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Austin team honors Boston, victims

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 26, 2013 02:02 PM

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Boston Strong, meet Austin Strong.

The tributes to Boston have reached Austin, Texas, along with one of the Boston Marathon victims.

The Round Rock Express will pay tribute to the victims of the Marathon bombing tragedy Friday against the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Katie Carmona, an Austin resident, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. She was at the race, cheering on her husband Paul, when the first bomb went off, sending metal shrapnel into her shin.

In the middle of the seventh inning, a time normally reserved for fans to stand up and stretch, David Garza, Maria Groten and Matt Harmatuk, who ran in this year’s Boston Marathon, will enter Dell Diamond through the center field gate and run toward the pitchers’ mound to symbolically finish the race.

Fans in Boston might be SOL on those shirts, since they'll be for sale for $25 only at the game. The Round Rock Express is the Class AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

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First responders will hold up the finish line tape that reads "Run Austin, Love Boston" as a tribute to the true heroes in each and every community across our great nation.

Following “The Finish Line,” Carmona will lead the crowd in a rendition of “God Bless America.”

“Tragic events, like the ones that occurred during the Boston Marathon and nearby in West [Texas] remind us not only of the courage and dedication of our first responders, but also how their quick action saves lives,” said George King, general manager of the Express, said in a release.

The team is asking fans to wear a race shirt and/or Boston sports gear to the game.

#BostonStrong.

Austin Strong isn't so bad, either.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

10 signs of hope after 11 very long days

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 25, 2013 11:29 PM

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It's been 11 days since Boston was ripped apart and the nation was rattled. And a week since the city was paralyzed by a lockdown and shooting spree/manhunt.

Was there any good from what happened at the Boston Marathon and the subsequent manhunt and mayhem?

The victims will be present in the hearts and minds of the Bay State for generations. The spotlight now shifts toward the survivors - as fans of the city and humanity move on with their lives. The stories of those affected by the Marathon bombings and their aftermath will be a part of the conversation for the foreseeable future.

There's been much good since the bombs went off and the city was placed on lockdown - in addition to the heroism displayed on Patriot's Day and again last Thursday and Friday.

Here are 10 signs of hope amid the pain, sorrow and loss.

1. The list of charitable endeavors helping Marathon victims is extensive. The One Fund has raised more than $25 million on its own through individual and corporate donations.

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2. The next time you think you can't do something - anything - just watch this video. It's a compilation of advice and support offered by U.S. veterans who lost limbs in service to their country. The Virginia company Shoulder 2 Shoulder, which is operated by wounded veterans, posted this clip on its You Tube channel.

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3. Boston Magazine found a stunningly beautiful and poignant way to honor the Marathon victims and runners in its May cover. The cover reads "We Will Finish The Race" and is an image taken from shoe of some of the people who ran the race.

A perfect confluence of photography, art and storytelling.

The story behind the cover is almost as interesting as the cover itself.

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4. When Watertown police chief Ed Deveau appeared on WEEI radio earlier this week, he said his department was swamped with requests for official Watertown Police Department merchandise. The department was able to quickly assemble enough hats for the Boston Bruins to wear before Saturday�s game against Pittsburgh.

�We don�t have Watertown Police hats -- no one ever wanted one before. We had to get them made up before the game,� Deveau said.

There's no word on the hats, but there "Watertown Strong" t-shirts for sale via the Watertown Police Store. Profits from the sale of the shirts go to the department and a fund to be established later.

Check out this list of 10 shirts you can buy to raise money for Marathon victims.

Some other fundraising efforts of note:

WAAF morning radio host Greg Hill has raised $243, 574 as of Thursday through his charitable efforts via the Greg Hill Foundation. All of that money raised will go directly to help victims and their families.

The group TUGG - Technology Underwriting Greater Good - has raised more than $280,000, including about $4,500 from a meet up Wednesday night.

Barstool Sports Boston raised $192,000 through the sales of various t-shirts which included "Boston Strong," "Massachusetts Invented America" and a few other choice phrases.

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5. Boston's athletes deserve much credit for their willingness to take a leading role in helping to heal the city and comfort the victims. Much of that comforting it was done in private and with great sincerity and humility. And no one summed it all up better than David Ortiz did last Saturday. So much of what we see in sports is contrived, but the love for the city displayed by so many of Boston's pro athletes in the past week makes it that much more difficult the next time they strike out, brick a free-throw, miss the empty net or drop an open pass.

More importantly, they've opened their wallets. For instance, the Kraft family donated $617,000 (we get it) to the One Fund. That's also the Patriot Way.

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6. Facebook has been a great means to raise awareness, the mourn the victims and offer those injured support and encouragement.

The "Patrick and Jess Running Again" page has done a wonderful job in keeping people informed of the condition of the Patrick and Jess Downes, both of whom lost a leg in last Monday's blast.

The above photo was from an running event held in Washington, where hundreds gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC to run 4.09 (official marathon time) miles for Boston. "Many of us ran for Patrick and Jess. We sang 'Sweet Caroline' at the finish line. We are all sending positive and healing thoughts to you from DC," wrote Rachel Bloom, a former co-worker with Patrick from The Gifford School.

The page has solicited more than 60 videos from the public to offer their encouragement to the couple, including this one from actress Fran Drescher.



And this quick message of support from Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.



More than $500,000 has been raised for the couple through family, friends and strangers through two crowdfunding sites.

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7. The Celeste and Sydney Recovery Fund has generated more than $650,000 via its gofundme page. Sydney's cousin, Alyssa Carter, also created the Celeste and Sydney Corcoran Support Page that has gotten more than 15,000 likes.

Corcoran Strong.

The mother and daughter were both badly injured by the blast, with Celeste losing both her legs below her knees.

Kevin Corcoran was photographed with his wife after the blast in a photo seen world-wide. "Before they put me under, I just wanted to die. Then I thought, I can't, I can't, there's too much do to," Celeste told the TODAY show Friday.

It posted the below photo of Marathon amputee victim Jeff Bauman paying Sandy a visit on her 18th birthday Tuesday.

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The photo, which ran with the caption "Jeff Bauman visited today and gave Sydney a birthday gift -- what a sweetheart! Very emotional and awesome experience for all involved." - received more than 14,000 likes and was shared over 1,600, in addition to being published on news sites around the world.

The latest update on their condition, posted late Wednesday, gave some encouraging news. "Another day of progress! Sydney was up and down stairs on crutches and Celeste was able to follow her in the hall in a wheelchair on her own. They unwrapped the bandages on Celeste's legs and she was able actually see her legs for the first time. It was certainly emotional, but "not as bad" as she thought it would be. Tonight, Celeste and Sydney are getting massages to help them relax. They both will be discharged from the hospital this weekend and rehab will begin! "

A video of several Marines paying both women a visit racked up nearly 250,000 views on You Tube in less than 48 hours.

Check it out here:

As one of the wounded warriors says while pointing to where Celeste's legs would have been. "This doesn't matter. This is just a chance of scenery."

The family is scheduled to be featured on NBC's "Rock Center" later tonight.

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8. The Jeff Bauman - Boston Strong, True Patriot and Hero Facebook page was started by someone not affiliated with Bauman but has had continual input from his family. It has more than 84,000 likes.

Bauman, who lost both his legs in the attack, was on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show Friday. "I'm alive, he's dead," Bauman said of his attackers. He also said he's begun the rehabilitation phase of his recovery. Among those who stopped by his room: Shawn Thornton of the Bruins and Bradley Cooper of "Hangover" and "Silver Linings Playbook" fame. As soon as Bauman was alert, he wrote down his description of Speed Bump - also know as Suspect No. 1 - which was pivotal in helping the police.

The Bauman page includes updates from Bauman's family and links to the story about Bauman's rescue at the Marathon by cowboy-hatted hero Carlos Arredondo.

It links to the lone official fundraising site authorized by Bauman's family - Bucks for Bauman! - which was begun by Brooke Gibbs and her brother, who was Bauman's best friend since childhood. The site launched nine days ago and had generated more than $688,000 of its $1 million stated goal.

The Facebook page's most trafficked post was this update by Bauman's cousin, Courtney:

'We were surprised to step off of the elevator and run in to Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley, but even more excited to see a smiling Jeff wheel himself down to meet them. Like his best friend John said, Jeff was more concerned with Rob's injuries and how the Patriots were going to step up their game. I believe his exact words were "so...going to have some good games?"...they assured us they would try."

It also posted this update about the page itself. "We are not an official representative for Jeff. However, we are in constant contact with his family and friends and are forwarding urgent messages to them as well as getting updates. The outpouring of love has meant a lot to them all including Jeff ... We are getting thousands of messages, and clearly Jeff isn't able to read through them all quite yet. When Jeff is better we hope to find out all the ways we can help him. But at this time he must focus on his immediate priorities of getting better."

As far as Jeff's condition, Brooke wrote this on the Bucks For Bauman! page:

"He is in great spirits, wheeling himself around, and appreciate all that has been done. We never imagined to be bringing our goal to 1 million, and now it is in reach!! We couldn't have done it without your help. I cannot express enough gratitude for anyone to understand just how thankful we are."

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9. Dave Henneberry has done more for smoking than Don Draper and the Marlboro Man combined. I don't smoke. My house was full of smoke growing up. Hated it. But at the same time, smokers have been needlessly demonized. Henneberry went outside to fire-up a heater in Watertown Friday after a day of nicotine deprivation and ended up doing something thousands of cops and the FBI couldn't - he found Speed Bump's little brother. His boat got shot up - amazing how many police bullets missed their target last Thursday night and Friday - but Henneberry refused charitable efforts to replace it, saying the money should go toward the real victims. After all, he has a canoe. If anything, he's earned free Camels and the right to smoke inside Dunkin' Donuts for the rest of his life.

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10. It's becoming apparent that lots of folks screwed up big time leading up to this. But remember, it's only been 11 days since this happened. Time will be the great equalizer when it comes to finding the truth of what and who caused this, who funded the bombers (in addition to the taxpayers) and most importantly, what must be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. Try to be patient if the upside means learning the truth.

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Quick rundown on the hot sports topics of the day as you look forward to a "lockdown-free" weekend.

What was the highlight of the first round of the NFL draft?

The Manti Te'o jokes on Twitter. This week's ESPN "30-for-30" documentary about the 1983 draft - yep, the one 30 years ago - was infinitely more interesting than anything that happened Thursday.

Or will happen the rest of the weekend.

The Patriots made a first-round trade. There's a shocker.

Should Andrew Bailey remain the Red Sox closer once Joel "Gagne" Hanrahan gets off the DL?

Yes. Remember, Bailey lost his closer job due to injury, so that argument goes out the window.

It's easy to realize what's going to happen - the Red Sox will make Hanrahan the closer because that's what they told him when he was signed. This situation is the same as the Stephen Drew/Jose Iglesias dilemma. Iglesias was hitting about .900 when he was sent down because the Red Sox had to insert Drew and his $9 million paycheck into the lineup. At last check, J.D. Jr., was batting .119. The Red Sox are white hot, so this misstep will be easily swept under the rug for the time being.

The question should be whether or not Bailey or Hanrahan is best equipped physically and mentally to handle the job. Right now, it appears to be Bailey on all fronts. In seven save opportunities, he's 1-0 with five saves.

Despite the occasional home run or on-the-line double/foul ball, Bailey has the makeup to be a closer in Boston. Felt that way when he replaced Jonathan Papelbon. The acquisition of Bailey was the lone bright spot in the Nuclear Autumn and Winter of 2011-12.

His 19-pitch, three-strikeout save Wednesday was Papelbon-esque in its drama. "That was a manly save," pitching coach Juan Nieves told the Globe, in another refreshing episode of political incorrectness from the Red Sox. Keep this up boys and I'll buy Wally dolls for all my nieces and nephews.

Are the Celtics done?

The door on this team closed when Kendrick Perkins went down in the 2010 NBA Finals.

Will the Bruins "flip the switch" in time for the playoffs?

They will play better than in May than they played in April. Thursday's win over Tampa Bay was minimal progress. It's not encouraging that lines are still subject to change at this date. In their defense, they tried to get the best possible players to help out late in the season. The Jarome Iginla decision wasn't theirs, but they were able to get Jagr and Carl Soderberg, both of whom will continue to improve as the playoffs progress.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

After Krystle Campbell's funeral, Medford priest finds peace at Fenway Park

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 23, 2013 10:30 PM

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Monday was a difficult and solemn day for many around Boston, including Father Chip Hines.

He, like several thousand baseball fans, also found some solace in the Red Sox game later that night.

Guarantee his day was tougher than yours, though. As the parish priest at St. Joseph Roman Catholic church on High Street in Medford, it was his obligation and privilege to offer the funeral mass for Krystle Campbell in the morning.

Campbell, 29, who lived in Arlington, Medford and Somerville during her brief but brilliant life, perished last Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

For Fr. Hines, 45, this was both a personal and professional challenge.

But not a spiritual one.

Hines.jpg"I just let the Holy Spirit take over," he told the OBF blog in a lengthy conversation Tuesday. Fr. Hines [at left] was not technically the chief officiant of the Mass, since Cardinal O'Malley was in attendance. But it was his Fr. Hines' task to not only perform the majority of the service - which was closed to the media and cameras at the family's request - but also do his best to comfort the Campbell family and those who knew and loved Krystle dearly.

All of this under the watchful eyes of his boss, the Cardinal, more than a thousand mourners, the Campbell family and - of course - the Big Man Upstairs.

"Having the Cardinal there was comforting, but I also had butterflies. It's not often we work in front of our bosses like that," Hines said.

Hines has been a priest at St. Joe's since last July. He came from a parish in Wrentham. The service, from all accounts, was beautiful, solemn and comforting to those in attendance.

Talk about performing in the clutch.

"I spoke to her parents [Patricia and William Campbell Jr.] and her brother, [Billy] for about an hour on Friday. They told me all about her and I shared it with the congregation Monday. "

Fr. Hines relayed those words here verbatim, as he did during Monday's service.

“Unselfish. Kind. Always willing to help. Always put herself last. Hard worker. Couldn’t say no. Always smiling. Adventurous. No trouble. Try anything once. Loved to dance. Took care of everyone, remembered birthdays and loved life.”

Fr. Hines said he's heard nothing negative about Campbell, which is to be expected when remembering a young life that was lost in such such an evil manner.

An R.I.P Krystle Campbell Facebook page has more than 75,000 likes and has been loaded with personal tributes and photos, including the shot of her above in the Tom Brady jersey. "But even in private, it's all good. She really was a wonderful person," Hines said. "I got an email from a State Trooper I know who knew Krystle when she worked for the Summer Shack in Hingham. He told me 'everything they're saying about Krystle is true.'"

As he writes in this week's church bulletin:

"With the possible exception of “loved to dance”, (but hey who knows) we can see the Christ like message of these descriptions. Jesus was unselfish, always willing to help, he put himself last, took care of everyone and loves life. Now that doesn’t mean we canonize Krystle, after all she was a human being, with all the flaws that come with being a human being ... but these words do provide us with the framework of how we can live our lives, still be flawed, but strive for an imitation of Christ."

But the Father knows words can only help so much.

"I didn't want to say too much, especially in my speech, because I knew no matter what I said, no matter how many kind words people say about her, no matter what I can say to her family, nothing is going to bring her back. I wish it would," he told the OBF blog.

So sad, so true.

As is the case for priests, pastors, rabbis, counselors or anyone who deals with human tragedy on a daily basis, their lives aren't completely defined by their work.

Fr. Hines was born in Medford and graduated from Reading High School in 1986. Like so many others from Greater Boston, Fr. Hines is a vocal and passionate Boston sports fan. His email address even includes a "33" in tribute to a certain hick from French Lick.

The father - and his father - had decided to attend the Red Sox game Monday - and shared that news via Twitter - after thanking so many followers for their thoughts and prayers.

"I posted on my Twitter account that I was going to the game," he recalled. "I was at dinner with my dad and the phone rang. I didn't answer because it was from an unrecognized number. I checked the message and it was a woman from the Red Sox. They wanted to know if we wanted to upgrade our seats."

Sure, why not?

"I met her at the gate and she took care of everything."

Instead of right-field box seats somewhere below the Budwesier sign for the fathers Hines, it was two tickets to the posh EMC club - with all the benefits.

"I don't know how it happened. I have no idea who said what to who - or how they got my number," he said. "But sometimes you have friends who have connections you don't know about. The Red Sox were really gracious to us. They asked for nothing and wanted no notoriety."

One example of sports helping the healing process - with the help of some unknown ticket angel - one priest at a time.

"Sports has been so important in the past week," Fr. Hines said. "You're gathering a lot of people in one place, whether it's at the Garden or Fenway Park, and it allows them that sort of civic moment where we're all together. It's kind of a concentrated moment. Sports in Boston is so important. We're indoctrinated from a young age. We follow them and bleed their colors and offers us an opportunity to come together and have some enjoyment even if it's just a moment for us to get together and talk and laugh."

That relief was never needed in Boston more than last Wednesday at the Garden. And again on Saturday back at the Garden and Fenway Park, Watching the Celtics in the playoffs and pondering the Patriots' moves in this week's draft was also part of the necessary return to normal.

We know where Boston's sports teams were in all of this, but where was God?

"That was my message on Sunday," Fr. Hines said. "The Good Shepherd was there on Monday. He was there in the EMTs. He was there the police and first responders who rushed in to help without concern for their safety. He was there in the people who aided the victims and in the medical personnel."

One of the most painful stats from this past week's murder and mayhem was that the four victims who died - and many of the seriously injured and amputee victims - were under 30 years old. Those who were killed - ranging from 8-year-old Martin, to 23-year-old Lingzi, to 27-year-old Sean to 29-year-old Krystle - had so much life unlived. Martin Richard and Sean Collier were laid to rest Tuesday and there was a memorial service for Lu Lingzi at BU Monday night.

Only the good die young, it seems. But why?

"That's a question that's way above my pay grade," Fr. Hines said. " The marathon brings out young people - it's an inexpensive and fun thing to do with your family and a moment of civic pride in Boston. People love it. Why does an 8-year-old boy or a 23-year-old girl from China go to a marathon? They were all there to cheer on human good. That' was a beautiful thing. Why do young people have do die like this? I wish I knew - there's no explaining it."

The feeling of community that's enveloped Boston and Massachusetts in the past eight days will fade, but not completely disappear, Fr. Hines said. "Uniting us around the common idea that when something happens to one of us -- it happens to all of us. That feeling will not go away."

So what did the Good Father think when David Ortiz dropped his historic f-bomb on Fenway Park Saturday. He said he wasn't offended in the least - and laughed out loud.

"It was perfect. It summed up Boston. Ortiz is not a native Bostonian. But he gets it," Fr. Hines said. "We all appreciated that the the Yankees played "Sweet Caroline," but we all want to still kick their ass."

Amen, Father.

Amen.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Big Papi's f-bomb one for ages in Boston

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 23, 2013 07:35 PM

David Ortiz was refreshing and blunt Saturday, inspiring Boston and its fans with these simple words: ‘‘This is our (expletive) city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.’’ 14 words. When it came to ‘f-bombs’ – he indeed dropped the Big One. Ortiz’s words – vulgarities and all – put a bow on the most difficult week in the city’s history since muskets fired on Bunker Hill.

But how does it rank?

On our list, his quote now rests a top the list of all-time memorable Boston sports quotes. He wasn’t the first athlete to hold the public microphone and use one of those infamous “seven famous dirty words” that so many of us hear from Dad each time the Bruins fail on the power play, the Red Sox give up a home run, the Celtics miss a free throw, or the Patriots drop a pass.

Boston has produced some memorable sports quotes, from athletes, coaches and even team owners.

We've decided to list several of our all-time favorites in this gallery posted elsewhere on boston.com.

Check it out and let us know some of your favorites.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.


'60 Minutes' Twitter feed hacked as '48 Hours' airs Marathon special

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 20, 2013 10:51 PM

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The official twitter account of the CBS show "60 Minutes" was hacked late Saturday night and suspended for the second time in less than 24 hours, this time by someone posting sympathetic Tweets for the Syrian government and opposing the United States' involvement there.

Earlier Saturday, both the "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" accounts were hacked. But had been posting later in the day.

Both accounts were still down Sunday. CBS confirmed the earlier attack but not the second one.

The attack occurred while a "48 Hours" special about the Boston Marathon bombings was airing on the same network. That account was also suspended Saturday night.

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A group calling itself the "Syrian Cyber Army" took the credit this time - in a Tweet that originated in Indonesian.

An outfit called the "Syrian Electrionic Army" launched a similar attack on NPR last week.

The first hacked Tweet was posted at about 10:31 p.m. Eastern and a stream of about 20 posts ridiculing President Obama, the United States and supporting the Syrian government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, flowed continually for about 20 minutes before the account was finally suspended.

One Tweet showed a Photoshopped version of the president morphed into Alfred E. Neuman with the quote: "We don't negotiate with terrorists because we are the terrorists."

Wonder who's next?

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Freedoms ring at Fenway, Boston Garden

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 20, 2013 03:17 PM


(Note profane content - that you all heard on live TV.)

This day was about freedom.

People on the streets. Business as usual. A sold-out Garden. A crowd of some sort at Fenway Park. Bombing suspects dead or in custody.

There were multiple examples of free speech on display at Fenway Park and Boston Garden Saturday - ranging from the beautiful and inspirational to the extreme and overboard.

There were video tributes at both venues. A moving pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park honored the political leaders, law enforcement personnel, first-responders, medical providers, civilian heroes, BAA volunteers and marathoners.

There were tears, grateful applause, moments of silence.

Then there was David Ortiz.

Ortiz dropped the hydrogen bomb of F-bombs during the Red Sox' moving ceremony before Saturday's game against the Royals. He boldly told the world that his Boston was "our f--king city" and no one was going to tell it what to do.

"The shirt we wear today doesn't say Red Sox, it says 'Boston,'" Ortiz said. "This is our f--king city. And no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."

In one sentence he wiped out what was left from a year-and-a-half of ill-will toward the Red Sox and cemented his stature among the city's sports legends.

And allowed a city and country to let it all out.

It felt f--king awesome!

His eloquence may have earned Ortiz another two-year contract extension.

$26 million? Make it $36 million.

Every Boston-character ever brought to life by Seth McFarlane, Matt Damon or Ben Affleck would be proud.

Time to replace "Wally" with "TED."

In a city where f-bombs flow freer than Dunkin' Donuts coffee - Ortiz dropped the biggest one of all time.

Picture the new signs at Logan: "Welcome To Boston. This Is "Our F--king City." Got That?"

They're also revising the list of all-time top 10 sports quotes - with this somewhere between Allen Iverson's dissertation on "practice" and Lee Elia's classic 1983 tirade.

Even the FCC got involved - although the remarks were not aired live on broadcast TV, just radio - and said it's all good. The FCC doesn't have any control over cable or satellite channels. Meanwhile, ESPN feed of the event was muted when Ortiz dropped the big one.

Before the Red Sox and Bruins games, the crowds at Fenway and the Garden solidified the newest Boston tradition - fans going all-in during the National Anthem. It was, despite what you have read, hardly acapella since the organist continued to play.

Rene Rancourt and the rest of the folks who sing the National Anthem in Boston can now retire.

There was Daniel Nava's three-run homer in the eighth - that elicited this great tag line from NESN's Don Orsillo: "Boston this is for you."

And even "Sweet Caroline" was a hit - thanks to Neil Diamond's live appearance at Fenway where he sang , lip-synced performed his trademark tune. Diamond flew in from California on his own (expense and without notice) and just asked if he could give back to Boston.

It was awkward. embarrassing and wonderfully inspirational - all in the same moment.

Class A Class.

The Red Sox won their seventh straight, 4-3, over the Royals.

Boston is back and so are the Red Sox.

Bruins announcer Jack Edwards pushed free-speech to its limits of non-profane sensibility during the Bruins' game. During the first period, he compared Pittsburgh's reformed thug-in-residence Matt Cooke - of the Marc Savard hit - to Sirhan Sirhan - of the Robert Kennedy assassination.

Here's the nut of what he said: "Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is about the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan as the prisoner of the year."

Another all-time top 10 sports quote - for the wrong reasons.

Funny, for about one second.

It was one of those crazy things you hear, but can't really believe you heard it, until you realize you did.

Misplaced passion after a long and extremely trying week.

As soon as Edwards realized his temporary insanity and failed attempt at hyperbole, he apologized via Twitter.

It takes class to recognize your mistake and publicly apologize for it before most others do. And it was undoubtedly sincere.

But that wasn't before - nor did it stop - the self-righteous internet from trying to storm the high ground. Interwebbers went after Edwards, as soon as many of them Googled Sirhan Sirhan.

One national post criticizing Edwards went so far as to link to Sirhan's "Wikipedia" page.

Nothing like going right to source, Woodward. Who said journalism was dead?

Edwards is bombastic, emotional and a Bruins' fan. That's why his broadcasts are so enjoyable on NESN. He also grew up in New Hampshire and is old enough to remember the death of Robert Kennedy. Does anyone honestly think he believes the hit Cooke put on Savard equates the death of the third Kennedy brother?

Ridiculous.

He gets a pass on this one, as would anyone after what he and the rest of Boston and those close to it have gone through in the past week.

Freedom to speak, freedom to offend, freedom to apologize, freedom to forgive.

Deal with it, haters.

Perhaps the Bruins should apologize for their play of late - even though they were haunted by Jarome Iginla - whose goal was the difference in Saturday's 3-2 loss.

Meanwhile, fans will continue to tune into Edwards and follow the Bruins - for as long as they play this spring.

And the Celtics, and Red Sox into the fall, and Patriots - via the draft this week and beyond.

Because sports matter. They give us reason to get happy, sad, glad and angry over things that don't matter.

Because they connect and unify us in a way that nothing else quite can.

Because this is Boston.

"Our F--king City."

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

NASCAR mourns Collier, honors victims

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 19, 2013 12:12 PM

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NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Clint Bowyer is one of three drivers for Michael Waltrip Racing who replaced the number on the side of their car with Boston Marathon bibs Friday to honor the victims and their families in Monday's bombings.

The drivers debuted their new number schemes before practice for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway and will use it all weekend.

Bowyer's No. 15 Marathon bib is on the side of his 5-Hour Energy Toyota.

Martin Truex Jr, No. 56, and Mark Martin in the No. 55, are the other two drivers honoring the Marathon victims for MWR.

Waltrip ran the Boston Marathon in 2000 and drove the No. 26 car in the Daytona 500 for Swan Racing that honored the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings "It was a great moment of pride when they pinned the Boston Marathon bib on me," he told the Associated Press. "So it would be great to pin bib numbers on our races cars this week in Kansas."

Swan Racing will also honor the victims with a special "Prayers for Boston" paint scheme.

Tara Davis, a Boston native and wife of Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis, said, "Boston is a strong, united community and will not be intimidated."

Driver of the No. 30 "Prayers for Boston" Toyota, David Stremme, said, "The NASCAR community rallies together in times of need. Hopefully, we can help add a little comfort with our message of 'Prayers for Boston' on the car."

Meanwhile, another part of the NASCAR family was personally affected by the loss of Sean Collier.

Collier, 26 is the heroic MIT police officer who was killed Thursday night in Cambridge by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Collier's brother, Andrew, is a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department. Andrew, 25, joined Hendrick Motorsports in September 2008.

"We ask that the family’s privacy be considered during this difficult time," HMS said in a statement.

Sean Collier lived in Somerville.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

10 views of the best National Anthem ever

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 18, 2013 10:04 AM

Unexpected.

Unbelievable.

The only thing better than Rene Racourt singing the National Anthem Wednesday night happened...everyone signing the National Anthem before the Boston Bruins game at TD Garden.

Boston didn't disappoint. As if you ever thought it would?

Think of this as you try and get through whatever it is you're dealing with - including the emotion of Thursday's interfaith service.

Liz Walker, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios and Mayor Menino batting 1-2-3.

Only in Boston, baby.

All-in.

Just like at the Garden, Wednesday night.

Rene handled the first 13 words, the Garden crowd handled the rest.

First, the NBC video version that we all saw:

But NBC didn't have the only cameras capturing this historic rendition.

Hundreds of clips of the Anthem filled You Tube by Thursday morning. Most of the clips on You Tube were ripped versions of the TV feed, but there were video cameras and smartphones were capturing the moment - or two - throughout the Garden.

These fans were able to convey the view from the cheap and not-so-cheap seats.

This clip - shot by You Tube user Dan Nadeau from right along the glass in the corner on ice level offers the full pre-game ceremony and a terrific feel for what it was like to be a fan in the Garden stands. Along with a bit of the sing-along - up close and personal



Another You Tube user, Geoffrey Blass, gave us this perspective.



Here was the view and acoustics from the Garden press box, via WEEI's Mike Petraglia:



From the loge seats:



Some folks were just a little off (Francis Scott) Key. The look on the face of the boy in this clip is priceless. Hopefully, the memory of all that BostonStrong will be seared into his memory whenever he gets scared about what happened on Monday.



It did sound a lot better from the rafters:



Maybe this guy started the "USA" and "Let's Go Boston" chants? In any case, next time, horizontal, please...



Same here, but another good job, good effort when it came to signing the anthem.


OK, I give up on the whole horizontal thing. The crowd came through loud and clear - no matter the shape of the image.


"Massachusetts invented America," Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday.

Got that one right, governor.

And its people showed the world how to do the National Anthem Wednesday night.

Well done, Boston.

Well done.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell were all of us

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 16, 2013 11:31 PM

Photos - Facebook.jpg

Fans forever.

Martin Richard and Krystle Campbell.

How many of us have taken the same photo?

Every parent I know has done with their son or daughter on that first trip to Fenway, the Garden or Gillette Stadium.

"Stand right there so I can get the Monster in the background."

I have the photos of my son at all three.

And it's not always kids.

Standing up at the Garden - with your Celtics or Bruins shirt. Perhaps during the warmups, a time out or after a Celtics or Bruins victory.

Sneaking down to the first row at Fenway. Past the old crusty ushers, either flashing them a smile or - back in the day - a buck or two - to get down and get that moment when you're thisclose to Yaz/Rice/Clemens/Pedro/Ortiz/Pedroia.

Proof that indeed, you were there.

Tonight at the Garden, we will all be there - either in person or watching on NBC Sports Channel.

Rene Rancourt's national anthem will be one for the You Tube books.

And all that emotion Boston has held back the past two days will come pouring forth from thousands of fans in person and millions across the country.

Richard and Campbell were murdered (ugly word but apt) Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Their only crime was that they were fans who wanted to be there.

The tearful remarks from Campbell's mother in Medford were unbearable to witness, as were the reactions of neighbors and friends of the Richard family in Dorchester.

Although she grew up in Somervile and Medford, Campbell lived in Arlington in the final months of her way-too-short life. Based on the accounts from her family and friends, and the digital legacy she left on Facebook and elsewhere, it's an honor for both cities and the town to claim her.

News of her death did not come via ABC bulletin, @BostonGlobe or the lastest updates from WBZ or Fox News. It came via a Facebook post - put up before Campbell's name was officially confirmed. Campbell's former employer - the Summer Shack restaurant - and her gym of choice - Hordon Health - also posted messages of mourning.

Campbell's death hit home - literally. There have now been five terror attacks on American soil in the past 20 years - the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, 9-11, the shootings at Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon bombings. I can now say that there was a victim from my hometown of Arlington.

Unlucky her.

Campbell worked as a manager at Jimmy's Steer House, which is one of the oldest "sit down" (as we used to call it) restaurants in Arlington. That means it's not a pizza place. Jimmy's has been around since the Nixon administration and is as Arlington as Spy Pond, the No. 77 Mass. Ave bus or multiple Dunkin' Donuts locations. Because she worked at Jimmy's, she came into contact with thousands of people a week, including my sister-in-law this past Friday night.

Among the others she came into contact with during her 29 years - her 30th birthday would be next month - was Judi Shaw, a family friend, who was from Arlington but now lives in Milford.

"Krystle was a shining light. A spirit of happiness and hope and optimism. All who knew her were attracted to her beautiful smile and loving heart," Shaw said Tuesday.

This 2009 video from Campbell's days at the Summer Shack also offers a glimpse of her spirit.

Here's a portion of the tribute posted by Hordon Health:

Campbell.jpgKrystle was seldom caught not smiling, and not expressing her opinion. She was beautiful, she was loud, and everyone loved her for it. Along with the million dollar smile came head to toe freckles and gorgeous bright red hair, connecting her Irish roots and kid-like manor; it was easy to feel ten years younger around her, no matter who you were. She had tremendous passion and energy, and Krystle attacked life with vigor and excitement.

Opinionated, loud, passionate, energetic, Irish.

My God, if that isn't your textbook definition of a Boston sports fan - I don't know what is.

And she was indeed beautiful, to boot.

It was that passion that drew her to the finish line of the Marathon - again - on Monday as it had done every year since she was a girl. As both a fan of Boston, sports and - this time - to cheer on her a friend's boyfriend crossing the finish line.

Richard, reports say, was an all-too-typical "All-American" 8-year-old Dorchester boy who was "always chasing a ball."

A neighbor told The Globe that Richard and his brother were always in the family’s backyard, playing soccer, hockey, or baseball.

His entire family was at the finish line.

Like so many other families.

His mother and younger sister remained hospitalized Tuesday. That, too, is all too common in Boston these days.

Boston began its long journey back Tuesday. The first-place Red Sox did their share to help divert our eyes, trouncing Terry Francona and the Indians 7-2.

For those who want to get involved personally, a "Run For Boston" Facebook page organized by the BCS Marathon in College Station, Texas, was launched Tuesday and had more than 11,000 Facebook likes in seven hours.

The page is asking runners everywhere to "gather in groups of any size, wear blue and yellow and run together as a sign of solidarity for the people and runners of Boston." They also ask that you or your group take a photo with the words "Run For Boston" and Wednesday's date - 4/17 - and post it on "Run for Boston" Facebook page.

The Bruins return to the ice Wednesday night at the Garden against Buffalo, Boston's first big public pro sporting event since Monday's attacks.

The lines will be long, security will be tight, the tension before the game will be stomach churning. There will be nervous buzz around the Garden all afternoon. Each loud noise will turn heads.

The crowd will be orderly, almost reverent. No one wants to be the first DB to get arrested for being too drunk or acting like a jackass less than three days after the city - and nation - was ripped apart.

Do you take the kids? Do you bring the wife/girlfriend/significant other? Do you go yourself?

Knowing Boston and having two siblings who are members the Boston Garden Club - the answers will be a solid "yes" across the board.

Everyone at the Garden tonight will be fans just like Martin Richard and Krystle Campbell.

#BostonStrong

Forever.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Marathon, Boston will overcome heartache

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 15, 2013 09:16 PM

Heartbreak Hill?

No, just a hill of heartache.

Actually a mountain.

Along with plenty of anger.

Sadness.

Fear.

Terror.

Pride.

Bewilderment.

Anguish.

Mostly pain.

They attacked the heart and soul of Boston Monday. Twice. Right at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Right in Copley Square. At 2:50 p.m. On Patriot's Day. Our own personal holiday. For those outside Massachusetts (and Maine), Patriot's Day is like a snow day without the snow.

This came about an hour after the Red Sox game ended. Just enough time for the folks streaming out of Fenway to stroll over to the Marathon finish line after a stop at the McDonald's in Kenmore Square.

About four hours into the race. Just when the bulk of charity runners were hoping to reach Mile No. 26.2. It was perfect timing. The most people at the most-watched spot. Softest target available.

Maximum effect.

Mission accomplished.

You can leave Boston but Boston never leaves you.

The pain - there's that word again - that came through the TV set, computer screen and across Twitter and Facebook was sickening.

Like so many of you, the pride of getting to say "I grew up in Massachusetts" or "I'm from Boston" has never been deeper than it is today. The people who live in Boston and those who grew up within its scope carry toughness, resiliency, a little arrogance and Jupiter-sized nads - when warranted - in their DNA, whether they be male or female.

These are not empty platitudes amid the rubble, shattered bodies and death inflicted Monday. Having been in the middle of the Columbine shooting during a term working in the newspaper business in Denver, I sadly know how this goes.

From a national or international perspective, the good wishes of the country and world will fade. It happened in Denver, and even New York in a sense after 9-11. But it becomes personal for the people in those cities or from those cities.

New York has become forever branded by 9-11.

Denver carried Columbine until it was replaced by Aurora.

This is forever a part of Boston - and the fact that it happened during the Marathon has pushed it into the sports world. The worst kind of sports story. Where the real world gets in the way. Bad. Munich 1972 bad.

The history of the Marathon and the city will forever include a lead sentence about what happened Monday.

I'll leave the who and the how for others.

The why here is simple: Someone hates freedom.

Boston has always felt safe. There is random, and sometimes not so random, crime there like any other city. But no one could have imagined - at least people who don't specialize in fighting crime and terrorism - that the Boston Marathon would be attacked with at least two bombs - right in the heart of the Marathon's prime time.

Of all my travels in and out of the City of Boston - starting as far back as I can remember which would be my first trip to Fenway at age five - I always felt safe. Explosions. Mass assaults. Terrorism, or acts of terror, happened elsewhere. Walking anywhere near or around the Back Bay, Downtown, Commonwealth Avenue, Boylston Street, Brighton or the North End - even at night - was done without a second thought - day or night.

Even Mrs. Obnoxious, who attended Simmons College and Suffolk Law School, roamed those campuses and the rest of the city without concern.

Sports and politics are the top two spectator sports in this city. Arguments are settled by those who have the loudest voice, the best comeback or the most votes. And after a few beers, even fists. But not with bombs.

Bombings and the like were for other cities. Boston was too smart, too smart-assed, to be a ripped apart like this. The images of war in Boston were 238 years old. They're not supposed to be filling your Twitter feed in 2013, proliferating this website and others.

It was supposed to be the perfect sports day. Red Sox in the morning, Marathon in the afternoon, Bruins at night. It's nearly a straight shot from Fenway to Copley Square, before veering left toward TD Garden. Hours of non-stop NESN. Instead, it was the worst day possible.

Sorry running fans, but the big story Monday was supposed to be Mike Napoli's wrist-flick walkoff double in the bottom of the ninth at Fenway Park.

The 8-4 Red Sox were rolling out of town in first place with the best team ERA in the American League at 1.99. The non-sellout crowd was treated to a memorable Patriot's Day win, right out of the of the Mark Loretta school of Patriot's Day baseball. All of this came after Ryan Dempster fanned 10 Rays over seven innings.

Andrew Bailey came in and promptly blew the lead in the top of the ninth, before getting the win in true Victory Vulture style.

A Red Sox showdown with their former boss Terry Francona awaits Tuesday night in Cleveland.

And there was more we were supposed to be talking about.

Later Monday, as people sifted through Marathon results to see how their brother-in-law and cousin did, the Bruins were going to take another push for first place against the Ottawa Senators, playing them for the 57th time this month.

There was still lots to discuss about the Masters - and the afterglow of the Tiger Rule and how it seems to apply in every part of his game - on and off the course.

The Patriots once again outsmarted themselves and lost a shot at shoring up their receiving corps when the Steelers matched a paltry offer on Emmanuel Sanders.

The Celtics were setting themselves up for their first-round matchup against the Knicks. KG vs. Melo and all that.

All great sports stories.

Nope - instead we got this:

And this, from former Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who later Tweeted that he and his family were OK.

In addition to the shock, so many were awe-struck by the incredible mass display of compassion, courage and competency of the first-responders, medical personnel and thousands of others who stepped up and dealt with this all-too-real Hollywood thriller.

Not to mention the runners themselves.

Some those runners picked themselves up literally, like Bill Iffrig, the 78-year-old multiple marathoner who was blown down by the first explosion at the finish line.

He was immortalized in the above Globe photo showing Boston's Finest at their finest.

Pride. Integrity. Guts. Indeed.

What did Iffrig do after the blast?

He got up and finished the race, naturally.

Boston, forever scarred, will get up and start again.

Always has.

Someday very soon.

There's no other way.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Kobe Bryant's post-injury Facebook rant

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 13, 2013 08:57 AM

Kobe Bryant took to Facebook early today to vent about his injury to his 16 million Facebook followers. In its first two hours, the rant received more than 132,000 likes, 22,000 comments and 26,000 shares. The post went up about 7 a.m. Eastern.

Here's what he had to say:

"This is such BS! All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I've done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen ?!? Makes no damn sense.

Now I'm supposed to come back from this and be the same player Or better at 35?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that??

I have NO CLUE. Do I have the consistent will to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that
was. Maybe this is how my book ends.

Maybe Father Time has defeated me...Then again maybe not! It's 3:30am, my foot feels like dead weight, my head is spinning from the pain meds and I'm wide awake.

Forgive my Venting but what's the purpose of social media if I won't bring it to you Real No Image?? Feels good to vent, let it out. To feel as if THIS is the WORST thing EVER!

Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever.

One day, the beginning of a new career journey will commence. Today is NOT that day.

"If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear". (I've) always loved that quote. Thats "mamba mentality" we don't quit, we don't cower, we don't run. We endure and conquer.

I know it's a long post but I'm Facebook Venting LOL. Maybe now I can actually get some sleep and be excited for surgery tomorrow. First step of a new challenge.

Guess I will be Coach Vino the rest of this season. I have faith in my teammates. They will come thru.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. Much Love Always.

Mamba Out"

Enough said.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Patriots, Dennard catch Big Red break

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 13, 2013 08:05 AM

Dennard - Globe.jpg

The highlight of the Alfonzo Dennard trial came when his attorney - who was just doing his job - tried to explain that even if Dennard, a cornerback with the Patriots, assaulted a police officer in Nebraska back on April 20, 2012, it was "five minutes" of bad behavior that should be weighed against a lifetime of law-abiding citizenry.

Brilliant stuff.

Everyone should be given a "five-minute" pass during their lifetime to do whatever they want - without serious consequence - for at least a year, pending appeal.

I would like to take my "five-minute" pass in Las Vegas, with any credit card that carries a $10,000,000 limit. And leave just enough to cover legal fees.

Imagine what a "five minute" pass would do on the field of play?

A "five-minute" pass - especially one without jail time attached - would do wonders - even for the man who has everything. Tom Brady, for instance could use the 1:20 that was left on the clock before David Tyree's catch in Glendale, and the remaining 3:39 on the clock during the Giants' final drive when they had 1st and 10 at the 50 in Super Bowl XLVI.

He'd have two more Super Bowl rings plus a whole second to spare.

Bob Stanley could use a re-do against Mookie Wilson.

Same for Bill Lee when he faced Tony Perez for the final time in the 1975 World Series.

Grady Little would only need about 30 seconds.

And Rick Pitino less time than that.

It might not do much good for the Celtics, since they would have needed 6:12 to close out the Lakers in Game 7 back in 2010.

The Bruins could parse it out to prevent all those concussion inducing hits on Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand in recent years.

In the real world, if the cops had gotten to Sandy Hook five minutes sooner, or if all those soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan knew that much ahead of time where the IEDs and snipers were ...

You get the picture.

Five minutes can be an eternity.

Dennard, who was convicted of felony assault on a police officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest, could have gotten five years in the big house. His sentence: 30 days in jail and 2 years of probation, along with 100 hours of "law-enforcement related" community service.

A lot more than five minutes, but nothing along the lines the 19 years imposed on Jean Valjean.

Perhaps Dennard can change his number "37" to "24601" in protest until his sentence is reduced.

There was nothing in the sentence about "pass-defense" related service, but there's still time to appeal - since he doesn't have to do serve any jail time until March of 2014. That means the full 2013 NFL season and what celebration or despair that will follow.

The underlying point here is that the Patriots are in such rough straights in their defensive secondary, that their whole 2013 plan hinged on whether or not Dennard - who had three interceptions and forced fumble in 2012 - would escape jail time during the season.

Bill Belichick, who would not even pick up the phone or post a Tweet to keep Wes Welker in the fold, wrote a long letter to the judge in Nebraska in support of Dennard.

Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini offered a letter of support, as well.

And in a further stroke of attorney-guided brilliance, Dennard showed up at the sentencing wearing his Nebraska red letterman's jacket.

Who said letterman jackets don't work?

Go Big Red.

Missed Belichick's letter, but it probably went something along these lines:

Your Honor:


______________ is a wonderful human being and benefit to the community. I ask for your sympathy when considering his sentence, especially since we have to face Wes Welker and Peyton Manning next season and we need all the help I can get in the secondary. It's bad enough we had to sign Kyle Arrington to a four-year deal, but Talib remains a long-term wildcard so having Dennard around next season would be a huge help.


He's also one of the few recent picks on defense that have really made me look good. If he goes away for five years, my record might never recover.


It the words of my former boss: "It is what it is."


XOXO,
Hoodie

It will be a challenge for the Patriots to suspend Dennard after going to bad for him in court. Did Belichick promise to keep Dennard's punishment "in-house" if the judge gave him a break? The NFL "personal conduct" policy technically may not apply because Dennard was not an NFL employee when the no-longer alleged incident occurred. The NFL said it will investigate the incident. The players' union will have a field day with any suspension, if it happens. Mike Vick and Plaxico Burress, among others, have been allowed back into the league after doing their time.

Save for the likes of Vick, what athletes do off the field doesn't bother nearly many fans as it used to - unless it directly affects the athlete's performance. If someone like Dennard breaks the law or the rules, it's up to the law enforcement community, criminal justice system and league to deal with it.

From a strict fan standpoint - if an athlete like Vick is legally cleared to play, and he's served whatever criminal punishment and league suspension that was warranted - then he ought to be allowed to play. Plumbers and construction workers who do time aren't banned from their line of work after going to jail, why should football players?

It's not all bad. Sometimes - athletes can provide even better mug shots than Lindsay Lohan.

It's a very icy, downhill road when feel-gooders start placing moral perimeters on professional athletes that are absent everywhere else in the public realm. Responsible athletes know they are role models, whether they like to be or not. But not everyone is responsible 100 percent of the time, whether they play football or work as a nanny

How many people base their musical tastes on the personal lives or criminal pasts of the band members? Thinking few if any. Same with singers, You Tube sensations, comedians, poets, writers, journalists, sports columnists (if you only knew), TV anchors, radio talk-show hosts, artists, painters, actors and actresses. And especially politicians.

And you have no idea if the guy repairing your transmission just finished 2 1/2 years at Cedar Junction for armed robbery and is currently on probation.

When it comes to athletes, people pay to see professionals perform because they're good at what they do - not because they are good people.

From all accounts, Carl Crawford is a really swell guy - except when it comes to his assessment of Boston. But I don't want to see him in a Red Sox uniform again, even if he's hitting .450 for the Dodgers in the National/International Class AAA League because he could not perform here. It was good to see Crawford in the middle of it during Thursday night's melee between the Dodgers and Padres. For another $20 million he might even throw a punch.

J.D. Drew is headed for sainthood, according to what State Run Media told us. Drew, the former Red Sox right fielder, always kept to himself, was "family focused" and never made the Herald's Inside Track column. But he also left 14 million runners in scoring position and played with less hustle than George Scott on Old Timer's Day.

Even Josh Beckett raised thousands for charity through his annual Beckett Bowl. Good for him. But he also let himself go, didn't care and wanted everyone to know it. Enjoy life in California, Chubs.

Professional sports teams have their share of scoundrels, just like the workforce at the local factory, bank, post office, brokerage house, restaurant, newsroom, police department, supermarket, house of worship, mall, elementary school, federal office building and State House.

No one wants convicted felons on their favorite team. But they become a necessary evil at times. We don't live in Fantasy Land. There are likely people in your office or company, firm, union or workplace who have done the same or worse than Dennard. And they're still employed.

Depending on whom you ask, it's considered illegal to discriminate against someone with a criminal record when hiring. Companies can even get a tax credit for doing so. These felons hopefully get help, find some guidance in their lives and make amends, financial and otherwise, in addition to becoming productive citizens, like Dennard.

As far as Dennard's punishment goes, his attorney correctly argued that Dennard lost millions of potential dollars because his stock plunged leading up to the 2010 draft following his arrest.

But that doesn't balance the scales of justice. If you're convicted of hitting a cop by a Cornhusker-loving jury of your peers, you've earned the loss of your freedom.

Even if it's for just 30 days 11 months from now.

In the meantime, Dennard is a Patriot.

Until they can find someone better.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Marchand injury bad joke across Twitter

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 11, 2013 07:28 PM

Each day, Twitter offers millions of users the opportunity to make fools of themselves. And when you combine that bitterness fans of the Vancouver Canucks still feel against the Bruins - you're likely to strike fools' gold.

Thursday, Northlands Golf Course in Vancouver hit the Twitter motherlode and captured "Sports Buffoon of the Day" social media honors for its celebratory Tweet regaling in Anton Volchenkov'shead-bashing of a defenseless Brad Marchand in Boston's 5-4 win over New Jersey Wednesday.

The Northlands Golf Course Twitter account posted the following Tweet Thursday: "Anton Volchenkov receives free golf for the rest of the year @NorthlandsCG for this," followed by a link to above You Tube video of Volchenkov's crack on Marchand.

Now we know what happened to Carl Spackler. He's become the Social Media Director at Northlands.

Reaction from Bruins fans and others on Twitter was harsh:

And this from the home fans:

The golf course soon deleted the offending Tweet and posted an apology.

It also wished "Brad Marchand a speedy recovery."

The "apology" only makes things worse in this case. Stupidity topped with a scoop of insincerity. These golfers are lacking when it comes to balls, as well as brains.

Not all of Twitter was flush with good feelings toward Marchand.

The hate was coming from many fronts - and lots of it can't be printed here. Among the bile:

Gloting in 140 characters or less because an opponent was injured - especially after the offender was suspended - is all part of social media's ugly underbelly. This and worse happens constantly.

Patriots' fan Katie Moody mocked Ravens WR Torrey Smith in Baltimore about the death of his brother less than 24 hours after it happened during the Pats' loss to the Ravens last fall. She later apologized and shut down the Twitter account that sent the Tweet.

According to its website, Northlands Golf Course is: "Scenic, Tranquil & Spectacular - This is West Coast Golf at its Finest!" If didn't say anything about being run by rubes.

Marchand's been diagnosed with a mild concussion.

Volchenkov got four games for the thuggery, which might have been the biggest miscarriage of NHL justice since Matt Cooke was suspended for zero games after his hit all-but ended Marc Savard's career.

Of course, Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard got nothing for 11 months after being convicted of hitting a police officer. His 30-day jail sentence is set to be served in March of 2014, pending many appeals.

Somewhere the scales of justice must be under repair this week.

The four-game suspension Aaron Rome was given for ending Nathan Horton's participation in the 2011 Cup finals was equally absurd as Volchenkov's.

But after that hit, Marchand and the rest of the Bruins became physical and beat the snot out of the Canucks the rest of the series.

There was no retaliation delivered Wednesday - as Anton the Coward was given a game misconduct and the Bruins were more focused on protecting their lead. The Devils aren't going to the playoffs and the Bruins won't see Anton until next season at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Bruins slipped back into second place in the Northeast/Adams Division after a 2-1 loss to the Islanders Thursday and Montreal's victory over Buffalo. The Bruins played like they were completely out of gas and worn after their final back-to-back, road trip games of the season.

While Northlands apologized for its Tweet, it has yet to publicly rescind its offer. Wonder what would happen if Volchenkov showed up for a quick 18 since he's got some free time for the next week? They'll probably offer Whitey Bulger golf for life if he ever gets out of jail.

Marchand torched the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Vancouver fans reacted by nearly torching the city in the riots that followed Boston's victory in Game 7.

Blue Jays' fans cheered the injured John Lackey Saturday - to paraphrase Bluto "only Red Sox fans can do that."

Then there's Montreal, where they call the police to investigate opposing players. And no one offered Zdeno Chara free golf via Twitter after he ran Max Pacioretty.

The Canadian dollar coin is called the "Loon."

An apt description for some of the nation's sports fans. Including the gang at Northlands.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Red Sox end one error, start another

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 9, 2013 09:40 PM

slider_redsoxorioles8.jpg

Call it the end of an error.

Wednesday night the Red Sox sellout streak gets tossed on top of the pile of unsold Fenway Bricks.

The "streak" began on May 15, 2003 and has lasted 794 games (820 if you count the postseason) thanks to magic moments, magical baseball and a few magic tricks.

There isn't much left from the bad old days.

Bobby V. gone - check.

Carl Crawford gone - check.

Josh Beckett gone - check.

RIP Streak. If only it was 2009.

Even if Fenway is legitimately packed, the Red Sox need to needle the streak.

The fact that the Red Sox have been telegraphing the end of the sellout/tickets distributed streak as the second game of the year for several weeks is the best evidence that it has about as much legitimacy of the back of A-Rod's baseball card.

If you know when a sellout streak is going to end well in advance, it's not too hard to keep it going when upper-right-field resembles a meeting of the "Rick Pitino Fan Club - Boston Chapter."

It's the Sidd Finch of streaks and carries the believability of Barry Bonds's 73 home runs in 2001, or a Manny Ramirez PhD. It belongs in Cooperstown, right next to Charlie Finley's orange baseballs, the photo of Eddie Gaedel and Dice-K's Gyro Ball.

On a grand scale, the streak's end is last act of the grand illusion. It was the nuclear fuel rod that powered so many of the distortions and so much of disingenuousness spun by Larry, Tom and John during the past three playoff-less seasons. Each game added to it cost the Red Sox goodwill and respect. In theory, a 794-game sellout streak would be something to celebrate. The problem was this streak was just, a theory.

The Red Sox are all the rage these days, as opposed to triggering all the rage. It seems nothing can go wrong. Even when they lose, it's either because of two future Hall of Fame pitchers or the unstoppable combination of Lackey and Aceves.

Last year, everything they touched turned to 10-day-old Fenway Franks. This year, Fenway Franks are 2-for-$5 and kids eat free through April.

Coming in May - parking under $50.

Even when phenom du jour Jackie Bradley Jr. is taken out the lineup on Opening Day, his replacement, Daniel Nava-va-voom launches a three run shot that appeared off the bat like it was headed for Cambridge before it landed in a dumpster across Landsdowne Street.

Right next to the sellout streak.

The ball was retrieved. The streak will stay put.

Manager John Farrell looked more genius than Dan Duquette and Theo Epstein combined with that swap.

One of my favorite images from Opening Day was Farrell standing alone at home plate after his introduction. He received a loud and joyous ovation. The rush came right through the flat screen. There was nothing but confidence and certainty in his posture and appearance.

He was, at 6-foot-4 and somewhere around 220 pounds, quite large and in charge. Master and commander indeed.

All the talk from Fort Myers, New York, Toronto and Fenway has been of a complete turnaround in the clubhouse. Better living through chemistry. But it all can be stripped down to the fact that the Red Sox now have an adult running the team on a day-to-day basis.

Need more evidence of Farrell's golden touch? Last year, Jon Lester was at the epicenter of the team's collapse. His four-home run, 11-run, four-inning effort against the Blue Jays was the stuff of 2012 legend. The day of Farrell's introductory press conference, he spoke of issues he noticed in Lester's delivery while he was managing the Blue Jays.

Hell, Valentine never noticed when Lester was pitching and he was manager of the Red Sox.

Lester closed spring training with six innings of perfect baseball against Tampa Bay in his final regular-squad start. He's 2-0 with two earned runs allowed in 12 innings pitched at Toronto and New York. Clay Buchholz (2-0, 0.64) has been just as effective, and the pitchers have combined for 25 strikeouts and a .184 opponent batting average.

Lester appears leaner while Buchholz looks physically stronger. Again, their magic number is 400 combined innings, 30 wins and a combined 4.50 ERA.

As always, the biggest threat to the Red Sox these days appears to be the Red Sox. The back end of the rotation remains full of hope and expectation. There's hope Ryan Dempster can quickly adjust to Boston. John Lackey left Saturday's game with a sore arm and he was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 7, , and will miss Thursday's scheduled start vs. Tampa Bay. Since Aceves will take his place, this might be worse than imagined.

The first really big move of the Red Sox regular season came Wednesday when the Red Sox activated Stephen Drew and sent Jose Iglesias down to Pawtucket.

Incredibly, the Drew brothers are continuing to wreak havoc on the Red Sox. The Red Sox paid J.D. Drew $70 million over five years for one grand slam (Yes, he was clutch in the Red Sox comeback against Tampa Bay in Game 5 back in 2008, but they lost that series). So why can't they pay his brother $9 million to sit on the bench?

That's $79 million for one grand slam and the demotion of Iglesias.

Money well spent.

Maybe Stephen was adopted?

Iglesias is hitting .465 (9 for 21) in seven games. Even though his nine hits have gone a combined 18 feet, he still has a 1.026 OPS. His defense has been even better. During the Red Sox pre-game show, Eck said Iglesias has the potential to be the next Ozzie Smith - at least in terms of his defense. From one Hall of Famer to another as Eck and Ozzie were once teammates. And when Iglesias gets on 46.7 percent of the time, he remains a threat to steal, or better, break up a double-play at second or make it from first to third on a base hit to right.

So naturally, since Iglesias would be No. 5 in the American League with his current average plus two more plate appearances and is flashing leather like Smith, he's a perfect candidate for demotion to allow the promotion of the second-best player in the Drew family.

Farrell is following his boss' lead on this one. Ben Cherington inexplicably gave Drew $9 million for this season. Drew was going to play once healed from his concussion if Iglesias hit .900 with 12 home runs with 22 RBI last week.

Drew was the designated starter and got hurt.

Farrell was not going to allow someone to lose his starting spot because of an injury. This goes way beyond what's best for the team on the field at this moment. Farrell likely wants to send a message to the other position players that they won't be cast aside if they suffer an injury. The likely effect is that the veteran players won't hold back knowing their starting jobs are safe if they sit for a week with a sprained wrist. Not a bad philosophy, perhaps. But it's not the best move in this case.

There's no baseball reason to sit Iglesias in favor of Drew. The Red Sox were compelled to compound the mistake they made in signing Drew by playing him now at the expense of the here. Having a shortstop who can field better than he can hit would be a welcomed change. Even Smith, who finished his career with a .262 batting average and 2,460 hits, didn't bat over .260 until he was 30.

It would have been nice for Farrell to say to Cherington, "Sorry, son, but I'm sticking with the kid."

But he won't. At least Farrell is decisive. And when you're decisive, you're also divisive. The "Drew or Iglesias" debate is the hot topic for the spoken and written Red Sox punditry. Another positive sign. When was the last time there was a legitimate baseball debate in this town about something on the field?

Like the end of the sellout streak, Drew's spot in the lineup Wednesday night will not be a surprise. Last season, even when the manager made a decision you thought was sound, there was so much baggage in the way it was impossible to believe in it. Passive-aggressive behavior all the way around.

They were "Flipping Boston" 162 times a year.

So many things have changed so quickly into 2013. The team is 5-2. The players are in shape. Fans have watched with clear eyes and full hearts during spring training, on NESN and at Fenway Park on Opening Day.

This season has also brought a level of stability and predictability to 4 Yawkey Way and those who congregate there on game days.

They know Drew will be playing at shortstop tonight, in front of 30-something-thousand fans.

But it won't be called a "sellout."

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Fewer mad men across Red Sox Nation

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 8, 2013 05:00 AM

609fenway_OD.jpg

It's Opening Day at Fenway. And the 37,000 or so on hand might even cheer for the Red Sox. A 4-2 start and $5 mini-beers can work miracles.

Mad men was a perfect way to describe a sizable portion of the Red Sox fan base for the past 19 months.

"Mad Men" returned Sunday night on AMC, starting the show's sixth season. The Red Sox mark their 101st anniversary at Fenway Park Monday with absolutely nothing marking the first opener in 1912. The progress continues. If only they could replace "Sweet Caroline" with the sounds of silence.

The Red Sox arrive for "Duck Boat Monday" atop the A.L. East. It's their best start after six games since 2006, back when almost no one was on Twitter, nearly everyone had a job and homes were above water. The front-end of the Red Sox rotation has been as good as hoped, if not hyped. Jon Lester (2-0, 1.50 ERA) has given up just two runs in 12 innings, pitching in Toronto and the Bronx. Lester finished last April 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA and went downhill from there.

Clay Buchholz (1-0, 1.29 ERA), who stymied the Yankees by giving up just one run in seven innings on Wednesday, starts today. He should get a healthy ovation today, along with just about all the starters, reserves, manager, coaches and support staff when they are introduced by the new PA announcer(s).

Then there's John Lackey, who left Saturday's game with a sore arm. How to react to Lackey and his leaner state is a tough call. Fans at Fenway still haven't had a chance to fully vent their pent-up anger at the man at the epicenter of "chicken and beergate" since he missed all of last season, and was last seen in August "double-fisting" in the clubhouse. But he's hurt, so booing his sorry slimmed-down rear end might make Red Sox fans appear no better than their Toronto counterparts, who did the same thing on Saturday. After watching Lackey pitch on Saturday, I think I've gained all the weight he's lost.

Billions won't be at Fenway Monday. I've been lucky enough to attend about a dozen Fenway openers in my life, with the last coming in 2008. My cheer for Bill Buckner that day was as loud as everyone else's. Buckner had long-ago earned his Red Sox redemption, even though it wasn't really necessary since the real culprits that night were Schiraldi, Stanley, Gedman, McNamara and the Mets.

Hey, if Lackey's booed today, he's certainly earned it. He would hear it from me. If he gets a lukewarm or even positive reaction, the Red Sox fans at Fenway must be really hammered on those $5 mini beers, or just in a forgiving mood since Easter is less than three weeks away (at least for Milan Lucic, Maria Menounos and the rest of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.) Sometimes we admittedly don't practice what we're preached.

On "Mad Men," the infamous New York ad agency "Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce" makes thousands of dollars for its partners by coming up with inventive and clever slogans for airlines, cigarettes (for a few seasons at least), beans, lawn mowing equipment and even Jaguar. Speaking of sexual preference, landing that last client helped the buxom red-headed Joan (Harris) Holloway "earn" her stake in the firm. But that's another story.

And all this fun happened before the days of social media. The Red Sox, like every sports, media and entertainment organization, are working to capture the buzz on Twitter. They've also launched an ad blitz of their own this season, designed to win back the affection of the Fenway Faithful. Among the slogans: "162 Chances To Restore The Faith" and "What's Broken Can Be Fixed."

We've already seen some better suggestions for this year's Red Sox, including "Don't Hate Us" and some epic #RedSox promotional hashtags courtesy of this brilliant effort from Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub that toyed with the emotions of ticket-hungry Red Sox fans and aired on Friday.

Unfortunately, Draper died of lung cancer in 2003 and Roger Sterling fell victim to cirrhosis 20 years earlier. (They're fake people, people, so we can make that stuff up until AMC tells us otherwise).

The original "Sterling Cooper" was formed in 1923 (that is true in the fake world of "Mad Men", by the way). Over the years, they surely could have helped the Red Sox. The failed "Red Sox: Whiter Than The Baseball" campaign from the 1950s did not help matters historically. How many of you are furiously Googling that one to see if the Red Sox actually used it?

In the spirit of "Mad Men" and in honor of the late Draper and Sterling we'd like to offer some more suggested slogans for the 2013 Red Sox that might help sell the team even better. Most would also work wonders as Twitter hashtags, always a concern in 2013 when it comes to marketing and public relations:

  • "Finger-Lickin' Average."
  • "Hooray ($5) Beer!"
  • "Beckett Can't Hurt Us Anymore"
  • "Third Place or Bust"
  • "Improbable Is Nothing"
  • "Carl Crawford Never Happened"
  • "We Try Hardly"
  • "Expect Less, Pay More"
  • "Bobby Who?"
  • "Lackey: The Weight Is Over."

It's all done in the spirit of 2013. The team is awash in good will, and so is what stands for Red Sox Nation these days. Much of its core was disheartened. Some of the hate - at least - has begun to dissipate.

With 3.75 percent of the season in the books, the Red Sox have demonstrated hustle, a spectacular bullpen, clutch hitting and decent starting pitching. Today's crowd might be riotous. The Red Sox took two out of three in New York and Toronto. Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs during Sunday's 13-0 mauling. Two of those shots came off knuckleballer/meatballer R.A. Dickey. His transition to the American League is making J.D. Drew's look like Frank Robinson's.

And over the weekend, NESN viewers got a nice chorus of "f--k yeahs!" from Jonny Gomes and his teammates.

The real good news for the Red Sox and their fans is that if the team can continue to maintain this level of play, remaining competitive, passionate and engaged, the franchise won't need any phoney-baloney schemes to sell tickets or generate buzz.

The players will do that all on their own.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Kim Jong Un, Rutgers, Barkley spoofed as Melissa McCarthy hosts SNL: Video

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 7, 2013 01:59 AM

Melissa McCarthy hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this week and there's no doubt she's on track to becoming an SNL "Five Timer."

This was her second time as host. She first hosted in October 2011 and had her anything-goes comedy skills on display throughout this week's show. She'd probably happily say she crushed it this week, both figuratively and literally, as she stumbled across the stage in her opening monologue and kept it up with a series of laugh-out-loud performances throughout.

Kim Jong Un (Bobby Moynihan) legalized same-sex marriage in North Korea during the show's cold opening. The dictator said views changed because of a gay nephew. “I still had to have him executed, but not because he was gay," Kim said. "He executed for hosting a weekly book discussion group in his apartment."

Kim also one-upped Wilt Chamberlain when it came to sexual partners. “I’m about as heterosexual as a person can be," Kim said, claiming he'd slept with 17.5 million women. He also said his NCAA tournament bracket was perfect thus far. Kim's pal, the real-life Dennis Rodman stopped by after Kim's CSPAN speech, and managed to botch the "Live from New York, It's Saturday Night" opening. He began the show with: "Live In New York, It's Saturday Night," or something close to it.

The week's highlight was an ESPN "Outside the Lines" report about the troubles at "Middle Delaware State."

Rutgers coach Mike Rice was John Wooden in comparison to MDS women's basketball coach Sheila Kelly. The horrific treatment of the fictional Div. III school basketball team by Kelly, played brilliantly and with complete arrogance by McCarthy, included throwing a toaster at player who was "toast" after failing to play defense, throwing bricks at player who threw a brick from the free-throw line while wearing roller skates and having the players serve the coach dinner on the court.

Kelly's team was a combined a 3-81 over three seasons, frankly because she had injured most of the key players herself. Among the others who paid the price for her wrath were her assistant who blew the whistle, one of the professors teaching her students and the ESPN reporter who asked her why she was holding a basketball during their interview.

Basketball fans also learned during "Weekend Update" that Charles Barkley (a bald Kenan Thompson) had some major issues with his NCAA tournament bracket.

How bad has Barkley been doing with the bookies this year? "People thought it was bad I do all these weight watchers commercials, wait until you see Charles Barkley for Tampax."

"Wichita State? I didn't even know Wichita was a state? Did you know Wichita State didn't have no witches in it. It cost me 50 grand," Barkley said. And he's got some big plans coming up, including lots of golf. "I'd better be good, I bet $5 million on myself to win the Masters."

McCarthy showed just how funny the show can be when it is hosted by a comedian/comedienne, especially one who is arguably the funniest actress around. Just check out her opening monologue for proof:

There, McCarthy was all over the place thanks to pair of oversized heels and ended up face-down on the floor twice.

She displayed a physical comedy style that triggered memories of late SNL alum Chris Farley.

Farley roomed five doors down away from yours truly in college. And his act was no act. What you saw on SNL, and in most of his movies, was genuine. He was always getting laughs and even managed to cause some serious floor damage (which he did pay for) when things got out of hand one weekend. The book "Chris Farley - A Biography in Three Acts", written by his brother Tom, is a terrific, emotional and informative read. McCarthy and Farley share similar backgrounds, coming from large Irish Catholic families in the Midwest. (Farley from Madison, Wisc, while McCarthy grew up Plainfield, Ill., outside Chicago.) They both share a terrific ability to put themselves without fear into their work and were flat out funny almost every time they appeared on screen.

McCarthy played a desperate and slightly over-zealous country fair contestant looking to improve her presentation in a ham judging contest. You've never seen anyone present pork quite like this. Jean Carrerra's "presentation" featured Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan as a pair of pigs that danced to "Can't Touch This," “Push It” and “Get Ready for This.”

McCarthy also played a women who was applying for loan - which was ploy to help her just load up on pizza.

She was also somewhat unwilling contestant on the "The Voice." Who sang "Don't Mention My Toot-Toot" and received rave reviews and desperate pleas from each of the four team-leaders on the show.

The fact she had an alcoholic as a father and lived in a "basement with no roof" made her "pure country," according to Blake Shelton (Jason Sudeikis). The sketch got off to a rocky when Carson Daly (Killam) messed up the intro as Carson Daly. It got off plenty of shots at each of the team leaders on the show.

Thompson also brought the "Bathroom Businessman" to life.

The filmed sketch turned out to be a tongue-in-cheek promo for people not to text or use their phones when nature calls.

Not a bad idea.

The musical guest was Phoenix.

Vince Vaughn guest-hosts next week.


As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

'F-bombs' on NESN good sign for Red Sox

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 5, 2013 09:32 PM

There were millions of "f-bombs" dropped in 2012 by Red Sox fans - both at Fenway Park and whenever they watched the team implode on NESN.

Friday night, NESN viewers were treated to several "f-bombs" from the Red Sox, for a change, after Koji Uehara exited Boston's game at Toronto following his dominant performance against the Blue Jays in the sixth inning.

In addition to a chorus of cheers and back-pats for Uehara, a very pumped-up and excited Jonny Gomes was seen and heard yelling "f--k yeah!" during a replay of Uehara's exit that was broadcast on NESN at the top of seventh.

Just call it the "Curse of Uehara."

It was definitely a "curse" of a different sort, and it was refreshing to hear.

It's also much more catchy than "162 Chances to Restore the Faith."

Ah, just picture six-year-old Jimmy in Andover watching with his family: "See, ma, the Red Sox sound just like dad when you guys shut the door for cuddle time."

Uehara came in in relief of starter Felix Doubront, who gave up a leadoff double that was misplayed by Jackie Bradley Jr. Manager John Farrell was greeted by a sea of boos and several pieces of trash by the wonderfully civilized Toronto crowd (they must have bused 'em in from Montreal and Vancouver) when he brought in Uehara, who promptly struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up an inning-ending fly ball to deep center.

According to the Google translator, Uehara means "nothing but strikes" in Japanese.

After his brief outing, Uehara needed just nine pitches to get his three outs, Uehara sprinted off the field and was greeted warmly by his teammates, who were as psyched as he was.

These guys might actually care this time.

Upon returning to the top of the telecast in top of the seventh, NESN replayed the clip of Uehara running into the dugout and being congratulated by his teammates - complete with audio. Gomes was seen yelling "f--k yeah!" briefly as Uehara worked his way across the dugout. The "f-bomb" was heard at least two more times during the replay, but it wasn't possible to see who was saying it then.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Junichi Tazawa came in to pitch the seventh and gave up a game-tying home run to start the inning.

Following the replay, NESN announcers Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo rolled with it, with Remy deadpanning: "That's like me and you when we finish a good game."

Even NESN studio host Tom Caron had some fun with it.

The excitement and enthusiasm in the Red Sox dugout was a welcomed change from last season's morgue. Gomes was one of the new players this season lauded for having the ability to help change the chemistry in the clubhouse. He was definitely fired up for his teammate Friday.

The dugout was also much louder than the silenced Rogers Centre throng of 48,325 after Joel Hanrahan got Edwin Encarnacion on a grounder to save Boston's 6-4 victory. The Red Sox even pulled off a double steal. Is this 2013 or 1913?

Opening Day is Monday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox (3-1) are guaranteed to be at least .500 when they come home, a huge reversal from the start of the horror show that was 2012.

The wild reaction of Uehara, Gomes and the rest of the Red Sox Friday was another.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Bruins already feeling 'Jagr Karma'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 3, 2013 05:00 AM

No, that wasn't Jaromir Jagr Jr. the Bruins picked up Tuesday. He's the original.

Back in the day, Jesus saved, but Espo scored on the rebound.

This time it was Peter Chiarelli scoring on the rebound. He picked up the NHL's resident playing legend, current active points leader and 41-year-old Jagr just a few days after the Jarome Iginla deal melted like Spy Pond in April. And his team responded with a 3-2 victory over Ottawa at the TD Garden. Just wait until Jagr plays.

To get Jagr, the Bruins traded Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne to Dallas along with a conditional second-round draft pick in this year's NHL Draft. Now I'm sure there's a Theo Epstein wanna-be out there cringing over the loss of MacDermid's plus-minus in 2016. Unless any of these players end up being the next Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton or Jeff Bagwell, there's no reason to worry about this deal.

The Bruins are loaded with talent and unrealized potential, especially on offense and the power play. Jagr, even if he's exiled to the third line, will make things better just by being here. He will no doubt elevate the game of all those around him, especially in this environment. People with 679 goals tend to do that.

Don't take my word for that assumption. Just ask young Seguin, who came into this world on Jan. 31, 1992. That was 16 months after Jagr's first NHL game. Seguin offered some youthful wisdom on courtesy of State Run Media after the game: "I know he entered the league a couple of years before I was born so I will be watching him closely," he said on NESN's "Bruins Overtime Live."

When Jagr broke into the NHL:

  • George Bush was president. No, not that George Bush, but his father.
  • East and West Germany had been re-untied for all of five weeks.
  • American troops were pouring into Kuwait in preparation for the first Gulf War.
  • Rod Rust was coaching the Patriots.
  • Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Craig Janney led the Bruins in points.
  • You were either not born or a lot younger than you are now.

Then there's this piece of history via Twitter, which started 15 1/2 years after Jagr's NHL career:

Yes, that's a 10-year-old Milan Lucic with his brothers and Jagr in a photo taken in 1998. Lucic's uncle, Dan Kesa, set up the quick photo op and Lucic still has the photo in his childhood bedroom in British Columbia.

Jagr has 14 goals this season, which ties him for the Bruins lead in that category with Brad Marchand. Lucic has five. Maybe Looch needed to take some Polaroids (kids, ask your parents about those) with Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux.

His addition is perhaps the best single personnel move the Bruins could have made to get Lucic out of his scoring malaise. Imagine playing next to your childhood idol and having him say: "Come on, kid. Step it up!" That would beat Claude's best motivational speech any day.

Jagr and the Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991-92. The last time he faced the Bruins in the postseason was on May 23, 1992. On that Saturday, the Penguins finished their 4-0 sweep of the Bruins in the Eastern, er, Wales Conference finals.

The previous night, Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show" for the final time. Carson was replaced by Jay Leno, but only after NBC went through a tumultuous succession process, setting up a legendary battle between Leno and David Letterman that has not diminished over time. Wednesday, on the eve of Jagr's first game with the Bruins, NBC and Leno announced he will replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Throughout Leno's reign, Jagr's skills, talent or devastating good looks have not markedly diminished. About the only thing Jagr has changed over the years is his hair. Gone is the mullet that punctuated his style - and so many others - in the 1990s.

Bruins fans who want to give Jagr a special welcome on Thursday might want to check out this clip from the Stars-Flames game in Calgary on Feb. 13.

Just wearing your mullet might not be enough to catch his eye.

The getting a future-Hall-of-Famer-at-the-tail-end-of-his-career strategy has worked in the past.

The arrival of then 40-year-old Mark Recchi in 2008 proved to be a huge bonus for the Bruins in the 2011 Cup run.

Ray Bourque was granted asylum in Denver in March of 2000 after 20-plus seasons in Boston. He averaged more than 27 minutes per game on the ice the remainder of that season and 26 the next. Bourque and the Avalanche went on to win their lone Stanley Cup in 2001, which Bourque prompty shared with 15,000 or so of his closest friends at City Hall Plaza that summer.

Jags (Can we call him that even though he hasn't played a game yet?) seems the perfect piece for this team - a very-seasoned veteran who knows how to help generate offense and win May and June. The Stars had spent several months trying to resign Jagr, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. But they gave up on that once their season became Texas toast. He wasn't dumped on anyone.

He will be wearing his trademark No. 68 in Boston Thursday night when the Bruins play host to New Jersey. The Bruins turned in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Senators Tuesday night as the home crowd was abuzz with optimism over Jagr's pending arrival. Nathan Horton scored the game-winner on a wicked rebound 10:21 into the third period. Despite the low score, the game was a wild shootout, which the Bruins won after withstanding a 6-4 advantage in the final minute.

They skated off to a rousing ovation at the TD Garden.

Call it a case of "Jagr Karma."

And it feels pretty good.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

With Bradley, anything possible for Red Sox in 2013

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 2, 2013 09:51 AM

Globe Jackie Bradley photo.jpgThe Duck Boats are gassed and ready for Monday's Opening Day at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox will board them at the end of the Logan Airport runway at 10 a.m., ride them across Boston Harbor and then, following the lead of Douglas MacArthur, disembark at Atlantic Wharf and make it official: "We have returned."

One game, one win. One great game. One fun win.

Our long national nightmare is over.

Watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees on Opening Day 8-2 was perhaps the most fun Red Sox fans have had since Adrian Gonzalez took that questionable called third strike from Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning on Sept. 1, 2011. Fan Cave left the bases loaded that night and the Red Sox lost 4-2.

The Great Depression had begun.

That was 19 months ago. The longest year in recent Red Sox history ended Monday with Boston's 8-2 win at Yankee Stadium. Yes, it's just one game. But one game was all that was needed, given the fact that past two painful seasons began with the team going 0-6. It's just nice for the Red Sox to not suck right from the start, for a change.

Start spreadin' the trash, which was blowing all over the field inside an empty Yankee Stadium when Joel Hanrahan finished off the defending A.L. East champs.

The win came even as the late Bobby Valentine whined and wailed in the New York Post about the evil Boston media. Funny how winners in sports and politics never "blame the media." It's only the losers who do that. Bobby, to paraphrase Michael Corleone, "you're nothing to us know."

The Red Sox waited on pitches, worked the count, drove in multiple runs with two men out, ran aggressively on the basepaths (getting thrown out at the plate twice, even), took extra bases, played clean defense, turned in a spectacular play in left, scored eight times without the benefit of a home run and produced a bullpen that threw four shutout, one-hit innings against the $228 million Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

No, these are definitely not my father's Red Sox.

Even though Jackie Bradley Jr., evoked way too many memories of Yaz after grabbing Robinson Cano's drive to left to end the third inning. The "Yaz Opening Day 1967 catch to save Billy Rohr's no-hitter" references soon populated Twitter and the local chat rooms.

As the multitudes order World Series tickets and cancel plans for mid-October, we're also going to pass "Go," spent $200 on tickets to see the Red Sox at Tampa Bay next month and directly anoint Bradley with the moniker "Jaz." He looks good in left, he walked three times and he wears No. 44. If what they taught me in the Arlington Public Schools is still true: 4+4=8. We'll take a pass on "Jackie Robinson Bradley."

Bradley's first at-bat - a walk, naturally - set the tone for this game and perhaps the entire season. Bradley was down 0-2 in the count and then worked his way back. He somehow managed to lay off a 1-2 fastball that just missed/kissed the outside corner. Sabathia, the Yankees and many folks watching on TV thought Bradley had struck out. But Ted Barrett thought otherwise.

Jose Iglesias followed with an RBI infield single to the hole at short, the latest version of the "Gold Dust Twins" was born and the Red Sox were off to a 162-0 season.

And here is your stat of the day, kids: Of the top six all-time base-on-balls leaders in major league history - four of them played left field for the Red Sox during their careers. They are Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Rickey Henderson and Yaz.

A fifth, Joe Morgan, crushed the hopes of the 1975 Red Sox with blooper to center in Game 7.

Jim Burton? Why, Darrell Johnson, why?

If we extrapolate Bradley's three-walk performance over a 20-year, 150-games per year career, he will finish with 9,000 walks in his career. That will put him 6,442 walks ahead of Barry Bonds. And Bradley should be able to do all of this while staying "cream and clear" free, keeping his internal organs, head size and testicles in tact.

He even bats left-handed.

What other Yaz comparisons do you need? If Bradley only lit up a Marlboro and nursed a 'Gansett after the victory in clubhouse.

How did Bradley celebrate his successful major-league debut? He went to Applebee's. That's plate discipline.

The clearest contrast between this year's version of the Red Sox and their immediate predecessors is drawn between Bradley's debut with Boston and that of Carl "Crybaby" Crawford two years ago in Texas. In that game, a 9-5 Red Sox loss, Crawford went 0-for-4 and struck out swinging three times. His first strikeout, with two men on base, was classic Crawford, as the Dodgers outfielder flailed wildly at a C.J. Wilson curveball two feet outside the strike zone.

Monday, in his debut with the Dodgers, Crawford went 2-for-4 with a double. And no one east of Rancho Cucamonga gave a damn.

The Dodgers and Angels are where the Red Sox and Yankees were about 10 years ago in terms of the nuclear-arms/free-agency/big-name player race. They are now battling it out for every big name and big salary out there.

Been there, done that, won two World Series titles in the process.

New Yorker.jpgThe 2013 Yankees, meanwhile, are headed down the same path of the 2012 Red Sox. The only proof one needs is the performance of Alex Rodriguez Monday. He passed on the player introductions and, naturally, ducked questions about PEDs. Somehow that cowardice shocked the same members of the New York media who earned Valentine's praise.

Mariano Rivera's farewell tour? Couldn't care less. Although Red Sox fans will remain eternally grateful to Rivera for walking Kevin Millar. Joba Chamberlain looked all of 26 - in dog years, complete with his Ron Swanson mustache. His physique was perfect for the 1913 Yankees.

A-Rod's contract is the pin in the grenade that will eventually blow up the Yankees. He's making $29 million this season, that's only 131 percent of Astros' entire $22 million payroll. His return date is projected sometime before the end of the Obama Administration.

Speaking of future projections, the argument that the Red Sox should have held Bradley down in Pawtucket for 12 days to start the season in order to push back his eligibility for free-agency back a year to 2019 seems so last March. It would be a great problem to have if Bradley is indeed so good in five or six years that the Red Sox have to break the bank to keep him. There's also nothing preventing the club from signing him to a legit deal long before he reaches free-agency or arbitration eligibility. The entire "keep him down to get that extra year of free-agency" argument is born of the same mentality that says what you see with your own eyes on the field or in a player is somehow less reliable than the numbers produced by Carmine and friends.

I'm still waiting for Fan Cave's "WAR" against the rest of the American League.

Bradley was clearly the best overall player in spring training and projects a personality and confidence that's infectious in the club house.

Ah, chemistry.

Bradley will do more to help the Red Sox extend their faux sell-out streak than all the $5 mini-beers Josh Beckett could ever drink.

Who knows, maybe that showdown against the Astros in a couple of weeks will be a preview of the American League Championship Series?

Sounds crazy for sure.

But this is 2013 and anything can happen.

Especially with all that "Jaz" in left.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Red Sox goals for 2013: Win, regain public trust

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan April 1, 2013 12:18 AM

jackie bradley.jpg

Jackie Bradley starts in left field.

The Houston Astros have the best record in the American League.

Alex Rodriguez will be the most hated player not playing in New York today.

Happy Opening Day.

The Boston Red Sox begin 2013 in a most unfamiliar place, trying to win 70 games for the first time in two years. They're the throes of an austerity campaign. Boston's payroll has tumbled all the way to fourth-highest in the majors, at $150.6 million, according to USA Today. That's a 13 percent cut from last year's pre-Crawford-Gonzalez-Beckett-Punto salary-dump figure of $170.3 million, which was third on Opening Day. Tough times indeed on Yawkey Way. John, Tom and Larry are slumming it.

The biggest challenge facing the Red Sox as the season begins in the Bronx - in addition to avoiding embarrassment and seeking a path to contend for the mirage of the second wildcard - is simple: Earn back the public's trust.

We've detailed multiple times - most recently last week - how the Red Sox have gotten to this point. The short version: 7-20, chicken and beer, Terry Francona's exit, Bobby Valentine's entrance, everything in 2012 but the trade with the Dodgers, the no-shows at Johnny Pesky's (first) memorial service and that 69-93 finish,

It's not simply bad play, bad players or even horrendous player moves that have cost the Red Sox so dearly in the minds of their public. The team that sold Babe Ruth also traded Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater and let Carlton Fisk become a free agent because they mailed his contract offer too late. But the masses never gave up hope or stopped believing in miracles.

Over the years, the Celtics, Patriots, Bruins - along with the Red Sox - have made crappy player moves. But only the Red Sox has been this overtly disingenuous with their fan base - at least since the days when Victor Kiam and James Orthwein ran the ship around in Foxborough. Danny Ainge has made plenty of bad moves since Kevin McHale opened the door for the reign of the Big Three. The Jacobs family treated players and fans with near contempt for decades as Bruins fans squatted behind seats that obstructed the view of a third of the ice in the old Boston Garden. But they did it with aplomb. Even Bill Belichick's draft record has been laded with busts, as well as Bradys. The Patriots jettisoned a slew of champions, but didn't go Red Soxian on us until the Wes Welker fiasco.

Nothing the Celtics, Patriots or Bruins have done in the past decade rivals what the front office of the Red Sox in terms of attempting to BS their fans and pretending to be what they're not, all with a near sinister twist. You never see "Gino" dancing when the Celtics are losing by 20 to the Heat. Or the Minutemen fire their guns in salute if the Patriots hold an opponent to a field goal instead of a touchdown. Belichick's stitch is well known to grade-schoolers, and his "we need to play better, plan better, coach better" mantra has become a harmless parody of itself.

The Red Sox have lost sight of their core fanbase. It was taken it for granted while they focused on luring prized demographics (i.e. people who aren't baseball fans) to the NESN telecasts. Worse, they played us all for fools.

Remember Larry Lucchino's letter of last July where he lauded the return of the "varsity" lineup after the All-Star break. The Red Sox were 43-43 when he penned those immortal words. They went on to lose 50 of their final 76 games. And the "cheerful" Cody Ross, the "friendly" Mike Aviles that returning "varsity" star Carl Crawford are all long gone.

The first thing we'll notice about the Red Sox this season is that fans don't hate the players any more. That's mainly because there are a lot of new players. Hugs and kisses were, reportedly, everywhere in Fort Myers, not just on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. (Remember them?) We're seeing silver linings in Jon Lester, Ryan Dempster, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and, just because he's no longer a double-fisting (we think) load, John Lackey.

The numbers that matter the most for this team are: 425 innings, 30 wins, and an ERA below 4.50. That's what this team will need from Lester and Clay Buccholz combined in order for it to have a chance at second place.

Winning in baseball isn't rocket science. Perhaps it's just a matter of chemistry.

The Red Sox have made it a priority to get along with themselves this season. Last season, the players didn't trust the manager, the manager didn't trust the players, ownership didn't trust the GM and the fans experienced all of the stages of grief before they were choked by apathy.

The Red Sox are trying win over the "hearts and minds" of their fanbase. Bread and circuses. Or in this case, cheaper less beer, 2-for-1 Fenway Franks, half-price hot chocolate and free meals for those under 14 (before the third inning).

Who doesn't love cheap beer before the drive home or free junk food for the kids?

Tonight's lineup is sponsored by "Diabetes."

Perhaps the Red Sox strategy is get each Fenway "sellout" crowd laden with so many carbs they become fatter, more docile and, eventually, fully compliant when the team pumps out "Sweet Caroline" during an 8-2 loss. And how many folks would spend $50 or $100 on tickets just to save $5 on a hot dog? Then again the Red Sox told us Valentine was the answer.

As long as the front office continues to pitch anything that doesn't improve play - and tries to say that it going to make things better - this cynicism will continue. If I want cheap beer, I can grab an ice-cold case of Bud Light at the local 7-11 at 1 a.m. for $12.99. Cheap wieners can be found in abundance at the Hot Dog Ranch in Pittsfield. The best hot chocolate is at Dunkin' Donuts, no matter the price. None of that will make the product on the field any better.

All one should expect from the Red Sox is a competitive team, players who try all the time and a front office that treats its paying customers like adults.

That might be too greedy, but we'll be optimistic. (No April Fools joke,)

Bradley is the youngest starting left fielder for the Red Sox on Opening Day since Yaz, who debuted in 1961 at age 21. This is a good thing. BTW, this was a baseball move, not an offering to the Monster. (Yaz went 1 for 5 in a 5-2 loss to the A's that day 52 years ago.)

It will be fun to watch the Yankees this year experience what the Red Sox went through last year. A-Rod's status will be the pin in that grenade. Coincidentally, about half of the Yankees lineup (not to mention David Ortiz) is on the shelf this Opening Day as baseball conducts its toughest regimen of PED testing in history. So much shrinkage, and it will be visible for a change.

More good news? Valentine will be working the Mets game this afternoon at Citi Field as an analyst for SNY and will be no where near the Red Sox dugout. Like Crawford, he still holds a grudge against the Boston media. At least Valentine's grudge was well-earned.

The realistic goals are simple this season. Win back the public trust, and perhaps 85 or so games in the process.

The upside is limitless, especially after the bottom has already fallen out.


As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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