Ten free minutes for me, 10 free throwaway lines for you . . .
1. OK, suckers, answer me this: Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Florida for Hanley Ramirez -- who blinks, Marlins or Red Sox?
(Yes, this is a test. If you're pondering the question seriously, I'm going to assume you're probably on hold with Ordway.)
We all heard the stories about Hanley's maturity issues when he was in the Sox system, but you'd think, at age 26, he'd be past the point where teammates want to beat him up every other day.
Yet there he was, dogging it so blatantly last night that even Manny Ramirez is probably insulted by his lack of respect for the game, then showing an utter lack of accountability and class afterward in undermining his manager and enraging his teammates.
At least there was usually a goofy charm to Manny when he was driving us crazy with his antics. Hanley's petulant insubordination seems a little more foreboding, and it's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out, because humility and contrition clearly aren't among his many tools.
2. To those of you who have wondered why I've always been steadily but vaguely skeptical of the alleged leadership virtues of Mike Lowell, today's passive/aggressive statement in which he says he might consider asking for his release -- coming a day after an absolutely devastating loss in which the club really doesn't need petty distractions -- goes on the board as a point in my favor.
3. I've always thought signing Lowell was the only truly sentimental move the Sox have made in Theo's reign. Fans desperately wanted him back, he'd just been named the World Series MVP. . . ah, hell, Jed, why not, we'll give him the three years.
I suspect today isn't the first day they've had some level of buyer's remorse, even with his decent production when healthy.
To Lowell's credit -- and this must be acknowledged -- he did turn down four years and $50 million from the Phillies to remain with the Sox. That home-team discount isn't ending well for either side.
4. NESN has been showing so many Taylor Hall highlights lately that you'd think the Bruins have the first pick rather than the second. Yet from what I've read outside of this market, it's very far from a sure thing that Edmonton will pick Tyler Seguin just because they need centers.
In a related note, this is the first time in my life I've been more interested in the NHL Draft than the NBA Draft, including the year the Bruins snapped up Joe Thornton first overall. You might recall that just four days after Jumbo Joe was drafted, Tim Duncan went to the Spurs, and Rick Pitino assured us that Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer were the future.
5. Ideal offseason for the Bruins: re-sign Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk, convince Methuselah Recchi to stick around one more year, swap Tim Thomas for a forward with a nose for the net, let Shaun Thornton depart, bring in a cheaper character fourth-liner or two, send maddening softy Blake Wheeler on his way to become someone else's enigma, tell Milan Lucic he was right to be frustrated that they went into the equivalent of a prevent defense in Game 7, send subliminal messages to Oilers GM Steve Tambellini to take Seguin, and hope David Krejci hands haven't lost any magic because of his devastating injury.
Voila . . . 2010-11 Eastern Conference champions, no?
(Don't you love how I'm suddenly Mr. Puckhead after covering two playoff games? OK, smart guys and girls, you tell me what the Bruins should do.)
6. One of the reasons sports appeals to us, of course, is that the improbable often happens and wonders never cease.
An affable backup outfielder steals a base and alters history. A sixth-round pick becomes one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. A gangly kid from Northborough takes the nation for a joyride during the baseball summer of '76.
But of all the improbable things that have happened in my fortunate life as a sports fan, two of the more unexpected are taking place with the Celtics right now:
Kevin Garnett, tentative and creaky kneed for nearly a full year, suddenly has the ol' Farragut spring back in his step.
And Rasheed Wallace has actually become -- and I really can't believe I'm writing this -- likable and a pleasure to watch.
Who knows how this stuff happens. But we're smart enough to savor it when it does.
7. I'm not sure if it's scary or simply disheartening to realize that LeBron James and Dwight Howard could actually become significantly better than they already are if they just dedicated themselves to the Bird/Magic/Jordan mentality of trying to add one more trick to their repertoire each offseason.
If LeBron ever developed a post game, it's game over for the rest of the league. In Howard's case, a single dependable post-move (the lefty heave-hook does not count) would go a long way to helping him avoid "robotic" (his word) disasters like what happened in Game 1.
8. I'm really trying not to believe that titillating rumor about LeBron, his mom, and Delonte West . . . but when the bizarro former Celtic is involved, why is it that the famous words of Kevin Garnett keep rattling through my head:
"Anything is POSSSIBBBULLLLLLL!"
Can you imagine the reaction if Ladies Man West the reason LeBron leaves Cleveland? He'd better load up the weapons and get on that motorcycle, pronto, because the pitchfork posse will be in fast pursuit. And Earnest Byner thought he had it tough.
9. I always forget to promote this, but for once I'm remembering. So please check out this week's Globe Sox podcast, in which yours truly and the great Peter Abraham discuss last night's Hindenburg Redux by Jonathan Papelbon, among other sunny topics.
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card (back by lukewarm demand!)
Awesome name, awesome mustache, and he played for the Sox. You could call that the CRBC triple crown.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.