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TGBU: Jimmy Fund Steals The Show



The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Jimmy Fund Steals The Show

Warning: Do not read this article if you have not seen the Clint Eastwood film, as it contains spoilers. This is a joke. I can assure you that this article has absolutely nothing to do with the 1966 cowboy movie.

You should know how it works by now. Every Friday (until I get fired from this job) I compile a list of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the past week in Boston sports.

For those of you who still don’t understand how this simple system of organization works:


Bad=Worst and

Ugly=Downright Ugly.


Good, now let’s get started.

The Good

This past week, the good overwhelmingly triumphed over the Bad and the Ugly. Our Red Sox are winning, and well nothing else of concrete value is really going on in sports. So yeah, the Sox are hot. Cool. But that’s beside the point. The best thing to happen this week dwells on the periphery of Boston sports. In fact, it’s not a sport at all. The winner of the Best category is a venerated charity that held it’s hallmark event this past Tuesday through Wednesday.

People of Boston: It is a very important time to appear to be philanthropic in front of your friends. WEEI and NESN hosted their 16th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon this past week. If you haven’t donated yet, better break out those wallets!

No, but in all seriousness, the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon represents a very solemn cause. Since it’s conception in 1947, the Jimmy Fund has been dedicated to subsidizing cancer-treatment research in both children and adults. Through oncology specialists at the Dana-Farber institute, they also offer free treatment to families who could otherwise not afford the care their loved ones need. For the past 16 years, the Jimmy Fund has partnered with our Boston Red Sox in a galvanized battle against cancer.

Tens of thousands of volunteers, including their eternally gracious patients, gather in a concerted effort during the Radio-Telethon. The patients share their saccharine stories of fighting this terrible disease. You can hear in their voices the deep admiration and gratitude they hold for the Jimmy Fund. These courageous kids are enabled through the Red Sox and other charitable partners, to share their unique stories on massive platforms. Such platforms include live televised coverage of the Radio-Telethon, and also live radio broadcasts.

What these institutions have collaborated to accomplish here with the Radio-Telethon is a beautiful thing. Since 2002, they have raised nearly $50 million for cancer research and treatment. The greatest facet of this event is obviously the microphone they provide for the patients. These are real stories of real mortal warriors. The Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon embodies the therapeutic influence that sports can have on people, an influence oft-taken for granted.

(Boston, MA 04/03/17) Fans fill Yawkey Way before the Boston Red Sox opening day game at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday, April 3, 2017. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki

The Bad

Newsflash: the beloved Yawkey Way commemorates a true villain of Boston sports. It’s named after Tom Yawkey, former owner of the Red Sox. If you haven’t heard, he wasn’t the most honorable of guys.

Whispers of this inconvenient truth have been passing around for the ages. Yawkey, who owned the Sox from 1933 to 1976, was an inveterate racist. Not that it could redeem this Scrooge-like xenophobe, but the Red Sox weren’t ever very good when he was the owner! Why pay any homage to him in the first place?

Yawkey’s bigotry was illustrated by his reluctance to promote African-American players within the Sox farm-system to the big leagues. Even if these kids were showcased big time potential, Yawkey would rather comprise the franchise than have an African-American on the team. In 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson’s first game, the Red Sox became the last team to include an African American on their starting roster. This was all done under the oppressive direction and misguided direction of Tom Yawkey.

And this dude has a street named after him? Clearly, something has to change.

John Henry has the cumbersome charge of trying to reform the identity of the Boston Red Sox.On Thursday, he announced plans to rename Yawkey Way. This is a recalcitrant idea, as conservative Sox fans may feel violated by this historical revision. As they should; change stinks. But if one educates themselves on the uncensored legacy of Tom Yawkey, they realize why he’s undeserving of any dedication. Unfortunately, Here’s where the news gets worse.

The suggested names for the renaming are really (I mean REALLY) bad. On social media, we see sports journalist myopically pandering. Just absolute spitball scattershot hope something hits pandering. Things like “Koji Way”, “David Ortiz Street” and “The Red Sox Are The Best Avenue” are being tossed around. But do not despair Sox fans: I have the perfect new name for Yawkey Way – “Remy Lane”.

Think about it. Who else, closely associated with the Red Sox, deserves more reverence than Jerry Remy? He’s provided colorful and insightful commentary during Sox games for a good portion of all our lives. “Rem-Dog” has been with us through the peaks and valleys; he’s been with us through it all.

Remy is also facing a very tumultuous time in his life, as he is undergoing cancer treatments once again. It’d be such a beautiful dedication ceremony. I can already hear “Remy Lane” (a parody of Penny Lane by the Beatles) resounding up and down that ancient thoroughfare we’ve all grown to love.  


The Ugly

Here’s a quick Ugly category: a cameraman got hit by a first-pitch right in his family jewels, on Wednesday. Standing to the left of home plate, he took the wild pitch square-on and then crumpled in pain. If you haven’t seen the viral video from the NESN broadcast I’ll tell you, this kid through a heater of a first-pitch!

What’s uglier than the science of this poignant incident: the dude who got hit was a CAMERAMAN. Aren’t they known for their eyes? He didn’t have a clue what was coming for him. The photographer missed the not so big picture. Dude if you’re reading this, you always protect that area first and foremost! Every guy knows that.

This tragic accident has a happy ending: The pitcher and the “recipient” have since reconciled. The cameraman, Tony Capobianco, and the pitcher, Jordan Leandre, teamed up again at the Oldtime Baseball Game on Thursday night. Jordan Leandre, a cancer survivor, threw out the first-pitch to cameraman Tony (who now had a glove). This time around Jordan successfully hit Tony right in the sweet spot, the glove that is. Great job fellas!

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

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown



Boston Red Sox

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



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 Red Sox

Boston Sports Teams Will Play Anti-Racism PSA



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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