Brother to Brother: Episode 3

In this edition of Brother to Brother, I present the topics, and Big Bro responds.  My comments will be in regular font.  Steve’s will be in italics.  Please note: My comments were made January 21.  Steve took some time responding.  His comments were made January 23.

In this edition we talk about the Patriots season, top 10 Friars we have seen play, Jeff Green, and various other topics!

1) The Patriots have no reason to be upset with the season they had.  They lost to the better team on Sunday.  To be honest, I expected them to get walloped to the tune of 42-24 or so.  I still believe the Patriots can make another run next year because there is no clear cut team in the AFC ready to make the next step.  Keep in mind the Pats will be healthy coming into next season.  All in all you might be able to say the Pats overachieved this season.  Still hurts to lose to Peyton though.untitled

Pats –  Great season.  Something very difficult for NE fans to keep in perspective.  The Pats have been to the AFC Championship 8 times and 6 Super Bowls in the last 20 years, plus amazing winning percentage.  Pats fans are spoiled because of all the success.  Think of the following teams:  Browns, Bills, Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, Bucs, Redskins, .  Cowboys have not won a playoff game in 20 years.  Think about that.  They had a great season and the future looks bright.  You could make the argument that their off-season acquisitions will be the return of injured players (Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Mayo, Talib, 3 rookie receivers, full season of Vereen, Gronk, Amendola at full health).  I read they were the second youngest team in the NFL.  Health was the biggest factor for them.  I also saw that Amendola should have been on season ending IR in Oct, maybe people will give him a break, he must be tough.

2) Everyone is bashing Richard Sherman.  You know I like to stick up for the guy everyone hates.  Let’s be honest, his cough adrenaline cough was flying high after the biggest play of the season to send his team to the Super Bowl.  You interview him 10-15 minutes after that play on the field?  He is still emotional.  Everyone knows his history.  Of course that outburst was going to happen.  He was jacked up.  And I have no problem with it.  I like seeing emotion a lot more than the usual “yes man” athlete.  I thought it was fantastic to see the unadulterated emotion.

 Sherman – Ehhh, an example of a non-story becoming a story.  Wow, an NFL player talked trash, gee I never saw such a thing.

3)Eddie Cooley has the Friars at “first 4 out” in the latest Bracketology.  Amazing he has the team this competitive with the adversity the team has faced this season.  He is basically playing 6 guys.  Bryce Cotton has played 50 minutes twice this season.  Cooley has said he will come out of the game when he graduates.  Cotton has crept into the 10 top Friars I have ever seen.  I know my list will vary greatly from yours but here it is.  1) Eric Murdock 2) Austin Croshere 3) Eric Williams 4) Ryan Gomes 5) Michael Smith 6) John Linehan 7) Bryce Cotton 8) Dickey Simpkins 9) MarShon Brooks 10) Jamel Thomas.untitled

Friars – In no particular order – Billy Donovan, Eric Murdock, Soup Campbell, Otis Thorpe, Eric Williams, Ryan Gomes, Austin Croshere, Ron Jackson, Joe Hassett, Michael Smith.  Ask Dad if he remembers Ron Jackson.  They very best were before my time:  Ernie D, Marvin Barnes and Jimmy Walker.  Special note to Marty Conlon, became a solid NBA player, but no one saw that coming.  And special note to Harold Starks, the greatest energy, defense first guy they ever had.

4) The Longhorns had a big win over #8 Iowa State the same day PC beat #20 Creighton.  Our squads are looking up?  Frankly, Iowa State is a one and done candidate come March.  I don’t think they get out of the first round.  After PC beat Creighton, Creighton turned around and smacked #4 Villanova by 30.  Too bad the transitive property doesn’t pertain to college basketball. Keep in mind Nova smashed PC by 30.

Longhorns & Barnes – Crazy program.  It is obviously a football school, but he has built a great basketball program.  The team is 2-3 recruits away from being very, very good.  Problem is when they get the talent, they are not around long.  But something to think about, here is a list and again in no particular order of the guys UT/Barnes has placed in the NBA.  TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Jordan Hamilton, Dexter Pittman, Royal Ivey, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Chris Mihm.

5) It is time to explore trade options for Jeff Green.  The Celtics are in a complete rebuild mode.  Green is a fringe player.  He has shown signs of being a top dog in the NBA, other times he completely disappears.  I don’t see him as a guy that can lead a team anywhere.  Remember the old line Bobby Knight used referring to Steve Alford?  That applies to Green.  The Celtics should rebuild around Rondo and Sullinger.  I compare Sullinger to Charles Barkley.  Both are undersized power forwards, who have a knack for cleaning the glass.  Sullinger is trying to develop some range similar to Kevin Love.  As long as his back holds up, Sullinger can be a great guy to build around.  Remember he was supposed to be a #1 overall pick after his freshman year but he stayed in school.  Time to trade Green for a first round pick somewhere.untitled

Jeff Green – Dropped 39 last night.  I still go back to my comments last year during the playoffs.  This is a guy who has been Option #3 for most of his career. He is an outstanding athlete, but does not have the instinct for selfish play and may not be a natural leader.  That is not a bad thing, when you think of the alternative, which is someone who wants to lead but can’t or sends the wrong message.  Also, you cannot have a locker room full of so-called self-appointed leaders, then you have nothing, sometimes having no drama guys who follow is a great thing to have.  Ainge actually did a good job with him from a contract standpoint.  He did not overpay.  I would rather have Green and his contract than Wallace and his contract.

6) Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus in the region will be the Bruins.  The Bruins are in second in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Pittsburgh.  They could be in trouble come playoff time because they lost Dennis Seidenberg for the season to an ACL injury.  The defensive pairing of Chara and Seidenberg has completely shut down high-flying offenses in years past.  Seidenberg might be the most underrated athlete in Boston.

Bruins – I have to do a better job following hockey.  My lack of hockey knowledge is apparent.

7)The Olympic break is one of the more interesting conundrums in sports.  Hockey owners must hate sending their best players to Sochi.  The beauty of the Olympic hockey is hockey players are a different breed. Cam Neely said it best when asked why the hockey players compete in the Olympics and do everything they can to win (as opposed to NBA players who coast through these competitions) “because they don’t know any better.”  The Olympics will serve as the true All Star Games fans want to see.

Olympics – Ehhh, used to love it, now it just feels like a pre-cursor to Campbell’s soup commercials and Wheaties boxes for the lucky winner.

8)Not much news on the Red Sox.  I am praying the Mets sign Stephen Drew so Xander and Middlebrooks will not have to look over their shoulder and have their development stunted by Drew.  The Grady Sizemore deal is reminiscent of when the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli.  Low risk/ high reward.  He offers competition for the center field spot with Jackie Bradley Jr.  I can’t honestly say I am expecting anything from him.imagesCAUU54PH

Red Sox –  Grady Sizemore!  Way to go all out Cherrington.  Reminds me of when Sinden ran the Bruins knowing they would always make money so never signed the talent to get to the Cup.  Although, I think the Sox really learned their lesson with Crawford/Gonzo signings.  They saw the burden those contracts might present, the animosity of the fans when they don’t perform.  Boston fans would rather have guys killing themselves to prove themselves, than guys who get  paid a lot to demonstrate apathy with W-L.  Boston fans can handle losing, if they know the players hate losing.  If they think the players are rich guys who could care less, it gets ugly.

Peter Vescey follows me on Twitter and you should too @ScottieNTCF.

Brother to Brother: Episode 2

I have decided to change the title of this feature to NTCF.  “From Austin to Providence” was too close to Brandon Austin and the Providence College Friars in my mind.  I hope y’all can deal with the change.  If you have any suggestions for a better title please don’t hesitate to comment!  A reminder: My brother’s (Steve) comments will be in regular font.  My responses will be in italics.

Here is what was on the minds of the Patterson boys this week!

