A Win is a Win.

The Red Sox got back on track with an uneven, ugly, but victorious night against the Devil Rays. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox weren’t the better team last night, it was just that the Rays were a worse team. Paul Doyle says that the fans who stuck this one out were finally rewarded with a win in the end. David Borges says a win is a win. John Powers looks at the bats finally awakening for the Sox after taking the last two games off. Steven Krasner says that just about everyone, including six pitchers, had a role in this one for the Red Sox. Garry Brown also emphasizes the return of the bats for the Red Sox. Lenny Megliola says this was the ugliest win of the year.

Christopher Rowland reports on the Red Sox looking to add as many as 2000 seats to Fenway. Trot Nixon had a pair of doubles last night, and though he had to soak in cold water after the game, he says his quad is feeling good and he’s ready for the demands of the stretch run. Alex Speier, Steve Buckley and Ron Indrisano all have articles on the Red Sox outfielder. Jim Donaldson says we should be concerned about Red Sox pitching staff, especially after another shaky outing from Tim Wakefield. Dan Ventura also has a look at the outing by Wakefield. With Bill Mueller out once again, Paul Harber says that Kevin Youkilis is happy to get another chance to be in the everyday lineup. Buddy Thomas says Red Sox fans should keep their mouths shut. David Borges says the recent additions to the Red Sox cannot wait for their first taste of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry this weekend. Ventura looks at the Sox selling out all 81 home games this season for the first time ever. Harber has a look at the Red Sox bullpen area, which while close to the fans, isn’t like the setup in Oakland where that ugly incident happened earlier this week.

Bill Mueller’s knee is the lead topic for most of the notebooks. Ok, all the notebooks, actually. Among his other items, Massarotti’s notebook has an update on Ellis Burks. Krasner’s notebook has a Scott Williamson update. Doyle’s notebook has some assorted pitching notes. Brown’s notebook looks at Bronson Arroyo’s hair. Borges’ notebook has more on the sellout streak. Powers’ notebook looks at Curt Schilling going for number 20 tonight.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has a look at Tom Brady and the Patriots late game heroics. He also mentions Keith Traylor dealing with the death of his brother, and Richard Seymour being a non-factor against the Colts. Alan Greenberg looks at punt and kickoff returns being an area of concern for the Patriots. Mike Reiss says the Patriots are expecting to see a lot of three-wideout sets from the Cardinals on Sunday. Nick Cafardo says the Patriots are not expecting a pushover on Sunday. Felger looks at the dearth of game film available on these Cardinals, which presents a bit of a preparation problem for Belichick and the rest of the Patriots coaching staff.

Michael Parente and Kevin McNamara look at Arizona running back Emmitt Smith who just keeps going on, having rushed for 87 yards on 16 carries last week. Bill Reynolds has a look at the Patriots running back, Corey Dillon, who is glad to put all things Cincinnati behind him. Chris Kennedy looks at former UMass running back Marcel Shipp who is on injured reserve for the Cardinals and in the process of rehabbing from a broken fibula. Christopher Price says the Patriots expect a big tribute to Pat Tillman on Sunday.

Cafardo’s notebook reports on the Patriots not purchasing “cooling” pads for the players…these pads were used for the first time on Monday night by the Packers, who are the only team trying them out. He also has Dennis Green remembering his former player at Northwestern, Channel 4’s Steve Burton. Felger’s notebook looks at the Patriots receivers being praised by Green, and Ty Law avoiding the injury report. McNamara’s notebook says that both teams will honor Tillman on Sunday.

As expected the NHL lockout began last night. Mick Colageo has probably the best article this morning on what this is all about and what the problems both sides have with the current arrangement. Kevin Paul Dupont also reports on the issues and situation. Stephen Harris looks at what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has to say about the future of the league. Douglas Flynn looks at Bettman’s claims that this is being done for the fans. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell also has a report on the lockout.

Bob Ryan looks at the Ryder Cup. Ron Borges writes about Bernard Hopkins.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.


09.15.04 Afternoon Links

Some news and notes from the afternoon papers. Mike Fine looks at the rookie pitchers that have done in the Red Sox this season. The list isn’t pretty.

Roberto Novoa of Detroit, Kevin Gregg of Anaheim, Jimmy Gobble of Kansas City, Erik Bedard of Baltimore, Bobby Madritsch of Seattle and now Scott Kazmir of the D-Rays have stuck it to a team that one wouldn't expect to be a stickee.

Likewise, Chaz Scoggins jokes that perhaps the Yankees should bring up their AAA starters for this weekend series. Bob Stern says that the Devil Rays were supposed to be easy pickin’s for the Sox. Guess not. Yeah…the Rays laid down nicely for the Yankees last week…Alan Greenwood also has a look at the frustrating loss at Fenway last night. Eric Wilbur insists “this is not a Pedro-Roger (Clemens) comparison”, yet that’s exactly what he does, spending 700 words on the subject. Scott Kerman has a look at Nomar in Chicago. Fine’s notebook looks at the rotation for the upcoming Yankees series. Greenwood’s notebook also looks at the rotation.

In the Patriots links department…Mark Farinella has a look at the NFL Network and the future of NFL broadcasting. A pretty good and informative article if you can get past the digs at Bill Belichick.

Let's face it, the people in the NFL Network's front office must wince every time they run one of Bill Belichick's monotone monologues. The league has the likes of Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells in its coaching ranks, all of whom are more entertaining on their worst days than Belichick on his best, but none of them have won two Super Bowls in the past three years.

Was that necessary? Later he makes reference to Belichick “droning on”. His inclusion of Andy Reid in that group is curious as well, as Dave from Philly Sports Media Watch has told me that reporters down there hate dealing with Reid. He gives them nothing and is totally boring. (As evidence, check out yesterday’s post mortem of Reid’s press conference.) So what’s Farinella basing things on? From that link it appears he’s pulling names out of the air. I would disagree that Belichick is boring in his press conferences, most of the time its idiot questions that bring down the level of of the sessions. Give Belichick a good question and the answer can be fascinating. Here’s an example from yesterday’s press conference:

Q: Can you talk about the maturation of Eugene Wilson?

BB: Well, I think Eugene was able to spend a lot of time this year during training camp at the safety position, something he didn't do last year. He spent really all of his time at corner. This year we kind of split it between safety and corner. He still has some corner responsibilities even when he plays safety, and we know that if we have to play him at corner that he's trained to do that and has the skill and confidence to do it. I think his versatility back there has been a really big plus for us defensively. I thought he played well against the Colts. But that's one of those positions where, you talk about situational players, that's really what a safety is. He gets four, five, six plays a game, usually, that he can be a factor on. How he does on those handful of plays determines whether he plays well or not. The other 50 can be great, but if he's not really threatened or challenged on those plays, it doesn't really make any difference. I could be back there. If the ball never gets there, it doesn't matter. Those handful of plays when he has to make the play or is involved in the play, then those are big plays. If he missed them we give up a lot of yards or a lot of points. If he makes them, we don't. I'm not saying just Wilson, any safety. That's the nature of the position, so it's very situational. Sometimes the best thing a safety can do is not be involved in any plays. That means he's in position. That means that the quarterback isn't trying to challenge him in that part of the field because it looks like it's pretty securely defended, and [it means] in the running game that the people up front are doing a good enough job at keeping the ball from getting back to him. It's hard to evaluate a safety just on production alone. You get into that a lot in college when you're evaluating guys. A guy has a lot of production, well, sometimes that's good thing, and sometimes that isn't a good thing. It just depends on the circumstances that that production is coming in. But it can be frustrating. I think that's why those guys have to play with a lot of discipline. I think Eugene does that. For a young guy he's pretty smart, and he's pretty disciplined and pretty mature that you try to run around and make plays that you shouldn't be making and pretty soon you end up giving up plays that you really shouldn't be giving up. There's an element of playing the defense, playing within the system, being there to make the plays that you need to make without taking yourself and exposing the position to try to do something that isn't really your primary responsibility. So, that level of maturity and understanding and discipline is a key for that spot.

Real information, some humor, yet largely ignored. Reading some of the transcripts of the conferences is very educational for a football fan, yet very little of it gets into the papers. Why? Because the writers job is to get news and sensational items into their stories. Belichick won’t give that to them. But he will share deep thoughts on the technical aspects of the game and what happens on the field. Yet you rarely see those thoughts in the paper. Editors must’ve concluded that that the average Patriots fan is too dumb or disinterested in that part of the game and wouldn’t read it. So the writers like Farinella complain that Belichick is monotone and makes their job harder. Crybabies. You get paid to write about sports for a living. You’re covering a championship team, and you have to harp on the fact that you don’t think the coach is fun to listen to.

Eric McHugh looks ahead to what should be the keys to Patriots/Cardinals on Sunday. Sports Illustrated looks at Ty Law’s offseason training. McHugh’s notebook looks at the rotation of the offensive lineman last Thursday night. In other news, Belichick and Carolina coach John Fox will be featured and interviewed on “60 Minutes” this Sunday night.

Win Bates looks at the NHL as it readies to put itself out of business.

Beginner’s Luck?

In the finest Red Sox tradition their bats were once again shut down by a pitching prospect recently up from the minors. How many times has this happened over the years? Does it happen to all teams? Actually….Sean McAdam has the answers for us. He tells us that after last night, the Red Sox are now 0-6 against rookie starters they’ve never faced before. Gordon Edes says that Scott Kazmir and the Devils Rays took the fun out of Fenway last night. Michael Silverman looks at Pedro getting outdueled by Kazmir. Steven Krasner says the Red Sox offense has suddenly dried up in the last two games. Paul Doyle also has the 0-6 stat and wonders if the Sox are looking ahead to the weekend already. David Borges and Garry Brown have the remaining game stories from Fenway Park.

Lenny Megliola says last night was a downer for Sox fans, yet he says they’re all inexplicably pulled in anyway.

There is thinking like that now because once more Sox fans have been suckered in, swayed, brainwashed, hypnotized into believing that This Is The Year. You would have thought that the fans would be more guarded than ever after last October's colossal nervous breakdown.

Thanks, Lenny, I like being labeled a mindless imbecile. Matt Kalman and Paul Harber have a look at the dazzling performance by the 20 year old Kazmir. Ron Indrisano says that Pedro was just off a little bit last night and it cost him the game against the hot Kazmir. Steve Buckley says Pedro was the victim of zero run support, but he’s also tips his cap to Kazmir. Kalman and Harber must’ve kept running into each other last night as they both also submit articles on Lou Piniella. Kalman talks to him about the AL Race, while Harber talks to Lou about managing the lowly Rays with the Sox and Yankees in the same division.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) has an article on Theo Epstein, who is not ready to look ahead and say that his team is in the playoffs, but acknowledges that there is a different atmosphere around the ballpark and in the front offices. But Buckley says the postseason preparations…scouting reports, rosters, etc is indeed earnestly underway. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that the Yankees and Red Sox are having a hard time concentrating on their present opponents because they can’t wait to get it on this weekend.

Edes notebook looks at Doug Mientkiewicz who has had a season of frustration, capped off by his recent sickness. Silverman’s notebook looks at Bill Mueller’s knee hurting again. Krasner’s notebook has more on the same subject. Doyle’s notebook says that the Sox will not be flipping their rotation for the upcoming Yankees series. Brown’s notebook says that Sox will not go with a four man rotation through the final weeks of the season as some other teams might do. Borges’ notebook looks at Adam Hyzdu being named PawSox player of the year.

A few player updates on the Patriots this morning. Tom Curran has a look at Joe Andruzzi, who is a steady presence and leader on the offensive line. Alan Greenberg has the weekly status update on Rosevelt Colvin, who recently passed the one year mark on his injury. Michael Felger has an update and look at Ty Law and his injury and quest to be ready and on the field for Sunday. The other subject this week is of course the heat of Arizona. Michael Parente says it seems to be an annual question…the Patriots playing somewhere (usually Miami) in the heat and how it will effect them. Glen Farley looks at the Patriots preparations for the desert heat. Christopher Price says the Pats are the kings of cold weather football, we’ll see what they can do in the desert now. Shira Springer addresses the heat and the early travel day for the Patriots.

Chris Kennedy says the Patriots will be facing a lot of unknowns in this trip West. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriot Offense and its search to find an identity for itself. Jonathan Comey loves satellite TV, and has observations and power rankings from around the NFL in his weekly Wednesday morning QB column. Felger’s notebook says that the status of Kevin Faulk for Sunday is still unknown at this point. Curran’s notebook has Bill Belichick a little displeased with the state of his kicking game.

The Globe’s Ron Borges made his weekly appearance on the Eddie Andelman show on 1510 yesterday and had his usual objective thoughts on the Patriots. Among his comments:

1) The Patriots could swap in Jeff Fisher as head coach instead of Bill Belichick and not lose much. (No doubt Fisher is a very good coach, but he hasn’t won it all, even with All World Steve McNair)

2) Eddie asked him if Belichick takes the Patriots to the next three Super Bowls, will Borges think he’s a better coach than Bill Parcells. Borges’ answer: No.

He thinks Super Bowl victories don’t necessary mean a great coach. He asked who was a better coach, George Seifert with two Super Bowl Rings or Don Shula with none. Borges had to be reminded that Shula won two Super Bowls. This is similar to Borges’ Sunday notes column this week when he was comparing Mike Martz to Mike Sherman, and said that the only difference was that Martz had led the Rams to a Super Bowl title. Really? When? Or does Borges really think that the Rams won Super Bowl 36?

Interestingly, SI recently polled 354 current and former players on who was the best coach in the NFL. (Players were NOT allowed to vote for their own head coach.) Leading the pack was Belichick at 45%. The next highest was Parcells at 9%. (Fisher didn’t make the list.) In a list of who would you most like to play for, Belichick tied for second at 10%. Tony Dungy was first at 19%.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Kevin Paul Dupont look at the impending NHL lockout, set to happen tonight at midnight. The actual announcement of the lockout will probably be this afternoon.

A hearty “Welcome back” to the Boston Radio Watch website. The site had been knocked out in July due to a server fire, but now has a new home and new URL.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. (ESPN2 Nationally) Media columnist John Molori will be among the guests on CN8’s SportsPulse at 10:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Astros at 8:00. At 11:00 on NESN Dan Shaughnessy and John Valentin join host Bob Lobel on Wednesday’s edition of Sportsplus to preview the Red Sox-Yankees series as well as the Ryder Cup.

Calm before the storm

The Red Sox enjoyed their (second to) last night off during the regular season (Thanks Ryan.) while getting ready for tonight’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yesterday was a chance for everyone to take a breather while getting ready for the final push to the postseason. Tony Massarotti looks at the Red Sox advantage they possess at Fenway, and ponders whether the Sox should want to face the A’s or the Twins, or win the division or go in as wild card. In the end, he can’t decide himself, and just says they should keep winning and play as many games in October at Fenway as they can. Bob Hohler writes today that the Red Sox will not be content with slipping into the playoffs as the wild card, they will fight for the division title right down to the last game of the season if needed, not resting anyone. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says the Red Sox best postseason scenario is to overtake the Yankees and have the Twins overtake the A’s. He says winning the division this year would be bigger than other years, and sending the Yankees to Minnesota while the Sox face the A’s would be the best of all worlds for Boston fans. David Borges says that like Vijay stalking Tiger, the Red Sox will be hunting down the Yankees for the top spot in the East.

Art Martone says that the Yankees have had a much easier schedule than the Red Sox have faced this season. The Red Sox have been better against the better teams than the Yankees have been, but haven’t been as good against the bottom feeders, which the Yankees have really beefed up on. David Heuschkel has a nice look at Orlando Cabrera, who has stepped right into the Red Sox world, and produced in all areas. He also has fit in nicely with his new teammates. Jeff Horrigan looks at Trot Nixon and Pokey Reese as they try to adjust to playing part time as they return from injuries. Garry Brown says that the Sox need to keep their attention focused on the Devil Rays before looking ahead to the Yankees. Bob Halloran says no matter what his numbers look like, Tim Wakefield has to be on the postseason roster for the Sox. Bill Reynolds tries an experiment in writing…the Boston sports shrink. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I HATE this stuff. More tired garbage about how Boston fans want misery and how they’d be lost without it and how we all wouldn’t know what to do if the Red Sox won it all, and that the sports shrink would be out of business. Did I mention I hate that stuff? The miserable, fatalistic attitude? Just get rid of it already, people. Jeff Sullivan looks at the firing of PawSox Manager Buddy Bailey. Hohler’s notebook looks at Bill Mueller’s rising batting average. Horrigan’s notebook looks ahead to the Yankees.

Jim Donaldson says the Patriots and their fans have absolutely noting to worry about this Sunday in facing the Arizona Cardinals. Nick Cafardo though says the hiring of Dennis Green has brought optimism to the perennially downtrodden franchise. Michael Parente has a good look at the Cardinals, and says they could give the Patriots a run for their money this Sunday. A much better and balanced look than the dismissive article by Donaldson above. Mike Reiss says that the Patriots will be heading out to Arizona earlier than they usually do for away games in an effort to get adjusted to the hot, dry climate. Rich Thompson says the Patriots have been focusing on Red Zone defense and it’s an area in which they will continue to work at. Alan Greenberg has a look at undrafted rookie cornerback Randall Gay, who not only made the team roster, but got in some action on Thursday night. Cafardo’s brief notebook also looks at the early travel schedule and at newly signed running back Rabih Abdullah, who has a little bit of a troubled history.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Joe Thornton dramatically adjusting his game while playing for team Canada. Steve Conroy also has a look at Thornton’s new role. Conroy also urges hockey fans to watch tonight’s World Cup championship game because it’s likely the last high level hockey game you’re going to see in some time with the lockout looming.

Stan Grossfeld has a Globe feature on…Manute Bol? The seven foot seven inch Bol was severely injured in an auto accident June 30th and is in the process of learning to walk again.

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at NESN and Sam Adams teaming for another Broadcaster for an Inning contest, a look at NESN’s new version of SportsDesk and a review of the HBO Documentary “Nine Innings from Ground Zero”. Bill Griffith also looks at the new SportsDesk and has some NFL viewing notes from the weekend. The NFL Network has been a rousing success thus far. Ed Waldman of the Baltimore Sun (free registration required) reports that:

Yesterday, barely 10 months after its launch, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the network has been so successful that televising regular-season games is an option that is being seriously considered. The NFL might even think about making less money from television over the short term to get its own distribution system up and running, he said.

That obviously would be a HUGE development in the future of sports and television. It was also briefly mentioned by Griffith in his above article.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN2 has the World Cup of Hockey Championship game, Canada vs. Finland at 7:00. CN8 will have Shira Springer among the guests on the 10:00 SportsPulse. ESPN Classic with have a Carl Yastrzemski SportsCentury at 11:00.

(Caught) Sleeping in Seattle

The Red Sox finished their West Coast road trip with a 5-2 record after a 2-0 loss to the Mariners in Seattle. There will be lots of talk about Manny after this one. Bob Hohler devotes most of his game story to the Ramirez gaffe on the basepaths that cost the Sox a run. David Heuschkel looks at the two mistakes the Sox made yesterday, which did cost them the game. Sean McAdam is down after this one, lamenting the fact that the Red Sox lost ground on the Yankees during this trip. Jeff Horrigan recaps the more important numbers from the West coast swing.

Dan Shaughnessy of course focuses on the Manny episode and seems to urge forgiveness towards the end, but takes a nasty shot at Terry Francona in the process:

Start with manager Terry "I love these guys" Francona, who would have had an excuse for the 1919 White Sox ("A man's got to feed his family, you know").

I don’t know if that’s supposed to be funny, but it doesn’t come off that way. Tony Massarotti also writes about Manny and says you’ve got to expect this stuff to happen from Manny from time to time. Maybe this is a good example of the Michael Gee theory, Manny got his mental blunder out of the way before the postseason…Ron Chimelis says that Francona could be the AL Manager of the year. John Levesque of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the ’97 trade with the Mariners for Lowe and Varitek is still paying dividends for the Red Sox. John Tomase breaks down what the postseason roster for the Red Sox might look like. Massarotti looks at the job the Red Sox did on Ichiro this weekend. He also looks at the solid starting effort from Derek Lowe, who only made one mistake yesterday. Hohler’s notebook looks at David Ortiz’s sore shoulder, which kept him out of the lineup yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Ortiz getting a rest yesterday. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Trot Nixon getting the start in right field yesterday. McAdam’s notebook has more fallout from Manny.

Michael Parente looks at Ty Law’s hamstring injury and has an update on Kevin Faulk and a number of other Patriot items. Easily the most informative Patriots article of the day. Nick Cafardo reviews the weekend action around the AFC East. Nick loves Dewayne Robertson and the Jets defense. Of course, the Bills looked pretty good after week one last year too. Rich Thompson talks with center Dan Koppen about Tom Brady. Christopher Price looks at the Patriot rookies getting their first real NFL action. Thompson also talks to Jim Harbaugh about Brady. If you missed it Friday, BSMW had the Patriots Rear View by Scott Benson.

Russ Conway’s NHL notes looks at the impending lockout, slated to start on Thursday. Kevin Paul Dupont also looks at the labor situation.

ABC has Packers/Panthers at 9:00.

“They’re clearly not a better team than us.” Pats 27, Colts 24

Yes, clearly not, Mike Vanderjagt. Peyton Manning might’ve been right when he labeled Vanderjagt a “liquored up” “idiot kicker” a couple of years ago. The Colts kicker missed his first kick since the 2002 season last night and the Patriots beat the Colts 27-24. This after looking to the Patriots sideline and according to Michael Smith of ESPN.com, making the “money” gesture. Gil Santos made a pretty good observation after the game last night. He stated that growing up, he always thought how “lucky” the Yankees were. They aways got the breaks or big plays when they needed them. These days the Patriots seem to always get the “lucky” turnover or break. Santos said that over the years he’s learned that much of that “good luck” is the result of exhaustive preparation and hard work. The Patriots get the big plays because of that. To dismiss any of what happened last night as “luck” is insulting to the team. The Patriots could’ve played a whole lot better on defense, and they will. But they still did what they needed to do to win. People need to remember that the Colts are good team.

Tom Curran looks at the Patriots picking up where they left off…squeezing out a tight victory. Alan Greenberg says the Patriots got their title defense off to an unsteady but successful start last night. Nick Cafardo looks at huge plays from Eugene Wilson and Willie McGinest which helped the Patriots put the Colts away. Mike Reiss says the Patriots were might fortunate (lucky) to win last night. (see first paragraph above.) Chris Kennedy, Tom King and Michael Parente also look at the action last night at Gillette. (King picked the exact score in yesterday’s Telegraph as well.) Jackie MacMullan says that once again, the Patriots found a way to get it done, after taking their fans for a wild ride. Kevin Mannix has a very blas

NFL Opening Night

As you might imagine, there are a ton of links today. Both the Globe and the Herald have their Patriots/NFL previews today, each has pullout sections devoted to the Super Bowl champs. I’m not going to be able to get to all the links today, but I’ll try to highlight the good stuff, and the two links above will take you to the Preview sections so that you can see all the links for yourself. Before he left for ESPN, Michael Smith penned a number of pieces for the preview, including the lead piece, called Dream Team, where he looks at the team concept that his emphasized from the top down in the Patriots organization. Michael Felger looks at the challenge of defending their title, and how the team has the example of 2002 to look back upon and learn from. Jim Donaldson says there is much to be optimistic about regarding these Patriots. Alan Greenberg shows how Bill Belichick stresses that this is a new team, and that all glory and achievements from the past stay right there, in the past. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that it is hard to find things to pick on with this team, even though some do:

Maybe we can remind Ty Law again how much less money he's making than Champ Bailey. Or maybe Tom Brady hasn't heard about Chad Pennington's huge signing bonus. Or maybe we can stir up some righteous indignation by pointing out that loyal season ticket-holders were charged full price for that last preseason game, which featured none of the Patriots starters! It's consumer fraud, I tell you! A blatant rip-off!

Bob Ryan compares this Patriots era to the glory days of Boston’s other sports franchises. Steve Buckley (subscription only) has a very similar article in the Herald. Michael Parente looks at the great expectations upon this Patriots unit. Mike Reiss looks at the influence of the coordinators, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Felger assures fans that Belichick is firmly planted here in New England. Bill Reynolds wonders where the Patriots go from their position at the top.

