BUTLER SUSPENDED FOR THREE WEEKS….or something…

Quick – which is the bigger story:

A) David Ortiz benched again against a lefthanded pitcher amidst a deep slump.

B) Malcom Butler has to sit out offseason field drills in June for a few days because his flight was cancelled.

Based on reaction yesterday, it was B, definitely B.

What does that say about the state of the Red Sox and Patriots, respectively? For all the insistence from the old guard that this is a Red Sox town, even with the Celtics and Bruins out of the playoffs, and the Patriots still about seven weeks away from the start of training camp, the Red Sox are mostly an afterthought.

The Butler news, first broken by Jeff Howe, immediately set off reactions on Twitter and sports radio. It continued into the evening on television. National guys like Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport weighed in.

While the initial report was three weeks, it actually is more like two, and we don’t know how many actual on-field practices the team had in that span. They’re allowed up to 10 days of OTA’s in total, plus a mandatory minicamp.

Patriots.com has their OTA schedule thusly:

Bill Belichick’s team will hold its 10 OTA sessions on May 26, May 28-29, June 1, June 3-4, June 8-9 and June 11-12, leading up to the mandatory mini-camp June 16-18.

I’ve heard, but not confirmed that Butler was on the field this week. June 8-9. He is supposed to be on the field today and presumably tomorrow.

So it would seem, at most, that Butler missed six days of on-field OTA sessions.

Boom:

A little different than:

THREE WEEKS!!!!!

OK, six days. And the whole time he was in facility, working out, watching film, etc etc.

Still, you might say, holding a guy out for 60% of the OTA sessions because his flight was cancelled?

I take it like this, the Patriots think Butler is a pretty special talent. They also know that since the Super Bowl, he has been lauded and fetted and fussed over wherever he’s gone. This sends a message that that time is over. It’s time to focus, it’s time to be fully committed. Would they do this to Tom Brady? Probably not. Would they do it to Daxton Swanson? I don’t think so either.

Butler is a guy they’re going to need to contribute and they need his complete focus. This sends that message.

Edit: Tom Curran says it much better than I: Butler helps Belichick gets message out

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Patriots TE Davis looks to make good on second chance – The Patriots released TE Tim Wright this morning, which makes this article on Fred Davis by Phil Perry even more relevant.

Red Sox are still searching for real Rusney Castillo – Rob Bradford looks at a player we are all desperately trying to figure out.

Claude Julien knows Bruins need to change – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins coach acknowledging the need to make adjustments, while…

Meet the new Claude, same as the old Claude – Joe Haggerty had a much different takeaway.

Sticky situation for David Ortiz – Scott Lauber says things are starting to get awkward around the Red Sox slugger.

Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson tries to show Celtics what he can do – Adam Himmelsbach looks at a guy who could be an intriguing prospect, having not had much opportunity in college to really shine.

Is The BuzzFeed Era At Boston.com Over?

When the separation of Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com was made, it seemed the aim of Boston.com was to become something of a buzzfeed clone. A whole lot of clickbait, not a lot of substance.

Over the last year, many changes have been made. Bloggers have been let go. More recently the layout of the site has been undergoing changes – right now if you want to read Chad Finn’s latest columns, you don’t go to the Chad Finn page. Last night another shoe dropped when Bill Speros, better known as “Obnoxious Boston Fan” on Boston.com made the following Tweets:

Interesting. Seems like they’re looking to get out of the clickbait business. Which is a positive.

However, the title “Obnoxious Boston Fan” was something of a misnomer. That wasn’t how Speros wrote most of the time. He was thoughtful, capable of great storytelling and reporting. Seems odd that they would cite what they did as the reason for letting him go.

It will be interesting to see what is next for Boston.com. The current content seems to revolve around Finn and Eric Wilbur, with Adam Kaufman and others chipping in.

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Boston Red Sox have history with first-rounder Andrew Benintendi; GM Ben Cherington: ‘It was obvious who we were taking – Jen McCaffrey with a look at the Arkansas outfielder that the Red Sox took with the 7th overall pick last night in the MLB draft.

Junichi Tazawa has come a long way, on and off field – Enjoyed this Peter Abraham look at the Red Sox reliever.

Don’t look now, Red Sox might have discovered their next All-Star shortstop – Rob Bradford pegs Xander Bogaerts as a potential All Star – this season. Scott Lauber also looks at the development of the 22-year-old.

Celtics aren’t as smitten with Kevin Love – Steve Bulpett is bumming me out a little bit. Not because I’m high on Kevin Love, but because of his comment that the Celtics may actually be further from contention than they were a year ago.

Patriots’ signing of CB Derek Cox sparks memories of solid Bill Belichick trade – Mike Reiss revisits a 2009 trade that allowed Jacksonville to draft Cox, but also netted the Patriots two cornerstone players.

What does Carl Soderberg’s upcoming departure from Bruins mean for Loui Eriksson? – DJ Bean examines what breaking up a duo that was almost always on the ice together last season means for the Bruins.

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Michael Felger hates the NBA so much, he can simultaneously trash the Warriors, Steph Curry and LeBron James all at the same time.  THAT’s talent.

Is Shaughnessy actually being ironic?

No, I refuse to believe he’s self-aware enough to be ironic.

Free-Form Friday

A couple of media columns to lead things off this Friday:

Bob Neumeier has a rooting interest in Triple Crown – Chad Finn has the CSNNE anchor and NBC horse racing expert back in the saddle and ready for the Belmont Stakes.

Mark Jackson analyzing, not coaching these NBA Finals – Bill Doyle has the ESPN/ABC analyst in the position of calling a championship round for a team that fired him a year ago.

Some links of interest

Belichik’s Armenian Flag Pin at Obama Meeting Takes Center Stage at St. James Men’s Club Talk

Remember that pin of the Armenian Flag that was spotted on Bill Belichick when the Patriots visited the White House? Here’s the story of how it came about. Berj Najarian, whose grandfather was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, had the pin on originally, and Belichick ended up wearing it. Najarian also spoke frankly to President Obama about recognition of the genocide. Great story.

Roger Goodell loves to spout about integrity at every turn. What you read in that story is true integrity.

Julien gets another shot at Art Ross’ record, Coach’s Challenge – Mick Colageo has a post on the reported return of Claude Julien as Bruins head coach. He does a nice job with some myth-debunking involving Julien and his style, things you may have heard on, oh, sports talk radio.

Nothing has changed; Red Sox still terrible – Steve Buckley goes after the Red Sox, which I have zero problem with.

I do have a problem with the ongoing media meme of how “tough” the Boston Baseball Experience is.

I asked Sandoval if he feels comfortable here.

“Yeah, I feel comfortable,” he said. “Why do you ask me that?”

Because you don’t look comfortable, he was told.

“I look comfortable,” he said. “I’m comfortable. So you feel the way I am feeling? No . . . You know how I feel, right? No, that is not the right question.”

Considering how poorly Sandoval has played this season, it’s absolutely the right question to ask if he is comfortable. How many big-ticket players have been acquired by the Red Sox in recent years and had difficulty with the Boston Baseball Experience? Remember Edgar Renteria? Remember Carl Crawford? Remember Adrian Gonzalez complaining about all those nationally televised Sunday night games?

It’s funny the names that are associated with this “syndrome,” beyond that, is the myth about Adrian Gonzalez. Was it a mistake to trade for him and give him that huge deal? Maybe. But for a guy who is labeled a bust by many and cited as an example of someone who couldn’t handle the pressure of playing in Boston, he batted .338, with 213 hits (led league, and 4th most in team history) 117 RBI, .957 OPS and a WAR of 6.9. Despite hitting “only” 27 homeruns, it was the best season of his career. Oh yeah, he also won the Gold Glove at first base.

As for the “complaint” about the Sunday night games? Another exaggerated myth.

Gordon Edes:

He was responding to a direct question, the questioner asking him about the impact of the schedule — this was before the final two games of the season — and Gonzalez again gave a candid answer. Yes, he said, with the Red Sox so often playing on national TV, that posed an additional challenge for him.
“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,” he said to the interviewer. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that.”

Is that an excuse or a statement of fact? Terry Francona has complained about the schedule. Dustin Pedroia, who plays as if he never sleeps, has complained about the schedule. Players have taken their concerns to management about the schedule. Gonzalez said the schedule had taken its toll on him physically. To suggest he was saying that was why the Sox went 7-20 in September is ridiculous.

Gonzalez was prickly with the media, some of whom still hold a grudge. His inclusion in the great purging trade of 2012 was because the Dodgers wanted him, and were willing take the monstrous contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to get him. It wasn’t because the Red Sox wanted to dump him because he was a bust.

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It was interesting hearing former Patriots receiver Wes Welker making the Boston sports radio rounds this week essentially rattling a tin cup and asking for a job with the Patriots.

It seems appropriate to remember the furor from the media when Welker left two as New England’s all-time leading receiver two years ago and how things have worked out since.

I’m reminded of this Peter King fingerwag: Pats failure to keep Welker must be crushing blow to Brady

Bad, bad decision by New England.

Looks pretty good right now.