David Scott has 890 ESPN GM Jessamy Tang in some hot water after it was revealed that the station used two tickets for the Patriots/Giants game in December for a station promotion, rather than for the charity to which they had been intended.

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After taking his case for a salary more in line with his performance to the media, Jonathan Papelbon was rewarded yesterday with the largest contract ever given to a reliever who was not yet eligible for arbitration.

Sean McAdam reports on Papelbon getting the $775,000 from the Red Sox for 2008, eclipsing the $750,000 that Mariano Rivera had received in 1998. Michael Silverman has Papelbon saying that the front office was “very nice” to him in this process. Amalie Benjamin says that the contract also has a $25,000 bonus for making the All Star team. Rob Bradford has former Sox GM Lou Gorman saying that giving a larger contract to a player like this when it is not required by the club is about building a relationship with the player. Jeff Goldberg has Papelbon’s new deal setting a precedent.

Jeff Horrigan has a relaxed Joe Torre talking about the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry and how it was different facing the Red Sox yesterday as manager of the Dodgers. McAdam notes that baseball is fun again for Torre, something that wasn’t always the case in New York. Jon Couture has more on Torre’s Escape From New York.

Joe Haggerty has an offseason of training bringing Manny Ramirez to camp looking thin and trim and ready to eat up American League pitchers this season. Horrigan has the Red Sox making a nice gesture by inviting the Bluffton University baseball team to be their guests at the Red Sox/Dodgers game yesterday. Bluffton was the school that had the tragic bus crash last March which killed five of their players. McAdam has Tim Wakefield working on ways to quicken his delivery to home plate in an effort to better control the opponent’s running game.

Benjamin’s notebook has more from Torre talking about the difference in facing the Red Sox with the Dodgers as opposed to the Yankees. Horrigan’s notebook has Coco Crisp losing ground in his battle with Jacoby Ellsbury for the centerfield spot because of various injuries. McAdam’s notebook has Derek Lowe getting roughed up a little bit yesterday, but enjoying the chance to see some of his former teammates and revealing that he was rooting for them in the postseason last year. Couture’s notebook has more on Papelbon and Lowe. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Torre and Lowe.

Bruins

…And things were just going so well for the Bruins. Well, this week has been a dose in reality for the B’s as they lost their third in a row last night, this time in another thumper, as the Maple Leafs beat them up by the score of 8-2 at the Garden last night.

Fluto Shinzawa has Bruins goalie Tim Thomas getting yanked again in this one. Steve Conroy says that you might want to put a hold on those postseason plans for the moment, until the Bruins can get things straightened out. Bud Barth has the Bruins submitting another side of their Jekyll and Hyde persona last night.

Barbara Matson has the Bruins struggling to find ways to slow down opponents as of late. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are only going to go as far as Tim Thomas can take them, which is a scary thought for some. Mike Loftus has Bruins coach Claude Julien trying to keep cool after another pounding. Mick Colageo says that this most recent slump hasn’t yet panicked Julien.

Shinzawa’s notebook has more on the struggles of Thomas. Conroy’s notebook says that the Bruins’ special teams have also struggled mightily as of late. Barth’s notebook has the Bruins sorely missing Aaron Ward and Andrew Alberts on defense.

Celtics

Tom Lambert has 10 Things that only he learned during Wednesday night’s Celtics win over Detroit.

He may have only scored one hoop on Wednesday night, but Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers praising Ray Allen for his defensive performance on the Pistons’ Richard Hamilton in that game. Marc J. Spears has PJ Brown not wishing to talk about his experience with tonight’s opponent, the Chicago Bulls, with whom he spent a frustrating stretch last season. Jeff Howe has the Celtics trying to temper the elation after Wednesday’s win over the Pistons.

Patriots

John Tomase says that restricted free agent linebacker Adam Seward, who visited the Patriots yesterday, could be a good fit for the Patriots defense. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots continuing to stockpile depth in the secondary with the signing of cornerback Lewis Sanders yesterday. Shalise Manza Young has more on Sanders. Karen Guregian has Tom Brady Sr saying that his son isn’t looking to break the bank with the Patriots, even when guys like Ben Roethlisberger are getting insane contracts.

Buddy Thomas tells us that there doesn’t appear to be a clear formula for success in the NFL.

Misc

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has CBS getting into mixed martial arts with a four fight, prime time deal on Saturday nights.

Stan Grossfeld has John Ruiz looking for one last hurrah in the ring.

Check back later for a roundup of national media columns…

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