HBO’s “Curse of the Bambino”

HBO’s “Curse of the Bambino” program which debuted last night was a hot topic all day on the radio. Each occasion I got to listen in during the day it was being discussed, on D&C, D&N and The Big Show. Much of the talk was critical of the idea of a “curse”, which was encouraging. Of course, Gerry Callahan knocking the show, but his revealing later on his show that his own segment ended up cut from the final production was worth raising an eyebrow over. Pete Sheppard told the story of what he did after the 1986 World Series as a 19 year old, collapsing into his father’s arms, emotionally exhausted.

From my daily email update from The Jax Show:

First, Bill Simmons - "The Sports Guy" from ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com - called in from L.A. with some long distance Boston pain. Bill watched HBO's "Curse of the Bambino" special on Tuesday night and was unhappy with the fact that it had just 2 moments of positivity in a 1 hour show. Simmons also talked about the narrator of the special - Ben Affleck - and his relationship troubles with Jennifer Lopez. Bill also recounted what he calls "Black Sunday", September 7th when the Patriots were shut out by the Bills and the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sweep the Yankees. Simmons said that day was essentially 3 hours of hell. Bill said he thinks there's no reason that the Sox shouldn't make the playoffs with their schedule, and he said if they do, Grady Little's job should be safe.

Sean McAdam - the Sox beat writer for the Providence Journal-Bulletin - chatted with the guys about Red Sox nation as well. McAdam talked about how important it's been for Pedro Martinez to put in the innings that he has in his last couple starts. He said that Pedro and Derek Lowe give the Sox a solid foundation in their rotation heading into what should be a postseason run. But, they do have issues beyond those two, both at the back end of the rotation and in the bullpen. McAdam also detailed the prolific Sox offense and how easy it's been for them to score runs. Sean said that it's tough to pick a team MVP, but he does believe that Bill Mueller is a legitimate AL MVP candidate in his first season in the AL. Sean also said that there's no question that David Ortiz is the 2nd-half MVP of the team, both on the field and in the clubhouse. McAdam says that no one's admitting that the team is focused on the Wild Card, but he does believe it has made the team more loose down the stretch.

Watching and listening to the Bill Belichick press conference today, I get a kick out of the exchange Belichick had with Ken Powers of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Yes, it’s frustrating not knowing as a fan how long Colvin is going to be out, or what his injury is. But there was a certain Parcellian feel about the whole confrontation and exchange. The transcript of the conference doesn’t quite capture the moment, but you get the idea. You can also listen to the exchange via RealPlayer.

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Wild Card lead swells to

Wild Card lead swells to 2.5, playoff tickets go on sale on Friday. Bob Hohler says last night was another edition of the “Dominican Destroyers” with Pedro and Ortiz leading the Sox to victory. David Heuschkel looks at Pedro’s 100th win with the Red Sox, a complete game. Steven Krasner says the gaudy offensive numbers the Red Sox have put up this season, Pedro is the key to Boston doing anything in the playoffs. Jeff Horrigan says Pedro is making a statement to the Cy Young voters. He records Pedro flipping the game ball to John Henry, who called him a “sweetheart” and returned the ball to Pedro, who was unaware of the win being his 100th with the Sox. Kevin Gray looks at all the moves paying off for Grady last night. Alex Speier looks at the great theatre that was Pedro’s 100th win with the Sox. He also notes Pedro’s tendency to tire out with high pitch counts:

Instead, when he stretches past the 105-pitch mark, as he did in his 121-pitch performance last night, Martinez becomes less than ordinary. Batters suddenly tag him at a .370 clip, getting on base with frightening frequency (.419 OBP) and with Wall-banging clout (.444 slugging percentage).

Speier notes those are worse numbers than any member of the Red Sox bullpen, including Mendoza. Tony Massarotti says Pedro is turning it up and right on schedule for baseball in October. Dan Shaughnessy looks a complimentary look at Pedro while still getting in the obligatory little shots at the “Dominican Diva”. Lenny Megliola, like many of us, just wants to go ahead and put the Sox in the playoffs already. Michael Silverman says Manny might be a lock to win his second straight AL Batting title. Shira Springer looks at another huge hit from David Ortiz. Silverman also takes a look at that huge clutch hit from Ortiz. Peter May looks at how Grady’s unique move of swapping Nomar and Walker in the batting order paid off last night. Karen Guregian chats with Lou Piniella about the chances this Sox squad has to win it all, compares it to the ’78 team, and can’t help but mention Bucky Dent. He does say though that this team has what it takes to win it all. Howard Bryant has a pay column in the Herald where he looks at what he describes as apathy in the stands at Fenway, the quality of opponents, he says is a factor in this. He also looks at Grady’s contract, (Pick it up, he says.) Sports and entertainment industries becoming increasingly melded, the lack of spoilers in baseball races, and Ron Burton Sr. The Inside Track has word of the Yankees’ Enrique Wilson settling a paternity suit in Boston, and a photo of Manny with his wife, whom I had not seen before. Hohler’s notebook discusses the possibility of easing Trot Nixon into the lineup as a DH. Horrigan’s notebook also looks at Nixon, who may pinch hit tonight. Krasner’s notebook says Cy Young voters should not dismiss Pedro. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at a start at first for Andy Abad.

Bob Ryan says we still don’t know anything about this current Patriots squad. Michael Felger, in his Patriots Insider this week looks at the very slow development of Jets rookie Dewayne Robertson, Terry Glenn, Curtis Martin and just how bad Antowain Smith has been. Christopher Price looks at the Jets hoping to extend their five-year winning streak at Foxboro. Michael Smith looks at how the Patriots will try to implement their game plan against the Jets, likely without Rosevelt Colvin. Rich Thompson looks at how Bobby Hamilton just keeps on going. Jim Baker looks at Willie McGinest, who will have a big part of filling in for Colvin. Jonathan Comey says Bills fans shouldn’t be getting fitted for their replica Super Bowl rings just yet. Jim Donaldson is sick of the talking heads on the air and the stupid things they say. Pot. Kettle. Black. Alan Greenberg says there is still no definitive word on Colvin. Football Outsiders provides the week two NFL Efficiency Ratings, with some related notes.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at a roster longshot hoping to stick with the Bruins. Stephen Harris looks at the goalie competition. Joe McDonald looks at Andrew Raycroft, making a strong pitch to be Felix Potvin’s backup. Dupont also reports on Joe Thornton getting back onto the ice. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at 18 year old Patrice Bergeron, trying to make an impression. Harris’ notebook looks at Thornton. McDonald’s notebook looks at yesterday’s intrasquad scrimmage.

Bob Halloran looks at the demise of the WUSA, noting he doesn’t watch women’s sports.

If you’re in Connecticut or near the Springfield affiliate and looking for a WEEI alternative in the afternoon, on The Jax Show, Bill Simmons will be a guest. Sean McAdam will talk some Red Sox baseball too, as they face the fight to the finish for the AL Wild Card. Plus Bob Halloran from WCVB in Boston will be “Halloran At You” about why men are smarter than women – tongue firmly in cheek, of course. The show starts at 4:00.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN has Marlins/Phillies at 7:00 and Diamondbacks/Dodgers at 10:00. ESPN2 has White Sox/Twins at 8:00.

Yup, I screwed it up

Yup, I screwed it up this morning, it was a loss by the Mariners last night that increased the Sox wild card lead to 1.5 games, not the Angels. My bad.

Don Aucoin had an article in the Living/Arts section of the Globe that I missed this morning. He looks at young fans who don’t have a negative, fatalistic view of the Red Sox and their chances to win the World Series. On his WBZ 1030 “Keller at large” radio segment this morning, John Keller chose this topic as his subject. He essentially dismissed these young “whippersnappers” for not being wise to the ways of the world, and while not fully believing in the “Curse” himself, Keller said the Red Sox just aren’t meant to win it all.

Apparently I missed the latest addition to the “Whiner Line” – “the voice of Peter King”. I wish I heard it, but I must have just missed out on it, as I heard the last 30 seconds of that segment with the “voice of Bob Neumeier”, who is my current favorite.

Sox got their wild card

Sox got their wild card lead back to 1.5 games with a 8-2 win and an Mariners loss. David Heuschkel looks at Derek Lowe, who was able to get his 16th win on cruise control. Steven Krasner says the Sox were able to feast on the Tampa Bay pitching. Kevin Paul Dupont says this was a typical comfortable win over the Devil Rays. Jeff Horrigan says the offense was rediscovered after a tough weekend against the White Sox. Alex Speier puts the emphasis on the win on the pitching of Lowe. Michael Silverman says that Lowe is clearly on his game. Kevin McNamara says that Lowe shows no signs of cooling off as the weather does. Gordon Edes looks at Manny’s Monster shot last night and the guy who found it. A couple of pay columns in the Herald. Steve Buckley says that Grady Little should get his contract for next year picked up right now. He asserts that Little has done a better job than he did last year, just as he said he would, as evidenced by his handling of the Manny situation. He also mentions that there hasn’t been a single clubhouse incident in the two years Grady has been manager. He says if they don’t make the playoffs, it isn’t Grady’s fault, and he shouldn’t lose his job over it. Howard Bryant looks at Manny, who is red hot since his suspension, and it couldn’t come at a better time. He’s making amends with his teammates with his play. Shira Springer looks at Andy Abad, still hoping to get a chance to contribute. Silverman also looks at Kevin Millar, who in the midst of a slump, is tinkering with things to try to break out of it. Edes has a similar piece on Millar. He notes that Millar may get some rest soon. Springer looks at vintage Lowe. Edes previews the proposed 2004 schedule. Horrigan’s notebook has Nomar upset over the folding of the WUSA. Krasner’s notebook looks at Rocco Baldelli. Dupont’s notebook looks at Nomar returning to the lineup.

Kevin Mannix hands out his week two report card, and gives the coaching of the “arrogant oaf” and staff an “A”. Alan Greenberg says the play of Dan Koppen and Eugene Wilson on Sunday gives us a glimpse of the future without Damien Woody and Ty Law. Tom Curran says spreading out the offense is a big key to the Patriots success. Michael Felger says the Lawyer Milloy talk is finally quieting down, the team has long since moved on, and Woody has moved into Milloy’s old locker. Christopher Price looks at the big game by Willie McGinest on Sunday. Rich Thompson looks at Koppen stepping in for Woody instead of having Compton move over to the center spot. Bill Reynolds says that a win is the best thing for all the controversy the Patriots have had the last two weeks. Michael Parente looks at the next game on the schedule, the defending AFC East champs, who are currently winless. Ron Borges says you would be foolish to dismiss the Jets this week. Bill Burt says that Bill Belichick has gotten his team and respect back. Gerry Callahan weighs in on the “hate their coach”comments in a pay column. He says the team certainly does not love Belichick, but that isn’t necessary, or even desirable. He has their respect and attention, and they certainly trust his game planning. Callahan concludes:

As long as Belichick keeps doing what he did Sunday, as long as they believe in him, his players will keep playing. And they'll keep loving the meal, even if they can't stand the cook.

Jim Baker looks at the Tom Jackson comments as well, adding what the ESPN analyst said last night. Jackson amends what he said, noting that perhaps “hate” was too strong, and that he had not talked to any of the players on the team. Jackson says he didn’t know his comments would be taken personally by Belichick. How could they not be? Nick Cafardo looks at the situation as well, getting reaction around the locker room on the matter. The important thing is not whether teams like their coach, but if they play hard for him or not. Nick says they did on Sunday. Jon Wallach is nervous about the J-E-T-S. The second headline leading off Cafardo’s notebook speculates that Rosevelt Colvin may have suffered a dislocated hip on Sunday, but that is not expanded upon within the contents of the notebook itself. Felger’s notebook says that it is clear that Colvin did not dislocate his hip. He also has specifics on Brady’s elbow injury. Curran’s notebook says that the 2003 draft is looking pretty productive.

Bill Griffith has the Sox debut in HDTV, the weekend Patriots events on the TV, and even a Kevin Winter sighting.

Stephen Harris says the Bruins need to improve greatly on defense. Harris’ notebook looks at a couple of young forwards making an impression in camp.

Susan Bickelhaupt and Jamie Pote look at the collapse of the WUSA. Frank Dell’Apa says the league might’ve tried to get too big, too soon.

NESN has Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.

Here’s this week’s edition of

Here’s this week’s edition of Patriots Thoughts from Kent Thaler.

Peter King mixes in a number of Patriots and Red Sox mentions in this week’s edition of MMQB. On the subject of Tom Jackson claiming that the Patriots locker room “hates” Bill Belichick, King applauds Jackson for “throwing it out there” on ESPN yesterday. Even if it isn’t true, as King himself believes. What?

John Tomase has a scout telling him that Grady Little is grossly misusing Scott Williamson. Yesterday, Chad Finn looked at the Red Sox as the “trendy” pick around the country to win the World Series, and a number of other topics while touching all the bases.

I’m still trying to figure out whether this is a real website or not…

After a week in which

After a week in which practically no one thought the Patriots could win this week, and on a day in which ESPN’s Tom Jackson declared that the Patriot players “hate their coach” and Steve Young declared that Belichick had “ripped the heart out” of the team, the Pats go to Philly and take care of business. Nick Cafardo, who picked “the Eagles in a romp” for this game, seems pretty impressed with what the Patriots did. He praises their game plan and defense. Michael Felger looks at the team coming together and making big plays in this game. Apparently last night on Sports Final, (I didn’t see it.) he reported that Rosevelt Colvin left the stadium on crutches and reported hearing something pop in his hip…doesn’t sound good. Tom Curran looks at the Patriots getting fans to come down from the ledge with their performance yesterday. Alan Greenberg says the Patriots flipped a switch and delivered a totally different performance from last week. Michael Parente looks at a productive afternoon in Philly. Ron Borges looks at Tom Brady answering his critics, including Borges, with his performance yesterday. Last Tuesday, Kevin Mannix had an email read to him on WEEI (from me) which criticized him for his personal attacks on Belichick and asserted that he could not be considered an objective reporter, as he would write now with the object of supporting his Anti-Belichick stand. Mannix insisted that he could write objectively. After the game yesterday, this is the opening paragraph from Mannix:

It certainly wasn't perfect. There were too many passes that could have been intercepted. There were too many Philadelphia receivers running clean in the Patriots secondary. There were too many failed third-down situations.

I’m silly to have doubted you, Kevin. Bob Ryan notes that if you’re the road team, the hearing the boo-birds is a welcome sound, especially in Philly. Jim Donaldson repeats a theme that was echoed on Patriots Fifth Quarter yesterday, namely that it wasn’t that the Patriots were so good as much as it was that the Eagles were bad. Jeff Jacobs says things are very ugly in Philadelphia for Donovan McNabb right now. Rich Fisher looks at tough times for McNabb. Ian M. Clark looks at the huge turnaround from last week. Karen Guregian examines whether Tom Jackson’s comments yesterday are true. Dennis and Callahan looked at this article and noted that no one denies hating the coach. Curran also garners reaction to the quote. Parente says that however they feel about the coach, a win eases a lot of tension in the locker room. George Kimball looks at Willie McGinest, who played increased minutes with the injury to Colvin yesterday. Michael Smith, Donaldson, and Guregian look at Christian Fauria, who somehow seems to always get open in the end zone. Mark Murphy looks at a strong performance from Deion Branch. He also looks at Dan Koppen, who did a fine job of filling in for Damien Woody. Cafardo’s notebook looks at an emotional week for Tedy Bruschi. Felger’s notebook has word on the injuries to Colvin and Brady (elbow soreness). Curran’s notebook also looks at Bruschi. Parente’s notebook has Kenyatta Jones itching to get back on the field.

The Patriots did suffer a loss yesterday, however. Ron Burton, their first over draft pick, and community stalwart, passed away after a long battle with bone cancer. Lenny Megliola remembers Burton. Michael Smith writes about Burton’s passing for the Globe. Steve Buckley has a pay column in which he remembers Burton.

Kent Thaler’s Patriots thoughts will likely be posted late this afternoon, or early this evening. Check back for those.

Bob Hohler looks at the Sox dropping their second in a row, but managing to hold onto their slim wild card lead. Jeff Horrigan looks at the loss and the upcoming schedule, which could be deceiving. Steven Krasner looks at the difference in the game, ability to pitch with runners on base. David Heuschkel gets on Manny for not breaking up a double play yesterday. Sean McAdam says the playoff race is going to come right down to the end, and if the Sox don’t win 10 of their last 14, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Gordon Edes hopes the Devil Rays aren’t about to play spoiler. Dan Shaughnessy claims to have been sucked in by this Red Sox team and should have know better than to have thought they were headed for an easy road to the playoffs. Rich Thompson looks at another early hole dug by John Burkett. Kevin Paul Dupont also looks at Burkett. Thompson also looks at another strong performance from Mark Buehrle. Howard Bryant has a pay column in which he asserts that clubs that rely as much on offense as the Red Sox do, do not perform well in the postseason. I’m thinking, then again, teams with pitching staffs like the A’s have had the last few years haven’t done so well in the postseason either. Also the Braves of the 90’s. From yesterday, John Tomase in a feature type article, says Jason Varitek is the conscience of the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Nomar being scratched with the flu. Hohler’s notebook also looks at Nomar. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny on the basepaths.

Stephen Harris looks at Mike Knuble, who is looking to improve upon the best season of his career last year. Andy Nesbitt looks at Glen Murray, who is also looking to improve. Harris’ notebook looks at Joe Thornton spending his third night in a row at the hospital with a staph infection on his forehead.

NESN has Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ABC has Giants/Cowboys at 9:00. ESPN Classic is showing Bill Parcells SportsCentury at 8:00 & 11:00.

A trial run of early

A trial run of early morning links. No negative Boston media this morning when in comes to the Red Sox. Nothing to be negative about. It’s all roses. Jeff Horrigan says Pedro’s rainman like memory motivated his sterling performance yesterday afternoon. Gordon Edes looks at the likely playoff-bound Sox. Steven Krasner examines the capper to an extremely productive road trip. David Heuschkel says the trip was likely a launching pad to a playoff appearance for the squad. Tony Massarotti says the postseason is right within reach. Bob Ryan looks at a classic Pedro performance, and notes that Martinez deserves the Cy Young, though there is no chance he’ll win it. Bill Reynolds quotes a magazine article in which Red Sox players tell their part of the story about the adversarial relationship they have with the media in Boston. The article is from 1957. In Baltimore, Laura Vecsey says the Red Sox can sense fear in the Yankees. Massarotti looks at a milestone for Tim Wakefield, today will mark 10 years in the big leagues, qualifying him for an MLB pension and making him a 10-5 man, meaning he can veto any trade. The notebooks all look at Trot Nixon’s injury. Edes’ notebook also looks at the first MLB start for Andy Abad. Horrigan’s notebook says Nixon could possibly be out for the year. Krasner’s notebook says going back to Fenway can mean only good things at the plate for Nomar. Heuschkel’s notebook says that at the very least, Nixon won’t play this weekend.

Nick Cafardo looks at the injury to Ted Johnson and what it could mean for the Patriots inside linebacking rotation. Good stuff from Nick, informative. Tom Curran also looks at the Johnson injury and who is behind him on the depth chart. Alan Greenberg has another look at the injury and how Roman Phifer will need to play a bigger role inside. Michael Felger says that Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb aren’t looking back at their disastrous open day performances. Michael Parente says the entire Patriots team has put last week behind them and is focusing on stopping McNabb and the Eagles. Dan Pires says Belichick isn’t hinting at any major changes in the lineup in the wake of last Sunday’s game. George Kimball, in a pay column for the Herald, suggests that the Lawyer Milloy situation will be the Patriots version of Babe Ruth. Kimball says:

Only time will tell whether Milloy's departure was just another football transaction or whether it, like Ruth's, foreshadowed the wholesale disintegration of the team he left behind. Could it be that future generations of Patriots fans will be telling their grandchildren about their team winning their lone Super Bowl back in 2001, only to banish their best player to a divisional rival less than two years later, thus initiating Milloy's Curse?

Please. Curran’s notebook has Belichick pointing the finger at himself for last Sunday. Felger’s notebook has more on Ted Johnson, as does Parente’s notebook.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Bruins training camp opening without Sergei Samsonov or Nick Boynton. Nick Colageo also looks at the holdouts. Stephen Harris says that with the shortage on defense with Boynton unsigned, Jonathan Girard out for the year and Bryan Berard in contract limbo, Jeff Jillson could get a big opportunity. Harris’ notebook has more on the camp holdouts and other missing persons.

Shira Springer has a lengthy feature on Vin Baker, who admits he had a serious problem with alcohol last year and years previous, and is grateful to the Celtics for insisting he go to treatment. He is at 241 lbs, the playing weight of his first two seasons in the league. He has no statistical expectations for the season, other than to contribute. He has his support system in place, and will be apologizing to his teammates. He is eager to show the fans what he can do as a sober player. You can’t help but root for the guy. Mark Murphy says Tony Battie is looking impressing in early workouts coming off of knee surgery.

OK, a couple Revolution stories….Frank Dell’Apa looks at the team’s fading playoff hopes. Gus Martins looks at some hard feelings between the Revs and the MetroStars.

ESPN has Utah/Cal college football at 7:30. TBS has Braves/Phillies at 7:30.