Friday, May 22, 2015

The Red Sox Can't Score Runs And It's Pissing Me Off

The Red Sox finally manage to right the ship in terms of the starting pitching staff and the hitters decide it's time to go on vacation. For the second night in the row the Red Sox offense was limited to just one run at home. In the process they wasted some really good pitching work by Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly and the bullpen. I don't know what's wrong with this team.

On Wednesday they combined for 9 hits, 3 walks and had a man reach on error. The only run came on a solo shot from Bogaerts. How do you get that many guys on base and not get any of them to score? The Rangers didn't even turn a double play in this game. The Sox were 1 for 8 with RISP, of course Ortiz didn't score from second because it was a weak single and he's slow. They left 12 men on base in this game. TWELVE! I don't know what it is about this team that they just can't deliver when it matters. They can complain about hard hit balls and bad luck with BABIP all they want, but it's not putting any runs on the board. The thing that kills me is that the Rangers starter Phil Klein was ripe for the picking. He's a converted reliever making his first big league start. We can knock around Sonny Gray and Felix Hernandez but not this guy? One timely hit would have put this game away and they had chance after chance after chance and couldn't deliver.

Thursday was another pathetic offensive night for the Red Sox. Another mediocre starter that looks like Cy Young incarnate against the Red Sox. Not as many baserunners in this game, but again the Red Sox managed to put across just one run and went 0 for 6 with RISP. The lone run came on a ground out from Ortiz.

It's not just these two games either, this drought has been dragging for a while. In their last 9 games they've scored just 17 runs. That's less than 2 runs per game. The Red Sox only have one player in the top 10 for any offensive stat and that's Hanley for home runs. Xander Bogaerts leads the team in BA at .271. I guess you could say it's Brock Holt at .280, but he hasn't been a full time player. To put it into perspective, that puts Bogey at 34th in the American League in BA.

They need a shake up. If that means firing Chili Davis that's fine. If that means getting Rusney Castillo into the lineup that's fine. Something has to change. For this team to have any chance at success the bats are going to have to carry this team.
-Mike


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Darrelle Revis Spoke Some Truth, Now All N.E. Fans Will Go Back To Calling Him Overrated


Let's all be honest here for a second. The only reason that the Patriots were able to win and be as dominant as they were last year was because of 3 people, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Darrelle Revis. Now that Revis is gone back home to the Jets, the Patriots are in a really really bad spot in terms of their defense and especially their secondary. They have Devin McCourty and then nobody, and the Patriots once again put the whole team on Tom Brady's throwing arm, even though it was proven that if you put a good secondary on this team, they will most likely win a superbowl.

But I'm not trying to get into that, I'm trying to get into former NE Cornerback Darrelle Revis' comments last night:

"Everybody's blowing it up because it is Tom Brady," Revis told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. "I understand that. But if (the NFL) feels he did the crime or he did something and they want to penalize them, then that's that. (The Patriots) have a history of doing stuff. You can't hide that. ... Tom was there when they did that stuff in the past."

"New England's been doing stuff in the past and getting in trouble," Revis said. "When stuff repeatedly happens, then that's it. I don't know what else to tell you. Stuff repeatedly happened through the years. You got SpyGate, you got this and that and everything else. Obviously in those situations in the past, they had the evidence. So they did what they needed to do."

"If I fail a drug test, then I fail a drug test. If I get a DUI, I get a DUI," Revis said. "If Tom gets caught with a DUI, it's a DUI. ... If they are saying that he did what he's done, then the suspension is the suspension. I'm not the commissioner and don't make the rules. If they want to change (the suspension) based on new information or new evidence, then OK, but it should have nothing to do with Tom being the face (of the NFL)."

Now all we hear from the Boston media and blogs is that Darrelle Revis is a piece of shit, people want his head, people have said he wasn't even really important last year... you know the typical New England excuse making machine. Newsflash, everything he said was true. They have been in trouble in the past for cheating and now they are in a new cheating scandal (although overblown x 100) and it is what it is. The Patriots fans have been going around saying, "this is just because we win and blah, blah, blah", no, this is happening because you guys are cheaters. You guys are the Barry Bonds/ Roger Clemens of football and your coach is the John Calipari of football. Nothing will take away your accomplishments and they shouldn't however, there always will be a "yea but" when it comes to your legacy and as soon as the most sensitive fan base can accept that, the sooner this is over. The owner already admitted guilt, you are at the mercy of the commissioner (whom your owner has been a butt buddy for) and everyone needs to shut up.

If there is a pie chart of why the Patriots won, 50% goes to Brady and 25% goes to Revis and Belichick. NE fans need to stop acting how the Red Sox act when they run someone out of town.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mike on DeflateGate

I haven't made a post about DeflateGate since the Wells report came out or the punishment was handed down. I'm going to do my best to not drink the Patriots Kool Aid here.

I've read through most of the Wells report. I also read through most of the Wells report context site that was made in response. I think both sides make some interesting points. The only relevant information in the Wells report that had not previously been leaked would be a) the text messages between Jastremski and McNally and b) the actual readings on the balls which had been exaggerated in earlier reports. The text messages are pretty damning. The Patriots come up with excuses to explain why they said the things that they did, but this is where the story gets too far fetched. Who calls themselves "the deflator" after they've lost weight? They talk a lot about the air pressure in the balls and needles and going to ESPN. Maybe it's not a smoking gun, but it's pretty bad. If the standard of evidence you need is more probable than not then this fits the bill.

I think there were plenty of legitimate issues with the Wells report. The way they selectively chose when Walt Anderson's memory was gospel(pregame ball readings) and when it was wrong (which gauge he used). I think Exponent has a spotty record of finding results that agree with whatever their client wants them to find. I think Ted Wells has made a lot of money and raised the profile of his firm by working for the NFL and it can be hard to bite the hand that feeds you. That said, I don't know how you perform the investigation without compromising some level of objectivity. They don't work for free, somebody has to pay them. I think 100 seconds isn't much time to precisely deflate that many footballs. I don't think passing by communal bathrooms to get to a private one is damning, a lot of people like to do their business alone. I don't think that refusing a 4th in-person interview and offering a phone interview instead is unreasonable for a part time employee with a full time job out of state. The texts are the only thing that I have a hard time getting around, the rest is just fluff.

The two main issues I have with what has gone down are these:

1) Stretching what happened here to implicate and punish Tom Brady.

2) The severity of the punishment.

I think the evidence of Tom Brady's active involvement here is just fluff.

They point out that Brady contacted them after the AFC Championship game after not speaking much beforehand as a sign of guilt. I think that's garbage. If I were in Brady's position and saw that my team and I had been accused of doctoring the footballs, reaching out to the guy who handled the footballs to ask if there was any merit to this would be the first thing I would do.It's entirely consistent with the actions of an innocent man.

They talk a lot about the signed memorabilia that Brady gifted to the ball attendants and try to frame it as though this was a quid pro quo for deflating the footballs illegally. I would be shocked if Brady and every other big star in the NFL wasn't constantly giving out this kind of stuff to the personnel guys close to the team. I would assume it's a common perk for a job like that. Wellsreportcontext.com says that he gives out signed items often and that the items given is not exceptional. All of that seems both plausible and likely. I don't buy that Brady intended these items as a bribe.

The text messages between McNally and Jastremski does mention Tom's dissatisfaction with the inflation levels of the balls. These texts also stated that the officiating crew had overinflated them to 16 psi before the game. I could easily envision a scenario where Brady complained to his ball attendants about the balls being overinflated and the ball attendants going a bit beyond the rules to ensure that the balls were more to Brady's liking. The Wells report seems convinced that neither of these guys would have done something like this without instructions from Brady. I don't buy it. I think it's clear that Brady complained about the pressure of the balls, but I think it's a stretch to say he asked them to break the rules to get them the way he likes them.

Many people have pointed to Brady stating that he doesn't know McNally is or his role on the team. I think this might just be a simple mistake. Maybe he's on a first name basis with McNally and never bothered to learn his last name. Maybe he has a nickname and hasn't heard his real name. Maybe Brady's really bad with names and just considers them to be ball guy #1 and ball guy #2. I'm sure Foxboro and the locker room is full of non-player personnel, players, coaches, fans, etc.; even if you work with somebody for a while maybe you don't know their full name.

The Wells report talked about Brady's unwillingness to hand over his phone to investigators. I would imagine that this decision was at the request of his lawyers and the NFLPA. They gave Brady and his agent the option of surrendering any information they felt was relevant to the investigation. If they had wanted to actually cover something up they could have just handed over the texts that they knew the investigators would have had from the other phones that were surrendered and just said they didn't find anything else. I don't think that it's an attempt to hide something necessarily. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski also declined to hand over his phone and he was cleared of any wrong doing by the report.

I don't think there is anything solid here that ties Brady to any wrongdoing.

The second issue is the severity of the punishment.

The comparison that is getting made often is to the punishments for Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. I understand that there is a separate legal system in place to punish people for these offenses. When it comes to deflating footballs there is no legal action coming, so it's entirely up to the NFL to levy an appropriate punishment. Because of this, I'd like to stick to comparisons that don't involve the legal system.

Falcons caught piping in crowd noise: a $350,000 fine, the loss of their fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft and suspension of team president Rich McKay from the league's competition committee for at least three whole months.

Panthers caught heating balls on the sideline after being warned by the NFL before the game not to do so: No punishment, just a warning.

Chargers caught using stickum towels: $20,000 fine, eventually overturned on appeal.

I chose these three because they're the most recent and relevant examples for the Patriots situation. I won't even get into failed PED tests or salary cap violations or tampering. As you can see, none of the punishment doled out here is in the same stratosphere as what's been given to the Patriots. No $5 million investigations launched. No player suspensions levied. No legacies called into question. They are treated as the minor procedural violations that they are.

I'm so tired of being the NFL's whipping boy when they want to make an example out of somebody. Nobody cares about other teams violating the same/similar rules. Nobody bats an eye about things that ACTUALLY give a competitive advantage like failed steroid/PED tests, but if you probably let air out of footballs and the quarterback maybe knew about it they have to bring the hammer down. Before you start in with the whole "but, but, but SpyGate!" bullshit then why did we get nailed to the wall for SpyGate too for a "first offense". The entire NFL disciplinary system is just a representation of the whims of the greater NFL fan base. If you're successful enough they can find some minor procedural error and the media will turn a molehill into Mount Everest. I guess the lesson here is that if Tom Brady wants to cheat he should start doing steroids. That might make a real difference and if he were to get caught we wouldn't lose any picks. If he gets really lucky like Richard Sherman did they might make some small chain of custody error and the suspension will get thrown out completely.

I wanted Robert Kraft to keep fighting. Even if it was a hopeless cause I wanted him to expose the NFL disciplinary system for the kangaroo court that it is. I'm hoping that this was part of a behind the scenes handshake agreement to get Tom Brady's suspension reduced/thrown out as a consolation prize, but at this point I'm not getting my hopes up.

This isn't going to get me to stop watching Patriots football. Doing that would be cutting off the nose to spite the face. That said, this is a step in the wrong direction for my enjoyment of the NFL and it's product. If I ever did stop watching I think I would look back on this as a big turning point in coming to that conclusion.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Don't Know What To Think About Robert Kraft Quivering To Goodell


"Although I might disagree what is decided, I do have respect for [commissioner Roger Goodell] and believe that he's doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of [all 32 teams]," Kraft said, while speaking to the media at the NFL owners meetings. "So in that spirit, I don't want to continue the rhetoric that's gone on for the last four months.

"I'm going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won't appeal."

There better be a ploy to get Brady 0 games here, because Goodell made Kraft and the Patriots his bitch today. Listen, I hate the Patriots, however, I despise Goodell more than life itself and for the Patriots who have in the past said they were going to fight the punishment the team got of 1 million, and a 1st and 4th round pick penalty, to basically admit guilt and accept the penalty is ridiculous.

There are 2 theories that go on here:

1. There is a handshake agreement that Tom Brady gets a lesser punishment... which Brady getting suspended 4 games is asinine.

2. The NFL has A LOT more information on Deflategate than put out in the Ted Wells report.

Admission of guilt is a tough pill to swallow and for the Patriots to do it I'm shocked. Their legacy is already marred in controversy (Spygate and now deflategate) and this just gives people like me to bring up that they haven't won a Superbowl without cheating. Now, I know that, I'm just some idiotjerk that latches onto things anti-Patriot, but I wonder how many of those other owners think that and will continue to think that now with the accepting of the penalty. Maybe Kraft didn't have as much support from other owners and that's why he backed out of a lawsuit.

The worst thing that comes out of this.... is with Kraft now accepting the penalty and not suing the NFL, this probably means that Goodell will probably be around for a lot longer then I want him to be.

Friday, May 15, 2015

DEATH


I have wavered back and forth on whether I wanted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to get the death penalty or not. I have zero political agenda when it comes to the death penalty, I have no strong opinion for it or against it. And I would be super hypocritical if I were to argue strongly one way or the other, because my feelings would change significantly if something happened to my friends or family. But living in Boston, living 2 miles away from where the bombs went off and seeing the carnage on TV and the pain that this maggot caused, I think I was rooting for the death penalty.

Dzhokhar is an animal. He knowingly went out there that marathon Monday with the intent to kill people and create chaos and that is exactly what he did. So knowing that this guy had his right to be alive be taken away gives me a little bit more of a relief feeling than if he was in jail forever, and slowly be given freedoms.

I know there is going to be a lengthy appeal process and I don't know enough about the legal mumbo jumbo that goes along with it, but I really hope it sticks and I almost root for the appeal process to take 10 years, so this scumbag has every day until his last to think about what he did and think about Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Sean Collier and the other 264 people he injured and maimed.

Either way, this part is over, the scumbag will never step foot in MA or outside of prison ever again and I wish him nothing but the worst.

Goodell Overseeing The Appeal Is So Goodell and The NFL It's Ridiculous



Oh man, the funniest thing to me about all of this, is that when BountyGate happened and I said, Goodell is a power hungry Nazi, Patriots fan Rob and Bob were defending Goodell and the actions he took, most likely because they were trying to use it as a way to minimize Spygate.

Well... boy have the times changed. The Patriots are going exactly what the Saints went through and now all the Patriots fans are up in arms about Goodell. Even though Kraft and all the teams (minus the Steelers) voted for this to be the system.

It's sickening that the NFL can go and punish players, then when they go to appeal the punishment Goodell flips his sign on his desk from Commissioner to Appeal Hearing Dude. Goodell is a scumbag and has been for years, he has pretty much handled everything incorrectly since he got there, from the ref strike, to Bountygate, to Ray Rice, etc. This is no different. I am perfectly ok with the punishment he handed to the Patriots organization, as they hired these guys, and then stopped them from talking to Ted Wells after the text messages got released, however, Tom Brady's punishment is ridiculous. Bob takes the stance that they should have been fined per ball, however, it's pretty obvious the Patriots/ Brady/ Ball Boys were doing something illegal when it comes to the balls and because Brady lied and because Brady didn't help out the investigation he deserves to be punished... just has to. Hell the Patriots got off a little lucky, figuring the Saints lost their coach for a year and their GM for half a year due to circumstantial evidence, and Belichick who is both does not miss a game. Hell, it's pretty odd that he's gone through 2 major cheating scandals and missed zero games, he's like the Calipari of the NFL.

What I think is going to happen with all this is 2 things.

1. Goodell will dig in his incompetent shoes into the ground and leave it the way it is.

2. He thinks this is a way to get on Kraft's good side and reduce the penalty, while throwing Ted Well's under the bus and undermining Troy Vincent's ruling.

He's in a no win situation and it will be interesting to see how he plays his hand. I think he's most likely one foot out the door based on his past foolishness, and this hopefully is the nail in the coffin.

And a note to the Patriots fans..... Shut the fuck up. The world doesn't hate you. You aren't being targeted specifically because the NFL is against you. The "sting" was completely legitimate as if you want to catch people doing something against the rules, you don't let the person know you are stinging him. The Patriots completely brought this upon themselves by bending the rules again, if you think that the world is somewhat is against you, it's well deserved based on that.... just stop poorly cheating. I have been talking about Goodell's awful ways for years and even my team voted against this.

I actually am more on the Patriots side then not when it comes to fighting Goodell. So it's nice to see them all agreeing with me about Goodell.

DeflateGate: An Embarrassment For Everyone


We have had the Wells report, and now was have the Patriots rebuttal . There is a good amount of people making fun of it, some of it is fair criticism. The Patriots counter points are decent in parts, the part about the gauges, the breaks in the NFL protocol, ect were good. Yet, it was written like an angry child. What kind of lawyer uses cap locks?

Instead of the focus being on whether the Patriots science they are producing has any merit, we are going to be joking about deflating being a weight loss term, calling people Dorito dinks (best thing I have ever heard), and how we have regressed to basically a glorified instant messenger battle (honestly DP and I have had more adult text messages then these reports).

There is blame all over the place. I have said it before, and I will say it to the end of days, the NFL should've come out the day after the game and said that there is 11 balls that are under-inflated, here is your $225,000 fine, good day. Instead, they set a sting and decided to make this a big Goodell "please love me" tour. The Patriots fucked up, they should've said that there was at the very least a break in NFL protocol, they are sorry and then only fight if the outcome was more than the $225,000 fine and maybe a late pick.

Now we are in a childish battle. The only one I think looks at all decent in this is Brady. He is saying nothing, going through proper channels and in the end he will get his suspension at the very least reduced if not thrown out all together. Goodell made a huge mistake taking think appeal on to himself, because now he just gave Brady's lawyers even more evidence that this system is unfair.

The Patriots as an organization really can't do much. If they go after the league, they basically can't win because they agreed to these bi-laws. DP does have one thing right and that's that some of this is on Kraft, he gave Goodell this power and now its biting him in the ass. Right now the NFL looks stupid and childish, the Patriots look stupid and childish, and I have a headache.

So what as fans of the NFL can we root for here? Well there is always a bias, but for me I hope Brady's suspension gets thrown out. I don't think there will be any changes in the penalties to the Patriots. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for Goodell. And at least we all got some awesome fantasy team names for the forseeable future.

Hope you all have a great weekend.... Dorito Dinks.

Red Sox Grades: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

I missed the game against the A's the other night. I missed this one too. These west coast start times are killing me. At any rate, the bats aren't getting it done, that's 6 runs total in the past 3 games. Fortunately, the pitching has gotten their act together recently with Wade Miley and Joe Kelly putting up some solid starts. They're not DOMINANT starts, but solid. Miley threw 7 shutout innings, but worked around a large number of base runners. Kelly was the same story last night. Whatever, it's not the most confidence inspiring stuff, but being able to work around base runners without giving up the big hits is a big part of the job.

Like I said before, Kelly got into a lot of tight spots and worked out of most of them unscathed. He got himself into some hot water in the 4th by giving up back to back singles and then walking their #6 hitter to load the bases, but he came up with a strikeout and got out of the inning clean. He might have gotten out of a 2 on, 1 out jam in the 6th if a wild pitch hadn't advanced the runner and allowed him to score from 3rd on a ground out. It's a step in the right direction for Kelly.
Starting Pitching Grade: B

Tommy Layne inherited a runner from Kelly with 1 out in the 7th. He threw 3 pitches and got out of the inning on a double play and that was the sum of Tommy Layne's night. How's that for efficiency! Matt Barnes got himself in a jam by giving up two singles, but also got bailed out by a double play ball. Barnes collected the win for his efforts. Koji had a 1-2-3 9th inning to collect his 8th save of the year. It's strange the way people are talking about Koji like he's a problem. He blew the one save in Baltimore a few weeks ago and people act like he's washed up. He's had 7 appearances since then and hasn't given up a hit, let alone a run. I think there are some legitimate gripes about the bullpen as Edward Mujica being DFA'd while Andrew Miller leads the majors in saves and has yet to give up a run, but I don't think Koji has been the issue.
Bullpen Grade: A-

A frustrating night for the Red Sox bats. 10 hits, 4 walks and a hit batter kept the bases busy for the Red Sox, 11 men left on base, 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. It's almost laughable. Hanley Ramirez goes 4 for 5 with a double, but doesn't score a run or an RBI. The one time Hanley didn't get a hit the bases were loaded. Ramirez would have scored on Victorino's homer if Mike Napoli hadn't hit into a double play beforehand. They left the bases loaded twice in this game and couldn't score a run. The game winner was a sacrifice by Mookie Betts. This game should have been a comfortable win, but the Red Sox couldn't come up with a timely hit to make it so. Mike Napoli was awful this game. Napoli was 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts. The one time he didn't strike out he hit into a double play. It's getting harder to ignore his struggles. It's getting glossed over due to how bad the pitching staff has been, but I think Napoli is to blame for a lot of the Red Sox offensive woes. He's hitting 5th in this lineup, playing every day and he's hitting .165. If this keeps up the Red Sox might benefit from letting Brock Holt get some more at bats at Napoli's expense.
Batting Grade: D+
-Mike

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Red Sox Grades: Red Sox 2, A's 9

I wanted to wait on this, but I'm ready to declare the 3+3+3+3+3=1+2+3+4+5 rotation experiment a failure. They sold Red Sox Nation on the idea that you could get away without top of the rotation pitching by having a consistent mediocrity from front to back. With a supercharged batting order like ours we didn't need dominant aces, just somebody who could keep it close. I was skeptical, but I think this experiment has gone worse than I think anybody had anticipated. Instead of 5 number 3 starters it's been more like a number 3 starter and 4 number 5 starters. Rick Porcello hasn't pitched well, but compared to the rest of the staff he looks much better. The lineup has been under performing to some degree, but this has been overshadowed by the failures of the pitching. Just two runs against a struggling pitcher like Pomeranz is also enough to lose the game even if Masterson had not shit the bed.

What's left to say about Masterson? At his best he's been mediocre, at his worst he loses you the game single-handedly. Farrell is already cooking up medical excuses for why the kid is struggling. I see a vague injury DL stint in Justin's immediate future. He's a huge liability. Thank God he's on a 1-year "prove it" deal.
Starting Pitching Grade: F

With Masterson putting the Red Sox in a 5 run hole, knuckleballer Steven Wright came in as long relief. He pitched 5.2 innings and gave up an inherited run to put Masterson's total to 6 earned runs. Wright gave up 3 more of his own in the remainder of this game. He managed to preserve the bullpen and didn't give up too many runs in the process.
Bullpen Grade: B

They didn't work a single walk in this game and only came up with 4 hits. Dustin Pedroia was 2 for 3, but got caught trying to stretch a single into a double. Mike Napoli had an RBI single. Shane Victorino had a double. Blake Swihart didn't have a hit, but did ground out to bring Victorino home for the RBI. Everybody else was a black hole. Masterson's implosion is the story here, but even if he'd thrown an above average game it probably wouldn't have mattered.
Batting Grade: D-
-Mike

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rob's Article Should Be: The Patriots Could Win The SB, But Probably Not...


I'll be the devil's advocate here, the Patriots are going to be without 4 time Superbowl winning* Quarterback Tom Brady for the first 4 games.

The first 4 games are against Pittsburgh, Bills, Jaguars and Dallas.

I'll put it this way. I can see the Patriots winning 3 out of those 4 games... but more than likely will finish 1-3 just because that's a lot for Jimmy Garapolo(sp) to do.

However, the Patriots won't win the Superbowl because of Brady being suspended. It's because the second Darrelle Revis walked out that door, the Patriots fate was sealed. The Patriots can be pissed and motivated all they want, but the fact they are missing a secondary and probably the second most important position in the NFL in CB's will be a huge detriment to them. They may be able to put up a lot of points and I'm sure we are going to have some people calling the Pats classless because they run up the score (which is ridiculous), but they will not be able to stop anyone in the air. Nobody.

They play some high octane offenses on the schedule in:
Pittsburgh, Dallas, Indy, Denver

And some offenses that could be good in:
Buffalo, Philly, and maybe the Jets.

These will be tough teams to stop in the air. And as much as the fans and players can draw extra motivation from this cheating scandal, the fact is, they just don't have the talent defensively. With only McCourty in the secondary, and you don't know what your going to get from Mayo and with Hightower being injured... it's going to be real tough.

The biggest thing working for the Pats is a cupcake schedule, I think there isn't a question they will make the playoffs, cuz they will.

However, when it goes to the Playoffs and there are great teams playing, they have no stopper.


And a couple thoughts on Deflategate...

How is nobody in NE justifying that the Patriots didn't help out with the investigation and that's why they are in this much trouble? If the Patriots just fessed up to it, none of this would have happened.

Also, how has Bill Belichick not got suspended through 2 major controversies? Hell, Sean Payton got suspended for a year because of something he didn't pay attention too. I wonder what Bill has on the NFL.

Also, for all the people blaming Goodell for this... Well Kraft, his biggest advocate, put him in this situation. He is the one has basically been defending him through everything. No Patriot fan can go on a soapbox bashing Goodell without realizing they were a major influence of why he was there.

Also, another tidbit, The Steelers were the only team in the NFL that voted against Goodell having this much power.

Patriots now more likely to win another Super Bowl after Goodell provided them with adversity

There's a factory in Foxborough, Mass. that takes the raw material of adversity and somehow turns it into wins. A few months ago the workers there turned an overblown story about under-inflated footballs into a shiny silver trophy. Several years ago they turned an uproar over videotaping signals which were visible to tens of thousands of people, into a nearly perfect season. The year after that, they went 11-5 despite losing their All-Pro quarterback. And a few years before that, a team that lost 31-0 to the Bills went on to win 21 games and 2 Super Bowls in a row.

The team most likely to succeed in adverse situations is the New England Patriots. They've gone through more -gates than a flight attendant. They survived the Aaron Hernandez arrest. They endured the hype around Tim Tebow.

Tom Brady will miss up to the first 4 games of the regular season. Those are against the Steelers, Jaguars, Bills, and Cowboys. Two good teams, another that always plays the Patriots tough, and the Jaguars. Fortunately, only one game is against a divisional opponent, and only one game is against another contending AFC team. Unless Goodell suspends Brady for appealing his suspension (he already suspended him for not submitting his cell phone, so don't dismiss it), Brady should return to play the Colts on an extra-dramatic Sunday Night Football, then the Jets and Dolphins.

Obviously without Tom Brady those first 4 games will be tough. This team might find itself 1-3 or even 0-4 to start the season.

Then again, it's plausible (or shall I say "more probable than not") that the Patriots can manage to go 2-2 in those games. Going 3-1 is within the realm of possibilities. And although it's unlikely, a 4-0 start isn't out of the question.

So the Patriots could start the season 2-2, and then get even better by adding Tom Brady to their active roster. This team started the 2014 season 2-2. We all remember "We're on to Cincinnati." The Pats then won 13 of the next 15 games, and the Super Bowl.

So as far as the impact of this suspension goes, I don't think it's incredibly severe. And considering how the Patriots rally when they perceive the world to be against them, I think they are now more likely to win the Super Bowl then they had been before Goodell threw the book at Brady.

And if the Patriots do win the Super Bowl in a few months... I don't think I'll ever stop laughing.

Photo Credit:
USA Today/Sports Illustrated

Red Sox Outlast A's in 11 Innings

I just can't get into DeflateGate right now. The Wells report has more holes than swiss cheese. The punishment is is over the top I can't believe anybody, including DP, thinks it's a reasonable sanction. I have nothing to add to the objections and disbelief expressed by Bmack and the Captain.


We're on to the Red Sox. I haven't been keeping up with the Red Sox grades as I had been earlier in the season. They hit a nasty skid getting swept at Fenway by the Yankees and dropping 2 of 3 against the Rays and the Blue Jays, but they've managed to string together two wins. They lost Hanley for a few games after he ran into a wall in left field and David Ortiz lost his appeal of a one game suspension. As a result, the Red Sox have struggled to score runs over that stretch. The Red Sox fired pitching coach Juan Nieves as a scapegoat for the collective underachievement of the starting rotation. I generally liked Nieves, but with the entire pitching staff posting numbers significantly worse than their career norms somebody had to be the fall guy. There was also some suggestion that Nieves was better suited to working with polished veterans like Lester, Lackey and Peavy than developing pitchers like Porcello, Kelly, Masterson and Miley. Perhaps there is something to that, but I'm leaning towards scapegoat.

I didn't stay up to watch this whole game as it was a 10 PM start and went into extra innings. The A's have really struggled in the early part of this season after making the playoffs last year. Their 12-22 record is just a half game above the Phillies for the worst record in baseball. This was a tough game. Rick Porcello only made it 5 innings and the bullpen had to eat the remaining 4 as well as two extra innings of work. The bats had to grind out runs. Before going to bed I saw a nice hustle play where Dustin Pedroia managed to score from first base on a David Ortiz single. It was nice to see the effort level is still there.

Rick Porcello labored through 5 innings. In those 5 innings he gave up 9 hits, a walk and threw a wild pitch; but somehow still limited the damage to just 3 earned runs. I get that the A's traditionally work counts very well and run up your pitch count, but he gave up at least a hit in every inning he worked. One well timed hit could have turned this start into a meltdown.
Starting Pitching Grade: C-

The bullpen ate the lion's share of this game with the remaining 4 innings and 2 extra innings of work. Alexi Ogando, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Tommy Layne, Koji Uehara and Matt Barnes combined for 6 innings of work, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Craig Breslow gave up back to back singles to leadoff the 7th and gave up the game tying run. The rest of the relievers didn't give up a hit. They were asked to eat a lot of innings in a tight game and they did that well on the whole.
Bullpen Grade: A-

Shane Victorino came off the DL and made his first start back. He promptly went 0 for 4 with no walks and was the only complete black hole in the lineup. Mookie Betts continues to deliver with two RBI singles and a walk in this game. Dustin Pedroia had some nice base running to score on the Ortiz single and hit an RBI single of his own as well as working two walks. Ortiz had an RBI single as well as a leadoff double in the 6th inning, but was picked off at second. Hanley was 0 for 4 in this game, but still managed to work a walk. Mike Napoli was also hitless, but managed to work two walks. Pablo Sandoval was the hero of this game with the winning home run in the 11th, prior to that he had been 0 for 4 and had grounded into a double play. Blake Swihart and Xander Bogaerts came up with two hits each. Overall, the production wasn't bad. They worked counts, got on base and managed to put a few across. They still squandered some nice opportunities to put this game away without needing extra frames.
Batting Grade: B-
-Mike

Monday, May 11, 2015

When Tom Brady's punishment for DeflateGate was announced, I laughed hysterically

My friend Mike called me at 5:39 p.m. and asked me "What the hell is going on in this world?" It took me a few seconds to realize he was talking about DeflateGate. Then he told me the punishment the NFL announced it would levy on Tom Brady and the Patriots:

A 4 game suspension

A $1 million fine

A 1st round pick in 2016 and a 4th rounder in 2017

Upon hearing this news, I laughed. Hysterically. This is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.

The 4th round pick is the cherry on top. I can imagine Roger Goodell and NFL execs discussing the punishment in a board room somewhere. "Okay, so we have a suspension for a quarter of the season, a million dollar fine, and a first round pick... Still seems a little light... How 'bout we toss a 4th round pick on top? There we go. That works."

I honestly can't get outraged over this. Not yet. Maybe I will when the season starts and the Steelers are able to get a BS win because they're going against Jimmy Garoppolo. Maybe I'll be angry if the Pats miss out on the playoffs or a bye because of a loss in those 4 games. We'll see. Then again, if the Pats go 4-0 during this suspension, I'll laugh even harder.

But I can't be upset right now. It's too ludicrous. I can't get upset at something that I don't take seriously. And I don't take this seriously. I don't take the NFL seriously, don't take the Wells Report seriously, don't take Goodell seriously. What's even funnier is that they take themselves seriously. But it's a joke. I tend to laugh at jokes.

The lack of proven connection to Brady, the inconsistencies and questions that the Wells Report didn't address, the fact that the same report disagreed with referee Walt Anderson about which pressure gauge he used, so on and so on. I can't marry the flimsiness of the evidence with the brutality of the punishments.

And ultimately, the Patriots are 4 time Super Champions. Even with this suspension they're still contenders for another title. It's a harsh punishment, but the lasting effect might not be as painful as it seems. It's a silly punishment, but these are silly people, playing God in their silly world.

And the final punchline of this joke: Tom Brady's first game back would be against the Colts in Indy. Think he'll be pumped for that?

-The Captain

Goodell Finally Gets Something Right


After years of Patriots favoritism, Roger Goodell had no choice but to do what he did with the Patriots and their cheating ways.

Tom Brady will be suspended 4 games, the NFL will take away a 1, 4 round picks and fine the team a million bucks.

First let me say this.... I agree with everything minus the suspension. I thought Brady should have got 1 game, maybe 2 at the most, however the draft picks being taken away and the organization getting fined I'm ok with.

The reason that the franchise will be fined, other than employing cheaters of course, is their refusal to help the investigation. They banned McNally from being interviewed after the text messages were released and that their QB refused to show information.

What I bet happens, is that Brady will be knocked down to 2 games.

But, I mean the Patriots need to stop cheating and none of this stuff will happen.

Wells Report calls NFL referee Walt Anderson a liar

The Wells Report refutes NFL referee Walt Anderson's recollection of which air pressure gauge he used pre-game to check the Patriots' footballs. And that refutation is based on scientific experiments, which were based on Anderson's recollection of the pre-game air pressures of the Patriots' and Colts' footballs.

So Anderson's memory of which gauge he used is "probably" wrong, based on Anderson's memory of something else. So his memory is unreliable, based on how reliable his memory is.

That's odd, isn't it?

It's true that I'm a Patriots fan. But if you're one of those who think I'm just being a homer, and who think that the Patriots clearly cheated, then you should be able to spare a few brief moments to ponder the argument I'm about to make. If you can't read with an open mind the argument of a humble amateur blogger such as myself, then your convictions must be quite flimsy.

Here are the facts around the Wells Report refuting Walt Anderson's memory.

-Referee Walt Anderson brings 2 pressure gauges to games with him. He used one to check the Patriots' footballs pre-game, and those that were under 12.5 psi, he inflated until they were. He later recalled that the pressure gauge he used had a Wilson logo, and a long, crooked needle. The other gauge he had with him did not have a logo, and had a shorter,straighter needle.

-At halftime, those two gauges were each used to measure the air pressure in the Patriots' footballs. Each ball was measured by both gauges.

-The gauge with the Wilson logo consistently gave higher measurements than the non-logo gauge (0.3-0.45 psi higher). According to the Wilson gauge, 8 of the 11 Patriots' footballs tested had pressures consistent with the Ideal Gas Law (at least 11.32 psi) we've heard so much about, meaning they could have started the game at 12.5, and the decrease in pressure at halftime was due to the laws pf physics, not some dude in a bathroom.

In conclusion, Anderson says he used the Wilson gauge pre-game to measure the footballs, ensuring each was at 12.5 psi or more. At halftime, in 8 of 11 balls, that same gauge showed a loss in pressure consistent with what the Ideal Gas Law would allow for had the balls been at 12.5 psi at kickoff.

In other words, the circumstances around the circumstantial evidence that the Wells Report relies on, don't support the conclusions that the report reaches. Anderson, who is paid by the NFL to do things like test the air pressure of footballs, says he believes he used a pressure gauge with a Wilson logo, and a long, crooked needle. He wasn't certain, but he believes that was the gauge he used.

However, according to Ted Wells, who wasn't in the officials' locker room testing footballs, who wasn't paid by the NFL to do things like test footballs, concludes that Anderson is "more likely than not," wrong about which gauge he used.

Isn't that odd?

It takes Wells 60 pages to explain why he believes Anderson "probably" didn't use the gauge he remembers using. The circular logic behind the explanation is that Exponent did experiments trying to figure out why the Patriots' balls deflated so much more than the Colt's balls did from pre-game to halftime.

However, the amount of deflation from pre-game to halftime is based on Anderson's recollection of what the approximate air pressures were pre-game. Anderson remembers the Colts' footballs being in the neighborhood of 13.0 psi. That's his memory of a dozen footballs. And that's the basis for the Exponent experiments' determination of how much pressure the Colts' footballs lost (even though only 4 balls were tested).

In other words, the Wells Report says Anderson's memory is wrong, and the proof of that is an experiment based on something else he remembered.

Does that make sense?

Facts, truth, and logic are the enemies of the monster the DeflateGate story has become. Don't forget, this story all started with a now proven false leak to ESPN about 10 of 12 Patriots footballs being more than 2 psi lower than the legal limit. By the time that was shown to be false, the genie was out of the bottle, and the story had a life of its own.

Did the Wells Report try to find truth, or did it try to find guilt?

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
Getty Images

Brady Is Going To Get Suspended And It's Bullshit


Brady is going to get suspended in the next couple days off a bullshit report (more on that in a sec). Yet, what bothers me the most is the NFL could've easily handed out a fine ($25,000 per ball) the day after the game, and that could've been it. Instead they decided to drag Brady through the mud. I don't know if this is a way for Goodell to buy some positive reaction from NFL fans, since the world hate the Patriots (right or wrong it is the truth), or if they just think any healdlines are good ones whether or not they make them look like shit.

First off, Goodell has already lied about this situation. He said he didn't know anything about it untill after the game. Well, we know that's not true because the Colts complained about this BEFORE the game. It was a sting operation, they wanted to catch them, and if you go by the Wells report they did.

Then they go and spend 5 million dollars to investigated this issue, which is insane. Once again, I think most would agree that this is a pretty minor issue, and in a blowout loss a $25,000 fine per ball would've been top of the market for punishment. Now they have to do something major to justify all the press and money have they put into this.

Now on to the facts.

The two biggest factors getting the Patriots into trouble the text messages, and the pressure readings. Yet, even those have come under serious trouble in terms of being factual.  Rather than just copy and paste I will give you the link to Rich Levine's article, which I found interesting (HERE).

I don't know how we can come to the conclusion that Brady is the head of this. How do we know he just isn't bitching that these guys aren't putting it at the lowest legal level? Maybe he just rides these guys, and they get annoyed.

Then there is the pressure readings. Please read (HERE) for more information on that. They can't even get their facts right, and Wells seemed to have changed the story of the ref who explains he thinks he used the other gauge, which would've put the Patriots football near or at regulation.

On top of that they disregard that Brady gave 5 hours of testimony. They instead focus that he would've give up his personal phone. Something Steven Gostowski did as well. 

Now, I am biased. I am looking for information, because #1 I am a Pats fan. #2 I think this shoudl've been a fine and they made it into something bigger. #3 I don't like the way the media, and the league have handled this at all.

What really comes out of this is that DP has been right all along. Goodell is the fucking worst. Please take the time and read the articles I have attached. Patriots haters are always going to be on one side, and Patriot fans on the other. the league should be independent, and that report didn't feel very independent, and using a seriously flawed report to drag one of your stars through the mud is just awful.

So once again, I think there should be at most a fine for $25,000 per ball. What do I think WILL HAPPEN? I think Brqady gets suspended for 4 games, and then gets it reduced to 2, which is bullshit.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

DeflateGate report probably made us generally aware of what was already suspected

The DeflateGate investigation is over. Ted Wells has concluded that the Patriots probably broke the rules and intentionally deflated footballs. And that Tom Brady was probably generally aware that this was going on. The report has more "probables" than a weekly NFL injury report.

Could you imagine if the most important lines in literature and cinema were phrased so inconclusively? What if the Gospels meekly proclaimed "And on the third day, Jesus probably rose, and we're generally aware that one day he will come again." What if Shakespeare's Hamlet asked "To probably be, or not to be? I'm generally aware that this is the question." How about classic lines in Star Wars and Terminator 2? "Luke, I'm probably your father." "I'm generally aware that I'll be back."

And aren't Ted Wells' conclusions things that we pretty much knew already? What new information has this investigation uncovered?

Didn't the 2 weeks of non-stop media coverage of DeflateGate take place under the presumption that the Patriots were probably guilty? From the initial leak of the story, to the Colts' suspicions earlier in the season, to the surveillance footage of a ballboy going into a bathroom with the footballs, the general consensus was that the Patriots were PROBABLY guilty. So by including qualifying words like "probably" and "generally aware," Ted Wells' investigation has only put into writing what most people had already assumed months ago: The Patriots are probably guilty, the quarterback was probably generally aware of it.

So what did the investigation unearth? Did it prove that employees deliberately deflated footballs? Did it prove that Tom Brady instructed them to do so? The report's conclusion only argues that Brady was "generally aware" that this was probably happening. What does that mean exactly?

I don't know why Patriots haters are thumping their chests about such an inconclusive conclusion. The haters long ago concluded that the Patriots were guilty. Most of them also thought it was a Belichick initiated conspiracy, and this report actually exonerates Belichick (in stronger language than it indicts Brady, weirdly). This report gives the haters a pile of inconclusive paper to use as ammunition in their never-ending and futile war against the Patriots. And I'm glad for that. The haters make winning fun.

I also don't know why Patriots fans can't face the fact that there's more than a little smoke here. Although speaking of smoke, the scientific evidence in the Wells report comes from a company that once claimed second hand smoke didn't cause cancer. I'm not sure how reputable their science is. I also don't know why Patriots fans should care.

As a football fan I've seen players busted for PEDs, I've seen teams violate the salary cap, I've seen players paid under the table, I've seen players tampered with, I've seen teams pipe noise into stadiums, I've seen falsified injury reports, I once saw a trainer trip an opponent, I once saw a head coach obstruct a kick return. I'm not morally justifying cheating, just pointing out that if non-Patriots fans thinks the Patriots are the only rule violators in the League, they need to grow up. And if Patriots fans think their team has any moral superiority to others, they too need to grow up.

-The Captain

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Patriots Cheated.... Because They Are The Patriots and That's What They Do


The DeflateGate Ted Wells report came out today and honestly I'm floored by what they found. Going into all of this, I was all ready to be defending the Patriots and what they went through during Superbowl week and how Goodell should be fired... yada yada yada, if you read this blog you've heard this shit from me.

HOWEVER, the Ted Wells report is not good for the Patriots and especially Tom Brady.

Now, the Ted Wells report doesn't necessarily have definitive proof the Wells report concludes, "More probable than not" when it comes to manipulating balls.

The main culprits in this is Jim McNally [the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots] and John Jastremski [an equipment assistant for the Patriots] and Quarterback Tom Brady. The Ted Wells report is 134 pages, so I haven't read through it and probably wont.

From the Wells report:
“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules,” Wells concluded. “In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally [the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots] and John Jastremski [an equipment assistant for the Patriots] participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.

“Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady [the quarterback for the Patriots] was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

The defense of gas laws were rejected by the Wells report, so you can throw that out the window. The Wells report also rejects any idea that the Colts were behind deflating a football. The Wells report rejects any idea that their was a bias.

Now how much were the Patriots balls deflated at halftime 10.5 and 11.8, now what were they before the game? They were all 12.5 or 12.6, they were not recorded, however, 2 of the Patriots balls were under deflated and they pumped them up to 12.5, there would be no reason to record all the balls if they were all 12.5. They also gauged 4 Colts balls and they were relatively the same.

Conclusion: The Patriots balls deflated at a much higher frequency than the Colts.

Now the bathroom break. Jim McNally passed 2 bathrooms to get to this one specific bathroom in which he spent 1 minute and 40 seconds, which was not authorized by a game official. He actually took all the balls to the bathroom. Also, McNally lied during the investigation, his story changed multiple times during this investigation.

So what's the take away from this. It's not good from a Patriots stand point, and the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming that the Patriots did some wrongdoing. And sometimes that's all that you need.... see Aaron Hernandez.

Prediction of what is going to happen? I bet the Patriots get a heavy fine, the 2 guys from the Patriots will be fired and Brady will either get a 1 game suspension or a huge fine.

Red Sox Grades: Red Sox 2, Rays 0

The Red Sox snapped their 4 game losing streak last night against the Rays on the back of 7 shutout innings from Rick Porcello and 2 Mookie Betts solo home runs. The Red Sox needed this. Not just the win. They needed to see something positive from the starters. They needed to see the bullpen protect a slim lead. They needed somebody other than Hanley to carry the offense. It would have been nice to see a few guys contribute to scoring runs, but under the circumstances I'll take Mookie Betts having the game of his life.

Rick Porcello has been the only pitcher in the rotation who has been close to his career norms. He's leading the rotation in wins, ERA, innings pitched and WHIP. On this staff that's not saying much, but after last night his ERA is right around his career average. If you give him a mulligan on that 8 run meltdown in Baltimore he actually looks really good. This was a strong start from Rick. He gave up 8 hits and committed a throwing error, but he scattered those hits and worked his way out of jams. His only 1-2-3 inning came in the 7th. He threw 7 shutout innings and given the Red Sox lack of run production he had to throw a great start.
Starting Pitching Grade: B+

It's amazing how much better the bullpen looks when they only have to cover two innings. Ogando picked up the hold and Uehara picked up the save as they both put up 1-2-3 innings to wrap up the 8th and 9th. Can't ask for more than that with a slim lead.
Bullpen Grade: A

The bats have gone cold. Drew Smyly held the lineup to just 2 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. One of those two hits was Mookie's first homer, so he took the loss here. They had more success hitting the Rays bullpen, but ultimately the only run that came from them was Mookie hitting his second homer of the night. Only 5 hits and 3 walks over the course of this game. I understand that not having Hanley is a big setback. I understand that they're also down the "starting" right fielder and 2 catchers and Swihart isn't really ready for the majors yet, but they still need to be better than this. With this staff 2 runs will not be enough most nights.
Mookie Betts Grade: A+
Rest of Lineup Grade: F
Batting Grade: D+

Game 28 Preview: Colome v. Masterson

Alex Colome had pneumonia coming out of spring training, so this is just his second start of the year. He threw 5 shutout innings against the Orioles in his season debut. He has never pitched against the Red Sox in any of his 7 career starts. Masterson has struggled against the Rays in his career, but has yet to face them this season. Masterson gave up 2 runs in 6 innings of work against the Yankees in his last start and got a no decision for his trouble.
-Mike

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recap On Stuff Going On Now


The only thing more pitiful than the Red Sox rotation is the lack of participation by BMack. I guess looking at it, we would be better off with BMack as a SP, because he just wouldn't show up rather than wasting 4 hours of my life.

The Red Sox are a fucking awful team. I have never been so excited about an opening day than this year, and only 26 games in, I don't even want to waste my time.

The funniest thing about all of this, is we ALL KNEW this was going to happen. Just like how we ALL knew about Pacman vs Mayweather. Sometimes, I should go with my gut rather than expect anything. Fuck, we all knew Porcello, Kelly, Miley, Buchholz and Masterson were going to suck. I mean, I convinced myself into thinking, "Hey what if Porcello can build on last year, Miley will get at least 200 innings and can be serviceable, Kelly has some talent to be a 3, Masterson was good a couple years ago and Buchholz... well, I knew not to attach emotion to Clay Buchholz shitty face." But nope, none of that shit happened, none of that shit will happen and everytime anyone pitches is a bonafide disaster. Just embarrassing. I also remember myself saying, "best offense in the league, who care if the pitching isn't there, they will win 8-5 every game." obviously that's not true either. This team BA is very close to last years BA and their average with runners in scoring position I believe I heard in the .100s. I just think this is a disaster. Also, I am just waiting for Hanley, Ortiz or somebody to explode. How can you not? This team sucks and the ownership and GM forgot about pitching and I'm not just talking about starters either... I'm talking about every pitcher position on the team.

Funny thing is.... our minors, these minors that we were so against trading... well Owens and Johnson top out at like 91-92 and I guess Rodriguez is in the mid 90's, but we only have so many minors at this point.

Also, I'm getting cautious about even dealing for anyone at this moment, because it won't make a difference. Even if we have Hamels, we would still have Hamels and 4 shitty starters. It may be worth it to hold onto these prospects, especially if we finish in last place again.

IF we do finish in last place again, I want Farrell and Cherington out the door before the season ends. I don't want to hear about how Farrell is a pitching wizard and Cherington's analytical bullshit. Both of them... gone. no mas.

That said... Sox win the World Series in 4 against whomever

Now that I got that off my chest, next up is the fight.

Now, I didn't think it was as bad as everyone says. I mean you would have to be a pretty big fool if you thought the way it ended was going to be different. I have seen multiple Mayweather fights and they are ALWAYS like that. You can't really blame him, he did what he does so well. It's a shame that this fight may have killed boxing, but if anyone has seen a Mayweather fight, you got vintage Mayweather. However, all these rumors and speculation now come out about Manny Pacquiao's shoulder. I think that's nonsense to be honest. What I do think happened, is simply Pacman isn't as good as he once was and mailed it in for a final cash grab. He fought with 0 intensity and had Mayweather on the ropes a couple times and seemingly let him off easy. I think that Pacman mailed it in, and we are all dumb for buying into the Fight of the Century. I swear I will never pay for another fight... unless, I get peer pressured again, which is probably 100% going to happen. Oh well, the wifebeater wins another one.

Now opinions on the NFL Draft.

Obviously I loved the Steelers draft, they got a great pass rusher, some corners, a mid draft WR that will turn into a star probably and some other stuff that was needed.

But I'll talk about the Patriots for a bit. I thought Malcolm Brown was a great pick, I thought Trey Flowers and Tre Jackson were realy good too, but I think the rest of the draft was muff cabbage. And Lydon wanted to know about Xzavier Dickson, he was rarely used and mostly used as a DE. He was often overshadowed by the other Alabama stars, but I'm trying to jog my memory of something Dickson did that stood out to me but I can't other than he wore the number 47 which is my favorite number.

I found it very odd that they didn't address the CB position, but hey if they hit on 3 of 9, I would take that.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Patriots Draft Wrap Up

After having his first round selection of Malcom Brown universally lauded by the media and fans Bill decided to slap everybody back down with some inexplicable reach picks.

2nd Round Pick 32 (64th Overall) Safety Jordan Richards Stanford

I could summarize what his draft guide says. They seemed convinced he would go much later in the draft. This reminds me of the Tavon Wilson pick where Bill made a massive reach on a safety in the second round. Here's hoping he works out better than Wilson. He was a team captain at Stanford. A lot of good things have been said about his leadership and maturity. No durability issues. The concern is about his skill set and how that will translate on the next level.

3rd Round Pick 33 (97th Overall) Defensive End Geneo Grissom Oklahoma

Another character guy with good versatility. Some injury concerns after two stress fractures in his feet and an MCL injury in college. Still ample concern about his ability to keep up in the NFL.

4th Round Pick 2 (101st Overall) Defensive End Trey Flowers Arkansas

Another character guy. Noticing a trend? He's apparently a high effort, all out on every down kind of guy. No injury concerns. Biggest concern seems to be size and speed. Should provide some good depth behind Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones.

4th Round Pick 12 (111th Overall) Offensive Guard Tre Jackson Florida State

He played on the same line with Patriots/Seminoles center Bryan Stork at Florida State, so they should already have some rapport. Perhaps they got the inside scoop from Stork on him.

4th Round Pick 32 (131st Overall) Center Shaq Mason Georgia Tech

Good production and durability. Concerns about his diet and size. Maybe Tom Brady can hook him up with his sweet avocado ice cream diet.

5th Round Pick 30 (166th Overall) Long Snapper Joe Cardona Navy

I guess we needed a long snapper. Danny Aiken was shaky last year. I guess Bill met up with Cardona for dinner in Annapolis. He was ranked the best long snapper in the draft. Bill does love him some Midshipmen. It makes sense. For a 5th rounder I don't mind.

6th Round Pick 2 (178th Overall) Outside Linebacker Matt Wells Mississippi State

Undersized and legally blind in one eye. Probably a special teams guy.

6th Round Pick 26 (202nd Overall) Tight End AJ Derby Arkansas

Been a strange route to the NFL for Derby:

The son of John Derby and nephew of Glenn Derby -- both former NFL players -- has taken a unique path. He started off playing quarterback at Iowa but he was moved to linebacker following an arrest for public intoxication that led to a two-game suspension his redshirt freshman year. He transferred to Coffeyville Community in 2012 and then walked on at Arkansas in 2013, playing quarterback both seasons. He then moved to tight end as a senior, so he's obviously raw. However, he plays with more of an edge than you'd expect from a former quarterback, he's willing to do the dirty work over the middle and he's fast enough to make plays down the seam.
Fun Fact: Bill Belichick actually cut AJ's father from the Browns.

7th Round Pick 30 (247th Overall) Cornerback Darryl Roberts Marshall

I like this pick. Sort of reminds me of Jamie Collins a bit in that he turned some heads with impressive numbers at the combine. The kind of guy you're happy to roll the dice on with a 7th rounder.

7th Round Pick 36 (253rd Overall) Defensive End Xzavier Dickson Alabama

I guess he played OLB at Alabama, but they seem to think he'll work better in the NFL as a defensive end. He got suspended from the Sugar Bowl in 2013 after a verbal altercation with the coaching staff. Maybe DP can give us some info on Dickson. I know he's an avid fan of the Crimson Tide.
-Mike



Pacquiao v. Mayweather Sucked

This fight was billed as "The Fight of the Century". It must have been a slow century. Even if this fight hadn't started at midnight on the east coast, I think it still would have put me to sleep. Although Mayweather won the decision, I think the real winner in this fight was the UFC. This 12 rounds snoozefest worked better than a double dose of Ambien and served to highlight how much better of a product MMA is. In the depressingly long hype up after the undercard fights had finished the announcers were harping on and on about how much money this fight made and suggested that perhaps it was evidence to the contrary that boxing is a dying sport. You can't compare this once in a decade hyped up event to annual championships like the Super Bowl or the World Series. There are also all those regular season games and earlier playoff rounds of build up. It's probably the sort of thing that you could enjoy if you were deep into boxing, but as a casual fan it was just plain awful.

Anyways, I've seen my one boxing match for the decade. I can get back to forgetting this sport exists now.
-Mike

Friday, May 1, 2015

NFL Draft: Patriots surprise everyone by being completely unsurprising

The Patriots were on the clock, Malcolm Brown was probably the best player still on the board, and the Pats have a need on the defensive line. Under those circumstances, you'd expect Bill Belichick to do the unexpected and trade out of the first round. Instead, the Patriots made the obvious pick.

I'm satisfied with getting this player at pick #32. Brown won't be as good as Wilfork was in his prime. But for the next 4-6 years, Brown will be better than what Wilfork would have been here.

I could regurgitate all the draft analysis crap about how thick Brown is, how well his hips move, what kind of motor he has. I hate that cliched crap. What I will say is that at 32, this is the type of player you expect to draft. Maybe slightly better than expectations. You won't get an exciting playmaker at 32 unless he has an injury and/or criminal record. The last two times the Patriots picked at 32, they selected Logan Mankins in 2005 and Benjamin Watson in 2004. Matt Elam, David Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater. Those are other recent 32nd picks.

To sum up this pick in a word, it's "fine." This was a fine pick. I am fine with this pick. I think Malcolm Brown will be a fine player who will have a fine career. This pick is the equivalent of moving the ball 4 yards on 2nd and 10. It's good, it helps your cause, but by itself it doesn't mean a lot.

And again, that's what to expect when you're picking last.

I'm glad that the Patriots didn't trade up, because all the experts who have been watching college players' hips for the past 3 months pretty much agreed that this wasn't a talent rich draft. I'm also glad the Pats didn't move down, because those hip-obsessed experts also say that Brown is a good player, so I'm glad the Patriots took advantage of the opportunity to pick him.

Two closing thoughts:

Brown is listed as 13 pounds lighter than Wilfork, and there's no way in hell that's true. Brown is a big guy, but Wilfork has at least 50 pounds on him. So Brown better start gorging on pizza sheets and turkeys from Big Y.

Finally, how awesome is it to have the 32nd pick again? It's just a fantastically awesome number, isn't it?

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Patriots Select Run Stuffing DT Malcom Brown

It's nice when Bill Belichick and the media "experts" actually agree on something. Usually it's a recipe for success. By all accounts, Brown seems to be a good value at 32. Kiper's last mock draft had Brown going at 17 to the Chargers and McShay had him going at 19 to the Browns. He was rated the 2nd best DT in the draft behind Danny Shelton, whom the Browns picked up at 14. Given the way he was evaluated he seems like excellent value at the 32nd pick.

The comparison people have been drawing has been Vince Wilfork. It makes sense. They both slid to the Patriots in the draft and they both play the same position. Still, I think it's unfair to put those kinds of expectations on a rookie.

My only reluctance about this pick is that I still think the value of run-stuffers is at an all-time low. The rules keep changing to accommodate the passing game and the running game continues to wane in importance. As a result, the importance of guys like Wilfork and Brown has dropped and the importance of corners has risen dramatically. Letting Wilfork leave for Houston was an annoyance. Letting Revis leave for the Jets was devastating. If Brown turns out to be an absolute stud, it's easy enough in today's game to just avoid him. Pass more and run to the outside. It's always good when your personnel narrows down the options for an opposing offense, but you need the personnel in the backfield to capitalize on that. Revis and Browner could certainly capitalize, but I don't know about Malcolm Butler, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan. I think pass rushers on the defensive line can mask a weak secondary. They force panicked throws, bad decisions and when they get the sacks they can force turnovers and long yardage situations that are easier for DBs to defend against.

I don't see Brown as a replacement for Dominique Easley. I think they are meant to compliment each other. You can use Easley when you want to generate pressure up the middle and you can use Brown when you want to stuff up the middle. Between Easley, Sheard, Ninkovich and Jones the Patriots should be able to generate good pressure on the quarterback.
-Mike

That Was One Of The Weirdest Drafts I Have Ever Seen


1 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston QB Florida State
1 2 Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
1 3 Jacksonville Jaguars Dante Fowler, Jr. DE Florida
1 4 Oakland Raiders Amari Cooper WR Alabama
1 5 Washington Redskins Brandon Scherff OT Iowa
1 6 New York Jets Leonard Williams DE USC
1 7 Chicago Bears Kevin White WR West Virginia
1 8 Atlanta Falcons Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
1 9 New York Giants Ereck Flowers OT Miami
1 10 St. Louis Rams Todd Gurley RB Georgia
1 11 Minnesota Vikings Trae Waynes CB Michigan State
1 12 Cleveland Browns Danny Shelton DT Washington
1 13 New Orleans Saints Andrus Peat OT Stanford
1 14 Miami Dolphins DeVante Parker WR Louisville
1 15 San Diego Chargers Melvin Gordon III RB Wisconsin
1 16 Houston Texans Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
1 17 San Francisco 49ers Arik Armstead DE Oregon from San Diego [R1 - 2]
1 18 Kansas City Chiefs Marcus Peters CB Washington
1 19 Cleveland Browns Cameron Erving OL Florida State from Buffalo [R1 - 3]
1 20 Philadelphia Eagles Nelson Agholor WR USC
1 21 Cincinnati Bengals Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M
1 22 Pittsburgh Steelers Bud Dupree OLB Kentucky
1 23 Denver Broncos Shane Ray DE Missouri from Detroit [R1 - 4]
1 24 Arizona Cardinals D. J. Humphries OT Florida
1 25 Carolina Panthers Shaq Thompson OLB Washington
1 26 Baltimore Ravens Breshad Perriman WR UCF
1 27 Dallas Cowboys Byron Jones CB Connecticut
1 28 Detroit Lions Laken Tomlinson G Duke  from Denver [R1 - 5]
1 29 Indianapolis Colts Phillip Dorsett WR Miami
1 30 Green Bay Packers Damarious Randall S Arizona State
1 31 New Orleans Saints Stephone Anthony LB Clemson  from Seattle [R1 - 6]
1 32 New England Patriots Malcom Brown DT Texas

The reason why this draft was one of the weirdest drafts I have ever witnessed, is because there were hardly any blockbuster moves that were rumored with Mariota and pretty much every team got exactly what they needed.  Nobody did anything boneheaded, or reached for a QB or traded their future for a top 5 pick.  I guess you can be critical about the RBs taken when they were just due to the lack of importance of the position.... however Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon III are really special players so I can't fault them.

Before the draft I said that I wanted the Steelers to go CB and when they were picking Byron Jones and Landon Collins (who's still available) were there, but I was ecstatic when I saw Bud Dupree there.  I thought he was going to be a top 10-15 player, so when he got picked they got an incredible steal.  Dupree is going to be the next big thing for linebackers in Pittsburgh to follow the footsteps of Lawrence Timmons, Lamaar Woodley, James Harrison, Joey Porter, etc.  If Jarvis Jones finally becomes the player they drafted him to be and Ryan Shazier builds on his solid rookie campaign the Steelers could have one of the best young LB corp in the league and pass rushing will help the inefficiency on the secondary.... plus like I said, Landon Collins is still available.

Another move I loved, was at 32.  There were rumors going up to that pick on twitter that they moved it to Houston, and it probably was until they realized Malcolm Brown was available.  I absolutely think this is a great pick and I'm glad they settled for him rather than dealing for risky 2nd round picks.  Brown will make people forget that Dominique Easley exists.  Brown is a big bow and can fill that Vince Wilfork role almost immediately.  When the Patriots don't get too cute, they can make great picks and this was one of them.

I guess you can question a couple teams like Indianapolis who had zero need for WR and took Dorsett from the U over Brown and the Panthers not helping out Cam Newton for the 10000000th time and taking a defensive player.

But all in all, this draft seemed very straight forward and I can't really say anyone is having a bad draft after day 1.

also:
Jameis Winston won the day with this crab leg photo.  Just basically giving a final fuck you to everyone who came after him in college for false rape allegations and blowing crab leg gate out of proportion.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Red Sox Grades: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1

The Red Sox desperately needed to see something out of their starting rotation. Rick Porcello and delivered his best start of the season. I'm still wary. Porcello has still been more bad than good in a Red Sox uniform, but it was a step in the right direction. The bats and the bullpen did enough to provide a comfortable win and the Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees and now trail by just one game.

There is very little to complain about with regards to the work from Porcello. He got into trouble in the second inning. He let up a leadoff double, committed an error to put a man on first base and then hit a batter to load the bases before getting an out. Given the bases loaded, no outs jam; the one run on a fielder's choice isn't too bad. After that he settled down and kept Toronto hitless until the 7th inning. A shut out would have been nice. Pitching another inning or two would have been nice. Otherwise, not much to complain about.
Pitching Grade: A-

The bullpen looks so much better when they only need to work the 8th and 9th and you only see Tazawa and Uehara. Tazawa let up a leadoff single, but never allowed the tying run to the plate. Uehara struck out the side to wrap up the 9th and pick up the save.
Bullpen Grade: A

Hanley Ramirez is currently tied with Nelson Cruz for the most HRs and RBIs in baseball with 10 homers and 22 RBIs. So far, Hanley has been worth every dime. Pablo Sandoval went 0-4 in this game, but he still leads the Red Sox in batting average and on base percentage. I've been critical of Ben Cherington for his handling of our starting rotation, but both of his big hitting acquisitions have started off very well here in Boston. Hanley's 2-run homer was enough to get the job done in this game, but David Ortiz and Mookie Betts delivered RBI singles with runners in scoring position to provide a cushion. Mike Napoli returned to the lineup after missing two games with a "contagious illness" and went 0 for 3. Napoli continues to struggle in the early part of this season hitting just .162 in April.
Batting Grade: B-

Game 23: Masterson v. Sabathia

The Red Sox have Thursday off before welcoming the New York Yankees for a 3-game weekend series in Boston. Sabathia has been a disaster this season taking the loss in all 4 starts this season and currently showing a 5.96 ERA in those starts. CC got crushed by the Mets for 7 runs in 5 innings in his last start. Justin Masterson hasn't been much better, but he is coming off a strong start against Baltimore. Masterson saw the Yankees once last season with Cleveland in his last start for the Indians before being traded to the Cardinals. He was shelled in the second inning and was pulled after putting the first two batters on in the third inning.
-Mike