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.

2011 Approval Ratings – Chris Gasper

Chris Gasper is an online columnist for Boston.com.

Gasper joined the Boston Globe in 2002, covering sports for the Globe North section. During his career he’s covered high school and college sports, as well as a healthy amount of time covering the Patriots. During the Mike Reiss years, he and Reiss were a very strong combination on the beat. He moved into the columnist role when Boston.com became more of a seperate entity from the Globe, though his columns still occasionally appear in the Globe.

Gasper can be seen and heard on many outlets, including Comcast SportsNet, 98.5 The SportsHub (where he makes a nice balance to Felger and Massarotti as an in-studio guest on their show), the Patriots pregame shows on 98.5 and SportsCenter 5 OT.

{democracy:129}

You’ll Have To Pay To Read Shaughnessy Starting in 2011 (Perhaps Not)

The Boston Globe announced today that starting next year, they will break the content of the Globe and Boston.com into two separate sites. BostonGlobe.com will require a paid subscription to access, while Boston.com will remain free.

Globe to offer two websites: one free, one pay

So soon you’ll need to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy. On the other hand, apparently you’ll get all the Tony Massarotti and Chris Gasper you want for absolutely free!

Update…

The following was posted on Twitter by a Boston.com sports producer:

The good news about all of this two websites business is that all of sports will be free. Sports fans have nothing to worry about.Thu Sep 30 20:13:32 via Seesmic Desktop

Now I have to say, if true, that is extremely smart on the part of the Globe. Sports articles are among the most visited on the website, (some people only visit the sports articles) and to continue to offer them from free would be a win for many consumers.

I can’t help but think that the amount of competition out there in this market for sports coverage lead to the decision to keep it free. Who would pay just for the Globe’s take on sports when they can choose from dozens of other outlets?

Globe Staff Going Whole Hog On Brady Holdout

C’mon guys.

The Boston Globe. Allegedly THE paper of record for New England sports, is embarrassing themselves with this Tom Brady holdout garbage.

Albert Breer’s lede on the Extra Points blog:

With all the noise of a Tom Brady holdout (which I hear pretty strongly isn’t happening … and was never happening), it’s worth asking this question: How could it really come to this?

Um, what? Yeah, How could it really come to this which was never happening? Does that lede even make a modicum of sense?

Breer then goes on to quote colleague Chris Gasper, who has a few gems of his own:

He shouldn’t have to threaten not to show up to camp to get a new contract.

What threats would those be? The ones solely created by the media to “move the needle?”

The Patriots are playing a dangerous game here with their most valuable asset.

As far as I can tell, they’re not playing any game here.

The CBA has become a rather convenient bit of CYA for the Patriots not to cut Brady a big, fat check.

Right. That’s really all it is. How stupid does he think they are?

Tony Massarotti took his whack at the situation earlier this week…practically begging Brady to hold out. Not only hold out, but not play the entire season.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning sits in the exact same situation. The only difference being he’s getting a higher base salary than Brady. But isn’t he also risking $50 million dollars by showing up for Colts camp?

Congratulations, Boston Globe, for abandoning any real reporting in favor of trying your hardest to simply stir the pot.

Mainstream Media Review: Boston.com/sports

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

Today, we’re taking a look at the sports section of Boston.com and the ties it shares with the Boston Globe sports section.

Boston.com was once the go-to site for pretty much all things Boston sports. For many people, it still is. Several new competitors have muscled into the scene, but Boston.com is still a monster in terms of traffic, and often leads the way in integrating new technologies and methods into its content. It’s constantly changing, being updated and evolving. That’s a good thing. If you’re looking for the very latest breaking news, they generally make it pretty easy to find there.

The sports section is a very busy place, in fact, it can be pretty overwhelming if you land there looking for something specific. (Go ahead, go there right now and find Chad Finn’s Touching All The Bases blog.  Go ahead. I’m timing you.)

The page is broken down into sections by sport, which is nice, but each sub-page is just as busy as the home page. Each team page has their blog in the upper right corner, making those at least easy to find.

Advertising is a necessary evil on websites. I have plenty of it here. We all need to find a way to pay the bills and make some money off the content that is being put out. A problem I have with Boston.com and the Globe site is some of the obnoxious-acting ads that they use. The worst one, to me, is when I’m going through the Boston Globe sports stories in the morning. I like to link to the full-length version, mostly as a convenience to the reader – if I do it, you don’t have to – that sort if thing. Anyway, something is rigged with some of those “Single Page” links so that when you click on them, it doesn’t open the single page version, instead it serves you a pop-up ad. Do it again, and the same thing happens. Finally on the third attempt, your single page article will load. There does seem to be some sort of cap on these, so once you’ve had to do it a few times, it stops and actually loads what you want. Minor thing, but incredibly annoying.

Now, as for the content, I go every day without fail and check out the Globe sports stories. Using that link doesn’t even bring me to the Boston.com/sports side, it’s just the stories from the Globe that morning. For the actual Boston.com/sports site, I can honestly say that the only time I’ve been going there on my own recently – just going to the homepage, not following a link to a specific article/post – is to find Finn’s latest blog entry. (By the way, if you haven’t found it yet, you need to scroll down the right side of the page, find the “Blogs” widget, and scroll down inside that until you come to the link for the blog.)

The Globehas had a lot of staff turnover in the last few years, but columnists Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan are constants. On the baseball beat, Amalie Benjamin and newcomer (via The Journal NewsPeter Abrahamdo a very nice job with the Red Sox, while another holdover, Nick Cafardo takes care of the national beat and Sunday notes. The Patriots are covered by Shalise Manza Young, recently brought over from the Providence Journal, and Monique Walker, with Albert Breer, hired last season, serving as national football writer. The Celtics are covered by beat writer Julian Benbow, with Frank Dell’Apa also a reporter, and Gary Washburn, hired last August as the national guy. The Bruins are covered by Fluto Shinzawa, with Hall of Famer Kevin Paul Dupont taking the NHL beat.

Boston.com has two of it’s own columnists, who generally don’t appear in the print version of the paper. WBZ-FM afternoon co-host and former Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti is one, and former Globe Patriots writer Chris Gasper is the other. Charles P. Pierce also has been doing quite a bit for them aside from his work for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, but his contributions on Boston.com are mostly as a blogger. Massarotti’s role has been reduced since he took on the radio gig, but he’s still a regular contributor.

An issue I have with much of the content on the sports pages of Boston.com is tone. I’m making a distinction here between the content published in the Boston Globe and that which appears on Boston.com. The former is generally even-handed and fair. Most of the editorial content on the latter seems to be aimed at “tweaking” the readers. This is especially true for Massarotti, Gasper and the blog entries of Albert Breer. (Is it just me, or is every single blog post that Breer puts up worded in such a way so as to tweak Patriots fans?)  That’s good for stirring up attention and getting lots of comments and page views, but it doesn’t do it for me.

The good part of Boston.com is the sheer amount of content that is put up every day. Beyond the four majors, there are blogs for college sports, high school sports, Eric Wilbur’s Boston Sports blog, a marathon blog, golf blog, and a good soccer blog that not only has Revolution items, but soccer from all over the world.

As previously mentioned, when news is breaking, Boston.com is a great place to head first. The aforementioned Finn, who is an editor for the site, is generally the one posting updates in the various blogs on these breaking news items. For this reason alone, it is a site that is worth checking out regularly. If you can dig and sort through all the noise, there is plenty of other worthwhile content here as well.

Tomorrow: BostonHerald.com/sports.

“Content Sharing” Agreement Between Boston.com and SI.com

In a post by Chad Finn on the Boston.com Extra Points blog, the following “Editor’s note” appears:

Through a content-sharing partnership with Sports Illustrated and SI.com, occasional articles and information from the magazine and its website will be used on Boston.com. The partnership begins today with some Patriots-related insight from Peter King’s popular “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.

The sharing apparently goes both ways. Check out SI.com’s new NFL Insider:

shaughnessy-si

 

Boston Globe/Boston.com To Charge Online Readers

According to a report in the Boston Herald this morning, you will soon have to pay in order to read The Boston Globe and Boston.com online.

There have been a lot of rumblings recently that more and more newspapers and news outlets are going to attempt to raise their falling fortunes by limiting access to their online work and charging readers a fee to access and read it. An Associated Press (another news agency looking to get more protective of their content) article this morning reports that News Corp.’s newspapers will also soon be charging for content. 

While I can see that their logic in not wishing to keep giving away their content and work for free, I have my doubts as to whether this is going to be successful.  The AP article above has Rupert Murdoch pointing to the Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com as a successful model for paid content that the rest of News Corp. will be trying to emulate.

I’d say there’s a bit of a difference between the content of the WSJ and The New York Post, another News Corp. outlet. You need to have content that’s worth paying for. If you don’t buy the paper are you going to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy’s latest?

What I will be interested in seeing, should this come to pass, is whether all of Boston.com will be a pay site, or if you’re only going to be charged to read items that appear in the paper edition of the Globe. Will we have to pay to read Reiss’s Pieces? Chad Finn? Are you going to pay to read Boston Dirt Dogs?

Obviously, this will all have an impact on what I’m doing here at BSMW. Should I bother to put together links to all the newspaper stories if only say, 10% of the readers here can actually get to them? Do I need to start recapping articles in more detail, rather than posting the links? That might cause issues, if I pass along for free information that a reporter has gathered and his website is charging a fee for access to. Will the traditional morning links just become obsolete?

 Non-Newspaper related sites like WEEI.com, NESN.com and Comcast SportsNet could see their online content gain more traffic, assuming they remain free of charge to access. Team sites, like RedSox.com, Patriots.com and Celtics.com, which are already producing their own coverage and content, would also seemingly benefit should the local newspapers decide to start charging for content. Free, independent sites like CelticsBlog.com, PatriotsDaily.com and messageboards like the Sons Of Sam Horn  and PatsFans.com would also likely benefit from increased traffic as fans go to get their fix of information and sports talk.

Is what The Boston Globe is producing, specifically on the sports side, since that’s what we’re dealing with here, so exclusive and valuable that readers are going to pay, in this economy, to be able to read it, when they can get most of the same information for free from the above sources? I might consider paying something just for Reiss’s Pieces updates, but not a whole lot.

Much will depend on the price. If it were say, $19.99 for a year, people might go for that. Make that $19.99 a month, or a week, I don’t think so. Will they continue to fill the space with ads in addition to the subscription charge? Will they lower the cost of the print edition?

To me, there’s also a difference between news and sports. Most people saw the game last night, and know what happened. Most people did not see the latest business deal or homicide, or see MBTA GM Daniel A. Grabauskas resigning. Would they consider charging for news coverage, but not sports? Can they be that creative?

An article on News Futurist – Newspapers: 180 years of not charging for content makes the case that newspapers haven’t actually charged for content since the 1830’s and it’s not really practical to start doing it now.

Lately, I’ve been reading a great blog –  The Future of Journalism on Salon.com, written by King Kaufman, who has done a lot of sports writing, and Katharine Mieszkowski. They’ve written quite a bit on this topic, as well as the other issues facing newspapers and online journalism these days.

Update, Friday PM: – Here’s an AP story on the matter: Boston Globe ponders charges for online content

Two questions for you, the sports news consumer:

  1. Will you pay to read newspapers online, or will you look elsewhere for your sports news and updates?
  2. What should I do mornings at BSMW, if a subscription to the newspaper sites is needed to access the links?

Friday Random Thoughts

A few things on my mind this week…

Looking forward to the return of the RemDawg…he posted on Twitter that he was getting closer to a return…but his absence might end up doing Don Orsillo a lot of good in the long run. Remy is about the only partner Orsillo has ever worked with on the Red Sox telecasts, and this experience (I think they’ve trotted out about 27 partners for Orsillo thus far this season) has allowed Orsillo to stretch his legs a little, and this a good thing. Dennis Eckersley has been his most frequent partner, and at first, Eck would comment on a play and ask Orsillo his opinion, and there would be a pregnant pause, and Don clearly wasn’t used to having his partner ask him about the play. They’ve gotten as time has gone by, and in the Orsillo is going to be better for the entire experience.

Chad Finn, God bless him, might be the only person in town who takes more shots at WEEI than I do. Here’s a nice zinger from today’s Boston.com chat:

[Comment From Guest]
Do you now find it amusing that the Big Show has been so dismissive of people who were suggesting that Ortiz get his eyes checked? Their confidence in their opinions seems spectacularly misplaced. I still remember them making fun of every caller in the fall of 2006 who said the Patriots needed a reciever who could “stretch the field,” then the following spring they couldn’t stop talking about how Moss’ speed was going to improve the offense.

12:51 Chad Finn:
Nah. Their mode of operation is to be dismissive of anyone who knows more than they do and has an original thought. So they tend to do a lot of dismissing.

On the other hand, Finn has passed me on the “snide comments from Ordway” scoreboard.

Earlier in the week, Tom E Curran addressed his December column, in which the possibility that Tom Brady’s 2009 season was in jeopardy was suggested:

In December, a source told me Brady was significantly behind in his rehab from the early October surgery that fixed his torn ACL and MCL. A buildup of scar tissue after an infection set in limited the range of motion in Brady’s knee and there was laxity in both the ACL and MCL. While the source never said Brady’s 2009 season was doomed, it was noted that the laxity could present a problem if the scar tissue and range of motion prevented him from strengthening his leg.

Clearly, Brady’s made up whatever time he was behind. Now, the strength of the knee and repair by Dr. Neal El Attrache, who performed the surgery have made the knee strong enough for Brady to participate at a fairly astonishing level in early June.

Health is a transitory thing. And while I most definitely stand by the original story and the bona fides of my source, Brady is certainly not behind schedule now.

It’s better than Curran’s last comments on the matter where he merely said that “NBCSports.com” had reported that Brady was behind in his rehab.

Reiss’ Pieces “Live Blog” on Sunday Night

Boston.com announced today that they will live blog Sunday night’s Patriots/Colts game using the Cover It Live software. (BSMW’s David Scott was an early adopter of the technology) They say this will allow for much quicker updates, while also allowing readers to interact with the writers during the game itself.

It’s an interesting experiment and might be worth checking out.

I do see a downside to doing it this way, and it goes like this: Oftentimes, if I’m out watching the game at a friend’s house, or even at home and I see something that I might want some more information on (an injury, or incident during the game), rather than going to a computer, or pulling out the laptop, I’ll often grab my phone and pull up Google Reader Mobile, where I have subscribed to the Reiss’ Pieces RSS feed. Then I can see on my phone what information Mike, or the other writers might have about the situation. I don’t see a way to do this with this way of blogging the game.

This brings me to another item that I’ve noticed that Boston.com has changed recently. Apparently they have turned off full feeds in their blogs, at least the ones that I’ve noticed (including Reiss’ Pieces). This is incredibly annoying. Readers now only receive a headline and perhaps one sentence summing up the entry, and are forced to click through to read the entire entry.

While I understand the reasoning behind this (more click throughs=more page views=more advertisements being shown) it is still an inconvenience, especially when we go back to the cell phone user. Before, in Google Reader Mobile, I could read the entries right in the application, and get the information I was looking for, now they require a click-through, and a whole new page – not always formatted optimally for the cell phone – has to be loaded, which giving the connection speeds, can take quite a while.

Not really the “instant information” fix I’m looking for in those situations.

Finally, I understand that online video is the hot thing right now, but I don’t always want it. I know some readers have complained about the videos, noting that they can’t view them from work,  (or from cell phones again) or the computer they’re using can’t view them. For me, it’s a time thing. I don’t want to sit through a 3 minute video when I can read the same thing in 30 seconds. With some of the videos I simply don’t understand the appeal. Why do I want to see Dan Shaughnessy or Tony Massarotti from the Garden giving their views on the just-completed Celtics game? These videos are also being shoehorned into the blog entries, and while there are a few that are informative, for the most part, Boston.com would be better served just putting the material into text.

I like a lot of what Boston.com is doing to bring sports fans the latest information, these were just a few things I’d like to see improved.

Dirt Dog Fallout

Couple items leftover from yesterday, first, thank you for the overwhelming support on the column, a couple people even made donations to express their appreciation, and that means so much to me. Thank you.

Among the things that a lot of people have commented on the curious, dismissive reply I got from Boston.com editor Teresa Hanafin. It’s interesting to note that to me, she made sure to emphasize that BostonDirtDogs was “just a blog”, implying that there is a separate set of standards for it compared to the rest of Boston.com. If that is indeed the case, then fine. If he’s not a journalist, then he shouldn’t be trumpeting scoops, making high profile media appearances and doesn’t need to be held to the standards and ethics that the other columnists and reporters on Boston.com are held to. However, a quote from Ms. Hanafin herself back in May when Boston.com was acquiring the website seems to indicate that the intentions were much different:

Hey, guys, Jason is right: We are going to hold BostonDirtDogs to the same editorial standards as the rest of the site, but we’re going to work really hard NOT to squelch its spirit. But I am torn about the design. I think the big headlines etc. are part of its charm, and our plan is to keep it exactly the way it is, but is that why you visit BostonDirtDogs? Or would you not mind seeing the design cleaned up a little to make it more readable?
Posted by: Teresa Hanafin, editor of Boston.com at May 28, 2004 12:44 PM

Just to get the full effect, here’s a reminder of the exact words of Ms. Hanafin the other day when I approached her about this issue:

Oh, Bruce, please — spare me. It’s a blog, for God’s sake. Lighten up. Given some of the content on your website, you’re hardly in a position to be flinging mud.

There I go, flinging mud again. You’ll excuse me for being a little confused on this matter. Also, BostonDirtDogs may be “just a blog” in the eyes of some, but Steve Silva is an employee of Boston.com. He is sent to Fenway to take pictures for the site, and as an article from UPI yesterday shows, he’s going to spring training…and the piece characterizes him as “part of the Boston Globe online” and “now filing regular reports from the World Series champion Red Sox spring-training site in Florida.”

Finally from someone with Globe ties comes this quote:

“People associate him with the sports section, which drives virtually everyone in the department insane, but Teresa doesn’t seem to have a clue that his irresponsible little web page reflects on Boston.com and the rest of the paper.”

Onto the links for today:

Boston Radio Watch is reporting that Entercom radio stations here in Boston, including WEEI will return to streaming their broadcasts over the internet within the next two weeks. Great news for day-time cubicle dwellers…

Antoine Walker made his return to the home floor of Boston last night and helped the Celtics beat the Lakers before a sold out, frenzied crowd. More Spring training reports as the Red Sox visited the president yesterday and prepare for the exhibition opener today. The Patriots lose Joe Andruzzi to the Browns, but could be picking up a shutdown cornerback via trade.

First, It’s been much rumored and assumed, but Doc Rivers said this morning on WEEI with Greg Dickerson and Gerry Callahan that Gary Payton will be back with the Celtics. (Last night he was just “pretty sure“)He can’t say it’s official, but all that needs to be done is for him to sign. He talked to both Payton and his agent past night, and they told him Payton is coming back to the Celtics. By the way, Dickerson and Callahan are much better and more informed talking Celtics than Glenn Ordway these days, whose only mission it seems is to harp on past mistakes and spout recycled (and sometimes contradictory) statements about how you build a team in the NBA.

Shira Springer, Steve Bulpett and Carolyn Thornton report on Antoine’s return to Boston, wearing number 8. Lenny Megliola says that for one night, it felts like old times for the Celtics and Lakers. Christopher Price also reports on the game and the return of the original employee number 8. Jackie MacMullan writes that Walker is ready to do what it takes to allow him to stay here beyond this season. He doesn’t want to bounce around the NBA, an appreciates what Boston is about. Mark Murphy says that last night was just like old times for Antoine and the Celtics…complete with missed shots. Tom E Curran steps over from Patriots coverage to also write about Antoine’s return to Boston. Frank Dell’Apa looks at a rough fourth quarter for Kobe Bryant. Bulpett’s notebook looks at how Antoine get number 8 back from Al Jefferson, while Springer’s notebook and Thornton’s notebook each look at the impending return of Payton.

Be sure to also check out the BSMW Full Court Press coverage of the Celtics/Lakers game from last night.

There were a bunch of idiots at the White House yesterday. (Insert joke here) The Red Sox met with President Bush to receive congratulations from the Commander in Chief. Coverage is provided by Gordon Edes, Tony Massarotti, John E Mulligan for the Providence Journal and David Lightman. Edes’ also writes about the Red Sox meeting with some real life American heroes.

In other stories, Jeff Horrigan looks at Lenny DiNardo, who hopes to have a bigger role with the Red Sox after spending last season with them as a Rule V draftee. Tony Massarotti looks at this year’s Rule V pickup, outfielder Adam Stern. Chris Snow has a look at left handed hitting first baseman Roberto Petagine, hoping to make it in the big leagues are starring in Japan for many years. Steven Krasner examines the Red Sox roster as they begin playing games today. David Borges looks at Matt Clement, who will start the first exhibition game today. Horrigan also looks at Alan Embree, who has found a comfort zone in his role with the Red Sox, and is understandably proud of what he’s done here, both in the regular season and postseason.

Horrigan’s notebook has Johnny Damon speaking in favor of MLB’s new drug testing policies. Krasner’s notebook has more from Damon, as does Borges’ notebook. Snow’s notebook looks at Manny Ramirez and Bronson Arroyo missing the visit with the President yesterday. He questions Manny’s excuse of a sick grandmother.

Another Patriot stalwart is out the door. Joe Andruzzi became the latest yesterday, signing a four year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Michael Felger, Jerome Solomon, Tom E Curran, Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente all have the story of the Patriots losing the offensive lineman to Romeo Crennel. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots are making it clear that they don’t have room for sentiment when making personnel decisions…they’re not about to turn Foxboro into a rest home. Hector Longo feels that if Troy Brown isn’t going to return to the Patriots, he should retire rather than bouncing to another team. Mike Reiss’ blog – which I believe is a textbook example of how a blog run by a news organization should be run – has five Patriots related items a couple not noted by anyone else, and promises more by 3:00 PM. I’ve said it before and will again, Reiss’ blog is a must-visit destination for Patriots fans. Felger’s notebook has the rumored trade between the Patriots and Cardinals that would bring cornerback Duane Starks to Foxboro.

TNT has Pacers/Nuggets at 8:00 and Pistons/Suns at 10:30. ESPN has Miami/Duke at 7:00. ESPN2 has Charlotte/Louisville at 7:00 and Purdue/Illinois at 9:00. NESN has Red Sox/Twins at 7:00.