1.  Miami Heat – Recently read how the Heat would be the first team to go make 4 consecutive finals appearances since the 1987 Celtics.  You have often asked about Bird and the 80’s Celts.  No better way than history repeating itself in a rarity.  So Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, O’Neal, Bryant, Stockton/Malone, Isaiah etc. and even Magic, never did it.  Possibly, it gives you an idea of how good the Celts were in the 80s.Big-3-win
1) I know I always argue Pierce belongs in the all time great Celtic conversation.  The truth is, I was too young to really remember those 80’s teams.  That is pretty incredible the Celtics were able to get to 4 Finals in a row without free agency really being a factor.  I also believe Jordan’s Bulls would have easily made 4 and probably won 4 in a row if he wasn’t suspen- ahem, if he didn’t leave to play baseball.  Keep in mind The New Big Three Era with the Celtics.  If they avoided injuries to KG, Perk, and Avery Bradley it is very likely they could have achieved the same feat.
2.  Pacers – Like their chances if Granger contributes off the bench.
4.  Portland Trailblazers – Head Coach Terry Stotts deserves some serious accolades.  Look at their roster and tell me they would be 26-8?  Hopefully, they stay healthy and make a trade deadline deal to help with some wing scoring.
2/4) The Pacers and Blazers are particularly interesting because they both built their teams through the draft.  They are the anti-Heat, anti-Nets.  They also do not have a superstar on their team that David Stern smashes you over the head with in his marketing ventures.  I will make the argument Damian Lillard is the best point guard in the NBA.  Also Paul George and Lance Stephenson have been great in Indy this year.  It wouldn’t be the sexiest NBA Final, but I would definitely watch it from a pure basketball standpoint.
3.  Tanking – This is a really big issue for the NBA.  You could make the argument that 13 of the 15 teams in the East would prefer NOT to be in the playoffs or Finals.  Enough said.
3) There has to be a remedy to stop the tanking issue.  Even if teams aren’t tanking, the perception is there.  Maybe the 9th seed from each conference should get the most ping pong balls in the lottery.  Do it that way, and keep the league more competitive.
5.  Kobe and KG – Interesting how the media plays out the end for players, meaning as if it is unexpected.  Both players always played hard and now the years and mileage catch up.  Then, you look at Duncan at 17 pts and 9 rebs and you wonder why Coach Pop gets criticized for resting players.
5) You have dealt with this more than I have but man is it difficult watching the guys you grew up watching get old.  It’s like the media expects KG to be a 20-12 guy every night.  Remember how much of a beast he was in Minnesota in his prime?  His last years as a Celtic he started to taper off but was still very serviceable.  Sad that he is getting criticized.  He does not deserve it.
1.  Pats – Getting home field was big, I think they can get it done against the Colts.  Talib neutralizes TY Hilton, the defense bends, not breaks.  Brady dials up some vintage clutch 3rd down play and…..Blount, Ridley, Vereen do the rest.
1) Everyone around here seems to think the Pats will coast by the Colts.  Have Patriot fans not learned their lesson the past few untitledseasons?  Remember when they were suppose to spank the Jets a few years back? Then they lost.  Granted the Colts only true weapon on offense for Luck to utilize is TY Hilton.  I actually expect Kyle Arrington to play him since Hilton plays primarily out of the slot.  Losing Brandon Spikes bothers me because he brings an attitude to the defense.  Not many guys like going over the middle when he is playing.  The injuries this team has suffered over the course of the year is bordering on ridiculous.  3rd down has been a mammoth issue up here.  Brady doesn’t have that dependable guy to go to on 3rd.  For some reason this game scares me.  Once again the Patriots will only go as far as Brady and The Hoody can take them.
2.  Bengals – A lot of criticism on Andy Dalton and he did not play a good game.  But the infatuation with QB controversies could be a really bad trend.  People forget, he is the guy who got your sorry franchise in the playoffs in his first three years after about 20 years of nothing.  The Bengals should be AFC favorites next year.  Guess who lost his first 3 playoff games? Peyton Mannning.  Not comparing Manning to Dalton, just stating that overreaction and knee jerk can get a franchise in a lot of trouble.  Just ask the Raiders, Bucs, Jags, Titans, Bills…
2) I agree with you 100%.  I believe people like to bash because it is fun to bash.  The bottom line is Andy Dalton has brought the Bengals into respectability.  Peyton Manning lost his first 8 playoff games all the while resurrecting the Colts franchise.  No, Dalton is not Manning but at the same time he shouldn’t be facing the level of heat he currently is facing. 
