Oscar Winning Performance

Two games in and the Antoine Walker return to the Celtics is a rousing success thus far. We have a look at the win in Phoenix last night, as well as a number of Red Sox player profiles, a look at a throwaway line from Kevin Mannix yesterday, and finally a couple articles on the Boston College seniors.

In an extremely entertaining and intense game, the Celtics upended the team with the best record in the NBA coming into the contest, on their own home floor. The 120-113 OT victory was one of the most impressive of the season, despite the fact that the Suns were without PG Steve Nash, who missed the game due to a hamstring injury. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett have the stories from America West Arena. Walter McCarty played his first game against the Celtics since a February 8th trade sent him to the Suns, he is the subject of a story by Bulpett and also of Springer’s notebook. Bulpett’s notebook meanwhile, talks to the agent for Gary Payton, who says that his client is leaning towards a return to the Celtics. Despite how well Delonte West and Marcus Banks have played, I think it’s important for the team to have a veteran point guard on the roster, especially should the team make the postseason. The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune had a couple of interesting articles on the Celtics yesterday, with Michael Muldoon looking at the greatest dynasty of all time, the 1956-1969 Celtics, who won 11 titles in 13 years. He also looks at 10 reasons why the Celtics have failed to return to glory since the retirement of Larry Bird in 1992.

The return of Antoine and wins in the last two games have returned to the Celtics to the world of relevance on sports talk radio and on the Sunday night sports shows. It was a good change to tune into WEEI this morning and hear Celtics talk from Dennis & Callahan. For the most part they were pretty good, with the exception of John Dennis insisting that Danny Ainge needs to come out with an “I was wrong” statement about Antoine. The other cringe inducing moment was Gerry Callahan commenting that he was wary of Delonte West’s neck tattoo, because people who get neck tattoos are usually “whackjobs”. Nice bit of profiling there. but on the whole, I enjoyed listening to the show during the time that I did this morning, and I’m glad that they’re talking about about the Celtics and not for a negative reason. Of course, maybe I’m so desparate for Celtics talk that ANY Celtics talk would sound good to me, even if it was terrible. At least keep it up talking sports, guys.

Wake Up

Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti have stories on Tim Wakefield this morning. Edes’ story is a bit longer and looks at the pitcher’s desire to pitch long enough so that his now 9 month old son can at least see him play and perhaps remember it when he is older. Massarotti’s story looks more at the Red Sox business-like way of doing things, void of emotion, which could leave Wakefield out in the cold at the end of the season when he is due to become a free agent. David Heuschkel has a piece on Mark Bellhorn, who lets his bat talk for him, and Steven Krasner looks at Edgar Renteria, who is spending some time with hot prospect Hanley Ramirez this spring. The Sox are hoping some of Renteria’s professionalism might rub off on young Ramirez. Chris Snow looks at AAA catcher Kelly Shoppach, who was hoping to be in Boston by now, but holds out hope that his time will come with the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan looks at the guy standing in Shoppach’s path to the big leagues, backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. David Borges has a look at Sox reserves Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez, who have both been major league starters in their careers and are adjusting to life as backups.

Bob Halloran wonders why the Red Sox were so mean to him when he tried to interview them down in spring training. Karen Guregian looks at Kevin Millar spending some time working on his glovework at first base. Millar will be in the Sox lineup everyday at that position, and knows he has work to do on his defense. Snow’s notebook has Terry Francona already pondering his opening night lineup against Randy Johnson and the Yankees, a subject also tackled in Krasner’s notebook. Horrigan’s notebook says that Abe Alverez will get the start in the first meeting of spring training between the Red Sox and Yankees. Borges’ notebook also looks at Alverez facing New York.

Football

No Patriots articles today, but we will be on the watch for that possible contract extension for Tom Brady that Michael Felger and Tom Curran mentioned on Saturday. Yesterday Hector Longo had an NFL piece on the Bledsoe/Parcells reunion and the release of Ty Law. John Tomase had a piece on former Red Sox reliever Tom Burgmeier, who suffered a stroke similar to the one that Tedy Bruschi recently had, but came back to have a fine season for the Red Sox. I did want to address a line in Kevin Mannix’s NFL Notes yesterday that seems to encapsule the sloppiness that happens to often in sports journalism. Mannix made the following statement in yesterday’s column:

Tom Brady wasn't the starter at Michigan during his junior year because Drew Henson beat him out.

Mannix was trying to make the point that with the Cowboys, Drew Bledsoe now has as his backup, a guy who beat out the guy who beat HIM out in New England. It’s been a rather popular notion that Brady didn’t play a whole lot in college because of Henson. A BSMW reader had the following to say about the quote from Mannix:

I am so sick of this myth. Tom Brady started every game, EVERY GAME, both his junior and senior years at Michigan. He started ALL 25 GAMES OF HIS JUNIOR AND SENIOR YEARS!!!!

His junior year in which Henson supposedly "beat him out" Brady threw 350 passes for Michigan, Henson 47.

Michigan Football Stats, 1998

His senior year, Brady threw 341 passes, Henson 90. Could we please put this particular myth to bed for once? Brady was in no shape or form, "beaten out" at Michigan.

Michigan Football Stats, 1999

Yes, Michigan would occasionally bring Henson in for a series here or there, many colleges do that to get the backup some experience. BC always does it. It doesn't mean the guy who started all 25 games and threw 90% of the passes was "beaten out."

I realize Mannix is a football writer who doesn't bother to watch much football. Particularly college football. I mean, he isn't being paid to sit there for college games like he is forced to trudge down to Gillette each Sunday, so how should he know who was actually playing QB for Michigan in 98 and 99? I mean it was obviously too hard for him to look it up as I did. But regardless of the degree of difficulty for Mannix of actually getting something right, I, for one, am tired of the above myth relative to Henson-Brady and can't let it slide any longer.

Brady was the starter at Michigan. End of story.

Well put. It’s amazing how that if something is repeated long enough, it becomes fact.

BC takes on Pitt tonight

Michael Vega has a piece on Boston College senior guard Jermaine Watson. Mike Shalin looks at BC’s senior class as a group.

ESPN has Boston College/Pittsburgh at 7:00 and Oklahoma/Texas at 9:00.

This and That

(Links by Jeff@bostonsportsmedia.com)

Nothing earth shattering this morning. We have more on Ty Law’s departure and Antoine Walker’s arrival. The BC hoops team took another step toward securing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament by defeating Seton Hall yesterday and of course, the papers are filled with Red Sox stories.
Off we go.

Law Speaks

Ty Law spoke about his release for the first time yesterday with the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. This reads much like a press release, as if Carl Poston, Law’s agent, actually wrote the story. Poston, one of the most loathed agents in the NFL, also represents Terry Glenn and Lawyer Milloy. In the past, when any of Poston’s players were making controversial news, it has been Cafardo with the first story. Poston and Cafardo obviously have a relationship, with Poston knowing his guys will be handled with kid gloves.

Take a look at these two classics toward the end of Cafardo’s story:

If people hold his honesty against him, that would be a shame.

Nobody could fill a reporter's notebook faster with thoughtful and relevant material.

This is a joke, right? A day after being one of two major circulation newspapers in the country to earn the Associated Press Sports Editors “Triple Crown” for ranking in the Top 10 with their daily, Sunday and special sections, the Globe gives us this?

Please. If we held his honestly against him? This is the same guy that was caught at the Canadian border with ecstasy and tried to convince Bill Belichick and New England fans that it was his cousin’s? And he’s the same guy that promised 100 percent guaranteed that he would never play for the Patriots and/or Belichick again months before the 2004 campaign started.

Yeah, Nick, we won’t hold his honestly against him.

The second statement is so ridiculous that it really doesn’t warrant a response except that if a shameless self-promoter who routinely lies is the most-intelligent interview Cafardo has dealt with in more than 20 years covering Major League Baseball and the NFL than we feel sorry for him. We’re sure that Tom Glavine, who Cafardo wrote a book with, would be especially thrilled by that remark.

The Globe’s newest football guy, Jerome Solomon, has Bob Kraft’s thoughts on Law departing. Nothing against Solomon, but how could the Globe really bypass the ProJo’s Tom Curran in this most recent hiring. He’s been the best Patriots’ beat writer three years running and isn’t the Globe supposed to be about giving its readers the best?

Speaking of Curran, he has a story on Eric Mangini and his swift rise up the coaching ranks, while over at the Herald, Kevin Mannix checks in with his Sunday football notes.

Red Sox Stuff

On the baseball front, The Globe’s Gordon Edes has three stories for today’s viewing pleasure, including a piece on David Wells and the highly-anticipated (tongue firmly planted) spring training pitching schedule in his notebook. Edes also has his Sunday notes with a well-written opening about Barry Bonds.

Elsewhere, Steven Krasner has a look at Kevin Youkilis and the possibility of him starting the season at Pawtucket. Krasner also has a notebook looking at Curt Schilling among other subjects. Jeff Horrigan looks at new Sox utility infielder Ramon Vazquez. Horrigan also has Schilling complaining about his second bullpen session in his notebook. Tony Massarotti has his Sunday baseball notes, including a look at Nomar being Nomar at Cubs camp.

Hoops

The Eagles defeated Seton Hall, 70-58, and in the process, all but secured the Big East regular season title. Michael Vega and Mike Shalin have the game stories. Shalin also has a notebook.

As for Walker, Shira Springer has him returning as a new man, while Steve Bulpett has Walker giving the C’s more options.

Media

Scott’s Shots continues working overtime from Fort Myers with yet another submission, while Bill Griffith looks at the NFL’s television options.

Walker is in; Law is out

Antoine Walker is a Celtic again, and Ty Law is a Patriot no more. Tom Brady is also set to sign a long-term contract extension. It’s a busy Saturday morning on the Boston sports scene.

We’ll start with the Celtics. Let’s get those ratings numbers for last night’s Celtics-Jazz tilt in Salt Lake City. To the delight of FSNE, Walker’s return undoubtedly raised the eyeball count for the broadcast. Count me among the curious who tuned in specifically to see how Walker would fare in his first game back with the Celtics. As it turned out, No. 88 played well in the post and on the glass (24 points, 10 rebounds) to help his new – and old – team past the Jazz, 109-102.

The Prodigal Son Returns?

So Antoine Walker is back with the Celtics. After a sleeping on it for a night, I feel a lot better about this, excited even. I can’t wait to see how he fits into what Doc Rivers is doing. It could very well be a prodigal son situation…Antoine returns to the family, humbled after traveling abroad and thankful for what he once took for granted. The larger questions at the moment are: Is Gary Payton going to return…and what is Antoine’s future beyond this year? A busy day today and lots to go through. We’ll look at the Walker deal, the media coverage of it, get spring training updates, a Tedy Bruschi update and one or two other items.

First, Antoine. Bob Ryan is in a difficult position. He’s been a Danny Ainge backer, but he was also a noted critic of Antoine Walker the basketball player. He was happy when Ainge shipped Walker out of town a year and a half ago, but now Ainge has seemingly done a 180 and brought Walker back. Ryan can’t quite figure it out. Lenny Megliola similarly has no idea is this is a good move or not for the Celtics. Bill Reynolds says at the very least, the team will be more interesting to follow for the rest of the season. Tim Weisberg says the move was a good one for the Celtics, even if Payton doesn’t return to the club. Walker could move into a point forward role in that. (Interestingly, the original NBA “point forward” is on the Celtics sidelines in the form of assistant coach Paul Pressey) Steve Bulpett says that with this move, the Celtics have sent the message that they’re looking to not only make the playoffs, but make some noise there as well.

Mark Murphy gets some quotes from Antoine, who is excited to be coming back, but hopes that this is not just a two month stay. Shira Springer also has the quotes, as well as an extensive look at the trade and what it means for the Celtics. She brings up the issues of uniform number – brought up by a couple others as well – apparently unaware that the NBA does not allow in-season uniform number changes, as stated by Ainge on WEEI this morning. Gabe Kahn has a look at his reactions on hearing the trade and Ainge’s press conference on it. Michael Gee (subscription only) does not understand the move, calling it “a case study of the devastating effects of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.” Christopher Price is glad to have Antoine back with the Celtics because he is someone who appreciates what it means to play for the Celtics. Carolyn Thornton also has coverage of the trade. The Celtics made another trade yesterday, shipping Jiri Welsch to Cleveland in exchange for a 2007 first round draft pick. Murphy also reports on the intriguing possibility that Payton could be returning to the Celtics after being waived by the Hawks. This would make the trade a slam dunk for Ainge.

Update – (2:00 PM) What’s the real deal with uniform numbers and the NBA? It might be that rookies can change their number. It’s happening in Philly with Chris Webber taking # 4 from rookie Andre Iguodala.

The coverage of the trade yesterday was dominated by WWZN. Yes, I realize that WEEI doesn’t care about the Celtics. (Even though they run that blurb “The 50,000 watt home of Boston Celtics Basketball…talk”) With Glenn Ordway not in the Big Chair yesterday to lend even a hint of basketball (and Antoine Walker) knowledge to the discussion, Celtics fans were left frustrated at the level of discussion on the program. The station did not even report the news until about 45 minutes after WWZN first had it. (Update – A WEEI offical tells me the difference was only 20 minutes) Pete Sheppard was hosting, along with Steve DeOssie and Steve Burton. It says something when DeOssie was arguably the one who knew the most about the Celtics and could talk at least a little bit about them. Burton, as usual, played the role of the empty vest. The fact that it was the NBA trade deadline day and they couldn’t schedule one co-host who knew at least a little basketball to work that day, shows how little the station cares about being a complete sports station. Come to think of it, who on the station really knows anything about the NBA? Michael Holley immediately becomes the leader in that clubhouse. Ordway still goes by how things were in the 1980′s.

On the other hand, Ryen Russillo broke the news on WWZN right around the 3:00 deadline, and the rest of the afternoon was dedicated to the topic, even bringing on guests to discuss the move, such as Bill Simmons from ESPN.com and Tim Weisberg from the New Bedford Standard-Times. Simmons was able to explain a lot of the reasoning behind the trade, and asserted that his gut told him that Payton would be returning, as it just didn’t make sense for Ainge to be making a playoff push with Walker, yet be throwing two young point guards into the fire at the same time. He also told us a lot about meeting the janitor from The Breakfast Club. Weisberg said that Mark Blount would likely be the one to lose minutes as a result of this trade. (Ainge on WEEI this morning said it might be Perkins that would lose minutes – he’s not as down on Blount as many people are.) They also discussed the number issue – stating that the NBA doesn’t allow in-season number changes. They discussed how the move consolidated three expiring contracts (Payton, Stewart and Gugliotta) into one (Walker) for this coming offseason. Russillo also quickly discussed the idea of Payton being released by the Hawks and being re-signed, an idea shouted down by Pete Sheppard when a caller brought it up on WEEI. Steve Burton insisted that Payton could report to Atlanta, because everybody said he wouldn’t report here and yet he did. A little different situation, Steve.

Curt takes the mound

Curt Schilling threw off a mound for the first time since game two of the World Series yesterday and said he felt no pain in the ankle, however Jeff Horrigan and David Borges report that Schilling was dissatisfied with how “sluggish” his arm felt throwing the ball for the first time. David Heuschkel also reports on the session, noting how Schilling was “expecting a lot more” out himself. Steven Krasner also looks at Schilling’s self-proclaimed “disappointing” outing. Karen Guregian says that Schilling seemed to give some people a false alarm with his reaction to his throwing session as he limped off, shaking his head.

Dan Shaughnessy gives us random thoughts on Spring Training thus far, touching on topics such as Pedro Martinez, Barry Bonds, the Ghost of Nomar, and Hunter S Thompson. He bravely says that the best thing about spring training thus far is that people aren’t walking around saying “Is this the year?” Gerry Callahan (subscription only) tells us that David Wells is a good replacement for Pedro Martinez…in attitude and mannerisms. It’s been amusing/frustrating this week hearing Dennis & Callahan trash people…Jim Rice, Kevin Millar and Wells to name a few and then be all nice and complimentary to them on the air. Yesterday John Dennis said very vehemently how Wells was such a “sour” person and that he put new meaning into the phrase “bitches and catchers” reporting. Yet today, Wells was on the program and they were as nice as can be to him, buddying up with him, talking about his hunting lodge in Michigan and other niceties.

David Scott files installment two of the BSMW spring training caravan. Jeff Jacobs and Nick Taveres look at Barry Bonds comments earlier this week, with Jacobs calling the session an “HBO comedy special”. Michael Gee has an article on how the Red Sox and Yankees being in the same division is boring for baseball and the other teams in the division. Horrigan’s notebook reveals that even guys like Abe Alverez and Brandon Puffer are going to be getting World Series rings from the Red Sox. Chris Snow’s notebook looks at Schilling’s mound session. Krasner’s notebook reports on Keith Foulke and Wade Miller’s long toss sessions. Borges’ notebook has the last Red Sox captain, Jim Rice, endorsing the captaincy of Jason Varitek.

Things looking up for Tedy?

Michael Felger says reports are encouraging on Tedy Bruschi, who is expected to conduct some interviews sometime next week. He also reports on what the Patriots might be doing at the combine. I think today’s piece is an example of what Felger brings to the table. He gets stories. He misses on some, but all reporters do. He’s consistently got stuff however, that most of the others don’t. Jerome Solomon reports on Maurice Clarett at the combine for the Globe. It appears that Solomon might’ve inherited Nick Cafardo’s Rolodex as Tom Donahoe and Mike Mularkey are quoted throughout the piece.

BC Angry

Make Shalin reports on the BC Eagles feeling the sting of the loss to Villanova, while Michael Vega says the team is still in excellent shape to wrap up the Big East regular season title and top seed.

Media/Tonight

Jim Baker looks at College basketball taking over the airwaves. Bill Griffith looks at the possible acquisition of FSN New England by Comcast and what that could mean for programming. Andrew Neff takes a look at the spring training TV schedule for the Red Sox.

FSN has Celtics/Jazz at 9:00 (Ainge said that he hopes to have Walker in uniform for tonight) ESPN has Cavs/Pacers at 8:00 and Pistons/Lakers at 10:30.

‘Toine back in town

Ryen Russillo of 1510 the Zone first reported locally that Antoine Walker is back with the Celtics in a trade for Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta and Michael Stewart. Russillo has become the Celtics insider in the Boston media, as no one has broken as many stories about the team as he has the last couple years.

It was also reported at 3:18 in an ESPN Insider chat. It’s now also on the homepage of ESPN.com, along with a short report. The Herald has the story as well, with Steve Bulpett, who also says that the Celtics will surrender the “lesser of their first round picks this season”. Boston.com finally has an update as well, with Shira Springer saying that the Celtics are “in the process of reaquiring Walker”.

While I was a big Antoine fan while he was here before, I was initially pretty shocked and baffled by this move. Gary Payton can’t be happy about going to the Hawks, either. There’s some speculation that Payton will simply not report to the Hawks, be cut by them and then be free to sign with a Western contender. (or as a very remote possibility, back here in Boston) WWZN is now also reporting that Payton is expected to be released by the Hawks.

It will be interesting to see how Walker plays under Doc Rivers and not Jim O’Brien. I think he can bring some leadership to the team, and will take the heat…something that he always did willingly during his tenure here, but where does he fit? Is it just a rental through this season? Does Ainge have a free agent target for the offseason?

Has anyone checked on Bob Ryan?

Rough night on the road

It was a rough night on the hardwood for the locals last night, as both the Celtics and Boston College fell on the road. Also on tap are a couple Mark Bellhorn articles, reports on the Opening day ring ceremony, a note from Howard Bryant, and some interesting speculation on the Patriots from Michael Felger.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett bring us the reports of the Celtics getting routed in Denver by the Nuggets. The trade deadline is at 3:00 PM this afternoon, and according the Bulpett’s notebook, it doesn’t look like Gary Payton is going anywhere, in fact, he cites a league source that says Payton and the Celtics are talking about a new contract. He does say though that Jeri Welsch is a strong candidate to be traded today. Tim Weisberg has an article on possible moves involving the Celtics today. Springer’s notebook has Danny Ainge saying that there is “nothing going on” in regards to the trade front. An excellent resource for tracking the Celtics trades and rumored trades today is the Celtics Blog.

BC Falls

Michael Vega and Mike Shalin have the details of BC’s 76-70 loss at Villanova last night, only the second of the season for the #3 ranked Eagles. Ted Sarandis was going nuts over the officiating last night on his broadcast, and the home town calls for Villanova is the subject of Shalin’s notebook, in which Craig Smith muses over the favorable officiating received by the Wildcats.

Red Sox ringing in the new season

David Scott is once again providing a Spring Training caravan (still looking for sponsors) for BSMW. Today is the first entry in the series as he hits Florida running in anticipation of today’s visit to the Nationals training site.

Jeff Horrigan and Chris Snow each have articles on Mark Bellhorn this morning, as the Red Sox second baseman is looking to put together productive back-to-back seasons, something that has eluded the extremely quiet Bellhorn for a number of years now. Dan Shaughnessy tells us the tale of a Red Sox film that will never be seen by the public…Mike Timlin’s “The New Red Sox Movie”, shot by Timlin during the playoffs last year and then sent to a professional videomaker for touching up. Timlin sent a copy to all his teammates, members of the front office and clubhouse personnel. Karen Guregian has a short look at reserve outfielder Jay Payton.

Yes, the rabid dogs can be called off…the Red Sox will receive their World Series rings during a ceremony on Opening Day. David Heuschkel reports on the decision and also has reaction from George Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter. David Borges also looks at the planned celebration, which is planned to happen in a “triple crown” fashion. Steven Krasner and Karen Guregian have more on the plans. Snow’s notebook also mentions the event as does Horrigan’s notebook. Krasner’s notebook looks at the Red Sox…including Pedro Martinez…being invited to the White House on March 2. Borges’ notebook also reports on the invitation.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) examines how the Blue Jays, Orioles and Devil Rays can possibly hope to compete while in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. Their payrolls are 50 million, 48 million and 26 million respectively. The Yankees will spend over 200 million, while the Red Sox will spend 135 million. Speaking of Bryant, I had wondered out loud yesterday about his reference to Gary Sheffield as a “cool cat”. Bryant sent me an email last night and with his permission it is reprinted here:

----- Original Message -----
From: Howard Bryant
To: Bruce Allen
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 7:02 PM
Subject: Cool cats

Hi Bruce,

I've been alerted that you wondered aloud about my calling Gary Sheffield one of the "coolest cats around." I took a look on the site and saw the reference. My response is very simple:

He is.

Sheffield is totally unvarished. Never off the record, sometimes contradictory, but always interesting. He does not shy away from uncomfortable topics and will tell you that you're full of sh*t, if indeed you are. He's not a polished pol like Alex Rodriguez, whose image is so carefully cultivated that you don't really know if he knows himself. Nor is he like Nomar Garciaparra, who has strong opinions and could be a very interesting person but whose quirks and suspicions (and hatred of my profession) are so strong that he will never let you see him.

There are others, guys who "get it" in a lot of ways. They make the job easier; you can talk to them about everything, instead of standing in the middle of the room with the other hacks. They give you insight about the life and have, unimpeachable style.

My cool cat list is short, but I will defend it:

Gary Sheffield
David Ortiz
Jason Giambi
Dmitri Young (the only one on the list I never covered)
Robin Ventura
Frank Menechino
Pokey Reese
Barry Zito
Ellis Burks
Tony Phillips (Sorry, he belongs on the Krazy Kat list)
Rondell White
Orlando Hernandez

They all get that designation from me. The problem is that three of those guys have already retired.

Feel free to publish my response.

HB

It wasn’t a big deal, but I appreciate the response. I guess I was just wondering what image is being presented when a guy who has admitted to using steroids, (though he claims is was unknowing use) is being called one of the “coolest cats around”. I understand what Bryant was trying to say here, I guess I’m just uncomfortable with the word “cool” being associated in any context with a steroid user. That doesn’t take into consideration the admission from Sheffield that he was deliberately making errors in an effort to get himself traded from the early 1990′s Brewers.

BB as OC of the NEP?

Michael Felger reports on the Patriots hiring a couple assistant coaches and releasing four players yesterday. Joel Collier was hired as assistant secondary coach, and you might recall as pointed out by Felger that he was promoted to be the Dolphins offensive coordinator last year, but quickly stepped down from that position. He served as the Dolphins running backs coach, but had also coached on the defensive side of the ball for his first four season in Miami. He had also coached on the Patriots under Dick MacPherson. Here is an article on Collier from last year on the NFLHS website. Felger also speculates that the Patriots may not name an offensive coordinator at all, instead perhaps choosing to spread out the duties among several members of the staff. Michael Parente and Tom E Curran also have reports on the moves. Nothing from the Globe.

Misc

Bill Reynolds has a piece on Jimmy Walker, who was passed last night by Ryan Gomes as Providence College’s all time leading scorer. Jackie MacMullan has a feature on Boston College women’s basketball player Jessalyn Deveny, who was the team’s captain and top scorer, but who suffered a torn right Achilles’ which ended her college career.

Media/Tonight

Bill Griffith, Lenny Megliola and Dean Johnson all have reports on WEEI announcing the hiring of Michael Holley to co-host alongside Dale Arnold the 10-2 “Dale & Holley” show, which will begin March 1st. John Molori’s Media Blitz has Steve DeOssie weighing in on the steroid issue.

TNT has Sixers/Knicks at 7:00 and Kings/Mavs at 9:30. ESPN2 has Marquette/Cincinnati at 9:00 and Gonzaga/Portland at 11:00. NESN has the replay of World Series Game 3 Red Sox/Cardinals.

ESPN News Blunder

Apparently ESPN News was caught in a reporting blunder of major proportions this afternoon as they reported that Shaquille O’Neal would miss the rest of the season due to the knee injury he suffered last night. They cited a Miami Herald report as the source.

Apparently it was a hoax. A fake article was posted on a site made to look very much like the real newspaper website. The fake article started out:

It's tough to see a player go down with a season ending (and possibly career ending) injury. That's what Heat fans had to endure while watching a game against the Chicago Bulls. In the opening minutes of Tuesdays contest, Shaquille O'Neal went crashing to the floor and immediately grabbed his left knee.

The page has since been taken down and a retraction issued by ESPN News. The website imitated closely the path of the Herald webpage, the difference being the “dolem” in the domain URL.

The URL (Since broken) of the hoax:

http://miami.dolem.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/10968685.htm

The URL of a real Miami Herald story on Shaq’s injury.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/10968680.htm

Fox Sports quickly had a bit up on their website, calling the ESPN News report “a bit premature”

Dang that internet. How are people supposed to know what is real and what isn’t?

Pats hire two coaches

(from team release)
The New England Patriots hired two coaches today, appointing Joel Collier to the position of assistant secondary coach and naming Harold Nash the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Additionally, the Patriots released defensive back Earthwind Moreland, defensive lineman Buck Rasmussen, guard Wilbert Brown and tight end Zeron Flemister.

The Dale & Holley Show

It’s official now. On a 9:00 am conference call, Jason Wolfe, WEEI Director of Programming and Operations, announced that Michael Holley will be the new co-host of the 10-2 midday show alongside Dale Arnold. Effective March 1st. They have agreed on a multi-year contract. Holley said that he is: “Very happy to be joining WEEI and the Dale & Holley program” noting that he’s sure to give Dale top billing. “Not going to a show that needs a tremendous amount of help, the show was number one before I got here and hopefully I won’t mess it up too much. Going to be a great program, Dale is great at leading the ship. He never seems flustered on the air.”

Dale said that he had a great time working with Neumy, he was humbled and honored by the names that wanted to replace him. Michael was at the top of the list. Feel that the the station has “debunked a myth about sports radio” in this town, the myth that people only listen when they want to be miserable or complain. Since the championships, they’re getting “goofy golf” numbers.

Jason Wolfe: Holley was at the top of the list from the start. Brings great credibility, name recognition.

Dean Johnson (Boston Herald) asked Holley what about radio appeals to him: “I like Boston. When I went to Chicago briefly in 2001 as soon as I got there, I realized I didn’t want to write about talk about sports in that market. I love talking to the Boston fans. Out of all the mediums, newspaper, TV you don’t know who you’re talking to, on radio you can talk directly to people. Just love sitting around and talking about sports.”

He added that this is not a reclamation project here. He doesn’t want to take the show in a different direction. The show will just naturally be different because his personality is different from Neumy.

Dale said that “Jason has never tried to steer anyone in the direction they should do their show.” Michael brings a comfort level to his (Dale’s) type of conversation. Holley added that Dale doesn’t do the trumped up sports talk where each side takes a opinion and they make a show out of it. He doesn’t like that type of radio.

Background on Holley – he is 34 years old, grew up in Akron Ohio, (Same as Lebron James) started at the Akron Beacon Journal 1992. Moved to the Boston Globe in 1994, covered Celtics for 3 1/2 years. He started writing columns in 1998, left briefly for Chicago in 2001, returned back to the Globe, left again in 2004. His last column for them was covering Bruins/Canadiens game 7.

Arnold on show prep: A lot the night before, watching TV, then come in and go through the papers, go to sportspages.com. Tries not to do the show between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning, better when it’s spontaneous.

How important was it to add a person of color: Wolfe – not at all, just wanted the best person, it has nothing to do with it. Now that he’s here all it means is that the station continues its practice of hiring the best person. Never crossed his mind that he was a person of color.

On the naming of the show: Dale and Holley has a bit of an easier flow than Dale and Michael. The idea behind names of shows is to just make it easier to remember. (And for ratings people to put into their diaries)

Like to add a Dale and Holley element that’s unique to the show.

Bill Griffith asked a side question: Is there a new contract in place for Pete Sheppard? (pause) Wolfe: This is all about Michael Holley.

Onto the links:

The Celtics led for most of the night in Los Angeles, but faltered down the stretch and fell to the Lakers 104-95. Shira Springer has the game story of the loss, which pushed the Celtics back down to the .500 mark. Last night was the first time Gary Payton played against the Lakers since being traded to the Celtics last summer. Steve Bulpett has a piece on Payton’s thoughts on the return. Springer’s notebook looks at former Celtic Chris Mihm, who is fitting in quite well in LA. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce expressing disappointment in Kobe Bryant for telling tales out of school.

Manny Ramirez is the topic of the day from Spring Training. (Sorry, it’s CVS Spring Training now) Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox slugger, who has found a comfort zone in Boston – something many thought impossible. Steven Krasner looks at Manny’s media session and some things he found out about his swing in the offseason. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox new Mr. Congeniality. Dan Shaughnessy also files a piece on the happy Ramirez. David Borges looks at the transformation of Manny from “Howard Hughes to Howard Stern”. Karen Guregian also has a piece on the “New” Ramirez. He was also a guest on Dennis & Callahan this morning, and was every bit his carefree, likable self.

Chris Snow has a look at the Red Sox first full squad workout of the spring, in front of a couple thousand fans. Jonathan Comey isn’t a big fan of how the Red Sox have conducted themselves since winning the World Series. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on the woman who handles the Fenway Park switchboard during games and some of the crazy calls she gets. John Tomase has a look at Red Sox prospect Brandon Moss, an outfielder who had a monster season in “A” ball last year. Karen Guregian looks at Bill Mueller, who is working to get back from knee surgery as soon as possible. Gordon Edes talks with former Red Sox team doctor Bill Morgan about the issue of steroids in baseball. Morgan says that there was no evidence of steroid use among Red Sox players during his time here. He realizes that Canseco was using while here, but didn’t see it. Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a column on the Yankees trying to forget about the Red Sox and focus on their own team and success. One note – Howard…what’s up with calling Gary Sheffield “one of the most outspoken and coolest cats” around? Snow’s notebook has Mueller ahead of schedule in his rehab. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the ongoing issue of the Rings. Krasner’s notebook has more on Mueller. Borges’ notebook has Mueller and Johnny Damon hoping to sign new deals with the Red Sox.

As expected, the Patriots slapped the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri yesterday, the second time they have done it to the kicker in his career. New Globe Patriots beat writer Jerome Solomon reports on the move. Michael Felger also reports on the move and has a number of other Patriots notes. Tom E Curran has more, and gets into the contract status of Ty Law and Tom Brady a little bit as well.

FSN has Celtics/Nuggets at 9:00. ESPN has Providence/Seton Hall at 7:00 and Rockets/Spurs at 9:00. ESPN2 has Duke/Georgia Tech at 7:00 and Boston College/Villanova at 9:00.

Big Papi is in the house

I realize that my updates have been appearing later and later in the morning. I’m attempting to put more into them in the way of commentary and thoughts in addition to all of the links I can find. It’s a balance that I’m still striving to perfect here, so I appreciate your patience. I’m trying to make it worth your while.

Spring Training is upon us in full force, and one way to tell is the articles on the one or two players who have media sessions that day. Today the targets are David Ortiz and Johnny Damon. For Ortiz, (Who was also a guest of Dennis & Callahan this morning) arrival in camp after a winter of being lauded as the new Mr October is no doubt a relief. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at the new “Senor Octubre”. Jeff Horrigan also has a look at the slugger, who now finds himself having to handle sobbing teenage girls, thrilled at the chance to meet “Big Papi”. Steven Krasner looks at how postseason hero Ortiz has proclaimed that Curt Schilling is his own personal hero for his work in the postseason while “bleeding to death”. David Heuschkel examines the glow which surrounds Ortiz and the warmth he brings to the clubhouse and fans. David Borges writes that Ortiz hopes to even surpass the outstanding numbers he’s posted the last two seasons for the Red Sox. Most of these articles all contain the same quotes, it’s difficult to come up with original material when the players are meeting the media as a group. Each one does attempt to take a little different approach in the quotes they focus on and use, but for the most part, the pieces are all very similar.

The other player getting his day in the spotlight was Johnny Damon. Chris Snow has the most detailed look at the lead “idiot” in the Red Sox run to the championship. Snow has had a pretty good early run as the new Red Sox beat writer for the Globe. He had some controversy at his last job in Minnesota, but looks to be a solid addition to Joe Sullivan’s sports department, which is in the middle of a minor makeover. Karen Guregian also looks at the arrival of Damon, who said that he hopes to remain in Boston for the rest of his career. He is currently entering the last year of his contract. Steven Krasner says that Damon is still the same “idiot” we all have come to know and love. Heuschkel’s notebook has Damon stepping up to take his swings at A-Rod. Borges’ notebook also covers the arrival of Damon, who proclaimed that the offseason had fewer “drunken nights” as there were following the 2003 season.

Gordon Edes has an interesting article on Randy Johnson, where he has the Big Unit speaking about his relationship with Curt Schilling, the expectations upon him in New York, and also that he is happy for Boston that the Red Sox won the World Series. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that Pedro Martinez wouldn’t have been a good fit with these new Red Sox, and that camp is much quieter, pleasant and serene without he and Nomar. Karen Guregian has Trot Nixon tempering his “clown” comments about A-Rod ever so slightly. Steven Krasner catches up with some Red Sox fans enjoying the 80 degree weather in Florida while the rest of us were in the snowstorm. Krasner’s notebook has more on Nixon somewhat backing down on his A-Rod comments. Horrigan’s notebook has Tom Werner hoping that the World Series rings will be distributed at the home opener. Snow’s notebook has Werner talking briefly about the possibility of a new contract for Theo Epstein, whose deal runs through this season.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) has a look at Jason Giambi trying to play the “good guy” role now, to win back the support of the fans. By telling the truth about his use of steroids, Giambi may “possess an odd kind of honor” according to Bryant. What I find amusing is the contrast in the NY media’s treatment of Giambi and Gary Sheffield. Giambi took massive amounts of well deserved heat for his admission of using steroids. However he did not produce on the field last season. Gary Sheffield has also admitted the use of illegal substances, but had a great season at the plate last year. Giambi gets killed in the media, Sheffield escapes almost all criticism.

Murray Chass in the NY Times (free registration required – or use bugmenot) takes a look at the perception that the Red Sox players are taking shots at A-Rod and the Yankees on a daily basis. He says

Athletes have long accused reporters of creating stories, and, sadly, this is one of those instances. It has become one of the most distasteful instances I have witnessed in 45 years of covering baseball.

He out lines numerous cases where what the players themselves said was fairly innocuous, but was taken and promoted as a rip. A must-read.

Celtics hit the coast

Steve Bulpett outlines seven requirements for the Celtics to be successful in the second half of the season and even make some noise in the Eastern conference playoffs. Mike Fine looks at the Celtics mini-trip west this week. Shira Springer has Gary Payton taking things day-by-day this week as the trade deadline approaches on Thursday. Bulpett also has a piece on the waiting game for Payton.

Franchise tag for Adam?

Michael Felger reports that the Patriots could slap the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri by today’s 4:00 PM deadline. Eric McHugh looks at some of the difficult decisions facing the Patriots in the approaching free agent period. Lenny Megliola talks with Doug Flutie, who is still under contract to the Chargers, but perhaps hoping for a better situation in the NFL somewhere.

NASCAR fans are out there

It’s easy to say that no one in New England is interested in NASCAR, the TV numbers say otherwise. Bill Griffith looks at the numbers for the Daytona 500, which drew an 8.6 in the Boston market. He looks at the highs and lows of the broadcast. I think it would be more accurate to say that Red Sox and Patriots fans (who make up most of WEEI’s listeners) are not in addition NASCAR fans. Many people who watch NASCAR do not listen to sports radio thus making their voice silent in the mainstream sports media. There are plenty of people in this region who are big fans of the sport. I’m not one of them, but my Dad and sister are. They watch the races each weekend, know all the drivers, watch the recap shows on SPEED network during the week, yet they don’t watch a single Red Sox or Patriots game. They’re not alone. Continuing the theme, Michael Vega looks at Jeff Gordon’s win on Sunday and Shawn Courchesne has a look at Gordon making an appearance at the ESPN studios in Bristol.

Miracle on ice, 25 years later

Steve Conroy and Jim Fennell relive the miracle on ice of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team, which is having its 25th anniversary this week. Joe Sullivan of the Union Leader reviews Wayne Coffey’s book “The boys of winter” which is about that gold medal winning squad. Jon Couture says that hockey is alive without the NHL.

Media & Tonight

The Boston Radio Watch website had a number of interesting items in its column from Friday. They mention the sale of Sporting News Radio getting held up, and have more on the rumors of a possible FM challenger to WEEI in the Boston market.

FSN has Celtics/Lakers at 10:30. (I think this will also be shown on NBA TV in HD) ESPN has Purdue/Indiana at 7:00 and Alabama/LSU at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas/Texas Tech at 9:00.

40 More Days

(Monday links by Jeff@bostonsportsmedia.com)

In one of the most exciting Daytona 500 finishes ever, Jeff Gordon … just kidding, no one cares. At least most New Englanders don’t. For those who do, Michael Vega was there for the Globe. Just to let you know how important NASCAR is around these parts, the Herald didn’t even send anyone. Nor did the Hartford Courant or the Providence Journal. That says it all.

Not quite sure what Red Sox beat writers are going to write for the 40 days between today and Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The Alex Rodriguez bashing has to get old sooner rather than later, right? Kevin Millar made his debut at camp yesterday, some 15-20 pounds heavier than last year, and in between taking shots at A-Rod, discussed the Jack Daniels controversy with Dan Shaughnessy. The Courant’s David Heuschkel has a trio of Sox bashing A-Rod, while Steven Krasner has more with Millar. Krasner also has a notebook looking at the Sox bullpen.

Gordon Edes spent the day with his old friend, A-Rod, at Yankees camp in Tampa. Don Amore was also there.

The Herald’s beat man Jeff Horrigan has a feature on veteran reliever Mike Timlin, while colleague Karen Guregian has more on the trash talk.

Chris Snow has the day’s best feature, a look at Sox hopeful George Lombard.

Really not much else. Shira Springer has the NBA All-Star Game, with Allen Iverson winning the game’s MVP. And Peter King has lots on Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots in his Monday Morning Quarterback.