Wells Dominant Again

The Red Sox make it three wins in a row over the National League, we’ve got a number of football stories still, a look at the Pistons taking game three, some Tiger Woods articles for this weekend’s US Open, and the Globe issues a disclaimer.

David Wells was once again on his game, and for the third straight night the Red Sox received strong starting pitching and also crushed the ball. David Heuschkel says that Wells has upheld his reputation as an interleague ace. Jeff Horrigan looks at how Wells flirted with a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings last night. Nick Cafardo looks at a strong all around game for the Red Sox, which included a home run for Manny Ramirez, who might be coming around. Steven Krasner notes that since Theo Epstein spoke out over the weekend, the starters for the Red Sox have been outstanding. Rom Chimelis calls last night one of the finest performances in Wells’ long career. David Borges notes that Wells earned himself another $200,000 with the start last night – and was worth every penny. Christopher Price says Wells has rounded into form nicely. Lenny Megliola also looks at Wells, who knows he has to pitch well at Fenway.

Alex Speier writes that though Wells is only 5-4, his victories have been “ace-like stuff”. Jim Donaldson says that the key for Wells is always getting ahead in the count. Tony Massarotti has more on the incentives earned by Wells by taking the mound last night and how he is still a bargain. Stephen Harris looks at tonight’s starter, Bronson Arroyo, who hopes to break out of his slide and turn in a strong performance. Christopher Price looks at a tale of two seasons this year for Arroyo. Gordon Edes says that the reason Keith Foulke hadn’t pitched in nearly a week was a flareup of back problems, but the Red Sox closer looked sharp last night. Art Martone says that the ceremony naming the left field foul pole for Carlton Fisk was a swing and miss by the Red Sox owners. Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon (subscription only) looks at the gap between the AL and NL as evidenced by pitchers who switch leagues. He also looks at the glut of books on the market (27 to date) regarding the Red Sox World Series victory. He recommends a couple other baseball books if you’re looking to get some separation from that historic event to get some perspective.

Marvin Pave looks at how Mike Myers keeps showing up making his appearances and getting guys out. Ron Chimelis says that the Red Sox biggest problem has been not playing with a sense of urgency. In a another piece by Harris, Jason Varitek says of Manny in a quote that appears in other articles this morning as well: “He doesn’t have to be anything more than he is – the best right-handed hitter in the game.” Somewhere, Peter Gammons is cringing. Jason, have you ever heard of Albert Pujols? (Just kidding, Peter.) Joe McDonald looks at Manny finding his power stroke. Horrigan has a brief update on Johnny Damon’s heel, Pave also has a piece on Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller, who both extended hitting streaks last night.

Cafardo’s notebook has Arroyo hoping for a good outing tonight. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Arroyo, who doesn’t feel public appearances for his CD are a cause of his struggles. Borges’ notebook also looks at Arroyo. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Curt Schilling throwing some batting practice to Arizona State players yesterday. Krasner’s notebook says that Schilling is expected to arrive in town today to have his ankle examined. Chimelis’ notebook looks at a reunion in Agawam for Reds manager Dave Miley.

An eagle-eyed reader noted an apparent contradiction in a couple of the notebook items. Horrigan’s notebook states:

Curt Schilling ended his two-week rehabilitation stay in Arizona on an apparent positive note yesterday by throwing batting practice to Arizona State University players and a couple of former major leaguers.

Nick Cafardo’s notebook has the following to say:

Francona also said Schilling was going to throw batting practice to Arizona State hitters, but he had to find someone else because NCAA rules prohibit that.

Not really a major issue, but it would interesting to know who was right in this instance.

A number of good football articles this morning, notably, none are from the major papers. Chris Kennedy has a look at second year tight end Benjamin Watson, who recalls how hard it was to sit and watch with his injury last season, and is looking forward to contributing this year. Mike Reiss looks at another second year player, receiver P.K. Sam, who appears to have grown up quite a bit during his year with the Patriots. He’s been hanging out with Deion Branch, which can only be a good influence on the youngest player in the 2004 draft. Eric McHugh looks at young receivers Sam and Bethel Johnson, who have both been working very hard this summer. According the article, Johnson injured his foot by pushing himself too hard in offseason workouts. Lenny Megliola looks at Andre Tippett, who has a love for New England and is glad to have “been the face of the organization in many ways”.

Shira Springer reports on the Piston making it a series, winning game three last night 96-79. She also reports on the Lakers re-hiring Phil Jackson, and her notebook looks at Manu Ginobili getting a little banged up last night.

Going into this week’s US Open, Bob Ryan has a look at Tiger Woods, who in many ways remains on his own level. Joe Gordon also looks at Woods, who aims to win another Major this weekend. George Kimball (subscription only) has Phil Mickelson recalling the 1999 US Open, held at the same location it is this year, and his tough loss to Payne Stewart in that event. Jim McCabe looks at Brookline’s James Driscoll preparing for his first US Open.

