Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Instant Celtics Analysis!

Before we get to the analysis, three other items:

1) Nick, welcome back! You write nothing for two months and then you throw up something that potentially puts us on the map? Is that really an exclusive? Well done buddy.

2) Most readers here are probably watching the CSN feed of the C's game, but being in DC I'm getting TNT. Well they just showed Lawrence Maroney sitting courtside and I think it is safe to say that roughly 90% of his pro earnings have gone towards jewelry. He probably rents a $250 a month apartment in Foxboro.

3) Nobody dogs Tony Allen more than I do. With that being said, I would have fully endorsed him entering Game 4 to try and cool off Joe Johnson. Of course that never happened and Doc got some heat for it. And then Tony came in in the second quarter of this game and had a vintage Tony Allen run. He started things off well with an acrobatic basket in the paint. And then he air-balled a three on their next possession, fouled Joe Johnson shooting a three when the Hawks went back down after his airball, and then on the C's ensuing possession threw the ball out of bounds. That's the Tony we know and (don't) love. Hey Tony, I hope you enjoyed the only time you'll see this postseason prior to 4th quarter mop-up duty.

And now the quick analysis..

Why the Celtics Won:

1) Paul Pierce attacked the basket, Kevin Garnett made a concentrated effort to dominate the blocks, and the jump shots and threes they did take all came within the flow of their offense. Most encouraging of this news has to be the play of Pierce. When he is attacking the rim he is really, really tough. Now if he could just get his free throw shooting back on track...

2) Their defense was outstanding, highlighted by a 39-28 rebounding edge including a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass.

3) Twice when Atlanta looked like they might make things a little too close for comfort they were able to have a key guy catch fire. At the end of the first half it was James Posey hitting two big threes and in the third quarter it was Ray Allen hitting three of them.

4) The Celtics were able to neutralize Josh Smith holding him to just 18 points (10 coming from the line), 5 rebounds, and most importantly only one block. As for that block, I think we all saw it coming miles away when Rondo thought he could expose the ball while going up for a dunk with Smith right on his tail.

5) The game was a typical slow-bleed Celtics bludgeoning until the fourth quarter when it became an out and out romp, but what still must be cause for concern has to be the inordinate amount of layups (I'm looking at YOU Rajon) the C's are missing and that KG still seems a bit at a loss when operating in the post. I really think that with his touch shots around the basket his massive energy gets the best of him resulting in him pushing his shots too much. Have you noticed how he has played his best in the post in garbage time? My theory makes sense right? Still, it is stupid to complain after a 25 point victory. Let's wrap things up on Friday.

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Tommy Chuckin' Signs!!!!!

Exclusive RBB Photo!!! Mr Stern, you don't understand Celtic Pride!!!
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Instant Celtics Anlaysis!

They lost because:

1) They missed an inordinate amount of shots from close range. Overall they shot 41% tonight and mark my words I will go to bed thinking of KG strong-arming jump hooks and Rondo missing layups. It's pretty tough to win when you shoot 41%.

2) They shot 18 free throws to the Hawks 33 and hit only 10 of them for a woeful .556% mark while the Hawks hit 29 of theirs registering .879%. Bottom line, the Hawks scored 19 more points at the line than the Celtics. I know Doc is hammering it into their head that they need to attack more so maybe this will be the wakeup call they need. No matter how good of defense you play, if you are getting outscored by 19 points at the line it is going to be next to impossible to win.

All of that is fine and dandy, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn't terrified of how KG has looked in the post. He seems completely lost when not shooting in rhythm or playing from 15-18 feet away from the hoop and every single jump hook he takes he seems to throw too hard off the backboard.

3) Even when the Celtics took a ten point lead in the third, my belief that they would hold onto that was slim to none as at no point during the game did they look like they deserved to be up ten points, let alone win the game.

4) With all this being said, you know the crowd is going to be INSANE in Boston on Wednesday and that should propel them to a Game 5 victory and will hopefully lead to them wrapping things up on Friday in Atlanta. If it comes to a Game 7, color me terrified because the Hawks have been playing with a "we don't give a F***!!" attitude the last two games that I can't help but admire. Plus, they have no answer whatsoever for Josh Smith and not much of one for Joe Johson either. In all honesty, Smith is probably the most exciting player I have seen play in quite some time. Too bad he has to play for the Hawks.

5) That's it. Let's say it again folks. Win Wednesday in Boston. TCB in Atlanta on Friday. And then play whomever in round 2 and forget this series ever happened. Read more!

5 Fearless Predictions

1) The Suns will rally from being down 3-0 to defeat the Spurs.

2) Jerod Mayo will win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Think about this for a second. Mayo will get a lot of press playing for a marquis team. Assuming he starts and is good - both of which I think will happen - he can potentially register 150+ tackles. Put that all together with a few big plays in some main event games next year and I think the award is his to lose.

3) Theo Epstein and Terry Francona physically force David Ortiz to go on the DL in the next week. Ortiz comes back 15 days later and after about a week is on his way to becoming the Big Papi we all know and love.

4) Clay Bucholz finds his way onto the AL All Star team. Seriously, the AL starting pitching crop is so weak I could absolutely see this happening. Who are the top 10 pitchers in the AL right now? I'd say:

1) Josh Beckett
2) CC Sabathia
3) Erik Bedard
4) Justin Verlander
5) Felix Hernandez
6) John Lackey
7) Fausto Carmona/Chien Mien Wang
8) James Shields
9) Rich Harden
10) Scott Kazmir

Of those guys, Sabathia had an awful first few starts but has come on strong lately and Verlander has been so-so. Fausto Carmona and Chien Mien Wang are both the same pitcher in my book as they can dominate games when their sinkers are on but do not strike out many people and I think their performances in last year's playoffs speak for themselves. Ditto for James Shields actually but he has no postseason experience - good or bad - to fall back on. (I know that pick seems crazy but look at his line this year, 2.54 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 28 K in 39 IP - pretty good.)

As for Bedard, Harden, Kazmir, and Lackey, they have hardly pitched this year if at all but are all outstanding when they do take the hill. You could almost say the same for Beckett, but he has at least made 4 starts this year and save for his first, he has been close to great in the other three.

The last player in the group, Felix Hernandez finally looks like he is harnessing his talent with 41 K's in 42 2/3 IP and a 2.22 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.

So, taking all that into account, I'd say that James Shields, Chien Mien Wang, Felix Hernandez, and probably CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, and Josh Beckett are all safe bets for the All Star Team. That probably leaves room for another SP or two and if Bucholz keeps going like he is, he'll certainly get himself into that conversation.

5) Jon Lester is involved in an in-season trade to an NL team as Theo recognizes that he needs to trade him now before his star - which Theo and company did so much to shine and polish - completely fades.

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Nice to See Ben is Back

It's good to see that our founder Ben has decided to grace us once again with his presence. I imagine that I am the one he is referring to as a member of Red Sox Nation, and I do admit it I am a card carrying member. There are two reasons for that though, A. because I have enough money to, and B. because it gets me tickets, whether it is a RSN only sale or the grandstand seats that come with my level of membership. Do I think the whole thing is ridiculous? Yes, but at the same time I think it is way to hard to get tickets and I unlike Ben are not willing to sacrifice visiting the ball park.

So it was a busy weekend in Boston Sports, there was the draft, the Celtics played, and the Sox lost three games in Tampa Bay. The last two didn't exactly go according to plan. Some notes from the weekend.

- The draft flew by this weekend, I am used to the days when it could take literally hours to get through the top five picks. By 4:30 an hour and half after the draft started the Patriots had made their first selection. I am excited about Mayo joining the aging group of linebackers that we have. I think they will be around long enough to mentor him and then he will be able to take over. I would like to point out to ever national sportscaster, our LB's maybe getting older but we still went 18-1 with the 4th best defense in the league, so they are obviously still getting the job done.

- I laughed on Saturday morning when I heard on the radio Herm Edwards say that he projected the KC Chiefs to get 6 or 7 starters out of this draft, then he went ahead and actually did it. They managed to get Glenn Dorsey at number 5, he was projected as the best player in the draft, they moved up and got Branden Albert, and they got a CB in Brandon Flowers I was hoping the Pats would have found a way to take. That was all in just the first day I was pretty impressed.

- The Sox got rocked this weekend in Tampa, I don't think its the end of the season or anything but they have been hurt and haven't had a day off in three weeks. I think with Mike Lowell back things will get better. They need to make sure they keep Jed Lowrie up here, the kid is going to be good and should be the starting short stop soon, if not this year then next.

- The Celtics did not look themselves on Saturday night. They will bounce back tonight in Atlanta. Al Horford taunting Paul Pierce was not a smart thing to do. Something tells me that KG would smack the crap out of the Hawks if he could get away with it. They are playing like a bunch of school yard punks and the Celtics need to put there foot down. Is it just me or does it seem like the Celtics are having the longest first round series ever? They have had three days off between a couple of the games, they are just traveling to Atlanta I can't see why it would take so long.

- Finally I am a proud owner of a Nintendo Wii, and I was able to add Mario Kart to my collection yesterday after a very frustrating wait in line at best buy. I have not always been thrilled with the wii, there is to much movement involved it makes it hard to veg out like I want when I play but this game makes up for all of those drawbacks, especially the online mode.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back in Action

So I have been missing for a while. The reason is that I have been on a vision quest of sorts. See, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the first Yankees game at Fenway. Now, I had a great time, and I would argue that I had a better time than all three of my friends combined. Let's just say that the people that were lucky enough to be sitting near me...LOVED me. But here's the thing; it was my first game at Fenway since my self imposed boycott of all things Red Sox that lasted the entire 07 season. I watched the games of course, but I refrained from giving the organization any of my money for anything. I was driven to do so by rising ticket prices, the cost of a hat, the price of beer and Red Sox Nation. Sadly, after a year away, I see that things have only gotten worse.

Here is the deal. I hate Red Sox nation. It sucks. It's members (including one of the writers on this site) are mindless monkeys following whatever their "President" tells them to do. The simple fact that bonafide members of the nation have actually paid to get a membership card. Let me say this plain: The current owners have managed to make people believe that they are bigger or better fans because they have paid annual dues to get a card the shows people just how much they love the sox. So let me get this straight, these trilobytes think that they are bigger fans than those from the 70's or 80's or 90's because those people were not members of the nation. Now, until that fateful game, I did not wish members of the nation harm, I just knew that I was better than them on many levels. However, after listening to the so called citizens of Red Sox nation around me, I sort of hope that something bad happens to them. I could go on and on about this topic, but instead I will simply give the members of the nation a reality check:

1. The Yankees do not suck. They are a world class club composed of some great ball players who have accomplished far more than the Red Sox. While they are the Red Sox rivals, they do not suck.

2. Simply being Red Sox fan does not mean that you have to hate anyone who is a Yankees fan. Believe it or not, people are born in and around the giant state of New York that love to root for their hometown team, the Yankees, just like you morons root for the Red Sox.

3. If you are a Red Sox fan and are at Fenway when the Yankees are in town, do not be surprised to find out that their are Yankees fans there. I know it is hard to believe, but not everyone who lives in or around Boston was born here.

4. Since we have established that there are, in fact, people who root for the Yankees and they may from time to time be in Boston, and even (GASP!!!) at Fenway park, let us talk about proper conduct for a bit. Now, anyone who enters another teams park wearing the gear of the opponent expects to take a little verbal abuse, but members of Red Sox nation should be ashamed of themselves. There was a guy in front of us wearing a Yankees hat. He was at the game with his girlfriend and her little sister. He was not taunting anyone, and was not even standing up and cheering as the Yankees kicked the hell from us. He was simply out at a game with his girlfriend. These four college frat boys behind us were shocked and insulted that he would wear a Yankees hat at "their" park. Here are a few exchanges between the Yankees fan and the fucking jagoffs behind us.

Nation member: Hey Faggot!!! What the fuck are you doing here?
Yankees fan waves and smiles
Ben: How do you know he is gay?
Nation Member: Anyone wearing a Yankees hat is a faggot!
Ben: He is clearly here with his girlfriend.
Nation member: He is still a faggot. Are you a Yankees fan?
Ben: No, I am simply talking to you because I think it is so cool that the Red Sox let retards buy tickets and sit all by themselves.

Exchange #2

Nation member: How can you date that faggot?
Girlfriend: Come on guys, leave him alone. He is from NY.
Nation member: Well tell him to watch his back, because we will kick the shit out of you guys.
Ben: Are you fucking serious?
Nation member: We can definetely beat up one faggot and his two bitches.
Ben: ....

5. Being a member of Red Sox nation does not mean you get to yell insulting shit at the players of the Yankees. Again, I love sitting near the opponents bullpen and giving them a hard time. But, these assholes behind me were yelling things about Joba's sick father, his mother, and just about anything else they could think up. They were completely shocked when security threatened to throw them out. I mean SHOCKED. They truly believed that it was the Red Sox Nation Constitution that they could yell anything they wanted at Yankees.

6. You can hate a member of the Red Sox and still be a fan. In fact, I will quote the great 21st century philosopher Joel Kalinowsky: "They're all bums." I have not tried to hide the fact that I hate Julio Lugo and his ass face, and will pay to get him off of the Red Sox. Now, admittedly I was a bit in the bag when trying to explain this to the woman in front of me, but she could not comprehend the theory that you can hate a player and still be a fan of the team. When I stated that they should bench Papi because he wasn't hitting, she just about died. It was at this point that she told a member of my party that he should not hang around with me anymore, and you know what...she was right about that.

7. Finally, Remy is a goon. Deal with it.

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The Weekend

Three big stories this weekend. Let's hit on all of them quickly.

1) The Patriots Draft

I am no Mel Kiper Jr. I'm not even Todd McShay. Keeping that in mind I am not even going to try analyze the Pats draft. A few weeks ago I said that I'd love to see them use their seven picks on five defensive players, a QB, and a tight end to give competition to the Anti-Coates, Ben Watson (I'm going to push that nickname until it sticks). Seeing as the Pats drafted six defensive players and a QB consider me a happy camper. From my completely uninformed opinion I see the Patriots draft as a rousing success.

After saying all of that, I will say that other than Matt Ryan, the only other top player in the draft which I had consistent exposure to was Jerod Mayo. My wife is a Tennessee alum, a football season ticket holder with her father, and a rabid fan along with him as well. Honestly, I have probably seen 80% of Tennessee's games over the past few years so amazingly I actually do know a thing or two about Jerod Mayo as opposed to a guy like Vernon Ghoulston who I had never heard of until I started perusing people's thoughts on who the Pats might take. So what is my take on Mayo?

Let's just say that if he does not become more or less an instant fan favorite, record 120+ tackles next year, and make some highlight reel hits then I will be absolutely shocked. Mayo played in the SEC and in the past year you could easily say that he was probably the most bad-assed guy on the field in every game he played. Seeing as the SEC is the most competitive football conference and churns out pro players like nobody's business, I'd say this is kind of a big deal. He was just one of "those guys" that you always anticipated making a big play at some point or another during the game and if mayhem was abound then the chances of him being in the middle of it were quite good.

On Friday, when it started leaking that the Pats were targeting Mayo, I began to get excited, and when they took him at 10 on Saturday I was thrilled. Don't trust me on a lot of things, but trust me on the fact that Jerod Mayo will 100% make a positive impact for the Patriots next year.

As for the rest of their picks. Well, I have no idea. I have not heard of a single other one of them.

2) The Celtics

If the Celtics were going to lose a game in the Atlanta series, wasn't it going to be the first game in Atlanta on a Saturday night? Of course it was! Combining that with Josh Smith playing out of his mind, Mike Bibby temporarily waking up from the dead, and the Celtics displaying some absolutely hideous shot selection in the third quarter lead by Ray Allen and Sam Cassell the Celtics really didn't have a chance. The one positive I will take away from the game however was Kevin Garnett finally deciding to play on the blocks. Even though they lost the game, if KG finally realized that he can dominate a game offensively from the blocks if sets his mind to it and consistently does that more often over the course of the playoffs then we can call this game a huge moral W.

My prediction for the rest of the series is that the C's win on Monday, the Hawks take the next game, and then the Celtics win in six at home. The reason I'm saying six and not five here is because Josh Smith is such a freak of an athlete that he himself with a little help from Al Horford can probably bring them another victory ine one of the next two games if the Atlanta fans bring the intensity. Hence the reason now for C's in six.

The Red Sox

So the Sox got swept by the Rays and are in the midst of a five game losing streak. Not good. No need to freak out though. Let's look at the bright side.

Clay Bucholz, fresh off my proclamation that he would be a great number two starter by July or so went out on Saturday and threw 8 innings, gave up 2 runs, 3 hits, struckout 9, and walked 2. He was also one bad pitch from those 2 runs being 0. Yes he lost the game, but there is plenty of good to take away from that. The Rays are a good hitting team too.

And then Beckett, whom I also praised the other day justified my kind words by pitching 7 innings on Sunday giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 13 to only 1 walk. Pretty good line. Again, they hung the loss on him but if the Sox can consistently get good to great pitching from Bucholz and Beckett then they should be in good shape moving forward.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Quick Thoughts

Gotta get a few things off my chest...

1) Why must the national announcers reference the Celtics famed Europe trip during every single game? I think everybody get's it by now. I'd say it has a chance to potentially pass the, "Hey did you know Kenny Lofton was the starting point guard for Arizona's Final Four Team in 1990?!" as the most stock tidbit which announcers feel obliged to throw in during every telecast, but the Europe trip should just be a one year story. The Lofton bit however was brought up every single year it seemed during Cleveland's playoff runs druing the mid and late 1990's. Between you and I though, I really don't think the Lofton story can be caught.

2) Am I crazy or at times does Rajon Rondo look like the best player on the court? Sure he can't shoot like Allen, score like Pierce, or rebound like KG but when he is playing well it seems like he can't be stopped. He can attack the basket at will, wreak havoc on the defensive end, grab rebounds, run the fast break, run the intermediate break, and even hit a jump shot or two. I know it's tough to swallow, but look at his game one line. He scored 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, grabbed 6 boards, had 9 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers in only about 28 minutes. Seriously, what more could you ask? I don't want to get my hopes up too high but I can't shake the feeling that this guy is a budding superstar.

3) Look, I know it is asinine, obnoxious, and arrogant to complain about the Red Sox as they are in the midst of a streak where they have won 9 of 10. With that being said, I'll start with the good before getting to the bad and potentially scary.

A) Manny is completely dialed in. It seems to me that all that stands in the way of him and a 40/140 season is an injury. Could he be looking at his first regular season MVP? Sure looks like it now.

B) It is absolutely impossible not to love what Pedroia and Ellsbury have been doing at the top of the order. I cannot remember in my lifetime, ever seeing a more dynamic and exciting duo than those two. It's going to be fun...

C) Papi is slowly starting to round into form and Julio Lugo apparently received his Jed Lowrie wake up call and is now playing pretty well. Both encouraging signs.

D) When he has pitched, Beckett has looked great, Manny Delcarmen looks like he is finally ready to contribute consistently, and Clay Bucholz seems like he should put it together completely by July or so and become a great number two starter behind Beckett.

And now the bad...

A) Year three of the Jon Lester Era has looked suspiciously like years one and two. Maybe I could get excited about him if he ever pitched a "wow!" game every now and again to give me a glimpse towards the potential that we always hear about, but I am yet to see that in three seasons. Even when he wins, his wins seem to come against sub-standard competition and whenever I watch him I always wait for the wheels to come off. I know I'm cynical with this guy, but at some point shouldn't improvement start to be expected? He's the same guy he was two years ago.

B) Craig Hansen's back in town! Uh-oh! Seriously, this must be an audition for him right? Why don't they just let him juice his numbers against the worst teams they play and then trade him as fast as humanly possible? That would be my move anyway.

C) As exhilirating as all of these come from behind wins have been lately, you cannot be too happy about the fact that they have consistently fallen behind and need to claw their way back every night. Right now, the Sox have the 4th worst team ERA in baseball, are 21st in WHIP, and have allowed the third most walks. Those are horrible numbers. What's worse, their starters have not been going deep into games and at some point needing four innings from your bullpen almost every night is going to bight you in the ass. Just look at the Mets last year. The only silver lining in all this is that their pitchers are second in K's which leads you to believe that there is some room for improvement. Let's hope so.

D) Even if the pitching save for Beckett has been uniformly bad, there is something about this team and the way they battle - I think it has a ton to do with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youklis, and a happy Manny - that I really like. Last year's team seemed like a bunch of robots and I never really "liked" the team a ton. I honestly think that all of the hatred that everybody was directing towards Drew and Lugo put some sort of haze over the team from June through late September. This year the vibe is different and I love it.

That's it for now.
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Quick Post

I have spent most of my day hard at work rating out Utah Home policies, I know it sounds like a ton of fun, anyway as the day was winding down I surfed on over to to see if anything had happened all day that I need to know. In there truth an rumors section I had to see my local teams in a negative light.

