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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Nunez The Second Coming

Every Friday (until I get fired from this job) I will be compiling a list of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the past week in Boston sports.

This will encompass all the Boston sports teams and news that occurred revolving the teams. In this first edition, you will find a Roger Goodell thought, Cyrus Jones and his future, and a look at what is powering the Boston Red Sox.

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

Good=Best,

Bad=Worst 

Ugly=Downright Ugly.

Understood?

Good, now let’s get started.

Boston Red Sox

The Good

This week the Boston Red Sox easily steal the Good category. Title? Award? I don’t know. They did well this week!

Starting with a series against their fringe arch-nemesis the Cleveland Indians, the Sox have barreled their way to an 8-game winning streak. This team has seemingly turned their offensive frown upside down, with a little help from a gaggle of loveable no-name underdogs.

And come on Boston! Who better to turn our Sox around than a couple of highly fallible and unproven underdogs!?

Of course, I’m referring to none other than Rafael Devers (the more “under” of the underdogs) and Eduardo Nunez. In the past 10 games, the Baby-Faced Bambino and Eddy umm… Nunez has a combined .369 AVG and a behemoth .663 slugging percentage, along with 6 homers and 18 RBI’s. But here’s the best part: Hitting is contagious. Case in point: Andrew Benintendi. Benny had a horrendous July.

He had a terrible.222 AVG while slugging a disheartening .322. Yuck! This month he has turned it around million-fold.

In August, the kid’s got a .500 AVG and he’s slugging .773 of the balls he hits. It’s like divine intervention!

This team wasn’t struck by lightning (as far as I can see). No, it’s simply a potent injection of hot bats that is inspiring this batting order. We all know it’s mathematically inevitable that Devers and Nunez will cool off. To what extent, only time will tell.

The Sox will gladly ride out this wave for as long as possible. What cannot be overlooked is the reverberating power now echoing through the Boston clubhouse. When underdogs get as hot as Devers and Nunez have been, the rest of the team is like an antenna channeling that hotness.

This month, the boys are certainly feeling those good vibrations.

The Bad

One name: Cyrus Jones. This guy’s pros look like they will soon overmaster his cons. On Thursday night, in the Patriots preseason opener, the young corner only further demonstrated his downfalls. Jones got absolutely scorched on a couple of long post-routes that went for touchdowns. That’s right, 3rd-string JAGUARS had their way with this kid!

Cyrus Jones is a 2nd year player out of Alabama. When the Patriots drafted him, the consensus was that he could make a contribution as a CB in nickel packages. What redeems the long-ball ball liability that he is, is his formidability in the return game. He’s built like a fire hydrant: 5’ 10” 197 lbs.

Given his size, the kid obviously lacks man-to-man cover speed (ran a 4.49 40 in the combine). But he can make people miss laterally on punt returns (presuming he holds onto the ball).

When Jones is in the secondary, he’ll only make an impact when he stays home in the first-tier. On Thursday night, we saw exactly what happens when teams target his lack of downhill speed on the outside.

The question at this juncture: Where will Cyrus Jones fit on this Patriots team? Last year, when returning the ball, he had a total of 5 fumbles. Those are fundamental mistakes. Fundamentals are the foundation of Bill Belichick’s coaching. This kid is intelligent, but he’s inside his head way too much. His physical errors stem from a distracted mind.  

After the first preseason game, where the Pats lost 31-24, Cyrus Jones evaded the media. He refused to address the press and fans, after a game where he was responsible for half of the opponent’s touchdowns.

He left Gillette beating himself up, like a petulant Pop Warner youth. It’s becoming clear that his lack of speed is too great a vulnerability for the Pats on defense. But if Cyrus Jones cannot break the fetters of his own mind, he may find himself without a job come September.

The Ugly

There is a picture going around of 3 Patriots fans getting chummy with Roger Goodell. That’s right, Roger Goodell: He’s not Darth Vader, he’s the Emperor! Without a doubt, this is the ugliest thing we’ve seen in Boston sports this past week. It’s maybe the most repulsive sight ever.

If you haven’t seen this cursed image, don’t go searching for it.

Late Thursday night, the betrayal was leaked on Twitter. This tragic photo came on the frayed coattails of a Patriots preseason loss. It depicts a few, now expatriate, Pats fans with $10 beers in their hands, embracing the NFL Commish. 

Initially, it was rumored that the “fans” were agents implanted by the NFL. Who else would embrace a photo-op with such a despicable human? But to my surprise, I personally KNOW one of the guys in the picture!

The kid wearing the Jimmy Garoppolo jersey grew up in my small hometown of Goffstown, NH. He is certainly the most offensive perpetrator of the bunch, with his arm draped over Goodell’s shoulder. These are regular Joe Shmoe New Englanders, voluntarily smiling for a photo with the Roger Goodell.

Tell you what guys: Frame it. Hang it up in your living room. And never show your faces at Gillette Stadium again. I hope your new buddy paid for those $10 beers.

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

Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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Red Sox

On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Fire John Farrell

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John Farrell

On Wednesday morning the Boston Red Sox have announced that they have parted ways with field manager John Farrell.

Farrell has been the manager since 2013 and during his tenure, he led the team to 3 AL East division titles and a World Series Victory. The other two seasons happened to be two straight last-place finishes.

Farrell has been constantly criticized for his below average in game management, but being able to win 93 games when your team had turmoil and underperformances all season was impressive. While personally, I am not a supporter of him. I feel as if he often fails to get the credit he deserves.

But when it comes down to it, he is not the future at the helm for the Boston Red Sox.

According to the team, the process to find the next field manager will start immediately with Dave Dombrowski addressing the situation shortly.

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