Wednesday, December 14, 2005

WEEI = WWE

Mere minutes after lamenting the fact that Dennis & Callahan had nothing to talk about, here comes the crazy Mike Adams after the Big Show hijacking the studio, pissing off the resident angry fat guy (Pete Shepard), and then hanging up on program director Jason Wolfe. Just when you think it cannot get any more absurd, he gets the CT School of Broadcasting owner on the air to threaten to pull his ads.

Of course, I feel used and dirty just writing about the publicity stunt. If it were a real hijacking of the station without prior approval, the police and security would have dragged Adams out, and with a flick of a switch they would run their tape of highlights from the engineer booth or from a satellite station.

We all know that WEEI creates fake controversies and really consists of actors playing roles and taking pre-assigned roles, but this is beyond ridiculous. What a lame publicity stunt. The point is that this gives Mike Adams some much needed publicity for his new 7PM show.

Now when does Vince McMahon get his cut for coming up with this bologna.

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SLOWING DOWN

You know it is a slow sports day when Dennis & Callahan cannot think of anything to shout about and are forced to get inspiration from the cover of the Boston Herald and complain loudly about Brokeback Mountain receiving Golden Globe nominations. Turn off E!, Dennis & Callahan have the real debate on the Golden Globes.

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ALL ABOARD:

So Dr. Z & Peter King over at SI.com, Pete Prisco at CBS Sportsline, and the other national pundits are back pulling the lead wagon of the Patriots train. In two weeks, the Pats have gone from first round fodder to the team the Colts have to be on the lookout for in the second round of the playoffs.

What seemed so desperate when I typed it a month ago (let them get guys back, get healthy, and jell together over the last month of the season into the playoffs), now is the national consensus. Considering I have believed against hope ever season since 1979 that the Pats will win the Super Bowl, I may not be the one to offer the most evenhanded opinion on this, but the team has looked good the past two weeks. If they can beat Tampa Bay convincingly this weekend, there will be a lot of dry mouths in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville. At home or on the road, it is tough to out-scheme Bill Belichick.

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THE DANGLING CARROT:

There he is: the best defensive player in the NBA; On the trading block for fifty cents on the dollar; Only 26 years old; Averaging almost twenty points per game; and unfortunately his name is Ron Artest.

Artest is the poster child for everything that is wrong in the NBA today, whether he likes it or not. When you come across as more concerned about peddling a CD and starting one of the most revolting brawls in NBA history (Rudy T and Kermit was certainly a bloodier and more physically shocking brawl). The question that the teams face with Artest are multiple: is he the next T.O.; is he merely in need of a fresh start; is he a combustible figure who can fit in the right environment ala Dennis Rodman; or is he just insane and belongs out of basketball.

Imagine if Artest straightens out his act: the Celtics give up Mark Blount, a young throw-in (Orien Greene, Ryan Gomes, Justin Reed, Marcus Banks: take your pick, Indiana!) and maybe a protected draft pick and all of a sudden, this team is a legitimate contender in the East. With Artest, Jefferson, and Perkins the Celtics have a big, young front three that could raise havoc for years to come.

Of course, there is also the possibility that the trade turns into a disaster of Terrell Owens-esque proportions, destroys the team chemistry, corrupts the youngsters, causes Doc Rivers to leave, Danny Ainge gets fired, and the Celtics rebuild yet again. Of course, with the image-conscious owners of the Celtics, there is no doubt that Artest has no chance of coming to Boston. But it has to be very tempting to GM Danny Ainge to think of the possibilities.

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SPEAKING OF HEAD CASES:


What, no Milton Bradley coming to Boston? I was hoping for a head case outfield of Manny in left, Milton Bradley in center, and Crazy Jurassic Carl Everett in rightfield. Imagine the drama involved with that combo!

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THE NAME IS ALEX NOT JOEY!

Dammit, I am not letting it go. Alex Cora, opening day shortstop for the Red Sox. Why waste money chasing players not worth it. Cora at shortstop, and since Damon is not exactly being overwhelmed with offers, it looks like the third most annoying caveman on TV (those two from the Geico commercials are just too damned annoying. Caveman 1: I’ll have the Mango Duck. Caveman 2: I don’t think I have much of an appetite right now. I just want to puke watching that claptrap!) will be back in Boston a few years and many million short of what he wanted.

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TRADER JIM:

So if Alfonso Soriano is already unhappy in Washington, would he accept a trade to Boston (Trot Nixon, Bronson Arroyo and a few million bucks) and be the full-time DH? Whither Ortiz, you may ask? To quote Lou Costello: FIRST BASE!

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CO-COCONUTS

Why is everyone against a two-headed monster at GM for the Red Sox? So what if Theo comes back or not? I like the idea that there are smart people running the team trying out creative new ideas. Maybe this will work, maybe it will not, but I like being at the forefront. Heck, I remember people being upset with Bill Belichick when he pulled out the old Victor Green Big Nickel package in the secondary. Sure, it was not the game-breaking defense he may have envisioned, but it felt nice to be the one setting the pace instead of trailing and rushing to catch-up. Heck, I was hoping for the quintuple-GM this season. Good for the team, good for the economy!

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A SHORT STOP FOR EDGAR:

Enough of the whining about not having a shortstop: the Sox have one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball on their roster. Since defense, according to the whiners and so-called pundits who drove Edgar Renteria out of town, is so vitally important, then there is no need to panic: Alex Cora is already here. Sure, he over the course of the season he might hit .230 with an OBP of .300 and an OBPS of under .500, but evidently it is all about the defense at shortstop in Boston. Yeah, Edgar did OK with the stick in the second half of the season, but it was his glove that killed us, was it or was it not the refrain heard all off-season?

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TIGHT FIT:

The Sox line-up is obviously a work in progress right now, but there are many options already available to the team. Here is one way of looking at it:

CF: Adam Stern or Dave Murphy
2B: Mark Loretta
1B: David Ortiz
LF: Manny Ramirez
3B: Mike Lowell
C: Jason Varitek
DH: Andy Marte
RF: Trot Nixon
SS: Alex Cora

Obviously, lead-off and the number nine spot may be changed in the off-season, but 2-8 the line-up remains scary good. The starting rotation and bullpen, while both still in flux, both appear much stronger than last year:

SP: Josh Beckett
SP: Curt Schilling
SP: David Wells/Jonathan Papelbon/Jon Lester
SP: Tim Wakefield
SP: Matt Clement
Spot Starter/Bullpen: Bronson Arroyo

Closer: Keith Foulke
Set-up: Guillermo Mota
Set-up: Craig Hansen
Set-up: Lenny DiNardo
Set-up: Mike Timlin

Right now, the Red Sox are STILL the team to beat in the American League East, despite the many moves of the Toronto Blue Jays and the strange stagnation of the Yankees rotation.

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THEO SAYS: IT TAKES TWO TO REPLACE THE BIG DAWG

So what is history going to tell us about deposed Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who is replaced by the Gang of Two for the time being? For those of us who cannot wait, I will wish for Cosmo and Wanda to create my Timmy Turner model time machine to go to 2010 and find out:

Dateline: October 30, 2010: Washington Senators CEO, President, Special Advisor to U.S. President John Kerry & Senior General Manager Larry Lucchino continued his beltway bantering with Boston Red Sox CEO, President, Junior Senator from Massachusetts and minority owner Theo Epstein this week, hiring away Sox manager Kevin Millar and signing free agent DH-1B David Ortiz. Apparently the feud is still simmering as it has over the past few years from their repeated jabs and proclamations of who really made the decision to sign baseball’s first thirty game winner since 1968, Matt Clement. While Epstein and the Sox have traded world series titles with Lucchino and the Senators, no team can seem to maintain the upper hand over their bitter rival. On his deathbed, former Yankees owner and former foil of both Lucchino and Epstein, George Steinbrenner, offered a prayer of peace for the franchises.

Umm, better yet, let us never visit that horrific future again and get back in touch with the modern day:

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GOLD MINE:

The Red Sox are sitting on a gold mine: Bronson Arroyo. With the crazy spending going on for starting pitching, the Sox are sitting pretty with the pop star and his cheap pay and productive ways. Arroyo, on the open market, would be getting Matt Clement money the way dollars are being dumped on these non All-Star starters.

Sure, they could trade him or save him as a piece to bargain with at the mid-season deadline, but unless they are getting back a closer or All-Star shortstop or right-fielder, it makes too much sense to keep the Boston balladeer. With Schilling, Wells, and Papelbon all unknown quantities, it makes sense to keep Arroyo around to bolster the bullpen and take over the spot of whoever gets injured in the rotation (as we New England Patriots fans know, you gotta have depth).

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STILL ALIVE AT 8-5:


As the Chicken Littles of the sporting world run for cover the New England Patriots, the same squad left for dead three weeks ago, are finally showing signs of emerging from their prolonged funk. With a healthy running game, a patchwork offensive line, a healthy front seven, and four guys on their feet in the secondary, Eric Mangini has finally got his fee underneath him and released the hounds on the dregs of the AFC East. Sure, Ron Borges will tell you that he needs the Pats to prove themselves by beating Tampa (and if them, then by beating the Jets again, then by beating Miami, then by winning a wild-card match, then by beating the Colts in Indy, then by beating Cincinnati or Pittsburgh or San Diego or Jacksonville or Kansas City, then by beating the Seahawks in the Super Bowl and then he still will beat the team up for losing five games this season), but the Pats should be in good shape for the game on Saturday.

The Big Points from Sunday:

a. Stopping the run: Say what you will about the front five of the Bills offensive line looking more like the Electric Company from PBS that aired after Mr. Rogers in my youth rather than the Electric Company that put an over-hyped murderer from USC in the Hall of Fame, but holding Willis McGahee to three yards on eight carries is a prolific event. Heck, McGahee would normally rush for more yards than that behind a high school offensive line. Credit the Patriots front seven for stepping it up. Now the Cadillac (who automatically goes to my fantasy league bench when playing the Patriots) has to look at that game tape and grimace in preparation of the tilt going on Saturday.

b. Pressuring the young quarterback: Papa Phil is going to do a lot of whispering in one ear of little Chris while Psycho-Therapy Jon Gruden shouts in his other. After the damage done to Brooks Bollinger and J.P. Losman the past two weeks, the QB who stole too many snaps from Major Applewhite will get a quick education in what happens when the foremost disciple of defense, Bill Belichick, matches wits with the Clown with a Frown, Crazy Chuckie Gruden.

c. Running the ball: It seems so simple, Stop the run on defense, limit the big plays, run the ball on offense, and convert a few key third downs. That is the formula every team (OK, maybe not the Eagles) goes into the game with week after week. For the Patriots, they have made it look easy the past two weeks. The key on offense has been Corey Dillon on first and second down and Kevin Faulk on third down. What a boost these two give to the offense. We all loved Heath and Hammy-grabbin Patrick Pass, but this is the way a running game is built to operate. Pound it inside and then mix it out of the backfield.

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CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC:

No, the title means nothing other than to reference the Jimmy Hendrix song I heard for the first time in too long this weekend. But anyway, here are the quick, random thoughts:

Only the Jets can lose by winning. Bye-bye Reggie, Vince, and Matt.

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I hear the Yankees expect big things out of Aaron Small this year. Bwah-hah-hah!

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Good job Boston College basketball. Now I can forget about you until you get upset by Holy Cross in the first round of the NCAA tourney.

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Big Al and Big Perk for the Green. I will say it again: PLAY THEM UNTIL THEY FOUL OUT EACH AND EVERY NIGHT! Mark Blount and Raef LaFrentz are the future of nothing.

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Craig Shipley must be pissed being the brightest of the bunch and passed over as co-co-co-GM.

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Maybe Larry Lucchino should employ a bunch of doubles like Saddam Hussein always did when out in public. Heck, maybe Theo should get his brother a wig and use him for a decoy since the notoriety is too much for poor little him.

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Now is the time for the Bruins to trade goalie Andrew Raycroft for a good young goal-scoring forward.

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I cannot wait until Marcus Vick gets to the NFL. Then I can be the first to refer to him and brother Mike Vick as BLUNTMAN and CHRONIC. Man, I hope no one else thought of this already.

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