10 Memorial Day Musings


10 Memorial Day Musings

By Rich Levine

Before you head out to that Memorial Day BBQ, here are 10 random thoughts to help build (or lose) that appetite

1. Congrats to Kevin McHale, whos on the verge of being named coach of the Houston Rockets. Even though its been 18 years since he and his luxurious mane of armpit hair last suited up for the Cs, McHale will always be one of Bostons own.

But while youre obviously happy for his opportunity behind the bench, you cant help but be a little bummed that he didnt grab the GM job as well.

Danny Ainge: Hey Kev, whats up you old dog? Whaddaya think about Avery Bradley, Shaq and Jeff Green for Kevin Martin and Luis Scola?

McHale: Ahh, man. Hold on, Danny. I gotta think about this one for a sec Heck, lets do it. This ones for Red!

2. Maybe its a little crazy to demand another Super Bowl when the guys already won three. But when those three came over his first four seasons as a starter, and its now been seven years since he won?

I dont know. But one more Super Bowl is all it will take for Tom Brady to act however he wants off the field without Pats fans passing constant judgment. Not that he cares (or should care) either way, but at that point, it wont matter. He can come out with his own line of pink scarves, start wearing speedos on the beach, he can become a Beret Guy. One more ring. Thats all it takes and it will be just like the dynasty days, when no one around here cared about him sprawled out the farm, getting cozy with baby goats.

3. The Bruins have never played a game in June. Which, I guess makes a sense since hockey in June is about as mismatched as baseball in December. On that note, consider this warm up, because if Bud Selig has his way the 2015 World Series will take place over Christmas vacation.

4. The 2009-2010 Celtics changed the way Boston looked at the NBA regular season. Because that team failed so miserably (relative term) over the first 82 games, and then turned it on so easily in the playoffs, well never again put as much stock in the regular season. Not that its meaningless, but sometimes it can be.

We learned that living and dying with every game is not only unhealthy, but also a little pointless. Bad losses happen. Ugly losing streaks happen. But it doesnt mean that the team is doomed.

Anyway, if 2009-2010 did that for Cs fans, then 2011 may do the same for Red Sox Nation. For all the craziness that ensued after the Sox ice cold start, all the stats that were uncovered about how No team has ever started with X record and accomplished Y, all the radio calls demanding Titos head on a platter

It was obviously premature, and should change how Sox fans deal with slow starts in the future.

5. This is just a personal note, but theres nothing better than writing about baseball, if for no other reason than the season takes place all in the same calendar year.

The 2011 season!

So smooth. And so much easier than saying the 2009-2010 Celtics. Thats more awkward than Tiger Woods high-fiving his caddie. Or how about football trying to play it off as one year but the entire postseason and the Super Bowl takes place the next? What a mess. Baseball is easy. And I love it for that.

6. The Bruins are 200 to win the Stanley Cup, which means that if you bet 100 on Boston, youll win 200. 2-to-1 odds. The Canucks are -240, which means that if you bet 240 on Vancouver, you win 100.

By comparison, the Bruins were -220 to bet the Canadiens in the first round.

If you ask me right now whos going to win the Cup, Id say the Canucks. But if youre asking me to make a bet? With those odds, the Bruins are the pick. Id much rather take a chance on Tim Thomas standing on his head for four more wins, than dish out 240 for a measly hundred pay out.

7. The Bruins are four wins away from the Stanley Cup.

I mentioned that so casually in that last section but wanted to take an extra second and let it sink in. Actually, Im not sure if it will ever set in. Not until theyre either skating off the ice in sadness, or bring down the house in Boston for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The Bruins are four wins away.

8. Athletes are pretty superstitious. And by pretty superstitious, I mean theyre complete and total freaks.

So, here's what we need: Before every single game of the Stanley Cup, someone needs to accost Nathan Horton.

Nothing too crazy. Im not looking for anyone to get hurt. (Not Horton, at least.) Instead, all we need, before every game, is for someone to run up and throw something at him. Get in his face. Lob a few obscenities. Get personal. Make him MAD.

And then let him spray and throw his water bottle at you.

But dont tell anyone. Those fines add up, and hes only making 4M this year

9. I feel for Jonathan Papelbon. When the guys struggling, its all anyone wants to talk about. But this year, with Paps performing more solidly than he has in some time, nobody cares. Its almost like that old umpire mentality: If nobody notices than youve done a good job.

Of course, I dont feel too bad. Hes making a ridiculous amount of money and he did have some good will to build back up with the fans. And maybe some of the apathy is a result of the fact that everyones just waiting for the Bruins and Celtics before really diving into baseball. But for now, Paps solid season is flying under the radar. Especially considering Daniel Bards surprising inconsistency.

10. Theres been some talk recently about how a Stanley Cup title might affect the legacy of Jeremy Jacobs, the infamously stingy owner of your Boston Bruins. Will a title forgive his sins and years of neglecting the B's? No way. Im not sure anything can erase that. No one will ever call Jeremy Jacobs a great owner or think of him in the light they do Kraft, Henry or the Grousebeck. Best-case scenario for Jacobs: The Bruins win and people just stop obsessing over the negatives. They dont care as much about all the bad things he did because theres finally so much to be happy about.

And that's all for now. Hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day.

Here's to all those who have served and continue to serve our country, and most of all, those who lost their lives in the process of making the rest of us feel safe.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?


EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

On this episode of The Ex-Pats Podcast...

0:10 - Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen give their takeaways from the Patriots win over the Falcons including the defense coming up strong against Atlanta but New England still taking too many penalties.

2:00 - Why it felt like this game meant more to the Patriots, their sense of excitement after the win, and building chemistry off a good victory.

6:20 - Falcons losing their identity without Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and their bad play calling and decisions on 4th downs.

10:00 -  A discussion about Matt Ryan not making the throws he needed against the Patriots and if he has falling off the MVP caliber-type player he was last season.

14:00 - How and why the Patriots secondary seems to be playing better without Stephon Gilmore and why Malcolm Butler has been able to turn up his play as of late.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study


Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."