Recently returned from the heart of New England to the outskirts here on the edge of CT. The Sox were out on the west coast (which is why we went to Citifield today), but we stopped at a Danvers, MA B&N which happened to have both of our books!?! It was a thrilling trip to Salem, Mystic, & Boston in which our four year old rode a duck on the Charles River.
Let’s be clear about this I am a Boston Celtics fan. My brother is a Boston Celtics fan. My Dad is a Boston Celtics fan. It’s the only team all three of us root for together. My dad has seen all 17 titles, while Rit and I both vividly recollect the last three. We’ve got the entire 1985-86 World Champions Starting Lineup Action Figure Set and we have enough Starter jackets for us to form our own Big Three…
We’ve mired through the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis & made it through the M.L. Carr coached years with Rick Fox, Dino Radja, and Dee Brown. We won’t mention that one season Rit decided to become a Patrick Ewing Knick fan only to have dad threaten him with no dinner for that season. We saw the Celts miss out on Tim Duncan only to draft
Ray Ron Mercer & Chauncey Billups (who was traded after 51 games but still managed to make five all-star teams and be named Finals MVP) A team that once had the luck of the leprechaun, sure had no luck in the lottery. In 2007, the C’s lost out on the Greg Oden Kevin Durant sweepstakes. All appeared lost…then Danny Ainge turned the tides by acquiring Ray Allen in a deal that included Wally Szcerbiak, a player whom Rit would eventually defeat in a charity softball game. A month later the Celtics traded a former dunk champ and pretty much their entire bench for Kevin Garnett. Joined by perennial all-star Paul Pierce there would be no boasts of multiple upcoming titles, just anticipation for team that Red Auerbach would be proud of. The season was full of domination (66-16) while playing unselfish Celtic b-ball coached by Doc Rivers. It wasn’t until the first and second rounds of the playoffs that there would be turbulence. Seven games against Zaza Pachulia’s Hawks and Lebron James’ Cavs paved the way for six-game victories over the Pistons and Lakers. Game Six over the Lakers was a thorough 131-92 manhandling. Along the way Leon Powe and James Posey offered up some Pau Ga-Soft Serve Ice Cream and entered Boston folklore as the star of Rajon Rondo was born. Dad, Rit, and I converged in New Ro and took in many of the playoff games while Shira was mostly sound asleep pregnant with Cyrus. In the preceding years (all another story for another time) the Celts were highly competitive and the (big) three of us would often talk via conference call during playoff games. Which brings us to the case of the Brooklyn Nets…
My dad always made sure we had tickets to the game…Mets, Nets, Jets, even some Yankee games. We would often head to the Meadowlands and watch the Butch Beard-led Nets take on Jordan’s Bull or face the Electrolux sweep of the New York Knickerbockers. We caught plenty of Celtics action. Years later, I had the chance to buy a New Jersey Net season ticket for $199!?! I took my dad and Rit to see the aforementioned championship edition of the Celtics. Long story short, the Nets (as hapless as they’ve been) have always been a team we could appreciate and had a fondness for. So obviously if the Celts were going to send KG and Pierce somewhere (and fleece said team for three first round picks) it might as well be the
New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. In my opinion, Lebron James is winning the next few titles (while also bringing his talents back to Cleveland) BUT this Nets squad should give them a pretty good run IF they are healthy. Maybe we will get a chance to see them at the amazingly modern and magnificent Barclays Center, at the very least we will be following ‘The Truth’ and KG in Brooklyn until their numbers join the other retired ones in the Boston rafters. We look forward to passing on the tradition to our sons…
Tomorrow night Detroit Tigers new ace Max Scherzer (13-1) faces off against New York Mets phenom Matt Harvey. Harvey should also be 13-1 but pitching for the Metropolitans in 2013 has landed him at 7-2. At least he’ll be making the Citi Field start tomorrow. I haven’t made as many posts as I had hoped, but I’ve been to Fenway twice to promote How the Red Sox Explain New England. Which at this exact moment is ranked #81 in Boston books on Amazon. Speaking of those Sox…they lead the majors in wins with 58!?! Take that Bobby V! The fans are sure ecstatic with the job John Farrell has done. However, the team I keep reminding everyone of has quietly crept right behind them with 55 wins…yup those pesky pitching rich Rays. The Jays had a mini-run in them yet they continue to chase the 4th place Yankees. Those damn Yanks refuse to go away and stand seven games above .500. If the Orioles manage to get a pitcher at trade deadline they could be very dangerous. They have four all-star starters, and Chris ‘Crush’ Davis has 37 tots…I think I’ve seen the last four on tv. Manny Machado really does have 39 doubles. The Tigers and Tribe are battling it out for the Central, while my bro’s A’s have a slim lead over the Rangers. Over in the NL Yasiel Puig has rejuvenated the Dodgers, but they still trail the D-backs. Puig heads into the break batting .391 and he is the most recent Cuban to make huge waves in MLB. The Pirates have the third best record in all of baseball and look to make it to the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds was skinny and I was in college. The Buccos were the first MLB team to 50 wins, but currently trail the hitting-rich Cardinals by a hand full of games. In the NL East the Braves hold the lead over the disappointing Nationals, while the Phillies come to the realization that they are rebuilders. A few scattered thoughts…Is this the final season for A-rod, Jeter, & Mariano? Take Pettitte while you are at it! Ron Gardenhire next Met manager?! Jonny A-Sides thinks so! Bryce Harper is only 20, but he’s a two time all-star. New Ro’s Tom Koehler is 1-5 for the
Florida Miami Marlins. Ryan Braun and several other players will most likely be suspended soon after the all-star game. Here’s hoping for the first overall pick for the Brew Crew! On a personal note Cyrus hit the hell off the tee yesterday…I need to get him to a ballpark soon! Enjoy the second half…
It’s very difficult comprehending or putting the past harrowing week in perspective. Exactly a week ago, Jon and I were on the road back from Boston discussing the tragic life of the brilliant Jeff Buckley. Neither of us had listened to him regularly listened to him in a while and I cheerfully reminisced how his cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ played a prominent role in my wedding. Even though it was a draining day (three innings at Fenway, successful sign and sale of a dozen books, & Twilight Zone detour home) Jon and I were grateful of the accomplishment that comes around the time we’ve known each other twenty times. The next day I handed out the red Red Sox I bought for my family members and headed to my hometown for some birthday cake to tell everyone about the thrilling time we had in Boston. That all seems like a month ago at this point as we’ve all spent a great deal of the past week glued to our sets. An unprecedented manhunt for the bombing that transpired at the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day has once again reminded us of the evil that exists, but the resilient American spirit that pervades, overcomes, and inspires.
First thoughts on arriving last Saturday, the world converged for the marathon. You could see and hear people from all over the place soaking in the scene as Boston was making final preparations. The walk from Prudential to Fenway was even more crowded than usual, but hey ‘Marathon Monday’ was upcoming.
It’s a good thing Big Brother is watching. This most modern manhunt played out the way it did in large part because of the involvement of society at large. Store front surveillance. Social Media shares and likes. Web site wishlists. We constantly share ourselves online and leave our thumbprint for better or worse. It’s hard to imagine carry out anything in public anymore without several people capturing it on film. Good luck with that.
As for the Sox and the healing power of sport…The Red Sox replaced their home uniforms ‘Red Sox’ with Boston emblazoned across their chests. The Kansas City Royals even sported ‘Boston Strong’ patches. Uniforms will be auctioned off for One Foundation. A stirring opening ceremony led to tears for many, Big Papi returned with an FCC approved use of the ‘F word’ and all of Fenway sang the National Anthem. Shortly after Neil Diamond led the Red Sox Nation Faithful in ‘Sweet Caroline,’ Daniel Nava added his name to the Boston legends list.
Tomorrow Jon and I make the first stop of our book tour for a book signing at Hingham Barnes & Noble. First, we will be checking out the Sox at Fenway as Jon Lester faces off against 2013 Cy Young winner David Price. The Red Sox are off to a 5-4 start like just about everyone in the ALE except the Blue Jays. Our publisher is excited about the book and we are definitely looking forward to our first trip into the heart of New England since the book appeared on shelves. Here is the link event.
Today is Opening Day or is it #Opening Day ? Regardless, I jotted down my predictions last week but never committed them to internet posterity so here’s to the first ever all-Canada World Series…sort of.
AL East- Rays (Pitching, Defense, Speed), *Jays (I’m buying as WC and pennant winners), Orioles (More magic from Wieters, Jones, Machado), Yankees (If they win 85 Girardi is the greatest manager of all-time), Red Sox ( Did you know we are also on Kindle!)
AL Central- Tigers (Best hitter & best pitcher in baseball + Prince), Royals (Revive ’85!), Indians (Francona gets them in right direction but undone by pitching), White Sox (too old but love those throwback red uni’s), Twins (Mauer and Morneau give it a go)
AL West- Angels (Trout regresses, but Pujols and Hamilton play like Pujols and Hamilton), *Rangers (Yu better be an ace or A’s or M’s steal this spot), A’s (just not enough hitting for my taste), Mariners (a close 4th), Astros (quick name three Astros)
NL East- Nationals (if they stay healthy the first of a few!?!), Phillies (Halladay and Utley are pivotal…do they have one more round in them?) Braves (Upton and Upton should offset Uggla), Mets (more wins than the Yankees?), Florida (will battle Lastros for #1 pick)
NL Central- Reds (Votto scoops up 2nd MVP), *Pirates (end sub .500 drought just like 2012 O’s with a playoff appearance), Cardinals (can’t wait for this team to stink for a decade), Brewers (Lohse has me hopeful but …meh), Cubs (heading in the right direction)
NL West- Dodgers (Mattingly Magic), *Giants (Cain Cy Young), Padres (somewhat surprise team), Dbacks (gritty but can they overperform?), Rockies (attempt 162 man rotation)
World Series- Washington Nationals win in 7 over Blue Jays.
As Wrestlemania 29 approaches Jon Chattman and Rich Tarantino (co-authors of A Battle Royal in the Sky: The Life and Death of Wrestling’s 100 Greatest Gods and Gimmicks) took a break from their busy schedules to prognosticate about the upcoming baseball season.
AL EAST- Rays, *Yanks, Toronto, Orioles, Boston
AL CENTRAL- Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, KC, Minnesota
AL WEST- Angels, *A’s, Texas, Seattle, Houston
NL East- Braves, *Nats, Phillies, Mets, Marlins
NL Central – Reds, *St. Louis, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs
NL West-Dodgers, SF, Dbacks, SD, Colorado
ALCS: Tigers vs Angels
NLCS: Reds vs. Nats
WS: Angels over Reds
AL East- Rays, *Orioles, Jays, Sox, Yanks
AL Central- Tigers, *Indians, Royals, White Sox, Twinkies
AL West- A’s, Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Astros
NL East- Nats, *Braves, Mets, Phils, Fish
NL Central- Pirates, Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs
NL West- Giants, *Dodgers, Dbacks, Padres, Rox
WS: Nationals over Tigers