On Thursday, July 9th Rasheed Wallace came into Boston to have his first official press conference as a member of the Boston Celtics. He signed a 2 year contract for the mid level exception (just under $6 million dollars a season) but even more than the money, Rasheed Wallace came to Boston for the all the right reasons: to win another championship. He was courted by not only his longtime friend Kevin Garnett but by Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge & Doc Rivers as well. Wallace had grown increasingly frustrated with the Pistons franchise following the trade of Chauncey Billups and the acquisition of Allen Iverson.
The Pistons were no longer committed to winning it all as they had entered the first phase of rebuilding the franchise. The Boston Celtics were stopped from returning to the NBA Finals for the second straight year by a thinning bench (due to their inability to acquire Antonio McDyess, Joe Smith or Stephon Marbury early enough to help them out) and injuries to several key players towards the end of the season. The Celtics are still committed to playing championship defense and doing whatever it takes to win. The fact that the team leaders, coaching staff, management and ownership all came out to speak to him and assuage any fears or concerns he may have really spoke to Wallace.
The Boston Celtics believe in the team concept of Ubuntu. They take it extremely seriously. The concept is that you do and sacrifice whatever you have to for the betterment of your team, family and/or community. That's why instead of just seeing Rasheed Wallace at the press conference you had Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen. Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers & Danny Ainge all there as well. Rasheed Wallace is committed to giving his all to the pursuit of banner number 18. The Celtics missed out on acquiring Grant Hill but they can still retain Glen "Big Baby" Davis and continue to add some more pieces before the free agency period is up.
The Boston Red Sox are sending 6 players to the MLB All Star Game this season, including 42 year old pitcher (and Mr. Red Sox himself) Tim Wakefield (11-3 4.31 ERA). Those of you that have been reading this blog since it's inception are already aware of how much of a fan of Tim Wakefield's I am. If it was up to me, his number would be retired not too long folowing his retirement. While the Los Angeles Dodgers have a better overall record I still believe that the Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball. They have better starting pitching, a better & deeper bullpen, more experience in the playoffs, more depth at skill positions and more clutch performers.
David "Big Papi" Ortiz has turned it on in the last couple of months and he hit his 12th HR of the season on Saturday versus the Kansas City Royals. He recently hit his 300th career HR and gotten his 1,000 hit in a Red Sox uniform. If he keeps up his current pace he has a chance to reach between 25-30 home runs before the season is up. Considering how the season began for him that would be quite a feat in itself. The Boston Red Sox currently have a 53-34 record with a game pending against the Kansas City Royals before the MLB All Star break is official. That gives them the 2nd best record in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and a 2 game lead on the hated New York Yankees.
Jonathan Papelbon has once again earned a spot on the AL All Star team with a 1-1 record, 1.85 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities. Papelbon has been the anchor of the best bullpen in the entire MLB. The Red Sox have the ace of their staff, Josh Beckett (11-3 3.62 ERA) took the mound this afternoon in the hopes of creating more space between themselves and the Yankees as well as inching closer to the best record in baseball as they beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 (CG shutout) in Boston to earn his 100th career win and improve the Red Sox record to 54-34 before the break. Congratulations to the Red Sox All Star selections Tim Wakefield, Dustin Pedroia (also expecting his first child), Jason Bay, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon.