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Thinking out loud: Thanks for the troll job Aaron Judge

John Rooke
October 12, 2018 - 5:55 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to Lenny Dykstra…

  • Hey Aaron Judge, thanks for the troll job. 

 

  • If blasting Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” after Game Two at Fenway was all the incentive the Red Sox needed to whack your Yankees 20-4 in the next two games at Yankee Stadium to clinch the ALDS, could we ask you to perform DJ services for next season?

 

  • After you get through on the golf course, of course.

 

  • Craig Kimbrel is getting my bill for treatment of high blood pressure.  Just sayin’.

 

  • And Steve Pearce may be every bit as pliable as TB12, don’t you think?

 

  • Here’s the thing – I know my ‘grumpy old man’ takes, thanks to numerous Sox failures from years (decades) gone by is falling on the deaf ears of a younger generation.  Because now, Boston flat-out owns New York. 

 

  • It’s all that anyone south of the age of 30 really understands, isn’t it?  And hey, what about today’s teenagers?  From 2004-on, the Yankees have been the Red Sox’ ‘daddy,’ right Pedro?

 

  • And who is this old guy the Yankees seem to trot out for a ceremonial first-pitch every time they need a dose of karma?  Bucky somebody?  What did he ever do?

 

  • It was simple this week, really.  Alex Cora, for all the little things he apparently doesn’t do well, is having a managerial season-to-remember.  He’s pushing the right buttons, making the right calls, and generally getting out of the way. 

 

  • Is he perfect?  No.  No manager is perfect.  Pulling Rick Porcello in the 6th inning Wednesday night?  Not penciling Brock Holt into the lineup the night AFTER he hits for the cycle, for the first time EVER in postseason history?

 

  • And what the decision to pitch David Price in Game 2 of the ALCS?  Either Cora is prescient, or he’ll be lambasted as a know-nothing idealist if Price come up short, again.  Such is life as manager of the Red Sox.

 

  • As I’ve said previously, he’s been blessed with TWO MVP-types in his lineup, TWO Cy Young-caliber pitchers on his staff, and a closer that scares the daylights out of everyone, opposing hitters and fans alike.  The result has been contagious.  He’s got a lotta sunshine up his skirt right now.

 

  • And winning two at Yankee Stadium to move into the ALCS in the first place?  The ghosts from Monument Park had no effect on these Sox.  It’s a new day, a new era.  Boston can win games that matter in New York now.  They’ve won 8 of the last 9 playoff games against the Yanks.  Whatever happened before 2004 is history, not the present.

 

  • But can Boston win games against a defending World Series Houston team that has stronger pitching?  Ah, the intrigue of it all, with Cora having served as the bench coach for the Astros’ title run a year ago.

 

  • He probably knows how to attack those guys as well as anyone.  Let it play out.  But don’t be shocked over what happens, either way. 

 

  • That’s not a cop-out.  It’s cold, hard, fact.  No ghosts or demons to exorcise, just a pitching staff to figure out on both sides.  How do you beat their guys, and who’s pitching for your guys?  Edge Astros, in seven.  But it should be fun to watch.

 

  • And a shout-out to the in-season additions of Steve Pearce and Ian Kinsler to the Sox’ lineup.  Yes, Dealer Dave brought them here.  Teams that #dodamage in the postseason always seem to have mid-season additions contributing to put them over the top.  This may be another of those teams.

 

  • David Price is likely to be David Price if/when he pitches again.  But the secret weapon may (need to) come from Nathan Eovaldi after continuing his dominance over the Yankees. 

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but has any baseball team ever beaten two 100-win teams in the same postseason?  The Sox have a chance to be memorable – and within the American League, too.

 

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @SChach17: “Hey @cleveland. Don’t be upset the Indians lost. Your football team won 2 games! #lookatthebrightside”

 

  • ICYMI, Sir Paul McCartney – the ex-Beatle himself – played the hits for a small but connected gathering of Robert Kraft friends and associates at Gillette Stadium this week.  It was his first visit to Foxboro since a sold-out soiree at old Foxboro Stadium in 1990.  My invite must have been lost in the mail?

 

  • A big game?  Isn’t every game involving the Patriots a big game – for someone?  Sure, it’s a measuring stick for these Patriots to go against the flavor du jour in the NFL these days, like the Chiefs.  But these Patriots are also a measuring stick for every team they face, every week.

 

  • Patrick Mahomes is lit.  Dude can ball, yes.  Did you catch his left-handed toss against Denver to avoid a sack?  He’s right-handed.

 

  • When you have offensive targets at your disposal like Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce, all you need to do is get the ball in their hands.  And Mahomes has in the first five weeks.  Suffice to say, the Patriots will be picking their poison this week as to who to defend.

 

  • Trending up – the Patriots’ defensive performance.  Trending down – defensive play overall within the NFL.  It’s now all about Red Zone ‘D’ and how to keep teams out of the end zone.

 

  • Beating the Chiefs will require beating them with ball control.  Time of possession – and taking the ball if you win the coin flip – will be big, early keys to success in the Sunday night primetime matchup. 

 

  • Help your Achilles heel, the defense, by keeping them off the field.  But that’s also easier said than done, if you know Bill Belichick.

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @DanHellie: “Bad news for Patrick Mahomes as he makes his 7th career start Sunday against the Patriots: the last 10 QBs with 10-or-fewer career starts prior to starting against the Patriots went 0-10 with 9 TD and 11 INT @NFLResearch”

 

  • NBC’s preseason Atlantic-10 hoop preview has Rhody looking up in the standings, predicting a 10th place finish out of the 14 teams.  This is why they play the games, people.  URI should be closer to returning to the NCAA’s than they will be to the bottom of the league. 

 

  • Andy Katz ranked Providence 36th in his first March Madness Power 36 poll on NCAA.com and said this of the young Friars: “No reason to doubt Ed Cooley. He will have the Friars in the NCAA tournament behind Alpha Diallo’s leadership. Book it.”

 

  • After watching the Friars practice in the Ruane Friar Development Center this week, I’m left with two impressions – 1) this team is very athletic and 2) defense should keep them in games when the shots don’t fall.  The first exhibition game is next Friday night at the Dunk.

 

  • Potential PC opponent Michigan had its name dragged through the college hoops corruption trial this week.  In Federal Court Tuesday, Brian Bowen, Sr. – the father of prized and controversial recruit Brian Bowen – testified that ex-Wolverine Tai Streets paid him $5K for his son to play on Streets’ AAU team.

 

  • Michigan coach John Beilein told those attending the Big Ten Media Day “I don’t think you ever have to worry about us and that in any area.”  Oh, ok. 

 

  • Michigan guard Charles Matthews was named as a preseason all-Big 10 selection.  The Wolverines were picked second, behind Michigan State, in the media poll.

 

  • And one other item of note – Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany appears ready to battle the Big East for supremacy – if not residency – at Madison Square Garden.  Said Delany – “We’ve presented them (MSG execs) with a powerful emotional plan. We think we can elevate Madison Square Garden to the next level with regard to the postseason. We will not play early."

 

  • The Big East, in case you were wondering, outdrew the Big 10 when both were at MSG last year.  Over the past few seasons, the Big East has also been a higher rated conference with better teams, and better players.  Big East Media Day is next week, also at Madison Square Garden.

 

  • Villanova’s Jay Wright has been named as an assistant coach to the 2019-20 USA Men’s National Basketball Team, led by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.  This will include competitions for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

 

  • And speaking of the Wildcats, Nova held a grand opening for its’ new on campus arena last week – dubbed the Finneran Pavilion.  A $65 million building renovation is complete, and even though the Cats won a national title without a true home floor last season…they’ve got a brand-new home court advantage for this season.  As if they needed one.

 

  • The line of the year has already been spoken, by Cincinnati’s head coach Mick Cronin.  He was asked about his Bearcats’ lineups this week, “do you envision going small this year?”  To which, without batting an eye, he answered, “I envision going small every day when I wake up.”

 

  • How about this for big time?  The University of St. Joseph’s – the tiny Division III school just starting out with a men’s basketball program in Hartford and coached by Hall-of-Famer Jim Calhoun – will have its’ home games broadcast on 50K-watt WTIC this season.  Former Voice of the UConn Huskies, Joe D’Ambrosio, will be on the call.

 

  • The nationally 4th-ranked PC Hockey Friars are in Pennsylvania for a tournament this weekend against Miami of Ohio Friday, and possibly Notre Dame Saturday.  If the latter happens, it’s a big, early-season test with a definitive postseason feel to it.

 

  • URI football continues its upward trend in the FCS polls this week.  And Meade Stadium hosts a rarity – a matchup of Top 25 teams with 15th ranked Rhody playing 20th ranked Maine.  The Black Bears have won 11 in a row against the Rams, who blasted Brown 48-0 last week.

 

  • 4-1 Bryant hosts defending NEC champ Central Connecticut Saturday at Beirne Stadium in Smithfield at 1:00 pm.  At 2-0 in league play, the Bulldogs currently hold the top spot.

 

  • You’ll allow me both a moment of exultation – and relief?  That Texas beat Oklahoma last week at the Cotton Bowl is a day that I personally look forward to every year.  But if you missed it, the 48-45 shootout in the Red River Rivalry was a great game.  Edge-of-your-seat stuff.

 

  • ICYMI, Cranston native David Quinn won his first game as a head coach in the NHL Thursday night, when the NY Rangers beat San Jose 3-2.  The Rangers are 1-3 to start the year.  No one said the job would be easy.

 

  • Um, Kanye?  Come again?

 

  • In this week’s “can’t make this stuff up” department, I give you Fall River, MA mayor Jasiel Correia.  He pleaded not guilty this week to nine federal counts of wire fraud, and four counts of filing false tax returns.  And the largest contributor to his defense fund?  WPRI says it’s a Rhode Island business group whose officers also have a stake in one of the city’s recently-licensed marijuana distributorships. 

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he called his employee ‘help desk’ this week to complain there was something wrong with his password.  “The problem is that whenever I type the password, all I see are stars,” he told the tech.  “Those asterisks are there to protect you,” the tech said.  “If someone were standing behind you, they wouldn’t be able to read your password.”  “E” answered, as only he can – “Yeah, but they show up even when no one is standing behind me.”

 

  • Tweet of the Week III, from @usatodayopinion: “There is nothing more terrifying than living in a world where unsubstantiated allegations are accepted as truth.”

 

  • You remember the ex-Phillie, ex-Met and the guy fans and the media alike once referred to as “Nails?”  Lenny Dykstra was as tough a customer as they came – hence the nickname, ‘tough as nails’ – during his MLB playing days from 1985 to 1996.  He was a 3-time all-star and was on that ’86 Mets team that beat the Red Sox in the World Series. 

 

  • And now, he’s been nailed.  Again.

 

  • Dykstra has had dozens of incidents, arrests and run-ins with the law over the past 20 years, and this week he was indicted by a Union County, New Jersey grand jury on two drug charges and allegedly threatening an Uber driver with a terroristic threat.  He’s now 55 years old, and he looks like he’s 75.   Dykstra faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, because he has two prior convictions – one of them for bankruptcy fraud. 

 

  • No matter how bad you think you have it, someone else always has it worse.  I believe Dykstra qualifies as a prime example in this department.

 

  • Christian from North Grafton, MA posted on Facebook this week: “Looks like Oklahoma made it interesting in the 4th quarter (Saturday). Either team field any defense?” 

 

  • Christian:  Texas had a 21-point lead early in the quarter before OU’s Kyler Murray took over, and almost single-handedly led the Sooners back from the dead.  He’s remarkably skilled and talented, and it makes me wonder how he got to Oklahoma in the first place after starting his career at Texas A&M and not being able to get off the bench?  Murray was a first-round MLB draft choice of the Oakland A’s (as a shortstop, 9th overall) and will probably choose baseball over the NFL.  Murray played college baseball with Oklahoma as an outfielder, too.  He’s expected to report to spring training with the A’s next February. 

 

  • And defense is overrated these days, didn’t you know that?

 

  • 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 jrooke@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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