The 2013 Boston Red Sox are For Real

Believe in Boston: The Boston Red Sox have been nothing short of the “Real Deal” this season. At 50-34 (as of July 1st) and in first place atop the American League East by two-and a half games, Boston has been both surprising and sensational to say the least. The Sox went 6-4 to close out the month of June and look poised to have a strong finish to the first half of the season. So, for those of you Sox fans still waiting for the wheels to fall off…you can stop worrying about those wheels, and start enjoying the wins.

Shane Victorino getting mobbed by Big Papi and Co. after a walk off win against Toronto recently. Picture Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

Boston currently owns the third best record in the MLB and ranks first in both total runs (431) and on-base-percentage (.349), as well as second in batting average (.274) and slugging percentage (.444). Those numbers at the plate puts the Red Sox first overall in the MLB for team batting. Another impressive batting statistic for Boston, the Sox also rank first in the MLB for RBI with 420.

From a pitching end the Red Sox starters and bullpen rank among the middle of the pack in the MLB at 14th overall with a team ERA of 3.91. On a positive pitching note though, the Sox rank second in the MLB for strikeouts with 710.

Seeing Stars: With a well deserved All-Star break two weeks away, there are a few team members from Boston who will likely be spending that break in the “Big Apple”. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all receiving a good volume of votes to play at Citi Field on July 16th in New York for the 2013 All-Star Game.

As of July 1st “Big Papi” appears to be a lock to play for the American League All-Stars as their designated hitter with 4,398,197  votes already cast for Ortiz. Meanwhile, Pedroia ranks second in the voting polls for second base with 2,838,129 votes. Pedroia is currently behind New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano who has 3,974,322 votes. Worst case scenario, he makes the ASG as a reserve for the AL.

David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia have been a big part of Boston’s success. The powerful pair will likely see playing time in the 2013 All-Star Game on July 16th at Citi Field in New York. Picture Courtesy of http://www.metro.us

As for Ellsbury, he’ll need a little bit more help in the voting polls. Only six outfielders can make the ASG roster for the AL. Ellsbury currently ranks eighth in the voting results with 1,751, 022 votes, ranking him behind Baltimore Orioles OF Nate Mclouth with  2,169,772 votes, and Texas Rangers OF Nelson Cruz who has 2,258,797 votes.

Honorable Mention: Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has pitched beautifully for Boston so far this season. In 12 starts Buchholz has posted a 9-0 win-loss record, a sparkling 1.71 ERA with a mere 1.02 WHIP, and 81 strike outs. Unfortunately, he is still on Boston’s 15-day disabled list with a sore trapezius muscle in his neck, as well as an inflammation in his pitching shoulder according to ESPN.com. Meaning he will likely be left out of this year’s ASG.
A Promising Pen: Despite Joel Hanrahan not working out the way the Red Sox had hoped, and Andrew Baily being demoted from closer to reliever…again, Boston’s bullpen has also seen it’s share of success.

Koji Uehara seems to be embracing his new role as the teams closer, and has earned four saves on the season so far. In 34 innings of work, Uehara has a respectable 2.12 ERA with a microscopic WHIP of 0.82, and 49 strikeouts. Meanwhile Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa have combined to become a nice 1-2 punch combo coming out of the bullpen for Boston.

Koji Uehara appears to be comfortable in his new role as the Red Sox closer. He already has four saves to his credit. Picture Courtesy of bigstory.ap.org

In 37 innings pitched, Tazawa has posted a solid 2.92 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP, and 40 strikeouts to go along with 15 holds. While Miller has a 2.64 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts with six holds.

Final Thoughts: Though the Red Sox still have two weeks and the entire second half of the schedule still to play, it would appear the stench of 2012 has been successfully washed away. So for now, enjoy the wins, watch what happens, and who knows, we may just wind up in the World Series.

How do you think the second half will go for the Sox? Should Boston make any moves before the trade deadline? Leave a comment below.

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Boston’s Building Blocks: Back to Square One

It’s been one week…since the blockbuster draft day trade that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and a slew of future draft picks was made. While that trade may not technically be official until July 10th, the Boston Celtics are officially back at square one.

Picture Courtesy of backpagelead.com

With Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett gone, all that remains of that 2008 NBA Finals title team is point guard Rajon Rondo. Just like that, an era is over. As the new era of Celtics basketball begins, let’s take a quick look at what is in store for Boston in the 2013-2014 season:

Likely Lineup:

PG: Rajon Rondo

SG: Courtney Lee

SF: Jeff Green

PF: Gerald Wallace

C: Kris Humphries

Sixth Man: Avery Bradley/Brandon Bass

Role Players: Jared Sullinger/MarShon Brooks/Jordan Crawford

Depth Chart:

PG: Rondo/Bradley

SG: Courtney Lee/MarShon Brooks/Jordan Crawford

SF: Jeff Green/Keith Bogans/Kris Joseph

PF: Gerald Wallace/Brandon Bass/Shavlik Randolph/DJ White

C: Kris Humphries/Jared Sullinger/Fab Melo

Head Coach: TBA

(Have to wait and see if draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Colt Iverson survive summer leagues before an accurate roster can truly be drawn up. Depth chart info is courtesy of hoopsworld.com)

Now that you have an idea of how the 2013-2014 roster is going to look, let’s see what the pros and cons are for the Celtics going forward:

Picture Courtesy of kobebeefnba.com

Pros

The Celtics still have Rondo, Green, Lee, Bass, and Bradley. All of whom have played together and won together.

The Celtics have young developing players in the form of Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Joseph.

Boston will have a pair of NBA veterans in Wallace and Bogans to help bring some experience to what will be a younger C’s squad.

Boston will have two first round draft picks in each of the next three NBA drafts, and more draft picks to use as potential trade sweeteners down the road.

Cons

The Celtics will have obvious chemistry issues with new guys like Wallace, Humphries, Joseph, and Brooks coming in.

It’s still not clear if Danny Ainge wants to make Rondo the center piece of the Celtics or trade him away and completely start from scratch.

The Celtics will most likely be looking to dump the higher dollar contracts Wallace (3yrs at $30million), Lee (3yrs at $16.4million), and Bass (2yrs at $13.4million) to make room in the salary cap to sign a few future free agents. (contract figures courtesy of ESPNBoston.com)

The Celtics are going to be without a “true” head coach for at least a season or two.

Final Thoughts: Granted, Boston would appear to be gearing up for a 2007-esque regular season in 2013-2014. However, before you start believing the Celtics future is bleak, remember that the very next season (2008) the C’s made a splash in the free agency and captured a championship. Boston may be back to square one right now, but all it takes is one or two moves from the front office to be back in business.

How do you see the 2013-2014 season playing out in Boston? Is Rondo next on Ainge’s trading block? Leave a comment below.

Idiotic Article

I just got finished reading an article on ESPN written by Ashley Fox, and it was terrible. She goes off about how the Patriots should have used better judgment when selecting Hernandez in the 4th round a few years back. She says that this has tarnished the Patriots name and they should be ashamed. Literally every comment rips her apart, even from people who say that they hate the Pats organization. If you have a few minutes go ahead and read this atrocity. One individuals act cannot tarnish a brand that is arguably the biggest in football. Here are a few comments that I pulled off ESPN that I thought were spot on/hilarious:

“If we cut everyone in the nfl with a less than perfect pasts, we would be stuck watching tebow playing on every team, every position.”- ChaosZero250

“Mrs. Fox, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”- TheCaptainCOD4

“Seriously? Oh okay, we should have known he was going to murder someone in cold blood because he dabbled with Marijuana. Ashley Fox, quit your day job and go become a detective and save the world already.. idiot!”

“ESPN reputation tarnished forever! So what happens when ESPN hires a reporter who shows such promise, but since the loss of her beloved team, has serious character flaws. Three years later, she pens the most inane and puerile article known to mankind. Such a stain on the stellar image of the pristine sports channel!
ESPN should have known better! “- NEGino49

2013 NBA Draft: Celtics Choices

Picture Courtesy of tsbsports.net

Draft Day: After shipping Doc Rivers out west and being uncertain about the futures of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Danny Ainge  has some big decisions to make, and soon. The decision making process will begin today. This evening, the 2013 NBA Draft will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Celtics have only one draft pick this year at number 16, so they’ll have to make it count.

Seeing as Pierce and Garnett may be out of the picture sooner rather than later, and given the string of injuries last year (Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbosa, and the list goes on), Boston will be in a rebuilding mode for a little while before they can get back to business (chasing banner number 18). To make matters worse, C’s fans looking for a quick fix in this year’s draft…can keep looking elsewhere.

There won’t be any superstar potential left by the time the C’s are on the clock. Honestly, after the first few picks, the star power won’t be shining nearly as brightly as it has in recent draft years. Nevertheless, what there will be at pick number 16 are a few role players that could ultimately help provide some depth on the roster. So, let’s take a look at who could be donning Celtics green in 2013-2014:

Miami (FL) Point Guard Shane Larkin will likely be the best fit for the Boston Celtics according to draftexpress.com and hoopsworld.com Picture courtesy of mlb.mlb.com

Potential Picks:

Shane Larkin Point Guard Miami (FL): Larkin will likely be Boston’s best option tonight. Larkin, you may remember, helped lead a Hot Miami Hurricanes team into the NCAA tournament a few months ago in March. Larkin averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals a game in 2012-2013 for Miami. Larkin would provide depth at the PG position once Rondo returns and Bradley stays healthy at the shooting guard spot. A downside to Larkin though, he is undersized at 5’11″/171 pounds.

Kelly Olynyk Center Gonzaga: Olynyk would certainly be a solid choice for the Celtics if he’s still available at pick number 16. Like Olynyk’s 7’0″ frame though, that’s a pretty big “if”. He’ll likely go higher to the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder (picking 12th) or the Utah Jazz (picking 14th). The big guy from Gonzaga was a key cog in the Zags stellar season in 2012-2013 he averaged 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds a game.

Mason Plumlee Center Duke: Should Shane Larkin not be arouns by the time Boston picks, Plumlee may not be a bad pick. At 6’11″/238 pounds, Plumlee certainly has the size and skills to at least survive in the NBA. In 2012-2013 Plumlee averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game for the Blue Devils. If nothing else, he would provide depth at the center position, something the C’s will need after Garnett is gone.

Giannis Adetokunbo Small Forward out of Greece: Averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 2012-2013. At age 18 and 6’9″/196 pounds, Adetokunbo has the time and the potential to prove himself in the league. With his 6’9″ frame, Giannis has the size and the right skill set to earn a spot on the C’s roster for the 2013-2014 season, should he be chosen.

Picture Courtesy of cdn.turner.com

Final Thoughts: While the Celtics may be coach-less, they are certainly not hopeless. Though it will take time to rebuild, Boston will be back in business before we know it. Remember, there are always big moves to be made in the NBA (See Celtics 2008 for example) and anything can happen…or in the words of Garnett “Anything is Possible!!!”

Who would you draft? Should the Celtics make a big move this off-season? Who will be Boston’s next bench boss? Leave a comment below.

Hernandez in Trouble?

BREAKING NEWS

6/26 3:00 PM

Watching the arraignment live. The prosecution team has multiple text messages to and from the victim, hernandez, and two others. He is charged with murder and 5 other gun charges (supposedly 5 shots to body). Pleads not guilty.

6/26 2:15 PM

Hernandez arrived at court. We are waiting to hear back what the charges are. It is assumed that it is most definitely a felony charge with jail time possible.

6/26 10:30 AM

The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez after he was arrested this morning.

6/26 9:30 AM

Aaron Hernandez was taken into custody today in cuffs. More information to follow.

Hernandez Arrested

6/21 2:00 PM

The warrant hasn’t gone away, just still being prepared. This clearly isn’t good, as they think that they have enough evidence to arrest him and hold him. Muscle Milk has terminated their endorsement contract with him already.

6/21 10:35 AM

It is now being reported that the Arrest Warrant for Tight End Aaron Hernandez has gone away. More to come as the story develops, but this could be huge for the Patriots star if we can make this go away. We don’t want Tebow playing TE.

6/21 7:30 AM

There has been an arrest warrant issued for Aaron Hernandez on obstruction of justice charges (see below). While Authorities are still searching for more evidence, many believe that these charges will be upgraded in the near future to something even more serious.

6/20 4:00 PM

As you all have probably heard, it has been reported that Hernandez destroyed his security system, phone, and brought in a cleaning crew to his residence.. not good.

6/20 8:00 AM

More news developing late last night in case you missed it. Apparently, Fox is reporting that Hernandez was at the same club as the victim that night. They are also reporting that there were 4 people in the car leaving his house, including the victim, and only 3 returned to the house afterwards. This is not looking good for the Patriots star. The next 24-48 hours are going to be critical in finding out new details.

6/19 3:50 PM

Apparently Sports Illustrated is saying that many teams questioned Hernandez’s background prior to him being drafted by New England in the fourth round.

The deceased man is now being described as an “associate” or Hernandez.

Here is a copy of the lawsuit that is being brought up against Hernandez. 

6/19 2:40 PM

It’s being reported from multiple sources that Aaron Hernandez is also going to be sued for allegedly shooting a man in the face (eye, to be exact). Apparently, there was an argument at a club, and they left together. He aimed the gun at Alexander Bradley and the gun accidentally discharged. He is suing Hernandez for $100k. This can’t be real right? And isn’t your eye worth more than $100k? Hernandez is not licensed to carry a firearm.

6/19 1:00 PM

The victim played for the Boston Bandits Semi-Pro team as a linebacker. Hernandez is reportedly cooperating a lot better now. The body was found one mile from his home, and close to a car that was in his name.

6/19 8:30 AM

An officer reportedly carried a large box out of Hernandez’s residence. Cops were searching the house using flashlights late at night. Obviously, everyone and their mother is declining to comment on this.

6/18 8:30 PM

Apparently Hernandez is not cooperating with Police the way they would like him to. When they searched his home, two of his friends tried to leave, but were stopped by Police.

Sports Illustrated reports that at least 10 Police Cruisers flanked Hernandez’s home late Tuesday.

6/18 7:30 PM

New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez was reportedly questioned on Monday while authorities were investigating a homicide in Attleboro, Mass. Although he isn’t thought to be a murder suspect, they say that a vehicle registered in his name is a key piece of evidence. Supposedly, they also want to search his home, and Hernandez decided to get a lawyer. Hopefully this is all just a misunderstanding and we will keep you updated in the coming days.

aaron hernandez

Why not take a chance?

Multiple sources have come out saying that the Boston Celtics will wait until the end of the summer to choose the right head coach for them. This way, Ainge can draft the players he wants, and he can get a chance to see assistant coach Jay Larranaga run the summer league team. By then, most of the top head coaches with experience should be gone. This could bode well for him. Why not take a chance on someone like that, like the Nets are doing on Jason Kidd? Clearly, we are not going to be a contender for a few years, at the very least, so we don’t need to waste money over paying an amazing head coach.

Better yet, why not try having a player coach? David Cowens and Bill Russell have done it. Yes, I’m being serious. Why not have Kevin Garnett try it? Pay him one salary, give him a few good assistant coaches, and who knows, downloadpeople may want to come play for him. He already came out saying he admires Bill Russell more than anyone and shapes his game to be like him. I mean, he’s the greatest champion in all of sports. He won two titles as a player-coach after winning 9 others. Clearly, the Celtics aren’t in the same position to win any titles but there are some pro’s to this extremely, extremely unlikely possibility:

  • KG is one of, if not the best, defensive mind in the game. He knows exactly where to be at all times, and often barks out orders to others so that they get their act together, and move around correctly.
  • Let’s face it, whoever coaches this team, is going to have to put up with Rajon Rondo, assuming we keep him. That’s no easy feat. KG already has been able to help mold Rondo into a better leader and this is someone who Rondo can respect. The last thing we need is someone like Stan Van Gundy coming in to ruin things (like he did in Orlando by driving out Dwight Howard).
  • KG probably does not want to play for anyone but Rivers due to his extreme loyalty, and that seems almost impossible now, seeing as the league vetoed it. He probably wouldn’t mind playing for himself though, and since we are not going to be in line to win a championship, he can decrease his minutes and mold the younger guys, like Sullinger, into a KG 2.0.
  • Everyone respects him. Most people have said that he is the best locker room presence there is. Why take that away? He brings the championship mentality to the court every night. Just because he can’t do it himself anymore, doesn’t mean we should allow that to get away.

Let’s get one thing straight: In no way do I think this will happen. I just think it is an interesting way to look at things. In a time where we are rebuilding, why not take a shot on someone like him. It could make Danny Ainge the smartest man around. Red Auerbach did it when he retired as coach and moved into the front office, and that played out quite nicely for the greatest coach this game as ever seen.

Lucky You, Red Sox Fans: It’s Time to Cruise

bosoxWhat do some legendary former Red Sox players, WEEI broadcaster Joe Castiglione, Celebrity Cruise lines and you have in common? The opportunity to have an island-hopping romp together in January 2014, that’s what.

Beginning Jan. 12, 2,886 lucky passengers will leave the real world behind and set sail for seven nights in the Caribbean on one of Frommer’s 2011 “Best Cruise Ships,” the Celebrity Silhouette. This cruise news is a big deal for both Celebrity and Boston—so what can fans expect?

Destination Paradise

Departing from Ft. Lauderdale, the ship first sails to Cozumel, Mexico, for a full day on shore to do as you please. Next stop: George Town, Grand Cayman, for another full day of adventure or relaxation. On to Falmouth, Jamaica, for a day and then Labadee, Haiti (Celebrity’s own private island). Each town offers unique excursions:

  • Mexico: Take a secret river and cavern tour, ride an ATV for an off-road adventure through the jungle, go kayaking or simply relax on la playa (the beach)
  • Grand Cayman: Snorkle in crystal blue waters, visit Stingray City on a catamaran sail or relive the swashbuckling days on a boat complete with a crew acting out real pirate encounters
  • Jamaica: Hike a volcano or have a zipline and bobsled canopy tour through the tropical coastal forest
  • Labadee private island: Ride a coaster and jump on an in-water trampolines at the largest aqua park in the Caribbean, ride jet skis or parasail 400 feet above the sea

On the Ship

There is a full day at sea before arriving back in the U.S., which is a good thing. There are two exclusive cocktail parties for Boston fans to hobnob with some of the organization’s legends, including Castiglione. Drink martinis at a special tasting and karaoke into the night singing “Sweet Caroline” in tribute.

Toss a ball around with Keith Foulke; relax with a cocktail and BBQ with fellow Boston fans on the ship’s Lawn Club; paint a picture in the onboard art studio; grab a craft beer at Michael’s Club; go tax and duty-free shopping at stores of the most luxurious brands like Bvlgari and Versace; try your luck at blackjack in the onboard casino. And eat … eat really well, 24/7.

The trip starts at $910 for a stateroom and goes up from there, according to MLB.com. This price includes an onboard credit of $50, most meals, port charges, fitness centers and events on the ship.

The Partnership

Start looking for Celebrity banners at the games. The Red Sox have recognized the company as the team’s official cruise line. The partnership also includes experiences at Fenway Park, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Celebrity will become present in the park and four times a month will have fan giveaways
  • There will be chances to win tickets to this once in a lifetime trip
  • Each double play executed by the Red Sox this season get a fan $200 off a Celebrity cruise

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Can you blame him?

If you haven’t heard already, Doc Rivers will be going to the Clippers. The Celtics will receive a 2015 first round draft pick for compensation in letting him out of his contract 3 downloadyears early. So far, we cannot trade Garnett there for Jordan, and it is widely assumed that the league will veto any trade between the two teams during the summer, stating that you cannot trade players and coaches together.

I don’t like the way this happened, but you gotta look at it from both sides. It is understandable that Doc Rivers didn’t want to go through the whole rebuilding process. Sure, it would have been better if he didn’t publicly come out saying he was ready for it when he signed the contract extension, but still. He was the greatest coach we could have had for these players. Everyone loved him, and until 8 days ago, so did you.

He brought the winning mentality back to Boston, and that is exactly why Danny Ainge kept him around after horribly-losing seasons, to work with the newly assembled Big 3. If we didn’t release him from his contract to go coach in LA, you can safely assume that he would have been taking a year or two off, and most likely broadcasting. This way, we at least get something for him, and he made sure of that. He still loves it here, he will admit that today in the press conference at noon. If only we could have gotten one of their draft picks from when they sucked. Right now, it looks as though they will be near the top of the standings, so their pick isn’t anything special. Two late round picks can be traded for a pretty penny though. No hard feelings Doc.

Falling From the Sky

Just to break away from the Hernandez Probe and the Celtics trade talks for a bit, I decided to write about another story. Yesterday in Brooklyn, a 1-year-old baby boy crawled through an open window in a second-story apartment. He then began to fall straight to the ground before a random woman walking by  caught him. Talk about lucky. However, that person wasn’t so random in the NY area. It was the daughter of famous baseball Head Coach Joe Torre. Cristina Torre caught the baby after he bounced off of an awning at a FroYo shop. She had to position herself to Cherry-Pick the baby after he bounced. The baby and 3 other children were taken by protective services because the parents were charged with child endangerment.

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Let’s Go Bruins!

In honor of game 4 of the Stanley Cup tonight, let’s take a look back in time. Let’s look back at just over 2 years ago when we beat the Canucks 4-0 in game 4. We tied the series at 2 each after this game. Timmy Thomas turned away all 37 shots that he faced. Luongo only had 16 saves in this game. Talk about efficiency on the B’s part. Rich Peverly scored 2 goals. This was probably the last time that he did something good for us.. Marchand and Ryder also scored a goal each.

This was also our first game after Aaron Rome’s cheap ass hit on Horton (see below). They definitely won that game for him, and the series got a lot more physical after that. We absolutely hated the Canucks. Especially after that hit. This is something that was lacking in this year’s finals. Until Monday where there were multiple fights near the end. Hopefully we can play with that same intensity and bring us one more game closer to closing this thing out and bringing the Cup home! Go B’s!