Peter May’s Flip Flop

Can a journalist feel strongly about something one day, and then a few days later write about the very same thing in an entirely different light due to personal prejudices? Apparently so.

On Monday, Peter May wrote a glowing article about high school prospect Gerald Green, whom he painted as a can’t miss prospect, and one of the top talents in the draft. Today, two days after the Boston Celtics selected that very same Gerald Green, May is posturing that the selection was a blunder and not what the Celtics should have done at all.

(Thanks to Jeff for extracting these comparisons)

May on Monday (pre-draft):

This high school class is not judged by NBA personnel people to be as deep as last year’s, from which eight prepsters were taken in the first 19 picks, the Celtics’ Al Jefferson among them. But there is little doubt that Green, a 6-foot-8-inch, out-of-the-gym leaper, is the cream of this crop. He could go as high as No. 3 — the Lakers, who own pick No. 10, lust after him and are trying to trade up — and should fall no lower than eighth under even the most bizarre draft night scenarios.

May on Thursday (post-draft):

Here’s my take on Gerald Green: He may be the next Tracy McGrady — although Chris Wallace thinks he’s closer to Rashard Lewis — but the last thing the Celtics needed in this draft was a high school kid. That’s three in three years since Danny Ainge took over, and while everyone has Al Jefferson penciled in for Springfield, remember that he didn’t even play 15 minutes a game last season.

How can a player that May himself said should go as high as 3rd and no lower than 8th in the draft, be “the last thing the Celtics needed”? How can that be?

May on Monday:

In one 72-hour stretch, he worked out for the Jazz, the Trail Blazers, and the Raptors. He also has worked out for the Hornets, Knicks, and Bobcats, and the reaction appears to be universal: Wow! “He’s by far the best athlete we’ve had in here,” said Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff. “And he’s an athlete with skills.” New Orleans coach Byron Scott gushed, “athleticism-wise, he’s off the charts.” Celtics personnel director Leo Papile said, simply, “He’s one of those young super men, able to leap tall buildings.”

May on Thursday:

The sexy upside always seems to prevail in these circumstances, and he could be a really good player in a few years. What’s unfathomable is all the other teams passed on him — and why. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was enthralled by the kid. No dice. The Raptors, who desperately need athleticism (see Rose, Jalen), passed on him twice. And they’re not exactly on the cusp of a title.

So Monday, May had no problem telling us the gushing that NBA people were doing on the physical gifts in Green. In fact, it’s a universal WOW. Now, today, with Green property of the Celtics, the enthusiasm is tempered considerably. His comment about the “sexy upside” seems almost sarcastic, and seems to hint that there MUST be a hidden downside reason why all these teams passed on him.

May on Monday:

At the Reebok ABCD Camp, he collected MVP honors. He also was playing AAU ball by then for the Houston Elite. Then he went back to Gulf Shores as a fifth-year high schooler (he’ll turn 20 Jan. 26) and averaged 33 points a game. He was a McDonald’s All-Star Game MVP, winning the event’s Slam Dunk title as well, and had a stellar performance in the Roundball Classic.

May on Thursday:

It’s impossible to understate the need for grown-ups on this team. With the drafting of Green, the Celtics are, well, incredibly green. They have nine players on their roster with no more than two years’ experience. (That includes both second-round picks from Tuesday’s draft.) You can promise excitement with youth. You can promise entertainment with youth. You can promise direction and, well, promise with youth. But in the NBA, you need more than that if you actually want to, you know, win. If that wasn’t the case, the Clippers would have won about eight NBA titles by now. The Clippers (and the Hawks before them) were always the best NBA team in warmups. But when the game started, it was clueless chaos.

Monday May was reciting the accomplishments of this young player at his age. Thursday, Green is not a grown up, and the Celtics are compared to the Clippers, the implication being that with all these young players, the Celtics are going to be nothing more than “clueless chaos” on the floor this season. That’s the message, right? Why else make that comparison?

However, IN THIS SAME ARTICLE, May suggests some trades of Paul Pierce, deals that he says are good because they will give the Celtics more draft picks! I thought the team was too young? Needed experienced veterans? Trade your best veteran and get some fluff and some picks…right. Makes sense to me.

May on Monday:

Green’s game has been compared to that of Tracy McGrady, himself a high schooler who went directly to the NBA and developed into an All-Star. Wallace sees Green more along the lines of another Houston area prep-to-pro player.
“He’s more in the Rashard Lewis mode,” Wallace said. “Gerald is more explosive and quick than Tracy was. But Tracy was more gifted at that age and had more of an upside. [Green] is not Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or TMac. But he’s very, very intriguing.”

May on Thursday:

The Celtics have a chance to be decent, but the arrival of Gerald Green isn’t going to make any serious fan clear out vacation time next May and June for a deep run in the playoffs. They need to reconfigure and they need to do it before they all report to training camp in October.

May is acting here like there is a need and urgency around this area that the Celtics need to win NOW. The slant seems to be that fans are not intelligent enough to recognize that this talent is going to need time to mature, and could very well pay HUGE dividends in the future.

We also see clearly from this contrast that May has allowed his dislike for Danny Ainge and the Celtics organization to cloud his writing to the point that he could almost completely change his view on something in the course of three days. He’s clearly an eager student at the Ron Borges Institute of Journalism, (Classes held on Morrissey Blvd) where personal agendas come ahead of any sort of credibility.

Back in the “W” column

Pretty much just two groups of stories today – coverage of the Red Sox beating the Indians yesterday afternoon and articles on the Celtics draft picks and the future of the franchise.

Nick Cafardo says that all the Red Sox wanted yesterday was a routine game with no late inning relief pitching dramatics. They got their wish, as Tim Wakefield, Doug Mirabelli and company salvaged the last game of the three game series with a 5-2 victory over the Indians. Jeff Horrigan looks at Wakefield playing the role of the stopper in the win. Sean McAdam examines how Wakefield was able to thrive in the muggy soup that was Fenway Park yesterday. Jeff Goldberg looks at Wakefield’s start and Mike Timlin’s finish to the game yesterday. David Borges says that Wakefield and Mirabelli are back in their comfort zone.

A major topic of conversation around the team continues to be the bullpen, and specifically Keith Foulke. Alex Speier looks at the situation and notes that sticking with Foulke is really the only option Terry Francona has at this point. Howard Bryant (subscription only) leads off his Boston Uncommon column today with a look at Foulke and how his fastball is down so much that it has cause there to be almost no difference between it and his changeup. He’s also not getting ahead of batters as he was last year. Bryant also looks at the NBA’s future, which is looking up. Tony Massarotti wonders if Bronson Arroyo could step into that role and provide a respite for Foulke, but notes that in the long run, Foulke will be the closer for this team. Horrigan looks at Francona turning to Mike Timlin to finish out yesterday afternoon’s game. Kelsie Smith looks at Matt Mantei, who struggled initially in his outing yesterday, but explained that by saying he was trying some new mechanics.

Damian Vega looks at Tim Wakefield settling into a comfort one on the mound, where he is 3-0 in his last three starts. Ron Indrisano also has a look at the knuckleballer finding his groove. Steve Conroy looks at his battery mate, Doug Mirabelli, who has also been hot as of late. Michael Silverman has a look at former ace Pedro Martinez, who has finally moved on and has no bitterness towards the Red Sox. He is very clear to Silverman as to what he misses and what he does not miss about Boston:

"Fenway is different, without a doubt, it is different. Tradition, the history of the team, it's different. And I miss a lot of that but I don't miss the media - at all; don't miss the talk (radio) programs that they have on WEEI. Don't miss any of the negativity that was around there. Pretty much all the negatives that everybody sees, I don't miss. Everything else, you can say I miss."

He goes on to mention specifics that he misses, which include the fans, his ex-teammates (he has baseball cards of Manny and Ortiz in his Mets lockers) and other things around Boston.

Curt Schilling made his first rehab start for Pawtucket last night, and looked pretty sharp in the five innings he worked. Cliff Mehrtens has the account of the game for the Globe. Jay Edwards has Schilling feeling good after his outing and appreciative of the Red Sox fans that showed up to support him. Dave Sherwood also reports on Schilling’s start, and notes that the righthander “felt phenomenal” during the game, saying it was the first good game he’s pitched in seven months.

David Pevear and John Tomase have articles on Indians (and former Red Sox) reliever Scott Sauerbeck and how his time here in Boston back in 2003 was not pleasant for he or his family. Pevear’s article deals mostly with how Sauerbeck and his family were treated by the fans, while Tomase examines Sauerbeck’s hatred (doesn’t seem to be too strong of a word) for Red Sox trainer Chris Correnti. Massarotti has Trot Nixon enjoying the hot weather. Conroy looks at John Olerud reaching a milestone with his 1200th career RBI.

Borges’ notebook looks at how John Olerud is making the most of the opportunities that he has. McAdam’s notebook says that things will remain as they have been in the bullpen for the time being at least. Goldberg’s notebook looks at Mirabelli doing his job, both at the plate and behind it. Cafardo’s notebook says that Francona is sticking with Foulke.

Gerald Green and Wayne Gomes meet the press. (Photo from Celtics.com)

The newest Celtics met the press yesterday. Shira Springer looks at Green’s commitment to education as well as the education that he is going to receive in his first season in the league as he is taught by Doc Rivers and the rest of the Celtics coaching staff. Mark Murphy looks at Gerald Green going from being cut from his high school team to being drafted in the NBA out of high school. Carolyn Thornton says one thing is very clear about Green, he is extremely persistent. Lenny Megliola says that Green’s hard work on his game paid off with his selection by the Celtics in the first round. Michael Muldoon says that the Celtics just could not pass up on Green.

Tim Weisberg wonders if Green might provide a bit of good karma for a franchise that has been in need of it for years. Consider that not only is his last name the same as a nickname often given to the Celtics as a team, but that he was born in 1986, the year of their last title and the year in which their spiral downward began with the death of Len Bias. Bias dies in 1986, Gerald Green is born in 1986. Ok. I won’t go too far with this. It’s a very good piece by Weisberg, however. Gabe Kahn says that yesterday was a sunny day in Celtics nation.

Peter May, ever the contrarian, says that the last thing the Celtics needed was another high school player. He speculates if the selection will expedite the exit of Paul Pierce from Boston, even playing GM himself and suggesting a couple trades. He does manage to leave out any references to Tony Parker, which is a relief. On the NESN page you can see video of May explaining why the pick was a step back for the Celtics. The title? “May not crazy over Green pick”. Mike Fine says that the Celtics hope they get as lucky (or more) with this youngster as they did with last year’s top pick. Brendan McGair looks at how the NBA has come to prefer potential and raw talent over experience and accomplishment when it comes to draft picks.

Thornton also has a piece on second round pick Ryan Gomes and how being picked by the Celtics turned out to be worth the wait for him. Steve Bulpett has more on Gomes and how he is glad to being staying home in New England after his selection by the Celtics. Matt Eagan also looks at the forward from Providence, who wants to prove the Celtics right for selecting him. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the Celtics inviting Vermont forward Taylor Coppenrath to be a part of their summer league squad. He also looks at a couple other players that will be part of the squad for the Celtics. Springer’s notebook has Doc Rivers hoping that Paul Pierce will stay put.

Be sure to also check out Chad Finn’s Draft Review, in which he hands out various awards from the evening.

Down in New York, Gary Sheffield has promised to be a divisive influence on any team the Yankees might trade him to. Cool cat, that Sheff. Check out the news at the New York Sports Headlines page.

ESPN has Indians/Orioles at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Marlins at 7:00.

Celtic Green

It’s early, but many believe that Danny Ainge once again struck gold on draft night for the Boston Celtics. Good news, because it overshadowed an ugly defeat for the Red Sox. Coverage of both, as well as a few other miscellaneous items makes up today’s links.

Draft analysis is always an inexact science, and cannot really be done until a couple years after the draft. However, initial reaction to the Celtics picks from last night’s NBA draft has been extremely favorable. With their first pick, they selected 6-8 high school forward Gerald Green, who had been projected to go much higher. In fact in a profile on Green by Peter May in Monday’s Globe, the writer said the following of Green:

He could go as high as No. 3 -- the Lakers, who own pick No. 10, lust after him and are trying to trade up -- and should fall no lower than eighth under even the most bizarre draft night scenarios.

Welcome to bizarro world, as Green was there for the picking at #18. No Peter, you can’t take credit in the future for saying the Celtics would pick him. Shira Springer has a look at the selection of Green, noting that he must not have slid too much in the eyes of other teams, as Danny Ainge was deluged with calls just before he made the pick by teams looking to trade in. Steve Bulpett says that the addition of Green allows the Celtics even more flexibility with their roster. Carolyn Thornton writes that Green is the type of “player with the kind of athletic tools that with the proper guidance will pay bigger dividends down the road.” Jeff Goldberg notes that Green was born during halftime of the Patriots/Bears Super Bowl XX. With all the youth around the team, in that article Doc Rivers jokes that the Celtics could be in the hunt for the NCAA Championship. Lenny Megliola had a person who follows prep basketball for a living tell him this was a “Ridiculous pick” by the Celtics…and that’s a good thing. (One nitpick in the article…the Celtics did not draft three high school players in last year’s draft as the article states.) Christopher Price has Green surprised that he ended up with the Celtics.

Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers finding it hard not to acknowledge the comparisons to Tracy McGrady in Green. Jackie MacMullan notes how young this team will be and the need to find the correct veteran leadership. She says you’ve got to love this pick, even though she is “mildly concerned” that Green’s nickname is “G-Money”. Relax Jackie, it’s actually a rather common nickname. Howard Bryant, (subscription only) says that the drafting of Green just puts the onus even more on Paul Pierce to mature and be a leader. Peter May looks at the odd sequence of events in the draft that led to Green being available for the Celtics. In many ways you have Portland and Toronto to thank for the slide of Green. Bill Reynolds looks at how looking for “upside” has really changed the NBA draft process.

The Celtics second round was very received as well. Projected by some to be a first round selection, (some Providence media types hoped he’d go at # 18 to the Celtics) Ryan Gomes of Providence College was selected at #50. Kevin McNamara has Danny Ainge saying that Gomes being available at #50 was a bigger surprise than Green at 18. He believes Gomes has the talent to become an NBA starter. Mark Murphy agrees that Gomes is a steal at 50, and Ken Davis and Jeff Goldberg agree with that assessment as well. Kelsie Smith has a look at the Celtics’ second second-round pick, point guard Orien Greene, who has also been expected to go higher by some. Greene was plagued by injuries for part of his college career, which many felt held him back. Greene is 6-4 and a deft ball handler and good defender. The Herald notebook has Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson talking about their experiences as high school players coming into the NBA. Springer’s notebook has a few more updates on the Celtics youngsters.

Be sure to check out Scott’s Shots for observations on the draft coverage by ESPN and FSN.

The elation over the Celtics draft was a good thing, as it overshadowed an ugly loss by the Red Sox. Blowing an 8-5 lead, and with Keith Foulke giving up 5 earned runs on 1 1/3 innings of work, the Red Sox dropped their second straight to Cleveland. Tony Massarotti suggests that the Red Sox might need to find themselves another closer. Chris Snow notes that it wasn’t all Foulke’s fault, he merely found himself on the mound at the critical point of the game after ” a series of mistakes and curious decisions.” Steven Krasner looks at another disappointing performance for the Red Sox closer. David Heuschkel and David Borges round up the game stories from a painful evening at Fenway Park.

Nick Cafardo has a further look at Foulke, who he writes, hasn’t endeared himself to anyone this season. Karen Guregian says that the fans have lost patience in Foulke and that the front office many follow suit soon. Joe Haggerty also has an account of Foulke’s struggles last night. Several of Foulke’s comments are sure to be talk radio and whiner line fodder for today. How many callers pretending to be “Johnny from Burger King” do you think will be on the Big Show whiner line this afternoon? John Connolly looks at Travis Hafner, who proved to be the major foil to Foulke with his ninth inning grand slam off the closer. That home run made Hafner 6-10 in the two games this week.

Alex Speier wonders if last night’s starter for the Red Sox, Wade Miller, could be the one headed for the bullpen upon the return of Curt Schilling instead of Bronson Arroyo. Guregian also looks at Boston fans heckling Aaron Boone, I would say the booing is more out of obligation rather than hate, as the events of 2004 have gone a long way towards healing the wounds inflicted by Boone in 2003. Gerry Callahan, (subscription only) writes that this Red Sox team really doesn’t have any pressing needs (perhaps written prior to last night’s bullpen implosion) and that Theo Epstein might have the luxury of doing nothing at the trading deadline. Massarotti has a brief update on Schilling, who is scheduled to pitch tonight in Charlotte for the PawSox. Connolly has a look at Kevin Youkilis, who is willing to fill in wherever he is needed for Terry Francona.

Snow’s notebook looks at Schilling getting top billing for his start tonight, a “return” for the pitcher to Charlotte. Krasner’s notebook has more on Schilling. Massarotti’s notebook has Johnny Damon sticking up for Foulke. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at a rough month of June for Wade Miller. Borges’ notebook has Jason Varitek stating that it would be an honor for him and his team should he be elected the starting catcher for the American League in the All Star game.

Get more news on the NBA draft as well as stories on the Yankees bullpen also blowing a game over on the New York Sports Headlines page.

Glen Farley rehashes Peter King’s SI article about Ty Law, and how the former Patriot is still out looking for a home in the NFL. Donovan Slack reports on Russian President Vladimir Putin walking off with Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl Ring. The Herald also has the story.

James Murphy has Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton hoping to return to Boston and start playing hockey again very soon. When exactly IS the NHL going to announce a new labor deal?

Bonnie DeSimone has an article in the Globe on Lance Armstrong as he prepares to attempt to win his 7th…and final…Tour De France.

NESN has Red Sox/Indians at 1:00 this afternoon.(ESPN Nationally) ESPN has Yankees/Orioles at 7:00. ESPN2 has Giants/Diamondbacks at 10:00.