2011 Approval Ratings – Gerry Callahan

Gerry Callahan is the co-host of the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI.

It’s easy to forget that at one time, Callahan was perhaps one of the best sports writers in the country.

Callahan grew up in Massachusetts, graduating from Chelmsford High School and UMass Amherst. He started his career with the Lowell Sun in 1983 and then moved on to the Boston Herald five years later. In 1994, he moved on to Sports Illustrated, where was a senior writer for the publication.

He was a frequent Big Show co-host in the early days of the program, before getting his own show with John Dennis starting in 1997. After leaving SI, he rejoined the Herald as a columnist.

In 2007, Callahan missed several months of work on the show with a throat ailment. By the time he was healthy enough to return, his contract as well as that of co-host Dennis was up for renewal, which resulted in a brief lockout for the pair which had them returning in time for the first “Patriots Monday” of the 2007 season on September 10th.


Sox Had Their Chances, Couldn’t Break Through Against Yankees

The Red Sox left 16 runners on base last night as they fell to the New York Yankees 5-2 at Fenway Park.

Left turn – Peter Abraham has CC Sabathia finally able to break through and beat the Red Sox, throwing 128 pitches in the process.

Yankees Finally Get What They Needed From Their Ace – Jeff Jacobs looks at a much-needed outing and result for Sabathia.  Gordon Edes has more on the Yankees ace, while Nick Cafardo says that the Red Sox still don’t fear Sabathia.

As beatings go, it wasn’t that bad – Bob Ryan has the Red Sox at least making it hard on the Yankees last night.

Sox living up to dream-team tag – Jon Couture says that the Red Sox have lived up the preseason hype. A couple nice little digs at the media, as well.

A tough time for Gonzalez – Michael Vega looks at a dreadful 0-5 night from the Red Sox slugger, who looked overmatched against Sabathia.

Drew and Youkilis hit it off in the minors – Jim Mandelaro has the Sox veterans rehabbing with the PawSox in Rochester, NY.

Fire up the rivalry – John Tomase has things getting tense between the clubs last night. Sean McAdam says that despite the fireworks, the rivalry remains uninteresting.

Salty ignores Cervelli – Scott Lauber’s notebook has the Red Sox catcher keeping his cool last night. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Tim Wakefield getting his next start bumped. The Red Sox Journal has Clay Buchholz testing out his injured back. The CSNNE.com notes from Maureen Mullen have more on Buchholz. The MetroWest notes from Eric Avidon have PGA Champ Keegan Bradley throwing out the first pitch last night.

Chad Ochocinco continues to talk openly about his struggles picking up and getting adjusted to the Patriots offense. While this may be refreshing to the print media (no less than five articles were devoted to it this morning), it could backfire on him, as the radio hosts are already running with his quotes as evidence that he just won’t cut it here.

Patriots Make Wrong Decision in Cutting James Sanders and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe doesn’t agree with the decision to part ways with James Sanders.

Belichick credits elder DeOssie with changing snapper position – Paul Kenyon has the head coach going off on a discussion about how the role of long-snapper has changed in the NFL, and how Steve DeOssie broke the mold.

Pats Pregame Points: Preseason Final Vs. Giants – On PD Chris Warner looks at what we hope to see tomorrow night, while Dan Zeigarnik says last week was a needed reality check.

Welker feels fine, but he’s awaiting orders – Monique Walker’s notebook has the Patriots receiver claiming that he feels OK, but is waiting doctor’s permission to return to practice. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Sergio Brown already missing his mentor, James Sanders. The Patriots Journal has more on Welker.

A major problem with bloggers is that they post irresponsible content without checking into things first. Here’s an example:

Whatever Bob Kraft wants …
I was told as of 9:13 p.m. Monday night, the Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place had power again.

The rest of Foxboro? No such luck.

It’s not hard to see where the priorities are. National Grid is telling people they may have to wait for the weekend to have their power restored, but with a Patriots preseason game scheduled for Thursday, the repair crews had to shake a leg to do the bidding of one property owner while the needs of thousands of others went unheeded.

Go Pats.

So the blogger is saying that the Patriots got preferential treatment from the power company, in fact, suggesting that Kraft bullied them into restoring power to Gillette first. Who is this reckless blogger? What? A newspaper reporter? Yup. A newspaper reporter, whose own paper this morning reported:

Many residents expressed anger at the Kraft organization and National Grid when they learned Gillette Stadium started getting power Monday night.

However, none of that power came from the Foxboro substation that serves the rest of town, according to James Nolan, a senior vice president with the stadium and Patriots.

Monday afternoon, buildings in the Route 1 complex were powered by generators, he said. The stadium returned to outside power around 8 p.m. Monday from electricity that came through a special line to the Wrentham substation. The Patriots spent millions of dollars when they built Gillette stadium to ensure the backup power, Nolan said, after suffering a blackout during the 1996 AFC championship game in the former stadium.

At 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Patriot Place began receiving power, along with some other businesses on Route 1, through that dedicated line from Wrentham.


But selectmen Chairman Larry Harrington and Fire Chief Roger Hatfield said the stadium and Patriot organization did not jump the line to get power, and were taking extraordinary steps to help the town. “From everything we can find, the Patriots and the Kraft organization did nothing wrong,” Hatfield said. “In fact they’ve done everything right as a good neighbor in getting resources that we could not get. This has been a huge asset to the community.”

The Kraft Group has offered to provide the town with two large generators, which will be installed at the Carl Annon Court and possibly Centennial Court senior housing complexes.

 Meanwhile, the reporter continues to grumble about his condition: Fearless Held Hostage, Day 4.

Reckless bloggers! 

Look, all of us who have had to endure power outages have been inconvienced, and some, such as the elderly are in a potentially life-threatening situation without power. But hopefully most could refrain from suggesting that Bob Kraft bullied National Grid to restore power to Gillette Stadium ahead of others.

Sox, Yankees Set To Fire Up Fenway

Today and tomorrow, WEEI and NESN are holding the 10th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. There are few more worthy causes than this one. I highly encourage you to contribute, if you are able.

With the stretch run approaching this week’s Red Sox/Yankees series at Fenway Park takes on added importance to both teams, even though they are each reasonably assured of a postseason spot.

Dynamic duo: Ellsbury, Granderson embody game’s new superstar class – Alex Speier looks at the the new superstar outfielder in this rivalry.

Weighing the scales on Cano vs. Pedroia – Christopher Smith looks at the battle of the star second basemen of the two clubs.

Sox vs. Yankees: A battle of matchups – John Tomase looks at those two matchups, plus a few more, including Gonzalez/Teixeira.

Playing well is Sox’ 1st priority – Michael Vega says that even though both teams seem assured of a playoff spot, playing well against each other is still very important.

Red Sox need just 176 wins to catch Yanks – Bill Ballou has the Sox slowly making up ground in the all-time matchup.

Sox look to maintain complete control over Yanks – Mike Fine looks at the Red Sox dominance of the Yankees this season.

Likely to be pitched battle – Vega’s notebooks has John Lackey looking to  keep beating the Yankees.

The Patriots announced their first wave of cuts yesterday, and among them was veteran safety James Sanders. He’s a guy I’ve had a lot of respect for, and who has been a steady guy for them in the secondary. The reaction from the media on Twitter about the cut tipped you off that he was also a favorite of theirs, and likely a good source for many of them.

This cut has deep impact – Karen Guregian notes that this move means Brandon Meriweather no longer has a safety net.

Stormy start to a critical week for Patriots – Tim Britton looks at a rough start to the week for the Patriots.

Shooed from darkened stadium, Pats release 11 – Mark Farinella hopes that Bill Belichick gave his released players enough cab fare to get back to the stadium to pick up their belongings.

Deion Branch: Zero concern about no catches – Rich Thompson has the Patriots receiver not concerned about his catchless preseason.

Those missing need to be seen – Monique Walker’s notebook has the Patriots still needing to get a look at several players before making the final roster decisions.  The Herald notebook from Dan Duggan has the Patriots moving their Monday meetings because of a power outage at Gillette. The Patriots Journal has more on Branch.

Belichick to star in two-part documentary on life – Jimmy Toscano looks at the NFL Films Documentary on the Patriots coach which was announced yesterday.

The irrelevance of the sideline reporter – Kirk Minihane wonders if there is any value to the sideline reporter anymore.

2011 Approval Ratings – Tom E Curran

Tom E Curran covers the Patriots and NFL for Comcast SportsNet New England.

Curran has been covering the Patriots since 1997 when he was with the MetroWest Daily News. He moved over to the Providence Journal for several years before going national with NBC Sports in 2006. After four years there, he came back to the local scene with CSNNE in 2009.

He’s been a regular and favorite on WEEI for many years now, and even with the changeup in the format of The Big Show, they still get him on the air as often as they can. On CSNNE he is also the host of Quick Slants, a quirky Patriots show which airs Thursday nights at 7:00pm.

Curran is an entertaining personality, as well as a solid reporter, though he still gets needled about his report on Tom Brady’s knee recovery.


Patriots Still Licking Wounds From Lion Mauling

Note – had a full length post here which got eaten. This is a shorter “Top-10” version.

While we continue to remove stray branches from the yard, and wait for the electric company to restore power, the Patriots are looking to move on from Saturday night’s 34-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.

While certain folks will point to the game as an indicator of absolute impending doom, and while there were definitely things to be concerned about, it’s helpful to recall that the 2004 Patriots got crushed in the preseason, not once, but twice, by juggernauts Cincinnati and Jacksonville by scores of 31-3 and 31-0.

Loss may be what Belichick hoped to learn from – Ian Rapoport acknowledges that the Patriots lost far too many one-on-one battles, but that this game may have been planned as a learning experience.

Patriots need more than Tom Brady – Tedy Bruschi thinks that Bill Belichick may have been secretly smiling after this one.

Curran’s 48 lines on 24 issues after Detroit beating – Tom E Curran has plenty of thoughts on this one.

Can Patriots take the heat? – Mike Reiss says that the defensive line needs to show that it can handle pressure.

Theo saved Ellsbury from Gonzalez trade – John Tomase says that in early discussions, the Padres wanted Jacoby Ellsbury as part of the package for Adrian Gonzalez, but Theo Epstein held firm.

Lowrie’s season has been uneven, but he’s helped Sox plenty – Tim Britton looks at a weird season for Jed Lowrie.

Jason Varitek still quite a catch for Red Sox – Mike Fine notes that the veteran catcher has still been a big contibutor this season.

Light in August: Red Sox rotation takes turn for better – Alex Speier looks at the improvements in the Red Sox rotation this month.

Perfect Sox storm? – Nick Cafardo thinks that two days off may give the Red Sox an edge this week over the Yankees.

The best of both worlds – Amalie Benjamin has a profile on Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.


A Pre-Hurricane Friday Megalinks Edition

As we batten down the hatches for the impending hit of Hurricane Irene this weekend, I hope you remain safe and sound throughout Sunday.

For those of you looking for a diversion from Hurricane Irene coverage either on the Weather Channel or local news, I do have the sports and entertainment listings in the Weekend Viewing Picks. If you’re in the projected path or far from it, this will help you find the program you’re looking for.

Let’s get to the links.


Bob Velin of USA Today says Floyd “Money” Mayweather is ready for his HBO close-up again as he takes part in another edition of 24/7.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy says ESPN golf analyst Paul Azinger took a jab at President Obama for playing golf on his vacation while people are out of work.

Sen Gregory of Time says ESPN The Magazine’s story making Michael Vick a white man was wrong on several accounts.

Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable notes that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has secured the rights to ACC sports including football and basketball.

Multichannel News says soccer-centric Gol TV will air the start of Spain’s La Liga following the resolution of a player’s strike this week.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel writes that MSG Varsity will produce local editions of its High School SportsDesk program.

Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid reports that sports media site SportsNewser will be closing up shop at the end of this month. Sad to see. The site was a very good resource for Fang’s Bites. Marcus Vanderberg and Cam Martin from SportsNewser have become good friends and I hope they land on their feet soon.

Wayne Friedman at MediaPost says the New York Jets have become an innovator in their use of social media.

Joe Favorito looks at how sports marketing powerhouse IMG redefined itself into a marketer for college sports.

John Daly in his Daly Planet blog says Hurricane Irene coverage on several local ABC stations may put a crimp for fans who want to watch NASCAR on Saturday.

The Big Lead takes a look at ESPN’s plans for its annual all-day and all-night College Basketball Marathon coming in November.

Brady Green at Awful Announcing notes that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis did a stab at play-by-play in last night’s game against the DC NFL team.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe notes that fantasy sports can no longer be ignored by the mainstream media and he adds that Friend of Fang’s Bites Jen Royle is a candidate to fill one of three potential vacancies at NESN.

At SBNation Boston, Bruce wonders which reporter is apologizing for Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.

Newsday’s Neil Best says Entourage tapped New York Giants owner Steve Tisch for an appearance on the HBO show.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is back from a brief vacation to hate everything in his path.

Justin Terranova of the Post speaks with CBS’ Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason on what they expect from New York’s NFL quarterbacks this season.

Justin has five questions for ESPN2 tennis analyst Brad Gilbert on the U.S. Open.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says due to Hurricane Irene, the Jets and Giants have moved the starting time of their NFL exhibition game to Saturday afternoon.

Pete says Marv Albert is happy to be calling NFL games on television once again.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette says Capital Region fans will have two opportunities to see the Jets-Giants on Saturday.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call writes about a former area high school athlete who’s doing overnight updates for WFAN in New York.

Richard Rys of Philadelphia Magazine blasts ESPN for airing every game ofthe Little League World Series.

Childs Walker, Jeff Zrebiec and Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun says Mike Flanagan’s friends including MASN’s Gary Thorne are still coming to grips with his death.

David Zurawik of the Sun writes that WBAL-TV is standing by its report as to why Flanagan took his own life.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that an original Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic personality said goodbye last night.

Dan has the debut Geico spot featuring DC NFL Team linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will split its feed to air pregame shows of both the Baltimore Ravens and DC NFL Team during weeks when they’re programmed simultaneously.


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that while Verizon FiOS signed to carry the Longhorn Network, it won’t have tonight’s launch on its system.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the Longhorn Network is having less than an auspicious launch.

David says despite the low viewership numbers at the start, the Longhorn Network’s staff remains upbeat about its future.

Gary Dinges of the Austin American-Statesman says most Texas fans will probably miss tonight’s Longhorn Network launch barring some miracle cable and satellite pickups.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman also writes about the Longhorn Network’s launch.


John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Time Warner Cable will air a slate of high school football games this fall.

Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star notes that ESPN is in town to air a couple of high school football games this weekend.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says NBC is going all out for the NFL regular season opener between the Saints and the Packers.

Ed Sherman has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Paul Christan at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says don’t confuse NFL Network with DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package.

Paul says the Minnesota Vikings without Brett Favre this season won’t be primetime darlings this season.


Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says don’t confuse BYUtv with the Longhorn Network.

John Maffei of the North County Times says if the NFL wants a Los Angeles franchise, it shouldn’t poach the Chargers.

T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times tells fans to stay home and watch the games on TV.

T.J. can’t believe the Dodgers are asking fans to evaluate Vin Scully’s performance as a broadcaster.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that Fox Sports West will air one high school football game a week and stream a whole host of them online.


Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says buyer beware when it comes to Twitter.

That will do it for today. Be safe wherever you are this weekend.

A Few Quick Links

Just a few quick links for the mid-day today, as we get ready for the hurricane…

Fantasy is surely part of reality – Chad Finn’s media column today has a number of items, leading off with the interest in fantasy football, to the point that even WEEI is having on-air experts talking about the subject. Chad also reports that @Jen_Royle is a candidate for one of the job openings at NESN.

Who Is Apologizing For Albert Haynesworth? In my SB Nation Boston media column, I’m trying find all these Albert Haynesworth apologists that the media tell me are out there.

Pats Pregame Points: Preseason Three At Lions – Chris Warner on PD gets you ready for tomorrow night’s all-important third preseason game.

 Weekend Viewing Picks – Ken Fang tells you what to watch this weekend. (As long as the power doesn’t go out.)

Sports Media Musings: ESPN’s White Mike Vick, Deadspin’s ESPN Invasion, And More

This Was, uh, Strange

ESPN posing the question what the ramifications of Mike Vick’s race had on his life and career isn’t anything novel. On the contrary, the odd decision to transpose a picture of the controversial signal-caller to make him caucasian certainly is.

The Big Lead takes a look at the four-letter network’s curious choice here. I’m not saying it is wrong or right. I think it was strange. I couldn’t help but think of the 80’s film, Soul Man

Speaking of Dated References

For the professional wrestling fans out there (I know, there aren’t many), remember when D-Generation X invaded WCW’s Monday Night Nitro taping? It was innovative because the WWE was openly breaking the fourth wall by addressing competition. A great moment.

Tommy Craggs, of Deadspin, decided to take part in a similar mission. He infiltrated a ESPN talent meeting. The full report is coming out today, but he apparently had some run-ins with high-ranking ESPN executives as he was escorted off the Bristol campus.

I think Deadspin has built up a great amount of credibility. They are the first blog outfit to gain recognition in mainstream media. The influx of blogs has created an accountability that consistently challenges “old media” outlets. This, obviously, is a good aspect on the Internet in general. In the same token, there needs to be accountability towards the blogosphere. The critics have to maintain propensity towards responsibility. This is accentuated as an outlet flourishes. That’s why the Portnoy thing sucked. He spat in the face of accountability.

Deadspin’s “field trip” doesn’t broach the same zip code as Barstool’s recent actions. The site’s previous tactics have been questionable, nonetheless. And this was an example of going for Stern-esq shock value over good content. And that’s fine. But Deadspin will always be Star Magazine as long as they pull stunts like this.

One More Wrestling Reference

Grantland’s article on the demise of Rick Flair was overwhelming. Who has the time to read this? I’m the audience for this type of content, and I couldn’t get through it. I preferred Simmons’ ode to Macho Man Randy Savage. Ironically this is the last column updated on his old Sports Guy website.

He’s A BAD GUY, Mike

When the Albert Haynesworth deal went down, I quipped Tony Massarotti’s worrisome tone made it seem like he thought Fat Albert was going to go to his home and eat his family. Gerry Callahan offers a similar distaste for Haynesworth’s transgressions here.

The whole Haynesworth debate is interesting. It reminds me of how baseball writers subjectively decide – with individual sets of criteria – which players in the steroid era should get in the HOF. Callahan concedes he knows players already in the Boston market aren’t all humanitarians. I guess he is drawing the line at Haynesworth’s wrong-doings. Everyone has a breaking point. Dale Arnold’s is when Kevin Garnett swears on the basketball court. No one seemed to care about the Joe Corvo signing, because the Bruins won the cup — and that makes everything good, right? Meanwhile you, me, and your dog serenaded Wil Cordero with boos in Fenway for his criminal history.

I’m not saying it is fine to castigate one guy and not another. I’m not saying anyone has a moral agenda. I’m simply implying a lot of this opinion is subjective by nature. The line is arbitrary. I’m not a Fat Albert fan. He seems like a troubled dude, and lacks remorse. I also think Donte Stallworth made one REALLY bad decision, and he is not a terrible guy for it. So where are my values when stacked against Callahan? The central theme here is the power of the platform and deciding things – as a consumer – for yourself.


Sox Tee Off On Rangers, Retake First Place

The Red Sox are back in first place in the AL East following a 13-2 win over the Texas Rangers last night. Couple that with a Yankees loss to the Oakland A’s, and the Red Sox have a one-game lead in the division.

A real diamond sparkler – Bob Ryan has the Red Sox answering any questions people had about whether they can beat the Rangers.

With hot combo, Sox can’t go wrong – Joe McDonald has both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford showing off all their skills last night.

A reminder regarding the importance of Carl Crawford – Rob Bradford says that last night showed what a big piece to the puzzle Crawford can be when he is on his game.

Homers go a long way for Red Sox – John Tomase looks at the Red Sox home run derby in Texas last night.

Changing His Stripes – Christopher Smith chats with Red Sox first round pick Matt Barnes, who grew up a Yankees fan.

John Henry downplays talk of Theo Epstein joining the Cubs – Tomase has the Red Sox owner releasing a statement on the rumors of the Cubs interest in the Red Sox GM.

1-2-3 Inning: Alfredo Aceves – Jessica Camerato takes a few minutes with the Red Sox reliever.

Doubleheader in forecast? – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Red Sox pondering a double-header with the A’s in advance of the potential hurricane on Sunday. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has former teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Young battling it out for the batting title. The Red Sox Journal has Andrew Miller feeling good going into tonight’s start. The CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam look at the return of David Ortiz to the lineup.

Tom Brady quick to pick up pace – Karen Guregian looks at the importance of a quick tempo by the Patriots QB and offense. More on Brady from Shalise Manza Young | Mark Farinella | Chris Forsberg | A. Sherrod Blakely | Paul Kenyon 

Caserio indicates trade winds could blow – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots might have some trades in their future.

Because he’s the best, in Belichick we all trust – Bill Reynolds says that the Patriots coach’s knowledge is his power.

Belichick views players’ growth from first to second season as a potential leap year – Glen Farley looks at the development of players coming off their rookie season.

Living on the edge: Rookie free agents have odds stacked against them this year – Christopher Price notes that an undrafted guy like Jeremy Ross will face long odds to make the team this year.

Albert Haynesworth OK by old coaches – Guregian’s notebook has former Titans assistants Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham speaking highly of Haynesworth. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has Taylor Price eager to get back to game action. The Patriots Journal has more on possible trades.

Summer is short but sweet – Fluto Shinzawa has Nathan Horton and the Bruins ready to start camp in a few weeks. Tom Layman has Horton saying that his concussion symptoms are gone. DJ Bean has more on Horton.

Get Your Barf Bags Ready—The Matt Cooke Redemption Press Assault Has Commenced – Rear Admiral on Barstool Sports has the despicable Penguins forward trying to line up sympathy for his cheap shots. (Warning – adult language.) 

In defense of Jeff Green – Paul Flannery looks to make a case for the Celtics forward.

Gonzalez, Sox Break Out Against Rangers, Easterbrook Rant

Adrian Gonzalez hit a pair of home runs last night, as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-5 last night.

Sox snap out of funk, beat Rangers, 11-5 – Sean McAdam is in the leadoff spot for the CSNNE.com game story.

Red Sox ready to round into form – Joe McDonald has the Boston bats returning to the lineup, and hopefully to form.

The three players who might carry the Red Sox to where they want to go – Rob Bradford says that Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester will need to carry the Red Sox.

Lackey proves cool in the heat – Michael Vega has the Sox starter enjoying heat of his home state, John Tomase thinks that you can pencil in Lackey as your game three playoff starter.

Expansion of roster will give Sox a boost – Tim Britton looks at what help the Sox can expect on September 1st.

Ryan Lavarnway glad to be unknown commodity – Tomase has the Sox rookie trying to sneak up on people.

Ortiz gets medical clearance – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Sox DH expected back in the lineup tonight. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has more on Ortiz’s return. The Red Sox Journal has Darnell McDonald finding his hitting stroke. The CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam have Gonzalez ending his home run drought.

Patriots hope Albert Haynesworth’s return permanent – Ian Rapoport says that Haynesworth’s “clean start” officially began yesterday. Rich Garven believes that Haynesworth’s delay in getting on the field “has placed him in a hole that may prove impossible to dig out of.”

Patriots face more tough decisions than usual with roster cut-downs looming – Paul Kenyon says that it will be tough to cut this Patriots roster down.

Former busboy Koutouvides takes blue-collar approach to role with the Patriots – Glen Farley has the Connecticut native hoping to carve out a spot on the Patriots roster.

Hard for new guys to grasp Patriots passing attack – Christopher Price says that there are good reasons that Chad Ochicinco has struggled at times this preseason.

Breaking down the ‘other’ teams in the AFC East – Jonathan Comey looks at the competition within the division.

Chad Ochocinco takes it all in – Rapoport’s notebook has the receiver reviewing as much game film as he can get his hands on. The Gatehouse notebook from Glen Farley has Jerod Mayo looking at some role changes. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more on Haynesworth returning to practice as does the Patriots Journal.

If you missed it yesterday, Gregg Easterbrook had this to say about the Patriots:

Here’s the deal: The New England Patriots have not won a playoff game since Spygate broke. Bill Belichick continues to refuse to say, “I cheated and I apologize.” Until he does, the football gods will torment this team by allowing the Patriots to play very well during the regular season, then denying them in money time.

When informed that the Patriots won two playoff games against Jacksonville and San Diego to get to the Super Bowl, Easterbrook responded to an emailer – my feeling is the real spygate began with the NYTimes report on Matt Walsh two days before the NE-NY super bowl.

How weird is that? So what happened in earlier in the season when the Patriots were actually punished for Spygate? That wasn’t the ‘real’ Spygate? What the hell was it, then? And if you recall, Matt Walsh brought absolutely nothing to the table when questioned by NFL officials, and the Tomase report of the practice taping (also just before the Super Bowl) was later retracted by the Herald and apologized for. Easterbrook here is just making stuff up and trying to be clever with the whole “football gods” thing.

Just prior to the above paragraph, Easterbrook had written:

It was the second consecutive year New England had been fabulous in the  regular season, then looked awful at home in the postseason.

The 2009 Patriots (10-6) were not fabulous in any sense of the word. The  loss to the Ravens, while shocking in how it happened, was not really surprising in the actual result, especially in hindsight. That team had issues. But it fits Easterbrook’s “football gods” theme, so he’ll go with it.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a writer with a national football column should be interested in things like accuracy.