Crazy Night at Fenway

So I didn’t get to see the early parts of the Red Sox last night. I kept up with the score, but I was at a meeting and didn’t get home until 9:30 or so. I saw the incident with the fan and Gary Sheffield. My immediate reactions were: 1) The guy wasn’t trying to go for the ball, so what was he doing? Trying to knock his hat off? Nothing good, in any event. 2) Sheffield’s reaction seemed way over the top. 3) The media loves this stuff, even as they decry it. Finally the game resumed to its thrilling finish.

I wanted to see highlights of the game from the time I had missed. I wanted to see Renteria and Varitek hit their home runs off of Randy Johnson. I wanted to see some of the bad umpiring that led to Ron Jackson and Terry Francona getting tossed. There was a lot of action in this game.

But as you would imagine it was completely overshadowed by the incident with Sheffield and the fan. ESPN, ESPNEWS both went into full coverage of this one incident, teasing upcoming segments with phrases like “Stay tuned for coverage of this breaking story from Fenway Park” and Sheffield and fan “exchanged swings” and Sheffield getting into a “scuffle” with a fan. Given the recent events such as the Pistons/Pacers brawl in the stands, and other fan/player run-ins it’s understandable that this event was somewhat noteworthy. But this was “Airliner crashes, killing all 185 on board” type coverage.

I immediately knew what topic would dominate WEEI today, and likely for the next week.

It’s interesting to me that all media types immediately take the side of the player. Let’s be clear here – I am not excusing the actions of a knucklehead fan who chooses to insert himself into the action of a game – but would this have been even noticed if Sheffield doesn’t react in the manner in which he did? He went twice. I would venture to guess that players get brushed by fans quite often as they’re chasing balls in the stands. Do they come up swinging and confrontational? Sheffield claims that he thought his lip was split. Obviously I can’t make a judgment on that. And the flying beer…tossed or spilled?

The media types lauded Sheffield for showing “restraint”. Huh? If he showed restraint, none of this would even be talked about. Perhaps he really did feel threatened and reacted to that threat. I could understand that. It just seemed like an over-reaction to me. I could be very wrong. In any event, my problem is more with the over the top coverage from the media than Sheffield’s reaction.

Anyway. David Scott also has thoughts on the media coverage from last night.

I’m running way behind this morning, so I don’t have the usual links. I hope to have some more stuff later today, some links, perhaps some transcripts from the radio talk of this incident…I need to check a few things out.


Peter Gammons/LA Times mixup

A few people have emailed about an issue on the ESPN website regarding Peter Gammons. The blog Dodger Thoughts had a post today where they pointed out the similarities between an article in the Los Angeles Times, and a bit in the sidebar of an ESPN column by Gammons. At first glance, it might’ve looked suspicious and with the Ken Powers scandal still fresh in everyone’s mind and the Mitch Albom story from last week still under investigation, people might’ve been quick to jump to conclusions, even with Gammons impeccable credentials. ESPN and Gammons acted quickly in the matter, with the sidebar piece being removed, and Gammons issued a statement explaining what happened in the situation, and apologizing for not crediting the Times in the original piece. It appears very clear that this was just a editing mistake and Gammons should be applauded for his quick action and accountability in this matter. I don’t think the apology was necessary, but it was a class move.

Schilling Struggles, Celtics Clinch

A busy morning for links, we’ve got Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots. The Red Sox and Curt Schilling had a frustrating night against the Yankees last night, while the Celtics clinched a spot in the postseason and the Patriots visited George W Bush in the White House. (again)

It wasn’t quite the debut that Curt Schilling likely had in mind last night at Fenway as the Red Sox righthander gave up five runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and was the losing the pitcher in the 5-2 setback to the Yankees. Chris Snow looks at a high pitch count and a couple of home runs from the bottom of the order that did in Schilling. Jeff Horrigan says that Schilling could find nothing positive to take from this outing. Steven Krasner says the Boston offense was not able to get clicking against Jaret Wright and pick up Schilling. David Heuschkel says it was a matter of one team being able to capitalize on the other pitcher’s mistakes. David Borges wonders if Schilling’s struggles against the Indianapolis Indians should’ve told us he wasn’t ready to face the Yankees.

Dan Shaughnessy says that the Yankees eventually wore him down, but that it was an encouraging first start for Schilling. Tony Massarotti says the Yankees did to Schilling what they used to do to Pedro Martinez. Sean McAdam looks at Schilling giving himself a failing grade for last night. Dom Amore notes that it was the bottom third of the order for the Yankees that did the most damage against the Sox ace. Lenny Megliola says that Schilling makes no excuses and was thoroughly disgusted with his performance from last night. Alex Speier says that Schilling showed flashes of brilliance, but also showed his pitching mortality last night. Jon Couture writes that it was a decent outing for the Red Sox ace, but that his offense did nothing to pick him up. Jeff Jacobs says that the whole night was very “Petey-esque”

An emailer to BSMW earlier this week had a simple question about the opening day ceremonies: “WHERE WAS THEO????” I replied to him that the Red Sox GM was already completely focused on 2005. Jackie MacMullan has an article today on Epstein, how he values his privacy, and how a chat with Bill Belichick was just one thing that pushed him to turn the page on 2004 as quickly as possible. Michael Silverman looks at the Red Sox failure to get to Jaret Wright. Gordon Edes, Michael O’Connor and Jeff Goldberg all look at Mariano Rivera getting back on track and getting the easy save against the Red Sox last night. Jack Thomas looks at former Red Sox infielder Ted Lepcio, now just a big fan of the team.

Edes looks at the lack of head games going on last night, as there were no beanballs, as was anticipated. Silverman looks at Randy Johnson’s history at Fenway Park, where he hasn’t pitched all that much during his career. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that Johnson is one of the few remaining of a dying breed, the intimidating fireballer. Jon Baker looks at tomorrow’s opening night of the Pawtucket Red Sox and some of the events that have happened to the top minor league club over the years. Nick Cafardo looks at Joe Torre tweaking his lineup a bit last night, and he also has a piece on Jason Giambi going 2-4 with a two run homer off of Schilling. Michael Gee (Subscription only) also has a look at Giambi stepping up amid all the catcalls and distractions. O’Connor notes that Johnny Damon’s wild offseason and spring hasn’t affected his play thus far. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that Bronson Arroyo is the one who should go to the bullpen when the Red Sox starting staff is full assembled.

Borges’ notebook looks at Kevin Youkilis being sent to Pawtucket to make room for Schilling. Krasner’s notebook also looks at Youkilis’ demotion. It’s also the lead for Horrigan’s notebook, as well as Heuschkel’s notebook and Snow’s notebook. On the Yankee side, Amore’s notebook looks at Jaret Wright getting out of early trouble.

Celtics in the Postseason

The Celtics clinched a playoff berth last night and took a step closer to their first division title since the waning days of the Larry Bird era with a 111-108 win in Milwaukee last night. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy look at the green punching their postseason ticket. Springer’s notebook has Antoine Walker still feeling the effects of a knee bruise, but pushing through the pain. Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers quoting Herman Edwards about getting the letter next to their place in the standings.

Patriots visit White House, get 2005 schedule

David Lightman, Jerome Solomon and Andrew Miga all report on the Patriots making their third trip to the White House in four years as Super Bowl Champions. Michael Felger makes a quick analysis of the 2005 schedule which was released yesterday. Jonathan Comey feels that the schedule adds up to 12-4 for the Patriots. Tom E Curran also looks at the highlights of the schedule. Mike Reiss says that the Patriots could be looking at another LSU product in cornerback Corey Webster. Solomon also got Tom Brady to make a few comments about his contract, which doesn’t appear to be close to being finalized anytime soon. He also gets a few words from Brady on the schedule, and we could’ve guessed Bill Belichick’s analysis of it: “It is what it is.”

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally) TNT has Heat/Sixers at 8:00 and Mavs/Blazers at 10:30.

04.13.05 Afternoon

The NFL Schedules are released today. Leaks are coming out here and there. Here’s one “unofficial” version of the Patriots 2005 Schedule:

(Dale & Holley read this one on the air off the messageboard)
Note: This schedule is now OFFICIAL.

Thu 9/8 9:00 OAKLAND
Sun 9/18 1:00 at Carolina
Sun 9/25 4:15 at Pittsburgh
Sun 10/2 1:00 SAN DIEGO
Sun 10/9 1:00 at Atlanta
Sun 10/16 4:15 at Denver
Sun 10/23 Bye
Sun 10/30 8:30 BUFFALO
Mon 11/7 9:00 INDIANAPOLIS
Sun 11/13 1:00 at Miami
Sun 11/20 1:00 NEW ORLEANS
Sun 11/27 1:00 at Kansas City
Sun 12/4 4:15 NY JETS
Sun 12/11 1:00 at Buffalo
Sat 12/17 1:30 TAMPA BAY
Mon 12/26 9:00 at NY Jets
Sun 1/1 1:00 MIAMI

We’ll confirm if this is the real schedule when they are released at 2:00. (yes, it is the real schedule. Dale & Holley confirmed it at 1:50)

David Scott has the identity of the columnist mentioned in the Slate Magazine article yesterday…and it wasn’t Shaughnessy. The BSMW Full Court Press has a look at the Celtics win in Philly last night.

Mike Fine and Ken Lechtanski look at Curt Schilling as he prepares to make his first start of 2005. Mark Farinella feels that the Red Sox celebration was a little over the top, especially when compared to the Patriots celebrations. Apples and Oranges.

Hector Longo looks at Corey Dillon’s new deal, and also has some advice for Tom Brady.

Hangin’ Tough

The Celtics had the spotlight to themselves last night, and they responded after surviving a few early haymakers from the Sixers. Curt Schilling returns to the Red Sox tonight against the Yankees, and we have a number of Patriots articles from this morning as well.

The Celtics hung in tough, surviving a number of first half runs by the 76ers to come back and win down in Philadelphia, 105-98 to extend their Atlantic Division lead to three with five games to play. The key to the game for the Celtics was taking the ball to the hoop, as they got to foul line 49 times…making 40 foul shots. Amazing numbers. Even Tommy Heinsohn couldn’t say too much after the game, though he did comment that Antoine Walker wasn’t getting some calls. Gotta love Tommy. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy look at the biggest win of the season for the C’s, who have a bit of breathing room now in the division. Al Jefferson had some important buckets in the game for the Celtics, finishing with 13 points, Springer’s notebook looks at the contributions of the rookie forward, and also at another hand injury for Delonte West. Murphy’s notebook looks at the free throw discrepancy, as the Celtics went to the line 19 times more than the Sixers did. As you might imagine this didn’t sit well with Philly.

Curt Schilling makes his 2005 Red Sox debut tonight against the Yankees. He of course is the subject of all the lead baseball articles this morning. Gordon Edes writes that it is fitting that Schilling makes his return against ARod and the Yankees. Jeff Horrigan says that Schilling is “very nervous” but ready for tonight. Joe McDonald writes that with Schilling back, everything is in place now for the Red Sox. David Heuschkel notes that this season will be the first for Schilling in five years in which he won’t have a future Hall of Famer next to him in the rotation. David Borges says Schilling has no limitations due to injury tonight, and only hopes to win the game. Karen Guregian says that Schilling is aiming to silence anyone who thinks he is rushing back to the big club too soon. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes that with Schilling back healthy and on the mound, and all the hoopla from the rings and season openers, the season actually begins tonight. He says it is time to “turn the page” and focus on 2005. He says the Red Sox should follow Manny’s example in that regard. He had been waived in the fall of 2003, no one claimed him. He could’ve sulked. He instead showed up with a good attitude and said it was time to “turn the page”.

The next page for Manny was a league-leading 43 homers, 130 RBI and a World Series MVP award. He stood in stark contrast to those who refused to turn the page - namely Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, who carried their petty grudges right out of town. Now Francona and Co. have a job to do: Get them all to turn the page as effectively as Manny did. The Sox won last year because the idiots outnumbered the egomaniacs and because they refused to let the weight of history wear them down. They just played.

Elsewhere, Jim Donaldson says it wasn’t just classy for Joe Torre to have his Yankees sit and watch the ceremonies on Monday, it was also a great motivational tool. Stephen Harris reports on fans who showed up at Fenway yesterday to view the World Series Trophy and Rings. Joe Haggerty takes another look back at the Fenway love-in. Sasha Talcott looks at Theo Epstein as a advertising star. David Borges has at former Sox farmhands Rose and Pavano and the divergent paths each has taken. Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a Boston Uncommon column today in which he looks at Bud Selig’s comments on parity in MLB. He also however has a section on the Celtics, how Danny Ainge is rebuilding them, and that it would be great for Boston to have a solid late spring NBA club. Edes’ notebook observes that after all these early season off days, the club will have only one day off in the next 29. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the new playing surface at Fenway, and who will be sent down to make room for Schilling.

Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots plans to meet with free agent middle linebacker Chris Draft. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots extensive draft preparations. Brian Fleming has a piece on Rodney Harrison’s training to become an NFL official after his playing days. Tom E Curran has a Patriots notebook looking at the team’s White House appearance today and the NFL schedule being released. Jerome Solomon and Nick Cafardo also cover these topics in the Globe. Felger’s notebook says that Tedy Bruschi will be joining the team at the White House. If you go to, you can see a brief video interview with Bruschi from Fenway park on Monday.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN2 Nationally) FSN has Celtics/Bucks at 8:00. ESPN has Bulls/Wizards at 8:00 and Mavericks/SuperSonics at 10:00. ESPN2 has Dodgers/Giants at 10:00.

04.12.05 Afternoon

Some more links and observations from yesterday.

David Scott chronicles the events from the ceremonies as well as some of the media coverage in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots.

Mike Fine says that yesterday was landmark day in Red Sox history, but it is time for the team to move on and focus on this year. Bob Stern looks at the party thrown at Fenway yesterday. Rob Bradford says that Johnny Pesky couldn’t hide his emotions during the afternoon. Ray Duckler writes about a Fenway afternoon none of us have ever seen before. Ken Lechtanski looks at the Red Sox capping the terrific afternoon with a convincing win. He also takes a look at an afternoon to remember at Fenway. Fine takes a look at Tim Wakefield’s strong outing. Chaz Scoggins looks at the Lowell Spinners connections in the ceremony. He also writes that from now on, it’s all about 2005 going forward. Eric McHugh says that the Red Sox didn’t leave too many people out this one. McHugh also looks at the ex-Sox who showed up and enjoyed themselves. He has a third article on how Red Sox/Yankees has been turned upside down. Fine also takes a look at Francona’s health, and what his doctors have recommended.

Both Dale Arnold and Glenn Ordway today gave some veiled (and not so veiled) criticism to their station management for how the time during the time that the on-field ceremonies were taking place. While Ordway was on during the first 20 minutes or so between 2:00 and 2:20 and did provide some descriptions of what was taking place on the field, after that point, the station went to the regular pre-game show, which didn’t provide any detail of what was going on down on the field. The station dropped the ball here. It could’ve been much better. I have to agree again with the assessment of how bad the Terry Cashman song was and the timing of it. Ordway and Michael Felger are tearing it apart on the Big Show this afternoon, while Steve Burton insists that he loved it. It’s being joked on the program that Cashman must be a guest on Sports Final this week. I wouldn’t be surprised. They also played a number of his “other songs” from over the years which show that the guy basically does the same song over and over, in different cities, and different names. They played a Celtics one he did while mis-pronouncing Heinsohn.

Glen Farley and Michael Parente take a look at Corey Dillon’s new contract.

Field of Dreams

It was a perfect day at Fenway Park…perhaps THE most perfect day the old ball yard has ever seen. A sunny, albeit a bit chilly, day, the home opener of the World Champions, the raising of the banner, awarding of the rings, Red Sox and Boston sports legends past and present in attendance, and an 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees to boot. I don’t think anyone could’ve asked for anything more.

Kevin Paul Dupont has a good account and recap of the afternoon’s festivities. Jackie MacMullan says that years from now, everyone will say they were there yesterday, among other things, she is reminded of a Schaefer Stadium stadium concert from 1976 which featured three bands that would go on to be legends. I’m in 100% agreement with Sean McAdam that the only misstep in an otherwise perfect afternoon was the singing of Terry Cashman and his many references to curses and the Babe. Lenny Megliola says that both teams showed class to each other yesterday and has some other observations from the day. Mike Barnicle (subscription only) says that April didn’t live up to it’s reputation as the cruelest month yesterday, as Boston had it’s own Hall of Heroes on display.

Dan Shaughnessy also has an account of the day.Scott MacKay chronicles the ceremonies in the ProJo. Jeff Goldberg looks at the day for the Courant, focusing on the role of Johnny Pesky in the day’s events. Kevin Gray says life was never better an Fenway than it was yesterday. Even Jim Donaldson is cheery today, and says it couldn’t have been any better. Kevin Thomas says this was not just another opening day at Fenway, this was history. Ron Chimelis says the memories from yesterday will carry on for a long time.

Joanna Weiss and Mac Daniel get fan reaction from throughout the city of Boston. Thomas Caywood gets more fan reaction as does Sean L. McCarthy. There were plenty of celebrities and “names” in attendance. Carol Beggy and Mark Shanahan run them down for us.

Several ex-Red Sox made the trip to be here for the special event. Tony Massarotti looks at the welcome given to Derek Lowe. Paul Harber says it was a trip down memory lane for Lowe. Rich Thompson looks at Dave Roberts and Ellis Burks, both of whom were also in attendance. Sean McAdam also looks at the players who went to great lengths to ensure they were here. Garry Brown looks at the old Sox in attendance. Goldberg says that Lowe’s ring was heavy, but so was his heart at times yesterday. Steve Solloway has one more piece on Lowe. John Altavilla talked to Pedro Martinez and Doug Mientkiewicz about the Red Sox opening day.

Joe McDonald looks at the Yankees being respectful and showing class during the ceremonies by watching intently. Mark Blaudschun says it was a new perspective for the Yankees. Jeff Horrigan’s notebook also looks at the Yankees new role an onlookers.

Mark Blaudschun and Kevin McNamara look at the offseason changes to Fenway Park in time for yesterday.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that while this was a time of great joy for Johnny Pesky, the health problems of his wife keep everything in perspective. Richard Johnson says this wasn’t the first time the Red Sox have hosted the Yankees after winning the World Series. Scott Van Voorhis looks at the parking nightmare yesterday as everyone wanted to be at least near the park. Jill Radsken says that the Red Sox rings fall short of the Patriots rings in the “bling” factor. Megan Tench looks at the youngsters from the Merriam School being disappointed in the teams failing to shake hands prior to the game.

David Heuschkel says beating the Yankees made the day a perfect fit. In a stunning role reversal, Dom Amore looks at the Yankees once again playing the foil to the Red Sox. Alex Speier says yesterday was a good start to the season for the Red Sox, who can now put 2004 behind them. Jeff Horrigan agrees that it is now time for the Red Sox to move on, and they showed their willingness to do so by winning the game. Chris Snow has the game story for the Globe. Kevin Thomas writes that the win just capped a big day. Garry Brown looks at the Sox easy victory. David Borges also has a game story from a memorable day.

Gordon Edes says that Terry Francona managed his first day back on the job without any problems. Michael Silverman also looks at Francona handling the stress test just fine. Chimelis says Francona needs to lighten the stress load upon himself. Nate Thompson says that Francona is miserable about his team’s record thus far. Heuschkel says that Francona plans to change his diet and exercise more.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that there are now too many distractions for us to be able to analyze the Red Sox and Yankees as teams and not just the big rivalry. Jon Couture looks at a vintage performance by Tim Wakefield and the World Champions. Art Davidson says it’s fitting that Wakefield got the opening day start at Fenway. Fluto Shinzawa also looks at Wakefield. Michael Gee (subscription only) writes that the gem from Wakefield was the best way to turn the page. Lenny Megliola gets Johnny Damon’s thoughts on the big day. Paul Harber has Doug Mirabelli starting off 2005 with a bang. Thompson has more on Mirabelli’s bat and glove coming up big. Snow’s notebook says that fans can get a look at a ring at Fenway tonight. Borges’ notebook says that the Yankees showed class by watching the ceremonies. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Wakefield’s strong outing.

Bill Griffith recaps some of the showstopping moments from yesterday. <a href="" target="_blank"John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at at Greg Dickerson, but then he also takes a look at the highlights from yesterday.

Seth Stevenson has a report on the day for Slate Magazine. He also passes along a couple observations on the press corps.

Press box, just before the ring ceremony: The windows here are closed. The beat writers are perhaps the most depressing collection of humans I've ever seen. And I don't even have a seat because it's too crowded. Screw this, I'm going back outside.

A little bit later he has more of an eye opener from inside the Press Box:

Friendly wagers aside, the press box is a joyless place to watch a game. The writer standing next to me

Ring Day at Last

A great weekend weather-wise for New Englanders, but not so great as far as the local sports teams were concerned. However today turns a new page in Red Sox history. It’s a day that the Red Sox and their fans have looked forward to for their entire lifetimes. The team will receive their championship rings an the 2004 World Series banner will be raised at Fenway. It promises to be a most memorable day in Boston sports history. Dennis & Callahan revealed this morning that Tedy Bruschi will be throwing out the first pitch, and that others, such as Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Bill Russell could be involved in some sort of group ceremony. By the way, Steve Silva of last night on WRKO said that Nomar still doesn’t want the ring, no matter what the Cubs shortstop says publicly.

I had composed a more thorough version of the links this morning, but lost it due to an ill-placed keystroke. The Boston Herald has a huge Red Sox section today with around 25 articles to go through. Nick Cafardo has a look at today, including some of the alumni who will be there, and a few words with Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. Jeff Horrigan looks at how today marks a whole new ballgame and era of Boston history. Gerald M Carbone has a look at the rings the Red Sox will receive. Kevin Gray also has a look at a banner day in store for Fenway today. Mike Anthony looks at how the Yankees hope to miss as much of the ceremonies as possible. Eric McHugh looks at how Fenway has been spruced up for today’s opener. John Tomase looks at the actual on-field series with the Yankees this week, which should be fascinating in its own right.

The Red Sox dropped another game to the Blue Jays yesterday, despite a ninth inning rally to tie the game. Chris Snow, Sean McAdam, David Heuschkel and David Borges have accounts of the game. Snow’s notebook looks at Tim Wakefield starting his first ever home opener. McAdam’s notebook has some details on the Ring ceremony. Anthony’s notebook has more on Wakefield. Borges’ notebook also looks forward to this afternoon.

A few football articles from the weekend. The Globe NFL notes, which doesn’t have a byline, has the obligatory shots at Bill Belichick, updates on Brad Blank clients and digs at Michael Felger’s report on Tom Brady’s contract from a few weeks ago. Typical stuff, in other words. Kevin Mannix has a look a David Terrell, as well as the Browns and Chris Hovan. Eric McHugh and Jerome Solomon had looks at Monty Beisel. Freddie Mitchell won’t shut up. He was in Boston last week, attending an NFL sponsored symposium at Harvard Business school. John Tomase wrote two articles over the weekend, one he freelanced for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and another in the Eagle-Tribune where he chronicles some of the nonsense coming from Mitchell. From the Eagle-Tribune:

"You know what, Belichick? You're talking (expletive) about me, but let's see how you do without your coordinators," Mitchell said. "They're the silent investors who are really running the company. You're just a spokesman. I want to see what he does next year. Believe me, I'll be the first one to shake his hand if he wins the Super Bowl. And I'll be the first one to laugh in his face when he doesn't succeed."

That’s not all. Mitchell goes on to comment on the signing of David Terrell by the Patriots, (After saying he wished he was the one the Patriots signed)

"It does make me wonder about Belichick, though. He rips me, which he doesn't say about anyone else. Then he goes out and gets a player like David Terrell, who isn't exactly the Hines Ward of football."

Just go away, Freddie.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics are going to try an laugh off their latest losses, even as they go into Philadelphia tomorrow night.

NESN is your home this afternoon for coverage of the pregame (1:00) banner ceremonies (2:00) and Red Sox/Yankees (3:00) ESPN has a special “Boston’s Winter of Bliss” at 9:00.