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BOB RYAN

He's given this a lot of thought

Emptying Out the Desk Drawer of the Sports Mind:

Here's how the Sox could conceivably sell Grady back to the fans: If the players love and respect him as much as they claim, have them write and sign an endorsement and place it as an ad in the Globe and Herald.

I've learned via e-mail that the age cutoff line for qualifying as a basic Antoine Walker fan is even lower than 30. (The mail's about 75-25 against him, at any rate.)

I've also learned that his devotees refuse to believe there was such a limited (read: almost nonexistent) market for him.

You do know that if BK Kim returns, it will be as a back-end-of-the-rotation starter, or not at all, don't you?

Remember the words of the estimable barrister Harry Manion: "Kobe cannot afford to go to trial, because the one word he can never hear is `guilty.' His life, as he knows it, would be over." The hottest team in town hasn't been flying under the radar, it's been operating underneath the Ted Williams Tunnel. Welcome back, Bruins.

Fact is, the loser of this year's BC-Notre Dame game will be humiliated, as in, "You lost to them?"

This over-the-top "Playmakers" series has made life tough for real ESPN sorts who have to deal with real NFL players.

You think you had it rough? Try this: "Could you then imagine what it felt like losing, being a Swedish Red Sox fan, the game starting at 2 a.m. on cable, the Sox still winning at 5:45, then losing -- and losing in that way -- at 6:30 on a bleak October morning, after a sleepless night?" So writes Henrik Kyhle of Stockholm.

And I thought I would meet my Maker without ever having been to Clemson, S.C.

The worst part, of course, is that we can expect market corrections next year for Mueller, Ortiz, and maybe even Millar, who is not normally a 96-ribbie guy.

Roger came up in '84. Isn't 20 years a long enough wait for another really good arm to pop up out of the system?

Dan Klecko ain't nothin' but a flat-out football player, and I don't think you ever can have too many of them.

I think you can say the same thing about Eric Williams in his chosen sport.

Oh, and there were two players shipped to Dallas, you know, and it should be recorded that Tony Delk is a man of great personal dignity and extreme professionalism, the likes of which no team ever has in sufficient quantity.

Speaking of classy professionals . . . may we assume that "Matsui" is Japanese for "man who rises to the occasion"?

I bet half the people in Pro Player Stadium these last few nights couldn't have named five Marlins a month ago.

The following is non-negotiable: Nick Bakay's "Living the Dream" shtick on ESPN is not just the funniest thing on the network, it's the funniest thing on any network.

If someone had told me 30 years ago that someday I'd be standing behind Henry Kissinger in an elevator and he'd be wearing a Yankee jacket, I think my response might have been, "Sure, and Le Duc Tho will be standing alongside him, wearing a Red Sox jacket."

Dusty's skating nicely with his pitching gaffes compared with Grady, wouldn't you say?

But, see, the point is that no one ever said game management was either's long suit. Steering the ship from Port A to Port B without running aground is their big skill.

If only Grady hadn't spoken such a colossal untruth when he explained the whys and wherefores of the Pedro decision. Even Pedro assumed he was done for the evening after the seventh.

Where did Todd Walker hide that glove all season?

You don't really think that one homer's gonna save Aaron Boone in New York, do you? He's been a humongous disappointment from Day 1.

His brother, Bret, by the way, is built exactly like a hockey player. Ever see a hockey player who looked good in a suit?

Let's make this perfectly clear: I haven't really been rooting for the Yankees this week. I've been rooting against the Marlins, and not really against the Marlins but against the manifest unfairness of an uncaring constituency getting a second championship in seven years. If it means making a pact with a Steinbrennerian devil, so be it. And Joe Torre is very easy to like.

I have zero sympathy for any football player who is penalized or fined for anything even remotely resembling a helmet-to-helmet hit. I'd also fine the head coach and the position coach. Spearing is a heinous act.

You don't suppose Antoine will mind being the fourth (or fifth; I almost forgot about Jamison) option on that team, do you?

Existential sports query: Is it dumber to pitch to Barry Bonds or kick to Dante Hall?

How about everyone making a New Year's resolution to leave all baseballs even remotely in play alone? Is that too much to ask?

Mike Timlin never threw that well in his Toronto prime.

All things considered, I'd say the New York Rangers are the biggest ongoing disgrace in all of American professional sport. They'd have done better picking player names out of a hat.

Hey, no one ever said Terry Glenn couldn't play. It was all that bothersome stuff, like showing up ready to play, that was a problem.

Suggested money-making Boston bumper sticker: "Brady, Si; Grady, No."

You really would have liked John Burkett if you got to know him. I can't remember the last time a player engaged me in a conversation about Iron Man McGinnity.

This Jerry Jacobs get-to-know-ya business brings to mind the classic line from Frank Graham Jr. about an old ballplayer: "He learned how to say hello when it was time to say goodbye."

Anyone here still think this isn't a baseball town, first, last, and always?

Bob Ryan is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is ryan@globe.com.

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