Week Log: Belichick, On His Terms

Yes, I hurled all manner of verbal abuse at my TV on Sunday night and, yes, my wife walked out on me for the last 13 seconds. In fact, she got so flustered that she forgot to take our youngest with her, leaving him to ask to no one in particular, “Why is daddy so mad?” But four days of separation have now brought me to an appreciation of Bill Belichick’s fourth-and-two call.

Maybe I’m just one of those contrarians Bruce spoke of yesterday, and maybe I like it when radio pundits tell me I’m an idiot. I actually find it kind of validating. Look, that game was going to have its Armageddon. Whether the ball was in the Pats’ hands or the Colts’, the forces of good and evil were going to engage in a winner-take-all play before the final gun. Belichick merely forced its hand early and on his terms, sort of like Macaulay Culkin did to the Wet Bandits in Home Alone. Hey, I said I have young kids.

Anyway, we’ve heard from the columnists all week; now it’s time for the bloggers. Patriots Daily declares Bill Belichick an asset to the cause of winning. Pats Chowder loved going for the jugular rather than playing not to lose. Blaug is happy he has a coach with big marbles and hopes Belichick rolls them out again. Patriots Gab is looking for some law of unintended consequences payback down the road.

Green Street catches up with Doc Rivers, who says good coaching means never saying you’re sorry. Thanks For Playing loves the way Belichick is handling the fallout. And, in one of the most interesting takes yet, Fire Brand of the American League cuts over their baseball boundaries and triumphs Bob Kraft for building a culture that fosters creative thought without fear of reprisal.

Pats Pulpit is among an arguable majority who think the call was wrong but they’re outraged that anyone would flip the arrogance card at Belichick. Surviving Grady says there’s a greater power that moves even the great Belichick around like a pawn on the chessboard. The Patriot Act suggests that the statistical support in favor of Belichick’s decision would render the punt obsolete. Fenway Pastoral opines that punting is an antiquated concept with no place in today’s game.

Forward march. The NYJ are in town this week, and ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss has Jets CB Darrelle Revis feeling dissed and insisting he single-handedly shut down Randy Moss in Week 2. So, you should be able to do it again then, right Darrelle? Key injuries to the Jets and now the Dolphins lead Extra Points to wonder if the AFC East already belongs to the Patriots. The Rap Sheet checks in with Shawn Springs and Junior Seau, who have been hard to find of late.

It Is What It Is has Kevin Faulk mastering the art of blitz pickup, while Jeff Howe reveals how center Dan Koppen keeps the Pats’ offense greased.

NCAAF

The BC Eagles were involved in a controversial fourth down of their own last weekend, but they were on the winning end of both the play and the game, holding on to a 14-10 win over Virginia. After watching this one, BC Interruption wants those two hours of their lives back. BC Blog has this Saturday’s game against North Carolina a catharsis for the seniors who will be playing the last home game of their collegiate careers. Eagle in Atlanta says QB David Shinskie can’t afford any more rookie mistakes against the Tarheel’s stingy defense. And CBNB says the Eagles should be thankful for the return of some stability this Thanksgiving.

The View From Section X attempts to navigate the complexities of BC’s bowl chances. Sox & Dawgs have UConn on the brink of bowl eligibility and needing a win against the Fighting Irish this Saturday. The Harvard Crimson have Harvard taking no chances in their loss against Penn last Saturday that has left them with slim chance for another Ivy League title.

And no, there’s no playoff picture in Amhurst, only a prescient fourth down late in Saturday’s game where Minutemen coach Kevin Morris chose to punt – and lost. UMass Football Blog defends the call because, well, if they failed the game was over. So how did that work out? Show some big marbles and go for it next time, will ya?

Bruins

We’ve hit the 20-game milestone as The Hockey Blog Adventure takes another ten-game temperature reading of the B’s. Not to spoil it, but the mercury is low. The Old Bruins Fan is getting what he wanted all along – a good dose of adversity. Now he’s worried that it may kill them before it makes them stronger.

Despite a three-game losing streak, View From 311 is looking for the B’s to gel on the upcoming four-game road trip. Something’s Bruin says the B’s have looked pretty ugly without their two best forwards on the ice. Kathryn Tappen also thinks it hasn’t been pretty without Marc Savard who was, without ever playing, the best thing to happen to the B’s in the last three games.

The Bear Cave says Monday’s loss to the Islanders exemplifies both the B’s weak power play and strong penalty-kill.

Would you trade Brad Boyes for Dennis Wideman if you could do it all over again? That’s what Stanley Cup of Chowder wants to know in the first of their newest feature, so tell ‘em.

Celtics

The C’s were out-rebounded throughout most of last night but still got past the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden to snap their own losing streak of two. Red’s Army refuses to feel good about this win. Celtics Stuff Live thinks of the C’s as a bushel of corn: they look worthless now but should ferment into a fine bottle of JD by spring.

Celtics Hub has Doc Rivers trying to control Rasheed’s treys, which aren’t putting enough points on the board. Evans Clinchy has Marquis Daniels making the transition from stat-builder to team contributor. Celtics Blog says the length and size of Andres Nocione’s contract would make him an ill fit in Boston. Celtics 17 plays killjoy with our fantasy of seeing Nocione in green.

MLB Hot Stove

El Guapo’s Ghost says Roy Halladay may be just what NESN needs. Of course, the Sox will have to compete with their evil cousins down by the river, who, as usual, are always in the market for another eight-figure ace. Toeing The Rubber doesn’t care how the Jason Bay saga ends so long as it ends soon, while Peter’s Red Sox Forever hopes Bay will be back. The Bottom Line thinks Billy Wagner may be better off somewhere else, but he could add bullpen depth if his price is right. Boston Dirt Dogs sees a cold Hot Stove ahead, while Fenway West tells you why the Sox may be sitting out this offseason.

Tom Caron thinks that trade bait – errrr . . . prospect – Casey Kelly is best utilized as a full-time pitcher.

And finally, our Subway Squawking New York friends visit the finer side of Manhattan where they learn you can buy World Series rings but trivia contests are not for sale.

Like the rest of the 21st Century, I’m gradually assuming technology’s tools. Hey, I don’t have a Blackberry yet but I now have a Twitter. Follow me @BobEks for Week Log publishing alerts and the occasional cancellation notice when I can’t shake The Man and do my thing. See you on Twitter, or right back here next Thursday afternoon.

Week Log: Another Little Souvenir of a Terrible Year

If part of your life is defined by the Boston sports experience as is mine, then any year involving both a Lakers and Yankees championship can’t be completely good. Sure, if the other guy wins, that means our guy doesn’t, but it’s also very much about who that other guy is. It took a summer for me to deal with the Lakers’ title, and I’ll get over the Yankees’ too, but in the meantime I need some Yankee hating to get me through.

Surviving Grady absolutely hits this thing right on the head in assessing the indignation of a Yankees championship. Boston Dirt Dogs says the Steinbrenners got what they paid for, as does Toeing The Rubber, who is thankful not to be in any physical pain over this one. The Bottom Line has this title strictly a monetary transaction. And The House That Dewey Built marvels at the Celtics and Patriots, who have had long-term success while contending with a salary cap.

Red Sox Monster says the Sox front office now has some catching up to do, but The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is prouder than ever of the two championships Theo & The Trio have brought us this millenium. A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Country thanks the 2004 Sox for helping him to cope with a Yankees title.

Celtics

The C’s have their first six of a planned six dozen wins after back-to-back victories in Philly on Tuesday and Minnesota last night. Boston Celtics has Rasheed Wallace reaffirming his 72-win prediction, which is looking like a self-fulfilling prophesy. Celtics Hub appeals to our sense of self-worth to end the 72-win talk but, hey, we’re 1/12th of the way there. CelticsBlog ascribes the team’s success to the return of Ubuntu.

Red’s Army says the C’s had no business winning last night in Minnesota. Loy’s Place is incredulous that KG couldn’t contain no-name Oleksiy Pecherov. Tossing Batting Practice is alarmed at the rate in which C’s are jacking treys.

We’re already six games into the season, so it must be time to talk about next year as ESPN’s Boston Celtics Blog looks at 2010′s free agents. Mike Gorman has Rondo both rich and smart with his recent contract signing, but thinks his new deal will be a real deal for the C’s when a successor CBA takes effect.

After six games, Lex Nihil Novi is already hanging the Beast from the rafters, so can Springfield be far behind? Green Street finds a Ph.D. who proves KG is the NBA’s best and whose numbers make intuitive sense.

Bruins

It’s been quite the up-and-down season to date. Caveman Strong was frustrated when the B’s win-one, lose-one pattern was preserved with a loss at MSG on Sunday, while Wicked Bruins Fan was distressed to see the pattern broken in Detroit with a loss on Tuesday night. Chronicles From The Garden says the B’s picked the wrong night to end their win-one, lose-one rut.

The Canadiens come to town tonight and New England Hockey Journal says the Habs roster has a New England flavor to it. Something’s Bruin prescribes some crowd noise – and maybe a few goals – to help the B’s get by the Habs. Good news from Bruins Blog, which points out the B’s have only been shut out three consecutive times once in their illustrious history.

Kathryn Tappen has found the silver lining in the B’s goal drought. In his latest Pucks With Haggs incarnation, Joe Haggerty says the reality is that the B’s no longer have the “It” vibe. Naoko Funayama thinks it could take a hard shake to wake these scoring lines from their deep sleep. I’m Just Sayin’ wants to know GM Peter Chiarelli’s plans after trading all his goal-scoring to Toronto.

Bruins 2010 Draft Watch fears the Maple Leafs won’t stay tied for last very long now that Phil Kessel has made his long-awaited debut. And here’s Haggs back again on Big Bad Blog, having Kessel generating more offense in his first game than four lines of B’s can muster. If Exposure Bucks were negotiable, Haggs should be able to buy himself a couple of islands by now.

Patriots

With the bye behind us, it is the Patriots’ time now says Jeff Howe, as the Pats are 70-17 after Halloween since 2001. The Pats didn’t quite reach the first-half expectations of Steve DeOssie, who is concerned the two losses could prove costly. Pats Chowder finds ten things to be worried over, not the least of which is Tom Brady’s knee. Nevertheless, Mike Reiss has Brady feeling the best he has in ten years. Blaug considers some D-line options in the aftermath of Jarvis Green’s knee surgery.

The de facto second half starts off this Sunday against the Dolphins, and Extra Points has Vince Wilfork liking that the Dolphins want to hit him in the mouth, even as Tom E. Curran has Joey Porter hating the Patriots, ostensibly for kicking his ass. It Is What It Is brings us Bill Belicheck’s assessment of Bill Parcells’ influence on the Dolphins.

Lastly, I go out of my way to avoid these things during football games, but NE Patriots Draft brings us Visa’s new Patriots commercial that’s worth a view.

NCAAF

Never mind not traveling well, as Eagle in Atlanta says BC fans don’t even show up to home games. BC Heights tells us why the marching band hasn’t been traveling well this season. BC Draft is shopping for the best bowl destinations, and Yankee Stadium is on their list. Hmmmm, could be just the thing to erase those images of leaping pinstripes for the rest of the wintah! College Sports Blog has former RB Josh Haden making some travel plans of his own, but he’s still not sure where. BC Interruption nominates BC freshman LB Luke Kuechly as ACC Defensive Player of the Year after his play last week against Central Michigan.

The UConn Blog annoints last Saturday’s loss to Rutgers as the school’s worst ever, coming on a day of tributes to slain CB Jasper Howard. Sox & Dawgs thinks a prime time date with No. 4 Cincinnati this Saturday is already a tough rebound, but Kevin Youkilis might also be in the house. UConn Sports puts Coach Randy Edsall on the conservative charts somewhere between Rush Limbaugh and George Bush.

UMass Football Blog is trying to fend off negative attacks after the Maine Black Bears sunk their playoff hopes for a second consecutive year. And The Harvard Crimson hopes the Crimson got those special teams miscues out of their system last week against the Big Green.

Just think: only 101 more days until pitchers and catchers report! I’m not ready to go there yet. Let’s take it a week at a time. See you next Thursday.

Week Log: No Frost on the Pumpkin

Forget the killing frost and stockpiling cases of dry gas for optimal winter performance. Ease up on closing that pool and racing down to Burlington Coat Factory ahead of everyone else. It’s going to hit 70 degrees this weekend and that means it’s NBA time again in Boston. Tossing Batting Practice is thrilled that the return of basketball is no longer a harbinger of cold weather.

The Green got it going on Tuesday, working the front end of an opening night doubleheader. The Crowe’s Nest has the C’s part of the most watched opening night in TNT’s 26 years of broadcasting. The Boston Score sees parallels with the C’s getting their KG on the same night the Lakers got their rings.

Notwithstanding the opening minutes of Tuesday, the season got off to a good start in Cleveland. Celtics Hub has the C’s remaining calm through the Cavs’ initial run that opened up a double-digit first quarter lead. It may have been only the first game, but Green Street says this wasn’t just any opponent on any court. Loy’s Place says the bench turned this one around. Fernsten’s Follies has the C’s bench on a mission to outplay their opponents.

