Troy Brown returns to the fold

(Sunday links by Bryan: bryan @ bostonsportsmedia.com)

The Sox fall to the Braves in a wet and sloppy game at Fenway, and Troy Brown is returning to the Patriots.

We’ll start with Brown. On “New England Sports Tonight” earlier this week, Michael Felger said he expected the wide receiver would re-sign with the Patriots, noting that 1) Brown hadn’t visited with any other clubs in the offseason to talk about a deal, and 2) No. 80’s name plate hadn’t been removed from the Patriots locker room at Gillette. The latter was not an oversight, Felger said, because Bill Belichick’s staff overlooks nothing.

Felger either was either taking good notes on a spring wander through the locker room, or had some good information from his sources. Brown is indeed back with the Patriots for the 2005 season, and Felger has the story in today’s Herald. Mike Reiss had the report on Brown in his Reiss’ Pieces blog yesterday afternoon at 5:31. Jerome Solomon has the story for the Globe.

Felger also has public words from Tedy Bruschi, who says he hasn’t yet made a decision on whether to play this season.

In a Sunday NFL notes column today, Nick Cafardo looks at the Ravens naming former Giants head coach Jim Fassel as their new offensive coordinator. Kevin Mannix, meanwhile, leads with an update on Tim Hasselbeck, a former quarterback at Boston College and now a backup for the Giants.

Solomon also has a feature on Logan Mankins, including the horrific details of a summer 2000 truck crash that left the first-round pick’s brother, Morgan, with severe brain damage.

Soggy night at Fenway
There aren’t many positives to take from the Red Sox’ rain-soaked 7-5 loss to the Braves last night (box score).

Cafardo, Jeff Horrigan, Steven Krasner, and David Heuschkel file the game stories.

Edgar Renteria had two of Boston’s four errors last night and was also ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the ninth inning. Paul Harber writes about Renteria’s struggles this season. Mike Shalin, meanwhile, has an article on Tim Wakefield’s rough outing. Robert Lee writes about Johnny Damon, one of the few bright spots for Boston on an otherwise dreary night.

Curt Schilling and his ankle are among the topics in the Sox notebooks by Cafardo, Horrigan, and Krasner.

Bob Ryan compares the Red Sox’ start this season to the starts of former Red Sox clubs the “year after” previous championships and other standout campaigns.

In paid columns in the Herald, Steve Buckley writes about the successful major league debut of Atlanta starter – and Georgia native – Kyle Davies, while Michael Gee examines the offensive slumps of several Sox players.

Buckley also delivers a very enjoyable read with a feature on Sox legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who was in town last week.

Williams always referred to Doerr as the ``silent captain of the Red Sox.'' And in 1986, when Doerr received the call informing him he'd been elected to the Hall of Fame, it was Williams who was on the phone.

``Well, first it was Ed Stack from the Hall of Fame,'' said Doerr. ``Someone had told me I missed by one vote the year before, so when Ed Stack called, I'm saying to myself, 'Oh, my, am I really in the Hall of Fame?' And then he handed the phone to Ted, who came on the line and said, 'You're a Hall of Famer now, Bobby.' I still get excited just thinking about it.''

Tony Massarotti looks at the upcoming baseball draft in his Sunday “Covering All Bases” column today.

Gorden Edes checks in with Gabe Kapler, who’s having a miserable go of it in Japan.

On the air
1510 the Zone broadcasts all day today (9:00-4:00pm) from Suffolk Downs, site of Eddie Andelman’s annual “Hot Dog Safari”. “Sports Court” follows from 4:00-6:00, and will include a discussion of the Bob Lobel libel lawsuit, which, according to Bill Griffith was filed in Norfolk Superior Court by Lobel’s attorney Harry Manion on Thursday.

Griffith has more on Lobel in his regular Sunday “SporTView” column, but this time he’s referring to the ”25 Years of Boston Sports” tape scheduled to run on Channel 4’s “Sports Final” tonight.

NESN broadcasts the finale of the Sox-Braves series this afternoon at 2:00.

