I’m not too familiar with this site, but The Fourth Period is reporting that the Bruins are trying to convince Ray Bourque to take over as the team’s head coach.
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 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.
Fox25’s Sports Sunday had Ron Nikoleski in studio and Butch Stearns in Florida. Highlights of the day were followed by Levan Reid’s segment looking at the Red Sox trying to keep it fun…their acquisitions show it, guys like Millar and Giambi are good additions to the clubhouse, to loosen it up, make it fun. Trying to make it more of a team concept, as opposed to “Manny being Manny”. Nomar talked about some of the news guys being great, and that it’s going to be a lot of fun having them around. Millar shown several times talking about chemistry and having fun. Reid hopes the new mix equals wins. Jeff Horrigan was up next, Stearns first asked him right away about Todd Walker’s defense. Horrigan says you can’t tell much from drills, but he looks pretty good, but that its going to be tougher on Nomar who’s had different second basemen every year. Nomar seems to be different this year, after that first tough day with Shaughnessy he’s been very accommodating to everyone. Pedro is different too, he’s confident and healthy this year. Manny doesn’t have responsibility to talk to the media, as long as he’s accountable to his teammates. Who will have the biggest impact of the newcomers, Stearns listed everyone but Walker, and Horrigan picked Walker and maybe Chad Fox. Mendoza wants the opportunity to close, to be a Rivera, but he’ll take whatever role the manager wants to use him in. Lou Merloni might be pushed by Damian Jackson for a spot on the roster, especially if they take 12 pitchers.
After the break, Hillenbrand was the topic, he wants to stay here. Stearns feels he’s the starting third baseman opening day, but if he struggles with the bat, Mueller might take his spot. Derek Lowe looks good this year. The show closed with scenes from the week in spring training. Mike Timlin saying “I’m not very good…you guys might want to strangle Theo” was a highlight. Pedro whiffing on the golf course was also a source of amusement.
Red Sox this week goes up against Sports Sunday and this week they had a player roundtable with Todd Walker, Jeremy Giambi and Lou Merloni. It also had Mike Barnicle pressing Larry Lucchino on the issue of race raised by the Gordon Edes article earlier in the week.
WHDH’s Sports Xtra had Gene Lavanchy in Florida once again, looking ahead the Red Sox season. They went through the probable starters…outfield is set…Manny, Damon, Nixon. Nomar set at short, Walker at second, third and first are up in the air. Hillenbrand is the incumbent, with Mueller ready to step in. First is filled with Millar, Ortiz and Giambi. There have been no major controversies, which Lavanchy says is odd for the Red Sox. They wore their home white uniforms today for pictures and practice as well Nomar talked about all the work they do, the drills, the things they can spend time on. They then looked at the signing of Robert Person and he’s looking forward to getting back out there, he’s “hungry” and has “a lot of unfinished business” to attend to this year. Highlights from the Bruins tie with the Islanders tonight was up next. The Celtics were also mentioned and a look at Mark Blount and having him back on the team. O’Brien hopes that Blount is here as long as he is the coach. A look ahead to Yao Ming’s visit tomorrow was followed by a Tyson fight recap.
Tony Massarotti and Don Orsillo were in next to talk Red Sox. They talked about how quiet it is so far. Tony says everytime you say that something happens. Orsillo contrasted that with the Yankees camp chaos. But he also said that someone will happen. Then they went onto Manny not talking to the media. They don’t think it is a big deal, Tony thinks if the guy produces, gets along with his teammates and coaching staff it’s fine. Tony said the relationship with the media isn’t nasty with Manny. Orsillo says Manny doesn’t say a whole lot when he talks anyway. Lavanchy says that in a dispute between the media and a player, the fans are going to side with the player, 99% of the time. They talked a little about the media in Boston being unique, and how Tony thinks that has to do with the inferiority complex in the area. He talked some more about the ownership setting up media meetings and how Tony addressed the team as to what the media expects from the players. Orsillo mentioned guys who were accessible like David Cone in the past, Derek Lowe now, and the crew of “dirt dogs” should all be fun too. Massarotti mentioned that Urbina never talked to the media last year and no one minded. Lavanchy brought up that during the Jimy Williams era people complained that there wasn’t a set lineup, what will happen this year? They went through some of the players, Ortiz is pretty mobile for a big guy…Hillenbrand, where is his head at, will he also be in the first base mix? Tony brought up again about the guys they brought in being used to being role players in the past. Orsillo said they’re younger guys, not like Lansing and Bichette. Tony says is should be a very good clubhouse. They talked some about Wakefield being moved into the # 2 slot behind Pedro to make a change up between Pedro and Lowe. They think it’s interesting, but the order doesn’t really matter, but it’s good variety going from hard stuff to the knuckleball to the sinker to the lefty to the junkballer.
The last segment was a look at Wakefield and the knuckleball. Wakefield explains how he holds the ball, he developed it in the minors when he was an infielder who couldn’t hit. They saw him throwing it in the outfield and made him a pitcher. Lavanchy tried to catch him..in full baseball gear, and dropped a number of them. Wakefield says it’s fun to throw the knuckleball especially when it is working. He likes the looks he gets from the hitters who can’t believe how it moves. On the flip side is when it is not moving, it goes over the green monster pretty quickly. Lavanchy can’t believe how fast the ball actually comes in. Much faster than it appears on television.
Sports Final was on late because of the Grammy’s and Bob Lobel started off right away making fun of the fact that Theo Epstein and his band weren’t mentioned in the Awards. The big topic tonight was the media. Are they too tough? Ted Williams thought they didn’t like him…have things changed? Massarotti’s speech to the team was mentioned and they’re looking for accessibility and accountability. Shaughnessy says there is so many of the media, and the growth of talk radio makes the spotlight very bright. Dan Roche brought up the story Tuesday by Shaughnessy and went through the whole story. Massarotti says the media gets very personal here, and we take ourselves way too seriously and are too self important. It shouldn’t be about the media. Their poll showed 75% saying that the Boston media is fair, 20% unfair, 4% despicable. Shaughnessy, Neumeier, and Buckley were on to talk about the events of the week. They went through the stories, and the back and forth between the papers. Neumeier says this is just a product of the ages, and that everything is all about opinion right now. CNN, Fox, MSNBC etc on news it’s all back and forth, same now in sports. Shaughnessy talked about how he got to Nomar a day early…he was talking to Merloni and Nomar came back and they started talking about Ted Williams and so forth, and Nomar was answering Dan’s questions. That turned into the column for the next day. Earlier that day Nomar had told reporters that he wasn’t speaking to them until the next day, and then Shaughnessy goes in and interviews him. Buckley wants to be clear…he was wrong last year that time in September, he said doesn’t want this to be another “Shaughnessy-Kraft thing” that goes on for 3 or 4 years or another Bledsoe/Brady, he wanted to make it clear that he wanted to fix things with Nomar, at that point Shaughnessy tried to jump in, Buckley wouldn’t let him…he went on to say it’s been horrible the last 3-4 days, he’s been beat up badly everywhere, and probably deserves it. Shaughnessy says he thinks Nomar was using him to get a message out…Buckley says Nomar doesn’t swear in interviews, so he doesn’t think that Nomar wanted those things put into the paper. Buckley tells Shaughnessy he doesn’t think he was fair to him this week. Neumeier tried to mediate between the two of them, who are clearly tiffed at each other. Is all of this all about just selling papers? Buckley talked about all his variety of columns he’s done lately… high school, beanpot, that stuff isn’t going to sell a huge amount of papers, or generate talk on radio, they’re small items of local interest.
Gordon Edes joined the show next from Florida. He was asked about his column about the lack of African-Americans on the Red Sox…was he trying to be inflammatory. Edes is astonished that his column was taken as controversial. He was in no way trying to say they were trying exclude minorities, especially since they have so many Latin stars. He just thought it worthy of note that it seems that African-Americans as a whole are not playing baseball as much. With the Red Sox history of backwardness in race relations and the fact that there will no African-Americans in the starting lineup opening day, he thought it very worthy of note. He says it must’ve been a slow day on radio or at the Boston Herald if this became a hot topic. Neumeier says that most people including himself didn’t get Gordon’s point right away. Edes argued that he had quotes from Theo Epstein in his column acknowledging the lack of numbers, but also asserting that their hiring practices are whitout color. ….took a shot a Buckley reciting his resume and again stressed the article was not meant to be inflammatory. Lobel brought up Buckley’s rebuttal column. Edes thinks it’s interesting that the neither the Globe nor his name appeared in Buckley’s “rebuttal”. Was it really a rebuttal? Buckley and Edes talked over each other for a while….couldn’t hear too much. Buckley emphasized again how impressed he is that the Red Sox are color blind these days and that Gordon’s piece was better served as a tidbit in a Sunday’s notes column….it doesn’t deserve a whole column. Shaughnessy interjected that people are going to hate this show…”It’s us talking about us”…a new low in sports television. Buckley says that Shaughnessy shouldn’t have been on the show then. He surely knew what it was going to be about. Buckley says this is bringing the heads of the 5 families coming together to find common ground. Gordon hopes they can spend the rest of the spring talking baseball and not being so self absorbed.
Lobel joked about bringing their lousiest show ever into Overtime. Neumeier joked that what is more interesting…bullpen by committee or this? They then said they threw Shaughnessy off the show and have brought in Sean McAdam…Lobel mentioned Bruce Allen and other self styled critics. McAdam talked about the glut of shows, radio shows and how many print guys appear on TV/Radio shows appear here as opposed to other towns. Neumeier didn’t think that one sports radio station could survive in this town, but there is such an incredible appetite for all of this stuff and things take on a life that they don’t deserve. They talked for a bit about how much there is out there for competition and news. Does the rivalry between the Globe and Herald, WEEI & WWZN factor into all of this stuff? Does Buckley taking on the Edes and Globe make for good reporting? The #2 paper taking on the #1…David vs Goliath. Lobel talked about the meshing of all the media. Neumeier said in the old days, they always went after rival sports casts and that isn’t so much different than how it is now. There are just more forums to do so. McAdam said that it is a thinly veiled secret that most media guys are thin skinned and can’t take criticism well. Lobel ended the show saying it is going to take him a few weeks to get over this program.
WEEI has the Pedro Martinez interview with Dennis and Callahan from this morning available for listening on their Audio Vault page. The interview is said to be outstanding listening, and that Pedro softens his stance of leaving if the option isn’t picked up by the end of spring training. In addition, they have the Theo Epstein interview with D&C from Wednesday which is also very good.
Ouch. Check out this quote from Bobby Jackson in the Scaramento Bee today:
Kings guard Bobby Jackson has watched his team defeat Boston five consecutive times over the past 2 1/2 seasons.
Asked if it was difficult to play the Celtics and their long-distance style, Jackson said, "To be honest, no! I thought they played like garbage. Every time we play them, they never play to their potential. I know they beat Portland and some other teams on this trip, but I just can't see it."
Yesterday’s Seattle Times had a nice feature on Theo Epstein.
Manny shows up on time, but he’s not talking. As Nomar found out this week, Manny’s approach might be the best one. The media will still write nasty things about him, make fun of his hair, and generally attack him any chance they get, but at least they’re not going to dice up something he says. Naturally the writers aren’t happy with this development, even if it means they get to talk to Pedro more. Gerry Callahan, Bob Hohler, and David Heuschkel write about Manny’s arrival and have word from his spokesman, Pedro. Each of them also bring up the Tampa incident. Hohler claims that “Ramirez might have defused the issue had he publicly addressed it” Raise your hand if you believe that. Didn’t think so. Manny would’ve shyly tried to brush it off, and say it wasn’t a big deal, and he would’ve been hammered even more. At least the three articles all appreciate his skills. They still don’t get that their view of Manny is not the general view of the fans. This was a topic on WWZN yesterday, as Bob Halloran – who hasn’t been jaded too much yet – was talking about the fact that the media is not the voice of the fans, though they might think they are. Jeff Horrigan looks at Johnny Damon…healthy and ready to get going. Steven Krasner looks at the depth of this team and notes that Grady Little is excited at the prospect of using everyone. Tony Massarotti makes the first prediction of the spring: The Red Sox will win the AL East. Of course, in that article he continues the disturbing Boston media trend of categorizing the fans as a miserable, negative lot:
While many fans have since come to mock the Sox for signing Ramirez, many of the same people chastised the team this winter for failing to make a headline acquisition. Such a response only reaffirmed that the Sox are in a no-win situation among the fellowship of the miserable, damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Massaroti’s basic premise is right, but likely applies to his colleagues in the media more than it does the general fan population. Alex Speier tells the Red Sox to pick up that option before the end of spring training. No not Pedro’s, Grady Little’s. Karen Guregian finds another former Red Sox player…David Cone. Hohler’s notebook reports Pedro feeling great after his first throwing session of the spring. Horrigan’s notebook leads with word of a tryout of one of Pedro’s buddies. Krasner’s notebook also reports on Pedro feeling great.
Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett report on last night’s Celtics loss in Sacramento. Bulpett also writes that while the Celtics got bigger with their trade yesterday, this deal doesn’t mean good things for Vin Baker. Springer also looks at the deal and focuses on Mark Blount’s return to green. Bob Ryan remembers Kobe Bryant’s dad, Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant. He wasn’t shy about hoisting up the shots, either, but his son as many times more the player that he ever could’ve dreamed to be. Tim Weisberg says the trade was nothing for nothing. Springer’s notebook has a quote from Jim O’Brien that irritates me a little bit. When asked about Kedrick Brown’s (lack of) playing time, O’Brien says: ”I’m putting players that can knock down the three on a consistent basis.” What happened to defense? Previously O’Brien has said that players who play D are the ones that are going to get into the game. In the preseason, that was the whole focus for Brown, that he would be a defensive player and not have to worry about his offense. Now the coach says he won’t play him because he can’t hit a three? What defines “consistent basis”? Does Antoine Walker make threes on a “consistent basis”? How about Eric Williams? Does Walter McCarty? The next lines in the notebook go on to talk about O’Brien’s concern about the defense. Brown is likely the team’s best man on man defender. He’s capable of stopping someone. But the kid can’t get into the game. Bulpett’s notebook brings attention to the fact that the Celtics also received a 2 million dollar trade exception in the deal, giving them a little more freedom to make a trade in the next year.
So Tebucky isn’t wild about being “franchised” but he’s hopeful a deal can be worked out. He wants to be paid among the top safeties in the league, and to give up his special teams duties. Tom Curran looks at the reasoning behind making this designation and what it means to Jones and the Patriots. Jones tells Nick Cafardo that he was injured much of the second half of the season and it limited him speed severely. Michael Felger also reports on Jones, but also targets the Bears’ Marcus Robinson, a likely salary cap casualty as a potential “big receiver” candidate for the Patriots. Robinson’s agent says that his client “loves Boston”. Felger also reports from the combine, where this draft appears to be deep in the position the Patriots might need the most; defensive line. Michael Parente also weighs in on Jones, Hayes and Orlando Brown.
Michael Smith does a feature on troubled former Burke High and Providence College phenom Elaine McCants. Michael Gee looks at the possibility of landlocked Switzerland winning the America’s Cup. Ray Duckler says Iron Mike is following the path of Sonny Liston.
Bill Griffith has a look at NESN analyst Rick Middleton. Jim Baker has a peek at the College Sports Television network, and in his last line hints at Patriots Weekly’s Paul Perillo being a possible candidate in the mix for a WWZN morning show. Had enough Steve Buckley talk, well then you might want to skip the first segment of The Week that Was…But I think there’s a few other items in interest in there, including possible reasons for the yanking of the Mike Adam’s morning show.
ESPN has Rockets/Mavs at 8:00 and in a very interesting matchup, Bucks/Sonics at 10:30, Gary Payton and Ray Allen face their former teams the day after being traded for each other.
Sonics make a couple of big trades today…Aquiring Ray Allen for Gary Payton and others…but one of more local interest is Kenny Anderson to the Hornets for Elden Campbell. There’s a huge opening for second guessing the Vin Baker trade…who would you rather have Campbell or Baker?
Bill Simmons says Rick Pitino was the worst NBA coach he ever saw. He also thinks he’s the best college coach he has ever seen. Here’s the AP story on the minor Celtics trade from this afternoon. Shammond Williams and a second round draft pick to Denver for Mark Blount and Mark Bryant. Eric McHugh weighs in on Donald Hayes, Tebucky Jones and others. Rob Bradford looks at Trot Nixon’s paunch. Ron Chimelis thinks that Boston fans are going to like Bill Meuller.