3.  Westlake HS – Drew Brees and Nick Foles both went to Westlake.  Just so you know, that is only about 10 miles from our house.
3) Everyone will be quick to criticize Mack Brown for not recruiting either Foles or Brees, but remember who was quarterbacking the Longhorns at the time Foles and Brees were in college.  Foles graduated college in 2011. (Colt McCoy)  Brees graduated in 2000  (Chris Simms-Major Applewhite)
4.  Kaepernick – Not sure what it is, but I am not sure I am a fan.  Respect his ability, athleticism, but there just seems to be something missing?  Maybe I like the traditional Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers guys more than the RGIII, Kaepernick guys.   Here is a thought, I think the 49ers would be in the same spot with just about 18 other QBs in the league, their roster is loaded on both sides of the ball.   For argument, any of the following would have them in the same position (Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers, Romo, Cutler, Foles, Vick, Newton, E. Manning, Stafford, Ryan, Wilson, Palmer, Roethlisberger, Luck, Smith).  I would say that Kaepernick could NOT get the following teams to the playoffs with the current roster.  (Giants, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Cardinals, Rams, Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Titans, Jags, Raiders, Chargers)untitled
4) Interesting way of looking at the quarterback argument.  I love/hate Kaepernick.  Love his talent.  Hate that he screwed my fantasy football team this year.  I think he is better than Matthew Stafford.  Stafford is so insanely overrated it’s beyond anything that could be considered a rational thought.  Give me Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, hell just give me Calvin Johnson and I can throw for 350 yards, too!  I also absolutely 100% believe Kaepernick takes the Bears to the Super Bowl and wins it no matter who the opponent is.  Also the 49ers would be worse with Carson Palmer as their quarterback.  He is terrible.  Same can be said for Jay Cutler.
5.  Versatile HBs – Woodhead, Sproles, Charles, McCoy really like those guys.  If Manning did not have such a monster year, I really think J. Charles is the MVP.  He is Priest Holmes and M. Faulk 2.0.
5) Jamal Charles should be the MVP.  He did more with less talent around him.  Peyton Manning had a video game like roster on his hands.  If he did anything less than what he did this season, he’d be considered a failure.  Heck, I’d even say he underachieved this season.  Records mean nothing to me anymore because the rules now protect the offensive side of the ball.  If he had these numbers 5-10 years ago, maybe I’d be impressed.
6.  Coaching Fires – Brutal profession, but I guess most of the guys who were let go, there is reason.  Only guy who did not get a fair shake was Chudzinski in Cleveland.  Seriously, one year and all the injuries at QB (not to mention the QB choices were Weeden, Campbell and Hoyer).  He did not draft those guys and he did not pick or trade Richardson.
6) Completely agree Chudzinski got the short end of the stick.  Then you have a guy like Jim Schwartz who should have been fired 3 years ago.  The Schwartz was not with him.
1. Sox – Nothing
1)  The story with the Red sox right now is whether they will bring back Stephen Drew or not.  I hope he signs elsewhere.  If he stays, he stunts the development of Will Middlebrooks and Xander Boegarts.  In a full season, Middlebrooks will hit 30 home runs and drive in 100.
2. Astros – Less than nothing
2) I think the Astros will win more than they did last season.  Shouldn’t be hard since that total is 51.  Only players worth watching on their roster are Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler.  Can’t believe they gave Scott Feldman a 3 year contract for $30 million.  Feldman…from across the hall!  (Bizarro Seinfeld-world Kramer!)
3. Pujols – Saw the other day, he is only 33 years old.  Playing like he is 43.  Wait, I am 43.  Ok, 53 then.
4. Hank Aaron – Look up his numbers some day (then Gehrig and Ruth).  Man!  Basically, Pujols would have to average 30 homers for the next 7 years to reach 720 career home runs, 35 short of Aaron.  Of course, Aaron needed 700 more games than Ruth to hit 755.  Bonds needed 483 more games to hit 762 than Ruth’s 714.  Yeah-yeah, not to mention PED assisted.
3-4) Hank Aaron’s power numbers are absurd.  I say Pujols has an outside chance at some of them because he will likely DH the rest of his career. 
5.  Greg Maddux – Gotta be unanimous – right?untitled
5) Maddux should be unanimous but there is always that one dink writer that wants to make a story and not vote in an obvious selection.  The BBWA is a bigger joke than anything Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, or Ron White ever delivered.
(Will Middlebrooks follows me. Obviously you should, too!)

