Saturday, December 30, 2006


Boston College was an 8 point favorite in this game. Navy was 9-3, just like BC, but they had only beaten 1 D-IA team with a winning record: East Carolina. For most of the game, however, Navy was in control.

The Midshipmen threw the option at BC, who seemed unprepared to defend it despite having such a long time (37 days) in between their loss to Miami and this game. Navy wound up with 322 total rushing yards on 59 carries. Seven Navy players had multiple carries. Four had more than 40 yards on the ground, two had more than 70.

BC's failure to successfully defend against the option forced them to play it tighter. The safeties were kept in at the snap which made us vulnerable to deep passing routes. Navy exploited this weakness perfectly. They had 2 touchdowns in the air. The only had 5 during the regular season.

The Eagles did their part in screwing up just a little bit. A few stupid penalties to begin the game and a missed XP all of which might have been due to rust after sitting for 5 weeks. Ryan also threw two picks, one which was somewhat of a freak play as the linebacker who picked the ball was hidden from Ryan's view by the umpire. Nevertheless, BC wasn't playing perfectly.

They were still in the game, and halfway through the 4th, they had an opportunity to tie with a 2 point conversion. Ryan threw a bullet that hit Tony Gonzalez in the chest, but Gonzalez couldn't bring it in. After a great defensive series, BC got the ball back on their 42. But the Eagles went 3 and out and punted.

Navy rushed past midfield and were running the clock down. They forced BC to use all of its timeouts. Just under 2 minutes on the clock, Navy had a 3rd and 15 on BC's 47. They could run the ball, and run the clock down to just over 1 minute before pooching a punt and pinning the Eagles deep. Instead, they ran the option and fumbled the pitch. BC recovered at the Navy 40.

After a few plays BC was in field goal range and kicked the game winner.

Earlier in the game, one of the commentators was describing the advantages that running the option can give an offense. Some disadvantages he didn't mention, in no particular order:

1. More likelihood of holding penalties
2. Plays can easily be blown up for a loss
3. Gaining consistent yardage on short situations is difficult
4. Your QB is going to get hit, a lot
5. If you're behind, you're doing the other team a favor by eating up clock
6. What do you do in the shadow of your own end zone? Pitch it into your own end zone?

The thing is, Navy didn't need to be running the option so late in the game. It is very easy to say that in hindsight, but on a 3rd and 15 situation, you're probably not getting a 1st down anyway, so mind as well have a safe hand off or run a QB draw or something to run off 40 seconds.

I'm not going to say that BC is "lucky" to have won or that Navy "deserved" to win. There is very little luck in sports, and usually the winner deserves to win. BC deserved to win this game because they were able to put up 25 points, whereas Navy was only capable of putting up 24. It's that simple, end of story.

Hardly the most impressive victory in BC history, but considering the loss of O'Brien as head coach and the unsureness of the coaching situation and it isn't a meaningless win. The Eagles fought nicely in this game, and despite being run over by the option, were able to carve out a victory. That's what good teams do. It'll hardly be an Instant Classic, but it was a solid win.

This was also BC's 7th bowl victory in a row, which I believe is the 3rd or 4th best streak in NCAA history. Of course, the streak is deceptive as most of those bowls have been middling, late December bowls.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I try not to use this word very much when it comes to sports. I feel like it gets overused and misused by people when they talk about sports. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars were LUCKY to be in this game when it came down to the wire.

The Pats knew the task ahead of them before the game. Win and you're in. Lose and you might not be. The Jaguars weren't going to be as easy to beat as Houston was. They were 8-6 and in the running for the Wild Card spot. They had a very good defense and a solid running game, the foundations of a good football team.

This was a test game for the Patriots. We hadn't played a contending team since November 26th when we beat Chicago. Since then, we had barely beaten the Lions and were shutout by the Dolphins. We had been 5-3 against contending teams coming into this one (only 3-3 if you don't consider Buffalo competitive). This game was going to be a late season test of the Pats.

The game began with an exchange of drives that ended in punts. The Pats forced the Jags to punt again and got the ball back at their 31. Tom Brady got his 3rd carry of the game in the 1st quarter. He would end up with 10 overall. The Patriots benefited from a 15 yard face mask penalty as the 1st quarter ended 0-0. At the beginning of the 2nd, they had a 4th and 1 on the Jaguar 26. Brady was lined up for another sneak, but the play was whistled dead. Brady was called for a false start. Now, I didn't see much of a false start, and it is very strange when the QB's number gets called for moving early. He typically knows when the ball has been snapped.

So anyway, the ball was moved back and on 4th and 6, the Pats kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. The Pats kicked it off and with their first offensive play of the series, the Jags got into the end zone. Here's how:

Maurice Jones-Drew was given the ball in the backfield, he ran to his right behind his offensive linemen. The linemen, however, were unable to drive forward and Jones-Drew literally ran into his guard. The collision knocked him down to the ground. BUT, he had yet to be touched by a Patriot so he wasn't down. Jones-Drew got up, just as Tully Banta-Cain (too many hyphens) arrived at the line of scrimmage.

Jones-Drew got up before Banta-Cain touched him. Banta-Cain had come up to the line, saw Jones-Drew was on the ground, and held up. He hadn't seen HOW Jones-Drew was knocked down and probably assumed he had been taken down by a Patriot. Banta-Cain also probably assumed that if he hit Jones-Drew after he had been downed, the flags would be flying.

Jones-Drew took advantage of this pause in the action, got up, and ran. The Pats D wasn't able to haul him down and he ran into the end zone for a touchdown.

Now, you can call Banta-Cain's hesitation a "mental error," but I think it's too simple for that. I think the play was simply screwed up and bizarre. Should Banta-Cain have put a hand on him? Yeah. But he also should have plowed him into the ground if he's going to touch him. Nine out of ten times, though, he'd get a personal foul for this.

The run was only the second 20+ yard run the Patriots defense has allowed all season.

The Pats replied with a stalled drive that lasted 4 plays before they punted away. The Jags went 3 and out and punted.

The Patriots next drive was vintage Tom Brady. 7 yard completion to Graham, 4 yard run by Maroney, 6 yard pass to Faulk, 5 yard pass to Childress, 6 yard pass to Faulk, 8 yard run by Maroney, 8 yard reception by Brown, 4 yard run by Faulk. These plays were all in a row. After an incompletion, Brady ran for 9 yards. On 3rd and 1, Brady hit Gaffney for a 1st down. On the play, the Jags rusher ran into Brady well after Brady got rid of the ball. To his credit, Brady didn't dive or flail on the ground or moan like a Manning, but the refs threw the flag anyway. 1st down on the 10. Faulk got 4, then Brady snuck for 5 to the 1. Dillon punched it in for the score. 10-7 Pats. The 1st half ended with that score.

David Thomas was the star of the next drive. He made a 5 yard gain turn into a 36 yarder. Then he made an amazing catch (off an amazing throw) in the end zone for his first career TD. 17-7.

The Jags and Pats exchanged drives that ended with missed field goals. For some reason CBS kept showing Gotskowski after his miss. However, the kick was a 49 yarder, not exactly a chip shot.

In the ensuing Jacksonville possession, we saw our 1,000th ticky tacky roughing the passer call of the year called on a Patriot. Richard Seymour, who was trying to sack the QB, ran into him after the ball was out. Flag thrown. Making the penalty even harsher was what happened with the ball. It found its way into the hands of Mike Vrabel.

The call was a ticky tacky call. We've seen it far too often this season. Instead of having the ball with a 10 point lead, 4 minutes left in the 3rd, and possession of the ball near midfield; the Jags were given the ball in our territory after the 15 yard penalty.

Immediately after the call, the Jaguars got to the 2 yard line and eventually punched it into the end zone. The Patriots responded nicely with a touchdown drive aided by some Jacksonville penalties. The Jags scored and we went 3 and out, but Rodney Harrison recovered a fumble that sealed the game.

The Patriots didn't play perfectly, but they played without screwing up in a big way. And if it weren't for that roughing penalty that negated a pick, the game probably would have been over much sooner than it was.

With the win, the Patriots wrapped up the AFC East for the 4th year in a row. This is also their 5th division title in 6 years. Since 2001, we've won 6 division championships, which is more than we had won in all the years before then.

Brady had maybe his best game of the season, not from a stats point of view, but from a leadership one. He had 10 carries for 31 yards (Dillon had 10 for 30), made some good throws, maneuvered in the pocket nicely, and orchestrated some nice drives.

As it is, the Patriots would be the 4th seed in the playoffs. They're tied with the Colts for the 3rd best record in the AFC, but the Colts hold the head-to-head win against us and it is the first tie-breaker. Indy hosts Miami next week.

At the moment, the 5th seed is the team we would play and that team is the vaunted Denver Broncos. But the situation is still very fluid. The Jets are the 6th seed, but they'll play tomorrow in Miami. Cincinnati, Kansas City, Tennessee, and Jacksonville are all 8-7 but are on the outside looking in right now.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The deadline was looming. The entirety of Red Sox Nation was worried about whether or not we'd sign Daisuke Matsuzaka, and for what price. Rumors placed Boras's unyielding demands at $70 million for 6 seasons. It seemed like the possibilities of signing the WBC MVP were waning by the hour as the clock ticked.

Red Sox brass flew out to southern California to meet with Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras. After talking, and reporting "frustration" to the ever attentive Red Sox Press Corps, things looked dreary.

The Red Sox issued a deadline of their own. Theo Epstein and associates would be boarding a private plane for Boston on Wednesday morning, with or without Matsuzaka. Wednesday morning came and Matsuzaka and Boras boarded the private plane with the minds behind the Sox. Things seemed to be looking up.

Reports popped up all over the internet, citing "unknown sources close to the negotiations." They were all saying that the team was very, VERY, close to making a deal for Matsuzaka. Of course, these were the same sites and reporters that claimed that the deal was essentially dead. posted a link that allowed fans to observe live updates of the private plane's flight path. I'll admit to checking it from time to time, to see how close it was. As a matter of fact, the plane flew very near Ithaca, NY, where I am currently situated. No, I didn't make any giant signs or anything, I was too busy doing work. Plus, any sign visible from 20,000 feet would have to be pretty monstrous.

The plane landed at Hanscom Field in Bedford. With a police escort, Matsuzaka was brought to Mass. General and underwent a physical. Reportedly, the deal had been struck and was impending only the results of said physical before it went into effect.

Even reported the deal as being all but finalized, with an official announcement expected to come Thursday afternoon. The deal is said to be $52 million over 6 years, or $8.67 million per year. That means that in total, the Sox will be paying $103.1 million for Matsuzaka. If we only keep him for the 6 years, that's a $17.2 million per season investment.

The price is good, though, trust me. Do you see what other teams are paying for 35 year old #2/#3 starters these days? Meanwhile, we get a 26 year old with stuff that could make him an Ace in the Majors. We also got Scott Boras to come down on his proposed contract by about $20 million. As far as accomplishments go, that's just a step below winning the World Series.

So why did Boras go down? Was the $70 million a ploy? Here's a couple of reasons why that number may have decreased. Firstly, his client could have urged Boras to get the deal done. Matsuzaka wants to pitch in the Majors, and perhaps didn't want to spend another year in NPB. Another factor is that he truly is an unproven commodity. Another factor is that he will be 32 when this deal ends, which means that if he plays well in MLB, he'll receive a very good contract. Another factor is that if the deal didn't get done, teams might be somewhat wary of posting a huge sum for him, knowing he'd want to get even more in his contract.

In the end, I think that Matsuzaka's desire to pitch in the Majors superseded his desire to get a massive contract.

The big question now is, will the Sox be able to churn out some Matsuzaka merchandise before Christmas?


Julio Lugo was introduced to the media by Terry Francona and Assistant GM Jed Hoyer.

The Sox also came to terms on a 1 year deal with Doug Mirabelli. The deal is said to be worth $700,000 and includes performance based incentives.

There's also a rumor that the Sox might be looking at Chan Ho Park as a potential closer. Reportedly, this was something discussed between Park's agent, Boras, and Theo on the plane.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Oh the drama of off-season baseball. The international cast of characters. The intrigue. The villainy. Fans clamoring for one company to pay another company millions in order to secure the rights of a pitcher, then being shocked that the pitcher wants even more money. Fans griping about high salaries, which are inflated because of fan demand for talent.

The Red Sox have just about 2 days (at the time I'm writing this, 10 PM Tuesday night) to sign Matsuzaka or he will return to Japan next season. The jubilation that occurred nearly a month ago when we won the rights to negotiate with him has turned into harsh reality.

Scott Boras, Matsuzaka's agent, has become the apparent antagonist in this drama. He wants a lot of money for his client. Is that supposed to shock us? An agent wanting money for his player? Is this news worthy of report on Why are we villainizing him?

Let's play agent's advocate. You're Scott Boras. You see the Red Sox willing to put up $51.1 million just to talk with Daisuke. You see every free agent in baseball getting paid salaries that range from a bit too high to way too much. The contracts for pitching are particularly high. Now, you also see that many other teams were willing to put up big money to sign Matsuzaka. It is logical to assume that they'd likely do so in the next off-season. Now, why wouldn't you try to get a boatload of money for your client?

A great many fans are moaning about greed. They're calling Boras and Matsuzaka greedy because they want money. Are you f*cking kidding me, people?

Let's just imagine you work for a company. You're very good at what you do, one of the best in the industry. But you work in Barre, Vermont. You'd like to work for the bigger companies in places like Boston and NYC. But you're under contract. The company you work for, however, listens to your requests. They agree to allow you to leave Barre and get work for a larger firm, but they will take half of the money the larger firm is willing to pay you. You think you might be a bit upset? You think you might be feeling gypped?

This is the situation in which Matsuzaka and Boras find themselves. If you want my opinion, the Sox kind of dug their own hole on this one. They put up the $51.1 hoping to sign Matsuzaka for about $50 million more. But now they're staring at a price tag of about $120 million total. Now they either have to pony up the money, or have to face disgrace and failure to acquire a #1 pitcher this off-season.

My opinion is that if it is the 0 hour and Boras hasn't budged, pay him and Matsuzaka the money. The sad truth is, we need Matsuzaka more than he needs us. And to be honest, we've already spent $100 million total on Drew and Lugo, two above average players, it would appear foolhardy of us to refuse to spend $120 million on a player who could potentially be great.

Great pitchers, like Matsuzaka is capable of being, win World Series. Above average hitters like JD Drew and Julio Lugo do not.

Former Red Sox utility outfielder Gabe Kapler retired from playing pro ball at the age of 31 the other day. He was then named as manager of A Greenville within the Sox organization. He replaced Luis Alicea who is now the Boston Red Sox first base coach.

It is good to see that the organization has been able to create some good relationships with players. The Yawkey trust/Dan Duqeutte years were marred with problems between personnel and management. But the new Red Sox seem to be a team that players and coaches want to stick with. With the notable exceptions of Shea Hillenbrand and Nomar Garciaparra.

The Red Sox are negotiating with Doug Mirabelli to be the backup catcher next season. The deal would probably be short-term and not worth an exorbitant amount. Another possibility could be 40 year old Sandy Alomar Jr.

Eric Gagne is close to signing with Texas for $8 million guaranteed. That's a lot for a guy with a big time recent injury. Understandably, the Sox backed out of those negotiations. The Sox are rumored to be in trade talks concerning Chad Cordero, Akinori Otsuka, and Mike Gonzalez.

What about Jose Mesa? Why not?

I think that the recent decline of the Patriots isn't just their fault. I think that part of it might be due to the fact that the NFL has finally woken up and smelled the coffee.

When the Pats first started winning, they were underdogs. They were maligned for their short dump passes and screens. Bill Cowher complained that his more talented Steelers were gypped in the AFC title game in the '01 season. The Raiders similarly complained of outright robbery. The Rams just seemed to not give much attention to how the Patriots were playing in the Super Bowl that season. And it cost them.

The in 2003, the mystique began. After week 4, they simply stopped losing. They won high scoring shootouts like the 38-34 win over Indy. They'd win tight close games like the 9-3 win over Cleveland. They then went into the playoffs, beat the two MVPs (McNair and Manning) then edged Carolina 32-29. By then, the Patriots had not only earned respect from the NFL. They had earned fear.

In '04, we only lost twice. The loss to Pittsburgh was when we had no RB and no DBs. It was the exception to the new rule that the Patriots were unbeatable. The other loss was a silly 29-28 defeat at the hands of Miami in which everyone and their mother knew that the Pats simply dropped the ball in a relatively meaningless late season game. The playoffs saw the Pats completely dominate Indy, holding the best offense to 3 points. Then they routed Pittsburgh, scoring 41 against the best defense. Another Super Bowl win and the Patriots were crowned a dynasty. The best team in the NFL, by far. 34-4 in two years and truly unbeatable at home.

I remember those games, and even when it was close or we were behind, you just felt confident that we would win. I've been wondering lately, did the opposing team also feel so sure about the result. Did teams go into games, knowing in the back of their minds that they were playing the best team in the League and one imperfection would result in a loss?

Did our opponents in '03 and '04 fall prey to self-fulfilling prophecies. Did their fear of screwing up cause them to screw up. For some players, ahem Peyton Manning, this appeared to be blatantly obvious. One mistake would build on another. Meanwhile, we'd make mistakes (Brady's late INT in the Super Bowl against Carolina) but we'd recover. Were we that much better than the NFL, or was the NFL in such a defeatist mindset that subconsciously they quit when they made mistakes?

In 2005, we were somewhat exposed. Teams started beating us. The rest of the NFL picked up on that. These weren't freaky losses like in '04. Nor were these only to the best teams in the NFL. In 2005, we lost 6 regular season games. We lost to the 9-7 Chargers in Gillette, the 10-6 Chiefs, and the 9-7 Dolphins, along with losses to top teams like Carolina, Denver, and Indy.

It is entirely possible that the NFL is starting to play us with confidence, and not fear. We've only dominated our opponent in 4 games (@ Cincinnati, @ Buffalo, @ Minnesota, @ Green Bay). Our games against bad and mediocre teams are typically very close (19-17 win vs. Buffalo, 28-21 win vs. Detroit,). We've also been beaten, consistently, by good teams that are playing well. Some of these losses were absolute beatdowns. 17-7 loss vs. Denver, 21-0 loss @ Miami.

We no longer inspire fear in the NFL. That's a problem. We have the talent, despite the injuries and the loss of players to other teams, to win football games. We haven't been. And every loss inspires more and more confidence in the NFL.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


The Patriots poor play finally caught up to them as we were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. This was the first time we've failed to score a point since the infamous 31-0 loss to Buffalo in 2003. It is also the first time we've lost on the road since week 12 last season when we lost to the Chiefs. It's also the first time we've lost to a divisional opponent on the road since 2004.

There are so many reasons why we lost this game. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Injuries. We've endured another season filled with defensive injuries, particularly to the defensive secondary. You know, we've had 24 different DBs in the past 3 seasons. That's insane!

Anyway, in this game, we were without Harrison, Wilson, Seau, and Maroney. Seau and Maroney's absence didn't really seem to hurt us that much, but the lack of Wilson and Harrison in the defensive backfield bit us hard. On Booker's first TD catch, Wilson or Harrison would have been much more likely to break up the pass and even pick the ball off.

The injuries are getting ridiculous. I'm starting to suspect that this is some sort of problem. I don't know what the problem is, though. It could be we practice too hard during the week, not hard enough, or our training staff isn't good enough. However, so many seasons with these kinds of injuries to a particular group of the team, namely DBs, is probably not a coincidence. The Patriots brain trust needs to figure out what the problem is and fix it.

2. Penalties. We had 9 penalties for 71 yards. Some of them were not really our fault. The refs had trouble keeping their flag in their pockets on a few occasions. Vince Wilfork's roughing the passer penalty was just absolute BS. Seymour's was also ticky tacky. The Dolhpins did get flagged once for this and it was huge for us, or could have been if we had taken advantage of it. However, it seemed to me that Jason Taylor was getting away with what Seymour got flagged for. But we lost this game, the refs didn't lose it for us.

We had a massive amount of dumb, stupid penalties. False starts by wide receivers, Patrick Pass not lining up on the line of scrimmage in punt formation, and the double forward pass play.

3. Poor tackling. It seemed like most of the time, the Dolphins player would get an extra 1 to 3 yards on their run because we couldn't wrap up and haul down. This might be attributed to the injuries, especially with good tacklers like Seau, Wilson, and Harrison missing the game.

4. Graham's fumble. This was a big play. It gave the Dolphins control in the field position battle for the entire first half. At worse, we could have punted and pinned them back and possibly taken control of the game. Instead, we let them run it the entire 60 minutes.

5. Lack of a big play on defense. We forced no turnovers and only sacked Harrington once. We let him get away too many times on plays in which we were close to bringing him down. Then he'd find an open man and turn a potentially negative play into a positive play. We didn't get consistent pressure on Harrington and that eventually hurt us.

7. Poor pass protection. You have to give credit to Miami on this one. They won the battle in the trenches and got consistent pressure on Brady. But we didn't do much in an effort to stop the pass rush. We didn't try any screens or misdirection plays to punish the Dolphins' aggression on defense. We tried the short little passes to get the ball away quickly, but the Dolphins did a good job at tackling our guys.

This might be one spot where we really missed Maroney. His shiftiness as a runner forces defenders to stay more at home and pursue just a bit less. Dillon had a few good run plays in Taylor's direction, but Dillon is not nearly as elusive as Maroney.

8. The punt war. Miami won the punt war this game. They pinned us within our own 5 yard line on several occasions. The only time we did that to them, we were flagged for an illegal formation. Apart from that play, we gave them the ball at the 15 or better. Often times, we punted the ball and Miami would start in our territory. That's really hard on a defense to force them to defend such a short field the entire game.

9. Not enough rushing. We ran for 123 yards on the ground, but I feel like Dillon should have gotten more carries, especially in the 3rd quarter. We seemed to be trying too many awkward pass plays. Seeing as how we were struggling to protect Brady, and Dillon was doing so well at finding and exploiting holes, I think we should have given him the ball more.

10. Brady. He was inaccurate at times. I know he was under a great deal of pressure from the Dolphins, but he still missed a few passes in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters that could have been big. The best ball he threw was on the double pass play that was called back. He also made a great catch on that play, but unfortunately it didn't do anything but cost us 5 yards due to penalty.

We could have clinched the AFC East today with a win and a New York loss. Instead, we might be holding on to a mere 1 game lead in the division. Furthermore, we're only 1 game ahead of some of the Wild Card teams in the AFC.

And is it me, or does Wes Welker seem like he would be a perfect fit for the Patriots? Tough player willing of doing anything for the team. Remember when he filled in for Mare as a kicker against us?

The Patriots host Houston next week.


The UMass Minutemen advanced to the D-IAA finals with a grueling 19-17 win over Montana the other night. They will play defending champion Appalachian State next weekend in Chattanooga for the D-IAA title. Appalachian State, like UMass, is a 1 loss team whose sole defeat came at the hands of a D-IA opponent.

Is UMass's football team the best major sports team in New England this year, relative to their competition? The Red Sox finished 3rd in the AL East, the Patriots have looked like crap in a few games, Boston College football dropped the ball in some big games, the Celtics can't win a close game, and the Bruins are struggling to make the playoffs. The only other big team in New England that has done as well as UMass is the New England Revolution, who lost on penalty kicks in the MLS Cup.

If UMass wins, they'll be the best team in New England.

Friday, December 08, 2006


The quasi-deadline for the Red Sox to stop shopping Manny Ramirez came and went last night. Not surprisingly, the team was unable to find fair value for the slugger. It looks as though he will remain on the Red Sox. Hopefully that means he'll actually be playing for us. If not, breach of contract and he's gone for $0.

You know, I think most Sox fans will forgive Manny. Some probably don't even notice when he's asking for a trade and when he isn't. This is not the first time he's asked for a trade, and last season was not the first time he embroiled himself in controversy. Writers and die hard fans may grumble about Manny Being Manny, but the grumbling typically stops when he knocks in a run, which happens quite a bit.

Every season, Scott Boras is in the news for some new outrage. Okay, "outrage" is probably a bit too harsh of a word. Anyway, after having put up $51.1 million for the exclusive rights to talk to Matsuzaka, Scott Boras is doing his best to make sure his client gets paid as well.

It's easy to criticize Boras here. He's demanding that the Sox pay somewhere around $12 million a season for 6 years. That's $72 million total. That's a great deal of money to add to the $51.1M posting fee for a pitcher who has thrown 0 pitches in MLB.

Of course, Boras is seeing that the team is willing to pay about $100 million on Matsuzaka, but his client (and his commission) represents only half of that. The Seibu Lions are the ones cleaning up if the deal gets done. This is yet another problem with the posting system.

The problem is, every other top free agent is getting paid off. All the deals being announced across baseball are over the top. Furthermore, the demand for pitchers is absolutely massive. Boras is using this, comparing any proposed deal between us and Matsuzaka with deals given to other MLB Aces.

The problem is, Matsuzaka is not an MLB Ace. To sign him to a 6 year deal is a bit ridiculous. As talented as he is, we have no idea how he'll do against MLB hitters, or whether or not he'll have trouble accustomizing himself in America.

The Sox don't have as much leverage as you'd think in this one, either. Although if Matsuzaka doesn't sign with us, he can't sign with anyone else this season, he is an unrestricted free agent in two years. Then he can sign with any team in MLB he wants to. Also, he is likely to get paid more seeing as how no massive posting fee will be involved.

I'd like to see the Red Sox come to some sort of compromise on Matsuzaka. I know $123 million is a massive amount to pay for a single player. However, we really do need a frontline starting pitcher. Beckett and Clement were busts, Schilling is another year older, Lester is coming off cancer treatment, and God knows what we'll get out of Papelbon as a starter.

The fact of the matter is, we're desperate. But it isn't the end of the world if we don't sign him. It's important to remember that.

The Red Sox now have slightly less than one week to sign Matsuzaka before he is sent back to Japan along with his $51.1 million posting fee.

A recent CT scan that Lester underwent showed no cancer cells. Lester's been undergoing chemotherapy during the off-season after he was diagnosed with blood cancer. The good news is that it appears to be working well. Lester plans to report early for Spring Training next February.

Really puts some perspective on things like trying to sign a Japanese pitcher or trying to trade a left-fielder.

The Red Sox had been pursuing Dodgers closer Eric Gagne. However, the word is that the Sox are hesitant to give Gagne the kind of guaranteed money he is seeking. Gagne is coming off of back injuries and is seeking something like $5 million.

Another possible option at closer is no longer available. The Royals signed Octavio Dotel to a one year, $5 million deal. He too is coming off of injury. Dotel had Tommy John surgery in '05 and the Sox were reluctant to guarantee him so much money considering his injury trouble.

Two things this stuff brings to my mind. How come we were willing to invest $70 million in J.D. Drew who has spent an impressive amount of time on the DL, but we're now all of a sudden scared to get a closer who might break down? I guess with Drew, he can be substituted easily, and if he misses time, his absence won't be catastrophic. But closer's, on the other hand, can have stints on the DL that cost a team a playoff berth.

Another thing that comes to mind is crappy teams like the Royals spending massive amounts on their budgets on things like closers when:

1. They often do not have a lead.
2. Their mid-relief gives up a great deal of leads.
3. Their starting pitching rarely goes 7 innings.

It seems like bad teams who spend lots on closers like Dotel could better spend that money elsewhere. I always felt that a good closer is something a team needs if it is leading a great deal of games in the late innings. Otherwise, it is a waste of money.

Anyway, the Sox also offered arbitration to Keith Foulke, who turned it down. The Sox want/need a closer, but Foulke doesn't seem to want to pitch here anymore.

In practice this week, observers of drills reported that Laurence Maroney ran through a number of deals somewhat cautiously. He is still ailing from the back injury he received in Sunday's 28-21 win over Detroit. He is listed as Questionable (50% likely to play) and even if he does play, will probably not play as much as the Pats would hope.

This is where the two running back system is a huge benefit. Even though we're without a top playmaker in Maroney, we still have Corey Dillon, who isn't a bad running back himself (over 11,000 career yards on the ground after Sunday's performance). We also have Patrick Pass, Heath Evans, and Kevin Faulk in support. We won't be as dynamic without Maroney, but our running game will hardly be absent.

In other Patriots news, Tom Brady is suing Yahoo! for using his image without permission in an ad to promote their fantasy football.


The Bruins were down 1-0 about halfway through the 3rd period when they scored 3 unanswered goals to beat the Maple Leafs. We remain in 5th in the Northeast Division, but we're now only 1 point behind Ottawa and Toronto. Toronto is slipping and we may pass them soon. We also have played fewer games than any other team in the division, so that's an advantage for us.

In the Conference, we're tied for 10th with Washington, only 1 point out of the playoffs.

This could be exciting coming down the stretch with the unbalanced schedule and all 5 Northeast Division teams in the top 10 in the Conference.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Remember last off-season when we pretty much refused to sign Johnny Damon to a legit deal? The Yankees snatched him up for 4 years and $52 million, or $13 million a season. Part of the logic behind the decision to sign Crisp and not Damon was that Crisp was younger. Damon would be near 36 at the end of a 4 year contract. Guess how old JD Drew will be at the end of his reportedly 5 year, contract with Boston. Thirty-six.

I'm being a tad unfair, especially to Drew. Drew is not a replacement for Johnny Damon. However, it just strikes me as odd that we refused to pay Damon, a proven commodity, $52 million, pretty much because he was getting too old, even though he had no history of losing a large amount of time to injury. Then, a season later, we sign Drew, who is quite injury prone, to a deal that is 5 years long and worth $70 million, or $14 million a season.

I think the Red Sox have realized that letting Damon go so easily to New York was a bit of a mistake. But signing JD Drew hardly fixes that mistake. Drew is a slight, very slight, offensive improvement over Trot Nixon, whom he is replacing. Drew has a better OBP and his OPS is consistently higher. However, to invest $14M into a player who has had such a history of evidence is a bit over the top. Especially when part of the reason we refused to retain Damon was because we were afraid he'd break down.

Drew will slot in nicely to the Sox lineup, when healthy. He'll hit after Manny and Ortiz, which will give us a nice lefty-righty-lefty combo. I think if Lowell produces close to what he did last year, you'll see Mike hitting 6th behind Drew. Drew is capable of good production, which is what you want out of a #5 hitter. He also plays pretty sharp defense, something which Willy Mo lacked. Speaking of WM Pena, he'll find himself as a 4th outfielder, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him see a good amount of playing time in a platoon situation.

Yesterday was a $100 million day as the Sox also reportedly signed short-stop Julio Lugo to a 4 year, $36 million deal. Lugo has been long sought after by the Red Sox. Lugo will be 31 next season. He hit .308 for Tampa last season before going to the Dodgers where he hit a mere .219. Lugo should hit in the .280 neighborhood for the Sox with about 15 homers. He'll probably bat 8th or 9th in our lineup which will provide him with some mop up RBI opportunities after the big bats. He doesn't offer a great deal in the power department, which is typical of short-stops. He only had 36 extra-base hits and 12 homers last year. His OBP is also not all that stellar at .341 last year and .340 for his career. He struck out about twice as often as he walked.

Lugo does offer some defensive versatility in that he can play pretty much any position. Defensively he is solid, but not as good as Gonzalez.

He is an offensive improvement over Gonzalez, which is nice. But he isn't four times the improvement, which is what the Sox are seemingly paying him as. $12M a season just seems like a lot for a guy whose career high in RBI is 75, career high in HR is 15, career high in OBP for a full season is .362, and who seemed to struggle with moving to a new team in the middle of last season.

The Manny Ramirez talks have, as I predicted, remained talks. They've also cooled down. The sox were shopping Manny around baseball during the recent winter meetings. However, there were no takers. It seems to me that we were almost asking too much for him. We asked for the Dodgers' top three prospects, and the best two pitchers San Diego has. All for an outfielder with 2 years on his contract for $20M a year. It was almost as if we were trying to make it seem as though we were trying to trade Manny, but knew we really wouldn't be able to get the deal done by asking for so much. Anyway, Theo and the Sox have declared a quasi-deadline for shopping Manny and that is midnight on Wednesday. After that, the Sox say they will continue to listen to possible deals, but will not be as actively seeking them.

So the lineup is starting to take shape. Here's what seems to be what will be the '07 Sox offense:

C - Jason Varitek
1B - Kevin Youkilis
2B - Dustin Pedroia
3B - Mike Lowell
SS - Julio Lugo
LF - Manny Ramirez
CF - Coco Crisp
RF - JD Drew
DH - David Ortiz.

Now a possible batting order:

1. Coco Crisp
2. Kevin Youkilis
3. David Ortiz
4. Manny Ramirez
5. Jd Drew
6. Mike Lowell
7. Jason Varitek
8. Julio Lugo
9. Dustin Pedroia

Not that bad. But expensive, though.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I don't think I'm using that French profanity correctly. I just did a simple Google search for it. In case you haven't noticed, the Boston Bruins are back in the playoff mix. They've won 4 of their last 5 games, including last night's thrilling 6-5 victory over Montreal at the Bell Centre.

The Bruins are still 5th in the Northeast Division, 28 points behind first place Buffalo. However, the Bruins are in one of the best divisions in the NHL. At the moment, the Northeast Division would have three teams in the playoffs, with 4th place Ottawa one point out of post-season qualification. The Bruins are now tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference with 28 points. They also have a few games in hand so they're in decent shape.

The Bruins have some big games with top teams in the next few weeks. They play the Devils twice, the Maple Leafs twice, the Habs twice, Ottawa once, Nashville once, and Vancouver once. And the season doesn't get much easier after December. The Bruins face a difficult road to the playoffs thanks to the unbalanced schedule and being in the top division in the NHL. But we have a shot to make it in, and we all know anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs.


This past weekend was supposed to be when Manny Ramirez was signed, sealed, sent, and delivered to another team. Of course, the sports writers around the country couldn't figure out where he would be sent. The big rumor the past few days was that Manny would go to Los Angeles to play for Grady Little's Ex-Sox. However, the Dodgers describe any deal for Manny as being "5 percent likely." It seems as though the Sox are stumbling into the biggest road block in trading Manny: getting sufficient value for him.

In the attempted deal with LA, the Sox wanted a bevy of prospects, including 22 year old Jonathan Broxton who is projected as being a closer in the near future. The Dodgers didn't want to give that up. Who could blame them? Why mortgage your future for a player who will play for 2 years, eat up $40 million, and is extremely flighty and flaky.

The Sox tried addressing an issue in their talks with LA. We need a closer. There just weren't many closer free agents out there this season. The Sox even made strides to acquire Brewer Derrick Turnbow, who had a great first half of the season before imploding. He has great stuff when he's on, but he has trouble staying on. I'm sorry, but we need consistency at the closer's spot, not a giant question mark.

The Sox are so desperate, they might even try to get Keith Foulke to return to the team.

I still think we should sign Jose Mesa. He's had experience closing in the past (320 career Saves) and had a solid season in Colorado last year as a set-up man. He had 72.1 IP in 79 appearances with an ERA of 3.86. He also led the team with 19 Holds. He is pretty old, will be turning 41 in May, but I think he'd be a good addition to the bullpen as either a closer for a season, or a set-up man taking some of the stress off of Timlin.

The Sox also did not offer arbitration to Trot Nixon, Mark Loretta, Gabe Kapler, and Doug Mirabelli. They did offer arbitration to Foulke. Will Foulke take it?

So Trot Nixon, who has been with the organization since the days of Lou Gorman, is gone. My reaction? Meh. If you want my honest opinion, Trot was a solid player who was injury prone and ineffective vs. LHP. I feel as though this town overrated him a great deal because he hustled. Isn't hustling a ballplayer's job? All that Dirt Dog, football mentality crap was BS, if you ask me. He was a decent player, but hardly a star. In any other town, he would barely get recognition, but Boston has a way of picking an individual player and falling head over heels in love with him (See: Rico Brogna, Michael Bishop, Butch Huskey, Pokey Reese, John Valentin, and Kevin Millar)

I still remember when there was a rumor that Nixon would be traded for Sammy Sosa, and most of Red Sox Nation bemoaned the idea because Trot had so much potential. That potential was never fully realized. His best seasons were 2001, 02, and 03. Trot averaged about 26 HRs and 90 RBI in those 3 years. Since then, his playing time has dramatically decreased. His production numbers followed. Funnily enough, his salary had increased from $4.5 million in 2004, when he hit .315 in very limited time, to $7.5 million in '05 and '06 when he played a bit more, but still sat out 86 games over those two seasons.

Right now, here's the best I can do to show the composition of the 2007 Sox:
C Jason Varitek
1B Kevin Youkilis
2B Dustin Pedroia?
3B Mike Lowell
SS ?????
LF Manny Ramirez??????????
CF Coco Crisp
RF ???????
DH David Ortiz

SP Curt Schilling
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka?
SP Josh Beckett
SP Jonathan Papelbon
SP Tim Wakefield?

CP ????????
RP Mike Timlin
RP Julian Tavarez
RP Hideki Okajima

Still many question marks.

Do you ever get the feeling as though the Red Sox lack a bit of a long term plan? It seems like the past 6 years, we've had more than our share of players for one or two seasons. Just think, this will be the second time that both Kapler and Mirabelli will be leaving the team. Loretta was a one year acquisition. The Sox will be getting a new short-stop this season for the 3rd season in a row. They also might have a new closer that is actually their old closer. If we do sign Matsuzaka, it will be yet another in a long line of expensive attempts at getting a top of the rotation pitcher.

Since the 2004 championship team, we've seen a new first baseman, will see two new second basemen, three new short-stops, a new third baseman, possibly a new left-fielder, a new center-fielder, a new right-fielder, and at least six new starting pitchers (even more if you count all the part-time #5 starters we had last season).

Sunday, December 03, 2006


The Lions outsucked us. Both teams tried their best to lose the game, the Lions just wanted to lose it more than we did.

The Patriots barely escaped the clutches of the hapless Lions. We really only played a few minutes of football and were fortunate to come away with an important win.

The Pats turned the ball over three times in this one, but thankfully, the Lions either failed to fully capitalize, or simply turned the ball back over to us. We allowed Jon Kitna to pass for over 300 yards on us. That's inexcusable. We went down to the wire with the worst team in the NFC North. That's inexcusable. We continued to put the ball on the ground. That's inexcusable.

I'm glad we won, because if we didn't, the AFC East would be a 1 game affair between us and New York. Also, any hopes of a first round bye would fly out the window. We've got to play better than this, though. Miami will probably not play as poorly as Detroit or Chicago did. We either have to stop playing crappy football, or we will pay for it.

Speaking of 9-3 teams that are capable of doing better, Boston College was officially invited to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. They'll play the Midshipmen of Navy. This will probably be another Bowl win to add to the streak, but it will also be an empty win, as we could have been playing a Bowl game that mattered.

Speaking of Navy (good transitions today), they were the only team this year to beat the UMass Minutemen, who advanced to the I-AA semi-finals after beating UNH yesterday. UMass will play Montana on Friday night in Montana. The game can be seen on ESPN2. UMass alum Bill Cosby will be watching, and so should you.

Speaking of college football playoffs. Don't you think it's about time Division IA had one. They're the only league in college sports without a playoff system. They're the only majorly watched American sport that doesn't have playoffs. And don't you think it's weird that in the 32 team NFL, 12 teams are selected as being worthy of contending for a championship, but in the larger 119 team D-IA, only 2 teams are deemed worthy of that right? Seems kind of silly.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Whether or not the Sox land Matsuzaka is still unclear (could you imagine the reaction in Red Sox Nation if they didn't?), but they will get some help from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League.

They signed lefty reliever Hideki Okajima for two guaranteed years worth $2.5M total. Okajima will be 31 next season and will probably be used as a situational lefty, and perhaps a set-up man against predominantly lefty batters in late innings.

I think this a great pickup for the Sox. If it doesn't work out, we only lose $2.5M, a pittance compared to the other deals we're on the verge of making. And if it does work out, we land a solid lefty out of the bullpen. He also might help Matsuzaka adjust to American baseball and American life. The two can compare notes on MLB hitters and compare MLB hitters to NPB hitters.

This offseason has seen several Japanese players being taken by MLB teams. In the next few seasons, I think we'll see more and more of this. I think there will also eventually be a negative reaction towards this on the part of both MLB and NPB. As far as MLB is concerned, the big market teams have a huge advantage in getting Japanese players. They're free agents with transfer fees and teams like us and the Yankees have the capital and the budget to shell out large posting fees on risky acquisitions. Other teams do not. NPB will see more and more of its talent leaving for America and might try to stifle the flow of players.

I think many, many years from now, like 30, 40, or 60 years from now MLB and NPB will merge into one league with teams across Asia, and the Americas. But until then, I think there might be some sort of limit imposed on MLB teams "raiding" NPB rosters, and you might see something like a luxury tax imposed on posting fees in order to give some $$$ to smaller market teams so that they might benefit somewhat from the addition of Japanese ballplayers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


According to Gordon Edes, the Red Sox are very close to signing JD Drew to a deal as long as 5 years and worth as much as $70 million. Whether or not the 5th year would be guaranteed or an option year is unclear.

Essentially, we replace Trot Nixon's production and DL stints with JD Drew's only for more $$$. Drew could be on the verge of a break-out like the Sox think he is. But he could also be on the verge of a breakdown. Do we really want to invest that much money into a relatively unproven free agent commodity?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This offseason has been Manny, Manny, Manny. The Sox seems as though they're trying to move him. Of course, trade rumors being "broken" by news companies can hardly be treated as real news. Often, a simple rumor or suggestion is floated around and someone reports it publicly.

The fact of the matter is, Theo and the Sox are always trying to improve the team and have demonstrated a willingness to trade "franchise players" to do that. (See: Nomar Garciaparra)

There's dozens of rumors floating around the internet and ESPN and WEEI. Some are probably without any base. Some of them are blatantly lopsided for one team or another. Some of them are probably actual offers that have been discussed, but probably won't go beyond the discussion phase.

I just don't see us trading Manny Ramirez, at least not trading him by himself.

I'm somewhat alone in this one. It seems as though every sports reporter who has "sources" is claiming Manny WILL get traded, probably by Saturday. The problem is, they all say he will get traded to different places. Gammons seems to think a deal with the White Sox will occur. Buster Olney says that the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants are the front-runners to land him. Michael Silverman says it is the Rangers or Angels. Gordon Edes reiterated the Angels, Padres, and Giants and also added the Phillies, Orioles, and Mets.

In short, almost every team with the capacity to spend money is reportedly going to get Manny Ramirez.

Fueling the trade talk is the impending signing of JD Drew to a deal that will probably give the lefty somewhere close to $15 million per year for 4 or 5 years. People are saying he is a replacement for Manny. That notion reminds me of when the Sox signed Jose Offerman as a replacement for Mo Vaughn.

JD Drew, ladies and gentlemen, is not even close to Manny Ramirez's level. JD Drew is closer to Trot Nixon's.

If the Sox shell out $15M per season to Drew, they'll essentially be saving $5M from what they would be paying Manny. Of course, any deal Manny is a part of will probably involve the Red Sox picking up some of his $20M salary for the next two seasons. So that little chunk of money saved by going with Drew would be gone. Also, Manny will cost the Sox $40M over the next two years, whereas Drew could be holding down $60M over the next 5 years. We trade one big contract for another.

Then there's the dropoff in production. Of course, it is impossible to predict what Drew's production will be in 2007, or 2008, and so on. But if his past is any indicator, it is safe to say his numbers will fluctuate wildly. Drew's RBI totals for full seasons played (400 ABs or more) range from as low as 56 to as high as 100. His average in all seasons has had both up and down swings of 50 and 70 points.

I'll give JD Drew this much, recently he has showed some signs of stability in terms of production. His average has mellowed to the .285 to .300 range. Also, his OBP has been pretty good the past few years.

But then there's the question of health. We all know Manny Ramirez is a variable in that sometimes he decides not to play. But Drew is just as much of a variable, if not more of one, because of injuries. Drew has only had one season with 500 ABs or more, Manny has had 8 in his 14 year career. JD Drew has reached 135 games 4 times in 8 full-time seasons. Manny has reached 135 games 9 times in 12 full-time seasons.

A lot of people are getting paranoid about Matsuzaka's injury vulnerability because he has thrown so many pitches in his young career. But not as many voices have chirped up about JD Drew's vulnerability.

Look, we all get annoyed when Manny isn't trying and takes time off. But isn't the effect of that almost the same thing as an injury? It seems to me like we'd be missing JD Drew a lot due to injury.

Then just look at the production. Manny, ironically, is one of the most dependable production players in the game. You're going to get around 40 homers and around 120 RBI form him year in and year out. His lowest average in a full-time season was .292. He almost always is around the .300 to .325 range. His OPS is always hovering around or above 1.000. He is a producer.

JD Drew is not a producer, at least not yet. Last year was his first season with 100 RBI. Manny, over his career, has an RBI every 4.34 at-bats. JD Drew has one every 6.21. That means that approximately every 3 RBI Manny gets, JD Drew gets 2. That adds up.

Drew is hardly even an upgrade over Trot Nixon. Yet Drew might get twice as much as Nixon got last season. Both are lefthanded outfielders with recurring injury problems who never reached their potential and absolutely suck against left-handed pitching.

JD Drew is just not the best option for us, folks. For the amount of money he'll get, and the amount of time he'll spend on the DL, and the amount of time he'll struggle against lefties, and the amount of time he won't produce as much as Manny, he is just not worth it.

If we trade Manny Ramirez, we're losing a great deal of production. Signing JD Drew and Julio Lugo will not replace that production. We can absorb the impact of lost production by signing better pitchers. However, this off-season should be about improving offensive production as we only scored 820 runs last year. We should be scoring 900 and up. Instead, it looks like we might be scrambling and spending to keep our offensive production where it was in 2006.

Sounds like a really bad Italian kids movie. The Sox made a "fair" and "comprehensive" offer to Matsuzaka. Still no word yet on how fair it was and how fair Boras and Matsuzaka think it was. There's a rumor that the Seibu Lions might be willing to chop off some of the posting fee in order to help facilitate a deal between the Sox and Matsuzaka, as well. We have little more than two weeks to sign Daisuke.

And for the love of the Baseball Gods, can we throw out the nickname "Dice-K"? That's such a stupid and moronic nickname. And why do we even need to give him a nickname? Are we going to confuse him with the other Daisuke we have on the team. How come we don't use his nickname in Japan. The Monster. I like that one. It's also a nice tribute to the late Dick Radatz.

And can we stop worrying over how many pitches Daisuke threw over in Japan. I'm sick and tired of all this Baseball Prospectus BS. You know they actually came up with a stat to determine how much wear a pitcher's arm had on it. Come On! Everybody's arm is different, and everybody pitches a different way. There's no way to accurately gauge every pitcher's wear and tear based on some universal stat.

After injuring his arm, Junior Seau is officially out for the season and is perhaps done for his career. Seau came into Sunday's game 2nd on the team in tackles with 69, tailing only Teddy Bruschi.

With seau gone, the Pats will most likely shift Vrabel back inside and use Banta-Cain on the outside. Larry Izzo and Don Davis could also see some time in the inside.

The play of the game on Sunday was Tom Brady's 11 yard scramble for a 1st down in which he made Brian Urlacher miss.

It's important to note that Urlacher seemed to hold up just a little bit as he was approaching Brady. Most QBs would give themselves up and dive there, but Brady kept going for the 1st down. Urlacher, who is a smart player, knew that if he hit Brady after he dove, there would probably be a flag resulting in an automatic 1st down. The NFL has cracked down, a bit too harshly, on people hitting the QB. It was a great, smart, brave play by Brady, but it wasn't as if he totally schooled Urlacher And 1 mix-tape style.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Coming into this game, the Patriots were 2-3 against .500+ teams. They lacked a win over one of the top teams in the NFL. The Bears were the class of the NFC, which isn't saying too much, but they were still 9-1 going into this game. The Pats have shown that they can and will beat bad teams, but against good teams, they had struggled and frequently found themselves losing.

The Patriots finally got a win against a top team, but it didn't come easily. Both teams had trouble hanging onto the ball. Had the Bears done a better job of capitalizing on turnovers, they would have easily won this game.

The Pats started their second drive of the game in great position on Chicago's 39. They got it up to the Bear's 24 but Brady threw towards Watson who couldn't pull it in, and it was intercepted by Chicago. Had Watson caught it, it would have been a touchdown. Instead, it was a turnover.

The Bears marched down to our 22 before being stopped and forced to try a field goal, which was missed after a false start penalty pushed the ball back 5 yards. A team playing great football against us could have turned our turnover into 7 points instead of 0.

We got the ball at our 35 and moved it all the way to Chicago's 11, thanks in large part to the 26 yard run by Dillon and the personal foul on Chicago after it. Maroney got the call on the next play but put the ball on the ground and it was recovered by Chicago. Two trips deep into Bear's territory and 0 points to show for it.

The Bears once again took the ball very deep into our territory before grossman fumbled on a botched handoff and Seymour pounced on it. It's important to note that against a team that was playing better than the Bears were, we'd probably be down 10- or 14-0 by this point. Instead we were still tied at 0.

The Pats put together a nice drive and Maroney punched it into the end zone to give us a 7-0 lead.

The Bears replied with a drive that ended with a field goal. The two teams exchanged punts, then we got the ball with less than 2 minutes in the first half. Despite having two consecutive plays overturned against us, we came away with points as Gostkwoski hit a career long 52 yard field goal.

We went into halftime with a 10-3 lead, but we easily could have been down by that point. Thankfully, the Bears were playing pretty poorly and weren't making us pay for our mistakes.

To start the second half, Chicago went 3 and out, then we did, then Chicago did again. We drove the ball and got to midfield. Brady threw to Watson who got as far as the Bear's 23 yard line before he fumbled. Caldwell recovered and moved the ball forward 8 more yards before the Bears stripped it and recovered the ensuing fumble. It seems like we've had a high number of these kinds of fumbles during what could be really big offensive plays.

Once again, the Bears drove far into our territory. Once again, they screwed it up. Grossman threw a pass to Asante Samuel, who returned the pick for 27 yards.

We weren't able to capitalize on the interception as Brady threw one that Brown couldn't reel in and the Bears picked it off at their 47. The net result of the two turnovers was beneficial to us (Bears lost 24 yards of field position), but we could have done much more. Even if we don't get a first down, we were in a good spot to punt the ball inside the 20 and take control of the field position battle.

The Bears were able to take advantage of this turnover and got into the end zone to tie the score at 10.

The Pats responded with a very nice drive. The big play was a 40 yard 3rd down pass to Watson. The Pats tried a double reverse that was just a bit too complicated double reverse, but it resulted in an 8 yard loss. Ironically, had it been a single reverse, the field was wide open. We seem to be trying gadget plays a lot, which is good, but they're often extremely complicated and result in big losses. After that, Faulk caught a 9 yard pass. It was his 262nd reception which sets a new Patriots record for receptions by a running back. On 3rd and 9, Brady had an excellent scramble for 11 yards, eluding Brian Urlacher to get the 1st down. After Evans got 6, and Maroney got 2, Brady snuck up the middle on 3rd and 2 and got 3 yards. On 1st and goal, Maroney got to the 2, then on play action, Brady hit a wide open Ben Watson for the touchdown. The drive took 6 and a half minutes off the clock.

The Bears drove into our red zone, but the defense stopped them and limited them to a field goal. The game was still in doubt with 3:36 on the clock and only a 4 point lead.

Surprisingly, the Patriots passed a lot on their ensuing drive. And it worked. They moved all the way to the 22 yard line. They appeared to be on the verge of kicking a nice insurance field goal when Dillon put the ball on the ground and the Bears recovered. Chicago would have 1:52 to move the ball 78 yards and win the game.

They only had the ball for a few seconds. Samuel picked off Grossman for the 3rd time, tying a Patriot record that was last attained in 1983 (in the regular season that is, we all remember Ty Law's 3 INT performance against Indianapolis a few years ago in the playoffs)

Victory formation. Kneel, kneel, kneel.

Nice win by the Patriots, but we gave Chicago every opportunity in the world to take this one from us. All our turnovers could have come back to haunt us, but only one did. Had Chicago played better, we probably lose.

We improve to 8-3 and maintain a 2 game lead over the Jets in the AFC East. The season gets much easier for us in the remaining weeks ahead. We're host 2-9 Detroit, then we go to 5-6 Miami (who have actually improved recently), then we host 3-8 Houston, and go on the road to play 6-5 Jacksonville (who may or may not be in the playoff race by then), and 4-7 Tennessee. Our remaining opponents have a combined record of 20-35. We should be able to win all of those. Jacksonville and Miami might be trouble, especially if we can't stop fumbling, but we should end the season with a record of 13-3 or 12-4. This will be good enough for a home game in the 1st round, with an outside shot at a 1st round bye.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Last year, I griped about the BC Eagles being relegated to the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise. This year, I think a trip to Idaho in December is precisely what Boston College's football team deserves.

On the 22nd anniversary of Doug Flutie's Hail Mary, also the 22nd anniversary of the last time we beat the thugs down at The U, the Eagles had a chance to win a program changing game. Had BC won, they would still be in the chase for the ACC title. Even if they lost the division due to tie-breakers, they'd still finish 2nd in the division, and essentially finish 3rd in the conference. This would open the door to a top bowl game and a national stage that mattered. Not Boise, not San Francisco, national stage.

You have to give credit to Miami. They've had a pretty bad season and they don't have the talent they've had in years past. However, they stuck with it and got a win against a top ACC team. Their defense has been good all year and it was exceptional all night against the Eagles. BC couldn't do anything. The Miami defensive front were stifling the run, and rushing the passer. The DBs were also keeping our receivers from getting open, which helped the pass rushers, big time.

Give credit to the U. But also seriously consider changing allegiances to a college sports team. Wait, there are no other I-A football programs in Massachusetts and the only other one in New England is UConn. Screw UConn. So stick with BC because you have no choice, but don't ever, EVER, let them get your hopes up that they will do anything spectacular or amazing like win the ACC or maybe win the national championship in hockey despite being perennially ranked in the top 3. It just won't happen and will leave you feeling nothing but disappointed.

Many weeks ago, I looked at the possible bowls Boston College could have gone to. The BCS would be open to us had we won this game, Maryland then would have to beat Wake Forest, and then we'd have to beat Georgia Tech.

The Peach Bowl down in Atlanta is for the #2 ACC team. It puts them against the #5 SEC team. At the moment, the 5th highest ranked SEC team is Tennessee. This game would be a good one, and would give us some national prestige with a victory. This Bowl is not for us this year. We needed to win the ACC Atlantic to gain entry into this one.

The #3 ACC team goes to the Gator Bowl, a New Years bowl game in Jacksonville. We could have gotten into this bowl simply by beating Miami and insuring at least a share of the ACC title, and a 10 win season.

The #4 ACC team goes to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando against Purdue. This is not a prestigious bowl, whatsoever. Here's what sucks even more, the Eagles will be lucky to get into a bowl game as good as this one. Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest are all going to go to bowl games better than the one we go to. Virginia Tech will be competing for spots against us. Virginia Tech has a better national reputation as far as programs go, was already ranked one spot above us in both polls, and has a much larger travelling fan base. Don't be surprised if they go to Orlando and not us.

The Eagles have a shot at the three ACC bowls below the Champs Sports Bowl. There's the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte against Navy. There's the Music City Bowl in Nashville, and the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

The good news is, BC will probably win their bowl game. The bad news is, nobody outside of Chestnut Hill will notice.

The Eagles had a great opportunity to make some noise in the ACC this season. Florida State and Miami were both terrible, and Virgina Tech was mediocre. Other powerhouses like Clemson and Georgia Tech were good, but not great. Just look at the rankings, the highest ACC team is 16th!

We could have easily won the ACC, but we lost to teams like NC State and Miami. We could have easily finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division and gotten to a New Years bowl. Instead, we're going to yet another late December ESPN 2 bowl game to play for a meaningless title in front of 25,000 people.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The 2007 Red Sox are starting to slowly take shape. Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield, and Alex Cora have all been secured for next year. Keith Foulke will be going elsewhere, Alex Gonzalez has signed with Cincinnati, and the big news is that the Red Sox are on the verge of signing Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Right now, here is what the team kind of looks like:
C: Jason Varitek
1B: Kevin Youkilis
2B: Alex Cora/Dustin Pedroia/???
3B: Mike Lowell
SS: Alex Cora/Dustin Pedroia/???
LF: Manny Ramirez?
CF: Coco Crisp
RF: ???
DH: David Ortiz

SP: Daisuke Matsuzaka
SP: Curt Schilling
SP: Josh Beckett
SP: Matt Clement
SP: Jonathan Papelbon
SP: Jon Lester?
SP/RP: Tim Wakefield
RP: Mike Timlin

Manny Ramirez is being mentioned heavily in trade talks. It seems like he might end up in Anaheim to play for the LA Angels of Anaheim. That sentence points out how stupid that name change was.

Anyway, the Angels are looking for a big bat and just lost out on the Soriano deal. The other teams out there with money to spend and a hole in their lineup have either spent the money or filled the hole. The Cubbies got Soriano for an insane amount of money, and the Mets got Moises Alou for a one year deal.

According to Gordon Edes of the Globe, the Sox could get set-up man Scot Shields as part of a package deal for Manny. This would not be a bad pickup. We need help in the bullpen and Shields is just that. He, like a younger Mike Timlin, can throw a lot. He pitched 179.1 innings of relief the last two seasons in 152 appearances.

Along with Shields could come 23 year old righty Ervin Santana, who has yet to put up great numbers, but shows a great deal of promise. The Sox could also get top short-stop prospect Brandon Wood in a deal with Anaheim.

Of course, there are several problems with any Manny deal. First, it is difficult to trade him because of the $38 million he is still owed over the next two seasons. Any deal would probably have to involve the Sox paying some of that money.

Second, Manny is a 10-5 guy, meaning he can veto any trade. It has been made public that he would waive the veto if the team he is traded to extends his contract. But what is the flighty, flaky Ramirez going to ask for in a contract extension? The negotiations of that could break down and nullify any trade we make.

Third, we can get decent value for Manny if teams like Anaheim want him enough, but that value will come in another form other than offensive production. Teams that want Manny are in need of that production, so inherently, we will not be able to get that production in return.

Losing Manny will mean fewer headaches for Francona and the team, $38 million freed up over the next two seasons, and a lot less offensive production. We can't forget, Manny is one of the most productive players in baseball right now. He is the closest thing to a guaranteed .290+, 35+, 120+ so long as he stays healthy and happy.

Now, we don't have to replace that production in order to win, but considering that we only scored 820 runs last year, if we lose the production of Manny and can't fully replace it, we're going to have to seriously upgrade our pitching.

Other offensive options to replace Manny in the lineup have been taken off the market. The Cubs just paid a boatload of money to Alfonso Soriano in a Manny-like 8 year deal for a ton of money. Former Sox cry baby and short-stop Nomar Garciaparra re-signed with the Dodgers for two years. Nomar's new contract with LA will end the same time that the one the Sox offered him would have ended. In two years, Nomar will have been paid $32.75 million by the Cubs and Dodgers. He would have been paid $60 million over that timeframe by the Red Sox but he chose to try to find a better deal elsewhere. Good choice, Nomar.

The Red Sox middle infield is still up in the air. Alex Gonzalez is gone so the team will be looking for its 5th short-stop since Nomar. The Sox have yet to make an offer to 35 year-old Mark Loretta who had a solid season for us. It seems as though Pedroia will be the 2007 starting second baseman.

Pedroia came up as a second baseman, then he switched to short-stop because, now he would be asked to return to second base. Pedroia is also an unknown with little time spent in Boston, and only one full season in Pawtucket. He looks good and could be an adequate replacement for Loretta.

As far as short-stop goes, the Red Sox have their eyes on LA Dodger free agent Julio Lugo. Lugo is 31 years old. Offensively, he will max out at about .300 with 15 homers. That's about as high as his numbers will go. He doesn't get on base enough to be a good #2 hitter with an OBP of about .340. He has speed and steals a good number of bases, but he also gets caught a good number of times. He's a good defensive short-stop who is capable of playing other infield positions as well as the outfield.

