Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on Boston's Finest

Boston's Finest premiered on TNT last night. It's the latest in the Bostonization of TV/Movies trend that was kicked off by Good Will Hunting 16 years ago, and truly shifted into high gear with The Departed.

Overall I liked it. I found it interesting. It was like Cops with a backstory and high production values. Less anonymous shirtless men being arrested, more storylines about a particular case or officer. Here are a few thoughts on the episode last night:

Does the rest of the country know that there are bands from Boston other than Dropkick Murhpy's? I'm sick of every Boston show/movie/story being coupled with that band. I'm sick of that band. We get it, you're Irish, you're from Boston, you have a fiddle with guitars. A decade ago it was new and unique, now it's old and repetitive. And I hate that for some reason shows and movies feel the need to incorporate Dropkick Murphy's cliched music into anything that has to do with Boston.

Get a different narrator. I know it's Donnie Wahlberg's show, and while he did a good job with the voice overs, it was painful to hear yet another Boston accent. And I'm from just outside Boston. Accented narrating is always irritating (See: Leo DiCaprio in Gangs of New York). And when he'd drop slang into his narration (like "transpo" instead of "transport" for the paddy wagon), all I could do was grumble.

Boston cops swear a lot. Cops in general swear a lot. Then they get testy if you swear at them. Even if you're not yelling when you swear.

The show slowed down to a crawl at times. There were scenes with high levels of tension and excitement. Those scenes were tense because there was a high potential for action. Then there were slow, talky scenes. Especially with the female cop's mother. That just kept going. Those scenes had no potential for action, and therefore no tension. The show went from 90 miles per hour to 15, to 90, to 15. Gas, brakes, gas, brakes.

Slower scenes are fine, but don't switch between fast and slow. It's jarring. And it makes slower scenes seem even slower. Say that 5 times fast.

The out of control siren incident was funny. It was nice relief from the chase for the drug dealer and the drug addicted sister

I would not fuck with BPD's Gang Unit. Ever. They looked serious.

I Would Not Miss Brandon Lloyd

74 catches, 911 yards. 74 catches, 911 yards. 74 catches, 911 yards. All week, whenever Brandon Lloyd has been discussed, these figures were repeated. Over. And over. And over.

I'm not impressed. Not at all.

On the surface 74 catches and 911 yards seems productive. Especially compared to what Chad Ochocinco gave the Pats in 2011. However, other numbers tell a different story about Brandon Lloyd's season. He was soft, unreliable, and not explosive at all. Numbers prove it.

Before I delve into those numbers, how many catches and yards would Lloyd have had if Hernandez, Gronkowski, and Edelman been healthy all season? I'd say 55 catches and 650 yards would be fair. So that 74-911 is partially due to Brady's other options missing time.

Brandon Lloyd was 2nd on this team with 74 receptions. But was 5th in Yards After the Catch (YAC). With only 180 YAC from 74 receptions, that works out to be an average of 2.43 yards after the catch per reception. That's abysmal. Especially for a so-called "outside the numbers" receiver. Lloyd fell to the ground quickly and skedaddled out of bounds at the first sign of trouble. He was soft.

As a team, the Patriots had over 2,000 total YAC. Lloyd's contribution to that was a measly 8.9%. Lloyd's 2.43 YAC per Reception was the worst among Patriots with 20+ catches. Danny Woodhead was the best in that category with 6.55, followed by Julian Edelman at 6.48, then Rob Gronkowski at 5.55, Wes Welker at 5.25, and Aaron Hernandez at 3.82. All but Hernandez doubled Lloyd's production after the catch.

Another stat demonstrates Lloyd's inconsistency and unreliability. All season long, he made absurdly difficult catches, but struggled with the easy ones. He was targeted 130 times (only Welker was targeted more at 174) and managed to catch the ball 74 times. That's 56.9%. And that's for a guy who spends most of his time on the outside, not in the clustered middle of the field. 56 times this season, Brady threw the ball in his direction and Lloyd didn't catch it.

Welker caught 67.8% of his targets, Gronkowski 70%, Hernandez 61%, Woodhead 73%, Edelman 66%. Whenever Lloyd was on the field, he was Brady's least reliable target.

Lloyd was inconsistent from play to play, and was also inconsistent from week to week. He only had four games with 80+ yards. And only eight games with 50+ yards.

Finally, Lloyd was not explosive at all. He had 10 catches of 20 yards or more. So 64 of his receptions were for 19 or less. In the NFL last season, 55 players had 10+ catches of 20+ yards, so his 10 aren't stunning (especially considering his 130 targets). Lloyd only had 2 catches of 30+ yards. He averaged 12.3 yards per catch, which was a career low.

He did catch 50 first downs, which was 2nd only behind Welker's 74. Then again, the Pats had 256 receiving first downs, so his contribution was less than a fifth. And the Patriots ran for 151 more first downs (407 total), so his contribution is more like an eighth (12.3%).

I'm not arguing that Lloyd is a problem and needs to go. He was kind of productive, in his own way. But, he was also soft, limited, not explosive, inconsistent, unreliable.

Replacing Lloyd's 74 catches and 911 receptions might prove difficult. But getting more meaningful production from someone else won't be hard at all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Want to Go to Sacred Heart Because of Bobby Valentine

When Sacred Heart announced that Bobby Valentine would be their new Athletic Director, I began thinking of a way to experience firsthand the calamity and chaos that will undoubtedly unfold in Fairfield. I'm tempted to go to SHU for grad school. I want to be down there to see Bobby V AD.

What does an AD do? One thing they do that Bobby should thrive at is being ridiculously friendly. At Boston College, for instance, Gene DeFillippo always had a smile, and new AD Brad Bates shakes everybody's hand. They're like politicians. They want you to feel as though you have a personal connection with them and with their Department.

Bobby V can smile and work a room. So on the surface, he can do the most apparent thing ADs do.

ADs also delegate. That's probably the most important thing they do, assign responsibility Sacred Heart currently employs 8 Associate Athletic Directors. Not to mention the staff that run operations for each team, equipment managers, facility directors, marketers, coaches, schedulers, conference liaisons, and so on.

Delegating is not something Valentine does well. He has to be in charge of everything. He has to be responsible for everything. He's scared to let anyone else do their job.

Maybe Valentine will be a figurehead, and he won't have to do anything but be a friendly guy, give a few speeches, schmooze a few donors, and let his staff do the hard work and make all the decisions. For Sacred Heart's sake, I hope so. But for the sake of my own sadistic curiosity, I want him to have real power. I want to see him giving tips to a basketball coach in the middle of a game. I want to see him change the tennis team's diet. I want to see him change the hockey team's weight-training regimen.

I want to be close to his office, listen to him ramble on the phone, pretending to know everything there is to know about field hockey.

I want him to write columns in the school newspaper, laced with paranoia, in defense of his decisions.

I want him to use the media to call out one of the cross country runners for not working hard enough.

I want to buy the baseball coach a drink because that poor bastard now has the worst job in sports: trying to manage a baseball team with Bobby Valentine as your superior/overseer/overlord. How long until Bobby V is spotted in the stands of an SHU baseball game, wearing sunglasses and fake mustache of course, giving his own signals to the players?

So I will consider applying to Sacred Heart's grad school programs, just to be right on top of the bomb as it repeatedly explodes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Patriots and Tom Brady Agree to Extension

The New England Patriots and Tom Brady agreed to a contract extension that would keep Brady in Foxborough until 2017, when he would be 40 years old. The additional 3 years are reported to be worth a total of $27 million. The restructured deal also creates $15 million in cap space for the Patriots the next 2 seasons.

Two things jump out at me after reading this.

#1: How Tom Brady, compared to Peyton Manning, doesn't seem to mind if he's the highest paid QB in the NFL or not. He's getting paid millions, but it doesn't become an ego thing with him like it does with his colleagues. He's confident enough that he doesn't need to be the highest paid, or be in the most commercials.

