Mankins Signs

The website Profootballtalk.com was the first to report that the Patriots and first round pick Logan Mankins had come to an agreement.

Patriots.com has the official news on the signing. The signing puts into question a couple things that appeared in the local media yesterday.

Nick Cafardo in his NFL Notes yesterday:

The Patriots appear confident they'll get No. 1 pick Logan Mankins signed to a six-year deal by the time training camp opens, which is far more optimism than many agents and teams can muster concerning first-round picks. As of Friday, none had been signed. Most agents are waiting for the hierarchy -- the Alex Smiths of the world -- to get signed, so they know where their player is slotted. Even though in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement teams can only prorate five years of the signing bonus, the Patriots aren't budging on their six-year demand, which gives them control of the player well into their unrestricted free agent years.

More from Nick yesterday:

Ben Watson, Ty Warren, and Vince Wilfork all signed six-year deals. The only player who escaped it was Daniel Graham, who signed a five-year deal, but the Patriots only did it because they weren't as sold on Graham as they were their other first-round picks.

ESPN’s report today on the Mankins signing:

The Patriots became the first team to sign a first-round pick by reaching a five-year, $6.4 million deal with guard Logan Mankins, the 32nd pick in the 2005 draft.

So did the Patriots budge off their six year demand, or was the demand never there? Or are the Patriots not sold on Mankins and are thus only offering him a five year deal?

ESPN didn’t get it all correct though.

The key to the agreement was getting the Patriots not to force a six-year contract on him. Last year, the Patriots signed tight end Daniel Graham, their first-round choice in 2004, to a six-year contract. His agent at the time, Tom Condon, refused to sign a contract that long for a pick that low in the first round and resigned as Graham's agent.

Graham didn't sign until Aug. 16, after an 18-day holdout. He played in the season opener, was inactive for the second game and was then placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Whoops. That’s supposed to be Benjamin Watson, boys.

A final thought on Cafardo’s Notes from a message board poster:

VERY late to the party on this one, but as I read in stunned silence the umpeenth Nick Cafardo NFL Sunday notes update on how Ty Law is feeling great and on (fill in the blank, but usually 6) number of teams radar screens, I wondered if Nick doesn

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Feeling the Heat

A hot day in Chicago leaves the Red Sox wilting. The buzz around the Patriots picks up as they prepare for their first days of training camp. A review of a few Sunday articles and Lance Armstrong completing his quest make up this Monday edition of the links.

The Red Sox went into yesterday’s game attempting to take three of four from the team with the best record in the American League. They had to settle for splitting the series as Bronson Arroyo struggled early and the Red Sox fell to the White Sox 6-4. Chris Snow takes note of the oppressive heat out in Chicago, hottest in at least ten years at U.S. Cellular Field. Paul Doyle says that the four game series revealed nothing about either team’s postseason chances. Steven Krasner notes that neither team was really able to make a statement this weekend. Michael Silverman notes that the Red Sox squandered plenty of opportunities yesterday. David Borges says that we can’t point to July 24th of this season as a turning point.

Turning point. The above articles from Borges and Krasner both reference last July 24th, which has gone down in legend among fans and media as the “turning point” of the Red Sox season. It was indeed perhaps the most memorable day of the regular season, as Jason Varitek scuffled with Alex Rodriguez and then Bill Mueller hit a game winning home run off of Mariano Rivera. John Tomase wrote a whole feature on the game and it’s significance yesterday. It’s been mentioned in this space before, but today is a perfect time to mention it again. The media loves “turning points”. Go back over the coverage of the team from this season or any season, and note how many times a writer will speculate that THIS game could be the turning point of the entire season. Whether it is a need to simplify things and be able to point to and anoint an exact moment when a team came together or just simply overanalyzing the impact that singular games and moments have on a club, I’m really not sure, though I suspect the former.

It has pretty much been universally accepted that the July 24th game of last year was the turning point for the 2004 Red Sox. It may have been, at least for the club’s own confidence against the Yankees. But in the big scheme of things was it? Well in the two weeks following the brawl, July 25 – August 7th, the Red Sox went 6-5. They went 11-8 until August 16th, which if you solely look at the standings and W-L records, might be called the true turning point of the season, as that is the date they started a 16 of 17, 19 of 21 streak which propelled them into the playoffs. So really it was about three weeks after the so-called “turning point” of the season when the Red Sox fortunes really did turn. But it’s a much better story to put the turning point on that July 24th game with the Yankees. That game might’ve given the Red Sox a spark to believe they could beat the Yankees, but it took a little while longer for things really to kick in for the Red Sox in 2004.

Tony Massarotti writes that the White Sox are “simply not that good” and should not scare the Red Sox and their fans. Gordon Edes looks at Bronson Arroyo and others sweating it out as they await the trade deadline this coming Sunday. Silverman looks at Arroyo, who while warming up yesterday discovered that he was without his trademark pitch, his sweeping curveball. Massarotti reports on how the Red Sox players were able to deal with the heat yesterday.

Snow’s notebook reports on rookie closer Craig Hansen, who signed over the weekend and is reporting to extended spring training in Fort Myers, Florida to begin work on his pro career. Silverman’s notebook looks at Alex Cora playing well at shortstop while giving Edgar Renteria a day off. Krasner’s notebook examines Arroyo having a bad feeling while warming up, and realizing he had no curveball. Doyle’s notebook looks at the Red Sox heading down to Tampa next, hoping to cool off a little bit.

Jerome Solomon looks at the Patriots rookies running around as they reported over the weekend for training camp. First round pick Logan Mankins remains unsigned. Michael Felger examines the tight ends and receivers for the Patriots, an area of strength (like many others) for this team. Felger has already predicted at least a couple times that veteran tight end Christian Fauria will be a casualty of camp. Michael Parente looks at the offensive line, for the most part a group of veterans that should keep Tom Brady safe and open holes for Corey Dillon. Alan Greenberg says that despite losing Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, the Patriots still have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and that might be enough to allow them to make history this season. Other than the always entertaining Willie McGinest, Nick Cafardo’s Pro Football Notes in the Globe yesterday held true to form, praise for Tom Donahoe in Buffalo, plenty of agent and contract talk, and speculation of Roman Phifer returning to New England, something that Felger has been talking about for months. I love the Daniel Graham comment, claiming that he only got a five year deal because the Patriots weren’t sold on him. And yet they moved up the draft to select him.

Also be sure to check out Jackie MacMullan’s feature yesterday on Doug Flutie and the battle his son and family face with Dougie Jr’s battle with autism. You might think you’ve heard this story before, but you haven’t heard it to this degree. A great job by MacMullan, and a glimpse at what we used see from the Sunday Globe on a regular basis.

Yesterday’s NBA notes held an interest contrast in conclusions. The negative Peter May writes that the young Celtics will never develop into more than just Clippers East, while Steve Bulpett, who was actually in Vegas and saw these young players with his own eyes…something May didn’t do…says that; “The more one sees of the young Celtics, the more it seems the best thing that could happen to this team would be for 2007 to get here in a hurry.” That seems to indicate that there is plenty of promise for this young team.

The Bruins got what they wanted out the labor deal, now the question is going to be whether anyone wants to play for them. Russ Conway attempts to answer that question in his Sunday NHL notes.

Bonnie DeSimone looks at Lance Armstrong finishing his quest for a seventh straight Tour De France and riding into the sunset as a champion. There are plenty more Armstrong stories on the New York Sports News page.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN has Orioles/Rangers at 7:00.

Sox Lose But Maintain Their Lead

Another loss for the Sox as they continue their win a few/lose a few pattern of the past month. Inconsistent starting pitching has been a large part of the problem and that was the case last night as Tim Wakefield surrendered a couple three run home runs in the sixth inning to the Major League leading White Sox and the Sox fell 8-4. The Boston Globe

Battle of the Sox

Out in Chicago, the first place Red Sox battled the first place White Sox in a back and forth contest that was tied in the ninth inning. Chicago pitcher Luis Vizcaino got Manny Ramirez to pop up in foul territory for the second out of the inning…but third baseman Joe Crede (who had been the hero for Chicago the inning before as his double tied the game off of Curt Schilling.)dropped the ball, giving Manny new life.

You could’ve guessed what happened next, as Ramirez crushed the next pitch 415 feet for the go-ahead home run. Jerry Remy on NESN had some very astute analysis on the Ramirez during that at-bat. He showed how Vizcaino busted Manny inside on the first pitch, and how Manny was looking for and adjusted to that pitched, by moving out in the batter’s box. The pitch he hit out was in the same location as the first, but Manny was further off the plate, so it was as if the pitch was right down the middle. Steven Krasner says that Manny showed why he is paid $20 million a year with that sequence. Michael Silverman observes that the Red Sox saved their best for last in this one. Chris Snow writes that this win felt as important as any this season. Paul Doyle reports on Curt Schilling getting the win in relief after Ramirez’s heroics. David Borges recaps the key plays of a back and forth contest in Chicago.

Gordon Edes looks at Chicago’s Joe Crede, who went from hero to goat in the span of an inning last night. Tony Massarotti writes that the White Sox may not “have the insides to win when it matters”. A curious statement after one game of four. Kevin Henkin writes that is time for Millar to take a seat. Joe McDonald looks at Dustin Pedroia’s wrist injury slowing his ascent to the Majors. Silverman looks at Mark Bellhorn, seeking a fresh start after his injury. Edes writes that trades can often appear out of nowhere, as he looks at the rumors now circulating, and compares them to the rumors last summer and the trades that actually went down at that time. Massarotti has a look at the job Ozzie Guillen is doing as manager of the White Sox.

Snow’s notebook looks at Manny taking some ribbing from his teammates because of his sore hamstrings. Borges’ notebook looks at the battle Mark Bellhorn faces when he returns from his injury, not only to get his spot back, but perhaps even to stay on the roster. Krasner’s notebook has Bellhorn hoping that the time away will help his struggles at the plate. Doyle’s notebook examines the trade rumors involving Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller and the Minnesota Twins. Silverman’s notebook has Millar shrugging off the trade rumors. Snow also cranks out a minor league notebook, with a look at Hanley Ramirez playing at second base, (not moving to second) and updates on Pedroia, Manny Delcarmen and Kelly Shoppach.

Bob Hohler has a feature on former Massachusetts schoolboy baseball player Joe Apotheker making accusations about steroid use on his Division II Barry University baseball team.

Kevin Paul Dupont and Stephen Harris look at the NHL players finally approving the new CBA. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports that the owners vote is due up next. Mick Colageo says that the NHL’s future is still cloudy in many ways. Harris looks at the Bruins slim shot at getting the number draft pick in the league lottery being held this afternoon. Coverage of the lottery, as well as of the league press conference and Bruins press conference will all be aired on NESN, starting at 3:00 this afternoon.

Michael Felger continues his training camp positional previews, today looking at the defensive line, a position that is loaded for the Patriots – with or without Richard Seymour. Nick Cafardo reports that Tedy Bruschi never sought medical clearance to play this season, and that he will likely be placed on the PUP list, and in the meantime will likely have some input into coaching the linebackers. Felger has a second article noting that the Patriots have a lot more to replace than just tackles and sacks when it comes to Bruschi’s absence this season. Jessica Heslam in the MetroWest Daily News talks to a Doctor who still has a hard time believing that Bruschi will ever play football again.

Bill Griffith looks at Comcast perhaps stepping in to fill the NHL cable void. John Howell looks at OLN enjoying their last chance to cover Lance Armstrong in the Tour De France, and also talks to Chris Collins about his “90%” report from earlier this week. Dave Doyle discusses 10 things he’d like to see disappear from sports and sports media. David Scott vents from the Vineyard in today’s edition of Scott’s Shots.

The New York Sports News is filled this morning with reports of the Yankees losing to the Angels, the new NHL labor deal, Larry Brown/Knicks rumors and at least one story on Chad Pennington and his recovering shoulder.

UPN38 has Red Sox/White Sox at 8:00. NESN has the NHL Press conferences and Draft Lottery starting at 3:00.

07.21.05 Afternoon

Eric McHugh says that we should not write off Tedy Bruschi for next season. He looks at Bruschi’s passion for the game how it drives him to compete and always be proving himself. Glen Farley writes that the announcement yesterday put an end to months of speculation. Tom King has a very good, complete article on Bruschi’s situation and decision and the impact it will have. Mike Lowe looks at how in so many ways Bruschi is the face of the New England Patriots. David Pevear rounds out the reports on Bruschi’s decision. McHugh examines the options available to the Patriots as they attempt to fill the void left by #54.

More on the Red Sox, Mike Fine looks at the Red Sox drubbing the Devil Rays and then heading out on the road to face the best team in baseball, record wise. Bob Stern looks at the Red Sox once again providing David Wells with plenty of run support in yesterday’s win. Alan Greenwood says that Tony Graffanino could see plenty of time in the Red Sox infield for the rest of the season. Chaz Scoggins looks at Gabe Kapler struggling in his second game with Lowell.

Jim Baker talks with former Bruins announcer Dave Shea, who is enjoying his new gig as announcer for the first place Washington Nationals.

This morning, to lead off the show, John Dennis told us all what sports radio is all about:

Alright let me see if I can explain something to you, with all due respect, let me explain something to you Bruschi, and then I

Bruschi out for ’05

After reporting on Tuesday night that Tedy Bruschi would in all likelihood being returning to the Patriots (90% certain), Chris Collins appeared on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program as well yesterday. The conversation indicated that the only thing holding up Bruschi’s return was getting the correct waivers, insurance and liability lined up. Collins’ source told him that he would be shocked if Bruschi did not play this season.

Well, the source is shocked. The rest of us probably aren’t all that shocked that Bruschi announced yesterday that he is going to sit out the 2005 season to make sure his health is sound before attempting to play pro football again. There are a myriad of reports on the situation in the papers this morning. Jerome Solomon, who had picked up the NECN story and run with it yesterday, says that the announcement yesterday was a direct result of the TV report. Michael Felger’s report contains some key related points to the situation, outlined in neat bulleted points. His sources tell him that Bruschi may not be placed on IR, but instead on non-football injury list or the physically unable to perform, both of which might allow him to make a late season return if things were to go well. Tom E Curran looks at the events leading up to this decision and notes that Bruschi’s absence will be just one of many dramatic changes that the Patriots will face this year. Alan Greenberg says that is it probably safe to assume that Bruschi was not medically cleared to play this season. Mike Reiss says that since the Patriots are normally prepared for any situation, yesterday’s announcement did not catch them by surprise as they made offseason moves in anticipation of this.

Chris Kennedy writes that Patriots fans can now deal with the certainty of the fact that Bruschi will not be on the field for the team this season. Michael Parente goes over the events of this offseason and notes that the Patriots will now hope that Bruschi’s wisdom rubs off on the players taking his place on the field. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that while Bruschi may have been physically healthy enough to play, he made a wise choice in being cautious and sitting out. Nick Cafardo cautions those who might think that this was a retirement announcement. He says that Bruschi’s desire to play football is as great as ever, and that we shouldn’t rule out his return in the future. Nick does say however that:

It's too bad we couldn't hear it from Bruschi rather than a statement from the team spokesman or an ambiguous quote from the head coach.

While I agree it might’ve been nice to hear from Bruschi, I’m sure we will hear from him directly in the future, and the little shot at Belichick was out of place in this article. For the record, here is Belichick’s statement on the matter.

All offseason, we have seen and felt Tedy

Back in First

The Red Sox finally get back into the “W” column. A report has Tedy Bruschi looking to play this season for the Patriots, some hockey talk and old time NBA player pension talk as well today in the newspapers.

The Red Sox got back on track (and back in first place) with a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay last night. Bronson Arroyo got the win, and Curt Schilling picked up his first save since 1992. Nick Cafardo reports on the game as wells as a bit of roster shuffling in the afternoon. Jeff Horrigan writes that perhaps a few things contributed to the Red Sox playing as if they had received a swift kick in the behind. Joe McDonald looks at the Red Sox being able to stop the bleeding, at least for one night. David Heuschkel notes that will Schilling being able to pitch well on back to back nights, he’s showing progress in his recovery. Andy Vogt writes that Schilling wasn’t the only one out of the bullpen impressing people last night, as Mike Timlin was stellar as well.

The Red Sox made a number of minor moves yesterday, and Sean McAdam notes that none of them were really a big deal. Lenny Megliola also ponders over the comings and goings on Yawkey Way. Rich Thompson talks to Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar about how trade rumors work out and how they affect a team. Horrigan looks at Alan Embree being designated for assignment as part of the moves made. Thompson also has a look at Bronson Arroyo’s performance last night, Arroyo himself has been the subject of trade rumors.

Dan Shaughnessy devotes a column to Manny going in and out of the Green Monster. For the record, I was at the game on Monday night, saw Manny go into the wall, saw him come out, and didn’t think it was nearly as close to Miller’s next pitch as many media people are making it out be. If anything, his timing was just right. Trot Nixon and Johnny Damon were kneeling together in the outfield, midway between right and center field and they were settling back in to their positions at the same time Manny was getting to his. But…this is Manny, so everything he does that’s different is going to be magnified around here. There’s been talk about his running out of the box…last night, he hustled out of the box on a foul ground ball, on his home run, and even when he got walked.

Gordon Edes crunches the numbers regarding why Terry Francona let Alex Cora hit on Sunday night against the Yankees. He sort of makes the case towards the end in favor of Francona. No word on whether he still feels Francona deserves a new contract…Steve Buckley has Curt Schilling saying that the players need to accept responsibility for the team’s slide and get the job done. People shouldn’t be placing the blame on management. Ron Indrisano has Schilling hoping that last night was the first save of many. Alex Speier writes that the Orioles could have themselves a trump card in the division should they complete the trade for A.J. Burnett. Indrisano also has another piece on Lou Piniella and his eruption on Monday night. Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon (subscription only) says that ARod established himself as a true Fenway villain this past weekend with his home runs and leading man stature.

McDonald’s notebook looks at the moves the Red Sox made yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Alan Embree being designated for assignment as one of those moves. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the pickup of veteran utility infielder Tony Graffanino from Kansas City last night. Cafardo’s notebook also looks at the busy day of roster shuffling by the Red Sox.

According to a report on NECN last night, Tedy Bruschi is going to try to play football this season. Jerome Solomon has that report, though when contacted, the Patriots say that Bruschi has not yet informed them of his decision. Also in that report, Solomon looks at the rookies starting to report today. Michael Felger looks at the linebacker position in his training camp preview, he also mentions the NECN report, but says that observers believe the changes of Bruschi being on the 80 man training camp active roster as “most unlikely”. Jonathan Comey is ready to start talking some football.

After demanding that his Captaincy be stripped during the Montreal playoff series in 2004, Kevin Paul Dupont now says that perhaps the Bruins should be looking to trade Joe Thornton while they can get something for him. Funny, the last real Hockey column written about the team by Dupont involves ripping Thornton, and the first under the new rules looking at the team involves getting rid of Thornton. (He includes a shot at Thornton’s abilities as Captain in this article.) Guess the year off from the sport didn’t dissolve Dupont’s dislike for Thornton. Stephen Harris has a quick piece in the Herald looking at the new NHL scheduling.

Peter May has a good column today on how the NBA Players Union is not assisting players from the pre-1965 era. He talks with former player Bill Tosheff, who has been trying to get the players Union to do more for the remaining men of his era. The numbers of which continue to dwindle as time goes by. He also looks at the limited deal from 1988 which helps some of those players a very little bit, but not all, and not much.

David Willis has a report on the ESPN SportsCenter show which aired from Manchester earlier this week.

The Yankees lost to the Rangers last night, Larry Brown could be headed to the Knicks. These and other stories are available at the New York Sports Headlines page. The New York Times has a story on former Red Sox outfielder Dave Roberts and how that stolen base in the playoffs last year changed his life.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 1:00. ESPN has Yankees/Rangers at 7:00. ESPN2 has A’s/Angels at 10:00.