Friday, July 28

Waiting is the Hardest part...

Quick little thoughts on why the Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl this year....

It is simple. The Patriots are going to win the East, for a few reasons. 1. They didn't get any worse than last yr, this includes Rodney coming back from injury, and Branch isn't going to hold out the whole season because he will still have 1 more yr on his contract. 2. Dillon will be back to his normal self, what people don't realize is he ran behind a makeshift offensive line last yr, plus he had those injuries. He is fully healthy and if the presence Laurence doesn’t motivate him to be his old self, I don’t know what will. 3. No one in the east got better enough to overtake the Patriots. Sure the sexy pick is for the Dolphins to overtake the Patriots, but seriously are you that concerned with an offense run by Culpepper. I think the signing of Culpepper makes the Dolphins worse than last year. Now, you may ask why, and ill tell you. With Fiedler, he managed a football game, played within himself, he didn’t try to go out there and make plays he couldn’t. What does Culpepper do? Exactly, the opposite of that. He will cost them a few games because of this. And as a side point we have to remember that last yr, with out Moss, he has 6TD’s to 12 INT’s before his injury, so he hasn’t played well since loosing his premier receiver, and in case you don’t know what the Dolphins roster looks like, they have no premier receiver. 4. Last I checked we still had Brady and Bill. They are the best combo since peanut butter and jelly was put together. Also we now have a proven defensive coordinator, and that is not taking anything any from Mangini, I wish him nothing but success in NY, but he was 34 when he coached this team last year. Peeves is proven winner under BB and wherever he went in college. 5. Losing Adam does hurt, a lot, but I am not that concerned. I take the Patriots front office at their word when they say they saw something in Adam that made them not want to resign him. I also just have this gut feeling that Gostkowski will be a very good FG kicker for the Patriots this season.

To sum everything up; the Pats are better than last yr. No one in the East will overtake their thrown and I will see you in Miami come Feb.

This is just a preview to the NFL Preview I will be coming out with soon.

Wednesday, July 19

The Times are a changin’

The Boston Celtics just wrapped up their Vegas Summer league Schedule with a 3-2 record. The team was lead by the usual suspects of Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson. They all showed improved forms from last year. Gomes just dominated from the field averaging 19PPG, 6RPG while shooting a spectacular 60% from the field and 86% from the line. Green showed he has some long range potential with his 56% three point shooting. Jefferson lost some weight that can hopefully keep his ankle healthy for a full season. Rondo and Telfair both played some spectacular Point. The surprise of the summer league has to be Allen Ray. He was a non-drafted invitee to the camp, and the Celtics faith in paid off. He averaged over 14PPG while shooting over 50% from the field. I like his chances to make the team.

Let’s break down the Celtics position by position and give my prediction from the upcoming season.

Point Guards (Delonte West, Telfair, Rondo)

The Celtics clearly were not satisfied with their point guard situation because they traded for one on draft night, and drafted one as well. I like the Telfair move. He is a very capable old school point guard who can deliver a pass with the best PG’s in the league. He needs to work on his shooting as he only shot 40% from the field in the summer league, but he can knock down that open jumper when needed. Rondo is a guy who also struggles with his shot. The book on him in college is that he is very capable of leading a team, but he can’t hit that open jumper. He showed signs that maybe that wasn’t the case as he shot 56% from the field in the summer league. But what this guy can do is dish out assists. West, we are all aware of West can do. People in the media and the league, and clearly the Celtics front office don’t think he can be a true point guard that can lead a team to a championship. I agree with that. He is a very capable slash guard who can shoot well and spell a true point at the 1, but if he was our main point guard it would be tough to get through the playoff tree.

Overall grade: B

Off Guards (Tony Allen, Paul Pierce, Allen Ray, Wally Szczerbiak, Gerald Green)

This is a talented bunch. PDub is worth every penny of his 3 year 60 million dollar extension. Tony Allen plays great D and can also jump out of the gym. Wally is a shooter, so is Allen Ray. Green is the guy poised for the breakout year. We saw signs of it towards the end of last year when he really put together some great games he clearly carried that over into the summer league. He is a guy who has tremendous upside, and remember he is only one year removed from high school.

Overall grade: A-

Forwards (Gomes, Brian Scalabrine, Leon Powe, Brian Grant)

None of these guys are going to start this season and only Gomes is expected to play quality minutes. We saw what Brian can do (nothing) last year. Brian grant was dumped by Phoenix because of money and he probably won’t even see minutes with the Celtics. Powe is a wildcard. He was drafted in the second round but late. He played in the Pac-10 which is a good conference to play in, but I’m not expecting too much from him. Gomes could be trade bait for possibly AI, because Ainge isn’t that high on him and feels his trade value is much higher than he is. I love Gomes, I loved him at PC, I loved him last year for the Celtics, but if he can reel in AI I wouldn’t mind losing him. (More on AI later on).

Overall grade: C

Big Men (Big Al, Theo Ratliff, Kendrick Perkins, Dwayne Jones)

Big Al and Perk are most likely going to start out of this group, Big Al at the 4, and Perk at the 5. Theo came with the Telfair in the deal with Portland. If he can give the Celtics 15-20 min a game rebound the ball well and block his shots, which is all we can ask of him. Jones is not going to see any playing time this year. I am expecting HUGE things out of Big Al and Perk. They both showed flashes of brilliance last year and the Celtics are hoping that they can sustain that for a full season. I think it will happen, of course I said this last year about Big Al right after I bought his jersey.

Overall grade: B

Depth Chart Starter Backup 3rd string

PG: West Telfair Rondo

SG Wally Allen Ray

SF PDub Green Scalabrine

PF Big Al Gomes Powe

C Perk Ratliff


This is a Celtic team that missed the playoffs last year. This year will be completely different. The landscape of the east is very different. Everyone is anointing the Bulls masters of the East because they got Big Ben, but I’m not as sure. This is new type of league where it favors teams that can run and score, FYI the Celtics can run and score. The Bulls have both Tyrus Thomas and Big Ben who can’t put the ball in the hole. The Cavs showed what LeBron is capable of when they came within 1 win of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat are the Heat. I don’t like the Nets I think the Celtics will finish ahead of them. The Celtics can get to 45-48 wins with this team. I like what Ainge has done with it. PDub showed that he can take his game to the next level. I think the Celtics win the Atlantic Division and get at least a 3 seed, but deserve it this time. However, if the Celtics pull off the deal for AI they lock up the 2 seed and get to 51-54 wins.

Side Bar

I would love to see AI come to the Celtics; I am not sure how this guy is the problem in Philly. He plays with his heart on his sleeve and he brings it every game of every season. Sure he will miss the occasional practice, but come on we’re talking about practice. I think if we can pull off the deal without giving up Green, Perk, PDub, Big Al, or West I do it. So how can the Celtics pull off the trade without throwing them into the deal? Just looking at the salary cap numbers the Celtics can trade Wally, Scalabrine, and Telfair for AI. Why would the Sixers do this trade? Because they want to get rid of AI and AI wants to leave after all these trade rumors. Wally is a good shooter that could compliment Webber. Telfair is the point guard they are looking for as well and Brian would be thrown in for money reasons.

If the Celtics are able to pull off the deal for AI they make the Eastern Conference Finals. There starting lineup would just insert AI into Wally’s position. This would be a great deal for the Celtics and I hope they pull it off.

I am expecting great things from the Celtics this year and I think they are going to deliver. I still think they are a year away from really truly contending for an NBA title, with or with our AI. AI would help them go further this year. The Celtics have a solid foundation for the future and they have a solid foundation for the present as well.

Soon to come, a preview of the upcoming Patriots season as well as more stuff on the Red Sox.

Wednesday, July 5

The Good, The Bad, and The Skinny

As we sit here on July 5th, it is the halfway point of the 2006 season and I still cannot get a read on this year’s Red Sox team. After winning 14 of 15 against the NL East and people talking about them like they won the World Series they come down to earth and lose two straight to the Devil Rays. Not only did they lose these games to the Devil Rays it is everything else that came with it. We had our two best pitchers on the mound for the starts and they both took the L. The Yankees also lost their last two games so I guess that is a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because we keep our lead in the AL East, a bad thing because we should have increased the lead. So with that said let’s hand out some grades and some moves we need to do to make this years team a world champion.


The Sox have two Aces in Schilling and Beckett. They have a reliable consistent starter in Wake. A rookie pitcher who has pitched on thin ice in most his starts, but has gotten out of all of them while giving us a chance to win (Lester). And then we have a major major major question mark in Jason Johnson. This is a guy we got off the scraps from the Indians and in his first start for us, he had a rough two innings, but then settled down, but he took the loss. I am a little torn between who I want as my number 5 in the rotation. I have only seen one start for Johnson, albeit a bad one, but I willing to see what he has tonight in Tampa before I start calling for his head. Of course, the guy he is replacing in the rotation is no savior either. Matt Clement was not pitching well this year at all. He can’t get anyone out. So if I have to choose one of those two for my number 5 I take neither. We need to go out a get another starter. But more on that later. Our bullpen has been well chronicled. We have a bunch of rookies who I want to see out there much more than Taverez and Seanez. We have a nice matchup guy with Lopez. Take away what Timlin did yesterday he is having a great year. And of course we don’t need to reiterate how amazing Papelbon has been. He has one of the best years for a closer anytime anywhere.

Grade: Starting Staff B-, Bullpen C, Closer/Setup man: A


We were told at the beginning of Spring Training that this years Red Sox team wasn’t going to be your fathers Red Sox team. They weren’t supposed to mash the ball all around the field, they weren’t supposed to score a lot of runs, they weren’t supposed to have walk-off home runs every other week, and they were supposed to have a lot of holes in their lineup. But that just shows you what a team with two of the best power hitters in the game does. The old saying of “hitting is contagious” is definitely true. How else can you explain Lowell hitting over .300, Nixon hitting over .320, Gonzo hitting close to .270. (Now I know .270 doesn’t draw attention anywhere else but in Boston, but when you were supposed to hit .200 and the media said before the season that with Gonzo’s glove anything close to .270 would be amazing. It does warrant a mention.) A lot of players who weren’t supposed to do what they are doing are coming through. And because of that the Sox have scored 451 runs so far for an average of 5.5 runs a game, and they are on pace for over 900, that’s not too bad. Yuk in the top of the order has been a very pleasant surprise as well as his glove. Loretta is the typical number 2 guy that Edgar wasn’t last year. Ortiz is the best clutch hitter in the game, Manny is Manny. ‘Tek is having an off year with the average. Nixon is just hitting everything thrown at him. Crisp is getting more and more comfortable at the plate.

Grade: A


There isn’t much to say. The Sox have the best defense in the game. Earlier in the year they set the record for consecutive games without an error (17). Yuk is playing a great glove at first. Crisp is playing a centerfield that is making us forget about Jesus. Lowell, Gonzo, and Loretta are playing like gold glove winners. Just as a side point, Remy and Orsillo mentioned during yesterday’s game that Loretta and Gonzo have a combined five errors this season. Five errors from your middle infield that is unheard of.

Grade: A


The coaching staff has been upgraded. They have a new pitching coach and new first and third base coaches. All of which have been upgrades. And I hate to say that about the pitching coach because Wallace had hip surgery and we feel for him and wish him a speedy recovery, but Nip has been great. Terry earned his 200th win as a manager this season, and aside from some questionable decisions he has managed this team very well. I would love to see the young pitchers in there a little more. I want to see Hanson and Delcarmen in tight spots. Manny has been pitching very well.

Grade: B

Moves that should be made

The Sox need to upgrade their pitching staff. They don’t need to do anything with their lineup or defense. Adding another guy in the rotation and another guy in the bullpen will be great. Now I don’t think we should break the bank for anyone, I think it will be tough to land a Willis or Smoltz. Zito isn’t being traded. But I’d like to give Jake Pevey a look from San Diego. If the asking price isn’t too much why not make a deal with San Diego for the third time this year. Although a few days ago I heard the name Smoltz thrown out there for a Hanson, I am not sure how I feel about this. I think Smoltz will give the Red Sox a very realistic shot at another World Series ring, but Hanson is going to be a stud in this league. At the same time, it’s easier to fine a stud closer than an ace in the rotation. The Sox also need to add a bullpen guy to take over the Taverez or Seanez spot in the Bullpen. The Sox could go after someone like Joe Borowski who is pitching well down in Miami.

The Red Sox are not that far off from another World Series Title. Just need to add a few tiny pieces as the trading deadline.