Friday, January 30, 2009

Tom Brady Gives Interview on ET...Sweet, I Guess it Could be Worse, it Could be at the Kids Choice Awards or Something

So has a story up in their sports section with a lead quote from Tom Brady on how he wants to play until he is 40. Great. I can get behind that. And then you see where he gave the interview. Entertainment Tonight. Ugh. I'm not one of those "Tom Brady's gone soft!!" or "Tom is too Hollywood!!" types, but let's be honest, you never want ET breaking news about your quarterback. It's not a bad thing per se, but certainly it is an, "I'd rather that didn't happen, I wish he'd talk to Jaws instead of Pat O'Brien" thing. Read more!


Thank GOD!!!!! I am so GD happy that this whole stupid ordeal is over with. Do you realize what a clown Varitek looks like now? The Sox completely low-balled him - although they are overpaying him in reality if that makes sense - and he tried to bully his way to a better deal for himself, which he could not do by misjudging how much the Sox really wanted him back. I still really wish that he decided to sit out the season, that would have been hysterical. Furthermore, at least in my mind Varitek squashed a bunch of built up goodwill he had with the fans, and now when he is hitting .220 in July and piling up 0-fers, everybody will say, "we waited two months for this???".

Anyhoo, not to pile on or anything but in case you buy into the pitch-calling myth, here is a post I did back in October.

Also, as you read on and about how Abreu is a natural fit for the Sox, remember who started spouting that logic about two months ago, will you?

That's it. If you are a Pats fan and rooting for the Steelers, I don't know what to tell you, you've got some explaining to do. Read more!

Tek Signs

Word round the campfire is that Tek took the 5 million dollar deal that was on the table. I dont have a lot of time right now, but there are two points I want to get on record about this:

-First all players are signed or are thinking about signing with Scott Boras should take a look at this. Boras failed Jason Varitek, and cost him about 6 million dollars.

-Second, this was a poor move on the part of the Red Sox. Tek will be lucky to bat .235 this year with 5 homeruns. Eventually you have to get a young catcher even if it means trading somebody good. The catcher situation is not fixed, and we have no long term solutions. Just a bunch of maybes in the lower farm.

Got a busy weekend going on, so Lauranzano OUT!! Read more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday News and Notes

Some notes from the day. But first I want to give you a recomendation, I am a huge supporter of the Iphone. I love mine, and have bene thrilled since I got it in September. It is everything I want in a phone, mainly that it is really a mini computer not a phone. I am not a big phone person and only have one because society seems to dictate that you do. Anyway I am recomending the new program Rss player. It allows you to subscribe to podcast and updates the list when there are new ones and they do not clog up your Iphone. It is great I am able to listen to all my regualr podcasts without a problem.

So I rambled a little there about my geek love of the iphone, here are some links.

- The Celtics rolled again, they are back on track winning 9 in a row and made the Kings look silly winning 119-100. They have not only been winning but they have been winning big. The star of the night was Eddie House, who lit it up with 28 points including 8 THREE POINTERS!!! He is absolutely on fire and Garnett and Pierce want to see him in the three point contest at the all star game. Mike Fine wrote about it in the Patriot Ledger, I am really hoping they pick him we should hear soon.

- Not really an article but instead an interesting list. Baseball Prospectus has come out with a list of the top ten Red Sox Prospects. It is no surprise that Lars Andersen is on top of the list, watch out for him we might see him this year.

That is all I have for today. I am thinking of bringing back the Red Sox Propsect Review. Read more!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Quick Super Bowl Post

Here is my fearless prediction for the Super Bowl:

It is going to remind everybody of the Pats-Panthers Super Bowl 5 years ago. (I cannot BELIEVE that was 5 years ago BTW.)

That's vague, can we get some clarity?

Of course. Here is what I'm thinking:

Five years ago, the Pats were a team lead by their defense and ability to make big plays on offense when absolutely necessary and the Panthers were the team that kind of came out of nowhere, with a random quarterback (Jake Delhomme) and one fearsome playmaker (Steve Smith). This year, couldn't you say roughly the same thing about both the Steelers and Cardinals?

Anyway, how all that actually pertains to the game is that I think the first half will be relatively ugly and low scoring (a la the Pats-Panthers SB) and then in the second half both offenses will blow up to an extent. This year though, I'm saying it's the out of nowhere team that will emerge, the Cardinals instead of the Steelers. How will it happen? With three minutes left, Kurt Warner will bust a big play on a crossing route to Anquan Boldin to seal things for the Cardinals. My final, fearless prediction then would be Cardinals win it 30-28 and Anquan Boldin takes home the MVP. You heard it here first.

And because I'm really crazy, here is how the scoring breaks down:

Pittsburgh has 3 TDs, 2 FGs, and a 2 pt. conversion.

Arizona 4 TDs, 1 FG, and a missed 2 pt. conversion.

OK, that's all the Super Bowl talk from my end. If you want to know the other stories that you'll hear discussed 88,000 times between now and the game, here they are:

Ben Roethlisberger is clutch.

Hines Ward was born in the Far East and WILL play on Sunday.

Pittsburgh's D is awesome.

Kurt Warner is old and should be a Hall of Famer.

Larry Fitzgerald is an athletic freak and the best receiver in the NFL.

Anquan Boldin and Todd Haley are A-OK and still have a good relationship.

That's it. And so concludes my Super Bowl post. Go Cardinals because I don't want to live in a world where the Steelers have won two Super Bowls since the Pats last won one all the while doing so without ever having to beat New England in the playoffs. Read more!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Adam Dunn, Gossip Girl, and Friday Night Lights

There is absolutely nothing sports related that is even remotely interesting to talk about right now. Sure, I guess I could chime in on the Adam Dunn pure speculation which I will in a second, but beyond that I'll leave with you a few completely non-sports related thoughts to grapple with.

Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn sounds great on paper. He is durable and consistent. Over the past 5 seasons has played no fewer than 152 games in any season and has hit 40+ home runs and walked 100+ times in each of those seasons.

However there are some negatives on him. For starters, everybody seems to agree that he is an atrocious defensive player whether that be in the outfield or first base. Then there were the comments made by the Blue Jays GM - who never met a microphone he did not like BTW - last year about how teams would not touch him because he "really didn't like playing baseball that much", a statement which while controversial did not seem to be met with much resistance. And then of course you have the matter of his strikeouts which ranged from 164-195 a year during the aforementioned 5 year span and his batting average which ranged from .234-.266. Both of those ranges could be construed as troublesome.

I'll tell you what worries me about bringing on an Adam Dunn. For one thing, the whole not liking baseball thing does not seem like a good fit in Boston. Call me crazy but if he has a 1-15 homestand against the Yankees with 8 strikeouts I don't know how he'll react to the fans getting on him. Could it result in a Keith Foulke like implosion? I am not sure and what's more I am not sure that I want to find out. That of course is completely arbitrary and impossible to predict so we'll put it off to the side for now.

Now I'll tell you what really worries me about Dunn; the fact that he may get his playing time jerked around on account of being a super-1B/OF/DH-sub. While I have advocated bringing in a Bobby Abreu type for this role, I do not like the idea of Adam Dunn for this because he is incredibly streaky - he had two monster months last year, three below average ones, and one average one - and because it does not seem like his skill-set would mesh with being a part time player, even a frequently used part time player.

It seems to me that in order to get everything that Dunn brings to the table if you are a good team you need to stick him towards the bottom of your lineup everyday, let him collect his 0-4s here and there but then reap the rewards of the 40 homers and 110 walks you will receive as well. This is actually the exact thing the Yankees did with Jason Giambi last year and they were rewarded with 32 home runs in the 145 games he played, not to mention a 128 OPS+. Not too bad. I'd take that from Adam Dunn. If the Red Sox can get him those 145 games and figure out a set rotation for him so that his confidence does not get crushed after a couple of 0-fers then I'd be all for bringing him on board. I really think they could make it work too and lord knows they need another bat. However, if he can only get himself sporadic playing time and maybe 120 games or so, I'd worry that he may crumble under a situation that was not ideally suited for him to begin with.

Funny TV

OK, I think it is official; The Office is just not that funny anymore. Yes, it is entertaining and yes it can have it's moments but right now if I get a legitimate laugh out of the show as opposed to the occasional snicker then I consider that a success. And then there is 30 Rock, which keeps on cruising along. Sure it tends to stumble when they rely too much on the guest star gimmick or Kenneth, but when they step back and let Jack, Tracy, Jenna, and Liz do their thing, the show is great. I definitely laughed more in last week's episode than I probably have throughout the entire season of The Office.

More Serious TV

If you want to know the two TV dramas that I find myself enjoying more than anything else on a consistent basis these days, then those shows would have to be Friday Night Lights and Gossip Girl and in that order. FNL is just an all around great show. Millions of critics/bloggers have already sung it's praises countless times so I won't rehash. Just know that I love it and save for a bit of a lull in the early stages of last season (the second) it has pretty much consistently kept me engrossed/entertained since day one.

As for Gossip Girl, well you are probably laughing at me now. I guess it is a guilty pleasure, but for me it really is not because the show is actually really good. Real World is a guilty pleasure for me. Gossip Girl is just a good show. It's like the creators used The OC to figure out what worked and what did not and then took all they learned from that experience to really step up their game for GG. Amazingly, even the girls are hotter.

If there is a downside to GG it is probably that it can take itself a bit too seriously from time to time and needs some more of the humor that made The OC better than it probably deserved to be. Also, some of the brattiness can go over the top to the point of annoyance. Plus Dan Humphrey and his dad who may or may not be gay lovers on the show - a TON of flirty banter between the two - are just plain awful. Serena is annoying too and would probably seem a lot worse if not for Dan. Luckily, Blair and Chuck more than compensate for all the other short-comings. I won't turn this into a Gossip Girl post so I'll stop there. Just know that this show is actually good and not just teeny-bopper drivel like the new 90210 which is pretty much terrible.

Girl Debate

One other thing I did not mention in the FNL/GG debate. Cast member for cast member they probably feature the most smoking hot girls on television. Who has the hotter girls? Not sure, so let's settle this breakdown style.

(And yes I know Bill Simmons has done stuff like this in his mailbag before...just want you to know that I recognize the similarities here and can't think of a better way to do this.)


Mrs. Van Der Wutsen/Bass (GG) vs. Mrs. Taylor (FNL)

This one is not close. If we were talking Kirstin Cohen then Mrs. Taylor may have some competition but we are not. Mrs. Taylor wins this in a landslide.

Illicit Hot Daughter Whose Not 18:

Jenny Humphrey who is 15 in real life (GG) vs. Julie Taylor who is 19 in real life (FNL)

OK so I did not realize that the actress who played Julie Taylor was that old. I guess I'll take solace (?) in the fact that she was 17 in the first season. Anyway, this is another romp for FNL. Jenny Humphrey was pretty strong but the whole half hipster/half goth look she's been running with lately just is not flying. Meanwhile Julie Taylor continues to more than keep it real as the hot daughter of the football coach and the principal. Plus she dates the quarterback! Sorry Jenny, I gotta go with Julie here. Go back to the preppy/stylish New York look you were rocking before and we have much more of a ballgame.

Leading Young Female:

Serena Van Der Wutsen (GG) vs. Laila Garrity (FNL)

Laila Garrity is really, really hot but Serena Van Der Wutsen is so hot she makes me forget how annoying her voice/character is. That is saying something because as much as I try I cannot totally warm up to Laila. While on paper, this should be a lot closer, the fact of the matter is that Serena wins this one in a blowout.

Token Harlequin/Sexpot:

Blair Waldorf (GG) vs. Tyra Collette (FNL)

Tyra, Tyra, had this won up until this season. You made a furious comeback with some of those outfits you wore in the most recent episode. But - and this pains me - you started curling your hair. And that look aint working for you my friend, especially in a category this tight where Blair Waldorf brings it like Uma Thurman's "The Bride" in Kill Bill on a week in and week out basis. Against anybody else, Tira wins this with relative ease. But again, this is not anybody else. This is Blair Waldorf. And against Blair Waldorf you can't even take a minor step back.

Final Tally:


Well that was counter-productive. Bottom line, know that at the very least, all of the girls on both of these shows are smoking hot. And the shows are good too.

Read more!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Everybody is Talking About? Kind of...

I'm going to chime in on two topics du jour. As Pricing Boy said, kind of slow times around these parts. Oh, and for the record - and as I have told numerous people in person - I will not be hopping on the Bruins bandwagon until they actually win a playoff series. Remember that in 2004 they were the 1 seed in their Conference also and that did not turn out too well. Who am I kidding though, the Bruins loss in that series effected me about as much as a Sox loss to the Royals in May so I shouldn't make like it actually was crushing or anything. As I have said many times before, my Bruins patronage left with Cam Neely and it will take a lot to get me even to the point where I check their box scores or the NHL standings more than once every couple of weeks.

With that, what I came here to discuss...


Wow, what an annoying offseason for the Red Sox. No, not annoying in the sense of the moves they are making - I like most of the signings, even if they still need another bat - but rather in the storylines. First, there was the annoying Mark Teixeira saga and now we get this Varitek stuff. I'd call it a mess, but it really is not a mess. Jason Varitek and Scott Boras brought all of this on themselves when they passed on arbitration so really, it's only a mess on their end. For the Sox, this could not be playing out any better. They either get Varitek at a relatively cut-rate salary for a short commitment, or let him walk to find that big money contract he and his agent delusionally believe is out there and then gobble up the compensatory draft pick. The worst case scenario for the Sox I guess is if Varitek and Boras decide to sit out a year to shake the Type A free agent tag from him and have him go back at the market next year. This is only bad because the Sox would then lose the aforementioned draft pick. Beyond that, no biggie. Of course the chances of him finding a home beyond the Red Sox this year seem to be about 0% because is a team really going to surrender a first round pick AND a contract on a catcher who will be 37 a week after opening day? Doubtful.

So how do I hope it pans out? Well, the pragmatist in me thinks that if the Sox can get him for dirt cheap and only play him maybe three times a week then that is a good move for them. However, the evil part of me wants more than anything for Boras and Varitek to sit out this season and hit the market next year as a completely unrestricted free agent with no pesky "Type A" tag to hold them back. I want this mainly because I want to see them pretend to be indignant when teams will only offer the guy an un-guaranteed roster spot/spring training invite in 2010 when he will be 38, two years removed from a brutal offensive season and one year removed from NOT PLAYING BASEBALL AT ALL. The whole situation is just way too preposterous and comical to even imagine and honestly I have no idea what Varitek and Boras are thinking right now. To me, it just shows that despite what everybody else loves to say about 'Tek, at his soul he is just another Boras lackey. If he wasn't then wouldn't he have signed by now?

Oh, and this just in, Varitek is mulling the Sox current offer but does not like the fact that he will not get rewarded if he bounces back with a strong 2009. Sounds like a fair beef at face value, but then you step back and think, "well if you had a 'strong' 2008 you would not be in this spot in the first place". Furthermore, as Buster Olney noted in his blog the other day, Varitek finished 21 out of 25 in OPS of catchers with 300+ at bats last year meaning the fact that a contract for multiple years and millions is even on the table right now is a minor miracle in and of itself and he should be grateful just for that. At some point, this guy needs to realize that his only shot at somewhat saving face is to take the Red Sox money and be done with it instead of continuing to drag these discussions out, making himself look worse and worse.

Matt Cassell

OK, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Chances are, the Pats aren't really going to know what to do about the Brady/Cassell situation until August at the earliest. Therefore any talk of trying to parlay him into draft picks this year is ridiculously premature. With that being said, if you want a natural fit for a trade with the Patriots involving draft picks then the Vikings have to be it.

Why? Well, the Vikings need a QB and they are also picking in the later regions (22nd overall) of the first round where Bill Belichek likes to do his damage. Sure, having a gaudy first round pick at the top of the draft would be nice, but what we learned last year is that Belichek actually values the later first round picks more simply because he does not have to pay them the money of the top guys. Therefore, don't think a Cassell to Detroit for the first overall pick is something that would ever happen. However, Cassell to Minnesota for a first and a third and maybe a future first day pick as well? Now that is something that seems right in the Patriots wheelhouse.

So for fun, let's pretend this happens. All of a sudden the Pats have six or seven picks on the first day of the draft (an extra third rounder could come from Asante leaving). What could they do? How about two linebackers, a tight end, an O-lineman, a safety, and a cornerback all on the first day of the draft? Read more!

Notes from the Weekend

Boy are things slow around here lately. It is a tough time, no one really cares about Hockey here, the Football season ended 4 weeks ago for the Patriots, the Celtics are steamrolling there way to the playoffs again, and we are still a couple of weeks away from Truck Day at Fenway. Ben is trying to convince me that we should go in and see that, we will see what happens there. So here are my notes from the weekend.

- First completely unrelated, on Saturday night I faced off against fellow RBB writer Ben online in Madden 2009. Some of the best features were the fact that neither of us had to get up out of our living rooms, also even though the headset almost gave Ben flashbacks to when we worked in the callcenter together. I will admit that he won 34-31, it was pretty depressing for me I will admit and I will be seaking a rematch at some point.

- It was nice to see the Celtics on National TV, it was even nicer to see them blast the Mavericks by 24. Here are some good observations from Kevin Henkin. Also Steve Bulpett talks about the bar that the Celtics are setting for themselves. Overall I thought they played a good game and it is good to see them bounce back strong from there late December lull.

- WEEI broke the story yesterday that the Sox had made an offer to Varitek. Sounds like it is something around 5 million dollars a year with a dual option for the second year. It is probably the closest that Varitek is going to get to a guarenteed two year deal. Here is Rob Bradfords post. I think he needs to sign it, Catchers and Pitchers report in 16 days so he needs to make up his mind.

That is all that I have for now Read more!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Three Quick Thoughts

Sorry, it's been quiet around here all week. The RBB DC Metro Area HQ has been moving since Saturday so life has been a bit hectic. Plus, there really is not a ton of actual Boston stuff to report.

With that, I'm just going to throw a few things out there. Nothing earth shattering tonight.

1) I believe way back in August or something I said that a best case scenario for Varitek was that the Sox signed him to a below market, one-year deal for 2009. Well that looks like it will probably happen. Funny thing is, it seems like the Sox don't even really want him that much doesn't it?

2) Celtics/Magic is a huge game tomorrow night. While the Celtics may technically be in first place in the East right now, both Cleveland and Orlando are a game ahead of them in the loss column (8 to 9) so don't sleep on the importance of the game. What scares me is that the C's will be playing in the back-end of a back-to-back and three games in four nights stretch, while Orlando has not played since Saturday. Um, advantage Magic.

3) So who else out there watched the first half of the NFC Championship Game and thought to themselves, "you know what, that is EXACTLY how the Pats should have attacked the Giants in the Super Bowl last year"?

The Cardinals attacked a blitz-happy team by two 2007 Pat specialties; spreading the field with in 5 receiver sets and delayed draws out of shotgun to the running back. Again, where the F*** was that about a year ago? Why am I still bitter?

OK, it's late and I am wiped. Read more!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Youk Contract and Some Predictions

I am a big boy and I'll admit it. I was wrong about Youk. I was convinced he was going to spurn the Sox for free agency and go after a big money offer on the open market after the Sox lowballed yet another one of their own players with a below market contract.

What should be said here is that both sides gave a bit more than they have seemed willing to in the past. For the Sox, they offered one of their own an average annual salary of about $10M. That is really good for them and an AAS of $1M more per year than what they paid Josh Beckett when extending him. If you ask me, it is a step in the right direction for the organization. Don't lowball, homegrown, proven players to the point of antagonization. Instead, meet them halfway with some good cash and chances are they will stick around most of the time.

And that is where Youk comes into play too. He probably could have continued playing out his one year, arbitration eligible contracts until he got to free agency. At that point he probably could have gotten a pretty sweet deal. Instead though, he saw a chance to guarantee himself at least $41M and maybe $53M (if the fifth year club option is picked up) in a winter where many very good players had to scrounge or are still scrounging for one year deals and decided that $41M is $41M. Probably a good decision for both him and the team.

So what's next for them? Well, I think you'll see them move on to their next three logical targets, Jason Bay, Jon Lester, and Jonathan Papelbon (in that order).

If I had to guess on contracts that those three guys will get offered/sign if they are to say with the Sox, I'd say this:

Bay - 3 years $36M with a $14M club option for a 4th year
Lester - 4 years $35M with two $10M club option years
Papelbon - 3 years $20M with two $8M club option years

And now, because I have not done so in a while, some fearless predictions:

1) The Sox will swing a blockbuster trade before spring training that will bring them some sort of corner infielder, maybe a shortstop, or maybe even a centerfielder. Catcher will be a musical chairs position for them next year with Josh Bard receiving the bulk of the time.

2) Chad Finn of TATB on got me on this kick, but the Celtics need to figure out some way to bring in Joe Smith. The guy is the perfect match for them and they will make it happen.

3) The Stephon Marbury Era in Boston will go drastically smoother than the Sebastian Telfair Era. Weird that if it happens the cousins would have played for two of the same franchises with the T-Wolves being the other.

4) The Patriots will once again not draft a skill position player. This will initially be met with rolls of the eyes as they pass on the hot RB flavor of the draft. By next year, everybody will be heralding the Pats draft class even if drafting lineman, safeties, DBs, and tight ends aren't the most exciting picks in the world. Of course having potentially five first day picks will help.

5) The Mathew Stafford/Mark Sanchez QB question around the draft will be the most hotly debated "who you got" since Manning/Leaf. While it is virtually impossible for it to be that lopsided again, it will be as lopsided as the big QB debate before then, which directly effected us here. That's right, Mathew Stafford is going to be Drew Bledsoe and Sanchez will be Rick Mirer. Call me crazy, but if the Pats took Mirer there instead of Bledsoe, I bet they are still in that Bengals/Cardinals rut which they were perpetually stuck in pre Kraft/Parcells/Bledsoe.

6) In 2010 the Patriots will draft Tim Tebow. I know there is already a lot of yammering about this, but to me it makes just too much sense to ignore. They will break him in as a short yardage back/QB (exactly as he was used in his first year at Florida) and as time progresses they will slowly groom him as (hopefully) Tom Brady's predecessor. I'm not totally sold on him as a pro quarterback but if the Pats could take Matt Cassell and make him Pro Bowl quality, I am not sure what would be stopping them with a guy like Tebow.

7) Josh Beckett will win the AL Cy Young. Mark it down. It always seems like when great pitchers have years where they miss time here and there for lots of minor, nagging injuries it does them well in the long run and they come back the next season refreshed. So watch out for Beckett. 20 wins, 220 Ks, and an ERA around 3 are what I see for him.

8) BJ Upton will win the AL MVP. Overreaction to his performance in the playoffs? Not really. If the guy puts up a .300/.400/25/110/120/40 line on a playoff contending team, are you going to tell me he does not deserve it. (That's avg/obp/hr/rbi/rs/sb if you are wondering)

Read more!

Youk is signed: 4 years 40 million dollars

Last February 11th fellow Rootbeer and Bacon writer Neil wrote about how the Red Sox needed to sign Youk to an extension. It took a year but it after the best year of his career it finally happened. Neil valued Youk highly but after this past season his value went through the roof so lets come up with 3 reasons why the Sox had to sign Youk to an extension.

1. If he went to arbitration along with the other 111 players his value would have shot way up. He only made 3 million dollars last year while coming in third for the MVP, hit .312 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. He was going to make 10 million dollars if he had gone to arbitration and for them to lock him up for 4 more years that is key.

2. Lowell isn't going to last forever. We are going to be lucky for him to get through this year, but when the time comes Youk is going to move back over to third where he is going to continue being Gold Glove quality. He is young and versatile and will make space for Lars Anderson next year when he is ready to join the young guns on this team. Just so you know Lars spent 41 games in Portland last year, he hit .316, 5 Home Runs, and 30 RBI's he is coming and is the reason why I am not worried about losing out on Teixiera.

3. He is a leader in the clubhouse. The beginning of the Ramirez meltdown last season was started with the fight that Youk and Ramirez had in the dug out. It maybe lost now but most people blamed Youk for the incident. It was because he cares about the game, pays attention and isn't a piece of crap who will protest by not even swinging at a pitch like Ramirez. I am rambling though, the sox clubhouse is starting to get younger and is filled with passion. We are headed to at least 4 years of Youk and Pedroia being the leaders and say what you want but I am looking forward to that. If nothing else it will be interesting.

So it will be a fun 4 years with our young nucleus. Read more!

Friday Notes

I know this is crazy, I am posting for the second day in a row, and I am doing some links again my top stories that you need to read today in Boston Sports. Maybe I will keep this going but who knows no guarentees. So here it goes.

- I do not normally like Bob Ryan, I find him to be a blowhard, and I really don't like him on Around the Horn or if he fills in on PTI, and I really was not sorry to see that his stupid Globe 10.0 show was canceled by NESN shortly before Christmas. Don't worry if you missed this news it is only in the article I linked too, and is also only 2 lines. Anyway Bob Ryan wrote an article of random sports notes columns, which if you plow through his normal crap does make some good points so check it out if you have the time.

-Gerry Callahan has a good article about all the changes that are taking place in Foxboro and how much smoother they are going than some departures in the past. Iti s obvious that the Coach is much more supportive of Pioli and McDaniels than he ever was of Mangini the idiot. I know a lot of people are concerned but the key to the whole thing has always been the Coach and I think he will be able to pull everything together.

- Good article from the Hartford Courant that talks about the Youk new contract and also talks about the state of Big Papi's wrist.

That is really all I have for today it was a slow night in Boston sports as only Bruins played(and won). Read more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some quick notes for Thursday

So I am super busy at work but I thought I would take a quick break and make some notes about todays news. Also thought I would include some links so you could read what I am reading. I also want to let you all know that I am lucky to be alive today. Last night my wife made me drive to North Reading to some sketchy house where the messiest lady alive sold us a bedroom set that as of not does not fit up our stairs at our new house. Anyway onto the links.

- I mentioned this a several months ago but Yi Jianlian is still in the top ten for all star voting. Seriously. Mark Spears wrote about Yi on, and while I like the article I hate writers who act like we are all idiots. I quote Spears "With each weekly update of the NBA All-Star balloting, Celtics fans may be asking themselves one question: Who is Yi Jianlian?" Really Spears who is Yi Jianlian? As I recall the Celtics almost drafted him and he was the focus of about 300 stories from the time they lost the lottery till the draft that all said that he would be suiting up for the Celtics. I digress though, take a minute and go to and vote for Kevin Garnett. Make sure that a middle of the road Chinese player is not worthy of the All Star team just because he comes from a company with 1.3 billion people.

- I have a google watch on Lars Anderson and this story came up. He is going to be our first baseman in the future. It is the first time in a long time that a legitimate power threat has come up through our system at a power position. Youk may have worked out well and has some decent power but Anderson is a true power threat. Look for him sometime in 2010

- Mike Reiss seems to think that things are going to work out well with Pioli's replacement, Nick Caserio, I am going to have to agree for now. Lets see how his first draft goes, the Patriots are possibly going to have 5 first day picks so it should be interesting to see if they can get younger and hit more than they have missed in the past few years.

So that is all I have for now I have work to do looking at the quality of our New York Auto Business exiciting I know. Read more!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

QBs: Who is Number Three!?

Here is kind of a fun exercise...

With the induction of Rickey Henderson into the HOF, I have been reading again about how Tim Raines is getting jobbed and deserves a spot in the hall. I for one never knew how great Raines was in his hey-day but ESPN's Keith Law does a real nice job explaining it. If you are doing a double-take on the Tim Raines as HOFer stance, just read Law's piece and let me know.

One of the main things that Tim Raines has going against him is the fact that he happened to be only the second best leadoff man of his time. The problem being that the best of all time was ahead of him on that list, Rickey Henderson. Anyway, that got me thinking on other guys who may have gotten over-shadowed by playing in an era behind all time greats. Finding exact comparisons for this was tough so my mind shifted to another thought.

If we can all agree that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the indisputable 1 and 1A all time quarterbacks from the post-Elway Era AKA 1999-present, then who is the next guy in line on that list. To me, there are really only three guys in the discussion:

Brett Favre
Kurt Warner
Donovan McNabb

Because quarterbacks are judged on big game accomplishments almost more than stats, I am only going to look at playoff appearances/record and Super Bowl appearances/record for the three guys listed above. While it may seem dumb to totally ignore stats for a position like QB, I am going under the impression that if they have been talented enough to keep a starting job for the majority of the past 10 years, then they are probably pretty good. Even still though, regular season accomplishments should count some so I will give them points for winning an MVP Award.

I am going into this blind right now, but if I had to guess, I predict the final tally will come out looking like McNabb, Warner, Favre. Let's get at this and see!

First, the scoring. I am going to do it like this:

5 Points for an MVP Award
1 Point for a 9 win season/+.500 record as starter
2 Points for a 10 win season
3 Points for an 11 win season, etc.....
1 Point for a Wild Card Round Win/1st Round Bye
2 Points for a Division Round Win
4 Points for a Championship Game Win
10 Points for a Super Bowl Win
17 Total Points for a Super Bowl Winning Run
10 Total Points for a Super Bowl Losing Run

Now, we have at it:

Brett Favre

24 Points

19 regular season win points

Wins in 2001 Wild Card Round, 2003 Wild Card Round, 2007 Division Round + Bye Week

Kurt Warner

49 Points

9 regular season win points.

MVP in 1999 and 2001, Super Bowl Winner in 1999, Super Bowl loser in 2001, Wild Card and Division win to date in 2008

Donovan McNabb

43 Points

19 regular season win points

Wild Card win in 2000 and 2006, Wild Card and Division win in 2001, Bye Week and Division Win in 2002 and 2003, Super Bowl loser in 2004, Wild Card and Division Win to date in 2008


Right now, if things play out how most people think on Sunday, then Donovan will edge ahead of Warner whether or not he wins or loses the Super Bowl. However, if Warner and the Cardinals win on Sunday then he will be firmly cemented as the "Best of the Rest". If it seems weird that Warner is the current leader then you are forgetting the way in which the Rams teams he anchored dominated that three year window from 1999-2001. Two MVPs and two Super Bowl runs during this time allowed him to get off to a fast start and keep his lead over the other two guys who may have had a steadier and more consistent run of recent success. Still, they come nowhere near that three year high point of Warner's career. Let's face it too, if it weren't for this year's Warner resurgence, the guy would not even be in the conversation.

And what about Favre? Well, the fact of the matter is that he has lead his team to the NFC Championship Game exactly once since 1999 while McNabb has done so five times and Warner three times. Beyond that, he has just three playoff victories over this timeframe. That is not very good, hence the third place finish.

So, do I think the system is fair/turned our correctly? Not to be biased but I say yes. The reason for this is that if Kurt Warner leads a team to the Super Bowl for the third time in this frame - Tom Brady is the only other guy right now who has done it more than once though that could change this weekend - then he absolutely deserves to be number two. At the same time, if Donovan McNabb leads his team to the Super Bowl - also time number two for him - then he deserves it thanks to his longevity/relative consistency.

Does this add some intrigue to the NFC Championship Game for you? Doubtful, but as you can see, the NFC game this Sunday won't only determine who gets to go to the Super Bowl, it will also determine who gets to be known as the "Third QB" behind Brady and Manning for this era.

And if you are wondering, Brady would score 105 points per this system. Yeah, I think he is number one.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Quick Hitters....

Celtics Acquisitions I Want to See:

1) Joe Smith because he'll provide a lot of what PJ Brown provided last year. 

2) A backup PG.  Any backup PG.  Just somebody who can create shots for people and dribble the ball up the court.  

Patriots Story Being Under-Reported Right Now: 

The fact that they have two second round picks and could pickup an additional third round pick once the Asante Samuel compensation situation rights itself.  Five first day picks for a team in need of a youth infusion is a pretty big deal.  

The positions I'd like to see filled with those picks in no particular order would be safety, DB, linebacker, o-lineman, d-lineman, and tight end.  Just get Ben Watson out of town.  Please.  

Potential Big Name Patriot Cap Casualties to Make Room for Brady/Cassell:

Richard Seymour or Adalius Thomas.  I think it's one or the other and my money is on Seymour.  They need to carve out room somewhere for all that cash they are throwing at the QB position.  Plus Vince Wilfork needs to get paid too.  

Biggest, Random Worry for the Red Sox: 

A Jon Lester injury seems kind of inevitable right?  Or maybe just some general ineffectiveness?  Look, we see this all the time; young pitcher busts himself admirably in the postseason for his team but then the glut of innings of which his body has never seen before finally comes back to collect the following season.   A prime example of this is Josh Beckett, who saw his total innings drop and his ERA rise, each year after hoisting his teams in the postseasons of 2003 and 2007.  It's the price you pay for doing business right?  You can't have it both ways either, so I guess we suck it up and thank ourselves that the Sox have made it their mission this offseason to insure their pitching staff as much as humanly possible.  

Just wanted to throw all this out there....
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Some News and Notes

I just want to start by pointing out that posted that Jim Rice was a Hall of Famer 13 minutes before it was officially announced. That is all I have to say about that. So it has been awhile since I posted notes so here we go.

- Smoltz, Penny, Saito, Bard, no big names like Teixiera, but they seem to be getting better. The rotation is getting a little full at this point but that is never a bad thing, its better to be overstocked, instead of having David Pauley pitching down the stretch.

- Worst part about Jim Rice getting into the hall of fame. I was at work yesterday when the announcement was made, so I go to the hall of fame website and click on the link so that I can watch it live. These two goobers come up on the screen, it is obvious why they are only on and not on TV. So when the time comes they kick it over to the all new MLB TV channel, where Hazel Mae introduces the president of the Hall of Fame. HAZEL FRICKEN MAE, I thought that I would never have to see her again, instead there is her ugly mug congratulating Jim Rice for getting into the hall of fame.

- The Celtics seem to have snapped there skid a little with a two game win streak. They are not going to be breaking any records with this team but if they can get a veteran or two they are going to be battling Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals.

- The Patriots have lost another assistant. Josh McDaniel was good but you know that the Coach has a plan, they might go with out a coordinator or they may have a coach that we never heard about waiting in the wings. I wish him luck in Denver and I hope that they lose everytime the patriots face them.

Thats all I got for now.And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Monday, January 12, 2009

All Sorts of Fun and Geeky Stuff Inspired by Jim Rice's HOF Induction

Congrats to Jim Ed on making the Hall of Fame. And congrats to anybody who reads national baseball blogs or even the Boston Globe because you never need to hear a should he/shouldn't he debate again about Rice's HOF merits. Good for us there because everybody wins. Just cover your eyes and ears for the next few days as the pro- and anti-Rice factions gloat or pout and soon it will all be over.

Having either not been alive or a cognizant fan during his glory years I cannot harp on days of yore about when he was the most "feared" hitter in MLB and all that jazz. Therefore, with only statistical - and not anecdotal - evidence to guide me, I tend to fall in the no-go camp. Still, who am I to judge his merits having never seen him in his prime. Some day, in probably 10 years or so Big Papi, is going to be eligible for the Hall. I think we all know in our heart of hearts that 5 awesome years from a DH does not a Hall of Famer make. Even still though, we will talk about how clutch and feared he was and blah, blah, blah and hardcore stat-heads will tell us to quit whining. Plus, did we mention he only had five GREAT years? We'll go back and forth and bitch and moan and probably lose that battle, but we'll still tell our kids the legend of Big Papi, Hall of Fame or not. So in that way, Papi will be our Jim Rice. Except with a flimsier case and a smaller body of work. Whereas with the case of Rice I have always felt disinterested, but for Papi, I can't wait for the conversations on him down the road.

Anyway, time to have some fun with adjusted OPS+. Sound geeky? Of course it does! I bring this up because Jim Rice's career OPS+ of 128 was not exactly jaw dropping. Now, using this as a baseline, let's use it to gauge some current and semi-current players in both Hall odds but also for fun. There are going to be some shocking names on this list.

Top 5 Current OPS+ Leaders for Their Career
Barry Bonds - 182
Pujols - 170
Frank Thomas - 156
Manny - 155
Lance Berkman and Jim Thome - 148

Hall Odds:
Bonds and Manny are shoo-ins. Pujols should be after another couple of years at the relative pace at which he is going. Thomas I think will get in relatively soon after hitting the ballot. Thome is similar to Thomas, with more consistency but lower "highs" if that makes sense and his candidacy will depend a lot on how Thomas moves through the process.

Other Slam Dunk Hall of Famers and Their Current OPS+
A-Rod - 147
Mike Piazza - 142
Ken Griffey Jr. - 138

Biggest Surprises on the List
Jason Giambi - 146
Travis Hafner - 142
Brian Giles - 139
Jason Bay - 131
Bobby Abreu - 133
Jim Edmonds - 132
Adam Dunn - 130
JD Drew - 129
Magglio Ordonez - 129
Moises Alou - 128
Ryan Klesko - 128
Sammy Sosa - 128

OK, not to be a dick but when you look at that list, a 128 OPS+ for a career gets massively de-valued right? All those guys are good to great players, but are any of them Hall of Famers? The only one out of there that I think you could make a case for would be Jim Edmonds. As for Jim Rice, can you believe that he finished his career with the same OPS+ as Ryan Klesko?

Did You Realize That You are Probably Watching a Hall of Famer Play?
Vlad Guerrerro - 147
Chipper Jones - 145
Gary Sheffield - 141

Not Sure What to Make Of....
Todd Helton - 141
Carlos Delgado - 138
David Ortiz - 138

If They Stay Going Like They are Now, HOF
Miggy Cabrera - 140
David Wright - 139
Chase Utley - 128

And that concludes the fun with OPS+ portion of our program. I much enjoyed that. Oh, and don't say that these guys benefited from putting up huge numbers during the Steroids Era because OPS+ looks at OPS relative to league average so that would be a non-factor.

That is it!

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Breaking News: Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer

Another Red Sox player is in the Hall of Fame. While he may not have been well loved by the media Jim Rice finally found his way into the hall of fame. Did he hit 500 home runs? No but for a period of about 8 years he was a feared hitter who no one ever wanted to see coming to the plate. He led the American league in home runs 3 times, he was a 2 time silver slugger, he hit over .300 7 times, he won the MVP once, and was in the top 5, 5 times. He is overdue for the recognition ROOTBEER AND BACON SALUTES YOU JIM RICE.( I am not counting Rickey as a Red Sox, he is an A, he only played here one year and was only a backup.) Read more!

From the Weekend

A few news items from the weekend. Let's tackle them. No pun intended.

Josh McDaniels to the Broncos

Good for Josh. How does this effect the Patriots? Honestly, I'm not sure it will have a huge effect. Some may say that the Pats have not won since Romeo and Fat Charlie left town as a testament to the power of good coordinators. I would counter that the defense got old and injury prone after Romeo left and the offense has gotten markedly better in the post-Weiss Era. I love to knock Charlie, but I can't really say the offense taking off in recent years is because he is not there to bog it down anymore. Nope, it's because Tom Brady just got better and better and couple of receivers named Moss and Welker came to town. That's mostly on the players. As for the coaches, you have to figure that Belichek will continue to bring in/promote highly, highly competent individuals - and if he can't find any, he'll do the job himself - so therefore as long as he is running the show, I think the coaching/scheming aspects of the team will be fine.

Red Sox Continue to Stockpile Role Players

You know what, I love all the low-risk/high-reward players the Sox are stockpiling for the season. You know what I don't like though? That they aren't making any moves for anybody who could be considered close to a sure thing and are pinning all of their offensive hopes next year on healthy and productive seasons from David Ortiz and Mike Lowell. Not only that, but they are not factoring in that last year they most likely received career years from Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

Right now I find it almost foolish to assume 1100-1200 at-bats from the Ortiz/Lowell combo and for Youk and Pedroia to be as great as they were last year. I will say that I would bet on close to repeat performances from Youk and Pedroia though before I'd bet on something close to the 56 homers and 237 RBI they received from Ortiz and Lowell in 2007. Why is this? Well because Pedroia is a line drive hitter, a skill that can carry from year to year and Youk is hellbent on getting to free agency and finding himself a massive contract. As for Ortiz and Lowell, they are both getting up in age and coming off injuries that are not exactly the easiest to recover from with ones to the wrist and hip respectively. So now, if and when one of those two main RBI guys goes down in the lineup, there is absolutely no power threat to plug in for them whatsoever. Yes, Kotsay and Baldelli are nice guys to have on hand - very nice actually - to fill in as bench/role players but the team is still a proven and reliable bat away from having a lineup that will be able to make noise against good pitching. This is what killed them last year. A healthy Lowell, but especially a healthy Ortiz would go a long way towards assuaging those fears, but unfortunately as we stand now those are massive assumptions.

NFL Playoffs

Right now I am sweating. Why? Because it looks like at this very moment we are heading towards and Eagles/Steelers Super Bowl and I don't like that one bit. Again, why? Well I hate the idea of the Steelers winning two Super Bowls since the Pats last won one because I like the idea of them choking in big games and specifically choking in big games against the Pats. You can almost write off their Super Bowl win a few years ago as a fluke thanks to all the fortuitous injuries/bounces/calls they received en route. Of course the bottom line is they still won.

This year for them, not so much. It would be legit. What is more, they seem like the best team and as long as they take care of business the next two weeks, they should emerge victorious. Ugh. I hate the idea of Ben Roethlisberger as a two time Super Bowl winner and the Steelers claiming victory to two of the last four without having to beat NE once in the playoffs on either of those runs. At least when the Colts won they did it the old-fashioned way, by beating their nemesis in a Conference Championship Game. Call me bitter and jealous - which of course I am - but I won't truly honor and regard the Steelers as being in the same class of the Patriots or even the Colts of the past 8 years until they beat the Patriots in the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl. Petty I know, but how I feel all the same.

So, how do I feel about the other three teams remaining:


This team has always been a bit mouthy for my taste. Still, of the three teams that I think actually have a chance to win the Super Bowl - AZ is the only one I don't think can - this would probably be the one that I would most prefer. I guess part of it could be regional pride, but more of it would be that the Ravens could kind of become the Florida Marlins of football. Huh? Well, in baseball you can pull the stat out whenever you want that the only teams to win multiple World Series in the past 15 years are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Marlins. Do the same for football - switching Super Bowl for World Series of course - and you get the Elway Broncos, the Brady/Belichek Patriots, and the Ray Lewis Baltimore Ravens. You have to admit that in both situations one of those things were clearly not like the others.


I don't like the Eagles. I don't know why, I just don't. Plus, I don't want Philly stealing Boston's thunder as the most recent city to have a World Series/Super Bowl champ in the same year. Still, I see almost no way that they lose to the Cardinals. When was the last time a great offense/bad defense team beat an average offense/great defense team? Got me.


This would be the best story. Too bad, I think their voyage ends on Sunday. At least Larry Fitzgerald has been able to have a massive coming out party these past few weeks and cement himself - with Andre Johnson probably right behind - as the best receiver in the NFL. The guy is an absolute beast and if you want a reason why Arizona could win on Sunday, it could be that Larry Fitzgerald gets it in his head that that is how it is going to be and then sees to it that it happens. Plus that crowd will be AWESOME. Good for Cardinals fans, they deserve to host an NFC Championship Game. No, I don't think they can win but if Donovan McNabb channels even a fraction of what Jake Delhomme did on Saturday night then Arizona could very well be Tampa bound.

And One More Thing

Eagles players, enough on the whole "We've made 5 NFC Championship Games in 10 years" talk. Sure that is impressive, but if you lose again then you just become the ultra-poor man's Buffalo Bills. Even if you win the NFC Championship Game and lose the Super Bowl again, who cares. The Pats have made 5 AFC Championship Games in the past 8 years, winning them 4 of those games and 3 Super Bowls. That trumps you. Sorry.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Thoughts On The New Sox

We have no Patriots. We have losing Celtics again. We have not Red Sox games, and we have some team called the Bruins. I am not into college football, so for me there has not been a whole lot on the tube that I have been interested in this week. However, the Sox came to my rescue with some interesting moves towards the end of the week that have kept me glued to at least WEEI, and the internet. I gotta say, I like all the moves. While I know Brad Penny was signed a few weeks ago, I am going to include him in this post, so lay off me.

Brad Penny- What did the Sox give him, 5 million? It's a steal. My love for the Bartolo Colon signing is well documented on this site, and Penny falls into the same catagory for me. That is, low risk/high reward. Here is a guy that was a dominant pitcher for a lot of years, and was the ace of the dodgers staff. Sure he has had some injuries of late, but everyone heals right? Plus he is again paired up with Beckett, which should help him get comfortable here in Boston.

John Smoltz- Did I spell his name right? He falls into the same catagory for me as Penny. He got around 5 million with another 5 million in incentives. I am sure the Sox will happily give him the extra 5 if he earns it, because that means he has been lights out. Sure he is old, but thats what will make it so awesome if he comes in here and mows people down. It will a great story, and if he sucks, then he is too old and should retire. Think about a midsummer roatation that goes Lester Dice-K Beckett Penny Smoltz. Then you have Wake coming out of the pen in long relief and spot starts. Holy shit, we will have just found our answer to the bats in NY.

Rocco Baldelli- Aside from having an awesome name, he is a local guy. On top of that, he is coming to Boston for 500K. That is the equivilant of being too lazy to pick up a quarter you dropped in baseball terms. When he is healthy, which isn't often, he is a great outfielder and has some power in his swing. I can see him filling the DH role if Papi gets hurt again, and I can see him filling that role well. There is absolutley no downside to this one year deal.

Mark Kotsay- There are rumors floating that the deal is done pending a physical. While he didn't hit well, he provided some great defense in the outfield and more importantly at first base. He knows the team, and is willing to be a backup. Great signing.

I am calling all these moves Rootbeer & Bacon approved. The Sox spent less that 15 million dollars and brought what could be four quality roleplayers to Boston. But what I love more is what else three of these guys could bring. That is, a great feel good story. Let's face it, this city thrives on passion and emotion, especially when it comes to the Sox. If Penny and Smoltz defy the skeptics and return to form, we will sing Theo's praises and buy their shirts, and if Baldelli, the hometown kids comes in and awes, well...thats what watching sports is all about.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some Late Eveing Thoughts

Some thoughts to entertain you with while watching an incredibly entertaining National Championship Game, despite the pedestrian 14-7 score with 1:30 left in the third.

1) Mathew Stafford of Georgia has already declared for the NFL Draft. Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and maybe Colt McCoy could be right behind. He might be the least heralded of the group, but mark my words that Mathew Stafford will be hands down the best pro of the group. I promise you that. The guy is real good.

2) I, like the rest of the world, love the Baldelli/Smoltz signing for the Sox. What rubs me the wrong way however is Baldelli taking Nomar's #5. Listen, nobody dogged Nomar more than me in his last days in Boston - specifically the 2003 playoffs - but still, Nomar was an Icon during his hey-day. If you are asking me to name the biggest and most beloved Sox stars since 1990 in terms of skill/impact on the team/impact on the fan base at large, my list would like this:

1) Pedro
2) Nomar
3) Manny
4) Big Papi
5) Mo Vaughn

That list is kind of unfair to big Mo just because he was playing on mostly average teams but if you were a Red Sox fan in 1996 you were going to the park to see Big Mo and that was about it. But you know what, that was just fine. Of course I am a bit biased because if you are asking me my favorite Red Sox of all time, Mo is number two on the list behind Manny.

3) As mentioned the other day, Bobby Abreu is currently the odd man out of the mix in the game of corner outfielder musical chairs. Where will he end up? I don't think the Red Sox mainly because I'm not sure how he would swallow the idea of going to a team where he would not be a guaranteed starter, but man, I still think he would help. If I had to put my money on it though, I say he winds up in LA after Manny and Boras continue to overplay their hand with them and the Dodgers cut bait with him and get Abreu on a very attractive 1 year, $8M offer.

4) I promise you this is not sour grapes because if you read ANYTHING I wrote about the guy prior to him signing with the Yaniees you would know that I was never that enamored with him. So with that I say, the more I see and hear, the more I become convinced that Mark Teixeira could very well be the biggest prick in baseball.

5) Predictions for NFL Games this weekend:

SD over Pittsburgh 17-13
NYG over Philly 24-9
TN over Baltimore 17-6
Carolina over Arizona 38-27

6) Only BC could follow up a road victory over an undefeated, juggernaut team like UNC by losing to Harvard.

7) Florida's Percy Harvin is tailor made for what the NFL has become. He's not going to be an every down back, but he will be a top of the line third down back/return man. That probably is not analysis but I am guessing most of the readers of this blog aren't big NCAA football watchers so I wanted to throw it out there. The guy will be a menace.

8) I love how Vlade Divac made his way into a Subway ad. That kills me. Do you know what might kill you? I loved watching Vlade play. There is something about big men that can pass that I've always had a soft spot for. For my money, Divac and Aryvdus Sibonas were the two best I've seen. Shaq too, which is a totally underrated part of his game.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

4 Things:

1) So I guess the Celtics aren't going to win 73 games this year are they? I really think the Celtics will right themselves a lot sooner than later - I'm calling a win in Cleveland on Friday - but the real side effect of this recent skid is the fact that they are now in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, a half game behind Cleveland but also only a half game ahead of Orlando who is at 3. It is also worth noting that during this rough stretch the schedule has been chalk full of travel and almost no time to practice/adjust to the new "let's mess with Rondo" D that is flustering them. Plus it's not like they are losing gimme games at home. No excuses I know, but as long as the Celtics finish with the 1 seed in the East at the end of the day, the actual record they compile to get there really does not matter. Although it would be nice if it could be better than the West's 1 seed as well.

2) I hope Mrs. Teixeira enjoys her time in the Big Apple. Can't wait to hear her take on things when he gets booed after an 0-4 against the Red Sox in April to drop his average to .220.

3) It has been said before by many people, but bears repeating. Last year, Jason Giambi hit 32 homers, drove in 96 runs and had an OPS+ of 128. This was done in 458 at-bats. Last year, in 574 at bats Mark Teixeira hit 33 homers and drove in 121 with an OPS+ of 151. Discard the RBI because Tex had over 100 more at bats and was hitting in the middle of orders while Giambi lived mostly around the 7 hole. Don't discard the adjusted OPS because that is important and don't forget that Tex is a MARKED upgrade with the glove over Giambi and definitely more fleet of foot as well. Those are all important aspects of playing baseball, but let's not forget the big picture numbers which is what Tex will ultimately be measured on by the local media and fans: HR and RBI. The RBI will take care of themselves because he will be hitting in the middle of a pretty loaded lineup. The HR will probably be a wash from the Giambino. Therefore, the upgrade from one to the other really is not as huge as it may seem and while it helps NY down the road at the 1B position, it is not a massive upgrade for next year.

One other thing that should be mentioned is that from where I have stood, following the Red Sox it seemed that New York fans never really warmed up to Giambi until after he made his comeback from whatever steroids related illness he had. After that he seemed to be a crowd favorite and say what you will about Giambi but he has always seemed to be a pretty likable guy. Kind of a rich man's Kevin Millar. As for Teixeira, he seems from all I have read about him to be a pretty unlikable guy. There seems to be a lot of A-Rod/prima donna in him and I'm not sure how that will play there. With Giambi, when the going got rough for him he was able to fall back on his personality to carry him through the day. With Teixeira I am not sure if that can happen simply because he seems like a dick. It's all speculation of course but I think the honeymoon with Tex and the Yankee fans will be pretty short.

And one more time so I am entirely clear and not trying to sound like a jilted homer, all of the Tex versus fans/media questions that I have mentioned above would be just as in play if he were coming to Boston.

4) Not to sound like a spoiled, bratty, Boston sports fan, but not having the Patriots in the playoffs sucks. At the same time, with the defense as it was they inevitably would have crushed us for a third year in a row by allowing a last minute drive to end the season. So by that token, maybe it is for the better? Nah. Remember this the next time we suffer a crushing postseason defeat. At least we got there. Read more!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!

Here's a new gimmick. I like to call it "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down". Pretty self-explanatory if you ask me so let's have at it.

Thumbs Up! for the Patriots applying the franchise tag to Matt Cassell. Yes it makes trading him harder but conversely it provides built in protection for them that they will get a good return on the deal. Plus, while you never want to have almost $30 million (I think that is where the number will be) committed to one position on your roster, the Patriots really did not have a choice. Look for some big names to hit the chopping block next year around camp time on account of it. Could we have seen the last of Richard Seymour in a Pats uniform?

A begrudging Thumbs Up! to a Stephon Marbury acquisition. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to me, especially considering that scoring has all of a sudden become a problem for this squad. A creator who can shoot coming off the bench, really would be a nice asset. Plus, it's not like what Steph does would really cut into what Eddie House or Leon Powe does either because there will always be garbage for Powe to clean up and there will always be open threes for House to take. While a versatile 2/3 or 4/5 is probably a more pressing need right now, the bench does need help and Stephon Marbury could provide that.

Thumbs Down! to the Red Sox for not approaching Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell about a super-sub, 450 at-bat role where they would play some first base. Oakland and Tampa Bay are apparently the front-runner to grab the services of those two guys, but if wild card entry Jason Giambi gets snatched up by one of those two teams, that leaves somebody out in the cold without a team. At that point, the Sox make their move. What, you are conviced that you will get 150 games a piece from Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, and JD Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury will prove that he is more first half of 2008 Jacoby than second half? I'm just saying, good teams with deep pockets need to insure themselves and the Sox really seem hesitant to do this.

Thumbs Up! to BC for knocking off North Carolina. It's not so much that I care about this, but with the upset it did allow me to revisit two of the most exciting sports moments of my earlier years; BC's upset in South Bend back in 1993 and their upset of UNC in the Tournament in 1994. Great memories right there. Now if only I could somehow find a DVD from UMass' early season upset of Kentucky in 1995.

Thumbs Up! to the Utah-Alabama Bowl Game the other night for exposing yet again what a joke the BCS System is. That game highlighted the system's two biggest weaknesses perfectly. First off, an undefeated team from a conference not anointed as a "BCS Conference" who just handily defeated a team ranked first in the nation prior to their previous game has no shot at winning or playing for a national title. Second, because Alabama's season in essence ended against Florida in the SEC Championship Game, they had no real reason to show up against Utah. Maybe Utah was that much better than Alabama or maybe they caught them playing in a game they did not care about. Who knows. What I do know though is that there would be no question of Alabama's motivation if there was more on the line than maybe finishing 5th or 6th in the final polls. With that being said, I do believe the teams were probably pretty even heading in and that if anything tipped the scales decisively to Utah it was the fact that the game would be their biggest of the year while for Alabama it was more or less meaningless.


(Do you think that Nick Saban recruits guys with the promise of finishing third or fourth in the polls? Of course not. Once a team like Alabama loses their shot at the National Championship after coming so close to getting there, the motivation to play in a glorified exhibition game has to be minimal. And before you say anything about pride and blah, blah, blah, there is reason there is no third place game in the NCAA basketball tournament and the AFC and NFC Championship Game losers don't play a game the week before the Super Bowl.)
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Friday, January 2, 2009

Official RBB Take on Starbury: NO THANKS

It's another wild night at Williams HQ in lovely Falls Church, VA. I sit hear and type this as the Celtics dismantle the Wizards without even really trying. While watching this, do you know what thought has not entered my head a single time? Unless you are Sookie from True Blood, you probably can't read minds so I will tell you.

Here is what has never run through my mind:

"You know who the Celtics could really use? Stephon Marbury."

You know why that thought has not crossed my mind? Because it is a completely unnecessary addition. And between Eric Gagne and Sam Cassell I think we have learned our lessons on making unnecessary additions.

Here's the thing though. I actually think Steph has a lot more to offer than Cassell did. But here is the more important thing. He is not needed. Yes, it would be nice to get a legitimate playmaker/scorer for the second unit but that is not what the second unit really needs. As I said the other day, the second unit needs a tough guy veteran big man who can knock down shots when they are presented, not a shoot first point guard. While I probably could talk myself into Steph's ability to create shots for the other guys on the second unit and into the belief that that would be a really nice asset for them (truth be told I think it would be). But do you know what, I just don't want to do that. If the C's are going to pick somebody up off the veteran scrap heap, I want it to be a high character big man with some semblances of offensive skill, not Stephon Marbury.

In short, Pricing Boy I join you in saying, "thanks but no thanks" to Stephon Marbury. Didn't Danny learn anything from the ill-fated Bassie Telfair Era? Sure they are only cousins so it's not like they're bringing in the Vick Brothers or anything but that is a family tree I think I have had my fill with. Again, thanks but no thanks. Read more!

Happy 2009!!!!!

I have a longer post planned for later, a little review of the top games of 2008 for you, but that will take a little longer to get done. I wanted to post though and point out this article that was just posted on Sources: Marbury, Celtics interested in deal. Seriously? that is scary, this is about 40 times stupider than the Cassell signing last year. This guy is trouble he has never gone anywhere and hasnt caused some kind of Drama. The last time he was paired with Garnett things did not end well, as Marbury forced his way to New Jersey. I dont see this working out well, the chemistry could be awful and they already have enough problems.

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