This series ain’t over yet

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links by Bryan: [email protected])

Think Paul Pierce will read his local newspaper or tune in to sportsradio today?

As you might expect, there is no shortage of analysis–and outrage–from last night’s memorable Game 6 in the local media. Plenty of Celtics links are on tap here

The Celtics escaped from Indiana last night with a memorable 92-89 overtime victory (box score) at Conseco Fieldhouse, forcing a Game 7 at the Fleet tomorrow night. It will be the first Game 7 for the Celtics in Boston since the Larry Bird days.

John Thompson said on the TNT broadcast last night that the FCC limited the vocabulary he could use to best describe what happened in the closing seconds of regulation, when Pierce was hit with his second technical – and therefore an ejection as well – for retaliating against Jamaal Tinsley after receiving a hard foul. No. 34 also chose to leave the floor in disgrace, taking off his shirt and waving it around to the Indiana fans.

Bob Ryan writes:

We had enough crazy stuff go on in Games 1-5, what with the blowouts and the responses and road victories and all, but last night we entered a hoop twilight zone in a game that featured the single most unforgivable, untimely, stupid, and flat-out selfish on-court act in the history of the Celtics.

Howard Bryant also weighs in on Pierce – the online headline is “Pierce out of his mind: But he gets shot at redemption” – but you’ll have to be a paid subscriber to read his column.

David Scott looks at the Celtics TV postgame coverage and Pierce talk in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots, and BSMW’s Full Court Press also breaks down Game 6.

On WEEI this morning, John Dennis and Jon Meterparel took the Pierce’s-act-was-inexcusable side; Gerry Callahan went a bit easier, pumped up from “the most amazing game [he's] seen [the Celtics] win in years.”

Moving away from Pierce, Mark Murphy and Peter May write on the up-and-down night of Antoine Walker.

Michael Vega reports on the 11-point, (career-high) 14-rebound night for Al Jefferson, while Steve Bulpett has the news that Big Al was named to the NBA’s all-rookie second team.

A new ace?
Bronson Arroyo (4-0) hasn’t lost a game in 15 starts. Yesterday he didn’t allow a hit until the seventh and picked up the victory in a 2-1 win over the Tigers.

Ian Browne, Chris Snow, Michael Silverman, Joe McDonald, and David Heuschkel file game stories.

Nick Cafardo and Karen Guregian have more on the outing by Arroyo.

The Sox notebooks from Snow, McDonald, and Silverman focus on a day of rest for Manny Ramirez and the finger injury that caused Edgar Renteria to leave yesterday’s game.

Guregian also writes about the game-winning hit delivered by a slumping David Ortiz.

On the steroids front, Don Amore reports that U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays is in favor of the newer, tougher proposal presented by commissioner Bud Selig last week.

On the media
Kentucky Derby coverage leads the columns of Bill Griffith and Jim Baker.

Do-or-die Game 6 facing Celtics

Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan: [email protected]

Pacers TV analyst Clark Kellogg was a guest on “Dennis & Callahan” on Monday, and said that when a basketball team gets blown out, it usually returns as the hungrier side when the two teams play each other again. While that may be a case of nonsense psychological radiospeak, Kellogg’s words have certainly rung true in this Boston-Indiana series. Twice the Celtics have won in a cakewalk, and twice they have lost the following game.

Last night, the visiting Pacers took a 3-2 series advantage with a 90-85 win over the Celtics (box score) at the Fleet. The best-of-seven series now returns to Indiana for tomorrow night’s Game 6.

Antoine Walker’s had a rough go of it this series, as Peter May, Mark Murphy, and Tom E. Curran write.

Dan Shaughnessy says that nobody has any idea what’s in store for the rest of this first-round matchup, while Michael Gee thinks the Jermaine O’Neal-Danny Ainge verbal jousting is a bunch of hullabaloo.

Bob Ryan writes about the Pacers’ playoff experience in his first appearance in the Globe since the controversial Nomar column on April 22.

Lenny Megliola points out that we may have seen the last home game of the season for the “trick-or-treat Celtics”.

Mirabelli powers Sox past Tigers
Michael Silverman and Chris Snow have the game story of a 5-3 Red Sox victory in Detroit.

Here are a few other Red Sox/baseball stories of interest today:
* Karen Guregian has a response from MLB to David Ortiz’s contention that a language barrier prevents baseball’s Latino players from fully understanding the new drug policy.
* Silverman and Michael O

Herald sports editor departing?

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan: [email protected])

News this morning from David Scott that Herald sports editor Mark Torpey is about to leave the paper. Scott’s Shots also offers his reorganization proposal for the next editor.

Game 5 tonight

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan: [email protected])

It’s been a busy day at work, so I only have time for a few links–some on the Celtics, Sox, and Boston media.

Hoops links
In an article by Chris Nelsen, the Herald plays up the barbs being traded by Danny Ainge and the Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal today. In the Globe, Shira Springer writes that Antoine Walker was “going crazy” while watching Game 4 from an Indianapolis hotel.

Howard Bryant (online subscription required) also has a look at Antoine today. He contends that Antoine has more value to the Celtics than to any other team (other media members have made this point as well) and is the face and heart of the franchise.

Rob Bradford explains how Reggie Miller disrupts an opposition’s defense, as he runs through an endless series of screens.

Steve Bulpett reports on Ricky Davis not winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.

Last year for Damon?
I doubt it. Still, Damon is floating the idea that if doesn’t re-sign with the Red Sox after this season or land a favorable 5-year deal with another team on his short list, he may very well hang up his spikes. Michael Silverman has the story.

With news of the suspension of Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon coming down, Karen Guregian and Nick Cafardo have David Ortiz saying that many Latinos don’t fully understand baseball’s banned-substances policy, and that players’ meetings aren’t translated into Spanish. If Ortiz is right, I can certainly recommend a couple of translation companies to MLB.

Cafardo also writes on the struggles of the Red Sox offense.

WEEI ratings
Bill Griffith breaks down the winter ratings book for WEEI, and also writes that the “[Michael] Holley-Dale Arnold midday pairing on WEEI seems to be a bit too much Mr. Nice Guy.” Jason Wolfe tells him not to jump the gun on the two-month-old program.

WEEI is also on the agenda in John Molori’s Media Blitz. Molori praises the Big O, Dennis and Callahan, and Pete Sheppard, among others.

Bruce’s vacation begins

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan: [email protected])

A few links from the papers while listening to Doug Flutie and Kevin Millar talk on “The Big Show” on WEEI…

Sox take two of three in Texas
In spite of another shaky outing by closer Keith Foulke (read the sidebar story by Karen Guregian) in the 9th inning yesterday, the Red Sox managed to hold on for a 6-5 win against the Rangers (box score). Edgar Renteria’s average fell to .227 with a 1-for-5 performance at the plate, and he also committed his fourth error of the season, but an “On Baseball” column by Gordon Edes says the Sox expect their shortstop to round into form soon.

First baseman Kevin Millar (.250, 0 home runs) is also struggling, and the Red Sox have signed first baseman John Olerud to help at the position. Chris Snow and Michael Silverman have reports on the roster shuffles being made by the Sox to accommodate Olerud.

Silverman also has a feature article on team massage therapist Russell Nua.

In a story from yesterday’s Eagle-Tribune, Alan Siegel catches up with Doug Mientkiewicz, who hasn’t yet decided where he will safely store his World Series ring. Also from yesterday, Edes writes about commissioner Bud Selig’s new, tougher proposal on steroid testing. I would guess that Donald Fehr will have a little something to say in response to Selig’s “three strikes, and you’re out” plan. Also on the steroid front, Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon was suspended for 10 days today by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

In the Sunday business section, the Globe’s Bruce Mohl and Charles Stein had a look at the exorbitant prices fans are willing to pay for Sox tickets, as well as the general economics of sports ticket reselling.

Celtics-Pacers Game 5 tomorrow night
Another two days off between Celtics playoff games. Today Peter May writes that the Pacers are still holding out hope that injured point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who has been sidelined since February, will return to the lineup in this series. One player certain to play tomorrow night is Antoine Walker, who was suspended for Saturday’s Game 4. An unnamed ProJo story has Doc Rivers insisting the Walker will reclaim his starting spot. Steve Bulpett also reports on the return of Walker.

