Easterbrook Speaks

(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here.)

Bill Belichick’s favorite sports columnist Gregg Easterbrook was interviewed this morning on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan. The interview itself was around ten minutes in length. D & C asked Gregg to elaborate on some of the ridiculous comments he’s made in his recent Tuesday Morning Quarterback columns.

Easterbrook reiterated his belief that the destruction of the videotapes by the league proves there was something to hide. He also says that although he has no proof, he’s continuing to pursue the story. Gregg also states that the reason this issue (CameraGate) is no longer being discussed (really Gregg, no longer?) is due to the fact that sports writers are not investigative journalists. He also goes on to say he’s surprised the Boston Globe or the New York Times are not digging deeper into this story (Gregg, ever think that there actually may be no “juicy” story).

Easterbrook also believes that teams will now do what they can to knock down Tom Brady (easier said than done) if the Pats continue to “run up” the score on opponents. While Gregg did not advocate an opponent purposely trying to injure an opposing player he did say he would not be surprised if this will be something an opposing player may try.

A funny moment is when Gregg discusses the strategy he would employ to stop the Pats running it up, which would be to call a “double safety blitz”. This seems like a great strategy, but isn’t one of Brady’s greatest assets his ability to read coverages and set up protection? Why then would he fall for a “double safety blitz”? Easterbrook also used the Peter King defense when Gerry Callahan asked him if he had “a hair across his ass for Belichick”. Easterbrook’s reply was that when he wrote a glowing article about Belichick two years ago for NFL.com no one accused him of having an agenda. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that but in any case a pretty lame defense.

Keeping with the Easterbrook theme, Gregg has his latest edition of Tuesday Morning Quarterback. In this week’s installment, Gregg manages to praise Belichick saying “No one draws up a better game plan than Belichick.”

He then addresses last week’s “Good vs. Evil” column saying “After the column posted, I felt badly that I had not made clear I was being satirical — that was my failing as a writer — because, after all, none of us has the slightest idea what is in the hearts of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.”

He even says this “I apologize to Brady for complaining that he smirks — saying this is an insult, and although it’s fine to criticize public figures, insults are childish. (Remember, my argument is not with the New England players, it is with bad sportsmanship and cheating.)

This is unbelievable, can Gregg truly be apologizing for his ridiculously biased columns, is the world ending, are pigs flying, I’m honestly nervous right now. Then I read the following sentence and I knew the world was OK.

“I even toyed with apologizing to Belichick, since comparing him to Beelzebub was a tad overloaded. But then I watched Sunday’s game and thought, Belichick is exactly what I said!”

Perfectly put Gregg. Return to your childish insults, this will surely cement the fact that you are unbiased.

Speaking of unbiased, over at Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp attempted to consult the unwritten rules to see which ones the Patriots are actually breaking in runupthescoregate. The problem is, none of these unwritten rules are actually written, which kind of makes things difficult.

Matt Mosley asks his readers if “Belichick has company?” by compiling a list of coaches who are notorious for running up the score.

Somehow the editors over at Fox Sports didn’t read Easterbrook’s column last week. They have as the lead story on their website “Good vs. Evil” Complete with photo-shopped horns and tail on Belichick. Wow, way to be creative guys.

This Good vs Evil, Patriots vs Colts theme has even made it to one of the biggest non-sports blogs out there, The Daily Kos.

Around the Web

Mike has a Celtics season preview over on the BSMW Full Court Press.

Ken Rosenthal has a few suitors in the A-Rod sweepstakes, even speculating that A-Rod will still be in New York next year. Jeff Passan does the same, giving you A-Rod’s top 10 destinations.

Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus has a great Hot Stove Preview for the AL East.

Tony Dungy stands by his CameraGate comments.

Within this sports media column, Charles Barkley gives his opinion on the Nielsen ratings system.

Michael Silver has his 32 Questions.

Mike Reiss has his weekly mailbag.

Get out your wallets, TO’s Sharpie, yes that notorious TD celebration Sharpie is up for sale.

Dan Lamothe over at Red Sox Monster has a look at this years World Series through the eyes of the Mario Brothers.

A writer from the Toronto Star agrees with my assertion that Fox dropped the ball on the World Series with their continued live in-game ads.

Darren Rovell recalculated how many free tacos Taco Bell handed out yesterday. I think the most disturbing thing is that people will actually wait in a line for over 20 minutes to get something valued at around $1, its totally fascinating stuff. Can you imagine if they were giving away something valued at $10? There would be riots.

Reggie Bush is getting sued again by the former aspiring sports marketer.

“(The Red Sox) played like they wanted to win the World Series.” – John Kruk Now that’s some hard hitting analysis Johnny. That and more in this week’s Media Circus.

Awful Announcing has the announcing teams for the NFL games this week. No surprise for the Pats-Colts game. If you’re traveling this weekend and you hope to catch the game, you may want to avoid the Houston area.

In closing we get the “Video Clip of the Day”. In today’s clip we get to see the greatest sports agent/salesman in the world make a case why A-Rod deserves in excess of $30 million.

To steal a line from one of my favorite movies…

He can “sell a ketchup popsicle to a man in a white suit”, Ladies and Gentlemen, Scott Boras…

Take it away Scott….

Tonight on TV

I’m running a little short on time, so I will direct you here for tonight’s lineup.

Lovely Day For A Parade

Sorry folks, but I’m Riverdanced-out.

The rolling rally went through the streets of Boston yesterday, with periodic stops for Jonathan Papelbon to dance and go wild, much to the delight of the masses gathered to watch their heroes. On TV, viewers were treated to more inane comments from news people trying to cover a sports related event. The highlight of the afternoon at this address was Manny Ramirez speaking to reporters one last time in before heading out for the winter.

Boston fans now have today and tomorrow to exhale before jumping into Friday night’s debut of the new-look Celtics, followed by Sunday’s showdown of the unbeatens in Indy.

Jeff Horrigan offers up the top 10 golden moments from the 2007 season, leading off with Clay Buchholz’s no hitter against the Orioles. John Powers says that the pieces are in place for what would be a dynasty in this day and age. Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin say that it appears that Curt Schilling will not be back with the Red Sox next season. Schilling himself talks about the situation on 38Pitches, even listing the teams that he is considering for next season.

Alex Speier notes that this was a home grown title for the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty says that the Sox have work to do with Schilling and Mike Lowell. Horrigan’s notebook says that the Pirates have not contacted the Red Sox about speaking with John Farrell for their open managerial job.

Patriots

Mike Reiss says that since the Patriots and Colts last met, New England has overhauled both sides of the ball, adding speed to try and counter the Colts. John Tomase says the difference between the two clubs this season is how they are handling garbage time…which is another way of saying that the Colts have been every bit as dominant as the Patriots this season, they’re just not running up the score. Shalise Manza Young observes that in this matchup, the Patriots are now seen as the bad guys. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots march through the NFL is making them plenty of enemies eagerly awaiting payback.

David Heuschkel has the CBS’ analysts for Sunday’s game talking about the Patriots season and actions thus far. Douglas Flynn looks at how the Patriots and Colts have actually taken parallel paths to success. Eric McHugh has some midterm grades for the Patriots.

Reiss’ notebook leads off with Bill Cowher talking about the Patriots tactics, and also has a number of other items. Tomase’s notebook has more comments from Cowher, but you’ve got to love the comments from Phil Simms at the end.

Celtics

Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics depth after the trio will determine how far they are able to go this season. Mark Murphy has John Havlicek coming in to speak to the Celtics yesterday, and Kevin Garnett, for one, hung on every word from the Hall of Famer. Jessica Camerato has Garnett offering praise on Rajon Rondo, who had his contract extended by a year yesterday. Marc J. Spears has more on Garnett enjoying the experience of being around the Celtics legends.

Other

Mark Blaudschun notes that it will be a reversal of fortune when Florida State comes to town this weekend, hoping to play the role of spoiler to Boston College. Steve Conroy says that the BC receivers will be challenged this weekend. Blaudschun’s notebook looks at possible Bowl destinations for the Eagles.

Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins will now need to find a way to divide up Patrice Bergeron’s duties. Stephen Harris says that the two-game suspension handed down by the league on Randy Jones for the hit on Bergeron is a joke. Harris’ notebook has Manny Fernandez suffering a knee injury in practice yesterday.

Brought to you by….

(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Click here to email Dave. )

Today’s afternoon links are brought to you by Foxwoods. “Lets live for the wonder of it all, meet me at Foxwoods

As I attempted to stay up and watch the Red Sox complete a four-game sweep of the totally overmatched Rockies, I couldn’t help but think to myself, why exactly is this game was being played at such an utterly ridiculous time. I know, I know, call me a prude, I cannot stay up past 11:30PM to watch my beloved Red Sox, poor me. No seriously, how many people on the East Coast truly enjoyed watching a baseball game of such importance finish at an average of 12:30AM? Not me certainly, but in the big scheme of things, my or your opinion on this matter means nothing.

How many kids had the ability to watch at least one complete game of this World Series? I’m going to go out on a limb on this one and say not all that many. I’m 26 years old and for me to stay up past 1:00AM on a weeknight, with a 4:00AM wake up time looming over my head, is a near impossibility. Well, at least without the help of our sponsor, Dunkin Donuts, “America Runs on Dunkin”.

The following paragraph is brought to you by Giant Glass “1-800-54-GIANT

The reason the World Series, the end all series of America’s pasttime didn’t begin until 8:40PM EDT was simply due to money. Fox had to recoup the ridiculous sum of money they shelled out to have the rights to broadcast baseball’s Fall Classic, and we helped pay the bill. As Sports Illustrated’s John Donovan wrote last week “Why not a 7 p.m. first pitch instead of 8? The game still would be on in prime time. And, if people missed anything, it might be the start of the game instead of the end.” “But that doesn’t take into account the large TV markets on the West Coast, where a 7 p.m. East Coast start time comes at the beginning of rush hour in L.A., and a 3 1/2 hour game barely creeps into prime time.” You get it, its because of those damn people on the West Coast. For some reason the NFL doesn’t seem to care about this when they schedule the Super Bowl.

Not only do we pay by having a later start time, but the commercials themselves run longer than normal. A normal commercial break between innings during the regular season runs 2:25, during Fox’s coverage of the postseason those same breaks were now 2:55. That’s an additional 18 minutes and we haven’t even taken into account the naturally longer games that are played in the postseason. In addition to all of this, we have all the live ads during the game. It’s one thing for there to be incessant commercials but the in-game drops are ridiculous. This year Fox took it to a whole new level with their Taco Bell promotion. As you all know, if a member of either team stole a base, America would win a free taco. The only problem is that it appeared as if Fox did all they could to tell you about this promotion, during the game! Even digging so low as to get Red Sox bat-boy Royce Clayton “miked up” to get into a “discussion” with Jacoby Ellsbury about the promotion. Again, I understand the need for corporate sponsors but this has gone to a different echelon in the past few years. Try and survive a Red Sox radio broadcast, it’s not that much better. They have a sponsor for every word that comes out of Castig’s mouth. I’m actually nervous that next year Joe will sell the rights to “Can you believe it”.

Ultimately, what does this all mean for us the viewers, well nothing of course, we are powerless. I guess we will just have to adjust and accept it. Look on the bright side, if you or your child was unable to watch the entirety of the four World Series games, you can head on down to the streets of Boston and catch the rally. All you need to do is skip work, have your child play hooky from school and you’re on your way. After you watch the Bank of America sponsored “Rolling Rally” remember that from 2 to 5 you can get that free taco Fox has been telling you about. Also, make sure to catch up on your sleep, because the way this Sox team looks, we might just be having some sleepless Octobers again next year.

From the Monday Must Reads….

Peter King talks to multiple people from around the league to get an opinion on this week’s Pats-Colts matchup.

Michael Silver discusses his week in London for Giants-Dolphins in Morning Rush.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is convinced that the Pats are running it up on opponents in this week’s 10-Pack.

Around the Web

Tom Curran has part one of a three-part up close series on Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Mayor Menino somehow injured himself holding the World Series trophy, I’m not kidding, this rolling rally is some serious stuff.

Bill Simmons describes his feelings on the Red Sox second World Series.

Don Banks says that the Pats are indeed running up the score, and there’s nothing anyone in the league can do about it.

Anyone accusing the Patriots of running it up should read Tandler’s Redskins Blog.

The Yankees have hired a new manager.

Curt Schilling has began writing “Good Bye” letters to his Red Sox teammates.

Not surprising news, but Fox managed to “squeeze” five games worth of commercials into the Red Sox four-game sweep of the Rockies.

The Patriots “running up the score” is now an official topic for ESPN’s fantasy guru Matthew Berry to take a swipe at. Unfortunately for “The Talented Mr. Roto”, he lacks credibility when he does it the week after his Redskins were just decimated by the Patriots. Hey Matt, maybe Bill has Brady and Moss on his fantasy team?

Michael Silver reevaluates his prior opinions on Randy Moss.

ESPN has their weekly power rankings.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has a look at who might be in the A-Rod sweepstakes, but from a financial standpoint.

Jon Heyman has four current Red Sox players on his list of the 15 most superb postseason performers since ’69

Sabernomics takes a look at the Detroit Tigers newest acquisition, none other than former Red Sox temporary shortstop Edgar Renteria.

Fox Sports Adam Schein has his midterm grades for all 32 NFL teams. I bet you can’t guess what the Jets grade was.

Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan says that there are so many intriguing story lines for this year’s baseball offseason.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Donovan says that both the Red Sox and the Rockies are in a position to contend for years.

Major League Baseball had an statement in regards to the “A-Rod Announcement.”

Mr. Irrelevant does his best to channel Gregg Easterbrook for this post.

Finally, the best highlight from ESPN’s coverage of the World Series….

Peter Gammons and his thoughts on A-Rod

Tonight on TV

Not much going on with the local teams tonight. There are two NBA games and an NHL game if you’re interested. For a look at tonight’s action, check here.

Happy Landings

The World Series Champion Red Sox will have another “rolling rally” this afternoon through the streets of Boston. The rally starts at noon.

Meaghan Wims has the Red Sox being welcomed back to Boston and Fenway yesterday afternoon.

Jeff Horrigan has John Henry saying that the Red Sox considered breaking up the team and going for a full youth movement after last season. Sean McAdam says that glory days are here again, and that this club is in a much better position than the 2004 edition. Jeff Goldberg says that the roster indicates that the Red Sox have just begun their reign. Art Davidson has the Sox already thinking for the future.

Bob Ryan says that the 2007 postseason was a managerial clinic, and thousands of lunkheads missed it. Alex Speier says that Francona takes his place among the best managers in the game. Tony Massarotti says that thanks to Theo Epstein’s willingness to take a step back in 2006, the team is now in a position to contend for a number of years. Gordon Edes looks at the impact of the championship on the Red Sox players and their families. Mike Fine has the Red Sox at the top of the baseball world once again.

Steve Buckley says that the team will likely look very different in three years, just as this club is different from the 2004 edition. Jackie MacMullan notes the chemistry that this team had, and that is necessary for all championship squads. J.D. Enright ensures Red Sox fans that it is OK to win. Tommy Hine has Tim Wakefield enjoying every minute of the win. Michael Silverman says that J.D. Drew’s improved postseason was no fluke. The outfielder finally felt comfortable with his surroundings and team.

Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox made the right decision in holding off on signing Schilling before the season, and that now the right move is to sign him for another season. Amalie Benjamin has Schilling making his pitch to remain with the Red Sox. Rich Thompson has more on Schilling hoping to stay in Boston. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox embracing Lowell, with the hope of being able to bring him back next season. Paul Jarvey says that the Red Sox will face one decision very soon, keep Lowell or chase ARod. Jon Couture says that the Sox’ questions start with Lowell.

McDonald has Theo Epstein calling Jon Lester “a model” for their franchise. Jim Donaldson says that the worst of times turned into the best of times for the Lesters. Scott Allen says that Lester’s cancer doctors were not surprised at what he was able to accomplish in game four. Speier has the Sox letting loose after their win. David Brown says that 2004 allowed the Sox to make an attitude adjustment. Joe Haggerty notes that the Red Sox having finally shed the lovable loser image. Mike Petraglia looks at a team that took awhile to find its identity.

Stan Grossfeld chronicles the flight home to Boston. After winning the trophy Sunday night, yesterday was about bringing it home to Boston. Dan Shaughnessy goes over the playoff numbers and the October run one more time. Bill Burt has Andover native Michael Chiklis doing what he had to do to get tickets to game four.

Horrigan’s notebook has Mike Timlin sounding like a man who has already left Boston in the past. Edes notebook has David Ortiz talking rest and surgery.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Christopher Price looks at why Mike Vrabel always seems to be open in the end zone.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, and for the first time I can remember in a while, it’s straight “A’s” Ian M. Clark is the tougher grader this week, throwing a couple of “B+” marks in there. Rich Garven puts together a midseason report card.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots and Colts defenses prepping for what figures to be a huge test for both squads. Karen Guregian has the revamped Patriots set to test their new-look offense against the Colts. Mark Farinella has the Colts not quite ready to join in on the hype. Douglas Flynn says that the next game will be anything but routine. David Heuschkel has Belichick dishing some high praise for the Colts.

Robert Lee says that the Patriots running attack kept the Redskins honest on Sunday. Christopher Price has Belichick believing that his team can still improve. Shalise Manza Young has Washington still at a total loss at what happened. Guregian also has a look at Belichick facing criticism for the running-it-up question

Gasper’s notebook has Troy Brown itching to get back out on the field. Guregian’s notebook says that Vrabel’s star turn on Sunday was truly a team effort.

Celtics

In the midst of the Red Sox parade and Patriots/Colts, the Globe offers up something of an NBA preview today. Shira Springer has a feature on Kevin Garnett and how a year at Farragut Academy in Chicago really made his game.

Marc J. Spears has the Celtics looking good thus far, but still needing to prove themselves to their naysayers around the league. Springer also notes that Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have a history of friendship that goes back to high school.

Peter May previews the Eastern conference (Celtics fourth), the Western conference and looks at the league In triplicate.

Julian Benbow has injured big man Scott Pollard getting some work in at practice yesterday. Steve Bulpett has more on Pollard going through his first real practice with the team.

Barbara Matson says that Patrice Bergeron could miss a month or more. Stephen Harris looks at the hit on Bergeron drawing a two game suspension for Randy Jones.

Mark Blaudschun has Matt Ryan keeping things under control.

Sox Champs Again

Congratulations To The Boston Red Sox – 2007 World Series Champions!

Yes, they did it again.

We’re a long ways from from the days of “loserville?” Aren’t we? The Boston Red Sox secured their second World Series Championship in four years with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies to finish a four game sweep of the Series.

There’s no way we’re going to get to all the stories this morning, so I’ll try to bring you some of the highlights from the coverage today.

(As a heads up, if you’re looking for Patriots links this morning, head on over to Patriots Daily – they’re all there.)

Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox scaling that Championship peak once again. Dan Shaughnessy offers up the front page game story in the Globe. Joe McDonald says that the season ended triumphantly, and according to a masterful plan. Gordon Edes has the sports page game story in the Globe. Jeff Goldberg has the Sox becoming the first team to win two World Series titles in the 21st century. Ron Chimelis has the Red Sox as baseball’s champion – again. Joe Haggerty has the Red Sox making the long season well worth the wait. Paul Jarvey has the Sox on Cloud Nine after the win. Jon Couture says that it was all worth it this season.

Bob Ryan says that while 2004 was an exorcism. 2007 is an exclamation point. Tony Massarotti says that the transformation of the Red Sox is complete…the question is no longer if they can win a title, but now how many can they win. Sean McAdam reminds us that we’re living in the golden age of Red Sox baseball. Dom Amore says that in three short years, a nation of millions has gone from star-crossed to spoiled. Lenny Megliola has the Red Sox once again closing out the World Series in a hurry. Alex Speier has the Red Sox proving to be more than your average group of schlemiels. David Brown notes that these Sox are built to last.

Steve Buckley says manager Terry Francona has grown from and built on his postseason experiences. Jackie MacMullan has Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon making the dreams of Red Sox Nation come to life. Steven Krasner looks at Papelbon and Lester as the stars on the mound for the Sox last night. Michael Silverman has a look at the “new” Manny Ramirez from the 2007 postseason. Michael Vega has Mike Timlin getting to add another ring to his collection which now numbers four.

Ryan attempts to sum up what Jason Varitek means to this team. Brown has more on just how indispensable Varitek is to the club. McDonald and Krasner point out that Ellsbury and Pedroia embody great homegrown talent for the Red Sox. John Powers has a look at Bobby Kielty, whose pinch hit home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game winner for the Red Sox. Bill Ballou has the “other guy” in the Josh Beckett trade proving his value with the Series MVP.

It was said sometime this past week that if Jon Lester was in the NL, he would be a 15 game winner and the ace of the Rockies staff. The 23-year-old lefthander did nothing to dissuade that notion last night, pitching 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in the clinching game of the World Series. Nick Cafardo says that the force was with Lester last night, who even had at least one Rockie saying “If you had to get beat by someone you have to be happy for that guy.” Jim Donaldson has more on Lester, and Lowell as well, two cancer survivors who helped lead the Red Sox to victory last night.

Mindful of the fiasco that followed the ball from the final out of the 2004 World Series, Jason Varitek ended any such controversy this time around by saying after the game that after catching the Jonathan Papelbon strikeout to end the game last night, he’ll give it back to the team.

Horrigan’s notebook looks at an amazing year for Jacoby Ellsbury, who will still be considered a rookie next season. The Projo notebook has Francona noting that this was a very easy team to manage, they didn’t give him any troubles this season. Goldberg’s notebook has the bullpen again proving to be the key for the Red Sox. Chimelis’ notebook has Ellsbury as the new star in the Red Sox universe after this series. Jarvey’s notebook says that this was an offensive playoff season to remember for the Red Sox.

David Scott wraps up all of the postgame coverage, thankful as you should be that our regional nightmare of embarrassing media displays is coming to an end. Chad Finn has a great live-blog of the game, including the postgame celebrations. Over on Red Sox Monster, they think it would be a good idea to hang onto this Lowell guy.

Once again, your Patriots Links from the team’s 52-7 blowout of the Washington Redskins can be found over at Patriots Daily. (A huge thanks to Scott for putting those together.) The win moved the Pats to 8-0 and sets up a matchup with also undefeated Indianapolis this coming Sunday.

For Bruins and Celtics coverage, head on over to CelticsLinks.com and BruinsLinks.com

Rookies Run Riot, Wrap Up Game Three

(Guest Blogging by T.J. Donegan; he can be reached at tdonegan@gwu.edu)

The Red Sox took the first of a possible three games in Colorado last night 10-5, forcing a do-or-die Game Four for the Rockies tonight.

Dice-K Matsuzaka was not especially dominant, but more than proficient, in shutting down the Rockies through five and a third, giving up only two runs on three hits, taking the bat off his shoulder to drive in two of his own, though, on an RBI single. Again, he seemed to out-think himself and needed over 100 pitches to get through, however, precluding much further action for the Japanese rookie.

The story of the night was the Red Sox offense, however, which knocked out starter Josh Fogg, looking to plug the leak for the Rockies, after he gathered just eight outs. The Sox smacked Fogg around with six earned on 10 hits, all the runs coming in the third inning.

Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia combined at the top of the order for eight hits, three doubles, and four RBIs (to go along with Dice-K’s two) in 10 at-bats to carry the Sox to a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.
The Sox would add to their lead after Colorado made it close with five runs in the sixth and seventh. Boston’s four runs in the eighth and ninth provided the breathing room though as the Sox coasted through to their sixth straight postseason win after falling behind 3-1 to Cleveland in the ALCS.

Jon Lester is expected to take the mound tonight to try and finish off the reeling Rockies, just one year after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s a spectacular finish to a tortuous and draining year for the young pitcher, and we all wish him and the Red Sox the best of luck.

Jeff Horrigan talks about the rookies and their contributions last night. Rob Bradford talks about the success of Terry Francona deciding to put Ortiz at first. Steve Buckley said the results of the last three games really should have been obvious going in. Tony Massarotti talks about Jacoby Ellsbury, a unique player for the Red Sox. Michael Silverman says Dice-K has earned the trust of The Nation, and “Dice-K. Game Seven.” doesn’t sound quite as cataclysmic as it might have a month ago. Silverman also talks about Matsuzaka being the first Japanese pitcher to start in the post season.

Alex Speier talks about Julio Lugo playing a pivotal role in the win last night. Massarotti talks about Jon Lester’s chance to clinch a World Series for the Sox tonight.

Dan Shaughnessy says this series feels “more like a coronation than a contest.” Gordon Edes talks about the possibility of a second Red Sox World Series sweep. Bob Ryan says, barring “Divine Payback” for the Sox dumping the curse with a four-game comeback, the Red Sox are back at the top. Jackie MacMullan talks about Ellsbury’s big night in Game Three. Shaughnessy also talks about Lester’s chance to put another chapter in his remarkable story. Nick Cafardo has Dice-K doing it all, playing the game of his life last night.

Jon Couture talks about the Sox dealing with the altitude of Coors field. David Brown has the Sox’s pirate bullpen plundering the World Series trophy. Bill Ballou has a wrap up of last night’s proceedings. Art Davidson says it might be premature, but you might want to anticipate a parade sometime this week. Davidson also talks about the composition of these plucky Rockies that have unfortunately found themselves under the boot of a Red Sox juggernaut. Lenny Megliola has the Sox just one win away. Let me just let you soak that in. One. Win. Away.

Jayson Stark says get your champagne ready. Jim Caple gets things from Colorado’s side of the ball, calling it the worst postseason in baseball history. Excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for the dear, departed excitement of comebacks and curses.

Joe McDonald says, despite it all, it’s been a grand year in Denver for these Rockies. Sean McAdam calls up memories of old boxer Jim Braddock, saying the Sox took the best shot the Rockies could muster and just stood tall and smiled. Jim Donaldson puts on the brakes and reminds us of the 2004 ALCS, saying it ain’t over yet. Jeff Goldberg says different year, field named after a different beer, same result for the rampant Red Sox. Goldberg also talks about the prolific Ellsbury. I love the rook, I think he looks like the superstar kid from The Sandlot, but he was 1-7 with a walk coming into last ni–who am I kidding? I love the guy.

Alex Speier says this all just feels like Commencement day. Troy E. Renck says the carriage’s about to turn back to a pumpkin for the Rockies after the Game Three dismissal by the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook talks about Francona’s handling of Papelbon over the season. Michael Vega’s notebook has Carlton Fisk take on the series.

Patriots

The Pats look to keep their momentum going as they take on a tough defense this afternoon with the Washington Redskins coming to town. New England will try to move to 8-0 and avoid what might be considered a trap game with a certain well-publicized matchup with a certain undefeated defending champion next weekend. You might have heard about that one, I don’t know, it seems to be flying under the radar a bit.

For your links I’ll kick it over to Patriots Daily.

With all the extra Sox coverage I’ll have to send you to bruinslinks and celticslinks for your coverage of the Bs and Cs.

That should wrap it up for me, big night tonight with the Pats and Red Sox. Anyone else planning on coming down with some rare disease for tomorrow morning? WebMD, always there to help a fan get out of work.

Most wonderful time of the year

Afternoon links provided by RJ. E-mail him at foreverfenway87@yahoo.com.

OK, I know the headline is usually something people starting singing in late November, but you gotta admit Boston has not felt this much pride in its sports teams since … well, never!

We’ll start with the obvious. The Red Sox find themselves just two wins away from their second World Series title in the last four years. Pitcher Josh Beckett is without a doubt the best in the game and is showing the rest of the baseball world he kicks into another gear come playoff time. Curt Schilling is trying to make it hard for Theo and Co. to let him walk away after another strong outing a in Game 2. Jonathan “Dance Fever” Papelbon looks like he’s stronger now than at any point of the regular season. And best of all, the Sox offense isn’t relying on Big Papi or Manny. I predicted a Sox win in six, but now I think Fenway is closed for good in ’07.

On the gridiron, Tom Brady and the Patriots seem more focused, determined and talented than in any of their three Super Bowl-winning seasons. They’re on track to set the mark for most points scored in a season, Brady could demolish Peyton Manning’s TD mark and an undefeated season isn’t out of the question.

Staying on the gridiron, two-thumbs up for BC and QB Matt Ryan for a thrilling comeback against Virginia Tech, even if only a handful of people watched since it was up against the Sox and Rocks. Ryan could join Doug Flutie as Heismann winners and a BCS championship berth is in BC’s hands.
Over to the rink, it was nice to see Bruins captain Zdeno Chara drop the gloves and drop an opponent during their win over a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. Photo of the year, in case you missed it, was of two guys sitting in the Garden, all alone in one section. Just classic. Bruins are 6-3 on the young season and hoping draw the fans in once baseball is over.

It’s just crazy being a Boston fan these days, and I like it that way!

On to the links:

Boston Globe

Red Sox

Bob Ryan says the decision whether to play David Ortiz is trickier this year than in ’04. Dan Shaughnessy discusses how a new legion of Red Sox fans don’t understand the team’s past misery. Jackie MacMullan says the Sox success is overshadowing everything else sports-related in Boston. Gordon Edes writes that Daisuke Matsuzaka has eyed the World Series trophy since his first meeting with the Red Sox brass. Amalie Benjamin says J.D. Drew’s regular-season struggles have become a distant memory. Colin Nickerson writes the thin air of Coors Field may give the Sox problems.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper says lineman Nick Kaczur’s play has helped set the tone for the offense. Gasper also says cornerback Asante Samuel is still playing at the same level he was at last year.

Boston Herald

Red Sox

Jeff Horrigan says Dice-K and the Sox seek a Mile High clubbing. Tony Massarotti writes because Josh Beckett is slated to pitch Game 5, Games 3 and 4 become must wins for the Rockies. Steve Buckley discusses how Dice-K and Jon Lester are ready for their chance to shine on the big stage. Horrigan writes about Terry Francona’s decision to sit Kevin Youkilis for Game 3, and possibly 4 and 5. Rob Bradford says patience at the plate is paying off for the Sox offense. Michael Silverman says playing at Coors Field can be a sobering experience. Alex Speier says Game 3 will be a “family” reunion for Sox pitching coach John Farrell and the Holliday family.

Patriots

Karen Guregian says there’s a spot on the defensive line waiting for Richard Seymour, if he’s ready. Guregian also writes how Donte Stallworth is most dangerous after the catch.

Providence Journal

Red Sox

Daniel Barbarisi writes how Red Sox Nation has migrated West. The ProJo has a nice graphic on Coors Field, with it’s dimensions compared to Fenway. Joe McDonald says Lester’s special season could end on the highest of notes. Sean McAdam says Tim Wakefield is showing what being a good teammate is all about.

Patriots

Rob Lee says cornerback Eddie Jackson is ready to make a name for himself. Lee also writes how three-time Super Bowl winners Bill Belichick and Joe Gibbs are set to clash.

Celtics and Bruins

Click here for all your coverage for the C’s and B’s.

Enjoy the weekend.

Friday Afternoon Links

A few media and housekeeping notes to wrap up the week.

We’re planning on posts both days this weekend, the Saturday post will likely be up around 2:00pm. It’s a another big weekend for Boston sports, and we’ll try to get as many links and stories to you as possible.

Patriots Daily will have College Scout tomorrow, followed by The Sunday Links. Since it is a home game on Sunday, they’ve also got posted the Patriots Buffet Table with food and drink suggestions for the game.

Michael Hiestand has a look at the NFL coming to Europe with the Dolphins/Giants game this Sunday. He also has ESPN/ABC shuffling up their NBA announcing crews.

Ed Sherman looks at Rick Reilly and Dan Patrick essentially switching places this week with Reilly heading to ESPN and Patrick to Sports Illustrated. Michael David Smith tells us who came out ahead in this “trade.”

Richard Sandomir has Taco Bell managing to bring sponsorship integration to new levels in this World Series.

John Maffei has Southern California sportscasters shedding the sports desk to go out and help report on the wildfires.

Michael Silver, previews the weekend’s NFL action, and tells us why London should be awarded a Super Bowl.

Tom Curran looks at the Adalius Thomas/Ray Lewis spat this week, and has a bunch of Joe Gibbs stuff heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Patriots.

Bill Simmons has a mailbag and his weekend NFL picks.

Dan Wetzel says that the Rockies are being outsmarted by the Red Sox in this World Series, pointing to the Matt Holliday pickoff at first from last night.

Meanwhile, here is the Countdown Daily for today from ESPN. (Can you tell I love these ESPN videos?)

Sox Take Game Two, BC Stages Amazing Comeback

In stark contrast to game one, game two of the World Series was a pitching duel, as the Red Sox squeezed out a 2-1 victory behind 5 1/3 innings from Curt Schilling, 2 1/3 innings from Hideki Okajima and 1 1/3 innings from Jonathan Papelbon.

Get your stories and coverage this morning from RedSoxLinks.com.

David Scott was at Fenway for game two, and passes along some observations and some media tidbits from the week.

With the Patriots scoring over 40 points in the first half against Miami, on Patriots Daily, Bill Barnwell examines some interesting scoring and possession trends in the NFL. Check back this afternoon for our weekly roundtable discussion.

The Celtics made a couple of cuts yesterday, waiving guards Dahntay Jones and Jackie Manuel while keeping rookie forward Brandon Wallace, who might be headed to the Development League. Check out the Celtics news at CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins scored a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks at TD Banknorth Garden, improving to 6-3 on the season. Check the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Boston College scored a huge win last night. They were behind and beaten up for much of their game on the road against Virginia Tech, but some late fourth quarter magic from Matt Ryan and a recovered onsides kick gave the #2 ranked Eagles a 14-10 win.

Check out the highlights from this one:

And some commentary from the announcing crew:

Schilling’s Last Call?

(Afternoon Links Provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Dave can be contacted at DVidinha@bostonsportsmedia.com)

After last night’s rout of the Colorado Rockies, Terry Francona will hand the ball to Curt Schilling in hopes of flying to Denver with a 2-0 series lead. The Sox offense, which is currently on fire, tore into Colorado pitching last night on their way to a 13-1 victory, and breaking some World Series records on the way. The Sox offense set a record for runs and victory margin in an opener. The Sox offense has now outscored opponents 43-6 in their last four games. Red Sox ace Josh Beckett wasn’t too shabby himself, allowing six hits over seven innings of work. Beckett struck out nine and walked only one (Spilborghs on two questionable balls) improving to 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in the postseason this year.

Meanwhile, Schilling who may possibly be pitching in his final home game at Fenway will look to keep the momentum in the Sox favor. The big right hander last pitched Saturday in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians. In that game Schilling was effective, allowing only two runs on six hits over seven innings; he struck out five and walked none on a way to a convincing 12-2 victory. Schilling faced Colorado earlier this season and was shelled for six runs on nine hits, but we saw just how relevant those games were last night.

The Rockies will counter with their 23-year-old hard throwing right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez who went 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 15 regular-season starts, will look to do something opposing pitchers have had difficulty doing as of late, silence the Sox bats. With a fastball hovering around the century mark, Jimenez has been dominant in this postseason. Jimenez last pitched on October 12th, going five innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out six, while walking four.

Tonight’s game will give us a much better idea of how this series will play out. Currently there isn’t a team in baseball that can mount any semblance of an offensive attack versus Josh Beckett. That leaves tonight’s matchup even more intriguing for two reasons. First, we will be able to see if the rest of the starting rotation will answer the call, and second, was Game 1′s abysmal performance by Colorado a side effect of the long layover or more realistically an example of Beckett’s dominance. Only time will tell.

Around the Web

All but one of the Red Sox starters scored above a B in John Donovan’s Game 1 Report Card.

On the night his favorite Red Sox player is pitching, Dan Shaughnessy answers your questions in today’s chat.

Tom Verducci credits the extensive scouting, not Colorado rust, as the main reason for the Red Sox Game 1 success.

Gene Wojciechowski has an open letter to Red Sox Nation.

Fox Sports Mark Kriegal asks the question “if the Rockies spent the past eight days engaged in simulated games, what exactly were they simulating?”

Jayson Stark (who picked the Rockies) talks up the Red Sox red hot offense.

Yahoo! Sports Tim Brown has a nice piece on “Big game Beckett” saying “Beckett has not just won four times in the playoffs, he’s shamed his opponents.”

CNBC’s Darren Rovell takes issue with Fox’s “shameless” moments in last night’s broadcast. Fox even manages to respond to Rovell’s “shameless” assertion.

The Yankees organization has officially appealed this announcement.

Howard Bryant throws a wet blanket on all the excitement after Game 1.

According to Matt Palmer of The Examiner in Washington, Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas had the “biggest ego inside the Raven’s locker room”.

“I enjoyed watching [Eli] play on Monday night because I got a chance to see him play live on TV, and being able to watch the game in mute. Because it’s an easier way to watch the game than hear some of those broadcasters.’’

That’s Peyton Manning’s view of the MNF crew. Those and more in Football Outsiders Week in Quotes.

Peter King made his weekly game predictions.

Dr. Z has his power rankings. Quick update on the Jets. They remained steadfast at #29. J-E-T-S, JETS!, JETS!, JETS!!!! I wonder if that season ticket holder will file lawsuits against the entire league now?

Belichick had some comments on Richard Seymour practicing.

Football Outsider’s Mike Tanier has his weekly NFL rundown.

Mike Reiss had his weekly mailbag.

Ed Berliner’s new venture, the Speeding Bullet Network is online with constantly updating video and audio sports discussions and opinions.

Tonight on TV

Boston sports fans will have a plethora of programming to choose from tonight. While Game 2 of the World Series will certainly garner a majority of the attention, one positive aspect of the ridiculous 8:30PM start times, is that you get the opportunity to watch a good portion of BC Football or the Bruins. The #2 Ranked Boston College Eagles will head down to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on #8 Virginia Tech. The game can be seen on ESPN starting at 7:30PM. Back here in Boston the Bruins will look to improve on their 5-3 record against the 5-4 Chicago Blackhawks. That game can be seen beginning at 7PM on NESN. For the rest of tonight’s matchups check here.