Thursday, January 29, 2009


Down 2-0 against an airtight defense with 20 minutes to go, the Bruins' hopes of victory were small. Three even-strengthed goals by Kobasew, Savard, and Wideman, and now the Bruins are on the road to 2 points. With 105 seconds left, Patrick Elias ties it. In overtime, Jamie Langenbrunner nets his second of the game to win it for New Jersey. So were the Bruins fortunate to pocket a point, or unfortunate to drop one?


Speaking of fortunate, the Devils may have made a deal with their namesake. Langenbrunner's OT goal was the first that came directly off the blade of a New Jersey stick and into the net.

Their first goal was straight out of Angels in the Outfield, but this time it was Devils in the Crease.

On the power play, Bergeron was at the point. He fanned on a shot, and Travis Zajac joined Langenbrunner on a breakaway. Bergeron defended it well and the puck. Langenbrunner shot the rebound off Savard's inside skate. The puck bounced off his outside skate, between Thomas' leg pads, then off the inside of his knee before trickling over the line. It was a freak goal. Plain and simple. The Bruins dominated the 1st period but found themselves behind 1-0.

Despite the bad fortune, the Bruins made plenty of costly mistakes. They've been doing too much of that recently. That's how they lost to St. Louis, and it's why they lost tonight. Giveaways in the defensive zone, low percentage passing in the neutral zone, missed passes at the offensive blue line.

The good news is, this team is good enough to turn it on when it has to. To score 3 goals in a period against New Jersey is rare. Hopefully the B's can keep their foot on the gas enough to earn that #1 seed, then slam the throttle to the floor in the playoffs.

More good news: Montreal lost their 5th straight tonight. The Bruins have a 16 point cushion in the Northeast Division.

Even more good news: Phil Kessel made his return and had two assists. The Bruins now have Bergeron, Kessel, Lucic, and Andrew Ference back and healthy.

The Bruins host the Rangers Saturday afternoon. These teams faced each other in November, and the Bruins lost in a shootout.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


He's the worst, most redundant, tired, inane, annoying and dunderheaded columnist in Boston, perhaps the country, maybe even the world. Dan "Curse of the Bambino" Shaughnessy. Dan "Shank" Shaughnessy. Dan "Curly Haired Boyfriend" Shaughnessy.

And he's at it again.

This time he rips Tom Brady for being spoon-fed by Gisele Bundchen while on a trip to Mexico with her.

Shaughnessy's anger stems from paparazzi photos of the two. But what would he have Brady do? Say "No Gisele, let me feed myself. There may photographers in the bushes, and I want to maintain my masculine image."

I guess Shaughnessy wants Brady to live his life based on other people's perceptions, and somehow that would prove his manhood?

Seriously, Shank, get a life. I know the 21st century is a hard one for super-negative hyper-critical writers like him. The Pats won 11 games with a backup, the Sox are 2 time champs, the Celtics won their 17th, and even the Bruins are good. Now is the winter of Dan Shaughnessy's discontent.

What pissed me off most was the laundry list of things Shaughnessy was "OK" with:

"We didn't raise questions when he lost the Gillette Stadium parking space awarded to the guy who arrives earliest, leaves latest, and practices hardest. We didn't hammer him for not sticking around on crutches to help from the sideline. We bought the company line that Tom did not want to create a distraction. We gave him a pass when he failed to grant a single interview about his condition. We didn't rip him when he finally did an interview - a radio spot in Toronto - and it turned out he was just promoting a new sports cream."

Brady was nursing an injury when he lost his space. I wouldn't want a franchise QB with knee injuries spending Sundays on his feet on the sidelines of a football game. If a player ran into him and he fell awkwardly, vulture writers like Shaughnessy would clamor "Why was he on the sidelines?"

Dan also used a form of the phrase "jumping the shark." Shank, "jumping the shark" has long since jumped the shark. And so has your tired act.


A win against Maryland is hardly earth-shattering news. It certainly isn't as big of a story as BC's win against Carolina, or even their loss at the hands of Harvard. But these are the wins BC needs to get to postseason play. Furthermore, the Eagles couldn't afford another loss to mediocre competition.

BC was down by 16 late in the 1st, but chipped the deficit to 11. And with 6:10 left in the 2nd, Tyrese Rice gave BC their first lead of the game. Rice only had 10 points, well below his average, but Josh Southern, Joe Trapani, Rakim Sanders, and Reggie Jackson were all in double figures. Maryland shooting 3 for 17 beyond the arc was also key.

A legitimate goal for Boston College this year is to finish in the top 6 of the ACC. In order to accomplish this, they almost have to win Saturday night when they host Virginia Tech.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The Washington Capitals have never, ever beaten the Bruins 4 games in a row. They had taken 3 straight from the B's coming into Tuesday night's game, but that streak ended when David Krejci's pass to Marc Savard bounced off a Capital's skate, off the post, and into the net.

If you look at the preview below, you'll see that I predicted a 3-2 OT win for the Bruins. I'm rarely right with predictions, usually picking the winner of games 20% of the time. My NCAA brackets are so bad they became something of a legend in college. But when I'm right, I'm perfectly dead on.

The return of Patrice Bergeron was a huge part of this game. His STUNNING poke check on the power play kept the puck in Washington's zone, and set-up Savard's goal in the 1st, making it a 1-1 game. Bergeron played over 17 minutes, had an assist, and blocked 2 shots. His play on both ends of the ice was sorely missed.

Tim Thomas was awarded the First Star, and rightfully so. He stopped 34 of 36 shots, including a groin stretching pad save in overtime.

Shawn Thornton came out of nowhere with a phenominal game. The 4th line was the Bruins' best line all night, which is a bad sign. However, Yelle and Thornton did very well. His 4th goal of the season was a typical Jose Theodore goal. Thornton held the puck, waiting for Theodore to go down early. Theodore obliged, Thornton's backhanded wrist shot found the top shelf.

I'm going to shout out Cornell alum Byron Bitz. He dropped the gloves and took on Donald Brashear. Brashear clearly won what was more of a dance than a fight, but credit Bitz for his first NHL fight and the opponent he chose. It was Brashear's 200th fight in the League.

Milan Lucic also returned. He was excellent without the puck, not so good with it. He was hitting like we're used to seeing him hit, but he fouled up a few plays, especially in the offensive zone.

The Bruins might take home trophies for rookie of the year, best goalie, best defenseman, but the NHL's MVP is Alexander Ovechkin. give him the Hart Trophy right now. Or should I say, inform him he can keep it for another year. When he was absent from the game, the dynamics of play completely changed.

At the same time, how often does he get away with punching opponents in the face in the middle of play? Not a knock on him, more on star-struck officials. And Chara usually gets away with holds and "light" interference, so I'll not file a complaint with the League Office.

The Bruins host the Devils Thursday night. New Jersey has surged to the top of the Atlantic Division. The Bruins beat them 2-0 on the road in December, but New Jersey is riding a 6 game winning streak.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elise Amendol


Washington is one of the few teams that has had the Bruins' number this year. A pair of close games between the two, both played in Washington, and both won by the Caps.

Just to let you know, this game is on Versus, so some of you out there might miss it. I suggest tuning into NESN postgame for the highlights, because this is an important game.

When I say it's an important game, I don't mean that the result (win/lose/OT lose) is that vital, just that how the Bruins play is important. Can the Bruins figure out a way to beat this team? Even though the scores of the previous two games were close (3-1 with an empty-netter in December, 2-1 10 days ago), Washington had the better of the play, particularly in the neutral zone.

The Bruins need to get on the power play in this game. Washington's penalty kill rate is an unimpressive 78.9%, and the Bruins have scored in 25% of their power plays. How do you get on the power play? Working the puck in the offensive zone, forcing the Caps to make mistakes like hook, hold, obstruct, interfere, and so on.

Patrice Bergeron will be back in the lineup, but it's unclear how much ice time he'll get. I'd imagine he won't get much, and probably won't play on special teams.

Tim Thomas will be in net. Manny Fernandez has "general soreness," and his spot on the bench will be filled by Tuuka Rask, recently called up from Providence. Thomas looked sharp the last time he faced Washington, but the Bruins couldn't generate any offense for him.

The Bruins average 3.51 goals per game, but have scored 1 per game against Washington. The B's need to be more aggressive and take more risks when bringing the puck up ice. Try to punish the Capitals for overloading the space between the blue lines.

Prediction: Bruins 3, Capitals 2 - Bruins win it in OT

Monday, January 26, 2009


Not only was the game start at an awkward time: 6 PM Eastern. Not only was it hidden on Versus. It was even more boring, with 1 hit, yes 1 official hit, and 1 penalty. No checking, certainly no fighting, it was a basketball game on ice. Maybe even a girl's basketball game.

It ended 12-11 in favor of the East in a shooutout. For the second year, Tim Thomas received the goaltending Win. And he actually was the best of the 6 goalies that played, stopping 19 of 22 shots for a game best 0.864 save percentage. He didn't yield a goal in the shootout, allowing Alex Ovechkin to win it for the Eastern Conference.

The MVP went to Alex Kovalev, who had 2 goals and an assist.

Marc Savard had 3 assists, tied with Joe Thornton for most in the game.

Zdeno Chara didn't have a great night. Then again, what defensive-minded defenseman did? Almost all of Chara's offense comes on the power play, and there was only 1 of those. He did, however, lead all skaters in time-on-ice.

The NHL All-Star Game is perhaps the worst of all 4 All-Star contests. It's fake hockey, not real. The NBA All-Star Game has more defense.

In the skills competition, Zdeno Chara won Hardest Shot for the 3rd straight year. He set a new record at 105.4 MPH and also won $24,000 for Right to Play, his favorite charity.

Marc Savard didn't win the Shootout Elimination, but he came close, advancing to the 6th of 7 rounds. He was assisted by Tim Thomas, who was his designated goalie for 2 of 3 shots. Thomas flopped on the ice and allowed Savard to score twice. Here's Thomas trying to make a glove save between his legs.

Rookie Blake Wheeler had a hat trick and won MVP honors in the Young Stars game as the freshman team defeated the sophomore team 9-5.

Thankfully nobody got injured. Now it's back to real hockey. Capitals @ Bruins tomorrow night.

The Canadian Press

Photo Credits:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I spent years defending him. The last few years, I tolerated him. Now I'm growing to hate him. Everyone else can blame Scott Boras, but Jason Varitek is the one responsible for his predicament.

Firstly, anyone who hires Scott Boras is out for money. There's no two ways about it. If you want the big bucks, you hire Scott Boras. He's the Ari Gold of baseball.

Secondly, Varitek can't look in the newspaper and see how pathetic his batting average was last year? CC Sabathia (.235) had a better average than Varitek (.220). And NO 37 year old catcher considerably improves at the plate. It doesn't happen. Best case scenario: Varitek doesn't get worse. Yet he was offered $10 million, or $108,000 per hit (he had a whopping 93 last year), AND HE TURNED IT DOWN?!?

Jason, you hit .220 last year, then .118 in the postseason. Yes, you're the team captain, and you're great with the pitching staff, but nobody pays $10 million for a .220 hitter, at least not on purpose.

And now this garbage about not realizing that refusal of arbitration means other teams would have to give up a draft pick to sign him. That's your fault for not knowing that. You have to be smart to go to Georgia Tech, don't you?

And the fact that teams don't want to give up a pick, which aren't extremely valuable in baseball, to sign him further reinforces how below average he truly is.

Jason Varitek had a home in Boston. He was the captain, had won two World Series, caught 4 no-hitters, could always get money from Bernie & Phyl's, and was offered $10,000,000 to stay here.

He turned it down.

Fuck him.


After a crushing shootout loss to the Blues Monday night, the Bruins needed to go up to Toronto and leave with 2 points. And they barely got them.

The Bruins didn't lead until Michael Ryder put the puck past Vesa Toskala in round 4 of the shootout. And if not for their unbelievably prolific power play unit that tied it in the 3rd, the B's would have gone into the All-Star break with a regulation loss against a non-playoff team.

The Bruins haven't looked sharp for a week. It's very likely that the many injuries at forward are starting to take their toll. Whenever PJ Axelsson has 3 seconds less ice time than Marc Savard, something is up. The B's fell behind to the Blues on Monday and the Maple Leafs last night. That's inexcusable. And their effort against the Islanders was laughable, despite the 2-1 victory.

But how about Zdeno Chara? He had his 7th power play goal of the season, and spent 29 minutes on the ice. He played most of the 3rd period, and pretty much the entire overtime. He's a legit contender for the Norris Trophy (given to the best defenseman) if he keeps this up.

And where the hell do the Bruins find guys like Martin St. Pierre, who kept the Bruins alive in the shootout? Providence, Rhode Island. I might have to make the trip down I-95 to check out the Baby B's because almost everyone they send to the big club plays out of their minds. Last year it was David Krejci, this year it's St. Pierre and Matt Hunwick.

Most of the Bruins get a nice 6 day vacation before suiting up against the Capitals on the 27th in the Garden. This is perfect timing for the break. Hopefully Lucic, Kessel, and Bergeron return soon, because the B's have games against the Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, and Canadiens coming up.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The World Baseball Classic. A moneymaking endeavor to determine which team can draw the largest television audience. Which country has the best pitchers, for 75 pitches or less at a time. Which country can have the most successful spring training. Which Canadian can hit .500 but still exit early. Which game will South Africa lose due to the slaughter rule.

Here are the Red Sox (and Sox minor leaguers) that are on preliminary rosters for the 2009 WBC:

2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Kevin Youkilis

Dominican Republic:
DH David Ortiz

Puerto Rico:
3B Mike Lowell
RP Javier Lopez

SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
RP Hideki Okajima

LF Jason Bay
C George Kotteras

The Netherlands:
P Deniis Neuman

South Africa:
P Justin Erasmus

Chinese Taipei:
IF Chih-Hsien Chiang

IF Angel Chavez

OF Mitchell Dening
Manager Jon Deeble (He's a scout for the Sox)

Ortiz and Lowell will likely not play. Hopefully nobody gets injured.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


The Capitals match up very well with the Bruins. Although Boston is still 9 points ahead of Washington for the top spot in the East, if the two were to play a 7 game series right now, I'd have to give the edge to Washington.

The Bruins play a very deliberate style of hockey, progressively moving the puck up the ice, exploiting holes when they appear, but otherwise using solid neutral zone play and a hard forecheck to produce offense. Defensively, the Caps have a perfect counter to this. They clog up the neutral zone. The only way to bring the puck up the ice against them is with speed. If you do this, you'll get your opportunities. But they'll also get their quick counterattacking chances. And with guys like Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom; their counterattack is lethal.

The Bruins tried playing too fast in this game. So many whiffed and missed passes. They looked overexcited on offense, even anxious. There was none of the calmness we've seen from them all season.

Both goals allowed came from Bruin mistakes. On the penalty kill, the 4 Bruins on the ice literally didn't notice Mike Green until he had the puck 7 feet from the goal. The 2nd goal came directly off a turnover in the offensive zone, one of many, but this one hurt.

At the same time, they were missing three of their best forwards, and one of their better defenseman. PJ Axelsson spent over 21 minutes on the ice (season high), which is far too long. No offense to him, or Stephan Yelle (13 minutes), or Martin St. Pierre (12 minutes); but they were on the ice much longer than desired. Against a quality team like Washington, you need depth. And right now, the B's lack that depth.

Phil Kessel would be a perfect forward against Washington's defensive tactics. He's fast with an accurate shot. Bergeron and Lucic also would have helped, more likely as defensive forwards breaking up counterattacks in the neutral zone.

The bad news is that the Bruins are 0-2-0 against a team they'll likely have to go through to win the Cup. The good news is that said team hasn't dominated them, and said team has yet to play them in Boston.

St. Louis comes to town Monday afternoon. The Bruins and Capitals will meet again on the 27th, in Boston.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Nick Was

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This game had T-R-A-P written all over it. The Bruins go down to Long Island to face the worst team in the NHL, right after an emotional and exhausting 3-1 victory over the Canadiens, and right before a trip to face the 2nd best team in the East in Washington. In the first period, the Islanders outshot the Bruins 17-5. And in the game, New York had the edge in shots 41-26. The Bruins also lost 55% of faceoffs, against one of the worst faceoff teams in the League.

Tim Thomas was awarded the First Star, and justifiably so. He stopped 40 of 41 shots. The only one to get past him came with 54 seconds left in the game. The puck bounced off David Krejci's skate and into the net, which made the last minute extra exciting.

Against almost any other team, the Bruins would have lost. Thankfully, the Islanders are really bad. The B's mounted no forecheck at all. They were up against a goalie making his 5th career start, and didn't do anything in the 1st period to pressure him.

The Bruins beat this team 7-2 in November, so a 2-1 win is less than thrilling. But they got a shitty game out of their system and have 2 more points to show for it. That's 70 points for the Bruins so far. Last season, they reached 70 points on February 23rd.

Saturday night, Bruins @ Capitals. Washington is one of 3 Eastern Conference teams the Bruins haven't beaten (the others are the Rangers and the Flyers, the Bruins haven't played the Flyers yet).


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson


Four years, $40 million dollars. Compare that to the financial commitment the Yankees made to Teixeira, and this is an excellent deal for the Sox. The Sox now have Youkilis and Pedroia under contract for about $80 million (Pedroia's deal is for 6 years... even better than Youkilis').

Youkilis will turn 30 in March, so at the end of this contract, he still might be able to cash in with a big deal. But I think Youkilis likes playing for a team that's consistently in the hunt, and in a hitter's friendly ballpark.

It's amazing. He took the same annual salary that was too low for Jason Varitek.



Tim Thomas standing up for teammate Aaron Ward...

And Chipchura fighting with a visor protecting his face, and still losing the fight...

Bruins @ Islanders, tonight at 7 on NESN.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The Bruins were 0-8 against Montreal last year. They're 3-0-1 this season. Yet another inspiring performance, this time missing even more of their top tier talent, the Bruins handled the hottest team in the NHL, winning 3-1, and extending their lead in the Northeast Division.

Tim Thomas had one of the best games of his season, showing those ballot stuffing Quebecois clowns what an All-Star goalie looks like. Not only did he stop 34 of 35 shots, he punked Andre Kostitsyn after Kostitsyn boarded Aaron Ward. It says something about this team when even the goalie fights for his teammates.

The other big night came from Zdeno Chara, who had two power play goals. Both times he snuck in close and used his cannon of a shot to beat Jaroslav Halak, who actually had a phenomenal game between the pipes. Chara spent the rest of his 32 minutes of ice time breaking up plays and decking the Canadiens when they weren't paying attention.

There was one fight, which really demonstrated how fruity the Habs truly are. Mark Stuart got a little bit chippy, so Canadien Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves and challenged him to fight. Here's the thing, Chipchura wears a plastic visor over his face, so Stuart couldn't land a clean hit on Chipchura's mug. Stuart, cleverly, started slapping Chipchura on the back of the head before finally ripping Chipchura's helmet off.

David Krejci had the 3rd Boston score, the product of Montreal's late desperation. He, Michael Ryder, and Blake Wheeler have been relentless lately. Krejci has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 3 games. Ryder's scored 10 goals in the last 15 games, and added an assist tonight.

Montreal WAS 9-1-1 in their last 11 before this game. The Bruins have clinched at least a tie in the season series against Montreal. Montreal had 9 players riding point streaks coming into this game, they now only have 3 players with scoring streaks. The Canadiens have not won in Boston since April 15th.

The Bruins are now 12 points ahead of Montreal in the Northeast Division, and 11 points ahead of Washington in the Eastern Conference. They visit the lowly New York Islanders Thursday night. The Islanders have the worst record in the NHL.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola


The Bruins haven't played Montreal since November 22nd, when the B's came out on top of a shootout.

Unlike last year, the Bruins have held the upper hand against the Canadiens. The B's are 2-0-1 against Montreal, including a 6-1 throttling on November 13th.

However, Montreal comes into this game riding a hot streak. They're 9-1-1 in their last 11, including victories over top teams like Washington and the Rangers. The Habs' power play unit has finally started to produced. They've scored on 6 of their last 18 power plays. And the thing Montreal has always been best at is drawing penalties.

Both these teams will score goals in this game, and it should be an exciting contest. But the last time these teams played, Montreal looked a bit rattled. They focused on hitting Milan Lucic and quickly wore themselves out in the 2nd period.

As a team they seemed to have calmed down, but a quick Bruin goal might unnerve them.

It won't be Carey Price in net for the Canadiens. 23 year old Jaroslav Halak will start for Montreal. He hasn't faced the Bruins since March 22nd of 2007. It's safe to say the Bruins are now a different team.

But the Bruins will be without Patrice Bergeron, Marco Sturm, and now Phil Kessel will be MIA. Kessel has mono and could be out for a month.

The NHL made a major mistake before this season by balancing the schedule. These two teams staged 2 fantastic early season battles, but haven't faced each other in over 50 days. After this game they'll only see each other twice in the regular season. It's a shame, because this is reemerging as a fantastic rivalry.

Prediction: Bruins 5, Canadiens 4


It's that time of year again. Time for The Boston Blood Sox Awards, also known as the Bloodies.

It's been a roller coaster year for Boston sports. The Pats crapped the bed on the verge of perfection, then went 11-5 and missed the playoffs. The Celtics added to their overstuffed but dusty trophy case. The Bruins went from being Montreal's bitch to masters of the Eastern Conference. The Red Sox traded Manny but still couldn't beat the once lowly (Devil) Rays. BC Hockey won their 3rd National Championship. BC Football lost to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship... again, then lost to friggin Gloria Vanderbilt. No shortage of great teams, great performers, great games, and horrible things to complain about.

The winners of these Awards are determined solely by me. For winter sports like hockey and basketball, the CALENDAR year of 2008 is what matters. Any disagreement with my decisions, leave a comment, sit on it, and rotate.

Without further ado... The 3rd Annual Boston Blood Sox Awards!!!


This was one of the hardest of the Awards to select. Here are the nominees:

Tyrese Rice - G, BC Basketball
Nathan Gerbe - C, BC Hockey
Kevin Garnett - F, Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce - F, Boston Celtics
Kevin Youkilis - 1B, Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia - 2B, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester - SP, Boston Red Sox
Marc Savard - C, Boston Bruins
Phil Kessel - RW, Boston Bruins
Wes Welker - WR, New England Patriots
Matt Cassel - QB, New England Patriots

There are a lot of good candidates for this Award, but none that really stick out. Except for one...

The winner is...

Wes Welker!

Wes Welker became the Patriots offense in 2008. With Brady down, the offensive line struggling, and about 20 different RBs, the Pats leaned on Welker, and he delivered. He nearly tied his own franchise record with 112 catches, and probably would have if the week 17 weather in Buffalo wasn't so horrendous. He had 1,165 receiving yards, and averaged nearly 10 yards per punt return.

While other receivers saw their numbers dip down from 2007, Welker's remained pretty much the same. That consistency helped Cassel evolve from a backup quarterback into a star in a matter of weeks.

Welker is the best weapon a developing QB could have. He gets yards after the catch, runs his routes well, finds space underneath in high percentage areas of the field, keeps linebackers busy in the middle, and in the event of a blitz he's the perfect safety valve.

Welker's not the tallest or the fastest or the strongest athlete in New England. But as a total package, he has enough of everything, plus the knowhow and awareness to be a force on the football field.


This may have been the easiest Award to select. Although there were two nominees, as there were two significant champions in Boston in 2008. Here are the nominees...

Boston College Eagles Ice Hockey
Boston Celtics

You already know who won...

It's the Boston Celtics!

Although the C's are in the midst of a rough stretch, 2008 was theirs. They took home the best record in the East (and the NBA). They survived some early round scares before destroying cream of the crop teams like Detroit and LA. Game 6 of the NBA Finals saw the Celtics crush the Lakers by 39 points.

As if that weren't enough, the Celtics commenced their 08-09 title defense with a 29-2 start, an NBA record. They may or may not be tiring in 2009, but 2008 was all theirs.

Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Rondo, Powe, Perkins, House, Allen, Cassel, Posey, Rivers, and more. Everyone's going to remember that team.

Monday, January 12, 2009


After 15 years on the ballot, Red Sox left-fielder Jim Rice was finally sent to Cooperstown to take his rightful place among baseball's greatest. This was Jim Rice's last year of Hall of Fame eligibility, and he barely made it in, registering 76.4% of the vote, only 7 votes above the required 75%.

Rice was an 8 time All-Star, starting 4 times. He won the MVP in 1978, and came close to winning the award in several other seasons, most notably in 1975 when teammate Fred Lynn edged Rice for both MVP and Rookie of the Year.

Rice's numbers don't astound contemporary baseball fan. 382 career homeruns, a .298 average, and 1,451 RBIs pale in comparison to some of the stats hitters have put up since the 1990s.

Jim Edmonds also has 382 homeruns. 1,451 RBIs is 56th all-time, and Rice's .502 slugging percentage is 89th.

But when Rice played, he was one of the most feared hitters in the American League. He had 8 seasons of 100+ RBI, and four seasons over 120.

Rice is one of those borderline Hall of Famers, as indicated by his tenure on the ballot and the slim margin with which he was inducted. But he is a Hall of Famer. He joins the presitigious club of Hall of Fame left-fielders who wore a Red Sox uniform. Ted Williams. Carl Yastrzemski. And now Jim Rice.

NY Times


For the fourth time under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have lost another coordinator. This time it was offensive guru Josh McDaniels, who will be named head coach of the Denver Broncos later this evening.

This was an inevitability. McDaniels was the brains behind one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen, an offense that continued to score even when it lost Tom Brady. Denver already has the offensive weapons McDaniels can utilize, and if paired with an experienced defensive coordinator, he could be very successful, particularly in the lackluster AFC West.

There are also strong rumors that Scott Pioli will take over as Kansas City's GM.

All I can say is, on the bright side, at least McDaniels and Pioli aren't going to AFC East teams.


This goes to the GM, head coach, owner, front office person, or any other guy/gal who doesn’t actually play, but makes a major impact on a team. Here are the nominees:

Jerry York - Head Coach, BC Hockey
Danny Ainge - GM, Boston Celtics
Doc Rivers - Head Coach, Boston Celtics
Claude Julien - Head Coach, Boston Bruins
Peter Chiarelli - GM, Boston Bruins
Terry Francona - Manager, Boston Red Sox

And the winner is...

Claude Julien of the Bruins!

Unlike his three coaching colleagues in Boston, Claude Julien doesn't have the best talent money can buy. There are no equivalents of Randy Moss, Kevin Garnett, or Josh Beckett on the Bruins. There is talent, and depth, and leadership, but the B's still lack the household names and the celebrity of the other Boston teams.

Julien is difficult to notice during a hockey game, as most good coaches in the sport are. The occasional shuffling of lines, when to take the timeout, and when to pull a goalie are the only decisions we get to see. The measure of an NHL head coach is in the personality of his team.

The Bruins don't have the big names of a team like Detroit, but they have the confidence, cohesiveness, imposing attitude, and relentless drive of a winner. And that all starts with the head coach.

The playoff series against Montreal in April exemplifies the Bruins' personality. After being owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Canadiens, the B's took them to 7 games and made them work for advancement. The Bruins never even held a lead against Montreal until that playoff series.

And now they're on top of the Eastern Conference, tied with San Jose for the most in the NHL, 11 points ahead of the Rangers and Capitals for best Conference record, 12 points ahead of Montreal in the division. The Bruins have thrived despite injuries. They've scored the most goals in the NHL and allowed the fewest.

Everyone on the Bruins fights for their teammates. They play selflessly with winning as their only goal. That doesn't happen by coincidence. It starts with having a great head coach, and Claude Julien has been that.


This year's Boston Blood Sox Lifetime Achievement Award goes to the head coach of the Boston College hockey team: Jerry York.

The Watertown native and BC alum coached the Eagles to their 3rd national title in April, defeating Notre Dame 4-1 in the title game. BC also won the Hockey East tournament, as well as the Beanpot.

Before coming back to Chestnut Hill in 1994, York coached Clarkson, winning Division 1 Coach of the Year Honors in 1977. He then moved on to Bowling Green State, where he coached the Falcons to multiple conference titles, and a National Championship in 1984. It would be his first of three Championships.

He took over a struggling BC program in 1994. By 1998, he and the Eagles were back in the NCAA Tournament after a 6 year absence. BC advanced to the finals that year.

A list of BC's accomplishments during York's tenure:

4 Beanpots (94, 01, 04, 08)

4 Hockey East regular season titles (01, 03, 04, 05)

6 Hockey East tournament titles (98, 99, 01, 05, 07, 08)

10 NCAA tournament appearances (98, 99, 00, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08)

8 Frozen Four appearances (98, 99, 00, 01, 04, 06, 07, 08)

6 Finals appearances (98, 00, 01, 06, 07, 08)

2 National Championships (01, 08)

He has 813 career wins and counting, the most among active coaches, and the second most in NCAA history. He's turned Boston College into a consistently powerful program, among the best in the country, if not the best.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Eric Mangini is the new coach of the Cleveland Browns. The NFC North rejoices, but now the Jets better prepare to be ratted on. Funny how Cleveland despises Belichick more than any other city hates him, yet their club has hired two of his former pupils to run the team.

Former Brown head coach, and former Patriot defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has made it clear he'd be willing to assume the coordinating duties for Cleveland. Why not try to convince him to take that job in New England?

Current Patriot DC Dean Pees has done an adequate job with minimal depth, ancient middle linebackers, and incessant injuries. But when Crennel was in Foxborough, the Patriot defense was fierce, something which it most certainly is not these days.

Statistically the Pats have a very good defense. But it consistently fails at delivering the big plays with the game on the line. The 2006 AFC Championship against the Colts. Last year's Super Bowl. The 3rd and 15 against the Jets in OT.

Earlier this decade, the Pats' defense made the big plays. In the 2001 AFC Championship against Pittsburgh. In Super Bowl XXXVI they contained Marshal Faulk. During the 21 game winning streak they won games 12-9, 9-6, 14-10. In 2003, the Pats beat Indy 38-34 thanks to a 4 down goal-line stand, punctuated by Willie McGinest's game ending tackle of Edgerrin James behind the line of scrimmage.

Maybe the personnel changes on the field are the main reason why the Patriots defense doesn't make the game-changing play anymore. No more Ty Law, Tyrone Poole, Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi got old. 

But remember guys like Bobby Hamilton and Roman Phifer being playmakers? I do. The Pats defense was based on the idea that if every individual player just does their job, they put their teammates in position to make big plays. The Patriots don't do that anymore.

Maybe it's time for a change back to the way things were in Foxborough.


This goes to the most exciting, exhilarating, exhausting game that involved a New England team. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a victory for the good guys. It just has to be an amazing contest.

I originally started the process with about 20 potential nominees, there were that many thrilling games this season. But those were narrowed down to 5 contests. Here are the nominees:

2/3 - Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
4/19 - Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinal Game 6: Bruins 5, Canadiens 4
5/30 - NBA Conference Finals Game 6: Celtics 89, Pistons 81
6/8 - NBA Finals Game 2: Celtics 108, Lakers 102
10/16 - ALCS Game 5: Red Sox 8, Rays 7

This was a really tough choice. The Super Bowl, as painful as it was, was historic. The back-and-forth 5-4 game between the Bruins and Canadiens was the most exciting hockey game I've ever seen. The Celtics comeback in Game 6 against Detroit catapulted them to a championship. The Celtics also stymied a Laker comeback in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead to LA. But the 8-7 come from behind win in an elimination game was one of the most amazing things you'll ever see.

That's why the winner is...

Game 5 of the ALCS, when the Red Sox came back from a 7-0 deficit to force a Game 6!

TBS announcer Chip Caray before the bottom of the 7th in Game 5: "They're dancing in the streets of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg."

With 2 outs and 2 on in the bottom of the 7th, down 7-0, Dustin Pedroia hit a single that scored a run and extended the inning. Then David Ortiz did something he hadn't done in 61 postseason at-bats: hit a homerun. A 3 run shot that made it an interesting game again. JD Drew homered in the 8th, Crisp added an RBI single to tie it. Youkilis reached on an infield single in the 9th, advanced to 2nd on an error, and Drew bounced one over the right field wall to win the game.

It was the biggest postseason comeback since 1929, and the biggest comeback in an elimination game.

The Red Sox took Game 6 4-2, but came up short 3-1 in Game 7. The Rays went to the Series and were destroyed by a real team with real fans in a real city. With hindsight, a pessimist might look at the miraculous Game 5 as merely cheating death or postponing the inevitable. But to me at least, Game 5 was special. It was so amazingly thrilling and unbelievable. It was so surreal that it had to be real, no screenwriter or author would dare pen such a story for fear of losing the suspension of disbelief.

Had the Rays won Game 5, the Red Sox would have been embarrassed. Losing to a "team" like the Rays in 5 games and in Fenway would have flat out sucked. This game extended the series and allowed the Sox to lose with some dignity.

Red Sox fans have some optimism for 2009, and this game is one of the reasons why. There's just something about this team.


The Red Sox didn't repeat as World Champions, or even AL East Champions. And in the end, they were beat by a bunch of upstart kids on a team that shouldn't exist in a converted hockey arena of a stadium in a town where the home team is the 3rd most popular team behind the Yankees and Red Sox.

But it was an interesting season. A very interesting season. Manny Ramirez left early, Jon Lester emerged as an Ace, so did Daisuke, the team suffered some key injuries, and Pedroia won the MVP.

Here are the nominees:

Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Kevin Youkilis - 1B
Jon Lester - SP
Jonathan Papelbon - CP
Daisuke Matsuzaka - SP

The winner is...

Kevin Youkilis!

I know, I know, Pedroia won the MVP and he's not very tall. But Youkilis is 6' 1" and was the better player this season. Sorry folks, it's the truth.

Youkilis his 29 homers with 115 RBI, a .312 average, .390 OBP, and .569 slugging percentage. He was 6th in the AL in OBP, 3rd in slugging, and 4th in OPS. He played Gold Glove calibre defense at 1st, but also played 3rd when Lowell went down. He even spent some time in right field. He started the All-Star Game and won the Hank Aaron Award as the American League's best hitter.

Youkilis filled the offensive gap left by Manny Ramirez. His versatility in the lineup allowed Francona to bat him 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. He hit .374 with runners in scoring position, and .328 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs.

Pedroia got hot down the stretch, but Youkilis was consistent all season long. Youk also had one of the few great performances in the ALCS against Tampa. He was 10 for 30 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, and 6 RBI.

With all due respect to MVPedroia, Youkilis was the best Red Sox player in 2008.


This Award goes to a player or players who went through tough times - through injury, through illness, through personal matters, through a harsh slump - but came out on top.

The winner is...

Mike Lowell, 3B, Boston Red Sox

I guess technically Lowell has yet to "come out" of his injury. But the Award is about toughness, grit, determination, and that kind of thing.

Lowell played most of 2008 with one injury or another. He hurt his thumb, then his hip started acting up. The Sox shut him down in September and tried to get him ready for the playoffs. He played in games 1 and 3 of the ALDS against the Angels, but it was painful to watch.

All things considered, he had a decent year. He hit .274 with 17 homers in only 113 games. He was, without a doubt, the toughest player on the Red Sox this season.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


It's been a long bowl season. The Big XII South maybe isn't as good as we all thought with Texas Tech falling to Ole Miss and Oklahoma State losing to Oregon. Utah's the sole undefeated team in the country yet didn't get a title shot. USC has one of the best defenses in college football history yet didn't get a title shot. And now we have the two 1 loss teams fortunate enough to get their title shot.

Oklahoma vs. Florida, Heisman vs. Heisman, Big XII vs. SEC.

The unsung hero of the Oklahoma offense was sophomore RB DeMarco Murray. He rushed for 1,002 yards on 179 carries with 14 TDs. That's 5.6 yards per carry. He led the offensive assault on Texas Tech with 110 yards and 2 TDs... in the first half. But he's not playing Thursday night.

OU has depth in the backfield. Chris Brown ran for 1,110 yards and 20 TDs this season. But the Sooners are missing a very important part of their offense.

Florida is a better balanced team, but their offense isn't nearly as explosive. This means the game will come down to OU's defense against Florida's offense.

I think this will be a high scoring affair that's decided in the last 5 minutes. Oklahoma 56, Florida 52.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are very close to signing Woonsocket's Rocco Baldelli to be the new 4th outfielder. Baldelli was once one of the most exciting players in the AL East, with a good average, speed on the basepaths, and excellent defense.

Baldelli also suffers from a disease that makes it very difficult to be an every day player. His muscles become fatigued very easily, which precludes him from being a regular starter.

Apparently the latest diagnoses are that the condition isn't as bad as once believed.

I like this signing except for the fact that with someone like JD Drew, the Sox need a backup outfielder that can play 10 to 20 days in a row. Drew will hit the DL at some point this season, and the Sox need to be prepared. Furthermore, I think Jacoby Ellsbury will continue his mediocrity, and once again drag down the lineup.

The Sox are also going after 41 year old John Smoltz, who made 5 starts in 2008 and is recovering from shoulder surgery. Smoltz wouldn't be able to pitch until May, at the earliest. Yet another scrap heap acquisition worthy of late 90's Dan Duquette.



The Bruins did something they haven't done all season, lose back-to-back games in regulation.

Several things combined to give Minnesota a 1-0 victory in the Garden. Niklas Backstrom had an outstanding game, his 2nd straight shutout, and 4th on the season. He was positioned well on every shot and didn't make any mistakes.

The Bruins didn't get any good bounces or rolls close to the net. They had opportunities, but the puck never found their sticks when Backstrom was out of position.

Only 2 power plays against the best penalty kill in the NHL. The Wild have a PK rate of 87.9%, and the B's only had 2 chances with a man advantage. Meanwhile, the Wild were given 5 power plays, and scored their lone goal during one.

This was a defensive game between the two teams in the NHL that have allowed the fewest goals. Both teams shut each other down 5 on 5, and Minnesota broke through with a power play goal.

It's not panic time, and it doesn't seem like this is the beginning of a bad stretch for the Bruins. At least not yet. 5th place Ottawa comes to town Thursday night, and the B's should get back to their winning ways.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


As the titanic programs of college football duke it out in the BCS, Boston College, who lost to Vanderbilt and will finish the season unranked, made some headlines. Apparently, BC threatened to fire head coach Jeff Jagodzinski if he took an interview with the Jets for their recently vacant head coaching job.

At first, I was appalled. Head coaches, particularly at the college level, often take interviews for jobs. And this would be no insult to BC. The Jets are an NFL team. That's a step up from any college program. So why threaten a coach like this?

Then I thought more and more about it. Boston College internally recognizes that it's a second-tier football program. Competetive, occasionally making a cameo in the AP Poll, perpetually bowl eligible, but never in the same club as elite programs like Texas, USC, Ohio State, or Virginia Tech, and so on. BC knows this, and they want to change it. They want to be in the BCS every year, win conference titles, even compete for the national championship.

In order to do this, one of the things they need is coaching stability. They need a guy to stay at BC long enough to generate multiple generations of recruits. They want a coach to stay for 8, 10, 15 years; long enough to be thought of simultaneously when one thinks of BC football. The way Joe Paterno = Penn State, Bob Stoops = Oklahoma, Mack Brown = Texas.

If Jagodzinski interviews with the Jets, then he's not this guy. Whether or not he gets the job, if he takes the interview, it's clear he doesn't want to stay at BC. I can't blame him, the NFL is the NFL. But if he's just coaching at BC in order to secure his next job, then BC should move on and go in another direction.

The problem is, not many great coaches would consider BC to be their ultimate career ambition. Perhaps BC's next head coach should be a long-time assistant, or someone from Boston, or perhaps a BC alum. In other words, someone who's happy to be on Chestnut Hill for a long time.

Another interesting little twist. BC Athletic Director Gene DiFilippo (GDF) had been asked by the media if Jags was interviewing for the Jets job. This was over the weekend. GDF denied it. Jags also apparently denied it, assuring GDF that the rumors weren't true. Then it became clear that there was a meeting scheduled between Jags and the Jets. In other words, Jagodzinski lied to the BC Athletic Department. Why? There was an understanding that he wouldn't seek an NFL job for the first 3 years of his deal with BC.

If he lied to his AD, then that's pretty good reason to fire him. If BC wants a coach who will stay for a long time, it's not Jagodzinski, and maybe they should both move on. If so, BC should also lower its standards because very few top coaches want to finish their careers on Chestnut Hill.



The C's were NBA Champions in 07-08, and currently have the best record in the NBA. Last year Pierce, Garnett, and Allen tied for this Award. This year the nominees are:

Rajon Rondo - PG
Paul Pierce - SF
Ray Allen - SG
Kevin Garnett - PF

Tough decision here...

The winner is...

K-G, Kevin Garnett!

Paul Pierce came an extremely close second place in this one, and it was nearly another split decision. However, KG's rebounding and his consistent performances in the playoffs put him half a nose ahead of Pierce.

In the 1 and 1/2 years since Garnett came to the Celtics, they've won 111 games (counting the postseason). It took the C's nearly 4 years to do that pre-KG. In Celtic green he's averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds per game. He's also the spearhead of the most formidable defense in the NBA.

KG's tenure with the Celtics probably won't be very long as he's already 32. However, he'll probably go down in history as a Celtic, and the number 5 just might make a trip up to The Rafters.


Last year there were 9 nominations for this Award. The Pats were undefeated, sent half the team to the Pro Bowl, and set all sorts of team and individual records.

This year, things aren't as glamorous. It's safe to say that the Pats are no longer the NFL's center of attention as they were 365 days ago.

Nevertheless, all things considered, it was a decent season. The Patriots lost last year's MVP in week 1, lost most of their defensive secondary to injury, lost playmakers like Adalius Thomas, Laurence Maroney never got started, the defensive line came in and out with injuries, and so on.

This year the nominees for Patriots Player of the Year are:

Wes Welker - WR
Matt Cassel - QB
Jerod Mayo - LB
Vince Wilfork - DT
Kevin Faulk - RB

The winner is...

Wes Welker!

This is the 2nd time Welker has won this Award.

Welker set an NFL record with 6+ receptions in the first 10 games of the season. When Brady went down, Welker's skills underneath and his slick moves with the ball turned him into Matt Cassel's best friend.

Last year the offense was geared on Brady to Moss over the top. This year, especially early on, the offense was all about chewing up yardage with Welker.

Welker's 112 receptions in 2007 represented 27.8% of the completions thrown by Patriot QBs. His 111 catches in '08 represent 32.7% of completions. In other words, he became a more important part of the offense. Without him, the maturation of Matt Cassel would have been slowed significantly, or stopped altogether.

The Pats didn't make the playoffs, and that sucks. But Wes Welker has caught 223 balls in 2 seasons, and that's amazing. That's why he's the Patriots Player of the Year... again.


This Award goes to a player or team that nobody expected to do well. It goes to someone that people had hardly heard of, but who has since become a hero. In 2001, Tom Brady would have won this Award. Hideki Okajima in 2007 is the perfect example of what this Award is all about.

The nominees:

The Boston Bruins
Rajon Rondo - PG, Boston Celtics
Milan Lucic - LW, Boston Bruins
Justin Masterson - SP/RP, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester - SP, Boston Red Sox
Matt Cassel - QB, New England Patriots

The winner is...

Matt Cassel!


If you didn't know Cassel was going to win an Award named after a former backup QB who became a star after the #1 QB went down with an injury, you're not very bright.

And as a matter of face, Cassel's 2008 stats are eerily similar to Brady's numbers in 2001. Here's a comparison:

Brady '01:63.96.9181286.5
Cassel '08:63.47.2211189.4

Of course, Brady didn't have Welker and Moss in 2001. Then again, Cassel ran for 270 yards in '08, getting 23 first downs with his feet. Brady rushed for 43 yards in '01, and 7 first downs. Brady's punting average is also 57 yards shorter than Cassel's.

After preseason, Cassel's mere presence on the roster was questioned by many. Now Patriot fans are scratching their hands in an effort to keep him around in 2009. That's the epitome of this Award.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Probably the most self-explanatory Award of them all.

This year the winner is...


Yeah, that's nice.


This goes to the New England college athlete that performed the best. Included for consideration is the size of the stage an athlete performed on. In other words, Boston College dominates this Award.

The nominees are...

Nathan Gerbe - C, BC Hockey
Tyrese Rice - G, BC Basketball
Kevin Regan - G, UNH Hockey
Mark Herzlich - LB, BC Football

And the winner is...

Nathan Gerbe, Center, BC Hockey!

Although he only played in the first half of the 2008 calendar year, what he did then was enough to win him this Award.

Gerbe's already playing for the Buffalo Sabres. He was named Most Outstanding Player in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, as well as MVP of the Hockey East tourney. He finished his final season with the Eagles with 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games. He scored 5 goals in the last 2 games of the NCAA tournament. He was robbed of the Hobey Baker Award (hockey's Heisman), but wound up with the trifecta: a National Championship, a Hockey East Championship, and a Beanpot Championship. And now he has a Boston Blood Sox Award.


The Bruins are back on Boston's sports radar. You're seeing more and more Bruins jerseys and hats when you go to the mall or the bar. Lots of people who quit the B's back in the 80s or 90s are returning to the Black and Gold Faithful.

The Bruins have the best record in the Eastern Conference, the most goals scored in the NHL and the fewest goals allowed. They've won 13 straight home games, but also have the best record on the road.

The B's have been doing this as a team. There are some standouts, but they're rather numerous.

Here are the nominees for the Bobby Orr Award:

Milan Lucic - LW
Phil Kessel - RW
Marc Savard - C
David Krejci - C
Tim Thomas - G

This is a tough one...

The winner is Phil Kessel!

Savard and Thomas were also up there, and Lucic deserves an honorable mention.

Kessel was scratched from 3 games in the playoff series against Montreal in April. When he came back, he had 2 goals and an assist in the last 3 games of the series, helping to drive it to 7 games. He scored those 2 goals in that amazing 5-4 win in Game 6.

This season, Kessel's grown leaps and bounds as a player, offensively and defensively. He's already eclipsed his 19 goals from 07-08 with 23 so far. He's about to pass his mark of 18 assists, already with 16 this season. He racked up an 18 game point streak, and he's carried the Bruins for a few weeks now. He's on pace for a 50+ goal season.

And he's only 21 years old.


One regular season game typically doesn't mean much in the big picture of college basketball. Unless you go on the road and take down the #1 team in the country, and do so in convincing fashion. And by now you know that's what the BC Eagles did Sunday night.

BC was 12-2 going into this game, but that record was bloated thanks to soft non-conference opponents. Teams like San Francisco, Sacred Heart, Bryant, and South Carolina Upstate functioned more as preseason tune-ups for BC's ACC schedule more than anything else.

But now they're playing teams on the same talent level, if not higher. Now they're playing in front of 21,000 fans. Now they're competing in one of the toughest conferences in the country.

The Eagles took the lead with 3:37 left in the 2nd and did not relinquish it. Tyrese Rice led the scoring with 25 points along with 8 assists. Rakim Sanders added 22, and Reggie Jackson came off the bench with 17. As a team the Eagles were 75% from the line, which was huge down the stretch.

BC didn't win by going crazy behind the 3 point line, or with a buzzer beater; they flat-out beat North Carolina.

It's just one game, and there's a great deal of basketball to be played between now and March. But if BC winds up a borderline tournament team, a win like this would put them over the top.

Last year BC was 4-12 in the ACC and 14-17 overall. They didn't even make the NIT.

The Eagles host Harvard Wednesday night before resuming ACC play with home games against Miami on the 10th and #6 Wake Forest on the 14th.


Photo Credits:
Getty Images

Saturday, January 03, 2009


More meaningless predictions. Here are the Bowls leading up to the title game.

International Bowl
January 3rd
Toronto, ON, Canada
Buffalo vs. UConn

Buffalo ended Ball State's perfect season to win the MAC title. They used to be one of the worst programs in the country, but they've come a long way. UConn had made impressive strides, but stumbled down the stretch. After a 5-0 start, they went 2-5. However, they did beat #12 Cincinnati in that series of games. Buffalo passes a lot, UConn rushes a lot. I think the Huskies win this but only after much difficulty.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
January 5th
Glendale, AZ
#3 Texas vs. #10 Ohio State

A short list of teams who belonged in the BCS more than Ohio State:

Texas Tech
Boise State
Oklahoma State

Mack Brown's whining Longhorns will stampede over the lucky-to-be-there Buckeyes. Good God I hate the Big Ten.

January 6th
Mobile, AL
#22 Ball State vs. Tulsa

Both these teams went deep into the season without defeat. Tulsa went 8-0 before losing, Ball State went 12-0. Both teams were favored in their conference championship games. Both teams fell. And now they're in Mobile. Ball State wins this one.

Friday, January 02, 2009


This Award goes to the New England athlete(s) who took the most criticism, guff, and abuse from the fan base, the media, and possibly his teammates. In other words, the player(s) that was most hateable in New England. It's named after former Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.

The nominees are:

The New England Patriots
Jason Varitek - C, Boston Red Sox
JD Drew - RF, Boston Red Sox
Asante Samuel - CB, New England Patriots
Manny Ramirez - LF, Boston Red Sox

The winner is...

Manny Ramirez!

This is the second, and most likely the last time Manny's won Goat of the Year. Not only did he pull his usual BS, he shoved a Sox employee to the ground over a ticket dispute, and slapped Kevin Youkilis in public. He whined about having options at the end of his contract, refused to play, and was eventually traded. Then he suddenly became healthy and slugged for the Dodgers like a man possessed.

Manny's act wore old in Boston, but not only with the fans. His teammates voted 23 to 1 to trade him away.

Good riddance.


Unfortunately, this was another banner year for bad sportswriting. More sensationalists, more dumbasses, more loudmouths.

The nominees are...

Dan Shaughnessy - Boston Globe
Michael Felger - Boston Herald,
Jemele Hill -
Ken Rosenthal - Fox Sports
John Tomase - Boston Herald
Tony Massarotti - Boston Herald/Boston Globe

Shaugnessy wrote a negative piece on the Celtics because they needed 7 games to beat Atlanta. Felger's evolved into someone who automatically contradicts whatever the general consensus in Boston is. Jemele Hill compared the Celtics to Nazis. Rosenthal wrote that pointless and empty piece about how white the Red Sox are. Tomase, like an excited high schooler on prom night, couldn't wait to bust his story about the Rams' walkthrough that turned out to be false.

But the worst of them all was our winner...

Tony Massarotti.

Whereas the other nominees made glaring mistakes here and there. Massarotti was consistently and habitually Massarotten (that's a horrible play on words worthy of a Boston Globe headline). His columns have developed into critiques on the proletariat of Boston sports fans. His remarks about "repressed middle aged men" in their "Tedy Bruschi jerseys" and all those basement dwelling bloggers out there smacked of elitism and shit-don't-smell-ism.

He's better than every other sports fan in Boston, at least in his mind he is.


This Award is one of the more vague ones. It can be given to an individual, a team, an executive, a group of players, anyone really. I named it after A-Rod because we all know he’s a choker.

This year there is no need for nominations. We all know who the winner (loser) is...

The New England Patriots

The Pats were on the verge of history. They were about to win their 4th Super Bowl in 6 years, and do it with an unblemished record. They had beaten Dallas, Indianapolis, San Diego (twice), the Jets (twice), Pittsburgh, Washington, the Giants, and Jacksonville. They had set records as individuals and were about to set one as a team.

Not only would 19-0 have been a record, it could have been a record that stood FOREVER.

It's painful to revisit Super Bowl XLII. But it's amazing how close the Patriots were, and how many times they let triumph literally slip through there fingers.

Pierre Woods falls on a fumble, rolls over onto his back for some reason and coughs it up.

Asante Samuel comes within inches of picking the ball off and ending the game.

Belichick goes for it on 4th and 13 instead of a long field goal attempt.

1:59 on the clock and the Giants get 9 on 3rd and 10, then Brandon Jacobs rushes for 2 on 4th and 1.

David Tyree's miracle catch.

So close. So much pain... I need a drink.


More incorrect predictions of Bowl games. Then again, I'm 15-12 so far, so not that bad. These are the three January 2nd contests.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
Dallas, TX
#25 Ole Miss vs. #7 Texas Tech

What do the Rebels get as a reward for finishing 2nd in the SEC West? A date with 11-1 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were snubbed out of the BCS so the Big Ten could cram two teams in there and generally waste everyone's time. Crabtree and Harrell will be steaming about not getting Heisman nominations, and Tech will beat the Rebs like it was 1865. In fact, reverse that for the final score. TTU 65, Ole Miss 18.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Memphis, TN
Kentucky vs. East Carolina

ECU's actually had a solid season. They beat #19 Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Tulsa. Kentucky, on the other hand, was 2-6 in the SEC, and 6-6 overall. Those 4 non-conference wins that got them to bowl eligibility? @ Louisville, Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky. The Pirates pillage Kentucky 31-14.

AllState Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, LA
#4 Alabama vs. #6 Utah

The Crimson were one win away from a national title shot. Utah, well the Utes did everything a team can do to get into the national title game. Utah actually might be the 2nd best team Alabama will play all season. They beat #11 TCU, and #16 BYU. They also beat Oregon State, which USC couldn't do. I honestly think Utah will win this one, but I can't pick against Alabama. GO BAMA! ROLL TIDE!