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The Boston Globe

Sports

Dan Shaughnessy

Could we see Terry Francona’s Indians in playoffs?

Picked-up pieces while waiting for the Red Sox’ first playoff victory since Oct. 18, 2008, at the Trop.

Wes Welker has missed three games since 2004. Danny Amendola has missed 21 of his last 34 games and now looks like he is out for another 3-4 weeks because of a groin strain/possible muscle tear.

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Lots of talk about “The Manning Bowl” on CBS Sunday. Peyton vs. Eli. Peyton won (even though Welker dropped a few). Swell. But those of us from New England think of the Manning Bowl as the sports palace in Lynn that was high school home of Harry Agganis and Tony Conigliaro, and also featured a concert by the Rolling Stones in June of 1966. Our Manning Bowl, the real Manning Bowl, was demolished in 2004.

Excellent piece on the front page of the Sunday New York Times regarding the new fantasy lounge inside EverBank Field in Jacksonville. The 7,000-square-foot lounge encourages Jacksonville fans to abandon the stands and watch every game — except the game the Jags happen to be playing out on the field. A luxury television emporium inside an NFL stadium nicely demonstrates a growing problem for league owners: there’s less and less reason to attend a game. Going to a game in Foxborough is expensive and requires a minimum eight-hour commitment. At home, it’s warm and dry, you get free parking, no wait for the bathrooms, and you can keep up with every one of your fantasy league players. All professional sports confront this issue, none more than the NFL. Watching at home in HD with high-speed Internet access and NFL RedZone simply has become too good. The Patriots are well aware of this problem and have worked to improve wireless service at Gillette Stadium. They have a string of sellouts and a waiting list of folks who want tickets — but with everything TV has to offer, why sit in horrendous Route 1 traffic, soaking wet from a two-hour downpour during the second half of one of the worst games in history, then arrive home at 2 a.m. after a Thursday night game? Pass the clicker.

Hooting on NESN is a local parlor game, but the Red Sox/Bruins network is finally giving us some good local programming with “Behind the B.’’ Beats “Pocket Money.’’

Don’t let anybody kid you, the Oakland A’s are good. The A’s might be the toughest opponent for the Red Sox.

With all the ups and downs, Jon Lester has a lifetime record of 99-56.

Troy Brown the media guy is no different from Troy Brown the overachieving football player. Brown wants to be good at everything he does and he says he’s going to “sportswriting boot camp” to improve his blogging skills. I don’t think Schill did this. Schill was a natural.

Looking for the first “It was all because we went back to Bill James’s philosophy” story to break any day now.

Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians coming to Fenway for the American League Division Series Oct. 4?

Any chance the Dolphins could challenge the Patriots for first place in the AFC East? The NFL’s Powder Puff division is 6-2 overall.

The Tradition is Tuesday night at the Garden. Honoring Jack Nicklaus, Doug Flutie, Aly Raisman, Carlton Fisk, Derek Sanderson, the Celtics’ owners, and Vince Wilfork. Always a good evening. Proceeds go to the Sports Museum. For tickets, call 617-624-1237.

Three-and-out warning to Ryan Allen. From 2001 to 2012 the Patriots had four punters — Ken Walter, Josh Miller, Chris Hanson, and Zoltan Mesko. All went away after their third season.

After 26 starts and a 10-6 record, Felix Doubront could be off the roster for the first round of the playoffs. That would be Wakefield-esque.

Save the Date: Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars at the Garden Nov. 5 — just a couple of days after the Red Sox’ Duck Boat parade.

At shortstop for the 2014 New York Yankees: Stephen Drew.

The Celtics go to camp as the No. 4 team in the marketplace, not even close to the medal stand.

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington sounds like a man about to be fired.

Bruno Mars at halftime Feb. 2 in the Meadowlands? Sign me up.

Life works in strange ways. The owner of the Red Sox happens to be buying the dominant news institution in our region at the precise moment when the Red Sox are performing at a level that makes them almost above criticism. Perpetrating one of the most amazing turnarounds in baseball history, the Sox may make it to the World Series. The praise and gushing that comes with this is hard earned and well deserved, but it nevertheless will invite suspicion because of an unsolvable conflict of interest. Too bad. Nothing really changes. When good things happen, we write good things. When bad things happen, the coverage is not as favorable. Prepare for the deification of this ball club. Thus far in 2013, the Red Sox are more than worthy.

Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.
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