Bob Duffy has hands down

Bob Duffy has hands down the best story of the day. His account of the brawl yesterday is at times, hilarious. ”I didn’t hear what he said,” claimed Matthews. ”So I stepped toward him and asked what he said.” This purely informational mission – in Matthews’s version, anyway – was misinterpreted as malevolence in the making.” …as well as whatchutalkinbout Willis Roberts account of his actions: “Roberts maintained that he was merely trying to keep teammate Melvin Mora from being hurt and was shadowboxing as an act of self-preservation, losing his shirt, if not his dignity, as he frantically retreated when he saw menacing Boston closer Ugueth Urbina, a former amateur boxer, barreling onto the field from the clubhouse with his shirt untucked.” Tony Cloninger’s part in the melee was also chronicled: “In the midst of all this, at least one gallant knight didn’t lose his sense of priorities. Sox pitching coach Tony Cloninger lumbered to the mound to make sure nothing happened to his prize commodity, Lowe. While standing guard, he wrapped his left arm around onrushing Baltimore catcher Brook Fordyce ”just to keep him away from Lowe.” Then Baltimore bench coach Sam Perlozzo intruded. Cloninger recalled Perlozzo screaming, ”Let him loose! Let him loose!” in defense of Fordyce. So Cloninger wrapped up his coaching counterpart with his other arm. ”Just like this,” he said, pantomiming bookend gentle embraces.” Then Fordyce, who had been shown up by a 60-something overweight guy was a little grumpy after the game: “The normally obliging Fordyce stormed away and called behind him, ”Baseball [expletive] questions only.” Fordyce’s own manager said that the catcher’s nose had been bloodied by Cloninger. The other accounts of the brawl in the papers are decidedly a level below Duffy’s.

Art Martone looks at the Sox’ other recent brawls. Bob Hohler can’t get Carl Everett out of his mind. With all that happened yesterday, and the implications, and game action, and possible suspensions, he has to bring up Carl Everett. Talk about taking the easy way out. Likely the Globe is just warming up for when the Sox play Everett and the Rangers. Hohler, Edes and Shaughnessy will likely all have Everett articles in the next week. Hohler also got a little carried away with the M’s in his vocabulary: “a seething brawl that made the mercurial Everett seem no more malicious than milquetoast.”. It also appears the media may be being used by the Red Sox front office. How many articles are we going read with Mike Port, or Larry Lucchino saying that the Sox are trying to make a deal. Port even said the other day that they thought they had one done, and it fell apart at the last moment. Jeff Horrigan’s notebook has Lucchino’s laments. The Globe has similar stuff from Bob Hohler. Anyone get the feeling that they might just be laying the groundwork to let everyone down easy, and not make any major deals?

Nick Cafardo and Michael Felger say that Antowain Smith failing the conditioning run is a bad sign for Bill Belichick and the team. Hey, gotta find some bad omens, don’t we? Kevin Mannix doesn’t understand the negativity about this team from national and local fans, media and oddsmakers. In Felger’s notebook, he makes a brief comment about how CMGI Field would only need “minor tinkering” to be fitting for baseball, if the Sox need a temporary home. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Walter Williams.

Fox25 has Red Sox/Angels at 10:00. (ATT3 in Western Mass) If you’re outside New England and have got the Dish, I believe it will be on channel 652 feed from Fox Sports West. ABC has Golf’s Battle at Bighorn at 8:00. ESPN has Yankees/Rangers at 8:00. ESPN Classic has SportsCentury profile of Mark Fidrych at 8:00 and 11:00.

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FOX25 led off Sports Sunday

FOX25 led off Sports Sunday with a recap of the last three “Family Days” at Fenway. (two Carl Everett explosions and the brawl today) The first segment of highlights was of course from the Red Sox/Orioles game today and Butch Stearns thinks that this Red Sox team has the same feeling of togetherness that the Patriots had last season. Derek Lowe saying he initiated the whole thing and said something he shouldn’t have to provoke it wasn’t a smart move. Highlights from the Angels game as well as the Yankees followed, as well as Ozzie Smith’s Hall of Fame induction speech today invoking the Wizard of Oz. Stearns didn’t understand the reference. During the Patriots training camp highlights and soundbites from the weekend, Tom Brady said they’re gunning for the rest of the league, and Otis Smith was incorrectly identified as Roman Phifer.

Tour de France highlights led off the second segment, Stearns said if Tiger Woods was a cyclist Lance Armstrong would crush him. A recap of the Vin Baker/Shammond WIlliams introductory press conference followed. Chris Wallace said that being able to make this deal without disturbing the nucleus of the team and without giving up draft picks was very appealing to them. A brief look at the B.C. Football team focused on whether they can beat Miami.

FleetBoston Classic highlights were the intro in the third segment. Rob Nickoleski had a segment from earlier in the week, when he caddied a round for Andy North. Things like having the right number of clubs in the bag, the importance of giving the golfer a good estimate of yardage, cleaning the club after each shot, and wiping the ball once on the green, are essential aspects of the caddie’s job.

A tribute to Ned Martin was up next, Sean McDonough feels he should be in the Hall of Fame. Jerry Remy recalled breaking into the business with Martin. Clips from Martin’s radio days followed. Fred Lynn’s 10 RBI night, Yaz being ejected covering home plate with dirt, Bill Lee shutting out the Yankees, Sox beating the A’s in the ’75 ALCS, and Fisk’s HR in the ’75 series were among them. The Last Blast was a thought, Stearns didn’t really know Martin, but felt that he did. He’s one of the nicest men he’s ever met.

Mike Adams hosted NECN’s Sports Late Night. Only Adams can introduce Robin Ventura’s grand slam against the Rays today by noting that Ventura once got his “head beat in by Nolan Ryan”. He also pulled out his Joe Castiglione voice to give some information on Lance Armstrong.

Adam’s former WEEI partner Dick Radatz joined him in studio to talk how players were much tougher in the old days. Radatz, as he did on WEEI this afternoon, made fun of Manny, mocking — Did he even know there was a fight? Did he know he got hit? After saying that players were tougher in the old days, he mentioned how they never threw at the head like they do today, unless they meant it. Radatz then recalled a story from his playing days when he hit Bert Campaneris in the head throwing at him while he was diving backing into first base. Campaneris had bunted with a huge lead and taunted Radatz while running down the line.

WBZ’s Sports Final was hosted by Steve Burton. First roundtable talked brawl with Steve Buckley, Michael Felger, and Nick Cafardo. Burton says that’s just how Erickson is, he’s gonna hit him. He then yelled during the footage of the brawl “Where’s Manny??” Someone thought he spotted Manny, and a voice said sarcastically, “I doubt it”. Another chance to pick on Manny, I guess. Felger likes this, he asked Buckley if this team would’ve fought for each other last year, Buckley says no. Cafardo recalled Greenwell getting hit and no one coming out of the dugout in ’89. (Except for one pitcher, Joe Price) Talked about the upcoming trip. Big trip, says Buckley, the panel doesn’t expect any suspensions from the brawl. Except maybe Cloninger.

Antowain Smith talked about failing the conditioning test, he hopes to pass it the second time, and said he didn’t come into camp as in good shape as he wanted to. He feels a little guilty about it, not getting the reps in practice. It’s a lot easier to practice then to do the test. Everyone watches the test, and don’t exactly cheer on. The segment was amusing, but Felger isn’t amused by his failing the test. Cafardo tried to cover for Smith by saying he’s got a fullback body. Felger doesn’t feel anyone should fail the test at all and it isn’t a good sign for the team that 3 guys failed it, they should’ve all worked hard during the offseason.

A taped panel discussion with Bob Lobel, Dan Roche, Harry Manion and Memorabilia collector Phil Castinetti focused on the Ted Williams saga. They examined the note that surfaced this week. The signature was compared to one sent to the Jimmy Fund six months earlier and it looked different. William’s caregiver George Carter talked to Dan Roche, and gave examples of John Henry Williams asking his father to sign things, and not explaining it, and Ted getting upset and throwing the pen across the room. Manion raised the point for at least the fourth time that I have seen in the last couple weeks that if Ted wanted this, why didn’t he get his lawyer involved. He calls this a “fraud on the court”. He talked about handwriting analysis, and that it is more of an art than a science. Likely a Judge will appoint an independent expert, likely a former FBI agent to analyze the samples. He said if it is a fake, there will be “dire consequences”, including criminal action. Roche revealed that Bobby-Jo is having legal defense fund issues, and will likely be asking for assistance. Castinetti says there is no doubt that this is all about money for John Henry Williams. He’s all about money money money. Roche said he’s still trying to give John Henry Williams the benefit of the doubt, but didn’t elaborate. Nothing too new from Manion in this segment. All stuff that has been repeated elsewhere ad nauseam.

Next segment was what they believe is the last interview that Ned Martin did, after the ceremonies on Monday night. Martin didn’t really expect to be there, he was there basically there because Yaz was there, he again mentioned they were joined at the hip. Martin said Boston is the best baseball town in the country. He saw Williams play when he was a kid in Philadelphia in the 40’s, and later in Washington while he was working there. Ted was beautiful to watch. Asked about what memories being back in Boston brought for him, Ned included seeing guys like Frank Malzone, Jerry Remy, Ken Coleman.

WHDH’s Sports Extra hosted by Joe Amorosino, and had a segment with Troy Brown by Gary Gillis. Brown got his contract redone this weekend. Brown talked about being a champion, the fact that the Steelers are still talking and being on the team now without Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn. They had Antoine Walker saying he loves the Baker trade. Gives them in inside presence, he had a great playoff against Tim Duncan and the Spurs and he thinks he’ll do well close to home. He mentioned the C’s not having a true point guard, he looks for his own role to change.

Michael Holley joined Amorosino to talk about the brawl, Sox, possible trades (not gonna get Colon) and Patriots. Holley likes the improvements at the tight end position. He also really likes Donald Hayes. They replayed a bit of the Walker clip talking about losing Kenny, and that the Luxury tax is “killing us”. Holley says the reason they made the trade bothers him more than the trade itself. Gaston has gotten some breaks recently, saving money on Pitino, added revenue from playoff games, and yet he wouldn’t pony up for Rogers, and went the cheaper short term route. Holley does think Baker can do well in Boston, but it was a huge gamble. A segment on Carlos Baerga was the last segment.

FSNE’s New England Sports Tonight

FSNE’s New England Sports Tonight aired from the first day of Patriots training camp. Greg Dickerson was joined by the Patriots beat boys, Michael Felger, Tom Curran and Nick Cafardo. Focus was on the adulation given to the team. About 5000 people were there to watch today, They had to turn people away. Cafardo worries it might go the teams’ (and Brady in particular) heads. Felger said to watch for complacency, he cited Antowain Smith failing the conditioning run (for the second year in a row) as a bad sign. He said Smith did not come to camp in shape. Cafardo thinks Smith, and Patrick Pass failing the conditioning along with Charlie Weis being out, will be good for the team, as they do well with distractions. Felger and Dickerson worry about Smith, that he has no backup. They don’t think J.R. Redmond can compete, Curran has a little more confidence in Redmond. Cafardo sides with Felger and Dickerson. Perfect example of the Boston Sports Media mentality….Felger says his comments about Smith are premature as it is day one, but they need to fill a half hour, Dickerson chimes in “We have to find something negative about this team.” Donald Hayes lined up with the first team. Curran and Cafardo didn’t seem too impressed with him. Cafardo doesn’t think he can get away from anyone speedwise. Cafardo calls Charlie Weis’ absence “a tremendous problem”. He also mentioned not having Drew Bledsoe around to mentor Brady. Willie McGinest was excused today for personal reasons. Talk turned to Bledsoe, Curran kidded Cafardo, asking if he missed him, and was sad not seeing him. Cafardo said he did miss Drew. Brady’s contract situation shouldn’t really affect him or the team, feel Felger, but he wonders if they can get it done, as they don’t give out these big contracts any more. Curran and Cafardo agree that the Patriots have to get it done. They’ve married themselves to Brady. Felger says though, that if Brady goes out and stinks or isn’t doing what it takes to win, Belichick won’t hesitate to bring Damon Huard in. The team is bigger than the quarterback. Curran and Cafardo disagree, Brady is Belichick’s guy, he groomed him, he traded Bledsoe, he skills that won’t erode. May be a “system quarterback” but he also won a Super Bowl. Cafardo has a book coming out next month based on last year’s team; “The impossible team.” Dickerson did get a good laugh by “announcing” that “Michael Felger has said that Tom Brady is out as Patriots Quarterback.”

Strange marriage..flipping through the channels this evening, and MSNBC had Mike Barnicle on with Jerry Springer…perhaps that isn’t so strange after all…

Is there a worse possible

Is there a worse possible on-air pairing than Eddie Andelman and Don King? The entire show has been predictably awful, Ron Borges, “The Colonel” and Larry Merchant have been paraded through. The show has been terrible. If anyone has enjoyed the show today, please let me know, I’d like to hear from you. Meanwhile, Bob Neumeier bumbled through his midday show, an e-mailer wrote:

“He’s had a vintage day today with a few beauts during the first 1:30 of his show from Smithfield — he just came out with “time in memorium.” Usually, Nooms screws up when he tries to show off his vocabulary, but more often than not, he betrays his shallow knowledge. He also knows surprisingly little about sports (the ponies excepted).You’re telling me that this guy gets the mid-day job, and a talent like Mike Adams has to sell cars?”

The McDonough group had Cedric Maxwell and Charlie Pierce on with Sean, a pretty decent combination. Jerry Remy called in and reported that Garces has cleared waivers and is not in the clubhouse, and an announcement on the roster move is expected later this afternoon. On WEEI’s “Big Show” open season on Grady Little continued, with Larry Johnson and Bill Burt joining the “Big O”. Once again they poked fun at Tony Massarotti, as well as Drew Bledsoe.

David Halberstam says despite the great seasons from the Yankees and Red Sox, if there’s a strike, he’s done.

Pedro’s the Sheriff, the enforcer,

Pedro’s the Sheriff, the enforcer, the stopper. So say Bob Hohler and Frank Dell’Apa. In the latter article, Pedro says the Sox are just as good as the Yankees and could’ve swept them last weekend. He said the Yankees are lucky, and sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Over at the Herald, Jeff Horrigan calls him the human lug wrench. Karen Guregian studies the new Pedro. What I’m wondering is if Pedro will get suspended for retaliating and hitting Ben Grieve last night. The MLB offices seem to take a delight in suspending Red Sox pitchers, and in light of Pedro’s defiant comments after the game, I’m thinking people and the media might be surprised to hear from Bob Watson on this one.

The two papers once again have matching articles on Jason Varitek. (Chris Snow and Mike Shalin ) How and why does that happen? Don’t the papers want to be different from each other, “scoop” each other? Now it appears they share in writing of articles. The Notebooks are comparable, each featuring Fossum and the possible release of Garces, maybe even as soon as today. Bob Hohler’s notebook is a little more informative. Steven Krasner’s ProJo notebook reports that the rumor was that it was Garces who erupted in the clubhouse after the game Tuesday night.

Jim Donaldson attempts satire on the subject of the Patriots chances to repeat. At least that’s what I hope he was doing…After Tom Curran gave us 20 questions heading into camp yesterday, Michael Felger gives us 10 things to look for. Felger also rates the Pats coaching staff as the best in the league. Kevin Mannix tries to explan why the oddsmakers have the Pats as a barely .500 team this season. Michael Holley is reluctant to see the new season start, as he still wants to savor last year. Nick Cafardo tells us what Charlie Weis’ will be able to do this preseason.

The headline for Jim Baker’s column is “Walton pans C’s trade”, yet there is a quote inside from Walton where he says: ” The Celtics aren’t interested in being in the middle of the pack and this is a definite step in the right direction – if Baker can play.” Which is it? Walton, by the way will join former NBC studio analyst Tom Tolbert in moving to the ABC broadcasts of the NBA next season. Bill Griffith’s media column looks at the Ruiz fight, as well as some more remembrances of Ned Martin.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Phillies at 7:30. ESPN Classic has Roger Clemens SportsCentury at 8:30 and 11:30.

Peter Gammons made his weekly

Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Big Show this afternoon and said that the Expos will not be selling off or trading players. MLB would be foolish to do so. He thinks the Sox should try to get Ray Durham, he could bat second and split between playing second base and DH. He’s got great on base percentage and could team with Johnny Damon to have an amazing top of the order. Sox don’t have what it takes to get Millar from Florida, and Gammons isn’t that high on Lee. The situation in Boston is hard because there can be no down-time, the team has to be good every year, which makes it hard to reload. He likes Fossum better than some of the pitchers the Sox are rumored to be looking at, like Byrd or Rogers. They lack the postional prospects to complete deals, their only appealing positional prospect is Shoppach, but he is low in the minors. He really likes Ted Lilly and thinks that his injury is a huge break for the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. He thinks the Angels will fade, as they haven’t played the Sox or Yankees yet and rely too much on Eckstein and Erstad’s energy.

John Burkett on WWZN this afternoon claimed to not have heard anything about the clubhouse shouting incident reported by Greg Dickerson last evening. Gordon Edes who was co-hosting also said he had heard nothing about it.

Mike Port also came on to WWZN, priorities are starting pitching, relief pitching or a bat that can help on a daily basis. About Montreal, he said he doesn’t think MLB will tell them to dump players, he’s heard the talk, but not sure how accurate it is. It makes it interesting because each team really owns a piece of the Expos. He thinks many of the deal will go right down to the deadline, unless the perfect deal for both clubs is presented. Asked if the recent struggles make them more inclined to make a deal, Port said they need to first just try to get back to where they were. The team as now is capable of doing more. He would not blame Red Sox fans if they were upset for not improving the club, but at the same time doesn’t want to make a deal just for the sake of making a deal. Asked if they will take on payroll, Port said ownership has given the signal that they will, but it’s hard to know how much, as the situation isn’t there in front of them, but they have discussed “adding to the tab.” McDonough said he’s pulling for Port to get the GM job, and asked if Port feels any added pressure because of his situation, Port only said there’s no pressure, he just is trying to do the best job he can every day. He feels his performance shouldn’t be judged just on deals, but whether the team goes to the postseason. Deals are always there to be made, but they have to look at ones that are going to improve the team. Embree would’ve been a big factor this past weekend, but those things (injuries) happen. They’re targeting Monday as his return. Again brought up players coming back from injuries, Sanchez, Hermanson, Baerga as good “deals” for the ball club. Talking about Garces and his struggles, he indicated when the team is complete, They might want to get “Richard” some work, and ask him to do some Minor league time, but he can refuse it. (McDonough and Edes took this to mean that Garces could be released at some point) Port is confident that Fossum can do a good job in the starting rotation. Buttering up Port at the end, Edes was telling him he’s so good with words he asked him if he’s ever considered becoming a sportswriter.

Much talk on radio today

Much talk on radio today (except for Eddie, who is schmoozing with his Vegas friends on air all afternoon) around the handwritten note that Ted supposedly signed in 2000, expressing his wishes to be frozen, along with John Henry and Claudia. The Smoking Gun has a copy of the note.

Let’s clear a few things up on the Celtics/Baker deal. There are a whole lot of misconceptions flying around out there. Listening to WEEI the last few days has been horrid, as neither the callers nor the hosts, even Ordway, seem to have the slightest idea of what they were talking about on certain things.

1) Luxury Tax versus the Salary Cap. Some evidently think they are one and the same. That if you exceed the Salary cap, you go into the luxury tax. One caller was saying how stupid the deal was because if the cap is $40 Million, you’re paying 3 max contracts that take up $36 Million and that only leaves you $4 Million for the rest of your roster. Wrong. When and if a luxury tax is imposed, it will only effect teams that are a certain level above the salary cap. Estimates that I’ve seen put the figure at around $50 Million. That means you could exceed the salary cap by almost $10 million dollars and still not be in the luxury tax. Instead of $4 Million, you have $14 Million. (To use on your own players only, you cannot go over the cap to sign free agents)

2) Timing of the Luxury tax. The NBA recently announced that there would be no Luxury tax imposed this year. I’ve heard and read media members who had said that this means the Celtics could sign Rodney Rogers, since they don’t have to worry about the luxury tax, and they’re just being cheap by not signing him. They’re wrong again. The factors that put a team into a luxury tax situation can only be gathered at the end of the season, as it includes all sorts of revenue. So when the NBA said there would be no Luxury tax paid this year, it meant there would be no tax paid for what occurred last season. At the end of this coming season they will evaluate again and see if the revenue and other factors mean the luxury tax kicks in for this season. So it’s entirely possible, that signing Rogers would’ve put the team over that figure for the coming season and that after the season the Celtics would be paying the tax.

3) Kenny Anderson’s contract coming off the books next year. Some people wail that after next year, Kenny’s contract is up, and that the Celtics could’ve used that money to go after a free agent, like the Sonics are going to do. Wrong once more. Even with Kenny’s salary coming off the books, the Celtics would still be over the salary cap, and would not be able to use that money to sign anyone. (If they’re up against the projected Luxury tax level, they’re likely about 9 or 10 million over the cap. Take Kenny’s 9 million off at the end of next year and the most you will have is less than a million to spend.) All it would do in fact, would put the Celtics into more of a bind, because they would lose Kenny’s salary cap “slot”. By trading for Baker, the slot is kept alive and filled by Baker, allowing the Celtics to still use that money for salary. It’s a bit complicated, but it boils down to they needed to trade Kenny for someone, because they would simply lose his money next year, and would not be able to use it on a free agent. (Ordway has said several times that the Celtics should’ve just let Anderson’s contract run out and use it on a free agent.)