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This seems like a good way to not only end the calendar year, but also to clear out some of the clutter that I’ve accumulated. So bear with me.

 

CATCHING UP: THE C’S AND B’S:

 

As both teams rapidly approach the mid points of their season, I think it’s safe to say that neither, despite both being above .500, have really had what feel like winning seasons. At least in the case of the 19-13 Celtics (soon to change as they are playing Cleveland in a matter of hours) have finally developed a reputation as a strong defensive team who, led by Al Horford, Jae Crowder, and Isaiah Thomas, seem to be learning how to play a full 48 minutes. Although Celtics fans, who had hoped they would be a tough number two in the conference behind Cleveland, are beginning to become used to the idea that as a third seed behind Toronto,  it would hopefully help get them to the conference championship series with the Cavs, where we could see what they really have. The 18-15 Bruins, on the other hand, have developed a reputation as a team who does not like to be on time for games, often not becoming engaged in the contest until the first period is a good 10 to 15 minutes old. Not a recipe for success, as the B’s have loss something like 6 out of 8, including to some of the worst teams in the league. It may sound like a broken record on my part, but it’s difficult to believe that there won’t be some kind of management shake up soon.

 

FOLLOWING UP: PATS AND SOX:

 

The 13-2 Patriots will be playing the 10-5 Miami Dolphins on Sunday in what I predict will determine whether or not they get to, and likely win, the Super Bowl. If the Pats lose, but still gain home field advantage because of a Raiders’ loss, then I’m inclined to believe they still have a good chance of getting to the SB, but I’m less certain they’ll win. They really need the win in Miami to prove they can play solid defense against a decent offense as well as proving they can win in difficult, warm weather locations. Look for them to go all out in this one, resting people only once the outcome, for better or worst, becomes apparent. By the way, if the Pats play the Giants in SB LI, I like our chances. You have to respect their defense, as well as coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, but I like the way Pats match up against their offense.

 

As for the Sox, the Clay Buchholz “dump” brought back flashes of the Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena trade back in 2006. Theo thought he had a surplus of pitchers so he sent Arroyo to the Reds for one of the great fly ball hitters of all time. Arroyo went on to become one of the best workhorse pitchers in MLB, with seven seasons of 200+ innings (and one at 199), while Pena only lasted 3 years in Boston, and finished up with 84 homers and 210 RBIs in eight major league seasons. I’m not saying I expect the 32 year old Buchholz to suddenly become something he has not been, but the recent re-injuring of Eduardo Rodriquez knee in Winter ball is a reminder that you can never have too much pitching.

 

By the way, according to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe (12/21/16) in 2008, Buchholz was the 4th rank MLB prospect behind Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, and Joba Chamberlain. It’s interesting that the hitters did a decent job of living up to their hype, but the pitchers, not so much. As Linus Van Pelt once said, “There is no heavier burden than a great potential.”

 

WEIGHING IN:

You have to believe that if it had been anyone less than Tom Brady who admitted to having been a long time friend of Donald Trump, it very well could have cost him the locker room, as he was not the candidate favored by the majority of the Black players in the NFL. As it was, the revelation that both Brady and Bill Belichick had voted for Trump was, to say the least, a distraction that lingered for the better part of a week, and just happened to coincide with questions regarding the Pats locker room. (That’s about the time Jamie Collins was trade for what I assume to be, non-political reasons.) It’s been reported that Brady’s wife Gisele disliked Trump intensely, and told Tom to not talk politics.

 

Another reason to like Gisele….

 

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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