A number of Patriots articles this morning, as well as the news of the Red Sox deciding to call Fenway Park home for a long time to come. Barry Bond has a public meltdown, and the Celtics get back in action tonight in New York.
After representing himself for the last few years, Tedy Bruschi has hired agent Brad Blank. Ron Borges has the story, which should really come as no surprise, since Blank as been Borges’ agent in the past, and I assume that he still serves in that capacity. Borges speculates that Bruschi might sit out the upcoming season in order to make sure of his health situation. It could be that since Blank represents many media types in town, Bruschi could be looking for some advice in that area. Tom E Curran also has the story, however his is pretty much the same as Borges’ story, and in fact, a note at the bottom of the story says that “The Boston Globe contributed to this report.” Probably a way of Blank protecting his client, Borges, and making sure he gets the credits on this story. I say that because Mike Reiss has a note on the story, and in his account, Blank “refused comment when contacted”. If writers raise questions about Bill Belichick and Adam Vinatieri sharing the same agent…isn’t it fair to raise questions when writers share the same agent with players?
Borges has a second piece this morning, one that has Bill Belichick speaking about the release of Troy Brown, (“I love Troy Brown” the coach says.) who still could be back with the team later this summer. Belichick also talks about the coaching staff, and that they’re dividing the duties on offense and it’s not a given that he himself will be in charge of that side of the ball. Kevin Mannix reports on Scott Pioli winning the the George Young NFL Executive of the Year for the second year in a row. Mannix, quick to point out how Pioli can do better, says that the Patriots vice president of player personnel has some work to do.
They've always been deliberate and very selective in free agency, but this year they've stayed on the sidelines while other teams made moves and signed players. Championships are won in the fall and winter. Teams that win championships are built in the spring - through free agency and the draft.
I’m sure Pioli will take that reminder to heart, Kevin. Mannix also declares the 2004 draft a bust. Curran’s notebook also looks at Pioli receiving the award and looks at a number of other Patriots items, including the rumor that Ty Law has an offer to return to the Patriots. Curran’s line here regarding Law’s agent is good: “Perhaps Poston misunderstood.” Borges also mentions this rumor in an NFL Notebook he publishes from the NFL Meetings. Jonathan Comey looks at five questions around the Patriots at this time, and suggests that Ted Sarandis should be banned from the airwaves.
A major topic yesterday was the Red Sox commitment to stay at Fenway for the foreseeable future. Sean McAdam says that many of the players are happy with this decision. Jeff Horrigan also gets player reaction. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the decision, and makes reference to the “bag-job sale” of the Sox to the current ownership group, saying that when they took over, we couldn’t have imagined that we’d be here today knowing that Fenway would be around for a long time. This is a hit to Dan, who had mocked the “Save Fenway” crowd in the past. Paul Doyle also looks at the decision to stay in Fenway. Not everyone is happy with this decision. Eddie Andelman spent most of his WWZN show yesterday railing against the ownership and their decision to stay at Fenway. When a caller pointed out that Eddie would have been part of a rival group that wanted to own the team and that his bitterness could stem from that, Eddie acknowledged that he would’ve been involved, and that they would’ve built a new park. He then hung up on the caller. He made some strong statements about the situation, including a rant about the bathrooms, and how people just accept what they’re given by the ownership. He said:
People are starting to be like sheep. They’re starting to listen to how…this is how Jim Jones got people to commit suicide, this is how Hitler got people to do things, they have great public relations, they make speeches, but they’re empty speeches…clean up the bathrooms! You know something…I want Larry the Lobster to go to the bathroom there in the 7th inning. I want him to have two boiled cabbages and go down there. (Other voice: “I have a feeling he doesn’t need use those bathrooms”, then back to Eddie) Yeah, and then he tries to pass himself off as an owner…that fraud.
I’m not sure if comparing the owners of the Red Sox to Jim Jones and Adolph Hitler is exactly PC, but probably not enough people heard it to make it a public outrage. Just so there is no confusion, that is a word-for-word transcript. Speaking of ballparks, Kevin Gray has a look at the new home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the new stadium in Manchester, appropriately called Fisher Cats Ballpark. It looks like its going to be a great place to watch a game. The other story of yesterday was Barry Bonds. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti report on Bonds announcing he’ll be out until at least midseason, and perhaps he won’t ever come back. He blames the media for wearing him down. John Tomase says that winning it all has made the Red Sox very boring to cover this spring. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that the Red Sox should get a honeymoon season after ending the 86-year drought, but it isn’t likely to happen. David Heuschkel and David Borges look at Johnny Damon returning to the lineup…clean shaven. Horrigan’s notebook has Curt Schilling looking to push up his return date…not to opening day though. McAdam’s notebook has more on Damon. Heuschkel’s notebook and Chris Snow’s notebook looks at the improvement in the health of pitcher Wade Miller. Borges’ notebook has more on Schilling.
Peter May wonders if Antoine Walker can finish in the top five in the voting for NBA MVP. Gabe Kahn feels that Celtics fans need to get a grip. This team isn’t winning the NBA title or even the Eastern Conference. He acknowledges they have become one of the top teams, but they’re not better than Miami. Steve Bulpett has a few Celtics players commenting on the struggles of Jim O’Brien and the Philadelphia 76ers. May’s notebook says that Gary Payton should be good to go for tonight. Bulpett’s notebook raises the real possibility of the Celtics introducing an “alternative” jersey for next season, which would include some black and a “more updated look.”
Top Five Links from Yesterday
1) Kevin Mannix (Patriots opener)
2) David Heuschkel (Theo Epstein’s trade of Dave Roberts)
3) Jeff Horrigan’s notebook (Francona not condoning Kim bashing)
4) Ron Borges (Patriots can chuck this hope)
5) Jeff Horrigan (Mirabelli’s comments on Kim)
FSN has Celtics/Knicks at 7:30. ESPN has Pistons/76ers at 8:00 and Mavericks/Warriors at 10:30. ESPN2 has NIT coverage.