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Celtics need a hug after opening night

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 30, 2012 11:59 PM

Rivers Allen TNT.jpgTuesday, the Miami fans chanted: "We love Ray."

Celtics fans used to love Ray and didn't much like about they saw from him or the Heat Tuesday night. The Celtics were the same team that left American Airlines Arena last June, outplayed and outclassed. Only this time, it was opening night and not curtains. So there's no need to panic.

"Good job, good effort?" Perhaps.

120-107.

We learned a lot Tuesday - including the fact that the Heat's championship ring has 291 diamonds and was indeed "priceless."

And while diamonds are forever, the affection of Heat fans for Ray Allen is completely portable and runs about as deep as those romantic commitments that occur each night after last call on South Beach. Allen was just another jewel in the Heat's crown Tuesday with his 19 points in 31 minutes. He was missed by the Celtics, along with the time machine that could take the team back to 2008. The Celtics demonstrated indeed that this team is a work in regress. Just like last June when they had Allen, the Celtics had nowhere to go on defense when it was needed to stop Miami's momentum. The Heat put this game away with a 12-2 run late in the third quarter when LeBron cramped up and headed for the locker room. The Celtics made it respectable down the stretch during LeBron's second absence, with a 14-3 run, but eventually faltered in the final two minutes, as Miami scored the final nine points of the game. Doc Rivers called Boston's 107 points "fools' gold." And don't be fooled, James only played 29 minutes, but scored 26 points and the Heat were +12 when he was on the floor. Chris Bosh just demolished everything in sight, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Memo to Doc: Try getting Leandro Barbosa the ball a little earlier next time.

Jeff Green? Let's not get started. (Remember, it's only one game.)

Before he came in the game, Allen did get a hug from Rivers - and a stone-cold shoulder from Kevin Garnett. Then - right on cue after TNT showed that touching moment on tape - Allen dropped a 3-pointer from the corner in Jason Terry's face on his first attempt as a member of the Heat. "You think we would know better," Rivers said after the game. That was in direct contrast to five of the final six 3-point attempts he launched and missed as a member of the Celtics.

Allen was gracious in victory. "That's just KG. He probably didn't see me coming becuase his head is down on the bench all the time" he told TNT's pink-suited Craig Sager. Doubt it. "I love those guys...I can't say enough good things about them and about the city of Boston because I'm a New Englander in my heart and that's always going to be my home," Allen added.

Do we stop hating this guy now? Does Allen slide from Johnny Damon territory into Adam Vinatieri-ville?

Probably not.

But much for the Vendetta Blood Feud.

This was the biggest disappointment since Bobby Valentine promised he'd win 70 games for the Red Sox.

Or "Hangover II."

No punches were thrown.

Doc didn't even swat Allen with his whiteboard.

Obama Romney.jpg Belichick Rex Ryan.jpg Don Corleone Hug.jpgNope, instead we just got the same old insincere bro-hug that makes everybody cringe.

Just last week, Rivers told 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz: "Why it ended the way it ended, I really don't know. I think it was ego than anything else." Allen's reponse (via ESPNBoston.com): "Doc never called and said, 'We want you to come back,' I can't say I expected him to do that. It's hard to say what the protocol is in those situations." So who were they kidding Tuesday? Do these of these hugs ever turn out well?

You have to wonder what adversaries are thinking when they engage in these phony displays of impersonal affection.

The same insincere hug Mitt Romney and Barack Obama shared three times this month before and after each debate.

The same faux hug Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan enjoy twice a year.

The same kiss-of-death hug that Phillip Tattaglia and Don Corleone forced on each other when they agreed to a cease-fire.

That hug was preceded by this imfamous statment:

"But I must have strict assurance from Corleone. As time goes by and his position grows stronger, will he attempt any individual vendetta?" - Phillip Tattaglia

We know how that turned out:

While we expected the Celtics to send out a hit man - Rajon Rondo - perhaps, on Allen, no such hit materialized. It would have been nice for the Celtics to hit a few shots the final five minutes when this game was still within reach. Rondo had 20 points, 13 assists, a technical foul and managed a flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade with 16.9 seconds to play. Another full night's work for Boston's mercurial point guard.

There were some highlights on opening night. We got to see Shaq on TNT tell the world how there are no hard feelings when you leave a team to go to another. (It remained against the law to speak his name in Orlando until 2010.) Then, as the TNT cameras showed a very stylish and silky smooth Kobe Bryant arriving at the Staples Center - Charles Barkley chimed in with "America, this is how you should go to work. Will you give him at least that, Shaq?" before adding: "Shaq, you didn't even shake his hand when you all played together." There you go, the NBA on TNT line of the year on opening night. Damn, I missed those guys.

We also got Paul Pierce miced-up while riding Rondo: "They're too loaded. You need to play ball now and stop thinking so much." So much for thinking Rondo runs things on the floor for Boston.

Thankfully, most of us didn't get caught up too much in the Allen hysteria. Eventually, the bad feelings will subside, as soon as his contract expires with the Heat or he calls it quits. While we can bemoan the loss of Allen and lament his insincerity and defection, it is indeed time for the Celtics and the rest of us to move on. Tuesday's loss was the perfect cure-all for Allen-envy, since the Celtics were once again left trying to figure out how to defend inside and shoot outside.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," as Rondo reminded us this week. That would make the Heat either the Visigoths or the Byzantine Empire - least for the next 1,000 days.

Sounds like we could all use a good hug about now.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

'Good job, good effort' perfect fit for Celtics

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 29, 2012 01:52 PM

"Good job, good effort."

Those words greeted the Miami Heat as they walked off their home floor in June after Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics

The Celtics left South Florida that hot and humid night with their series against the Heat packed neatly in a suitcase. For the next 40 or so hours, we were inundated with talk about how the Heatles were going to be broken up in the offseason, how LeBron James may never win a championship, never mind the hearts and minds of a nation, and how the Celtics had defied conventional wisdom by eliminating their much-younger and more talented counterparts. The Heat, thanks in large part to that viral video and its endless offshoots on social media and the sports blogosphere, were a laughingstock. "Good job, good effort" still turns up more than 320,000,000 results on Google.

Then LeBron took little Jack Meyer's words to heart and lived up to a lifetime's worth of hype, starting in Games 6 and 7. The Heat rolled Boston in the final two games of their series and LeBron began a rampage that claimed the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA finals and the best that the world had to offer during the Olympics. He got his NBA title and added a second gold medal for good measure. Tuesday night, the nation will bear witness on TNT as LeBron officially gets his ring.

Then, the Celtics and Heat will play a basketball game.

Garnett - Getty.jpgThe Celtics had the Heat beaten last spring until they allowed James to enter the Garden for Game 6. He scored 30 of his 45 points in the first half on that Thursday night. Just 24 minutes in, it was glaringly evident that the Celtics possessed no one who could stop James. The Paul Pierce that had held his own against LeBron back in the day when the Celtics owned him and the Cavaliers in the post-season was not walking through any door on Causeway Street. Brandon Bass tried his best but eventually floundered.

LeBron was on his way to a championship and the Celtics were going to watch and wave as he left them behind. LeBron finished with 76 points in those final two games against the Celtics. Game 7 was a mere ceremonial formality.

Much like the formal ceremony the Celtics will intentionally miss on Tuesday, as James and the Cavaliers chose to do in 2008 when they opened the season in Boston on Banner 17 night. The Celtics are sitting out Tuesday's festivities - choosing to wait it out in the locker room. It can be argued that the Celtics sat out Games 6 and 7 of the playoffs against Miami as well. But they were simply overwhelmed and outplayed.

Younger, stronger, faster and somewhat more talented opponents - and all that.

The Celtics only have four players on their roster (Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Pierce and Bass) from the squad that last exited American Airlines Arena on June 9. This is a good thing.

Let's get this Ray Allen drama out the way. This is where we're supposed to be all ticked off because Allen left the Celtics for less money and was, from what Doc Rivers said last week, pretty much a crybaby and a royal princess pain when it came to his free-agency this past summer. Until further notice, "No. 20" is dead to us. He's Johnny Damon with a great three-point shot. He'll be in the Garden doghouse until he either leaves the Hear or retires. Expect a resounding round of boss when the Heat come to town on Jan. 27. Then, someday, perhaps in 2018 when the Banner 17 team has its 10-year reunion, Allen will return as a civilian and be greeted with a standing ovation in recognition for his role on that championship team and his efforts elsewhere in Celtic green.

But trashing Allen really doesn't fit here. His exit will likely benefit this particular Celtics team because the remaining Big Three won't have the luxury of trying to fine-tune each particular possession for Allen to be wide-open in his exact spot at the exact right time to shoot a three from the corner. Allen operates much like any other fine piece of machinery - when he's 100 percent healthy and all the tiny parts are moving correctly, he's unstoppable. But just one tiny issue with an ankle or one ill-timed pass, and he misses 64 of the 92 threes (30.4 percent) attempted in the postseason. Jason Terry is certainly more durable than Allen, if not quite as accurate. And Terry wants to be here. We're not even sure how much Allen wants to be Miami as much as he wants the best possible shot at another ring and down time on South Beach. He was probably kicking himself after watching the Lakers pick up SI coverboys Dwight Howard and Steve Nash as Kobe solidified his shot at title No. 6. Can't wait for that post-game celebration against the Heat next June: "Hey, Shaq. Smoke this in your Buick, fat man." Kobe's hatred of the Big Aristotle can be easily debunked using the Socratic Method. "Did he help you win three titles? Yes." Case closed.

Back to Allen - or more precisely the absence of Allen. Without him, there will be a lot more improvisation this season with the Celtics' offense once Rondo gets the ball to Garnett or Pierce upcourt. For one thing, Jeff Green will be looking to shoot early and often - as he should given his the size and length of his contract (4 years, $36 million). His story is inspiring - especially to someone like this correspondent who has overcome some significant health issues in life - but Green was simply paid too much because the Celtics had no other choice. Now that the money's been spent, it's all upside. He must develop as a viable scoring threat or all that talk of another trip deep into the Eastern Conference finals will lead to more disappointment. The Celtics will actually use rookie big man Jared Sullinger this season. His potential impact cannot be understated.

The Celtics did the best they could this off season - treading water as the superpowers in Miami and Los Angeles loaded up for their inevitable showdown next June. It was interesting to see the Thunder continue to tinker on the margins by unloading James Harden the other night, a clear sign that just making the Finals isn't good enough for those spoiled fans in Oklahoma City and $60 million isn't so bad even when you're playing in Houston. Linsanity meets Boomer Sooner. Clearly, the rest of the league is playing in Kobe and LeBron's sandbox.

Instead of writing off the Celtics' chances for Banner 18 even before the Heat raise Banner 2, it's better to just enjoy this year's ride. First off, it's not like the Bruins are keeping us occupied. Claude Julien helped the Winthrop squirts hold on against Watertown Sunday. Surely, those kids never changed lines so many times in their lives. Lucky for Claude none of the kids asked him to explain why Tim Thomas is loading up on seeds, gold and bullets in his Colorado bunker just in case Mitt Romney doesn't carry Ohio or Florida. And we can all use a nice distraction from every election campaign ad and the ongoing meteorologic destruction of the Northeast. This NBA season affords Celtics fans the luxury of lowered expectations when it comes to their chances of ever getting back to the finals as long the Heat are this hot. It also offers the hope of a surprising upside, just like Boston delivered last spring until the aforementioned Game 6.

One thing is certain with this team, as long as Rivers is coaching, Garnett and Pierce can still walk and Rondo is mad about something, we'll never have to worry about them delivering a "good job" or "good effort."

Until further notice, that might have to suffice.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.


Patriots have jolly good time with Rams in London

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 28, 2012 05:20 PM

Brady.jpg"In Josh We Trust."

Four words you'd probably thought you'd never see.

Same with "Halloween Hurricane Hits Northeast."

While Frankenstorm - also known as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy - is doing her best to terrorize the East Coast, the Patriots scared the hell out of the Rams on Sunday. While the Rams came in costume as legitimate threat against New England, they left Wembley Stadium (84,004 - another Red Sox sellout) - with a pillow case full of rocks.

Offensive coordinator/wunderkind Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady had to go to England to find themselves on the same page. Maybe McDaniels operates better on Greeenwich Mean Time. Brady, whose current offensive rampage began with the final two drives against the Jets last week in Foxborough, kept it going with a spectacular vintage Brady performance against the Rams in London, as New England scored 45 unanswered points in a 45-7 rout of the Rams.

Jolly good show, chaps.

It was fitting that Brady and the 5-3 Patriots were playing the Rams in England since they knocked out their teeth. The Patriots' first six drives Sunday resulted in five touchdowns and a field goal. (Make that eight straight scoring drives if you count the last two possessions against the Jets.) Among the items currently outlawed in England: handguns, the Rams defense and dental floss. Gone were the jitters that bothered Brady against Seattle and - mostly - against the Jets. The offensive line - even without Logan Mankins - gave Brady so much time that the Big Bang Clock - also known as Big Ben - could have chimed non stop for three hours tallying up the scores. While Brady operated with the efficiency of James Bond, he was neither shaken nor stirred nor sacked on Sunday - a first this season. This was "Skyfall" Patriots-style all over the Rams.

Brady's numbers were Shakespearean in their elegance: 23-of-35 passing (66 percent) for 304 yards - the 50th 300-plus-yard regular season game of his career - with four TD's, no interceptions and a QB rating of 131.1. There was no dodging, ducking, flinching or diving. Not to mention not Aaron Hernandez. Just standing in the pocket, working play-action and on-target passing - not to mention a 127 yards rushing on 15 carries from Stevan Ridley.

With the Patriots down 7-0, Brady came out slinging and the Rams had no answer. The Patriots delivered their message on the first drive - when Brady found Brandon Lloyd wide open on the corner of the end zone on a 3rd-and-1 from the 19 with 7:50 to play in the first quarter. The Rams were playing run or short pass, while Brady and the Pats were thinking jugular early and often. That's a definite change of mindset from recent weeks, especially early on in games where the Patriots had seemingly been afraid to open up. The trip back to 2007 continued on the Patriots' next drive, when, faced with a fourth-and-1 at the 1, the Patriots passed on the sure field goal gave the ball to Shane Vereen who powered in to give New England the lead once and for all at 14-7.

Then, the fun really got started. Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski over the middle on a seven-yard TD pass that wrapped up a nine-play drive that tore up 78 yards in just 3:29. Gronk had eight catches for 148 yards, two touchdowns and two epic spikes.

No one thought he'd top Saturday's historic mic spike. Well, Gronk answered those critics wit his first spike Sunday - The Changing of the Guard - was one for the ages and ranks as one of the most creative post-score celebrations in recent NFL memory.

"That first one was that the guy that guards the palace - how he walks back and forth. It's a cool London tradition type thing," Gronk said in comments aired on Comcast Sports Net after the game. "I like how he just sits there and stays still. I give that one to Chandler (Jones)." The second one? Maybe a Euro Dance/Gangnam Style/"Dancing With The Stars" audition.

The Gronk spikes were almost as destructive as Brandon Spikes, who had eight tackles and no profane tweets - at least during the game, and the rest of New England's defense.

Rookie corner Alfonzo Dennard grabbed a goal-line interception in the fourth quarter and Jones got his sixth sack of the season earlier, tripping up Bradford for a loss of 17 yards. Even his brothers had to be impressed.

If this was Halloween week for the Patriots, then Bill Belichick loaded up on snickers in his post-game press conference. Harry Potter's wizardry had nothing on the Patriots' gameplan and execution. If you looked hard enough, you could see the glee in Belichick's face after the game. During his post-game press conference - he gave us the standard: "We have a lot of respect for the Rams. They're a good football team." Translation: "They sucked. We killed them." We got at least three smirks from the Hoodie while discussing the London trip - one more smile and Donald Trump would have donated $5 million to Rex Ryan's favorite charity: "The Save The Quarterback Foundation."

Would have been great to see Belichick walk out there and say: "OK, Jeff Fisher, that's 104-7 in our last two games against you. Next time, we score 70." Then give us a mic drop ala Gronk and walk away from the podium. But instead, we got platitudes about how well-coached the Rams were. Of course, no one is perfect. "We did a lot good things defensively, but it wasn't perfect," Belichick said. Translation: "What the hell happened on that first drive?" - when the Rams scored on a 50-yard TD bomb from Sam Bradford to Chris Givens.

In all, we had a very happy Bill, who approached the Patriots' presence in London and the related travel and disruptions with all the enthusiasm of someone awaiting a colonoscopy.

The Patriots have a bye week coming up, then get the Bills and Colts at home. Just like last season, the Patriots enter the second-half of their season with many easy, winnable games on the schedule. The AFC East remains theirs to lose. Their two toughest opponents - the Texans and 49ers - have to at least come to Foxborough to get their crack at the Patriots' secondary. The lone challenge for New England the road will come against the rejuvenated Dolphins - two more words I'd thought I'd never write - on Dec. 2.

Brady demonstrated Sunday that he and this offense are more than capable of destroying an average defense, never mind one that beat the Cardinals and Seahawks this season.

Which was something the Patriots' defense couldn't do.

Now just imagine how good Brady would be if he ever got to face the Patriots' secondary each week in a real game?

Now that's a scary thought.


As always, let us know what you think. Join our in-game Patriots-Bills fan chat on Nov. 11, not come back here to check out our thoughts on the Celtics when they open the season Tuesday. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Patriots-Rams fan chat Sunday at 1 p.m.

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 28, 2012 06:00 AM

Cheerio, footie fans. Join us to talk about the Patriots-Rams showdown at Wembley Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Nothing revolutionary for Brady, Patriots

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 27, 2012 07:56 AM

Brady Rams.jpgSamuel Brady was a fierce fighter who saw action during several battles during the American Revolution. He's most noted for "Brady's Leap" - a 22-foot jump across a river gorge in Ohio while trying to escape from an Indian attack.

Tom Brady's biggest leap this season was last week when he traversed Rex Ryan and the Jets and escaped with a 29-26 overtime victory. That win kept the Patriots in first place and - at least for a week - tempered feelings of mass panic that had begun to set in across Patriot Nation. Brady and the Patriots this week have leaped across the pond to face the Rams in London.

The Patriots aren't looking for anything revolutionary in London this week, just a win against the Rams before their much-needed bye week.

The Patriots are already a hit in London, especially after Rob Gronkowski heeded the chants of a crowd of 20,000 Saturday to "spike the mic" and did just that during a question-and-answer session with fans.

Londoners might not make the non-existent connection between Samuel Brady and America's Alpha Dog - and instead simply cheer on Brady for being Gisele's good-looking husband and for having exquisite teeth. One fan in London greeted the Patriots quarterback with a “Brady, you suck!” That was the same thing the British commanding officers said who faced Samuel Brady in the Battles of Boston, Trenton, Princeton and New York.

The quarterback's reply Saturday: “I’ve heard worse."

And that was just from fans in Foxborough last week.

There were a majority of Patriots' jerseys in the crowd, according to reports. "I see a lot of Patriots jerseys out there," Brady later noted. "I hope it will be the same tomorrow."

Speaking of "suck" - the Rams and Sam Bradford get their shot at the Patriots' secondary this week - the worse in football when it comes to trying to watch them stop anyone who can throw the ball accurately more than 15 yards down field. It will come on the fast-track of Wembley Stadium. While some of his followers may believe Tim Tebow may someday be able to turn water into wine, the Patriots last week completed the amazing task of turning Mark Sanchez into a decent quarterback.

If Bradford gets aggressive, he too might be end up looking as good as Sanchez and turn Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens into superstars at least for one afternoon. FYI - Givens has a 50-plus-yard gain in four consecutive weeks. Fantasy owners, take note.

There's little reason to expect anything different from the Patriots this week - except the battle between Cortland Finnegan and Wes Welker should be akin to a UFC lightweight-title bout.

We'll update the rankings each Saturday during the season. Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only. Teams are listed with record and last week's ranking.

FULL ENTRY

Farrell brings sigh of relief to Red Sox

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 23, 2012 01:38 PM

Sold.

For the past year, the Red Sox gave us little to cheer and even fewer reasons to hope.

They hit the re-set button for the second time in two months Tuesday.

Former pitching coach John Farrell returned to Fenway Park as manager of the Red Sox and showed - in a 30-minute press conference - why he is such a welcomed relief from his predecessor.

Farrell Red Sox.jpgAfter it was over, looking directly into the cameras of State Run Media - Farrell delivered his first direct address to the Nation as manager: "This is such a unique place, there's such a tremendous passion and expectation. There's something that holds all of us accountable in the way we go about our work. I fully believe in Ben in his ability to support this roster and build to it. I would ask you to have faith in us. We will get back to where we all expect to be, and that's to play deep into the postseason year in and year out."

Farrell called Boston "the epicenter of the game" and spoke about how his experience in Boston from 2007-10 as Terry Francona's pitching coach allowed him to see first-hand the demands of the job, the passion of the fans and the energy created in the ballpark - especially when the team doesn't go 34-47. "It's an incredible city and an incredible baseball enviornment," he said - until you go 7-20 or 7-19 in September.

A year ago, Bobby Valentine's arrival was all about Bobby Valentine. In his press conference, he co-opted the memory of Tony Conigliaro by sporting the No. 25 jersey (How sickening is that in retrospect?) and talked all about himself and offered little when it came to baseball philosophy or how to win ballgames. He smiled for the cameras with John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Ben Cherington. This was going to be the Bobby Valentine show. And it was, as the Red Sox dissolved into dust and lost 93 games.

In the ash heap, Red Sox Nation was left empty. There was no more anger, disgust or even passion. When it all ended in the Bronx a few weeks ago, the patient had been clinically dead for two months. That was the bottom.

Farrell's contrast could not have been more obvious, welcomed or necessary. Tuesday, he spoke next to Cherington. Henry and Lucchino were avoiding the cameras - at least during the formal portion of the press conference. (Lucchino showed up for the NESN cameras a bit later on.) They were also noticeably absent in front of the cameras back in 2004 when Theo announced the Nomar trade and again last season with the Red Sox were able to sucker the Dodgers into consuming the contracts of Fan Cave, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford - along with Nick Punto. (Although I do believe a healthy Crawford could contend with teammate Matt Kemp for NL MVP honors next season.)

Seeing Cherington alone at the table with Farrell was another encouraging sign that he indeed finally got his man.

And here's what he had to say:

"We're eager to get started."

"I have a list of to-dos."

"We have to hold the players accountable."

"You don't sit there and map out your future - you are consumed by what you're doing today."

"(Trust) is important and yet it is something that can very fragile. You have to earn it ... Treat players like men it will come back to you ten 10 fold."

Amen, brother.

With Valentine's input, the Red Sox brain-trust gave us - among other things in the past 13 months - the great Marco Scuatro salary dump. Scutaro was named NLCS MVP Monday, leading the Giants back to the World Series. He hit a ridiculous .500 in the series (14 for 28) and has hit safely in 10 straight playoff games. Those 14 hits are five more than Mike Aviles had in September and 14 more postseason hits than the Red Sox have had since 2009. When Valentine was hired last year, this space and others spoke loudly about how he was not the answer to what ailed the Red Sox, nor was he the entire problem in 2012. Same with Farrell. He used to pitch, but hasn't make a major-league appearance since 1996. He won't drive in any runs. He's considered a liar up north these days and upset all 17 Blue Jays fans with the method of his departure. That all being said, this is a can't-miss move for the Red Sox.

Before lunch was over, we learned more about how Farrell wants to approach the game than we knew about Valentine after losing a year's worth of appetites.

Here's his fourth-place - at least last season - philosophy:

"An aggressive style is what we want. That takes place from the mound, on the base-paths and in the box. And that means attacking the strike zone early. This can be a very simple game if you apply a game of firsts to it. First-pitch strikes. First out of an inning and score first. Not to oversimplify things, but sometimes the mind can do crazy things to a pitcher and they start to get into rut and we want to be sure we put them in a positive environment and prepare them to the best of their ability."

Works for me.

Farrell addressed the core issue facing both the team - that being the starting rotation.

"It starts and ends with the strength of your starting rotation," Farrell said, who has already gotten to work on Jon Lester, who went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA in 2010 - Farrell's last season in Boston - but 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA last season. "We need some work in the rotation. Clay (Buchholz) and Jon are eager to get going even though the postseason hasn't even ended. There needs to be some reinforcements in rotation and then we need to get guys healthy. From the pitching standpoint there were some obvious things with Jon that we already talked about about his delivery that he drifted into that affected his overall consistency."

Does anyone think that Valentine noticed anything in Lester's delivery except the fact that it often resulted in home runs?

"Everything goes back to how you prepare and how you work," he said.

(Although it might be too soon to rule out any more double-fisting for John Lackey in the clubhouse, as Farrell later told several media outlets that he wants to work a balance when it comes to issues like beer in the clubhouse.)

No one asked Farrell if he prefers "original" or "extra crispy" - but it's certain Farrell won't be bringing any Popeye's to his first clubhouse sitdown with the pitching staff.

Now it's time for the real work to begin - signing David Ortiz and the cheerful Cody Ross, shoring up the rotation, trying to reclaim Daniel Bard, maintaining the bullpen (which got raves from Farrell today), hoping that José Iglesias might hit .187 next season - among other priorities.

Just look at the final 2012 standings - it can't get any worse.

For now, Farrell has his "dream job" - just in time for the Red Sox to wake up from this nightmare.

Enjoy the honeymoon.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Dear John: Welcome back to the Red Sox

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 21, 2012 08:06 AM

Farrell AP.jpg
(Note: A earlier version of this piece appeared in this space on Oct.4. Now that the Red Sox have hired John Farrell, we know how much of it still applies:)

Dear John:

Congratulations.

You had us at: "Breaking News: Red Sox Hire New Manager."

It's not that the Red Sox have a new sheriff in town, rather it's that they have one at all.

The Duck Boats are ready right now simply because you're not Bobby Valentine.

The big question - regular or extra crispy?

Seriously, managing the Red Sox is a dream job for anyone who doesn't have it. You know this as well as anyone, since you probably dreamed of managing the team many times when you were watching Terry Francona in person.

You already know you will be the most scrutinized boss in New England, especially now that the FBI is no longer "tracking" Whitey Bulger.

Good luck, sir, you're going to need it. We know you won't have all the answers. But at least you'll be asking the questions.

Every Red Sox fan - at least once or twice a game - knows that he or she can do the job better than you. Every move you make will be second-guessed, criticized, analyzed, applauded or jeered, depending on the result. You will almost always be wrong. We will almost always be right.

Very few of us know first-hand the challenges of managing multi-millionaires with guaranteed contracts and the massive talent and ego helped them earn those multi-million dollar deals. You got a taste of that in Toronto, in addition to your time in Boston. You'll need a new shortstop, or hope that Jose Iglesias can sometime figure out how to hit a curevball. The Red Sox team that you greet on Day One in Fort Myers cannot bear any real resemblance to the team that sulked off the field in humiliating defeat at the end of the season in the Bronx.

One of the bright spots about your arrival is that you know all of this - and more.

Many of the core players will or perhaps should be the same - the cheerful Cody Ross, the surgically-repaired Dustin Pedroia, the hopefully re-signed and content David Oritz, the genuine Texas-Could-Be-Tough-Guy Will Middlebrooks, the-ever-consistent Clay Buchholz and the glad-this-season-is-over Jon Lester. This core has as much potential to win the coveted first or second-wildcard as does the Orioles or A's and is strong enough to even reach the ALCS. There is neither enough firepower at the plate nor octane on the mound to win a division nor survive pair of seven-game series and win a World Series.

In 2012 we had "100 Years of Fenway. In 2013, it's "Nowhere To Go But Up."

Pass that one along to the marketing department and then you can remain focused on helping the GM assemble the best possible team for the long-term (i.e. two years from now) success of this franchise. Everybody hates losing. But Bostonians still revel in it. You know how screwed up we can be at times. Permanent pessimism remains the default position for any Red Sox fan over the age of 30, But that's only because we use it to hide the pain. Our children and grandchildren carry the same type of naive eternal optimism found in places like Kansas City, Denver and Phoenix - or worse, the benign apathy of a place like Toronto. Their foundation is one of success, victory and championships. And they can "take it or leave it" when it comes to the Red Sox. The choke of 2011 and capitulation of 2012 are the exceptions to their rule.

In case you didn't hear about what went on in Boston this year, it left Red Sox Nation drained and lifeless across all demographic categories. The team bottomed out with that last 14-2 loss in New York. Things are already looking up - see A-Rod benched/Yankees swept - and now, you're on board.

There were no novels to be written after this season, no prolific odes for the team's poet laureate, no "curses" to put to music on Broadway, but there were plenty of curses yelled each night at the TV and enough "f-bombs" to make Tony Montana or Henry Hill blush.

By virtue of the fact that you have been deemed competent enough to be hired for this job - God willing by Ben Cherington and not Larry Lucchino - you already know and have assessed the potential big-name free agents. There is no Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols or Justin Verlander walking through that door in the Green Monster. Although Cliff Lee couldn't hurt if the players and money involved (he's making $25.5 million in 2013) weren't too much to give up in trade.

No matter who ends up wearing the Red Sox uniform and what the starting lineup on April Fools' Day in the Bronx (or perhaps the night before) looks like, there are several things you can do to stand out from your immediate predecessor. You caught a break coming to the Red Sox at this time. Expectations have been neutered. The team is coming off its worst season since 1965. And the horrible performance on the field was magnified several-hundred fold by one stumble and bumble after another.

Moe, Larry and Curley had a clearer chain of command than the Red Sox this past year.

You are fortunate to be replacing Valentine. It would be nearly impossible to do any worse in 2013 than he did in 2012. Valentine didn't lose control of the Red Sox, he never had it, nor ever cared to. His presence was all about Bobby. You know the Red Sox can't do any worse since they kept your Blue Jays out of last place this season. By virtue of that single fact alone you're already an improvement.

This is not about you, it's about them. All of this, we'll presume you know, maybe even better than us. If you can get through your first press conference without being the star of the show, that will be considered progress. Talk about discipline, effort, extra physical preparation, focus, leadership, team over individual and wanting to win above all else - and you might even get your own statue.

Simply doing a better job than your predecessor won't be good enough. Everyone will demand a championship every year - for instance, did anyone in a Red Sox uniform consider 2008 a success because Boston took the ALCS to seven games? But Red Sox fans as a whole are a patient lot and will give you and the organization a chance as long as they are treated like adults and not a bunch of six-year-olds who still believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the second wildcard when the team is 12 games out in August. My parents both lived their entire lives without ever seeing a World Series parade in Boston. Most of their grandchildren, on the other hand, don't remember a time when the Red Sox hadn't won a championship Red Sox fans are a patient and forgiving, if given the chance.

Reasonable Red Sox fans - no that's not an oxymoron - know this team is at least two years away from serious contention. You'll have a three-year guaranteed contract, so act accordingly.

Take charge.

Be the boss.

Lead.

Neither accept nor dispense bull----, especially when dealing with the players.

Do not follow and get everyone else the hell out of your way. Dealing with the media is a part of the job, but they are not your core audience nor do they generate the bajillions of dollars needed to sustain the Monster and all whom work beneath its spell. Be professional and they will/should act accordingly. Don't play them off one and another and don't, under any circumstances, allow yourself to become the story with foolishness and faux threats to punch them in the nose. And you're free to ignore what idiots like me say once you're done reading this post.

Simply put: "Do your job."

As you witnessed first-hand from 2007-10, Bostonians do not want celebrity managers. This isn't New York or Los Angeles. They want managers and coaches who can help turn athletes into celebrities and champions. Bill Belichick says nothing every week and we love it. Any 5th-grader in Malden already knows what Belichick will say after today's game against the Jets - win or lose.

And losers will get a chance, too, if they are seen to be competent and aren't obsessed with their own self-promotion. Doc Rivers came to Boston and endured a 2-22 stretch in his third season. And while a few fools called for his head, his talent, commitment and the fact that the team had bottomed out allowed cooler heads to prevail in the front office and in the stands. While Claude Julien would have gotten the boot if Nathan Horton had not scored in double-overtime of Game 5 or in overtime of Game 7 in April 2011, he was given a long and forgiving leash by the Bruins' base after that four-game collapse against Philly in 2010.

You can relax knowing that at least you'll be allowed to finish a season once you start given the fact that your bosses kept Valentine around until the end of 2012.

Francona came to Boston with an unassuming record, a low-key personality and had been most heralded for managing Michael Jordan in the minors. Francona left town with two World Series rings and the eventual and enduring respect and appreciation of the Red Sox fan base, if not his former and your current employers.

Keep that in mind as you begin this job. You know how much we're all rooting for you, even when you get ripped on talk radio or see the occasional middle finger salute after taking out your starter in the fifth. You have millions of people - of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, heights, weights, income levels, political affiliations and religions - wishing you nothing but the best. And we're everywhere - extending far beyond the Bangor-to-Bridgeport Axis. We are serving in Afghanistan, studying in France, working in Chicago, sleeping in Seattle. (This column was written in Florida.)

Just because we all don't want to sing "Sweet Caroline" when the Red Sox are losing 8-1 doesn't mean we don't care. We are united in our genuine passion for the Red Sox and hope that you're able to help bring another championship team back to Fenway Park since you've already done it once.

Even if we still think we know better than you how to do it.

Best of luck.

Welcome back.

Sincerely,

OBF


As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Patriots-Jets fan chat

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 21, 2012 06:00 AM

Betcha can't wait for this one, right? Our weekly in-game discussion begins at 4 p.m.

NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Patriots-Jets 'can't wait' for Tebow's next move

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 20, 2012 06:27 AM

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., - Moe Greene didn't have a statue - or even a plaque with his name on it.

Tom Brady doesn't have a statue, unless you count this.

Bill Belichick doesn't have a statue, unless you count these.

Rex Ryan doesn't have a statue, although they have warning posters with his face outside the DSW in Mahnattan.

Mark Sanchez doesn't have a statue, but he does have an arrest record and went on a Broadway double date this week with girlfriend Eva Longoria, former New York Jet Scotty McKnight and actress Hayden Panettiere.

Tim Tebow has a statue - and it's a beaut.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are falling like a rock in our Power Rankings, down four spots to No. 10 this week. More on that in a bit.

The life-sized, roughly 1,800-pound Tebow stands outside Florida Field here, and naturally, he's running the ball. Or running as well as one can when they are anchored to a giant block of granite and made of bronze. He stands next to the other Heisman Trophy winners at the University of Florida - current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier - who's about to unload a pass - and Danny Wuerffel, who appears to be looking for an open receiver somewhere outside the O'Connell Center. Not surprisingly, Tebow draws the most interest when it comes to picture-takers, fans and would-be-worshipers.

"Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." Of course, the Third Commandment usually doesn't apply to SEC football fans on Saturdays (especially the 90,000 expected to show up for this week's game between the Gators and 'Cocks), or Patriots' fans whenever Brady is trying to rally the offense.

Tebow forever strikes a perfect pose heading into Sunday's game against the Patriots since the buzz is that the Jets might use him as a running back against the Patriots. Tebow has not done much for the Jets this season (2-for-3 throwing the ball with 32 yards passing and 64 yards rushing on 18 carries) - then again, neither has Sanchez. Longoria's lesser-half threw for 82 yards (connecting on 11 of 18 pass attempts) in last week's rout of Indianapolis and actually raised his overall QB rating to 70.9. And yet, the Jets come into Foxborough tied with the Pats and everyone else in the AFC East at 3-3. Now if there's any NFL secondary that could make Sanchez look like a legit passer - it will be wearing 1985-throwback red Sunday. Forget Russell Wilson's fourth-quarter aerial assault last week in Seattle, remember last season with the legendary Dan Orlovsky lit up Kyle Arrington, Devin McCourty and friends to the tune of 353 yards passing and two touchdowns?

"Mark Sanchez 2012 Redemption Tour" could well start late Sunday afternoon if our worse fears are realized. If that happens, the lines at the Tobin and Sagamore bridges will be 10-deep until dawn. The key for any quarterback to beat the Patriots this season has become throw deep and often. If Sanchez is able to get the ball downfield 15 or 20 yards inbounds, he'll have a shot against this bunch. For Sanchez, getting the ball downfield 15 or 20 yards inbounds is an immense challenge - during practice, games and even on Madden 2013.

There was lots of talk this week, here and elsewhere, about Brady's inability to extract the Patriots from Seattle last week after building a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. The criticism was self-evident, but hardly the answer or the entire problem. As often noted, one Brady shortcoming is equal to about 15 miscues on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to frequency and impact.

Tebow, Sanchez, Ryan and the rest of the Gangreen Circus always present a reason to salivate. What better way would there be to cap off a week that saw the Yankees actually demonstrate less heart than the Red Sox than with a nice beatdown of the Jets? The 2012 Yankees proved to be the 2011 Red Sox - minus the Bud Light and Popeye's. I'm almost half-expecting to read in the New York Post in a few days about Nick Swisher sneaking out Yankee Stadium in-between innings to grab a Wendy's Triple and some Miller Lite before serving as A-Rod's wingman.

To use Tebow at running back or not use Tebow at running back? What would Jesus do? (I hope Father Constantine doesn't deny me communion in chruch next week for that line). The Jets offense is about as creative as the people who brought us "Paranormal Activity 4." And speaking of Moe Greene and the Corleones, how is "Godfather III" overkill but "Paranormal Activity 4" somehow a cinematic must. The Jets offense is limited by both the skills of the quarterback and the imagination of offensive coordinator Tony Soprano, who would feel right at home with Moe Greene, Hyman Roth and the Corleones.

Wait, it's Sparano? Never mind.

Tebow, and Sanchez for that matter, might be better off with Pauly Walnuts running the show. At least he might try the "run and shoot" once in a while.

Patriots-Jets rarely disappoints. Sunday's game is must-see TV from Presque Isle to Parsippany. It'll be a doozy.

Bart Scott - take it away:

We'll update the rankings each Saturday during the season. Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only. Teams are listed with record and last week's ranking.

FULL ENTRY

Patriots, Brady run out of magic bullets

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 15, 2012 10:39 AM

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The Patriots and Red Sox both need a closer - it might be time to call Blake. (Caution: Lone bad-word alert similar to language you heard at home about 7:15 p.m. EDT Sunday.)

Luckily for the first-place Patriots - they're still in the running for the Cadillac in the AFC East - along with the Jets, Dolphins and Bills. Sunday's game in Foxborough against the Jets is for all the steak knives.

3-3 never looked this depressing.

The man who invented "the magic bullet" theory following the assassination of President Kennedy died on Sunday. The same day the Patriots ran out of magic bullets. While Arlen Specter switched political parties near the end of his career, there are no allegiances to swap in Patriot Nation this week. It's not like we can watch the Red Sox in the ALCS or the Bruins vs. Canadiens. And last year proved the NBA can go away until Christmas without anyone noticing. Patriots fans have nowhere to go for cover after Sunday's 24-23 loss during already-maddening (three losses by a combined total of four points) season. Not even the Warren Commission could find a single "magic bullet" to fix what is wrong with this team, unless there is some method of NFL draft time travel that we have not heard of yet.

Tom Brady - who has fired more "Magic Bullets" than any QB to ever play east of the Berkshires - didn't have any left in his well-worn right arm Sunday. He blasted away against the Seahawks, launching the ball 58 times. He completed 36 passes for 395 yards and two TDs - great fantasy numbers for sure. He also threw two costly interceptions - including one in the end zone - and ended the first half with an intentional-grounding penalty that took three sure points off the board. The Seahawks dropped two other INTs, just for good measure.

We're not about to blame Gisele - who happens to be at the center of any and all conspiracy theories when it comes to reasons why the Patriots have not won a Super Bowl in 92 months. But there is something to the thought that Brady is showing his age and maturity. That young, fearless QB who ignored the "run out the clock" pleas of John Madden in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXXVI was no where to be found Sunday. (Some might argue he's been missing since the team left Jacksonville the night of Super Bowl XXXIX.) Brady flinched several times in the pocket - as he has done several times this season. He even took a sack when he felt the rumblings of Nate Solder. He would end up taking two intentional grounding penalties, which either means "you blinked" or someone didn't run the right route. After getting hit a few million times over the years, we'd probably do the same. Even with all that, the real missing cojones here lie with the play-calling and attitude not the QB. The Patriots rarely thought long all day, and threw deep beyond 10 yards just once their final four drives. (An incomplete catch by a diving, out-of-bounds Brandon Lloyd. Danny Woodhead did gain 12 yards on a swing pass.) There is no big-play mentality here.

Brady was a first-ballot Hall of Famer the moment he became eligible. This isn't about legacy or greatness. This is just about where he and the Patriots are now, this week. Something isn't right. Something isn't there. Ryan Mallett is not the answer, either. Please. That's not even worth a drunken Brandon Spikes tweet. Brady is adjusting to his NFL middle age. Perhaps it's time we do the same. Forget 16-0, or even 13-3, and just focus hopes on an AFC East title and first-round playoff game at home. Your defending Super Bowl champions were 6-6 at one point in 2011 before winning six out of seven. Brady is almost as good as Eli Manning, right?

Heading into this season, the aura surrounding this stage of the Belichick-Brady Era was one of inevitable success - except when it came to Super Bowls or regular-season games against the Giants. This season, even that mythical status has been shattered. A last-second field goal at home against the Cardinals sailed wide left. A last-second field goal in Baltimore may or may not have been good, but it counted just enough for another loss.

Then there was Sunday, when all that magic that Brady and Belichick seemingly worked at will (again, except against the Giants) fell apart, along with this pre-game analysis. The Force shifted to the Dark Green side. Belichick was the hapless buffoon, watching without belief as Josh McDaniels and Brady engineered a cataclysmic three-and-out with 3:02 to play that chewed up a microscopic 24 seconds and lost eight yards before the punt. New England's previous drive was equally maddening and fruitless - seven plays, 26 yards, another intentional grounding penalty - all before a punt.

Pete Carroll - resident genius - crafted the master plan. He hasn't been this happy since Reggie Bush cashed his first paycheck at USC. Take away the run. Make Brady beat us. Let the rookie QB throw deep and often into New England's woeful secondary. Russell Wilson vs. the Patriots' secondary proved to be a lethal matchup for the Patriots while Brady vs. the Seahawks' secondary also proved to be a lethal matchup for the Patriots.

Twice in the fourth quarter the Seahawks went for and found the end zone when the Patriots were thinking short-play defense - on a 4th-and-3 from the 10 when the Patriots were looking for a four-yard play, and again on a 3rd-and-1 from the Patriots' 48 with 1:28 to play when Wilson connected with a wide-open Sidney Rice, as who left rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner trailing somewhere near Tacoma.

The end result, humiliation on the field, in the locker room (the Patriots have a "gimmick offense") and via Twitter thanks to Richard "U MAD BRO" Sherman, who grabbed one of Brady's two interceptions and gave us this infamous post-game Twitter meme below (not to be confused with the Associated Press photo seen at the top of this page - both originally photographed by Elaine Thompson):

Brady-Sherman.jpg

Of course, the good tweets are always taken down. Sherman posted these comments with the above photo in a now obliterated tweet that read: "he told me and Earl [Thomas] to see him after the game when they win... . I found him after….".

That was preceded by this:

Richard Sherman, folks. We offer solace in the infamous words of Henry Hill: "Every once in a while I'd have to take a beating...The way I saw it, everybody takes a beating sometime."

This loss wasn't so much about post-game social-media trash talk as it was about poor play-calling, a horrid defensive secondary and inability of the offense and defense to close out a game that the Patriots led by 13 points with less than eight minutes to play.

Been there, done that.

There's an entire generation of Red Sox and Patriots fans under the age of 18 now watching the teams that their parents and grandparents always knew and loved. Nothing wrong with that. Even in the worst of times, we never gave up hope even while detached from reality.

For the Patriots, the end is not near nor even on the schedule. Ten weeks remain in the season and they play in the second-weakest division in football. 9-7 might be enough to win it this season. Avoid full-blown panic, but not complete frustration.

They still have Brady and Belichick, and that's definitely worth something.

Unless they lose to the Jets.

Don't forget to join us Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Jets fan chat. We'll be lining up on the Tobin Bridge about 7:30 just in case. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Patriots-Seahawks fan chat

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 14, 2012 08:03 AM

Join the discussion of today's game starting just before kickoff at 4 p.m.

SNL: Bolt adds jolt to Ryan-Biden VP debate; Christina Applegate hosts (Video)

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 13, 2012 11:34 PM

Politics are often a game of expectations. The most-anticipated "Saturday Night Live" political debate sketch since George W. Bush and Al Gore rambled it out in 2000 delivered as expected this week as Joe Biden and Paul Ryan went one-on-one with a little help from Martha Raddatz and the real Usain Bolt. It was Bolt's appearance at the end that added the perfect twist to the almost-too-funny-to-lampoon real-life debate between Biden and Ryan the occurred last week in Kentucky.

Raddatz (played by up-and-coming, first-year cast member Kate McKinnon) took control of this version of last Thursday's debate early and managed to rein in the bombastic vice president (Jason Sudeikis). She assured both candidates that "your performance tonight is extremely unlikely to affect the outcome of the election so have fun with it."

Biden went on the attack against the Wisconsin congressman (Taran Killam) during Ryan's opening statement, hitting Ryan with the "malarkey" line. When Ryan explained "malarkey" was Irish. Biden blurted: "No, Irish is I come over and smack that dumb look off your face." Raddatz then scolded both - in R-rated terms - that she was no Jim Lehrer. Later, when Ryan told Biden that his hometown had a high unemployment rate, Biden chortled: "Things may be bad where you live, but I guarantee you it is a paradise next to the burning coal heap that is Scranton, Pennsylvania...Walking Dead" would make a good tourism ad for Scranton. If you went to the lowest circle of Hell, you still would be 45 minutes outside of Scranton. I grew up there, I love it. It's the single worst place on earth."

Biden later hit back on Ryan by warning: "You don't scare me shark eyes...You think you're tougher than me because you do the P90X workout and you're younger than me. There's gym strong and old-man strong...When the Amtrak breaks down on my morning commute - I strip down to my tighty-whities. I push that b---h all the way to Washington. I am monkey strong, brother."

Ryan chugged water throughout the contest and even took a few hits from a gerbil feeder. Raddatz was so on her game in SNL's debate that she correctly set-up the league championship series - naming all four teams during Thursday's debate before two (the Yankees and Cardinals) had advanced Friday - while prefacing a question about abortion. She didn't make any mention about Derek Jeter's upcoming broken left ankle suffered in the 12th inning of Saturday night's 6-4 loss to the Tigers. Biden told young people worried about Social Security that "big daddy Joe's got your back."

Ryan closed the debate by telling voters that "nothing's impossible." To prove it, he not only ran a marathon in under three hours and completed a sub-four-minute mile, but also won the 100-meter dash at the summer Olympics thanks in part to his training partner - Bolt. When asked Ryan asked Bolt "Who won the 100 meters?" the Jamaican gold-medalist answered simply. "I did." Ryan followed up by asking Bolt about his finish. "You didn't finish. You weren't even there," Bolt said.

"The Californians" returned early in the show - with Bolt making a cameo in that sketch, as well. Bolt wasn't the only sports figure who appeared like a bolt of lightning during the show. The folks at Gillette can't be happy about the appearance of convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky (Sudeikis) in a filmed commercial spot for the new "Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler" razor showing off his style while wearing a prison jump suit and handcuffs.

FULL ENTRY

NFL Power Rankings Week 6: God, Tebow and Tom Brady

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 13, 2012 06:00 AM

Brady - Getty.jpgTom Brady, Tim Tebow, God, Satan, Mark Sanchez, Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan and Pete Carroll - all in the same place. It's going to be a good week.

There's been lots of talk about God wanting Tebow to be starting quarterback of the New York Jets. Spread the word from the one of the sports world's biggest platforms and all that. We already know our Tom is an awesome Tom. The Patriots offense hasn't look this good since Corey Dillon chugged in from the 2 in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Tebow Dilemma adds another ring to the circus that was once known as the New York Titans. This is a perfect storm for Patriots fans. Not only are the Jets under-performing on the field, they are Red Soxian in their dysfunction off it. Maybe Tebow needs to perform an exorcism and remove the spirit of Larry Lucchino from Woody Johnson's body.

Here's some breaking news. God has chosen a QB in New York - his name is Eli Manning. The Sanchez-Beast analogies are too delicious to ignore: He wears No. 6, it's week six of the season, his passing rating is 66.6, he's thrown six TD passes and six interceptions this season, was arrested in 2006 (no charges were filed) and made $6 million playing for Carroll at USC. OK, the last part isn't true, it was only $666,666.66. Patriots fans also know the real Satan lurking at MetLife Stadium is Tom Coughlin, who has two of Belichick's Super Bowl rings in his desk drawer. Belichick otherwise rules the football underworld, as it should be.

Forget flood, famine, plague and pestilence, the greatest challenge facing Tebow in New Jersey is having to play back-up QB for Ryan in Tony Sparano's offense. Job never had it this tough in the Old Testament. Tebow has a reputation for not having a legitimate throwing motion. Sanchez has been bedeviled by his inability to deliver the ball where it's needed. Meanwhile, Brady knows when he plays the Texans on Dec. 10, Job One will be getting the ball beyond the line of scrimmage in the air and not trying to bowl it past J.J. Watt. This week, the biggest challenge facing America's Alpha Dog will be barking out those one-word snap and set counts loud enough to be heard over the huddled masses in Seattle, who not doubt will be well hydrated and jacked up on Seattle's Best and Starbucks. To paraphrase Joe Biden and Lloyd Bentsen, Russell Wilson has seen Peyton Manning selling Buicks on TV and may have even met Peyton Manning, but he's no Peyton Manning. That will be the difference this week, even the Patriots' secondary (turn around, Devin, here comes the ball!) will be able to play man coverage with ease while the front seven can apply the requisite pressure to force Wilson into turnovers and three-and-outs. There won't be any fourth-quarter scares this week, even on the road, at least when the Seahawks have the ball. And those replacement refs won't be around to bail Wilson out.

We'll update the rankings each Saturday during the season. Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only. Teams are listed with record and last week's ranking.

FULL ENTRY

Red Sox fans have plenty of issues for 2013

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 10, 2012 11:46 AM

Red Sox fans have a lot on their plate for 2013 when it comes to expectations, especially following the collapse of 2011 and meltdown of 2012. The Red Sox have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to restoring the faith in their fan base.

We offered 10 places where they can start, no matter how many games they win. You can check it out our photo gallery right here to find out what they are.

RIP Alex Karras - Mongo rides forever

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 10, 2012 11:26 AM

Former Detroit Lions defensive lineman and All-Pro Alex Karras died Wednesday at age 77 due to kidney failure.

"The Pride of the Lions" left fans with many memories on the football field, in the broadcast booth on Monday Night Football and on TV as "Webster's" dad.

His funniest and perhaps most iconic moment on screen came as Mongo in the Mel Brooks' classic "Blazing Saddles." (Language warning in the above clip, but you already knew that.)

The real "Mongo" was much more than a pawn in the game of life. Let's hope there's plenty of candy waiting for him in heaven.

Rest in peace, sir.

Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη.

Don't forget to join us Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Seahawks fan chat. Maybe we'll run into the next manager of the Red Sox sometime earlier in the day. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: Brady vs. Manning? Not quite

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 7, 2012 07:58 AM

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Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Unfortunately for Patriots fans, it's really Peyton Manning vs. the Patriots' secondary. Now the Patriots had four interceptions last week. But they were up against Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was lobbing 'em in like Dice-K trying to find the plate on a 3-0 count. Manning is no Fitzpatrick. After all, Manning went to Tennessee. But he won't be throwing simple Pop Warner fly routes on virtually every single play making it easy to lay back and wait. The key in this Sunday's game - as it has been the other 12 times the Brady and Manning have played against each other - is whether or not the Patriots' defensive front can pressure and contain Manning. Brady and the offense should do just fine. A couple of 100-plus-yard rushers won't hurt the Patriots' effort, either, but we'll probably have to wait another 32 years for that one. We'll update the rankings each Saturday during the season. Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only. Teams are listed with record and last week's ranking.

1. Texans (4-0; 1): With Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster fueling the offense and J.J. Watt anchoring the defense, the Texans are what the Jets want to be when they grow up. Houston has more wins than the rest of the AFC South combined.

2. Falcons (4-0; 2): Matt Ryan leads the NFL's most dynamic aerial assault but only after Michael "Road Rage" Turner sobers up the Redskins with some punishing yards on the ground. Atlanta has twice as many wins as rest of the NFC South combined and at least 10,000 fans who can throw as well as anyone in the Red Sox rotation.

3. 49ers: (3-1; 4) Hey, Jets fans: "Colin Kaepernick!" (50 yards rushing on five carries and a touchdown.) How did that taste? About as good as losing 34-0. Wasn't that what Tim Tebow was supposed to do?

4. Cardinals (4-1; 3): The Cardinals lost in St. Louis Thursday for the first time since they left for Arizona in 1988. And no one tossed their empties on the field.

5. Ravens (3-1; 5): Ironic to see Ray Lewis answering all those questions from that cute kid on the Visa commercial. And he wasn't even under oath.

6. Patriots (2-2; 9): We know they can run the ball - especially when Buffalo only puts five players in the box and drops six into coverage on nearly every play. The last year the Patriots had two 100-yard rushers in the same game, the Red Sox were managed by Don Zimmer and Johnny Pesky.

FULL ENTRY

Patriots-Broncos fan chat

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 7, 2012 06:00 AM

Swing by just before kickoff to talk about the return of Peyton Manning and the third Patriots-Broncos meeting in less than a year.

SNL: Craig fails to bond as Big Bird steals show (Video)

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 6, 2012 11:26 PM

James Bond and Big Bird shared the spotlight on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this week.

The latest Bond, - Craig, Daniel Craig - hosted. As far as Bond goes, 50 never looked so good, especially when the guy playing him is only 44. Ian Fleming's super-spy celebrates his cinematic golden jubilee this year with "Skyfall" on Nov. 9. That premiere (advance tickets on sale now!) will give us something to look forward to after the election and before the start of hockey season - which might come by Inauguration Day.

Last time we saw Craig (born in 1968 six years after Bond's official film debut in "Dr. No"), he was sky-diving with Queen Elizabeth II to open the 2012 London Olympics. Not surprisingly, this week on SNL, he took an early and often back seat to this past week's presidential debate. Craig still rates a 9.5 on the Cool Scale even after "Cowboys and Aliens," but cool doesn't always translate to funny and Craig offered a limited license to laugh. Viewers were neither shaken nor stirred.

This week's highlight came when a very tired Big Bird (clip above) joined Seth Meyers during "Weekend Update" about "seven hours past his bed time." The iconic "Sesame Street" character learned he was mentioned in the debate after "getting a million tweets" but passed on making any statements on the election or Mitt Romney's vow to cut federal funding for PBS because he didn't want to "ruffle any political feathers." Needless to say, the eight-foot tall Big Bird towered over Meyers as they sat together behind the anchor desk. Big Bird offered this political joke: "Who know who loves debates? De fishes." Sound it out, you'll get it.

In the show's opening, Jay Pharoah (President Barack Obama) and Jason Sudeikis (Romney) delivered their version of what 70 million or so Americans watched this past Wednesday night. Obama, apparently, had his 20th anniversary on his mind and was slightly distracted during the debate by Denver's altitude. Moderator Jim Lehrer (the back-for-the-night Chris Parnell) was a bit more shaken over Romney's PBS remark. Given the stellar history of various SNL presidential debate sketches over the years - especially the classic George W. Bush "Strategery" vs. Al Gore "Lockbox" send-up from 2000 or the George H.W. Bush vs. Michael "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy." Dukakis classic from 1988, this one fell painfully flat.

Much funnier: MSNBC delivered "A Look Back At The Obama Debate Disaster" - which the network called "The Worst Thing That Ever Happened Anywhere." Sudeikis slammed it as the apoplectic Chris Matthews while Keenan Thompson was again viciously funny as a babbling Al Sharpton struggling to find real and imagined (mostly imagined) excuses for the president's performance in Denver. Denver "is a mile high, and there's no way to know for sure how many feet that is."

Before Big Bird's fly-by, Meyers made sure "Weekend Update" was laced with political jabs at both candidates and Lehrer who "looked like an out-of-towner trying to hail a cab at rush hour" during a "Winners and Losers" segment. Among Meyers' winners: "America. Is there anything more exciting than Joe Biden thinking it's up to him to get the lead back. It's Tebow time. There's a 50-percent chance he'll come out for the next debate with his shirt off."



New cast member Kate McKinnon - who has brought Ann Romney to life on the show and gave her a wicked delicious edge when ripping her husband's critics - was hilarious as the "Long Island Medium." Definitely a Jets fan.

In the monologue, Craig said there were so many great actors playing "James Bond" before me including "Sean Connery and ..." Craig then paid tribute to several of the movie characters whom he has killed, including "The Dog Who Saw Too Much" from "Cowboys and Aliens."

Craig was at his best when helping hawk a "new" James Bond 50th anniversary DVD set featuring some lesser-known, not-quite-as-sexy Bond girls from the past six decades that we may have missed, such as Jodie Foster, Diane Keaton, Ellen Degeneres, Penny Marshall and Molly Ringwald.



It's been a big week for the Queen's favorite "00" spy. A pair of "unwashed" swim trunks worn by Craig in the Bond film "Casino Royale" sold for £44,450 ($71,742) Friday at a charity auction in London while an Aston Martin DB5 driven by Craig in "Quantum Of Solace" fetched £241,250 ($389,377).

Both were worth every pence.

Craig's performance on SNL this week, however, fell a few shillings short.

He could have used more prep time this week as he struggled with the cue cards all night. He tried his hand a being a sexist New York construction worker without much success thanks to a traumatic childhood memory, led a space ship with one feline-crazed crew member and a real-live cat and was a bit more natural in a BBC series skit. He got a little raunchy with Fred Armisen (in drag, course) in the show's final sketch. The show closed with a re-run of the "Undecided Voters" commercial that first aired Sept. 22.

Muse was the musical guest.

Christina Applegate hosts next week.

Don't forget to join us Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Broncos fan chat. Maybe we'll run into the next manager of the Red Sox sometime earlier in the day. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Dear Next Red Sox Manager:

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 4, 2012 11:15 AM

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Dear Next Red Sox Manager:

Congratulations. Managing the Red Sox is a dream job for anyone who doesn't have it. You will be the most scrutinized boss in New England, especially now that the FBI is no longer "tracking" Whitey Bulger.

Good luck, sir, you're going to need it.

Every Red Sox fan - at least once or twice a game - knows that he or she can do the job better than you. Every move you make will be second-guessed, criticized, analyzed, applauded or jeered, depending on the result. You will almost always be wrong. We will almost always be right.

Very few of us know first-hand the challenges of managing multi-millionaires with guaranteed contracts and the massive talent and ego helped them earn those multi-million dollar deals. The Red Sox team that you greet on Day One in Fort Myers cannot bear any real resemblance to the team that sulked off the field in humiliating defeat Wednesday night in the Bronx.

Many of the core players will or perhaps should be the same - the cheerful Cody Ross, the surgically-repaired Dustin Pedroia, the hopefully re-signed and content David Oritz, the genuine Texas-Could-Be-Tough-Guy Will Middlebrooks, the-ever-consistent Clay Buchholz and the glad-this-season-is-over Jon Lester. This core has as much potential to win the coveted first or second-wildcard as does the Orioles or A's and is strong enough to even reach the ALCS. There is neither enough firepower at the plate nor octane on the mound to win a division nor survive pair of seven-game series and win a World Series.

In 2012 we had "100 Years of Fenway. In 2013, it's "Nowhere To Go But Up."

Pass that one along to the marketing department and then you can remain focused on helping the GM assemble the best possible team for the long-term (i.e. two years from now) success of this franchise. Everybody hates losing. But Bostonians still revel in it. Permanent pessimism remains the default position for any Red Sox fan over the age of 30, But that's only because we use it to hide the pain. Our children and grandchildren carry the same type of naive eternal optimism found in places like Kansas City, Denver and Phoenix. Their foundation is one of success, victory and championships. The choke of 2011 and capitulation of 2012 are the exceptions to their rule. This season, however, left Red Sox Nation drained and lifeless across all demographic categories.

There were no novels to be written after this season, no prolific odes for the team's poet laureate, no "curses" to put to music on Broadway, but there were plenty of curses yelled each night at the TV and enough "f-bombs" to make Tony Montana or Henry Hill blush.

By virtue of the fact that you have been deemed competent enough to be hired for this job - God willing by Ben Cherington and not Larry Lucchino - you already know and have assessed the potential big-name free agents. We all know that there is no Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols or Justin Verlander walking through that door in the Green Monster. Although Cliff Lee couldn't hurt if the players and money involved (he's making $25.5 million in 2013) weren't too much to give up in trade.

No matter who ends up wearing the Red Sox uniform and what the starting lineup on April Fools' Day in the Bronx (or perhaps the night before) looks like, there are several things you can do to stand out from your immediate predecessor. You caught a break coming to the Red Sox at this time. Expectations have been neutered. The team is coming off its worst season since 1965. And the horrible performance on the field was magnified several-hundred fold by one stumble and bumble after another.

Moe, Larry and Curley had a clearer chain of command than the Red Sox this past year.

You are fortunate to be replacing Bobby Valentine. It would be nearly impossible to do any worse in 2013 than he did in 2012. Valentine didn't lose control of the Red Sox, he never had it, nor ever cared to. His presence was all about Bobby Valentine from his introductory press conference to final, whining farewells this week. This is not about you, it's about them. If you can get through your first press conference without being the star of the show, that will be considered progress.

Simply doing a better job than your predecessor won't be good enough. Everyone will demand a championship every year. But Red Sox fans as a whole are a patient lot and will give you and the organization a chance as long as they are treated like adults and not a bunch of six-year-olds who still believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the second wildcard when the team is 12 games out in August. My parents both lived their entire lives without ever seeing a World Series parade in Boston. Most of their grandchildren, on the other hand, don't remember a time when the Red Sox hadn't won a championship Trust me on this one, Mr. New Manager, Red Sox fans are a patient and forgiving, if given the chance.

Reasonable Red Sox fans - no that's not an oxymoron - know this team is at least two years away from serious contention, if not three. You'll have a guaranteed contract, probably at least three-years in length. So act accordingly.

Take charge.

Be the boss.

Lead.

Neither accept nor dispense bull----, especially when dealing with the players.

Do not follow and get everyone else the hell out of your way. Dealing with the media is a part of the job, but they are not your core audience nor do they generate the bajillions of dollars needed to sustain the Monster and all whom work beneath its spell. Be professional and they will/should act accordingly. Don't play them off one and another and don't, under any circumstances, allow yourself to become the story with foolishness and faux threats to punch them in the nose. And you're free to ignore what idiots like me say once you're done reading this letter.

Simply put: "Do your job."

Bostonians do not want celebrity managers. This isn't New York or Los Angeles. They want managers and coaches who can help turn athletes into celebrities and champions. Bill Belichick says nothing every week and we love it. Any 2nd-grader in Randolph can today quote verbatim Belichick's entire press conference that's to come after Sunday's game against the Broncos - win or lose.

And losers will get a chance, too, if they are seen to be competent and aren't obsessed with their own self-promotion. Doc Rivers came to Boston and endured a 2-22 stretch in his third season. And while a few fools called for his head, his talent, commitment and the fact that the team had bottomed out allowed cooler heads to prevail in the front office and in the stands. While Claude Julien would have gotten the boot if Nathan Horton had not scored in double-overtime of Game 5 or in overtime of Game 7 in April 2011, he was given a long and forgiving leash by the Bruins' base after that four-game collapse against Philly in 2010.

Mr. Next Red Sox Manager, you can relax knowing that at least you'll be allowed to finish a season once you start given the fact that your bosses kept Valentine around until the end of 2012. Terry Francona came to Boston with an unassuming record, a low-key personality and had been most heralded for managing Michael Jordan in the minors.

Francona left town with two World Series rings and the eventual and enduring respect and appreciation of the Red Sox fan base, if not his former and your current employers.

Keep that in mind as you begin this job. We're all rooting for you, even when you get ripped on talk radio or see the occasional middle finger salute after taking out your starter in the fifth. You have millions of people - of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, heights, weights, income levels, political affiliations and religions - wishing you nothing but the best. And we're everywhere - extending far beyond the Bangor-to-Bridgeport Axis. We are serving in Afghanistan, studying in France, working in Chicago, sleeping in Seattle. (This column was written in Florida.)

Just because we all don't want to sing "Sweet Caroline" when the Red Sox are losing 8-1 doesn't mean we don't care. We are united in our genuine passion for the Red Sox and hope that you're able to bring a championship team back to Fenway Park.

Even if we all think we know better than you how to do it.

Best of luck.

Sincerely,

OBF


To help take your mind off the baseball playoffs that have bypassed Boston for the third straight season, join us Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Broncos fan chat. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

Red Sox end 2012 with nothing in tank

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan October 3, 2012 06:36 PM

Valetine-Globe2.jpg

Nothing.

At the end, there was no anger, no joy, no celebration, no relief, no anticipation, no rage after watching them play doormat in the Bronx, no pride, no silver lining, no satisfaction, no contentment knowing you were right all along about this manager, no more laughter, no more tears.

Not even a hangover.

69-93. It's a wrap. Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox were put out of our misery 14-2 Wednesday night. Sadly for the Red Sox, Ben Cherington lost the big debate last fall when he tried to hire five guys before Larry Lucchino pulled rank and rancor.

Chicken and beer? Those were the good old days.

The 2012 Red Sox finished dead-last in the American League East when it came to effort, passion, functionality and wins-and-losses - not to mention 11th in the American League in team ERA, 10th in opponents' batting average and dead-last (14th) in shutouts, It was the pitching, stupid, after all. Dice-K closed his career with the Red Sox facing 14 batters and giving up five runs and two runs in just 2.1 innings. His ERA this season, a John Lackey-esque 8.28. The final tally on Dice-K: $881,282 per game pitched or $2,062,200 per win. And the Red Sox spent a combined $184 million for both he and Lackey. Now, my head hurts.

Valentine's exit is just another necessary step in the slow, painful and lengthy - as in we've got two years to go at least - reclamation, renaissance and reconstruction of this franchise. It's been 370 days since the Great Collapse of 2011 ended in flames at Camden Yards. But the only real long-term progress the Red Sox have made since Robert Andino's low liner slipped under Carl Crawford's glove a year ago Sept. 29 took place with the quarter-billion dollar salary dump involving Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford, along with the carcass of Josh Beckett and the bemused Nick Punto. Other than that, it's been status-woe.

Why was no one east of Pittsfield surprised when Beckett (2-3) and A-Gonz (.296 average, 3 HR in 35 games) failed to step-up and lead the Dodgers to the National League playoffs?

The playoff-bound Oakland A's of "Moneyball" fame will return to the postseason for the first-time in six years as A.L. West champions. Guess Brad Pitt got the last laugh on that dude who looked just like John Henry after all. Oakland trailed Texas in the A.L. West by 13 games on June 30. The A's clinched the division with a 12-5 victory Wednesday afternoon in front of an honest-to-goodness sellout of 36,027. Now the Rangers will face the Orioles in a one-game playoff. That same day, June 30, the Red Sox were 6.5 games out in the A.L. East. A day later, the Red Sox beat Seattle 2-1 in 10 innings and peaked for the season at five games over .500 (42-37). Three months of free-fall followed that surpassed the gravitational pull of Jupiter. The Red Sox closed the season by losing eight straight and 11 of 12. It's their worst finish since 1965 (and noted last week in my case - a lifetime.) Wednesday night's blowout was simply insult added to injury piled on embarrassment spiced with bad pitching.

Not sure how hard State Run Media in Oakland was selling the myth of the second-wild card back in June. No matter, the A's played without pretension, clubhouse antics or a manager (the immortal Bob Melvin) doing radio shows in Los Angeles and threatening to punch talk-show hosts over the phone. In Melvin's defense, he was allowed to clean house with his coaching staff after the A's finished 14 games under .500 in 2011, as opposed to just throwing them under the bus on the radio the last day of the season. Perhaps Melvin invented the cheeseburger and we missed it. Melvin's most notable radio appearance this season came after the 2012 opener in Tokyo when he simply promised the fans that the A's will "work hard every game."

Sounds like another Oakland A's manager who once told the Fenway Faithful "we'll win more than we lose" the same year Yaz won the last pre-Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown. That was also the last season the Red Sox showed a plus-20-game improvement over the number of wins from the year before (not including the strike-shortened seasons of 1981 and '94). The last time the Red Sox saw a 20-plus-game drop in the number of wins and losses was from 1946 (104) to 1947 (83) - that was the same year Ted Williams won his second Triple Crown without being named MVP. So Cabrera won't be the first in that category, either.

The Red Sox were unable to earn a Burger King crown in 2012. And Johnny was booing all season. 2012 was a bottomless pit that Bruce Wayne could not escape. The Red Sox tapped out on in July - specifically during a homestand that saw them get swept by the Blue Jays. For an in-depth blow-by-blow of he season's slow-steady decline, just click here.

Congratulations to the New York ... hell no, not here. We'll remember Wednesday night the when the Patriots beat the Jets 42-7 in in two weeks.

Valentine can always savor the standing ovation he got in the Bronx when he took out Pedro Beato in the sixth. They do love you in New York, Bobby, especially after this season. The Orioles and Yankees plan to vote Valentine, Beckett and Dice-K full playoff shares.

As far as the 2012 Red Sox, there are no survivors to be listed in this obituary. Although Lucchino is amazingly resilient, much like that cockroach living behind your fridge after the next nuclear apocalypse.

Now, there's nothing for the Red Sox and their fans, except a few hundred recriminations from Valentine, a slew of transactions, a reboot of Carmine and another year without a post-season victory. The last time the Red Sox won a playoff game, Barack Obama held a slim lead in the polls over John McCain. There is still not a single player on last night's expanded roster who should be "off-limits" nor is there a championship at its core. The Red Sox possess a baseline of talent, but so do 10 other teams in the American League. The shape and soul of the 2013 Red Sox and the man who will manage them, however, were nowhere to be found at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.

Thankfully.

To help take your mind off the baseball playoffs that have bypassed Boston for the third straight season, join us Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Broncos fan chat. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.

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