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

+

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.

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

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

Win The Series and Fall Into a Rut: What Not To Do in the Offseason

Song of the post: Dancing with Avicii

Not even a week removed from the superb Sox World Series win, we have reached the simmering of the hot stove. Rumors already bouncing in here, there and everywhere.

The latest and most disturbing to me is the Brian McCann rumor. He and his agent have already started to muse about Fenway and its faithful fans, some Sox representatives have mentioned his name in passing. STAY AWAY! I’ve heard he’s asking for 3-5 years for upwards of 40 million guaranteed.

Have we learned nothing? Stay away. You have 2 serviceable catchers between Ross and Lavarnway, plus a few prospects in the system at the catcher position. We set forth last offseason straying from the big, bloated contracts as well as building from within; why falter from that plan?

I’m not even a fan of bringing back the same team as last year. Yes, the pieces you must bring back can stay there; however the 2013 Red Sox should remain that, the bearded heroes who brought a city back to Boylston Street.

No Salty, no Drew, no Ellsbury, and Napoli may be an exception for a 1 year deal. If we try to bring back the same team we will only be disappointed and let down. The team will compete no matter what and the Sox will be in the hunt but there is no need to repeat history. The free agent market is bleak this year and I think the fans would be perfectly content standing pat, as it were. The city and the fans fell in love with this team; and it seems as though the ownership did even more to the point where it might cripple your chances going forward.

Build from within and extend the players before they reach free agency. We have a great farm system.

-Lager

The Whole Team Here

Songs of the Post: Started from the Bottom by Drake || We Are the Champions by Queen || Tessie by Dropkick Murphys

Your Boston Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions! The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-1 on the jowls of John Lackey, the broken back of Shane Victorino, the MVP caliber walks of Papi and the [breaking] balls of Koji Uehara. Boston_Red_Sox_celebrates_World_Series_championship_20131031013016_320_240

It had been 95 years since the Red Sox had clinched the World Series at home. 1918 was the last time. That year sounds familiar, huh? Well it’s finally laid to rest. Babe Ruth has rolled over in his grave and now his bones have turned to dust. That number can no longer haunt us, that number is now just that, a number.

It feels like a weight has been lifted and we can finally breath easier. Now this weight is not as heavy, not a fraction as heavy as the one from 9 years ago. This weight carried different burdens; the bloated contracts, the slobs we called pitchers, the crazy manager, the “sexy” team, and being the laughing stock of the league. Now we shed those names and became the heroes, the beardos, the 2013 World Series Champions.

I can’t say much more that hasn’t been said already and I want to let it sink in for all of us, however; since Scott Boras has moved onto free agency; I might as well too.

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I have half a mind of a GM and half a mind of a fan; perhaps that’s mostly just being a diehard. Show me a definition and I’ll stop thinking I can be in the front office. Part of me jumping ahead is because I won’t be around to experience the winter meetings and spring training (more on that in another post).

Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli and Joel Hanrahan frontline the free agent grouping.

Els and Drew are both Scott Boras clients and he has already started the tampering. According to Boras, Ellsbury needs an MRI on his right hand and eleven teams have already called about him. Eleven teams! Also his other champion client Stephen Drew, after an historically poor postseason was fitted for contacts between games five and six. No complaints there actually; he hit a homerun due to the contacts. I believe, unless Farrell needs his binky in Stephen Drew, that both will be gone onto… greener walls… cough.. cough Chicago Cubs.

Good riddance too! At times, most of the times, Stephen Drew was unbearable to watch, and at others you thanked the living gods that he was at short. However, like his brother we won’t really miss him. We have a 21 year old hotshot coming in. And as for Jacoby, he has, until this year been too ‘Hollywood’ for Boston. Many teams will have increased money and Ellsbury should be wooed elsewhere.

Their replacements will be Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. I’m going to be the first to say it; these guys are the biggest, most dweeby, awkward baseball players I have ever seen. Their talent makes up for it though. Xander, fluent in four languages looked dumbfounded and like he’d rather be in an online chatroom when being interviewed; and at times when he was in the batter’s box. And I follow Jackie Bradley Jr. on twitter and some of the things he posts are just plain weird; and this picture: jbj

Like I said, their talent makes up for their current awkwardness.

In my opinion we can move on from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Napoli. Salty has overstayed his welcome by more than I ever wanted him to. Not to mention that he just kind of appeared on this team. I know he was traded but he’s just bleh. I can deal with Ross and Lavarnway until some of our catchers in the system can develop. Napoli was good while he was here but he was injured and he had that bigger hip issue early on. If they keep it to another year deal that’d be fine; but we can transition Lavarnway and Middlebrooks into firstbasemen as the farm seems to be teething with 3B and catchers.

I’d like to see Hanrahan back simply because Koji is 37 and that was magical and unheard of this season. We can’t expect near perfection for 5 months from him. He and Bailey looked good while they were back and forth between closer and setup. With Tazawa and Breslow and others in the ‘pen we’ll be looking good. I’d hope that Workman stays with the bullpen.

I think Lester should have his option picked up and we should work on and extension in the season. He earned it. Lackey should get another year or two added onto this contract he still owes us. Dubront should be the third starter and hope that he brings his stuff. Peavy and Dempster should split the fourth starter and one could be used as trade bait when the time comes. The fifth starter should be one of the kids in the farms; whether its De La Rosa or Webster; I think they can be brought up and taken under the wings of the older guys.

I didn’t forget about Buchholz:  indiana_jones_and_the_last_crusade

He can be traded at anytime in my opinion. We just went through Beckett checking out for half a year, but Beckett actually went out there and pitched. Buchholz’s attitude is very much west coast and he can go and take his shell necklace and hippie van out to California with him. The Dodgers threw us a bone once, why not again?

It’ll be a hot stove for sure, however we can’t bring back the same 25-40 guys. If you get complacent then you end up rolling in fried chicken grease and beer like the 2011 team.

-Lager

+I apologize for the lateness of the post
+I can’t take credit on the Buchholz picture- (Barstool)
+Check out the facebook page (link top left)

The Baseball Epidemic

Song of the post: My Oh My by Macklemore || Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen || Centerfield by John Fogerty

They say that baseball is dying, that the sport doesn’t have the same passion and feel to it as the other sports. That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. We can’t refute the cold hard facts that the sport is drawing less interest as other sports, seeing the TV ratings compared to football and basketball. baseball

Baseball is not like any other sport out there. Most of the main sports; football, hockey, basketball, soccer and even lacrosse are goal based sports. Goal-based meaning the object of the game is to score on a basket or past a goalie. Baseball is not like that. There is a uniqueness about it, and a challenge to it. Within the other sports you can say that the same attributes can be carried over to the others. For example; a center in football can be a center in basketball, a midfielder in soccer will have great ease being a forward in hockey (assuming the athlete is capable of dual sports) and so on and so forth. You can pick up what I’m getting at.

Baseball is much different, because there is no “attackers” or “defenders.” It’s the batter against the pitcher and the fielders against the ball put in play. It is a frustrating game. A game so frustrating that as a kid or adult we can lose our tempers at it. Perhaps its the competitiveness but more often than not it’s because ‘I shouldn’t strike out’ makes more sense.

There’s the ball, now hit it.

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have my own baseball glove. I was three, or so I’ve been told that I was three when I started down the baseball life; and since then it has always been a part of me. Baseball is like a mafia or a nickname, once you’re in, you’re in for life. From the time you are just learning to play; your dad chasing the ball wherever you end up throwing it, until the neighborhood kids break your window with the ball as you reminisce on the glory days; baseball is in your blood.

Some kids lose the interest for the game others grow up to play. The lucky one’s who play on the big stage are the heroes to many. None more than to the kids who aspire and want to become their idols. Kids like me, who idolized Nomar Garciaparra and could play ball all day regardless of season. Ken_Griffey,_Jr._June_2009

Not everyone is like me however, some don’t understand the game, some get bored by it and others can’t stay up late to watch the games. The sport is dying but only for the unfortunate people who don’t know what it beholds.

The average age of the avid baseball fan is, let’s face it, old guys. Key word average. Let’s say 57 for good measure; they saw the glory days of baseball; they watched it explode. Some were lucky enough to watch it grow from post WWII until now. They saw local teams soon give way to the big city teams and then saw the big city teams create magic on the diamond.

Why are they such big fans? Why isn’t this generation finding the greatness of the game?

I point straight at the time of games. Back in the beginning there weren’t high-powered lights and electricity wasn’t available as is now. Back then the games went two and a half hours, not four. Back then the ads were on the fences not in between and longer than the innings themselves.

Now when you think of baseball you think of the 7 o’clock start and the cool of the night as well as the smell of dogs in the air. It wasn’t always like that. Games were played at 1, 2, or 3 in the afternoon; what importance does this have?

The games that start at that time are available to all, kids who get out of school and immediately flip the TV on, adults at work can tune in the radio and now stream it on the computer and keep them focused until the day’s out. That garnered interest in the past. However, as more places were able to afford the big lights and there was something special about the night game, began to push away the fans slowly. Ever so slowly. 2007-02-19-caps-med

That’s a hard line to connect to the decline in popularity. Hear out my thought; the 7 o’clock games are getting over around 10:30 or 11:00; and kids can’t stay up that late and expect to get to school in the morning. Heck, even adults can’t be expected to do that. The mentality, (not including postseason) is “I’ll watch the game until I fall asleep” believe it or not. That mentality is not beneficial for the sport.

I feel that you should be excited about the game and the close ones especially. Running from the bus stop to watch the 7th, 8th and 9th; or getting out of work to have a beer while the Sox walkoff with a win.

Would it be so hard for the MLB to make a major schedule change? Sunday-Wednesday more games on during the day; with one or two on at night. Then Thursday-Saturday one or two day games and the rest night-caps. I feel that is more conducive with the working person’s schedule.

Who am I to say though? murderer-row.1

Perhaps it’s not necessarily the times of games; because that would be utterly ridiculous as the only reason. There are others such as baseball not being exciting; and then I’d tell the neigh-sayers to watch Four Days in October; or even go to a game. Sure at times its slow, so is basketball. As a Sox fan I hate to say it but I think the lack dominance of the Yankees has a bit to do with it. Without them, that’s nearly 20 million fans not interested in the games.

When the Yankees are good, it’s good for the sport. Every team has a bullseye on them at all times, and that is very important. I hated to lose to the Yankees, but if David doesn’t have Goliath then where’s the story?

Baseball isn’t about watching fast people going back and forth, back and forth, side to side, it’s a competition each pitch. Even then baseball is more than that, to me its part of life.

-Lager