Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A New Hope AKA Boston Sports Report Part Five

Well, damn...what a difference a day makes. Not only are the Celtics on the brink of staging a miraculous resurrection that would rank just behind Biblical Lazarus and the mythical Phoenix (at least in Boston), but it’s the day of the baseball trade deadline and Red Sox Nation are pretty much waiting to see where Wily Mo Pena is going to end up (as of the writing of this blog Joel Piniero has already been shipped off to the Cards for a player to be named later). As I normally do with the Boston sports report, I report on teams in order of their importance to the city. Red Sox first, Pats second, Celtics last. With this deal, interest in the Celtics will skyrocket. I’m currently watching the Baseball Tonight Trade Deadline special and they’re trying to complete a deal for Eric Gagne to further solidify the Red Sox already formidable bullpen.

The Boston Red Sox are currently 64-31 with 57 games left in the season. They are the possessors of the best record in MLB and an 8 game lead on the New York Yankees (which is the biggest lead any team has in their division in all of MLB). They recently took 3 out of 4 from the Wild Card leading Cleveland Indians and 2 out of 3 from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for a successful road trip. Manny Ramirez is on a hot streak and over the last 8 games he's had a power surge. Coco Crisp, Julio Lugo, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis have all been hot as the Sox ripped of 8 of their last 10 contests.

The Sox are 30-22 on the road so far this season and only one other team in all off baseball has a better road record (Detroit). They also boast 3 starting pitchers with 12 wins (Beckett, Wakefield and Matsuzaka). The Yanks are only about 4 games out of the Wild Card and they have a huge 3 games series against the Red Sox at the end of August (28th-30th). If the Red Sox can manage to get another power hitting outfielder or a power arm in their bullpen (the best in MLB...I LOVE writing that!) it will be a major coup for them. Tonight the Sox play the Orioles (Josh Beckett’s pitching) and the Yankees play the White Sox so hopefully the lead can stay the same or go back up to 9 games after tonight.

John Lester has returned and pitched well in his two starts and Matt Clement is busy rehabbing. Brendan Donnelly is on the mend and Curt Schilling will be back with the team the first week in August. Mike Timlin has what’s been described as an “achy” shoulder so he’s going to be unavailable for a few days. Pitching prospect Clay Buchholz may end up with the team before the season is over as well. The news just came in that the proposed deal between the Red Sox and Texas Rangers for Eric Gagne would send Sox prospects Engel Beltre, Dave Murphy and current starter Kason Gabbard to the Rangers. If this deal can get done in the next hour that would put the Sox in the driver’s seat for a berth in the World Series. Apparently the deal is about to be officially announced anytime now according to ESPN (Gagne's contract is the final obstacle).

The New England Patriots are currently at training camp working on returning to the Super Bowl and dethroning the current AFC and Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts (I don’t think you readers understand how much it pains me to write that...last year’s AFC Championship game still pisses me off). The Patriots offense looks to be a juggernaut stocked with more weapons than ever before while the defense’s only shortcoming is at defensive back/cornerback. They refused to show Assante the money and he refused to play for $8 million dollars for one year...if this team had Assante Samuel with Rodney Harrison, Tory James, Eugene Wilson and the other guys I’d say this team was the runaway favorite to win it all. Another question mark is the durability of RB Lawrence Maroney, without having bruising veteran RB Corey Dillon to share theload and give team different looks. I have complete trust in the Patriots coaching staff that they’ll be able to field a squad with a legitimate running game despite how it all seems up in the air right now. This will be another fun season for Pats fans...I can feel it.

Now for the big news. I’m sure you’ve all read my previous Celtics posts on this blog (I guarantee you NO other hip hop blogger in the entire bloggerverse has written as much about the Celtics as I have) and the anguish C’s fans felt when those ping pong balls fell the way they did. Not only did it mean that the Red Sox would miss out on the first two picks in the 2007 NBA Draft but they’d be mired in irrelevancy for years to come with the #5 pick. The draft day deal that sent Jeff Green to Seattle (who already drafted Kevin Durant with the 2nd pick) for Jesus Shuttlesworth..I mean Ray Allen was the harbinger that something greater was on the horizon. For the first time in a long time there was hope for Celtics fans. The rumored Kevin Garnett deal was dead because supposedly KG didn’t want to come to Boston according to his agent (who was holding out for him to go to L.A. or Phoenix). ESPN (prematurely) speculated that it was because of the history of Black people and athletes in Boston turns people off of coming here. Let me, a Black Bostonian address this bullshit issue (again) right here and now.

Black people have had more “firsts” and history in Boston and the entire state of Massachusetts than they have in ANY other state in the entire union (including New York...test me on it, I minored in History at one point in time). Salem Hall, Peter Salem, Crispus Attucks, The 54th Regiment, the Harriet Tubman House all the way down to the hometowns of Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X and this is where Martin Luther King came to learn to become the man he’d be later on in his life (I grew up two blocks from the apartment that Martin Luther King lived in when he attended Boston University and across the street from Malcolm X’s older sister. On the very same block was the Harriet Tubman House and one of the very first chapters of the NAACP ). The Celtics were on of the first teams to have a Black player, the first to have a Black coach, and the first to have a Black starting five (They’ve also had the most Black coaches in NBA history). The fuckin’ Bruins were the first team to have a Black player (Willie O’ Ree). I could get so much deeper into this issue but this is neither the time nor place. I just hate when “journalists” that don’t know shit about my city try to tell me about the climate that exists here. I’m pretty sure I was the one being harassed by police during the Charles Stuart fiasco and NOT them. Anyways, back to the Celtics.

Just when we thought the Celtics would spend the next season in Boston as a non entity after watching the Las Vegas Summer League and even after seeing what draft picks Gabe Pruitt and Glen “Big Baby” Davis could potentially bring to the table.Today it’s official, the Boston Celtics made a deal for former NBA and All Star Game MVP Kevin Garnett and shipped Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, two 1st round draft picks and Theo Ratliff’s contract to Miinnesota. The press conference will be held in Boston at 5:30 PM EST. The talk of the town (and Okayplayer Sports as well as BostonRap.com) was that perhaps the Celtics were giving up to much to acquire Kevin Garnett. Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green were all fan favorites and popular among the young fans. I saw quite a few sad little faces around town over the last 24 hours since this proposed deal was first announced. It will be sad to see fan favorites like Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green go (Bye, Wally Szczerbiak!) but the bottom line is that we didn’t win anything with them so I don’t feel THAT bad about seeing them go. We all know that it didn’t work out the way we all hoped with Bassy’s dumb ass at starting PG. It was all good for him just 12 months ago:

Now, he’s Kevin McHale’s problem. The baseball trade deadline is over and the Red Sox deal for Eric Gagne is done. The Yankees wouldn’t give up a top prospect and Melky Cabrera for Eric Gagne..partly because the Yankees farm system is so devoid of talent that they can’t afford to give up any while the Red Sox farm system is brimming with talent (I am CLEARLY enjoying this, huh?). When I decided not to take the doom and gloom stance that most of us Bostonians usually take on these things it allowed for this day to be a whole lot sweeter for myself as a Bostonian sports fan.

Oh yeah, 3 years ago today the Red Sox made a deal with the Minnesota Twins for Doug Mientkiewicz and ended up getting a key piece that would help them nail down the Wild Card and later on win the 2004 ALCS and then the World Series. The Celtics made a deal with Minnesota today and the Red Sox made a huge deal again. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. One.


Anonymous said...

im not sure how on i feel on the garnett trade yet...
Big Al was my favorite player...and Gerald Green will be a superstar (I hope) eventually...and i watched ryan gomes play numerous times when he was at PC (i live in rhode island). hopefully it works out (more wins please!), garnett signs the extension, and al and green (who i believe have one or two yrs. remaining on their respective contracts come back to celtic green. how great would that be?

good to have you back Dart

Anonymous said...

I'm happy that your absence is a thing of the past. You're easily one of the best bloggers around. However, the Yankees farm system is widely regarded as being better than the Red Sox and one of the best in baseball. Don't buy the stereotype of the Yankees as nothing but mercenaries. They have THE best minor league pitching talent, so much that entering the season they were ranked by Baseball America as the 7th best system despite not having many hitting prospects. Their pitching prospects have exceeded expectations this season which will almost certainly place them in the top 5 next season. Joba Chamberlain, who was drafted last season and will likely debut in the Bronx this Saturday has been the most talked about minor league pitcher in any system. Since Brian Cashman received full control, the Yankees have funneled their vast resources towards player development. The result has been quick and fantastically successful.
Anyway, Okajima, Gagne, and Papelbon makes for a frightful combination over the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. I wouldn't be surprised if Boston resigns Gagne this offseason and moves Papelbon to the rotation. That was a great trade for the Red Sox, especially since they gave up two marginal players and a young kid who is 5 years away from reaching his considerable potential.

Anonymous said...

According to Bill Simmons, Rondo has potential to be a stud, but really all he needs to do is play D and get the ball in the hands of the Big 3 now.

Luckily as a Sixers fan, I'll get to watch KG more than 2-3 times a year. And soon as those guys start falling apart in 3 years, the Sixers will be beasting (I hope). I hope the C's at least get to the Finals though--I'm sick of the Pistons/Cavs/Heat.

Dart Adams said...

@ most felonious: Wow...if that IS true then we have a SERIOUS propaganda problem with information as far as the Yankees go because the entireity of Red Sox Nation believes that the Yankees farm system has slim pickings as far as prospects go while the Red Sox organization is chock full o' talent.

As far as being mercenaries, we're on our way to playing "Super Moneyball" as well...the Sox are going to make a run at A Rod this Summer. I'm not really feeling that AT ALL..especially if it means that we lose Manny and Lowell.