Labor Day Weekend Media Notes

It’s actually been a fairly busy week in terms of media news and happenings.

ESPN extension is good for baseball – Chad Finn looks at a number of things, starting with the extension between ESPN and MLB. He also looks at the interest in Ryen Russillo from WEEI, the continued slippage of Don Criqui and Randy Cross on the Patriots preseason broadcasts, and NESN.com’s decision to do away with beat reporters in an effort to fully become the TMZ of Boston sports.

FOX Jumps Into First Full Season Of College Football – My SB Nation media column has a look at FOX launching its first season of over-the-air football games, and their new pregame show with their new star, Erin Andrews.

WEEI announced their NFL programming this season. The biggest change is on the NFL Sunday show, which will still feature Dale Arnold and Christopher Price, but instead of Troy Brown and Christian Fauria, (who took Steve DeOssie‘s spot on WBZ-TV programming – and yes it was related to fallout over DeOssie’s appearance at the Giants Super Bowl pep rally.) former Patriots Matt Chatham and Kevin Faulk will be with Arnold and Price on the show, which will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place before home games.

The addition of Faulk seems to be a recent development as Dale Arnold had tweeted this on Sunday:

(Chatham will also be writing two columns a week for the Boston HeraldEx-Patriot Matt Chatham joins Herald NFL team. )

WEEI will return The Real Postgame Show, which will be hosted by Butch Stearns (! I’d have thought Pete Sheppard was a lock to be back in there.) and Fred Smerlas.

Patriots Monday and Friday lineups will remain much the same.

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It’s official, AM 1510 will again be a sports radio station (at least at nights) starting next Tuesday, September 4th. The station is among eight nationwide that will carry all of the offerings of the new NBC Sports Radio network. Initially, this programming is only from 7:00pm to 5:00am ET.

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New England sports media had two more anchors recently leave the market, CSNNE’s Carolyn Manno, long tabbed a rising star is starting  at NBC Sports Network today.  Courtney Fallon left WLNE in Providence on Monday, according to her friend Jen Royle, Fallon is landing in Miami. As reported last week by Finn, Kristine Leahy left FOX 25, no announcement has been made yet as to her next job.

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Patriots.com radio is also expanding their lineup. In addition to its  flagship show “PFW in Progress” and “Patriots Playbook with John Rooke,” the team’s website will also feature three new shows: “Fantasy Football Champs,” “Cold Hard Football Facts” and “Football Nation.” All three shows will premier the week of September 3, leading into the NFL season kickoff.

“Fantasy Football Champs” is hosted by Todd DeVries and Bill Enright, and will air Tuesdays 4:00-6:00pm. Kerry Byrne hosts “Cold Hard Football Facts,”  airing Wednesdays 4:00-6:00pm and will also write a weekly column for Patriots.com during the season. “Football Nation” is also hosted by Todd DeVries and Bill Enright on Thursdays from 4:00 -6:00pm and will focus on the latest storylines and matchups around the NFL.

And oh yeah, today is Patriots cutdown day. Keep up with everything at PatriotsLinks.com.

Week Log: Grabbing a Gators Cap and a Beer

Red Sox

Payback can be a bitch. Following the Angels’ 3-0 sweep over Boston last October, the Red Sox have responded with a vengeance. Although most fans would prefer the ALDS win, the Sox have taken nine straight when it counts the most – i.e., lately. On Tuesday, Ryan Kalish and Clay Buchholz did the damage in this most recent series opener. Red Sox Monster has Terry Francona’s move of Kalish to center raising lots of questions about Jacoby Ellsbury’s future. Kirk Minihane thinks that Buchholz’s 2010 has been the very definition of a break-out season. With the Sox bullpen in shambles, The Bottom Line hopes the rest of the rotation took notice of Buchholz’s 7-inning outing Tuesday.

Perhaps they did. Throw in another seven from Lackey last night, then Bard in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th, and Surviving Grady has all the ingedients for a textbook ‘W’ . . . almost. Sean McAdam thinks Paps’ milestone 30th save last night may have been more important as a boost to his confidence. Full Count applauds Francona’s pinch-hitting elections in the 7th, although bats were optional for those plate appearances.

The bad news is that Better Red Than Dead says .700 baseball will be needed just to tie for the Wild Card, and National League teams aren’t walking in that door to help the Sox anymore. Bosox Injection cites injuries as a great and convenient excuse for missing this postseason, although Two Cents From Beantown suspects the Sox use injuries as an excuse to unfairly stock the roster. If the Sox do go on a tear from here on out, Fire Brand Of The American League would not be surprised in the least.

Over The Monster has the highest paid starters also doubling as the most disappointing performers. I’m Just Sayin’ is just saying that Lackey and Josh Beckett need to pitch like aces before Theo throws more good money after bad. Extra Bases would throw a pile of Theo’s money at Adrian Beltre this winter. Boston Dirt Dogs has money tight among scalpers as well.

Patriots

Coming off a win in their preseason opener against the Saints last Thursday night, the Pats scrimmaged the Falcons down in Atlanta this week leading to tonight’s game. Pats Pulpit theorizes that trips like these are designed to cram in as much experience for first- and second-year players as possible.

You can’t blame a guy for asking, but Masshole Sports is blaming Falcon Matt Ryan for asking Tom Brady for QB tips. Why should Ryan even bother if Michael Felger is right? PatsFans takes Felgie to the woodshed for asserting that Tom Terrific is no longer a playoff-caliber QB. Luckily, Extra Points has the Pats brass feeling good about the development of Brian Hoyer. Michael Hurley has Brady gunning for perfection in everything so far this summer.

NE Patriots Draft updates their roster predictions after a promising performance against the Saints. After his Brady attack, Felger pines for a Welker/Edelman tandem of slot receivers rather than butting heads against the wall with non-performing TEs. Pats Chowder would find Ty Warren’s IR a little easier to swallow if Bill Belichick hadn’t let Jarvis Green walk. It Is What It Is considers the mystery of punter Zoltan Mesko, the Most Interesting Man in the NFL. Stay thirsty, my friend.

If Chucky Gruden’s fawning on Monday night didn’t clue you in yet, there ‘s going to be a lot of Jets obsession this season, but Boston Blood Sox thinks they still suck. Patriots Gab says to go ahead and push the Pats to the back of the pack because that’s where they like it.

Odds & Sods

The fight for Jerry Thornton is over, as he officially endorses Brett Favre’s candidacy as the most beloved athlete in all of sports. Speaking of pseudo-retirement, Evans Clinchy speculates on Rasheed Wallace’s worth in a mid-season return next year. Marc Savard may not be returning, as Joe Haggerty has the center hurt by the B’s shopping him around this summer.

Toeing The Rubber rails against Rob Dibble and misogynists everywhere as she recounts some of her own bad experiences. And Another Thing . . . remembers the greatest baseball ballplayer and most significant musician of all time, who both died on this week 29 years apart. Boston Homer hopes that what goes around comes around for Dustin Johnson, who handled his two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole in last weekend’s PGA Championship with class.

Let’s close on an important note, as NESN tells you how you can contribute to the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon going on today and tomorrow.

Now, about that cap and beer

The Boston blogging landscape changes fast. It has to. New bloggers with a little spare time step into the jetstream daily, as existing ones struggle to retain reader share and their day jobs while manning shields against attack from the mainstream media. This is what I like to call the off-Broadway of the Boston sports world. These bloggers give us color – and sometimes, off-color – but they speak with an unfiltered voice that is missing in traditional outlets.

For 20 months now, Bruce has given the blogging community and me the chance to have that voice heard. It is an opportunity I can no longer reap. For me, the mainstream media has been most hospitable, and readers keep coming to our site. However, Week Log is falling victim to the most virulent of blogging obstacles: the day job.

In some ways I envy the full-time press who make a living at what is a true passion of mine, and have access to perqs I must stand in line and pay for. Then again, I can’t be fired for the vagaries of my headwear, so when The Man continually asks me to do more with less – as he is everywhere and to everyone in this economy – I can either comply or put on a Gators cap, grab a beer, and slide down the chute. The problem is, I’ve never looked good in a cap. The choice is one of necessity.

I’ll still be around, backing up Bruce on Morning Links and keeping slots open for the occasional special edition Week Logs, such as when the Sox make the 2010 playoffs. Look for advance notice on Twitter and Facebook. And, as always, I’m at [email protected] Thanks for all your support. Until the next gig . . .

Week Log: Ready For Some Football

Welcome back for another Week Log and, more importantly, another NFL campaign. The always controversial preseason kicks off for the Pats against the defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium tonight, so let’s start in Foxborough.

Patriots

Pats Fans give you five good reasons for watching this game tonight, as if you needed any. Patriots Gab has the Saints following the Patriots model to perfection last season. Patriots Daily is worried how the Pats will fare tonight given all the new kids who’ve never played a down before.

Boston Sports Then And Now tries to figure out how the Pats can pressure opposing QBs this fall, while Pats Pulpit examines the lingering question of inside linebackers. NE Patriots Draft has Aaron Schobel a potential resolution to the uncertainty at outside linebacker. It Is What It Is has long-forgotten CB Terrence Wheatley beginning to pay dividends.

On ESPN Boston New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss doesn’t believe a Tom Brady deal will be done before kick-off tonight. The Rap Sheet reveals how Randy Moss kept himself in great shape this offseason, while Extra Points examines Wes Welker’s long and improbable comeback to the September 12th opener.

Pats Confidential‘s eyes tell them that, despite impressive career stats, Drew Bledsoe does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Jeff Howe has ex-Pats and Raiders CB Mike Haynes defending Jack Tatum’s 1978 hit of Darryl Stingley as coming in an intent-to-hurt era. Yeah, that works for me.

Red Sox

With a split salvaged in the Bronx, Boston Blood Sox has things not so doom-and-gloomy to start this baseball week. Hit And Run With Dan Roche says the chance to redeem yourself as Jon Lester did on Monday is what baseball is all about. Confessions of a She-Fan bemoans her Yanks’ lost game of what ifs. Subway Squawkers thinks this series lacked the typical Sox-Yanks buzzworthiness.

Recent Yankee woes have Bosox Injection declaring the full-time sport of scoreboard watching officially back in season. Extra Bases says there’s still plenty of room on the pennant-chasing bandwagon. Boston Sports Blog believes this 2010 edition is more entertaining, a better story, and a better team than last year’s. All the unsung heroes that have kept the Sox in dreaming range of the playoffs remind A Very Simple Game of the 1967 Impossible Dream team.

Surviving Grady is hearing the footsteps now as the Sox crept closer to the Yankees with a win to open their series in Toronto on Tuesday. Better Red Than Dead‘s prognostication of doom in Toronto got off to a bad start after Mike Lowell’s go-ahead homer proved the difference. Boston Dirt Dogs is glad to see Lowell back in the swing. The Bottom Line has timely hitting and – yes! – the bullpen as two sights for their sore eyes. Full Count calls last night’s win a collective effort by Clay Buchholz and the bats. Red Sox Monster says Buchholz keeps getting better and better. Over The Monster has the Sox closing the long ball gap between them and the Blue Jays after last night’s 4 HR effort.

Fire Brand of the American League does some reworking of the Sox lineup to maximize run-scoring potential. Beantown Sports Observer thinks it well worth the wait for Carlos Delgado to recover his stroke. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine wonders if the No. 21 jersey will be available when Delgado gets to Boston. And to goldbricking slackers like Jerry Thornton, J.D. Drew is a hero.

Finally, Beyond Fenway reports on an unprecedented trifecta of Players of the Week down on the Sox farm.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston blogging world

With UFC en route to Boston, SportsCenter 5 Overtime Blog says Shaq will not be the biggest thing to come to town this summer. We’re Just Saying found their summer oasis in the parks of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

As the Revs prepare for a chance to become the first two-time SuperLiga champs, New England Revolution compares this run to 2008.

Hey, are the big media outlets really plagiarizing the work of Masshole Sports? You be the judge as the prosecution takes the stand.

Thanks for checking in. We’ll be back next Thursday.

Week Log: Seven And Fading

Beantown Sports Observer gripes that after an early summer flood of interesting topics, there is zilch gong on now unless you count baseball. Fortunately, Week Log does count baseball so let’s get started there, where the count is presently at seven games back – eight in the lost column, five in the Wild Card.

Red Sox

With MLB-leading run production, yet middle-of-the-pack starters and the third worst bullpen in the A.L., SawxBlog calls 2010 the Year of the Strange. But as the deficit in the standings grows, Peter’s Red Sox Forever is just calling it a season.

Red Sox Monster stops short of calling Daisuke Matsuzaka’s gem on Monday his best start ever, but agrees it was just what the Sox needed to open a 10-game West Coast swing. The Soxaholix sees a favorable pattern developing when Dice-K walks two or fewah battahs.

When the Sox reward Surviving Grady‘s time and emotional investment with a spirit-deflating loss as they did on Tuesday night, everyone pays. Nor is there any joy at The Joy Of Sox after Terry Francona left Jonathan Papelbon in the pen during the extra innings loss. Tim Wakefield blew a four-run lead earlier that night, as The Bottom Line likens his knuckler to a box of chocolates. With Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett back, The Mighty Quinn Media Machine speculates it could have been Wake’s last start ever. I’m Just Sayin’ wonders if the returning Buchholz and Beckett are enough to make the Sox contenders again this year. Full Count has Buchholz off his game yesterday, struggling in each of his four-plus innings. Tony Lee has the oft-forgotten Jed Lowrie’s return the brightest spot in yesterday’s rubber game loss in Oakland.

Boston Dirt Dogs has Theo & The Trio’s administration denying they’re doing things on the cheap, while Touching All The Bases recalls the baseball vagabonds brought in during the Dan Duquette administration. And the baseball team might be fading, but Keep Your Sox On has the Remy/Orsillo broadcast tandem GQ‘s pick as best in the American League.

Patriots

All this speculation concerning a potential Tom Brady holdout makes Michael Hurley wonder if the NFL offseason has run its course. Extra Points has Brady’s name conspicuously absent from SI’s Fortunate 50 list that places Vince Wilfork at No. 38.

See how far down the list the Pats sit on the training camp edition of It Is What It Is‘s Power Rankings. NE Patriots Draft annoints the Packers and Patriots as bride and groom in their 3rd annual Ridiculous NFL Preview. Pats Pulpit explains why Randy Moss fared well in their preseason look at Most Valuable Patriot candidates.

Tom E. Curran sees the secondary as a serious tender spot in the Pats’ hopes of returning to the NFL’s elite. Patriots Daily looks at the shake-up among the big fatties on the defensive line.

On ESPN Boston’s New England Patriots blog, Mike Reiss explains how the Pats roster is 6th-oldest in the NFL despite including 24 draft picks from the last two years. The Rap Sheet has first-round pick CB Devin McCourty’s agent confident you can throw his client into the youth movement come the start of training camp. And Boston Sports Then And Now looks back on The Decision I, when Bill Belichick dissed the NYJ in LeBronian fashion.

Odds & Sods

Our weekly perusal of the Boston sports blogging community starts with Mass Hysteria, which is concerned about nicknames for a C’s team that could sport five guys over the age of 33. The Crowe’s Nest serves up another reason to root against the Miami Heat next season.

Jessica Isner has all the shootout action from last night’s Football at Fenway club soccer match. Better Red Than Dead can’t imagine how this event can be viewed as anything but a success, while Toeing The Rubber wonders what genius decided to screw with the Fenway Park field by scheduling non-baseball events in mid-season. Fenway Pastoral thinks this excessive whoring out of Fenway Park speaks to a new organizational arrogance on Yawkey Way.

ESPN Boston’s New England Revolution blog has Steve Ralston missing out on a swansong game with the Revs before retiring on Tuesday. Masshole Sports says Tim McCarver’s stand against George Steinbrenner is better late than never.

You can have your HBO, but nothing shall come between Boston Sports Blog and their HD sports programming. And finally, a shout out to SoxSpace News for getting some quality face time on NESN.

The blog ranks are a little light with summer vacations, and that’s where I’ll be for the next two weeks. Week Log won’t be back again until August 12, when we welcome all the new faces that Theo acquires between now and the trading deadline next week. See you then.

Week Log: Second Half Kick-Off Edition

It’s the dog days all right. NHL and NBA hot stoves have cooled; NFL OTAs are done and training camp awaits; and the three-day MLB All-Star break has just concluded. We stand ready to roll into the official start of the second half of the Red Sox season, so let’s kick it off there.

Red Sox

At 51-37 at the break, Boston Blood Sox calls it a laudable first half for the Sox, but the fourth-best record in all of baseball may still leave them out in the cold come October. Touching All The Bases has the best and worst of the first half of a season they think shouldn’t start until May 1. Beantown Sports Observer looks at the castoffs and journeymen who have kept the Sox within striking distance of the A.L. East lead. Jessica Isner has Erin Andrews, in particular, looking at one of Boston’s first half surprises.

Red Sox Monster defends MLB’s All-Star Game as the greatest in professional sports. SawxBlog concedes it is head-over-heels the best among all-star games, but finds it a ridiculous determinant of home field advantage in the biggest series of the year. Mass Hysteria would rather watch the All-Star Game than get a pizza with Hanley Ramirez.

Fenway West thinks David Ortiz may have earned his option year after winning the All-Star Home Run Derby Monday night. BoSox Injection says it’s tough not to be happy for Big Papi. Boston Sports Then And Now hopes this win will do for Ortiz what the Three-Point Contest did for Paul Pierce. Peter’s Red Sox Forever has Papi’s baserunning costing the A.L. home field advantage in the World Series.