Michael Holley predicted it during the Keith Foulke/Alabama mess – perhaps he was working on inside information – but last night the Globe sports department effectively disassociated themselves from the Boston Dirt Dogs web site. On the page now in the left hand side there is a notice: “BDD is a feature of Boston.com. It is not produced by The Boston Globe Sports Dept. More” If you click on the “more” link, you’re brought to a popup that says simply:

Boston Dirt Dogs is a fan site produced by Boston.com. The Boston Globe newspaper and its Sports Dept do not oversee the site and have no role in its production. BDD


Sox beat the Reds

The local nine enjoys their return home, a few Patriots items and opinions offered up, and preparations for this weekend’s US Open make up the sports headlines in Boston this morning.

The Red Sox got back home and back to business last night, dispatching the Cincinnati Reds 10-3 at Fenway Park. Nick Cafardo looks at the Red Sox handling business at home. Jeff Horrigan writes that the Red Sox found a comfort zone between the Pesky and newly named Fisk foul poles. Steven Krasner observes that the Red Sox should find some comfort in knowing that they will be will be playing more games at home the rest of the season. Jeff Goldberg writes that the Red Sox took advantage of the gifts handed them by the Reds to win the game. Andy Vogt looks at the Red Sox pounding on Eric Milton and getting a strong outing from Matt Clement.

Before last night’s game, the left field foul pole was officially named Fisk Pole, after Carlton Fisk’s dramatic game winning home run in the 1975 World Series. Lenny Megliola reports on the brief ceremony prior to the game. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox “enshrined a moment last night of mixed significance” last night. Marvin Pave and Rich Thompson also report on the newest addition of nostalgia to Fenway Park. It was also the main subject of Goldberg’s notebook.

Jackie MacMullan looks at a strong bounceback outing from Matt Clement, who had struggled in his previous start, but stifled the Reds last night and posted a season high nine strikeouts. She includes an exchange with Ken Griffey Jr, who didn’t see any improvement in Clement over last season. Paul Kenyon says that Clement’s strikeout of Griffey in the fourth was the key point of the game. Howard Bryant has a couple of the Reds in awe of the Wall. Kevin McNamara says that Wrigley field is baseball ultimate frat house. Bryant also has a Subscription Column in which he says that by June 30th, we should have a pretty good idea of the AL East, as the Orioles haven’t played as well against sub-.500 clubs, something that the Red Sox traditionally have done well. This two week stretch should tell us a lot about the clubs and their staying power, according to Bryant. Pave also has a piece on Johnny Damon, who remains red-hot despite a sore foot, which will have him in a soft cast for a few days.

Cafardo’s notebook looks at a long day for Jason Varitek, as the Red Sox didn’t get into town until 2:45 AM, and then his third daughter was born at 4:04 AM. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Brad Mills stepping in for Terry Francona last night. The Projo notebook has more on Damon’s injury and several other items.

Dan Pires has a good article this morning on new Patriot receiver David Terrell, who joins the team with a chip on his shoulder – and that appears to be a good thing. Last night on FSNE, Michael Felger and Alan Greenberg talked a bit about the receivers, neither is that high on Terrell, who they thought looked slow at minicamp and didn’t run clean routes. Greenberg is big on second year man P.K. Sam, and Felger believes that Bethel Johnson might not even make the team this year. Pires’ article closes with more on Richard Seymour and his situation. Mike Reiss reports on Seymour’s appearance that the Patriots Golf event yesterday. Michael O’Connor also has a short report on that topic. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that Seymour has gone about things the wrong way. He’s been doing things this the Terrell Owens way, which isn’t smart.

There was the right way to do this, and the T.O. way. Unfortunately, Seymour went the T.O. route. He could have been smart and tactful and won the support of fans and media without putting Belichick on the spot. He could have told the media, in a casual, offseason setting, that he just loves it here in New England, that he wants to play here for the rest of his career. But life in the NFL is short. A guy has to look out for his family and his future.

Walking off the job only helps one kind of disgruntled athlete: the kind who wants to keep on walking. This could be an exit strategy, a way to force Belichick to move him to another team.

Callahan says that the Patriots would be dumb to trade Seymour, and they just don’t do dumb things. This media sitdown idea was something Callahan was pushing to Steve Burton, who filled in for John Dennis yesterday. He was urging Burton to get Seymour on “Sports Final” and do the above. Eric McHugh has a piece on Tedy Bruschi and how he is in career limbo, but he is not out of the loop, as he has been a mental and verbal participant the Patriots offseason activities. O’Connor’s notebook looks at Tom Brady pretty much playing the role of a coach on offense, how Doug Flutie is learning to plays as his backup and Troy Brown wishing Ty Law well.

Peter May looks at time getting urgent for the Pistons. Bill Reynolds looks at Sports Illustrated’s story on the And1 basketball tour.

Lenny Megliola looks at Boston College making preparations to make the leap to the ACC next season.

Bill Griffith previews coverage of this week’s US Open, which will be all over ESPN. He also looks at the comings and goings at NESN and has a few other notes.

Keep up with things in the Big Apple in the New York Sports Headlines page.

NESN has Red Sox/Reds at 7:00. ABC has Spurs/Pistons at 9:00.

Ring in the New Year

The Sox finally win one at Wrigley, the Patriots get their rings, and a Monday edition of Media Blitz comprise the links for another Monday morning.

The Red Sox managed to take the final game of a three game series with the Cubs, beating Chicago 8-1 behind Tim Wakefield, who perhaps was also boosted by the return of catcher Doug Mirabelli. Chris Snow looks at Wakefield playing a complete game, though not throwing one. Jeff Horrigan says that the Red Sox responded to a “warning shot” fired by GM Theo Epstein. Sean McAdam looks at Wakefield making a mechanical adjustment in order to help the Red Sox salvage a 2-4 NL Road Trip. David Heuschkel says that Wakefield was in high gear, both on the mound and on the basepaths. David Borges and Joe Haggerty round out the accounts of Wakefield picking up the Sox at Wrigley Field.

Dan Shaughnessy takes a look back at the weekend and talks to some of the fans who were in town to witness the first regular season meeting of the Red Sox and Cubs. Tony Massarotti is unsure whether these Red Sox have what it takes to win another championship. He says that if that’s the case, then Theo Epstein should not part with any of his top prospects at the trading deadline. Gordon Edes looks at possible moves and additions for the Red Sox, but also agrees that any moves should not be major and might just involved getting their own players back healthy (Schilling) or on track (Manny Ramirez). Borges also writes that any changes to the club will likely have to happen internally.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) does not approve of the “stunt” of naming the left field foul pole “Fisk’s Foul Pole” an event that will happen tonight with the Cincinnati Reds in town. Buckley says that you can’t arbitrarily name things like this, they have evolve naturally, as the name Pesky’s Pole did. Horrigan reports on Doug Mirabelli returning to the active roster. Massarotti also weighs in on the solid start from Tim Wakefield. In his Metrowest Beat column, which is mostly high school items, Mike Reiss takes a look at Red Sox draftee Craig Hansen and the electric stuff he brings to the Red Sox organization. Yesterday Garry Brown looked at West Springfield honoring Hall of Famer Leo Durocher, who would’ve turned 100. Bob Halloran says that the Red Sox struggles must be Nomar’s fault. It’s meant to be tongue in cheek, but Halloran contradicts himself when he says the struggles aren’t due to injuries to Schilling and David Wells, it because of the pitching. Well, it stands to reason that if those two pitchers were healthy, the pitching would be better…wouldn’t it?

Gordon Edes has a very nice feature on the work done by Reds star Sean Casey to fight hunger in Lawrence, Ma.

Borges’ notebook looks at Kelly Shoppach being sent down to make room for the return of Doug Mirabelli. Heuschkel’s notebook says that Theo Epstein won’t be out to make a quick fix in the next six weeks or so. McAdam’s notebook and Horrigan’s notebook each look at Johnny Damon falling a single short of hitting for the cycle. Snow’s notebook looks at the naming of the Fisk Pole tonight.

The Patriots received their Super Bowl rings last night in a ceremony at owner Robert Kraft’s home. patsring.jpg Jerome Solomon has the story in the Globe about the event, who was there, and what they had to say about about. He provides some specifics on the rings, which you can see pictured to the right here.

With 124 diamonds, 20 more than the rings from the previous season, this year's rings are quite eye-catching. Twenty-one of the diamonds are around the Patriots logo, representing the team's winning streak that ended in the middle of last season, and there is a trio of Lombardi Trophies -- topped with marquise-cut diamonds on the centerpiece.

On one side of the ring, there is reference to each of the team's championships in '01, '03, and '04. On the other is the 24-21 score of the most recent Super Bowl victory over Philadelphia, as well as the team's 9-0 playoff mark since 2001.

Very impressive indeed. Tom E Curran also has a detailed report from the festivities, noting the comings and goings and the reactions of various players and former players as they entered and greeted Kraft. Rich Thompson has a shorter report on the evening. Check out Mike Reiss’ blog for a report of last night, in addition, he has comments from Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi, but neither would address their future with the Patriots. Thompson also has a report on Seymour attending, but declining comment on his situation. There were plenty of Patriots articles over the weekend, if you missed them, be sure to review yesterday’s post.

Ron Borges somewhat defends Mike Tyson for his performance and actions on Saturday night, saying that the former Champ is weighed down with personal matters and hurting inside. George Kimball also weighs in on the fight, noting that McBride might be known as the guy who finally rid us of Tyson.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at NESN vice president of programming and production Bill Borson leaving the network. He also looks at the rebirth of the career of Bob Rodgers over at 96.9 FM.

Scan the New York papers, and get the stories on Pedro Martinez’s latest outing over at the NY Sports Headlines page.

NESN has Red Sox/Reds at 7:00. ESPN has Braves/Rangers at 8:00.

Sunday Football

The Patriots fill the Sunday links today with news, notes and opinion columns from around New England. I do provide a few baseball and basketball links as well.

I guess the best place to start is the Sunday notes from Nick Cafardo. Where do I begin? Nick does a very nice job getting some interesting details about Tom Brady’s new contract. There’s some unique clauses and items included in the deal. It’s obvious though, that Cafardo’s main sources for these columns are almost solely player agents. He says that Richard Seymour “is being lauded in the agent community for standing up to the Patriots.” He then has three unnamed agents saying that the Patriots players are also happy that Seymour is doing this, because of what happened to Tedy Bruschi.

On Bruschi for a moment, the interesting thing to me about this is this: Bruschi was scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. His stroke occurred within days of the end of the season. He had NOT signed his new deal last season, he would be without a contract at all right now. That’s a sobering thought.

Then we get our weekly Drew Bledsoe update with the former Patriots QB getting yet another off field “good guy” award. We know Drew is a good man. We’ve moved on. So should Nick. Then there is a curious item about the Patriots front office. He mentions Tom Dimitroff as a possible future successor to Scott Pioli…

if Pioli moves on when his contract expires following next year's draft. After nine months of negotiations on the Brady deal, endless hours evaluating talent, and now the Seymour contract mess, one wonders whether Pioli is wearing too many hats.

So after proclaiming for the last few years that Pioli would want to move on to another team where he could have a bigger say, complete control and build his own team, now Nick says Pioli is doing too much here, right now. Does that make any sense? Nick moves on to having Raymond Clayborn wondering why his likeness isn’t hanging in the rafters of Gillette Stadium with other older players. He concludes by lauding Adrian Klemm for having “great insight” in his comments from earlier this week where he groused about the way the Patriots don’t reveal injury information.

All in all, it was just a Sunday’s work. From these pieces in the Globe, you would get the distinct impression that the Patriots franchise is the same as it was in the early 1990’s and early 1980’s, not the two-time defending Super Bowl Champions and the model franchise of the NFL.

OK…elsewhere on the Patriots…Mike Reiss talks to Tom Brady about the upcoming season. Brady feels this could be his “toughest” yet, with his new responsibilities, but is looking forward to the challenge. Alan Greenberg has an interesting piece on David Terrell who has chosen Deion Branch as his role model here with the Patriots and hopes to copy the Super Bowl MVP in work ethic and production. Eric McHugh has a very enjoyable article on Branch, who is not letting success get to his head, and is getting ribbing from his teammates about his role in an upcoming ‘Get Motivated’ self-empowerment seminar being held at the FleetCenter on June 28. Michael Felger’s Sunday notes says that the Patriots won’t budge on the Seymour situation and provides an update on Ty Law, as well as who the loudest coach on the offensive side of the ball over the weekend was. Tom E Curran says that the Patriots should pay Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison because those two deserve it. This after Curran reported yesterday about Harrison being unhappy with his own contract. Felger had also reported it, but somehow the tone was different in the two pieces. Jim Donaldson says Seymour should fulfill the contract that he signed, because even had he been a bust or injured, he would have been paid his bonus. If he wants to make more money, he should make up for it in his next contract.

Kelsie Smith has a piece in the Globe about Chad Brown and his adjustment to the Patriots and to the Belichick defensive system. Felger also has a sidebar item on Brown. Jerome Solomon wrote yesterday that the secondary should be a place to watch for competition in training camp. Felger’s notebook has Rosevelt Colvin finally feeling at 100% nearly two years after breaking his hip. Solomon’s notebook and McHugh’s notebook each preview tonight’s Super Bowl ring presentation ceremony to be held at owner Bob Kraft’s home.

Baseball…the Red Sox continue to struggle. We won’t spend too much time on them. Tony Massarotti says that Theo Epstein is prepared to make changes to this club in order to turn things around. Gordon Edes has a piece on Manny Ramirez and if his last at-bat yesterday was the start of a turnaround. Edes also has his Baseball Sunday Notes. Massarotti’s Covering all the Bases looks at the success of the Nationals in Washington DC.

Shira Springer has a brief note in the Globe which says that if traded, Paul Pierce would not report to Portland. However, she also has the following line about the Van Exel contract.

The attractive part of the proposal for a team acquiring Van Exel is that it would have a team option for next season and could save money by declining it.

Mark Murphy’s NBA notes looks at the impending lockout, and David Stern’s willingness to submit to that even though the Players Association has offered to play another year under the current deal. Peter May plays the annoying “what if” game with players that the Celtics let get away, for some reason he includes Tim Duncan on the list. He also comments on the Portland deal asking:

Portland also doesn't want to add Pierce's sizable salary to an already bloated payroll, and why would the Blazers pass on a possible star at No. 3 and surrender a valued asset in the nonguaranteed contract of Van Exel?

Bill Griffith’s media notes looks at the low appeal of the NBA Finals and previews the Sunday night sports shows.

You can check out the headlines in the New York Sunday papers over at the NY Sports Headlines page.

Clarification on Pierce for Van Exel

This morning I took the Big Show crew to task for not having any idea about how the “idea” of the Paul Pierce to Portland for Nick Van Exel and the number three pick in the draft would work. Glenn Ordway didn’t believe that the Celtics would be able to then dump Van Exel and use his money to sign a premier free agent.

I received an email this afternoon from a prominent Boston sports media member essentially challenging me to put up or shut up on this deal. This person wanted me to prove what I was saying and show where I was getting the information. They even wanted me to get into the CBA and explain it to them. So here goes…

I erred slightly in my presentation of the idea this morning. (The mentioned media member is not aware of this, I am stating this on my own after doing some more research on the matter.) I had stated that the Celtics could decline the option on Van Exel after making the deal and that this would free up the money that would have been coming to Van Exel had the option been exercised. That was incorrect.

I was going along with what Chad Ford had stated at ESPN Insider:

Van Exel has a team option on his contract this year. That means the Celtics could trade for his $12.7 million contract, and essentially waive him without owing him a penny. In other words, the Celtics would get the draft pick and cut their cap by more than $13 million (Pierce makes a little more than Van Exel).

That was my first and biggest mistake. So in this piece here, I’m going to show how Ford was wrong, but that how the deal can still work.

Here’s how it would work and why it would work.

It seems that back in 2002, Van Exel was so eager to get out of Denver and over to Dallas that he waived salary protection on the final year of his contract – 2005-06 – making the salary that year non-guaranteed. This article by Marc Stein from February, 2004 on ESPN.com bears that out:

In fact, he helped facilitate his trade to Dallas in the spring of '02 by waiving salary protection on the final year of his contract. In effect, he forfeited nearly $12 million -- but it helped convince the Mavericks to make the deal with Denver.

Van Exel thus has only one season of guaranteed money left on his contract after this season. He has an option to terminate the contract this summer and become a free agent but admits that he probably can't afford to opt out, saying, "I gave up a lot of money already."

This fact is repeated in these entries on the web site of the Oregonian.

So what are the implications of this fact?

I tried to look at the actual documents of the Salary Cap, which are usually available at http://www.nbpa.com/. However I could not connect to the site. In lieu of that, I went to a site that is considered a good reference for those wishing the understand the Salary Cap and CBA in “plain english”. Notice question number 52 and the answer:

52. Do released players count against the cap?

Released (waived) players with guaranteed contracts continue to be included in the team salary. Players whose contracts are not guaranteed, including training camp invitees who do not make the opening day roster, are included in team salary in the amount they made while they were with the team.

It would appear from that statement that if the Celtics were to acquire Van Exel and then release him, the only amount that would count towards the cap is the amount that he was paid in the short time he was with the club, which if it was in the summer, wouldn’t seem to be anything. Ford, in his above comment on the item, neglected to mention that Van Exel’s contract is not guaranteed next year.

Since that money would not be on the books and against the cap, the Celtics would be under the cap and able to pursue a free agent.

It took me about 10 minutes to research that. I knew that the deal would work and that the Celtics would be able to use the money, but I mis-stated how they would be able to do it. The bigger point is that it took such a short time to research the issue and find the answer. I expected that highly paid sports commentators would be able to at least do the same.

What made this complicated was the fact that this situation is so unique. I can’t imagine that many NBA players at or close to the max have any part of their deals that are non-guaranteed. It just doesn’t seem logical. But since Van Exel wanted out of his deal so badly he gave up the guaranteed salary for next year.

Now, the media person did bring up a good point regarding Antoine Walker.

Walker is covered under the Larry Bird rule meaning that he represents 150% of his last year's contract on their current salary cap number which amounts to $21,937,500. They would be forced to either renounce him outright or re-sign him to a much lower figure before they could sign any of those premium free agents.

It would appear that Walker would need to be dealt with before the Celtics would be able to move on this.

But again…Danny Ainge has shot this idea down, so we’re all dealing in hypotheticals. Right?

06.10.05 Afternoon

More Patriots stuff…Mike Reiss has a report from this morning’s session of Minicamp, which still did not include Richard Seymour. Reiss has Rodney Harrison (Who was rumored earlier this offseason to be unhappy with his contract) speaking on the subject and about Seymour. Eric McHugh has a good article on new Patriots linebacker Chad Brown, who like Tedy Bruschi, has shown the ability to make the big play in the past.

Tom King and Glen Farley look at Seymour failing to show up for the camp. McHugh can’t quite figure out what Seymour stands to gain by doing this.

The Red Sox and Cubs are playing in Chicago as I type this. Timothy M. Gay had a good article on USA Today on the two teams meeting for the first time since the 1918 World Series. There’s an interesting tidbit in the sidebar noting that a note uncovered in 1963 hinted that the 1918 Series might’ve been fixed. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interview with former Red Sox outfielder Dave Roberts about THE Steal.

Local guy Michael McCann of Harvard Law School will be on HBO’s “Costas Now” show tonight (9:00 PM) to talk about the NBA labor talks. Armen Keteyian interviewed McCann one-on-one to discuss the NBA’s efforts to implement an age floor. He separately interviewed David Stern and Billy Hunter, and HBO will contrast the three viewpoints. McCann was interviewed for two primary reasons: 1) His law review article Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft has generated attention among players, agents, and league officials, as it reveals that high school players have done better than any other group in the NBA and that it would be, in his opinion, economically and legally irrational to ban them; and 2) He was a member of Maurice Clarett’s legal team.

McCann also has a local blog that deals with Sports Law and is always an intriguing read.

A few little pieces from around the web:

Former Globe staffer Dave Doyle is out in Seattle, and like everyone else these days, he’s blogging. Today he started to write about Cam Neely being elected to the hall of fame, but instead the piece grew into being about how far the Bruins have fallen in the eyes of the Boston fan. Chad Finn has a look at Peter Gammon’s book “Beyond the Sixth game”. Barstool Sports updates their “Random Thoughts each day, sometimes on sports topics, sometimes not. Don’t you miss Clark Booth? He says the Yankees are always the center of attention in baseball. Yup, as you writing that column just proved, Clark, old bean.

Seymour makes a statement

A busy, busy morning today. We’ve got the stories on Richard Seymour’s no-show, all the articles about the Red Sox and the Cubs, a look at the lack of hoops knowledge on the local airwaves, and the usual Friday media columns.

The New England Patriots opened their only mandatory minicamp of the offseason with a conspicuous absence. Richard Seymour did not show up, and coach Bill Belichick would only say that Seymour’s absence was “unexcused”. As you would imagine, this is the top story this morning in the papers. Reports on the situation are filed by Michael Felger who notes that Seymour has been at all other team events this offseason, and Jerome Solomon, who says Seymour is likely to be fined. Alan Greenberg says that Seymour “isn’t indispensable”. A startling statement comes from Jonathan Comey, who says:

Sources close to Seymour told The Standard-Times the Pro Bowl lineman is prepared to sit out the entire season unless his contract is restructured.

Sitting out the season really does Seymour no good, because it would just mean he is under the Patriots control for another season. There is a “drop dead” week in the NFL where he would have to report by in order for that not to happen. Elsewhere, Tom E Curran notes that Seymour’s new agent has a history of holding players out. (Walter Jones of the Seahawks being the most notable example.) While not speculating too much, Ian M Clark says that this could just be a way of Seymour making a statement without missing anything significant. Chris Kennedy also reports on Seymour’s situation.

Felger also has a look how the quarterbacks threw the ball, specifically the candidates to be Tom Brady’s backup, Rohan Davey and Doug Flutie. Mike Reiss passes along some general observations from the sessions. Solomon’s notebook says that camp was a bit quieter without Charlie Weis’ booming voice. Felger’s notebook looks at the work done at the inside linebacker position yesterday. Curran’s notebook has more on the offense without Weis.

Did Ryen Russillo really say on Fox Sports last night something to the effect that Seymour was at least in part doing this for all his veteran teammates who are getting a raw deal and that they appreciate what he is doing?

The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs will face each other in a meaningful game for the first time since 1918 this afternoon out at Wrigley field. Gordon Edes has an extensive article on the frustrations of Cubs fans over the years. He touches all the bases on this one. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the matchup between the Red Sox and Cubs, and also takes a general look at the two franchises and connections between the cities. David Borges says that this matchup lost a little of its luster with the events of last October. Garry Brown also has look at this long awaited meeting. The Herald plays a little back and forth this morning as to which ballpark is better, Fenway or Wrigley. Tony Massarotti says Fenway, while Steve Buckley (subscription only) says Wrigley. John Connolly takes a look back at the 1918 World Series between the Red Sox and Cubs.

Sean McAdam says that rather than focusing on trades to improve his starting staff, Theo Epstein is hoping to get a fully healthy Curt Schilling back into the rotation. David Heuschkel says that Manny Ramirez just hasn’t been himself this season, but that this weekend in Wrigley might be a place to turn things around. Jeff Horrigan looks at today’s starter for the Red Sox, Bronson Arroyo. Stephen Harris looks at Milton native Rich Hill, working in the minor leagues for the Cubs. Horrigan has a brief note on Nomar getting his ring this weekend. Snow’s notebook has Terry Francona admitting his team is a little tired. He also has a minor league notebook which leads off with a look at first baseman Roberto Petagine. Horrigan’s notebook has Johnny Damon saying that the team needs to get more consistent.

Quite a bit of talk on sports radio yesterday revolved around the Celtics and the rumors of a potential deal with Portland. Mark Murphy has Danny Ainge shooting down the deal, while Tim Weisberg doesn’t think it is a possibility, noting that it originated on the two most unreliable sources on the internet…a message board and Chad Ford.

From just about all accounts, the deal has not even been discussed between the teams, so it’s not even a rumor, more of an “idea”. I don’t see it happening. The way it goes would be something like this: The Celtics would ship Pierce to the Blazers, who would send Nick Van Exel and the Number three pick in the draft to Boston. The Celtics would then cut Van Exel and use his money to pursue a high level free agent such as Ray Allen, Michael Redd, or perhaps a longer player like Stromile Swift or Tyson Chandler.

The panel on the Big Show had no clue about the players involved, or how it would work financially. Glenn Ordway said he spoke to two NBA people one of whom told him the Celtics would be able to spend the money, the other who told him they would not. It was painful listening to the exchange as it was clear no one on the program had a clue. It’s not that hard to get information these days, and yet quite a bit of time went by without any corrections, or clarifications being made. I guess it’s not really a big deal, since it’s only an “idea” and because WEEI is sports “entertainment”, not real sports talk. It’s more entertaining to float the idea out there with only half the information right and generate calls than it is to do a little work and get it right.

In any event, here’s how it would work. Van Exel’s contract has a club option for the 2005-06 season. The Blazers would trade him in the deal to the Celtics, the Celtics would then own that contract…they would then decline said option, making Van Exel a free agent, and taking the money off the Celtics books, because the contract would have ended. It’s not like cutting a player with a year left on his deal, or doing a buyout of any sort. Ordway, who purports to be the NBA expert on the program, was clearly out of the loop on this one, as he blustered about how if a team could just cut a player and get cap space, why wasn’t everyone doing it…that would be a totally different situation. Now whether this is realistic or not, shouldn’t the host and expert be familiar with it before speaking on it? How did that conference go that morning?

Another tactic which was maddening was Ordway’s harping on how the Celtics would be “blowing it up” again if they made this deal, and how that hasn’t worked for the last 15 years or so that the Celtics have struggled. He would then say that fans wouldn’t go through this again. It might be true that the Celtics are doing another youth movement, but I think we’d agree that this one seems different as there is stability at the top and a commitment to building a winner from the top down. Steve Buckley was saying that a team needs to bottom out at the right time and get that once in a decade player and that’s how you build an NBA team. Heard of that team in Detroit…the Pistons? Who is their franchise player that they had to bottom out to get?

Peter May looks at the Spurs defeating the Pistons in game one of the NBA Finals. Gabe Kahn says that injuries have helped the Spurs cause. May’s notebook looks at some old veterans getting their first shot at an NBA Finals.

After only two days, I revamped the NY Sports Headlines page to be a little more friendly to the eye. It might take a second to initially load, as it needs to fetch the current headlines, but it should be useful for those wanting to keep an eye on things down there.

John Howell talks to Al Michaels about his thoughts on the NBA Finals. Bill Griffith also looks at Michaels, but also at his brother David, who will be working the Belmont Stakes tomorrow. David Scott weighs in on anything and everything in the world of sports media in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots.

NESN has Red Sox/Cubs at 2:00. TBS has Braves/A’s at 7:30.

Alls Wells

The Red Sox avoid the sweep in St Louis, behind a sterling performance from David Wells. Cam Neely is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Patriots get the summer rolling with their mandatory minicamp starting today, and the NBA finals tip off tonight.

David Wells played the role of the stopper last night, shutting down the Cardinals over eight innings following a lengthy rain delay and helping the Red Sox avoid a sweep with a 4-0 victory over St Louis. Chris Snow looks at the dominant performance from the lefthander. Sean McAdam looks at Wells playing the role of the front-of-the-rotation ace, at least for one night. David Heuschkel notes that Wells has either been terrific or terrible this season, posting an E.R.A or 0.57 in his four wins and 13.21 in his four losses. Last night of course, he was terrific. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox managing to foil a Cardinal sweep behind the left arm of Wells. David Borges rounds out the game stories with his account of the action from St Louis.

Michael Silverman has more on Wells’ astounding performance. Nick Cafardo reports on hitting coach “Papa Jack” Ron Jackson and newly hired assistant coach Mike Barnett sitting down to talk about their roles and agreeing that the players need to be hearing only one voice when it comes to hitting advice. Borges looks at Manny Ramirez taking a seat last night, and remembers the slugger’s preseason prediction and how it appears to be coming true. Silverman also has a piece on Manny sitting, and how a source reveals that it may have had the desired affect on the outfielder. John Tomase takes a look at the Red Sox top draftees, noting that they got the exact two guys they wanted coming into this process. Horrigan has a brief note on yet another opposing batter getting hit by a Red Sox pitch.

Snow’s notebook says that Terry Francona will likely have a couple days off in the near future, one planned, one not. Borges’s notebook looks at Jackson and Barnett clearing the air. That is also the topic of Heuschkel’s notebook as well as Horrigan’s notebook. Kevin Millar found himself in right field last night as Manny was given the night off. McAdam’s notebook looks at this development.

John Connolly looks at that baseball factory, Franklin Pierce College, which has had players drafted in each of the last five years. Marvin Pave looks at Boston College having five players drafted in this year’s draft.

Cam Neely was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday. Kevin Paul Dupont and Stephen Harris report on the election. Some might question whether Neely played long enough or put up enough numbers to be deserving of the honor. However, he redefined a position, which is usually a ticket to the Hall of Fame whichever sport you play. Karen Guregian says that Neely is what hockey should be all about. Jackie MacMullan writes that Neely has done and accomplished even more off of the ice, tirelessly working with his foundation, The Neely House. She encourages going to the website of the foundation and making a donation. Mick Colageo also reports on Neely’s election.

The Patriots kick off their 2005 minicamp today, marking the first real get-together of their new squad. Tom E Curran says that the fight to make this team is going to “fill a few buckets of blood.” He looks down the roster and as you consider it, this could be the most talented team the Patriots have put together yet. Jerome Solomon also looks at the learning experience that this camp will provide for the new faces. Michael Felger outlines some points of interest to look for in the sessions.

Peter May looks at the NBA Finals finally getting underway this evening as the Spurs prepare to play game one after having the last eight days off. May’s notebook looks at the Pistons finding their way back to the finals. Shira Springer has a brief item noting the Celtics have raised ticket prices, but she also notes that the package sent to prospective season ticket holders promoted the younger players…Al Jefferson, Tony Allen and Delonte West, not Paul Pierce or Ricky Davis or any veteran. As she notes, you can’t draw much from that, other than the fact that the team is counting on the youngsters to be big.

Ron Borges has a feature on Irish heavyweight champion Kevin McBride, who has wanted to fight Mike Tyson since he was a kid. He’ll get his chance on Saturday night when the pair faces off in Washington D.C.

Don’t forget to check the NY Sports Headlines page to see the latest news from The Big Apple. The Times has a piece on the Red Sox heading into Chicago to face the Cubs.

ABC has Spurs/Pistons at 9:00

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06.08.05 Afternoon

A few afternoon links…

Eric McHugh has a two part preview of this weekend’s Patriots Minicamp. In the first article, he looks at the coaching changes, specifically the losses of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, spending more time of how the offense will be handled. In the second part, he has a look at some of the main storylines we’ll be following this week. Meanwhile, out in Wisconsin, Adrian Klemm has plenty to say about being out of New England, taking a few shots at how the Patriots do things, specifically regarding announcements of injuries. It appears Klemm wants everyone to know that he was hurt all the time and that was what kept him off the field, not a lack of talent or heart.

On ESPN.com Page 3, Louise K. Cornetta talks to the Red Sox players involved in the Queer Eye show about the experience. Chaz Scoggins looks at the Red Sox pitching woes. Chad Finn misses Pedro.

St. Louis Blues

The Red Sox return to St. Louis continues to underwhelm. We’ve got MLB draft coverage galore, Michael Felger files a quick update on Tedy Bruschi, there’s a couple articles on hoops and hockey to round things out.

Matt Clement suffered his first loss of the season as the Cardinals beat up on the Red Sox, 9-2 last night in St. Louis. Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox being thoroughly outclassed the last two nights. David Heuschkel says there have been no positives thus far in this series. Chris Snow recaps an ugly night all around for the Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Jeff Horrigan focuses mostly on Clement getting pounded for his first loss. David Borges meanwhile notes the strong outing for Jeff Suppan.

Nick Cafardo takes a look at the Red Sox draft picks from yesterday, noting that the team was not afraid to “go for it” in their selections. McAdam says that the team got itself a “couple of steals” in their selections. Damian Vega looks at the Red Sox using seven of their first 21 picks on high school players. Michael Silverman looks at first round pick Jacob Ellsbury. Adam Kilgore and Steve Conroy look at UMass pitcher Matt Torra getting drafted by the Diamondbacks.

Kevin Gray looks at NH’s own Chris Carpenter as he’s found a home in St. Louis. Silverman observes that there is a lot that just doesn’t feel right or good about your Red Sox right now. Borges looks at David Eckstein and how well he’s been playing, so well in fact that when the Red Sox drafted Dustin Pedroia last year, he’s been compared to Eckstein. Horrigan looks at the slew of hit batsmen late in the game last night, a topic also pursued by Cafardo, who says there were no ill intentions in the incidents. Horrigan also has Terry Francona disgusted about the MLB disciplinary process.

Bob Ryan browses through his personal collection of scorecards he’s personally filled out over the years, finding many memories and gems in the set. A terrific article from Ryan. Lenny Megliola looks at the man whose job it is to guard the World Series Trophy wherever it goes. Jim Donaldson looks at some of the bizarre and freakish injuries suffered by baseball players over the years. With the uncertain items around the Red Sox, Jonathan Comey has four things he’s pretty sure of with this club. Kevin Henkin is trying not to push the panic button.

Heuschkel’s notebook has a look at the Red Sox first round selection Ellsbury, who is compared to Johnny Damon. Borges’ notebook looks at the Red Sox drafting some high school players in among their selections yesterday. McAdam’s notebook looks at the continued rough homecoming for Edgar Renteria. Horrigan’s notebook also leads with Renteria. Snow’s notebook looks at Johnny Damon returning to the lineup.

Pedro Martinez was terrific last night, you can read about his exploits on a new page I created which grabs the sports headlines from the NY Times, NY Daily News and NY Newsday and displays them on one page, along with the covers of the latter two papers. The page is still a little rough around the edges, but it will work for now. It updates itself automatically, so you’ll have the headlines each morning. The NY Post doesn’t do RSS feeds and that is why it is not included. The page is located at http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/reader/nyc.php, and should be a good resource for keeping up with the happenings in New York.

Michael Felger writes that Tedy Bruschi is not likely to participate in this week’s full squad mini-camp, but the possibility of him playing even this season can’t be ruled out. He says in any event, the team seems to have covered itself at the position.

Peter May looks at the friendship between opposing coaches Larry Brown and Gregg Popovich as a backdrop for the NBA finals, which start tomorrow night. Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a half Red Sox, half Detroit Pistons edition of Boston Uncommon. He writes that the Pistons kept their championship squad intact, while the Red Sox have not done so, which might have been a mistake.

Be sure to also check out Part II of the Full Court Press Draft Preview. Jon Duke has a look at the guard prospects that might be available to the Celtics at pick number 18.

Kevin Paul Dupont has a look at Cam Neely, who is a good bet to be elected into the Hall of Fame today.

This is saying alot, but yesterday’s Big Show had to have been among the worst ever. They spent much of the afternoon arguing over the Edgar Renteria bunt from LAST WEEK, which was SUCCESSFUL. (Did Ordway’s home theater break the night before, so he couldn’t watch anything for “show prep”?) It reached a low point when Wendi Nix started screaming at Michael Felger in such a way that she has forever ruined my image of her.

NESN has Red Sox/Cardinals at 7:00 (ESPN2 Nationally) ESPN2 has Twins/Diamondbacks at 10:00.