On a slow Boston sports day like today, you expect the columnists to step up, and a couple of the best have. The always entertaining (in print anyway) Gerry Callahan continues to poke at Raiders fans and offers up a few other insights into what is rattling around in that brain of his. Callahan does however join the Chad Pennington love fest. What a dilemma this weekend…root for the Raiders or the Jets? I despise both teams. I actually might despise the Raiders less than the Jets, likely since they’re so far away. Is it not politically correct to root for an earthquake? I think I might end up rooting for the Jets to lose…not really for the Raiders to win, but for the Jets to lose. A couple reasons: Squash this media-darling express. End the “Jets are the 2001 Patriots” crap, and third, I don’t want to see one of the Pats biggest rivals win. Ever. Should the Raiders win, be assured I’ll be rooting firmly for them to lose next week. Well…lemme think about this. Who do I hate more, the Steelers or the Raiders…hmmm. I know the Titans are my AFC team. Hows that for the kiss of death. Go Titans. All the way to the Super Bowl. Bob Ryan checks in with a column on the renovations being done to Fenway. He’s not happy with the idea of seats above the wall, but likes all the other things that are being done. The column is done with a lot of Larry Lucchino quotes. Wonder if Larry considers Ryan “that old basketball writer”.
Shira Springer has an extensive article on the new Celtic owners, including a Q & A session included in the piece. The new owners are saying the right things, have met and consulted with Red Auerbach, and preach a return to championship form for the franchise. No real specifics on issues are given though. They want Pierce and Walker to play their whole careers as Celtics, and they insist O’Brien, Wallace and Papile will be around beyond their current contracts. Their company that will provide the paychecks to the Celtics players is named “Banner 17”. They will go into the luxury tax, though it seems not very far into it. They seem an enthusiastic group of guys. Out on the road with the team, and likely steamed that he didn’t get in on this session, Steve Bulpett reports on a tired Paul Pierce. Frank Dell’Apa previews the Mavericks. Buddy Thomas says the Celtics should trade Antoine Walker. He calls him “a mediocre shooter who plays out of control and disappears in most clutch situations.” That last bit, combined with his drooling over Jerry Stackhouse tells me that Buddy Thomas has less NBA knowledge than Buddy Hackett. Antoine is not a great shooter, never will be. He occasionally allows his emotions to get him to play out of control. But make no mistake, Antoine is clutch. He is also the leader and heart and soul of this team. He’s won many games over the course of his career in the final minute, and no one will soon forget his leadership and play during the fourth quarter of game three of the Eastern Conference Finals last year. All that being said, if Clippers called an offered the deal Thomas mentions (Elton Brand and a #1 pick) I would seriously consider it. That would be one of very few deals I would even listen to. But that deal would never come along. Bulpett’s notebook deals with USA basketball making its first selections and O’Brien touting Kedrick Brown for more playing time. Anyone else enjoy watching the Nets get destroyed last night on TNT by the Kings?
Tony Massarotti reports on the Colon to the Marlins deal falling apart. The article ends with the Montreal GM saying: “At this time, we are not anticipating – nor should we anticipate – Bartolo Colon becoming a Florida Marlin.” Bob Hohler says that this gives the Sox hope, though a deal with Montreal for the Sox is like “like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”. In Miami, the story is that that the Sox might swoop in and steal Millar and that the Marlins can’t afford Colon. David Heuschkel notes that the Expos are running out of trading partners. Massarotti also reports on Kevin Millar, adding that any chance of signing David Justice is less than 50-50. Christopher Price asserts that Larry Lucchino irking George Steinbrenner is a good thing. He notes the feud goes a ways back and has been uglier than this before. Jim Fennell reports from the 45th New Hampshire baseball dinner. Tug McGraw and Bill Lee were featured guests.
Tom Curran reports on the Patriots signing an undrafted free agent full back from Brown, Mike Malan. They plan to send him to NFL Europe. Nick Cafardo catches up with Eagles owner, and Boston guy Jeffrey Lurie. He notes the many Celtics photos that adorn the walls of his office, and some of the other Boston connections with the Eagles. I’m rooting for an Eagles/Titans SuperBowl. Steve Buckley searches hard for a unique angle to write about and comes up with….Jerry Rice. Steve DeOssie looks at last week and makes predictions for this weekend. Michael Smith looks at the Titans emergance despite numerous injuries this season the defensive line. John Altavilla reports that Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton, who had the play-calling taken from his this season, will be joining Bill Parcells’ staff in Dallas as QB coach and assistant head coach. Michael Gee writes about the Eagles fans, calling them “the loudest, worst behaved, and possibly most intoxicated crowd in pro football”. Smith also reports on Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, criticized early in his tenure, now being praised. Bob Ryan also writes about Jeff Garcia trying to carve out a legacy of his own in San Francisco. Ron Borges, writing for MSNBC, knows what it takes to be a coaching genius. I don’t even have to say it.
Bill Griffith reports on Bob Halloran returning to Boston. He also provides a number of other media notes. Jim Baker has a brief column on the media focus on the QB’s this weekend. John Howell writes about Ron Perry finishing up 20 years at ESPN. In The week that was, I’m laying out the action this week in the McDonough/Lucchino feud and looking back at a few other events of the week.
FSNE & ESPN2 have Celtics/Mavs at 8:00. NESN has Bruins/Sabres at 7:00. ESPN has Clippers/Sonics at 10:30