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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Red Sox Back On Track

Sports fans: Not only is it Saturday, it’s the Saturday of NFL opening weekend 2017. Let’s use our mulligan on that excruciating Patriots’ loss, Thursday night. Try to enjoy some objectively exciting football, Pats fans. As sure as the snow will fall, come this winter, we will have our redemption. This Sunday, we should be so sportsmanlike as to cheer for the heartbreak of other teams and other cities that we don’t care about.

Enough sulking. Buck up! It’s time for another edition of: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

You may have been distracted by the disheartening commencement of the NFL season, but while you were away the Sox got back on track.

This past Tuesday, Boston won a 19 inning-game against Toronto. It was the 2nd longest game ever played in our beloved, yet well antiquated, Fenway Park. The worst part is: I had a ticket to this game, but of course work got in the way. It’s fine, I just missed a historical Red Sox moment. No big deal… Shout-out to my best friend, and The 7th Floor podcast co-host, Joey Copponi for going without me!

It’s the bottom of the 19th inning. Mookie Betts has just crushed a ball to left; he’s standing with latent speed waiting to be unleashed on 2nd base. Notorious big-whiffer Hanley Ramirez is at the plate. He loads and pops up a rainbow of a bloop single to center field. Mookie, absolutely on his horse, crosses home and the Red Sox win. The best part: They have not lost a game, since this super climatic victory.

Hanley was interviewed after being drenched with gatorade and tackled by his teammates, in celebration. He’s not known as the most eloquent of orators, but Tuesday night (Wednesday morning technically) he put it best. On the manufacturing of the victory, Ramirez said: “We don’t have a bunch of guys who hit home runs”, but we hustle and we “get it done”.

Every World Series winning team has to have a little bit of magic. All the great postseason teams have had regular season’s that are saturated with pivotal, and seemingly impossible, victories. This past Tuesday, the Red Sox illustrated their heart and conviction to win. Sometimes that is enough to compensate for your deficiencies on the field and on paper.

When trailing after 5 innings, the Sox have won 17 games this year. That is by far the best in the majors. Considering that they have 80 wins this year, almost 25% of those are late-inning comebacks.

Feel that dirty water momentum Boston! The boys are rolling. Chris Sale takes the mound tonight. We lead the AL East by 4 games over the Yankees. Red Sox fans should be encouraged by the appraisal of their team, at this juncture in September. That should remedy some of those open Patriots wounds.

The Bad

These guys have really, and I mean REALLY, earned it. The bad category this week goes to Roger Goodell and his band of inept subordinates who run the NFL. They take the cake for their miscarriage of the personal conduct policy, this time in regards to the Ezekiel Elliott case.

An ex-girlfriend is accusing the Dallas running back of physically abusing her, in July of 2016. Wait. Didn’t Elliot have a breakout rookie-season with the Cowboys last year? Yes, so either the NFL is legally ignorant. Or they wanted to stimulate the popularity of this budding star for as long as they could.

This summer, our insufferable commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Elliott will serve a 6-game suspension. Again, it appears that upon a negligible amount of, if any, deliberation Goodell has come up with an arbitrary punishment. His dolling out of suspensions, when it comes to the personal conduct policy, seems expedient. On the surface, Goodell wants “justice”. But when you inspect the timeline, you see that these punishments have all been rather convenient for the NFL.

The NFLPA fought for an injunction in the Elliott case, recently granted by U.S. District Court judge Amos Mazzant. Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is now on hold. Yeah, fantasy owners rejoice, but this is a solemn matter. We’re talking about purported domestic abuse, and the integrity of America’s football league.

Suspiciously the NFL has just now protracted the suspension of ex-Giants Kicker Josh Brown. If you remember, he was accused of assaulting his significant other last year. Like the reactionaries that Goodell and gang are, they gave him a hasty 1-game suspension, without conducting a coherent investigation. Now, on the coattails of Ezekiel Elliott’s injunction, they’ve decided to suspend Josh Brown 6 more games. It appears as though the NFL is trying to set a precedent here, in a retroactive manner.

Don’t get me wrong: A precedent must be set. The NFL has been dishing out incalculable suspensions for players who violate the personal conduct policy.

It seems like Goodell reads the public barometer, then decides what a fair punishment would be. He’s playing both sides, like a moral-less businessman. Why were both Brown and Elliott allowed to play in the season in which their respective allegations were made against them?

When it comes to domestic violence, a thorough investigation has to be conducted on behalf of both parties. No matter who’s involved. Goodell has ignored evidence and he has assessed evidence, at his convenience. This has been a huge issue for the NFL in recent years.

Make the punishment predictable yet more severe for players who are violent domestic criminals. Do whatever you have to do to send the message that this is invariably unacceptable behavior. As it stands, the litigation of the NFL domestic abuse policy needs an overhaul. It is ineffective and confusing for fans, players and most importantly the victims.

The Ugly

Short ugly category: Stop despairing Patriots fans! We lost the season-opener, so what? If the Super Bowl was decided by the first game, the Chiefs would be champions. Flukes happen!

Since Thursday, I have heard talks of a forced Tom Brady retirement. I’ve also heard questions of Bill Belichick’s competence. This uncertainty needs to be arrested right now.

We weren’t perfect last year, and we won the Super Bowl. We all remember what happened last time we were perfect up until the Super Bowl: So calm down.

You learn more from defeat than you do from victory. It’s foolish to presume that Bill won’t scrupulously study the tape, and correct these mistakes. Tom looked bad, but he’s older now: He may have needed to shake off the rust. In practice this week, rest assured that the Patriots will be indefatigably running laps until they vomit. Pain is weakness leaving the body: Belichick’s gonna make them feel it.

As I said in the beginning, we will have our redemption come this winter. Don’t be the fickle doomsayer that jumps off the wagon prematurely. Do we not remember that, at heart, we’re hard-nosed underdogs? Nothing has changed: The Patriots are still favorites to win the Super Bowl this year. 28-3. That’s all I have to say.

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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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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