Archive for December, 2007

C’s Bloody Good

Posted by rich on 31st December 2007

You know what, you’ve got to love this Celtics team. I haven’t watched as many games as I would like to, but every time I tune in they are just fun to watch. And now they’ve gone out out on the west coast and run the table, 4-0. Not bad for a team that couldn’t get out of its own way last year.

Right now the C’s stand at 26-3, the best record in the NBA. They’ve already eclipsed last year’s win total and show no signs of slowing down. If they just go .500 the rest of the way they’ll finish above 50 wins. They should easily win at least 60 and only Detroit seems likely to challenge them for the No. 1 playoff spot in the east.

I knew that they’d be better, but this is ridiculous. They play with so much energy and go for the jugular. I’m still not a huge NBA fan, but this team is making me a Celtics fan again. I think that’s a good thing.

*****

Happy New Year. Hope you all stay safe tonight. I’m too old for partying anymore and the wife’s got what I had earlier in the week, which means it’ll probably be me and The Bourne Ultimatum tonight.

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Perfection Pt. 1

Posted by rich on 30th December 2007

Cris Collinsworth is one of my favorite NFL announcers, and a big reason for that is that he gets it. He understands that the Patriots have put forth an incredible season, but at the end of the year, if they don’t win the Super Bowl then it will have been a disappointment.

Sure going 16-0 is sweet. They made the fans sweat, and God Bless the Giants, they brought their ‘A’ game. Winning a super-hyped game like this one had to be more rewarding than rolling over a team that didn’t try. Unfortunately for Tom Coughlin’s crew, though, trying may cost them next week in the playoffs dearly as they lost one of their starting linebackers and their center. But, they didn’t want to be a footnote in history, they wanted to be the ultimate spoilers, and they played like it. Heck even Eli Manning played well, although he still looks really lost to me in the big spots. There’s way too much little brother in him. When things go wrong he makes his own version of The Manning Face, and it actually looks more pained that the one we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Peyton throw out there. (side note: how whiney was that family on a bad Christmas? Imagine Eli if he didn’t get what he wanted. Good thing they came from a rich family).

At 16-0 this has been a surreal ride for Pats fans. They’ve blown teams out, they’ve won close ones. They’ve re-written the NFL record book’s offense section. Most TD passes by a QB, Most TD receptions by an individual, Most Points by a team, Most players scoring a TD for a season, and so on and so on.

Lost in the records was a superlative season by my favorite Pats receiver, Wes Welker. No. 83 set a new franchise record for receptions in a season and leads the NFL heading into today’s games in catches for the year.

Offensively, this is almost the perfect team. If they had never lost Sammie Morris it just might be perfect. Sammie gave them the ability to gain the tough yards on the ground that Laurence Maroney doesn’t have. LM did call upon his inner Marion Barber at times against the Giants, but he still dances to the hole too much for my liking.

And let’s not forget the biggest unsung hero on that offense, Kevin Faulk. That guy has been coming up with big play after big play throughout the Patriots tenure as one of the elite teams in the league this decade. Against NY he converted two huge third down plays to keep scoring drives alive. He knows how to get to the sticks and beyond them. With him and Welker out there on third down, Brady is like a super-happy Linus … two security blankets.

Game 16 was played with the intensity of a playoff game, on the road, and the Pats got the job done. Even if they are the best team in the league, winning on the road is difficult for any NFL team, especially in an atmosphere that buzzed and hostile toward your goal. Let’s not forget that even though Giants Stadium is in New Jersey, those are New York fans, and they hate teams from Boston. They would have reveled, basked even, in ending the Patriots perfect regular season. It would have been cathartic for a fan base that is still trying to come to terms that we live in a world in which the Patriots are the best team in the NFL and the Red Sox have won two World Series titles since the Yankees last even played for one.

The ultimate goal is now 84.2-percent completed. Two weeks from today, at least I’m rooting for a Sunday game, the Pats will open up the playoffs against a team with a much lesser record. They will then, most likely, have to get by the defending Super Bowl champions and then the NFC’s best.

It isn’t going to be easy. That last 15.8-percent of the mission will be the most difficult stretch. But, this team has what it takes. We knew that they had the talent all along, and the last month has proven that they have the heart and ability to pull out a close one.

Here’s to the last legs of the fantastic voyage. May it be smooth.

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Gino

Posted by rich on 29th December 2007

Thanks to Bill Simmons, I found the clip I’ve wanted to post for the last couple of weeks. If you’ve been to a Celtics game lately, you’ve seen him, the biggest star at the Garden. No, not KG or Paul Pierce or Ray Allen, or even Big Baby.

Of course, I speak of Gino. The Celtics new victory cigar makes you giggle, makes you smile and shake your head at how stupid the 70s really were. I love this. It’s perfect. Maybe the highlight of the game I went to earlier this month was being introduced to Gino. The game was fun, but Gino absolutely floored me.

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Where You Been Man?

Posted by rich on 28th December 2007

Well, it’s been a while since I posted, and I do have a legitimate reason believe it or not. I felt it on Christmas Eve. As we drove home from my uncle’s place in Woburn I told Lyra “I think I’m coming down with something, I feel it in the back of my throat.”

Well, I was right. I had to stay up and do Daddy stuff that Christmas Even until almost 4 AM. Then, of course, there was not enough sleep because the kids woke up early, and you can’t really blame them for that.

Christmas Day never offered a chance to nap. Lyra’s whole family came over, and spent the night. After dinner I began to feel horrible, and itchy. I went to bed to wake up with a horrible cold. I had the shakes, the hives, a fever and aches and pains to go along with it. Ugly, ugly and more ugly.

Yesterday I spent the whole day in bed, until I had to go out to cover hockey (yes, a cold rink with something flu-like. I didn’t have anyone else who could cover for me). I went back to bed about 11 and slept for about 13 hours.

Today, I’m more human. I shaved off most of the Grizzly Adams look I had grown, but left the goat-tee. It looks decent for the first time in my life.

All that remains now is the aches. My back feels like someone is pulling on the muscles from my shoulder blades down to my elbows. I’m actually a bit sore just typing this, but I wanted to get some sort of post up before the New Year hit.

Tomorrow, unfortunately, brings another hockey game at 7 PM and will run through the first quarter of the Pats game. The plan is to TiVo the game and come home and put it on from the start and then avoid the telephone at all costs.

As for the Christmas take, I did okay. I got gift cards for: Starbucks, Dunks (boooo), Ticketmaster and iTunes. A great Wes Welker jersey,which I will be breaking out tomorrow night. Also some assorted clothes and stuff. Not a bad day.

Eagle One made out the best, though. He got tickets to go see the return of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones last night and tonight he’s headed to see Tracy Morgan at the Comedy Connection. That’s two great back-to-back events if you ask me. The Bosstones are a great band, especially live, and Tracy Morgan is a riot.

I will report back after the Pats go 16-0.

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Cool Stuff

Posted by rich on 22nd December 2007

Well it’s the Christmas weekend, although I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s working today, tomorrow and part of Monday. That’s okay, though, at least Tuesday is a day off, if you count having 15 people infiltrate your house, eat all of your food and leave you not an inch of personal space a day off.

So, we’re in the final stages of Christmas stuff and i’m looking forward to it, really I am. It’s just a bit stressful, that’s all.

If you’re like me, you’re looking to unwind. So, with that in mind, here’s some web sites to check out that might put a smile on your face.

Straightcash: Don’t let the wanna-be gangsta title fool you, this is a great web site devoted to random sports jerseys. For me, it is on-line paradise. As an owner of a Ted Johnson, Phil Rivers, Nomar Garciaparra and Pat Tillman jerseys, I consider myself somewhat of an officianado of the genre. Most recently posted was a Pete Incaviglia jersey on the home page. I just wish I had my camera with me at the Celtics game a few weeks back, I could have grabbed some great images for that site. Random jerseys are the best. Everyone has a Tom Brady jersey, but how many still have an Andy Katzenmoyer?

Maxim: Do I really need to explain. There are some pretty videos (PG-13 rated) to look at there. Not really a good idea if you’re at work, not that there’s anything in the videos that would get your fired per se, but it might be difficult to explain to the boss why you’re watching pretty girls in bikinis prancing on the screen. Unless you work for a swimsuit company, it’s going to be tough to chalk it up to research.

Whatifsports: I haven’t played in one of their leagues in a long time, but I think I may have to amend that sometime soon. The chance to draft random players from random years is just fun. I warn you, if you head over, plan on spending at least an hour.

aintitcool: One of my favorite web sites for years. Aintitcool, or AICN, has all the scoops on upcoming movies and TV shows, especially geek-inspired ones that guys love. Don’t know if it is still there, but within the last week I saw the first few minutes of the upcoming Batman movie there, and it was real. Granted it was a hand-held camera in a movie theater, but let’s just say that I’m stoked for the movie.

For today that’s it. I’ll probably check in for the game over the weekend, other than that the updating might be slow over the next few days, unless a relative really inspires me to write.

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Humbug

Posted by rich on 21st December 2007

It’s Friday and the weekend is just about here and I’m starting to freak out a bit. I ordered something very cool online for Lyra for Christmas from the kids and me. It was supposed to ship out on Wednesday, 1-2 day delivery, but it didn’t get out until yesterday. There’s a good chance it won’t be here on time for Christmas, which would make the tree a little bare. I know I should have ordered it before I did, but I’m a last minute type of guy, and it looks like it might just bite me this time around.

I’m looking forward to the Pats game this weekend. Any chance for the team to beat up on a poor sister is fun, but this one will be even more satisfying. The only thing that makes me angry is that the Dolphins won last weekend. I wanted them to go (what’s the opposite of undefeated?) winless, defeated, whatever. I really wanted Shula to have to suffer through 0-16. But that’s me. Now that they’ve got the Tuna coming in next year, the Dolphins should be respectable again within a year or two, so I’m going to enjoy this while I can.

I’m so sick of Christmas music. The kids have this stupid little snow globe that keeps playing music over and over and over and over ad nauseum. Joy To The World, Frosty The Snowman, Silent Night, Santa Claus is Coming, over and over and over.

Basically I’m just very ba-humbug-gy right now. That’s it now.

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Golden Phone

Posted by rich on 20th December 2007

Hey all, as you know the holidays are crazy and we’re in the midst of total wackiness here at the paper. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to think about anything, but I got this great joke email to share with you. Enjoy, and big thanks to layout Queen Sharon T for hooking me up with this.

A man in Topeka , Kansas decided to write a book about Churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there.

Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign, which read ‘Calls: $10,000 a minute.’

Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that this golden phone is , in fact, a direct line to heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God.

The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle , Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and around the United States, he found more phones, with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrived in Massachusetts. Upon entering a church in Boston , MA .. Behold - he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read “Calls: 35 cents.”

Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, “Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only 35 cents a call. Why?”

The pastor, smiling benignly, replied, ‘Son, you’re in Boston, Massachusetts now, home of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. You’re in God’s Country, it’s a local call.

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I’m Still Here

Posted by rich on 18th December 2007

I know, it’s been a while since I posted, but sometimes when you’re a writer, you really don’t have a lot to say. I mean, what am I going to tell you about the Patriots right now that you haven’t read already? They’re good, oh you didn’t know that?

I am bummed out that the Dolphins won this week. I was really hoping that they’d go 0-16. After the stuff that Shula said about them, I wanted him to have to suffer through the pain of both having his beloved fish take the season-long schneid and the Pats joining the ranks of undefeated teams. Oh well, at least we’ve still got 19-0 in our sights.

Right now I am trying to zone out the screaming in the background. No I am not attending a caning, but I might as well be. I am at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum with the kiddos. They’re playing in the submarine while I type. The sub has a video camera inside it and my son keeps lifting his shirt and doing a belly dance while the kids inside laugh their collective heads off. I told him it was inappropriate, but what else can I do? He’s apparently the life of the party. At least I don’t have to worry about getting him out of his shell.

Other than that, there’s just not a whole lot going on. Yesterday was a very long day. Donny and I had to drive to the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury to cover the track meet and I didn’t get back to the office until about 11:45 PM. I got home just before 1 AM. It’s not a bad job, but sometimes the hours aren’t that great.

Here’s the thing about those track meets, they’re long. Really long. Independent movie with a deep message long. Mid-August extra inning meaningless AA baseball game long.

As soon as I got there I went out to the lobby where they have a Dunkin’ Donuts. We all know that that isn’t my first choice, but sometimes you have to settle. So I settled, and then went to take my drink into the track meet to sit down and take in the events. However security would not allow me to bring the drink inside. So, you’ve got a Dunkin’ Donuts but I can’t bring it in? What’s the point of having it? Luckily there is a window so you can watch, but I wasn’t able to see anything at the far end of the event area. I drank about half of the yucky coffee, tried not to think about my scorched mouth and went in.

In total, we were at the RLC for about 3 ½ hours. On the way home we stopped at Bertucci’s for an overpriced dinner and then left for the office.

Today, I’m hanging with the little ones for the afternoon and then heading into work around 4 or so. I’ve got a ballgame at 6:30 and then editing tonight.

Talk to you soon …

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… And It Hits The Fan

Posted by rich on 13th December 2007

I’m at the office right now finishing things up on our papers. I’ve just got a copy of The Mitchell Report and am currently reading through it quickly. Here are the interesting tid-bits I’ve gotten so far.

“I received allegations of the illegal possession or use of performance enhancing substances by a number of current players. Through their representative, the Players Association, I asked each of them to meet with me so that I could provide them with information about the allegations and give them a chance to respond. Almost without exception they declined to meet or talk with me.”

Bonds won’t cooperate, big surprise

“On November 15, 2007, former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice based on his grand jury testimony in that investigation. The ongoing criminal investigation, and the resulting unwillingness of many participants to cooperate with me, limited my ability to gather information that was not already in the public record about the involvement of major league players with BALCO. The information that we did obtain is set forth in Chapter VII.”

Not much in the first 60 pages or so, just a lot of gobbliddygook. Come on Mitchell, name some names for us ….

****

Just found a list on deadspin.com, and some of the names are really interesting. Former — and current — Red Sox on that list (it’s very unofficial) include: Jason Varitek (say it aint so), Mo Vaughn (one of my all-time faves, that blows), Rich Garces (???? were twinkies banned), Nomar Garciaparra (surprise surprise), Jose Offerman (okay), Jose Canseco (ya think?), Manny Alexander (well, they did find it in his glove box), Eric Gagne (believable), Trot Nixon (oh Trot), Brady Anderson (but he probably was juicing with the O’s when he mysteriously jacked 50 HRs), Dante Bichette, Crazy Carl Everett, Wil Cordero, Roger Clemens (you knew this), and Jeremy Giambi (they didn’t help).

Others interesting names on that list include: Albert Pujols, Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Raffy Palmeiro, Pudge Rodriguez, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Andy Pettite, Bret Boone and Aaron F’n Boone.

I’m going to get back to the list and see which names pan out. Matt Burke, one of our reporters here at The Enterprise just scanned the document looking for Varitek’s name and didn’t find it. That’s a good sign.

More to come …

Think Cotuit Kettleers Coach Mike Roberts might be ticked with his son today? From TMR:
Brian Roberts: Brian Roberts is an infielder who has played for the Baltimore Orioles since 2001.
He has been selected to two All-Star teams. Roberts and Larry Bigbie were both rookies in 2001. According to Bigbie, both he and Roberts lived in Segui’s house in the Baltimore area during the latter part of that season. When Bigbie and Segui used steroids in the house, Roberts did not participate. According to Bigbie, however, in 2004 Roberts admitted to him that he had
injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003. Until this admission, Bigbie had never
suspected Roberts of using steroids. In order to provide Roberts with information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me; he declined.

Yup, there’s a lot of Roger Clemens stuff here. As if you needed another reason to hate the guy. I’m going to guess there won’t be a Clemens sweepstakes this season. Maybe we’ve finally seen the guy throw his final pitch. Sure will be interesting when he’s eligible for the Hall of Fame, won’t it?

I just found the Mo Vaughn stuff. It seems that after Big Mo hurt his ankle with the Angels he was told that HGH could help with his recovery. Well, that didn’t work so well, did it.

Just had a heart-attack, read the name “Todd Williams” the wrong way quickly. As a Sox fan, you can understand that it led to a moment of bewilderment. I’m feeling better now though.

Miggy Tejada is in there, and I’m not surprised at all. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that hew as traded this week one bit.

Paul Lo Duca, a staple of many of my fantasy teams over the past few years, is in there. He apparently has gone on and off the stuff, and an internal memo from the Dodgers actually mentions his use and non-use. Crazy.

Eric Gagne is in there. Enjoy him Milwaukee. That’s all I have to say about that. He nearly ruined by October. Here’s what Mitchell had on Gagne.

When the Boston Red Sox were considering acquiring Gagné, a Red Sox official made specific inquiries about Gagné’s possible use of steroids. In a November 1, 2006 email to a Red Sox scout, general manager Theo Epstein asked, “Have you done any digging on Gagne? I know the Dodgers think he was a steroid guy. Maybe so. What do you hear on his medical?”425
The scout, Mark Delpiano, responded, Some digging on Gagne and steroids IS the issue. Has had a checkered medical past throughout career including minor leagues. Lacks the poise and commitment to stay healthy, maintain body and re invent self. What made him a tenacious closer was the max effort plus stuff . . . Mentality without the plus weapons and without steroid help probably creates a large risk in bounce back durability and ability to throw average while allowing the changeup to play as it once did . . . Personally, durability (or lack of) will
follow Gagne . . .426

I’m sure more will come out as the next few days unfold. But, NO Varitek found. NO NOmar? Most importantly, NO El Guapo Rich Garces.

The deadspin list proved to be way off. No Pujols. Still, there are a lot of names in that report, and the Clemens and Andy Pettite stuff is going to play huge this week.

All in all, this is not surprising. It’s sad. I still love baseball though, and I don’t think a lot of people’s opinions will change on that matter. It’s just too bad that so many good ballplayers feel that they have to cheat. Whenever that kind of money is on the line, though, it should not come as a surprise. That’s all for today.

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Who’s On The List

Posted by rich on 13th December 2007

By the time you read this it will be out there: The Mitchell Report.

Baseball is about to get a line drive upside the head, or not. There have been quite a few trades over the last few days, and I for one won’t be that surprised to see some of the guys moved show up on that report. Would it surprise you one bit if say, Miguel Tejada was on the list? How about Miguel Cabrera? No and no, right. I’m not saying their names will be there, but who know, right?

As a baseball fan I have come to terms with the fact that there are a lot of cheats in the game, an they will undoubtedly start to be caught. There might be Red Sox players on that list, certainly former ones. I don’t doubt that there will be guys on the 2004 team that will be on that list. Does that lessen the World Series title? I think not, because there were guys on every other team doing it too.

In all, they say that at least 50 names will surface today. That is about two guys per team. It will certainly be interesting, but it’s not by any means going to change the fact that baseball is a game where everyone is looking for an edge, and will continue to do so. You see, i think that if the list was complete, it would be more like 250 names. There are so many undetectable things, and things that the Mitchell report were unable to dig up. For every guy that gets his name muddied today, there are two, three, four, maybe five that are wiping their brows with a sigh and saying “wow, dodged a bullet there, too bad for Nomar.”

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