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Sunday Mail: Whose career would you remember first, Pedro's or Brady's?

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  February 1, 2014 01:16 PM

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Wanted to open with a Super Bowl angle here today, but you know what? There's nothing left to say. By anyone. I've used the words "pumped and jacked" and "legacy" and "weird triangle on Peyton's forehead" too many times already this week. Let's just play the game, which should be a good one. I think I'm rooting for the Seahawks, at least until Troy Aikman tries to explain that Pete Carroll was actually a misunderstood winner in New England. Then all bets are off.

Plus, we have a really fun Eternal Sunshine-type question -- and one we thankfully don't have to abide -- leading off ...

THE MAILBOX

1103027995_5826.jpgIf you had to choose to only have the memories of Pedro's career or Brady's career who is it? Brady is top 3 all time at his position. You could make a similar argument for Pedro. But one of their careers is getting erased from your memory, who is? I'm keeping Pedro. The '99 All-Star game montage on YouTube is enough to keep me warm in the winter.
-- Erik

Tremendous question. As much as I savored (and still miss) watching Pedro pitch every fifth day during his unsurpassed heyday ... and though he's my favorite contemporary Boston athlete, with no close runner-up ... I think you have to go Brady because of the three championships, don't you? Pedro's single championship was the perfect pointing-skyward punctuation on his career here. But the Sox might have won that World Series had he not taken his turn in the rotation; that's how dominating they were after getting by the Yankees. And there was so much charismatic brilliance and fulfilling drama along the way that we'd miss -- the win in relief against Cleveland in '99, the 17-K one-hitter against the Yankees, the '99 All-Star game, the Zimmer Toss, all of that and much more. But you take away Brady, you're taking away 12 exceptional seasons, three championships, the Snow Bowl, 16-0, all of that and so much more. Ultimately, I have to go Brady because, you know, duck boats. But damn, that's a tough call. You made my brain hurt, Erik. Never make me pick against Pedro again, any of you.

Are you as excited as I am for the Patriots to let Julian Edelman walk but resign Austin Collie because the move has "better value"?
-- Brohan Davey

I snickered, but that -- meaning watching Edelman sign elsewhere while bringing back Collie as roster fodder -- isn't entirely out of the question. We all want to see Edelman -- a self-made receiver and a hell of a Billy "White Shoes" Johnson imitator as a punt returner -- return. But the price has to be right. He had a tremendous year, but he's a slot guy, not a game-breaker, and he reverted to a complementary role during that fleeting stretch when Gronk was healthy. He's also had injury issues in the past, and with Danny Amendola essentially filling the same role and Josh Boyce flashing potential to be a speedy slot guy, I can't see them paying a ton for that position. Like I said, I hope he's back. But if someone makes him an offer commensurate with his production during this one season, I'm OK with letting him walk so long as some of the money is allocated to an outside threat.

KG and Paul Pierce will have their numbers retired, that's a given. What about Ray Allen?
-- Guest

allenrayfinnuconn.JPGI don't think so, for two reasons: longevity and Benedict Arnoldism. Mostly the former. Allen played just five seasons here, before willingly joining their chief rival and a team that had just crushed the Celtics' dream of one more time for all the old times the previous postseason. (I'm not saying joining the Heat was a bad career move, or a bad personal move. It just burned a bridge, possibly beyond repair, no matter how much Allen reminds us he's a New Englander.) The bigger problem is that Allen played just five years here before being the first of the New Big Three to go. That would be the fewest years in green and white of any player whose number is retired. KG put in six, made a bigger impact, and didn't want to go. Ed Macauley played six years, but he was first-team All-NBA in three first three of them. Reggie Lewis, rest in peace, played six. DJ was here for seven and Max for eight, and each won two titles. Allen has his moments -- making Sasha Vujacic fight a chair to a draw is near the top of the list -- but he just wasn't here long enough. And that was his call. (Random what-if: How would their careers have changed had the T-Wolves kept Allen in '96 rather than moving him in a draft-day deal for Stephon Marbury? He and KG would have made for a heck of a tandem. Who knows, maybe in some bizarro world the T-Wolves would have later dealt for Paul Pierce to bring them together.)

Hey Chad, Clay Davenport, formerly of Baseball Prospectus, came out with projected standings. IIRC, it went Rays, Red Sox (-2), Yankees (-5), Jays, O's. With things pretty much settled, how do you see the AL East playing out this season?
-- Matthew Kory

Well, obviously, whichever team signs Stephen Drew automatically rockets to the division crown; it's right there in the math, I tell you! But since he's yet to decide which team he will lead to to greatness this season, I'd say your version looks about right, Matt, though I might flip the Orioles and Blue Jays. Davenport actually had the Rays at 90-72, with the Sox at 86-76 and the Yankees a game behind. I don't think the Yankees are that close unless somehow the Brian Roberts/Derek "Shortstop For Life" Jeter turn back the clock to 2001. Davenport's projections would make for a heck of wild card race, though. He has the Rangers at 87 wins, a game back of Oakland in the AL West, with the Sox taking the second wild card and the Yankees and the Cleveland Titos just a game back.

The Ordway-back-to-WEEI rumor makes too much sense for it not to happen. A rebooted Big Show in the midday would be a ratings hit.
-- PJ

It might -- he had his loyalists, and the reaction when he guest-host on Dennis and Callahan a few weeks ago was positive (and also happened without the "brand manager'' knowing). Gresh and Zo are smoking Mut and Merloni -- that they did so through the Sox' playoff run was damning -- and it feels like change is inevitable there. Going back to the future in afternoon drive isn't a good idea, though. Glenn told me awhile back that he's itching to get back in the game, but the money is considerably less in midday than in a drive-time slot. He may have an interesting decision to make -- namely, getting back on the radio for considerably less than he once made. I did get a kick of his "it's news to me'' reaction to Phil Zachary's comments in the Inside Track. C'mon, now. Glenn is always someone who knows.

i am no Pete Carroll apologist but are we a little hard on him? It was not like he went 3-13 here every year. He did OK, went downhill, was above .500 in his tenure here. Not his fault he coached between two of the best of all time, right?
-- alf

We're not hard enough on him, Shumway. Wrote about this at length Friday if you need a refresher on the aggravating lost opportunities of his tenure here. But the Cliff Notes version is this: You know how the Belichick-era Patriots habitually improve over the course of the season, no matter what they've had to endure along the way in terms of personnel losses and the unexpected? The Carroll-era Patriots were the opposite. They fell apart in the second half in all three seasons he was here, and they fell apart gradually from year to year. He inherited a talented young team coming off a Super Bowl appearance and, with great assistance from the inept Bobby Grier, let it all slip due to a lack of accountability and discipline, to the point that the Patriots were a complete mess when Belichick took over. Don't look at Carroll's won-lost record here without finding the necessary context. He blew it here.

I was driving to New Jersey a few weeks ago with a friend who was new to your chat. The timing was such that we were going to be in the car from 2:30 until the end of your chat. You decided to end it at 3:15 and, frankly, had few insightful things to say during the 40-45 minutes that you hosted the chat. My friend said - "what's so special about this Tad Flynt fella?" Moral of the story...don't forget where your bread is buttered.
-- Occupant of Room 3152

I hope Chris Christie had your lane blocked.

Until next week, the mailbox is closed. Exit music, please.

"We'll beat the Bears of the NFC ..."

Good luck getting this true Super Bowl anthem out of your head for the rest of the day.

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.

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