Wednesday, November 05, 2008


"It's been a long time coming."

In no way is this column a place that I'm going to be sharing political viewpoints in any regularity, but America is in an amazing state this morning. A black man is president, a former SNL cast member is a recount away from being a senator, and pot has been decriminalized in MA...


The Pats played another game that I'm not going to get into because I didn't purchase the protection plan on my laptop...just looking out for my investment...damn you Dave Thomas (not the Wendy's guy...square hamburgers, spicy chicken sandwich, Frosties...we're cool).

Well, here are some positive things with the Pats. First, I'm actually going to be at Gillette on Sunday when the Bills come to town. Saying I'm pumped is an understatement of epic proportions. After outplaying the Colts in Indy, I feel like this team is ready to take on the rest of the schedule, which, after the Buffalo game, will include two or three more tough games (at home against Pittsburgh and Arizona, then on the road against the Bills). I still project this team to be at least 10-6 when all is said and done, which should be enough to get us yet another AFC East title. Obviously the tailgaiting will not be as wild this time with my dad and my uncle, but it should be loads of fun none the less. When is football in November not fun? (Rain)

I was reading a really interesting report on ESPN today about the Raiders looking to clean house to get themselves back to a respectable cap number given that their team sucks and what not. This could be a very interesting turn of events for the Pats. Now before anyone jumps on me, just hear me out. These cuts could include the likes of Deangelo Hall, Javon Walker, Ronald Curry, Michael Huff. Hall is probably going to be the most publicized of all the players let go. He is a former Pro-Bowler who got signed for big bucks in Oakland (seven years, $66.28 million...okay maybe big is putting that lightly). So far this season, he's been accused of taking plays off due to said gi-normous contract. But, if he gets cut, bye-bye contract (reasons 1 through 9 million as to why Scott Boras would not last a day in the NFL: non-guaranteed contracts...look out below!). Me, personally, I'm not sure if the Pats will have any interest in Hall, as I suspect that there will be a line of teams ready to snatch him up (he is coming off his best game as a Raider, getting eight tackles). Walker also will probably slip off the radar due to past injury concerns. The two guys I really have my eye on are Huff and Curry. Huff was the #7 pick in the draft just two years ago, and recorded 78 and 85 tackles in the last two years respectively. Since the Cable guy took over in Oakland, Huff has been benched, in this new policy of benching all of your good players in attempt to get the #1 pick which, surprise, won't help anything. Huff was a phenom at Texas, and while I haven't seen a whole lot of the Raiders the last few years (again, surprise), I'm sure Huff, 25, still has plenty in the tank, and has already shown a skill-set that translates well to the NFL. Given the current situation at safety (Harrison likely done for his career, Meriweather becoming one of the hardest hitters in the game, but still having trouble in coverage, and Colonel Sanders showing that perhaps last year was a fluke), I think Huff would be a nice pickup to get some depth back there, if anything else. I also like Ronald Curry. He was a point guard at UNC, which means he possesses tremendous athleticism. Plus, remember this catch (the snow angel needs work...on the stomach...for real?)? A big possession receiver is something the Pats are lacking. I love Ben Watson, but he has not shown the ability to be the big guy to go over the middle, something I think Curry would flourish in doing (I'm not going to lie, if it's going to help Wes Welker, I'm going to think it's a good idea...keep that in mind the next time you read anything about the Pats I write). So, I hope the Pats at least look into some of these guys, because it is becoming evident that they are a couple pieces away from having a legitimate shot at defending the AFC crown.

Random giant pat on the back: Two weeks in a row I've won all three leagues in fantasy football with Gus Frerotte, Derek Anderson, and Matt Cassel as my starting QBs, and I'm kicking ass in fantasy basketball (thank you Marc Gasol) and hockey (thank you Dany Heatley and basically the entire Bruins roster). Oooooooo yeah!

Speaking of teams that kick ass, the Celts pulled of an election night victory over the Rockets, basically going wire to wire, holding off a late rally to win 103-99. Why is this important? Glad you asked...and even if you didn't, here we go: The Rockets were one of the teams out West that many figured would give the C's problems, especially due to the upgrade in defense they receive with Ron Artest. Sure, the Celts looked sloppy at times, but in turn, so didn't the Rockets, which is why this team is great. They may give the ball up sometimes, but they play the grittiest defense in the league, dare I say, Spurs-esque. Not enough can be said about Rajon Rondo, who went from being an arch-nemisis of mine during his SEC days at Kentucky, to being probably my second favorite player on the C's (for all intensive purposes, Eddie House is going to be holding down the top spot until he literally stabs a teammate in the keep that in mind). I mean look at this line: 10 pts., 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 5-10 shooting, 2 TOs. How can you not like that? He's a point guard getting seven rebounds! Absolutely loving it. Of course the Big Three are going to lead the team, but what makes the Celts go is how well Rondo and Perk do starting the game, and how well the bench can come in and give the starters a breather. I love the bench. House, Tony Allen, Leon Powe, Big Baby, and a guy I'm really looking forward to seeing, Bill Walker (and boom goes the dynamite...). So don't annoint them the champs (yet), or give the MVP to KG (yet) or say they are the best team in almost twenty years (yet)...but you can say that they are a tremendous group of athletes that have brought basketball back to a city that was starved for it.

I am contractually obligated at this point to delve into the Hot Stove for the Sox, and being back in Massachusetts, that's still the second most important story up here (the first being the kidnapping of Bill Belichick and the subsequent clone that was put on the field that likes to challenge 12 men on the field plays, call ridiculous timeouts, and not punting on 4th and 16 when it's completely illogical to go for it...but I digress). Okay, here's a rundown of what's going on here:

Jason Varitek: The captain, one of the best at "calling a game," but $52 million for four years (Boras, believe it or not, has likened Jorge Posada's deal as a benchmark for 'Tek...shocking to use a Yankee contract in renegotiations...shocking)? That's cooky talk. 'Tek will be 37 when the season starts next year. We're really supposed to believe that he's worth 13 mil until he's 40? "I'm not so sure about that." He's a great baseball player, but he has become a liability at the plate, and while I believe the Sox are better with him than without him, there is no way I think he's worth 13 a year...he's getting 10 now, and his production has gone way down since that deal was made. So, again, I look for the Sox to be offering two years at 9-10 per. That's a more-than-fair price for a catcher who, while having excellent leadership skills, has seen a steady decline in his production the past few years.

Khalil Greene: There has been a lot of talk about the Sox making an attempt to sure up the shortstop position and go after Greene, a perennial gold-glover from the Padres, but the Globe is reporting that those rumors are just that...rumors. So, hopefully, this talk will die down because I really do not want anything to compromise what the Sox are likely thinking right now: Jed Lowrie is our shortstop, and Julio Lugo can continue to wear a jersey as long as he doesn't wander ten feet from the bench.

Junichi Tazawa: The Sox are really looking into this guy from across the other pond. As expected, I really don't know too much about this guy, but here is what we do know: He's 22, his fastball clocks out at anywhere between 92-95, he has a Dice-like fact, his makeup is very much like Dice (fastball in the mid 90s, over-powering slider, ridiculous curve, a forkball-like pitch, and a changeup). However, here's how he's a bit different: He's 22 years old, and if you want to talk to him, you have to pay...nothing. That's right, no posting fee. Ummm, go ahead and watch this, and if you don't think we could use this guy, then you are wanted on Dan Duquette's staff from eight years ago immediately.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Okay, so obviously this is a perfect example of the Boston media toying with me. Here's a guy I am so high on for so many reasons (hits for average from both sides of the plate, above-average defensively, longest last name in baseball history), and it appears the Sox are gauging what they need to part with if they want to pick up Salty. Keep in mind that he was the centerpiece in the Mark Teixeira trade from Atlanta, so the asking price could be steep (right now, it seems like it would have to be either Clay Buchholz, who the Sox seem a little more willing to part with (what a difference a year and an injury makes) or Michael Bowden). I think this is something the Sox should seriously look into even if they sign 'Tek, because if you look at the Sox' farm system, the catching ranks are pretty barren, so adding a guy like Salty would add some much needed depth, and would show the fans that the team is looking ahead when #33 will not be behind the plate.

Derek Lowe: Homecoming? Perhaps. But it's going to take some concessions from both sides to get a deal done. While the Sox likely will not match the yearly dollar figures Lowe is likely to be commanding, they are going to have to make up for that by probably heading into that 5-year contract range that they absolutely dread doing. If you want to be realistic about it, four years and $44-48 million will get this done. Do the Sox want to spend that kind of cash for a guy who will likely be their fourth starter? I think it all depends on if they can lock up the "franchise" guys (Pedroia, Youkilis, Papelbon, Lester), and how much financial flexibility they have after they pull off a couple of those moves. Still, a very interesting scenario none the less.

I'm just going to mention the names A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets purely for the fact that the Sox will "kick the tires," but as of right now, they have not shown substantial interest in either, likely due to the price tag that will come with either.

So that's pretty much all the news on the Sox that I have right now. I'm sure as winter rolls around, the scene will become a lot clearer in terms of what they might be thinking about doing. One final note: Your South Carolina Gamecocks are back in the AP Poll...okay not in the Top 25, but we got votes! Right now, the Gamecocks are, in tabulating votes, 33rd in the country...not bad for a team with three losses. Again, USC will likely need to go 2-1 to reach either the Peach Bowl or the Outback Bowl on account of the fact that Auburn and Tennessee have been dreadful this year, opening up the door for the Cocks (by the way, if the coach at Duke turns down the Tennessee job because he's "comfortable where's he's at" despite the fact that he was the offensive coordinator at UT for eight years and,'s know the Vols have fallen far from grace right now). This weekend is a huge game for us, so I command anyone within somewhat respectable driving distance be at the fairgrounds this weekend, because they're going to need us this weekend (last home game of the year by the way), and as shown by the beatdown we put on the Vols last week, once the crowd at the WB gets going, there's not a whole lot better place to be playing at home in the country. Another heads up: January 20th is Barack's first day, and then the next day I turn 24...I'm thinking we're going to have cause for celebration, what do you think?...

We're back...



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