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The Red Sox had an off day yesterday, but there was a buzz going around in the early evening hours. Bob Lobel had reported on the early news that the Red Sox and Astros were in talks to bring Roger Clemens back to Boston. This whole scenario was no doubt brought about by the item in Mike Lupica’s column (see the afternoon links of yesterday) where he casually dropped the news that the Red Sox had put in a waiver claim on Clemens. So the buzz got hot and heavy for a few hours there, and then on the 10:00 news, Lobel said that talks were off and the window was closed. A curiously short window, I’d say. Dirt Dog says 48 hours was the window and Kevin Youkilis was part of the price. Bob Hohler’s notebook today seems to downplay the report and that there were any real trade talks going on between the clubs.

Michael Silverman has a feature-style article on Scott Williamson and the tough season he’s had with injuries and how his absence has been devastating to the Red Sox. He addresses the injury in Yankee stadium and subsequent confrontation with Curt Schilling, who in hindsight, appears to have been way out of line. Bob Hohler has a look at Orlando Cabrera’s stature in his home country of Columbia. He hails from an area with many Red Sox fans. David Heuschkel says the upcoming road trip is crucial to the Red Sox playoff hopes. They simply can’t afford to slide back into their old road ways. John Tomase looks at the Red Sox finding their way without Nomar. He breaks out some interesting fielding numbers for the Red Sox and Cubs, but before and after the trade. Tony Chamberlain has yet another look at Bill Lee. Silverman’s notebook says things have been looking up for the Sox since the blockbuster trade of Nomar. He also downplays the talk of Clemens to Boston. Jeff Sullivan’s notebook looks at the return of Mark Bellhorn.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that everyone in New England is rushing to the boxscores every morning to see how Nomar is doing. He says he and the rest of the media are rooting for a Red Sox/Cubs World Series:

Red Sox. Cubs. World Series. And I have no difficulty saying I am rooting for it to happen. A story like this comes along but rarely, and those of us who write about sports for a living always dream of that elusive, compelling story that begs for over-the-top coverage. Show me a New England sports media representative who isn't rooting for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series, and I'll show you a liar, or a naive fool.

With things so tranquil down in Patriots training camp, some media types feel the need to try to stir things up and manufacture a story. We saw Hector Longo do it last weekend, the other night on FSN Greg Dickerson labeled the entire Patriots training camp to date “lackadaisical”, then quickly backtracked and amended it to “laid back”. Today Kevin Mannix, playing the role of Inspector Clouseau unveils the scandal that Tom Brady and Troy Brown were held out of practice yesterday!

There it was, the final real practice of the week, and neither Tom Brady nor Troy Brown was in uniform. Something serious must have been going on. Why else would coach Bill Belichick keep two critical veterans like Brady and Brown out of practice so close to a game - even a preseason game, particularly since the passing game needs so much work?

I think I got a whiff of sarcasm in the air there. Mannix tries to throw some more mud against the wall in his notebook, where he says that Belichick and Law are feuding…he says there is a “dispute” between them related to a workout bonus. Yet there is not a single shred of evidence in the piece about ANY such dispute. It appears to be 100% conjecture on Kevin’s part. Even if it is not, why not provide something to back your claim, Kevin?

Tom Curran takes a look at Ted Johnson, who is still a Patriot after all these years, and is approaching the time in his life where he has to at least begin pondering his football mortality. Adam Kilgore (more on him later) has a look at Jim Miller, who has had a valuable role during camp, despite not throwing a single pass. Alan Greenberg has a look at Corey Dillon as he prepares to return to Cincinnati tomorrow night and his continued work to fit in with his new club. Ian M Clark has a very extensive Patriots notebook, looking at the return to health of several players, the rise of Asante Samuel and the continued learning process for Dan Klecko. Michael Parente has a look at battles for several backup positions. Kilgore’s notebook has a look at Rosevelt Colvin, and also looks at Brady and Brown sitting out yesterday. Instead of deeming it a scandal, Kilgore tells us that they were given the session off, and it happened to the longest (nearly three hours) that the team has had thus far. Curran’s notebook looks at Jim Miller.

Bill Griffith looks at NBC using the storytelling angle to hook and keep viewers for the Olympics. David Scott has a two part Scott’s Shots with a Stump the Schwab column AND a regular edition of Scott’s Shots with more questions for the Globe Sports desk, Olympic highlights and Mold Pizza problems. He also looks at the Sports Plus show on NESN the other night that dealt with the Boston Sports Media. Interestingly only 30% of those polled said that they trusted the sports media in Boston. Now you see why a site like this exists.

Keeping on the media theme…I gotta ask…what is going on over at the Globe sports department? Yes, I know, there is an Olympics going on, so the staff is going to be spread thin. But there are disturbing things happening in what used to be the finest sports section in the country. New sports editor Joe Sullivan has had to deal with two defections…Michael Holley and Michael Smith and has yet to replace either one. (Yeah, it’s early yet with Smith.) Sources say that the freelance budget has been slashed, the golf section trimmed. Earlier this summer Sullivan had to deal with one of his most prominent writers, Ron Borges, getting involved in an embarrassing scuffle with another writer while at a boxing event. Borges denies steadfastly that any suspension was handed out, but moles at the Globe say that Borges quietly got a week suspension worked in around his normal July vacation. The sports page has been relying heavily on the work of two college interns, Marc Carig and Adam Kilgore for much of its content in recent weeks. This week Kilgore has been running ragged between Foxboro and Fenway, covering both in the same day. Those two have been doing a fine job, but what’s going to happen when they head back to school in a couple weeks? Who is going to replace Michael Smith? Are we in for a full season of Nick Cafardo and Borges’ (Read: negative) slanted coverage of the World Champion Patriots? The Sullivan era at the Globe hasn’t been a smooth one thus far. It’s probably not all his fault…The NY Times Company has a lot to do with these decisions, I’m sure.

UPN38 has Red Sox/White Sox at 7:00. FSN will have Pete Brock and John Tomase at 6:30 and Andy Gresh at 10:00. CN8’s Sports Pulse will have Andre Tippett at 10:00.

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