That’s right, it’s time to focus on the off season.
It’s been almost a week since our beloved Patriots lost in the AFC championship game to the Ravens. Since Sunday, I have been keeping as far away from ESPN and any other sports outlet that may be talking about “Harbaugh Bowl” because it the wounds are still fresh. It’s also just obnoxious to see them talk about it non stop. Thankfully for Boston sports fans we can focus on the return of hockey to the city.
Anyways, Patriots players have cleared out their lockers and gone their separate ways for the off season. Some go to places where it isn’t below 0 outside (it currently feels like -8 outside) and some go back to their hometowns, wherever that may be. But, just because the players leave doesn’t mean that the work is over. Guys like Nick Caserio, Floyd Reese, both Bob and Jonathan Kraft and Bill Belichick have some serious decisions to make when it comes to choosing which players should be brought back for next season.
Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy are going to strike gold with this new book.
Early last week when the story about Terry Francona and Boston Red Sox ownership broke, it immediately caught my attention. I planned on writing this piece for Thursday, the 24th, but the January 21 issue of Sports Illustrated may have been one of the hardest magazines to find.The only reasoning I could think of is that so many people were trying to get their hands on this magazine so they could see the front office brass bashing article themselves.
Finally, on Friday I was able to snag the last available copy of the magazine that had the excerpt from Dan Shaughnessy’s upcoming book. After reading through it and allowing the information to sit in my mind for a few days, I have finally come to the conclusion that the New York Jets are not the best circus in the country…the Boston Red Sox are.
It hurts me to say that my beloved Boston Red Sox are the laughing stock of not only Major League Baseball, but also one of the biggest jokes in all of sports. That’s not a harsh over-the-top statement, it’s just the truth and anybody who has read this article in Sports Illustrated will see that.
In short, Dan Shaughnessy has worked with Terry Francona to write a book about his time as the manager of the Boston Red Sox. This book reveals all kinds of inside stories and secrets that were all unknown until this book was published and they were told to show Red Sox Nation what kinds of people are running their favorite franchise. This whole article stands out to me because it blew my mind, but there are some moments that were seared into my brain and I can’t get them out of my head without venting to someone about them. So thanks ahead of time for listening to my problems with the Boston Red Sox.
What do all of these dates have in common? Well, all of them have taken place in the past year and all of them take place during basketball season. More importantly, all of these dates are ones where Rajon Rondo has been suspended for some type of on court issue. Lets revisit them, shall we?
The first incident took place in February last season during a game at Detroit. After not receiving a foul call following a hard drive to the basket, Rondo tossed the ball and hit the official in the chest. Rondo received a double technical, was ejected from the game and resulted in a two game suspension. The Celtics lost both games while Rondo was suspended.
The second incident also involved a referee, this time taking place during the 2012 playoffs. During a quarterfinal match up against the Atlanta Hawks, Rondo was once again arguing an official’s call and bumped a referee in the final minute of the game one loss. Rondo once again received a double technical, was ejected from the game and would later be suspended for game two of the series. The Celtics won that game behind a 36 point effort from Paul Pierce.
In the past 13 months, 14 NFL head coaches have been fired by their employers. That is almost half of the league in just a little bit over a year. The NFL has reached a time period where a new head coach is given two or three years to come in and turn a team around and if they can’t do it, it’s on to the next. Gone are the days of long term coaching deals and right now there are seven (soon to be less) head coaching positions open. A serious question was brought up the other day on 98.5 The Sports Hub about current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, “why hasn’t he looked into any of the open head coaching positions”?
McDaniels has not always been with the New England organization, he was the head coach in Denver during the 2009-10 seasons and he was the offensive coordinator in St. Louis during 2011 before coming back to New England during their Superbowl run. With the experience he has, how come McDaniels has declined interviews with the teams looking for a new head coach? What does Josh know that we don’t?
Anyone who followed the Red Sox last season, knows that there were some highs and lows which turned the season into a long, stressful, “what is wrong with this team” kind of roller coaster ride. Now, the new year is upon us and this seems like a good time to take a look back at 2012 and some of the biggest stories surrounding the Boston Red Sox.
Bobby V’s hiring was just the beginning
Bobby V In: Ok, I know this first story happened in 2011 but it is where the 2012 season really begins for the Boston Red Sox. This was the manager that was supposed to come into Boston and fix the sinking ship at Fenway Park and during spring training, it looked as is the problems were going to be solved. Bobby got rid of beer in the clubhouse and then made the decision to actually make the players work during spring training. Guys like Dustin Pedroia didn’t like it, but as a fan it gave you hope that he was going to turn everything around.
The “Bobby V Experiment” turned out to be a bust
Bobby V Out: After a poor season filled with a disgruntled clubhouse, an injury bug who refused to leave Boston and disagreements with his staff, Bobby Valentine was fired in early October. The man who was brought to Boston to change the way things were done and to replace one of the best managers Boston has ever seen failed miserably. He called out players, he called out coaches and after he lost all their respect, he lost the fan’s respect as well. With the firing, a sigh of relief swept through Red Sox Nation and the search began for a new manager.
Ben Cherington Has Been Quite Busy This Off-Season.
If all the deals hold, your beloved Boston Red Sox will have spent around $175 million dollars this off-season just on free agents. The best part about that stat is that Larry, Ben and the boys are going to do everything they can to keep this team competitive. The worst part about that stat though, is that they spent 175 million dollars on players who have such little value.
Many people have said that the next few years are “bridge years”for the Red Sox and the recent signings have proved that. All of the deals sit in the 1-3 year range and that has to be a sign that our best prospects are 1-3 years away from being ready for the show. You can put guys like Jose Iglesias, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Bryce Brentz and Matt Barnes on the back burner and begin to focus on this year’s team. The guys who are worth $175 million or what I like to call “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
The Good: The best free agent signing that Boston made this off season came on a one year deal worth 4.25 million. Koji Uehara is a back end bullpen guy who, in past years, has been outstanding for both Texas and Baltimore. Last year, Uehara finished the season with a 1.75 ERA, a .64 whip and he only walked 3 batters in 36 innings. Let me repeat that again, HE ONLY WALKED 3 BATTERS ALL YEAR! If there is one singing to be excited about for the Red Sox this year, Koji Uehara is the one.
The next good deal that the Sox made this summer hasn’t even been made official yet, but assuming all deals will hold the Mike Napoli deal is going to help the Red Sox in so many ways. Napoli can play first base, he can catch and if needed he can DH. Along with his versatility, what make the Napoli signing so appealing are his career numbers at Fenway Park. Although it may not be a large sample his .306 average, 7 home runs and 17 RBIs make fans like me hopeful that this team will compete with the other powerhouses in the AL East.
The Bad:Another 3 year/$39 million dollar deal was handed out this summer by Boston. The Shane Victorino signing was one of the first “major” moves made by the Sox and in general, it makes plenty of sense. Victorino is a great fielder who fills a hole in the Red Sox outfield and if Boston chooses to move Jacoby Ellsbury, we have someone who can play center field. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian”can also run and if John Farrell’s time in Toronto taught us anything, it’s that he loves to steal bases. So, what makes this a bad signing? Well, $39 million for a 32 year old who hit .255 last year doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Victorino is on the back nine in his career and this signing is one that proves that Boston is spending money on names, and not value.