Aaron Hernandez - Did you see the major marketing oops surrounding both the Florida Gators and New England Patriots this week? It seems that calendars for both teams feature everyone's favorite potential triple murderer Aaron Hernandez.
According to the their party company that produced the calendars, approval was given months before any charges were filed against Hernandez. Of course, if that is the case, doesn't the school and the team keep track of who's in what as far as promotional type materials for the team?
I mean if they can keep stats on who uses their left leg or their right leg more on third down in November games below 50 degrees, the front office ought to know which players are featured in what material, no?
The New York Liberty actually had a good week for a change. They won both of their games to "improve" to 6-11 on the season. First they nipped the Connecticut Sun 67-65 and then beat the Tulsa Shock handily 90-74.
About the only down type of news for the team this week was related to assistant coach Katie Smith. She was replaced as the #2 all-time WNBA scorer by Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.
BOSTON RED SOX
Professional writers and commentators have been talking for a while now about exactly when the Red Sox will concede they won't win the World Series this year so that they can sell off any trade worthy assets and go all in with their youth movement.
I've been holding off on conceding the season so those articles have kind of irritated me to this point. But after watching the Red Sox get slapped around by the woeful Chicago Cubs in a three game sweep AT Fenway Park earlier this week, I'm damn close to saying the Sox should pack it in.
What a terrible notion though. To give up before they even reach the All-Star break disgusts me. But with a ton of injuries to key players that don't seem to be healing in a timely manner and a general feeling of malaise from those that are actually on the field, maybe it is time to play as many of the youngsters to give them as much major league seasoning as possible and come back to make a strong run at contention next season.
Of course, playing the less experienced guys comes with the knowledge that the team is likely to be nearly as bad as the Bobby Valentine Year. After all, Jackie Bradley Jr. can't hit MLB pitching and Xander Boegarts is in a huge slump. But Brock Holt looks like the real deal and Mookie Betts seems to have started off his stay with the big club as well as could be expected.
But what about the pitching? Clay Buchholz is back from his injury rehab and has pitched markedly better than what he had been doing before. It hasn't translated into W's for him, but he's at least kept the team in games and he wasn't really doing that before. But if he can string together some really good performances, will the Sox look to trade him for something to help their future?
Brandon Workman was doing well until the BS suspension that left him out of the rotation for 12 days. He got shelled in his last start. But I'd like to see him stick around for a while.
I know Jon Lester is the most talked about guy to be on the trading block. Given his 9-7 record and periods where he's getting hit as often as a punch drunk boxer, trading him when you can't agree on a new contract for multiple pieces in return seems like a good idea. But I think trading the acknowledged ace of your staff is going to hurt the team in ways both on and off the field. While his record might make many happy the Sox didn't give him a huge contract offer before the season started, I think the lowball offer they did extend will bite them in the ass after the season ended. Should Lester turn things around in the second half of the season and become a lights out starter, Sox GM Ben Cherington is going to have to decide between opening the vault doors or parting ways with a guy that is seen as one of the key foundational members of the team.
Okay hockey fans who happen to read this column, was Jarome Iginla leaving the Bruins a foregone conclusion?
After seeing the news that he signed a 3 year, 16 million dollar deal to play for the Colorado Avalanche I was wondering if the Bruins even made an attempt at keeping him. If not, why not? Was his performance not enough to justify trying to keep him, or was the contract demands more than the Bruins were willing to assume?
The other question I had is with the talent that has already left the club so far this offseason, do the Bruins still have enough top line guys to make a serious attempt at the Stanley Cup next season?
In an unrelated to "real" hockey, I watched the Rob Lowe hockey film Youngblood on Thursday night. I remember when it first came out and how much I liked it. I think it is still an okay film but it definitely doesn't hold up as well.
Music - Here at Yougabsports, one of this week's Question of the Day entries asked about the first concert site readers/contributors had attended. I took it a bit further and did a separate blog entry detailing all the concerts I've attended since before 1986. You can read that HERE.
I got two review articles done this week. The first one is a four pack of mini reviews for albums that were released in 2013. I hadn't gotten around to buying them before 2014 came around but I wanted to share my thoughts on each of the discs, even if it is an abbreviated version of said thoughts. You can check out what I thought of albums by Julie Roberts, Paul Rodgers, Black Star Riders and The Winery Dogs via this Pop-topia.com link.
I also reviewed the new Night Ranger CD High Road for KNAC.com. You can check out that one HERE.
Last week I included the lyric video for the Overkill song "Armorist". But over the course of the week, the band released the official video. You can see it below.
Books - I had a big week of book buying this week, adding 7 new selections to my ever expanding to read pile. The books in question are as follows: Star Trek The Next Generation - Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang, The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling under a pen name), The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly, The Highway by C.J. Box and both Murder on the Half Shelf and Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett. On Saturday I added the Linwood Barclay thriller A Tap on the Window.
I gave the Rowling book to my mother to read first as she is a huge Harry Potter fan and I wanted to let her see if she liked this total story change from the author. Plus it will be a while before I get to it anyway.
This week on the Today Show, best selling authors Brad Thor and Kate White were asked for their summer reading recommendations. In the suspense category, they both picked the Terry Hayes book I Am Pilgrim. It was nice to see them giving some love to a book I loved. However, not too brag (too much), but I was on the fan bandwagon for the novel months ago.
Perhaps I spend too much of my time in my car and perhaps I listen to sports talk radio to excess, but I think one of these two things is about to change. Since I can't stop driving to work, I guess it must be option "b." The source of this discontent is the latest chapter in the Off-Season of LeBron (not to be confused with the Summer of George). Four years ago we had the extravaganza that brought us the so-called "Big Three." James and Bosh joined with Wade in Miami and a dominant force was born...4 title series in 4 years with 2 Championships. Not a bad return on the investment. Those contracts all came with 4 year opt-out clauses, now exercised by all three players. Presumably, the plan was to allow the players to re-sign, for LeBron at the MAX and everyone else at some lesser number. Which is where we are now...another circus while LeBron - and to a lesser extent Wade & Bosh - hold the NBA hostage to their contract expectations.
Which brings me to my main point...its buried in here somewhere folks...which is that listening to the talking heads, you would think the NBA has only 6 teams. Here is who is in the NBA: the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks (who knows why?, they stink), Heat, Bulls and the goody two-shoes, Spurs. Every other team is extraneous to the league. Why not contract the NBA to 8 teams - we'll keep Houston & OKC for balance - and put the rest of the unfortunate NBA fans out of their misery. The fact is, unless LeBron chooses you, you are not moving into the elite winners circle. Half the NBA franchises have never even played for a title and over the last 30 years you have 9 different champions...so who cares about the Wizards, or even more remote, Sacremento. You have the formerly up & coming Clippers once again overshadowed by the Lakers & Kobe - all of which revolves around saga #2, the Carmelo Anthony Summer...again only 6 teams in the NBA.
I can't stand it anymore...it is going to leave me no choice but to listen only to the MLB or NFL Networks. (Training camps open in about 4 weeks - wahoo!!).
Here's a breath of fresh air for tennis...slightly more obscure than the 24 other NBA teams is Wimbledon. At least with Eugenie Bouchard in the Women's Final today, we have someone new on the scene that plays exciting tennis. New names and faces are a plus...while on the Men's side of the draw, we have more of the same...Who Cares? versus Never Heard of Him. A bit harsh I guess since Federer is such a distinguished champion, but really, since McEnroe, has there been anyone worth watching?
Break up the Cubs....farm system. The Cubs raided the A's cookie jar taking their top two prospects for Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have actually amassed a wealth of young talent...if half of that talent develops into bonafide major league players, they may be competitive in a year or two. I guess when you've waited over 100 years, what's a couple more?
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Enjoy the 5th as well (that is "the" 5th, not "a" 5th!)!