Friday, July 25, 2014

Let Me Get This Straight Goodell

It's a two game suspension if you are found doing this:

But players who haven't even been committed of a crime and have no real evidence other then hearsay get suspended for 4 games.... got it.

How great of a message does Goodell send with this message? Hey you smoke a little pot you get suspended for a year, you knock out your fiance you get a 2 game suspension. It's absolutely ridiculous and an awful look for the NFL. I know this could have been a mutual thing where they were both hitting each other, but the video alone is an awful look. Ray Rice blatantly knocked out his fiance, and got away with it. Hitting women is a cowardly act and it's ridiculous smoking pot is a heavier fine.

Yet, somehow the Captain will defend Goodell on this one somehow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Never realized that was Gary Oldman....

Anyways, Clay Buchholz sucks. I know Mike will probably make more excuses to defend his boy, but I'm pretty sure he can pitch better then him.

The former laptop thief went 6 innings let up 5 runs, 4 er, and walked 4 ppl. He now owns an era of 5.5 era. He's not great and he has been pitching like an asshole. The Red Sox had a valient effort trying to make up for the underwhelming start with the better then Ted Williams Ortiz hitting his 4th homerun in 3 games with 3 rbis and Xander chipped in with another RBI. But it's hard for this team to score runs especially when head coach John Farrell not playing sparkplug Brock Holt.

The Red Sox have one foot in the grave and every loss makes it harder to potentially make a run towards a historic playoff push.

With the news of the Red Sox unable to come to talking terms with Lester about an extension, this could be a very long couple of months.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Back

Sorry I haven't wrote in a bit, I have been super busy and away. But here's a recap of my opinions:

1. The Boston Celtics. I know this summer hasn't gone the way we wanted it to. No fireworks, no Love, no Melo, no Rondo trade but it is what it is. Wyc said you need 2 to tango and if no other team is willing to give Danny what he wants, why make a trade? The signing of Evan Turner is a great low risk signing. I have no idea where he is going to play as we have a very loaded back court with Rondo, Bradley, Smart, Thornton, and at SF we have Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, and James Young. I guess we can tell Thronton and Wallace to sit way at the end of the bench and I have a feeling Young will not play a lot this year, so there could be room.

I think Turner got a raw deal here. He did average 17 points with the Sixers last year before traded. There is talent there he just didn't live up to the number 2 selection. Maybe I am a bit biased here because it seemed like Evan Turner played very well against the Celtics in the playoffs. But who knows, maybe he's just Jeff Green 2 and a cocktease in night in and night out.

2. The Red Sox...... Championship?

I know they lost last night but it seems as if things are coming together. They are 8.5 back... which is a lot. But are 8-2 in the last 10. I have zero clue if this is due to AJ Fuckface leaving, but it seems like it did something. I might still get rid of some pieces if you can in Peavy, Drew, Gomes, etc. But I'm starting to buy into this team.

Also Jon Lester.... The Sox are fucked with him. He is pricing himself out of the Sox every pitch he throws. The Sox obviously got too cute with negotiations and now are paying for it. Now the Sox will have to overpay him on years if they resign him. Also I am all for trading for Hammels if thats the case. Hammels is basically the same thing as Lester and he is on a contract that we would want Lester to have. If worse comes to worse a swap of Hammels for Lester isn't drastic.

3. Erin Andrews sucks

Team Pam Oliver every day. She played her peep hole video perfectly. She's the worst sideline reporter in the world and because she "hot" although I think she has the face of a tranny troll she gets these gigs.

4. I would love to see Donald Sterling stay in power... for this year. Turncoat Doc Rivers gave the Clippers an ultimatum... he goes or I go. I would love to see there come a time where he has to put money where his mouth is. I remember a time where Doc said that he would stay in Boston during a rebuilding time, then went back on his word. I would be willing to bet everything if Sterling is still there, Doc is still there. Also, if he actually stands by his word and leaves, I would hope the rest of the team does too as we own their number 1 pick.

5. Tony Dungy is an asshole. Supports Michael Vick and then talks about Michael Sam and how he wouldn't draft him because he's gay. Tony Dungy will get hardly any flack for this after a month. I don't get it. But the next time people refer to Dungy as the next Mother Theresa I will always think of this.

6. Also David Ortiz over Yaz, Williams and any Red Sox name you throw out there.

David Ortiz is obviously better then yaz that isn't a debate. And although Ted Williams was pretty damn good and lost 5 years tot he war, Ortiz is far better then him too. He has the hardware and has played in a era that has better talent and I know Ted Williams WS stats should be thrown out due to him not being healthy due to an elbow injury, Ortiz's October stats can't be matched and that's all that matters.

"But DP Yaz and Ted played the field too"
DP "Fuck off"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ortiz vs. Yaz: A fool's debate

David Ortiz hit 2 homeruns Monday night, giving him 453 for his career, one more than legendary Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. And then the arguing started.

I can imagine older fans favor Yaz, who could play the field well (7 Gold Gloves) and probably didn't take PEDs. Younger fans probably don't care about defense, and only know Yaz as a collection of stats and newsreel footage, whereas they can remember with vivid detail Ortiz's big hits, and the celebrations they sparked. Yaz has Gold Gloves, Ortiz has rings. Yaz had to deal with a Curse, Ortiz ended it.

Some think that Yaz is a better all around player, but they'd take Ortiz in a clutch situation. That seems to be a popular opinion.

Neither are right. Neither are wrong. Trying to argue about which is better is a fool's debate, because each's greatness is unique and different and not comparable.

Ortiz will be in the Hall of Fame because of his postseason heroics. The 450+ homeruns he hits will tag along, but they're not the reason he'll be inducted. Ortiz has the rings, he has the big hits, he spearheaded the 2004 comeback. Ortiz's homeruns don't have much to do with his future enshrinement. Yaz, on the other hand, is in Cooperstown BECAUSE of his 453 homeruns, along with his other offensive stats.

The fact is that until recently 450 homerun hitters were uncommon. These days, hulking, defensively challenged 450 homerun hitters with questionable blood chemistry are a dime a dozen. Paul Konerko has 439, Adam Dunn 454, Jose Canseco 462,  Carlos Delgado 473, Gary Sheffield 509, Manny Ramirez 555. In an era where Jim Thome has 612 homeruns, cracking 450 just isn't a big deal.

Yaz and Ortiz have similar HR totals, but the reasons they are great are very different. Yaz was great for 15 years. Ortiz has been great in October. Those are the reasons they'll be hanging out in Cooperstown together.

Funnily, Yaz also has great postseason numbers (17 games, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .369 average, 1.047 OPS). Ortiz also has had a number of great regular seasons. However, these are not the reasons that the two are considered great. So arguing about which was greater is a foolish exercise, since they are great for different reasons.

It's like comparing Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth. One was great because he hit for a high average and stole bases, the other was great because he hit homeruns and won World Series. Ruth had a .342 average, 10th all-time, but that's not why he's considered great.

Compare Rickey Henderson, a leadoff hitter, to Ken Griffey Jr., a middle of the lineup power hitter. Compare the defensive genius of Ozzie Smith to the batting titles of Tony Gwynn. Compare the greatness Tom Glavine, who never led his league in ERA, to the 7-year dominance of Pedro Martinez from 1997-2003.

Now people want to compare Ortiz's clutchness in the big moment with Yastrzemski's consistent quality over a long period of time?

Good luck.

-The Captain

The Negativity In This Blog Stinks

The Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball right now and I want to feel good about this team and I haven't given up hope that this team can turn it around and get back into the Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Captain is being a negative Nancy and killing my buzz. Normally, I have DP's blind and baseless optimism to even things out, but he's been MIA. As such, I've taken it upon myself to write the overly optimistic counterpoint to Rob's cynical analysis.

