(This morning’s links brought to you by our guest blogger, Bob Ekstrom)

Yes, it’s Saturday morning, that sliver of a window in which our sports media take respite from Hub-centric matters to engage in some Yankee talk. You won’t need to tune into WEEI’s Mustard & Johnson show today because we’ve got all there is to know about The Empire right here on BSMW. Like 22 former and current Yankees among the 86 players listed in this week’s Mitchell Report. However, at least one of them is trying to dodge Mitchell’s finger of justice. That would be Roger Clemens. As Don Amore points out, the Rocket has the most to lose with his entry into the Hall of Fame a potential toll. Beyond that, there’s his place in every discussion about the most dominant right-handed pitcher of all time, to say nothing of the purity of his only World Series ring received as a member of the 2000 Yankees team that has placed nine players onto Mitchell’s report, making them the Miami Hurricanes of this new era in Major League Baseball. While Clemens’ lawyer is on the same page, it looks like agent Randy Hendricks is already doing some damage control, pulling Rocket’s ‘don’t do drugs’ speech off the air. Hmmmm.

In the report’s aftermath, we have Jose Canseco saying the biggest name of all was omitted. Whether the beneficiary of a clean bill or oversight, Amore has A-Rod glad to be an unmentionable. As Stan Grossfeld tells us, George Mitchell admits to incomplete data. What do you want for $20 million, anyway? Nor are the Red Sox above reproach. Rob Bradford has Sox GM Theo Epstein lowering his bar with the signings of Donnelly and Gagne.

Elsewhere along the Mitchell front, Tony Massarotti reports on some collateral damage to Jason Varitek, while Steve Buckley has Mo Vaughn’s family caught in the crossfire.


Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin has a “Celtics Christmas Carol”.

The Celtics improved to 19-2 with a 104-82 win over the Milwaukee Bucks last night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Once again, as Mark Murphy notes, a strong third quarter put this one away. Mark J. Spears recounts the action as this edition becomes only the fourth in franchise history to win 19 of its first 21 games.

Steve Bulpett has Tony Allen turning in a great performance starting in place of the injured Ray Allen. Scott Souza had things a little touch-and-go for awhile last night in the C’s first game without the Big Three intact. Bill Doyle has more on Allen’s injury in his Celtics Notes column. Murphy’s Celtics Notebook takes a look at The Green’s record-tying homecourt success this year, among other things. Lenny Megliola is sounding a little superstitious in looking ahead to Wednesday’s bid for No. 13 and the history books.


Over at Patriots Daily the gang checks in with their weekly “Patriots Roundtable”. In Bill Barnwell’s Outside Foxborough he looks at the curious Ravens trade for Willis McGahee.

Don’t slam the gavel on Spygate II quite yet. The New York Daily News has Bill Belichick calling former protege and all-around scoundrel Eric Mangini a liar.

As for on-the-field action, the New Haven Register offers a collaboration contrasting tomorrow’s starting QBs. Robert Lee suggests the Pats are well-advised to stay grounded, given the forecast of nasty weather. David Heuschkel has fullback Heath Evans saying the weather won’t affect New England’s uncanny ability to hold onto the ball.

Odds & Sods

Curt Schilling gives NECN’s Mont Fennel a glimpse of how he’ll be spending his golden years. I don’t know about you, but Schilling in a Roethlisberger jersey seems more obscene to me than seeing LeBron James wearing his Yankees cap to an Indians playoff game.

Judging by Kevin Gray’s On Baseball poll of Granite Staters, George Mitchell could well take next month’s New Hampshire primary if he threw his name in.

At last check, 25% of New York respondents think the Jets will beat the Patriots tomorrow. One has to wonder about the composition of that white stuff covering their front yards.

Thanks for having me back again this weekend. Be sure to wish Bruce a happy return on Monday morning, when he brings you all the latest on Sunday’s Patriots game. Until then, drop me a line at bob02878@yahoo.com.