Tagged with "Patriots"
Sunday Musings #131
Category: User Showcase
Tags: BostonCeltics BaseballHallOfFame BostonRedSox NewEnglandPatriots CollegeBasketball BostonCollegeAthletics HighSchoolBasketball
 
While pondering this quote by philosopher Arnold Schopenhauer as paraphrased by the late great Warren Zevon: "We buy books because we believe we are buying the time to read them"...
 
BOSTON CELTICS
 
The Celtics had a busy week with four games on the schedule. There was a nice moment of sunshine in the overcast look to the season, but it was fleeting.
 
The week started off with a 93-91 loss to the Orlando Magic. I saw the second half of this game and as you might expect by the slim final margin, the Celtics were in the game until the very end. But with one last chance to tie or win the game, the team just couldn't get the shot they were looking for and went down in flames. Jeff Green had 22 points, Kris Humphries had 18 points and 12 boards and Avery Bradley had 18 points.
 
Five players hit double figures when Boston faced off with the Miami Heat but it wasn't enough as Miami took the game 93-86. It was Brandon Bass leading the way with 15 points. Kris Humphries was once again a big factor with 14 points and 13 board. Jared Sullinger had 12 points and 11 boards. Green had 12 points and Chris Johnson added 11 points.
 
Gerald Wallace hit the game winning layup with 2.5 seconds left in overtime to life the Celtics to a 113-111 victory over the Washington Wizards in the team's third game of the week. Wallace finished the game with 9 points and 9 assists.
 
Jeff Green exploded for 39 points and 9 boards while Phil Pressey scored 20 points. It wasn't all hearts and flowers for Pressey though. He had 6 turnovers and fouled out of the game. Sullinger finished with 14 points and 11 boards.
 
On Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder played their first game since moving to OKC where neither Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant were in uniform. I know OKC is a good team, but I thought that with both of those players out of action the Celtics could do a good thing and pull off an upset. Silly Me!
 
The Thunder rolled to a 101-83 victory. Green had 16 points, Wallace added 13 points and Bass finished with 11 points. Rajon Rondo (who was a DNP-CD for one game this past week in order to rest) had 8 assists in the game.
 
The Celtics are 15-30 on the season. They are a bad team but in the minds of many I'm sure, not bad enough.
 
Julian Edlow of Celticslife.com had a piece this week on Jeff Green. He called him the biggest tease in the NBA. This would be in reference to the up and down nature of Green's scoring prowess.
 
His article was a good read and I responded that it is frustrating that Green can't be more of a consistent double figures scorer night in and night out. But I also said to imagine how bad the team would be without him in the lineup.
 
I wrote in an previous Sunday Musings entry that after Green had two sub-double figure nights, he then went for a long period of games where he hit double figures each game. I think getting rid of Green would accomplish the goal of tanking the season official.
 
I wish that his numbers wouldn't vary quite so much for his scoring totals but I also don't believe that Green has to be the main scorer every single night. They've got guys on the team that can all get nights where they put a ton of points on the board.
 
It would be nice if it was Green all the time and the Celtics were winning but I do agree with Edlow that the ship on Green's year to year growth as a player has probably sailed. But I just can't see dumping him in order to be that much worse of a team.
 
 
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME VOTING SCANDAL & MORE
 
ESPN's ombudsman Robert Lipsyte has weighed in on the Dan Le Batard Baseball Hall of Fame voting scandal. While I kind of wish that he'd been more in line with my opinion about Le Batard, his piece was a fairly down the middle read looking at both sides of the issue with a critical eye. You can check out the article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/ombudsman/post/_/id/286/lessons-learned-from-dan-le-batard-caper
 
It was revealed this week that two of this year's inductees will go in with no team logo on their plaque. Greg Maddux couldn't decide between the Cubs and Braves and Tony LaRussa couldn't decide between the White Sox, A's or Cardinals.
 
I can sort of see LaRussa's point because he was so successful with the A's and Cardinals (sorry White Sox fans) but with Maddux saying that the length of time he spent with each club was a major factor for his indecision, I call BS. He was far more successful with the Braves and at least to my mind, going into the Hall with a Braves logo on his hat should've been a no-brainer.
 
BOSTON RED SOX
 
I picked up the NESN DVD Band of Bearded Brothers yesterday. It's their version of the World Series celebratory DVD.
 
This week saw the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner and Awards ceremony. One of the news bits out of the dinner was that the beards that played such a big role in last year's title team will be a thing of the past when the Red Sox take the field this year.
 
The other tidbit of info came courtesy of pitcher Jon Lester. He's going to be a free agent after the 2014 season and he made it clear that he wanted to stay with the Red Sox and would be willing to take the hometown discount in order to accomplish that goal. You can read more here: http://tracking.si.com/2014/01/23/jon-lester-free-agent-red-sox-contract-resign/
 
Two-time All-Star Jon Lester has spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images
 
You can count me in as one who wants to see the two sides come to an agreement and keep Lester in a Red Sox uniform.
 
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
 
After the debacle that was the AFC Championship game last Sunday I'm over the NFL season. I know that as a football fan I'm still supposed to be supercharged to watch the Super Bowl, but given that I really have no rooting interest in either team, I don't know if I'll even catch any of the game.
 
As for the Patriots loss, there's really nothing to say in defense of how ill suited they seemed to be to play against the Broncos. I listened to the first half of the game on the way home from the BC women's basketball game. If their lack of quality play wasn't bad enough, the Patriots radio announcers are two of the worst I've ever heard. They made the game that much more painful. Once I got home, the game didn't really get much better when I could visually witness what was going on out in Denver.
 
There was no running game, the passing game was sub-par at best and the defense could do nothing to stop a slight breeze much less the Broncos offense.
 
As much as I would've loved to see the Patriots make and win the Super Bowl, the plain truth is that they went about as far as their talent (or what was left of it after the parade of injuries) would let them.
 
The offseason news surrounding the Patriots started with the news of the coaching staff departures. Pepper Johnson quit to find a new job. There's no confirmation but reports I saw in the Boston Herald that said he was unhappy after getting passed over for the defensive coordinator job last year in favor of Matt Patricia. Johnson did release a classy statement with the news of his leavetaking.
 
The bigger surprise was the retirement of Dante Scarnecchia. He'd been an assistant with the Patriots for 30 years through 6 different head coaches. He's been the one constant for the team during all that time and his position and institutional memory are going be tough to replace.
 
I don't know what the Patriots will do this offseason, but they really have to upgrade the talent on the team and figure out a way to keep their players HEALTHY. They need to better their passing game attack by getting receivers who can stretch the field from Day 1. And they need to better their secondary.
 
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
 
You can check out what I had to say in my recaps about the various high school basketball teams I follow in the two links below.
 
 
 
(photo by the Wareham Courier's Adam Ellis)
 
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
 
Hartford - The Hawks saw their season fortunes turn around a bit this week. They've won three straight games. While the record improves to just 7-13, when you are doing that bad you take what positives you can get.
 
Amber Bepko (pictured below) scored 19 points to lead Hartford in their 80-76 win over UMass-Lowell. Deanna Mayza and Cherelle Moore each finished with 19 points. Alyssa Englert had a solid game with 6 points, 7 assists and 8 boards.
 
 
The Hawks got a 66-42 victory over Binghamton with Alyssa Reaves and Mayza scoring 12 points. Reaves had 8 boards in the game as well. You can see highlights and the post game press conference below.
 

Yesterday afternoon saw the Hawks knock off UMBC 65-55. Cherelle Moore scored 16 points off the bench to lead the offense. Mayza had 11 points. Bepko, Englert and Reaves each scored 10 points in the game. Reaves also had 7 boards.
 
Tennessee - On Monday, the Lady Vols led by as many as 12 points but ended up losing to Notre Dame 86-70. Meighan Simmons (pictured below first) led Tennessee with 23 points (but had 7 turnovers), Ariel Massengale added 14 points and Isabelle Harrison (pictured below 2nd) finished with 13 points and 16 boards.
 
 
The loss stung to be sure, but Coach Warlick's team rebounded with their 89-69 win over Florida later in the week. Simmons led five players in double figures for the Lady Vols with 21 points. Bashaara Graves (pictured below) had 17 points and 8 boards. Andraya Carter scored 14 points and dished out 8 assists. Jasmine Jones chipped in 13 points and 6 boards while Harrison hit for 12 points.
 
Tennessee is now 15-4 with a 4-2 conference record.
 
 
Missouri State - Bry Snow scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds but the Bears came up on the short end of the scoreboard in their 68-60  loss to Northern Iowa early in the week.
 
Before they squared off with Indiana State on Saturday afternoon, there was an article in one of the local Missouri papers on how coach Kellie Harper is adjusting to her now dual roles as coach and new mom. You can check that out here: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20140120/SPORTS0401/301200055?source=nletter-top5&sf21850299=1&gcheck=1&nclick_check=1
 
The Harper family:
 
 
As for the game against Indiana State, the Bears ended up losing 74-57. They committed 24 turnovers in the game and shot just 36.4 percent from the floor. Tyonna Snow had 15 points to lead Missouri State. Katie Palmer finished with 12 points and Bry Snow had 10 points. The team is now 7-10 overall with a 2-4 conference record.
 
BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS
 
Football - The 2014 football schedule for the Eagles has been released.
 
 
I'm not one for sitting outside in the cold so it isn't like I would be going to any of the late season games, but in all honesty there is no team coming to Alumni Stadium that makes me want to attend a game.
 
Men's Basketball - Before the team headed into an 8 day layoff, they got knocked off by Georgia Tech 68-60. Olivier Hanlan had 19 points and Lonnie Jackson added 14 points.
 
With the fan talk swirling about a coaching change, there was an article I read that suggested Bruce Pearl (ex-Tennessee) as a possible candidate. But he put the kibosh on that rumor.
 
I was talking to a friend of mind and mentioned that the fanbase was unhappy with how the team is progressing under Steve Donahue. He said a name that might be an intriguing hire would be current Minnesota coach Richard Pitino.
 
Women's Basketball - In case you missed my separate blog report about the BC women's basketball game that I attended last Sunday against North Carolina, you can check out what I had to say here: http://www.t-s-b-n.com/pt/BOSTON-COLLEGE-WOMENS-BASKETBALL-GAME-REPORT-1192013/blog.htm
 
(Kristen Doherty)
 
(Nicole Boudreau)
 
(Kelly Hughes)
 
(Katie Zenevitch)
 
There was also a brief weekly press conference with coach Erik Johnson.
 
 
Things didn't get any better for the Eagles when they went on the road to play NC State on Thursday night. The Wolfpack went out 9-0 to start the game and that margin ended up being the final margin of victory as the Eagles fell 85-76.
 
The loss was their fifth in a row against a ranked opponent. They are 11-9 with a 2-4 ACC record going into today's game against Wake Forest. It is also serving as Alumni Day at Conte Forum.
 
Kat Cooper was out for the game which leads me to believe her injury was worse than they thought against UNC. This despite me getting a response from whomever runs the BC women's basketball Facebook page saying she was fine when I asked how she was doing right after the UNC game.
 
In place of Cooper, freshman Kelly Hughes got her first career start and made the most of it. She hit 6 out of 10 three point attempts and finished with a career high 23 points. Katie Zenevitch had 19 points and Kristen Doherty added 10 points and 6 boards.
 
You can check out a game recap and extensive photo gallery of the game from the ACC Women's Basketball Digest here: http://www.accwbbdigest.com/1314/1401232-ncsu-85-boston-college-76.php
 
(Nicole Boudreau hitting from downtown!)
 
You can see the post game press conference below.
 
 
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of BC's Conte Forum, they've been talking to a variety of former players about their best memory of their time at the school and in the venue. This week they had a brief piece with former BC women's basketball player Carolyn Swords. You can check that out here: http://www.bceagles.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/012414aaa.html
 
And finally, there was a short video piece by WCVB Channel 5 in Boston on two of the BC women's basketball teammates who were bitter rivals in their high school days. You can see that clip here: http://www.wcvb.com/news/sports/Former-rivals-now-BC-basketball-powerhouses/-/9848968/24091758/-/oy7utlz/-/index.html
 
MISCELLANEOUS
 
First off, for those that don't waste enough time on the Internet already, I potentially have another little stop you can make on your surfing time.
 
It seems that someone read that article I wrote a couple weeks back about my favorite mysteries/thrillers of 2013. It prompted them to try and get in touch with me. But as I was later told I am a hard guy to get in touch with.
 
The guy got in touch with my buddy J.D. who forwarded me the email he sent. Seems he wanted to send me a copy of a new spy novel that is coming out in May for review. Who is this guy? He's the director of publicity for Atria Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. For those in the know about the book publishing business, S&S isn't exactly a small press publisher.
 
So that was pretty sweet news. But not being able to get in touch with me seems to be an issue these days. So after a long time of "badgering" by J.D. and this latest development, I have reluctantly given in and created a Twitter account. You can find me @TheOneTrueJay
 
Other Writing - You can check out J.D.'s article on the Philadelphia location of Luke's Lobster here: http://www.pop-topia.com/lukes-lobster-welcome-philly/
 
Luke’s Lobster, Welcome to Philly!
 
Food - Speaking of good eats, I read a review of a restaurant this week. Actually, it's technically a pub. Flynn's Irish Pub to be exact. The review was intriguing and made me want to check the place out. And then I read the menu at the pub's website and think I'll have to hook myself up to a cardiac monitor to try any of their 21 different burgers. You can check it out for yourself at http://www.gotoflynns.com
 
TV - I'm happy to report that I am now a very happy NYPD Blue fan. After years of waiting since the release of Season 4, I've now got my hands on Season 5. It was released this week and I immediately bought it. Now I'm in the midst of watching it and grooving to the rewatch of the adventures of the 15th Precinct.
 
 
Oh, and while I have to catch the first episode on On Demand, the Starz original series Black Sails debuted last night. It's a pirate drama and looking at the previews this isn't your usual Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum look at the life of a pirate. I'm optimistic about this series and hope that once I do watch the first episode, I don't feel let down. You can check out the trailer below.
 
 
Books - It's been a busy work week so I haven't finished any books this week. But I did pick up a new one. It's the Iris Johansen thriller Silencing Eve. It is the third book in a trilogy story featuring her Eve Duncan forensic sculptor character.
 
 
Music - I picked up the debut solo album from Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles this week. It's called That Girl. I've given it one listen thus far, but have to play it again before I'll feel comfortable reviewing it.
 
You can check out the video for the title track below.
 
 
 
You can check out the video for the Red Dragon Cartel song "Deceived" below. I've got the album on order and a review of it will be forthcoming.
 
 
And this week was a sort of sad week for me musically. This past Friday would've been the 67th birthday of Warren Zevon. Sadly he passed away in 2003 but his music remains as important today to me as ever it was. You can check out the http://www.warrenzevon.com website. There's a Facebook page dedicated to getting him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and you can always go on Youtube to check out his incredible music.

Or go really crazy and buy his CDs! You probably know his biggest song "Werewolves of London" so I'm going to skip that one and instead you can check out a couple of different songs below.
 
 
There's a lot more to discover from raucous rockers to beautiful love songs and everything in between. And my love for all things Zevon extends to my choice in avatars that I use online. See that cigarette smoking skull next to my name? That's Zevon's Ol' Velvet Nose that was used on his backstage passes among other things.
 
Warren Zevon...music legend...still missed to this day.
Never Happen
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Brady Patriots

 

How distinctly I remember, and it wasn't in the bleak December, it was probably early June of 1987. The Boston Celtics had lost to the Lakers because their superteam from 1986 had lost its second-greatest asset --- its depth. Len Bias had died, Bill Walton, Jerry Sichting and Scott Wedman all went down with injuries... and KC Jones wanted the best record so badly (he didn't get it) that he had worn his veteran starters down to the bone, literally. 

Dennis Johnson was plodding like he had aged 10 years. Robert Parish had two total mush ankles and could hardly walk, much less run or jump. Kevin McHale had a stress fracture in his foot. And Larry Bird gamely tried to hide his back and leg injuries, but fooled no one. After the series, Jabbar would comment "Bird was hurt, and we knew he was hurt because he kept getting caught out of position." None of them would ever be the same.

It was clear that Boston would never win with this core of players again. They had been worn out. What Indiana would have given for Bird. A year later, what Charlotte would have given for Parish. And a year after that, Minnesota for McHale. Damaged goods or not, they would have filled seats in droves.

But Red Auerbach, the greatest NBA coach/GM of all time, held to his principles in the face of a league that had gone, with the rest of sports, into the age of mercenary free agency. He exhibited loyalty to his team. And true to the obvious, Boston would never win again with that team, though they would contend at least in the East.

Did Red do the right thing? Jan Volk had taken over as GM by that point, but he did what Auerbach told him to do. Clearly the answer in retrospect was no, unless you wanted Bird and the others to forever be Celtics for some reason. Bird, it is noted, ended up in Indiana, McHale in Minnesota and Parish in Charlotte anyway, in one capacity or another.

Today the new order has been around too long for such misguided loyalties to exist. The NBA has become a revolving door joke. Did Wayne Gretzky stay in Edmonton? Roger Clemens or Wade Boggs in Boston? Did the Niners hang onto Joe Montana? Did the Colts keep Peyton Manning? That phase of history is, for better or worse, over now.

Or is it? 

Flash to Foxboro. The Patriots, fresh off contending for the umpteenth year and going to their 3rd consecutive conference championship game, are again watching from the living room. Their record of success is unmatched in this millenium, and maybe ever, unless all you count are rings.

It's a naive way to look at things in an era where all major sports are played in 30-odd team venues. Most franchises would kill to have what New England has had since it last won a Super Bowl in early 2005. But for most it's not enough in this age of no ring, bad year mentality.

Which raises a question about the Patriots moving forward. Do you want to contend every year or do you want to shoot for the big one every so often and suffer the uncertain consequences of starting over?

Note that it's probably a miracle that the Patriots got as far as they did, missing a host of starting players, many Pro Bowlers. By the time Talib went down in the Conference game they were missing him, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Tommy Kelly on defense --- among others. They had lost Rob Gronkowski and Sebastian Vollmer on offense, not to mention the departed Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. A year that looked like a run to New Jersey suddenly became an instant rebuild. And rebuild they did, to the tune of a highly successful season by mortal standards.

Is it safe to assume that with the return of at least some of the core of IR veterans the team will be back in form for 2014? Maybe not.

Who's gonna catch the ball? None of New England's rookie receivers stepped up strongly enough to be considered a shoo-in. Julian Edelman became a star, but considering the value the Patriots place on slot men, could wind up elsewhere. Rob Gronkowski? How long will he play before he goes down again? He is a fragile player in a physical position.

Run the ball? The Patriots appear to have a good stable of backs, but parts of the line are getting long in the tooth and, worst of all, Dante Scarnecchia, the guy who held it all together for 30 years, is retiring.

Then there's the $64,000 question of Tom Brady. His production has steadily dropped over the past several seasons. Is that Belichick trying to balance the offense? Is it a lack of receiving talent? Could be this year, but last year? And no one who watched him in Denver and elsewhere this year could have missed the fact that he has begun missing open receivers with disturbing frequency. Is age catching up in subtle ways with the eternally young quarterback?

Why ask? It seems clear that without Brady the Patriots would be in for a difficult 2014. He is master of the complex system on which they will depend and likely thrive as long as Belichick is coach. And BB keeps losing assistants to higher jobs. That doesn't happen with coaches who are on the brink of retirement in a winning organization.

But blowing up a team isn't unheard of elsewhere. What did the Colts do? They practically jettisoned a wing of the Hall of Fame to tank and rebuild. So far, it's showing promise. The Red Sox blew it up. Look where they wound up. The Celtics are busy blowing it up right now.

Of course, some teams with eternally high draft standing retain that standing because they get stuck in the mud and go nowhere. There's no guarantee blowing things up will work.

Still, the question is valid for one reason --- Tom Brady will never be worth more than he is now. He's an underpaid (by NFL standards) all-time immortal, clearly with football left in him --- probably more than Joe Montana had when he left for Kansas City. What the Patriots could get for him in the draft is left to the imagination.

Of course it will never happen. The Patriots have either let walk or simply cut players far more frequently than they've traded anyone. Their trades have been jokes. Cassel and Vrabel for the draft pick that landed Patrick Chung? It was a baby step from a release. For whatever reason, they don't work that way. And it's hard to argue with their success, recent ring or no recent ring.

Still... what would you do?

Sports Friday with Hal: 1986
Category: FEATURED
Tags: new england baseball football basketball hockey Boston nostalgia new england patriots

As Friday sneaks up on us all, it is another week of winter weather here in New England (heck, in most of the country).  With below zero wind-chills, heavy snow, and limited daylight hours, it is the time of year for seasonal depression.  But here the weather matches the mood as the Boston Celtics slide towards irrelevance, the Boston Bruins skate through a rough middle stretch of the long season again, the Boston Red Sox are still a month from spring training with little off-season activity of note, and the New England Patriots again fall short in the post-season, this time getting beaten by rival quarterback Peyton Manning.

 

First things first, as much as a letdown it is that the New England Patriots are not heading to the Super Bowl, that is the same fate as 30 other franchises and fans should take cheer that at least they were closer than many. A little perspective is a good thing and often in short supply in New England sports fans. Spoiled by the many successes, what was once a rite of passage (dealing with heart-breaking losses and apathetic ownership groups crushing franchises) has now become a distant memory.

 

Fans like my son (well, if he watched sports with me rather than being all about video games and casually wandering in occasionally to see what Dad and his pals are screaming about and what is ricocheting off the television) who is 12 years old and has not known a season without a Boston team in championship contention. Heck, when I was 12 there was the Celtics as a perennial winner and that was about it. The Red Sox were a constant let-down, the Patriots were a joke, and the Bruins were a cult favorite only.

 

I was a little frustrated the Patriots did not play as well as they could/should have, but credit to where credit is due: Peyton Manning was freaking amazing. He played his best game probably EVER in a huge moment and probably would have beat all other 30 teams playing like that. He stepped it up big time. Another thing that tempered my disappointment was that I just did not get emotionally invested like I used to. When I was in my 20s I would sulk for days when the Patriots lost. Aging, having kids, and writing about the team seems to have tempered that. I guess it’s a good thing (the Lovely Mrs. B. certainly thinks so!)

 

Seattle and San Francisco was a fun game in the nightcap on Sunday. I really thought the 49ers would pull it out at the end and was surprised when they did not. Richard Sherman was Richard Sherman. I look at him as I did Rodney Harrison back in the day: respected his play and hated him...but wished he was on my hometown team. When he came to New England, old #37 was an instant favorite.  Just a player that’s easy to dislike unless he is on your side shutting down opposing receivers.

 

Funny, thinking about things like my son at 12 now and when I was 12. I had no Internet, no email, no cell phones, no 24 hour sports radio, just had cable television in the area, and VCRs were expensive as hell. Cassette tapes, no mp3, no spotify, no tablets, computers, digital anything, etc.  I remember in 1987 listening every morning to WFAN in New York to get the baseball scores (Whitey Herzog’s running Redbirds were my favorites in the National League) on the quarter hour since I could not watch Sportscenter on tv (no television allowed in the morning was an odd rule in the house).

 

When I was 12 the Celtics were in full Larry Bird dominance era. They won their last NBA Championship with that group with a deep, talented roster around their ”big 3”. Guards Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson complemented Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish while big man Bill Walton got one more good year out of his knees. Sharpshooter Scott Wedman came off the bench with instant offense and guards Jerry Sichting and Rick Carlisle completed the bench rotation. It was the last season before the team got old and injuries racked the squad.

 

The Boston Bruins were a solid playoff team in that time with hall-of-fame defenseman Ray Bourque headlining a team anxious to get the Montreal Canadiens playoff monkey off their back. With solid players like centers Barry Pederson, Ken Linseman, and Steve Kaspar, defenseman Gordie Kluzak, and forwards Keith Crowder, Charlie Simmer, Rick Middleton, and Randy Burridge the team had a solid nucleus. A trade of Pederson for winger Cam Neely would reshape the franchise as would pickups Bob Joyce and Craig Janney and young defenseman Glen Wesley. The team eventually became a contender when goalie Andy Moog arrived in town.

 

The Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series. It was an amazing season for the Red Sox (in many ways similar to 2013), but that will always be the year of Roger Clemens. Not the bitter, roided-out Clemens of his Blue Jays and Yankees days, but the big, young Texans taking the ball and just blowing opponents away. A deep team with designated hitter Don Baylor sparking the offense and veterans Jim Rice, Tony Armas, Dwight Evans and BIll Buckner complementing youngsters like catcher Rich Gedman, Wade Boggs, and Marty Barrett. Clemens had the eccentric Oil Can Boyd, lefty Bruce Hurst, and late season pickup Hall of Famer Tom Seaver in a strong rotation.

 

For the Red Sox, that collapse in game six was made worse by their dramatic ALCS victory over the California Angels with Dave Henderson’s amazing Bernie Carbo-esque game tying home run. Yes, Bill Buckner wore the goat horns, but catcher Rich Gedman, veteran relief pitcher Bob Stanley, and Roger “Asked out of the game--or did he?” Clemens deserved more of the blame.  Being 12 years old and watching that unfold was traumatic as a fan. I remember my Dad went to bed and told me to wake him up for the ninth inning.  I finally woke him with two outs and then he stood and watched the entire mess unfold. “Same Damned Red Sox” he said as he went back to bed.  Even worse for me was that there was a game seven and the Red Sox should have won THAT game too!

 

Finally, the Patriots team was the one that “squished the fish” and then got “Berry-ed” by the Bears of the Refrigerator Perry, Jim McMahon, coach Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense.  They inexplicably made the playoffs (winter of 85/early 1986), beat the Jets, the Raiders, and the Dolphins on the road. They beat Miami (who had been the only team to beat the Bears that season) in Miami for the first time in 17 years in the AFC Championship Game. Running backs Craig James and Tony Collins were the one-two punch with an unsettled quarterback situation with veteran Steve Grogan and young Tony Eason. It was a fun team. A spirited team. And boy did the Bears kick their asses in the Super Bowl.

 

That was the golden age of Boston sports….I thought it could never get better.  The Red Sox went back to losing in the playoffs and just not quite having the talent for the next 15 years or so. The Bruins made their run, got whipped by Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers/L.A. Kings squads in the finals and faded, and the Celtics dynasty finally limped off into the sunset. The Patriots fell fast. A drug scandal, one good season and a quick playoff exit and they were back to their hapless ways. Fast forward 15/20 years and then there is a real Boston sports renaissance.

 

If I could go back to my 12 year old self, what would I say? Hold on and ride out the bad times? Cherish those good seasons for what they were? Invest in Microsoft, Apple, and Google? Maybe it was simply it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...either way they were the times that were and I remember them fondly. It was a fun time, and it makes me appreciate these times even more. So the Patriots lost on Sunday. So what. I’m not going to be a spoiled fan...I’m a thankful fan for these days of local championships I thought I’d never live to see....never dreamed I'd see even when just 12 years old. Lucky. That's all. Very fortunate.

 

Have a great weekend, all!

 
Next Man Up
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Denver Broncos NFL Patriots Celtics Red Sox Bruins

Next man up

The mantra of the recently dispatched New England Patriots?

Final words on AFC Championship

Peyton was great, his receivers are great, his line protection was great.

Tom was average, his receivers are below average, his line protection was below average.

Good luck to the Broncos, clearly the best team in the AFC.

There are a few of us New Englanders here at the Gab and on a seasonal basis you fellow gabbers put up with our sometimes arrogant but always honest dissertations on our local pro teams. This is appreciated.

Thanks for your recent sympathies on the fall of the Pats.

A recent article I read listed the 25 top drunken cities in the US.

it was based on drinks per adult per month. Boston came in #1

No the Mayor didn't call for a duck boat parade to celebrate this distinction but the results may...may be directly connected to the 8 

duck boat victory parades in Boston since 2001. One of the several categories used to determine the top cities that is noteworthy is the Binge Drinking category where Boston ranked 9th overall, behind

#1 Buffalo

#2 Cleveland

#3 Detroit

One of my sons surmised that binge drinking and frustratingly bad football goes hand and hand.

But in Boston

We are a spoiled rotten lot for sure our team won their division by 4 games and earned a first round bye, Won a home playoff game before being dismissed by a better team from Denver.

Yes its true we think we are the most astute and objective of sports fans. We sometimes feel we are entitled to another title and another Duck Boat Parade.

But with the recent departure of long time and beloved mayor Thomas Mumbles Menino

the run may be over.

Could we be entering into a dry spell?

Will this be known as the curse of Mumbles?

In our defense most of us lived thru the really bad years,

just say the names:

ML Carr, Ron 2-12 Erhardt, Jimi Williams and Bobby V.

and the NE gabbers

Sully, Lanz, Mo, Radatz, Hal and Tage will cringe. We all have seen the bad, worse, mediocre and the good, better and best.

The Boston teams have won some championships in my lifetime for sure.

The Celtics 17 times, The Bruins 3, The Red Sox 3

And the Pats 3

As a child of the 50s & 60s I grew up on the Celtics incredible run of ?9 in 10 years.

I was there for the Havlicek titles from 74 & 76

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I was breathing the Beantown air and drinking in the Dirty Water as the Bird era brought home 3 more in the 80s

I was at the Bahstan Gahdin for the Bs Stanley Cups of 70-72 section 99 far above the banners.

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I lived and died with the Sox close game seven WS losses in 67, 75 and 86

I lived thru the days when the Patriots would trot out the likes of RBs Josh Ashton and John Tarver and Marion one yard Butts?.. 1 yard, 1 yard, followed by an incomplete pass from the likes of Hugh Millen, Matt Cavanaugh or Tony Eason

followed by a punt but never ever did I lose my love for the Pathetic Pats.

We even had a group of guys in section 304 we called ourselves 3 and out.

In 1986 the Pats put a run together behind the quiet genius coach Raymond Berry all the way to the Super Bowl in New Orleans? was an impossible SB title finally a thing to grasp?

SB XX featured da Bears and the 46-10 slaughter at least my favorite football player of all time got his ring

Walter Payton that is!

 

 

New ownership for the Pats, Brookline businessman Robert Kraft bought the team he was a season ticket holder for.

In the 20 years the Pats have been in the Kraft ownership they have been to the Playoffs almost every year, been to the SB six times with 3 Lombardis.

Yada yada yada

 

 

But you know all that you say?

 

In Boston we take our sports seriously and we take our losses hard?don?t speak the name of David Tyffffffffffffffingrrreeee in my hearing please.

 

But we do believe in the next man up philosophy in our case its

Next team up

Pitchers and catchers report in 23 days

After all

We

Have

A

Title to defend

 

 

thanks for the visit and the comments. Don't forget to check out Lanz right next door

 

 

looks like several question marks or dicks are gaining access to

the gab blogs I don't know how to control them

Reflecting on The Pats Season
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Super Bowl AFC NFC Broncos Patriots Manning Brady


This is a tale of two similar seasons 12 years removed. ?In January 2002, I watched the divisional round of the playoffs from a cruise ship leaving Miami. ?I watched an improbable Patriots win to advance to the AFC title game in Pittsburgh. I watched that game from Key West Florida. ?This year, I watched the divisional round just before leaving on vacation, and came home to watch the AFC title game. ?Both playoff runs were improbable ??if for different reasons. ?Both the 2001 and 2013 Patriots had fluky things happen to get to the #2 seed. ?Neither team was really expected to get there. ?The big difference ??the 2001 team had enough horses to make it over the finish line.

So, that Patriots fell short ??as it happens, very short ??this year. ?That said, there s no shame in losing the AFC title to the most prolific offense in NFL history with a team depleted as much by injury (Gronkowski,?WIlfork) as by apparent malfeasance (Hernandez). ?This is a team that completely overachieved this season, as I suggested in an earlier article. ?They won several games (Broncos, Texans, Browns) they had no business winning, and were lucky enough to pull out the #2 seed ??I m still not sure how that happened.

So here s my thing: it s easy to point to yet another big game loss and wonder if Brady has any more big game wins left in him, but over the last 12 years the Patriots have gone to 5 Super Bowls, 8 Championship Games. ?I can t think of a more impressive run, ever. ?As far as I m concerned, while I m disappointed my team lost, I m happy as hell that I got another week to watch them play this year, that they went as far as they did. ?Winning is great, but you also have to appreciate getting to the game. ?It?wasn t really that long ago that I was thrilled the Pats got to the playoffs, never mind really contesting the Super Bowl. ?

I was really giggling at the thought the Pats could play for another Super Bowl on Eli s home turf. ?Of course, if I m being completely candid, I honestly thought that it would be the NFC representative dancing under the confetti at the end of the day. ?Of course, in February 2002, I was convinced of the same. ?Anything really can happen.

Now, I cannot leave it there. ?The Broncos absolutely deserve to be in the title game. ?In fact, there was a point at which I was convinced they could go undefeated all season. ?Additionally, they showed they were the superior team Sunday. ?No doubt there. ?They controlled the ball for the entirety of the game; the offense truly had their will and the defense stifled the Patriots. ?Sure, the Patriots played a bad game, but in my opinion was a result of the Manning-led offense playing their game with precision and victimizing the Patriot defense. ?No doubt, the AFC is sending the best representative to the Meadowlands February 2.

The NFC game was the polar opposite of the AFC tilt.? Sloppy at times, a potentially fatal officiating error on a turnover on the goal line, obviated only by Marshawn Lynch failing to get a handle on a handoff.? In the end, the Seahawks put the game away with 22 seconds left in the game.? Consider that against the AFC game earlier.? Little doubt in my mind really, I think the ?Hawks are probably the best team in the league and are my pick for the Super Bowl Champion.? That said, Coach Carroll is going to have to keep the showboating and sloppy plays down ? a Peyton Manning led team will eat those mistakes for dinner.? Richard Sherman got the best of his opponent, and in his post game interview he was stuck on some disrespect by Crabtree and reaffirming his status as the best corner in the game.? C?mon man.? Buck up.? You won.? Lose the ego.? We?ll see if you?re the best in the game when you?re facing Manning in the Super Bowl.

Now, on a personal note, to make matters worse, the game comes on the heels of a really cold vacation week ??I know, complain about a week away ??but it was disappointing in that respect. ?And of course, I got myself locked out of my work email, so I m sure there s 1000 mails begging my attention. ?Sometimes being away for a week?isn t worth the backlog you come back to ??even with all the?prepwork?you do to avoid it. ?TO make matters even worse, I changed my voice mail with the very clear message ?I m not here, here s where you can get answers. ??And of course I come back to three voice messages from the same person saying they left a message the other day and?weren t sure why I?hadn t responded. ?Yeah, I have a new message for you the best part is that I have NO idea why they re calling me ??they ?would have been advised to follow up on my directions. ??File this:?NMP? ?Not My Problem.


Congratulations Denver and good luck February 2. ?I think you?re going to need it.

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