Tagged with "NFl"
O H Thursday
Category: FEATURED


Spring is finally here!


Stats for the day, The HC QB combos with the most wins in NFL history looks like this

Belichick /  Brady    149

Shula / Marino          116

Noll / Bradshaw        107

Levy / Kelley             99

Reid / McNab            92

Reeves / Elway          89

Landry / Staubach      84

Shula / Griese            82

Fisher / McNair          76

Walsh / Montana        75

Holmgrin / Farve        74

Dungy / Manning       73




Early season top five Teams:


San Fran






Derek Jeter moved into 9th all time with his 3321st hit

Next up and possibly in reach are Carl Yaztrzemski 3419 and Honus Wagner 3420

Boston’ Jon Lester had his second quality start wasted by lack of hitting support and fell to 0-2  2.57


Fellow Boston Starter John Lackey is 2-0 1.36. Lackey is in the last year of his contract at $16 million and the Red Sox have a club option to keep Lackey in 2015 for a mere half  million. The Sox brass should be talking to Lackey about next year now. Lackey, two years removed from Tommy John surgery has never looked better. A 95+ fastball and a nasty slider that John admits he never had before makes him at age 36 a quality top of the rotation pitcher.


Omar Infante of the Royals took a Heath Bell fast ball to the face and suffered a broken jaw and a concussion. Bells 2 seamer was recorded at 88 on the gun. Infante will miss a little time but should be ok.



NBA… getting down to lottery pong…

Bottom eight

8. Detroit

7. Sacramento

6. LA Lakers

5. Utah

4. Boston

3. Orlando

2. Philadelphia

1. Milwaukee


NHL…playoffs getting closer

The bottom of the playoffs is still a battle with only __games to go


7th       Detroit 88

8th       Columbus 87

With 3 games to go these teams are on the outside looking in…

New Jersey 84

Toronto           84

Washington     83



Stars         87

Coyotes    86


In other news…


Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is still missing, searchers have failed in reacquiring the pings heard the other day by the Chinese search ship.

Patriot DB Alfonso Dennard was released from prison in  Nebraska after serving 35 of a 60 day term for a probation violation. He was quickly heading back to Boston as instructed by HC Bill Belichick. Dennard has 100 hours of community service to take care of and it’s rumored that he enjoys spending time with kids at various Boston hospitals. Dennard still has to face the wrath of Roger Goodale and may face a short suspension for his off field antics.


Womans final, U Conn (40-0) 77-59 over Notre Dame (37-1)


Congratulations to the U Conn men’s basketball team in winning their 4th title in the past 15 years.

The National Champion U Conn Huskies’ fans celebrated the unexpected win by lighting several small fires, breaking tables and chairs, and breaking windows in the Student Union and Field House. There were about 30 arrests according to Stores police.

Celebrating your teams victory with drugs and alcohol in a party type setting usually results in some sort of destruction.


Sorry for the lightweight blog today.

We lost a very close friend to a chronic lung disease on Tuesday.

My friend Orville was like a brother to both my wife and I. We are saddened by our loss but we are happy that he no longer suffers and has been reunited with his wife and daughter in Heaven.


Have a great day



Sports Friday with Hal: April is the Cruelest Month
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news PEDs baseball booing

Happy Friday!  


March is finally in the rear view mirror and with it I can finally put away the snow shovels and be free of winter for another few months. With that, there is Major League baseball on the television, the Final Four teams are left in the NCAA Tournament with March Madness winding down, the NFL is about done with major free agent signings and turns towards the NFL Draft, and the NBA and NHL wind down the regular season and ready for the playoffs.


I had a great Wednesday night of sitting on the couch watching TV and working the remote with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics all on the same night locally.  Had some half-price pizza and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers at the local watering hole with my buddy and the kiddos (no beer for them!) before that. The only downer being the lovely Mrs. B. was stuck working that afternoon and missed all the fun.




A quick shout-out to O.H. whose blog yesterday got the wheels turning in my head--which is the reason we blog, right?  He touched on the return of Milwaukee Brewers outfield Ryan Braun from his 65 game suspension for P.E.D.’s.  Braun in Milwaukee, like Barry Bonds in San Francisco, received a powerful ovation from the home crowd and will soon be coming to the friendly confines of Fenway Park in Boston.  


