Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quick Hits for a Wednesday

Former Red Sox 1B Sean Casey retired this past week after 12 MLB seasons. Casey, not exactly known for his conditioning, will join the MLB Network as an analyst. Comically listed at only 215 lbs., how long before The Mayor hits three bills on the scale?

Citigroup senior executives, who received $45 billion in bailout money, planned on buying a $50 million luxury jet from France. The NY Post got wind of it and published several stories, sparking outrage from Capitol Hill, and Citigroup cancelled their purchase. Why is it the NY Post, and not the "papers of record" like the NY Times and Boston Globe breaking these stories exposing misuse of taxpayer money?

Any more bailouts should go to the private citizens of this country, many of whom have been laid off and are struggling to make ends meet.

The economy is officially scary. Seventy one thousand people were laid off this past Monday alone. These layoffs will not help the economy get better, because more people will default on their mortgages and loans, credit cards will go unpaid, and people will spend even less money. Consumer confidence is at a record low right now. It is terrible out there right now, and my heart goes out to those who have been laid off.

The signing of Floyd Reese to be a Senior Advisor by the Patriots, puts an experienced hand in the front office and someone Bill Belichick has worked with before. This will help fill some of the void from the departure of Scott Pioli. Reese, as GM of the Oilers/Titans, drafted players such as Steve McNair, Jevon Kearse, and Eddie George.

Favorite nickname bestowed upon ethically challenged MA Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, who just stepped down this week: Sally Pockets. I heard that one on the Howie Carr radio show last night and it cracked me up.

Considering the state of the economy, will the Red Sox see any sort of decrease at the Fenway Park turnstiles?

The Red Sox offering Jason Varitek a $5 million deal is more of a Lifetime Achievement award than anything else. If they turned away from him, how much would he get elsewhere? A minor league deal? A $1.5 million deal? There isn't any market for him, particularly since signing him would cost a team a draft pick.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Madam Speaker

Ever since Barack Obama reached the magic number of delegates to become the Democratic Presidential nominee, the Democrats have done a masterful job of positioning themselves as the party that will best represent our country's interests. While the Republicans nominated a calcifying John McCain to be their nominee, Obama came across as the hip, fresh face looking to implement new, bold ideas that generated excitement across the country. The carefully cultivated image resonated. In the election, the country elected Obama to be President and the Democrats extended their majorities in the House and the Senate .

Since his election, President Obama has moved to the center, and made serious, sober choices for members of his Cabinet and staff. Choices such as Lawrence Summers and Rahm Emanuel show wisdom and and a desire to have some experienced hands on deck.

All was going well for the Democrats, until Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opened her mouth. Speaker Pelosi comes from one of the most liberal districts in the country. Her climb up the ladder to leadership in the Democratic Party is both stunning and unexplainable. Every time she speaks in public, she only reinforces the image that she's a product of the ultra liberal left whose ideas are far out of the mainstream.

Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos where she insisted that increased funding for birth control will help stimulate the economy. W-H-A-T?

I don't have teenage children, but I can't think of much that will rile up parents of hormone driven teenagers than the interpretation of the federal government using their tax dollars to enable their kids to be having sex, because birth control will be more readily available. Exactly how will increased birth control funding stimulate the economy?

Less than a week in office, having to answer questions about Speaker Pelosi's foolish commentary, is the last thing President Obama needs to be doing. Speaker Pelosi's far left agenda is not in sync with what President Obama wants to be projecting during this time of economic crisis. Speaker Pelosi also gave the Republicans an easy issue to use for negative television advertisements against the Democrats.

I've got a feeling that President Obama will be calling Speaker Pelosi and Senate President Harry Reid reminding them to stick to the current strategic Obama talking points and to keep their loonier ideas to themselves, away from the TV cameras and microphones.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Few Things

One of the things I really enjoy doing each winter is attending local college games. I mostly attend college basketball games by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Boston University. Last night, a friend of mine and I went over to the Agganis Arena to catch the Boston University Men's hockey team host the University of New Hampshire.

BU routed UNH 5-0, potting 3 goals in the first five minutes of the game. UNH had come in on a seven game unbeaten streak, but were completely outclassed by the Terriers in all aspects of the game.

Going to local college games is cheap; particularly when compared to going to a Bruins or Celtics game. The games are well played and you get to see good talent playing all out at all times. College athletic events are a great way to get together with buddies and hang out or take a family to see a game without practically having to take out a small mortgage to pay for it.


I was thinking today about Patriots running backs of the last 35 years and of all the guys who "carried the mail" for them over the years. The team has had some awful feature backs such as the washed up Marion Butts in 1994, and Terry Allen in 1999, however, they have also had some very good ones. Here's my list of the top 5 Patriots running backs since 1975:

1.) Curtis Martin - letting him go to the Jets via restricted free agency was probably the single biggest personnel mistake the Patriots have ever made. He was fast, could hit the hole, and could catch the ball. In 1997, he missed a few games due to injury, so the team was concerned about his durability. After eight terrific seasons with the Jets, Martin is a shoo in for the Hall of Fame.
2.) Sam Cunningham - Sam Bam is the #1 all time leading Patriots rusher. Running behind the two best OL's in Pats history, John Hannah and Leon Gray, certainly didn't hurt. Cunningham was a tough, physical runner who shared carries with Don Calhoun to give the Patriots a terrific running game in the mid to late 70s.
3.) Tony Collins - TC was the 80s' version of Kevin Faulk, only better. A very versatile back, Collins could run the ball, had great hands in the passing game, was a very good blocker, and also returned punts and kicks. The only downfall for Collins was his drug problem. Despite his cocaine addiction, he could really play and I wonder how good he could've been if he had been clean.
4.) Corey Dillon - Three seasons with the Patriots, 35 TD's. In his first year with the team, Corey put up over 1600 yards rushing on 345 carries. However, that workload from the 2004 season caught up with him and he wasn't quite the same after that. The burst that he had was gone. Besides rushing for TD's, his specialty was being the closer, gaining the nickname "Clock Killing Corey Dillon" for moving the chains and allowing the Patriots to hold onto the ball at the end of games.
5.) Craig James - James' Patriot career was short, but he was a fast and shifty runner, who in his first two seasons with the team in 1984-85, averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He rushed for 1,227 yards for the 1985 Super Bowl team. After his great '85 season, James' effectiveness and career were cut short by knee injuries. Interesting fact: He's the last white running back to rush for over 1,000 yards.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Presidential Inauguration

It is hard to believe that eight years have come and gone, since George W. Bush was inaugurated for his first term. President Bush has had some successes such as preventing any further terrorist attacks on our soil and in implementing the surge in Iraq which has brought fewer casualties. Despite success in the War on Terror, President Bush's second term has been riddled with failures, such as the faltering economy, turning a budget surplus into a record deficit, and his Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. However, President Bush's time is up, and in three days, we will have a new President, Barack Obama.

I did not vote for Obama. However, as an American and a patriot, I'm rooting for him to become the best President this country's ever had. Considering the precarious state of our economy, only the most partisan fool would wish for anything else.

There is a segment of the economy that is based on consumer confidence. If people have confidence in a company, they will buy their stock. If people are feeling confident about their job and financial standing, they'll go out and buy a new car.

Right now, this country is suffering from a major lack of confidence, and for good reason. Banks and investment management companies are failing and most importantly, millions of people are losing their jobs. Unemployment may stand at 7.2%, but tell that to the person who's been laid off, and that number seems like 100%. Due to these layoffs, people are paralyzed with fear that they could be next on the unemployment line and are not spending money.

This is why Tuesday is such an important day for our country. We need new direction and President-elect Barack Obama has shown a capacity to inspire people and make them feel good about themselves. Right now, his first duty is to be Psychologist in Chief, in which he needs to make us feel confident about ourselves again, as well as confident in the future prosperity of America.

President Obama has his work cut out for him, but he deserves our support and hope that he accomplishes great things and gets our country moving in a positive direction again. For our sake, let's put partisanship aside and root not for what's best for the advancement of the liberal Democrat agenda or the conservative Republican movement, but what's best for America.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 World Baseball Classic

Baseball is a long season. Pitchers and catchers report for spring training sometime around the the third week of February. If you are a member of one of the two World Series teams, you play up until Halloween. One hundred sixty-two games plus three playoff series, could potentially extend a season by nineteen games. Throughout the season, many players are banged up and some are so worn out by September, their performance suffers in the last few months of the season.

Because of the reasons mentioned above, I abhor the World Baseball Classic. March is a terrible time for it to be scheduled, due to players and pitchers building up strength for the season during spring training. Playing highly competitive playoff style games in March during the process in which most starting pitchers can barely throw 3 innings in a game is a prescription for trips to the disabled list. Building up a pitching arm for the long season is a gradual process, that shouldn't be rushed. Also, a team's season could be ruined if their star player gets hit by a pitch and breaks a wrist or tears up a knee sliding into a base, playing in this nonsense.

As a Red Sox fan, I'm not thrilled that David Ortiz is thinking of playing. Big Papi needs to take it easy and build that problematic wrist back up, not potentially aggravate it on a check swing. The Red Sox need him to be pre 2008 Papi. I am concerned about Daisuke Matsuzaka and possibly Hideki Okajima playing for Japan. The Japanese are legendary for their regimen of throwing a lot of pitches and overtraining. Will those players be following the Japanese training regimen or sticking to the John Farrell Red Sox sanctioned routine? The Red Sox two best players in 2008, MVP Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, are both playing for the U.S. team. Up until last season when he broke the pattern, Youkilis was well known for wearing down in the second half of the season.

In terms of a world baseball event, the World Baseball Classic is great for marketing. However, for those of us who are fans of major league teams, we cross our fingers and pray that our favorite players don't get hurt or wear down late in the season from the effects of playing in the Classic. If I were to decide on a time to hold the event, I'd want it to be right after the World Series in early November. That way, players could treated it the way NFL players treat the Pro Bowl. They can back out if they're banged up or don't feel up for it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congratulations #14!

Congratulations to a well deserving Jim Rice for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame today!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hodge Podge

I really despise the Pittsburgh Steelers. I miss the days, when the Patriots would go into their stadium to play an AFC Championship and whip them good. After another heartbreaking loss, Hines Ward would be crying into a microphone and their fans overloading the Greater Pittsburgh Samaratans hotline. Good times!

It took 11 months, but Asante Samuel finally held onto an Eli Manning interception. Too bad he didn't hold onto the one in the Super Bowl.

Their strategy may blow up in their face come August, but I like the way the Red Sox are stocking up their team this offseason. The team is picking up players who are high quality if healthy, for low money deals that are short term. My favorite signing is the Brad Penny one. He was a dominant starter as recently as 2007, but he struggled with injuries all last year.

Tomorrow will be Jim Rice's last chance to get into the Hall of Fame. I believe he belongs, due to him being a dominant slugger before pitching was watered down by expansion and before performance enhancing drugs were widely used. I don't believe he gets in, because of his rudeness to the media during his playing days. Fair or not, it's human nature for anyone to have a hard time putting aside the way Rice treated the very writers who vote and hold his fate.