Enjoy The Parade!

Before the Hot Stove heats up, it is important to take a minute and recognize the overachievements of the 2013 Boston Redimages-1 Sox.  Go back to March of 2013.  Most writers and fans believed the Red Sox would win maybe 81 games give or take.  Fans were happy the “chicken and beer” prima donnas were gone.  We thought Victorino, Dempster, and Gomes were brought in because they were nice guys, true pillars of a community.  It turns out, they could play a little baseball too.  David Ross was the first free agent signing coming into this season.  Many were upset he was given $8 million over two years.  It turns out he was worth every penny.

The Red Sox went on to win 97 games during the regular season.  They never lost more than three games in a row.  The won the American League East.  They were tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in all of baseball.  They brought Red Sox Nation back to postseason baseball.  The 2013 postseason was a wild ride culminating in winning the freaking World Series!

In the postseason they beat guys named Price, Moore, Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Wainwright, and Wacha.  Those are imagessome of the best names to toe the rubber in 2013.  We should always remember Wil Myers botching a fly ball on the warning track in the very first game of the postseason against the Rays.  How about David Price’s mental breakdown on Twitter after getting tuned up in Game 2 of the divisional series?   After eliminating the Rays, the Sox moved on to Detroit.

We always remeber David Ortiz’s grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS that sent Torii Hunter sprawling into the bullpen.  It was the hit that gave Steve Horgan a name in Boston sports history.  Shane Victorino’s Game 6 grand slam off of Jose Veras will forever be remembered in Red Sox lore.  Shane Victorino, the same guy who Red Sox fans weren’t overly excited about in the offseason. The same guy who Red Sox fans wanted Josh Hamilton over, provided the biggest hit of the post season.  The Tigers’ pitching was literally unhittable for the Sox at times throughout the series.  But the Sox overcame it and beat the Tigers in 6.

On to the World Series, the Sox marched.  David Ortiz and Jon Lester put up legendary performances.  Ortiz catapaulted himself to the forefront of New England sports history, as one of the top 3 greatest athlete’s to play in this city.  The Red Sox faced no obstructions all season in achieving the goal they set in the Spring.  (see what I did there?)  Koji Uehara was his dominant self.  Has there ever been a more dominant closer in one season in baseball history?  John Lackey, the most hated man in Boston 2 years ago, became among the most loved.  We saw a glimpse of the future in Xander Bogaerts.  And the future looks great.

Enjoy these celebrations now.  Unfortunately it does not look like these 25 guys will be together again.


I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF


The Red Sox are World Series Bound

USP-MLB_-ALCS-Detroit-Tigers-at-Boston-Red-Sox_007-1024x695Rewind back to March of 2013.  The Red Sox were coming into Spring Training with the likes of Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Jonny Gomes.  The truth is not many Red Sox fans were excited about these moves.  The truth is many Red Sox fans were in hibernation because the Red Sox fan experience was quite abysmal over the past few seasons.  The truth is the attention of the Red Sox faithful was diverted to the Boston Bruins and their Stanley Cup run.  The truth is it was not cool to be a Red Sox fan anymore.

Fast forward to the present day.  Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS that will forever live in Red Sox lore, right in the conversation with Carlton Fisk.  The truth is Mike Napoli’s 460 home run off of Justin Verlander was the one swing of the bat giving the Red Sox a 2-1 ALCS lead.  The truth is Jonny Gomes provided the personality needed to loosen up guys like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and David Ortiz, who had been tarnished because of Bobby V.

On Wednesday, the Red Sox will host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series.  Who would have thunk it?  Most experts penciled the Red Sox in for 82-86 wins this season.  No one believed the Red Sox would win 97 games.  No one believed the Red Sox would win the AL East.  Come to think of it, did anyone truthfully believe the Red Sox would make the playoffs?

The 2013 Boston Red Sox have taken their fan base on an incredible ride.  They have brought back all the fans the 2011 prima donnas and Bobby V turned away.  This team has been indescribably fun to watch.  They enjoy playing the game.  They enjoy playing with each other.  They are the true definition of a team.

The Red Sox are playing with house money in this World Series.  It is time Red Sox fans enjoy these next seven games (because this series is going 7).  There is the chance this will be the last time we see Jacoby Ellsbury in a Red Sox uniform.  Jarrod Saltalamachhia may not be back in Boston next year.

Appreciate this ride now Sox fans.  This ride has been, is, and will be second only to the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

Scottie’s Radio Debut

I was asked to call in to the Doc and Jock radio show in Detroit to give my thoughts on the Tigers-Red Sox series prior to Game 4.

Here is my interview with Detroit Sports Podcast.  For the record, I do realize I need to work on my vocalized pauses.

Check out their website at

Follow them on Twitter @AdamRStrozynski and @DetroitPodcast

As always I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Dear John, I am Sorry

The 2013 ALCS has been nothing less than an instant classic through the first three games.  The Red Sox will go into Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead, something that seemed improbable at best going into the 8th inning of Game 2 at Fenway Park.  In Game  1, the Red Sox were only able to produce 1 hit…1 god damn hit… to quote the great Harry Doyle en route to a 1-0 loss.  In Game 2, Detroit looked to take a commanding 2-0 lead with the Sox facing the unenviable task of facing Justin Verlander down two games to none.  Then Big Papi struck.

David Ortiz.  Big Papi.  Senor Octubre.  Red Sox fans have witnessed Ortiz’s heroics for a decade now.  It came to the point 963805-tigers-red-sox-baseballwhere many fans were almost expecting Ortiz to deposit a first pitch Joaquain Benoit change-up into the Boston bullpen for a grand slam to tie the game. A grand slam that sent Torri Hunter sprawling head over heels into the Boston bullpen.  A grand slam that made a Boston Cop a local hero and coined a term, Horganing. A grand slam that will be talked about for generations. A grand slam that gave the Red Sox life. The Red Sox offense had been anorexic through the first 17 innings of the ALCS.   The Big Dog ate, and completely changed the complexion of the series with one swing of the bat.  Red Sox fans take what Papi does for granted.  But let me be the first to say, the man is clutch.  Time and time again he has come up big, in the times the Sox have needed him most.  I mean a grand slam! In the eighth inning! With 2 outs!  Are you kidding me?  Isn’t that what small children dream of every day?

One inning later Jarrod Saltalamacchia plated Jonny Gomes to walk off with Game 2.  The Red Sox were going to board a plane to Detroit with the series tied at 1.  A series, which arguably, would’ve been 2-0 in Detroit’s favor.  Think about it for a second.  The Red Sox were no hit through the first 5 innings of each game.  Detroit fired their absolute best shot at the Red Sox.  What have we said about the Sox all year?  Man, these guys are resilient!  Every time we were ready to discount the Sox, they came right back with a massive win.  Game 2 was no different.  Why are we surprised?

Going into Game 3, all the talk was about Justin Bie- sorry Verlander.  Verlander has been incredible in October, nearly lackey-big-10340.runtouchable.  No one was talking about John Lackey.  No one has been more critical of The Underbite then yours truly over the lifetime of the Lackey contract.  What Lackey did in Game 3 against a potent Tiger lineup will rank right up there in Red Sox lore with the names Pedro and Schilling.  Lackey matched zeroes with Verlander, through 6 innings.  I can’t think of another Boston athlete in my lifetime that has drawn as much ire from the Fenway Faithful, then made amends, and now has drawn the same amount of praise from Sox fans.  From chicken and beer, to Tommy John, to pitching like an ace in the biggest game of the season, John Lackey has earned this year’s salary and then some.

Mike Napoli came to the plate in the top of the 7th inning boasting a feeble .111 batting average in the playoffs.  Napoli changed Game 3 with one swing, mashing a Verlander offering to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.  Coincidently, Napoli’s first major league at bat came against Justin Verlander.  Napoli turned the clock back to 2006, and hit a home run to the same exact spot at Comerica Field in 2013.  This proved to be enough.

I wasn’t overly excited about the quick hook John Farrell gave Lackey after 6.2 innings and 97 pitches.  During the regular imagesseason the Red Sox bullpen was much maligned.  In October? They have been lights out.  Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa preserved the 1-0 lead giving way to Koji Uehara who slammed the door on Game 3 giving the Sox a 2-1 series lead.  Tazawa struck out Miggy Cabrera with straight gas with ducks on the pond.  Each pitch, New England held its collective breath as the young righty struck out the reigning AL MVP in the biggest spot of the season.  Uehara came in and made rather quick work of Prince Fielder with runners on.  Fair to say Uehara and Tazawa both have Marbles!

Now the Red Sox go into Wednesday night with 2-1 series lead.  Doug Fister will be the opposition.  While he is nothing to sneeze at, he is not Verlander, Scherzer, or Sanchez.  Red Sox fans had been dying to get the Detroit bullpen after the aforementioned triumvirate had pitched 21 innings struck out 35 and given up just two runs.  Now Boston is in the driver’s seat in this series.  Jake Peavy will take the mound tomorrow night.  Peavy, who will be motivated to show Boston they were the big winners in the deadline trade that sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit.

Speaking of Iglesias, he is who no one is talking about.   In Game 2, he made a horrible decision trying to throw Jonny Gomes out on a sure infield hit.  His throw went into the Boston dugout and Gomes was able to take second base with no outs.  Gomes’s run won the game.  In Game 3, he pinch hit, yes Boston fans you read that correctly, and struck out on three pitches.  Meanwhile, Peavy was awesome in the ALDS against Tampa going 5.2 innings giving up just 1 run and throwing just 74 pitches.

There is no doubt this series has been an instant classic.  It will continue tomorrow night at 8 o’clock.  I wish life had a fast forward button.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

New Lovable Team; Same Tired Ownership

Reader Beware:  The following post will be nothing more than an angry rant.

I have supported this team as far back as I can remember.  The 1999 divisional series against the Indians is one of my favorite memories of all time.  Troy O’Leary making Cleveland pay for intentionally walking Nomar was beautiful poetic justice.  Pedro Martinez coming out of the bullpen to shut down the Indians for 6 innings? Hearing Jacobs Field go mute as he came in from the bullpen? All priceless.  Did you know there were three guys warming up in the bullpen of Game 5 that year, in that game?  I did.  Can you name them?  I can.  Saberhagen got the start, got lit up.  Lowe did not have it that night as he relieved Sabes.  In the bullpen? Pedro Martinez.  His brother Ramon Martinez.  And the late Rod Beck.  Jimy Williams went with Pedro.  The rest is history.

