Big Papi comes through again. What more can we say about this guy? We’ve also got a few Patriots items, an NBA draft preview, a look at the passing of a legend, and a Friday edition of Scott’s Shots.
With Keith Foulke having given up the go-ahead run, even while not being hit hard, things were looking grim at Fenway yesterday afternoon. There were two outs in the ninth, Mark Bellhorn was at first, Edgar Renteria was up, the first pitch came down at him….and he bunted! For a hit! This risky move served two purposes, it moved Bellhorn to scoring position, but perhaps more importantly, it allowed THE clutch hitter of our generation a chance to swing the bat. Maybe it’s because of the ending, but I think Nick Cafardo has a very good game story this morning in the Globe. With the Angels in town to start a series tonight, Jeff Horrigan notes that yesterday’s ending might’ve brought some bad memories for Jarrod Washburn. Joe McDonald focuses on the little things that allowed Ortiz to step to the plate in the first place. David Heuschkel has manager Terry Francona comparing Ortiz to a basketball player who wants to take the last shot. David Borges says that yesterday was the most beautiful day of the season for the Red Sox on many levels. Christopher Price wraps up a memorable day from Fenway Park.
Jon Couture says that slumps just can’t last with Big Papi around. He makes the point that while the Minnesota Twins had David Ortiz, they never had Big Papi. Jeff Jacobs writes that David Ortiz is the people’s champion. Jim Donaldson says that no matter how many times he does it, it just doesn’t get old seeing Ortiz win a game for the Red Sox. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that Ortiz is a rare superstar who puts up the big numbers, but still embraces the public attention and adoration.
After looking at Hanley Ramirez yesterday, Kevin Gray today takes a look at Dustin Pedroia, who will likely hit the big leagues even quicker than the much touted Ramirez. Chris Snow looks at the perfect bunt executed by Edgar Renteria, setting the stage for Ortiz. Mike Shalin observes that Renteria does all the little things right. Shalin also looks at Keith Foulke breathing a sigh of relief after Ortiz’s heroics. Rich Thompson looks at the performance of starter Matt Clement, who didn’t get a win, but was solid regardless. Thompson also looks at Baltimore closer B.J. Ryan failing to get the job done. Fluto Shinzawa looks at the Orioles bullpen finally breaking down. Jon Wallach writes about Orlando Cabrera coming back to town Horrigan also has a brief piece on the former Red Sox shortstop, who spent yesterday afternoon in the Red Sox Spanish broadcasting booth. Shawn Boburg looks at the wake for fallen broadcaster J.P. Villaman. Bill Griffith looks at how the tragic passing of Villaman has taken the air out of the broadcast booth this week.
Borges’ notebook says that the ninth inning showed the short and the long of it for the Red Sox. Heuschkel’s notebook has Francona critical of a one-game suspension handed to Joe Torre, while he himself got three games for the very same offense. Horrigan’s notebook has more on this topic as does Cafardo’s notebook. McDonald’s notebook observes that while he didn’t get the win, Matt Clement continued his streak of consistency. Chris Snow has a minor league notebook which leads off with a look at Jon Papelbon.
There was a notion floated yesterday on WEEI, both after the game and during Ted Nation that David Ortiz doesn’t get enough appreciation from the fans. The complaint was made that fans and the media pay more attention to a guy like Kevin Millar when they should be paying attention to Ortiz. I have two thoughts on this. First, I believe the average fan pays way more attention to Ortiz than Millar, everytime I’ve been out, or with my friends and the topic of the Red Sox comes up, inevitably David Ortiz is talked about. People love the guy. Kevin Millar is hardly ever mentioned, except in the context of being a goofball. (and I mean that in a good sense) However, if you listen to the radio, Millar is always a topic. This is a result of the media dictating the topic, as Millar is an easy subject for them, because he’s always saying or doing something. When he’s slumping, he’s even easier to talk about. Ortiz…well, everyone loves the guy AND he produces. What’s to discuss? Second, yes, people call the station and talk about Millar. However, I learned a long time ago that the callers to WEEI are in no way representative of the entire fan base or the average fan. These people for the most part have no problem going along with the direction of the hosts and talking about the players the hosts want to talk about.
A story has been circulating that the Patriots were the main backers of a proposal put before the NFL to restrict the movement of so-called Number Two men within football organizations. In fact, it had been dubbed the “Pioli rule”. However, Tom E Curran puts the dampers on the suggestion that the Patriots were the ones who started this idea and gives solid reasons why. Hector Longo looks at Richard Seymour’s appearance for Ronald McDonald House Charities and only mentions his contract in passing. A much better job than the one turned in by Matt Doucet yesterday. Mike Reiss has a few more details on Troy Brown’s contract.
The NBA draft is coming up, and I’m pleased to present the first of a three part series looking at draft prospects likely to be available to the Celtics at pick number 18. In part one, Jon Duke of the BSMW Full Court Press has a look at players that seem to fit Danny Ainge’s “vision”.
Matt Eagan writes about the passing of George Mikan, basketball’s first superstar big man. Shira Springer’s notebook mentions the moment of silence before last night’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals game five. There was a moving story on ESPN a few weeks ago about the health problems facing Mikan and how the league wasn’t giving him a full pension, meaning he had to start selling some of his memorabilia in order to pay his medical bills. Having retired prior to 1965, Mikan wasn’t eligible for the full pension, something that the league hoped to change in the current CBA talks going on. To this point, the players had refused to step up and pay the pensions of the few players remaining from that era. I recall as a fifth grader up in NH, I was getting interested in basketball and the only book in my school library was an NBA history book from the late 1960’s. The book was old then, but I was fascinated by the pictures and accounts of Mikan and the old time players, something that keeps my interest to this day. They had to change the rules of the game, this guy was so dominating during his day. Update – I’m glad to see that Shaquille O’Neal has stepped forward and offered to pay for Mikan’s funeral and burial.
Russ Conway says that the NHL and the player are closer to an agreement, but it isn’t done yet. Stephen Harris has Harry Sinden keeping a wait and see attitude regarding the talks, terming the optimism that has surfaced recently “premature”.
David Scott pitches to the new Herald sports editor, offering his helpful suggestions, and has a plethora of other items in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots.
UPN38 has Red Sox/Angels at 7:00.