#2: There are rumors that the Patriots and Wes Welker are close to a long-term deal. That deal is rumored to be worth about $8 million per season. And that's close to how much cap space the Patriots created with this move. I know this is quite a conclusion to jump to. We're taking a fact, adding a rumor, and trying to produce a conclusion. However, the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together very well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Red Sox Deja Vu

I keep checking my calendar. This is February of 2013, right? Because it feels eerily similar to February of 2012. At least the Red Sox of 2013 seem to be acting like the 2012 team..

Jon Lester is whining again, about not getting enough credit, about high expectations. He's reciting his stats and his record, and making excuses. He's become very annoying and very unlikable. He seems to care more about perception than performance. Just pitch, please.

David Ortiz is still making excuses and is still injured. He blames Bobby Valentine for last year's struggles. And he's still hobbled by an injury that a younger man (or a man taking HGH) would have healed from long ago. Ortiz, like a number of his teammates, made excuses in September of 2011, all throughout 2012, and they're starting off 2013 the same way. 2012 was all Bobby V's fault.

There is no sense of responsibility on this team.

Clay Buchholz remains fragile. Buchholz has always been an IHC (if he can...) type of pitcher. If he can stay healthy. If he can get off to a good start to a season. If he can pitch consistently. And in this Spring Training, many are still saying "If he can" about him, and still being optimistic. I've gotten to the point where it's "can he?" with Mr. Buchholz. Can he stay healthy? Can he pitch in April like he can pitch in June? I just don't know.

But there's a new manager in town, so things are different, right? We have a tough, no-nonsense, disciplinarian manager now. And he'll set the players straight.

Didn't people think that during February of 2012? Wasn't Valentine supposed to set the clubhouse straight, get rid of the alcohol, and stop pampering the players?

I like John Farrell much more than Bobby Valentine. As a Manager, however, what has Farrell accomplished that we here have so much allegiance and admiration for him? He was a decent pitching coach, and kept Beckett in line. At least for awhile. Why does that make us think he can solve all the problems this team has?

Farrell has already had to draw on his disciplinary tools in dealing with Alfredo Aceves. The versatile reliever was disinterested in participating. We have yet to see if Farrell's chat with Aceves will yield anything. At least Farrell didn't pull a Bobby V and embarrass the player in front of the whole team... for not properly doing a drill he was never instructed how to do.

And there's Pedro Martinez too. He can instill some discipline into these young men.

So not everything is the same as 2012.

Unfortunately, most things are. We still have an ownership with split attention between Fenway and Anfield. We still have spinster Larry Lucchino running things in Boston. We still have a puppet GM. We still have excuse making players. We still have whiny pitchers. We still have more "ifs" than "whens."

There is a new manager in town, and new special assistants to the GM. But how much influence does a special assistant to the GM wield over million dollar babies like Jon Lester?

There are new players in town. Role players and clubhouse character guys.

Though what does it say about a team if the most likable and respectable players are the new ones? What does it say if the likable and respectable guys are the middle-tier and bench players?

It's early. Change takes time. Maybe the Sox will change in 2013. But up to February 20th of this year, more has stayed the same than changed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kate Upton Should Do Play-by-Play for the Bruins (So We Can Watch Her Jump Up and Down)*

Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has received some criticism for jumping up and down when the Bruins tied the Rangers Tuesday night. And I think that's a bit unfair. He was excited. And if I were at the game, I'd be jumping up and down too. What made Edwards look silly were the circumstances surrounding his jumping:

1. Men wearing suits look silly when they jump up and down.

2. Men wearing suits look extra silly jumping up and down when standing next to a man in a suit who isn't jumping.

3. Skinny old men with glasses look ridiculously uber-silly when jumping up and down standing next to a man in a suit who isn't jumping.