I just don't see what the big appeal over Julio Lugo is. He seems like a guy who will give us some offensive production, which will be an upgrade from Alex Gonzalez, but not that much offensive production. He frequently strikes out two times for every walk, his OBP is mediocre, he has minimal power, and he seems to have difficulty driving in runs. I know he was playing for Tampa Bay for a few seasons, but when he was thrust into the playoff picture with the Dodgers last year, his numbers plummeted.

Lugo seems like a guy the Sox could get for $6 or $7 million. I think that would be unwise. We could get similar production from Mark Loretta for just a bit over half of that. We could then start Pedroia at short-stop. Loretta's a bit older, but Lugo is far from a young prospect.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


The Patriots won their first ever game in Wisconsin (they had been 0-2) 35-0. Not much analysis needed for this one. The Patriots played good against a team that played terribly. This wasn't a perfect victory on the part of the Patriots who put the ball on the ground a few times and benefited from Brett Favre's consistent overthrows.

Brady was 20/31 with 4 TDs to 4 different receivers (only 1 of which is listed as a WR). Cassel played most of the 4th quarter. Testaverde made his Patriots debut in the victory formation. The Pats rushed for 120 on the ground.

The story was the defense. Warren and Vrabel were monsters, each with 1.5 sacks. The team had 4 all together and forced a fumble. The Pats held Green Bay to 120 yards of total offense. We forced Green Bay to punt 10 times. We had the ball nearly twice as much as the Packers did.

Now, this game was not a statement game or anything. This was a nice blowout win, but we didn't play perfectly and the way Green Bay played wasn't much of a test for us. The real test will come next week. We have yet to beat a really good team and the Bears are a really good team.

Speaking of Chicago, they beat the Jets 10-0 so we now have a 2 game lead in the division. If we had won last week, it'd be a 4 game lead and would practically be locked up.


The Red Sox extended infielder Alex Cora's contract for two more seasons. The deal is worth $4 million total. Cora will most likely remain a bench player backing up a guy like Dustin Pedroia. Cora is far from an offensive threat, but he can play short-stop, third base, and second base effectively. He's a solid utility middle infielder.

Speaking of effective short-stops, Alex Gonzalez has just signed a three year deal with the Reds worth somewhere around $15 million. This means the Red Sox will be looking for a new short-stop once again. Pedroia could fill this role in 2007. A-Gon was what we expected him to be, a defensive short-stop with minimal production.

Even with the Matsuzaka negotiations underway, the big story in Sox Nation is what to do with Manny Ramirez. You know, I think we should just ride it out. We've already spent $120 million on him, why not just spend the remaining $40 over the next two seasons. We're not going to get good value for him in a trade unless we pay a lot of his salary. If he refuses to play, we get him for breach of contract or place him on waivers.

Bill Mueller has retired after an 11 year Major League career. Mueller was an integral part of the 2004 World Series winning team, hitting .429 in the World Series that year.

Sox prospect Jacoby Ellsbury wrapped up a solid season in the Arizona Fall League. Ellsbury hit .276 and scored 18 runs in 25 games for the Peoria Javelinas. He also stole 7 bases.

Lenny DiNardo also played in the AFL for the Javelinas. In 10 appearances he went 1-0 with an ERA of 2.70. DiNardo will once again be vying for a spot on the 25 man roster next season. He's a lefty so he has a solid shot.

Twenty-five year old Rhode Islander Barry Hertzler went 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA for Peoria. Kyle Jackson had a bad ERA of 6.23 but he did lead the AFL with 6 wins. David Pauley did not fare well going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA. Catcher Dustin Brown hit a meager .239 for the Javelinas. Twenty-three year old Chad Spann hit .268 with 12 RBI and 11 runs in 21 games for Peoria.

In the Hawaii winter league, Ryan Phillips has thrown 4 innings, all hitless. Undrafted catcher John Otness is batting .329 for West Oahu.

In the Venezuelan winter league, Venezuela native Edgar the Younger Martinez has not allowed a run in his last 5 innings. Opponents are hitting .167 off him.

Down in the Dominican, Brandon Moss is hitting .247 but he does have 5 homers, 13 RBI and 12 runs in 22 games.


OK, I know Boston College was probably 10th on the list of games to watch this weekend with #1 OSU hosting #2 Michigan, #17 Cal at #4 USC, #19 Virginia Tech @ #14 Wake Forest, and the Iron Bowl down in Alabama, but it was a major win for the Eagles.

BC needed to win in order to keep their hopes of a divisional title alive, and needed to win in order to keep their hopes of a Gator Bowl alive. The Eagles were ranked 20th in the nation and a win over #21 Maryland would significantly help their chances at getting an ACC title, and getting to a top bowl game.

With the Eagles defensive display (4 turnovers forced, 3 returned for TDs), they beat the Terps 38-16. Coupled with Wake Forest's loss to Virginia Tech, the Eagles are in a three way tie atop the Atlantic Division with Wake and Maryland. BC holds the tie-breaker over Maryland, but Wake holds the tie-breaker over us.

On Thursday (my birthday and the 22nd anniversary of Doug Flutie's Hail Mary), the Eagles go down to Miami to play the 5-6 Hurricanes. We haven't beaten Miami since 1984, but we will be favored to win this game.

We need to win to insure a share of the ACC title. If we win, we could very well be going to the Gator Bowl as the 3rd ACC team. If we win and Maryland beats Wake Forest, we go to the ACC title game in Jacksonville to play Georgia Tech for the Conference Championship and a berth to a BCS bowl.

Speaking of BCS. There really needs to be a playoff system in college football. Ohio State is in the national title game, deservedly so, but there are four or five other contenders that all have good cases to be in the game. Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, Notre Dame, USC, and Boise State all deserve a shot, in my opinion.

The argument that a playoff system would affect academics is bullshit because most big programs have no academic standards.

The argument that a playoff system would ruin the traditional bowls is also a load of crap. Teams knocked out of the playoff could then play in games like the Rose Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. And the hallowed GMAC Bowl would not be affected by a playoff system.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Sox bid to negotiate with Matsuzaka was $51.1 million. A large amount, nearly $10 million over the next highest bidder, the New York Yankees. A large amount, but certainly recoverable if we expand The Nation to Japan.

The Patriots signed 43 year old Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde the other day. The Pats had been going with 2 quarterbacks as opposed to the normal 3 with Troy Brown as an emergency 3rd option. This probably is not an indictment on the play of Tom Brady. The Patriots report no health problem with him or backup Matt Cassell. Vinny will be 3rd on the QB depth chart so Cassell will not be behind his 4th Heisman winning QB on a depth chart (the other 3 are Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, and Doug Flutie).

The Patriots released their injury report for their upcoming game at Green Bay. S Rodney Harrison is out. Cornerback Asante Samuel and DB Eugene Wilson are questionable. Daniel Graham, Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Stephen Neal, and Ellis Hobbs are questionable. For what seems to be the 50th game in a row, Brady was listed as probably with a shoulder injury.

At Gillette Stadium, the removal of grass has begun. It will be replaced by field turf by the game against Chicago on the 26th. The much maligned field in Foxborough was the focus of NFL reviews for several years, and became a hot topic in the Boston sports media after players were seen stumbling and slipping on what is essentially dirt/mud painted green.

Despite the departure of Anibel Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andy Marte last season, there is no need to worry too much about the Red Sox farm system or the products it will soon be giving to the big club in Boston. The Red Sox 2006 draft by many to be the best in baseball. The Sox farm system fared very well, with AA Portland winning the Eastern League Championship, and the Rookie level GCL Red Sox claiming the best record in the league as well as the championship.

In minor league news, the Red Sox will be moving their Advanced A development from Wilmington in the Carolina League to Lancaster in the California League. Lancaster, CA is about 70 miles north of LA so really bored Sox fans in Southern California can go watch some of the team's future prospects.

In 2007, the Red Sox will have a great deal of talent in AAA Pawtucket and AA Portland that will be close to breaking into the Majors, or will be by the time late-season call ups come by. Delcarmen, and Hansen obviously need a little bit of polishing before being considered truly dependable MLB relievers, but they definitely show the signs of talent needed to do the job. Dustin Pedroia could get a chance to play with the Sox in the infield, depending on what off-season moves we make.

Right now the prospect to watch is Jacob Ellsbury. He'll probably start 2007 in Portland. He was drafted in 2005 and plays center-field. In Advanced A Wilmington he hit .299 last year, and hit .308 in AA Portland when he was promoted. He's been compared to Johnny Damon with speed and defensive prowess. He doesn't have much power, but he gets on base. He had a .387 OBP with the Sea Dogs last year.

Speaking of Sox prospects. Anyone in Red Sox Nation that bitches about Hanley Ramirez should probably be slapped. When we traded him, along with Anibel Sanchez, to Florida for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, most fans were all for it. After one year, fans are now criticizing Theo and the Sox for a move that they praised. It doesn't work that way.

Furthermore, it's been one friggin' season!!! Yes, Hanley won NL Rookie of the Year, yes he had a good year, yes our short-stop was an offensive black hole, but it's been one year! He had a solid year and won a nice award. Will that continue? I don't know. But let's not react like we traded the next Babe Ruth here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The Boston Red Sox have acquired exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The fee for these rights is still undisclosed, but is rumored to be in the neighborhood of between $42 million and $50 million. The fee will not be paid if the Red Sox and Matsuzaka fail to come to a deal. Any deal for him would probably be around 4 years and $50 million.

Is this wise?


Spending $100 million on an individual player is a lot, but this player is different. Not only is he a young potential Ace pitcher, he adds marketability to the Red Sox in Japan. The $50 million negotiating fee could easily be paid for and then some within a few years if the Sox are able to expand their brand sufficiently in Japan.

There is some speculation that this is a ploy by the Red Sox, bidding a massive amount of money in order to prevent other teams from signing Matsuzaka. This is highly doubtful. However, I'm sure part of the Red Sox thought process included the fact that if a deal cannot be struck with the pitcher, the $50 million fee is waived and nobody else will get Matsuzaka for at least a year.

By posting the winning bid, the Sox will also placate millions of disappointed fans who were upset at the Red Sox for collapsing last season. Players stopped playing, some seemed to stop trying, and the team made no deals at the deadline. Spending $50 million to talk with Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras will alleviate fan's concerns that the team isn't trying hard enough to win.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The most publicized and sought after free agent pitcher this year is Daisuke Matsuzaka. Teams have already sent their bids to Major League Baseball, which will forward the top bid to the Seibu Lions for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras. The Lions can then agree to decline or accept the bid. The winning bid will be announced on Tuesday, and that team will have 30 days with which to negotiate a contract with the Japanese pitcher. If no deal is made, he will return to the Seibu Lions next season.

The teams most interested are said to be the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, and Mets. All of these teams want/need pitching, and all have deep pockets. There are some reports that the Angels also submitted a bid.

The two conflicting reports traversing the internet are that the Rangers placed the top bid, and that the Red Sox placed the top bid. According to the rumor mills around the world wide web, the Sox bid is said to be in the $45 million neighborhood.

This sounds ludicrously high, but it would be a fair price to pay considering that money could very well be coming back in additional revenues from the Japanese market. Also, if we can't come to a deal with Matsuzaka, the fee will be returned to the Sox. No muss, no fuss.

The Red Sox and former closer Keith Foulke, who recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series, have officially parted ways. The Red Sox, for some reason, offered to renew Foulke's $3.75 million option, but Foulke opted out. According to Foulke's agent, the pitcher wants to spend more time closer to home, which is in Arizona.

For all the BS that when on between Foulke and a lot of the fans here in Red Sox Nation, we cannot forget that he was one of the biggest reasons why we were able to win the World Series in 2004.

In the '04 playoffs, he had 3 saves, and a win. He allowed 1 earned run in 14 innings pitched. He threw in all 4 World Series games.

But it was time to move on. In the past two years he's been plagued by injuries and difficulty to recover from them. We needed a better option out of the bullpen.

Foulke is the 41st member of the 2004 Red Sox to leave the team. Two of them returned (Kapler and Mirabelli). Nevertheless, the historic World Series winning Red Sox team has been completely disbursed across the baseball world. Only 11 members of that team are still with the Sox, with the futures of Trot Nixon, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, and Manny Ramirez up in the air.

With JD Drew opting out of his final three years with the Dodgers, he's become a very viable option to play right field for the Red Sox next season. The soon to be 31 year old lefty hit .283 for LA last year, along with 20 homers and 100 RBI. His OBP was .393, but he did strike out 106 times.

He could be a solid hitter for us next season with emphasis on could. Drew is a guy who was very highly touted when he first came up with St. Louis, but he never exploded into the superstar many believed he would be. All in all, he has been very solid over his career, but he's struggled with consistency. His average fluctuates from as low as .252 in 2002 to as high as .323 in 2001. He hit 31 homers in 2004, but he is usually in the high teens, low twenties in homeruns. His post-season stats are also less than remarkable.

He's a slightly above average hitter who seems to have never hit his potential. In other words, he's Trot Nixon. This means he could be a good replacement for Trot, but it'd be nice if the Sox tried to upgrade this position considering the lack of total offense we had in 2006. Also, he's not going to be cheap. He turned down an option that guaranteed him $33 million over 3 years. What do you think he'll be asking for in free agency?

We spent $7.5 million on Trot last year and the now consistently injury ridden Nixon didn't give us much production when he was playing. Of course "he was a Dirt Dog," "he was tough," "he had that football mentality," and all that other meaningless, moronic crap that some sports fans seem to like more than contributing to victory. JD Drew could also be tough, and a "gamer," but he'll be an expensive one. Essentially, we'd be increasing the amount of money we spend on right field, which we were already overpaying for, for someone to probably give us similar production. That just doesn't make sense, especially considering how much we lacked in offensive production last year.

Both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz won Silver Slugger Awards. It is Manny's 9th Silver Slugger Award, and David Ortiz's 3rd. The Silver Slugger goes to the best hitter at each position.
The Red Sox have released the full 2007 Spring Training Schedule. It can be seen Here.

The Sox will play 34 total games, 32 in the Grapefruit League, 1 against Boston College, and 1 against Northeastern. They will have 17 home games (including March 12th against the Yankees), 15 games played elsewhere in Florida, and 2 games played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to end Spring Training. Thankfully, there will be no players missing time with the team due to International duty.

The Red Sox also released a tentative schedule for the 2007 regular season. It can be seen here. The Sox start the season off in Kansas City on April 2, have their home opener on April 10th against Seattle, have their first divisional game at Toronto on April 17th, and play the Yankees for the first time on April 20th in Fenway. For interleague play, the Sox will visit Arizona, Atlanta, and San Diego. They'll host San Francisco and Colorado.


What a Godawful shitty game played by the New England Patriots. It used to be that after we lost a game, we'd kill the next team on the schedule. Instead, this team looked demoralized, and beaten before they even took the field.

When you put up over 300 yards of offense, you think that your team would score more than 1 touchdown and 14 points. But the Patriots offense was start and sputter all day long.

It started on the first drive. The Pats drove into Jets territory, but failed to get 1st downs and were forced to punt.

After a 3 and out, the Pats had control of the field position battle. Hochstein was called for holding then the Pats failed to convert on 3rd and 13. After the punt, the Jets drove into our territory and took control of the field position.

We then drove all the way down to the 4, thanks in large part to a 50 yard run from Dillon, his longest since 2002. We could even get a first down without getting a touchdown. Maroney was then stuffed for a loss of 1, and Brady was sacked for a loss of 8. The Pats were forced to settle for 3.

Before last week's game against Indy, we had been a really proficient red zone team. We had one of the best scoring and touchdown percentages in the NFL. Lately, we've been folding in the red zone and that is a sure fire way to lose football games.

On the first play of the jets ensuing drive, Artrell Hawkins picked the ball off. Things seemed to be going very well for the Pats. Up 3-0 with the ball back at their 44, we had a chance to start running away with the game. Brady hit Caldwell for 10. Then he hit Gabriel for 22 which got the ball to the Jets 24, then Gabriel fumbled. This was the same type of crap we saw last week. We'd get a huge opportunity on a turnover or a defensive stop, then give the ball right back.

The Jets capitalized on their opportunity with a long, well-orchestrated drive that reminded me of the 2001 Patriots. 16 plays, over 9 minutes of possession, and it ended in a touchdown. After the Pennington interception, the Jets had a good chance to go up at least 6-0 or maybe even 10-0. Instead, they turned over the ball, allowed a long drive and fell behind 7-3.

The Patriots benefited immensely on their next drive from an unnecessary roughness penalty that negated a Brady interception that was really a very poorly thrown ball. They moved the ball all the way down to the Jets 11, but fell a yard short of getting a 1st down and were forced to kick a field goal from the 3 yard line. Nice to get points before the half ends, but if you get the ball to the 11, you have to punch it into the end zone. Still, we were only down 1 point.

In the 2nd half, the Pats allowed yet another massive kickoff return, this one a 62 yarder that gave the jets the ball at our 38. The Jets weren't able to do much, but were able to pooch punt the ball and down it at our 4.

We were able to get the ball out of our own red zone and punt to the jets 25, which is a good result for a drive that starts on your own 4. The jets had another methodical, short passing, short running drive and were able to kick a field goal to go up 10-6.

The Pats had a 26 yard pass play on the ensuing drive negated by a formation penalty on Caldwell. They were able to get the ball to the Jets 32, but after an incomplete and back-to-back sacks, they were forced to punt, and it went into the end zone.

We can't afford to allow sacks. We usually don't allow too many. But in this game, we allowed 4 and that's just inexcusable. We went from close to field goal range to a difficult punt in two plays.

We forced the Jets to punt and got the ball back on the 20. Dillon ran for 13, then for 2. On 2nd and 8, Brady threw a shitty pass that was picked off by the Jets. We're not used to seeing this from Brady, but he's thrown some really dumb passes this season. He almost seems to be trying to force completions, which just isn't good whatsoever. This was a monstrous pick, too. We gave the Jets an opportunity to go up by a touchdown with a field goal, to go up by 2 scores with a touchdown with minimal time left in the 4th quarter.

The Jets, of course, scored a touchdown. There was now 4:45 left and the Patriots needed a miraculous two scores.

Thanks to a 36 yard kickoff return from Maroney, the Pats had good field position. He hit Gaffney for 33 yards, then Brown for 15, then Caldwell for 15 and a touchdown. 4 plays, 61 yards, 0:31 off the clock. Nearly a perfect drive.

We were forced to try for 2 and we got it as Brady hit Caldwell.

The Pats defense needed to come up with some sort of stand. There was 4:03 on the clock and we still needed a field goal to tie. But the defense didn't come up with a stop soon enough. We had to burn through timeouts and got the ball in poor field position with only 1:08 on the clock.

For some reason, we didn't spike the ball until there was only 0:10 on the clock. We moved the ball down the field nicely and quickly, but we didn't stop the frigging clock. We got down to the Jet 46 with only 0:10 on the clock. We basically could only run one play. It HAD to be about 17 yards or so, and it HAD to be near the sidelines, and it HAD to take less than 0:09. We allowed a sack and the game was over.

We only had 26 rushing attempts and were forced to throw the run out. We got down inside the Jets 10 yard line twice but only got field goals. Brady had a moronic interception that changed the game immensely. Gabriel had a huge fumble that took a lot of our momentum away. The defense struggled to force 3 and outs, and struggled to pressure Pennington. We looked extremely vulnerable to the short dump passes. We hardly ever forced the Jets into 3rd and long situations. We allowed a lot of 1st and 2nd down yardage. Those short pass plays really add up.

Meanwhile, on offense, we racked up 377 yards of total offense, but only got 1 touchdown. That's indicative of consistency problems, which we had a great deal of. 4 sacks and 2 turnovers don't help much either, and not being in charge of the field position battle also was a problem for us. It seemed like we were always facing 3rd and longs. We were forced to attempt 4th down conversions thrice. We converted all three, but good offenses don't face those situations.

First back-to-back loss since 2002, first loss to the Jets since 2002. All three of our losses have come in Gillette Stadium, which used to be a fortress for us. Last time we had more than three home losses was 2000.

We need to do a lot of work. We need to adjust the offensive game plan, big time.