Red Sox and Bruins fans in areas of Maine could be without an avenue to watch those teams according to a report in the 11/18 edition of Multichannel news, which reports: “Susquehanna Communications (SusCom), a cable operator in ME, “sent direct-mail questionnaires to 20,000 customers” asking them to “make a choice between accepting” a 9% increase in their $38.21 full basic service price or losing NESN and having prices increase only 3%, according to Linda Haugsted of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. If the net, which costs each subscriber $3.40 per month, is dropped, customers would lose access to about 150 Red Sox games and 80 Bruins games per year. SusCom Brunswick GM Patrick McCormick said, “I understand the value of the programming, but I’m concerned about the rates overall”
Dan Shaughnessy tries again to peddle his fatalistic crap. We’re not buying. Sure, the Patriots might not make the playoffs. Would it represent a “colossal fall”? Well considering it’s not unheard of that defending Super Bowl champion teams miss the playoffs the next year, (The NY Giants did it twice) Dan’s argument here is nothing more than misleading vividness. (Or could it be an appeal to fear) These appear to be Dan’s favorite techniques to fall back on. I’m no expert on fallacies of logic, but it would be interesting to match writers in town with their favorite crutches. Sounds like a future project/column there. Shaughnessy uses several. In any event, the vast majority of New England fans are not eagerly awaiting the day they can declare the Patriots season over, nor do they love to do the same thing with the Red Sox. He indicates that all the signs point to a collapse. The Globe has a box in which it compares key stats from this year and last at the same juncture. They’re almost identical across the board, with most of the small advantages going in favor of this years team. The huge difference though, in which last years team had the big advantage is Red Zone defense. They can solve that, they’re in fine shape.
Michael Felger has a look at the recovered Bob Kraft. Michael Smith has a look at the suddenly dangerous and scary Vikings. Felger’s notebook follows Antowain Smith to a Roxbury school visit. That’s about it for Patriots articles this morning. Light day.
Despite a rash of injuries, the Bruins hadn’t lost since Halloween. Last night, they finally tasted defeat for the first time since then. Kevin Paul Dupont has the game, in which a defenseman ( Jonathan Girard) was forced into duty at forward. Stephen Harris observed that for the first two periods, the Bruins were clearly the better team on the ice. Dan Hickling also has a very thorough account of the game. Dupont’s notebook has Dafoe thrilled to be joining the Atlanta Thrashers, and notes wryly that Ray Bourque’s son Chris is “penciled in” to play for BU starting in 2005. Steve Conroy also has word and reaction on Dafoe. Hickling’s notebook has a Nick Boynton jersey headed to the hall of fame. Harris’ notebook has more injury news.
Gus Martins looks at the Celtics preparing for Jason Kidd and the Nets tonight. Shira Springer says the team is trying to downplay the significance of the game. Martins’ notebook looks at the Celtics strategy of drawing Dikembe Mutombo away from the basket. Tim Weisberg writes that tonight is a chance for the new look Celtics to prove themselves. Christopher Price says Paul Gaston might be the worst owner in the history of Boston sports.
Hope springs eternal for Butch Stearns. Sean McAdam reports that it’s looking more and more like Theo is the man. Gordon Edes says that Tom Glavine is a no-go for the Sox. I expected more uproar in the media over the Sox lack of interest in the hometown kid. Tony Massarotti has details of a snag in the Sox attempts to bring in Charlie Manuel as their hitting instructor. Alex Speier notes that the Bill James hiring brings the Sox a step closer to their new organizational blueprint.
FSNE has Celtics/Nets at 7:00. NESN has a replay of the Red Sox 2002 Hall of Fame Ceremony at 8:00. ESPN has continuing coverage of the Preseason NIT at 7:00 and Sixers/Grizzlies NBA action at 9:00. ESPN2 has West Virginia/Virginia Tech college football at 7:00 and Preseason NIT action at 10:30.
With a day to absorb it all, the loss Sunday night doesn’t look much better. Kevin Mannix explains that because of the late night, he didn’t have time to properly view the tape and do the normal report card, so he and a bunch of media cronies made one up on the plane home. The Union Leader also provides its weekly Patriots report card. Tom Curran assures us that a loss to the Raiders isn’t such a big deal, while Ron Borges contends otherwise. Borges believes the fact that the Patriots lose to teams with winning records is a bad harbinger. He takes a tough look at the team, he is cold, but objective. No joy in the loss, no “genius” cracks. Who staged the intervention with him? Conflicting opinions from the rest of the media crew as well. Alan Greenberg didn’t find anything encouraging about the performance Sunday and doesn’t seem too convinced that they can turn it around. Paul Kenyon says that not only do they have the same record as last year, but they’re in better position to make a run. At the end of his column, Bill Reynolds makes a very salient point. I’ve heard people say that this 5-5 record feels different from last years 5-5 record, that last years felt better….well, it all has to do with expectation. Reynolds notes: “maybe we’d be looking at this differently if last year had never happened. But it did. And it raised expectations. Expectations so high that 5-5 in late November is frustrating, even if the flip side is the Pats still are very much in the thick of the playoff chase.”
Gerry Callahan asserts that Brady still has time to learn the deep ball. Lenny Megliola seems to agree, but is a little more stressed over it. Nick Cafardo notes the calm demeanor of Coach Belichick yesterday. Steve Buckley observes that “miracle” teams usually don’t do too well the following season. Surprised he didn’t mention his personal favorite, the 1914 Miracle Braves, who the next season finished 7 games out of first. Deep Ball talk dominates the notebooks, with Mark Murphy discussing it, as well Cafardo in his notebook. Cafardo also notes the Falcons’ interest in Scott Pioli.
The Lowell Sun had reported last Friday in its article on Kedrick Brown that he had once suffered a “turf toe” type injury. The injury has returned. Peter May and Gus Martins have the coverage. May’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce attempting to get his three point stroke back, while Martins notebook focuses on a lack of execution hurting the team in it’s last two losses.
Gordon Edes reports that the Sox are in the thick of it for Cuban Ace Pitcher Jose Contreras, who one scout compares to Roger Clemens. Tony Massarotti leads with the interview of Jim Beattie and also ntoes that the team has contacted Tom Glavine.
Martin Lapoint’s first trip onto the ice since brekaing his foot was somewhat awkward, observes Steve Conroy. Meanwhile, Kevin Paul Dupont writes about the coming debut of 18 year old defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. Dupont’s notebook looks at Byron Dafoe’s options and the shortage of shots on goal.
John Molori writes about upcoming changes at NESN involving Red Sox Programming and “Sports Desk”. He also takes a jab at Jim Baker for disputing whether Heinsohn/Gorman is in fact the longest running duo in sports broadcasting. Baker looks at the numbers and coverage from the Patriots Sunday night, noting as I did yesterday about WBZ pumping up the ESPN coverage of the game. Bill Griffith also notes WBZ’s antics, and has a more detailed look at sports ratings numbers in Boston. He also caught Jonathan Kraft’s appearance on WBCN to address the issues Will McDonough keeps bringing up about over zealous stadium security.
Dennis and Callahan are railing against a good cause this morning, giving out the phone number to Paul Gaston’s offices in New York (212-644-3800) and encouraging people to call and question why Gaston has sucked every penny he can get out of the franchise, leaving it in horrible shape cap-wise, being the only team in the league with only 12 players on its roster, refusing to sign another even so they can hold a full practice. All the while he (Gaston) hides out and refuses to answer any questions put to him. Better watch out guys….don’t you remember that 100 million dollar lawsuit he was going after the Wall Street Journal for?
There have been updates to the Eddie Andelman page, including what may be the definitive list of Eddie miscues. Thanks to email@example.com for providing the list.
NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:00. ESPN has a college basketball doubleheader with Florida/Louisiana Tech at 7:00 and Holy Cross/Kansas at 9:00. ESPN Classic has a Babe Ruth SportsCentury at 8:00 & 11:00.
On to the non-Patriots stuff. Michael Gee…well…you’ll just have to read it for yourself. While I actually agree when Gee wants to get rid of the “trade Manny, trade Nomar, trade Pedro” gang, Just once, I’d love for a media member to actually dump blame for the negative atmosphere that at times envelopes this area on his fellow media members, who exert more influence over certain segments of fandom than perhaps they even know. Yesterday, while doing a couple book reviews, Bill Reynolds compares Allen Iverson and Ted Williams. Art Martone had a lengthy look at the impact the Bill James hiring could have for the Red Sox. Gordon Edes explored possible reasons why Billy Beane backed out on the Sox.
Jim Greenidge looks at Robbie Ftorek’s depth among the four lines he regularly uses. Steve Conroy looks at rookie Ivan Huml and the adjustments he’s made and lesson’s learned. Conroy also has a notebook full of injury updates.
Peter King has his Monday Morning QB column in which he looks at this very weird NFL season. WEEI’s Dale Arnold gets a plug in this column. King also lauds Rich Gannon: “I think Rich Gannon is turning into Dan Marino in terms of the commanding presence, the don’t-screw-with-me glare he gives his guys. What a leader.” While my pals and I were watching the game, we had other adjectives to describe Gannon as he barked at everyone. “Jerk” was pretty high up on the list. We also couldn’t believe someone hadn’t strangled the guy yet. While King and others might compare him to Dan Marino….Gannon is no Dan Marino, he has nowhere near the cache and respect that Marino commanded.
ESPN2 has a College Basketball doubleheader from the Preseason NIT with Penn St./North Carolina at 7:00 and Boston University/Stanford at 9:15. ABC has Rams/Bears on Monday Night Football at 9:00.
Did Ron Borges actually write this article? It’s level-headed, calm, and lucid. Borges has actually been on good behavior the last few weeks. I wonder if all the letters sent in to the editor have had an effect. Or perhaps a missing prescription has finally been filled. Or could Borges just hate the Raiders more than he hates the Patriots? In any event, Borges has likely the best article of the morning, at least from the view of Patriots fans. Game stories are filed by Nick Cafardo, Michael Felger, Alan Greenberg and Tom Curran. Tuck obsession is evident in many articles this morning, Kevin Mannix says this time a real fumble did the Patriots in, while Jim Donaldson says there was no tuck call to save them. George Kimball captures the Raiders obsessions pretty well. Dan Shaughnessy files another piece of junk, and Karen Guregian focuses on the rough night by Tom Brady. Will McDonough provides a voice of reason, noting the Patriots still have control of their season.
Michael Smith notes that despite a no-show by the offense, this game actually came down to an on-sides kick with under a minute left. Smith also managed to venture into the Black Hole and escape with his life. Interestingly, there are actual people in those zany outfits. Michael Gee says this team still has luck, it just isn’t very good. Jim McBride provides a group of moments from the game. Karen Guregian looks at the weird Bruschi interception. Jim Donaldson loves Jerry Rice. Michael Gee looks at Otis Smith learning from Rice and Brown. Max Twine reports on fans watching the game from Gillette. Cafardo’s notebook deals with Red Zone struggles and roster tweaking. Felger’s notebook looks at Patriots fans not identifying themselves in the crowd, and a look at that weird on-side kick, Curran’s notebook has a look at the key first half play, and more of Al Davis’ persecution complex. Ian Clark’s notebook again reiterates that the Patriots are in control of their destiny the rest of the way.
Bill Griffith has a look at the ESPN coverage last night. TV Viewers last night had a choice of three pregame shows to choose from with WCVB, ESPN and the ‘BZ crew taking over UPN38 all previewing the game. Afterwards was similar, as you could tune into immediate postgame coverage on WBZ, while WCVB had a segment later in it’s newscast. WHDH’s Sports Xtra I believe was shown at its normal time, which was actually while the game was still going. You could also tune the radio to WBCN or WEEI for postgame. If you were on a computer and couldn’t get a TV or Radio account of the game, you could go to NFL.com where, for a fee you could tune into the Raider’s radio broadcast and heard gems such as while complimenting the job the refs were doing: “If we had him last January, we’d have Super Bowl rings on our fingers!”
Another interesting note was WBZ’s tactics in promoting their product. During the 49ers/Chargers games, screen graphics were used (and kept on screen for long periods of time) to advertise that they would be having a preview show on UPN38 as well as promoting their own postgame show. They also encouraged viewers to watch the game on ESPN. While it’s understandable that they wouldn’t want to in any way promote cross-town rival WCVB which was also showing the game, they didn’t do Patriots fans who didn’t have cable any favors by not mentioning that the game would be available over air locally. Brings up in interesting point…at what price does the public’s best interest come? While it’s unlikely that very many Patriots fans who didn’t have cable were unaware that they would be able to catch the game on WCVB, it’s still a possibility, and if WBZ is going to go so far as to encourage viewers to watch the game on ESPN, and then tune into their own postgame show, why not at least make cursory mention that the game would be available in the local market, perhaps not even having to say where exactly?
I’ll have more links from the rest of the world of sports later in the day.
Eric McHugh looks at the similarities between the Patriots and Raiders. Christopher Price looks at the Raider mystique. McHugh also has a notebook with focus on J.R. Redmond. Mike Loftus says the Bruins are riding high…Rob Bradford chronicles Kedrick Brown’s history of ankle sprains. In the business section of the Globe, Steve Bailey writes about new Celtics owners attempts to bring in limited partners. The offering document spells out these benefits for potential investors: ”Special Members are entitled to: (1) be referred to as co-owners, (2) receive cash distributions as set forth below, (3) use the co-owners’ seating at the FleetCenter, (4) receive World Championship rings.” Yesterday, ESPN.com had a series of Articles on the Patriots and Raider. There is a comparison of Brady and Gannon. Mark Kreidler writes about Raiders with a grudge. Joe Theismann breaks down the key points of the game. Former Raider Eric Allen looks at the tuck rule call.
No incoming phone lines at the remote from the Harp that The McDonough Group was broadcasting from today, leaving almost all the talking to the hosts. They had people send in e-mails and they would call them back. Bill Simmons joined the program at 4:00 and while talking Celtics, made the prediction that the new owners will trade Antoine Walker away next offseason. He thinks the new owners do not want to pay the luxury tax either. Sean McDonough recalled meeting John Meterparel’s wife, and noticing that he married way over his head…
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.
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.