Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Impossible Dream AKA Dart Adams’ Boston Sports Report Part Two

I was just enjoying Mother’s Day with my family, same as every year. My niece and nephew were off watching some On Demand movie, my mother was watching a basketball playoff game on TV (we turned from the Red Sox game after the Orioles scored their 5th run to make it 5-0) and I was explaining to my sister and brother-in-law who just saw Spider Man 3 how Spider Man got the black costume in the comic book and why they couldn’t put that in the movie (*Comic Book Nerd Alert* He acquired the alien symbiote suit from a machine that created clothes from the users’ thoughts when he was in the Secret Wars). All of a sudden, my brother’s cell phone rings. It’s our boy Brandon asking us if we saw the game. My brothers says “Yeah, they got their asses kicked 5-0! I couldn’t even watch the end”, Then Brandon says “Naw, fam. They won 6-5...You stopped watching at the end? What kind of fan are you?” My brother goes to the computer (if you need information, where do you go?) and saw the headline and box score on the Red Sox MLB site (which, of course, we have bookmarked). Mind you we don’t know what he and Brandon are talking about because *Comic Book Nerd Alert* I’m up to the part where Spidey went to Reed Richards at the Baxter Building and had him blast the symbiote black suit off with high frequency sonic waves. After explaining that in the movie the alien suit engulfed Brock because he was filled with hatred towards Peter Parker and that in turn created Venom, my brother came back in the room. “Hey y’all, the Sox won that game!” We all gave the standard group response you’d hear on a Black family sitcom circa the 80’s (remember those?)

“Say What?!”

“Yeah, they scored 6 runs in the bottom of 9th.” “The fans are still going crazy at Fenway Park and everybodies celebrating all the way down Landsdowne Street!” I thought to myself, this is just like a scene out of “Fever Pitch”. We turned to NESN and they had the recap on, we couldn’t believe it. It’s all they talked about on Baseball Tonight on ESPN. There were two replays of the game, one that ran from Midnight to 2 AM, and another the next day at Noon until 2PM. I decided to watch the Noon one the next day...I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My older brother Dave came to visit and we watched the replay together. Even though we’d seen all of the sports highlight shows with the Cliff Notes version of how it happened nothing beat watching it happen in fake real time.

Guthrie was pitching a flawless game before Coco Crisp’s pop up happened. No one wearing a Sox uniform had even reached 3rd base yet! After Hernandez dropped the pop up (Why didn’t Guthrie just catch it?) and Crisp was on first, they decided to pull Jeremy Guthrie for Baez. Coco Crisp is probably the fastest dude on the team so all he needed was a double to score. Next up was David “Big Papi” Ortiz, the greatest clutch hitter in recent Red Sox history. He slapped a double off of the Green Monster and Coco Crisp came around to score while Papi was standing on 2nd base grinning with his leg up like Captain Morgan. Next up was the young slugger Wily Mo Pena, who smacked a 2-0 pitch into left field for a single. That made it 5-1 with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. The Orioles pulled Baez and put in ace reliever Chris Ray to get the save. So far this season Chris Ray had struck out 18 batters and only walked 2, he came out and walked both J.D.Drew and Kevin Youkilis to score Ortiz from 3rd. The score was now 5-2 with the bases loaded, 1 out and the Red Sox captain Jason Varitek at the plate representing the potential winning run. Varitek delivered a line shot into right center field on a 1-0 pitch that scored two runs and made the score 5-4 with runners on 2nd and 3rd. In order to have a chance at the double play to win the game, Hinske was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Alex Cora, one of the Sox hottest bats (who has come up with some clutch hits in the past) was up to bat. He hit a blooper to the infield that was charged by Roberts, with no chance at first he threw it home to force Youkilis out at the plate. Julio Lugo was next up to bat with 2 out and the bases loaded. He worked the count full, it was 3-2 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. Lugo called time, stepped out of the batter’s box and composed himself. Then he stepped back in and swung at the 3-2 pitch, it was a chopper that bounced right to Millar. Lugo was flying down the base path and Chris Ray rushed to cover first in time. Millar fired to ball over and Chris Ray took his eye off the ball to locate the bag, he dropped the throw and two runs came in to score. The Red Sox won 6-5. With that win and a Milwaukee loss, the Boston Red Sox had the baest record in all of Major League Baseball.

Of course, the bigger news was that Josh Beckett left the game in the 4th after he developed a cut on his right middle finger, in the next 48 hours we should know if Beckett will make his next scheduled start on Friday. After that game, Johnny Damon made a statement that if the Red Sox keep playing the way they are no one’s going to catch them. I expect him to catch holy hell after saying that (I read the NY papers and they’re even more brutal than ours). The next day, Daisuke Matsusaka (5-2) pitched a gem in the opening game of a 4 game series against the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers. He pitched a complete game (124 pitches, 86 strikes) giving up only one run (a HR to Curtis Granderson in the 3rd inning), striking out 5 (with 16 groundball outs) and scattering 6 hits over 9 innings without once walking a batter. The Red Sox won 7-1 behind 15 hits from an offense that seems to be on fire. The Red Sox have the best record in baseball at 26-11 with a 8.5 game lead over the 17-19 Yankees. Today, Tim Wakefield (4-3) will try to continue his dominance and silence the dangerous bats of the Detroit Tigers. Wake’s 1.79 ERA is the best in the AL as is his opponents batting average (.189)..if his knuckleball is dancing opposing batters will be swinging at air all night. By the way, does any other town have the same amount of eye candy for baseball analysis and coverage like we do here in Boston with Hazel Mae, Tina Cervasio and Amalie Benjamin? Just curious (Apparently someone already noticed that besides me here ).

The Patriots have rookie minicamp running at according to early reports, Brandon Meriweather (as seen above) is as good as advertised. The best thing is his versatility and aggressiveness. The Pats have also resigned Junior Seau and are rumored to be in discussions with Keyshawn Johnson. It looks like Coach Belichick is determined to avenge his loss at the hands of the Colts last season by any means necessary (I just imagine him looking out of his window holding his playbook up in his right hand while rockin’ that hideous hooded sweatshirt like Malcolm/KRS One.)

Last but not least, let’s discuss the Boston Celtics. They had a season to forget this year. Their founder and former president, the beloved Red Auerbach died before the season began (I think the Celtic Dancers had something to do with it...I kid, I kid) and the coach of their NBADL affiliate and legendary point guard Dennis “DJ” Johnson passed just as they sent Allen Ray to Austin to receive tutoring from him (put DJ in the Hall Of Fame!). On top of that, they had so many injuries (season enders for Theo Ratliff, Wally Szczerbiak, Tony Allen and Paul Pierce plus others that made Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Kendrick Perkins and Delonte West all miss significant time) you’d think they were cursed this season...or did this all happen as part of some greater plan we all don’t understand yet? The Celtics best the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio for the first time in 17 years and they beat the Spurs for the first time in 10 years...this was commonly known as the Tim Duncan Curse in Boston. To make matters weirder, they won on St. Patrick’s Day. Could this be an omen? We’ll find out next week. But why do the Celtics deserve the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft? Let me take you on a trip through previous Celtic draft horror stories:

1986- The Celtics draft Maryland’s Len Bias (above) with the #2 pick after some excellent wheeling and dealing. The 6’9 Bias was regarded as a can’t miss once every generation talent. He could play inside as well as outside and could handle the ball like a guard. Even to this day, Coach K of Duke regards him as the greatest player to ever hail from the ACC. He would’ve extended the careers of Larry Bird (who was going to pick him up at Logan Airport and work out with him until the 1986-87 season opened) and Kevin McHale as well as possibly allowing to Celtics the opportunity to repeat as NBA Champs. He died of a cocaine overdose shortly after he was drafted. His number 30 has been rarely worn out of respect (Sebastian Telfair wore it this past season...he is no longer with the team)/

1989- The Celtics draft 6’10 big man from BYU, Michael Smith. They thought he was a versatile big man who could rebound and shoot as well as pass...he turned out to be a bust that was slow as hell and couldn’t bang with the big men in the L or even get his shot off. Just because they lucked out with Danny Ainge years before, they thought they could find a Larry Bird clone at BYU (Didn’t they learn anything from drafting Brad Lohaus?) . Nope!

1992- The Celtics draft Georgia Tech guard Jon Barry in the 1st round. Jon Barry refused to report to Boston because he didn’t think he’d get any playing time. He forced a trade to Milwaukee and embarrassed the franchise. The franchise caused themselves further embarrassment by drafting Darren Morningstar from Pittsburgh with their next pick. He was cut during the preseason and made famous by asking every one of the veterans on the team a weird question during training camp “What do you have to do to make this team?”. Robert Parish said he wanted to say “Have some talent.”

1993- The Celtics draft Iowa center Acie Earl. This slow, unathletic, uncoordinated, goofy ass dude with unorthodox post moves was looked to as Robert Parish’s future replacement. The problem? Robert Parish (even at his advanced age) was significantly, stronger, faster, quicker and much more athletic than Earl. He floundered for two years with minimal improvement before he was finally shipped off and the Celtics were forced to look for another big man.

1994- The Celtics draft North Carolina center Eric Montross. The 7 footer wasn’t known to be fast or athletic, just a solid center. He had two decent seasons in which he started for the 1994-95 Celtics playoff team their last season in the Boston Garden. He lost any skills he may have had suddenly after his third season in the NBA and he officially became yet another Celtics draft bust.

1997- The Celtics miss getting the #1 pick (Tim Duncan) and their second choice (Who else? Keith Van Horn!) and instead draft Chauncey Billups, a Colorado PG and Ron Mercer, a SG/SF from Kentucky. Rick Pitino announced that the Boston Celtics has just drafted their “backcourt of the future”. Four months into the season, Billups was traded to Toronto for Kenny Anderson (who was previously traded there but refused to report). Ron Mercer was traded to Denver for Tony Battie and Eric Williams. The “future” only lasted 51 games for Chauncey Billups and 121games in Mercer’s case. I take it that if Rick Pitino could trade players in college, he wouldn’t have a job for long as Chauncey Billups has turned out to be one of the premier guards in the league.

1999- The Celtics had no first round pick and drafted Kris Clack from Texas. He had no real NBA position and never played in the NBA past two straight seasons with the Celtics Summer League team.

2000- The Celtics drafted UCLA’s highly touted big man, 6’10 Jerome Moiso. He was given the number 0...ironically that’s how much he would improve and contribute during his short time with the team (24 games). Yet another draft bust.

2001- The Celtics had 3 picks in the 1st round and they selected Joe Johnson, a versatile SG/SF from Arkansas, Kedrick Brown, an extremely athletic 6’7 SG/SF from Okaloosa-Walton CC and Joseph Forte, a 6’4 PG/SG from North Carolina. The Celtics were thought to have made some excellent picks at first, however, they soon dealt away Joe Johnson (after 48 games, 33 of which he started) thinking he was too soft and lacked the killer instinct of a scorer. Then, Joseph Forte (who turned out to be a knucklehead) was traded away with Kenny Anderson and Vitaly Potapenko in the Vin Baker/Shammond Williams deal (another collosal disaster). Kedrick Brown never developed a consistent jumper or 3 point shot and could do nothing but dunk so after three seasons on very little improvement he was shipped to Cleveland in the Ricky Davis/Chris Mihm deal. Joe Johnson developed into an All Star and Kedrick Brown and Joseph Forte were both out of the league in less than 5 seasons. Another year, another wack ass draft.

I suspect that this year the Celtics get the #1 pick and Greg Oden (above) will be rockin’ # 20 in kelly green this upcoming season. Can you imagine the Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox all in the playoff and challenging for titles again just like from 2002- 2005 when we had four championship parades in Boston? Well, I can dream can’t I?


No comments: