Monday Night Football moving to ESPN

Received via email from Sports Business Daily:

The WALL STREET JOURNAL is citing sources as saying that "MNF" will leave ABC for its sister cable network ESPN in '06. NBC will reportedly pay $600M a year to replace ESPN as the league's broadcaster of Sunday night games. While ABC is paying the NFL $550M a year for "MNF," ESPN's "new eight-year deal is expected to be much more expensive and could be in the neighborhood of $1[B] a year." ESPN will carry "only regular-season games." ABC aired the Super Bowl in rotation with CBS and Fox under its deal with the league (, 4/18).


Book Review – Our Red Sox

There have been dozens of books released about the Red Sox since their historic World Series Championship in October. I’ve been sent a number of them and I’m still working my way through several. I expect to read more as time goes by. However I wanted to make a special mention of one book that I particularly enjoyed. Our Red Sox by Robert Sullivan.

Sullivan is the Deputy Managing Editor of LIFE magazine and Editorial Director of LIFE Books. He is also a lifelong Red Sox fan, having grown up in the Chelmsford/Lowell area, but he is now living with his family in the heart of Yankee country in New York, due to his job. He is a long time member of BLOHARDS, (Benevolent Loyal Order of the Honorable Ancient Redsox Diehard Sufferers of New York) which, for those newbies not familiar with the group, was SoSH before there ever was an Internet. Living in New York, he has a unique perspective on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry as he is in the heart of enemy territory.

What really appealed to me about this book was how personal it is. You get to see the impact of the Red Sox on a New England family, the heartbreak involved in the losses, (which is not romanticized the way the national writers would describe it) and more importantly the joy and satisfaction in the eventual triumph of the Red Sox last fall. Among the tales in the book, Sullivan writes about taking his daughter to her first baseball game – a Lowell Spinners game – from which she is rushed to the hospital after being struck by a foul ball while playing in the playground at the park. He recalls that his uncle was one of the men who carried Tony C out of the ballpark that night in 1967 when he was struck by a pitch.

The best parts of the book from my perspective are the accounts of the 2003 and 2004 ALCS Series. Sullivan was at the games, sitting in the stands, both in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and describes his days and nights, his interaction with his friends, both Yankee fans and Red Sox fans during those epic series. (Including one of his friends who grew up a Red Sox fan in NH and moved to NY and became a Yankees fan. I, on behalf of the State of NH, disown that person.) The agony of 2003 is followed by the ecstasy of 2004. He mentions a one day buffer in New York after the Red Sox victory last fall. He wore his Red Sox cap the day after the win and Yankee fans were mostly congratulatory. The next day was a different story.

Next morning, I went to the city similarly accoutered as on the day after the Day. I received a different reception. "Take off the damned hat!" This was issued by someone on the other side of the street, passing the other way. That evening: "Boston sucks." All goodwill was gone, and I realized: I'm gloating. Yesterday, we were still in the event, and Yankee fans were passing a torch. Today, I'm wearing a hat indoors, in someone else's house. It's impolite. I would, I resolved, only wear the B-hat during the games. (And maybe at breakfast after a win.)

You can get a taste of the style of the book over at, where Sullivan has a new article up looking at the Red Sox after the first couple weeks of the season, entitled Our Red Sox, Still? As mentioned at the outset, there have been dozens of Red Sox books published since last fall, this one, in my opinion stands above just about all the others that I have read thus far and is one I will be glad to read again in the future.

Marathon Monday

Another Patriots Day is upon us with the Boston Marathon and traditional 11:00 AM Red Sox game. Your Celtics are champions of the Atlantic Division and have the t-shirts to prove it. We also have the beginnings of a week of NFL draft coverage.

The Celtics beat the Raptors in Toronto to wrap up their first division crown in 13 years last night, giving them 45 wins on the season with two to play. Peter May doesn’t seem all that impressed, but I guess that’s just May being May. Steve Bulpett says this was just one of the Celtics goals for this season, and they have more ahead of them. Tim Weisberg is excited about what he’s seen from the Celtics young big man duo of Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, who were both particularly impressive facing Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning in Friday nights win over Miami. May’s notebook looks at Wayne Embry taking on a large role in the Raptors front office. Bulpett’s notebook says that the Pacers will be a tough draw for the Celtics in the first round.

If you were missed most of the last minute of the game last night due to technical difficulties, here is an explanation from FSN:

Patriots Day … Eve

A bit of a change this Sunday with a nightime posting of thoughts and links.

We couldn’t have asked for much more this weekend, as the Red Sox swept away the Devil Rays, and the Celtics collected wins against the Heat and Raptors to capture their first Atlantic Division crown since 1991-1992, Larry Bird’s final season (unfortunately, technical difficulties on FSN tonight meant we missed the closing seconds of a 103-98 win).

It was a perfect conclusion to a memorable week in Boston, highlighted by Opening Day at Fenway Park last Monday. Count me among those who had the shivers during the ring ceremony and the raising of the 2004 championship banner in center field. One of the most interesting – and passionate – recaps of the festivities was delivered in Chad Finn’s Touching All The Bases blog entry called “The best day ever.”

Apart from the nonsense “curse” lyrics, I actually enjoyed Terry Cashman’s song. As Bill Griffith points out in his Sunday column this morning, Cashman’s effort brought “the only mention of many of the Sox old-timers who thought enough of Monday’s flag-raising ceremonies to be on hand.”

Pete Gustin, the voice guy for WEEI’s in-show parodies, pokes fun at Cashman on his production website. Go to the “TERRY CASHMAN SONG PARODY” link. Gustin’s bits don’t usually work for me, but this one should give you a chuckle or two.

Moving forward to today’s papers, I’ll just mention a handful of articles.

The Globe’s Bob Hohler has an in-depth report on the rampant use of amphetamines, or “greenies,” in Major League Baseball, as well as the league’s struggles to grapple with the problem. Hohler has a separate, shorter story on the potential role of Congress in shaping a revised drug policy for baseball. Given the millions that MLB has spent in lobbying and making federal campaign donations, there’s certainly reason to be skeptical.

Also in the Globe, Nick Cafardo writes about a hard-working Manny Ramirez.

And this from Tony Massarotti today:

The Sox had played only nine games when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays [stats, schedule] arrived at Fenway on Friday, but their starting pitching over the first 12 days of the season left a great deal to be desired. Red Sox starters ranked 23rd in baseball with a 5.02 ERA entering the weekend series with the Devil Rays, a number that ballooned to 6.34 without the contributions of Tim Wakefield [stats, news] (1-0, 1.32 ERA), who is the only starter to have turned in two solid outings.

And lest anyone forget, Wakefield is the only member of the group eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

Of course, the season has only just begun, though there has been little seen to ease the concerns about the Sox' starting rotation.

Another case of the media playing up statistics far too early and attempting to incite controversy when there is none. Tony either had a Friday afternoon deadline for his Sunday notes column, or simply decided not to at least mention the seven shutout innings tossed by David Wells in the weekend’s opening game against the Devil Rays.

After Wells, Matt Clement, and Tim Wakefield combined to allow just three runs over 20 innings in three wins over Tampa Bay, Boston’s starters now sport a respectable 3.88 ERA, which undoubtedly has vaunted the group well above the 23rd spot in baseball.

This season’s rotation may ultimately prove to be weaker than the 2004 edition, but might the media be capable of waiting until May or June before issuing such a judgment?

On the football front, Ron Borges offers an uplifting profile of Lofa Tatupu, son of former Patriots fullback and special-teams standout Mosi Tatupu.

Kevin Mannix, meanwhile, warns that the early part of the 2005 schedule could pose major problems for a Patriots team in “full-blown transition,” and reminds us that “[f]or all his obvious skills as a head coach, [Bill Belichick] doesn’t have the best track record when he handles one of the coordinator jobs.” Sounds like trouble, huh?

Fortuantely, the ProJo’s Tom E. Curran offers us a more positive story, as he catches up with the Super Bowl MVP, Deion Branch.

Patriots Day schedule and feedback
Are you ready for the Boston Marathon? The women’s race goes off at 11:31am tomorrow, while the men start 12:00. Channels 4 and 5 have TV coverage, and WBZ broadcasts the event on radio beginning at 11:15. On WEEI, “Dennis and Callahan” and “The Big Show” are likely to cast the competitors as tall, skinny freaks of nature.

The traditional 11am Patriots Day game for the Red Sox is always fun. Enjoy it.

Thank you for your feedback yesterday. More is always welcomed on today’s posting:

A pair of home wins

A good night for the locals–Paul Pierce hits another game-winning shot as the Celtics edge the Heat, and David Wells picks up his first ‘W’ in a Red Sox uniform in a 10-0 laugher against the Devil Rays. To the links …

Sox steamroll Devil Rays

No new calls from Wells to blow up Fenway, as the lefty threw seven shutout innings last night against Tampa Bay (<a href="; target=

A Break from the Sheffield Shove

The website describes itself as “the creators of The Hubbub, last year’s extremely popular satire site devoted to all things Boston. We also created the Screw The Curse tee shirt, sometimes called “the Manny shirt”, which was one of the most popular Sox shirts in ‘The Nation’ last season.

“With you’ll see our passion for the Red Sox combined with our continuing effort to give the good people of Boston something to smile about. We’re not bloggers and we’re not going to give you a daily post game summary. We will give you fun cartoons about anything related to the Sox, thoughtful analysis and opinions, not-so-thoughtful analysis and opinions and the coolest Sox shirts East of the Berkshires.”

I found this cartoon amusing. And you thought BSMW was the only one who thought this way.

Click on the picture to go to

WEEI has been wall-to-wall with coverage of the Sheffield incident from last night. I’ve had about enough.

Reiss’ Pieces has a new look and a Q&A with Jarvis Green today. Looks like you can now link to individual articles now, which is a huge plus. The lads at Cold Hard Football Facts have a new edition up, looking at the 2005 schedule and answer some mail.

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.