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Thursday, August 25, 2011

News and Notes: Sox, Pats & Summitt...


Maybe it's the proverbial, or in this case the literal, "calm before the storm", I'm not sure.  But even with the Sox and Yanks predictably taking things down to the wire, and the NFL just a few weeks away, I find myself in yet another one of those holding patterns.  I'm not disinterested, mind you, it's just that nothing in the news this week has particularly struck my fancy.  At least not to the point where it got me inspired to write.  It's probably because the Sox have all but wrapped up a playoff spot, the early returns on the Patriots have been great, and the whole "booster gate" story doesn't interest me.  But whatever the reasons, that's my current state of mind.  That's why this week's post will have more of a "news and notes" type feel, as opposed to the "meth themed" opuses you've gotten used to finding here, and hopefully come to enjoy...

So get your read on, friends, and enjoy the calm before the storm with this abbreviated version of this week's Rooch Nation.  Well, abbreviated by my standards...




Must be talking about their salaries...
Red Sox Update
Last Week: 5-2
Overall: 79-50 1st in AL East by 1 game over NY Yankees

This guy? YOu're trying
to avoid THIS guy??
*I've heard it argued this week across several mediums that the Sox would be better off traveling to Texas than they would be to host Detroit.  The reason?  Tigers ace, Justin Verlander.  There are those out there that would rather play in Texas, than have to face Verlander twice in a 5 game series.  I can see where those people are coming from, I just happen to think they're over thinking things a bit.  You want to be the home team. Period.  It's what you play all season for.  To come this far with that goal, to then only change it in an attempt to avoid a specific player, just doesn't seem like sound planning to me.  Then again, I usually want my team to take the toughest road just to remove all doubt, so that's probably why I don't really care.  Winning the division AND having the chance to beat the likely Cy Young Award winner twice in one series?  Sounds more like a welcomed opportunity to me than it does an obstacle...

*Ya know what?  Those two ass clowns pictured above actually haven't been too bad of late.  Granted, that's all relative, and I still wouldn't trust them to even pitch for my softball team come playoff time, but when people don't "suck", I like to give them props.  So ya, Bedard and Lackey haven't sucked lately...

...and that's about as complimentary of those two as I'm ever gonna be.  They win games where the Sox score 7+ runs.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  Sorry if I'm not impressed...

Jacoby Ellsbury is seemingly making more $$ with every
home run he hits...
*There's been a lot of talk lately that the contract the Red Sox gave Carl Crawford will eventually price them out of the market for Jacoby Ellsbury when he becomes a free agent in 2 years.  The logic is, that since Ells is outperforming any season that Crawford has ever had, that the Sox will have to use Crawford's current salary as a starting point when negotiating, and thus he'll be priced out of even the free spending Red Sox price range.  What do I think?  Well I think that logic is sound, but I also think it's a ridiculous time to be talking about a contract for a player who isn't up for one for another 2 years.  Almost as ridiculous as it is to compare a player having the best year of his career to a player having the worst year of his career...

So yeah, I'll wait a while before worrying about Ellsbury's contract, and just continue to enjoy this torrid MVP pace that he's on...


Sox are back on top, though, so no complaints there.  And no complaints, either, that they haven't been able to distance themselves from the Yanks.  Like I said, I like my team to take the toughest road, and there's no tougher road than the one that's going to lead to the AL East title.  Besides, this rivalry is what baseball is all about, and I'm pretty sure a try fan on either side would rather their team lose a hard fought battle to the other, than win the thing in a cake walk.  We'd all take the cake walk option, mind you, but a battle to the final days is really much more a fitting conclusion to yet another back and forth campaign...


This week: @ TEX vs OAK vs NYY


Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
This Week: @ Detroit Lions Saturday @ 8 pm

*Everywhere I go, people ask me about Albert Haynesworth and Chad OchoCinco.  OK.  Well here ya go...

Albert Haynesworth: If he's healthy, I expect him to be an integral part of the defensive line.  He won't "make or break" the defensive line, but he could make it great if he plays up to past performance.  It's true, he has a troubled past, but with Belichick's track record of either "rehabilitating" guys, or being able to quickly kick them to the curb if it doesn't work out, I'm not too worried.  Either he works out, and vastly improves the defensive interior, or he doesn't work out, and the Patriots still have a better than average defense.  A very small risk, with a potential for a very big reward...and the potential that someone gets a cleat in the eye, but we're not gonna talk about that...
Hey coach, did you see me
on Twitter  last night?

Chad OchoCinco: 40-50 catches and maybe 5-7 touchdowns.  That's about what I expect from the man they used to call Johnson.  That, and a lot of tweeting.  Not sure how well that's going to go over there in Foxboro, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.  He's already tweeted Roger Goodell saying he'd pay for the $20K fine levied against Tampa Bay's Mason Foster for a hit on Chad last week, even though that behavior is expressly forbidden.  To see how the Pats react (or don't) should serve as a litmus test to see just how much of a leash the normally loquacious wide receiver is going to have...

As far as the predicted stats, I don't feel I'm short changing him.  I think that's more or less what he's going to be asked to produce, and I think it's what he'll ultimately provide.  I don't think he'll do much more, but he'll be effective, and should serve as another dangerous weapon that Tom Brady will have at his disposal.  Think less Randy Moss, and more Deion Branch Jr.  Or @DeionBranchJr, if you will...

Move over Slater, there's a new "AC" in Foxboro...
*I touched on Stevan Ridley last week, and while Ridley continued to impress in the 2nd pre season game, the break out player in this one was really 11 year veteran defensive end, Andre Carter.  The change to the 4-3 has the fans hungry to see players more regularly rushing the QB, which is exactly what Carter does, and exactly what he did very well on Thursday night.  You wonder why he was basically waiting on the scrap heap after playing in 48 games and recording 18 sacks over the last 3 seasons, but the league's loss seems to be proving to be New England's gain.  It's early, I know, but in his only action he looked fantastic.  And I know he's got me thinking about this D-line's potential to be very, very good.  Part of the reason I'm not as concerned about whether Haynesworth works out or not...

Dangerous return men like
Devin Hester have been rendered
all but useless...
*And to touch on a league wide issue for a sec, I'm not a fan of the kickoff's being moved up from the 30 to the 35 yard line.  I get that it's a safety thing to protect the guys flying down the field at a million miles an hour, and I'm sure they have the injury numbers to back it up, I just think it's a step in the wrong direction, and one down a very dangerous road.  Next thing you know, receivers won't be able to go across the middle, and you'll be able to down the QB with just a tug on his flag.  Hey, I don't want anyone to get hurt, either, but the potential danger they're preventing is one that's always been inherent in the game.  One that every professional has been aware of since they suited up as a little kid.  Football's dangerous, that's just the nature of it.  The NFL wants to do something to curb the danger?  That's cool.  Just not at the expense of the action on the field...

Then again, maybe if the NFL took better care of their players after they left the league, they wouldn't be so worried about them getting knocked out during a kickoff.  Yep, it all comes down to money.  I guarantee an egg head in the back room said this could save the league in medial benefits in the long run, and that's the real reason as to why they're doing it.  Capitalism veiled as humanitarianism. Only in America.  Or well, at least we tend to do it the best...


Now I'm gonna close things out with this...

Pretty sure she's not tellin' her to marry Shelden Williams...

I'll be honest with ya.  I've always supported women's rights when it comes to sports, ya know, Title IX and whatnot, it's just there are certain sports that I believe women just weren't meant to play.  And though it may surprised a lot of you to hear it, I've always place basketball right at the top of that list.  Not just because the women can't dunk, but more just that the game has never looked "right" to me when I watch the women play as opposed to the men.  Baseball, softball, hockey, even football look fine to me, it's just that basketball seems to have a set of rules, or maybe a flow to the game, that just doesn't seem to translate over to women.  That's just my opinion, I know, but it's important you know that before you hear what I have to say next...

Pat Summitt is arguably the best basketball coach of her generation. PERIOD.  That's right, I think she coaches a sport that I'd just as well sweep off the face of the planet, and that's still what I think of her.  I've heard her speak, watch her teach, and I've long sine come to respect the woman as one of the preeminent minds that basketball has ever seen.  Male OR female...

That's why when I heard this week that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia (a precursor to Alzheimer's) it really struck a chord in me.  I don't know this woman, but just to know that such a force in the world of basketball, and such a wise and accomplished woman, is struggling with something like this, just really gets to me.  Such a sharp mind, now armed with the information that what she's made her living on over the past 40 years, is going to gradually start to deteriorate, and there's nothing she can really do about it.  Maybe it's because that's what I fear most, losing my mental acuity, but I can't help but feel for Pat, and damn whatever it was that brought this battle to her doorstep...

I may not watch your games, Pat, but I'm with ya in spirit on this one.  You're a living a legend, and more importantly, one of the games greatest teachers.  To see you have to go through this will be tough, but trust me when I say there will be millions of people out there cheering you on, and wishing you well.  Here's to hoping the next victory in your illustrious career is over this disease, so you can then nab another title on your way out the door...

Oh and feel free to knock off Geno Auriemma, while you're at it.  Dude is D-Bag #1...



That's it for me, kids.  Hope everyone is able to steer clear of the hurricane this weekend, but if you find yourself stuck inside, feel free to keep the votes coming for yours truly in the Most Valuable Blogger Awards.  I've been loving your support, kids, and if you keep it up for another week or two, we just may be able to take this thing down.  Just like team RoochNation.com, who won their opening round playoff game last night, 24-9.  They're making me proud, and so are all of you.  Now all we have to do, is finish up strong.  Which is hopefully what I just did.  Ya know, in this "abbreviated" post. Hahaha, like I said.  Those are my standards...

Be good, peeps.  And stay safe...


Teddy Williams...
100...
Team RoochNation.com

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