Tito Repeato?

Links from Len

Dale Arnold of WEEI just reported (10:15 am) that NFL veteran, Pat Tillman, has died serving his country in Afghanistan. Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar salary in the NFL to volunteer to serve in the war against terror.

It didn’t take long for the media to bring the heat to Tito Francona. The Sox lost yesterday 7-3 to the Blue Jays after taking a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning. John Dennis started the assault on D&C at 6:00 am by referring to the manager as “Grady Francona”. As Dale Arnold pointed out, the circumstances are entirely different. Foulke and Embree were not available last night. The other side of the argument is that Timlin and Williamson were available. But the key point here is that Schilling is not Pedro and has no such history after 105 pitches. Bob Hohler, Sean McAdam, and Jeff Horrigan have game stories. Tony Massarotti explains the tough decision made by Francona. Gordon Edes explains the changes in the sudden media and fan friendly, Manny Ramirez. Hohler’s Notebook explains that the Sox will use the off day on Monday to give the starters an extra day of rest. Tony Massarotti’s On Baseball looks forward to a weekend series in New York.

The NFL Draft begins tomorrow (ESPN). Michael Smith looks at the needs of the Patriots. I prepared a Patriots Needs Analysis for the draft coverage on this site as well. Kevin Mannix explains that running backs are a gamble at the 21st pick of the draft and that may be why Corey Dillon is a Patriot. Tom Curran says that this draft is hard to figure out for the Pats with the Ty Law situation being a big X factor. Ron Borges tells us that the University of Miami is a prep school for the NFL. Contrast the Borges article with Adam Shefter’s column a couple weeks back in the Denver Post. According to Adam, Miami is corporate headquarters for Football for Dummies as Shefter looks at Wonderlic scores of all prospects. David Scott has his take on the NFL Draft in Scott’s Shots.

3 Games to Glory II is now available at CVS Stores after it premiered at the Showcase Cinemas in Randolph last night. The Red Sox 2003 movie, We Still Believe (7 Games to Agony II), will premier at theatres on Monday. I won

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Brad Blank – Agent to the media

The Patriots and their trade for Corey Dillon continue to be the focus of much talk around town. On WEEI, Gerry Callahan continues his campaign to enlighten us on everything Dillon has done in his life. It is curious to me how someone who has been suspended for participating in racist remarks and who annually fetes Tommy Spears, aka Butch from the Cape, can sit on the moral high ground in judgment of anyone. This morning, agent Brad Blank came onto the program to talk about the Dillon trade and to give his opinion of what the Patriots are doing. He said the Patriots misled him and all of New England by promoting that they go for strictly “character guys”. He said he was drinking the kool aid for a while, but no more. This move in his opinion signals a sharp change in the way Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do business. He was critical of that, repeatedly mentioning how “miserable” Dillon is as a person and how this move can only hurt the Patriots.

To which I say, “Who is Brad Blank, and what does he know about building an NFL team?” Oh, he’s an agent, you say. In fact, he represents David Givens of the Patriots. Well, having been in the league 20 years, he must be knowledgeable. The fact is, the number of NFL clients that Blank represents has been dwindling, and at present he represents a grand total of 10…count ’em…10 NFL players. Among that total is such luminaries as Todd Collins, Brock Williams, Marcel Shipp and Tom Nalen. (Ok, Nalen is pretty good – but he’s a BC guy which could explain why Blank got him.) More telling might be that Blank represents more Boston media personalities than he does NFL players. His roster of media clients includes Ron Borges, Glenn Ordway and Jon Meterparel. Blank recently was on WEEI and made the comment about how much he enjoys reading columns from Borges as they are so “provocative”. No mention that he’s his agent. How can we expect fair, objective commentary from Blank when he’ll shamelessly stump for his client on the airwaves in that manner? Since he also is the agent for WEEI personalities, do his appearances amount to much more than free advertising for Blank? More importantly, is the public believing what this guy is saying? Agenda driven, my friends. Agenda driven.

As for the Patriots, they have stated repeatedly that they do have a core philosophy to bring in character guys. They have also said publicly, and I believe Pioli said this on his WEEI interview a few weeks back that occasionally they will deviate from that core philosophy. They have to, it’s a reality of doing business. However…what was also strongly stated is that they are not going to allow one guy to blow up what they’ve worked on. What they’ve worked on is creating a stable environment, one very much under control, in which they can occasionally take a risk like they did with Dillon and introduce him to that environment and hope that he can succeed. Dillon is a risk, no doubt, but they’ve set it up that should he falter or be trouble, he’s gone.

Patriots links for today. Bob Kraft weighed in on the Dillon trade yesterday and expressed his confidence in the judgment of Pioli and Belichick. Michael Smith, Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran look at the comments by the Patriots owner. Can people change? Brad Blank said the only bad guy he ever saw change was Irving Fryar. Jim Donaldson doesn’t think that people can change, either. As pointed out by a reader, Donaldson is actually a perfect example of this. Bad writers can’t change into good ones. Ever. Kevin Mannix says that the trade for Dillon shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Belichick has historically avoided drafting running backs. Michael Parente looks at the altered plans of the Patriots draft this weekend. Michael Felger says that the trade for Dillon gives the Patriots more options this weekend. Ron Borges looks at the Patriots signing of cornerback Jeff Burris. Felger also says that Kraft still likes Ty Law, and reports on the signing of Burris. Borges looks at defensive line prospects. Smith’s notebook looks at the Burris signing and numbers on Dillon. Curran’s notebook looks at Burris. Parente’s notebook has more on Burris.

Pedro and the Sox came up with a win in Toronto last night. Game stories are filed by David HeuschkelSean McAdamJeff HorriganDavid Borges and Bob Hohler. Pedro wasn’t talking after the game, but others had plenty to say about his performance. Gordon Edes gets the reaction from Manny, Dave Wallace and others. Tony Massarotti says Pedro was in control last night. Massarotti also looks at the Sox players taking two separate flights to Toronto after several stayed in Boston to watch the Bruins play in game 7 monday night. Hohler’s notebook has Manny a little ticked off after some chin music was thrown his way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ellis Burks playing through his knee injury. McAdam’s notebook, Heuschkel’s notebook and Borges’ notebook all look at Burks as well.

Celtics looked good for three quarters, but collapsed in the fourth. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.

Bob Ryan says that the Bruins loss was not due to lack of effort. Stephen Harris says changes may be on the way for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Canadiens never doubted that they’d beat the Bruins. Douglas Flynn looks at the Bruins looking for answers. Karen Guregian says that a blame game is useless in this case. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that it just doesn’t seem right that the Bruins season is over. Steve Conroy says that there will several keys to Montreal’s success in the series.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TNT has Bucks/Pistons at 7:00 and Nuggets/Wolves at 9:00. NBATV has Hornets/Heat at 8:00. ESPN has Astros/Cardinals at 7:00. ESPN2 has Padres/Giants at 10:00.

Ups And Downs

Alright, we’ll get the ugly stuff out of the way first. Bruins come up short in game 7. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Stephen Harris, Douglas Flynn and Joe McDonald have the game stories from the 2-0 loss at the Fleet. Despite all the hope heading into the playoffs, Kevin Paul Dupont says the chemistry still wasn’t right for the Bruins. Karen Guregian says that Joe Thornton should be praised for just getting out on the ice at all in this series. Michael Holley looks at another Bruins season ending with a whimper. Steve Conroy looks at Andrew Raycroft taking the playoff loss very hard, though it’s hard to put any blame upon the young goaltender. Ron Indrisano says Raycroft was standup in this series. Joe Gordon looks at the efforts of Sergei Samsonov. Steve Buckley has a pay column saying that first round flops are commonplace for Thornton and the Bruins. Andy Nesbitt says the Canadiens just kept growing in confidence after the game four loss. Conroy looks at the play of Jose Theodore. Gordon also has a look at the winner by Richard Zednik. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the torn rib cartilage of Joe Thornton. Harris’ notebook has all the players saying farewell for the offseason.

Sox come from behind yesterday to beat the Yankees 5-4 with the Triple-A portion of their lineup delivering the key blows. I almost expected to see John Henry crying after the game. Game stories are served up by Jeff HorriganBob HohlerSteven KrasnerDavid Heuschkel and David Borges. With one Yankees series out of the way now, Sean McAdam notes that at least now the Sox know that the Yankees can be beaten. Dan Shaughnessy looks at a stirring finish to a impressive weekend by the Sox. Gordon Edes, Bill Reynolds, Jeff Jacobs and Tony Massarotti look at A-Rod, who is glad to get out of town. Howard Bryant has a pay column about Ellis Burks, who wants to contribute despite a knee injury. Frank Dell’Apa and Silverman look at the heroics of Gabe Kapler. Michael Silverman looks at the performance of Bronson Arroyo, who settled down nicely and matched the effort of Kevin Brown. Kevin McNamara looks at the efforts of Keith Foulke over the weekend, having ending each of the Sox wins. Borges’ notebook looks at Arroyo. Hohler’s notebook looks at Foulke, as does Heuschkel’s notebook. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the bullpen in general, while Krasner’s notebook looks at Pokey Reese.

The Patriots took over Patriots Day by making the trade for Corey Dillon. Ron Borges says that this was a tough decision, but a brilliant one for the Patriots, no matter how Dillon turns out here. Tom Curran and Michael Smith note that this trade in the end came down to Tebucky Jones for Corey Dillon. Kevin Mannix, Ian M. Clark and Michael Parente also weigh in on the deal. Mike Reiss talks with the agent for Dillon, who also represents Rodney Harrison. He says the Patriots did their homework on Dillon. Gerry Callahan’s pay column today essentially calls the Patriots hypocrites for cutting Christian Peter all those years ago and now bringing aboard Dillon. Michael Felger says Ty Law still wants out of New England. He adds though, that playing for Belichick won’t be a problem, because this is all about business. Smith adds comments from Law’s agents that he didn’t run from the police. Nick Cafardo looks at the top safety in the draft, Sean Taylor from Miami. Borges also looks at the courts blocking Maurice Clarett from the draft.

Celtics may have caught a break with Ron Artest being suspended for tonight’s game two. Links are at Fox Sports Net.

John Molori has a look at the Patriots new Three Games to Glory II DVD and a recap of FOX’s Yankee Broadcasting Network.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Pacers at 8:30, (yes, I checked with them.) with NBATV carrying the game nationally. TNT is showing Knicks/Nets at 8:00 and Kings/Mavs at 10:30. ESPN has Senators/Maple Leafs at 7:00.

Patriots trade for Dillon

A good day so far for Boston sports.

The Patriots announced today that they have traded the #56 pick in the draft to Cincinnati for running back Corey Dillon. CBS Sportsline also says that the Patriots have re-done Dillon’s contract as well.

Sox beat the Yankees today, 5-4.

The Celtics will not have to face Ron Artest tomorrow night. The Pacers forward was suspended by the league for game two for leaving the bench during a brief altercation in the second quarter on Saturday.

Now, we just need the Bruins to come through.

Marathon Monday

Welcome to Marathon Monday, where we’ll talk about anything but the Marathon. It was interesting to hear Bob Neumeier talk on the Baseball show on WEEI yesterday about how much he hated covering the marathon during his days at channel 4. I wonder how many other media people feel the same way? I know that ones that have emailed this address usually voice the same opinion.

Where do we start today? Red Sox/Yankees? Bruins/Canadiens game seven tonight at the Fleet? Ty Law getting arrested?

Kevin Paul Dupont demands that Joe Thornton be removed as Bruins captain. His crime? Not so much his on-ice play, but the fact that he avoided speaking to the media after the game six loss Saturday night in Montreal. While Dupont may feel this column needed to be written…why on the day of game seven? Why not yesterday? Isn’t tonight’s game a little more important than the fact the Thornton ducked the press? Shouldn’t Dupont, as the Globe’s Hockey expert be writing about the game today and not attacking Thornton? The attacks can come later…Joe Gordon says that the Canadiens have the momentum heading into game seven. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at what the Bruins are facing in tonight’s deciding game. Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette says that the Canadiens are a loose, confident bunch heading into tonight. Joe McDonald looks at the Bruins hoping for a reversal of fortune. Stephen Harris says the season will have been a disaster if the Bruins do not win tonight. Mick Colageo says that this one means everything for the B’s. Steve Conroy talks with Dan McGillis, who has been in a game seven winner-take-all situation before. Harris’ notebook looks at the news of Pat Burns’ colon cancer hitting the Bruins hard.

The long layoff seemed to hurt Derek Lowe yesterday as he only made it through 2 2/3 innings yesterday. Game stories are trotted out by Gordon EdesSteven KrasnerDavid HeuschkelMichael Silverman and David Borges. Was it a mistake to give Lowe too much rest, an idea floated in this space last week? Michael Holley believes the Sox erred in spacing 10 days between Lowe starts. Lenny Megliola looks at the Yankee bats finally coming alive against the Sox. Rich Thompson also looks at the Yankees awakening. Nick Cafardo wonders if a Yankee revival took place yesterday. Sean McAdam and Matt Kalman look at the contributions of Phil Seibel to the Sox. Joe Burris looks at Joe Contreras, who had another rough outing yesterday. Howard Bryant has a pay column on Contreras, who is still working through issues to become a big time starter. Jim Donaldson wasn’t entertained yesterday. I wasn’t entertained reading his column. You won’t be either. Thompson looks at the Yankee bullpen closing the door on the Sox. Paul Kenyon looks at the Yankee role players getting the job done yesterday. Over the years, there have been several Red Sox “slaughters” on Patriots Day. A game against the Brewers a number of years ago comes to mind and there have been others. Today, Bronson Arroyo hopes to avoid that fate while opposing Kevin Brown. Michael Vega looks at Arroyo hoping for an extended stint on the mound today. Kalman also looks at Lowe’s outing yesterday. Edes’ notebook and Borges’ notebook look at Seibel. Silverman’s notebook looks at Trot Nixon taking some swings. The Projo notebook and Courant notebook also have updates on the Sox injuries.

Ty Law was arrested last night after a traffic stop in which he also fled the police on foot. This was a prime subject for Dennis and Callahan this morning, who wondered half-seriously if this was part of Law’s plan to get himself out of New England. Michael Felger says the Patriots will be looking a defensive backs in the draft. Michael Smith looks at Michigan running back Chris Perry. Nick Cafardo says the team will likely also be looking for a young linebacker. Hector Longo says Mike Cloud is the answer to the Patriots running back situation. Last week Longo also broke down the 2004 schedule game by game and predicted a 9-7 record for the Pats. This before the draft, and before the June free agents are available and training camp injuries and pickups.

Celtics got smoked in game one against Indy. They’re hoping in a possible suspension of Ron Artest to give them a chance in game two. Links are over at Fox Sports Net. The Celtics also came to a buyout agreement with Vin Baker over the weekend, avoiding arbitration.

OK, if you must read about the Marathon, here are the special sections from the Globe and Herald.

Ron Borges looks at Johnny Ruiz retaining his heavyweight title, but in disappointing fashion.

Dave Scott has a Patriots Day Bonanza edition of Scott’s Shots, complete with coverage of the Ty Law incident on the Sunday Night shows, Red Sox/Yankees and a tribute to Jack Leaman. Bill Griffith looks at Dave Goucher getting the nod of approval from legendary Bruins broadcaster Bob Wilson.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 11:00 and Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. TNT has Grizzlies/Spurs at 8:00 and Lakers/Rockets at 10:30. ESPN and ESPN2 have NHL playoffs as well, coverage TBA.