Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year

So it has been awhile since I have posted, my normal mundane job has been jam packed with work the past few weeks, this along with me being ill I have not found the time to add my little bits of wisdom to R&B lately. Since it is Friday and I have cleared off my desk I thought I would get a post out now.

I was really hoping that I could find a famous athlete who was born on 2/29 to write about but after a little googling I was disappointed to find that there were none so instead I choose to list some of the mosre interesting famous people who were born on 2/29.

2/29/1980 - Taylor Twellman: everyone knows that he plays for the Buffalo Bills of the MLS the New England Revolution.

2/29/1976 - Ja Rule: He is listed as an actor and a rapper. I will not deny that he is a rapper but I don't think that appearing in such classics as Fast and the Furious, and Scary Movie 3 make you an actor. Although I am sure some of my rapper loving colleagues will disagree.

2/29/1972 - Pedro Zamora: You most likely would recognize him as Pedro from Real World San Francisco aka the season with Puck. Once in a book store I saw Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned by Judd one of his housemates I convinced my Fiance to buy it, she was surprised to open it and find out it was a comic book.

2/29/1916 - Dinah Shore: Best remembered for the line about her in the Adam Sandler Classic "The Chaunakah Song", "David Lee Roth lights the menorah. So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah"

That pretty much finishes up the list unless you could Pope Paul III(born 2/29/1468), I guess you should because he is most famous for opening the Council of Trent and for having an illegitimate child who went on to become a Duke.

That's enough of the Leap Year Stuff. I am happy to report that One week from today I will be traveling to Port Charlotte to visit my future in laws. While there I will be attending a Red Sox Spring Training game against the Mets, and hopefully another game or two since there are 8 Spring Training Sites within an hour of their house. I will of course be bringing my lap top and will have a full report and pictures for you our loyal readers. Read more!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Watch Out Matt, There's a New Cassell in Town

Gots to chime in on the 2 big late night developments.

1) Welcome to Boston Mr. Cassell! (Not you Matt, sorry. Go back to carrying Tom's luggage.) I'm going to spare any and all analysis and just say two quick things here.

First, I really hope that Doc plays Cassell in tandem with Rondo frequently. They possess different skill sets these days and I absolutely do not want to stunt the growth of Rondo who I have a complete man-crush on.

Second, I'd love to see if Doc has the balls to play Rondo at the 1, Cassell at the 2, Shuttlesworth and Pierce at the "forward" spots, and KG in the middle. Wouldn't that be interesting? Believe it or not they have diverse enough skill sets where that could actually work. You'd have Cassell and Allen who can both catch fire from the perimeter; Pierce who can attack the basket, finish and get to the line; and KG who can play down low when he feels like it, and is completely unselfish. You'd think you would give up some serious rebounding there but KG is a very good rebounder, Rondo is great for his size and ditto Pierce. Sure Allen and Cassell are worthless in that regard but they are going to be worthless no matter who the other three players on the floor are so why not get creative? I really want to see this lineup happen so hopefully Doc can throw me a bone the next time they are on national TV.

(Not to knock KG again, but I still wish he'd decide to play on the blocks more than once every six or seven games. Although I do rationalize this to myself by saying he is biding his time for the playoffs. Either way it is going to be tough to ride KG to a Championship if he tries to rely on deep jump shots and turnarounds through playoff rounds. Just the facts folks, don't jump down my throat.)

2) Welcome back Teddy Bruschi. Nice sentimental move, but to be honest I am absolutely terrified that the Pats will decide to go into next year without really youth-anizing (I just coined a new term that works really well in both regards, I have never been prouder!!) their linebacking core. The Pats would be looking at being repeat Super Bowl Champs for the second time this decade if their D could have come up with stops in the 2007 AFC Championship Game and the 2008 Super Bowl so I don't think I am mean or crazy in wishing that they'd investigate at least a slight youth movement. We all love Teddy Bruschi, but excuse me if this re-signing does not make me jump out of my seat. Was there ever any doubt to begin with? It was kind of like when Schilling re-signed with the Sox (even if there was doubt there). Yay for sentiments, blah for results, whatever. Sorry to be so cut-throat, but just telling it like it is.

That's it. Read more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bartolo Plus Ben Equals Best Friends

I stand corrected. There is no way to compare the Colon signing to the Big Papi dynasty that we are currently all enjoying. Neil is right. However, am I wrong in saying that this is the one signing this offseason that has the potential to make this team better? Sure Sean Casey was a great move, but he is a back up. Schilling is gone, and Lowell was a re-signing so that doesn't count. Essentially before Bartolo showed up, we had the same team as last year.

If Bartolo Colon can get his shit together, he could make the starting rotation much better. Sure most of the green hatted Sox fans think that Clay Buchholtz is the answer simply because he threw a no hitter, but lets be real with one another, can we? He is a rookie at best, and could certainly be served by tearing up Pawtucket and getting his confidence and control up. Sure he has potential like a mutha, and has a curve ball that makes me tingle in all the right ways, but he is still a work in progress. Bartolo is a recent Cy Young winner (2005) and has been a dominate pitcher for a long time. Sure he showed up at camp with an angels bag, and shops in the big and tall section, but showed up and impressed with his arm strength. Just before he arrived, they said that he was going to stay in Ft Myers once the Sox broke camp, and today they said he will pitch in a game as early as March 9th.

I know I am getting excited about little more than a hope, but thats the point of all this isn't it? I still think it was a great move by Theo, and could make us forget about Gagne, letting Kapler go to Japan, trading away and then for Mirabelli, and him letting Jon Lester get cancer.
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Faulk, Andrews, Marijuana and the city of Lowell: A Retrospective

As Neil pointed out, Kevin "I wear weird looking elbow pads" Faulk got busted at a Lil Wayne concert down in Louisiana. A few weeks ago, Patriots special teamer Willie Andrews got busted in Lowell MA with pot. First there is clearly a trend developing: people with money and time on their hands like to get high!! The DEA needs to get involved STAT. Second, the Patriots cannot even consider treating these in the same way. Here's why:

Faulk was on vacation, enjoying the offseason in his home state taking in the vocal stylings of the one and only Lil' Wayne. (I won't get into the fact that Lil' Wayne looks like he has fetal alcohol syndrome here, but research it and get back to me with your thoughts.) Kevin had a tough season and an even rougher end of the season and just wanted to get lifted (does anyone actually use that word anymore?) He had already taken the time to roll the pot into some blunts.

Willie Andrews got busted late at night IN LOWELL, with a bag of pot. As a previous post pointed out, Lowell is an "interesting" city. What Willie, you couldn't head to a friends house, or stay at a Holiday Inn Express? Instead, you drove around like a 17 year old and got busted. Why, because the police know that anyone out late at night in lowell is up to no good...that is unless you are delivering delicious Columbus Bakery bread, the staple of life.

Faulk was hanging out with his buddies not bothering anyone and had the decency to roll it up into a blunt. Andrews was IN LOWELL with a bag. Bob Kraft should just tell Faulk to smarten up, and he should kick Andrews square in the nuts for being an ass.

Lauranzano OUT!!
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Kevin Faulk: Still OK In My Book

So you probably heard by now that Kevin Faulk got busted for pot at a Lil Wayne concert in New Orleans. What is the RBB take? Well, the way I see it is that the story would be if he did not have pot at a Lil Wayne concert. Think about it, if Russ Hochstein and Nick Kaczur decided to check out Ozzfest together and get picked up for public intoxication you would not be shocked right? In fact, you'd probably even be a little proud? Well guess what, I feel the same about Kevin Faulk.

First off, Lil Wayne is awesome. At the risk of sounding whiter than Brian Scalabrine listening to Jack Johnson while wearing some Gravis apparel and talking about skiing, I really like Lil Wayne as a rapper. More importantly though, I really like Lil Wayne as a person. Honestly, anybody that can inspire one of my all time heroes, Chopper AKA Young City from the classic, and I mean CLASSIC MTV Series "Making the Band 2" featuring the D-A-B-A-N-Deeeeee is a hall of famer in my book.

Two More Thoughts Here:

1) If this does not boost Kevin Faulk jersey sales, I don't know what will.

2) This is why Kevin Faulk is better than Willie Andrews. Willie Andrews gets busted for pot in Lowell doing god knows what. Kevin Faulk gets busted for pot at a Lil Wayne concert. 'nuff said.

3) If Kevin Faulk needs to answer to anybody on the Patriots, I think he needs to answer to Oscar Lua.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Colon but more Importantly, more OSCAR LUA

I agree with Ben and his sentiments regarding the Colon signing. However, I think so as to keep some shreds of credibility we should say that Ben's exuberance - and his unfiltered blogging mentality as previously mentioned - may have got the best of him with the below quote:

"I think this has the potential to be the best move Theo and Co. have made in their tenure."

Ben, we know you are all for bringing in a guy that makes David Wells and Curt Schilling look svelte in comparison, but let's not go overboard and call this the Theo Crew's best move to date. I think I'm still going to take David Ortiz. Love the enthusiasm though and even if it's not their "best" move, I still can't find a single reason to quibble with it. Worst case scnario here is that Bartolo Colon devours the entire Rem Dawgs stand on Yawkey Way and leads to the mental unravelling of Jerry Remy. Or he starts giving Josh Beckett and Clay Bucholz nutrition and conditioning tips.

And one more thing, I love that RBB is probably the only sports blog in the world that has mentioned Oscar Lua twice. Ben, stalk the shit out of that guy, convince him that you are his number one fan, and get him blogging on the site ASAP. How awesome would that be?!

Williams out.

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Colvins Out, Lua's Gone, But Colon's Large and In Charge!!!

There were some interesting developments out of Foxboro today with two cuts taking place, both of whom are linebackers. Rosie Colvin and Oscar Lua both got let go just as free agency is about to begin.

First, the one that actually matters: Colvin. This looks like a salary cap issue coupled with Rosie's difficulty staying healthy. He was in the last year of his deal and had a cap hit of over 7.5 million. I honestly thought they would restructure and add years, but I guess the Pats are ready to move on. I cannot help but think that this is tied to Adalius Thomas playing better in the last few games at outside linebacker than he did in the first few games on the inside. That is all fine and dandy, but that means that we basically have no inside linebackers currently under contract. Bruschi and Seau are both free agents, and Bruschi has not announced whether or not he will play or retire. This is a puzzling move especially because there are not a lot of middle linebackers heading for free agency, and the draft looks limited as well...

Second, the one that most of you never heard of: Oscar Lua. He was a seventh round draft pick that performed well in garbage time at the end of preseason games. He was hurt and on IR all season. So, either he didnt impress anyone in trying to rehab, or the only reason they didnt cut him prior to the season was because he was hurt. I suspect it is a little from column A and a little from column B.

Bartolo Colon is now in Ft. Myers on a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox. There is also a cutoff date wherein the Sox can get out of the deal if they don't like what they see. First of all, I cannot believe either of the boys at EIC (MIke and Nick) have had nothing to say about this. Second of all, if you were to look in the dictionary for an example of "no downside" the Colon signing has to be it. We lose nothing but a little cash if we cut him, but stand to have an amazing fifth starter if he can get his shit together. I think this has the potential to be the best move Theo and Co. have made in their tenure. Also he showed up to camp grossly overweight, which as a fat guy, I love.

Lauranzano OUT!!!
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Monday, February 25, 2008

A Couple of Clips For You

I was just surfing around the "Digital Short" portion of the SNL area on Wow. How did I ever miss "Roy Rules" or "Getting Punched Before Eating". Enjoy. Read more!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tito and Some RBB Gossip

You really can't knock the Francona extension can you? It took me a little while to come around on the guy - like most people I think - but now I am 150% sold on him and really could not think of a guy I would rather have managing the Sox. Talking baseball managers really isn't that fun or exciting so I think I'll just stop now so you don't fall asleep at your desk and get yourself fired.

As for the conversation re: Francona between Ben and I which he alluded to in his blog...I have no idea if it happened or not. After a few beers I'm liable to go off on any number of tangents regarding the Sox so I put nothing past myself. If you ever hear me making arguments about Craig Hansen being an untouchable prospect or Doug Mirabelli as an indespensible part of the team, please start feeding me waters and call me a cab. And then you can kick me in the nuts. Scratch that last sentence.

Now I want to give you some RBB insider gossip....

As you may have noticed, in an effort to clean up the front page of the blog a few weeks ago, Mike put in a default HTML setting for us writers which allows us to put a link in our posts after a paragraph or two which brings the reader to the full post. We did this so that you did not need to scroll through entire marathon posts made by windbags like me to get to the posts that follow. Not only this, but it allows you to scan content much quicker, and if a bunch of posts are published around the same time, the most recent one does not take precedent over or dominate the ones below it.

Anyway, Mike set it up so all you need to do is work around the HTML code in your posts and the bottom line is is that it's very easy to make things conform. Nick, Mike, and I have embraced this change wholeheartedly. Ben however has not.

You see, it seems that Ben gets into some sort of ouf body trance state as he steps to the keyboard to blog that does not allow for him to proofread, spell-check, or you guessed it, put in the HTML page break code while blogging. We brought up to Ben the simplicity of enacting this feature and his response I think was, "No way, I'm too in the zone and I will not embrace anything that will potentially disrupt my thoughts as I start spewing them out like the ejaculate from my member that crusted together the pages of the Sears catalog I beat off to last week."

That's it. You guys should be thankful to be able to read a blogger that dedicated and intense. And you should also be thankful to have that awful visual in your head. Re-read that last paragraph if you need to. Go ahead. If you need me, I'll be making like Borat in front of Victoria's Secret by the makeup counter at Kohl's.
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What the....???

There is a caption in here somewhere, but I cannot think of anything that will do this picture justice....Any ideas?
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Francona Gets Three More Years

I have to admit, I was not a big fan of Tito when they signed him before the 04 offseason. At that time you could hear me bitching to my cubemate Mike about how they only signed him to get Schilling to agree to the trade, and he would be gone in a year or two. Even after they won it all in 04, I could be heard throughout the 05 season saying that he made poor decisions throughout many games and was more or less a bum.

I was wrong. I am big enough for a lot of things, so I am definetley big enough to admit when I am wrong, at least when it comes to sports. Tito has been the manager of a team that has brought two world series wins to a club that had not been able to get it done since 1918. I know that this is well worn territory, so I will leave it at that. He deserves his 3 million a year, and should have a good shot at making to the big dance this year too, with all of his heavy hitters back and healthy.

But I must say that I still have some issues with him and his style, and I wonder if it has more to do with the differences between baseball and other sports than it does with Tito. I somewhat remember a hazy conversation with Neil about this... I have heard and understand that arguement that what Tito does so well is manage the egos and personalities he has on his team in a city where the spotlight is squarely on the club at all times. I guess that is important, but I am more of a fan of the "shut up and sit down" approach. Take Coco for a recent example. I kind of want Tito to call him into his office and say something along the lines of "Coco, you sucked last year at the plate. We have to make the decision that is best for the team. So you are going to back up Ellsbury and Drew. If your bat picks up, we can look at moving you into the lineup at that point. But, we are paying you a boat load of money to be here, so I expect you to behave like a professional and work hard at getting back into the lineup." But thats not what is going to happen. Coco is going to all all Jay Payton and cry his way into a trade. That pisses me off. Act like a grown ass man, and realize that if you bust your ass in the cage and get your bat hot, Tito is going to play you, thats his job. I guess what I am saying is I want Tito to stand up and put some of these premadonnas in their place...But thats not going to happen.

To sum it up, I am happy we got an extension worked out with Tito, and hopefully it will translate into more great seasons like we have been treated to the last few years.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

What Do Russians Think About "Manny" Ramirez

I found this via Boston Dirt Dogs and just had to pass it on. Broken english just absolutely cracks me up.

BTW does anybody else find it hysterical that they quote his zone rating when trying to analyze his 2007 season? Read more!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On Coco Crisp...

On his blog yesterday, Rob Neyer made a great point that I really had not thought about for whatever reason. In a nutshell what he said was that the Sox would be very well served by keeping Coco around to spell Ellsbury and then some and that when you look at projections the difference in production between the two will be minimal. Before you jump down my throat and discount me completely, let me make the case for keeping Coco around.

The easiest point to make here is that Coco is a switch hitter (in more ways than one maybe, haha) and Ellsbury is a lefty. Keeping Coco allows them to sit Ellsbury against tough lefties which admittedly there are not a ton of in neither their division (can you think of any beyond Pettite or Kazmir) nor the rest of the AL (Sabathia, Bedard, anybody else?) which would probably behoove both the team and Ellsbury's confidence. Now keep in mind, I am not vouching for Ellsbury to receive the full Trot Nixon treatment of NEVER being allowed to start against lefties because I feel that will hinder his long term development as a player but splitting time in his rookie year would probably be an assist to him. Furthermore, keeping Crisp allows them to also sit JD Drew against tough lefties and insert Bobby Kielty there who can crush (relatively speaking for him) them. This will give them a pronounced RHP/LHP lineup which I think would be the best way to maximize production because let's face it we are not calling for Papi to sit against lefties, just Ellsbury and Drew.

One other boon to this situation is that the Red Sox outfield features two players who must be considered injury risks in Drew and Manny. I'm not saying they are likely to bust themselves up bad in April and miss the season but the chances of each of them missing between 15-20 games at some point during the season is pretty good. No need to further dump on JD Drew's injury history but Manny has averaged missing about 30 games per year the last two years so there is a track record there too. The bottom line here is that having two capable backup outfielders on the squad - one of which, Crisp could start for most teams - is certainly not a bad problem to have going into the season given the injury histories of two-thirds of your outfield.

And now the elephants in the room and why this (Coco as a super-sub) probably will not happen:

1) Coco wants to be as close to an everyday player as possible. Projections be damned I don't think there is a single person out there other than one Coveli Crisp who truly wants Coco to be the starting centerfielder. Granted, Ellsbury probably won't be as good as he was in his brief stint with the club last year, but he does seem to provide an energy and spark to the club that Coco does not and I really see no rational argument that anybody could make after both players 2007 exploits as to why Coco should start over Ellsbury.

(OK, one argument could be that Coco's defense is SO good that it could make up for the loss in offensive production with taking him over Ellsbury. And despite everything, Coco did seem to come up with an inordinate amount of clutch triples last year. Pretty weak I know, but I tried.)

1A) Coco wants to be as close to an everyday player as possible and if he cannot achieve that with the Sox than he'd like to get traded somewhere where he can make that happen. Sound familiar? Well the other issue here as we have already established that he probably should not and will not start is that people - the press, teammates, fans (except for the chick on the NESN ads) - do not really seem to like the guy. I don't have any definitive proof of this but I just get vibes from how he is covered in the press and how his teammates talk - or rather don't talk - about him that nobody would be heartbroken to see him go. As such, I could see him pulling a Jay Payton and throwing a hissy fit at some point early in the season to force the Sox hand in trading him. Maybe I'm crazy, but I always think it is best to avoid these situations.

2) Even if Coco sucks it up and decides he's cool with being the fourth outfielder, he is still somewhat of a luxury and he is still someone with some pretty decent trade value. Sure he's not the player he was made out to be when he came aboard, but he is an outstanding defensive centerfielder who can hit some and is signed for a few more years at a good price. He's also a guy with a skill set seemingly tailor made for the National League. If the Sox can swap him for some starting pitching insurance or even a prospect coupled with a good right handed bat for the bench, don't they have to make either of those trade? I'd say yes.

So what would I like to see the Sox do?

Honestly, I think they need to trade him. Yes having him around this year would not be horrible, but I don't think they should horde the asset just because they can. Furthermore, I don't think they should allow the Coco Crisp Situation to become even close to a distraction. Quite frankly he's not worth it.

In my perfect world, the Sox would trade Coco for either of the two needs outlined above and then in the outfield have Bobby Kielty split time between spelling Ellsbury and Drew against lefties. That maximizes the at bats for all three of them per their roles and it also should not push either of the starters too hard. Of course if they do hold onto Coco and don't trade him and he is okay with his role, accepts it, and maybe even excels in it then I am happy with that too. Bottom line here is that the Sox are dealing from a position of strength in this situation and that is always a good thing.

And for shits & giggles, Manny's personal site absolutely cracked me up.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dominican Miracle

As you may or may not know in addition to this being a leap year it is also one of those rare times when the regular roman calendar matches up with the Dominican calendar. It doesn't happen every four years. It seems instead to happen every seven years or whenever Manny wants to have the last two years of his deal picked up at 20 million per. For one of the first times in his Red Sox career Manny's garish Cadillac Escalade pulled into Spring Training today on time, on the same day as the rest of his teammates. While he didn't actually practice he did manage to drop off his equipment and leave again without even breaking a sweat. We will continue to follow this Dominican Calendar miracle here on
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Revisiting Kevin Youkilis

OK, I gotta correct myself.

Last week I said I thought it was fishy that the Sox did not extend Youkilis to a multi-year deal and that showed a decided lack of committment on their part to his long term future with the team. As it turned out, I was wrong in my analysis and that my argument with a poster in the comments section now seems a bit ill-informed but not incorrect.

You see, today reading a mailbag with Gordon Edes on I learned that the Sox have Youkilis under their control through the 2010 season per his "rookie contract" so to speak which does not grant the player free agency until after his sixth year with the team. Now this undermines my belief that the Sox will let Youk walk after this year and pursue Texiera. However, it still leaves wide-open my belief that he will be dangled in trades from now until the Sox can no longer control him. To me, the red flag is that by not signing him to a long term deal they pretty much acknowledged that after his monster postseason he would never have a better position to bargain from so they paid him for a year and are openly challenging him to prove them wrong because if he puts up a .300/.400/20/85/110 season at the top of the order, he'll certainly be in line to make more than the $3M he just signed for.

(For the record, even nimrod GMs like Omar Minaya who overbid on free agents and pay exorbitant sums of money to free agents just because they feel cool when they do so know that when you have a top-tier player on his first contract there is not a better time to lock them up long term. That is how he has secured two of the elite players in the NL in David Wright and Jose Reyes for a combined 10 years and about $80M or just $10M more than the Sox are paying for JD Drew to produce about a tenth of what those two guys will. Now clearly, Theo has a pretty good idea of what he is doing so if he is not willing to extend Youk now, then when will he be?)

Look, I know this is tough to swallow for the legions of blind Youkilis followers out there but the bottom line is that in the second half of last year he hit .238 (with a respectable .356 OBP) and slugged a pathetic .391. Or .015 less than Julio Lugo did in the second half. He did however I believe lead the league in incredulous looks at umpires who dared to call a strike on him. That's gotta count for something right? Well probably not because lord knows if I was not a Sox fan I would absolutley despise Youk who let's face it is the Red Sox version of Paul O'Neill except not nearly as good.

(That aint a slam though, Paul O'Neill despised as he may be was actually a really good player in his day and I'd argue that either him or Bernie Williams were probably the most underrated players of the mid to late 1990's because unless you actually look at their numbers you don't realize how great they truly were. Well even if you don't agree with my stance on Bernie you still at least have to respect his prowess on the jazz guitar.)

Oh, and if you are saying that Youk only slipped in the second half because he was battling injuries, well I'll buy that excpet that this is the second year in a row where this has happened and it leads me to my belief that Youk's true calling is as a 450 AB a year super-platoon player. With Sean Casey in the mix this year though, I'd expect him to get more off days so don't be surprised if his counting stats dip a touch due to a relatively smaller sample size of ABs but his overall productivity increases on account of him being fresher.

My other thought about his contract or non-extension if you will is that despite him not being locked into a contract these next two years, he actually possesses even more trade value than he did before I knew that the Sox had his rights through 2010. Now, the Sox can dangle him as a trade bait under the auspices of him being a good, established, and winning major league player signed to a cheap deal for one year and then as a guy that they can either go to arbitration with after the season or extend to a long-term and team-friendly deal. Long story short, his trade value is still incredible which I think is where he will be most valuable to the team.

I'm not trying to hate on Youkilis, I'm really not, I just do not think he is as good as fans and Kevin Youkilis think he is. If the Sox could somehow find another 30+ HR power source outside of Manny and Ortiz then I'd be all for locking up Youkilis long term but they don't have that now and unfortunately if there is one position where it is relatively easy to find a guy who can do that it is first base. If I've said it once, I've said it one thousand times; you need pop from your corner infield and outfield spots and when you only have one legitimate power threat out of those four spots well that aint going to cut it unless you can over-compensate with other positions. The Red Sox cannot do this and with third base and right field set for the next three years and possibly left too if they pick up Manny's two options then really the only place that they can upgrade offensively is first base. Sorry Youk, that means you. We'll always love you around these parts but it looks like you are the odd man out here.

Well, I promised a Youkils article a while ago. There you go.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Three Quickies

1) I never care about these things, but Ray Allen was robbed out of the All Star Game MVP. He carried the East in the 4th quarter of what turned out to be a pretty entertaining second half of basketball. Really, there is no reason that anybody should care about this, but I wanted to throw it out there anyway.

2) Ben's previous post brought this on from me, but I have a tough time dogging JD Drew right now. His grand slam from Game 6 of the ALDS has bought him some time and I'll even go out on a limb and say I will refrain from Drew bashing until at least Memorial Day. Julio Lugo? Well it's open season on him and I'd say starting about now anybody can and will have free reign on turning him into a punchline on par with Britney Spears and Roger Clemens. The thing I love about being a Sox fan and Sox fans in general is that we will be calling for shortstop of the future Jed Lowrie by mid-April after two weeks of watching Lugo suck it up and most of us - myself certainly included - have never seen Lowrie do anything baseball realted and could not pick him out of a crowd to save our lives. Still, he's gotta be nasty right?

3) Whenever I see that ad on FOX for that new program they have coming out that from the "GENIUSES that brought you Dumb & Dumber" I can't help but feel bad for the Farrelly Brothers. Dumb & Dumber came out in 1994. Or almost 15 years ago. Isn't it kind of sad and pathetic to still be holding onto that? Sure, many people - myself EXcluded - consider Dumb & Dumber to be the apex of comedy but even still; it was 1994! Bill Clinton was half way through his first term. Flannel shirts were fashionable and the statement they made was not, "I'm a hard working day laborer who wants to go home to my dinner of rare steak and Budweiser" but rather, "I want to move to Seattle and mope because Eddie Vedder makes doing so look cool and I have not yet recconciled my feelings on Kurt's death". Even more to the point, Tupac and Biggie were still alive, luminary atheletes such as Jose Canseco and Dino Rajda called Boston home, and MTV employed people like Kennedy, Bill Bellamy, Duff, Eric Niese, and the legendary Dan Cortes. Can I go on, or do you get the point? 1994 was a really freakin' long time ago and living off of that after putting out a steady stream of shit since Outside Providence which came out in 1999 BTW is kind of sad. And one last thing. Having a guy lick ranch off of his baby's head is not funny. I get what you are going for - the man's man who cares more about beer, wings, and dick jokes with his pals than his actual kids - but that particular move is not going to drive me to watch your show. Maybe a clip of him training his child to become his intern to fetch him more beers and food while he watches TV and schemes ways to not contribute to the greater good would entice me. Not ranch off of a baby's head.

OK, good rant. I'm done.
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The Long Awaited Patriots Wrap Up Post

After the debacle that was the Superbowl, I promised to put together a position by position post of issues facing the Patriots in the offseason. The truth is that the pain of the loss still lingers, so it has taken a while for me to get everything down I wanted to, but here it is. I am going to break it down by position, and offer some thoughts on each:

Tom Brady
Matt Cassel
Matt Guttierez

There is no issue at the QB position. The Pats of the best QB in the game. The only thing to keep an eye out for is a new contract for Tom. He deserves to be paid as the best in the league and right now he is not.

Running Backs
Laurence Maroney
Sammy Morris
Kevin Faulk
Heath Evans
Kyle Eckel

Injuries plagued this group for much of the season. Maroney missed much of the beginning of the season, and Morris filled in well until he got his chest broken and went on IR. However, Maroney showed what he can do, and why the Pats picked him in the playoffs when he tore it up. Kevin Faulk is a game changer and continues to be underrated throughout the league. Trust me, without him, the Pats would not have even made it to the Superbowl.
Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel are fullbacks by definition, and unfortunately one of them will not be around next year. Eckel showed why he was coveted by both the Pats and the Dolphins when he came out of Navy a few years ago, but my guess is that he will be a training camp cut, and then kept on an emergency list if he does not get picked up. Its a shame, he plays well between the tackles, and performed well on special teams.

Wide Receivers
Randy Moss
Dante Stolworth
Wes Welker
Jabar Gaffney
Troy Brown
Kelly Washington
Chad Jackson

This is a deep and very talented group, but we can be sure of a couple of things, First Troy Brown will eventually retire. I wouldn't be surprised if he took some other position with the team, but his playing days are over. The team has already informed Kelly Washington they will not be picking up his 4 million dollar roster bonus, but would like to have him return on a new deal. This would probably be a good deal. He was a special teams gunner and can still catch some balls if people get injured. Gaffney is a free agent, and will get some serious looks from teams throughout the league. I expect him to be back with the Pats next year, and be a starter next to Moss. Wes Welker is an animal and is locked up for a few years. I love his mustache. Chad "my knee hurts" Jackson has to step up. He was a high pick and I think that the team will give him one more year to get it all together, but not much more than that. Stallworth is a goner. He was signed to a multi year deal, but he is due a sizable amount of money in the second and third years of the deal. He had a good, but not great year, so I expect to see him in another uniform next year. Randy Moss will be back. It is just a question if he will be franchised, or sign a long term deal. The day before the superbowl he was on the radio saying he wants to end his career in New England and "Mr.Kraft won't have to break the bank" to keep him. He did say that anyone else interested in his services would have to pay far more than the Patriots will to keep him.

Offensive Line
Matt Light
Logan Mankins
Dan Koppen
Stephen Neal
Nick Kaczur
Billy Yates
Ryan O'Callahan
Russ Hochstien

The o-line had three probowlers this year. All are locked up on multi-year deals, and look to be in great shape. Look for the team to add some depth through the draft, as they have always loved mid draft offensive linemen.

Tight Ends
Ben Watson
Kyle Brady
David Thomas
Stephen Spach

This is a solid group that suffered from injury problems all year. Second year player Thomas spent then entire season on IR, and neither Kyle Brady or Ben Watson could stay healthy for the whole year. Spach was a mid season aquisition, and will most likely not make the team. This may be another place the team looks to fortify through the draft or free agency.

Defensive Line
Richard Seymour
Jarvis Green
Mike Wright
LeKevin Smith
Vince Wilfork
Ty Warren

This group is solid, and it is a travesty that Ty Warren did not make the pro bowl. Wright is a restricted free agent and expect the team to place a mid level tender on him, meaning that anyone who wants to sign him will have to give up a second round pick. I expect him to be back. Jarvis Green is a starter on just about any other team, and gives this group so much flexibility, in terms of shifting Seymour inside for a couple of plays to mix it up. Wilfork had a great season and still has two seasons remaining on his rookie deal. I wouldn't be surprised to hear talks of an extension, as he is going to have a long and great career. No worries here.

Tedy Bruschi
Junior Seau
Adalius Thomas
Mike Vrabel
Roosevelt Colvin
Pierre Woods
Eric Alexander
Oscar Lua

I think that the average age of this group is 63. There are some huge question marks here for the Pats. Will Tedy and Junior be back? Will Colvin rework his deal? Will Thomas be more of a playmaker with a season under his belt? Who is Oscar Lua? Let me answer some of those for you. Bruschi will be back, and I suspect so will Junior. Both are hungry for a ring and I would imagine have a bad taste in their mouths from last year. Still they are getting old, and the team must start planning for the future. Thats where Thomas comes in, they see him as a major force at inside linebacker, but he only showed flashes of brilliance in about half a season there. It's a complex system in Foxboro, so I think that he will have a great year two with the team. Our outside linebackers are solid, but Colvin is coming up on the last years of his deal, and I doubt that the team will pay him such a high amount or suffer a large cap hit for him. They will try and rework a deal, and I hope the Colvin goes for it. Oscar Lua was the seventh round pick out of USC last year. He had a great camp and made some great plays in the preaseason. He injured his foot I think and spent the whole season on IR.
The Pats are clearly concerned with this postion, and I was hoping that James Lauranitus was going to come out of OSU. He would have been available at #7, but he opted to return for his senior year and ruin my dreams. There are no linebackers in the draft that warrant such a high pick, so the team will have to turn to free agency for help. They already signed TJ Slaughter, who didnt even play in the league last year, so dont worry that you dont know who he is. Zach Thomas is coming up from Miami for a visit. Provided his concussions are all gone, he could be a great addition, but he is getting old too and has played his whole career in a 4-3. It is going to be interesting to watch how they fortify this position this year. Especially if Bruschi or Seau call it a career.

Asante Samuel
Ellis Hobbs
Randall Gay
Chad Scott
no one else worth mentioning

Asante Samuel is gone. He is going to get 10-12 million a year and 25 million up front to go play someone else. I feel bad for all of you who bought his jersey for your superbowl parties but it will be obsolete in about a month. He has "get paid" tattooed on his arm, there is nothing more to say. It's a shame because he is a great player, and we will miss him dearly. Hobbs is on my shit list and will remain there until he is replaced by either Julio Lugo or JD Drew, or both. He is a decent corner, but barely cuts it as a starter. If we have to depend on him to replace Samuel, the season is over before it begins. He is a great return man and has a good eye for the ball, but he gets out played on a semi-regular basis, and let's face it Plaxico Burress took him to school in the Superbowl. Randall Gay is made out of glass and is a free agent. See you later Randall. Chad Scott will most likely not be back.
So what do the Patriots do? Well thank jebus that we own the seventh overall pick. There are a couple of guys in the draft that should be there, and will be serviceable. Free agency will also help us out. There is a guy out there, not sure if anyone has heard of him, but his name is Ty Law, and he has been cut by the Chiefs. I would love to see him return at the veteran minimum and finish it up where it started. Sure he is getting older and has lost a stop, but he can still be a great cover corner and a great short term solution for the team. It is all going to come down to money though.

Rodney Harrison
James Sanders
Eugene Wilson
Brandon Meriweather.
Rodney has announced that he will play next year. Sanders literally stole the starting role from Wilson, so expect Wilson to not even get an offer from the Patriots. Meriweather managed to go the whole season without stomping on someone while they laid on the ground, and in the meantime grew into a decent player. I am excited about what he can do next year as he gets ready to take over for Harrison the following season.

Special Teams
Stephen Gostkowski
Lonnie Paxton
Some Punter

No worries here, the Pats will find someone to punt the ball every now and again. Everyone else was great and is locked up.

Well, there you have it. The Patriots have some grave concerns on defense. Linebackers and Cornerbacks are their biggest needs, and unfortunately there is not much out there for help. Bill will find something though, he always does. Offensively, everything looks great, and the team should be reader to go 1402 next season. Thats right, I am already predicting next season 14-2.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Wire

OK, we are seven episodes into the current season of The Wire. Let's discuss a little and see what's in store for the last three....
And now my unfiltered thoughts...

1) I gotta say, the whole McNulty/Lester Serial Killer scheme is starting to drag on a bit too much for my taste. I get what is going on and I get that they are in way too deep, but that particular story line just is not appealling to me. I thought it was a neet idea initially, but now I want it to all kind of go away. Obviously it cannot just disappear because there is too much vested in that right now, but I find the whole subplot to be by far the weakest that the show has put out there.

And one more point, if this serial killer is really getting as much national press as they say it is, how long before somebody in the homeless shelter in Richmond IDs the photo of the supposed victim as the crazy guy that got randomly dropped off at their shelter a day or so before the picture surfaced? Doesn't seem like that should be happening pretty soon? Richmond is only about 110 miles down 95 from Baltimore so it's not like he dropped the guy in Florida or something.

2) I'm also not feeling the newsroom subplot. It just seems way too agenda and vendetta driven. You hate the media and you think journalism is being ruined by business interests and what not, we get it David Simon. Something tells me that the plot line would be a lot more appealling if it was not so obvious that he had an axe to grind with the business and the state of the profession now. It's not like journalisism is the only old school profession that is being compromised by new technology and a new marketplace and as a result is forcing out old workers for younger, cheaper, less expensive ones to cut costs.

3) And with all that said, I still think that this season has been great because lucky for us the "bad" subplots are still pretty good by regular standards, and the the street storylines have probably been the best of the series so far.

4) Cheese is going down hard right?

5) Somehow, some way I think Brother Mouzzone shows up and helps Omar bring down Marlo.

6) I think Slim Charles will ultimately play a part in Marlo's downfall. You can definitely see dissension in the ranks there.

7) Another thing I did not buy was the utter incompetency of the DAs office in the Clay Davis trial. It just seems like they could have crushed his "Robin Hood" defense if they really wanted to and I did not buy the incompetence there. Didn't they know that Clay was a charismatic guy who would resort to such tactics to win over a West Baltimore jury?

8) The 7th episode of the season was by far the worst episode I'd say ever. However, I have come to grips with the fact that it was a necessary evil and they needed it to show the tipping point in the serial killer plot line and to rid them of the Clay Davis plot line for the rest of the season. Now hopefully we will get nothing but old school The Wire with cops vs. the street and the street vs. the street. Hopefully there will be plenty of staking out, chasing, and good old fashioned Omar shop-wrecking to go around. He's gotta avenge Butchie and Prop Joe in grand fashion right?

9) Are Lester's actions this season supposed to answer the question from the first season of what he did to get himself stuck in the pawn shop unit for nine years?

10) One saving grace of the 7th episode...the scene with Omar popping up on Michael and his crew on the corner. Wow.

11) I gotta say the most intense scene of the season came in I think the third episode when Marlo went to the island to get his money square and then they cut to Omar on an island - with nothing in the filming indicating whether or not it was the same island or different - and you saw a group of people coming up on Omar and a look of distress in Omar's face knowing that something was up. At that point I really thought that he was a goner and that his people down there were turning on him and about to off him because Marlo somehow reached out. Turns out they were relaying the news on Butchie. Quite a scene though. It kind of reminded me of the scene from the last season of The Sopranos when Tony and Paulie were in Florida and they went out fishing and the whole time you did not know whether or not Tony was going to kill him. Part you thought it was inevitable, but then the other part of you was saying, "no way, it won't happen". That's how I felt with this Omar scene.

12) Friend of RBB, Matt Burke and I have been emailing extensively about this season and we both felt wholeheartedly that if Omar had died in the episode which aired On Demand the day after the Super Bowl things in our lives would have gotten ugly quick. All day that Monday I looked forward to the episode as something that would cheer me up at the end of the day and if Omar had hobbled out of the apartment and gotten clipped by Chris or Snoop I most likely would have gone into a Ron Burgundy like tailspin.

13) Speak of the devil, I have TNT on in the background now and they are playing Law & Order (surprise, surprise) and who else is on there but the actor that plays Scott Templeton.

14) I kinda like Bunk as the voice of reason for everything this season. It just seems right.

15) Fearless predictions for the last three episodes...Daniels "past" which has been brought up off and on since season 1 finally comes back to nail him, McNulty and Lester both get royally fucked, Bunk catches Chris via the DNA evidence from the beatdown on Michael's daddy, Snoop gets lit up hard by Omar or Omar fucks her thinking that she is a he, Slim Charles reaches out to Omar, Cheese gets ruthlessly murdered, Michael gets killed in crossfire leaving Dukie to care for Bug, Prez reappears and does something clutch, Marlo employs the Greeks' muscle to attack Omar, Chris rolls on both Marlo and the Greeks and they are both taken down before Omar can get to Marlo, and those are all of them.

We shall see, let's enjoy these last episodes though because right now I'm not really sure what to make of a TV world without The Wire or The Sopranos. Next stop is Dexter and the rest of Six Feet Under via Netflix for me.

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I Officially DESPISE Roger Clemens

Don't get me wrong, this steroids controversy in baseball is getting real old. It stems back to the first congressional hearing with Jose, Sosa, Palmero, Schill and the such and has driven the Mitchell report AND has given us a SECOND congressional hearing. I say kick'em all out. There are plenty of great baseball players out there willing to "put there butt on the line" for this game and play with some dignity. Unfortunately, I was loving the drama yesterday.... as I officially DESPISE Roger Clemens.
My enthusiasm for this hearing had waned since they rescheduled it last month. But, after the Pats lost to the GMen a few weeks back, I couldn't wait for 2 things: Jason Kidd to be traded and Clemens to get burned by Congress. NY is on too much of a high right now (their hate directed toward us) and they need to be lowered a peg. What better way than for their hero Roger to be dragged through the mud.

And was he ever!

I will not say that McNamee came off well at all. But it looked like he was telling the truth, even if it labelled him as a scumbag. But I was biased to begin with. I have deep anger towards Clemens and his .500 record his final 4 years with Boston (40-39). He quit on our franchise and Duquette had every reason to believe he was in the twilight of his career. But, how could anyone feel that Clemens came off in a good light yesterday. The only person involved that came out with some dignity and respect was Andy Pettite. Can you believe that.

Well, I certainly do not want to recap the days event, other than to say that inviting a possible congressional witness over to discuss the situation was a moronic move that will catch up with him....

Ladies and Gentlemen, the most decorated and dominating pitcher of our lifetimes is a fraud. If Roger gets to the hall.....Pete Rose BETTER be riding his coattails.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Long Cold Winter

It has been over a week now since my beloved Patriots were upset by the Giants, and for many of my friends the pain has been almost to hard to bare. My friend Erica has not watched the news, listened to the radio or been on in over a week. She is really missing out on the fun watching a delusional Roger Clemens ruin whatever chance he has for the hall of fame as he lied his way around Washington over the past week. I don't even think a hearing is necessary, if you want proof that he did Steriods all you have to do is watch is watch the play from the 2000 world series when Clemens comes off the mound, picks up a piece of Piazza's broken bat, and throws it at him as he runs down the line towards first. His defense after the game was that he thought it was the ball, this isn't KICKBALL, when would you ever through the ball at the runner, and since when was the ball a hunk of wood. I digress of course.

The reason I am writing is to say that I am proud of my fellow Patriot fans. This weekend as I went about my business people were still wearing their Patriots sweatshirts, and their Patriot Hats. In fact at fellow R&B blogger Ben's Birthday party we both commented that we were still wearing our Patriots stuff despite the heartbreak that we had suffered. Am I seeing as much patriots gear as I saw before the super bowl, of course not why would I, the bandwagon fans have put their pink Tom Brady Jerseys and AFC East champion shirts back in their closet until next years Super Bowl Run. It is still good to see them wearing it with pride even if they are in the safe environment that is New England.

This past December I went down to Disney for a few days before Christmas, my fiancé and I stayed on property. The Patriots played the Jets that weekend and I was unable to watch the game as the local CBS station was instead showing the Jacksonville Jaguars game. I still wore my Patriots gear as a sign of support and was surprised by the number of favorable comments that I heard from people as I walked around Epcot that day whether it was a simple go pats or a score update it was nice to see that Patriots nation had found it's way to Disney.

So while we mourn the lost season, a perfect season gone in a blink of an eye, another year of Mercury Morris and his ridiculous boasting, it is good to see my fellow citizens of Patriots nation soldier on. Read more!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Smattering of Thoughts

A) This whole Roger Clemens charade is both funny and pathetic. And I mean that towards everyone involved. Congress sure doesn't look too good either with them wasting time to grandstand and ask Clemens for autographs and such. The sooner this whole thing goes away the better. I cannot wait to not hear about it anymore.

(How you like me now with that double-negative?!)

B) You know baseball season is right around the corner when Peter Gammons puts out his annual, "Baseball is in Great Shape!" article. He writes pretty much the same thing every year and every year I scan it to see whom I should avoid in my fantasy baseball draft. Inevitably he'll make outlandish claims like the "Bobby Crosby for MVP" call he had back in 2006 and inevitably every player he predicts big things from and raves about ends up getting hurt or sucking. I don't know how he does it or why it happens, but the fact is that it happens every year. In fact, the Crosby for MVP call was so predictable that I predicted Gammons prediction on my old Web site before it even came out. That's the truth too.

This year, I see him going the Grady Sizemore/David Wright route in his MVP predictions. Relatively safe gambles there so I can't even preemptively criticize his predictions.

C) If politics or the upcoming elections are your thing, I have to give a shout out the site of my local newspaper, the Washington Post. Very in depth and Howard Kurtz' "Media Notes" are a daily must-read. (you need to subscribe, but it's free and worth the five seconds it takes to sign up)

D) I've done my share of dabbling in the celebrity gossip scene. I have even been known to thumb through the wife's copy of People and even used to regularly pickup In Touch and US back in the golden 2003-2004 days before Britney and Paris totally took over that scene and the saturation had not quite reached the insane peaks it has today. But these days I more or less stand clear of the round the clock cycle of that stuff. That being said, I must say that if you are going to read anything about celebrity gossip and falls from grace this year, you have to check out Rolling Stone's piece on Britney Spears. Holy crap. Let's just say that because Rolling Stone is Rolling Stone they can get a lot dirtier and deeper into her story than the US' and Peoples of the world and they certainly take full advantage. Sensationalized or not (and the Spears camp has made no effort to refute anything written in there) the piece is riveting and you actually kind of see why she became what she is now. Plus there is a ton of sex and drugs which is always nice. Really, I can't recommend this article enough.

(The full article is not available for linking to unfortunately so I guess you'll just have to go out and buy the magazine if you want to read it. Sorry.)

E) Well it looks like the Writers Strike is about over and shows will be back in about a month. Sweet!! Can't wait to have 30 Rock and The Office back in my life. Don't look now either, but 30 Rock in my opinion has made itself consistently funnier than The Office. It's almost like The Office tries too hard sometimes while 30 Rock may not have highs as high as The Office or a character like Michael, but the ensemble cast is so dynamic and the wit so dry that it can carry even a below average episode. I find myself laughing more consistently at 30 Rock but harder at moments of The Office. One other thing that 30 Rock has going for it is the ensemble. Because there are so many people around they can split the action up and allow Liz, Jenna, Jack, Tracy Jordan, and if we are really lucky Dr. Spaceman to all have their moments. Nobody consistently kills me though like Tracy or Dr. Spaceman. I mean "Fat Bitch" and "Werewolves Bar Mitvah"? Or what about Spaceman giving Jenna shady weightloss drugs? Classic both.

Of course I'd also argue that The Office is partially a victim of it's own success. 30 Rock did not get burdened with stretching their shows out to an hour like The Office and that more than anything was the reason for the sub-standard first few episodes of the season this year. There's a reason comedies are 30 minute programs! It's hard to write for an hour's worth of jokes (or 46 minutes if you want to get technical). Anyway, I don't want to bash The Office by any means, rather I want to steer you in the direction of a show every bit it's equal and possibly - as I'd argue - funnier.

That's it.
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Dan Morgan cut by the Carolina Panthers

Dan Morgan, Carolina's 1st rnd draft pick in 2001, has been cut by the Carolina Panthers. Morgan has had numerous injuries over the last few years, including 5 concussions and a torn Achilles. He had 25 tackles in the Superbowl loss to the Patriots in 2004. He fits the mold of what Belichick likes in an inside linebacker: Experience, speed, smarts....

He may be on the Patriots radar depending on his current timetable from his Achilles injury sustained in week 3. Stay tuned.... Read more!

Monday, February 11, 2008

April 11th

As Ben mentioned in a previous post we will be attending the first Red Sox Vs. Yankee game of 2008. I spent 4 hours and 52 minutes waiting in the Red Sox virtual waiting room to get these tickets and we will be sitting out by Pesky's pole. There are few things that worry me about this game though.

1. I have been to 4 Red Sox Yankee games, all of them at Yankee Stadium. The sox are 1-3 in those games, other than a Pedro Gem I haven't witnessed a lot Sox success when it comes to the Yankees.

2. The Sox will be playing be playing there 11 game of the season. The concern I have though is that the first two are going to be in Japan, several years ago the Yankees started in Japan and look to still be recovering.

3. It is going to be freezing.

There is some positives though, it looks good that Beckett will most likely pitch that game, depending on how they set up the rotation. We all know that Dice K has to pitch in Japan, Bud Selig would probably personally come to Japan kick Terry Francona hard in the knees if he misses out on that publicity opportunity. With the long layoff between the first two games and the third though they could restart the rotation if they really wanted to. In that case we could be looking at the number 3 starter. Which knowing my luck will be Wakefield, but at least we will be in the park.
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The Kevin Youkilis Contract: Three Thoughts

1) Say what you will about the guy - and I will as I am not his biggest fan - but $3M a year for what he brings to the table is an absolute steal. Sure I'd like my first baseman to be a bit more of middle of the order force, but there is always room for a .280/.400/18/85/100 (avg./obp./HR/RBI/RS) guy on a contending team. Especially when the price is right

2) I really wish the Sox gave him a multi-year contract simply because that would enhance his trade value dramatically. Quality major league players from winning teams locked into team-friendly contracts are commodities on par with young pitching these days in MLB.

3) What this contract really says to me is that while the Sox appreciate what Youkilis has done for the team and think he is a nice enough player, they do not see him as their long term first baseman. In other words, "Kevin, you'll do the trick for 2008 but after next season we are breaking the bank for Mark Texiera when he hits the market. Thanks for the memories." What do I think of that strategy? I like it. If the Sox had more potent hitters at some other positions then I'd be okay sacrificing some offense from the 1B slot, but the bottom line is that they don't and Mark Texiera will be the best quick fix to that need and he hits the market after this season. I would not even rule out a Youkilis and Coco for Texiera in-season trade. Makes a lot of sense for both sides although I only think the Sox would make that deal if they were given a window to negotiate an extension for Tex and given that he is a Boras guy, the chances of him bypassing free agency in favor of an in-season extension are about as good as Heidi Montag sweeping next year's Grammy Awards. Read more!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Youkilis, Big Baby, and more from a lazy Sunday.

Another quick weekend for the local sports world. The Bruins got spanked, the pro bowl came and went, and there were some qualifying races for Daytona. Other than that there was little happening that would justify it's own post, so here is some food for thought as all your Rootbeer & Baconites start your work week:

-Some serious thought and conversation needs to go into a new nickname for Roger Clemens. "The Rocket" just doesn't seem to fit now that there is information out there that he had his wife do HGH for this picture.

-Earlier in the year, I expressed some serious concerns with the Celtics lack of depth. Today, the Celts beat the defending champions without KG or Kendrick Perkins. This meant more playing time for the Big Baby Glen Davis, and he showed up to play. He had nine points and eight rebounds all while guarding Tim Duncan. (Who should be a Celtic...ML Carr did what he had to...)
-Leon Powe is fighting the Big Baby for number one on my list of bench players. Ever since his daughter was born this guy has been making the most out of his minutes, so much so he earned the start against the Spurs today. Just prior to that he had 16 points and 8 rebounds against Minnesota and 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Clippers. He has been on fire...I can only hope my game gets the same boost when my daughter is born...See you on the court Niel.

-The Red Sox did what was right and signed Youkilis before it got to arbitration. The Sox had made an initial offer of 2.5 million and Youk wanted 3.7 mil. They settled on 3 million even. I love this move. It shows the other young guys that the Sox are willing to pay up when performance dictates it. They won't wait until they are forced to do so by an arbiter.

-I couldn't watch the Probowl, football still hurts. A friend of the site put it best when he said that the Patriots loss was so damaging to him that he was unsure if he was still a sports fan at all. Eventually I will have a lot to say about Asante "get paid" Samuel and other issues, but I need to do a little work "on me" before I can work on the Patriots.

-Someone actually said to me last night that they heard that Schilling tore his rotator cuff playing world of warcraft. That theory first broke right here on the pages of Rootbeer & Bacon.

-Barak Obama had a huge weekend. I know this has nothing to do with sports, but I love this guy.

-Two of the senior members of Rootbeer & Bacon will be attending the first Yankees game of the season. Anyone know how we can get press passes? Also, anyone have any good ideas about ways to promote this site at the game?

Well, thats about it...Spring Training gets going this weekend...thank god...

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Some Sunday Thoughts

1) Flipping around the channels this weekend I happened to see that the NFL Network was broadcasting first the AFC and then the NFC practices from the Pro Bowl. May I ask who on earth would actually watch that?

2)Tony Allen still does not possess a single basketball skill from what I can tell.

3) Nick's bit on Asante Samuel is great and the quotes he provides should really not surprise you seeing as they come from a person with a "Get Paid" tattoo.

4) New Redskins coach, Greg Zorn looks like a crazy middle aged guy with a perpetual hangover who spends all of his free time hanging out alone in the back of movie theaters watching Hannah Montana in 3D wearing mesh shorts.

5) I didn't realize that former Celtics GM, Chris Wallace was the genius on Memphis' side behind the Pau Gasol trade. It all makes sense now. He probably thinks he made out like a bandit there and felt it necessary to clear Gasol's large contract from the books so that he can bring out of exile and sign to max contracts Joe Forte and Kedrick Brown.

6) I'm watching the C's and Spurs right now on ABC and Greg Poppovich's outfit kills me. He looks like he should be at a brunch at the country club, not coaching an NBA basketball game. (slacks, open collared shirt, and a blazer FYI)

7) Do you know who would look great on the C's this year? Delonte West. I know you need to give a little to get a little and that West probably had to be in the Ray Allen trade, but that does not change the fact that he would be a great match for this team right now.

8) This joke is not going to make it into The Wire piece I am woking on for sometime in the next week or so, so I am just going to throw it out there now. (channel David Spade from Hollywood Minute voice) Hey Scott Templeton storyline on The Wire, I liked you a lot better the first time around when you were called, Shattered Glass.

9) If I ever woke up and saw Amy Winehouse in the same, dark room as me I would absolutely soil myself. Apparently she smokes crack now too. No follow up on that. Just throwing it out there.

10) I have to give much love to Leon Powe. The guy has really stepped it up in KG's absensce and is a great scrapper and garbage points accumulator. Seems to me like he has a nice career ahead of him in the NBA as quality 7th or 8th man on good teams. Maybe that is a back-handed compliment, but I sure don't think so.

11) Can you imagine how good Rajon Rondo would be if he had even an okay jump shot? I love the guy, but if he could shoot? Man, he'd something else.

That's it for me. Gotta leave on a high note like Costanza.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Asante Samuel wants to be remain a Patriot, but.....

If you haven't heard the most recent rumblings coming from the Samuel Camp, you're not missing much. Its the same old with this guy. In his first opportunity to get someone to listen to him, Asante Samuel let it be known that he wants to remain a Patriot, but "it's gonna take a lot"
A few snipits from Boston Globe correspondent, Pat Bigold's interview:

"The fans love me and I love them back," he said. "The organization loves me and, hopefully, we can work it out."

He also adds....

"It's gonna take a lot to make me happy and my family happy,"

When asked what it may take to sign him....

"You take a guess and see if you can hit it. It's no secret I'm looking for a big, huge, blockbuster deal."

What this means, of course, is that unless someone feeds Scott Pioli that Kool Aid I drank at Woodstock '99, Asante Samuel will not be a Patriot come July.
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From Curt to Cartman?

I will quickly chime in on the Schillling situation.

In short, I agree with the general RBB stance on the Schilling injury. Clearly it is in the team's best interest to have Bucholz and Lester out there taking their occasional lumps in development than having Schilling go. Sure, Schill could probably beat the bad teams on a somewhat consistent basis, but he would be glorified BP for the heavy lifters of the AL and quite frankly I'd rather have the young guys out there learning how to beat established lineups than an old guy out there praying for the miracle DP every inning to minimize his damages.

I guess on the other hand if I signed the paychecks for the Sox I'd be a little pissed. Of course I don't do that. So I'm not. Once again folks, remember that Joel Piniero was paid $4.5M by the Sox last year.

One thing does worry me though and that is Schilling and his weight. How many pounds is this guy going to throw on in the next 5-6 months now that he won't be playing? How many ridiculous and obnoxious comments will he make out of boredom? These are the things that worry me because something tells me come June Curt Schilling is going to be a mix of Eric Cartman when he played "World of War Craft" for 1 month straight and a Rush Limbaugh/Ann Coulter love child. Now that could get ugly. Read more!

Sox Prospect: Jon Lester

Last night I had to go to a work social, which took place after our 2007 year in review meeting. It was on the way to this social(Bowling at the classy Sunnyside Bowlodrome, and drinks at Speros) that I turned on ESPN the radio and heard Mike Felger discussing Schillings injury with baseball god and official member of the Rootbeer and Bacon hall of fame Peter Gammons. It is not looking good, I have mixed emotions about this, Schilling has been good for us but he is also a fat, republican, blowhard who was a borderline 3rd starter last year and was probably going to be a waste of money this year. Out with the Old and in with the new.

With that I continue my series of Sox Prospects, with Jon Lester.

Name: Jon Lester
DOB: January 7,1984
Drafted: Second Round, 2002 Draft

Jon Lester played his high school ball in Tacoma, Washington where he was a three time team MVP, three time All-Area selection and was the Gatorade State Player of the year in 2000. The Sox drafted him in 2002 and gave him the highest signing bonus of anyone in the second round, 1,000,000 dollars.

It took Lester awhile to get out of Rookie/A Ball but he found his way out in 2005 when he joined the Portland Sea Dogs. It was in Portland that he started to make a name for himself, he went 11-6 with a league leading 2.61 ERA. He was named the Eastern League pitcher of the year, and the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the year.

In 2006 he moved on to Pawtucket where he went 3-4 before he was called up to the Red Sox. In the last half of 2006 he went 7-2 with the Sox and posted a 4.76 ERA. On August 27th, 2006 he was scratched from a start against the Oakland A's due to a sore back and was placed on the disabled list. It was believed that he was sore from an accident that had taken place earlier in the month. On August 31st, 2006 Red Sox nation found out the truth as he was found to have anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a treatable form of cancer.

On December 5, 2006 it was reported that there were no signs of the cancer and on July 23, 2007 Lester made his first appearance back with the Red Sox in Cleveland. After struggling through his first few starts, Lester proved to be Crucial in the Red Sox world series run and he even won the clinching game in Colorado.

Lester is a highly coveted prospect for the Sox he has been considered untouchable in any trade, several teams tried and get him from the Sox over the past 4 years. Texas wanted him in the proposed Arod deal, Florida wanted him in the Beckett deal, and Minnesota wanted him in the proposed Santana deal. Its easy to see why the Sox are so attached to him. He is a very athletic Lefty, he has a 2-seam fastball, a 4-seam fastball, changeup, and an excellent curve ball. His delivery is smooth and very similar to that of Andy Pettitte. The more experience he gets the better his control should be. He is obviously a very hard worker, as it only took him 4 months to go from Chemo to the pitchers mound again.

Projected ETA: He is here to stay

Projected Position: With Schilling's injury he is either the third or fourth starter this year, if he continues to develop and works on his control he could be the number 2 starter on the team behind Beckett.
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Schillings Shoulder: Can you tear a rotator cuff playing World of Warcraft?

By now most of you have heard that Curt Schilling has a slight tear in his rotator cuff and will be out until at least July. I am calling it right here and right now; Curt Schilling will never start a game for the Red Sox again. That's right, you heard it here first. It's over. He can devote his time to making video games, or staying out of the sun, or writing on shoes or whatever the hell he does when he is not telling us how to think.

At this point anyone who is a member of the undergraduate class of BU or Northeastern is going nuts. They are wearing their green Sox hat and yelling "How can this fat asshole who named is website after food, think Schill won't be back? We wouldn't have won the series without him either time!" My response is simple; shut the hell up, your an idiot. Go back to disgracing the city and team, and leave the hard thinking up to people who actually follow the team year round, not just April to October. We know you started caring in September of 04, thats cool, there is room for you at the table too, just sit in the back and keep your mouth shut.

Anyway, this is it for Schill. There certainly was some doubt about signing him at all this year. He was a great pitcher and led this team to places it hadnt been in over a lifetime, and I suspect that is why they ultimately signed him to the one year, 8 million dollar deal. At the time, he had finished the season up solidly after spending much of the summer on the DL. I am sure someone figured he could still be a middle of the rotation guy, and a strong leader for Lester and Buckoltz. Plus, he would retire a Red Sox, and that would be cool. However, now his shoulder is falling apart from clicking the mouse and battling Leeroy Jenkins. But thats not why I think he is all done. He is choosing not to have surgery because that would most likely end his career, and the Sox brass told him that they would void his contract if he had it. So he is going to sit and rest it. With half the season on the shelf I am guessing that either Lester or Buckoltz is going to step up and take on that starting role. If they can do it well and consistently, then Schilling will wind up in the pen, or released all together. Possibly even traded at the deadline.

I am going to shoot an email over to mike and have him profile Lester and Buckoltz for all you rootbeer & Baconites, and I am sure that the other members of the furious four will have something to say on this matter. But I am calling it now, barring another major injury to the starting rotation, Curt Schilling will not start another game for this club.

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Summing Up Tom Brady's Year

While heading to the caf at work, I bumped into a buddy I hadn't spoken to in weeks. He asked me how I felt about the Superbowl loss. I told him like I told Mike DeSteno from West New York, "I feel horrible, and I never want to speak of it again."

While dispensing a hot cup of joe, he prodded a little further, asking me what I thought about the future. I told him it looks bright with Spring training and Daytona around the corner (knowing full well what he meant). I told him again that I didn't want to talk about it. His defense was that he wanted to talk about the future, not the past. Well, the problem is, the future of our Patriots relies on how we react to our past. We need some major upgrades, mainly in the defensive backfield. My coworker, who will go anonymous, then stated that we had a great season. Great season? GREAT SEASON? Really? Isn't it all about winning? Isn't it about raising that trophy and thanking God? Pretty much, right? Well, we both agreed that going 10-6 and winning the Superbowl is better than heading into the Superbowl 18-0 and losing the big game. But I still would not agree that we could look back on the 2007 season with good memories. I summed up this record breaking season of the Patriots like this:

"This season was like the perfect relationship. You can look back at the good times: the good sex, your trip to Blue Man Group, all of those great times you shared (haha). She was it, "THE ONE". The best you'd ever had...But then she fucks your brother."

Now all those good times and memories don't mean squat. Forgotten forever. Looked back upon with angst and frustration. It was all a never want to forget that horrible feeling, but don't torture yourself by reliving it
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Hey, You're Pedro Martinez...and This is a Cockfight!

Why does this not surprise me at all? And isn't this where he HAD to have met Nelson de la Rosa?

Oh, and FYI I found the picture of Nelson by Googling "Pedro Martinez Mini Me". Naturally, his Wikipedia page was the first thing to show. Read more!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My World Right Now

I have absolutely nothing of import to say today. A small quadrant of my apartment smells absolutely nightmarish and that I think is effecting my ability to do anything other than eat and watch television. Remember that keeping it real can and will go wrong sometimes and as Ben said, if you are ever driving down a dark road at night, ALWAYS be wary of Alice Cooper hunting for snakes.

Thank you and goodnight. Read more!

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!!! Let's Go Racin'!!!!!

When you think of February, you may think of that special someone. You may anticipate America's pastime beginning Spring Training. You may think of the NBA's All Star weekend. You may take a moment to think of some prominent and historical black figures of past generations. You may think of Bob Marley's birthday and Reggae month. There are many things that may come to mind when YOU think of February. What comes to my mind? Noxious fumes, rumbling engines, smokin' hot driver's wives and restrictor plate racin'!!!!

That's right boys and girls! Daytona is right around the corner! Set a reminder on that big HDTV in your living room for February 17th. At 2:30 pm, the 2008 Sprint Cup Series Race Schedule will start it's engine at the Daytona International Speedway. Most of you have probably stopped reading this blog. That's ok. Really, it is. You don't know what you're missing.

"Who wants to watch a bunch of cars driving in circles all afternoon?"

I do. Last year, at this very same track, Kevin Harvick, came from 7th place in final 2 laps to edge out the veteran Mark Martin by .02 seconds with the field wrecking behind them. Clint Bowyer finishes the race sliding across the finish line UPSIDE DOWN!!

If you have nothing to do or to look forward to. Check out the race in HD on February 17th. If you feel like a loser watching alone. Come to my place, I'll have my (now vintage) Dale Jr #8 pajamas on and my credentials around my neck....Let's Go Racin'!!
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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One time in Lowell...

Willie Andrews, a special teams standout for the Patriots was arrested last night in Lowell for possession of Marijuana. One of the bloggers here at R&B mentioned that the bigger problem was not the pot but rather the answer to the question "What was he doing in Lowell?".

Well, as some of you know, two of us here also take part in a family owned Bakery. Someday there will be an entire blog dedicated to the bakery but today, we are just going to give you a few gems from our late night delivery runs into Lowell...

One time, in Lowell, i delivered bread, and ten minutes later the shop was held up at gun point....

Another time, in lowell, i was yelled at by some dood on crutches because i wouldn't give him ride in my van up the hill.....

One time in Lowell I saw a large woman get hit by a car. While she was laying on the ground what I assume was her boyfriend started threatening the guy driving the car. The manager of the sub shop came out and said to stay still he had called 911. The woman jumped up off the ground and ran down a side street with her boyfriend. The car peeled out and took off. When the cop showed up I told him I had no idea what he was talking about.... Read more!

What the #@*$….

I’m not going to say that this loss stung as bad as that October night in 2003, but it was close. I would say that I was mostly in shock by the outcome. If someone had told you on Saturday that they see the future and had told you that the MVP of this game would have driven their team down the field with 2:42 left to play, make a few remarkable plays that will live on in Superbowl folklore and end the drive with a TD toss to his most dependable “big” WR, you would have thought of Brady and Moss, right? Right?

Well, it was Eli’s and Plax’s night. They punched the Patriots in the mouth with that opening drive and that was the difference. There were some games this year where we had 3 TD’s by the 10th minute of the game. Not this one. Their pass rush lived up to EVERYTHING that was written about it for the past 4 weeks. That rush took Brady out of his comfort zone. The ankle WAS an issue and teaming that with the fact that our O-line needed more help (and Belichick never gave it to them) our offense was non-existent.

Why didn’t we get two TE’s in there to help the O-line? Why didn’t we kick that 49 yrd FG on 4th and 13 on the G-Men 31? Why did we blitz Eli on the the Plax TD reception? Why? Because we were out-coached. Flat out. Never thought you’d hear that?? You just did. Bill Belichick, of the “In Bill We Trust” lingo, was out-coached. Josh McDaniels was out-coached. Dan Pees was out-coached.

This brings up some very interesting topics of conversation going forward. How long is Bill’s contract? How upset with Belichick is Bob Kraft? How embarrassed is Bill? Could we possibly be seeing the end of the Belichick era in New England? I don’t think so, but winning this Superbowl was imperative to Bill regaining some of his lost reputation.

We are right back where we were last February 5th. We’re back at the drawing board. Trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

I’m terribly disappointed in the outcome of this game on Sunday, but the feeling was not new. I’ve felt it before. We’ve all felt it before. That was our MO for years. Lets act like we’ve been here before, we can take it…..because there’s always next year.
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Monday, February 4, 2008

How to Kill Time Until March

If you are like me and you are a Pats fan then right now you are probably saying, "basta" (enough) to yourself after the Pats Super Bowl debacle on Sunday night. You need a break from sports. You need a break from ESPN. You just need to not think about those things for at least a few days because everything you see will lead your thoughts to meandering back to the Super Bowl.

Well, if you are like me then you know that it is absolutely impossible to distance yourself from sports just because you care too much. The Pats lose in agonizing fashion and the only way to snap yourself out of the funk is to start thinking about things like Manny playing like he did in the postseason last year, Dice-K making a Josh Beckett like leap, and the Celtics hopefully having the juice to play up to and even past Memorial Day for the first time since 2002 or the second time since god knows when, the early 90's probably. Of course all those things are not that close. We've got about a month until Spring Training games start in earnest and right now the NBA is in full mid-season mode. At least this year the talk of the Celtics is not where they'll pick in the lottery but rather how they can add that extra piece to make them actually legitimate Championship contenders. As we stand now, the C's are a virtual lock for being a 1 or 2 seed in the East but the team's true mettle and playoff ability will not really be known until the playoffs actually start with it being their first run together and all.

In the meantime, following the Celtics will mean slogging through middling games with the Milwaukees and Atlantas of the world. Fear not though, because THE marquis stretch of the C's season is coming up with a road trip through Denver, Golden State, Phoenix, Portland, and LA (for the Clippers) right after the break and then a couple of weeks later a trip through Texas and to New Orleans. If you are a Celtics fan and you are not excited for that trip then then there is something wrong with you. Aren't you dying to see how they fare against the best of the best? There are 9 road games mentioned there and 8 of those teams have (everyone except the Clips) very real playoff hopes.

And with Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, and New Orleans - yes New Orleans - the C's are facing the top seeds in the better conference. As my 12th grade trig teacher used to say, "If you don't like that, you don't like much in life".

After those two trips though, it will be more or less play out the string time for the last month of the seaons for the Celtics, but that will be okay because the start of the baseball season will be imminent and the NCAA Tournament will be ongoing so the excitement of those two events should hold everybody over until the NBA Playoffs get rolling in mid-April.

So sure, we're kind of in dead time now, but there are some good things to look forward to if you are like me and just cannot quit sports like Jake Gylenhall could not quit Heath Ledger RIP on the mountain.

If that is not enough, here are some other things that I'd suggest checking out to keep your interest.

1) Read a book.

Seriously. I'm not trying to be flip. With all of the buzz around Juno, try Nick Hornby's most recent novel, Slam. Slam tells a similar story to what goes on in Juno except this story I found to be both more believable and entertaining once you get over one big leap of faith which is pretty easy to come to grips with because it is dealt with immediately and consistently throughout the novel. The book is a real quick read and I'd dare say it is my second favorite Hornby novel behind About a Boy (much less chick-flicky than the movie). Seriously, I challenge anybody to read Slam and then go see Juno and tell me that Juno was the superior product.

2) Watch more TV.

Ha! I'm crazy aint I! I'm not going to tell you to watch Friday Night Lights or The Wire because you probably already get that elsewhere. If you are unwilling to give either of those shows a try then you very well may be a lost cause because each are fantastic but enough people jerk off over those shows that I will spare you for now and just assume that you don't watch them because you are sick of hearing about them. (The Wire I could write on for years. It is by far my all time favorite TV show. FNL is sneaky excellent, especially Season 1. So there, I did sneak in my two cents on each of those shows and you will be getting about three dollars worth of The Wire sometime real soon.)

Anyway, my TV reccomendation for everybody out there is Six Feet Under. After much prodding from my dad and my friend Chad, I finally started watching this on DVD over the summer. I'm only through the first three seasons so far, but the show is absolutely phenomenal. Honestly, it's a lot more like the later episodes of Sopranos than you may think. The only reason I would ever tell you not to watch Six Feet Under is if you are a virulent homophobe. If that is true, then please do not watch this show. There is a lot of man-love and you will get angry.

As for the three seasons I have seen to date, the first was outstanding, the second took a step back, and the third was outstanding again. The first was definitely my favorite though as it truly embraced the show's black, black comedy potential while the latter two seasons dabbled a bit some melodrama. Not offensive melodrama though and I say that because there is only one "event" in each the second and third seasons that could fall under this label and both serve a greater purpose to the show then just trying to suck you into the next episode. It is not week after week of doom and gloom and preposterous circumstances.

Enough babbling, just give the show a try. I can almost promise you that you will really like it.

Well that is that for now. Thanks for tuning in.
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The Sign Says it All

We here at Rootbeer & Bacon know that the Patriots hurt right now. We know that you are all wondering what to do. We hurt too. We
feel pain and loss. I for one have nothing to do on Sundays...nothing at least not until April. I was planning on taking tomorrow off to go to the I guess I will have to settle for voting for Obama.

But remember everyone, baseball is just around the corner....keep the faith.

Benny Read more!

Defense Wins Championships

Yes I am okay. I survived. It was touch and go for a while there...At one point I got upset swung my arm at something (I cant remember what) and hit a lit candle. The hot wax spilled all over my leg. I am fairly certain that would have made my fellow blogger Niel sexually aroused, but for me it became a perfect analogy of the game: A shitty mess on an otherwise perfect leg.

Remember a few years ago? Remember when we referred to the Pats Defense as Homeland Defense? I even bought a hat that said it. At that point we had a mediocre offense, but the defense not only carried them to a championship, but scored a bunch of the points as well. Defense wins championships.

That brings us to last night. I learned a lot last night:

1-Brady's ankle was never fine. I have not missed a game in his tenure and I have never seen him miss his receivers with so many errant throws. This is clearly a sign of his ankle not allowing him get enough touch on the ball. I am thinking specifically about two attempted deep balls to Moss late in the game.

2- Eating potato skins, followed by pigs in a blankets, followed by some type of dip, followed mozzarella sticks, followed by copious amounts of buffalo wings, followed by chocolate ice cream and washed down down with IBC rootbeer means that your farts smell so awful that your not even your dog will sleep next to you.

3-Usi Umenyora is a beast and has eclipsed Strahan as the dominant DE on that team.

4- You ever see Unbreakable? Remember the condition that Samuel L Jackson had? I am pretty sure that Randall Gay has it too. So much talent...too bad he is made of glass.

5-According to commercials, when driving down a dark road at night one has to be careful not to run over Alice Cooper looking for snakes. This is not an issue for me as I have been watchful for this since I got my license.

6-Does anyone remember a couple of games ago when the Pats checked backup RT Ryan O'Callihan into the game as a TE so that he could help keep a relentless pass rush at bay? It worked. Why didnt they do it last night?

I am getting angrier the more I type and I am at work, so this will have to end for now...Coming up next time I will break down some of the biggest questions facing the Pats as they move into the offseason.


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