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"...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
The New Year is a week old and we already have seen the end of the BCS in a fantastic finish as Florida State came back to beat this years Cinderella Story Auburn. Although losing in the National Championship Game. They were a great story when a team does the unexpected it’s always sweet. Auburn can hold their heads up and be proud Florida State just showed that the mighty SEC can be taken.
Tuesday was a great Night for College Hoops I watched the Iowa State vs. Baylor Game. It was a pretty decent game got intense in the second half and #9 Iowa State went on for a good victory. Sao I get myself all keyed up to watch Michigan State play Ohio State. I love Tom Izzo I think he is arguably the best college hoops coach in the land without the flash of Pitano or Calipari. I get ten minutes into the game bang I fall asleep in miss one of the fantastic finishes of the season Michigan State won in overtime. I just love college hoops over the NBA.
Baseball has inducted it’s 2014 class I can’t argue with the three choices of Frank Thomas, Billerica Mass own Tommy Glavine and there is absolutely no doubting Greg Maddux. .There was almost a 4th Craig Biggio fell two votes short and will be a shoe in for next year. 3 players, 3 managers (Cox, Larussa, and Torre). The writers also sent a strong message to the steroid era guys not giving them great consideration Clemens only received 34% of the votes. There is always some controversy Biggio, Jack Morris who I think is borderline at best. But the choices I thought were well deserved.
I was thinking (always dangerous) about who were some of my favorite pitchers during my lifetime besides what else do you do on a cold miserable day and a slow one at work you make a list. Bob Gibson is really the first guy a remember and to this day is my all-time favorite pitcher the guy had balls of steel and would be ejected in todays game for throwing at people . A close second would be Tom Seaver conservative classy and just got the job done. Ron Guidry yeah he was a dreaded Yankee but the guy could pitch by todays standards he would be considered small at 5’11 161. He had a 25 wins in 1978 and 22 in 1985 the guy could throw. Dennis Eckersley, was lights out as both a starter and a closer the Eck makes the list. Nolan Ryan nobody threw a better fastball. . Of Course Glavine and Maddux I would take either one. Pedro martinez another small guy but entertaining as hell. Mariano Riveria is another guy just entertaining. Today I love Justin Verlander. It’s a shame that Clemens turned out to be a steroid guy before that all came out we here in Boston would play our weeks around Clemens starts just to watch him. Like I say this was just a quick fun list and I’m leaving off thousands of guys but these we just some that I enjoyed how about you who did you enjoy.
They will take a break in February and go to the Olympics. How come the NHL taking a break and allowing it’s players to compete in the Olympics doesn’t annoy me. But the World Baseball Classic does. I think the answer is that the NHL guys are at mid season form and they are just going out and playing some more games. In the WBC the players aren’t close to mid season form but they try to go out and play that way and often times either get injured or trigger an injury.
The Canaucks signed a 43 year old Rob Laurie to back up Eddie Lack Vancouvers normal Backup who got the start over the weekend replacing Roberto Luongo who got ran over in the previous game. They tried to call up a goalie fom their AHL affiliate in Utica but he wouldn’t make the game so they went with laurie. The Ducks did the same with Laurie last year. This works out to be essentially a 1 game contract for Laurie but why not.
The Chiefs are up 38-10 went to Lases Basketball game(that’s right basketball not Hockey). He plays in the local in house town league once a week. We are leaving the Jim and one of the dads check his phone and said you aren’t going to believe this the Colts are up by 1 with about 3 minutes to go. Missed it.
I thought the Packers would win and almost did in the weather. Except for Colin Kapenick looked pretty comfortable in the sub zero weather to lead the Niners to victory. I was impressed with the Chargers unimpressed with the Bengals..
I thought the Eagles would pull it out against the Saints but again the Saints switched to the run and won the game. So basically I was awful at picking these games.
I like the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and I can’t make up my mind with SF and Carolina. I think next to the Seahawks the Niners are the best team in the NFC so I will go with them even though I thought they would lose in the elements or the Polar Vertex( who came up with that dumb ass thing) Is that a polite way of saying it’s Fucking Cold or is that just some weatherman trying to sound smart?
The Colts pulled a page out of the Patriots book signing former Pat Deion Branch to a one week 23, 000 dollar contract some Pats fans were upset about this. The pats cut him and 23k for a weeks work is pretty good scratch good luck to him good guy and loyal pat but they didn’t want him then again neither did anybody else guy hasn’t played since the preseason.
I started my Sunday off with a HS Basketball Refs meeting(not a lot games on my schedule this season that’s the way it goes sometimes) cut out early to catch laser’s Hockey Game which happened to be down the street from the Meeting. They tied 0-0 in a good game last time they played that team they got crashed. I went from there and picked up miser who was feeling under the weather and went to his game up on the NH line. They won 2-1 . He had a break away but couldn’t finish. He slept on the way to the game about a 30 minute ride he woke up just before we got there and said he was fine. They won 2-1 kids skated hard the whole game and they remained at 500. Coach told the kids they will be playing in a Tourney in March not sure who is more excited the kids or the parents(lots of adult socialization time) He went home rested and played for the middle school team. They got crushed 4-1 could tell he wasn’t feeling well they way he was playing. He almost got a goal he took a wack in front of the net at bouncing puck and just missed.
He ended up with a ranging sinus infection and has been out of school all week.
Happy Friday, Gabbers! Great to see all the Christmas cheer this week as it was lovely to read all about the many Christmas celebrations and gifts. We saw family, friends, and the second Hobbit movie on Christmas. I love Tolkien, having read the books, appendices, published drafts...a big honking Middle Earth nerdfest, but the movies are a whole new beast with the reinterpretations, stuff left out, and new plotlines added. I enjoyed it, but now am wondering how I last a year to see it wrap up.
A great Christmas here for the Bent clan...the best news for me was the time off I got this week. As an employee of the great Commonwealth, our agency is unionized and time-off is all based on seniority. Last year I got ZERO time off at Christmas, but with a new position this year I am apparently in a different group (as a supervisor now) so I put in for all the time off and this time actually got it. I had nothing planned, so I enjoyed sleeping in, getting stuff done, and just being home with the Lovely Mrs. B. and the kiddos.
Christmas eve and Christmas day were busy with the clan and crew, so I missed every minute of NBA basketball. I did catch a bit of the MLB network’s traditional running of the Ken Burns Baseball series which is always great. I don’t know squat about filmmaking, but Ken Burns makes some compelling television. I’ve had the wife sit through the entire baseball documentary and she is a fan of ballpark food and experience much more than the game (believe me, if it was compelling enough to have her watch all those hours with me it is good stuff!).
As always, I’m online somewhere writing about the New England Patriots this week. A topic of Christmas with the family was my blogging obsession and how this year I’ve really expanded on the work load. One thing I was thinking about was the baseball aspect because in my youth I was very much a baseball enthusiast to the extreme. I had the baseball encyclopedia, was a member of SABR for a brief period, read every baseball book in every library around the area, had numerous books, magazines (remember Baseball Digest), and--of course--the Sporting News.
As football heads to the offseason, I’ve been thinking of expanding the baseball writing. aspect. I still am into the Red Sox, both leagues, advanced statistics, love to watch the games, love the history of the game...I just have a niche with the football right now that seems to work well. Maybe that’s an avenue to expand in 2014. Of course, I also have comics and the poetry of T.S. Eliot that I obsessed about for years...but I don’t think I’m planning on writing much on either of them in 2014.
Of course, I did say “avenue to explore” and not say “New Year’s Resolution”. I was never one resolutions each year. I figured Lent was enough...not that I did much for that anyway...I wasn’t really Catholic...but my mother is (was? she married my Dad who was a divorced protestant so I know that doesn’t go over well) so we kind of bounced around religiously...a “religious caterpillar” was the term famously used by Christopher Marlowe. Anyway, New Year’s is nearly upon us and resolutions are coming soon.
I guess I’m off-track this week as well...but I figure I need to write a bit on sports…always a couple things I have to gab about!
The Boston Celtics are getting guard Rajon Rondo back at some point in 2014 which is scary for their NBA Draft positioning since the team is better than they should be considering the “rebuilding” going on. Of course, the Rondo news this week is that the New York Knicks are trying to convince him to force a trade to New York. That begs the question: Who the heck do the Knicks think Boston would want from their crappy roster to make the deal? (I looked, there is NO WAY that a trade can go down between the two teams unless Celtics GM Danny Ainge loses his mind).
I am sure Rajon Rondo is just thinking about his next contract and getting some leverage in while he can when since his value dips with him as the focal point and his injury.
Somehow the New England Patriots keep winning games. Last week, just about every prediction I read, saw on TV, heard, etc was picking Baltimore over the Patriots. So of course the Patriots win 41-7 after leading 20-0 in the third quarter.
I love, and I am sure head coach Bill Belichick loves, the Patriots as an underdog. It was wonderful to watch the Ravens go down...I mean, this is their top “rival” right now (back-to-back AFC Championship games kind of make it so). The Patriots seem to be in good shape despite all the injuries, turnover on offense, etc. I just hope they take care of business on Sunday against Buffalo...look at Miami’s letdown after beating the Patriots: they got shutout by the Bills!
Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka has been posted and teams are lining up to pay $20 million to his old team if they are able to pay a boatload the 25 year old.
I think it is an interesting conundrum for MLB teams to chase Tanaka. On one hand, Yu Darvish is a legit Cy Young candidate; On the other, there were a lot of Japanese can’t miss pitchers who were a bust like Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka. The teams only pay the posting fee if they sign him, and since Dice-K and Darvish both were posted at over $50 million, Tanaka is a bargain. All reports say “Yankees” but I am hoping to see someone swoop in and grab him under their noses. 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA is a must-see in whatever league.
All right, Gabbers...hope you all had a great Christmas and am looking forward to a superb 2014! Thanks for all your support, insights, debates, news, and gabbing throughout 2013. Be safe on New Years Eve and may 2014 be a great year for us all!