Butch Sterns opened Sports Sunday urging Red Sox fans to stay away from the Tobin Bridge. After the Red Sox lowlights from today, Sterns moved to the All Star Selections. Focusing on the snubs of Damon and Urbina, which were followed by clips from the players involved. Nomar said everyone in the Big Leagues is an All Star. Sterns urged fans to head to MLB.com to vote Damon as the 30th man on the Squad.
The next section: “Reid between the lines” focused on a possible strike. Bob Ryan appeared talking about the money issues, that none of us can relate to the players complaints. Right now the sides seem very far apart, but neither side wants a strike. Mike Remlinger of the Braves, (and Plymouth MA) said teams should work harder on developing players, instead of whining about and trying to cut down the Yankees.
A brief blurb of World Cup soccer was followed by a small feature on New England Revolution (and MLS) leading scorer Taylor Twellman. 22 years old, accounted for half of the goals scored for the Revs, and a nice highlight of a Pele-Like Bicycle kick for a goal last week.
Jeff Horrigan was in studio next, While Damon and Urbina both deserved to be in, but the closers chosen can be understood. Sterns raised the point of Urbina not being selected being a good thing. Horrigan says Urbina is a guy driven by anger, this might be good. Damon is the Sox MVP, he should be on there. Sterns again urged fans to go to MLB.com to vote. Horrigan thinks Thome will win the vote. Reason for Red Sox optimism, pitching is great, healthy, good guys coming back. Reasons for negativity, none really.
John Henry Williams compared to Lisa Marie trying to sing in Vegas. Next, a series of Williams (Ted and John) clips with the song ” Baby give it up” played in the background, scenes taken from movies trying to show kids following in the step of their dads.
Last Blast…Terry Glenn. Interview in ESPN the Mag, admits to using Pot while with the Patriots, says that Parcells privately apologized for the “she” comment.
Thome press conference/Radio appearance was basically nothing. “I love Cleveland…I want to stay…no one has asked me about waiving my no-trade clause….want to be a part of a rebuilding process in Cleveland…Boston media made a big deal of the golf with Grady, it was nothing.” He did leave the appropriate openings though. “As of this time”, “At this point” etc.
Brought up for discussion on WWZN during the McDonough group today was a quote from an article that appeared in the Boston Metro paper today. The article was about Duquette and Kerrigan and their lives since their dismissal from the Red Sox. The section being discussed is:
“Duquette also had a testy relationship with the Boston media, which considered him arrogant and aloof. Reporters objected when he communicated with fans through the team’s Web site rather than give interviews. Duquette doesn’t regret that approach, even if it cost him goodwill in the end.
“Ted Williams had the same type of relationship with the Boston media,” Duquette said. “Do you think it was reflective of Ted Williams’s contribution to the Red Sox?”
McDonough and crew took this quote to mean that Duquette was comparing his own contributions to the Red Sox to those of Ted Williams. They then proceeded to mock Duquette. A caller to the program, “Lou” took umbrage with this view. He called and asked why they had to assume that Duquette was making that comparison, Lou said Dan was simply using Ted as the ultimate example of the mentality in the media of this area. When Williams played, the media often skewered him no matter what he did. Lou tried to make the point that the media always has to assume the worst when it comes to things like this, and can’t even consider otherwise. The usually affable McDonough became very defensive and argued that Lou was overexaggerating. Lou got some good shots in about McDonough claiming to be “raising the bar” and then behaving in this manner. They let him on for 9 minutes and McDonough thought that was good enough.
Carlos Baerga appeared on the show as well, his usual enthusiastic self. He’s always been that way, he says. At one point he didn’t think he’d be able to come back to the majors. It’s disappointing to see the dismantling of the Indians franchise like this. Bartolo Colon really did think he was coming to Boston. Cleveland wanted Hillenbrand, Nixon and Fossum in a trade for Thome. Urbina is a really a great guy, the fans may not know that, but he’s a very hard worker, always there early, and still coming back from major arm surgery, people sometimes forget that, but he’s back to throwing 95-96 again. Baerga is in the lineup tonight, at second base, a big challenge in facing Maddux. He’ll look to continue his success on the basepaths to pitchers who don’t pay attention to him.
Celtics GM Chris Wallace appeared on the WEEI midday show. I came into in the middle of it, he was talking about Kedrick Brown, he is expected to make a big impact this coming year. This past year he had been starting in the middle of the season, sprained his ankle and then after two practices was back starting. When the trade for Rogers and Delk occurred, Kedrick’s season was basically over. There became an immediate need to play veterans “because the stakes were so high” and from that point on he didn’t play. He did gain an immeasurable amount of experience over the course of the season, mostly from guarding Paul Pierce everyday in practice. Quite a change, said Wallace, going from Junior College to going against Paul Pierce everyday for 7-8 months. Going to be a defensive stopper, being able to put some points on the board and help them athletically. Joe Forte needs to work on some PG skills, if he’s going to make it in the league he needs to be a 1/2 Point and 1/2 two-guard. He’ll be working on that over the summer and both of those guys will be in the Shaws summer league. The trade will only be considered an 100% success if they re-sign Rogers. They got an immediate short term boost out of it, but to push it over the top, he needs to be re-signed. He’s not sure what the competition for Rogers is going to be. There are about 16 teams in the same boat as the C’s with the luxury tax. But it only takes one team out there to push an offer out of reach. Kenny was a great surprise this year, great in the playoffs, timely offense, key steals, expects him to do the same this coming year because he’s had a taste of success and wants more. Jim O’Brien spent those years with Pitino watching, thinking about how he would do things when his time came and put those things into practice this year. The first thing he did when named coach was to get Walker and Pierce on his side. Ended the conversation raving about Caron Butler, he’ll be one the 3 most productive rookies this year.
Shea Hillenbrand came on WWZN this afternoon, doesn’t think too much about the All Star voting even though its overwhelming for a guy like him. Not considered one on the best players in the league.The Colon trade was pretty amazing he said, but they’ve got faith in their management to put the best team on the field. Jageler asked him about trade rumors involving himself, he said rather not play anywhere else, but you can’t control it. Asked if he’d prefer them to acquire pitching or hitting, Hillenbrand didn’t say either way, he likes the team they have now, and it’s not their decision. He likes the way Thome plays the game. Johnny Damon’s triple the other night was huge, he’s been an incredible addition to the team. Getting on base, his glove, he’s an incredible teammate. As for his own comfort level at third base, it’s a matter of stability, never played one position consistantly before, and he’s getting experience there. Facing Maddux, he grew up watching him, getting to face him is incredible, he’s always around the plate, and they need to take advantage of that. Need to do the small things. On Interleague play…it’s more difficult as a hitter not facing these pitchers, its tough. As for a day off, the rainout last night was perfect, the body does feel it playing day in and day out, nights like that help you to recover.
Couple small updates on the Thome situation. WEEI reports that he did indeed fly back on the Indians charter last night. Tony Massarotti on WWZN says the Red Sox don’t have the prospects to make any major deal, though he does say the price for Thome is going to be much lower than it was for Colon. He advocates going for Chuck Finley. (Ugh).
The rumor mill is hot today that something is going to happen with Jim Thome. The Indians did receive a firstbaseman from the Expos in the Colon trade and the website for Cleveland News Radio WTAM reports: “Jim Thome, through the Indians public relations department, has asked to be a guest on the Mike Trivisonno Show on WTAM 1100 Friday afternoon between 5:00 and 5:30 PM” There are also uncomfirmed reports that he has stayed here in Boston, rather than going on with the team. That doesn’t mean the Sox are the team he’s going to, because the Braves are coming in, and they’re another team rumored to be after Thome.
Someone tell me what Bob Hohler’s motivation is today, please? If this headline isn’t just a blatant, “Let’s twist things to make Manny look like a jerk.” then I don’t know what is. Manny must not have said hi to Bob recently or something. Ok ok, Hohler didn’t write the headline, but this is ludicrous. Hohler says that Manny must not have heard the fans who say he should step aside so Damon be an all-star. Not only has Manny not heard them, I haven’t either. Perhaps the mediots feel that way among themselves, and try to project that onto the fans. (whoops. I used a buzzword that I swore I would try not to use here) This is simply an inflammatory piece. In that regard it’s a raging success.
Can you imagine what things would be like if Manny had strained his groin like Hermanson and missed the entire season to date?
Johnny Damon, meanwhile tells Tom Yantz of the Hartford Courant that Joe Torre had better not leave him off the all-star team. Otherwise “it’ll be an added incentive to kick the Yankees’ butts this year.” That’s much better. Instead of blaming Manny if Damon isn’t on the team, how about blaming Torre, who already chose Charlie Manuel over Grady Little for the coaching staff.
Steve Bulpett has a fairly informative Celtics Notebook. Songalia’s agent says his client is NBA-ready. He had been told he wouldn’t last past the Kings at pick 28, but the Kings made a trade with their pick instead, and he ended up available at # 50. Kedrick Brown apparently will be here all summer working out. Second place that I’ve read this. This is good news. This kid is a major talent, and if O’Brien will give him some playing time next year, he could be a major piece. I still have the image in my head of Kedrick blowing past Vince Carter in a game earlier this year.
ESPN.com gives the Patriots offseason overview. Len Pasquarelli ends his comments by saying “this is a bunch always in pursuit of excellence.” Dr. Z awakes from hibernation and gives a breakdown of the AFC. Likes the Patriots moves.
NESN and TBS have RedSox/Braves at 7:00
New Red Sox Pitcher Alan Embree appeared on WEEI this afternoon. He first joked about how many teams he’s played for, something like 7 teams in 8 years, he said after awhile you just get numb to it. He’s got increased velocity this season, something he credits to finding a consistant armslot, working with Randy Meyers in the offseason and getting his elbow scoped. He said they cleared out some chips in there and he’s now hitting 95-97 on the gun whereas before it was mostly 91-92. Coming to Boston, it was a much more loose bunch of guys than perhaps he expected, given what he heard last year. As far as his role here, he doesn’t necessarily just want to be a lefty specialist, one batter and out, if he comes in an inning, he’d like to finish the inning. Excited about the opportunity here, glad he got to be used right away on Tuesday night facing former teammate Jim Thome. Apparently they also had an interview with Thome during the afternoon, but I missed that one. I heard McAdam mention that Thome likes Cleveland so much if he got traded, he could just go back there and re-sign with them in the offseason.
While Dale and Neumy were entertaining Red Sox trade talk, mostly revolving around Indians Bartolo Colon, Jim Thome and Chuck Finley, one guy called to say he wouldn’t trade Shea Hillenbrand for Ichiro. Good stuff. Neumy feigned indignance at the All Star Voting system, saying fans should only be allowed to vote once. He said the ushers should go to each aisle, hand out the proper amount of ballots and then collect them. Dale asks…what happens to people that go to more than one game? Neumy was flustered.
After talk about wrestling and Calvin Murphy’s baton-twirling expertise, Chris Wallace came on with Eddie and the Jag man, talked a little about the pick of Songalia. Did not seem that excited at all really. He can shoot the ball and he’s got toughness, he’ll play in the Shaws Summer league and they’ll go from there. Jageler asked if he had only played 2 years of college, or had never come to the US and played in college if he would’ve likely been a first round pick, but since he’s here, he’s a known commodity and was taken lower then many unknowns. Wallace said that was accurate and he would agree with it. Darius became “old hat” after a while. He’s an interesting player, has some things the team can use but “no guarantees” not going to say he’ll be on the roster. Massarotti had to ask about the Murphy baton thing. Wallace talked about the toughness involved in that talent. Wallace has never seen Yao Ming play, he’s skilled, he’s a level above the Manute Bol/Shawn Bradley players, the old guard centers are phasing out, Ewing, Hakeem, he should be a top 5-7 center in the league. Eddie had to make a crack about chinese food. Eddie did ask if they’ve got plans to go to Gaston and beg him to be able to re-sign Rogers, Wallace said alot of the staff has been away and they’re starting to work on these issues. They compared Butler to Paul Pierce, Wallace said Butler and Jay Williams were his picks for rookie of the year. He got in a plug for the Shaws summer league starting July 15th, Red will be there the first two nights. Eddie then pretty much shoved Wallace off the air, and closed with the joke he’s told all NBA related guests in the past few weeks about Yao Ming’s younger brother Bing Ming who is 12 years old and nine feet eleven inches tall.
Eddie said they moved Wallace off quickly because they were trying to get Shea Hillenbrand on the air….didn’t happen on his show.
The Big Show has Greg Dickerson filling in for Ordway, flanked by Sean McAdam and Bill Burt.
Bob Ryan puts the Red Sox recent struggles into perspective. Kevin Paul Dupont writes a serious story about John Henry Williams, some pretty good quotes from the guy that’s been coaching JHW. Almost makes the guy human. The Globe’s headline writer doesn’t do Dupont justice with the shabby headline. Mark Coffman gives us a little info on Darius Songalia, the Celtics only draft pick last night. Here’s a nice profile of Songalia and a game log from his senior season at Wake Forest. Mike Shalin catches up with Ellis Burks, who was my favorite player when he was here. Shalin notes that since Burks left Boston there have “been some very good seasons, topped by 2000, when he hit .344 with 24 homers and 96 RBI while playing for San Francisco.” Maybe Shalin doesn’t believe in Coors Field numbers, but in 1996, Burks also hit .344, but with 40 home runs and 144 RBI. Art Martone returns with another in-depth Red Sox oriented notebook.
On a more national level, but dealing with local players and teams, that noted scribe Joe Morgan writes that Nomar is only the fourth best AL Shortstop. Arod is far superior to everyone else, followed by Miguel Tajada. He gives the edge to Jeter over Nomar as well. On the Website ProFootballTalk.com, Jason Smith from Fox Sports Radio offers up a preview of the AFC East. He picks the Jets to go 12-4, the Dolphins 10-6, the Pats 8-8 and the Bills 4-12. He claims that he’ll back up those predictions in his team capsules, but isn’t too convincing.
FOX25 has Red Sox/Indians at 7:00. (ATT3 in Western Mass) Looks like DirecTV will have it with Fox Ohio as well. TBS has Braves/Mets at 7:00.