Lowell Back In The Fold

WHDH Channel 7 was the first place I saw this morning with the news that Mike Lowell was going to be returning to the Red Sox on a three-year deal.

Nick Cafardo and Rob Bradford report on the return of the popular third baseman.

Kevin Henkin over on the BSMW Full Court Press already has a number of favorite things about this new era of the Boston Celtics.

I’m still not used to seeing the Celtics back at the top of power rankings like SI’s Marty Burns. Over at ESPN though, Marc Stein has then slotted fifth in the league.

The running up the score accusations are not going to get any rest after last night’s 56-10 win over the Bills. This one, from ProFootballTalk.com is a prime example:

POSTED 11:12 p.m. EST, November 18, 2007

PATS GO TOO FAR, AGAIN

With a bye during Week Ten and a close game against the Colts before that, it has been three weeks since we've seen the Ferrari among a flock of Fords that is the New England Patriots.

And it's clear to us that coach Bill Belichick still doesn't know, or care, if he laps the field 50 times.

Twice in the third quarter while sporting huge leads, the Patriots kept the field goal unit on the sidelines for a fourth down deep in the Bills' end. On the second occasion, the Pats were up 42-10 on the Buffalo 10 and New England faced fourth and one.

The groan of disapproval from the crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium was barely audible over the comments of NBC's Al Michaels and John Madden, who seemed to see no problem with the maneuver.

We did, and we do. The Patriots are abusing their power, in our view, and they'd better hope that Earl Hickey is wrong about that whole karma thing.

We don't know whether it's karma or fate or just an innate sense of justice and fairness, but we've had a feeling for a couple of weeks now that something will happen to keep the Pats from getting to the Super Bowl or, when they do, someone like Brett Favre will find a way to chop down the beanstalk.

Please. Now they’re complaining about running it up in the third quarter? Seriously? When will people understand that kicking field goals is worse than going for it on fourth down? By going for it, they allow the opposition the opportunity to stop them, rather than just automatically putting more points on the board.

A “groan of disapproval” from the Buffalo crowd? Who should the fans be mad at? Their team for not stopping the Patriots, or at the Patriots for not mocking their team and taking it easy on them.

The final offensive touchdown was scored by the fourth string running back. The touchdown that pushed the score to 56 was a defensive TD. Next thing we’re going to hear that Ellis Hobbs should’ve just gone to the ground instead of running back the interception.

As for karma…in the years 1992, 1990, 1981, 1975, 1972, 1970 and 1967 there was plenty of “bad karma” around this team – enough to balance out the wild success of the present, I believe.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the Monday Morning Leftovers over at Patriots Daily.

On Cold Hard Football Facts’ Monday Morning Hangover, it’s another Patriot overload edition.

Michael Silver has plenty of NFL observations and notes in Morning Rush.

Peter King checks in around the NFL in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback

Even Pete Prisco has to admit that the Patriots are pretty good. His colleague Mike Freeman is onboard as well.

Jim Caple looks at another painful chapter in Boston sports history…the Revolution losing their fourth MLS Cup Final.

I have yet to figure out the point or significance of Bob Hohler’s feature on fourth-string Patriots running back Kyle Eckel yesterday. It really just seemed like another wet blanket tossed by the Globe (the 17%ers) in the direction of the Patriots on a game day.

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Patriots Are A Perfect 10

The Patriots made it 10 wins in a row to start the season, as they rolled to another easy victory, this time by the score of 56-10 over the Buffalo Bills, who had won four games in a row coming into this game.

We’re running a little behind this morning, (though there seem to be fewer articles than usual, even for a road night game) so here are some essentials to get you started:

10 Things We Learned Last Night by Christopher Price.

In a Class of Their Own by Michael Felger.

Moss is Even More Polished by Jackie MacMullan.

Parity? What Parity? Patriots Win by 46 by Shalise Manza Young.

Patriots a Perfect 10-0 by Mark Farinella.

Get the rest of the coverage on PatriotsLinks.com. Be sure also to check in with Patriots Daily today for more reaction and analysis.

With the game on NBC, the Patriots were not a big topic on the CBS, FOX or ESPN pregame shows yesterday, as these were the only quotes related to them from those programs:

(On Randy Moss’s pending unrestricted free agency)

Charlie Casserly (CBS): Certainly, he will be the number one free agent on everybody’s board in the off-season. The Patriots will want him back. However, here’s what I think will happen. Whether or not they give him a contract extension, we don’t know that. If they don’t, look for them to franchise Randy Moss, as the exclusive franchise. Therefore he cannot negotiate with any other team. That amount [will be] roughly in the $8 million range. The important question is, what do you pay Randy Moss? Marvin Harrison is the number one paid wide receiver in the NFL at $9.5 million. Next up [is] Terrell Owens at $8.3 million. I would think Randy Moss is going to want to be paid in that range. Randy Moss will only be 31-years-old next year. That is younger than Marvin Harrison or Terrell Owens when they signed those big-money contracts.

Steelers or Colts: Bigger threat to New England Patriots?

Mike Ditka (ESPN): “Let me tell you a little rhyme I learned: ‘Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.’ You’re talking about the past. This stuff that has happened doesn’t matter. What matters right now is that this (Colts) football team is best equipped to go outside in New England and kick butt.”

Celtics

The Celtics saw their winning streak come to an end last night in Orlando. Trailing by 20, the Celtics roared back and even had the lead in the closing minutes before falling 104-102 to the Magic.

Marc J. Spears and Mark Murphy have the game stories. Jessica Camerato has an interview with Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

Spears’s notebook has Ray Allen working to correct his jumper, which has been a little off the last couple games. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics attracting crowds on the road, just like the old days.

Get more stories on CelticLinks.com.

Pierce Nets Game Winner as Celtics Stay Unbeaten

Saturday Links by Dan, send him feedback here.

The Boston Celtics continue to roll as they squeeze out a late win against the Miami Heat Friday night at the Garden to up their record to a stellar 8-0. Steve Bulpett has the game story and has Kevin Garnett sounding like any voice inside a Patriot locker room.

Former Celtic Ricky Davis found his way back to Boston with yet another team. Mark Murphy has the piece on how the 28 year old Davis is on his 6th NBA franchise. (Yes 6, Good Luck Pat…)

Marc J. Spears has the Celtics staying perfect despite blowing a 15 point 4th quarter lead.

Peter May talks about Garnett finally being surrounded by a supporting cast he can count on. As opposed to the debacle that was his team in Minnesota most of his career.

PATRIOTS

Now onto the OTHER unbeaten team in this town. The Patriots look to take on the Buffalo Bills tomorrow night after their much deserved week off. For the Bills,. all signs are pointing to franchise Running Back Marshawn Lynch sitting this one out. If that’s the case, look for the Patriots ‘D’ to have even more of a field day against this fraudulent 5-4 Bills team.

Karen Guregian has an article on Adalius Thomas’ reduced role in the Indy game. There is belief that Thomas has been banged up since the Cleveland game with an ankle injury.

Guregian also takes a look at New England’s #1 draft pick Brandon Meriweather who is slowly but surely making a name for himself.

RED SOX

Should Theo give Mike Lowell the 4th year he apparently wants? That seems to be the hang-up in the negotiations. Tough call here if you ask me for 2 reasons. Theo and Co. have taken a hard line stance on giving a guaranteed 4th year to aging veterans, a la, Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez. How did those work out for Boston? Exactly. On the other hand, you have a gold glove caliber 3rd baseman who was your unofficial regular season MVP and tabbed as the World Series MVP. Lowell also has the respect and admiration of all in that Boston clubhouse, which can be divisive. Reports are saying Lowell could make a decision by the weekend one way or the other. Heres’ to hoping Lowell gets a 3 year deal with a club option for a 4th with incentives. Stay tuned……

Michael Silverman had the Sox and Lowell continuing to talk and Lucky Lucchino proclaiming “We want him back”. Please….

Amalie Benjamin looks at the price increase to see your World Champs in 2008(shocker)

AROUND THE WEB

Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN has a fantastic piece on the greatest coach in the history of the NFL (Yes folks, that’s your own Bill Belichick)

The Celtics Road Games HD Question

One question that I’ve been getting over and over again in recent weeks is regarding when the Celtics road games on Comcast SportsNet are going to be shown in HD. I’ve even been included on a campaign-style email encouraging viewers to contact CSN and urge them put the away games in HD.

I took a couple minutes to connect with Skip Perham, who is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Comcast SportsNet here in New England, in an effort to shed some light on this matter.

Perham first stated that CSN “as much as anyone” wants to get the away games broadcast in HD, and noted very accurately that it is in their “best interest” to get this done. He noted that they’ve expanded the Celtics coverage in a lot of areas this season, from the dedicated pre and post-game shows, to the weekly magazine style show and having Greg Dickerson as courtside reporter for both home and away games.

He also acknowledged that the “standard telecast in this market for local teams is in high definition” both road and away. NESN has been broadcasting all Red Sox and Bruins games in HD, and it is a rare occasion when the Patriots are not shown in HD. (I don’t think it will happen at all this season, and might’ve happened once last season.) Held to this standard, CSN has thus admittedly fallen short so far, but plans are in place to change that.

Perham said that putting the Celtics road games in HD is their “number one priority” and he expects this to be done sometime during this 2007-2008 Celtics season. Right now, their focus is on making this happen.

So while the exact date is still up in the air, Celtics fans can rest assured that before the end of the season, all Celtics games, both home and away will be shown in crystal clear High Definition.

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With the bye-week behind us, it’s time to again plan our weekend around the Patriots, who take on the Buffalo Bills on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Over on Patriots Daily, the weekly roundtable is posted as the crew discusses the AFC playoff picture, and what sort of challenge the Bills can present for the Patriots on Sunday night.

Michael Silver has his weekly edition of The Gameface, looking ahead to the weekend’s NFL action.

The crew over at Cold, Hard Football Facts takes on SI’s Dr Z for his ridiculous take on the Colts/Chargers game and the performance of Peyton Manning in particular. Dr. Z tries to respond in his weekly mailbag.

I’m torn on the Mike Lowell situation. I want the guy back, and I really don’t want to see him with the Yankees, but at the same time, I think of Johnny Damon, and how glad I am that the Red Sox didn’t give him the four year deal he was seeking. Sean McAdam on ESPN.com notes that the Red Sox have been pretty solid with these types of decisions, but that Lowell doesn’t have the physical wear and tear that Damon and Pedro Martinez had when the Red Sox decided not to offer them the extended contracts they were seeking.

With the struggling Miami Heat coming to town tonight, Mike Fine has a look at Shaquille O’Neal slowing down and losing his lustre.

Bill Simmons has redone his predictions on the NBA Eastern Conference. Check out Part 1 and Part 2. (tip: the Celtics are in Part 2)

Michael Ventre seems to think that the Celtics could be a possible landing spot for Stephon Marbury if the Knicks decide to buy out his contract.

Check out this weekend’s College Football TV Schedule.

A few sports media columns:

Michael Hiestand looks at web-only broadcasts growing into quite a niche.

Next week, the NFL Network starts its schedule of regular season broadcasts. With it comes the continued furor over the fact that most people still do not have access to the channel. Richard Sandomir, Neil Best and Ed Sherman all examine the situation.

Laura Nachman hands out her annual sports media turkey awards.

Bruins Finally Break Out

The Bruins find themselves atop the links this morning for the first time in…well, I can’t remember.

Stephen Harris has the Bruins mustering a bit more offense than usual last night in their 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kevin Paul Dupont has more on the offensive “reset” for the Bruins last night at the Garden. Douglas Flynn has the Bruins turning on old friend Andrew Raycroft last night. Bud Barth has Peter Schaefer leading the charge with a pair of goals for the Bruins.

Mick Colageo says that Peter Chiarelli has some shopping to do with the cap relief obtained by putting Patrice Bergeron on long-term injury reserve. Dupont’s notebook says that the move could end Bergeron’s season. Harris’ notebook has Chiarelli high on Tuukka Rask, considering him very close to being ready to carry a load for the Bruins. Barth’s notebook says that Bruins fans may get to see Rusk soon, as Manny Fernandez’s knee is still bothering him. Flynn’s notebook has Hal Gill coming back to the Garden with the Leafs.

Celtics

In a Globe front page story, Shira Springer looks at the reemergence of the Celtics as a top sports attraction in Boston, where it seems, everyone is talking about them and their new stars. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has the Celtics staking their claim in the TV ratings as well.

Peter May notes what it is like finally getting to see how good Kevin Garnett really is, and how much better he can be with the right supporting cast around him. Lenny Megliola wishes to thank Minnesota for providing Boston with its latest superstar, right after Randy Moss and David Ortiz.

Mark Murphy has Rajon Rondo’s hard work and willingness to listen and learn paying off for the second year point guard. Mike Fine has the Celtics continuing to work to get better and extend their success. Jeff Howe examines the long road back for Tony Allen, who says his knee is still only 85% healed. Scott Souza has the Celtics not worried about style points, just victories.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, there is the latest edition of Niners Watch, looking at just how good that draft pick might be for the Patriots come April.

Michael Felger wonders if Donte Stallworth might be a one and done proposition here in New England. Christopher L. Gasper feels that even if the Patriots go undefeated, the camera scandal could cost Bill Belichick the coach of the year award. Mark Farinella says that the time has come for the Patriots to start shifting to cold weather mode.

Jackie MacMullan looks at Junior Seau and why the future Hall of Fame linebacker has been such a great fit in a part-time role here with the Patriots. Karen Guregian has a piece on fellow linebacker Tedy Bruschi and how he says he can’t slow down as he gets older.

John Tomase has the Patriots wide receivers each talking about their favorite Randy Moss catch this season. He also examines each of Moss’ 12 touchdowns this season. Jennifer Toland has Troy Brown doing his best to get back on the field for the Patriots. Christopher Price has more on Troy being Troy.

Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots wanting Laurence Maroney to hit more 4-5 yard runs rather than trying to go for the home run every time. Guregian has more on Laurence Maroney being ready to carry the load for the Patriots. David Heuschkel has Maroney more concerned with wins than with touchdowns.

Gasper’s notebook has Maroney not worried about when his first touchdown of the season is going to come. Guregian’s notebook says that the weather conditions in Buffalo on Sunday night could provide the first cold weather test for the Patriots this season. Robert Lee’s notebook has Rodney Harrison saying that Troy Brown still has it. Farinella’s notebook has the clock ticking on Brown as he tries to break into a talented receiving group on the Patriots. Toland’s notebook has the bye week helping Maroney to get completely healthy for the second half of the season.

Red Sox/Baseball/Misc

Tony Massarotti has Barry Bonds finally facing a Federal Indictment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Bob Hohler has more on the latest blow to the national pastime.

Check out the view from the Bay Area on Bonds, and also on the A’s opening the season in Japan with the Red Sox on the Bay Area Sports page.

Rob Bradford says that decision time is looming for Mike Lowell. Jeff Goldberg has the Red Sox and Yankees both continuing to chase Lowell.

Bill Burt looks at New England’s unknown superstar, the Revolution’s Taylor Twellman, trying to finally get the Revs over the top. Mike Biglin has more on the Revolution and their Cup Final rematch with Houston. Frank Dell’Apa and John Connolly also look at the Revs latest Cup quest, set for Sunday.

Globe Quickly Cleans Cafardo Gaffe

It hasn’t been a great week for Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Last week, as was pointed out in Friday’s edition of Scott’s Shots, Cafardo had to apologize for misreporting that 11 players in the current baseball free agent class are named in the George Mitchell report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

Today, Cafardo used an unfortunate phrase that the Globe quickly struck from their on-line editions in his article Not a banner day for fans.

In the original version, as seen in at least some print copies, Cafardo wrote:

Cafardo_globe.jpg

At some point this morning, the on-line edition was changed from “gypped” to “short-changed.” While we’re glad the original word was taken out, they still could’ve used a better phrasing here.

What is baffling is how the word “gypped” got past the original editors to begin with. While the word doesn’t seem to carry the force that other similar terms do, in this age of political correctness, it’s unbelievable that a reporter from one of the top papers in the country would use the phrase in this manner – even if no malice was meant. (And we’re sure there wasn’t any malice here.)

Super-Agent Boras Eating Humble Pie?

(Afternoon Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here)

With the A-Rod negotiations taking a complete 180 in the past 24-48 hours the coverage from around the media world is rather mixed. Both ESPN and Fox Sports are reporting that A-Rod has taken on the negotiating duties himself, leaving out his agent Scott Boras.

Here’s the statement Rodriguez released to the media…

After spending time with Cynthia and my family over these last few weeks, it became clear to me that I needed to make an attempt to engage the Yankees regarding my future with the organization.

Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs, I wanted the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with Yankees’ ownership. We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness.

As a result, I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message. I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation.

Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another, and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days.

Translation: Since my super agent mis-read the market place and no other team is willing to pay my astronomical asking price, I unfortunately must crawl back to the Yankees with my tail between my legs. On the flip side, I am still the highest paid player in baseball so to everyone laughing at this event I will now go and figure out a way to spend $300 million dollars.

With mega-agent Scott Boras apparently on the outside looking in during the A-Rod negotiations, Ken Rosenthal has the baseball world enjoying Boras’ failure.

Buster Olney asks how much negative publicity has A-Rod garnered over the past 18 days?

Reputed Boras buddy Jon Heyman has his take on the negotiations, telling us the contrary..

“Yankees people denied suggestions in a report that Rodriguez was handling the situation solo, saying Boras, his longtime agent, was intimately involved. Boras has been with A-Rod in Miami the past four days.”

Wallace Matthews of Newsday says this is all just a negotiating ploy, premeditated by A-Rod’s agent Scott Boras.

The Big Lead has an A-Rod FAQ to help guide you through the negotiations.

Around The Web

As far as the other big free agent 3B on the market, Rob Bradford shoots down the Channel 7 report, saying the Braves and Cardinals have not made 4-year offers to Mike Lowell.

A few NFL teams blew past the Colts in Dr. Z’s weekly Power Rankings. The Jets managed to move into the #2 spot during their bye week, #2 from the bottom that is. J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!

Within his weekly 32 Questions, Michael Silver wonders if the Jets can surpass the Dolphins in the race for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft.

John Czarnecki, a.k.a. The NFL Czar takes on the part of a miracle worker as he attempts to fix the NFL’s 5 worst franchises.

Mike Reiss has the Pats preparing for a cold, wet game on Sunday night.

Peter King leads off his weekly mailbag with his theory on the revolving door that is the running back position in the NFL. Peter argues that a team does not need to spend inordinate amounts of money on a free agent “franchise” running back.

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders has the weekly NFL Rundown.

Over on Ed Berliner’s Speeding Bullet Network, Jonathan Comey of Cold Hard Football Facts discusses Sunday’s Pats-Bills matchup.

ESPN is dominating in the ratings.

Manny was able to sell his car, getting a nice premium on the asking price.

According to this story, Tony Kornheiser is big amongst incarcerated men.

If you can come up with a caption for this Kevin Garnett picture, you can win a free t-shirt.

Colts GM Bill Polian takes on the officials and answers some questions in his weekly Q & A.

Joe Sports Fan is back with this week’s Media Circus.

Awful Announcing has your announcing schedule for the NFL Week #11.

Tonight on TV

The Bruins will skate tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden in search of their 9th win. Standing in their way are the 7-7-3-2 Toronto Maple Leafs. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00PM on NESN.

In case you were wondering who the #2 college football team in the BCS Standings is, you will have your chance to see them tonight. The #2 ranked Oregon Ducks (8-1) head to Arizona to take on the (4-6) University of Arizona. Kickoff is at 9:00PM on ESPN.

For the boxing fans, former World Champion Hasim Rahman (44-6, 35 KOs) takes on Sherman Williams (33-10, 19 KOs) in a 10 round Heavyweight bout. The bout is being broadcast on the Versus network beginning at 9:00PM