Morning links while still sleeping

Morning links while still sleeping in the back of the Red Sox bandwagon…Pats play the third preseason game tonight, which is, as we’ve been told many times, the closest to a “real” game of all the preseason contests. Tom Curran says that while it is the closest, it not in the same universe as a real game. He says the Pats will be more concerned with themselves than anything the Eagles are doing, and gives us some things to look for. Alan Greenberg looks at tonight through the eyes of guys like Mike Compton, who just want to get through without injury. Not playing on that old Veteran’s stadium turf will help some in that regard. Nick Cafardo says the game will be a good test for the team and opportunity to see what Ted Washington can do. Christopher Price has a preview of tonight. Michael Parente says that both teams tonight have some things to work on, the Pats with their offense, and the Eagles trying to break in five new starters on defense. Michael Felger says that Bill Belichick and his staff will have some tough roster decisions to make in the coming week. Mike Reiss thinks that Seahawks holdout offensive lineman Walter Jones would be a good target for the Patriots to pursue a trade for. Bill Reynolds looks at former Brown standout Michael Malan, a longshot to make the team as he is listed as the fourth string fullback. Greenberg also gives us five Patriots to watch tonight. Felger’s notebook looks at the new digs in Philly. Parente’s notebook says the Eagles running game is in worse shape than the Patriots.

Pedro calls in sick, Sox win anyway. Jeff Horrigan looks at the night at Fenway. Bob Hohler looks at the Sox bats coming alive for fill-in Fossum. Paul Kenyon says it was just another wild & crazy day at Fenway. Tom Yantz focuses on Fossum’s effort replacing Pedro. Kevin Gray says Johnny Pesky has never heard of a player calling in sick before. Lenny Megliola recalls getting into it with Mike Greenwell back in the day. Alex Speier attempting to inject some optimism into the coverage of the Sox, says that the Sox had a very similar stretch back in ’99. Tony Massarotti says the Sox will take last night, things could be a lot worst being 3 games out instead of 1. Gordon Edes says criticism of Pedro for missing last night’s start is way out of line. Jon Couture disagrees, saying plenty of athletes have played sick. (Apparently NL MVP candidate Albert Pujols isn’t one of them. He’s been out of the lineup all week because of a high fever and flu-like symptoms. ) Kenyon and Hohler provide more information on Pedro’s condition. Michael Silverman weighs in as well. Sean McAdam says last night was a step in the right direction. Michael Vega says the A’s were pretty happy when they found out they wouldn’t be facing Pedro. Steve Conroy looks at the fill-in job done by Fossum. Mark Blaudschun also examines Fossum. Silverman also looks at the video of an 18 year old Kevin Millar performing Karaoke on the big screen. Could it be the Sox new rally tool? Bob Halloran says that Millar made a mistake lumping the media and the fans together as being overly negative. Howard Bryant’s pay column today appears to be shifting the burden of the negative vibes off the media and onto the fans. The media is reporting the truth when they report on losses, but as for the fans:

Still, the Boston Way did not impress A's second baseman Frank Menechino, who along with center fielder Terrence Long was shocked by how the hungry Sox crowd turned on its heroes.

"Over these past days in Boston, the aura here has been negative. The crowd wasn't electric the way they should have been,'' he said.

Menechino is from New York City - Staten Island - and is used to the East Coast vibe. He senses this current group of Red Sox possibly responding poorly to the city's attitudes.

"The players sense that the fans are only waiting for something bad to happen,'' Menechino said. "One of two things is going to happen. Either the team is going to put even more pressure on itself, or they will start to say they don't (care).

I realize it wasn’t Howard’s intention to turn things onto the fans, he was making the point that the fans here and on all the east coast are consumed by their teams, which is a stark contrast to places like San Diego. Most players want to play in front of fans who care, but the trade off is that if you don’t deliver, they’re going to get on you. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Todd Walker back in the # 2 spot. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Walker. McAdam’s notebook has Damian Jackson defending his head first slide which resulted in injury. Yantz’s notebook looks at Pedro’s illness.

Art Martone remembers Ken Coleman. Tom Yantz and Steve Buckley also look at career of the great broadcaster. I remember Coleman very well, summer nights spent sleeping outdoors in the 80’s, with his voice coming over the radio, keeping my mind off the Fisher cat screaming in the woods aways off. Always hated when the game ended.

Bob Ryan is covering Team USA at the Tournament of the Americas. but looks at an shocking upset loss by Argentina to Mexico.

John Howell looks at ESPN’s new “Playmakers” show. Bill Griffith looks ahead to the college football TV schedule. Out on the west coast, the Sacramento Bee has fired a reporter for filing a Giants story after watching the game on TV, and pretending he was actually in attendance at Pac Bell Park.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Mariners at 7:00. WCVB has Patriots/Eagles at 7:30. WBZ (CBS) has Dolphins/Falcons at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Rockies at 9:00.


Just a note before we

Just a note before we get started, I’m getting bombed with emails as a result of the “Sobig.F” virus. I am not infected with it, but my email address is out there on someone’s infected computer, and I’m literally getting hundreds of emails as a result of this. If you send a legit email, there’s a possibility it could get lost or accidentally deleted in the shuffle…

Keeping with my resolution yesterday that the Patriots are now number one, here goes. Ted has hit town. Alan Greenberg says nose tackle-by-committee wasn’t working for the Pats, so they brought in a stopper. Michael Felger has a look at the newest big man on campus, who declined to give his actual current weight. He gets a quote from Jets center Kevin Mawae, who clearly isn’t afraid nor impressed with Washington. Mark Blaudschun says the Patriots might have finally hit it on the nose. Kevin McNamara says that having Washington can make it easier on all the defense, all the way back to the safeties. Christopher Price has a quick wrapup of Washington’s meeting with the media yesterday. Hector Longo says the addition of Washington has people on the defense smiling. Mike Reiss says the Pats likely landed a key piece to their defense with this move. Michael Parente looks at the “steel beam”. Ian M. Clark dubs him the mountain in the middle. While at times the Boston media can go over the top with their negativity, sometimes they have a tendency to go just as much the other way. You get the feeling here that by acquiring Washington, the Patriots have solved all issues. Even Ron Borges loves this move, as evidenced by his comments on the Globe SportsPlus. Will they feel the same in a few months? Lets hope so. Greenberg also has a look at David Givens, working hard to make great strides in his second season. Felger’s notebook looks at Larry Centers, still making adjustments to his new team. McNamara’s notebook looks at Belichick’s choice of music to simulate crowd noise. Blaudschun’s notebook has more of the same. Parente’s notebook looks at Ken Walter’s job being safe again….

Wrong time to be complaining about the media, Kevin Millar, because right now, you guys deserve it. It doesn’t make the stories enjoyable to read, but the best way to shut up critics is to win. (Even that doesn’t even always work.) It’s not happening. I’m not too bothered by it all, as the page has been turned. I’m not off the bandwagon, but perhaps sleeping in the back seat, not paying too much attention. Michael Silverman, Bob Hohler, Sean McAdam, Christopher Price and Tom Yantz look at another miserable loss. Dan Shaughnessy is in his element. No one enjoys these things more than Dan. Think he has a little spring in his step today? Lenny Megliola says the Sox better get their focus on the wildcard, as the division is out of reach. Kevin Gray says the Sox have no handy excuses for last night. Mike Shalin looks at Scott Hatteberg, enjoying his return to Fenway. Carolyn Thornton talked to Millar more about his comments about the negativity of the fans and media, and he doesn’t back down, but gives examples instead. Steve Conroy says Rich Harden will fill in for Tim Hudson tonight. Jason Devaney looks at a very happy Oakland clubhouse after the game. Matt Kalman looks at Byung Hyun-Kim not getting the job done. John Tomase looks at what happens when good deals go bad. Price has another look at the meltdown by Kim. Tony Chamberlain says last night might take the prize for the season’s ugliest lost, and there are a lot of candidates for that honor. Silverman notes that Pedro missed the team photo. Again. Conroy looks at the stranded runners last night. Howard Bryant has a pay column on the use of the bullpen, and how fair or not, that’s going to come back to Grady:

The game of ``outguess the manager'' is a dangerous and subjective thing, but Little failed last night. Still, the margins of error in this game are razor-thin and this morning - had Kim excelled - Little would have been lauded for recognizing a playoff-style game in August, using his closer effectively and leaving nothing to chance. He may have been compared to Yankees manager Joe Torre, who often uses Mariano Rivera for two innings in big games.

``This is our time of the year. We know what this is. We've been here before and we know how to handle it,'' A's third base coach Ron Washington said. ``I wouldn't say he got outmanaged, because if Kim comes in there and gets through the eighth, Grady Little would be a genius. I'm glad it didn't work out.''

Karen Guregian says players and fans both need to get a grip on this negativity. She knocks Kevin Millar for his comments, putting him in the group that hasn’t been here long enough to know how things work here. The media is infallable, he should just accept it. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Millar’s comments. Silverman’s notebook says Derek Lowe should be fine for his next start. Lowe also invokes his own new set of rules regarding talking to the media. Only on days he pitches. McAdam’s notebook waves the white flag on the AL East. Yantz notebook says the Sox didn’t win because of lack of hustle.

John Molori looks at media coverage of Bill Parcells in Dallas.

NESN has Sox/A’s at 7:00. ESPN has the Saugus Little league squad taking on Richmond, TX at 7:00. Wonder if that game will outdraw the Sox… FOX has Steelers/Cowboys preseason at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Giants at 10:00.

Well, the good thing about

Well, the good thing about this time of year is that there are Patriots stories to read when the Red Sox suffer crushing losses like last night. While the Sox will likely be resilient and bounce back from this latest tough loss, last night was painful. Sports radio will be even more painful today. In any event, the Patriots have officially moved to the # 1 spot in my attention span. Yes, I will continue to rabidly follow the Sox until their season is over, but the Pats come first. Actually, my pro sports ranking system actually goes Celtics 1, Patriots 1a, Red Sox 1b, Bruins 25. Thankfully the Patriots make a big move last night to offset the Sox somewhat. The joke of course, is that we’re not kidding when we say big move. Ted Washington is in the fold. Kevin Mannix & Michael Felger team up to report on the trade that brought the 375lb nose tackle to the Patriots. Nick Cafardo says Washington is another good locker room guy, who likely won’t play full time. Tom Curran says the Isle of Washington will be a handy deterrent to wheel out on teams that think they can run up the middle on the Pats. Michael Parente, and Robert Campbell round off the local coverage of the acquisition of Washington. ESPN’s John Clayton says that this move could put the Patriots over the top in the AFC East. David Haugh reports on the story for the Chicago Tribune. Michael Gee writes that Bill Belichick is still beaming over Tom Brady’s 85 yard hookup with David Patten Saturday night. Parente looks at the Patriots 3-4 defense, which has a wrinkle because of the versatility of the linebackers. Carolyn Thornton looks at Bobby Hamilton, starting again at square one with another training camp. Cafardo also reports on the addition of Corbin Lacina to the Pats offensive line, in addition Rich Tylski, who retired during camp last year is interested in coming back. Tylski speaks very positively of his (brief) stay in New England, which may come as a surprise to certain scribes & talking heads who intimated that the training camp retirements were a reflection of how the Patriots (Belichick) treated people. Gee’s notebook says that Lacina is planning on sticking around for a bit. Thornton’s notebook also says Lacina is here to stay. Parente’s notebook wraps up the Lacina coverage, and notes that Antwoine Womack briefly got on the practice field yesterday, but had to cut it short.

Alright, if we must, we’ll now go into the Red Sox. I’ll try to make it as brief and painless as possible. Bob Ryan hates blisters. Michael Silverman, Bob Hohler, Sean McAdam and David Heuschkel wrap up the game for us. Jeff Jacobs wonders if a blister might spell doom for the season. Lenny Megliola says welcome to Boston, Sauerbeck and Williamson. Steve Conroy looks at Lowe’s night, pre-blister. Mike Shalin says Ken Macha takes no particular joy in beating his former employer. Kevin McNamara has a similar look at the A’s skipper. Gordon Edes looks at the huge job done by the A’s bullpen. Shalin also looks at the A’s pen, which gave the team a huge boost. Michael Vega says Scott Williamson takes full responsibility for giving up the homerun. Big of him. Who else is he going to blame it on? Conroy writes that Tim Wakefield is ready to take the mound in tonight’s crucial game. Edes sneaks a quick peek at A’s phenom Rich Harden. Howard Bryant has a short pay column in which he looks at reaction after the game, the A’s were calm and focused, while Billy Bean noted of the crowd:

"Did you hear that?'' Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane said. ``That was intense. The guy throws one pitch and comes off to that? Is the world going to end tomorrow? What was that? Face it, it won't make a difference if they win three, we win three or someone wins two. There is so much baseball left. It's crazy, but that's also why I love Boston.''

Well, maybe that’s the proper perspective. Silverman’s notebook looks at continued playing time for Damian Jackson. Hohler’s notebook says the division is slipping away. The ProJo notebook says Hudson wants to go against Pedro. Heushckel’s notebook also looks at the benching of Todd Walker.

Bill Reynolds writes about the atrocities that have taken place at the world’s largest Baptist university. Jeff Goodman, a local guy, has an article on the next LeBron for the Washington Post.

NESN has A’s/Red Sox at 7:00. (ESPN2 Nationally) ESPN2 has Braves/Giants at 10:00. USFL fans can catch the original Boston Breakers taking on the Los Angeles Express on ESPN Classic at 9:00.

Dale & Neumy had Danny

Dale & Neumy had Danny Robbins on as a guest this morning. Robbins is the reporter who broke the story of conversations taped by assistant coach Abar Rouse that had Baylor coach Dave Bliss attempting to fabricate a story that murdered player Patrick Dennehy was dealing drugs.

Chaz Scoggins has an interesting article on the history of the home run at Fenway. It wasn’t always so long ball friendly. Mike Fine says the Sox need to bats to boom to avoid a familiar fate. Alan Greenwood looks ahead to the crucial homestand. Garry Brown says the Sox need the home cooking.

Gregg Easterbrook has his Tuesday Morning QB column combined with an AFC preview. Not too impressed by the Patriots, it would appear. Reading what he says you’d think the Patriots did nothing in the offseason to improve themselves. Glen Farley provides a number of Patriots related thoughts and musings. Eric McHugh says the play of the young cornerbacks sealed the fate of Otis Smith.

Ron Chimelis looks at Springfield’s Travis Best, still out there looking for a job. Maybe the Celtics offer of the veteran minimum wasn’t so bad after all.

Jon Couture wishes to get back to the basics of enjoying sports, before ESPN ruined everything.

Patriots say good bye to

Patriots say good bye to O-T-I-S. Thanks for the memories. 13 years (so far) in the NFL, not bad for a guy who wasn’t even drafted. Tom Curran looks at Smith’s career and what led to the tough decision yesterday. Nick Cafardo obtains some quotes from Smith’s agent and gets a sprinkling of reaction among players who would comment. Alan Greenberg contributes a piece on Smith, says a couple of his teammates were “burned” by the move and claims that management told the rookie cornerbacks not to comment on the situation. I thought rookies just weren’t supposed to talk to the media period during training camp…Michael Parente calls this move the most difficult of Bill Belichick’s three year tenure with the club. Christopher Price says the move was tough for Belichick because Smith was one of “his guys”. Michael Gee wraps up the coverage of the hard decision to let Smith go. Jon Wallach will miss Otis. Hector Longo does another Ron Borges impression. The Herald notebook reports that the team has agreed to a contract with guard Corbin Lacina, and are now looking at James “Big Cat” Williams as a possibility. Parente’s notebook also looks for O-Line help. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Bethel Johnson, while Curran’s notebook has more on Johnson.

The biggest laugh I got last night was while browsing through SOSH and one poster noted that he would trade Todd Walker for the second baseman on the Saugus Little League in a heartbeat….maybe Steven Krasner would as well, as he says Walker just doesn’t have it. Gordon Edes looks at the importance of this homestand. Gerry Callahan has a pay column in which he says many of the same things. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Derek Lowe. Steve Buckley has a pay column that looks at some of the new changes at Fenway that are in place for this homestand. You can get pretty much the same information by reading Jimmy Golen’spiece for the AP. Tony Massarotti looks at how dramatically better the Sox are at home, and how they’ll need to be during this stretch. David Heuschkel says a .500 homestand will not cut it. In an article that no doubt has John Meterparel beaming, Jeff Horrigan notes that Gabe Kapler is a good Jewish role model. John Tomase looks at the playoff chase as the teams come down the stretch. Horrigan’s notebook looks at how Grady Little’s contract status is still up in the air.

A couple new Football Outsiders articles up. One is an AFC West preview and the other is a look at how different receivers fared with starting QBs vs. backup QBs last year…helpful in light of the Michael Vick injury.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00.

A few people have inquired,

A few people have inquired, both with me and in other forums about Peter King’s comments at the end of his MMQB column today in which he mentions Chris Mortensen:

Hey, Chris Mortensen! Wow, what happened? Get well! All the best to you, Mort. You've got to stick around to see a redshirt college season, and then four more good ones from your pride and joy. Really, be well.

The answer is that Mortensen nearly died a couple weeks ago from a tick bite. Rudy Martzke had the story last week.

Sox come back from the

Sox come back from the coast only slightly worse in the standings from when they left. Steven Krasner says they’ll try to make up that lost ground on this huge homestand. David Heuschkel says that while the trip wasn’t a disaster, you can’t call winning three of seven a success, either. Gordon Edes wraps up yesterday’s getaway day loss. I had a feeling there was no way they could win yesterday. This team seems to have a thing about either looking ahead or whatever it is, feeling good about salvaging the trip, that they seem to lose focus at times. Seems struggling pitchers can have some huge days against this vaunted offense. Freddy Garcia retiring 17 in a row, with how badly he’s been struggling? Some of the talk on the pregame shows was how the Sox can feel good about coming back on the trip after having lost the first two, regardless of what happened yesterday. Red Flags went up all over the place for me when I heard that. Jeff Horrigan looks at yesterday as the disappointing conclusion to a rough trip. Tony Massarotti says things occurred just about as they should have on this trip, any hopes of the Sox going out and storming the west coast with those team’s starters and home records would be irrational. Dan Shaughnessy says the bats have to come around, and quick. At the same time, he reminds us of the failure of past Red Sox “offensive juggernauts.” John Tomase looks at Byung-Hyun Kim unique delivery and the exceptional results it produces. Massarotti looks at another rough inning for Burkett that did him in. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at how this trip did in the Red Sox hitters. Horrigan’s notebook looks at a big performance from Freddy Garcio, who was on the trading block not long ago, with the Sox an interested party. Edes’ notebook looks at Nomar’s struggles and the younger Pesky brother.

Ron Borges looks at the positives from Saturday night’s Patriots preseason victory. A good, fair article from Borges, good analysis, acknowledgment of the shortcomings, but not going over the top with them. Michael Felger looks at the new and improved pass rush, something Belichick teams haven’t really known for. Tom Curran says that while the Patriots have shown flashes of brilliance in the preseason, it certainly isn’t enough to be able to draw any solid conclusions on. Alan Greenberg looks at the run defense, and does draw the conclusion that the Patriots are in for a rough time the next time they play the Redskins in the regular season and also against all the AFC East teams. They should just shut it down right now. Michael Parente also looks at the discouraging signs from Saturday night. Hector Longo has a look at each key member of the offensive line. A pretty good read. Kevin Mannix says the Patriots should go after Orlando Pace to stabilize the offensive line. Nick Cafardo looks at the running back competition and a number of other items in his notebook. Felger’s notebook looks at the Pats likely signing of Corbin Lacina to shore up the offensive line and has Belichick dishing out some praise for rookie center Dan Koppen. My own early feelings are that this draft has the potential to be a grand slam for the Patriots. Yes, there have only been two preseason games, but the names have been featured prominently, and that’s not something you always heard in the past. Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Klecko, Bethel Johnson, Dan Koppen. It appears that’s six guys that can immediately bring something to the team and make a contribution. Then you have someone like Kliff Kingsbury who could possibly be a project that could bring future rewards. Yes, it’s incredibly early and some of these guys may not be playing when the real games start, but overall that seems to be a nice young group with potential. The team has stockpiled picks for next year as well.

Joe Gordon looks at Shaun Micheel breaking through at the PGA Championship. Jim McCabe has another look. Karen Guregian looks at the continued struggles of Tiger Woods. Bob Halloran says that Tiger is overrated.

ESPN has Angels/White Sox at 8:00. Little League fans can catch the Saugus squad at 7:00 on ESPN2, taking on Boynton Beach, FL. NESN has the Pawsox taking on the Rochester Red Wings at 7:00.

Well, it is preseason for

Well, it is preseason for the broadcasters and producers of Patriots games as well, and that was evident by the expected few glitches, misinformation and gaffes. The most glaring of the latter came when WCVB totally missed the single most electrifying play of the game, the 98 yard kickoff return by Bethel Johnson for a touchdown. A Volkswagen Bug commercial was shown instead of the play. Then they showed one quick replay of the return and rushed off to another set of commercials. There seemed to be an effort to squeeze as many commercials in as possible, even more than usual. They put in commercials during the replay review and generally got them in whenever they could. That Ford commercial with the jingle from Journey is tired already…On a positive note, Randy Cross was not nearly as annoying as I feared he would be. I did not find myself pining away for the days of Jerry Glanville to return…

Afternoon links? Yes. A mini-edition,

Afternoon links? Yes. A mini-edition, anyway. Just a reward for all those who had to sit through four hours of Bill Burt on with Dale. (Ok, he wasn’t that bad, I’m just being a wiseguy.) I’m working on a feature I hope to have up sometime early next week.

Eric McHugh looks at Troy Brown, who still wants to return punts. Tom King looks for a big sophomore season from Daniel Graham. Dave D’Onofrio looks for clues at a recent Patriots practice.

Bill Simmons answers his mailbag.