Celtics drop second straight

It’s a basketball and baseball morning with the links. The Celtics fall at home to the Bulls, while Curt Schilling makes his first Grapefruit League appearance for the Red Sox. A podcasting link also makes today’s posting.

A poor fourth quarter at the FleetCenter last night cost the Celtics. The home team was outscored 28-14 (<a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=250325002&quot; target=

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Brady and Bruschi News

A pretty light morning for links, I think I eventually found enough though. Tom Curran has some information on a couple pretty important Patriots. There are baseball articles, a few on the Celtics and some assorted other items.

Tom E Curran reports that a hangup on how the signing bonus is to be distributed is what is delaying the signing of Tom Brady’s new contract with the Patriots. He also reports that Tedy Bruschi has in fact had surgery to repair a hole in his heart. Speaking of Bruschi, I thought they were supposed to be nice out there in St. Louis. Jeff Gordon, an online columnist from that fine city made a pretty offensive comment yesterday in his “Gordo’s Tipsheet” described as “our daily look at who’s in and who’s out in the world of sports”. Under a section untitled “Mysteries of the Universe” he makes the following comment:

Shouldn

Fenway Saved!

For those of you who ended up on this page today looking for David Scott after his appearance on the O’Reilly Factor last night, you can read his work over on the BSMW Scott’s Shots page, and he has an update today, including from feedback from O’Reilly viewers. The column has been on fire recently and is a must read. He updates at all different times of day, so again the best option to get notified might be a RSS or XML subscription. Today on the main page, we’ve got the account of the Celtics getting whipped in New York, more on the Red Sox and Fenway, continuing articles on Tedy Bruschi, and we’re back into March Madness and the NCAA.

The Celtics laid an egg in Madison Square Garden last night, and Doc Rivers was not at all happy with it. Peter May looks at Rivers saying that his club acted like a low-class basketball team last night. Mark Murphy and Dan Hickling also have game stories from New York. Mike Fine looks at the development of Ricky Davis into a Sixth man of the year candidate. Murphy’s notebook has detailed accounts of the trash talking between the two clubs last night, with the Knicks obviously getting the better of the situation. Who says the Boston/New York rivalry has lost spirit? Hickling’s notebook also looks at the tempers flaring in the first half of the game. May’s notebook looks at how the “new” Celtics were completely out of sorts last night.

David Wells is your opening night starter for the Boston Red Sox. He is also the subject of a number of articles this morning, as the lefty was roughed up by the Orioles in a spring training start yesterday. He isn’t too worried about it though, and Tony Massarotti says that he fits right in with the Red Sox loose clubhouse. Dan Shaughnessy has Wells speaking about yesterday, opening night, and the pressures of playing for the Yankees and the Red Sox. David Borges looks at Wells being able to laugh off his performance yesterday, thanks to the ribbing from his teammates. Sean McAdam looks at Johnny Damon, who became in many ways the identity of the Red Sox “idiot” culture last season, and who may part ways with the Red Sox after the season as his contract will be up then, and there have been no talks on a new one. Jeff Horrigan looks at Keith Foulke, who is having a much better spring than he had last year in his first season with the Red Sox. Alex Speier has a look at Edgar Renteria, who he compares in many ways to Derek Jeter. Gordon Edes has a detailed piece on Mike Timlin, the anchor of the Red Sox bullpen. There is also a slide show with audio included with the article, which is interesting as well. Boston.com is trying out some neat things with multi-media content on their pages. Joe Haggerty catches up with David Ortiz and talks to the Red Sox slugger on a number of subjects. Bill Reynolds has a column on Barry Bonds.

The subject of the Red Sox staying in Fenway Park is still the subject of a number of articles today. Sasha Talcott has the story in the Globe of the Red Sox decision and their plans for the revamping of the park and surroundings. Art Martone looks at the decision to stay in Fenway and the vision for the future of the ballpark. Michael Silverman also looks at the decision and the many improvements that have been made in and around the ballpark. Joe McDonald and Tom Yantz also have articles on this subject. Mike Barnicle (subscription only) has a column today where he fears that the shortsightedness of critics could hinder an opportunity by the Red Sox to turn the Fenway neighborhood into a revitalized, vibrant community. Michael Gee (subscription only) compares the Red Sox to a good neighbor who is always working on improving his property, and thus the value of the neighborhood.

Chris Snow’s notebook has a progress report on Alan Embree, who will pitch in his first game in over a week today against Baltimore. Horrigan’s notebook has Wade Miller feeling good physically and excited mentally after having face live hitting yesterday. McAdam’s notebook has more on David Wells fitting in with his teammates. Borges’ notebook has some more on Wade Miller.

Kevin Mannix says the Patriots need to find an inside linebacker and takes a quick look at the remaining thin free agent class and the few prospects in the draft. Ron Borges talks to Romeo Crennel about the challenges he faces in rebuilding the Browns and bringing them to respectability. There seems to be a little confusion about what the Patriots were protesting at the NFL meetings when they tried to pass a motion limiting the powers of the competition committee. On Tuesday, Borges wrote a whole article saying that it was about the point of emphasis on illegal contact last season. It appears the actual reason for the Patriots motion had nothing to do with that rule but was regarding the “icing the kicker timeouts. John Clayton of ESPN.com notes this at the end of his report on the meetings.

The Patriots lost 28-4 on a proposal to prevent rule changes or interpretations by the league or the Competition Committee unless there is a formal vote by the owners. A lot of that was caused by Bill Belichick's protest of a rule adjustment by the league last season involving the stoppage of back-to-back timeouts to ice the kicker.

You may recall that the committee actually changed a rule in the middle of the season this year as a result of Mike Vrabel motioning for last second timeouts in both the Indianapolis and Arizona games early this past season. Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots bringing Don Davis back into the fold. Tedy Bruschi is still a hot topic, as Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente report on the linebacker possibly sitting out this season and of his hiring Brad Blank as his agent. Eric McHugh also reports on Bruschi and addresses the rumors that the Patriots have an offer on the table to Ty Law. Mannix has a short second piece on what Blank’s role with Bruschi might be.

Mark Blaudschun and Rich Thompson both report on UMass’ expected decision to name Travis Ford as head coach. Bob Ryan looks at why University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl is public enemy number one in the eyes of Illinois fans. The Globe has many more articles on the NCAA tournament games as editor Joe Sullivan has made a commitment to bringing full coverage of this event, which is a passion with him. The offerings are impressive.

Top Five Links from Yesterday
1) Jonathan Comey (Five questions around the Patriots)
2) Ron Borges (Bill Belichick at NFL coaches breakfast)
3) Kevin Mannix (Patriots need Pioli’s best)
4) Ron Borges (NFL Notebook)
5) Steve Bulpett (Struggles of Jim O’Brien and the 76ers)

CBS has NCAA Tournament action starting at 7:00.

Bruschi, Blank & Borges

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.

Schill on the Hill

The Ace of the Red Sox pitching staff took to the hill yesterday, The Patriots season opener is announced, and comments by Ted Sarandis on Tedy Bruschi are examined. The Celtics have another night off before going for their eighth win in a row tomorrow night. Also, today is the last day of public voting for the 2005 BSMW Awards, make sure you get your vote in.

Curt Schilling took to the mound and threw against live competition for the first time since last fall yesterday, and came away pleased with the results. As with anything Schilling does, a crowd of media was there to witness his performance. Dan Shaughnessy has the account of Schilling’s work in the intersquad minor league game. Howard Bryant also has coverage of the outing, a session that Schilling came away from saying that he “felt very good”. Sean McAdam, David Heuschkel and David Borges all also report on Schilling, Heuschkel’s piece has Schilling saying he’s done talking about steroids, even stealing a phrase from Mark McGwire in declaring that he’s not going to talk about the past. Borges’ article tells us that Schilling’s ankle tendon split six inches during game six of the ALCS. Chris Snow and Jeff Horrigan have stories about the Red Sox facing former teammate Derek Lowe for the first time, and Lowe is still wistful about how his time in Boston came to an end. Horrigan’s notebook has Terry Francona not condoning the comments made by Doug Mirabelli regarding Byung-Hyun Kim. Snow’s notebook has a look at Red Sox prospect Dustin Pedroia.

Kevin Mannix looks at the Patriots hosting the Raiders to open the season, and also looks at the compensatory picks the Patriots will receive in next month’s draft. Bill Griffith has a quick report on the opener as well. Ron Borges reports from the NFL meetings in Hawaii, where the Patriots were hoping to get a proposal passed to limit the power of the competition committee. David Scott reports on a disturbing segment of the Ted Sarandis show on WEEI last night, where Sarandis seemed to insinuate that he felt that it was least a possibility that Tedy Bruschi’s stroke could’ve been a result of some sort of drug use. He based his claims on wording in Kevin Mannix’s column from Sunday. Sarandis was immediately besieged with angry calls and backed off the statement. What gets me about this is that Sarandis had no problem making this insinuation, when last month, when the Ken Powers story broke, Sarandis urged everyone not to rush to judgment, tried to make excuses for Powers, despite overwhelming evidence of what had taken place. He was in fact, very defensive and harsh against anyone who even brought up the Powers situation.

Overall though, I have to commend the sports media of Boston for how they’ve handled the Bruschi situation. The sports media has for the most part been understanding and respectful of the privacy of the Bruschi family. They’ve expressed their desire to know more about the situation, but they have not taken the step of invading the family’s privacy. This contrasts with the paparazzi-like coverage engaged in by WHDH TV Channel 7. By staking out the Bruschi home and keeping cameras there for any movement in the house, they’ve clearly crossed a line. Greg Dickerson and Mike Adams had a good conversation on this topic this morning while filling in for Dennis & Callahan. Dickerson observed that it could be a factor that the sports media knows Bruschi and likes him, and would want to respect his privacy, while the news media doesn’t have that relationship, and just coldly looks at it as a story. It doesn’t excuse their behavior though, and Dickerson was emphatic in pointing out that he wasn’t condoning the coverage.

Steve Bulpett looks at how Antoine Walker is enjoying his second tour with the Boston Celtics. Shira Springer looks at the deep and improved Celtics bench, which is now a strength of the club. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Gary Payton sitting out practice yesterday with a sore back, he also has Doc Rivers speaking on the firing of Paul Silas in Cleveland. Springer’s notebook has more on Payton.

Bob Ryan takes a look at the NCAA tournament to this point. Matt Eagan looks at what the future holds for the UConn mens basketball squad after the disappointing end to their season. Rich Thompson looks at the future of Taylor Coppenrath, who hopes to play in the NBA. His coach, Tom Brennan feels that Coppenrath was “born to be a Celtic”. Brendan McGair looks at the future of Coppenrath’s teammate, T.J. Sorrentine. Mark Blaudschun and Ron Chimelis look at the coaching candidates for UMass.

Frank Dell’Apa has an interesting feature on Soccer legend Alberto Spencer Herrera, who in his day was a rival to Pele.

Speaking of soccer, John Molori’s Media Blitz leads off with a look at 10 years of Revolution soccer in Foxboro. He then goes on to criticize Glenn Ordway and the Big Show for homophobic behavior during the “Queer eye” maelstrom last week. Molori is a bit misdirected in this piece, I believe, as the statements and behavior of the Dennis & Callahan show last week were much more inflammatory then anything that appeared on the Big Show.

Top 5 Links from Yesterday

1) David Heuschkel (Theo Epstein’s trade of Dave Roberts)
2) Jeff Horrigan (Doug Mirabelli’s comments about Byung-Hyun Kim)
3) Nick Cafardo (NFL Sunday notes)
4) Sean McAdam (more on Kim)
5) Alex Speier (Hanley Ramirez story)

NESN has Red Sox/Reds at 6:00. TNT has Cavs/Pistons at 7:00 and Heat/Rockets at 9:30. ESPN has an NIT doubleheader at 7:00 and ESPN2 has the NCAA Women’s Tournament at 7:00.

More Locals Exit

The NCAA field is down to 16, the Red Sox and Byung-Hyun Kim are having some issues, the Celtics just continue to roll on, and we’re recapping a few items from the weekend. Also, today and tomorrow are the last days that the voting for the 2005 BSMW Awards will be open. Make sure to get your vote heard.

Two more New England teams met their end in the NCAA tournament yesterday, as Vermont and Connecticut both fell in the second round. Bob Hohler, Rich Thompson, Kevin McNamara and Tom Yantz all have coverage of Vermont falling to Michigan State yesterday 72-61. Bill Reynolds looks at the end of the college career of Vermont guard (and R.I. native) T.J. Sorrentine. Lenny Megliola looks at the glass slipper falling off the Catamounts. Jackie MacMullan says that even though Vermont’s run is over, the players will have the memories to last a lifetime. Dave Doyle looks at Michigan State feeling good about moving on to the round of 16.

Matt Eagan, Dan Ventura and Jerome Solomon have the story of UConn losing to North Carolina State yesterday. Jim Donaldson says Jim Calhoun is making excuses for his team’s poor showing. Jeff Jacobs looks at UConn’s excuse that they were running on fumes at this point. Paul Harbor also says that a rough season eventually took its toll on UConn. The Globe also has a notebook for items around the teams competing in Worcester. Mark Blaudschun looks at the rash of upsets over the weekend. Michael Vega and Mike Shalin each have looks at Boston College looking to the future, a future the coaching staff believes is bright and exciting with their move to the ACC.

Byung-Hyun Kim is the topic in the Red Sox stories this morning. Sean McAdam says that Kim’s stuff is better this spring, but his attitude might not be. Jeff Horrigan has Doug Mirabelli taking some shots at Kim. Gordon Edes says that because of his salary, Kim will likely be with the Red Sox to start the season. This story also has a scout saying that Kim’s stuff is still nowhere near what it was in Arizona. David Heuschkel has a good story on what could be a steal of a deal for Theo Epstein…the Dave Roberts to the Padres trade. The players the Red Sox received back could prove to be key contributors this year. Alex Speier has a piece on phenom Hanley Ramirez, who keeps impressing people and players at the big league level. David Borges has a piece on former Sox prospect Freddy Sanchez, who is starting to feel comfortable with the Pirates. Horrigan’s notebook looks at a rough outing for John Halama yesterday. McAdam’s notebook says that Adam Hyzdu still has a chance to make the Red Sox as a fifth outfielder. Borges’ notebook has more on Kim.

The Celtics have won 11 out of their last 12 games, and are still pretty much flying under the local sports media radar. Shira Springer says that the green are concerned right now with keeping their focus down the stretch. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics have a postseason checklist that they’re working on. Michael Muldoon looks at the job done by Doc Rivers this season. Rob Bradford says that since the return of Antoine, the Celtics have again captured the attention of fans and media.

A few stories left over from yesterday. Nick Cafardo’s NFL notes has a look at linebackers available in the draft and a number of Patriots items, including a section where he attempts to give credence to colleague Ron Borges’ claim last week on WWZN that Charlie Weis was fired by Bill Belichick last spring, but was forced to take him back by the Kraft family. Kevin Mannix and Bill Griffith each took a look at the media scrutiny around Tedy Bruschi as the press and fans try to get an idea of the future for the Patriots linebacker. Channel 7 has been under fire, deservedly so, for their paparazzi-like coverage, staking out Bruschi’s home, trying to get a glimpse of him. Tom E Curran takes a look at the NFL labor situation.

Russ Conway says that for the NHL to move forward, Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow need to be replaced.

If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to go to the WFAN home page and click on the first link in the Mike and Mad Dog section for the interview Friday with Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut. Contrast that to what you heard with Shays on WEEI.

Speaking of WEEI, the link is not on their website yet, but their streaming is up and running in what must be a “beta” phase since last week. The link is mms://wmc1.liquidviewer.net/WEEI It should play for you in Windows Media Player.

The Womens NCAA Tournament and Men’s NIT make up the night’s programming on ESPN and ESPN2 tonight.

Eagles Erased

(Links by Jeff@Bostonsportsmedia.com)

After defeating West Virginia on Feb. 1, BC was sitting at 19-0. On the other hand, the Mountaineers had lost seven of eight and were considered a NIT team at best. Four days later, the Eagles rolled past Seton Hall and became the first Big East team to ever start a season 20-0.

What happened?

While West Virginia bounced Wake Forest last night and advanced to the Sweet 16, Boston College was soundly defeated by Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 83-75, and ended its season of expectations with a mundane 5-5 record down the stretch.

In the end, Teddy’s boys were nothing more than a fluke.

The Globe’s Michael Vega leads off our game stories from Cleveland. Just one quick word here for Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl:

At no time, not even for a millisecond, were the Eagles the best team in the country this year. His quote in Vega’s story is not only absurd but borders on insane.

Moving on, other game stories were filed by the Herald’s Mike Shalin and for another perspective, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Manoyan.

Vega talks to Craig Smith in his notebook, while Shalin’s notebook has Smith saying he expects to return for his senior campaign.

And to wrap up the BC coverage this season, alum Bob Ryan states the Eagles had to win yesterday’s game to validate their season. As usual, Ryan couldn’t be more on target.

Elsewhere in the college hoops world, Jackie MacMullan writes about Vermont’s Germain Mopa Njila. She doesn’t explain why his name sounds like a new Starbucks offering, but a good read nonetheless.

And the Courant’s Matt Eagan previews UConn-North Carolina State.

Celtics Cruise

The magical carpet ride continued for the Celtics last night in New Orleans. While it appeared a classic letdown game, after the Houston win a night earlier, either Boston playing that well right now or the Hornets just stink. Having seen them in person two weeks ago in Dallas, we can vouch for the fact that New Orleans is horrid. Maybe one of the 10 worst NBA teams in the last 20 years. However, take nothing away from the Celtics who are playing their best ball since the 2002 playoffs.

Game stories are in the offering from the Globe’s Shira Springer and the Herald’s Steve Bulpett.

Each also have notebooks, with Springer writing about Delonte West and Bulpett chatting with Hornets coach Byron Scott.

Peter May wraps up the NBA coverage this morning with his Sunday notes package.

Wells Named Opener Starter

Gordon Edes, Jeff Horrigan, and Sean McAdam report on Wells being named Opening Day starting pitcher.

In other Sox news, Curt Schilling talked about his visit to Congress, with Dan Shaughnessy, McAdam on double duty and David Borges each reporting.

This and That

Make sure to read some of Dave Scott’s blog from the last three days of the NCAA tournament. There was some really good stuff in there and the effort was just beyond comprehension. Compared to Bill Simmons’ half-hearted “live” blog on Thursday and Friday, it was like comparing a tuxedo to a pair of those white athletic socks with the colored strips.