Dan Shaughnessy has a basketball-oriented picking-up-the-pieces column today, but does include this interesting Red Sox note:

One final thought, which has nothing to do with basketball. Has anyone else noticed the cheesy subliminal trick NESN plays every time it broadcasts a replay during a Red Sox game? You have to watch closely, but the World Series trophy flashes across your screen for a nanosecond leading into and out of every replay. It's downright Pavlovian. Do the Sox think anyone around here has forgotten they won?

I hadn’t seen the World Series nanosecond flash.

Other links
Mike Reiss has several Patriots notes today in his Reiss’ Pieces blog. Frank Dell’Apa chronicles the fast start (4-0-1) for the New England Revolution.

The mail is in

I asked for your reaction to the local media coverage this weekend. Here is a sampling of the responses I received.

To begin, Tim took issue with my criticism of the Celtics coverage in Saturday

The NBA playoffs have begun

(Sunday links by Bryan, [email protected])

Some abbreviated links this Sunday evening after watching back-and-forth beanballs and ejections during the Red Sox-Devil Rays game …

There have been several interesting articles today from the local press. The NFL Draft, Celtics, and baseball are all on tap. One last call to e-mail me your thoughts on the media coverage this weekend. I’m hoping to put together a mailbag of sorts later tonight.

Young guns spark Celtics
The playoffs began in roaring fashion for the Celtics with a 102-82 pasting of the Pacers last night at the Fleet (box score). The Boston bench, which broke open the game in the second quarter, is the subject of much praise by Jackie MacMullan. A column from Dan Shaughnessy, meanwhile, notes that the victory was the 12th straight in the playoffs for Boston’s major sports teams. Like MacMullan, Howard Bryant (online subscription required) is impressed with the Celtics’ second unit, and he writes that the fortunes of Al Jefferson, Marcus Banks, Delonte West, and Tony Allen have come a long way in the past year.

NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is complete, and Mike Reiss continues to provide the most up-to-date local coverage of New England’s selections in his Reiss’ Pieces blog.

On to the analyses of team’s performance yesterday, when the Patriots drafted Logan Mankins in the first round (No. 32 overall), and Ellis Hobbs III (No. 84) and Nick Kaczur (No. 100) in the third round.

Ron Borges delivers a positive review in the Globe:

When you are picking dead last, it is difficult to maximize your position, but Belichick and player personnel director Scott Pioli appeared to do that, then improved the team further with a solid trade, holding the Ravens up for three picks so they could get a shot at a player they wanted at the tail end of the second round.

It’s a decidedly different tune from the Herald’s Kevin Mannix. While he doesn’t bash the talent of Mankins, Mannix does question the wisdom of taking the offensive lineman in the first round:

Nobody's perfect, even three-time Super Bowl champions.

That's pretty much the bottom line on the Patriots' first day of activity in the NFL draft. When your first two picks net you a projected interior lineman (Fresno State's Logan Mankins) and an undersized, unheralded defensive back (Ellis Hobbs III) you haven't gotten the value of either pick.

In the ProJo, Tom E. Curran writes that Mankins will slide in nicely on the left side of the Patriots’ offensive line. Christopher Price also has a look at Mankins and his propensity for delivering “pancake-knockdown” blocks. Lamar Lopez reports on the Lankins selection for the Fresno Bee.

Lastly, Cold, Hard Football Facts examines the very inexact science of mock drafts, and rates the accuracy of this year’s first-round predictions from Borges and Mel Kiper, among others.

Around baseball
The best baseball read of the day is found not in a Boston paper but in the New York Times Magazine. Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, has the story of two players’ journeys through the minor leagues (one is disabled Kansas City rookie Mark Teahen), and the pressures they face to abandon their natural hitting styles in favor of swings that will produce more power. As part of his article, Lewis also writes that organizations still struggle to accurately project a prospect’s professional baseball future.

While Lewis focuses on offense, Karen Guregian writes about defense in the major leagues, and more specifically, the lack of attention paid to accurate outfield throwing in today’s game. Guregian has former Red Sox right fielder Dwight Evans lamenting teams’ failure to practice this seemingly lost defensive skill before games.

In their Sunday notes columns, Tony Massarotti and Gordon Edes both lead with reports on the fast start by the LA Dodgers. Without mentioning Bob Ryan’s controversial Friday column by name, Edes also has this:

Garciaparra has had a startling run of injuries, but in the absence of any evidence, it is treading very dangerous ground to suggest that they were the result of his intense training program, or the muscle-building supplements (like creatine) that he has acknowledged using, or illegal substances he has vociferously denied using, an assertion backed up by Red Sox medical officials and teammates.

The Ryan column was also a point of discussion on a Sunday NFL Draft edition of the “Dale and Holley Show” on WEEI earlier today. Expect the conversation to continue tomorrow.

Finally, on the baseball front, John Tomase has a salute to Tim Wakefield, and Dom Amore writes about the boos for A-Rod in the Bronx.

Odds and ends
Two last links in this posting: Bill Griffith checks in with a couple of Seans–McDonough and Grande–and Bobby Orr speaks out about the state of the NHL.

Patriots select Mankins in first round

Surpsing the “experts”, as usual, the Patriots selected offensive lineman Logan Mankins of Fresno State with their first-round pick (No. 32) overall.

Early reports in the local media:
* Bryan Morry writes that he was “stunned” with the Patriots’ pick.
* Mike Reiss has quotes on Mankins from Bill Belichick in his Reiss’ Pieces blog.

Busy Saturday

(Saturday links by Bryan, [email protected])

A full plate of coverage this Saturday morning, as the Celtics open the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft begins at noon, and the Red Sox fall in Tampa Bay. We also have news of disciplinary action (not a firing) against Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom.

I am also looking for your feedback on the media coverage this weekend. See the end of today’s posting for more. To the links …

Celtics-Pacers
We’ll begin with the media coverage of the Celtics, who meet the Pacers at 8:00 tonight at the Fleet in Game 1 of an opening-round, best-of-seven series. What, no special playoffs section in the Globe for the event? The paper has only four stories from staff writers (plus one AP notebook article) and nothing from its three main columnists; Howard Bryant does weigh in for the Herald, but the tabloid offers us only three other stories from its own reporters (plus two wire articles). It’s not really a surprise, but it is disappointing.

Tony Allen is the subject of the lead basketball story in the Globe, Herald, and ProJo (curious, no?). Shira Springer, Mark Murphy, and Carolyn Thornton spotlight the rookie guard, who returns to the starting lineup tonight and draws the assignment of defending Reggie Miller.

The Celtics notebooks from Murphy and Springer focus on the team’s reserves and on not having to see Ron Artest suit up for the Pacers.

Murphy has the traditional position-by-position matchup article for the series in the print edition of today’s Herald, though I’m not seeing a link online. Murphy gives the edge to the Celtics at power forward, small forward, and point guard, and he favors the Pacers at center and shooting guard. Boston’s bench beats out Indiana’s, according to Murphy, while Rick Carlisle holds the advantage over Doc Rivers.

Peter May previews all eight of the NBA’s first-round series, picking the Celtics over the Pacers in seven games. He also predicts that the Pistons will ultimately face the Spurs in the NBA Finals, and that Detroit will repeat as league champions.

If you went out and bought the Herald this morning, as I did, you could read Howard Bryant (available online by subscription only) wishing that Reggie Miller could close out his NBA career with a first-round playoff game against the Celtics at the original Garden. A good column from Bryant here, as he recaps some memorable Miller moments.

Here’s wishing that Bob Ryan could have skipped his column of steroid speculation on Nomar Garciaparra yesterday (see reaction from Nomar below) and instead written his thoughts on the Celtics as they begin the playoffs. In his weekly segment on WROR Thursday morning, Ryan essentially said that he didn’t know what to expect from this likable-but-unpredictable bunch.

Draft day
Do you have your NFL mock draft cards filled out? Today is Day 1 of the 2005 NFL draft from New York, and the Patriots check in at No. 32, the final pick of the first round. Be sure to check out Scott’s Shots throughout the weekend, as David Scott blogs his way through what he calls the “Most Overhyped Non Event”. BSMW Draft Central is also a good reference for reading about potential Patriots picks.

In their mock drafts today, Ron Borges projects that the Patriots will select Michigan cornerback Marlin Jackson, while Kevin Mannix has the team taking safety Brodney Pool.

More stories on this weekend’s draft, and speculation on how the Patriots will proceed:

* Tom E. Curran wants the team to select linebacker Odell Thurman of Georgia, but predicts they’ll instead take LSU cornerback Corey Webster.
* Eric McHugh looks at several “wild card” players the Patriots could consider.
* Michael Parente writes that New England is drafting for depth.
* Jerome Solomon expects that the Patriots will simply select the best overall player available when their turn comes up.
* Michael Felger speculates that the Patriots’ first pick may be for offense, particularly if all of the top defensive players they like are off the board.
* Mike Reiss wonders whether New England will trade up for one of the top-tier cornerbacks.
* In a good leftover from yesterday, Reiss also serves up 32 “pre-draft pieces” in his Reiss’ Pieces blog. Look for frequent updates from Reiss throughout the weekend.

Finally, Nick Cafardo takes a look back at the Patriots’ 2004 draft class.

Devils Rays top Red Sox in 9th
A walkoff home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the 9th by Eduardo Perez lifted the Devil Rays over the Red Sox, 5-4, last night at the Trop (box score). Steven Krasner, Cafardo, and Jeff Horrigan have the game stories.

Gordon Edes looks at the towering game-winning blast by Perez, the son of Hall of Famer and former Red Sox Tony Perez.

Michael Gee (subscription only) has a column about the three walkoff homers allowed by the Sox bullpen so far this season.

The Sox notebooks from Cafardo and Horrigan focus last night’s effort by Tim Wakefielder (two earned runs in six innings). Krasner has an update on injured Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli.

In a story that may develop some legs on the local sports media scene, Garciaparra reacts to Ryan’s column from yesterday. It’s only a wire-service article this morning, but it certainly isn’t a stretch to suggest that discussion of both the original column and Garciaparra’s response will gather steam over the next few days.

(Afternoon update:) Dan Kennedy, in his Media Log for the Boston Phoenix today, offers his thoughts on the column, saying he doesn’t quite know what to make of it. He includes an excerpt on Nomar from a February 11 Gerry Callahan column (online subscription required).

In the Hartford Courant, David Heuschkel has quotes from several Red Sox players criticizing steroid allegations against their former teammate.

Albom suspended
Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom and four other staff members have been disciplined by the paper over an April 3 story. Publisher and editor Carole Leigh Hutton has a letter to readers. She doesn’t detail the disciplinary action beyond the short-term suspension of Albom’s columns, nor does she name the other staffers.

Weekend lineup
Four NBA games today as the playoffs get underway:

3:00pm, ABC: Philadelphia at Detroit
5:30pm, ESPN: Houston at Dallas
8:00pm, FSN, ESPN: Indiana at Boston Celtics
10:00pm, ESPN: Sacramento at Seattle

Four more games are on tap tomorrow:

3:00pm, ABC: Game 1, New Jersey at Miami
5:30pm, TNT: Game 1, Washington at Chicago
8:00pm, TNT: Game 1, Denver at San Antonio
10:30pm, TNT: Game 1, Memphis at Phoenix

ESPN has the NFL draft beginning at noon today, and ESPN2 picks up the coverage at 5:30pm. Patriots.com will have streaming audio of the draft from 3:00-6:00 today, and from 12:00-3:00 tomorrow. Tomorrow, ESPN continues its draft coverage at 11am.

NESN has a pair of Red Sox games this weekend, at 6:00 tonight at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon.

What do you think?
Send me your thoughts on the media coverage this weekend, and I’ll publish a sampling of your e-mails tomorrow night. The NFL Draft, Celtics-Pacers, Red Sox, WEEI, Ryan/Garciaparra, and local papers are all fair game. My e-mail: [email protected]