Hanley's Heel Turn

Exactly one year ago today, the Boston Red Sox were 21-25 and on the verge of being swept by the hapless Minnesota Twins. The bats were cold, the pitching was atrocious, and the attitude in the clubhouse was reflective of a team who truly didn’t care. While I managed to convince myself that the Sox could turn it around a few different times over the course of the summer, it was at this point when I knew this was truly a lost season. There is NOTHING worse as a baseball fan than knowing your team is out of the hunt before the dog days of summer even begin. This frustration was magnified by the thought that most Sox players seemed to be content with their shoddy, second-rate performances.

No player better exemplified this disinterested demeanor than Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez. The Hanley/left field experiment was beginning to take shape as a catastrophe of epic proportion. At this point, Hanley’s hot April bat had long since cooled, and he was a walking (not running, because Hanley does NOT run down fly balls) blooper reel in the outfield. The thing that was most frustrating about Hanley in left was his unwillingness to work at his craft. Whispers from the clubhouse that he wasn’t putting the time in were growing increasingly loud in volume. A phantom “hamstring” injury mercifully ended Hanley’s time in left, and the Sox began to look toward next year with a plan in place to try Hanley at first base.

Fast foward 365 days later. The Sox are in first place at 29-17, and Hanley has yet to make an error at first. His bat, while lacking in power, has been a consistent all year long. He’s no longer swinging his helmet off trying to launch a 700 foot homer on every cut, and the results are a much-welcomed increase in doubles and opposite-field hits.

What has Hanley changed you ask? Did he go to a wellness retreat? Did he find God? I’d argue that he truly didn’t change much. What has changed is that the Sox are winning baseball games.

When you’re going good, a guy like Hanley, with his happy-go-lucky, carefree attitude is a welcomed commodity. It’s the sort of personality that can help to keep things light and fun in the clubhouse, something many teams need over the course of a grueling 162 game season.

When you’re going bad, a Hanley Ramirez-type is a cancer. No one wants a whimsical, nonchalant guy in the clubhouse when the team is getting their doors blown off on a nightly basis. It’s similar to when you’re in a bad mood and someone tries to tell you a joke and it makes you even more angry. Get the hell out of here and let me be mad.

Keep doing you, Hanley. As long as Ortiz, Bogaerts, and JBJ keep mashing, I have a feeling this is going to be a fun summer for all of us.

 

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Kevan Miller ttps://www.google.com/search?q=kevan+miller&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=923&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjq4bHKgPbMAhWBiSwKHRC3AhYQ_AUIBygC#imgrc
The Boston Bruins have extended Defenseman, Kevan Millar, to a 4 year extension worth 10 million dollars.  This contract extension really doesn’t make any sense to me.  This guy is a player that they could of easily let go and saved the money for more of an impact player.  I think 4 years, 10 millions for Miller is a high over payment.  This past year was probably Miller’s worst year as a Bruin and he was also injured for 11 games.  He scored 5 goals, which isn’t bad for a player like him, but in his career he’s only scored 8 total goals.  2.5 million a year for him is too much money for a player that scores as little as that.

Another reason this signing bugs me is that they already have a very similar player in Adam Mcquaid.  They are both your typical defensive defenseman that are third pairing and you really need only one of those on your team.  The Bruins should be worrying about who they are going to pair for the first paring defenseman.  Chara and Seidenberg are getting older and aren’t the same players they used to be.  The Bruins are in need of some young new Defenseman and they aren’t going to be able to get them if they keep on paying players like Kevan Miller.  It’s still early in the off season but if they don’t add some new players it could be another long and frustrating year for this team.

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Pump your fist, Jackie - you're halfway to Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's record hitting streak. (Getty Images)

First pitch swinging – now that’s the way to get the pressure of a hitting streak out of the way.

That’s how Jackie Bradley Jr. did it Tuesday night, anyway, taking the first pitch he saw off the Green Monster for a second inning double that extended his hitting streak to 28 games. He would later add an infield single for good measure. The Boston Red Sox centerfielder now sits exactly halfway to Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. 

Just call him Joltin’ Jackie.

Continue reading Joltin’ Jackie? Bradley Halfway to DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hitting Streak »

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Mookie Has Muscles

May 23, 2016 at 9:46pm in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Mookie Betts (Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

Mookie Betts can absolutely rake …. in other news water is wet and baseballs are round. It was clear that Betts is a difference maker after he was a 4.8-win player in his rookie season, where he hit .291/.341/.479 with 10 DRS in centerfield. So putting him atop the Red Sox lineup again in 2016 was a pretty easy decision for John Farrell (not that it’s stopped him before). It has been easy to forget about Betts this season given the star power that surrounds him in the lineup, but the speedy leadoff man has actually been better so far in 2016 than he was in 2015, but in a somewhat surprising way.

Betts spent 2015 being a quality leadoff man, combining a solid 7% walk rate with a very good 12.5% strikeout rate for a hybrid average/on-base approach based on putting the ball in play and using his speed. This seems like a smart approach for a player with his kind of athleticism, especially when he hits directly in front of Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and David Ortiz. And what was even better, this was all done with a reasonable .310 BABIP, so we already knew that a high level of production was sustainable for Betts.

Continue reading Mookie Has Muscles »

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Let’s Stand With Tom

May 18, 2016 at 8:46pm in Featured, Opinion, Patriots
tommy boy

Tom Brady wasn’t always…Tom Brady. With the success that he and Bill Belichick have enjoyed over the past sixteen seasons, it’s difficult to remember a time when the Patriots weren’t the perennial powerhouse you see on the field today. Tom comes from humble beginnings. He didn’t begin playing football until his freshman year of high school, where he served as the backup quarterback on a team that went 0-8.

He was lightly recruited coming out of high school, and wound up at Michigan as the fifth quarterback on the depth chart. While at Michigan, he struggled to keep his starting job as highly-touted recruits were brought in to take his place. Still to this day, his combine statistics are some of the worst in the history of the NFL. He wasn’t selected until the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Not exactly the start you’d expect for one of the greatest to ever lace them up. Continue reading Let’s Stand With Tom »

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Danny Ainge (bostonglobe.com)

It’s easy to look at the the results of last night’s NBA draft lottery and feel as if the Celtics were once again jobbed out of the first pick. After all, no other NBA team has suffered worse lottery luck than the Celtics since the league began the ping pong process in 1985.

The Celtics lottery woes were never more evident than in the 1997 draft, when the C’s were heavy favorites to win the lottery and select can’t-miss prospect Tim Duncan with the first overall pick. As we all so painfully remember, the Spurs ended up with that coveted first pick, and the dark cloud of draft day despair has been hanging over the Celtics ever since. Continue reading Celtics Get #3 at Draft Lottery: Where do we go from here? »

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The Red Sox are for real

May 13, 2016 at 10:10am in Opinion, Red Sox

Boston-Red-Sox-640x360

After winning 5 games ina row, it’s time to take the 2016 Boston Red Sox seriously.  Last night’s game extended the double-digit runs scored to four games.  They have scored a total of 51 runs in four games, which is extremely impressive.  I know it’s very early in the season and I know this offense will eventually cool down but I believe this offense is very talented and one of the best in baseball.  The Sox have six starting players that are batting over .300.  That is just unheard of.  Will they continue hitting the ball this well, probably not, but they are talented in other areas of the game to win games.

After two seasons of last place finishes, this team is fun to watch again.  All the fans want is to be able to watch this team with interest in September and hopefully October.  It is also looking like this team has good team chemistry.  I think team chemistry is very important thing in baseball and it can make and break a team.  The Sox look like they are having fun out there every night and seem like they enjoy playing for each other.

I believe that this team is a World Series Contender.  Now, I’m not saying they’re favorites to win it all yet but I believe that this team is talented enough to make a deep playoff run.  The rest of the AL seems to be weak and the Red Sox should take advantage of that.  It’s all about getting in the tournament and once you’re in, anything can happen.

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