It’s Columbus Day, which means a Holiday for some of us, but for the rest of you sitting in your office this Monday morning, here are some quick links and comments to get you started.

Not a good last couple of nights for the Boston sports teams. Josh Beckett got lit up Saturday night, and the game ended with Mike Timlin on the mound for the Sox…not a good thing these days. This led to some of the harshest criticism of manager Terry Francona around these parts during his tenure here in Boston. Every time I switched on the radio or TV yesterday, Francona’s decisions were being questioned. The Sox get back to work this afternoon with Jon Lester on the mound in game three.

Catch up on the Sox coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Last night the Patriots were humiliated in San Diego, 30-10 by the Chargers. The defense struggled with the long ball once again, and the offense just couldn’t get much going on a consistent basis. Chris Warner has the game wrapup for Patriots Daily, and he seems to have had quite enough of the Matt Cassel show, thank you very much. You can check in on the rest of the coverage over at PatriotsLinks.com. We’ll also link out this morning to probably the most popular Monday morning column in Boston, (at least by terms of click-throughs here at BSMW) Christopher Price’s 10 Things We Learned Last Night.

David Scott has a back and forth with Michael Wilbon on Scott’s Shots.

Turning our attention to the Celtics, they won both their preseason games this weekend, but the biggest topic around the team seems to be Bob Cousy’s dismissal from the Comcast SportsNet telecasts. I’m somewhat curious at the amount of coverage this has generated.

I guess I need to first preface my remarks by acknowledging how much Bob Cousy has meant to the Celtics, and to Boston sports in general. It’s very possible that without the Celtics drawing his name out of a hat in a dispersal draft in 1950, the franchise doesn’t survive the decade. His greatness as a player is without question, and watching the old clips of his play, you see how different he was from the other players of his day, and the innovation he brought to the point guard position. His presence on Celtics telecasts has been something that I’ve witnessed during the entire time I’ve been following the Celtics.

In recent years however, Cousy has been scaled back in his appearances, spending more and more time down in Florida, as many people his age have been known to do in the winter. He’s been joining about 10 or so telecasts a season, usually for some of the premiere games, such as a Lakers game or when the Spurs are in town. Sometimes he’s joined them on the road during games in Orlando or Miami.

It’s been pretty obvious during those games however, that the Cooz doesn’t really follow the NBA all that closely anymore. The last two seasons especially, it seemed like Tommy Heinsohn spent much of the telecast acquainting Cousy with the roster. Comments like “You’re going to love this kid, Cooz,” seemed to be acknowledgment that Cousy wasn’t keep up with the roster. (To be fair, the guy is 80 years old…I hope I’m half as active as the Cooz when I’m that age.) His commentary, even last season was usually negative, pointing out the flaws in a player, or predicting doom in the game at hand. Most of his contributions were stories from the old days, (which definitely had some value) or just listening to his unique way of pronouncing words or phrases.

So when it was announced late last week that Cousy would not be a part of the CSN telecasts this season, I wasn’t really surprised. He hadn’t really added much in recent years, and his appearances seemed to be more for “old times sake” and the attraction of having another Celtics legend in the booth than for anything he actually contributed. The uproar began this weekend from a pair of articles, one from Bill Doyle in the Worcester Telegram and one by Frank Dell’Apa in the Boston Globe, where Cousy struck back at CSN, claiming to have been shoved out the door. The Dell’Apa article is particularly inflammatory, with the headline “Cousy fired from Celtics broadcasts” and the opening paragraph:

Bob Cousy will be at TD Banknorth Garden for the Celtics’ banner raising Oct. 28, but he will not be involved in the television broadcasts this season for the first time in 34 years after Comcast SportsNet fired him.

I guess from a cold, technical point of view, “fired” is accurate, but it seems more like Cousy was just let go, not renewed, rather than fired. It seems like CSN could definitely have handled this better, but they were also pretty much in a no-win situation here. Cousy then has plenty to say in the articles, saying in the Dell’Apa article that CSN spends more on office supplies monthly than his salary, but then later in the article his salary is quoted at $50,000.

Cousy also stated:

“Helen and Missy [the wives of Heinsohn and Cousy] were the only ones listening in, then last year the ratings soared and everyone was happy and everyone made money. It turned around completely. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why step in and cause a disruption.”

I know that the first part of the quote was likely meant as a joke, but there’s also a bit of a slap there. I’m not backing CSN here, as I’ll say again that they could’ve handled this better, but at the same time, you can understand their decision in not bringing him back. Cousy could’ve also have handled this a bit better as well. He’s playing up the victim role, but if he added something substantial to the telecasts, or if he even knew who all the players were, his loss from the telecasts would actually be something to lament.

Check your Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com and the Bruins at BruinsLinks.com

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19 thoughts on “Columbus Day Quick Links and Thoughts on Cooz

  1. I wonder what the Tito lovers and Lucchino mouthpieces will say after Saturday’s joke. I heard, “Baseball’s Greatest Manager,” ripping one of the reporters for daring to question why wouldn’t the Sox pitch Lester in games 2 and 6 instead of Beckett. Gee, I don’t know, maybe having your best pitcher appear in 2 of the first 6 games as opposed to 2 out of 7? The Sox could be up 2-0 instead of tied 1-1 right now. Let’s not forget Beckett pitching into the 5th when he clearly didn’t have anything or, “Great Guy,” Mike Timlin blowing the game. We’ll just have to hear what the Sox mouthpieces have to say.

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  2. “why wouldn’t the Sox pitch Lester in games 2 and 6 instead of Beckett. Gee, I don’t know, maybe having your best pitcher appear in 2 of the first 6 games as opposed to 2 out of 7? The Sox could be up 2-0 instead of tied 1-1 right now.”

    Will, what’s your point? They had a great chance to win on Saturday and be up 2-0 with Beckett pitching. If they were up 2-0 with Lester, then why would they all of the sudden win game 3 with Beckett now? Probably would end up 2-1 either way.

    As far as pitching game 6 instead of game 7… you have to win four games, so that is pretty meaningless.

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    1. Let’s see, do I want my best pitcher pitching 2 of the first 6 games, or do I want a guy who has an oblique injury that required a shot? I don’t know? They are not up 2 games to none because of Francona’s idiocy – pitching Beckett ahead of Lester, pitching Beckett past the fourth inning, not bringing in Byrd in the 5th, bringing Timlin into the game and watching him implode, having a guy play 1st who is batting 0.100, etc…That is what I meant…

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      1. Will, Tito’s “idiocy” has won TWO F—ING WORLD SERIES, an accomplishment that no Boston manager has achieved SINCE WORLD WAR I, and no other non-Yankee manager has achieved since Cito Gaston’s two with the Blue Jays in the early ’90s.

        Take a chill pill and enjoy what you have here — the best manager this team has ever had. RESULTS DO COUNT, you know….

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  3. Awesome. Tito has one bad game and now all the idiots at WEEI and the Internet think they can go a better job. As if Hank from Melrose could win a city Little League championship, nevermind two – count them, Angry Bill wannabes – TWO World Series titles. You know what? If our offense came through in the late innings, it would have mattered how bad Beckett was or how awful Timlin is or – and I have YET to hear anyone address this! – how the strike zone suddenly shrunk to the size of a ****ing POSTAGE STAMP during the Rays half of the 11th. Even with all of that awfulness, the Sox still had a chance to win that game. If Lester wins today, I can’t wait to hear from the silence from the “Fire Fran-Coma” bunch.

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  4. The only beef I have with Francona from Saturday is leaving Beckett in the game after he’d already allowed 5 runs, and after the Sox had slugged their way back on top at 6-5. That was the time to pull the plug on Josh, because anyone could see on Saturday night that he’s not healthy (when have any of us eve seen his fastball top out at 92 in the first inning?–that’s a clear sign that he’s not healthy).

    Kotsay has had some bad luck in this series. He’s hit the ball pretty hard and fell about 2-feet short of what would have been a game-breaking 3-run homer on Saturday against Howell. Besides, Francona wouldn’t be playing him if Lowell were healthy (apparently Sean Casey is not the answer, for reasons we’re still not very familiar with).

    As for the 11th inning…Jon is correct.

    Not only did the ump shrink the strike zone when Timlin came in, he expanded it for Price when he called out Kotsay on a pitch a foot outside with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out. That was a HUGE call at that point.

    I still like Lester going in Games 3 and 7. All the Sox have to do is with 2 of the next 4, and they’ve got their best guy going in Game 7. I like those odds….but something has to be done about Ellsbury, who’s in a horrific slump right now. I think they should bat Crisp leadoff and sit Ellsbury down today. Also, it’s time for Ortiz to start hitting. They can’t win this series if Bay, Youk and Pedroia are going to be the only ones contributing on offense.

    Tough loss on Saturday, but they did what they had to do down there–get the split.

    Let’s keep our perspective here folks.

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    1. Exactly right. They took one game from Tampa and have home field for the rest of the series. They were playing with house money in Game 2. Either way, they did what they had to do. Obviously, the way Game 2 went down gives Tampa an emotional lift, but the Sox shouldn’t be so down because they have their ALCS experience from last year being down 3-1. They’re tied. No big deal.

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  5. ….Red Sox fans would bitch about waiting for a one car funeral to pass….IT’S WHAT THEY DO…..Hell, I heard some of them bitching after the Sox WON the first game. That’s how they enjoy themselves. Haven’t we learned that by now?

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  6. I’m extremely sorry for daring to question Terry “World’s Greatest Manager” Francona. Apparently keeping a guy in with a 4 inning era of 6.75 and 4 inning whip of 1.75 was the correct choice. Mike Timlin was the correct choice, he of the 2008 away stats of 6.31 era, 1.64 whip, .290 against; night stats of 6.53 era, 1.74 whip, .317 against; september stats 9.39 era, 2.22 whip, .382 against; vs. TB stats 9.00 era, 2.50 whip, .294 against…Silly me for questioning such genius…

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  7. In regards to the Cooz story, thinking about the future (maybe in as little as 5 years from now)… who will replace Tom Heinsohn as the color man? I think Donny Marshall does a fine job, however, how weird would it be to have nary a Celtic on the broadcast?

    Does Comcast pony up the big bucks to Cedric Maxwell for his services? Why does it seem there are so few former Celtics who are providing commentary for games? I understand that the 90s were dry years for the team, but I’m sure that players like Dee Brown, Walter McCarty or Dana Barros would be welcome in some kind of broadcasting role. How great would it be if Tom Heinsohn mentored and eventually passed the torch on to Walter McCarty?

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  8. Well said on the Cooz issue Bruce.

    It was nice to see him, but if anyone thought Cousy’s place was behind a microphone then they must be nuts. He decent, but once he reduced his role to 10 games a year and even then not knowing the team to even an average level, it was time to go.

    It’s funny because after 13 years Cooz knew it was time to walk away from playing basketball despite still being very productive. Yet, at 80 years old the Hall of Famer is having a hard time letting go.

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  9. comcast might be the worst company in all of america. any decision they make is entirely suspect especially letting cousy go for what amounts to peanuts. if anyone reading this is a comcast employee then you have my deepest sympathies. i have never dealt with a more arrogant, ignorant, frustrating company than comcast and it is not hard to imagine that this is their corporate culture from top to bottom.

    sure the cousy was a bit disinterested in the current nba and he rained on the parade almost all year last year when it was obvious that they were a great team.

    but so what? after decades of frustration cousy deserved another year. at least keep the guy around to do a handful of games because he offers up more in any 30 seconds of talk than the likes of greg dickerson and donny marshall will in their entire lives.

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