People like to criticize Jack Edwards, and use the word "caricature" to do it. And while Edwards's shtick goes well beyond normal broadcasting homerism, I think the people critiquing him should remember that he is an entertainer. He's not covering a Presidential Debate or doing play-by-play of a high speed chase. It's a hockey game. Edwards is the equivalent of a goofy weatherman. He tries to add a bit of fun. And if you're not entertained, that's your opinion. But don't get on a high horse about "broadcasting professionalism" or anything like that. He's not trying to be Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite. He's calling a hockey game.

And when you look back at the all-time most memorable sports broadcasters, who stands out? The subdued, dignified, by-the-book professionalists? Or the nutjobs? Who would you rather listen to, Joe Buck or Harry Carey? Do you want to go back in time and get Yogi Berra fired for being a caricature? Or go even further back and tell Red Barber to stop using southern catchphrases like "walking in the tall cotton" or "can of corn?"

Edwards gets carried away. Which is what being a fan is all about. His routine isn't for everyone, just like any entertainer's. But he does his research, he knows the game, knows the players, and to me seems just as professional as any other broadcaster I've heard.

I would still prefer Kate Upton bouncing up and down instead of him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bruins Have Another Epic Game Against the Rangers

A playoff matchup between the Bruins and Rangers might scare some, but it wouldn't bore anyone. These teams once again played an exciting, unpredictable, closely fought game. It's kind of a shame that they won't face each other for the rest of the regular season.

The difference in this game was goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist was frighteningly sharp. He is the reason the Rangers are such a potentially scary team to face in the playoffs. He has the potential to be what Jonathan Quick was last spring, and what Tim Thomas was in 2011.

On the other side of the ice was Tuukka Rask. Rask has been brilliant this season, but last night he was a bit of a sieve. He could have stopped 2 of New York's 3 goals. And certainly their 3rd one should have been stopped.

So Lundqvist was excellent, Rask was not his best. Even still, the Bruins managed to fight back and salvage a point. And that's why we love them. Their fire, their tenacity. They don't give up, they don't make excuses. Are you paying attention, Red Sox? There are two teams in Boston playing right now that do not quit, and that's why their fans love them even after they lose.

This game wasn't just about goaltending. The Bruins made some mistakes, the Rangers capitalized on them. Give some blame to guys like Milan Lucic, but also give credit to Derek Stepan and Anton Stralman for their unassisted goals.

In a potential playoff series with the Rangers, the Bruins can't afford such mistakes. Nor can they afford an inept Power Play, or a goalie that lets in bonus goals. But the playoffs are many weeks away. It's still February, the Bruins are still 8-1-2.

The Bruins are starting a 5 game road-trip and won't be home again until the 28th. They're in Buffalo Friday night.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Monday, February 11, 2013

BC Wastes Opportunity to Upset Duke

Duke had been forced to fly into Boston that morning. They were without Ryan Kelly, who averages 13.4 points per game and is a 52% three-point shooter this season. BC would be pumped to play their biggest game of the year. Duke would be playing yet another inferior opponent, the last place team in the ACC. There were all the ingredients for a possible upset.

Duke did their part for the Cinderella story. They turned the ball over (13 turnovers, and BC had 11 steals), committed stupid fouls, made mistakes on defense.

BC, however, were the ones that didn't fulfill their end of the bargain. Duke was begging to be beat, and the Eagles didn't take advantage. They had a 2 point lead and the ball with 1:27 left. They were tied 61-61 with 30 seconds left, when a visibly nervous Joe Rahon lofted a three-point attempt that bounced off the top of the backboard. They were down 62-61 with 7 seconds left when their best player, Olivier Hanlan, missed a jumpshot.

A win against Duke would have salvaged BC's season. It would have given a team of underclassmen massive amounts of confidence in the future. They would remember beating the #4 team in the country, and would feel capable of beating anyone.

A win against Duke and BC would have received top-billing nationally and locally. It would have attracted more students and alumni to basketball games. It would have been a recruiting tool. It would have given job security to head coach Steve Donahue. It would have been a memorable moment for a program that's been forgettable for years.

As I've come to expect from BC Athletics (excluding hockey), BC choked. Opportunity presented itself, and BC bungled the gift. Fate spread her legs for BC, and the Eagles prematurely ejaculated. They have the talent, they have the opportunities, they just don't have The Clutch: that intangible quality that allows a player to perform at his best at the most important moment of his life.

It's too bad.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Jon Lester Kicks Off Red Sox Whining Season

What was your date in the Red Sox Whining Pool? Which player did you pick to be the first to complain about something this season? If you had February 9th and Jon Lester, you win the jackpot.

"What next level is there? That's the thing that frustrates me. People don't consider me an ace or don't consider me a front-line starter. Well, when there are two other pitchers in all of baseball who (won at least 15 games four straight seasons), what am I? That's my argument to it. What extra level is there to it? Am I supposed to win 25 games every year? It's not possible."

That's Jon Lester in a Rob Bradford column from Saturday.

Even with the departure of Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine, there is still so much to not like about this team's attitude. Lester is complaining about how he's perceived and the lofty expectations people have of him.

Guess what, Jon, this year you're not expected to win 25 games. We expect you to win more games than you lose, win more than 10 games, have an ERA below 4.00, a WHIP below 1.300, allow 20 HRs or less, and allow less than 100 earned runs. These are things you failed to do last year, but used to do every year. I don't think these goals are asking too much.

Last year, perhaps your preseason griping was legitimate. You were a solid, consistent #2 pitcher, and some expected you to be more than that. Maybe that was unfair, maybe it was just optimism. Nobody disliked you for being a perennial 15 win, 3.40 ERA pitcher. Nobody booed you, criticized you, or felt like you weren't trying 100%. They were hopeful to see more because they liked you and thought you could do it.

This year, oming off a 9-14 and 4.82 ERA season, is not the time to moan about people expecting too much from you.

Aces don't whine, Jon. Aces don't recite their stats to prove they're Aces. They don't keep track of how many other pitchers had four straight 15+ win seasons and then brag about it (especially after a 9 win season). They just pitch.

And that's all I want you to do. Stop pumping your own tires, shut up, and pitch to your capability.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Why the Bruins Shouldn't Play Tonight

As much as I'd like to spend my post-shoveling Saturday evening with a Sam Adams and a Bruins game on TV, I do not think the Bruins should play their game tonight (there are days when they, the Lightning, and The Garden are all available to make this up). And here's why...

The City of Boston needs all the Police, Fire Fighters, and Paramedics it has out on the streets, not doing a detail at a hockey game. With the poor road conditions, response times are much lower than usual, which means it's vital that more First Responders are deployed in neighborhoods. There's also going to be a rash of heart-attacks as people shovel, and the possibility of criminals taking advantage of the situation to loot. Diverting any City resources to a hockey game that doesn't have to be played is silly.

There's still a travel ban. And the T isn't running. So how would fans get there? You'd be playing in front of a mostly empty house. The only people there would be those who live near the Garden, along with a collection of drunken fools who would only be rambunctious and cause trouble during the game.

It's unfair to ask arena employees to get to the Garden in this crap. And it's unsafe to run an even without sufficient security staff. As well as the afore-mentioned Police.

An alternative would be to play the game but not open the Garden to the public. Then you would't need Police and EMS details. You would't need ticket-takers and ushers. Just a skeleton crew of access point security, media, and personnel from the two teams.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Tim Thomas's Contract Sent to Long Island

The Bruins have traded Tim Thomas to the Islanders. So instead of not playing in Boston, Tim Thomas will not be playing in Uniondale. The Bruins received a conditional 2nd round pick in either 2014 or 2015. What pick the Bruins get will depend on if Thomas plays for the Islanders this season.

So the Bruins no longer have to bear Tim Thomas's $5 million cap hit. And the Islanders were able to reach the minimum salary cap number without paying a player. That's a nice little loophole the Islanders found.

And maybe finally, Bruins fans can stop being melodramatic about what Thomas did, since he no longer has an impact on the salary cap. The word from Thomas's agent is that things are still "status quo" for the now former Bruins goalie. At the moment, he seems just as uninterested in playing for the Islanders as he was to play for the Bruins.

The Bruins no longer have to carry the burden of his cap hit. So it's time to get over it, people.

And if you want to accuse Thomas of being selfish, and not putting his team first, the Bruins were very honest with him that they were looking to move him to another team. So is Thomas disloyal to Boston and the Bruins because he didn't want to stick around and be traded away from Boston and the Bruins? He should have been loyal to the team that didn't want him?

Of all the selfish things athletes sometimes do, deciding to take a year off, and forfeit $3 million in salary to do it, does not seem to be high on the scale. I have yet to hear or read a coherent argument that what Thomas did is especially selfish and deserves as much crap as some Bruins fans enjoy heaping onto him.

The level of criticism he's been the subject of has greatly outweighed what he did.

And if you think Thomas wasn't a good teammate, remember this?

And for the surly and sour people out there who still dislike Thomas, please don't wear any Bruins Stanley Cup hats or t-shirts. You wouldn't have those without Thomas.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How Do You Say "Tuukka" in French?

The Bruins continue to roll, improving to 7-1-1 on the season. This is a really strange feeling because of the Lockout. It's February 7th and we've only seen the Bruins lose 1 game in regulation. That's just weird.

Tuukka Rask has been the biggest reason. He only faced 21 shots last night, but some of them were very tough to stop. He's been outstanding this year. His style looks completely different from the 2009-10 season, when he'd collapse into the net. He's challenging shooters now, cutting down the angle, making himself as big as possible. And he can read the game very well, especially for a 25 year old.

The offense hasn't been overflowing. The power play is still painfully inept.

Tyler Seguin has a scorer's instincts, though. He improves any line he is on. I liked how Claude Julien shuffled up the lines, putting Seguin with Krejci and Lucic. Those line shuffles helped win the game.

It seems like we're much deeper into the season than we actually are. There are 39 games left to play. Under normal circumstances I might try to restrain myself from being too positive.

Fuck that, though. We waited months for hockey and now our team is on top of the Eastern Conference. This is fun and I'm going to enjoy it.

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Please Like/Follow Boston Urban Sports... Pretty Please

My name is Rob and I run Boston Blood Sox. I'm also the Sports Editor of a nonprofit community newspaper called Boston Urban News. Recently I've started a site dedicated to the Sports section of this paper. I call it Boston Urban Sports. We focus on sports played by people from the city of Boston, mainly high school sports in the Boston City League. We'll also be covering youth and adult sports in the City.

Right now we're in the heart of basketball season and there are two Boston Public Schools in the state rankings for boys' basketball (Brighton is #11 and New Mission is #14), and many more girls' and boys' teams that will be eligible for State Tournaments. These are kids that take 2 hour bus rides, practice late, maintain their grades, and love the game. We'll be covering the City Championships and then their runs through State Tournaments.

Along with the site, I've started a Twitter feed and a Facebook page. The Facebook page has much more extensive photo galleries of the events/stories/people we cover.

As I try to get this new site started, it would mean a great deal to me to build up a following. So please follow the Twitter feed, and like the Facebook page, and feel very free to share them.


Remembering Why We Hate the Montreal Canadiens

The Bruins, after a lengthy break that felt like a mini-Lockout, are back in action tonight, playing the hated Habs in Montreal's Bell Centre. It's been a long time since these two rivals met, so I thought we could all remind ourselves why we hate the Montreal Canadiens.

#1 Their Fans
It's hard to find a whinier, more entitled fanbase in the Western Hemisphere. They called the police after Zdeno Chara checked Max Pacioretty. They moan when one of their players dives and a penalty isn't called. Their biggest criticism of former head coach Randy Cunneyworth was that he couldn't speak French, not that the team was 18-23-9 during his tenure. The Quebec Culture Minister got involved in that situation, and groups called for a boycott of Molson products until a French-speaking replacement was hired. Remember, the players can all speak English, Cunneyworth just couldn't do press conferences en Fran├žais.

Oh, and they sometimes boo The Star Spangled Banner.

#2 How They Play the Game
They play a different type of hockey in Montreal. It's more like European soccer. Players collapse at the slightest touch, hoping to draw a penalty. It's disgusting.

Now all teams have a player who has occasionally embellished a trip or a slash in order to get a Power Play for his team. What's different in Montreal is how blatantly they go about it.

Diving is a part of the hockey culture in Montreal. And while they're criticized for it, the NHL rarely does anything about it.

#3 P.K. Subban
He's a talented player. But there's so much not to like about this guy. He's one of the worst and most obvious floppers on the team. You see him play the game with such strength, then he acts like he's being helplessly thrown around.

This next play sums up Subban nicely. He goes from tough guy to turtle in 0.3 seconds.

There aren't many players on this team that are worthy of respect. They're not all diving diva douches like Subban. And Milan Lucic's old pal Michael Komisarek has moved on to Toronto. But looking at their roster and the only players I have any measurable respect for are Brian Gionta and Carey Price.

I hate the players, the coach, the team, the fans, the city, the Province.

I can't wait for tonight.

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Ravens Win

I found myself confused at the end of this game. Initially, I wanted the 49ers won win, because I didn't want Ray Lewis or Joe Flacco to achieve any further glory. But then, as the 49ers played the first half from a Foxhole, I lost all respect for them. So I was forced to choose between a team I didn't like, and a team I didn't respect.

The Ravens won, and they deserved it. It's remarkable how one brother could be so much more aggressive than the other. Sigmund Freud would have a field day.

One thing the Ravens had on offense that the Patriots didn't was a strong receiver. Rob Gronkowski was out. And the Patriots' WR corps was small and not as physical as Baltimore's DBs. Meanwhile, Baltimore's receivers outmatched the Patriots' safeties.

Imagine what would happen if Anquan Boldin were on the Patriots roster. How much would Brady rely on him? How many receptions, how many TDs would he haul in? The Patriots could really use a large WR that can win battles in difficult situations.

Baltimore deserved this. As much as we can mock Ray Lewis for consuming deer antler velvet like some drunken and lonely Mainer, just about everyone in the NFL is on PEDs. So let he who supports a team without sin cast the first stone.

The Ravens played a game of football. The 49ers tried to play the Super Bowl. And in doing so they failed. The 49ers were conservative, tight, nervous, locked-up, not aggressive. They dug their foxholes from kickoff to the final whistle. And that's why they lost. The Ravens played football, and played it well.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Marcio Sanchez

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl Drinking Game

It's finally here. The biggest game of the year. And here's a drinking game you can play while trying to explain pass interference to all the non-football fans in the room, and trying to sort through all the squares you have in your degenerate gambler pools. So drink up and enjoy the game.

Anytime you hear the words...
"Harbaugh" = 1 drink from a beer
"Brothers" = 1 drink
"Harbowl" = 1 drink
"Big Easy" = 1 shot of bourbon
"180 countries" = 1 drink
"Ray Lewis" = 1 sip of beer (any more than a sip and you'd probably die of alcohol poisoning)
"Ray Lewis" and "murder" in the same sentence = 52 whole beers, because it won't happen
"Antler" = 1 drink
"Deer" = 1 drink
"Controversy" = 1 drink
"Retire" = 1 drink
"Miami" = 1 drink (lots of players from the U in this game)
"Playmaker" or anything about how exciting Colin Kaepernick is = drink for 7 seconds
"Chris Culliver" = 1 drink
"Apology" = 1 drink
"Media day" = 1 drink
"Art Modell" = 1 drink
"Baltimore Colts" = 1 drink
"Cleveland Browns" = 1 drink

Anytime this is on screen...
Roman numerals = 1 drink per numeral
Anything New Orleansy = 1 drink
A bllimp shot of a dome = 1 drink
Alex Smith on a bench = 1 drink
Alex Smith wearing a baseball hat = 1 drink
Jerry Rice's stats = 1 drink
Joe Montana = drink for 16 seconds
Steve Young = drink for 8 seconds
Brian Billick = 1 drink
Ray Lewis screaming = 1 drink
Ray Lewis crying = 1 drink
Ray Lewis praying = 1 drink
A Bible verse = drink for as many seconds as the chapter (so John 3:16 would be 3 seconds)
A promo for what's on after the Super Bowl = 1 drink
Roger Goodell = 1 drink
Jonathan Vilma = 1 drink
Goodell and Vilma hugging = drink a quart of tequila, because it won't happen

Anytime this happens...
It's mentioned that the 49ers let the Ravens use their practice facility = 1 drink
Colin Kaepernick runs for a 1st down = 1 drink
Kaepernick kisses his arms = 1 drink
A Raven leads with their helmet = 1 drink
Bernard Pollard injures someone = 1 drink
Bernard Pollard injures a Patriot = 1 drink (it could happen)
Beyonce does that authoratitive walk with her hips = 1 drink
You actually watch the halftime because of Beyonce = 1 whole beer per song
You pretend to accidentally change the channel to Puppy Bowl = 1 drink
Boring car commercial = 1 drink
Commercial that tries really hard to be funny but isn't at all = 1 drink
You hold in a piss = 1 drink per play (or commercial) that you hold it in
You temporarily root against the team you actually want to win so you can win a square = 1 drink

Friday, February 01, 2013

Yuengling Wing Sauce

I was introduced to Yuengling (pronounced Ying-ling, if you didn't know) when I went to college in upstate New York. It's a remarkable beer. It's delicious, but not so heavy that you can't enjoy a generous amount on a Friday evening.

We can't get Yuengling in Massachusetts. I'm not sure why, exactly. I've been told it has something to do with imprinting letters on the bottles. I've also been told that Massachusetts doesn't allow beer to be sold unless it's distributed by a Massachusetts based distributor. And Yuengling wants to distribute on their own. Whatever the reason, I'm sure we have some stupid regulations that prohibit the the beer from flowing.

It sucks. And now this lack of Yuengling sucks even more. They've come out with a line of sauces.

BBQ and wing sauces, just in time for the Super Bowl. Good God. It's torturous to look at this. I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I want wings, some BBQ pork, and a dozen Yuenglings...

It's only a 3 hour drive to New York...

Vanek Attack

The Bruins need to sign Thomas Vanek, or bribe some Western Conference team into signing him, because he absolutely kills the B's. He had 3 goals, 2 assists, and was +4.

As good as Vanek was, the difference in this game was the goaltending. Ryan Miller made some absurd saves in the 3rd period that kept the Bruins stuck at 4 goals. On the other side of the ice, Tuukka Rask wasn't responsible for most of Buffalo's scoring. But on Buffalo's 4th goal, scored by Alexander Sulzer, Rask's glove was just a little bit heavy. You're seeing teams attacking him high glove-side, and it's because he's somewhat slow.

To be clear, I'm not blaming the loss on Rask, I'm just saying the goaltending was a major factor in the outcome of this game. Ryan Miller was great, Rask let up a goal that was possibly due to a weakness of his.

Speaking of weaknesses, the Bruins were 0 for 4 on their power play. They didn't get much going.

Buffalo was skating like it was a playoff game, the Bruins were playing like it was the 7th game of the regular season. Buffalo had lost 4 straight, they were playing a team that's given them trouble in the past, they were motivated. This was Game #7 of the regular season for the Bruins, the Sabres played it like a Game 7.

The Bruins need to recover and regroup. The next two games are also within the division. They're in Toronto Saturday night then Montreal Wednesday night. And they have 2 more against Buffalo in the near future.

I love divisional games.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa