Friday, July 19, 2002

Not good news on the Celtics front. First, they signed Bruno Sundov. Big deal. He will have next to no impact this year. But the worst thing is this proposed deal for Vin Baker. Are you kidding me?? Vin Baker? Vin has arguably the worst contract in the NBA. He gets the max for 3 more years. And he has not had a decent year since his Milwaukee days. This trade would just set the Celtics back in so many ways. In my opinion, I think they would struggle to win 35 games if they do the move. Who do they expect to play point guard if they trade Kenny? Strickland is gone but he was horrible anyways. Delk is not a PG. Forte? He's rumored to go to Seattle in the trade? Bremer? Just instills confidence in you, doesn't he? I'm all for trading Kenny, IF it gets you good young talent in return. Which is not out of the question since he had a good year last year and is in the last year of his contract. It makes him attractive to other teams. It almost seems like this is the first deal that was thrown at the Celtics braintrust and they figured 'lets do it' without even waiting to see what else might come along. This would be a horrendous move for the Celtics. If you want the team to have any success this year, you had better hope this doesn't happen.

The Green Team is scheduled for 19 nationally televised games after being scheduled for zero last year. It figures that the team gets exposure now that they are going to be a bad team again. Shira Springer also has comments from Omar Cook about the JR Bremer signing. ''I know I can play the game. I know what I can bring to this team. So, I'm not really concerned with my play. I know what I can do. Maybe it's something else. I'm still here and I can't worry about things I can't control. But it's real confusing. When you ask questions, you're not getting straight answers.''

So the Sox are about to hit the bronx. Bad planning on my part. I let my wife plan a camping trip a few months ago for this weekend. I guess it's my own fault for not checking the schedule first. I'll be checking e-mail though, so if anything of consequence happens, let me know. Do your part and keep me in the loop.
In theRed Sox Notebook, Bob Hohler discusses the attitude of the Sox going into NY this weekend. They obviously view the games as critical. Just change some of the names and pick a year and the comments from the Sox are the same every year when they go into NY in July. Tony Massarotti covers this angle too and says all the pressure is on the Yankees. The NY Post has a story about the rivalry from a Yankee point of view.

It's good to see Dustin Hermanson pitching well and without problems. It would be a boost to the bullpen if he could be available for this weekend series.

Hohler also has an article discussing the rivalry between the Sox and D-Rays. It's a strange one, considering the disparity between the clubs. Some interesting quotes:
Lou Merloni - ''It's the same M.O. every time we play these guys. If somebody is swinging the bat well or somebody burns them the night before, that guy ends up getting hit the next day. That's made for bad blood.''
Johnny Damon - ''It's an unfortunate part of this game. When you see teams play like that, you get mad, and I was. Beaning guys is a very dangerous business, so we'll put it in our memories and be ready to play them in a couple of days.''
The piece also talks about how Brent Abernathy accused Trot Nixon of throwing his bat at Ryan Rupe last year, which caused Nixon to say, "I dislike that boy", which is one of the funniest lines I have ever heard. Still makes me laugh today.

The Globe has a section today dedicated to re-living the Super Bowl run the Pats made. There's an enormous amount of articles in here, but if you have the time to read them, it's worth it. Brings back a lot of good memories.

Michael Felger looks at the Patriots tight ends. (insert sarcastic comment here)

Glenn Murray signed with the B's. Who gives a flying rats rear end.

