11.29.04 Afternoon

A few items for the afternoon:

Did John Dennis really quote this parody story from TheBrushback.com this morning as his “buzzerbeater”, believing it to be a REAL, factual story? He even used the Zach Thomas “quotes”.

Last Thursday the LA Daily News published an article on the top dozen turkeys in the world of sports media. Making the list was Ron Borges and his confrontation with Michael Katz:

WHEN BOXING WRITERS ATTACK The culprits: Ron Borges and Michael Katz.

The crime: Borges, of the Boston Globe, and Katz, of maxboxing.com, were part of the media covering the Oscar De la Hoya-Bernard Hopkins bout in June at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Then, Borges and Katz became the undercard.

Katz, who wears a neck brace and walks with a cane, accused Borges of being a "toadie" for fight promoter Don King. Borges retaliated by slapping Katz and knocking off his beret.

"You schmuck, how can you hit a cripple?" Katz said.

"You've been getting away with that (infirmity) for years," Borges answered.

That caused Katz to start poking Borges with his cane, setting off a melee. One person landed on promoter Bob Arum, knocking him down.

The aftermath: Katz would only call the incident "embarrassing." Borges wouldn't comment. The judges scored it an ugly draw.

Mike Reiss files a report from Foxboro today where he says that Matt Light “looked fine” walking through the locker room today. He also reports on some other goings on around the stadium this morning.

Some links from the later papers. Game stories for yesterday from David PevearEric McHughMike LoweGlen Farley and Tom King. Also, Ron Borges looks at the AFC playoff picture for MSNBC. Ron Hobson and Win Bates look at the terrific afternoon for Corey Dillon. Steve Solloway says that watching the Patriots is better than any reality series on TV. Hector Longo says that Tedy Bruschi needs to be sent to his first Pro Bowl this year. King’s notebook has more on Dillon, while Lowe’s notebook looks at the Patriots preparation for days like yesterday.

Mark Farinella writes about the High School football playoffs…and still manages a major dig at Bill Belichick.

The folks who run Gillette Stadium have given absolutely no thought to playing host to the playoffs, nor will they as long as there is a grass surface in the stadium, or as long as Bill Belichick is head coach.

Belichick would never agree to having his field chewed up by high school football players -- even though, last year, he offered no objections whatsoever to the damage wrought to the grass field by his own team until the NFL intervened as the playoffs began, and forced the Kraft organization to re-sod the surface before the game against Tennessee.

Belichick wanted to play on a chewed-up field last year because his team was the one that chewed it up, and the groundskeepers managed the damage to his liking. Playing as many as four high school games on the Saturday before an NFL game would cause ruts and holes that couldn't be repaired to Belichick's specifications quickly.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Be sure to tune in next week when Farinella provides irrefutable evidence that Bill Belichick is solely responsible for Global Warming. That’s all this afternoon from the BSMW Ivory Tower…


2004 BSMW Fall Fund Drive

Welcome to the 2nd Annual BSMW Fall Fund Drive. Please donate for a chance to win a TiVo Series2 Digital Video Recorder. The drive will last only two weeks and the drawing will be held on Monday, November 22nd. Thank you for your continued support. Click on the above links for more details about the drive, how to donate and other prizes up for grabs.

The Patriots got back on the winning track yesterday, embarrassing the Rams in St. Louis 40-22, thus avoiding a formula for disaster. Remember all the media vitriol in August when Bill Belichick was using players at different positions in preseason games? One local scribe said the coach was making a mockery of the game by giving Troy Brown some time at cornerback. Others voiced similar opinions. Some hinted that Brown was forced to do that against his will, and others accused Belichick of over coaching and micro-managing. How silly do these people look now? Of course they can just pretend it never happened, as usual. Michael Felger did make mention of this on Fifth Quarter yesterday, saying that once again Belichick was smarter than the media and everyone else.

Game stories from St. Louis are as follows. Ron Borges has an almost glowing account of a team that “that always plays to its capabilities. And sometimes beyond them.” More on Borges later, as he had an embarrassing stint on the WBCN pre-game show yesterday…Michael Felger says that once again, St. Louis was no match for New England. Tom E Curran observes how the depleted Patriots still had plenty in the tank to ward off the Rams. Alan Greenberg says this win yesterday was almost a work of art for Belichick as “he and his Patriots can paint a gridiron masterpiece with bright brush strokes.” Michael Parente looks at the Patriots pulling out all the stops to beat the Rams. Scott A Benson says that we’ve learned once again to never count out this Patriots team.

Dan Shaughnessy takes some time away from pounding the keyboard writing his new book to look at a total team effort for the Patriots. Kevin Mannix looks at the Patriots overcoming the plethora of injuries. Jim Donaldson says yesterday’s performance should silence any doubters of this team. Ian M Clark writes that yesterday’s game could turn out to be a defining moment for the 2004 Patriots. George Kimball looks at Adam Vinatieri and the Pats throwing the Rams a curve with their fake goal. Christopher Price says the Patriots once again took advantage of Mike Martz’s stubbornness in refusing to change his game plan. Michael Smith of ESPN.com looks at the emergence of David Givens as a top NFL receiver.

Mark Blaudschun, Jim Donaldson and George Kimball look at Troy Brown pulling double duty for the Patriots yesterday. Rich Thompson looks at Corey Dillon getting the Patriots off and running. Cliff Brunt and Blaudschun each have a look at the fake field goal. The Patriots had young and inexperienced cornerbacks on the field for much of the day yesterday, but Tom E Curran notes that they passed this test with flying colors. Craig Martin looks at the Rams’ baffled quarterback, Marc Bulger. On the other side, Tom Brady didn’t seem exactly “right” yesterday, but you can’t tell it by looking at his numbers, or the results. Rich Thompson looks at the Pats QB, who was able to lead several time consuming drives to keep the Rams offense off the field. Martin looks at Mike Martz once again left wondering where it went wrong.

Borges’ notebook looks at 100 yard performances from both Corey Dillon and David Givens, something that is becoming a common occurrence for both players. Felger’s notebook looks at Asante Samuel leaving and then returning with an injured shoulder. Curran’s notebook says that the Rams had a warning about the fake field goal and didn’t do anything about it. Greenberg’s notebook looks at the fake field goal. Parente’s notebook praises the Patriots preparation and versatility.

Back to Borges, on the WBCN pregame show, he was on fire, he and Dan Shaughnessy were guests and they were in the process of comparing the Red Sox and Patriots, it was noted that the Red Sox are a much more open, freewheeling and loose group. Borges commented that the Patriots players are individuals as well, and that “a lot of the players don’t like how things are done here, but they put up with it.” Yeah, winning is awful. Later, the topic turned to Mike Martz’s alleged role in getting the competition committee to enforce the illegal contact rule, and Borges went nuts. He railed on, saying that the Patriots organization complained for 25 years about a non-call holding incident against the Raiders and made the inference that they are hypocrites now for complaining about a group that simply wants the rules called as they are written. The thing is, when have you EVER heard a member of the Patriots organization, player or management complain about the rule being enforced? Show me the quotes. The best you’ll get is maybe Ty Law saying he’s still going to play the same style, and if they call it, they call. Borges added that if you watched the AFC title game last year, it was clear that the Patriots went against the rules, inferring once again that they cheated. He also went on to suggest that Randall Gay and Asante Samuel can not play, and that they would be torched by the Rams, he pronounced anyone who saw these guys make some plays as nickle and dime backs as “giddy” people who know nothing about football. He picked the Rams to win yesterday, but perhaps a little gun shy over his 73-0 pronouncement the last time these teams played, he refused to pick a score, something the other members of the panel had to do.

Some people might suggest to me that I’ve got it out for Borges. That is not the case. He simply keeps saying outlandish things to bring attention to himself, and all I’m doing here is relating the things that he has pronounced. I leave it up to you to make the judgment as to whether this guy knows what he is talking about.

Michael Silverman reports on what the Red Sox hope to accomplish at the Winter GM meetings. As reported yesterday, the team has made an offer to Pedro Martinez, but is also in the process of lining up meetings with Carl Pavano and Brad Radke.

Shira Springer looks back at the Celtics impressive win Saturday night in New York, noting how it showed the high potential this Celtics team could have. Steve Bulpett looks at Paul Pierce and some others coming in yesterday to get some work in on the off day.

Ray Bourque enters the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight. Russ Conway looks at the career of Bourque. Kevin Paul Dupont and Mick Colageo also look at Bourque being honored with a spot among the greats. Karen Guregian says that Bourque epitomizes the term “class”. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at the events that led to Bourque asking to leave the Bruins. Steve Conroy talks with Harry Sinden, who couldn’t have predicted how great Bourque would become. Marrapese-Burrell also looks at Bourque thriving in retirement.

ABC has Vikings/Colts at 9:00.

Brad Blank – Agent to the media

The Patriots and their trade for Corey Dillon continue to be the focus of much talk around town. On WEEI, Gerry Callahan continues his campaign to enlighten us on everything Dillon has done in his life. It is curious to me how someone who has been suspended for participating in racist remarks and who annually fetes Tommy Spears, aka Butch from the Cape, can sit on the moral high ground in judgment of anyone. This morning, agent Brad Blank came onto the program to talk about the Dillon trade and to give his opinion of what the Patriots are doing. He said the Patriots misled him and all of New England by promoting that they go for strictly “character guys”. He said he was drinking the kool aid for a while, but no more. This move in his opinion signals a sharp change in the way Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do business. He was critical of that, repeatedly mentioning how “miserable” Dillon is as a person and how this move can only hurt the Patriots.

To which I say, “Who is Brad Blank, and what does he know about building an NFL team?” Oh, he’s an agent, you say. In fact, he represents David Givens of the Patriots. Well, having been in the league 20 years, he must be knowledgeable. The fact is, the number of NFL clients that Blank represents has been dwindling, and at present he represents a grand total of 10…count ’em…10 NFL players. Among that total is such luminaries as Todd Collins, Brock Williams, Marcel Shipp and Tom Nalen. (Ok, Nalen is pretty good – but he’s a BC guy which could explain why Blank got him.) More telling might be that Blank represents more Boston media personalities than he does NFL players. His roster of media clients includes Ron Borges, Glenn Ordway and Jon Meterparel. Blank recently was on WEEI and made the comment about how much he enjoys reading columns from Borges as they are so “provocative”. No mention that he’s his agent. How can we expect fair, objective commentary from Blank when he’ll shamelessly stump for his client on the airwaves in that manner? Since he also is the agent for WEEI personalities, do his appearances amount to much more than free advertising for Blank? More importantly, is the public believing what this guy is saying? Agenda driven, my friends. Agenda driven.

As for the Patriots, they have stated repeatedly that they do have a core philosophy to bring in character guys. They have also said publicly, and I believe Pioli said this on his WEEI interview a few weeks back that occasionally they will deviate from that core philosophy. They have to, it’s a reality of doing business. However…what was also strongly stated is that they are not going to allow one guy to blow up what they’ve worked on. What they’ve worked on is creating a stable environment, one very much under control, in which they can occasionally take a risk like they did with Dillon and introduce him to that environment and hope that he can succeed. Dillon is a risk, no doubt, but they’ve set it up that should he falter or be trouble, he’s gone.

Patriots links for today. Bob Kraft weighed in on the Dillon trade yesterday and expressed his confidence in the judgment of Pioli and Belichick. Michael Smith, Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran look at the comments by the Patriots owner. Can people change? Brad Blank said the only bad guy he ever saw change was Irving Fryar. Jim Donaldson doesn’t think that people can change, either. As pointed out by a reader, Donaldson is actually a perfect example of this. Bad writers can’t change into good ones. Ever. Kevin Mannix says that the trade for Dillon shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Belichick has historically avoided drafting running backs. Michael Parente looks at the altered plans of the Patriots draft this weekend. Michael Felger says that the trade for Dillon gives the Patriots more options this weekend. Ron Borges looks at the Patriots signing of cornerback Jeff Burris. Felger also says that Kraft still likes Ty Law, and reports on the signing of Burris. Borges looks at defensive line prospects. Smith’s notebook looks at the Burris signing and numbers on Dillon. Curran’s notebook looks at Burris. Parente’s notebook has more on Burris.

Pedro and the Sox came up with a win in Toronto last night. Game stories are filed by David HeuschkelSean McAdamJeff HorriganDavid Borges and Bob Hohler. Pedro wasn’t talking after the game, but others had plenty to say about his performance. Gordon Edes gets the reaction from Manny, Dave Wallace and others. Tony Massarotti says Pedro was in control last night. Massarotti also looks at the Sox players taking two separate flights to Toronto after several stayed in Boston to watch the Bruins play in game 7 monday night. Hohler’s notebook has Manny a little ticked off after some chin music was thrown his way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Ellis Burks playing through his knee injury. McAdam’s notebook, Heuschkel’s notebook and Borges’ notebook all look at Burks as well.

Celtics looked good for three quarters, but collapsed in the fourth. Links are over at Fox Sports Net.

Bob Ryan says that the Bruins loss was not due to lack of effort. Stephen Harris says changes may be on the way for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Canadiens never doubted that they’d beat the Bruins. Douglas Flynn looks at the Bruins looking for answers. Karen Guregian says that a blame game is useless in this case. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that it just doesn’t seem right that the Bruins season is over. Steve Conroy says that there will several keys to Montreal’s success in the series.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. TNT has Bucks/Pistons at 7:00 and Nuggets/Wolves at 9:00. NBATV has Hornets/Heat at 8:00. ESPN has Astros/Cardinals at 7:00. ESPN2 has Padres/Giants at 10:00.