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.