And so it begins…

Are you ready for possibly one of the great sports weekends of all time? The weather is supposed to be great and yet people who have significant others who are sports fans are going to have a hard time getting them out of the house. The latest chapter in the Red Sox/Yankees saga is this weekend. The Yankees come into Fenway Park for a three game series up one game, with the division on the line.

Respectfully, perhaps Steven Krasner and Bill Ballou might want to give David Ortiz a little more consideration for the MVP award than perhaps they have to this point. Of course, there’s no doubt that this weekend will go a long way towards deciding the award, but the two writers might want to give a second thought to the theory that just because the offensive stats are similar, Ortiz should lose points because of his role as a DH. They, and many others seem fixated with Ortiz being a DH, so much so that they are blinded to just how Valuable this guy is in comparison to A-Rod. Ortiz did it again last night, not once, but TWICE. tying the game in the eighth with a solo home run and singling in the winning run in the ninth.

Chris Snow analyzes the win, which kept the Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East. Jeff Horrigan also looks at Ortiz, who helped keep the Red Sox from falling two games back of the Yankees with three to play. The aforementioned Steven Krasner calls it “another MVP moment for Ortiz. Hmmm. David Heuschkel notes that it was more that just Ortiz in this one. Manny Ramirez brought the Red Sox to within one with a two run homer earlier in the game. David Borges says that the Ortiz heroics setting up this weekends series with the Yankees seemed inevitable. Joe Haggerty examines a game rich with indelible moments.

Gordon Edes has more on Ortiz, who continues to hold the Red Sox playoffs hopes in his arms. Jim Donaldson looks at Ortiz solidifying his case for MVP. Jim, you might want to have a chat with your colleague there…the one holding the MVP vote…Jeff Jacobs has more on Big Papi answering the MVP call. Steve Buckley has Ortiz dispensing some advice to his pitching staff for the Yankees series. Tony Massarotti notes that we still have no idea how this season is going to turn out, and might not know for three, four or five days still. Horrigan looks at Manny setting a tone with his home run last night. Rich Thompson and Tony Chamberlain each report on Jonathan Papelbon, who was another hero last night with 2 2/3 innings of dominating relief, invoking comparisons to Roger Clemens from some corners. Jon Couture outlines 10 moments to remember from this season which helped get us to where we sit today. Thompson has a brief bit on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton on special order from the Nationals. Horrigan looks at Lenny DiNardo improving his stock with the Red Sox.

Lenny Megliola says that we got what we wanted and wished for…a season ending Yankees/Red Sox series for all the marbles. Alex Speier previews yet another huge Red Sox/Yankees series, one that could even see a bonus game added. Jeff Goldberg looks at the media crush that will be around for this weekend series. Expect no surprises from Dan Shaughnessy. Red Sox/Yankees is also the topic of a Globe Editorial. Tony Chamberlain has Curt Schilling saying that he knew that things would come down to this final series. Jon Couture agrees with Johnny Damon that Red Sox/Yankees must be part of the divine plan. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that this is a fitting end to the season. He notes that some take issue with how MLB devised their schedule, but says they really only screwed up in having the Red Sox and Yankees start the season against each other. In the Projo, Elizabeth Gudrais looks at a Red Sox fan in New York, and Mark Arsenault looks at a Yankees fan in New England. Suzanne Smalley reports on the police reinforcements which will be sent to Fenway for the games.

Heuschkel’s notebook has Kevin Millar denying that he was the one who took verbal shots at Curt Schilling. Borges’ notebook has more on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton for the weekend series against the Yankees. Garry Brown’s notebook has more on Stanton’s return, as does Snow’s notebook, which has a good number of other items as well. Krasner’s notebook looks at Jonathan Papelbon continuing to show his star potential. Horrigan’s notebook examines another poor outing for Matt Clement, who will work out of the bullpen this weekend.

The New York papers are also chock full of Red Sox/Yankees stories and coverage. Get the stories over at the New York Sports News page.

Karen Guregian speculates this morning that Tedy Bruschi might be thinking about coming back sooner than anticipated. She asked him about it, and believes it to be of interest that instead of denying it, he issued a “no comment” statement. Jessica Heslam in the Herald briefly talks to a couple of doctors about the possibility of a return to NFL play for Bruschi. Jerome Solomon has a good piece this morning on Guss Scott, who will be counted on to take a lot of the load at safety in the absence of Rodney Harrison. Just don’t compare him to Harrison, physically or verbally. Alan Greenberg and Chris Kennedy each have articles on Patrick Pass, who will also see an increased role on the field with the absence of Kevin Faulk. More and more, Pass has become a guy that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have confidence in, and perhaps the best thing that ever happened to him was getting released back in 2003. Michael Parente has a look at Amos Zereoue, who is cramming and getting prepared to get on the field for the Patriots.

Albert Breer says that Marty Schottenheimer knows that no matter how many injuries that the Patriots have, they’re going to come to play on Sunday. Ian M Clark has a look at the injuries that just keep piling up for the Patriots and how they’re addressing them. Eric McHugh notes that perhaps the Patriots gave Tom Brady so much time off during camp because they knew he was going to be throwing the ball so much early in the season. Those panic discussions from the like of Gary Tanguay seem pretty silly at this point, don’t they? Guregian looks at how Doug Flutie might help out the Patriots this week with his knowledge of the San Diego offense. Interesting observation in there that Flutie has played with both Walter Payton and LaDainian Tomlinson. That’s pretty amazing, actually.

Tom E Curran says that this Chargers offense is the very best that the Patriots will see in the first half of the season. Christopher Price also looks at the Chargers weapons on offense and discusses what might be the best ways for the Patriots to attack them. Solomon’s notebook and Kennedy’s notebook each have Zereoue’s former teammates in Pittsburgh giving him a hard time for deciding to sign with the Patriots. Guregian’s notebook has more on Zereoue coming to New England and getting up to speed on the playbook. Curran’s notebook also looks at Zereoue, and how he’s holding Kevin Faulk’s place for him while he heals up.

Jim Lazar and Jim McCabe each make their NFL picks. In the Herald, Double D and I.M. Bettor also make their selections and place their money for the weekend’s pro action. Patrick Hanrahan has his Fantasy advice for the weekend. The Globe tells you Who’s hot and Who’s not.

Check out coverage from San Diego on the Union-Tribune Sports page. Included is a piece on long-time Charger Rodney Harrison and if he is a Hall of Fame Candidate. Included are comments from Harrison this week on his injury and future.

Shira Springer continues to warm up for the beginning of Celtics training camp with an interview with captain Paul Pierce, who makes it clear he wants to stay in Boston, for good. Keep checking back with the BSMW Full Court Press, as more training camp previews are posted. Yesterday, the centers were examined. Celtics Blog also has a look at Pierce as the season nears.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Douglas Flynn each report on Sergei Samsonov as the speedy winger went through a full practice yesterday. Flynn also reports on Jonathan Girard being sent down to Providence, which is also covered by Joe McDonald and in Burrell’s notebook.

Check out Scott’s Shots which features an extensive interview with Bill Simmons as the ESPN Page2 columnist and former Boston Sports Guy weighs in on how he got to where he is, what held him back in Boston, and what the future holds. Bill Griffith looks ahead to a huge sports weekend, featuring wall-to-wall Red Sox coverage. Jim Baker also looks ahead to the weekend of Red Sox, Patriots and college football viewing. Andrew Neff examines why some Maine residents had to wait a while to get their Patriots/Steelers broadcast from CBS last Sunday.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally) ESPN2 has Pitt/Rutgers at 8:00.

Out of First

The Red Sox dropped out of their first place tie with the Red Sox as they were again shut down by a nemesis of theirs, lefthander Ted Lilly of the Blue Jays. If the Red Sox could make it their offseason priority to acquire Lilly and Rodrigo Lopez from the Orioles, then they would win the division in a romp. Just get those two guys and stash them in the minors somewhere, because the only team they can beat is the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo reports that that David Ortiz and the clubhouse remained loose after the game, despite the loss and the questions towards Ortiz for his bunt attempt in the seventh inning. Jeff Horrigan has Terry Francona commenting that it isn’t “fluky” that the Blue Jays keep beating the Red Sox. Kevin McNamara notes that this time it wasn’t the bullpen that imploded on the Red Sox, as Toronto teed off on starter Bronson Arroyo. Jeff Goldberg notes that this was certainly a bad loss at a bad time. David Borges says that Arroyo picked a poor time to have one of his worst outings of the season. Joe Haggerty asserts that if the Fenway crowd seemed lifeless and moribund, they were perhaps taking their cue from the uninspired play of the Fenway Nine on the field. Lenny Megliola looks at the Red Sox moving in the wrong direction.

Bob Ryan looks at how the Blue Jays, despite being long ago eliminated, continue to fight as if they are the ones with a playoff berth on the line. Sean McAdam says that the playoffs have already started, and the Red Sox are trailing. Kevin Gray breaks down and examines the strengths and weaknesses of the four competitors for three playoff spots remaining in the American league. Gordon Edes assigns a couple of brainiacs the task of determining the statistical probability that the Red Sox will return to the postseason. In an anti-climatic ending, they are unable to come up with the answer. Michael Silverman visits with the guys running the out of town scoreboard at Fenway, who have certainly been busy the last few days. Bill Reynolds says that things are as they should be…an old fashioned fight down to the finish.

Christopher L Gaspar looks at Bronson Arroyo’s September magic finally running out on him. Borges has a look at cousins Scott Schoeneweis and Jeremy Kapstein, who may be on opposing sides at the moment, but who share a close bond which continues to grow. Howard Bryant (subscription only) looks at Arroyo, who struggled last night while his famous nemesis, Alex Rodriguez was one of the heroes for the Yankees in their win last night. Silverman looks at one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox last night, as the bullpen was stellar after Arroyo was knocked from the game. Horrigan has an update on Keith Foulke, who is going to have season ending surgery. Tony Chamberlain reports on Alex Cora, who remains very happy to be here and playing in a playoff race.

Buddy Thomas makes his postseason award selections. Listening to The Drive on ESPN radio, it’s been interesting to note that they’ve talked to both Boston writers who have the MVP vote this year, Steven Krasner of the Providence Journal and Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and both appear to be leaning strongly towards picking A-Rod for MVP for the reason that David Ortiz is only a DH. Cristina Silva has a piece in the Globe looking at how stressful this race has been for Red Sox fans. Chamberlain has a look at a guy who has always been a thorn in the side of the Red Sox, Frank Catalanotto, who stung the Sox again last night. Bruce Mohl has a piece in the Globe looking at a suit filed against 16 ticket resellers, including Ace Ticket, for scalping. Finally, Michael Silverman reveals that Manny was not relieving himself during that night in July where he went into the wall and was tardy coming out. He was merely talking, and came out late.

Cafardo’s notebook has more on Foulke’s season coming to an end. This is also the topic of McNamara’s notebook, which also notes that Francona is going to be “extra flexible” with his roster the rest of the way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at David Ortiz’s controversial bunt attempt in the seventh inning, a topic also pursued in Goldberg’s notebook. Foulke’s impending surgery is also the topic of Borges’ notebook.

John Powers in the Globe reports on the Yankees 2-1 win over Baltimore last night to move into sole possession of first place. Get all the coverage on the Yankees, as well as a number of Red Sox articles on the New York Sports News page.

Jerome Solomon looks at the void left by Matt Light, Kevin Faulk and Rodney Harrison and how the Patriots plan on filling the gaps. A fairly solid look from Solomon, when he’s not complaining about the lack of media availability to the players. Michael Felger looks at Eugene Wilson, whom the Patriots need to take the next jump in his career and become a star. While Solomon was telling us that “None of the players expected to fill the void left by Harrison were available yesterday.” Felger talked to Don Davis, and also Bill Belichick about the safety position and Wilson. Michael Parente says that facing adversity is nothing new to the Patriots, who have had to cope with this the last few years. Parente also has plenty from Don Davis about the safety spot vacated by Harrison, and what the Patriots might do to try an fill that hole. Alan Greenberg looks at a number of topics, including the injuries and the Tom Brady “Sports Century”.

Tom E Curran looks at how the Patriots will try to stop San Diego tight end Antonio Gates without the help of Rodney Harrison this Sunday. If Guss Scott is going to be involved, he’ll be giving up six inches and 55 pounds to the giant Gates. Karen Guregian looks at the threat posed by Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who is a triple threat on offense, with speed, power and good hands. Christopher Price has a look at SD quarterback Drew Brees. Albert Breer looks at Doug Flutie as he prepares to see his old San Diego teammates. Guregian notes that the absence of Harrison will take some of the edge off of the Patriots on the field. Felger talks to punter Josh Miller, who apparently isn’t a big fan of the Steelers trainer, who taunted him after a kick in the AFC title game last year. Check out the Patriots Game Day page for a preview of Patriots/Chargers.

One thing about the Patriots stance on injury information. They’ll never have a situation like the Jets are going through with Chad Pennington. In today’s NY Daily News, Rich Cimini chronicles the fiasco that has developed because of contradicting opinions regarding the extent of the injury to the Jets quarterback. With the Patriots, they’re never going to find themselves in a mess like that, having to scramble and get people on the same page, and having their head coach act like a doctor one day and then the next say he’s tired of playing doctor. They don’t give out the information, and thus do not put themselves in this situation.

Parente’s notebook looks at Kevin Faulk being sidelined. Curran’s notebook has Tomlinson disappointed that he won’t be able to go against old friend Rodney Harrison on Sunday. Solomon’s notebook looks at Michael Stone joining the team for his first practice. Guregian’s notebook looks at Faulk’s absence and the addition of Amos Zereoue.

Shira Springer looks at David Stern’s efforts to improve the image of the NBA. Check out the new BSMW Full Court Press as the training camp preview continues. A new entry should be up later today.

Stephen Harris talks to Andrew Raycroft about how the new more open style of play in the NHL will impact goaltenders. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports no movement on the Nick Boynton front, while Harris reports that some other teams might try to get in on the action for the defenseman.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00.

09.28.05 Afternoon

With Celtics training camp opening up next week, the Celtics Full Court Press is back in action with the first in a series of training camp previews. With the new season, we’ve got a newly designed page and address for the blog. Come check out the new page and look at the Celtics options at power forward.

Dan Pompei has a must-read article on Bill Belichick, calling him “possibly the best coach in the history of the National Football League”.

Mike Reiss continues his one-man crusade to bring respectability to the Boston Globe’s Patriots coverage with two extensive entries thus far today. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots lost much more than just a star player in Rodney Harrison. Eric McHugh examines the improvements in special teams for the Patriots against Pittsburgh. McHugh’s notebook says to watch the Patriots performance against the run in the coming weeks with the loss of Rodney Harrison.

Chaz Scoggins examines the Red Sox season as it comes down to the final five games. Mike Fine says that Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon might not be the best of friends, but they’re good teammates to each other, as Damon comes to Schilling’s defense. John Tomase indirectly speculates that the “unnamed teammate” might be Kevin Millar:

Schilling didn't name the teammate, but it should be noted that after recording a 3-1 putout last night, Schilling ignored Kevin Millar's raised glove and started the traditional around-the-horn himself, firing directly to Tony Graffanino at second without acknowledging Millar.

That is the implication, right?

Mike Loftus has an update on the progress of Jonathan Girard in his comeback with the Bruins this season. Win Bates looks at the Bruins putting a lot of trust in the new veterans they’ve brought in.

Deadspin reports on Bill Simmons’ book signing last night in NYC.

Wednesday Links and Musings

Mixing things up a little bit on a Wednesday…

The Red Sox missed out on a great opportunity last night, falling to the Blue Jays 7-5 in the second game of the doubleheader. They had 3-0 and 5-2 leads in the game and couldn’t hold it. What makes it more frustrating is that the Yankees and Indians both also had rare losses and the Red Sox could’ve gone up a game on each. Get the stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page. Jon Couture looks at non-trades for the Red Sox this year that have worked out just fine. Alex Speier has Curt Schilling doubting himself after another rough start last night. Rob Bradford looks a David Ortiz once again coming up clutch…this time off the field.

Check out your Patriots headlines over at the Patriots Daily Links page . Dan Pires looks at the Patriots’ options with Rodney Harrison done for the season. Michael Parente looks ahead to the Chargers. A letter relating Tom Brady’s efforts to go out of his way towards a Make-a-Wish foundation patient makes up an article from Nick Cafardo this morning, which is a must-read.

Shira Springer has a feature on Celtics rookie Ryan Gomes, who hopes to settle into a starting position with the Atlantic Division champs.

Kevin Paul Dupont reports on Nick Boynton rejecting another offer from the Bruins. Stephen Harris reports that Sergei Samsonov is close to returning to the ice. Harris’ notebook recaps last night’s preseason game between the Bruins and Canadiens.

A few thoughts and items from the New England media this week.

Headset-Gate

On Sunday, Ron Borges in his NFL notes column led off with a section making the case for why Corey Dillon might be washed up. He did this after writing last Monday that it was far too soon for anyone to be making that assumption. Tom Curran called him out for this in a blog entry later that day. However that wasn’t the only item from Borges that has fellow media members questioning him. In the second section of the column, entitled “Caller ID: Brady on the line” Borges quotes a “defensive coach whose team has played the Patriots this season”. The coach says about the New England play calling:

"[Bill] Belichick doesn't even have a headset on, so how's he calling the plays? Smoke signals? If you think a 28-year-old kid [quarterback coach Josh McDaniels] is doing it, you don't understand much about Belichick."

Any fan who has watched the games realizes right away that this coach is incorrect in stating that Belichick doesn’t wear a headset. (This issue was curiously also discussed back in July by Nick Cafardo and Paul Attner, who stated that Belichick isolated himself on the sidelines.) Borges would obviously know this statement is incorrect as well, but he puts it in there anyway. Today Michael Felger calls out the statement commenting:

By the way: Is there really an opposing coach out there, as reported recently, who believes Belichick doesn't wear a headset during games? Is that for real? Anyone who pays attention just a little knows that Belichick never takes his headset off, save for a kneel-down at the end of a half.

Borges will tell you that he merely reports what others say. It is not his job to correct the quotes. To me, this is mind-boggling and irresponsible. For a factually incorrect statement to be allowed to stand in the paper without any sort of corrective context or statement undermines the credibility of the reporter and paper. If the unnamed coach had stated that Brady threw 50 interceptions last season, would the quote had been allowed to stand?

What’s worse for Borges and the Globe is that two reporters at rival papers have actually come on the record and basically ridiculed the content of the column. When has this happened before? The bottom line is that WEEI and internet shut-ins are not the only ones questioning the quality and quantity of the Patriots coverage in the Boston Globe. It has basically become a joke around town, and the Globe is content to sit back smugly with their measuring stick in hand and proclaim that they have the most and best Patriots coverage in the region.

When you’ve got rival papers mocking your coverage, you might want to re-examine your position.

Schilling’s Free Pass

I was asked last week if Curt Schilling deserves a free pass in Boston.

First of all, for the purposes of this site, is Schilling a media member? Obviously not. However, he is a hot topic in the media, with some circles holding the opinion that the guy does no wrong and is worthy of a complete “free pass” for what he did in helping bring the World Series Title to Boston.

How should the guy be covered by the media? That’s going to be more of how I answer here. So I as I mentioned, I was asked if he deserves a free pass.

I said absolutely. For on the field stuff. For what Curt Schilling the pitcher did for the Red Sox last season, I give him a total pass for anything on the field. He’s earned it. He can struggle this season, and even fail in the end, though I’m hoping for the best, and he will still be an untouchable in my eyes. I won’t criticize him one bit for any failings on the baseball field for the Boston Red Sox. The man gave us all he had last year, perhaps even his career.

That’s Curt Schilling, on the field, as a baseball player. Curt Schilling the man, once he steps off the baseball diamond – even into the clubhouse – he’s no longer infallible. He doesn’t have free pass in my mind to say and do whatever he wants and not be subject to criticism. Schilling isn’t afraid to speak his mind and is going to say some unpopular things. He usually is good when it comes to speaking about the ballclub, most of the time he’s not going to say anything that is going to put the team in a bad light. (Scott Williamson might disagree with me) That’s what makes this incident with the unnamed teammate so curious. That he would reveal to Bob Hohler how much this is galling him is baffling. That he would allow his wife to be brought into and comment on the matter is likewise curious. What is gained by this? Sean McAdam on FSN Tuesday night speculated that perhaps Schilling was using it as a means of motivation. To get himself charged up for the final week(s) of the season. Still, it brings unneeded heat and attention on a team already in the spotlight and pressure of a playoff chase. (More on Schilling in David Heuschkel’s notebook today.)

So the bottom line from me is that you won’t hear me knocking Schilling for anything he does on the field. He’s got a “free pass” there. Anything else, when he opens his mouth, he’s just another guy.

Old School Coach

Dale and Holley asked yesterday why Doc Rivers is referred to as an “old school coach” on those Celtics ticket promotions. On Sports Xtra Sunday night, Rivers answered that question in a sit-down with Joe Amorosino:

There are things that I think that have to be done the right way, and I think, that's where people get the 'old school coach' idea from, because I believe there are certain things you have to do to become a good teammate, and to become a good team, and I think we're starting that. And I can't...because our team is so young, I can't not allow them not to. I just can't. If this were a veteran team, you can let some of those things go, but with this team, you can't.

Hopefully that clears things up a little bit. He’s trying to instill old-school values into his young players.

Misc

  • WEEI continued to lob their own grenades in the direction of Morrissey Blvd over their Patriots coverage. Michael Holley questioned the placement of stories. Glenn Ordway ridicules the topic and placement of features and decries the lack of Patriots coverage. I agree to a certain extent. Yesterday the Globe had seven Red Sox and Baseball articles and two Patriots articles. This on a day in which the Red Sox were rained out the night before, and that the Patriots had lost one of their defensive and inspirational leaders in a huge conference win over a team they faced in the most recent AFC championship game. I think more than one Patriots story and a notebook was called for.

    Yet, the ironic thing is that the Schilling/unnamed teammate story dominated WEEI talk all day yesterday, not Patriots talk. Is WEEI really concerned about the Patriots coverage or are they trying to bully the Globe after being rebuffed once again in their efforts to bring the Globe writers onto the station?

  • If you’re looking for Patriots talk, The Drive on ESPN Boston with Mike (not Michael) Felger continues to impress. His lineup of guests is outstanding, with a variety of viewpoints and expertise, Mike Reiss is a regular and after the Rodney Harrison injury went through a list of possible roster replacements. Reiss and Felger could talk with insight on each of the candidates, something I don’t think you’d hear on 850. The weekly segment with Patriots punter Josh Miller is quickly becoming appointment radio. He even takes calls from the fans. Now if they could just do something about that signal and the online-streaming…
  • It’s again ironic that WEEI apparently tried to get the Globe writers around the same time that Felger and ESPN Boston were coming on the air. Trying to make a preemptive strike against a possible competitor?
  • CBS4 has relaunched their website, the idea to make it a place to also break news, as Bob Lobel did with the Rodney Harrison injury report on Monday. They also have a Red Sox Blog from Dan Roche.
  • Out in Los Angeles, Billy Witz says the Patriots are done. For the record, Jon Anik on 1510’s The Diehards also said on Tuesday that the Dynasty is over with the injury to Harrison.
  • In USA Today, Jon Saraceno has some interesting quotes from Phil Simms regarding Bill Belichick and his approach to injuries:
    "When we meet with NFL coaches (the day before games), many of them complain about injuries to us," Simms said. "Bill Belichick never

Lost Leader

While the Red Sox were rained out at Fenway last night, the area was still abuzz over the reports that Rodney Harrison would be lost to the Patriots for the rest of the season, and possibly forever. The club has not confirmed this news yet, but multiple news sources are reporting it and last night Clark Judge on CBS Sportsline .com had Harrison’s agent confirming that his client was done for the year, and that the safety had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This is similar to the injury suffered by Bills running back Willis McGahee when he was in college at Miami. This article from the Buffalo News of a couple years ago is a good reference for what those three ligaments do, and what the hopes for recovery are.

Locally, Jerome Solomon also has the quote from the agent, but only mentions the ACL tear, which is the most serious of the three. Karen Guregian mentions the national reports of all three ligaments being torn, and notes that Matt Light could well be done for the year as well. Chris Kennedy reports on the injuries, which put the Patriots into a familiar position. Kevin McNamara notes that the backups will be counted on to come in and do the jobs they’ve prepared for. Alan Greenberg says that to brood about injuries or to use them as an excuse is “totally un-Patriotic”, and you won’t catch any that around Foxboro. Tim Weisberg observes that this team has overcome devastating injuries before. This might be the ultimate test, with both Harrison and Tedy Bruschi done on defense and Light on offense. Michael Parente also reports on the Patriots losing the heart and soul of their defense. Steve Buckley (subscription only) notes that while the Patriots were going about their business yesterday these injuries hurt more than most. Jim Donaldson says that the implications of these injuries are severe, perhaps moreso for Light in terms of team impact.

Michael Felger wraps up the win in Pittsburgh with his Patriots report card. Former Pats great Steve Grogan hands out his grades for Patsfans.com. Jonathan Comey notes that despite the loss of Harrison, the Patriots showed championship form on Sunday against the Steelers. Christopher Price says that there is no truth to the rumor that the Patriots are looking to sign the Burger King for their secondary, despite his obvious ball-hawking skills that he displays in picking off Drew Bledsoe in the commercial. Bob George wonders if this could really be the end of the line for Harrison. Tom E Curran gives a hats off to the Patriots offensive play calling (whoever was responsible) for making adjustments against the Steelers defense. Guregian looks at the strong play of the offensive line rookies, who are holding their own while being thrust into the fire. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) is at his best this morning as he looks a the comparisons between Larry Bird and Tom Brady, and appears that he might be considering putting Brady ahead of Bird at some point, an idea that he appears he cannot even fathom himself. Jeff Jacobs also has an ode to Brady. Guregian has a short report on the clock error Sunday which resulted in an extra minute being put on the game clock.

Solomon’s notebook has more on the game clock error, plus a look at Matt Light’s injury, the replacements for Light and Harrison, and Corey Dillon taking a little shot at Ron Borges by refusing to talk to the media, saying that he is “too old”. Guregian’s notebook says that Adam Vinatieri’s late game heroics are simply becoming routine. McNamara’s notebook reports that the Patriots kicker hopes to be around playing this game for quite a while longer.

The BSMW Patriots Game Day Rear View is undergoing some changes at the moment. Due to a heavy personal load, Scott A Benson is stepping down and has brought in Greg Doyle to handle the blogging about the Super Bowl Champions. I want to thank Scott for all he’s done for the page, and look forward as Greg gets his feet wet with the duties.

The Red Sox were rained out last night, forcing an unwanted doubleheader today. Chris Snow reports that the rainout means that the much anticipated Curt Schilling/Randy Johnson matchup will not happen this weekend after all. Michael Silverman also looks at the Red Sox flipping their rotation after the rainout, as does Jeff Goldberg. Another factor is that that the Red Sox now have to play two games today against a team that has given them trouble all year. Joe McDonald pursues this angle. Lenny Megliola looks at the curveball thrown by Mother Nature last night at the Red Sox. Ron Chimelis and Brendan McGair again look at how the rain foiled the Red Sox weekend plans.

Bob Hohler has a look at a difficult season for Curt Schilling, who hasn’t recovered from his ankle injury enough to be able to pitch consistently the way he would like. He is also stung by the recent comments from a teammate which appeared in a Howard Bryant column last week. Dennis & Callahan have put the finger on Manny or Keith Foulke being the teammate, without giving any evidence other than they are guys they don’t like. Stan Grossfeld offers up a feature on Carl Yastrzemski, out on a fishing boat, talking about the pressures of Boston, 1967, clashes with Ted Williams, losing his son and many other topics. Bob Ryan looks at the Blue Jays, who plan on playing the role of spoiler this week at Fenway. Silverman notes that the pressure is doubled with two games against the Jays today for the Red Sox. Usually skeptical and pessimistic (by his own admission) Ron Chimelis says at the Red Sox are a lock to make the postseason. Tony Chamberlain looks at how Craig Hansen is adjusting to big league life, just a couple months removed from college. Rich Thompson has a quick hit on Alex Cora and how he is enjoying his time in Boston. Gordon Edes reports on a proposal from the Players Association to increase the penalties for positive steroid tests. Howard Bryant (subscription only) looks at the rain last night dousing the dream duel that had been set up this weekend between Johnson and Schilling.

Snow’s notebook looks at the Yankees making plans for the postseason. Silverman’s notebook wonders how many people are going to call in *ahem* sick today. The Projo notebook has brave words from Johnny Damon, who declares himself at 100% and ready for a run at the postseason this week.

Stephen Harris looks at unanswered questions facing the Bruins as they prep for the season opener. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Montreal rookie sensation Guillaume Latendresse whom the Bruins will see tonight. Matt Kalman looks at the situation between the Bruins and Nick Boynton reaching a critical point, and why other teams haven’t put in offers for the restricted free agent. Bill Griffith reports on NESN signing up Jack Edwards to handle play-by-play on their Bruins road telecasts.

Celtics Blog has a nice Q&A with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck.

Vin Sylvia looks at the UNH Wildcats being ranked #1 in NCAA Division 1-AA Football for the first time ever. Michael Vega looks at BC QB Matt Ryan’s quick recovery from a nasty hit on Saturday.

The New York Sports News page has coverage of the AL East race, a piece in the Post has Johnny Damon saying that the Red Sox missed out on a chance to sign him at a discount, and NFL coverage as the Jets lose two quarterbacks for the season.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 1:00 and 7:00. ESPN2 has Toledo/Fresno State college football at 9:00.

Lobel reporting Harrison out for year

From the website for CBS4-Boston:

It looks like the Pats win yesterday in Pittsburgh was a costly one. CBS4 Boston Sports Director Bob Lobel has learned that Rodney Harrison suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's done for the year, and this could potentially be a career-ending injury

Championship Effort

The Patriots went to Pittsburgh already banged up, and then proceeded to suffer a potentially disastrous injury to Rodney Harrison in the first half of yesterday’s game. For a while it appeared that yesterday would not be the Patriots day again. But in the second half, the offense started clicking, the defensive line showed why it is the strength of the club, and Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri came in and did what is by now expected of them in the fourth quarter. This resulted in a 23-20 win for the Patriots over the Steelers. Jerome Solomon points out that the most important analysis of yesterday’s game starts with the final score. An offensive funk, more penalties and more injuries come second to the result. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots never packed it in yesterday, though they had ample reason and opportunity. Tom E Curran says that this hand wringing win came with a potentially high price to pay. Alan Greenberg notes that these are the Patriots…nothing should really surprise us anymore. Michael Parente also points out that there were moments when the Patriots could’ve crumbled with all that was going wrong for them, but they showed why they are the champions.

Now that the game is over, we can focus a little more on the implications of the injuries to Rodney Harrison and Matt Light. Michael Felger says that if this team has shown anything over the last few years, it is an ability to overcome adversity…and injuries. Ron Borges writes that “No one is automatic, but you can see automatic from wherever Adam Vinatieri is standing.” Dan Shaughnessy gushes that this was another Larry Bird-Bobby Orr type performance from Tom Brady, who added another game to his highlight reel yesterday. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) also focuses on the magic of Brady, noting that it is just dumb to walk away from a chance to see Brady play, especially at the end of a tight ballgame. Ian M Clark notes that the Patriots got the requisite positive result required after last weeks loss to Carolina. Tom Curran provides his game analysis of the action from yesterday, while the Standard-Times trots out their Report Card and review of the keys to the game.

Fluto Shinzawa has a look at the Patriots defense, specifically the defensive line, which kept the Steelers off balance for much of the game. Guregian also has a look at the stout run defense of the Patriots. Chuck Finder looks at the Patriots getting the timing right all around, from managing the clock at the end of the game, to giving Brady just enough time to get the ball out to his receivers. Steve Buckley has a short report on Corey Dillon running for some tough yards and two TD’s. John MacKenna says that this was a big win, but that they injuries could prove to be bigger.

Nick Cafardo looks at Antwaan Randle El’s ill-advised lateral attempt, which ended up on the ground and in the Patriots possession. He uses the phrase “Was it Antwaan being Antwaan?” Could we just put any variation of the “Manny being Manny” slogan to rest please? It’s tired already. Just not clever. Finder has more on the Patriots defense, this time from the vantage of Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the Steelers consoling themselves that at least this loss came now and not in the AFC Championship game. The Tribune-Review notes that kicking away from Bethel Johnson on the final kickoff didn’t pay off quite as the Steelers had hoped, as rookie Ellis Hobbs returned the kick out to the 38.

Solomon’s notebook reports on the Patriots two major injuries yesterday. Guregian’s notebook observes that neither Matt Light nor Rodney Harrison appear like they will be playing anytime soon. Curran also reports on the two major injuries, while Greenberg’s notebook examines the turning point, and what went right and wrong for the Patriots. Parente’s notebook also looks at the loss of Harrison and Light.

We now enter the final week of the regular season for Major League baseball, and your Boston Red Sox find themselves tied atop the Eastern Division with their archrivals, the New York Yankees. The Red Sox kept pace with the Yankees, who won their final home game of the season yesterday, because Boston defeated the Orioles 9-3 in their final road game of the season. Jeff Horrigan says that the time has come for the final home run for the Red Sox. Chris Snow examines the Red Sox win, which brought them to the end of their long, grinding road schedule. Sean McAdam has the Red Sox hoping to pick up some energy from the home crowd back at Fenway. David Heuschkel reports that the easy win yesterday provided some relief to the Red Sox in their airtight race to the finish. David Borges examines the Red Sox sweep of the Orioles, and talks about “Kevin being Kevin.” Sigh.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox coming home to battle it out in the final week of the season, with everything on the line. A nice piece by Edes, almost poignant at times looking at what “home” means for the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti examines Terry Francona, who feels the frustrations of losses more than most, and who, Massarotti says places a tremendous amount of pressure on himself. Yesterday, Heuschkel had an interesting feature: A week inside the Red Sox clubhouse. A few humorous and interesting items in there. Dom Amore did a similar piece with the Yankees Clubhouse. Kevin Gray looks at a number of former NH Fisher Cats players now up with the Blue Jays who might have a say in the AL East title this week.

Massarotti has David Wells grousing at the umpires some more, as he claims that the home plate umpires was not verbal enough in calling time while he was in the middle of his delivery, causing him to tweak his already balky knee. Horrigan looks at Miguel Tejada making a number of uncharacteristic miscues in the field, making the Red Sox lives a lot easier yesterday. There’s a trio of Red Sox articles in the Globe which do not appear in the sports section, at least the online edition when I was putting this together. Perhaps they’ll get moved there, or perhaps not. Former Globe Sportswriter Nathan Cobb, now retired, recounts how he was told he was the first to use the phrase “Red Sox Nation”. Dan Shaughnessy brought it to his attention, noting that while he (Shaughnessy) would claim credit for the phrase “Curse of the Bambino”, he couldn’t for “Red Sox Nation”. I thought I remember reading something where Shaughnessy didn’t come up with the “Curse” phrase either, but perhaps I’m mistaken. Stephen Smith reports that when the Red Sox are in a playoff race, hospital visits are surprisingly down. Dr. Eric Leskowitz wonders if “Weird Science” and home field advantage can save the Red Sox this week.

Snow’s notebook looks at Wells and his knee, putting forth the possibility that he may get another cortisone shot this week. If he does however, he says he’s not telling the media. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Manny Ramirez tying Cal Ripken Jr on the all-time home run list. McAdam’s notebook has more on Wells and his knee. Heuschkel’s notebook looks at Dale Sveum taking a chance that paid off this time.

Steve Conroy looks at Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton, who continues his holdout as the regular season opener is just 10 days away. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the combo of Joe Thornton and Glen Murray looking smooth on Saturday night.

Allen Lessels examines the UNH Wildcats, who could be named the #1 team in NCAA Division 1-AA football when the rankings come out this afternoon. Michael Vega looks at Boston College getting back to work after their 16-13 win at Clemson on Saturday. Steve Conroy looks at the sophomores who played a big role in the victory for BC.

Yesterday’s NBA Notes from Shira Springer looked at the Celtics new relationship with the Florida Flame of the NBDL for developing young players. She also had updates on Tony Allen, and hurricane damage relief efforts by the Celtics.

John Molori’s Media Blitz has observations from around the NFL yesterday. Scroll down to the next entry on this page for observations from this corner on yesterday’s events. I especially liked the Tom Curran blog entry. Not often you see a sportswriter calling out another in such a fashion. The New York Sports News page finds a number of Red Sox stories among the Yankees, Jets and Giants coverage.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ABC has Chiefs/Broncos at 9:00.

Sunday Items

Thoughts/Observations from throughout the day Sunday:

  • Michael Kay on the ESPN Sports Reporters “reminds” us this morning stated that the reason the Patriots always get to the Super Bowl is because they get to play home playoff games in the snow at Gillette Stadium.

    Yeah…guess those two AFC championship games IN Pittsburgh don’t count, huh?

  • Later on, Kay pushed A-Rod for MVP saying that David Ortiz ducked Randy Johnson a few weekends ago with a supposed back injury.
  • Tom Jackson on ESPN stated that if the Patriots lose today, their mystique and aura will be gone.
  • Michael Irvin then chimed in that if the Patriots lost today, losing could creep into their heads and be tough to shake. The season could be over.
  • John Tomase in the Eagle Tribune: “When all is said and done, Ramirez may well have authored the weakest 40-homer, 130-RBI season in big league history.”

    Based on…? A ludicrous statement. He goes on to talk again about how Manny is a devisive figure in the Red Sox clubhouse. Perhaps so, But is Manny more devisive than say, Curt Schilling? He’s had unnamed teammates sniping about him, just as Manny supposedly has. We know what Tomase’s horse in the race at this point is.

  • Tom Curran, laying the lumber on Ron Borges in his blog entry today.
  • Around 3:20, I was listening to the Yankee broadcast on WTSN-Dover (NH) in time to hear Mariano Rivera strike out Corey Koskie with two on and two out in the eighth with the score 4-3 Yankees. I switched over to the Red Sox radio broadcast and heard the dismay in Joe Castiglione’s voice as he reported the news and mused “How could he swing at that pitch?”
  • Yes, the implications are huge, but how many times did we need to see the Rodney Harrison injury re-played both during the game, but especially on the Fifth Quarter?
  • Always fun to hear the announcers sway back and forth from showering each team with praise as the momentum of the game swings in each direction.
  • Nice smackdown by Bill Belichick of Steve Burton during his press conference. Burton asked about the pass interference call. Belichick replies “Steve, you know where I’m standing. I mean, could I be any further away from the play?” Even better was Bob Lobel attempting to save Burton face by saying Belichick “rudely dismissed” Burton’s “legitimate question”.
  • Good start for Ted Johnson, but you could tell he felt a bit awkward…and who could blame him? He battled with these guys for years, and now has to be on the other side of the mic from them.
  • I lost count of how many times I heard the phrase “gut check win” on WBCN after 2,947.
  • …and yet, Gary Tanguay was STILL muckraking for controversy after the game…
  • Charlie Weis = Class Act
  • Michael Felger has nailed what would happen in each of the last two Patriots games. Bill Burt’s prediction in this morning’s paper: “New England 23, PITTSBURGH 20 Best game of the year”

Treading Water

The Red Sox managed to keep pace with the Yankees last night, coming back to beat the Orioles 6-3. Check out a collection of links from various papers and sites at the Red Sox Daily Links Page.

You can keep up with the Yankees, and coverage of Pedro Martinez “shutting it down” for the season on the New York Sports News page.

The Patriots continue their preparations for tomorrow afternoon’s AFC Championship game rematch with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Links can be found in the Patriots Daily Links page. The BSMW GameDay page also checks in with a preview from Scott A Benson. In other papers, Eric McHugh writes that the Patriots have shown a history of bouncing back after tough performances. Jeff Goldberg looks at Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger and his rise to fame. McHugh also notes that preventing the Steelers from getting off to a fast start is another key to the game. Ron Hobson makes his NFL picks. Check out the out of town coverage with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bob Ryan chronicles what it is like to visit Clemson for a football game, as BC preps to take on the Tigers. Steve Conroy and John R Johnson also look ahead to the game.

Joe McDonald has a piece on Andrew Raycroft, who looked pretty good in his preseason debut against the Islanders last night. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at his backup, Hannu Toivonen. Stephen Harris looks at the game ending in the first shootout of the preseason for the Bruins, with the hometown team coming up on the short end of the score. McDonald’s notebook looks at Brian Leetch making his hometown debut in front of his new fans. Burrell’s notebook and Harris’ notebook each have more on Leetch as well.

Mark Murphy reports on Chris Wallace, who just returned from a trip to Africa, where he did some clinics and scouting.

UPN38 has BC/Clemson at Noon. NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 4:30. ABC has Notre Dame/Washington at 3:30. ESPN2 has Michigan/Wisconsin at 6:00. The Tennessee/LSU game which ESPN was to show at 7:45 has been moved to Monday.

Frenetic Friday

Sean McAdam notes that even though the lead is gone, the Red Sox will be in a fight for the playoffs all the way to the end this season. Kevin Gray looks at the schedules of the three teams fighting for two playoffs spots, noting the difference in the difficulty of competition that each team faces. A Tale of the Tape page in the Herald also looks at the schedules. Dan Shaughnessy addresses his “Red Sox are going to run away with the Division” column from June. Garry Brown and Jeff Horrigan look at the Red Sox heading down the stretch with everything at stake.

Gerry Callahan (Subscription only) writes what he’s been saying on the radio the last few days – PLAY THE KIDS. He writes:

Unfortunately, the manager seems to be thinking like so many Sox managers of the past, like Grady Little and Jimy Williams not so long ago. He's worried about what might go wrong rather than what could go right.

Gordon Edes looks at how the season is shaping up to all come down to the final weekend at Fenway Park. David Heuschkel looks at Keith Foulke being shut down for the season and how the Red Sox have bigger things to worry about at this stage. Horrigan however, reports that the team didn’t shut Foulke down, he made the call himself, and the team doesn’t necessarily agree, still expecting him to be in Baltimore tonight. Edes and Chris Snow talk to Foulke’s agent who says his client isn’t healthy enough to continue the season. McAdam also has a report on Foulke returning to Boston. This situation seems a bit ugly under the surface. Jon Couture says that Sox should already be looking ahead to next year. Peter J Howe reports on discount airline Song naming a plane after Big Papi David Ortiz. Snow’s notebook looks at Terry Francona backing Ortiz for MVP, and also has the Devil Rays grousing over how Jason Varitek blocks the plate. Horrigan’s notebook reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates might be interested in Dale Sveum as a candidate to be their new manager.

Karen Guregian looks at the Patriots secondary, once again riddled with injuries, an area that has coach Bill Belichick concerned. Chris Kennedy also looks at the injuries in the secondary, which are once again a problem for the Patriots. Ian M Clark looks at the issues with Special Teams for the Patriots, who find themselves giving up big plays in that area. Glen Farley has more on the Special Teams. Jerome Solomon notes that the Patriots are doing their best to put last week out on their minds and put all their focus on the Steelers. Guregian has a sidebar on Rodney Harrison welcoming the noise of the Pittsburgh crowd. Kennedy also looks at Chad Brown returning the Pittsburgh, where his career began. Tom King says things don’t change often in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher.

Eric McHugh says that Sunday could be a battle of top kickers in the NFL.Christopher Price looks at preparation for the Steelers…a team that doesn’t change all that much. Bill Burt says that we can expect Tom Brady to be at his best this Sunday. Tom Curran’s notebook looks at rookie Nick Kaczur, who has been seeing significant time at a couple positions on the offensive line. Michael Parente’s notebook looks at the injuries to the secondary, as well as a number of other items. Solomon’s notebook has Bill Belichick ignoring the past when it comes to Pittsburgh.

Tom E Curran examines which Ben Roethlisberger we’ll see, the nearly perfect QB from the first two games of the season, or the one that the Patriots rattled in the AFC Title game. Michael Parente looks at how Big Ben is out for revenge against the Pats. Ron Hobson has more on the Steelers QB. Jeff Goldberg looks at Steelers running back Willie Parker, who is leading the NFL in rushing after two games. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review each look at the Patriots/Steelers matchup this Sunday.

It’s a little interesting to me that the Herald has more articles on betting and picking the NFL (3) then it does on the Patriots themselves (1.5) Jim Lazar makes his bets around the NFL. Double D also makes his picks, and I.M. Bettor also looks at the numbers for this weekend. Jim McCabe makes his picks in the Globe. Patrick Hanrahan looks at the Fantasy Football scene this week in the Herald.

Steve Conroy has a look at Bruins rookie defenseman Andrew Alberts from B.C., who has made his presence felt during the preseason. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell notes that the Bruins have had trouble with penalties in their first two games this preseason. James Murphy looks at GM Mike O’Connell helping out with the younger players in camp. Win Bates has an article on young Bruins phenom Patrice Bergeron.

John Powers looks at the conditions at Clemson, where the Boston College football team will find itself tomorrow night. Steve Conroy says that the Eagles have not ruled out Quinton Porter for tomorrow. Mark Murphy looks at BC wide receiver Tony Gonzalez, who turned down the Red Sox, when they drafted him out of high school as a centerfielder. Mark Blaudschun reports on a couple voters in the Harris Poll, who go against the grain. Double D makes his college picks for the weekend. Michael Vega’s notebook looks at the progress of Porter.

Bill Griffith and Jim Baker report on CBS4 bringing former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson on board for their Patriots pre and post game programming. John Howell reviews “Viva Baseball” a documentary on the history of Latino players in baseball. Scott’s Shots takes a look at the WEEI/Globe feud, as well as a sneak peek at an upcoming interview with Bill Simmons.

Glenn Ordway and WEEI did not take home awards for the categories they were entered in for last night’s Marconi Awards.

A few items that have been whispered to BSMW in the last few days:

  • Prior to Glenn Ordway’s diatribe on the Globe the other day, Jason Wolfe and WEEI management had gone to the Globe in an effort to work something out so that certain Globe writers could again appear on the station. They were rebuffed, and next thing you know, Ordway is going off on the Globe on the air.
  • Carolyn Hughes, who was caught in the infamous scandal with Derek Lowe out in Los Angeles, was a one-time intern at Channel 7 here in Boston back in the day. All evidence however, says that the two did not ever meet until Lowe went out and signed with the Dodgers this past offseason. In fact, I believe she was here and gone before Lowe came to the Red Sox.
  • The hue and outcry over the lack of Patriots coverage in the Globe prompted a little self-examination by the newspaper. They went back and examined inch for inch all the Patriots coverage since the Patriots rookies reported in July and according to their findings, came out with seven more pages of coverage than the Herald.

    If true, that still sets off my skeptic alert. Which stories counted as “Patriots” coverage? Did the stories about the Saints, Cowboys and Raiders count as “Patriots” coverage? What were the parameters of this measuring? It’s simply interesting enough for me that they went in and examined this issue themselves.

  • A few people have wanted to know what Richard Seymour was referring to when he got on with Dale & Holley on Patriots Monday this week. The Patriots lineman mentioned that he was disappointed to hear them making jokes about the evacuees from the south coast being sent to Cape Cod. They quickly moved on, but the original comments were not addressed. What happened was this, towards the end o the Dennis and Callahan show, Jon Meterparel brought up the topic of Laveranues Coles, who had talked over the weekend about this step father sexually abusing him and being sent to prison. Meterparel mentioned that while in prison, the step father was convicted of another crime and thus is still in prison for some time. Gerry Callahan’s answer to this was: