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


Walk Off Win

The Red Sox won in thrilling fashion last night, while the Celtics continue to make plans for the offseason and next season. Michael Felger says that the Patriots offseason moves are very telling, and the Quiet Man might still be champ after all.

Kevin Millar was wearing the goats horns when he stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, with a man on and his team trailing 2-1. He proceeded to hit a line drive over the wall and win the game, erasing his two earlier errors. Michael Silverman has the story of Millar’s wild night. Steven Krasner says it was another edition of Millar’s World on display last night. David Heuschkel reports that Millar was just waiting for a fastball on the last at-bat. Nick Cafardo says Millar managed to reverse the Curse at first. (sigh) Garry Brown says that Millar showed why they keep his sometimes shaky glove in the lineup. David Borges says it was a night for streaks staying alive at Fenway. Sean McAdam writes that the Red Sox solid core of players comes in handy on nights like last night. Karen Guregian and Paul Harber look at Millar’s rapid transformation from outhouse to penthouse.

Millar’s heroics saved the night for Bronson Arroyo, who despite another strong performance was on the hook for a potential loss last night. Lenny Megliola looks at Arroyo coming into his own. Mike Shalin looks at Arroyo’s performance last night, strong despite not feeling comfortable out there. Jon Couture looks at the Red Sox using all hands on deck to keep themselves winning. Alex Speier reports that David Wells and Curt Schilling are heading in opposite directions with their recoveries. Michael Vega looks at Johnny Damon extending his hit streak with another three hit night. Christopher Price reports that Wells is taking baby steps back to the mound. Jonathan Comey has reached the realization that things might not be so bad without Pedro.

Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that David Ortiz’s propensity for arguing every strike called against him is going to come back to haunt him at some point. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the Rolling Stones coming to Fenway on August 21. Yes, ithe column is pretty much what you would imagine it to be. Guregian speculates that the lack of home runs this season could be due to the new steroid testing policies in baseball. Harber looks at how Jeremi Gonzalez and Cla Meredith have found themselves on the Red Sox major league pitching staff at this point in the season.

Borges’ notebook says that the Rolling Stones were nearly an opening day act. He says what I was thinking when he mentions they would’ve certainly been more entertaining than Terry Cashman. Krasner’s notebook opens with word that Wells is due to throw off of a mound today. Heuschkel’s notebook also reports on Wells and ends with an update on John Olerud. Brown’s notebook has more on Wells. Cafardo’s notebook and Horrigan’s notebook also have further updates on Wells, who hopes to be back by the end of the month.

Michael Felger writes that the Patriots offseaon moves certainly point to Tedy Bruschi not returning, though he has the tidbit that “Sources say a return to the NFL has not been categorically ruled out by Bruschi’s doctors.” Cafardo has a brief note reporting that Ty Law met with the Detroit Lions yesterday. Fluto Shinzawa looks at the inaugural NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program being held at Harvard this week.

Steve Bulpett ponders five questions surrounding whether the Celtics should bring back Antoine Walker or not. Mike Fine feels that the Celtics should go in a different direction than Paul Pierce and Walker. Fine also has a season ending report card for the team. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that Pierce will not lead this team to Banner 17, and should be on his way out of town. He also looks at the NBA losing its class and turning into a league of thugs. He concludes his piece with a clarification of his comments after the death of Earl Wilson.

The April 27 Uncommon item on the death of Earl Wilson said that the Boston Globe did not mention the 1966 Florida incident where Wilson was not served in a Winter Haven Restaurant. The item should have said the incident did not appear in the main sports story. It did, however appear in Wilson's obituary.

The entire coverage of Wilson's death provided an interesting lesson in journalism.

In the Globe story, Johnny Pesky was quoted as saying "we got rid of him, because (Mike) Higgins didn't like him. Why? Who knows? A very strange guy, Higgins. We got an outfielder from Detroit (Don Demeter) for him, and Wilson went on and had the best year he ever had (22-11 in '67) with the Tigers. Did we ever miss him.''

I took issue with this quote because it is, at the very least, misleading. Mike "Pinky'' Higgins did not work for the Red Sox in 1966. He was fired at the end of the 1965 season. Though the Globe did not feel responsible for the quote, this is an inaccuracy, no different than me saying "I don't know why the Red Sox fired Jimy Williams. Theo just didn't like him.'' In my view, newspapers are responsible for inaccuracies, whether they exist in quotes or otherwise. We must agree to disagree.

In any case, the Globe did mention Wilson's trouble in that Florida bar and my story said it did not. I apologize for the error.

Ron Borges and George Kimball report on the possibility that John Ruiz may be reinstated as heavyweight champion after James Toney reportedly tested positive for steroids.

Stan Grossfeld has look at Gold medalist Jennie Finch, who wants to be recognized for her athleticism ahead of her appearance.

In John Molori’s Media’ Blitz, he talks to WWZN sales manager Tony Palmisano. He also tabs Pete Sheppard as a “falling star”. Be prepared to take the heat on the Big Show again today, John.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 1:00. TNT has Pacers/Pistons at 8:00 and Mavericks/Suns at 10:30. ESPN has Dodgers/Cardinals at 8:00 and ESPN2 has Astros/Marlins at 7:00.

A+ Effort

A very busy morning for links…details of the Red Sox win over the A’s last night at Fenway which featured Kevin Millar’s first home run of the season, a talk with Tom Brady by Michael Felger, many more Celtics links looking back at the season and ahead to the future, and a few other items from around the local media.

Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox made the A’s pay for their every mistake last night. Jeff Horrigan says that seeing the green jerseys of the A’s seems to wake up the Red Sox offense. Steven Krasner notes that the Red Sox continue to persevere despite many injuries. David Heuschkel says that Kevin Millar’s long awaited first home run of the season was a catalyst for the win. David Borges says that the days of the Big Three and the Red Sox/A’s rivalry appear to be over. Lenny Megliola looks at a power surge at Fenway, led by Millar. Mark Blaudschun looks at another quality start for Tim Wakefield. Steve Buckley (subscription only) tries to project out to the future and predicts that before he’s done, Tim Wakefield is going to pass Cy Young and Roger Clemens and become the all time winningest pitcher in the history of the Red Sox.

Sean McAdam looks at Millar ending his home run drought. Christopher Price says that Millar is no longer poop soup. Marvin Pave and Rich Thompson also look at the Sox first baseman knocking the 0 out his HR column stats. Alex Speier says that there is more to young Cla Meredith than what you saw in his weekend debut. Karen Guregian writes about Bronson Arroyo stepping up his game in the absence of Curt Schilling and David Wells. Mike Shalin looks at Scott Hatteberg helping out his old team with a pair of errors. Blaudschun also takes a look at Oakland’s struggles at the plate this season. Michael Silverman has an update on Manny Ramirez after he was hit in the head with a pitch.

Remember during spring training, when the talk on WEEI was that if Johnny Damon got off to a slow start this season because of all the “distractions” surrounding his book and off-field activities that he would feel a lot of heat? Hosts on the “Sports Radio Leader” even seemed to relish the idea of Damon slumping early so they could jump all over him. It was quite the faux controversy for while on the station. Well, Damon now has a 15 game hitting streak and is batting .373 on the season. Michael Silverman looks at Damon keeping his focus on the field, which means that sports radio hosts need to pretend their earlier statements never happened and find something else to talk about.

Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Manny’s departure from the game after getting hit in the head in the first inning. Cafardo’s notebook also looks at Manny’s hit streak – the wrong kind. Krasner’s notebook has more on Manny. Borges’ notebook says that young Cla Meredith will bounce back from his rocky debut. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Arroyo’s decision to drop the appeal of his suspension.

Michael Felger talks to Tom Brady about his new contract with the Patriots. The Patriots quarterback continues to show why he is a once in a generation player that we will appreciate for decades as he talks about the relative importance of winning and money in his life. A revealing statement is this one:

"I've seen a lot of guys leave here, and they don't look any happier where they're at to me. I've seen those guys get a lot of money, and they're still bitter. It shouldn't be that way.''

Hello, Lawyer. Maybe things aren’t so bad down in Foxboro after all. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots loading up a linebacker, and also looks at Brady’s deal. Mike Reiss had a little background on Chad Brown in yesterday’s blog entry. Frank Dell’Apa has a piece on Deion Branch, who talks about his soccer background while doing a promotion with the New England Revolution.

Steve Bulpett has a season ending report card for the Celtics. Mike Fine says that the Celtics future rides on their youthful core. Michael Muldoon writes that there are reasons for optimism for the future with this Celtics team. Jon Couture looks at the enigma that is Antoine Walker…should he stay or should he go? What is his real value to the Celtics? Bill Reynolds makes confession for his wrong prediction of the Pacers/Celtics series, eating humble pie. Kevin Henkin looks at the options available to the Celtics this summer and the decisions they have in front of them. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics veterans have some growing up to do. Shira Springer reports on the Pacers/Pistons game last night.

Bob Ryan says that Celtics fans want a team they can embrace. He includes many emails from readers to that effect. Ryan also emailed me yesterday to disagree with my assessment that that he and others in the media were overblowing this incident. I at no time have defended Pierce’s actions at the end of game 6. I simply stated they weren’t worthy of the hyperbolic statements being tossed around. Ryan concluded his exchange with me with this:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Ryan"
To: "Bruce Allen"
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: Bird vs. Pierce

WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? On what level is it remotely defensible? HE COULD HAVE COST THEM THE GAME FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT SELFISH RETRIBUTION and you say it "wasn't worthy of the hyperbole?" Give me a for-instance that you would therefore consider "worthy of the hyperbole."

Have you looked at it? HE WASN'T EVEN HIT HARD!!! He's as big a liar as Sheffield, who wasn't hit hard, either. Tinsley's artful flop is irrelevant. Pierce ran to the ball knowing the end result would be a foul. If he had prior issues with Tinsley, this would not be the time to address them. Nothing that transpired translated into risking the entire game, series and season just to satisfy his macho pride. And his subsequent actions have revealed that he still does not get it. Some captain.
I repeat: It has no parallel in NBA history. And you insist that it wasn't 'worthy of the hypbole." Whay hyperbole? What I wrote was plan (and accurate) English.
Therefore, the only question remaining os this: Are you on medication? Or should you be?
Go ahead. Print anything we've said here. I'll stand on everything I've communicated to you. I can't think of an easier journalistic call. I am right and you are wrong. Period. As Tony Soprano would say, End of Story.

(P.S. I have no idea how I got into that boldface mode).

I only put this up here in the interest of the other side being heard on this matter. I still don’t agree, and now that Ryan in this email that the incident has “no parallel in NBA history” – previously he had only confined it to Celtics history…I would submit Scottie Pippen as someone who had a more “unforgivable, untimely, stupid, and flat-out selfish on-court act” when he refused to go into the last second of a playoff game after learning the last play wasn’t designed for him. I’ll say it again. I am not defending Pierce. I am saying that certain members of the media are making more of this than there is to it. Pierce WAS stupid and selfish in that instance. It wasn’t the worst of all time as its being portrayed. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes that Pierce’s stooge act is tired and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the Celtics look to move him this summer. He wonders if Pierce would be content playing Dwayne Wade to Al Jefferson’s Shaq.

Bob Halloran looks at how fickle the fans (and media) are here in Boston, and how they’re given to emotional hyperbole. The Paul Pierce incident is one situation that is examined in that light. The Union Leader’s Joe Sullivan has a collection of thoughts in his “Column as I see ’em” article this morning.

Bill Griffith has a pretty extensive collection of media notes this morning, looking at local Emmy winners, Celtics broadcasts and blimp views.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. TNT has Wizards/Heat at 7:00 and Spurs/Sonics at 9:30.

Back on the Job

A busy morning today as we look at a Red Sox doubleheader, continue the post-mortum on the Celtics season, and look at Tom Brady’s new contract.

The Red Sox split a pair with the Mariners at Fenway, winning the opener 6-3 behind Jeremi Gonzalez and then dropping the second game 6-4 despite a strong debut from Wade Miller. Jeff Horrigan notes that the Sox received a pair of quality starts in the two games yesterday. Chris Snow looks at a weird day at Fenway as far as how the ball carried, or most of the time, how it didn’t carry…Steven Krasner writes that the team has found two more quality starters to add to the rotation in Gonzalez and Miller. David Heuschkel analyzes a split decision in the two games. Andy Vogt says that Wade Miller gave the Red Sox a lot of reasons for hope with his debut. Dan Shaughnessy says that the first appearance by Miller was the lone ray of sunshine on a gloomy day at the ballpark. Karen Guregian examines the performance and career of Gonzalez, who has helped the Red Sox weather the injury storm. Lenny Megliola observes that Gonzalez and Miller were the silver lining to a nasty day. Steve Buckley (subscription only) claims that Miller has already earned his money from the Red Sox, whose $1.5 Million gamble on the righthander has already paid off.

Jon Couture looks at a day of new beginnings at Fenway and has several baseball related notes as well. Among the things he mentions is the death of clubhouse assistant Bernie Logue, who apparently fell to his death from the sixth floor of a parking garage following the Celtics game on Saturday night. Michael Silverman has a report on the death of Logue, who was very popular among the players. David Abel and Chris Snow have the story for the Globe, and Paul Kenyon has it for the ProJo. Tony Massarotti has a piece on Hanley Ramirez this morning, noting that the Red Sox Super Prospect has an idea situation in which to grow and learn here in the Boston organization. Mike Shalin and Marvin Pave each have stories on how the wind and weather took away runs, especially from David Ortiz. Silverman looks at a bit of a rough major league debut for Cla Meredith yesterday. John Tomase had a piece yesterday looking at the “aging” and “mismanaged” Yankee franchise, which continues to reel. Maria Cramer looks at the Red Sox efforts to police alcohol use at Fenway.

Snow’s notebook leads off with more on debut of Meredith, a popular subject, as other notebooks feature the same thing. The notebooks in general are a little longer than usual, given the fact that there were two games yesterday. Krasner’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both also lead with Meredith, while Horrigan’s notebook has an update on Edgar Renteria’s finger, which still hasn’t healed enough to let him grip a baseball or bat properly.

The end of the Celtics season remains a hot topic. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer have thoughts from Danny Ainge about the plans for the team heading into the offseason. Key issues are discussed, such as the future of Antoine Walker and Gary Payton, as well as the development of the younger players. Peter May looks at the roster of the team piece by piece and examines areas of strength and weakness among them. Bob Ryan says that this Celtics team proved to be talented, but also completely unreliable on the offensive end of the floor, they could not be counted upon to work as a team. Mark Murphy gets Doc Rivers thoughts on the season and what some of his offseason goals are. Tim Weisberg writes that Ainge and Rivers are focused on the future now, and that future could be very bright. Carolyn Thornton wraps up the Celtics season, noting that they are still miles away from being a real contender. Springer explores the options available for Payton and Walker in the offseason. Rich Thompson says that the Celtics youngsters earned the respect of the veterans this season. The Herald notebook has Rivers turning down TV analyst jobs for some time off.

I’m still trying to figure out how Bob Ryan and Jackie MacMullan forgot all they ever knew about Celtics history. On Friday, Ryan called Pierce’s ejection at the end of game 6 “the single most unforgivable, untimely, stupid, and flat-out selfish on-court act in the history of the Celtics.” Then, on Sunday, MacMullan made reference to the incident, calling it “one of the most appalling moments in sports history“.


Both statements are ridiculous, but I’m not sure which one is worse. Ryan only narrows it to the Celtics…but was what Pierce did…pushing off Tinsley with his forearm…worse than Larry Bird losing his temper, throwing the ball at Bill Laimbeer in a playoff game? Was it worse than Robert Parish taking down Laimbeer with a flurry of fists in a playoff game, earning him a suspension for the following game? I don’t get it. Pierce’s ejection was all the more curious because I can’t ever remember a player getting two technicals in the course of a game – each time after he was fouled hard.

Let’s be clear here. I’m not defending Pierce. He should’ve kept his cool. I’m taking issue with the statements of, in my opinion, the two best columnists in Boston. “one of the most appalling moments in sports history”? Are you kidding? Players getting paralyzed after a cheap shot…a tennis player being stabbed while on the court…players (from the Pacers) going up in the stands to fight fans….and Pierce’s action is even in the same category as those? Please. Ryan and MacMullan could’ve held back a bit in the hyperbole.

Ok…who had Michael Felger in the “Who is going to write first that Tom Brady’s contract is a bad thing for the Patriots” pool? Felger also says that Asante Samuel, Dan Koppen and Deion Branch should be unhappy with the deal and wondering when they’re going to get theirs. I think we have our Big Show agenda today. Ordway: “Here’s the problem with Brady’s contract…”.

One more Patriot item…I may have been on vacation last week, but I still managed to hear Ron Borges compare Bill Belichick to Emperor Hirohito and claim that Brady is the only reason for the Patriots success. After talking about the Patriots not wanting to give Brady the signing bonus he wanted, here’s a couple snippets from the show:

Caller: Well, I just have the feeling that Belichick...we all trust him at this point...

Borges: We don't all trust him...

Caller: Most of us trust him...three Super Bowls, he's got a little bit of a track record around here.

Borges: Yeah, well, you know, Emperor Hirohito had a big lead in the early days too...

And then a little bit later in the discussion:

Borges: Most people think like George until it's too late.

Caller: ...if you could only jettison either Belichick or Brady, which would you say sayonara to...everyone says Brady...

Borges:You're right, that's the way people are thinking, I've long been on record, as Chuck Fairbanks once said, it's not about "X's" and "O's" it's "Jimmy's and Joe's" so I still believe in the players, and my argument is you have obviously have like, not you in particular, Patriots fans, have what I would call short term memory loss, 'cause the same coach was here the first year, Tom Brady wasn't the quarterback, and won 5 games. So unless you subscribe to the fact that he went to an intensive coaching school after that first season, it has a little bit more to do about Tom Brady than it does anything else.

It amuses me because for a long time, Borges always dismissed Brady as a “system quarterback” who could only “throw sideways”. It will be interesting to hear what Borges has to say now that the Patriots have locked up Brady.

David Scott has more on the impending departure of Sports Editor Mark Torpey and local Emmy winners from Saturday night

Chad Brown to Patriots?

Still on vacation, but taking a quick peek in…see you Monday.

Dan Pires of the Standard Times found this tidbit and passed it along:

Saints Miss out on Brown

The Saints made a hard push for veteran linebacker Chad Brown, recently cut loose by the Seattle Seahawks.

The New England Patriots have landed Brown, GM Mickey Loomis said today. Loomis told NOPF's Kenny Wilkerson and Vince Marinello on WWL 870am this afternoon that Brown called him personally to report that he was going to sign with New England.

This series ain’t over yet

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links by Bryan:

Think Paul Pierce will read his local newspaper or tune in to sportsradio today?

As you might expect, there is no shortage of analysis–and outrage–from last night’s memorable Game 6 in the local media. Plenty of Celtics links are on tap here

The Celtics escaped from Indiana last night with a memorable 92-89 overtime victory (box score) at Conseco Fieldhouse, forcing a Game 7 at the Fleet tomorrow night. It will be the first Game 7 for the Celtics in Boston since the Larry Bird days.

John Thompson said on the TNT broadcast last night that the FCC limited the vocabulary he could use to best describe what happened in the closing seconds of regulation, when Pierce was hit with his second technical – and therefore an ejection as well – for retaliating against Jamaal Tinsley after receiving a hard foul. No. 34 also chose to leave the floor in disgrace, taking off his shirt and waving it around to the Indiana fans.

Bob Ryan writes:

We had enough crazy stuff go on in Games 1-5, what with the blowouts and the responses and road victories and all, but last night we entered a hoop twilight zone in a game that featured the single most unforgivable, untimely, stupid, and flat-out selfish on-court act in the history of the Celtics.

Howard Bryant also weighs in on Pierce – the online headline is “Pierce out of his mind: But he gets shot at redemption” – but you’ll have to be a paid subscriber to read his column.

David Scott looks at the Celtics TV postgame coverage and Pierce talk in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots, and BSMW’s Full Court Press also breaks down Game 6.

On WEEI this morning, John Dennis and Jon Meterparel took the Pierce’s-act-was-inexcusable side; Gerry Callahan went a bit easier, pumped up from “the most amazing game [he’s] seen [the Celtics] win in years.”

Moving away from Pierce, Mark Murphy and Peter May write on the up-and-down night of Antoine Walker.

Michael Vega reports on the 11-point, (career-high) 14-rebound night for Al Jefferson, while Steve Bulpett has the news that Big Al was named to the NBA’s all-rookie second team.

A new ace?
Bronson Arroyo (4-0) hasn’t lost a game in 15 starts. Yesterday he didn’t allow a hit until the seventh and picked up the victory in a 2-1 win over the Tigers.

Ian Browne, Chris Snow, Michael Silverman, Joe McDonald, and David Heuschkel file game stories.

Nick Cafardo and Karen Guregian have more on the outing by Arroyo.

The Sox notebooks from Snow, McDonald, and Silverman focus on a day of rest for Manny Ramirez and the finger injury that caused Edgar Renteria to leave yesterday’s game.

Guregian also writes about the game-winning hit delivered by a slumping David Ortiz.

On the steroids front, Don Amore reports that U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays is in favor of the newer, tougher proposal presented by commissioner Bud Selig last week.

On the media
Kentucky Derby coverage leads the columns of Bill Griffith and Jim Baker.

Do-or-die Game 6 facing Celtics

Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan:

Pacers TV analyst Clark Kellogg was a guest on “Dennis & Callahan” on Monday, and said that when a basketball team gets blown out, it usually returns as the hungrier side when the two teams play each other again. While that may be a case of nonsense psychological radiospeak, Kellogg’s words have certainly rung true in this Boston-Indiana series. Twice the Celtics have won in a cakewalk, and twice they have lost the following game.

Last night, the visiting Pacers took a 3-2 series advantage with a 90-85 win over the Celtics (box score) at the Fleet. The best-of-seven series now returns to Indiana for tomorrow night’s Game 6.

Antoine Walker’s had a rough go of it this series, as Peter May, Mark Murphy, and Tom E. Curran write.

Dan Shaughnessy says that nobody has any idea what’s in store for the rest of this first-round matchup, while Michael Gee thinks the Jermaine O’Neal-Danny Ainge verbal jousting is a bunch of hullabaloo.

Bob Ryan writes about the Pacers’ playoff experience in his first appearance in the Globe since the controversial Nomar column on April 22.

Lenny Megliola points out that we may have seen the last home game of the season for the “trick-or-treat Celtics”.

Mirabelli powers Sox past Tigers
Michael Silverman and Chris Snow have the game story of a 5-3 Red Sox victory in Detroit.

Here are a few other Red Sox/baseball stories of interest today:
* Karen Guregian has a response from MLB to David Ortiz’s contention that a language barrier prevents baseball’s Latino players from fully understanding the new drug policy.
* Silverman and Michael O

Game 5 tonight

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan:

It’s been a busy day at work, so I only have time for a few links–some on the Celtics, Sox, and Boston media.

Hoops links
In an article by Chris Nelsen, the Herald plays up the barbs being traded by Danny Ainge and the Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal today. In the Globe, Shira Springer writes that Antoine Walker was “going crazy” while watching Game 4 from an Indianapolis hotel.

Howard Bryant (online subscription required) also has a look at Antoine today. He contends that Antoine has more value to the Celtics than to any other team (other media members have made this point as well) and is the face and heart of the franchise.

Rob Bradford explains how Reggie Miller disrupts an opposition’s defense, as he runs through an endless series of screens.

Steve Bulpett reports on Ricky Davis not winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.

Last year for Damon?
I doubt it. Still, Damon is floating the idea that if doesn’t re-sign with the Red Sox after this season or land a favorable 5-year deal with another team on his short list, he may very well hang up his spikes. Michael Silverman has the story.

With news of the suspension of Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon coming down, Karen Guregian and Nick Cafardo have David Ortiz saying that many Latinos don’t fully understand baseball’s banned-substances policy, and that players’ meetings aren’t translated into Spanish. If Ortiz is right, I can certainly recommend a couple of translation companies to MLB.

Cafardo also writes on the struggles of the Red Sox offense.

WEEI ratings
Bill Griffith breaks down the winter ratings book for WEEI, and also writes that the “[Michael] Holley-Dale Arnold midday pairing on WEEI seems to be a bit too much Mr. Nice Guy.” Jason Wolfe tells him not to jump the gun on the two-month-old program.

WEEI is also on the agenda in John Molori’s Media Blitz. Molori praises the Big O, Dennis and Callahan, and Pete Sheppard, among others.

Bruce’s vacation begins

(Bruce is on vacation this week. Fill-in links posted by Bryan:

A few links from the papers while listening to Doug Flutie and Kevin Millar talk on “The Big Show” on WEEI…

Sox take two of three in Texas
In spite of another shaky outing by closer Keith Foulke (read the sidebar story by Karen Guregian) in the 9th inning yesterday, the Red Sox managed to hold on for a 6-5 win against the Rangers (box score). Edgar Renteria’s average fell to .227 with a 1-for-5 performance at the plate, and he also committed his fourth error of the season, but an “On Baseball” column by Gordon Edes says the Sox expect their shortstop to round into form soon.

First baseman Kevin Millar (.250, 0 home runs) is also struggling, and the Red Sox have signed first baseman John Olerud to help at the position. Chris Snow and Michael Silverman have reports on the roster shuffles being made by the Sox to accommodate Olerud.

Silverman also has a feature article on team massage therapist Russell Nua.

In a story from yesterday’s Eagle-Tribune, Alan Siegel catches up with Doug Mientkiewicz, who hasn’t yet decided where he will safely store his World Series ring. Also from yesterday, Edes writes about commissioner Bud Selig’s new, tougher proposal on steroid testing. I would guess that Donald Fehr will have a little something to say in response to Selig’s “three strikes, and you’re out” plan. Also on the steroid front, Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon was suspended for 10 days today by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

In the Sunday business section, the Globe’s Bruce Mohl and Charles Stein had a look at the exorbitant prices fans are willing to pay for Sox tickets, as well as the general economics of sports ticket reselling.

Celtics-Pacers Game 5 tomorrow night
Another two days off between Celtics playoff games. Today Peter May writes that the Pacers are still holding out hope that injured point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who has been sidelined since February, will return to the lineup in this series. One player certain to play tomorrow night is Antoine Walker, who was suspended for Saturday’s Game 4. An unnamed ProJo story has Doc Rivers insisting the Walker will reclaim his starting spot. Steve Bulpett also reports on the return of Walker.

Dan Shaughnessy has a basketball-oriented picking-up-the-pieces column today, but does include this interesting Red Sox note:

One final thought, which has nothing to do with basketball. Has anyone else noticed the cheesy subliminal trick NESN plays every time it broadcasts a replay during a Red Sox game? You have to watch closely, but the World Series trophy flashes across your screen for a nanosecond leading into and out of every replay. It's downright Pavlovian. Do the Sox think anyone around here has forgotten they won?

I hadn’t seen the World Series nanosecond flash.

Other links
Mike Reiss has several Patriots notes today in his Reiss’ Pieces blog. Frank Dell’Apa chronicles the fast start (4-0-1) for the New England Revolution.