Monday, October 11, 2010

The Moss Effect

What a week. First we had the thrill of watching the Pats clean the Dolphin’s clock on Monday Night Football, after sitting through a very scary first half, that is. I was pumped the next day, thinking there was hope for this season after all.., and then Wednesday morning I woke up to the news that Randy Moss had been traded to the Vikings. I thought maybe I was still asleep and dreaming, or hadn’t heard correctly, and then, click, out went the power. Talk about a bad start to the day…

I needed more info, and I needed to check the breaker panel, so I made my way down stairs, grabbed a flashlight, and checked the panel. Nothing was tripped, so I got out my portable radio and went back up to the kitchen. As I shuffled around lighting candles, I found that our automatic coffee maker had finished its cycle before the power went off, thank God for small miracles. How lucky am I to have the coffee made and the alarm go off just before the power goes out? Maybe I had misheard the sports report, I was pretty groggy.

So I poured myself a cup and sat there by candlelight, sipping coffee and staring at the radio, waiting for the sports report. I didn’t have to wait long, because it was the lead story. As you’re well aware, it was true, and I was more than a little perplexed. What is it with these guys; just when things look brightest, BAM, they do something totally incomprehensible. Moss for a third round pick? Really? Oh man.

I sat there for a while until the power came back on. The beeps and boops as every device in the house cycled back on woke me from my reverie, and I got on with the start of the day, but I chewed on that news all morning. At first I was worried about losing the team’s only deep threat, and the pressure that would place on the short game, but once I got past my initial aggravation, I started to see things a little differently.

Although it’s been amazing having one of the best receivers in the game, it’s been obvious this season that the man was unhappy. His unhappiness seemed to peak right after Brady got his contract extension, and seeing that he was looking for the same thing, it was somewhat understandable. His timing left something to be desired, though. Airing his grievances after the season opening win took a little of the shine off of the day. The buzz during the following week was as much about Randy as it was about the win. While this performance alone isn’t enough to justify dumping a player as valuable as Moss, I was sure that there was more lurking just below the surface. Bill’s no rookie, so for him to make a drastic move like this, there had to be.

Sure enough, as the week wore on, all sorts of stories surfaced. Felger related a story about Brady calling Moss out last season for cutting his routes short, and then having to call him and apologize to get him to stop sulking. A friend of ours who’s a season ticket holder told us a story about Randy’s performance at a Kraft fund raiser, standing in the corner with those DJ cans of his on instead of paying attention to the speaker. That must have made Bob Kraft a happy man. The latest has Brady and Moss needing to be separated after a locker room spat recently. Although these incidents are all small things, they all add up to one big thing, trouble.

Bill Simmons summed it all up best in his column this week. I love his “Crazy Hot Chic” analogy; it’s so on the money, and a must read.

Simmons broke the story on Tuesday night via twitter, by the way. Gotta love that. There must have been a “real” journalist or two that was pissed about that. Take heed, boys and girls, it’s a brave new world, and news waits for no one.

Anyways, like it or not, it was probably time for Randy to take his show on the road. Belichick has gone to great lengths this season to right the ship, even going so far as to have all the past Super Bowl memorabilia removed in an effort to change the atmosphere, and we all know what happened with Thomas at the end of last season. There’s no room for griping and whining in a Belichick locker room. No sir, won’t do.

What does that mean for the team? Well, I have a feeling that we’ll look back on this week as the week the 2010 team solidified. Are they a better team? In some ways, yes, because discord is a powerful thing. Will Moss go on to have a productive season for the Vikings? Of course, because he’s playing for a contract. We’ll get to see soon enough, as the Vikes play the Jets tonight on MNF. This should be good on a lot of levels. My buddy Mark thinks that the Jet’s superfan that wears the fire helmet will be sporting some kind of appendage on top in honor of Brett Farve’s recent alleged adventures this week, and I think he’s probably right. Must see TV.

All of this drama aside, the real question, the one that everyone seems to have forgotten is; have the Patriots really gotten their mojo back? For the answer to that, we have to wait until next Sunday, but as my old Magic 8 Ball is fond of saying; "The outlook is good."

That is all.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Not Such Deep Thoughts; Special Elimination Edition

The dream is over.., at least until next year.

There were a few bright moments for the Sox this year, but for the most part this season was a hot mess. The injury bug bit them early, and often, and the pitching was uneven at best. It was frustrating, but all things considered it could have been worse. Despite the patchwork lineup, they finished the season with 89 wins, and they definitely went out in style, taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees and relegating them to wild card status.

The Pawtucket Posse of Nava, Kalish, Patterson, McDonald, Anderson, Navarro and Reddick did an admirable job plugging holes in the lineup, and I’m pleased that we have that much talent in the pipeline.

Tito did a great job managing the final game. Well timed substitutions gave the players a chance to take a bow, some perhaps for their last time in Boston, and feel the love from the fans. It’s not easy to play for the win and still be able to pull off something like that. The man has a lot of class.

Speaking of taking a bow and having a lot of class, honoring Lowell on Saturday night showed that the front office can be a classy bunch also.

While I’m on the topic of the front office, not everything they do is good. Take ticket prices for instance. I have a friend who has season tickets right behind the Sox dugout, and I used to be on the list to buy a few games a year to help defray their cost. This season I asked to be taken off the list, unless they were going to go to waste, that is. It killed me to do it, but part of the deal is that you have to take all 4 tickets, and the parking pass, and it was getting a little too pricey for me. Field Box tickets were $130 apiece this year, and the parking pass is another $50. That’s $570 before I even leave my house. Add to that a little food and drink, and you’re spending the equivalent of a car payment and a trip to the grocery store. I just can’t justify those costs anymore, and I’m not sure who can. From a season ticket perspective, that’s a huge chunk of money. Here are some facts and figures from an article on Bloomberg about how the Sox keep the sellout streak going with bulk sales to resellers like Ace and Stub Hub: “List prices of tickets at Fenway this season average $52.32, second-highest behind the Chicago Cubs, according to Team Marketing Report. But tickets trade at an average of $89 on the online secondary market, the highest in baseball, according to, a forecasting website. Ace is asking $1,435 for its best seats, which carry a $250 face value, to an Oct. 2 game against the New York Yankees.” Not a bad deal for the Sox, seeing as they and MLB get a percentage of the reseller’s profit back, and they’re not the ones stuck with the tickets if they don’t sell. Plus, the fact that they’re sold out creates a buzz that allows the resellers to get top dollar. Very clever.., unless you’re a fan.

If Tek doesn’t come back, I’m gonna miss him, and I think the team will, too. Although he’s no longer an everyday player, he’s still a presence in the clubhouse and a fountain of knowledge for the younger guys.

How about Jed Lowrie, was he on fire down the stretch or what? I hope he can carry the momentum into next season.

Papelbon, on the other hand, needs another pitch or two, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Well, as we like to say around here; there’s always next year, and spring training is right around the corner…

That is all