If you’re looking forward to seeing Clay Buchholz or Victor Martinez right out of the blocks after the All-Star Break, Brownie Points will set you straight. Fenway Nation has Jacoby Ellsbury’s account of his injuries contrasting that of Sox brass. Hit And Run With Dan Roche has Josh Beckett hitting 96 down in Pawtucket, and on schedule to return mid-week next week. Baseball Heavy calls Beckett a good pitcher but a questionable human being.

Red Sox Reality Check takes pleasure in watching Jon Lester evolve into one of the elite pitchers in baseball. Surviving Grady pleads for a return of The Pappet.

Boston Dirt Dogs pays homage to George Steinbrenner, while The Crowe’s Nest reminisces of his only encounter with The Boss. Subway Squawker Lisa is shocked by the outpouring of sympathy and tributes from Yawkey Way. Toeing The Rubber doesn’t think that baseball lost ‘a good one’ so much as ‘a scandalous one’ on Tuesday.

Clubhouse Insider reports that the price hasn’t dropped for Kansas City OF David DeJesus. Fire Brand of the American League takes us behind the plate, as they examine the catcher’s craft of calling a game.

Patriots

Just another couple of weeks until camp! Pats Pulpit thinks the Pats went a long way in rebuilding their locker room by drafting character players in April. NE Patriots Draft has the NFL with a lot of work to do in signing first- and second-round picks, and the Pats are no exception as talks with first-rounder CB Devin McCourty are progressing slowly.

It Is What It Is has Terrell Owens willing to take less money and a lesser role to come to the Patriots. Having T.O. alongside Randy Moss is enough to give Masshole Sports a wet dream. Pats Fans examines the curious OTA of second-rounder TE Rob Gronkowski, whom some pundits bill as the complete player. Extra Points thinks Sebastian Vollmer is the biggest part of the Pats’ future on the offensive line. Patriots Daily has Tom Brady a polarizing figure in the ever-present war between optimists and pessimists.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston blogging world

Steinbrenner was the second loss in the Yankees family this week. And Another Thing . . . remembers PA announcer Bob Sheppard, who evoked a semi-religious experience with his glorious tones. Although the Voice of God will never echo in Yankee Stadium again, its memories induce shivers and goosebumps through Greg Cavanaugh.

Green Street has new C’s center Jermaine O’Neal subordinating play time for the chance to win a championship. We’re Just Saying looks at the spectacle that was ‘The Decision.’

Last weekend’s 2-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy did wonders to bail out New Enlgand Revolution‘s mid-season progress report on five preseason predictions.

The Iroquois may have gifted lacrosse to the world. but Lacrosse Examiner has them being denied reentry into the U.S. if they play in the World Lacrosse Championships under their Iroquois passports.

With football around the corner, I’d love to hear about some good Pats blogs you like but never see on Week Log. Some of our old favorites won’t be back this season, so fresh blood is needed. Drop me a line. As always, I’m at [email protected]

Week Log: A Few Good Men . . . Still Standing

Welcome to July. This weekend marks the midpoint of the MLB season, so it’s time do something we haven’t done all year. That’s right: we’re leading with the Red Sox.

Red Sox

July 1 is marked on my calendar as the sixth anniversary of the night Jeter dove into the stands in the Bronx while Nomar, enjoying a night of rest, watched him from the safety of the Sox dugout. It’s also one day after Dustin Pedroia took grounders on his knees because he can’t stand on a fractured foot, while J.D. Drew watched call-ups do his job because he coudn’t play with a stiff neck. Surviving Grady wants the kind of guy like Pedroia on his team and wonders if that work ethic will ever rub off on Drew.

Boston Dirt Dogs has the Sox weathering this storm of injuries. And Another Thing . . . sees an exquisite fan experience in cheering for an injury-plagued team like these Sox. Jerry Thornton says to hell with the injuries because he’s going to ride some pure, undiluted optimism all the way to an October rolling rally. Fire Brand Of The American League looks back at some of the biggest surprise replacement players in Sox history.

On the field, the Sox had to settle for a split against the reeling Rays this week. Hit And Run has Tuesday’s starter John Lackey sticking to the script for victory in the face of all the recent injury woes. Fenway West has Tuesday’s game getting squirmy with some bad relief appearances. Over The Monster loved Dice-K’s Houdini act last night, but put the blame for this loss squarely on the arm of Manny Delcarmen. The Bottom Line says that if MDC hits the DL, Theo will be called upon for some desperate measures. Fenway Fruitgirl finds a magical place where even Delcarmen can throw strikes.

Red Sox Monster has the Sox with a serious, serious problem in their bullpen. Boston Sports Blog rips the theory that the Sox are winning in spite of their outfield.

BoSox Injection adds their two cents to the All-Star voting discussion by adding in two Sox as starting positional players. Soxspace News calls All-Star voting a joke system and lobbies for a remedy to the injustice of Adrian Beltre sitting at fourth on voting among A.L. third basemen.

Celtics

Lots of personnel activity these days, starting at the top. Doc Rivers’ decision to return for the final year of his contract is one less unanswered question for Beantown Sports Observer this offseason. It’s also one less worry for Gino’s Jungle, who would not like any other coach at the forefront of the C’s. I’m Just Sayin’ thinks Doc’s return makes it likely the C’s will be keeping Paul Pierce around.

Pierce, of course, became un unrestricted free agent at the stroke of midnight this morning. Green Street says his opt-out makes Danny Ainge’s life a little more difficult this offseason, while Red’s Army thinks it gives Danny cause for pause . . . and maybe even an opportunity. LOSCY is all for bringing the Big Three back for not one, but two more reunion tours. North Station Sports says C’s fans should be worried about losing Ray Allen.

4Sportboston thinks Ainge did as well as could be expected by drafting Avery Bradley, who was ranked ahead of John Wall only a year ago. Mass Hysteria has second-round pick Luke Harangody filling the need for a tall, goofy white guy now that Brian Scalabrine’s contract is up.

Bruins

Bruins 2010 Draft Watch says Tyler Seguin is more mature and better ready to make the transition to the NHL than his No. 19 namesake Joe Thornton was back in 1997. Two Cents From Beantown thinks we should contain our speculation over what line Seguin will be on until he actually makes the team. Masshole Sports says Beantown hasn’t had a player this hot – errrr, marketable – in a long time.

Stanley Cup of Chowder runs down the B’s selections after Seguin, while The Hockey Blog Adventure is going nuts for the B’s second selection, Jared Knight, a kid who goes to the net. Boston Sports Then And Now calls the Mark Recchi re-signing an impactful choice that will have positive effects on the development of Seguin and the other rookies.

View From 311 berates the Red Sox for not bringing out the real catchers to handle first pitch duties with Seguin and recently-acquired Nathan Horton. John Beattie has GM Peter Chiarelli still open to making a few more trades. Rink Rap thinks trading Marc Savard will help the B’s get faster and stronger up front next season.

Patriots

July means summer taining camps and trips to Gillette with the boys, where security teams with large badges tell us all the places that we can’t access as non-family, non-VIP, non-season-ticket-carrying visitors. Despite 7 of 12 picks still unsigned, It Is What It Is has the Pats right in line with the rest of the NFL when it comes to signing the 2010 draft class. Pats Pulpit says the pieces we’ve been told on the Logan Mankins front aren’t fitting.

Notwithstanding the loss of an All-Pro left guard, PatsFans thinks red zone offense is the one area the Pats improved on the most during this past offseason. Mike Reiss says the Pats have one of the deepest groups in the NFL at safety, but don’t put them in the upper tier just yet.

Extra Points is taking the over on Tom Brady and Wes Welker, but going with the under on Randy Moss. NE Patriots Draft finds fault with various Madden ’11 Pats player ratings.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the world of . . . .soccer?

On Corner Kicks, Revs midfielder Chris Tierney opines that the U.S. played the most exciting brand of soccer in this World Cup. World Cup Central says that, despite the lack of a deep run by the U.S., soccer is coming up stateside in the short-term.

In the wake of being banned from an upcoming UFC event, Wicked Good Sports finds three other homes for that pestilence of the World Cup, the vuvuzela.

Six States, One Blog has GM Brian Bilello giving Revs fans continued hope for a new urban stadium by naming places.

Have a great and very long Fourth of July weekend and wee’ll see you back here next Thursday afternoon.

Week Log: Draft Days of Summer

Lots of action in the blogosphere this first week of summer, with the C’s drafting tonight, the B’s tomorrow, the U.S. taking on Guana in World Cup action Saturday, and the Sox looking for something positive on any or all of those days. We left you on the threshhold of Game 7 of the NBA Finals last week, so let’s pick up the pieces of our shattered dreams with the C’s first.

Celtics

Just a few eulogies for the C’s, then it’s time to move on. Banner 18?, whose name won’t be changing next season, brings us a Celtics fan appreciation video. Touching All The Bases wonders if disappointment will be the parting memory of a three-year ride that was a hell of a lot of fun. Celtics Stuff Live thinks the C’s need reinforcements from several sources, as running the same crew out there next year will not produce any better results.

The rebuilding begins tonight with the NBA Draft, as the C’s select 19th overall. Green Street recounts the last 25 Number 19 picks. Red’s Army looks at Danny Ainge’s legacy of strong drafts over the last seven years. Boston Sports Then And Now thinks that, with all the uncertainty over the C’s future, Ainge will again have to think outside the box this offseaason as he did in 2007. Celtics Green is looking to fill five roster slots in this year’s draft.

A little more video to close, as The Crowe’s Nest can’t make sense of Lakers fans’ air of entitlement to violence after their team won the NBA Finals.

Bruins

I must confess to not being over the devastation the B’s dumped on our doorsteps in May. I’m not ready to let them back in my life yet but better fans are, and the healing process continues tomorrow night with the second selection in the NHL Entry Draft. Michael Hurley looks back on the top ten Number 2 draft picks in NHL history. Hey, there’s really not much difference between the B’s and the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks when 4SportBoston thinks about it, as they assess some offseason needs that can get partially filled tomorrow night.

Bruins 2010 Draft Watch goes back in time to relive the hype on newly acquired forward Nathan Horton, who was drafted third overall in 2003. Bruins Insider thinks that throwing in the 15th overall pick this year was hard for GM Peter Chiarelli since the draft figures to be a deep one. Blog Of Ice calls it an expensive deal, but that’s the price of unloading Dennis Wideman. Rink Rap has Chiarelli putting his money where his mouth is by looking outside the organization for solutions to player performance “variances.”

Something’s Bruin looks at some interesting international matchups coming the B’s way in the upcoming preseason, while Stanley Cup Of Chowder breaks down the B’s 2010-2011 schedule, which was just released this week.

Red Sox

The Sox went west this week carrying a MLB-best 24-8 record since May 17, as well as a 10-2 interleague record, to Colorado on Tuesday. Surviving Grady thanks interleague play for helping the Sox to move on up. On The Soxaholix, fictional Doug is happy this run has gotten the Sox to within spitting distance of the Yankees.

Looks like the Sox will have to hock a powerful one, as they’ve slipped two games in the first two nights in Colorado, leaving Jerry Remy new and innovative ways to use the word “frustrating” in sentences. Sox & Dawgs says Tuesday night’s low-scoring affair came one game earlier than expected, as Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin was virtually unhittable. Toeing The Rubber dislikes losing the first game of a series more than anything. The Sox stopped a shut-out with a run in thee ninth, but ageless ageing Mike Lowell left the tying run on when he couldn’t beat out a grounder deep in the hole. Better Red Than Dead clocked Lowell’s time to first base as dangerously close to the bezerk barrier, while Boston Dirt Dogs has Lowell with grandmother-class speed.

Over The Monster has last night’s loss marking the end of this run of ten consecutive series either won or split. The Joy Of Sox has Lackey putting the Sox in a four-run hole with his arm, then leading the comeback with his stick. The baseball gods only give out so many gifts like last night’s four-run 6th against the best pitcher in baseball, and when they do you don’t tell them, ‘thanks but no thanks.’ Well, Jonathan Papelbon did, surrendering the lead on two pitches, then the game three batters later. Fenway West has this as Papelbon’s worst outing of the season as he was unable to save one for a mediocre Lackey.

Notwithstanding last night, Red Sox Reality Check notes the improvement of Sox pitching over each month of this season. With the success of Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester this year, Boston Sports Blog tells you the last time the Sox produced two homegrown 20-game winners. Red Sox Monster has math precluding every good Bosox performer from making this year’s All-Star Game. So much for the bridge year says Keep Your Sox On, as they have the Sox leading the Majors in a plethora of offensive categories.

Sean McAdam has something the Josh Beckett front has seen precious little of so far this year: good news. More good news from Full Count, as they report on the pretty amazing comeback of prospect Ryan Westmoreland. Jessica Isner has Lars Anderson knowing what it’s like to struggle, and also knowing he can rebound, too.

SoxSpace News loves Dustin Pedroia’s candor with the media. Fire Brand Of The American League reflects back on the experience of watching Manny Ramirez.

FIFA World Cup

In a week filled with drama and intrigue, perhaps nothing can top the U.S. win over Algeria yesterday, as they scored the match’s only goal in stoppage time to advance into the knockout stages. ESPN Boston’s New England Revolution Blog has Landon Donovan’s goal forgiving and forgetting all the wrongs during the U.S.’s Group Stage. We’re Just Saying sees the U.S. catching up with the rest of the soccer world, and sooner or later the unthinkable is going to happen.

Over the first 90 minutes of play yesterday, Corner Kicks was slowly losing faith in humanity. No matter the winner, Masshole Sports says 1-0 soccer games have all the thrill of watching water boil. NESN’s World Cup blog has Algerian soccer player Rafik Saifi breaking down in the class department after his team’s loss. Jerry Thornton shows enormous self-restraint in not bashing the prissy, humorless world of international soccer.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Six States, One Blog loves the idea of a soccer-specific stadium in New England but doesn’t figure to see the Revs moving out of Gillette any time soon.

Despite putting personal scandals behind themselves, Tom E. Curran says folks will never see past the stained reputations of either Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods.

Auto Racing Blog has Danica Patrick excited about Indy cars coming to New Hampshire next year.

Looking forward to a couple of draft nights ahead. Check back next Thursday for bloggers’ takes on both the B’s and C’s selections.

Week Log: Firing On One Cylinder

Welcome to Thursday, and the question everyone wants answered tonight: how many starters will show up against the Lakers in a must-win Game 4 at TD Garden? Be it bad shooting, good Lakers defense, or ridiculously zealous zebras, the C’s are getting big-time play from only one of the Big Three each game, so let’s jump right in and get bloggers’ takes here first.

Celtics

Celtics Green has the constancy of the Big Three running aground against the reef of time. Howard Bryant has KG returning from non-factor status for Game 3 on a night when Ray Allen suffered miserably. Celtics Life can’t remember a bigger drop-off in the history of sports than Allen’s from Sunday to Tuesday. Red’s Army says Ray won’t be this cold again, but wishes everyone could get going at the same time. CelticsBlog is looking for the perfect storm in which the starters are firing on all cylinders and Rajon Rondo is moving the ball.

Banner 18? said the C’s needed more shots to fall on Tuesday night. Without Allen’s oh-fer and the officials’ dominance, Jade McCarthy questions where the Lakers would be right now. Touching All The Bases calls it a frustrating game, as the C’s cut a 17-point deficit to one but couldn’t get over the hump. Courtside View laments that if the C’s could have taken advantage of even one of numerous blown opportunities, the Lakers may have cracked like they did in 2008. Mass Hysteria wishes the C’s had treated the Lakers the way they would have treated any robber breaking into their house. Masshole Sports wants to know why Derek Fisher was crying like a baby in his post-game interview.

Gino’s Jungle dismisses the Lakers’ beef over horrible officiating in Game 2, which they blame for their only loss, while Green Street has Doc Rivers not wanting to hear it either. Jerry Thornton says middle-aged fat guys wearing grey T-shirts are dominating this series with their blatant disregard for the game as it’s meant to be played. North Station Sports brings us ex-ref Tim Donaghy’s catalog of blown calls . . . just from Game 3. Bingo Bar Blog is upset that the officiating is taking away from what should have been a classic series. Evans Clinchy has Rivers frustrated that the refs took Paul Pierce out of Tuesday night’s game.

Boston Blood Sox is miffed at Pierce’s arrogance and thinks he better pray this series does get back to LA.

Red Sox

Stretches like this 14-gamer against bad ball clubs that concludes against the Indians tonight seem to decide the A.L. East every year. While the Yankees dial up sweeps against the dregs of baseball like it was room service, the Sox are continually unable to close the deal. It happened against the A’s last Wednesday, and in Baltimore on Sunday, then again last night in Cleveland.

Full Count says the biggest thing that went wrong for the Sox last night was Justin Masterson on the mound for the Indians, as he turned in the best start of his career. And to think Surviving Grady didn’t see a reversal of Masterson’s cruel fate changing any time soon. If this triggers success for the remainder of his season, Toeing The Rubber may eventually be pleased for Justin, but not right now. Tony Lee has Masterson turning the table on former mound mate Clay Buchholz by out-dueling him last night.

Things were going well enough in Cleveland before Wednesday. Fenway West would settle for Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching half as good as he did Monday night if he could do that in every start for the rest of the season. SoxSpace News says that, after this one, Victor Martinez has put to rest any further discussion of Jason Varitek as Dice-K’s personal catcher. Bosox Injection has Tim Wakefield reaching an innings pitched milestone in Tuesday’s win over the Indians. Fire Brand Of The American League says Wake’s record is testament to his loyalty, selflessness, and love of the game. Better Red Than Dead takes a long look back at all the backstops who have caught Wakefield over 16 seasons.

Joe Haggerty has more rest in Jacoby Ellsbury’s future. Fenway Pastoral has Greater Boston swept away by the Marco Scutaro phenomenon. Boston Dirt Dogs berates the Nation for our lack of a grassroots effort to get more Sox in this year’s All-Star Game.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Wes Welker is in Foxborough participating in OTAs this week and Boston Sports Then And Now is not shocked by his determination and pure will to compete. Mike Reiss considers whether Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick is the greater coach.

Six States, One Blog admits midfielder Steve Ralston is old, but it’s better for everyone now that the Revs have re-signed him. Boston Sports Blog helps us through the World Cup by analogizing each country to an American team we’ll know a whole lot better.

And finally, College Sports Blog has three BC Eagles taken in Tuesday’s first ten rounds of the MLB Draft.

May your weekend be filled with Green success, and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Week Log: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

There was once a day when a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series was considered commanding. This season, the B’s and C’s have made it anything but. In a one-month stretch, can one city beget two of the five most colossal chokes in the history of professional sports? After the Celtics’ Game 5 drubbing at the hands of the Magic last night in Orlando it’s no longer so far-fetched, so let’s start there.

Celtics

Banner 18? is worried after the dramatic change in this series. CelticsBlog says momentum is big in basketball, and the Magic grabbed it all back last night. On the contrary, Red’s Army thinks that momentum dies once the lights go out and a player hits the pillow.

Last night’s was a physical game and the C’s came up short. Gino’s Jungle has trainer Ed Lacerte getting way too much face time on national television. Evans Clinchy has Doc Rivers looking as if he, too, took an elbow from Dwight Howard after this one. Green Street says the C’s now have a whole lot more to overcome than Orlando’s pick-and-roll if they are going to win this series. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has the C’s oozing quiet confidence in the face of mounting adversity. CSNNE’s Celtic Notes has the Magic rediscovering an old, familiar friend.

Celtics Life calls Kendrick Perkins’ second quarter ejection a disgrace to basketball, while Celtics Hub presents the argument that it was within Perk’s control to prevent his DQ. Kirk Minihane wants to see NBA refs own up to potentially series-altering mistakes like the one made by Ed F. Rush last night. Perk Is A Beast says anything less than overturning Perk’s technicals and allowing him to play in Game 6 would be uncivilized. As it happens, Celtics Blog has reported that the NBA front office, in an act of civility, just rescinded the second of Perk’s Ts.

And Another Thing . . . tells you why there’s a huge difference between Rajon Rondo’s big Game 3 play and the Dave Cowens play of 1974 to which it is frequently compared. Rondo is among North Station Sports‘ nine players still remaining in this postseason whose legacy would be most affected by an NBA championship.

Red Sox

I have to admit to liking the Sox’s unusually slow start. When you’re fourth in your division, up is pretty much the only direction to go, and the role of chaser is . . . refreshing? It’s a strange year for A Very Simple Game, which is accustomed to racing through the league until Memorial Day, then fighting to stay in the playoff hunt. For Tony Lee, the question of whether the Sox could keep their heads above water over this 19-game stretch has changed to one of how long they can stay the hottest team in baseball. Toeing The Rubber says going 8-2 against the Yankees, Twins, Phillies, and Rays is only the beginning of one heck of a ride this summer.

Starting pitching has been key. Boston Dirt Dogs says anything is possible now after back-to-back gems by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield in Philadelphia over the weekend. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester kept it going in Tampa Bay. Better Red Than Dead has it almost an afterthought that Tuesday was Lester’s seventh start in which he’s allowed two or fewer hits. Fenway West hopes that Theo’s hard work in drafting and developing talent like Lester and Buchholz continues to translate into on-field success. 4SportBoston looks back on the non-trade for Johan Santana that could have cost the Sox both Lester and Buchholz. Forget about all Theo’s mumbo jumbo says Boston Blood Sox, as the only thing that truly prevents runs is good pitching. Surviving Grady says the starters have become atomic-powered in the blink of an eye. Even John Lackey has joined the party, although The Joy Of Sox says his outing last night was the very definition of winning ugly.

BoSox Injection can’t tell if this is a Rays disaster or a Sox hot streak talking. SoxSpace News says not so fast to those who set it in stone that the Rays are a better ball club. With Tampa Bay drawing so poorly in Florida and Boston missing a second team for the last 58 years, Boston Sports Blog pines for bringing the Rays to the Hub.

Fenway Pastoral thinks Lackey is in bad need of a J.D. Drew grand slam moment to defibrillate his big-contract status. Speaking of Drew, Red Sox Monster comes to his defense after a media poll declares him the most overrated player in the Majors. Fenway Nation calls the decision to put Jacoby Ellsbury back in center sound. Keep Your Sox On has Ellsbury with some work to do before his stroke reappears. Fire Brand of the American League wants to land Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta before his body goes bad and his power fizzles.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Extra Points says it’s all about the young guys at the Patriots’ OTAs in Foxborough this week. Tom E. Curran has the veterans dispelling any fears of a lack of leadership this season. It Is What It Is has the Krafts installing high-def video scoreboards in each end zone at Gillette.

With the Revolution enjoying the week off, Six States, One Blog has the return of team captain Shalrie Joseph not enough to get some biscuits in the basket, as the Revs were again shut out, 1-0, in Toronto over the weekend. Boston Sports Then And Now cautions disgruntled Bruins fans rallying for a Tim Thomas tade to be careful what you ask for, as history suggests this won’t bode well for Tuukka. Fenway Fruitgirl reports on the first annual Run For Home Base 9K last Sunday, where attendees got to stroll around Fenway Park after the race.

No Week Log next week due to some scheduling conflicts. We’ll see you in a fortnight, with the C’s hopefully well-occupied by The Finals.

Week Log: Lightning Crashes

A mixed bag this week. The Celtics’ angel has opened their eyes and brought them the postseason they’ve been wating for, while the confusion still belongs to the Red Sox down the hall. For the Bruins . . . well, an old mother dies.

Celtics

Having unceremoniously dispensed the Cleveland Cavaliers last Thursday, the Celtics are now up two games over the Orlando Magic. North Station Sports starts things off with their belief that playoff success comes down to mental acumen, and while the C’s have mental lapses the Magic are not steel-minded enough to push through the hits they’re taking from Boston.

Celtics Life sees the return of Ubuntu and a hunger for an 18th banner after the opening win against the Magic on Sunday. Tuesday night’s Game 2 was all about Paul Pierce and CelticsBlog says no one personifies the will to win more than him. Celtics Hub points to Game 2 as evidence of why Vince Carter is not up there with Pierce among the best of the Class of 1998. If an idiot like Red’s Army could see Carter is not a clutch player, why couldn’t the Orlando Magic braintrust? LOSCY offers a graphical analysis of how Carter choked at the line. Green Street warns that the C’s cannot rely on missed free throws down the stretch again, as the fourth quarter has been prime time for the Magic in these first two games.

With tens of millions of dollars of payroll at risk and a bevy of ball boys, Celtics Green wonders why Amway Arena can’t pick up a few mops to keep the court dry. From screaming PA fools to cheer sticks to bouncing balls, And Another Thing . . . says it doesn’t get more bush than Orlando. Gino’s Jungle tests the theory that ref Bill Kennedy hates Doc Rivers and the C’s, but the conclusion after Game 2′s performance is that the whole crew was equally egregious to both teams.

Celtics Stuff Live warns the botoxed morons who fill Staples Center with chants of “We Want Boston” that the C’s would be the worst possible matchup for the Lakers. Mocking Mike Mayock lists ten reasons the C’s will win a title this year, and facing the Lakers is among them.

Red Sox

After dropping the last two in Detroit over the weekend, the Sox opened the work week with an improbable split in the Bronx after trailing, 5-0, in both games. Red Sox Monster had Monday’s game poised as one of the great wins of the season . . . until Jonathan Papelbon happened. With the Yankees victory, Subway Squawkers observed how the tables have turned, as the Pinstripers are acting more like the Idiot-era Sox and Boston like Kevin Brown-era cranks.

For Toeing The Rubber, it was almost more painful to watch the Sox win on Tuesday than lose on Monday. The Joy Of Sox recounts the last at bat on Tuesday, with Papelbon on the threshhold of another major meltdown and everything having the desperation of mid-October. Nonetheless, Michael Hurley maintains there is no such thing as a must-win in May. Fenway Pastoral suggests Papelbon may be tipping his pitches; it seems like every time he cocks his arm, he delivers a low-90s fastball with little to no movement on it. Confessions of a She-Fan finds it takes seven Yankees to screw up a ball game.

After last night’s performance against the Minnesota Twins, Boston Dirt Dogs is ready to appoint Clay Buchholz next year’s ace. ESPN Boston’s Red Sox Blog has Buchholz in command of four pitches last night.

Given Mike Lowell’s complaints over his situation on the heels of a bad Sox loss on Monday, Hit And Run With Dan Roche tells him in the same breath to get out of town and to sit tight. No wonder the poor guy doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. NESN‘s Peter Gammons counts as many as nine teams interested in Lowell, including the Florida Marlins. Hey, do you think they’d take Josh Beckett back, too? BoSox Injection welcomes back Big Papi.

Bruins

Do we really have to? Since 2004, I’ve had a phobia of seeing any Boston team gain a 3-0 series advantage because I didn’t want to be the city that let New York off the hook. Now that it’s happened, my fears seem justified. This is a suckiness beyond anything my neurotic tendencies could have imagined. Black & Gold says the B’s may not have wanted to be involved in the worst collapse in NHL history, but they didn’t want to avoid it enough either. In the face of adversity this season, Hockey Independent could always hear the echo when the B’s tapped their empty chests.

The Old Bruins Fan says that, like last year’s second-rounder against the Hurricanes, this series was lost not in Game 7 but in one much earlier. Barstool Sports wonders what made the B’s pull a Cavaliers act and just quit. Jerry Thornton says there’s a time in defeat for handling oneself with class and a calm demeanor, but the aftermath of Game 7 was not one.

Masshole Sports thinks the B’s didn’t lose this series so much as the Flyers just won it. Something’s Bruin says this should have been expected, given the B’s have reeled us in for three straight postseasons, only to throw a series away in the end. Tea Party Throwdown expected elimination much earlier this postseason, and she finds this unexpected playoff run a silver lining.

Tuesday was Break-Up Day, as GM Peter Chiarelli – in his best Duquettian straight face – noted the B’s have spent more days in the second round than all but four teams over the last two years. Stanley Cup of Chowder brings us a Chairelli / Julien tap-dancing act at Break-Up Day. Boston Then And Now has Tuesday’s performance showcasing how a loser mentality on the ice starts with the front office. Kathryn Tappen thinks piecing together a new team better keep the front office off the links this summer.

The Hub of Hockey kicks off its player-by-player final grades by going soft on defenseman Dennis Wideman. As Wideman goes, so go the B’s says Big Bad Blog, but for a good stretch of this past season, Wideman wasn’t going. Rink Rap has Tuukka Rask showing a genuine humility that is a prerequisite for hockey’s most important position. Bruins 2010 Draft Watch doesn’t see the Edmonton Oilers being swayed from Taylor Hall, so B’s fans should get ready for Tyler Seguin next season.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

In the wake of the B’s epic choke (I know, you can’t get away from it!), The Crowe’s Nest offers up their top five most disappointing Boston losses, and all four major teams are covered.

Extra Points has our New England Patriots cracking Forbes‘ list of the ten most valuable sports brands globally. Bingo Bar Blog wants to see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slice the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints with the same badge of justice he used to cut up Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Six States, One Blog has the Revolution getting an ideal opportunity to test three trial players in an exhibition against Portugal league champion Benfica. Corner Kicks has the Portugese squad depleted, but coming up with a victory last night before a patriotic crowd at Gillette. New England Revolution Blog has a sparse distribution of the ball hindering efforts to evaluate the trial players last night.

B’s bloggers: get out the sunscreen, get some rest, and be ready for another great run at the second round next year. We’ll pop in on you from time to time during the summer. As always, you can pop in on me on Twitter or Facebook any time.