Weekend Watch – College Hoops Heating Up

We’re deep into college hoop season as the sport dominates the weekend. We’ve also got NBA, NHL, Golf and NASCAR schedule for the next few days.

Be sure to check in with Scott’s Shots this weekend as the updates from Fort Myers will continue.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the mock draft mashup put together by Scott Benson on the Patriots Game Day page, it’s worth a look.

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For the first time Patriots All Access will be doing original programming year round. The plan is for the show to air once a month during the off-season.

The first off-season show is this Saturday night from 7-7:30 on WCVB Ch 5.

This week’s show features a behind he scenes look at the Pro Bowl with Bill Belichick and his staff. The show had unlimited access to Belichick as he worked his squad out during the week. He was mic’d up for practice, meetings and the game, and you’ll hear from Peyton Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson, among others on what it was like to work with Belichick. It promises to be a show worth catching.

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Bill Simmons remembers Dennis Johnson.

Chad Finn also pays tribute to DJ.

John Walters says DJ left behind a lasting legacy.

Jessica Camerato has another good piece remembering Johnson.

Adam Reilly acknowledges DJ’s greatness as a player, but feels that his 1997 domestic abuse arrest shouldn’t be glossed over. While I agree that the incident shouldn’t be ignored when considering DJ as a person, the guy just died for crying out loud.

Reilly also has Globe editor Marty Baron explaining why the story of Tom Brady’s impending fatherhood was considered front page, above the fold news by the paper.

Cold Hard Football Facts claims that Brady makes Boston relevant nationally.

Curt Schilling (Gehrig38) weighs in on the attention his contract situation has gotten on SoSH.

Jon Heyman thinks that Manny’s latest incident might finally lead the Red Sox to trade him, possibly to the Rockies.

Dr Z has a mailbag this week, allowing the readers to chime in on lousy announcers and other topics.

Mike Freeman writes a typical Manny Ramirez column.

The Media Circus has a look at the media hot stove and bizarre mismatched musical acts at various sporting events.

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890 ESPN Radio Boston is sponsoring “Half Minute Ticket to Fame,” a contest where entrants create their own 30 second video commercial. The winner will also have the chance to appear in the final ad, which will be produced by 890 ESPN Radio Boston and aired on TV.

From the Patriots and Red Sox to 890 ESPN Radio Host Mike Felger – all relevant subjects are up for grabs when it comes to the content of the winning commercial. There is a March 8 deadline to the contest and entries have begun to arrive, and will be posted on the 890 ESPN You Tube page as well as at www.890espn.com for viewing, commenting and voting.

To enter 890 ESPN Boston’s “Half Minute Ticket to Fame” Contest and for complete contest rules, visit www.890espn.com.

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In Through the Fire: 2-Disc Special Edition, ESPN tells the story of high school phenom Sebastian Telfair (now with the Celtics) and his jump from high school basketball to the NBA. This special edition release of its 2006, award winning predecessor includes two of Telfair’s high school games and an inside look at how he and his family have faired in the nearly three years he’s been in the league with a specially featured round table discussion. Through the Fire 2 Disc Special Edition DVD is in stores nationwide; $27.99 SRP.

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Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9:30 a.m.) will examine what impact the NBA age-limit rule is having on college basketball. The new rule mandates players must be at least one year removed from high school before entering the NBA, and this week Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said it is ”the worst thing that’s happened to college basketball since I’ve been coaching.” Knight will be interviewed on the show to discuss the topic.

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FOX Sports will unveil its brand new, high-tech “Hollywood Hotel” traveling NASCAR prerace studio this Sunday as host Chris Myers and analysts Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip move into the next generation mobile studio unit prior to FOX Sports’ live coverage of the Auto Club 500, Powered by Q Motor Oil on Sunday, Feb. 25 (3:00 PM ET).

The new studio’s enlarged desk has room for up to five people and is now situated in front of two massive 71-inch plasma screens. The plasma displays have the ability to combine and offer a single visual image that stretches an incredible 142 inches, and also the flexibility to offer multiple visual feeds across the field to illustrate the subject matter currently under examination. To the left and right of these screens are additional flat-panel displays that feature supplementary visual content, including highlights, graphics and statistics. Above all this runs a scrolling LED ticker that is capable of exhibiting the upcoming race’s starting grid, as well as the current championship points standings, running order, or other pertinent information.

