Crisp, Seymour Contracts Extended

A pair of local athletes will be hanging around a while longer…

The Red Sox today extended the contract of Coco Crisp for three years with an option for a fourth. The Extra Bases blog has the news.

Mike Reiss confirms an ESPN report that the Patriots have come to an agreement to extend the contract of Richard Seymour. Details to come.

Paul Perillo on Patriots.com has the news now as well. They report that it is believed to be a four year extension and will likely kick in the big money for the 2007 season, since “Seymour received a raise in salary following a brief contract holdout last summer, and according to a section of the collective bargaining agreement, a player cannot receive another raise for a full calendar year.”

Advertisements

Red Sox, Beckett, Right At Home

Just as they did in the season opener, the Red Sox impressively cruised through their home opener at Fenway Park yesterday, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 before a packed house. Can you say “media saturation”? The coverage that this team generates here in New England is truly prodigious, as you will see from the following links:

Jeff Horrigan examines the newly rebuilt Red Sox having a coming out party in the much changed Fenway park in yesterday afternoon’s opener. Chris Snow says that yesterday was not perfect for the Red Sox, but it certainly was a proper win. David Heuschkel focuses on Josh Beckett in his game story as the ace acquired in the offseason continues to impress with his intensity and fire. Garry Brown also has plenty of Beckett in his report on the opening day win. Alex Speier covers the win for the Union Leader, giving us more on Beckett, who was clearly the star of the day with others in supporting roles. David Borges has more on the Red Sox running their record to 6-1 on the young season. Bill Ballou says that the Red Sox look pretty unstoppable in the early going here.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Josh Beckett, who struggled through the first inning, but then picked things up and cruised through the next six to get the win. Tony Massarotti has an article on Beckett learning from his early struggles and keeping his head about him and making adjustments. Sean McAdam looks at Beckett getting his day off on the right foot, but recovering nicely. Art Davidson has more on Beckett, who has proved himself an eager student of Curt Schilling in his first week with the Red Sox. John Tomase looks at Beckett and Shea Hillenbrand having words yesterday over the latter assuming a walk in the first inning yesterday. Joe McDonald reports on Beckett and Mike Lowell feeling very comfortable in their first home game at Fenway park. Jon Couture says that the best upgrades that the Red Sox might’ve made in the offseason might be on the field, rather than to the park itself.

Dan Shaughnessy looks at a grand day at the renovated Fenway park for the opener. Scott MacKay reports on the changes made at the ballpark, which are so striking and subtle at the same time. Paul Doyle has more on the changes at Fenway, which fans seem to be paying for through increased concession prices. Jim Donaldson says that the first week shows promise of this being an extraordinary season for the Red Sox. Lenny Megliola summarizes a great day at the park for Red Sox fans, with promise of much more this season. Kevin Gray looks at that magic living on for another year at Fenway. Nick Cafardo looks at the remaining members of the Red Sox 1946 AL Championship team who were in attendance and honored yesterday as part of the festivities.

Gordon Edes looks at Adam Stern handling everything that comes his way, including assisting with the Canadian National Anthem. He’s show he can play a little bit, too. Paul Kenyon has more on Stern. Silverman has a look at Kevin Youkilis, who thrived in the leadoff role yesterday. Megliola has more on Youkilis, who enjoys his new roles with the Red Sox, both as a starter, and yesterday as the leadoff hitter. Dan Ventura reports on David Ortiz celebrating his new contract with a 2-3 day, including a home run.

Jennifer Toland has a look at Mike Lowell, who enjoyed the left field wall at his new workplace yesterday. John Tomase looks at Lowell acing his first home test with a 4-4 afternoon, including 3 doubles. Michael Vega looks at Lowell starting off the home schedule with aplomb. Massarotti has a short note about Jason Varitek being suspicious of the Blue Jays stealing signs from second base.

Michael Silverman looks at Jonathan Papelbon continuing to grow and flourish in the closer’s role with another save yesterday. Peter May says that the new bullpen setup of Foulke in the eighth, Papelbon in the ninth seems to be working out pretty well. Davidson has more on Papelbon, who has been rock solid in the closer role. Amalie Benjamin looks a the rough Red Sox Fenway park debut for Wily Mo Pena, who helped a ball over the fence for a homerun, and didn’t look too graceful doing it. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also writes about the tough play for Pena, and gives him credit for taking everything in stride. Ron Chimelis reports on the Red Sox outfield taking another hit with Trot Nixon getting injured, which was how Pena found himself in the game.

Snow’s notebook looks at outfield injuries to Coco Crisp and Trot Nixon opening up playing time for Stern, Pena and Dustan Mohr. Horrigan’s notebook says that Nixon will be out at least two days with his left groin strain that he suffered in the second inning. Ballous’s notebook has more on Nixon, who was hurt after misjudging a liner to him in right field. Borges’ notebook examines the perfect Fenway debut for Mike Lowell. Steven Krasner’s notes style column leads off with a look at Youkilis in that role. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Trot, as does the Projo notebook.

Cafardo also looks at the Blue Jays, who haven’t quite gotten their act together yet in the young season. Kevin Gray looks at a pair of former Fisher Cats who are contributing to the Blue Jays.

On a bit of a downer, Michael Felger posts his 1-1 interview with Adam Vinatieri this morning, where the Colts kicker talks about his new life and challenges in Indianapolis. Felger also has an article on Vinatieri, who say he holds no grudges towards the Patriots. Eric McHugh says that Tebucky Jones won’t recognize the Patriots team he is returning to. Mike Reiss has a Patriots notebook where he looks further at the return of Jones, who is looking forward to getting back to the playoffs. Tom E Curran profiles Ohio State cornerback Ashton Youboty today.

From the Inside Track this morning:

Imagine WEEI chief Julie Kahn

Review: The Maple Street Press 2006 Red Sox Annual

For years Jim Walsh had been reading baseball preview guides and found himself wanting more than the 3-4 pages that these national publications would devote to each club. He wanted a preview devoted to the Red Sox, that would give the Boston fan more, something he felt they deserved “due to their undying loyalty to the team and insatiable appetite for Sox-related information.” To that end, Walsh heeded to the old adage that “If you want something done right, do it yourself” and set about creating that dream publication.

The result is the 108 page 2006 Red Sox Annual, published by Maple Street Press. Walsh edited the project, which was done in partnership with the Sons of Sam Horn website, of which Walsh has been a member of for four years. The publication is chock full of features, interviews, reports, analysis and yes, plenty of statistical charts and formulas. (In the effort of full disclosure, it should be noted that I wrote an article for the book, a four page look at the newspaper, radio, television and internet coverage of the Red Sox.)

The guide is divided out into three major sections, plus an appendix with scoring and win probability tables. The first section is Analyzing the 2006 BoSox, and leads off with 10 page, position-by-position, player-by-player breakdown by Chad Finn. The thumbnails of each player are both informative and fun at the same time. Finn mixes in plenty of one-liners in his player profiles, such as this one in Mike Lowell’s section: “…played prep ball with A-Rod in Miami…says they are not close…so he’s a good judge of character.” After Finn’s “From the Ground Up” article there is an American League preview by Aaron Gleeman, (with plenty of attention paid to the Yankees) followed by analysis from Pete Palmer (co-author of The Hidden Game of Baseball) on the Red Sox’s approach to the sacrifice bunt.

Vince Gennaro then examines the topic “Turning a Winning Red Sox Team Into a Financial Winner“, he compares the revenue advantages that the Yankees have over the Red Sox, noting that it is “entirely driven by the broadcast arrangements and largely attributable to the size of the New York market”. He also examines nuggets such as how much Johnny Damon was worth to the Red Sox after they signed him in 2002 and how revenues will rise and fall with a team’s number of wins. There a look at the reign of Theo Epstein, as he built and dismantled the 2004 championship team. The Moneyball approach and misconceptions surround it as regards the Red Sox is the subject of the article immediately before mine, which as mentioned is a look at the Red Sox media coverage. Jim Bennett then closes out this section of the book with an in-depth statistical breakdown of what Red Sox fans might be able to expect out of this 2006 edition of the hometown nine.

The second section of the book is Down on The Farm, which leads off with a Red Sox minor league report, followed by features and interviews with Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen and Jed Lowrie, all done by David Laurila. The Papelbon article has the family of the pitcher recalling the day of his first major league start last season against the Minnesota Twins and their emotions and feelings on the event. The interviews with Hansen and Lowrie are straight Q&A session with the closer and infield prospects.

The last section of the book is dedicated to Red Sox teams and legends of the past. Mark Armour (co-author of Paths to Glory) has an interesting look at “The Year After“, which examines how the Red Sox squads of 1947, 1968, 1976, 1987 and 2005 fared after the team of the previous year had made a World Series appearance. Stephen Vetere and Jim Walsh then examine the 13 postseason elimination games that the Red Sox played between 1999 and 2004. Remarkably, the Red Sox won 11 of those 13 games in that span, making it the most prolific elimination game streak in baseball history. Each of the games is examined and dissected. There is a 20th Anniversary look back at the 1986 Red Sox, followed by a remembrance of Tony Congliaro by Shaun Kelly. (Who started the famous “Win it for…” thread on SoSH during the 2004 postseason) The final article in the publication examines the Hall of Fame candidacy of Jim Rice. Author Mark A Brown notes that Rice has no less then eight strikes against his when it comes to Hall admission, and probably in the end falls just short of the qualifications needed for the induction into the Hall.

The appendix, as mentioned earlier, contains win and scoring probability tables for major league baseball, as noted in the introduction the tables, these can be an interesting guide to compare Terry Francona’s late inning moves as the tables go through a plethora of scenarios for each team for last season.

Walsh wanted to create a publication completely devoted to the Red Sox, with plenty of in depth information and analysis. I believe this book succeeds in doing that, and is a worthwhile read to anyone planning to follow the Red Sox on their season-long journey to October. The 2006 Red Sox Annual can be purchased for $9.95 through the banner ad at the top of this page, which is directly through the publisher, or on Amazon.com.

Another Year at Fenway Starts Today

Chris Snow reports on David Ortiz’s new four-year $50 million contract extension that was made official yesterday. Michael Silverman looks at four more years for Big Papi in Boston. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that despite our initial misgivings about them as outsiders, this Red Sox ownership group continues to make all the right moves. Art Martone looks at the group locking up the face of the franchise into the next decade. Jeff Goldberg reports on Ortiz and the Red Sox bringing some good news to the fans after so many recent high-profile departures.

Garry Brown also reports on the new deal for Ortiz. Alex Speier says that with the signing of Ortiz, things are looking mostly sunny for the Red Sox as they head into the home schedule. Jon Couture says that this extension really stamps Ortiz as the face of the franchise. Joe Haggerty also looks at the Red Sox and Ortiz both wanting this deal to get done, making it fairly easy for Fernando Cuza, Ortiz’s agent.

Bill Ballou says that with the signing of Big Papi, the Red Sox were willing to take the good news with the bad news on Coco Crisp. Snow also reports on Crisp’s broken knuckle. The Red Sox are not giving a timetable for his return other than to say that he will be in a splint for 10 days. Silverman reports that the injury is expected to keep Crisp out at least a month. Martone has some more on the injury to Crisp, which could have him back sooner than a month.

Amalie Benjamin serves up a feature on Red Sox captain Jason Varitek and his teammates, building a team chemistry and the reality of getting older. (Varitek turns 34 today.) Silverman gets the thoughts of several Red Sox players about playing opening day at Fenway. Kris Russell talks to Jonathan Papelbon who was in Manchester yesterday shooting a TV commercial. The right hander says the he’d prefer to start, but doesn’t mind closing, either. Gordon Edes has a look at starting first baseman Kevin Youkilis, one of the survivors left over from the 2004 championship squad.

Dan Shaughnessy looks at an improved and renovated Fenway Park ready for its 95th opening day this afternoon. Tony Massarotti says that with all the changes made to the roster this offseason, the Red Sox team itself could be a feature on Extreme Makeover. Lenny Megliola says that it is opening day and time to start the party. He knows what to expect for much of the event, but knows there will be a surprise or two. Brown says that the day will be a celebration of both old and new. Paul Doyle serves up an essay exploring why the Red Sox should retire Johnny Pesky’s number 6. Steve Buckley (subscription only) devotes an entire column today to pondering who on the Red Sox might get booed today.

Snow’s notebook says that we shouldn’t expect Josh Beckett to have a case of the nerves when he takes the mound this afternoon for his first opening day start for the Red Sox. David Borges’ notebook has more on Beckett embracing the chance to start for the Red Sox at the Fenway home opener. Goldberg’s notebook looks at the Red Sox scrambling with the loss of Crisp for the time being.

Chad Finn has some opening day thoughts, and includes some shots at WEEI and media coverage of yesterday’s events. He asks who played the role of the turd in the punch bowl and tried to project some negativity onto the signing of Ortiz to a contract extension…with apologies to Lennox Financial…the biggest no-brainer in the history of earth. Well my friends, that role was ably played by Andy Gresh on FSN’s Sports Tonight, where he stated that because of Ortiz’s knees, this wasn’t a good deal for the Red Sox, and that essentially they are hypocrites because they wouldn’t give Johnny Damon a similar four year deal as they are about the same age.

CBS4 will have coverage from Fenway today, which will include webcasts available on the station website they will cover Terry Francona’s press conference at 11:00 and have another webcast at 12:30 with Bob Lobel and Dan Roche.

A special edition of Patriots Game Day looks at the team’s free agent signings thus far and specifically explores the notion that Martin Gramatica can’t be a cold weather kicker. The statistics in a limited sample size seem to say otherwise. Christopher Price reports on Gramatica getting fired up to be a member of the Patriots. Michael Parente notes that a new addition to his family has made this a special time for the new kicker, who is excited for the opportunity. Tom E Curran and Alan Greenberg look at Gramatica speaking very highly of Adam Vinatieri as a player and a person in his first talk with the New England media last night. Michael Felger says that Gramatica is confident in his abilities and that he will find success here with the Patriots. Jerome Solomon also reports on Gramatica.

From the weekend, Albert Breer took a look at what the Patriots might be focused on in the draft. Curran’s draft card looks at Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.

Peter May says we’re going to see a lot of the kids during the last five games of the Celtics season. Mike Fine says that the Celtics have a future that appears to be brighter, and will use the final few games to work towards that. Steve Bulpett has Wally Szczerbiak being optimistic as he heads into knee surgery this afternoon.

Steve Conroy reports on the Bruins 2-1 loss to the Capitals last night. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Boston College winger Chris Collins, who is talking to the Bruins, among other teams, about signing on. Conroy’s notebook looks at Yan Stastny getting some extended time as the Bruins play out the string.

Yesterday, Jessica Heslam had a piece in the Herald outlining how sports fans are tuning out the sports segments on the news telecasts and instead tuning into regional and national sports broadcasts and the internet. FSN’s Sports Tonight is cited as an example of where the sports fan tunes for his information rather than the 6:00 & 11:00 PM newscasts.

Check back at noon for a review of the Maple Street Press 2006 Red Sox Annual.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 2:00 and Bruins/Senators at 7:30.

Sox Home in First

A bit pressed for time this morning…

The Red Sox finished off a three game sweep of the Orioles with a 4-1 win yesterday. You can check the stories and recaps on the Red Sox Daily Links page. The Boston Herald also has their season preview for the Red Sox with the the home opener tomorrow.

It’s probably worth checking in with the Clubhouse Insider and Extra Bases blogs today for updates on Coco Crisp’s injured finger and David Ortiz’s possible contract extension.

The Celtics clearly have entered “playing out the string” territory, as they suffered a lackluster 101-86 loss to the dreadful New York Knicks at TD Banknorth Garden yesterday afternoon. Mark Murphy has a recap of what was essentially a summer-league game by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Kevin McNamara says that the struggles of his kiddie korps in the fourth quarter shocked coach Doc Rivers. Scott Souza observes that the Celtics played like a team “comfortably resigned to its fate”. Steve Bulpett looks at the Knicks extracting a little revenge for the whipping the Celtics handed them the last time these clubs met. You can get the coverage from New York and their side of things on the New York Sports Pages.

Lenny Megliola isn’t too happy with the current state of the Celtics franchise, expressing skepticism that this team can build successfully for the future. Tim Weisberg looks at the play of Gerald Green as of late, as the rookie has shown flashes of brilliance and given some hope for the future. Peter May looks at Big Al Jefferson’s season of frustration likely being finished. Bulpett also looks at Jefferson being shut down for the remainder of the season.

Murphy’s notebook looks at Tony Allen and Orien Greene attempting to hold down the point guard position after Delonte West left the game with a calf injury. May’s notebook provides a recap of the loss, and a look at Gerald Green’s showtime moments. McNamara’s notebook has more on the season coming to an end for Al Jefferson.

SporTView – Masters Weekend

This weekend provides a plethora of sporting choices for the viewer. We’ve got the Masters, as well as regular season MLB, NBA and NHL games. Boston College plays for the NCAA hockey championship Saturday night. There’s also MLS and NASCAR events this weekend.

Some Weekend Links:

Red Sox Daily Links

Patriots Daily Links

New York Sports Links

Live From Augusta

Notes from the week:

*If you’re watching the Masters this afternoon, here’s a heads up. If you want HD coverage, turn to your CBS HD channel (On Comcast, I think it should be 804). If you turn to just regular channel 4, you’re going to get regular daily CBS programming. If you don’t have HD and want to watch the action from today, it’s being broadcast in regular definition on USA.

*The Red Sox began the regular season this week, and the storylines so coveted by talking show hosts are playing out as well as can be expected. We’ve already have mini maelstroms around Josh Bard’s debut catching Tim Wakefield (They never should’ve traded Mirabelli!!!) and Jonathan Papelbon being brought in to close a game Wednesday (Foulke is angry!!! What are they going to do when Foulke is back!!! They’re hindering the kid’s development by not having him in the rotation!!!) Just think, only six more months of this!

030706TV.png

*The Red Sox have their home opener this Tuesday with an afternoon game against the Blue Jays. ESPN Radio (Mike & Mike in the Morning) and WEEI will be broadcasting from the Red Sox home opener.

*Office-bound sports fan in New England will soon have another option in sports radio to help them through the day. WFAN in New York will so begin on-line streaming of their daily broadcasts, starting next Tuesday. While this will be especially good to listen to when Boston teams are playing New York, it will also be a welcome option to listen to during the NFL season. Of course, this week hasn’t been a great one at WFAN as they’ve been having WEEI-like shouting matches over whether Mets closer Billy Wagner has the right to have “Enter Sandman” played when he comes into the game. After all, that is Mariano Rivera’s theme song…no one else can use it! (See Neil Best’s column linked below)

*While we’ll get the chance to listen to Mike and Mad Dog and other WFAN programming, word came down earlier this week that FSN NY will be showing “Sports Tonight” with Greg Dickerson and Gary Tanguay in the NY market on a nightly basis for transplanted Red Sox fans living in enemy territory. Somehow, I think we got the better of that particular exchange…

*Who wants to break the news to Nick Cafardo that the NFL office didn’t feel bad for the Patriots and decide to give them an easy schedule this year? The “Hostess” cupcake schedule delivered to the Patriots was actually put together years ago. You can go out and look at most of the Patriots home and away games for 2009 with a little work on Google. Don’t Patriots fans deserve a little better coverage of this team? While we’re at it, how about John Tomase suggesting…nay, declaring, on his blog that

They

Patriots Prepping for ’06

The Patriots learned what their 2006 schedule will look like and also signed a pair of players of moderate interest yesterday. Kicker Martin Gramatica who sat out last season rehabbing an injury that had severely curtailed his effectiveness as a kicker, was signed yesterday for a look. It would seem likely that he will compete with another yet to be acquired kicker for the job of replacing Adam Vinatieri. The other move was the signing of former Patriot Tebucky Jones, who re-joined the team that he started at safety for in Super Bowl 36.

Jerome Solomon has a look at the moves, focusing mainly on Gramatica. Alan Greenberg centers more on the signing of Jones, who he says the Patriots always valued for his special teams play, they just didn’t think he should be the highest paid safety in NFL history. Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are bound to bring in another kicker or two to compete with Gramatica, he also looks at the signing of Jones and the schedule. Chris Kennedy weighs in on the signing of Gramatica, while Christopher Price welcomes Jones back to New England. Michael Parente has more on the pair of signings. John Tomase’s notebook also takes a quick look at the moves.

John Tomase talks to Deion Branch, who admits his agents have been talking with the Patriots about an extension, and thinks it will get done eventually, but not anytime soon. He hopes to remain with the Patriots and has full confidence that Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli know what they’re doing in the re-shaping of the team this offseason. Curran’s draft card today looks at Ohio State receiver Santonio Holmes. Frank DellApa has a note on Lou Imbriano (Or as Eddie Andelman would call him: Lou…lou…lou…) leaving his post with the Revolution and Patriots to start his own sports marketing business.

The NFL schedules were also released, and Nick Cafardo says that despite a couple rough patches, the Patriots slate overall is a cakewalk. He looks at some highlights of the national schedule as well. Michael Felger examines the schedule and says even though the Patriots probably won’t be a better team than the one that finished 10-6 this season, they may not need to be to post a better record. Albert Breer also has a breakdown of the schedule for the Patriots, including some games of interest following their bye week. Tomase also looks at the schedule, noting that at this point, the Patriots have one of the softest schedules in the league, a contrast from the last several years.

Chris Snow examines fielding data from John Dewan, author of ”The Fielding Bible.” Using the formulas and date in the book, it would appear that the 2006 Red Sox are actually worse defensively than their 2005 counterparts.

Jeff Horrigan looks at Jonathan Papelbon, who certainly opened eyes in his performance as the closer on Wednesday night. Sean McAdam says that the emergence of Papelbon presents the Red Sox with a unique problem. David Heuschkel notes that Foulke has certainly lost his job as closer for the time being, and in fact he may never get it back with Papelbon here and Craig Hansen waiting in the wings. Garry Brown and Nick Tavares have more on Pabelbon.

Alex Speier looks at Matt Clement, who gets his first start of the season tonight in Baltimore. Speier observes that it was a take of two seasons for the Red Sox pitcher last year. MIchael Silverman chats with Kevin Youkilis, who didn’t receive any tips on playing first base from Kevin Millar, whom he will see tonight as the Red Sox take on Millar’s new squad, the Orioles. Snow’s notebook has more on Papelbon, who has been able to handle anything the Red Sox organization has thrown at him. Horrigan’s notebook looks at David Wells, who will take the mound for the Pawtucket Red Sox tonight in preparation for joining the big club next week.

Pedro Martinez stirred things up in his first start for the Mets this season, hitting Jose Guillen twice, causing the Nationals outfielder to charge the mound. Check the coverage on the New York Sports Pages.

Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer report on the Celtics deciding to shut down Wally Szczerbiak for the season and undergo knee surgery to get ready for next season.

David Scott has a marathon edition of Shots up for the week.

More later…