I had commented that I would not be among those booing Braun if I were at Fenway that night.  Part of that reason is I am a big fan of Braun--a large part of that from him carrying various fantasy baseball teams of mine over the years.  Another reason is he is a player who really seems to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to play baseball for a living.   But another part of me has another reason not to boo him.


I was at Fenway for Roger Clemens’ first game back to Fenway as a Blue Jay where he dominated Boston’s lineup and famously pointed to General Manager Dan Duquette’s box as he left the mound. I was booing my lungs out at the Texas Con Man that day. Loudly and lustily. Not only because he was pitching so well for the opposition after having a few rough years allegedly out of shape here, but mostly due to rejection. He rejected the Red Sox. My team!


Fans boo for various reasons.  Some is due to simply not liking the player/coach, etc for some reason or the other.  Sometimes it is just the opposing team itself.  Sometimes it is the player who scorned the team/franchise/city, etc. It may be respect for the player doing well against your team. Or it could be due to something the player did or did not do. There are countless reasons for booing.


But for Ryan Braun, he cheated the system and was caught and paid the price, but that is not the real reason for booing. He was so outspoken in his own defense prior to this suspension that it had a bit of a Lance Armstrong effect. Personally, I would think the fans of Milwaukee would be more likely to boo him: he hurt their home team last year with the stupid suspension.  

Ryan Braun never did anything to me personally. In addition, he never hit a home run to knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs (Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone); he never wasted my hard-earned money by taking the field overweight and out-of-shape (Roger Clemens); he never left the team in a messy divorce that came out before the biggest game in franchise history at the time (Bill Parcells); he never beat the home team with a game winning baby hook in the NBA Championship (Magic Johnson); and he never opened his big mouth and bad-mouthed the franchise I root for either (Rex Ryan).


Ryan Braun is an idiot. But I cannot boo him for using P.E.D.’s. In a way, it makes him a tragic figure.  He was tempted and he gave into the temptation. As such it is very hard to fault him.  If I were approached and told that taking something would allow me the opportunity to potentially secure my family financially for life and allow me to excel at the game I love for the price of some health issues many years down the road, it would be a difficult thing to say “no” to.  


It is a deal with the devil, but everyday there are thousands of people give up so much more for so much less each and every day.  


I guess I think of it now, and its not that I’m angry at Braun, or even feel upset that he succumbed to the P.E.D. pressure, but more sad for him that he gave in to the demon and was not strong enough to say “no”.


* * *




The free agent signings are finally slowing down in the NFL, but as always there is plenty of NFL news each and every week.


The New England Patriots made an interesting move in bringing back safety Patrick Chung on  Thursday after he signed in Philadelphia last year. Chung did not burn bridges on his way out of Foxboro, MA (cough-cough Brandon Spikes cough-cough) and after one injury plagued season miscast as a free safety playing deep centerfield on defense, Chung is back as a back-up and special teamer.


Per ProFootballFocus.com, Chung missed 13 tackles and allowed five touchdowns in only twelve games (ten starts). Opposing quarterbacks had a 129.8 quarterback rating throwing at Chung, who was paid $3 million last year in the first year of a back-loaded deal.


Chung lost his job in New England in 2012 as he fell hard after the team benched him in the playoffs. Primarily a strong safety for the Patriots, the 2009 second round pick had an up-and-down career in his first run in New England. He was likely cheap (no contract details released) but he knows the defense, has some perspective after a year away, and will be competing for a job.




Speaking of the Eagles, Philadelphia finally had enough and released their mercurial and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson was raked across the coals with a report of gang ties in an NJ.com story right before his release which does not help out much in free agency. Either way, he found a home in the NFC East in a hurry with Washington. For the Redskins, they are able to get two motivated games from Jackson at least (visiting Philly and Philly at Washington DC), but even more importantly he upgrades a wide receiver group in need of another playmaker for franchise quarterback RGIII.  Will he behave? Will he produce? That is the big question. Three years for $24 million and $16 million guaranteed means presumably the ‘skins get a year of Jackson before he starts moaning about wanting a new contract.


For Jackson, the best landing spot would have been San Francisco with the 49ers top defensive unit and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.  San Francisco with Jackson and Seattle with Percy Harvin and their defense would have made the best match-ups in the NFL into absolute must-see prime-time games. What a pity.


For the Redskins, having new head coach Jay Gruden get a new toy is a big deal. Pierre Garcon gets a little less attention and fellow new receiver Andre Roberts gets more single coverage as these three wide receivers should give running back Alfred Morris a few less defenders in the box as well.  I understand where Philadelphia is coming from with all the issues off-the-field with Jackson despite his excellent on-field talent.




The New York Giants continued a busy off-season of moves in free agency as they grabbed offensive tackle Charles Brown and defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Zack Bowman to shore up the defense at value prices. Earlier in free agency, the Giants made a splash signing underrated cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and took a flyer on former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond. Adding further to the secondary they brought in safety Quintin Demps from the Chiefs. They also brought back wide receiver Mario Manningham on offense and signed Dolphins guard John Jerry and Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz. The Giants even brought in return specialist Trinidad Holliday from the Broncos.


For all the talk of teams like New England, Denver, and Seattle loading up in free agency the G-men have flown under the radar this offseason. They have a number of solid veterans to step in and the team back into the playoff picture. Their offensive line and secondary were their Achilles heel last season, and they are reloading there with a vengeance.




OK, that’s all I have for this week. Have a great weekend, all!

O H Thursday
Category: FEATURED
Tags: MLB NFL NHL Red Sox Yankees Ryan Braun


  Oh Thursday

Opening day of the MLB season has passed us by and we are officially into the 2014 season. The Red Sox left 12 men on base and lost 2-1 to Baltimore, The Yankees ace CC Sabathia lost to the juggernaut from Houston formally known as the Lastros

The weather is starting to cooperate and this old coot is a happy man.I have been waiting all winter to have my morning joe on my deck with my bride…no better way to start the day.


The tribute to the 2 Boston Firefighters that died in the Back Bay blaze last week was fitting for the hero first responders they were. Our prayers and support go out to those the left behind.

MLB week one found… The Red Sox taking in the Obama Whitehouse visit, David Ortiz took a selfie with the Prez and Obama managed to mispronounce Mike Napoli’s last name. Jonny Gomes was the hero of the day for me, he wore his American Flag blazer and was a big hit at Walter Reed Hospital visiting and entertaining the wounded and maimed heroes of our military.

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers received a standing ovation his first time up before the home town fans. Having served a 65 game suspension for cheating it seems the Milwaukee fans say all is forgiven and all is forgotten.

Ryan’s first road test of his forgiveness is in the unfriendly confines of Fenway Park, Boston MA on Friday.

Fenway and Boston fans generally don’t pass up an opportunity to rake some deserving villain over the coals and Ryan fits the bill.

Over the years a lot of folks have been booed in Boston

President Obama was booed on April 21, 2012 when he appeared on the big screen on Fenway’s 100th birthday…the generally Democratic Boston doesn’t have much love for OB

On August 16, 2013 the Fenway fans turned there attention to notorious steroid user Alex Rodriguez.

On July 26th 2004 presidential hopeful MA Senator John Kerry got roundly booed by the Fenway faithful when he walked out about 35’ from home plate and threw out the first pitch. As Crash Davis would have said it was “some weak ass shit” as it bounced twice and rolled by home plate.

 Not everybody liked George W. Bush but everyone has to admit that that guy threw some nasty stuff when he threw out first pitches…and they were from the rubber.

Roger Clemens has been booed in Fenway as well as notorious wife beater


Brett Myers, he took heat all night long from the fans for his public assault on his wife on a sidewalk in Boston.

So watch closely and listen up because the Fenway fans will be cold and damp and just waiting to pounce on Braun

NFL update….

The Steelers signed former Patriots bulldozer LeGarrett Blount to a two year deal.

Blount had a decent season for the Pats but Belichick doesn’t pay RB’s so Pittsburgh get a bruiser.

Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe made it into the elite eight QB’s all time bracket challenge.

DeSean Jackson is a free agent having been cut by the Eagles. He is a dynamic game changer…and a troublesome character for most locker rooms to have to deal with. It looks like the Redskins are in the front of the line close to signing Jackson.

NHL, my Bruins continue to roll…

Tukka Rask stopped 60 shots on Sunday vs the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-3 shootout win.


The Toronto Maple leafs dropped there 8th in a row…hosers


NBA….ok nothing more to say than the Sixers lost 26 consecutive games and are still not the worst team in the battle for the most ping pong balls …and that would be the Bucks.

In other news: obamacare still doesn’t work. the Russians are still moving forward trying to rebuild the Soviet Union by taking back their neighbors under the guise of protecting Russians in those countries...sound like another notorious past leader...named Hitler?. The Indonesian flight 370 is still lost (I still think it is in Pakistan or Iran) The cold and harsh winter is being blamed on global warming. The Keystone pipeline is still being stopped by the liberals that want the USA to be a third world nation and want you to pay $6 bucks a gallon for gasoline and home heating oil. Syria’s government is still killing it’s citizens, Israel is still being strong armed into peace talks with Palestine even though the Palestinians won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and shoot whenever they get a chance. The US is still borrowing money from China and then giving it and our tax dollars to all but 9 countries on the planet.

I am one grouchy sob today

But Spring has sprung so cheer up harry and take the classic '88 Sportster for a ride

Thanks for reading and commenting, check out Lanz right over there just North of Boston

Sunday Musings #140
Category: User Showcase
Tags: HighSchoolBasketball BostonRedSox MLB BostonCeltics CollegeBasketball BentleyLadyFalcons NCAATournament NFL NewEnglandPatriots
While anticipating the season finale of The Walking Dead tonight...
It was quite a week for some of my former players. Last Sunday, the New Bedford Standard Times released their picks for the area basketball All-Star players. Three of my former girls players got mentioned and one of my former boys did as well.
For the girls, Amber and Breanna made the "Super Team" while Gina got an honorable mention.
Here's what was written about Amber and Breanna:
Averaged 14.9 points a game in her final season and finished with 1,052 career points as a shooting guard. ... Was among the top-three picks in voting for South Coast Conference All-Star honors and ranks sixth all-time in girls basketball scoring at Wareham. ... Holds school records for points in a game (37) and career 3-pointers (191). ... Is nominated for the Dave Cowens Achievement Award and is headed to Catholic University to continue her playing career and study physical therapy. ... "Amber brought some real stability and leadership to the team," Wareham coach Dave Brogioli said. "She played with a lot more maturity and intensity. She has great range on the perimeter and she played better defense this season."
A solid ballhandler and passer, Muir set school records for single-season assists (187) and career assists (416). ... Averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 assists and 3.4 steals a game en route to being named a South Coast Conference All-Star. ... Used her speed and quickness at the point to make up for a lack of size. ... Wants to continue playing in college and has narrowed her choices to Mount Ida College or Worcester State. ... "Breanna teamed up with Amber to give us one of the best backcourts in the area," Wareham coach Dave Brogioli said. "She was quick enough to get past defenders, take the ball to the basket and get to the free-throw line. She also made a lot of shots on the perimeter."
For the boys this is what they said about Latroy:
Vikings coach Kevin Brogioli called him "the hardest working small big man I've ever coached," and the 6-2 center helped turn that faith into an all-star effort. ... Working hard in the offseason to develop a mid-range jump shot, Latroy became an inside-outside offensive threat and averaged 13.3 points a game with 57 of his 267 points coming on 19 3-pointers. ... Seven times he led or co-led the Vikings in scoring and was a dominant factor inside with both his scoring and rebounding as Wareham wrapped up its eighth consecutive South Coast Conference championship. ... Latroy hopes to further his education and is looking at Dean or Bristol Community College.
But things got even better and historic this past Thursday. Amber was nominated for the Dave Cowens Leadership Award. No player from Wareham, girl or boy, had ever won the award. Until Thursday night when Amber's name was announced.
As you might imagine, I was very proud of her accomplishment and made sure to send her a congratulatory message.
While the Red Sox struggle in their spring training games, two off the field items of note led the Beantown discussions this week.
David Ortiz got the contract extension he was looking for, with two club option years thrown in beyond that as well. It essentially guarantees that he will stay in a Red Sox uniform for the rest of his career.
I know a lot of people hate the yearly complaining Ortiz has done about his contract. Heck, I'm usually one of those people. But this year, he didn't start the engine on this year's edition.
I'm glad that things are taken care of and out of the way. He, the team and we can focus on the on the field stuff (not counting the team's dealings with Jon Lester and his possible contract extension).
The other news comes courtesy of the Red Sox TV broadcast booth. This past week, the Boston Globe laid out a devastating report on the level of monstrosity that is the life of Jared Remy, the son of Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy. It included looks at the other two Remy children and their brushes with the legal system as well. You can read the Globe article here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/03/22/remy/xFRaOQqrnZ1S1pfLa2eKgK/story.html
The custody issue of Remy's granddaughter was settled as well. The Remys got visitation rights but not the physical custody they had been seeking. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief after reading the report.
But what gets me is how a sizeable chorus of the Tsk-Tsk crowd a lot of this country has evolved into has gotten it into their heads that Jerry Remy should not be allowed to be a TV talking head because of his lack of successful parenting.
The Remys should never be in the running for any kind of parental award, but how that affects his ability to analyze a bad throw from the shortstop to first base is beyond me.
For those who think Remy should be fired, get a freaking life and stop poking your nose into everyone else's business.
In other baseball news, there was a really good article on ESPN this week about Mike Jirschele. He's a coach for the Kansas City Royals who is the personification of perserverance as it took him 36 years to get to the majors. Here's the link: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10619278/a-long-journey-spring-royals-coach-mike-jirschele-path-mlb
The Celtics had a home and home set of games against the Raptors this week. Unfortunately, they lost both of them and dropped to 23-49 on the season.
The first game saw them lose 99-90. It was Jared Sullinger's 26 points that led the Celtics offense. Avery Bradley added 16 points and Chris Johnson had 13 points. Rajon Rondo scored 9 but also had 15 assists.
The Friday night game was a 105-103 win for the Raptors, but Jerry Bayless had 20 points for Boston. Jeff Green scored 16 points. Bradley, Rondo and Sullinger each scored 11 points and Kelly Olynyk finished with 10 points.
How's your bracket(s) doing? The NCAA men's tournament set the field for the Elite Eight on Friday night, and I had 5 of my teams still left alive.
My men's NIT bracket is completely dead, I will finish 13-18 in that one.
In the women's NIT tournament, I have two Final Four picks left alive but neither one was who I thought would win the title so the bracket will end up dying a cold and lonely death.
In the Women's NCAA tournament I had 14 of my picks for the Sweet 16 make it through successfully.
My Tennessee Lady Vols got to the Sweet 16 by virtue of beating St. John's 67-51. Cierra Burdick (pictured below) had 21 points and 11 boards for the now 29-5 Vols. Meighan Simmons added 17 points and Isabelle Harrison scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
In off the court news, if you wondered about the quality of the education available to athletes at North Carolina, check out this article and be stunned and amazed:  http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/check-out-the-terrible-paper-that-earned-a-player-an-a--at-north-carolina-151005969.html
Though Mercer is out of the men's tournament, I thought this article about their coach was a pretty good read: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/-college-basketball-mens-tournament/news/20140323/bob-hoffman-mercer-coach/index.html
The University of Rhode Island announced they would not renew the contract of women's basketball coach Cathy Inglese (pictured below). She was the only reason I followed the team at all, so I'm moving on from the team. You can read the article here: http://www.gorhody.com/sports/w-baskbl/2013-14/releases/20140328db0vp6
The move isn't surprising, she had five years at the school and just couldn't build a winning program there. While some say she left her "giveadamn" at Boston College, I just think it is utterly impossible to win at URI. Either way, she's done at the school.
The best news of the weekend comes out of Division 2. On Friday night, I watched the D2 women's national championship game between West Texas A&M and the Bentley University Lady Falcons.
Bentley being from Waltham Massachusetts, I think you can be safe in thinking that's who I was rooting for. You have to root for the teams that represent Massachusetts basketball!
It was a tough and exciting game. West Texas A&M opened up a lead in the first half but the two team were tied at the break.
In the second half, Bentley found themselves down by 9 points late in the half. But the Lady Falcons put the pressure defense on over the last three minutes of the game, rattled the hell out of West Texas A&M, went on a 19-5 run to close out the game and win 73-65 for the program's first ever national title!
Seven seniors finished their careers as champions and it was the first ever championship for coach Barbara Stevens, who is a legend in her own time. She's coached all three divisions and has been at Bentley for 28 years. In that time at the school she has average 19 wins (917 in total) a year. But never a title...until now.

I was watching the game and afterwards, the sideline reporter asked her what was going through her mind when the team was down 9 points. Even Stevens admitted she was starting to think "Oh, well it's been a good season."
But the Lady Falcons soared and did themselves, their coach, their school and the state of Massachusetts proud!
Way to go Bentley University!
The emotions come out:
Coach Stevens cuts down the net:
The National Champion Bentley University Lady Falcons:
After a week or two of drama and back and forth, the Patriots and Vince Wilfork came to an agreement on a new contract. I'm glad that the situation resolved itself rather quickly because the last thing we need is more Patriots drama. Welcome back Vince, put your nameplate back up willya?
And can someone please explain to me what is going on with DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles? I listened to ESPN last night and just WOW! This seems like it is going devolve into a huge mess of bitter recriminations. You can read more here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/eagles-need-to-address-perception-that-desean-jackson-s-release-is-related-to-report-about-gang-ties-192128226.html
Two big stories surrounding the notion of amateurism in college sports got a lot of talk this past week.
The court ordered mediation sessions in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit are apparently going nowhere: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/source--ed-o-bannon-ncaa-mediation-sessions-have-gone-nowhere-213050192-ncaab.html
And in news that really grabbed the headlines, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the school. You can read more here: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/northwestern-players-reportedly-win-union-case-against-school--which-will-appeal-decision-192545725.html
There's a long way to go in both cases, but I think it is clear to even the most basic sports fan that college sports as it has been for decades is coming to an end.
I just hope the athletes are ready for the changes that are going to affect them if they become employees rather than student athletes. Because as with most things, there are going to be pros and cons for everything. And the cons are usually a big enough bite in the ass, you begin to wonder if it was all worth it.
Not too mention that the schools and NCAA are going to fight this until their last red cent.
TV - One of the other writers for Pop-topia.com took a look at how one of the characters on Law & Order SVU is saving the show. You can check out what he had to say here: http://www.pop-topia.com/amanda-rollins-saving-law-order-special-victims-unit-shows-new-sad-panda/
With The Walking Dead season finale tonight, the fourth season will come to an end with a pretty split viewing audience. Either you have loved this season or you have absolutely hated it. I'm in the "I loved it" camp, and have even been called stupid on a message board because of my opinion. Episode 14 was called "The Grove" and it was an amazing piece of work, one of the best episodes of the series and could definitely be in the running for one of the best episodes of any TV series.
Now comes the last episode of Season 4 and no one has any idea what is going to happen.
I can't wait!
Movies - The life of a character actor can be an up and down existence. In the case of someone like Jon Polito, he is part of the fraternity of "that guy in that thing." You can check out a pretty interesting interview with him here: https://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-news/jon-polito-guy-thing-definitely-know-225543635.html
I picked up a couple of movies on DVD this week. I'd seen them in the theater or on PPV and liked them enough that I wanted them as part of my permanent collection. The movies in question? The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Escape Plan.
Books - I finished one book this week and ended up buying four more.
The book I finished was the Jennifer Roberson fantasy book Sword-Bound. It is the 7th book in her Novels of Tiger and Del series. It was a really good read.
As for the books I bought, there was the Christopher L. Bennett Star Trek Enterprise novel Rise of the Federation - Tower of Babel. The new Lee Child paperback in his Jack Reacher series is Never Go Back. And I got the Rob Thomas/Jennifer Graham novel Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. It is set after the events of the movie that came out a couple weeks ago.
The final book I picked up was a hardcover by J.A. Jance. It's the latest in her Ali Reynolds series entitled Moving Target. I usually would wait for the book to come out in paperback but the author is appearing at an event at a college in the area tomorrow afternoon and I'm going to it, so I picked up the book to have it signed.
Music - I knew of the existence of the band Alter Bridge but I had never actually listened to them. You can read about how I am now really interested in hearing a lot more from them here: http://classic-rock-bottom.ning.com/forum/topics/missing-the-boat-alter-bridge
The video for their song "Addicted to Pain" is below.
Winger released another video from their upcoming album. The song is called "Midnight Driver of a Love Machine". I thought musically the song was good but didn't care for the lyrics at all. You can judge for yourself below.
Sports Friday with Hal: Marching out of March
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Happy Friday!


Big football news in New England today as the Patriots freed up a chunk of salary cap money and ended another round of contentious negotiations with defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.  All the bad-mouthing and locker cleaning out turned out to be all posturing by Wilfork. He had no leverage and with Green Bay defensive tackle B.J. Raji getting shafted in free agency, his agent knew his only hope was to try to rile up the fan base to get public support to get his way.  


The team ends up reducing his cap number like they wanted, protect themselves if he bounces back by extending him, and then they can unload him easily if he washes out and cannot come back from injury.  The deal ends up working out just like it would have had it been done before free agency. There was little market for a 32 year-old defensive tackle who missed almost an entire season due to an Achilles injury. If his agent wants to babble that he had “other offers” to save face, so be it. The real deal is he to rework his contract to have any hope of earning what he wanted and saving face in public.


* * *


Despite fighting it, I ended up spending Thursday night watching college basketball between flipping to watch the Boston Bruins defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 in a Stanley Cup Finals rematch.  Chicago is still one of the best teams in the NHL...just so much speed on offense.  Boston got a great game out of goalie Tuukka Rask and was able to play with a lead.  Their young defensemen may not have the experience teams want in the playoffs, but their speed and athleticism was evident tonight and a great sign for the upcoming playoffs for Boston.


Oh yeah, NCAA March Madness basketball. Wisconsin in a yawner, but the Dayton-Stanford game was fantastic. It is simply addictive rooting for the underdogs. I do not have a “favorite” as I attended a Division III college.  Was loving seeing San Diego State in the Sweet Sixteen as well and an exciting team to root for against Arizona. Hoping I stay awake for the second half!


* * *


* Hated to see free agent defensive end Shaun Phillips sign with Tennessee...he would have been a great fit in New England. The Patriots need a defensive end as both Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones played over 1,000 snaps each last season and were visibly worn down at the end of the season. A veteran free agent and early round draft pick seems like the right move.


* There was a horrible nine-alarm fire in the Back Bay of Boston Wednesday that saw two Boston firefighters lose their life in the line of duty. I heard Tom Brady on the radio talking about it as he was just a few building down from the brownstone on fire. It was weird to see on the news as it was around the corner from where I worked for almost a decade.  Of course, that is also around the corner from the Boston Marathon finish line where the terrorist attack took place last April.


I was impressed by Brady on the radio expressing his condolences for the families of the firefighters and talking about the first responders as the true heroes.  It is on one hand an easy public relations call, but so many athletes and celebrities continually put their foot in their mouth.


He sounded (and looked in the pictures that came out) seriously concerned about his neighbors. It should not be news when an athlete actually does the right thing and says the right thing. But I guess that is kind of a state of the world in 2014. But kudos for Brady for at least saying the right thing.


* Speaking of quarterbacks, reports out of Philadelphia indicate former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will likely sign with the Eagles. I saw Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (formerly of the Boston Herald) tweeted it as did Jason La Canfora of CBS. Of course, Philadelphia backup quarterback Michael Vick signed with the Jets last week. Both teams got rid of an overpriced veteran who had no role on the team to come back to. Is that a win-win or a lose-lose?


* The Miami Dolphins got a great bargain in free agency grabbing Denver’s Knowshon Moreno. A 1,000 yard rusher for $3 million for one year is a heck of a deal.  Bad news for Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, and LeGarrette Blount.  NFL teams are just not going to spend for a running back not named Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, or Adrian Peterson anymore.


Denver is going with second-year back Montee Ball who they drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft last year. Even the running backs already signed got low money as neither Donald Brown or Toby Gerhart broke the bank in free agency. Ben Tate got some money from Cleveland, but nothing excessive. Also, Darren McFadden took a huge paycut to stay in Oakland.


Too many teams are passing teams these days and the ability to plug in young running backs gets easier and easier as more running backs come from pro-style offenses and run out of pistol and spread formations in college.


* Baltimore running back Ray Rice was indicted today for his assault on his fiancee last month in Atlantic City.  Another off-field violence issue by a former athlete barely raises an eyebrow these days. Is that an indictment on society or sports? Or both? Allegedly police have surveillance video of Rice knocking her out. If that is the case, he could be in a world of trouble. Nothing pisses me off like professional athletes (heck any guy) hitting a woman. No place for that BS, Ray Rice!


* The Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. passed away week. Wilson worked hard to compete in a small market and keep his team in Buffalo, NY.  The move to branch out to Toronto and tap that market was a wise move, but questions remain if the team will stays or moves in the next few years. Personally, I hate the idea of the NFL losing an original AFL franchise and such a storied franchise. Smaller markets like Buffalo and Green Bay give the league character it desperately needs.


OK, that’s all for today!  Thanks as always for stopping by. (And a belated Happy Birthday to Sully!)


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