WBZ’s “Sports Final” with Bob Lobel started out with Steve Burton reporting from New York. Bob is tired of all the respect talk, says the Patriots don’t care why should we? Burton says they do care, but after this week they don’t have to worry about it. Burton noted the AFC players of the week for the first two weeks will be Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe. First panel in was Steve DeOssie, Michael Felger and Scott Zolak, Felger says if the respect thing works for them, let them have it. DeOssie says it doesn’t matter against a team like K.C., Zolak says the only upcoming game in which they might be an underdog is at Miami. A look at the dominating stats by the Patriots today, was followed by a look at the schedule. Bob thinks it might be tough to play at San Diego and then have to come back and go to Miami. Felger feels it won’t be a problem, not only are they the best team in football, they’re also still riding momentum from last year. After the bye week might be another bump, and then the four close games in November.
Lobel says ’86 was a great team, but then there was the drug issue, ’96 was a great team and then Parcells left, this team has none of those type of distractions. DeOssie called this probably the best Patriots defense of all time. Felger says the offense has made the biggest strides, Charlie Weis deserves so much credit. Brady has all day to throw back there. Lobel says Romeo Crenell gets no credit. We’ve never had a team like this. DeOssie says these guys sound like they’re in a cult, all give the same, perfect answers. Drew Bledsoe’s performance in Minnesota today was then shown. Zolak says Drews performance up there might be twice as impressive as Brady’s given the situation he’s in. Felger says good for Bledsoe, he’s proving Michael wrong, there’s two games to watch every week now. Give him credit, but let’s see what he does over the long haul. Lobel ended the first segment saying Tom Brady is the most exciting athlete to hit Boston since Larry Bird.
Next segment Dan Shaughnessy with Alberto Vassallo (Red Sox Spanish radio announcer) Lobel asked Dan about the Larry Bird/Tom Brady comparison. Bob had introduced Dan as knowing it all, and Shaughnessy deflected that praise, and went into that he agrees with the Brady/Bird comparison. Brady’s time thus far is short, but he already has a championship…something none of the Red Sox superstars has. Vassallo says Pedro has an edge because he’s brought a whole new segment of (Dominican) fans to the Red Sox, something Brady can’t do. Onto Manny, Vassallo says what did we expect, he was on the show when they first got him, and said if he hits and they win, everything will be fine, if he hits they don’t win everyone will focus on what he isn’t. Lobel spouted the WBZ theory that Manny doesn’t want to be here. Vassallo disagreed, Manny just doesn’t like to talk to the media period. He doesn’t really know what is going on around him. Shaughnessy asked if Manny really understands the questions the media asks, said in spring training he got the sense that Manny didn’t really grasp questions that the media asked him, Dan said he of course couldn’t begin to answer questions in Spanish, so he gives credit to anyone who even attempts to answer in a second language.
Vassallo talked about the “Manny being Manny” bit, and that it is really true, guys like Baerga have to protect him, the outside world might find it hard to understand, but inside the clubhouse it’s understood. Shaughnessy says no one wants to demonize Manny Ramirez, he’s a great hitter, but the ground ball thing is a sin in baseball. Shaughnessy says it’s unfortunate that that might be his lasting memory here, given that he is such a great hitter. Dan thinks Manny should’ve apologized to the fans. Lobel says his actions don’t show love for the fans, or city. Shaughnessy says a good thing about him is his demeanor, he doesn’t go hitting water coolers when he’s struggling, but fans see him when he’s struggling and think he doesn’t care, which is unfair. He’s not an evil guy. Vassallo says he’s the same if he hits two home runs or strikes out three times.
Dan asked about when Johnny Damon showed up this spring for the first day of Spring Training that Manny couldn’t understand why he was there, asked Vassallo if that was believable, Vassallo said it was. A mention of the 9/11 stuff, as brought up by Lobel, that Manny is totally unaware of everything. Lobel talked about Nomar and his comments about the media, that they make it hard, always negative, Lobel says none of these guys look in the mirror, they always blame others. Vassallo said that this years time has almost a them against the world mentality, which most of the time is a positive thing, because of the negative media. Lobel says that is totally ridiculous, the media isn’t like that at all. Dan says they’re all sensitive, Nomar the most so of any of them. Lobel says they need a sense of humor, no one wants these guys to lose.
Roger Marino, former owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and onetime suitor of the Red Sox was up next to tout a movie he’s producing, “Ciao America” A romantic comedy about sports. It’s opening the 20th. It’s about an Italian-American who goes to school at Tufts, he goes to Italy and falls into a job coaching american style football over there. A clip of the protagonist trying to teach the scoring system to an Italian, and another with his search to find someone who can catch the ball were shown. The movie is rated “R”. Marino insists that is only because it has more than three “F” words in it. He says ten year old boys would enjoy it very much.