Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Glad You Weren't There #s 2, 3 &4

Rather than explain my long absence from SBF, I'll simply provide three completely random pictures at which you may marvel. Feel free to submit caption ideas for each in the comments section. I'd offer a prize for the best caption, but as Jere can attest to, I'm not that great at sending out prizes. (JS-They're on the way, I swear- I just have to find 10 that my daughter hasn't chewed on...) Anyway, enjoy...and if someone comes up with something exceptionally funny, I may be able to come up with a prize you'll most likely never receive, at least not in a timely manner...

Photo 1

That's Nomar at Camden Yards, circa '02/'03- I can't remember. The look on the security guard's face is what's funny to me. Also, Nomar already looks miserable. Should've seen it coming, I guess. All I remember about this game is that the beer guy's name was Danny, and he kept sending two beers down the aisle long after my wife stopped drinking because she was driving. So I double fisted the whole game, and when it was over, I looked under my seat and there were like 16 empty Bud bottles. And this was the game I got Manny to Manny-Point at me. And I had to piss so bad driving back to DC, I jumped out at Fado and made Sarah drive around for 20 minutes to find parking. Good times.

Photo 2

The immortal William Gatter, best friend to MattySox, hapless victim of Sarah's annoyance, present drummer of Hoover's G-String, future drummer of The Bitchleys...the one and only. I think this was taken on St. Pat's a few years back, maybe at Biddy Mulligans, maybe not. I'm pretty sure Bill only spent $20, though.

Photo 3

Awesome. The really significant thing about this picture is that I still have my old glasses. Yeah, that's it really...Taken in my brother-in-law Micah's bathroom in Parma, Ohio in...May(be) of 2002 before a Social Distortion show at the Agora. No, I didn't wear the muppet lid at the show. This was the show Sarah had blue hair, like Mommy's Little Monster...Also, you can see the legs of my Skelly tat, which having at a Social D show is almost like wearing the band you're seeing's shirt to their show, but whatever. I can't really take it off.

(As usual, I'm not saying anything about the Red Sox till something actually happens. And I'm just not talking about the Pats. I'm just not is all.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The $51,100,000 Question

Remember when all it took to get your man was asking Shonda to pass the cranberry sauce?

Well. So much for building from within, huh? We're going about as far outside our farm system as we can, and I sure hope we know what we're doing. This article by Jerry Crasnick speaks to the seriousness of this endeavor better than I can, probably. As I see it, the Scott Boras issue is the X-factor here. He can't bluff the Sox on this one like he did the Yankees with Johnny Damon. The only leverage he has here is that the Red Sox reallllllly want to get this deal done, so he may be able to use that to his advantage. But as Crasnick points out, Seibu realllllly wants to get this done, which is irrelevent, but is Boras really gonna torpedo a deal that will cost the Japanese team their $51mil, thereby shutting off a possible pipeline of future clients for Boras? Who'd want to deal with him ever again if he can't get this deal done? And Matsuzaka, I'm sure, wants to get this deal done because in a culture where appearance and stature are everything, I'll bet that returning to the Lions would be construed as an abject failure. So there's a lot to say that this thing gets done, but then again, there's Boras. As Crasnick says, the Sox will be looking long-term, because anything less than 5-6 years makes that "down payment" look a lot bigger. If I'm DM, I take the long-term deal, unless he's supremely confident in himself and KNOWS that in three years he's gonna be an even bigger deal. But the side with the most to lose if this doesn't happen is the Red Sox. They've gone this far, they're willing to spend this much, they need to take it to the end. Despite any concerns I have about the wisdom of such a deal, the bottom line is that they have to go all the way on this. If they settle for anything less than a five year deal on this, I think we're getting screwed. Otherwise, this guy is walking away from Boston at 29 or 30, after we've spent the dough and done all the legwork to get him here. And whatever we're gonna end up paying him now is gonna look like a real bargain compared to what he'd get next year as a true free agent. So, enough of my concern and cynicism, just get the damn deal done, and let's get to spring training. It feels like the start of a new day, doesn't it? And I hope someone knows what they're doing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Glad You Weren't There #1

Today, I begin what will most likely become an intermittently appearing, often forgotten, rarely interesting and ultimately space-filling series of photographs called, "Glad You Weren't There." Each installment will feature some random photograph I've taken, usually blurry and frequently not centered, as well as the story behind it. Why am I doing this you ask? Well, because I just figured out how to use our scanner. And because I'm sick of talking about the Red Sox until something ACTUALLY, without further ado, I bring you

Gummy Irish Flag

This was taken on June 16, 2002, somewhere between Pittsburgh and DC, most likely somewhere on the Pitt side of the Allegheny Tunnel, but that's just a guess. Sarah and I had only been dating a few months, we'd been up to the ol' Butler, PA to see her folks, and we'd gone to Mullaney's Harp and Fiddle in the Strip to watch the Ireland-Spain World Cup quarterfinal on tape delay. Ireland, of course, lost on kicks after getting jobbed by the refs who called a penalty kick on Nial Quinn, which was totally bogus, in the second half. Anyway, my love of Irish football met my love of gummy bears that fateful day, and that, combined with the Guinness I'd drank and the fact that Sarah was driving, allowed me to masterfully craft the only Irish flag in existence crafted entirely of gummy bears of which I am aware. The actual flag measured about 1 1/2"x1", and it was mounted on the June-hot dashboard of Sarah's silver Honda Civic. It stayed stuck there for some period of time before gravity, the tricky science of candy/vinyl adhesion and the fact that they were the only remaining gummy bears in the car intervened and caused their sad demise. But for some time there, the heartbroken soccer fan sons and daughters of Eire would have been damn proud of that little car.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006



Monday, November 06, 2006

A Question for Bill

With apologies to Cusack, I have to ask Mr. Bellichick a question: "If you guys know so much about [football], how come you're here at like [Gillette Stadium] on a [Sunday] night completely alone drinking beers with no [victory] anywhere?"

I know the answer is not "By choice, man."

In a game we never trailed by more than 10, we didn't run the ball consistently, despite having consistent success when we did run. I don't get it. I don't get the stupid penalties. (I think 3 of them were that only-created-for-the-Patriots illegal contact nonsense, which the Colts whiny loser owner Bill Polian lobbied for on the rules committee because his pansy-ass receivers can't play tough when others play that way.) I don't get Tommy's decision making, and I don't get why we can't get a defensive back within six yards of a receiver and I don't get why our kick coverage has to give up a big play every week. I don't get any of that stuff. But then again, I'm not paid a lot of money to get that stuff.

Which brings me to someone who does: the head coach. And yes, I'm gonna do the total Boston thing, and jump all over a guy I've helped elevate to a near deity. I disagree with the people who say Bellichick's always been a bad coach, he's just had good players, etc. He's a great coach, but one who's so stubborn that it's a detriment to the team at times. The fact that the team has little depth in the secondary, no primary wide receiver and a suspect kicker combined with the fact that the team is $10mil under the salary cap is completely unacceptable. Brady signed for LESS money so the team would have MORE money to spend on complimentary players. So why the hell aren't we doing that? Why haven't we really replaced Charlie Weis? Why can't we find a decent special teams coach? Why must he be a slave to this heartless, all-business model of personnel management, which has a history of working, but never allows for an exception to the rule, like keeping people like Viniatieri, Willie McGinnest, Joe Andruzzi, guys like that?

Again, I don't get it, and I'm not paid to. What I do get is frustrated. All of a sudden, going back to last year really, we can't beat the top flight teams we need to beat. We are now 0-4 in our last games against Denver and Indy. And with very little respect to those two teams, we really should be 3-1. We gave away the Denver games with turnovers, the playoff game was given away by some truly horrendous refereeing (the interference call on Assante and not calling the ball out of the endzone on Bailey's INT return) and last night, we commit five turnovers and we're still in the game because the Colts aren't that good. If we had played against them as well as we can, we'd blow them off the field. When we lost to them last year, we were decimated by injuries, and they legitimately beat us. Going back to the last times we beat them, here's a list of players we no longer have who were very important to those victories: Willie McGinnest, Ty Law, Adam Viniatieri, Deion Branch, David Givens, David Patten. The Colts are without Edgerrin James. They have been able to hang on to the core of their team, maybe at the expense of their defense, but still.

Yes, Bill's system works, but it's the players that make it work. I said it before: It's the bricks and mortar that make a building stand up, not just the architect's blueprint. As competitive as the NFL is, it's inexcusable to not use every resource available, and right now, the Patriots are wasting their time by not exploiting the salary cap to its fullest. They are doing a disservice to their players, but most of all to their fans. I'm sure every seat at Gillette and every beer and hot dog served wasn't discounted to compensate for us being under the salary cap. It's frustrating to be such a passionate fan of a team managed in such a dispassionate manner. It sucks always having to say goodbye to players who meant so much because they don't fit into a rigid, inflexible business plan. It takes a lot of fun out of being a fan.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

9:50 And Counting

Nine hours and fifty minutes till kickoff. I can't remember the last time I was this excited about a football game. Even the so-called big games last season were times for stress, since I never really thought we had it together last year. But now, I really feel like the Pats are starting to click, Tom's getting his so-called "third tier" receivers involved and the running game is really picking up steam. Look for Laurence Maroney and Clock Killin' Corey Dillon to have a BIG game tonight against the NFL's worst ranked rushing defense. And look for Peyton to have a long night as well, as Richard, Jarvis, Tully, Tedy and Vrabel get after his confused ass. It's supposed to be mid-30's, with no wind, which doesn't really create that Foxboro advantage, but I don't think it will matter. Nor will the new sod at Gillette. Nine hours and forty-five minutes till kickoff. I can't stand waiting!

Friday, November 03, 2006

First Bob Ryan, Now This...

Sportswriters more well known than myself keep copying me without attribution. First, there was Bob Ryan over the summer who totally ripped off "The Unpopular Post." (SBF- August 22) Now, Bill Simmons has totally lifted the "I love playing the Colts" thing and run all over the ol' with it...can't these guys come up with something better? Answer: No. I'm the best.

Bill does tell a funny story about how Peyton Manning must feel now, having Adam Vinaitieri on his team...I remember against the Texans in 2003, when Adam missed at Reliant Stadium in regulation, then got another chance in OT, and I remember having nothing but confidence that he'd drill the winner despite missing earlier. And then that season's Super Bowl vs. the Panthers was at Reliant, and in the first half, he missed a shorty and had another one blocked, and still despite all his troubles at Reliant that season, I just KNEW he'd make the winner there with about 6 seconds left, just like he did against the Rams. And I remember my dad said, after the game, that he was certain Adam was gonna miss at the end, just because of laws of averages and such. And at the time, I said, no way, he's too clutch, etc. But you know what? Despite all his success as a Pat, and in Foxboro, I hereby make the following prediction: If Sunday night's game comes down to Adam's shot to win it, HE WILL MISS. Because Peyton can't beat Tom in a big game. Because the field at Gillette is shitty. Because of the law of averages. It's time, Adam. It's time to MISS...