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Very funny (not so fast, Lenny)

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 1, 2010 05:58 PM

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BwS5eQB2kKGrHqMOKj0Evn9iu19BMG9WHG1wQ_3.jpgToday's media column, in which we check in with NESN/Bruins play-by-play guy Jack Edwards (probably just my mad journalistic instincts kicking in here, but I think he might like a hockey a little) and gripe about a couple of prominent films looking back at the 2004 Red Sox (Lenny Clarke? On the wonderful "30 for 30"? Talk about cruel jokes), can be found right here.

Some small items got cut for space reasons -- a look at WEEI's "Celtics Thursday" programming, the usual dig at "NESN Daily," and a few other scattered lines. Maybe we'll revisit some of them this week, space-permitting.

There also wasn't room for some tidbits from an interview I had a little while back with Cal Ripken, David Wells, and Ron Darling, who will again be part of TBS's postseason coverage team, along with, among others, NESN's Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley.

(I should probably pause to note here that TBS has exclusive coverage of all four Division Series, beginning Wednesday with a tripleheader, times and teams to be determined. The network will also carry the ALCS beginning Oct. 15. They also show lots of reruns of "The Office" from when Jim and Pam weren't perfect and Dwight wasn't a sociopath.)

Anyway, as you'd imagine, it was fun to talk to all three of those guys for 20 minutes or so in a casual roundtable atmosphere. The bombastic Wells was the least engaged and opinionated, while Darling and Ripken were enthusiastic and insightful . . . though Ripken did say one thing that caught me off guard.

He thinks A.J. Burnett is . . . good.

It's true. While talking about the Yankees, Ripken casually mentioned that he expects Burnett — who is atop the public enemies list in the Bronx after losing 15 games with a 5.33 ERA this season — to be a successful member of Joe Girardi's postseason pitching rotation, saying, ‘‘I totally expect him to right himself.’’

I know. I almost asked him if there was another A.J. Burnett of whom I am not aware. Instead, I suggested that he’s in the distinct minority in that opinion, Girardi included.

‘‘Yeah, maybe I’m a little biased because I remember facing him at the end of my career and thought he was the nastiest guy I’d ever faced,’’ said Ripken with a laugh. "So I know he’s got explosive stuff and it’s just a matter of controlling himself.’’

(Hmmm, maybe there is another A.J. Burnett. Because the one Ripken faced got him out once in two career at-bats, with the one hit being a homer. He also drew a walk. Could he be thinking of Sean Burnett? Carol Burnett? She did allegedly have a filthy changeup, and no, I don't know what that is supposed to mean.)

It's hardly surprisingly given his status as baseball’s all-time ironman, but Ripken said he greatly enjoys the marathon days in the TBS studio, where he's joined on set by Wells, The Eck, and host Matt Winer. On certain days -- such as this upcoming Wednesday -- they'll have to watch and analyze three games, weighing in during the studio show that airs between them.

It's a long day, 10-12 hours at times, and as Wells said, it can be a grind even though you're getting paid to watch baseball. "I mean, you put me in front of the TV, and I'm gonna doze anyway," he said.

Ripken says there will be no couch time for him. True to his image, he is savoring every inning.

‘‘I love the fact that you have to watch every single pitch of every single game,’’ said Ripken, who has been part of TBS's postseason studio lineup since 2007. ‘‘I do enjoy the discipline of watching all three games. But to Boomer’s point, sometimes at the end of the day, after watching three games and it's 2 o'clock in the morning, you have to ask yourself, did that really happen today, or was it yesterday? But I really, really enjoy it, and we have a great group of guys. I enjoyed being around Boomer last year, I love Eck's enthusiasm, so it's been a wonderful experience for me.’’

So there you go. Cal Ripken still likes baseball a lot. (Yes, probably even more than Jack Edwards likes hockey.) I suppose that doesn't exactly qualify as the scoop of the day, but it seems entirely genuine, and that's pretty cool.

He's totally wrong about A.J. Burnett, though.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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