1) I'm blaming the first half on AJ Pierzynski. He was a massive jerk and he was bringing the whole team down. He is washed up and couldn't frame a pitch to save his life.. or a run... or a game. He single-handedly ruined the chemistry on this team that helped them win a World Series last year. I have no idea how the White Sox managed to win a World Series with this guy on the roster. I guess he could hit back then. Maybe his clubhouse cancerousness and Ozzie Guillen's cancelled each other out, like when you multiply negative numbers and it makes a positive.Now that he's gone, they're back to business as usual.

2) Brock Holt is an absolute beast and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. You can put him anywhere and he hits and fields like a champ. Sadly, we didn't recognize his greatness immediately and it took some time for him to work into the regular rotation. Now that his awesomeness is widely known, he can be an important part of turning this team around in the second half.

3) We haven't seen the best of a lot of our veteran position players this season. We should see an improvement in the production from David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino for the remainder of this season.

4) Daniel Nava is back. In the past 5+ weeks he's brought his season average up from .134 to .256 and he's batting .410 in July. Whatever his issues were, he seems to have worked through them.

5) They must be letting Clay Buchholz use Bullfrog on the ball again, because he seems to have worked through whatever injury or mechanical issues were causing him to suck. He's 3-1 since he came back. His ERA is dropping, he's issued just 1 walk in 5 starts and he's had 0 meltdowns. He will contribute from the middle/bottom of the rotation by keeping games within reach and the occasional gem like he threw against the Astros.

6) Rubby De La Rosa is a solid big league starter. He hasn't had any meltdowns, always gone at least 5 innings and kept the game within reach for the Red Sox.

I said it was time for this team to prove to me that they had what it takes. I wanted to see them go at least 9-4 between the All-Star break and the trade deadline and make up a lot of that ground in the AL East and the Wild Card. They can meet my goal by going just 5-4 the rest of the way. I've raised my expectations. I want to see them go 11-2 over that stretch and convince Ben Cherington to get them some help at the deadline instead of selling off parts.

Don't worry Captain, I'll save you a seat on the bandwagon.

Do the Red Sox have a chance at making the playoffs?

The offense scored 14 runs off 18 hits. John Lackey threw only 76 pitches in 7 innings. The Sox have outscored their opponents 22-2 in the last 3 games. That's 5 wins in a row and 8 of their last 9. Unfortunately, what happened in Anaheim last night had more of an impact on Red Sox playoff hopes than what happened in Toronto. The Orioles beat the Angels 4-2.

The Red Sox magic number is 72 to win the division, 70 to win the Wild Card. Yet they have 63 games left to play. They need help to make the playoffs. In fact they've dug themselves such a deep hole that they need help from more than one team. Even if the O's lost, even if the second Wild Card holding Mariners lost, there are a multitude of teams in the Red Sox way. It seems preposterous to even discuss the Sox making the playoffs.

We've been so starved for success this season, that any sequence of games that aren't painful to watch feels like winning a championship.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the wins. Monday night's victory was 2 hours and 45 minutes of great hitting and good pitching. The Sox hit 4 homeruns. They were 7 for 13 with RISP. They knocked in 8 runs with 2 outs. Eight starters got hits, 7 scored, 6 knocked runs in. Xander Bogaerts didn't commit an error, Dustin Pedroia didn't get caught stealing, and AJ Pierzynski didn't strikeout.

I want to see the Sox finish strong and go into 2015 with some momentum. I want to see players establish themselves and perhaps win jobs on the 2015 team. It would indeed be amazing to see this team somehow make the playoffs. However, there's a difference between cheerful optimism and wishful fantasy. The Sox playing postseason baseball in 2014 would be miraculous. So would winning MegaMillions. So would being stranded on a tropical island with Kate Upton and Scarlett Johansson, with only one bikini, and I'm the one who brought all the sunscreen.

There's a chance it might happen, but don't hold your breath.

