(Afternoon Links by guest blogger David Vidinha. Send him feedback at DVidinha@gmail.com)

Upon first listen TBS’ broadcast crew for last night’s Game 1 of the ALDS wasn’t all that bad. Given this fan base is very critical and hesitant of change (See: Glen Geffner) the tandem in the booth of Ted Robinson and Steve Stone was pretty adequate. Other than fan favorites Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo the folks around these parts have not had the opportunity to listen to many other broadcast teams during Sox games. Since all games are on NESN with the small exception that showed up on Fox or ESPN, we were sheltered for the most part from that monstrosity that is Joe Morgan, and “Brandon Arroyo’s” favorite Tim McCarver.

Robinson and Stone provided smooth commentary in what turned out to be a very good night for Red Sox fans. At first I felt weird not having Stone direct us to his website where he was giving away t-shirts but I quickly adjusted. Other than a couple of questionable observations by Stone, the most questionable being that baserunning was an underrated aspect of Manny’s game. Hustle aside, I think there’s plenty of Sox fans that would question that assessment. Also, Robinson feeling the need to explain the definition of a complete game is probably unnecessary. All in all, it will not be painful to listen to these two for the remainder of the series. That being said, I’m really hoping we don’t get any more “in-depth” analysis from Frank Thomas. Thomas who just finished his season with the Jays would appear to be someone who could provide some insight into the game and its nuances, right? Wrong. Thomas was asked to breakdown the Ortiz homer, which led to a strange awkward stare into the camera, and then a Emmit Smith style answer of “he left the curve up and David knows what to do with that”….gee you think Frank? How about maybe telling us how Lackey pitched to you, or some tendencies that he showed when he faced you as little as a few months ago, nope, just a vanilla answer.

This leads to the question as to why do they hire former players to be analysts if they posses no ability to clearly communicate what they know (See: Emmitt Smith). Ripken wasn’t that bad providing us with an explanation of the 2 and 4 seam fastball, but let’s keep our fingers crossed that Thomas’ analysis will be minimal if any.

Now for the fans who are yearning for the return of Remy and Orsillo, that’s not going to happen so let’s just adjust to what we have. Look on the bright side, if the Sox make it to the World Series, we’ll be stuck listening to McCarver’s analysis of Justin Pedroia’s swing. Plus, Remy’s busy.

Around the Web

Baseball

Bill Simmons has 25 people to watch in the AL Playoffs.

Tom Verducci tells us that there’s something different about the Beckett we saw last night and the Beckett who pitched in the ’03 World Series.

Old Boston Herald scribe Howard Bryant tells us “the Angels suffer from fundamental problems against the Red Sox that put them into dangerous territory”.

“Even on TV he looked filthy” that’s what David Ortiz tells us about Beckett in this piece by Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports.

If its up to these two former Red Sox employees, Isiah Thomas won’t even be able to sell popcorn.

According to this report in the Onion the Yankees are declining the Wild Card.

Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports says yanking Zambrano may have cost the Cubs the playoffs. Somewhere in North Dakota Steve Bartman smiles.

Roger Clemens pitched a simulated game, and now he’s ready to take the ball in Game 3.

TJ Simers in the LA Times envisions Garrett Anderson in sequins and tights.

Joel Sherman in the NY Post has his breakdown of the Yankees Division series.

Nick Cafardo had a chat, in it someone thinks Big Schill is hurt.

Jerry Crasnick has 5 ideas to improve the MLB’s Wild Card system, Bob Costas has one.

Gabe Kapler blogged during last night’s game.

Rumor has it Jonathan Papelbon may be the next athlete on Dancing with the Stars.

Football

Peter King provides his look ahead to Week #5.

Michael Silver over at Yahoo Sports has 32 Questions.


Cold Hard Football Facts
breaks down the best offensive lines in the NFL with their Hog Index.

Football Outsiders has their Week in Quotes.

The incoming Browns have the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month to boast about.

Well, Vic Carucci’s First Quarter awards didn’t go off too well.

Jeff Chadiha over at ESPN needs only 4 reasons to prove that no team will ever go undefeated in the NFL, just don’t tell that to the Big Show guys.

Hey, Tony Kornheiser stole Remy’s t-shirt idea. Somehow he even got Adailus Thomas to wear one.

Within this notebook NFL Network’s Adam Schefter tells us Seattle defensive tackle Rocky Bernard might have inadvertently helped the Patriots.

Tonight on TV

The Yankees and Indians kick off their divisional series tonight at Jacobs Field when Yankee ace Chien-Ming Wang takes the hill against C.C. Sabathia. The game begins at 6PM as the second game in today’s triple header on TBS.

For the rest of tonight’s lineup, check here.

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