First of course I see that Matt Walsh has agreed to speak with the Commissioner about his former job with the Patriots. Am I the only one out there who thinks that he can't have anything that exciting to say. I mean Kraft and the Coach wouldn't have moved on like they have if this guy had anything. He is a hack golf pro just trying to make a name for himself.

Second, I had to read about how the Red Sox fans are a bunch of racists according to Torri Hunter. Now I love Torri's 2007 Allen and Ginter baseball card with the greatest Oh face every, but what is he smoking. Saying we threw batteries at him, that we chanted the N word at him. I have been to many games including games against his former team the Twins and I never saw anything like that. Would anyone do that in this day and age, and if someone did throw batteries and beer at him like he claims why wouldn't he have told security. As I witnessed at the Yankees game they will not hesitate to throw someone out or at least yell at them.

Finally, Mike Bibby needs to shut the hell up. Are Celtics fans band wagon fans? Maybe we are, but I don't know if he saw the team last year but they SUCKED. Tickets are way to expensive so why would people pay to cheer on a team that was trying to lose. Let me say that again THEY WERE TRYING TO LOSE. Mike Bibby we don't all make 10 million dollars a year, and I don't care if it makes us bandwagon fans but who is going to pay that kind of money to see the likes of Sebastian Telfair. I would also like to point out that Bibbys Kings only visited once last year in the middle of an 18 game losing streak!!!! I'm sorry your on the Hawks now Bibby and you are going to be watching the Celtics play in the next round as soon as they kick your ass, but GET A CLUE!!! Basketball is a product and when the local team offers crap not nearly as many people are going to go or pay attention.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008 - The Biggest DC Sports Day in Quite Some Time

I have lived in DC since the summer of 2002 and for the first time today, April 22, 2008 - after almost six years - I can say that DC is legitimately a sports Mecca. Well, for a day anyway.

Consider this:

The Capitals

I know next to nothing about hockey and have not followed it really at all since the days of Cam Neely in Boston. As you can see, I am obviously a huge sports fan but other than a guy named Chara, a 6'9" defenseman from what I gather I cannot name another player on the Bruins. This is not about the Bruins of course but I tell you this just to illustrate how blatantly out of the hockey loop I am.

Despite all that, DC has been galvanized by the Capitals since around the New Year. From what I have been able to gather, they started out the season sucking it up and were bringing up the rear of their division. Then they somehow turned around their season, lead by Alex Ovechkin, a guy who mildly resembles the Anton Chigurh character from No Country for Old Men and who along with Sydney Crosby in Pittsburgh is tasked with making the NHL at least kind of relevant again. Long story short, Ovechkin put the team on his back, scored 65 goals on the year and lead the team from the basement to the division crown.

Since the start of the playoffs two weeks ago, the Capitals have been the talk of the town around these parts and earlier tonight they played a Game 7 against the Flyers, apparently their arch rival. As if there needed to be more to fire people up for the game, Game 6 was played last night and the Caps won that coming back.

With all that as the backdrop, Tuesday night I decided to hop on the old bandwagon. Or rather, I turned the game on in the third period when it was tied. After an exhilarating third period, the Caps committed a tripping penalty in OT and with nine seconds left on the penalty, the Flyers scored the game winning goal. Honestly, for the hour I put into watching the end of this game I was on the edge of my seat. I was even running over options in my head of becoming a bandwagon Caps fan for the spring. And then of course they lost. I was upset for about two minutes after the fact, not because I was bummed about the team losing per se but more that I was bummed about not being able to hop on the bandwagon. I mean, I really enjoyed myself during the third period of that game and I was entirely prepared to invest more into the team. Whats more I was even congratulating myself for finally being able to find a DC team that I would not be conflicted rooting for. I've hopped on the Wizards bandwagon for times in the past but it was always half-assed and I always knew that in a Celtics/Wizards game I was going with the Celtics no matter what. Here though, I was completely willing and ready to sell my soul to the Caps. But, like I said they lost. And, by the time the hockey season starts again in October I can promise you that I will go back to being apathetic as I am now because sugar buzzes don't last forever you know?

Still, it's always fun being in a city when they are rallying around a team and that was the case here with the Caps. It's over now, but you can't deny that a Game 7, in DC against a team from Philly is a relatively big story in the sports world when competing against April baseball, relentless and annoying NFL draft "hype", and Games 1 and 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. So there, in this case DC mattered.

The Wizards

I used to love Gilbert Arenas back in 2004. That was back before he had a blog and before he decided that he wanted to go for 50 every game instead of actually coming out of a game with a W for his team. In a lot of ways, Arenas of the past few years reminds me a ton of Antoine Walker.

If you can remember way back when what made Antoine look like he was going to become a top tier power forward in the NBA was the quickness and passing ability he possessed from the 4 spot while being big enough to get 10 boards a game and bang with larger forwards on the blocks. I remember a game in maybe 1997 when he was playing against Karl Malone and Malone was clueless as to how to defend him because 'Toine could beat him off the dribble at ease but then could take him down in the paint and score on him there too. Needless to say, Tommy Heinson gushed over his potential after years of watching Dino Radja. But what potential it was! If Antoine had stuck to that instead of deciding that he was going to become a three point chucker and point forward known for leading the break and either dribbling the ball off a body part or jacking an ill-advised three who knows what he would have been like? I tend to think C-Webb in his prime would be a comparison. That would have looked pretty nice alongside Paul Pierce on the O'Brien teams right? Of course it was not meant to be though and now - unfortunately I think - he may have ended his career in Minnesota playing for an awful team and racking up DNP CDs. Despite all I said, I still have a soft spot for Antoine and would love to have him as a token scrub on the 2008-2009 Celtics. I know I'm not alone.

I guess I was supposed to be talking about Gilbert Arenas there and the point I was trying to get at was that Gilbert, like Antoine eschewed his main skill which made him so unique - BLAZING speed from the perimeter - in favor of jacking up shots left and right and is now a much less enjoyable player to watch than he was a few years ago. Also, he seems to think he is the NBA's best player and has probably read his press clippings a bit too much which really aggravates me. I just hate seeing players ditch what made them great to begin with trying to become an all world scorer or doing something else on the court that may be more fun or glamorous than what got them to the league and what made them initially great.

Enough about Gilbert though - and Antoine too - I need to actually talk about why the Wizards are relevant right now. I'll be quick this time.

The Wizards have apparently gone to the San Diego Chargers school of talking constantly about how great they are despite never winning anything. The Chargers are lead by the loathesome Ladanian Tomlinson and the Wizards are lead in this regard by the not quite as loathsome Gilbert Arenas and the "why the f--- are you running your mouth, your career peaked in the 1999 McDonalds All American Game" Deshawn Stevenson.

After running their mouths incessantly and stupidly calling Lebron overrated, the Wizards now find themselves down 2-0 in their playoff series, have resorted to trying to beat up the Cavs physically because they can't beat them regularly, and are coming off a 30 point road loss to boot. Needless to say they look like idiots. Probably because of this, and because of Brendan Haywood's hard foul on Lebron on Monday, the Wizards are finding themselves in the sporting news right now making them part two of our puzzle. Sure it's not in a glowing light but all publicity counts right?

The Redskins

DC sports cannot be DC sports without the Redskins. As such, they made the news Tuesday by trying to trade the Bengals their current first round pick and a pick next year (maybe another first rounder) for Chad Johnson. For some idiotic reason the Bengals turned this trade down forgetting that the Pats got Randy Moss for just a fourth rounder, not realizing that this package will inevitably blow away any other offer they get for him, and that by TOing Johnson and kicking him off the team they may get rid of him but they also get nothing in return. If you ever wonder why the Bengals consistently suck, this gives you a pretty good idea as to why.

The funniest thing about this trade is that I said to my wife last week, when news came out that Johnson wanted no part of the Bengals that Redskins owner Dan Snyder would offer up a ransom of draft picks to the Bengals for Johnson because Johnson coming available came at a perfect time for the Redskins, AND a player like Chad Johnson was way too much for Dan Snyder to resist. It was almost like a Dan Snyder perfect storm and you know he is pissed he cannot get him. Snyder looks for certain things in a player it seems to me. First the player must be high profile and a famous name, and second he must be willing to play for a lot of money. Johnson fits that profile to a T, and because the Redskins were uncharacteristically quiet in free agency this year, they had the cash to take him on. Oh yeah, and they also have a need for a big play receiver to take some heat off of Santana Moss so the position was even one of need! As I said, it was the perfect storm for Synder to strike and he did. Unfortunately for him the Bengals turned down his offer.

Even if no trade happened, you still must admit that one of the most famous and infamous players in the league almost getting traded to one of the NFL's marquis franchises is a big deal. Maybe it did not happen ,but talking about it is fun anyway.

And there you go. April 22, 2008, the day DC sports as a whole actually mattered. Like I said, it was kind of crazy because I've never been in this city with all this sports stuff going on. Normally we're just stuck with Client 9 at the Mayflower Hotel or the DC Madam.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekend Notes

Some notes from a very exciting sports weekend in Boston.

- I can't stand Hockey, I flip right by it every time but tonight I might just tune in and see how the Bruins do. I was at the Sox game last night and as if they planned it the Bruins game ended just as they were playing Sweet Caroline and the crowd went nuts. I have been at Fenway for playoff games and it had the same atmosphere.

- The Sox are playing out of there minds again this April. Ortiz has his average up to .160, and Manny is piecing together the beginnings of an MVP type season. When he hit the one out on Sunday it looked as if the ball was still rising when it hit the light tower over the monster. I would also like to encourage you all again to donate money to get Lugo out of town, Lowrie is ready and I think Boston is ready for him.

- The Celts absolutely thumped Atlanta. I would like to know what the Hawks were thinking that they would upset the Celtics just like Golden State did to Dallas last year. There were some differences there. First Golden States plays in the western conference and were vastly superior to the Hawks. Second, they had beat Dallas during the regular season Atlanta lost to the Celtics every time. And Lastly, Dirk is a wimp and can get pushed around, KG will not take that kind of Shit.

- Danica Patrick finally won a race, it took 50 races and it finally happened. The best part was the video of an older woman who I assume is her mother running down to her car and Danica not seeing her and hugging everyone else and her mother kind of jumping around.

- We are one week from the NFL Draft, it should be interesting what the Pats do with the number 7 pick, they always seem to surprise people when they pick later so lets see if they stick to what all the mock drafts have them doing.

- Finally I was there for the moment of silence that was held for John Marzano at Fenway Park. My future father in law and I both knew who he was but there were a lot of who's that from the pink hats that sad around us. Also from all my googling I can't find out if Carlos Quintana is dead I will give you these two facts I learned. He lost his first base job to Big Mo Vaughn back in 1993, and he is once played a game in Pawtucket and Boston on the same day. Boy I love the crappy sox teams of the early 90's.

That's all for now, today is going to be a good day the sox are winning and the Bruins are on tonight.
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John Marzano RIP

Sad, sad news here regarding one of the quintessential fringe Red Sox from late 1980's and early 1990's. Maybe it was my age at the time they were playing but I can rattle off a number of these guys without blinking and now one has passed. I think the others in this group would have to be Danny Heap, Kevin Romine, Randy Kutcher, The Big Q Carlos Quintana (also dead I think?), and of course the great Nick Esasky whose 1989 season has to go down as the most surprising great season of my lifetime. Anyway, good times whenever you bring up those late 80's/early 90's Sox teams, but very sad times when you hear of a passing.

Any other names I should throw out there? I'd say Jody Reed and Billy Hatcher too but they were too good I think. Ditto that for Tom Brunansky. And no, I will not give any love to two time All Star, Scott Cooper.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quickie Story

To get you all revved up for the playoffs, I'll share a little story with the group. I found it pretty interesting, I hope you will too.

After an event in Boston last week an old roommate of mine headed to a bar with another guy he attended with to catch the end of the Sox-Yanks game. At the bar, he saw two large, well cut, and athletic looking black guys. With it being Boston and all he immediately peered in for a closer look thinking that they could in fact be athletes. Well low and behold he was correct. The two aforementioned gentleman happened to be James Posey and Eddie House and let's be honest, like Timlin and Embree back in the day, it's only fitting that these two roll together and are tight.

Here are some things he passed on about his encounter which I found interesting and decided to share:

1. Both guys I was happy to hear were incredibly friendly and down to earth. I always love learning when athletes that I hate are assholes and conversely, I love hearing about when random but respectable role players like Posey and House are good people.

2. Eddie House was much larger than anticipated. This just once again reinforces how tiny in the NBA world (six foot, one inch) is normally on the tall side in the regular world. Meanwhile, James Posey seemed incredibly lanky.

3. It was their belief that the Lakers were the best team and that the Spurs were too old.

4. According to them, the only players in the league right now that can carry their teams single-handedly through the players are Kobe, Lebron, and Chris Paul. The last one's kind of a shocker huh? Well, maybe not so much after Saturday against the Mavs.

I understand none of that is groundbreaking news, but I still thought I would share. It should also be noted that my buddy left the bar at the same time as Posey and House and as he got into his Prius, Posey retrieved his Aston Martin from the valet. Exactly.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thank You Tito for Not Being Joe Torre

One thing I really like about Terry Francona - and probably Joe Torre's greatest detriment in his later NY years - is his understanding of the fact that you won't win every game. This might seem a little blasphemous, but I think last night is the perfect example.

Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Sox were down 9-7 with the bottom third of their order due up in the ninth and the middle portion of their bullpen already gutted due to Bucholz not making it out of the 4th. Realistically, the chances of them winning this game were not the greatest. As such, Tito had a decision to make. He could either roll the dice with Mike Timlin who is officially in year three of, "why do the Sox still employ him if he can't get guys out?" status and hope that he can somehow hold the game at 9-7, or he could go with Manny Delcarmen or Hideki Okajima, his eighth inning guys of choice. Thing is, both Delcarmen and Okajima pitched the night before.

If the Sox have the lead, he definitely calls on one of those two, and if the game is tied then maybe he summons one of them. But they were losing, and I think Tito knew deep down that the chances of the bottom third of the order scraping together a couple of runs off of Mariano Rivera were not too great. Possible of course, but the odds were highly stacked against it. Knowing this, he figured he'd see one more time if Timlin was really as washed up and useless as he has appeared to date with the understanding that they probably weren't going to win anyway so he may as well see if he could steal a scoreless inning from Timlin - and just as imporant a night of rest for Delcarmen and Okajima - and then maybe the team could improbably rally in the ninth. Of course Timlin got crushed per usual and the Sox lost a game that they might have normally lost by two or three runs by six. A loss is a loss though and while that eighth inning abomination changed the ninth inning from "maybe we can win" to "let's take some hacks and get back to the hotel" the bottom line is that a loss was most likely coming regardless, the one that took place just looked a little uglier than it could have.

Because the Sox pitching staff currently consists of 4 guys (everyone but Beckett) where you can put the odds at 50/50 of them making it into the 6th inning on any given start - and I'd put Lester's odds at more like 25/75 (making it/not making it) on account of his quest to master the 30 pitch inning - you are going to need a lot from your bullpen throughout the entire year. As such, any night you can rest your three best bullpen options even at the expense of a relatively tight game exploding into a laugher you have to do that. If in said game your worst and oldest reliever finally proves to his manager once and for all that he should be put out to pasture and only used in games where the spread is ten either way, then all the better. So, if last night's game forces Tito to relegate Timlin to the bottom of the bullpen totem pole or better yet gives the Red Sox the ammo they need to forcefully put him on the DL then isn't it all worth it? Won't that potentially save some games in the long run? Granted we all know that a Tito hallmark is his rabid loyalty to his players so the chances of this actually happening are slight, but it should be noted that last year he did buck tradition in this sense in benching Coco in the ALCS when it became painfully obvious he was an automatic out in favor of Ellsbury. Because of this, maybe there is hope this year of Timlin officially taking up the position of Mopup. Keeping all of this in mind, not only do I think Tito made the right tactical decision in not using Okajima or Delcarmen last night, I also am holding out hope that there could be a silver lining contained therein which is no more Timlin in relatively close games unless absolutely necessary. We shall see.

I've been wanting to say that since last night. Now with that out of the way, three more thoughts about the game:

1. Despite his ugly line, I actually thought Clay looked pretty good after the first inning. In the fateful fourth he was victimized by a couple of tough calls behind the plate that didn't go his way, a bloop hit, and a classic Derek Jeter moment as he took a tough fastball the other way for a two run single where you must credit the hitter and not blame the pitcher. If you ever wonder why that guy will be a first ballot Hall of Famer or why he strikes fear into opponents whenever he is up with runners on base despite having moderate power, well that is the reason. Regardless, I think the numbers lie here about Bucholz's start and I actually came away encouraged.

2. Make no mistake about it, if Joe Torre were managing in Tito's shoes last night he absolutely would have used Delcarmen or Okajima in the game in that situation. Maybe the Yankees would have won and maybe they would not have - again, odds are highly in the favor of taking the L - but you know either way that Torre would have put in his Tom Gordon/Paul Quantrill Memorial Late Inning Reliever I Will Burn Out by August. Whenever it is documented that relievers were terrified to go to the Yankees because they thought Joe Torre would burn them out and possibly ruin their career you probably want to take note of that model and do the exact opposite. Francona did that last night and I appreciate it.

3. Tim Mcclelland's delayed ball/strike calls last night bordered on the absurd and were a perfect example of an umpire trying to make himself part of the game. I found his entire act to be completely obnoxious and I did not blame Manny at all for snapping at him early in the game. Yes, the 3-2 pitch he got called out on was a strike, but why did Mcclelland have to wait until Manny had already started his trot down to first to ring him up. This was not a case of Manny tossing the bat and immediately heading to first after the ball landed in the mit either. Manny paused for a second at home seemingly waiting to get rung up, then upon not seeing a call started down to first only for Mcclelland to make the strike three call after Manny had left the batter's box. If this was not a case of an ump trying to show up a player than I do not know what else would constitute that, but he kept the act going for the entire game and I found it thoroughly obnoxious and grating.

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Friday Night at the Ball Park

So fellow RBB writer Ben and I visited Fenway Park on Friday night to watch the first game in the Red Sox Vs. Yankees series. As it turned out it was the only game that the Sox would lose. It is certainly a different atmosphere at Fenway when the Yankees are in town I wouldn't say it is better. People take these games against the Yankees way to seriously there was a tenseness that I hadn't felt there since I was at a playoff game in 2004. People need to be reminded that it is only April, and we are months away from each game mattering this much. I have some messages for some of the people we ran into on Friday.

- To the four jackass kids behind us, SHUT THE HELL UP. I can deal with hecklers, in fact most of the time I welcome it. Ben can be quite effective at it when he gets a few beers in him, but the 4 nerdy frat boys behind us were drunk and just stupid. When you can't come up with anything other than swears and yelling Joba you should have your baseball fan license taken away from you.

- To the usher who seemed to grow attached to the kids behind us and talked someone from security into not throwing them out in the fifth inning. Thanks allot, we paid over 200 dollars to be there, plus a hundred or more for parking and food, and the last four innings would have been immensely more enjoyable if they had been watching it from the drunk tank.

- To the mother of three who sat in front of us and thought it was her job to talk to us throughout the game. She spent the first two innings insisting that Ben and I have to have a favorite Red Sox player, and that we had to love Varitek even though he hits .250. Vartiek is fine and 20 years from now when he is the guy they bring back for special occasions I will yell the loudest for him, but as long as he in uniform I am not going to blindly like the damn pink hatted woman who sat in front of us. Also as she got drunker how she insisted that Matt could not be friends with Ben and I, as he was much nicer than we were.

- To the drunk 5 foot 2 inch blond Yankees fan the next section over who in the seventh thought it would be a good idea to start taunting the wet and cold Red Sox fan. If you wanna get kicked out of the game when your drunk then go right ahead, but for your own sake leave when security tells you to. This genius got dragged out by the cops and the usher later told us she took swings at them. If you leave willingly its the street, you protest its a night in the drunk tank, you throw a punch at a cop then your going to end up in jail.

- To the woman who saw Ben, Matt, Jeff and I walking towards the parking garage and asked if we were a gang. Your an idiot, I am not sure what part of our appearance other than the fact that we were walking next to each other gave her the impression we were a gang.

So that is about it, work has been out of control so I apologize it took nearly a week to get this posted. I will be back soon with my NBA playoffs preview.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

25 Most Famous Baseball Players

Seeing all this stuff posted everywhere about the decrease in the amount of African-American baseball players today got me to thinking. No, not about what this means or if it's worth getting up in arms about, but instead about who the 25 most famous baseball players of the last 15 or so years have been. Don't ask me how I got there, but that's just how my mind works. For fun, I even have them ranked. Oh, and because this started from the diversity news I included all the player's race (in generic terms) to see what that breakdown may be. Regardless, the list is the fun part right? Here it is! And keep in mind I said, "famous" not "best" and because of that, off the field "stuff" like endorsements, PTI mentions, and showing up on Page Six count too.

The List:

25. Chipper Jones (white)
24. Gary Sheffield (black)
23. Mike Piazza (white)
22. Vlad Guerrerro (Latin)
21. Johan Santana (Latin)
20. Albert Pujols (Latin)
19. Tom Glavine (white)
18. Tony Gwynn (black)
17. Manny Ramirez (Latin)
16. Pedro Martinez (Latin)
15. Mariano Rivera (Latin)
14. Curt Schilling (white)
13. Greg Maddux (white)
12. Randy Johnson (white)
11. David Ortiz (Latin)
10. Ichiro Suzuki (Asian)
9. Derek Jeter (black - but not "all the way" right Gary Sheffield?)
8. Alex Rodriguez (Latin)
7. Ken Griffey Jr. (black)
6. Jose Canseco (Latin)
5. Cal Ripken Jr. (white)
4. Sammy Sosa (Latin)
3. Mark McGwire (white)
2. Roger Clemens (white)
1. Barry Bonds (black)

9 White
5 Black
10 Latin
1 Asian

Do with that information as you please.

Some notes on my choices:

* As great as he has been since coming into the league, Albert Pujols seems to have the Barry Bonds "I'm a standoffish pr*ck" thing going for him. This is not a plus.

* Pedro's prime was better than any pitcher's prime during this era, but thanks to self-promotion, the bloody sock, and 3 World Series rings, Big Schill has a marked edge on him.

* Should Mo Rivera be higher? I can't decide. I do feel bad for him however as he is the greatest closer ever but the first two images that probably come to people's mind when thinking of him are blown saves - the Luis Gonzalez bloop to win the 2001 World Series and Dave Roberts steal followed by Bill Mueller's RBI single in 2004. The guy deserves better but so it goes as a closer right?

* David Ortiz might seem high but he is the face of MLB right now and there is no denying that.

* Jeter was the face of MLB before Ortiz. Plus he plays for the Yankees, has dated A-List stars and super-models, has been in numerous Nike and Gatorade spots over the years (the big two for athletes), and has won 4 World Series titles.

* Ken Griffey Jr. was probably the best and most popular baseball player of the 1990's.

* Canseco has pretty much been a spectacle since the late 1980's and obviously, current events have done nothing to diminish this.

* Bonds or Clemens? Clemens or Bonds? I originally was going to go with Clemens because of all of the ridiculous shenanigans around his retirements, pool parties, and the Mitchell Report. Those things drove me crazy, but kept him in the news plenty. Still, there has not been a bigger day-to-day spectacle since almost the turn of the century than Barry Bonds. Whether it was his push for 73 or being the face of BALCO and steroids, the amount of breath devoted to and wasted on this guy over the past 7-8 years has been staggering. Clemens too of course, but I felt like Barry was the move here.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Trying to Un-Scare Myself of the Wizards

Before I start here are three things you should know:

1) On ESPN2 on Monday night they were televising the NCAA Women's Bowling Championship. This is not a joke. I can't be alone in my amazement that this is an NCAA sanctioned sport to begin with. Isn't that the exact reason that club teams were invented? Just asking.

2) Seeing ESPN's baseball announcers Jon Miller and then on Monday, Dan Schulman pimp Mariah Carey's new CD has absolutely been killing me. Miller took his duties a little too seriously, not even hinting at the irony of a guy like him trying to sell a Mariah Carey CD. I give props to Schulman who immediately mocked the ridiculousness of what he was doing after the fact and openly passed the buck to his broadcast partners for the next read. Obviously, I enjoyed the Jon Miller promo much more.

3) Jon Lester cannot beat good hitting teams and more often than not neither can Dice-K. Wait, you probably already knew that. I hate being negative, but watching teams like the Yankees and Indians pick apart these guys is highly frustrating. As you watch the games all you can do is wait for the inevitable to happen which is of course the game being broke wide open after 15 walks and a bunch of hard hit singles and doubles.

And now, I gotta talk about the C's.

Really, I'm not going to say too much but I do come here to assuage everybody's doubts and fears of the C's meeting the Wizards in the second round. First, let me be completely blunt and say that the Wizards absolutely terrify me as a second round opponent. Part of me knows that they can and should beat them in a 7 game series, but the other part of me knows the hard facts that the Wiz took three of four from the Celtics during the regular season. What makes this even scarier is that everybody laughed off Golden State sweeping Dallas in the regular season last year once the playoffs started and we all know how that turned out.

Keeping in mind that the Wizards 3-1 record against the C's is a 3-1 record no matter which way you cut it, let's look a little deeper at each game.

Game 1 in Boston 11/2/07, Celtics win 103-83
This was both the first regular season game and home game of the KG Era. There was no chance the C's were losing this one. As such, I really don't put a ton of stock in the victory as it would have been a monumental shock if they were to lose this game.

Game 2 in DC 1/12/08, Wizards win 85-78
Again, this is another victory that I put little stock in, this time though the victory went to the Wizards. I was at this game and if you cannot tell by the score it was an absolutely horrid display of basketball. Both teams were sloppy and could not generate any offense and it gave me flashbacks to some Jim O'Brien specials earlier this decade. In the end, the C's gave up the lead in the 4th quarter - which was amazing to me because they never should have been winning in the first place - and lost a game which they had no business winning. So why do I put little stock in the Wizards victory? Well first off, they played pretty bad too and secondly this game was very similar to the C's game in Phoenix back in February where they were 100% out of synch and just plain flat. Those games will happen in an 82 game season and you really can't look too much into them as long as they are not habit forming. I think it is safe to say that that was not the case judging by the 64-66 games they will end up winning this year. Fluke game that was 1 of 82. No biggie.

Game 3 in Boston 1/14/08, Wizards win 88-83
The C's straight up blew this game allowing the Wiz to erase a 14 point fourth quarter deficit by ending it on a 25-6 run. All credit has to go to Washington here. They won the game just as much as the Celtics lost it. But the optimist in you has to go back to the last game mentioned and say that it too was a fluke game in a sense as long as blowing big fourth quarter leads did not become habit forming. They didn't save for the New Orleans and Philly games in March when the C's lost fourth quarter leads due to Doc using the second half of those games as scrimmages and toying with his rotations. You never like to lose games like that, but I'm taking the positive out of this one too and using the fluke/at least they were up 14 in the fourth arguments.

Game 4 in DC 4/9/09, Wizards win 109-95
Because by this time the C's had already wrapped up everything of significance for the postseason (best overall record in both Conference and NBA) the goal for Doc here was to keep Pierce and Ray Allen's minutes to around 30 and KG's minutes in the low 20's. That worked out fine for the first two quarters and then, in the third and fourth quarters, the Wizards came out and blitzed the Celtics. For a while, they did this against Pierce and the Celtics B-Team but then in the fourth quarter Doc decided to go for the W and brought back in his main unit. No matter, the Wizards withstood a Celtics run and ended up winning with relative ease. This, you cannot argue was a definitive W for the Wizards. Sure, they made their big run without KG playing but even when he came back he was more or less a non-factor. They won this game outright.

So there you have it folks. The four Celtics/Wizards games from this year. By my tally the C's won one game that they could not have lost, lost one game that did to basketball what Khloe does to the Kardashian name, lost another game they should have won, and lost a game where they were soundly beaten. The way I see it, the only game that you can really take anything away from between these two teams this year was the game the Celtics lost last week. Not good to be 0-1 but I think it's better than 1-3 right? We'll see. I think I have just made myself a little less scared of the Wizards in the second round, but not by much. It's just not a good matchup for them. We'll see though. Either way, bring on the playoffs even if it will be the Atlanta Hawks for the first week or so.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Lay Off Drew and Lugo?

If you were to do a Family Feud style poll of Red Sox fans and ask them to name their two least favorite players on the team, I am willing to bet JD Drew and Julio Lugo would be mentioned as one of the two players on all 100 ballots and they'd both be named on probably about 75 of those. Obviously, those two guys are not popular and yes I know this is hardly a revelation.

Today I have actually come out to defend those two guys. No, I'm not going to try and hoodwink you and say that I think they are good players, undervalued by the fan base. Instead, I will urge you to direct all vitriol en route to those two guys directly upstairs to Theo and the front office. You see, you really can't hate on people for being themselves no matter how maddening it may be and like it or not, Drew and Lugo have turned out to be pretty much exactly as advertised and I'd like to open up the "what did Theo see in from the start" debate all over again.

Let's look at the red flags for JD Drew before signing with the Sox:

* Injury prone/will sit out with the smallest of injuries/soft -
He played in 140 games last year which was the third time in four years that he had reached that mark (maxing out at 146 in 2006 which really is not that impressive) and he probably would have played more if not for his ineffectiveness. Therefore, believe it or not I'd say that he actually outperformed his reputation in this regard.

* Plays with a lack of passion -
Maybe he was thinking about his kid, maybe he wasn't. Either way, you really can't argue this point. I'd call this 100% true.

* Wilts under scrutiny -
It's tough to definitively make a ruling on this either way. I'd say yes because he didn't start hitting until September which leads me to believe that it took him a full five months to figure out what the whole "Boston" thing was really about and how to deal.

* He was really not that great to begin with -
Yes he can get on base, but no he is not much of a power threat. Before joining the Sox, he hit 20+ homers exactly three times in 8 seasons. Yes there have been injury issues but he played in 100+ games in each of those years which should be enough time for a hitter with supposed pop like Drew to get to 20. Similarly he only posted an OPS of over .900 three times in those seasons as well and that does not penalize him for missing games as it is a percentage, not a counting stat. As you can see, reports of the Sox getting an "elite" hitter with JD Drew were vastly overblown.

Well pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong with JD Drew. Yes, he vastly under-performed to expectations, but the above warning signs should have been enough to scare off any sane minded big, east coast market suitor (like maybe the Red Sox) from committing $70M over five years. In other words, don't hate JD Drew for being who he is, even if that person can lead you to "Serenity Now" like anger and dementia.

On the flip side, you could certainly argue that regardless of how awful he was for most of the year, without his home run in Game 6 of the ALCS the Sox don't win the World Series. Maybe they win Games 6 & 7 against Cleveland without that homer and maybe they don't - I say they don't because leaving the bases loaded in the 1st inning of Game 6 would have been a crippling momentum buster - but I think that home run is enough to justify year one of the contract because at least it brought them a World Series which was the goal to begin with. Years 2-5 on the other hand...well that is TBD.

Now, let's look at the Julio Lugo red flags pre-Sox (or actually flag):

* He was never that good to begin with -
First off, did you realize that Julio Lugo was 31 when he signed with the Sox? I remember prior to them signing him checking out his age, assuming that he was relatively young and that they were hoping to catch this guy on the up-tick of his career. Well, that obviously wasn't the case.

Lugo had his best year in 2005 with a decent .775 OPS and 39 steals. He followed that up with a decent 73 game stretch with the D-Rays in 2006 posting a .871 OPS with 18 steals in just 73 games. I think all Sox fans would be ecstatic with those numbers. But then he got traded to the Dodgers, couldn't get regular PT there (only 146 ABs in 49 games) and turned into the Julio Lugo we know and loathe. Does this line look familiar (avg/obp/slg)? .219/.278/.267. Wow. That is actually WORSE than the the .237/.294/.349 he put up last year. Incredible. Last year was actually an improvement over what he did in LA! Like I said, he wasn't that good to begin with.

The final proverbial nail in coffin on the Lugo signing was the fact that in the 7 seasons he played in the bigs prior to 2007, he only posted an OPS+ of over 100 once and that was the aforementioned 2005 when he put a 105 spot on the board. If you are not familiar with OPS+, it reflects a player's OPS (you all know what that is) in regards to not only the league average but also the park he plays in therefore giving bonus points to hitters playing in pitchers park and negating points if they play in a hitter's park. An average score here is 100. Anything above 100 is above average and anything below is below average. Therefore, only once in his career was Julio Lugo considered an above average offensive player and even there he did so barely. So, the bottom line here is that Julio Lugo has never been very good and his only "good" seasons came in his late twenties - when most players peak - making a 4 year, $32M investment on 31 year old who had already maxed out his talents absolutely inexplicable. Again, don't blame Lugo for being what he is, a not very good baseball player. Blame Theo for making an absolutely moronic signing.

To further illustrate my point let me give you a couple of hypothetical scenarios that maybe you can relate to.

Scenario A, The JD Drew circa August '07

You are the man at your high school. You are a star athlete. You are good looking. You hook up with every hot girl. You have a massive hog. You want to go to the prom and get laid.

Your prom choices are either the pretty and fun girl that you've gotten with a few times who you know you'll have a blast with and the night will definitely end in sex, or the smoking hot good girl who doesn't really drink, is a notorious virgin, but by being a big tease and flirt she gives you the idea that maybe if you're on your game you could get with her.

You choose the good girl.

You go to the pre-party and everybody is drinking. You start to pound a beer but she gives you dirty looks and starts ignoring you. Because you want your end result to be some sex, you stop to try and remain under her good graces. You try and be a trooper but inevitably you start getting annoyed because all your friends are getting drunk and you are stuck staying sober. Your bad mood rubs off on her and by the time you get to the dance you are both in a bad mood and don't have fun. Next, is the after-party which could be your salvation, but because she is still a bit moody she doesn't drink and remains anti-social. You still are holding out hope of a good end result so you don't drink yourself while also stepping up your game. Finally, people start passing out and the party slowly dissipates. It is time to make your move. As you are plotting how you want to go in for the kill, she asks you to take her home and you do because of all the things you are, rapist isn't one of them. You try to get a good good night kiss in in the car and she gives you the turn-away. She walks in her house alone. You drive home alone and instead of getting the sex that you wanted - and could have had - you are stuck servicing yourself.

So, whose fault is this? The girl for being who she is, or you for ignoring all of the red flags and going for it anyway? Exactly, this one's all on you. And that is how I felt about the whole JD Drew situation last year, pre Grand Slam. Theo was the arrogant jock and JD Drew was the pretty, prude girl.

Obviously, the Grand Slam changed everything last year and with that in mind, I'd change the scenario.

Scenario B, JD Drew circa November '07

Here, you stay the same guy, but the girl becomes the girl from the other high school who has a good buzz about her for being a menace in the sack. The only thing is, she's not as hot as you had heard and her personality is a bit grating. You tough it through the semi-awkwardness of the dance and finally get to the after party. There, after a few drinks she starts coming out of her shell a bit AND gets better looking (obviously). As the night winds down, she pulls you into an empty bedroom and just crushes you - in a good way. A total freak. All of a sudden, the rest of the night does not seem as bad and your feelings warm towards her some. It was an arduous journey, but ultimately worth the payoff. Despite the happy ending would you want to suffer through the beginning stages of the evening in hopes - no guarantees - of a payoff like the first time? Probably not. Maybe you'd go for it one or two more times, but four? It may not sound bad at first but by that last time you'd probably be ready for the whole experience to end.

And that to me now is the JD Drew experience that we are living. A high note preceded by a lot of pain the first time around and the hopes for maybe one or two more of those payoffs over the next four years with absolutely no guarantees. Maybe they will come, maybe they won't, but when the end comes there will no tears shed.

Scenario C, Julio Lugo

As for the Julio Lugo scenario, well take everything from the second Drew scenario except the girl is a little uglier, has a bad reputation for sloppy drunkenness, and may or may not have an STD. Then, imagine that at the end of the night she vomits on you, and somehow manages to give you an STD via contact. And with that you have the Julio Lugo experience. The writing was on the wall but you rolled the dice anyway and in the end you wound up getting thrown up upon and an STD. Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Julio Lugo!!

I think I'll signoff on that note.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008


IT IS HERE!! Sox/Yanks, first time of '08. YEAR 2000!!! YEAR 2000!!! How you like them 24 rings now eh!! I swear to god, we are going to sweep this series and the division is going to be over. YEAH!!!!! Gay-Rod and injured Jeter suck!!! Naaahhhhhhhhh!!! Where you now without HGH Andy huh???? NAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! If the Sox don't sweep, I'm returning my brand new Ortiz t-shirt jersey to Twins, but I don't need to worry about that. NAHHHHHHHHH!!! YANKEES SUCK!!! YANKEES SUCK!!! Sox are the team of this century!!! We got guys with heart like Youuuuuuukkkkk and 'Tek. You guys have guys with PUSSIES like A-Rod and Jeter and Posada and Matsui. NAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Let's go Sox!!!! I just bought SRO seats on Stub Hub for $782!!!! Worth every penny!!! First time at Fenway tomorrow, but I know it's the best park!!! YANKEE STADIUM SUX and is in the BRONX!! GAY!!!! I hate the Yankees!!! I hate the Yankees!!!

PEACE OUT! If you want to meet up with me at the GAME tomorrow, I'll be the guy at Rem-Dawgs with the green St. Patty's Day Ortiz jersey. Brand new from Twins like I said!!! AWESOME!!! SOX RULE, YANKS SUCK!!!!!!!! YEAR 2000 BITCH!!!

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Pimp My Red Sox

I'll try and actually do some writing later, but for now check out this piece by Sean McAdam from today's ProJo found via Buster Olney's blog on Here he brings up both the good and bad of the current Sox owners and his dig about the "Rem Dawg" being sworn in as Red Sox Nation President is right on the mark. I'm not your teacher, but if you have cared about the Sox for a while and have grown tired of the constant pimping and marketing of the team then this article is required reading. Read more!


Here Several days ago I read on the five point plan that our "President" had released his five point plan for Red Sox Nation. If you have not read it you can read it in the link provided by Neil in his previous post. I let my disgust about the plan stew and fester for several days and I am ready to respond to "President" Remy with my own five points.

1. Could this be a bigger Sham/publicity stunt? When I first heard about the idea I thought it was good but then I heard who was running, how is it fair that Jerry Remy who is on TV every night could run against a bunch of schmucks. He had a built in fan base, 98% of the people who voted for him only did because they had never heard of any of the other people.

2. Remy hasn't shut up about it since he won. Let me point out again he is the only one who ran who was on TV every single night being watched by the very idiots who were voting for the made up position. Also how proud should he be one of his biggest competitors was a dog named Big Pupi.

3. Some of his points bother me. For Example point two the two year census. This to be sounds like the best marketing tool the Red Sox could have us pay to be a part of. They are going to collect info on us that will allow them to find a way to get us to spend even more money on the team. Also point three, can a truly independent president have a program that is sponsored by a milk company. It is great to have kids involved but what the hell does Hood have to do with it.

4. Am I the only one who can't stand Jerry Remy? He is so full of himself, he is at best an adequate color man, an awful president, and if he keeps trying to sell that remdawg crap during red sox games I may have to lead a vote to Impeach.

5. I know Ben doesn't like him but I am going to have to say that I am really disappointed that Bill Simmon's campaign did not get off the ground. The sports guy from Espn did submit an application but it was thrown out by Remy after being read on the air.(I don't think a candidate should be allowed to throw applications away of people who are trying to run against him.) Remy was offended by some of the ten reasons that Simmons submitted of why he should be the President of Red Sox nation. Here are some examples of what Simmons wrote and "President" Remy's responses:

Simmons: "First, I've always wanted to be the President of something; at this point, I don't really care what it is."

Remy's on air response: "Everybody does… and he says ‘I really don’t care what it is.’ So does that mean he’s serious about this job? No. Right away he’s telling you he just wants to be a president of something, he doesn't’t care what it is, anything. So be president of your trash can. OK?"

My Response: It's a FUCKING made up position with no real power, get a clue Remy.

Simmons: Second, I think I can get free tickets out of this.

Remy's on air response: And it gets worse. Second, ‘I think I can get free tickets out of this.’

My Response: That is also a joke Remy, Simmons works for ESPN, I am pretty sure he can get tickets whenever the hell he wants.

Simmons: "Third, I heard Mike O'Malley might run and, as much as I enjoy his work, we can't let him be President after he already subjected us to seven years of "Yes, Dear.""

Remy's on air response: He rips Mike O’Malley. Mike O’Malley just did the picnic in the park thing, for charity. He’s been subjected to seven years of Yes, Dear. In other words, he wants no part of Mike O’Malley.

My Response: It is a joke and let's all be honest "'Yes Dear" was an extremely stupid show
Simmons: Fifth, unlike with that chain smoker Jerry Remy, you'd never have to worry about my health during my tenure - and even if something does happen to me, you'll be in capable hands with my running mate, Rich Garces.

Remy's on air response: He brought it up but Remy didn't really respond.

My Response: Was there anything untrue about what Simmons said.

In the end Remy threw away Simmons application and essentially called him a bad person. Now Simmons is sarcastic and if Remy ever read anything he wrote he would know this. Also as it was later revealed Simmons was asked by the Red Sox to apply just so one of there announcers could rip him later. I was watching the game back in July when all this happened, some people say that Remy w as joking around, I think he was just being an ass. That is why I think the time has come to IMPEACH JERRY REMY.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

5 Point Plan for Red Sox Fans? WTF!?!?

Being the sole, non-Boston based RBB guy on the roster I may be late to the party on this, but I stumbled upon the Red Sox Nation 5 Point Plan and immediately threw up in my mouth and tried to jump out the window.

Seriously, what the hell? Read more!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Start of Baseball Season? And Other Things...

So we are officially one week into baseball season and I must admit, it really does not seem like it. Between the two Japan games, the first domestic game starting at 10:05 EST due to being played in Oakland, then the next game occurring during work hours, and then an off-day on Thursday and me being away for the weekend and missing - not regrettably - the Toronto series I'd say I've watched about five or six innings total of the Sox this year and to be honest it seems like even less than that. At least the Sox did their part in reiterating the old, "the more things change..." mantra by being swept at Skydome, I mean Rogers Centre and having Manny Delcarmen give up a crippling late inning home run.

Are we in year 15 of hearing the refrain of, "Manny Delcarmen's going to be a key late inning guy in the bullpen this year, trust me!" or is it just me? Can't Theo just trade Delcarmen and Craig Hansen based on the internal hype that he is built for those guys and be done with it? At some point don't you need to just sh*t or get off the pot with guys like these? I know it's early, but it's the same song and dance with these guys every year and at some point I think the Sox just need to admit that they are not sitting on the next K-Rod or Mo Rivera here and let them go. I still say packaging one of them with Coco and Youk gets them Mark Texiera from Atlanta and if you are a Sox fan and would not do that trade then please explain to me why because I am really curious the reasoning.

Well I don't want to dump on the Sox too hard just one week into the season so I'm going to stop with that rant. I still am bummed out though that the season is a week old already and I still don't feel like it has really started. Once I get my MLB Extra Innings dialed up and start torturing my wife by watching Sox games nightly then I think peace will be restored and I'll feel like we are good to go.

One team I do want to dump on at this point is the Tigers. It's not that I hate the Tigers or anything, I just feel vindicated that the team I have been championing as "not as good as advertised" since February got off to an 0-6 start. Sure, it's just one week, but who does not enjoy a good chance to gloat every now and again?

Back to the Sox though and I think that beyond the reasons mentioned above, the real reason why the start of their season does not yet seem "real" is due to the fact - and this is a great problem to have - that most of my sporting excitement is being devoted almost entirely to the Celtics who for the first time since I have been old enough to remember, appreciate, and enjoy will be heading into the playoffs as one of the favorites to capture Banner Number 17. This is just absolutely surreal and awesome to me. The way I see it is that if KG decides to be "dominate the low post" KG for the next two months than the C's will be very, very, very tough to beat in a series regardless of the opponent. Conversely, if KG is, "take 18 foot turnaround jumpers" KG more often than not then their vulnerability increases exponentially. I really do think it is that simple although the likelihood of Paul Pierce winning a few playoff games more or less on his own is very real too and could somewhat cancel out what I'll just call the "Timid KG Games". We'll see, but as I said, I really could not be more excited for the NBA Playoffs to start. Too bad that because of how the NBA likes to draw out Round 1 we probably won't have a non-Atlanta Hawk related local playoff game to watch until almost May. No matter, as the Western Conference 1st round matchups should be epic, and starting in the second round, the C's should really be getting after it against some tough competition. I can't freakin' wait!

The other thing going on - or about to be going on I guess - is the NFL Draft. I've been asked by many people what I think the Pats should do in the NFL Draft and my answer has been pretty straightforward. DRAFT DEFENSE. Not riveting analysis I know, but let's be honest here; people out there who are spouting names of these college guys that they want the Pats to draft more than likely have seen the guys play minimally if at all and have garnered all their knowledge from either national or local NFL draft gurus and beat writers telling them what to think. Right now, I am of the mind that I will hope that the Pats draft whomever the Globe's Mike Reiss tells me they should draft because he is absolutely outstanding and I hold his opinion in the highest regard. Would we all be clamoring for player X or player Y at the 7 pick if Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay did not tell us that that would be a great pick? I doubt it. Bottom line, get me to draft day, spare me the hype and the 18 hour long first round, and then tell me what kind of players the Pats got after the fact because chances are I will have never seen any of the players the Patriots select play before in my life and if I did I probably do not recall any great highlights. And this is not coming from some "I only watch the NFL" person either. Since marrying into a college football obsessed family I have sat through my fair share of college football the last few years - SEC Football nonetheless, bar none the top of the line in those ranks - so it's not like I bury my head in the sand here.

Seriously though, if I could craft a dream scenario for the draft it would be Darren McFadden (a commodity I actually know) falling to the Pats at 7 and then the Pats trading that pick to Dallas for their two other first round picks and maybe a later round pick as well if they're lucky. As it stands now though the Pats have seven picks and with those seven I'd like to see five defensive guys taken - position does not matter because right now they could bring Andy Katzenmoyer or Chris Slade out of retirement and call it a youth movement - and with the other two I think a backup QB to challenge Cassell and a tight end to challenge the AntiCoates, Ben Watson. Is there a more frustrating guy on the Pats roster than Watson by the way? Doesn't it seem like he should be a perennial Pro Bowler? Instead, he'll either disappear in big games, drop a couple of easy catches, or fumble the ball after a long run. WTF. He really should be good.

Wow, that is the first I've really written about the Pats since the Super Bowl. I must admit, that it's a cloud that still hangs over my head - and I think the heads of most other Pats fans. Maybe they'll do something in the draft to get everybody amped up a la the Moss deal last year, but I don't see it. Right now I am feeling very blah about the Pats and I know that sounds babyish seeing as they have to go into next year as close to the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but that is life right now as a Patriots fans amidst a perfect season that got away at the last minute, Spygate, and seeing your quarterback showing up regularly in gossip columns. Say what you will about Peyton Manning, but I think I'd rather see Tom Brady doing goofy DirectTV ads than popping up in US Weekly and posing like a Cinemax star in magazine ads. This is by no means me saying that I think Peyton is better, but at some point the glitz and glamours becomes a bit too much right? Especially now? Doesn't the 2005 Super Bowl seem like ages ago?

I think that's enough for now.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008


Rootbeer & Bacon 1
Red Sox 0

Yup, thats the tally as it stands now. We laid down a challenge and the Sox blinked. You may recall a post a few weeks ago wherein I threatened a bigman boycott of Remdawgs if the Red Sox did not start to produce shirts in sizes larger than XL. My reasoning was the signing of Bartolo Colon, a big man himself.

I am happy to report that out of fear of a boycott the Red Sox have met our demands just in time for opening day. I walked into the souvenir shop yesterday and noticed a bunch of little pieces of paper stapled to select shirts that read "3XL and 4XL now available."

I was overwhelmed by this, but eventually collected myself and purchased a 4XL Mike Lowell shirt. Now it was overpriced, but still it marks the first time I have been able to purchase a shirt from them, so it was a surreal moment. I mean, we worked long and hard for the last few weeks and to see our labors pay off, well there are just no words.

Victory...drink it in boys because it never tasted so good.
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Time to Hit the Panic Button???

Well, by now I am sure that many of you have learned that the Sox got swept by the new and improved Toronto Blue Jays. It was not pretty and we now know that there are some serious concerns in the bullpen. So, is it time to hit the panic button? Should we start the fire sale a little early? Should you try and sell your new Bucholtz jersey? Absolutely not. Calm down, believe it or not, Boston teams do lose multiple games in a row from time to time.

I was able to watch each game from a different location this weekend, so I will offer you some things I noticed, or questions I now have from what was a surprising weekend in baseball all around.

-The Kansas City Royals are 4-2, making them in first place in their division by half a game, and a couple of games ahead of the Sox. I am not sure what this means, but it could be one of the signs of the end of the world, anyone want to repent with me?

-Tampa Bay took two out of three from the Yankees, and we got decimated by the Blue Jays. I know it is early, but I have to say I am excited about having more than a two team race in the AL east this season. However, I have to say I doubt that the Rays will be in it at all, but they have a legit shot of finishing better than Baltimore.

-Speaking of the Rays, remember when Rocco Boldelli was going to be the next big thing? I know that many Red Sox fans who started watching a few seasons ago don't even know who I am talking about, and thats what makes this so sad. He is a local kid who was supposed to be a superstar, but tore up his knee playing basketball in his driveway. That was three seasons ago or something like that, and now the Rays opted not to pick up his contact for next year.

-I am glad to see that my threat of throwing old batteries at JD Drew got him back out on the field. He had a couple of home runs in this series and was one of the few bright spots for the Sox.

-Now, I have a baby on the way, so I don't have a lot of extra money to throw around, but I am willing to throw in 20 dollars of my own money and 134 dollars of Pricing Boy's money towards a plane ticket to whatever destination gets Julio Lugo the hell out of Boston. 2 errors, and little to know offensive production, are you kidding?

-I watched yesterdays game at the Cask n' Flagon, and was surprised to see just what it has become. I don't know when the did all the renovations because I didn't go in there once last year, but what a trendy little spot it has become. They even sell shirts with their logo on it, and have a little cash register set up for it. I didn't know they were a tourist destination, but what the hell people actually pay to be a member of Red Sox nation, so why wouldn't they buy a shirt too?

-I have a serious problem with the fact that Frank Thomas put a big hurt on Delcarmen. Anyone but Thomas and I would be bitching about Delcarmen. I just cannot accept the fact that we lost because of a guy who does not believe in dinosaurs.

- So it was a cold and rainy weekend around here, and as I mentioned I was in the Fenway region yesterday and almost ran into two separate tents waiting for opening day tickets. My wife was completely blown away by this and could not comprehend why anyone would do that for at least four days just to get tickets. I explained it to her with a question, which was "Is there a better way to spend mommy and daddies money?" My wife, being much smarter than I am, responded "Ebay." Read more!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rajon Rondo and The Celtics Point Guards From the Past

Recently in these spaces I echoed what many Celtics fans feel when I said something like, "Rajon Rondo is the first Celtics point guard that is actually good since Sherm Douglass and has the chance to be the first great one since DJ". First off, I've made my feelings towards Rajon Rondo patently obvious over the past few months, which is to say I can't think of enough praise to heap on him. Therefore, upon first glance this may seem like more hyperbole coming from yours truly. Well, it's really not and that leads me to my second point which is that point guard for the C's has been something of a black hole since DJ's last season in 1990.

To prove this, I decided to go on good old and see the C's regular point guard(s) for each season since 1990 and the results are really startling. You can pretty much break these guys up into 7 groups.

Group 1 - WTF
Group 2 - Former Superstar Waaaaaay Past His Prime
Group 3 - Former Kind-Of-Star Past His Not so Great Prime
Group 4 - Two-Guard Forced to Play Point per Circumstances
Group 5 - Blossomed Greatly After Their Celtic Days
Group 6 - KEY Contributors on Championship Teams After Their Celtic Days
Group 7 - Pretty Good Players Who Actually Left Lasting Impressions

With those handy, let's look at all these point guards and place them in their proper group.

Brian Shaw - 1991
Group 6 through and through. He hit some huge shots for the Shaq/Kobe Lakers. Oddly enough, his 1990-91 season with the C's was far and away his best (averaged about 14 points and 7.5 assists, both career highs) but he will always be remembered - at least I think - as a key bench contributor for the great Laker teams of the early part of this decade.

He gets bonus points too for being a part of Tommy Heinson's favorite collection of guards the C's have ever had - no way of proving this BTW - the "Zip Boys". Remember them? I'll give you until the end of this article to think on the other three. And yes I had their t-shirt.

John Bagley - 1992
Obviously John Bagley is a Group 7 guy. I mean who didn't love John Bagley? Talk about a guy who looked like he had no business playing in an NBA game. He looked like he could barely make it around the bases playing beer league softball. Still, he managed to average 7 points and 7 assists in just about 24 minutes per game his one year as a starter, and I still maintain that he was in fact a pretty solid player. Maybe my nostalgia is interfering with reality, I don't know but I will go to my grave with the belief that Bags was a good player and I am fine with that true or not.

Dee Brown - 1992, 1993, 1996
Brown split starting duties in each of those seasons mainly because he was an undersized two who liked to score making him not the ideal candidate to run the point. This makes him a Group 4 guy. Strange as it may sound, I cannot remember a single thing about Dee Brown's Celtic days because the memory of him taking down Rex Chapman in the Dunk Contest is such a strong memory. I guess your mind can only store so much about the Dee Brown's of the world and his Dunk Contest victory maxed out his bandwidth in my head. To be honest I am perfectly happy with that.

Sherm "The Worm" Douglass - 1993, 1994, 1995
Another obvious Group 7 guy here. I loved this player and whenever I see a guy throw up a floater in the lane surrounded by about three defenders and nail it, I can't help but think back on this guy and smile. In 1994 and 1995 he averaged 13 points and 9 assists and 15 and 7 respectively so he really was a pretty good player. He's also a guy I'll always have a soft spot for. I really enjoyed watching him play.

David Wesley - 1995, 1996, 1997
Did you realize that this guy started 5 games for the Cavs last year? Me either. Well, Wesley falls into Group 4 easily and Group 5 moderately as he was a pretty good player on some decent Hornets teams starting in 1998 and through 2005 playing alongside guys like Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn. I really have minimal recollections of him on the Celtics although I do recall listening to WEEI one day back in high school and them talking about the MC at some sort of Celtics function going on an extended riff about the size of his ears and having the crowd in hysterics. He also has the distinction of anchoring the "Just Lose Baby" (can't think of who coined that; either Ryan, Shaugnessy, or Peter May at the Globe) Celtics of 1996-1997 to the tune of 17 points and 7 assists per games. That's gotta count for something too right?

Chauncey Billups - 1998
Let's see, obviously a Group 5 and a Group 6 guy. What else can you really say about this? You really can't crush Pitino too bad for pulling the plug here - even if it was after only 50 some odd games - because he bounced around before becoming "Chauncey Billups" in Detroit. He played for Toronto, Denver, and Minnesota before that after all, and he did not really blossom into what he is today until his second Detroit season in 2004. Still us Boston folk always enjoy a good reason to pick on Rick Pitino and this is a crowning moment for that.

Kenny Anderson - 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Kenny Anderson had a remarkably un-remarkable career in Boston. It was almost like his bust of a career in general (don't forget how hyped he was coming out of college). Obviously, he was the inspiration for Group 3 on my list.

Kenny also had the distinction of being the handpicked point guard by Rick Pitino during the putrid Rick Pitino Era in Boston. This is nothing to be proud of. However, Kenny did manage to play a key part in the Celtics improbable run to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. His name was also perfect fodder for Tommy Heinson to yell at random moments during Celtics broadcasts and oddly enough, in 2003 when they traded him, people found themselves saying the unthinkable when they were stuck more or less without a point guard. This is of course, "I wish Kenny was still around."

The real lasting impression that Kenny Anderson left in Boston is the fact that they traded Chauncey Billups to acquire him and then traded him to acquire Vin Baker. Think about that for a second. When they brought him on they gave away a guy that would later become a top point guard in the NBA and when they got rid of him they did so to acquire an out of shape guy that could not play, had a drinking problem, and would kill their cap for years to come. Talk about both ends of the spectrum. And what does that say about Kenny Anderson? Is that good or bad? I really don't know.

Randy Brown - 2001
WTF! Mainly an injury replacement for Kenny Anderson, I put him here because nobody encapsulates the Rick Pitino Era quite like Randy Brown.

Heading into the summer of 2000 the Celtics had all this cash that they were going to throw at free agents. They'd been hyping this up all year and swore that in the summer they'd make a big splash. Of course nobody wanted to come to Boston and play for an awful team AND Rick Pitino so no free agents gave them the time of day. Except for a Bulls scrub named Randy Brown. So the C's signed him and spent the next months telling everybody how great he was going to be and of course he was not. Randy Brown ladies and gentleman, the prize free agent acquisition of the Rick Pitino Era.

Tony Delk/JR Bremer - 2003
WTF!! Imagine if Eddie House was the C's starting point guard this year. Exactly! That was what it was like watching Tony Delk run the show. Amazingly, this team actually won a playoff series against a far superior Indiana team thanks to a couple of landmark Paul Pierce games, a steady and excellent series from Antoine Walker, and most importantly some truly ghastly coaching on the part of the one and only Isaiah Thomas. That Pacers team had the most talent in the East that year (Jermaine O'Neal and Artest in their Primes, a still decent Reggie Miller, the underrated at the time Brad Miller, and a coming of age Al Harrington) and there was no way they should have lost.

BTW, when Isaiah was set to take over coaching duties for the Knicks and people were making the case that he was a decent coach by citing his record in the Indiana years, I always thought back to the 2002-2003 Pacers as Exhibit A as to why he was NOT a good coach. The team was relatively loaded and had the best record in the conference at the All Star Break. Then in the second half they fell to the third spot in the playoffs and lost to a Celtics team in the first round of the playoffs they had no business beating. Great coaching there.

Chucky Atkins/Mike James - 2004
WTF!! Although Mike James was part of that shady three way deal between the Hawks, Pistons, and Celtics, which pretty much gift-wrapped Rasheed Wallace to the Pistons and won them a title so I guess that should count for something. I don't remember the specifics, just that everybody said that the C's were a key player in handing the Pistons a player of Rasheed's ilk for basically nothing.

Gary Payton - 2005
Hello Group 2! Prior to 2005 it was tough to tell really how washed up GP was because he was coming off an awkward year in LA where the Lakers tried to mix two current superstars used to the team (Shaq & Kobe) with two old superstars new to the team (Karl Malone and GP) and it just didn't work out. Sure they made it to the NBA Finals but that was thanks in large part to the improbable Derek Fisher Game and the fact that the T-Wolves were sans Sam Cassell in the Western Conference Finals. Eventually they got rolled by the Pistons in the Finals in five games in a series in which the the Lakers were massive favorites.

Anyway, that really does not have much to do with GP's Celtics years, but I say all that because when he came on board in 2005 nobody really knew if he was just partially or completely washed up (went from averaging about 20 and 7 in '03 to 14.5 and 5.5 in '04) due to the fact that he was playing in the Triangle Offense on a star studded team where he didn't need to score much and his numbers could have reflected that more than a deteriorating skill set. Of course it turned out that he was pretty much washed up as he averaged 11 and 6 for the C's in 2005.

I don't want to pick on GP though because he was one of my favorite players from the mid-90s. What I do want to do is answer the burning question that everybody is dying to know the answer to. Which past their prime superstar whom the Celtics have brought in in the past 15 years for a one year cameo had the better season, GP or Dominique Wilkins? I give a slight nod to 'Nique, but I'll need to qualify it in a second.

Nique averaged 18 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists per game in 1994-95 while Payton averaged 11, 3, and 6. If you assign one point to every point and rebound a player has and two points per assist then 'Nique tallies 27 to GP's 26. That scoring system seems fair enough so I'm going to roll with it. Nique had the better year.

However, if you look at what they did in the season prior, 'Nique was coming off a year where he averaged 26 a night, while I have Payton's stats listed a few paragraphs above. When taking into account expectations, I'd say Payton was the "better" of the two because 'Nique was a scorer through and through and saw 8 points a night get sliced off his ledger. Meanwhile, Payton was brought in to get assists and be a third scoring option - and later a fourth when 'Toine came back to town - behind Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis and that is what he more or less did. Therefore, even though 'Nique may have been the better player, GP lived up to his expectations much more.

Delonte West - 2006, 2007
Obviously D. West is a Group 4 guy. West was a quintessential crowd favorite who one day will find a niche as a solid role player on a winning team. He really is not a point guard though and his greatest attributes - very strong rebounder for a little guy and shooting - do not lend themselves particularly well to that position. Regardless, the guy is tough, he competes, and he can play so there should be a place for him in the league for a while. If they could swing it, I'd love to see him find his way back to Boston sometime soon as he would be the absolute perfect guy to fill the Sam Cassell role moving forward. Everybody loves D too so there will always be room for him on the team and I'd love to see him back. A few years ago I even sat behind his extended family at a C's/Wiz game (he's from PG County, MD right outside of DC) and last summer I saw him at BWI Airport so I feel like we're tight too. Best of luck D, it is not your fault you were forced to play out of position for some awful teams. Hope you make it back here some day.

Whew! There you go. Obviously the bar is not set that high for Rajon and I am pretty certain he will eclipse all of the above. And BTW, that was about as much fun as I've had writing an article in some time. It's fun going down memory lane like that.

Oh yeah, and the Zip Boys were:
Reggie Lewis (RIP)
Kevin Gamble (a deadly jump-shooter!)
Brian Shaw
Dee Brown
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