons relives Game 7 of the ALCS and the most fascinating Red Sox moment of the season.

Gordon Edes answered some final questions before tonight’s Game 1.


Fox Sports
Kevin Hench gives us the possibilities for this year’s World Series Goat.

Tom Verducci says that interleague play zapped some of the intrigue out of this World Series.

Ken Rosenthal makes his case as to why the World Series is going to be more competitive than you think.

Howard Bryant has his pick for the World Series.

Inside Edge provides us with some statistics about both teams hitters.

Amalie Benjamin speaks to a meteorologist to get tonight’s weather outlook.

Chad Finn goes “Nine Innings”

Great news for the Patriots.

The Media Circus is back.

Here’s a guide to World Series Half-Truths and Hyperbole.

Michael Silver has 32 Questions.

If you don’t have tickets to a Bengals game, have no fear, you can get in with cash.

Dan Lamothe has a blogger roundtable.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports tells us that the “evil” Patriots might indirectly help the NFL Network get wider distribution.

Mr Irrelevant has Redskins fullback Mike Sellers providing the Pats with a little bulletin board material. In the meantime coach Joe Gibbs is doing the complete opposite.

Some folks will be sitting on a second reason to root for Red Sox tonight.

John Donovan tells us that the Red Sox are no longer cursed. They are the MLB’s gold standard.

An NFL executive tells Vic Carucci that there’s two simple ways to stop the Patriots passing attack.

Tonight on TV

It’s safe to assume that a majority of New England homes will be tuned into tonight’s Game 1. The game will be broadcast on Fox. That means at least four more games with good friends Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. First pitch is scheduled for 8:23PM.

Move Over, There’s Plenty of Room

(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger David Vidinha. Dave can be reached at [email protected])

Who plays third base?

That’s a pretty straight forward question, right? Well, that’s a question that I came up with while I was bartending during the Red Sox dream season of 2004. Nothing really ground breaking about the question, but it was something I conjured up to ask the droves of people who looked up at the TV and asked “What’s the score?”.

You see, when a local sports team is doing well (See: every team in Boston), the bandwagon for these local teams can become rather full. Especially when that team enters into the World Series. Well, back in 2004 I had enough. I was tired of the band wagon jumpers who had no clue who any of the players were, with the exception of maybe “Manny” or “Papi”. Somehow these fair weather fans were now “following” my team. How can you follow a team and not know who the players are? How can you watch the final games of a season if you don’t know the story of how they got there. Would you watch the finale of Grey’s Anatomy if you haven’t watched an episode all season? Of course not, it just wouldn’t make any sense. Then why would you sit and watch a baseball game when you only know a handful of characters and no idea of the storyline?

Then I realized that this is baseball, America’s past time. A game that everyone played as a child. Whether you were the best kid in little league or the worst kid in gym class, everyone has held a bat in there hands at least once. There’s no need to know everything about the team to enjoy the World Series, the action and drama are self-explanatory. J.D. Drew’s struggles or failed trades made at the trading deadline are for the hardcore fans to discuss amongst themselves.

With the home team headed into the World Series tomorrow, every office in the area will have their own “Red Sox Day”. Children at all the local schools will go to school fully decked out in their Red Sox gear, and conversation around these parts will be mainly about our team. I’ve come to the realization that this is a phenomenal time to be a Boston sports fan. Who cares if the bandwagon hoppers can’t name more than two players on the Red Sox or they don’t know all the player’s full names, heck Tim McCarver has a tough time as well. So move over Red Sox fans there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon for all of us.

By the way, the answer is Mike Lowell.

From the “In case you missed it” files…

Michael Silver addresses the Patriots new “Pit bull Persona” in his Morning Rush. He also speaks to former Patriot Ty Law for his opinion.

In Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King looks at the NFL’s first game in London. Also, two Patriots received props in Peter’s “Awards Section”.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has his take on the Patriots “running it up” in his weekly 10-Pack.

Around the Web

“Dishonesty, cheating, arrogance, hubris, endless complaining even in success. The Patriots have three Super Bowl rings, but that jewelry is tarnished by their cheating scandal. They run up the score to humiliate opponents”

That’s just a small sample from Boston’s favorite sports writer Gregg Easterbrook. Gregg’s back with his anti-Patriot propaganda in this week’s edition of Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Gregg uses this week to explain why the Colts are so good, using heart warming quotes such as, “sportsmanship, honesty, modesty, devotion to community, embrace of traditional small-town life, belief in higher power, even love of laughter.” I kept thinking it was some sort of satire, but its not! He’s for real.

Just one more quote from Easterbrook’s TMQ, this one will send Pete Sheppard off the deep end…

“That constant smirk on Brady’s face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, “I’m hiding something.”

Dr. Z takes on the ESPN announcing crew in his weekly mailbag.

Ken Rosenthal gives us his take on the Mitchell investigation leak, or conspiracy theory to there being a leak. Now, is it rather strange that this information was leaked prior to Game 7 of the ALCS? Yes. Does there appear to be a conflict of interest between Mitchell and the Red Sox? Yes. What this does not take into account though is the absolute collapse by the Indians. The revelation that Paul Byrd used HGH does not cause Travis Hafner to become incompetent at the plate or the two aces of their staff to completely fail. What it does call into question is just how Mitchell will handle this situation if it becomes known that a prominent Red Sox player is found to have used HGH.

Amalie Benjamin had a chat today.

Don Banks says this year’s Patriots team will not only go undefeated, but will break the NFL scoring record.

The Sporting News has their position-by-position breakdown for the World Series.

ESPN’s Rob Neyer gives us his all-time World Series All-Stars.

Cold Hard Football Facts has their weekly rankings.

Within this Yahoo! Sports piece by Tim Brown, we get the following quote from Julio Lugo, “Feelin’ bananas, dawg”. Perfect. Now if Julio can just provide some offense, I’ll be “feelin bananas”.

Dan Lamothe compares the Colorado Rockies to the Blues Brothers.

Nice feature in Sports Illustrated on Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle.

Tom Curran has some words with Peyton Manning about records.

Awful Announcing takes a look at the hilarious interview by Keyshawn Johnson of his cousin Chad Johnson that aired on ESPN on Sunday.

Tim Kurkjian has “Five Questions” to ponder heading into tomorrow’s Game 1 of the World Series.

Peter King is back with MMQB Tuesday Edition. In it Peter looks at the Pats-Indy matchup and if it’s cowardly to cut block.

If Jacoby Ellsbury steals a base tomorrow night, he’ll get you a free lunch.

Joe Sports Fan looks at some of the Red Sox headlines from around the web.

Keith Law of Scouts, Inc. says the Rockies have their work cut out against the Sox. He also provides us with the keys for both teams.

Tom Brady has the edge on Peyton Manning in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and the anomaly that is quarterback rating. Now, Tom has claim to one more edge in this statistic.

Detroit Tigers reliever Todd Jones is writing for Sporting News. Today Todd gives his take on the Rockies ability to perform after a long layoff.

ESPN has their weekly Power Rankings.

Tonight on TV

It will be a slow night in the sports world as everyone gets ready for the beginning of the World Series tomorrow. In the meantime you can stay occupied with tonight’s exhibition between the Celtics and the Nets. The game will begin at 7:30PM on CNSE. There’s also an NHL hockey game tonight as the NY Rangers head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. That game will be on Versus beginning at 7PM.

Last thrill from Schill?

Morning notes by guest blogger RJ. E-mail him at [email protected]

When Red Sox Nation needed him most, Curt Schilling came through yet again.

Facing elimination for the sixth time in his postseason career, Boston’s (former) ace delivered a Hall-of-Fame performance, stymieing the Cleveland Indians with a 12-2 victory in Game 6 of the ALCS.

But was Schilling’s tip of the cap to the fans as he left the seventh inning his last? That will be up to rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka as he attempts to make the Red Sox the sixth team in LCS history to rally from a 3-1 deficit. The good news? Boston has done it twice (against the Angles in ’86 and the Yankees in ’04).

How about a hearty welcome to J.D. Drew, who decided to finally make a worth contribution last night with a first-inning grand slam, which squashed any hopes the Indians may have had of celebrating on Fenway’s soil.

And speaking of “7″, the undefeated Patriots hope to go 7-0 today as they take on the winless, yet always pesky at home, Dolphins.

And finally, in case you missed it, the Bruins jumped to 5-2 with the help of another shootout goal by Phil Kessel. Are the B’s really trying to become important in this town again? Hmmmm.

So, we have the Patriots at 1 p.m., and the Sox in Game 7 at 8:20. What a weekend to be a Boston sports fan!

Now, onto the stories.

Red Sox

From the Boston Globe:
Gordon Edes gives a solid gamer, with Jonathan Papelbon saying he didn’t think Drew would swing at the pitch he hit for the four-bagger. Columnist Dan Shaughnessy says to load up on the caffeine and energy drinks because another Game 7 in Boston is upon us. Columnist Bob Ryan wonders how after such an awful regular season, how is J.D. Drew turning it around now when his teammates need him most. Nick Cafardo says Dice-K can redeem himself after two sloppy postseason appearances with a victory tonight. Kevin Paul Dupont notes the real Curt Schilling showed up for Game 6 after a mini version of Schill took the mound in Game 2. Shaughnessy also says that Manager Terry Francona’s decision to sit center fielder Coco Crisp for rookie Jacoby Ellsbury was strictly a baseball decision, and not him caving to public pressure. Amalie Benjamin also has a story on Ellsbury’s first postseason start. Benjamin also notes how Kevin Youkilis has had Cleveland’s number this LCS. Michael Vega writes how Mike Lowell and Dustin Pedroia show their appreciation to the fans who waited outside Fenway in hopes of purchasing tickets. Jim McCabe writes how the Indians had no chance of winning Game 6 right from the first inning. Vega looks at how Travis Hafner has slumped during the LCS. McCabe also writes how the Red Sox have Faustino Carmona’s number at home.

From the Boston Herald:

Jeff Horrigan chimes in on Ellsbury getting a chance to start and making an impact. Horrigan also writes the Sox victory happened the way they “Drew” it up. Tony Massarotti says the real value of Drew is finally showing. Rob Bradford writes of Schilling turned back the clock to give the Sox another vintage performance. Alex Speier says Cleveland is counting itself out just yet. Michael Silverman says the entire Sox order had an impact in last night’s victory. Columnist Steve Buckley writes Dice-K gets one more chance at postseason glory. Maureen Mullen talks about the umpiring in the LCS and how umpires are chosen. Bradford also takes a look at Dice-K’s history in big games. Silverman also writes how Matsuzaka gets another chance to redeem himself.

From The ProJo:

Columnist Sean McAdam asks if anyone really thought Drew would produce the way he has. Kevin McNamara discusses how Indians manager, and former Red Sox catcher, Eric Wedge is staying even-keeled throughout the playoffs. Steven Krasner and Joe McDonald say Tito had no choice but to play Ellsbury. Bill Reynolds writes how home field does matter in baseball. McNamara also discusses how Trot Nixon’s leadership was exactly what Cleveland needed this year.

From the Worcester Telegram and Gazette:

Bill Ballou writes the Sox had a sixth sense about how to win last night. Bill Doyle says Ellsbury finally got a chance to provide a postseason spark. Paul Jarvey says Drew’s performance was just “grand.”

Patriots

Get all of your Patriots Links and coverage this morning over on The Sunday Links feature on PatriotsDaily.

Bruins and Celtics

For all your B’s and C’s coverage, check out bruinslinks.com and celticslinks.com.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Back to the Fens?

(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Dave can be reached at [email protected])

Nine innings, two hits, one walk, eleven strikeouts, and zero runs. That was the line Josh Beckett posted on October 11th 2003, which just happened to be Game 5 of the NLCS. The Marlins who were facing a 3-1 deficit to the Cubs, handed the ball to Beckett and he delivered. As far as the rest of the series goes, well you can ask Steve Bartman how it turned out. The Red Sox are hoping that their ace can do the same again. With the Sox in the hole 3-1 to these crafty Indians, Beckett will look to send the series back to Boston.

In Beckett’s last start, this past Friday in Game 1 of the series, he allowed only two runs on four hits while striking out seven. Beckett had no problem commanding any of his pitches, which ultimately spelled disaster for Indians hitters. Tonight, he will be facing an Indians lineup in which six of the nine starters are sporting averages above .294. Most importantly for the Sox will be Beckett’s ability to pitch late into tonight’s game. With the past three starters’ inability to pitch beyond the 5th, the vulnerability of the Sox pen has showed. The Sox bullpen has not been overly effective surrendering 11 runs in 15.2 innings of work.

Looking to keep the rally pies flying for the Indians will be their Cy Young hopeful C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia who looked dreadful in his Game 1 start will look to improve on his 4.1 inning, 8 run, 5 walk stinker. According to some of the Red Sox hitters Sabathia was “wild” in his Game 1 start and he’ll look to control his emotions in tonight’s start. Indians manager Eric Wedge says that “all he (C.C.) needs to do is go out there and be himself”. On the positive side for the Indians is the fact that they are not facing a “must win” game, so the pressure will rest solely on the shoulders of the Red Sox. Supporting Sabathia will be an Indians bullpen who since surrendering back-to-back homers in Game 3, have surrendered a measly 3 runs in 16.2 innings pitched, a 1.62 ERA.

Around the Web

Shookman_Guest: Why do you feel that the Boston Media is making what Manny said yesterday a big deal? I feel as though if you listen to the WHOLE interview that what Manny said about waiting until next year isn’t what the Media is making of it.

Dan_Shaughnessy: i agree. i think it looks worse in print than it sounds on audio. and i think this might be a care where a guy working in his second language isn’t represented clearly. his Cadillac moment offends me far more than those words yesterday

That’s just one of the questions Shaughnessy answered in his chat today.

Joe Haggerty asks Manny Being Manny…or misunderstood genius?

Ken Rosenthal says that the old C.C. will need to show up tonight if the Indians are to be successful.

Tonight’s lineup will remain pretty much the same.

Stan McNeal of The Sporting News gives us a few reasons why we shouldn’t worry about tonight’s game. Specifically, Josh Beckett.

The guys over at The Big Lead give the nation a few reasons to root for the Red Sox tonight.

Josh Beckett is pretty familiar with the special guest the Indians will trot out to sing tonight’s National Anthem.

Within Tom Verducci’s “Five Cuts” we learn the origin of Red Sox menace Astrubal Cabrera’s name, and who Tom believes will win the ALCS MVP.

Darren Rovell has a conversation with baseball super agent Scott Boras.

SI’s John Donovan takes a look at the business behind the baseball playoffs’ pesky 8:21PM start times.

NFL

Jason Whitlock takes on the hip-hop culture in the NFL.

The Pats even dominated the Red Sox this past weekend.

Jimmy Kimmel had some things to say about him being banned from MNF. He also has a few suggestions of who may be possibilities to replace him.

Laurence Maroney addresses the perception that he’s “injury prone”.

Football Outsiders is back with its Week in Quotes.

The NFL Czar tells us that the Colts deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the “darling” Patriots.

In his weekly Inside the NFL piece for Sports Illustrated, Dr. Z looks at the current running back situation in the NFL, as well as, a major shift in FOX TV’s football game coverage. Well, its not that major, I’ll let you be the judge.

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders has his Week 7 NFL rundown.

ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli looks at pass coverage and where that fits in with today’s NFL linebackers. A New England Patriot is one of the few who Len says excels at pass coverage.

I would have to agree with Peter King this week with his picks. There really isn’t anything that surprised me, other than the score of the Bengals-Jets game.

Dan Patrick has found himself a new home.

Here’s a look at some of the story lines heading into Week #7.

Tonight on TV

While a majority of the area’s sports lovers will be focused on tonight’s Game 5 of the ALCS, the Bruins will host their home opener tonight at TD BankNorth Garden. Contrary to what I told you yesterday, tonight’s game will be played here in Boston. The game can be seen on NESN beginning at 7PM. BC Eagles fans will have a rooting interest in tonight’s college football matchup, when #2 ranked South Florida travels to New Jersey to take on 4-2 Rutgers. The game will be televised beginning at 7:30PM on ESPN. For the rest of tonight’s listings check here.