With Ray Allen logging 42 opening night minutes, Red’s Army is already worried that Doc Rivers is leaning on him too heavily. Lex Nihil Novi says the bench should free Doc from the double-negative need to pace his starters.

CelticsBlog says the C’s have to beat the full spectrum of teams, from Cleveland on Tuesday to Charlotte last night. Speaking of which, 59 points would have earned the Bobcats a tie in Foxborough but it’s a hard ‘L’ at TD Garden. NESN’s Tony Lee has the C’s a chatty defensive bunch who practice what they preach. With a 2-0 start, Celtics Central thinks the integration of Rasheed Wallace has been seamless.

LOSCY says that the Lebron-Shaq marriage is heading for rocky times ahead, but it will be just a rearview mirror distraction to the C’s. Celtics 17 sees age and injuries as the only things stopping the C’s this year. As Mikey Adams would say, Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?

BallerBlogger has the rundown on Lebron running down Rajon Rondo Tuesday night. Perk Is A Beast thinks there’s only one player taken ahead of Rondo in the 2006 draft that is on his level. Rondo makes it the Big Four, so I’m Just Sayin’ is just sayin’.

CeltsHeads thinks Big Baby needs another sit-down with KG.

Bruins

Ten games into the season, Caveman Strong says the B’s have a lot of work to do. Kathryn Tappen‘s formula in avoiding questions off the ice is to provide some answers on the ice, but she’s still waiting. The Hockey Blog Adventure thinks the next ten games will be better as the new folks fit in. Zdeno Chara tops Black & Gold‘s list of ten bad things about the 2009-10 start, but the View From 311 is that Derek Morris isn’t giving him crisp passes.

Big Bad Blog says that when Patrice Bergeron speaks everyone listens, and he’s helping to get this season back on course. Something’s Bruin is already lusting for the top pick in next year’s NHL entry draft.

Hey, if accounting is not your bag you may agree with Bobby Orr’s Bastard, who says the NHL has it all over the NFL.

Patriots

Things are a little light in Foxborough this week as the Pats get ready for some R&R. PatsPulpit is looking forward to the bye this weekend and the schedule beyond.

BeatPaths claims to be unimpressed with the Pats’ win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, even as they rank them fifth on their quizzical system. Upon further review of the win in London, It Is What It Is thinks Sebastian Vollmer is not ready to take over at left tackle and Adalius Thomas needs this bye week. The Patriot Act takes cold comfort from streaks of non-failure, such as Tom Brady’s intercept-free run of 183 pass attempts that ended Sunday.

Jeff Howe praises Vince Wilfork for pushing aside contract issues and just playing football. Blaug thinks Maine Black Bear alum Brandon McGowan derserves some man love for his play at safety. And Robert Kraft liked England so much that Extra Points has him interested in buying a team there.

NCAAF

Yeah, I know: we gotta do more Eagles. So, sit back, stop complaining, and enjoy this mid-season NFL siesta. It’s gonna cost you some baseball links, though, and on a day after the Yankees lose no less.

BC Heights has five turnovers in South Bend costing the Eagles a chance for their seventh straight win over the Fighting Irish last Saturday. Given that loss, BC Draft plots out every possible scenario for the remainder of the season, with the best having the Eagles winning the FedEx Orange Bowl. Hey, you heard it here first. Eagle All Access wonders if the Eagles can get over their Irish hangover in time for Central Michigan this week. The BC Blog has Chestnut Hill taken aback by the mid-season transfers of Josh Haden and Justin Tuggle. Eagle in Atlanta says Coach Spaziani took a risky stance in handling the Haden transfer.

The Maine Campus has the Black Bears well rested and looking to spoil the No. 19 UMass Minutemen’s playoff chances again this weekend. Alex in Wonderland thinks Harvard’s Homecoming needs some work. Only weeks after the NFL’s Detroit Lions won a game, College Sports Blog has Dartmouth’s Big Green following suit. And finally, Sox & Dawgs reports on the events planned this Saturday in Storrs to honor the memory of murdered UConn CB Jasper Howard.

Okay, we can’t totally resist baseball, as Boston Dirt Dogs puts some old 2004 memorabilia to good use tonight. Go Pedey! Here’s hoping your arm is as vintage as your mouth. See you all next Thursday.

Week Log: Silver Lining To Black Sunday

Last Sunday’s Sox-Pats double-implosion has put everyone in a tizzy all week, and the media looking for clever ways to introduce ‘Black Sunday’ into Hub lexicon. Bleacher Report attributes the phrase to Gary Tanguay even as they insist all hope is not lost. Now, after several days of reflection, Tanguay appears to have found a silver lining in the cloud he named. Thanks For Playing lists ten cities in which Black Sunday would still be Dream Sunday. And sometimes you need an outsider like Michael Kay’s Successors to give you perspective.

Onto the Red Sox, whose season was the week’s only fatality.

Red Sox

Toeing The Rubber has the Sox going where death could not, even at a funeral. Fire Brand Of The American League told us so on this year’s failure – well, they would have if they could have accepted it themselves. Red Sox Dad looks back on his favorite 2009 memories.

The Faster Times suggests the Sox tactlessly tempted fate in the ALDS – and lost. Now that they’ve paid the Sox back, Year of the Sox says the Los Angeles Angels should find motivation in depriving one particular Yankee the opportunity to wear a ring.

Utility Lou looks through his rose-colored glasses and sees the Sox as an A.L. favorite again in 2010, even with no changes. Maybe you need a stronger lens prescription there, Lou. With or without glasses, 2009 looked a lot like 2005 to Red Sox Monster, which wonders if 2006 can be far behind. Boston Sports Blog thinks this group isn’t good enough anymore. Boston Dirt Dogs cuts the blame cake and there’s a slice for everyone. 38 Pitches says forget about wholesale changes and just start throwing some strikes.

Over The Monster tells us who should stay and who should go on the Sox pitching staff. Hacks With Haggs is sure that a no-longer indestructible Jonathan Papelbon will return more determined than ever next spring. Exploring a Papelbon trade is among Mazz‘s suggestions to improve next year’s club. Better Red Than Dead is intrigued by the possibility of trading Papelbon. I’m Just Sayin’ wants Paps in Boston for years to come, but would ship Clay Buchholz out this winter for a bat for the future.

Touching All The Bases has this anemic offense ready to redraw the Mendoza Line. Surviving Grady no longer believes those TNT impotence ads were directed at him but rather, at the Boston bats.

Full Count jump starts the Hot Stove League by reporting the Sox are looking at Japanese pitching phenom Yusei Kikuchi. Circling The Bases speculates that John Farrell may be Tito Francona’s heir-apparent after withdrawing from yet another managerial opportunity. Hit And Run guarantees Farrell will still be the Sox pitching coach next year.

Patriots

Patriots Daily is chatting with a Tennesse Titans blog about Sunday’s game.

Michael Felger is good with the Pats’ devastating OT loss in Denver on Sunday, and with Tom Brady gagging on the lay-up that should have been the game-winning drive near the end of regulation time. The Boston Score says Brady’s trademark accuracy is just not there, particularly on the long ball.

It Is What It Is has Bill Belichick plenty ascared of the 0-5 Tennessee Titans, who come into Foxborough this Sunday. Patriots Daily wonders whether the Titans, who went 3-4 to close out 2008, are really that good. First And Ten From Foxborough has the Pats without four key starters this week.

Meet the new No. 55, which, as NESN’s New England Patriots points out, is the same as the old No. 55. Pats Pulpit tries to figure out why Junior Seau is back in New England, but The Patriot Act says it’s for more 3-4. Pro Football Talk finds it remarkable that Seau can step off a surfboard and into a playoff chase so seamlessly. One If By Land thinks Seau’s return will open up the pass-rushing skills of Adalius Thomas, who crossed the scrimmage line less than Laurence Maroney last week.

AFC East Blog lists the Patriots as buyers before next Tuesday’s trading deadline. And Extra Points has Belichick looking forward to some fish & chips – and Brady some anonymity – next week in London.

Bruins

The B’s have started a little flatter this year, opening the season with a 2-3 homestand after Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Mary Paoletti says a roller-coaster start doesn’t jive with Title Town expectations. Kathryn Tappen thinks hitting the road will be a good thing for the B’s. Naoko Funayama blames a grueling preseason for this tiresome start.

Big Bad Blog has Marco Sturm headlining some tweaks to the B’s top two lines. Stanley Cup of Chowder points to lethargic special teams play as a bigger problem.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has Peter Chiarelli looking at a lottery pick given the Maple Leafs’ 0-5-1 start. Puck Daddy says this 9-year old created hockey magic in the TD Bank Mini 1-on-1 series that will run during Bruins intermissions this year.

Celtics

As the C’s get ready to open their 73-win campaign next Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Fernsten’s Follies wonders what has become of their humility. The Cavs may be printing up NBA Finals tickets, but NESN’s Boston Celtics says it is the C’s that pack the best starting five in the NBA. Celtics Central was first to bring us Rasheed Wallace’s well-aired 2009-10 predictions, while CelticsBlog analyzes the chances for a 73-9 season, only to throw in the towel.

Loy’s Place loves seeing KG get above the rim again, as Rondo-to-Garnett hit on three alley oops against the Raptors last night. Now, if we can only get that old Brady-to-Moss mojo revived up. Green Street has Paul Pierce cutting back on summer BBQs and returning to camp in a 20-year old’s body. Red’s Army speculates the C’s may not want an aging Truth around for three more years.

We’ll see you next week, but in the meantime, drop me a line at [email protected] if you have or know of any good Hub blogs we don’t visit.

Week Log: The Triple-Witching Hour

We’ve come to that stretch of calendar when three new seaons all get underway. Last week the B’s kicked off their regular season, and last night the C’s their exhibition season. Tonight, the Sox get working on their postseason, and that’s where we’ll start.

Red Sox

The Sox will take on the Los Angeles Angels as their ALDS gets underway out in Anaheim, and Extra Bases says that means Theo Epstein’s work is now done, with nothing left for him to do but scratch his lottery ticket.

Over The Monster finds eleven things he likes about the Angels, while Thanks For Playing cites ten reasons he hates them. Funny, Mike Scioscia even makes both lists and for pretty much the same reason!

Fire Brand of the American League analyzes every aspect of this series, with the bullpen as the X-factor tipped decidedly in Boston’s favor. Mazz says the Sox cannot forfeit their bullpen advantage if they hope to advance. Over on Boston Dirt Dogs, I’m not so sure the Sox can keep swiping the Angels’ hat year after year.

I’m Just Sayin’ doesn’t understand Jon Lester getting the Game 1 start over Josh Beckett given the latter’s storied postseason career, but The Bottom Line predicts Lester will look like the 2007 Beckett. Small White Ball takes Gary Tanguay to task for his analysis concluding that Beckett tanks after 200 innings.

Utility Lou says Daniel Bard’s ability to throw his slider for strikes will partially dictate Boston’s success. Toeing The Rubber is bummed that MDC was left off the ALDS roster. Fighting Words sees a postseason meltdown for Jonathan Papelbon . . . but not until he faces the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.

Looks like we won’t have Jason Varitek to kick around if the Angels run wild. Full Count has Varitek not sure when his next start is going to come. Michael Hurley has The Captain handling things with his usual class. Cameron Martin says the onus to control the Angels’ running game will be on the Sox pitching anyway. 38 Pitches thinks Jacoby Ellsbury is more dangerous than any Angels baserunner.

Tom Caron is not exactly fear-stricken over Vladimir Guerrero. Surviving Grady considers the effect of the Angels’ tenth man, Nick Adenhart.

Circling The Bases is rethinking their preference for TBS’s MLB coverage over that of Fox after Chip Caray’s now infamous “line drive, base hit” call. Fack Youk admits to hardly listening to Caray, even after the announcer downplayed Brandon Inge’s game-saving play at third on tuesday night. Boston Sports Blog kills Caray over another huge on-air blunder last night.

Patriots

The Pats’ 27-21 win over the Ravens last Sunday may have been their best of the year, but The Patriot Act was frustrated with the offense, as Tom Brady was reduced to a sidekick. The Boston Score has Brady’s QB sneak jump-starting the red zone offense. Basegirl was only too happy to miss all the commotion going on around Brady’s knees. Pats Chowder knew Rodney Harrison was joking all along, but thinks QBs are getting some soft treatment.

Sure, Laurence Maroney may have come up three carries and four yards short of a double-double against the Ravens, but One If By Land says the O-Line is not putting him in a position to succeed. Blaug awards his offensive game ball to a RB but surprisingly, it wasn’t Maroney.

By waxing romantic about the Pats’ reborn defense, PatsFans is this week’s poster child for why you don’t take your wife to a football game. Michael Felger calls the defense good and Leigh Bodden’s interception “lovely,” which is probably why his wife doesn’t take him to a football game.

With his imminent return to New England, Patriots Locker hopes Junior Seau can handle running backs a little better than bulls. It Is What It Is has DL Mike Wright shining in the 4-3.

First and Ten From Foxborough has Sunday’s win moving Belichick into third in all-time winnning percentage, at least for the time being. Pats Pulpit wonders where all the Josh McDaniels bashers have gone.

Bruins

4Sport Boston premiers this season’s Five Minute Major with a look at the B’s Jekyll-and-Hyde start.

Hub Hockey wonders whether the B’s overpaid Milan Lucic in his recent three-year contract extension. Something’s Bruin is happy to have the heart and soul of the B’s sticking around for a while. Kathryn Tappen can now enjoy another three years’ worth of osso buco with the Looch.

Big Bad Blog updates us on the intriguing world of NHLPA politics as Mark Stuart becomes the new B’s player-rep. The Hockey News says Andrew Ference stepped down from the post in order to avoid the off-ice embarrassment of an overthrow.

Stanley Cup Of Chowder says team enforcer Shawn Thornton could be pressed into service when the Anaheim Ducks come to town tonight.

Celtics

The road to Number 18 started off on the wrong foot in Hidalgo last night, as the C’s opened their exhibition season with a 96-90 loss to Houston. Boston Sports Nation is excited about preseason, but he doesn’t want to see anyone actually play until the real games begin on October 27. Celtics 17 has Ray Allen aspiring to be in the best shape of his career, but Celtics Hub says the C’s look like they’re playing the wrong sport. Rich Levine says it’s finally time to take the veil off The Knee. And Red’s Army likes what they saw from Marquis Daniels at the point.

Green Street has the C’s as the NBA’s best defensive team according to GMs, but that’s not going to be good enough to win it all.

There’s sure no shortage of events to watch these days, and that includes Jim and Pam’s wedding on The Office tonight. Enjoy them all, and go Lester! See you next week.

Week Log: A Heavy Dose of Reality

Not that it ever crept too close to shore anyway, but the 2009 A.L. East ship has sailed for good in a week when the Sox continue to struggle against an MLB weakling and the Yankees get some answers to their questions.

Better Red Than Dead counts Kansas City among the cities in which Boston can never win, but after last night’s victory at Kauffman Stadium A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory still has aspirations for the division. And how about that Josh Beckett 12-hit gem? The Mighty Quinn Media Machine had Beckett in dutch all night but holding back the runs anyway. Red Sox Monster would like both Josh and the Sox to work a bit more like his car brakes. YFSF admits to being unconsciously stupid in calling Beckett overrated.

So the Yankees may be cruising to the division, but The Faster Times dispels the myth that a hot September bodes well in October. Nevertheless, Confessions of a She-Fan thinks it would be sweet for the Empire to clinch the East this weekend against the Sox. Thanks For Playing shows equal irreverence to both the Nation and the Empire.

Boston Dirt Dogs takes the opportunity to do a little autumn cleaning while we whittle down the magic number to the postseason. SportsCenter 5 Overtime petitions for no over-the-top Wild Card celebrations.

Eric Ortiz thinks Daisuke Matsuzaka can get the job done in October. Boston Sports Blog has Jon Lester figuring prominently in any Cy Young Award discussion. And 38 Pitches explains why he’s out of the running for Teddy’s vacant Senate seat. That’s too bad says Cameron Martin, because Schilling could have sent Yankees fans into an apoplectic fit.

Patriots

In a week that we’ve ceded the A.L. East, the Pats give us cause for sober introspection over the A.F.C. East. The Patriot Act wants to remind us that the season is only two games old, which puts them squarely in Boston Homer‘s Fan Group Number 3. Repeat after them: It’s only September! It’s only September!

Pats Pulpit says Wes Welker’s absence contributed to Sunday’s disappointing loss to the hated Jets. Pats Chowder awards their Game 2 game ball to Welker’s replacement.

Celtics 17 (yeah, it looks like Joe Haggerty isn’t the only bi-sportsual in Boston) says there’s nothing more annoying than J-E-T-S fans’ chants. Michael Hurley has more Jets yapping after their victory over the Pats. Kathryn Tappen says it’s rare for one team to get away with trash-talking on both sides of a game. Tom Curran prefers to think of LB Bart Scott’s comments as a downpayment toward the next Jets game in November.

It Is What It Is welcomes Matty Heisman back to New England this Sunday. Patriots Daily warns us that the Falcons are even better than the Jets.

The Rap Sheet observes that recently acquired LB Prescott Burgess becomes the third under-achieving Wolverine on the roster. Blauhg says the newest Burgess will add depth and versatility. Blogging Fearlessly theorizes that Baltimore’s willingness to part with the trade secrets Burgess brings to New England shows that no one is afraid of the Pats anymore.

Touching All The Bases sets Peter King straight for ranking Tom Brady below some questoinable selections among his dozen all-time best QBs.

Bruins

The season’s almost here! Something’s Bruin offers fans ten ideas on how to kill the next eight seven days until the puck drops for real. New England Hockey Journal updates us on more roster trimmings as we approach next week’s opener. Stanley Cup of Chowder is not bored without real hockey: they simulated the upcoming season in NHL 10. The B’s finish with 108 points and a Stanley Cup Finals loss, so enjoy next summer and we’ll see you back here for the simulated 2010-11 season sometime next week.

Somewhere between Rink Rap‘s ambivalence and Toronto GM Brian Burke’s optimism lies a simple truth that the B’s are better without Phil Kessel. The Kessel trade is the elephant in Bobby Orr’s Bastard‘s room. Using some post-Kessel math, Here Come The Bruins! concludes the iron is red-hot for a major trade.

Big Bad Blog updates us on David Krejci, a.k.a. The One That Didn’t Get Away. Bruins Blog has defenseman Andrew Ference continuing to ruffle feathers over the whole Paul Kelly termination mess.

Celtics

We’ve got a little more time before the NBA season, and that’s good for healing. Celtics Hub suspects some front office cover-up of Kevin Garnett’s knee injuries. Boston Sports Nation doesn’t think we need a healthy KG . . . right now. Fernsten’s Follies would start Rasheed Wallace to avoid big KG minutes early on. Green Street reveals Brian Scalabrine’s secret to avoiding concussions this summer.

Ball Don’t Lie shows some special lovin’ for Danny Ainge. Celtics Blog has Sheed wanting to get to know us a little better. And Red’s Army resolves the mystery of why Dan Dickau chose to camp with the Phoenix Suns rather than in Boston.

Sure, the week sure started out lousy with a loss to the Jets, but here’s hoping it finishes with a bang down at the Bronx Bandbox and with an inhospitable homecoming for Matty Heisman in Foxborough. See you next Thursday!

Week Log: One Good Turn Deserves Another

It’s been a week of comebacks, as the Patriots turned an 11-point deficit into a one-point victory in the final 2:06 on Monday and the Red Sox followed with three hits, two walks, and two runs – all with two outs in the ninth – to win last night. Let’s go to the gridiron first.

Patriots

Pats Fans watched the Gillette crowd around him throw back to Schaeffer Stadium days and empty out before the final five minutes of Monday night’s comeback. Kathryn Tappen says better luck next time to fans who missed the drama.

Blaug is handing out game balls to Brandon Meriweather and Ben Watson for this one. Pats Chowder says Watson is finally the tight end the Pats were waiting for. The Patriot Act holds LB Gary Guyton accountable for the bad D-Line play Monday. It Is What It Is looks at how the Brady Rule almost spoiled Tom Brady’s big return.

One thing Mass Hysteria learned on Monday is that Brady can say no to a chick. Boston Sports Blog calls Brady lame for dissing Suzy Kolber, but Kissing Suzy Kolber is more concerned about Leodis McKelvin’s lawn ornaments after vandals paid him a visit. Chicks In The Huddle gives McKelvin a ‘Quit It.’

Wicked Good Sports looks at how Jerod Mayo’s injury may affect the team. PatriotsBlog has the Pats with a steady diet of 4-3 until Mayo returns. Charles Robinson thinks Mayo’s injury, along with the trade of Richard Seymour, has put the Pats’ D in an awkward state.

Got a big one against the Jets in New York this Sunday. Pats Pulpit hates everything about New York, while John Carchedi would love to spend Thanksgiving with Uncle Rex Ryan. The Rap Sheet has Tom Brady on the threshhold of another record at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

Red Sox

At Fenway, Surviving Grady has Juan Rivera finishing with a clean uniform after a nonplussed effort in chasing Alex Gonzalez’s blooper last night. Fenway West has the Sox inside the Angels heads and it’s not even October yet. The Bottom Line says Gonzo’s game-winner was made possible by the Fenway-cursed Angels.

Full Count has pinch-hitter Nick Green, recipient of a key ninth inning base on balls, almost collapsing on the walk to first. Big League Stew has Angels closer Brian Fuentes calling out the umps at Fenway after Green got some favorable calls on that walk. Life is good for Green off the field these days too, and SoxSpace News is rooting for him.

SawxBlog has always rooted for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and his blind faith was finally rewarded on Tuesday night. Touching All The Bases says it looked like Dice-K in physical appearance, but everything else of that guy on the mound was totally unfamiliar. On The Soxaholix, fictional Al wonders if Daisuke’s outing was a hahbingah of a fruitful Indian summah.

Utility Lou puts Beckett-Lester-Buchholz as the best top-three of any rotation in the A.L. Having a pitching staff loaded with “stuff guys” makes Mazz giddy about the Boston autumn. Throw in the Dice-K that debuted this week and Toeing The Rubber is hurting with happiness. But Evans Clinchy wants more as he speculates about throwing Felix Hernandez into the rotation next year.

Red Sox Diaries serves up a parody with Curt Schilling and Jay Leno. The real 38 Pitches tips his cap to Derek Jeter, a Yankee we dyed-in-the-woolers can’t bring ourselves to hate. An Outlander In The Scenic City went from shout-out to screw-you in her sentiments over the Yankee captain’s milestone hit this week.

Bruins

On the eve of a new season, Here Come The Bruins! remembers his first taste of a real NHL game. Stanley Cup of Chowder offers their season preview. The Old Bruins Fan says the bar will be raised for the B’s in 2009-2010.

The B’s preseason opened on Tuesday, and so may have the Tuukka Rask era as he held back the NY Rangers, 2-1. The Bear Cave notes that Rask has not yet been appointed Tim Thomas’ backup. The Hockey Blog Adventure says Patrice Bergeron looked really, really pretty in last night’s 3-2 win over Toronto. Big Bad Blog calls defenseman Mark Stuart “caveman strong” while the Hockey Journal calls out defenseman Andrew Ference and gets humbled for doing so.

Puck Daddy conjures memories of adjusting the rabbit ears on our sad little TVs to catch Fred Cusick, who passed away this week. Rink Rap says none of the many B’s voices that have come since can live up to the man who brought hockey into the living rooms of our youth. And Another Thing . . . recalls the joy of integrating Cusick into his package.

Have a great last official weekend of summer and we’ll see you back here come autumn next week.

Week Log: Changing Of The Guard

Week Log is back in its regular time slot to drop in on our blogging friends once again. Thanks for all your patience over the last couple of weeks.

We’re going to lead off with football for a change, as the NFL season opens tonight. And what better place to start than with the defending champs, as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tennessee Titans to kick it off. The irreverent Deadspin lists many – but by no means all – of the reasons the Steelers suck. It’s all about Roethlisberger at NFL Nation, which isn’t sure the Steelers could survive a Brady-like disaster the way New England did last year. And speaking of Ben, Pro Football Talk says his black book is in demand.

It Is What It Is puts the Steelers just ahead of the Pats in their Week 1 power rankings, as does NE Patriots Draft, which isn’t quite ready to place the Pats on the top of the NFL’s elite list . . . yet. Tom E. Curran is, as he warns the legion of Patriots haters to brace themselves for a return of the Lombardi Trophy to New England. Michael Felger also loves that Pats’ chances to win it all, but no earlier than 2011. The Crowe’s Nest has the Patriots taking the AFC East this season.

First And Ten From Foxborough has Tom Brady being reminded that the last game he finished was in defeat. The Rap Sheet tells us to expect a full heaping of trash talk from No. 12 come Monday night. Blogging Fearlessly has old friend Pat Patriot back for the season opener and he’s larger than ever. Pats Pulpit let T.O.’s spygate snipes get under his skin.

In the aftermath (?) of the Richard Seymour apparent trade, PatsFans wonders if there will be more bombshells coming from Coach Belichick without the counterweight that was Scott Pioli. Wicked Good Sports has Belichick following his own set of rules. Kathryn Tappen still trusts in Bill. Thanks For Playing says neither Seymour nor the Pats ever intended to discuss a new contract after this season.

National Football Post dismisses the idea that Seymour’s absence has anything to do with contract extension talks; he’s just plain pissed off. Patriots Daily says Foxborough owes Seymour nothing except respect and gratitude. Touching All The Bases says liking this trade and missing Seymour can peacefully co-exist. Shutdown Corner sees a silver lining in this deal for the Raiders as it will stop Al Davis from making another draft mistake come 2011.

Fighting Words brings you the third installment of his missing chapter on the relationship between the media and the Patriots. Awful Announcing thinks the Tedy Bruschi signing may have been a bad move for ESPN. And if you didn’t know there was a Red Bull station in the Pats’ locker room, Reiss’s Pieces is here to set you straight.

Red Sox

The week saw the Sox drop three of four in Chicago, but rebound with a mini-sweep of Baltimore, who had taken two of three from the Texas Rangers last weekend. While Mazz is indebted to the O’s (2-12 against Boston this year), he calls these victories a smokescreen hiding a very mediocre team. Toeing The Rubber doesn’t care what you call them; it makes her happy to be piling on these wins.

Don Orsillo hopes Josh Beckett’s finish in Chicago on Monday will carry over to his next start. Sweet Spot says Beckett and Jon Lester are as good as any top-of-the-rotation combo in baseball, but there’s a precipitous drop-off after that. Hit And Run With Dan Roche agrees there are still questions at Number 3. Rich Levine thinks it’s time the Nation started trusting in Clay Buchholz after his gem to open the Orioles series on Tuesday night. Hacks With Haggs agrees Buchholz has come a long way since not being able to hold a 7-0 lead against the O’s in early August. Circling The Bases calls it unsporting to pitch Dice-K in a minor league playoff game.

Full Count proclaims Victor Martinez, last night’s hero, Mr. Everything – even on a mandated day off – while Boston Dirt Dogs crowns him King. Fire Brand of the American League may win his bet that David Ortiz reaches 30 HR, but he’s worried about the prognosis for Big Papi in 2010. The Bottom Line is worried about the prognosis for Jason Bay in 2010. UmpBump goes all geeky to determine the A.L. MVP and has Bay finishing second, but you’re not gonna like who he is runner-up to. Eric Ortiz reminisces about the days when his own swing could be likened to any – make that every – Major League hitter.

C’s and B’s

CelticsBlog wonders if the 2008-2009 C’s didn’t peak too early. You mean the season doesn’t end on Christmas Day? Red’s Army can’t find a bigger Tiger fan than Ray Allen. Basketbawful ranks the all-time great Larry Bird commercials. ESPN’s CelticsHub wants to hear you hate on the Lakers.

As the NBA considers replacement refs if a new contract can’t be worked out, Green Street says that not just anyone can come in off the street and officiate a game. Maybe not, but I have to believe they can keep the Trailblazers from putting six guys on the court.

The Bear Cave labels an OT victory in the B’s rookie game on Monday the first chapter in an exciting season. Kynch’s Corner! feels like a kid waiting for Santa to bring him his new B’s season tickets. Think these guys are primed for hockey?

Rink Rap says Toronto GM Brian Burke is not contemplating an offer sheet for Phil Kessel. Wicked Bruins Fan is bothered by the undisclosed terms of Coach Claude Julien’s new contract. Stanley Cup of Chowder calls yesterday’s signing of defenseman Andy Wozniewski nothing more than a depth signing for the Baby B’s.

Come on, Pats bloggers. This is your time to shine, but if your latest post is breaking news that Seymour got traded, that won’t cut it here. Kickoff is tonight, so let’s kick it in!

Enjoy the game if football is where your heart is. Even if it’s not, the Sox have an off-day so tune in anyway.

Week Log: For Sox, Deja Vu All Over Again?

Two straight in Toronto and a two-game improvement in the wildcard race as the Sox leapfrog Texas will lead us off this fine Thursday afternoon. On an even more optimistic note, Rich Levine says to forget 2006, as these Sox are more comparable to the 2004 club that got things rolling five years ago nearly to the day with two straight wins . . . in Toronto. Boston Sports Blog points out even more eerie parallels to 2004 that give the cynics of The Nation cause for hope.

Red Sox Hen is disavowing the negative and embracing the good from Tuesday’s series-opening win, while the long ball has Boston Dirt Dogs thinking positive. Brownie Points says the whole offensive dynamic is different when Big Papi is hitting. The Bottom Line likes Ortiz in the seventh slot but still doesn’t get excited when he steps to the plate. Joy of Sox has Papelbon feeling ten pounds overweight after Tuesday’s lackluster performance, one that made us feel ten years older. The House That Dewey Built calls Tuesday’s win uglier than John Candy in drag. But, hey, a win’s a win to Mazz, who says beggars can’t be choosers.

Last night, J.P. may have been left with a case of seller’s remorse as Clay Buchholtz stymied his Blue Jays and Doc Halladay was little mystery to the Sox. Over The Monster digitizes Buchholtz’s outing and the results give him hope the Sox have found their Number 3. Buchholtz has been a binky for Toeing The Rubber since his 2007 debut, proving that Kyle Snyder is not the jealous type. Surviving Grady is happy that Clay brought along his big pants. Thankfully, those pants were red and not blue.

This one is getting more attention on the airwaves, but Jon Lester’s bid for the sweep puts Penny and Tazawa on tap for the first two games in the Yankees series. Not exactly Spahn and Spain, but it should nevertheless leave us praying for rain. If the AL East isn’t already closed for business, A-Rod and Teixeira may be about to flip the sign in the window and turn out the lights. Of course, The Triumphant Red Sox Blog has just the thing to turn this series around and it’s for a good cause to boot. And, in the same blog, Sox and Pinstripes anticipates a Sox-Yankees ALCS even as he looks ahead to next year’s team.

With ex-Sox John Smoltz just signing with the Cardinals, FanGraphs thinks he has something left in the tank. The Hardball Times is surprised that the sabermetrics-friendly Sox released him since, after all, Smoltz was having a solid year. You just can’t make this stuff up. Alas, Big League Stew checks in with reality, allowing for the argument that Smoltz may have cost the Sox a postseason.

Scott Boras tells 619 Sports (at the 4:40 mark) that J.D. Drew doesn’t want to work for anybody that doesn’t believe what he says. Why can’t Theo just call this guy a liar and spare us the remainder of his experiment? Hacks With Haggs suggests that Theo’s system, which brought in the likes of Drew while punting on Mark Teixeira, better take a knee this winter. Speaking of Tex, ESPN’s Sweet Spot says he’ll probably win the MVP award as the BBWAA robs Joe Mauer yet again, but One If By Land says that, should Mauer stumble, Youk will have a legitimate claim to the award.

38 Pitches says he’s never been supported by a better defensive performance than the one turned in by newly reaquired SS Alex Gonzalez in 2006. This acquisition figures to help infield matters, where Nuggetpalooza ranks the Sox in the lower half of double play completion efficiency this year.

And here’s a first in the Week Log chronicles, as we link to a future blog. Deadspin tells me they’ll be picking on Fenway Park in their latest Why Your Stadium Sucks entry coming tomorrow. I’ll bring you the permalink next Thursday.

Patriots / NFL

Preseason Game 2 is upcoming tonight, as the Pats host the Ochocinco Bengals at Gillette Stadium. Kathryn Tappen knows preseason is tough, but says these games are scheduled for a reason. Reiss’s Pieces gives us five things to look for tonight against Cincinnati. Carson Palmer won’t be one, but It Is What It Is takes inspiration from the parallels between his 2005 injured knee recovery and that of Tom Brady. Musket Fire still maintains that Bernard Pollard is a cheap-shot artist that ruined Brady’s 2008 season.

The Patriot Act observes recent wheelings and dealings as the Pats build depth in needy positions while paring down to 53 players. One such position appears to be running back, where First And Ten From Foxboro says enough already. The acquisition of another RB doesn’t bode well for Laurence Maroney, who makes the top of Thanks For Playing‘s 10 NFL predictions. Watch out, Laurence, because at least one of those predictions has already come to fruition!

The Rap Sheet has Coach Belichick competing with comedians for laughs and Brady for cameos, while Patriots Daily has him competing for every minute of Rex Ryan’s undivided attention. Wicked Good Sports has Ryan as another in the long – and wide – line of hefty Jets coaches that stoke the fires of this rivalry. Blaug warns the NYJ HC to ready himself for the big hurt Bully Belichick will lay on him in Week Number 2.

Speaking of Number 2, Shutdown Corner says old friend Matt Cassel may find himself returning to his familiar position. And speaking of the Jets, the team that once created the position of clock manager has outdone themselves, as Awful Announcing reports. With front offices like the Jets, who needs unions?

Bruins / NHL

Big Bad Blog sees a lot of national TV exposure for the B’s next season, as they could become the new America’s team. Wicked Bruins Fan reminds us that tickets for the upcoming season just went on sale this morning. Can winter be far behind?

In the second part of their offseason update, New England Sports 24/7 can’t see Phil Kessel in a B’s sweater next winter. Stanley Cup Of Chowder has Carolina picking the B’s scrap heap in signing Stefane Yelle. Cornelius Hardenbergh And The Hockey Blogging Adventure translates an interview P.J. Axelsson gave in Sweden and it doesn’t translate well for the B’s.

Caveman Strong comes out of summer vacation mode to serve up a trailer for EA Sports’ NHL 10.

That’s a wrap this week. See you back here next – and every – Thursday afternoon.

Week Log and Brady Are Back, Sox Jury Still Out

Three weeks ago, the Red Sox and I both dropped off the grid, although mine was planned. Well, I’m back today and, after a three-game winning streak, the Sox could be too. However, there’s been too much damage to mend in one brief homestand and Texas looms.

Fire Brand of the American League sees a subtle beauty in this slump and a lot to like in the days ahead although a megalith offense is not one. Toeing The Rubber chuckles at the media’s angst now that this three-game streak has waylaid their funeral plans. Keep Your Sox On says that, with the division a goner, it’s time to take a Manny pill, relax, and close out the wild card. Sox Tea Party reminds us we have too much invested to give in to the Fat Lady this early. Eric Ortiz says one awful week in August doesn’t spell an end to the season, even as Wicked Good Sports is already looking ahead to 2010, and their list of next year’s contributors looks a lot like the list Theo offered to Seattle for Felix Hernandez.

So, will Tuesday night mark the defining moment for the 2009 Sox, much like Varitek’s actions set the tone for the 2004 club? Big League Stew can’t blame Youk for charging the mound and says no-punch fights like Tuesday’s don’t get any better than this. Surviving Grady caught the season’s first real donnybrook from a bird’s-eye view in his Uecker perch on the Budweiser deck. Red Sox Monster remembers the five best Sox fights ever, but Youkilis doesn’t make the short list. The Crowe’s Nest calls Youk’s helmet-toss a chump move and Sharapova’s Thigh goes so far as to call him a sissy.

Nevertheless, Youk’s ejection opened the door for Mike Lowell, and Small White Ball says he’s been flat-out getting it done since returning from the DL. Kathryn Tappen calls Lowell the definition of professionalism. Mazz says he has a big stick. Hacks With Haggs sees a parallel with the 1967 club in Lowell’s performance on Tuesday. Boston Blood Sox is all for resting Lowell’s hip, but too much of a good thing . . . well, it’s not too good.

Extra Bases partially dispels the semi-tuth that Jason Bay is strictly a fastball hitter. Sox Therapy has been tinkering with lineups and concludes Casey Kotchman is an everyday player. With John Smoltz’s DFA, Fighting Words reflects on how rare it is for pro athletes to go out on their own terms.

Closing on two positive notes, Full Count has the return of Jerry Remy to the NESN booth last night, and the beloved RSN president says the Sox are going to the postseason. And from one dog to another, Boston Dirt Dogs calls Remdawg a sight for sore eyes.

Patriots

Tonight marks the start of the Patriots’ preseaon and the much-anticipated return of Tom Brady. The Rap Sheet reports Brady will get the start. National Football Post would pencil Brady in as a starter throughout August, but Rich Levine wants him to wait a week so he won’t get wet tonight in Philly. Patriots Daily wants him to wait a week so he won’t get victimized by the Eagles’ blitzing. SportsCenter 5 Overtime catches up with Brady before his debut, as he discusses television appearances and fashion shoots.

Shutdown Corner has Tom Brady cussing up Coach Belichick . . . on the inside. NESN’s New England Patriots has Laurence Maroney happy to have “Fragile Fred” Taylor around.

Pats Chowder is looking for Greg Lewis to put up better numbers than Joey Galloway. Pats Pulpit concedes Lewis only a roster spot as they run down who will make the cut at receiver.

Pro Football Talk tells us why there’s been a lack of contract extensions out of Foxborough Place this year.

And now for something different, but be careful lest the boss is passing by your workstation. Blogging Fearlessly talks blogging with Mike Reiss on this (7:39) audio blog.

Winter Sports

In Celtics matters, Tanguay’s Take says a few mil wasn’t worth it for Big Baby to leave Boston. And Another Thing . . . mourns the fact that it wasn’t worth a few mil to keep Leon Powe in Boston.

The Dagger thinks Rick Pitino picked the wrong-colored state to start going all immoral. Fanhouse says Pitino is in too deep to survive this scandal and should get out of Louisville. Deadspin is disgusted that Pitino would invoke a 9/11-like appeal for the community of Louisville to help him get over this.

And Sports of Boston has Jeremy Jacobs leading the charge to keep Canada’s pasttime right where it belongs . . . here, in the good old U.S.A.

It’s good to be back, and even greater to have football back. Enjoy the Sox today and the Pats tonight, and we’ll see you right back here next Thursday afternoon.