A nice feature from WHDH channel 7 is that the Sunday late night sports show “Sports Extra” is archived on its web site, and you can watch it at a later time without having to tape it or stay up until midnight. It seems to be a high quality stream, with good video and clarity. Jackie MacMullan was on last night’s show, talking about Nets/Celtics game one. There were clips from Bill Walton, Bob Cousy, KC Jones, and Chris Ford talking about the resurgence of the Celtics.
On the NBC pregame yesterday, Peter Vecsey dropped a rumor that Larry Bird and M.L. Carr are attempting to bring an expansion franchise to Charlotte to replace the Hornets. Commisioner David Stern confirmed there is interest to do such a thing, but that is not past the expressed interest stage.
WEEI’s Glen Ordway says it’s a good sign the Celtics played so badly yesterday, and “didn’t get smoked”. He says there is a lot of adjustments that can be made against this New Jersey team.
John Molori’s latest “Media Blitz” column is up, and talks more about the racism debate on D&C that was chronicled here as well.
NESN has Red Sox/White Sox with Derek Lowe going for win number seven tonight at 7:00. TNT has game two of Lakers/Kings from Sacramento at 9:30. You might want to also check out the terrific “SportsCentury” profile on Bobby Orr at 8:00 and 11:00 tonight on ESPN Classic
With Bob Neumeier out of town covering the Preakness, (Sat 5:30, NBC) Steve Bulpett stepped in and teamed with Dale Arnold. Good to get a basketball guy on the midday show. Dale went to the replay to confirm that Joe Forte was wearing a Scooby Doo sweater on the sidelines. Hard hitting journalistic research there. Having Bulpett on gives some nice insights into the Celtics including the time after a Washington game that O’Brien took aside Pierce and told him he needed to take more responsibility on the floor, which meant more shots.
Pat Croce appeared on the show and he loves Pierce and Walker, they’re great young guys who have taken leadership by the horns…also O’Brien is a Philly guy so he loves him, his ability to communicate, the little things he does. Croce’s only regret for getting out is missing out on resurrection of the Philly/Boston rivalry. Compared the Nets rise to your ugly little sister growing up, taking off the bad makeup and emerging as a beautyqueen. Also said it wasn’t just the injuries that derailed the Sixers this year, it was chemistry. Getting rid of guys like George Lynch was a mistake.
After a promising start, the show spent the last two hours basically just talking about Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki, not about his game, but why he gets to put “Ichiro” on his jersey rather than Suzuki.
An interview with Nets President Rod Thorn blissfully interupted the god-awful “headlines” segment on WEEI’s D&C program. Is there a worse segment on the radio then D&C’s Headlines? It’s simply a vehicle for them to spout venom at criminals and sound tough. Thorn talked about making the transition from the NBA League office, where he was the Dean of Discipline, to running an NBA team with a problem child. (Kenyon Martin) He said Martin’s first few flagrant punishments this season were deserved, but that after that, his punishment was given on reputation. Sure. He also mentioned officials from other teams giving him a hard time when he would complain about punishments. He noted also that games one and two at NJ are not yet sold out.
Thorn was followed by Celtics Player Personnel direction Leo Papile, who was humorous in talking about the “wimps” misbehaving at Detroit, in his earlier days he might’ve taken them out. Papile might be the most unusual Personnel guy in the NBA. He talked a little about Pitino and a conversation he had a few years ago. Pitino said this was going to be a hell of a team in a few years, but that he (Pitino) probably wouldn’t survive the rough times. A self-fulfilling prophecy. He mentioned the “system” they’ve set up, and some of the players they’ve discovered and brought through their system who are contributors in the league, Bruce Bowen, Adrian Griffin, Milt Palacio and Damon Jones were ones he mentioned. He wouldn’t talk about the Lakers this season, but said it might be something to enjoy for the next several years.
Gerry Callahan cranks out a decent article comparing the Celtics franchise with the Nets. Jim Donaldson compares Jim O’Brien to Rick Pitino. Dan Shaughnessy senses “Fehr” among Red Sox Fans and exploits it in his usual chicken little style. Has Shaughnessy been trolling the Boston teams Usenet Newsgroups? Both the Red Sox and Patriots groups have had threads on this very subject in the last few days.
FOX25 has Red Sox/Mariners from Fenway tonight at 7:00 in an otherwise slow sports night.
Few more Peter Gammons notes, he was on WEEI this afternoon and thinks that the season will get played, but that there will be basically a Nuclear winter and Spring Training will not open next spring. He thinks the heads of each side have been going at it so long that it’s just impossible for them to come to an agreement. He suggested that the owners should huddle with NBA commish David Stern to get things straightened out. He said Sandy Alderson said that the player’s association is as arrogant today as the owners were in the early 1970’s. Gammons wonders when Lowe will hit hit “threshhold” like rookies do after pitching around 110 innings. Says Lowe is very strong, and that will help, but he’s an unknown. Commented on Rickey Henderson, that despite all his circus acts, he shows up early at the park everyday, and gives great credit to Grady Little for his interpersonal skills and how things don’t bother him. Fenway Park should always be a tremendous home field advantage, and this year it is, and the players notice it. Mike Sweeney of the Royals comments how lucky players are to play in this environment. Also thinks Tony Clark is close to breaking out, the last few games have been encouraging.
From Gammons’ Mailbag today, Gammons thinks that a reconciliation between the Red Sox and Roger Clemens is likely after Clemens playing days are over. The new owners would love to have him as a player, but the Yankees would never let that happen. Also he said some people think Jim Thome could end up with the Red Sox as a free agent next season.
Of course, if Nuclear Winter occurs….
While WEEI has well informed guests lined up to talk actual sports, mostly Celtics. (Though Neumeier is trying to get the audience to turn on Manny Ramirez for spending a few days in Florida before his rehab can start) on WWZN, Eddie Andelman is busy with Tony Maz promoting the Hot Dog Safari, and having guests like Mike Barnicle, talking about mowing lawns, complaining there isn’t much in the way of sports going on.
Peter Gammons must be smiling somewhere. He’s gotten more out of his totally made up trade of Manny Ramirez to Colorado then anything else he’s done recently. Callers to talk shows ask about it, it’s a feature at ESPN Insider, it even appeared as a question in his own mailbag. Instead of saying that he made it up, he commented on it by saying whether he thought each side would consider it. This is amazing.
Bill Simmons with another NBA playoff column, but he’s not ready to talk about the rejuvenated Celtics in here.
Ian Eagle, the Nets broadcaster was also on with Dale & Neumy this noontime, he gave his endorsement of Jason Kidd for MVP, he said Kenyon Martin will come out fired up, and will want to stop Walker’s gyrating on the court. He did say the Nets will really have no answer for Pierce and Walker, but that they aren’t worried about any of the other players. He said to watch for Aaron Williams to get more minutes this series to match up with Walker. Eagle marvels at the noise of the arena these days, sometimes he just takes his headset off and listens to the crowd. He thinks Boston should be favored in the series, despite NJ being the number one seed. He did say though that this is not the same Net team that lost 3 of 4 to the Celtics this season, he thinks they’ve matured and have been toughened by the playoffs thus far. Jason Kidd has been taking over games down the stretch. He does think Jim O’Brien should have gotten many more votes for coach of the year. Eagle thinks that both the Nets and Celtics can play with the Kings and that both could win at least one or two games against the Lakers.
With competitor CNN/SI out of business, and FoxSports Net floundering, ESPN continues to grow. Richmond Times-Dispatch Columnist Jerry Lindquist notes that for the fourth straight year ESPN has exercised it’s option to raise the cost per subscriber by 20%. That means of your monthly cable bill, over $2.00 of it goes directly to ESPN. Whether you watch it or not.
Bob Cousy appeared on WEEI this morning, again says that Paul Pierce is a Hall-of-fame level player, and that Antoine has the skills, but needs to develop a second and third gear. He lauded the job Jim O’Brien has done, that he has made adjustments throughout his tenure, rather than insisting on one way to do things. (A veiled shot at a former coach there) He’s very excited to have the Celtics deep in the playoffs again.
Danny Ainge says: “I have no real emotional ties with the Celtics Logo” Steve Bulpett gets an interview with Rick Pitino, who does have Celtic Pride. Charles Barkley on TNT last night reaffirmed his pick of the Nets to beat the Celtics. Jim Baker delivers some numbers and commentary from the Celtics Tuesday night clincher. ESPN Page2 has Kenny Anderson and Manny Ramirez listed among it’s “Soft Athletes“. Guess they haven’t been watching the playoffs.
For the NASCAR fans out there frustrated by lack of coverage in New England, each weekday morning at 7:55, WWZN beams the 5 minute “PRN Garagepass” segment, a 5 minute update on the NASCAR world. The segment ends with the acknowledgement “Sponsored by the NRA” You can’t make this stuff up.
The Red Sox attempt to finish off a 3 game sweep of the A’s tonight at 7:00 on NESN. For the first time in the NBA playoffs, there is no game tonight. You can catch the opener of the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs at 7:00 on ESPN. ESPN Classic has the terrific 1992 NCAA East Regional Final between Kentucky and Duke.
Dale Arnold on WEEI this afternoon briefly mentioned that some people he knows went and played golf with Larry Bird in Florida last week, and that Larry was most gracious and charming, he bought them rounds of beer on course, and commented that he was really happy to see the Celtics doing well, and had great things to say about the run the Celtics have been on. They speculated that Bird will likely show up at the Fleet should the Celtics make the finals. (A Celtics playoff ticket holder asks: “Will that qualify as Larry Bird walking through that door?”) Neumeier said his NBC sports contact said they would love to see a Lakers/Celtics NBA Final.
Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The ride continues. The TBS broadcasters didn’t seem too happy with that, as Hubie Brown appeared to be clearly on the side of the Pistons during the game. Must be from all those times the Celtics pounded his Knicks in the 80’s. At Halftime of the Lakers/Spurs game, Charles Barkley of “Inside the NBA” admitted he was wrong about picking the Pistons to beat the Celtics. He then predicted that the Nets would beat the Celtics and go to the NBA finals. He said his man Jason Kidd would not let him down. FSNE had the always excited Tommy Heinson working his usual magic with the officials. Either Tommy is influencing Celtics viewers into thinking the Officials are really worse than they are, or the officials really are bad. Heinson did give out some sympathy for Piston’s star Jerry Stackhouse who was battling a sinus problem and was ineffective. Tommy said watch for Stackhouse to get roasted in the media. Many Celtics fans have felt that they’re getting the short end on the calls. In the closing minutes of the game and after the game, debris could be seen raining down on the Celtics as they left the court, at halftime, a fan apparently dumped a beer on Erik Strickland as he walked through the tunnel. The Globe reports that apparently, the fan was not punished for this action. After the game, Mike Gorman was clearly emotional in talking about how far this team has come. He also thinks this team can and will get better. Their best play may be ahead of them. The extended FSNE postgame included interviews with Lester Connor, Kenny Anderson, Eric Williams and Tony Delk, as well as coverage of Jim O’Brien’s press conference. (The Herald’s Michael Gee in his question to O’Brien asked about the team’s “allaroundedness”) ESPNNEWS covered the O’Brien and Rick Carlisle press conferences as well. NECN’s Sports Late Night featured an interview with Kenny Anderson.
WEEI listeners were “treated” this morning to the sound of Jon Meterparel singing the entire vocals of Pink’s “Get the party started”– the tune used in many NBA commercials. Predictably, Callahan’s column from yesterday on race also spilled over into D&C’s programming for the morning. These two are undoubtedly the least qualified people in Boston to discuss this subject. Leave it to these guys to encourage this talk over talk of the first Celtics Eastern Conference Final since 1988.
Last night on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” the first talk of a MLB Player strike was mentioned. It came right after the Red Sox highlights as it was mentioned that it would figure that the Red Sox would be off to a tremendous start and it’s a good possibility that the season could be cut short by a strike. August was mentioned as a possible time, which would be similar to the disastrous 1994 work stoppage. In this area, while a strike would be terrible, at least by August the media would have the Patriots to report on everyday.
Celtics fans will likely want to check out their next opponent tonight at 8:00 when the Nets try to close out the Hornets on TNT. NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. On ESPN, there is game 7 of the San Jose/Colorado series, while ESPN2 has Mets/Dodgers at 10:00.