With a new week upon us, it’s the same stories as last week. Vin Baker. Robbie Ftorek, Red Sox spring training. On Baker, Steve Bulpett, scrambling frantically to redeem himself for being scooped by Shira Springer last week, has Celtics sources that claim Baker also has liver problems which may be a direct result of his alcohol use. That, coupled with his heart palpitations is painting a picture that Vin was putting his body at risk by continuing to drink. Bulpett asserts that this may give the Celtics some wiggle room, contractually. As for the game in Toronto yesterday, Shira Springer focuses on what got Antoine ejected from the game, namely a bit of trash talk. No expletives, not complaining to the refs, but a little bit of trash talk to the opponent earned Walker his second “T”. I guess it’s good the “taunting” rule wasn’t on the book when Bird was playing… Mark Murphy also reports on the game. Springer’s notebook reveals that O’Brien has a hunch that Paul Pierce will play tonight in Memphis. Murphy’s notebook has more on Antoine’s trash talk as well as Pierce’s status for tonight. John Molori looks at the support out there for the Celtics retiring Cedric Maxwell’s number 31. An interesting bit to this is that Maxwell will only accept the honor if it comes from Red Auerbach himself. If the honor comes after Red passes, Max will refuse. When asked about his relationship with Auerbach, Max says they “speak and say hello”. Its a point worth exploring more, especially since Red and Max have had their differences in the past and once at a Christmas party, Red reportedly told Max he reminded him of the actor Stepin Fetchit, who “was ostracized for a time by the black community for his portrayal of the lazy, shiftless black character he created.” Red is purported to have meant the remark as a compliment, but you can see how that might offend Max, as well as his trade to the Clippers in 1985.
After a spring training game in which a few costly errors led to a loss, Tony Massarotti begins the cry that the Sox were wrong to get rid of Rey Sanchez and Tony Clark, and the defense they brought to the infield. (He doesn’t mention the two by name) Bob Hohler has a look at a possible difference maker in the bullpen, in Chad Fox. Jeff Horrigan says Grady Little has Shea Hillenbrand tapped as his starting third baseman. On a related note, Sean McAdam says Bill Mueller isn’t the type to complain about not starting. David Heuschkel has a story in which Tony Cloninger vows to never push Pedro Martinez too far in a game and risk his career…something that happened to him when he threw 200 pitches in a game and was never the same. Alex Speier looks at a pair of lefty rule 5 draft pitchers battling to make the Red Sox roster. Chad Finn is ready for a new season of baseball. Hohler’s notebook looks at Nomar’s rough day yesterday, Steven Krasner’s notebook looks at Pedro’s latest batting practice session, and a number of other items. Horrigan’s notebook reports on Kevin Millar’s failure to run out a ball that fell fair, limiting him to a single. Millar immediately apologized, so all is well in media land. Jack O’Connell takes a look at David Well’s book and some of the interesting items within its pages.
Ron Borges looks at how John Ruiz lost a whole lot more than a fight on Saturday night, he lost his dignity as well. George Kimball looks at Ruiz’s complaints about the referee. Dan Shaughnessy cries woe is Boston because their guy is no longer champion.
Kevin Mannix reports on the Patriots slow, cautious entry into the free agent waters.
Cosmo Macero Jr reports that soon, if you want to read Gerry Callahan, Steve Buckley and the rest of the Herald columnists, you’re gonna have to pay up. It’s going to cost $4.95 a month for *each* columnist you want to read. Steve DeOssie weighs in Toni Smith.
NESN has Bruins/Canucks at 7:00. FSNE has Celtics/Grizzlies at 8:00. ESPN2 has Islanders/Rangers at 8:00. ESPN has Georgetown/West Virginia at 7:00 and Kansas/Texas Tech at 9:00.