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It seems the appropriate time of the year to unload a variety of thoughts, issues, and stories that I’ve been carrying around for some time now. Some of them relate to Boston, others have little to do with anything, but one way or another I’ve decided to share them with you now. So bear with me, please.

 

Branded:

 

 

One thing that I have found to be a relatively new and very annoying phenomenon, is that of the athlete as a “brand”. More specifically, it’s the athlete who seems to put more time into protecting his “brand,” and not enough time into the athletic part of the equation. The two best current examples of this, in my estimation at least, are Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin. I get the fact that they both received an insane amount of coverage as college players and would expect that they are both financially secure, but has anyone pointed out to them that, along with those big contracts, come some expectations? That if you want to have long, productive careers, the type of careers that keep you in the public eye, then you need to start concentrating on your job, and doing it now. Although I’m skeptical that either of them will ever live up to their contracts, I haven’t totally written off Griffin. That being said, I have to believe this off-season is going to be very telling to the futures of both of them. Stay tuned…

 

What’s in a Name:

 

 

In a related matter, I’m very tired of athletes putting JR on the back of their uniforms. I find it gimmicky and just plain annoying. I don’t care if you have the same first name as your father. Unless you are Ken Griffey, who actually played on the same team as his father, as a matter of identification, it shouldn’t matter. If someone like the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley wanted to make a name for himself, then maybe hitting above .200 is a good place to start.

 

With or Around: Rondo and the Prepositional Phase:

 

 

For those basketball fans out there who were wondering whether Rajon Rondo was someone who you could build your team around, or more simply build your team with, you recently got your answer. Apparently, it’s “with.” Despite his ability to accumulate triple-doubles, Rondo is clearly looked upon as someone who can make a team better, but not carry a team on his own. As a result, there is disappointment with what the Celtics got in exchange, and the hope is that team president Danny Ainge is not done dealing. For the first time, however, there are rumblings that coach Brad Stevens may not want to stick around for what now is looking like a prolonged rebuilding process. Time will tell…

 

Walking the Line:

 

 

Should the Patriots fail in their attempt to recapture the Lombardi Trophy, it’s likely to be because of the poor play of their offensive line. This is rather obvious to even the most casual of observer, and has rekindled the debate as to how wise it was to have traded veteran guard Logan Mankins (pictured above) for back up tight end Tim Wright. Wright has caught six TD passes, but Mankins would have provided some experienced depth for the line, and perhaps kept Tom Brady a little more vertical. One way or another, the Pats have two weeks to figure something out, otherwise, despite the outstanding play of their defense, it could be a short post season.

 

Cycle of Life:

 

 

In the way of a little background info; I was for many years an avid distance runner, participating in 13 marathons, including 4 Bostons, as well as a variety of other road races. Eventually the wear and tear got to me and I have, over the past four and a half years, turned my energies to bicycling. Well, recently I was riding on Lone Goose Road, in southern New Hampshire, about a stone’s throw from the Massachusetts border, when I came upon a flock (family? gang? herd?) of about 8 or 10 wild turkeys trying to cross the road (I assume, to get to the other side). My first reaction was that there had to be a joke in there somewhere; you know, wild turkeys – Lone Goose Road. But then I remembered the many stories I have heard about how disagreeable they can be and made a point of getting clear of them as quickly as possible. So, apparently it is true what they say, “No harm, no fowl!” Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system…

 

Happy New Year!

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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