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As I spent most of my week teaching the finer points of the short story to ninth graders, I haven’t had the opportunity to comment on the first place status of the Pats and Sox. So, before that changes allow me to weigh in. I can’t promise you O. Henry or Langston Hughes, but I’ll do my best.

 

“JIMMY V. FOR MVP”:

 

 

I have it on good authority that a chant of “Jimmy G. for MVP”, could be heard at Professor Thom’s, the premier Boston bar located in the heart of New York City, just about the time the Patriots went up 10-0 against the Arizona Cardinals week. Now, granted, that may have been a tad premature both as far as the game, let alone the season, is concerned but I think it gives you a pretty clear indication as to how Patriots Nation thought this one was going to go. The more optimistic among us were hoping for a 3-1 start, with the more realistic expecting  2-2, but just about everyone had this one in the loss column. Now that it’s a “W”, people are talking 4-0. Again, premature perhaps, but given the quality of the team they faced as well as who was missing from the roster, you can understand the optimism. Not only were they without the suspended Tom Brady and DE Rob Ninkovich, they were also minus two valuable offensive weapons in Rob Gronkowski and Dion Lewis, in addition to tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer. That was a great deal to overcome and really speaks to the ability of the Bill Belichick led coaching staff to prepare and utilize their talent. Miami, Houston, and the New York Jets, await the Jimmy Garoppolo led Pats, and they all present challenges, but as they all have to come to “The Razor”, I like their chances of going 4-0. Now, Roger, wouldn’t that be something…

 

“BEN HERE, DONE THAT”:

 

 

You have to assume that former Boston G.M, and newly named VP of Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, Ben Cherington, was watching the first game of the the current four game series between the Yankees and Sox, and smiled knowingly when Hanley Ramirez sent a  Dellin Betances 2 out, 99 mph fastball deep into the center field bleachers at Fenway Park, to give the Sox a  7-5 come from behind victory. That home run gave Ramirez 25 for the year and drove in his 98th, 99th, and 100th RBIs of the year, and helped keep their first place lead at 2 games over Baltimore and Toronto, and 5 over New York. Probably more importantly to Cherington, it helped to once and for all prove that  many of the moves and signings that he did over the last few years have set the Sox up nicely after, frankly, for awhile, not looking all that hot.

 

I don’t think anyone ever doubted that Mookie Betts was the real thing, but the Cherington draftee has really caught peoples’ attention this year with his 30 home runs, 105 RBIs, an .312 BA. Another of Cherington’s picks, Jackie Bradley, has also proved he is not only a fine defensive outfielder but is also a major league hitter with stats of 24 Hrs, 84 RBIs, to go along with a very respectable .272 BA. In addition, his major pitching acquisition, Rick Porcello, went from 9-15 last year with a 4.92 ERA, to 20-4, 3.12, this season and into Cy Young consideration. Heck, now that Travis Shaw (.253/13/70) has failed to get a strong grip on third base, there is still the possibility that Pablo Sandoval may eventually work out.

 

As I write this the Sox and Yankees are only a few hours away from starting game two of a four game series. I can’t say I like the pitching match ups; Clay Buchholz tonight, so anything can, and likely will happen. So, if you’ll excuse me I’ll go and enjoy our first place status for as long as I can.

 

Stay tuned…

 

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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