I’ve never been a huge

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sports Illustrated’s “Dr. Z” over the years, but you gotta love his assessment of the Patriots draft, especially since he begins it by telling of his experience being on a Boston sports radio station the day after the draft. The show was the Eddie Andelman show, and it was he that made the comment about it being a lousy draft. Dr. Z gives the Patriots the second highest grade in the draft:

New England B+ -- I was on a Boston radio show the day after the draft and the host said to me, "Well, another lousy draft for the Patriots," and I had to take issue with that. The point I tried to make was that you don't need a flashy name up on top to have a good draft list. Depth is important, too, and I can go through five rounds of New England's draft before I can find someone I don't think will help the Patriots this year. At the top is Ty Warren, a good, functionally sound DT. Eugene Wilson was in the thick of the CB mix, right after the elite pair of Terence Newman and Marcus Trufant. Bethel Johnson, also taken in the second round, was the second-fastest runner in the draft, at 4.30 in the 40, and he returns kicks, too. DT Dan Klecko (fourth) is the son of Joe, who should be in the Hall of Fame, and I've seen the same kind of comments I did when daddy was coming out -- lacking all the measurables except heart, desire and the ability to play football. Their other fourth rounder, Asante Samuel, is a nickel CB type with good ball skills. One round later is a hard-working center, Dan Koppen, who was ranked by some scouts among the top five at the position. That's six guys I think can help, before we get to QB Kliff Kingsbury, and who knows about QBs? I call it a pretty good draft, and they did more trading and hustling than any other team in the league, and sure, they traded away one of their first-round picks but what they're left with for next year's draft are two No. 1s, two No. 2s and three No. 4s.

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If you’ve already done this,

If you’ve already done this, than thanks, but if not, could you please take a minute and fill out the demographic survey on this page it would help me very much in future endeavors for this site. Click on “take the poll” (or “cast your vote”) Please only take the survey once. You’re not required to give out anything personal like email, name, phone, address or anything else. It’s a very simple demographic poll.

Celtics could’ve put the series away last night, but couldn’t score a single point towards the end of the game and in the entire OT. How frustrating was that to watch? Every single play was the high post to Pierce, who was smothered by Ron Artest. Finally on one offensive possession, the C’s called time out, and I said, finally…they’re going to diagram a play, get Tony Delk (8-10) coming off a pick or something….the plan they came up with was to put Antoine on the high post. He did get fouled, but missed both. It was a perfect example of my frustration with Jim O’Brien…he’s done a great job with these guys, they play tough defense for him, they go all out for him, but offense is almost an afterthought. He’s got Pierce and Walker, so he just figures they can get him a hoop whenever he needs one. Who can figure this series? I can’t think of a single analyst or reporter who picked the Celtics to win the series, except Bill Simmons. Going into last nights game, I can’t think of a single media person who said the Pacers had a prayer. This game was of course right in Dan Shaughnessy’s wheelhouse and he is overjoyed that the Celtics lost, he’s sharpening his knives already as twice in the column he says the Celtics “better” win Thursday night. One item needs correction, however, he claims that: “Boston goes down as the first team in NBA history to throw a shutout in extra innings.” Wrong. It’s not even the first time this century it’s happened in a Pacers game. They threw a OT shutout at the Grizzlies in 2000. It’s also happened in the playoffs, albeit not since the 1950’s, but it has happened, according to ESPN and a a few astute readers here. Steve Bulpett compares losing the game last night to Bill Buckner letting the ball go through his legs. Shira Springer’s game story looks at the ugly O-for-overtime. Mark Murphy look at an exhausted Paul Pierce after the game last night. With only one day to rest, will the depth of Indiana be a factor? Peter May looks at the failure of the Celtics to score the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. No mention that perhaps the coach could’ve mixed things up on offense. Sarah Meinecke focuses on the efforts of Ron Artest, who not only smothered Pierce, but was also the leading scorer in the game. Hank Lowenkron looks at one of the heroes for the Pacers, old, out of shape, hobbling Tim Hardaway. Murphy also looks at the contributions the Celtics get…mostly off the court…from graybeards Grant Long, Mark Bryant and Bimbo Coles. Out in Indy, Bob Kravitz says the Pacers finally showed some heart. Sekou Smith looks at Pierce’s struggles down the stretch. Smith also looks at the Celtics failing to score in OT. Springer’s notebook has the Commish weighing in on the state of the league. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Olympic snubs for Pierce and Walker.

Paul Kenyon says that with each passing game, it’s apparent that these are not your grandfather’s Red Sox. They can do the little things required to win games. A nice look by Kenyon. Gordon Edes notes that despite all the bullpen struggles, these Sox are not only afloat, they’re cruising. Jeff Horrigan also praises the Sox small ball approach to the game last night, noting that the Sox didn’t appear all that impressed with the Royals. Speaking of the little things it takes to win, there appears no better example on the Sox then Bill Mueller, who did several things to contribute to the victory last night. Michael Vega has a look, as do Michael Silverman, David Heuschkel as well as Lenny Megliola. Mike Shalin notes that Tim Wakefield matched Bill Lee on the Sox all time win list last night, moving into a tie for 11th place on the Sox all time list. Christopher Price says that while Wakefield may not make great copy, he’s invaluable to the Sox in numerous ways. Jackie MacMullan looks at the return of Alan Embree last night. Silverman also looks at NH native Allard Baird, GM of the Royals who is enjoying his club’s fast start. Kevin Gray of the Union Leader also looks at the Rochester raised Baird. Shalin contributes a piece on Royals closer Mike MacDougal, having come back after a skull fracture in 2001. Sean McAdam has a piece on the Sox ongoing efforts to bring in more revenue. Edes’ notebook looks at the injury to Chad Fox, which could keep him out for a month…not a case of the “Hellenic flu”. In Horrigan’s notebook, Theo shoots down the rumored trade of Hillenbrand which was all over 1510 yesterday morning. I didn’t bother to mention it because the source was a Peter Gammons Diamond Notes column. The ProJo notebook has more on Fox and Mueller. Heuschkel’s notebook says there are fresh arms headed to the Sox bullpen in the form of Embree and possibly Robert Person soon. I was going to give the print media a nice round of applause for not even mentioning the media/Sox feud, but Steve Buckley in his pay column does enough backslapping and gladhanding for everyone. He says last night went smooth and everyone is just trying to get along. How quaint.

Jim Donaldson jokes that if history repeats itself, the Patriots will win the Super Bowl after the 2004 season and Kliff Kingsbury will be the MVP. He takes a further look at the Patriots draft picks and likes what he sees. Michael Parente has a look at second round cornerback Eugene Wilson, hoping to imitate Ty Law. A good look at Wilson there. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots practice of attempting to develop young quarterbacks. Bill Burt, while saying we need to wait until 2005 to judge this draft, gives us his early impressions.

Bud Collins remembers Clif Keane. Dan Shaughnessy takes a look at the new Celtics owners, and considers what fans want out of the owners of their sports teams.

In a special Media Blitz email, John Molori is reporting:

A source has told Media Blitz that NESN programming and operations chief Rick Abbott has decided to leave the network after just six months on the job. The source, a veteran Boston sports personality, says that Abbott announced his departure to his staff on Tuesday.

He goes on to note that “It has been speculated by some that his fresh approach and new ideas did not jive with those of the Red Sox”

A couple of items related

A couple of items related to this site:

If you could please take a minute and fill out the demographic survey on this page it would help me very much in future endeavors for this site. Click on “take the poll” (or “cast your vote”) Please only take the survey once. You’re not required to give out anything personal like email, name, phone, address or anything else. It’s a very simple demographic poll.

In another item, down in the left hand column of the page, you’ll see an Amazon.com bar with books about Boston baseball. Anything you order from there, I’ll get a miniscule percentage of. (It all adds up, though, right?) In addition, if you do any shopping at Amazon.com, if you could come to this page and click on the “shop now” section, you’ll be taken to Amazon.com and I’ll get a tiny percentage on whatever you buy, doesn’t matter if it’s sports related or not. Won’t cost you a penny more, either. It’s an easy way to support the site without having to make an actual donation to the page.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Red Sox/Media mess…

Something I missed this morning

Something I missed this morning in the links. Longtime Globe sports writer Clif Keane passed away last Friday at the age of 90.

Bob Gardner, who sent me the link, added these comments:

This is the big sports story for today. Clif Keane was a huge figure on the Boston Sports scene for many years. He was controversial, accused of having a "poison pen", of disliking latino ballplayers, and of racism when he had a radio show with Herald sportswriter Larry Claflin. Despite these negatives, he was an entertaining writer. In my opinion a lot better writer than Will McDonough. He was less of a power broker than McDonough which I think is also an advantage. In an ironic way, I think it's fitting that he should die at a time when the media and the players are feuding.

In other news, not a sports story really, but the AP is reporting the death of longtime WRKO host Jerry Williams.

The Celtics look to close

The Celtics look to close out the Pacers tonight in Indiana. Jackie MacMullan reports on the assistant coaches getting contract extensions, but there’s much more to this article. She writes about the learning process of the new ownership, the mistakes they’ve made and there were a couple items of interest to me in there. She notes that Steven Pagliuca loves Kedrick Brown and isn’t a big fan of the three point offense, they held a meeting with O’Brien during the team’s six game losing streak, and questioned some of his handling of the team. O’Brien is also quoted as follows:

When I met with them for the first time, I told them we were headed for a potential disaster. We had Vin Baker, who I suspected would struggle with us. We had Tony Battie, who doesn't have the strongest set of legs, and we had a previous owner who would not sign another player.

Good for O’Brien, and nice subtle slap at Chris Wallace as well. Bob Ryan examines five points about this series. A few interesting items in here. He seems to have insight into a return to Boston by Erick Strickland this summer, when discussing the coaching matchup, Ryan says: “All they need do is ask Strickland about the coaching difference, since he used to play here and probably will do so again.” Ryan also loves Ron Artest’s game, and says if the Celtics had Jermaine O’Neal, we “we’d all be talking junk while packing for the Finals.” If Pitino could’ve pulled off that trade for three # 1’s for O’Neal, he’d likely still be here. Steve Bulpett looks at the Pacers as a team of fine crystal…they make a lot of noise when broken. Gerry Callahan has a pay column on Pierce and the Celtics. He says you can count on the Pacers making a miraculous comeback and win the series. Why? Drew Rosenhaus told him so. The rest of his column is similar to Bulpett, in comparing the toughness of the Celtics and the ability of their role players to accept their parts on the team to the selfishness and brashness of the young Pacers. Mark Murphy writes about the Pacers bravely backing Isiah. Peter May looks at free-agent-to-be O’Neal, who will get a maximum contract this summer from someone, likely either Indiana or perhaps San Antonio. Bob Schron looks at what could be some of the keys to finishing off the Pacers. Carolyn Thornton notes that while the game is in Indiana tonight, the ball is clearly in the Celtics court. Jon Wallach notes that the only person in town who might not be happy with the play of the Celtics is Jim O’Brien. Shira Springer look at the Celtics determine to close out the Pacers tonight, and to do so with defense. Hank Lowenkron reports on what the Pacers plan to do to counter the Celtics. Out in Indiana, Bob Kravitz looks at Donnie Walsh’s carefully chosen words regarding Isiah’s future. Sekou Smith of the Indy Star also notes that the Celtics called off practice because of their starters having played so many minutes. Bulpett also reports on the C’s assistants getting their new contracts. Murphy’s notebook looks at the Pacers having to try to emulate the Celtics in some areas. Thornton’s notebook is a commercial for Walter McCarty’s debut CD, to be released within the next couple days, there’s even information on how you can order it. Hurry! Supplies are limited…

Bill Reynolds says this media hostility with the Red Sox is the same old story that has been going on for decades. I’m not sure I agree with this paragraph, but it’s the crux of the article:

It's even more than the fact the media is the conduit to the fans, so when players stiff the media they are, in a very real sense, stiffing the people who care the most about them. Or that all professional sports feed off the endless barrage of free advertising they receive from a rapacious sports media. It's also even more than the fact this all seems so childish, the players thinking they are somehow hurting the media by not speaking, like 12-year-olds taking their ball and going home. Even more so when you consider that Manny, Pedro, and Nomar are the three biggest fan favorites in Fenway Park, all but lionized and adored, with nary a negative thing ever said about them.

Ah, the old “if you don’t speak to the media you’re stiffing the fans” argument. I agree that the media is the conduit of information about the team to the fans, but they don’t speak for or represent the fan. I don’t particularly care if the players aren’t speaking to the media. As long as the reporters give me the news about team, and how that news affects the team, that’s what I’m looking for. Reynolds goes on to say even if the players would just speak in clich

Peter King, in his Monday

Peter King, in his Monday Morning QB column, has a conversation with Matt Millen, who strongly denies the Patriots ever made an offer for the # 2 pick. (He says the rumors are “totally false”…twice) On Sports Xtra last night, Ron Borges was just as adamant in claiming that the Patriots did make the offer and try to get into that spot and were turned down. So who’s right? King has quotes from the guy who would know, on the other side, who is Borges’ source? King later says that it won’t be long before Dan Klecko is as beloved in New England as Tedy Bruschi.

Here is a sampling of

Here is a sampling of reaction nationally to the Patriots draft:

USA Today’s Jarrett Bell gives the Patriots 4 1/2 (out of 5) stars and notes:

Wheeler-dealers got DT Ty Warren to pair next to playmaker Richard Seymour and a solid CB in Eugene Wilson. WR Bethel Johnson solid pick at the right time, and after getting Tom Brady in sixth round, why not pick pass-happy Kliff Kingsbury? Scored big in getting Baltimore's No. 1 in '04, when Pats will have eight picks in first four rounds.

Len Pasquarelli gives the Patriots an “A” for a grade, noting that:

Virtually every choice could be deemed a value selection, defined in our minds as landing a player at the right spot on the board, and neither reaching nor delaying to snatch him up. We particularly favor the two second-rounders, cornerback Eugene Wilson and wide receiver Bethel Johnson. The only caveat on the latter is the seven abdominal surgeries he has undergone in recent years. Keep an eye on rush end Tully Banta-Cain (No. 7), an "edge" player who can chase down quarterbacks.

John Clayton listed the Patriots as big winners of the first day of the draft.

Mel Kiper (Pay column) gives the Pats one of only four A’s in the draft, and says:

The Patriots did a great job organizing their draft. They got the defensive help they needed with Ty Warren at tackle and Eugene Wilson at corner, and I like what Bethel Johnson can bring to the offense. Dan Klecko will add some depth on the defensive line, and the rest of the picks were very solid.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline hands out a B+, with the comment:

The Patriots had versatility with 13 picks, and they did a great job making moves. Getting Warren is a good pick for a defense that needs his help, as is second-round pick Eugene Wilson, a corner out of Illinois.

He lists Klecko however, as their worst pick.

Ron Borges on MSNBC puts the Pats under the “Need to try harder” category and gives them a C-. His comment:

The Patriots entered the draft with 13 picks, including five on the first day, and left with three players and Baltimore