Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 153: Buchholz Makes Second Rehab Start, May Be Ready For 2014.

Just kidding with the 2014 thing. Sorry to scare you. But it really does seem like with the pace he's improving, he'll never make it back to the mound for the Red Sox this season. Clay Buchholz injured himself on June 8 when he experienced tightness in his neck and was diagnosed with neck strain. Now I've had neck strain and I understand it hurts, but it never incapacitated me for over two months!

It's a real shame the Red Sox haven't had Buchholz's arm in the rotation over the last two months. Who knows what the case would be right now had he continued on his torrid pace. How many of those losses would be wins? How many games in first would that equate to? When he went on the 1,200 day DL, he was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts.

So now he's on track to come back... exactly when is anyone's guess. The rehab has been slow to say the least. His first time out with the Lowell Spinners didn't exactly wow us. He faced seven batters, issued three walks, gave up a hit and needed a whopping 38 pitches to record just two outs. Yeesh.

He seems to be improving though. Friday night in Pawtucket, he threw 53 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, allowed seven hits and one run. He didn't walk a batter and he struck out two. A much improved outing overall and he topped out at 94mph, so that's promising.

But this is what really makes me laugh... Buchholz went out on the DL right around the same time the Bruins were making their Stanley Cup run. Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his leg a few days before Clay tweaked his neck. Broke his leg and still continued to play for nearly a minute. Broke his leg and still skated and defended and made a difference. Now there's a rumor going around that Campbell might make his return to the ice before Buchholz makes his return to the mound.

Imagine if baseball players had the mental and physical toughness of a hockey player... there might be no such thing as a DL.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 152: Patriots Release Some Guys... And Other Stuff.

Oh my gawd, you starts in like nine days and I'm so excited!! Mostly I'm excited because football season means summer is over and fall is here and I hate summer. And there will also be those Sundays in September when the Patriots and the Red Sox are on at the same time and you can lay on the couch and flip back and forth between the two. Heaven, I tell you.

Much has been going on over the past week with the team. It's that crunch time when guys get cut — guys you thought might have a chance and poof, they're gone. It's time when they're trying to work out those last few kinks. And most importantly, figuring out the best team to put on the field that will earn them the win.

Last night, the Patriots played their final preseason game against the NY Giants and won 28-20 on the back on Tim Tebow who had two touchdown passes. This gives them a final record of 3-1 and puts them in good position for the regular season... at least I hope. So Tebow? Two touchdown passes? Does this solidify his spot on the team? The suspense is killing me.

Tom Brady didn't play last night which made me happy. Every time he steps on the field, I immediately think someone is going to rip both his legs off his body and beat him about the head with them. That scares me. And then... now this is really mean... there was some rumor floating around the interwebs that Brady was in a car accident the other night and broke both his legs. Really, really mean.

The Patriots released 10 players today including veterans Jake Ballard, Marcus Benard, Daniel Fells, Johnathan Haggerty and Mike Rivera. I'm confused as to why a team whose two regular tight ends are currently unable to play — you know, because one's in jail and all — would release two tight ends. The Pats must have their roster down to 53 by tomorrow at 6pm.

Little side note: Robert Kraft has a new buddy. Tiger Woods was on the Patriots sideline during the game before it started. He'll be playing in the Deutsche Bank Championship started today at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. I wonder if they're going to go on a double date?

Oh and guess what? Aaron Hernandez is still in jail. Because he's a murdering dumbass.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 151: Drew Blesoe Back on the Football Field

Former New England Patriot quarterback, Drew Bledsoe is back in football. The 41-year-old has recently accepted the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coaching job at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon where Bledsoe and his family live. He's following in the footsteps of his dad who coached for 35 years.

Most of the kids he's coaching weren't even born during the height of Bledsoe's career. If you do the math, even the seniors were still babies when he led the Patriots to their second Super Bowl appearance in 1996. And none of them was around when he was drafted #1 in 1993. Drew Bledsoe played 14 years in the NFL with New England, Buffalo and Dallas and who knows where he may have ended up had he not been lambasted by Mo Lewis in 2001.

After retiring seven years ago, Bledsoe has had quite the non-football career. He's started a winery, a private investment firm, a specialty coffee roasting company and the Drew Bledsoe Foundation. And he was inducted in the the Patriots Hall of Fame. Not bad for a guy who was always just an average quarterback.

It appears Bledsoe has his hands full this season. The Summit Storm was outscored by almost 200 points and finished last season with a 2-7 record. Good news is that they're returning 12 starters and their senior quarterback. It will be interesting to see if he turns this team around.

Good luck, Coach Bledsoe!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 150: Victorino Comes Up Big in Red Sox Victory

The Red Sox did it up nice and special Tuesday night at Fenway Park for the Jimmy Fund patients and their families. I heard someone say they lost this same night last year—figures. But not the 2013 Red Sox. No way. This group of guys would've sold their souls to the devil to win for this crowd. That strong bond with the Jimmy Fund fueled the Sox bats and powered the team to 13 runs on 14 hits and a decisive 13-2 victory over the Orioles.

The top third of the lineup—Ellsbury, Victorino and Pedroia—each had three hits, with Pedey getting his batting average back up over .300 after experiencing a bit of a post big contract signing slump. But the real super hero was Shane Victorino, who basically beat the Orioles all by himself. He went 3-for-3 with seven RBI, two home runs and four runs scored. The seven runs batted in was a career high for the 32-year-old Flyin' Hawaiian. He also walked once and was hit by a pitch, after which he tossed the ball back to the pitcher. Gotta love this guy!

When the Red Sox signed Shane Victorino over the off-season for what some thought was a ridiculous three-year, $39 million contract, there was a lot of head shaking. He's got a great glove but has never been known for doing anything too spectacular offensively. But he's a great guy. And that was desperately needed if the Sox were ever going to shake off that negative stink left on them after Bobby Valentine's departure and their failure to make the post season the past two seasons.

The best thing about this Red Sox team? They look happy. They look like they're enjoying their jobs. They look like they're enjoying each other. And they're so much fun to watch. I'm having way more fun watching the likes of Victorino and Gomes and Napoli than I ever would if the Sox had signed a prima donna pansy like Josh Hamilton. It's nice to have a team that lacks whiners.

So we may have been skeptical in the early stages as Ben Cherington diligently constructed this team, but now we know. Every thing is done for a reason... everyone is here to play a role.

Also, is there a Locks of Love for facial hair? If so, this team would be a goldmine.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 149: Red Sox and The Jimmy Fund: 60 Years Strong

Tonight's one of those nights when you're watching the Sox game on TV, you really wish you were there. The weather is perfect for a ball game, the Red Sox bats are lively and it's a night when Jimmy Fund patients are celebrated at Fenway Park. Kids get the star treatment. Ask young Declan Cassidy, a four-year-old diagnosed with large optic tract glioma after he lost his vision, who has the special honor of saying the two most important words at the ballpark, "Play Ball!"

Today marks the 12th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon—a 36 hour event that has become one of the Jimmy Fund's biggest fundraisers. In 2012, this event raised $3.4 million and, of course, they're hoping for more this year. This emotional two-day event teams the folks from NESN, WEEI and the Red Sox as they take to Fenway Park and the phones to raise funds for research. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Jimmy Fund and Red Sox relationship.

When I turned on the television this morning and I saw that the radio-telethon had started, I nearly turned it off. The stories told by the survivors and their families, as well as the families who have lost someone to cancer reduce me to a sobbing mess before I even leave the house for work. I'm not sure how these on-air folks hold it together—especially when young patients at the Jimmy Fund that have been on their shows for years have since lost their battles. If you listened to any of this today, you know to keep your tissues handy.

If you're interested in donating, there are many ways—call 877-738-1234, visit or visit A with most events like this, every little bit counts and as of the writing of this post, the current total for this year stands at just over $900,000. I only wish I could give more...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 148: Red Sox Take Two From Dodgers, I Call That Success!

On June 22nd, the Los Angeles Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place and dead last in the National League West. On August 26th, their story is a little different. That same team—the hottest team in baseball—now has a commanding 9.5 game league in the NL West after going 46-12 since June 22. And this past weekend, another hot team headed to the City of Angels to face some old teammates.

The Red Sox came into the weekend series in a tiny August slump, but had just taken two of three from the SF Giants so they were on a little bit of a roll. Unfortunately for the Sox, the fiery Dodgers continued on their tear and prevailed Friday night in a pitchers' duel decided by a single two-run home run by former Red Sox prospect, Hanley Ramirez. The Sox bats were held to just two singles and John Lackey took yet another tough loss.

On Saturday, things turned around and Jon Lester earned his 12th win behind a four-run first inning—all the runs the Sox would need. Lester pitched 7.1 innings, giving up just one run while striking out six. And it appears that Mike Napoli's bat is starting to come around, going 3-for-4 in the effort. Jonny Gomes hit a three run home run in the first to put the game away. And let's not discuss the horrific base running blunder by Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the attention kids, don't let this happen to you. Luckily, it had no effect on the game's outcome.

But the gem of the weekend happened on the first anniversary of the historic trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers on August 25, 2012. It was a ballsy trade, but one that turned the financial future of Boston around and allowed them to make deals in the off-season to better the attitude and atmosphere in the team's clubhouse. The nine-player deal saw $200 million in salaries change hands. The Red Sox unloaded the ridiculously enormous contracts of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, as well as the ridiculously enormous head of Josh Beckett. Good riddance, I said.

So what better way to celebrate such a significant day in Red Sox history, than with a convincing win over their old friends. Jake Peavy pitched his best game to date in a Sox uniform—a complete game, three hitter. He allowed just one run and struck out five. On the other side of the ball, the Sox pounded out eight runs on 12 hits, including round-trippers from Saltalamacchia, Victorino and Napoli. Not a bad way to finish off the short west coast swing.

The Red Sox returned home to an off day today, and then play the Orioles, White Sox and Tigers at friendly Fenway. With just 30 games left of the 2013 season, I can honestly say I never imagined this team would be in first place. But I'll take it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 147: First Base Coach Hands Out Ball... and Advice

You may not know Rene Lachemann, but he has been a part of major league baseball for a really long time. Nearly 50 years, actually. He managed a few teams — the Seattle Mariners, the Milwaukee Brewers and he was the very first manager of the Florida Marlins. So it's safe to say Mr. Lachemann has a lot of advice to dole out to those of all ages — not just about baseball, but life too.

Lachemann is currently the first base coach for the Colorado Rockies and he has become famous for handing out souvenir baseballs to fans both at home and on the road. But that souvenir doesn't come totally free. The specially chosen young recipient, must sit through a lecture where Lachemann offers some life advice. Sometimes these lectures are lengthy and always entertaining.

Last week, during a game against the Phillies, Comcast Sports happened to be close enough to one of these encounters to get it all on video... take a look, some of this is seriously good advice!

"When you go to the bathroom, lift the toilet seat up. Don't be peeing on the toilet seat." Those are some profound words of wisdom right there, folks.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 146: Ichiro Part of the 4,000 Club? I Call Foul!

This past Wednesday, New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki reached a milestone in his career. He became only the third major league player to amass 4,000 hits over his career. He joins an elite yet very small group which includes just Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. After hearing all the fuss regarding his achievement, I called bullshit.

Pete Rose finished his major league career with 4,256 hits. He is #1. There's no chance in hell that anyone will ever match or beat his mark. Sounds like a Hall of Fame career, right? Well, we all know what happened in 1989 when Pete was banned from baseball for gambling on the game as a player and a manager—it's unlikely he will ever see his name in Cooperstown.

Ty Cobb finished his career with 4,189 hits. Not far behind Rose, but comfortably ensconced in second place. Despite being a total asshole, Cobb is in the Hall of Fame and holds somewhere in the vicinity of 90 records in baseball—many still stand today which is amazing since he retired in 1928. Cobb had a lifetime .366 batting average and 12 batting titles—a feat no one has come close to duplicating.

Ichiro, who will always be a Seattle Mariner in my mind, has been in the major leagues for 13 seasons and has managed to produce 2,723 hits. Whoa... wait a minute! That seems to be a lot less than 4,000? Oh so here's the kicker... Ichiro hit his first 1,200+ while in Japan. Ok, great... he has 4,000 hits in his career, but how can we celebrate him when he hasn't even reached the 3,000 hit mark in MLB.

I'm not saying Ichiro isn't a great hitter because he is. For most of his career with the Mariners, he was just plain scary at the plate. He led the AL seven times in total hits. He's definitely pulled together a Hall of Fame career, there's no doubt about it. Even his play in the field is outstanding and he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves to prove it. And I don't know him personally, but he seems to be a pretty nice guy (even if he is a Yankee now.)

Just please don't keep trying to include him in a group where he doesn't belong. He still has a long way to go to truly reach the 4,000 hit club. Both Rose and Cobb played 24 seasons. I'm not sure Ichiro will last that long.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 145: Nothing Like a Little Motivational Speech to Start the Weekend

Remember Herb Brooks? The late coach of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team was a master of motivation. This was a team that, on paper, had no chance of winning a gold medal. But miraculously, they did. A group of unknown college players upset a heavily favored USSR team and then Finland to become a Miracle on Ice. It could've only been the great speech that encouraged such unwavering perseverance.
"Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it."
This week, a couple more entertaining speeches surfaced. One sports-related, one not so much.

A friend's son just started his freshman year at Georgia Tech and last Sunday was the Freshman Convocation with a GT sophomore giving the welcome speech. This kid has a future in public and motivational speaking in his future. I feel like now I can build the Iron Man suit... click here to be inspired! Over 2 million others already have.

And then there was Tom Brady's speech to the Michigan football team — his alma mater — a couple hours before he took the field for a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. I'm sure he would like to soon forget the abysmal performance of his team in the 40-9 loss, but I bet not one of those players sitting in that room will soon forget the words Brady spoke to them.

I don't know about you, but after all these enthusiastic soliloquies, I feel like I could go out and conquer the world!! Not a bad way to end the week. TGIF!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 144: Must Be Time for Another Edition of... Aaron Hernandez is a Dumbass.

Ahhh, the life of a free person... that's me. Sitting on my front porch with my two hounds laying by my side, drinking an ice cold silver bullet, snacking on some cheese curls. The only thing that could make it better was if the weather was just a tad cooler. These are things that former Patriots' tight end and current resident of the Bristol County House of Correction never gets to do and probably won't ever again.

The only good part about today for Aaron Hernandez's was his field trip away from his 8 foot by 12 foot cage to court. He should cherish these small moments away from the confines of his cell because more and more the signs are pointing to the fact he could spend rest of his life staring at those stark concrete walls with not much more than an hour a day of fresh air. His day went downhill quickly.

This afternoon, Hernandez was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his friend, 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. I chuckle while typing the word "friend." If this murderer treats his friends like this, imagine what he does to people he doesn't like. I guess all those safeties and corner backs who hit him just a little too hard after a catch should feel lucky they're also not riddled with bullet holes.

Who knows... this could just be the first of many indictments for Hernandez. There has been a lot of talk with regards to the two unsolved murders in Boston in 2012, especially after police seized an SUV rented in Hernandez's name that had been used in the killing. And let's not forget the one-eyed drug dealer he shot in the face last February in Florida. That poor, half blind man has filed a civil suit against him.

If all this shit shakes out, and the guilty verdicts start a rolling in, Mr. Hernandez is going to watch his daughter grow up through bars. He was quoted recently in a letter, "I miss my little girl terribly. My biggest fear of all is she won't know daddy." Well, daddy, maybe you should've thought about that before you pumped your "friend" full of bullets. Dumbass.

Now they just need to find that gun.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 143: David Letterman's Alex Rodriguez Top Ten

Major League Baseball suspended Ryan Dempster for five games for his plunking of Alex Rodriguez last Sunday. I might have enjoyed this plunking a little too much. So basically Dempster might miss one start... maybe get an extra day off that he probably needs because clearly he missed A-Roid on his first attempt to bean him.

Many around the league don't agree with the punishment. Many are saying that the meager suspension is basically declaring open season on cheaters. And since there's only one suspended cheater currently playing, it looks like A-Rod could see his fair share of "inside" pitches. I say plunk away! If Rodriguez wants to be a douchebag about, well, everything, I say now he needs take it like a man!

David Letterman even did a "Top Ten" list about the event.

And yes, every pitcher that bonks him with a pitch, should win a top shelf stuffed animal.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 142: Fenway Park Hosts a Special Game While Sox On West Coast

The Red Sox are currently on the road playing on a dreaded west coast swing—those games you barely see the first couple innings of before your eyelids slam shut. You cross your fingers as you check the scores the next morning, just hoping they notched a win in the wee hours of your morning. And last night they did win behind a gem of an outing from Jon Lester and they still hold that slim one game lead. Yay!

Last night, Fenway Park hosted a different kind of game. It was the kind of game where the players didn't earn paychecks that could buy a small country. A game where the fans were admitted to the park for free and asked only for a donation. This game was a game for heroes.

The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team made a stop in Boston to take on the Boston Marathon First Responders in a charity softball game to benefit the One Fund. According to, the WWAST is made up of both veterans and active duty soldiers who have lost limbs and was formed in 2011 when the University of Arizona received a congressional grant to finance a disabled-veteran sports camp. After the week-long camp ended, many of the attendees didn't want to stop and the WWAST was born. The team travels around the country playing against mostly police and fire departments. Pretty much kicking ass and taking names.

The Boston Marathon First Responders was pulled together shortly before the game and evidently learned quickly they were in over their heads. says:
The First Responders should've had a few practices beforehand, a theory they realized shortly after the game started. It wasn't that they didn't take their opponent seriously -- "To be on the same field as these guys is an honor itself," said Boston firefighter Phil Byrne, who was three blocks away from the first explosion April 15 -- they just never thought to organize a practice.
The WWAST is such a great role model for both adults and kids, with and without limbs. They display such persistence and determination. There are men who play nearly as well now as they did before their injuries. And they show the younger amputees that life doesn't end with the loss of a limb. General manager, David Van Sleet, an Army veteran, says they have a motto: "Life without limb is limitless. But more importantly, life goes on."

By the way, the First Responders got their butts kicked, 28-11.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 141: Yeesh... Not a Good Weekend for the Red Sox

The dog days of summer are amongst us... and I'm not talking weather either. If a baseball team can experience dog days, the Red Sox are doing just that this month. August has not been kind. Granted, 16 of their 28 games this month have been on the road but geez... get a hold of yourselves, men! We still have some baseball to play!

I'm going out on a limb and saying the last couple of weeks are going to constitute as a slump. At least in my mind it does. Yes, I know that the Sox have not lost more than three in a row at any given time this season, but right now, that's a lot of luck and strategically placed wins. They're 8-9 in August and have lost their last three series. Appears they need to figure out how to get some of that early season fire back in their bellies.

I especially can't handle the series loss to the Yankees over the weekend. Alex Rodriguez's presence on that team makes me so incredibly sick and pissed off, that now I just think the whole team is cheating. Who's to say he's still not on the juice? Who's to say he's not still finding some way to cheat during this appeal process? Because I think he's that arrogant. And from the actions of Ryan Dempster last night, it's obvious that he's sick of this shit too. I might have done the same exact thing.

Time and time again, it's been discussed on various sports shows and radio talk shows and wherever else folks are ranting about the Biogenesis deal. Being able to play during the appeal process is a bunch of bullshit. He is helping his team win games and that makes me very angry. Every time he opens his smug mouth in front of the press, I want to stuff a homeless person's socks in it.

I better quit now... I'm still feeling bitter and let down by the events of the past weekend at Fenway Park. I need to pull myself together and look to (hopefully) better performances going forward. Maybe Xander Bogaerts will be the spark that gets these guys through the rest of the season.

Positive thoughts... positive thoughts... positive thoughts.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 140: Girls Playing Football. Tackle Football.

Did you know that there was a US National Women's Tackle Football team? Dude, I didn't. Have I been living under a rock? How did I not know this? I feel shame... So I guess they're pretty good too. Actually, they kick ass.

I often wondered if I could've played tackle football and then I remembered I'm too much of a sissy. And I bruise easily. But maybe if I wasn't so soft and the thought of too much physical activity didn't make me dry heave, I think I would want to be a safety or a corner back. I kind of like the idea of lambasting unsuspecting receivers and making them call out for their mommies. I might not be tall, but I'm husky and I could turn myself into a bowling ball pretty damn fast. I might have missed my calling...

This US National Team is led by quarterback, Sami Grisafe. Sami was the first female to play high school varsity football in California back in 2001. And she went on to play for the Chicago Force in the IWFL in 2007. To sit here and list all her accomplishments would take a month of Sundays so let's just sum it up it a few words... she is awesome. As a member of Team USA at the 2010 IFAF Women's World Championship, in three games she threw for 309 yards and six touchdowns to help win the gold medal in the inaugural tournament. Her passer rating was 262.53. Take that, Tom Brady!

Grisafe is considered by some to be the best female quarterback on the planet and showed us just that during the 2013 Women's Worlds. Team USA went on to pummel Team Canada by a score of 64-0. Grisafe was named tournament MVP with a three game total of 626 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and she even rushed for a touchdown. Throughout her career, Sami has had a lifetime passer rating of 131.3—better than any NFL quarterback. Take that, Peyton Manning!

But what's even better is that Sami Grisafe is also an amazing singer. She actually sang the National Anthem before her own championship game at the World Championships. And played the ukelele. She friggin' rocked that Star Spangled Banner.

Check it out!

Want to learn more about Sami Grisafe? Check out her website! She's my hero.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 139: The Anatomy of a Baseball

What is it about a baseball that makes it so nice to hold? The feel of the leather? The raised stitches that provide just a little something to grip on to? Or maybe it's the size—how it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand? And it's a size that never changes from Little League to the Major Leagues. It's also aesthetically pleasing with it's bright red stitches and stark white covering—the most attractive ball in my opinion.

When I first got my own car, I tried to come up with a really cool baseball reference to put on my license plate. I came up with 108SIAB but I never actually used it. I'm not sure many people would get it and I know how frustrated I get when I can't decipher a vanity plate, so I opted not to do it. If you haven't figured it out yet, that would be 108 Stitches in a Baseball.

Since the early days of the sport, the baseball has been pretty much unchanged. The ball contains a rubber or cork center wrapped in yarn (up to one mile in length) and covered in leather. Major League standards call for a ball that is 9" to 9 1/4" in circumference or 2 7/8 to 3" in diameter and weigh 5 to 5 1/4 ounces. There are 108 double stitches on a baseball and the height of the seams can affect pitches.

As with any type of ball, materials also affect its performance. The tighter a ball is wound, the faster and farther it will fly. With today's advances in the production of baseballs, balls these days appear to be "juiced"—unlike the baseballs back in the early 1900's or the dead-ball era.

In the major leagues, the lifespan of a baseball is short, on average it lasts somewhere in the vicinity of 6-7 pitches. Often times the ball is just batted or tossed out of play—a foul ball, a home run or a fielder lobbing the final out to someone in the stands. Other times it's at the request of the pitcher. The ball gets cut or scuffed so it gets discarded to use for batting practice.

There's no better sound than that of a baseball cracking off of a wooden bat. Or the thwump of a 96 mph fastball hitting the catcher's mitt. Baseballs are my favorite.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 138: How Important is Chemistry in Sports?

When I say "chemistry in sports," I'm not talking about PEDs or blood spinning or special kinds of polycarbonate plastics used in equipment. I'm talking about the relationship between the players on a team and how it contributes to that team's success.

A lot has been said this season about the Red Sox having chemistry. Some waive it off as trivial, while others see it as the most significant reason as to why the team is having success this year. There's a big difference when the members of a team actually like each other. Then they actually want to win not only for themselves, but for the rest of the lineup. Over the past couple of years, it seemed like the Sox sought after big names for big contracts and those big names were mainly interested in their big paycheck.

I believe chemistry makes a huge impact. Why else would the Sox front office go out and overpay for guys like Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes and Ryan Dempster? None of these players has had real superstar seasons, but they're all considered great clubhouse guys and that seems to be really working. And none of them is having the best season, even this year, but they've come through in the clutch when needed, and, more importantly, have helped to greatly improve morale.

The same holds true in professional football. We have seen time and time again the "star" players that have come into the Patriots' system and failed. Some say it's because the New England playbook is extremely difficult to learn and often times too complicated for players who are used to having teams cater to their strengths. (I'm looking at you, Ochocinco!) That may be the case, but don't you think it also has a wee bit to do with chemistry?

Within the Patriots' system, it's vital that new players are capable of connecting with Tom Brady if they want to be successful. This is key. Remember Randy Moss in the 2007 season? He came into New England under significant scrutiny. Could he stop thinking about himself long enough to adopt the Patriot Way? Apparently, he could and he ended up leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns during the Patriots' 16-0 season. In 2011, the Patriot Way had the complete opposite effect on Ochocinco who could never seem to get on the same page as Brady and had his worst season ever.

So how important is chemistry in sports? Call me crazy, but I say it's crucial.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 137: Is Manny Done Being Manny?

Manny Ramirez just won't give up. He has been desperately trying to hang on to his baseball career like a stubborn dingleberry. His last season in the Majors was 2011 when he played in just five games with the Tampa Bay Rays before suddenly retiring after going just 1-for-17 to open the season. He had tested positive for PEDs in the spring and opted to retire rather than serve the 100 game suspension.

It's too bad Ramirez couldn't (or wouldn't) just go out on a high note. Despite his weirdness and on-field antics, the Dominican-born slugger had a pretty awesome career. I'm not going to lie, there were a few years I really enjoyed watching Manny. I enjoyed him up until the point when he turned all selfish and peculiar and would feign injury to get himself a few days off during a pennant race.

If the dark cloud of two positive drug tests didn't hang over his head, you could say Cooperstown would be in his future. Manny is a 12-time All-Star and a two-time World Series winner, but he never won the MVP and won just one batting title in 2002. Looking back through his career, I'm surprised he lead the league in average just once—he always appeared to be such a consistent hitter.

Over his 19 year career, he has 555 career home runs which places him 14th all time, but again, he only lead the league once in homers in 2004. That year, Manny and David Ortiz became the first teammates to hit 40 homers, have 100 RBI, and bat .300 since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig did it in 1931 with the Evil Empire. That memorable 2004 season was capped off with a World Series MVP when the Sox won their first title since 1918.

But the last few years have been nothing short of forgettable for the dread-headed whacko. Before signing with the Texas Rangers in July, Manny had been playing in Taiwan where he batted .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 49 games. He also dressed up like the Incredible Hulk, which is just so bizarre. The Rangers signed him to a minor-league contract but released him after just 30 games in AAA where he was batting just .259.

So maybe it's time now, Manny. Time to relax... time to stop being Manny. At 41, it's about time to just hang up the cleats, kick back on your couch and watch videos of yourself in the peak of your career. Maybe hang out with your kids. You had a good run, but now it's time to go away.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 136: *GASP!* Tom Brady Leaves Practice with Apparent Leg Injury

As a New England Patriots fan, hearing "Tom Brady" and "leg injury" in the same sentence will send shivers down your spine. These are words that give fans horrifying flashbacks of the 2008 season when, after coming just one agonizing game shy of a perfect 2007 season, Tom Brady goes down with a torn ACL in the first game of the year. I'm not sure there has been a sports injury in my lifetime that deflated me like that one did. Tom Brady is the heart and soul of this team.

So imagine my shock when I read that Brady left practice today after suffering some sort of leg injury while throwing a pass. I almost started crying. I realize I shouldn't jump to conclusions—that I should wait patiently for an "official report," but holyshitholyshitHOLYSHIIIIT!

Several reports indicate that all 319 pounds of Nate Solder were pushed into Brady by a Tampa defensive end and he crumbled to the ground holding his left leg. It's not clear what part of his leg was injured—but he limped off the field, and while he did return for a few more plays, he soon left with the trainer and never returned.

Dan Roche of CBS Boston tweeted: Appears Brady has a knee sprain - expected to be ok - will be looked at again later tonight #wbz  I hope you're right, Dan. reported just a short time ago that an MRI was performed on Brady's left knee and the results were negative. He's listed as day-to-day. I'll take that... it could be a lot worse... like seriously apocalyptic.

I'm placing most of the blame for this injury on the D&C Show on WEEI for jinxing the Pats with this whole leg injury topic. They spent a considerable amount of time this morning talking about the rash of pre-season ACL injuries that are sidelining players for the year. They also spend a considerable amount of time talking as if Tom Brady were indestructible. There's been so much speculation on some of the other injury-prone players on this team and whether or not they can stay on the field for a full 16-game season, but why, all of the sudden, is Brady bulletproof?

I'm still just a wee bit scared... someone please hold me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 135: What Would Tebow Do?

The New England Patriots played their first pre-season game last Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles and the puppy killer. (Sorry... I'll never be able to let that go.) We all had our doubts about the Pats this season after the loss of three key Tom Brady targets, so it was nice to see them beat Philly 31-22. And yes, I know it's just pre-season and yes, I know that what happens before September 8th doesn't mean jack, but it's nice to have some success right out of the gate.

Tom Brady looked good. He played just the first two drives of the game, but both resulted in touchdowns. Brady probably could've sat on the sideline for the first one—all it took was a 62-yard run and a 1-yard touchdown run, both by Stevan Ridley. On the second drive, Brady went 7-of-8 for 65 yards capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Shane Vereen.

Ryan Mallett came in to replace Brady for the remainder of the first half... until he suffered a head injury and was forced to leave the game. He went 9-of-18 for 97 yards, but missed a wide open scoring chance and was inconsistent with his passing. But he still wasn't as bad as Tim Tebow.

The question throughout the pre-season has been, "What the hell are the Patriots going to do with Tim Tebow?" My answer is... who the hell knows! He obviously is nothing more than a third-string quarterback, if you can even call him that. Tebow came into the game at the end of the first half and played the rest of the game. He finished 4-of-12 for 55 yards and he rushed four times for 31 yards. Yeesh!

It's obvious to everyone that Tebow is a shitty passer. The Patriots' backfield in the second half was littered with backs because he just can't hit the receivers. Bill Belichick even referred to Tebow as a running quarterback and it appears he had a whole different game plan for the former Gator. Tebow is not a drop-back-and-pass type of QB like Brady. He doesn't see the field well. He does his best work when he's on the run and at 6-3, 245 pounds, he's difficult to tackle.

How does a guy who had a 66% completion rate in college get to be such a train wreck in the NFL? When you see him play now, you start to question the people who vote for the Heisman winners. If anything, they guy seems to work hard and will at least learn a thing or two from Brady and Belichick. But what the heck is he going to do?

At least he's polite and probably won't murder anyone.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 134: Dumbass Update: So Where's that Gun, Aaron Hernandez?

It's been a couple weeks since I've gotten to write about various happenings with the Aaron Hernandez case, so I figured it was time for a Dumbass Update. The authorities are still searching for the murder weapon and have recently turned up empty-handed. Maybe Hernandez isn't that much of a dumbass afterall. Sure, he's not smart enough to stay off his own video surveillance system, but he sure does know how to hide a gun.

They spent the better part of a week scouring a lake in Bristol, CT not far from Hernandez's uncle's house—and from what I heard, it was not the most pleasant of lakes. The dive team is expected to return to the area do search another body (most likely disgusting) of water next week. I wonder if those divers are allowed to wrap themselves in plastic so they don't have to touch gross things?

But in the past couple of days, a very interesting tidbit of information has come to light. The investigators now think that Hernandez may have given the gun to his girlfriend so she could dispose of it. The Bristol Press reported Hernandez may have instructed Shayanna Jenkins to take the gun out of his home. Evidently, there's surveillance video footage of her carrying a lock box or safe out of the house and putting it into her sister's car. Supposedly, she needed the car to go to the bank, but when she came back, the box was no longer with her.

Hmmmm... very interesting. Especially since his cohort, Carlos Ortiz, told police that Hernandez put the murder weapon in a box and hid it in his basement. So why all the mucking around in the lake looking for guns if the damn thing is right in his basement? Didn't the investigators look there?

If the girlfriend did dump the murder weapon, the police should put a tail on her. I know if it were me, I'd totally do something to implicate myself... tell a friend, look all shifty-eyed and nervous, sweat profusely... maybe that's why I'm not brought in to help with weapon disposal. Maybe she's an expert. Or maybe she's just stupid for getting her fool self involved, and now runs the risk of going to jail herself for obstruction or aiding or whatever it is idiots do for the criminals they love.

This case is starting to get a little boring. If it were a television show, I'd have stopped watching a long time ago. Maybe OJ can bust Hernandez out of jail and take him on a white Bronco ride across New England.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 133: Should I Be Worried? I'm Kinda Worried...

I mentioned in last night's post that Kansas City hasn't been too kind to the Red Sox this weekend and today was more of the same treatment. The Red Sox ended up on the losing end of another close one this afternoon to the Royals. The Royals? Yup... KC is currently 7.5 games behind Detroit in the AL Central, but they've gone 16-4 over their last 20 games. Not too shabby for a team I never took seriously before now.

So now I'm a little worried. I don't know why... it's not like the Sox haven't lost three in a four-game series before. They haven't had the best road trip, they sit at 3-4 and they still have three games with the Blue Jays coming up this week before they head back home. I'd like to think the Jays won't be a problem, but then I thought the Astros and Royals wouldn't be a problem and look where that got me.

Today was another tough loss for John Lackey who just can't seem to catch a break lately. He gave up four earned runs and the Sox fell one frustrating run short in the loss. That makes five straight starts where Lackey has either taken the L or a no decision and he hasn't won a game since July 12th. I think I may have jinxed him...

Maybe I'm just a little gun shy after the last two seasons. Maybe memories of 2011 are sneaking back into my head—memories I fought hard to forget. Memories of a 7-20 September marred by stories of fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse that caused unrest amongst teammates. And memories of an epic collapse where the Red Sox lost out on a trip to the playoffs on the final day of the season. And then to go from that disaster to the Bobby Valentine catastrophe in 2012... like I said... gun shy.

But I shouldn't be so distressed. This 2013 team has shown it's resilient and fearless over and over. So they had a couple of bad games—I bet they're not terribly worried. Even if the Rays win tonight, there's still a two-game cushion.

I'm still worried. Call it the pre-2004 Red Sox fan in me. I need to snap out of it. A sweep of the Blue Jays this week would do just that! *hint hint*

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 132: Red Sox Finally Beat Royals, Will Middlebrooks Makes Splash in Return

Kansas City has not been kind to the Red Sox the past couple of nights. Thursday night, the Sox could muster just one measly run against undefeated Royals' pitcher, Bruce Chen and Jon Lester got roughed up a bit in the first so they couldn't quite climb out of the hole. Chen scattered seven hits and allowed just one run. Hasn't this Chen guy been around forever? How is he still kicking ass like this?

And then came Friday... Friday was one of those games where things just fell apart completely in the later innings. After taking a 6-3 lead into the 6th inning, they gave up six runs in the bottom of that inning and ended up losing 9-6. They sort of got a taste of their own medicine since they've been doing this same thing to teams all season. One good thing came out of the loss though — Mike Napoli broke out of his slump to go 2-for-3 with three RBI. Trying to be a "glass half full" girl tonight.

Saturday's game marks the return of Will Middlebrooks with the recent trip to the DL for Brandon Snyder. Middlebrooks, who showed so much promise when he came up in 2012, really sucked big time coming out of the gate this season. Like really bad. When he was sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket in June, he was batting just .192. He continued to struggle a bit in Triple-A but has stepped it up a bit over the past couple of weeks and was rewarded with a call-up.

Middlebrooks, eager to prove he belongs in Boston, erupted for a 2-for-4 night with two runs scored and two RBI in the Red Sox 5-3 win over the Royals. Jacoby Ellsbury gets the gold star for the night though, going 4-for-5 with two RBI. And Brandon Workman got his third win of the season after taking over for Felix Doubront in the fifth.

There was a little bit of controversy in the calling up of Middlebrooks over superstar in the making, Xander Bogaerts, but John Farrell had a valid reason for keeping Bogaerts in Triple-A.
“Based on the recommendations of the people who have gone through (Pawtucket) lately as well as talking to DiSar, it was very clear in his mind that Will was the choice," Farrell said. "And that’s not to take anything away from Xander’s abilities. He’s swinging the bat well but it’s more on the defensive side, the finer points of the game. Right now he continues to need his reps."
The Red Sox have a chance to split the four-game series with the Royals tomorrow afternoon behind John Lackey who, despite his 7-9 record, has pitched very well lately. He has been a victim of low run support several times, including his last time out against the Astros when he gave up just two runs and lost.

Lucky for the Sox, the Rays have fallen on a bit of bad luck and have lost their last four. So Boston currently has a three game lead in the AL East! Yay!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 131: Remember Matt Kemp's Friend, Joshua Jones?

Earlier this season, Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp made a new friend. A 19-year-old Dodgers fan had made his way to San Francisco back in early May for a game. At that point in the season, the Dodgers were in last place and Kemp was locked in a slump. But when he found out there was a terminally ill fan in attendance, he put aside his frustrations and after the game, went to meet the wheelchair-bound teen.

Joshua Jones was battling brain cancer at the time, but he still loved baseball. And Matt Kemp was his favorite player. When Matt finally made his way over to Jones, he did more than just autograph his baseball. He basically left almost his entire uniform in Joshua's lap and left that kid with a huge smile on his face. After the game, Joshua posted this picture on Instagram and the caption said it all: "Matt Kemp gave me his uniform! Thanks Matt, I will never forget that moment!!!"

A few weeks later, Matt Kemp invited Joshua and his family down to Los Angeles for a Dodgers game and an incredible on-field experience that just added to his list of unforgettable moments. He not only got to hang out with his new friend, Kemp, but also got to meet several other players from both the Dodgers and LA Angels.

Unfortunately, there's a sad update to this story. Both Joshua's aunt and his best friend have confirmed that he passed away this past Tuesday night after his health had declined significantly over the past few weeks. His aunt said the times he spent with Matt Kemp and the Dodgers really made a difference for him and she told Yahoo! Sports that "He had hope again!"

Matt Kemp was saddened by the boy's death, but said he was happy to have spent time with him. While Kemp couldn't do anything to make Joshua's brain cancer go away, he did what he could—he was a friend to a boy who needed some hope to hold onto.

"He did have an impact on my life, and I'm sure on a lot of other people's lives, especially when the story went around YouTube," Kemp told ESPN. "I'm just glad I got to meet him and do what I did for him. I'm glad he got to come on the field and meet all the players and see a Dodger game. It was very exciting for me to do that for him, and I'm glad I could before he passed."

So sad...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 130: Wes Welker Left Because Bill Belichick was Mean... Really?

Let me preface this post by saying I've had a LOT of wine tonight. I place complete blame on two friends... you know who you are... that forced me to drink on a school night. So if this post makes no sense or is riddled with typos, it's not my fault.

Yes, this is a picture of a cream puff.
So I've gathered over the past 24 hours that Wes Welker is pretty much a sissy. I know we're all sad he's gone. We're all sad he's now going to be catching passes from Peyton Manning instead of Tom Brady. It's pretty depressing. There's no one tougher than Wes. And not many that can take a hit coming over the middle and get up and walk off the field like he does.

But now... I have a whole new outlook on Welker. A whole new outlook on the toughness... or lack there of. His physical toughness is second to none. He's the most resilient wide receiver I've seen, probably ever. But mentally... well, that's a different story. Mentally, he's a giant wuss. WUSS!

Welker is now a member of the Denver Broncos. It was a surprise to most Patriots fans after Tom Brady restructured his contract to, what most thought, free up the money to keep Wuss Wes. But then he ended up leaving and at first we figured it was because the Broncos offered him more money. That's part of the reason. But there's more to it than we originally thought.

Evidently, Wuss Wes Welker has revealed to that the reason he wanted leave the Patriots is because Bill Belichick was mean to him. Oh, poor baby... He was mean to you?! Really? Hike it up, you pansy. Do you think that we care that Belichick was mean? It builds character, man!! When were you more successful than when you were with the Patriots? Dumbass.

And now, even with Welker now with in Denver, he still worries what Belichick will think of what he says to the media. It's like Stockholm Syndrome or something...
“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” Welker says. “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”
Get over it, dude. My guess is that it all started after the famous "foot" press conference in response to Jets' coach Rex Ryan's admitted fetish. All you had to do was keep your mouth shut. It was that simple.

I'm going to miss Wuss Wes Welker's physical toughness... but I can definitely do without his thin skin.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 129: Why is 69 Significant?

69: The number of wins the Red Sox currently have this season on August 7th — 115 games into the season. It also is the most wins of any American League team and ties Atlanta for most wins in the majors.

Pretty good, right? Let's flash back to the 2012 season. Sorry... it has to be done.

69: The number of wins the Red Sox had after all 162 games last season under the seriously flawed guidance of one Robert John Valentine. If you don't feel like doing the math, this means they lost 93 games. That really sucks.

69: The number of times a Red Sox fan felt any inkling of happiness in 2012 and even those 69 times weren't that happy.

69: The number of times I cursed Larry Luchino for thinking it was a good idea to hire a nutbag to helm an already listing ship.

69: The number of incredibly asinine things Valentine said in just his first week alone managing the team.

69: The number of bad words I thought during every painstaking loss. I probably said at least half of them.

69: The number of times Bobby Valentine deserved to be flogged for just showing up at the ballpark every day and making everyone miserable.

69: The number of times I thought about throat punching every player on the field during my trip to Fenway last August. It wasn't pretty. I hated almost everyone and their piss poor attitudes.

69: The number of back flips I wish I could've performed after The Big Trade. Kudos to you, Ben Cherington, for unloading one big pile of dead weight.

69: The number of pennies I thought Valentine earned for his work with the team last year.

69: The number of nanoseconds I missed Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford collectively.

69: The number of times I strongly considered turning in my fan card and hopping on the Yankees bandwagon. (Nah, just kidding. About the Yankees part, not the fan card part.)

It was a rough year...

69: The number x 100 of happy moments I've experienced this season and August has only just begun! Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but how can you not love this team?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 128: Sometimes Words Just Don't Tell the Story...

The Make-A-Wish Foundation might be the best thing invented since sliced bread. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions—wishes that are believed to change the lives of the kids served. And every single wish will tug at your heart strings and make you reach for the nearest box of tissues.

And this wish is no different...

For me, it's the wishes granted by professional sports teams that I love the most. It's a group of grown, and often times burly men, treating an ill child like "one of the guys." Making this kid feel, if just for one amazing day, like he or she is the center of the universe and the most important person in the room.

It was no different for 8-year-old Jack Bolton. Jack, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and is confined to a wheelchair, wished to coach the Carolina Panthers for his day. But the Panthers took it to a level I don't think even young Jack was prepared for. From the short mock job interview, to the contract signing, to him being announced to the whole team as their honorary coach for the day... every part was a dream come true for Coach Bolton. And he even had a speech prepared for the team.

This kid is basically all kinds of awesome, and tissues are definitely required for this video...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 127: Drum Roll Please: And the Cheaters Are...

Major League Baseball handed down 12 suspensions this afternoon. They took their own sweet time too—waiting for the offenders to be announced was sort of like waiting for the revelation of the list of perverts on the Kennebunk Zumba list.

Each of the 12 delinquents have been given 50 game suspensions effective immediately. This will allow players to return to their teams should they make the post season. Stupid, if you ask me. Who cares? And why should they be permitted to take part in any portion of this season? They cheated. I realize it's standard procedure for first offenders (if you're not Alex Rodriguez), but, in my opinion, a 50 game suspension doesn't provide enough of a deterrent to keep guys from doing it again.

If MLB wants to prove they're trying to clean up the game, they should strongly consider taking the same action that the International Olympic Committee does. If an athlete tests positive, the first time they're banned from competition for two years. The second time, they're banned for life. I'm pretty sure the possibility of a lifetime ban will clean up baseball quite a bit.

Pete Rose was banned for life for betting on baseball 25 years ago. Have you heard of anyone since then betting on baseball? And gambling doesn't help you heal faster, hit the ball farther or throw the ball harder.

The following 12 players have all agreed to accept their 50 game suspension:
• Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
• Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres (dude should be suspended just for his name alone)
• Fautino De Los Santos, San Diego Padres
• Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers
• Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies
• Francisco Cervelli, NY Yankees (on DL)
• Jordany Valdepsin, NY Mets (minors)
• Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners (minors)
• Cesar Puello, NY Mets (minors)
• Sergio Escalona, Houston Astros (minors)
• Fernando Martinez, NY Yankees (minors)
• Jordan Norberto, Free-agent
A bit later this afternoon, MLB confirmed what we heard yesterday regarding Alex Rodriguez—although he's getting a short grace period, effective Thursday, A-Rod will be suspended for 211 games that will take him through the end of the 2014 season. This will be the longest non-gambling suspension for MLB to date.

Rodriguez refuses to go down without a fight—he plans to appeal the suspension. The New York Post had it right: Just Go. Shut your stupid cheating, lying pie hole, accept your punishment and serve your 211 games like a man.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 126: It's Almost Like A-Rod Thinks He Won't Be Suspended

I've come to the conclusion that Alex Rodriguez might be the most oblivious, egocentric imbecile in the game of baseball. It appears that he believes nothing is going to happen to him... that he did nothing wrong... He actually thinks he's the victim here. Not the millions of fans (not me) or colleagues who thought they were watching something special when he came into the league. But now we learn that he's basically a big cheater... but he's the victim.

Two words: Douche Bag.

So Rodriguez has gone about his business and played with the AA Trenton Thunder on Saturday in a rehab start and is expected to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in Chicago. And Joe Girardi says if he's there, he'll play him regardless of what is going on with the investigation.

According to ESPN, A-Rod is expected to be suspended through the end of the 2014 season for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. Suspensions are supposed to be handed out on Monday and he's just one of many on the list of at least 10 players going buh-bye. When news of this punishment came out, Rodriguez vowed to fight the charges. Then MLB started talking about a lifetime ban and A-Rod wanted to negotiate to a lesser sentence. Shocker.

Chances are, when the suspension is handed down on Monday, he'll appeal and most likely will be able to play and collect his egregious salary to boot. This will be the first time a first time offender is suspended for more than 50 games. But with the evidence against him and the idea that he's actually a PED pusher, trying to get colleagues to go to this "wellness center" makes it that much worse. Supposedly MLB has pages and pages of evidence against the cheater.

As much as I would love to see Rodriguez banned for life, I don't want to be that easy for the Yankees to get out from under what's left of his nearly $100 million still owed on his contract. They were stupid enough to make an absurd deal like that, they shouldn't get off that easy. If A-Rod is, in fact, suspended through the 2014 season, the Yankees will save just under $40 million.

ESPN does a way better job of explaining all the details than I ever could, so watch this video. It really makes Rodriguez come off as even more of a jackass.

FYI... if A-Rod gets away with this, baseball is dead to me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 125: Happy Birthday, Tom Brady!

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. turns 36 today. With every passing birthday, fans get closer and closer to a world where Tom Brady is no longer under center for their beloved Patriots. This makes me very sad. But Brady says he wants to play into his 40s and his newest contract ensures he'll be in New England at least until he's 40.

I first met Tom Brady in 2001... no, not personally, but on my television. I'm pretty sure I had never even heard his name before Drew Bledsoe was the victim of a violent Mo Lewis hit in the third game of the season. Brady, a 6th round draft pick (#199) out of the University of Michigan had just been selected the previous year and now he was being tossed into the proverbial fire.

I'm sure I wasn't the only person who was a little nervous that Brady didn't have what it took—when would Bledsoe return? After a rough start, he went on to win 11 of the 14 games he started that season and did something only two Patriots' quarterbacks has done before—made it to the Super Bowl. But Brady took it a step further and did something no other New England QB could—he led the team to their first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history. Drew who?

I knew this was the start of something very special. He eventually led the Patriots to two more Super Bowl Championships in 2003 and 2004. Tom Brady has become some what of a legend in New England... here's a great tribute to #12.



Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 124: Magical Comeback Win in Boston

Did you go to bed before the ninth inning of the Red Sox game last night? Were you so disgusted with Ryan Dempster's uninspiring outing that you threw up your hands in disgust and headed to bed? I did stop watching after the grand slam that seemed to put the game out of reach at 7-1... but I came back just as the bottom of the ninth began. And I'm so glad I did.

The Sox pulled off their Major League-leading 11th walk-off win of the season. To make it even better, it was the second consecutive walk-off, both of which happened in the same day since Wednesday night's 15-inning marathon win didn't end until after midnight.

I have to say I haven't seen a ninth inning as riveting as Thursday night's comeback win since the Mother's Day Miracle in 2007. And I'm having a hard time deciding which was more exciting. Both were thrilling, bottom of the ninth, comeback wins... both overcame five run deficits... and maybe it's the collection of misfits that makes up the 2013 Red Sox, but I think I vote for last night as the more exciting of the two.

If you happened to miss the excitement, here's a brief rundown of what happened... hold on to your hat, it's pretty freakin' exciting. The score was 7-2 entering the final frame.

  • Daniel Nava opened the inning with a walk.
  • Ryan Lavarnway singled to center. Nava to 2nd.
  • Brock Holt doubled to left. Nava scored making it 7-3. Lavarnway to 3rd. 
  • Jacoby Ellsbury walked.

It was probably this point in the game where things sort of went south for the Mariners. Seattle's acting manager, Robby Thompson, signaled to the bullpen for the righty to face Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. But the home plate umpire saw Thompson tap his left arm first which meant he had to bring in the lefty. Not what he wanted to do...and they paid dearly for it.

  • Shane Victorino singled to right. Lavarnway scored (7-4). Holt scored (7-5). Ellsbury to 2nd.
  • Dustin Pedroia singled to left. Ellsbury scored (7-6). Victorino to 2nd.
  • David Ortiz limply struck out swinging. [Pitching change]
  • Jonny Gomes singled to center. Victorino scored to tie the game 7-7. Pedroia to 2nd.
  • Stephen Drew walked. (Bases loaded, one out... in case you're wondering.)
  • Daniel Nava (who got the whole thing started with a walk), singled to center driving home Pedroia with the winning run.

Sox win, 8-7. Craziness ensued at home plate and shirts were ripped off as usual. This morning on Dennis & Callahan, the boys were trying to come up with a slogan for the 2013 Red Sox — like Cowboy Up in 2003. Since this team doesn't seem to ever want to give up, my vote for their slogan comes from the Goonies... "Never say die."

Oh and right now, at 66-44, Boston not only once again holds the most wins in the majors, but they're just three wins shy of their win total for 2012. Crazy.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 123: Rest in Peace, George "The Boomer" Scott

Baseball lost an amazing glove man last weekend. On Sunday, July 28th, George "The Boomer" Scott passed away in his hometown of Greenville, MS at the age of 69. The eight-time Gold Glove winning first baseman played for 14 seasons with the Red Sox, Brewers, Royals and *cough* Yankees *cough*.

Boomer played for the Red Sox from 1966-1971 and was part of the "Impossible Dream" team in 1967 when he won his first Gold Glove. He returned to Boston in 1977 after spending five seasons in Milwaukee where he won five consecutive Gold Gloves. While I was too young to remember his first tour in Boston, I can recall his second stint (1977-1979) quite well. He anchored an infield patrolled by the likes of Butch Hobson, Rick Burleson and Jerry Remy, some of my favorites, the very first time I visited Fenway Park.

Scott was mostly known for his dependable glove, but the nickname was a result of his home runs. Although he never hit a ton in any one season, the homers he did hit were monsters. Over the course of his career, he did hit 271 home runs, including 154 with the Red Sox, and drove in just over 1,000 runs. In 2006, he was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

His former teammates had nothing but praise for the big man's prowess at first base.
“I’ve never to this day seen anyone play first base like that,” said former Red Sox second baseman Mike Andrews. “He was just like a big cat over there, and he saved me a lifetime full of errors.”  
“For a guy who was pretty big, he was incredibly agile, and we found out later he was an excellent basketball player in high school, and that’s what helped him get to so many ground balls,” said former Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg. “He probably had the softest hands of any big guy I’ve ever played with, with regards to ground balls. If it hit his hands, he could scoop it up. It was great to look back into the infield and see George Scott there playing behind you.”
He will always hold a special place in Red Sox history for me. It was the late 70's when I started really loving the Red Sox, understanding the game, and remembering the players and what they meant to me. Rest in peace, Boomer. Red Sox Nation will miss you.