The Sox have only partial control over their destiny. Their success needs to be coupled with failures by other teams (plural). They have 37 games remaining against AL East opponents. Only 6 against Baltimore. Maybe Baltimore loses 8 in a row, and the Sox clean up against the Jays, Yankees, and Rays. It's possible. It does depend on Baltimore losing, and losing badly. And the other AL East teams also losing.

And how much faith can one have that this Sox team will continue to roll for the rest of the year? I remember the 7-game win streak this team went on at the end of May and into June. That success was the meat in a failure sandwich. A 10-game losing streak came before it, a 5-game losing streak after it. The Sox played .318 baseball (7-15) in that 22-game stretch, despite the winning streak.

This current 8-1 run comes after the Sox had a 1-7 skid, which was part of a 5-13 stretch. In the last 27 games, the Sox are 13-14. Yet the Sox Information Ministers on NESN were talking wishfully about playoff chances, and looking at the trade deadline as a day to buy, not sell.

I'm not saying all this to bring you down, Sox fans. I'm saying this because these wins should be enjoyed individually, not as part of a potential charge back into the pennant race. It makes me look forward to tonight's game. It does not, however, make me look forward to October baseball.

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
Darren Calabrese/Associated Press - The Canadian Press

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's more expensive to replace Jon Lester than to sign him

Against the Royals Sunday, Jon Lester threw 8 scoreless innings, allowing only 4 hits and striking out 8. It was his 10th win of the season for a team that's had difficulty reaching .500. Lester is 4th in the AL in ERA (2.50), 8th in WHIP (1.12), 6th in strikeouts (142), 4th in innings (137.0), tied for 5th in quality starts (15), and 8th in opposing OPS (.634).

The Red Sox are 13-7 (.650) when he pitches, 33-45 (.428) when he doesn't. This year if you have tickets to a Jon Lester game, you're 52% more likely to see a Red Sox win. Even though he's 41st in run support (3.35 runs per game). Only 3 other full-time AL starters get worse run support (Jake Peavy is one of them).

With each victory, his impending contract grows fatter and fatter.

But is he worth the years? Is he worth the dollars? What if the cost is $150 million for 6 years? What if it's more?

Wrong questions. The question isn't "Is Jon Lester worth X?" The question is "What would Jon Lester cost to replace?"

You might replace Jon Lester with another ace-like pitcher, which would require a similarly juicy contract. So unless you acquire someone better, what's the point? Or you could also replace him with a combination of pitchers and hitters that improve the team, spreading that money among several arms and bats. However, buying enough arms and bats to make up for Lester's absence would cost more than keeping Lester.

It's usually unwise to take a team that needs a complete overhaul, like the Red Sox, and do something that makes them worse. It's like being out of food in your house, and deciding to throw out your refrigerator before you go get groceries. You're giving yourself a much bigger problem to deal with.

This team's lineup is in horrible shape. Two starters in Sunday's game had averages below .200. Six had averages below .250. The 2015 Sox will need a catcher, two guys on the left side of the infield, along with a couple of outfielders. Looking farther ahead, David Ortiz turns 39 in a few months. So that bat will need to be replaced someday.

Taking Lester out of the equation would put more onus on the offense to carry this team. Which means the team would need to spend money to fill these holes in the lineup. Lots of money. The Red Sox seem to want to give young, inexpensive talent a chance to find a place in the Majors. Without Lester, however, an offense like that will be losing games 5-3 instead of winning them 3-2.

The offense needs work. Keeping Jon Lester will ensure that the cost of that work doesn't need to be catastrophically expensive in order to win.

Lester's leaving would also affect the bullpen. He's averaging 6.85 innings per start. If you assume the 9th being pitched by the closer, on average Lester's starts require a mere 0.15 innings of middle-relief work. Remove Lester from the rotation and now the bullpen is forced to use another set-up guy once a week. Add that to the cost of not signing Lester.

The most obvious area affected by Lester's departure would be the rotation. The unfortunate truth of Boston baseball in 2014 is that the Sox rotation after Lester and John Lackey is weak and unreliable. And Lackey turns 36 in October. He also has a potential payday ahead of him, or a retirement.

