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.

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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.