Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Thinking out loud: Still some questions with Red Sox

John Rooke
August 03, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering how a couple of ex-phenom QB’s are making out of late…

  • An impressive start to the Red Sox – Yankees series at Fenway, sure.  Got offense?  New York pitching is a hot mess right now.  Boston hitting is hot, period.  How long can the bats carry them?

 

  • And WTH did Steve Pearce come from, anyway? 

 

  • 13 runs Thursday night off the best bullpen in baseball?  Ridiculous.  But this entire regular season has been a little bit ridiculous, hasn’t it?  The kicker – is that it means squat if success can’t follow in the postseason.

 

  • No Sale?  I get wanting to limit his innings so there’s gas left in the tank at the end.  It was a problem last year.  But holding him out from facing the Yankees tells me this shoulder thing he has could be a problem, despite what Chris Sale himself says.

 

  • Win the series this weekend, you might just put the Evil Empire out of it.  But I don’t believe so.  There’s too much baseball left, and when New York’s health returns (hello Aaron Judge) their lineup is still as good, if not better, than any other.  They did hang seven on the Sox Thursday.

 

  • And I’m still not a believer in the Boston bullpen.  Or, in Alex Cora’s handling of said bullpen.  But a series win here gives the Sox the series lead over the Yankees on the season – and that’s big, if a tiebreaker is ever needed.  It might still be.

 

  • Ian Kinsler, welcome to the ballclub.  No truth to the rumor that if Dustin Pedroia ever decides to show up again, Kinsler will ask for a trade.  Or a transfer.

 

  • Tweet of the Week, from @SoxNotes: “At 25 years old, Mookie Betts is the youngest player ever to reach 100+ HR and 100+ stolen bases with the Red Sox. Betts has also become the first Red Sox player ever to record 20+ HR and 20+ steals in as many as 3 seasons.”

 

  • Patriots camp in Foxboro hasn’t had quite the buzz of recent years.  Guessing it’s partially because we’re all spoiled by their success.  And partially because there isn’t another team out there to practice or scrimmage against this year.  So, we’re spoiled there, too.

 

  • Jordan Matthews had a great opportunity.  Wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots’ cutting him was a signal that opportunity is only available to the strong-minded.  And to those who can stay on the field.

 

  • “Hey Bomani Jones – stop being racist.”  Signed, Everyone.

 

  • Unreal that an alleged ESPN ‘personality’ can continue to (wink, wink) rant and rave about “white receivers” like Eric Decker being Patriot favorites, just because it’s Boston? 

 

  • Remember last year when Jones said the only reason Celtics fans cheered Gordon Hayward before the team signed him was because he was white?

 

  • First of all, let’s get this right – he’s not an ESPN ‘personality.’  He’s an ESPN ‘instigator.’ Or s*it-stirrer.  Take your pick.  Either way, you’re right.  Journalist?  Hardly.  Writer or broadcaster?  Maybe on a good day. 

 

  • But if you ask me, Bomani = Fraud.

 

  • As someone who has lived here and covered sports here for more than 30 years, the ‘Boston is racist’ tag is tiresome.  And simply wrong, based on personal observations.  This place is no different than any other major market.  And better than most in terms of tolerance. 

 

  • Fans can be tough, but they’re equal-opportunity-tough.  You produce?  We love you.  You slack?  Have a bag packed and always keep one eye open.  You suck?  Beat it.  Time for a new shtick, Bomani.

 

  • Eight major ACL injuries around the league after the first week of NFL training camp practices?  What in the wide, wide world of sports medicine is going on here? 

 

  • Would more contact for players earlier in the year help here?  Doubt it.  Guys are year-round conditioned for the most part, anyway.  Athletes simply aren’t meant to do some physical things, and when they try and over-exert or get hit – pop goes a ligament. 

 

  • Sleeper pick(s) for a big year?  Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers, if they stay healthy.  Bill Belichick this week called them both two of the “hardest working” he’s seen around here.  Those are plaudits that are rarely bestowed upon players who haven’t been around that long.  

 

  • ICYMI, Patriots’ ticket prices on the secondary market are the highest in the NFL for a 3rd straight year.  And yet, I can’t give away preseason tickets.  Crowds at training camp are smaller this year, for certain.  Where is the disconnect coming from?

 

  • Will the Malcolm Butler story ever go away?  Butler, to his credit, has answered the question undoubtedly to the best of his ability without throwing anyone but himself under a bus.  It’s a small league – no sense in ruining future possibilities. 

 

  • But we need to move on from this.  For the love of football, accept it.  Someone screwed up.  BB?  Butler?  Someone else?  Whatever.  We’re onto 2018.

 

  • And Happy 41st, TB12!  You’re that much closer to collecting Social Security!  If it exists when you need it – and if you need it – of course.

 

  • Ben Volin’s question to Tom Brady about Julian Edelman’s connection with Alex Guerrero?  Brady cut short the question, and his time with the media, in response.  Personally, I had no problem with the question.  But I can understand why TB12 would have one. 

 

  • The new Brady book out this week has him squarely falling on the sword for Jim McNally and John Jastremski in the Deflategate saga.  Roger Goodell said he had to give the two Patriot equipment guys up in return for no suspension – and TB12 said ‘no thanks.’ 

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but would you – could you – have done the same thing if it were you?

 

  • The Sports Hub’s Tony Massarotti responded with an on-air insult after TB12’s early interview exit by calling Brady “Tommy Girl.”  Really?  Why is it that New England media continues with a decades-old habit of shooting down our stars? 

 

  • To try and manufacture something that’s not there?  Just sayin’.

 

  • Here’s what I want to know about alleged in-fighting within the Patriots.  Is true organizational dysfunction a real thing?  Or is this more of a media creation just so talk shows and columnists can have something to bloviate about?

 

  • I’m around Gillette Stadium.  A lot.  I don’t ever see it.  But I know guys have arguments, disagreements, whatever – just like you fight or disagree with a family member or a spouse. 

 

  • The book “12” this week detailed Brady’s unhappiness with Robert Kraft accepting the NFL’s penalty for something he didn’t do.  We’d all be unhappy with our boss rolling us under a bus, right?

 

  • Something tells me the NFL’s new helmet rule is a disaster-in-waiting.  Just don’t know how this is going to work out for officiating crews, as it seems based too much on intent.  ‘Hey fella.  Did you mean to lead with your helmet on that last lunging tackle to keep the running back out of the end zone?  No?  Okay, thanks.”

 

  • What do ex-tough-guys-who-get-‘roided-up do when they’re retired/bored?  Ex-Charger LB Shawne Merriman is fighting in a bare-knuckle match.  For fun.  And money.  Maybe mostly money.

 

  • Great that Rick Middleton’s #16 Bruins’ jersey will be retired.  It will be the 11th sweater to find its’ way into the Garden rafters.  Yeah, there’s a lot of numbers up there, but that’s what puts the ‘story’ into “storied tradition.”

 

  • Tiger Woods says he’s playing TPC Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship at the end of this month.  Does the sport of golf need Tiger to be good again, or just good enough to be competitive?  Based on reaction and ratings seen thus far, the latter is more accurate.

 

  • Interest is already beginning to build throughout the Big East for the upcoming hoop season.  Villanova defends its’ national title. Marquette is buzzing about a roster full of potential.  Xavier has a new coach but a familiar feel around campus. 

 

  • The corner is turning at old school league leaders Georgetown and St. John’s under two familiar names – Ewing and Mullin.  Creighton says center Martin Krampelj should be ready to go after tearing an ACL last season.

 

  • And the Friars?  Emmitt Holt is improving.  David Duke is testing his leadership wings.  Recruiting is on fire.  And the Ruane Development Center is almost a real, tangible asset.  Season ticket sales are nearing a record-high.  Yeah, can’t wait here, either.

 

  • Shout out and congrats to the Napolillo’s, PC Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve, his wife Beth and their son Drew on the birth this week of daughter and sister Avery.

 

  • The Friends Of Friar Basketball, with several former players on its’ advisory board, is working with the College, the City of Providence and the friends of Fargnoli Park to rebuild and refurbish a playground and basketball court on Smith Street in Providence.

 

  • My day job as a communications’ professor at Dean College in Franklin, MA has been a blast the past two weeks, teaching and coaching aspiring sports broadcasters during the schools’ annual sports broadcast camp. 

 

  • I mean, as a sports-crazed teen or college kid, would you rather hang out at the beach for the summer, or hang out at Gillette Stadium covering training camp, McCoy Stadium calling baseball games and student radio station WGAO doing talk shows and podcasts?  

 

  • The Urban Meyer story at Ohio State won’t turn out well for the embattled coach.  It can’t. There’s too much social pressure, even in football-crazed Columbus, Ohio, for the embattled coach to survive his apparent coverup of an assistant coach beating up his one-time wife. 

 

  • Does this make Meyer accountable like Joe Paterno was ultimately held accountable at Penn State?  What about Meyer’s one-time untouchable OSU predecessor, Jim Tressell, who was fired for his role in the schools’ Tattoogate?

 

  • One more time, we’ll see just how powerful football, big time sports and money really are these days, won’t we?  Who’s betting on THE Ohio State University in this one?

 

  • Speaking of wagering, this week the sports world welcomed Mississippi into the reality of sports betting following New Jersey and Delaware.  The biggest story here?  Outside of Nevada, Mississippi is the first state to allow bets on in-state schools, like Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

 

  • That also makes Mississippi the first state in the college hotbed/footprint of the football-mad southeast and the SEC.  Can anyone else see Alabamans flocking across the border to wager on their beloved Crimson Tide?

 

  • Take the over in that one.

 

  • My lady buddy Bobbie recently went into her local town newspaper office (yes, they still have those) to see that an obituary for her late uncle was published.  The editor tells her that the cost is 50 cents per word, so she pauses, thinks about it, and says “well, then let it read ‘Fred Brown died.’”  Taken aback by her thriftiness, the editor told her there was also a seven-word minimum for all obituaries.  So, Bobbie thinks about it for a moment, counts on her fingers and then says “ok, fine, then let it read ‘Fred Brown died. 1983 pickup for sale.’”

 

  • With the NFL preseason now upon us, half of my initial question answered itself Thursday night.  Totally forgot Robert Griffin III was signed with Baltimore, and he sure showed up well in the Ravens’ Hall of Fame game win over Chicago.  Joe Flacco is still the guy, and Lamar Jackson is probably the future, but the former Heisman winner proved he at least deserves a shot to make someone’s roster.  If he can stay healthy, of course.

 

  • The other guy I wondered about was once rumored to be bound for New England – Johnny Manziel.  Turns out, Manziel’s start in the CFL was shaky enough to get him traded from Hamilton to Montreal, because he couldn’t earn playing time in Hamilton.  And Montreal is turr-uh-bull.  So, what happens?  Johnny Football moves to the top of the depth chart for the Alouettes and gets his first start this weekend – against Hamilton.  Can’t make this stuff up.

 

  • @arnondror1 hit me up on Twitter this week on Pats camp: “They are in a good shape for this time of the year and gearing up for another good season.”

 

  • Arnon: Hard to really disagree much with your overall assessment, but as you know, roster attrition due to injury always proves to be problematic before too long.  The Pats brought Eric Decker in this week at receiver, mostly because Jordan Matthews couldn’t stay on the field.  But depth at the position was – and may still be – shaky at best.  In retrospect, Decker could be a great fit here, but until an injury opened a spot there simply wasn’t room.  Funny how things work out. 

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to john.rooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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