After giving in and writing

After giving in and writing a positive article yesterday, Ron Borges reverses field, and taking a cue from Belichick, says hold on, it’s too early to say this team is good. He reveals that he’s feeling the heat from fans, and lashes out: “Had those words come from anyone in the media, they would be dismissed by Patriot Nation as the negative babblings of someone on a jealous vendetta. The author of such words would be attacked by Feeble-minded Fred from Framingham or Fresh Frank from Franklin as someone with a personal agenda. The speaker would be accused of being the football equivalent of Benedict Arnold.”

Dan Shaughnessy’s column about Pedro’s Cy Young quest today came with the following disclaimer: (Note to readers: Feeling a little lazy today. Might not be my best columnist effort. But the bosses don’t mind. As long as I hit on one out of every three, I don’t have to try all the time. When I appear uninterested, Globe management will tell you, ”That’s just Danny being Danny.”)

Nice Manny swipe…The sad part is, Dan is joking. Many Globe readers will tell you that Dan has been lazy and not giving his best effort two out of every three columns for years now.

Gerry Callahan writes about Tom Brady’s rise to greatness. Karen Guregian complains that this Patriots team gives no cause for complaining. Bill Reynolds wonders if it’s going to continue to be this easy. Kevin Mannix hands out high marks across the board in his report card. Nick Cafardo looks at the coordinators as head coaching candidates. He mentions Eric Mangini and Dante Scarnecchia as possible future coordinators. You could add Ivan Fears and Rob Ryan to that list. From this Paul Kenyon article this morning, it appears Richard Seymour could be in some hot water with his (humble) teammates and coaches. Cafardo has a voluminous notebook. Mark Murphy writes about the new parts chipping in. Rich Thompson has Belichick warning to remember the Colts.

John Tomase tells us that Manny is not a distraction or even a problem with this Red Sox team. Gordon Edes tries hard to make yesterday’s doubleheader interesting. Peter May writes about Nomar’s struggles to return to his own his standards, as does Tony Massarotti, who says something is amiss. How bad has Frank Castillo been? Jeff Horrigan writes that he was no match for Tallet who was making his major league debut. Horrigan’s notebook has Dr. Pappas stepping down and Manny being named Co-Player of the week in the AL. Has any athlete won player of the week while talk shows are trying to run him out of town? Edes also writes in his notebook about Tony Clark thinking of hanging it up.

Kevin Paul Dupont writes about young right wing prospect Martin Samuelsson, as does Stephen Harris. They also both write about the visit by referees yesterday. First Harris, then Dupont.

Jim Baker gives us the numbers from Sunday. Bill Griffith looks at ESPN’s new prime time entertainment programming. In John Molori’s media blitz, he curiously gives Eddie Andelman space to promote himself, and to call WEEI “a sewer of bad people”. He also looks at the low-budget AT&T 3


Ron Borges bites the bullet

Ron Borges bites the bullet and writes a piece praising Brady and the Patriots. Still, you know ol’ Ron will be on the radio this week saying everyone is overblowing how good this team is. Bob Ryan is gushing. Steve Buckley writes about Bill Belichick’s Jets experiences and the inner satisfaction he must’ve felt yesterday. Jim Donaldson looks at this underdog thing. Kevin Mannix utters the “D” word (Dynasty) Yikes. Michael Gee looks at just how bad the Jets were yesterday. George Kimball examines the play faking angle by Tom Brady. Game stories are filed by Nick Cafardo for the Globe, Michael Felger for the Herald, Tom Curran for ProJo and Alan Greenberg for the Hartford Courant. Michael Smith looks at the “smother brothers” defense. He also examines the offense. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Ted Johnson, and also the switch in center position yesterday. Felger said that Woody would be back in at center a some point a few weeks ago, and Borges and Cafardo mocked him. Curran looks at Victor Green and Steve Martin’s return to Giants Stadium. The question? Steelers and Jets were supposed to be pretty good…Tebuckey Jones has the right answer. Yesterday’s NY Times had a lengthy feature on ” A changed Dr. Doom“.

From yesterday, John Tomase writes that the Red Sox could trade Nomar this offseason. He also seems to indicate that they *should*. Tony Massarotti looks at Pedro’s quest for 20 wins and another Cy Young. Bob Hohler reports on yesterday’s game. Hohler also has an informative notebook. Sean McAdam says the fans are fading away just like the Red Sox. An interesting column from yesterday, a Stamford Advocate writer criticizes the Boston Media, and contrasts Manny’s actions with David Wells staying out all night and getting beat up, and not being criticized.

An on-air confrontation between “Al from Everett” and “Angry Bill” was part of WEEI’s early morning Patriots programming. You can listen to WEEI programming all day at Callahan though still found time for Manny bashing, mocking those who knock D&C for going overboard with this topic. Dennis still hung on to the 9/11 thing. He insists that Manny was disrespectful and offensive, and that Edes, Massarotti and Holley (all named) are all wrong. Callahan called Dennis’ rant on this the least-contrived thing Dennis has ever said. I still can’t believe that with the stuff they say, these clowns have the gall to call anyone else offensive.

Fox25 has game one of Red Sox/Indians at 1:00. NESN has game two at 7:00. ABC has Eagles/Redskins at 9:00.

WBZ’s “Sports Final” with Bob

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.

On Fox25 Sports Sunday Butch

On Fox25 Sports Sunday Butch Stearns celebrated his third anniversary at the station. Ron Hobson was in studio right off the bat. The efficiency of the offense was especially impressive, given that this is a defensive team. One drive took 19 plays, Hobson says first time in the history of franchise that has happened. Hobson also mentioned the ball handling by Brady, that Belichick had gotten on Brady a little at the end of last week, and Brady worked on it. Many different receivers used again, but obvious effort to get Troy Brown the ball early. Hobson feels the ’76 team were on a roll comparable to this team, but this one is more efficient on both sides, and a better team.

Ron Nikoleski drew the short straw and was at Fenway today. A very somber and grim series of clips from the manager and players. Nomar says the team won’t quit. Burkett who was rocked again today isn’t sure of his future here. Pedro says getting to 20 wins won’t take the sting off not making the playoffs. (kind of a dumb question)

Clips of Terry Glenn and a post game interview of Glenn (big hair) led off a package of NFL highlights. Levan Reid reported from the Meadowlands, the Patriots are clearly the best team in the league, Belichick and Pioli have done a great job putting the team together, Lawyer Milloy talked about he and Ty Law not having to make all the plays anymore. The offense being able to keep the Jets offense off the team was key. Defense was in the right place at the right time all day long. Victor Green gushed about the coaching staff, Milloy talked about the team as a machine that is getting stronger. Reid didn’t hear the J-E-T-S chant all day. All day the pressure was on Vinny. The offense was spread all over the place, and ate up the clock.

Last Blast against those who blast Belichick. He’s all about winning, Ted Johnson starting today after what happened last week is a perfect example of that.

WHDH’s Sports Xtra had the advantage tonight of not having direct competition from “Sports Final” due to the Buffalo game going past 8:00. Gene Lavanchy of course led off with Patriots but also asked if Manny Ramirez’s numbers are worth keeping him around – that would be discussed later. Gary Gillis was at the Meadowlands, and filed the game report. Ted Johnson talking about the confidence the players have in the scheme each week was among the clips. Tim Fox and Fred Smerlas joined Lavanchy at the table, and Smerlas said the score wasn’t even an indication of just how bad they beat the Jets, citing the turnovers. They will have a bump sometime, but it’s pretty hard seeing someone beat them. Fox talked about the team effort, including the coaches. Smerlas doesn’t think the Jets are that good of a team, he has them for last in the division.

Bledsoe and NFL highlights, as well as a report from Bruins training camp were up next. Mike O’Connell wants a defenseman back in any trade for Kyle McLaren. Didn’t rule out re-signing Byron Defoe, but didn’t sound at all likely.

Back to Smerlas and Fox. Fred wonders who in the world made the Jets the favorite today. Fox says you won’t see the Patriots as an underdog again. The playfakes by Brady were talked about, Fox talked about his maturity as a QB, he wasn’t really asked to make plays last year, he is doing it this year. Smerlas says this team is able to adjust to whatever the situation and is resilient. Jets make a big play, next play Green gets the INT. Fox noted the bounce back from the Troy Brown fumble. Weis’ trick plays, fake reverse…Jets prepared for reverse, so the fake worked perfectly, and the pass worked. The other fake snap to Faulk, Brady sells it by leaping as if it were a high snap. Lavanchy called them the most dominant team in the AFC. Next week, K.C., Vermeil is a strategist as well, good matchup. Asked about a potential letdown, Fox only worries about what goes around comes around, getting bad breaks, injuries. Smerlas talks about their smarts and being the hardest hitting team in the NFL, shouldn’t have any problems with letdowns.

