2005 May Mini Drive – Day 3

We’ve got about $300 to go to reach the goal of the May Mini Drive. Thanks to all who have contributed thus far. Let’s try to hit the goal this morning and finish things off.

Again, the main page for the drive is located over here, and you can click here to donate to the drive via PayPal.

With an off day yesterday there was plenty of time to go over the just concluded 2-4 road trip. Tom Yantz says that the trip left plenty of questions around the Red Sox. Gordon Edes looks at the season thus far and finds a few things that could be second guessed. Michael Silverman has the first of a two-part series in which he looks at the Red Sox organizational philosophies. Today’s piece is on hitting. Sean McAdam writes that there are three hurdles that the Red Sox must overcome…pitching injuries, Manny’s slump and a bad first half schedule. Bob Ryan is sick of Red Sox/Yankees and glad that Baltimore and even Toronto have improved to the point that the division games against them are just as meaningful as those against the Yankees.

Jeff Horrigan looks at the Atlanta Braves coming into town this weekend as the Red Sox “Natural Rival” a notion sneered at by Trot Nixon. He also reports that the Dropkick Murphys placed a call to Billy Beane last offseason to try to convince him to trade Tim Hudson to the Red Sox, offering to play a gig at Beane’s daughter’s birthday party. Silverman takes a look at the Red Sox minor league prospects, and Chris Snow has a minor league notebook. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the slow start for the Red Sox bullpen. Snow’s notebook looks at Mark Bellhorn starting to come around at the plate.

Can someone please post a memo at WEEI? Pedro Martinez is not missing Randy Johnson by not starting tonight. Kevin Brown is and has been tonight’s scheduled starter for the Yankees. Several times on the station it’s been inferred that Pedro got a cortisone shot so he could be pushed back a couple days and avoid getting in the batters box against Johnson. John Dennis said it several times, then Dale Arnold made the correction during his show, but then on the Big Show, Larry Johnson was again saying that Pedro was ducking Johnson. Ridiculous.

Michael Felger and Mike Reiss have details of a speech made by Patriots coach Bill Belichick to Big Brothers last night in which he praised Troy Brown and spoke on a number of other team-related topics. Eric McHugh takes a look at the recently retired Otis Smith.

Steve Bulpett says that while in recent weeks the Celtics have gotten a bad reputation around town as being a bunch of bad guys, in reality they are not one of the more dysfunctional teams in the league. Bob Hohler looks at the possibility of an NBA lockout this fall. Nick Tavares says the league won’t be so dumb as to follow the example of the NHL. Hohler also looks at the league getting slammed by congress for their “pathetic” steroid policies.

Frank Dell’Apa has a feature on Revolution rising star Clint Dempsey.

Bill Griffith explores possible future destinations for the Celtics radio games. Jim Baker looks at the season opener for MLB on Fox this weekend, examines the Lobel lawsuit and has some other media notes. John Howell talks to Joe Buck, who says that he and Tim McCarver won’t be forcing a diet of steroid talk on viewers during their broadcasts. David Scott issues a “UMass Report” and has many other media notes and observations in this weeks edition of Scott’s Shots. The Inside Track reports on Bob Lobel filing suit against the “Get Fuzzy” cartoonist.

If you want more on the Lobel Lawsuit, the WWZN program “Sport Court” this Sunday should be interesting. They will be running from 4-6 PM this Sunday, right after the Hot Dog Safari. Here’s a preview of the show:

We will speak with well-known libel lawyer Mitchell Langberg of the Los Angeles law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. In response to the Get Fuzzy cartoon recently published in papers across the country, we will discuss the Bob Lobel case with Attorney Langberg and talk about what Lobel would have to prove in order to prevail in any pending defamation suit he may choose to bring. We will also talk about who Lobel mights sue and explain why it is that these cases often result in settlements before ever going to trial. (In addition, we will discuss the fact that I have learned that Lobel has consulted with an area defamation lawyer and is strongly considering filing a suit).

Langberg and his firm represent a variety of celebrities and frequently file defamation lawsuits against tabloids and news publications. Langberg's firm has handled over 100 libel cases involving celebrities and most recently filed a defamation suit on behalf of their client Aretha Franklin.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Braves at 7:00. ESPN has Suns/Mavericks at 9:00.

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2005 May Mini Drive – Day 2

Thanks to all who helped make day one of the mini drive a success. We had 25 people donate a total of $700. Today, I’d perhaps like to hear from some of the media people who use the site as a resource on a daily basis. Yes, I know you’re out there. (Your identity will be kept confidential.) We’re almost halfway to the goal amount. Let’s reach the goal today and not even have the third day of the drive…

Again, PayPal is the preferred, though several people have used the Amazon.com method as well. Each is fine. You can click here to Donate via PayPal. You can also check out the progress of the drive and see other ways to donate at the Fund Drive Homepage.

The Red Sox are likely glad to be getting away from the West coast, as they finished the six game trip with a record of 2-4. David Wells returned from the disabled list and was rocked in a 13-6 A’s win. What the team as a whole would really like is to stay in one place (home) for a while, but that isn’t happening. Jeff Horrigan has a few players talking about the weird schedule that the Red Sox have had to endure the first couple months of the season. Chris Snow has Wells’ reactions after pitching one inning and giving up seven runs. He also mentions a reporter bringing up the subject of whether Wells rushed back to get another start to reach incentives in his contract. Sean McAdam writes that the early hole that Wells put his teammates into was too much to overcome. Tom Yantz says that any great expectations for Wells based on his quick recovery were quickly dissipated as the lefty struggled right off the top. This game was a gift for some sports radio shows, who will now have their topic – did the Red Sox rush Wells back? Or did he come back to try to reach an incentive? They can have a field day labeling Wells “selfish” and calling Francona an enabler…

Alex Speier has a very good article on Wade Miller and if healthy and 100% just what he can bring to the Red Sox rotation. Gordon Edes wraps up the six game road trip, and also mentions the weird schedule which has the team home for three games this weekend against the Braves and then off on the road again next week to Toronto and New York. Tony Massarotti writes that the Red Sox did themselves no favors by bringing back Wells so quickly and wonders about a few other decisions the team has made lately as well. He also looks at Johnny Damon’s slump now reaching 0-12. Mike Fine says that these Red Sox will begin to pound the ball again at some point. Jeff Horrigan has a brief bit on Cla Meredith, who despite not having much success and being sent back down to the minors, will end up benefiting from this experience. McAdam’s notebook says that Meredith’s pride is intact as he goes to the minors. Snow’s notebook also looks at Meredith. Horrigan’s notebook has a recap of the brief West coast swing, while Yantz’s notebook looks at the slumping Johnny Damon.

Michael Felger looks at the fates and possible destinations of several members of last year’s Patriots team, including Ty Law, Troy Brown, Roman Phifer and Keith Traylor. Mike Reiss talks to former practice squad running back Kory Chapman, now having a big season in NFL Europe about his chances of competing for a spot on the 53 man roster this fall. He also has a statement from Bill Belichick on the retirement of Otis Smith.

Jackie MacMullan says to prepare yourself for an NBA lockout this summer. She does feel however, that the sides will get something done before the season is scheduled to start. Lenny Megliola talks to Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca about the disappointing end to the season and their confidence about things going forward. Steve Bulpett reports that the team is finding it difficult to get prospects to work out for them, because their first pick is at # 18, and all the players seem to think they’re going to be drafted in the top 10.

Kevin Henkin attempts to sort through the madness of the local sports scene. Buddy Thomas states that it’s only a matter of time before several things happen, such as Edgar Renteria getting booed, the Celtics being dismantled, and Peyton Manning admitting that he can’t beat the Patriots and deciding to just hang it up. Oh wait, Buddy didn’t write that last one. Christopher Young looks at men behaving badly. He also had a piece on what NL players might be headed to the hall of fame. James Murphy looks at what Bruins management has been doing during the work stoppage. Bob Hohler has the latest on the congressional investigation into Steroid use in Professional sports.

Jim McCabe has the touching story of golfer Kim Julian, who lost her husband, also a golfer, to ALS, and is doing what she can to promote awareness and to seek a cure to the disease.

It was interesting to hear Gerry Callahan yesterday speak wistfully of former colleague Bob Neumeier and how

Drive Update

Thanks to those who have donated thus far to the Mini Drive. I’ve gotten eight donations for a total of $240.00. Let’s try to get at least 1/3 of the way to the goal today by making it to $500 for the day.

I’ve also received a gift from a reader that is to be given to a random donor. It’s a $25 DineGift (dinegift.com) certificate. Next Monday, I’ll have a drawing and anyone who donates $25 or more will be eligible for the drawing.

Click here to Donate via PayPal.

Thanks again for your support of BSMW.

2005 May Mini Drive – Day 1

As I did last year, I’m having a three day “Mini” fund drive in May to bridge the gap until the main Fund Drive in November. Once again there is a page set up for the event, go to http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/funddrive/ You’ll be able to chart the process of the donations over the next three days. Once again PayPal is the preferred method, and you don’t have to become a PayPal member to donate through that means. Your support is always greatly appreciated – the last six months have been the busiest and most eventful in BSMW history. I recently had to double my bandwidth order with my hosting company due to the influx of new visitors. Take a few minutes and help out the drive, please.

In what universe does four hits = seven runs? For the Red Sox, Oakland was that place. The managed to squeak out a 7-5 win thanks to an Edgar Renteria bases loaded hit in the seventh inning which plated three runs. Tom Yantz says that this was a big hit for the quiet, proud Renteria. Sean McAdam says this one was won with the full help and support of the A’s. Jeff Horrigan looks at a game in which neither side could hold a lead or keep runners off base. Chris Snow looks at a rough night for the starting pitching, Matt Clement gave up five runs, including the first homer he’d surrendered since the opening week of the season.

Tony Massarotti looks at the suddenly hot Edgar Renteria, who after last night is now hitting .556 with the bases loaded this season. No sign of the “Rent-a-wreck” as the shortstop has been cleverly named by the Dennis & Callahan program. Gordon Edes has a piece on last night’s starter, Matt Clement. He speaks to Rene Lachemann, who coached Clement in Chicago and has nothing but good things to say about him. After Edes had the piece yesterday about Terry Francona’s contract, Massarotti today takes Bronson Arroyo and writes that he is deserving of a new, long term contract as well. I don’t quite understand the fascination that the media in Boston has with contracts and feeling that they should inject themselves into the situations. Renteria and Francona were the subjects of an angry rant by Dale Arnold yesterday against the Boston Dirt Dogs website for what he termed “irresponsibility” in their use of quotes from Tony LaRussa and also for taking a line with which Dale joked that Michael Holley wondered if Francona planted the story yesterday.

Horrigan has a brief article on Arroyo beginning his suspension last night. McAdam looks at the Red Sox bad habit of not capitalizing on bases-loaded situations. Snow has an update on Curt Schilling, who still appears weeks away from a return to the rotation. Jonathan Comey says there is no logical reason to be concerned about Manny Ramirez. Christopher Price looks at the strong efforts of the starting pitching in the absence of Schilling and David Wells. Howard Bryant (subscription only) looks at how far and fast the AL West has fallen. Oakland and Seattle were top teams for quite a stretch earlier this decade and now both are stumbling along. Art Martone says Oil Can Boyd would’ve been a great fit with last year’s Red Sox club.

Yantz’s notebook looks at David Wells returning to the rotation this afternoon. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the slow recovery for Schilling. Snow’s notebook looks at what moves the club will likely make to work around Wells’ return and the suspension of Arroyo. McAdam’s notebook looks at Wells’ return today. (Weather permitting)

Tom E Curran has a Patriots Notebook in which he reports that Otis Smith has signed a one-day deal with the Patriots and then retired. He also has some more information on Tom Brady’s new contract. Michael Felger has a piece today on third year defensive lineman Ty Warren and what he is working to improve on this season.

Mark Murphy has a piece on Mark Blount, who has a lot of work to do this summer to prove that he is deserving of playing day from Doc Rivers next season. If he isn’t traded, that is.

Stephen Harris looks at what could be facing the Bruins in the new NHL, if the two side ever get things worked out.

Gabe Kahn takes a look at what teams people love to hate in each sport. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on a tennis prodigy from Billerica and the struggles the whole family faces as they have put all their hopes into the 16 year old daughter.

Rumors are flying everywhere about cuts coming at the Boston Herald. Buyouts have been offered, even sought for by some parties. Multiple sources tell me that the following sports writers will be taking the buyout package:

Kevin Mannix – Patriots/NFL
George Kimball – Columnist
Mike Shalin – Boston College
Joe Gordon – Golf
Gus Martins – Soccer

As of June 30th, these will be gone. However, they may still appear on the pages of your paper, as they could be kept around to do free-lance work. A couple sources were pretty definitive that these were the ones for sure who had been bought out. If the list changes, I’ll let you know…

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at the Revolution’s red hot start getting a little attention and also takes a look at the future of the Celtics on 1510, and situation perhaps made more tenuous by the comments of Wyc Grousbeck on WEEI last week. Rob Bradford has an interview with WEEI and “Ted Nation” producer Marc Merriman.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 3:30. ESPN has Cardinals/Phillies at 7:00. ESPN2 has Giants/Rockies at 7:00. TNT has Mavericks/Suns at 9:00.

Left on Base

The Red Sox suffered another late night loss on the West coast, and that’s really about it for sports today. We have a few tidbits here and there, but the Red Sox are king of the hill for media attention. If you turn on sports radio, be prepared for Star Wars talk. The morning show thinks its stupid, the afternoon show thinks its great and they’re going to 12:00 AM showings Thursday. That’s about all you need to know.

The Red Sox West coast struggles continued last night with a 6-4 loss to the Oakland A’s, who snapped an eight game losing streak with the win. Jeff Horrigan says that the A’s fans finally had something to drink to. Chris Snow says it was the men left on base all night that did the Sox in. Sean McAdam writes that the Sox just could not get through the open door of opportunity. Tom Yantz notes that two streaks came to an end last night. the A’s eight game losing streak and the Red Sox nine game winning streak over the A’s.

Gordon Edes demands to know why Terry Francona did not receive a raise after winning the World Series. Tony Massarotti looks at Mike Timlin, who despite giving up the go ahead runs last night, has still been unbelievably strong at age 39. He wonders if the fact that he’s from Texas has something to do with it. McAdam looks at Kevin Youkilis making his debut start at first base last night. Horrigan has Kevin Millar downplaying the batting tips he gave to Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo over the weekend. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes that Millar is far more valuable to the Red Sox in the clubhouse than he is at the plate, and it’s for that reason that he will remain in the lineup and a vital part of the club.

Joe Haggerty looks at Johnny Damon’s contract situation and notes that he has a booster in Jason Varitek as well as in the manager. Snow has a piece on Trot Nixon, playing through a leg injury and thriving at the plate. Bill Reynolds says we may never figure out Manny Ramirez, but we should certainly appreciate his skills at the plate. Art Martone looks at the other times a Red Sox slugger has hit home run number 400. Garry Brown wonders how far Manny can go…500…600…700?

Dan Shaughnessy and Mark Murphy report on Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd starting his comeback with the Brockton Rox last night, pitching three innings, striking out three and giving up just one hit. Murphy also has a brief chat with Rich Gedman, who managed the opposing team last night, as well as a little player reaction from the opposition. Lenny Megliola says that Mark McGwire surely isn’t enjoying his retirement as much as he probably wishes he could.

Snow’s notebook reports that the signs indicate that David Wells will return to the rotation tomorrow night. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Youkilis’ debut at first base. McAdam’s notebook has more on Trot’s injury’s which will require offseason surgery, a subject also tackled in Yantz’s notebook.