Sports Media Columns from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at planned coverage of the NFL combine in Indianapolis by the NFL Network which will devote 27 hours of programming to the workouts. Bill Doyle has a look at WEEI’s fifth annual “Whiney Awards” which will take place next Tuesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. David Scott has been filing media reports from Red Sox spring training, and will continue to do so over the weekend. Friday’s installment has a look at a new NESN show planned for May” “The Globe 10.0” airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30pm.

New York

Phil Mushnick takes apart a college basketball announcer (ho happens to be Red Sox NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo) and a SportsCenter anchor for not knowing what they’re talking about. Each announcer proclaimed a recent home win by a pretty good team “a huge upset” when in reality they were anything but. Richard Sandomir reports that MLB’s deal with DirecTV has gotten F.C.C. attention. Pat Reichart reports that Bill Parcells to ESPN is 99.9% done. Neil Best has a look at growing pains for college sports networks ESPNU and CSTV, and praise for the book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel. Rob Raissman looks at the overkill of the A-Rod/Jeter soap opera in the New York media. Reichart has Five Questions with Mets analyst Ron Darling.

More East Coast

Aaron Bracy says good bye in his final column for the Courier-Post. Laura Nachman has a look at Jon Slobotkin, vice president/executive producer of live events for Comcast SportsNet, who worked his way up through the business from the bottom. Bob Smizik has a piece on Penguins announcer Mike Lange, in his 29th season calling games for the club, but first on the Penguins-owned radio broadcasts after being fired by FSN on the TV broadcasts. Jim Williams reports on Tony Kornheiser returning to local radio. He also has a look at the Mid Atlantic Sports Network’s coverage of the Nationals and Orioles. Michael McCarthy says former coaches turned analysts can be good if they’re completely candid. Michael Hiestand has Johnny Miller saying that match play is a “crapshoot.”

South

Barry Jackson has Michael Irvin remaining upbeat despite losing his ESPN job. He also reports that a Miami TV station will not bring Tim Hardaway back as their Heat playoff analyst due to his comments from last week. Dave Darling lists out the 10 best, 5 worst and 5 most overrated sports movies. David Barron notes that this Sunday’s Rockets game will not be on local TV for the first time since the late 1990’s due to a scheduling quirk.

Midwest

Teddy Greenstein has Tom Waddle preparing for his new show on WMVP. Dan Caesar looks at KMOX remaining atop the St Louis sports radio ratings despite not having any of the pro sports teams on their airwaves. Bob Wolfley has the University of Wisconsin and Marquette men’s basketball teams getting into the national spotlight the next two weekends. He also looks at the Brewers TV lineup. Paul Levy tries to solve the mystery of the voice of Bill Woodson heard on voiceovers during Twins broadcasts.

West Coast

Larry Stewart says FOX is still very bullish on NASCAR and doesn’t see a way they can lose with the sport. Jim Carlisle says that match-play golf can be risky business for television. Stewart’s notebook agrees with that premise. Tom Hoffarth catches up with longtime USC announcer Tom King, and has the top 10 and bottom 5 play by play announcers in the LA market. John Maffei has NBC hoping that Tiger Woods can stick around to play in the match-play rounds they’re showing this weekend. Joe Davidson is disturbed by the growing trend by prep coaches and administrators to try and control information the same way their college and pro counterparts are.

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TV Highlights This Weekend

Friday February 23rd

7:00pm, NHPTV – Providence @ UNH (Hockey)
8:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Lightning (HD)
8:00pm, ESPN – Wizards @ Bulls (HD)
10:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Lakers
10:30pm, ESPN – Jazz @ Nuggets (HD)

Saturday February 24th

Noon, CBS – Oklahoma St. @ Texas Tech (HD)
Noon, ESPN – Syracuse @ Providence
Noon, NESN – Miami @ Virginia Tech
Noon, CN8 – Drexel @ Towson
1:00pm, TV38 – Clemson @ Boston College
2:00pm, NBC – Accenture Match Play Championship (HD)
2:00pm, CBS – Pittsburgh @ Georgetown (HD)
2:00pm, ESPN – Illinois @ Penn St
3:30pm, ABC – Georgia Tech @ Virginia
4:00pm, ESPN – Rutgers @ Villanova
4:00pm, ABC – Florida @ LSU (HD)
5:00pm, ESPN2 – Wichita St. @ Creighton
6:00pm, ESPN – Iowa St. @ Kansas
6:00pm, FSN – Stanford @ UCLA
7:00pm, CN8 – Vermont @ Boston University (hockey)
7:00pm, NHPTV – UNH @ Providence (hockey)
7:30pm, NESN – Bruins @ Panthers
7:30pm, ESPN2 – Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Michigan St (HD)
9:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Jazz

Sunday February 25th

Noon, CBS – Louisville @ UConn (HD)
12:30pm, NESN – Boston University @ Albany
1:00pm, ABC- Bulls @ Pistons (HD)
2:00pm, CBS – Duke @ St. John’s (HD)
2:00pm, NBC- Accenture Match Play Championship (HD)
4:00pm, FOX – Nextel Cup: Auto Club 500 (HD)
3:30pm, ABC – Cavs @ Heat (HD)
4:00pm, CBS – Wisconsin @ Ohio St (HD)
5:30pm, NESN – North Carolina @ Maryland
8:00pm, ESPN – Kings @ Pacers (HD)
8:00pm, FSN – Arizona @ Arizona St

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DJ Remembered

A busy day today in the world of Boston sports, unfortunately, it’s not all good times.

Steve Bulpett reports on the shocking death of Celtics great Dennis Johnson at the age of 52, and gets reaction from his teammates from those great 80’s teams. Shira Springer looks at the death which shocked and saddened many around the NBA. Desmond Connor says that there are players with more natural talent than Dennis Johnson, but they don’t compare to him. Lenny Megliola has a farewell to the player Larry Bird called the best he ever played with.

Jackie MacMullan has a tremendous piece on DJ, and how he always rose to the occasion when it mattered most. Bulpett also has a very nice appreciation piece on Johnson, and how his memory will stand forever in the Celtics pantheon. Mike Szostak remembers DJ for his free throws, socks and playoff performances. Tim Weisberg says that Johnson provided himself to be two things over the course of his career, a fighter and a winner. The Herald has a page of reaction to DJ’s death from friends and colleagues.

I’d like to give a nod to Big Show producers Andy Massaua and Brett Erickson, as well as the whiner line callers, for the tribute to DJ in that segment of the show yesterday. It got a little dusty in my car in those minutes yesterday. Well done guys.

The hosts of the show did their best on the topic, but it was a day in which Glenn Ordway would’ve shone with his stories of the 1980’s Celtics. Pete Sheppard did a good job of leading the discussion, but Larry Johnson and Steve Buckley weren’t always up to the task. When Cedric Maxwell was on the show and mentioned that he had just talked to Gerald Henderson, Johnson asked if they had talked about “that great game where Bird stole the ball” and passed it to DJ…Maxwell gently reminded him that neither he nor Henderson were with the Celtics at that point.

Bulpett has Danny Ainge feeling OK that he didn’t make a trade before yesterday’s deadline.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports that Corey Dillon has asked the Patriots for his release, which will be granted and he intends to retire. However…Albert Breer reports after talking with Dillon’s agent, that the running back will see what other opportunities are out there in the NFL during the free agent period. In either case, it appears that Mike Felger won’t have to fear going by #28 locker anymore.

If you’re curious about who the experts think that the Patriots might draft in April, stop by the Patriots Game Day page, where Scott Benson has compiled six of the more accurate mock drafts together into one sheet and tried to come to some sort of consensus on the players the Patriots would be interested in.

Eric McHugh looks at the apparent decision by Tedy Bruschi to return for another season with the Patriots.

Red Sox

A cynic might think Curt Schilling is pretty mad that DJ died yesterday and pushed Schilling off the headlines and airwaves. After his announcement on the Dennis & Callahan show that he would file for free agency this fall, WEEI had been all Schilling talk prior to the news that Johnson had died. Many callers and most of the hosts were of the opinion that the Red Sox were making a mistake in not extending Schilling now.

Gordon Edes looks at the decision by the Red Sox not to extend Schilling until after the season. Jon Couture says that there is just no point in the Red Sox rushing to sign Schilling at this point. Jeff Horrigan has Schilling a little irked by the “business decision” made by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox management. Steven Krasner has more on the Red Sox decision not to extent Schilling. Tony Massarotti examines the Red Sox wait and see tactic with Schilling. Jeff Goldberg notes Schilling’s resolve to test the free agent market next fall after the Red Sox decision. Joe Haggerty looks at Schilling being set to walk after 2007.

David Scott reports from Spring Training with a look at the goings on yesterday, as well as a look at the FSNNE operations in Florida.

Krasner has a look at Daisuke Matsuzaka taking a heavy workload early on in camp. Massarotti says that the Red Sox are OK with the latest Manny Ramirez drama. Haggerty has Manny’s mates, including Mike Lowell support him. Horrigan has teammate reaction to Manny.
Dan Shaughnessy tells us that covering the Red Sox is like doing layups on an eight foot rim. There’s always something going on which makes it so easy he can do it in his sleep. Which he apparently does pretty often.

Edes’ notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka dreaming about the Red Sox signing Ichiro Suzuki after the latter becomes a free agent next fall. Horrigan’s notebook has Matsuzaka extending his bullpen session to 103 pitches. Most pitchers at this stage are throwing 35-40 pitches. Krasner’s notebook says that Manny won’t be going to the car auction tomorrow after all.

Bruins

Stephen Harris reports that a new contract for Marco Sturm is all but done. Fluto Shinzawa has Peter Chiarelli surprised that none of his colleagues made a deal at the recent GM meetings.

DJ Passes Away At 52

WEEI just announced that former Celtic Dennis Johnson has passed away this afternoon at the age of 52 after collapsing during a pickup game while coaching the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League. Online reports thus far do not mention a pickup game, merely that Johnson has died. (An Austin reporter now says he was just messing around after practice, not playing hard or anything.)

Truly a big loss. DJ was one of my favorite members of the 1980’s Celtics…

They talked to Cedric Maxwell shortly afterwards, who expressed that he was “totally numb” at the news, and had some nice words and stories on his former teammate.

You can check the Austin American-Statesman for updates on the story.

I’ve got a quick post on the FSN Celtics Blog on DJ.

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Curt Schilling announced on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan this morning that the Red Sox will not offer him a new contract before the end of the season. He expressed his disappointment and his wife’s anger at the decision, and said that he will test free agency at the end of the season.

Having previously said that money wasn’t “a big deal” to him, it will be interesting to see how things play out at the end of the season.

WEEI hosts for the rest of the day rejoiced as they had an easy topic for their programs. The news of Dennis Johnson’s passing changed the tone and subject of The Big Show show abruptly, however.

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Jason Whitlock apparently had two separate takes on NBA All Star weekend. Read his Kansas City Star column, and then check out his AOL Sports column.

Mike Reiss has an offseason edition of the Ask Reiss Mailbag.

Rob Bradford talks to Julian Tavarez and learns that the pitcher never went to school a day in his life.

Lee Jenkins in the New York Times attempts to solve the mystery of the gyroball.

John Clayton has a First and 10 from the Indianapolis Combine.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – Rice @ Memphis
7:15pm, TNT – Bulls @ Cavs
7:30pm, NESN – Vermont @ BU
9:00pm, ESPN – Duke @ Clemson
9:30pm, TNT – Heat @ Mavs
11:00pm, FSN – Washington St. @ Oregon

Papi Trucks Into Camp

David Ortiz arrived in camp yesterday, and Big Papi was the center of attention, as usual. Amalie Benjamin has the slugger receiving a truck from the Red Sox owners as a gift for the new season, and then holding court on the state of the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg notes that Ortiz’s salary is now a huge bargain for the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan has more on the truck given to Ortiz as a gesture from the owners as to how much they appreciate the slugger.Stephen Krasner has more on Ortiz being handed a truck as a breakfast treat.

Gordon Edes and Jeff Horrigan look at the report that Manny Ramirez is scheduled to appear at a classic car auction in Atlantic City on Saturday. Manny’s agent says he will not be there, the organizer of the event says Manny told him he will be there at noon. Smart move by the organizer of the event to attach Manny’s name to the event. Because it is Manny, and everything he does here is scrutinized and talked about ad nauseum, the show is getting a ton of free publicity, and even if Manny doesn’t show up, the local papers will likely send a reporter to the auction. It couldn’t be a better setup if the guy had planned it all out. Maybe if the Red Sox lured Manny into camp with a classic car, he’d be here by now. They gave Papi a truck after all….

Tony Massarotti notes that the way that the market played out this offseason, Manny might be here beyond next season as his option years will fall in line with what other sluggers might be getting. Steven Krasner says that the words “Manny” and “accountability” don’t fit well together. Goldberg has more on Manny’s scheduled appearance at the auto event.

Dan Shaughnessy and Gerry Callahan once again share a topic, this time it is new Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew. Shaughnessy opens with a thinly veiled shot at Curt Schilling, but both columns look at how the laid back Drew seems unfazed by the attention his signing in the offseason brought. Maureen Mullen looks at how Drew has a couple of fences to mend, but is also eager to prove himself to the Boston fans. Horrigan says Drew wasn’t sweating out the seven week delay in his contract.

David Scott made it to Fort Myers in time for the Big Papi press conference and will be in camp the next few days, providing afternoon updates on the Scott’s Shots blog. Rob Bradford looks at how Mike Lowell turned to boxing as part of his offseason conditioning program. David Borges (now with the New Haven Register) has a look at Jeff Natale, the reigning Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, but also known as the guy who took a Curt Schilling fastball off the head in an intrasquad game last spring.

Benjamin’s notebook has Drew looking forward to the series against the Diamondbacks in June, when he’ll be able to play against his younger brother, Stephen. Horrigan’s notebook has Ortiz supportive of the Red Sox reaching to Japan for talent. Krasner’s notebook has Drew defending his even-keeled approach on the field.

Celtics

The Celtics once again put forth a spirited effort, but they didn’t have enough to hang with the Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in the end, falling 118-108. Paul Pierce had 24 points, while Al Jefferson had 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics, who fell to 0-2 on their West coast trip.

Steve Bulpett says that the outcome was never worthy of doubt, but the Celtics still had their moments in this one. Nick Cafardo says that the Celtics showed that they can stay with a team like the Suns, but they’re far from being able to put away a team like that.

Bulpett’s notebook says that the trade winds aren’t even a breeze around the Celtics as we get closer to today’s NBA trading deadline. Cafardo’s notebook has Wally Szczerbiak seeing a specialist in Los Angeles for his balky ankle, to see if there is some structural damage there that is causing the repeated sprains.

Bruins

Steve Conroy looks at three things that have helped turn the Bruins around in the three weeks since the 7-1 embarrassment against the Sabres. He cites : 1. The additions of Jeremy Reich and Brandon Bochenski. 2. The Brad Stuart-Primeau trade. and 3. The emergence of a balanced attack. Fluto Shinzawa looks at whether Peter Chiarelli might have more trades up his sleeve.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports that Patriots rookie Chad Jackson suffered a torn ACL in the AFC title game. This is a costly setback for the receiver, who the teams needs to have make a big jump in his second season. John Tomase says that this might be the year that the Patriots go for a linebacker in the draft. Bill Reynolds says that Tom Brady’s image has only taken a minor hit.

If you missed the post below this one, from yesterday afternoon, you might want to check it out.

Does The Media Make The News?

I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on Tony Massarotti’s column this morning about the media and how they decide what is news and what isn’t news.

Beyond the navel gazing, what I didn’t like about it was the attitude that permeated the column. It seemed to say: “Oh well, this is how things are, this is what we do, it might be wrong, but it’s not going to change.

Tony even admits that the media’s credibility is suffering, but offers no suggestions as to how it could be improved. “We have to accept it” Massarotti says.

But there’s more within the column that bothered me too, and it is a typical example of something that has happened over and over again during the last few months.

It’s this paragraph that I’m referring to:

For all the debate the Brady story has prompted, here is one aspect that is truly mystifying: How is it that the Brady story is front page news in the Boston Globe, yet the ugly divorce case involving third-wheel Pats coach Bill Belichick never gets a mention? How is it that WEEI talks about the quarterback’s situation but not about those of the coach? How do we draw the line between a full-blown, gloves-are-off scandal and one we deem frivolous and irrelevant, even if it is true?

So Tony thinks that the Bill Belichick situation should be talked about on the level of the Tom Brady coverage. He ignores the fact that seemingly every article written about the Patriots coach in the last couple months has included a reference to this case.

But what do we really know about this “ugly divorce case” in NJ? Do you honestly think Tony Massarotti really knows what is going on down there?

Of course not.

Just about all that has been reported has been on Page 6 of the New York Post and in the Inside Track of the Boston Herald. Credible sources both. (Is my sarcasm thick enough?)

We’ve heard plenty in those columns from the disgruntled husband. Nothing really from the other side. We’ve heard numerous times that Belichick is heavily involved in this mess and is going to be giving a deposition. We heard that this was going to happen as soon as the season was over.

Has it?

No.

Will it?

Not going to happen.

Mark my words.

The husband in the case has clearly made it his aim to try and involve Belichick somehow, and to publicly embarrass the Patriots head coach. That is the full extent of Belichick’s involvement in this case. He is not the “third-wheel” in this case.

Massarotti wasn’t the only Herald columnist referencing the New Jersey divorce case today, from Howie Carr’s column:

But this isn’t the only unfolding sex scandal involving the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is embroiled in a messy divorce with that former secretary for the New York Giants. But again, there’s a video problem – no videotape of The Other Woman. Plus, the local sporting press is terrified of Belichick. They’d rather kiss butt than kick it.

Right. The sporting press is terrified of Belichick. They’ve NEVER said a disparaging word about the Patriots coach. Ever. They’re too scared to. Please. They spend the last few years taking shots at him for any possible reason, and now they’re “terrified” to bring up this subject?

If you’ve read the books on Bill Belichick, you’re familiar with the stories about him helping out friends in need. That he’ll reward lower level staff members out of his own pocket. That quality extends to his non-football life as well.

Like many people with means, Belichick has investment properties. Several in fact. (Nantucket, Weston and others) Owned by him. The reports that he has purchased a house FOR the woman in the NJ case are off base. Belichick’s generosity to friends in need is well known among people who know the man outside of football.

This example is from Peter King’s November, 2005 SI article “Master and Commander“:

Unlike many of the Cleveland players, Browns coaches loved working for Belichick. Every Monday after a win over an AFC Central opponent, he would have his secretary cash a check from his personal account, and $200 in cash would be left on the desk of every assistant. Before the coaching staff headed off on vacation every June, he would distribute the proceeds from his TV and radio shows to his assistants — maybe $12,000 a man — and take nothing for himself. “Bill remembered what it was like to be an assistant coach,” says his former line coach Kirk Ferentz, now the head coach at Iowa. “He gave everyone a second Christmas. You think that doesn’t make you loyal?” One time Belichick left a $100 bill in the car ashtray of low-level scout Scott Pioli. When Pioli protested that he didn’t need the money, Belichick replied, “Shut up and take it. I’ve been where you’ve been.”

Those are coaches he worked with. This generous side of Belichick also extends to his private life. He has assisted a number of people over the years without publicity and in a platonic manner.

From what I hear, the NJ case is moving rapidly towards a conclusion….a conclusion that does not in any way involve Bill Belichick. Yet the gossip columns have set this up to be something huge, that things are moving towards the day when Belichick is called to the stand and dramatically forced to tell all, spilling secrets that will ruin his career and shame the New England Patriots.

What’s going to happen when none of that comes to pass, and the case quietly ends? Nothing. There will be no corrections, no mentions that the whole thing was overblown and simply lifted from gossip columns in tabloid newspapers.

Over the last few months we’ve had plenty of mentions of this case in various columns, both local and national. Where are these columnists getting their information on the case? Do you think any of them have actually attempted to look into them themselves? Not a chance. They’re taking what is published in the gossip columns and taking it as fact. It seems that some fans and callers to sports radio, also believe everything they read in those columns as well.

So when you hear the question asked “Why aren’t we hearing more about this Bill Belichick case?” the answer is simply because there really isn’t one at all.

What’s become clear out of all of this, is that too many members of the Boston (and national) sports media simply rely on the gossip pages for their source material.

THAT’S got to change.

Coco Hoping For Fresh Start

Jeff Horrigan has Coco Crisp looking for a turnaround in his second season with the Red Sox. Gordon Edes talks to Red Sox minor league outfield and base-running instructor Lou Frazier about Crisp. Frazier goes back to 203 with the Red Sox centerfielder and expects a big season out of him.

Dan Shaughnessy talks with John Henry about NASCAR and the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox owners explaining their willingness to spend big money this past offseason. Steven Krasner has the Red Sox owners dancing around putting expectations on Matsuzaka for this season.

Rob Bradford has an interesting story on Alex Ochoa, in camp on a minor league deal, who has played in Japan, facing Matsuzaka, and adjusting to life there. Horrigan has the Sox reaching out to Manny Ramirez in an effort to convince him to report before March 1.

Tom King reports on the Nashua Pride bringing “El Guapo” Rich Garces back to New England. Marc Thaler says Garces was not signed as a gimmick, as the team believes Garces could be the answer to their closing situation. Dan Duggan has Garces hoping that this is the first step in a road that will lead him back to the major leagues.

Nick Cafardo reports on Barry Bonds reporting to Giants spring training, preparing to make the fun push towards Hank Aaron’s home run record. Steve Buckley weighs in on the two biggest stories of spring training thus far, Manny’s late arrival and the A-Rod-Jeter rift. Those are the biggest stories of spring training? How about Dice-K?

Edes’ notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka putting in a heavy workload already. Horrigan’s notebook has the Sox owners looking to wait and see how Curt Schilling looks before giving him a contract extension. Krasner’s notebook has the Red Sox possibly opening their season in Japan in one of the next few years.

Celtics

The post-All-Star break Celtics looked pretty much like the pre-All-Star edition last night, dropping the first game of their West coast road trip 104-101 to the Sacramento Kings, in what may have been the most winnable game of the trip. The Celtics were way behind several times in this, fought back to make a game, but then dropped it at the end.

Shira Springer has the game story for the Globe, while Steve Bulpett does the honors for the Herald.

A new edition of the BSMW Full Court Press features a roundtable discussion on the state of the Celtics at the All Star break. Bulpett has Allan Ray being sent to Austin of the NBA Developmental League, where he can get some consistent playing time under coach Dennis Johnson.

Bulpett’s notebook has GM Paul Pierce again offering his input into what the Celtics should do at the trade deadline and this summer. Springer’s notebook says that things are pretty quiet on the trade front for the Celtics and are likely to remain that way.

Bruins

The Bruins submitted a strong effort on the road last night as they continue their playoff quest. Tim Thomas was great in net as he shut out the Maple Leafs 3-0 in Toronto. Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins are showing flickers of something they’ve trying to achieve all season long – life. Steve Conroy notes that the Bruins get help from unlikely sources last night…and needed it.

Shinzawa’s notebook examines the report on TSN that the Bruins might be close to re-signing Marco Sturm. Conroy’s notebook has Jason York calling his shot prior to the game last night.

Misc

Ron Borges has Zak DeOssie getting ready for the NFL combine, hoping to improve his NFL chances.

Tony Massarotti attempts to address the media’s role in determining what is news and what isn’t. I’ll have to chew on this one for a while, as while I think the intent is good here, the execution might be a little off.

Lenny Megliola goes after the two stories I said in yesterday afternoon posts were the only things being talked about: Manny and Brady. Mark Farinella says that Brady has developed an image problem with this latest development.

Ted Panos offers some random observations on a number of topics.

Tuesday Wrap – 02.20.07

So the topics that sports radio and the newspapers can’t get enough of the last couple days are:

  • Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan’s baby
  • Manny showing up late. (Though the mandatory reporting date isn’t until next week.)

It’s hard for me to expect more from the Boston sports media, so it doesn’t surprise me that these are the topics that we’re subjected to. But what about Curt Schilling’s conditioning?

What’s worse, showing up on time, but overweight, or showing up a day after the deadline and in good shape? Neither is preferable, of course, but Schilling is skating this spring for things that other players have been crucified in this city for – openly demanding a contract extension and showing up out of shape.

Since Schilling is articulate, a great soundbite and willing to challenge reporters, does he escape their withering criticism? It seems so.

Bridget Moynahan is taking more heat on WEEI than Schilling is.
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The Celtics owners didn’t do themselves any favors in Jackie MacMullan’s feature this morning in the Globe. Check out some of these quotes:

“They wore bags over their heads in New Orleans, and their [NFL] team ended up [almost] going to the Super Bowl this year,” said Celtics managing partner Steve Pagliuca.

What does that even mean? Almost went to the Super Bowl? When were the Saints fans wearing bags over their heads? 20 years ago? So in 20 years the Celtics will make the Eastern conference finals?

“You can’t make a judgment on Danny right now,” Pagliuca said. “It’s only been four years. If Delonte [West] becomes [Mike] Bibby and Al Jefferson becomes Karl Malone, I’d say Danny has done pretty well.”

Sometimes it’s better to just not to say anything at all.

Then there were the following from Wyc Grousbeck:

“Most trades are sideways,” he said. “I can take or leave them. They usually don’t work out quite the way you hoped. I’m in favor of drafting and holding.”

…because that strategy has worked out so well thus far…

“How long am I willing to wait?” Grousbeck said. “The rest of my life. That’s how long I plan to own this team. I’m not going anywhere.”

That’s reassuring.

Unfortunately these guys are pretty bulletproof in town as well, because they’re accessible. The Celtics owners make appearances at the Whiney Awards and have Lenny Clarke sit with them courtside. It would seem in every possible way the Celtics are the opposite of the Patriots. The Celtics have a horrible team, but a friendly management. The Patriots have a winning team, but uncooperative management.

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On the Dale & Holley show this morning, Dale Arnold read the following post from Eric Wilbur on Boston.com that suggested that Theo Epstein and the Red Sox owners were considering using Jonathan Papelbon as their closer this season after all.

Gordon Edes, who conducted the interview with Epstein, now says that the owner’s comments as posted by Wilbur were a joke.

Edes says the “blog universe got a bit carried away” by the original posting by Wilbur, and that the comments shouldn’t have been taken at face value as one website apparently did. Well, it wasn’t just the “blog universe.” As mentioned, Dale & Holley read the piece and had a discussion on it, Arnold even going as far as to praise Steve Burton, who had months ago on the Big Show proclaimed that Papelbon would be the closer.

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Geez, I take a day off and next thing I know, my message board posters are in the Inside Track. What is this world coming to?

Michael Gee is embarrassed for the Boston Globe.

Bill Simmons submits a marathon length recap of NBA All Star weekend in Las Vegas.

Albert Breer has a look at the Patriots Inside Linebacker position and free agent options.

Mike Reiss checks out the defensive line and available free agents.

So are the Feds going to take action against Dice-K for the Japanese beer ad, or not?

Richard Sandomir has a look at how commercials and the action merged into one during the Daytona 500.

Neil Best warns baseball fans buying tickets to baseball games that ESPN has the right to change up to three games a week to prime time.

Bob Raissman notes that Brian Cashman has the power he wants, further scrutiny will follow.

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Red Sox fans in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the team’s season home opener against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, April 10 through Comcast.

Fans will be automatically entered to win the Triple Play Sweepstakes when they purchase the Comcast Triple Play bundle of Digital Cable with ON DEMAND, High-Speed Internet and Comcast Digital Voice. Each product is available for $33 a month for 12 months when you subscribe to all three.

Existing Comcast customers and non-customers are also invited to enter the Triple Play Sweepstakes without making a purchase just by mailing a 3×5 postcard with name, address and daytime phone number to Comcast Red Sox Triple Play Sweepstakes, c/o Fenway Sports Group, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. The contest will last until March 11, 2007 and winners will be notified before April 1, 2007. All contestants must be at least 21 years old to enter.

225 pairs of tickets are up for grabs in this promotion.

Comcast and the Red Sox today also unveiled “Triple Play Frenzy,” a new, interactive online Flash game where fans can test their skills and compete for the best score. Triple Play Frenzy can be played at www.tripleplayfrenzy.com.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Maple Leafs (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN – Wisconsin @ Michigan St. (HD)
7:00pm, ESPN2 – DePaul @ Notre Dame (HD)
7:00pm, Versus – Flyers @ Sabres
8:15pm, TNT – Nuggets @ Spurs (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN – LSU @ Kentucky (HD)
10:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Kings
10:30pm, TNT – Suns @ Clippers (HD)