Just a few more days remain in the 2006 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. We passed the halfway mark to our goal yesterday, and hope to make it as far as we can to our goal in the next few days. A huge thank you once again to all those who have contributed thus far.
Today’s prize is another package of 50 ITunes Download codes along with a 2006 Patriots yearbook. The winner of yesterday’s prize was Kevin Earls.
Again, all donations greater than $25 are eligible for the drawing. If you donate more than $25, you can get more entries…$50 gets you two, $75 gets you three and $100 gets you FIVE entries. You’ll also be eligible for the Grand Prize drawing at the end of the drive. The grand prize will be a Sling Media Slingbox.
A reminder also for this afternoon’s live BSMW chat with Charlie Pierce. The author of Moving the Chains will be here at 3:00pm to answer your questions. You can submit your questions by sending an email to AskCharlie@bostonsportsmedia.com. His answers will be posted here to the site as he finishes each one.
The Red Sox grabbed the headlines for the first, and most likely not the last time this offseason by securing the rights to negotiate with Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, submitting a bid of $51.1 million for the privilege of doing battle with Scott Boras once more. Nick Cafardo tells us what the Red Sox accomplished with their winning bid. Michael Silverman tells us that the Red Sox bid is equal to six billion yen. Jeff Goldberg has a look at the process as well as the pitcher they call “The Monster”.
Tony Massarotti says that this move is a very good signal for the Red Sox, who he says have operated with indecisiveness and apprehension since winning the World Series in 2004. He says Matsuzaka is no Pedro, but this move means the Red Sox are back in business. Bob Ryan goes over the reports that we’ve been getting about Matsuzaka and ponders whether he is going to be worth this huge investment the Red Sox are making in him.
Gordon Edes tells us that Matsuzaka does not actually throw that mythical “gyroball” that has been associated with him, but he doesn’t need the pitch, either – he’s got plenty of his own. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox have made some curious financial moves and non-moves the last couple years, but this isn’t one of them. He says Matsuzaka will be worth every penny that the Red Sox bid for him and will pay him. Bob Hohler and Keith Reed examine the business impact the move of bring Matsuzaka here to Boston could have for the Red Sox and the city. Silverman’s notebook has the Red Sox talking to the Astros about bullpen depth.
The Patriots made a couple of headlines themselves yesterday, first announcing that they were going to install a new synthetic FieldTurf surface, which would be ready in time for the Bears game next Sunday. They also announced that they re-signed offensive lineman Gene Mruczkowski and have brought in 43-year old quarterback Vinny Testaverde as another backup to Tom Brady.
Mark Farinella provides the most complete account today of the Patriots decision to go with the synthetic FieldTurf surface and make the move now, rather than waiting for next season. Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots exploring every option possible before deciding to go with the turf at Gillette. He also clears up the misconception that was widely reported that the NFL had prohibited teams from changing surfaces during the season. Michael Felger looks at the move to FieldTurf, noting that the Kraft family did everything they could to get grass to grow in Gillette, but just couldn’t make it happen. He works in a nice plug for his radio show at the end of the column. Christopher Price has more on the turf war getting resolved at Gillette. Alan Greenberg has a quick look at the FieldTurf being installed as well. I guess that original NESN report was right after all…they did say that the Patriots would be installing an artificial surface prior to the Bears game…
Felger’s Patriots Insider examines the success that Tom Brady and the Patriots have had in the spread offense and tries to figure out why the team went with tighter formations against the Colts and Jets. Michael Parente says that the prospect of getting out of Gillette and onto the road is an appealing one for the Patriots. Eric McHugh wonders if other teams are going to copy the Jets game plan and blitz Tom Brady relentlessly. Glen Farley says that the back-to-back losses have the Patriots concerned, but not panicked.
I joked with friends about placing casual odds on who would be the first writer to take the Testaverde signing and run with it to mean that clearly Tom Brady is seriously injured. Alan Greenberg was a safe bet for that angle, and the Hartford Courant beat writer doesn’t disappoint. Shalise Manza Young has Testaverde coming aboard as insurance for the Patriots. Felger looks at the signing of Testaverde and has his agent noting that the Patriots are probably simply covering their bases and making sure they had adequate backup for the stretch run. Farinella has more on Vinny to the Pats.
Steve Buckley uses Richard Seymour’s appearance at a local school as part of the NFL’s “Take a player to school” contest as a chance to take a few shots at Bill Belichick. David Borges has a look at Benjamin Watson making an appearance at a sports card shop in Taunton.
Reiss’ notebook has more on the signing of Testaverde, and has Bill Belichick saying that the signing has nothing to do with the health of Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. McHugh’s notebook has the Patriots still united as a team, despite some unhappiness.
Mike Fine has a look at Doc Rivers trying to be patient with his club, despite a franchise worst start to the season. Alan Siegel says that Rivers can only be as good as the personnel he can put out onto the floor. Jim Fenton notes that it’s not even Thanksgiving and it appears that the season is slipping away for the Celtics.
Mark Murphy has Kendrick Perkins and the Celtics backing Doc Rivers, saying that the bad start is not the result of coaching. Peter May notes that Rivers has been in this exact same position before. Fine’s notebook has a look at the impressive debut of Leon Powe.
Bob Duffy and Stephen Harris look at what Russian winger Stanislav Chistov can bring to the Bruins. Douglas Flynn notes that the schedule gets tougher for the Bruins from here on out. Mike Loftus has more on the schedule and the team’s effort to bring in more skilled players.
NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Pacers at 7:30. ESPN has Grizzlies/Kings at 9:00.