So the Red Sox GM scoop battle continues in the media. While WEEI and WWZN spent all day yesterday shooting down “broadcast reports” that Theo Epstein would be the next Sox GM, Butch Stearns, the one who originated the “broadcast report” dug in his heels last night on his Fox25 sportscast, guaranteeing that Epstein will be the guy. The news anchor said to Stearns: “So you’re willing to bet your house on this?” To which Stearns replied “Yes”. So we’ll see.

This brings up a major pet peeve of mine in the media. I cannot stand it when a story is broken with the opener: (insert call letters or column name here) “has learned that….” I *hate* that. Yesterday it was WEEI doing it all day. “WEEI has learned that Epstein will not be named Sox GM….” A clearly remember two years ago, after Pitino’s final full season with the Celtics when there were rumors he was talking to colleges about leaving the Celtics, a smug Gene Lavanchy with a smarmy smile on his face opened Sports Xtra by saying “WHDH-TV has learned that Rick Pitino has met with the University of whatever to discuss their coaching vacancy.” It’s stuck in my head forever and though Lavanchy might be one of the good guys in the media, I still get annoyed when I think of that. I *hate* that phrase “has learned”. It’s lazy, and uninformative. Almost an insult to the viewer or reader. We know something you don’t know, but we’re going to grace you with something special. Blah. If you ever read the words on this site “Boston Sports Media Watch has learned that…” please, just take me out back to the woodshed. Please. First give me a spoon though so I can gouge my eyes out before you shoot me.

Stepping off the soapbox…Onto the actual reports of the Red Sox GM search. Gordon Edes speculates that though Epstein may have an expanded role with the Sox, a likely scenario is having Lee Thomas take the lead position and keep it warm for Epstein, as the Sox “have cooled” on Mike Port. Sean McAdam has a brief article the on Epstein rumor denial. Tony Massarotti gives the same information in a small Red Sox notebook. Steve Buckley slams the induction of John Harrington into the Red Sox Hall of Fame while shining the boots of the new owners.

Gerry Callahan mocks Raiders fans for the second time in 11 months. (He wrote a similar article just before the snow game.) I think the first one was better, though this one is also fun to send to any Raider’s fans that you know. Jim Donaldson is tired of predictions of guaranteed wins. Kevin Faulk is the media darling of the day. Paul Kenyon notes that Faulk is tied for the team lead in touchdowns. Nick Cafardo examines the reversed roles of Faulk and J.R. Redmond. Ian Clark makes the point that Belichick is simply riding the hot hand, and the hot hand is Faulk. George Kimball concludes the series of Faulk articles. From his time in the AFC West, Christian Fauria played against the Raiders many times, and against then Bronco’s linebacker Bill Romanowski just as many times. Rich Thompson has a look at Fauria renewing old and sometimes bitter acquaintances. Michael O’Connor looks at Greg Randall (drop the Robinson) working his way back into the starting lineup. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the Patriots attitude going into Oakland. Kenyon’s notebook has more from benched J.R. Redmond. Thompson’s notebook has Belichick lauding Adam Vinatieri. Leigh Montville gives his picks.

OK Bruins fans….I hear ya…so I’ll give out some Bruins links today. Just be forewarned that this could be the kiss of death, so if they plummet in the standings the after this, don’t talk to me…Kevin Paul Dupont gives appreciation to Don Sweeney, calling him the “the bow to Ray Bourque’s Stradivarius.” for so many years. Joe Gordon also lauds Sweeney. Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell provide game stories on last night’s 4-1 win, which pushed the Bruins record to a pretty amazing 11-2-2. Jim Greenidge gets some quotes from a pleased captain Joe Thornton. Bill Keefe looks at the play of the Bruins special teams. The Globe’s notebook provides some injury updates, while the Herald’s notebook looks at injured again Islanders captain Michael Peca.

With undefeated Dallas coming into town for tonight’s matchup with the Celtics, Gus Martins looks at a confident Celtics team. Shira Springer also looks at the clash of the streaks. Martin’s notebook has Eric Williams pitching his theory of a 70% solution. Jackie MacMullan provides an enthralling old-style Globe feature on NBA referee Bob Delaney, who in a previous life was an undercover FBI agent. The only thing I wish this article included was Delaney’s thoughts on the NBA referees involved in the tax fraud scandal a few years back.

Jim Baker writes about Rick Middleton’s appearances on Globe partner NESN. Bill Griffith looks at WCVB’s Patriots All Access program and has some other media notes.

FSNE has Celtics/Mavericks at 8:00. (ESPN Nationally) ESPN also has Rockets/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Marquette/Villanova college basketball at 6:30 and Texas/Georgia at 9:00.