Tradition Ruined?: Winter Classic Not on New Years Day

This year, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers will match up against each other in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. Along with the past Winter Classics, this one should prove to be another great game. The problem is that this year the game will be played on January 2nd.

In the last few years, the Winter Classic has become synonymous with New Years Day. They go together like spaghetti and meatball, or lamb and tuna fish if you are Rob Schneider in Big Daddy. I feel as if the Winter Classic has proven to be one of the major things that put the NHL back on the map, perhaps even vaulted it ahead of the NBA as an organization. It has become an incredible tradition for sports fans around North America to wake up on New Years Day and turn on the hockey classic. Something about being hungover makes outdoor hockey a great idea. But truly, that’s not it. The NHL has really done this one right. Play the game between two well-matched teams in an outdoor MLB or NFL stadium, and while we are at it, let’s air it on NBC before the BCS bowl games start up. Oh yeah, and the month before the game lets have HBO film 24/7, a must-see TV series showing an in-depth look at the two teams in the month leading up to the game. Everyone is tired on New Years Day and sitting down to watch a good hockey game is a perfect way to spend it.

I’m not really sure why the NHL changed the date from the prior years to the 2nd this year. NHL chief operating official John Collins had mentioned that the games “kind of landed on Jan. 1 because frankly NBC had a big window on a big day, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?” I have a question John: Why wouldn’t you take advantage of your established fan base on New Years Day?


BSB Pick of the Day

Beginning today I will be introducing a new daily pick of the day. This is going to be a pick involving the spreads, not just a win or lose situation. The sport will vary daily based on what I see as the best pick. Hopefully you gamblers out there can get something out of this.

Todays Pick of the Day:

Heat –8.5 @ Timberwolves

The Heat are averaging over 105 PPG to start this season and they have looked like the best team in the NBA so far. LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh are all starting to gel together and their supporting cast has come up big in clutch situations. To add-on to that the T-Wolves have allowed the 5th most points against in the NBA so far this year. I see 8.5 as an easy spread for the best team in the NBA to cover against one of the worst. Take the Heat.

RG3 Gets the W

In case you missed the defensive battle last night in the Alamo Bowl, I suggest you check out the highlights because this one provided some fireworks. By defensive battle, I mean that Baylor and Washington combined for 123 points and 17 TDs (holy hell). Surprisingly, I don’t think RG3 was the story of the game, nor do I think Baylor’s running back, Terrance Ganaway, was the MVP. I’m talking about Washington sophomore quarterback, Keith Price. This guy threw for 4 TDs, rushed for another 3 and dropped 438 yards on the Baylor D. I was watching the highlights on Sportscenter last night and they totally passed him over. I mean he legitimately almost beat the #12 ranked Baylor single handed. He made virtually no mistakes, out performed the Heisman winner and broke multiple bowl records. I am an enormous fan of Sportscenter, but if they have one flaw its really focusing on superstars and not top performances. This should have been the real story of this game, even though Baylor hoisted the trophy, and he got almost no air time. I mean Price is probably 19 years old and he’s already looking like a high first round draft pick in the upcoming years. Oh, and he’s from Compton. Straight G.

C’s Look to Bounce Back

Tonight the C’s turn over a new leaf on this young, yet disappointing season. Home opener at the garden against another winless team in the Detroit Pistons, hopefully the return of Pierce, and according to multiple sources, the introduction of Mickael Pietrus in a Celtics uniform. You best believe the garden will be electric. Anything short of a commanding win is unacceptable. The biggest IF is Pierce, though. Earlier this week Doc noted today as the earliest Pierce would play so let’s hope he’s ready. Sasha just isn’t cutting it as Pierce. In the three starts in Pierce’s place, Sasha’s averaging 4 points and 1.7 rebounds, slightly lower numbers than we’d expect out of Pierce. If all goes well, we’ll see him out on the floor tonight. Regardless, Rondo needs to continue taking control of the offense. Wednesday night we saw a different Rondo than the hustle and aggressiveness that came with the first two losses. If Rondo can be aggressive on the offensive side, as he always is on defense, then it’ll open up the floor for the rest of the team to step up as well. A lot of IFs in Boston tonight for sure, but don’t count out the Celts just yet.   

B’s Continue New Streak

Thank God for the Bruin’s huh? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a basketball guy, but after so much anticipation built up for the NBA to start back up, the past week has been nothing short of a major buzz kill to Celtics fans all over. Luckily for us, we’re from Boston and can rely on more than one team to keep us happy. Last night the Bruin’s improved their win streak to seven games, beating the Coyotes 2-1 in overtime. After scoring 17 seconds into the game, the Bruins didn’t find the net again until 58 seconds into overtime, off a deflection from a Seidenberg shot. Tuukka Rask may have only seen 22 pucks fly his way, but 21 saves was all he needed for his team to pull off the victory. This was their first overtime win that didn’t end in a shootout. Talk about playing great. The Bruins have won 21 of their last 24 since the start of November and have just moved past the Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference. It’s just incredible to watch. There’s still plenty of regular season hockey to be played, but if the B’s keep up this momentum, I don’t see any reason Lord Stanley wouldn’t be back in Boston for the second straight year.

Case Closer: Sox Land Bailey From A’s

Today, the Red Sox finalized the deal that landed closer Andrew Bailey and right fielder Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland A’s for Josh Reddick and two boom-or bust Single A minor leaguers. All signs point to a great move by Ben Cherington and the Sox organization.

Bailey fills up the void at closer left by Jonathan Papelbon. I like this move because a.) Daniel Bard will be able to begin the transition to shore up the starting rotation and b.) Mark Melancon can move into a setup role that I think he is better suited (due to his non-overpowering repertoire). Bailey was the 2009 Rookie of the Year and has had some injury problems in the past, but the organization thinks they won’t affect him in the future. (After our luck last year with pitching injuries, lets knock on wood for this one). Let’s hope this guy can deal with the pressures of Boston a little better than Byung-Hyun Kim.

I loved Josh Reddick.  He displayed the same grit and hardnosed play in right field that hadn’t been seen since Trot Nixon or Gabe Kapler. Hate to see the guy go after his successful job filling in for Nancy Drew last year. That being said, his Average and OBP were nothing special. Sweeney had pretty similar numbers against right-handers (both were primarily platoon outfielders against righties). Also, Sweeney is supposed to be a better fit in Fenway because he can spray a lot more hits off the monster instead of the pull-happy Reddick. Lastly, this trade opens up the position for Ryan Kalish, who looked like a great player for the future in the last two months of 2010 (before missing last year with shoulder surgery).

Should be interesting from here seeing what the Sox do to the roster in the last months before spring training. Considering the Sox now have a pretty inexpensive bullpen, look for them to spend some money for another starter to join the squad (Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, Edwin Jackson have all been rumored). Also, possibly a right fielder, most likely one for platooning against left-handed pitchers (possibly Cuban Yoenis Cespedes?).

Patriots Preview

The Patriots end their regular season at home on New Years Day this year, and if all goes well they won’t have to play any true away games throughout the playoffs. With a win Sunday the Patriots clinch the top seed in the AFC East and will have a chance to both playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl.

The Bills have looked absolutely terrible in the second half of the season, but did have a pleasant bounce back win against the Tebow led Broncos last week. The Patriots struggled greatly in their previous matchup with the Bills, but I look at that as a fluke. With Fred Jackson on IR and Ryan Fitzpatrick playing like the Fitzpatrick we all got to know in the past this Bills team cannot matchup talent wise with the Patriots and it will show this week. Expect the Pats to come out firing as this game has great playoff implications.

Prediction: Patriots 34 Bills 21

Player’s Gonna Play

Deion Sanders is the man. Enough Said.  But in case you don’t know why, let me elaborate.  Deion Sanders came out the other day and announced to the world the following:

“Pilar (his wife) and I have decided to end our marriage and move on to the next phase of our individual lives with mutual respect… We arrived at this decision prayerfully and carefully in order to be able to pursue what is in both of our best personal interests.”

Just one problem, he forgot to inform his wife first.  She was under the impression that Deion and her gold-digging self would work things out.  However, he decided to become a divorcee for the second time and test out his game on the market.  I’m sure he will do fine for himself.

Intro to TOB$ Time- Toss Up

Nothing better than an introduction blog. My name is Dan Tobin and I will be dealing with coverage for the Red Sox for the site. I could write a big spiel about how I F’in love the Sox, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing about them if I didn’t so I’ll spare you guys a cheesy paragraph.

I want to start things off on a little toss-up question: Which Major League Pitcher had a better 7 year stint during the steroid-era? Player A or Player B.

Interested to seeing the responses.

35 9 4 268 201 68 65 70 199 20 11 1.01 2.18
36 8 1 267 228 85 70 52 197 20 10 1.05 2.36
25 10 3 202 150 44 35 31 156 16 6 0.9 1.56
28 10 3 209.2 147 39 38 23 181 19 2 0.81 1.63
35 5 1 245 225 85 74 28 172 15 11 1.03 2.72
33 5 2 232.2 200 58 57 20 177 19 4 0.95 2.2
34 9 5 251 201 75 62 45 204 18 9 0.98 2.22
AVERAGE 32 8 3 239 193 65 57 38 184 18 8 0.97 2.16
31 13 4 241.1 158 65 51 67 305 17 8 0.93 1.9
33 3 2 233.2 188 82 75 67 251 19 7 1.09 2.89
29 5 1 213.1 160 56 49 37 313 23 4 0.92 2.07
29 7 4 217 128 44 42 32 284 18 6 0.74 1.74
18 1 0 116.2 84 33 31 25 163 7 3 0.93 2.39
30 2 0 199.1 144 62 50 40 239 20 4 0.92 2.26
29 3 0 186.2 147 52 46 47 206 14 4 1.04 2.22
AVERAGE 28 5 2 201 144 56 49 45 252 17 5 0.94 2.20

After analyzing the stats, Player A displayed greater control and consistency, which is displayed in his lower walk numbers over more innings pitched. He also proved dominant by limiting his ERA despite allowing more hits than Player B. Player B showed complete dominance in overpowering hitters with extremely low hit totals and high strikeout totals.

Personally, I would have to pick Player B, whose fourth season cannot be overlooked. He posted another incredibly K/9 rate and also an unheard of 0.74 WHIP and 1.74 ERA.

If you havent guessed yet, Player A was the “Mad Dog”- Greg Maddux. During this stint, he was NL Cy Young Four years in a row and a gold glove winner all seven years (he won the gold glove for the NL 16 times in a 17 year span). I found it amazing that he was able to have these great years in the steroid era through his incredible control of the strike zone.

Player B was Pedro Martinez. Pedro was hands down my favorite pitcher to watch during this stint. Pedro won the Cy Young in three of these years. He also put up these numbers against the AL East in a hitters ballpark named Fenway Park. He had the Pedro K count in the Boston Globe and he would make every game enjoyable for any fan. You never knew what you would get out of the guy, whether it was a 14 strikeout night, whether he’d start a bench clearing brawl, or whether he would toss a 70-year-old man to the ground.

Celtics Lose 3rd Straight

Talk about a tough road trip. 97-78…I don’t even know where to begin. Last night’s game was just plain painful in every aspect of the word. Besides the first quarter, where we showed just a bit of life, they might as well have not even stepped foot on the court. Not once was there any momentum in the Celts favor. It just goes back to Rondo being the center, figuratively, of the team. The fire just wasn’t there for him tonight like it was the past two games, hence the reason the team seemed so flat. Now, that’s a lot of negativity, and they deserve it, but I’m not losing hope. On a side note, Stiemsma looked great out there defensively, which is the role we’re going to need him to play. Six blocks in the game and solid play on the boards. Anyways, it’s no excuse and I’ve gone to it the past three games, but in the back of my mind it feels good to know that Pierce wasn’t on the court for this. The C’s need his intensity out there. They’re definitely missing the captain. I guess we’ll have to see if they can get back on the right track Friday. Maybe the return of Pierce, mixed with a bit of Mickael Pietrus and a home opener at the Garden will be what the C’s need to ignite the flame.