The Dale & Holley Show

It’s official now. On a 9:00 am conference call, Jason Wolfe, WEEI Director of Programming and Operations, announced that Michael Holley will be the new co-host of the 10-2 midday show alongside Dale Arnold. Effective March 1st. They have agreed on a multi-year contract. Holley said that he is: “Very happy to be joining WEEI and the Dale & Holley program” noting that he’s sure to give Dale top billing. “Not going to a show that needs a tremendous amount of help, the show was number one before I got here and hopefully I won’t mess it up too much. Going to be a great program, Dale is great at leading the ship. He never seems flustered on the air.”

Dale said that he had a great time working with Neumy, he was humbled and honored by the names that wanted to replace him. Michael was at the top of the list. Feel that the the station has “debunked a myth about sports radio” in this town, the myth that people only listen when they want to be miserable or complain. Since the championships, they’re getting “goofy golf” numbers.

Jason Wolfe: Holley was at the top of the list from the start. Brings great credibility, name recognition.

Dean Johnson (Boston Herald) asked Holley what about radio appeals to him: “I like Boston. When I went to Chicago briefly in 2001 as soon as I got there, I realized I didn’t want to write about talk about sports in that market. I love talking to the Boston fans. Out of all the mediums, newspaper, TV you don’t know who you’re talking to, on radio you can talk directly to people. Just love sitting around and talking about sports.”

He added that this is not a reclamation project here. He doesn’t want to take the show in a different direction. The show will just naturally be different because his personality is different from Neumy.

Dale said that “Jason has never tried to steer anyone in the direction they should do their show.” Michael brings a comfort level to his (Dale’s) type of conversation. Holley added that Dale doesn’t do the trumped up sports talk where each side takes a opinion and they make a show out of it. He doesn’t like that type of radio.

Background on Holley – he is 34 years old, grew up in Akron Ohio, (Same as Lebron James) started at the Akron Beacon Journal 1992. Moved to the Boston Globe in 1994, covered Celtics for 3 1/2 years. He started writing columns in 1998, left briefly for Chicago in 2001, returned back to the Globe, left again in 2004. His last column for them was covering Bruins/Canadiens game 7.

Arnold on show prep: A lot the night before, watching TV, then come in and go through the papers, go to sportspages.com. Tries not to do the show between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning, better when it’s spontaneous.

How important was it to add a person of color: Wolfe – not at all, just wanted the best person, it has nothing to do with it. Now that he’s here all it means is that the station continues its practice of hiring the best person. Never crossed his mind that he was a person of color.

On the naming of the show: Dale and Holley has a bit of an easier flow than Dale and Michael. The idea behind names of shows is to just make it easier to remember. (And for ratings people to put into their diaries)

Like to add a Dale and Holley element that’s unique to the show.

Bill Griffith asked a side question: Is there a new contract in place for Pete Sheppard? (pause) Wolfe: This is all about Michael Holley.

Onto the links:

The Celtics led for most of the night in Los Angeles, but faltered down the stretch and fell to the Lakers 104-95. Shira Springer has the game story of the loss, which pushed the Celtics back down to the .500 mark. Last night was the first time Gary Payton played against the Lakers since being traded to the Celtics last summer. Steve Bulpett has a piece on Payton’s thoughts on the return. Springer’s notebook looks at former Celtic Chris Mihm, who is fitting in quite well in LA. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce expressing disappointment in Kobe Bryant for telling tales out of school.

Manny Ramirez is the topic of the day from Spring Training. (Sorry, it’s CVS Spring Training now) Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox slugger, who has found a comfort zone in Boston – something many thought impossible. Steven Krasner looks at Manny’s media session and some things he found out about his swing in the offseason. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox new Mr. Congeniality. Dan Shaughnessy also files a piece on the happy Ramirez. David Borges looks at the transformation of Manny from “Howard Hughes to Howard Stern”. Karen Guregian also has a piece on the “New” Ramirez. He was also a guest on Dennis & Callahan this morning, and was every bit his carefree, likable self.

Chris Snow has a look at the Red Sox first full squad workout of the spring, in front of a couple thousand fans. Jonathan Comey isn’t a big fan of how the Red Sox have conducted themselves since winning the World Series. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on the woman who handles the Fenway Park switchboard during games and some of the crazy calls she gets. John Tomase has a look at Red Sox prospect Brandon Moss, an outfielder who had a monster season in “A” ball last year. Karen Guregian looks at Bill Mueller, who is working to get back from knee surgery as soon as possible. Gordon Edes talks with former Red Sox team doctor Bill Morgan about the issue of steroids in baseball. Morgan says that there was no evidence of steroid use among Red Sox players during his time here. He realizes that Canseco was using while here, but didn’t see it. Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a column on the Yankees trying to forget about the Red Sox and focus on their own team and success. One note – Howard…what’s up with calling Gary Sheffield “one of the most outspoken and coolest cats” around? Snow’s notebook has Mueller ahead of schedule in his rehab. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the ongoing issue of the Rings. Krasner’s notebook has more on Mueller. Borges’ notebook has Mueller and Johnny Damon hoping to sign new deals with the Red Sox.

As expected, the Patriots slapped the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri yesterday, the second time they have done it to the kicker in his career. New Globe Patriots beat writer Jerome Solomon reports on the move. Michael Felger also reports on the move and has a number of other Patriots notes. Tom E Curran has more, and gets into the contract status of Ty Law and Tom Brady a little bit as well.

FSN has Celtics/Nuggets at 9:00. ESPN has Providence/Seton Hall at 7:00 and Rockets/Spurs at 9:00. ESPN2 has Duke/Georgia Tech at 7:00 and Boston College/Villanova at 9:00.

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Big Papi is in the house

I realize that my updates have been appearing later and later in the morning. I’m attempting to put more into them in the way of commentary and thoughts in addition to all of the links I can find. It’s a balance that I’m still striving to perfect here, so I appreciate your patience. I’m trying to make it worth your while.

Spring Training is upon us in full force, and one way to tell is the articles on the one or two players who have media sessions that day. Today the targets are David Ortiz and Johnny Damon. For Ortiz, (Who was also a guest of Dennis & Callahan this morning) arrival in camp after a winter of being lauded as the new Mr October is no doubt a relief. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at the new “Senor Octubre”. Jeff Horrigan also has a look at the slugger, who now finds himself having to handle sobbing teenage girls, thrilled at the chance to meet “Big Papi”. Steven Krasner looks at how postseason hero Ortiz has proclaimed that Curt Schilling is his own personal hero for his work in the postseason while “bleeding to death”. David Heuschkel examines the glow which surrounds Ortiz and the warmth he brings to the clubhouse and fans. David Borges writes that Ortiz hopes to even surpass the outstanding numbers he’s posted the last two seasons for the Red Sox. Most of these articles all contain the same quotes, it’s difficult to come up with original material when the players are meeting the media as a group. Each one does attempt to take a little different approach in the quotes they focus on and use, but for the most part, the pieces are all very similar.

The other player getting his day in the spotlight was Johnny Damon. Chris Snow has the most detailed look at the lead “idiot” in the Red Sox run to the championship. Snow has had a pretty good early run as the new Red Sox beat writer for the Globe. He had some controversy at his last job in Minnesota, but looks to be a solid addition to Joe Sullivan’s sports department, which is in the middle of a minor makeover. Karen Guregian also looks at the arrival of Damon, who said that he hopes to remain in Boston for the rest of his career. He is currently entering the last year of his contract. Steven Krasner says that Damon is still the same “idiot” we all have come to know and love. Heuschkel’s notebook has Damon stepping up to take his swings at A-Rod. Borges’ notebook also covers the arrival of Damon, who proclaimed that the offseason had fewer “drunken nights” as there were following the 2003 season.

Gordon Edes has an interesting article on Randy Johnson, where he has the Big Unit speaking about his relationship with Curt Schilling, the expectations upon him in New York, and also that he is happy for Boston that the Red Sox won the World Series. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that Pedro Martinez wouldn’t have been a good fit with these new Red Sox, and that camp is much quieter, pleasant and serene without he and Nomar. Karen Guregian has Trot Nixon tempering his “clown” comments about A-Rod ever so slightly. Steven Krasner catches up with some Red Sox fans enjoying the 80 degree weather in Florida while the rest of us were in the snowstorm. Krasner’s notebook has more on Nixon somewhat backing down on his A-Rod comments. Horrigan’s notebook has Tom Werner hoping that the World Series rings will be distributed at the home opener. Snow’s notebook has Werner talking briefly about the possibility of a new contract for Theo Epstein, whose deal runs through this season.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a look at Jason Giambi trying to play the “good guy” role now, to win back the support of the fans. By telling the truth about his use of steroids, Giambi may “possess an odd kind of honor” according to Bryant. What I find amusing is the contrast in the NY media’s treatment of Giambi and Gary Sheffield. Giambi took massive amounts of well deserved heat for his admission of using steroids. However he did not produce on the field last season. Gary Sheffield has also admitted the use of illegal substances, but had a great season at the plate last year. Giambi gets killed in the media, Sheffield escapes almost all criticism.

Murray Chass in the NY Times (free registration required – or use bugmenot) takes a look at the perception that the Red Sox players are taking shots at A-Rod and the Yankees on a daily basis. He says

Athletes have long accused reporters of creating stories, and, sadly, this is one of those instances. It has become one of the most distasteful instances I have witnessed in 45 years of covering baseball.

He out lines numerous cases where what the players themselves said was fairly innocuous, but was taken and promoted as a rip. A must-read.

Celtics hit the coast

Steve Bulpett outlines seven requirements for the Celtics to be successful in the second half of the season and even make some noise in the Eastern conference playoffs. Mike Fine looks at the Celtics mini-trip west this week. Shira Springer has Gary Payton taking things day-by-day this week as the trade deadline approaches on Thursday. Bulpett also has a piece on the waiting game for Payton.

Franchise tag for Adam?

Michael Felger reports that the Patriots could slap the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri by today’s 4:00 PM deadline. Eric McHugh looks at some of the difficult decisions facing the Patriots in the approaching free agent period. Lenny Megliola talks with Doug Flutie, who is still under contract to the Chargers, but perhaps hoping for a better situation in the NFL somewhere.

NASCAR fans are out there

It’s easy to say that no one in New England is interested in NASCAR, the TV numbers say otherwise. Bill Griffith looks at the numbers for the Daytona 500, which drew an 8.6 in the Boston market. He looks at the highs and lows of the broadcast. I think it would be more accurate to say that Red Sox and Patriots fans (who make up most of WEEI’s listeners) are not in addition NASCAR fans. Many people who watch NASCAR do not listen to sports radio thus making their voice silent in the mainstream sports media. There are plenty of people in this region who are big fans of the sport. I’m not one of them, but my Dad and sister are. They watch the races each weekend, know all the drivers, watch the recap shows on SPEED network during the week, yet they don’t watch a single Red Sox or Patriots game. They’re not alone. Continuing the theme, Michael Vega looks at Jeff Gordon’s win on Sunday and Shawn Courchesne has a look at Gordon making an appearance at the ESPN studios in Bristol.

Miracle on ice, 25 years later

Steve Conroy and Jim Fennell relive the miracle on ice of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team, which is having its 25th anniversary this week. Joe Sullivan of the Union Leader reviews Wayne Coffey’s book “The boys of winter” which is about that gold medal winning squad. Jon Couture says that hockey is alive without the NHL.

Media & Tonight

The Boston Radio Watch website had a number of interesting items in its column from Friday. They mention the sale of Sporting News Radio getting held up, and have more on the rumors of a possible FM challenger to WEEI in the Boston market.

FSN has Celtics/Lakers at 10:30. (I think this will also be shown on NBA TV in HD) ESPN has Purdue/Indiana at 7:00 and Alabama/LSU at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas/Texas Tech at 9:00.

40 More Days

(Monday links by Jeff@bostonsportsmedia.com)

In one of the most exciting Daytona 500 finishes ever, Jeff Gordon … just kidding, no one cares. At least most New Englanders don’t. For those who do, Michael Vega was there for the Globe. Just to let you know how important NASCAR is around these parts, the Herald didn’t even send anyone. Nor did the Hartford Courant or the Providence Journal. That says it all.

Not quite sure what Red Sox beat writers are going to write for the 40 days between today and Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The Alex Rodriguez bashing has to get old sooner rather than later, right? Kevin Millar made his debut at camp yesterday, some 15-20 pounds heavier than last year, and in between taking shots at A-Rod, discussed the Jack Daniels controversy with Dan Shaughnessy. The Courant’s David Heuschkel has a trio of Sox bashing A-Rod, while Steven Krasner has more with Millar. Krasner also has a notebook looking at the Sox bullpen.

Gordon Edes spent the day with his old friend, A-Rod, at Yankees camp in Tampa. Don Amore was also there.

The Herald’s beat man Jeff Horrigan has a feature on veteran reliever Mike Timlin, while colleague Karen Guregian has more on the trash talk.

Chris Snow has the day’s best feature, a look at Sox hopeful George Lombard.

Really not much else. Shira Springer has the NBA All-Star Game, with Allen Iverson winning the game’s MVP. And Peter King has lots on Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots in his Monday Morning Quarterback.

A College Hoops Town

Has Teddy Sarandis been hosed off yet? Has he even fallen asleep?

Since Doug Flutie left the Heights some two decades ago, attention toward the local collegiate sports scene has been scattered at best. There was the UMass hoops team Final Four run with John Calipari, a few upset wins by BC over Notre Dame, especially the David Gordon game in 1993, and of course, there’s the Beanpot and BC hockey won a national championship in 2001.

For the most part, any support garnered outside of the alum is bandwagon in its purest form. Who could actually name a UMass player on this year’s team?
Well, for those not already on board, the bandwagon train is officially leaving the station, as BC defeated Syracuse, 65-60, Saturday at Conte Forum. It was easily the most-important win of the season and was also nationally televised.

Mark Blaudschun has the game story for the Globe. BC alum Bob Ryan was also there and writes that it was “the most anticipated BC home game in 38 years.”

Really don’t have a problem with Ryan covering the Eagles, despite being a diehard fan and supporter. Morally speaking, unlike many of his co-workers at the Globe, Ryan ranks in the top one percent ethically in the country. Heck, Michael Vega’s wife use to work at Boston College and may still. He has been the BC beat writer at the Globe for around 10 years.

Mike Shalin has the BC story for the Herald. He also has a notebook with Eagles coach Al Skinner touting Craig Smith for Big East Player of the Year.

After this win, Skinner should have National Coach of the Year sealed up, meaning other higher-profile programs will likely be looking at him come season’s end. However, with the Eagles moving to the ACC next season, there aren’t many programs in better shape. However, there are programs that pay their coaches more money.

Moving on, we have lots of Red Sox stories. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Bronson Arroyo and Alex Rodriguez being linked. Dano didn’t actually mail this one in, so his Red Sox book on last season must be finished. Or maybe he just ran out of stamps. Chris Snow says the Sox will issue 500 World Series rings, while Snow and Gordon Edes team up on a notebook that includes a Wade Miller update and some fluff comments from Terry Francona on Byung Hyun Kim, who alas, is back for another year at more than $5 million.

Edes also has his weekly notes leading off with Jose Canseco and another piece in today’s Globe focusing on Edgar Renteria. The ProJo’s Steven Krasner also writes about Renteria, as does David Heuschkel.

The Herald has several Sox stories, too. Karen Guregian has a Jason Varitek feature, while Jeff Horrigan has another Renteria story. Tony Massarotti also leads off his weekly notes with Canseco.

The ProJo’s Jim Donaldson has a column on Adam Vinatieri talking with a Marine stationed in Iraq moments after the Patriots received the Super Bowl trophy. Perhaps the day’s best read here.

On 1510 the Zone, Scott Gilefsky and David Frank have an interesting show tonight at 6 p.m., with Doug Ames, who actually isn’t Canseco’s agent but has been traveling with him during the promotion of his book, and a parent who wasn’t allowed into their son’s hockey game last week stemming from the altercation at the Northeast/Malden and Shawsheen Regional Tech. game a few days earlier.
Gilefsky and Frank are lawyers and will take the legal angle on these stories and others.

Interesting note on that high school brawl. The Herald ran the story on the front page, while despite knowing about it before the Herald did, the Globe didn’t write anything on it. The powers-to-be were not pleased about this and more than one person was chewed out.

And finally, if anyone still cares, Kevin Paul Dupont checks in with the NHL and the nitwits that be.

Bruschi Goes Home

Tedy Bruschi returned home from the hospital late yesterday afternoon. Nick Cafardo, Michael Felger, and Tom Curran all have the story. All three contain quotes from medical experts speculating about Bruschi’s future. In the Globe, Stephen Smith writes about the possibility of returning to a normal life after suffering a stroke.

Cafardo also has a brief notebook with items about the Patriots’ assistant strength coach leaving for a promotion with the Jets, minor surgeries for two members of the defense and the next steps in negotiations with Adam Vinatieri. Yesterday, in his Tip Sheet on ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli wrote about the increased role that Bill Belichick will likely play in the Patriots’ offense next year. Pasquarelli wrote that Belichick has played a larger role in the offense than has previously been reported. I’m continually amazed at how much better the information on the Patriots seems to be from national writers than the local scribes.

Hockey may not be done yet. Kevin Paul Dupont has the story of talks back on between the players and owners. In a story on ESPN.com, EJ Hradek cites sources saying a deal could be imminent that would un-cancel the season.

Matt Clement is one theme in Red Sox coverage today. Jeff Horrigan and Chris Snow both have Clement stating he is ready for the pressure of pitching in Boston.

Horrigan also has the Red Sox not adding any fuel to the fire, but also not backing down from previous comments about Alex Rodriguez. Does anyone else feel like his addition has added a little bit of hatred between the teams that just wasn’t there before? Maybe it’s just me.

Dan Shaughnessy writes about New York’s new obsession with the Red Sox. Krasner has fans savoring last year’s championship, but still thirsting for more. Dave Heuschkel writes about the value of Jason Varitek to the Red Sox.

Lots of news tidbits in Horrigan’s, Krasner’s, and Snow’s notebooks including the continuing saga of ring-gate. Will the Sox hand out their championship rings in front of the Yankees or not?

Finally, in the first edition of the Power Rankings on ESPN.com, Buster Olney has the Sox ranked at number two behind the Yankees.

Not a lot of Celtics news this morning with the All Star game tomorrow. Shira Springer files an All-Star notebook which has Paul Pierce wanting the opportunity to win a championship rather than pile up All-Star appearances. Springer also writes about Tony Allen’s and Al Jefferson’s appearance in last night’s Rookie Challenge. Steve Bulpett has Pierce happy with the direction of the Celtics. Bulpett also writes about the strong performances of Jefferson and Allen in the Rookie Challenge.

I apologize that this was not posted earlier today. This was my first time compiling the links. I’ll try to get this posted earlier on future weekends. I have a newfound respect for the incredible job Bruce does with this site. If you see anything I missed or want to make any comments, feel free to send me an email at tmomo89888@aol.com.

Bruschi Watch, Day 2

First, the Tedy Bruschi updates. Four writers are credited with a 479 word article in the Globe this morning, which tells us that Bruschi had a mild stroke and that his football future is unknown. Michael Felger says that Bruschi showed marked improvement yesterday, and is among the first to bring up the topic of Bruschi’s contract, in which he took less to remain in New England. Tom E Curran has a Patriots source saying that he did not “get the sense” that Bruschi’s condition was life or career threatening. John Altavilla also looks at the condition of the Patriots linebacker and looks at a couple athletes who had suffered strokes and their attempts at comebacks which fell short. Dan Pires has a very nice look at “The Perfect Patriot” as he calls Bruschi. Jennifer Heldt Powell has a quick look at the luxurious quarters Bruschi has at The Phillips House at Massachusetts General Hospital. Michael Parente files an update on Bruschi and also has a number of other Patriots notebook style items. Jim Donaldson says that both Bruschi and former teammate Drew Bledsoe had rough Wednesdays this week. He looks at how quickly things can change, even for the good guys. However in my humble opinion, there’s NO comparison between what happened to those two on that day, and trying to connect the events is ludicrous. It’s just plain dumb. Jennifer Rosinski speaks to a couple fans wishing Bruschi a quick recovery. Felger tries to talk to a number of Bruschi’s teammates about the situation. He also reports on the Patriots raising ticket prices for next season.

Blah Blah Blah

Yesterday was reporting day for Red Sox pitchers and catchers, and there was a lot of talking going on. Curt Schilling was of course front and center of the talk, and he did plenty of it himself to Dan Shaughnessy. He talks about Bruschi, A-Rod, steroids and the Yankees among other things. Jeff Horrigan also has the story, trying to make it more about Schilling’s health and availability to start the season. Karen Guregian says that this season, Schilling is the Sox one and only ace. David Borges looks at Schilling and David Wells – a couple of guys who will never leave the reporters feeling void of material. Guregian looks at Wells, who is getting his first look at the other side of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Chris Snow and David Heuschkel also each take an extensive look at Wells. Ron Chimelis says that Terry Francona will face a whole new pressure this season. Snow’s notebook has Francona hoping to tone down the war of words between the Red Sox and Yankees. That’s also the major theme of Horrigan’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook, though in the latter, it’s more Theo Epstein who is trying to cool things down. Borges’ notebook has an update on Bill Mueller and Kevin Youkilis getting some work at first base.

Ah, excuse me Mr. May, your agenda is showing…

Mark Murphy hands out a midseason report card for the Celtics, with high marks for the most part. Mark Blount and Marcus Banks are the only ones flirting with a failing grade at this point. Mike Fine says that a lot of Mike Fratello has rubbed off on Doc Rivers. Shira Springer has a pair of articles on Celtics rookies this morning, taking a look at Tony Allen and a shorter look at Al Jefferson. Both youngsters will play in tonight’s rookie challenge. Over on ESPN.com. Springer’s Globe colleague Peter May continues his Borges-like agenda against Danny Ainge. He suggests that Ainge just may blow up the “underachieving” Celtics and trade both Payton and Pierce. He again brings up the trade with the Pistons last year which essentially won the title for Detroit, but did get the Celtics Tony Allen. He ignores that Ainge had a pretty terrific draft last year and that the trade for Ricky Davis perhaps wasn’t “the day the music died” after all. Is it a requirement at the Globe to have an agenda against the team you cover? (Borges/Patriots, Shaughnessy/Red Sox, May/Celtics, DuPoint/Bruins)

(non) Hockey Talk

Russ Conway looks at the “flat out disaster” the NHL has put itself into. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the league can be salvaged and fixed and offers a number of suggestions. Stephen Harris fingers Bob Goodenow as the bad guy in this saga. Jim McCabe talks to some ex-Bruins about the cancellation of the season.

Daytona 500

Michael Vega looks at Rusty Wallace’s last chance to win the Daytona 500. Vega also files a notebook on the event which will take place this weekend.

Media – Baker is on the case.

Jim Baker says that with football over and the NHL out of business for the time being, the NBA and NASCAR have the spotlight all to themselves. He has a number of items in this column, including the following reference to a possible WEEI challenger to which I alluded to yesterday:

Bob Neumeier

Bruschi in the Hospital

The scary story this morning is of course the condition of Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was rushed to the hospital yesterday suffering from severe headaches that left him with blurred vision and according to Steve Burton on WBZ last night, partial paralysis. There still isn’t a whole lot of information out there at the moment, Laura Crimaldi in the Herald has the most information of any of the stories, and also in the Herald, Kristen Munson reports the sobering news that strokes can happen at any age, and this could be what happened to Bruschi. With so little information available, it seems foolhardy to rush to any sort of medical conclusion. The only mention from the Globe is essentially a short AP re-hash from Nick Cafardo. Gerry Callahan castigated the Globe for not having the story on their front page today, yet the same story didn’t even lead their own 8:00 AM sports flash. Go figure. Kevin Mannix writes that Bruschi is the heart and soul of the Patriots and what happened to him last night should be certainly cause for concern among Patriots fans.

Cafardo does have a longer article on Drew Bledsoe, who will be released by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday. Bledsoe steadfastly contends that he will never be a backup. He also says he’ll be a Bills fan going forward. Michael Felger also has the story, noting that the Bills were forced to release Bledsoe because there was not enough interest on the trade market. We can all still remember Tom Donahoe gloating that he got Bledsoe from the Patriots for only a first round pick, and insinuated after the fact that he would’ve paid even more. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Bills really had no choice but to release Bledsoe, who would not serve as a backup. He goes on to state that Drew has always lacked “baraka” during his career. He describes that as an Arabian term meaning a “mixture of luck and predetermined destiny”. Tom E Curran has an article on the Patriots free agents and how the face of the team could change with any of them departing.

Celtics escape mauling

The Celtics survived a late run from the Grizzlies and won the game last night 90-88 on a 15 foot jumper from Ricky Davis with just under four seconds to go. Accounts of the game are provided by Peter May, Steve Bulpett and Carolyn Thornton. The win pushed the Celtics once again over the .500 mark and also puts them in first place in the Atlantic division for the All Star break. Frank Dell’Apa reports on the winning shot from Davis, while Mark Murphy has coach Doc Rivers looking at the play of rookie Tony Allen, who had 15 points, 7 rebounds, a couple steals…and a couple blown defensive assignments. All part of the package you get from a young developing player. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the return of Al Jefferson last night, as the rookie big man got in for three minutes after missing 10 games with a sprained ankle. Buddy Thomas decides to weigh in on the Celtics and he declares that they will not be major players at the trade deadline. May’s notebook and Thornton’s notebook each have Mike Fratello talking about his former player Doc Rivers and how he knew he was coaching material right from the start.

No NHL

The NHL closed up shop for the year yesterday, canceling the entire season. Bob Hohler reports on the unprecedented action of a sports league canceling an entire season. Stephen Harris blames the players for making a bad error in judgment during this process, a position that Kevin Paul Dupont also takes. Harris has Gary Bettman vowing that the league will return and be improved. John Altavilla also reports on the cancellation of the season. Douglas Flynn says there is no logic to this entire situation. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that the NHL has snubbed the most loyal fans in all of sports. Steve Conroy gets reaction from Bruins coach Mike Sullivan, while Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has reaction from other members of the Bruins organization. Conroy also got reaction from Harry Sinden. Fan reaction has been pretty harsh, as Zach Hosseini reports as well.

Sox/Roids

Keith Foulke wanted the ball too. Jeff Horrigan and David Heuschkel report that the Red Sox closer asked for the ball used for the final pitch in the 2004 World Series from former teammate Doug Mientkiewicz, and was rebuffed. Karen Guregian has Mike Greenwell claiming that the 1988 AL MVP award should be his. Greenwell was on Dennis & Callahan this morning and stated that he was aware that Jose Canseco was doing steroids during the time that they were teammates on the Red Sox. He says Canseco offered to help him get stronger, but Greenwell declined. (as also reported in the Guregian article) He also stated that he suspects Mark McGwire did use steroids as well, but doesn’t have proof. Guregian also says that baseball has a lot of sorting out to do when it comes to the record books and what has happened the last decade or so.

Chris Snow looks at an area in which the Red Sox appear to have upgraded themselves during the offseason – the bullpen. Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes about Randy Johnson, who was fired up on his first day in Yankee camp. Dom Amore also has a look at Johnson’s first day. Snow’s notebook has more on Foulke’s denied request for the ball, while Horrigan’s notebook says that the Red Sox are trying to plan their ring ceremony so as not to appear to be rubbing it in the faces of the Yankees.

So how many times will WEEI replay the Jose Canseco interview today? They’ve also made the claim several times (Glenn Ordway and Gerry Callahan have each said it) that besides 60 Minutes, they’ve had the only Canseco on air interview this week. Wrong. Canseco appeared on Fox Sports Radio’s “The Drive” with Chris Myers and Mark Gubicza on Monday afternoon as well as on Tuesday (before he went on WEEI) with Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy on the first day of broadcasting for XM Satellite Radio’s MLB Home Plate channel. (Press Release) The WEEI interview was played twice yesterday afternoon, and I wouldn’t put it past them to fill another hour of programming with it today. Kudos to Tony Massarotti who yesterday on the Big Show went after Ordway’s credibility in relation to the interview. (Because of Burton’s relationship with Canseco.) Tony Mazz is one of the few who will actually challenge the great and powerful Big O. Gerry Callahan also defended the interview and Burton this morning, and called anyone who claims to have turned off the interview a “jealous liar”.

Competition?

Another interesting note came in a veiled reference by Eddie Andelman yesterday that a Viacom owned station was considering going to an all sports format. Of course, anything said by Andelman needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but with the Red Sox radio rights coming up for bid, a station could make a big splash by stealing them away from WEEI. One Viacom station is WBCN, which owns the Patriots rights…could WBCN be planning on making a run at the Red Sox as well, and possibly converting to an FM all sports format? The idea is intriguing. A well run FM station that would have the rights to the two biggest sports teams in the area, would certainly be a big challenge to WEEI’s much ballyhooed ratings numbers. They could use the Globe staffers on the air, and hey, Bob Neumeier is available. Maybe Neumy knew something… In any case, this is pretty much all speculation at this point, and currently all signs point to WEEI retaining the broadcast rights to the Red Sox. It’s curious for Andelman to mention it at all given that his excitement over the idea shows his resignation that WWZN is never going to challenge in the ratings.

TNT has Cavs/T-Wolves at 8:00 and Mavs/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Duke/Virgina Tech at 9:00.