A few thoughts, observations and items from today:

* There was Manny talk much of the day today on the airwaves. Ken Rosenthal was on with D&C, talking both about Manny, but also about Mark McGwire’s Hall of Fame chances. Rosenthal won’t vote for him on the first ballot, but is noncommittal beyond that. Buster Olney was on with Dale and Holley, talking mostly about Manny. He did add that he thinks Eric Gagne is a legit candidate to be the Red Sox closer in 2007. Olney did a doubleheader today, also appearing on ESPN Boston with Mike Felger. He also reports the following on ESPN.com:

Hideki Okajima is in serious discussions with the Red Sox about a two-year deal, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports. The 30-year-old left-handed reliever, who was 2-2 with a 2.14 ERA and four saves last season for the Nippon Ham Fighters, is a free agent.

Olney says he hasn’t seen him pitch, but compares him to Mike Myers. Olney had a source that tells him on a scale of 1-10, the odds of Manny being traded this week were at 9.

* On the Big Show, Glenn Ordway says that when Manny is traded, the Red Sox will leak stories to the media about how awful he was during his stay here and why they really needed to trade him. He said all the fans and websites out there who have been blaming the media for Manny bashing will then be amazed at the “hair raising”, “off the chart” stories that will come out after he is traded. (Sounds like the leaking has already begun.)

* Sunday’s Patriots game brought FOX some great national numbers. From the network’s release:

Sunday’s (11/26/06) NFL on FOX presentation, featuring a potential Super Bowl preview between the NFC-leading Chicago Bears and perennial AFC power New England Patriots, posted an astounding 15.4/28 (24.1 million viewers) national rating/share, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released today. The 15.4/28 posted by Sunday’s NFL on FOX National Game ranks as the highest-rated and most-watched NFL telecast on any network this season. Sunday’s broadcast is FOX Sports’ highest-rated NFL regular season game since Week 17 of 2002 (15.6/30) and stands as the highest-rated sporting event on all of television since the most recent Olympic Games.

For the week, FOX Sports’ National Game was the top-rated and most-watched program in all dayparts across all key male and adult demos, including: M18-34 (10.5); M18-49 (12.4), M25-54 13.7); and A18-49 (9.0).

Locally, the numbers were even more impressive. FOX25 garnered a 34.6 rating / 58 share.

* Boston Globe Sports Editor Joe Sullivan was quoted in New York Newsday over the weekend in a piece on whether sports reporters should vote on postseason awards. Sullivan was strongly in favor of the rights of reporters: “

This is a franchise we shouldn't surrender," he said. "Our expertise produces the best results. I think we would do a disservice by not voting. The argument is made that somehow it is a conflict of interest in the sense we're voting on the people we cover and we shouldn't make the news ... If The Boston Globe started giving out a most valuable player award, then we would be making news."

I’ll forego the snide comment about the expertise of certain Globe writers…

* From the Email bag:

Will you please call out Mark Murphy for his complete disregard for research? Since the season has started, he has already incorrectly stated the Mike Brown is the head coach of the Indiana Pacers and that the Celtics reached the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals. Now today, in his article about where the Celtics are in the standings, he mentions their west coast trip that kicks off in Seattle on December 24th. I found it odd that the Celtics would have a game in the evening on Christmas Eve, so I checked their schedule. Their road trips starts December 26th in Denver. They do have a game in Seattle on the trip, but it's on December 31st. There are 5 Sundays (which is when the 24th & 31st fall on) in December, so the 4th & 5th Sundays are split on the Celtics official schedule/calendar on their website. Murphy must've looked at that and assumed it was the 24th. If things like this didn't happen all the time with him, I wouldn't care, but he does this all the time. I figured you might want to make a note of this since you just made mention of mistakes Hector Longo made yesterday.

I think I vaguely remember that first two incidents that the emailer mentions, but I checked today’s and sure enough, its just as described.

* Seems Tony Massarotti was guilty of jumping to conclusions this weekend when he interpreted Paul Pierce’s lack of reaction to a question about the fans booing the coach to mean that Pierce wanted a coaching change. Massarotti even said “it makes you wonder, too, whether the captain of the ship is actually trying to lead a mutiny.” Pierce was asked about the article and Celtics Blog has the response from Pierce, who says that was not his intention at all.

* The more I think about it, the more I have to laugh at the absurdity of Jim Donaldson’s column this morning. It’s silly on so many levels. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s an instant classic – but in the bad sense. Every time I think about Donaldson describing himself as “stoically” bearing abuse from people at the Dunkin Donuts center I can’t help but snicker.