Saturday Links from Len
Here’s a very abbreviated version of Saturday links. There will be much more tomorrow.
The Celtics beat the Nets JV team at the Fleet Center last night. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer have game stories. The win moved the Celtics into the eighth and last playoff slot in the East as the season winds down. Mark Murphy tells us about Brandon Hunter who has been the invisible man in Boston.
The big local story these days is the Bruins. The Canadiens are in town and Michael Holley is ready. Stephen Harris has a look at how the B’s will try to neutralize the speed of the Habs. Is there anyone else out there who sees the irony in many Boston fans claiming they don’t want to get on the Bruins bandwagon because they don’t want to be let down again? The irony is that most of these people are Red Sox fans. Maybe there is some law out there saying that only one local team can break your heart. The teams in the East are very even. The Bruins could lose in the first round. But this team also has the talent to take it to another level. Have fun with this.
It’s a big day of sports today. CBS-4 has NCAA Regional Finals with UConn-Alabama at 4:40 pm followed by Oklahoma St-Saint Josephs at 7:05 pm. NESN has preseason baseball with Phillies-Sox at 1 pm. NESN has the Canadiens at Bruins game at pm. If you prefer NCAA Hockey, Ch 56 has BC-Niagra at noon. NESN has Michigan-UNH at 4 pm. Get your remotes ready.
No links this morning, but here’s a couple items to look over. The Hardball times has Part two of its Interview with Howard Bryant. Some very interesting stuff in there, he comments on the relationship of the press and the athletes in Boston. Also that he does not consider sports radio “journalism” it’s more “reactionary and entertainment-based.”
Dave Scott has a Friday edition of Scott’s Shots.
Not directly Boston related, but with the Ty Law Hungry Man tour ongoing, Orlando Pace is hinting that he might drop the Poston brothers as his agents….because they’re asking things of the Rams that he isn’t demanding. This, along with the mess the Postons have made with the Redskins and LaVar Arrington may end up hurting the agency in its efforts to sign up new clients, such as Richard Seymour, who is in the process of hiring a new agent. ProFootballTalk.com has been hammering away at the Postons nearly everyday for a couple weeks now.
Email of the day:
From:"Devanna, Joseph" Joseph.Devanna@work.com
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 09:53:09 -0500
Funny how you refer to alex Rodriguez as the precious, if he ended up in a red sox uniform, you and pete shepperd or one of the other local shills would be washing his car and picking up his cleaning right about now. Why don't you and felger go give belicheck that Swedish massage you've been promising him. Happy ending included
“The Precious” is not a shot at A-Rod, but a reference to how the media fawned over the prospect of getting him here in Boston. As for Belichick, I guess I’m just blinded by the Lombardi trophies. (And what’s the deal with comparing me to Pete Sheppard? That has got to be a first. Pete and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on many things.)
Alright, today is just a day for me to be annoyed about just about everything in the papers. I’ll admit it, I’m grouchy today. The Red Sox played the Yankees in Spring Training last night. Top story in the Herald online sports section? “Wake faces Ghosts“. Ugh. No I’m not blaming Michael Silverman, who I think is pretty solid. Over to the Globe, the top baseball story is about The Precious taking a ball off the jaw and having to leave the game. The second story is a column by Dan Shaughnessy involving the Red Sox and Yankees. Entitled “Bitter days ahead.” Need I say more? Tony Massarotti says that the Sox are dragging their feet in renegotiating contracts with their free agents to be. Larry Lucchino on WEEI this morning plainly said that the Sox are keeping the discussions private and that reports in the papers about such negotiations are pretty much all wrong. The Globe’s top baseball writer chooses to write about the Yankees manager this morning. Hello Gordon Edes, this is Boston. Sean McAdam has a piece about how the fans have helped Tim Wakefield to heal from his game seven experience. John Tomase says that these Sox are better than the 1987 version. Okay. David Heuschkel and Massarotti look at Nomar making progress towards being ready for opening day. Gerry Callahan says that Pedro is the one guy that the Sox HAVE to get a new deal done with. He reasons:
Pedro arrived in Boston from Montreal six years ago. He has gone 101-28 since. Epstein may have an army of little Bill James clones earnestly drawing up contingency plans on their Thinkpads, but in this case, their efforts are hopeless. There is no Jose Vidro-like replacement for Pedro, no Kelly Shoppach waiting in the wings. There is no one in the baseball universe who can step in and go 73 games over .500 in the next six seasons. Pedro often acts like he's something special, but that's only because he is.
I agree with Callahan. Yikes. How does that line go? “I will now light myself on fire.” Another reason to light yourself on fire? The upcoming film about the 2003 Red Sox that the fans can vote on the title for. Like we want to re-live that. No thanks. I’ll look ahead, not behind. Speaking of looking back, Silverman has Mike Greenwell trashing Dan Duquette. I’m surprised Ellis Burks even still talks to Greenwell after how many times Greenwell ran into him in the outfield during the time the played together. Cafardo’s notebook has more on Nomar being optimistic about opening day. Silverman’s notebook has Pedro awaiting word on his appeal of his fine for his actions in the ALCS game 3. McAdam’s notebook has more on the injury to A-Rod.
Michael Felger has Bill Belichick refusing to engage Ty Law in the war of words he so desperately wants. Meanwhile, Hector Longo weighs in and says about Ty Law:
He is not blowing smoke when he calls his employer, Bill Belichick, a liar. The New England Patriots' second-best player is angry and looking to protect his flank when it comes to the world champions and the organization's leader.
Strong words from Hector there. He agrees with Ty Law’s assertion that Belichick is a liar. Tom Curran has Rodney Harrison weighing in on the Ty Law issue and taking a very different approach to matters. Michael Smith notes that thanks to the competition committee, it will still be hard for assistant coaches on successful teams to get interviewed and hired to be head coaches. Mike Reiss says that a rule change would benefit Scott Pioli however.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell applauds the job done by Mike O’Connell in stocking this years team. Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins finding their playoff posture. Nick Colageo has a nice article on Andrew Raycroft. Kevin Paul Dupont has a portion of a one-on-one interview with Sergei Gonchar that will be shown on the Globe SportsPlus on NESN tonight. Harris’ notebook looks at Raycroft.
Celtics Links are over at Fox Sports Net.
Bill Reynolds and Buddy Thomas touch on a number of New England sports subjects. Bob Ryan looks at Eddie Sutton.
John Molori is critical of the media on many things, but loves Ron Borges taking on the Patriots.
NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:00. ESPN has Red Wings/Avalanche at 8:00. CBS has the NCAA Tournament starting at 7:00.
The Bruins bandwagon continues to steam on, picking up fans as it goes along. Last night they upended the Senators 4-2. Stephen Harris says that this team is clearly forging an identity. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell notes that the team followed the urging of its coach and went right after the Senators from the beginning. Douglas Flynn writes that all the pieces are falling into place for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins appear to be poised to make a run at the Cup. Ron Indrisano examines the return of Patrice Bergeron to the ice for the B’s. Steve Conroy looks at P.J. Axelsson, who though not scoring as of late is contributing to the Bruins success in other ways. Steve Buckley has a pay column looking at the quiet confidence of 23 year old Andrew Raycroft as he prepares for the challenge of playoff hockey. Conroy also writes about Glen Murray, who notched his 30th goal of the season last night. James Murphy wonders if this is the year for the Bruins. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at Brian Rolston, who has had his scoring opportunities lessened as his role has changed. Harris’ notebook also looks at the return of Bergeron. McDonald’s notebook has more on the 18 year old Bergeron.
Michael Silverman says that Pedro is “happy” with how talks between himself and the Red Sox went yesterday. Howard Bryant has a pay column in which he says that Nomar now has all the leverage in talks with the Sox, who misjudged the market price for Miguel Tejada. He also looks more at the steroid issue and how Johnny Damon got himself in a little hot water for his comments. Nick Cafardo and Jeff Horrigan look at how Gabe Kapler is adjusting to learning how to play third base. Gordon Edes has the obligatory steroid article for the day. Sean McAdam and David Borges write about Rhode Island’s own Rocco Baldelli, looking to follow up his strong rookie year. David Heuschkel has a look at Keith Foulke, getting himself up to speed and into form. Tony Massarotti says tonight’s Red Sox/Yankees spring matchup will have a bit less hype than the first one. Christopher Young does his best to inject some negativity into a pretty positive spring. Horrigan looks at the progress of Dave McCarty. Borges also looks at Derek Lowe breezing through his start yesterday. Cafardo’s notebook has a look at the talks between the Red Sox and Nomar. Horrigan’s notebook and McAdam’s notebook also look at the start by Lowe yesterday. Borges’ notebook has Lou Piniella speaking about the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry.
Michael Felger reports on the Patriots bringing in 340 lb Keith Traylor for a meeting and physical yesterday. Traylor would not be a replacement for Ted Washington, but could possibly add some girth to the defensive line. Ron Borges may mock the Herald as “Patriots Daily”, but I didn’t see this reported in his paper.
Celtics links including a couple pieces by Jackie MacMullan, can be found over at Fox Sports Net.
NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. ESPN has Mavs/Pacers at 8:00 and Kings/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN2 has the NIT at 7:00 and 9:00. ESPN Classic is commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson 1979 NCAA Final with the Final Four games of Michigan State/Penn at 5:00 and Indiana State/DePaul at 7:00, followed by the final of Michigan State/Indiana State at 9:00. Then they are showing the Larry Bird “SportsCentury” at 11:00.
Michael Holley addresses the Ty Law situation, noting how Law is just getting himself in deeper and deeper and looking worse each time he opens his mouth. He debunks a few claims made by Law about what is happening here and manages not to throw colleague Michael Smith under the bus in the process. Gerry Callahan has a pay column about the same situation, noting that:
Law has been on his "Get Rich Or Die Trying'' Tour for a few weeks now, and most Patriots fans are wondering when he'll start making sense. He has no real leverage. He is making $8 million a year, more than the franchise tag number for cornerbacks. He still probably has some of the staggering $14 million bonus he got five years ago. He is coming off a great season, but this is the first time in years that he would not be classified as dramatically overpaid. At this point, Uncle Junior seems to be thinking more clearly and acting more sensibly than Law.
Callahan says that his scheme might work, but the bottom line is that Law isn’t going to get his money here. I find it somewhat amusing when Law mentions the Eagles as a team he’d like to go to. Their acquisitions of Jevon Kearse and Terrell Owens aside, that is the franchise that might just be the most like the Patriots in the NFL. They’re let players go over the years rather than give out big contracts, and they keep winning each year. The Patriots also announced their opponents for the 2004 Preseason yesterday. Michael Felger has a Patriots notebook looking at the schedule and a couple other items.
Sean McAdam says today could be a critical day in contract talks between the Red Sox and Pedro Martinez. There are concerns from the Sox about Pedro’s velocity this spring, but it’s mentioned that Pedro might be holding back because talks aren’t going well and he doesn’t want to risk injury. Michael Silverman looks at a regular season style performance from Curt Schilling yesterday. David Borges says a team with Schilling is never dull. Nick Cafardo looks at Brian Daubach and Kevin Millar, still outsiders from the players union after all these years. Tony Massarotti says that Nomar would look great in Dodger blue. David Heuschkel looks at the spring performance of Bobby M. Jones for the Sox. The Projo Notebook looks at a stellar performance by Odalis Perez against the Sox yesterday. Silverman’s notebook says that Ramiro Mendoza’s spring debut has been pushed back again. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the high number of pitches thrown by Schilling.
Steve Conroy looks at Travis Green picking things up lately after a slow start. Marvin Pave has Patrice Bergeron anxious to get out and starting playing again. He tested his injured shoulder by pounding it up against the glass in practice and also asked one of his teammates to rough him up a little. Conroy’s notebook has more on the Bruins’ rookie.
A couple of Celtics links are over at Fox Sports Net.
Bill Griffith looks at WEEI’s expansion plans. Boston Radio Watch also reports on the purchase by Entercom of 103.7 FM. I’ve gotten a number of emails from last night and this morning wondering about further expansion. All corners of New England are interested in expansion. A Vermont emailer noted there are rumors of a couple Burlington based stations with very wide coverage available for sale. Another emailer noted the lack of signal in extreme Western MA, near Springfield. He said that the WEEI slogan of “from Watertown to Worcester to Wilbraham” isn’t all the accurate as he can rarely bring in either WEEI or WVEI from Wilbraham.
Bob Ryan looks at the NCAA tourney thus far.
NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00.
WEEI announced today that they will be extending their programming to the Providence market with the purchase by Entercom of 103.7 FM WWRX. The plan is for all WEEI talk shows to be broadcast on that frequency starting in the first week of May.
Why Providence? There are probably a number of reasons, one being the WEEI signal doesn’t travel all that well south and west. Second, Providence is the home of The Score sports radio, which has both an AM and FM signal and is probably a bigger competitor to WEEI than WWZN is. This is like a hostile takeover of the airwaves of their competition. Third, it extends the signal closer to the borders of WFAN in New York City.
I would hope to hear an announcement shortly from WEEI about additional purchases in middle and northern Maine, NH and VT. Even better would be the announcement of Internet streaming, which as noted last Friday, is something that is supposed to be on the way as well.
BC’s run in the NCAA tournament ended in the second round yesterday, dropping a very winnable game to Georgia Tech. Michael Vega and Mike Shalin wrap up the game for us, a 57-54 loss out in Milwaukee. The Eagles had the ball, down one with 12 seconds left and turned it over. Bob Ryan says this wasn’t the best BC hoops team he’s ever seen, but it could play with any of them. Michael Gee looks at Craig Smith assuming responsibility for the season ending loss.
As we come into the final two weeks of spring training, roster spots are still up for grabs. Sean McAdam looks at those who have all but guaranteed themselves a spot on the final roster. Michael Silverman looks at the open utility and bullpen spot that are still being contested. Nick Cafardo looks at those who will be going all out over the next two weeks to earn a spot. David Heuschkel and Tony Massarotti look at lefty Frank Brooks, who made his Sox debut yesterday. John F.J. Sullivan says that the “curse” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. David Borges says that when Trot Nixon is ready to play, he’ll likely start the season in Pawtucket. Massarotti says that Sox have some good prospects. Cafardo’s notebook looks at a sharp performance by Bronson Arroyo yesterday. McAdam’s notebook and Silverman’s notebook follow a similar theme.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that the Bruins have made great strides this season, in great contrast to last year’s squad. Steve Conroy says that the Bruins are ready to take on a challenging stretch of the season. Russ Conway takes a look at the games teams play with injury reports at this time of the year.
No Celtics games until Friday. However, links will continue each day over at Fox Sports Net.
David Scott wraps up NCAA coverage, Sunday night sports shows and Bob Ryan’s seemingly incurable foot in mouth disease. Rudy Martzke says that Ryan received a slap on the wrist for his comments on ESPN Radio last week.
From last week, The Hardball Times’ Alex Belth has an interview with the Herald’s Howard Bryant.
Joe Sullivan reports on Bethel Johnson and Ty Warren showing off the Lombardi Trophy in Manchester yesterday.
ESPN and ESPN2 are carrying the NCAA women’s tournament tonight. ESPN2 mixes in NIT coverage with Oklahoma and Michigan at 9:00.