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.
Consider me properly chastised. A number of you brought it to my attention that information on Charlie Weis appeared in the “Inside Track” of today. I was also informed that perhaps the media was aware of the situation, and yet at the request of Weis’ family, chose not to run the story. I thank those of you who wrote in to correct me. When I’m wrong, I want to know about it, and I want you all to know about it.
Tom Curran has a brief blurb confirming a story I’ve only seen mentioned in the Patriots Usenet NG. Charlie Weis had complications after surgery last week. Curran scooped the Boston writers. (again)
Kevin Paul Dupont and Michael Silverman continue to follow JHW as he prepares in Florida. No links needed. All you need to know is he’s doing this because of Sept 11th. It was a message to him that he needed to do something with his life. That something wasn’t using all the money he’s made off his dad to do something meaningful, but rather to use his dad’s name to get a fantasy camp week with the Sox farm team. The only good thing to come of this is that it ticks off the Boston media so much.
None of the Celtics writers can even venture a guess at what players might be available at #50. If they can put together their own mock drafts, why can’t they put in the effort to tell us who might fall to the Celtics?
NESN has Red Sox/Indians at 7:00.(ESPN2 nationally) TNT has NBA draft coverage starting at 7:00. Don’t look for the Celtics to come up until after 11:00 sometime. ESPN has Braves/Mets at 7:00.
OK…So Manny strides to the plate in the bottom of the first inning tonight, to a (at least partially) standing ovation. I listened very closely for any boos or dissenting comments and heard none. None. Now if you read the newspapers the last two weeks, or watched TV or listened to sports radio, you’d think the guy would’ve been pelted with rotten tomatoes by the fans as he came out of the dugout. So what does it mean? Was it the fans (unconsciously even) sending a message to the hateful Boston sports media? Or were they just overjoyed to see Manny? A little of both, perhaps?
Sox GM Mike Port made his seemingly daily appearance on WEEI, coming on with Dale and Neumy. The major topic was roster moves needing to be made today, with the return of Manny and Garces and the arrival of Embree. Asked about the moves, Port skipped over a query on whether the team might consider releasing Jose Offerman or Tony Clark. When asked if ownership would allow them to obtain a contract or “rent a player” deal, Port was equally elusive, saying it would depend on the price, both what would be needed to give up and what money would have to be paid. He said ownership isn’t consulted until after a player is targeted and deal ready to be made. On Garces, he threw the ball well enough in Florida, and got himself past his hamstring issues to the point that he should be able to get himself back on track. He’s been in a downward spiral this year, yet was still first in the league in first batter efficiency. Just had problems with the batters that followed. They had targeted Embree weeks ago, since the last Yankee series in New York, but the reluctance to part with their young players was what held up the deal. Other clubs were competing, so they had to give up what they did. John Henry Williams contract should be approved by MLB in the next day or two. Said he would leave the issue of playing time to John Sanders the manager to figure out.
Neumeier thought it significant that Port didn’t answer the question about the possibility of releasing Clark or Offerman. Both talked about how refreshing it was to have such an open guy like Port in the GM chair. I’m curious…just what did Port say that Duquette wouldn’t?
Bill Simmons gives us the top 50(!) moments in NBA Draft history.
Martin Kilcoyne of the Rams Flagship station in St. Louis was on with Eddie and Jageler this afternoon. After talking about Jack Buck, talked turned the Super Bowl, he said the fans were more mad at the Rams rather than saying that the Patriots were a fluke. He thinks the players might think it was a fluke, but the fans are more reasonable about it. Martin said the Rams were outcoached, which is the biggest thing in the game. He thinks the Rams respected the Patriots, but they just didn’t handle the strategy of the Belichick. One of the assistants told Martz he needed to run more and use Faulk more during the game, but Martz didn’t change. They spent a few more minutes talking about Tony Larussa, he really isn’t all that popular in St. Louis. Whitey Herzog is still god out there. But more this year, LaRussa’s human side has come through with the tragedies. He’s always been good to deal with in the media though.
They then had Dana Barros in studio. He talked some about his life in the NBA, but the focus was on his Camp he holds each year here in New England. Classic gaffe by Eddie today…talking about Allen Iverson, he referred to him as Alan Eagleson…