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Connelly’s Top Ten – Can Anyone Beat the Fighting Farrells?

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Connelly’s Top Ten – Can Anyone Beat the Fighting Farrell’s?

1.Red Sox update

* On a pace to go 162-0

* Sox players with salaries over $10mm: 2017 – 6 / 2016 – 8 / 2015 – 5 / 2014 – 4 / 2013 – 9 / 2012 – 6 / 2011 – 8

* Jackie Bradley – I have never seen a batter have his bottom hand come off the bat so much in his follow through

* International Players: Dominican – 3 / Venezuela – 3 / Aruba -1 / Puerto Rico – 1

* Chris Sale is lightest on roster at 175 pounds / tallest at 6’5”

 

2. Bruins and Celtics

* Did Marchand get a game suspension for each “boy”?

* I think Brad Stevens had to go Harry Sinden on his team Wednesday night against Cleveland – out talented is one thing – outworked is in excusable

* Al Horford in sixteen games against East playoff teams: Toronto, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago – 10.8 points / 6 rebounds – yikes he’s Brad Lohaus  

* Celtics are 27th in rebounding / 23rd in blocked shots / 3rd in Technical Fouls

 

3. Odds to win their championship (Vegasinsider.com):

Bruins……….25-1

Celtics……….20-1

Red Sox………15-2

Patriots……….4-1

 

4. Biggest off the hook moments in Boston sports (Buckner should sue)

* Tim Wakefield allowing home run to Aaron Boone

* Tuukka Rask giving up two goals in 17 seconds to Chicago for the Stanley Cup (watching the highlights – Lucic should have been cut that night – lost both battles and was coasting around)

* Danny Ainge for trading Kendrick Perkins for Green – 2011 loss to Lakers  

* Yaz for popping up to end the 1978 playoff and 1975 World Series

* Kevin McHale for dropping a rebound out of bounds giving LA the ball back for Magic’s baby hook

* Bill Lee for giving up the Tony Perez moonshot

* Gostkowski for the missed extra point in Denver

* Hagler for “coasting” in the first three rounds against Sugar Ray (then he disappeared and became an Italian actor but didn’t speak a word of Italian – things that make me go hmmm)

 

5. A stat that reader Jerry M read and shared – there were 109 drives in the NFL that were first and ten from the other team’s 22-yard line in 2016 – Falcons were the only team to punt

 

6. Players given up in trades for Ace’s – below supports the position – always go get the Ace:

* Lefty Grove……..1933 – From A’s for Rob Kline, Rabbit Warstler and $125,000

* Ellis Kinder……..1947 – From the St Louis Browns for Same Dente, Clem Dreissewerd, Bill Somers, $65,000

* Dennis Eckersley..1978 –From Cleveland for Bo Diaz, Rick Wise, Mike Paxton, Ted Cox

* Pedro…………….1997 – .From Montreal for Tony Armas Jr and Carl Pavano

* Schilling…………2003 – From Arizona for Brandon Lyon, Mike Goss, Casey Fossum, Jorge De La Rosa

* Josh Beckett……..2005 – From Florida for Hanley Ramirez, Anibel Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, Jesus Delgado

* Chris Sale………..2016 -From White Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Victor Diaz

 

7. Amazing Stat – Patriots are only the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl and have three different quarterbacks win games during the season – below is teams with at least two quarterbacks winning games during their championship season:

2015 – New England – Garoppolo, Brissette, Brady

2014 – Denver – Osweiler / Manning

2005 – Pittsburgh – Batch / Roethlisberger

2002 – Tampa – Johnson /Johnson

2000 – Ravens – Banks / Dilfer

1999 – Broncos – Brister / Elway

1993 – Cowboys – Aikman / Garnett

1990 – Giants – Simms / Hostetler

1989 – 49ers – Montana / Young

1988 – 49ers – Montana / Young

1987 – Washington – Rubbert / Schroeder

1985 – Bears – McMahon / Fuller

1984 – 49ers – Montana / Cavanaugh

1980 – Oakland – Plunkett / Pastorini  

1976 – Oakland – Stabler / Rae

1975 – Pittsburg – Bradshaw / Gilliam / Hanratty

1972 – Miami – Griese / Morrall

1971 – Cowboys – Staubach / Morton

1970 – Colts – Unitas / Morrall

1969 – Chiefs – Dawson / Livingston

1967 – Packers – Starr / Bratkowski

1966 – Packers – Starr / Bratkowski

 

8. Old School – One of the most under-rated seasons in Boston sports history – Ken Hodge – 1973-1974 – 50 Goals

 

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – Al Horford makes how much more than the following:

* Tom Brady………$16,000,000 more than five-time Super Bowl champ

*  Tommy Chang… $29,740,516 more than the Boston school Superintendent

* Carol Meyrowitz..$1,461,464 more than the CEO of TJ Maxx (2014 #)

* Isaiah Tomas…….$23,412,868 more than his teammate that averages 15 more points a game

 

10. Randomocity

* I have a TV series recommendation on Netflix – 13 Reasons Why – every teacher, coach, guidance counselor and parent of a teenager should watch it – and fast

* Smart move by the NHL not going to Olympics – it makes them look bad every four years when people watch the fast pace, up and down product of international hockey and big ice surfaces

* When people take the left turn, why do they stop at the beginning of the intersection – move up to where you are taking the turn and let cars going straight get around you and cars behind you get their nose in the intersection

* Working from home is the biggest scam in employment – really that’s nothing more than checking emails and doing the Price is Right showcase

* When someone puts something sad or tragic on Facebook – are you supposed to hit Like?

* Two biggest hits of the Super Bowl – Edelman’s head butt of Amendola after the two point conversion and Edelman sticking his chest in Brady’s face after the game winner

* Was there a sadder indictment of today’s sports than the Phoenix Suns celebrating Booker’s 70 point game and losing?

* Don Rickles understated acting job in the movie Casino – RIP

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown

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The Boston Red Sox are officially a playoff-bound team. After a 9-0 win over the Orioles on Wednesday paired with an Indians 6-5 win over the Angels, the Red Sox have officially clinched a postseason spot.

That spot for the moment is an AL Wild Card spot with the game to be played on October 3rd. Just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal for this year’s Red Sox team though.

I think any win  this time of the year given where we are in the standings and what is at stake, any win is important,” Farrell said. “Just getting into the playoffs is not our goal. Certainly it’s a stepping  stone toward other things that we have our sights set on, as many teams do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

As it currently sits the Red Sox hold a 3 game lead over the never dying New York Yankees. Despite a pennant battle in full swing, the vibe in Boston isn’t focusing in on the Red Sox. Part of it may be the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have not faced each other head to head in awhile and will not do so unless they meet up in the playoffs.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this years team. Ratings have been all over the place. The other night the second game of the series with Baltimore did an 8 in Boston. That is a good number for a weeknight game. But as of last count, ratings on NESN were down big.

But the last reported figure had them pegged at a 20% decline from the David Ortiz retirement season of 2016. That report came out in early July, so it isn’t a true representation of what has occurred over the last four months.That number has likely rised quite a bit. For some reason though, for a division race, this all feels a tad underwhelming.

Part of it could be some of the black eye storylines from the season, or the likeability of the team, or even the gross underachievement by multiple players throughout their lineup. But even with all of that, this years team has grit, and have shown the 2013 Red Sox ability to battle and win in extra-inning games.

Ratings might be down, but that isn’t shocking. A year removed from David Ortiz will do that. Ortiz was a larger than life player who put on a show. Sure Chris Sale is exciting to watch, but striking out 300+ batters isn’t as exciting as Big Papi smashing balls out of the yard 30+ times.

The ratings decline is overblown and the lack of popular interest is understandable. Sports are becoming more and more of a hardcore fan experience. That is especially the case in a 162 game baseball season. Getting the casual viewer or “pink hat” fan to tune into the game is hard to do. In 2017 many of those types of fans seem to have disappeared from the landscape.

With this year’s Red Sox team knocking on a division title, people will watch.

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Boston Red Sox

Battle of the Eras: Chris Sale V. Pedro Martinez

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Boston Red Sox

This season, MLB batters have hit more home runs than they have hit in any other season. Ever. Yes, that’s including the steroid-era.

On Wednesday night, Red Sox ace, Chris Sale became the first AL pitcher to record 300 K’s in a season, since Pedro Martinez in 1999 (the climax of juicing in the MLB). To call what Sale has done in 2017 “impressive” would be an egregious understatement. It’s downright spectacular.

Both of these hall of fame caliber arms dominated their respective “eras”. But who had the rougher go of it? And can we definitively say that one pitcher is better than the other?

Before we continue, I have to admit that Pedro Martinez is 100% my favorite pitcher of all time. Without a doubt. When I was 8 years old, my favorite shirt to wear was a men’s XL “t-shirt jersey” of his. I was a big-boned kid. Anyways…

For Pedro, it was the varicose-veined behemoths like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, that he had to overpower. Where Chris Sale is now facing the equivocal adversity of the “juiced-ball era”: Power-hitting is ubiquitous; exit velocity is invariably up. And I’m sorry, but until the MLB comes out and coherently denounces this slang-like colloquialism, that’s what we’re rolling with: The baseball is juiced. Chris Sale has pitched and is currently pitching, in an “era” that favors hitters. One that is not at all dissimilar to the steroid-era that Pedro triumphed in, over a decade ago.

Tearing the Cover Off of the Ball

So let’s chronologically define these eras in question, to make comparisons fair, even though we’re dealing with the incomparable.

Concerning Pedro Martinez’s performance, we’ll say that the 1999 and 2000 seasons combined were the pinnacles of his era. And for Chris Sale, we’ll look at 2016 through 2017, as the superlative years so far, of the juiced-ball era.

From 1999-2000, the average for home runs hit per game (HRPG) was 1.16. This was when batters were going through anabolic steroids and HGH faster than they were going through Gatorade. From 2016-2017 thus far, the HRPG is currently at 1.21. This disparity is a symptom of the juiced-ball era. Or maybe all of the hitters in the MLB were invited to a symposium, where they were taught how to hit more homers… Probably not.

So how do these two greats of the game compare?

Bringing It

Let’s start with the elder of the two: Pedro Martinez. From 1999-2000, he was an indomitable force on the mound. For starters, he went 41-10 in the win-loss column. If that’s not godly enough for you, he had a professionally manicured ERA of 1.90. How Pedro, how? In 430.1 innings pitched, he racked up 597 K’s with a clean WHIP of .830. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty solid.

But bear in mind, the steroid-era HRPG hardly compares to the unparalleled HRPG of Chris Sale’s contemporary juiced-ball era. Sale is pitching against the objectively more difficult phenomena, of the two.

With presumably 1 start left in the 2017 season, Chris Sale, through 2016-2017, has a record of 34-17 (.667 W-L%). That’s a helluva winning-percentage, considering that he pitched for the terrible Chicago White Sox for the majority of that span. Over the past 2 years in question, his ERA is presently at 3.06 and his WHIP is at 1.001. Sale has 533 K’s in that stretch, which is comprised of 436 total innings pitched.

Again, like Pedro, these numbers illustrate a transcendent talent.

The Eye Test

When it comes to Red Sox baseball, it’s almost sacrilegious to compare any pitcher to Pedro Martinez. He is kind of like our Paul Pierce: He gave us a piggyback-ride during the worst of times. But as the media and the statisticians have so tenaciously pointed out, Chris Sale is having a Pedro-like season for the Sox. So who’s better?

The fact of the matter is, one could make a reasonable argument for both sides.

Pedro Martinez faced chemically amplified power-hitters, in the steroid-era. Chris Sale is throwing a baseball that is ambiguously “loaded” in the favor of any hitter, during the juiced-ball era. One’s a lefty; one’s a righty. Yeah, yeah the list goes on.

Memory is the ultimate discerner. Sale has impressed us, but his impression will be crystallized by his performance in the playoffs. Also note that this iteration of the Boston Red Sox, that he is pitching for in 2017, is relatively more formidable than the one that Pedro pitched for.

Yet again, stats are stats; achievements are achievements. Both of these pitchers have achieved greatness, despite facing historically challenging odds. When it comes to concrete veneration: Writers and Cooperstown brass will be the ultimate deciders.

For now, Boston should relish the performance of their current, and for the foreseeable future, ace Chris Sale. He’s had himself a year. But as all greats will tell you, the “next” victory is always their favorite victory. We should all rest easy, knowing that Chris Sale will be toeing the rubber in game 1 of the 2017 postseason for the Sox. As his numbers show, this guy has what it takes to win. 

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Boston Sports Teams Will Play Anti-Racism PSA

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Boston. Home of the American Revolution and a city of people that have always stood up and fought for the rights of the American Citizen. Boston has always been a forerunner and if you recall an article I wrote a few months back, Boston’s major sports teams have always shown the true American Spirit.

This month, all five major Boston sports teams are making a true American stand against Racism.

After two reported racial incidents occurred at Fenway Park in May, All five major sports franchises in Boston are coming together with a public service announcement entitled “Take the Lead” against racism, reports the Boston Globe.

The Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Revolution have made a PSA video that features both white and black athletes asking fans to oppose racial behavior at sports venues. The video will first air at Fenway Park Sept 28. All five clubs will then play the PSA at their respective stadiums.

The two incidents that sparked this decision? Adam Jones, an Orioles centerfielder, stated that a fan spat out the n-word towards him and then the very next night a fan got banned for life for using a racial slur to another fan when a Kenyan woman sang the national anthem.

And just last week, a banner was hung on Fenway’s Green Monster that read: “Racism is as American as baseball.” The protesters were ejected but they were not banned.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe,

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

People’s behavior’s may or may not change, however, there can never be enough messages that condemn this type of behavior. It’s a message we all need to hear and be mindful of.

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