Thanks For Everything, Paul and KG

Today is when the Celtics/Nets trade that sends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn can be completed.

In anticipation, the Celtics placed the following full-page ad in the Boston Globe today:
pierce-kg

It’s impossible to find the words to express what those two (along with Ray Allen, Doc Rivers and others) did to this franchise to finally bring it out of the championship drought. For many years though, Pierce soldiered alone, carrying the burden, seemingly destined to play out his career in frustration.

BSMW Board member “callahardfoul” had an eloquent tribute to Pierce last night, which reads in part:

What more can you want out of watching sports than to appreciate Paul Pierce?

On the court, he could do everything. Shoot from distance, finish in close, pass, space the floor, handle the ball, run the offense, offensive rebound, extremely underrated defensive rebounder, one on one defender, team defender, hustles, communicator, and whatever is left to do. His ISO action caused consternation in some, but the guy had ice in his veins and hit more contested distance jumpers than the rest of the franchise combined over his 15 years. You like flashy dunks? Paul’s got those. You like solid fundamentals? He’s got those as well. Good size, surprising athleticism but could play without his springs because of his smarts.

It’s going to be tough watching him in another uniform next season, but unlike others who have left town, Pierce and KG will be welcomed back with cheers and tributes when they show up at the Garden, and Celtics fans will be wishing them nothing but the best.

In fact, (hint to Garden management) if sometime next season, with a minute to go, the Nets happen to be leading comfortably over the Celtics at the TD Garden, I think a little Gino time, for old times sake, would make for an all-time Garden moment.

It’s been an honor to watch them both play, and is it OK to root for a Nets/Clippers NBA Finals?

By the way, CSNNE’s Paul Piece tribute is one of the best things to ever come out of that network. Great stuff.

A few media-related links before the weekend:

Nomar Garciaparra improving as TV analyst – Chad Finn looks at ESPN’s baseball coverage, and confirms the report here last week of the Boston Herald diving into online radio.

Sports Hub first in spring ratings, WEEI tied for fifth – Earlier in the week Chad reported on the latest radio numbers.

TNT’s 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coverage Continues with the New Hampshire 300 – It is race weekend in NH, and TNT will have the coverage.

FOX Sports Prepares Position Statement for FOX Sports 1 – You’ll get your first glimpse of the newest television sports network during the MLB All Star game next week.

Another Patriots Problem, Sox Win Again

Alfonzo Dennard doesn’t seem to have gotten the message. It may just cost him his job.

The Patriots cornerback was arrested last night around 2:00am in Lincoln NE, on suspicion of DUI. Even if he was not drunk, he showed incredible lack of judgement just by being out on the town at 2:00am in a city in which he was already convicted of assaulting a police officer.

Because Bob Kraft spoke the other day, and because of what he said, the team is almost obligated to cut Dennard right away, if not for DUI, then for being stupid.

The media is salivating over another Patriots incident, all enjoying the opportunity to get their licks in.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox keep at it, winning again in Seattle last night, this time sailing to an 11-4 win over the Mariners.

Red Sox have new fearsome twosome in middle of order – Rob Bradford notes that that Pedroia/Ortiz isn’t quite Ramirez/Ortiz, but it’s really good.

David Ortiz firmly
 in Sox’ high five – John Tomase says Big Papi belongs with Clemens, Pedro, Williams and Yaz as franchise icons.

Jacoby Ellsbury seems in no hurry to leave – Nick Cafardo has the Red Sox centerfielder saying he enjoys and appreciates playing in Boston.

Bruins sign Rask to eight-year contract – The Bruins officially signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to a huge contract yesterday, ensuring that Tuukka time will continue in Boston.

Danny Ainge happy, but salary cap a concern – Gary Washburn has the Celtics exec satisfied with his work thus far in the offseason, but still looking to get the cap situation under control.

Pressey already locked up spot in Celtics camp – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the undrafted rookie, who has his camp invitation lined up with a strong showing in the summer league.

Meanwhile, Dan Shaughnessy outdid himself this morning with a snarky, bitter, sarcastic take on all four sports teams which likely took him less than 15 minutes altogether to write. KG a mercenary? Check. Lamenting the lack of disgrace being heaped on the Bruins for their “epic collapse” in game six? Check. Sucking up to potential future boss John Henry? Check. Shots at Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, the “holier than others” Patriots and their “legions of sycophants?” Check, check, check and check.

I’ve said it before, and will say it again. The best thing the Globe ever did was put Shaughnessy behind the paywall.

Piling On The Hypocrisy

Following some of the varied and predictable reactions from Bob Kraft’s statement yesterday, here is a post from long time BSMW member “02062” from the board last night. I think it deserves a wider audience.

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Just imagine if Kraft had hired private eyes to tail someone or start making inquiries about a media darling/quote machine?

Invasion of privacy, heavy-handedness would be tossed around for days/weeks/months.

Hell some of these same people who are outraged now about what the Patriots knew and when they knew it, sat around and played grabarse with Jose Canseco when they already KNEW about his domestic battery issues.

It was all #^$@z and grins and Davios gift cards, and they knew Jose liked to try and run down the ex with his car.

But hey, it was “guy radio” and they are all nice guys off the air.

One of them makes a racist remark? So what destroy the tapes. Two weeks of fill in time during July will pay for my vacation this year.

One of them allegedly beats up an old guy who walks with a cane? No big deal. 2 o’clock tomorrow with him? I’ll be there, will it be catered?

One of their offspring gets arrested and charged with the same thing Alfonzo Dennard did? Oh, that’s a personal matter, off limits, I have my journalistic integrity to uphold.

One member of their profession is caught red handed for not sourcing properly is forced to retire and than lands across town? Well, he’s a really good guy, so we won’t discuss it.

Another member of their pumps a video tape that up until now, DOES NOT EXIST. Well, lets move him to the Red Sox beat all is forgotten.

One of the more recently minted crapstirrers is in the big leagues at the height of the steroids era AND is best friends with a guy WHO WAS ACCUSED of being a doper? He now says he saw nothing and the rest of them say, good enough for me; would you like to play in my charity baseball game?

Hey you put Raymond Clayborn in a hamper and you visited a guy accused of 19 murders in the can at Leavenworth? What a delightful tale Willie. I’d sure like it if you could make a phone call for me and hook me up with a tee time at South Shore or Green Harbor.

“How are the kids?” Oh they’re terrific, one of them landed an internship at a production house run by one of the Sox ownership group. Small world, huh?

How about making inappropriately critical comments about the Bruins owner which gets you removed from that beat, put on the Patriots beat which is then a springboard to the highest profile job in the city?

I’m still waiting for ONE of them, anyone of them to look up some of the charitable filings by some of their colleagues and do a little journalism on that topic. But, if you do that, no second helping at the carving station and no free cigars for you pal.

You never really know people the way you think you do.

First the outrage was about Kraft’s silence and now because Kraft admits to being “duped” we’ll, that’s just unacceptable.

Besides feeling duped, I’m sure he’s embarrassed, humiliated, disgusted and ashamed.

The majority of the folks who cover all the teams could use a little of all four of those.

Enjoy your victory laps you miserable bastards.

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To be fair, not everyone in the media thought Kraft needed to talk. Kirk Minihane among them.

Bird’s Rookie Year — ECF vs. the 76ers

Philadelphia 4, Boston 1

**My apologies for the delay in the finale of these posts.  Bruins coverage took up the majority of time, but here is a look at games 3-5 of the 1980 Eastern Conference Finals in Larry Bird’s rookie season.

The Celtics entered the Philadelphia Spectrum with one goal: capture at least one of the next two games to regain the home court advantage.  After winning 61 games during the regular season and quickly sweeping the Houston Rockets, the 76ers took the series opener at the Garden.  The Celtics had yet to win a game in Philadelphia all season, and the team understood that returning to Boston in a 1-3 hole would likely spell doom. [Read more…]

Is Boston.com Ever Going To Address The Eric Wilbur Embarrassment?

It worked, Eric.

By calling this site out, you’re getting the attention you so pathetically crave. OK, lets go over your column from Wednesday and see what we can take from it.

Still waiting. Silence from Patriot Place.

This is the REAL crime that has been committed here.

Oh, yes, the New England Patriots have acted and released Aaron Hernandez in the wake of his murder allegations, describing the process as “the right thing to do,” but no member has yet to speak about the matter publicly and shed some light on how an organization that preaches righteousness swung and missed like Mark Bellhorn when it came to determining their tight end’s character. A week ago, the transaction seemed logical. But with every hour producing a new tale of just how messed up Hernandez is, it’s only logical to wonder how much the Patriots knew, and how much they ignored.

So was releasing him immediately and cutting off any future payments NOT the right thing to do? I’m confused. The Mark Bellhorn reference is outstanding. And timely.

I mean, you don’t just deliver $40 million contracts out of faith.

No, sometimes you hire private investigators, follow the subject around, gauge his fitness for the market, and still hand out $142 million contracts.

Instead, we know what we’ll get. Bill Belichick will take the podium later this month at the dawn of training camp and dodge every question tossed his way with regards to “what’s best for the team,” the same way he deftly handled the New Hampshire political reporters and whatever other ratings-grabbing brigade was sent to Foxborough on the first day of Tim Tebow coverage. It’s what Bill does best, after all. And it’s tired.

Again. We’re on to the REAL crime. “Bill doesn’t tell us anything. Whah!

“It is what it is” ain’t what it was in this particular case. The more we learn about Hernandez’s past, the more the Patriots owe us all an explanation. How exactly was their judgment clouded so impeccably, even as former teammates like Matt Light opine in the aftermath about what a bad guy he was? With all due apologies to the salacious hound dogs at the Patriots’ temple over at Boston Sports Media Watch, the status quo that Belichick preaches won’t cut it.

I’m really confused about this whole “owe us” thing. First of all, who is “us?” Fans? Media? Civilization as a whole? Why is this owed? Do other privately held companies hold press conferences when one of their employees is charged with a crime? When the Globe has yet another plagiarism scandal, will they sit there and take questions from the Herald and channels 4,5 and 7?

Have other former teammates spoken out against Hernandez? They must have, because Wilbur says teammates – plural. Other than some nameless ex-teammates saying Hernandez was a loner – not exactly a scathing condemnation – but other than Light, and his quotes were mysteriously not followed up on by his interviewer, the only other public quotes have come from Deion Branch, and could not be more different than Light. So Hernandez apparently had at least some of his teammates snowed too.

Patriots temple? Is that also a shot at the Krafts? I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I do like the “salacious hound dogs” reference – another great word picture. Horny dogs. OK.

The fans and the rest of the NFL deserve more knowledge than that.

Why? Curiosity? I mean, if say, Dan Shaughnessy’s son was arrested for, say, assaulting a police officer, does Dan and the Globe hold a conference to tell us more? Don’t we deserve more knowledge?

It’s difficult to believe that the Patriots, a franchise that has prided itself on background checks, didn’t know that there was more to Hernandez than met the eye. Hell, the marijuana issues aside, Hernandez’s past reads like a Spenser novel. How soon until we get an Aaron Hernandez special edition of “Clue?”

Wait, wait, wait – “prided itself on background checks” – is that even remotely true? Or is Eric just making stuff up? What does that even mean? “Jonathan – we sure nailed another background check! Put that one on the wall!” Seems an odd thing to be prideful over.

A Spenser novel! Awesome. Special edition of Clue! Just stop it! I can’t handle this incredibly witty and relevant humor!

The Patriots want to lead you to believe that they had a model, reformed citizen on their hands in Hernandez, that any troubled past was merely a matter of puff, puff, pass the dutchie on the left-hand side and nothing more. His teammates sure seemed to know. How did his employers miss the boat so egregiously?

They’re leading us to believe that by cutting him immediately? Musical Youth reference? Awesome.

Again, that “teammates” – plural – wording. Does Eric know something he’s not sharing with us? We demand to know!

Fans will line up this weekend to exchange their “Pro Shop-purchased” Hernandez jerseys during the Patriots’ PR stint to put the past behind them. It’s OK to continue wearing it apparently if you bought your jersey at Sports Authority. If the Pats were serious about ridding the streets and stands of its tainted criminal’s name on people’s backs, no questions should be asked. They can handle that as they deftly proved with Hernandez.

I don’t have a ton to argue with here. If they’re going to take #81 jerseys back, take ’em all back. Eric, we have common ground here. A start, right?

There has to be a disgruntled backlash in the locker room, and not just because the team released a guy for reasons other than having diabetes. Hernandez’s criminal past could have affected Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, or any other teammate the same way it did victim Odin Lloyd. What if Stevan Ridley was the one to find out that Hernandez may have murdered two people in cold blood last summer? Do you think he would skirt any sort of cover up from a guy who theoretically took three days to plot Lloyd’s murder and still butchered the process so badly that the likes of Clouseau would consider the case a waste of time?

Yes, there HAS to be. Eric says so. Ah, the little Florio-type slam on the Kyle Love release, nice to work that in there.

Now, is Wilbur saying that we should be mad at the Patriots because Hernandez could’ve killed Tom Brady? (You already did that, Eric.) It sounds like it. What the heck does that sentence about Ridley even mean? I’ve read it about 20 times and it still doesn’t make any sense. “skirt any sort of cover up”?

To say the Patriots made a huge error in tossing their good faith at Hernandez is an understatement, yet we’ve heard nothing from the owner, the coach, or the quarterback about how they went so astray. Unless you’ve already Hale-Bopped your allegiance, doesn’t that make you in the least bit frustrated?

No. Not at all. And being a Patriots fan doesn’t exactly equate with a suicide cult, another nice reference. I’m waiting for the Globe to say they erred in hiring Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith or Ron Borges.

Sorry, the Patriots owe you that much.

Again this “owe” thing. And this time it’s YOU they owe. Not “us.”

This is no longer a matter of what did they know and when did they know it, but a situation that needs some semblance of closure from the franchise. They were the ones who took a fourth-round flyer when nobody else would, after all. They were the ones who awarded him with millions just days within a suspected double murder. They were the ones who kept him around, the reason he was in our community.

Wait, in the first paragraph you said it was logical to wonder what and when. Now its about closure. For me, closure came when they cut him. That was enough of a statement to me. They didn’t even know the charges. They didn’t stick by him like the Ravens did with Ray Lewis. The Ravens made Lewis the face of the franchise. The Patriots cut all ties then and there. Actions can say things better and more eloquently than words at times. What more needs to be said?

Three men are dead that we know of. Who knows what the evening will bring.

Thanks for the reminder, I kind of forgot about that after the whole column was about the culpability of the Patriots in the matter and what they OWE you, us, whoever.

One thing we’re pretty sure of, it won’t include a Patriots apology or admittance of fault. That’s not the Patriot Way, of course. Then again, as we’re rapidly discovering, the Patriots Way is a bogus load of tripe.

As is this column. Spare me the hand-wringing over over a media-created standard that has been supposedly violated.

And we continue to wait, as an exposed institution shows its true, cowardly colors.

The most accurate line of the entire column.

Narrative Changes, Red Sox Pleas, and Online Radio

A few weeks ago when Wes Welker made the statement that he could be himself more in Denver, plenty of media took the opportunity to take the shot at how much the Patriots “control” their players and don’t let them be themselves.

Aaron Hernandez is arrested on one murder charge and investigated on two others, and the narrative is suddenly changed to chiding the team for not controlling their players enough through monitoring their actions off the field and being aware of all aspects of their personal lives.

The Red Sox were ridiculed for hiring private detectives to follow Carl Crawford around prior to signing him as a free agent. Can you imagine the uproar if it came out that the Patriots had hired investigators to follow their players around and nose around their private lives? The schoolmarm portion of the media would be outraged at this violation of privacy.

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While we’re on the subject of narrative changes, I’m enjoying how some have spent the last couple years saying in no uncertain terms that Danny Ainge needs to “blow it up” and start rebuilding the Celtics.

Now that Ainge has done that, some of the same people are outraged and putting forth the notion that the Celtics are “tanking” the season.

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It’s quite a change to see the Red Sox practically begging for attention while in first place. Whether it’s Larry Lucchino telling Dennis and Callahan that “it’s OK to talk baseball” or Chris Gasper’s piece today which reads in part “Boston, your first-place baseball team graciously requests the honor of your presence and participation in this season.”

I’ll be the first to admit that this has been a fun team to watch, and the transformation from last year to this year is stunning. Ben Cherington did a great job making over the team in the offseason, and buying time for when the prospects will be ready.

Hopefully the team can keep it up, and if they do, they will get the attention they deserve.

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I’ve heard the rumors from several places that the Boston Herald will be dipping their toes into the online radio waters sometime in the next couple weeks. Details are sketchy, it won’t be a sports radio station exclusively but this duo is apparently lined up for an afternoon show:

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Glenn Ordway had been approached about the station, but things did not work out. Ordway is hosting the Dan Patrick show this week.

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NESN announced Friday night that they have hired Gary Striewski as a feature reporter and weekend sports anchor. Striewski comes to NESN from NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston where he was also a sports anchor and reporter.

You can find out more about him on Twitter (@garystriewski ) and Facebook.

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After so many columns like this from Ashley Fox and this from Joan Vennochi, it’s nice to see rebuttal style columns from Drew Magary and Tom Keane to restore some sanity. How did that last column make it into the Globe by they way?

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Anyone else laughing at the notion that the BENGALS are taking a victory lap/finger wag at the Patriots over Hernandez’s character issues coming out of college?

Yes, the same Bengals who are tied with the Vikings for having had the most players in the NFL arrested since 2000. The writer of that blog post perhaps should’ve made mention of that fact.

When the Patriots drafted Hernandez, Albert Breer, then with the Globe, had the following in his report on the pick:

Despite all of this, each NFL source the Globe spoke with lauded the Patriots for getting Hernandez with the 113th pick.

“That’s tremendous value for a guy that could’ve been a late first- or second-round pick,’’ said the AFC college scouting official. “You can cut a fourth-round pick. You’ve got a good player there, and that’s a bonus.’’

“It comes down to when the risk outweighs the reward,’’ said the AFC personnel director.

The revisionist history being tossed around is incredible. If the Patriots didn’t pick him, eventually someone else would have.