I cried my eyes out in 2003 when Aaron Boone deposited a Tim Wakefield knuckleball into the left field stands of Yankee Stadium in Game 7.  I locked myself inside my college dorm room and cried into my pillow repeatedly saying “it’s just not fair!” And “I hate you Grady Little!”

2004 was more of a happy ending.  Everyone knows the Red Sox story.  My story?  Game 3 against the Yankees, I sat in an overstuffed chair in my buddy’s apartment cursing under my breath and drinking way too much.  The Red Sox lost 19-8.  Tim Wakefield took one for the team getting shelled like no other.  With each rocket the Yankees hit, the faster my beer was being consumed.  Waking up the next morning I swore off alcohol forever.  I stayed sober the rest of the playoffs.  It’s no coincidence the Red Sox did not lose the rest of that year en route to their first World Series Title since 1918.

The Red Sox did it again in 2007.  All of Boston got fat and happy.  They didn’t care as much about the Red Sox anymore.  Winning the World Series was routine,  I never held this belief.  I believe each World Series is special.  Ask my grandfather who was born in 1921 and did not see a championship until 2004.  The World Series is pretty damn special.

In order to get to the World Series, a team has to make the playoffs.  The Red Sox have not made the playoffs since 2009.  In 2011, they were suppose to be the best team of all time.  In classic Red Sox fashion, they had the worst September collapse of all time winning just 7 games.  The only manager to “break the curse,:” Terry Francona was fired because the overpaid prima donnas (see: Beckett, Josh, Gonzalez, Adrian, and Crawford, Carl) laid down like dogs.

Ownership (aka the devil, aka satan, aka Larry Lucchino) decide Bobby Valentine could right the Red Sox ship.  What happened in 2012? Oh, the Sox win 69 games.  At least the genius of Bobby V led the Red Sox to a nice draft pick in Trey Ball.  Ben Cherrington was finally allowed to do his job after ownership saw the mess they have made.  He promptly traded the three most disgusting, overrated babies in Boston sports history shedding over $200 in salary for a few mid-major prospects.

That trade leads us to the present.  Cherrington went out and signed Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, Mike Napoli, and Koji Uehara.  Many people criticized Cherrington saying he was only trying to bring in “good guys.”  These guys proved they can also play baseball.  Now the Red Sox finished the regular season tied with the Cardinals for the best record in baseball.  Who watched, checked in on, or knew the score of every game throughout the 2013 season?  This guy.

And this leads me to the overall point of this post.  I looked up tickets for Saturday’s Game 2 of the Divisional Series at Fenway Park.  The cheapest ticket I could find was $89.  That was for standing room only.  I was going to pay $89 to STAND!  My reaction?  Well, my mother reads this blog so I will tone down my language.  I referred to the droppings of a bull.  Once I got over that price, I received an email from the Boston Red Sox informing me I could “register for the opportunity to buy” tickets for the ALCS.  Like a fool, I registered in hopes I would be picked to spend over $125 for a single ticket.  Today, I received an email.  “Sorry you have not been picked for the chance to buy tickets to the ALCS.  But you will be entered for the chance to buy tickets to the World Series!”

I hate you John Henry.  I hate you Tom Werner.  I hate you most of all Larry Luchhino.  You want to send out a registration form for just the “chance” to buy tickets to the ALCS?  Attach a quiz to the form.  Find out who your real fans are.  Invite them to these games.  I have gone to 3 games this year, I would be at more if my budget allowed it.  I was apart of your famous sell out streak (which was the biggest joke in sports) that got you guys a stupid footnote in the Guinness Book of World Records.  Now you exclude me from the opportunity to buy tickets at face value, to a game I want to be at?

Some things never change.  Ownership and their way of doing whatever they can to spin a buck versus treating a true fan is disturbing.  It’s no coincidence once Cherrington was allowed to do his job, Boston started winning again.  It’s also no secret, when ownership tried to take over the baseball operation, it resulted in a high draft pick.

this was a rant brought to you by Scott Patterson.  There are no pictures that can spice this post up.  Sorry for visual boredom.  

i can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF