Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Dear Diary,
I'm sorry I haven't spoke (or written, I guess, LOL) to you the past few weeks. I've been shooting 10 commercials a day. But I didn't get paid for any of them. I just decided to shoot a commercial for every product/service/company in the world, that way my agent can call them and offer my endorsement with the work already done.

But these days the advertising agencies don't seem to want me to be in their commercials. Unless I bring Eli with me. The economy must be really bad if they don't want me in commercials.

I've been sick the last two days with the sniffles. It was cold in Nashville Monday night. 45 degrees! Where were we? Santa's Workshop on the North Pole?

I remember asking Coach Fisher and Coach Tony if we could play the game inside, or postpone it, because it was so nippy. "I left my mittens and scarf in Indiana," I complained, but Coach Fisher just rolled his eyes and walked away. Jeff Saturday offered to keep me warm with his body heat. Then he winked at me. I told him to take care of Marvin, because he gets the coldest.

Monday's game was hard, and I almost cried on the sidelines. But I was afraid my tears would freeze to my face and I'd get hypothermia and die, so I held it in. I've said it before, I'll say it again: football should only be played when it's sunny, and warmer than 55 degrees.

We lost because it was cold and we have lots of injuries. At least, that's what Coach Tony said, and everyone on the TV seems to agree. We do have a lot of injuries. I played Monday night with a headache that really bothered me until Dallas Clark gave me a head massage and got rid of it.

I've been throwing more interceptions than I used to, but they're not my fault! The other teams must be cheating somehow. How else could it be possible?

I decided to talk to Bill Polian. He lets me call him Willy because he likes me so much. He's the one that complained about those mean old Patriots being mean to my teammates and made sure they'd get in trouble for it. This time, I asked him if we could make a rule eliminated the interception altogether. Not just for me, I think it hurts every quarterback's feelings when they throw one. Football is supposed to be fun, it isn't supposed to hurt. He said he'd try, then he gave me some gum.

Coach Tony decided to cheer us up this week with fun Halloween activities. Yesterday we bobbed for apples and Officer Tim from the Indianapolis Police gave us a talk about Halloween safety.

Guess what we did today...


It was so much fun. Coach Tony said he loved mine, and it was real scary.

I can't wait for Halloween. Do you know what my costume is? It's a big secret, but I know I can trust you, diary. I'm going to be my favoritest character from my favoritest movie ever: Woody from Toy Story. I know it's not scary, but I always wanted to be a cowboy. Or an astronaut. Maybe next year I'll be Buzz!!!! Why can't there be 2 Halloweens a year?

Robert Mathis has the scariest costume in the history of Halloween. He's going as Rodney Harrison. When he said that, my heart skipped a beat. Coach Tony yelled at Robert and told him not to bring the costume into the locker room because it was too scary. I asked where Robert would be trick-or-treating on Friday so I could stay on the other side of town. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls are scary, Rodney Harrison is terrifying!

I'm just glad I don't have to see him on Sunday.

Until next time diary, I love you. And Happy Halloween!


The World Champion Celtics picked up right where they left off, with a 90-85 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the PGA Tour back for another season, and young guys like Rajon Rondo and Leon Powe gaining more and more experience, you've got to like the Celtics' chances of a repeat.

The C's overcame a slow night from Kevin Garnett, who finished 5 of 15. Ray Allen also missed the mark a great deal, shooting 2 of 9 for 8 points. But the defense first Celtic philosophy kept them in the game. Pierce's 27, Rondo's 14 were the bulk of the offense. Tony Allen and Leon Powe provided the remainder off the bench, with 11 and 13 points respectively.

Combined, the bench was 11 of 24, a slightly better percentage than the 5 starters shot (45.8% compared to 44.0%).

When KG and Ray Ray get going, the offense is going to roll over the opposition.

And how about those rings? It's nice to see some tasteful championship jewelry for once. Rings should be flashy, but shouldn't be deafeningly loud.

Seeing Paul Pierce get choked up makes it clear that these guys won't be satisfied with just one ring.

The Celtics host the Bulls Friday night.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson


I don't know what the "English" means, I just wanted to use a stupid title.

You very rarely see a goalie start games on back-to-back days. Coach Claude Julien, however, went against the norm and started Tim Thomas in net Tuesday night. It was a wise decision.

Thomas stopped every shot that reached him, recording 31 saves for his 2nd straight shutout. Unlike Monday night's outing, Thomas needed to make a few more spectacular saves. He went post-to-post, made saves on his back, and kept calm when the crease was crowded.

He hasn't allowed a goal in 132:14 of game time. He's stopped 61 straight shots on net. Last season, he didn't record a shutout until January. He already has 2 and it's not even November.

The Bruins have excelled on the road so far. They're 4-1-2 (10 points) away from the Garden, as opposed to 1-1-1 (3 points) at home. They're also 3-0-0 west of the Mississippi. Maybe the B's should start their home games at 10 PM Eastern time.

The road trip ends Thursday night in Calgary. I'm just going to assume Thomas will be starting in net.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The Bruins haven't lost to the Oilers in this decade, winning 7 straight contests coming into last night's game.

The 1st and 2nd stars were given to the two goalies in this tight match. The Bruins defensive play, and Edmonton's inability to finish, also deserves a "thank you" from Tim Thomas, who nabbed his 8th career shutout.

The Bruins were extremely aggressive on offense. Once they crossed the blue-line, they shot the puck. They didn't bother flirting, they just went straight for the bedroom. And for the most part, it failed. Scoring 1 time out of 36 attempts isn't a good success rate at the bar, or on the ice.

Thankfully, Thomas was on his game, and the Bruins owned their defensive side of the ice. Edmonton didn't get their first shot of the game until the Bruins shot 8 times.

The North by Northwest trip continues Tuesday night when the Bruins face the Canucks. Then they come back to Alberta to play Calgary.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jimmy Jeong

Monday, October 27, 2008


Milan Lucic's check on Mike Van Ryn of the Maple Leafs. You've probably seen it a hundred times, even if you're not a Bruins fan. But it's a sick hit and should be viewed over and over.

Just a few thoughts about it:

You can see Van Ryn tighten himself up as he can feel a big hit coming. If he hadn't, he may have been very hurt by the check. The worst hits are the ones you don't anticipate, just ask Dean McAmmond...

Or Richard Zednick...

And props to the NHL for not bitching to YouTube about videos of game footage. Unlike MLB and the NFL, the NHL realizes that it's free advertising to have highlights online.

Hockey highlight shows (do any exist in the USA?) or sports highlight shows need to have a Jacked Up type of segment of the biggest hockey hits. With the speeds involved (20, 25 MPH frequently), they can get ridiculous.


The Red Sox were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays. Tom Brady's knee has been hacked more than a Crystal Lake camp counselor. And even though a 23-16 victory over the 2008 Rams won't be making NFL Films' Greatest Games, it was enough to propel the Patriots into a first place tie with the Bills.

Matt Cassel had one of his best games, even though his stat line doesn't show it. The 2 picks weren't his fault, and his performance in the 4th quarter of a late game was nice to see. He's struggled to stay consistent in vital situations like that, but he kept his cool, led the team downfield, and threw a perfect pass to Faulk to give the Pats the lead. On the game winning drive he was 4/4 for 49 yards and, of course, a touchdown.

Kvin Faulk had another big offensive day, and with Maroney on IR, Jordan out, and Morris out; the Patriots really needed his effort. He had 60 yards on the ground and 47 receiving yards. He's been the Patriots' MVP thus far.

It was the St. Louis Rams, so we shouldn't go nuts. Then again, they kicked the crap out of Dallas and their backup QB. In the end, what matters is wins and losses, regardless of who they're against. There's no BCS in the NFL, strength of schedule is next to irrelevant.

And the Pats are 5-2 with a backup quarterback. That's tied for the 2nd best record in the AFC, and 5th best in the NFL. And they haven't lost a close game.

An important stretch of games begins next Sunday night in Indianapolis. The schedule goes Colts, Bills, Jets, Dolphins. The Patriots can do a lot for themselves in the AFC East with some wins, or shoot themselves in the foot.

And if you didn't see any of the cheerleaders in their Halloween outfits, you missed out on a show and a half.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The character of a hockey team has as much to do with winning as their ability to skate. The Bruins showed their character last night, beating Atlanta 5-4.

After blowing a 2-0 lead to the lowly Maple Leafs Thursday, then falling behind 2-0 to the Thrashers after 1 period, many NHL teams would have packed it in, and moved on to their next game. But the Bruins showed some mental toughness, and tied the game 6 minutes into the 2nd. After a great deal of give and take, the Bruins scored last, and snapped their 3 game losing streak.

The big performance of the night was Milan Lucic's hat trick. Perhaps not a coincidence, last night was the second time he's played while wearing contact lenses. He also had an assist to go with his three goals. Coming into the game, he had 1 goal, and 3 assists in 7 games. If he gets scoring, this team becomes very formidable on the offensive side of the ice.

The Bruins go Northwest this week, with 3 games in 4 days, all in Western Canada. Edmonton Monday night, Vancouver Tuesday night, and Calgary Thursday night.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Jason Varitek is a free agent. We all know this. Jason Varitek is a great game caller and a lousy hitter. The second part of that statement is a difficult pill to swallow for Varitek lovers.

There's no other word to describe Varitek at the plate besides "lousy."

Varitek hit .220 this year. To put that in perspective, the following pitchers (35+ ABs) had higher averages:

Carlos Zambrano
Jake Peavy
Franquelis Osoria
Brandon Backe
Adam Wainwright
Mark Hendrickson
Aaron Cook
CC Sabathia
Manny Parra
Cole Hamels

Varitek hit .191 after May. For the season he hit .214 with runners on, and .175 with runners in scoring position. In "close and late" situations, he was a .156 hitter. He hit .112 in the postseason, and slugged .206 with a .189 OBP. In the LCS, he struck out 8 times in 20 ABs.

And it doesn't get much better for catchers when they turn 37, as Varitek does in April.

But here's the worst part: There's no free agent catcher out there that's significantly better than him. In order to trade for a good hitting catcher, the Sox would need to give up too much in terms of young pitching.

One possible solution is Dusty Brown. He's 26, was drafted by the Sox in 2000, and he hit .290 with 12 homers in 297 ABs in AAA Pawtucket. He had a .377 OBP to go with that. At the very least, it'd be nice to see him given some Major League playing time. He'll never be a top of the line, perennial All-Star catcher, but he has potential to NOT be a black hole in the Sox lineup.

Varitek's agent, by the way, is Scott Boras. Tek might decide to give the Sox a break and accept a short deal for a modest amount of money. But then again, why hire Scott Boras if you want to give teams any kind of financial break?

Dusty Brown is currently playing for Azucareres del Este in the Dominican Winter League. I'm going to keep an eye on how he's doing down there. Because if Boras and Varitek want an overpriced deal, Brown might be the Sox' best option.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa


The Sox hadn't lost a playoff series since 2005, and hadn't lost a Game 7 since that all too memorable 2003 ALCS in Yankee Stadium. What's worse, the team that ended the Sox season is full of upstarts, and supported by a small rabble of mohawk wearing, cowbell ringing, fair weather fans that make Pink Hats look like the 700 level of Veterans Stadium. A friend of mine going to school in Tampa paid $40 for Game 7 tickets. FORTY DOLLARS... FOR GAME SEVEN! I paid $60 for regular season bleacher tickets up here and bragged about getting a good deal.

It's hard losing that way, to that team, with those "fans." But at least it wasn't the Yankees, like it was in '03. And at least it wasn't the Mets, like it was in '86. And if the Rays are good enough for Jenn Sterger, then I guess they're not so bad.

But like 2003, and like 1986, there are other GREAT teams to watch in this town. The World Champion Celtics start their title defense in less than a week. The Bradyless Pats are still in it, and still very entertaining. The Bruins have done well against some tough opponents to start their season. The BC Eagles are ranked 23rd in the country and could go to the ACC title game.

I'll admit, October of 2008 isn't shaping up to be the same as October of 2007. On Halloween last year, the Red Sox were World Series Champions, the Patriots were 8-0, Boston College was ranked #2 in the country, and the Celtics were about to begin their most highly anticipated season in decades.

But look at what New York has. They've got the Giants, and that's it. The Yankees and Mets missed the playoffs, the Knicks suck, and the Jets are terminal losers.

Look at what Philadelphia has. The Phillies won the pennant, but the Eagles are stuck in a cycle of mediocrity. The 76ers were under .500, and the Flyers are a bunch of cheap shot pussies.

What city is doing much better than Boston? Los Angeles has the Dodgers, Lakers, and USC. They can throw in the Angels, as well. That's good, but not better than what we have.

Both Chicago baseball teams made the playoffs, and the Bears are in first. But the Bulls and Blackhawks both missed the playoffs.

Perhaps Boston sports aren't miles above everyone else anymore, but I can't really think of another town being above us. Boston teams have 6 titles in the 21st century. LA's teams have 4 (that's with 2 baseball teams, 2 hockey teams, and 2 basketball teams). The Spurs have won 3 for San Antonio. Miami has 2, New York (2 baseball, 2 football, 3 hockey) also has 2 titles.

So let's not line up on the Tobin or the Zakim. Let's not start crying because it's been four whole months since a championship parade. Let's be a little happier that we live in a town with the best football and baseball teams in the 21st century, along with the greatest basketball team IN HISTORY.

Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Either the Patriots embarrass someone else, or they themselves are embarrassed. That's a trend I'm starting to notice with this team.

The Pats were on the happy side of a 41-7 score, in a game loaded with turnovers. Denver came in as 3 point favorites (when was the last time the Pats were underdogs at home?) with a powerful offense and a less than frightening defense. Said defense was ripped apart by Sammy Morris, Randy Moss, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

The Pats put up college football style numbers on the ground. 257 yards on 38 carries (6.8 yards per). Morris had over 100 in the first half, and finished with 138 and a score.

But the story was the defense. Seymour had his first standout game of the year, Mayo continues to be a steady tackler, and the Broncos turned the ball over 5 times.

It's hard not to be overly optimistic after a 41-7 win over a division leading team (especially one that historically does very well against the Pats), AND the 2-4 Rams are coming to town in a few days. BUT, it's just one game. Matt Cassel obviously has the talent and the know-how to be a winning quarterback. What he, and the rest of this team, has lacked is consistency.

As if to keep Pats fans from flying too high last night, Rodney Harrison's injury brought us all down to Earth. He'll be out for the season with a torn quad, and considering his age, he might have played his last NFL game.

Harrison's lost a step, and isn't as sure of a tackler or as big of a hitter as he once was, but he's still a solid safety. And the Pats are extremely thin at defensive back. John Lynch might finally be reacquired, and Ty Law is a possibility at safety.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Monday, October 20, 2008


The Bruins completed their 4 game road trip with a 4-2 victory in Ottawa, in a game that, despite nobody in Boston watching, actually did happen.

The victory capped a successful expedition against some quality opponents. Colorado, Minnesota, Montreal, and Ottawa all made the playoffs last year. Minnesota and Montreal won their divisions, and the Habs had the best regular season record in the East. So 2-1-1 is a good way to kick things off against those kinds of teams.

Last night in Ottawa, Marc Savard reprised his role from last year as an assist monster, helping out on 3 goals. Phil Kessel has been much keener on the ice, and it's showing in the stat column. He's got 4 goals in 4 games, and seems to improve every game.

The B's are still screwing around with Manny Fernandez being the 1A goalie, instead of giving Tim Thomas the majority of the time. I guess it worked out last night, as the Bruins won, but that was thanks mostly to the defense, and the 4 goals. Fernandez only faced 23 shots, and he let 2 of them slip by. Not horrible, but hardly good enough to justify all the starting time he'll get the next few weeks.

The Bruins will be the final NHL team to have their home opener, as they host the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night. Once again, the TV ratings gods are against them, as they face the Patriots game.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press,/Sean Kilpatrick

Sunday, October 19, 2008


How special is this team? Looking back to the top of the 7th Thursday night, the notion of a Game 7 was beyond belief. And wasn't "Big Game" James (laughably lame and apparently meaningless nickname) - Tampa's best pitcher- saved in reserve for Game 6 "just in case" the Sox beat Kazmir?

Beckett was decent, but the bullpen saved him. 4 innings, 1 walk, 0 hits, 0 runs from Okajima, Masterson, and Papelbon. That's no easy trick. I don;t think anyone will be moaning about Francona leaving Beckett in too long in Game 6.

There were some unexpected heroes in Game 6, like the above mentioned bullpen. Jason Varitek had his first hit of the series - a homerun - in the 6th. He still left 3 men in scoring position, and 1 RBI doesn't atone for 172 games of offensive irrelevance. But it's still nice.

The Sox could have scored so much more often. They left 12 men, including 7 in scoring position.

What to expect for Game 7? Well, for all the spunk and character Tampa Bay has shown this season, there is no animal like a Game 7. Perhaps facing elimination, the Rays will toughen up. Or maybe they'll crumble. Matt Garza faces Jon Lester, in what seemed like a mismatch in Game 3, but now seems like a toss-up.

And kudos to Francona and Masterson for giving Papelbon just the one inning of work. The Sox might need two or more from him Sunday.

I can't wait. Win or lose, the Sox turned this series from painful to thoroughly entertaining.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Steve Nesius
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Friday, October 17, 2008


The Rays, as they've tended to do the past week, jumped out to an early lead. The Sox flatly went down inning after inning. It seemed as though the Sox would exit the ALCS with a whimper. Fans left Fenway Park, I even started to write my "Looking Ahead to 2009" post about potential free agent acquisitions.

Then Jed Lowrie led off the bottom of the 7th with a single. Two outs later and Crisp hit a single. Pedroia's base hit knocked in Lowrie. Then Ortiz DESTROYED a ball that landed 15 rows deep. A little bit of hope.

Then Jason Bay walked in the 8th. Drew blasted one to right and it was a 1 run game. Kotsay doubled with 2 outs, and Crisp had one of the best at-bats I've seen in years. Ball, strike, ball, foul, ball, foul, foul, foul, foul, sharp single to right. Tied fucking game!!

Masterson navigated a hairy top of the 9th and the stage was set. A freak bounce robbed Pedroia of a basehit, Ortiz struck out, Longoria screwed up a groundball and Youkilis reached 2nd on the error. Bay was walked intentionally, and in stepped JD Drew, who has become a sort of Mr. October for the Red Sox the last two seasons. He got ahead in the count and drove a ground rule double over the right fielder, completing one of the most amazing comebacks in Red Sox/postseason/baseball history.

This was the 2nd largest comeback in playoff history, behind an 8 run turnaround by the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. This was the first time the Rays lost a game they had been leading by 3 runs or more ALL YEAR. This was the 7th straight ALCS elimination game the Red Sox have won.

The Man of the Game is JD Drew, who was 2 for 4 with a homer and the walkoff ground-rule "single."

The series goes down to Tampa Bay. Josh Beckett faces James Shields Saturday night. There's still a lot of heavy work to do, but like a cornered animal, the Red Sox showed a fierce determination to stay alive.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's not a sport, even though it's on ESPN. Anything you can play better while drunk isn't a sport. But it is still awesome. Speaking of drunk, this is one of my favorite players, Scotty Nguyen, in action...

Scotty actually has a tournament named after him. The Scotty Nguyen Challenge, which is going to be in Tulsa from October 30th to November 10th.

That's another reason I love poker so much. You can play it anywhere. I started playing hold em in college, little $5 and $10 games in the dorms. Right now I could go to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun (they just reopened their poker room), or up to the dog track in Rockingham and play a game against a large number of fish. Or I could find some home game to bust up. And of course, I can play online.

Despite what the US government wants you to think, it is very legal for you to play poker online. Some online poker sites don't accept US players these days, but many more still do. Here's a list of US Poker Rooms. So check it out. Which do you think is a safer investment these days? The stock market or online poker?


When you look at the 2008 ALCS, it is still very winnable for the Sox. They simply have to play the complete opposite of how they've played in Games 1 thru 4. Here are the keys to any Sox success in the next 3 games:

Matsuzaka - Beckett - Lester
That's not a bad trio to have in 3 must win games. If the Sox are to win the ALCS, it will be because of these three. They MUST have good starts, and go deep into games. Anything less than 7 innings is bad. And 6 or less is godawful. The Sox bullpen can't handle so much exposure. If the Sox don't get three good, deep starts from these guys, Tampa wins.

Ortiz - Drew - Varitek
The three biggest drags on the offense, apart from Jacoby Ellsbury, who has a ready replacement in Coco Crisp. Ortiz is 1 for 14 (.071), Drew 2 for 13 (.154), and Varitek 0 for 10. These three are guilty of breaking up more rallies than the Ohio National Guard. In their 37 combined ABs, they've struck out 12 times.

Ortiz and Drew are key cogs in the middle of the lineup. It's hard to see how well Pedroia (.467), Bay (.400), and Youkilis (.386) are hitting because Ortiz and Drew are killing their innings.

.156 vs. .361
Those are the averages each team has put up with runners in scoring position this series. I don't need to tell you which number belongs to which team. The Sox are 5 for 32 with RISP, the Rays are 13 for 36. This trend must immediately change for the Sox to win Game 5, let alone the series. Sox hitters MUST come through with runners on. But more importantly, Sox pitching MUST bear down when Tampa gets baserunners.

If it's a close game in the 8th, Papelbon has to be brought in. No Okajima, no Masterson, and certainly no Delcarmen. 4, 5, 6, even 7 out Saves might be required. It's time to use up whatever's left in Papelbon's tank.



Despite the usual assistance of the officials, the Montreal Canadiens needed overtime to beat the Boston Bruins. Les Habitantes celebrated as they would a sale at Abercrombie, but the fact that the B's were down 3-0 on the road and salvaged a point speaks volume to the character and guts of the 2008-09 Bruins squad.

Two of Montreal's three 1st period scores were gifts, wrapped up for the Canadiens 100th birthday celebration. A phantom cross-checking call gave the Habs a power play, and they quickly capitalized on the fortunate opportunity.

Their second goal came after Alex Tanguay blatantly cross-checked Mark Stuart in the low slot, opening a lane for Saku Koivu to wrist a shot past Tim Thomas.

But even though the Bruins found themselves behind 3-0 in Montreal, they kept their poise. Krejci put the B's on the board in the 2nd, Savard had a nice Power Play goal in the 3rd, and Carey Price got cocky late in the game, allowing Savard to tie it up.

The Bruins sent a message to the Canadiens last night. "We're not the pushovers that we were last year." And I'll send a message to all the fruity fans of that diving, womanly Quebecois team: Foutre Les Habitantes! Your reign of soccer on ice has come to an end.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal's decided to join the ranks of sensationalist soap-box-standers and slogan screaming carnival hawkers who disguise themselves as journalists. He opened his column yesterday with the hook:

"The Red Sox look very white."

The rest of his piece says essentially nothing beyond stating that the Red Sox are whiter than the Dodgers and Rays. He argues for nothing, against nothing. He lists statistics about minorities on the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball. He goes out of his way to clarify that he's not accusing the Red Sox of being racist, simply suggesting that an apparent lack of diversity might hurt them in the free agent market.

His views on race-relations in sports are laughably simple and come close to segregationist rhetoric - the idea that different races are only comfortable with "their own kind." Here's an excerpt of this subtle idea expressed by Rosenthal:

"Then again, Sabathia might prefer to join a team with a greater number of black players or live in a different city. He became good friends with veteran outfielder Mike Cameron in Milwaukee. The Brewers, who feature a sizable contingent of African-Americans, were an unusually close team."

I guess black players only feel comfortable around other black players? That's probably why Cameron and Sabathia became buddies. I guess the friendship between Kevin Millar and Manny Ramirez was some sort of fluke? Whites and non-whites don't get along very well, at least that's what Rosenthal seems to suggest.

Ken Rosenthal wanted attention for himself, and he got it. His column is devoid of any point, idea, argument, or opinion. It's a smattering of bullshit disguised in soft language, intended to incite people like me to talk about him in their blogs, on sports radio, on TV pundit shows, and so forth. It's air, it's ether, it's nothing. It's a "conversation starter," with the conversation inevitably spending at least a moment or two on Mister Rosenthal himself.


Before Good Will Hunting, and Boondock Saints, and Gone Baby Gone, and The Departed hit the Boston movie scene; there was Blown Away. A crappy thriller/suspense flick about an insane Irish Republican terrorist, and a burnt-out reluctant hero on the BPD Bomb Squad.

And if the Sox don't stop getting Blown Away, they'll be Gone Baby Gone very soon.

I didn't like the decision to start Wakefield in Game 4, but I didn't hate it. Wakefield has the capability of throwing 7-8 innings of 1-2 run baseball. Paul Byrd doesn't. But Wake also can lay an egg, like he did last night. So even though I felt like Byrd was a better option, I didn't mind Wakefield starting, so I'm not going to chew out Francona for something I barely disagreed with in the first place.

Even though they shouldn't have been in the game so early, the Sox relievers did a dreadful job of keeping victory attainable. Delcarmen and Lopez being the worst offenders. A 6-1 game turned into an 11-1 circus in the 6th thanks to these clowns. Tim Wakefield was the largest contributor to the Sox' losing effort, but next on the list were Delcarmen and Lopez.

On the exceedingly small bright side of things, the Red Sox offense showed signs of life, albeit when they were all-but dead in the game. Ortiz hit a triple, and Youkilis knocked in 2 runs. It's not much, but it's a start.

The Sox are up against it now, once more down 3-1 in an ALCS. But these Rays aren't the 2007 Indians or the 2004 Yankees. They don't seem like the choking type. They seem more like sharks, who strike hardest when their victim is near death. So if the Sox are going to win this thing, or at least make it interesting, they're going to have to do it on their own.

Daisuke vs. Shields Thursday night.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Saturday night's tough extra inning defeat, coupled with the Patriots' hardships in California were made bearable because Jon Lester was pitching on Monday. Jon Lester would make things good again for Boston sports fans. Jon Lester would shut down the Rays, and the Sox would be up 2-1 in the ALCS.

Jon Lester came, he saw, he got knocked around.

He dominated the first two innings. The Rays drew a cheap run in the 2nd thanks to a missed strike call, a passed ball, and a bloop single. But Lester fell apart in the 3rd, giving up a single, a double, and a pair of homeruns. He put himself together and pitched well after that, but sufficient damage had been done.

Why was 5 runs enough to end a game in the 3rd inning?

Because this offense has decided not to hit, or at least not to hit at the right times. Ortiz + Youkilis + Drew = 1 for 12 with a single and 5 Ks. Ellsbury is 0 for his last 20. Ortiz is 1 for his last 17. It's one thing to have Varitek and Cora struggling, it's something entirely different to have your leadoff hitter and middle of the lineup slugger unable to do anything at the plate.

The offensive woes have been frustrating. But the starting pitching has given two very shabby performances the last two games. Had Beckett made a solid start Saturday night, the Sox would be up 2-1, not down 1-2. Playoff baseball is won and lost by pitching, not hitting. And for the last 19 innings, that pitching has been dreadful.

The news doesn't get much better. Andy Sonnanstine takes on Tim Wakefield Tuesday night. Sonnansitine pitched 13 innings against the Sox this year without allowing an earned run. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, and Youkilis are a combined 10 for 55 (.182) against him. Wakefield, on the other hand, was 0-2 against Tampa, with a 5.87 ERA.

But anything can happen. And at the very least, we won't have to suffer through 4 Jason Varitek at-bats. And at least none of our pitchers worship Satan.

Finally, did you know that Rocco Baldelli is from Woonsocket, RI? You'd think the TBS guys might have mentioned it at least once.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Monday, October 13, 2008


The Patriots and us fans have, for the most part, been patient with Matt Cassel. After the 38-13 thrashing by Miami, most of us blamed the defense and stood by Cassel, saying "he didn't do anything to lose the game." Those days are over.

Case in point...

First Patriot possession of the game: Moss gets a step on Quentin Jammer, has a clear path for the end zone, Cassel underthrows and Jammer breaks it up. The Pats wind up missing a field goal.

It took Cassel a while to get things together last Sunday against the 49ers. The start of the 2nd half seemed to be a repeat of the trend as he came out firing. But a 12 play, 76 yard drive resulted in 0 points. Cassel was 5 of 6 for 65 yards before the drive reached the red zone. But from the 1 yard line, he was 0 for 2 with a sack.

Matt Cassel choked. There's no other way to put it.

3rd & Goal, Sammy Morris open, Cassel fires a laser right at his ankles.

4th & Goal, Ben Watson wide open, Cassel doesn't see, then hesitates, starts to scramble, takes a step back, then scrambles again, right into the pile.

The game was, for all intents and purposes, over. The Chargers drove 98 yards for a score. Then Cassel hit Quentin Jammer right between the numbers. In a 5:00 stretch, a potential 17-10 game turns to a 27-3 blowout.

But the defense once again did their best to do their worst. The secondary was exposed and ripped apart like Madonna in the 1996 Chicago Bulls locker room. Everyone in the secondary, except Brandon Meriweather perhaps, had at least one embarrassing play. Vincent Jackson simply toyed with Deltha O'Neal. The front 7 also failed at pressuring Rivers with any consistency.

The best Patriot performer of the night was punter Chris Hanson. His open field tackle of Sproles was far and away the most impressive defensive play of the game for the Pats.

The Chargers are not the same premier team they've been the past two seasons. Without Michael Turner, LT loses a step. They have a much weaker pass rush. Their head coach is Norv Turner for Christ's sake! And they dominated the Pats. This is the second time the Pats have lost to a second-tier team.

A good team (Denver) comes to Foxborough next Monday night. Redemption can perhaps be attained with a victory over the Broncos. But a loss puts the Patriots somewhere they haven't been since week 9 of 2006... .500.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Denis Poroy
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi