Archive for January, 2009

Varitek is done
January 30, 2009

If Jason Varitek’s career here in Boston  isn’t over with, it should be.

Since he is turning his nose up at 5 million dollars a year (I mean really-he is expected to live on just 5 million dollars a year?), Boston fans will not be very forgiving, especially if he again hits .220 (.187 after May) this coming season and why should we think he is going to hit any better since he will turn 37 a week into the season.

Varitek is thinking of “sitting out” this coming season? or retiring? Uh, Jason, after hitting .220 your career is virtually over with now and if you “sit out” this season-you are retired!

Really,  is this unbelievable? Only in professional sports and only in professional baseball. Someone needs to slap this guy with a hard dose of reality because he is totally out of touch with the real world. Please, Red Sox, do NOT give in to this guy!

Jason, thanks for the memories and do yourself a favor and do not come back here-you’ll just ruin what for you was a pretty good career….but if you are really serious about “sitting out” and need something to do to stay in shape- there’s a job opening with the Celtics that requires some jumping off a trampoline, but will keep you in the public eye.

-MD

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Do Not Mock The Hockey Gods
January 28, 2009

Hockey and I have had a strange relationship. Despite going to Albany Academy (Craig Darby) and growing up around RPI (Joe Juneau and Adam Oates) and Union (both hockey powerhouses), I’ve never really been a fan, or been able to grasp some of the concepts. Baseball and basketball have always been my areas of expertise.

Since moving out here, and well, getting paid to know hockey (among other things), I’ve made a concerted effort to “better know the Bruins” as Stephen Colbert might put it. I’ve made it a point to attend practices and games, I listen intently to Jack Edwards, Mike Milbury, and Andy Brickley. I’ve learned rules and techniques. I get fired up after big hits. Tradition… well, that’s another matter.

Because the game was Patrice Bergeron’s first since suffering a second major concussion (he notched an assist in extended playing time), I went down to the locker room after tonight’s overtime win over Washington to help our photographer with postgame interviews. I’ve been in the locker room numerous times, but amazingly, it’s the first time I’ve been in there AFTER a game, when it’s somewhat crowded (and man, does a hockey locker room stink).

After a few interviews, it was about time to go. I took a couple of steps and felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the Bruins PR chief…. “Scotty – don’t go there. The logo.” Not two seconds later, Bruin Shawn Thornton came running by towards the shower, slapping me on the back and shouting “don’t step on the logo bro!”

Apparently, it’s tradition to avoid the giant logo stitched into the carpet of the locker room floor (see a picture here). Stepping on it is a signal for anyone aligned with the team to check you into the boards. Luckily, I was warned in time.

Of course, upon returning home, I immediately googled this ritual, and found it’s not only the Bruins. The locker room floor logo is off limits for just about every hockey team. I can’t explain it, but you can bet that if huge, tough hockey players tell me it’s tradition, I’ll observe it!

–SI

Bruins Bergeron to play tonight
January 27, 2009

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has been cleared to play in tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals. This comes just over a month after Bergeron suffered a serious concussion against the Hurricanes on Dec 20 when he was helped off the ice.

Doctors cleared Bergeron to play after Monday’s practice and just minutes ago Bruins head coach Claude Julien announced that Bergeron would be in tonight’s lineup.

This Just In: Bergeron Cleared
January 27, 2009

Lots of news coming from the morning skate down at TD Banknorth Garden, where the Bruins will take on Washington tonight.

First and foremost, Patrice Bergeron has been cleared to play.

Bergeron has been out since taking a hard hit against Carolina on December 20 — his second serious concussion in two seasons. He had said that this one was not nearly as bad as the concussion he suffered after a cheap shot by Philly’s Randy Jones in October of 2007, but the team wasn’t taking any chances.

Whether he actually sees action tonight is up to head coach Claude Julien. We expect to hear from him in a few minutes.

How Much Is Too Much?
January 26, 2009

That is the question isn’t it? If you haven’t heard by now, the coach of Covenant School, a small Christian school in Dallas, lost his job this weekend, after refusing to apologize for his team’s performance in a 100-0 victory.

There are reports Covenant use various presses throughout the game and even kept taking 3-point shots, despite scoring only 12 points in the 4th quarter.

After word of the game’s result spread, Covenant administrators forfeited, calling it a victory without honor.

Now, I’m one of those people who thinks once the starters are pulled, the reserves who rarely play should be allowed to try their hardest. But there is a limit to that. Dallas Academy, a school for students with learning disabilities, managed only SEVEN shots – the entire game!

Perhaps Covenant could have learned something from Sunday’s blowout at the Garden. Once the Celtics took a 30-point lead over the hapless Mavericks, the defense kind of fell by the wayside. It’s one thing to keep scoring, you can’t keep the ball out of the hoop, after all, and I would never want to keep a kid who doesn’t play a lot from the chance to score a basket. But it’s another thing to actively try to keep the other team from even putting up a shot… with an 88 point lead after 3 quarters!

Head Coach Micah Grimes, prior to his firing, said that his girls played with “honor and integrity.” What do you think?

–SI

Bargains To Be Had In Steel City
January 22, 2009

It’s no secret that, until the new Yankee Stadium opens its doors, Fenway Park is the most expensive ticket in baseball. To take a family of four and get decent infield grandstand seats, you’re looking at somewhere around $600 – and that’s if you get the tickets at the face value of around $100 a pop.

So you can imagine how many Sox fans choked on their Triscuits after seeing this passage in Ken Rosenthal’s latest column:

The Pirates’ new season-ticket packages go for $399, $599, $799 and $999. The $399 plan comes out to less than $5 per game, the $799 plan to less than $10 per game.

Are you kidding me? The most expensive plan is barely more than I pay for two loge tickets to 10 Celtics games! Are times that tough in Pittsburgh? Of course, as was quickly pointed out to me by Ed Harding: “The Pirates stink so much, they should pay YOU to watch their games!” Very true.

–SI

Varitek Groveling?
January 18, 2009

No Red Sox fan dislikes Jason Varitek. He has always been a stand-up guy and more importantly was a vital contributor to the Sox 2 World Series Championships. Having said that-who would have ever thought that he would have to plead with John Henry to get a new contract, as he did this past week meeting 1 on 1 with the Red Sox owner outside of Atlanta near Varitek’s off-season home.

Varitek’s biggest problem, besides his eroding skills and last years batting average of .220, is his choice of an agent in Scott Booras who grossly overestimated Varitek’s worth in this free agent market. Booras had hinted that he would be looking for something close to Jorge Posada’s recent 4 yr 52 million dollar contract. Wow!!! How out of touch can an agent be??

While Varitek’s achievements warrant that he and his present situation not be laughed at but isn’t it about time that agents (and their players) get a slapped with a dose of reality, which is what the Varitek situation is doing. We are less than 4 weeks away from Spring Training and Varitek does not have a job. He earned 10 million dollars last year. This season he will be happy earning the major league minimum. What else is he going to to do to make money? Right now no team wants him.

Scott Booras, who simply used the Red Sox in the Mark Texieria negotiations, has given Jason Varitek terrible advice. He cost him millions by not having his client go to salary arbitration. Booras did not do his job, a job which pays Booras millions and millions a year, and unfortunately for Jason Varitek that mistake may cost Varitek a chance to make a living this season.

No one is going to cry for Varitek who has made well over 50 Million dollars in his career. It is just sad if his career ends on this note.

-MD

Jim Rice gets emotional on selection into Hall of Fame
January 12, 2009

Jim Rice told me less than an hour after getting the call from Baseball’s Hall of fame committee that he has been voted into Baseball’s select company that he is greatly relieved. He also told me that tears came to his eyes ending 14 years of frustration that saw him not get enough votes since he 1st became eligible in 1995.

Rice was at his home watching his favorite soap opera when he received the call at about 1:20 this afternoon. Rice needed to receive 75% of the vote, he received 76% to get in by the skin of his teeth.

Rice goes in with Rickey Henderson who played 25 years in the majors and is the all-time stolen bases leader. Rice told me that he didn’t realize that Henderson played so long but  also told me that Rice’s own numbers match those of Henderson even tho Rice played 10 less years than Henderson. Of course the 2 are very different players-Rice making his mark as a power hitter, hitting 382 Home Runs while  Henderson was arguably the most dangerous player on the base paths ever to play the game.

Rice was very happy and relieved to finally get today’s call. See and hear his reaction tonight at 5 and 6 on newscenter 5.

-MD

McDaniels II
January 12, 2009

A quick addendum to my colleague’s blog below which is accurate until the final paragraph.

I am not a big fan of Charlie Weiss’s bully, brash, and know-it-all personality, but he was a very good offensive coordinator (MUCH better than McDaniels). And what have the Patriots won since Charlie left? -Nothing.

Josh McDaniels is 32. Let me say that one more time-He’s 32. Now he does have a pretty good quarterback in Denver which will help and that is one of the main reasons McDaniels was so interested in the job. This is a quarterback driven league and if you don’t have a good or decent quarterback you have no chance in this league. NO Chance. -Look who’s left in the playoffs-Warner, McNabb, Flacco, and Rothlisberger, and look who was eliminated-Del(5 INTs)homme, Eli(2 INTs), Collins(milktoast) and Rivers-good year but didn’t made 1 big play in yesterdays game)?

A good defense is also critical, hence the reason the Patriots are sitting home.

-MD

McDaniels Heading To Denver
January 12, 2009

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that 32-year old Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has agreed to become the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.

He replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired last month.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen must be hoping McDaniels fares better than the last Patriots assistants to ascend to top jobs.

For the record:
Romeo Crennel: 24-40 with the Browns
Charlie Weis: 29-21 at Notre Dame
Eric Mangini: 23-26 for the Jets

How much of an effect with this have on the Patriots? Well, if you are a believer that Bill Belichick is intimately involved with every facet of the team, then the answer is: not much. Remember how fans worried when Charlie Weis left, and you could say the offense is light years beyond that now.

–SI