Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meanwhile, in the NHL

Just some token news and lack of good news from the NHL. Rumor has it that if the League and NHLPA can't agree to a CBA by Thursday, the Winter Classic will be cancelled. At the very least, HBO's 24/7, which is a nice little promotional tool for the NHL, won't be made leading up to the Classic.

In suburban Chicago, 12,000 fans gathered to watch a team comprised of Blackhawk players compete against a team of NHLers from other teams, including Jordan Staal and Bobby Ryan. Patrick Kane scored 5 goals for the Blackhawks team, but they lost 16-15 in a shootout. Proceeds from the game went to charity.

A group of Montreal Canadiens are fighting the lockout in a Quebec court. I don't know much about the case, or the Canadian legal system, nor do I care to learn. It's just a shame that we're seeing the abbreviation "vs." used in a court-room setting and not to describe an actual game.

Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds, who is black, was the target of racial chants when the Czech team he plays for faced the Chomutov Pirates. People don't realize how racist some Europeans are. Simmonds had a banana thrown at him in London, Ontario last year. People don't realize how racist some Canadians are.

And Tim Thomas sits in Colorado and smiles at all of this.

Should the Red Sox Sign Youkilis?

The Chicago White Sox didn't pick up the option on Kevin Youkilis, and I think this might be an opportunity for the Red Sox to pick up a talented and versatile corner infielder. If there weren't significant drama in the past.

On paper, signing Youkilis makes sense. The Red Sox, after trading Adrian Gonzalez, are in need of a first-baseman. And Youk is a Gold Glove first-baseman.

But there's some off-paper obstacles to Youkilis returning to Boston. While Bobby "physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past" Valentine is out of the organization, the GM who sent Youkilis to Chicago for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart is still the GM. The owners who approved the deal still own the team. This organization shipped Youkilis to Chicago and not much has changed in said organization's structure.

The Red Sox could use Youkilis as a first-baseman, and a solid #6 hitter, but there might be too much water under the proverbial between Youkilis and the Red Sox for this to actually happen.

It's too bad. Because first-base is a glaring hole in the Red Sox roster going into 2013. A decent one is available on the open market, but he might be unattainable for the Red Sox.

Kevin Youkilis was one of the few likable players on this team, almost like a Kevin Garnett. I miss him.

Disney Buys Star Wars, Episode 7 to Be Released in 2015

It's one of those stories that I didn't believe when I first heard it. Disney bought Lucasfilm for over $4 billion and they're going to make Star Wars sequels. And the best part is George Lucas won't write or direct them.

Nothing against the man who fathered the franchise, but the prequels were weighed down with over-complicated plot points, and the screen was too busy with CGI animations. CGI is great for space battles, but CGI rooms? CGI characters?

As films, the prequels kind of sucked. If Episode 1 had truly been the first film released in the series, it would have flopped, and Star Wars would be a cult bad movie, shredded to pieces on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and enjoyed by people who like bad sci-fi movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Then in Episodes 2 and 3, Hayden Christensen turned Darth Vader, one of the best, coolest, and most complex villains of all-time, into a whiny, creepy, selfish, spoiled, angst-ridden male version of Taylor Swift. Christensen turned the Dark Side into the Melodramatic Side.

In some respects, Episode 7 won't be compared to the originals, but to the prequels. And that's good for Disney. Also with Episode 7, there's more freedom with the story. The prequels had to end a certain way, the sequels don't.

Hollywood ran out of new ideas in 1998, so adding on to an already successful franchise is to be expected. It's also sad in a way. Soon there will be more Star Wars movies than Jason movies. What was once an epic trio of cinematic magic has been distilled and watered down into a massive load of products.

And this time there will be no Natalie Portman to distract me from the awful acting, the annoying characters and the incessant CGI.

Although, how about Emma Watson as Princess Leia's daughter? I think it would be a good casting decision because Ms. Watson is a fine actress. Unfortunately I think the nerds of the world would all die of heart-attacks if Harry Potter connected with Star Wars in such a significant way.

And I think J.J. Abrams would be the best choice to direct. He didn't just resurrect the Star Trek series, he reinvented and redefined it. He built a new foundation for an already existing product. Seems like this project requires similar vision and ingenuity.

The Celtics Compared to the Red Sox

The Celtics lost the opening game of the season 120 to 107, and that stinks. There's nothing much to like about the Miami Heat. Ray Allen was shooting well, and the Heat took advantage of that. Enjoy it when he misses free throws and big three-pointers, Miami.

Anyway, I'm not the biggest NBA fan in the world, or in Massachusetts, or in Norfolk County, or in my town, or even on my street. NBA basketball is slow. There are too many timeouts. The players mill about and chat when fouls are called. Twenty second timeouts last for 40 seconds. And the players dive. And scream during layups like they've been shot.

However, the Boston Celtics are quite likable as a team and as individuals. Let's just compare them to the Red Sox, perhaps the least likable team this town has had since the Red Sox refused to have black players.

Doc Rivers vs. Bobby Valentine
Rivers is universally respected. He's confident, strong, firm but fair. Bobby Valentine was universally mocked. He has a psychological complex (at least one, maybe more), he's cocky, he's inconsistent, and entirely unfair. Rivers is ten times the coach Valentine was. Maybe fifty times.

Let's compare the two veteran leaders of the C's to the leaders of the Sox. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both despise losing. Not winning is a disgusting concept to them. Compare that to David Ortiz who is more concerned about his contract. Compare that to Dustin Pedroia who used the media to undermine a manager (albeit a crappy manager). Compare that to players who count their days off, use injuries as an excuse, and text owners when they want to complain about something.

Speaking of owners, isn't it nice that you barely hear anything from the Celtics ownership? They've hired their people, and they sit in their luxury box, and watch the game. Compare that to the manipulative Larry Lucchino, who attempts to orchestrate everything from the clubhouse to the media.

Then there's the troublemakers. Rajon Rondo is the controversial player on the Celtics. Because he's not a great perimeter shooter. And he gets emotional, especially when things aren't going well.

Compare Rondo as a problem child to the babies on the Red Sox. Need I say more? Rondo is very well-behaved, and his biggest problem is that he wants to win too much. There's nobody on the Sox with that issue.

So while I'm not a huge fan of NBA basketball, I'd rather watch these guys in green play their sport, then the fellas at Fenway play theirs. Because the Celtics are likable.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NBC Sports Aggressively Expanding

NBC Sports bid $250 million for the rights to broadcast the English Premier League for 3 years. They outbid Fox and ESPN, who currently hold the broadcasting rights for English soccer in America (source). It's the latest in a series of aggressive acquisitions by NBC Sports.

A few weeks ago they outbid Fox for the rights to broadcast Formula 1 racing in America. Formula 1 has niche appeal in the States, but is a global powerhouse. Forbes listed F1 driver Fernando Alonso as the 19th highest paid athlete in the world, with $32 million in earnings. His team, Ferrari, was ranked the 15th most valuable sports team in the world, between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears.

Both European soccer and Formula 1 have loyal but relatively small fanbases in the US. However there is significant room for growth. NBC is well situated to encourage and exploit that growth. Like ESPN, they have multiple channels at their disposal. They can reach a broad audience with their flagship NBC network, and a smaller but more concentrated viewership on NBC Sports. At night and on weekends, business-focused CNBC is essentially an idle channel, which NBC has already used to air Olympic and NHL coverage.

NBC's expansion isn't limited to small sports looking to grow, it includes established sports that already attract large audiences. The Big East recently decided to field open bids for the TV rights to its football games, instead of re-signing with ESPN. NBC Sports will compete with ESPN, as well as Fox, for those rights. NBC Sports currently hold the rights to Notre Dame football (this has been a good year for that contract), as well as the lower level Ivy League and CAA. They sub-license rights to Mountain West games from CBS Sports. If NBC snares the Big East, it would be a significant incursion into major college football.

NBC already possesses an arsenal of sports assets: Sunday Night Football, every third Super Bowl, the Olympics, horse racing's Triple Crown, and the NHL (which is unfortunately not taking advantage of NBC's growth campaign). They also broadcast second-tier sports such as Major League Soccer, the Golf Channel, IndyCar racing, and rugby.

And since 2011, when Comcast bought a majority share in NBC Universal, NBC Sports has controlled Comcast's network of regional sports channels. That includes 11 channels across the country focused on regional sports, including Comcast SportsNet Houston, which launched just a few weeks ago.

In the age of onDemand and DVRs, broadcasters and cable companies crave programming which people watch live, and therefore cannot skip commercials. Sports provide such content. NBC is determined to conquer as much territory in the lucrative sports landscape as it can. It might not challenge ESPN, at least not for a few years, but it does have an eye on CBS, and seems dead-set on hunting Fox.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Survival Guide

Just a basic guide for how to prepare and get through a major storm like the one we might be enduring the next few days.

1. Don't get milk, stupid
Why was everyone stocking up on milk? If you lose power, milk goes bad. You shouldn't be buying masive amounts of anything that needs to be refrigerated. Get stuff that is non-perishable: water, bread, cereal, beef jerky, chips.

2. Think ahead when buying booze
People like using storms as an excuse to drink. Makes sense. But remember that your beer will be piss-warm a few hours after you lose power (fridge should keep stuff cold for 4 hours, if you don't open it much and let cold air out). So buy some alcohol that doesn't need to be cold. Wine and liquor. And don't mix your vodka with orange juice. The juice will get warm and go bad. I suggest cranberry juice, or use pouches of Capri Sun. Anything that doesn't need constant refrigeration.

If you must have beer, you can get bags of ice, keep them in the freezer until power goes out, then put them and your beer in a big cooler. Keep the beer in a cold room away from people (people are warm).

But get beer that doesn't have to be ice cold to be drinkable. No Keystone, not even Bud Light or Miller Lite. Think Guinness, Newcastle, Sam Adams products.

3. You need tons of water
If there's flooding, town water supplies can become contaminated. That's why you need a lot of water. One gallon, per person, per day. Water to drink, water to cook (if you can), and clean yourself up.

4. Be smart with your phone
If the power goes out, your phone usage will probably go up. You'll watch movies, post on Facebook about the storm (that's not getting old at all these last few days), and pretty soon your batteries will be low. And you won't be able to recharge them. So if you don't have a charger in your car that you can use, be cautious with your phone usage. And keep your phone plugged in until the moment you lose power.

5. Get gas
Everyone was lined up at the pumps yesterday because you need gas just in case. Gas pumps don't work without electricity. And prices will go up because of the storm anyway. So not a bad idea to fill up.

6. Do laundry
If you're at the end of your wardrobe cycle, do some laundry to make sure you have enough clean underwear for a few days. That's a problem you just don't want to have.

7. Hit an ATM
Never know what you'll need cash for.

8. Batteries, flashlights, candles
Candles are fine, and don't need batteries. DO NOT use gas/kerosene lamps or anything with a fuel in it.

9. A generator will make you king of the neighborhood
Power is out, you have a generator, and booze. And the cute girls next door have nothing to do and are in the dark. Generators aren't cheap, but they have a potential to help you exploit opportunities.

10. Always keep cannibalism in mind as a last resort
Make a mental list of the people who live near you and think about which of them would be the best meal. Make sure you take care of them and do what you can to help them through the storm. Feed them, if possible. It will keep them from getting skinny, and make them trust you.

King William Belichick, Lord Thomas Brady, and Sir Robert Gronkowski Give Rams a Good Thrashing

The Patriots finally beat an NFC West opponent, as they pounded the Rams in London.

Some were worried about this game because the Patriots have a horrible pass defense and Sam Bradford is a decent QB. But the Rams have their own problems. The Patriots took advantage of the Rams weak offensive line. The Pats drew penalties from an aggressive secondary. And the running game sliced and diced all day.

When this offense doesn't hiccup and continues to apply pressure on an opponent, it makes life easy for the defense. Whenever the Pats execute properly and take a 3 possession lead, their chances of winning escalate exponentially. When the offense stutters and stalls, opponents can claw their way back.

The offense doesn't need to put up 31+ every week, but when they have a chance to build a sizable lead, they MUST take advantage of it. Otherwise it's up to the defense, and that's not something you can depend on much. This team wins with offense.

Stevan Ridley rushed for 127 yards, 88 in the 3rd quarter alone. Both he and Shane Vereen ran for TDs.

Tom Brady had his 50th 300+ yard game, as well as his 40th consecutive game with a TD pass. Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd each caught a pair of touchdowns. Zoltan Mesko's feet didn't touch the ball until 12:24 into the 3rd quarter. The Patriots made it to the end zone on their first five drives.

That fake spike on 1st and goal was a trick play I didn't mind seeing. The timing appropriate, the risk was minimal. That's the type of trickery I want to see from Josh McDaniels. Nothing more.

Defensively, the Pats were able to tee off on Bradford, thanks to the big lead. Chandler Jones had his 6th sack of the season.

It was nice to be bored during the 4th quarter.

Bye week then the Bills are in town. So two bye weeks.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Patriots-Rams Drinking Game

Here's a drinking game to play as the Pats play the Rams in London.

Anytime a commentator says...
"Cheers" - take a drink of beer
"Cheerio" - 2 drinks
"Tallyho" - entire beer
Anything about the New England Patriots being in old England - 1 drink
A British word we don't use (example: calling an elevator a lift) - 1 drink
"Tea time" - 1 drink, do so with pinky in air
"Scotland" - shot of scotch
"Ireland" - shot of Jameson or a Guinness
"Harry Potter" or anything from the Harry Potter series - 1 drink by anyone who has read them or seen the movies, 7 drinks for anyone who hasn't
Anything about hurricanes - 1 drink
"Kurt Warner" - 1 drink
"Marshall Faulk" - 1 drink
Mention of Marshall and Kevin Faulk being cousins - drink for 33 seconds

Anytime this is on the screen...
Highlights from Super Bowl XXXVI - drink for 36 seconds
James Bond - drink for 007 seconds
Abbey Road (that street from The Beatles album cover) - 1 drink
London Bridge - 1 drink
Tower of London - 1 drink
The Queen - 1 drink
Any member of Royal Family - 1 drink
Soccer match - 1 drink
Rugby match - 1 entire beer
Cricket - 1 drink and some tea
Parliament and/or Big Ben - 1 drink
A pub - 1 drink from a warm beer
A Beefeater (those guards that don't move) - 1 shot of Beefeater gin or vodka
Paul McCartney - 1 drink
Richard Branson - 1 drink
Bob Kraft - 1 drink
Bob Kraft and Richard Branson - 1 drink and a virgin Bloody Mary
Bob Kraft talking - drink the entire time he talks
Weather map - 1 drink
Person in Halloween costume - 1 drink
Jack o lantern - 1 shot of Jack Daniels or a Jack and Coke
British food - 1 drink, then vomit

Anytime this happens...
Tom Brady says "Alpha Milk" - 1 drink
The Patriots go no huddle - 1 drink per snap
The Rams get a 10+ yard reception - 1 drink (please call a taxi)
Patriots first down - 1 drink
Brandon Lloyd is targeted but doesn't catch the ball - half a beer
Sebastian Vollmer's European roots are discussed - 1 German beer or a shot of J├Ągermeister
Zoltan Mesko's European roots are discussed - 1 drink, if you have Romanian beer you win the game automatically
Kickoff touchback - 1 drink
Kickoff return - drink until the return is over
Gronkowski spikes the ball - 1 drink
Gronkowski scores and DOESN'T spike the ball - whole beer and a shot
Vince Wilfork sack or tackle for a loss - 1 drink
Vince Wilfork forces or recovers turnover - 1 whole beer
Vince Wilfork returns turnover for TD - 1 whole beer, 1 shot, 1 turkey leg

Get lubed up responsibly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why There Will Never Be an NFL Team in London

There hasn't been much talk about the NFL moving a team to London this week, but it's always been a topic of discussion when this game is played. There will never be an American football team based in London and here's why:

Because of the time zone difference, you can't have night games in London unless they start at 1:00am local time. So no Thursday, Monday, or Sunday night football. A 4:25pm game would have to start at 9:25pm in London. No night games in London or when the London team is on the road.

There's also the considerable jet lag teams would suffer flying to and from Britain. Because of this, the London team itself would probably have the best home-field advantage in the NFL. And would struggle the most on the road. Especially West Coast games. San Diego is 5,500 miles and 8 time zones from London.

Lack of Rivals
The Packers have the Bears, the Giants have the Eagles. The Patriots have the Jets. Who would be London's rival? The Patriots would be closest, at about 3,200 miles. And Washington was burned by the British in 1814. Somehow I don't think much animosity has carried into the 21st century.

Exchange Rate
Due to the cap, players in London would get paid the same amount as their counterparts in the States. Due to the exchange rate, their money would be worth less. $100 equals £62.23. And something that costs £100 costs $161. So players would effectively have less money to spend on houses, cars, strippers, et cetera. So if Darnell Dockett wanted to tweet a picture of $100k, it'd be £62,230 in British notes.

Brits Don't Like the Game
They prefer rugby for a physical sport. And of course soccer is king. While most Americans view soccer as boring and devoid of action, the Brits like that it doesn't pause (how many pauses are in a football game? well over a hundred), and the game can change in an instant. Scoring is rare in soccer, which makes it tense, and one goal could decide the game. Many Brits see our football as slow, hiccuping action, and they don't like the pads.

Having an NFL team in London would be like having a hockey team in the Arizona desert. Thankfully, the NFL isn't as dumb as the NHL.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ignorant College Football Pics*

Be advised, this post includes pictures of scantily clad women showing school pride, among other things.

Last week my picks were 7-7, bringing my season total to 40-34-1. Here are my selections for this weekend's games:

Louisville -3.5 vs. Cincinnati
Tight race atop the Big East. Nobody cares.

Texas -19 @ Kansas
Longhorns should roll in Lawrence.

South Carolina -13.5 @ Tennessee
Cocks should repeatedly violate the Vols.

Arkansas -6 vs. Ole Miss
Home field advantage.

North Carolina -7.5 vs. NC State
I finally believe in the Tar Heels. So they'll probably lose.

Maryland +2 @ Boston College
BC hasn't beaten an FBS team.

Duke +27.5 @ Florida State
Has the looks of a scare game, FSU wins but doesn't cover.

Texas Tech +7.5 @ Kansas State
Tech's only loss was to Oklahoma. And they crushed WVU just like K-State did.

Oklahoma State -7 vs. TCU
TCU will learn how hard the road is in the Big XII.

Wisconsin -6 vs. Michigan State
Tough to win in Madison.

USC -6.5 @ Arizona
Why not?

Georgia +7 vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Yes. Upset in Jacksonville.

Ohio State +1 @ Penn State
Rare time I'll be rooting for OSU, so they'll likely lose.

Vanderbilt -32.5 vs. UMass
The Minutemen are struggling to adjust to FBS.

Syracuse +2.5 @ South Florida

Michigan +2 @ Nebraska
Interesting divisional races in Big Ten.

Oklahoma -11.5 vs. Notre Dame
When they win, OU tends to win by a decent margin.

Mississippi State +24 @ Alabama
The Bulldogs are a legit threat to win the SEC West and Bama might be thinking a week ahead to LSU. Could be close.

Oregon State -3 @ Washington
I like Beavers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Buffalo Bills to Get New Stadium on Waterfront?

I know this has little to do with Boston or New England, but half my family is from Western New York, so shut up and read the post.

Some crazy millionaire proposed building a 70,000 seat retractable roof stadium as part of an "entertainment complex" on the waterfront in Buffalo. This is not a proposal by the Bills, or the NFL, or the city of Buffalo, or the state of New York. It's just some guy with some money with an idea.

The guy is Nicholas Stracick, a former MLB umpire who sued Walt Disney and won a huge settlement. He accused Disney of stealing the idea for their Wide World of Sports theme park.

So this guy is insane, and this scheme is still in the backroom plotting phase. It's not a real plan.

Although it makes sense in some ways. The Bills currently play in an antiquated aluminium bowl in Orchard Park, 15 miles south of Buffalo. But the Bills are a regional team. They draw fans from Rochester, Syracuse, and southern Ontario. And a stadium in Buffalo would be easier to get to than the current one in Orchard Park.

I don't know how much of an economic boon this would be for Western New York. This millionaire wants to include a hotel and a museum in this complex. And wants the taxpayers to shoulder 30% of the $1.4 billion bill.

But for the team, it'd be good. For the NFL, it'd be good. The Bills need a new stadium, and the NFL needs the Bills to have a new stadium. Maybe this particular plan isn't the right plan, but something needs to change with the Bills and their stadium.

And good luck to the architect that has to design a retractable roof that can withstand 50 inches lake effect snow.

Carlton Fisk Charged for DUI

What happens to someone when they park their F-150 in a cornfield? Maybe an embarrassing conversation with the property owner. What happens when they are found unconscious in that F-150 with an open bottle of vodka? A citation for DUI. Even if they are Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk.

Police in New Lenox, Illinois received calls about a pickup truck in a cornfield. They found Fisk passed out in the truck, with an open bottle of vodka. Fisk agreed to go to a hospital, but refused a blood alcohol test. Police issued him a citation for DUI, and for a lane violation (yeah, seriously), and illegal transportation of alcohol. He posted bond and was released.

This comes one day after the anniversary of Fisk doing this:

Maybe he was celebrating, or maybe he misses the thrill of the game, or maybe he didn't start drinking vodka until he parked safely in the cornfield. Perhaps a voice told him "If you drink it, he will come."

Bobby Valentine Throws David Ortiz Under the Bus

Bobby Valentine didn't make easy for himself in Boston. He tried to use the media as a tool but wound up injuring himself, like a child playing with a rotary saw. He still hasn't learned his lesson.

In an interview with Bob Costas on NBC Sports, Bobby V accused David Ortiz of quitting on the team once the Sox traded Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford on August 25th.

Hey Bobby, you're lucky Ortiz was trying until August 25th. And why should he push himself in a meaningless September? Why jeopardize that Achilles? Both David Ortiz and the Red Sox need that Achilles in functioning condition next year.

And that's assuming Valentine's accusations hold any merit. Which is quite an assumption. In the same interview Valentine denied that he ever said "Nice inning, kid," to Will Middlebrooks. What's particularly insane about that is that Valentine was the one who told the media he'd said that to Middlebrooks.

Bobby V has some deep-rooted psychological issues. He thinks these lies he tells are the truth. He's like Matt Damon in The Informant!.

Valentine also mentioned that front office personnel were frequently in his office before and after games. Although he had nothing but praise and sympathy for Larry Lucchino and ownership.

In Spring Training, Valentine berated Mike Aviles for not executing a relay drill properly. Valentine had never explained the drill to the players, so they confronted him about screaming at Aviles. In the interview with Costas, Valentine alluded to this attitude from the players: "I think that is unique to that group of guys. I don’t think it’s indigenous to all of baseball, or at least I pray it’s not."

The Sox have plenty of attitude problems, but this instance was Bobby Valentine's ego getting in his own way. And the incident probably ruined any chance he'd have at being respected by the players here. Why would you respect a manager who doesn't tell you what he expects you to do, then yells at you for not doing it?

That incident with Aviles was the beginning of the end for Valentine. And ironically it was Aviles who was sent to Toronto in exchange for Valentine's replacement.

Bobby Valentine is the least credible personality in all of sports. Because what he views as reality just isn't real.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Red Sox Have New Manager, Zach Greinke Should Be Next

The Red Sox decided to be quick about finding a replacement for Bobby Valentine and they've done that. They've hired John Farrell and done so before the World Series even started. The managerial position is now in order, but that's only a small part of the problems with this Red Sox team.

Let's be blunt here. This isn't a good team. It hasn't finished above 3rd place since 2009, and hasn't won a playoff game since 2008. They had talent on paper, but that hasn't translated into success on the field. Especially with the pitching.

The Red Sox do have money. The LA Dodgers very generously took a lot of bad financial commitments off the Red Sox' ledger. How to spend it to improve the team?

I like Zack Greinke. He's not an Ace, but he's a solid pitcher that can provide some stability to a very chaotic rotation. He was 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA last year, which would have made him the best starter on the Sox.

What I like most about Greinke is innings. He can give you 210 to 220 innings. Starting pitchers who go deep into games help preserve a bullpen and prevent a weak bullpen from being overexposed.

He turned 29 this past weekend so he has a number of good years ahead of him.

This team won't become a World Series contender overnight, or in one off-season. And having Greinke as a #1 pitcher isn't enough to get you there. But Greinke would only be the #1 pitcher in 2013. In 2014 and beyond, he could be this team's #2 or even #3, behind some much better pitching. He's a foundation guy that can make a rotation deep. And deep rotations=playoff contention.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Sox Trade Mike Aviles for John Farrell

You know what Fenway Sports Group does? They try to do everything differently. They can't just accept the norm and appreciate its efficiency and how well it functions. They have a compulsion to think and act out of the proverbial box. And this managerial hiring/trade is no different.

Have you ever heard of such a thing in baseball? Trading a Major League player for a Manager? It's only happened 5 times in MLB history. Unassisted triple plays have occurred 15 times in MLB history. So this is rarer than that.

Mike Aviles is hardly an All-Star, and the Sox can easily improve in that position. So I'm not upset about losing him. It's just the notion of surrendering anything substantial to get a 2 year manager with a .475 record. What does Farrell have that the other candidates looked at don't have? What makes him worth paying a price?

I said after the Sox hired Bobby Valentine that the Manager isn't very important. He can really only hurt the team. And that's how I feel about Farrell. He might help foster a certain attitude, but such an attitude must be supported by the performance of the players on the field. Farrell, or any Manager, isn't a solution to problems. The problems are with the roster and they need to be solved on their own.

I don't mind John Farrell as Red Sox Manager, but I can't help but worry that the Red Sox selected him for reasons beyond the realm of baseball. The fans wanted Farrell. Farrell brings that notion of discipline. He knows Boston, we know him, and he knows the organization. This smells a bit like a PR hire.

When the Patriots acquired Bill Belichick, they surrendered a 1st round pick in order to sign him. It was a football decision, and it's worked out for the Pats.It was not a PR hire.

When the Sox hired John Farrell, was the decision a baseball decision? How much PR and placating the fans was involved? How much did the Larry Lucchino publicity machine contribute to this decision?

Was this about selling tickets, or winning games? I just don't know anymore with this ownership. And that's why I don't trust them.

Patriots Blow Save, Win in Extra Innings

One good thing about the Patriots is that they play entertaining 4th quarters. One bad thing about the Patriots is that they play entertaining 4th quarters.

At some point this team MUST learn how to close. The difference between good teams and great teams is the ability to close games when you're ahead, and occasionally steal them when you're behind.

If NFL games were 3 quarters long, the Patriots would be 5-1-1 (tied with Buffalo 21-21 after 3 quarters). Not only that, they would've beaten Tennessee by 18, Denver by 17, Seattle by 10, and New York by 10. In 7 games, the Pats have "won" only three 4th quarters. They've been outscored 4 out of 7 games in the 4th.

The Patriots didn't make game-deciding plays until very late in this game. They didn't make game-changing plays either. They dropped passes, didn't take advantage of the safety, didn't take advantage of Alfonzo Dennard's INT, or a facemask penalty on a punt. The Jets gave the Patriots chances to put them away, and the Pats refused. Instead they tried flea-flickers, and that shit needs to stop right fucking now, Josh.

This lack of opportunism is an alarming trend.

Even more disturbing is a realization I had while watching this game: the success or failure of the Patriots depends on Devin McCourty more than anyone else.

That's a scary thought, but it's true. Look at this game. McCourty returns a kickoff and the Patriots look strong. He fumbles a kickoff and the Jets almost win. His blown coverages and pass interference penalties have punctuated game-winning drives for opponents. And his interceptions have sealed victories for the Patriots.

McCourty has had much more influence over the outcome of games than an inconsistent 3rd year defensive back should have. Other players need to step up and take more control of the game.

On the bright side, a win is a win. And Alfonzo Dennard looks very good for a rookie. The Pats ultimately made enough plays to win. The Jets clearly suck. There are some things to be optimistic about.

One request, though... Football stadiums should play "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats whenever there's a safety. Everybody would love it. All the fans would dance and if they don't dance well they're no fans of mine.

Patriots play the Rams in London next Sunday.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Patriots-Jets Drinking Game

Here's a drinking game to play during Sunday evening's festivities. Every time certain words, phrases, or images are shown you have to drink a certain amount.

Anytime a commentator says...
"high-octane" or "no huddle" - 1 drink from a beer
"Oregon" or "Oklahoma" = 1 drink for the first mention, then 2 for the second, 3 for the third, and so on.
"Alfonzo Dennard" the wrong way (it's Duh-nard) = half a beer
Any press clipping about Mark Sanchez = 1 drink
Any press clipping about Tim Tebow = 3 drinks
"Tebow" = 1 drink
Talking about Tebow as a great human being = 1 drink
Anything to do with the number 666 = half a beer and a shot

Anytime this is on the screen...
Fall foliage = 1 shot and half a beer
Foliage from Vermont = the same as above plus a shot of maple syrup
Someone Tebowing = drink a beer for 6.66 seconds
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking to someone = drink as long as he's talking
Bill Belichick pulling something from his sock = 1 drink
Bible verse = a shot for the number of the chapter, and drink from a beer for the number of seconds of the verse, so John 3:16 would be 3 shots and 16 seconds of beer
Any graphic or reference to Belichick as head coach of the Jets = a beer
Any clips from Hard Knocks = 1 drink

Anytime this happens...
Tom Brady yells "alpha milk" = 1 drink
Patriots get a rushing first down = 1 drink
Patriots allow a passing first down = 1 drink
Devin McCourty gets beat on a pass = 1 drink (even if it's incomplete)
Devin McCourty interception = 1 shot
Vince Wilfork tipped pass = 1 drink
Vince Wilfork recovers turnover = 1 shot
Vince Wilfork returns turnover for TD = 1 shot, 1 beer, 1 turkey wing
Rex Ryan is bleeped out or says something that'd be bleeped out = 1 drink
Wes Welker mentioning feet (even in a past video) = 1 drink
Gronk spikes the ball = 1 drink
Gronk doesn't spike after TD = 1 whole beer
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink until the return is over
Whenever Stevan Ridley or Aaron Hernandez carry the ball without properly securing it = 1 drink

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How BC Football Can Turn Itself Around

It's a rough time for Boston College football. The Eagles are 1-5 and that one win came against Maine. They're 113th in the country in rushing, 86th in scoring offense, and 99th in scoring defense.

Both on the field and off it, the team needs new direction. People like to focus their blame on head coach Frank Spaziani, but the problems with the program go beyond coaching. They're philosophical and fundamental.

BC, as an institution, needs to step down from that Hill of Superiority they so imperiously sit upon, and ingratiate themselves to Greater Boston. Be a full part of the community instead of presenting yourselves as the exceptional part of the community.

Specifically, the athletic program needs to realize that the football team is a step-program, a place for coaches to prove themselves before moving on to bigger things. And that's fine. It's okay to be a place where coaches come and go because they got a job offer from an NFL or an SEC team. Most college football teams are like that.

On the field, the traditional offense needs to go. College is a place for experimentation, and not just in science labs and not just by students on a Friday night. Get gimmicky. Try the option. Or a no-huddle style like Oklahoma's or Oregon's. Get creative, be entertaining, be deceptive, be clever, be tricky, be unpredictable. If D-III and high school teams can run the option, so can you.

Schedule more interesting non-conference games. Notre Dame becoming an ACC partner in football is great news for BC. So is Syracuse joining the ACC. And USC will be in Boston in 2014. But Maine? Stony Brook in 2013?

BC is starting a series with UMass soon, and that's smart because the Minutemen are now in the FBS. It would be even smarter to play them at Gillette Stadium, where fans could tailgate in the lots as opposed to riding the schoolbus to games at Alumni Stadium.

BC should play UConn as well. There's a potential for a regional rivalry there.

Speaking of UConn, BC should play a home game at Fenway Park. UConn and Notre Dame are considering it for 2014, but it would be a great spectacle for BC to play NC State or Maryland or Virginia at Fenway. It's 4 miles down the road, the ACC would love it, and it would give the program tremendous local publicity.

I'm a BC fan. And as a sports fan in Boston, it'd be really cool if the Eagles were relevant in college football again. As well as being relevant in Boston. These steps, along with some good recruiting, would go a long way to make that happen.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

The Difference Between Girls' Soccer and Men's Soccer

Had this occurred in a men's soccer game, the guy who got kicked would act as if his chest had been caved in, his lungs had collapsed, and he was on the verge of death. He would have flailed and twitched around until the ref awarded a foul.

But in girls' soccer you adjust your sports bra and get on with the game.

Curt Schilling Blocked Me on Twitter

Yesterday I wrote an angry rant about hating Curt Schilling. I sent a Tweet to Mr. Schilling's account (@Gehrig38).

And shortly thereafter, Mr. Schilling's account had blocked mine.

Granted, I could have been more clever with that headline. Maybe make him think I'd written something defending him. Maybe I could have been vague and said "A blog post about 38Studios." That might have been a sounder strategy because I don't think he even read what I sent him.

Then again, I didn't want to be deceptive or evasive. That would have been Schillingesque of me.

Regardless, it's just another example of Curt "Bob and Weave" Schilling avoiding tough questions. He made a career of having a big mouth and calling other athletes out. Then he screws up and can't address what he did, or why he did it. Except to WEEI's Dennis and Callahan who each had to ice their jaws after so much ball-washing.

I know this is old news, but that's what pisses me off. We obsessively rage at something for 72 hours, then move on to something else. And in this case, the rage should have lasted until Schilling showed genuine contrition instead of blaming the Rhode Island Governor.

We forgot about how much of a hypocritical jerk Schilling was. He hid, we moved on, and he's escaped the humiliation and humbling that his actions deserved. Curt Schilling is a coward.

What Will the NHL Players Do?

The NHL owners made an offer to the NHLPA that included a 50/50 share in hockey related revenues. The offer also included stipulations that player contracts not exceed 5 years, as well as changes to free agency and arbitration eligibility.

It's a lot of legal mumbo jumbo after that. The players have concerns about deferred payments, points of contention about the time until arbitration eligible, stipulations about revenue sharing. And so on.

Basically, it's stuff for lawyers.

I've been considering Law School for awhile now and all these sports lockouts and CBA negotiations are pushing me closer and closer to taking the LSATs. It seems like the best path to make serious money in pro sports isn't playing basketball at Kentucky or football at Alabama, it's to take Law classes at Suffolk.

Anyway, the fact that the NHLPA needs time is a good thing. They aren't instantly rejecting the offer. They need to digest it, hammer out some details, negotiate a few things. They're giving up a lot, which is always tough. But if both sides bend a bit more, this can get done.

This is a Kama Sutra moment in these negotiations as both parties will need to be flexible. The good news is, they seem to want to get in bed together. Figuratively speaking.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Still Hate You, Curt Schilling

Hearing Curt Schilling's voice on ESPN sent me into a cataclysmic rage. This fraud, this failure, still gets paid to watch baseball games and then talk about it. And in this society, which rages at something for 72 hours then forgets about it, we're fine with that.

Remember #Kony? How big was that on social media? Who cares about that now?

Of course, Curt Schilling is not a murderous dictator in Africa. But he's still an asshole. He still ran a business with government money from the state of Rhode Island, and it failed. He was a fake Conservative who enjoyed speaking the rhetoric but didn't want to practice it. He makes actual Conservatives like me look bad with his stupidity.

I don't want to talk politics, I want to talk Schilling.

Here's another thing that pisses me off about Curt. The only media he opened up to were Dennis & Callahan. I wonder what Schilling would say if a hitter only faced softball pitchers, and never faced anyone who would give them a tough pitch. Schilling didn't have the balls to face someone from the Globe, or (God forbid) a Rhode Island news outlet.

He was able to take money from Rhode Island, just not able to take questions from them.

I loved Curt Schilling as a baseball player, but as a man, I have no respect for him whatsoever. He's a fake, a hypocrite, a remorseless vulture who doesn't feel bad for the money that Rhode Island citizens have to pay to fund his stupid video game company.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Is the NHL Suicidal?

Every day there's no hockey, I shake my head at the stupidity of the NHL and its owners for this Lockout. Until yesterday when I realized that the NHL is actually experiencing deep psychological trouble. I think it's trying to kill itself. How else do you explain its odd, self-destructive behavior?

The NHL has grown total revenues by 50% since the last Lockout, and it's wasting an opportunity to grow even more. Here's what the NHL is missing out on...

1. Cable companies are craving content
Especially sports. There are new channels every day and they all want sports. Because people watch sports live, not on DVR or onDemand. They watch the sports (and the commercials) as they happen. Which advertisers love, so therefore cable channels loves. NBC Sports just bought the rights to broadcast off-road truck racing, and rumor has it they bought the rights to Formula 1. How many college football games were on TV Saturday? Harvard/Bucknell was broadcast nationally. There's an insatiable hunger for sports and the NHL has taken itself off the menu.

The NHL has been with NBC Sports, and it could've been the flagship partner of a growing sports network. But because it's suicidal, it's decided to jeopardize its popularity (and therefore its ratings) by not existing for a few months. And each game cancelled is a game not televised.

2. Big markets are in love with their teams
We call them pink hats, but their money and their TV viewership is just as valuable to teams as loyal fans. And in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles (a town comprised almost entirely of pink hats), hockey was becoming popular. These big market teams were carrying the league. And now the fickle pink hats, who don't even notice that the season hasn't started, will find other forms of entertainment.

The recent growth of hockey in Boston, Chicago, and LA is under threat because the Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers can't pay their bills.

3. Canada on equal footing
The exchange rate between US and Canadian money is essentially 1 to 1. That was not always the case. A few years ago, Canadian teams struggled because their fans paid in Canadian dollars and they paid their players in US dollars. With the exchange rate even, that financial handicap is gone.

Canada also wants more teams. They're hungry for the game. And they can provide homes for the Southern NHL teams that aren't making money.

These three things clearly demonstrate that the NHL is trying to destroy itself. It's on the verge of making significant strides forward, as a brand, as a money-maker, and as a game. This is a great environment for the NHL to grow in, so how else can you explain the owners forcing this Lockout?

They must want the League and the Game to die.

Red Sox Won't Raise Ticket Prices in 2013

Typically, the Red Sox announce next season's ticket prices in a subdued, secretive manner. They often release the news the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone is too busy shopping or doped on tryptophan to notice or care about a price increase.

This year, on a Monday afternoon, with minimal surrounding distractions, the Red Sox triumphantly announced that they would not raise ticket prices in 2013. In effect, prices would be "frozen."

Well gosh, gee, and golly. What stupendous news!

Chairman Lucchino issued a typical Fenway Sports Group statement:

"Over the past few years, we have fallen short of our goals to play postseason baseball. Through it all, fans have shown their deep loyalty and support, for which we are all grateful. Our commitment to winning is as strong as it has ever been, and we look forward to the challenge of bringing our fans the winning and entertaining baseball team they richly deserve."

My first thought: don't act like this is some sort of positive gesture or gift to the fans. Asking us to pay the same bloated prices as last year is a non-action, not a positive action. No need for any statement whatsoever. This is no gift.

In the release on, it is twice mentioned that the Sox have only raised ticket prices two times in the last five years.

Do you want us to thank you for that, Mr. Lucchino? I wouldn't brag about it either since the Sox have made the playoffs only twice in the last five years.

Do you know what would've been nice, and possibly smart? Lowering ticket prices. Not all of them. Maybe making a few more rows of bleacher seats cost only $12. And $28 for regular bleachers is a bit much. How about $20? Even $22?

Is that not reasonable? Will that not help maintain the Most Sacred Sellout Streak? What kind of moron is pleased that after finishing in 5th the Red Sox have decided to keep the same prices on tickets?

Make some sort of gesture that says to the fans "We're sorry, we want you back." Don't brag about doing nothing.

Since the Sox had their worst season since 1965, maybe we should have ticket and concession prices from 1965. Now that would make me happy, and that would be worth bragging about, Lucchino.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Patriots Clutchless in Seattle

Clutchness isn't just coming through when the game is on the line. When there's a chance to seal a victory in the 3rd or 4th quarter, clutchness can be making the plays that don't allow an opponent to hang around and possibly beat you later. In other words, putting nails in the coffin when you have a hammer in your hand.

We haven't seen such clutchness from the Patriots in a very long time.

They don't put teams away. They let them hang around. And as alarmingly bad as the defense can be at times, I'm more disappointed in how the Patriots' "high-octane" offense runs out of gas when it has a chance to drive daggers into opponents.

Can somebody photocopy the part of the NFL rulebook about intentional grounding and leave it in Tom Brady's locker? Even though the one out of the end zone is something I've never seen called, the refs seem to be paying close attention to how/when/where he throws the ball away. Time for him to be more careful.

Here's another Brady beef. His interceptions were products of cocky throws. He makes brilliant pass after brilliant pass, then tries to get a little too brilliant, and attempts to force a ball that needs to be perfect in order to not be an INT. And no offense to Deion Branch, but it's unfair to expect the 5' 9" 33 year old to wrestle with defensive backs to haul in a catch.

There were some serious game-management miscues yesterday. All 3 second half timeouts were wasted. And then I don't know why the Patriots tried to run out the clock on the ground when Seattle was expecting them to run. Seemed like a great time for a play-action pass.

All game the run only worked when Seattle was caught off balance by it.

This offense's strategy has oscillated from crazy and aggressive (Julian Edelman trick plays) to overly conservative (those two Stevan Ridley runs in the 4th). I'd rather see something in the middle. I like aggressive play-calling, just not the insane aggression and the trick plays. With the lead and 3 minutes left, try to get 1st downs. Don't settle for forcing Seattle to call timeout twice.

Now to the defense. Last year, as bad as this unit was, they didn't give up many big plays. This year they can't help themselves.

There are no safeties on this roster. Sending players to try to play safety is pointless. They don't know how, and they're physically incapable of playing the position.

Maybe it's better to go without safeties, just keep 8 men in the box and attack the QB.

The defense is not going to win these games. It has to be the offense. That's just how it is. And the defense stopped Seattle with 3 minutes left and gave the offense a chance to end the game with the ball.

The entire roster (except maybe Wes Welker) and coaching staff are responsible for this loss. And even if the defense is more responsible, they have less talent. This offense should be able to finish games, and they haven't been able to.

The Pats are 0-3 against teams named after things that fly. Hopefully that just applies to birds because the Jets are in town Sunday.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Ignorant College Football Picks*

Last week my picks went 11-4-1. I will enjoy this success until it harshly regresses to the mean. On the season I'm 33-27-1. Here are my picks for week 8:

UConn +4 @ Syracuse
Both teams kind of suck, although Syracuse seriously sucks.

Clemson -8 vs. Virginia Tech
The Hokies aren't very good.

Rutgers -4 @ Temple
Why not?

Ohio State -18.5 vs. Purdue
Should wipe the floor with them.

Texas A&M +3.5 vs. LSU
Just don't believe in the Tigers.

Stanford -3.5 @ California
Trees outnumber bears.

Maryland +3.5 vs. NC State
Apart from ugly uniforms, UMD is okay.

Michigan State +9.5 @ Michigan
Spread's too big.

Florida -3.5 vs. South Carolina
Home swamp advantage.

Texas Tech -1.5 @ TCU
Raiders riding high after beating WVU.

North Carolina -10.5 @ Duke
UNC is good this year.

West Virginia -2.5 vs. Kansas State
Rebound time for Mountaineers.

Tennessee +20.5 vs. Alabama
Spread is big. It's an SEC night game in Knoxville, should be closer than 3 scores.

Texas -8.5 vs. Baylor
Rebound game for UT.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Patriots-Seahawks Drinking Game

So here's a drinking game to play during today's game. Every time certain words, phrases, or images are shown you have to drink a certain amount.

Anytime a commentator says...
"high octane" = 1 drink from a beer
"no-huddle" = 1 drink
"Oregon" = 1 drink, then 2 drinks the second mention, 3 the third, and so on (in tribute to the absurd number of push-ups the Oregon Duck mascot has to do when the Ducks score)
"Bill Parcells" = half a beer
"2007" = 1 drink (in reference to Patriots only)
"USC" or "Southern Cal" = 1 drink
"guru" = 1 shot
"replacement refs" = 1 drink

Anytime this is on the screen...
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking to someone = drink as long as he's talking
Pete Carroll as Patriots head coach = drink as long as the clip or image is on the screen
Bill Belichick pulling something from his sock = 1 drink

Anytime this happens...
Tom Brady yells "alpha milk" = 1 drink
Patriots get a rushing first down = 1 drink
Patriots allow a passing first down = 1 drink
Devin McCourty gets beat on a pass = 1 drink (even if it's incomplete)
Devin McCourty interception = 1 shot
Vince Wilfork touchdown = 1 whole beer
Gronk spikes the ball = 1 drink
Gronk doesn't spike after TD = 1 whole beer
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink until the return is over

1 drink for every play the Patriots run, 1 for every 10+ yard pass play they allow.

Get lubed up responsibly.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ignorant College Football Picks*

Well, my picks were 7-9 last week, which drops my record below bowl eligibility at 22-23. But I have faith that we will get back to bowl eligibility. We will get to the Bowl!

Anyway, here are my picks for Week 7 of college football...

Louisville -2.5 @ Pittsburgh
The game is being played at 11:00am. Why? Nobody knows. Scholars speculate...

Rutgers -7.5 vs. Syracuse
SU sucks.

Iowa State +7 vs. Kansas State
Iowa experiences crazy wind in October. Wind sometimes equals wins.

Oklahoma -3.5 vs. Texas (Dallas, TX)
As if I'd pick against OU in the Red River Shootout. Boomer! Sooner!

Wisconsin +2 @ Purdue
Because this isn't a train making competition.

Auburn +5.5 @ Ole Miss
Two bad teams squaring off. Pick the underdog.

UConn -5.5 vs. Temple
Why not? Dogs eat owls, right?

Miami +8 vs. North Carolina
Just because the spread is so high and Miami is at home. Probably a bad pick.

Maryland +1.5 @ Virginia
Don't respect UVA.

Alabama -21 @ Missouri
Sounds right. Close game early but Bama pulls away.

West Virginia -3.5 @ Texas Tech
Might be a 200 point game, but WVU should win by more than 3.5.

Stanford +7 @ Notre Dame
I haven't believed in ND all season, even though I probably should.

Florida State -28 vs. Boston College
Why not?

Florida -8.5 @ Vanderbilt
Also, why not?

Washington +13 vs. USC
Just a hunch.

LSU -2.5 vs. South Carolina
Don't think much of LSU, but it's home, it's night, it's their game to lose.

Bruins 0, Flyers 0

The much anticipated start of the 2012-13 season was somewhat anti-climactic last night in Philadelphia. Neither team scored, or even got a shot on goal. And surprisingly, between these two physical rivals, there wasn't a single penalty. It was a very clean game. Clean, but boring.

This is just the start of a complete 82 game season, so it's understandable that these teams were somewhat rusty. Let's be patient with the B's. They have 81 games to work out this lack of scoring.

The Bruins are in New Jersey on Saturday to play the Devils. And this will happen. It's on the schedule. This is a good test for both teams.

In all seriousness, ESPN and EA Sports simulated this Bruins/Flyers game and the Bruins won 4-3. Tyler Seguin scored a goal and had 2 assists. Tuukka Rask had an assist. The Flyers scored three times in the 3rd to tie it 3-3 before Dennis Seidenberg scored the game-winner.

But that, of course, didn't actually happen. No NHL game was played last night because the Phoenix Coyotes can't make ends meet, and the big-market owners want the players to give up salary to make the game cheaper, instead of sharing revenue with their small-market colleagues.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Red Sox Want John Farrell, But Does Farrell Want the Red Sox?

The Red Sox aren't being very subtle about wanting John Farrell to be the new manager. There's a rumor that the Blue Jays are unwilling to part with Farrell. And even if they were, they'd expect a "decent player" as compensation. Which could make the cost of hiring Farrell more than the Sox would be willing to pay.

But it's John Farrell who has the power in this situation. If he wants to manage the Red Sox, what can the Blue Jays do? The Jays wouldn't want a disgruntled employee running their team. It's like when the Cubs wanted to talk to Theo Epstein. The Sox had no choice but to let him go. Epstein had the leverage. So does Farrell.

Why would Farrell want to manage here though? While the Sox can offer a larger payroll and (theoretically) better players, the expectations are much higher here than in Toronto. And he wouldn't be given much time to turn things around. The Sox might have more money, but patience is one thing fans and owners in Boston have less of than their Canadian counterparts.

Maybe Farrell would welcome the challenge of rebuilding the Red Sox and bringing them back to the playoffs.

Then again, who would want to have an office in Fenway Park? Farrell knows what Larry Lucchino and this ownership did to Terry Francona. He saw how Bobby Valentine was undermined and how the players and front office communicated behind Bobby V's back. How could Farrell feel comfortable managing here? It's like working with cannibals.

Regardless of challenges and opportunities, why would anyone want to work for Larry Luchinno?

Farrell might not ever be a World Series contender in Toronto, but at least up there he has the freedom to do his job his way. He seems like the type of person who enjoys that kind of freedom to move. He wouldn't have that down here. He'd have Jason Varitek wandering around the building, John Henry texting players, and Larry Lucchino using Ben Cherington as a ventriloquist dummy.

I can't blame Farrell is he wants to stay in Toronto.

Roger Goodell Re-Suspends Saints

Roger Goodell is sticking to his guns. He upheld the season long suspension of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith's 4 game suspension. He reduced Anthony Hargrove's suspension from 8 to 7 games, and Scott Fujita's from 3 to 1.

Here's why he can do this: The suspensions were vacated by an appeals panel, but not based on their merit. It was a technical thing. The panel required Goodell to clarify how the players acted in a way "detrimental to the League."

Goodell has the power to suspend any player for such "detrimental" conduct. And he clarified the conduct using a Saints/Panthers game from 2010 as an example (story on

Essentially, the appeal panel asked Goodell for details of the bounty program, and Goodell has disclosed some of them.

Vilma can still pursue his defamation lawsuit. Though it will be tough for him to prove that Goodell has been deceptive or has said anything false about Vilma.

Roger Goodell is a bit of a tyrant. He's not a mass murderer. So stop with the Hitler/Stalin types of comparisons, please. You sound like a fool when comparing an NFL Commissioner to someone who killed millions. Goodell's job requires some light tyranny. Sometimes it works (getting a deal done with the NFLPA last year), sometimes it doesn't (replacement refs).

Whatever you think about Goodell, the Saints broke the rules. While being investigated, they continued to break the rules. The coaches who broke them implicated Vilma as being one of the leading players in the bounty program.

Why shouldn't he get punished? Players putting up $10k bounties to injure other players is conduct detrimental to the League. At least it is in my opinion. It can't be tolerated.