Looks like Danny Ainge is going to be the guy running the Celtics, barring any surprises. Ainge has never run a team before, but has a connection to the new owners. Ainge knows the game, the players, and was a coach in the league as recently as a few years ago. He might do a terrific job. I’ve got to question however, the fact that this is all happening in the middle of a playoff series. Don’t teams usually wait until the season has concluded before they shake up the front office? Couldn’t this end up being just a bit of a distraction to the players and coaching staff? Oh well. TNT has removed Ainge from the game tonight and even removed him from their listing of broadcasters on their webpage. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett report on the Ainge situation. Bulpett’s piece has more information, as he reports that there were harsh words on the flight home from NJ from the club when told of the situation, also he reports that the Celtics denied permission for the Hawks to speak to Wallace and Papile about openings in their organization. (WHY?) Jackie MacMullan gets Kevin McHale’s take on how Ainge would do in Boston. Not surprisingly, McHale is a huge booster of Ainge. The other story today is how the crowd will behave tonight. The media seems to be on its high horse today and almost talking down to the fans and telling them not embarrass the city. Jim Donaldson writes a column today that should anger any Boston fan. He uses all the worst-case incidents of Boston fans and lumps them together to create a case that all the fans in New England are a bunch of drunk morons. Thanks for painting with a broad brush, Jim. In a pay column for the Herald, Steve Buckley begs the fans of Boston, to take the high road…like Joumana Kidd. Bulpett has Wyc Grousbeck hoping for a “raucous but respectful” crowd tonight. Carolyn Thornton looks at Scott, expecting a harsh reception tonight. Springer looks at the Celtics hoping to draw from the crowd tonight. Elliott Denman says the Nets suffer no ill-effects from last year’s game three meltdown. Lenny Megliola says this Nets/Celtics series is not just about the actual games. Jerry Trecker says the Celtics need a lot more than just the home court edge tonight. Understandably, there will be a lot of pressure on Antoine tonight. Kevin McNamara examines the load on employee #8. Mark Murphy looks at a couple of trends the Celtics need to snap in order to get back into the series. Gerry Callahan hits back at Bryon Scott in his pay column today, opening with:
Byron Scott spent most of his mediocre playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, clinging wisely to the golden shirttails of Magic and Kareem, so naturally he is an authority on the state of race relations in the city of Boston.
After all, most years, Byron spent one night in this city.
Yep, that Byron sure must know all the troublespots in Boston, and as Callahan points out, must have been busy those few nights he was actually here. After noting the flap caused by a throwaway comment by Bob Ryan, Callahan continues:
Byron Scott, meanwhile, gets seven paragraphs in the New York Post, zero in the New York Times. All he did was brand an entire city with the most vile, base and despicable label imaginable, a label that many Bostonians have worked long and hard to shed. And he did it without backing it up with a single fact or even a sketchy anecdote. And while he has spent almost no time here, Scott was living and playing in Los Angeles when Rodney King got clubbed by the cops on video in '91.
When Callahan sticks to sports issues, he’s the best at defending Boston and attacking outsiders.
Jeff Horrigan looks at Johnny Damon, who despite his early season struggles in batting average, is ahead of his numbers from last year in other areas and continues to help the Sox win. Bob Hohler has an article on Doug Mirabelli, who still wishes he could’ve grabbed past opportunities to be a full time player, but is content with his increased role here. David Heuschkel writes about Todd Walker, making his return to the Metrodome three years after having been in Tom Kelly’s doghouse there. Michael Silverman has a look at hot prospect Freddy Sanchez, tearing it up at Pawtucket. Sean McAdam looks at this Red Sox club’s ability to score runs. Brian Fleming has a short piece on the same topic for the Metro. In a report on the Sox Minor league system, Silverman reports that Hanley Ramirez has been demoted as punishment for an unnamed violation of team policy. Hohler’s notebook dismisses Derek Lowe’s offseason cancer surgery as a possible reason for his struggles. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Person’s status, and another minor league bullpen addition.