The gloves are off. Vin

The gloves are off. Vin Baker is suspended, and it is open season on he and Chris Wallace. Gerry Callahan puts the blame for all of this firmly on Chris Wallace’s shoulders. Callahan on WEEI this morning described Baker’s problem with alcohol as a “lack of willpower” and repeatedly called him a “fat lazy slob”. He talked about people making up illnesses. I thought everyone said how Baker was “trying hard” this season? I did laugh though when Callahan said this morning that “it’s only a matter of time before they spank the horse and string him (Wallace) up in this town.” Steve Bulpett smells trouble from the players association on the horizon for this one. One agent can’t fathom how Baker would agree to this “suspension” when alcohol isn’t covered under the CBA. Peter May says that if the Celtics had simply called around they would’ve likely been talked out of trading for Baker. Shira Springer deserves credit for being the first one with this story, yesterday, today she again weighs in with details of the meeting. (Baker’s agent wasn’t at these meetings?) Lenny Megliola wonders if we’ll ever see Baker on the Celtics bench again. He also wonders why Baker hadn’t spoken with O’Brien yet. He gets a couple lines from Baker’s college coach, who says Vin wasn’t a problem. Jeff Jacobs and Alan Greenberg report on the matter for Baker’s home state newspaper. Jacobs says Baker needs to take as long as he needs to get himself recovered and ready to play again. Tim Weisberg looks at the Baker saga and a few other Celtic items. Carolyn Thornton has the story in the Projo, with quotes from Antoine. Walker’s quotes appear in other articles, most notably in Bulpett’s article, where Bulpett indicates that Walker has been critical of O’Brien for his handling of Baker. Michael Gee is critical of the Celtics for leaking the story that he would be suspended for alcohol before actually having the meeting with Baker. He also adds perhaps the most simple, succinct wrapup of the situation:

Baker didn't have his first beer when he got off the plane at Logan. If he had such a serious problem, and GM Chris Wallace didn't find out about it before acquiring Baker from Seattle, that's a fireable offense. Period.

Jeff Horrigan covers Pedro’s first batting practice session of the spring which left minor leaguers in awe. It certainly appears that Martinez has the old swagger back, something he didn’t have this time last year. David Heuschkel also covered the session, among other things in his story today. Howard Bryant reports on the shellacking that Jose Contreras took yesterday, but in the end, the Yankees are still happy to have him, as evidenced by Brian Cashman: “And maybe they’re smiling up in Boston, too, because he did. But I’ll say this: We’re still happy we’ve got him.” Gordon Edes looks at Rule 5 draftee Matt White, and his New England roots. Bob Hohler looks at team-first guy Bill Mueller, who, if he doesn’t beat out Hillenbrand at third base will also backup Todd Walker at second. Sean McAdam says that Tim Wakefield is very happy to know exactly what his role is – a starter and nothing else. Tony Massarotti wonders if Robert Person could be the next Flash Gordon in the bullpen. They’re very similar type pitchers, strong arm, great curveball. Karen Guregian weighs in on the Ephedra issue. Hohler’s notebook looks at the preseason opener last night. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Millar’s apology to the Japanese team. McAdam’s notebook has more on Pedro’s batting practice session.

Kevin Mannix says the heat is on Pioli and Belichick to rebuild the Patriots. Wake me when you come across something new in there. Tom Curran floats a few names that the Patriots might be interested in. Alan Greenberg takes a look at the Patriots positions of need and who might be able to fill them. Nick Cafardo provides the cap numbers for the deals restructured by the Patriots yesterday. Curran’s notebook also deals with Johnson, McGinest and Pleasant. Mannix also has a notebook in which he looks at the new deals.

Kevin Paul Dupont and Steve Conroy report on the latest depressing Bruins loss. James Murphy doesn’t know if it is right that Ftorek’s head is on the chopping block here. Dupont’s notebook looks at the return of Hal Gill, as does Conroy’s notebook.

Ron Borges, writing about something he actually enjoys, submits an extensive look at the animosity that has been festering and finally exploded yesterday between the camps of John Ruiz and Roy Jones Jr. George Kimball has a shorter look at the melee, but describes Ruiz’s wardrobe for us:

Ruiz, brandishing an oversized cigar, wore a satin jacket with a matching satin cap, tuxedo pants and black high-heeled shoes to the weigh-in. It was hard to tell whether he was trying to dress like a pimp or had just raided Don King's wardrobe.

Is the “Quiet man” trying to shake his image? Jim Baker says HBO isn’t too impressed with Ruiz as a fighter, labeling him “boring”.

The Week That Was wraps up the battles of the week in the media circus.

FSNE has Celtics/Raptors at 8:00. ESPN has Magic/Knicks at 8:00 and Clippers/Blazers at 10:30. ESPN Classic reviews game five of the 1976 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Suns at 7:00.


(Note: A few hours after

(Note: A few hours after this post, the below article was updated to say when Ramirez…”broke his finger last season”. At least they corrected it.)

No, being an idiot isn’t a talent confined to the local sports media. It only seems that way. Scott Miller of CBS SportsLine files a tired, cliche filled Red Sox preview where he proclaims they’ll never beat the Yankees, they’re cursed and that it’s all Manny’s fault. He bashes Manny for not talking to the media, questions his mental condition and goes on to add:

He's one of the most feared bats in the game, yet he hasn't proven that he's a winner.

When Ramirez (owner of a .185 batting average in five divisional championship series with Cleveland and a .182 average in two World Series, by the way) pulled a hamstring last season, the Sox began to wonder if he ever was coming back. It was one thing to give it time to heal, and the injury-rehabilitation trip to Triple-A Pawtucket certainly was to be expected.

But he became so comfortable in Pawtucket, hanging with friends, that the poor Red Sox were tempted to file a missing persons report.

Someone please inform Mr. Miller that Manny was injured with a broken finger, not a hamstring? Good research, pal. Didn’t we go over all of this last summer? Manny got injured, the doctor said it would likely be six weeks before he started playing again. Manny started his rehab assignment after 4 weeks and joined the big club almost 6 weeks to the day after his injury. He clearly struggled, both in Pawtucket and back up in Boston, showing the injury was probably still bothering him. The postseason stats Miller provides are also self serving, as he includes divisional series and World Series, but not League championship series. (In the ’98 playoffs, in 10 games, Ramirez hit .345 with 4 HR, by the way)

Del Jones wonders where the Celtics fit in in the Eastern Conference. Mike Fine looks at praise for Walter McCarty. Jeff Thomas provides one more recap of last night’s game.

After logging another DNP-CD, Vin

After logging another DNP-CD, Vin Baker will sit down with the Celtics today to discuss once again what his future is. Shira Springer drops the bombshell, however as, citing “sources close to the situation” she reports he will be suspended for at least two weeks for alcohol-related issues. Jackie MacMullan cites Springer as her source in discussing what happens next in this disastrous situation for the Celtics. MacMullan writes a balanced, thoughtful piece on the subject, focusing on Baker the person, rather than Baker the salary cap albatross. Meanwhile, Mark Murphy knows the Celtics are sitting down to talk with Baker, but there is no mention of alcohol, instead the ongoing “medical issues” which lead to speculation of a buyout or medial retirement. As for the game itself, Walter McCarty was the hero hitting a late three to give the Celtics a two point lead. After trading a hoop and a couple free throws, the lead was still two with 4 seconds to go. After pushing Pierce to the floor, Reggie Miller got a wide open three. Jim O’Brien’s thoughts were the same as mine, and likely yours. “We lose”. Miller, however, airballed it. Peter May wraps the game for us, noting that the Celtics still feel they can win the Atlantic, and have that as their goal. Steve Bulpett reports on the game for the Herald. Carolyn Thornton looks at the importance in the game of the man Antoine calls the team MVP…McCarty. With the low score and general ugliness of the game, you’d think Ron Artest was out there, causing havoc, but as Murphy explains, Isiah Thomas and the Pacers are trying to show Artest “tough love”. Artest is also the lead topic of the Globe notebook. Bulpett’s notebook addresses the issue of Isiah’s coaching in the all star game, specifically the minutes he gave (or didn’t give) to Pierce and Walker.

Howard Bryant writes a lengthy look at an unrepentant Dan Duquette. Twins GM Terry Ryan is about the only baseball executive in the piece that was willing to attach his name to items, but then again, he has mostly positive things to say about the Duke. On the one year anniversary of the new ownership, the Herald has a couple articles looking at the tenure to this point. Tony Massarotti asserts that we still don’t know if these guys are here for the long term, and that they can only prove themselves by sticking around and winning. Steve Buckley tries to be a bit more positive by saying that this group has shown that they have a vision and have made great strides in one year. Derek Lowe’s diet is the other big story of the day, with no less than four stories talking about it. David Heushckel notes that Lowe was a man of routine in his eating habits last year, with trips each day to Dunkin Donuts and Bertucci’s, and hopes to continue. Steven Krasner says that routine helped Lowe find a comfort zone. Jeff Horrigan and Bob Hohler repeat the tale. (Not to totally nitpick, but Krasner and Horrigan report that the Bertucci’s is in Braintree, while Hohler claims that it is in Kenmore Square. There is no Bertrucci’s in Kenmore Square.) Gordon Edes writes about David “Dan Shaughnessy called me a ‘huge sack of you-know-what’ on several occasions” Ortiz, who, as Edes notes was by far the most popular player in the Twins clubhouse last year. Sean McAdam’s notebook has Grady Little saying he just wants the team to be healthy and lists out the pitching rotation for the next few days. Bob Hohler’s notebook looks at Ryan Rupe battling for a bullpen slot. Horrigan’s notebook also has Little wanting a healthy squad and Horrigan gets to be the first to use the “Missing Person report” heading in a column after Robert Person missed workouts for personal reasons.

Nick Cafardo speculates on what the Patriots might be shopping for in free agency. He lists possibilities at all the teams positions of need. Michael Felger also looks at the shopping list. Both articles also report that the team has signed long snapper Lonnie Paxton of snow angel fame to a five year contract totalling about three million, making him the highest paid long snapper in the history of football. Felger lists the terms of the deal, while Cafardo says they are unknown. Ron Borges looks at the free agent market for MSNBC.

Bruins/Rangers will be on ESPN tonight at 8:00. TNT has Rockets/Wizards at 7:00 and Kings/Mavs at 9:30. ESPN2 has Marquette/Louisville at 8:00 and Hawaii/Tulsa at 10:00

The sports media self-flagellation continued

The sports media self-flagellation continued today when Dan Shaughnessy targeted Bill Simmons on Mike Barnicle’s morning show on WTKK. Referring to him as a “nitwit”, Shank said that Simmons has “never done anything except take shots at people in his basement.”

Clark Booth was among the guests on Dale & Nuemy. He commented on the media circus, claiming that Buckley and Shaughnessy haven’t spoken in 20 years. Then then went onto attack Pedro. Missed Booth’s comments on Pedro on WEEI today? Well essentially it was a rehash of a column he had in the Dorchester Reporter, where he says:

He is unquestionably brilliant, stylish and a gifted showman as well as a world-class performer.

And he is also arrogant, vain, self-centered, bombastic and an accomplished con-job as well as a world-class prima donna.

Moreover, as the sainted pet of the media which dares not offend so precious a source of delicious controversy and terrific quotes, he gets away with murder. Management further compounds the problem by molly-coddling him, ever fearful of ruffling his feathers. It is all so desperately silly.

The Big Show opened with Glenn Ordway proclaiming today’s program to be a tribute to black history month with Larry Johnson and Levan Reid onboard. He joked that next week they’ll get back to all white guys…

Kevin Brockway has a Q&A with Theo Epstein for the Scripps Howard News Service. Garry Brown hits to all fields.

Bill Simmons counters an earlier piece that asserted that today’s NBA was better than the 1980’s version. Simmons presents game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals as Exhibit “A” that the league was infinitely better back then.

No major stories stick out

No major stories stick out today. That can be seen by the fact that Dennis and Callahan were talking almost exclusively politics this morning. Toni Smith is predictably the target of a Callahan diatribe. A Bruins tie is cause for celebration. Kevin Paul Dupont chronicles the game in which the Bruins fell behind several times before rallying to tie the game. Stephen Harris labels the Bruins effort “terrific, gutsy,” Joe McDonald also looks at the back and forth contest. Douglas Flynn says that the tie stayed the execution of coach Ftorek. Bill Guerin was the focus of a lot of attention, and Andy Nesbitt and Joe Gordon report on the Wilbraham native’s return to face the team he played most of the last two seasons with. Steve Conroy looks at Brian Rolston’s role in the comeback last night. Karen Guregian returns to hockey and says Ftorek and O’Connell are on the hot seat. She manages to devote 39 paragraphs to this subject. That nudges out Jim Donaldson, who can only muster 38 paragraphs on the same topic. Harris’ notebook says the players are clearly in Ftorek’s corner. Dupont’s notebook looks at Rolston and the Ftorek firing rumors. McDonald’s notebook has more on Guerin’s return.

Gordon Edes does an article on Ramiro Mendoza, who is feeling good, and guess what…wants to prove his old team was wrong for not bringing him back. Howard Bryant has a peek at the Red Sox cross-town partners in Fort Myers, the Twins, who are the opposite of the Red Sox in that they stress defense over offense or on base percentage. David Heuschkel looks at Ryan Rupe trying to fit in with his new teammates after being their adversary last year. Jeff Horrigan looks at Juan Pena, still trying to come back from Tommy John surgery and wanting to get his career back on track. Steven Krasner says Doug Mirabelli is content to be Jason Varitek’s backup. Horrigan’s notebook has the team getting ready for the preseason opener tomorrow night, happy about the relative lack of controversy. Sean McAdam’s notebook says you’ll see a lot of players in and out during the exhibition season. Edes leads off his notebook with word of the Monster seats going on sale this weekend.

Tom Curran reports on Bill Belichick coming back from the combine, where the defensive line talent was deep, and also reports on Marc Edwards wanting to get a bigger deal than the Patriots are willing to offer at the moment. Michael Felger reports that the Patriots and Willie McGinest have just about agreed to a restructuring of his contract that will allow him to finish his career here. Felger also notes towards the end that “Belichick inherited a bad contract with Milloy and an awful one with Law.” I’m pretty sure Milloy signed his deal after Belichick came aboard as head coach…

Mark Murphy thinks JR Bremer might be hitting the rookie wall. Peter May explores the Celtics struggles at home. Christopher Price looks at the Celtics struggles on the offensive end. Murphy’s notebook has the team looking to improve on the defensive end as well.

On WEEI’s Big Show, Steve

On WEEI’s Big Show, Steve Buckley says that before the Sports Final show he parked and was walking towards the door, Shaughnessy drives by and toots his horn at him. Buckley waits for him, Shaughnessy charges up to him and gets into his face about his anti-Globe column. He gets into this with Buck all the way into the studio and does not even discuss the Nomar column or anything else. Buckley says Shaughnessy was bothered by the “Trusted Globe columnist” remark. Buckley says Shaughnessy, Edes, and himself all wrote questionable columns last week. Buck said he was wrong, he screwed up

Despite only scoring nine points,

Despite only scoring nine points, the Rockets ‘ Yao Ming is the focus of almost all articles related to the game last night, a 101-95 OT loss for the Celtics. You’d think with both members of the Rockets dynamic backcourt going over 30 points, and overcoming a 15 point deficit with 7 minutes left would garner more attention that it really is. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer’s game stories give Yao the lion’s share of attention. Only in passing is the Celtics inability to handle a zone defense mentioned…something we’ll likely see more of as the season goes on, simply because, even as Coach O’Brien has admitted in the past, they don’t spend a lot of time working on offense. Christopher Price has the game story for the Metro, as well as noting that the Rockets ran 35 plays for Yao, but weren’t able to get him the ball because of the Celtics defense. Carolyn Thornton notes the decidedly Asian feel to the Fleetcenter last night. Alan Greenberg moves over from covering the Patriots to take a look at the Yao phenomena. Mark Murphy looks at how Yao is handling the transition to the NBA. Jackie MacMullan wraps up her three part series on Yao and basketball in China with a look at the leagues and developmental system over there. Lenny Megliola looks at how right now Yao’s celebrity is bigger than his game…but probably not for too long. Dan Shaughnessy feels that while Yao was underwhelming on the court, his off court presence is immense. Michael Gee writes that while the Celtics played good defense on Yao, they forgot about Mobley and Francis. Peter May writes about how Vin Baker is likely to start racking up the DNP-CD’s for the rest of the season. Mark Murphy submits a similar article. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Mark Blount’s return to green. Springer’s notebook looks at the media crush on Yao Ming and how he’s gotten pretty used to it.

Bob Hohler takes a look at hot Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez, who isn’t any relation to Manny, but Manny has still taken an interest in the youngster. You get a nice glimpse into both players in this piece. Hanley looks to have a very bright future. Tony Massarotti looks at Theo Epstein’s 32 year old assistant GM Josh Byrnes, who is also a rising star in baseball cricles. Tony insists that he uses the term “brat pack” affectionately when referring to the young front office team. Jeff Horrigan garners teammate reaction to Manny’s vow of silence with the media. Earl Synder is the focus of articles by Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel. Two decidedly different articles there. Kranser paints the last year’s highlights….promotion to AAA and then to the big leagues with Cleveland, where he hits his first big league home run, then in the offseason he gets claimed by his favorite team, the Red Sox. Heuschkel looks at the downs of the past year for Synder, losing his mother and grandfather and losing his will to play winter ball and quitting in the middle of the season. Hohler’s notebook reports that Shea Hillenbrand is no longer a hot topic of trade discussions. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the musical Willie Banks.

Kevin Paul Dupont speculates that if Mike O’Connell fires Ftorek, he may insert himself as interim coach. Steve Conroy reports on former Bruin Bill Guerin, who has put his Boston experience behind him. He’s no longer bitter that the Bruins didn’t step up with an offer last summer. $45 Million has a tendency to assuage hurt feelings…

Michael Smith looks at Ted Johnson hoping to get a new contract done in the next few days. .

Jim Baker wasn’t amused by the late night bickering on Sports Final. John Molori reports on Red Sox programming for the upcoming season, rough contract negotiations for Pete Shepperd and WEEI. (His agent says Pete will gladly listen to any 1510 offers) He also talks about forgotten personality Kristen Mastroianni, who hasn’t been seen all that much since leaving NECN. Remember how the WEEI guys used to drool over her? She’s also spoken to 1510.

I didn’t get to hear

I didn’t get to hear it, but “tagboard reporters” provided updates on Shaughnessy’s appearance on Mike Barnicle’s WTKK show. Bob Lobel also appeared on the program. Dan feels he’s been misunderstood, and was talking all about the same stuff despite last night stating that he was disgusted because the show was just “us talking about us”. He said the sports media in Boston takes itself too seriously, make themselves part of the story (hello, Buckley) and claimed that he didn’t know that his tiff with Buckley would be the focus of Sports Final last night. Seems that Shaughnessy wanted to get the last word in after not being able to on Sports Final last night, because of his hasty departure. A poster described Barnicle’s questions to Lobel as “softballs”. Could that be because Barnicle is also a Sports Final/Red Sox this week panelist? Dale & Neumy also touched on the topic at the beginning of the show, for Neumy’s part on the show. Neumy stated that he is sworn to secrecy as to what happened off camera last night. On the Big Show, Glen Ordway claims that that show will have it’s best ratings ever. However, it wasn’t promoted as the WWE type production it turned into. But think about it…WBZ had the Grammys as a lead-in. Even though Sports Xtra usually beats Sports Final in the ratings, Sports Final might win last night, not based so much on the content, but just as much on the lead in. Ordway thinks last night’s events are good for the show. (Obviously its getting a lot of publicity.)They replayed many sound clips from the program. Pete Sheppard went off on Shaughnessy. Ordway says the writers need to suck it up and take their lumps. He defends Buckley by saying the guy just made a mistake in getting some wrong info on the Nomar error thing. They then went on to talk some Celtics. In an Andelman parody, Ordway decided a soul food night for Vince Carter’s arrival in town on Friday would be fun. Eddie did his much-hyped show from the Kowloon this afternoon. Not much to say about it. Bob Halloran was host of the McDonough Group, (Someone please keep track of the number of days Sean hosts his own show during the course of a month.) and was joined by Ryan Risillo and Kevin Paul Dupont. Their first topic was Sports Final as well. Halloran’s contention is that these guys are public figures and the public is interested in hearing what they have to say, especially when they say it about each other. Halloran feels the media can dish it out, but can’t take it themselves and targeted Buckley as one of those.

Mike Fine previews tonight’s Celtics/Rockets matchup. Fine also has his notebook, in which he reports on Antoine shedding his knee brace, and Mark Bryant likely never seeing the court. Bill Simmons reviews the Grammy Awards. John Tomase recalled the MLB debuts of a few Red Sox members, including Pedro Martinez. Chaz (Charles) Scoggins gives his thoughts on Pedro’s contract wishes, and night games on Saturdays. No mention of Nomar/Buckley though. Chad Finn recalls three unsung Boston athletes from the past. Mike Loftus says the Bruins won’t be getting any breaks in the schedule anytime soon.

A couple notes before we

A couple notes before we get into an abbreviated links:

Sports Final last night was something else. The entire show focused on the media. Shaughnessy and Buckley went after each other, Buckley and Edes went after each other. Shaughnessy called it a new low in sports television and that they set back TV 15 years. He was gone after that, and Lobel said jokingly (I think) that they had thrown him off the show. In some ways he was right, it’s not something I would want to watch all the time, but last night it was strangely enthralling. Buckley actually came off as sympathetic at times, though perhaps only because he was being opposed by Shaughnessy. I think Ghengis Kahn might’ve come off as sympathetic going up against Shaughnessy. Lobel mentioned me by name, but didn’t get any further, there appeared to be a groan in background when he said it. (Buckley?) You got a glimpse there of just how thin skinned and ego driven these guys are. They all did nothing but argue and whine. Not the “Knights of the Keyboards” finest hour…A few people in the tagboard are also saying that things were even uglier off-camera. If there are any “moles” out there that would like to supply details…send ’em in…

You’ve likely noticed a menu bar above this section of the page. I’ve added a few more pages to the site. The “National Links” page is a collection of newspapers, columnists and websites from around the country. Please email me with those that I know I’ve omitted. The center section is an updating news feed with links to articles from around the country. I’ve also added a faq page and an archive page. The archive page should be handy as it contains links to past editions of Boston Sports Media Watch (Only complete from November to present. I’ve got some issues with earlier archives) Guest columns and my Boston Metro columns are also included in the archives.

Jackie MacMullan has the second of her three part series on Yao Ming. The first part was yesterday. Mark Murphy has a much more brief look at Yao. Shira Springer takes a quick look ahead to tonight’s game. Murphy provides a few Celtics related items in his notebook.

David Heuschkel writes about the possibility of the Sox honoring Roger Clemens in this, likely his last season. He also touches on the possible retirement of the # 21 jersey. Bob Hohler looks at longshot catching prospect Chris Coste. Tony Massarotti writes about new Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson. Dan Shaughnessy says Jason Varitek is ready to bounce back with a big year. Jeff Horrigan and Steven Krasner look at outfielder Adrian Brown, who initially wanted no part of the Red Sox. Hohler’s notebook has Benny Agbayani dreaming of Japan, while Horrigan’s notebook has Grady Little trying to find a spot for everyone. Jim Fennell has a new name for Larry: locked lips Larry because he won’t come out with a decision on allowing minor league baseball in Manchester. Brian Fleming says Pedro is not just any pitcher…you pick up his option AND extend his contract…and soon.

Nick Cafardo reports on the Patriots aiming to lower their salary cap number by the end of the week. Tom Curran answers questions on DirecTV, Greg Dickerson, Steve Zabel and draft prospects in his Patriots Mailbag.