The baseball dude Steve Buckley (subscription only) says the Patriots are the headline act tonight, and seems to only grudgingly admit even that. He refers to their “know-it-all” fans, a curious reference. Ian M. Clark looks at the high hopes for the Patriots going into tonight, he looks at what identity this club might emerge with this season. Ron Chimelis is is a little uneasy going into tonight. He doesn’t like what he saw in the preseason. Christopher Price looks at the bullseye on the back of the Patriots going into this season. Kevin Mannix looks at rookie Vince Wilfork and veteran Keith Traylor, who try to fill the hole left by the departure of Ted Washington. Joe Burris and Alan Greenberg both have articles on Tom Brady, who is now a household name across the country. Michael Gee compares and contrasts Brady and Peyton Manning, who have developed a friendship from competing against one another. Michael Smith looks at how Rodney Harrison helped get Corey Dillon here.

Alan Greenberg has a positional breakdown of the Patriots roster. Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots linebackers. Michael Smith has a piece on fan favorite Tedy Bruschi, who just keeps going and going. Rich Thompson looks at Ty Law, who yes, is still on the roster and didn’t get cut for salary cap reasons. There was no real chance of this happening, but several media types raised the possibility all during the preseason on the distant chance that if it happened, they could promote themselves. Thompson also looks at the punting game, and the offensive line as well as the defensive backs and special teams. Busy guy. Michael Gee (subscription only) says Bill Belichick is on the cusp of greatness, and starts to consider what his legacy is going to be. Felger looks at what Belichick is doing differently in his second attempt to defend a title.

For tonight’s game, Tom Curran reports on the Colts revamped secondary. Nick Cafardo looks at the excitement and hype for the season opener. Michael Felger wonders what Bill Belichick might have up his sleeve for the Colts tonight. Dan Pires says the new NFL point of emphasis on the chuck rule will effect both clubs, but predicts a Patriots victory.
Michael Parente writes that season openers don’t get much better than this one tonight. Felger’s notebook wonders who is going to return punts tonight. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the release of Bob Hallen.

Oh yeah, the Red Sox continue to streamroll West coast opponents.They breeze over the A’s last night 8-3, completing a three game sweep of the West-leading A’s. Games stories: Bob HohlerJeff HorriganSean McAdam and David Heuschkel. Along for the ride, Dan Shaughnessy compares the team to Delta house (just as Ben did on this page on Monday) not the more general “Animal House” – Shaughnessy favorite, but specifically “Delta” house. His whole column is on the hairstyles of the Red Sox. Hard hitting journalistic coverage of the hottest team on the planet. He does manage to poke some fun at himself with a CHB reference, so it’s not all bad. Tony Massarotti says that the computer nerds in the Red Sox front office don’t have numbers for defense. Howard Bryant (subscription only) urges caution for Red Sox followers:

Certainly, the Red Sox die-hards must enjoy this run, for the simple fact that they don't happen often. But, as a game equivalent, the Red Sox are only in about the sixth inning. The World Series, i.e., the bottom of the ninth, is a long, long way away.

In other words, it’s early yet. Bryant has Johnny Damon comparing this Red Sox team to the powerful Oakland one he was a part of a few years back. That one seemed to have it all, and didn’t make it out of the first round. Devoted Colts fan Buddy Thomas tells us Manny isn’t the league MVP, (He seems to favor Sheffield) he’s not even the MVP of the Red Sox. He says it’s Johnny Damon. Massarotti also has a look at Ichiro, who the Sox will face next, as he makes his run at the single season hit record. Bryant also has a piece on Pedro Martinez, who won his 16th game last night. Hohler’s notebook and Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ellis Burks, who desperately wants to contribute something to this team. McAdam’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both look at Ichiro.

New Celtic Gary Payton was arrested last month for investigation of driving under the influence.

Bill Griffith looks at the media coverage of the Patriots for tonight and the upcoming season. A special edition of Scott’s Shots has an announcement regarding the future of the column.

ABC has Patriots/Colts at 9:00. NESN has Red Sox/Mariners at 10:00.