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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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It has been a nonplussing and extremely long week, for Boston sports fans. During this part of September, we all start to experience the perennial football jitters. Over the summer we’ve become accustomed to watching the Sox play practically every single day. So when the Patriots start up again, the 7+ days wait between games can feel torturous. Especially after a depressing loss, like the one that we saw last Thursday night.

But rejoice New England! It’s Friday. Week 2 in the NFL is officially underway. The Pats can start their redemption campaign with a win against the Saints on Sunday. It’s time for another highly anticipated edition of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Let’s kick it off!

The Good

A player very dear to Boston has returned from a lengthy stint on the “10-day DL”. Somehow what was supposed to be a quick rest, for general soreness, has been protracted into what feels like months. That’s right folks, David Price, the pride of the Red Sox, is back. But he’s not going to be pitching, in his normal capacity, as a starter. Nope, this time around our Cy Young winning southpaw will head to the bullpen.

Putting Price in the pen was being talked about, as we approached the threshold of his return. It was cemented just a couple of days ago, when manager John Farrell announced that David Price would be coming back to the Red Sox in a “multi-inning role” as a reliever.

Following the announcement, Price publically embraced his new responsibilities. In a recent press conference, he essentially said that he is willing to help this team in any way possible.

Price has pitched out of the bullpen before, even in the playoffs, and he has had success doing so. In the 2008 postseason, Price had a 1.58 ERA in 5.2 innings. Given his apparent compliance and willingness to serve, this seems like a win-win move.

Since the day that the Red Sox acquired him, David Price has had a tough go of it, both politically and statistically. Although he is one of the more loquacious pitchers in the game, and also a thinker, Price hasn’t exactly ingratiated himself to the Boston fan-base. So, of course, Sox fans are a little jaded to the pandering we hear in press conferences.

Hopefully Price can let go of the October troubles of his past, and start a new. For $30 million a year, I’m positive that the Sox would be more than happy with the lefty mutating into the next Andrew Miller. As we’ve been saying for the past couple years: It’s time to put up or shut, for David Price.

The Bad

At some point or another, almost all have us have been “the new kid in school”. An uncomfortable situation like that will certainly stimulate the fight or flight instincts in an individual. It can get ugly. Just ask, New Orleans Saints running back, Adrian Peterson.

This past Monday was the season premiere of Monday Night Football on ESPN. The first game, of the special double-header, featured the Minnesota Vikings versus the New Orleans Saints. Adrian Peterson was returning to the twin cities, for the first time in his new black and gold uniform. Not only was his performance underwhelming on the field, but he was visibly disgruntled and downtrodden on the sidelines. This was not the AP that America is used to seeing.

Now, I lived in Minnesota for quite some time; I watched Peterson play for years. I was in attendance for the game against the Chargers, when he broke the single-game rushing record. This dude’s an indefatigable worker and an absolute beast.

Peterson’s behavior during Monday night’s game was uncharacteristic, to say the least. The circumstances of his Saints debut, against the Vikings, represented the perfect storm for this veteran RB.

Think about it: He’s returning to the NFL, after a year that was saturated with domestic abuse controversy. Not to rekindle the past, but many people don’t even believe that he should be allowed to play football. Peterson is also on a new team, working with a new coach and a new playbook. Oh yeah, and his Vikings replacement, Dalvin Cook, set a rookie record for rushing yards, in that MNF game.

Adrian Peterson was involved in just 9 snaps, on Monday night. He had 6 carries, while only racking up 18 yards. This is a guy who has had a 2,000-yard season, and he has over 11,000 career rushing yards. Quite the dichotomy between his past and his present; hence the veteran’s frustration.

A video of Peterson dogging Saints head coach Sean Payton, on the sidelines, has gone viral. Payton is seen walking away, with his back turned, as his new RB chews him out roundly. Watching the game, you would presume that Peterson was complaining of a lack of involvement in the offense.

Since the incident, Adrian Peterson has come out and addressed the media. He clarified that he is fine with coach Payton. But he also mentioned that he “didn’t sign up for 9 snaps”. Let’s hope his troubles continue, just for week 2, as the Patriots are facing the Saints this Sunday.

Only time will tell, but if I was a betting man I would say that Peterson will eventuality prosper in New Orleans. This is a guy who has won the comeback player of the year award, after recovering from a torn ACL. For now it’s sad to watch a veteran, who was once regarded as one of the greatest ever, spiral out of control like this. It’s bad for fans and it’s bad for the sport.

The Ugly

Give Sergio Dipp another chance! We all know it was cringeworthy, inappropriately bombastic and downright awkward. But come on ESPN, cut the newbie some slack!

If you managed to stay awake Monday night, after the scintillating Vikings-Saints game, you saw a piece of pop culture history. Holy cow! Stretched thin, ESPN threw together a motley crew of neophytes for the broadcast of the second MNF game. One of these rookies was bright-eyed sideline reporter Sergio Dipp.

This dude was coming over from the ESPN Deportes section of the sports media company. On Monday, Dipp made his first report from the sidelines of a nationally telecasted NFL game. He seized the opportunity. Go and watch the video, because his performance was unspeakably bad.

Dipp’s commentary focused mainly on the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, Vance Joseph. It’s clear that Sergio Dipp felt a deep psychological connection with this kindred spirit, who was also making an important debut. “Here he is, having the time of his life.” Dipp exclaimed as the camera panned over to, a cool and calm, Vance Joseph inspecting his playbook. In actuality, it was Sergio Dipp, not Joseph, who was having the time of his life.

That was Dipp’s first, and only appearance as a sideline reporter. He bombed. The video propagated Twitter like meme wildfire. Sergio tried to salvage some honor by releasing an apology video. It was even more cringeworthy.

I implore you to stop Mr. Dipp. Embrace your quirks and pretend like nothing happened. Sometimes the more you speak, after an embarrassing moment, the worse you make it. Any publicity is good publicity. Get back to the sidelines and report like you’re having the time of your life. I don’t think you could even pretend to do anything else.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Bottom Line: Boston Red Sox Need Stanton

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Boston Red Sox Team President Dave Dombrowski isn’t a great talent evaluator. Throughout his entire career, he has built his success by acquiring proven big league talent. Betting on that changing anytime soon is foolish, so why not make another move for proven talent?

Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has long been rumored to be on the trade block and Boston is just one of his potential destinations. Reports have stated thought that Stanton would prefer a trade to a team like the Dodgers despite “advisers” pushing for Boston.

The Stanton vs Judge potential is enough to get any baseball fans heart racing. But should Boston present Miami a god offer? Some have balked at the potential of trading any more prospects but let me tell you a very well known secret, Boston’s farm system has been pillaged. Jay Groome and Michael Chavis are considered the best two prospects remaining under Dombrowski.

So any thought of depleting the farm system anymore should be tossed out the window as there isn’t much left there, to begin with. On top of that, the current makeup of the team and the organization is winning now, a strategy that is far from working given the current talent in the lineup. Last season the Red Sox lacked true pop in their lineup after the retirement of David Ortiz. Many at the time sold it as the 2015 Royals who nickeled and dimed their way to a world series title. But when it came down to it the 2017 Boston Red Sox lacked balls.

Boston needs a power bat in the heart of their order. Not just for the home runs from that player, but for the protection they would offer the other hitters in the lineup. If you were a pitcher facing the Red Sox last season almost every hitter in the lineup could be pitched too. The only exception might be Hanley Ramirez, but the BIG HR simply was set up to fail to have to step in for Ortiz with no protection around him.

Stanton would instantly bring in pop, lineup protection, and the much needed “it” factor that will help drive fans to the team. Without this type of move, it is hard to see how next season will be any different.

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Boston Red Sox

Minimum Expectations for the 2018 Red Sox

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Last year, it was Chris Sale; in 2016, the exorbitantly expensive David Price was all the hype. Both of these roundly heralded saviors produced the same underwhelming results. Another short-winded trip to the playoffs; another bummer of a year.

The Red Sox simply cannot afford a third consecutive first-round exit, in the 2018 postseason. And it seems that Dave Dombrowski knows this. In an attempt to prevent car-flipping anarchy in the streets, he fired the overseer of all this recent failure (his direct subordinate) – John Farrell.

Now the Sox will be heading into next season with a newfangled remedy. No, it’s not a hundred-million dollar player. This time around, management has received the upgrade. It’s the newly hired manager, Alex Cora, who will be charged with the burden of resurrecting one of the most venerated franchises in professional sports.

On Monday, Cora was formally introduced to Boston as the new manager (or scapegoat).

Good luck, buddy! You’re gonna need it.  

Should Boston fans really expect an appreciable change to be affected by just one man? After all, this is exactly what we’ve done, to no avail, for the past few years. And if Cora really represents the end-all-be-all solution, what is a realistic accomplishment for him, and his club, in the first season of his tenure?

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Boston Red Sox

Like Looking in the Mirror

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Red Sox

After watching the Houston Astros win the 2017 World Series, Red Sox fans deserve to be upset.

Go ahead and sink into your bed of indignance, for a couple of days, and don’t let anyone stop you, Red Sox Nation. You’re safe there.  

The asseveration has lingered on the tip of Boston’s tongue, ever since the ALDS – “That could have been us!” And it’s true, it could have been the Sox hoisting that trophy, on Wednesday night.

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