The Sox are 12th in team ERA this year at 3.76. Remove Lester and the team ERA increases to 3.99, 21st in baseball.

The Sox are 7th in quality starts with 58. Lester's 15 are slightly more than a fourth of those. Without them the Sox have 43, which would put them in 25th. Even if the Sox replaced Lester with a guy who had 10 quality starts at this point, the Sox would fall from 7th to 14th.

Lester lifts the rotation, balancing out the weakness and unreliability at the bottom with strength and consistency at the top.

Replacing Jon Lester with another pitcher of his caliber will cost the same as signing Jon Lester. If the Sox let Lester walk, they'll spend more money in other areas to make up for his absence. Another starting pitcher would need to be signed, the bullpen would need to be bolstered, the offense would need to be dramatically improved to make up for the weaker starting pitching.

The less expensive thing to do is to sign Jon Lester. Even if the money seems absurd, even if he's 36 at the end of the deal and the Sox are weighed down by a $25M/year salary, it will be cheaper than trying to improve the team once he's gone.

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Sox will have homefield advantage if they make 2014 World Series

That headline is kind of a jerk move. My point is that the reality of this lost season is starting to sink in. This is no longer an abstract notion of a World Series winning team stuck in last place, failure is becoming concrete. Homefield advantage in the World Series was determined Tuesday night and nobody in Boston cared. The trade deadline approaches and Sox fans who last year wanted to get Jake Peavy now want to get something for Peavy. Fan favorites like Jonny Gomes and Koji Uehara could be shipped elsewhere, heroes of the past exchanged for future potential, a clear demonstration of present irrelevance.

How did we get here? How do we get out?

Everything that came together for the 2013 Sox came apart in 2014. Daniel Nava went back to being Daniel Nava. Shane Victorino went back to the DL. So did Clay Buchholz. The third most important offensive player in 2013, Jacoby Ellsbury, was lost and not replaced. Another key contributor, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, was lost and replaced by AJ Pierzynski, a man so detestable he would have rivaled Josh Beckett for most hated on the infamous 2012 Sox.

This team was built with more hope than players. Go back to the off-season. Hopefully Grady Sizemore works out. Hopefully Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts become Rookie of the Year candidates. Hopefully Will Middlebrooks turns himself around. Hopefully young pitchers step up in the rotation and bullpen.

It's one thing to be optimistic about young players, it's another thing to let yourself become dependent on them. Hope is something you hold up and let inspire you, not something you lean on.

So how do we change things going forward?

Step #1: Sign Jon Lester
Imagine the 2014 Sox without him. Imagine the 2013 Sox without him. Imagine trying to build a winner in 2015 without him. How would you do that?

The Red Sox, as bad as they are in 2014, are 12-7 (.631) when Lester starts. They're 31-45 (.408) in all other games. If Lester leaves the Red Sox are barely a .400 team. Lester is the first step forward because losing him would be a significant step backward.

Step #2: Send the kids back to Pawtucket
Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., all of them earned their shot at the Majors, all of them have failed. JBJ can field but is an awful hitter. Bogaerts can't hit or field. The Sox had no contingency plans if these guys didn't succeed right away. Reliable players should fill these spots until the kids are ready to try again. The Sox don't need to overspend, as they did for Stephen Drew. They just need reliability. And they need infielders who can field their positions.

Step #3: Sign Lackey to a legit deal
Don't try to be cute and exercise Lackey's $500,000 option. You can sign him to a real contract on favorable terms. Unlike with Lester, the Sox actually have negotiating leverage with Lackey because of that cheap option. They can keep him at a rate less expensive than replacing him, but still giving him the dignity and respect he has earned the last year and a half.

Step #4: Get hitters
The Red Sox seem gun-shy to spend money to get a big hitter. Maybe the bad tastes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford remain in their proverbial mouths. The Sox don't need to get All-Star sluggers. Just get guys who can add depth to the lineup after the 5th hitter.

Part of this step is to stop signing fill-in guys to 1 or 2 year deals because you have a minor leaguer earmarked for that position in 2016 or 2017. This goes back to depending too much on AAA players to help your Major League team. Sign legit Major Leaguers to normal Major League deals, and if in 2 years you have two guys who can play the same position, make a trade. I'd much rather have two short-stops and have options, than be forced to depend on a 21-year old kid to adjust to the Majors and have no options if he fails.

Kurt Suzuki will be a free agent catcher. He's hitting .309. Hanley Ramirez might cost too much, but he can play either position on the left side of the infield. Asdrubal Cabrera isn't a great hitter, but he's decent, and probably won't cost much at short. It would be nice to take Nelson Cruz away from the Orioles or Melky Cabrera from the Jays. There are bats available for hire. Hire some.

The Sox will need a catcher, a short-stop, a third baseman, and a new outfield. Brock Holt can fill only one of those holes each night. There's plenty of good and very good talent out there to compile a lineup that is strong at the top and deep throughout.

ESPN gives the Red Sox a 2.4% chance at making the playoffs in 2014. That's slightly less than your chance of hitting a number in roulette. Thankfully, the Sox are capable of making moves and giving themselves the house edge to make the 2015 playoffs.

-The Captain

Monday, July 14, 2014

Red Sox, Buchholz Finish Strong

I don't want to get too excited about the Red Sox taking 2 out of 3 games from the Astros. The Astros are a bad team. They were historically one of the worst major league teams of all time last season. They were an experiment by owner Jim Crane to see how he could fleece the system by building a spectacular loser on a $26 million payroll and pocketing record profits. They've nearly doubled their payroll, but it's still about 20% of the Dodgers payroll. Winning a series against them should be par for the course. There are still a lot of positives you can look at from this series and feel good about going into the All-Star break.

Clay Buchholz has looked better since his return to the starting rotation, but his start yesterday was his first truly dominant performance this season. He held the Astros to just 3 hits and no walks in a complete game shut out. This has to be a great confidence builder for Buchholz who has had some serious struggles this year to the point of taking a DL stint to try and work out the kinks. If he's regained his form from early last season he could be an important part of turning this team around. He'll be taking the ball in the first game back from the break against the Royals.

Brock Holt has been a godsend. Holt's family was in the stands for these games as they live in Texas. Every time he would come up with a hit the cameras would show his family celebrating. They got a lot of air time as Holt went 10 for 15 with a walk, a double, a triple and a home run in this series.

Christian Vasquez also feasted on Astros pitching. He was 5 for 8 with 3 doubles and 5 RBIs in this series. An impressive debut for the young catcher. He's making it easy to say goodbye to AJ Pierzynski.

Daniel Nava's numbers have been steadily climbing since he came back up from Pawtucket. His average bottomed out at .134 on June 6th with an OBP of .228. Since then he's managed to pull both numbers up over 100 points to .238 BA and .330 OBP as it stands right now. He also got his fill from the Astros going 4 for 9 in the series. If Nava's bat is back, which I am hopeful that it is, it could be another big piece in helping this team turn the corner on the season.

Call me an optimist, but a lot of the pieces of this team seem to be clicking at the moment. They're still a last place team that has a large hole to dig themselves out of, but I also know that this team has the talent and a heart of a champion. The whole vibe of the team feels different since AJ Pierzynski left. I don't want to give up on this team. They have 13 games (7 against the Blue Jays, 3 against the Rays) before the trade deadline to show the fans and the front office that they have what it takes. If they can win at least 9 of those games I think you have to give them a chance. It's do or die time for this team.

LeBron Goes Home

Here is how LeBron announced his return:
'Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.  I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge? 

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home."

A big difference between this and 4 years ago huh? There was no "Decision" there was no huge celebration, there was no anything. Just a perfectly written essay that made you believe LeBron has been significantly humbled since "The Decision" to now. LeBron going to Cleveland feels right, as much as I am from Boston and I dislike him from a competitive standpoint, but from a person standpoint, it didn't really feel right that everyone hated him. This letter completely redeemed himself in terms of a PR standpoint. It is the exact opposite of many things he has said in his career like the "The Decision" and after the loss to the Mavs the "You have to go back to your miserable lives" talk.

Anyways from a basketball perspective. He obviously went to a worse situation as is right now. I was thinking there was a chance he goes back to Miami on a short term deal with Wade and Bosh coming back. If that was the case, Miami still gave LeBron a better chance to a championship. However, him going to Cleveland opens up the East a lot. Cleveland with LeBron I wouldn't say is better then the Bulls (with a healthy Rose), Pacers, or hell even the Washington Wizards. Now, if the Cavs pull an Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love deal, we may have something, but right now, the East is open.

It will be very interesting to see how the Cavs go from here. They have an extremely young roster with Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Tristian Thompson, with LeBron they have that veteran but nothing in terms of mental toughness or playoff experience.

How pissed off must Dwayne Wade be, he went from LeBron to Luol Deng. Also, it'll be good not having to hate Shabazz Napier, you know the guy LeBron made the Heat draft.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sox Thoughts

There has been a lot going on with the Sox lately, let's break it down.

AJ Pierzynski

I was curious to see exactly where I stood on Pierzynski when the deal started. I checked out my article from when we initially signed him. I think I nailed it in my summary when I said

 I can't say that I like this deal. The Red Sox seemed to have a good thing going with their clubhouse chemistry and Pierzynski is enough of a jerk that he could mess that up.
I was off about some other things. Pierzynski had been relatively productive at the plate for his entire career, so the drop off in his numbers weren't something I anticipated. An article from Rob Bradford would seem to confirm that AJ was the clubhouse cancer that many of the fans feared he would be.

According to multiple sources within the Red Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher's seeming indifference toward his teammates and the common goals of the same organization that had relied on an all-for-one approach when winning the 2013 World Series.
A microcosm of Pierzynski's approach was mentioned by more than one of the backstop's former teammates, who revealed his propensity to spend a significant amount of time looking at his phone while at his locker during games. In one instance, after a particularly rough outing in which the starting pitcher had been pulled early in the game, Pierzynski could be found staring at his phone while the pitcher gave off the appearance of being an emotional wreck just a few feet away. That incident paved the way for at least one complaint to management from a teammate.
Since Pierzynski was DFA the Red Sox have had back to back walk off wins while snapping a 4-game losing streak and a backbreaking 1-7 homestand. It's naive to think that one jerk is enough to turn a World Series Champion into a last place team, but for a desperate fan looking for a glimmer of hope before the all-star break it does the trick. The Red Sox have a nice opportunity to build some momentum going into the break as they get their first taste of the Houston Astros, arguably the worst team in baseball. The Red Sox went 6-1 against them last season and the Astros have improved marginally, if at all.

Buyers or Sellers?

It's difficult to know when it's time to throw in the towel on a team. It seemed clear that it was over just a few days ago, now I have just that small glimmer of hope again. I have seen what they can do last year. I want to believe. I want to give them another chance to show that they are the same team that delivered a championship just a few months ago. Perhaps things will be clearer on deadline day with another 16 games played. The AL East is such a mediocre jumble of teams that a strong second half might be enough to close the gap.

If you want to sell it's time to get serious about Jon Lester. I think the Red Sox should make him a deal, even if that means overpaying him. If you can't make a deal then it's time to cash in your chips. Lester is having an All-star season and typically plays better in the playoffs. Grind one of the contenders for some can't miss prospects and move on.

The rest of the players on short term deals are all expendable and should be sold to the highest bidder if we're having a fire sale. I don't know that Jake Peavy is any better than the guys like Brandon Workman or Rubby De La Rosa who have been bouncing back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket all season. If a National League team offers anything of significant value in exchange for Peavy they should pull the trigger. An all-star closer like Koji would have a lot of value on the trade market even as a 1-year rental. If the decision is made that we're throwing in the towel on this season he should absolutely be dealt.