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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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.

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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

Someone Get The Pitchforks Ready, The Celtics Are Winning

Song of the post: Ready For This Steve Aoki Remix

The Boston Celtics have won four games in a row. That’s right, count ’em four (1-2-3-4) wins. That’s a quarter of the wins I personally think they should strive for. hi-res-183712255-head-coach-brad-stevens-of-the-boston-celtics-meets_crop_650

They beat the Jazz, an equally awful team, they beat the Magic twice, a team that sucked last year and will this year too. And they beat the Heat; the only win I approved of. That made them 4-4, too far ahead of the curve of where they should be. Brad Stevens has this team believing they can win, and they are streaking; which is a terrible thing for any team with as great of a chance at the lottery as they do.

I condemn anyone who thinks that the Celtics should NOT tank this year. They have a grand opportunity in their laps several first round picks in the next six years. This is the year to tank, this is the year to suck, this is the one to get that coveted young superstar. The Celtics have good complimentary pieces as of now, Sullinger, Green, Olynyk and Bradley. They also have assist-happy Rajon Rondo healing up.

That doesn’t mean go for the title this year Brad [Stevens]. You cannot and will not get past the Knicks, Nets, Pacers or Heat. Zero chance Brad. If you don’t get the lottery this year you will have effectively sent the Celtics into the abyss of mid-round picks the next 5 years. This is the perfect time to suck, you have the aforementioned players who are all younger than 27. If the Celtics land a lotto pick then he can blossom to a superstar at the right time. It will be the passing of the torch from Lebron to (future pick) just as it was Pierce to Lebron not too long ago.

If the Celtics do not land the lottery pick this year they might just get a wee bit better the next several years and never have this golden opportunity again. This is a blessing for the Celtics. I do not agree with ‘green-teamers’ that think to package several players to get an Anthony Davis or Andre Iguadala. There is a core in place that would be perfect to compliment a budding superstar.

The case is they need the lottery pick this year, preferably a gifted scorer that Rajon Rondo can pass the ball to for the next few years. Then once you have Rondo and STBNL (superstar-to-be-named-later), you can get the third wheel (Kevin Love?) and complete the next big three.

Bottom line; this is the year to tank because of timing and this wonderful opportunity handed down to them. It would be utterly foolish and a showcase of Danny Ainge’s ineptitude to not pursue this year’s lottery draft.

The NBA isn’t like the MLB we don’t want a miracle story, we want dynasties.

-Lager

Bye Week Already?!

Song of the post: Drunk Last Night by the Eli Young Band

I apologize for this being the first Pats only football post of the season. It’s bye week and that’s unacceptable. In my defense I was here, there and everywhere on Sundays and Breaking Bad was quite addicting.

Also the on-field product was making me want to yak. This week, albeit the mopping of the Steelers was rather ugly. Now, clearly the team is hurt and many of the players are new and new to the system. Brady has been trying to find which receivers are reliable and which (cough.. Josh Boyce) are invisible. The defense who could be top 5 in the league when healthy, have not been healthy or shown their best. Wilfork, Mayo, Talib, Kelly, and most recently Gregory and Ninkovich are the biggest and best on that side of the ball; and on the injury list.

Most teams with all of their losses on personnel would call off the dogs and kick their feet back. Not while Belichick is running the helm. He has done a masterful job this year from defusing the Tebow circus, deflecting the Hernandez hype, grunting at reporters and winning football games this year. Despite the loss of players he has coached this team up and won games the real Patriot way. DOBSON-HED-515x268

’07-’12 it was about blowing out teams while the defense was being rebuilt piece by piece. Right as all things were clicking, Welker decided he’d rather get high and eat Papa John’s with Peyton. Hernandez thought he was playing GTA V and Gronk got hurt. Then they had to win the ways from ’01-’06; close games won with gritty offense and clamping defense.

Now a shade more than halfway through the season the Patriots have done just that.

With a fluke loss at the Meadowlands, or the Jets new stadium rather, and an embarrassment from a very dangerous Cincinnati team, they have been great; winning with some flare for the dramatic and defense. Against the Steelers the Patriots should’ve had the game wrapped up after the first possession in the third; but a fumble changed the game.

Then some great QB work by the best, Tom Brady they took off with the game, took it to Pittsburgh better than the Bruins did last spring.

Looking ahead the Panthers could be a hidden threat. Cam Newton and their defense has been wondrous as of late. Then come in the Broncos a huge game that could show our dominance and potentially (unofficially) clinch a bye in the playoffs. From there the toughest team would be the Ravens, and even then they don’t have Ed Reed or Ray Lewis so Brady can really open his eyes and have some fun there.

The Texans and Dolphins are teams that will slowly fall into the abyss of the NFL. Unless Case Keenum shows something amazing. However, the Dolphins with this huge controversy should be done for the year; a locker room split perhaps and not much fight as we assumed.

I expect the Patriots to finish 13-3 with a bye if they’re lucky, but probably 12-4 with the AFC East division clinched. Time will tell, and unfortunately I will be away for the end of the season and playoffs. Hopefully they’ll be in the Super Bowl when I’ll be able to watch.

-Lager

+I like goofy Tom Brady

Not Only About Baseball: Eighty Losses Left

Song of the post: THIS

Lately I’ve been all about baseball, who hasn’t though? WE WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

This post will be dedicated to the Celtics’ plan of action. Danny_Ainge640-640x360

We are 0-2 off to a great start this year. No sarcastic tones in that sentence, I mean it, we need all the losses we can get. In case you missed the months of June-August, the Celtics lost their coach, and made a blockbuster trade with the desperate Brooklyn Nets. We shipped Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce out of the hub for multiple first round picks and grimy players to muck up time and add up losses.

Two games in it is working perfectly. I’m not even kidding, we have two mid-first round talent players in Olynyk and Sullinger. Bot can be huge talents and will hopefully be put on the back burner for the next 2 years to “develop.” Then there’s Avery Bradley and Jeff Green, somewhat talented players that you can build a future franchise around. Then a few players like Humphries, Wallace and Brooks that can be moved and just take up space while we sink into lottery abyss.

Oh, and the point guard, Rajon Rondo. Take your time getting back, I’m talking Derrick Rose time to get back. Look, you’re 26 and we suck now, why not wait until these players and future players can develop? If he stays out for basically 2 years the Celtics can certainly get a lottery pick with the current group of players. Unless of course Rajon comes back only to leave town a few days later…

Trade him or sit him in the same back room as Olynyk and Sullinger; there’s no need for anyone to be a hero here. We won’t be overtaking Lebron and his cronies any time soon; plus by the time the Brooklyn Celtics Nets are finished (2 years max) their first rounders will be yours.

SO I beg you to tank this year!

I swear to Bird, McHale and Havlichick if I get back in the summer and we don’t have Andrew Wiggins or a lottery pick…

-Lager

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

This One Time at Seguin’s House

Song(s) of the Post: Charlie Brown by Coldplay & Runnin’ Outta Moonlight by Randy Houser & Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen

What a long strange trip it’s been since I last wrote a post. I mean 10 days ago? Holy shirts and shoes.

Well, what didn’t happen in the sporting world? Jeez there was a lot that went down since I took my holiday hiatus. Wind the clock back and you’d see that the Stanley Cup Just ended, we all still had Hernandez jerseys, the Celtics didn’t have 9 picks in 5 years, and the Red Sox weren’t…. yes they were in first place. That hasn’t changed.

I’ll start there. The Red Sox, first place Red Sox, wow it’s nice to say that again. Top of the league in almost every team category; they are the little team that could. Sure, at the current moment they have been skidding a bit, however they are on the West Coast road trip. That always kills them. Plus their best pitchers are hurt or cautious.

The Sox will be interesting to watch, as they have all season, but this year they are never the favorite. No way, no how.

We all counted them out, and for good reason, I mean????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????…. Look.

But we did in ’04, and that team was more thrown together than this one. I’m not saying they will win the World Series, the NL is too strong, I am saying that they are going to contend every team they face for a win.

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Well, the least fun story to talk about is on tap next.

The New England Patriots, oh how we loveth thee. Whether you are an opposing fan, or a hometown boy they are an interesting topic. As an away fan you want to hate on them as though they slept with you mother and sister then laughed about it. As a townie you root for them ’til pigs fly.

Away fans cannot deny the fact that they are the classiest franchise on the planet right now. They are buying back their mistake’s jersey and burning them for you. You pick a new jersey as long as your bring in the one of the team murderer.

As for the future season, it is about to be time to talk about them nonstop. In Brady we trust on offense, and fingers crossed for defense. That’s the motto recently. I’m fine with Gronk not being 100% until sometime in November because that’s when we need our offense to get strong, then for him to hit his stride come February.

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I’ll go with the Celtics here, because look at that hair. spt_2_olynyk_pic_t575

Last I wrote about them we had two if not three Hall Of Famers on the team. Then Danny dropped the ball and executed a great trade for the future team.

After drafting Kelly Olynyk in the draft Ainge made a call to shape the Celtics for years to come. They sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for garbage and 3 picks in 5 years.

This may not be a good thing for some fans because they want to win and want to win now. However, the Celtics ABOSU-friggin-LUTELY need to be in the lottery this year. I don’t care how or why they do it, just get to the lottery boys. I feel that the luck will be upon them if they get there. Brad Stevens better play it right.

Not only is the top pick as coveted as LBJ, but the consolation prizes are also decently talented. My plan, which I hope you’re all on board with is to tank this year. Either sit Rondo for a year or trade him at the deadline, then get Wiggins as the first pick, him becoming Kobe, and McHale and getting back on track, then in 2018 get the Nets lottery pick for the Pippin to Wiggins’ MJ.

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The NHL’s runner up, Boston Bruins have some explaining to do.

Fine, Horton walked, and yeah Ference had younger competition with better upside, but Seguin could’ve warranted a better return at say the trade deadline?

However, that’s past us and now we finally have a talented top six instead of a decent top nine. I mean yeah I liked Seguin’s potential, but that’s all it seemed like it was, potential. Perhaps it was the system, his work ethic or the millions of women in the greater Boston area that wanted him (plus entry to any bar and get out of jail free cards); that caused the trade that will shape the NHL.

I don’t see why it will be a bad trade, basically getting similar numbers and some prospects. I’m excited about the prospects, one of them, Morrow, will fit nicely in with the rest in 2-3 years. He’s a bigger sized Bartkowski. Morrow, Krug, Bartkowski, Hamilton will be a top 5 D in the NHL in 5 years. Mark. My. Words.

Then we signed Iginla, WOW!!! I mean I’m still bitter about this winter’s tease but now I’m fine that we didn’t have to give up prospects. Next thing on the list is to sign Rask and then extend Bergeron.

I’m feeling the decade of dominance will be extended a few more years.

Lager

+Revs are doing well