Jerry Ballgame is back from his vacation and ready with some more observations. This week, he tackles Kevin Garnett, the Red Sox makeshift roster, and the passing of a Fenway icon. Welcome back, Jerry.
KEVIN GARNETT: CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
For years, the joke regarding KG, was that he was 6’12”, and therefore, a forward. Apparently there is an unwritten rule in the NBA that states that seven footers have to play center. (Not without some logic, I suppose…) Garnett, one would assume, feared that playing center would force him to stay closer to the basket and keep him from taking his much beloved 18 foot jump shot. Given that he has averaged close to 20 points a game during his 17 year career, I suppose that it’s a logic which until now, made a great deal of sense.
The irony here is that KG was moved to center in time for the playoffs and has flourished, and in the process, sparked the Celtics. His points per game have gone from just under 16 up to about 20, including a spectacular 27 in game three of the Sixers series, and his minutes have gone from just over 30 a game up to 40 minutes a game. Although he looked tired and flat in the ugly game four loss, he rebounded nicely for game five, and in general, his play has the Boston media speculating that he is playing for next year’s contract.
By the time you read this, the series may well be over and the Eastern Conference representative to the Finals has been decided**. One way or another, the C’s have generated a great deal more excitement and pride then would have been anticipated, only a short time ago. What is particularly interesting is that they have done it to a large extend without a healthy Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. Major scoring contributions by Brandon Bass and outstanding defensive work by Avery Bradley (despite two bad shoulders) has given Celtics fans hope for the future, and made Danny Ainge once again look like he knows what he’s doing.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, WELCOME TO FENWAY PARK.”
For 26 years, until his death in 1994, Sherm Feller was the voice of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox, welcoming millions of baseball fans to what many consider to be the most beloved ballpark in America. It took the organization close to ten years to find a suitable replacement in Carl Beane, who until his recent death at 59 years of age, brought many of us older Sox fans back to time when being a baseball fan meant spending a great deal of time listening to your transistor radio. Whoever the play by play announcer was in those days, be it Curt Gowdy or Ned Martin, they would always go silent for you to hear the simple and elegant tones of the talented Mr. Feller. I’m sure many Yankee fans know of what I speak, as they were blessed with the legendary Bob Sheppard, who’s career stretched from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter. It just goes to show you, that in this time of artificial surfaces, exploding scoreboards, and retractable roofs; somethings just cannot be improved upon.
“PUT ME IN COACH.”
It seems that the recent success of the Red Sox has been, in no small part, powered by individuals intent on taking advantage of their opportunities. In the finale of the recent three game series against the Orioles, the Sox got home runs from a back up catcher and two outfielders who did not play in a major league game last season. Kelly Shoppach, Daniel Nava, and Scott Podsednik, essentially the bottom third of the order, provided the power and rookie Che-Hsuan Lin the game saving catch, in the 6-5 victory. Combine that with the over all impressive debut of Will Middlebrooks and the remarkably effective pitching of reliever Vincente Padilla, and you can understand why Sox fans are slowly beginning to take to the 2012 edition. Let’s not forget the impressive closing efforts of Alfredo Aceves, who maybe the only 3-pitch closer in the business. I’m wondering if he keeps it up; do they trade Andrew Bailey once he’s healthy? He could be a valuable commodity at the trade deadline. I guess we will just have to wait and see…
** Jobu’s Note: The Celtics were unable to close out game six, and the series is now head to a deciding game seven.
Featured image courtesy of: AP Photo/Winslow Townson
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