Tuesday, June 19, 2007

P.S.C. (What Does It Mean?) AKA Boston Sports Report Part Four

Today is June 19th and Red Sox currently have a 8 game lead over the Yankees and they are still the possessors of the best record in MLB at 44-25 through 69 games. The Red Sox have been hovering at just above .500 over the last 15 contests and the Yankees have won 12 of their last 15 to close the gap from 13.5 games to 8 as the Yankees were idle last night due to an off day. The Red Sox just came off of a 3 game sweep of the San Francisco Giants (I bet you Jeff Chang was pissed!), but dropped the first game in the series against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta last night.

The biggest stories of the San Fransisco series were having Dave Roberts return to Fenway and receiving a heroes welcome for his contributions to the 2004 World Series title run and Barry Bonds making his first ever visit to Fenway Park after his comments about Boston being a racist town no Black player would want play in (actually, for years it WAS) and the black cloud of suspicion concerning Bonds using performance enhancing drugs (which he’s NEVER tested positive for) concerning him closing in on the most hallowed of baseball's records. Seeing fans boo Bonds incessantly left me with mixed feelings, here we have the greatest player in baseball history since Hank Aaron and Willie Mays in historic Fenway Park...let’s boo him! I wasn’t feeling it all that much.

It was great to see that the fans still appreciate Dave Roberts, though. That should have old Barry that Boston isn’t the city he thought it was, either. The thing is that Bonds got his stories from old timers, including his father, Willie Mays, his godfather and their peers and friends. There were NO black former Red Sox to convince them things were different seeing as it took 12 years after baseball’s integration in 1959 to acquire a Black player in Pumpsie Green...and he was a utility man, not a starter. For info about how it is for a Black player in Boston all he has to do is ask teammate Dave Roberts to get it directly from the horses mouth. No such luck for players back in the days.

Wit all that being said, the series came and went pretty quickly behind three solid outings from pitchers Julian “Apache Chief” (upgraded from “Aquaman”) Tavarez, Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield and great bullpen work from Hideki Okajima, Johnathan Papelbon and Joel Pineiro. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia all had hot bats in this series and it was topped off by Barry Bonds hitting number 748 to a smattering of boos and cheers. Even though Bonds took Wake yard, it was cool that it happened and even better that Wake pitched to him and not around him. Now all those people in attendance can say that they witnessed history firsthand.

Hopefully, the Sox bats will wake up and Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo and Joey Cora will break out of their slumps. Having Big Papi sit out last night also didn’t help as Curt Schilling just didn’t have it last night...his fastball topped out at only 91 MPH and his location was suspect all night. It might be the after effects of him pitching a full 9 innings last week but it just could’ve been a bad night.At least Coco Crisp showed some signs that he's coming out of his slump by having 4 hits and HR's.

Tonight the Sox take on the Braves again as Sox ace Josh Beckett (9-1 3.39 ERA) goes up against Tim Hudson (6-4 3.25 ERA). They Sox need these two games to keep pace against the surging Yankees (now Sox fans, admit to yourselves, this is a lot more fun now that the Yankees have finally woken up, isn’t it?).

The Patriots are back at work as new acquisitions Adalius Thomas, Brandon Meriweather, Donte Stallworth (#18)and Randy Moss (#6) are all getting acquainted with each other and the new offense. Once they REALLY start working the Patriots are going to be a formidable foe in the AFC once again. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to writing about the Patriots like they’re a traditional power even though they’ve been in the playoffs regularly since the 1996 season. The expectations here are to get to the AFC Championship game and better every year...Those are high expectations for fans to have, but the players and coaches on this team have those very same expectations so it’s all good.

The Celtics have had several top potential draft picks in for individual workouts (Corey Brewer and Al Thorton shown above) and NO ONE is Boston is talking about it. Not at all, it’s as if the 2007 NBA Draft isn’t happening this year to Bostonians. All we want to hear is trade rumors and if the potential Kobe Bryant trade means that the Celtics can be a potential 3rd team on the deal since they have so many young tradeable assets that teams that can land Kobe actually want. All anyone cares about is who can the Celtics potentially get in a trade and not who can they draft. Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, Al Thorton, Mike Conley Jr. and Yi Jianlian are all nothing but consolation prizes that the Celtics (and their fans) don’t want (it’s not a secret that Al Horford will be gone at # 3) . Plus, the Celtics were Atlantic Division champs in 2005, fell out of playoff contention in 2006 and tanked to 24-58 this past season...that's going backwards.

Also keep in mind that Chris Wallace has abandoned ship and jumped over to an airplane going down in flames called the Memphis Grizzlies. Hopefully, he can take the controls and pull it up while someone finds a fire extinguisher. The bottom line is that the Celtics need to become relevant yesterday and they need to get Paul Pierce some help. It really sucks that they may not be able to get a legitimate big man/inside presence/defensive player/rebounder because that’s what they need. The Celtics organization is slowly learning that Kedrick Perkins may not be a real starting center after all. June 28th is bound to suck for the C’s unless Danny Ainge can open up the Celtic Matrix and light their darkest hour (I doubt it highly...the look on Tommy's face still says it all).


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