Michael Felger has a look at third year center Dan Koppen, getting ready for another season in the trenches. He also has word that Bill Belichick will receive an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan this weekend. So that will be Dr. Belichick to you reporters from now on… (Note: Belichick already has an honorary doctorate, received from BU last year.)

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with Bruins Captain Joe Thornton about his year away from the NHL, which included plenty of hockey.

Frank Dell’Apa looks at the undefeated (6-0-1) New England Revolution playing a defensive brand of soccer. He also has a piece on Malcolm Glazer’s purchase of Manchester United, a move that has not been popular across the pond.

Stan Grossfeld has a feature on the nation’s only prison with a golf course…but the inmates are not allowed to play.

Bill Griffith has his Tuesday media notes, which include a look at the Hot Dog Safari, Bob Lobel and his attorney taking action and other notes from the airwaves.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 10:00. TNT has Pacers/Pistons at 7:00 and Spurs/Sonics at 9:30.

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Manny’s 400th for naught

An interesting start to the week here. We’ve got a look back at yesterday’s Red Sox loss in Seattle, which featured the 400th home run on Manny Ramirez’s career. There’s a look back at a few articles from the weekend, as well as a couple references to WEEI passages from the two days. Also, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, we will have the BSMW May Mini Fund Drive. More details will be forthcoming.

Even though the Red Sox went into Seattle this weekend and dropped two out of three, it was an interesting weekend nonetheless in the land of Microsoft and Starbucks. Last night, Boston lost 5-4, but Manny Ramirez hit career home run number 400. Chris Snow’s game story is centered around that milestone blast for the Red Sox slugger. Jeff Horrigan looks at Tim Wakefield struggling once again in Seattle, a place that always seems to give him problems. Sean McAdam notes that the game turned on a slow rolling dribbler by the Mariners’ catcher. Tom Yantz’s game story leads with an interested exchange between Ramirez and David Ortiz, just prior to Manny’s fifth inning, three run blast. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti each have articles on Manny’s Milestone, and a look at the historical achievements of the enigmatic slugger, Edes spends a lot of time speaking with Ramirez’s first big league manager, Mike Hargrove, who happened to be in the opposing dugout yesterday.

Yesterday in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Daniel McGinn had an extensive feature on Red Sox third base coach Dale Sveum, and what his job and life are like. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that it is a good thing that the Yankees are suddenly winning again, Red Sox fans want to have them around to chase and have important games with. Massarotti reports that Trot Nixon is going to need surgery following the season for an undisclosed leg injury. Snow’s notebook looks at the success of the lineup switch that Terry Francona put into place over the weekend, flipping Ramirez and Ortiz, and batting Nixon fifth. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Manny getting his 400th home run ball back from the fan who caught it. McAdam’s notebook looks at Manny’s back and forth opinion on the milestone. Yantz’s notebook looks at Time Wakefield’s continued struggles against the Mariners.

Yesterday morning on WEEI’s Baseball show, Peter Gammons issued an apology to Michael Felger for the way he spoke to him on The Big Show last week. That’s just Gammons being Gammons.

Dan Shaughnessy has a “picked up pieces” column in the Globe today, touching on many things in the world of sports, among them: The Celtics should trade Paul Pierce, Johnny Damon’s interest in the Yankees, the fact that Keith Foulke is not an idiot and Dwayne Wade is pretty good.

The weekend football columns were about what you would expect for this time of the year. For Nick Cafardo, you have items from his usual contacts…Tom Condon, Brad Blank, Chad Eaton and Carl Poston. All that we’re missing is Tom Donohoe and Rob Konrad. There was also a curious reference to people who continue to “flee” from the personnel offices of the Patriots. He mentions three people in three years. Mass exodus, all right. From Michael Felger, we got some shots at Condon, even blaming him for the injury that sidelined first round pick Benjamin Watson “in August” (Watson actually hurt his knee and was out for the season during a midweek practice in September). He also looks at the relationship the Patriots have with Neil Cornrich, how that is viewed around the league and mentions the “grudging respect” that Belichick has for Drew Rosenhaus.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) this morning has a piece on Al Jefferson and how he believes that the Celtics big man may not quite be ready for the massive expectations that people are already placing upon him. He believes it wouldn’t be the worst thing for Jefferson and the Celtics to continue to bring him along slowly. Yesterday, Jim Donaldson tried to figure out Danny Ainge’s plan for his new “code of conduct” for his team. In one of the more uncomfortable reading sessions in my recent memory, Donaldson attempts to write in the voice of the current NBA player.

Man, I didn't read nothin' in that one year I had to waste in college before comin' to the Association, and I'm not readin' nothin' now. That's why I have an agent. That lazy son of a gun ain't done nothin' anyway to earn his percentage since I signed that $100-million sneaker deal to wear shoes kids can't afford to buy 'til they get their own endorsement contracts -- or their AAU coach or some friendly college booster slips 'em a few dollars. Why, I even let him borrow one of my six Rolls-Royces to go pick up four of my $3,000 suits at the dry cleaners and it took him two hours to run that simple errand. I was timin' him on my $20,000 Rolex. So let him read the rules and then I'll decide which ones I might sometimes decide to follow.

Unfunny and Stereotypical are the two words that spring to mind from that bit. Michael Muldoon had a better article yesterday, looking at how Danny Ainge is getting the last laugh here in Boston. Bill Burt talked with Tommy Heinsohn about the disappointing end to the season and what the future looks like for the green.

Another interesting WEEI moment from the weekend was Greg Dickerson’s somewhat veiled comments about Wyc Grousbeck making derogatory statements about WWZN while on WEEI earlier this week, making a remark about the station’s lack of ratings. Dickerson didn’t feel those comments were appropriate given the fact that the Celtics have been cashing checks from WWZN for the last few years for the radio rights.

Back to Friday’s “Get Fuzzy” cartoon, the Inside Track this morning notes:

And that Bob Lobel and WBZ are mighty miffed at a nationally syndicated comic strip that ran Friday suggesting that the longtime sportscaster was drunk on the air. "Get Fuzzy" by Darby Conley featured a sports fan, his dog and cat watching TV with the dog asking, "Is this sportscaster drunk?" and the fan replying. "Lobel? He's like some TV outreach program or something." (The Globe ran the strip but changed the word "Lobel?" to "Him?") Lobel's attorney is on the case...

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 10:00. ESPN has Rangers/White Sox at 8:00.

Reflection Time

I apologize for the lack of an update yesterday…just one of those days. Today we’ve got a look at the Red Sox at the quarter season mark, a look back at the Peter Gammons/Michael Felger tiff on WEEI yesterday, A Terry Francona smackdown of Michael Holley earlier in the week, Danny Ainge vowing changes to the attitude of his club and a couple other items. Before we start, the comic “Get Fuzzy” this morning had an apparent reference to Bob Lobel when it showed the characters whatching TV, one says “Is this sportscaster…DRUNK!” Another, wearing a Red Sox hat says “Lobel? Who knows.” and then it goes on a little further. The interesting part is that in your Globe today, “Lobel” has been replaced with “Him?”. Things that make you go, Hmmmm.

The Red Sox were off last night, giving writers and fans a chance to reflect on the first quarter of the season. Michael Silverman says that the baseball gods have been smiling on the Red Sox so far, and who can argue given their success despite the number of injuries they’ve had, especially to their top starting pitchers. Steven Krasner says that this team has had all the right answers to any questions people had about it to start the season. David Heuschkel says that the Red Sox are confident as a team, which makes them hard to beat. Kevin Gray observes that even though it may seem like the Red Sox are doing it with smoke and mirrors, they’re on a better pace than they were to start last season. One of the “mane” reasons for the Red Sox success has been Johnny Damon. Gordon Edes ponders the future of the long haired wonder, and whether it will be in Boston or elsewhere. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also looks at Damon, but focuses on his hitting streak, which currently sits at 17 games. Buckley says that if it gets beyond 20, attention will heat up on the Red Sox centerfielder as milestones start to appear on the horizon.

Dan Shaughnessy writes today that the Red Sox should do whatever it takes to acquire Roger Clemens for the stretch drive. While this is a nice idea, (certainly not original) I think it’s unlikely to happen. Clemens doesn’t appear to want to come back here. It certainly would be the most triumphant return in Boston sports history since…well, Antoine Walker. (I’m kidding.) Also annoying were the multiple derogatory references to Pedro Martinez…not necessary at all. Bill Reynolds looks at how winning the World Series has changed Terry Francona. Sam Allis in the Globe has a nice piece on former Sox pitcher Frank Sullivan, who was part of the inspiration for the famous Norman Rockwell painting “The Rookie”. Michael Gee has an amusing column today about beer sales at Fenway and the dilemma facing the Red Sox. In part, he says:

In response to popular demand, Sox management increased the number of beer stands at Fenway Park. Amazingly enough, beer sales then went up. Really amazingly, that fact became a banner front-page story for our competitor. Next up: a three-part investigative series on why the Charles River flows downhill.

Grasping the obvious with equal skill, the Sox noted that when people drink more beer, some of them get drunk and some of the drunks become very unpleasant company for those around them. Management is now going to scrutinize Fenway patrons to see how many need to be 86'd due to intoxication. The new beer vending stations, the Yawkey Way street fair and the park's in-house restaurant-saloon will remain in place.

He notes that beer sales are huge source of profit, but with that, they need to police behavior after said beverages are consumed. Chris Snow’s notebook looks at how the Red Sox starters have stepped up after Curt Schilling and David Wells went down. Snow also has a minor league notebook looking at Dustin Pedroia and other minor leaguers. Silverman’s notebook looks at the slow start to the season for Manny Ramirez.

Ramirez was a topic on The Big Show yesterday when Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance. He noted the “complete disappearance” of Ramirez “as a real player”. He went on to say that David Ortiz, not Ramirez, is the dominant force in the Red Sox lineup. Michael Felger questioned whether he was saying that just because Manny was struggling right now. Gammons answered with a force and anger in his voice not heard previously. He told Felger “Michael, watch the games” and said that Ortiz has been the better hitter for two years. Felger responded by saying that all he hears about is Manny being the best right handed hitter in the game. Gammons exploded again. Demanding twice to know “who said that??” dismissing that claim as not even worthy of discussion and asking Felger if he had ever heard of Albert Pujols. The whole incident was pretty odd.

What’s also odd is that as recently as six months ago, Gammons was saying those things about Manny. On December 23, 2004 Gammons wrote:

Take Manny Ramirez. He is the classic "bad contract." He cleared waivers a year ago and nearly got traded to the Mets. He also happens to be close to the best right-handed hitter in the game, he is a very nice person without any evil intent, he has the right priorities (a World Series ring and the Hall of Fame over the MVP) and by and large played very hard.

There are other references in the ESPN archives where Gammons makes similar claims. I don’t like bringing that quote up, because I have huge respect for Gammons. (This week I’ve had to disagree publicly with two of the people I respect the most in the media, Bob Ryan, and now Gammons.) Now yes, Manny has been pretty bad this year, but for Gammons to completely dismiss Felger’s statements as not worthy of discussion…when he himself made that statement six months ago is curious. Did Felger get under his skin by challenging him? Not many people challenge Gammons on anything…even if they disagree. Ordway and Buckley expressed that they didn’t totally agree with his assessments of Manny…but after Gammons left the air.

Still on baseball, earlier this week Francona made with weekly appearance with Dale & Holley, There was an interesting confrontation during that show as well. It was a little rambling, but the ending is memorable. It went as follows:

Michael Holley: You talked about the other day, not going very well against Seattle, were your options basically Meredith or Alan Embree?

Terry Francona: Well, I guess I ought of ask you, I heard you on TV, I was flipping through the channels and I should ask you what you think the options were.

MH: Ha ha