Thursday, July 25, 2002

The Celtics are definitely the poster boys for teams that need to be made fun of right now. ESPN is just the latest in the long line of National media outlets to goof on the Celtics.
Bill Walton takes a shot too, as Jim Baker tells us. ``It's not much of a gamble unless you feel paying $50 million (actually $56 million) to a player who hasn't been in shape for three years is a gamble.''

Pedro improved to 4-0 in his last 5 starts. Normally, it wouldn't be a big deal to beat the D-Rays, but apparently they are a tough team for the Sox to beat right now. Any win is a good win. The Sox should be ashamed to split this series.

Jason Varitek has proven himself invaluable to the Red Sox. As has been stated many times, he was the Sox biggest loss last year, not Pedro or Nomar.

Pedro Martinez is simply a joy to have around. I can't think of anyone that I would rather listen to being interviewed. These quotes from today:
''It didn't matter to me,'' Martinez said of the warning. ''I was as ready to go out as go in. Warning or not, I wasn't scared and I never will be. I've been around long enough and I know what to do. I protect my players. I don't take nothing from anybody, even if I have to do it 30 times in a row. It's a message I am known for. A lot of people misjudge it but that's the way the game is played. Or the way it used to be played.''
On the Yankees: ''We are as good as they are,'' Martinez said. ''I don't think they beat us [last week]. They got lucky and sometimes lucky is better than good. We could have swept them. They didn't play any better than we did.''
We will not realize until he is not in Boston anymore how much we will miss this guy. Whether he is pitching or talking, there is no one I would rather watch. I hope everyone realizes how privileged we all are to be able to be around during the Pedro era.

Frank Castillo has finally been pulled from the starting lineup. Casey Fossum will take his place. Frank took it well. ''I wasn't really surprised. After the nightmare [Wednesday] night, I figured they'd probably need to do something. I feel I can still start. Sometimes you need to take a step backwards before you move forward.''

Bob Hohlers notebook. Some interesting stuff in here. Rich Garces has been a valuable member of the Red Sox for six years now. There were times when he was as automatic as a reliever could be. You knew when he came in that it was lights out. That era may be coming to an end. Garces has obviously struggled this year. With Alan Embree and Carlos Baerga due to rejoin the team, some players will have to be moved out. Garces may be a candidate to be released. If you are at the game tonight or in the next few days, give Rich a good applause. He deserves it for all he has done for this organization.

Michael Holley says it will be tough for the Pats to repeat. Not much insight in this column. Everyone knows it's hard to repeat.

The Pats are ready to ride the No Respect thing again. Vegas has them at 10-1 odds and only picks the over-under at 8 games. Expect to hear a lot of comments about no respect from the players in coming days.

Michael Felger lists 10 things to look at as the Patriots training camp starts this week. He also continues his look at the Patriots, today focusing on Coaching and Kicking.

The note that JHW provided saying his father wants to be frozen may be a fake, according to Jules Crittenden's article in the Herald. Apparently it shows custom signs of forgery. I'm sure that JHW realizes the trouble he could get in if this thing is found to be fake, but I'm not sure Claudia does. Wouldn't it be something if she was to get scared and reveal that the note is fake and JHW made the whole thing up?

The Steelers still feel as though they should have won last years playoff game against the Pats. Kevin Mannix touches on this in his NFL Notes.
There's also an article about this on CNNSI.com. The Steelers are in denial. They talk as though they won that game.
Dewayne Washington: "I think we might have taken that team [the Patriots] for granted."
Jason Gildon: "It was painful, because we watched the defensive cut-ups, and there was no special teams in there. You watched that and said, 'I can't believe we lost this game."
Hines Ward: "I was so disgusted. I didn't want the Patriots or the Rams to win. I felt like we were the better team, but we just didn't go out and prove it."
Ward was one player that I was very happy to see lose. He had been very cocky the whole week, even implying that the game didn't even need to be played. It's a joy to watch some guys lose.
ESPN Insider is reporting that the Celtics are interested in San Antonio's Antonio Daniels. SA does not really need him anymore since Tony Parker is their point guard now. A possible trade would be Delk for Daniels. It would give the C's a decent PG and SA a decent shooter. It fits the needs of both teams. I don't have the link but a reader e-mailed in to tip me off.

Mark Coffman talks about all the changes the Celts have made since the end of the season. For better or for worse, the team will be drastically different this year.

Marty Burns weighs in on the Celts trade and says that Larry Bird might want to hold off on this whole Charlotte thing. If this trade makes the C's worse, fans will want Gaston's head more than ever and will scream for Larry to return.

The front page of the Globe has a note that was supposedly written and signed by Ted Williams, John Henry Williams, and Claudia Williams. The note says that all three desired to be frozen together. Who knows if this thing is real? It very easily could have been put together by JHW. I wouldn't put it past that guy. For whatever reason, Claudia is also on board. Maybe it's a vendetta against her half sister.

Michael Felger discusses the Patriots Secondary, and then discusses the close call that Charlie Weiss had with his surgery, which included nearly dying.

Dr. Z of Sports Illustrated does his preseason NFL rankings and picks the Pats as number one. "In case you haven't heard, they're the defending Super Bowl champs, and on paper they're stronger now than they were last year. Superstars gone via the corporate raiding of free agency, the fate that usually befalls defending champions? None." No other AFC East team shows up until the Bills at number 15. Evidently, Dr.Z feels the Pats will run away with the division.
Also an article about Drew Bledsoe and how excited he is to be in Buffalo. Drew showed up early and says it feels like being a rookie all over again. You can find the full Patriots preview here.

Bill Simmons is upset that Hulk Hogan's return to the WWE was not included as one of the top 100 moments of the sports year.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

That was bad.

There is no excuse for the Sox to lose last nights game. That is far worse than either of the Yankee losses over the weekend. The lead should be 2 1/2 right now. Those are the types of games that lose the division for you. I apologize for not having any links to the Sox articles today, but I can't bring myself to read about it. I can't state enough how much the Sox are missing Alan Embree right now.

The Red Sox have lost another legend as longtime broadcaster Ned Martin Passed away yesterday. I hope all the clowns who were making fun of him on WEEI yesterday feel really good about themselves right now.

Not only is Gerry Callahan unlistenable (is that a word?) on the radio, but he has no class when he writes. This quote from the Herald today: "Baker is the key here. He is the wild card. He is Billy Bob Thornton and Wallace just tattooed his name on his private parts."
Thanks Gerry. You just think that one up? That is simply stated, Horrible Writing. I'm sure he could have gotten his point across without using that terminology, but it is the classless Gerry Callahan that we are talking about here.
Shira Springer has a positive article about Baker, and somehow manages to leave Chris Wallace's privates out of it.
The attitude of C's fans seems to be changing. Maybe it's because the deal is done now and there is no going back. There's not much else to do but accept it now. Maybe fans are simply trying to find the good side of this deal. There is a slim chance the deal could be great for the C's. If Baker plays well, it would give the team 3 legit All-Stars, which is plenty to win with. The Lakers have won (bought, stole, cheated other teams out of) 3 championships in a row with 2 All-stars. The problem is that there is probably only a 15-20 % chance of Baker turning into that player. More likely, he is just a big contract for 4 years who just eats up all your cap space.

Still nothing but good news coming out of Patriots camp. The team just seems to do whatever they want. Every signing, every free agent that comes to town; all of it always sounds good. The difference between the Pats right now and the other 3 teams in town is amazing.

ESPN lists it's top 100 moments of the year. The Pats rank as the 2nd best moment. They also have the 10 most shocking moments in baseball history. Bill Buckner is number 8 and Wade Boggs gets an honorable mention.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Notice to all Celtics season ticket holders and fans:
Plan your vacations for June this year because there will be no basketball to watch in Boston during that month. The worst trade in franchise history has been completed.
Surprisingly, I'm not all that upset about the Sox this weekend. I don't look at it like they blew 2 games. I look at it like they had the Yankees on the ropes in both those games and because of a couple of fluke plays the Yanks were able to win. I think the Sox come away from this weekend feeling good about their chances and I think the Yanks come away scared and feeling like a 4 game lead isn't enough. In previous years, when the Sox have played the Yankees in July or August, the Yanks have always either swept or won 2 of 3. But then it was always obvious that they were a much better team. This time, it is obvious that they got lucky and had no right winning.

(Anyone who read Fridays post read that I was scheduled for a camping trip and would miss all the games this weekend. Well, It was raining on Friday when we got to the campsite so my wife suggested we stay in a hotel for the night instead. I gladly obliged, and as a result got to see the Pedro game on Friday night. Probably the 2nd best game I've seen, behind the Pedro game in 99 against the Yanks.)

Bob Hohler's article tries to focus on the positives. The player quotes say they are still positive and that they know that they can play with the Yankees. Michael Holley says the Sox beat themselves. Tony Maz says the real test is the upcoming games to see if the Sox can bounce back.

Steve Buckley outlines Trot Nixon's mood after the game. Trot takes losses very hard, especially when he feels as though he is to blame. It makes it worse when the loss is against NYY.

Of course, the New York writers are having a field day picking on the Sox. George King calls the Red Sox the Dead Sox. He displays his amazing writing abilities in saying it is a 'four-gone' conclusion that the Yanks will win the division. He is alluding to the fact that the Yanks have a 4 game lead now. Lenn Robbins thinks Sox fans were crying after the game yesterday. He says Boston fans constantly weep and just wait around to feel pain from losing. I'm glad to see that Mr. Robbins is such an expert. Bill Madden says that Babe Ruth's ghost was in the outfield and caused the ball to go under Trot's glove. He says the Sox went sulking out of town. Funny, that's not what I gather from the Sox comments after the game. The only one to touch on that aspect of things in NY is Adam Rubin.

You'd think that losing the WS last year would have taken away at least a little bit of the cockiness that is shown by NY writers, but it seems as though they are cockier than ever. That's as much a reason as any to want the Sox to knock off the Yankees. Just so we can stick it to the writers down there.

By the way, in my opinion, if Alan Embree was healthy and available to pitch this weekend, the Sox would have won all three games. The Yankees might want to keep that in mind come September and October.

I am trying to remain calm, but if this Celtics deal goes through, as Shira Springer says it will, then I may need a few days off to let the dust settle. As I stated before, it would be the worst trade in team history. A horrible player with a horrible contract is what Vin Baker is. It was mentioned that even if the C's kept Kenny through this year, the relief from his salary would not be enough for them to go after a big name free agent next year. I read somewhere that this may be why the C's are considering this deal. It would be in essence trading Kenny's contract for Vin's. They are taking this chance in order to acquire a big man. In theory, this sounds good. However, it quickly turns sour when you look at Vin Bakers career right now. He is an overweight, disinterested player who is still owed 50 million dollars. That's all I'll say about this for now.

Switching gears to a real team and a real owner, the Globe had a feature on Bob Kraft yesterday. It's a feel-good type of story. It's nice to see a man like Kraft win a championship.

Michael Felger continues his review of the Pats. Today's targets are the Pats QB's. Saturday he looked at the running backs.

I'm very happy for Ernie Els. He deserved to win for playing as well as he did under the conditions. I am also happy that Tiger lost. Don't get me wrong; I like Tiger as much as the next guy. It's just that I didn't want him to win the Grand Slam, not just yet anyways. Jack has always been my favorite, and I don't think Tiger should overtake him yet. Jack never won the 3rd leg of the Grand Slam, and Tiger shouldn't yet either. Maybe in time.

The Pats are listed as 20-1 to win the Superbowl this year. The Rams are listed at 4-1. Nine teams total have better odds than the Pats. Maybe they can ride this 'no respect' thing again after all.