Friday, September 28, 2007

Red October

Occasionally I have to do more than throw out my own often illogical ramblings and opinions and back-up statements I make with facts (otherwise I would qualify as a member of the Boston Media). So I am going to say something here and then throw some statistics in the readers face. And no, I stunk at math so you can be sure that I attribute the statistical analysis to who it belongs.

Statement of Opinion: the Red Sox should win the World Series because they have a team built for October baseball.

Statistical backing: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=548

Yes, Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus has updated his Secret Sauce rankings. What is the secret sauce? Well, let me let Nate handle that:
The secret sauce ranking consists of three statistics within the category of pitching and defense - Equivalent Strikeouts Per Nine innings (EqK9), Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), and Closer Performance (as measured by the WXRL of the pitcher with the most save opportunities) - that have been demonstrated to have a predictive relationship with success in the post-season.
Thanks, Nate. So basically the team that is most balanced with pitchers who get strikeouts (because that creates outs without runners advancing), who are above average fielding (because, dammit, defense counts for something in a short series), and have a shut-down closer at the end of a game.

Hmmm, maybe we should be paying off Nate to keep this stuff out of the hands of the Yankees. Anyway, the most interesting points that come out of the rankings (which I will not repeat in their entirety because, well, because I linked to the article already) is that the Red Sox are so far above everyone else. Let me illustrate: Nate, explain the rankings:

Teams are ranked from 1 to 30 in each category and the total rankings are added up to produce an overall score.
Therefore, a team ranking first in all three of these categories would be assigned a score of 3. A team ranking dead-last in all three of these categories would be assigned a score of 90.

The Red Sox total rank is 7.5. Next best is the Dodgers (who will not even make the playoffs thanks to the superior managing of Grady Little. Gee, why is the Red Sox cannot get a manager like that?) at 17. The Yankees are at 32.5 (great closer, excellent defense, lack of power pitchers in middle relief and starting). Oakland is last with a stunning 78 rating (someone wake up Billy Beane). Second best ranking other than LAD? Nate, what do you have to say?

Yes, the Secret Sauce is still predicting a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. Might be time to start repenting any unforgiven sins.
Hah! Nate, you so crazy!

OK, so all those Red Sox fans with your fingernails bit down to the crick, take a deep breath and remember that Theo built this team for October. Not August, not September, not April: October. Bring on the Indians (48), the Angels (27.5), or Yankees (32.5). Red Sox Nation is ready (to rumble, not to elect a president. Someone bring me the head of whoever is running this bologna over at NESN. I watch the Red Sox to see the game, not to hear the RemDawg talk about what shmoe should win the fake appointment).

Wait, Nate has one more point about this team that Theo Epstein has taken so much blame for putting together:
The Red Sox, in fact, might be one of the best Secret Sauce teams of all time, ranking in the Top 3 in all three categories. Everyone knows that the Red Sox have an excellent closer — the playoffs are about having an alpha dog in the bullpen, not about ‘pen depth. And their pitching staff can bring the heat. That their defense rates so well might be a little bit of a surprise, but Boston is third in the league in defensive efficiency, and FRAA at the team level is heavily correlated with that number.
Yes, Yes, YES! Less than a week to the playoffs. The Red Sox are ready to roll!

* * *

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good Times, Bad Times…

The good news is that the New York (Win the Division or Sleep with the Fish) Yankees lost to the Toronto (For the third year in a row I am going to say how does this team not win 90 games) Blue Jays 4-1. With six games to go, the Red Sox lead the Bronx Bombers by a full two games (no more of these half games and listening to them whine about games back in the loss column). At present, both teams have six games each left to play and the Red Sox need only a combination of five wins or Yankees losses to clinch the A.L. East for the first time since Matt Stairs was young and shaped like a pear instead of old and shaped like a pear (That said, Matt the Bat can still swing the lumber!)

* * *

Right now I am trying very hard to savor the moment. As good as it looks, SOMETHING always happens. I am trying not get too excited about the Patriots offense with the sturdy offensive line, strong running backs, good-hands tight ends, excellent receiving corps, and amazing quarterback.

With the defensive backs holding their own, and the d-line and linebackers running all over the place making plays, there is no trash talking about the defense (even though Bill Belichick will work them like dogs for being 0-5 in the red zone).

Special teams is the only spot anyone can complain about, but certainly not the punt and kickoff return and coverage teams. Forget about Wes Welker and Ellis Hobbs, Mel Mitchell looks like the Pro Bowl teamer everyone said he would be when he came over from New Orleans before he spent last season on the IR. I guess Gostkowski and Hansen are possibly the only two anyone can complain about.

Heck, I am trying hard not to think too much about Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour (arguably the two best performers on defense) coming back to further ignite the defense.

This team is special right now. They are clicking on all cylinders and while I want to be pie-in-the-sky about it, common sense says it cannot last forever, that no one finishes 16-0. But, dammit, I am going to enjoy the moment!

* * *

Bad times? Oh yeah, the Revolution blew a goal lead in the final 20 minutes and settled for a tie. Since that is the worst sports news this week, I guess we can all be thankful.

* * *

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BREATHE

How many times have I heard this in the past few days?
OHMYGAWDITSALLOVERFORTHE SOX! FRANCONAISANIDIOTTHEYNEEDTOFIREHIMASAP! HERECOMETHEYANKEESGODKNOWSTHEHOTTEAMSALWAYSWININOCTOBER!

OK, just stop. The Red Sox have a 2.5 game lead still. They just ran into two very good pitchers for Toronto. The Yankees just got two games against Daniel Cabrera and Jon Leicester. Not fair, I know.

Worst case scenario? The Sox go in as the wild card. Gee, that worked out pretty well in 2004.

Terry Francona and Theo are getting the team ready for October, not for the last two weeks of September. The Sox are in the playoffs no matter what, pretty much. That is what counts. Joe Torre running out his regulars and burning his bullpen in September trying to win the division is what has doomed New York for the past six years. Come on, Regular Joe, we know you are safe if you win the division, keep burning out Joba and Mariano for us! PLEASE!!!

I think Will Carroll over at BaseballProspectus said it best:

It’s hard to close even a 2 ½-game gap on a good team with 12 days left in the season. Even if it was necessary to do so, it would be a difficult task. In this case, it’s not; whatever benefits—home-field advantage, schedule choice, comfort—are gained by winning the division versus being the Wild Card aren’t generous enough to warrant playing the last week and change as if it mattered.
Look at how Terry Francona has managed his squad all month, in the knowledge that his team is going to October. He’s been resting players all around the roster, diddling with his rotation, and trying experiments like "let’s see how many batters Eric Gagne can walk in one inning."
It would behoove Joe Torre to start doing this as well. The Yankees are up five games in the loss column on the Tigers, with a magic number of seven for the wild card. If form holds through the weekend and the Yankees’ magic number reaches three or so, Torre needs to worry less about seeding and more about making sure his aging team is ready to go on October 2. Alex Rodriguez has missed two games all year, and none since August 8. Robinson Cano hasn’t missed a game since May 6. Jorge Posada has played his usual 130-odd games behind the plate; a couple of extra days off next week couldn’t hurt. I can’t quantify the effects of rest on a player’s performance, but I can say that the cost of doing so—possibly ending up as the wild card versus winning the division—is essentially zero.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Six-pack of that swill I was served last night when I ordered a Pabst! At least the pizza only cost $2.

Why is it I expect the Boston Herald to have a headline reading: Widescale Panic Grips the Hub. The Red Sox lost a couple games. Well, darn, with Manny out (yeah, that was a great trade I made in fantasy baseball to get him from Chazer. It ranks up there with my desperation deal I made when I had six position players on the DL, no one available on waivers, and I unloaded Ichiro for Kelly Johnson, Jeff Francoeur, some relief pitcher, and a ham sandwich. I was obviously either drinking too little or too much at the time.), Youk still hurt, Coco with a bad back, Pedroia slowed, and even Ellsbury sporting some boo-boos (to say nothing about Varitek taking his usual September trip to the outhouse) and Oki-Doki worn out like (nope, just going to stop there before I write something about Britney Spears that is totally inappropriate).

The Patriots broke the rules. Yup, and I damned proud that they did. Anyone who remembers 1982 (heck, 1991 for that matter) absolves the entire organization of any and all media backlash. I have already made clear my opinions about the jealous writers both locally and nationally taking vindictive pot shots at Bill Belichick (and the real sleazy ones going after Bob Kraft), but everyone wants that coach that does whatever it takes to atone for that stinker in the rain against the Jets last year. Yes, he was wrong to flout the rule and more than paid the price, but who is going to convince me that this was not a lesson imparted by the Big Tuna way back when?

The Celtics season is over. Greg Oden is out for the year and…what? We never drafted him? We traded some jamoke at number five for Ray Allen who subsequently convinced his buddy Kevin Garnett to come to Boston after Danny Ainge traded Big Al and a bucket of fish to Minnesota? No, seriously, like that would ever happen.

Rumor has it that there is a hockey team that plays at the Garden when the Celtics are not there. I know, that is about as believable as Boston ever getting a damned arena football team. I remember my Dad talking about hockey in Boston, but it seemed like a fairy tale.

Brazil versus Mexico? How the heck did I not end up with tickets? Or are pasty white guys who loudly shout about the dominance of English soccer in that kind of environment (You, Gallagher, and me, Brigs) banned from Gillette Stadium in those circumstances for their own stadium?

The Revs are still going, baby. Injuries are nothing to this team. Suspend the coach? Who cares? This team is the REAL pride of New England!

HUB OF THE UNIVERSE

Well, for one night at least Boston lived up to its lofty and pretentious title as the entire sports world focused on the Patriots-Chargers AFC Divisional Playoff match-up and the rubber game in Fenway between the Yankees and Red Sox as the GreyBeards battled on the mound.

As the national press continued to take their shots at Bill Belichick as he stood in the middle of the ring like a boxer with no defense, the Patriots players came out and made a statement about who they were and will be this season as they treated a 2006 playoff team like a doormat for the second week in a row.

After exposing the ManGenius as a fraud in the Meadowlands last week, Tom Brady and the offensive supporting cast dominated another top ranked defense. Norv Turner and his crew tried to make headway against the Patriots vaunted defense (this defense is dying for a nickname--but somehow I draw a blank thinking of something witty to make-up for them).
After a first half where the Patriots played with the vaunted Bolts defense like a cat with a mouse (well, not like my cat. Slim Mimit probably would run and hide under the blankets if a mouse got into the house), the Chargers mounted a comeback of sorts in the second half, scoring on both 3rd quarter drives.

Unfortunately, in between them the Patriots methodically marched down the gridiron for another score. After a gift from Ellis Hobbs after the second touchdown where Mr. Dynamite fumbled the kickoff return, the defense came to life. With the ball at the Patriots 31, did offensive genius Norv Turner call in the battering ram and run the fresh legs of Michael Turner down the Patriots throats? No, he called back-to-back passes which resulted in two sacks and the Chargers back on their side of the field facing a third and thirty. From there, it was time to switch to the Sox game.

In the match-up of the once and future Sox, Roger Clemens (aka the Texas Con Man) and Curt Schilling (aka the Big Schill) matched-up for six scintillating innings. After the Sox wasted a lead-off double by Eric Hinske off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh, the Yankees struck for three when the accursed Derek Jeter launched a three-run homer off a hanging slider and put the Yankers up 4-1. Mikie Lowell got one back in the eighth by crushing the myth of Joba by
launching a bomb over the monster. In the bottom nine the Sox had a perfect scenario: down by one, bases loaded, and Big Papi up to face the greatest relief pitcher ever, Mariano Rivera. Alas, it was not to be as the Big Guy popped to Jeter and the game was over.

Not to impinge on Ken Tremendous and the crew at FireJoeMorgan.com, but I nearly launched an empty beer bottle through the television when Joe "The Idiot from the Big Red Machine, not the Magic Walpole Joe" Morgan said as the Yankees had runners on second and third and one out and actually uttered: "I don't understand why the Red Sox infield is playing in instead of back for a possible double-play."

Hmmm, Joe. I don't know? Maybe because without the force-out there is no freaking double-play! You stupid idiot, go read a book and get off the air. Harold Reynolds gets jobbed from ESPN for allegedly grabbing ass (if guilty, yes he deserved to go) and this idiot insults the intelligence of the audience on a weekly basis and they still keep trotting him out with the excellent Jon Miller. How Miller has restrained from strangling the idiot is beyond me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

6-Pack of Julius Echter (That Glorious Nectar, Brigs!)

And make sure the beer has a lemon in it, the damned German swill. Moving on, here’s a Friday afternoon on the train six pack for you:

1. Red Sox Yankees this weekend with the Sox sitting pretty with a 5.5 game lead. They have Daisuke, Becks, and the Schill going this weekend. Personally, I do not know if I can stomach this and the Pats-Chargers. Something tells me that Monday morning is going to come early trying to stay up and stay tuned to all of the weekend.

