Got in late last night,

Got in late last night, so missed on the Sunday Night shows, and the morning links. Just a few quick notes instead.

John Molori has the story on 1510. Does Sporting News Radio have any idea how to run a station? Or is Eddie Andelman serving as the Vin Baker of the station, where his huge contract prevents them from keeping, or bringing on better talent?

I’m growing increasing annoyed at how almost each reporter covering the team has to inform us each day that Pedro and Manny are “refusing” to speak to the media. Kevin Paul Dupont does the deed today. What is the purpose of telling us everyday? I’m sure the fans are aware of the fact that those two haven’t cooperated with the scribes this season. It’s growing into a big pet peeve with me.

Have you ordered food at Fenway via your cell phone yet?

I’m guessing Howard Bryant isn’t buying Manny’s story about his mother fainting. In his pay column this week, he talks about the rough week John Henry had:

Henry emerged from the All-Star week somewhat bruised for dismissing the Manny Ramirez Hall Pass Controversy as a mere blip during a slow news week.

Bryant goes on to say:

The cacophony aside, if there is a reason to be discouraged by leadership's passivity in handling Ramirez, and to a far lesser extent Pedro Martinez, it is in the potential consequences that might surface, the most significant being the frame of mind of the fastidious shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra.

He wonders how Nomar felt at the special treatment given Pedro and Manny while he played on.

I also thought I’d take the opportunity to publish this letter that was sent to me last week, regarding the Bill James bashing in the media. I think the writer, Kevin Gilligan, makes some very good points.

I have been noticing a great many negative references to Bill James in the press lately. You already know about the Shaughnessy ones. Ralph Wiley mentions him today in an ESPN column, suggesting a kind of racist bias on Bill's part because he doesn't think much of stolen bases. A couple of weeks ago, Tim McCarver cheap-shotted him on Fox during a telecast, putting words in Bill's mouth to the effect that a good bullpen isn't important! And it seems that many in the New England press seem to deliberately misinterpret the bullpen strategy of the Red Sox in a way to maximize criticism of Bill's contribution to the team.

What gives? Has the press taken collective leave of their senses? Why has this man become such a lightning rod for every sports scribe in the country with an ax to grind?

Allow me to speculate. First, I believe most sports journalists aren't very bright. They have a bachelor's degree in journalism or English and were able to snag a job out of a summer internship or through nepotism. To my knowledge, unlike most professions, no sports reporter has ever gotten his job by demonstrating expertise in the field they are required to expound upon. In other words, they have no real knowledge to trade. So what we get instead are a witches brew of gossip, half-baked opinions, trite quotes and indignant diatribes. Before long, they become aware of what a cushy gig they have, doing little real work while enjoying the considerable perks of watching, then expounding upon, the world of professional sports with no one to answer to except their editor, who doesn't really care what they write as long as it is submitted on time and creates a buzz for whatever organization they work for. Then along comes Bill James. Working alone and having little or no attachment or dependence on the existing sports information power structures, he writes a brilliant string of abstracts and books on baseball that knocks out the fans of the sport and leaves them screaming for more. Many reach the New York Times bestseller list. Even more unsettling is his use of empirical data and statistical formulas in objectively trying to address the questions about baseball he happens to be interested in. So Mr. Sports Columnist/Announcer wakes up one day and finds that his readers know more about his subject than he does. Needless to say, this reality is very threatening because it renders Mr. Sports Columnist/Announcer unnecessary. And he can't correct the situation without additional training, which he is too lazy to do (Oh no! I have to learn math?!). So he uses to only weapon he has left, the dissemination of misinformation by any means at his disposal to discredit the source of his discomfort.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the summer wears on, now that the problems in the bullpen seem to be solved. If the Red Sox beat the Yankees to first place (which, as things now stand, they seem likely to do), then the Jamesbashers will be required to convincingly explain how they accomplished this feat despite the input of the "stats geek". Furthermore, if the Red Sox were to actually go all the way (I can dream, can't I?) for the first time in 85 years, I can see this splitting the local media right down the middle between the reluctant converts and the Luddites. Then we should really see some fireworks.

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Eddie Andelman started his 1510

Eddie Andelman started his 1510 the Zone show today talking about his experience with the ESPN Pete Rose trial last night. He mentioned he had to “slap a woman down” in the jury room last night. He said she was trying to get a bigger role in the production.

Can you say “Bob Ryan”?

That coupled with his comments that Manny and Pedro should be grateful for their green cards got him off to a rousing start.

Just one thought on the ESPN trial, did anyone there even consider how much of a sham it was to have the jury foreman on a “trial” involving gambling being someone who delights in his relationships with Las Vegas insiders and numbers guys as much as Eddie Andelman does?

Eric McHugh discusses 10 points from the AFC. Ian M. Clark has a bit on Bill Belichick’s film session with the media, and also a report from the print/broadcast media football game yesterday.

Mike Fine says the Sox are poised for second half success, last night notwithstanding. Kevin Gray looks at last night’s loss. John Tomase says the Sox will make the playoffs. Alan Greenwood says the early departures of Manny and Pedro are no big deal.

Del Jones looks at Kedrick Brown’s growth in the summer league.

Austin O’Connor comments on the addition of Rush Limbaugh to ESPN’s NFL Countdown.

I’m going to be away for the next couple days, probably without access to a computer. If the message board crashes, it’ll have to wait until I get back. We’re hoping to get the new tagboard in place really soon.

Not the start the Sox

Not the start the Sox wanted for the second half of the season, and it’s Pedro and Manny’s fault. Jeff Horrigan says that while Derek Lowe certainly didn’t have his good stuff out there, Roy “Cy Young” Halladay certainly did. (Is it possible that Halladay was just too good last night, and that it wasn’t really Manny and Pedro’s fault? More on that later.) Kevin McManara notes that Halladay’s complete game drew praise from the Red Sox. Joe Burris covers the game for the Globe today, (Hey, is Bob Hohler late coming back from the All Star break? Star treatment…) David Heuschkel mixes game coverage with the Manny and Pedro story. Mike Shalin says Halladay is a nine inning, throwback pitcher. Lenny Megliola also looks a “Doc” Halladay and what he means to the Blue Jays. Alex Speier and Aaron Harlan conclude the Halladay articles. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell writes about Lowe’s rough outing. Shalin also writes about Todd Jones, having passed his audition on the road trip, now gets to play at Fenway. Now we get into the Manny-Pedro articles, which of course are almost more numerous than the game stories themselves. Shira Springer has Pedro attempting to defuse the media bomb. He feels his leaving was made a firestorm because he’s refused to talk to the media as much this year. Jim Donaldson indicates that Pedro is nothing compared to the perfect, all universe Roy Halladay. Bob Halloran is becoming jaded by being a member of the Boston media. He declares that Pedro is “almost singlehandedly ruining one of the most enjoyable and exciting Red Sox seasons in recent memory.” He goes on to say Pedro hasn’t pitched well enough to win more games, he’s won exactly as many as he should have. Maybe that’s true, but how about this next bit:

What scares me is that Pedro has become so obsessed with his own health that he won't put himself at risk; EVER. Here's the nightmare: Game 7 of the World Series. Pedro's pitching a beauty. But with all his strike-outs and a couple of early inning jams, he's thrown 121 pitches through seven innings.

There's still no score in the game. Pedro doesn't come out for the eighth inning. I'd be surprised if there's anyone who doesn't think that's a distinct possibility. Pedro's all about pitch counts these days. But don't you want a performance like Jack Morris when he threw 10 shutout innings to win Game 7 for the Twins in 1991?

A paragraph or two later, Halloran dismisses Pedro’s game five performance of the 1999 Divisional Series, saying that that Pedro no longer exists. I don’t think anyone has any doubts that Pedro would let it all hang out in a game seven situation. Dan Shaughnessy begins laying the groundwork for his new book…”The curse of the star system”. He questions Pedro’s manhood, (“A true stopper would have pitched on regular (four days’) rest”) and dismisses Manny’s excuse for leaving. Of course, it was the manager who made the decision not to pitch Pedro in the first or even second game back from the break, but it’s much easier to just take a shot at the player. As for Manny, why not have the stones to just come out and say you don’t believe him, Dan? Instead of just lumping Manny in with Pedro on the “Star System”, which by doing he indicates he doesn’t believe Manny, but it saves him the trouble of coming out and saying so. Gordon Edes tells us absolutely nothing new or informative. Just read his stories from the last three days on this topic and you’ll have the same thing. Steve Buckley’s pay column says he didn’t have any problem with Pedro leaving early, but that he should’ve been back on time. (Airline delay or no Airline delay.) But the controversy’s do come down to winning, he notes:

Again, it's so very simple: The Red Sox can win, in which case nobody will complain about who's sneaking off to the airport, or they can lose, in which case headline-hungry editors and live-at-5 producers will assign people to keep track of the time clock in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Howard Bryant’s pay column is about Manny, it’s an up and down piece, sort of like Manny’s tenure with the Sox. He talks about Manny being “irresponsible”, but also has Kevin Millar, who says:

Let me tell you something about Manny,'' Millar said. ``He's the greatest teammate I've ever had. He's the greatest hitter I've ever seen. There are a lot of people out there who say they care about other guys, but they really only care about themselves. This guy cares, trust me. He's the real thing.

Bryant notes that Manny was the only player who jumped out of the dugout when Millar was drilled in the head by Roger Clemens a couple weekends ago. McManara’s notebook also has updates on Pedro and Manny, Heuschkel’s notebook looks at the return of Fossum and Giambi, Edes’ notebook also looks at the return of Fossum. Horrigan’s notebook says Red Sox management will not interrogate Manny for his absence.

Will Waltah remain a Celtic after all? The team is stepping up it’s offer to the free agent forward, though I’m inclined to just let him go. Steve Bulpett reports on the three year offer made to McCarty. Peter May reports on the McCarty offer and also on other possible Celtics moves including a trade that could bring forward Mike Batiste here from the Grizzlies. For some reason I thought that the trade exception that the Celtics possessed was more than the 615K that May mentions. I had the figure of two million in my head. Guess I was wrong. Christopher Price looks at the flood of ex-Celtics in the coaching ranks. Bulpett’s notebook says the Celtics will not be in the luxury tax bracket this year, and that “All of this shoots holes in the oft-stated theory that Gaston ordered the Baker deal to make the team more sellable.” He also reports on the games yesterday, noting another strong outing by Brandon Hunter who outplayed the Knicks first round pick, Michael Sweetney

Michael Felger looks at the Patriots receivers in the third part of his training camp preview. Michael Parente looks at the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers in his continued camp previews. Aaron Harlan looks at Antwoine Womack, who feels ready to make a push for a spot on the team.

Bill Griffith reports on TNT’s coverage of the British Open. John Howell looks at some thinking outside the box at ESPN. I haven’t had a chance to watch the Pete Rose trial yet, but I do have it on tape and will look it over soon.

The Morning Press box signed off of WWZN this morning with class and dignity. They will be missed, as they did fill a void for sports talk in the morning for Boston. They were silly at times during their tenure, but did talk sports, and did a good job at it. Here’s hoping they land on their feet.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Dodgers at 10:00. The Rebook Summer league is on Direct-TV as well.

The good news was the

The good news was the Bob Neumeier didn’t spend fours pontificating about Manny and Pedro, although the topic did come up again. The bad news is that most of the rest of the show was about NASCAR. I’ve got nothing against NASCAR talk, as my dad is a big fan. But get somebody who knows what they’re talking about to come on the show…

Eric McHugh looks at 10 things to look for in the NFC this season.

Del Jones says Marcus Banks in born to run. Bob Stern looks at Brandon Hunter, out to carve a spot for himself on the Celtics roster as a Dennis Rodman-like rebounder.

Garry Brown says the Sox have hope going into the second half. Todd Jones says the All Star mess needs to be fixed. Clark Booth assesses baseball at the All Star break.

Fans of the Red Sox

Fans of the Red Sox are eagerly awaiting the first pitch tonight. Not so much for the return of baseball, but to put an end to the nauseating Manny/Pedro talk. No one can take a topic and drive it into the ground like WEEI. The Big Show wasn’t all that bad yesterday, but Bob Neumeier was at his pompous worst yesterday in declaring Manny’s absence responsible for everything except causing world hunger. (I believe Neumy is working on that connection for today’s show.) It’s still an important topic to Gordon Edes, which disappoints me, as I’ve felt Edes was one of the more reasonable and levelheaded members of the press corps. But this obsession, coupled with that spring training article talking about the Red Sox not having any African-American players, makes me think Gordon is being affected by the people he has to hang around with in the press boxes.

Tony Massarotti says the Sox need to go against their trend of recent years and have a strong second half to the season. Art Martone says the Sox don’t always struggle in the second half of the season and looks at a few other misconceptions that are out there. David Heuschkel says the Sox might have their bullpen in order, finally, and that bodes well for the second half. Gordon Edes looks at the pitching possibilities that the Sox might be able to get in trades. Jeff Horrigan lists what went right and went wrong in the first half of the season. Horrigan continues the hip media trend of bashing Bill James whenever possible, lumping him in the group of What went wrong:

BILL JAMES may be a respected statistician and historian but his formulas don't always produce accurate results. Psssst, Bill, there's a reason why dozens of teams had given up on pitchers Bruce Chen and Rudy Seanez.

How about the focus on getting players with high OBP, has that been successful? What other things has James contributed behind the scenes that we don’t know about it? This James bias is pretty silly at times. Ralph Wiley on ESPN.com Page2 the other day basically accused James of racism:

It is usually the American-born blacks' records and place that are resented instead of celebrated. For example, it's the stolen base that is denigrated as a weapon by baseball sabermaticians like Bill James, at precisely the time when a Rickey Henderson steals 130 bases in a season.

This might be one of the dumbest things that Wiley has ever said, and that is saying a lot. Bill James has been a huge Rickey supporter through the years. James has stated not that steals themselves are bad, but that unless you’re great at it, they’re not worth the risk. Who is better in baseball history at the stolen base besides Rickey? Back to the Boston stories, Michael Silverman takes a look at the trade market. Bill Reynolds is sick of hearing about the curse. I just wish he had taken a few shots at a certain curly haired writer who has lined his pockets with proceeds from spreading the curse. Steve Buckley’s pay column tells us that there will be no dog days in August, the schedule has no easy pickings. That month will either be a lot of fun, or torture for the Sox. Kevin Gray says at long last, the Sox have some relief. Horrigan also takes a look at The Minors. Martone’s notebook has Jeff Suppan targeted by the Sox. Bill Griffith says the All Star game wasn’t the ratings bonanza that Fox hoped for.

I made it down to UMass-Boston to check out the Summer League last night. The young Celtics got their heads handed to them by the Spurs junior varsity. Marcus Banks, Kedrick Brown and Brandon Hunter were really the only guys who showed anything. Hunter needs to make this team. He brings something they need, a widebody to battle under the hoop, he was relentless under there. Bruno Sundov might’ve turned in the worst performance in the history of summer league basketball. He ended up with 7 fouls, (no disqualifications in summer league) missed numerous layups and dunks, had passes go through his hands, and got lit up by players much shorter than he. When you’re 7-3, you’d think you’d have a few more blocked shots. In frustration, he also decked a guy half his size and earned a T. I’ll run through the articles of the day, and add anything I think relevant. One disappointment I had was not getting to see Kendrick Perkins. The young center sat out with an ankle sprain. I didn’t see him in warmups, and then he came out in a walking cast towards the end of warmups. Mark Murphy reports on Perkins. Peter May has the story on Chris Herren, looking to get back into the NBA. Celtics made their free agent splash yesterday, inking Mark Blount to a two year deal. Shira Springer and Carolyn Thornton report on the Blount signing. Marcus Banks was impressive last night, not just from his numbers, Lenny Megliola reports on the Celtics rookie point guard. There was a buzz whenever had the ball, whether he was pushing the fast break, or performing a nasty, Iverson-like crossover in front of a helpless opponent, or taking the ball to the rack, he was impressive. In the second half, with the Spurs well ahead, and the crowd a little dead, Banks did his crossover, took the ball to the hoop and attempted to dunk it over the big guys. He got fouled, and missed the dunk, but almost the entire crowd was immediately up and applauding. He was up high enough to dunk, and had he not been fouled, it would’ve been a spectacular play. Rick Carlisle spent most of the first half seated next to Danny Ainge on the sideline, and John Wallace came and sat on the other side of Ainge midway through. A few seats down was Kenyon Martin, who got booed vociferously as he entered. A fan went across the building and sat down behind Martin and started taunting him, he apparently got to Martin, who turned and had a few words for him. Eventually security asked the fan to leave the area. Zach Rocha looks at Luke Recker, who did play some last night, and looked ok, he displayed some spark on defense. Springer’s notebook looks at John Wallace’s presence last night. Shira was an active presence on the sideline during the second half, talking with Ainge, Wallace and Carlisle among others. Murphy’s notebook also looks at Wallace. Thornton’s notebook features Ainge with some praise for Kedrick Brown’s offseason work. The Spurs summer league coach was quite dramatic during the game, putting on a show at halfcourt as if this was the seventh game of the NBA finals. It was hard to see what he was getting so upset about, as the foul calls seemed clearly to favor the Spurs. Danny Ainge was even seen engaging one of the officials in conversation during the game. Spurs reserve Kaspers Kambala received some razzing from the crowd for his large tattoo with the name “Jessica” on his arm, which quickly became his nickname. David Aldridge was seen roaming around, and doing multiple takes for his SportsCenter segment. Bob McAdoo was very visible, and Dave Jageler walked by to a chorus of “Free Jags!”, to which he smiled. Steve Bulpett was around, seated next to Ainge for much of the second half. (Nice shorts, Steve.) He also talked to Martin for a bit.

Tom Curran reports that the Patriots are getting closer to signing first round pick Ty Warren. Michael Felger looks at the Running Back position, which is still headlined by Antowain Smith, who faces his annual battle with the conditioning test a week from today. Aaron Harlan has a look at Ted Johnson coming into camp with a new contract, a new wife, and having just turned 30. Michael Parente starts his training camp preview with a look at the QB position, with the focus of course on Tom Brady. He also looks at the Running Back position, and with this year being a huge one for Smith.

Bob Ryan warms us up for “The” Open.

Bill Griffith looks at D-Day for WWZN tomorrow.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN Classic is showing game seven of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Celtics and Hawks at 9:00. ESPN has the “Pete Rose on Trial” show at 7:00

A further programming note, if you’re out of town and have got Direct-TV, you can watch the Summer league games on NBATV, I think it will be channel 601.

Just back from a day

Just back from a day away from the computer. Found the following email in my inbox:

Bruce,

Instead of agreeing with Peter "I'm great at writing obvious columns about 3 months after I should have written them" May, you should be asking these 2 questions:

1. Why did it take the current group of Boston basketball writers nearly half the summer to wonder why the new Celtics owners weren't throwing their hats in the ring for Payton, Howard, Arenas, Olowokandi, Brad Miller, Andre Miller, Corey Maggette and every other FA who could have helped the team with the FA exemption? They haven't courted one free agent other than Karl Malone, and we're not even sure if that story is true. There's a story here. There's even an answer. Why isn't anyone pursuing this?

2. Has the current state of basketball writing and reporting EVER been worse in this town? What happened to the Globe? Have they just given up? I read better coverage when I was editing field hockey and women's lacrosse columns in college.

This never would have happened if Don Skwar was still alive. Please say hi to everyone back home.

--SIMMONS

Do you really want links

Do you really want links to the All Star game? Didn’t think so.

Steve Buckley in his pay column today says the early exits of Manny, Pedro and Burkett are already forgotten about. Someone tell that to Gordon Edes, who is demanding that Manny make a phone call and explain his situation to management. Michael Silverman says that the Sox have focused in on Jeff Suppan as a target in the trade market. Steven Krasner looks at the All Star experiences of Nomar and Varitek, as well as other players with Sox ties. Edes catches up with the Varitek family, all very proud of Jason and used to watching him on a big stage. In considering the first half of the season, Bob Halloran decides it wouldn’t be any fun to revisit the high points, and gives us his top ten losses of the first half.

Peter May says you’d be hard pressed so far to find any difference between this new ownership group and the old ThanksDad Gaston regime, at least as far as signing players is concerned. You know what? I agree. To not spend the midlevel exemption is indefensible. They spent $360 million on the team. A player at the midlevel slot could bring them a round further in the playoffs, which would likely recoup any money they lose in luxury tax. Tim Weisberg says the younger Celtics will bring a new dimension to the team, with Banks, Bremer and Brown getting out on the break. Mark Murphy looks at Chris Ford, reinventing himself as an NBA assistant with the Sixers. May’s notebook rounds up the action from last night. Murphy’s notebook looks at the continuing basketball Odyssey of Chris Herren. He also says Danny Ainge has talked to some free agents, including Juwon Howard, who agreed to terms with Orlando. Carolyn Thornton also looks at Herren.

Michael Felger begins his training camp position by position examination today with a look at the quarterback spot. Tom Curran says that because of cap issues, this will likely be the last year we see some of the big names from the 2001 championship team on the squad. Just a minor note, I don’t think Rick Lyle was on that 2001 team.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on the Bruins inking Jonathan Girard and Michal Grosek to one year contracts.

Bill Griffith talks to a Sporting News Radio executive about changes on the way to WWZN.

NESN has the AA All Star game, featuring five Red Sox prospects at 7:00. ESPN2 has the AAA All Star game at 8:00. ESPN presents the ESPY Awards at 9:00.