Sox Zap Rays, Pierce Opts Out

BreakingSource: Rivers staying – Steve Bulpett reports.

Apologies on the tardiness, an early-morning work emergency kept me away from here thus far. I see that you guys have been busy in the comment section under the previous post, however…

David Ortiz hit a three-run blast off Rays starter James Shields to get things started for the Red Sox offense as they powered to an 8-5 win over Tampa last night at Fenway Park. Check out RedSoxLinks.com for ALL the coverage.

The bigger story this morning involved Celtics captain Paul Pierce, who has opted out of the final year of his contract and will be a free agent when the period opens tonight at midnight.

Here’s a fast five-ish links for the afternoon:

Danny Ainge: We’re still negotiating with Paul Pierce – Mark Murpy has Danny Ainge trying to get something done with Pierce.

Despite opt-out, expect Pierce to stay – A. Sherrod Blakely expects Pierce to stay right here. Ian Thomsen of SI was on WEEI today and said that Dallas might make a push for Pierce if he is available.

Free agent frenzy – In an article posted later in the morning, Paul Flannery looks at realistic FA options for the Celtics.

The Truth? Pierce decision may be a blessing – Tony Massarotti thinks Pierce opting out is a good thing for the Celtics. Masserotti and Michael Felger have been talking for weeks about the probability of Pierce opting out, well before it was being discussed by many others.

Keep up with everything Celtics on the team dashboard at CelticsLinks.com.

Epstein keeping a healthy outlook – Joe McDonald says that the Red Sox GM isn’t fazed by the rash of injuries to his club.

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Big Week For The Future Of The Boston Celtics

The first dominoes have yet to fall, but this is a huge few days for the future of the Boston Celtics. In some form or another, we’ll find out the immediate future of Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers and Ray Allen.

Here’s your top ten articles this morning:

Hey Danny Ainge, time to be bold – Gerry Callahan tells the Celtics executive that should Pierce choose to opt out of his contract, the Celtics should let him walk and go pursue a younger option.

 Rivers’ future headlines busy week – Chris Forsberg looks at the four items that we need to keep an eye on with the Celtics.

Free agent preview: Small forwards and shooting guards – Rich Levine looks at some of the wing players that will be available on the market.

A good ‘weather’ report – Peter Abraham looks at how the Red Sox weathered an early storm this season, and are now comfortable as a unit.

Drew needs to earn his $14M for ailing Sox – Bill Ballou says that the Red Sox need J.D. Drew more than ever right now.

How Adrian Beltre helped to change the baseball landscape – Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox third baseman’s spot in MLB history.

Martinez is headed to DL – Abraham’s notebook says that the Red Sox catcher is expected to avoid surgery, but will need a stint on the disabled list.

Bo knows – Stan Grossfeld has a feature on Mike Greenwell’s son, Bo, and his dream to someday play the same Fenway Park outfield that his dad played.

Boston Bruins do well to re-sign Mark Recchi, but should think twice if they’re considering trading Marc Savard – Mike Loftus wonders why the Bruins seem eager to trade Marc Savard.

Reese is key man at the table for Patriots – Christopher Price looks at why July is Floyd Reese’s month with the Patriots.

Idle thought: When you saw the highlights of the heated Evan Longoria/B.J. Upton exchange in the Tampa Rays dugout last weeekend, did you immediately think of how Dennis & Callahan would easily get a week’s worth of shows from that incident, and which side they would take?

Idle thought # 2: I’ve enjoyed the segments I’ve heard today and yesterday of Damon Amendolara and Jon Wallach in the mornings filling in for Toucher & Rich (who I generally enjoy as well).

Sox Win Another, Lose Another

The Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants for the second straight day, but also lost a key member of the team to an injury for the third straight game. Catcher Victor Martinez took a foul tip off his thumb, leading to a fracture of the digit. Jon Lester pitched a complete-game five-hitter as Boston defeated ace Tim Lincecum and the rest of the Giants 5-1 at AT&T Park.

Scott Lauber has the Herald recap of this one. Amalie Benjamin says that there was pain inflicted on both dugouts in this one. Daniel Barbarisi has Lester getting the best of the two-time Cy Young award winner.

Dan Shaughnessy has the Red Sox showing heart amidst all the injuries. Gordon Edes has the Red Sox just continuing to soldier on. Michael Silverman has the Sox leaving their health in San Francisco. Rob Bradford looks at five keys to how the Red Sox can survive this rash of injuries. Barbarisi says that a Hall-Patterson platoon might be the Red Sox only choice at 2B.

Silverman has more on the injury to Victor Martinez, the latest Red Sox regular to fall. Barbarisi says that the options are few for the Sox if Martinez has to go on the DL.

Sean McAdam has the Red Sox handling some of the NL’s best arms in this stretch. Peter Abraham has the Red Sox getting to Lincecum, just the latest in a line of big-name pitchers Boston has handled.

Benjamin’s notebook says that Martinez may not have to go on the DL. Lauber’s notebook has more on the Red Sox success against the major’s best. Barbarisi’s Red Sox Journal says that Clay Buchholz may not miss a start after having to come out of Saturday’s game with a hyperextended knee. McAdam’s notebook has Lester saving the bullpen with his complete-game effort.

Misc

Mark Labore has Jimmie Johnson getting the win at New Hampshire International Speedway yesterday. Michael Vega and Rich Thompson have more on Johnson’s victory.

Joe McDonald wonders if Bruins draftee Tyler Seguin will have a similar rookie season to that of the Islanders’ John Tavares. Joe Haggerty says that the development path for Seguin is a simple one. Steve Conroy says that the draft is just the start of what will be a busy offseason for the Bruins.

Mark Murphy looks at the start of an important week for the Celtics. Rich Levine looks at the crop of available big men in NBA free agency.

Jeff Howe looks at which Patriots receiver will step up to be the team’s third option this season.

John Shimer examines the United States’ performance at the World Cup.

Sunday Notes and Links

A quick look at some of the material out there in the local newspapers and websites.

First of all, I’d like to send condolences to my good friend Chad Finn, who lost his mom last week.

Red Sox come together as they grind through injuries – Sean McAdam has this Red Sox team forming its own personality as it battles adversity.

Baylor is feeling skipped over in managerial mix – Nick Cafardo’s baseball notes have Don Baylor wondering why he can’t get another chance in the big chair. Nick also thinks that it is super-cool that “Astros catcher Jason Castro hails from Castro Valley, Calif.”

For tight-knit Sox, family matters – John Tomase’s baseball notes has the Red Sox clubhouse looking like a  kindergarten these days.

New Marshall in town makes Miami tougher – Albert Breer has picked the Dolphins to win the AFC East this season, and Brandon Marshall is a big reason for that pick.

Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats – Mike Reiss has 10 NFL/Patriots thoughts. He also has a profile on David Givens and his new smoothie business.

Patriots’ Success or Failure Against Jets Will Determine Fate in 2010 – Jeff Howe looks at the matchups between the two AFC East rivals.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick anticipates training camp full of “interesting” position battles – Ian Rapoport looks at the many defensive positional battles that Patriots training camp will hold.

Draft has turned into a glorified trade show – Gary Washburn says that the NBA Draft is broken, with players taken strictly on potential, and with teams constantly trading because they don’t like the players available.

Pickin’ apart draft results – Mark Murphy grades the winners and losers from the NBA draft.

Celtics’ future hangs on Rivers – Scott Souza looks at the importance of retaining Rivers for the Celtics.

Peter Chiarelli’s busy as a B – Stephen Harris notes that Peter Chiarelli was a very busy and popular man yesterday.

Some Friday Megalinks

Ok, I haven’t done Friday megalinks in a while and you’re owed them so let’s get to them without further delay.

Of course, you can find the Weekend Viewing Picks right here.

National

First, several media writers are amused by the war of words between CBS and ESPN over the most viewed broadband event ever. ESPN claimed 1.1 million people went online to watch the USA-Algeria World Cup match on Wednesday. CBS jumped in by saying, “Not so fast!” It sent out a press release saying the Duke-Butler game had more online views. And early Friday evening, ESPN sent out its reply sticking with its claim and saying CBS’ measurement of online views is rather limited. Stay tuned.

Mike Shields from Mediaweek has a story on the CBS/ESPN sparring.

Southern New England media mogul Keith Thibault asks if CBS and ESPN can actually get along

The Nielsen Wire blog says the goal that put the United States in the Round of 16 of the World Cup generated plenty of online buzz and messages.

Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Daily says the NFL is looking outside sports to fill its top communications and public relations post.

USA Today’s Michael McCarthy has SNY’s Keith Hernandez opining on how to speed up baseball games.

Mike writes that the French World Cup team is taking a beating for lying down.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell tracks down what happened to the most famous sports bra in history.

Darren wonders exactly how much will not picking Butler’s Gordon Hayward in the NBA Draft will cost the Indiana Pacers.

John Eggerton from Broadcasting & Cable says DirecTV and DISH Network have both asked to pick up Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia which has been kept off satellite since its inception.

Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News writes that USA-Algeria has become the most watched soccer telecast in ESPN’s history.

The Sports Media Watch also looks into CBS’ rebuttal into ESPN’s claims about USA-Algeria’s online viewing.

SMW also has some ratings news and notes.

SMW tells us that the final round of this year’s U.S. Open was up from last year, but down from 2007 and 2008.

Joe Favorito looks at one minor league baseball team having some fun with the LeBron James free agent sweepstakes.

The Big Lead explores the possibility of Stephen A. “A is for Alacrity” Smith of gaining his own Showtime late night talk show.

Also from the Big Lead, it was not impressed with ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage. 

Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball writes that ESPN has tabbed Stephen Strasburg’s next start for Monday Night Baseball.

Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog has some baseball documentary suggestions for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

From earlier this week, John Strege of Golf Digest reviewed the U.S. Open and Chris Berman’s performance, calling him “a human vuvuzela.” (Scroll down)

East and Mid-Atlantic

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes about a local Wiffle ball game filled with local politicians and celebrities that will be carried on local radio and will raise money for cancer research.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes about the CBS/ESPN battle over online views.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post decides after over a decade, he’s going to go after ESPN2’s Bottom Line. Took you long enough, Phil.

Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union says Fox has made some changes to its Fox Saturday Baseball schedule.

Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette writes that USA-Algeria scored for ESPN.

Kevin Oklobzija from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle takes us behind the scenes with Golf Channel as it’s in town for the LPGA Championship.

Writing in the Baltimore-centic Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com looks at John Riggins’ return to MASN.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner looks at the official radio station of Wimbledon, one that runs for only two weeks every year and one I enjoy listening to very much.

David Farenthold of the Washington Post says MASN will air a year-long public service campaign on cleaning up Chesapeake Bay.

South

Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald writes that veteran announcer Dick Stockton will call Dolphins exhibition games on TV this season.

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says two local colleges get more TV exposure for football season.

Midwest

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN’s Outside the Lines will explore drug charges against a Green Bay Packers defensive end.

Phil Rosenthal from the Chicago Tribune has a link to the opening of the new MLB Network reality series on the White Sox.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin talks about the ratings for USA-Algeria.

David Briggs from the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that the University of Missouri is pondering its own sports TV network

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the future of a long-time sports radio personality could be in doubt.

The Kansas City Star says ESPN will be in town on Saturday for live shots of fans watching the USA-Ghana World Cup match. 

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News likes the British announcers on ESPN’s World Cup coverage.

To John Maffei of the North County Times who says Mark Neely who’s calling the San Diego Padres for a short stretch while Dick Enberg is at Wimbledon sounds like he hasn’t missed a beat.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says we’re watching the World Cup especially with the US involved. 

Jim talks with TNT’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith.

Canada

Chris Zelkovich from the Toronto Star says ESPN has changed the way we changed sports.

Chris adds a Toronto sports radio station underwent a lot of changes this week.

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail also writes about the station’s personnel upheaval.

Dave Fuller from the Toronto Sun talks with the station’s program director about the personnel changes.

And we’ll end it there. I’ll be back with links on the Fang’s Bites at BSMW page on Saturday.

Pedroia “Laser Show” Lifts Sox Over Rockies

I lost track of how many times I heard the phrase “laser show” on the NESN telecast last night, but I didn’t mind, as Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia put on a performance for the ages in a 13-11Red Sox win over the Colorado Rockies.

Pedroia hit three home runs on the night (including the one that eventually won the game), went 5-5, was on base six times and drive in five runs in the win.

Get the full coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Here are today’s top-10, no-garbage links…

Pedroia amazes, but doesn’t surprise – Gordon Edes says that nothing Pedroia does surprises his teammates any more.

Pedroia big in the clutch – Nick Cafardo looks the MVP-like performance from Pedroia.

Things looking up for Bowden – Peter Abraham’s Minor League notebook has Michael Bowden, a once-hot prospect for the Sox, getting things back together.

Celtics choose freshman Bradley – Peter May looks at the Celtics top pick, guard Avery Bradley from Texas. Get all the Celtics news today at CelticsLinks.com.

Defense, a way of life – Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics top pick just loves to play defense.

Starting to put game plan in motion – Gary Washburn has the Celtics making the first steps towards next season, and looks at what might happen with Paul Pierce.

Cloudy skies on the Celtics horizon – Paul Flannery says tha the present is very cloudy for the Celtics.

And … action: Draft Diary XIV – Bill Simmons has his annual draft diary.

Seguin will be a feel-good pick for B’s – Joe Haggerty looks at the Bruins projected pick tonight.

Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin show at end – Steve Conroy says that the year-long speculation over which player will go first will be ended tonight. Get your Bruins news today at BruinsLinks.com.