2. My theory for this weekend is the Sox take two of three so that the season series with the Yankees ends with symmetry and both teams 9-9 against each other.

3. The Wanger is a heck of a pitcher. He reminds me of Derek Lowe with that heavy sinker. The Sox always have their hands full with him. That said, no one on the Yankees staff scares me more than Andy Pettitte. The guy just keeps going out there and mowing teams down. Someone explain why Houston jettisoned him? Heck, someone explain how the Yankees ever let him go in the first place. Roger Clemens versus Curt Schilling on Sunday Night? Hmm, I wonder if Frank Malzone will be there for the Old-Timers Game.

4. Oh my God, the Bruins training camp opened and no one noticed!!!

5. 101KGB in San Diego, some classic rock station, took out an ad in the Boston Globe on Friday saying: Go Chargers Beat Belicheat. Then they threw in their website (which I will not post as they do not need anymore free publicity) and said: Keyword CHEAT to post comments about your lame team. Maybe Pittsburgh will let you use the name Stealers. Hah-hah. My, no bitterness in Tijuana North is there from last seasons collapse in the Divisional Series, eh?

6. Lest I forget, the BC Eagles face the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech on Saturday night. Great, like I do not have enough sports to watch.

* * *

BACKLASH

Quite an interesting couple of days on the web reading about the REVENGE OF THE JILTED REPORTERS as they line-up to take their free shots at Bill Belichick.

There were a few defenders (few and far between), such as King Kaufman at Slate.com who stated:

What the Pats are accused of doing is "spying" on the Jets coaches as they sent signals to the defense. My understanding of spying must be different from the NFL's. Watching a guy flapping his arms while standing in the middle of 70,000 people and in front of a national TV audience doesn't qualify. Even if you point a camera at him.
I mean another camera, aside from all the legal cameras that can be pointed at him.
For the price of a ticket -- assuming the Patriots as an organization can't find a free ticket somewhere -- the Pats can put a guy in Row 12 with a video camera and record the opposing team's defensive signals to their heart's content. But because the guy's standing on the sidelines it's cheating? Kinda nutty, don't you think?
The Patriots may have been trying to steal the Jets' signals for immediate or future use, but there's nothing wrong with stealing signals. It's a fine and respectable art. If it weren't, teams wouldn't need signals that are coded.
The problem is when teams get sneaky about it, hiding a spy in some cranny of the home stadium that the visitors don't have access to or using listening devices to spy on huddles or locker-room meetings. Where a team has an expectation of privacy, it should get privacy. A guy standing on the sideline and flashing semaphores to the
middle linebacker can't expect privacy. Again: That's why the signals are coded.
That's why the code should be changed every now and again.
The Jets and Patriots are bitter rivals who aren't shy about accusing each other of all kinds of dastardly deeds, so it's worth noting that this accusation came from the league, not the Jets, and that the Jets don't seem to be using it as an excuse for having their hats handed to them on Sunday. I don't think the Jets have a signal, after all, for "let Ellis Hobbs run a kickoff back 108 yards."

Then there was none other than the Hollywood Sports Guy who was so tied-up in knots over this so-called scandal that he needed to enlist help to get over it. Fortunately, he turned to an outsider. Aaron Schatz, the creator of Footballoutsiders.com to be exact. Schatz, Pats fan, set the record straight. He included in attempt to quiet some of the yahoos out there:

It will be a footnote to the dynasty, a funny story like when some guy from the 1967 Packers talks about how they gouged each other's genitalia at the bottom of the fumble pile.
Hey, remember a couple years ago when the Steelers accused the Colts of piping in crowd noise at the RCA Dome?
Remember when the Broncos broke salary-cap rules in order to build the 1997-98
championship team?
Remember when Jim Haslett said there was rampant steroid use by the Pittsburgh Steelers during their dynasty years of the '70s?
Remember when Herm Edwards admitted to breaking NFL rules by using Stick-Um even after it was banned in 1980?
And remember when Lawrence Taylor said he used to send hookers up to the hotel rooms of opposing running backs while he sat at home doing blow? I mean, are we taking away the '86 Giants' Super Bowl championship too? Come on, already. This stuff happens.

Finally, as you knew they would, the tailgate superstars affectionately known as the AngryTrolls over at ColdHardFootballFacts.com weighed in with an extremely balanced view of what was going on.

My view? Simple. They broke an NFL rule. They should be punished fairly. They were punished justly (if not a little harshly), and now they turn their attention back to the season after the organization and Bill Belichick take their medicine like big boys. Now can we get past this crap and get back to wondering how the Chargers over-rated secondary is going to defend Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Dante Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Ben Watson when the Pats go five-wide against them?

* * *

LYING CHEATING BASTARDS!!!

How bummed out is Ron Borges right now? Finally he has a reason to do the ultimate hatchet-job on Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots and how their titles are all tainted. Ands now, in his moment of glory, where is he? He is far from the spotlight of Boston Sports.

I have read numerous times that Borges was one of the writers who were firmly entrenched in the Drew Bledsoe fan club. If someone searches around a Boston Globe archive, it should be easy to find some of his more salacious anti-Belichick rants. I, for one, do not have the stomach in these trying times in Foxboro to dig up the dirt on one my favorite boxing writers.

Some of my favorite punishments proposed by those who revel in Patriots misery as we here in the Northeast revel in the misery of the New York Yankees:
Suspend Bill Belichick / Ban Bill Belichick for life
Take away some draft picks / Take away all draft picks
Fine the Patriots organization big $$$ / Kick the team out of the league
Decrease the salary cap number for 2008 / Do not allow the team to sign free agents or make any draft picks
Fine Belichick/the organization up to a million dollars / Bankrupt Belichick and force him into debtors prison

As can be seen by the examples above, everyone has an opinion whether they are logical, non-sensical, idiotic, or occasionally intelligent. With the Boston Herald screaming BELI-CHEAT on the cover on Thursday, this is definitely an issue that no one is going to sweep under the rug anytime soon.

At this time, rumors seem to indicate the Patriots will lose their first round pick (and still keep the one they received from San Francisco for the #28 pick last year) as well as Belichick likely being suspended and fined.

What I really want to know, if how far down the organizational chart this cameraman was, when was this video being analyzed, and how much did Belichick really know about what was going on with the video. It seems to me, the Patriots would be smart enough to have the recording going to a closed-circuit TV or streaming on a secure site rather than fooling around with videotapes. That part alone makes me question how dirty Belichick’s hands were.

Look, I do not like that the Patriots got caught cheating (twice if you count Rodney Harrison getting busted for HGH while recovering from his injuries), but that just helps dispel the myth that they were smarter, better-run, and more gifted than anyone else. The Patriots won by being disciplined and working harder. That will not change with or without signal stealing accusations. Somehow, I do not see this information giving them too much of an advantage, and to the teams who were too slow to figure out that they were tipping off plays, well get smarter or more paranoid.

I think of how laughable it is considering all the hoopla last season about the Dolphins stealing audible calls from the Patriots by watching them on network TV. Uhh, time to switch up the calls Mr. Offensive Coordinator. EVERYONE is looking for that edge. Look at all the videotape digested by the pitchers, catchers, hitters, and coaches in baseball. Pitchers are found to be tipping pitches by where they hold their glove and other non-verbal clues. Cameras and microphones are everywhere in the NFL. Nothing is ever going to stop teams for looking for an edge. What is next, banning Polaroid pictures on the sidelines?

One point I have seen thrown around is the nobility of the boy-genius Eric Mangini. If Mangini was really the saint he is being portrayed as for blowing the whistle, then what took so long for him to blow the whistle? He should have stepped forward last season, or even when he was an assistant for the Patriots.

I think the funniest thing to come out is all the Eagles players whining about losing the Super Bowl two years ago. No, it had nothing to do with your quarterback puking his guts out on the turf and being battered and bruised by the unrelenting Patriots pass-rush. It HAD to be cheating. Well, everyone who has lost to the Patriots the last few years (which is everyone except recently the Colts) has their built-in excuses. What will be interesting will be seeing what the excuse is this season when the Patriots win.

Bottom-line, signal-stealing notwithstanding, the Patriots have always been built around their defense and the players on the field. Teams still have to defend Tom Brady and Randy Moss and stop Lawrence Maroney and put together a number of sustained drives against the Patriots defense.

ADDENDUM: Reports Friday AM say Belichick got fined $500k, the team $250k, and the loss of their number one pick, unless they miss the playoffs and then they lose a second and third round pick. Quick hit: Looks bad, but not too severe discipline.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm Back Baby!

A little bit of technical difficulties, but one new Acer Aspire 3680 Laptop later I am back in business (but too tired to write right now!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

MEMORIES

Took in the Sox this past week, spending Labor Day night out with my sexy Webmaster watching the 10-1 lead in the fifth inning disappear before the Sox hung on for the 13-10 victory. With the kids no doubt driving my Dad & Mom nuts as they got stuck with them for the night, it got me thinking first to the first time I took my son to the Sox and we got to watch an absolutely dynamite performance by Curt Schilling in 2004 (you know, back when he was an ace, not just a blowhard) and an inside-the-park home run and a Monster shot by the beloved Pokey Reese. Then I thought, what about my first trip to Fenway?

It was late September 1982 and the Sox were going nowhere. The Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League and were kicking ass and taking names. They were managed by Harvey Kuenn and were nicknamed Harvey’s Wallbangers for their prodigious slugging power (Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Storming Gorman Thomas, Ted Simmons, and Ben Oglivie). Soon on their way to a showdown with my beloved St. Louis Cardinals (I was a huge Tommy Herr fan. I know, it sounds strange, but I just loved Whitey Herzog and his power-less speed-driven teams), Milwaukee put the finishing touches on their season beating the Sox kind of handily.

While I would need to dig through the attic to find out which of the three game set it was, I vividly remember driving into Boston with my Dad (no one else in the family got to go to the game), he had got the tickets from another teacher at Brockton High. Second, he found on street parking at a broken meter. It did not mean much to me, an eight year-old who had never been in the city, but it was a huge deal to my Dad. Most importantly, I somehow whined my way into getting one of those little souvenir bats they still sell at the ball parks. In fact, I still have it and have since passed it on to my little buddy.

Finally, the most entertaining part was as we sat in the grandstands way behind third base, the large guy seated in front of us spent the first couple innings bitching and moaning incessantly about the ongoing NFL strike. Damned players this, and *&#@&% owners that, and they were all @#&&^#)@s! Finally, my Dad tapped the guy on the shoulder and asked him to cease the profanities in front of his before he knocked him on his fat ass. I vividly remember thinking (but being smart enough not to say out loud): Geez, I hear that at home on a daily basis!

I wish I remembered more of that day, but in the past 25 years my memory just cannot lock on to the details. I remember my brother was jealous, and I was upset my sisters were not more jealous. Yaz was still on the team, Carney Lansford was there, also there was a rookie call-up named Wade Boggs. The Rem-Dawg was a lowly no-hit second baseman, Dewey was in right field, the graceful Gary Miller in center, and Glenn Hoffman at shortstop. I remember seeing the green monster for the first time was a HUGE deal, and I also remember that Jim Rice was the one player I desperately wanted to see hit.

* * *

LABOR OR LOVE:

Couple of notes from the aforementioned foray into Fenway

Daisuke Matsuzaka is only going to get better and better as he continues to adapt to pitching in the big leagues (as compared to AAA, Japan, or the National League). He had a rough first inning, was lights out for the second through fifth, and then was dinked and dunked out of the game before Javier Lopez came in to sprinkle butane on the fire. I kept thinking that he needed to get a little more aggressive, challenge the hitters a bit more, and go for the throat.

* * *

I totally rocked the Canadian National Anthem. Despite my wife kicking me the entire time and trying to hide under her seat, I brought it and brought it hard. Even got a high-five from the Canuck sitting next to us. I love the Canadian National Anthem, hell, it even beats the French National Anthem as far as great Anthems.

* * *

His stat line may not have read it, but Coco Crisp was knocking the ball around. He hit EVERYTHING hard.

* * *

Seriously, when is Troy Glaus going to get the chance to play 80 games at Fenway? That man was built to hit here.

* * *

What is the deal with the J.D. Drew hatred in Fenway? Why does Jason Varitek get a freaking standing ovation when he strikes out (Well, Marge, he certainly tried his best), and Drew hits a hard ground ball that does not find a hole and he is booed mercilessly? These guys have the same stats, for goodness sake, and everyone talks about how Varitek is bouncing back and Drew is a bum. I know, I know, but Varitek does not make much less than Drew. I know, I know, it is perception and WEEIdiots for the most part, but I thought Boston was supposed to be an intelligent sports town. I made my opinions clear pretty loudly (I had some of the wonderful $7 beer—that is 7 PBRs at the Central), but no one took me up on my argument. Later I noticed the kid a row in front had a Drew jersey on and was probably thanking God people like me exist. Anyway, Drew will bounce-back, I have no doubt about it. I just hope he has a huge October and shuts up some of these bozos.

* * *

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