Butch Stearns started off reporting on Fox25 Sports Sunday that Billy Beane has turned the Red Sox down and will not be their GM after all. He’s quoting Fox25 sources, but the AP and ESPN are also reporting the same thing at this hour. Stearns says that Beane agreed earlier in the day to a deal with the Red Sox, but called back later in the day to say that he changed his mind.
Sports Extra on Channel 7 with Gene Lavanchy also led off with Billy Beane withdrawing his name from consideration for the Red Sox GM job. Onto Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox about the Patriots. Coming back on the road like that says a lot, according to Smerlas. Lavanchy said he doesn’t know what else Brady can do to prove himself to people. Fox, sounded like he’s been hanging around Borges too much on WWZN, said he is very disappointed in this win, as it shows the Patriots are a mediocre team. They should’ve won easily against a very poor Chicago Bears team. Smerlas pointed out that this is a mediocre league, no dominant teams. The Patriots are getting the breaks again, the calls and mistakes by the other team and taking advantage of them. Fox says the Bears coach Dick Jauron doesn’t look good after this one.
A couple Tom Brady plays were mentioned, first he shoved the lineman in the pile, and also tried to strip the ball in the interception that was reversed on replay. Showed character. Fox says they just used the same game plan they used last week at Buffalo, and they need to game plan individually for each teams. Lavanchy said that Vinatieri is a future Hall of Famer. Kevin Faulk’s emergence was discussed, as was the pass Brady made to him on the hotread off the blitz. Fox said both the team and Faulk are gaining confidence in Faulk. Stopping the Bears on second and one and third and one was critical, do or die time. Smerlas said it was a real fun game to watch except for Randy Cross, who drove him crazy. Fox hopes that the coaches and players learn something from this game. Only then is the win a positive. He said if they play like this next week, they will not win. He emphasized that they need to establish the running game. Quit passing on third and one, give it to Smith and let him build confidence.
Tony Massarotti was in next to talk about Billy Beane. Tony said it was a done deal, the hairpin turn at the 11th hour is startling. But he thinks the person who looks the worst in all of this is Beane. He kept going to the owners asking for permission to talk to the Red Sox, and then when it is granted, he backs out. He said the Red Sox look good in this, they played their cards right in sticking through this. For Beane to put the pressure on Oakland ownership and then pull out defies logic and makes no sense. Now Mike Port and Lee Thomas come back to the forefront. They will be an easier sell than someone like Mike Arbuckle now. The Red Sox went above and beyond what they needed to do to get this done they don’t suffer from this. Tony says we’ll know in the next 10-12 days for sure who will be the new GM, he says Port or Thomas, Lavanchy says Port.
An interview with Paul Pierce was up next. He feels like he’s really entering his prime now. Just scratching his potential. He feel he’s more than just a scorer. He feels he’s a top defender, can pass the ball too. He talked about guys like McGrady, Kobe etc overshadowing him, they’re more of high-flyers, highlight reels. Paul is faster than people might think, and he feels he’s smarter than most players. Paul says Antoine is at his best when he’s pushing the ball, when he’s hitting the three, he’s unstoppable, Paul said he’s a 2002 Magic Johson with a three point shot. He can handle the ball, pass, rebound, post up or shot from outside. Pierce did acknowledge that at times he might cringe at some of the threes that Walker might take, but that he should be taking them, and when he hits them you can’t stop him.
WBZ’s Sports Final, Bob Lobel said it just isn’t easy being a sports fan in Boston. The comeback was amazing and now in the NFL almost all teams are either 5-4 or 4-5. Dan Roche reported from Champaign, providing the game story. (Ho-hum, another Patriots miracle win) There was even a “live” shot during the game, immediately after Patten’s TD catch, while they were reviewing the call Roche went to the spot and pointed where Patten’s foot dragged across. Michael Smith and Michael Felger joined him. Smith noted there is a lot of things they still need to improve, but a win is a win. Felger said this is one of the most clutch teams in the NFL, they do this sort of thing consistently. They win a lot of one on one matchups when it counts. Smth noted one or two plays or games in the course of a season is going to make a difference with all the teams so close. Felger noted the Patten touchdown call by the official was very gutsy, it was a very quick play, and had it been called the other way, it might’ve been tough to overturn with the video available. Felger also noted the mistakes by Chicago giving the the Pats extra plays, and Brady going to Weis and suggesting the winning play. As for next week, going to be a hostile crowd, Smith isn’t too intimidated by the Raiders after their recent struggles. Felger likes their chances next week as it will be an emotional game.
Upton Bell joined Steve DeOssie and Scott Zolak with Lobel. Zolak noted that this team only plays good when they’re ticked off or odds are stacked against them. Bell said that the league and players are just mediocre. He knew the Patriots could come back on such a poor team. DeOssie clarified mediocrity versus parity. Bell went on bashing the Bears, pointing to each panelist and asking them if they though this was a good or even mediocre Bears team. How did this happen, Lobel asked? DeOssie noted that they just opened it up, and they were successful moving the ball. Bell is concerned about the defense, he doesn’t think it’s a good defense. Lobel chastised him for having a swarmy look while bashing the Patriots defense. Zolak said the Bears lost the game on the Faulk TD off the zone blitz. He says that’s the one play that lost the game for the Bears. Results of a viewer poll where up next. 600 people, 72% said the Patriots will make the playoffs, while only 35% say they will repeat as champs.
Onto the Beane situation. Lobel says the deal was done earlier in the day and read a quote from Beane saying the Red Sox were willing to pay him more than he could’ve believed, but it was about more then just money. Shaughnessy joined Lobel and Rob Neyer from ESPN.com was tied in. Neyer was surprised that Beane pulled out, he says the public reason will be about his daughter, though Neyer mentioned the grumblings around the league about Lucchino being difficult to work with. He added that the Red Sox may not need a powerful GM with all the talented people they have. It may not be that important who the GM is right now, The Sox are almost set up like the Yankees are right now, if they get a guy who can work within the system, they’ll be fine, plenty of smart people there. Shaughnessy is mad because he has to change his column for tomorrow. He thinks it has nothing to do with Lucchino, he thinks it’s about the personal situation. He might’ve been feeling guilty about being the highest paid GM and felt the pressure would be too much here. Bell wondered why they need Beane if they have Lucchino, Epstein, etc. Lobel had a copy of Bill James’ book, and asked why he would join the Sox, Neyer said that James wants to be a piece of the action, wants to see if he can have an impact on the field. Shaughnessy is concerned about this whole “stat man” thing. (“Gimble was an idiot”) He doesn’t like statistical analysis, he goes by what he sees. He added that John Henry made his living off numbers, but that he should stick to the pork bellies.
After a commercial break. Pedro was the topic. Lobel asked what difference does it make if he wins the Cy Young or not. He put up Pedro’s quotes about wanting to make that last start, and his comments about the Dominican players being the top ten. Lobel called those last remarks “out and out racist” by Pedro. He said Pedro threw his manager, pitching coach and trainer under the bus with the first comments. Shaughnessy says Pedro is wading into Roger Clemens territory with those comments. Neyer does believe Zito was a proper choice, most of the time the voters go with the guy with the most wins. To close out the Beane talk, Neyer said people change their minds all the time, they’re all humans. Shaughnessy says Larry looks like he can’t get a date for the dance. He thinks there will be a GM by committee until Theo is ready.
Back to Champaign, where Roche was joined this time by Borges and Cafardo. Guess they’re separating them from Felger now. Cafardo is excited about the division, the Patriots have put themselves in a position where they can lose to Raiders and not have it matter too much. Borges pointed out that sure the Patriots are in first place, but they’re also a game out of last place. Cafardo said they came out very flat today, but maybe they have the swtich they can turn on against subpar teams. (Borges later noted that the switch is a bad thing, they might try to turn on the switch against a good team and it’s not goign to work.) Borges liked the defense at the end of the game. Noted stopping the Bears after they had a second and one where if they gave up the yard, the game was over. Cafardo noted Vinatiari’s record kick. Borges is concerned about them not beating the good teams in the league. He doesn’t know if the Raiders even qualify as a good team. Lobel asked about the tie game in Pittsburgh and what effect that could have on the playoff situation. As it isn’t a loss, it helps the Steelers. Asked if the Patriots can distinguish themselves amidst the mediocrity, Both Borges and Cafardo said they can be better than mediocre, but not sure about being a good team. Bell chimed in about the defense being lousy, Borges said they’re just about the same as they were a year ago. Cafardo doesn’t think they’re nearly as good as a year ago. Bell singled out Seymour as playing poor. Borges and Carfardo said they were in the press box asking “Where’s Seymour?, Where’s Seymour?” Borges said his technique is very poor right now. Roche noted that Belichick pondered the plaque of Red Grange for a good five minutes.
Lobel had some memorabilia to show off, a 1972 Bruins Stanley Cup Ring owned by Dallas Smith that is being auctioned off. They also showed Ty Cobb’s bat from 1926. A Lacrosse helmet worn by Jimmy Brown, and a Pete Maravich basketball that he used to the break the NCAA scoring record with. They also had a Maravich LSU jersey, that has already bids over 40 grand on it, they even had a Maravich Celtics jersey. They showed a Tom Heinsohn Celtics jersey and a 1969 All Star uniform worn by Bill Russell. Lou Gehrig’s pants from 1931 were shown, as were Jackie Robinson’s 1949 uniform pants. They had a Superman cape and outfit that Christopher Reeve wore in the movies. Lobel joked about buying the tights for his wife. These items are all available at grayflannelauctions.com