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.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Have you ever seen the Patriots play a game that poorly since the infamous 31-0 route in Buffalo? I don't think I have. Nevertheless, we nearly won the day. We were handed this victory over the undefeated Colts on a silver platter several times, but each time we messed it up.

The Colts did their part, too. They gave us the ball on several occasions, and even Adam Vinatieri missed a few field goals. Can I just say that I'm glad that this game didn't come down to an AV4 field goal that he made, because otherwise the reactionary, simple-minded morons in New England would instantly blame the loss on the loss of Vinatieri, instead of blaming the entire team for the loss. Thank God we won't have to suffer through that maelstrom of morons.

We had this game. We had this game at any time we wanted to take it. But we didn't. It wasn't that we couldn't, we just didn't. We didn't execute. We F'ed up and they got away.

To paraphrase Denny Green, the Colts are who we thought they were.

As upsetting as it is to lose a game you easily could have won, I'm going to be optimistic here. We lost, but if we had played just a little bit better, we would have beaten a team that is now 8-0. I don't think this game will be the only meeting between the Colts and Pats this season. And from what we all saw on Sunday night, they look very, VERY beatable.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

On the first drive of the game, we started off in the wrong direction. Dillon was stuffed for a loss of 2, then Caldwell was called for offensive PI. On 2nd and 21, Dillon ran for 10, then Brady hit Watson for 15 and a 1st down. Brady hit Jackson for 9, then Maroney ran for 12. It looked as though the Colts defense was already dissected and waiting for us to chop them up on the field.

After a false start, Maroney ran for 6, then Dillon for 7, then Dillon for 4 more and a 1st down. Then, something strange happened. We were at the Indy 34, we had a 1st down and we were in total control of the Colts defense. The entire playbook was open. For some reason we decided to throw deep, and into coverage. We weren't desperate enough to do that. We weren't in a position in which we needed to be that aggressive. We could have handed off to Maroney, or thrown a mid-length route for 8 to 12 yards. Nope. We decided to try and hit the end zone. Maybe Belichick wanted to keep the safeties back so the run would continue to work. That's about the only reason I can conceive of to call that play. Brady threw deep to Gabriel, but it wasn't caught by Gabriel, it was caught by the Colts. What seemed to be a sure scoring drive ended with the Colts gaining possession at their 32.

After two incompletes and a false start, the Colts were facing 3rd and 15. We put good pressure on Manning and Colvin almost got to him. But Peyton got the ball off and hit Harrisson for 44 yards and a huge 1st down. The Colts eventually put the ball in the end zone to go up 7-0.

We got the ball back but then the mysterious penalties started. Fourteen year veteran Troy Brown got a 15 yard taunting penalty. This was because.....ummmm...he said something mean to a Colts player. And we all know how sensitive those guys are. You can't touch them, or even say mean things because they are quite fragile and delicate.

Anyway, on 3rd and 20, Brady hit Gabriel for 39 yards. At the end of the 1st quarter, Brady hit Faulk on 4th and 3 for 14 yards and a massive 1st down. Dillon took two shots at the end zone and got in on the second try. 7-7 game.

The Colts got the ball back and easily drove downfield for 7 points and retook a 7 point lead.

The Patriots responded with their own struggle free touchdown drive to tie it at 14-14.

The Pats kicked off and allowed a 70 yard return. Then they committed a PI penalty and the Colts had the ball at our 7 without a single successful offensive play ran. Then we stopped Adai in the backfield for a loss of 1. Then Seau sacked Manning for a loss of 9. So now the Colts were facing 3rd and goal from their 17.

Manning attempted a pass to the end zone that was picked off by Samuel. But, the Colts receiver ran into Samuel downfield. You see, when the Colts are on the field, you can't touch them, even if they run into you. You have to let them run by you, then you can try to cover them. They need a lot of help and a lot of encouragement. In fact, if it's a jump ball, not only should the defensive back avoid making a play for the ball, he should whisper words of encouragement into the ears of the sensitive Colts receiver. They need special help and care and love. Asante Samuel should have known that by standing downfield in the perfect spot to defend against the route the receiver was running, he was being mean to the Colts. Asante should have gotten out of his way instead of allowing himself to get run into by the receiver. The ref was totally justified in throwing a penalty flag for Samuel's outlandish behavior. Imagine, a defensive back in the NFL being mean and not doing everything in his power to help the receiver catch the ball.

End of sarcasm.

The call on Samuel was BS, in my opinion. He was standing there, got run into, then made a play for the ball. Isn't that good pass coverage? The drive should have ended there with the Patriots getting the ball at the 20. Instead, the Colts got a fresh set of downs and were able to kick a field goal.

Afterwards, Brady and the offense had a chance to get some points to end the half, but that drive ended in a misguided throw into triple coverage on Ben Watson.

Here's a few reasons why you don't throw into triple coverage:
1. The pass has to be dead on perfect, a bit off in any direction is probably an INT
2. If a pass is a jump ball pass, the defense has three guys against your one, bad odds for your guy catching it, great odds of it getting picked
3. Even if you do throw a perfect pass, the receiver MUST catch it. If he bobbles it into the air, it will probably be a pick.
4. If the pass is picked, the defender already has two blockers with him and can have a big-time runback, maybe even all the way to the end zone

The Colts got the ball to start the second half. Immediately, Manning hit Harrisson for 36 yards. After Adai got 2 and Manning threw an incomplete, the Pats stopped the Colts on 3rd down. Until the refs threw a flag. They called Vrabel for illegal contact downfield. Replays showed that Vrabel glanced a Colts receiver, but within the 5 yard hit zone. Maybe the refs meant to call it on someone else. Regardless, Vrabel didn't do anything wrong, and it didn't seem as though any other Patriot did.

After a gift 1st down, Wayne fumbled. The ball sat on the ground, waiting for someone to grab it. Nobody did. It was knocked out of bounds by the Colts so they retained possession. Eventually, Vinatieri tried a field goal but missed.

So the Pats had 1st and 10 on their 27, down 17-14 with plenty of time. Then Dillon fumbled. The play was reviewed and the recovery touchdown was called back. The Colts were unable to do anything with the ball despite great field position. Colvin had a huge sack that knocked Indy out of field goal range. The fumble wasn't totally game changing, but it did run another minute off the clock, and resulted in a -16 change of field position for the Pats.

The next drive was confusing. Brady hit Brown for a nice 12 yard gain. Dillon was stuffed for a loss of 1. On 2nd and 11, the Patriots attempted a fake reverse screen. Why? Of all the plays in the playbook, why that one. Both the passing game and the running game were working for us. On 2nd and 11, we could have handed the ball off or thrown a mid-range pass to try to make it 3rd and manageable, not 3rd and long. The Colts defense was weak, but they were also very fast. They eat up plays that take time developing like screens. The fake reverse aspect of the screen was also a bit too much. I think Bellichick was trying too hard to outcoach the Colts.

The play didn't work. On 3rd and 11, Brady was flushed out of the pocket and ran for 9 yards, still shy of the 1st down marker. We punted.

The Colts scored on the next drive thanks to an amazing grab by Harrisson. Not much you could do about that play. But now it was 24-14, and the clock was ticking.

The Pats, thanks in large part to a pass interference call on Indy, were able to drive to the Colts 31 yard line. They were then stopped. Gostkowski attempted a 49 yarder and hit it to make it a 24-17 game.

On the kickoff, Artrell Hawkins made a great special teams play and stripped Wilkins during his return. The Pats got the ball on the Indy 46 and seemed to have a great deal of momentum with them.

We drove all the way to the 16, but were stopped in the red zone, something which hasn't happened much this season. Gostkowski attempted a 36 yarder but kicked it terribly wide right.

The Colts got the ball back and the 4th quarter started. Troy Brown had an absolutely stupid penalty on 3rd and 7 that gave Indy an automatic 1st down. The Colts drove all the way to the 30. Then Chad Scott picked off Manning at the 14 yard line and returned the ball all the way to near midfield.

Huge opportunity for the Patriots. Still only a 7 point game, with 13:16 on the clock. Then Brady threw a ball through the defensive line. It was tipped at the line, and a Colts defender was the one who caught it.

The Colts got the ball back and didn't really move it much with the exception of one 16 yard pass play and a stupid, yet still ticky-tacky flag on Roosevelt Colvin. Vinatieri hit the 31 yard field goal to make it a 27-17 game.

Brady hit Gabriel for 6, Faulk ran a draw up the middle for 10, Maroney ran left for 17, Brown caught a 6 yard pass, then Watson a 5 yard pass and all of a sudden the Pats were on the Indy 15. A PI penalty got them to the 10.

We ran Faulk again on 1st and goal from the 10, but were only able to get 2. I don't know why we weren't using Dillon in this situation. Brady threw incomplete to Thomas on 2nd and goal. On 3rd and goal, Brady threw to Faulk, who was on the 2, but Faulk dropped it. He might have been able to dive into the end zone, he might not have been. Either way, you can go for it on 4th and goal on the 1 or 2 yard line. The Pats settled for a field goal. Not the end of the world, but time was running short.

The Colts drove the ball downfield, but Vinatieri missed a game clinching field goal. We still had a chance. We didn't have any timeouts, but we still had 1:55 on the clock to work with. Brady hit Watson for 25 down the left. We had about 90 seconds to go 39 yards, certainly doable. Brady threw over the middle short to Faulk who once again dropped the ball. The throw wasn't absolutely perfect, it was a tad high, but it hit both of Faulk's hands and he couldn't haul it in. But Cato June was able to. The INT sealed the victory for Indianapolis.

In my opinion, we lost this game on so many levels. The Colts played better than us, but they weren't a more talented team than us. We turned the ball over 5 times. We made some horrendous errors in play calling, and stupid penalties. We also had our fair share of ticky tacky calls against us. Also, did anyone else notice that Ty Warren was getting held on every single pass rush? We didn't score in the red zone enough, we missed a field goal, we allowed a big return on special teams, so many big mistakes and little mistakes. We didn't have that confident stride. We were playing like one of the other 31 teams in the League, we weren't playing like the Patriots.

But I'm hopeful. Indy did not look unbeatable. We rattled Manning and forced some mistakes, we just failed to capitalize on them and we made far too many mistakes of our own. We didn't run the ball enough, especially not Dillon. We had 33 rushing attempts out of 68 offensive plays. Dillon only got 13 carries, but as the power rusher, I think he should have gotten somewhere around 20.

The defense looked good despite allowing so many points. To be fair, they were up against a Colts offense that is stacked. They were often playing in poor field position. The Colts average starting position was at their 37, but that average includes them starting at the 3 after a Brady INT to end the 1st half. Take that drive out and they averaged starting at their 40. One the other hand, we averaged starting out on the 34. The Colts started drives in our territory 3 times, we only had 1 start in Indy territory. The time of possession was split pretty much 50/50 with the Colts having it 1:12 less than us.

We were supposed to dominate time of possession, and starting field position, and the turnover department. We failed to do all three. We played like crap and deserved to lose. But I don't think we'll play that badly again this season.

Ironically, it was mostly the veterans who played poorly. Faulk with 2 dropped balls, Brown with a stupid penalty, Brady with 4 picks, and Dillon with the fumble.

We'll get them in December if we get our minds focused properly.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Is anybody truly surprised anymore when Boston College loses the big game it should win? Is anyone shocked when they blow coverages, throw picks in the end zone, allow 81 yard rushes, fail to stay at home on end arounds, fumble after picking up a huge first down, or generally screw up big time in any way? Is anyone taken aback when they do this in football, or basketball, or hockey? If you are, you're a sucker.

BC is limited in recruiting because unlike most other schools, they have academic standards. Places like The U, or Virginia Tech do not. But this wasn't a game in which the Eagles were simply a less talented team. The Eagles beat themselves in this one.

The eagles has 430 yards of total offense, but they also threw 2 interceptions, had 70 penalty yards, and only averaged 1.1 yards per carry on the ground. Matt Ryan was 40 for 57 for 402 yards, but he only completed one TD pass. The other two times he hit a man in the end zone, they were wearing black and gold.

The first major BC mistake came about halfway through the 2nd quarter. Wake had possession of the ball at the Eagle 46. Nate Morton went on a deep route and was dropped off in coverage by BOTH the safety and the corner, instead of just one or the other. This left him wide open in the middle of the field with reservations for 6, and a Wake Forest TD to take the lead.

On the very next drive, BC drove the ball from their 27 all the way down to the Wake Forest 30. They were close to field goal range, but on 3rd and 13, Matt Ryan threw a poorly decided upon pass into the end zone where it was picked off by Wake Forest to end the drive.

In the 3rd quarter, BC gave up an 81 yard TD run early on that put them in the hole 21-7. The eagles got the score to 21-14 with a Ryan TD run on 4th and goal.

BC had three drives in the 4th quarter. The first ended with a missed field goal. The second one ended with an LV Whitworth fumble. The third ended with a Matt Ryan TD. Wake Forest held on to win 21-14.

BC is now a 2 loss team in the ACC Atlantic Division, which all but ends their hopes of a division title. They lost to NC State, and Wake Forest. Both of these games were games BC should have won.

Maryland and WFU are now both 4-1 in the ACC. In order for BC to win the ACC Atlantic, they have to win their remaining 3 Conference games (Duke, Maryland, at Miami), and hope Maryland beats WFU. If WFU loses to Maryland AND loses another conference game (they also play Virginia Tech and FSU), and we beat Maryland, we'll still win the division. But now we are no longer in control of our own destiny, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


The Red Sox finished 2006 with a team fielding percentage of .989. They had the highest team fielding percentage in the Majors. They only made 66 errors, which was the fewest in baseball by 14 and the lowest in the AL by 18.

Alex Gonzalez only had 111 games at short-stop, but lack of time at a position hasn't stopped Gold Glove voters before (See: Rafael Palmeiro). He had the best fielding percentage among short-stops with at least 30 games at the position at .985. The Gold Glove winner, Derek Jeter, was at .975. Gonzo had 7 errors to Jeter's 15. Gonzo got slightly more chances than jeter per game at 4.28 to Jeter's 4.07 which indicates better range. We all saw what Gonzo did defensively this season, and it was amazing. He deserved the Gold Glove.

Mike Lowell tied GG winner Eric Chavez for fielding percentage at .987. But Chavez got the nod for another Gold Glove.

Mark Loretta finished close to Mark Grudzelanik in fielding percentage, but the Royal got the award.

I just find it odd that as a team the Sox had a great fielding percentage, and the entire infield had very good defensive years, but no player received recognition for this.

David Ortiz also got snubbed for the Hank Aaron Award by Derek Jeter. This was despite his 54 homers and 137 RBI. Both led the AL. Jeter had a much better average, but he knocked in 90 runs in the best lineup in baseball. Ortiz also had the most total bases with 355.

The Red Sox do not have a representative on the MLB All-Star team currently playing Japanese League All-Stars in Japan.

While over in Japan, MLB has announced that they'd like to start the 2008 regular season in China. The NFL has already announced a pre-season game in The People's Republic and MLB's following suit is a good idea. China is a massive market and a potential pool of talent that MLB could use. MLB already opened the door to China in the WBC when they let China field a team even though it had little chance of even winning a game (they were outscored 30-6 in their 3 games).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The Red Sox picked up the $4 million option for pitcher Tim Wakefield. Wakefield turned 40 this season, but will be back for his 13th season with the Red Sox, by far the longest anyone on the 2007 roster will have been with the team.

Trot Nixon, Gabe Kapler, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, and Doug Mirabelli have filed for free agency.

Early lines out of Vegas have the Patriots favored by 3 points for the upcoming clash with the undefeated Colts.