Sunday guest links from Tiny (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Red Sox / MLB
Bad timing. Fresh off the heels of Pedro’s outburst about his contract, the Sox get swept by the Rangers and the Dominican diva throws a lemon in the nightcap, giving up six runs in four innings. The Globe’s Bob Hohler, the Herald’s Michael Silverman, and the Providence Journal’s Joe McDonald have the game story.
Meanwhile, its open season on Pedro. As expected, Dan Shaughnessy addresses the topic. Dan actually has a laugh at his role as resident pot stirrer.
Last weekend in New York, I wrote three columns about the Red Sox without a single shot at any player, manager, coach, or front office person. What else could one do? The Sox were almost flawless against the Yankees. A weekend of feel-good commentary was followed by a glowing tribute to the new, media-savvy Ramirez in Tuesday's Globe.
The readers were reeling. Our offices were bombarded with "What have you done with Shaughnessy?" inquiries. Kidnapped by aliens? Blackmailed by Boston Dirt Dogs? Hit in the head by a foul ball and unable to summon usual measures of sarcasm? Or maybe The New York Times Co. ordered him to write puff pieces about the Sox to protect its $75 million investment.
None of that was true. It's just that things were going so well for the Red Sox that the usual rules didn't apply. Searches for buffoonery, controversy, ineptitude, and hopelessness came up empty. It was as if the Sox suddenly were following the Patriot game plan that produced two Super Bowl championships in three seasons. Praise the Sox and pass the pompoms. That's all we did. Everything was perfect. Never was heard a discouraging word.
Now, finally, Pedro has delivered.
And Dan delivers, calling Pedro’s act offensive and tiring. He does, however, encourage Red Sox Nation to calm down, a sentiment shared by the Providence Journal’s Art Mattone, who writes that playing a season with a star “barreling toward free agency” is old hat for the Sox, and lists Roger Clemens, Mo Vaughn, and Bruce Hurst, among others. The Herald’s Karen Guregian details how awful Pedro looked last night, and says that outings like that make “management look smart for waiting”. Silverman’s notebook has Theo Epstein’s response to l’affaire Pedro, and some good news on Nomar. McDonald has more response from Sox management, including Terry Francona’s. Guregian polls the Sox other free agents in waiting. The words “not” and “distraction” come up a few times. Hohler has more on the free agent four. Hohler’s notebook focuses on Lenny DiNardo’s good outing in relief, as well as how the way Francona manages Curt Schilling has changed. Believe it or not, another starter pitched for the Sox last night. McDonald’s notebook looks at whether Bronson Arroyo’s solid effort will keep him out of the pen.
In his MLB Sunday notes, Gordon Edes gives us his 2 cents on Pedro and the “big four” (Why isn’t it the big 5 – David Ortiz was fourth in the MVP voting last year). He also reports that Carlton Fisk reportedly told Mets officials that he’ll show up at Shea Stadium next week if Mike Piazza has already passed him for most home runs by a catcher. Tony Massarotti also speaks to the Pedro’s contract stance in his MLB notes, comparing it to campaigning for office, and saying “talk is cheap”. Tony also describes some bad blood between the Giants and Marlins over intentional walks to Barry Bonds, and speculates on which players may participate in the world cup.
The Yankees drubbing of KC has them feeling good, and the New York Daily News reports that recent strong efforts by Jon Lieber and Javier Vazquez, coupled with the Pedro saga, make April seem like a distant memory to the bombers.
Steve Buckley has a nice profile of Mark Malaska, and how scouts encouraged the marginal outfield prospect to become a pitcher.
Gerry Callahan will be happy to know that the Fenway Jimmy Buffett concerts were approved, but unfortunately for parrotheads, no tailgating will be allowed.
Celtics / NBA
Shira Springer has a Q&A with Doc Rivers – pretty predictable stuff from Doc, but he does defend his record on developing young players:
It bugged me when someone asked me something about [former Orlando general manager] John Gabriel and the Orlando Magic saying I didn't develop young guys. I took offense as you can tell because I started thinking, "Now, wait a minute, Chucky Atkins had never played in the NBA and he flourished under me. Ben Wallace had really never played in the NBA and he got his biggest contract under me. Mike Miller got the Rookie of the Year. John Amaechi had never played in the NBA and ended up signing a multiyear deal under me. And Tracy McGrady." So, I'm thinking, "Where the hell is this coming from?"
However, South Florida columnists continue to question the Rivers hire. Dick Scanlon of the Ledger reiterates the charge that Rivers could not develop young players, and holds up Brendan Hayward as an example. Hopefully for Marcus Banks, Kendrick Perkins and the players the Celts draft this summer, Doc’s version is more accurate. In his Sunday NBA notes, the Herald’s Mark Murphy says the Celts franchise still has some national appeal, and has ownerships thoughts on the club making the playoffs. He also looks at the huge difference in Pacers this year after Larry Bird gassed Isiah Thomas and brought in a real coach (Rick Carlisle). The Globe’s Peter May’s NBA notes has the Spurs – Lakers conference semi-final being the real NBA championship. May also has the always candid Danny Ainge saying that “he hasn’t hired the perfect coach (there’s no such thing)”, and that he doesn’t think Rivers is “a finished product”, but that “neither was Bill Belichick” (when the Pats hired him). May also catches up with Chris Wallace and Leo Papile (yes, they are still on the staff). The Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds proposes some reasons why so many fans no longer “love this game”. Did Bob Ryan and/or Jim Donaldson put him up to it? Celtics.com has a transcript of River’s initial press conference.
Patriots / NFL
Patriot’s rookie mini-camp continues. The Herald’s Michael Felger writes that Cedric Cobbs is struggling a bit, while Kevin Mannix writes that PK Sam “continued to catch everything”, that Cobbs and Ben Watson struggled, and that 7th round pick Christian Morton was “more competitive and productive than you’d expect of a player taken in the final round.” Felger’s notebook looks at possible nicknames for Marquise Hill.
The Globe’s Mike Smith notes that Belichick tends to look outside the draft for offensive lineman, and has Belichick’s thoughts Rohan Davey’s breakout performance in NFL Europe. Smith’s notebook has Belichick saying that draft picks and undrafted free agents are all “in the same boat”, and some news about Ty Warren. Mike Reiss of the Metrowest Daily News looks at the similar draft boards of Belichick and Titan’s GM Floyd Reese, and how both organizations put a high priority on the d-line. The transcript of Belichick’s press conference yesterday is available on Patriots.com.
Ron Borges NFL notes column has tidbits about two ex-Pats, as he looks at Tebucky Jones struggles last year and Drew Bledsoe’s contract “renegotiation”. The Bledsoe camp has spun this that Bledsoe did this to help the club, while it was clearly a move of self preservation knowing the Bills would release him rather than pick up his $7M option in November. Bledsoe did show why his name has always been synonymous with class when he, as reported by Leo Roth of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, called Bills #1 pick JP Losman and told him “We