Here is what the newspapers of New England look like this morning. Click on each image to go to the coverage from that paper.
I’m not one to launch into poetic waxing and waning about the romanticism of baseball, and what it symbolizes to so many. This team has exceeded our wildest expectations no matter what happens over the next two nights. They’ve made fools out of so many who predicted another gloomy season at Fenway Park.
I keep hearing the WEEI promos about “The Road to Redemption,” but they’ve already redeemed themselves. They’ve reached the destination.
Tonight, they can win the World Series at home. If they don’t get it done tonight, they get to try again tomorrow night. A player who was so reviled over the last two seasons, to the point that he really was the poster boy for everything bad about the franchise can be the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the World Series.
Equally amazing to me is what I hear on the radio. In the times I’ve randomly tuned in, these have been the topics I’ve heard, across all shows and stations, from hosts and callers:
- Is Jon Lester really an ace? Are the Red Sox going to overpay him and have him then become a fat stiff like Josh Beckett?
- Jacoby Ellsbury is in his last days as a Red Sox player, but that’s OK because he doesn’t really seem to fit here.
- Can they re-sign Mike Napoli? Or did the club’s hard-line stance in breaking their original three-year offer to him and instead signing him up for only one year embitter him towards management? Who is going to play first base next season???
- John Farrell has no clue what he is doing! Why Breslow? His pinch-hitting makes no sense! He’s over his head!
- Xander Bogaerts has hit a rookie wall. He’s not impressive at all. They need to get Middlebrooks back in there. He’s due for a DINGAH!!
The print stories – you can find them at RedSoxLinks.com – are considerably more upbeat. Except for Shaughnessy, of course, who can’t let a game six go by without a Bill Buckner revisit. Pro Tip – let the boys at Dan Shaughnessy Watch take care of him.
The Celtics have their season opener tonight in Toronto. It’s quite different from every opening night we’ve seen since 2007, or even 1999 when Paul Pierce first showed up. Expectations are at a rock-bottom, with many openly rooting for them to lose as many games as possible. Because that worked out so well the last two times the Celtics tried for the first overall pick.
Three things to check out on the Celtics:
Baxter Holmes’ three part series on new coach Brad Stevens is worth the read:
Also, this feature on Danny Ainge from Paul Flannery in Boston Magazine is outstanding:
Finally, from Grantland: Brooklyn and Boston: After the Trade
Bruce is out today. Check RedSoxLinks.com for all the coverage of the Red Sox 3-1 win in game five of the World Series last night. The Sox now have a chance to close out the Series tomorrow night at Fenway Park.
Well, the past month sure has had its interesting moments.
After a punch-in-the-head experience at Cincinnati resulting in their first loss, the Pats rebounded with a full 60-minute effort vs. New Orleans, scoring the winning touchdown with only five seconds on the clock. A painful, car-crash-in-slow-motion overtime loss at New York brought the Jets within one game in the standings. After spotting Miami a 17-3 lead at home, the Patriots rode a second-half resurgence to go 2-2 this month and 6-2 on the year, good enough for a two-game lead within the division after the Jets’ loss to the Bengals.
Despite the .750 record, fans have cited many reasons for trepidation. One, injuries: New England currently has as many Hurts as a 1980s film festival. With Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo on season-ending IR, the Patriots’ front seven has looked more like a front 5.5. Two, offense: or lack of it. Quarterback Tom Brady has worked hard just to look mediocre in the first half of this season. Continue reading Forethoughts On Four Games: Third Quarter 2013
The Red Sox tied the World Series at two games apiece with a 4-2 win in St. Louis last night. For the second straight night, a World Series game ending in a fashion that had never previously happened. After a walk-off obstruction call on Saturday night, last night Koji Uehara picked off pinch runner Kolten Wong at first base to end the game and allow Jonny Gomes’ three-run homer in the sixth inning to stand up.
Clay Buchholz went four innings last night with greatly reduced stuff, his fastball topping out at around 88. After all the talk about how he just needed to toughen up and pitch, we got an idea at least about why he was hesitant to do so. Hopefully that talk quiets down some now, but somehow I doubt it.
Get a feel for the rest of the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com, and remember that only three games at most remain in the Tim McCarver era!
I wish we could say the same about Gary Tanguay – I couldn’t get away from the guy yesterday, whether it was on the Patriots pre-post shows on the radio – after the game he was telling Gresh and Zo to “hold off on the parade” when they were praising the play of the undrafted rookies on the defensive line, and then I see him on TV on CSNNE following the Red Sox game, where all he seemed to want to talk about was John Farrell’s managing shortcomings.
At least we won’t be seeing him on the Celtics telecasts this season, even though that might be a team actually worth complaining about.
A few items related to football and the Patriots:
It appears that Troy Brown’s training has been completed:
You’ll recall last week’s big issue was the call on the Patriots in overtime, which allowed the Jets to kick a much easier game winning field goal.
In the aftermath, it was pointed out, even by Bill Belichick, that the Jets had also pushed on a FG attempt by the Patriots in regulation. Rex Ryan denied that accusation, strongly, and media rushed to declare the Jets innocent of any wrongdoing.
You might have missed it, but very quietly it was revealed yesterday that the league determined that the Jets did indeed break the rule.
So we’ve gone from not the same stratosphere and nowhere close, to exactly the same. Got it.
I’d say it’s good that Ben Volin doesn’t work in Vegas. Poor guy has had an incredibly unlucky streak in the weekly predictions in the Globe. He’s 45-60-2 on the season, but his “Best Bets” are now 0-8 on the year, after he picked the Jets yesterday to cover and they were beaten 49-9.
Hall of Famer Bill Sharman who was a player on the early Celtics championship teams, and then was a coach and executive with the Lakers for several more championships, died today at the age of 87.
He had a truly remarkable life, one deserving of being told in detail. I had recently written up an outline of his life, in hopes of putting together a future project. Here is part of that draft, which should give you a quick idea of how incredible this man’s life was.
Few men saw more basketball than Bill Sharman. As a player, he was an integral part of the early days of the Boston Celtics dynasty, teaming with Bob Cousy in what was the best backcourt in the NBA. As a coach, he led the Los Angeles Lakers on a 33-game winning streak, and an NBA title in his first year with the team. As an executive, he oversaw the acquisition of players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy, loading up the franchise for the great battles of the 1980’s against his former Celtics team.
Born in Abilene, Texas in 1926, Sharman’s family moved to California, where he became a star athlete for high schools in Lomita and Porterville. At the age of 18, in the midst of World War II, Sharman joined the Navy, where he served a two-year stint in the Pacific.
Out of the Navy, Sharman went to Southern California University, where he starred for the Trojans both on the basketball court and on the baseball field. A two-time letter winner, Sharman was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, with whom he spent five minor-league seasons, earning a call-up in September of 1951. Sharman never appeared in a Major League Baseball game, but earned the distinction of being thrown out of one without ever appearing in one, as on September 27th, the umpire ejected the entire Dodgers bench after an argument over a call at home plate. Sharman was on the Dodgers bench for Bobby Thompson’s “Shot heard round the world” which won the National League pennant for the New York Giants over the Dodgers on October 3rd, 1951.
Following his hoops career as USC, Sharman had also been drafted in the second round by the Washington Capitals of the NBA. Sharman was leading the team in scoring as a rookie at 12.2 points a game in the 1950-51 season when the franchise folded after 35 games.
A dispersal draft was held and after refusing to report to the Fort Wayne Pistons who had won his rights, the Pistons traded him to the Boston Celtics. The previous year, the Celtics had ended up with Bob Cousy in a separate dispersal draft transaction, and now Sharman and Cousy would be the Celtics starting backcourt for the next decade.
Sharman averaged 17.8 points per game in his career, peaking at 22.3 ppg in the 1957-58 season. The arrival of Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn in 1956 made the Celtics into champions, and Sharman would be an NBA champion four times before his career with the Celtics came to a close at the end of the 1960-61 season.
The NBA was expanding into Chicago the next season, and team were required to submit four names for the expansion draft. With young guards Sam and K.C. Jones waiting in the wings, Sharman’s name was among those the Celtics submitted. Sharman though, took a coaching job with the Los Angeles Jets of the new American Basketball League, an outfit started out of spite by Harlem Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein after he felt the NBA went back on a promise to award him an NBA team in Los Angeles.
The short-lived league was noteworthy for being the first to introduce the three-point shot, as well as for hiring the first African-American coach in professional sports history. Sharman took the job with the idea of becoming a player-coach, something Celtics owner Walter Brown strongly objected to, and the NBA threatened legal action due to its “Option Rule.” Sharman eventually had his way, and played in 19 games for the Jets. The team was doing quite well, with a 24-15 record, before it folded on January 10th, 1962. Sharman was not out of work for long, getting hired by the Cleveland Pipers of the ABL in February as head coach by young owner George Steinbrenner. Sharman led the Pipers to the first (and only ABL Championship.)
The next fall, Sharman took over the Cal State-Los Angeles basketball team, coaching there until 1964. He then went into broadcasting for a couple of years. In 1966, he was hired as head coach of the San Francisco Warriors, where he led a squad of players that included Rick Barry, Nate Thurmond and Al Attles. He took them to the NBA finals in his first season, where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers.The next season, the Warriors finished third in the West, and were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Sharman was back in Los Angeles that fall, this time with the Los Angeles Stars of the ABA. After fifth and fourth place finishes in LA, the Stars moved to Utah in 1971, where Sharman led them to 57 wins and and the league championship, where they defeated the Kentucky Colonels, led by rookie star Dan Issel.
The Los Angeles Lakers had moved from Minneapolis in 1960. In Minnesota they had been the league’s first dynasty, winning five league titles in the early days of the NBA. Since moving to Los Angeles though, there had been nothing but heartache, as the Lakers made it to the NBA finals eight times, only to lose each time, seven times of which had been to the Boston Celtics.
Even though Sharman was under contract to the Stars for four more seasons, the Lakers wanted him to replace Joe Mullaney as head coach. After a few weeks of posturing and threatening from the two teams and leagues, Sharman became head coach of the Lakers.
His first season was nothing short of spectacular, as the Lakers ran out to a record-breaking 69 wins in the regular season, including a 33-game winning streak. The Lakers then beat the New York Knicks four games to one in the NBA finals to win their first championship in Los Angeles. Sharman had now coached in three professional leagues, and won championships in each of them.
He then became GM of the Lakers, and drafted Magic Johnson in 1979, he remained GM until 1982, when he became President of the Lakers. He held that post until 1988 when he retired, having won NBA titles as a player, coach, GM and Team President. He remained a team special consultant the rest of his life.
Sharman was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976 and as a coach in 2004, one of only three men honored twice.
The “eerily poised” Michael Wacha made only one mistake last night -a sixth inning home run by David Ortiz which temporarily put the Red Sox on top – and this time it was the Red Sox making uncharacteristic mistakes and the Cardinals taking advantage of them as St Louis tied the World Series at a game apiece last night with a 4-2 win at Fenway Park.
Catch up with things at RedSoxLinks.com.
Taking stock of Stephen Drew’s historic postseason slump – It’s not the worst of all time, but Alex Speier says that it is darned close.
Mike Milbury correct with criticism of John Scott – Chad Finn’s media column backs up the analyst’s condemnation of the Sabres enforcer, and also has some disappointing news about some CSNNE staffers being placed on “hiatus” as emphasis on CSNNE.com is apparently being trimmed back.
WEEI will have weekend programming from St. Louis:
On Saturday, the live lineup begins at 11:00am with John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane on a special edition of the Dennis & Callahan show. D&C will be followed by Mut & Merloni co-host Mike Mutnansky being joined by WEEI.com Red Sox Insiders Rob Bradford and Alex Speier from 3:00-6:00pm, before giving way to Mike Salk and Michael Holley of the Salk & Holley program, with special guest Lou Merloni, which will lead into the World Series pre-game show with the Red Sox Radio Network’s Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione taking listeners up to the first pitch of Game 3 at 8:07.
Sunday’s coverage again begins at high noon with Mutnansky and Minihane, followed by Bradford and Speier at 2:00pm. Dennis & Callahan return at 4:15pm before Salk & Holley return with Merloni at 6:00pm, once again leading up to O’Brien and Castiglione and the pre-game show before Game 4’s 8:15pm first pitch.
Monday’s coverage will resume at 6:00am with the Dennis & Callahan morning show live from St. Louis, followed by Mut & Merloni from 10:00am-2:00pm and an extended edition of Salk & Holley beginning at 2:00 pm, again leading into the pre-game show with O’Brien and Castiglione and the first pitch of Game 5 at 8:07. Mut & Merloni will stay on in St. Louis on Tuesday, October 29, from 10am-2:00pm.
The Patriots will look to get back in the win column as they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will have the call.
Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.
Jon Lester was magnificent and the Red Sox took advantage of St. Louis miscue to take game one of the World Series, 8-1 at Fenway Park.
Peter Abraham has Lester and the Sox in control right from the first inning. Scott Lauber has the Sox rolling to an easy opening win. Art Martone has a lot of things going right for the Sox. Gordon Edes notes that this one looked similar to the ease with which the Sox won in 2004. Alex Speier examines what went right for the Red Sox in this one. Bill Ballou says that everything went right for the Sox last night. Tim Healey looks at the ugly performance by the Cardinals. Chad Finn says that the curse mongers might want to take a different look at things. Jon Couture expects the Cardinals to bounce back. Michael Hurley looks at the night, which starts with the performance of Lester. Paul Doyle has one expectation of the series already debunked. Christopher Smith has the Sox playing nearly perfect baseball. Evan Drellich has St. Louis embarrassing themselves in game one. Kevin Thomas has Lester and the Sox keeping St. Louis off balance all night. Scott Cordischi has more on the rout at Fenway.
Sean McAdam has the Sox more than happy to take what the Cardinals gave them last night. Dan Shaughnessy calls this “one of the sloppiest performances in World Series history” by the Cardinals. He also has former manager Terry Francona just rooting for great baseball in this series. Steve Buckley wonders if this was really the St. Louis Browns out on the field. Christopher L. Gasper says this was a game the Cardinals could never get a grip on. Jackie MacMullan has the Sox happy to accept the Cardinals’ gifts. Jeff Jacobs wants to change his prediction after watching last night. Ron Chimelis says that the Sox don’t mind accepting the Cards charity. Jim Donaldson looks at a comedy of errors by the Cardinals.
Rob Bradford wonders if Jon Lester may have discovered that mythical “next level” last night. Brian MacPherson has Lester figuring out quickly what was going to work last night. Nick Cafardo has Lester showing himself to be a true ace, something some thought would never be possible. Ron Borges has Lester ending the discussion of who is the true ace of the staff. Maureen Mullen says that Lester’s gem will go down in Red Sox lore. Joe McDonald has Lester clicking on all cylinders. Jennifer Toland has Lester answering the call. Eric Avidon says that Lester was the picture of calm.
The Globe says Mike Napoli has a postseason way about him. Adam Kurkjian has Napoli getting things going for the Sox early. Mullen has Napoli getting even with the Cardinals for the 2011 World Series. Kyle Brasseur has Napoli continuing to shine on the big stage.
Borges has John Lackey hoping for a repeat of his 2002 World Series performance. Bill Burt says that Lackey has won us over. He writes though, that he expects Lackey to be gone after next season because the Red Sox hold the 2015 option. Does he know it is for the minimum? Howard Herman wonders if Xander Bogaerts will be the X-factor of this series.
Kevin Paul Dupont has the Umpires getting together to straighten out a first inning blown call. Silverman has more on the rare call reversal last night. Speier also looks at the game-changing overturn of a blown call in detail. Drellich has the umpire explaining the awful feeling of having his call overturned.
John Tomase has David Ortiz putting his ALCS frustrations behind with a big performance in game one. Shira Springer has Ortiz putting the finishing touches on this one. McAdam looks at Papi adding to his postseason legend with another home run. Tony Lee has Ortiz passing Babe Ruth on the postseason home run chart. Chimelis says that Ortiz just keeps wearing out pitchers, outfielders and bullpens.
Abraham has Clay Buchholz planning on making his start despite shoulder tightness. Michael Silverman has the club concerned about his status. McAdam has Buchholz scheduled to pitch Game 4 but that is still not 100% certain. McDonald says that the “fatigue” in his throwing shoulder may keep Buchholz on the shelf. Bradford says it is a case of fatigue setting in after having missed so much time in the middle of the season. Despite Farrell saying that Buchholz would start game four, Jacobs says that the righty’s status is unclear going forward. Thomas says something’s wrong with Buchholz.
Anthony Gulizia has Cardinals starter Wainwright saying that pretty much everything he threw last night was garbage. Smith says to look for the Cardinals starters to bring the heat for the rest of the series.
Bill Doyle has Tim McCarver giving the Cardinals the edge in the series. Springer has Tony La Russa weighing in on his former team and the series. Chad Finn has Mike Lowell enjoying the series as an analyst for MLB Network. Lenny Megliola says that there is a lot to watch between these teams.
Lauber’s Red Sox Notebook has Buchholz getting just one start in the series, and David Ortiz passing Babe Ruth. Mullen’s Sox notes has the World Series winning streak reaching nine game for the Red Sox. The Sox notebook from Eric Avidon looks at Buchholz. The Red Sox Journal says it will be Jake Peavy in game three, and hopefully Buchholz for four.