For all the fuss about how Tiger did not play well yesterday, he still finished only 3 strokes off the lead. Sounds pretty good to me. Especially since the guys in front of him will probably fall off the pace. For the record, I'm pulling for Phil Mickelson to win all the way. He deserves it more than anyone else. At least for one day, one of the players in front of Tiger is Justin Rose, his playing partner. The Herald printed a nice article about him and how he has got to this point in his career.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I am going to start out today by talking about the Shaw's summer league. I know it's a notch below exhibition games, but bear with me. I feel a rant coming on. Sure, the C's beat the Bullets, I mean Wizards. Sure, Kedrick and Joe played well (it's only one game but Joe made me eat my words). But I don't want to discuss the Celtics game. I'm interested in the previous game, the one between the Nets and the Hawks. With 2.9 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, Nets 2nd year man Richard Jefferson took offense to a screen that Hawks rookie Dan Dickau set on him. So what does the gutless Jefferson do? He waits until Dickau has his back turned and then he rushes him, gets him in a headlock, and throws him to the floor. Both players were ejected. Jefferson made some foolish comment about how Dickau is a rookie and so he can't just stand there and take that. (Someone ought to remind Jefferson that he is technically still a rookie since he hasn't started his second year yet). Jefferson was the fool who made the comments in the playoffs last year how he was looking forward to beating the Celtics in the Fleetcenter since they had all the old time players there. A complete show of unprofessionalism and disrespect. Now, you can almost excuse Jefferson since he is so young and immature. So that's not really the part that upsets me. The part that upsets me is Byron Scott's comments about the incident.
"You can't let rookies get away throwing elbows," Scott said. "Unfortunately, he got kicked out of the game. He's done his job."
He did his job? So... by that does he mean that he instructs his players to fight in games? Does he instruct his players to swing at other players in certain instances? It makes you wonder about all the incidents that Kenyon Martin had last year. Was it directly related to Scott's instructions? I don't care if this is a summer league. Scott should be fined and the league should investigate. If Scott is indeed instructing his players to fight in games, he needs to be removed from his position as coach. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that this action comes from a former Laker.

So just when it looked like the Sox were at their lowest point, down 4-0 and on the verge of being swept by the Tigers, the bats woke up. At least for one day. This was due largely in part to Manny having his first ever 5-hit game. It would obviously be huge to see Manny go on a tear.

The Bruins horrendous offseason continues. Now it's Kyle McLaren who wants out. He is not a free agent so all he can do at this point is ask for a trade. The Bruins joke of a GM, Mike O'Connel, says the only way they'll trade Kyle is if they get similar talent in return. This organization is in serious trouble. Jacobs needs to sell the team, and the new owners need to fire the whole front office and start from scratch.

Along the same lines, Paul Gaston needs to sell the Celtics. Somewhere along the line, these two owners forgot that their jobs are to produce winning teams, not make as much money as they can. Peter May tells us that the chances of the C's retaining Rodney Rogers are slim. Take away Rodney, and this team immediately drops to a 7 or 8 seed at best. The salary cap going down for the first time in 18 years doesn't help matters. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on Oliver Miller, who is on the C's roster for the summer league team.
The Celtics also signed point guard J.R. Bremer yesterday, which probably means Omar Cook will not make the team. Thankfully, it also means the Erick Strickland will probably sign elsewhere.

With the British Open forthcoming, Jim McCabe interviews David Duval and asks about his chances of repeating as champion. George Kimball says that Tiger is ready to knock him off and continue his quest fro the Grand Slam.

The Herald is starting a series where they look at each position on the Patriots roster and discuss the needs. Michael Felger is first up today as he discusses the offensive line.

Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan blames George Steinbrenner for baseball's problems. Dolan says the George forces other teams to spend money they don't have simply so they can compete. Dolan also says that failing to sign Manny Ramirez 2 years ago was the "best thing that's never happened to me.''

Bill Simmons has one of his reader feedback columns. A lengthy piece about how long Phil Connors spent in Punxsutawney, Pa. in the movie Groundhog Day. Simmons shows off his power of reasoning to come to a conclusion of the matter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

I think the Red Sox are primed to go on a run. You just got the feeling after last nights game that they have had enough. I almost get the feeling that they have been playing these games and expecting to win simply by showing up. And I think now there is a frustration level that is ready to boil over. A winning streak wouldn't surprise me. To use a basketball analogy, it's like playing one-on-one against someone that you know you are better than. But you only play at about 70% and figure you'll win anyways. Then all of a sudden you find yourself losing 9-4 and you say 'alright, thats enough' and you start to play. That's where I think the sox are at right now.
Of course, if they don't start to hit, forget everything I just said.

You can read the wrapup of last nights game here.

Other stories in the paper focus on Iverson turning himself in, Geoge Karl and the Bucks lost season, Alan Embree going on the DL, and another Shaughnessy article about Ted Williams.

Monday, July 15, 2002

I don't think I would say I am worried about the Red Sox because they have a good team. Plus, with all the weak teams in the league, they should win the majority of games against them. But it is not a good idea to lose back-to-back series against Detroit and Toronto, especially while the Yankees are losing. I don't agree with all the comparisons to last years team and the talk that the current Sox are only 1 game ahead of where last years Sox were at this point. This team is probably as different from last years team as any team has ever been from one year to the next. The real issue here is whether or not it is even worth it to get worked up about this right now. The way things are going, a strike is going to wipe out the season anyways. Why get all in a dither about something that won't even be here in a month? I've actually cut way back on the amount of baseball I am watching. I am usually good for 140 games a year. I doubt if I have watched a Sox game from start to finish in the last month though. It just doesn't seem worth it to me. I am still keeping one eye on them to see what happens in case a miracle happens and there is no strike, but I'm not holding my breath.

All of that sort of makes Michael Holley's column useless to me. Sure, Thome would be a huge addition. But he probably would not sign here after the season, meaning that you give up Fossum and another player so that you have the services of Thome for 2-3 weeks? You can rent Blockbuster movies for longer than that.

Wakefield obviously had a lack of concentration yesterday. It certainly explains the 2 runs and a balk. I think it is because he was upset at being pulled from starting the first game in Detroit. He was expecting to start that game and when he was told he wasn't, I think it affected his performance. Gordon Edes' Red Sox Notebook also tells us about Juan Diaz and his Visa problems. I thought that only happened in spring training when guys wanted a few more days off before reporting.

I guess I'll weigh in on the Mo Vaughn issue. I think Mo would do alright back in Fenway. I think he could make an impact and maybe decide a few games with his bat. Mo was always a player suited for Fenway and for Boston. He would probably bat .280 - .290 here and would be good for 10-15 HR's the rest of the way. The problem is the money he would be owed. Even if the Mets agreed to pay half his salary, you are still into him for close to $20 million. That just doesn't make any sense.

On the Celtics front, yesterday it was Joe, today it is Kedrick who is featured in an article. The difference between these 2 guys, or maybe the perception of them, is amazing to me. Kedrick is the guy who everyone expects will bust out and be a great player in the league. Most people expect him to start before too long this year. But Forte, on the other hand, is the forgotten man. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who thinks he will be an impact player in the league. My take? I probably only missed 5 Celtics games last year, so I saw both these guys play all of their minutes last year. I also was at a couple practices where I got to watch them play a lot more. I don't think the perception is that far from reality. Only time will tell what will happen to these 2 guys, but Kedrick just looks like he has the game to play in this league. It's not just the dunks either. It's the way he moves without the ball, his instincts, how he knows where to be and how to position himself. Joe seems to be a step behind in those aspects. I still think Joe could be a decent player, but maybe a player in the Steve Kerr type of mold. Someone to come in and hopefully get you a few quick baskets. Kedrick, though, could easily be a Dominique Wilkins or Xavier McDaniel type of player when those guys were in their primes.
Steve Bulpett highlights the C's plans with regards to Bruno Sundov and Rodney Rogers.

Victor Green is to me Bill Belechick's best move of the offseason thus far. This guy is an impact player. You are pretty much assured of him making 4-6 huge plays, maybe game-deciding plays, over the course of the season. And the fact that only $450,000 will count against the cap is amazing.

Maybe the most amazing breakthrough of the day is that Michael Felger actually made sense with his article. He shows how the Patriots have maneuvered within the salary cap and are in good shape right now. It's a huge contrast to just a few seasons ago. Also a preview of the AFC East in here. Strange not to see Indy in the group.

I apologize to Bruins fans but I will not be talking about the team much for a while. It just doesn't seem worth it to me. I don't want to expend much time or energy on a team that could care less about it's fans.

ESPN picks the top 10 greediest owners in sports and Jeremy Jacobs checks in at #7. The following is quoted from the piece: "Living proof that one man can do great harm to a city's rich hockey history. Jacobs, who bought the Bruins for $10 million in 1975, now sits on one of the most valuable franchises in hockey (valued at $230 million by Forbes). But he runs a franchise in one of the biggest markets in the country on a shoestring, with a payroll dwarfed by teams in smaller markets such as Phoenix, St. Louis and Buffalo. Case in point: The Bruins just relinquished -- without a fight -- free agent Bill Guerin to the Dallas Stars. "You know what got me out of Boston?" Guerin told the Boston Herald. "The fact they didn't talk. That's it. Everyone knows from Day 1 they weren't going to pay."

Does anyone know if Jack Nicklaus is playing in the FleetBoston Classic this weekend in Concord? I'll be there and Jack is someone I have always wanted to meet.