Dan Shaughnessy

Piecing together a few things

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / September 2, 2010

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Picked-up pieces while waiting for Manny Ramirez and Tiger Woods to return to our region this weekend.

■The once-great Channel 4 has officially sold its news soul to the New England Patriots. “All Access’’ is one thing, and here on Morrissey Boulevard we are compromised because of the awkward New York Times 17 percent stake in the Red Sox (hence, our court-mandated NESN appearances). But WBZ-TV has officially morphed into a 24/7 Patriot infomercial for Bob Kraft enterprises. These preseason home broadcasts have become outright ridiculous. Channel 4 feeds us nonstop promotions on the owner, Patriot Place, and the CBS Scene.

For the Rams game, Kraft insisted that the “talent’’ wear red shirts with Patriot logos. This was done in the interest of promoting the Patriot “brand.’’ Affable Steve Burton plays along, calling the diminutive Kraft “Mr. Big.’’ What’s next for Burton and Dan Roche — propeller beanies with Flying Elvises and Pat Patriots? Pom-poms, megaphones, and Patriot letter sweaters?

It’s one thing to insist that broadcasters spread the gospel of the team, but when you make them wear team garb, you’re telling the world that the station is in the bag. “All Access’’ becomes All Suck-Up. The station can’t be trusted to report anything real or remotely negative about the team. Channel 4 is deeper in the tank with the Patriots than WEEI is — no small achievement.

If your eyes and ears don’t confirm this, here’s an interesting item: After Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in 2006 (riding without a helmet), he promised he would always ride with a helmet in the future. According to Sports Illustrated, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, KDKA, subsequently shot footage of Roethlisberger riding without a helmet but did not air the tape because it did not want to damage its relationship with the Steelers. The station’s news director at the time was John Verrilli, now the news director at Channel 4 in Boston.

In Sports Illustrated, Verrilli denied the tape existed. He did not return my calls.

■ Here’s hoping Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph gets some snaps for the Giants against the Patriots tonight.

■ Hard to summon much sympathy for Roger Clemens when you see him appear in federal court, then catch a private plane for Myrtle Beach so he can play 18 before sunset. One more instance of the Rocket flipping the bird at the US government and everyone else. Clemens’s trial date is April 5, 2011, which will be Opening Day in some major league cities.

■ Anybody else notice that Carl Pavano looks like W.B. Mason?

■ When Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden played with the Rams in 1977, his training camp roommates were Joe Namath and Al Cowlings.

■ Delonte West again? Difficult as it may be, let’s resist the urge to go for the cheap laughs on this one.

■ It is impossible to read the background on the nonfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao without concluding that Mayweather is afraid of the Filipino congressman. Mayweather wants to retire unbeaten and wants to tell the world he is the greatest fighter of all time, but he looks more like a good fighter who picked his spots and ran from trouble at the end.

■Quiz: Name the five players who won championships with the Yankees and Red Sox. Hint: One of them had a very short stint in pinstripes and was not part of the Yankees’ championship postseason.

■Darrelle Revis had one of the best seasons in the history of the cornerback position in 2009, but he has three years remaining on his contract, which makes his holdout objectionable. Players who opt for security over risk need to honor their pacts. Adrian Beltre is a good example. He could have taken security, but he opted to put it on the line this year and now he will be rewarded.

■John Calipari to Dan Patrick, defending his contention that draft night 2010 was the best night in Kentucky basketball history: “It was like winning the national title. What if we had won the national title and none of them got drafted?’’ Actually, coach, that would have been OK with most UK alums. You are not there to send kids to the NBA. You are there to win games and championships for Kentucky.

■ Sad to see the Packers put running back Quinn Porter on injured reserve, ending his season. Porter was a cheerleader at Stillman College before he became a running back and NFL tryout. Teammates called him “Pom Pom.’’ Maybe he can get a sideline gig at Channel 4.

■Hats off to Red Sox rookie Ryan Kalish and Rays veteran Carlos Pena for playing the game correctly. Somebody taught Kalish and Pena that the basepath belongs to the runner. When Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana stuck his leg in the path, Kalish went straight for the plate. The collision was ugly, but it was clean. Catchers can block the plate if they want, but they are supposed to do so at risk. You saw this again Sunday when Pena plowed into Victor Martinez. Too often lately, players have been going around catchers and giving up runs to avoid collisions. Kalish and Pena did it the old-school way. The good news is that Santana did not sustain a career-threatening injury. He has had surgery and hopes to be back next season.

■ “Pocket Money’’ is back on the (NESN) air Friday night. That pretty much clinches the Emmy for next year.

■Fastest game in pro football history? Patriots over the Jets, 23-14, in 1 hour and 56 minutes on Oct. 5, 1969.

■ Bet you didn’t know that Cole Haan sells bridal shoes with Nike air soles.

■ I’ve asked before and I’ll ask again: Did 22-year-old Cuban Aroldis Chapman (105 m.p.h.) sign with the Cincinnati Reds because he thinks they’re Communists?

■Quiz answer: Babe Ruth, Johnny Damon, Ramiro Mendoza, Eric Hinske, and Mike Lowell. Lowell played eight regular-season games for the 1998 Yankees.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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