Ron Borges has a well written, fascinating look inside the David Givens negotiations, which ended with the free agent receiver leaving the Patriots and signing a deal with the Titans that would pay him $6.5 million more over four years than what New England offered. While the story is great, shouldn’t it be mentioned somewhere that Givens’ agent, Brad Blank, is or was also Ron Borges’ agent? If he isn’t anymore that is a recent development but the fact that Borges got this story would indicate that they are still in business together. The story is terrific, (That’s why it’s the top one on the page.) don’t get me wrong, but Brad Blank served two of his clients here. He got Givens the deal and Borges the story.
Yup, Big Willie Style is longer a Patriot either. John Tomase has Willie McGinest leaving the only franchise he has ever played for in his 12 year NFL career to join the Cleveland Browns and former Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel. Jerome Solomon says that this is the reality of life in the NFL. Tom E Curran notes that “Thanks for the memories” seems to the cry of this Patriots offseason, and that Adam Vinatieri could be next to go. Alan Greenberg says that if you think the Patriots are headed back to the Super Bowl this coming season, you need a reality check, as the team lost another key player “because they wouldn’t go the extra mile to keep him.” Michael Parente also looks at the departure of McGinest.
Michael Felger says that it is hard to blame the Patriots for not giving McGinest the “crazy” money that the Browns did, but the fact remains, they’re going to have to pay someone to play that linebacker position…the question is who? Tomase’s notebook says that no visit has been scheduled for Keyshawn Johnson to Foxboro as of yet, but past relationships would seem to make that visit something that would happen at some point. The Mike Reiss blog has the news that Troy Brown is scheduled to visit with the Jets today.
Check a new, free agent edition of the Patriots Game Day Rear View.
Chris Snow has a nice article on Tim Wakefield, who at 39 years old, is still throwing the knuckleball as good as ever, and plans to do so for sometime to come. Jeff Horrigan and Sean McAdam each have articles on new second baseman Mark Loretta, who has eased concerns and even excited people with his play this spring after suffering with a thumb injury for much of 2005. David Heuschkel looks at Wakefield and Curt Schilling getting some work in a Sox minor league intrasquad game, where they pitched against one another.
Lenny Megliola offers up a number of thoughts and observations on Red Sox spring training thus far. David Borges has a piece on Josh Bard, who is attempting to win the backup catchers job behind Jason Varitek this spring. Horrigan reports that the Red Sox have made a pitch to recently retired catcher John Flaherty to serve as a coach or instructor in the organization.
The Herald notebook has Curt Schilling working on a changeup to add to his repertoire of pitches. Snow’s notebook has Schilling pleased with his progress this spring. Borges’ notebook leads with more from Schilling, and has a look at a great catch from last year’s first round pick, Jacoby Ellsbury. McAdam’s notebook says that today’s simulated game from David Wells should draw plenty of attention.
Michael Silverman says that the WBC has shown what many already knew, the Caribbean offers the best baseball players and play. Nick Cafardo looks at Roger Clemens getting ready to take the mound for possibly the final time tonight (How many times has that been written the last few years?) as the U.S. tries to stay alive in the WBC by beating Mexico. Korea beat Japan last night, doing the U.S. a favor and giving them life for today. Steve Buckley has a look at the 2-1 victory for Korea. Buckley also has a subscription column on Johnny Damon’s ailing left shoulder, which has ignited a controversy in the Bronx. (The New York Sports Pages are again full of stories on it.) Cafardo’s notebook has manager Buck Martinez making some suggestions for the next time this event is held. Buckley’s notebook has Ken Griffey Jr testing out an aluminum bat in batting practice.
David Scott outlines the Scott’s Shots NCAA tournament blogging schedule, which was a big hit last year. Bob Ryan says that it is time for Boston College to just go and play the game. It’s their time. Bill Reynolds says nothing compares to the NCAA’s. Kevin Gray looks at the NCAA tournament with a NH flavor. Jim Donaldson wonders when the NCAA tournament morphed into March Madness. Zach Roca makes his picks for the tournament. Buddy Thomas has Kansas as a sleeper pick.
Michael Vega looks at Boston College’s game today against Pacific. Mark Murphy looks at the Eagles forward duo of Craig Smith and Jared Dudley, thought by some to be the best in the country. Mike Anthony has UConn Coach Jim Calhoun well aware that an upset can come at any time in this tournament. Murphy’s notebook has the Eagles hoping to learn from their past mistakes in postseason play. Vega’s notebook looks at BC getting off to an early start this morning.
You can still participate in a BSMW front page reader NCAA bracket group from ESPN. We’ve got nearly 100 participants in the BSMW_Public group I created. If you want to participate in that, you’ll need to sign up for a free user account on ESPN.com (make sure you opt out of the many advertising options) and then click on this above link to join the group. Who knows, maybe there will even be a prize or two for the winners.
NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Heat at 8:00. CBS has the NCAA tournament throughout the day and evening, including BC/Pacific at 12:40 Eastern time. TNT has Timberwolves/Warriors at 10:30.