So the Boston Celtics – the most storied franchise in pro basketball – set a record for the longest winning streak in team history, AND beat the NBA record for the best start in league history (27-2)…and they can’t even be the lead sports story in Boston? Instead, all the coverage and talk is about a player that the Red Sox didn’t sign?
Internet reports starting trickling out in the late morning yesterday that Mark Teixeira was ready to finally make a decision on where he was going to sign. The Red Sox seemed to be the favorite. On SI.com, Jon Heyman warned that the Yankees were lurking, but it seemed easy to dismiss that as simply Scott Boras propaganda.
By mid-afternoon word was out that the Yankees had actually swooped in and sign Teixeira from under Boston’s noses, stunning those who had placed their middle of the lineup hopes in the first baseman.
Brian Cashman and the Yankees have an odd, but very effective negotiating tactic when it comes to players. In the case of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, the Yankees interest was well known, and the negotiations were almost public. It could be because the Yankees knew the Red Sox weren’t serious interested in either player. The Red Sox were interested in Teixeira, and the Yankees knew that too, so they kept quiet about their interest, even releasing carefully worded denials that they were involved in talks. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they come in at the last moment and beat all other offers.
They seem to have done this a couple of times now. The Johnny Damon signing a few years back was another example. I recall the Yankees seemingly having no interest in Damon until the day he signed with them, beating the offer the Red Sox had on the table.
In any event, it seems clear that the Yankees clearly enjoy pulling the rug out from under the Red Sox when it comes to free agent signings.
Adam Kilgore outlines how the Yankees swept in and grabbed Teixeira from the Red Sox and Nationals. Sean McAdam has weeks of back-and-forth negotiations coming to an unhappy end for the Red Sox yesterday. Daniel Barbarisi notes how the Red Sox pushed Scott Boras for an answer after increasing their offer on Monday. Dom Amore has the Yankees taking their spending spree from wild to epic with this move.
Nick Cafardo calls this a “knockout punch” by the Yankees. Knocked out of what, exactly? Steve Buckley says that this deal is great for the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Mike Fine says the loss of Teixeira hurts, but it doesn’t cripple the Red Sox. Brian MacPherson says that this is the Yankees’ idea of going young. Dan Lamothe says that the Yankees got to us on this one.
Bob Ryan says that this is the Yankees (and the Steinbrenners) sending a loud message – “We’re back!” Bill Burt claims that the Red Sox just didn’t want Teixeira enough. Jeff Jacobs says that this is just the Yankees doing what they do best. Steve Krause says that John Henry dropped the ball on this one. Curt Schilling weighs in as well.
With this issue settled, Barbarisi says that the Red Sox now can concentrate on acquiring a catcher.
Celtics Make it 19 in a Row
The Celtics won a franchise record 19th game in a row last night, routing the Philadelphia 76ers 110-91 at the Garden last night. Frank Dell’Apa has the fans at the garden last night already looking forward to the matchup with the Lakers. Mark Murphy says there is no avoiding history for the Celtics now. Bill Doyle has the Celtics heading out cross country a night ahead of Santa. Jim Fenton looks at another historical night for the Celtics.
Monique Walker has the Celtics players not focused on their winning streak. Patrick Gilroy says that continued good health and humility are about the only things Danny Ainge can wish for this Christmas. Steve Buckley says that the game everyone has been waiting for Celtics-Lakers, is finally here. Burt says that the L.A. Fakers are back at it again. Lenny Megliola says that the suits at league headquarters and at the ABC network are hyperventilating over this game tomorrow. Bill Reynolds says that Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins can no longer be overlooked on this team. Paul Flannery tells us how Lakers/Celtics really is just another game.
Dell’Apa’s notebook has the crowd clearly into the L.A. game on tap tomorrow. Murphy’s notebook has Glen Davis inactive again last night after his car accident last weekend. Doyle’s notebook says that 19 games isn’t a lot to Rajon Rondo, who won 44 in a row in high school. Fenton’s notebook has the Celtics celebrating the holiday with their families in the locker room after the game.
Bruins Shut Out Devils
Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins proving they can muck and grind for wins as well. The Herald had Sean McAdam on the Bruins beat last night, and he’s got the Bruins beating the Devils at their own game.
Joe Haggerty notes that Phil Kessel and Jon Lester have a lot in common.
Shinzawa’s notebook has Zdeno Chara returning to form on offense as of late. McAdam’s notebook has Tim Thomas taking a winning turn in net.
Patriots Prep For Final Exam in Buffalo
Mike Reiss takes a closer look at the three games that will determine the Patriots playoff fate this weekend. It still doesn’t look too good for the Patriots. Karen Guregian wonders about the possible absence of Richard Seymour this weekend. Eric McHugh says that offense is once again this team’s strong suit. Mark Farinella has the Patriots just focusing on their own business for now. Rich Garven has the Patriots offense juiced after a slow start to the year. Shalise Manza Young says that everything has been adding up on offense for the Patriots.
Ben Swasey would like to end the “trade Brady” idiocy. Farinella offers a number of Ponderous thoughts. A disturbing bit in the Projo informs us that in the six times that the Patriots have needed help to get into the postseason…they’ve never gotten it. Burt has Ron Jaworski gushing over Matt Cassel.
Reiss’ notebook has Junior Seau comparing Mike Vrabel to Karl Mecklenburg. Guregian’s notebook has Matt Light talking about playing in pain. McHugh’s notebook has Matthew Slater and Russ Hochstein enjoying their dual roles with the team. Young’s notebook has more on Seymour’s back injury.