Tastefully Done

August 2, 2007

Kevin Garnett’s arrival in Boston brings to mind his classic ESPN the Magazine commercial with Stephon Marbury.

Meanwhile, Bob Ryan offers an important reality check.

Did I miss the memo in which David Stern proclaimed that in the 2007-08 season the NBA will be a three-on-three competition?

It is a little disconcerting that the Celtics gave up half the roster in the trade for Garnett and that they now have to sign a bunch of D-league players to fill out the roster. But at least there’s finally some buzz around the team, so I guess that’s for the good. Whether they can really contend, who knows — relying on three 30-plus guys to play big minutes is risky, and injuries could easily sink them.


Fight Night at the Pops

May 12, 2007

Hilarious.

Way to make Boston look good, guys.


Boston will Boo Bonds Boisterously

May 8, 2007

David Ortiz has made the puzzling decision to come out in support of Barry Bonds (and they call Manny Ramirez the stupid Red Sox slugger?) with comments in today’s Boston Herald.

Barry Bonds is coming to Fenway Park in a little more than a month, and already, David Ortiz can tell that his reception is going to be ugly.

Ortiz believes Bonds needs to be cheered. Loudly.

“He deserves respect,” Ortiz said Sunday in Minneapolis. “People are not going to give it to him because of all the bad things running around, this and that, but people need to realize. I’ve heard a lot of different things about Barry Bonds, but people should just admit it – this guy’s a bad (expletive).”

Whether or not Bonds will be on the verge of breaking Hank Aaron’s career mark of 755 home runs – he’s at 744 with 34 games to play before he arrives here on June 15 – Ortiz expects Fenway Park fans will be making a mistake by focusing on the performance-enhancing drug allegations against Bonds rather than his home run totals.

Ortiz has an almost willful naivete about both Bonds and steroids. He still does not believe in his heart or his head that Bonds took steroids. And even if it were proven to him, Ortiz still would not link it to what Bonds does with a baseball bat.

“To hit the frickin’ ball, the guy makes it look easy, but it ain’t. I don’t know how you can have that swing, consistently. I don’t know how steroids can do that,” Ortiz said. “There are supposed to be guys using steroids in the game, and there’s nobody close to Barry Bonds. What’s that mean? He was using the best (expletive)? Know what I’m saying?”

Clearly Ortiz hasn’t read Game of Shadows, which documents Bonds’ steroid use in painstaking detail. No one denies that Bonds is an outstanding hitter, even without the steroids. The key is that bulking up with the drugs has enabled him to hit a lot more home runs than he would be able to hit otherwise.

It’s as if Ortiz, who is received as a deity at Fenway Park, were testing the waters to see if he could do anything that would make him less popular in Boston. After all, Bonds is the same guy who said, “Boston is too racist for me” in 2004 — not exactly the kind of statement that will endear him to the Fenway crowd.

Barry Bonds will be booed loudly and repeatedly when the Giants come to Boston for three games June 15-17. If he breaks the all-time record during that series, there might not be such a kind reaction to that either.

Curt Schilling, on the other hand, expressed pretty much the opposite view from Ortiz about Bonds in his appearance on the Dennis and Callahan radio show this morning. Schilling said he didn’t want to be the guy to give up the record-breaking homer, and he noted that the Giants will probably try to have it happen in San Francisco anyway so as to minimize the awkwardness.


As if running 26.2 miles weren’t painful enough…

April 14, 2007

The crappy DC weekend weather will be heading up I-95 and ruining one of the annual rites of spring in my native state, the Boston Marathon. Reports the Boston Globe:

With a nasty brew of heavy rain, cold, and headwinds forecast for Monday, authorities are scrambling to mitigate the misery of 23,000 runners in what could rank among the worst conditions in the history of the Boston Marathon.

Meanwhile, Boston.com continues to chronicle the dementia of Red Sox fans by running a series of photos like this one.

Red Sox dogs


My Drew Bledsoe Appreciation

April 12, 2007

The news that Drew Bledsoe is retiring from the NFL has put me into nostalgia mode. I was a 12-year-old Patriots fan back when Drew was drafted #1 overall in 1993, and I saw him bring the Patriots back to respectability in the years that followed, culminating in the Super Bowl appearance in early 1997 against Green Bay (I was a sophomore in high school by then). Sure, Drew was a statue standing in the pocket, he was easy to ridicule, and he was the source of plenty of aggravation to me over the years, but I will always remember that he gave his all and was a class act. Despite his limitations, Drew had a gun of an arm and was a big part of the Pats’ success in the 1990s, obviously.

What I will remember most about Drew is how gracefully he handled the Patriots’ 2001 championship season, a tough year for him that began with a serious injury in the Jets game in September (a Mo Lewis hit nearly killed Drew in that first game after 9/11) and that saw him lose his starting job to some unknown named Tom Brady. Drew could’ve caused a big scene about it and torn the team apart. He was a good soldier though, even responding to media inquiries with “next question” responses on the very day that Belichick announced that Brady was keeping the starting job over the now-healthy Bledsoe, who was visibly seething. That must have been a devastating time for Drew personally. Here he was, the franchise quarterback with the $100-million dollar contract, and his life had changed dramatically and suddenly. Still, he didn’t poison the locker room as the team came together for the playoff run.

Bledsoe with 2001 AFC trophy

The script couldn’t have been written any better for the AFC Championship Game that year in Pittsburgh. With Tom Brady knocked out of the contest with an ankle injury, Drew Bledsoe sprinted off the bench to throw a rousing TD to David Patten and give the Pats a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. It was a beautiful scene with Bledsoe, who had dutifully accepted his role, able to contribute one last time. The next week, Drew told Brady to “just sling it” before the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl against the Rams. Brady did that, leading the team to its first-ever NFL championship and one of the biggest upsets in the history of the big game.

Bledsoe was happy and reflective after the Super Bowl. He must have known he was moving on, and on draft day in April 2002, the team traded him to Buffalo for a second-round pick. It was sad to see Bledsoe the last few years bouncing around the league, getting replaced in the starting role by two other young hot shots. He always remained classy, even with the dented pride of a one-time franchise QB reduced to a backup role.

Cheers to Drew Bledsoe for giving as much as I could expect from a pro athlete.


Dice-K v. Ichiro: The Overkill

April 11, 2007

Can’t get enough Dice-K v. Ichiro info in anticipation of their meeting at Fenway tonight? Check out the Boston Globe, which has a graphic on every at-bat Ichiro ever had against Matsuzaka back in their Japan days. That should satiate.

Ichiro and Dice-K

Should be fun tonight (ESPN2, 7pm).


Bench-Clearing Shenanigans at Fenway Opening Day

April 10, 2007

Because I didn’t see the game on TV this afternoon, I may not be fully understanding exactly what happened in the incident described in this Red Sox-Mariners recap.

The only life the Mariners showed after their long layoff was when Jose Guillen gave reliever Brendan Donnelly a menacing stare after striking out at the start of the eighth. The two have a history dating to 2005, when they both played for the Los Angeles Angels and Guillen was suspended for a clubhouse tantrum.

Guillen was ejected and the benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Donnelly hit the next batter, Kenji Johjima, and was ejected.

Say what? First, a “menacing stare” from Jose Guillen, after he strikes out, is enough to warrant an ejection and to clear the benches? Did Guillen say anything or do anything that was threatening? And why did Donnelly respond by hitting the next batter? Stupid, stupid.

It occurs to me that I have said absolutely nothing about the baseball season thus far, something I’ll try to remedy in the coming days. I will actually be able to watch the Dice-K Fenway debut, against Ichiro no less, on ESPN2 Wednesday night.

 

 

… OK, I see another account saying that Donnelly and Guillen exchanged words and Guillen tried to charge the mound. The scene looked like this.

Guillen gets angry

That’s what happens when Jose Guillen has too much pent-up aggression from four days of snow-outs in Cleveland. Also, very classy way for Brendan Donnelly to make an impression before the new home fans. You can chalk up my previous confusion to poorly edited AP copy.