Seventh Heaven for C’s

The Celtics made it seven straight wins to open the season with a 91-69 win over the New Jersey Nets at TD Banknorth Garden last night.

Marc J. Spears has Kevin Garnett comparing last night’s game to an “ugly bar fight.” Mark Murphy has the Celtics sounding like the Patriots as they focus on their imperfections rather than their record. Jeff Howe agrees that the Celtics are sounding a lot like the Patriots these days. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics already showing themselves to be the class of the Atlantic. Bill Doyle has more on the Celtics getting off to their best start in 35 years.

Tony Massarotti says that the key to this game was the supporting cast doing their job last night. Scott Souza also credits the second line players on the Celtics for last night’s win. Steve Bulpett has Tony Allen playing his best game of the season last night, chipping in with 13 points.

Peter May has former Boston College center Sean Williams opening eyes in New Jersey. Massarotti says that the question on Williams is whether he’ll be able to keep his head in the game all season.

Spears’ notebook has Garnett declining an Olympic invitation. Murphy’s notebook has the Nets impressed with the Celtics after losing to them twice in the last week. Doyle’s notebook has the Celtics stars wanting to get better with each game. Souza’s notebook has opponents already trying to make adjustments to stop the Celtics.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Bill Barnwell takes a look at how Buffalo’s Jason Peters has become on of the 10 most valuable properties in football.

Karen Guregian says that the Patriots unbeaten record is a bulls-eye for all foes. Mike Reiss looks at Kevin Faulk as a huge help in pass protection. Mark Farinella looks at Wes Welker as The Natural. David Heuschkel has Welker finally getting some attention. Christopher Price has the Patriots gearing up for another appearance in Prime Time.

Buddy Thomas says that it is no wonder that everyone hates the Patriots and their fans.

Shalise Manza Young has the Bills overcoming quite a bit of adversity to get over .500 this season. Guregian has J.P. Losman backtracking on his comments about Vince Wilfork from earlier this season. Rich Garven notes that special teams is a strength for the Bills, and something the Patriots need to contain. Ian M. Clark looks at the Patriots experience as one of their biggest strengths, and notes the lack of an impact rookie this season. Chris Kennedy has the Patriots in the spotlight each and every week.

Guregian’s notebook has Bills rookie back Marshawn Lynch likely out for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Reiss’ notebook has more on Lynch and Losman. Farinella’s notebook has Tom Brady embracing the pressure that comes with being unbeaten. Garven’s notebook also examines the status of Lynch for Sunday.

Over on the Boston Metro, I take a quick look at the 10-year journey to Titletown here in Boston.

Nick Cafardo notes that Red Sox fans got “gypped” by the announcement that the team is starting the season in Japan, meaning that fans will have a shorter time to visit spring training.

Isnt “gypped” a bit of a ethnic slur? At least one BSMW reader feels that way.

Advertisements

BSMW Retro – A Look Back to “Sports Huddle”

These days “Sports Huddle” is a Sunday night (7-10 PM) program on WTTK 96.9 FM hosted by Eddie Andelman with sidekicks former ESPN producer Billy Fairweather and Boston comedian Mike Donovan.

The current show is less about sports than it is a weekly public airing of grievances by the aged Andelman and his cronies.

Back 30 years ago however, and “Sports Huddle” was cutting edge radio. Sports talk radio didn’t really exist yet, and while there were some shows devoted to talking sports, none were quite like Sports Huddle.

The following is a short article published on Jan. 29, 1973, which is available on the website of Time magazine.

——————

The Boston Badmouths

Club owners have the money and power. Players have their unions and the right to strike. Referees have the last word. But what does the forgotten sports fan have? Sports Huddle, that’s what.

Originating in Boston, Sports Huddle is a raucous weekly radio show dedicated to “looking out for the fans.” The proprietors-Mark Witkin, Jim McCarthy and Eddie Andelman-are an unholy trio of amateur broadcasters and professional fans. Every Sunday night from 7 to 11, they rail against everything from overpriced tickets and cold hot dogs to sportswriters (“Sock sniffers in the locker room”) and the sports establishment (“They’ve been abusing the public for years”). Their format is like the New England Patriots’ offense: haphazard. Their delivery sounds like three guys gassing in a ginmill-that is. loose and loudmouth.

It all comes naturally to Attorney Witkin, 33, Insurance Executive McCarthy, 44, and Real Estate Broker Andelman, 36. They were “discovered” four years ago when an executive from station WUNR overheard their loud banter in a Boston bar and invited them to sound off at a microphone. Sports Huddle was such an instant hit that six months later it was transferred to WBZ, a 50,000-watt station heard in 32 states and Canada. Before long, the station, which also broadcasts the Boston Bruins’ games, had some grievances of its own: McCarthy dismissed Bruin President Weston Adams Jr. as “the biggest jerk I ever met,” while Andelman described Boston Garden, the Bruins’ home rink, as “a pig pen, a garbage pit. Even Vincent Price wouldn’t shoot a horror movie there.” When WBZ, reportedly under pressure from the Bruins, dropped the show in May 1971, 2,000 Sports Huddle loyalists staged a demonstration in the station’s parking lot.

The show was quickly picked up by WEEK, a CBS affiliate, and a syndicated version is now heard on more than 50 stations across the U.S. Deluged with up to 20,000 calls a night, the three superfans attack what they call the “hidden injuries of class” by blasting everyone from politicians who hog tickets to the “phony, bigoted yachtsmen of the New York Yacht Club.” Though they have broadened their attack to suit their national audience, they still hit home the hardest. Among their favorite targets are Boston Red Sox Manager Eddie Kasko (“A mealymouthed marshmal-low”) and Bruin Star Bobby Orr (“He’s not the humble, gracious, Bible-touting kid everyone says he is”). While some of their high jinks are sophomoric or just plain silly (they once telephoned the commandant of the Buckingham Palace Guards to ask if he would trade two of Her Majesty’s finest for a pair of Patriot guards), WEEI’S triple threats are convinced that “the majority of our opinions are what the fans believe.”

Too Cheap. Their crusades can pay off. When Sports Huddle lambasted Richard Nixon for not congratulating the Bruins for winning the 1970 Stanley Cup, 30,000 listeners sent protest letters to the White House. The President responded with a congratulatory telegram and later, while driving in a convertible in Dublin, held up a sign saying BOSTON BRUINS ARE NO. 1. Claiming that the Patriots were “too cheap” to find a decent field-goal kicker, Sports Huddle launched a “Search for Superfoot” among 1,600 English soccer players; the winner, Mike Walker, a Lancashire bricklayer, was not only signed by the Patriots last season but appeared in eight games. In March the three superfans are going to Australia to scout some rugby players who can reportedly punt a football 70 yds. Andelman confidently says that when the “Kangaroo Kid” makes his debut in pro football next season, “he’ll be so good they’ll have to change the rule book.”

Sports Huddle fans do not take such predictions lightly. On the eve of the Miami Dolphins’ 14-7 Super Bowl victory over the Washington Redskins, the Boston badmouths consulted a psychic, a bookie, two Chinese abacus experts and assorted astrologers, then correctly predicted the winner of the championship game for the fourth season in a row.

—————————-
Some of these antics will sound familiar to longtime Andelman listeners, as he took some of this style onto his later gigs on WHDH, WEEI and WWZN.

The bashing of the Bruins is nothing new these days, but also remember that the Bruins were coming off their second Stanley Cup championship in three years when this article was written. It’s hard to imagine Bobby Orr being attacked on sports radio in Boston, but apparently, that’s exactly what happened.

Railing against sportswriters? Things have changed a bit there, as now, it is mainly sportswriters who appear on the programs.

I’d like to occasionally take a look back at the Boston sports media scene, looking at articles from the past and comparing them with how things are now. Stay tuned.

Celtics Remain Perfect In Indy

The Celtics kept their perfect record intact as they defeated the Indiana Pacers last night,101-86 in Conseco Fieldhouse.

Marc J. Spears and Steve Bulpett have the stories from Indianapolis.

Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, we’ve got a new feature, the first installment of Give and Go – this week looking at the perfect start to the season for the Celtics. Bulpett has Larry Bird happy to see the Celtics doing well, and also taking a shot back at Cedric Maxwell. Bird’s former teammate has said in the past that he’d take Dirk Nowitzki over Bird, and recently said that Kevin Garnett was already the second greatest Celtic after Bill Russell. We’re seeing that there might be some hard feelings there between the two, which might account for Maxwell’s putdowns of Bird.

Spears notebook has rookie forward Brandon Wallace being assigned to the NBA DL Utah Flash. Bulpett’s notebook has a look at the contributions of James Posey, Brian Scalabrine and Scot Pollard last night.

Over on Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp looks at how the Indianapolis Colts have suddenly lost two games and become America’s Sweetheart.

Mike Reiss looks at how the Patriots have a “blend of experience and perspective” that will serve then well in their quest for the perfect season. John Tomase looks at the resurgence of the Bills, making them a good test for the Patriots this weekend.

Jackie MacMullan looks at C.C. Sabathia beating out Josh Beckett for the AL Cy Young award. Michael Silverman also reports on Sabathia finally beating Beckett.

Indy Attempts to Knock Off an Undefeated Boston Team, Take 2

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

The Celtics head to Indianapolis tonight to take on the struggling Indiana Pacers. The Pacers who started the season 3-0, have since lost three straight. In the meantime, the Celtics are off to their best start in twenty years, and are looking to remain the 2nd undefeated team in Boston, and the only undefeated team in the NBA.

The “P.G.A” Tour heads into Indy, having combined to average 68.8 of the 107.6 points. They’ve also helped the Celtics post a league-leading 52.4 field-goal percentage. They are not just helping on the offensive side of the ball either, they have also improved things on the defensive end where they are allowing 91.0 points per game, a great improvement over the 99.2 given up last season. The same Celtics who allowed nearly 100 points per game also lost three in a row and five of six from the Pacers last year. But let’s face it, last year was last year, frankly it’s irrelevant.

Tipoff at Conseco Fieldhouse is at 7:00PM, with local coverage on Comcast Sports Net.

Mike Kahn over at Fox Sports says “We knew the Celtics were going to be good, but impressive is an understatement”

Despite their untarnished record, the C’s were not #1 in ESPN’s NBA Power Rankings.

Former Celtics coach Jim O’Brien will be on the bench tonight when the C’s head to Indy. This time O’Brien will be coaching the Pacers. Mark Spears catches up with O’Brien to see what the coach has been up to since leaving the Sixers.

For a look at how the Celtics look in the Indianapolis papers, here’s the preview of the game from the Indianapolis Star.

From the Monday Must-Read Files….

Michael Silver paints a picture of a fragmented locker room in San Diego. After reading this column I believe Tom Jackson was heard saying “they hate their coach”.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, or as Bill Polian refers to him “biased blogger with an agenda” says that the Packers are taking a page right out of the Patriots playbook with their trouncing of the Vikings on Sunday. Mike also looks at the possibility of Brady Quinn’s holdout ensuring he will be an affordable backup.

Peter King has Ben Roethlisberger channeling John Elway in Sunday’s comeback victory over the Browns. Also, a new team from the AFC East makes it into the “Fine Fifteen”.

Around the Web

Over at Patriots Daily, Christopher Price has “5 Things to Look for on Sunday” when the Pats head up to Buffalo.

John Tomase writing in the Herald’s Point After blog has some insane statistics posted by the Patriots this season.

Ken Rosenthal makes the case that Jorge Posada has the opportunity to become one of the great three Hall of Fame catchers in Yankees’ history, putting Jorge in the company of Dickey and Berra.

Fire Joe Morgan takes Nick Cafardo to task over his Mitchell Report comments from this morning.

Sal Paolantonio tells us that the ’72 Dolphins were not as good as everyone believes they were.

Football Outsiders Aaron Schatz looks at how bad Peyton Manning’s performance was on Sunday. He also ranks some of Peyton’s worst career performances.

Despite SIX interceptions, Dr. Z tells us that Peyton showed us toughness on Sunday. The one thing that caught my attention in this column was the following quote….

“They (Colts) fell behind, 23-0. I thought the result would be like one of those New England Patriot adding machine things, except that Norv Turner doesn’t run up scores.”

That is just mind-boggling, Turner doesn’t run up scores? Maybe he should have, because if it wasn’t for Tony Dungy’s muffled clock management and Adam Vinatieri missing a 29-yard field goal, they would have blown a 23-point lead. As Michael Silver wrote in his “Morning Rush” the dissent amongst the San Diego players with Turner’s playcalling is loud and clear, so to throw that quote out there is just asinine. At the beginning of the season Jerry Rice described what type of coach Turner was in Oakland.

Speaking of Vinatieri’s game-winning miss, Awful Announcing has a major gaffe by Colts radio play-by-play man Bob Lamey, it’s just absolute high comedy.

Mike Reiss looks at all things Patriots in his weekly mailbag.

Keith Law of Scouts, Inc. breaks down the 50 Top Free-Agents.

Tom Curran has a look at what the Colts need to do to get back on track.

Sports Illustrated has the Worst Free-Agent contracts of the last 10 years. Not to be overshadowed by the Best Free-Agent contracts of the past 30 years.

ESPN narrowly topped Yahoo! Sports this month in the October comScore numbers. The Big Lead has the breakdown.

Tonight on TV

With the Bruins off until Thursday, the Celtics own the Boston sports spotlight tonight. For the college football fans, there’s a Mid-American clash between Toledo and Ball State on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30PM.

Pedroia Grabs Rookie of the Year

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

The last man to do it in a Red Sox uniform was Nomar Garciaparra. The year was 1997 and the future outlook for Nomar was endless, now ten years later the Red Sox mighty mouse second baseman Dustin Pedroia has won the AL Rookie of the Year award. Dustin who finished the season playing with a broken hammate bone in his left hand won the award by a large margin grabbing 24 of 28 first place votes. Amalie Benjamin has coverage from the press conference Pedroia held yesterday. Tony Massarotti has manager Terry Francona claiming he had no clue that he was looking at the future Rookie of the Year when Pedroia was playing behind Alex Cora in early April. Michael Silverman says that Pedroia’s determination to prove his nay-sayers wrong reminds him a little bit of Pedro Martinez.

The Red Sox exclusive rights to negotiate with Mike Lowell have ended, meaning that any team interested in Lowell’s services can offer him a contract. The Red Sox remain steadfast with their three-year offer, estimated at $40 million. Sean McAdam tells us that even though the Red Sox have lost exclusive rights to speak with Lowell, this does not mean that they are no longer interested. Michael Silverman has a less optimistic outlook on the Lowell negotiations. Within this report about Mike Lowell, Nick Cafardo discusses some of the possible ramifications of the Mitchell Report. While MLB officially announced that no more than 11 of the 153 free agents will be in the report (7%), the possibility of signing a free agent who will be suspended in their first year does still exist.

Somebody with money to burn paid $9,000 to eat with Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Sticking with the charity theme, Gillete is giving Kevin Youkilis $5,000 to give up his goatee, with the proceeds going to his newly formed charity, Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids.

Over in Yankee-Land, Jorge Posada signed a four-year, $52.4 million dollar deal to remain in pinstripes for the remainder of his career. Mike “Dropi Papi” Vaccaro says that with the return of Posada, the heart of the Yankees still beats.

Patriots

“Tommy says Randy is a brilliant football player with a brilliant football mind. There’s kind of a sympatico between them that transcends time”

Tom Brady Sr. discusses the season his son is enjoying with all of his new toys.

Karen Guregian has Richard Seymour working hard to regain his conditioning and return to being one of the league’s most dominant defensive forces. Christopher Gasper has wideout Chad Jackson returning to practice and looking for a spot on the depth chart. What a difference a year makes, last year Chad Jackson was the guy that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would send down the sideline on a go-route only to have Jackson come up short. This year the Pats have numerous down-field weapons and Jackson will beg to find a spot. Making things a little more difficult for Chad is that there was another new Patriot wideout at practice yesterday. With the Colts feeling a little down in the dumps, John Tomase says that the Patriots know exactly how the Colts feel.

Within the Herald’s notebook we learn that the Bills outstanding rookie running back Marshawn Lynch is nursing a sprained ankle. Patriots offensive lineman Wesley Britt received some amazing off the field news. In the ProJo’s notebook Bill Belichick discusses the reasoning behind giving the team a full week off.

When you’re trying to figure out just how dominant the Patriots have been this year, there’s only one true source to look to,…….Vegas.

For all the rest of your Patriots coverage check out the Patriots Daily page.

Celtics

Celtics swingman James Posey was back at practice after suffering a herniated lumbar disc. Mark Murphy says that James is not out of the woods just yet. After spending the night at New England Baptist Hospital with a concussion, Brian Scalabrine will be available tonight against Indy.

Kevin Garnett was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. This story about the success of teams who add an all-NBA star in the Wall Street Journal should make Celtics fans happy.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back this afternoon with a preview of the C’s matchup and the “Around the Web” links.

Top seed just about wrapped up

Afternoon notes provided by RJ. Contact him here.

I guess every Patriots fan can thank Colts kick Adam Vinatieri for missing a kick he could have made with his other leg. Did anyone really think the Chargers were going to win with a 29-yarder on the line? Wow!

With Indy’s loss, that gives the undefeated Patriots basically a three-game lead in the conference. The 9-0 Pats own the tie-breakers with the 7-2 Colts. The Pats have three of their final seven games against teams with a winning record, so I think it’s safe to say the top seed in the playoffs is theirs.

For all you fantasy footballers, a note on tonight’s game — Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander and Deion Branch are likely out tonight against the 49ers.

Major League Baseball will announce its American League Rookie of the Year this afternoon. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia plans to hold a press conference after the announcement. The Boston Globe plans on blogging the event here. For a look at who the ESPN experts think will win, click here.

The Boston Herald’s Rob Bradford is hot on the Mike Lowell contract negotiations. The Sox have until midnight to strike a deal before other teams can get involved. Word is three years is not enough for the World Series MVP.

Over in college football, John Walters of NBCsports.com takes a look at another crazy weekend, where more top seeds (yes, including Boston College) took another tumble.

Click here for all of your up-to-date news and notes on the Bruins and the Celtics.

Over at Patriots Daily, Scott Benson takes a look at how a loss by Indy and a comeback win by Pittsburgh have changed the landscape in the AFC.

Weekend Tidbits

Dave here with a few tidbits to get us through this long weekend.

You can watch the video Brian discussed in this morning’s links of Mike Pereira, the NFL’s VP of Officiating, defending the pass interference call on Ellis Hobbs Sunday. For anybody who does not get the NFL Network a majority of their programming is available on the NFL.com website. Like Brian said earlier, it is fascinating to watch Pereira describe Ellis’ foul, and the exact things he did to get the flag thrown.

Speaking of not having the NFL Network, Phil Mushnick tackles that exact subject.

David Scott takes a look at the Nick Cafardo retraction/gaffe in this week’s edition of Scott’s Shots. He also declares Yahoo’s dominance over ESPN in the Reggie Bush saga.

For a look at all of the College Football on television this weekend, check here.

With the Patriots on a bye, we’ll have to turn our attention to the rest of the NFL. Here’s who we get a chance to see this Sunday.

CBS Single Game
Fox Early Game
Fox Late Game

The weekend’s NFL action ends with Indy heading West to take on the San Diego Chargers in Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Enjoy the long weekend.

We’ll be back here on Monday with a full slate of links.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check in with Patriots Daily for all the weekend’s coverage.