To hopefully end the week

To hopefully end the week and go into the long weekend on a lighter note, we present the inaugural edition of the “Axe Nick” Mailbag.

Please note: This is a parody meaning it is not mean spirited. Also, the “Axe Nick” name does not imply in anyway that I think Nick Cafardo should be “Axed”. Rather, the name is a tribute to how our Nick (Not the other Nick) so deftly swings his own agenda axe. Relax and enjoy something that is meant as a lighthearted parody at what is a very popular feature over at

If you prefer the real Ask Nick, this week’s edition has been posted.


The Globe attempts a glimpse

The Globe attempts a glimpse of its glory days by bringing in David Halberstam to write a feature about what it is like to be a citizen of Red Sox nation. Jackie MacMullan looks at busy sports schedule in Boston this week, focusing mostly on the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. So much going on, in fact, that there are curiously few stories on the Red Sox/Yankees series that opens tonight. We expected the Dan Shaughnessy Athens-Sparta matchup column and didn’t get it. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox respect the Yankees, but still feel they should be in first place. Steven Krasner writes that despite all the distractions of the last couple weeks, the Sox are right where they want to be. Howard Bryant says the Sox are like a little brother tired of being picked on and ready to strike back. Kevin Gray says there are chinks in the Yankee armor. Steve Britt wonders who would’ve thought the Red Sox could get back into this AL east race… Lou Merloni is back with the Sox. Bob Hohler, Lenny Megliola, (He says the Yankees were also interested in Lou.) Art Davidson and Krasner all look at the return of Framingham Lou. MacMullan also looks at Jason Varitek, finally fully recovered from that elbow injury of 2001.

Mike Reiss tries to figure out who the final cuts will be and what the roster will looks like for the opening day Patriots. Nick Cafardo writes a similar column to one he did a couple weeks ago, about the Patriot coordinators and their head coaching aspirations. Kevin Mannix looks at what we’ve learned from the preseason. At the end he also asserts that it is “likely” that new cult hero Dan Klecko will be cut. Alan Greenberg looks at Ken Walter, somehow hanging on to his job with the team. Michael Parente looks at the continued game of musical chairs on the offensive line. Tom Curran looks at the battle for the backup QB spot. Michael Felger looks at Damon Huard, who appears to be hanging out in the win a bit as to what his role with the team is going to be. Hector Longo looks at what could be a tough opener for the Buffalo Bills and Drew Bledsoe. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the backup QB battle. In Felger’s notebook, Charlie Weis is comfortable with the weapons he has on offense. Curran’s notebook says the Pats are likely glad for their own sake that the 49ers passed on hiring Romeo Crennel as their head coach. Parente’s notebook looks at some things that Tom Brady has been working on.

With Tiger in town, there are a number of articles on him today. Kevin Paul Dupont records a day spent following Tiger. Gerry Callahan writes a pay column gushing that no one handles the demands of fame as well as Tiger does.

He might be the most telegenic athlete in the world, as smooth and natural in Buick commercials as he is in Buick Invitationals, and yet TV does not do him justice. You spend a few frenetic hours on Planet Tiger, and you notice something odd. He doesn't sweat. He doesn't even wrinkle. He is strangely neat and shiny in person, all perfect angles and lines. There are guys on the Champions Tour with GRIPS that are thicker than Tiger's waist, and the only things straighter than the creases in his pants are his teeth.

Paul Kenyon says Tiger is a winner no matter what happens this weekend, as all proceeds from this weekend go to the Tiger Woods Foundation for children. Jim McCabe looks at the rise of Tiger by recalling Amateur wins in New England.

Down in Philadelphia, Stephen A. Smith takes a few shots at Larry Legend.

WBZ 4 has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Pirates at 7:00. USA is carrying the Deutsche Bank Championship First-round play at 5:00. ESPN has Toledo/UNLV college football at 9:00.

Sometimes I wish newspapers could

Sometimes I wish newspapers could trade columnists like teams trade players. I wonder if the Globe and Washington Post could work out a trade of Tony Kornheiser for Dan Shaughnessy and an intern to be named later. Kornheiser wishes D.C. had divas like Pedro, while Dan is determined to chase them out of town.

Listening to Pete Sheppard’s comments today to open the Big Show was an event that had to be heard to be appreciated. Instead of addressing his own remarks, his defense is that Lucchino was wrong, he wasn’t hosting that day, Ordway was. Then Pete said all the remarks on the show were made in fun, and “tongue in cheek”. He added that his own comments were the mildest of all the participants of the show, and that he really didn’t say too much during that two hour segment.

John Molori weighs in on the Boston media negativity. He’s speaking mostly on the Kevin Millar column from last week, but most of it applies to the Pedro situation as well.

Labor Day Weekend is approaching,

Labor Day Weekend is approaching, and the Sox sent out some Halladay greetings, according to John Powers. Perhaps Mars being so close, closest to Earth in 60,000 years has the planets aligned right for the Sox, that’s a theory of Jeff Horrigan. Hmmm. Interesting theory. Anyone see Mars last night? You could tell with just your eyes that it was orange in color. Paul Doyle says that through all the ups and downs, the Sox can always fall back on the long ball. Steve Krasner looks at Todd Walker’s golf shot homerun as a springboard for him and the team. Michael Silverman looks at Walker working his way back from his dreadful slump. Kevin Gray says the Sox are glad to be done with Halladay and the Blue Jays. In that same article, Gray looks at the Sox performance against the league

Those pesky Blue Jays. Jeff

Those pesky Blue Jays. Jeff Horrigan says the Blue Jays were expected to provide a little relief during this stretch of tough games. Now with Roy Halladay on for tonight, it’s not looking so easy. Bob Hohler provides some bulleted points of the lows from last night. Sean McAdam says this one had a little bit of everything…except quality relief. Paul Doyle looks at the pen wiping out another comeback. Lenny Megliola says there was to be no happy ending at Fenway last night. John Powers says that while its nice to beat the good teams, the Sox have got to find a way to beat the lesser lights of the league as well. Steve Buckley pledges in his pay column to have nothing negative about the Sox, for all those who won’t accept any negativity. He points to Jeff Suppan’s three scoreless innings last night, and says he is a key to Sox success down the stretch. Karen Guregian says that the Sox brass is just hoping the Pedro storm will blow over. Michael Silverman says that it is no coincidence that the Sox’s defense has improved during their periods of success. Shira Springer looks at Todd Walker, breaking out of his slump and looking back upon it. Kevin McNamara looks at another rough outing by the two Scotts. Silverman also has a look at the pair of relievers. Springer focuses on Sauerbeck, who was tagged with the loss last night. As part of his continuing series on Baseball worldwide and language, Steven Krasner has a piece on Nomar where he looks at his preference to speak English, though he can speak and understand Spanish as well. There are a few other articles from the series up today, they’re worth checking out. Guregian takes a look at Millar’s inside-the-park homerun from last night. Powers says last night was a perfect example of the Sox split personality. Hohler’s notebook has the Sox attempting to pry Mike Bordick away from the Blue Jays. Horrigan’s notebook has the Sox chuckling over the Mariners hints that they were stealing signs. McAdam’s notebook also reports the Sox interest in Bordick, as well as in Frank Catalanotto.

Patriots wrap up the preseason tonight. The goal? Stay healthy, says Michael Felger. Rosevelt Colvin will be looking forward to seeing his buddies on the Bears tonight, and Tom Curran says a few limbs might be severed in the process. Dan Pires has a long Q&A session with Ty Law. I sure he Law is around after this season, the guy is entertaining. Nick Cafardo also says the Pats hope to avoid injuries and looks at a couple other things they hope to accomplish. Alan Greenberg looks at the roster moves yesterday and placing of Kenyatta Jones on the PUP list, meaning he’s out until at least week six. Mike Reiss notes that the Pats will have a different starting right tackle for the fourth straight year. Michael Parente has Bill Belichick looking back to the last meeting between the Bears and the Pats, you remember that one, don’t you? Miracle finish…He also looks at what the team hopes to accomplish tonight. David Pevear looks at Deion Branch. SI’s Don Banks likes what the Patriots have done during the preseason. He’s not so impressed with a certain acquisition by the Dolphins. Felger’s notebook looks at the decimated offensive line made even thinner yesterday. Curran’s notebook looks at yesterday’s roster shuffle. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the moves, and notes that Conaty will be able to play in a few weeks…elsewhere…as soon as he can work out an injury settlement. Parente’s notebook also looks at the O-Line depth, or lack thereof.

Captain Hinds….er….Peter May looks at the US win over Argentina.

NESN has Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. WCVB has Patriots/Bears at 8:00. ESPN has Cubs/Cardinals at 7:00. ESPN2 has Orioles/A’s at 10:00.

Bill Simmons reviews “Playmakers” Ron

Bill Simmons reviews “Playmakers”

Ron Borges weighs in on Pedro. Chad Finn needs a hug. Mike Fine looks at yesterday’s well balanced Red Sox win. Alan Greenwood covers Pedro’s performance in beating the Mariners for the 12th straight time. Garry Brown says the negativity went too far this week. Win Bates says the Sox are sitting in a good spot. Bob Stern looks at “Papa Jack”, Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson.

Need a few more David Patten stories? Eric McHugh says that even though Patten’s place in Patriots history is secure, he’s not living in the past. Tom King says Patten is still a factor. Glen Farley says Patten isn’t on the bubble any longer. That’s a total of eight….count ’em EIGHT, Rene… stories on David Patten today. Slow news day. McHugh’s notebook looks at Kenyatta Jones and also at cutdown day.

Josh Ozersky wishes there were more Celtics stories during the summer.

Five in a row now.

Five in a row now. Bob Hohler looks at Pedro improving to 12-0 lifetime against the Mariners. Jeff Horrigan says it was clear that Pedro was still weak and recovering from his illness. Sean McAdam says that Pedro and the Sox have made a hairpin turnaround since last week. David Heuschkel says Pedro’s competitive spirit was there for all to see. Tony Massarotti looks at the Sox as a team keeping their heads during this tough stretch of games, and executing. The next most important two stretch of the season is in front of them. Gordon Edes gets reaction from the Mariners clubhouse after the game, and they’re full of praise for the Sox. A Seattle reporter however, so shocked at seeing the Mariner’s pitchers torched as they were, raises the question of whether the Sox were stealing signs in this series. Mark Blaudschun looks at another huge hit for David Ortiz. Rich Thompson also has a look at the Sox red hot # 5 hitter. Shira Springer writes about three more hits for Nomar yesterday. Massarotti also looks at Nomar, rebounding nicely from his 0-6 on Saturday. Rich Thompson looks at Johnny Damon, the Sox are 18-1 this year when he scores two runs or more in a game. Jon Couture tries to explain to Kevin Millar the mentality of the fan base here in New England. Michael Gee looks at the Sox debut of Bronson Arroyo, who picked up the save. Gee has a pay column in which he says the Pedro we saw yesterday is what the Pedro of 2006 & 07 will look like. Hohler’s notebook looks at Grady lining up his rotation for the Yankees. Horrigan’s notebook has Grady speaking about the things that likely ticked Pedro off. McAdam’s notebook says that it is no surprise that the Sox have turned things around at home. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Arroyo, and also Grady getting testy with the media.

Now comes the obligatory Pedro section. Feel free to avert your eyes from this paragraph as the content within is not likely to be pretty. Dan Shaughnessy is Dan Shaughnessy. What did we expect? Not his worst rip job, but a more subtle version. Jim Donaldson wishes to grow up and be Dan Shaughnessy someday. The master of the one line paragraph attempts to establish himself as cultivated, (“the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”?) before taking his shots. He even says the criticism of Pedro last Thursday was “admittedly ignorant”, yet Pedro should’ve just ignored it. I’ll keep this in mind next time a media member comes to me complaining that I’m taking “cheap shots” at them. Some members of the Boston sports media (I’m not necessarily including Donaldson in this group.) are the most hypocritical, thin skinned people you will ever meet. Any criticism of them results in a strikeback. The Angry White Golfers yesterday morning circling the wagons and saying the Boston media is not negative was laughable. Going into full mode defense against criticism of themselves, yet they’re lecturing guys like Pedro to just ignore it when their manhood is questioned? That it’s just part of being here? The same rules apply to you guys, so just keep that in mind. I don’t take “cheap shots” nor do I make personal attacks, yet, I certainly hear from enough media people when I’ve criticized them. Ok. Back to the Pedro articles. Gerry Callahan has a pay column today in which he says Pedro needs to be here, because he thrives on the intensity and criticism that he gets, Callahan says:

Pedro is an incredibly bright guy who is more articulate in his second language than most ballplayers are in their first, but if his skin were any thinner you could see through him. This is a man with the heart of a lion and the ears of a rabbit. Presumably Pedro wants to play somewhere without hecklers, without critics, without cranks or curmudgeons or pessimists, and of course, with a $120 million payroll. He wants the 34,000 fawning acolytes every night but not the occasional heckler. He wants his next baseball town to be like Cuba on election day - 100-percent approval. You see a town like that on the baseball map, you let Pedro know. It might be tough to locate.

Thin skinned, eh? We could fill a book with the sarcastic, biting and personally insulting remarks that Dan Shaughnessy has made to people who dare question him via email. Seems he reacts to hecklers just as well as Pedro does. Callahan goes on to say though, that those hecklers drive Pedro to greater performances. Not sure the same can be said media members. Does criticism drive them to greater columns? I’m not going to paint with a broad brush and say all media members are like that. They’re not. There are plenty of fine reporters and journalists in this town. The majority of them, in fact. But as with anything, the negative is what stands out. A few loud mouthed media types are enough to ruin the reputation of the whole group.

OK, back to your regularly scheduled links. If you skipped the above paragraph, good for you. David Patten is the story of the day in Patriots links. Nick Cafardo, Tom Curran, Alan Greenberg, Ian M. Clark and Michael Parente all look at how Patten continually has to prove himself and earn his spot on the team each year. Kevin Mannix looks at Kevin Faulk and how he just won’t concede the lead running spot to Antowain Smith. Cafardo’s notebook has more on the hole in the running game and also contains a nice story from the late Ken Coleman about Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Mannix’s notebook looks ahead to tomorrow night’s preseason finale against the Bears. Parente’s notebook looks at the slow progress of Kenyatta Jones. Curran’s notebook looks at possible cuts for today.

Bill Griffith looks at the evolution of the whole Pedro situation. Jim Baker defends Johnny Miller in his pay column, wheeling out witnesses who saw Pedro talking to Miller. They saw them talking, but didn’t hear what was said. They (Alan Greenwood and Jimmy Golen) vouch for Miller’s credibility in this instance. Matthew Gilbert reviews “Playmakers”.

Celtics fans, Michael Muldoon has a Q&A session with Danny Ainge on the moves he’s made in his first 100 days on the job and also discusses the future of the franchise. This article appeared Saturday but wasn’t posted until last night.

A few new articles up at Football Outsiders. NFC West, NFC South and AFC South previews are up. There will also be a staff predictions article up sometime today.

NESN has Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TBS has Mets/Braves at 7:30. ESPN has the debut of “Playmakers” at 9:00.

Sox get their fourth win

Sox get their fourth win in a row, and have Pedro going this afternoon against a team he’s never lost to. All is well right? (I’ll group the Pedro articles together in a bit, you can then skip them if you like.) Bob Hohler, Jeff Horrigan, Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel provide the game stories from last night’s nationally televised 6-1 win for the Sox. Derek Lowe was strong last night. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Karen Guregian look at the outing by Lowe, and the wax paraffin treatments he used to heal his blister. Tony Massarotti and Shira Springer look at the big blow by David Ortiz that sealed the game for the Sox. Horrigan looks at Pedro’s physical condition for this afternoon’s start. Michael Gee looks at the Mariners Ryan Franklin taking one for the team last night. Gee tells everyone to calm down and relax in his pay column. Enjoy the playoff chase. Don’t get too high or too low. On the ESPN telecast last night, Joe Morgan was his usual self, but he did score an on-camera interview with Manny before the game. Clips were shown during the broadcast, and Manny came off as he usually does, humble, shy and very likeable. He was asked how he keeps such an even keel during the game, not letting bad at bats get to him, and he credited his mother, who he said doesn’t get angry, always keeps her cool. Hohler’s notebook looks at Pedro on the hill today. In Horrigan’s notebook, he wonders if Scott Williamson might be getting some save chances coming his way. McAdam’s notebook also looks at Pedro cleared to pitch today.

So that concludes the on field portion of your Red Sox coverage for today. Now the Pedro section. Tony Massarotti says this is all part of the Pedro package. Either you accept him as he is, or you won’t have him. Mazz says personally, he likes watching Pedro pitch every five days, so he’d like to keep him around. Sean McAdam says that Pedro is far too sensitive to be here, some of his teammates silently resent him, (If they’re silent about it, how does Sean know about it?) and we’re likely coming to the end of the Pedro run in Boston. Bob Hohler reports on the situation. This sentence deserves some elaboration: “Martinez suggested his integrity was wrongly impugned partly because he is Dominican.” What did he say? Give us more, Bob, you just can’t throw that out there without expanding on it. David Heuschkel also reports on the events of yesterday. Lenny Megliola says even though Johnny Miller didn’t get this on tape, (he reportedly gets everything on tape) no one doubts that Pedro said these things. He then suggests that Pedro call a press conference and get everything out in the open. Call out the people he’s mad at, let everyone know. Howard Bryant has a pay column, that while not exclusively on the subject of Pedro, looks at the New York/Boston similarities in media coverage. He says the Yankees would never allow their best players not to speak to the media as the Red Sox do, noting that “George Steinbrenner and the city’s sports editors both understand their responsibility to the city.” Steven Krasner has a sometimes amusing look at Pedro’s use of the english language. This is part of a four day series the Projo is running on the now World wide game of baseball, there are many stories in the series, too many to link to, so go check it out if you get a chance. Some interesting bits in there.

A note from yesterday, worth preserving for posterity. Tony Massarotti says the media in Boston does go too far at times:

That said, we, the self-righteous members of the Fourth Estate, need to recognize our part in this. There are insufficiently-skilled reporters out there, just as there are those who are fair and responsible. Sure, we can dole out the criticism and cheap shots, but we often have difficulty accepting them. And despite general perceptions, being too negative is just as much a sin as being too positive for those who are supposed to be in the middle.

It's never supposed to be personal. Never, never, never.

Who cut J.R.? Nick Cafardo reports on the release of Redmond, and how that gives Patrick Pass a little breathing room, for the moment. We’ll always remember Redmond for his clutch performances in the Snow Bowl and the Super Bowl. He doesn’t get out of bounds during that Super Bowl winning drive, and there likely isn’t any game winning kick in regulation. Kevin Mannix says that David Patten appears to have successfully fought off competitors for his place on the team. Paul Kenyon also looks at Redmond and Pass. Alan Greenberg also has a brief bit on the roster moves of yesterday. In Texas, Richard Oliver wonders if Bill Parcells can win without Bill Belichick at his side. Cafardo’s notebook has Ty Law being realistic about what the Patriots have accomplished in the preseason. Mannix’s notebook has more on the cuts from yesterday.

NESN has Red Sox/Mariners at 1:00. ESPN has Padres/Diamondbacks at 9:00. ABC has Colts/Broncos preseason football at 8:00.

They say parallel universes could

They say parallel universes could possibly exist. I can only think that I’ve awoken in one such place today. In the Globe, Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo are gushing over the Patriots’ performance last night. Borges says:

As they say from space, "Hello, Houston?" If ever a pro football team looked to be heading to Houston next February, it was the Patriots last night.

He goes on to add that:

Their offense tore apart one of the best defenses in the NFL and their defense squashed the Eagles' offense whether it was trying to run the ball or throw it.

Cafardo was similar in his praise for the sons of Bill Belichick, noting that the defense was “flying around” and making plays. He finds a scout that tells him the Pats are “going to be a top team in the league.”

Meanwhile, as this parallel universe turns, Michael Felger is nowhere near as impressed. He notes that:

The Patriots offense was best described as inconsistent in its first two preseason games. That distinction still applied last night, although there certainly were more signs of life as the Pats found the end zone three times in 35 minutes against their toughest preseason competition to date.

He also adds that the win

left them with a 3-0 preseason record and quarterback Tom Brady with a half-empty feeling.

The Globe boys full of boundless optimism, visions of Super Bowl glory dancing in their heads, while Felger proclaims the glass half empty? What in the name of Clif Keane is going on here?

Some things though, never change. Cafardo’s notebook closes with:

Looking in Buffalo Bills president Tom Donahoe was at the game, scouting the Patriots. Donahoe is excited about the Bills team he has put together. "In time, I think our defense will be much improved," said Donahoe. He also believes he's built a team that can take some of the burden off Drew Bledsoe. As for Willis McGahee, Donahoe said, "He'll start the year inactive and then I think after Week 6, if things are going well, he'll be in uniform if everything has progresses according to plan."

Does Nick get a kickback everytime he mentions Donahoe in a column? Just wondering.