Pats Title Hopes Finished?

We’ve fallen behind in the pursuit of the goal amount for the BSMW Fall Fund Drive, but I’m still very pleased and appreciative of all that has come in thus far. One area that I have been pleased with is the donations from members of the media, who use this site as a resource for show prep, research, or to keep current with articles and stories. If you’re member of the media, and find this site useful, please consider donating. Your donation will be kept strictly confidential and will go towards the future development of the site. If you’re leery of the online payment thing, (as many media people seem to be) there is a PO Box listed to the right where you can mail your donation.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card and while the individual grades may be better, Felger says that collectively things still aren’t all that encouraging. Tom E Curran writes that while the outcome may have been familiar…banged up Patriots team gutting out a win with a last minute drive from Tom Brady…this season won’t have a familiar ending for this Patriots squad. He says they’re simply not that good of a team. Jerome Solomon looks at the Patriots defense making some big plays to fire up the squad in Miami. Michael Parente calls Sunday a complete team win for the Patriots, similar to the win in St. Louis last season. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots finding a way to make the numbers work for them on defense, specifically in the secondary. Christopher Price reports that Richard Seymour suffered no setbacks on Sunday and is looking forward to getting healthier and stronger in coming weeks.

Karen Guregian looks at Troy Brown earning some well deserved praise from his head coach. Shalise Manza Young looks at how staying with the Patriots was the best decision for Brown this season. Rob Bradford looks at the Patriots defensive backs showing improvement on Sunday. Jonathan Comey looks at Heath Evans as the latest “nobody” to step in and play well for the Patriots. He lists out the top 10 “nobodies” of the Belichick era. John Tomase says that the Patriots are going to go with what is available to them at running back, and they’ll be confident doing so. Chris Kennedy also looks at the Patriots running backs. Tomase looks at Tedy Bruschi, who is not taking his comeback from a stroke for granted, and talked a bit about it following the game on Sunday. The BSMW Game Day Rear View explores the Patriots showing some signs of life on Sunday.

Tomase’s notebook reports that center Dan Koppen could be lost for the year with a separated shoulder. The Globe notebook reports on the Patriots signing lineman Gene Mruczkowski as insurance against a possible loss of Koppen. Young’s notebook looks at Evans, who seems to have quickly picked up the Patriots offense.

David Ortiz lost out on the MVP award to Alex Rodriguez yesterday, and that of course, opened up the debate all over again. The Herald went out and garnered voter comments from writers on why they voted the way they did. An interesting bit of work from the Herald. Chris Snow and Michael Silverman report on ARod winning the award, as do Dom Amore and Garry Brown. We also get a report from Peter Zellen.

There was also of course, plenty of different takes on the subject. Tony Massarotti says that the voters got it wrong. Jon Couture says in a race between two worthy candidates the better year won. Dan Shaughnessy says cheer up Boston fans, you still have MLS MVP Taylor Twellman. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that Ortiz lost the vote fair and square, which is a victory in itself for the DH. Jeff Jacobs writes that even with the award, ARod is still not a New York hero.

Bill Reynolds believes it is time for Larry Lucchino to come out of the bunker, and he advocates Rhode Island native Jerry Kapstein for a larger role with the organization, perhaps even as GM. Silverman’s notebook reports that the Red Sox are working on an offer to present to Johnny Damon and his agent in an effort to bring the centerfielder back for another tour of duty with the club. Snow reports that Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky is no longer a candidate for the Red Sox GM position.

The 3-3 Celtics head into Detroit to take on the 6-0 Pistons tonight. Mark Murphy looks at the game, and has Paul Pierce already declaring the Pistons a different team from the one that beat the Celtics on a last second shot less than two weeks ago. Peter May looks at Raef LaFrentz and how the big man’s game has evolved since his college days, where he wasn’t allowed to shoot from the outside. Murphy’s notebook says that despite Sunday’s success, the Celtics aren’t about to morph back to the Jim O’Brien days.

David McPherson looks at the success that the Bruins are enjoying…at the gate, anyway. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at coach Mike Sullivan losing patience and getting tough with his team. Stephen Harris says that no longer is this just a stumble out of the gate for the Bruins, it’s time to make some changes.

Bill Griffith has an interesting look behind the scenes of the production of an afternoon of NFL football on CBS.

There’s plenty of MVP talk in New York of course, and the stories are linked at the New York Sports News page. Check out the West coast perspective on the Bay Area Sports page.

FSN has Celtics/Pistons at 7:30. CN8 has Harvard/BC college hockey at 7:00. OLN has Lightning/Capitals at 7:00.ESPN2 has Bowling Green/Miami (Ohio) College football at 7:00. ESPN2 then has preseason NIT action at 10:00 with New Mexico St./UCLA.

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No MVP for Big Papi

We’re pitching a shutout on the fund drive thus far today. If you were planning on giving and hadn’t gotten around to it yet, now would be the perfect time, and you could break the ice for today.

ARod is the AL MVP.

Mike Fine and Jim Fenton look back at the huge night for Raef LaFrentz and the Celtics against the Rockets.

Peter King has his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

John Molori talks more T.O. in this week’s edition of Media Blitz.

Cold Hard Football Facts wonders about the Patriots offseason conditioning and strength program.

Reiss’ Pieces has a number of updates from Foxboro this morning.

Pats Back on Track

Welcome to the second and final week of the 2005 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. We had a pretty strong first week, coming in just under $200 below the halfway mark of the goal. Let’s make it a strong second week and plow ahead to the goal. For today, we’re looking to get the total to $3600. Check the Fund Drive page for total updates and listings of the prizes that will be awarded next week after the drive, and once again, thanks for all of your support.

The Patriots got back on track with a 23-16 win in Miami over the Dolphins yesterday afternoon. Jerome Solomon says that renewed enthusiasm was a big factor in the Patriots victory. John Tomase says that the Patriots did just enough with an even more injury riddled cast to get the victory. Tom E Curran looks at the Patriots coming up and making a stand in a tough divisional game. Alan Greenberg looks at the injury riddled Patriots having enough to hold off the Dolphins in a place they traditionally have a hard time winning. Michael Parente has more on the Patriots getting back on the winning track.

Michael Felger says it was only one game, and passion is the easiest thing to fix on a team, but the Patriots got it done yesterday. Ron Borges says that the Patriots once again showed that they are at their best in a close game, and showed they still have the guys who can make the big plays in a game of that type. Ian M Clark says that the champs showed that they still have some fight left. Karen Guregian looks at another great fourth quarter performance for Tom Brady. Curran has his game analysis, looking at the play on both sides of the ball. Greenberg submits his very similar Turning Point segment, which breaks down the action.

Guregian has more on Corey Dillon, who was injured on the first play of the game, and is also dealing with the death of his father last week. Tedy Kider has more on Dillon’s replacement in the game, Heath Evans, who had himself a memorable, physical performance, racking up 84 yards on 17 carries. Dan Shaughnessy also looks at Evans, who was with the Dolphins for the first six weeks of the season. Curran has more on the former Dolphin, who wasn’t expecting his big role yesterday. Alan Greenberg has more on the fullback from Auburn who used his strength and the holes opened for him by the offensive line to fill in for Corey Dillon.

Tomase has a look at the big day from Benjamin Watson, who hauled in a pair of TD passes in the victory. Fluto Shinzawa has more on the strong day from the second year tight end. Curran designates the 59 yard pass to Tim Dwight to set up the go ahead TD in the fourth quarter as his key play of the game. Tedy Kider looks at rookie Ellis Hobbs coming up big in his first career start. Curran has a short note about how Tedy Bruschi is elevating his game as he continues his adjustment back into football.

Nick Cafardo writes that Nick Saban may be trying to build his team in the mold of the Patriots, but they aren’t equipped to make the big play when they need it the most. Felger says that the Dolphins having Jason Taylor line up in different positions on the field actually ended up helping the Patriots. Get the views on the game from Miami in the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Miami Herald.

Tomase’s notebook looks at Troy Brown switching over to defensive back for the first time this season, while also playing an increased role at wide receiver. Solomon’s notebook has more on the rough week, emotionally and physically for Corey Dillon. that is also the theme of Parente’s notebook.

The Celtics, behind a huge first half (27 points) from Raef LaFrentz (32 for the game) led the Rockets throughout the evening last night, cruising to their first blowout win of the season, a 102-82 romp over Houston at TD Banknorth Garden. Shira Springer looks at LaFrentz stealing the thunder of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady last night. Steve Bulpett has more on the Celtics taking it at the road-weary Rockets last night. Shalise Manza Young reports on the Celtics bouncing back from a 21 point loss to the Spurs on Friday night to record a 20 point victory of their own. Peter May looks at Yao coming up short for the legions of fans who showed up last night to support him in his only appearance in Boston. I was at the game last night, and the place was filled with Asian-Americans who mostly spent the night cheering for the Celtics, but going wild whenever Yao scored, or had his name mentioned. The crowd was one of the best I’ve seen at a Celtics game in the ones I’ve been to in recent years.

Mark Murphy has more on LaFrentz, who is turning out to be a true barometer for the Celtics, when he gets a lot of touches and open shots, the Celtics are usually much more successful. Bulpett also looks at a nice night for rookie Ryan Gomes, who has seen more playing time in the last two games. Murphy looks at Gerald Green, who continues to get his learning experiences at the hands of Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis in practice while the club tries to determine whether to let him get playing experience in the NBDL. You can get the view on the game from Texas in the Houston Chronicle.

Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers speaking out on some comments made by Mark Blount over the weekend. Young’s notebook has more on the red hot LaFrentz. Springer’s notebook looks at the three point shot being a key weapon for the Celtics last night.

Today is the day in which we find out if the esteemed baseball writers of the America deem a DH worthy of winning the MVP award. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti both look at Boston’s candidate, David Ortiz, who awaits the announcement today. Edes says it is too close to call, while Massarotti says that Ortiz is routinely bigger in the big moments, which makes him more valuable. A story with no byline in the Hartford Courant examines why the Red Sox GM job doesn’t seem to perhaps be the dream job that some think it is.

Stephen Harris and Kevin Paul Dupont examine how the Bruins are a team in desperate need of repair…and quick. This club was supposed to be in prime position to shine in the new NHL, but has instead been one of the greatest disappointments in the league.

Frank Dell’Apa and Mike Biglin report on the New England Revolution coming up short in their title game rematch with the Los Angeles Galaxy, falling 1-0 in the MLS title game. John Powers says that this one felt just as bad as the title game loss in 2002 to the same Galaxy franchise. Biglin says that even with the loss, this was the best season in Revolution history. Tobias Xavier Lopez reports that once again it was a native of Guatemala that beat the Revs in the title game. Dell’Apa’s notebook says that this was a painful loss for New England in terms of injury as well. Biglin’s notebook looks at the struggles of the offense for the Revs.

Bill Burt pulls a “Paper Lion” and tries out for the Manchester Wolves of the ArenaFootball2 league.

Check NFL and NBA stories from around the country at the New York Sports News and Bay Area Sports pages.

ABC has Cowboys/Eagles at 9:00. ESPN2 has BU/Duke in the NIT Preseason Tournament at 7:30.

Veteran’s Day

At the end of today we’ll be hitting the midway point of the 2005 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. With just under $400 more today, we’ll hit the halfway point, halfway to the goal. Your support is much appreciated. I’ve updated the fund drive page to reflect a couple new prizes and the date for one of the pairs of tickets that were donated.

For the second time in two days, a post I was working on got wiped out. That never happens. Now it’s twice in a row. I’m furious. This will be a somewhat abbreviated version of the links, with the holiday and all.

The Globe has a huge college basketball preview today. As this is a passion of editor Joe Sullivan, he contributes to the section as well.

Jim Fennell looks at NH native Chris Carpenter winning the National League Cy Young award.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox as a team in transition for the coming year. David Heuschkel has the Red Sox issuing a statement that it was solely Theo Epstein’s decision to leave the club. Michael Silverman reports on the Red Sox holding talks with Johnny Damon in an effort to bring the outfielder back to Boston. Silverman’s notebook says that we’re in the calm before the free agent storm right now.

Jerome Solomon looks Duane Starks being placed on IR by the Patriots yesterday. The Patriots struggles on defense have been well documented, John Tomase looks at the problems that the offense has been facing as well. Jim Donaldson notes that the Patriots are playing the type of defense that hasn’t been seen around these parts in a long time. And that’s not a good thing. Alan Greenberg has more on the defense. Christopher Price has Tom Brady looking to bounce back strong this weekend.

Michael Parente’s notebook has Troy Brown’s “passion” comments getting reaction from his teammates. Ian M Clark’s notebook has more on Starks and the other injuries hurting the Patriots right now. Tomase’s notebook has an update (sort of) on Richard Seymour. Solomons’ notebook says that the opponent, not the heat, is what will be tough for the Patriots on Sunday.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their weekly NFL picks. I.M. Bettor and Double D also weigh in on the weekend action. Patrick Hanrahan and Steve Britt file fantasy columns.

The Celtics face the World Champion Spurs tonight at the Garden. Maybe changing the name of the place from the FleetCenter will improve the chances of beating Tim Duncan’s team. Something the Celtics have never done since losing the big man in the lottery to San Antonio. Bob Ryan looks at the Celtics long streak of futility against the Spurs, noting that in the old days, this was the type of streak that the Celtics held over a number of clubs. Steve Bulpett has more on the Celtics trying to avoid their 16th straight loss to the Spurs. Shira Springer looks at Doc Rivers still setting his rotation. Bulpett has a short blurb on Kendrick Perkins turning 21 yesterday. The local paper in San Antonio notes that the Spurs have been a little sloppy at times early this year, just due to the turnover on the roster. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce learning to trust his teammates.

Karen Guregian, Joe McDonald and Nancy Marrapese Burrell report on the Bruins latest loss, a 5-2 setback at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. Mick Colageo and Fluto Shinzawa look at the debut of Alexei Zhamnov. Steve Buckley looks at Andrew Raycroft, who was not sharp in his return from injury. Shinzawa also looks at how the new NHL has benefited Dave Scatchard.

David Scott checks in with this weekly edition of Scott’s Shots, with more Theo, more Howard Bryant and some other news and notes from around the world of radio, print, TV and internet media. Jim Baker looks back at the Patriots Monday night broadcast and has some other local media items. Bill Griffith checks in with a look at a man with ALS competing in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon to raise awareness of the disease. He also has some local media items. Clea Simon in the Globe reports on another honor for WEEI as Program Director Jason Wolfe receives an award.

An interesting column in the Daily Standard by Sonny Bunch places blame on ESPN for the lousy sports columns you get in the papers these days.

FSN has Celtics/Spurs at 7:30. ESPN has Lakers/Sixers at 8:00 and Pistons/Blazers at 10:30. NESN has UNH/BU Hockey at 7:00. ESPN2 has Rutgers/Louisville college football at 8:00.

Celts Win at the Buzzer

Update: I had a nice afternoon post put together during lunch which was promptly lost when I hit some key combination which sent me to another web page, which then when I went back…the post was totally gone.

If you read one link this afternoon, make it Mark Jurkowitz’s report card on the Globe, Herald and WEEI and how they handled the Theo Epstein saga.

With tomorrow being a holiday for some people, today might be your last chance for this week to donate to the BSMW Fall Fund Drive. As of now, we’re lagging a little behind in keeping pace with the goal, and need a big day today to reach the halfway point tomorrow. As always, your support is very much appreciated.

Just a note – you can change the amounts in the PayPal box to any amount you wish, and if are still leery of the whole internet payment thing, there is a mailing address in the bar as well.

The Celtics finally have a buzzer beater on their side of the record. In a wild game at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies each went on runs all night long. The Grizzlies led by 18 points at one juncture, and couldn’t seem to miss from behind the three point arc. The Celtics roared back behind some good hustle on defense, and good shooting of their own, but still found themselves trailing by a point with just under 14 seconds to play when Eddie Jones (who was everywhere last night) hit a baseline shot to give Memphis the lead. The Celtics called timeout, ran a play where four players touched the ball, and Paul Pierce drove to the hoop and kicked it out to Ricky Davis, who nailed the foul line jumper at the buzzer. Shira Springer says that one thing the Celtics learned from their first few games was the importance of execution down the stretch, and last night they got the job done. Steve Bulpett also focuses on the game winner from Davis and how the Celtics have played four tight games thus far this season. Shalise Manza Young turns in a game story for the Providence Journal, and Lenny Megliola says that too many of these Celtics games could be hazardous to your health. The BSMW Full Court Press also checks in after another thriller from the Celtics.

Peter May, when he’s not busy torching the basketball acumen of the Celtics principal owner, has praise for Paul Pierce, who says he trusts his teammates this year. May observes that Pierce never would have passed the ball in that situation in the past. Mark Murphy looks at Al Jefferson getting back into the flow of things after having a bit of a slow recovery from his ankle injury. The last two games have seen an improved Jefferson on the floor for the Celtics. Jackie MacMullan has a column on Celtics assistant executive director of basketball operations and AAU stalwart Leo Papile, who found himself face-to-face with his mortality last summer. It caused him to really evaluate things and make changes in his life. Bulpett observes that this wasn’t the first time that Ricky Davis beat the Grizzlies on a buzzer beater. Murphy also looks at Robert Parish returning to the club as a consultant, and his presence can only be positive for the Celtics young big men. Tim Weisberg also has a short report on the return of the Chief.

Young’s notebook has more on Parish’s appointment with the Celtics. Springer’s notebook also looks at Parish and what some of his duties with the club could be. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce moving up the Celtics all time scoring list, passing Tommy Heinsohn last night. He also notes the reason for all the 7:30 starts this season…WRKO doesn’t want to take a half hour away from Howie Carr.

Gordon Edes and Michael Silverman report that the Red Sox are not trying to lure Theo Epstein back into the fold, so that rumor can be put to bed. Sean McAdam also reports on the rumors, but apparently prior to the announcement last night by John Henry and Tom Werner that they were not pursuing Theo. Part of me says that these rumors of the Red Sox trying to get Theo to change his mind are coming from the Red Sox, as an effort at damage control. Even with the denial last night, with recent events you can’t help but think that. Do you think the irrelevant one, Dan Shaughnessy, wrote that column yesterday on his own? He can deny to his grave that he wasn’t told to write, but events of the recent (and distant) past put a cloud of doubt and distrust over that claim. It can’t be pointed out enough that Shaughnessy used a Red Sox owner (Werner) to get his daughter a Hollywood internship. You don’t think he “owes” them big time? And don’t email me, Dan.

Edes also reports on the Red Sox exploring a trade with Manny Ramirez and his agent. This time it could be serious. Silverman has more on the Red Sox dealing with Manny. The Dodgers are still looking for a new GM, and Silverman says they could make history by appointing the first woman GM in pro sports if they select Kim Ng for the job. Silverman talks to other GM’s, who feel Ng is ready, and baseball is ready for a female GM. As for the Red Sox, Silverman’s notebook looks at how they’re filling their time interviewing GM candidates. The Union Leader reports that the NH Fisher Cats have signed a deal to play one game a year at Fenway for the next 20 years. They’re also eyeing becoming the AA affiliate for the Sox in 2008 when the teams can next switch.

The Boston.com Extra Bases Blog will likely continue to be a good place to check for updates throughout the day.

Michael Felger looks at the friendship between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, and how that has changed now that they are division rivals. They’re no longer helping each other in this new era of their lives. Jerome Solomon says that the Patriots are proving to be all too mediocre. And they know it. Tom Brady had more to say about his club, Karen Guregian, Chris Kennedy, and Alan Greenberg all have more from the Patriots quarterback.

Tom E Curran looks at the Dolphins as a team that could take a giant step forward this weekend. Michael Parente says that the Patriots aren’t likely looking forward to their trip south this weekend to face the strong running game of the Dolphins. Stopping the run has been a problem all year for the Patriots, and John Tomase says it begins with the front seven on defense for New England. Guregian has a few Patriots weighing on on Terrell Owens. With the White Sox winning the Series, and the Colts beating the Patriots and remaining undefeated, Buddy Thomas is on top of the world. He doesn’t know if anyone can beat the Colts. He says they still haven’t played a good team this season.

The Globe notebook says that Duane Starks could land on IR this week. Parente’s notebook also looks at Starks. Kennedy’s notebook says that the Patriots/Dolphins rivalry has a different look to it now. Curran’s notebook has more on Brady speaking about his team. Tomase’s notebook looks at how Corey Dillon is dealing with the pain of his ankle.

Stephen Harris talks to Harry Sinden, who is worried someone is going to get killed in the NHL with the new rules and the ability for the defensemen to wind up and shoot on all the 5 on 3’s that seem to be taking place this year. Kevin Paul Dupont reports that we will finally see Alexei Zhamnov on the ice for the Bruins tonight. The BSMW Power Play checks in with a new article, looking at the Bruins offense. Hockeydirt.com looks at NHL.com getting a few things wrong when talking about Cam Neely.

The Revolution are playing for the MLS championship this weekend. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) looks at Boston’s other local team competing for fans and a championship. Frank Dell’Apa looks at Revolution Goalkeeper Matt Reis, while Mike Biglin has an article on midfielder Clint Dempsey. Biglin’s notebook has Revs coach Steve Nicol trying to keep to a routine in this championship week.

Check out the New York Sports News Page and the Bay Area Sports page for plenty of Hot Stove talk and NFL and NBA coverage.

NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. TNT has Rockets/Heat at 8:00 and Pistons/Suns at 10:30. ESPN has Boise State/Fresno State at 8:00.

11.09.05 Afternoon

A bit of a slow day for the fund drive thus far today, still about $250 short of the daily total needed to keep on pace with the goal mark. Thanks again to those who have participated thus far.

David Scott has a couple of items today, leading off with the news that Bill Griffith might be getting nudged out at the Globe. He also talks with Howard Bryant on his way out of town.

Gordon Edes has been blogging like mad from the baseball GM meetings today.

Eric McHugh hands out midterm grades for the Patriots, and as the 4-4 record would indicate, they’re a very average team right now.

Mark Farinella doesn’t like how the Patriots are conducting themselves after losing to the Colts on Monday night.

Tom King says that the Patriots know they have a long way to go before they can be considered contenders.

A couple of items from Mike Reiss, his Reiss’ Pieces blog has a couple of entries today, including a note that Duane Starks was not around for the start of practice or in the locker room today. From yesterday, we have another edition of Reiss’ Mailbag, which has a lot of stuff from after the Colts game.

The Baltimore Sun (Free Registration Required) has an article on the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons.