Sunday, November 30, 2008

Checking In On It All

In case we get some new readers from our new found semi/marginal/a little bit more existent fame I figured I would chime in and give my thoughts on where I stand in relation to a few of the topics that seem to matter to folks right now. If you've read me before then consider this remedial. If not, here is where I'm at:

The Celtics
If there is one thing that can undo this team this year it is their free throw shooting. Other than Ray Allen, is there anybody on the team that you absolutely trust with your life to make a free throw late in a game? Sure Paul Pierce comes up with 12-13 free throw nights from time to time but it seems like he'll pull a 7-13 almost as often. Plus he just looks so damn awkward shooting them. As for KG, I won't get into that one. Long story short, the Celtics survived last year by not getting to the line frequently and when they got there, inconsistently converting and I don't know if they can do that a second year in a row.

If there is anything holding them back it is that. If that does not stop them, I am really not sure what will. Except for maybe Lebron James.

The Red Sox

1) Pass on AJ Burnett. If I could be told that he would log 200 innings a year for the duration of his contract then sign me up. Unfortunately, Burnett has only hit the 200 IP mark three times in his career. Two of those times being contract years. Color me skeptical.

Let me add one caveat to the above.

If for some reason Burnett would take a short year, high money contract then I'd say sign me up. Three years and $45M I'd be cool with for him. Anything more than I think you have to say no. Let's not call that analysis though because I am sure most everybody feels that way. It's almost a perfect world situation.

2) Tek. Ugh. If he comes back then I hope he only gets about 250-300 ABs next year and it is on a one year contract. If he does not come back, then yes it is sad to see a "face of the franchise" guy go but such is life. My gut is that he signs next year with a second division NL club with a lot of young pitching talent. If you think I am talking about the Reds then you are correct. What kind of cash do they offer him? I say he gets two years and $25M from them.

3) Seeing as I was the only one under-impressed with Mark Teixera during the ALDS I am completely torn on this. Yes, I understand that he is a prime of his career, switch-hitting, slick fielding first baseman with power and plate discipline. Seemingly the ideal Red Sox player. At the same time, I see a guy who hit .467 in the ALDS but did not record a hit to drive in a run. Not only that, he did not tally an extra base hit either. Yes, he always felt due, but whatever. He never collected. If I'm staring down another eight year commitment to a player which I think is what it will probably take to get Teixera than I'd rather not go after a guy who I have a sneaking suspicion will surpass A-Rod as the master of the three run homer to run a 6-4 lead into a 9-4 one or an 8-1 deficit into an 8-4 deficit. But that's just me.

The Patriots.

Ugh. I spent the past two weeks talking about how they would run the table. Now that aint happening. Now, do you know what the Patriots are? They are a team that has left chance after chance to go to the next level on the table. I don't care whether that is Jabar Gaffney dropping a TD pass against Indy, the Ben Watson fumble and the botched 3rd and 15 against the Jets, or Randy Moss' two disastrous drops in the first half against the Steelers. The fact of the matter is the Patriots have screwed up numerous chances this year to tick up a level and at some point you have to realize that it just is not happening for them this year. And that's the frustrating thing I guess. With just slightly better execution on a handful of plays this season then they are probably fighting for a bye. Instead, they are now staring at a serious uphill climb to get the 6 seed.

But isn't that how the previous two years went too? If Troy Brown can just turn up field a yard further or the defense summons 2003 and gets a clutch stop against Indy then they are Super Bowl bound in 2006 and if Richard Seymour wraps up Eli Manning last year then they are Super Bowl champs and 19-0. Instead both games and seasons end in supreme disappointment. When the Patriots were winning Super Bowls it was because they always seemed to execute every play they needed to to win. Now, it is the exact opposite. They seem to put themselves in position to win but then breakdown on minute execution. Who gets the blame for that? I'm not sure and I don't want to point fingers. What I will say is that you can't help but gain even more respect from those teams of old that NEVER beat themselves. Not beating themselves used to be a Patriots hallmark and now it seems to be the exact opposite. Whenever they lose now there seems to always be a few plays that stand out clearly where you can say, "that was stupid they did it to themselves". And that's why the Super Bowls have stopped coming. I really believed this year could be different but again, more of the same.

OK, that's enough for a Sunday night. I think I've covered all my bases. If you are new around these parts, WELCOME!!

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