Up next were Tony Massarotti and Jackie MacMullan and the topic was Manny. Tony feels the scrutiny of Manny went too far this week, but there is no excuse for the non run out. Clip was played of the incident, and Manny walking past Grady Little in the dugout, who does nothing. MacMullan says Little sealed his fate with his non-action. She said mark her words. Lavanchy asked if you can overlook Manny’s aloofness…MacMullan said you can’t overlook not running out. They need to get tough with the guy, she said they would trade him if they could. They need to take him out of the lineup if he does this again. Both agree that they are stuck with Manny, he’s the one who stays if the new owners blow up the team. Tony says no one can make Manny do anything. He has these shortcomings. MacMullan doesn’t agree with that attitude. Tony says the Sox need a player in the clubhouse who can stand up and get on Manny. Jackie suggested bringing in a Don Baylor-type as a manager. She said Manny could also be suspended for insubordination.

Leading off the last segment, Lavanchy said in this “season of great disappointment”, Derek Lowe has been a high point. Kip Lewis narrated the piece on Lowe, with highlights and clips of his season. No-hitter, 20 wins.

Midnight…and “Message in a bottle” is still playing on WBZ. I’m going to set the VCR and hopefully get up early enough in the morning to watch and log the show.

The most likable of all

The most likable of all the WEEI shows is the “NFL Sunday” program hosted by Dale Arnold, and joined by Kevin Mannix, Ron Hobson, and Steve Nelson. Freed from the shrill and snobbish tones of Bob Neumeier, Arnold is able to be his true relaxed folksy self. There is good chemistry on this panel, and corny jokes and good natured ribbing are the rule. And it works. This morning there was talk of Johnny Unitas, and the benefit of having guys like Ron Hobson around is that he actually saw Unitas play against the Patriots, over at Harvard Stadium.

WB56 has its Sunday morning football show with Mike Ratte, Eddie Andelman and Pete Brock. Later, Nick Cafardo and Jim Donaldson also appeared, Cafardo talked about his pick of the Jets to go the SuperBowl. A little back and forth between Donaldson and Cafardo about Nick’s seeming anti-Patriot stance. Nick seems tired of this topic, and says his goal in life is to be as perfect as Donaldson. Donaldson is pro-Patriot, thinking that the Pats will sweep the Jets. Eddie was back after the next break and brought along his own thanksdad, his son Michael. Michael started out saying Nick has had too many cocktails. He talked about the Jets age, and that their offense “stinks”. Eddie picks the Jets for 8-8. Eddie also isn’t fully convinced about the Patriots. He lashed out about those who think you can’t say anything bad about the Patriots. Michael said the Pats haven’t lost in 10 months. Eddie is concerned about the running game. Everyone who appeared on the show picked the Patriots to win except Eddie, who picked the Jets to win 27-19.

Lenny Megliola has his article on the cottage industry of sports reporters appearing on TV and Radio. Yesterday, Michael Holley wrote his second piece about Manny and his critics.

The good news was no

The good news was no Manny talk on WWZN. The bad news was that Eddie was in Vegas. Borges was with him for much of the program. All the usual wiseguys were brought on air. This is a tired act, folks. The McDonough group was Butch Stearns, Nick Cafardo and Tim Fox. WEEI’s Big Show was Ordway, Smerlas and Felger.

Peter King writes about the amazing Patriots air show. Mike Fine visits “Planet Manny” and tells him to grow up. Bill Simmons looks at USA basketball. Glen Farley looks at the age contrast between the Patriots offense and defense. From earlier this week, a Steve Zipay column looks at the NFL shows, and has Bill Parcells picking the Patriots to go to the SuperBowl again. previews the Jets and Patriots, twice even. A moonlighting Peter May gives us his top five NBA GM efforts over the past year. Michael Felger files a Patriots team report for The Sporting News. An amusing Sportoon on Page2

To wrap up the latest

To wrap up the latest Manny happening, it appears all the flap that was stirred up yesterday, inciting fans and listeners against Ramirez, was nothing more than a sleazy ruse by talk show hosts to stir things up. The only ones who thought Manny’s actions Wednesday night were out of line were people who were not even there. Everyone who was actually there, beat writers from both the Globe and Herald, have stated that Manny did nothing disrespectful. So will guys like John Dennis, Gerry Callahan, Bob Neumeier, Steve Burton and to a lesser degree Dale Arnold, be admonished, or have any action taken against them for this? Of course not. Their job is to stir things up, get people talking. Most of the time it’s ok, but sometimes things go too far. This is a perfect example. Ramirez is by all accounts, a shy, sensitive, humble guy, who doesn’t lash back at the media. (they love that) They have vilified this guy, put him in the Carl Everett class, and all talk is now about how the fans want him out of town. On that account, I’d say they’re mistaken. Most fans agree with Bob Ryan’s assessment yesterday of Ramirez: He’s a goofball, not a deviant. He’s a lovable goofball. He is also the most potent run producer in baseball. Now the media is trying to push the Sox into dumping this guy ala Carl Everett for Darren Oliver? Trying to discern their motivation is guesswork…are they jealous of his salary? His talent? That he is not the ideal fair haired boy? The fact that this all comes on the heels of a huge Patriots victory Monday night, and another big game Sunday against the archrival New York Jets makes it all the more curious. It’s not like they were short on topics and needed to make one up to get people interested in sports. The actions yesterday on sport radio were irresponsible. Larry Lucchino should immediately sever all ties to the Dennis and Callahan morning show.

Both Bob Hohler and Jeff Horrigan address the topic in their notebooks today. Horrigan calls the incident a result of a “piling on mentality”. Horrigan and Gordon Edes deserve credit for not giving into the pack mentality on this issue and keeping their objectivity. All the beat guys have been pretty fair on this topic, it’s been the shock jock radio and TV guys who go to extremes. Michael Silverman looks at Tim Wakefield.

Dan Shaughnessy has a good article on Tom Brady. Karen Guregian writes about Bill Belichick getting into opponents heads. The New York Times writes about Belichick’s rubik’s cube defenses. Nick Cafardo reports on Ted Johnson and Bill Belichick patching things up, Drew Bledsoe’s beneficence, and Curtis Martin wanting the Jets to be like the Patriots. Cafardo also has an article on Cam Cleeland. Leigh Montville has his weekly picks. Rich Thompson’s notebook has Belichick reminiscing Johnny Unitas, and praising Jarvis Green. He also gets Curtis Martin’s views on his center, Kevin Mawae. Paul Kenyon allots an entire article to Green. Kenyon’s notebook looks at the special teams challenge the Patriots will be facing. Elsewhere, Michael Gee writes about the Bellman equation.

Kevin Paul Dupont says Bruins fans are dreaming if they think this team can win it all. Speaking of bold predictions, Karen Guregian says the B’s will need Joe Thornton to step it up this year. Stephen Harris looks at the new goalie, Steve Shields.

Jackie MacMullan looks at the situation a year after the Pentucket football hazing scandal. Bill Griffith previews the weekend sports viewing and like Jim Baker reported yesterday, mentions a story coming up Sunday in the Metro West Daily News about the cottage industry that has developed from sportswriters appearing on numerous TV and radio shows. John Howell mentions in his media notes about the Red Sox being all-NESN in Connecticut next year, and a possible rate hike.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Marlins at 7:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Astros at 8:00.

WWZN pretty much stayed away

WWZN pretty much stayed away from the Manny stuff, but it was brought up occasionally…until Mr Dramatic, Steve Burton showed up with Nick Cafardo and Tim Hasselbeck. Burton tried to build this thing up and stir things up into a frenzy, then Gordon Edes called in from Tampa, and after making reference to Michael Felger as a “knucklehead”, (told Nick he was amazed that some knucklehead said Nick didn’t report the facts) Gordon called the Manny thing a “non-issue”, and “piling on”. It was harmless, it was not a case of disrespect.

Burton talked about Manny being the last one to take his place in line, and “fiddling and diddling in the dugout.” Edes said that Manny joined them in a minute or two, He was there, he saw it, he looked to see who was there. Edes asked if people are making a big deal about when Manny walked out there, Burton said yes, that Manny should’ve been the first one out there. Edes said he’s been critical of Manny for things in the past, such as the incident the other day, but “now we’re piling on, to say that Manny was indifferent to this whole thing.” He remembers “turning to Steve Krasner when Manny was walking out with with his emergency worker, and Manny started twisting and limbering up, and we just looked at each other and said ‘What a goofball’ but that’s as far as it went, it wasn’t a show of disrespect or anything. He stood there on the baseline for 20 minutes just like the rest of the club” while the General spoke. “At 9:11 PM he stood at attention on the field for the moment of silence just like everyone else. I mean, c’mon, now it is getting to the ludicrous stage.”

Burton went back to when Manny was walking out with the firefighter, and asked if Manny went ahead of the firefighter. Edes replied: “I’ve heard this thing where he was supposedly a step and a half in front of the firefighter. That’s ridiculous. When he started limbering up a little bit, yeah he probably pulled ahead of the guy, but when they got to the basepath, he did say something to the guy when they were at the baseline.” Edes got a call from his sports editor this morning, asking “What is this?” Edes said he assured him, “We were watching.” Burton challenged Edes about if Manny was behind the rest of his teammates, once everyone was lined up out there. Burton said emphatically that Manny was lagging behind, Edes said if he was, it was only for a “matter of seconds. He got up there right with everyone else.” For all he knows, he was one of the last to get up there, and who knows what he was doing in the dugout the seconds before the thing went on. Edes again then said “this is a non-issue, it’s total piling on”.

Burton then said we’re gonna get the video and said they’ll show it to him next time they see him. (Sports Final?) Cafardo said he is in the middle on this, and said that if the Red Sox are in first place, no one looks at this sort of thing. Edes said Bob Ryan’s article today was right on. You can put up with a goofball when he’s hitting .336 with 28 HR and 90RBI despite missing a quarter of the season. Edes said: “I’m not saying you’re supposed to tolerate him disrespecting 9/11 because he’s hitting .340…what I’m saying is he didn’t disrespect 9/11” Then talked about some stuff Manny’s done in the past, including getting thrown out in the playoffs with Cleveland because he didn’t go all out on the bases. Edes said he’s gotten calls today, heard people talking, and it’s his (Edes) turn to sound like a player and say “C’mon people get a life.”

Burton didn’t get a life…he continued on…he added that he has sources that say Manny wants out of town, he feels the media has it out for him. Burton said he thinks the media has been fair to Manny. (Of course he does) and that the Red Sox are “working on something” to get him out. This is classic Burton. Pretend like you know something. Like the time he was hinting about the Red Sox players that he knew was on steroids.

More Manny….Dennis and Callahan had

More Manny….Dennis and Callahan had the froth going full force. The latest is that Manny was disrespectful during the 9/11 ceremonies last night. Larry Lucchino was on for his weekly appearance and D&C couldn’t wait to tell him all about it. Lucchino had no idea, no one had told him, and it wasn’t in any of the papers today. Dennis said that Manny wasn’t on the top step of the dugout with his teammates during the ceremonies, and instead was in the dugout, chewing, spitting and laughing and joking. Then during the player introductions, in which each player was joined by a police or firefighter, Manny was a “step and a half” ahead of his, and instead of talking or being friendly (like Johnny Damon) he was stretching and acting oblivious. Lucchino said he would follow up, pursue this and take action.

(My thoughts…if this was such a huge deal…how come this was the first Lucchino heard of it? Is he clueless, or are D&C blowing things out of proportion? Second, D&C sound just like a couple of whining schoolboys running to tattle to the teacher.) More:

Callahan stated that Lucchino must be so frustrated by all this…Lucchino said he is frustrated by the guaranteed contracts, look at player’s conduct, authority to players by players association, something in best interest of game was ‘an intrusion and privacy of players.’ When you start paying people $15-20 Million a year, you lose control of them, tendency when they make multiples of coaches and managers, difficulties are inevitable in controlling. Callahan said that now these guys put name on (the dotted) line, financially secure forever, there’s nothing you can do to me, nothing management, fans, or media can do.

(Why should the media have to *do* anything? Aren’t they just there to report on what is happening? Not to influence or control any portion of it.)

Keeping on the Manny theme, Dennis asked Lucchino’s reaction to Manny’s come-backer (to the dugout)? He’d never seen anything like it before, so it was shock to him. My reaction was more muted than media. Manny’s act of apologizing was something people might not have expected. Initial reaction quite positive, something had to give a little bit. Maybe something positive, wake up call for Manny. Different going forward. Dennis said Gradys (non)action was just as unsettling, he didn’t even look at Manny. Lucchino said Grady has been addressed, should have done something on spot. Has dealt with it forthrightly, won’t happen again. talked about Earl Weaver saying “if you didn’t correct a player right there, on the spot, you’re likely to get same behavior again”… Guarantee he’ll do that next time. But Manny’s instinct should be to run to first.

Dennis stated that Manny can do hard part, hitting a baseball. Easy part, hustling, standing on top step of dugout he can’t do. Lucchino said Let’s not confuse style: casual, passiveness, not true manifestation of his competitive nature, he wants to win… not the 9/11 disrespect, but the other things. He quoted a basketball coach “Hustle is the last refuge of the mediocre player” Callahan said that there are not many reasons left to watch except Pedro, or to see if Tony Clark can get another hit, asked Lucchino what would he say as to why we should watch? Lucchino is watching for a finish to contrast with last year’s finish, see how they play every night, doesn’t quit, cares, not want to see a team mail it in. If these guys had pick up basketball game, they’d care about it, they should here… I like to see the wins, so I’m watching with great enthusiasm.

As far as prospects, Callahan asked “other than Freddy Sanchez, who do we want to see?” Lucchino mentioned Fossum, who is maturing right in front of our eyes. Benny Agbayani, look at the contribution he’s making. A healthy Cliff Floyd and watching him perform, that is great fun. He added frankly seeing Manny put up some big numbers in the batting race. he looks for intensity, during the grand slam, pointing, showing he’s in the game…Dennis counters with “but then you see Manny standing in batter’s box after homerun only six rows in seats after that?” Lucchino said Manny knew the ball was gone.

A little talk about Yawkey way, how great it is. Lucchino did say the media missed the boat on this one, and focused on the Liquor license rather than the fact that it would be a fan friendly plaza.

As is WEEI’s custom, the topic spilled over to the next show. Dale & Neumy followed the lead of D&C and picked up the torches of the lynchmob to continue the chase of Manny. Dale hates players who don’t stand for the entire National Anthem, or Hockey players who might skate around the goal during the last few lines. Dale does think that Manny doesn’t intentionally mean to be disrespectful, but that that isn’t really an excuse. Neumeier mocked all those who only care about the numbers he puts up. He went on to say this is an indictment of the organization, and this will continue for years to come if action is not taken. Neumeier reported Sean McAdam saying on the weekend baseball show about teammates confronting Manny at various times during the season, and it having no effect. A caller suggested teammates beating Manny with soap wrapped in a towel a la “Full Metal Jacket”. Dale also invoked the name of Carl Everett in comparison to Manny. That some people only cared about the numbers that he put up, and didn’t care what he did off the field, and in the clubhouse etc. Those same people only care what numbers Manny puts up.

Couple things wrong with that. Manny is 10 times the player Everett is. Manny isn’t destructive off the field, he’s not fighting with teammates or yelling at the manager and reporters.

But Manny does understand what’s going on. Check out this quote from yesterday’s Hartford Courant: “You know what it is,” Ramirez said to his teammates a few feet away. “Carl Everett left, so they want to pick on me.”

That same article has the following quote from John W. Henry: When asked for his take on the incident, Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in an e-mailed response to The Courant, said: “I believe that sometimes the desire a player has to contribute is so strong that when a poor result happens, frustration leads to actions that give the opposite impression.

“But I’ll tell you this, if we had nine Mannys on the field every day, we might be undefeated this year,” Henry said. “There aren’t many professional athletes that work harder on their skills than Manny Ramirez. I can’t think of a batter I would rather see coming up to the plate in a Red Sox uniform than No. 24.”

Finally, Peter Gammons also teed off on Manny today. In an appearance on the Tony Kornheiser show this morning, Gammons went after Manny as a human and as a player, and said that he is the poster child for everything that is wrong with the game of baseball. There might be an archive of this interview up sometime today on the ESPN Radio web site.

Bob Ryan has the correct

Bob Ryan has the correct take on Manny. The last two paragraphs sum things up nicely. Bill Reynolds is a little harder on him, and Jim Donaldson harder still. Bob Hohler’s game story from last night has Pedro trying to make sense of Manny. Steven Krasner also focuses in on Manny. Jeff Horrigan centers more on Pedro. Gordon Edes weighs in on the umps zero-tolerance policy with the Sox and Rays. Hohler’s notebook looks at the status of the Sox appealing suspensions. Michael Silverman recaps the remembrances of September 11 from the game last night.

Michael Felger and also Tom Curran have stories on Curtis Martin and his views of the Super Bowl champs. Michael Smith looks at how a second game of the season matchup with the Jets last year changed Tom Brady’s life. Steve Conroy, as well as Smith’s notebook check in with Joe Andruzzi. Felger reports on Roman Phifer’s condition in his notebook, while Tom Curran has a little bit of everything in his. Michael Gee reminisces about Johnny Unitas.

With the first on-ice practice session of the season today, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris look at the absentees.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in yesterday regarding Borges and Shaughnessy, the response was overwhelming.

FOX25 has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 2:15. ESPN has Marshall/Virginia Tech College football at 7:30. HBO’s Inside the NFL at 8:00 includes a sit-down interview with Tom Brady.