Misc Monday

How spoiled have we gotten?

Having championship teams in two different sports at the same time has created a unique mindset here in the region. Yesterday’s dual losses by the two title squads shocked some of so badly that we were reduced to quivering in a corner in the fetal position sucking our thumbs. Especially the loss by the Patriots. We’re just not used to seeing Tom Brady look like Payton Manning does when he plays the Patriots in the playoffs. We’re not used to seeing dumb penalty after dumb penalty by the Patriots.

Does Pete Sheppard deserve credit for predicting this loss? I think he does. He wasn’t bombastic about it on Friday, just said that he thought that they were going to have a really hard time with this one, and would lose. He was right.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Ron Borges is your voice of reason today. He reminds us that the Patriots are actually not superhuman figures, they are in fact human beings as well. Borges has done this in the past, writing the level-headed, reasoned column the day after a Patriots loss. Must be the contrarian in him, which wants to always swim against the current. Hector Longo wants to play a little game with us: panic…or patience.

Why in the world did CBS stick us with Dan Dierdorf yesterday? I thought being the two time champs would automatically mean we’d get the privilege of never hearing him on a Patriots broadcast this season? I’ve always liked Dick Enberg, even though he’s clearly lost most of his fastball by this point. Dierdorf though, just drives me insane. His most awkward line yesterday was after Randall Gay was injured, when he attempted to joke that Randall Gay was heading to the lockerroom for some Ben Gay.

I was also dismayed that we did not get a replay on the penalty on which Benjamin Watson was called for offensive pass interference, which was just another ill-timed penalty on a day of many, but was worthy because it was pretty much missed on the original live action.

Mike Reiss and Tom Casale has coverage of Bill Belichick’s press conference this morning, among the topics discussed was the decision not to challenge the first Stephen Davis touchdown.

John Tomase summons the vast power of retrosheet.org for his coverage of the Red Sox 12-3 loss to the A’s. Mike Fine looks at the state of the Red Sox as they embark on a six game trip to Tampa and Baltimore, which could make or break their season. According to Michael Silverman’s notebook this morning, Craig Hansen could be called up to the Red Sox as soon as this afternoon. Kevin Thomas recaps the season for the Portland Sea Dogs, who were eliminated from the AA playoffs on Saturday night.

Update: Gordon Edes reports that Hansen and Hanley Ramirez have both been called up.

Chad Finn checks in with six assorted points from the weekend. Peter King has his weekly edition of Monday Morning Quarterback.

If you own an HDTV and are always looking for what sports programming is going to be available, the HDSportsGuide website is invaluable.

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Red Sox Escape in 10

In a bizarre game at Fenway Park, the Red Sox defeated the A’s 3-2 in 10 innings after Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Red Sox scored their runs on a wild pitch, a home run from David Ortiz and the hit batsman. In the tenth inning, when the Red Sox scored the winning run, they loaded the bases on a Tony Graffanino double, Johnny Damon sacrificed him to third, then Edgar Renteria was hit by a pitch, Ortiz intentionally walked, and Ramirez hit by a pitch. The Red Sox offense is in a bit of slump right now, and only another great outing from Tim Wakefield saved them. Wake went nine inning again, with Timlin pitching the 10th and picking up the win. (Doesn’t that just seem wrong?)

Anyhow, here is boxscore from Red Sox.com.

You can get a number of the stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

Check out the stories on the game from the West coast on the Bay Area Sports page, former A Keith Foulke is the subject of at least one headline out there.

The Yankees won again, as they continue their hot streak. Get the news from Gotham City at the New York Sports News page. The Times has a reporter covering the Red Sox with a story, the Daily News has a piece on Foulke and Pedro Martinez is a major story after his complete-game shutout of the Braves.

I missed out on linking to Jim Baker in the Nashua Telegraph yesterday, and the old time media reporter had this tidbit on the John Dennis/Ryen Russillo feud:

The week's most juicy story has WWZN's Ryen Russillo huddling with a top Boston lawyer to contemplate a major lawsuit against WEEI's John Dennis, who left a very profane phone message, accusing Russillo of hitting on his Dennis' daughter, Emily, while allegedly drunk at a party. Russillo denies the allegation, but has the curses-loaded tape, which found its way onto the Internet.

Now a big question is: Who besides Dennis may be sued over possible serious damage to Russillo's career? He was suddenly dropped from WBCN-FM's Patriots postgame show and Dennis denies he had Patriots boss Bob Kraft or his son, Jonathan, sack him. Any suit may also involve WEEI officials who employ Dennis.

Stay tuned, this could be getting ugly.

The Patriots continue their preparations to face the Panthers tomorrow. Check the Patriots Daily Links page for the stories. Bill Simmons has his NFL picks for the weekend.

Michael Vega and Steve Conroy look ahead to tonight’s Boston College/Florida State matchup.

I thought that the Patriot Ledger had a very strong sports section today, with coverage of the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Boston College.

A busy sports viewing day. Here are the highlights (Not the complete schedule) as TNT kicks off coverage from the New Hampshire International Speedway at Noon. FOX has Mets/Braves at 1:00. Channel 7 has Notre Dame/Michigan State at 3:30. NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. ESPN has Boston College/Florida State at 7:45. CBS as Tennessee/Florida at 8:00.

Book Review – Now I Can Die In Peace

Yet another Red Sox book about the team winning the World Series?

Released a full year after the team won it all?

Those are the two most commonly heard questions when the subject of Bill Simmons’ upcoming book, “Now I Can Die In Peace” is brought up. The market has been saturated with books on the topic, and there will still likely be a few more before all is said and done. This book however, is a little different from the others that have been put out there that only dealt with the 2004 season and what it meant to them to finally win it all.

What Simmons does is trace the roots of the 2004 Red Sox, by bringing back columns dating back to 1998 and tracking the genesis and evolution of the team until it arrived at the version that ended the 86 year World Series drought for Boston.

Some of these columns have not been seen since Bill closed the doors of his old Digital City site, and moved onto Page2 of ESPN.com.

So it’s just a book of rehashed columns then, huh?

Not quite. Simmons has selected columns from 1998 – 2005 (He includes the column from the ring ceremony in April, which in part explains the later release date) which reflect the state of the team and the mindset of the fans. He introduces each one with some background information, and has tweaked a few of them here and there, but never damages the integrity of the original writing, or engages in any revisionist history. His wrong predictions are all right there with the correct ones. The columns and book are divided into four time periods “Rejuvenation” (1998-99) “The Abyss” (2000 – 2003) “Hope is a good thing” (2004) and “The Great Escape” (The final seven games of the playoffs).

Here’s a sample of some of the columns that you find the book, with their original publishing date:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bostonsportsm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1933060050&fc1=000000&=1&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&lt1=_blank&IS2=1&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr

Why No-Mah is a Keep-Ah – October 5, 1998

Pedro Saves the Day – October 12, 1999

Escape from New York – October 13, 1999 (Great Yankees jokes)

The Buzz – April 18, 2000 (Carl Everett’s first few weeks with the Red Sox)

Pedro and the Pantheon – May 16, 2000

Here Comes Manny – December 12, 2000

The Other Side of Nomar – March 1, 2001

Is Roger the Anti-Christ? – May 29, 2001

Silence of the Rams – February 4, 2002

“They don’t have it this year” – September 24, 2002

Paradise Lost, Again – October 17, 2003

The Electric Fence – February 17, 2004

The Great Divorce – August 1, 2004

Game by Game columns for the 2004 playoffs.

Zihuatanejo – April 12, 2005

“Silence of the Rams” is the column written after the Patriots won their first Super Bowl. It is included in the book, because as he mentions later the Patriots victory in many ways “set up” Boston fans for the later success of the Red Sox finally breaking through. It took a little pressure off in some ways.

The real star of the book however, beyond the columns, is the margin notes. Over 500 of them, some quite lengthy. These are a running stream of consciousness as we go through the columns, re-living what was going on at that time, explaining some obscure references, background material, history and who is who. If you never read the old Sports Guy site, and wonder just who J-Bug, Gus and Stoner are, you find out. And by the way, Bill has never drank an Appletini in his life. Just so you know. I also enjoyed the shots at Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

The prologue to the book runs about 15 pages and tells us a lot about Bill’s background, childhood and philosophy on sports. He outlines six rules of rooting for sports teams, tells us that he’s been reading the Globe sports section as long as he’s been able to read, which was the age of TWO. He outlines his history with the Red Sox, and his career path. He thus sets up how much the World Series victory meant to him, and by extension, all Red Sox fans. I enjoyed re-living all these moments from the past six years very much, and especially the day-to-day columns from the playoffs last fall. So yeah, I liked the book. Very much.

When the Yankees come to town to close out the 2005 regular season Simmons will have a couple of book signings in the city. On Friday September 30th, he’ll be at the BU Bookstore, and on Saturday Oct 1st, he’ll be at the Barnes&Noble in Kenmore Square two hours before the game.

Lead Slips to 1.5 Games

It would seem to me that should the Red Sox be fortunate enough to make the playoffs, that any team that they face would best be served by finding pitchers that have never faced the Red Sox before, and trot them out there for each game. This maddening trend continued last night as rookie Joe Blanton, (admittedly a step up from some of the stiffs that have shut down the Red Sox) took his turn at mystifying the Red Sox, and in the process, shrinking their AL East lead to 1.5 games. Chris Snow wants to give the Red Sox the benefit of the doubt, and I admire that. Not too often you see that in this city. He points to their late night trip from Toronto, number of days played in a row and their emotional fatigue after losing Gabe Kapler for the season as reasons for their sluggish performance. Jeff Horrigan points to another stumbling outing for Curt Schilling, who yielded 11 hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. Steven Krasner writes that the Red Sox looked like a team staggering towards the finish line last night. David Heuschkel reports from a frustrating night at Fenway as the team is tired, Schilling struggled, and the Yankees continue to march closer.

The panicmongers (© Mike Felger) are coming out of the woodwork as well. Jim Donaldson stirs it up, saying that Red Sox fans’ worst fears are coming true and that the season is going to all come down to the Yankees series the final weekend of the season. Lenny Megliola says feel free to start worrying and fretting over that final series. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that yes, the Red Sox have plenty of injuries right now, and yes, they still are on top and they team to beat. but he claims that: In that spirit, the Sox remain the team to beat.

But if they lose . . . to the Yankees . . . on the last day of the season . . . it won't be about injuries.
It'll be about assigning blame.
I've never bought the mulligan theory. Injuries or no injuries, it could get ugly around here.

Sounds like some are already preparing and looking forward to that ugliness. Wouldn’t WEEI love that? I’m just glad I didn’t have to read a Shaughnessy “The Curse is back” column today or something. Bob Ryan is the columnist of the day at the Globe, and he examines the performance of Schilling last night, who struggled with his location and ended his night ticked off at the home plate umpire and himself. Joe Haggerty also reports on a night to forget for Schilling and the Sox. Jay Payton made his return to Boston last night for the first time since shooting his way out of town earlier this year. Kevin McNamara writes that Payton is enjoying the last laugh in the matter for now anyway. Nick Cafardo has more from Payton, who says he didn’t want to come to Boston, and downplays the incident in Texas where things reached a breaking point. Alex Speier notes that Payton now happy that he is playing everyday. To me, the fact that the A’s are winning is irrelevant. It appears Payton just wanted to play everyday somewhere, so he could put up numbers and make more money next year. Howard Bryant (subscription only) also writes about Payton and how “miserable” he was here in Boston, and how the trade here was the “worst day of his life, at least this season.” The Standard Times engages in a on-line version of the MVP debate, with Jon Couture playing the devils advocate and promoting ARod, since he plays in the field, and Nick Tavares picks David Ortiz. Mike Fine also looks at the ARod/Ortiz MVP race.

Cafardo also writes about Oakland manager Ken Macha choosing to stick with his young guns last night in Blanton and closer Hudson Street. I’m still a bit mystified by this whole “pitcher they haven’t faced before” issue. Is there an explanation? Is it the Red Sox advance scouting that is poor? Or is the scouting good and the players don’t study it, choosing to go on their own instincts, skills and experience? Is this being completely overblown? Paging SoSH…we need numbers from around the league on how teams fare against pitchers they are facing for the first time. My gut would tell me this isn’t a league wide thing, otherwise you’d have more young pitchers having success as they first enter the league. Steve Buckley writes that the Red Sox rookies are going to be among those who miss Gabe Kapler’s presence the most, as the outfielder always treated them well, helped them out and set a good example for others. Ron Indrisano writes that the A’s aggressiveness against Schilling was a key for their early success against him. Horrigan provides an update on Johnny Damon as he tries to play through the pain. Horrigan also has a good Minor League Report, where he lists out the top 15 prospects in the Red Sox system and their potential.

Snow’s notebook reports on Johnny Damon’s return to the lineup last night. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the return of Adam Hyzdu. Krasner’s notebook has more on Damon as he manages his pain. Heuschkel’s notebook says that with the injury to Kapler, Damon couldn’t afford any more rest.

Alan Greenberg looks at the flexibility of Bill Belichick’s system, where he tailors the systems to his players and talent, not the other way around. It seems to be working. Ian M Clark notes that it will be important for the Patriots to be able to run the football this week better than they did against Oakland. Karen Guregian concurs that the ground game needs improvement over week one. Dan Pries suggests that this game with the Panthers will be a bit early season test for New England. Albert Breer submits a solid article outlining the challenges that Julius Peppers and the Panthers will provide for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy also reports on the Patriots and Panthers renewing acquaintances.

Jerome Solomon and Michael Felger each have articles on Troy Brown, who has persevered and remained with the Patriots for another season. Felger’s piece notes that the Patriots searched for a third receiver in the offseason, but that Brown just might be better for them than any of the other options that they had explored. Tom E Curran looks at the curious case of Kyle Eckel, who finds himself in a tug-of-war between the Dolphins, the Navy and your New England Patriots. Christopher Price notes that the Patriots might attempt to target rookie safety Thomas Davis with their offense on Sunday. Eric McHugh profiles rookie offensive lineman Nick Kaczur. Felger has a bit on Jarvis Green, while Guregian talks clutch with Adam Vinatieri, who is impressed by David Ortiz.

There was a segment from Tom Curran’s blog/mailbag yesterday that I thought was worth rehashing here. The first question and answer reads as follows:

QUESTION

Tom, long standing Pats fan from Warwick here (still have my '85 Craig James jersey from when I was 10). I was curious to know how you prepare for Coach Belichick's press conferences when you may get the chance to ask only 1 question (as opposed to a 1 on 1 interview). Obviously, you probably want to probably have several questions ready in case other reporter's ask the same thing, plus you want it to be thoughtful/valid as you don't want to end up like some poor soul in front of a Belichick firing squad.

Rob B.

ANSWER

Rob,

I like to go with a plan for the day, a thesis for what I'm writing about. For instance, yesterday (for today's paper) I wanted to highlight Jake Delhomme's passion and the versatility of the Panthers running game. I asked Belichick about their ground game, how intricate it is in terms of personnel and about Stephen Davis. He took Delhomme questions from some other writers so I didn't need to ask any on him.

He appreciates a question that shows at least a passing knowledge of the subject, that goes a little beyond the surface of, "Talk about Stephen Davis," for example.

In the press conference setting it's not hard to ask two or three consecutive questions and Belichick is very good about taking follow-ups and helping out by going into further detail anytime a reporter says he needs something explained to him.

I think that, because of his style, even people who cover the beat only part-time know far more about why things happen at game-time than they ever did.

T

To me, this outlines a point I have tried to make in the past. Time and again we hear from writers, and radio hosts about how boring Bill Belichick’s press conferences are and how he never says anything. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth, and I was glad to read Bob Ryan acknowledge it yesterday. The problem, it seems, stems with media persons who are not willing to do any work or preparation for the Q&A sessions with the coach. Belichick rewards those who show an interest in the game and who ask legit questions, as opposed to those who, as Curran points out, stand up at the conferences and order the coach to “Talk about Stephen Davis”. The transcripts of the conferences are amazing as Belichick always teaches you something, or stuns you with his recall of the 49ers seventh round pick in 1992.

The BSMW Patriots Game Day looks at the coverage of the Patriots this week, looks ahead to the Panthers and has a number of other worthy observations.

Solomon’s notebook says that Josh Miller is trying to put his blocked punt from the Oakland game behind him. Guregian’s notebook looks at Richard Seymour suiting up for practice yesterday. Curran’s notebook looks a little more at Julius Peppers.

Jim Lazar and Jim McCabe have the NFL picks against the spread for the Herald and Globe respectively. I.M. Bettor also looks at some of the numbers. Double D has more Herald money picks. Patrick Hanrahan looks at fantasy numbers and players for the week. The Globe also trots out a little fantasy football information.

David Scott looks at the Globe coverage of the Patriots and a number of other items in Scott’s Shots. Bill Griffith looks at ESPN Gameday coming to Boston College tomorrow and has a number of other media items. John Howell examines how ESPNU isn’t getting picked up on as many cable stations as the network giant had anticipated.

Catch the coverage on the Red Sox/A’s series from out west on the Bay Area Sports page. Get the stories on the hard charging Yankees (and some Red Sox coverage) on the New York Sports News page.

I ran out of time quickly today, despite starting earlier than usual. I didn’t get to Boston College and the Bruins. I apologize for that.

UPN38 has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. (ESPN nationally) ESPN2 has Houston/UTEP college football at 8:00.

MVP…MVP…MVP

David Ortiz does it again. The Red Sox slugger hit a two run homer in the eight inning to snap at 3-3 tie and lead the Red Sox to victory over the Blue Jays. The victory picked up the spirits of his Red Sox teammates and fans, who had witnessed Gabe Kapler rupturing his Achilles tendon while running the bases on a Tony Graffanino home run in the fifth inning. Sean McAdam writes that Ortiz once again showed why he is the best hitter in baseball with the game on the line. David Heuschkel says that Ortiz put his teammates on his back and carried them home. Again. Chris Snow examines how Ortiz’s blast was so uplifting to a team that saw a popular teammate end his season with a devastating injury last night. Michael Silverman notes that Ortiz continues to push aside the conventional thinking that a DH cannot be the MVP. David Borges reports that Ortiz last night set a single season record for home runs by DH. What’s the record for game winning home runs?

Tony Massarotti examines the injury to Gabe Kapler in context to what he’s been through all season, and what he means to this club. Kapler may be the fourth outfielder on the team, but he means a lot more than that to all the guys in the clubhouse. I need to give Massarotti props for updating us on the injury using the Herald Clubhouse Insider blog during the game. That’s just the type of thing that a blog can be used by a reporter for. Good job by him and the Herald on this. Gordon Edes looks at the hole that Kapler’s absence will leave for the Red Sox outfield and clubhouse. David Borges has more on the bizarre injury that ended a rough year for Gabe Kapler. Ugh…I hate just thinking about Achilles tendon injuries.

Bill Reynolds feels that Jason Varitek should be recognized as the MVP of the Red Sox, over David Ortiz and Johnny Damon. Reynolds uses the argument that Massarotti and others have been tearing apart for the last couple days – that Ortiz doesn’t play a position in the field so that takes away from his value. Silverman talks briefly to Kevin Millar who hopes to be back in Boston next season. Massarotti talks to Mike Myers, who believes people misinterpreted his comments about the use of the bullpen from yesterday’s papers. The reliever has talked to Terry Francona, and things are fine. Silverman has a short report on the fine performance of the bullpen in last night’s win.

Snow’s notebook looks at Edgar Renteria getting a night off. Silverman’s notebook reports that Johnny Damon hopes to play tonight against the A’s. McAdam’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both have more on the injury to Gabe Kapler. Borges’ notebook reports on the grumbling by the Red Sox relievers over their roles.

Michael Felger says that while the Panthers and their fans might view this Sunday’s game as a Super Bowl rematch, the two time champions do not take that view. They’re getting used to having other teams come at them with a score to settle. Tom E Curran looks at Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, whom he describes as a “Southern-fried offensive version of Rodney Harrison”. Michael Parente also has a story on the fiery Delhomme. Alan Greenberg says that Tom Ashworth is going to have all he can handle in Panthers DE Julius Peppers. Christopher Price says that the Panthers are a team of big plays, but has an interesting observation from Chad Brown, who played the Panthers with Seattle last season, he notes that they use a lot of formations, but only a few running plays.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that the Patriots do not present a “sexy” image on the national front. The don’t encourage that type of image, but are sure to keep track of all the slights. He notes:

It's a new year, but these perceived slights don't disappear, not with this team. They will fester and they will roil, constructively, until Saturday night. On Sunday, they will be refined from crude ingredients to efficient fuel. That's the only way this team knows how to operate.

Eric McHugh says that one of the Patriots biggest hopes this season is that they can keep both Deion Branch and Benjamin Watson healthy. Jerome Solomon profiles rookie tackle Nick Kaczur. Felger files a short report on Jason Sehorn’s comment that he would take Marc Bulger over Tom Brady. Glen Farley has a look at second year nose tackle Vince Wilfork who had his interception in the Raiders game changed to a fumble recovery.

The Globe notebook looks at Duane Starks, who is eager to get on the field and see some action. Towards the end of the notes, they also provide a contact point for those wishing to offer assistance to former Patriot Otis Smith who the piece reports is “hosting 30 evacuees at his home in Gaithersburg, Md” after the Hurricane devastated the area. The address is OSmith45@att.net. The notebook is credited to Solomon and Mike Reiss, but I hear that Ron Borges, who wrote the article on Sunday, is the one who got the email address. Parente’s notebook leads with more on Starks and has quite a few other items as well. Felger’s notebook examines the matchup problems caused by Julius Peppers. Curran’s notebook has Carolina safety Mike Minter praising Tom Brady.

Stephen Harris, Kevin Paul Dupont and Joe McDonald report on the Bruins signing goalie Tim Thomas as insurance should Andrew Raycroft’s holdout become extended. Paul Doyle reports on the retirement of long time Hartford Whaler Ron Francis. Matt Jenkins reports on the second stint with the Bruins for Shawn McEachern. Harris has a short report on surf bum Glen Murray. Harris’ notebook looks at defenseman Jay Leach, hoping to make the team that his uncle Steve Leach once played for.

Mark Murphy looks at Al Jefferson, whose family is putting things together after Katrina. Kevin Henkin also has a report on Jefferson and Justin Reed. Murphy’s notebook reports on knee surgery for Tony Allen, as first reported by Michael Holley yesterday morning on WEEI.

Michael Vega looks at the Boston College linebackers as they prepared to take on Florida State in BC’s ACC debut this Saturday. Steve Conroy looks at the BC offensive line. John R Johnson says that FSU certainly has the attention of Boston College. Conroy’s notebook says that this isn’t Bobby Bowden’s first trip into Alumni Stadium.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on how fuel prices are affecting NASCAR. Ron Borges has his Wednesday boxing notes, with a look at prospect John Duddy. Bill Griffith looks at ESPN landing a new baseball contract, which includes a weekly Monday night game.

The Yankees held on the defeat the Devil Rays last night, remaining 2.5 games behind the Red Sox. Catch that coverage and other stories at the New York Sports News page. With the A’s coming into town for a four game series against the Red Sox starting tonight, catch the coverage from their papers on the Bay Area Sports page.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Phillies at 7:00. ESPN has college football with TCU/Utah at 7:30.

Poor Effort in Toronto

A night after an uplifting win over a team that has given them fits all season long, the Red Sox reverted to old habits and lost to the Blue Jays last night 9-3. Couple that with a 17-3 Yankees win in Tampa, and you’ve got a margin of 2.5 games in the AL East. Michael Silverman says that the Blue Jays made this one look easy. Chris Snow says that the Blue Jays are enjoying their role as spoiler. Sean McAdam notes that this was a costly loss for the Red Sox and Matt Clement, and most of the damage was done in the second inning, as Clement was racked for five runs in that frame. David Heuschkel says that Terry Francona and the Red Sox bristle at the suggestion that they’ll be glad when they’re done playing Toronto. David Borges calls last night one of the Red Sox “more lethargic efforts of the season”.

Tony Massarotti says that despite being “only” a DH, David Ortiz deserves to win or at the very least be taken seriously as a candidate for Most Valuable Player. Massarotti labels it “discrimination” that a Ortiz might lose some consideration because he doesn’t play the field. Gordon Edes reports that there was some dissent down in the bullpen about how Terry Francona used his pitchers on Monday night. They felt they didn’t know what was going on, and that Mike Timlin getting the call in the seventh inning was a surprise, and not a welcome one among the bullpen. He also looks at the ongoing struggles of Keith Foulke. Silverman has more on Keith Foulke, who continues feisty during his struggles. Massarotti looks at last night’s starter, Matt Clement, who had a five run inning sneak up on him in the second. Thomas C. Palmer Jr reports in the Globe on the Red Sox involvement in the redevelopment of the Kenmore Square area. In Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon column in the Herald this morning (subscription only) he tells the story of the Black Aces club. Only 13 pitchers are in the club, with the newest being Dontrelle Willis, who gained admission after winning his 20th game last week. It’s actually a very neat story as those 13 black pitchers who have won 20 games have established sort of a special fraternity, keeping in touch with one another. Bryant points out that because of the Latin explosion, less than 10% of baseball players are African American currently and gives some reasons for this.

Snow’s notebook reports that there was no structural damage revealed in Johnny Damon’s MRI of his ailing shoulder. Silverman’s notebook has more on Damon, and towards the end, has Mike Timlin somewhat refuting the point made in Edes’ article above by saying it is his job to be ready whenever he is called into the game. McAdam’s notebook says that Damon should be back in action by the weekend. Heuschkel’s notebook has Francona hoping that Damon will be able to go tomorrow night. Borges’ notebook has still more on Damon, but also talks to Jonathan Papelbon about getting his first major league win.

Michael Felger has his Wednesday edition of Patriots Insider, where he tackles a number of topics, first of which is the cornerback position, where it appears that we’ll be seeing Asante Samuel and Randall Gay most of the time. He notes that Samuel is becoming one of the better cover corners in the league. He also looks ahead to the Panthers, has Rodney Harrison complaining about Randy Moss, and a look at Mike Vrabel’s myriad of roles. Jim Donaldson looks at one of the keys to the Patriots success, their great talent and depth on the defensive line. Eric McHugh looks at some of the things that Carolina will bring to the field against the Patriots this Sunday. Michael Parente says that the Panthers’ secondary might pose a challenge for the Patriots. Once again, no Patriots articles in the Globe. There are a pair of football columns, but neither is dedicated to the Patriots. Michael Felger’s column above was filled with idbits…the Globe can’t do that? Nick Cafardo says that many of the Panthers still have the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots fresh in their mind and plan to use it for motivation. Bob Ryan looks at a pair of new coaches in the NFL, Miami head coach Nick Saban and 49ers coach Mike Nolan. Ryan is intrigued by both of them, and feels that have “it” and might being a little something more to the table than your average head coach. McHugh also looks at the winners and losers from the weekend.

Stephen Harris looks at new Bruins center Dave Scatchard, who chose Boston because he liked their plan and how they were going about building a contender. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins other free agent center signee, Alexei Zhamnov who also likes what the club has done. The article also looks at Shawn McEachern. Joe McDonald looks at young forward Patrice Bergeron, who looks bigger and stronger coming into his second NHL camp. Mike Loftus says the opening of camp is business as usual…holdouts and all. Harris also has a look at top pick Matt Lashoff, who has impressed early on. Harris’ notebook reports that with Andrew Raycroft holding out, that the Bruins have extended a tryout invitation to former goalie Byron Defoe. McDonald’s notebook looks at a couple of Rhode Island natives enjoying their time in camp.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was a guest of FSN’s New England Sports Tonight on the 6:30 edition last night and had a few items of interest for Celtics fans. He praised the work put in by Ricky Davis, who he says his kids and family say is their favorite player to be around. He says Davis has worked hard all summer, is in great shape and is developing into a leader on the club. He mentioned Davis purchasing season tickets and giving them to fans as part of his charity work in the community. Grousbeck emphasized defense as a key to the team’s success this season, that if they can get defense from Davis, Justin Reed, Ryan Gomes and Paul Pierce, then they can repeat as division champs. He praised the play of Gomes, who he says has amazed the coaching staff. They can’t believe he slipped to the end of the second round. He called Gomes a potentially great draft pick. He said that Tony Allen has learned from his experience, and is doing a lot of hard thinking. It will be used as a lesson in camp. He also said that he was told that the situation was a potential “money grab” effort by the accuser. He mentioned the club’s efforts at hurricane relief, citing that the team wants to raise a minimum of $250,000 to send down. He said that Al Jefferson and Justin Reed were both in the storm when it hit their area, but that they and their families are safe.

Michael Vega looks at the slow start for BC defensive star Mathias Kiwanuka. Fluto Shinzawa looks a Ricky Craven heading into this weekend’s Craftsman Truck Series race at NHIS.

Get the stories from the Big Apple on the New York Sports News page.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN has baseball TBA at 8:00 and ESPN2 has Dodgers/Rockies at 10:00.