Friday, March 6, 2009

Breaking News: John Henry's Wedding

Not really completely sports related, but I love when the Inside Track is wrong. They reported about a month ago that John Henry will be getting married to Linda Pizzuti on June 29th, 2009, I am sorry to report but that is actually incorrect. I have it from a reliable source who is actually invited to the wedding, that they will get marriend on June 27th, at Fenway Park with a tent being pitched in the outfield. Read more!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Cassell Trade Digested

So it has been almost a week since Vrabel and Cassell left for Kansas City. Now that it has set in, I am able to talk about with only marginal anger. Now, this anger is not about the trade or the compensation, its more towards all the people that think that the Patriots could have gotten a first, second and third next year just for Cassell. It is also towards the mouth breathers down at the bar who tried to tell me that the Patriots could have "easily" gotten a late first round pick for Mike Vrabel alone.

To anyone who thinks that, please stop watching sports, and never read this site again.

All in all, it was a great trade for everyone involved, and here's why:

Kansas City- KC gets a potential franchise quarterback with little to no mileage on him. Cassell also has 16 good to great games under his belt in the NFL which puts him lightyears (5.9 trillion miles) ahead of any quarterback coming out in the draft. They also get a bonafide captain for their young defense. This year they will have either rookies or second year players starting or playing prominent roles on their defensive line, linebacking corps, and secondary. They need someone to bouy those young guys. He will also bring a work ethic and maturity to that lockerroom.

Patriots- The Patriots got the third pick in the second round for a guy who was just going to be let go into free agency only 7 months ago. They also were able to move a guy whom the team had tremendous respect and indeed love for in Mike Vrabel. This is good for several reasons; the first one is fairly obvious in that they needed to free up some cap space pretty bad. He had a cap hit of around 4.5 million and was due a 1 million dollar roster bonus. Lots o' money there. Second he is 34 years old and in the last year of his deal. There was little chance he was going to re-sign with the Patriots anyway. There is talk that he was just going to be cut before the roster bonus was due. How anyone can claim to know what Bill and co. is thinking is beyond me. But, it makes sense. They did it to Lawyer Malloy, after all. So, instead of cutting a guy they owe a portion of their superbowls to they were able to trade him to a team where he will start, and will be valued. Its about respect. Finally, at some point the young guys need to play to get better. I would rather see Vrabel in Kansas City than have him ride the bench and watch Shawn Crable start.

Matt Cassell- He gets to go be a starter, which he deserves to be after last season. Moverover, its not Detroit, so he can't complain.

Mike Vrabel- He went from most likely being cut or at the very least see his role diminish, to being the most important defensive player on an up and coming team.

All in all, it worked for everyone involved. Personally, I love watching young players develop into stars. I am excited about all the first day picks. I am excited about Shawn Crable getting his shot to play. I am excited to see Tully Banta-Cain in a Pats uniform again. Anyone remember when he left his superbowl ring on a urinal in a mall in Providence?

Now, only if they would bring back Oscar Lua.....

-Ben Read more!


This week has just flown by for me, I have had more work than I can handle and each night has been filled with either working on a new web design for us, or working on my house. Luckily I think we are getting closer to a new web design, and I really hope that we will be making the transition soon. I digress however here are some of my thoughts from the week.

- Manny finally signed with the Dodgers. Good luck to them, they overpayed since they were really just bidding against themselves and maybe the Giants who we all know were not going to pay nearly as much since they already overpaid for Edgar Renteria, and Barry Zito. He might be great out there but he really belonged int he American League, with a team that needed a DH, he is not an everyday fielder anymore if every really was.

- TO got released by the Cowboys, I will admit that the thought ran through my head of a Moss, Welker, and TO combination with Brady back behind center. Do not worry though I quickly came to my senses. While it would be great on the field, Owens would ruinit in the locker room, he maybe the one personality that vaunted Patriots leadership would just not be able to squash although it would be fun to watch them shred teams on the field.

- The Bruins made a couple of moves yesterday, from what I have read they were mainly moves to add depth. Best part I had actually heard of one of the players. Mark Recchi was good once right?

- My wife won the right to buy Right Field table seats at Fenway, and we convinced her parents to go in on a table with us so I am really looking forward to it, I jsut hope my entire Saturday isn't spent in the Virtual waiting room.

That is what I have for now. Read more!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dirty Water TV...WTF?

Saturday night, a little after midnight I found myself flipping somewhat aimlessly around the channels. I was not looking for anything per se, I just wanted something somewhat enjoyable which I could watch for a half hour or so before going to bed.

With my DirecTV, I purchased the regional sports package which I thought would be a way to circumvent having to buy the MLB package and also give me the ability to watch Celtics games as both CSNNE and NESN come with it. Well, that plan failed as those channels come in 100% of the time except of course when regular season MLB, NBA, or NHL games are on. They want you to buy the all-inclusive Extra Innings or League Pass or whatever instead of just paying an extra $10 month.

Anyway, back to Saturday night a little after midnight and me flipping the channels.

In my travels, I headed over to NESN to see if maybe I could catch a little bit of a late Sports Desk or something like that. No luck. What was on however was something called "Dirty Water TV". I had no idea what to expect but decided to give it a try for this exact reason.

What I found was nothing less than a relevation. Granted I only watched for about five minutes, but I saw enough to see some of the most awesomely ridiculous Boston programming I have ever seen. The segment I saw consisted of a girl probably in her early twenties and definitely from Peabody or Revere interviewing people in bars. The girl's questions were not what got my attention however, it was the girl.

A description:

First off she had a ridiculously thick accent. I thought most TV shows wanted their on-air "talent" to at least be somewhat regional dialect neutral. No problem for Dirty Water TV. But man oh man, the accent was only the beginning. This girl, had a ludicrous fake tan, bleached blonde hair with visible brown roots, and carried herself in the interview like a college co-ed trying to get the BMOC to take her home for a romp in the sack. Oh, and I think she was chewing gum at the time too. In all honesty it looked more like a SNL skit than an actual "real" TV program. Maybe it was the Bud Lites in me that added to my amusement but I really don't think so.

So, would I suggest Dirty Water TV? Why not. It's certainly not good, but it is just bad enough to be entertaining albeit in probably short doses. Read more!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cassell/Vrabel Trade Analysis

...And now we learn that for Cassell and Vrabel came "only" a second round pick. Upon first glance that seems a little light. But think about it a second before you have cause to flip out.

1) You know that Belichek scoured the trade landscape and deemed that a) this was probably the best they could get and b) that he absolutely could not risk being "stuck" with Cassell after the draft and free agent period. The insurance plan is great, but for $30mil total at the QB position? Yikes.

2) The idea that they could move him in training camp once Brady proved to be okay is a little far-fetched seeing as it is very tough for any QB to just hop right into another team's system and seemlessly fit himself in. Look at what happened with Favre in New York last year. Favre never seemed totally at ease in that system and the coaching staff never seemed totally at ease with him. In this case it was in both parties best interest to make a deal sooner rather than later.

3) Even though a first round pick would have seemed worlds more exciting than a second round pick, the fact is that they have a VERY early second round pick now and the talent drop-off from somewhere in the late teens or 20's to 34 should not be massive. What makes this all the more appealing to Belichek I am sure is that he feels he can get what he perceives to be first round talent at the cost of a second rounder.

4) Speaking of that, do you realize that if they got the Chiefs first round pick, the cap hit and salary that they would need to take on with that draft pick would be pretty close to the cap hit they would take with Cassell? Last year, the third pick in the draft, Matt Ryan received a 6 year $72M contract with almost $35M gauaranteed. Figuring that that number would go up some this year, the difference in salaries would be almost a wash. Conversely, Devin Thomas, the 34th pick in the draft signed a 4 year, roughly $5M contract. Yes, Thomas has been a bust to date (a little used WR for the Redskins) but first off there is never a gaurantee with early first rounders either and secondly you can always find talent in the second round. Last year a few second round standouts included the Bears Matt Forte and Philly's Desean Jackson, both drafted in the 40's. All of this is a long way of saying that the Pats give themselves tons more financial freedom by gaining a second rounder instead of a high first.

5) With the motherload of first day picks the Pats have (currently 1 first, 3 seconds, and 1 and probably two thirds when the Asante compensation pick is awarded) isn't it possible that they need to keep a little extra cap room on hand to sign all these guys and a few more free agents? Don't you think there could be another free agent maneuver up their sleeve? I've heard the Julius Peppers rumors which I don't buy, but with the Cassell/Vrabel move they did clear about $19M from their cap. Hmmmmm.....

In conclusion, it may seem like kind of a weak haul to only get an early second rounder for Vrabel and Cassell, but in the end I truly think that this will work out for the best both with the pick they received in return and the financial flexibility which they have now granted themselves. Read more!

Now it makes sense

So everyone was trying to figure out why the Patriots traded Mike Vrabel. Well, we just found out. Several outlets are reporting that Matt Cassell has just been traded to the Chiefs as well. This is really new information, so noone knows what the Patriots got in return just yet. I would guess it has to be a first rounder for Cassell, and probably a third rounder for Vrabel.

Does this make sense? Yes it does. From the Chiefs standpoint, the got a veteran leader for their defense and they got a franchise quarterback that is far more of a sure thing than Sanchez which was really their only option in the draft.

For the Patriots, they did what they do, gather picks. They moved out a guy in Vrabel whom they were not going to sign next year and had a cap number in the 4 million range, and they got some value for him. With Cassell, well, they had to trade him, and hopefully we are looking at a first rounder. Two picks in the first round...the possibilities.

As for Cassell, he should just be thanking the god of skinny punks that he did not end up in Detroit.
Read more!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Vrabel Deal

Ironic how things work as on the same day a notorious malcontent who has never won anything in his life officially inks with one team, another team ships out a popular, team first guy who played a major part in three championships and a fourth near championship. As far as perception goes, you could not get more diametrically opposed than Stephon Marbury and Mike Vrabel. I hate to play the card, but it's almost like today was designed to give the old white guard of the mainstream Boston sports media a collective head explosion. How do you really expect the Dan Shaugnessey's of the world (and for the record I LIKE Shaugnessey's stuff unlike many) to grapple with the concept of bringing in a troubled and controversial black athlete, while a classy, beloved, and good white one gets sent away? I really wonder about this. I'm not calling anybody racist, but it will be interesting to monitor the reactions. Although to be fair, I think the combination of the recent "the goal is to win rings" dictums by all three major ownership groups in town and the successes of the Dillon and Moss experiences have calmed everybody from the "oh the humanity!" clamorings that came after the Moss trade. Now, we all kind of expect this stuff from all of our teams and assume it will work.

As for me, well I'm already on record as being pro-Starbury and even before knowing the return they get for Vrabel, I am going to hop on the pro-Vrabel trade bandwagon too. They NEED to get younger at linebacker and by jettisoning Vrabel they are forcing their own hands. Next stop is to convince Teddy Bruschi that maybe the corporate speaker circuit is his best bet and oh yeah, he always is a more than welcome presence around Foxboro. This isn't a dog on either Vrabel or Bruschi, two of my favorite Patriots of the Championship years. Bruschi's man-strip of Edge James in the 2005 AFC Championship Game is still one of the most badass plays I have EVER seen. And we all know about Vrabel's key contributions to the goalline offense in addition to the D. These are two great players that should be celebrated, but as fans who want to see the team best positioned to win Super Bowl #4 I think we all need to acknowledge it's best for both parties to just move on. Youth is what the D needs at this moment and this move certainly forces this issue.

Regarding the matter of compensation (right now it's an undisclosed draft choice) I think if they can get a first day pick (3rd I see as best case scenario) in exchange for him then super. Even a 4th would not be the end of the world. Plus they clear cap space, another bonus. Thing is though, I am one of the people who thinks that this trade is just step one in a multi-step deal which will land Cassell in KC. Seems like the skids are somehow getting greased here and if that is the case then I see this getting a whole lot more interesting. Read more!