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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