A Boston Sports Fan Holiday Guide

Song of the post: THIS & Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from me to you. Those of you in the New England area and New England sports fans globally, have had many Christmas wishes come true over the past 15 or so years.

This year we have a very specific Christmas wish list that would make us all happy in the long run for each of our favorite teams. Starting with the men who play Sundays, following with the Boston Celtics, leading into the Red Sox and then the Big (Bad) Bruins.

For the New England Patriots all we wish for Christmas for them is health, and to retain their level of play. It is no secret that without one of the cogs in the offensive machine that is led by Tom Bradyrob-gronkowski, they aren’t at their peak performance level. Blount and Gray are a dangerous tandem that when healthy can run on just about everyone. Lafell and Wright are similar towards the production in that they help Brady get the first downs when checked upon. Amendola and Edleman are another tandem that is necessary in the Pats successes. As we saw against the Jets, Amendola can be a feature wideout, although it would be nice if he wasn’t the premier target. Edleman has shown time and again that he is the Brown, Branch, Welker type of choice for Tom Brady and as we could tell on Sunday that his absence was felt in the struggle against their New York foe.

Lastly for the offense would be all-time health for Brady and Gronk, without them our ship has no captain or sail to lead us to victory. Without Gronkowski the past several years the Patriots have stalled and not made it where they need to. If he remains healthy with his QB then maybe his QB can party like Gronk until the misses calls Brady home. Four defensive standouts that the Pats wish remain healthy are Collins, Hightower, Jones and Revis. They need their top D-men to keep roughing up the opposition.

The Celtics are next on tap, and we wish for only one thing, tanking. Rondo is out and the Celtics are filled with young talent, but still miss that superstar they need. They need the no. 1 pick overall and the team will be complete. Expiring contracts coming off the book plus young stars coming of age, will be enticing for future free agents. Stay the course Danny Ainge.

We have a few wishes for the Red Sox this holiday season, and that is no more moves. I personally want to hold onto the talent they have and not trade to get Cole Hamels. He is not a necessity as ownership seems to believe. The other wish the current prospects break onto the scene and stay competitive. As a side wish, health for Papi would be well received.

The lackluster Bruins are winners of two in a row going into Christmas and for them we wish they’d get a top six right wingerSochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men and a brand new fourth line. As has been noted since preseason the Bruins need a top-line RW and the Blues are looking to move TJ Oshie according to sources, the Bruins have a need for his talents and could fit well with playmaker David Krejci. A move for him would certainly avoid the forbidden movement of lines in Julien’s system. He could slot in the top line next to Lucic and Krejci, leaving the Bergeron line intact along with the Soderberg-Eriksson line that has been potent as of late. He would shuffle things towards the right path they belong on. However given the Bruins cap situation and the Blues desire to retain Tarasenko they could attempt to deal some of their unnecessary contracts, such as the current fourth line, which hasn’t produced much in quite some time. Moving the likes of Campbell, Paille and even Kelly would free up cap space for the Bruins and offer roster spots for the touted prospects in Providence. Obtaining Oshie would be a giant leap in getting back into the playoff picture, as well as allowing prospects to grow in the Bruins system.

Although one thing we can all wish for is lower ticket prices and less traffic in going to watch our favorite teams. A (Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus) Miracle it would be.

-Lomonte

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Ouch Jon.

Song of the post: Blank Space by (the one and only) TAYLOR SWIFT

We’ve all heard, and this may be late to the show but Jon Lester is a Chicago Cub. despicable-me-minions-whaaaat-aczfexuc

Jon Lester is gone. He is in the less hated pinstripes and on the up and coming Cubs. Theo Epstein and his “prospects” were more than the Red Sox and their stacked offense and the offer to be the next legend.

Alas it was not enough, and just like that the Cubs are soon to be contenders. My hate for them grows and I’ve said it before but I never want to witness the Cubbies win it. Steve Bartman you are my hero.

We turn the page and look at the strange roster that belongs to Ben Cherington and John Farrell. What are they to do with their minimal pitching? Who is available to sign? How do we fix this?

First, they need an ace, preferably through free agency. Which narrows it down to James Shields and Max Scherzer. Scherzer looks like a Yankee, and he’s asking for 200 million. I think he is out. James Shields, as I think I’ve mentioned before would be the best fit on this Sox team. He can be an ace while our farm system blossoms into great pitchers. I want him and I want him now.

If they cannot obtain an ace through free agency they must turn the tables with trades. No one is safe. The Sox need an ace and they should stop at nothing to get one, one that is young and will actually give them years and productivity if they were to trade Bogaerts, or Betts, or even Pedroia with Cespedes. I said it. Pedroia could be out of town, if they desperately need a young stud pitcher. 201310011529557518686

However, they should lay out the money for Shields and then trade a one-for-one with Cespedes and any of the number of pitchers attached to his name; Cueto, Latos, etc.

Two pitchers and then the Red Sox should stand pat. Keep this roster until NEEDS arise.

Assuming they get the “correct” pitchers in FA and trade market their rotation would look something like:

James Shields
Cuteo-Latos-Masterson
Joe Kelley
Rubby de la Rosa
Clay Bucchholz-Webster-[Prospects]

With the lineup they are throwing out there that is more than formidable enough to contend. Not to mention many players on the roster will be protected by the other members of the lineup and are due for bounceback seasons.

All in all, the Lester loss is baffling, could’ve been avoided and needs to be addressed.

-Lomonte

+Not to mention that the way he left was exactly how he said he wouldn’t leave. He said something along the lines of “what’s 20 million when on a scale that large?”

+ Red Sox- 6 years and $135
+Cubs 6/7 years and $155/170

+Hypocrite, liar, and I’ll deeply think about my fanship if the Red Sox honor him before the next 20 years is up.

+Bobby V’s fault.

 

Too Much Talent

Song of the post: I’m Not Sorry by Mike Stud & No Diggity by Blackstreet

Movie Scene that’s applicable: “Ya suspect

There’s no right spot to start with analyzing the Red Sox multiple signings in the wee hours last night. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are the top tier free agent hitters this year; and the Sox got them both. I should be excited, yes? dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

Well I’m not. This just feels wrong to me. This feels like the time we almost had A-Rod, or Texiera. I don’t like it. Maybe these deals aren’t legal but because Bud Selig is on his way out he doesn’t care. I feel dirty thinking about the Sox incoming talent. I just want Lester back. Is that wrong of me to think? The amount of talent on the opening day roster before these two signings was more than enough, not to mention the talent in the minors. Now I’m just confused.

Where is this team heading with these moves? Who is getting traded? What is going on at Fenway Park?

I am complaining that the Sox have too much talent coming into next year. There will be clashing between the forces in the lineup. The young guys, Xander, Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Garin Cecchini, will be bitter at the fact that the front office, who had been promising them playing time and starting spots has seemingly abandoned ship with them.

The players they brought in will be resentful that they were moved to beautiful Fenway Park. Craig, and Cespedes maybe blocked out of spots in the lineup and will probably cause a stir. Cespedes, it has been said, already is a drama queen in the clubhouse. Likewise, the new players that have signed recently may not get the ‘rightful’ amount of playing time that they signed for.

The Red Sox signing all these players may have a reverse effect that is desired. The Giants are already hard at work trying to steal Lester from the Red Sox, we took their big guy. Who says they won’t try the same. The Yankees are the Yankees so look for them to overspend to compete. The Dodgers may want Lester, Scherzer or Shields, so again, look out west to take a few prime starters from the Red Sox viewpoint.

What these few moves have done is scare pitchers away from the AL East, and make it enticing to play for the Red Sox as well. That’s what we hope at least. The best case scenario is that the Red Sox land Lester, and trade away for another proven pitcher to compliment Jon for the next few years as the young pitchers come into their own.

The bright side is they can make moves and are somewhat set up for Papi’s predecessor.

This bipolar post is brought to you by Confusion.

-Lomonte

+I am a little bitter that Barstool Sports signed Jarred Carrabis, I wanted that job and Jarred is kind of self centered. When the Sox won the Series in ’13 he talked solely about his “journey” and feelings with the team. Almost completely ignoring the Boston Marathon in his write up. He thought he was the driving factor behind them winning. Or so it seemed.

+Also sticking to the Barstool writers openings, I’ll write in Jerry Thornton’s place if needed.

Lazier than Manny Ramirez on a Grounder to Short

Song(s) of the Post: Freak by Steve Aoki & Take U There by Jack U & a throwback on this thursday Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!! by Vengaboys

Apologies mean close to nothing in today’s world, and I have few avid followers of this blog to write one here. However, I have been busy with plenty of new responsibilities this semester, which speak to my absence on here.

So, as I try to escape studying, and writing papers, I stumbled back upon this hobby of mine.

Since my last post, the New England Patriots have not lost, Tom Brady is funkier than ever and Gronk has turnt up like we all know he can do. Since my last post, the Red Sox are no longer defending Champions, they are chasing free agents with promises and North End’s finest cuisine. Since my last post, the Bruins have started the season the way they should have, losing half their D-corps.

Now to elaborate on each of those topics:W1ST9658.JPG

The Patriots 8-2 on the year, and 6-0 since Kansas City, are in the driver’s seat of the AFC. They look well on their way to title 4. As I alluded to earlier Tom is playing at a ridiculous level for an over the hill QB. The O-line remembered that they’re protecting the greatest QB to play the game. The receivers have finally run the correct routes, and we still have two young guys who haven’t quite broken the starting 11 (Dobson, Tyms). The running game is looking as good as they can without Stevan Ridley, RIP. Bill is coaching out his mind, and the Militia of Boom is coming to fruition now that Browner and Revis are playing at the correct level.

I will say, this is all fun and games but its only November, and I beg that the Patriots aren’t peaking too early in the season. They are playing top-tier football but if they don’t enhance this play during the playoffs, then I gotta say, I’m a little nervous. And believe-me-you the Broncos peaked too early in the season, and dare I say it, but the Eli-led teams peaked weeks 15-February….

That stung, but I’m looking realistically. I don’t believe they’ll take a dip in performance, nor do I wish that upon my team. In Bill We Trust.

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Lester, Panda and the crew will cause some noise this year. 9a48d99d0dc9454aaf303233d4d9ea9f-9a48d99d0dc9454aaf303233d4d9ea9f-0

Things look promising on all fronts with the Red Sox and the free agent class this year. Then again, its only November. I expect a big year from the Sox, as I do every year. This year is the year they can put the Giants and Cardinals in check by asserting their dominance since ’04. Winning 4 in 11 years is just as impressive as 3 in 5. And its almost more difficult to do. With the pending addition of Sandoval, David Ortiz will have more than enough protection in the lineup and have an immensely productive summer. Pedroia in front of him, Cespedes behind him, Panda behind that, and Nap behind him. Not to mention Allen Craig, Xander and Castillo. I feel my wallet getting lighter with all the tickets and beer I plan on buying this summer. The team is going to be stacked…. On offense.

Pitching on the other hand, will be a wild ride. Assuming Lester returns and pitches close to his performance last year the ace will be an ace. 2-5 however will be kind of a toss up. De La Rosa, Webster and Joe Kelly are “meh” pitchers as of now and with the offense looking as potent as it is I’d say they’ll be alright in the end. Koji is back and we’ll need nothing less than what we’ve expected from him. Should be a fun summer with the Sox.

Buy your turkeys early this year, Pablo’s gonna be rich and hungry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Bruins are right where we want them this year. There is no sarcasm in that statement either.They have talent and talent on the IR, set to return for the grind of the season, right in time to be healthy to ramp it up for the playoffs. B1FAzT9CIAA7Say

Rask will return to form and win some games for them. As I said, the injured D-corps will come back and just in time. As we have seen in such a short sampling, when Krejci is in the lineup they can beat whoever they want; all the lines are set in their entirety and they run the show on those nights. Dougie is coming into his own and has almost grown into his body, the 6’5″ Elsa costume wearing peer of mine has thrown on some muscle and has shown a “tough” side at times this year.

I’m not worried about the Bruins and I’d like them to stay put at the trade deadline.

-Lomonte

+BASKETBALL! CELTICS! RONDO! I got nothing.

+I’d rather Boychuk than Chara still on the team but that’s neither here nor there.

+Today’s post was brought to you by procrastination

Take it Easy Tom

Song of the post: 100 Black Coffins by Rick Ross 

I had to let my feelings from Monday night sink in and settle down so in this post I’ll talk about the Patriots flub of a game against the Chiefs.

As you can tell by the song, (53 Coffins on Monday night) the New England Patriots as we know them seemingly died in Kansas City.

First things first, the crowd seemed like a bunch of pink hats out to break the sound barrier only. At least I think so.

Now to analyzing the disgrace that was the Patriots: Special teams, the best in the league. Defense, below average on all accounts and even further below average blowing their assignments and giving up 300 yards in the first half. The offense, even worse than the defense. They couldn’t develop any sense of rhythm or keep the defense off the field to catch their breath.

I’ll focus more on the offense because they are the weakest link right now. It all starts with Tom Brady. You heard right, Tom Brady is the reason that the Patriots are 2-2, not the O-line, not the receiving corps, but Tom Brady is hurting the Patriots more than not. (Aside from Josh McDaniels).hi-res-158177656_crop_exact1

Brady commands respect in every room, field or area he enters and is the greatest post-season QB to ever play. Something is off with him however. Maybe its Gisele wearing the pants, maybe its the new handsome backup from Eastern Illinois, maybe its Tom Brady. Maybe Tom Brady is the problem. He is one of the best motivators of his time and has always seemed to turned it up a notch when it was time to. He was able to motivate when he was playing better than everyone else. He’s been pedestrian so far.

His motivational tactics involve losing his temper and getting amped at his targets. We see it when he hammers his helmet into Gronk’s or slaps Edelman on the ass. He loves the game and gets intense. And until recently the team around him has responded well to it.

This is a different generation now. The offensive line is young, as are the receivers. And this generation, my generation has had the softer coaches and ‘everybody gets a trophy’ mentality. Tom is nearly ten years older than the guys he needs to motivate. Yelling at them makes them tuck their tails between their legs and not step up.

Or so that’s what I’ve seen in the majority of times that Brady has used his anger to motivate the team. The 22 and 23 year old o-line can seem to do nothing right in his mind, but Tom needs to help them as well as motivate them. He has to lead them more than we’ve seen. He needs to also do his job.

-Lomonte

PS: Now that Browner is back this week is the defense going to be the Militia of Doom?

One last thought: Perhaps Josh McDaniels is the issue, not any of the players at all.

The Return Of Ty Seguin

Song of the post: Play that Funky Music by Wild Cherry

July 4th, 2013 fireworks exploded above the TD Garden, Tyler Seguin’s apartment, and the NHL buzz followed suit. The Boston Bruins had sent their 21 year old forward to the Dallas Stars in addition with Rich Peverley and in return would get Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and another prospect. tyler-seguin-dog-nap

The word was Seguin was either sleeping past practices or having too much fun after games and during the playoffs. The Bruins were fed up with their under performing star. The players in return were all supposedly good players and had the potential to be great. The one proven veteran was Loui Eriksson, considered the most underrated player in the Western Conference at the time.

The Bruins moved on from Tyler Seguin and were sticking with their game, their philosophy; not being begging for the kid to show his real talent.

It’s now about a month into the Seguin-less era and results are looking muddled. Seguin has been showing that talent we touted and had hoped for. And Reilly Smith has been what we asked of him, a goal scorer with some speed. Eriksson, has followed Seguin’s path and been unproductive and under performing, not so much underrated. He hadn’t found the system before the hit heard ’round the NHL and it’s unlikely he will after.

There are whisperings from the Boston fan base that perhaps the brass pulled the plug on the kid too early. That perhaps he needed a warning not a change of scenery. However, they went with the latter and can’t look back on it. The Bruins are right in the thick of it and will be, so long as they don’t see John Scott anytime soon.

Seguin will be this era’s Joe Thornton; won’t get any significant accomplishments until later in his years, if at all. Speaking of San Jose, they (as in most years) look to be early season favorites for the Cup.

Those who are worrying about the trade need to know two things; its early and that the future is still bright on many of our players. The Bruins will be fine, barring any significant injuries of course. The Krejci line is beyond what would be expected. Iginla has shown promise as his career wanes, his numbers haven’t. Bergeron has looked sharp, unfortunately his linemates have not. Brad Marchand has lost whatever he had and seems to be just swinging his stick out there. Eriksson had the head injury and that has set him back but he had looked more like he was floating as he was out there. The third line players, Kelly, Soderberg, Spooner, Caron and Smith have all looked fast and promising; and if there was a better showing from the second line they could see more results as well. Merlot line is at their par, can’t ask any more and wouldn’t expect any less from them. ????????????????????

The defense has been as advertised; a rotating door at the young position between Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski. Also as expected is Chara and Seidenberg their decreased minutes and at times decreased skill, and increased age. One problem I don’t like out of the D core is the “non-Krug-Hamilton-Bartkowski” defensemen carrying the puck deep. One good thing is Krug was not a flash in the pan. One bad thing is that Bartkowski can’t be out there more.

Tuuka seems like the number one we will have him be for 8 years.

The penalty kill is shaky and that is uncharacteristic of this group. I don’t fret however, they will come around. The powerplay is also uncharacteristic. They have been buzzing all around the ice and have a new dimension–several dimensions actually, whether its Krug and Krejci toying with defenders or Iginla on the quick shot and Chara with the tip in, the powerplay is much improved.

No worries at the hub, at least not from me. They are running into a tough patch right now but with virtually 2 of the top 6 forwards missing that is natural. They will be on track soon enough. Seguin is going to be a Star (pause for drum kick) but the Bruins will raise a banner before he gets back to the show.

-Lager

+That Seguin picture doesn’t make it look all bad

Around the Horn and How to Lose a Baseball Game

Song of the post: Say it Ain’t So by Weezer

The Red Sox lost in St. Louis 5-4 in a weird walk-off call that has stirred up controversy from sea to shining sea. The Cardinals and Red Sox battled back and forth the entire game. Close until the very end. Then in a blur, it went from danger, to joy, to mayhem and confusion. Jarrod_Saltalamacchia_on_May_21,_2012

Koji Uehara came into the game, bottom of the 9th with 1 out and a man on 1st, his first pitch was roped down the third base line good for a double leaving a man on 2nd and 3rd. Then Jon Jay came to bat and grounded to Pedroia, who smartly fired to the catcher to get the winning run out. (2 outs now). Then seeing a slower runner advancing to third Jarrod Saltalamacchia snapped the ball down, unwisely and off-target, to third base. The ball tailed away from Will Middlebrooks and skidded around foul territory. Then was picked up and gunned back to home where Allen Craig was out…… By a mile, but wait– The ump called him safe and points to 3rd where Middlebrooks had “interfered” with the runner.

Upon further review, Middlebrooks was in the path of the runner, who had pushed the thirdbaseman, then tripped over the man he had pushed, stumbled again and was late to home. Then as FOX was showing more replays, Craig, as he was sliding into third had gone at Middlebrooks’ leg and forced him somewhat off the bag away from the throw. Thus causing him to be in the runner’s path.

I have many issues. But the one’s surrounding tonight’s game are the topic.

First and foremost; I understand there is not yet replay involved in the sport of baseball. And again, calls are rarely overturned. However, the umps already have once this series, and they could’ve at least huddled up before ending the game. Seriously it seemed as though, the call was made; the Cardinals came pouring onto the field and the Red Sox tried to argue the call. Then as some of the umps were gathering, they just sent the teams off the field. No more inquiries.

In the WORLD Series you should at least look into it, or hear different angles. I understand its a judgement call in the rulebook; but it seems like a huge stage should be taken more seriously.

Secondly, the Red Sox; STOP THROWING THE BALL AROUND!

I still have echos from my little league coach, Coach GIles, “DON’T THROW THE BALL AROUND!” “HEY SEANIE, THE BAG’S OVER HERE NOT IN MAINE!” “LOMONTE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!??”

Echos I tell you, echos.

There have been several runs scored just by throwing the ball around. It has been said many times before and will be said many times again.

Defense wins Championships.

-Lager